Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: Full Of Beans
The lock on the door turned. Rachel sat up as she always did when he entered the room. He sat beside her. As he always did. He rested his large hand on her naked knee. As he always did. He reeked of stale tobacco and sweat. As he always did. Rachel stared blankly ahead, her breathing calm and controlled. She had learned, painfully learned, not to resist, fight, shed a tear or beg. But to wait. And accept. But worse, be thankful.
But today was different. He handed her a soft, fresh smelling towel and led her out of the room to the bathroom. She gazed at her reflection in the dirty mirror but a ghost stared back. Dirty, matted hair stuck to her washed out skin. Her once twinkling blue eyes were now pallid sunken orbs. A split of red on her lip and dull purple on her cheek provided the only colour to her existence. Splashing cold water over her face didn’t wake her from the melancholy, didn’t erase the neglect or rescue her from her squalor.
He stood in the doorway, handing her jeans and a t shirt. “We’re going out.”
Stepping out into the bright sunlight hurt her eyes but she couldn’t shield them. She was a stranger to the outside world. Her senses awakened, absorbing every sound, smell, feel, taste. But it had to be a trick. She sat on the hot leather seat as he drove away from her prison.
“I’m getting me a new girl.” He puffed on another cigarette. “Aren’t you gonna say something?”
“I’m dead inside.”
“You think I’m gonna kill you.”
“Well, you know I like my games. I have one more. I’m getting me a new girl so either way, you’re not coming back with me.” He stopped the car in a cloud of dust. “I know you don’t actually care whether you live or die right now but what if I said I was gonna set you free?”
“I’d ask what the catch is.”
He laughed and stepped from the car. “You see these barrels? They’re full to bursting with goodness.”
Rachel saw the barrels. Piled high with dried beans and pulses. A rainbow of colour she hadn’t seen in a long time; she had given up counting the days, weeks and months when she realised there was no end, no help and no escape.
“I call this Full of Beans. You know I like me beans.” He draped an arm across her thin shoulders. “Now, I’m not gonna ask you to eat your way to the bottom. I’m not even gonna ask you to carry them. But I can’t take you back. So what are we doing here?” He looked at Rachel, slouched and unmoved by his words. “Cheer up, this is your chance to go. I’m setting you free. You could at least smile.”
Rachel forced her lips to curl, splitting the cut open.
“Now, all you have to do is pick the right barrel. Somewhere in one of those barrels is a key. If you pick the key, you get to drive away in that jeep over there.” He pointed to a rusty old heap in the background.
Still, she stood silently.
“Now, you have three guesses. That’s it.”
“What if I choose wrong?”
“Ah, well, you see there are a few empty barrels and a few with other items in, items that, well, when you see them, you’ll know. But i’m fair. If you get the key, even on your third go, the jeep is yours.”
She sighed. Of course the odds were ridiculously against her. One key. Several barrels. Three guesses. A desolate space.
“I’ll leave you alone to your thoughts. It’s a beautiful day,” he said, walking back to his car. He sat and watched her as she stood, not even her hair blowing in the breeze. “Get on with it!”
He rummaged in his holdall for a beer. “Well what do you know,” he said to himself as he pulled out a set of keys. “I guess she won’t be going in the jeep after all.”
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x