Charlotte stirred. The room was a welcomed darkness. The stench of semen gagged her. She swallowed the bile for fear of waking them. A breeze crossed her face, cool fresh air. The first she had breathed in days. She turned toward it and listened. Nothing. The sound of vile breathing was gone. The room felt an eerie emptiness.
The breeze again, this time it roused her senses. It came from the door. There was a creak as the wind pushed at the door. Never had any sound or smell given her such hope. She crawled along the wall feeling her way toward it. The pain was nothing to what she had already endured. The murky light of the moon proved she was alone and naked. She pulled a filthy sheet from the bed and wrapped herself. Covered at last as the threads clung to the leaking blood of her wounds.
She peeked out the door, nothing but trees and a dirt road. The car was gone. They must’ve left her for dead or maybe they would be back for her. Charlotte chose to run.
She studied the stars but they gave her no direction. She listened for a voice in answer to her prayers, there was none. She knew Robert might be dead. If he was alive, she had no idea how to find him or even where she was. The police were monsters. Her family would never want her back now. Starving alone in the woods would be better than life in this cabin.
She rose to her feet; the pain dropped her to her knees. Charlotte crawled out the door.
The crisp piney air gave her strength. She limped at first but the taste of freedom empowered her to run. The gravel cut at her feet. This new pain camouflaged the pain inside. She stayed just at the edge of the road. If they came back she could hide in the trees. She made it a mile or two before she saw them.
Light beams cut through the darkness, followed closely by the sound of engine, and then the siren. Charlotte ran into the woods, branches slapping her face as she fled. The sheet and the underbrush fought against her flight. She dropped the sheet.
Without warning the trees ended. The road had circled around and she found herself naked in the beam of headlights. Blinded and trapped.
The police cruiser slowed to a stop behind her.
A man got out of the car in front of her. The three cops emerged behind her. She sank to her knees.
“Charli, is that you?”
She knew that voice. “Daddy?”
“Charli, it’s Robert.”
The first cop lunged toward her. She yelped and crawled toward Robert.
“It’s all over, Officers. This is the girl I’ve been looking for.”
Charlotte clung to his leg and sobbed.
Robert gave Charlotte time to heal. The bruises faded and scabs fell off. For days she moaned and cried in her dreams and often screamed herself to consciousness.
“You saw the uniforms again?” Robert asked.
Charlotte nodded with eyes fixated on the door. A quake rattled her fragile body. She drew the covers up over mother’s sweater that she wore over Robert’s bulky tee shirt.
“Do you trust me?”
Charlotte remembered the last man who asked that questioned.
“Never trust a uniform again. They are all the same.”
Robert did find me; he saved me.
“The uniforms punish those who don’t please them.” Robert sat next to Charlotte on the bed. “You didn’t please them. You weren’t good enough.”
“I’m going to make sure the uniforms don’t hurt you. I’m going to make you good again. Do you understand?”
Charlotte didn’t, but she nodded anyway. Robert pulled back the sheets and began to caress her legs, moving his hand between her thighs.
“I’ll teach you what pleases a man. Then God will forgive you.” His hands began to pull at the buttons on her sweater. Charlotte slapped away his hands then wrestled the covers to her chin.
“Oh boys!” Robert yelled.
Charlotte screamed as the three uniforms walked into the room.
Robert sneered at her fear. “They won’t come near as long as you please me.”
The men roared and snorted, they got into position to watch, hands on their crotches. One aimed a video camera.
“Boys, I think I’ll call this one, Lotti.” He moved in closer. His burning breathed on her face. She could hear the heaving of the uniforms.
Charlotte let go. Robert tossed the covers to the floor.
“Yep, this Lolita is going to make us lots of money.”
One button at a time, Charlotte removed her covering and became a leading lady.