Xandra turned her flashlight on and walked into the woods. She had a vague idea of where the institute was after asking her mom about it. The four of them were walking through the woods for about twenty minutes when Xandra said, “Ah yes, here it is. Just as creepy as ever.”
Brittany’s mouth dropped. In front of them stood a two storey building that had bars on the windows, it looked two hundred years old, and had a big sign near the front doors that said “The Perfect Woman Institute.” Brittany gasped, “What are we doing here?”
Xandra smiled, “Well, Brittany, if you want to be in our clique you need to prove how brave you are. All of us have walked through the institute alone at midnight and now it’s your turn. So whadda ya say? Are you in?”
Brittany was torn. On the one hand she was petrified; wondering what would happen if she just ran home. The practical side of her concluded that there was no way these other girls have walked through that institute because when the teacher was talking about it today they seemed like it was the first they had heard of it.
“Yeah, of course I’m in. No problem,” Brittany smiled her biggest, bravest smile despite the feeling of nausea sitting in the pit of her stomach.
“Awesome! Go in the front doors, walk down to the end of the corridor, and flash your light in the window three times then come back out,” Xandra explained.
Brittany didn’t trust her voice so instead she nodded, smiling, and headed towards the front doors. One of the doors had fallen off so she walked through, turning her flashlight on. She was immediately hit with a sense of déjà vu. On the wall to her right there was a big poster that said “The Seven Commandments for The Perfect Woman”, beneath that it said: 1. Obey your husband, 2. Complete chores without complaint, 3. Provide sexual pleasure on demand, 4. Never yell, 5. Never speak unless spoken to, 6. Your husband may punish you as he sees fit, 7. Clothes must be modest.
A chill ran up Brittany’s spine. Her heart felt very sad thinking about all those women who were here, and all the lives that were taken. Taking a deep breath she kept walking down the corridor thinking if she can just make it to the end and back then she will gain the clique’s respect and be IN. She passed a few rooms that looked like administration offices, then, she found a room that didn’t look like a room she had ever seen before in her life. There was a steel table in the middle of the room and all kinds of tools hanging on the walls. Tentatively, she took a couple steps inside and realized those are not tools, they were torture devices. With a gasp she fell back and crawled out of the room on hands and knees. She felt like throwing up. My Great-Great-Great Grandma Holly was probably in that room at some point. She took a shaky breath, got to her feet, and continued on towards the end of the corridor.
The next room looked like a classroom. Curious, she went in. The books on the shelves had titles like, “How to cook the perfect meal”, “How to give the perfect back massage”, and a huge book on a table at the front that said, “How to be the perfect woman”. All of a sudden, she was hit with a vision; a man standing at the front of this classroom who was lecturing a class full of young women about rape. “There is no such thing as rape. A man is allowed to have sex with any woman at any time because women were a gift from the gods and are man’s property.” Most of the women in the class were nodding their heads, but a few had small frowns, one of them looked exactly like Holly. As the vision dissipated, Brittany was slammed back into reality with tears streaming down her face. Heart pounding she left the classroom quickly and decided to get to the end as fast as possible and get out of there.
To be Continued…
Written by Amanda Drover-Hartwick