Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.

Steve Maraboli

 
 
 
 
 
Tác giả: Sidney Sheldon
Thể loại: Tiểu Thuyết
Biên tập: Bach Ly Bang
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Language: English
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Cập nhật: 2015-09-04 21:01:18 +0700
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Chapter 7
ime lost all meaning. There was never light in the cell, so there was no difference between night and day, and she had no idea how long she was kept in solitary confinement. From time to time cold meals were shoved through a slot in the bottom of the door. Tracy had no appetite, but she forced herself to eat every morsel. You gotta eat, or you won't last here. She understood that now; she knew she would need every bit of her strength for what she planned to do. She was in a situation that anyone else would have considered hopeless: She was locked away for fifteen years, with no money, no friends, no resources of any kind. But there was a wellspring of strength deep within her. I will survive, Tracy thought. I face mine enemies naked, and my courage is my shield. She would survive as her ancestors had survived. In her was the mixed blood of the English and the Irish and the Scots, and she had inherited the best of their qualities, the intelligence and the courage and the will. My ancestors survived famine and plagues and floods, and I'm going to survive this. They were with her now in her stygian cell: the shepherds and trappers, the farmers and shopkeepers, the doctors and teachers. The ghosts of the past, and every one was a part of her. I won't let you down, Tracy whispered into the darkness.
She began to plan her escape.
o O o
Tracy knew that the first thing she had to do was regain her physical strength. The cell was too cramped for extensive exercise, but it was large enough for t'ai chi ch'uan, the centuries-old martial art that was taught warriors to prepare them for combat. The exercises required little space, and they used every muscle in the body. Tracy stood up and went through the opening moves. Each movement had a name and a significance. She started with the militant Punching the Demons, then into the softer Gathering the Light. The movements were fluid and graceful and done very slowly. Every gesture came from tan tien, the psychic center, and all the movements were circular. Tracy could hear the voice of her teacher: Arouse your chi, your vital energy. It starts heavy as a mountain and becomes light as a bird's feather. Tracy could feel the chi flowing through her fingers, and she concentrated until her whole being was focused on her body moving through the timeless patterns.
Grasp the bird's tail, become the white stork, repulse the monkey, face the tiger, let your hands become clouds and circulate the water of life. Let the white snake creep down and ride the tiger. Shoot the tiger, gather your chi, and go back to tan tien, the center.
The complete cycle took an hour, and when it was finished Tracy was exhausted. She went through the ritual each morning and afternoon until her body began to respond and grow strong.
When she was not exercising her body, Tracy exercised her mind. She lay in the dark, doing complicated mathematical equations, mentally operating the computer at the bank, reciting poetry, recalling the lines of plays she had been in at college. She was a perfectionist, and when she had gotten a part in a school play where she had to use different accents, she had studied accents for weeks before the play went on. A talent scout had once approached her to offer her a screen test in Hollywood. "No, thank you. I don't want the limelight. That's not for me," Tracy had told him.
Charles's voice: You're the headline in this morning's Daily News.
Tracy pushed the memory of Charles away. There were doors in her mind that had to remain closed for now.
She played the teaching game: Name three absolutely impossible things to teach.
To teach an ant the difference between Catholics and Protestants.
To make a bee understand that it is the earth that travels around the sun.
To explain to a cat the difference between communism and democracy.
But she concentrated mostly on how she was going to destroy her enemies, each of them in turn. She remembered a game she had played as a child. By holding up one hand toward the sky, it was possible to blot out the sun. That's what they had done to her. They had raised a hand and blotted out her life.
o O o
Tracy had no idea how many prisoners had been broken by their confinement in the bing, nor would it have mattered to her.
On the seventh day, when the cell door opened, Tracy was blinded by the sudden light that flooded the cell. A guard stood outside. "On your feet. You're going back upstairs."
He reached down to give Tracy a helping hand, and to his surprise, she rose easily to her feet and walked out of the cell unaided. The other prisoners he had removed from solitary had come out either broken or defiant, but this prisoner was neither. There was an aura of dignity about her, a self-confidence that was alien to this place. Tracy stood in the light, letting her eyes gradually get accustomed to it. What a great-looking piece of ass, the guard thought. Get her cleaned up and you could take her anywhere. I'll bet she'd do anything for a few favors.
Aloud he said, "A pretty girl like you shouldn't have to go through this kind of thing. If you and me was friends, I'd see that it didn't happen again."
Tracy turned to face him, and when he saw the look in her eyes, he hastily decided not to pursue it.
The guard walked Tracy upstairs and turned her over to a matron.
The matron sniffed. "Jesus, you stink. Go in and take a shower. We'll burn those clothes."
The cold shower felt wonderful. Tracy shampooed her hair and scrubbed herself from head to foot with the harsh lye soap.
When she had dried herself and put on a change of clothing, the matron was waiting for her. "Warden wants to see you."
The last time Tracy had heard those words, she had believed it meant her freedom. Never again would she be that naive.
o O o
Warden Brannigan was standing at the window when Tracy walked into his office. He turned and said, "Sit down, please." Tracy took a chair. "I've been away in Washington at a conference. I just returned this morning and saw a report on what happened. You should not have been put in solitary."
She sat watching him, her impassive face giving nothing away.
The warden glanced at a paper on his desk. "According to this report, you were sexually assaulted by your cell mates."
"No, sir."
Warden Brannigan nodded understandingly. "I understand your fear, but I can't allow the inmates to run this prison. I want to punish whoever did this to you, but I'll need your testimony. I'll see that you're protected. Now, I want you to tell me exactly what happened and who was responsible."
Tracy looked him in the eye. "I was. I fell off my bunk."
The warden studied her a long time, and she could see the disappointment cloud his face. "Are you quite sure"
"Yes, sir."
"You won't change your mind?"
"No, sir."
Warden Brannigan sighed. "All right. If that's your decision. I'll have you transferred to another cell where---"
"I don't want to be transferred."
He looked at her in surprise. "You mean you want to go back to the same cell?"
"Yes, sir."
He was puzzled. Perhaps he had been wrong about her; maybe she had invited what had happened to her. God only knew what those damned female prisoners were thinking or doing. He wished he could be transferred to some nice, sane men's prison, but his wife and Amy, his small daughter, liked it here. They all lived in a charming cottage, and there were lovely grounds around the prison farm. To them, it was like living in the country, but he had to cope with these crazy women twenty-four hours a day.
He looked at the young woman sitting before him and said awkwardly, "Very well. Just stay out of trouble in the future."
"Yes, sir."
o O o
Returning to her cell was the most difficult thing Tracy had ever done. The moment she stepped inside she was assailed by the horror of what had happened there. Her cell mates were away at work. Tracy lay on her bunk, staring at the ceiling, planning. Finally, she reached down to the bottom of her bunk and pried a piece of the metal side loose. She placed it under her mattress. When the 11:00 A.M. lunch bell rang, Tracy was the first to line up in the corridor.
In the mess hall, Paulita and Lola were seated at a table near the entrance. There was no sign of Ernestine Littlechap.
Tracy chose a table filled with strangers, sat down, and finished every bite of the tasteless meal. She spent the afternoon alone in her cell. At 2:45 her three cell mates returned.
Paulita grinned with surprise when she saw Tracy. "So you came back to us, pretty pussy. You liked what we did to you, huh?"
"Good. We got more for you," Lola said.
Tracy gave no indication that she heard their taunting. She was concentrating on the black woman. Ernestine Littlechap was the reason Tracy had come back to this cell. Tracy did not trust her. Not for a moment. But she needed her.
I'm gonna give you a tip, querida. Ernestine Littlechap runs this place....
That night, when the fifteen-minute warning bell sounded for lights out, Tracy rose from her bunk and began to undress. This time there was no false modesty. She stripped, and the Mexican woman gave a long, low whistle as she looked at Tracy's full, firm breasts and her long, tapering legs and creamy thighs. Lola was breathing hard. Tracy put on a nightgown and lay back on her bunk. The lights went out. The cell was in darkness.
Thirty minutes went by. Tracy lay in the dark listening to the breathing of the others.
Across the cell, Paulita whispered, "Mama's gonna give you some real lovin' tonight. Take off your nightgown, baby."
"We're gonna teach you how to eat pussy, and you'll do it till you get it right," Lola giggled.
Still not a word from the black woman. Tracy felt the rush of wind as Lola and Paulita came at her, but Tracy was ready for them. She lifted the piece of metal she had concealed in her hand and swung with all her might, hitting one of the women in the face. There was a scream of pain, and Tracy kicked out at the other figure and saw her fall to the floor.
"Come near me again and I'll kill you," Tracy said.
"You bitch!"
Tracy could hear them start for her again, and she raised the piece of metal.
Ernestine's voice came abruptly out of the darkness. "Tha's enough. Leave her alone."
"Ernie, I'm bleedin'. I'm gonna fix her---"
"Do what the fuck I tell you."
There was a long silence. Tracy heard the two women moving back to their bunks, breathing hard. Tracy lay there, tensed, ready for their next move.
Ernestine Littlechap said, "You got guts, baby."
Tracy was silent.
"You didn't sing to the warden." Ernestine laughed softly in the darkness. "If you had, you'd be dead meat."
Tracy believed her.
"Why di'n' you let the warden move you to another cell?"
So she even knew about that. "I wanted to come back here."
"Yeah? What fo'?" There was a puzzled note in Ernestine Littlechap's voice.
This was the moment Tracy had been waiting for. "You're going to help me escape."
If Tomorrow Comes If Tomorrow Comes - Sidney Sheldon If Tomorrow Comes