The scream from upstairs booted us from our chairs. Reba ran to her bedroom yelling, “Don’t you go up there ‘fore me.”
In no time, Reba followed me up to the first door on the left, Ratchet steady in her arms.
The cowboy turned when the door opened, his wicked grin melting. Naked and trembling, Sadie stood an arm’s length from the cowboy.
Blood pounded in my ears. “If you did anything to hurt her…”
The two-syllable ratchet of Reba’s shotgun finished the sentence. She aimed at the target. “I say time’s up.”
“Why, you old pickaninny,” he growled.
Reba’s face Radiated brown flames of fury. The cowboy backed away.
Sadie wiped her eyes and unclenched her teeth. “I told him my rule. He tried to break it.”
I knew the one she referred to—animal and specialty acts. Reba and I knew the reason, knew what had happened to her back then. Never would I allow a client to fracture the boundaries that made my girls feel safe.
“Tried to? Did he?” I draped a dressing robe around Sadie’s bare body and steered her to the bed.
Excerpt from The Last Bordello (1901)
Daily Word Prompt: Radiate