The Torch

The Torch

 

She ran through the bush, fighting with the thorns and sticks that blocked her way. Her whole body was on alert, her eyes had adjusted to the dark, she could see the way clearly, she knew she would soon get to the river and it was either swim or drown. She knew this, knew she was going to swim and drown because she was as afraid of the water as she was afraid of whatever chased her. She never saw it and it had never caught her.

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She woke up sweating and thirsty, two familiar sensations whenever she woke up from one of her nightmares. She went to the bathroom, poured water on her face, walked to the fridge and guzzled water like it was her lifeline. She looked around her little apartment, the lights shining above her. She couldn’t tolerate the dark and had candles incase the lights went off. Her little apartment was the only place she felt really safe, except when she slept at night and the dreams came back then she became afraid. She had chosen this place because of it’s size, every space in the room was utilized, she could see the door from her bedroom, which had a connecting door with the bathroom. She had blocked off a little part of the sitting room for cooking. Her books and pictures were evenly displayed around the house. It was cozy and just right for her.

*************

The mother was still in prison, and would be for a long time, so she had no reason to be afraid, but sometimes she remembered in dreams. She remembered what it felt like tied up and kept in a dark room with only water and dried bread, and the only time she came out was to go into the next room and please the customer. The more she made them happy, the more money mother made. The other girls were kept in different rooms, she only saw them if a customer requested a three some. They never spoke to each other or to the customer even. They walked in naked, did whatever the customer requested and left the way they came. Sometimes with bruises and cuts, if the customer liked it rough. Whenever any customer complained or was dissatisfied, Mother refused them food and sent one of the guards to beat them up. Most times the guards did more than beat.

******************
Her parents died in an airplane crash along with other passengers. No family member wanted to take her in, they were all scrambling for her father’s properties and forgot the daughter they left behind. The government sent her to a foster home and there she met the mother. The mother ran a halfway house, she payed someone in the government to keep her secret and to bring girls to her. Whenever one of them died, the guards came at night and took her away, within twenty four hours another girl would be brought in. Mother was round and flabby, she had burnt skin which I later recognized as the effects of bleaching, her lips were black from smoking, her eyes like that of a hungry wolf who just came across a dead carcass,her smile feral and deceiving.

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One day, I went into the other room to satisfy a customer, when I went in he was fully dressed, this was unusual because most customers would already be stripped down and waiting for us. They left all their belongings and whatever outside the room and came in only on their boxers, that was the mother’s way of ensuring nothing was passed from them to her girls as she called us. I was surprised to see this man fully dressed inside the room, I quickly made to walk out incase I had walked in by mistake, but he stopped me and gestured for me to sit beside him on the bed. I hesitated for what seemed like hours to me but was indeed minutes. I only walked in because he looked non threatening, he didn’t look at me like the other men did, as if I was a double decked burger with real cheese and they couldn’t wait to get a bite. There was a softness and relaxing spirit around him. I sat down beside him and he spoke to me, I couldn’t answer him so I just nodded or shook my head in reply to his questions. He identified himself as a good Samaritan and said he had come to help us and since I was the first person to see him, I would have to help him to help us escape. He asked me my name so he would always request for me whenever he came, so we could plan our escape route. My name is Caro. I said and ran out.

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I found out that he was able to come in clothed and with his bag because he payed the mother extra money and payed the guards too. He had come five more times and always requested that I come to his room whenever he came. When we finally got the plan straight, he left and did not come back, but before he left he gave me a torch and a phone. I was to use the phone and dial his number on it whenever I was ready to move on the plan. It was all in my hands he had said, I was afraid and didn’t think I could go through with it, but he sent me messages everyday to remind me that I was not saving only myself but other girls and also making sure the mother was arrested and put away forever.
I still couldn’t go through with it for weeks and weeks until one day I saw the mother bringing in two new girls, one looked very little and I was sure she was not more than ten years old, she cried and pushed as she was brought in and in anger one of the guards, pushed her inside a room and locked the door. I heard her screams all through the night. I couldn’t take it again so I called the man and told him I was ready to go on with our plans. I didn’t want that girl to go through what we went through daily. The man sent me a message to confirm and to tell me that his men were already in place.
The Torch he had given me was a bomb disguised as a torch. I was to roll the torch into the sitting room where the mother and the guards usually gathered and pressed a series of numbers which I had memorized on the phone. It activated the bomb and within minutes everywhere was on fire.

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There was more damage in the sitting room, all the guards died because they were trying to get the mother out, but they only ran out into the waiting police men who engaged them in a fierce gun battle. Meanwhile I and the girls had escaped through one of the broken windows into the bush. We ran to the place by the river where the man said he would be waiting for us.
I and some other girls testified against the mother in court and she was put away for a very long time. The man who had helped us was a police officer who got a tip from the neighbours.
We were all doing well now as I kept contact with all the girls.
The nightmares only brought it back. I stood up from the chair where I had dozed off  to put off my alarm.
It’s a new day I said to myself…..

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