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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: The Red Light District
By Cherie B.


“Take it off!” they yelled. And since Stevan was there, with his ruby handled pistol, I had no choice.

I had to obey.

Reluctantly I slipped off my tiny crimson dress and exposed my bare skin for all to see.

I fought back tears as I danced tentatively behind the red neon lights that enveloped my window. I hated Stevan. I hated him for taking me out of Russia, for bringing me to The Red Light District and for making me dance in front of all those men.

They stared up at me with hungry grins on their faces, bathed in the hellish hues of The Red Light District. They made my skin crawl. From my point of view they looked less like men and more like red-faced demons circling my glass cage waiting to grab hold of me and pull me further into hell with them. And they did, often. It was how I paid Stevan’s bills.

By the time darkness had lifted and the hell fire scarlet of The Red Light District was paled by sunlight I was alone under my crimson sheets, loathing life. Through tears I pleaded with God to pull me out of the nightmare I was forced to live in and I cried myself to sleep.

When I finally woke the sun was setting and the fiery red lights were once again winning the battle for prominence. The demonic hordes would be filling The Red Light District very soon and I wanted nothing to do with them; I wanted out of the RLD. But there was no way out.

I rolled over with a huff and faced my door. A pamphlet lay under the crack. I couldn’t read it from the vantage point on my bed but I could see the picture on its white surface; a bright red rope pulling a naked girl out of the fiery flames that licked at her feet. And right away I realized that girl was me and that pamphlet, with its scarlet rope, was my way out of hell. I got up and read it.

The Scarlet Rope
Your Lifeline out of the RLD

You are not alone.
You can make it out!
“God guards those who come to him for safety.”
Proverbs 30:5

Come to Oorbereck Church for sanctuary. We can help. Or call 87-931-46

I opened the door and peeked out. No one was there.

There were no crowds yet either, and more importantly, no Stevan – he was probably with one of his other girls. If there was ever a time for me to escape, it was now.

I threw on the only two things I owned: red dental floss that masqueraded as a pair of panties and the slinky crimson dress the demon faced crowds had forced me to take off the night before.

I stepped out the door, pamphlet in hand. A few girls were writhing in their windows already and the street was becoming more hell-like by the second as the darkness grew. The red lights were on, full force, and everywhere I looked red-faced men were filling in the street.

I walked faster. I didn’t want them to pull me back in.

My heart raced as I neared the end of Rossebuurt Ave.

“Where are you going?” My stomach dropped. It was Stevan’s voice! I didn’t dare turn around to him. Instead I broke into a full sprint, my bare feet slapping painfully against the cobblestone.

I pulled franticly at the invisible scarlet rope, hoping to scramble out far enough before the flaming lights and burning fingers caught hold of me.

“Saraia!” His angry voice was closer as he called my name. “Get back here!” He was only a few feet behind.

The church’s white lights were in the distance and I pushed myself harder, faster. My lungs burned. I could see people standing on the church steps, bathed in white. I wanted to be with them.

“HELP!” I screamed. But no sound came out.

I could hear Stevan’s footsteps right behind me. I lengthened my stride. But was it enough? Could I make it before he grabbed me?


Skarlaken Koord (The Scarlet Cord) is a real life mission aimed at helping women out of the RLD and into the arms of God. Though I have no affiliation with them, I think their mission is honorable. If you would like to know more about them and what they do you can check them out at http://www.scharlakenkoord.nl/cms/content/view/61/89/

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This article has been read 779 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/10/09
Excellent writing, very compelling story, and I LOVE the open ending. Very smart writing, and something I'd not be surprised in a higher level. Very, very well done.
Sunny Loomis 10/12/09
Very nicely crafted. God can save out of any situation.
Shilo Goodson10/12/09
This was a well-written article. It's sad that people really do live this life. Thank you for writing us and for reminding us of the help that these people need.
c clemons10/12/09
Good writing, I found myself running with her. (In my mind of course):)
Colin Swann10/13/09
Wow,this is great exciting writing. Very realistic and visual. Well Done. Excellent story. Colin
Betty Castleberry10/14/09
Wow, this is excellent. I had a very clear picture of all that was happening, and I learned about a new (to me) mission as well. Two thumbs up.
Laury Hubrich 10/14/09
Oh. I couldn't breathe as she ran to the church. I hope she made it in time. Excellent writing.
Aaron Morrow10/14/09
Absolutely fantastic. Definitely one of my favorites this week. The build was very well developed. I almost think you could have eliminated everything after "I could hear Stevan’s footsteps right behind me." and left the reader to invoke the following questions themselves.
Great work, I hope this does well!
Brenda Shipman 10/14/09
Wow, so amazing this entry is based on a real life scenario. You did such a good job of showing the MC's nightmarish life. And bless you for bringing this ministry to our attention.
Pamela Kliewer10/14/09
Wow. Very masterful writing. I was surprised to see this was in the Intermediate level. You had me engaged in the story from beginning to end.
Charla Diehl 10/21/09
Whew! I bet you have a sequel in mind already. You grabbed me at the onset of this story and my heart was racing along with the MC. Excellent job with this highly commended entry.
Karen Pourbabaee 10/21/09
Congratulations on your Highly Commended placement...this was a gripping story.