Excerpt from Rena’s Promise: “We pass the first four blocks before turning into Block Five. We are so busy trying not to lose our clothing that we do not notice the room we are led into. The door slams shut and a bolt falls on the other side. We are trapped, standing almost on top of one another in bloody straw. Bedbugs jump, making our bodies black.
We hold our clothes up over our faces; they jump on our bare heads, our hands, all over any exposed patch of skin. In the straw, lice crawl hungrily between our toes.
We have gone quietly for too long. Suddenly there is a surge of dissension. Running to the door, we pound and pound. “Let us out! Let us out!” With both hands we beat the walls imprisoning us. “This can’t be!” the voices around me scream. “Please, let us out. We did nothing wrong. There’s got to be a mistake. Help us!”