By: Tara Crescent

Dylan is a sociopath, utterly without empathy. He punishes me and rewards me randomly to reinforce my training and make me compliant and pliable.

I will hold a gun to his face. I will speak and when I do, my voice will not tremble. “Remember me?” I will ask him. My speech will be very ‘Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride’. Before I had been taken, I had loved that movie. “My name is not slave. Not girl, not cunt. My name is Ellie Samuelson. And you are not my Master.” My finger will curl on the trigger. I will watch the fear rise in his eyes. I will savor his terror, as if it can make me forget my own.

I will pull the trigger and Dylan McAllister will die at my hands. This is my promise to myself. This is the only reason I survive, the only way I can endure.


Today is my twentieth birthday and though I don’t know it yet, my life is about to change once again.

Mrs. Olusola bustles into my cell. She positions herself with care in front of me. The expression in her eyes is one of fearful courage. Why?

I’ve wanted to hate this woman. In the early days, I did. I hated her with passionate intensity because she stood by while my Master raped me again and again. But over time, I’ve learned to temper my anger. She has three young children, and her husband ran off with another woman. Without this job, her children will starve.

I don’t forgive her, but I understand. You do what you need to do to survive. I’ve parted my legs compliantly for my Master for two years for the same reason. I’ve knelt at his feet. I’ve gazed into his eyes when bidden, keeping my hatred hidden. If he deems it fit to punish me, I take my punishment without protest or complaint. I have become the ideal slave girl.

You do what you need to do to survive.

Mrs. Olusola yells at me now. “Get up, get up,” she cries loudly. My gaze narrows. This is unexpected behaviour for her. Most days, she treats me with tentative kindness. What has changed?

She stretches her hand out towards me and I see the bundle of notes she holds in her sweaty palm. “They are coming to take you away,” she whispers. “You must try to escape.” She screams at me again to get out of bed and I realize she’s positioned herself so that her back blocks the view of the security camera. The screams are a camouflage to allay the suspicions of any watching guards.

I quickly take the money from her and tuck them in the waistband of my pajamas. When I’m in the bathroom, I will find a better hiding place for it.


The bathroom is almost the only room where there are no security cameras. No point – there are no windows, nowhere I can run to, or escape. I crave the few minutes I spend there each day, my only minutes of absolute privacy.

As the water cascades down on my back, I wonder why Mrs. Olusola has given me the money. She has handed me fifteen thousand naira, the equivalent of about a hundred dollars. This has to be a good half of her monthly earnings. It is a gesture of stunning generosity.

I feel a sense of impending doom. I concentrate – have I missed any signs of oncoming change? As I scrub my flesh with the harsh soap, I curse as I realize what I’ve failed to notice. Over the last few months, the number of times my master has sent for me has decreased. When he’s punished me, he’s looked almost bored. He is tiring of me.

From the chatter I’ve managed to overhear around the compound, my Master likes his girls at the cusp of womanhood. At twenty, I’m too old to arouse him.

I take a sharp inward breath. I’ve been so foolish. I’ve enjoyed my respite without realizing that something worse is around the corner. But Mrs. Olusola isn’t quite as naïve. She has seen girls come and go. She knows that tougher times are ahead for me. Hence the money and the whispered message. Run.


There are three waiting men in my Master’s study. They all wear the traditional colourful dashiki. When they speak, their voices have the characteristic African lilt. It should be soothing, but their eyes are cold and assessing as they survey me.

I’m wearing a simple white sundress. I feel naked and exposed under their gaze. I feel like prey.

“This is the girl then, Oba?” one of them says. He’s a big man. He has to be three hundred pounds of muscle and fat.

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