Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)
TITLE: Just a Working Girl
By Myrna Noyes
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I have few girlfriends but more "boyfriends" than fleas on the dogs that slink around the alleys here on the fringe of both the city and society. I've been told I'm alluring by many of my clients, and I purchase the most tantalizing negligees, provocative perfumes, and silky-smooth sheets that are available. These are my tools of the trade, along with seductive smiles, come-hither glances, ruby lips, and swinging hips.
When I go out I definitely do not dress in demure "modest maiden" attire, but in the kind of eye-catching clothes, make-up, and jewelry that cause older women to cluck their tongues in disapproval while the men with them unconsciously lick their lips and crane their necks. (I know I'll see some of these again, knocking, furtive but eager, on my door after dusk.)
My heart is not a complete murky cesspool of sin, however. I care about my family, sharing my earnings to make their lives more comfortable. I also have a soft spot for those in need, for those looked down upon by more fortunate, favored beings; and I've more than once slipped a few coins into their outstretched hands. On frosty nights I've even offered shelter to some of them for free.
Just this evening, two men, strangers in the area, booked a room at my inn. I could tell by their accents that they weren't local, and something about their manner and their string of questions about our town and its security made me wonder if they were scouts or spies for an advancing army--one that we've heard has an uncanny knack for beating the odds. Some here say, and I'm inclined to agree, that supernatural powers seem to be allied with them. Obviously others in town were suspicious, too, and not long after the visitors' arrival the authorities came asking me about them. I lied with a glib tongue and convincing words, protecting the men so they would hopefully in turn protect me. Having already hidden them in my house, I later helped them make a successful get-away.
And now I wait. My life is literally hanging by a thread, a crimson cord for a scarlet woman. It is a signal dangling from my upstairs bedroom window--a thin lifeline, red as blood, reminding my former guests to spare me and mine when the time comes.
I've blown out the lights and latched the door, no longer in the mood for men tonight. I believe I'm ready to skip this town, leave my bawdy business behind, and make a new start in a new land, among people who seem blessed by their God. I'm of a mind to exchange my stained reputation for a respectable one, maybe even get married and raise a family. My parents would like that, I know.
I decide to take a bath before bed, somehow having a desire to be clean before I dream. A refreshing breeze blows through my room, and I smile back at the stars winking down on me.
Based on Joshua 2
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