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Being the last girl in the cage was a great success to my sense of preservation and an epic failure to my ego. On the one hand, by proving myself to be the surliest girl on the planet, I had been able to keep men from purchasing me. On the other hand, it was rather pathetic to be alone in a cage that was all but forgotten by its warden. I had tried to engage my chubby keeper in some friendly conversation but he never responded. My warden spent less time around the cage which meant less food, less water and less changing of the waste bucket. In retrospect, it is a miracle that I did not fall victim to dysentery, malnutrition or at least a few rotten teeth. I now think that my warden may also have been a sorcerer; only a charm on the cage could have kept such miserable and neglected girls from dying in that hellhole.
Virgins had become hard to find. No more pretty young things were brought to the cage. However, there was a bright side to my lack of companionship: I could now bathe (in a very loose sense of the word). Because I no longer had to share the water bowl with anyone else, I could ration it according to my own personal needs.
I knew that my appearance was horrendous. My hair was dirty and matted; the unkempt hair was beginning to shed. I hated watching it fall from my shoulders to the ground on an hourly basis. It was so matted that it had begun to form four thick, grungy dreadlocks. My hair was beyond rescue but thanks to my handy-dandy basin, I was able to occasionally rinse some of the grime from my body. Guessing by the length of my hair, I had been in the cage for at least six months. I’d spent my 18th birthday in a dirty cell without even knowing the day had come and gone. With that realization, I was struck by a wave of depression.
Then, on one of my darkest days, my worst fear and my salvation became one and the same. The warden led one of those finely dressed men into the room that held my cage. He was a tall gentleman with long blond hair and emerald eyes. In my wretched condition I could hardly meet those brilliant eyes but, it was impossible not to notice them. At the time I did not think of him as especially handsome; his face was distorted by a sneer that expressed his disgust at my pitiful state. As if being held in a cage with my body on display was not humiliating enough, I was also subjected to some dandy’s disapproval of my neglected hygiene. I was so insulted by his scrutiny that I growled at him like some feral child. Once I had done the deed, I was ashamed of myself. My mind was so traumatized by the time I’d spent there that I was dehumanizing myself.
“I’ll take her.”
I looked up at him, surprised by his words. I had growled at him to show my dislike of him. I thought that was understood. And he obviously thought that I was a disgusting, miserable wretch. Why would he want me? There had to be somewhere else he could go to find a virgin. My chest was filled with both dread and excitement. I was anxious to know what kind of master he would be but I was also afraid that he might be cruel and violent. At the time, I had no idea that the well dressed gentlemen were all demons, vampires and werewolves.
The warden responded with an “Excellent choice, sir” (as if he had a choice) and ushered him out of the room, I presumed, to negotiate the matter of payment.
My heart sank. I would no longer have the safety of those rusting bars to protect me from whatever the world had become since that awful night. As I fretted over the uncertainty of my future, two stocky women I had never seen before entered the room, noses wrinkling as my odor hit them. Within seconds, they found their composure and hurriedly made their way to my cage. They were dressed in pink scrubs like nurses or orderlies. The color of their uniforms was probably meant to be soothing but I panicked. When they opened the cage, I clung to the bars with all of my might. I did not want to belong to anyone. I did not want anyone to touch me. At that moment, all I wanted was to die in that cage and remain ignorant of what the world had become.
Unfortunately, no one cared what I wanted. One orderly gingerly pried my hands from the bars while the other threw my body over her shoulder. I was carried out of the room like a sac of rice. The fact that the woman lifted me so easily unnerved me. I had always been slender but my stature was far from petite. I must have lost a substantial amount of weight for someone—anyone—to lift me that way. As I became aware that emaciation was another side effect of my captivity, I began to cry again. I was not used to feeling so physically and emotionally helpless. I thought to myself Is this how it feels to be broken?
I was wrenched out of my reverie when I was dumped into a tub of cold water. Although the temperature was uncomfortable, I thought of it as a luxury to be in a real bathtub. I was subsequently attacked by sponges and loofahs. The orderlies scrubbed until my dingy skin was raw and reddened. Before my body had even adjusted to the cold bathwater, I was being dragged from the tub and rubbed and blotted dry. Then, in order to make me more pleasing to my new master, I was waxed. The whole nine yards. By the time those beastly women were done, my legs, my armpits and my more delicate regions were as bald as a newborn babe.
The two demon orderlies worked wordlessly so, upon seeing a simple cotton dress lying across a chair, I assumed that my hellish but much-appreciated makeover was done. As I made my way towards the dress, one of the orderlies grabbed a fist-full of my hair. Upon contact, several strands of hair fell to my naked shoulder. I had forgotten about that. Despite the vigorous cleansing of my skin and scalp, my hair was still an unsalvageable mess. I heard the buzzing of clippers behind me. Again, tears welled up in my eyes. Even though those women had seen (and meticulously washed) every part of my body, I was the most humiliated by the fact that I would lose my hair. They sat me down in another chair and set to work.
It happened very quickly. I assumed that they didn’t want to keep my new master waiting. The cotton shift was yanked over my head just before I was thrust through a different door than the one we had used to enter. I stared at the door in confusion as it was slammed in my face. It was then that I realized that I was not alone in the room. I turned slowly to see my former warden sitting at a desk. My new master stood in front of the desk, before a simple chair that I don’t think he ever occupied. Both had their eyes trained on me. Uncomfortable with the attention, I nervously tugged at the hem of my shift which did not even reach my knees. I still couldn’t meet the gaze of my owner so I chose to focus on the more familiar, less attractive man in the room.
“She seems to be missing something,” the blond practically purred.
My eyes snapped to his. He was smirking. My brows furrowed in frustration. He thought my baldness was funny! I bit my tongue to keep from commenting on his remark. I wanted to postpone any beatings I might receive for as long as possible.
The fat man turned his attention back to some papers on his desk.
“It’s not unbecoming,” the other man interrupted, keeping his eyes on mine to gage my reaction.
My expression didn’t change. Flattery or not, I did not want to talk about my new hairstyle. The crew cut and the shift left me feeling almost as naked as I had been in the cage. But only almost.
“What is your name,” the gentleman inquired.
I considered him for a moment. Why the hell did it matter what my name was? If he didn’t like it he would just rename me. He might as well just name me himself. I didn’t answer.
This seemed to annoy him. His brow furrowed and his eyes took on a more severe look.
“Speak,” he ordered, his voice more forceful than before.
I hesitated before deciding that it was in my best interest to comply.
“Roxanne,” I said quietly.
The gentleman’s expression became more relaxed. He nodded, content with my answer. He then turned back to my former warden, his right hand extended towards the man.
“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you,” he said as they shook hands.
“The pleasure’s all mine,” the chubby sorcerer beamed at the taller gentleman.
With that, the tall blonde strode over to me, grasped my arm tightly and half-dragged me from the room. Judging by his grip on my arm, I decided that my choices were to either keep up with his pace or be dragged like a toy wagon. I opted for the first choice to maintain some miniscule amount of dignity.
The entire building was so dimly lit that I couldn’t tell one room from the next. Several narrow hallways and tiny rooms later, we reached a door to the outside world. I had prepared myself for some impoverished, urban setting where human trafficking was common and no one noticed finely clothed men leaving with young girls. I did not expect to walk outside and find myself in a business park in front of a small office building. It was night time and yet the business park looked as though it were the middle of the workday. People were entering and exiting buildings. There were cars parked everywhere. My stomach churned.
A limousine was parked directly in front of us. My master half-assisted, half-shoved me into the vehicle, then followed me. As he took his seat at the back of the limousine, I shuffled to sit nearest the window separating us from the driver. The vehicle had begun to move. I was in an enclosed space with a man who had purchased me for reasons I imagined to be less than wholesome. I’d be damned it I willingly let him near me. He smiled at me as though he was oblivious to my uneasiness.
“Hello, Roxanne,” he said simply.
In response, I eyed him warily. He seemed unaffected by this as well.
“My name is Leonardo but you will call me master.”
At that, I looked out the window. I could barely make out the forms of the trees as they passed in and out of my line of sight. Where the hell am I?
“Don’t you think you ought to greet your master, Roxanne?” The stern voice was back.
My focus abruptly shifted back to him. I bowed my head slightly.
“Forgive me. Greetings, master.”
“Hmm” was his response. He studied me for a few moments before he elaborated. “You seem rather submissive.”
Now I glared at him.
“Is that an invitation to vent my frustration, master?”
“Not at all,” he conceded. He reached to the floor of the vehicle to retrieve a small basket that rested there. “I’ll have you know, Roxanne, that I value obedience from my slaves as well as honesty and loyalty.” He paused. “Would you like to know what is in this basket?”
I instantly wished to know what was in the basket. I’m a terribly curious person. If I were a cat, I would have been dead a hundred times over. I nodded. He opened one of the wicker flaps to look at the contents of the basket.
The order was gentle, persuasive. But I hesitated. What if that basket contained some bizarre and painful sex toy? What if it was a weapon?
For once, apprehension won over curiosity. I made no movement toward him. Instead, I chose to look out the window again. We were on a highway.
“I won’t harm you, Roxanne. I just want to give you something.”
I shifted in my seat. I was still suspicious but he seemed sincere. I glanced at him. He was studying me. His look made me even more uncomfortable. I looked out the window again.
“I promise you’ll like it.”
My eyes were fastened to the road as it passed beneath us. I would like it? Why was he trying to entice me? I thought to myself that perhaps he would be a benevolent master.
I looked back at him. The smirk had returned. I slowly made my way across the limousine. I stopped just in front of him, unsure of whether he would allow me to sit next to him or make me sit at his feet. He patted the space next to him and I took that as an invitation to join him on the upholstered leather. I tried to put some space between us but he leaned into me. He seemed amused by my timidity, smiling as he leaned closer and closer until I could feel the strange coolness of him which I would later learn was characteristic of all vampires. His casual invasion of my personal space made me nervous.
As if in response to this thought, I felt his hand rest high on my thigh. I gasped but, before I could close my mouth, I felt him slide a small, round object between my lips. His finger lingered on my full bottom lip. His smirk widened into a smile.
“Now chew,” he said patronizingly.
I let the orb dance in my mouth before my curiosity drove me to comply. I bit down on the smooth sphere to find that it was a grape. Leonardo’s smile widened. He shifted slightly to move the basket to his lap. After I swallowed, I reached towards the basket only to have him grasp my wrist firmly.
“Please,” he said quietly, “allow me.”
I felt uncomfortable with this request but nodded and withdrew my relinquished hand so that it lay to rest in my lap. Leonardo popped another grape into my mouth.
“You must know that you are dreadfully thin, my dear.”
I nodded while chewing thoughtfully. I was unsure of how to respond to his comment.
“It seems we will have to consummate our little arrangement a little later than I had hoped.”
Consummate? I swallowed with much difficulty. Leonardo tried to press another grape to my lips but I turned my face away from him. He laughed.
“Not to worry, pet. It’ll only hurt for a moment. And after that, I promise you won’t feel a thing.”
I won’t feel a thing? I contemplated that idea. That didn’t seem consistent with what my friends had told me about their first times. I became uncomfortable with both the suggestion and my confusion. Was he really so small that I wouldn’t feel him? Or did he intend to drug me so I would be completely unaware of the incident? For some reason, I figured the latter would be more probable. I suddenly regretted eating those grapes.
I looked back up at him. He was smiling to himself, toying with the grapes in the basket. Then he looked at me. The smile was still in place.
“Are you still hungry?”
With the knowledge of his intentions fresh in my mind, I hardly wanted anymore food from him. I shook my head and tried to put more space between us. For every few inches I was able to put between us, Leonardo scooted just that much closer so that our thighs would touch. My shoulder finally hit the door. I was prepared to get up and move to the other end of the limousine when he put his arm around my shoulders and clutched my upper arm tightly. No more moving. I understood. When he was sure that I wouldn’t move away from him again, he relaxed his grip on my arm and put his arm around my shoulders.
“You need to relax, Roxanne.” His voice was very low and very close to my ear. “You’re a very lucky girl. After all, I promised not to hurt you.”
He moved the basket back to its original spot on the floor and laid my body down so that my head rested between his thighs. He told me to rest but I lay there awake and alert, hoping that he wouldn’t do anything distasteful to me. The word ‘consummate’ ran through my head over and over again. That was how we spent the rest of the ride to his mansion.
~ | ~
The first time I saw the mansion warmly named Hawkwood, I was in awe. It was enormous! I wondered how many slaves he already had to clean the place. I still had no idea where I was. The trip must have been at least an hour long. I chastised myself for not paying more attention to what side of the road we were on during our short journey. I hoped with all of my might that I was still in the United States although I seriously doubted it. With the huge boulders in the lawn of the estate, I knew that I was far away from my southern home.
Leonardo gingerly helped me out of the limousine. With his hand at the small of my back, he gingerly led me through the front door of his fine establishment where, within seconds, I was brutally attacked. During the course of the assault, I lost consciousness.
~ | ~
At the time of my purchase, somewhere far away, a demon dreamed of a woman with golden-brown skin, a mane of curly black hair and heavy, gravid belly. Her hair and her sundress are teased by a balmy breeze. She stands in the shadow of a huge oak tree watching two small children, a boy and a girl, with complexions slightly lighter than hers and hair just as wild. He feels as though he is intruding until the woman turns her attention to him, a bright smile lighting her face. Her hands rise to rest on her belly as she smiles a smile that he says was too rare when he had first met her. At least, that’s what he tells me.
I hope y'all liked that first chapter. Tell me what you liked and what you didn't. I love feedback. Please, please, please review!