This is a continuation of last week’s installment Ephemeral Relinquishment
She felt like she had been dropped into a time machine. Gender roles were clearly defined. Women and girls were only allowed to do domestic chores while men and boys performed all types of manual labor. In fact, they lived decidedly separate existences except for those who were “married”. Even then, husbands and wives only shared space in the bedroom. Education for girls consisted of preparing them for cooking and cleaning of their future domiciles. They were allowed to grow vegetable and flower gardens and to occasionally roam the fields and woods (escorted) in search of wildflowers or truffles to be used for meals. Religious study was allowed if only to help them better understand that their submissive role was “divinely” ordained.
Lola was appalled at the conditions for females. Often, she would be witness to a young woman’s final preparation for “spiritual marriage.” All females had to be pure in order to marry. Those that were deemed not pure enough were often relegated to working in the Saddle Club as entertainers for the “47”-a term for the men who did the Restoration Party’s dirty work. These men were not allowed to marry or breed. They were “rewarded” for catching Restoration Party outlaws with meals and women and were free to do with them what they pleased. There seemed to be no exact standard for purity and many women were often shocked when they received news of their status. Many attempted to kill themselves in order to avoid their fate and others tried to run away only to be shot by the very men for whom they were to be sexual slaves. Still others were deemed to be good breeders (Lola discovered that these women were already mothers but too “old” to marry). They were sent to housing where their cycles were closely monitored. When they were fertile, they were “visited” by high-ranking members of the Restoration Party. The Breeding House was used as a means to further populate the Restoration Party’s members with the goal of regaining power.
Lola already knew that her role was going to be different. Over these last few weeks, she had learned that the Master had chosen someone to marry his eldest son by his first wife. In fact, he had chosen three. The one he picked as the most “qualified” was to marry the eldest while the other two were slated to marry son #2 and son #3. So here she was. Sharing space in The Prenuptial cottage with two of her peers. They were as petrified as she was confident. Better still, she knew these girls. And they seemed to know her. Their families were key members of the Renewal Party and she had heard about their disappearance shortly before she was sent on her scouting mission. Wherever Lola had ended up that day in the field, she had now concluded that this was not a holding center but the heart and soul of the Restoration Party’s operations.
She just needed to find a way to communicate with Tasha and Grace. Because all of their movements were recorded, speaking openly was out of the question. During the upheaval, Jack had taught Lola and many other Renewal Party members a secret sign language. It proved to be useful now.
“Don’t worry my friends, ” Lola signaled. “We are going to hatch a plan that will free all of us.”