• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 10


I was twelve when my mother sold all we had and paid the traffickers to take us to freedom. After two days on the sea a storm blew up and big waves splashed into the boat. People on the top seats trampled those below them, and my mother pushed me up out of the water to save me. When the storm subsided, my mother was dead – drowned in the filth beneath our feet.

A trafficker tipped her overboard before I could stop him, but he comforted me and promised to take care of me. He took me home and gave me to his wife with the words, “This girl has no-one.” I looked into her cold eyes and knew it was true.

I cooked and cleaned and ate their scraps, and the woman locked me in a cupboard each night. I was reduced to nothing, but still I scratched my tribal patterns on the door to keep my pride alive.

And then one night the door opened and he crept in like a thief. He said he would kill me if I told her, though I think she knew. I scratched my hate on the door in symbols he could not read.

It took me a year to steal enough money, tiny sums that would not be missed, and today, in their kitchen, I slipped a knife under my skirt.

Tonight I am ready for him.

Tonight I will take the freedom for which my mother gave her life.