Hello! Finally post chapter 1. It's not long and for that I apologize. Reviews will be once a week or so. I would so it sooner than that but I recently started a new semester in school and that will time intensive.

Constructive criticism is always welcome. I'd like to grow as a writer. Hope you all enjoy.

Chapter 1

"Watch what you are doing girl!"

The gruff yell is punctuated by the sound of a belt cracking against tender flesh. I hold in the groans of pain and resist the urge to put my hands up in defense. That would only worsen the punishment. Another crack and another sting of the belt across my skin, first on my calves then against my back. The thin gray shift I'm wearing does nothing to lessen the blow.

When the belt finally falls still, I bend slowly to retrieve the bowl I dropped, thus earning the beating. The harsh breathing of my master echoes in the now quiet hut. I take the wooden vessel to the large wash basin of water in the corner of the hut. It is my last dish for the night then I am free to go to bed.

I take my time with that last bowl, stalling all I am able to. I know what comes next, what happens when I bed down each night. It has been taking place so long I cannot remember when it started, only that it has always been happening. Finally I can stall no longer and lay the bowl to rest upside down on the mat next to the wash basin. It will have dripped dry before the morning meal.

My legs sting when the torn and dirty hem of my shift touch them. The material is light but it still burns. I lay on my pallet rolling over onto my stomach though it is not comfortable. It hurts less than laying on the fresh welts now striping my back.

My breath stutters and catches in the silence as I wait. Though my pallet is in the furthest, darkest corner of the hut I know he will find me after Mistress has fallen asleep. Perhaps that's why he finds me, because I am in the dark…hidden. The light would expose him.

It was his wife that demanded I place my pallet in this corner, and maybe she did that because she knew he would come, like has done with the other slave girls. The exposure of light wouldn't stop him. He takes what he wants whenever he pleases, from whom ever he pleases. His vile acts and desires disgust her and she does not wish to see or hear them being carried out. So she placed me far back, in the dark.

I feel a rough and callused palm brush against the back of my legs, caressing the marks from the belt. It is hard not to whimper from pain and fear but I must fight the urge. He will choke me into silence if I make even a small sound. Bile rises swiftly in the back of my throat as my stomach clenches sharply, the need to vomit making it difficult to draw a full breath. I feel my shift sliding up my back as the tears do likewise down my cheeks.

I do not yet know of hope.