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Useful Things #8
Majak ceased stroking Rasvim’s soft skin and issued an order. “Be seated.”
It was not, he knew, the customary order from a master to a pet. That would be a single word. It was possible Rasvim had been trained to respond reflexively to more complex verbal commands. If that was the case, the young human would simply sit. Instead, Rasvim stayed as he was and began to breathe harder. His wide dark eyes moved from side to side before fixing again on the floor.
“You have nothing to fear, Rasvim,” Majak said, modulating his tone to be soft and controlled. “I am extending you permission to sit in my presence.”
“No, not that. Not Master. I want you to call me by my name.”
Rasvim’s distress was palpable. Anxiety vibrated in his breathing and fear scented the filtered air. The rules that defined Rasvim’s life among the Aeth had been cruel and unforgiving, and following them had been his only guarantee of safety and freedom from pain. Without rules, he would be uncertain of everything… just as Osvith had intended.
“We will start with that, Rasvim. Be seated. And call me Majak.”
Rasvim’s naked body slowly unfolded from his posture of submission. He did not seek out a couch or chair, but settled onto the floor—buttocks on the fine carpet, spine straight, and legs bent in front of him. He stared into space, breathing through parted lips.
“Are you afraid of me, Rasvim?”
Rasvim was assessing every moment, trying to discern a safe path. Majak lowered himself to the floor at a distance he thought close enough for intimacy yet not so close as to alarm Rasvim. What he wanted to gain would not appear in one night.
“Look at me.” Those dark eyes obeyed. So like Enir’s and yet so unlike, brown instead of blue and with none of the trust. “I am not the criminal Osvith Telal. I am Majak Suen Shargal, one of the Prime Sons of the Var Sareem. My words are good. I say none I do not mean. I will give you these words for your own: I will not hurt you. I will not punish you.”
Silence. He must ask a question, or give an order. “Tell me how you became the property of Maskim Dingir.”
Rasvim swallowed. “Aeth poachers found our… where we lived. We were five families. They killed most of the adults, then loaded everyone including the corpses onto a mobile processing vehicle. They butchered and processed the dead, then killed most of the others and processed them also. Said there was no advantage to keeping them alive.”
“You understood these Aeth?”
Rasvim moved his head, but did not look away. “Not at the time. I remember what they said—everything they said—but I had to learn the words before I knew what they meant.”
That memory again. This human could identify the Aeth who killed his kin group. Such dangerous information would be concealed. “Was Maskim Dingir one of these Aeth?”
Again that side to side movement of the head, this time slower and seeming in conjunction with thought. Not a nod, which the Aeth employed also, but similar. “No. They sold me to him. Me and the other children.”
Majak waited a moment then asked, “Do you know why?”
“To be trained for comfort… or served as live meat.”
It was the only possible answer, but now the recorders had it on file. Majak wondered at how Rasvim had survived so many years of horror since, aware that at any moment he could be served up still living to his Aeth captors. Some Aeth considered live meat the purest celebration of their race’s carnivorous origin. Two hundred years of legislation had failed to eradicate the practice.
Rasvim had relaxed somewhat. Perhaps he now believed he was not about to be raped, or slaughtered. Majak pressed a button on his gauntlet, activating a holo-file. A bizarre-looking life form, all angles and knobs and strange blocky spots, appeared. When Rasvim saw it, his face assumed an expression Majak had not seen on him before, though he had seen it on Enir... wonder.
“Do you know what this is?”
The alien word resonated inside Majak’s brain. A human word. Enir had conveyed that Rasvim might speak one of the Old Human languages. The creature had a name. Giraffe. Very little of its meat had ever come on the market. Humans and some of the other ruminants had been by far more plentiful. A cache of hides and bones found in a warehouse on one of the continents abutting the Inland Sea had resulted in this effort at reconstructing the beast, no living example of which had yet been found.
“You have seen one?”
“No… Majak. Only a print in a… book. When I was a child.”
Books. The Aeth had found quite a few of those.
Majak turned and reached behind him, fingers touching and retrieving the primitive book he had been looking at earlier that day. The pebbled cover was in good condition, but the mysterious images within puzzled him. He extended the book to Rasvim. “Can you speak this one to me?”
Rasvim’s slender fingers touched the cover so gently Majak envied the caress. It was an act of pure will not to use this human for comfort. Enir had taught Majak the pleasure to be had being stroked by human hands, and he had heard enough about how pleasingly human lips and tongues accommodated Aeth cocks to have fantasized about that act. And more. As Majak battled those thoughts, Rasvim opened the cover and moved aside a few pages. Then his tentative voice began. The alien language flowed like music.
“Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. Their house was small…”
Thank you for reading. I’m still writing this story by the seat of my pants and having fun with it. Believe it or not, I’m laying the base for something special. It remains to be seen if I can pull it off. Also, please take a minute to visit the other Wednesday Briefers:
Cia Nordwell m/m
Michael Mandrake m/m
Julie Lynn Hayes m/m