Chapter 1: Broken Feet

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Trudging up the cold unforgiving marble staircase was a welcoming experience after hours of gruelling ballet training. I decided against removing my ballet flats as I felt far too tired to do so, although as a consequence every step I took the soft pink leather caressed the ever-present cuts on my feet. The electrifying stinging it caused although being a common sensation, I doubt I'd ever get used to it.

As I reached the living quarters I gave a nod of acknowledgement to some of the girls who were already beginning to inspect the new bag of ballet flats and pointe shoes placed on our beds. These bags came every few days as we'd easily tarnish a pair every day or so. We were all expected to sew our own shoes upon receiving them, although some girls were more prone to waste their spare time conversing with each other. Friendships in the academy were strongly prohibited, and from experience, they were not worth it, the punishments served far overshadowed the gratification of some camaraderie.

I sat down on the edge of my bed and began to sew, glancing over at the girls sitting in a circle on the floor chatting. Fortunately, I'd never been quite that daft. Only once in the entirety of being at the academy had I shared a friendship. Ordinarily upon discovering friendships, the academy would force the friends to fight each other until one would have to kill the other, luckily for myself and Natalia we were far too important for the academy to have lost, so naturally, they sent Natalia away to train with the KGB under strict conditions.

The academy insisted on keeping me and ever since I had sworn off friendship.

I had finished sewing my shoes placed them down on the bed and went to clean the cuts on my feet. I'd noticed some of the girls had neglected to finish their shoes to preoccupied talking to comprehend how much time had passed by. I shook my head almost feeling empathy for them, a handler would be here soon to inspect our shoes and take away our sewing needles.

As if on queue she waltzes in, a stern glare adorning her face, every girl got up, took their shoes and placed them on their respective beds, and closed the sewing kit next to the shoes and stood at the foot of their beds head facing down not daring to speak unless spoken to. She sauntered down the line, asking each girl to present their sewing kit and shoes. All was well until she made it to Bed five, there stood a pale feeble girl visibly quivering in trepidation, she and her friends knew what was coming.

"Shoes?" our handler asked, the girl was so frightened she was unable to speak, she only shook her head. "YOUR SHOES NOW" she reverberated, intimidating the small girl further. The girl unsteadily turned and picked up her shoes which of course were not finished. She had only sewed her flats not her pointe shoes and I visibly gulped anticipating what was to come.

"Put the flats on" she ordered, "This is an example for all of you"

"I want three pirouettes en pointe" she demand

"But I do not have pointe shoes on" she resounded nervously. I inwardly grimaced this is going to end terribly, although it is a far nicer punishment than usual, this handler must be in a good mood today.

"Don't question me" she states

I can practically see the girl giving herself a pep talk as she goes to prep for her turns, this punishment is impossible to do without pointe shoes and she knows it. She is completely off balance when she gets up on her toes, possibly from fear, although it's not doing her any favours her feet look as though they were about to snap. She gets through a horrendous looking first turn and her ankle starts to wobble. Then halfway through the second turn, her ankle entirely rolls to the side and she tumbles to the floor.

She's in agony and everyone knows it.

"Get up" Madame commands, she complies stumbling up, "again".

She preps without complaint obviously learning her lesson, unfortunately for her though this time she does make it through her first turn, but she falls again.

Madame was relentless and made her get up and do it again and again and again and again. This seemed to go on for almost twenty minutes until finally, her ankle shattered, compound fracture, bone fully protruding out her leg.

There was a light gasp and silent tears, she knew better than to make a scene. Madame pointed at two other girls, "carry her down to the infirmary" she instructed, but then she turned, and a finger fell on me, "you with me". 

Skaði || S. RogersWhere stories live. Discover now