• buried my face in my hands. This has to end. Only this week, there has been three disappearances in Albany. Young girls taken from their families, who have no idea what has happened.
    But I do. This is what happened every year. I see all this on the news, but there are never any leads, so the cases go cold. But I am going to change that.
    One of my "friends" was a regular there. When I told him that I would like a girl to myself, he gave me the information and said he would tell the organization that I would be going there myself to buy one. But the way he said it, they're all just a good piece of a**.
    I'm not going to sit on my couch and listen to this. I'm going to do something about it. I've saved over three thousand dollars, and I'm going to use it for this.
    The trailer park was only about ten miles from where I lived, so I was ready to leave. For about the only useful thing I've ever done.
    About a half an hour later, I pulled off the road and parked. I was jittery, but there was no turning back now. I saw two armed men walking over to meet me. I clenched my fists with anger. I'm not sure I want to know what the girls go through here.
    "Are you ready to pick a young woman to take home?", one of the nasty-looking guards asked me. He looked nervous, maybe because people usually didn't do s**t like this.
    "I am", I said, reeling with disgust as a fake cheesy grin lit my face. This is not happening....
    I walked into the hall where the girls were lined up. I almost vomited when I saw their bruises. The youngest one couldn't have been eleven.
    Then I saw her. The girl with the sad, soulful eyes. Shiny, dark hair, given her Asian heritage. She looked to be about fifteen.
    What really caught me was the faint glimmer of hope in her otherwise sad, tired eyes. It was barely noticeable, but it was there.
    "That one", I said to the guard. He then took her by the arm and started to jostle her around.
    "As she is now my property, you are not to touch her!", I yelled. He stopped immediately. The guard gathered her information while I kept a firm grip on her arm. I hope I didn't hurt her.
    I then led her to the van, where I locked the door, and I cuffed her hands behind her back to make sure she didn't try to jump out. I was repulsed by this, but it was good to remind myself why.
    I started the car and started driving slowly back to the house. Here goes, I thought.
    "So, you wanna start out by telling me your name?"
    She remained silent for a moment.
    "Maki. And are you glad to be out of there, Maki?"
    "Yes, ma'am."
    I fought back a wave of nausea.
    "Please don't call me that. It's Tamara."
    "Of course, Miss Tamara."
    I fought back tears this time.
    We drove the rest of the way in silence. When we reached my house, I got out and uncuffed her. I walked her to the house, and she seemed very nervous.
    I told her to sit at the dining room table, and wait for me to make dinner. Her eyes lit up at the mention of food, and she sat down with a small smile.
    "When dinner is over, I want you to take a shower. I'm going to keep the curtain closed to give you privacy, but I'm going to sit by the sink to make sure you don't try to run off."
    She looked confused. "Why do you want to give me privacy? I'm here for your pleasure, and wouldn't you get more if you saw me naked?"
    "That's enough!" I yelled. She immediately covered her face with fear.
    "No, Maki, you are not here for my pleasure, or to suffer more abuse. Please do not feel frightened of me. I'm not going to hurt you."
    "So, are you going to...."
    "Enough talk, food's ready."
    She ate with so much enthusiasm, I began to wonder how long it had been since she'd had food.
    "Question, Maki. I already know the answer, so you have to tell the truth. Where's your home? Your parents?"
    A shudder ran through her body and she looked at me with fear.
    "Why do you need to know that?"
    "I already know, but I want to hear it coming from you."
    "But why?"
    "Because I want to gain a small portion of your trust before I drive you home tomorrow."
    She gasped. "You're lying! Why would you buy me just to bring me home?"
    "I saw the glimmer of hope, even defiance, in your eyes when I picked you, which is the reason I did. All the others, their eyes were dead. Devoid of hope. They're gone. It was too late to try and convince. But you will be in the van and back in your own bed before you know it. Now give me your plate so I can do the dishes. I'll get your shower ready after."

    I let her sleep on my bed, while I slept on the chair. I had failed. Failed to gain even a breadcrumbs' worth of her trust. But it doesn't matter anymore. It was a clear sign of what was going to happen.
    It was eight o' clock when I told her to wake up, get dressed, and put something in her stomach before we left at 9:30. I knew her address. But she still hadn't said it herself.
    I read her file, and learned that she lived twenty miles from me. By this time, we were about two minutes from her house. She was a full bundle of nerves. I slowed the car down for a little more time.
    "Don't worry, I will deliver you, safe and sound, help you check in with your parents, and then I'm gone. I'm not going to hurt you, or them. Please try to calm down." She didn't speak.
    We arrived half a minute later, and a middle-aged woman was on the porch, weeping.
    She thought she'd never see Maki again.
    "Are you ready?" I asked. She gave a single, shaky nod.
    "Alright." I helped her out of the car and up the driveway. The mother looked up, and I could tell she was shocked.
    "Maki?" she whispered with a brokenhearted face that I will never forget. "Are you real?"
    "Yes, Mama. I'm real." She fell into her mother's arms with a wail and they both began to weep.
    I turned away from this touching sight, ready to leave, and the mother calls me back.
    "And who are you? How did you get my daughter back and why?"
    "I bought her to bring her home. That is all I must say. Goodbye."
    They tried to call me back up the driveway, but I was deaf to it. I drove home and tied a rope to the ceiling hook. It was steady, at least. But I wasn't.
    Before I kicked the chair out from under my feet, I remembered something that my adoptive father once told me. "If you can't do anything good", he said as he thrust into me repeatedly, "Do something to end it."
    My pain is finally over.