It was seven floors down the fire escape, a 15-foot drop, and then 11 blocks to a shelter for girls like her. Girls who had believed the agents’ lies.
She’d been there 8 months, but had barely made a dent in the fees: the visa, the papers, the travel, the commission. The earnings to send back to her family were a dimly remembered dream.
She touched the bruise on her cheek. The swelling from her last beating had gone down enough that her vision was restored. If she stayed, there would be more of this.
She thought of her family back home in Myanmar, of their scant rice and the thin soup. If she ran away, there would even less to go around. It would fall on them to pay the agent’s fee.
She stared out at the stairs, the street, the moonlight—then closed the blinds and turned inside.
This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.