Beyond the River Chp 1

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When you’re young the world is your own imaginary place where you can make things happen or disappear.
In Kindergarden things were simple. My parents were my hero’s; my mother was the only one in the world who could cook, and my dad knew everything.
I had a lot of friends and would play tag and wolf and all the usual games. Every day I couldn’t rush any faster to the blue and green building with the clouds painted on it. It was my piece of heaven.
In Middle school I still had my friends and was a real Teacher’s Pet. It was the years when homework was welcomed warmly and A’s was everywhere on Report cards.
But then I reached High school.
Everything changed immediately. My parents could not understand why I became so quiet and brooding. They thought it was probably my teenage years. I disappeared slowly and in my place came a lonely, sad girl who felt she had no place in the world.
When you reach high school, you graduate from childhood to adulthood in our town. Most girls are so excited about going to the special place. I was also excited. It was described to me as the promise land. A place where anything was possible. When you walked passed the building you would only see happy girls coming out. The boys didn’t have to go to the place. They were completely jealous of us girls.
But once you reached the place all those fantasies about it disappeared. For me it did. The other girls still seemed satisfied, like robots they would dwell through the halls everyday following the normal routine. Normal. It was everything but normal.
I gave the place a nickname, the Centre of H*ll. From outside it looked pretty, like an expensive private school. But from inside it was a prison, where people would tell you what to do and where lives were destroyed. We were all broken. You would never have guessed that we came from loving families. Loving. It was everything but that. My parents knew what they were sending me to. How could they do that to me?
The boys were taught that they owned the world. That they were gods from heaven and that God send women for their pleasure to own and run.
We were told that we were nothing, the lowest on this earth. That we should be grateful that we were even made to live.
I felt like dying in that place. I tried. Once I stole scissors from the girl who slept in the bed next to me. I tried to cut myself, but I was too dumb to know where. We weren’t taught where the main artery was. How the heart worked. I cut wherever I could find. It was useless, I was still in this world. Stuck.
Luckily, I had one good friend, Sarah. Without her I don’t know how I would have survived that first month. We were both scared, but together we helped each other forget. We pretended everything was fine.
One day I lost her. She couldn’t take it anymore. She slipped out the main door and tried to escape. I still don’t know which route she took, but all I know is she never came back. Whatever they did to her, I didn’t want that to happen to me. They told us she was transferred to another school for being naughty. I knew that I would never be able to escape that place, alive.
Books were my way to escape. I would read about places I never knew about and imagined myself in those places actually being happy and taken care of.
Then one day they decided we were getting too smart and to aware of the world outside. They took all my precious books away. That night I cried in my bed. Very softly so no one could yell at me and tell me to be quiet.
They took away everything from me: my freedom, my friend, my happiness, my life. And now my dreams.
The nights were terrifying. Strange men would come in and take pieces of our soul. One night I thought if I placed my hands besides my body on the covers they wouldn’t be able to do anything. I stayed awake all night, afraid.
I heard the door open. I kept my eyes close and pretended to be asleep. I heard his footsteps as he came closer. He went to all the beds besides me, I heard his hard breathing, his pants falling to the ground. One of the girls woke up and he placed his hand over her mouth. She was still new. We all started that way, confused still trying to save ourselves. Later we realised it wouldn’t help. You should just lay still and pray it would go pass.
I waited anxiously for him to reach my bed, to know what he would do. But all he did was roughly tare the covers away from me. I wanted to reach out and pull it back up and scream: “No!” but I knew I would be in trouble then. A hard beating would be waiting for me the next day.
I felt myself cry and scream inside of me. I kept my eyes tightly closed. I felt numb. After he pulled his pants up and walked out, I cried in my pillow. It hurt really bad, it always did. The pain inside of me was worse and the outer pain. I felt dirty, I hated myself for it. I am stupid, I am a sl*t, I thought.
I remembered the first day we arrived there. We were a talkative and loud bunch. But as time went passed we became silent. Our voices were stolen from us.
Instead of going to classes, we went to these dark bedrooms. We would wait there for the “teacher” to come. He’d demand we take our underwear off and he would start touching us. His hands would go into places and we’d want to scream of pain. Then came the broken glass and the candle. The burning candle was probably the worse part. We had to stand still as he waved it over our parts. If not you would be punched in the face. It happened once to me. I fell to the ground and he yelled at me to stand up. I couldn’t. He kicked me so hard that my whole body crawled into itself.
Then every Sunday one girl would get the wonderful chance to go to the holy place, as they called it. There you’d meet the headmaster. He would smile at you and talk softly to you and put his hand on your shoulder. He’d ask you if you were okay and give you a lollipop. The first time you’ll think, finally, someone I can trust and you’d tell him everything. You’d cry as you do. He would only look at you and take you to a room. As he opened the door, you’d see candles everywhere and a bed with white net draping around it. There would be soft music playing. You’d want to run away, knowing what was coming.
It hurt more than when the “teachers” did it. The unspoken things he did to you in that room would terrify even the strongest grownup. Your lips would bleed and inside your mouth it felt raw.
In the halls we all walked with our heads down, our bodies couldn’t stand up straight. We would see no one and feel nothing. Our faces were without expressions.
There was one room that rotted. Once I walked passed it. I was still new. A “teacher” stood behind me and said,
“Go on, go in and see.”
I was curious so I opened the door. Dead bodies laid everywhere. I felt the puke coming up in my throat and I couldn’t keep it in. He laughed as I looked down at the yellow puddle.
Thinking about it made me sick. My throat still hurts of the acid as I think back.
There were fights also. Girls would fight with each other in the bathrooms on Wednesdays. One girl would be thrown into the cubicle with a broken face and blood everywhere. She would start crying and call the winner a cow. The others would laugh and yell out to the winner:
“The sl*t is dead! The sl*t is dead!”
You would run to your room, afraid that you’d be next.
They also smoked. I still don’t know where they got it. The rolled up newspaper with speed inside. .
One day a girl gave me one. It felt good. I felt my body loosen up. I felt my eyes get seductive. I had a beat in my step. I broke out in a sweat. The reason the girls smoked is it helped when they had to go to “class”. It didn’t help afterwards though.
In our third year there was a big commotion one day. The boys from the opposite school was coming.
Each one took a girl to a “classroom”. ‘during it. I felt like crying.

He kept calling me names during it. He looked at me in disgust. It hurt. How could he call me that?
The towns was across a river. It was separated from the over towns. No one knew anything of this town. When strangers came into town, they would act as if nothing was happening. Not that they would have know anyhow. We were all kept inside.
Even the local police knew. They all felt it was right. I didn’t even know something like police existed, though.
One night I decided I would try. I went in to the office, something that was completely dangerous, and got the keys to the main door. I opened the locks and ran outside in the dark night. The stone street was cold and I was barefoot. I only had my nightie on.
I ran until I saw a building with light shining through the windows. In front of the building were words. It read Police Station. I knocked viciously on the door. I heard someone coming closer and the door opened.
A man with a red moustache looked at me.
“Yes?”
“Please you have to help me. I’m from the academy. You have to get me away from them. I have no one else to help me.”
“Come,” he told me and walked to his cruiser.
“As he drove, I felt safe. Finally. But then I saw the familiar building. He was taking me back. I tried to open the door but it was locked.
“You just sit still, young lady,” he said cruel.
I didn’t want to climb out of the car. But he took my hand harshly and he dragged me to the door. A “teacher” opened and when he saw me he looked furious. They dragged me a little room and punched me and kicked me. It reeked of the stench of dead bodies and blood was over the room’s walls. They took knives and cut my arms and legs. I screamed a shrieking scream as loud as I could. Then the headmaster appeared.
“Don’t kill her,” he said.
I was so relieved.
“I want her to suffer for the rest of her days,” he turned to me. “From now on you’ll eat once a week. You’ll be treated brutally and you’ll be locked in this room.”
They closed the door hard. I looked around me and burst out in tears. I was stuck even more now.





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