The Worst Days Ch. 01This is all I have.
I don't exaggerate or withhold—the old USB from whence this came contained this, and only this, chapter among college essays and drafts of résumés. Maybe some old timer on the Lit forums has a copy of the rest, but I don't. I'm just letting you know, is all, that there is no more after this.
Not every bad day starts out with a sign. What turned out to be the ruination of life as I knew it started beautifully. I was getting married. Unlike other grooms who are about to take the leap into married life, I had no second thoughts about the woman with whom I shared a soul. I could feel her heart beating when I breathed, and she anticipated my every thought. Our love was a blessed one, and no one doubted it. Juniper was the loveliest woman I had ever known, and had a wit that could cut a man to ribbons if she chose (which she never did), and was smarter than I'll ever be. She was also sweet, and though she liked to pretend she was just another violent, angry soldier, her natural kindness gave her away. She was good for me, and she knew it. Juniper gave me the freedom to feel.
She and I had decided to get married before she was sent to war; I think we were both so eager to finally taste the marital pleasures we'd been teased about since we started dating that we simply couldn't wait. Who wants to abstain until the war is won? Nobody. Juniper teased me constantly that as an athlete I had to have picked up some sort of disease from my groupies even if I was still a virgin in every sense of the word. Hah. Groupies can't compare to Juniper. And when this day was over I would be a virgin no longer. Finally. The wait was worth it, but by His Majesty's back hair it was hard.
We had decided on an outdoor wedding, to enjoy the last of our sweet green turf before it turned brown with autumn. It was also a subtle thumbing of our noses to the Nitkani forces who happened to be in the process of invading our country. Juniper's idea, of course. Who cares if you could annihilate our city within minutes, Nitkistan? We're gonna get married in style.
The day was perfect for our wedding. My whole raucous family was there, even those from the East Coast, and Juniper's clan (she called them her tribe. There were a lot of them) had managed to match all their clothing to the red and violet flowers Juniper had picked out to decorate the benches and altar. The sky was bluer than a jay and the clouds were far away and white. To my love-drunk mind even the forest that surrounded the clearing of my back yard looked benevolent in its green finery. Juniper was resplendent, radiant, beautiful beyond my capability to describe. Her mahogany hair fell loose around her face, her deep brown eyes sparkled at me, telling me how excited her was to see me on the way up to the alter. Her smile, pearlescent in the bright daylight, was turned up slightly higher on one side, teasing me; I think she knew I almost teared up at the site of her. My bride. My wife.
My foot was on the step onto the wedding platform when the first of the gunfire was heard. We all hit the ground, and I pulled Juniper underneath me with little regard for the silk dress that clung so gracefully to her. The sound of helicopters was a low drone in the distance, growing ever louder.
"No, not now," Juniper whispered in my chest. I would hear tears in her voice.
I kissed her hair, which was all I could reach from squashing her underneath me. "We can sign the legal documents and skip the ceremony, you know," I whispered back. "We can't put our families in danger." I felt her nod and looked over at the monk who was splayed out flat beside us. He was shaking.
"Brother, we'll just sign the paper," I told him. He nodded and went on his knees to grab it and shoved it at us along with the pen. We scribbled our names and dated it. Bursts from automatic weapons were our serenade.
Juniper wiggled out from under me (a move that would have been dangerous to me in other circumstances) and grabbed the microphone. "Family and friends," she shouted, "we've decided to cut this hullabaloo a little short!" She waved our marriage license over her head. The was scattered cheering in response. "Get out of here while you still can, loved ones, and be safe!"
Famous last words. In the time it took for me to grab Juniper's hand and race back down the petal-strewn aisle, three Nitkani helicopters had landed on the street. The wedding party was scattering into the woods, but Juniper was pulling me towards the house. I knew what she had in mind, but was still uneasy with the fact that we were running towards the trouble.
"Jun," I pleaded, "Please let's let the house take care of itself. We can't possibly fight off three copters full of Nitkani. What about your parents?"
She threw me a look. "My parents will be doing the same thing. As will yours."
She was right, of course. My mother tossed me a shotgun the instant we stepped into the kitchen. "I would say I'm not happy to see you here," she commented, "which is true, but we're going to need all the help we can get."
Juniper's father yelled from the den for us to cover the garage. I silently cursed my luck for having bought that brand new hovercar. I had thought to celebrate one of the happiest days of my life by getting a vehicle fit for a family. Now it was just begging the Nitkis to come steal it, and see what other treasures my house had to offer while they were in the neighborhood.
"Hurry," Juniper said, tearing off her heels and grabbing a rifle and a box of rounds for the both of us.
I grabbed her wrist. "Jun, I—" I faltered, gazing into her eyes. How do you tell the woman you were hoping to spend the rest of your life with that all the rest of your life could only be an hour? That you wished with every cell in your body that those damn troops had landed on someone else's wedding?
"Oh, love," she breathed, "I know." She kissed me, a good solid kiss, with tongues twining and bodies crushed together and blood pressure rising. She did know. And in that kiss was something even more frightening. I knew, without a doubt, that she would rather die than be taken prisoner. The Nitkis are more than cruel to their captives.
We had just barely set up a passable barricade on the garage door when the glass in the front of the house shattered and I heard my father cry out.
"Dad!" I yelled, racing back to the den with Jun on my heels. No no no no no, I thought. Not my father. Not my family. My jaw was clenched so hard my teeth hurt.
I never got to see whether my father was okay or not. Four enemy soldiers burst through the front door that Juniper's parents were guarding and pointed guns at us. What came out of those guns were not bullets, because bullets don't spark through the air, or send pain through your entire body, or make you lose control of your bladder. I finally understood the term "wracked with pain," as I screamed through my clenched teeth, my body convulsing and my consciousness soaring away on throbbing wings.
I cannot accurately recount what happened for the next week, or it may have been as long as a month. I was fully conscious on occasion, in a great deal of pain, and usually strapped to a wall. I remember being so angry with the gods that they would take me away from the people who needed me. I remember hitting a man, or it may have been three. I know they were Nitkis because they all had gray hair. Only Nitkis have granite hair from birth. I think their hearts might be granite, too.
I was naked a lot. I only remember this because I was very uncomfortable with nudity, which had always made me the butt of jokes in the locker room. I felt that the only one who should have the onus and privilege of seeing me nude should be Juniper. I think I was given medical tests of some sort. I could only understand enough Nitkan to pass my high school exams, and couldn't speak it to save my life. The stuff they stuck in me didn't help.
My thoughts were consumed with Juniper. I knew she was still alive, which was the only thing that kept me from finding a way to end my life. I couldn't feel that she was in pain, but maybe I was too far away from her. Was she safe? Did she know where I was? Was my family alright? Was she with my family? Whatever chemicals I was given kept me in a near-constant dream state, and those dreams were full of Juniper. Sometimes I was lost enough in those dreams to be happy.
The beginning of my journey back to lucidity started out with a human fishbowl. I woke up sweaty from one of my more vivid Juniper dreams on red velvet, one of my arms asleep from being crushed under my torso and my sleepwear (a.k.a. some cheap underwear strapped on me by those mysterious Nitkanis) was wedged as far up my butt as they could go. I had my nose practically buried into my armpit, and there was a bright, though pleasantly warm, light that fought its way past my eyelids. I was about to curl up into a better sleeping position and get back to the very pleasant fantasy world I had just abandoned when I heard a tapping noise. I tried to ignore it, unwedged my underwear, and turned over. The tapping grew more insistent.
"Mmph," I grumbled, levering myself to a sitting position and rubbing my eyes. Was it my imagination, or could I hear a crowd nearby? A yawn nearly split my jaw, and I felt as though my eyelashes had been braided together.
"Ey!" a male voice said. The sound was muffled, like trying to speak to someone through a window. "Ey, shatin!"
"Shatin" is a Nitkani pet name for a boy, a rough translation being "beautiful kid." I was neither beautiful nor a boy, so I paid no heed.
"Shatin! Ey, you!" There was a meaty smack of flesh on glass. I opened my eyes.
I was in a large glass box. The red velvet I had been lying on was a fainting couch, and there was nothing else in the box besides a pitcher of water and a glass. There were gray-haired people surrounding the thick glass walls, some looking at me, some simply milling around. The crowd was dense, but I could see the tops of other glass boxes in the distance. Was this some kind of Nitkani expo fair? "Hey, fellow countrymen, look what we picked up across the border!"
I turned to see who was tapping on my box. Two middle-aged men were staring at me with odd looks on their faces. They laughed and elbowed each other when they saw me looking at them. "Ey shatin, dos iebsta janasviv!" they yelled at me, waggling their eyebrows.
That was not vocabulary I learned in school. I understood that they wanted something fom me, I just didn't know what. So I stared.
"Dos iebsta janasviv, ir mab!" One of the men flashed money at me.
Our high school language teacher hadn’t been much older than we, and it had been easy to badger him into teaching us a few dirty words in Nitkan—"ir mab" is "your dick." I gave them the universal sign for "go fuck yourself" and my fiercest glare. The man with the money laughed, and his friend grabbed his crotch and licked the glass. I recoiled, disgusted, and the men laughed and sauntered off.
My reprieve was short, as the hecklers were quickly replaced by other men and women who called me "shatin" and made incomprehensible suggestions involving my mab. I curled up on the couch and sought my connection with Juniper. It was far, but steady.
"Oh, Jun," I whispered. "If you could see me now." I almost fell into the beckoning despair which grasped at me to arouse my worries for my family, my panic of not knowing where I was or how I got there…I managed to snap my emotions shut just before a sob formed in my throat. It has been a traumatic experience, but not the worst, I told myself. It was a trick I used when I played sky hockey. Adrenaline, anger, disappointment and their derivatives can really mess with my game if I don't keep a handle on them. Despair and worry, I told myself, are just more of that debilitating emotion stuff. Not for me.
After what felt like hours of being stared at by strange men I noticed a thinning in the crowds. I guessed the Prisoner of War Museum was shutting down for the day, and felt safe to grab the pitcher of water from where it sat in a corner.
I hadn't realized how thirsty I was until I had already consumed two glasses full of water, then decided to abandon the glasses and drink straight from the pitcher. Why is it that as soon as you drink a lot of water you feel like you have to pee or burst? The only way out of this stupid box, it looked like, was to fly out the top—a good ten feet above my reach.
I thought for a minute. I'm no gymnast, but my vertical leap is nothing to scoff at and all sky hockey players are at least limber, if not authentically flexible. I also knew from experience that with enough momentum one could run up a wall enough to flip off it. And if I placed the ugly couch at a position to use it as an extra stepping stone up the wall, I might be able to leverage myself out of it. And there were fewer crotch-grabbers around to rape me if I succeeded.
After the majority of the people in the building had migrated away from my little fishbowl I shoved the couch into a corner so that the raised side was against a wall. There was an itch in the back of my brain, as if someone were watching me, but when I looked around nobody was paying me any special attention. I bounced on the couch a couple of times to get the feel of it, then got ready to escape.
"Okay, you can do this," I told myself. I started with my back against the opposite wall and burst into a run. One foot on the couch, the next on the arm, the ball of my right foot on one wall, push myself off and up to the other wall, one more step and my foot is slipping and reach! I grabbed the wall, but it was too thick for me to get my whole hand around it. My body went crashing into the corner and I lost my grip, falling backwards onto the couch and bouncing heavily onto the floor. There would be bruises later.
This time I tried starting from the corner with the couch and running around to the other corner to pick up speed. Almost. I got one good grip but lost my momentum before I could swing a foot up to the top of the wall. Plus that itching, tickling sensation got stronger and distracted me.
Third time's the charm. Do it for Juniper. Use your arms. Ignore the pain. Lactic acid is your brain trying to tell you to wimp out. For Juniper. I put all my energy into this last burst, launching myself up the wall, my eyes on the ledge. I managed to hook one arm over the wall and grabbed the outside corner of the glass with my other hand (that was incredibly painful), and like a child trying to climb a tree I shimmied and wiggled a leg up onto the wall and pulled myself to straddle it. That damn itching was about to drive me crazy.
Without checking to see if anyone was coming to put the unruly foreign specimen back in its box, I tried to gently lower myself down the other side enough to drop the rest of the way down. I failed on the gentle part. I scraped my fingers on the edge of the glass, almost crushed my dick trying to get both legs over to one side of the wall, banged my chin and subsequently bit my tongue when my arms gave out and I fell about fifteen feet to the ground, and twisted my ankle when I landed, which caused me to fall on my ass onto a very hard concrete floor. I gave myself the luxury of a very long groan as I pushed myself to my feet.
That's when I saw the big guy. Another Nitki, but larger than the typical male of both our nationalities. I'm six foot three when I'm barefoot, and this guy had to be taller than me by at least three inches, and more massively built. He could have crushed me with one fist. Moreover, he looked meaner than a junkyard dog. He was watching me. I froze.
Then he smiled, as if he thought I was playing a trick on the POW Museum keepers, and pointed to a green sign over a door. I couldn't read what it said, but it looked like an exit. Maybe he was a sympathizer. I took off, favoring my ankle a bit. I was a few feet from freedom when I saw something spark in my peripheral vision. Damn museum security carries stun guns, too? I took a rolling dive toward the door, refreshing all the bruises I'd already created. No time for groaning this time, though; my hand was on the door handle, the door was opening, and I could see an alley beyond it. That's when someone grabbed my arm and threw me backwards.
Hell, no, I thought. I am not getting stunned and moved back into a fishbowl again. I was tempted to yell "You'll never take me alive!" but I thought they might take it as a challenge and prove me wrong. I had Juniper to live for. So I got angry.
Juniper termed my anger "The Red Rage," saying “You’re like a beestung bull, Tam. You just lash out viciously at anything nearby, friend or enemy.” In my family and social circle that is never allowed. In sky hockey that is only accepted when we're losing badly, and then only against the other team and as long as the ref can't tell. As a prisoner in the middle of Nitkis with wicked stun guns it seemed a necessity.
The man hanging onto my arm received a fist in the nose. I got a hold on his belt and threw him at two other men who were aiming stunners at me, then grabbed a young potted palm near its top and swung in like a club. Three men went down and a stunner skittered into my path. It had eight rounds in it, six of which hit their intended targets. I tackled another man and shoved his head into the concrete, and was grabbing his stunner when I realized I had been closed off from the exit. For every man I had knocked aside there were two more who took his place. I brandished my found weapon, encircled by grey-headed, flint-eyed soldiers who clearly had no intention of letting me go anywhere. And then a needle pierced into my neck, and everything went fuzzy.
There was an irritating voice jabbering rapidly in Nitkan and a lot of catcalls. My brain felt heavy in my skull, and my limbs were sluggish. I was nude again and in the fetal position. At first I thought I was back in the glass tank and it had been shrunk as a punishment. I stood up slowly, my head swirling, and noticed that this box had handles like a litter. Ahead of me I could see a stage and a short man prancing around with a microphone. Ah, that’s the jabbering guy. Nitkan has a different inflection than my native tongue, but I got the sense that something was being auctioned. I forced my eyelids to stay open wide enough to spot another box like the one I was in sitting on the far side of the stage.
There was a boy inside who looked barely past puberty, his body gangly and awkward. He wasn't Nitkani by the looks of it, but he smiled at the audience I couldn't see like it was a sea of family faces. I looked closer and revised. I don't know many people who masturbate in front of family. As the barker yammered and the crowd roared as the boy struck poses in his glass box, managing once to get one foot stretched above his head and wiggling his pelvis around. The crowd got louder. I didn't have the energy to be appalled.
The barker seemed to come to a decision on a bidder and the boy was let out of the box. The winner was a man well past the age when he should have been thinking about sex. The barker kept talking and the old man had the audacity to lead the boy away by his erection. The boy looked like he was giggling.
I was going to be sick.
Honestly, it only registered to me that I would have a similar fate when I was taken onto the stage. I was still reeling from the sedative, and the lights and noise was overwhelming. I sat down in my box and heard a collective groan.
The barker teased me, I think, but I let my head rest on my knees and closed my eyes. I think the bidding on me was much less enthusiastic. The barker banged on the box right at my ear level. Ow. You want a reaction? I thought. Let's see how you like this, you shriveled prick.
I stood up to my full height and glowered The barker was less than a foot in front of me. The next time he turned toward me I yelled at the top of my lungs and slammed against the glass. Everybody jumped, and I couldn't keep a triumphant snarl from my face. I knew I was a sight, covered in bruises and disheveled from my recent ordeals. The noise dimmed for a minute, then I heard a voice call out a number. The barker mopped his greasy little forehead and continued the bidding. He got too close to me again, and I kneed the glass where his head was. I heard him call me a shatin and I responded with a filthy hand gesture and smacked the glass with my hand. Damned if I was going to make this easy for him.
From what I understood I was being sold as a kind of workhorse, someone who could do all the dirty work in the house. Stupid muscles of mine. Always getting me into trouble. I wished I could make witty responses, like "Sure I can lift something heavy, but who's to say it won't end up shoved up your ass?" …Maybe not witty. But that language barrier limited my choices of words. So I just stuck to cursing lividly in my own language and banging on the glass. My cage trembled with every impact, and some mad hope suggested that if I weakened it enough I would be able to break free. That brain itch was back.
I judged it to be about thirty minutes before the barker settled on a bidder, the itch growing stronger and stronger by the minute. It was almost like a taste of the bond I had with Juniper, but less sweet and more…prickly. It became a violent buzzing when the winner of the bid climbed on stage. It was that giant who had shown me the exit.
That fucker! I felt a surge of rage. He had probably sicced those guards on me before I had even gotten out of the box. "What the fuck!" I yelled, shoving at the glass at his chest level. "What is wrong with you, sick bastard?"
He gave me that not-so-friendly, amused smile again. "That and this fiasco is not my orchestration," he responded. I felt my face flush a little. I'm not normally a rude person, and realizing he understood me was still embarrassing in spite of the recent emotional rollercoaster.
"Listen," he said. "Either you can be a good little boy and be allowed out of that box without restraints, or I'll have them collar and cuff you and keep the remote in my hand at all times."
I spat at him and missed. "You'll need the collar, motherfucker."
"Suit yourself," he shrugged, and beckoned to the waiting security characters.
I waited patiently until they had unlocked the glass cage, then threw myself against the wall that swung outward. Surprise, I'm not going quietly! One of the guards went down and the other two jumped backwards. I didn't know where I was going, but I ran direction that boy-whore and his old man took. I only made it to the edge of the stage when a big hand grabbed my neck and pinched some key pressure spots. My vision darkened at the edges and pain shot up my spine.
"Oh, ow," I complained. "This isn't right."
The man snorted. "Did I not warn you? If you hold still for a second I might not have to geld you."
I held still. I didn't doubt him, and besides, I hadn't kept the boys to myself all these years just to lose them. The collar snapped on and gave me a warning shock that rattled my teeth. There were two long poles attached to the metal around my neck, as if I were a cannibal. Two security guards grabbed the poles and yanked me to my feet. One of them asked the big man where he was parked.
So just like that I was hustled off in all my naked glory to a waiting hoverlimo and shoved in the back. I tried to put up a fight, but the collar kept shocking me if I moved too fast. I ended up getting my hands cuffed behind me and my feet shackled to boot, and so when I was forced into the back I discovered that the only remotely comfortable position was to lie on one of the seats. This also allowed me to hide my face in the seat when the big man climbed in. He said nothing to me, and I realized that escape attempts are exhausting. Despite my better efforts to observe and glare at this enslaver, my eyes closed, with that prickly-pleasant buzz at the base of my brain.
When I woke up my mouth tasted of copper, I could feel saliva crusted on my face, and my body was humming. I felt slower than a snail in molasses, and would have been content just to lay in whatever soft warmth was cushioning my body. I heard a door open nearby, and lazily rolled over to meet the steely eyes of the man who took me home.
"You're awake," he said. He took a robe out of an armoire and tossed it at me. "You'll want to eat. The kitchen is downstairs."
We just stared at each other for a moment. His hair wasn't the standard gray of most Nitkani, but seemed to be almost opalescent white, though maybe that was due to the light from the hallway, and had that shampoo-commercial look to it. He was tall, but solid, and my athlete's mind told me that his percentage of body fat was probably even less than mine. And I was on those girly calendars with my underwear pulled down till my pubic hair peeked out. His skin was darker than mine, but I guessed he spent a lot of time in the sun to have skin darker than his hair. It gave him an odd look, as if the cosmos had gotten his pigmentation backwards. He also looked hardened and dangerous, which canceled out the angelic quality of his high cheekbones and long lashes. Maybe he was one of those angels of war or despair. He couldn't have been much older than my twenty-three years.
His eyes narrowed a little before he turned to leave. "If you want them, there are more clothes in the armoire. You'll get shoes tomorrow," he said. The humming in my body dissipated as he walked out.
When he left I switched on the lamp beside the bed I was in and went to inspect the clothes. They were mostly jeans and soft t-shirts, and I found some basic boxer-briefs in a drawer. I pulled on some clothes, feeling odd after not having worn them for who knew how long, then crept downstairs. That buzz at the top of my spinal cord returned.
I heard a woman's voice to my left, speaking Nitkan. "—awake, Mr. White?"
"Yes," came the man's reply. And then he added what I’m pretty sure was: "I don't think he's going to be very cooperative, though." I sure as hell am not, I thought, edging towards the right.
I heard the clanking of pots and the woman's sigh. "Well," she responded, "We'll [just have to be gentle with, or something equally matronly] the poor soul."
I couldn’t distinguish words in the low rumble of Mr. White's reply, but I spotted a door that seemed to lead outside. Hoping there wasn't an alarm system I opened the door and shut it silently behind me. The sun was just barely below the western horizon, and I could see that the massive yard surrounding the house (which was probably equally massive) was guarded by a stone wall that stretched up and up and up. The masonry was smooth; I couldn't monkey-climb my way out of this one without a ladder.
I ran the perimeter of the yard, keeping close to the wall. There had to be some sort of tree or structure that would allow me to scramble over it. But there wasn't. Beautiful large old trees freckled the grounds, but none would have gotten me close enough to the top of the stone wall. I ran around to the front of the house (it was massive, as I had suspected) and followed the line of the driveway to find the gate we must have come through, and found three armed and alert security guards whose molossers barked when I got too close. My shoulders slumped.
"Who's there?" demanded one of the guards, shining a flashlight in my direction.
I opted not to have them sic the dogs on me. "Sorry, men," I said in terrible Nitkan, raising my hands apologetically. "I am only, er, out walk for tonight."
"Sure, kid. We’ll take you back to the house, all right?" the flashlight man suggested, speaking slowly to make sure I understood. "Hal, let Mr. White know we found him."
The itchy buzz returned to my neck the instant good old Hal let Mr. White know that I was being taken back to the house. Damn it all. I tried to look pleasant and stupid.
"I'm Dill," the flashlight man offered. "What's your name, son?" His dog snuffled its head under my hand as we walked, and I scratched behind its ears.
I smiled, friendly-like. "I am called Tam. Am from Lomagnia."
Dill looked at me a little more closely. "Are you a genfi?" he asked gently.
"Men came and took you from your home?"
I nodded vigorously. "Yes, yes. They take me from wife and, uh, get, no no no, put. Yes, put me sleep. I waked up in box, many people to see. Uh, look at me. Your Mr. White says, uh, ‘may I have? Thank you.’ Buys one of me."
Dill nodded thoughtfully. "I am sorry that you lost your wife. But Mr. White is not a bad man." He opened a glass door to a conservatory at motioned me inside.
I snorted. "Good men buy not people." It wasn't any more grammatically correct than the weirdness I’d spit out, but I think I got my point across.
Dill shook his head at me. "If he were a truly bad man, I would work for someone else. Wait here and he will come find you."
I almost asked Dill to leave his dog with me, and tell me the command for attack. I knew he was near when the buzz intensified. I figured he was some sort of telepathist, trying to put a link on me so I couldn't run off. "Go away, asshole," I growled in Lomagnian. Leave me to mourn my freedom in peace.
When he said nothing I turned around. His expression was unreadable, but his tone was gentle. "Come back in the house," he said softly, beckoning as he turned around. And damn me, with my head lowered I followed.
Dinner was a silent affair, though perhaps it was always that way. I stared into my plate, automatically bringing my fork to my mouth and chewing what I put there. Occasionally I snuck glances at Mr. White from underneath my lashes, but he seemed preoccupied with his meal.
When he was finished with his plate, Mr. White set it aside and sat back in his chair, looking at me. The buzzing turned a little tingly.
Finally I snapped, "Stop trying to get into my brain. The link only works if I'm willing."
I heard him snort. "I knew I should have had you checked out. You're insane."
My gaze shot to his. "You're not a telepath."
"You could be lying," I countered.
"You could be paranoid," he suggested, quirking an eyebrow at me. His attempt at wit irritated me.
"You're a sick bastard," I ground out.
He folded his arms and rolled his eyes, muttering in Nitkan. Probably something about the trials of owning uncooperative slaves. "It would be a stretch to expect you to be glad it was me and not a typical Nitkani."
"It would be."
"Obviously you haven't heard about what typically happens to prisoners in this elitist country."
I folded my arms and glared at him. "Obviously you're about to enlighten me."
"No, that's not necessary. But if you value your life you won't venture outside my walls without me."
I couldn't help a shiver from running down my spine. "So you would kill me for trying to go back to everything I love?" I shook my head. "You're only proving every terrible thing I've ever heard about your people."
He twirled the stem of his glass. "On the contrary. I can only protect you while you remain inside my domain." He gave a kind of frustrated sigh. "Nitkistan is an unstable society, and those in power seem to think the easiest way of uniting the people is to find a common enemy: Everyone else. It would be extremely stupid of you to take your chances alone. You will not find any allies."
I rolled my eyes. Such dramatics. "How do I know you're not just trying to scare me into complacency? I mean, for all I know we're right across the border."
Mr. White made a noise of derision. "You imagine you're the first to think this way?" he asked. "Go ahead. Find a way out. Just I hope I catch up to you quickly." He stood up and picked up his dishes, then nodded towards mine. "My housekeeper would be much obliged if you would rinse those and put them in the dishwasher."
I was confused. Or maybe not confused, but more disoriented. All I knew about this man is that according to Nitki law, he owned me, that he was wealthy enough to have guards and a housekeeper, and that his surname was White. Did he know my name? Was I to be a sex slave, like the boy I saw on stage before me? I sought that connection I had with Juniper; finding it calmed me down. I wished that I had the power of telepathy.
I realized I was still staring at my plate when I heard Mr. White call from the kitchen. "There is toothpaste, a toothbrush, and floss in your bathroom. I'll be in the study for the rest of the night." Like I was a guest.
I gathered up my dishes. "Oh, Tam, old buddy," I mimicked under my breath. "How's the wife? Think she'll mind if I bone you? Most obliged if you wouldn’t run or struggle, I’ll most positively have to put you to death." I snorted at my own dark humor as I shoved the dishes into the washer. I went upstairs to brush my teeth.
I was grateful for the dental care products. I had a cavity once, and the taste of that numbing agent on my gum was enough to make me floss and brush like a dentist. Of course, sky hockey is as much about image as it is athletics. Nobody wants to see a player with a bunch of cavity fillings on posters.
I wandered around the room in which I had been placed. I didn't think it was the master bedroom, but it was richly decorated in dark woods and a color that Juniper would have likely called ivory or cream. The carpet was soft, the pillows and comforter on the bed were downy, and I discovered that there was a music unit hidden behind a panel in the wall. The windows were large and reached almost all the way to the ground. They didn't open. With that discovery I felt anger coagulate in my chest. It was a reminder that I was no house guest, I was a prisoner. Buy your very own virgin man, stolen fresh from his wedding, cheap! He's a star sky hockey player, to boot!
I jumped on the bed a few times, hard (which was extremely childish of me, but that's what I felt like doing at the moment), then stomped downstairs to find the study. I stomped around for a good thirty minutes, opening various doors, before I realized that the study must not be on the ground floor. Feeling momentarily foolish, I stalked back upstairs and slammed some more doors open. No dice.
I paused for a moment when I opened the door to the master bedroom. The bed was huge, and I was a little surprised to see that there were no posts or rings on the bed or above it. I had figured that if you bought a naked man at an auction it meant that you were into that kinky bondage stuff. It was oddly intimate to stare into the spartan room, though I was torn between fleeing the scene and rifling through his stuff. I didn't see anything I had expected to—no whips and chains, no giant sex toys, no pinups of naked men. The room almost looked uninhabited, save for a coat thrown over the back of a chair. Then I remembered that I was on an angry rampage, and resumed my search for the elusive study.
There was a third floor, but none of those rooms revealed a study or massive Mr. White. I wanted answers from him, damn it. I went to the top of the stairs and yelled, "Where's the fucking study, you bastard?" and the dormant buzz unfurled at the top of my spine.
So he could hear me, but the buzz was soft, as though he was engrossed in something else. I walked away from the stairs and the humming grew fainter, so I ran downstairs. Louder. Past the kitchen, through a den, past the den and the buzz weakened. I slammed my hand on a wall and the buzz leapt and itched, as if it were irritated with me. That was easier to follow. Back in the den, where the buzz was strongest, and saw a door I had originally overlooked, blending into the wood paneling on the wall by the fireplace. Was it safe to have wood paneling surrounding a fireplace? I opened the door.
I had kind of expected a staircase leading to a dungeon, where Mr. White kept all the whips and chains that were absent in his bedroom. Imagine my shock when the room behind the door was filled with books, file cabinets, and not a sex toy or human-occupied doggie bed in site.
Mr. White was at the computer, his shirtsleeves rolled up and wire-framed glasses on his nose. He shook his hair out of his eyes and looked at me over the top of his spectacles. "Yes?"
I leaned against the door frame and glared at him. "Why am I here?" I demanded.
White steepled his fingers and responded, "Don't really know. You were an impulse buy."
My eyes bugged out and my jaw nearly hit the floor. "You fucking buy people on a whim?"
One corner of his mouth turned up. "Why do you think you're here?"
I opened my mouth, thought better of what I was about to say, shut my mouth, and blushed. White looked amused.
"Yes, I think you have the right idea," he said, turning his attention back to the computer.
I wasn't ready to dismiss the issue. "I'm not gay," I informed him. "I'm married to a beautiful woman named Juniper, and I'm not attracted to men at all."
"I won't let you rape me."
Frustrated, I slammed my hand down on the desk and was satisfied to see the cool bastard jump a little. "Do you understand, Mr. White? I don't fuck other men."
He pushed his chair back a little and looked up at me. His gray eyes were unnerving, and I had to fight the urge to pull my gaze away.
"I am not going to rape you," he said slowly, and I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding. "But whether or not you've experienced men in the past, I suggest you accustom yourself to the fact that we will, sooner or later, fuck."
He made it sound so raunchy. "What," I sneered. "Can't rape the willing, is that how you think of it?"
He stood up, as though to remind me of how much bigger he was than me. He wasn't all that much taller, not really, but he seemed to fill the room even so. I suddenly remembered how he had reduced me to a pile of ouch when I tried to run at the auction, and decided that I didn't want to fight him. It wasn't cowardice, it was wisdom.
"That is exactly it," he said, his voice a rumble as he stalked around the desk to me. I felt cemented to the floor. "You, Tam, are going to be very," his fingers tangled in the t-shirt above my belly, "very willing when I am through with you."
I cleared my throat. "I'm surprised you even know my name." Wonderful retort. We were almost nose to nose.
He used his handful of my shirt to propel me back towards the door. "I know plenty about you. For example," and here he leaned in and whispered something in Nitkan.
I don't know what it was, but it sounded dirty, like 'I know you like it rough.' A chill ran down my spine and I tried not to visibly shudder at the hum that spread from my spine through my body. I shoved White in the chest, the kind of push that usually starts fights. He barely rocked backward. "I have no idea what you said," I spat, "but you have nothing on me that would ever make me willing to have sex with you."
"Your nipples are lying, then," he responded, and pushed me out of the room.
I looked down to discover that the offending little members were at bullet points under my shirt, and there was a stirring in my groin. "I’m just cold!" I exclaimed, and the asshole laughed at me. "This is your fault, White!"
"My name is Fenton. And I certainly hope it is. The night is young." He shut the door and I heard a lock click.
"That’s not what I meant! You are the worst, sickest fucking…" I couldn't even think of a word accurate enough to describe him. I settled for "Motherfucker!" and stormed upstairs.
I wanted to break something. I settled for blasting orchestral music from the system in the room and doing pushups. Then sit-ups. Then went through all the other exercises I could think of without the use of a weight room. Then took a cold shower. My nipples were still hard and that awful buzzing had settled in at my groin, and was starting to become painful.
Alright. So I was erect. I was erect and I didn't know why, though the weird spinal hum that was certainly connected to Mr. Fenton White probably had a lot to do with it. Fuck him. I thought of Juniper, seeking out that connection, but it only made me harder. I didn't know what to do about it. I had never masturbated, though I had some pretty wild wet dreams as a teenager, and didn't plan on starting now. It just seemed a little more dirty that I, married man, would be jacking off thanks to a large telepathic gay man who bought me from a damn auction.
After tossing the bathrobe on the floor I threw myself onto that downy bed with a groan. Staring up at the ceiling, I wondered what I would be compromising if I were to, indeed, bring myself to orgasm. Experimentally, I ran one hand over my chest, feeling the betrayers, down my ridged abdominals to my penis. The instant I touched myself there a shiver and a buzz went through me. My gaze snapped to the door, which I had carelessly left ajar.
Granite eyes with long dark lashes, at odds with the white hair. Glasses gone, shirt untucked, he strode towards me. I was paralyzed with my embarrassment at being caught red-handed. Fenton didn't smile, didn't speak as he put one hand on my chest and slid the other down to my testicles. He was fast enough that I didn't even think to react until he squeezed my balls gently, and I almost shot out of my skin.
"Holy fuckerson!" I yelled. I tried to power myself up, but he leaned into that hand on my chest and held me. "Fucking fucker, you asslicker, let me go, let go of me—" He responded by sliding his hand up to my shaft, squeezing and thumbing the liquid that peeked from the top. I gasped so hard I choked. That hum was pulsing in time to my racing heartbeat, and was filling my body, pressing against the backs of my eyes and pooling in my toes.
"I'm going to kill you," I threatened, punching him in the shoulder with all the strength I could muster. "I'm going to strangle you with my bare hands."
Fenton tightened his grip and ran his hand back down to the base of my penis.
I hit him again, harder. "Then I'm going to drag you to one of those upstairs rooms by your ankles," I gasped. I was finding it harder to keep my pelvis still. "And I'm going to throw your body out the window and watch you burst open like a grape. And I'll laugh."
This time I leaned a little bit and clubbed the asshole in the kidneys. He responded by licking the head of my penis. I responded by jackknifing all the way to sitting, a groan bursting from my throat, then Fenton White simultaneously slid his mouth further down my shaft and pinched one of my nipples, and I collapsed back into the bed.
"This," I gasped, "is the worst, ah, cruelest, oh, sickest thing that anyone, holy fuck, has ever done to me." My eyes were shut tight, but I could feel the smug bastard smile around his mouthful of dick. There was a roiling in the pit of my stomach, a churning in my balls. I was going to fly away from my body any second.
Fenton dragged his mouth off my cock, lightly scraping his teeth on the head. I hissed at him. "Tam?" he asked lazily, licking the vein on the underside of my dick.
"Argh," I responded. I couldn't talk, I was having enough trouble breathing.
"Do you know where your prostate is?" Fenton dug his tongue into the slit on the head, working his hand up and down the shaft at lightning speed.
"Augh!" Every athlete has had every kind of exam possible. Of course I knew where my prostate was!
My eyes shot open when a finger invaded my rectum, painfully so, and pressed up against that gland in question.
"Oh, fuck!" I cried out. Fenton swooped back down on my cock, and when I felt his throat muscles swallow around the head I came.
My first conscious orgasm was more than explosive. My heels dug into the mattress and my pelvis lifted into the air, my buttocks clenching around the finger embedded within. One hand grasped the sheet while the other clenched into the muscle of my captor’s shoulder. The humming, that delicious buzz that suffused my body, pulsed out of me into a warm, moist mouth, and for a moment I was floating through the cosmos.
"Hmm," said Fen.
My body was shuddering with the aftershocks of having spent years of pent-up semen in such a short time. The finger withdrew from my anus, and I rolled over and buried my face in a pillow. I was humiliated.
A finger trailed up the base of my spine. "I hadn't believed it when I was told you were a virgin, but you've more than proved that true."
Tears pricked my eyes. What would Juniper say if she could see me now? I didn't even want to seek that heartbeat I knew to be hers. A sob rose to my throat. "Get out," I said thickly.
Fen pulled the mussed up comforter over me and pressed his lips to the nape of my neck. "Go to sleep," he instructed, as if I were a child.
For the first time since I had been taken from my family, snatched from my wife, I cried. I wept until I had no more tears, then heaved dry sobs into the night until I fell asleep with a pounding head and the feeling of a soft kiss on the back of my neck.