There wasn’t a white girl in town. Or a white woman for that matter. It took them a while to realise it because the camp was a big place and people had poured in from everywhere, but there were no white women. White men, yes, even some male children, but no women.
“Where did they all go?” That was Tina, whose mother had been from China but whose father’s family had been in the country since the 1850s’ gold rushes had lured the family ancestor out of Guangdong.
“They don’t get to the gates here, that’s for certain.” Karla had been, was, a journalist. “There’s nowhere else they could be going, and the men who arrive here look shell shocked while the kids are terrified.”
“All the kids are terrified,” that was Tanya, the big girl who was some sort of Pacific Islander.
“This is different; their mothers were stolen in front of them. Some of them had siblings shot so their mothers would stop fighting and go quietly. They took little white girls too, but only white girls.”
“Who would do that?”
Karla answered the question clearly and decisively, “Other white women. Some sort of paramilitary…”
A week later, Tina and Tanya were scouting. It had taken their group a while to work out what was wrong and when they had worked it out, they’d chosen not to involve the men.
“Let’s keep the muscle where it is,” had said Karla the journalist, “at least until we find something tangible that has to be dealt with by force.” Karla and the rest of their group were back in the camp, sounding out the men and the other women. Hopefully by the time they got back to camp with news, the ground work for a fighting force would be laid.
It took them nearly a week to find what they were looking for and they found it because the smoke gave away the…facility surrounded by barbed wire and fences. The compound and surrounding fields were patrolled by fair-skinned, female, armed guards who stood over equally fair-skinned field workers. In the middle of the fields, a red-haired woman hung suspended by her wrists from two tall poles, her toes barely touching the ground. As they watched, a guard slapped a little girl who was standing by a field worker an pointed her at the row beside the older woman.
“If,” said Tina, “a big, fat, white man is in charge of all this, I am going to be very upset.”