Deena Remiel's Place

Author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance


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A Bittersweet Release: Freedom in Chains

A couple of years ago I stumbled across a website that I found intriguing. It linked to an internet radio station and had fascinating shows lined up that informed us, entertained us, and helped nurture the strength and confidence inside us. Of course, I was hooked immediately. There was an added benefit- we got to have blog pages of our own right on the site!

This website is herewomentalksocial.com. I met Kay Van Hoesen, a fabulously talented woman who created the place, and others who had joined, needing to find their footing again. I shared some empowering poetry I’d written and found it had been appreciated. Over the past couple of years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my attachment to the place. I don’t get there nearly as much as I used to, given the time constraints in my life, but I do always return. Like a baby bird returns to her nest.

This is where I met Dottie Laster, as well. And this is where my blinders came off to an insidious crime against humanity. Not too long after I joined I found and listened to Dottie’s radio show, TRAFFICKED. She exposes and explains the underworld of human trafficking of all kinds- slavery, sex. She reports on the ongoing efforts to prosecute those guilty of trafficking. And to this very day, she fights for the victims. Her company, lasterglobal.com seeks to bring awareness to companies about how to keep from hiring people who are being trafficked.

Breaking news came across the HWTS wire one day. A young woman had reached out to this very site and Dottie in an attempt to be rescued. After much machinations, terrifying moments, and a team of angels, she succeeded. She was brought to a facility specializing in helping those who have suffered long-term abuse and needed long-term care. It has been a long bumpy road, but she is healing and growing and learning what it is to be free and responsible for her own life.

Kay asked if I would write a short story celebrating this young woman’s freedom as well as bring awareness to the plight of so many. I agreed readily, and FREEDOM IN CHAINS is the result. I initially released it here, on my website, and simul-posted it on others’ sites who agreed to do so, on the anniversary of her rescue. But now, I feel like it needs a permanent place to live. A place where people can see it, purchase it, and know that by doing so, they’ve taken their BLINDERS OFF to this worldwide crime against humanity.

FREEDOM IN CHAINS releases today, and it is a bittersweet moment. I wish I didn’t have to write it. I wish there was no such depraved act such as human trafficking. But there is, and I refuse to put my head in the sand. Whenever I write something regarding trafficking, I use the phrase, BLINDERS OFF. This is to bring to our attention how so often we put them on to deny what’s going on around us, and trafficking is as close as our next door neighbor in many cases.

I hope you will go to FREEDOM in CHAINS on amazon or smashwords and purchase a copy today:

Proceeds from the sale of this short story will benefit millionkids.org.

Straight from their website, this is who they are and what they do:

Million Kids is the creator of the “Not In My Backyard”® anti-human trafficking campaign.

Million Kids is a 501(c)(3) public benefit nonprofit (EIN# 26-3174662) that combats human trafficking. Locally, we serve on the Riverside County Anti-Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT). We help activists and communities develop effective anti-trafficking programs in their locales.

At Million Kids, we…

  • provide educational, medical, and legal aid to survivors of trafficking and exploitation;
  • offer prevention programs that help children, youth and adults to stay free and to recognize how traffickers work;
  • equip activists and provide strategic support to assist law enforcement.

 RESTORE • PROTECT • EMPOWER

Million Kids serves on the Riverside County Anti-Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT). We educate and engage individuals, organizations and corporations about human trafficking.



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ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: A woman is saved by angels

In honor of this remarkable victory of the human spirit, of Lisbeth’s triumphant return to humanity, I am re-posting my short story, FREEDOM IN CHAINS, commissioned by Kay Van Hoesen, the owner and creator of HERE WOMEN TALK SOCIAL, a website and network where DOTTIE LASTER runs a very active radio show about Human Trafficking.

 If you would like to hear an update on how Lisbeth is doing a year free, you can today on the radio show, Trafficked:

1-2 pm Eastern (10-11 Pacific) …  TRAFFICKED ~ Dottie Laster.  Rescued and Alive! Exactly one year ago, the women of Here Women Talk rescued a trafficked U.S. teen who reached out to us for help. We call her Lisbeth (not her real name). Today we hear from Lisbeth about how she’s doing and reunite the members of her rescue team. Read more. Chat-in or call in 877-500-ZEUS (9387)  CLICK BELOW FOR MORE INFO>>>

http://community.herewomentalk.com/page/trafficked-with-dottie-laster

Look soon for an e-anthology of story, poetry, and art commemorating Lisbeth’s glorious anniversary.

Here now, FREEDOM IN CHAINS…

Freedom in Chains

By Deena Remiel

 

I am born. Without forethought. Without intention. Without love. I am thrust out of a darkness so warm, sheltered, and secure. Thrown into another kind of darkness so cold, exposed, and depraved. I cry and reach out, instinctively, for a mother’s love that should be there, instinctively, and is not. I learn instead to reach inward. I learn to design my own world in a corner of my mind. I learn not to cry.

Bad things happen when I cry. Bad things happen anyway… when you’re not intended.

In my world, it’s best to be invisible. If She can’t see me, I’m forgotten for a while and safe from the brutal attacks on my fragile heart. I know She can’t help herself yet, and I forgive her… over and over. She is Mother. If He can’t see me, my body is safe from unwanted, unwarranted intrusions.  I just can’t be invisible long enough, though. I know He can’t help himself. He tells me so as He hurts me and cries… or laughs.

No longer a person, but a receptacle for other people’s basest desires, I exist. I am pissed on and passed on to innumerable faceless people who don’t see me, a precious child, but see me, a thing to be exploited. This is not my choice, but I have no voice. It was stolen sound by sound, thread by thread, each day sucked up more and more by the vacuum my family surrounded me with, veiled as “protection”.

 

My name is Freedom, and it was my birthday, once.

Freedom’s not my real name, but I chose it on that one birthday. The one that was actually remembered. The one that made Mother angry at remembering, angry at me. My birthday dinner was Rice Toasties and milk. My birthday gift? I got visited by Him and his friends. As my body was repeatedly invaded, I made plans for my revolution, my escape.

To freedom.

 

Today is the dawn of my revolution. Mother isn’t home, and He’s too doped up to lift his head when I walk into our apartment. So I gather my few belongings and walk right back out, never looking back. The streets have to be safer than where I have been for the past fourteen years.

I walk along the bustling city streets of my town, seeing everything just a bit differently than I had only minutes before. I see, for the first time, because my head is up and not turned down in shame. The store windows sparkle brilliantly in the sunlight, just for me. In upstairs apartments, window shades are pulled down and then up to let in more light. But I know they’re really winking their approval at my decision. My heart is light, my cheeks lift, and I touch them. I am smiling. What a strange feeling.

Awareness and attention to detail assault my brain like a battering ram. There’s an old lady with wrinkled tissue paper skin pushing a shopping cart, but I know she’s not shopping anywhere. I see her lips moving but nothing’s coming out. There’s a pack of boys, acting as if they owned the corner they were hanging out on, whistling after pretty girls walking by. Some of the girls give them nasty looks, while others ignore them altogether.

I notice the smells. The sweet, succulent aroma of the flowers from a flower shop is tucked away in a little box in my heart labeled “sweet things”. Next, I smell pizza. I know pizza. I eat it a lot. My nose wrinkles in defiance of the familiarity. No more pizza for me! I smell garbage. I know that smell, too. It perfumes my apartment. It creeps into my nostrils and lingers. I put my hand to my face and smell my skin. Anything is better than the smell of where I came from.

Darkness is inevitable. Hours fly by in a dizzying swirl of sights, sounds, and smells. More swiftly than I would think, the insipid darkness descends upon the city. I am tense, anxious. My stomach grumbles. I haven’t considered where or what I might eat. I haven’t considered where I might stay. I haven’t considered how I might pay for anything. I simply haven’t considered. My thoughts wander as I stand frozen in the middle of the sidewalk. I am now one of those people, the street people, who lay on benches or cardboard boxes on the ground. It’s still better than who I was before.

 An unnatural breeze, sour and rank, wafts over my face. I know that smell, and a shiver snakes its way up my spine and clenches hard at my neck. It is Him, and my stomach roils in abject humiliation. My revolution, only in its infancy, has been suppressed. I am tugged and pulled and squeezed by his cruel hands. And He smiles at the people we pass on the way to his car that He left parked in the middle of the road. He calls me an incorrigible teenager to mollify the onlookers while shoving me into the front seat, and they respond with an understanding glance. But they don’t understand! I scream that I’m being kidnapped and they shake their heads disbelieving me, believing Him instead. How can they believe Him instead of me? His right hand forms a manacle around my wrist as He drives one-handed all the way back to the apartment. I am barraged with insults and curses and threats meant to intimidate me.

They will work… for a while.

A closet, a very dark closet with some matted carpeting, becomes my home, and I am chained by my ankle to the floor. But not before my whipping, not before cigarettes are burned into my flesh, and not before I am reminded of what my only purpose is on this earth. I don’t know what day it is. I only know day from night when the door opens and I’m given a sandwich and water. And when They come to fetch me.

In the darkness I hear them scheming. I know they have to send me to school. It’s the law. But they won’t until I’m healed. Mother told me she called me out sick so the police won’t come. They’ve told stories to everyone at school about how difficult I am at home and how I’m a habitual liar. Mother told them she’s getting me into counseling because I hurt myself intentionally. My teachers don’t believe them. Do they?

I am scheming, too.

I am finally set free to go to school. I have no clue what’s going on in my classes and no friends to ask. I’m never there enough to string concepts or friendships together. My stomach is cramping, so I ask to see the nurse. Denied. I’m only allowed to have stomach cramps in between classes. I see my assistant principal at lunchtime and decide to approach her. Maybe she can help me. We go to her office and she leans back nonchalantly in her seat and stares blankly at every tale I tell. I even show her the scarring from the cigarette burns and the chain marks around my ankle. I’ll look into this, she says, as she walks me out. I turn around to see her shaking her head and tossing her notes into the waste basket. She doesn’t believe. They’ve gotten to her. She’s one of Them now.

The end of the school day brings no relief, as He is there, waiting for me in his car. He waves me on and I can do nothing but obey. Mother’s gone. On and on, my days blend together. Every day the same  routine – chains unlocked, get ready for school, go to school, go home, chains locked. Sometimes He comes, sometimes his friends, sometimes it is people he doesn’t even know. I am His meal-ticket. I am His drugs.

 I am His.

He has a computer on the table in the kitchen, right next to the pizza boxes and dirty paper plates and cups and empty beer bottles. While in my closet I have been busy. I have found a way to get out of my chains and back in them again. Malnourishment has its advantages.

The front door slams shut and I wait. I listen. There is silence. Boldly, I remove the chain from around my ankle and I stretch. Reaching up for the doorknob, I hesitate. What if He’s testing me and He’s really laying in wait, ready to pounce? What if the door is locked and I can’t get out? Enough of the what-ifs, I scold myself. What if you just open the Goddamn door?

I do, and I am alone.

Energy hums through my body as I rush to the computer. Now what? I search for freedom. I had been in Civics class once where the teacher taught us about human rights violations around the world. He had mentioned human trafficking and children being sold into slavery as a couple of examples. I remember hyperventilating and being sent to the health office. I retched and dry-heaved for a while and then she sent me back to class. Only other people get to go home when they’re sick.

Human Trafficking brings up 9,000,000 pages to view. I only need one to confirm that I am what is called a victim. It takes a couple more clicks and I find my savior. Someone actually saves people like me, victims of unspeakable human rights crimes. I quickly write down a phone number, put it in my pocket and return the computer to exactly the way it was before.

 I hear loud cursing and laughing coming from the hallway. He’s back, and he’s got company. Scurrying like a mouse, I scramble to my closet, close the door, reattach the chain to my ankle and curl up in a ball. I say my nightly prayer, “Please make me invisible tonight.” Tonight, it works. His company is female. Poor woman.

At school today, I skip out of English. I borrow some kid’s cell phone. Okay, I steal some kid’s cell phone and race outside to make the call. The call to freedom. My finger trembles as it pushes each number. It knows this is my last effort to be free. The thrumming of my heart threatens to drown out the voice on the other end.

Hello?

 

I am born. Again. It is a long row I hoe with many ruts and boulders in my way. Nightmares and depression replace my former reality. But I have people in my life now who help me plant the seeds of strength and trust and happiness. People who show me what it is to be treated with human kindness. People who show me I am deserving of such. The evil that bought me when I was but a child has his own shackles to wear now in his own “closet” for the next forty years. It should bring a smile to my face, but that’s still hard to do.

My name is Freedom, and I had a birthday once. I named it my Freedom Day. My Freedom Day dinner was a real steak, a baked potato, green beans, and a Coke.

My Freedom Day gift? My new life.

 

 

©Deena Remiel, 2010. All rights reserved.


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Blinders Off! A Special Human Trafficking Simul-posting!

All across the internet today, friends of mine are helping raise awareness regarding Human Trafficking, a global, insidious crime. Everyday a child, a woman, a man is sold into slavery- whether for work, drugs, or for sex, it is happening all around us. Even to families we know. One young woman has been rescued from her years of captivity by a brave champion, Dottie Laster of Laster Global, Inc. To commemorate the 6 month anniversary of her freedom, and to bring about awareness, I present here today, FREEDOM IN CHAINS, a short story. Blinders off, people!

~Deena Remiel
www.deenaremiel.com
www.millionkids.org
http://lasterglobal.com/

Freedom in Chains
By Deena Remiel

I am born. Without forethought. Without intention. Without love. I am thrust out of a darkness so warm, sheltered, and secure. Thrown into another kind of darkness so cold, exposed, and depraved. I cry and reach out, instinctively, for a mother’s love that should be there, instinctively, and is not. I learn instead to reach inward. I learn to design my own world in a corner of my mind. I learn not to cry.

Bad things happen when I cry. Bad things happen anyway… when you’re not intended.

In my world, it’s best to be invisible. If She can’t see me, I’m forgotten for a while and safe from the brutal attacks on my fragile heart. I know She can’t help herself yet, and I forgive her… over and over. She is Mother. If He can’t see me, my body is safe from unwanted, unwarranted intrusions.  I just can’t be invisible long enough, though. I know He can’t help himself. He tells me so as He hurts me and cries… or laughs.

No longer a person, but a receptacle for other people’s basest desires, I exist. I am pissed on and passed on to innumerable faceless people who don’t see me, a precious child, but see me, a thing to be exploited. This is not my choice, but I have no voice. It was stolen sound by sound, thread by thread, each day sucked up more and more by the vacuum my family surrounded me with, veiled as “protection”.

My name is Freedom, and it was my birthday, once.

Freedom’s not my real name, but I chose it on that one birthday. The one that was actually remembered. The one that made Mother angry at remembering, angry at me. My birthday dinner was Rice Toasties and milk. My birthday gift? I got visited by Him and his friends. As my body was repeatedly invaded, I made plans for my revolution, my escape.

To freedom.

Today is the dawn of my revolution. Mother isn’t home, and He’s too doped up to lift his head when I walk into our apartment. So I gather my few belongings and walk right back out, never looking back. The streets have to be safer than where I have been for the past fourteen years.

I walk along the bustling city streets of my town, seeing everything just a bit differently than I had only minutes before. I see, for the first time, because my head is up and not turned down in shame. The store windows sparkle brilliantly in the sunlight, just for me. In upstairs apartments, window shades are pulled down and then up to let in more light. But I know they’re really winking their approval at my decision. My heart is light, my cheeks lift, and I touch them. I am smiling. What a strange feeling.

Awareness and attention to detail assault my brain like a battering ram. There’s an old lady with wrinkled tissue paper skin pushing a shopping cart, but I know she’s not shopping anywhere. I see her lips moving but nothing’s coming out. There’s a pack of boys, acting as if they owned the corner they were hanging out on, whistling after pretty girls walking by. Some of the girls give them nasty looks, while others ignore them altogether.

I notice the smells. The sweet, succulent aroma of the flowers from a flower shop is tucked away in a little box in my heart labeled “sweet things”. Next, I smell pizza. I know pizza. I eat it a lot. My nose wrinkles in defiance of the familiarity. No more pizza for me! I smell garbage. I know that smell, too. It perfumes my apartment. It creeps into my nostrils and lingers. I put my hand to my face and smell my skin. Anything is better than the smell of where I came from.

Darkness is inevitable. Hours fly by in a dizzying swirl of sights, sounds, and smells. More swiftly than I would think, the insipid darkness descends upon the city. I am tense, anxious. My stomach grumbles. I haven’t considered where or what I might eat. I haven’t considered where I might stay. I haven’t considered how I might pay for anything. I simply haven’t considered. My thoughts wander as I stand frozen in the middle of the sidewalk. I am now one of those people, the street people, who lay on benches or cardboard boxes on the ground. It’s still better than who I was before.

 An unnatural breeze, sour and rank, wafts over my face. I know that smell, and a shiver snakes its way up my spine and clenches hard at my neck. It is Him, and my stomach roils in abject humiliation. My revolution, only in its infancy, has been suppressed. I am tugged and pulled and squeezed by his cruel hands. And He smiles at the people we pass on the way to his car that He left parked in the middle of the road. He calls me an incorrigible teenager to mollify the onlookers while shoving me into the front seat, and they respond with an understanding glance. But they don’t understand! I scream that I’m being kidnapped and they shake their heads disbelieving me, believing Him instead. How can they believe Him instead of me? His right hand forms a manacle around my wrist as He drives one-handed all the way back to the apartment. I am barraged with insults and curses and threats meant to intimidate me.

They will work… for a while.

A closet, a very dark closet with some matted carpeting, becomes my home, and I am chained by my ankle to the floor. But not before my whipping, not before cigarettes are burned into my flesh, and not before I am reminded of what my only purpose is on this earth. I don’t know what day it is. I only know day from night when the door opens and I’m given a sandwich and water. And when They come to fetch me.

In the darkness I hear them scheming. I know they have to send me to school. It’s the law. But they won’t until I’m healed. Mother told me she called me out sick so the police won’t come. They’ve told stories to everyone at school about how difficult I am at home and how I’m a habitual liar. Mother told them she’s getting me into counseling because I hurt myself intentionally. My teachers don’t believe them. Do they?

I am scheming, too.

I am finally set free to go to school. I have no clue what’s going on in my classes and no friends to ask. I’m never there enough to string concepts or friendships together. My stomach is cramping, so I ask to see the nurse. Denied. I’m only allowed to have stomach cramps in between classes. I see my assistant principal at lunchtime and decide to approach her. Maybe she can help me. We go to her office and she leans back nonchalantly in her seat and stares blankly at every tale I tell. I even show her the scarring from the cigarette burns and the chain marks around my ankle. I’ll look into this, she says, as she walks me out. I turn around to see her shaking her head and tossing her notes into the waste basket. She doesn’t believe. They’ve gotten to her. She’s one of Them now.

The end of the school day brings no relief, as He is there, waiting for me in his car. He waves me on and I can do nothing but obey. Mother’s gone. On and on, my days blend together. Every day the same routine- chains unlocked, get ready for school, go to school, go home, chains locked. Sometimes He comes, sometimes his friends, sometimes it is people he doesn’t even know. I am His meal-ticket. I am His drugs.

 I am His.

He has a computer on the table in the kitchen, right next to the pizza boxes and dirty paper plates and cups and empty beer bottles. While in my closet I have been busy. I have found a way to get out of my chains and back in them again. Malnourishment has its advantages.

The front door slams shut and I wait. I listen. There is silence. Boldly, I remove the chain from around my ankle and I stretch. Reaching up for the doorknob, I hesitate. What if He’s testing me and He’s really laying in wait, ready to pounce? What if the door is locked and I can’t get out? Enough of the what-ifs, I scold myself. What if you just open the Goddamn door?

I do, and I am alone.

Energy hums through my body as I rush to the computer. Now what? I search for freedom. I had been in Civics class once where the teacher taught us about human rights violations around the world. He had mentioned human trafficking and children being sold into slavery as a couple of examples. I remember hyperventilating and being sent to the health office. I retched and dry-heaved for a while and then she sent me back to class. Only other people get to go home when they’re sick.

Human trafficking brings up 9,000,000 pages to view. I only need one to confirm that I am what is called a victim. It takes a couple more clicks and I find my savior. Someone actually saves people like me, victims of unspeakable human rights crimes. I quickly write down a phone number, put it in my pocket and return the computer to exactly the way it was before.

 I hear loud cursing and laughing coming from the hallway. He’s back, and he’s got company. Scurrying like a mouse, I scramble to my closet, close the door, reattach the chain to my ankle and curl up in a ball. I say my nightly prayer, “Please make me invisible tonight.” Tonight, it works. His company is female. Poor woman.

At school today, I skip out of English. I borrow some kid’s cell phone. Okay, I steal some kid’s cell phone and race outside to make the call. The call to freedom. My finger trembles as it pushes each number. It knows this is my last effort to be free. The thrumming of my heart threatens to drown out the voice on the other end. Hello?

I am born. Again. It is a long row I hoe with many ruts and boulders in my way. Nightmares and depression replace my former reality. But I have people in my life now who help me plant the seeds of strength and trust and happiness. People who show me what it is to be treated with human kindness. People who show me I am deserving of such. The evil that bought me when I was but a child has his own shackles to wear now in his own “closet” for the next forty years. It should bring a smile to my face, but that’s still hard to do.

My name is Freedom, and I had a birthday once. I named it my Freedom Day. My Freedom Day dinner was a real steak, a baked potato, green beans, and a Coke.

My Freedom Day gift? My new life.

©Deena Remiel, 2010. All rights reserved.


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Joe McEvoy picks TAKEN as a Top 5 Pick for News Stories of 2010!

Earlier this year I had the distinct honor of being asked to work on a 5-part series called TAKEN, with Diana Carson May-Waldman and Shelly Close Mills for www.worldwidehippies.com. The series focuses on Human Trafficking, an insidious crime perpetrated across this country and around the world. My part focused on an interview with Dottie Laster, champion of HT victims.


Dottie Laster, Lasterglobal Inc.

I present to you the link to Part Two, but you can access them all from the site:

http://www.worldwidehippies.com/?p=14570

Thanks, Joe!

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