Slavery, 101

Daniel sat in the middle of the slaves’ room—his room, now, it was only his room—and wondered why it was so fucking big.

It had nothing in it anymore; Hugh, Simon and Marcus’s stuff was all gone, so it was just Daniel’s stupid clothes scattered around. They’d been piled in one corner, but he’d unpiled them to make the room look fuller. The games and books, pillows and blankets too, he’d strewn them around the room like they always were, even though he had nobody to play games with and he didn’t need that many pillows and blankets. He could sleep just fine on the floor.

He was being fucking stupid and he knew it. He hardly slept in this stupid room anyway, he shared Theodore’s bed most nights. Marcus hadn’t even fucking moved out. Benedict had given him a bedroom just upstairs, because people got bedrooms and Marcus was a person now.

Slavery, 89

“Now, I once again implore you to be aware of the risks…”

Daniel nodded, putting his purchase in his bag. “I know, sir. I remember them. Thank you.”

Tiberius the wizard was pompous, which Daniel thought was a mark of quality in wizards. He shook his head, sighing deeply. “I’d scarcely be able to live with myself if you got hurt, you see.”

“I won’t get hurt,” Daniel promised. “I remember the instructions and if I observe those symptoms, I’ll stop wearing it and come back, I promise.”

“Very well.” Tiberius sighed again. “Thank you for your patronage. It was a most interesting project.” Behind him, his apprentices nodded as well.

Slavery, 79

“So tell me, how was your vacation?”

“You already asked me that,” Daniel said, sitting on the kitchen counter next to Benedict while he put Theodore’s lunch together. He hadn’t cooked it—he didn’t need to, there were already way too many cooks for the number of people in the house—but he was arranging it on the tray in a fussy way.

“I did,” agreed Benedict. “When the other boys were present.”

Daniel smiled. “I don’t mean to be rude.”

“But you’re about to do so, no doubt,” Benedict said, arranging some sandwiches. There were like ten of them for some reason, the stupid tiny ones. There was way too much on that tray for Theodore.

Others, 21

Trevor was kind of horny.

He was fine, like he wasn’t going to interrupt the conversation they were all having about cows and horses and what the actual difference was between them, which was pretty important. It would be kind of rude to just go over and stick his cock in Simon’s mouth, even if the boy rules said he was allowed to do that.

He scratched his balls a little bit, trying to decide if he wanted to jerk off or something. Not right now, but maybe in a little while. Then maybe some food or something? How long was it until supper?

Maybe he was just bored. Maybe he should suggest they play a game of stones or something. Daniel wasn’t here, which meant that he had a fighting chance at winning. He still felt bad interrupting the conversation, but he could always suggest they play while they talk.

Or maybe he didn’t want to play stones. Trevor didn’t really know. It was hard to know what he wanted. He didn’t really want…anything. And he didn’t think he had in a long time. He just had everything here. A place to sleep, food, friends. He didn’t need anything. He didn’t have to work for anything. He didn’t have to do anything. He’d earned it all for himself years ago, when Theodore had found his ass captivating.

Slavery, 69

“So if you play this card…” Simon frowned down at the stuff in front of him. “Maybe if you play this card it lets you change someone else’s stone to your own?”

“If you make that a rule,” Marcus warned, leaning against the wall, “it’s going to be the rule Daniel uses to ruin all our lives, all the time.”

Simon giggled a little. “Maybe, but I’m sure we can stop him doing that. We shouldn’t have too many of them. Maybe only two.”

Simon had decided that since Daniel was terrible at cards and since everyone else was terrible at stones—he’d put it more nicely than that—he’d make up a different kind of game that had cards and stones in it, which seemed to Daniel like it just meant that everyone would be bad at it except Simon. He’d been at it for a few hours now, trying to figure out what the rules would be.

Slavery, 68

“So I’ve been thinking,” Ozzy said, as he helped Daniel walk. Daniel did not need help walking, but he’d accepted it because it was the only way he was allowed to leave the bedroom. His cut was healed over enough that he could walk without opening it, as long as he was careful.

“I hear they make antidotes for that,” said Daniel, just because Ozzy had handed it to him.

Ozzy pouted, holding Daniel’s hand tighter. “Now I’m not going to tell you what I’ve been thinking.”

“Yes, you are,” Daniel said, leaning on him a little on purpose.

“Nope. You’re just going to have to live without the knowledge.”

Slavery, 65

The pantry was bigger than the slaves’ room, and Daniel wasn’t sure what to make of that. Theodore didn’t have that many servants, and even with the eight slaves, himself and Benedict, the house guards, there was no way he needed this much food.

But then, having way too much stuff that he’d never need was kind of Theodore’s whole thing, Daniel figured.

And yet, for all of that, there didn’t seem to be any cookies or cakes or anything in here. Daniel wasn’t a big fan of sweets or cakes, but he’d assumed that if he snuck down here to get some he’d find something.

But no, just a bunch of regular food, and ingredients to make other regular food, which was all well and good but not what he was looking for at the moment, and…

“Oh, fuck,” Daniel said, reaching out to catch the bottle he’d knocked over as he searched by candlelight. He caught it, but it had something slippery on it and it slid out of his hand, crashing to the floor and shattering into a million pieces, spraying viscous liquid everywhere. Cooking oil or something, Daniel thought. “Fuck.”

Others, 3

The house always felt empty when Theodore wasn’t in it.

It wasn’t, of course. Theodore was only one person, and in order to keep the house running he employed a full compliment of staff, including a recently expanded security compliment. Between cooks, cleaners, guards, gardeners, drivers, and Benedict himself, the house had more than fifty people living in it. And, of course, there were the slaves.

Six of them at the moment, but the ghosts of all the others were still in the house. Not because they’d died here, with the exception of Denny, but because they’d all left a mark on the house, a part of themselves behind. Their memories haunted the house.

Or perhaps they simply haunted Benedict.