Chapter 19 One Foot in Front of the Other

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It hadn't been what Hank expected. Of course, he hadn't really had much time to expect anything anyway. But the experience that overcame him was completely alien to anything he ever encountered. He was pretty sure it was mostly because he had never been a little girl before. But now, in all the information going into his brain from his sensory organs, it would seem he was a little girl. But not just any little girl. He was a little girl named Rachel. He experienced himself wearing a poofy, bright red dress and dancing around gleefully to the tune of an airplane overhead in what Rachel's brain remembered to be her back yard in the summer of 1934. He noticed the pretty sparkles that shone at random on the ruffles of the dress. He felt his eyelashes bat as he shared Rachel's dream of being the most glamorous princess in all the land. But then, dark clouds cast over the sun and an all-encompassing shadow covered the ground before them and Hank felt Rachel's stomach twist like a rag being wrung. The shadow took the shape of a large man as Rachel began to cry.

"It's okay, darlin’. Daddy just wants to play with his little girl," a rough voice said from behind them.

After only a short few minutes of being a girl, Hank experienced the most horrible thing a little girl can be made to endure. Not just once but several times. It quickly became clear to Hank that Rachel's brothers took after their father in more than just looks. Before long, Hank was experiencing puberty all over again but from an undiscovered spectrum well contrasting the first. All the while he also experienced a form of slavery as well. A mental slavery, a sexual one, and the general sort as well.

Rachel cooked, cleaned, and let herself be violated in more ways than just physical. She was passed around by the three of them like a rag doll on any given night. But then, it all changed. She was seventeen and walking down a dirt road at night, smoking a cigarette, going anywhere but home. She knew what was waiting for her. She was now hours late and would get it much worse than any other given night. The corn fields adorned both sides of the road like a princess's long golden curls down each side of her face. Rachel cried thinking of that long-lost little princess inside of her. They had killed her little princess long ago. Well before, she learned to use her body as a means of getting what she wanted with anyone but her family. Why not use what she had to get out of class, or get a little cash, or even get a free ride out of town? She had tried that once. It worked so far as getting out of town, but her father had found her. Then came the worst beatings of her life followed by the most terrifying assault her father ever put her through.

Coyotes were singing their tune in the background of the full moon as headlights from a motorcar turned around the corner up ahead of her. Before she could get herself hidden between a couple rows of corn, the car slowed as it pulled up to where she was. It came to a complete stop and the window opened, revealing a strange smile attached to a blonde boy who looked like he was in his early twenties. Hank recognized him right away. Peter hadn't changed at all in nearly a century.

"Hey, dish, you want a ride somewhere?"

Hank felt himself blush and simultaneously heard and felt a high-pitched squeal come through his chest and out of his mouth in a slight giggle.

"Sure, handsome. Where you headed?" Hank felt Rachel's vocal cords vibrate into speech.

"Anywhere you want, gorgeous."

"Anywhere but here will do."

"Well, get in then," he said smiling widely.

Hank couldn't help but notice Rachel almost consciously, but not quite, realizing for herself that something was strange about that smile. Whatever it had been was out of focus. He felt her rationalize that it must have just been her imagination. Peter reached across the seat of the black Ford Model T and opened the door. Rachel, blushing, got in and closed it beside her as Peter put the automobile into gear and began to let off the clutch, making the car push forward.

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