#46 Shattered

by Janna Qualman

“Your name, miss?”

I feel the shack behind me; its aura crowds my spine. I won’t turn to it. I can’t bear to see the broken window through which I’ve just crawled.

I have been staring at the officer’s badge. I realize he has repeated his question more than once. Impatience pulls the lines of his face.

“Uhn...” My mouth won’t work. For too long I have had no reason to speak. To be heard. But I nod at him submissively. With that, I am experienced.

“It’s okay,” he says. Those lines soften. “I’ll say names. Stop me if one is yours. Cheryl Bowie . . . Maggie Devine . . . Victoria Monroe.”

The name is bright and sharp. I flinch.

“Good. Very good. Okay, now this one may be tougher.” He points to the man, hairy and disheveled and disgusting, who bucks and kicks against two officers’ restraints. “Who is that man?”

I close my eyes against the question. Against that horrible man.

Oh captor, my captor . . . Oh captor, my captor . . .

It has been my internal chant for months. A way to stay on top of myself.

“Mmm . . . muh muh . . . my captor . . .”

I am shaking, his badge is blurring. My fingers are working over themselves, my unkempt and dirty nails scratching and harming.

“It’s okay, miss. You’re safe now.” He comforts with only his voice and, thank God, does not touch me.

“I . . . I’m Vic . . . Vic . . . toria.” I swallow. I take air. Free air. “I want to to to go . . . home.”


Gregory S. Lamb PDX Author said...

Your piece reminds me of the nightmare of human trafficking must be for so many young and innocent people like your main character.

Sam Knight said...

I really like the point of view you took with this. It adds a lot of depth to the scene most crime thrillers gloss past because it is the 'happy' ending.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Thanks to you both! I appreciate your comments.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love this one - a lot!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Thank you, Sarah!

Jade said...

Frightening, but well painted. At the end, I feel a little breath of air on my face--and relief for Victoria.

Janna Leadbetter said...

That's awesome! Thanks for telling me so, Jade.