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from Hiren's Journey by Rebecca Onkar

Chapter 8
The Bath

Hiren looked at the woman standing over her with fear in her eyes.

“Stand up missy, time for your bath. By the smell of you, you need it.”

Hiren didn’t move and neither did Mrs. Ivins.

“I’m not going to stand here all night girly, Reverend wants you clean. Now stand up and take off your clothes.” Mrs. Ivins gestured with her hands this time and Hiren got the message to stand up. She did so slowly, sliding her back and hands against the wall behind her.
Mrs. Ivins pointed to the tub of water. “Go.”

Hiren walked to the tub and stood beside it. She looked at the water with confusion in her eyes. She glanced up once at the woman before her and then lowered her eyes to the floor.

Mrs. Ivins was a woman used to getting what she wanted, with six children at home she did not tolerate disobedience. When Hiren didn’t move after several more long moments, Mrs. Ivins hrrumped loudly and said, “Oh for heaven’s sake!” before reaching to remove Hiren’s clothing herself.

So shocked was Hiren that this woman was trying to remove her blouse that she stepped backwards and bumped the back of her knee into the edge of the tub and with a mighty splash, she fell inside, clothes and all.

Mrs. Ivins was on her in a flash with the bar of soap, scrubbing away at her hair while Hiren cried loudly and thrashed about and tried desperately to get out of the tub. After being forcefully pushed back in by a very strong and very determined Mrs. Ivins, Hiren finally gave up.

After a few minutes of being scrubbed Hiren saw the wicked washer woman point her finger at her and say something in this people’s foreign tongue. Then the woman walked a few steps away and turned her back to the tub. Hiren took that opportunity to try to silently slip out of the water but the moment she got her foot out of the water the wicked washer woman had once again turned around and was coming towards her with a knife!

Hiren fell back into the water with a plop. Her eyes were wide as she watched the woman come at her with a knife in hand.

This is the end, Hiren thought as she closed her eyes and cowered in the tub.

The wicked washer woman reached into the water and grabbed Hiren by her blouse and pulled her up a few inches. Hiren held her breath a moment and then screamed at the top of her lungs when the knife touched her flesh.

All of the sudden she was free and falling back into the water. Hiren threw her hands to her chest and found that she was unharmed but that her blouse was open. She was shocked and tried to hold it back together, but at the same time the woman was reaching into the water and pulling Hiren up by her skirt. She twisted Hiren on...

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