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I always knew my life would end this way: at the hand of someone else. Call it premonition, call it intuition, call it whatever you want, the name doesn’t change the results. It won’t bring me back and it doesn’t change the fate of so many like me, and there are literally thousands like me. More and more enter this life every day, and many of them meet my fate. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning of my tale, a tale of abuse, of being passed around from one person to another, a tale of being party to the most intimate dealings of other people’s lives and ultimately a tale of murder.
I was young when I came into this life. So young, in fact, that the first thing I remember is the light. We were packed so tightly in that small, dark place that the light was nearly blinding when we first emerged. Small groups at a time were taken away, many never to be seen again, a few we would see in passing only, never allowed to connect with one another. We had to stay where we were told; “a place for everything and everything in its place” became our way of life. Some of us were “lucky”, we got to go to better homes, we were treated slightly better than the others, we still weren’t loved, but it could have been worse. Some of us lived out whole lives with just one Master; others had many, many Masters. Some of us were used up so quickly, that we didn’t recognize our own death coming until it was too late. We were thrown around carelessly, nobody respected us. They shook us, hit us against the furniture and banged us when we misbehaved. Beaten and abused we were expected to perform our duties as if nothing had happened. It was our job to carry on that way. We did our jobs dutifully or we were smacked around or worse, they would try to break us. Sometimes, even when we were doing our best job, our Masters would lock us up in boxes or tie us in bags. We were transported from one location to another in this manner and when we would arrive; our jobs would be performed yet again. It was a never ending cycle of abuse and work and nobody thought about what this would do to us, that someday we would fall apart, that their actions would be our deaths, but they were Master and that was how our lives were lived.
Over time, I grew more confident in my job, though. I guess when you only have one goal; it’s fairly easy to succeed. In time, Master began to trust me. I was taken along to business meetings, to retreats, even a vacation once. Master knew the job I could perform and that I could be trusted to perform it well again and again without being asked. I began to better understand the people in my life. The people responsible for this life seem nice enough. They don’t know what they are doing. They, like me, have a job to perform. It’s not up to them to decide what happens to me once they pass me along. Anyway, the secrets were a fun part of my job, if there was a fun part. Sometimes I understood what was happening and sometimes not, but being inside the secret was the best part whether I knew it at the time or not. Master wrote notes to lovers, memos to employees, reprimands to children and lots of letters. I was privy to them all. It was fascinating to see all that could happen beyond the walls of the room in which I was kept. The words on the page had a life I would never know, trapped, beaten, abuse, forced to work anytime the Master required it.
Then, one day, it was over. My last ounce of life had been drained from my body and I was done. Used and beaten from my earliest memory, tossed aside like an old newspaper once the puzzles are complete. It took Master a minute or two to realize what was happening. I had been on a last leg for a little too long. I was gone too quickly. I wasn’t ready to go, I hadn’t lived my life. Not really. From the day the light came filtering through that crate, to the day I was shoved in a bag and dropped by the curb, I lived for someone else. I knew it would end this way. I had seen it so many times before. So many of my friends had met the same fate, some lasting longer than others, but ultimately, we all met the same fate. I doubt anyone even knew my name. I don’t even know if I have a name anymore. I assume I do, people once called me “Pen”, though I don’t know if that was short for anything or if they simply needed to call me something. Not that it matters now. My life is gone, the last drip of life has poured out and I’m back where I started. In a small, dark place, surrounded by others Master used, abused, and left like trash.
Maybe I’ll get to see the blinding light once more? Do you think?
I have an identity.
I won’t be forgotten.
I am the complimentary hotel pen.
-Rainshadow Noba, June 19, 2012