The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom

Hello, Nerdy Bloggers! Nerdy Girl here. Yes, I know I’ve missed a couple of blog posts. Biiiiig changes are happening in the world of Nerdy Girl that I don’t want to say just yet. 😉 Perhaps in a future blog post! But for this week I’d like to get back on track by sharing with you a short one-shot I wrote for a character that I roleplay, named Candra Pouli. I role play her in the Once Upon A Time fandom. Her story is fairly sad and highly intriguing, and I love playing her. However, she is also a difficult character to write because I have to put my mind into places I’d rather not typically journey in order to fully understand the mind of her character. I enjoy it because I enjoy a challenge. But it also presents heart break, such as the one-shot below. If you decide to read further, please note that the following is mature. There may be content in the paragraphs below that trigger some people. You have been warned!


[[DURING THE FIRST CURSE]]

[[TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE]]

 

 

She had no choice.

She stumbled into the wall. Clutching at her side, fingers digging pleadingly into soft, brown skin, she coughed violently. Her stomach tensed with the action and another groan of discomfort rumbled in her throat. She threw her head back, eyes squeezed shut and mouth twisted into a grimace, and let out a small cry of pain.

Normally she wouldn’t even allow herself this expression of anguish, but she was alone now and no one was around to see or hear the weakness erupting from her insides. With a shaky hand, she moved her arm from her abdomen up to her face to touch the tender, purple flesh that swelled her left eye shut almost completely. Tears stung at the edges of her vision and spilled down the colored knot on her cheek. She gasped a little at how sensitive the flesh was to the touch, and forced the tears back from falling further.

She was unstable. Her legs quivered below her but she had to get inside. Had to find the one spot in this Godforsaken place that she could hide and no one would find her. Slowly, tired and aching feet dragged across the carpet toward the double doors that led to her most hated room in her entire house. She grabbed the ripped sleeve of her blouse before her shirt could fall completely off of her small frame, revealing the scars and bruises beneath. Hand stretched out, she pushed the deceivingly white doors to her bedroom open.

Inside was the place where all of her hopes and dreams died every night. Red walls closed in on her. Tools and toys and instruments of pleasure and torture cast dark shadows around her. And in the center was the typically well-maintained bed that was now a mess of scattered pillows, torn fabric, and rumpled sheets. In the center of it was the worst sight of all.

A twenty dollar bill.

A measly twenty was all he had given her, and like a starving pup, she had accepted it out of desperation. All of that for twenty bucks. She couldn’t even stand to look at it.

She had no choice.

Limping into the room, she clutched the tall pole that made up one corner of her canopy bed, leaning into the cool wood as if it could quell this fire in her body. It hurt. Everything hurt. She had had violent clients in the past but none like this. None that had left her in such a disarray that it was a miracle she was not hospitalized for her injuries. Her arm once again wrapped around her abdomen. Had he broken ribs? She didn’t know what cracked ribs felt like, but there was an awful lot of pain underneath that skin to be anything else. The cut on her forearm trickled a small stream of crimson across her almond skin, smearing into what remained of her blouse and tight, frayed skirt.

She stood there for another minute, trying desperately to somehow catch her breath without feeling as if a dagger was entering her lungs, before she gave up and kept moving. Into the bathroom she stumbled, catching herself hard on the porcelain sink just as her right ankle gave out.

She let out a little cry of pain and tried to right herself. Her good eye focused on the porcelain beneath her rigid fingers. Broken nails cut into the white ceramic, fingers holding on so tightly that her knuckles went white. She dare not look at herself in the mirror. She didn’t think she could bare to see the reflection staring back at her. Yet, she knew she must. She had to assess the damage, take it in, figure out how to fix it by tomorrow.

With a deep and agonizing breath, Candra slowly raised her head. When her eyes locked onto the woman staring back at her, she didn’t even gasp. She made absolutely no sound. Silent, brown eyes bore into the figure that stared back.

Half of her face was swollen. No longer could the dark brown iris of her left eye be seen beneath the lumpy, purple and black skin. A cut sliced tightly across her raised cheek. The reddened flesh surrounding the black eye stretched up into her forehead and partly into her hair line. On the other side, her raven hair stuck out in matted clumps where his fingers had pulled too tightly. Her lips, once soft and lush, now dragged downward on one side where a crimson line cracked the flesh, surrounded by more purplish skin. Dried scarlet dotted her nostril and chin. Below the soft curve of her jaw, several long, thin marks stretched across the width of her neck. But no matter how hard he squeezed, she just… wouldn’t die. Even when she’d wished she would.

Candra lifted an arm to gently touch the marks on her neck. That was all it took for the shredded fabric to fall the rest of the way off of her shoulders. Black lacy bra still mostly intact, her eyes drifted to the rest of the darkened spots that dotted her torso randomly and colored the areas where her fishnets had been torn open. Only one leg stayed fully covered. The fabric had been shredded away from the other. Beneath the arm still cradling her side, she could see a large patch of darkened, raised skin. That’s where he had kicked her.

She had fought, but not hard. She could have kicked his ass… she could have killed him. Why… why didn’t she? Was she so strapped for cash she was hoping he would have paid more? After all, hadn’t he gotten what he wanted? She’d been the punching bag. She’d let him do anything he had wanted. She’d let him force her into things. That’s the way it was supposed to work. She was supposed to give them what they wanted and they were supposed to pay her for it. Twenty bucks… twenty bucks was all she was worth? Her body broken, her insides screaming, her spirit defeated… all it took was twenty bucks?

The anger and hurt swelled inside of her and contorted her already grotesque expression. Candra turned from the creature in the mirror, not catching the flicker of orange in her eye before she limped back to that horrid room where her job was done. She dragged her injured ankle behind her as she opened the door to her closet. Crumpling to her knees, she crawled inside and shut the door.

The quarters were tight, cramped, and secluded. The darkness swam in her vision. She pulled her knees up as the sobs broke through and her chest heaved. The walls of the closet seemed to close in on her but she remained. It was a cage, this place, but she needed it. She had no place to put these emotions, this pain. It had to stay right here. It couldn’t leave. When she came out of this closet, things would be back to normal. She would be stable once again, and she would be able to work. Twenty bucks was not going to pay her rent.

She had no choice.

This was her safe place, where she could let loose. Where she could be herself. Where she could be human. Outside of the walls of this quiet, hidden place, Candra had to die and the Phoenix had to rise. She was not a person to the rest of this town. She was a worker. A dancer. A creature of the night. She deserved no better than the stray dogs that roamed the alleys behind Eternal Fire. When men looked at her, they saw an object of lust. A toy. A trophy. They didn’t see Candra. They only saw the creature she had become.

Something familiar pulled at the back of her mind but she couldn’t grab hold of it long enough to bring it into her consciousness. It sent a chill down her spine that instantly froze the fire constantly burning in her veins. De Ja Vu, though about what she couldn’t place. But it made her sick to her stomach, which only increased the pain in her belly.

How was she going to hide this at work tomorrow? Surely Luce would notice, and even if he didn’t… Cole definitely would. No amount of makeup and smiles could fool him. He could read her like a book. And what would he do when he saw the damage to her face and body? What would he think? She couldn’t just out her client, as he would surely demand her do. Once word got out that she divulged sensitive client information, she would be ruined. Her reputation, what little she still had, would be shredded.

She had no choice.

She had to keep servicing customers if she wanted to eat, to live. And with every customer, she buried her thoughts and her feelings. And with every customer, her humanity slipped away little by little. Her heart cracked just a little more. Her spirit chipped away.

But what else could she do but move on?

She had no choice. She never did.

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