I recently participated in Fiction War Magazine’s Summer writing competition. As with the specific word count requirement contests that I have been entering lately, this timed competition proved to be challenging and fun!
The prompt was “Seven Years”. There was no specific genre or writing style required; the only stipulation was that the piece of fiction had to be less than 1000 words, including the title.
I did not make it back as a finalist. I agree, the piece was sloppy and probably a little darker than what they were looking for (I am reaching because no feedback was provided). I would love to hear any reviews or feedback that you would like to provide!
Angel Eyes by Cari
She slid the butterfly knife out from under the dirty mattress, straddled his naked body, and with one satisfying push, buried the blade deep into his abdomen.
“Gina, no,” slurred Xavier. “I love you.” His unfocused eyes rolled into the back of his head. He moaned in pain, but the overdose had left him unable to fight back. Without an ounce of remorse, Gina plunged the knife into Xavier again and again, each stab reminding her of the events that had delivered her to that collective point…
Gina and Phillip lounged in the white Florida sand, watching their 9-year old daughter Ariana frolic in the undulating waves. The setting sun cast brilliant pools of pink and orange over the horizon, a cool breeze gusting off the coastal waters.
Gina was mesmerized by the dark-skinned little girl who stumbled down the beach sobbing uncontrollably. The girl, who couldn’t have been older than five, was wearing nothing but a two-piece bathing suit and was noticeably trembling. Gina’s gaze followed the girl, her heart breaking with each agonizing minute of realization that she was lost.
“I’ll be right back,” Gina said to Phillip, grabbing a beach towel and taking off on foot. The girl scampered parallel to the crashing waves, weaving in and out of the few remaining beach patrons. Only after she had reached an uninhabited stretch of beach, did the girl collapse. Gina caught up to her and threw the towel around her shoulders. The little girl melted into Gina’s arms, burying her face into her chest. The last thing Gina felt was a strong pair of arms closing around her and a sharp pinprick piercing her neck.
Gina’s drug-laced days trickled into months, and the months bled into years. She never knew what they were, only that the mélange of pills allowed her to disengage from what was happening one day to the next. During the day, Gina was confined to her makeshift cell. At night, she was locked in with the other sixteen women and children where they nursed one another back to health after one of the clients had gotten too tempestuous during their rape.
For seven years, Gina lived in this hell. For seven years, she was beaten and tortured more times than she could remember. For seven years, she simply existed. This all changed when Angel arrived.
Gina reeled when she first locked eyes with the scared and whimpering 16-year old girl. Angel was the same age that Ariana would be, and her features an uncanny resemblance to her daughter’s. Angel had the same green flecks in her golden brown eyes, the same high cheekbones, and a dimple that matched her own at the corner of her mouth. From the moment Gina laid eyes on Angel, she vowed to not only escape, but release the other women and children from their prison as well. She would ensure the monster could never hurt anyone else again.
Gina slowly weaned herself from the pills, hiding her doses under the filthy mattress in her room. The withdrawal was an agonizing ache that tortured but gave her strength at the same time. Since the steady stream of clients expected an incapacitated object of their desire, she simply played the part. Month after month, she separated her mind from body during each revolting rape. Without the drug-induced miasma, however, her depressive thoughts intensified until an unexpected but welcome chain of events put Gina in the position to make her escape a reality.
In compensation for their loyalty, Xavier’s lackeys were given free rein to exploit sexual favors from the girls. So absorbed in the act, the blundering idiot didn’t even realize the butterfly knife had slipped out of his cargo pants pocket. In one fell swoop, Gina covertly shoved the knife under the mattress next to the pills.
Over time, Gina surreptitiously earned Xavier’s trust. During his weekly visits she flirted with him, creating the illusion that their relationship was more than owner and slave. Slowly, he became less vigilant and on one particular visit, Gina’s schemes materialized.
Xavier unlocked the door, and stumbled into Gina’s cell, carrying a half-empty fifth of vodka.
“Did you miss me, Mami?” Xavier questioned. Not waiting for her to respond, he commanded Gina to undress. She had learned that if she undressed too fast, or even too slow, he would repay her with repeated blows to her stomach or back. Never her face, he would say, she was too pretty to damage. Gina seductively slipped out of her dress, and let it fall to the floor. Xavier leered at her, then handed her the bottle of vodka while he unbuckled his pants. Using this distraction, Gina dropped several pills that she had retrieved from under her mattress into the bottle.
Naked, with his attention turned back to Gina, Xavier grabbed the bottle and took a long pull on the tainted liquid. He then pushed Gina down on the mattress, spread her legs, and forcibly entered her as he had done so many times before. She succumbed to the abuse, but with renewed clarity. She knew that release from her chains was so very near.
Xavier never ejaculated. He wasn’t even close when the pills took their effect. Gina shoved him down hard on the bed and straddled his naked body.
… She pulled the knife out of Xavier’s stomach, plunging it in repeatedly until the handle became slick with blood and her ravenous revenge only slightly satiated. Stumbling off the corpse, Gina grabbed Xavier’s shirt and a set of keys out of his pocket. She wrapped the shirt tightly around her naked and blood-smeared body, flung open the door and stepped into the empty hallway. She tried keys at random until the door that confined the other girls’ cells unbolted. Wrapping her arm around Angel, Gina led the girl out into a world where a debilitating reminder would be waiting around every turn on their road to recovery.