Day 10 of 30 days of Fiction: “10) Write a scene focused around a musical instrument.” Tir na Cali, and a bit weird.
Jolene had never thought that her passable skill with the guitar might end up being her downfall.
Her daddy’d given her that guitar on her sixteenth birthday; it was a very pretty, very expensive instrument, to replace the one he’d tripped over and broken. She cherished, it loved it, and learned to play better than she had ever before, to be close to worth it.
She played in seedy bars and clubs for what money she could earn, doing that as a sideline to stripping in even seedier places, saving up for college, saving up for a real musical education. She wasn’t bad, and she got better every night, but she wasn’t the best, not by a long shot.
So when the handsome man with teeth too smooth and white told her he thought she was the best he’d ever heard, she figured it for a come-on line and didn’t get her hopes up, kept the flirting light and didn’t give him her real number.
That didn’t keep him from drugging her in the alleyway and kidnapping her, of course, but at least she wasn’t disappointed by a fictional record contract.
He dragged her away to a foreign land, locked a collar around her neck, and sold her to a man who demanded that she dance, and demanded that she play for him.
Dance she would do, finding him no more obnoxious and quite a bit cleaner than her former audience, but as for play…
“Not without my guitar.” Beat her, starve her, threaten her, it did not matter. She would not play without her guitar.
“Your instrument is far away, back in America,” her new owner coaxed. “This one is fine, is expensive, cost more than you did” (which was a lie, but she did not know that).
“I won’t play without my guitar,” she insisted. Beaten again, starved more, threatened and cajoled; they could not make her play.
“We will give you your freedom if you will play,” he offered. Another lie, of course, but she did not know that.
“Now without my guitar.” By now, it was a mantra, an echo of the girl she had been, a song of its own.
They looked, then. She hadn’t come cheap, as pretty girls don’t, in Tir na Cali, and she would soon waste to nothing. Pawn shops, music shops, junkyards; they could not find the damn thing. Finally, one of her master’s slaves thought to ask Jolene where she had last seen it, and she laughed, a small and hacking thing.
“In my locker at the club,” she told the hapless servant. There was little left of her; her wounds had become infected. But her master’s agents had finally found her guitar; they paid the club owner fifty dollars for it, and brought the damned thing to the emaciated slave.
“Was it worth it?” her master asked her, as she wrapped around her instrument. She looked up at him with sunken eyes and smiled.
“It’s my guitar,” she told him, and played.
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