The girl stepped inside the room. Uncertain steps. Steps that wanted to turn and walk in the opposite direction. She heard a resounding click. The door was shut for her. She stood before the old man and woman who gazed at her, their lips parted, their eyes open, expectant. The man instructed her to twirl. She obeyed without a word. Once, twice, thrice. The spell of dizziness felt liberating; a little reckless, as if she were handing over responsibility of her safety to the vagaries of a fairground ride.
“Do you like it?” the man asked.
“I’m trying to.”
“That’s not good enough.”
“Don’t frighten her!” said the old woman.
The man stepped forward and began prodding bits of her garment. Handling her roughly. He had to make sure she looked pretty for her special day.
“You knew this day would come,” the old woman said. “And I promise you that when you meet your future it will be beautiful, perfect, just like we’ve been told. Of course you know that. You just have to do everything the way we have taught you.”
The young woman nodded. She closed her eyes and went through the drill one final time. She squeezed the plastic button hidden inside her sweaty grip. Death to the bastards who had maimed half her family and killed the rest.