The Journal of Sharise Sills
A companion short story to Indigo Tears
2013 Dennis Butler
All Rights Reserved
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This book is a work
of fiction. The story in this book, all the characters,
organizations, governments, government agencies and all other places
named or implied are either derived from the author's imagination or
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real people living or dead or
incidents, events or organizations, governments, government agencies
and all other places named or implied is entirely coincidental.
Indigo Tears: A
By Dennis Butler
I used to simply
separate people into two categories. They were either good or evil.
But I have grown to see that the entire human race is really a
spectrum. On the one end are the selfish narcissists who are
incapable of having any feelings for anything or anyone outside
themselves. On the other end of the spectrum are the kind and totally
selfless people who have the ability to feel empathy deep in their
hearts. The rest of us are somewhere in between. Sharise Sills
Chapters of Hell (Table of
Some of my story
was written in the past-tense as I looked back over my time in hell.
Some of it was written in the present-tense as I lived it. Sharise.
To this day, I don't
know why I didn't rely on my instincts. Something didn't feel right
about the man asking me directions. I never heard the passenger side
door of the van open up. As I thought about it more and more, I
realized that the second man must have been walking alongside of the
van on the opposite side when the van pulled up beside me. That's why
I didn't hear the door open. That's why I didn't suspect anything. I
didn't suspect someone was rounding the rear of the van as I gave
directions to the driver. Normally, you would figure that as long as
the person you are speaking to was inside a vehicle with the door
closed, there was no threat. Normally, you would feel threatened the
moment the stranger opened the door. But this wasn't normal.
As I looked back on
the incident, I realized they were professionals. But what's the
point of dwelling on it now. It's too late. My life is now ruined. My
life is over. How could another human being have stolen my life from
me? But that's what he did. He took my life from me. It would have
been better if the trafficking hunters in the van had just run me
over. There can be nothing worse than this. If I had the nerve to
commit suicide, and went to hell because it's a sin, hell would be
better than this.
The nightmare began
the moment I hit the floor inside that van in West Philadelphia. I
was only a few blocks from my house. If I had left a little earlier
or a little later, the two east European men in the van may have
snatched someone else. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I
decided when I started writing this journal that I wouldn't write any
of the details about what was done to me. Just as there are sick and
twisted people in the world who force women to perform vile acts of
perversion, there are also those people that will be turned on by
hearing about how I was raped or forced to have sex with another
woman while men watched and laughed. So that's about all the details
I'm going to write about what I was forced to do. It began inside
that van, a couple of blocks from my house and continued for thirteen
My journey into hell
began in the back of the delivery van and continued on to a voyage by
sea. Before that time, I never realized that hell was a real place. I
never realized that you could reach hell by sea.
The voyage itself
was hell. We had to relieve ourselves a few feet from where we slept.
We had no water for cleaning ourselves. When we did have water we
saved it for drinking. We had very little food and for a time we
thought we were going to starve to death. It was in the shipping
container where I met Allison and Amy. Allison, Amy and I are
sisters. We aren't sisters by blood. We are sisters bound by our
The three of us
would have died in that shipping container if it were not for the
kindness of a Nigerian stranger named Ewan. Ewan stole food and water
for us from the freighter ship's galley as we crossed the Atlantic,
headed for Africa.
I didn't think
anything could be worse than starving and dying of thirst inside a
shipping container. I was wrong. When we arrived at our destination,
I descended into a deeper level of hell.
When we first
arrived at the mansion, we met the man who had us abducted and
brought there to him. He apparently paid a lot of money for us and we
were considered his property. When he introduced himself, he told us
his name but he requested that we refer to him as "Master."
I guess this would have been degrading and humiliating for anyone,
but I think it was just a bit different for me. Both of my parents
were community activists. They spent a great deal of time teaching me
what they glossed over in public school. They taught me about slavery
and the civil rights movement of the sixties. The thought of being
owned by anyone made me "red" with anger. I realized that
my predicament had nothing whatsoever to do with skin color and yet I
also knew that the resentment I felt for this rich white man who made
me call him "Master" was different than what the other
girls were feeling. I resisted it with every bone in my body. It
wasn't long before the Master attempted to break me.
My first attempt at
resistance consisted of organizing a hunger strike. It took some
coaxing but the girls finally agreed. It wasn't that they didn't
think they could stop eating. It was the fear that the Master would
harm their families that made them reluctant. The plan was that we
would eventually become too weak and delirious to perform sex and the
Master would let us go. We would become unappealing. He didn't say a
word about it for a few days. On the fourth day, I went to use the
bathroom and noticed there was no running water. All the beverages at
the bar were locked up and there was no water in the bathroom. I
checked the small kitchen we had access to. All the beverages had
been removed and there was no water in the kitchen.
Starvation is much
different than dehydration. After a few days without food, you are no
longer hungry. You become weak and dizzy but there is no craving.
After twenty four hours without water, it was all we could think
about. You will do literally anything for water. I wondered if I was
capable of killing someone for water. Sex was a no-brainer. I would
do anything with anyone if they gave me water. I think the craving
was greater than a drug addict's craving for heroin.
The following day,
the Master came into the nightclub area carrying one of those plastic
coolers that people living in the normal world would bring to a
picnic. He blew a whistle that he used sometimes to degrade us
further. The four of us came out into the nightclub. The Master had
placed the cooler on a table. He opened it up and lifted out a bottle
of water. He brushed the ice off it, opened it and took a long drink
from it. "Are you thirsty girls?" he asked with a chuckle.
"End your hunger strike now. Have a drink and then you can have
something light, like chicken broth. I don't know what all this
self-induced suffering was supposed to accomplish. Remember, I don't
have to kill your family members. I can just make them suffer. Now
come here and drink."
That was it. Our
first and only attempt at resistance ended in failure. It was further
proof that we were his property. We were his slaves.
My empathy for Amy
overshadowed the anger and resentment I felt toward our captor for
making me a modern day slave. It was difficult enough for someone
like Amy to survive in the regular world. I knew it would be
impossible for Amy to survive as a sex slave. I pleaded with the
Master to set Amy free. For a while I think he was even considering
it but eventually he became angry at me and told me not to mention it
again. He said he paid five million dollars for Amy and he was not
going to just set her free.
During our first
year at the mansion, our captor tried different things to get Amy to
be a good sex partner. He tried sedating her and tying her up and he
even tried being gentle with her, but nothing worked. A few of his
business associates tried different things but no matter what they
did, it always ended in Amy crying, screaming and shaking or curling
up in a fetal position. Our captor's business associates said it
wasn't working for them and they left her alone. I heard one man say
that he may as well just masturbate. It would be more fulfilling than
trying to have sex with Amy.
Allison, Amy and I
had become close during our journey to hell. When we arrived at the
mansion, there was already one other sex slave there. We exchanged
horror stories with Wendy Chen. Wendy told us she was attending
Columbia University in New York City where she was taking
prerequisite courses before beginning medical school. Wendy planned
to eventually become a physician's assistant. One night she was
leaving school late after staying to do some studying in the school
library. She left the school on the south side of the campus on 114th
street. From the school she only had to walk west one block and north
one block to the subway station on Broadway. She knew she shouldn't
be walking on 114th street after dark. There were some
dimly lit areas on 114th street. But she also knew that
all she had to do was walk up to Broadway and she would be safe.
She never made it to
Broadway. Two men attacked her from behind as she passed a parked
delivery van. One of them held her while the other wrapped a bandana
around her head and mouth and then put a pillow case over her head.
They pushed her into the back of the parked van and tied her up. When
she woke up, she still had the pillow case over her head and her
hands were tied. She couldn't see the man who was on top of her.
Wendy told us she was raped repeatedly. She didn't know if it was the
same man over and over again or different men. She only heard the
sound of a few men speaking in an east European language she couldn't
understand. She was kept in a shipping container with her hands and
feet tied. The pillow case was only removed for a few minutes a day
for her to eat and drink. She was raped again in the shipping
container for the first few days and then she was left alone. She had
no idea how long she was in the container or how long she sat there
waiting for food and water each day.
She was eventually
put in the trunk of a car and when she was taken out of the trunk,
she was carried by two men and set down on a blanket. A few hours
later the pillow case was removed. She looked up to see three men and
a woman looking down at her. One of the men was a doctor who examined
her and gave her several pills. The following day she was taken to a
shower stall by an African woman and washed up. She rested for two
days and then she was brought to her captor's bedroom where she was
forced to have sex repeatedly for the next few weeks. The captor told
Wendy to call him "Master."
The frequency of the
sexual attacks eventually tapered off until they were about once a
week and she was moved to a small, windowless bedroom attached to a
small nightclub. Wendy told us she spent all of her time alone,
locked in the windowless room, except for when the Master would come
for her. Wendy told us that she was so bored and so lonely that she
eventually looked forward to the Master's visits. "I guess
that's how he controls and dominates his women," Wendy said.
"You become so starved for human contact, you begin to develop
feelings for your captor. I know it is sick, but that is what happens
when you are in isolation." Wendy paused for a long time and
continued, "The day the African woman told me that you three
were coming was the happiest day I had since I was taken prisoner."
2006 - 2008
One thing that Ewan
was right about was that we would be better off as property of one
person, rather than being sold to a brothel. As Ewan had said, if a
woman was sold to a brothel, they would be treated more like farm
animals than a human being. In a brothel, a woman who is forced into
prostitution is basically used like a farm animal until she is no
longer useful. Once she is too sick to perform, she is generally
killed and her body is dumped somewhere like an old pair of shoes.
There is almost no chance at all that a woman who is forced into
prostitution will live long enough to be considered undesirable and
set free. They don't live long enough to grow old. They die of AIDS
or some other transmittable disease or they are beaten to death.
Although life at the
mansion was still a living hell, we were seen as an investment. For
that reason, our captor had rules that he enforced. His business
associates who came to his private parties had to use condoms and
extreme rough sex was not permitted. He permitted me to keep this
journal as long as I never mentioned anyone by name. Throughout this
journal I will refer to our captor as "the Master." I can't
even say that he was a truly evil man. For him it was more about his
love of money than anything else. The service he provided for his
exclusive clients was business to him. Unfortunately for us women, we
were the service. In fact, most of the Master's clients were much
more depraved than he was. Very few of them seemed to be what I would
consider normal. By that I mean that I can count on the fingers of
one hand, the number of men that wanted normal, traditional sex. They
all seemed to have some kind of sick, twisted fantasy. I will not
write about that here because it is too disturbing to think about.
considered, we were better off with the Master than in a brothel. If
we had been sold to a brothel, every day would have been the same.
Every day would have consisted of being abused by anonymous clients
from all over the world. At least at the mansion, there was something
to look forward to. Our captor would spend June, July, August and
September in the Netherlands. He didn't need us. He was so rich that
he could have prostitutes brought to his home in the Netherlands, any
time he wanted. Occasionally he would have a special client stay at
the mansion in Algiers during the summer. These were terrible times.
The clients were always married millionaires from wealthy countries.
They were away from their families and wanted to live out their
fantasies. It never, ever consisted of traditional sex. It was always
But there were times
when life at the mansion was bearable. We were confined to our
section of the mansion but we were free to do whatever we wanted
during this time, as long as we spent at least two hours a day in the
gym. Our captor wanted to make sure his investments were maintained.
Our section of the mansion included the nightclub, the three
bedrooms, the small kitchen and the gym. Our captor hired an extra
guard for the summer months to supervise us. The liquor was removed
from the bar area so we couldn't drink and we were weighed every
couple of days. If our ideal weight wasn't maintained, we were forced
to diet or even starved until our weight returned to what our captor
considered to be our ideal weight.
2009 - 2011
2009 was one of the
worst years at the mansion. It was not only the year that the Master
spent the summer in Algiers, it was also the year that Amy was sold.
The Master had spent six years trying to make Amy into an obedient
sex slave. It's not that she was a rebel, although there may have
been just a touch of defiance in her, the fact was that it was
impossible for Amy mentally. The Master just couldn't get it through
his head that it was never going to work. He made the announcement
the day before Amy turned twenty three. We all thought that it was
especially mean, even for the Master. Amy had her problems but she
had all her wits about her so when the Master made the announcement,
she immediately began screaming and crying. He didn't even have any
tact when he delivered the blow. "Amy has been sold to a
brothel." He looked straight at Amy and continued, "You
will be leaving tomorrow. Your new owners will not be as patient with
you as I have been." That was it. He delivered the news and
turned around and started to head back toward the main part of the
I ran after him and
grabbed him by the shoulder as he opened the door to the central
hallway. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" I yelled in his
face as he turned around. "You know she can't survive in a
brothel. You are giving her a death sentence."
"The deal has
been made. There is nothing you can do to change that. I suggest you
calm down unless you want to go with her."
I had tried my best
to protect Amy whenever I could, but my survival instinct kicked in
and I said nothing. I had lived through many ordeals with Amy but
that was the worst I had seen her. For a moment I was thinking that
maybe she would be better off if she was executed. The three of us
tried to comfort Amy as best we could but there was nothing positive
we could say.
The following day,
the hallway door opened and in walked the Master accompanied by his
bodyguard and the doctor that came in every few months to examine us.
The body guard held Amy while the doctor injected something into her
arm which I assumed was a sedative. As she began to look like she was
going to pass out, the bodyguard picked her up and carried her away.
The Master turned around and looked at me for a second. For a second
I thought I noticed a glimmer of humanity in his eyes. I wondered if
he was feeling some regret about selling Amy. I hoped he would
somehow change his mind.
I will always
remember 2013 as the year that Amy returned. We had no advanced
notice that she was coming back. She was dumped on the front stoop of
the mansion. She was dumped like a dog that is "taken for a
ride" by an owner who doesn't want the dog anymore. Allison,
Wendy and I were recuperating from one of the Master's parties. We
were explaining to the Master's African servant that Wendy needed to
go to the hospital or she needed a doctor to come in and look at her.
Wendy is a somewhat petite woman. She weighs about 110 pounds and she
is exactly 5 feet tall. One of the Master's guests was a large man
from the Czech Republic. He had penetrated little Wendy from behind
and the bleeding continued on through the night. It was almost 11:00
AM and the bleeding hadn't stopped. Wendy appeared to be in pain as
she lay there moaning and sobbing.
The Master's servant
had just turned to walk toward the door to ask for a doctor when the
door swung open. The Master's bodyguard stepped into the nightclub
area carrying someone who seemed to be unconscious. As he passed us
by, heading for the nearest bedroom, we all screamed at the same
time, "Amy, it's Amy." I was so happy to see Amy and to
know that she had survived almost two years in a real brothel. All my
own miseries seemed to slip away, at least temporarily.
"We needed a
doctor for Wendy," I said to the bodyguard. "Now we really
need a doctor."
An hour later the
door opened again. This time it was the Master and the doctor who
stepped in. "Which room is Amy in?" the Master asked. I
pointed toward my room and the Master and the doctor hurried in.
dehydration," the doctor said after looking at Amy for a few
seconds. "Do you have any of those energy-water drinks in the
cases of vitamin water in the kitchen," the Master's servant
"For now, just
let her start drinking the vitamin water. When she starts to look
more alert you can see if she can eat some broth."
bleeding. She needs you," Allison said to the doctor as he stood
up and began throwing things back into his medical bag.
The doctor spent
about a half hour examining and treating Wendy. When he came out of
the bedroom he frowned at the Master. "No more anal sex for her,
unless you want her dead," he stated firmly. That was the first
indication I had that the doctor did not entirely approve of the
Master's private brothel. The doctor seemed a bit angry and I
wondered if he could somehow become our ally.
After the doctor
packed up and left, I stopped the Master before he could follow the
doctor out and asked him, "What's going to happen to Amy now?
Are you going to ship her off again?"
The Master walked
back into my room and looked at Amy for a long moment. He spoke
quietly while still looking down at Amy. "There is a storage
room off the big kitchen. I'll have a few things put in there. She
can stay there. Maybe I can find something else for her to do."
When the Master
turned around I grabbed his hand and held it in my two hands. He
stopped and looked at me, knowing I was about to say something.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you" was all I could think of
to say. As he stepped out of my room Allison thanked him.
somewhere inside him, there is what's left of a heart," I
whispered to Allison.
What I wouldn't give
for just one bottle of Scotch or Bourbon. But the Master had figured
out long ago that he needed to keep the liquor locked up. He had
retractable roll-down shutters installed on the liquor cases. It was
one of those nights that all the soap and water in the world wouldn't
wash the disgusting filth off me. The Master's guests had all left at
about 3:00 AM and I was the last one to use the shower. When I put my
robe on, I passed by the other rooms and Allison and Wendy were
already asleep. I knew I wouldn't be able to fall asleep so I sat up
at the end of the bar, engrossed in my newest form of
self-entertainment. I thought up new ways to commit suicide.
The problem was that
I hated pain and I had no access to strong medications. I had to
think of new and different ways to end my waste of a life. One of the
Master's business associates came two or three times a year. I had
asked him a few times to smuggle me in some sleeping pills. I
convinced him that I suffered from insomnia and he believed me. He
was one of a handful of somewhat normal friends of the Master. He
said he would bring prescription sleeping pills on his next visit. I
decided I would hide the pills and when the Master returned to the
Netherlands for the summer I would swallow the entire bottle of
pills. I hoped it would be enough for me to go to sleep permanently.
It would be painless. When the girls woke up the next day, I would be
As I was sitting at
the end of the bar, lost in my fantasy of death, I heard a noise. It
was coming from the high window on the back wall of the nightclub. I
hid just inside my room and watched as a man and women climbed down a
rope ladder. I assumed they were burglars but since I wanted to die
anyway, I had absolutely no fear as I walked up behind them. That was
when I met Gavin Hawkins and Sophia Rodriguez, the two people who
would save my life.
Gavin and Sophia
weren't thieves. They were there for us. They came to rescue us. They
actually came to rescue Amy, but their mission changed the moment
they saw me. They promised me that if I escaped with Amy that my
family would be protected. When we first arrived at the mansion years
before, the Master swore that if we tried to escape, he would have
our families killed. Gavin and Sophia promised to have our families
protected if we escaped with them.
On the night we
planned to escape, I waited for the two rescuers to climb down the
ladder. To my surprise there was a third person climbing down the
ladder. He was a detective who came all the way from Philadelphia to
help rescue Allison. Detective Campioni didn't appear to be in the
best of health, but he came anyway. As it turned out, the escape
probably would have ended in failure if were not for the detective.
Our escape didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped, but somehow we all
made it out alive. Sophia was shot but she recovered. The Master's
bodyguard wasn't so lucky. Detective Campioni shot and killed him.
We left the Master
handcuffed to his own bar when we left. For a few seconds I thought
about killing him, but I decided it wasn't worth carrying the guilt
around for the rest of my life. The Master was a pathetic excuse for
a human being but it would still be a mortal sin if I killed him.
We escaped and left
Algeria. The detective took us home, one by one starting with Wendy
who lived in New York. After Wendy, we drove to my family's house in
West Philadelphia. The feeling I got when I walked up the steps of
our family's front porch was surreal. It was like walking in a dream.
As I have adjusted to life back with my family, I still find it hard
to believe I actually lived through those thirteen years in
I consider Allison,
Amy and Wendy family. Although I only see Wendy once or twice a year,
we still talk on the phone at least once a week. Allison and I are
like sisters. In fact, we may actually be sisters in a short time. If
there is such a thing as "love at first sight," it most
surely happened between Allison and Robbie. There were sparks that
day the detective brought me home and Robbie answered the door.
Allison and Robbie just smiled at each other but I could tell that
something was going on there.
Since Allison and I
are like sisters, we spent every Saturday and Sunday together. I
would sometimes go to Allison's house but most of the time, she came
to my house. I think everyone knew why. It took about two months
before they somehow managed to make something like a date. Robbie
offered to drive Allison to the University of Pennsylvania to sign up
for the speech therapy program. After the sign-up, they stopped at
Tiramisu Pastries on 38th Street. That was the beginning.
When they walked into the living room a few hours later, everyone
knew what we had all suspected.
Allison and Robbie
began spending every weekend and a few weeknights together. I was
happy so see my baby brother and my best friend together although my
life was a little boring without my friend Allison to hang out with.
I hadn't been out with anyone since the rescue. I looked up my old
boyfriend Greg but it turned out that he got married a few years
earlier and moved to the other side of the state. I thought that I
was ready to date but I just didn't seem to meet anyone during my
normal lifestyle. I worked in a nursing home and I figured the
chances of meeting anyone there were pretty slim.
There were two
exciting things that happened toward the end of 2016. The first
surprise was that Allison and Robbie got engaged on Christmas Eve. It
wasn't really a surprise. We all knew it was just a question of
"when." After dinner on Christmas day, Robbie stood up at
the dinner table and told everyone he had an announcement to make.
"Allison and I got engaged last night." Everyone cheered
and congratulated Robbie and Allison.
We were about to get
up from the table and begin hugging the new couple when Robbie made a
hand gesture to let us know he had more to say. "It's a bit
ironic. I was the guy who told his friends I had no interest in ever
dating a white girl. And now here I am, in love with the whitest
white girl I ever saw." Everyone looked over at Allison who was
blushing, crying and giggling at the same time. Robbie paused for a
moment and continued, "But love has a plan of its own. Love
doesn't care about your beliefs or your politics. Love goes where it
wants to go and does what it wants to do. I've heard that love can
sneak up on you slowly. Well that is not what happened with Allison
and me. Love hit us instantly and knocked us down. That day when I
opened the front door to see Allison and Sharise standing there, I
must have opened my heart also. Allison climbed into my heart and
locked the door behind her and threw away the key. Love hit me with a
one-two punch, one to the head and one to the heart. I love you
Allison." The room erupted in joyful bedlam as everyone ran
around the table hugging and congratulating Allison and Robbie.
The second surprise
of 2016 came in the mail, the week between Christmas and New Year's
Eve. I could tell it was a wedding invitation by the fancy gold type
on the envelope which was postmarked, Huntsville, Alabama. Seeing
their names in the fancy golden font brought tears to my eyes.
with their parents
and Mrs. Roger Harrison
and Mrs. Carl Hawkins
the honor of your presence
the seventh of April
four o'clock in the evening
Church of Huntsville
To think that Amy
almost died when she was shipped off to the brothel in Qatar and now
she was living a normal and happy life.
Gavin and Amy's
wedding was a time to remember forever. The story of Gavin and Amy is
one for the storybooks. Two people who carried their own special
baggage throughout their lives had become true-soul mates. Finding a
human trafficking victim is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Perhaps it is more like finding a needle in a stack of needles and
yet even this unimaginable obstacle couldn't keep them apart. It was
the most undeniable proof that true love does exist. Gavin overcame
insurmountable hurdles to find the love of his life.
We all spent three
days in Huntsville preparing for the wedding. Gavin filled us in on
all the other things that were going on in their lives. Amy and Gavin
had decided to stay in Huntsville after they were married. They
visited Orego and Montevideo and although Amy liked it there, she
felt more comfortable living with her parents in Huntsville.
Gavin remained an
employee of Orego. They were building an extension on the back of
Amy's parent's house where they planned to set up a small lab and a
studio apartment. Max had set up a secure web application where Gavin
would be able to flag cases to work on. Amy planned to help Gavin
with the data entry part of the process. Gavin wouldn't be doing any
more rescues. Instead, he would begin to establish remote contacts in
local police departments. Gavin also planned to work with the FBI on
locating possible terrorists.
Gavin had also
started writing his first book. As expected, it would be a
non-fiction documentary style book about human trafficking. Gavin
figured that since he had been awarded the Noble Prize, his book
would have instant credibility. He could use his notoriety to try and
reach out to clients of the sex trade. Gavin felt that the only real
solution to the problem was to educate clients. He wanted to show the
clients the direct result of their solicitation of prostitutes. The
book would place the blame for the problem solely on the clients. As
Gavin frequently said, "If there was no demand, there would be
no trafficking of human beings."
The wedding itself
was a kind of reunion. Billy and Claude from the band were there.
Max, Ramon, Yennifer, Sophia and even Rose came all the way from
Uruguay. Gavin told us the story of Rose's rescue in eastern Europe.
It was hard to believe that Rose had lived through that and showed no
outward signs of psychological damage. She appeared to be a natural
leader. Everyone seemed to stop and listen to her when she spoke.
Santiago came from
Texas with his new wife Audrey and his daughter-in-law Janice.
Allison, Wendy and I were horrified when we heard the story of how
Santiago and Audrey met.
Yennifer, Max and
Gavin were inseparable over the long weekend. Gavin had insisted that
he didn't want a bachelor party so the whole group went to a sports
bar in downtown Huntsville. When Gavin introduced us to Yennifer he
referred to her as his other sister. "Well, someone needs to
look out for you," Yennifer said. "I guess Amy will have to
do that now."
Gavin thought that
he noticed an almost unnoticeable hint of sarcasm in Yennifer's
comments and Amy seemed a little confused by it so Gavin explained
that Yennifer had become like his big-little sister. "She treats
me like a big sister even though she is almost ten years younger than
me," Gavin explained.
Yennifer replied sarcastically.
Gavin had noticed
that Yennifer and Max seemed to be acting like they were fond of each
other so he commented, "I guess you'll have to look out for Max
"Max can take
care of himself," Yennifer remarked. Gavin couldn't tell if she
was serious or joking.
"I think it's
time for another round of drinks," Max said.
That's how we spent
the rest of the weekend, leading up to the wedding. Allison, Wendy
and I got to know the Uruguayan group and we drank and laughed and
were just glad to be together.
Gavin had told us
that he wrestled for many days about who he would ask to be his best
man. He finally decided on Max. Even though Billy was his oldest
friend, Max had been closest to Gavin as he chose a different path in
life. Max gave the first toast to the new bride and groom but several
other people also wanted to make toasts. Max's toast was followed by
Ramon, Amy's father and Billy but the toast that brought tears to
everyone's eyes was the short toast by Rose. I thought about standing
up and saying something, but Rose had somehow been able to express
all my deepest feelings. There was nothing left to say after Rose
Most of you don't know me. I'm from Uruguay where I lived happily
for the first fourteen years of my life. In the winter of my
fifteenth year I was abducted and forced into the international sex
slavery trade. I was treated as a farm animal where I was routinely
raped and degraded in unimaginable acts of depravity. I only wanted
one thing. I wanted to die. I wanted to commit suicide but I spent
most of my years in captivity, naked and chained to a bed.
However, I was a fighter and they never broke me. I fought right
up to what was almost the end. It would have surely been my end if it
were not for Gavin. When he found me, I was starved, dehydrated,
sick, chained and sitting in my own filth.
Gavin is the most special person in the world to me. I love you
Gavin and I love whoever you love. So I love you too Amy. I don't
need to wish you luck because I know you won't need luck for your
marriage to thrive. I know you will remain together. I hope that you
will both live to a ripe old age and that when the time comes, you
will pass on together so that you will never again be without each
There was a long
period of silence as Rose wiped her eyes and walked back to her table
where she sat with Max and Ramon.
The band was just
starting to play when Gavin waved for them to stop. Gavin stood up at
the bridal table and waited for everyone to quiet down. "I have
one short announcement to make before we begin getting wild and
having fun. It isn't a pleasant announcement but some of you will
need to hear this. There is one person missing from this party. I
attempted to contact the detective who came to Algeria to help us
rescue Amy, Allison, Wendy and Sharise. I spoke to his wife. He
passed away very recently. He was running after a car-jacking suspect
and dropped dead of a heart attack. Let's have a moment of silence
for Detective Joseph Campioni."
After a few moments,
the band started up again. They began with a ballad and after that
they picked up the pace. Before long, the dance floor was full.
The reunion of
Allison, Wendy, Amy and I at the wedding was not like other reunions.
There was no reminiscing about good times. There were no good times
to reminisce. But we did it together and we shared a special history.
It was a history of pain, misery and torment but it was our history.
Our reunions were more about crying than laughing. Even as the
Margaritas flowed freely, there was not much laughter. In fact if it
wasn't for the fact that we all loved each other dearly, we would
probably never even reunite. But we had suffered so much together
that we were all as inseparable as Amy and Gavin. I guess the four of
us will always remain kindred spirits.
Wendy and Allison
were both back in school. Wendy picked up where she left off a
million years ago in medical school. The only difference for Wendy
was that instead of going back to Columbia University in the city,
she was attending St. Johns, not far from where she lived. Allison
was on her way to becoming a speech therapist. Allison and my brother
Robbie were extremely happy together and we all assumed that they
would eventually get married. "Can you imagine what their
children will look like?" I often wondered to myself. Robbie and
Allison were like two people doing a TV ad for underwear. They were
both flawless and beautiful. I wondered sometimes if Allison had ever
talked to Robbie about the things they did to her back at the
mansion. I never asked her. Although we were close, I knew it was
none of my business.
Amy was busy with
her new life, living and working with Gavin and she actually seemed
more confident than I had ever seen her. She talked more than she
ever did before. It still wasn't much but at least we all knew what
her voice sounded like.
It seemed the only
one who didn't have a direction in life was me. I still lived at home
with my parents and I had changed jobs four times since we came back
to Philadelphia. I just couldn't seem to get myself interested in
anything. I tried to find things that I used to care about but there
just didn't seem to be any passion. Before the "incident,"
I used to love music. I still seemed to like music but I never got
around to listening to anything new. I generally just came home from
work and watched TV with my grandmother until I fell asleep.
I signed up with an
online dating service and spent hours reading the profiles but I
never contacted anyone. A few times when men contacted me, I started
writing replies but I kept putting off clicking the "send"
button. I kept telling myself that I needed to re-word my email but I
never seemed to get around to it. The one thing that I did do with at
least a spark of interest was attend church regularly. My father and
grandmother had stopped going but my mother still went. We attended
church every Sunday and we usually stayed around for coffee and cake.
It was the only social activity I did with any consistency. My mother
kept trying to get me interested in a single gentleman who was about
my age. A few times he stopped to talk to me but I didn't know what
to say to keep the conversation going. I wondered sometimes, what
happened to the fighter I once was. I wondered if all the fight was
drained out of me in Algeria.
As time went on I
began to realize that I was in a kind of depression. I did my best to
hide it but my mom knew something wasn't right. I knew she was trying
to talk to me about it but I just kept telling her I was fine. It was
seeing how Allison, Wendy and even Amy had moved on with their lives
that really got me thinking that maybe I needed to make changes to my
life. Maybe I just needed to talk to someone outside of my family. I
decided that after I returned home from Gavin and Amy's wedding, I
would do something. I decided that I would talk to a therapist or
psychologist or something.
It seemed the pieces
of my soul didn't fit together anymore. I needed something or someone
to help me put the pieces back together. Perhaps there is someone out
there who will find and read this journal who will help me. Perhaps
there is a knight in shining armor who will save me.
I am your daughters
and your sons; your sisters and your brothers. Please see us. Please