Today we have the honor to present the winning entry of the short story contest that was running throughout the spring. The author’s name is William Älgebrink and below you can read his short story “I was born with bad blood.”
I have started to accept that I no longer classifies as a human. I will be sold, I will be bought, I will be used. It sounds like I am something manufactured. A product. And the truth is that it is exactly what I am. What happened before I got here is irrelevant. The person I was two years ago is gone. Dead. But I am not dead – not yet. I may be dead inside but I’m not dead. However, it feels like it’s my only way out. Either I can continue to live here – in Earth’s hell – or kill myself. I’m trapped in a burning high-rise building, and to avoid a slow death I jump. In the hope that the ground will save me from a life of sorrow and pain. I no longer know my name. I do not know who I am.
They pick us up at six o’clock every evening. I remember I was shaking at the beginning when I heard the sound of the door that was opened to the hotel room. Tears ran down my face, along with the mascara that formed small black rivers under my eyes. When they saw that I was crying they beat me up. “Fucking whore!” Then they took hold of my hair and dragged me out. Today I do not know what fear feels like. I have become numb. I feel nothing at all. It has been nine months since I uttered a word. There’s no point anymore. They have taken my freedom, my voice, my everything. When they dragged me along the floor I used to think, “You can take my freedom, but you can never take me away from me.” But I was wrong. They stole me and killed me. The only thing that is left is an empty shell. An illusion of who I was.
I have lost all sense of time. All I know is when there are pickups and when I get to sleep. Because this is my life. People think that slavery does not exist in this world; in the fantastic Europe. But it does. It’s where you least expect it. At the airport where the luggage is retrieved (that is how they call us: luggage), or in the street outside a five star hotel. There might even be slavery going on in the neighboring house. You can not trust anyone. You can only trust yourself and hope that the one you think you are does not betray you. If it happens, all hope is out of reach. Because it is hope that enables us to continue to live. My hope is to get out of here and help women and children. I want to stop it. But with every passing day, I lose more and more hope. It feels like part of me is just falling apart. Every time I have to obey a dirty man’s order there is something inside of me that breaks.
One can spend a lifetime to ask yourself “Why?” According to our human rights everyone is born free. So why should anyone else have the right to own me? Do I have to sell myself because of the country I was born in? Because my parents could not afford to feed me? Someone should have been there. Someone should have helped me. But it is no use thinking about that now. I’ve realized why I was taken and why my destiny was to live surrounded by darkness and evil. People are not equal. Although we want to believe it, we are not. Some are born into a world where it is already predetermined what will happen to them. It should not be a human right.
I am now aware of who I am. I’m nothing. I’m just a tiny little piece in a gigantic game. I was born with bad blood, and for that I will pay with my life.
Many thanks to you William for your contribution, a t-shirt will be posted to you. We would of course also like to thank everyone who contributed to the contest. You are all real stars ⭐️