‘Why did you do that?’
‘Emma and Winston lied…I didn’t do it!’
‘You already said that!’ A police officer suddenly interrupts Olivia’s speech and spits on the ground.
‘In my opinion, she is just a petty poor person who was trying to strike it rich overnight,’ another policeman chimes in.
Olivia sits on an old, wooden chair in a small, dark room. She feels like something is compressing her nerves, leaving her unable to breath. Maybe it is because of the smell of cigarettes, or maybe it is because of the tense atmosphere hovering in this room. A deep sense of grievance starts to breed in her heart and a voice appears in her mind…
‘Why does nobody believe me? Why does no one care about me?
Olivia was a resident in a small, country town. She lived with her father who was very sick, so much so that he couldn’t stand up. Olivia worked hard day in and day out to secure enough money for her and her father to survive. Her hard-earned money went to cover food, and also the outrageous medical expenses to keep her father breathing. For an 18 year old girl, it was a cruel life, but she never expressed any dissatisfaction. She believed that as long as a person worked hard, she would achieve her goal. Her father would survive and she would eventually be able to leave the work to him.
There had been a recruitment and selection process in her village initiated by family elders, a high honor bestowed on younger members of the town. Olivia was confident about housekeeping, knowing that if she secured that kind of work, she would get more money than just washing dishes in small seedy roadside inns. And the environment would be safer, so she and her friend, Emma went off to work in a country manor. Initially, everything worked out well until that night when Olivia realized that friendships aren’t always what they seem. It was just a matter of weeks before that night when Olivia lost everything…
‘Say what you did!’ Winston, another member of the manor staff holds her collar in one hand while the other points at her face. A grim-faced man stands behind him: the butler in this huge family.
‘What do you mean by: I don’t know?’ Olivia tries to move her collar out of the man’s grip.
‘Ha-ha! I know all the tricks, girl.’ He throws her onto the floor, ‘Your friend already told us! Right? Emma!’
Something drops on the floor and the sound catches Olivia’s attention. She sees her friend, her only friend, standing near the door holding tight to her dress.
‘Say something! Say what you saw last night!’ Winston shouts at Emma.
‘I, I saw Olivia go out from her room and walk to the kitchen…Olivia is a nice person, she maybe, maybe just wanted to have a chance to get to work early…’ Emma stumbles awkwardly over her words, but she cannot hide the smirk that is starting to grow on her face.
‘What?’ Olivia is confused.
‘You are so kind, Emma. She is a venomous woman; you cannot trust her!’ Winston says.
‘Wait, wait, wait… Emma, I don’t know what you said… You know I just wanted to eat some food. I didn’t…’
‘Sorry. Olivia, I won’t cover for you.’
Now, she sits in a confined room under the pressure of a judgement light and the eyes of her interrogators.
‘She wouldn’t go into jail if she had just hid drugs, but she tried to get people to eat them and tried to attack people around her after they broke her lies…’ The police officers speak about her as if she isn’t even there.
But Olivia moves her mind out of this space and back into the moment that she was betrayed.
‘Here is the evidence!’ The butler opens his hand to a little baggy full of powder. It is a carefully wrapped bag of a substance. Olivia’s head rings loudly as she hears the repeated words: “Drugs. Poison. Toxins.”
‘In fact, we found traces of this same substance already in today’s meal. Fortunately, Mr. Winston discovered your crime in time to prevent the unfortunate repercussions of your evilness.’
Olivia’s mind goes completely blank. Although she had not opened her mouth to resist her accusers, the feeling of anger swelled in her heart. Suddenly, she erupts.
“How dare you do this to me!” She yells frantically, even approaching the butler in a last-ditch effort to appeal to his humanity. “How can you lie? I have a father to look after. I need this job!” But to everyone in the room, she was already “a crazy woman” whose alleged behavior had put the whole house at risk. Before she knew it, she had been removed from her place of employment, taken away by the police to be ‘dealt with.’ And that had been days earlier…
Now, Olivia can’t stop her tears.
No one believes her. And as she sits a victim in this little cage, her greatest fears move towards her father, alone in bed in their little home. She knows that he cannot possibly carry on in life without her support…and if she is ever able to secure her freedom again, she can only imagine what will be waiting for her at home.