Authors: Shelly Crane
Tags: #General Fiction
A Stealing Grace Novella
Copyright @2011 Shelly Crane
This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved, including resale rights: you are not allowed to give or sell this book to anyone else.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Editing services provided by Jennifer Nunez.
Printed in paperback 2012 and available in Kindle and E-book format through Amazon, Create Space and Barnes & Noble.
You can learn more about this author and her works at her website
to the woman and children who've lived through things that most of us can't even imagine. But sadly, some of us can not only imagine, but remember it.
This is for you.
Roger was pacing an angry prowl in his living room. It was almost time to go. He blew a long breath and then dropped to the floor to do his push-ups. One…two…three… He silently chastised himself as he continued to count and push harder and faster. His father would be so disappointed in him if he could see him now; fretting over taking his wife, taking what was 'rightfully his and God given'. Roger pushed harder. His father would be more than disappointed if he were here, seeing the sweat forming on his brow from not the push-ups, but the unthinkable thing he was about to do. No, his father would be violent. Roger had always wanted this, always needed to be the idea of the man his father beat into him to be.
Now the time had come. And he was more afraid of some little woman that would be his wife than he'd ever been of his father.
* * *
Amy sighed as she pushed her hair from her face. The laundry mat sucked. This was her weekly ritual; working at the daycare during the day, Dental Hygienist classes in the evenings and chores, errands, laundry or grocery shopping by night. She couldn't even remember the last time she went out with her sister, or friends. And a date? Forget about it.
She folded her last piece of clothing and sighed.
"Night, Stella!" she called and hoisted her basket to her hip as she pushed her way through the door.
"Goodnight, Miss Amy!" the older lady called back. Amy smiled. That woman was old enough to be her grandmother yet she refused to call her anything but Miss Amy. Amy had been coming to this laundry mat for months now. Long, long months of laundry and infomercials as she waited for the rinse cycle. She was nineteen, living on her own and happy to be independent.
She searched the lot for her car and stopped. She had parked right here. Right here! She turned a quick circle in the lot and groaned. "Are you freaking kidding me?" she yelled to no one and dropped the basket to the asphalt.
She left her basket there and stomped her little feet as she made an angry path to the payphone. "I've got to call my mom, I've got to call the cops, I've got to report this to my insurance agent. I'm going to miss work tomorrow…" she mumbled to herself. Her mumbling and the blood rushing through her ears from anger drowned out the footsteps behind her. She didn't hear him until the bag was over her head.
She didn't know anything was even wrong until she felt arms around her as she was thrown over someone's shoulder. By that time, the air in her lungs was forced out of her with the jolts of his running. She screamed, but it was a muted effort. She heard a car or truck and was thrown. She knocked her head on the door and didn't have the mental strength to even wonder what was happening to her before unconsciousness claimed her.
* * *
Her eyes seemed like the most tired part of her body. She was awake. She could hear noises around her, but her eyes just wouldn't open. She rolled to her front and her hand slipped into something warm and firm; an arm. That jolted her eyes open and she gasped as she looked around her.
There were bodies everywhere. They were in some kind of concrete room, but it was so small all the people there seemed to practically be on top of each other as they tried to sleep. The only light was one bare light bulb hanging from the center of the room. It cackled, straining for life. Her small gasp sounded loud and dangerous in the room as she covered her mouth quickly with both hands to keep it in. Then her hands moved to the back of her head to examine the ache there. It was dull and pounding. They must have hit her on the head or banged her head or something when they threw her in the truck.
The girl whose arm she bumped opened her eyes and put a finger to her lips indicating for Amy to be quiet. She shook her head in defiance of that notion and also in disbelief. How long had she been out?
The door behind her was wrenched open and a stocky man that smelled like food came inside. He smiled as he eyed them…almost as if he were genuinely happy about what he saw. "All right, ladies. We need you to go ahead and take your clothes off, everything but your pretty panties and bras. Chop, chop," he added harshly when they all still lay there stunned.
Some of the girls stood up slowly and started to take their clothes off cautiously. The rest of them followed suit when he just watched and waited. They realized there wasn't anything left to do but follow orders and hope you survived. Amy's hands shook as she peeled off her t-shirt. She felt numb on the inside and on fire on the outside as her mind fought her body's actions as she undressed. Her panties were pink lace that matched her bra. She'd never been more ashamed of trying to look sexy in her entire life.
The man whistled to someone and they brought even more girls into the room with them. They piled them all in like cattle and shut the door once more. After about an hour they came and got them, taking them down a hall and into the back of a large truck or semi.
Amy pressed close to the wall, closed her mind and eyes, shutting everything out; the smells, the sounds, the noises of the girls as some of them fought off the kidnappers.
Once they arrived where they were going they were stood back up for an inspection. The man looked her over and dubbed her satisfactory. They pushed them through a hall with disgusting things going on. Amy shut her eyes, so tight it hurt, to ignore the happenings. She touched the girl in front of her to guide her as she refused to look at anything around her. It wasn't as if she could help, so what was the point in seeing it?
They showered them and threw them back into another room. She put on the clothes they told her to and still kept her eyes shut, blocking out the world around her. Hours passed, minutes dragged and seconds pulled at her mind. She was drowning in her senses and shock.
She was a normal girl. She had a family that cared about her, friends, responsibilities. This wasn't supposed to be happening to her…this was the sort of thing you read about. This wasn't real, couldn't be real…
“All right, ladies, up, up. I want you all to stand with your backs against the wall. Some gentlemen are going to come and take a look at you. Just be quiet and still, don’t try anything funny. And smile, why don’t you? You never know who you might meet.”
She looked up to see the man she'd seen before as he turned to leave. She scurried to the wall as the men pushed and poked them where they wanted them to go. Then a tall, muscular man entered. He glanced them over with glazed eyes. She watched his face, but he never looked any of them in the eye. He didn't look exactly happy. He looked…on the verge of something.
Finally his eyes drifted to her and he lifted his arm. "Her," he said gruffly. It was Amy. He was pointing at Amy. Her eyes swelled with useless tears, but she stepped forward like a robot. Her body followed him out into the hall. She let her chin touch her chest to hide her tears and so she didn't have to look at his back as they went.
He took her to his truck and she climbed in, laying her head against the window and shutting her eyes to the world until they arrived at a large brick house a long while later. Her eyes, unfocused and hazy, stayed upon the house as he got out without a word. He came straight to her door and she almost fell out when he opened it. "Get out," he said gruffly. "Hurry."
She did as he said, jolting when he slammed the door, and then followed him inside. Once in his living room, he turned circles and tugged at his hair as if he were anxious. He looked at her and though she still felt like a robot, just going through the motions, she found her eyes drifting to his. "My father will be here soon," he informed her. "I need you to make some dinner for us, now."
Her eyes shifted around the room as she didn't even know where his kitchen, was let alone what she was doing there. He must have seen the confusion in his eyes. He ground his teeth, his jaw hard and jutted. "Look, I don't have time to explain anything to you right now. Here's the kitchen," he said and took her arm to direct her to the doorway at the back of the room. "Go make something."
He pushed her, albeit gently, into the room and then left without another word. "What?" she said and startled herself at speaking out loud. She realized it had been days since she'd spoken. Did he do all this to make her his maid? She sunk down to the floor in the middle of the room as it all hit her. She'd been kidnapped, stolen, taken… She'd probably never see her family again. She gulped to stop the tears, but they fell so loud she heard them hit the waxed wood floor.
She sat there for a long time and let the minutes escape her. She knew he would come back, but she just couldn’t make herself get up. She was distraught and aching in a way she'd never felt before.
Then she heard his grunt from the doorway. Her gaze jerked to his out of reflex. She swore she saw him soften as he saw her face, but then the doorbell rang and everything changed.
He jumped at the sound of the doorbell and his whole demeanor morphed. His soft, sympathetic face turned to one of anger. He bolted to her and gripped her arm to make her stand. "You’d better get to making something right now. Don't… make me do something I don't want to."
She didn't know what to do or say, but he was waiting for something. She nodded, not knowing what else to do. He ran, actually ran, to get the door and it wasn't long until she heard the gruff, loud voice of another man. He was complaining about it taking so long to answer the door. And then he started complaining about there not being food on the table. She bumbled her way to the fridge, afraid of what he might do if she wasn't at least attempting to make something if he came in.
She decided on sandwiches because that was quick and whoever was out there was apparently in a hurry. She made two because not only did she not know if she was allowed to eat or not, but she had no appetite to anyway. She stood awkwardly with the two plates of sandwiches in her hands in the kitchen, unable to further process what to do with them. Should she take them into the men? Or wait here for the kidnapper to come and get her?