• The silence that surrounded Michele was deafening. She covered her ears trying to bloke it out, but failed. She waited for a sound, any sound, but nothing came. She sat down on the padded bed, everything in the room was padded since she couldn’t see and blocking out noises. Michele sighed, waiting for someone to save her from this silence. Lying down still fully dressed she imaged what the sky must look like, what colors the flowers are, what shape the clouds were… Michele sighed again, distraught by her limitation.
    Eventually her door open, she sat up quickly eager to hear anything as long as it filled the forsaken silence. Someone walked across the floor and stood over her bed. She looked up at them, or at least where she suspected they were. A hand reached out brushing stray hairs away from her face. The hand was rough and familiar.
    “Father, what news do you bring? What is the sky and the clouds like today?” she asked excited. She waited for his answer, time ticking by slowly as he didn’t respond. “Father?” she called worried due to his silence. Still he didn’t respond.
    She waited alarmed by his silence. Nothing good comes from silence. Finally her father sighed caressing her cheek. “Michele you are no longer mine. Tomorrow you will move, belong to another man. Your curse will no longer tarnish this family.”
    Michele stared silent as tears dripped from her unseeing eyes. Her father moved away, gathering her few passions, not looking at her once. “Why?” she asked in a whisper, staring to sob. Her father left the room finished gathering her thing in a box and carried it out not saying a word, his eyes shining joyfully. Michele sobbed alone in the undisturbed silence.

    Fin waited at the market for the man to arrive. He stood leaning against the wall in an alley. ‘The idiot,’ he thought, ‘To be late to something like this.’ He shook his head; he watched the clouds pass over head. Looking over he saw what he was waiting for.
    An older gentleman with a small gruff beard trotted up looking around nervously, leading a young girl in a blue dress in front of him. The man’s face was lined with age and showed the signs of hard work from his youth. His hair was leaving him and what was left was grey. ‘He is totally going to give away what is about to happen.’ Fin thought discussed. ‘Normally I wouldn’t make deals with men like him, but the girl…’
    He looked at the girl now that they were closer. Her long brown hair was slightly un-kept but pleasantly so, but her bangs fell into her face covering her eyes partially, they would have to be trimmed back. Her figure was delicate, her curves would be defined when she blossomed fully. Fin smirked, she is perfect. He stepped out of the alley where the man could see him. The man rushed over nearly making the girl stumble. Fin scoffed discussed further by the man. ‘I’ll be thankful when this is over.’
    “This is the girl?” Fin asked, wanting to make no mistake. The man stopped in front of him nodding. Fin took a step closer to the girl. She raised her head looking at him with empty eyes. “Are you sure?” Fin asked watching how her head followed him as he moved from side to side.
    “She can feel you moving she can’t see I swear.” The cowardly man whispered, as if the girl wasn’t there. Fin nodded testing this by holding up two fingers in front of her. She looked at his hand eyes still blank, her expression slightly puzzled.
    “How many fingers am I holding up?” Fin asked, watching her closely. She started to raise her hand then stopped herself, jerking it back down by her side.
    “I don’t know,” she whispered. Her expression changed, crestfallen She stared at the ground. Fin smiled pleased then waved his hand at the man getting his attention. The man walked closer to Fin nervously.
    “Your payment,” Fin reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag full of coins. He emptied half of it into the man’s open hands. “Thank you. You may leave if you wish.” The man nodded and trotted away looking as if he just had removed a great weight from his shoulder.
    Fin turned back to the girl, “Now my pet, what is your name?” He took her hand and started leading her down the street, back to his room at the inn, the opposite way of the man.

    Michele didn’t respond at first to the question; she simply followed the man back to where ever they were going. After several minutes, still staring at the ground “Father said-,” she stopped herself remembering what he had told her “He said that I know longer had a name. That the name I was given was for his daughter not me.”
    Michele walked through the streets carefully, feeling all the people around her. ‘Crowds were not good, too many things could happen,’ she thought knowing how easy it would be to get lost.
    The man was silent for a moment. “That shall not do,” He eventually said. “What was your name, then?” the man’s hands were smooth and soft, they weren’t too large either making him seem young, his voice calm but held an edge keeping others from getting close. His steps were swift and sure, so he knew where he was going and was confident in what he was doing.
    “Michele.” Her voice a whisper but he still heard easily
    “Michele you shall stay.” The man said. She nodded resigning herself to fate. She remained silent as did he the rest of the trip. He stopped in front of a building with stairs in front of it. “Watch your step” He cautioned leading her up the stairs. She grimaced, ‘I can’t watch anything.’
    Michele made it up the stairs and followed him into the building. A bell dinged over to her left as he guided her across the room. ‘Must be at the inn, or a market… there were so many places with bells.’ Michele sighed. She didn’t listen as the man talked to the lady behind the desk. He tugged on her hand gently, causing her to look up at him. “Come,” he commanded. Michele did as she was told. He led her to a long towering staircase. They waited a moment, as he decided on what to do.
    After a moment he picked her up carrying her in both arms and took her up the staircase. Michele was shocked and yelped when he had first picked her up. He carried her all the way to a room, shifting her slightly to open the door. She felt his balance shift he kicked the door, listened to the sound of the steps as he carried her across the room. At one point he steps became muffled so there must be a rug. He dropped her on the bed, not expecting this she landed sprawling everywhere.
    He sat in the chair next to the bed watching Michele as she sat back up and fixed her dress. She looked right at him, waiting for him to do something else.
    He sighed, “I forgot all about proper greeting. How are you Michele? My name in Fin, I am ruler of a small country. You are now mine to with as I please. So make yourself comfortable.” He rested his elbow on his knee watching her, judging her reaction.
    “Hello.” Michele responded adding nothing else, tone showing none of her feelings.

    Fin chuckled ‘This girl is most particular. I tell her I’m a prince and she simply says hello.’ He laughed ‘I shall like this one.’ Standing abruptly, making her jump back, Fin leaned over her pinning Michele to the bed. Her feet no long touched the floor and hung loosely over the side of the bed. Fin leaned in closer, straddling her slight frame, he leaned in face mere inches above hers, hands pinned at her side by his.
    Michele squirmed trying to free her hands and get him off. “What are you doing?” she asked nervously as she struggled under him. She squizzed her eyes shut as if it would stop everything from happening.
    Fin chuckled cruelly, “What do you think I doing?” He kissed her neck continuing the charade that he was going to do something wrong with her. He leaned in further his lips barely brushing her, then he quickly kissing her forehead, moving away. She flinched away from the kiss, making him laugh.
    He sat back in his chair watching as her checks turned scarlet when she sat up. She reached up a touched the spot he had kissed. Her eyes conveyed no emotion but her body language did. Kicking off her shoes she pulled them to her chest resting her forehead on her knees. Fin smiled brightly greatly amused by her reaction. ‘She’s perfect,’ he thought thinking of the other girls and how they they’d responded to similar actions.
    “Did I make you uncomfortable?” Fin asked watching her nod her head, still in her knees. “I’m sorry it was simply a test, I didn’t hurt you did I?” the questions were lofty as if he didn’t really care. Michele shook her head no. Fin stood up pacing a bit thinking about his next move. “We leave in the morning,” he announced, “We shall take my carriage back to my estate where you shall be staying from now until I get tired of you.”
    Michele looked up at where he had stopped and nodded. Just then Fin realized that she had nothing with her. “Do you have a change of clothes?”
    “No, fath- he has all my thing.” Michele answered. Her eyes were down cast, voice quiet but no longer a whisper. Fin shook his head discussed yet again by the man he had met earlier ‘Swine, stripping her of everything, including her name.’ He spat on the floor.
    Fin walked back in front of the bed, kneeling to pick up one of her shoes. Michele waited tensely not knowing what he was doing. “Give me your foot,” he commanded, she instantly obliged as he slipped her shoe back on. “Other one.” She slid her leg over the edge of the bed so he could put on her shoe. Straightening back up, he took her hands and pulled her to her feet pulling her to the door.
    Again Fin picked up Michele carrying her down the staircase. He didn’t set her back down until they were outside. “I could have walked on my own” Michele grumbled. Fin smile leading her to the tailors ‘She’s getting more talkative. I wonder why?’

    They stopped at the tailors; Michele could hear the rustle of fabric. Fin walked up to the counter telling the man he was in need of a dress for her. Michele stood still, tense. Fin lead her to a pedal stole.
    “Please step up here.” The tailor said. Michele stepped up nervously, as he undid the ribbon that held the back of her dress closed. It slid off her pooling around her ankles. She carefully stepped out of the dress. “What kind of dress are you looking for today?” the tailor asked Fin assuming he was her guardian.
    “Nothing too fancy, in a blue color, much like her current one, something that would be simple for her to get in and out of. It should be made for everyday wear.” Fin watched her as he said all this. “The sleeves should billow out around her wrist or elbow.”
    Michele shivered from the chill of the store trying to create an image of the dress in her head but falling short without knowing what blue looked like. The tailor nodded seeing if he had anything in her size. He went to the back room looking for a dress that was similar to the one requested. Michele blushed under the full gaze of Fin’s eyes as she was in nothing but her underclothes.
    “The dress is fine with you, isn’t it?”Fin asked his voice hard to figure out. Michele nodded, turning away from him. The silence that followed was awkward, just as Michele had taken a breath to say something they tailor swept in with a swish of fabric. The tailor helped her step into the dress and laced up the back, determining how to adjust it. The fabric was smooth and soft against my skin and fit almost perfectly. Fin stood up, taking a step forward surveying Michele. He walked a complete circle around her taking in every detail.