In the dim light, she sat wearily in the old chair. She could see her brother lying on the bed, his thin frame barely making an outline in the dark of night. Wringing her hands together, she pursed her lips as she wrapped her arms around her stomach. Something would have to change, and soon. She didn’t know how much longer she could go like this, with barely anything to eat and worked to death. It was hard work, picking oranges in the orchard. It was back-breaking work. So much so that with every passing day, with every orange she picked, she couldn’t help but feel she was collecting her due for Charon.
And if she died, who would go out into the field to earn the money to feed her brother? When he was as sickly as he already was.
Doubling over, the young girl covered her face as she brooded over the grave she found herself in. It was far too deep to pull herself out of without the help of another, but who would possibly have the time and money to give her a hand out when each were busy with the depressing reality that made up their lives? The only other possibility, from the way she saw it, was quitting and selling herself, but she was far too proud to consider that. She had made it this long without resorting to such desperate tactics. Even if their clothes were threadbare and their food sparse, she could at least be allowed to maintain her dignity, could she not?
But the situation seemed so hopeless, she could only cry quietly in the shadows. She had used to tell herself that tomorrow would be another day, but after five years worth of empty promises, the words sounded as hollow as her stomach was, and it was all she could do to sob quietly so as to keep her brother oblivious. He felt guilty enough as it was; it wouldn’t do, would it, to reveal the depth of her despair over their predicament?
But just as her father had passed away against her will and left her nothing but debt and a frail sibling to care for, she had next to no say in the matters of her fate and found herself scratching and clawing at the foreman who had been eyeing her for some time and had finally cornered her in the stockroom. Struggling, she swiftly kneed him before scrambling up onto her feet and running out. Slamming the door open, she hurtled into the dingy closet that she paid more than half her pay for before hurriedly gathering up what meager belongings they had. Urging her brother onto his feet, C.C. took hold of his hand and, without waiting for the foreman to make an example out of her like he had the last girl, ran for her life out of their prison and into the bleak, uncaring world that lay beyond.