Published 17.09.14

This is a piece that was written to demonstrate pacing. I hope it worked!

Human Traffic

At a rundown guesthouse on the outskirts of town, a young Kurdish girl buried her face in the scraggy pink pillows as a man twice her age repeatedly penetrated her. She knew better than to complain; an act of emotion that would not go unpunished.

The man withdrew and lay on his back revelling in the sexual release. She was a good girl this one, and he’d come back to indulge himself as often as possible.

Leyla smiled obediently. ‘Do you have a cigarette mister?’

‘In my jacket, help yourself. You’re a fine thing, you know that?’ He didn’t move.

Leyla reached inside his pocket and pulled out the pack. Rummaging for his lighter she found a second object, a penknife. She took it.

She left the man lying on his back and wandered up the corridor in a lace nightgown bought by her boss, puffing on the cigarette lightly like a Hollywood actress from a bygone era. She was the prettiest of all the girls and she knew he wouldn’t resist. She tapped on the door three times.

‘Come in,’ the deep-throated voice replied.

She pushed the door open and puffed away, stretching her teenage body to show off its beauty. She knew the distraction would eventually prove too much and become the undoing of his careful planning. If there was one thing she’d learned from her customers; a man in love was a man easy to control.

Leyla closed the door and dragged her hands along the desk, puffing and pulling on the cigarette. As she reached his side of the cheap metal office furniture, he was already unbuttoning his jeans.

Moving towards the target, Leyla questioned, for a split second, if she’d have the guts to go through with it. The client had given her a choice. The time had come. The opportunity was this moment.

Her lips curled around the target and he relaxed. He groaned with the sweetest pleasure. And in that rhythmic groaning, Leyla took the knife she had minutes earlier slipped into her g-string, and very slowly moved it under her chin. She was on her knees and only the seat of the chair stood in her way.


Florence traced the outline of the pebbles with her bare toes. It was colder here than anywhere she’d ever been. The open wounds of freshly formed blisters were stinging from the damp. She picked up a pebble and dragged it across her lips. It was salty. Was she on a beach?

Her world had been dark since the day of the kidnapping when she was blindfolded at gunpoint. They hadn’t bound her hands or feet. They didn’t need to. Resistance was met with an invasive hand somewhere intimate.

Sitting on the chilly ground, her clothes soaked with fog, she yearned for the warmth of home and family; thoughts that were interrupted by large footsteps moving closer at a pace that meant trouble. Florence’s body tightened and prepared for the punishment of a groping hand, but the footsteps passed her by and kept going. She was shivering.

The t-shirt and sweatpants she’d been made to wear were oversized, flimsy and smelled of body odour that wasn’t hers. The few voices she heard spoke with funny accents.

Right get them into the van, we’re moving,’ a male voice instructed.

It was warmer in the van. Traveling in the dark at high speed, exhaustion set in. Whispering snores had replaced the restless breathing of the travellers and it was a real bind to stay awake. She didn’t.


Leyla was going in for the kill. She raised the knife. For a split second the groaning became louder. He tapped his feet in time. She knew it was now or never. Thinking about the countless men, she plunged forward with the knife and bit down hard.

‘What the… ‘ His voice trailed off. Before she knew it, he was on his feet and holding her by the neck. ‘You little bitch. You’ll pay for this. You…’

He was damaged. There was blood flowing from the vein she’d hit, but it wasn’t enough.

Leyla raised the knife with the air being squeezed out of her and made the fatal gash. The hole in his neck spat blood on her face and his grip began to loosen. He fell back on his chair. He was dead.

She found the gun in the desk, locked the door behind her and tiptoed back down the corridor. She had gone over this a thousand times, but now the moment was here she wasn’t quite sure how to proceed.

She reached her room. All was quiet. The man had gone. She was covered in blood, but got dressed and headed downstairs. Her hands were shaking and she couldn’t make them stop.

Florence woke up when the van stopped. The doors slid open. A set of strong hands locked on her wrist, pulling her forwards. The surface was hard and cold on her feet. It was a paved road. They were in a city.

‘Hurry up girl. Come on,’ a woman’s voice commandeered.

The floor was warm and soft. The woman removed the blindfold. Florence rubbed her eyes, urging them to focus. When they did, she saw at least ten girls.

‘Not bad this lot. Good looking girls,’ said the woman. ‘She’ll clean up well. Might even be my star girl. Very exotic.’ Chunky fingers with chipped nail polish and nicotine stains lifted Florence’s chin to inspect her face.

‘So you got the money?’

‘Hold your horses. I haven’t inspected all the merchandise yet,’ the woman, hissed. ‘Clothes off,’ she commanded. Florence was still shivering.

Leyla’s timing wasn’t ideal. Ten new recruits were arriving and there were more gun wielding assholes in the house than usual. She had managed to get downstairs before the new girls were unpacked. The only way out was through the reception area. It would only be a matter of time before they discovered the body.

From between the doorframe she had a partial view of the reception room. Leyla recognised one of the men immediately. He had been kind to her when they’d brought her in. He looked nervous. Standing next to a very tall barefoot girl, he kept fidgeting from one foot to the other. Someone left the room and took to the stairs.

‘Just going to get the boss. Don’t go anywhere,’ the woman shouted.

Leyla’s hands were still shaking. She had no idea how to use the gun.

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