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All the Dreams Made Real

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The walls are white, not a bright white but dingy and dirty, as if the walls have absorbed the horror of this place and are trying to convey it to those who think to enter. Gilbert lays slumped against the wall farthest from the door, staring listlessly up at the cracking paint of the roof, not thinking about anything beyond the wall colour. Once his walls had been light blue, the living room a pale yellow.

 

Until his father had repainted it red. “Please don't hurt Gilbert, please Sasha don't hurt him don-”

 

Bang! The door knob cracks a hole in the plaster as the door is opened. “Get on the bed boy,” the monster-man says and Gilbert obeys, mind wandering away from kicking feet and biting teeth and grabbing hands.

 

little hands reaching up, small mouth in a pout as a blonde woman smiles warmly “up!”

 

“Of course little Gilbert,” she's warm and soft and her hair is like water, he'll think later, and he tugs, thoughtless, “no grabbing darling.”

 

“Sorry mommy,” another pout and she nuzzles his pale cheek, laughing.

 

Nobody apologizes to Gilbert when they tug his hair, and the man's fingers are like iron, hot iron and once upon a time they made Gilbert cry. He hasn't cried in years.

 

“No no lovely,” his grandmother is shaking, she shakes a lot it seems, “these men will take you to America, get you a family and schooling, university, you will not be poor.”

 

“Grandma,” Gilbert hates thinking about his voice, choked and small and pathetic.

 

“Don't cry Gilbert,” her hands shake but are dry and soft, “I will see you again.”

 

He is not allowed to cry, crying made some of them happy, too happy, but most just get angry don't cry you little bitch and angry doesn't benefit Gilbert at all.

 

“Are you fucking listening to me?” Gilbert barely bothers to look at monster-man, not even caring about the vicious back hand he's given. “Pay attention you stupid whore.”

 

“Sorry,” he mutters, and it wasn't heartfelt but monster-man doesn't expect it to be.

 

“You've got an all nighter,” his grey eyes are hard, dangerous, “don't fuck up and lose me any money. Now go shower.”

 

Gilbert hates the showers, they are cold, water like knives and the tiles are cracked, sometimes cutting his and the others feet. Gilbert is always cold though, except for those nights when one of his clients brings out the syringes and the powders and it all just goes away.

 

There are fifteen in total, eleven girls three boys, who get into the train compartment. It's cold with no bathroom or heat or food, and so they huddle together, some crying others silent. Gilbert is one of the silent ones, but the girl who clings to him is the loudest crier. She gets shot and Gilbert sometimes worries his hair is stained pink from the blood they left on him until they reached Amsterdam.

 

The man isn't unattractive, sleek black hair and dark eyes, a crooked grin as he enters Gilbert's room, hanging his jacket fastidiously on the door. “Hello,” his voice is deep and friendly, “how are you?” Gilbert just stares at him, pale eyes dead. “Not the talkative sort I see,” he sounds so sympathetic, Gilbert feels something hot and violent stir in him.

 

The man sits on the bed just far enough away from Gilbert to seem nervous, but Gilbert can see the calculations in that action. Another flare.

 

Not a word boy,” hands in his hair, “you're mouth is for something else now.”

 

“What do you want?” the question startles even Gilbert and the man's mask flickers, annoyed.

 

“Talking is good,” he says evenly, even as his hand creeps toward Gilbert's exposed thigh. “What do you think?”

 

“I think you're a liar.” Gilbert isn't sure where the bravery is coming from, but the looks of anger and dismay flickering across the man's face are worth it.

 

“Now now,” the man says, his hand a claw on Gilbert's leg, “be civil.”

 

And Gilbert snaps.

 

After an eternity, or maybe a second, Gilbert is warm and his walls are no longer red and he feels free, free to cry or scream or run. So he does, run and everyone is too shocked to stop him until he stumbles into an imposing blond man.

 

When the man asks him who he is and why he's covered in blood splatter Gilbert doesn't know what to say.

 

So he laughs.