Honey inhaled the icy wind. Like the drag of a high nicotine cigarette; it burned all the way down. Life on the street was unforgiving.
The streets were empty again this weekend. She hadn’t turned any tricks for several days and Juan was getting anxious, as was her dealer. She shivered, not just from the cold, but from a feeling that someone was following her. A quick glance over her shoulder revealed a tall shadow hugging a building a block away and across the street.
Honey tried to shrug the feeling off, but adrenaline was gaining a relentless hold on her heart as the faces of so many dead friends exploded in full color before her. Those girls didn’t deserve to die, did they? Do I?
Instinctively, she looked back again. The shadow was now on the same side of the street. It was following her.
She heard a man whisper, “Everywhere you go, He sees you.”
What could that mean? Everything within her said stick to the busier street, but waves of fear pulled her into the blackness of less-traveled side streets.
Click-clack, click-clack. Gold high heels drummed a rhythm in her head, until suddenly she found herself thrust into the arms of Juan.
“What the . . .?”
“Where you going, muchacha? You’re not on your beat.” He snatched her handbag and rifled through its contents. Turning it upside down, he emptied it. “You useless b---, there’s nothing here.”
Grabbing a fistful of hair, he drug her deep into an alleyway and pressed her back into the ragged brick wall. A well aimed punch made its mark across her face, drawing blood.
Honey had nowhere to go. The Mexican was no match for her five foot frame.
“Everywhere you go, He sees you, Honey. God loves you.”
Juan turned to the voice, confused, only to meet the wrath of a large fist in his face. It didn’t take long for him to rebound, though, and soon Dan found himself in a street fight with the younger, wiry pimp.
Honey watched the action from the back of the alley, dabbing her face with an old rag. She thought she recognized the big man as a cop who had arrested her earlier in the year. What could he be doing, beating up a pimp?
It wasn’t long, however, before Juan knew he was no match for the older man’s experience and size. Dan wrenched Juan’s arm behind his back, driving the younger man into the ground.
“Now listen, punk. You’re gonna leave this lady alone. She’s no longer your property. She’s gonna start a new life. Today. Right now. Understand?”
“Then, get out of here, now.”
Honey watched, dumfounded, as Juan scrambled to his feet and stumbled out onto the street.
“Why’d you do that?”
Exhausted, Dan slumped down onto the pavement. His right eye was swollen shut. Blood spattered a Jackson Pollock painting on his t-shirt.
Dan raised his head to Honey, looking her right in the eye. “I quit the force several months back so I could help you ladies get off the streets. Started a half-way house. Five ladies live there now. You’ll make six.”
“What makes you think I wanna go?
Honey’s countenance was a mix of emotions. Her head throbbed. “Well, maybe.” Her weak response mirrored confusion, uncertainty. “I don’t know. My head hurts.”
Dan smiled. “You think your head hurts. This is the sixth beating I’ve gotten in as many months trying to set you ladies free.”
“Why do it?”
“I was tired of seeing you ladies murdered. I felt so helpless.” Dan buried his head in his hands. He felt exhausted.
“It’s like I said before, Honey. Everywhere you go, God sees you. He loves you. He asked me to follow you into this alley. He asked me to invite you to the half-way house. He even asked me to fight for you. He loves you that much. How can you say, ‘no’?”
Honey’s heart hammered. “Hey, I remember now. You’re that cop, aren’t you? The one who took care of me in the holding cell, right? You told me about God before, didn’t ya?”
Dan smiled. “Yeah, that was me, Honey.”
A thin smile crept across her face. “This time, though, you showed me.”
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