Charity glanced out the cabin window at the growing darkness and prayed for a miracle. Her older sisters Faith and Hope had both received one so surely God wouldn't forget her. But then they had been granted a better chance at escape then she was. No he wasn't taking any chances this time around. She had been moved to the cabin and would soon meet her new roommate, a man that her father had actually helped to hire. This man was being paid to make sure that she stuck around until the wedding date. She hoped with all her heart that she would escape despite the ends they had gone to.
Charity was the middle of the five sisters with Faith and Hope the oldest and Prudence and Destiny the youngest. Being the middle daughter had been both a blessing and a curse. She'd been given more free time but she'd often been overlooked as well. Of course now she would give anything for some actual free time. And heaven knew that she would love it if her fiancÚ would overlook her, if everyone would just forget that she even existed.
Charity walked away from the window back towards the dining table and sat with an exaggerated sigh on one of the four chairs. Faith had managed to disappear the night before her wedding. They had heard from her when she was far enough away to ensure that no one would be coming after her. Faith was happy now with Jake Daniels. He had fallen for her on one of his many visits to town and then came back for her when he heard she was to be married. It was so romantic that it made Charity long for someone like that in her life. It would be fantastic to have someone just come in and sweep her off her feet. But she had no lost love, no suitor she had exchanged shy glances with while strolling through town. So there would be no rescue for her.
Hope had used the festival as a means to escape. She was happy now too though Charity had no idea where her older sister was. She knew only that she was travelling with two men who she had met onboard a boat. They were detectives of some sort and Hope was having the time of her life with them. But Charity saw no means such as those on her horizon. For one, there was no festival for months to come. For another, her newly hired roommate was employed to make sure that such a thing didn't occur.
Both of her older sisters were happy. Both had escaped the trap that had been laid for them and found a different life for themselves out in the world. Charity wanted that for herself as well. She wanted to just be able to go, to leave this small Texas town behind and not look back. But could she do it? Could she leave her two younger sisters to experience a similar fate when she couldn't do it herself? What could have possibly happened in their lives to bring them all to this place, this event, this horrible twist of fate? What had she done in her life to deserve this?
She threw her hands out and pounded on the table top. She hated her father for the situation he had placed her in. It was his doing that had her about to marry a man way too old for her, a man that repulsed her in every way possible. He was fat and bald, which wasn't even the worst of it. No, the worst was his personality, what there was of it. He reminded her of the toad mother from the tale of Thumbelina. She hadn't thought of that childhood story in a long time. Maybe she should pray for fairy wings and to be the size of a thimble. Maybe she should just finish going crazy and call it a day. She leaned her head down on her arms and wanted to cry, wanted to laugh but was far too angry to do either.
So she did the only other thing she could think of. She lifted her head high, arched her neck and opened her mouth on a piercing shriek that helped relieve some of the tension she felt. She beat her fisted hands on the table and kicked her feet on the floor.
"Wow, never really been greeted that way before."