Angela shivered in the night air. Her vision was nothing but a field of black a blindfold kept the world out but the air had that cool,
slightly humid feel that comes with a summer evening in the North Carolina mountains. She stood, quietly, patiently, not that she had any
other choice her wrists were bound tightly behind her. She felt others, jostling her from behind, stopping in front of her. Women, she
assumed, just like her, alone, scared, enslaved.
The woman in front of her stepped away. A hand on her shoulder indicated Angela was to wait. After a time she felt someone lean into her
shoulder, lips next to her ear.
"Step forward, please."
Tentatively, Angela did as instructed.
"Careful, you have a step up, then a second one and a third."
Angela felt hands grasp her arms from behind as she took the first step. The hands let go, to be replaced by others grabbing from ahead as
she took the second step and the third. She was led forward for several feet, then hands pressed against her chest.
"Stop here. Turn to your right."
Again, Angela followed the instructions. "Back up. One more step."
She felt the back of her legs against something. "Sit down."
Angela did, and found herself resting on what felt like a vinyl cushion, a hard wall behind her. She was pushed back against the wall,
something was pulled across her waist and buckled a seatbelt? She felt someone on her left, sitting, and soon she was joined by another
body on her right. After several minutes, hearing whispers, buckles being snapped, an occasional whimper or gasp, the sound stopped. The
blindfold was pulled from her face.
Angela blinked several times, her eyes eventually adjusting to the scant light given off by an overhead fluorescent bulb. She appeared to be
in what she guessed was the enclosed back of a truck. Across from her was a bench seat attached to the wall, six women sitting, their arms
pulled behind them no doubt bound as Angela's were each held in place by a seat belt across their waist.
Angela looked to her left there was a single woman there, on her bench and then to her right, four more women sat. They were all like
the women on the opposite side, arms bound behind them, belted to the bench.
The women looked different some tall and thin, others shorter, some chunkier, two with red hair, three others besides Angela where blond,
the rest different shades of brown or black. Angela was among the taller ones, it appeared, given her five-foot-nine-inch frame, and though
she had lost weight over the past year, she still was curvy, a tad on the thicker side, especially compared to the thin, pale black-haired
woman sitting immediately to her left.
And all were dressed alike in sheer black bras that, for the larger women like Angela, appeared to be about two sizes too small; and
Standing in the middle of the truck, under the fluorescent light mounted in the ceiling, was a woman. She was dressed in plain black jeans
and shirt, with a mask covering the top half of her face and a riding crop in her hand. She walked, slowly, along the bench opposite from
Angela. She leaned over and stroked the inner thigh of one of the women there, then moved on, touching a shoulder, an arm, caressing a face,
before she turned toward Angela's side of the truck. She ran her fingers through the long black hair of the woman beside her, then cupped
Instinctively Angela pulled away.
"Ah, a little spirit," the woman said before whipping the crop hard against Angela's thighs. Angela jumped.
The woman leaned over, stared into Angela's eyes and cupped her chin again. This time Angela made no move.
"You learn fast," the woman said.
"I wish I had something witty to say," she said. "All I can say is welcome. I don't know your backgrounds, or what brought you here, but
what I do know is your lives have changed forever."
With that she walked to the back of the truck, stepped out and pulled down the roll top door. Angela heard the bolt slide in place and lock.
She looked around. Most of the women had fear on the faces. She glanced at the woman to her left and saw what she would best describe as
An engine roared to life, the truck lurched hard and then began rolling. One of the women on the opposite bench, a shorter, chunkier woman
whimpered as the sudden, jerking movement caused her right breast to slip from the bra.
God, that could have been me.
Almost before Angela could finish her thought the truck hit a large bump. The women were all jostled against one another, and Angela's left
breast slipped out, hanging uncomfortably over her bra.
She felt her face growing hot, from embarrassment and anger. Without thought she pulled against the rope binding her wrists together, bent
forward trying to free herself.
"Take it easy," the woman with the long black hair said.
Angela looked at her.
"It's not the end of the world," she said.
Angela stayed bent over for a minute, maybe two, then gradually sat up. Sitting there, her breast hanging lose, not a damn thing she could
do about it, Angela's true predicament hit her full force.
She was no longer her own person. She had given up her freedom, had traded herself for someone she cared about, and now her choice hit
I belong to someone else.