Thursday, June 26, 2014
February 20, part 1
As near as I can figure, we were given two days of peace before Finiuld showed up again. Better food than we’d had before was sent to us. I assumed it was because I’d been such a good little pet and we were being rewarded. The idea kind of made me lose my appetite, but Oses encouraged me to eat.
“You and another need the strength,” he whispered to me when I picked at my food. The one time I balked, he said in a warning voice. “If I must carry on, then so do you. Eat, or I’ll be angry.”
It was good to have the old dominating Oses back. I was relieved to see him being big and bad, even in a cage.
The longer Finiuld stayed away, the more on edge I became. By the end of the first day, I was convinced he’d show up at any moment. Every little sound made me jump. It wore on Oses’ nerves.
“By the ancestors, if I could knock you out without worrying it would harm you, I’d do it,” he said. “We will work on your meditation skills. Practice with me.”
“You meditate?” The idea made me laugh.
The look Oses gave me shut me up quick. “All Nobeks are taught to. It calms us in stressful situations. Sit down and do as I say.”
Well, it wasn’t like I had a ton of other things to while away my time with. Sex was our only other recreation, but we felt kind of bad we could do it and the other prisoners couldn’t. Plus there was that weirdness of being on public display.
So I sat with my legs crossed. Oses spent a few minutes instructing me on keeping my posture just so. It turns out I slump a lot, and he wanted me to sit up straight. That Nobek was a pain with his perfectionism.
Then there was all that advice about how to breathe. For heaven’s sake, it’s breathing. We do it all the time without thinking. Yet I had to do it in such a way so that my stomach ballooned out and then sucked back in towards my spine. “Fill your diaphragm,” Oses told me.
“I don’t even know where that is,” I retorted. “Look, I haven’t dropped over dead yet, so apparently I’ve got this breathing thing down. Stop being so picky.”
That got me rolled over and popped on my fanny a couple of times. Then I had to get my sitting posture right again.
Finally, I was sitting and breathing to Oses’ liking. Next came closing my eyes.
“Concentrate on your breath,” the Nobek said. “Feel each individual inhalation entering your body. Notice the moment of quiet before you exhale. Then feel that breath leave you.”
I tried. I breathed in and I breathed out. I’d pay attention to it for a few seconds, then my mind would take off. I’d think about what Finiuld might have in store for us next. I thought about what I would do if he figured out I was pregnant. I thought about Betra, Candy, and Katrina and wondered if they’d given up on us yet. I thought about my dads and Clan Dusa. Had anyone told them I’d gone missing? Damn, Nayun would be frantic. I’d already made him cry more times then I cared to remember.
“Shalia, come back to the breath.”
My eyes flew open. “How do you always know?”
Oses chuckled. “Because we all do it. Thoughts always come. You have to learn to let them pass by, to not get caught up in them. Close your eyes and try again.”
And so it would go. I tried to think only about breathing, then an idea or memory would sneak in, and I would fret and worry until Oses reminded me I wasn’t supposed to.
Meditation seems like it should be relaxing. Instead, it’s one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done.
Two days after my horrid experience at Finiuld’s party, I was making another attempt at it under Oses’ urging. We were sitting on the ground, facing each other with about a foot of space between us. I was struggling to keep my mind on my breathing when I heard a heavy thud.
My eyes flew open. Oses was lying unconscious and Finiuld stood over him, his expression amused as he looked at me. I damned near pissed myself as terror gripped me.
“Take off your clothes and let’s go,” the Little Creep said. He held out his hand.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to run and hide, though there was nowhere to go. I did neither. I stood, shrugged out of my shift, and took Finiuld’s hand. He led me out of the containment.
We walked through walls, passing through rooms. I saw what I thought were sleeping quarters, with small, Little Creep-sized beds and furniture. I saw a room that seemed full of swirling mist and nothing else. Then we entered a room that had actual doors all along the walls. Each door was a different, bold color. Finiuld pointed to a green one.
“That is yours. Open it, take out what you find, and put it on.”
I frowned at him, not trusting the bastard for one second. What could I do, though? Finiuld was untouchable unless he willed otherwise, and I was screwed. I went to the green door.
It didn’t open automatically, like most doors. Nor was there a handle or any mechanism I could see.
“Touch it, silly.” Finiuld snorted at my apparent stupidity.
Since my back was turned to him, I took the opportunity to scowl and silently mouth nasty words. I reached and touched my fingertips to the green surface in front of me.
The door swung outward rather than disappearing into the wall. I jerked back to avoid being hit. Then a metal bar and a few items suspended from it slid out of the space within.
My brows rose at the things I was apparently supposed to wear. Everything was made of shiny pink plastic-y stuff. There wasn’t much of it, except for the boots. The boots were platform and once on, would make me at least six inches taller. The backs would end just below my knees, but the fronts were going to cover up to mid-thigh.
The rest of the outfit was some psycho’s version of underclothes. The psycho was probably Finiuld. The underpants were little more than a waistband, side strips of pink material, and straps meant to wrap around my upper legs. The bra had no cups.
“Are you serious?” I asked the Little Creep. “I might as well just put the boots on and nothing else for all it will cover.”
“Put it on,” he said, his tombstone grin more nasty than usual. “I don’t want you late for your performance.”
I thought he must be planning to subject me to another awful party. It made me feel sick inside, but I’d survived the first one. I’d get through it again.
I put the stupid garbage on. Everything fit, so Finiuld had been sure to get my proper measurements. What a guy.
As soon as I was wearing the ridiculous getup, he took my hand again. “Let’s go. And mind you give us a good show.”
I had no idea what he meant by that. Was I supposed to be a good little pony or dog or table again? I didn’t like it, but I could handle it if it was no worse than last time. I took it as a warning from Finiuld to mind, or else. More of the usual, in other words.
We went through two more rooms, again decked out like what I took to be bedrooms. Without using halls and corridors, it was hard to get a feel for how the ship was laid out, but I did my best. If Oses and I somehow managed to get our hands on the Little Creep’s phase device, we were going to need to know how to get around the ship.
Finiuld stopped me in front of a wall and grinned up at me. He looked like a really gross kid anticipating Christmas morning. “Enjoy yourself,” he chuckled.
With that, he pushed me forward through the wall, releasing me as soon as I was through. I blinked at my surroundings.
I was in a rounded room that took me several seconds to recognize as the place I’d nicknamed the Arena. The ledge was well over my head, and the seating up there was filled to capacity. There must have been well over a hundred Otetuchans relaxing up there, eating, drinking, smoking their incense sticks and wearing their incredibly loud and ugly clothes.
The blue marbled flooring beneath my feet and the battle frescos on the wall around me were the other clue that clinched my location for me.
What caused my initial confusion was the sight of a raised platform in the middle of the floor. The rectangular surface was covered in linens, hued in a headache-inciting rainbow of the hectic colors Finiuld and his kind seemed to prefer. Fat, fluffy pillows scattered across it. There were pillars at the corners of the platform. My mouth went dry to see chains and shackles attached to those pillars.
It was a setting for captive sex. I was apparently going to be raped for Finiuld and his guests’ entertainment.
At that moment, I knew I’d reached my limit. There was no way I would give myself to God-knew-what to amuse these nasty little bastards. No fucking way. I’d told Oses I had survived worst than Finiuld’s party, and I had. But the situation I was looking at was more than I wanted to survive. Fuck no. Not now, not ever, not for any reason. It would mean Oses’ death for me to refuse, but I had no intention of surviving beyond him. I would find a way to die long before chancing my child being born into this. Death for us all was preferable for this slice of Hell.
I would not willingly get on that platform and I would fight whoever the Little Fucking Creep sent in to fuck me. I would do whatever it took to not be taken, and I didn’t care that it might be a fellow prisoner who might face death if he didn’t overcome me. I would show no mercy.
Movement at the corner of my eye caught my attention. A large body materialized next to the wall on my right, stumbling into view much as I must have when Finiuld shoved me into the Arena. My first thought was it must be my would-be rapist. More naked than not, knowing how vulnerable I truly was, I nevertheless readied myself to attack, to strike first and gain whatever advantage I could.
It was Oses.