At twelve years old, Grace Walker, the only daughter of a government maintenance worker, was kidnapped by a gang of Bitzers and condemned to a lifetime of servitude in the Outback. Now, four years later, it is time for her slavery to begin, time for her witness the hell that a group of dark magic wielders known as the Dingoes created in the Outback. As the journey into her new life as a slave to "one of the most ruthless torturers in the Outback" starts to unfold, she begins to learn more about the Dingoes and is forced to take a good look at the life that was taken from her when she was kidnapped.
The gate creaked open and a team of about ten Bitzers led the untraded slaves into the compound. The crowd erupted with questions. Who were the newcomers? Where had they come from? Who owned them? Over the din of the crowd, I could just barely make out the sounds of the Bitzers voices cursing and barking orders. I swept my gaze over the team but Skar wasn’t among them. I shuddered at the thought. As much as I hated him, at least I knew Skar. Since the untraded slaves were brought in today, the Black River convoy would set out to cover their territory tomorrow. I shivered at the thought of one of the Bitzers from this group dragging me through the desert until I was bought by someone. I hated Skar but I wanted a familiar face. Luka stared at the untraded women, a look of fascination in her eyes. One of the slaves, a girl who couldn’t have been more than two or three years older than us, caught her staring. She walked intently towards us, a scowl spreading across her face. She was a few inches taller than Luka and a blonde but that was where the similarities ended. She stopped a few feet away from us.
“What are you looking at?” She snapped.
Luka shrugged. “Who are you?”
The girl gave Luka a dirty look. “What’s it to you?”
“I was just wondering.”
She snorted. “My name’s Leann, not that it matters.”
“We’re nothing. That’s our names to them, nothing. We’re just toys for those stupid pricks out there.”
“What are you? A ten year old?”
Luka shook her head. “I’m fifteen and my friend,” she gestured to me, “just turned sixteen.”
Leann gave a shrill laugh. “Oh damn. I feel bad for your friend there. I’ve met people from this camp before. Your run goes out to Silver Lake.”
“What’s Silver Lake?” I asked.
“Small town, out about a hundred miles or so from Lake Disappointment and Savory Creek, has a decent sized Dingo population. From what I’ve heard there’s one Dingo in particular you should worry about out there.”
“Who?” Luka questioned.
“They say his name’s Rudolfus Lesikar and that his slaves never come back.”
I just stared at Luka, wondering whether or not the name meant anything to her. Maybe her mother had been owned by the guy. Maybe Leann was exaggerating. Luka, however, looked just as horrified by her answer as I felt.
“Y-you mean he kills them?” Luka stuttered.
Leann shrugged. “It’s possible.”
“Wait! I thought they couldn’t kill us!” I blurted out without thinking.
Leann gave another high-pitched laugh that made me wonder whether or not she was entirely sane. “They can do whatever they want to you. Once they buy you, that’s it. You’re completely at their mercy, until they decide otherwise.”
“But surely there’s someone, police or something, that can stop them?”
“What’re you stupid? The Dingoes are the ones in charge out there. They are the police, the military, everything. Believe me, sometimes you’ll wish they’d just kill you.”
I swallowed hard, fighting to suppress a shudder of fear.
“What are they going to do to Grace?” Luka questioned.
I wanted to slap her. Why did she have to ask that? I already had a pretty good guess what the Dingoes would use me for. My mind quickly flashed back to a memory I’d successfully shoved to the back of my brain for the past four years, the memory of everything Davon did, and almost did, to me. That was the only good thing about being kidnapped and locked up in a slave camp exclusively for girls. I never had to see Davon or any other men, except for the occasional glimpse of Fender or the Bitzers who passed through every six weeks. The absence of males from my life, Davon especially, gave me the perfect chance to lock those memories away. It was funny how one short conversation brought it all rushing back. I could picture it as clear as day, the night he jumped me for the first time, the little shed a few miles away from my former house. I could almost smell the musty stench of old straw and mildew that permeated that space. I could feel his hands on me, holding me down. No one would’ve ever thought he could hurt a little girl, one who was only a year younger than him. They were wrong. I shivered. It was too much. I didn’t want to see these things, didn’t want to remember the way my screams sounded in the silent night, didn’t want to think about how the dark concealed my fear perfectly.
“Let’s just say, I hope your friend’s not a virgin,” Leann answered. “Especially if Rudolfus Lesikar gets a hold of her. He’s got quite the bad rep. Rumor has it he's brutal. They say he’s…”
I could hardly breath as the words escaped her lips. I’d just barely escaped Davon that night, the night he almost did the unthinkable, barely got away. A violent shiver ran down my spine. I doubled over, placing my hands on my knees. I got away once, but this time I wouldn’t be so lucky. This time, there was nothing I could do to stop it. This time, I would be at the mercy of someone I didn’t know at all, possibly this Rudolfus Lesikar guy. I wouldn’t have a chance. I looked out at the sunset, ignoring Leann’s rambling. In that moment, it hit me like a speeding freight train. This was it. It was all over. My life, or half-life rather since my real life ended when Skar kidnapped me, was over. There was no trying to pretend it away anymore. This was the end. Nice try, Grace, thanks for playing but it’s all over now. You can’t fight it or run from it anymore. They own you. You’re their slave, theirs to rape or kill or anything in between and you’re powerless to fight against it. I stared at the burning sun, tears forming in the corners of my eyes at the thought. My time had officially run out.
Amanda N. Newman, originally from Burlingham, New York, USA has been writing since she was a child. As a quiet person who didn't make friends easily, she found refuge in writing. Amanda enjoys writing and reading multiple sub-genres of fantasy for readers of varying ages. She currently has self-published two novels in paperback and ebook format.