Shannon winced as she turned her right arm. She sucked in a deep breath as she examined it closer; five circles seemed to be etched against her fair skin. Her parents and the family that they had been hiding with were gone and Shannon was left alone in a cramped shack. Being arrested was humiliating enough, but the worst part, at least for Shannon was the crude jeers followed by the sound of a razor making quick work of her once long, brown hair. Now she was no different then the women who surrounded her.
Nervously, Shannon sank onto a rough pallet and gazed around as she ran a hand over her smooth head. Women milled around the shack, murmuring softly amongst themselves. Shannon frowned as she continued to watch. Most of the women walked with a limp—though some were more pronounce than others; others seemed to twitch as they held conversations with the thin air.
“That’s Sally’s spot!” A grizzled woman declared, glaring at Shannon.
Shannon blinked in confusion and pushed herself to her feet. “I-I didn’t know this was anyone’s spot,” she tried to explain as the odd woman moved forward threateningly.
“No one sits on Sally’s spot!”
“Sally, this little lamb didn’t know.” Another voice interrupted the increasingly precarious conversation and Shannon found herself letting out a sigh of relief. Maybe this woman wasn’t a twitching lady.
“Sally’s spot. Lambie know now?” Sally asked, her unfocused eyes gazing in Shannon’s general direction.
Shannon’s rescuer nodded once. “That’s right; Lambie now knows and won’t sit there again.” She paused and reached for Shannon’s arm. “C’mon Lambie, let’s get you settled, ‘kay?”
The woman led her away from Sally and gazed at Shannon for a long moment. Finally, Shannon broke the silence, “I’m Shannon.”
Her rescuer shook her graying head once. “Not any more. In here nobody has their old names...in here no one wants their old names.”
“‘Sally’ wasn’t always Sally, just like you aren’t Shannon anymore. Consider it a survival method or a way to escape from this nightmare for a few brief moments.”
The young woman frowned in confusion as her hero pressed on. “You just call me Gram and we’ll call you ‘Lambie.’ You’ll understand everything in a few days or so.”
Lambie shifted slightly running a hand up her arm. “Gram...what happened to my parents? We were separated during the raid...”
Gram held up her hand for Lambie to stop talking. “That’s a fact that speaks for itself. You being here and they aren’t means they were registered Christians and you, my young friend, have an important decision to make that makes sitting in Sally’s spot the least of your concerns.”
Lambie felt her head start to spin. She had to keep living somehow. She felt a small twitch in her eye as she continued to think and pray to whatever god there was out there for an answer. The police and soldiers made it clear why she was here, someone told where her family’s hiding spot was—but now, could she allow herself be put into the same situation?
The sound of boots trooping through the cold mud combined with crude jests filled the air. The women stilled, and the door slammed against the wall, causing the shack to shudder.
A dark pair eyes gazed through the crowd before narrowing in on Lambie. Carelessly, they shoved the other women out of the way before cruelly grasping Lambie’s shoulder.
“I’ll go for her.” A small, but strong voice piped up. The men glanced at each other and shrugged as they released their bruising grips.
What did it matter what woman they brought in as long as it was someone for them to question. The girl smiled faintly as she willingly went with the soldiers; then, hesitating long enough to glance over her shoulder to mouth, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
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