Saturday, February 8, 2014

Indentured


For Master Class . The prompt is: "He was the only one left to fulfill that contract and try to justify the labor and the harshness and the mistakes of his parents’ lives, and that responsibility was so clearly his, was so great an obligation, that it made unimportant and unreal the sight of the motley collection of pall-bearers staggering under the weight of his father’s body, and the back door of the hearse closing quietly upon the casket and the flowers,which can be used in whole, or in part, or merely as an inspiration.  I chose to use as much of it as possible within the story.





He’d never been a fan. Actually, saying he wasn’t a fan was offensive.  His father’s trade was inhumane and there were laws against it, but he got away with it because, as he learned early in life, money could buy anyone, for the right price.  And so, his father had eyes everywhere whose job was to keep his business safe and unknown, and he had foot soldiers that did the dirty work so he never had to be bothered with the abominable details.  

He grew up watching young girls come into his home - girls who had just celebrated their 12th birthdays - to train to become lifelong slaves and concubines to ones who would be willing to pay the price. Yeah, slavery wasn’t abolished in 1865, it just went underground and today the faces were of different color and ethnicity.  Involuntary servitude was alive and well in his quiet little town in the middle of Nowhere, U.S.A., where none were the wiser.  His father was a smart man and knew his type of business required an Americana façade, a moral cover that would be impossible to attain in a metropolis where any form of activity, regardless of how well you kept it undercover, would be found by the nosey and ambitious that littered the streets like feral animals in search of survival. 

Yes, this had been his life and, in a sense, he had been a slave as well.  He was forced to keep quiet and never speak against the organization because, blood or not, he too might meet a fatal end. Not by his father’s hands, of course, but by one of his henchmen.  In his house, money was the God his father prayed to and obeyed. 

But then Alena happened.  She had come into the family at the age of 11 and had been trained to be his father's house maid and  concubine. He had fallen in love with the waif-like Alena with the soulful blue eyes. Alena, who would frolic and play with him when his father was not around. Alena, the one that he comforted to appease the tragedy of what was her life on those brief moments  when they were alone. Alena, the one who would tickle the ivories of the piano with her bare feet and giggle with wild abandon.  

When they were both finally adults and had fallen deeply in love, he had approached his father to request her freedom. Unfortunately, his money held no equity in his plea.  His father merely laughed at him and called him a dunce, “why pay for something you can have for free? Haven’t you learned anything I’ve taught you?

So angry at himself for having failed her, and having begged him to no avail, he drove to the nearest bar to imbibe and quell the anger towards the one that had sired him.  He hated his father, his lifestyle, his immorality and lack of compassion, and on his fourth scotch he vowed to get Alena’s release one way or another.  Running away was not an option; they would eventually be found.  His father was powerful and did not take to traitors lightly.  No, he wasn’t running away.  That wasn’t his style anyway.  He wanted a more permanent solution, one that would free not only Alena, but all the other slaves that his father and his ilk owned. 

The following day, sober and still filled with blinding rage of taking his father down, he promised himself he would go the police station and disclose his father's crime. For full disclosure he would ask for his freedom in return; he did not want to be charged as an accessory, even though he was never a participant.  But there was no proof that he was; or, wasn't. He knew they would never believe his innocence and so needed to go to them with concrete proof of his father's crimes as collateral.  He knew his father's organization to be so expansive and lucrative that his request would be easily met. He was not the dunce his father believed him to be; he knew the names of all the eyes and foot soldiers within the organization and the families that owned slaves. His father kept meticulous records inside his safe. And as of tomorrow he would finally free Alena from a life of indentured servitude and they could be free to move elsewhere and marry.  But today, he would have to find a way to get inside the safe and steal the records.  

But, as luck would have it, his father would get away with the crime.  He'd never see the inside of a jail.  That night, in the middle of dinner, as he was laughing at him for having asked for Alena's freedom, he began to choke on a piece of sirloin.  His son never rose from his chair to help him and instead sat quietly and watched calmly as his father died a violent death. With his father now dead, he made the requisite phone call to 911. He went to his father’s safe and retrieved the books. The slaves would be now be freed. And as the only one left to fulfill the contracts and justify the labor and harshness and mistakes his father made, the responsibility was now so clearly his, was so great an obligation, that he vowed to never rest into all those who committed the crimes would be put behind bars and all the slaves be freed and recompensed.  

And today, seeing the sight of the motley collection of pall-bearers staggering under the weight of his father’s body, and watching the back door of the hearse closing quietly upon the casket and the flowers, he smiled.  At last, he and Alena were free.  One evil spirit less in the world. One who would be buried today and immediately forgotten.

14 comments:

Helena said...

A fabulous read, pure poetic justice!

mywordwall said...

This is beautifully written. Your prose is lovely and well structured. :-)

Lori Skoog said...

That fills the bill! What a great piece...I'm so glad you are back in gear.

SAM said...

I love the way you used the prompt, splitting it into two sentences and bringing an ending to a fabulous story. I wanted more!

Welcome to the Master a Class! I'm so very happy you linked up!

November Rain - k~ said...

This was an interesting tale, with an interesting end to the tyrant. My favorite line was: "littered the streets like feral animals in search of survival." It most certainly created a visual that added to the overall story.

steph said...

Justice. A fitting end to the bad guy... a very satisfying read. Great take on the prompt. Nicely done.

scorpioscribes said...

I loved this piece. I adore the love that outshines the darkness woven within it. I was just wondering for a but of clarification...Is it assumed that Alena who came into the family at 11 years old is now older as well? I assumed you implying she came at 11 and grew up with him, as he is then driving and drinking. This is such a hard topic but you wrote it beautifully. There was also just one line that was perhaps missing a word? He was forced to keep quiet and never speak against the organization because, blood or not, (he too meet a fatal end.) I hope you join again!

rebecca said...

Thank you Helena!

rebecca said...

Thank you mywordwall and thanks for stopping by :)

rebecca said...

Thank you Lorelei! And, me too! Feels great!

rebecca said...

Thank you SAM. I'm so glad I found your site. Challenging prompts. Right up my alley! Looking forward to more....

rebecca said...

Thank you November K. Yes, I am happy that in the end the father received his well-deserved comeuppance.

rebecca said...

Thank you Steph and thanks for stopping by!

rebecca said...

Scorpioscribes, thank you! In answer to your question, yes, Alena is now an adult and had grown up with him. And as far as that missing word, I had picked it up as well yesterday but never got around to fixing it (shame on me but it's finally fixed!) Sometimes we think faster than we write! Thanks so much for stopping by and providing such good critique. It's always welcome. How else will we become better writers? Best, Rebecca