Key Thirteen: Ophelia:
She lay on a low bed of silk sheets in Paradise. She stared at the endless black ceiling. Despite living as both human and an angel, the sky and ceiling looked the same. A vast sea of endlessness that crushed down upon her.
This reminded her of her days in Paris.
She didn’t know what year it was. Unlike most angels, she still had most of her memories of when she was human. She gave from a small town in France when she was eighteen. There was her mother in the picture. There might have been a baby, but they were either dead or didn’t exist at all. She shivered when she tried to remember the little child.
Her town didn’t have much to keep her family afloat. Her mother worked on a nearby farm and was protestant. Her husband died three years after the baby might had been born. The only thing Ophelia could remember about him was that he smelt oranges. But, that is not relevant to the story.
That year, the farm wasn’t doing so well. It looked like a cold winter was heading their way. Her mother was starting to have pain in her joints. The other workers voiced their concerns to her only surviving offspring. She decided to help her mother make more money by going to the city and finding work. Her mother voiced her negative opinions about this.
“You mustn’t do this,” she said. “It’s too dangerous for a girl like you to go out there. I will get well so, I promise.” Her daughter lightly tapped her palm. She shook her head when he mother winced in pain.
“Mama, we have no choice,” she said. “What will happen to us if you get injured on the farm? The nearest hospital is too far away. Plus, the farm is failing this year. Let me help you out. I can find a job in the city easily.”
“Don’t go!” her mother pleaded.
“This is the only way,” she insisted. “Let me do this. We need money to eat and keep our house.” Nevertheless, they argued back and forth.
Her mother turned out to be right.
Three years later, Ophelia ended up on the streets. Granted, the madam did take very good care of her. But, the young whore just wanted to leave. Sadly, the madam would always convince her to stay. Backing up a little bit, Ophelia wasn’t conned into turning tricks in Paris. It all happened by accident, believe it or not.
She had just arrived in Paris at the time. She didn’t have much money on her at the time. She had only managed to gather up enough to take the train to the city. In those times, Paris was more liberated than it was now. What she knew about the city, she heard from the news and her neighbors. On the surface, Paris looked beautiful and harmless. But, the people had the feeling that anything could boil over at any moment. They didn’t seem to have a high opinion about the government.
She clutched what little she had by her side. She didn’t have high expectations for the perfect job in Paris. Maybe, get like a simple job working in a bakery or a store. She had learned some skills from her mother after. But first, she needed a place to stay. She was on her way to the housing place when three men approached her. These muscled beef cakes wore black leather with piercings in their faces. She held her bag as tightly as she could.
“Well hello there,” one of the men said. “I don’t think I seen a pretty young thing like you before.”
“Um… I just moved here for work,” she said. “Could you please excuse me? I have to find some housing for myself.” She started to walk away, but another man grabbed her by the arm. She whipped her head around. His crooked teeth put her off.
“Aw, come on,” he said. “We just met. Can’t you spare us a little time to talk?” She looked calm on the outside, but screamed on the inside. She shook her head.
“I really have to go,” she said. The men didn’t seem to take a hint. She tried again to leave.
“Please let me go?” she asked. “I don’t have the time.”
“Then make time,” their leader said.
“Excuse me!” a woman’s voice shouted. “What are you doing with one of my girls?” All of four of them looked up to see a woman in a dark miniskirt and black flowing blouse. She held a cigarette holder between her slender fingers. Ophelia gave her a blank stare. The men looked at this new woman.
“And why should we?” the leader asked.
“Like I said,” the older woman asked. “She’s one of my girls.” The biker men looked at their captive. The new girl didn’t like the sound of that, but really wanted to get away from them. She quickly nodded.
“Yes!” she said. The bikers snorted and walked off. She looked at her potential savior.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Not a problem, dear,” the older woman said. She looked the new girl up and down. “Say, have you eaten yet?” Ophelia’s stomach growled.
“No,” she admitted. The woman walked over and put her arm around her new target.
“Come on,” she said. “I know the perfect café to get lunch from.”
“But, I still need housing,” the younger woman said.
“That’s okay. You can stay with me for the night.”
“Are… Are you sure that’s okay?”
“But I don’t have enough to pay for rent. I’m still looking for a job and…”
The older woman turned her head. “A job you say?”
“Ah! I can help you out, dear.”
The younger woman eyed her. “Really?” Her new acquittance put her arm around her shoulders.
“Yeah,” she said. “We’ll talk over lunch.” The woman dragged her new target further down the road.
It started out minor. She would just answer the phone. The agreement started out simple enough. She would just have to be flirty to the callers. Nothing too dirty. She was raised in a protestant home after. Her madam showed her how to do it.
“You have to sound all sexy as you do it,” she said.
“Sexy?” the new hire asked.
“Yes,” the madam said. The new hire didn’t feel good about this. But, she needed the money for her mother and their house. A few phone calls wouldn’t hurt, right? She forced herself to smile.
“Okay,” she said. Her boss patted her on the back.
“You’ll do fine,” she said. “Don’t worry about it.” The new hire felt like squirming at the other woman’s touch. It didn’t take like for the terms of their agreement to change. She didn’t expect to get so popular over the phone lines. Some of the clients wanted to see her in person. The madam had no choice but to “promote” her best call girl.
“This will only be temporary,” she said. But it never is, is it? Now, the madam was very kind to her. She also paid rather handsomely. However, this wasn’t the life that Ophelia wanted. She was able to send money back home, but she felt so dirty about it. She couldn’t come home because of her job. She couldn’t bear to see the disappointment in her mother’s eyes if she discovered that her daughter became a whore. She tried leaving many times. Every morning, she would tell herself that today would be the day. In the end, the madam would always talk her out of leaving.
Things grew worse when the whore became pregnant.
It would take a calamity the size of the world to break this endless cycle.
Ophelia opened her eyes.
“Leda, is that you?” she asked.
Yes. We need to talk.