Iridescent lights glisten and gleam as darkness kisses sunlight goodnight.
Beneath the ebony curtains she stands: sultry, striking; shamelessly twisting and turning as demanded by he who controls her every movement.
Elevated as she may be, she is little more than a puppet on his strings. But still she tries to forget this.
With makeup plastered over her face, she struts across the pier; her catwalk.
Teetering on high heels, she flaunts herself in a figure hugging dress and basks before those who stop and gaze at the red sequins that wink and blink brashly.
All eyes transfix on her as she flicks her wrist back and forth waving flirtatiously while other piers take note.
She knows exactly what to do to make her punters whistle and gasp; she knows how to get them to throw their money before her – she pulls their strings for this to happen.
For here, under the dark sky, she is the master; she is in control: the queen of the night.
The milky moonlight, like a spotlight, follows her every step as she imprints her indelible mark on the foolish crowd.
The abstract attention she receives from these punters makes her feel desired, wanted, powerful.
And of course, there are those that envy her; those that glare green-eyed, spitefully looking her up and down their feline eyes lingering from time to time.
Her every move is watched by all of them, but never once does she crack under the pressure and attention – she loves it, embraces it, and in day time, she craves it.
In the harsh light of day the façade is broken. Stripped of her sparking sequins she stands emaciated, grey and leaden, a shadow of her former self.
Even her puppet master denies her in these bright hours where nothing can be hidden. In the harsh light of day, it is a very different story.
Her skeletal limbs twist and turn, repugnant and repelling like a steel formation of Medusa’s snakes, if anyone came near her they would surely die.
But, what people failed to see is that she was vulnerable, weak and pitiful. It was her heart that was turning to stone – not the people that looked upon her masked face by night.
In her make-up heavy eyes, she sees herself as nothing more than a Cinderella, desperately searching for her Prince but seeking him here is like finding that one frog in a pool of toads.
Still, every night she hopes for a fairy tale ending.
Each evening, with a heavy sigh she pulls back her shoulders and plants herself before the mirror to call upon her makeup bag; her fairy godmother.
Methodically, she paints her blemished skin with her magic wand, ironing out the creases and repairing her blemished soul.
If tears well in her eyes, as they often did, she defiantly blinks them back before applying that final, necessary, coat of mascara.
A slash of red to define her lips signals she is ready to go – having morphed from rags to riches; she is ready for the ball.
Each evening she stands before that mirror, marvelling at the princess that glistened before her in a dress of red sequins: a flawless figure; a lie.
Because often, a smile quivered back at her and her eyes betrayed her facade as she saw the Cinderella that lay within peering back, willing her not to go. Again.
And each evening, the sound of her phone ringing pulls her back to reality reminding her that fairy tales do not exist; that life isn’t a dream-come-true.
For always, it is him; her boss, reminding her that she has a job without which, she would not be alive.
She fantasises about the time when she will dash her screaming phone against the wall and watch it shatter to pieces bringing her living nightmare to an end.
But that time never comes so she lifts the phone and answers monotonously, mono-syllabically then hangs up before letting out a scream.
There was no going back and she knew it; she would forever remain a slave to coitus. She will forever remain a prostitute lost in the clutches of sleazy men.
Happy ever afters do not exist for young girls trafficked to cities with bright lights and money to burn.