Underneath the blanket, the girl was mother naked. She shivered lightly, but whether it was fear or excitement she couldn’t tell. She watched her new master as he walked around the room. He too was naked and the firelight placed on the flat planes of his stomach and the corded muscles in his arms and legs. She swallowed nervously and closed her eyes, peeping through the forest of her eyelashes as he turned and come towards her.
“Do you feign sleep?” his deep rather lazy voice mocked her.
“I feign nothing. I just don’t want to see…”
“See your… Your.”
He laughed, but this time the laughter wasn’t mocking.
“Have you never seen a naked man before?”
“Well open your eyes and look.”
She shook her head and screwed her eyes tighter shut.
He put one big hand under her chin.
“Look at me,” he commanded.
She opened her eyes and found herself looking into a pair of bright amber orbs. They were amused, but also seemed to her to be understanding of her predicament.
He took his hand from under her chin.
“How old are you?” he asked abruptly.
She sat up, clutching the rough blanket to her small breasts.
“I don’t exactly know.”
“Well roughly then.”
She lifted a slender shoulder. “About seventeen,” she hazarded.
“And how close is that likely to be?”
“I’m a slave lord. Nobody takes any notice of what age a slave might be. I started to bleed two summers ago, and they thought about selling my virginity. But then Madam said not. Said to keep me untouched until somebody with money came along.”
He looked into her eyes, and whatever he saw seemed to satisfy him.
“Drop the blanket then.”
The girl obeyed and her master’s eyes roamed her smooth pale skin.
“Very pretty,” he said and reached out a hand to caress her throat.
She swallowed and his smile became feral. He bent his head and nipped the tender skin beneath her ear. She drew in a shaky breath and his mouth roamed lower.
Some considerable while later, the girl stirred in her master’s arms. She stretched like a cat and made a small sound in the back of her throat.
“Master,” she said quietly.
He grunted encouragingly.
“Master, what is Eden?”
He sat up and grasped her shoulders.
“What do you know about Eden?”
His hands were biting into her flesh and she flinched, but he did not loosen his grip.
“Eden,” he demanded harshly.
“They brought me here. Madam and the sergeant of your guard. And I heard them. He laughed and touched my face. It’s a waste, he said, she’s a pretty little thing, and he’s destined for Eden.”
He let go of her shoulders and laughed.
“Oh. That’s what he thinks is it? We shall see.”
He rolled over and pinned the not unwilling girl under his heavy body.
After another interval, he lay on his back, with the girl draped across his body. He ran a hand down her spine.
“Will you help me?”
She lifted her face and smiled down at him.
“If I can.”
“Oh. You can. But you will need to be brave.”
“I think I can be brave. What do you need?”
“I need the sergeant in here.”
“Will he come if I start screaming?”
“He will. But then…”
“But then what?”
“Then I have to kill him.”
She lifted a shoulder.
“And there is a bit more to it. I will need to paint some symbols on your body with his blood. And make love to you whilst you are painted.”
She shrugged and showed him her small, white teeth.
And then she started screaming.
The door burst open and the sergeant rushed in with his sword drawn. The girl stood up, giving him a view of her white nakedness. Her master kicked the door shut and his knife took the sergeant beneath his chin cutting the arteries in his throat. The girl dropped a heavy bar into slots in the door and turned to watch the soldier with bright pitiless eyes.
“Does Death not worry you, little one?”
“I’m a slave. I’ve seen death all my life. How should it worry me?”
The man dipped his finger in the pulsing red blood and began to paint the girl’s naked body with oddly disturbing symbols.
When he had finished he tumbled her to the mattress and took her roughly. At the moment when her eyes became blind in her own ecstasy he slipped his long, thin knife between her ribs.
“Eden” he cried in a great voice, and when the girl’s spirit left her body he saw for an instant a white and golden angel who took that spirit in his corded arms and ascended into the light.
The master dressed himself meditatively and slipped out of the window into the ever thickening darkness of the night.
© jane jago 2017