“You mean someone is telling you to do all of this shit to me?” I asked. “Who is it?”
“That’s not your concern. Not yet, anyway,” Kerstan replied shaking his head. “I get paid a great deal of money for the other girls and their services, but for you ... See, you are a special case. I am to break you down more and more each day and report back to your new owner. Each day I get paid a greater interest sum for what I report back. I can’t send a defiant girl to a man who is paying such a price, so to break you, I will destroy everything around you and make you feel more pain than you’ve ever physically or emotionally have felt.”
“Why do I have to fuck you in the meantime?” I asked, an enormous headache suddenly taking over.
“That’s just for fun. I’ve had you here for a long time and was not, until recently, given the okay to start your break down and reconstruction. Until then I was not allowed to touch you, but now I am,” he explained with a smile.
I broke down sobbing. It wasn’t because I was sad and it wasn’t because I was set up, it was because I allowed my actions to hurt others around me again. I was such a failure at being a good person and I only cared about myself. And that’s what drove Theo away. That’s what took Betje and Margit away from the home and what cost Minikin her virginity in such a brutal fashion.
“Shh, don’t cry,” he said putting his arm around my shoulders. “I appear a bastard around the others because I have to be stern with them. They fear me because they know what I am now capable of with you. But I allow you certain privileges, such as your name and wandering freely in the gardens, because I see how greatly you care for the others, when I cannot.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” I said through my sobs. “I just want this to be done and over with. Please, Kerstan, I’m begging you to let me take Minikin away from here. I’ll come back, I promise you, I’ll come back, but she doesn’t deserve to suffer because of my arrogance.”
“I can’t allow that,” he replied quietly.
An instant bout of nausea rolled over me, causing me to lunge for the bowl again. This was a no win situation. I was stuck fucking a man I hated, but thoroughly seemed to enjoy the act. I promised a girl that I would do my best to protect her and get her out of here, but only sit and watch while men force themselves on her.
“Who is it?” I gasped, reaching for some more toilet paper to clean my mouth. “Who is doing this to me?”
Instead of answering me, he stood up and got me to my feet. He reached for another few pieces of paper and cleaned my mouth completely before tossing his and mine in the toilet and flushing it. Kerstan turned the faucet on and checked the temperature of the water before he slightly bent me over and began to wash my face for me. When he was done, he pulled off his fancy vest and wiped my face dry.
I looked at him and wondered
how he could be so gentle and assumingly caring in one moment but smash a tray in someone’s face a few moments before? What was wrong with him?
“What can I do to convince you to let me take her away?” I asked stubbornly.
Kerstan sighed heavily and shook his head. I wanted to save what was left of her. I wanted something that I had broken to have a chance to be fixed and something to be able to love being alive again.
“I can’t let her out of this life per se, but if it makes you rest easier, I can arrange to have her go where Betje went; to a kinder house,” he said, looking into my eyes.
My lower lip trembled, but I felt a smile cross my face. Betje would take care of her once Minikin said my name. If she would even mention me.
“Can I write a letter to Betje? To let her know I’ve been thinking about her? Please?” I asked.
Kerstan nodded, “So then you agree to this? Minikin is to go where Betje went?”
Do I have a choice?
“Yes. I agree. But I want her to go tonight. And I want to be able to say good-bye.”
Kerstan smiled, “You ask for too many things, Amity. She cannot leave until it is arranged. That will take at least a day or two. I will allow you to say good-bye to her and allow you to give her the note intended for Betje, but you will dictate it to me and I will write it.”
“Can I at least write my own name on it? And hers?” I asked quietly.
He took a step closer to me and lifted my chin gently with the tips of his fingers. I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine as a single tear rolled down my face.
“It will all be over soon, Lieve. I promise,” he said, before kissing me gently and leaving me alone in my beautiful dress in the dirt stained bathroom.
Two days later on a cool, Sunday morning, I was standing at the doors of the estate holding Minikin tightly in my arms. She was crying because she didn’t want to leave without me, but I told her that this would be my way of keeping her safe. I also told her that she would have a friend as soon as she got there and all she would have to do is give her the envelope.
I closed my eyes tightly when I heard the sound of the car tires stopping on the cobblestone driveway and willed myself to let her go.
“I’ll miss you, Minnie,” I said affectionately. Even though I had spent most of my time trying to push her away, I would miss her brief company.