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Susie Smith's Children's Stories

The Stained-Glass Window

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The stained-glass window. Dark figure of a woman wearing a black dress with a red rose on the front. Her black hair pulled up in a bun, dark red lips on an expressionless face, eyes downcast. She is surrounded by ruby colored glass, circled by a thin band of clear, then framed with small rectangles of multi-colored glass.

A girl sits alone in the dark. A lighthouse, somewhere in the distance, illuminates the window at steady intervals. With each rotation, the girl doesn’t feel so alone as long as she can see the glass woman. But then the light fades and she is in the dark again.

Samantha isn’t sure how long it has been since the men took her from her home. She had lost track of how many days had passed, marked only by the steady, yet gloomy light coming through the window.

There were times she had wished the window wasn’t so dark. Her prison would be brighter, and there would be no deep shadows covering the room. Now she was glad she couldn’t see better. What exploring she dared to do revealed a shambles of splintered furniture and rotted cloth. She didn’t want to know what could be living in those decaying piles.

At least the men had left her alone. She only saw them when they brought food or emptied the potty. But if they hadn’t taken her for some sick pleasure, What did they want? If kidnapping her for ransom was the plan, they were in for a rude awakening. Her family was poor and could never afford to pay them. What would the men do to her when they realized this? Would they kill her, or just leave her here to starve?

No, that couldn’t be it. The men would have given up on getting a ransom long ago. She had counted a few months of days before she lost count. No one would negotiate that long, no matter how much money they expected to get. Ransom was out of the question.

Then why had they taken her? The men never made a sound when they came in. She almost wanted them to threaten her. At least it would be another voice. It was maddening, the way they remained silent even when she screamed at them. She had stopped trying to get them to talk. She realized the futility early on. They never even looked at her. It was almost as if they didn’t know she was in the room.

They always had a sad expression on their faces. Did they feel sorry for her, perhaps regretting taking her? If so, then why not just let her go? Didn’t they know what this place was doing to her?

Samantha had been 14 when she came here, two weeks after her birthday to be exact. She wondered how old she was now. She had outgrown the clothes she had been wearing at the time of her abduction. The men provided her with new ones, or at least other clothes. They had been nowhere near new, but at least they were clean. Her old clothes were filthy, as she was all over. In all this time, she had never been allowed to bathe. The stink of her own body drowned out the smell of the rotting room around her. She learned you could get used to anything if forced to.

Samantha had begun talking to the woman in the stained-glass window. She felt that she had a friend in the glass woman.

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