At the end of the post you will find links to more free blog stories by the rest of the Wednesday Briefs authors. Enjoy!
Useful Things #9
The darkening of the solar shields upon the habitat presaged another cycle of night. Even after millennia in space, the Aeth remained diurnal, bound physiologically to their home system and Nin’s longer rotation. Majak watched new colors blossom as the wavelengths filtering into the room shifted.
Each day Majak spent time in private with Rasvim. The young human continued to progress in small ways, revealing facets of a personality. Rasvim took correction docilely, but it was only appearance. He had learned at the knees of cruel masters that docility bought freedom: freedom from pain, from suffering… from death. That docility had the polish of a mirror; it reflected back what Rasvim’s keepers wanted him to be. Majak sought quietly for clues as to what waited under the shell.
They had made much progress with the illustrated book, though the land of Oz remained puzzling. Upon being shown a map, Rasvim had pointed to the land known as Kansas, which was situated in a location favorable to large-scale food production. Surveillance showed nothing at all like the pictures in the book. The planet, perhaps, had changed too much since its occupation. But the topography interested Majak less than what the pictures revealed: humans interacting, apparently as equals, with several other species and what looked like a robot. Rasvim, however, did not appear to grasp the importance of locating the other species.
“Where are these flying ones? In Kansas?” Majak asked. He touched the depiction and was pleased to see that Rasvim no longer tensed at his every movement.
“The flying monkeys?”
“Mong-keys.” His poor pronunciation earned a slight smile he treasured. These brief glimpses of Rasvim pleased him more every day that passed. “We have not seen the winged ones.”
“They don’t exist.”
“The species is extinct?”
“They… never lived. They are not… real.”
Majak considered. Rasvim possessed at least a rudimentary understanding of such concepts. This in itself was exciting. He paused, reluctant to yield on the matter. If the monkeys did not exist, how had the humans known to illustrate them in such exquisite detail? Qatiyya was new to the Var Sareem. Exploited, yes, but little known. One of Majak’s goals was to prevent further erosion of the planet’s lifeforms. To do so, it was helpful to catalogue those lifeforms, seek out their habitats, and protect them. Could he trust a child—for Rasvim had been captured young—to know the truth about every species native to his world?
Their eyes met and Rasvim did not look away. This too was new. A swallow bobbed the supple line of his throat. “Yes, Ver Majak.”
Good. It was the opening Majak had hoped for. “I like this book. For security, and other reasons, it must remain in this room. But you can read it here. I will prepare an alcove for you—like the one Enir uses when he stays with me.” He had not yet found an occasion to have both young humans in his quarters together. Alaksu had kept him abreast of their interactions, however, and he was confident Rasvim would refrain from interference in Enir’s training. “You can read the book tonight while I spend time with Enir. I will not require that you serve me.”
Rasvim nodded and continued to meet his gaze so that they shared a tenuous but important understanding. Majak released the book to him, pleased by the exchange. It had been his design all along to move Rasvim from the slave quarters into his chamber.
* * * *
Rasvim curled against the cushions of his alcove, not sure how he was to behave. He had grown accustomed to the stark comfort of the slave quarters, where he had been given a tiny cell and his own mat on which to sleep. This alcove in Ver Majak’s private suite was… luxurious. Alaksu had programmed a half moon concavity into one of the walls and laid down a thick mattress upon which he now reclined. The front of the alcove opened to the bedchamber, but the low ceiling had lighting and the walls behind him were smooth and secure. He had a fine blanket and cushions and a book, but none of these things held his attention.
He could not take his eyes away from the way Majak held Enir.
The other human had run into the room and all but leapt into the Aeth male’s arms. Now, clasped by powerful gray limbs, held close to Majak’s chest, Enir gazed up at his master with clear adoration. Majak was petting the pale youth and speaking words too soft for Rasvim to overhear. It didn’t look like Enir was afraid, or in danger.
Enir had said Majak didn’t hurt his humans. Rasvim forced his eyes away for what felt like the hundredth time, but he was gripped by unreasoning terror. Always before when he had watched an Aeth enfolding a human in its limbs, the human had died. Osvith had never embraced him. The sexual use had been straightforward. Bend over… offer hole… pretend to enjoy it until it was over. And pray his master wasn’t in the mood to beat him or test his endurance.
He looked up again, drawn to what he was witnessing. Majak stood, looking relaxed, while Enir unfastened the collar of his formal robe. The robe and its underlying garment opened, revealing a broad chest rippling with alien muscle. And still Enir smiled, unafraid of what was to come.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this bit of flash, why not stop over at the other Wednesday Briefs authors’ blogs and check out their stories?
Lily Sawyer m/m
MC Houle m/m
Elyzabeth VaLey m/f
Michael Mandrake m/m
Cia Nordwell m/m
Elizabeth Morgan m/f
Elyzabeth VaLey m/f
Victoria Adams m/f
Julie Lynn Hayes m/m