The house sat by itself behind the town, yet not too far away.  It was tall, almost three stories, and an indeterminate color due to the many sand storms it had withstood over the years.  It wasn't messy though, not at all.  Despite its obvious age it looked very well-kept indeed, as if whoever owned it had a manic obsession with it being clean.  Even the large yard surrounding it was neat, but that was more because it was almost empty.  Little grass grew on the brown earth, and only a single stunted tree gave the yard any shade.  There was, however, a rusted swing set near the house, and at the moment it was occupied by two young women in light cotton dresses and bare feet who looked like they were just out taking the air as the afternoon wore on.

The two women had been talking, but they stopped when Clay came through the gate in the white picket fence that surrounded the property.  They stopped, partially because they had been expecting him, but mostly because of who Clay brought with him.

Tired and still nude, Charlotte stumbled along behind the massive Sheriff.  Her hands were still cuffed together and a chain led from those cuffs to Clay's hand.  Charlotte followed along automatically as Clay walked steadily up to the house, pointedly ignoring the two women on the swing set.

One of the young women got up and hurried into the house, a jingling sound accompanying her for her hands were connected by chain.  A moment later she was back, and with her was an old Japanese woman in a rather conservative black dress.

The old woman, who used a cane to help support herself, stepped out onto the wrap-around porch and surveyed the Sheriff and his captive.  Her weathered old oriental face showed contempt, but surprisingly it wasn't for the nude girl on the end of the leash, but for the man holding it.

"Got a new one for you, Mrs. Yashi," Clay said, a respectful tone in his voice as he tipped his hat to her.

Mrs. Takako Yashi didn't reply.  Instead, after a moment, she inclined her head toward the two watching women, who hurried over to Charlotte.

Clay relinquished the chain and watched as Charlotte was led into the house.  He looked once more at Mrs. Yashi and tipped his hat again, "I'll be seeing you."

Mrs. Yashi watched him leave her property before turning and heading back into the house.  She had more important things to do than to pass the time with that man.

Inside she found the three women in the kitchen, the two she currently boarded for the Judge...and the new girl.

Charlotte was sitting down on a chair, her first for quite a while.  She was filthy, covered in dust and mud, and her fingers were stained black from when she had been fingerprinted.
She also had dirty hand marks on her breasts and other tender areas, signs that she had been 'searched' by the ever-professional Sheriff.  Her face held a dazed look, her lips were parched, and her wrists in the handcuffs were bruised and starting to swell.

The two other women looked at her with concern, but they waited before doing anything, they waited for Mrs. Yashi.

The old women looked Charlotte over before issuing orders.  "Lotus," she said to the blonde, "go upstairs and draw a bath, and see what you can find for this girl to wear."

"Yes, Ma'am," Lotus replied, and she hurried to complete her task, light chain a jingling.

"Ellen, go get her some water," continued the old woman.

"Yes, Ma'am," said Ellen, who turned toward a jug and some cups.

Mrs. Yashi pulled from a pocket a set of keys, and she gently approached the nude young woman in the chair.  The girl was now looking at her, a little more alert than she had been.  She looked scared, confused, vulnerable.

Mrs. Yashi composed herself before speaking.  "My name is Takako Yashi, but you will address me as Ma'am," she said in a firm, strong voice, "this is my home, and it is where you will be living for a while.  May I ask your name?"

"Charlotte," said the girl, her voice a whisper.  Ellen came over with a cup of water and Charlotte took it with thanks in her eyes.  She lifted it by herself to drink, but Mrs. Yashi could see her wince as the heavy metal cuffs moved on her wrists.

"I will take those off you, Charlotte," she said, holding up the key ring.

Charlotte eyed the ring.  "Please, they hurt," she said.

"Hold out your hands," ordered the old woman and Charlotte obeyed.  In moments Charlotte was free of the cuffs she had worn since Frank had almost captured her, but she was horrified by the state of her wrists.

"You will heal," Mrs. Yashi said, dropping the heavy metal restraints on the floor, "but, unfortunately, you are not free of them forever.  You are still a prisoner, and as such you will still be restrained.  But..." the old woman leaned forward, "if you behave while in my care, I will treat you well and you need not be restrained in this house.  Displease me and you will wear enough chains to change your mind.  Try to escape and you will go live with that pig in his jail.  You would not want to live there, I warn you."

"You're right, I wouldn't," Charlotte replied, feeling better after her drink.  She had just spent much of her day at the jail, getting 'processed', a task that seemed to consist of many personal searches by the Sheriff and his staff.  She'd stayed for a while in one of the jail cells; to call it a pit would have been kind.

Mrs. Yashi moved back, sure her first warning had taken root, although also sure that this new girl would need a few more.  "There are rules here, rules you will live by if you expect to stay on my good side.  But for now you need a bath and some rest.  The girls will tell you what you need to know, later.  Ellen?"

Mrs. Yashi gestured for Ellen to help Charlotte up, and the nude girl was glad for the help.  She was pretty wasted by the day and in pain from the cuffs.  She was also somewhat numb from the trial and the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Clay.  At one point she had gone a little catatonic, thinking that all life was going to hold for her was to be mauled by the fat man, but here she was in a nice house with nice people.  It still seemed like a bit of a dream.

Charlotte was led out of the kitchen and helped up some stairs to a big bathroom, where a tub on legs sat in the middle of the floor.  Lotus was pouring water into it from a large jug, and she gave an encouraging smile to Charlotte as she stumbled in.

"Climb in, girl," said Mrs. Yashi, "and let the others wash you.  Ellen, once she is clean you can put her to bed until supper time."

Ellen, a brunette about Charlotte's age, acknowledged the order, and Mrs. Yashi left.

Charlotte stood still, feeling rather uncomfortable at the prospect of being bathed.  It was bad enough just standing there nude, but after the day she had just had this was an improvement.  Still, both the other women looked slim and fit and Charlotte had never really had a good self-image.  Despite all she had been through, at that moment her strongest feeling was of shame, and she tried to cover up her flabby naked body.

Lotus patted the side of the tub, a helpful smile on her face, "It's okay, really it is.  Come on...er..."

"Charlotte," said Ellen, urging the nude girl gently along, "her name is Charlotte."

"Charlotte, I like that," said Lotus.

"Er...thanks.  I like your name too," Charlotte replied, moving reluctantly closer.

"The water's going to get cold," Ellen said moving to one side.

Charlotte mentally shrugged and lifted a foot.  Stepping in, she found that the water wasn't all that warm anyway, but the mere fact that she was taking a bath helped her spirits.  The shower she had taken that morning was nothing compared to this.

Once she had settled in, Lotus poured another jug of hot water in, bringing up the temperature a little.  Ellen, on the other hand, undid the buttons on her dress and pulled it down to her waist, revealing that she wore nothing underneath it.  She grabbed a washcloth and some soap and approached the tub.

"Say," said Charlotte, "I can do this myself you know."

"We know.  But we were told to give you a bath, and give you a bath we shall," replied Ellen, "so lay back and enjoy it."

It was awkward, mostly for Charlotte although the young woman was sure that for Ellen it wasn't a comfortable task either.  Being bathed at all was something completely new to Charlotte, at least since she was a small child, and having someone run their hands all over  her naked body felt like quite an invasion.  Yet, as the bath continued, Charlotte did begin to relax a little, for there was something soothing about the actions of the sponge on her skin, the warmth of the water, and, Charlotte had to admit, the tender care of the woman bathing her.  That Ellen was topless disturbed her a little, but Charlotte didn't know what to say about that.  So she tried to avoid looking as Ellen leant over her, Ellen's bare breasts rocking back and forth, sometimes brushing against Charlotte's skin.

Lotus, however, smiled a lot and while she didn't get wet, she stayed close and watched.  She also prepared a pile of bandages and liniment, the long chain between her wrists jingling as she moved.

Charlotte eyed the chain and remembered what the old woman had said about keeping her happy.  "So, can you tell me what is going on around here?" she asked.  "Mrs...er, Yatzee, mentioned rules and stuff and I'm pretty lost as to what is expected of me here."

"It's Mrs. Yashi," Lotus said with a laugh, "and of course we will explain all you need to know.  But not right now.  Just trust us.  You have some resting to do before you start to serve your term."

"You know about my trial?" Charlotte asked, surprised.

"Of course.  Everybody does by now.  That's why you're here," said Lotus with a grin.

Charlotte looked puzzled.

Ellen sighed as she scrubbed one of Charlotte's dirty feet.  "We know because we're going through the same thing.  We're also here because of the Judge," she said.

"How long have you been here?" Charlotte asked her.

"I'm not sure," Ellen replied after a moment, her face showing little expression.  "Just a rinse, then you're done."

Charlotte waited patiently while the two young women poured more water over her before standing and climbing out of the tub.  She was toweled off by an enthusiastic Lotus, who seemed up close to be a little older than Charlotte, before Charlotte took the towel from her to dry her own sensitive bits.

Ellen handed her a thin dress.  It was cotton, like the ones the girls were wearing, and once on it felt to Charlotte light enough to almost not be there.  It was modestly cut which made Charlotte feel better, yet her unimpressive shape was rather visible underneath it.

"No underwear?" she asked.

Both women shook their heads.  "Not even shoes.  The dress is really just for around the house.  Mrs. Yashi doesn't like us going around naked.  It's one reason she hates the Sheriff.  He likes us naked TOO much," said Lotus.

"Just around the house?  Do you mean we have to leave it behind when we go out?" Charlotte asked nervously.

Lotus giggled, "Oh no, did I say that?  I meant that sometimes the people you'll be working for will have other things for you to wear.  But this is what you wear here!"

Charlotte wasn't sure that answered her question, but she kept quiet about it while Lotus took a close look at her wrists.  They were badly bruised, and throbbing; but Charlotte had tested her fingers, they all worked, so she wasn't TOO worried about them.

"They'll be alright," Lotus said eventually, and she dabbed some weird-smelling ointment on them before wrapping them up in bandages.

Charlotte looked at Lotus's chain while the girl worked.  It seemed to be just a length of thin chain about two feet long, the ends wrapped around each wrist and locked there with two tiny padlocks.  But the bits around her wrists had a leather sleeve about them, which must have cushioned the hard chain and made them more tolerable to wear.

Lotus caught her looking.  "I got this yesterday," she whispered, "for..."

"Charlotte doesn't need to know why you're wearing that chain!" Ellen snapped from the other side of the bathroom.  She had taken off her dress entirely so she could clean up the tub without getting it wet.  She gave Lotus a sour look.

Charlotte blinked, surprised at the outburst and at the casual nudity, and looked away from Ellen.

Lotus noticed Charlotte's embarrassment and giggled.  "You're going to have to get used to that, Charlie," she said, "Mrs. Yashi doesn't like us messing up our clothes, so sometimes the only way to avoid punishment is to take it off if you're doing something messy."

Charlotte looked at her, suddenly angry, "Okay, I'll try to remember that.  But do me a favor...Don't ever call me Charlie again.  The name's Charlotte."

Lotus's smile faltered a little bit, "I'm sorry, Charlotte. I was just trying to be friendly."

Charlotte sighed and attempted a smile, inwardly berating herself for reacting the way she did, "It's okay...I just don't like being called Charlie...okay?"

Lotus grinned, "Okay."

"Can you take her to her bed, Lotus?" Ellen asked from across the tub.

"Sure, Ellen.  Come on Charlotte!" Lotus led the way and Charlotte followed the woman up another flight of stairs.  Now they were on the third floor which was really the attic if the sloping ceiling was any indication.  It was all one big room, but a finished one, with real walls and floor.  There were six beds in the room, all spread out, and at the far end was a single closet.  Near the stairs, a couple of ratty looking couches were aranged in an L shape, with a low table in front of them.  Lotus bounced across the room to one of the beds.  "You can have this one, no one else is using it," she said.

"Thanks," Charlotte answered, moving more slowly.

"It's a nice bed, you'll like it," Lotus padded over to the closet.  "In here is where we hang our clothes, although, none of them really belong to us.  All we do is pick out a dress in the morning."  She gave Charlotte an apprising look, "I wasn't sure about your size, so if that dress doesn't fit you well, you can always find another.  Besides, it won't be long before you lose some weight and build up some muscle."

Caught a little by surprise at the personal remark, Charlotte hugged herself, "What do you mean?"

"It's just that...well.  We can get worked hard sometimes, and if you aren't fit now you will be soon.  You should have seen Ellen when she first came here, she was a BIG girl!"  Lotus giggled and Charlotte was beginning to think that the woman wasn't quite all there.
"Judy was a rail, but she bulked up a bit, and Silas was a wimp!" continued the blonde.

"Judy?  Silas?" Charlotte asked.

"Oh yeah.  You'll meet Judy at supper...maybe.  She's out serving today.  I would have been too but Mrs. Yashi wanted us here because of you coming in.  Silas you might not meet for a while, the guys aren't kept here."  Lotus actually looked upset at that.

Charlotte was amazed.  She had been surprised to find out that Ellen and Lotus were in the same boat as her, but to also find out that there were more!  "How many...are you?" she asked.

"That's it, except for Guido.  The guys live over at the mine and don't come to town much.  They have it a lot harder than we do I'm afraid.  But here it's just the four of us now."

"Were there others?" Charlotte asked her.

"Sure...but you shouldn't worry about that.  You're supposed to be napping now anyway, so jump into bed will ya?"  Lotus gestured at the bed before bending low and picking up something, her wrist chain clanking against the wooden floor.  To Charlotte's horror, what Lotus had picked up was a cuff on a chain.

"What's that for?" she asked nervously.

"Well...when in bed, we have to wear these.  It just goes on your ankle, and it doesn't hurt or anything.  Mrs. Yashi says it is just to deter us from having second thoughts in the dark of night.  It's okay."

"I don't think so," Charlotte said.

Lotus gave her an encouraging smile, "It's okay, really.  If you're good then this is about the only restraint you have to wear around here.  It's nothing.  Now, get on the bed...please?"

Charlotte didn't want to, but she did as she was asked.  Once she was lying down Lotus carefully closed the cuff about Charlotte's left ankle.

"Think of it this way," Lotus said, looking Charlotte in the eye, "wearing this is a whole lot better than spending the night in jail.  You'll be fine.  Ellen will come up and release you for supper."

"Thanks," said Charlotte, who was in too much shock to really say much of anything else.

Lotus came around the bed and took one of Charlotte's hands in hers, "You'll adjust, and when you do you'll see that it isn't really bad here.  You just have to be strong!"  She gave Charlotte's hand a squeeze and then headed for the stairs.  "We'll come get you for supper, get some sleep," were her parting remarks.

Charlotte didn't know what to think.  A part of her was scared to death about what her immediate future might hold for her.  But another part saw how well, relatively speaking, she had been treated since arriving at Mrs. Yashi's.  Maybe things would work out, she thought.

Eventually though, her exhausted body succumbed to the first real bed it had rested on in days, and Charlotte fell asleep.


"So there's no sign of her, huh?" Frank said a few hours earlier.  He and Red had spent an hour in the saloon, a comfortable place although a bit old-fashioned.  Red thought it looked just like it had come out of an old western, and even though he had lived in the States most of his life, he was still Russian enough to be a little excited about being in the old west.

Frank had amused himself by watching his partner get involved in an actual poker game running quietly in the corner.  In an hour, Red had practically cleaned them out.

While Frank watched Red play with the natives, he thought about what was going on.  Earlier he had gotten acurate maps of the area, and he knew there wasn't supposed to be any significant human habitation for fifty miles.  Yet here they were in a town that wasn't even on the map.  Not on the grid either, if the lack of electric lights was any indication.  Something stunk.

And now the fat Sheriff was telling them that he had called pretty much everyone and no one had seen a naked, handcuffed girl during the past few days.

"So I guess," continued Clay, "that there ain't no reason for you fellas to hang around."

"No, I guess not," Frank said, standing up.  The men shook hands and Frank led his partner out to their car.  He remained silent until they were on their way out of town.

"What do you think, Moose?" asked Red, who was no slouch himself.

Frank took a deep breath and let it out slowly before answering, "She's there...somewhere.  I can feel it."

"Next step?" Red asked him.

"We go tell 'Daddy'."


Charlotte met the fourth girl, Judy, at supper.  Or more accurately she saw Judy for the first time when supper was almost over.

The meal had been nicely informal, with both Lotus and Ellen doing the cooking while Mrs. Yashi and Charlotte sat at the kitchen table and watched.  Charlotte thought the old woman rather reserved, but there was no disguising the concern the woman had over her injured wrists or her treatment at the hands of Clay.  Charlotte listened politely while Mrs Yashi spoke...at length...about what she thought of the fat man.

The speech continued on into the meal, and while Charlotte had many questions about what she was supposed to do here, she wisely let the old woman have her say.

Charlotte didn't mind that much, for the food was very good and only reminded the girl about how hungry she really was.  She cleaned her plate, twice, generating looks from both Ellen and Lotus.

It was toward the end of this feast that Lotus glanced out the window.  Her normally happy expression dimmed and she looked over at Mrs. Yashi.  "Judy's back," she said.

Mrs. Yashi paused, her face a mask, before using her cane to get her to her feet.  The others rose too and Charlotte stood to see what was happening.  The entire group went out onto the porch.

Just inside the fence stood a man and a young black woman.  The man was dressed in faded overalls and a blue shirt, black boots on his feet.  The woman was barefoot and looked to be wearing a brown potato sack.  She also appeared to have a white piece of cloth wrapped around her head, gagging her, the cloth a sharp contrast to her chocolate-colored skin.

The man was in the process of pulling the sack off her body, lifting it over her head to reveal that she was naked underneath it.  Charlotte winced when she saw the state of the girl.  Her arms were bound behind her at elbow and wrist, while another cord around her waist trapped her hands in the small of her back.  She was filthy, as if she had been running through red clay all day, and had some red stripes on her back and buttocks and looked like she couldn't stand straight.  Other than that she looked much like the other girls, slim, well muscled, but with very long, straight black hair.

The man rolled the sack dress up in his hands while the girl stood silently in front of him.  He had an expression of disgust on his face, which he turned on the women on the porch.

"This one needs some sorting out," he said, "my men don't appreciate her sass.  She's there for one thing only, and it ain't to open her mouth to talk."

"We'll take care of her, Mr. Sable," Mrs. Yashi said slowly, staring at the man with equal venom.

"I bet you will," replied Sable.  He looked at Charlotte, who felt her blood run cold. "That the new one?" Sable asked, "maybe we'll try her out next week."

"I'm afraid that she will not be ready for you that soon, Mr Sable," replied the old woman.

"Don't fuck with me, she's already ready.  All she has to do is open her legs."  He laughed as if that was the funniest thing he'd ever heard.

Mrs. Yashi bristled, but said nothing.  Instead she ordered Ellen to go get the unfortunate girl and take her inside.

"Get off my property, Mr. Sable," she eventually said to the man who finally stopped laughing.

"Your property, huh?  Only because the Judge says so," he said with a sneer.

"My husband and I bought this property before you were born, Mr. Sable.  It is still mine."

Sable looked at her, then spat on the ground.  "You're lucky it's worthless, old woman," he said, before turning to leave.

Ellen was now coming up the beaten path with Judy, Lotus moving to help her.  The bound girl moved stiffly and it was obvious that she had been well used by Sable's men, her naked body showing signs of sexual use.

Mrs. Yashi turned away in order to compose herself, and only then noticed that Charlotte was no longer with them.  Concerned she went inside, trusting the other girls to know what to do with Judy.  She had to search the house for a few minutes, but she eventually found Charlotte curled up in a corner in the parlor.

Mrs. Yashi could see that Charlotte was afraid.  She sighed, knowing what was going through the younger woman's head.

"You must not be scared, Charlotte," she said.

"Why not?  You saw her!" was Charlotte's reply.

"Yes. Judy was treated harshly.  Sable and his men have no...respect...for you...for us."

"Is that what I have to look forward to?" Charlotte asked, her frightened voice cracking a little.  "Is that why I'm here?  To be gang raped?"

Mrs. Yashi shook her head, "No, Charlotte.  You're not here for that, although certainly you will take your turn eventually with Sable and his men."

"NO!" yelled Charlotte

"YES!" the old woman yelled right back at her.  "You WILL take your turn, for that is a part of your sentence!  That is a part of your price for life!  And it is a SMALL price to pay!"

That comment threw Charlotte for a moment, breaking through and confusing her.  "Small?" she asked.

"Yes...small.  You will be working for a great many people in the town, and almost all will treat you well if you behave and do as they ask.  But Sable and his miners are the worst of the lot, and unfortunately their only need from us is what a woman can naturally provide for a man.  What you saw today is NOT what you will be going through every day.  Only if you try to escape will your life here end up like that each day, for then you will no longer have my protection and will go live with Clay.  Once a month with those men assures you that you won't have to be with them, or anyone like them, the rest of the time.  Do you understand me girl?"

Charlotte looked up, still afraid, but with understanding.  She didn't like it, and the knowledge that soon she would have to go through what Judy apparently went through scared her to the bone.  But she was now aware of the alternatives.

"Answer me, Charlotte," said Mrs. Yashi, glaring down at her.

"I...I understand...Ma'am."

Mrs. Yashi nodded and stepped back, "Get up."

Charlotte slowly rose to her feet and stood nervously before the old woman.

"You need not worry about seeing those men soon," said the old woman, prodding Charlotte gently with her cane.  "You are too out of shape to give them much sport, and trust me you need to be able to keep them entertained if you wish to stay on their good side.  We have to find you work that will tone you up, make you fit!"

"Yes Ma'am," Charlotte replied, knowing that what the old woman said was true.

The old woman sighed and leaned on her cane, "Go help the others take care of Judy, and mind Ellen.  She is head girl here and you will obey her.  Tomorrow, you work.  Go!"

"Yes Ma'am," Charlotte said once more, and she nodded before walking quickly out of the room.

Confused, she went upstairs to find the rest of the women in the bathroom.  Lotus was preparing another bath while Ellen was trying to untie the rope about Judy's elbows.

Charlotte approached the group carefully and smiled a greeting.

"Hey," said Judy, glancing at her, "you must be the new girl."

Charlotte nodded.  Judy looked like hell, and her expression told all that she was in pain.  Yet the girl didn't seem bowed by her experience that day.  Instead she looked angry, and Charlotte could see a strength in this woman that not even a gang bang could pound out.

Ellen swore, something that Charlotte came to know later that was unusual for the normally calm woman.  She was having a hard time with the knot.

"Can't you just cut it?" Charlotte suggested.

All three other women looked at her.  "No," Ellen said, "Sable expects us to undo all the ropes and the gag, wash them, and then keep them for the next girl to wear."

"You're kidding," Charlotte said.

Ellen and Judy shook their heads, "That's not all.  When he comes for whoever's next, he expects to find them waiting at the gate, already gagged and tied up."

"That's sick!" Charlotte said with feeling.

"Tell me about it," said Judy.

"So who IS next?"

None of the women spoke, but Ellen glanced at Lotus who looked away.

"Judy, are you...okay?" asked Charlotte, who figured a change of subject was best.

Judy didn't look at her.  "I'll be fine," she said eventually.

Ellen gave up on the knot, "Charlotte, try to get this undone will you?  I think your nails are longer than mine."

Charlotte nervously moved behind Judy and started work on the knot.  Up close, she could smell the sex on the bound woman and tried not to gag.  She could also see red marks from what looked like a belt, and sucked in her breath.  She remembered a number of times wearing marks like this herself, her overly controlling father doling out the punishment when she was a kid.  She tried to forget about it and instead concentrated on the knot.  Charlotte could see that Judy's elbows were pulled together and Charlotte wondered if her elbows would ever meet like that.  But she figured the strain had to be enormous for Judy's arms and shoulders looked tight as hell.  Charlotte also felt odd standing so close to a naked woman, close enough to smell her musk and the semen of the men that had just had her.

It was unnerving.

"Got it," she said as the knot came loose finally.  She unwound the rope and Judy sighed in relief as her elbows parted.  In seconds her hands were also untied and the girl made her way to the bathtub.

Ellen and Lotus took over, taking care of Judy as they had earlier taken cared of Charlotte, and the new girl wondered how long they had been together.  She also wondered about what her next two years would be like, getting raped once a month.  She knew that a worse fate awaited her if she tried to escape, but Charlotte couldn't help thinking that if the opportunity arose, she would have to take it.  What else could she do?

Her worries hung with her the rest of the evening, as she and the other women quietly played cards in their attic room after cleaning up in the kitchen.  Charlotte was too confused about her day to want to talk about it, and none of the others pressed her.  So conversation, what there was of it, hovered around who was doing what in the outside world regarding entertainment.

"You mean, Tom and Nicole?" Judy said sadly, "Oh no!"

Charlotte shrugged and tried not to look at the girl.  Now that they were off duty, so to speak, Judy had hung up the dress she had worn that evening and now sat with them naked.  The marks on her body were very visible to the rest of the group despite her dark skin, and Charlotte surmised that was why everyone was so down.

Lotus had also shucked her clothing and silently played cards while the others talked.
Charlotte was amazed that the two girls could be so casual about their nudity, and wondered again what was in store for her.  Would Charlotte's future here make her as cavalier?  Charlotte doubted it.  But she knew that tomorrow was going to be her first day on the job, and it scared her.  Still, the other girls, while beaten, didn't look broken; so Charlotte decided that it might not be as bad as she thought.

But late that night, as she lay in her bed, her ankle once again trapped in its cuff, Charlotte heard quiet weeping from where Judy slept.  And she knew that if even someone as strong as Judy could get beaten down, then she didn't stand a chance.  She had to find a way to leave.

end 6.