“Why do I have to go, too?” Guy asked.
“To be an additional witness,” Thea said. “To add credibility to our case when the government official and lawyer do their investigation. Besides, you have to redeem yourself.”
“Redeem myself?” Guy asked with a sneer.
“Yes,” Thea said, grabbing his arm so he wouldn’t walk out of his bedroom. “I have proof that Petunia is being held there against her will. She used her finger to write a message on my arm. She did it with great effort, but she did it several times, enough times that I could tell there was a deliberate message she was giving me.”
“What was the message?”
“Help me—help us, I should say. She wrote the same thing, H-E-L-P-U-S, over and over again. The exact same strokes, so I know it was deliberate, not random tickling or something.”
“Help us?” He remembered her ticking his arm with her finger.
“Yes, and it’s obvious what she meant by that. She isn’t the only victim of human trafficking there. When I looked through the computer pictures of all the women—some men, too—all of them naked, I noticed that most of them were either black, dark-skinned East Asians, or Latinos. A few First Nations, too. Capitol is obviously luring poor people from the Third World and making them prostitutes, with the fake promise of a job opportunity, or something. But I’ll bet their poor families aren’t getting a cent sent home. I’ll bet Capitol is drugging them, too, to keep them under their control.”
“She didn’t look high.”
“Petunia didn’t seem high to me, either, but there’s no way she could possibly be enjoying what she’s doing over there. We’ve got to help her, and tomorrow, you’re coming with me.”
In the cafeteria at lunchtime, Petunia again never saw Mary anywhere in the crowd of drugged, naked eaters. She sat at a table where a black woman and an Asian woman were whispering to each other. Petunia heard the name ‘Mary’ said a few times. Her heart jumped at the sound of the name, and she listened to them more carefully, straining against the drugs to focus her attention.
“Do you buy…any of these stories…that some people escape?” the black woman asked in a thick African accent.
“I wanna believe them,” the Asian said. “They give me hope.”
“Maybe that’s…what they want, Arunny,” the black woman said. “They do it…so we don’t…kill ourselves…or something.”
“Did you say…Mary…before?” Petunia asked them.
“Do you know…what happened…to her?” Arunny asked.
“Mary, the white girl…the redhead, right?” the black woman asked.
“She had red hair,” Petunia said. “Yeah, Mary.”
“Had red hair?” Arunny asked, jolting.
“I think she was killed…last night,” Petunia said. “I hope I’m wrong…We tried to escape…When the Creeps came…and one crawled into me…as I was…losing consciousness…I saw her shaking…I think a…yellow Creep…burned her inside…to death.”
“Don’t say that!” Arunny coughed, then covered her face so her tears wouldn’t be seen. She whispered. “Maybe you’re wrong…The drug…in the Creep…made you…see things.”
“Maybe,” Petunia said. “I hope so.”
“Mary was getting older,” the black woman said. “Her tits were sagging…I think they kill you…if you’re getting…unattractive…and you’re not…making as much…money for this place.”
“Please don’t…talk like that, Kusiima,” Arunny said, fighting back tears.
“Don’t worry, sweetie,” Kusiima said. “You’re still young…and pretty…as I am…and you are,” she said to Petunia. “We should be safe.”
That night, Petunia lay in bed, emotionally exhausted.
I don’t care if the door by the head of my bed opens, she thought; I’m not going out there tonight. Kusiima reassured me that I’m safe from being killed, because I’m still young and pretty, which means I’m still useful to this whorehouse; but no one asked me for sex all day today. I never thought I’d hope to service more customers than fewer. Is Guy coming back? Is Thea?
Then, lying on her back, she followed her train of thought as it went back to her ‘work relationship’ with Ricardo Davis, the man who lured her into Capitol. Drugged and drifting off into unconsciousness, she was ruminating her way into a dream…
Business trip to New York City with Davis…meeting Ken Maynard about some impressive new technology…something microscopic…powerful…Davis wanted in on it…to be in charge of distribution, or marketing…a lot of money to be made in it…I’d get a big raise, too…
We met Maynard in the hotel restaurant…I wore no underwear…I’d hoped Maynard would like me…with his money, give me a better job than what Davis had given me…I was glad I’d tarted myself up for Maynard…He was handsome and charming as well as rich…Too bad he was just as bad as Davis, as I’d learn eventually…
At dinner, Maynard dropped his fork and went under the table to get it…He saw my spread legs…my pussy…he ate me out…Davis was French-kissing me and feeling my right tit…He never seemed to notice how long Maynard was under the table…didn’t care…I came in Maynard’s mouth…
After our naughtiness, Ken came back up with his fork…He and Davis talked about the business…about the technology…“coated in a soft, rubbery covering”…”will look like multi-coloured larvae”…like baby worms…I didn’t understand what they were talking about…I wish I had…
“We want to expand up into Canada”…”We have contacts in Mexico and Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia, even India”…”get our Commodities from there”…”shipped right to you”…”help us get more in Canada, as you have already done here, obviously”…I heard Ken say all this to Davis…I paid no mind to it…I just played footsies with Ken…”You’ll make a ton of money, Davis”…
In our hotel room, I let Davis fuck my ass…then Ken knocked on our door to give Davis something…naked, I went over to let Ken see me…Davis took a sleeping pill…when he was asleep, I went over, still naked, to Ken’s room, next door…I let him fuck my ass, too…hoped he’d like me enough to marry me…I’m so stupid…
I had no idea there were hidden cameras in his room…in Davis’s room, too…in the hotel hallways, where Ken had me walk about naked with him…
And now I’m back in Canada…Ken gave me over to ‘Free Mark’…was I in an airport?…I was always drugged with Creeps…There was the airplane ride with Davis to New York City…then the flight back to Toronto…then back to New York to be with Ken…Then ‘Free Mark’ took me from Ken…Now I’m in Toronto again…because Guy and Thea were here…I don’t remember another flight back to Canada…Did Mark take me back?…he must have, in a private jet or something…I just remember that party…Davis…Ken Maynard…’Free Mark’…other men…fucking me…fucking Ken’s maid, Rosa…
Now I’m in Ontario again…I must be…