I began to cry. I was crying because I was so close to home, yet so far away. I was crying because I didn’t know when I would ever see home again, and I was crying because I felt so alone.
“Why do you cry?”
I jumped at the voice. The words creeped shyly out of the seemingly empty darkness.
“I was surprised to see a new child here. It’s been just me for so many years... more than anyone has dared to count.”
The voice was enchanting. Not in the same way as Caliya’s. This voice seemed to lift me up. Still, Caliya’s voice had seemed comforting... I had to find the source.
“Who are you? Why are you here?,” I asked warily.
“My formal name is Isabella Grace. You may call me Bella. As for your second question, I am here for the same reason as you. Nothing. I was walking down the street, carrying a basket of warm bread from the bakery, just skipping and being naive, when ‘she’ came. She told me I was awfully thin, and that I needed a good meal in me. Her voice... it soothed me. I wanted to follow her for some reason. I realized too late the monster that she is.”
As Bella spoke, her frail body stepped out of the shadow.
From her height and face it seemed as though she was about my age, twelve or thirteen, but her eyes told me that I was wrong. They were full of the pain and sorrow of a wasted life. She had been beautiful once, and some of that beauty lingered in her delicate body.
I moved to wipe my eyes, but Bella reached up and stopped my hand.
“Don’t be ashamed of your tears. Crying is healthy. tI takes your mind off things.”
Suddenly, I realized how hungry I was.
“Bella, how often does Caliya feed us?”
She looked taken aback by the question. “If your question concerns time, I am not the right person to ask. I lost track long ago. But, I can estimate that she feeds us once or twice a day.”
As I sighed discontentedly, the heavy iron door creaked open. Caliya’s handsome head poked in, an evil smile smeared across her face.
I felt anger rise in my chest. This horrible, terrible woman had taken me away from every thing I loved, had ripped me from my life. I couldn’t just lie on the floor and play pathetic.
I lunged at her, choking in frustration. She cooly dodged my blow.
“Young girls like you shouldn’t behave that way. Stop this instant, or you shan’t have any supper!”
She mocked me. I renewed my sobbing as she kicked my side.
“Bella, come talk with me. You’re much more tamed than that one. I think I will give you some of that dinner the chef was making”
My mouth dripped at the mention of dinner, but I forced myself not to beg. I couldn’t give Caliya the satisfaction.
Bella grimaced as Caliya gripped her thin shoulder.
I cried silently to my self as darkness overcame the slit of light that marked the slightly open door, and a somber Bella disappeared from my view.