Orion’s Embrace – Part Three
Slowly, I feel my eyes opening and the pain settling in again. I’d been through enough ‘ceremonies’ to know that the pain of the branding isn’t one that’s easy to heal. Especially not if the person isn’t allowed to see a doctor. I would not be granted that luxury. I would instead have to face the genuine possibility that it would scar so badly that no one would want to look at me. Vanity had never really been an issue for me, but I’d never had my flesh marred with a hot poker either.
Trying to regain my bearings, I tilt my head first to the left and then to the right as my eyes try to adjust to the darkness. I’m in a cell of some kind, one that looks like it’s honestly seen better days. Seeing as I was deep within the bowels of a ship, I knew that the little bit of light I was seeing came from the artificial light that hung from the wall at an odd angle. It cast just enough light for me to see the rust that covered the right side of the lock on the cell door.
For people who expected to keep slaves, they didn’t take excellent care of their ships. Anyone could see that it wouldn’t take very long for someone with enough force to escape. Only now was not the time. I needed time to plan and think. I wasn’t going to act before I genuinely had a chance to evaluate the situation at hand. Shifting slightly in the cell, hoping to relieve some of the pain that sitting in this spot caused, I move to the other side. It’s a small cell with little room for adjustment and moving.
Before I could focus on the task at hand, I heard the sound of footsteps coming my way. I have no idea how long I’d been asleep, but I was assuming it was more than enough time to get off the ground and leave Caesar Seven behind. Don’t ask me how I know this; let’s call it a gut feeling. One that had me shaking and trying to hold in my fear. From the earlier episode of standing up to my brother, people assumed I was some brave young woman. They are wrong. I was terrified. No one knew things like I did, not that it matters. When Nathaniel wanted to get something done, he wouldn’t stop and wait for the rest of us to join forces. He just acted, and we had to catch up or be left out.
I kept my head down, acting like I was still asleep. There were benefits to doing something like this. It gave me a chance to listen and not be paid attention too. I always prided myself on not being a stupid person. No, I wasn’t super intelligent. I didn’t know every little thing, but I had enough common sense to understand that if you want to learn something you don’t start by being a smart mouth. I wanted them to ignore me, to think I was nothing more than some docile little creature that was still passed out cold from the pain.
What they didn’t know couldn’t hurt right? Boots thudded against the metal railings as they moved ever closer. From the noise they were making it sounded like two people. Four boots slamming against metal and skidding to a stop. With my eyes closed I was trying to slow my breathing, to let it act like I was asleep, but if they were paying attention, they would catch on that I wasn’t sleeping. At least not now. The pain had a lovely way of making sure that someone was awake for what was going on around them. Oh yes, it was such a beautiful little parting gift from my brother.
“Aww look, the little slave is still asleep. Won’t be for long. We should wake her up. The boss wants a chance to thank her for the show she adequately put on.” I hear one of them say as they move closer to the cage door. Maybe they were stupid enough to understand that something was going on. Even now it was hard for me not to panic. I had hoped that I was able to escape on my home planet and away from my brother before it turned into this situation. There was no chance to escape. Now I was stuck in a cell while I waited for Mathias to figure out what he wanted to do with me.
I had an idea what was going through the fat man’s mind, and I couldn’t fight the shudder that ran through me. I was not someone’s plaything, and that was exactly what was going to happen. My brother knew this, and he still let them take me. I was now relegated to the status of a slave. My body and my mind were to belong to whatever master wanted. I could only hope that Matthias was tired of dealing with my rude tone already.
“I don’t care if she’s awake or not, orders are orders. Drag her out by her hair if you have too, but she’s to be taken to the harem. They will know what to do with her when she gets there. If she gives you any trouble, apply a little pressure to the wound. Pain does beautiful things for controlling the slaves.” I heard the other one say.
My eyes snap open, looking at them as if I was waking up from a nightmare. In a way, I was waking in a living nightmare. Time was the only constant and fear my only companion. They were the two things that I could count on, especially now when I was sure that I couldn’t rely on myself. That was the problem with fear. It took hold of you, gripped you so tight that to fight free was a challenge.
Gazing right at me were the two guards who had dragged me from the room earlier. These were two men I knew my entire life. Two people that spent time with my brother. Now they were staring at me as if I was the worst piece of filth they had ever encountered. To say it hurt was an understatement. Betrayal always was the bitterest pill to swallow. “Hello Zeke, Isaiah. Can’t say I’m happy to see you again.”
“Well lookie here. If it isn’t little Adelaide all grown up. Finally, realize that you were where you belonged? Not sure how you managed to avoid Mathias’ clutches all these years, and honestly, we don’t care. We’re just here to do a job. If you make it hard for us, you will pay. Understand? “ Zeke hissed coldheartedly. It made me wonder what happened to him over the years. The child I remembered playing with was always so happy and bright, still used to get into trouble, but he would laugh it off afterward. This Zeke, was a different person.