Title Pic

Title Pic

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chapter 2

There were people in uniform crawling in and out of every place on the farm.  I remember crying and screaming.  I remember some guns and some shooting but it wasn’t just the people in uniform shooting and it wasn’t just my family either.  Other people were there on both sides and it got really crazy.  Then things get black like for some reason I passed out or something.  I remember I woke up in the bedroom I shared with my parents but they weren’t there.  Everything is still hazy and confused even after all this time.  People were still crying but it seemed far away, like it was not just outside but away from the house, maybe behind the barn.  There was a woman in the room with me and I remember she said, “Good.  Get up.  You are old enough to pack your own things.” 

She wasn’t very nice but I remember she was wasn’t exactly mean either, not then.  I remember thinking it wasn’t me that she disliked but her job and that I just was getting caught up in that.  I’m not sure why I thought that, maybe I was still inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt back then.  It was just an impression that I got from her.  She pushed me to hurry up and was giving me instructions faster than I could follow them which made her angrier than she already was.   I was allowed three sets of clothes and some hygiene articles.  I tried to put pictures in my bag, a book, some toys and the old raggedy bear that I’d had since I was a baby.  She pulled them all out except for the clothes and told me I didn’t need any of that stuff where I was going and that I was too big for it anyway.  When I started to cry she slapped me.  “Enough.  Stop being such a baby and do as you’re told.” 

That was the first time that anyone had ever slapped me.  It wasn’t the last.  What the woman didn’t know was that the bag that I had chosen to pack my stuff in was a special one that Mom and Dad had made for me.  It had pockets in it that they had sewn specially.  The pockets held important stuff but I didn’t even remember it at the time I was so shaken up.  

Then I was marched out onto the porch and then onto a bus.  I kept looking for my family but they weren’t there.  Not in the house, not in the yard that I could see, not on the bus.  Then I remembered the lessons about strangers. 

“I’m not supposed to go with strang …”  SMACK! 

This time the smack came from another woman.  “You’ll speak only when spoken to.  I’m not going to put up with any crap from some six toed hillbilly that probably hasn’t bathed in months.  And don’t give me any other kind of trouble either or you’ll be sorry.  This is your own fault you selfish little retard.” 

I had no idea what she was talking about; I’d had a bath just the day before, I’d always made good grades in school, and I grew up hearing that there wasn’t room to be selfish in our family.  But I was already learning.  Don’t talk.  Don’t cry.  Don’t make noise.  And don’t get noticed. 

I wasn’t the only kid on the bus; there were others.  Some I kinda recognized from school and church, most I didn’t.  I imagine we all looked scared.  I was one of the oldest ones on the bus which was a weird feeling because normally I was the youngest in the family.  It’s why I didn’t have my own bedroom and still slept on a cot at the foot of my parents’ bed.  Before the end of the day the bus became crowded and smelled.  Some of the kids had puked and not a few of them had messed themselves.  When it happened that kid got the snot smacked out of them, but they didn’t get cleaned up.  After a few times this happened the rest of us got the message loud and clear. 

Eventually we arrived at this place.  I can’t remember the name.  It was something-something re-education center.  It was dark and they started separating us; boys and girls, by age.  Suddenly one of the women from the center grabbed the back of my neck and started dragging me away.  A harried looking man yelled over to her, “Hey!  Where are you taking that one?  You’re throwing my count off.  She’s assigned to B Dormitory.” 

“This one?  She’s already got demerits.  She’s going to the Director’s Office.  Where she goes from there is up to him.” 

Again I didn’t know what the woman was talking about.  I didn’t have demerits.  I was a good girl.  I didn’t give anyone any trouble on the bus.  I’ve always wondered if I had would the same thing have happened to me.  We turned the corner and suddenly something covered my mouth and nose and I couldn’t breathe. 

I woke up in a dark, smelly place.  I tried to scream for help but I found that something had been stuffed into my mouth.  I couldn’t move my hands or feet either.  I was in a near panic when suddenly there was a bright light as a door above me was opened. 

Two people looked in.  “Good.  Another young one.  She’ll fetch a good price.  Can you get more of these?” 

A woman answered, “I don’t see why not.  So long as the Director keeps getting his cut.” 

There was some nasty laughing and I was jerked out of what turned out to be the trunk of a car.  I was carried like a sack of potatoes – strike that, like a bag of garbage since potatoes have value – and thrown into the trunk of another car.  I don’t know how long I was in there; a long time.  I came in and out of consciousness. Between the rag stuffed in my mouth and the tape holding it there and then the fumes in the car trunk I would have probably suffocated eventually.  I do know that when we arrived at the final destination some woman had a fit and started beating up the guy that had delivered me saying that if he’d botched it and she lost her investment she’d take it out of his hide. 

Once again I was carried and then thrown onto the floor of an office, I knew it was an office because it reminded me of the principal’s office at school the one time I had been in there.  I was closer to dead than I understood at the time.  In a way that was a good thing.  What the man and woman did to me afterwards didn’t register as much.  When they were through with me they sent for another woman – actually she was a girl only a couple of years older than me but she looked far older because of all the make-up and the type of clothes she was wearing. 

“Get her out of here so I can make some phone calls.  Find her a place and get her dressed in something better than what she had on but play up the little girl angle.  You know the drill.  This one is going to make me some money.”

No comments:

Post a Comment