Sixteen year-old Serenity has spent her entire life in hiding, to keep safe from the world outside where beauty is a corporate commodity, bought and sold on city streets. Overnight, her parents disappear, and Serenity is kidnapped, sold at auction, and thrust into the Aviary —an elite Museum where by day, girls are displayed as living art and by night, they cater to the lascivious whims of men who bid on their exhibits. In this elaborate and competitive world, girls go by names like Raven and Nightingale and will stop at nothing to become top Bird.
The enigmatic and deadly Aviary Director, Luc, comes to idolize Serenity’s purity and aims to turn her into his grandest exhibit of all time—The Swan. In no time, she becomes one of the most coveted exhibits in the Aviary’s history. Soon, Serenity learns that Luc holds the key to finding, and freeing, her parents. In order to save them, she must learn to play the Swan to perfection to win Luc’s heart, earn his trust, and save her parents. She doesn’t count on the fact that she’ll fall for Luc in the process. Now, she’ll have to face an impossible decision: escape The Aviary
and lose her only chance at finding her parents; or become Luc’s Swan for good, and lose her identity forever.
Author’s Note Regarding The Aviary
The Aviary is represented by Carlisle Webber of Fuse Literary.
Despite its editing evolution, the goal of The Aviary Trilogy is still the same: to raise awareness to the devastating effects of sex-trafficking. My books touch on themes of abuse and manipulation, dissociation, pornography, Stockholm Syndrome, drug use in the industry, and various other subjects. My inspiration is taken from real world truths from survivors and rescue workers I’ve met through the years. I write The Aviary for all the little girls in my life!
Please learn more about this devastating issue at Women at Risk, International. Or find your local rescue organization to see how you can get involved.
Below is the trailer for the hard hitting documentary known as Nefarious: Merchant of Souls via Exodus Cry, which is a helpful introduction into the world of sex-trafficking and the hope of the movement working against it. You may purchase the DVD or go to their website to find out more ways to get involved.
The Aviary Excerpt
You may choose to look the other way
But you can never again say ‘I did not know.’
S e r e n I t y
I shouldn’t have left the hotel room.
“Gentlemen! We have a special treat for you today! Feast your eyes on this pure-blooded beauty!”
I feel colder than some featherless bird in the middle of winter, even after the spotlight scoops me up into its glow. As soon as they unveil my cage, I hear murmured ripples from an appreciative crowd. Though my display is segregated from the main district areas, I can still make out the other girls in their pittances of lingerie behind their own windows. Some kneel prostrate—younger ones, mostly—while others tap on the windows like a never-ending SOS, luring the attention of clients.
Every Glass District is different. This one is just fancier than most with its cobbled pathways, gothic fourteenth-century architecture, and expensive restaurants. However they dress it up, to me, every district is just a yawning cavern ready to swallow its patrons whole. The districts wear lust on their sleeves. Roll those sleeves up, and all you will find are bruises and brands on silken skin and needle marks confessing the arts of submission and coping.
Skyways crisscross above my head where more advertisements beckon tourists to view the district from the second level. Suspended just above my display are a series of viewing boxes where the skyways all convene. Wealthier clientele— those interested in more than just one night, those with a more driven purpose— rent these. Some scout for theaters, some for private clubs, and some for Museums like the infamous Temple. I shudder to consider that notion.
Prospective clients already fill the viewing boxes.
Despite how much I want to, I don’t shrink into myself when the auctioneer presents me. A few hours ago, I had ankle-skimming skirts and sleeves loose as rivers to my name. Now, there’s nothing but panties and a lace camisole white as my own never-touched-by-sunlight skin. Ribbons drip from the camisole’s hem onto my taut stomach while the neckline overemphasizes my already generous cleavage.
My hands yearn to cover my breasts, but I press them to both sides of the glass instead, lending my best icy stare to the encroaching crowd of men, both young and old. I’m grateful for the gated barrier between them and me.
“This little beauty was discovered in an old hotel in the center of the city.”
Doesn’t he mean stolen? After all, I was minding my own business, just enjoying a midnight swim. Who cared if the pool closed at ten? I still took precautions: used the staff stairway instead of the elevator, scanned the lobby and nearby halls to make sure there were no smugglers before sneaking into the pool. In hindsight, I should’ve waited for Sky. Now, I’ll never be able to erase the feeling of their hands coming down on me even while I was still in the water. It was only happenstance that they saw me in the dim lighting of the pool area. I recognized them by their clothing, their Glass District insignias, but I still put up a good fight, thrashing water all over the place until they drowned my nose in chloroform.
“One must wonder if she was born right on the terrace of the lofts and raised in that very hotel.”
It wasn’t one hotel. It was…several. A lake house manor for a time, too.
“On the screen to your right, you’ll find our medical tests have confirmed her virginity.”
I want to punch my hand right through the glass. Glass chunks in my skin would be worth the pleasure of grabbing the auctioneer by his meaty throat.
“Watch out, gents! This hotel ghost may just be rabid,” warns the auctioneer, motioning to my sudden crouch. I can see my green eyes reflected on one of the many viewing screens bearing my image. Not emerald in any way. They are far icier. Like Sky once said: the color of fresh mint held in frost.
She doesn’t look like me. That petite marionette with her birch-white skin, fairy white curls shimmering in the sunlight, and burlesque body. She’s always worn billowy skirts to soften her curves—curves Sky has always called downright deadly. Never so bare in public. Not since the first day of her existence.
My chest starts heaving for air, my breath steaming up the glass walls, which they love. It proves I am warm. But that is wrong: I’m not warm. And I’m nothing like the others girls here, the Breakables. I am ice and wrath and electricity. Lightning. And I strike.
A few surprised men step back when I spring forward, clawing my hands against the glass. Some walk away because I’m not their submissive cup of tea. Curious ones linger, though judging by their working-class or tourist clothes, I can tell they won’t bid today. They might try taking pictures, but security prevents them, a reminder that Glass Districts have their own rules.
“Shall we start the bidding at one hundred thousand dollars?” The auctioneer commences. Auctioneers have to be versatile and quick to deal with not only the crowd bids on the ground level but also electronic ones. This stubby, potbellied man doesn’t seem like he can keep up with all of that.
Checking his handheld tablet, the auctioneer raises his bushy brows. “Well! This is surprising. A first in our region, if not our state. Thanks to a special patron, the leading bid is fifty million dollars. Will anyone like to counterbid? Going once? Going twice? Sold!”
He looks down at the screen in his hand and nods, and I wonder if he’s receiving a message from the victor. If the final bid is meant to usurp all others, only a wealthier and connected client could have done so.
Scanning the viewing boxes, I notice one man stand and tug at the ends of his smart suit jacket, which he wears with trim white pants and a loose scarf draped around his neck. From here, I can’t make out his expression, but his controlled posture hints that he handles responsibility well. I will know soon enough.
While the auctioneer paces along the stage, preparing for the next auction, security arrives to remove me from the box.
They still haven’t smartened up yet.
One opens the display case door on the side, and I duck under his arm and slide beneath him and around to the stage front where the auctioneer stands, his back facing me. Oh, it’s far too tempting. In any case, it’s not like I’m going to get far with the District meatheads behind me. Might as well have some fun.
I bring one leg up and kick hard, landing a flawless bullseye into the auctioneer’s pudgy ass. Like uncooked bread dough, I imagine it will cave in, but I don’t expect to see the auctioneer topple over the stage. He lands belly down on the ground. Bonus.
Well worth the jab of a security guard’s needle.
Caught off guard by the sedative, I stumble to my side, my arms feeling heavy, but I smile at my good fortune when I see it: a large fist-sized rock that somehow found its way into my grasp. Before the guards can lift me, I snatch up the rock and smash it as hard as I can at the glass, gratified when it shivers and breaks.
Murky fog invades my mind, and I look up at one of the skyways where my illustrious victor has paused to study my performance. Yes, God help him. I wonder what fate awaits me. Is he some high-ranking politician who wants me for a bride to share his bed? A Museum director? An international graphicker with a famed studio?
Black cotton balls float into my head, collecting together, snuffing out consciousness and memory, and leaving me with one last recollection: if he’s from the Temple, then not even God can help him because I will die before I end up like my mother.