Paris Through Dutch Eyes

By Deni Baxas


The rain pelted down against the French doors, creating a soothing rhythm that should be putting Freya to sleep. She had her hands pressed against the glass, the tip of her nose only lightly connecting to the door, staring out to the snowy City of Fairy Lights, as it was known in winter.

She’d always wanted to come to Paris, but on her own accord. She wanted to explore the streets, walk down the Champs-Élysées and browse the designer wear that she would pretend she could afford, visit the French markets and buy a one-of-a-kind artwork, or spend an afternoon lying on grass with the view of the Eiffel Tower beside her.

Instead, Paris had turned into a city that she would not want to return to. It had become a city that held dark memories that began with being shoved into what could only be described as a transportation truck, for products and goods, in Rotterdam.

It had been months, but the purple finger marks over her body had not faded, nor had the rope burn around her neck from when a pillowcase was tied around her head. Her usual quaint walk home from work, down the quiet, residential streets in Rotterdam, turned quickly into three muscular men, for whom she was no match, springing out of the truck and thrashing her before hauling her into it.

She was trapped for what felt like days, being driven for what seemed like forever, only to be whisked into the fanciest, blinding white hotel room, and stripped bare by her abductors, her cries going unheard and her exhaustion paralysing her.

She loved Paris on the outside but hated it on the inside.

Every morning, she found herself alone as she did now, staring out at the city she wished she could explore. The snow had fallen a great deal the night before, causing a white cast across the city below and a drop in the temperature. The length of her milky white night gown did little to warm her bones, and her straight brown hair lightly caressed her collar bones providing no warmth to her shoulders, but she would not get back under the colourless sheets, nor did she want to move from her current position, pressed against the glass.

It had been months now, and no one had come to find her. The more the snow fell, the less confident she became that she was going to make it out of the hotel room. She wished that one night the snow would engulf all of Paris, so that she didn’t have to wake up one more morning feeling empty, alone and bruised.

Upon hearing footsteps approaching the hotel door, she sprinted across the lavish room from the window to the bed, her feet slapping against the marble floor and then quietly patting against the carpet. He always asked her to wait for him there. The sound of the door unlocking echoed in her ears as it opened painfully slow.

‘Morning, kitten. I have some sad news. I’m heading off to the Netherlands again this afternoon, so I’ll be gone for about 24 hours.’ Dominic’s voice filled the room. She lifted her head upon hearing this news to notice he was in a polished black suit that accentuated his large stomach, and his usual unruly shoulder length hair was styled to frame his face, drawing attention to his ever growing moustache.

‘Don’t get any ideas though, kitten. I’ll have this place locked up tight, so you’ll be here when I get back,’ he said with a smile that resembled a murderous Cheshire cat.

With that, he looked her up and down and was on his way. This was her only chance to get away.

*           *            *

As the starry skies approached, Freya realised she had spent almost 4 hours trying to quietly unscrew the bolts on the French doors that lead to the balcony.

She realised there was no way she could sneak past the entrance door when food was delivered, nor was she going to be able to smash any windows or doors without causing a piercing commotion. To jump off the balcony was her only option.

Finally, the door began to topple, causing her to quickly scramble up and catch it before it crashed against the marble floor and drew unwanted attention.

As delicately as possible, Freya moved the door to lean it against the wall and was suddenly hit with a blast of freezing wind. Ignoring the gust, she hastily moved to the edge of the balcony and leaned over to investigate the leap she would have to make. She forgot to breathe for a minute, the bottom appearing much further down than she had anticipated. Her palms would undoubtedly be sweating if they were not submerged in the powdery snow that was collected on the ledge.

‘Hey! How did you get out there?’  thick French accent bellowed from inside.

One of the men that was supposed to be guarding her had let himself in, holding a tray of her “night-time snacks”, which consisted of heavy sleep medication. She was hoping to have left by the time he would come around, but now she was left with no time to ponder how she would get down.

Without a second thought, she turned back around and, one by one, slipped both legs over the edge causing them to dangle in the air. She peered down for the last time at the three storey drop and her breath shook.

‘Where do you think you are going?! You jump, you die!’ His voice was closer.

Without looking behind her, she pushed herself off, taking the chance of death over staying there one more night.

Landing on her hands and knees, slightly sunken in the snow, she cried out due to the pain that shot through her arms and legs. The snow beneath her had softened her fall slightly; however, a red handprint painted the snow and her knees blushed pink from a harsh ice burn. After regaining her balance and getting accustomed to the excruciating pain, her bare feet began to move of their own accord, trying to create as much distance as possible from the hotel. Her adrenaline began to pump through her, which lessened the burn on her bare feet as she trekked through the frozen ground.

Just as she was about to round the corner and enter the street, bright lights shone before her, like a spotlight illuminating her position on stage. The lights dimmed allowing her to recognise that it was not a spotlight but rather the headlights of the car she had dreaded returning.

The slam of the car door shook in her ears, causing her to halt as if the snow had frozen her feet from moving further.

‘Just where do you think you’re going?’ Dominic half laughed, half growled. ‘You dumb bitch, thinking you could just run away!’ His tone was sinister. ‘Come on, sweetheart. I have a present for you if you go back to the room.’

Freya tasted bile rise in her throat but kept her facial expressions unphased by his words.

‘Sir, shall I take this one to her room?’ Dominic’s driver called from the car, leaving Freya confused.

Dominic turned to him and requested that he bring “her” to him so that Freya could receive her “present”.

While Dominic’s attention was elsewhere, Freya searched all around her for any possible escape routes but realised she was trapped.

The sound of grunts and whines and feet trekking through the snow pulled Freya out of her thoughts to notice the driver dragging a tear stained girl towards her and Dominic. The distraught blonde girl had her hands pulled behind her back and a gag wrapped around her mouth, much like Freya had when she was first brought here months ago. The driver threw her to the ground, causing her to squeal as her body became engulfed with ice. Receiving a head nod from Dominic, he returned to the car then drove off, leaving the three alone.

‘Your present,’ Dominic said, looking at Freya as he gestured towards the girl. ‘Or really… my present.’ He laughed.

The two girls locked eyes and realisation set in.

Another girl being used against her will. Another girl to torture and scar. Another person’s body that she would become accustomed to.

Her heart ached for the young girl before her, not wanting her to experience the pain she had endured for months now.

The girl began muttering incoherently beneath the gag, trying to say something which grabbed Dominic’s attention.

‘What is it, my dear?’ he asked, pulling her up by the arm and unravelling the tie.

‘Schop hem in de ballen,’ she stuttered. Freya’s eyebrows furrowed.

‘No Dutch out of you,’ he growled and hastily went to tie the gag again.

‘Schop hem in de ballen!’ she uttered again, this time frantic and eyes widening at Freya, begging her to take her orders.

Freya realised this was her only chance to get away and fight back, so when Dominic furiously turned to her, she gave him little time to react to her foot heading straight to his crotch. The muscles in Freya’s legs burned as she lifted her leg, the freezing air beginning to tighten her whole body. As Dominic doubled over in pain, adrenaline took over her body again, allowing her to quickly move and to untie the other girl.

‘Stomp hem in de keel,’ the girl made another order as Freya finished untying her. Listening, Freya stomped over to him while he was on the ground and swung her fist forward, punching him in the throat. He coughed and hiccupped, curling up on the ground.

Freya’s heart was thumping loudly in her chest and, if her breathing hadn’t been so deafening, she was sure that the whole of Paris would be able to hear it.

She would not remain a prisoner any longer.

The blonde, once her hands were freed, stormed up to Dominic and tried to lift his body.

Groaning, she dragged him to his knees as he whined in pain. Using all her strength she knocked his head right back and they heard it crack, and then did it again. Freya then jumped on his back and began scratching at any surface her fingernails could dig into before he yelled in agonising pain. The girl wasn’t done though. She stalked forward and kicked his stomach, causing him to splutter out blood.

‘Let’s go,’ the girl said, her voice sounding choked.

A number of Dominic’s angry employees, who all appeared wearing identical dark suits and with thick moustaches, ran out of the hotel heading towards the girls, grasping knives and ropes to tie them up.

In one fluid motion, the two girls jolted from their positions and began sprinting towards the street. Rounding the corner onto the snowy pavement, Freya stumbled, the numbness of her ankles causing them to give way. Whimpering at the pain, she slowly pulled herself up while her blonde acquaintance grabbed her arms and helped her to stand. Coming face to face, Freya noticed the girl’s piercing blue eyes and eyelashes that were a centimetre off reaching her eyebrows.

‘I know you are in pain, but we must run,’ she said, wiping Freya’s tears.

‘It’s so cold,’ Freya said shivering, just as the male voices became audible again.

‘Come on,’ she said, pulling Freya’s arm. ‘Keep going.’

   *           *          *

After hours of zipping through streets and jumping over fences, Freya and her runaway friend finally became overwhelmed with their exhaustion.

Dropping to the snow in a dark alleyway, Freya’s body was now numb to the weather. She peered up at the blonde, who was frantically making sure that they couldn’t be seen.

‘What’s your name?’


‘I’m Freya.’ She paused. ‘My feet are blue.’

Her eyes began to shut of their own accord, and she sank further into the snow.

*          *        *

A piercing, reoccurring noise was enough to pull Freya out of unconsciousness to hear the commotion happening around her. Darkness surrounded her but she could clearly hear multiple voices speaking a foreign language, which she had become accustomed to hearing. Slowly, her eyes began to flutter as her vision adjusted to the bright lights and shapes in the room.

‘Miss?’ A voice called in English.

She turned her head and noticed that the piercing noise was coming from an oxygen machine and the warmed IV fluids attached to her body.

‘Miss, you’re okay. You are in hospital. An ambulance was called after you passed out from hypothermia. Your body is recovering well, but we’ll need to keep you here for a while longer. You’re not from around here, are you?’ the lady asked.

Freya slowly nodded but couldn’t respond. Her body was sore, and she felt sharp stabbing pains every time she breathed.

She had no idea how she got to the hospital, nor did she know where Arabella was. She could barely remember the last few hours and had no idea if Dominic was after her or dead. But there were two things she knew for sure.

She was alive.

And she was free.



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