Willow Chapter 3  Meeting

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It was so warm and cozy, Page was not sure she wanted to wake up yet.  But the odd beeping noises kept intruding into her pleasant buzz.

She tried to turn away from the sound but was unable to roll over.  Her arms were restrained, the left one over her head and the right one down by her side.  She groaned and opened her eyes, expecting to see the sculpted ceiling of the Rose House bedroom.  Instead she was confused to see rough bars above her head.

She turned her head to assess her surroundings further but that set off what felt like a battering ram in her head and neck.  The sudden pain made her eyes slam shut and her stomach lurch.  She held very still until the barbarian horde with the battering ram retread and her stomach settled.  With much more caution she opened her eyes again, moving slowly in an effort to keep the barbarians and battering ram at bay.

She looked down and saw she was covered by a strange blanket that seemed to be filled with air.  It was the source of the warm feeling she had enjoyed a few moments ago.  She could also see an intravenous tube coming out from under the blanket near her right arm.  ‘She must have an…  What is going on?’

“Are you awake?” The voice, a man’s voice, came from down hear her feet.  She slowly lifted her head to see but also alerted the barbarians to renew their assault behind her eyes.  She again squeezed her eyes closed and tried to keep from vomiting.

“Hello?  Are you awake?”  the voice said again, much nearer this time,  “Can you hear me?  Do you know your name?”

“P…Page.”

“Good.  We know that much from your collar but not much else.  Glad you got that right.  You were picked up at the auction house after the explosion.  I don’t know what you were doing there; you do not look like their class of product.  ”

“Am I…am I ok?”

“Yes, I think so.  You were brought in with your friend unconscious.  We think you hit your head pretty hard and breathed some smoke too.  You were showing signs of shock so we gave you some fluids, got you warmed up and put the monitor on you in case you took a turn.  Are you hurting anywhere?”

“Head…hurts…hurts behind my eyes.”

“Yea, that’s the bump on the head.  Lay still for a while and the doc will check back with you.  I need to check on your friend.”

‘Lord Blackmon?  Here?  Hurt?’  The thoughts raced through her and she jerked in her bonds.  But that just produced another wave of nausea.

“Hey now, be cool.  I will be back in a minute.  Don’t worry.”

Page calmed herself.  She was afraid to open her mouth again to speak; sure that what would come out would have nothing to do with communication.

Page had learned much about self-control and discipline in the years she had been a slave.  Pain was a familiar companion, though one she had not greeted in a while.  There had been times that the pain had blazed too hot to endure, but to move only made the pain worse.  She had learned, no she had been trained, to endure much worse than this pain blasting behind her eyes.

Page began to level out her breathing.  Once she had her breathing in a smooth and slow rhythm she began to relax her muscles.  She did not try all of them at once, but worked very carefully from one area to another.  She began with her face, relaxing her forehead and the muscles around her eyes.  This seemed to push the battering ram barbarians back some.

She continued working outward from there.  She relaxed the tension in her face, then neck, then jaw, allowing the sensation to slowly spread downward.  She found the process quite easy even though she had not needed it in some time.  She followed the process down her arms and legs, even relaxing the tension in her hands and feet.  It was a great feeling, an empowering feeling to be in control of her body, even if it was chained down to a strange bed.  A small smile crept to the corners of her mouth as another thought came to mind.  ‘This sure is easier to do when the process was not interrupted by the stroke of a cane across my ass or breast.’

She continued the process, sending wave after wave of calm thoughts through her body until she felt like she was able to rest quietly again.

Page’s concentration was broken by the warming blanket being pulled down to her waist.  She was still afraid of opening her eyes, so she stayed very still with her eyes closed.

The voice from earlier was back, except it now was close to her ear and no longer had the caregiver tone to it.  Now the voice carried menace and lust.

“You are not a Judicial like those in the other room.  Wow.  We do not get many like you in here.”  She could feel his hand moving across her stomach and up to her left breast.  There the hand lingered, moving back and forth across her nipple and sometimes squeezing gently.

“How much would you be worth?  No fake tits on you and such soft skin.”  He switched breasts and tugged on her nipple.  He seemed to be mesmerized by how they moved.  “I bet someone paid a lot for you.  If no one claims you, I can take you to Oakland and sell you for a pile of money.  Or keep you.  Or…”

His next thoughts were interrupted by the phone ringing in the other room.  He pulled the warming blanket back up to cover Page, and then hurried out of the room.

After a moment a small voice from her right said, “Hey, are you ok?  Hello?  Did he hurt you?”

Page turned her head very slowly to the right.  She was glad the barbarians did not counterattack when she did.  She slowly opened her eyes, looking for the source of the voice.  She thought it would be another attendant.  Instead she saw the voice was coming from the figure on the bed next to her.  The girl, a slave like her, was chained with both hands over her head.  Her face was hidden by her long black hair and her body was covered by a simple blanket.  Her left leg was in a brace and elevated above the bed with another blanket folded up underneath.

Page wet her lips to make sure they would work, “Hi, I am,… I am a little better.  How are you?”

“The doctor said I wrenched my knee pretty good, I will have trouble walking for a while.  He said there was nothing broken or torn.  That is good I guess.”

“Good.  Ah, do you know what happened?”

The girl grabbed the bar her hands were chained to and tried to pull herself up a little.  The shift must have put some strain on the injured knee because she gave a yelp and quit moving.

“Wow that hurts.  Ah, I heard the driver and the doctor talking a while ago.  The news says it was a bomb outside the building.  A lot of people were hurt.”

“Do you mean at the slave auction?”

“Yea, I guess.  They had just brought me in the door.  When the bomb went,… you know,… I was knocked into you and that guy you were with.  I managed to pull you and him outside before I twisted my knee and fell.  I guess I hit my head when I fell.”

“You pulled us out?  You pulled Lord Blackmon and me out of the fire?”

“Yea, he was on top of you and I had to move him to get to you.  I just got him clear then got you.  I… don’t remember much after that until the van ride here.”

Page was stunned.  This young girl saved her life and the life of her master.  She tried to remember the events; so much was just flashes of images and sensation.

“What is your name?”

“Willow.”

“How long have you been a slave?”

“Just today.  Mom sold me today.  She took me to the auction to sell…sell my virginity…My Mom…my birthday…”  The young girl began to sob from a pain much worse than her injured leg.  This was weeping from the depths of hell.

Page had seen so much in her time as a slave.  Most slaves were created by Judicial Enslavement.  The courts could enslave a woman for almost any crime.  Even issues such as late credit card payments could be used to put a woman up for sale.

However many were created by betrayal.  A sex partner or even a parent, such as Willow’s mother, could arrange the paperwork and enslave a girl for monetary gain or advantage.  Willow’s heartbreak had been echoed many times by many girls.  Whether her value was as a maid, whore, or factory worker, the girls were often sold out, literally, by those they loved or trusted the most.

Page knew all too well.  That was how she had been enslaved.

Willow’s sobbing had been heard by the man Page assumed was the doctor.  He came into the room and entered the cage.  Because Page and Willow were chained down, the cell cage door was left open.

The man leaned over Willow and looked at her eyes with a light.  Page could tell this was a different person than her recent molester.

“Are you feeling sick or dizzy?  I cannot give you anything for the pain; it is against accepted practice unless the pain makes treatment impractical, setting a bone or fixing a dislocated shoulder.  We see a lot of those when slave are suspended or racked.  Can’t really get it back in when the arm is all tense…”

His words just ran out of steam after a moment.  It was like he was talking to himself mostly.  It was like the slaves did not deserve his insights and knowledge.

“Okay, no sign of a concussion, unlike your sister over there,”   The man nodded his head indicating Page in the other bed.

“Just quiet down now.  There are others from the auction that are hurt.  We have some in the other room.  Quite a few slaves were hurt, but the auction house does not want to pay for their care.  They have insurance against loss and can make more money from a claim than trying to sell hurt slaves.  I think, from what I have heard, many were put down after the explosion just so they could be added to the claim.  Sick way to do business…Just a few made it here…just a few…lucky you had a master there with you…”  Again he seemed to just run out of steam.

The man went over and checked Page.  Unlike the other man, this one was very professional. He then hurried out when the door chime rang.

Page looked at Willow and said, “Sisters?”

Willow’s voice came from behind the hair, “Yea, the guy that picked us up, he was the one feeling you up earlier.  I heard him talking to the doctor about an hour ago.  He said I was holding your hand when they found us.  I had been pulling you clear when I fell and hit my head.  I must have held onto your hand even after I was knocked out.  They assumed I was with you and you were with the master they found close by, the guy I pulled out with you.  They think he owns me too.”

Willow’s words brought thoughts of her master crashing back into Page’s thoughts, “Did they say…do you know what happened to him?”

“Not really.  I know the phone rang a while ago and the doctor came in talking on it and saying we were safe and being taken care of.  Someone is looking for you, I know that.”

Page relaxed from the panic that had been building.  If someone was looking for her, it could only be her master.  There was no one else in his life, in her life, any more.

Page dozed off.  She was having a nightmare about the van driver when she was woken by a familiar voice, “Page…Page can you hear me?”

She had learned from the time before and slowly opened her eyes.  They began to focus on a familiar nose and chin.  They were discolored from dirt, dust and dried blood, but they belonged to her master however they were camouflaged.

“My lord!  Are you ok Sir?”

She saw worry drain from his face and a smile begin to appear, in his eyes if not his mouth.  “Page, there you are.  Are you ok?”

“Yes, a headache, nothing more.  How are you?”  Page wanted to reach up and touch the bandage that was above his right eye and across his forehead, but her hands were still chained.

“Yea, a headache too, and some stitches.  Not sure what happened but I had a pretty good cut above my eye.  I sat at the hospital for almost four hours for them to take twenty minutes to stitch me up.  The whole time I was wondering what happened to you and if you were ok and how I was going to find you.”

He stood there stroking Page’s hair, “I am sorry.  I tried to get them to take you with me but the ambulance guy told me it was impossible.  Something about getting sued if a person died while they were treating or transporting a slave.  He also was blathering something about medical insurance not covering a slave! I told him…I told…I would pay!  They told me later there is a special insurance for slaves.  We will see about getting that for you.

“I found this ticket that said two slaves of mine had been taken but I knew that was wrong.  So I was not sure…”

“My lord…we need to talk.  Can we talk?”

“Yes, what…?”

“I mean can we talk without being overheard?

Blackmon looked around.  “Yes, I think so.  The vet guys are in the other room talking to some people from the auction house.”

“Sir, please sir, listen to me.  Have you told anyone you only have one slave here?  Did you tell the auction people or the people here?”

“No, they have been busy.  I showed them the tag they left and they showed me back here.  I wanted to see you as quickly as…”

“My lord, please listen.  They think you have two slaves here…”

“I know.  That is what the tag…”

“Sir, please Sir.  The girl, the slave over there on the next bed, they think she belongs to you.  Please Sir, don’t tell them different.  They will kill her.”

“Page, you know I cannot take someone else’s slave…”

“She saved us. She saved both of us.  She pulled us out of the building.  There was smoke and fire and…”

“Wait, what?  She is the one that got us out?”

“Yes.”

“How, I mean why?”  Blackmon looked over at the girl in the next bed.  They were speaking in such low tones that he did not think she could hear them.  ‘Who was she?  Who owned her?  Why would she save them?  Why do they think he is her master?’

“Master, I can explain later, but right now please understand the auction house is killing many of their slaves.  They can get more from the insurance settlement, claiming they died in the bombing or while escaping, than keeping them alive.  They will claim she was too badly hurt in the bombing and say she died of her injuries.  They will kill her and she saved us.  Please Sir, help her?”

At that moment the doctor, technically he was call a veterinarian because he worked with slaves, came through the door with the van driver and a huge ugly guy in tow.  Blackmon thought the big guy looked familiar, but he was sure he would have remembered an ogre that ugly.

The driver was saying, “…the only other slaves brought here were these two.”

The ogre looked at Page and Willow and then at Blackmon.  “Yea, I remember these two.  He told us…never mind.  They are his.  He has to pay their bill though, not the house.  The others are not to be treated…”  Whatever else he said was lost as he marched out of the room with the vet trailing behind.

Blackmon turned back to Page.  She was pleading with her eyes.  It was a form of communication they were very familiar with considering the many hours Page had spent gagged.

“Let’s see if we can get out of here, and we will straighten this out later.”

Blackmon stood and walked to the door looking for the vet to settle the bill so he could take Page and…he did not even know her name…out of here and get back home to his valley.

“Page?”  Willow’s voice was soft and afraid.

“Quiet now!  My master is trying to get us away from these people.  I want out of here as soon as possible.”

Page thought for a moment and then added,  “It will be ok.  It will be as ok as it can be…as ok as it can be as a slave.”

There was a silence for a heartbeat or two, then a quiet voice simply said,  “Thank you.”