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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Sometimes, I feel like a duckling. A baby who hasn’t fully gripped walking yet. So, I move my feet and waddle to and fro.. to and fro. Frustrated that I can’t walk like Mama Duck. But… shouldn’t it be enough that I’m trying? Even if I make mistakes? 


A few weeks later….

She set the bags down on the table and unzipped her coat. A quick trip to the local market had turned into a few hours while she bought food items for the whole week. It was chilly outside today and she was glad that she had her winter coat. Course, it didn’t beat New York but it was a close second. Before she began to take the items out of the bags, she flicked on the small nearby television complementary of her apartment complex.  A news reporter appeared on the screen and she sighed and reached into her bags. Tonight, she thought she’d make some Mediterranean salad with a homemade vinaigrette and some fruit salad. Tomorrow, something more hearty since it was still very cold outside.

She was proud of herself. She’d continued going to the weekly scheduled sessions with Dr. Gupta and was amazed at the progress she felt she was making. Sometimes, they would just sit in her office and laugh. She’d tried to get Gupta to share bits of her life and to her surprise… she had managed to get some tidbits out of her. Dr. Gupta was a young 33 years old and already a practicing clinical psychologist. Not only was that impressive but she also had a boo. While Gupta tried to skirt around that subject, she tried every time to bring that up. She was not going to let up until she spilled the beans. Smiling to herself, she sighed. As she laid the contents of the bags on the counter, the thought about the first time she had tried cooking came across her mind. Tightening her jaw she gripped the bags. Why when she was thinking about all the good times did a bad memory have to come up? Swallowing tightly, she felt the memory come forth and squeezed her eyes tight. She could never forgot her firsts. 



“Sweetheart, do you like Daddy?” A gruff voice asked in the darkness as fingers slid across her skin. She buried her face into the mattress and tightened her legs together, the feeling of something sticky still in between. 

“You playing shy now baby?” His touch made her shiver and she wanted to bite his fingers off. 

“N-No…” At her tone, the man smirked. 

“Daddy’s hungry.” His breath was rank with the smell of cigarettes and booze and it made her eyes water. It didn’t phase her anymore. Hungry was a code word. A word meaning he wanted more sex. More of her being. She felt empty as she slowly sat up and turned to face him. His eyes grew a glow with lust and his fingers skimmed down her breasts, still forming and growing. 

“You’re such a good girl Ebere.” 

“Thank you Daddy.” She said in an almost robotic tone before pressing her small hands on his course chest. 

“I’m glad we have this time to spend together. Don’t you?” She gently climbed on top of him and looked into his eyes, not truly seeing. 

“Yes…me too.” The man had become a blur. She’d come in contact with so many of them that after a while they blurred together into one big blob of a face. 

“Pete trained you well. You know just what to do without even being asked.” He was one who she had come to think secretly envied the man he called Pete. When he would request her, he always made her say such strange things… things that made her feel dirty. Things about how she liked him better and the thing between his legs better than Pete. It was always Pete with this one. 

“Thank you…” He grinned underneath her and reached up to slide his fingers across her lips. 

“This time I’m not hungry for the sweet stuff. I’m actually hungry.” Her hips which had started to move as if in automatic motion stopped. He wanted food? 

“Oh…” He chuckled, parting her lips. 

“Oh? Can you cook? Did Pete teach you how to do that?” 

“I can cook.” 

“Good girl. Why don’t you go fix Daddy somethin?” She nodded and slowly got up off of his lap and let the sheet fall away from her body. Not caring about clothes, she reached over onto the counter and put up her hair. 

“I’ll be in there.” The man’s gaze was like that of a snake and it made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. 

“Okay baby.”  She made her way into the kitchen and fixed something she always made with her grandmother: Mac and Cheese and hot dogs. As she stirred the generic cheese mix into the noodles, her legs began to tremble and she felt the wetness ease down her legs. It felt like  urine but much too sticky. Too much for her body to hold or handle. Her hands soon began to shake and tears threatened to fall from her eyes. She heard the bed creak as the man got up and made his way into the kitchen. 

“Mm. Smells good.” She bit her lip and reached up to blot the tears. 

“T-Thank you.” 


Hot, heavy tears streamed down her face and she wasn’t sure if the loud ragged sounds were coming from her or not. She hugged herself tightly and pressed her forehead against the wood of the cabinet. She wasn’t aware that she had dropped the carton of milk or that it was seeping into her jeans. 

“No… no no no no…no….” She cried, the tears non stop. She laid to her side in the puddle of milk and rocked, wrapping her arms around herself. A few minutes turned into hours and soon the tears that had come from her hurting bruised heart had dried and all that remained was a dry and arid stare above her at the ceiling. 


“Rae?” She turned eyes on Dr. Gupta who looked concerned. 

“Yeah?” Her voice was flat and showed no emotion or interest. 

“Do you need anything? Any hospital assistance? We can stop this session right now just say the word if you are not feeling well.” Gupta replied with the utmost seriousness, standing up to look at her. 

“No. I’m…I’m good.” 

“No you’re not.” She sighed and resumed looking out of the window. 

“I don’t need any hospital Atmikha. I doubt they can fix what’s going on inside.” 

“What is that exactly?” Again, she had lapsed into silence for a while before she spoke again. 

“The reason why I always repeat the same damn cycle. Why I have so many fucking problems. Why I can’t even let the man I love back in. Why every man scares me… sometimes even my own brothers…” 

“Rae…” She leaned down in her chair and grabbed her journal. 

“I’m going to read some things. I want you to listen.” Gupta sat back down and calmly gave a gentle nod. 

“All ears sweetie.” 



The hand of a man. Such a mundane yet extraordinary thing. A thing that holds such power. Such authority. The ability to hold. Produce. Caress. Hurt. Bruise. Kill. The hand of a man can swallow your entire being in invisibility, intimacy, pain or all three. The power to bring forth prayer. Life. Death. Men don’t know… or else they wouldn’t be so careless with what they do with their hands. Hands that lead to fingers, little trees sprung forth from the big main root. Fingers that have electricity, divine authority. To command, pull, worship. Pleasure. Earth. Water. The seasons and planets all align for this: a man’s hand. 

There laying in the midst of the green lays a woman. Woman being a half of a man. Taken literally from his rib. Apart of him and yet divided. She lays bare, asleep. Her skin as dark as the earth beneath her. Out of the peaceful silence comes forth a hand. Nails black and dirty, the fingers begin to poke and prod, touching places that she gave no permission to feel. Places special and uniquely her own. She sits up and tries to push the hand away but yet comes another one. This one covers her breast with the palm and a laughter comes. She tries to shield her body but yet a third hand, a fourth, a fifth. In between her legs, in her hair, fingers dirty and rotten clogging up her airways. Until all she has left is the taste and touch of the dirt. Her very essence, her femininity taken without so much as a “May I please?” or “Thank you.” Used, every eye she comes in contact with appears vile. 

In this life, she went through until she met the hand of one. One who did not abuse her. Hurt her. Torture her. But yet fear. Fear. I’m scared cries the woman. Empty, her shell walks around looking…seeking to be filled. He can’t be. So I must find it. I must fill the holes. But how? How? 



She was sure she spotted some tears that had welled up in Gupta’s eyes but she didn’t give her a chance to speak. 

“The man who came after my mothers…he still makes me afraid. I hate him. I fear him. And my body hasn’t forgotten him. My mind is terrified Atmikha. I’m so scared that should I meet him again… the one who started my hell on earth… that I’ll lose myself and never be who I know I can be.” Gupta remained silent. She took a deep breath and tightened her fingers. 

“After my first mother abandoned me…I wandered for days. Breaking into bakeries when I was hungry and trying to sleep in warm places. My shoes eventually started to tear apart and my coat started to resemble rags. God knows how long it had been since I had been bathed. And one night… one night… he found me. That was when the life as I knew it began.” 



“Are you hungry?” She had just used a rock to smash into a local grocery store and got as much as she could before darting across the street. She had purposely waited until all of the grown ups were gone and the lights were turned off. She had sat down on the curb and started ripping open the packages and beverages she stole. When she looked up, there was a man standing in front of her with his hands in his pockets. 

“Who you?” She asked, mouth full of sandwich and juice. 

“I’m Peter. What’s your name?” She flared her nostrils and took a few more bites out of her sandwich. 

“Ion talk to strangers.” The man smiled in a friendly way but she stopped chewing and looked at him. Something in her stomach wasn’t sitting right. 

“I see. Your mother must have taught you that. Smart woman.” 

“What you want strange man?” 

“I want to take you off the street. I have a nice big bed and a warm bath and lots of food you can eat.” 

“Nah. I don’t want to go with you strange man.” 

“Tell me something princess… have you heard of the Italian Mafia?” She began to chew again. 

“The what?” He chuckled. 

“The Mafia are a bunch of really powerful people. Big important guys. They can make anybody do anything they want at the snap of a finger.” 

“Okay?” She took another sip of her juice. 

“Listen to me princess. I can get you off the street into a nice home. Where you won’t have to starve anymore and steal things. All I have to do is make a phone call. Would you like that?” She stared at him and his friendly expression. 

“Hm. Do it then. Call them people.” 

“One condition.”


“You gotta come with me.” 


“Cause I want to make sure you’ll be safe.”

“Why you gotta be the one? I don’t trust you. You gon take me to a shelter.”

“No I won’t princess. I promise. No shelters.” 

“No.” She got up and everything in her body screamed to get away from this man. She tightened the lid on her juice and put it back in the plastic bag. She had grabbed enough for a couple days if she ate small. Tightening the basket she had swiped against her ribcage, she sighed. 

“Well bye strange man.” He didn’t say anything as she began to walk away. When she had gotten far enough away from him to feel calm, she let out a big breath. Turning, she didn’t see him or anybody. Dark and drizzling, she bit her lip as she looked around. She turned and before she could see, she felt a sharp pain spread throughout her head. The last thing she remembered was her juice falling out of the basket and spilling out on the concrete. 


“When I woke up, I was laying on the ground and all these men were around me talking about me and poking me.” She said, her throat full of tears. Gupta had a grim expression on her face, her lips tightly pinched. 

“That was the start. Once he figured out I was awake, he had forced me to get bathed and dressed me up like some baby doll. And then that night was hell. He made me do things Atmikha. Things no 8 to 9 year old girl should do. He raped me. Took everything away from me. My virginity. My soul. My innocent delicate essence. All of it. Gone…” Tears had escaped but she couldn’t find it within her to stop talking. She had to talk. It had to come out. 

“The next morning… he forced me to stay with him. I couldn’t leave unless he told me I could. I had to beg him to go to the bathroom. Eat. Had to let him pick out my clothes. Later that day, he took me to meet the big and important men he called La Familia. They loved me. Said I was a cute thing. Thing for him. He told them he was grooming me. That one day, I’d be his most prized possession. And then that night… that second night… he did it all again. Over and over and over again until I became sore, begging him to stop. But he didn’t care. He didn’t care that I was in pain. All that mattered was that he release. He said good girls were quiet and took everything that was given to them. Good girls obeyed. Good girls were grateful…” 


“No! No. I have to finish… please don’t interrupt…” Gupta nodded and tightened her jaw. She was sure she had went over their time for that day. But she had to. Keep going. 

“First it was him. Then his friend. Then the friend’s friend. I don’t remember much. I mean… I had eventually learned to escape by receding into the back of my mind. Shut off my awareness. I learned to become a robot. A lifeless shell. I eventually stopped crying. I stopped getting in the shower and pushing my wash towel in between my legs to get the stickiness out. At 8 years old, they had made me into a soulless lifeless whore. I began to hope that maybe the fluid inside me would fill me and make me whole again. Since I was empty. I was nothing. Anymore.” Finally, her tongue had got stuck and she began to cry. Inside this safe space, she felt like she could let it out. So she began to cry out from the depths of her soul. Loud, anguished screams… tears and snot painted a picture of the deepest pain. Her body trembled and shook and she tightly gripped the chair arms until her fingers hurt. 

“My sweet sister…” Gupta had left her chair and had come to gently wrap her arms around her. 

“Let it out…” She cajoled, gently rubbing her back. She forgot for a moment about the whole Therapist-Client relationship and the professionalism that was always supposed to remain between them. She pressed her face against her stomach and gripped her shirt. 

“Atmikha… how… how could they do this to me? How could they rip my very soul from me and not give a damn? How could they abuse and misuse a child knowing she had nobody? Why…why…” She began to shake her head. 

“I’ve done the same thing… after Hiroto… I went right back to what I knew. Trying to be filled with the essence of men who had no business being inside of me or my spirit… the cycle…all because of him…” 

“Rae…” She turned eyes up to her, the tears still coming down her cheeks. 

“It is up to you to continue that cycle or determine it in yourself to break it.” 

“I can’t live my life this way anymore Atmikha. I can’t.” 

“You don’t have to my dear. It’s your choice. Make it, stick by it and do it.” Dr. Gupta gently tucked a curl behind her ear. 

“I have faith in you Rae. You’re stronger than you think you are! You have more in you than you think. You are far from empty. You have such a beautiful story living right there in your womb. It’s your duty to let it free. I’m proud of you for making this whole month worth it. You’ve pushed, cried, fought me and let me in. I couldn’t be more happy to call you my sister.” She pat her shoulder. 

“You’ll stitch the pieces  of yourself back together. Go home. Journal. Shower. Cry. Laugh. Call me if you feel alone. And next time… we’ll talk about this Hiroto fellow. Is he the one who has your heart?” She let go of Gupta and sat up straight, sniffing. 


“What does that mean? Either you love him or you don’t.” Atmikha said with a playful grin. 

“I…I do love him! It’s just… he’s in the hot seat right now.”

“I want to hear about it next time!” She reached up to wipe her cheeks and slowly stood up on wobbly legs. 

“Okay.” Gupta smiled and playfully nudged her chin with her knuckle. 

“There we go!”

“Sorry about the being over time… I know you got more clients to see!” 

“Don’t worry about it!” 

“See you next week?”

“See you then Rae.” 



A feeling I can’t describe has come over me right now and I can’t begin to explain…The only thing I can say is that I feel like a rebirth is coming. I felt the presence of the Lord for the first time in years tonight. And I just want to come back. I feel like I’m ready to come back. Thanks to Atmikha. And… my never ending talkamatic self… I truly feel peace right now. I feel as though the wading is now full fledged swimming.. jumping. I’m about to make a big splash and when the world is reintroduced to me they won’t know what happened or how. All I know is that I can’t… I can’t wait to finally come home. Home to my Heavenly Father. Home to my peace and sanity. Home. Home to him. Home to all of them. 

Chapter End Notes:

A/N: This was such a rough chapter for me to write you guys. Like seriously. It made me cry. I had to pause so many times like yoo I cannot do it. But, the strength of God got me through. It's a story that we don't talk about, so many women out there who have experienced this and are afraid to speak order to heal. So, it's a narrative that needs to be shared. I thank God I never had to experience anything like this but for those who have... my heart and prayers are with you! Stand strong and in hope sisters, because you ARE loved! You are cherished and have value! You are not filthy or dirty! The Almighty Father loves you more than you all your flaws!! Okay, the next chapter will be the second to last or last chapter for Rae and I'll start with Roto. Thanks for reading. This story is so powerful y'all. 

God bless you! See you guys soon!

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.