Disclaimer: this story is my own. It may seem similar to another FP story, but I assure you readers that this is different. Thanks to those who read and review this. I greatly appreciate it, as they inspire me and help me grow as a writer.
◊♦Wings of Eagles♦◊
"And those who wait upon the Lord shall rise upon wings of eagles" Isaiah 51:10
oO Chapter I Oo
The wind was cold against her pale skin, and caused her to shiver. Quickly, she pulled her light shawl over her shoulders.
Curse the one who thought of creating the cold, the woman thought bitterly to herself. It does nothing productive. It kills nature, it's unbearable, and the season is always dark.
The sight of the dying trees losing the colorful leaves was a sad sight to her. They just seemed…so bare and lonely. It reminded her of her own life. She had a home, she had food, but she had no love.
Try to think of where you life would be if you hadn't resorted to this, the woman reasoned, trying to imagine her life of the streets begging for money. The sight almost made the lady shiver again. But is it worth it? The woman asked herself. Is the food and shelter worth the degradation of your body and ultimately morale?
The question constantly arose in the ten years of her "service"…ten brutal years of pain and loneliness.
The lady tried with all her might to push those thoughts aside. Every day was a battle for her, trying to find excuses for the life she lead. Even if she reasoned that she had done the right thing, there were always others out there to judge her.
As the woman walked on, her eyes moved to the people passing by, staring at her colorful and "vulgar" clothing. Some men looked at her with eyes wide and full of lust. Other women looked at her with scorn and mockery, and still other men and women had a look of complete shock.
In those ten years, she had gotten used to those types of looks, and she could tell what they thought just by glancing at them. It was no secret who she was, and she didn't try to hide it. She wasn't proud of who she was, but she felt that hiding it would be even more disgraceful.
Stop it! The woman screamed inside. You'll make yourself sick thinking too much.
Yes, that was what many people had told her not to do in the business. Thinking could only lead to pain and confusion. All she needed to do as close her mind to her thoughts that screamed for her to get away, and close her eyes. The deed would be done before she knew it.
With an exasperated sigh of impatience, she walked behind a tall lanky man with strong muscles. He was her protector, making sure no harm would come to her, during her walk.
She squinted her eyes in disgust at the man. She hated the way he made her feel.
Why do I need him anyway? The lady questioned in her thoughts, furrowing her brows. He's just another person to overpower me and make me feel…insignificant. If I took one step out of line, he would not hesitate to run after me and haul me back.
Everything soon went blank as the woman recalled an incident that occurred only three weeks ago.
She had been walking on the streets, very much like today, her thoughts raving and becoming her to attempt a run. Nearly halfway back to her lodging, she suddenly decided to bolt.
Her yellow hair flung across her face as she raced passed the people stopping to stare at the woman madly running though the crowd.
She lifted her legs with all her strength and ran to an unknown destination. She only wanted to get away. Her lungs began to close in on her, and pain stung her sides. Her once fast pace soon slowed, and suddenly she felt a cold hand upon her should, pull her back and grab her.
"So, you thought that you could get away?" the man asked rhetorically with a sneer.
The woman could find no words to utter, both out of shame and the pure fact that she could barely breathe.
"Well, we'll see what the Duchess says about that."
In one motion the man picked the woman up and dragged her back to her unfortunate lodging. Fear enveloped her heart, now, because she knew what fate awaited her once the Duchess new of her runaway attempt.
The first cruel thing done was a loud slap against her fair cheek. The sound resembled thunder and her cheek soon became as bright as a ripe apple. She fell down immediately from the blow.
"How dare you do this? I give you food, a bed to sleep, and this is how you repay me? Let me remind you that you still owe me a tremendous amount of work for what you have now" The woman shrilled. "It's Time you learn some respect and you place in life, Rebecca."
Rebecca hung her head and said no words.
"Take her, Nathan…thirty lashes will do. Maybe next time, she'll think twice before doing something so rash."
"With pleasure." Nathan answered with a wry smile.
You vile creature, Rebecca thought. How can you stand to even live?
Nathan's large figure approached the fallen Rebecca and he lifted her arm and literally dragged her out of the room. Rebecca purposefully looked down. She did not want to risk any other boarders to see her in this state. It would be too humiliating for her.
The room Rebecca was taken too was all familiar. There was no furniture, only the empty space. One small window let a stream of light through from the left side of the room.
Rebecca was dragged to the middle and before she knew it, a loud crack resounded, and instant pain flowed through her body. Rebecca fought the urge to scream and bit her lip until it bled. Crying out would only make him whip her harder.
And I would rather die than to know he had any control over how I felt, Rebecca thought with disgust.
Another blow followed and she quietly endured the suffering.
I brought it on myself, anyway, Rebecca thought.
Another blow harder on her lower back, and Rebecca fell face down to the ground.
"So, you don't cry," Nathan stated. "Well, you're going to cry out for my mercy, be sure of that."
The next whip hit Rebecca hard on the neck. It felt like a knife had sliced her and there was no way for her to conceal a scream.
"That's more like it."Nathan declared a hint of evil pleasure in his voice. "Don't ever forget your place. You are under the Duchess' rule and are bound to her, make no mistake. You are a worthless being, mere trash on the streets."
Rebecca's mouth moved, but her voice left her at that moment. "I am NOT worthless!" was what she had wanted to say, but her throat clogged up, and no words could be formed.
One lash came after another, and with each lash, the pain increased, her mind became tormented with the thought that she really was as worthless as everyone thought she was, that she was dirt and that she was here only to be men's play toy.
"But I'm not, I'm not." Rebecca whispered under her breath with determination.
Oh, but you are. Look at what you do. You don't even deserve to live.
The voice rang clear, and her memory faded. She lifted her head to Nathan to see if he had heard it at all. The man was not stirred at all.
It's nothing, the woman told herself nodding. Yes, I am merely doing what I can to survive.
Rebecca looked up from the ground and saw the looming building ahead of her…the building that had been her home for years.
A sudden cloud hung over her heart. She was filled with such loathe for the building and what it represented. So much sin, so many indecent things occurred behind the doors…that she was a part of, yet she hated every moment of it.
"I trust that there were no more incidents" The duchess said rather cruelly.
Rebecca cringed at her words. She found her fists tightening.
"No, she was well-behaved." Nathan replied.
"Good. You can go to your room and get yourself ready."
Another cloud hovered over her heart as she heard this. She would have to get ready for the fist person of the day. Her legs felt like weights as she walked up the stairs.
She sighed and lingered at her door once she arrived. Slowly, she turned the knob. Walking into the room, it seemed as if she was being pushed down on her chest. A weight of all the evil deals pressed down upon her, but she found no choice but to commence.
Gingerly she took off her scarlet dress and put on a simple purple slip. She wetted her hair in a water basin and patted in some lilac perfume.
A knock at the door resounded and Rebecca exhaled loudly. She walked up to the door, and then turned the knob to let the person in.
The man behind the door stood with one arm leaned against the frame of the door. One end of his lips crept up as if he was about to do something he shouldn't, which would be completely accurate.
The site caused Rebecca to frown in disgust and stand there in silence. She wished she could punch that crooked smile off his face.
Knowing better, Rebecca then bit her lip and exhaled deeply. She opened the door further, and let the man walk past her. He had an air of pride that she didn't like.
How can he be so full of himself if he resorts to girls like me? She asked herself.
Rebecca didn't hesitate a moment longer as she recalled the Duchess' sneer.
I'll just do my job and be done with it. I'll just close my eyes and before I know it, the deed will have passed, Rebecca reassured herself, not fully believing what she said was true.
The man stood in front of her, so close that she could smell the foul aura of booze in his breath.
Though Rebecca constantly told herself not to look, she couldn't help but notice a glint from his left hand. It was a wedding band, meaning he was married.
What will his wife think? Rebecca asked herself, a wave of guilt enveloping her.
"Aw, honey, what's the matter? Why do you look so down?" the man asked in a mocking tone.
Before Rebecca had a chance to talk sense into the man and throw him out, Rebecca recalled images of being flogged. She shuddered, and then considered the fact that she was not at all in the position to because that would make her a vile hypocrite.
Best to get this over with, Rebecca thought, forcing a smile. Just close your mind.
Being an expert at her profession she walked up to the unfamiliar man and led him to her bed in the middle of the room.
The last thing Rebecca remembered was a weird, familiar sensation, and a sudden feeling that she was dirt. No matter what she tried to do, the feeling didn't go away. She felt awful for what she was doing, but there was nothing that could be done to change it.
The thirty minutes passed rather quickly, which surprised her.
"Your time is up." Rebecca stated rather aggressively and pushed the man off her.
He grunted and looked at her in disbelief.
"Thirty minutes is over. You got what you paid for…now leave." Her voice began to rise as she stood up and opened the door.
Still sitting on the bed he let out a small laugh.
"What, you didn't enjoy my company?" Oddly he sounded surprised.
"Hardly." Rebecca answered.
"I find that hard to believe…" The man began.
"OUT!" Rebecca yelled.
Giving one more cocky smile, he bowed his head. "You are a feisty one." The man commented with a sneer. "I guess it's only fair for me to go. Mind you, though, I will be back and I trust our next encounter will be more pleasant."
Rebecca couldn't believe her ears. This man was dead drunk and crazy.
"I said get out! I will give you no hospitality for the money. That isn't part of the bargain." Rebecca said her voice cold and smooth.
With that the man stood up and walked passed her. He stopped when he got the door that Rebecca held open, and lingered. Standing only inches away, she felt somewhat uncomfortable and shifted her standing position.
Rebecca didn't say a word, though, and waited for him to leave. He didn't. Instead, Rebecca was appalled when he leaned in, grabbed her shoulders, and attempted to kiss her one last time.
Shoving the man off her she managed to get him out of the room and Rebecca wasted no time in shutting it hard behind her.
The night passed by rather quickly, but fortunately Rebecca didn't have to deal with many lust-thirsty men. They all seemed to come and go without complaint after the time had passed.
How the men could leave without feeling guilty, was a mystery to Rebecca. Those men had a choice. They knowing made the decision to defile their bodies, they knowingly committed adultery, but she honestly had no choice. She couldn't leave because there was nowhere else that she could go. She had no access to her money until she had worked for a certain number of years, so she could not support herself.
I wish that I had a way out, Rebecca thought to herself at the table.
Surrounding her, were the other boarders who were also indebted to the duchess. They grabbed the food before them with eager hands, and ate the substance without even considering the mode that they received such succulent meat and fresh vegetables. If she had not known better, Rebecca would have never guessed the desperate lives that they really led.
"Did you hear?" One of the women declared leaning in to the table.
"Hear what?" some others whispered back.
"Why haven't you noticed that Jane is not here?"
The women nodded.
"Well, she apparently she had a very disagreeable man in her room, and she actually kicked him out!"
"No…" everyone declared in disbelief.
"Well, the duchess found out and now she's being stripped of her dining privileges."
Rebecca would not have been fazed by this gossip if the idea didn't cross her mind that the very thing could have happened to her. She had come so close to refusing and harshly throwing the first man out.
"Well, she should have known better." One woman said crossing her arms. "I say she had it coming. She always was quite defiant."
"And I also overheard the Duchess talking and saying that Jane might even be kicked out on the streets."
"But why would she do that?" one woman asked. "She is new here and is the one that ows her the most money out of us all. It just doesn't make sense."
"Well, apparently Jane isn't bringing in many men. After all, she isn't that attractive if you ask me. No man would pay a lot of money for her company…not like they do Rebecca."
At the mention of her name Rebecca's head snapped.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Rebecca declared rather offended.
"Oh, nothing." The woman replied. "I'm just saying that men pay a lot to gain access to you room, while many of us have to squander and work harder to get our quota."
"I'm not the one that set's the price." Rebecca answered trying to keep her anger under control.
"But I'm sure that you've received many of the same visitors multiple times, haven't you?"
Rebecca was silent. She had to agree that the statement was true. "Yes."
"It isn't the service they want, I'm betting. You bribe them into coming back, just so you would get their money."
"I do not!" Rebecca said, on the verge of yelling, "And if I did, what would I bribe them with. I have nothing!"
"I'm sure you've found something." The woman sneered, taking a bite of her food and letting the conversation cease there.
If Rebecca hadn't seen the kind, familiar face of Sara shaking her head, pleading with her eyes.
Sara was one of the few people that actually was kind to her and seemed remotely aware of her desperate situation. Over the years at the brothel, Sara was the only person that she could confine in and open her desperate heart out.
Letting the snide comment go, Rebecca returned back to her food and played over and over again, ways she could pay Hanna back.
Each way, was more brutal than the next until, Rebecca realized how extensize her anger had become.
"I'm going." Rebecca suddenly declared setting her untensil down and pushing out her chair.
Everyone looked up at her, but no one said a thing.
Not waiting for an approval, Rebecca turned and walked away to her room, where she might have some peace.
It didn't take long before a knock resounded.
Thinking it was someone that she did not want to see, she jerked opened the door and in a voice full of annoyance asked what they wanted.
"It's me, Rebecca."
Rebecca stood up more straight when she saw Sara standing before her. "Oh…I thought you were…"
"It's ok. I just wanted to see how you were."
Just like Sara, Rebecca thought, amused. Count on Sara to be concerned for another's wellbeing.
"Yeah, I'm ok. Just upset." Rebecca replied.
Rebecca stood there, yet again, amazed at the gentle nature of Sara, and just how unfortunate it was that she was forced into such an environment. If any person deserved to be married well to a wealthy gentleman, it was most certainly Sara.
For a few years, Rebecca felt like a loner and an outcast. Everyone seemed to dislike her at once, either because they were jealous, or because they didn't like how she flared up without any warning, which took a lot of provoking and many years to control. Sara had arrived a few years earlier. She was frail tender, and rarely talked to anyone. Rebecca had her pegged for a person that was too weak for this kind of environment.
She won't last one year, she had thought.
How wrong she was…
After a few months, she noticed that Sara observed her with a close eye, and eventually started to talk to her.
Naturally, everyone else gave her a critical eye, but Sara showed no sign of caring.
Over time, Rebecca found that Sara had more inner strength than she had before supposed. At first, Rebecca didn't think that Sara's care was genuine. It took a few months before she realized that Sara really desired to be her friend.
It was a time when Rebecca had accidentally toppled a collection of expensive vases. To say it in the very least, Duchess was infuriated when she saw the array of broken shards.
"Who did this?" she exclaimed.
Before Rebecca could say a single word, she heard Sara behind her confess that SHE had done it. Duchess, not surprisingly, punished Sara severely.
Upon being asked why she did that, Sara replied, that she had noticed Rebecca didn't exactly have the best record with the Duchess, and knew that being blamed for the broken pottery, would only make her situation even worse.
From that moment they became good friends, and whenever they had a spare moment, they would exchange their inner pain, and thoughts.
Rebecca couldn't help but smile when she thought of her times with Sara. Her conversations with her were the only time when she had any sort of happiness.
"I don't blame you for being upset with Hanna." Sara admitted. "She said some pretty nasty things."
"I couldn't agree more." Rebecca replied, her memories fading.
"Are you sure you're fine, though?"
"I guess I could use some company."
"Never hurt anyone." Sara declared.
"No, not really."
Sara gave a smile, to which Rebecca returned the gesture.
"You seemed a little upset even before dinner started. Did something happen?"
"Not really. I'm just a little upset with a guy who had wanted to stay longer than his allotted time."
"Sometimes I wonder if those men are really happy." Sara declared with thoughtfulness.
"I'm sure that they suffer just as much as us…if not more."
And I hope more, Rebecca thought.
"Something must be there to drive them to such desperation." Sara answered.
"At least they can chose to stop whenever they want to…we don't really have a choice." Rebecca stated with certain loathing.
"It's unfortunate, I know."
"It's more than unfortunate…it's unfair."
"I wish to be out of this dark place as well, but how can we?"
"No way from what I can see."
"Sometimes, I just wish that I would never have been born. After all, all I cause is heart ache and emptiness for the men involved and the women they are married to."
"Don't give up hope, though. Someday, we'll be able to get out."
Rebecca laughed, "You and your optimistic nature."
"It's the only thing that makes gets me through the day." Sara admitted.
"I guess it doesn't hurt to hope."
"I don't think there will ever be a way for us to get out. Even if we did, who would accept us?"
Sara shrugged, "I can't answer that."
"There's a lot of things unanswered."
A few minute of silence followed as they both sat just contemplating all their distressed thoughts deep into the night until finally both agreed it was getting too late for either of them to stay up any longer.
Rebecca gently closed the door behind her friend and gave out a loud sigh. A welling of emotions started to surface. She felt awful, she felt like a person used, but part of her tried to push that aside. She couldn't let those feelings get the better of her…she spent too much time attempting to harbor those emotions. Her heart was heavy, though and she felt as if she could just fall down on the floor.
With some difficulty, Rebecca managed to get to her bed and laid down. A frown forced itself upon her face as she recalled the day.
What is the meaning of life? Rebecca thought.
Why am I here? What is the point of living if I am constantly being beaten, forced to do things that I don't want to do? She whispered.
Do not fear, for I am with you.
Where had that voice come from?
Quickly, Rebecca sat up and looked around deciphering if anyone was in the room. No one could be seen, and comforted, she laid back down.
My child, I am with you wherever you go. I will never forsake you.
Once more, Rebecca looked around to find the source of this voice. For some reason, she felt calm when she heard it…she felt hope.
Deciding to forget the mysterious voice she laid back down, her mind filled with thoughts. They made her want to cry, but as much as she wanted to cry, as much as she wanted tears to come, they would not emit from her eyes. Instead, she made desperate sobs into her pillow until finally she succumbed to sleep.
The morning was bleak with dark rain clouds that hid the sun. When Rebecca woke, she found that she had overslept.
Not wanting to mis breakfast, she rushed to get dressed and ran downstairs to find the other boarders eating bread, cheese, fruit, and milk.
Their eyes turned toward the late comer, and awkwardly, Rebecca took her seat and began to eat.
The silence that followed was awkward. Apparently there was still some tension from the night before, but the quiet suited Rebecca fine. She frankly didn't want to talk.
A few minutes into the meal, the Duchess appeared and everyone looked up to see what she had to say. In her hand was a letter stamped with a deep red seal.
Hearing her name surprised Rebecca greatly, and she almost jumped upon hearing it.
"You have letter."
"Yes, care to take it?"
Rebecca didn't hesitate and walked up to the Duchess to retrieve the note. Curiosity filled her as she let her white fingers break the solid seal and pull out the parchment.