The hallway was elegantly designed and covered in paintings, but the place had seen better days; it was dank, cold and there was a leak a few seats down. The seat Mandy was sitting in was rickety, she suspected it was propped up by the wall.
There was a chime and a red light lit up above the black door at the end of the passage. A terrified looking girl at the end of the row stood up and quietly went through the door. It seemed to open and close on its own accord.
Tears flowed from the blonde girl next to Mandy, she desperately wanted to comfort the girl, but her body refused to move. Desperate in that it would distract her from her own fear of what was about to happen.
Another chime and another girl disappeared. At least the next chair in the line was a little firmer. She had another glance up and down the hall. All the girls were like her; tall, thin, barely enough meat on their bones to function, and deathly scared.
She tried to console herself with the fact that her family would be taken care of. What she was doing would be enough to feed them and clothe them for years to come. She looked up. There was a picture of a sad looking clown staring at her. The clown's makeup was running and the flower pinned to him was drooping, but there was a glint in the clown's eye as if he could see the light of a better future. Steeling her resolve, she nodded and determinedly got out of her seat. Some of the girls gasped, while others were so wrapped in their own anguish that they didn't notice, and more than likely didn't care.
Her path had been chosen and she was going to face it head on. She walked slowly and steadily past the others. Mandy turned and faced the door. Being so close made her quiver. Made her question her actions. The picture of the clown flashed through her memory again. Straightening herself up, she waited.
The chime went off and the red light flashed.
She squared her shoulders and walked through the opening door...