S.

With permission from S.

Hanna´s new life.


„You want some?,“ Chandra asked. Hanna didn’t look up. She was massaging her bare feet after a hard day’s walk. Her soles weren’t used to being naked 24/7. They would soon be. They had to.

    “Hanna?” 

    Hanna had met the American girl with the dark skin and the black curly hair on the ferry that went from the south of Spain to the north of Africa. With her lighter shade of black, she seemed only a little less usual between all the African women. Hanna was a wholly different case, though. She seemed to glow in the dark, just like the few other white girls she had seen up to now. Not that there were not enough white female tourists in this country – it was just that they stayed to the coasts and the tourist resorts rather than the prisons and the labor camps.

    “I can’t eat that shit,” Hanna said. The stench from the wooden bowl in Chandra’s hands was awful. Hanna found the way in which the other women were devouring the sticky grey soup amazing.

    “Do you want to starv to death?,” Chandra wanted to know.

    “Is that such a bad idea, considering the alternatives?,” Hanna asked furiously.

    The chains between the prisoners’ ankles were so long that they had to wear them with a rope tied around the most central of the links. The other end of the rope was bound around the waists of the enchained. It made walking easier. Now, Chandra’s chains made a clangoring sound as she sat down next to Hanna. She put her arm around her.

    “We’re gonna stay through this together, honey”, Chandra said.

    The way in which the American girl sat fakir-style, Hanna could see the sole of her foot. Due to the dark skin, it looked not nearly half as dirty as Hanna’s.

    “Don’t your feet hurt?,” Hanna asked.

    Chandra smiled at her sadly. “I’m all about alternative lifestyles, you know. Dreadlocks, pot, no shoes ‘n’ stuff.”

    Hanna felt anger raising her pulse. Chandra’s pot was the reason they were here. “Yeah,” she said, trying to maintain her patience, “now that you say it, I can’t remember having seen you wearing shoes more than a couple of times in the two months that we’ve travelled together.”

    “My soles are tough. Don’t you Germans ever walk barefoot?,” Chandra asked. 

    “No,” Hanna answered briskly. “We live in a civilized country.” It felt strange that the topic came up between them now. Back before they were prisoners, like three days ago, Hanna hadn’t found her American friend’s most of the time bare feet mentionable just once. It was like now that she was surrounded by soles and toes – twenty-five women shared each wooden cage in the camp, and there seemed to be no such thing as a shoed prisoner in this country – it seemed to pop up naturally as a matter of conversation.     

     “Not even in summer?,” Chandra insisted.

     “No,” Hanna said one more. “I mean, I don’t know, some probably do. Who cares? I don’t. If it’s hot and I sit down somewhere, maybe I take off my flip flops. But I don’t walk around in my bare feet.  It’s disgusting.  Just like that shit you’re eating.”

    In the exact moment that Chandra took a look at the bowl in her hand, a worm protruded from the cooked leaves in it. “Ugh”, she said and put it on the floor. She seemed to be fighting against throwing up for a second. Then she said: “So, welcome to the club. I mean, you’re gonna be barefoot for quite a while now. Just like me.”

    Hanna gave Chandra a look as if she was about to bite her head of.

    “I’m sorry,” Chandra said and bent her head as she couldn’t stay Hanna’s glare. “That wasn’t funny.”

    No, Hanna thought. Forty years of prison time just because you didn’t want to miss your precious weed on this trip are not funny, you damn bitch.  Forty years is a life, and we’re gonna spend it in a place where you work on a field and have a whip cracking over your back every now and then, like we saw it when we arrived here early in the evening.  After a nine hours walk on our naked feet, by the way.  Feet that will probably not be put into shoes for the rest of our lives, damn it.  Which maybe isn’t that much of a problem to you, as you’re “all alternative and no shoes” and shit.  But I am a student of economics, I goddamn hate being barefoot, and I was dreaming about probably being a senior at some consulting company in ten years from now, spending my evenings after a long day of work in a sushi bar or getting myself some Turkish massage.  Instead, I’ll be sitting on the floor in a cage, pulling the splinters out of my naked soles after my day’s share of slave work.  Or maybe I’ll be taking a shit in a wooden bucket, or masturbate, or lick some other slave bitch’s cunt, or actually eat that stinky slime that they call food in here in a way as if it was the most divine shit I’ve ever eaten.  Or whatever else it is that you see our now roommates around us doing. So actually no, it’s not that funny, you know?   

    “I wonder how long we will stay here before we look like them,” Chandra said apologetically, as if she had been able to read Hanna’s mind.  Is she talking about the clothes now, or what, Hanna thought. The from the beginning dirty, sac-like pants and shirts had been given to Hanna and Chandra by one of the guards, a massive woman who had broken out laughing when Hanna had complained to her that the shoes to her uniform were missing. “You are a prisoner now, girl”, the woman had said in broken English. “I tell the younger guards to keep shoes ready for the day you get out, because I don’t think that I’ll still be alive then.” Then she had laughed some more, talking to other guard women in the language of the country, pointing at Hanna’s bare feet and making her colleagues laugh, too.

    The clothes of the other prisoners in the cage were torn to various degrees, indicating how long they had been members of the gang. Three older women were close to naked, with nothing but a dirty rag hiding some but not all of their private parts. 

    “You’ll see,” Chandra said. “We’re gonna get out of here.”

    “You’re not,” one of the old women said as abruptly as to make Hanna and Chandra cringe. “You are going to do your time and there is nothing that you can do about it,” the woman said. “The sooner you get used to the thought, the better.” She was ebony-black, but her accent sounded British. She was a bit out of breath as she had just finished doing it to herself. “How many did you get?,” she asked.

    “Forty”, Chandra said. “But that must be a mistake. All we had was a little weed.”

    “All that most of the foreign ladies in here had was a little weed. But congratulations.”

    “What do you mean?,” Chandra asked.

    “You did not get life. That is rather unusual. In forty years, you will walk out here as free women, skirt, shoes, unchained. The best you can do now is make the time as pleasurable as possible by being nice to yourself.” She petted her vagina like a good dog.

   Chandra and Hanna turned away, disgusted. One of the guard women suddenly appeared from out of nowhere and cracked her whip. She shouted something in the country’s language, then she put her desire in English for the foreign prisoners: “Sleep, now, all of you! You work hard tomorrow!”

    “We better do what she says,” the woman with the British accent whispered. “She means it.”

    It took hours before Hanna could sleep. Though she had been close to rip her heart out more than once today, she was happy to have Chandra’s arm around her.  And somehow, it was actually pleasing to have her bare feet touch Chandra’s – a feeling that she was sure would have made her puke only a few days ago.  

***********************************************************************************

Hanna awoke to shouting and the cracking of whips. She decided to keep her eyes closed as she was probably still asleep and dreaming. She said something in German and turned around on the hard wooden floor of the cage. As she was gaining consciousness, the clanking sound of chains grew louder. When Chandra shook her at the shoulder, she became aware that she did not have a nightmare in which she had been sentenced to a decades-long period of hard labor in an African country that people out there in Europe probably didn’t even know existed. It was her reality.

    “Common,” Chandra whispered to her. She sounded frightened. “I don’t want to be the last to leave the cage. I have a feeling that that would mean trouble.

    Hanna rose and said: “I need to pee.”

    “Hold it,” the black woman with the British accent said.

    “What?” Hanna asked. She was not exactly an early in the morning person. For a second, her feet were searching the ground for her slippers. Then the sound of naked soles on wood reminded her that she would not find any.

    “What do you mean, hold it?”

    “They expect you to fertilize the fields with it,” the woman with the British accent said.

    Hanna gasped.

    “It’s true. Get caught wasting your pee in the morning and you are in trouble. Get caught taking a shit in the bucket and you are in real trouble.”  

    A prisoner was sitting on that bucket right now, farting and seemingly searching something between her toes as she was carefully examining her feet with her hands.

    “What about her?” Chandra asked.

    “That’s something else. She’s from here. The rules are different for foreign prisoners. Common out now, I explain it to you during work.”

    The women were led to a vast field and given tools to work on it. They were so small that the women had to plough the earth kneeling. 

    “Actually, I think that’s better for our backs,” Chandra said.

    Hanna was sure that she would go crazy if she didn’t have Chandra around her any longer, but the American girl’s naive comments were seriously getting on her nerves. 

    “You can pee now,” the woman with the British accent said. “It’s the only thing that you can interrupt your work for without getting the whip. It’s good for the soil.”

    “Why can’t I just pee into that damn bucket like the other girls and then …” Hanna gestured to some prisoners who were pouring out their cages’ buckets. The smell was intense and you could tell the newly arrived prisoners by their disgusted faces. 

    “The humiliation is bigger if you do it out here in the open with everybody to look at you. It’s one of the things that make it even harder for the foreign prisoners.”

    “The African women don’t look exactly as if they are being treated that much better.”

    The woman with the British accent shook her shoulders. “Chains, rags, being barefoot, that’s normal for prisoners in this country. But there are ways in which our time here is made even worse.”

    “How?” Chandra asked disbelievingly. 

    “Small things that add up,” the woman with the British accent said. “We get the whip more often, we are taken out of the cage to have some fun with on non working days … if you look closely you will realize that our chains are heavier than those of the African women.” 

   “But why?” Hanna asked. “What did we do to them?”

   “They know you are from places in which even prisoners are far better off than some honest, hard working people over here. They simply enjoy standing in front of you in their black prison guard shoes while you are barefoot. You, somebody who comes from a country in which taking off your shoes is something that you do with pleasure in your free time. The thought seems outrageous here.”

    “You must have had a hard time then ... what’s your name anyway?”, Chandra asked the woman with the British accent.

    “Call me Keira. It’s okay nowadays. I look like as if I was from here, and sometimes I can fool the girls among the guards for a while, because they don’t know me. Some of them must be younger than the two of you, which means I had been a barefooted prisoner for some ten or fifteen when they were born.”

    Chandra and Hanna were giving each other frightened looks. “How long have you been here for, then?” Chandra asked.

    “What’s the year?” Keira asked back.

    “2008,” Hanna answered.

    “They gave me life in court in 1975.”

    “Oh, my god …” Chandra put her hand in front of her mouth.

    “That’s 33 years,” Keira said in a surprised, almost happily amazed tone. “Trust me on the mathematics. I worked as an accountant before I came here and decided to change my career path to barefoot field slave.” She laughed attentively, and Chandra smiled a scared smile.

    “What are your names, girls?” Keira wanted to know. 

    “Hanna.”

    “And I am Chandra. From the US.”

    “Where are you from, Hanna?”

    “Germany.”

    Keira gave her a respectful look. “Look at the bright side of it, Hanna from Germany. There is a lot more sun here than at home. It’s barefoot weather 365 days a year.”

    “Great,” Hanna said without meaning it and pulled down her pants. Most prisoners ignored her as she started to pee and then, as her intestines seemed to loosen up, emptied her bowels on the field. One of the guards came to her and displayed a big grin when she saw the shame in Hanna’s face.

    “You finish fast,” the guard said. “The field doesn’t plough itself.” Then she made a gesture as if to push the smell of Hanna’s excrement back to the prisoner.

    “Damn, you barefoot whore stink!”

After her first day on the field, Hanna felt like crying. Forty years. The thought kept on roaming through her head. Forty years! It just couldn’t be true.

   Some of the prisoners were leaning on each other while they were walking back to their cages under the shouted commands of the guards. Most of the older, practically naked women were in an incredibly good shape. The decades of slave work had either kept them in a good condition or their constant fear of being whipped made them act as if they could plough another field for another fourteen hours.

    “Are you alright, honey?” It was Chandra. Her clothes were soaked with sweat just like Hanna’s. “What about your feet?” she asked.

    Hanna said: “They’re still bare. What about yours?”

    Chandra smiled at her: “Common, honey, you just can’t tell me that you would actually feel better wearing shoes in this weather. The guards will be getting all kinds of fungus on their feet.”

    “That’s what you wash feet for, so you don’t get fungus,” Hanna said. Chandra put her arm around her German friend.

    “Yeah, but it doesn’t look we’re going to shower,” she said and gestured towards the cages, where the first prisoners entered. 

    “Why am I not surprised?” Hanna said to herself. “When will they let us wash?” 

    “2048,” Keira said from behind them. “When you’re released.”

    Hanna felt stinky as she had never before in her life. Her body was one sticky, dirty mess.

    “Could you imagine the smell of sweaty feet in there if all these women wore shoes during a day like this?” Chandra asked and drew Hanna closer to her. “We’re so much better off barefoot, believe me.”

    The words didn’t have the calming effect on Hanna that Chandra most likely had intended. The American girl with her fanciness for barefoot walking just couldn’t understand Hanna’s dislike of naked feet. When Hanna saw bare feet, she had to think of all the movies she had ever seen in which being barefoot was the “privilege” of the prisoners, the slaves, the inmates of galleys and dungeons. And hippies of course, which Hanna normally hated. Chandra had only been a compromise there as travelling alone was so much less fun.

    “I want to shower” was the only thought alive in Hanna’s head as she entered her new home and walked through the row of bare soles pointing towards her. She sank down on the floor, and now the thought of being as dirty as never before got pushed aside by another one: hunger! Hanna wanted a pizza, a steak with fries, a hamburger or a couple of “Subway” sandwiches. What she got was a wooden bowl of rice and something that smelled actually worse than the sweaty, unwashed women with their humid armpits and fishy vaginas. It was handed to her by a guard from outside the cage, who had her hand protecting her nose and made a disgusted face as Hanna could tell from her eyes. 

    After only one day, Chandra ate in the very same dog-like way as all the other women. Hanna looked at the stuff in her bowl. Something was moving in it, but she just didn’t care any more. She started eating, and yes, it tasted like the dirty feet around her would probably taste, but the only thing that seemed to matter now was that it eased the hurtful hole in her stomach. 

    After everyone had eaten, one of the African prisoners sitting opposite stretched her feet towards Hanna and said something in the language of the country. Hanna looked helplessly at Keira, who had taken a seat next to them that night and was already busy “being nice to herself,” as she put it. Hanna tried to ignore the two fingers sticking in Keira’s vagina. 

    “She wants you to rub her feet,” Keira said.

    “What?” Hanna asked helplessly. 

    “You’re new in here, plus you’re foreigner. It’s customary for you to be slave among the slaves. If you resist, she will tell it to the guards and you will be punished.”

    The demanding prisoner – a woman of Keira’s age, but ugly and rather small – repeated her order, louder than the first. Some of the other prisoners grinned, some turned away in what seemed to be shame, and some were busy with other things like being nice to themselves.

    “Do it,” Keira proposed. “If you’re lucky, you will get away without having to lick her cunt after the foot massage.”

    Hanna felt outraged. “I will not … do that for her!”

    “But you’re here for what seems to be a major part of the rest of your life, and sooner or later you will want somebody to do that for you,” Keira said in the usual conversational tone in which she talked about the abnormities of prison life in this country. “The fingers just get boring after awhile. And the girls will know if you want to be licked without ever having done something for it. And then they won’t do it for you. The few who are willing to degrade themselves that much, that is.”

    “Degrade themselves?”

    “To lick a foreign slavegirl, the lowest of the low.”

    “Well, fine then,” Hanna said, demonstratively taking Chandra’s bare feet and rubbing them while looking the African woman into the eye provocatively.

    Keira laughed and stopped her masturbating for a moment.  

     “What’s the matter?” Hanna asked, shying away shortly when Chandra took her feet and started to return the favor to her German friend. 

    “You two are so funny together,” Keira answered. “It’s only been two days and I can’t imagine how I stood through the last 33 years without you. Have you ever tried to do it with each other?” 

    “No!” Hanna shouted.

    “You will”, Keira said calmly and stuck her fingers back to where they belonged at that time of the day. “Rubbing each other’s feet is nice, but you will want more soon.”

    Hanna was looking at the pair of dirty bare feet in her hands disbelievingly. When she looked up at Chandra, the American girl was smiling.

    “Could you have imagined yourself doing this a week ago?” Chandra asked.

    “She wasn’t a slave a week ago,” Keira said, out of breath due to her work. 

    “I’m not a slave,” Hanna said.

    “Of course you’re not,” Keira laughed. “It’s just that when I was working on the field today there was this girl in chains who looked just like you. But it couldn’t have been you, as she was barefoot and you … oh, wait a minute,” Keira said in a mocked amazed voice, “You’re barefoot, too!”

    “Fuck you,” Hanna said.

    The guards started shouting that it was time to go to bed. “Sleep! You work hard tomorrow! You, Keira, get your fingers out your English slave cunt and sleep!”

    “Good night, barefoot slavegirl from Germany,” Keira whispered.

    “Good night, Hanna,” Chandra said.

    “Night.” Hanna wiggled her toes as she always used to do before sleeping. Never before had she been so aware of the fact that they were naked while she did it. 

***********************************************************************************

Hanna thought that she had probably been a convict for some two months now, but this was only the fourth day without work that she witnessed. The guards seemed to make them according to their own rules, maybe when it was too hot for them to shout orders at the chained women or to whip them. Anyway, the fewest foreign prisoners were allowed to enjoy their free day the same way as their fellow slaves, dozing in their cage all day with their fingers in their own or some other girl’s vagina.

    The last three days without work, Hanna had spent the time with two other white girls, one from Holland and the other from Switzerland, recently arrived here just like her. They had had to dig holes and then, after they had finished, the guards had buried them in the holes so that only their heads protruded. The girl from Holland, Meitje, had been on the verge of tears constantly, having had time to adapt to her new life for a few days only. 

    The other girl, Sara, had almost been laughing and telling Hanna all the time that this had been a mistake, that she would sure as hell not stay here any longer than a few days, though the court translator had told her that she had been sentenced to life with hard labor for drug possession. “I look like somebody from out of a film about deported convicts in Australia during the 18th century”, she had said. “These clothes! And leg irons, goddamn it! And why do we have to be barefoot, for Christ’s sake! What year is it that these people are living in?”

    Sara had gotten on Hanna’s nerves after awhile. Buried up to her chin in dirt or not, a day without field work was a day without field work, and she wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. Luckily today, the guards had locked her with her hands and feet in stocks that were designed to hold up to four prisoners. But only one other girl was sitting next to her, a good looking red haired one of about thirty years that Hanna had seen before. Her hair hang down to her ass, of which you could see the left buttock because her clothes were already torn to a considerable degree.

    Suddenly the dirty, once probably milky skinned girl looked at Hanna and asked: “Where are you from?”

    Hanna looked back and answered: “Germany.”

    The red haired one nodded. “What did you do to end up here?”

    “My travel mate had some pot with her.”

    The red haired one smiled. She knew the story. “Have you ever thought about what they would have given you for that in Germany?”

    “A fine, most likely”, Hanna said.

    “Yeah,” the red haired one said. “Makes you go crazy, doesn’t it? When you’re kneeling on that field, barefoot and in chains, getting the whip if you pause ploughing for a second only?”

    Hanna thought about saying that she didn’t think that thoughts like that would make the life of field slaves like them any easier, but instead she said: “Yes.”

    “I’m Hilde. From Norway.”

    “Hanna.”

    “Nice to meet you. Sorry for not shaking your hand.”

    Hanna laughed sadly and looked at her hands and feet locked in the wood of the stocks.

    “How long have you been here for?”, Hanna wanted to know.

    “They put me in these stocks this morning, just like you, don’t you remember?”

    Again, Hanna had to laugh. 

    “Well,” Hilde continued, “I don’t know. They gave me life in 1996. I was 18 back then, travelling the world after I had graduated from school. With my marks and my father’s connections, the best universities were waiting for me at home. I think I would have studied law, going out with rich boys and laughing at the hippies in the amnesty international workshop who tear their asses open to help people in prisons in some third world country. Instead, I will be one of those prisoners now for the rest of my life, sweating fourteen hours a day on some damn field.”

    Hanna didn’t exactly know what to say. Hilde’s humour seemed cynical and helpless. 

    “Did you walk barefoot a lot at home?”

    Hilde looked at her disbelievingly: “In Norway? Hell, no, what are you thinking? But you’re right, that’s another outrageous point. Which Norwegian girl would ever think that she would spend the biggest part of her life in naked feet?”

    “But have you gotten used to it? It still feels so strange for me …”

    “What year do we have?”, Hilde asked.

    “2008”, Hanna answered.

    “Well, I would say that after 12 years, you get used to it. I’m only a bit afraid of the day that my clothes will start falling apart. I mean, for good. I don’t want to run around practically naked like some of the others, with the guards making fun about my tits and my ass on exhibition. The next thing I would be afraid of is the day that you lose the last bit of dignity like some of the other women.”

   Hanna nodded understandingly and thought of Keira, who sat on the field with twenty other prisoners around her, talking about how lucky she had been to find a fat caterpillar in her lunch yesterday and then spread her legs while talking and starting to masturbate as if it was the most normal thing the world.

    “But that’s still a while for you”, Hilde said, obviously having the feeling that she as the older one had to solace Hanna. “You still feel humiliated by being barefoot, which means that you used to wear shoes until … give me a hint …

    “It must have been some two months since they brought me here.”

    “Only two months! That’s impressive! You’re a real lady among us lifers.”

    “I’ve got forty years.”

    “You got away with forty years! You’re a queen! What did you do, give the judge a blowjob?”

    Hilde was practically screaming now, and Hanna saw how two of the guards gestured into their direction.

    “You should not be so loud”, Hanna whispered. “I think one of the guards is coming.”

    “Oh my god”, Hilde said. “What will she do? Put us in chains and turn us into barefoot prisoners? Will we have to labor like slaves on a field? That would be horrible!”

    The whip of the around fifty year old guard woman hit the soles of Hildes bare feet with a loud crack.

    “OUW!” Hilde screamed.

    “What are you laughing about, crazy girl from Norway?” the guard asked demandingly. “If you think this is a funny place, then maybe it would be best if we left you in these stocks for a week or so.”

   Hilde bowed her head submissively, so the guard could only see her red hair.

   “Does that mean yes or no, slavegirl? I’m talking to you, you barefooted cunt! Do you need another hit on those smelly white soles of yours?”

    “No”, Hilde said.

    “No, what, Norwegian slave cunt?”

    “Please don’t leave me in the stocks for a week.” Some sincere begging had crept into Hilde’s voice.

   The guard unlocked the stocks and opened them. Hanna’s first reflex was to draw her hands and feet away, but she knew better and waited until the guard allowed them to.

    “Your lazy day is over”, the guard woman said. “Get back into your damn cages and stick your fingers into your cunts like you bitches always like to do. The work on the field tomorrow will remind you that you’re not on some shopping tour in Norway or Germany. Where you giggle at each other about the new shoes you’ve just bought. No shoes here, in case you haven’t realized it.  You will spend the rest of your life barefoot, and if you ask me, that’s just what you deserve, slave bitches.”   

***********************************************************************************

The hot afternoon was burning down mercilessly on the prisoners ploughing the field on their knees, and Hanna was just pausing to pee. While she fertilized the field with her urine, she saw two guards with a prisoner she had never seen before. Her appearance though gave her away as somebody who must have been a guest of this country’s penal system for quite a while. 

She was a white woman that Hanna estimated to be in her late fifties. She had long, greyish brown hair that hang over her buttocks. Her beautiful, tight body had obviously been kept in shape by hard labor. Hanna could tell because the new prisoner went stark naked. Her feet were shackled with chains different from the ones that Hanna and her fellow prisoners wore, shorter. Around her neck, Hanna could see an iron collar, to which a chain was fastened that again was dangling from a carriage pulled by horses. The guards sat on that carriage. The naked woman had to walk.

    When the newly arrived saw that Hanna was looking at her, she gave her a smile. Obviously, it did not occur unusual to her in the slightest way that Hanna was just taking a piss, another hint at her long time imprisonment in this country.

    “Who is she?” Hanna asked Keira. The black girl from England looked up at the good looking white woman and said: “I don’t know, but luckily she looks as if she will not have any problems with using her tongue for what it’s good for.”

    Hanna rolled her eyes. “Will you ever make it one day without talking about your damn … down there?”

    “Maybe if you finally get used to the thought that you’re a slavegirl now and lick me I will give it a thought.”

    “Common, Keira.”

    “How am I supposed to know? She looks like she got transferred here from one of those harsh places where prisoners are kept naked and chained to each other by a collar around their neck. So this place must appear to be paradise for her.”

    “You mean there are prisons in this country that are actually worse than this place?”

    Keira looked at Hanna disbelievingly. “Of course. You could be sent to the mills and get chained to some grindstone for the rest of you life. And you’re still thinking you’re bad off because of your poor bare feet.”

    Hanna gave Keira the middle finger. Four guard girls were now standing around the naked woman. It was obvious that they were making fun of her. One of the guards told the woman in English that this was not a holiday camp just because you couldn’t see any collars around here. “If I ever catch you playing with your naked little slavecunt when you’re supposed to work, I will whip you senseless, do you understand?” The woman nodded her head dismissively, while one of the guards used her whip to point at the prisoner’s naked vagina. “Then get to work now, slave bitch”, the guard said.

    That evening, while Chandra was trying to convince Hanna that some of the living insects in their stew were probably even healthy, the new prisoner was brought into their cage. She was still naked and wearing the chains in which she had arrived except for the handcuffs that had held her hands behind her back. The chain had been unfastened from her collar. She saw Hanna, smiled enthusiastically and sat down next to her. When she sat, she put two of her fingers up her genitals, just like Keira always did.

    “Where are you from?” she asked Hanna in German. Hanna hadn’t heard her mother tongue for such a ling time that she cringed.

    “Bielefeld”, she answered. “My name is Hanna.”

    “I knew you were German! I’m Rebecca from Hamburg”, the woman said and as a greeting, she gave Hanna an opened mouthed kiss. 

    “What … why did you do that?” Hanna asked shocked. The woman looked at her as if she didn’t understand what all the heck was about.

    “Don’t be mad at her”, Keira said wisely. “She’s from a place where prisoners have their hands chained behind their back whenever they’re not working, so it’s customary to say hello like that.”

    “That’s awesome”, Chandra contributed in her typically naïve way and put a squirming caterpillar in her mouth.

    “Is there some left?”, Rebecca asked. “I’m starving. I think I walked through this whole damn country today, and one of the guards, a girl of probably 19, was a real bitch. At one place, we could see the coast of Spain far away. ‘Strange, isn’t it?’ she said to me. ‘To think of all those German tourists these few kilometres away, bathing in the sea and having lunch in their hotels while you are trotting naked through the dirt with your bare feet, chained to a carriage?”

   Chandra gave Rebecca the rest of her stew, not without saving a fat cockroach for herself.

   “You mean … you were naked while they brought you here?”, Hanna wanted to know.

    Rebecca smiled. “You haven’t been here for too long, have you? You know, it’s been some thirty years since I have worn clothes for the last time, so it didn’t seem that unusual to me. Only the damn kids dancing around you laughing and shouting drive you mad after a while. It was a fisher town that we stopped in for the guards to have something to eat. The young guard said that it was hard to tell whether the smell came from the foul fish or if it was my unwashed German slave cunt. They could have just let me chained to the carriage, but they had stocks in the town in which you faced the Spanish coast if you were locked in them. So the young guard insisted on putting my feet into them. Then she allowed the damn kids to tickle my soles and hit them with a cane. Little bastards.”

    While ravenously licking Chandra’s bowl, Rebecca asked Hanna: “What about you? How long have you been here for?”

    “It must have been three or four months now “, Hanna said.

    “Oh! A freshman”, Rebecca laughed out. “So you can be happy that you haven’t been in my place today. Sitting locked up in stocks with a horde of brats having a great time with your naked feet while you could see the coast of the civilized continent you’re from would have driven you insane.”

    “Yeah, I’m so lucky”, Hanna sighed cynically.

    “Why are you still wearing that collar?” Chandra asked.

    “It’s welded. Has been for decades now. It was put around my neck right after they had given me life in 1974. It would be too much work to get it off again. The same is true for my leg irons. I don’t care. I’ve spent my whole sentence up to now chained with my neck to a gang of ten women, so this place here is almost like a holiday resort to me. It seems to be the guards’ understanding of mercy with respect to my age and the time I’ve spent as a guest in the wonderful prison system of this country. A nice place to spend the rest of my life.”

    “So you’re not planning on ever getting free again?”, Hanna asked.

    Rebecca smiled and took one of Hanna’s bare feet in her hands. “Your feet are dirty, but your soles look almost like those of a free woman used to wearing shoes. Only somebody like you can ask a question like that.” Keira smiled and nodded approvingly. 

    “Here” Rebecca said and pointed at her own naked soles. Hanna touched them and was surprised when she realized that she did so with awe.

   “Like leather”, Rebecca said. “A real slavegirl’s feet, just like yours will soon be. So …” With angled knees, Rebecca spread her legs wide apart. The stench of fish was nauseating and Hanna put her hand before her mouth.

    “Let’s be friends, Hanna from Bielefeld. You first, as I’m your guest.”

    “She won’t do that”, Keira said in a sorry voice.

    “What? What do you mean by that? When I arrived here this evening, you were taking a piss on the field like a real slavegirl, not caring much about anybody looking upon you while doing something that those tourists at the southern coast of Spain would probably refer to as private business. This is no hotel in Southern Europe, but a prison in North Africa, so please be a good girl and kiss me down there. I was so happy when I saw you first, you are such a beautiful young girl …”

    Hanna turned away in disgust. “Kids,” Rebecca sighed. “What about you, slavegirl?” she asked Keira. “Are you too good to be nice to fellow prisoner’s pussy, too?”

    “Can’t resist that smell,” Keira said smiling and came over to Rebecca, her chains clinging.

    Hanna watched while Keira got her head between Rebecca’s legs and opened her mouth as if for a kiss. With her fingers, she spread Rebecca’s vaginal lips apart and started licking them. Rebecca closed her eyes and turned her face towards the ceiling of the cage. Her toes spread apart as if in cramps. Hanna lay down and tried to sleep despite Rebecca’s sounds of lust that finally rose to a scream.   

Rebecca had just gotten the whip by one of the younger guards who was now shouting at her that she was working too slowly. Rebecca’s face was a grimace of pain for moment, but soon she was smiling her obligatory wise smile, the smile of somebody who had spent half her life naked and in chains.
    “Hach”, she said, talking German as Hanna was digging through dirt next to her. “Another girl who could have been my student.”
    The day before, Hanna had sworn to herself that she would never again talk to Rebecca for asking her to lick her between the legs. But then what the heck … it was slave life that had turned the poor woman into what she was now, not any inherent meanness.
    “What do you mean?” Hanna asked.
    Rebecca said: “I came here as a teacher of German and English when I was twenty three years old. It was supposed to be an abroad year, my little secret. An adventure, working in a town in some African country that nobody in Europe had ever heard about. However, when I handed back a grammar test one day, one of the students who had failed it was the twelve year old son of the mayor, which I didn’t know and probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to if I did. Two days later, I was arrested and accused of being a spy. I was kneeling in front of the judge wearing rags like yours, barefoot, heavily fettered and my collar chained to an iron ring in the ground. It was so damn unbelievable I almost had to laugh. The day before I had been teaching the definite article, 24 hours later I looked like a galley slave in some period movie. I didn’t feel like laughing any more when I remembered that my being in this damn country was my, well, little secret. The mayor’s son told the most outrageous lies about me, things that he had probably seen on TV. When I thought that it was my time to speak and end that whole outrageous farce, a guard hit my naked feet with her whip as to make me stop. The judge said that he had heard enough. The translator sitting next to him told me that I had just been sentenced to life in prison with hard labor. He said it matter-of-factly, as if it that was nothing. Looking back I’m wondering why I didn’t scream, because that’s definitely what I felt like.”
    Rebecca paused shortly to scratch her vagina.
    “Then they brought me to a camp like this, took away my clothes and forged this collar around my neck and these irons around my ankles. In the ensuing years, while I was growing older and the guard girls were more and more often younger than me, sometimes ten, fifteen years, I often had to think about how strange it was that one single mistake could change your life that much. I could have been these girls’ teacher, with them looking up to me respectfully and asking my advice in dealing with German grammar. Instead, they walked me around like a dog on a leash and shouted at me in their broken English to move my lazy ass faster. Get on my smelly bare feet and work, work, work.”
    Rebecca sighed. Then she asked Hanna: “And what would have become of you?”
    “A business consultant is what will become of me once that I get out of this ridiculous third world show and finish my studies back in Germany”, Hanna said with anger in her voice.
     “Hanna, the barefoot business consultant”, Rebecca laughed. “Specializing in field work.”
    “That’s not funny”, Hanna exclaimed. “I will find a way out of here.”
    “Yeah, Keira told me that you lucky bones got only forty years. Still, you would be too old to study, then.” Rebecca giggled. “Given that there will be a guard around in 2050 or so who remembers that you are one of the very few foreigners who are not lifers. Which I think is unlikely. Will you go to those guards who aren’t even born yet and tell them that you’ve done your time? They will laugh their asses of, put you in the stocks and give your soles a few blows for leaving your work. Oh, and just when they’re at it, leaving work is sabotage, so even if your sentence has run out, they will inform you with their happiest grins that it has just been prolonged by some thirty-five years. So you’re up for parole sometime next century. Believe me, that’s how it works in these places. I’ve seen it happen many times.”
    “There has to be a way”, Hanna said. “Maybe I will try to go to court again.”
    “Oh yeah, that’s probably the best thing you can do. Go to one of the guards and tell them you want your case revised. See, being a prisoner in this country means you’re fucked, but do you really think this place is that bad?”
    The expression on Hanna’s face showed that she did not understand what Rebecca meant.
    “Well, then look at me”, the teacher of long ago continued. “Maybe you will take my place where I’m from. You think you’re bad off because your feet are bare? What about not wearing anything but chains for the rest of your life?”
   She pointed at her vagina. “Calling that the private parts is a popular running gag in that place. What about a nice heavy iron collar around your neck, do you think that would suit you? Chained together with ten other women? Emptying your bowls and bladder standing because it is not aloud to interrupt your work for it? Your hands cuffed behind your back at night? Sleeping in a tiny dungeon instead of a nice cage out in the open like they have here? And how do you think masturbation works in a place where nobody can touch herself at night? The girls there won’t let you off the hook as easily as the ones here. You have a mouthful to do there every night. ”
    Hanna looked down on the earth she was ploughing. “I’m sorry for what happened to you. But there is no reason for intimidating me out of my will to be free again. Maybe you’re just jealous because you have already wasted your life in here”, she said gloomily.
    “Now listen to that”, Rebecca sighed. “You could have been my student, too. Next thing I know you will lock me in stocks and allow some kids to tickle my smelly bare slave feet.” She petted Hanna’s soles.
   “Get away from me”, Hanna said and crawled away from Rebecca on her knees.
   “Sorry for interrupting you, barefoot business consultant Hanna. But a slavegirl like me has to get back to work now anyhow.”
   “Fuck you”, Hanna said.
   “You’re right. I should,” Rebecca said. Then she watched for the guards, and when she didn’t see any too close to their group, she continued ploughing with one hand and put the fingers of her other into her vagina.
    It wasn’t long before her playing with herself was detected by one of the guards – the same 19-year old that had made her life so hard yesterday. She came running and already from far, Hanna could see the joy of sadism in her face. The whip hit Rebeccas naked back twice and she screamed.
    “We told you to stick to your work, damn slavebitch”, the guard said. “Some of the old guards were actually planning on giving some loin cloth to you because they thought it was unfair for you to be the only one running around with her cunt on exhibition for everyone. You get up on your stinky bare feet now and follow me.”
    Hanna watched the guard pushing Rebecca in front of her. For the two hours that the teacher was gone, she asked herself what they could do to her that was actually a worsening of the circumstances under which she had spent more than half of her life now.
    When Rebecca returned, her collar had been put in use again. There was a long and heavy looking chain connecting it to her leg irons now. The guard was with her once again and pushed Rebecca to the floor. “Only a warning,” the guard said. “There are a lot more chains where that one came from.” Then, she went away, grinning.
    “Are you alright?” Hanna asked.
    Rebecca touched the link of the chain that was connected to the iron ring dangling from her collar. Hanna couldn’t see a lock that held it in place.
    “Forged”, Rebecca said. “Means that they have no intention of ever taking it off again.” She sighed. “Damn students.” 

It was a day without work and Hanna spent it the same way as the former one, locked into the stocks together with Hilde from Norway. Two young guards in their early twenties passed by and made fun of the way the two prisoners tried to shy away their bare feet, afraid of getting hit on the soles. “Bitches”, Hilde whispered when they were gone, at which Hanna gave her we're-in-this-together-smile.

Today, there were visitors to the camp. An old and a young woman who had arrived in a Mercedes were walking the area, shown around by the guards and nodding every now and then.

    “Who are they?”, Hanna asked. Hilde, who sat with her head hanging so that her long red hair hid her face, looked up. 

    “Oh”, she said. “The good guys. Sometimes, at least.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I don’t now how it works exactly, but they’re some kind of African aristocracy, making parts of their wealth with the slave labor of the camps. They come here to visit every now and then.”

    “Are they sisters?”

    “Mother and daughter. She’s your age and I don’t know whether she’s a bitch or just plain stupid, but she likes to talk to the foreign prisoners about how great her life is and how she has just been on a holiday to the country they used to live in as free women.”

    “But you said they’re good guys?”

    “Her grandmother is said to have been one. It is said that this place used to be like the one the new German woman in your cage is from …”

    “You mean Rebecca?”

    “The naked one. If that’s her name, yes. The old prisoners sometimes talk about how this place used to be like the one Rebecca’s from, with no clothes at all for the prisoners, iron collars and everybody chained to everyone else. Then, clothes were introduced and the collar became some kind of … outfashioned. This became a moderate prison.”

    “Moderate?”, Hanna exclaimed. “Look at us! Wearing the same rags day in day out, leg irons forged around our ankles, and no shoes on our feet! These are stocks we're locked in, for Christ's sake!”

    “Moderate by this county's standards, I suppose”, Hilde said and smiled.

    The young black girl looked over to Hanna and Hilde and began approaching them.

    “Oh no, here she comes …”, Hilde said with an annoyed voice.

    The girl wore expensive looking sports clothes and seemed to be in a great mood. She took the cane leaning against the stocks in case any passers by should feel the urgent need to give the trapped slave girls’ feet a few blows. It hit Hilde’s soles not too brutal, but in no way lightly either. Hilde sighed a sound of pain. Her tormentor didn’t react to it in the slightest.

    “Hey Hilde, how’s it going?”, she asked. Her accent was recognizable but far from being as thick as those of the guards. Obviously, she had gotten around a bit.

    “Good, Sharina, thank you”, Hilde answered.

    “Do you think my shoes fit my pants?”, Shirina asked.

    “They look great”, Hilde said, sadly looking at her own bare feet.

    “You know, sometimes I admire you slavegirls for never having to worry about shoes”, Shirina said and tapped Hilde's soles with one end of the cane. “Just remember what it would be like for you as a free woman in Norway. You would have the same problem! As a prisoner, you're always barefoot, and you can concentrate on you field work.”

    “I’m so lucky”, Hilde said.

    Shirina frowned. “Are you trying to make fun of me, slavegirl?”

    “No!”, Hilde almost shouted, obviously regretting the cynical tone now that had crept into her voice.

    “I would advise you not to”, Shirina said and gave Hilde’s soles another blow with the cane. This time, it was more forceful and, according to Hilde’s reaction, a lot more painful.

    “Oh, stop it, Hilde”, Shirina said in a tired voice. “You've been a prisoner for so many years now and you behave as if this was the first time somebody whips your feet.”

Shirina turned to Hanna. “Who are you, slavegirl?” Hanna's toes crumpled as she was in expectation of a blow, but nothing happened.

   “My name is Hanna.”

   “New on the chain, Hanna?”

   “I got here a few months ago.”

   Shirina laughed. “Yes, a few months ago. You slavegirls always loose track of the time after awhile. How long have you been here for, Hilde? Ten, fifteen years? My god, I was still playing with dolls when they enchained you.”

    Hilde said nothing, seemingly eager to avoid getting hit on her soles again.

    “Where are you from, Hanna?”, Shirina asked.

    “Germany.”

    “Oh, Germany! I spent an abroad term therer during my studies in Hamburg. Great city, great country! You must be sad you’ll never see it again.”

    “I’m not a lifer”, Hanna said, as she didn’t really know what else to answer.

    “Oh, common, you slavegirls are always trying to kid me. Just because I've never had my tongue in some other girl's pussy like you doesn't mean I'm naive.”

    “They gave me forty years.”

    Shirina looked like the man on Edward Munch’s “The scream”. “Now ain’t that one lucky slavegirl, Hilde? Forty years only! She will be a free old woman when you still have the rest of your life to crawl around that field.”

    Shirina paused, seemingly thinking.

    “You know what, I would like to go on a little trip.”

    Hanna heard Hilde sighing. She seemed to know what Shirina’s words, cryptic to Hanna’s ears, meant.

    “Guards”, Shirina shouted, and two of the women dressed in black came. “Chain these and another two slave girls to the middle sized carriage. We are going on a little excursion.”

    With a humble nodding, the guards did as they had been advised. One of them was the very young one that had enjoyed teasing Rebecca so much. When she unlocked the stocks, she smiled at Hanna.    

    “Your first time drawing the carriage. Hope you like it.”

The middle sized carriage was designed to be drawn by four girls. Hanna and Hilde were chained to the first row, by their hands and by the neck. Hilde suggested whisperingly that they would get the whip a lot less often than the two girls in the back row, who would be closer so Shirina sitting on the carriage.

    When the young guard came back with the two additional prisoners, one of them was Rebecca. Hanna was not surprised as the girl seldom let a chance pass unused to mistreat or even further humiliate the stark naked long time prisoner from Germany. The other girl was Chandra.

    “Hey honey, how are you?”, she said to Hanna, while the other guard that Shirina had ordered to get her slaves to draw the carriage locked the irons around her wrists and her neck.

    “You know, they dug me up from a cozy hole in which they had buried me up to my neck for this. Such a shame. How was your free day so far?”

    “The stocks”, Hanna answered. “Again.”

    “Enjoy the ride, slavegirl”, the young guard said to Rebecca and hit her on her bare buttocks with a wooden cane. 

    Shirina said ascended the carriage. “What’s you name, naked slave?”

   Rebecca answered with her name, in normal tone of voice, after decades of imprisonment used to the fact that being called ‘girl` by women 25 years her minor was only one of the countless humiliations that she had to live with day after day.

    “Well, Rebecca”, Shirina said. “As I see it, you’re the most experienced slave here. Surely, this cannot be your first time drawing a carriage.”

    “I was once chained to a harvest carriage for a few years.”

    “Great!”, Shirina exhaled. “Somebody with job experience! Where are you from, Rebecca?”

    “Germany!”

    Shirina laughed out loud. “What is it with all you German girls ending up in our prisons? Do you like chains being barefoot that much?”

    The guards were laughing too, now. The young one gave Rebecca another blow on her buttocks.

    “That place where they chained you to that carriage was a bit different from here, wasn’t it, Rebecca?”, Shirina asked.

    “Yes.”

    “It must be strange to come here, where some slavegirls actually whine about being barefoot, from a place where prisoners wear nothing but chains?”

    Rebecca said nothing.

    “I tell you what Rebecca. With your experience and your tough slave soles, used to being naked for decades, I expect you to leave the best impression of all four. If you live up to that expectation, I’ll see to that you get some rags to cover your smelly German slave cunt.”

    At this point, the young guard who liked to tease Rebecca stopped smiling and looked at Shirina in a disappointed way.

    “Maybe even something for your tits. Wouldn’t that be something?” For a question mark, Shirina used her whip on Rebecca’s back.

    Rebecca screamed in pain. Then, she said: “Yes, that would be nice.” She covered her vagina with one hand, as if she had forgotten up to this moment that it was on public display.

    “Then go!”, Shirina shouted happily, and with another blow on Rebecca’s back, the ride started. First, the girls were walking. Then, after each one had gotten the whip once, they were running slowly as if jogging.

   Hanna found that it was not easy to draw the carriage but not as difficult as she had expected. With the power of four girls, she was sweating like hell under the blistering sun but still, it was far from impossible. Her feet were what worried her. The way on which they were riding right now consisted of gravel, but it was so fine that it did not hurt her soles. But what if the stones got any bigger along the way?

    They encountered another carriage. it was drawn by two bulls. The man sitting on it greeted Shirina friendly, spending as much attention to the enchained girls as Shirina did to the bulls. “Nothing he hasn’t seen, before”, Hanna thought, and Rebecca’s calm voice came to her mind. “I was chained to a harvest carriage for a few years”, she had said. As if she had been talking about having played tennis once and then stopped it because of a sprained ankle.

They arrived in a town in which it was market day. Children were dancing around the carriage and shouting. The oldest boys had sticks which they used to hit the girls on the buttocks. The centre of attention was Rebecca. 

    “Hoh”, Shirina said, as if you would say it to a horse. She got of the carriage and walked around the market.

    “I know this place”, Rebecca said. And when Hanna had her eyes wandering around, she saw what she meant. It was a bright and clear day, an in the distance, close and yet far away, she could see the shores of Southern Spain.

    A  man who seemed to have something to say in the town talked to Shirina. She came to Hanna and said: “He asked me if you should be put into the stocks during my stay. I told him hat I will most likey not stay too long.”

    Then, Shirina gestured towards towards the horizon. “That’s Spain, Hanna. Have you ever been there when you were still free?”

   Hanna, thinking about the fact that only a few weeks ago, she had probably been swimming on the very same shores, nodded.

    “A wonderful country”, Shirina said. “Only those tourists get on your nerves after awhile. I like my Germans much better barefoot and in chains like you are.”

    The children who were not teasing Rebecca were now dancing around Shirina and begging for something in the language of the country. Finally, Shirina said in English: “Oh, for Chrit’s sake, okay.” She looked at the man who had proposed to lock the foreign slaves in the city’s stocks. “Put them in the stocks. All of them.”

    The man said something in the country’s language and the children’s cheer rose. Shirina gave the keys to the girls’ chains to two of the city’s policemen.

    “Great”, Rebecca sighed. 

    “What’s going on?”, Chandra asked.

    “They’re givin our bare feet to these sadist beasts to play with, that’s what’s going on”, Rebecca answered. “We’ll be locked in stocks with a nice view on the South Coast of Spain, so that we can see a place where Europeans like us spend their holidays while we are locked in wood and get our soles tickled and beaten.”

    Shirina looked at Rebecca and said: “Well, even if that place was so close that you could actually see your fellow citizens there, it wouldn’t make any difference, because you couldn’t get there. An honourable court in this country sentenced you, and you will serve that sentence in his country. I’m a bit disappointed, Rebecca. You having been a slave for such a long time now. You should know better than complaining about how people in the country you’re from would not understand our ways of punishing criminals. Now, get your stinky bare feet in those stocks, all of you.” 
 

The stocks were the same as in the prison camp, holding the feet of a prisoner in the middle and her wrists to the left and right of them. Four prisoners could be locked into it, and four they were. Local girls were standing around the stocks, laughing at the prisoners. One of the girls had a wooden stick, and she approached Rebecca’s naked feet. “Don’t you dare to, you tart”, she said. The young woman clearly wasn’t impressed. She gave Rebecca’s soles a blow, and as she let out a sigh of pain, the girls were laughing louder. The young woman approached Rebecca’s feet,  then made a disgusted face, protected her nose with one hand and pretended to be choking. The laughter rose again.

    “Our feet don’t stink!” Chandra said in a protesting voice. 

    Although the girls probably didn’t understand her, that was a mistake. The young woman grinned at the American prisoner, then made a gesture towards two other girls. The girls had a little sac of yellow powder.

    “What is that?” Chandra asked, wiggling her feet nervously.

    “Itching powder”, Rebecca said. “They get it from the fruit of some strange tree. Drives you crazy.”

    “No!” Chandra screamed. “You’re not going to put that on my feet, stay away, I warn you …”

    Hilde was looking at the Horizon apathetically. Hanna was sure that she would soon go insane by the outrageousness of the situation. Spain looked as if it was only an hour away with a fast boat. Maybe closer. An yet here they were, locked in stocks barefoot and left at the mercy of girls. Rebecca was naked, for Christ’s sake, with an iron collar around her neck! How could she stand this without screaming and screaming and screaming? 

    When the two girls were finished with Chandra’s feet – they had put the itching powder on her soles and between her toes, and now they were washing their hands in a bucket as if their life depended on it – it took the yellow stuff a while to kick in. Then, Chandra said: “Oh my god!”

    “Pull yourself together”, Rebecca said. “Don’t do them the favour and show how …”

    “It itches!” Chandra screamed. “Oh my god, how it itches!” She was trying to move, harder and harder, but the stocks held tight, and the girls laughed at her. “It itches, it itches!”

    An woman of maybe fifty came to them. She shouted something at the girls in an angry tone. The girls looked at her for a moment, then she shouted at them again. The girls ran away, everyone in a different direction.

    The old woman had a bucket full of water and a sponge, and she started cleaning the itching powder from Chandra’s feet.

    “Foreign prisoners”, she said. “To our own people, they’re not like this when they’re driven through here in chains.”

    “So you used to be prisoner?” Rebecca asked.

    “How come you know?”, the woman asked, smiling.

    “Because you help us”, Rebecca said. “Nobody helps a prisoner in a situation like this, except maybe if she knows what it’s liked to be locked in the stocks. And you speak English.”

    The woman nodded. “I learned it from foreign girls in the prison camp where I spent 25 years of my life. I had met them at the beach and they had joints with them. They were Americans, and I wanted to know everything about America. We got locked up together, only they were given life. I felt so guilty the day I left the camp, in my clothes and shoes and passing the millstone that they had been chained to from the day we were brought to the camp. They waved me good-bye, smiling, as if it was nothing to be naked and enchained when they had been crying most of the time in the first few weeks. Bye, Amilania, they said. Don’t forget us. Then they got the whip for interrupting their work.”

    Amilania shortly looked on the ground sadly. Then, she started putting cold water on the other girl’s bare feet. When it was Hanna’s turn, she said: “Your soles look as if they’re not used to being bare. You haven’t been a prisoner for long?”

    “No”, Hanna answered.

    “Poor girl”, Amilania said. 

    “Little tarts”, Chandra said, now that she was able to breathe again.

    “Don’t do that”, Amilania said.

    “What?”, Chandra asked.

    “Don’t blame it on the girls.”

    “Theses little bastards convinced the guards to put us here, damn it. As if seeing us pulling that carriage like a bunch of damn horses wasn’t enough for them. No, they wanted us locked in these damn, humiliating thing with our feet for them to play with.”

    “It’s satisfactory for them to see you like this.”

    “Yeah, we got that, thank you.”

    “But still, it’s not their fault. Normally, when Europeans or Americans come here, they wear expensive clothing, heavy boots or sport shoes. They look around and make faces at everything, like oh my god, these poor people, look at the rags they have for clothing and those ridiculous pieces of trash they call shoes. The girls dance around them, begging for sweats and sometimes, they are made to do tricks like dogs. And then you come here. Arrogant Europeans and Americans. So arrogant that they thought that they could come here and break our country’s laws. And that’s what they get for it. Now, look at their clothes. You can see the lice and the fleas dancing around on it. If they have any clothes, that is”, she said and looked at Rebecca, who looked down at her naked snatch, ashamed.

    “You can see the fleas and the lice on the hair between their legs as well. And they will not say anything bad about your footwear, girls, because they’re prisoners now and prisoners are kept barefoot. See them drawing that carriage? Not such big shots now, are they? Now they are the ones who are begging you, maybe for a piece of hard, old bread without worms in it, which is a delicatessen to them now. Let them sit in those stocks and let them go crazy by the thought that they’re somebody now who is locked in wood at your will and has to to beg for his smelly feet to be left alone.”

    “Our feet don’t stink”, Chandra said.

    Amilania laughed. “But you’re getting my point, don’t you?”

    “Aren’t you afraid that they sent you back to prison if they see you helping us”, Hanna suddenly asked.

    Amilania looked at her in a negatively surprised way.

    “Maybe you’re right, slavegirl”, she said and took her bucket. “I wish you all the best.”

    “Same to you”, Rebecca said. Amilania smiled, took her sponge once more and used it to clean Rebecca’s cunt. Hanna saw some tiny animals fleeing along the insides of Rebeccas thighs.

   When Amilania was finished, Rebecca said “Thank you” like a a child who had gotten exactly the right bike for Christmas.

   “It still smells, but it’s the best that I can do for now”, Amilania said and went away.

When they returned to the camp late in the evening, most of the girls in the cage were asleep. Snoring, crying. Some farting. “Bye, Hanna”, Shirina said as the group of four was let into its prison. “See you next time?”

    Tonight, for the first time, Hanna ate her porridge without hesitating, not caring about the caterpillars and worms squirming around in it. It had been a hard day, and she was starving in a way she had never been before. Rebecca asked for the loin cloth that Shirina had promised to her.

    Shirina smiled. “You were a good slave today, but I think that would be a bit too much”, she said. She had an apple in her hands, half eaten. She gave it to Rebecca through the bars of the cage. “Here, take this. You are naked because an honourable court in this country thought that it would be a just punishment for you. Who am I to interfere with that?” Without looking back, she turned and went away. The guards giggled. 

    “Bitches”, Rebecca said when the guards were gone.

    “What did you expect”, Keira asked and started to kiss Rebecca between the legs.

    “Did this pussy actually see some water today?”, Keira asked, looking up at the proudly smiling. “It smells like a real lady’s crotch”, she said and went back to work while Rebecca was having the half eaten apple.

    Hanna massaged her feet. 

    “Bad day for being barefoot, huh”, Chandra wanted to know, who took care of her feet the same way as Hanna did.

    “I itch”, Hanna said. “Everywhere. My feet hurt and my crotch itches. It drives me crazy.”

    “Lice”, Rebecca said. Her breath had become faster as Keira was working on her more energetically. “Was about time that you get ‘em. Makes you horny doesn’t it? The constant movement down there?”

    Hanna rolled her eyes. “No. Makes me wish for a shower. Or a bath.”

   Chandra lay her arm around Hanna and put one of her naked feet over hers.

    “Everything alright, honey?” she asked.

    “No”, Hanna said and went to sleep, dreaming of swimming across the sea and arriving at the coast of Spain.

    In her dream, she wore her prisoner’s clothing. The tourists on the beach were looking at her. Many of them were Germans. She recognized some familiar faces, but as she went to them for help, they turned away in disgust. The Spanish police finally came and put her into an interrogation room. They told that they had gotten a letter from the governor of some North African state, stating that she was an escaped convict. They put her into a cage in the boiler room of a ship loaded with tourists. Under the curious eyes of the passengers, she was dropped off board, greeted by Shirina who had her chained to a carriage. “This time, it’s for life”, Shirina said giggling, while the passengers applauded and the ship took off, back to Spain.

    Hanna awoke and encountered trouble falling asleep again. In the evening, she hadn’t wanted to give in to the fact that Keira had been right. The lice teasing her hairy bush were making her angry. How long had it been since she had had an orgasm? She let her hand slip under her pants, scratching her bush. Then she let two fingers slip into herself. Only for a second, she thought. But once that she had started, she found that she couldn’t stop. When she finally came, she had to press her other hand into her mouth so as not scream. For a second, she considered going to the bathroom in to clean herself of her liquids. Then she remembered where she was and how this was only one more body sediment that would dry on her and in her rags, adding to the overall stink of the smelly barefoot slavegirl that she had become.

    When she opened her eyes, she was shocked to see that Chandra was awake and looking at her. She wanted to take her hand out of her pants as if that would minor the humiliation, but Chandra grabbed her by the wrist and hold the hand in place.

    “It’s okay, honey”, she said smiling. “There is nothing to be ashamed about. You have to do it now and then, and if this is the only place to do it, then what are you supposed to do?”

    Hanna found it hard to look Chandra into the eyes. “I’m sorry”, she said, feeling that that would be an appropriate thing to say.

   “You don’t have to be”, Chandra said.

   Keira and Rebecca were smiling at her in a knowing way the next day. Hanna tried to concentrate on her work, and she got the whip a few times for not succeeding in doing so. Finally, she asked Rebecca: “What’s going on?”

    Rebecca looked up, the chain that connected her collar to her leg irons clinging as she did so.

    “Nothing”, Rebecca said. “You got the whip. Nothing unusual for a slave.”

    “That’s not what I meant”, Hanna said. “What are Keira and you grinning about?”

    Rebecca’s smile widened. “Keira was awake last night when you got naughty.”

    Hanna looked to the ground, ashamed.

   “Oh, common now”, Rebecca said apologetically. “When will you finally get some sense into you? We will spend the rest of our lives in this godforsaken place, doing field work in the blistering sun, forged in chains. As a little extra torture, they just yesterday made us draw a carriage like some damn bulls along the coast so we could see the nearby shores of our home continent, where we could be sitting in a hotel drinking martinis if we were not here, busy begging the guards to not allow the children to play with our bare feet while we’re locked in stocks. How can you still insist that there’s anything wrong with having some fun by forgetting this nightmare we’re living only for the second of an orgasm?”

    Hanna looked at Rebecca and saw that she was not trying to tease her. Once again she felt pity for the naked woman. She pictured Rebecca in a lesson in some school in Germany, wearing clothes and shoes, a respected teacher of languages. How often did she imagine herself like that, Hanna asked herself. Maybe in her dreams. And what was it like for her to wake up then, stark naked, knowing that she would never leave this place where to guards and inmates alike she wasn’t a respected teacher but Rebecca, the smelly German slave.

One day, Hanna was separated from the other convicts. A collar, lighter than Rebecca’s and not forged but held shut with a padlock was put around her neck. By it, a guard chained her to a carriage drawn by a mule that a black woman roughly Hanna’s age had arrived on. Hanna’ hands were put in cuffs on her back. Not modern cuffs. Like most of the restraining devices that had become such an integral part of her life, they looked like something out of a museum.

    The woman and the guard were talking in the language of the country. To Hanna, it sounded as if they were arguing over something. Finally, the woman gave the guard a bundle of money. When Keira passed balancing a basket full of dirt on her head, Hanna whispered frightfully: “Keira, what’s going on here?”

    “Nothing to worry about”, Keira promised. “You’re being rented. If I saw that amount of money correctly, you should be back in a few days.”

    Rented, Hanna thought. I can’t fuckin’ believe this. Nothing to worry about. It’s just that somebody rents me. Rent-a-slave. Pay for two, get one free.

    The woman who had rented her got on the carriage. She gave Hanna a strange smile. Her clothes were a bit shabby but luxurious compared to Hanna’s rags. And of course she wore shoes. Look like a beggar’s boots though, Hanna thought. She became shamefully aware that that was a thought of her past as a free girl. Where she was now, those beggar’s boots differentiated the one sitting on the carriage from the one who was chained to it like an animal, walking the dirty road in bare feet.

    The carriage was big enough for both of them to sit on. For a moment, Hanna thought about just sitting down on it and seeing what would happen. How long would they put her in the stocks for such an audacity? Ten years?

     The voyage began. The mule moved slowly and Hanna found that walking next to the carriage was not that much of a problem, even in her fetters and with her hands cuffed behind her back. It was so slow that she could spend an eye on the road and watch out for anything that might hurt her soles. The girl on the carriage watched her dancing around big sharp stones and laughed.

    After an hour or so, slowly moving carriage or not, Hanna was bathing in sweat and felt thirst. The girl on the carriage seemed to have seen that. She stopped the mule, took a big gulp from a canteen and then poured water out of it over Hanna, who greedily drank. The girl watched her smiling. When the bottle was empty, Hanna looked up to her sitting on the carriage and said “Thank you” in German.

    The girl got a small piece of bread from out of her pocket and fed Hanna with it like you would do it with a dog. The bread was hard and tasted old, but since she had become a prisoner, Hanna knew what it really meant to be starving and not just saying it like so many people did in Europe.

    “Do you must pee?”, the girl asked in broken English. “The way is still far.” She held up three fingers. “This much hours.”

    Hanna shook her head no.

    The girl on the carriage smiled. “I saw you first, I am shocked. She white, I say. I thought maybe is a dream. First time I get prisoner not from Africa. First time I see white girl like you.” The girl grabbed her own neck. Hanna understood that she meant the collar she was wearing. “White girl with this. And no shoes on feet.” She pointed at Hannas naked feet. “Is really strange for me. Will be strange for people in villages we come through.” She laughed and shook her head.

    Hanna didn’t quite know what to make of this. The girl was not trying to be sadistic. She knew quite well by now when somebody was. But don’t you recognize you’re talking about my life here, Hanna thought. When you go from travelling student to barefoot field slave in a few hours, ‘strange’ is probably the least you could come up with. That’s what I am. A slave. You just rented me, for Christ’s sake. I eat a porridge of moldy potatoes and cockroaches twice a day that you would probably not dare to give to that mule that draws your carriage. And you think it’s a big laugh that I have “no shoes on feet”.

    “You Germany?” It took Hanna a moment to figure out that that was a question. She nodded.

    “Bad place for going to prison, Africa, yes?” Hanna nodded again.

    “Yes”, the girl said. “I in Germany long time ago. They say I illegal. Before I go back here, I go in Germany prison. I afraid, but I find prison is so different in your country. I keep my clothes. Even my shoes.” She smiled and shook her head as if that was the most ridiculous thing to think of. “I eat food in prison, three times a day. I must leave cell one day for other, because in my was …” She made a strange face and scratched her head as if her life depended on it.

    “Lice”, Hanna said.

    The girl nodded thankfully and said: “Yes, lice. You have lice?”

    Hanna nodded.

    “Yes”, the girl said as if “Of course” was what she wanted to say but didn’t know the word. “You prisoner. Prison is dirty, prisoners is dirty, prisoners have lice. It’s normal here. But in Germany, oh no, they say, lice. I wash every day. Here, prisoners is happy if water to drink.” She held up the canteen. “Prison like hotel in your country.”

    Hanna looked down on her toes. Some strange insect was crawling over her bare feet. She shook it away with a disgusted face. The girl on the carriage laughed.

    “You prisoner here”, she said, as if Hanna had probably forgotten. “No hotel, no shower, no shoes on feet. Animal think shoeless feet are cheese. How long police say you must go in prison?”

    “Forty years”, Hanna answered. Like each time she said it, it made her feel like crying out.

    The girl on the carriage sighed and fed Hanna with another piece of bread as if for consolation. “Long, long time”, she said. “You made bad crime?”

    “I didn’t do anything”, Hanna said.

    “I not believe”, the girl said. “You think you Germany, this county law is not for you.”

    “Even if I had done anything, the way in which you treat prisoners here is absolutely inhuman.”

    The girl shook her shoulders. “You be prisoner for long, long time, is all I know.”

    “Where do you bring me?”, Hanna asked.

    “I work in place for rich man, big place. Has many horses. Many animals make many shit. Make it gone is hard work and you stink very much, so he pay money for prisoner to do it. Prisoner must do everything you tell her.”

    She looked at Hanna as if she expected some complaint. Then she asked: “What your name, Germany girl?”

    “Hanna.”

    “I Lahanda. I be telling you your work. You hit a lot with whip in prison place, Hanna?”

    “Yes”, Hanna said.

    Lahanda smiled and nodded. “Then you is like holiday now. I use whip almost never. Boss often say Lahanda, you use whip more for prisoner. They all lazy. But I no use whip more than two or three times a day.”

    She looked at Hanna as if she expected her to let out some cries of joy at this prospect. When it became obvious that Hanna had not quite gotten over the fact that there used to be a time when she had shoes on her feet and did not get the whip at all, Lahanda made the mule continue their way.

    “Come, Hanna”, Lahanda said, as if the German prisoner was not chained to her carriage and actually had a choice. “There is many, many work for you.”

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