Previous - this entry written on April 22, 2004 at 11:46 am - Next
Two weeks passed, each day dragging, an increasingly-withdrawn Radu avoiding Kadin as much as he could. After the beating that left him out cold he no longer met his keeper's eyes, keeping his head bowed and his voice, when he spoke at all, pitched just past a whisper. He kept himself to the near-empty room whenever Kadin was home, although a playlist accidentally left on WinAmp one day proved that while the other slave was at work, he spent time on the computer. There were no other records of his activity; at some point in his life he must have learned how to work such machines with some skill.
Two weeks of sullen, even wary, behavior... and then Kadin returned to find his unwelcome guest trembling in his cage, a blanket that hadn't been in the house that morning wrapped around his shivering form, and a wealth of bruises that also hadn't been there a few hours ago impossible to miss on the older boy's few exposed limbs. The cage door was locked, a silver ring with several new keys hooked precariously on one corner.
The second cage as well held a surprise, wax-sealed parchment resting atop a well-polished silver chain, a delicate-seeming lock open and dangling from one end of the links. The lock itself appeared to be more jewelry than clasp, several small gems set along the lower edge, intricate patterns of white gold wire covering the remainder. From size alone Kadin could tell that none of the keys provided would open it once it was closed.
After a gruff question aimed at the caged slave received no response the boy opened the letter, unsurprised to see familiar handwriting.
"He has been measured, tested, and again found wanting... take care that the same judgement doesn't fall on you, Kadin. You are at present his keeper. You are also my slave, a scrap of flesh and blood and bone only as valuable as your actions prove you. Keep your temper at bay - like you, he is mine to punish."
No signature, none really needed. No other instructions. After looking both letter and chain collar over Kadin turned his attention once more to the shuddering form locked behind steel bars. For the first time in two weeks Radu met his gaze purposefully, seeming more alive somehow, twin black eyes and dozens of tiny scratches failing to stifle the intensity of his words.
"She hasn't... hasn't forgotten me."
His hand raised, fingers brushing lightly against the length of silver wrapping his own throat, obviously taking comfort in its presence. With that glimpse as added assurance Kadin reached for the second chain, certain now that it was to grace his throat rather than Radu's. It was the work of a moment to snap the lock closed, another few seconds to strip away the collar he'd originally buckled in place as he entered the house...
...and five minutes later he was unconscious, the searing pain radiating outward from his throat yet another impossibility.
. . . . .
...on a side note, I've been re-reading through logfiles for a good two hours, trying to find something. I didn't find what I was looking for... but I'm smiling now, pleased, happy, reassured, content.
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