Reluctant Participant - By Mizeta Moon

It was cold and the concrete was abrasive to the thin soles of her flimsy shoes. The wind kept lifting her short skirt and she wanted to seek shelter but with a sick child in a motel room she couldn’t turn back. She didn’t want to be a whore but time was running out. If she didn’t pay rent in the morning the street would be their new home. Abandoned by the man who promised her a new life in a new country she only had her body to sell, having lost everything to a war that destroyed all in its path. 

A car slowed and she could see hungry eyes scanning her but she must not have been the right type as the man seeking temporary thrills accelerated and disappeared into the night. The wind blew harder and she shivered beneath the see-through shawl affording a glimpse of her tiny breasts. She wished she was more voluptuous but couldn’t change what nature provided. Perhaps she’d need to seek sustenance from a shelter. The problem with that was that resources were stretched thin by the escalation in poverty and homelessness. How could a recent immigrant expect prioritization when displaced natives were struggling to survive? 

Her feet felt like blocks of ice and her calves were growing numb. Snow began to fall. It had been two days since her last meal. Her baby needed medicine and was going to die if she couldn’t make money soon. 

Approaching headlights gave her hope. It was late and she was the only girl on the street. Servicing someone in a warm car could turn her life around. When a sedan pulled to the curb and a door opened, she scurried to jump in before the opportunity was lost. When the police found her body lying beneath the Hawthorne bridge the next morning, they labeled her as just another whore who took the risk and paid the price. When the motel owner called about a dead baby in one of his rooms, a patrol car swung by but there was nothing they could do. Later that day, a maid cleaned the room after the baby was sent to the morgue. The cops asked about the man who’d rented the room for the deceased but discovered it was paid for with a stolen credit card. With nothing to go on they pursued other crimes. No one knew her name or where she came from. Another Jane Doe to bury in a pauper’s grave.     

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