Janet was cold and miserable, her feet torn, bleeding, and wet from running through the rough brush as fast as she could. She could see the clouds of her breath plume into the wintry air as she paused to look back at the old monastery where she’d been imprisoned for more years than she could count.
After her parents died in the war, Janet was taken in by her mother’s brother, an orthodox monk. She felt blessed that, at her young age, she was not left to fen for herself in the war-torn city streets. She was warm, well fed, and had the run of the huge monastery.
Taken under the wing of the abbot, Janet learned much about the monks of this sect, including their vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and stability. She felt comfortable and secure in her new life.
But as the years passed and she transitioned from a young girl into a young woman, Janet noticed that the attention she was receiving from the abbot was changing. He took a keen interest in her developing body and it soon became apparent to her that his vow of chastity was less important to him that his demand for her obedience.
She told her mother’s brother about what the abbot was doing to her, but instead of coming to her aid, as she had expected, he went to the abbot and told him of her disobedience, which only made matters worse.
The abbot beat her, restricted her movements around the monastery, and continued to have his way with her. At one point he began to allow other monks to abuse her. The life she once thought to have been blessed had become cursed.
After weeks of searching for a way out, Janet managed to sneak out of a basement window and to run for all that she was worth, hoping to escape her hellish nightmare.
Taking one last look back, Janet turned around and continued to run down the the large hill until she reached the village below. She ran up to the first person she saw, a kindly looking woman, and asked for help. The woman agreed to take her a place where she could get help and seek refuge.
She escorted Janet to the back door of the Catholic church in the center of town. When she saw the priest, Janet gasped. He looked down at her and said, “Hello, Janet. I’ve been expecting you. I received word from the monastery where my twin brother is the abbot. He said that you were unhappy there, but you are welcome to sanctuary in our church.”
Janet turned to run away, but the priest grabbed her, pulled her close, and whispered, “Don’t worry, Janet. I’ll take very good care of you.”
Written for today’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.