Nala looked towards the sky as she trudged along. Pray for rain, she thought. It was during the long trek to the market that she was grateful for the thin ruqun, the woven cotton breathed well in the oppressive heat.
“Such a delicate flower, wilting in the sun.”
Nala reloaded the scowl she constantly wore with fresh scorn. She stared ahead and ignored the handsome man. He couldn’t’ve been older than twenty, and the fresh style of his clothes indicated he came from a wealthy clan. Nala knew the best way to combat his advances was to act disinterested with a conviction so profound, he had no choice but to move along.
Nala’s spirit rose slightly as the man walked past her, but the excitement of another noble scorned died as dread replaced it. The man stood beside Hazina, gripping her frail wrist. His ogle was a clear indication of his desires. Hazina’s delicate features were pinched with reluctance.
“Come with me,” he demanded, “I will shower you with gifts and stones as precious as you are. A bountiful…” His eyes lingered on her bosom and he licked his lips. “….woman such as you belongs in my house.”
Nala’s hackles rose as the spoiled man tightened his grip on Hazina. She squirmed, trying to free her wrist.
“Please let me go!” Hazina cried, the discomfort clear in her eyes and on her face. She had seen so much in the last thirteen years.
The man chortled – a belly laugh devoid of cheer, but that dripped with malice. Hazina turned from discomfort to a terror that only victims of the sex trade knew. He yanked on her wrist, pulling her towards him. “Come with me, wench, I will buy you.”
Nala reacted without forethought. The man yelped and rolled on the ground, both hands cupping his manhood. All those within hearing distance of his yelp and subsequent fall to the ground, watched with interest. As the man rolled in the dirt, he moaned and wailed, his pretty clothes gathering the loose dust. Eleven other slaves in the troupe stared at Nala – some in in awe and others in shock. Hazina, however, was horrified.
Nala returned her stare. “You know what life he will force upon you.” She looked down at the man, streaks of dust caked on tears. “In fact,” she shuffled to the man, preparing to lash out again, “perhaps he needs to be taught a lesson!”
“You whore!” he bellowed as he rose to his feet. Nala clenched her fists for another strike, when the chains binding her tightened. She fell back, tripped, and collapsed in the dirt.
Fool! She chastised herself as she looked up into the eyes of the taskmaster for the second time in as many days. This is going to be very bad…