Sylvia groaned and tried to readjust her position on the floor. Her back was so sore she wanted to scream every time she so much as shifted around. It was even worse than she remembered, honestly…
So this was it, her miserable life. What of Keil? Was he going to be okay? There was no way to go check on him anymore, even after this cellar punishment was over. From now on she was sure to be monitored quite closely. In fact, she would probably never be able to slip away again.
She sighed wearily, remembering how happy her life used to be. Her father had been a good man, and supposedly her ex-husband as well. But once she was so cruelly divorced, she returned home, after which the debt collectors came, threatening her father's very life. Then, in exchange for his own self-preservation, he gave her up as payment! None of her old friends had been able to save her, so off to the slave market Sylvia had been carted. That hollow truly was the most wretched place in the whole world, with people being treated like property and mindless animals. She had been registered and added to a group of young girls awaiting the worst fate imaginable for a woman.
Fortunately, that is when she met Jana. She was not always a very tender person, but she was kind at heart. Jana had come on behalf of her master to seek out new workers, and Sylvia had been among those examined. Her and a few other ladies had been spared the fate all women feared, though the weak or much younger could not be saved. Sylvia would always be deeply indebted to dear Jana, despite her harshness and flaws. She had promised a home, which, although miserable in its own ways, was far better than a disgusting brothel. That would have been her fate if not for this house, and today Sylvia still had to be grateful that her life had not been reduced to pleasuring men until the day of her death.
Still, her life here was no cause for relief or joy. Why, after her first week here she had come to see how burdensome and cruel the rest of her days would be. Hard work and harsh demands were the custom of the plantation. Luckily, though, there were a few saving graces. For instance, the master did not tolerate servant relationships or harassment. If any woman was found pregnant, both slaves responsible could be beaten or killed, as he did not want time being pulled away from anyone to care for unworkable children.
Sylvia shuddered with disgust. Then her mind drifted back to the handsome stranger she had found injured in the woods. His piercing red eyes always made her forget all such sorrows, and his beautiful language often kept her entranced. But she knew now that he too was gone from her life, like all other good things. Even if he was not one she could trust, he had been different than others she had known. Not necessarily better or understandable, but not vicious or selfish either.
Indeed, he was the most unusual person of her acquaintance.