Bargaining Chip

Maria is trying to break free of the gang life's clutches. Will she succeed or be lost forever?

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1. Possession

The window lets through a great gulp of air. I still sat there frozen. My shaking breath the only sound, the only indication of life. Nothing made sense anymore. Slowly I willed my breath to steady itself. My head darted around the vacant room as if the voices came from anyone else. I directed my head downwards as I put my shoes on. The bag was packed, the ticked in my pocket. The only thing I want is my freedom. Gradually, I slung my backpack over my shoulder and opened the door. 

The house was empty and isolated. Clear from any threat, little did they know that I wouldn’t wait until I become breeding stock.  I tried to push those thoughts from my memory. The long nights on display, dancing and chatting with various suitors. The cries of protest, the realisation I had no power. Had, had I’m taking that power from those greedy hands. I tried to keep a steady pace as I ran into the woods, fighting to keep my courage. The trees covered overhead, as I pushed through the vegetation surrounding me. This was the first obstacle of many.

Eventually, the forest was starting to thin out, and I could see the way out. I pounced behind a rock as I heard steps rushing in behind me. “Maria needs to be here” one of them panted. “Look behind that rock” demanded the other. If they look at this rock and I’m here, Pa will most definitely sell me off to the highest bidder, marry me off as mere breeding stock. That’s what I ran from, and if I go down, I’m swinging. My fingers fumbled around my bag until I found nothing. And with that, the man’s cold face was in view. “Look”! He hollered. I took hold of my bag and hit him with all my might. 

Then I recognised the men. Lance and Smithers. They were some of the most skilled the gang had to offer. But not Pa’s. Tony’s gang is here. “Where is Tony”! “My dear is that how you address your affianced”? Mused a voice from behind me. Cornered, trapped, I need to run. I broke out into a sprint punching Lance as I attempted to escape. Then I was immobilised as Smithers slung me over his shoulder. Tony just laughed. “How shall a single phoenix deal with you? You punched one of my best men”. Smithers put me down only to lead me through the vegetation towards a car. Tony led the pack.

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