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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Out of the Darkness
By Sally Hanan


Her silver metallic skirt slid up her knees each time she bent a fishnet leg – each one with a nine inch heeled boot glued on. Delilah was dressed to kill.

She was good at her job. The other girls on de Wallen* knew it and she knew it. She had to be. Her life depended on it.

She snaked her way around her nightly spot on the stage – a 5 foot by 5 foot wooden floor fronted by a window. It was there that Delilah sold her product – herself.

Looking out onto the street astir with tourists, Delilah knew he was there -- to make sure she showed up -- her pimp. There Jacobus stayed every night of the week for 8 hours – the length of her shift. He made sure that she stayed there to lure customers. He stayed to “keep her safe.” He stayed to take half of her wages, and if she didn’t get enough business that night he’d take a little more “for expenses.”

She loathed him.

A skinny American stopped and stared at her as she writhed her body parts to imaginary music. He held up his camera. She shook her head. He held up some Euros. Jacobus stepped out of the darkness.

“150 for 20 minutes. She’s the best you’ll get.” The American dug frantically in his fanny pack for more cash, handing over the last note jubilantly.

“You get 20 minutes, max.. Anything other than regular will cost you double. Got it?” The American nodded his head eagerly and before waiting for Jacobus’s okay, ran for the door into heaven. Jacobus held up one finger to let Delilah know his order, and she obediently followed the American upstairs to her bedroom.

He walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower, making a shh motion with his finger. “Jetska!” She started for the door in a panic. He grabbed her by her long heel and held on, determined. “Jetska, your dad sent me here.”

“Daddy?” Instantly, Delilah’s body stopped pulling away. Tears filled her eyes as she pushed her hair back from her cheek. “Daddy?”

“Yes. Your dad hired me to find you. He wanted to be sure that this was the first thing I told you: He says he loves you, no matter what you’ve done, and he wants you home.” The American pulled off his sweater to reveal two lightweight harnesses. “Hurry, we haven’t got much time. Put this on.” He held open one harness for her to step into. Delilah raised her eyebrows. “It’s for rappelling from the window,” he growled. He shook it urgently. She stepped in and let him pull it up her stockinged legs. It tracked through her legs and around her hips like a diaper, as her tears tracked around her nose and cheekbones.

“But..my things…” She lifted up a finger to point.

“No time for that, sorry.” He fastened the buckle on her waist and led her to the window at the back of the room. She stood there, watching him in silence as he hooked a metal wheel to the frame. A large clip clicked onto her harness. He straddled the window frame, beckoning to her to do the same. Time, light, motion, all stopped for her. Jacobus is waiting downstairs. What if he comes up and finds me like this? What if he beats me…? What if he kills me…? Her unblinking eyes were shut the moment Andrew slapped her.

“Jetska! Hurry up!” He clipped his own harness to hers and dragged her through the window, her weight throwing both of them into dependence on the clicking wheel and his rope release skills to lower them to the ground below. She was still frozen when they hit the ground.

“Jetska, get a grip! Your pimp will kill you if you keep this up! Work with me, please.” Jetska looked up into his eyes too see what lay behind them, and the life in them startled her. She was so used to death, to darkness, to fear, but here…here she felt no fear. He reminded her of how she used to be. Something strong and light and true drew her to her feet and overcame her dread. Adrenaline rushed through her. She threw her hands onto her buckle and unfastened it, throwing it onto the grass with resolve. Andrew’s hand was reaching out for hers. Her fingers seized it in determination, and together they began to run.

*The de Wallen district is one of the older and better known areas in Amsterdam’s red light district. Prostitutes dance on the street level, behind windows, to attract their customers, and they usually live upstairs. In 2005, 23% of the persons registered at the “Dutch Foundation Against Trafficking in Women” were Dutch citizens.

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This article has been read 1183 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright07/12/07
God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. Of this we can be confident!
Dee Yoder 07/12/07
I saw the same kind of displays in Heidelberg years ago and I felt sad. Your story highlights the fear and entrapment these women live with, and points the way out, as well.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/12/07
The sadness of the story was gripping, the father's love was touching, and the ending was just right.
Lynda Schultz 07/12/07
Great story — it kept me engaged all the way through. One little nit-picky thing. The rescuer was American all the way through, and then suddenly, right at the end, he was Andrew. The name kind of came out the blue and distracted me. But, hey, that's only me, and it's a wonderful story.
Dixie Phillips07/13/07
Okay! There has got to be a sequel. You got me hook, (no pun intended) line, and sinker. I'm a wreck... worried sick about them repelling down the wall. Please tell me they are okay and made it safely to her father. This really could be a book. God has given you a tremendous gift. And please tell me that Jetska falls in love with Andrew and they live happily ever after. I love this story.
Debbie Roome 07/14/07
Gripping story - couldn't imagine where it was heading at first. Well written.
Patty Wysong07/14/07
Gripping, real, full of hope. Wow. What a combination!
william price07/15/07
Excellent job! My only critique is that I found the first sentence in the forth paragraph a lil awkward that didn't match the flow of the rest of this masterful entry. I enjoy stories from different parts of the world. And I really appreciated the fact you did not bombard me over the head with the word confidence. You have a great talent and are not afraid to stretch to areas some would avoid. God bless.
Jan Ackerson 07/17/07
Great title, powerfully written story!
Sharlyn Guthrie07/17/07
Gripping story. I would love to read the next chapter.
dub W07/17/07
Aw yes, this chapter must be continued. I know the district, it is a short street, and your descriptions were realistic and valid without being crass. Hope this is something of a larger story.
Joanne Sher 07/17/07
I also hope there is more to this - you did an amazing job with the sense of place and characterization. Very impressive.
Jacquelyn Horne07/17/07
A harrowing tale!
Linda Watson Owen07/17/07
I was glued to every word. I love the implied parallel, the trapped soul rescued by the strong, confident savior who appears from somewhere far away, sent by the father. Great!
Kristen Hester07/18/07
I was captivated by your story. I, too, hope the story continues and the girl and Andrew can fall in love and live happily ever after. Very nice.
Loren T. Lowery07/18/07
Sounds like quite an adventure and I'm hoping for the best for them both. Redemption is never far away and all it takes is action - even if it is, trusting and repelling out a window.
Sara Harricharan 07/18/07
Neat. I liked this. Very fast-paced. Light suspense. Good job. My only note is the last paragraph is a little confusing. Maybe you could split it up and show the names so we know who's who. Otherwise, great job! ^_^
Sheri Gordon07/18/07
Great story. I echo the comments above; I want to know what comes next, and what came before. Interesting twist on the topic. Really gripping storytelling.
Catrina Bradley 07/20/07
Gripping, I tell you! :) Very good - I noticed a couple of boo-boos, nothing to distract. This line, the message from the father: He says he loves you, no matter what you’ve done, and he wants you home. is exactly what our Father tells us. Loved it!.