Chapter One: Elsa, Where Are You?

"Our time is up, Mister Randolph," I repeated, biting my lower lip until I could taste little specks of blood spurting out.

The clock's high-pitched alarm echoed in a chorus, while its sound escalated in every ring. But it was almost as though Mr. Randolph constructed a potent barrier between us, for his ferocious thrusts only seemed to get worse. His gentle kisses on my bosom evolved into nightmarish slobber attacks. Great…another idiot, just what I need after last week, I sighed. I hated forceful clients, especially if they looked like the bulky, graying fifty year old on top of me now. It made the sex much more painful and the body a lot weaker.

"Mr. Randolph, if you do not stop now," I warned him, "I will have to report you to my boss, who will take the necessary measures to suspend you from this brothel."

This seemed to attract his attention, as he ceased his thrusts and strokes, and proceeded to climb off of me. I knew he would listen; nobody wanted to get kicked out of Santa Nevido's kinkiest brothel.

The man gathered his clothes, putting them on idly, as though he was not already ten minutes over time, the ignorant bastard. Relieved that another idiot was done with, I sat up, clutching a heap of rags that lay at the sole of the bed. Feebly, I slid them over my body, restoring a sense of minute dignity. My underwear straps rubbed brutally against the bruised skin where Mr. Randolph had sunk his nails into. Vowing not to cry, I instead gritted my teeth and waited as the oaf reached into his wallet.

"Two-hundred and thirty, right?" the man spluttered, grappling a clutter of bills.

I nodded weakly, not bothering to correct him that it was only two-hundred. I could just hide the remaining thirty dollars from Vita, and use it buy my way out of this hellhole of a life. Mustering enough energy to collect the money from the oaf, I stood up to accompany him to the door.

Monotonously, certainly without conviction, I repeated the lines that Vita taught me– and the other prostitutes, to say, "Pleasure doing business with you, sir. Please visit us again and ask for me." To my utter disgust, the oaf winked, promising me that the next time he'd come, he would most assuredly ask for Girl twenty-three.

"Walk me to the front door, missy," he urged, "Perhaps I can steal ya to my home."

Humbly refusing the best that I could, I bid the hideous man goodbye. Getting kidnapped and raped was not the topmost of my priorities, although most people, including me, doubted I had any in the first place.

The shrill tune of the clock's alarm grew louder as the sexual moans had stopped, and even the thrusts from next door, Elisa's room, were coming to a gradual end. Haggard and malnourished, I sprawled over on the bed, breathing deeply. My heart throbbed and palpitated, as it always did after another painful sex.

I glanced at the clock. It glared three-twenty in the morning. Hiding the extra thirty dollars with my stash of money, I sunk my head down onto the limp pillow. The bed reeked of sweat and disturbing body odor, undoubtedly from Mr. Randolph. My own cologne mixed with his ghastly odors had created a smell even more unbearable. But I would have to wait another ten minutes before getting out of this room to Vita, who would collect the money, not that I cared to walk or talk, or well…do anything anymore today.

Every time I stared at the eroding planks of blue tiles on the ceiling above me, sharp memories of my old life would come back to me. They were haunting, agonizing in every sense of the word. They were like the salt on the wound… unnecessary and certainly painful. My old life was a secret burden that I had sheltered for the last three years that I had been here at Vita's Brothel. It was an old life that had been filled with eroding blue planks like the ones coating this wall, it was a life in which harlotry was just as common, and it was an old life where love was just as invisible. In ways, my old life was just as bad as the one I led now. But there were also reasons why I wished to go back. These reasons, two very important people, were the only shining light bulbs in my old life. They glowed against the bleakness of every other reality. But our poverty, and lack of ability to sustain ourselves, eventually led to my self-exile from my family, and the two people who really mattered to be: My mother and my sister, Elsa.

"Essie honey, open up," whispered a soothing voice from the other side of the door.

Smiling, although barely, I pushed myself up and staggered to the door. Vita's cheerful face greeted me, as I opened the door. She was wearing a thin lingerie dress that seemed only slightly better than my own. Though Vita had far fewer clients than the girls, her age caught up with her body. Vita, once the legendary beauty of this brothel, and the most successful prostitute in the history of Santa Nevido, now limped in gait, and sported one too many wrinkles of worry. She faced the brunt of it all, being the newest owner of the brothel, Vita was responsible for managing the brothel's business, as well as employing new prostitutes. She had to settle conflicts between the girls, and in addition to everything, Vita still insisted on continuing her own practice. Thirty-eight years old, she was certainly the oldest, and most experienced of the prostitutes, and in so many ways, the motherly figure in all of ours lives.

Vita held out her hand, "How was he, dear?" she asked, with concern etched all over her face. She knew about the troll, Mr. Randolph.

I handed Vita the four 'fifty dollar' bills from Mr. Randolph, feeling slightly guilty for hiding a substantial sum of money.

"He was dastardly, most atrocious," I confessed to Vita. She nodded sympathetically, as she stowed the money away in her brown loafer bag.

"Ernest Randolph, contrary to his name, is not an earnest man, but he is one of our most faithful customers. He never asks us for a compromise in the prices, like the other men seem to…"

My veins bulged, "But the man's a perverse creature. It pities me to know that humans are capable of acquiring such traits as Mr. Randolph's."

"Oh dear, do not get me wrong. I am, by no means, defending the man for his behavior. He has come to this brothel for the past nine years…"

"How pathetic, has he no one else?" I muttered under my breath.

Vita chortled apologetically, "For the past nine years, we have received complaints. I am truly upset that you had to endure his most foulness and that you might have to again, dear. But do realize that should you play the cards correctly, Mr. Randolph is a wealthy man and shall pay you little trinkets for the gratitude."

Certainly I needed as many rewards from my clientele as possible. I grinned, suddenly happier at the prospect of earning some extra money. I had vowed to myself, many months ago, that I would endeavor as many brutal tasks as necessary in order to earn my way out of this brothel. I did not know where or how I would go away, but a part of me assured me that as long as I had the money, my heart and inhibition would take care of me. This single part of me served as my one remaining hope in life. It was the only reason I had not killed myself months ago, as I had come so close to.

"How was the business today? How were your clients?" I asked Vita, not wishing to induce much worry for my caretaker.

Lines of worry did emerge on Vita's face however, as she shrugged, "The profit was mediocre at best. Some of the clients today walked out on our dear girls, claiming that we were not bestowing them with the famed image our brothel should offer. And my clientele was just…" she shuddered.

My heart extended out to Vita. Vita's clients were all regulars, men who were mostly fifty years of age, who had all been having sex with her for the past twenty years, since she first came to the brothel. Even if Vita wanted to stop, she was at an impasse.

"Essie, sweet pea," Vita strained a smile, "Go to your room. Tonight was a late one, I realize that. I will wake you tomorrow around half past seven, so that should give you a few extra hours to satisfy your fatigue."

Hardly, I wanted to snort, however to wake up two hours later was a blessing on most days. From what I had heard, the brothel's previous owners were hardly as sympathetic.

I feigned delight, thanking Vita for her generosity. The poor woman gave me a lackluster hug, and kissed me French style, as we did in the brothel, before she waved me goodnight.

Back in my room, three of my roommates were already long settled in bed. Elisa was still out, of course, as her appointment concluded after mine. She would join us shortly. I did not bother to change, as my wardrobe was limited to less than four pieces of clothing anyway. I merely sprayed the cheap bottle of perfume over my raggedy lingerie, and proceeded to climb onto my upper bunk bed. The room was tiny, in reality, much more fitted for one person, than for five. The two bunk beds took up nearly three quarters of the room, forcing one of us, usually Elisa, to sleep on the floor.

As I covered myself with the flimsy blanket, Elisa walked in. The lights were dimmed, but I could still outline her stature. She unfastened her bodice, which made her breathing much less erratic. Elisa's breasts, released from an insurmountable amount of weight, bounced around somewhat jovially. I looked away as she changed into her nightshirt, although I doubt any of the girls cared for modesty anymore.

"Hi Essie, are you awake?" Elisa asked me, as she slid under her covers. I averted my gaze to Elisa, nodding to her.

Inhaling and exhaling sharply, I replied, "Yes, I just got back not five minutes ago," adding, "How was your day?"

Elisa chuckled half-heartedly, "It was Gregory." I knew what she meant. Gregory was the young man, whose face, Elisa complained, look far too young for the fuck to be remotely decent.

"He looks as though he could pass for a young hormonally charged teenager. There cannot be a way that he is really twenty-two. I mean, he is absolutely horrendous in bed, Essie, and he talks far too much about his new game console, as though I care. I went to high school for five years, and I can tell you that high school boys were just like that. They did not know any better! And, my dear god," Elisa breathed, "His ding dong is but a mere five inches!"

The two of us broke into a fit of laughter. I sympathized with Elisa, as I felt the same thing when I first saw Gregory. He was new five weeks ago, and when Vita introduced him to the girls, we were all stupefied to hear that the red-faced, pudgy boy was actually a matured man. Especially unlucky for Elisa, was that she had to sleep with him, for he had specifically asked for her.

"He's so smitten with me, I doubt I am anymore special than you or anyone, for the matter!" Elisa whined.

I could see how wrong she was. Elisa was not like any of us, she was far more beautiful. All of the girls, some more begrudgingly than others, had to admit that Elisa, with her healthy figure, and mass of thick curly, blond hair, outshined us all in terms of looks. Her face was pleasantly plump, but in a way that accentuated her cheekbones and sweet, cheerful face. All of her features were symmetrical with each other, as though she walked off of a painting. And Elisa's lips, one of her most aesthetic and alluring qualities, was ruby in color. She needed far less make-up than any of us, and certainly had a way of flaunting herself daintily, and in a sophisticated and flattering manner. As unsuccessful as she was in school, she was equally, if not more, successful in looks. I had always believed that had Elisa been born into a more fortunate family, she could have easily modeled. But life just had a way of throwing obstacles at us…

I grinned to myself as Elisa's tirade continued. The girl, despite having the most offers, was still dreadfully in denial over herself.

"And what are you so slyly smiling about? Anyway, how was your client?" Elisa asked me, immediately souring my mood. I glumly replied, hoping that she would ask me no more questions, "Mr. Randolph."

Elisa gasped, cupping her face, "Really?"

I nodded, "Indeed, my good fortune. Do you know of him? It was my first time with him. He has come here for the past nine years, I feel dreadfully sorry for the poor girl who had him."

Choking on her words, Elisa confessed to me that she was the "poor girl" who last had Mr. Randolph.

"The man is a dog, isn't he?" she asked, immensely rueful for me, "I had him for eleven months, and Essie, I apologize for saying this, but the ogre gets worse each month."

I slunk my head back onto my rough hay-filled pillow, biting my tongue. My luck just seemed to get better and better…

Elisa, apparently in a chatty mood, continued to fill me with horror stories about Mr. Randolph, "And when he kissed me, I'd smell beef jerky and onion bites. And he does not take no for an answer. I suppose he did not stop when your session ended, right?"

I nodded.

"Well then, just kick his right knee. That's where his soft spot is, he will groan or whatever, and then clamber off of him," Elisa suggested.

I sincerely thanked her, while a yawn crept in, "Elisa, I think we ought to sleep now. I daresay, Vita said you can wake at seven thirty tomorrow morning, right?"

"Indeed," Elisa replied gleefully, "I think I can finally get my beauty sleep and look pretty like you!" she chuckled.

It never ceased to amuse me that Elisa was still so oblivious.

I bade my companion goodnight, pulling the blanket over my face, and coaxing myself and my sullen mood to fall asleep. I do not quite remember when, or how, but eventually it happened. The last thing I can recall, before I went to sleep, was seeing three stars through the window, shine brightly at me. I decided that the big one would be for my mother, the medium star for me, and the smaller star, the one that looked red, was for my sister. My long lost sister, who I would give up my life for, was gone from me. I had no idea where she was or how she was faring. She would be around eighteen now, still a child. She was very pretty as a child, surely her looks would have blossomed her into a beautiful fairy. That is, if Mother did get a decent job and could feed her. Shuddering to myself and shooing away any tear that had escaped, I closed my eyes.

"Goodnight, Elsa," I whispered, before submitting to sleep.


Greeting fellow readers (if I have any yet, haha)! I have the annoying tendency of starting stories, only to neglect them later on. But I promise that it will not happen this time. I've pretty much outlined Essie's story for the next couple of chapters, and I really like the way it's turning out. So keep with it, you won't be disappointed, I swear =]

I know the language and the time periods might confuse you, I dunno if they had clocks in the 18th/19th centuries, but I just refer to the time so much, that I could not ignore it. And as for the prostitutes' "proper" English…well I tried, and failed miserably at butchering the English language for them, so pretend it's alright.

Also, if there are any grammatical mistakes, misuse of words, etc., then I will get to editing it ASAP, but mentally block them out in the meanwhile.

Hope you enjoyed this chapter, and please remember to review!

-The Authoress