Creative | Posted by Hannah S on 09/10/2010

Half The Sky

Over the summer, I read Half the Sky. The entire book was incredible, but I was moved by the chapter on the sex trafficking industry. I wrote this story as a way to try to imagine what that experience must be like. After all, though I am American, with just a slight twist of fate I so easily could have been one of these girls.

There is a fly buzzing by my head. I can see three more scuttling on the wall. In my peripheral vision there are posters hanging pathetically. I try to ignore the pornographic images. I already know the images too well. Far better then any girl my age should. My own experiences are burned into my memory. Painted behind my eyelids.

I try to keep my eyes open as long as I can. The stinging of sweat dripping from my forehead and the dryness of keeping them open, leaves my eyes feeling as though they are steaming. Anything to avoid the snapshots that practically scream at me if I blink too long. My head whirls from the drugs that I’ve been forced to take and I’m coming down off a trip. My eyes focus and refocus and the room slowly starts to settle into place.

It’s harder to ignore my surroundings when I’m aware. I am starting to remember where I am, and what I’ve been doing here. I am slumped on the mattress that is pushed in the corner of the room. To call it a bed would mean that there is some sort of comfort associated with it. I hate the mattress, I hate what it signifies. I hate that I can’t seem to get my legs to work. The thing I hate most of all is even if I could convince my feet to move forward I would have no where to go. If I were to walk through the brothel, that would basically invite memories that have eluded me in my drugged state. Hitting me like a brick wall. One after another.

I never realized that hell would look like this. A white room with barely any furniture. Four plaster walls, a lumpy old mattress thrown carelessly in. Disgusting posters on the walls. Worst of all the sound of young girls just like me, being forced to have sex with men so much older then us. The sound of slavery and hopelessness. The smell of fear and sweat in the air. Of course the unbearable heat. I imagine this is very similar to hell. Our own personal hell.

I am fully aware now, but my whole body is shaking. Cold sweat starts to drip down my neck. How can it be so cold and so hot? Now that I am conscious of my body I feel my heart beating in my head. Pounding. It’s so hard to breathe. It feels as though my lungs have filled with thick liquid. Breathing in takes so much work that I feel like I might die. Even through all of this my mind stays painfully sharp. I can feel everything with complete clarity.

Now I can hear foot steps coming down the hallway. Please not me. Please walk past. Please. I’m screaming and begging in my head. I already knew that it wouldn’t help. The door swings open and hits the wall with a loud bang that echoes in my head. The two men exchangd words and a handful of paper money. As the stranger man turns and comes closer to me, I surprise myself by moving away from him quickly. I must know somewhere inside my throbbing head that this is the wrong move. Whether it’s instinct to move away from danger, or subconsciously fighting back, it does not make my customer happy.

I hear the other man mumble something that sounded like an apology and came at me with a syringe. Huddled in the corner, there is really no where left for me to go. Still, I know that the pain radiating through my body will stop if I let him come closer. A few seconds of sharp pain, and I’m floating again. I have no control over my body. My mind is free to go where it wants. I almost don’t notice the strange man coming closer, and closer.

Then, everything is dark.

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  • samuelle @ at 8:39 pm, September 10th, 2010

    ……wow. Nice putting yourself in another’s shoes. That was really well-written.

  • Stephanie @ at 8:57 pm, September 10th, 2010

    nicely written ending
    this is an issue that HAS to be given more attention than it gets

  • Kyle Ann @ at 9:47 pm, September 10th, 2010

    I’m currently reading Half the Sky–I’m super impressed with Nicholas Kristof’s handling of the topic and everything he proposes to help women in third world countries. He is coming to my school (UNC-chapel Hill) next week and I can’t wait to see him!

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