But I knew I’d rather make a break for freedom and be on the run than to just accept whatever my fate was going to be.
I watched as my purchaser went to the cashier to arrange payment while I was pulled down the steps and out of the bright lights that had nearly blinded me.
We came to a stop beside the man who had bought me, and disappointment nearly crushed me as I realized my new owner was the very man who had given me momentary hope.
It was the dark-haired guy from the front row who had briefly met my eyes with what I’d perceived as kindness.
As usual, I’d been so damn wrong.
I blinked as he looked up at me, his expression now filled with anger.
“Cover her and release her!” he barked at the man still holding my chain.
My restraint was removed, and I was handed a dark cover-up that I quickly donned. It was thin, like something a woman would wear to cover a bathing suit, but I gladly pulled the material down over my privates, relieved that I could cover my body.
“Let’s go,” my new nemesis growled into my ear as he took my upper arm to guide me out of the club.
His grip was insistent and firm, but not painfully so.
I moved with him, anxious to get out of a club that was sleazy enough to auction off virgins, not caring whether the women were there willingly or unwillingly.
I had a feeling that nearly every woman being sold was completely unwilling, or had been forced to be here by tragedy.
I’d met two women in the holding area who had been sold off to somebody in a third world country. They’d been tourists in the US for a holiday, normal sightseers in a country that was the land of the free. I’m sure it had rightly never crossed their minds that they’d become victims of a kidnapping, and now it was entirely possible that they might never see their home countries again.
The two travelers had people who loved them back home, and I desperately wanted to help them. But I couldn’t do it as a prisoner.
I stumbled slightly to keep up with the man who now owned me. He wasn’t moving that fast, but my feet were bare. I occasionally stepped on what I assumed were peanut shells, but I was pretty sure I didn’t really want to know if it was anything else.
That’s when I noticed that my latest captor had a weakness, a slight limp to his step that I could probably use to my advantage. It wasn’t much, but considering his massive size and strength, I’d take whatever help I could get.
My heart nearly exploded with relief as I realized that I could probably outrun him if I could just get outside.
He pushed through the heavy wooden doors with a powerful arm, and I welcomed the humid air that suddenly enfolded me.
I took a deep breath, and ended up gasping, trying to suck up the outside air after being in a putrid environment for so long.
My escort released my arm as he motioned toward the parking lot to indicate that he was parked beside the building.
I was scared, but another quote floated into my mind:
Freedom lies in being bold!
I was pretty sure the great poet Robert Frost was responsible for writing that phrase, but I was too terrified to be certain. All I knew was that those words were completely true in my situation.
I had to have courage if I was going to live.
My buyer stepped forward to make his way to the parking lot.
And I took off like a shot in the opposite direction.
“Ruby!” I heard the irritated male bellow, but I didn’t stop.
I was pretty much determined to escape…or die trying.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was in one of the roughest parts of Miami, but I didn’t care. My bare feet kept hitting the pavement, and I told myself I’d rather face the seedy area than to give in to a man who had paid a fortune to own me.
Once I was outside the lights of the club, I was met by darkness. Most of the businesses were closed, and the light was so dim that I couldn’t see where I was going.
But I kept running until I could hear my own ragged breath as I kept pushing forward, getting so close to freedom that I could almost taste it.
Certainly, my nemesis would have to stop because of his bum leg, and if I could just keep going, I knew I could outlast his endurance.
I had far more at stake than he did.
I was out of breath, and in bad shape from the weeks I’d been held captive and inactive, but my drive and energy was strong from being well-fed and terrified.