There were eighteen of them, huddled up in different corners, not making eye contact with each other.
The younger ones tried to move closer to the older girls seeking refuge. Their immature minds told them that they could trust the older girls. They weren’t bad like the men who prowled free outside the tiny, windowless room. No, these girls were victims like them, but they were older. Surely, they would know what to do.
Kiara was once just like them. A child who waited for the older girls to take her in their arms, tell her everything would be okay. She used to think that her family would come save her. Her father was a viscount. Surely, he would find her. After all, there was nothing he couldn't do.
That was a long time ago. She had long since realized that no one was coming to save her, to save any of them. This was her life now.
She could feel the eyes of the new girl on her. The girl Richard had called Isadora. “I’m Isadora, what’s your name?”
Kiara knew better than to reply. Richard didn’t like the girls talking amongst themselves. He was always paranoid that the girls were plotting against him. And besides, after the first time, she wouldn’t repeat that mistake again. Not after Richard had taught her the lesson of her life. So, she ignored Isadora.
The door to the room opened and Charlie was thrown in. He scampered to the corner of the room furthest from the door and curled up sobbing. Kiara felt pity for him. Charlie was still new to the mansion. And that’s why he was in high demand. The men who frequented the mansion liked fresh meat. Especially the little ones. They liked to see the mixture of fear and hope in their eyes. It made them feel powerful, the way they could snuff out the hope and watch as fear take over. Soon, Charlie would learn that the less emotions he showed, the less they would want him.
Kiara had learnt her lesson the hard way. It had taken her two years to learn how to mask her emotions. Now she didn’t need to mask them. She didn’t have much place for fear or hope in her heart. It was filled to the brim with resignation.
The men, they liked her for a different reason. They liked to see how far they could push her before her poker face crumbled. It was like a game to them. But they would never win. She wouldn’t let them. It was the only thing she had left. She would never give them the satisfaction of seeing her break.
Besides, she had a plan. A plan that she had been working on for a while. She was determined to succeed. She was going to get herself out.
When it was her turn, Richard’s men shoved her into the visitation room. It was a beautiful room with its high ceiling and arched doorway. Kiara put on her poker face as she sat naked on the rough sheets that covered the dirty mattress. A group of men stumbled into the room. They were not ones who had visited her before. The dark haired man in the front stepped forward and pushed her down onto the bed. As soon as he climbed on top of her, Kiara sealed her mind shut and went straight to her ‘happy place’. In her happy place, no one could reach her. Not the man on top of her, not the other standing around that room, not Richard. She was no longer in the large, gothic manor. She was back at her the house she had been born in with her family.
The man on top of her slapped her, trying to get a reaction out of her. He pulled her hair and gripped her neck hard enough to leave bruises. But nothing to affect Kiara, she was in her happy place. Soon the man on top of her finished his turn and another took his place. Each of the four men in the room took their turns at her while simultaneously trying to win the who-can-make-the-ice-queen-cry game. Unfortunately for them, Kiara had seen much worse. They were a walk in the park compared to Kiara’s regular 'visitors'.
Once they were done, Kiara was taken back to the holding room and left there.
The next day, when she wasn’t given to anybody, she knew that the day was arriving. The day she would escape. It was going to be his turn soon. He didn't like to see marks made by other men on her so she knew that she would be left alone until the bruises on her body healed.
A few days later, the door opened and Richard stalked in. He gripped Kiara’s arm and yanked her up. He shoved her out into the corridor and marched her into the master bedroom, the grandest room in the manor. He ordered her to ‘make herself decent’ and left the room.
Kiara worked in silence. She brushed her red hair into a bun and put on the clothes that were left there for her. A pretty, white dress with daisies along the waist and hem. White, the colour of purity, of sanctity, of innocence. None of them were qualities that she possessed. At least, not anymore. All the qualities had been stolen from her the day she had been kidnapped and brought to the mansion. It was practically sacrilegious, she thought, for her to wear such a pretty little dress. The dress was way too pretty for her starved and beaten body. But she put it on anyway. It would be necessary as well as appropriate for her plan.
She stood facing away from the door as she mentally prepared herself for what was to come. She heard him approach her from behind and she felt as he put his arm around her waist. This was it. She wouldn’t get another opportunity. As she turned, she looked into the Richard’s lust filled eyes. She discreetly slid her hand downwards and drew the knife she knew he had strapped to his waist. He never thought she would have the guts to actually do it. But he was wrong, she had nothing more to lose.
In one fluid movement, she brought the knife up and sliced her throat. Richard backed away from her and he stared at her in horror.
Why was he not happy? He had won the game. He had been the one to break the ice queen. He had gotten her to smile.
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