It's Wednesday again! *cheers* Time for another installment of Orphic Revelations with my fav flash fiction group. This week I had various photo prompts, as well as several written to choose from, as always. I choose a photo prompt. Enjoy!
Orphic Revelations Part 2
I'd huddled next to a refuse heap. The smell hadn't detracted from the first sunset I'd seen free from the hell of my uncle's compound. The pink and purple clouds had been broken by a single bird wheeling across the immensity. The stench was so strong in the cool fall air of tavern leavings and stale beer I’d been sure I'd go undiscovered.
I'd been wrong.
Strong hands grabbed me. "Did you really think you'd escape me?"
I was yanked to my feet. I gasped when my heels struck the cobbles. I tried to jerk away and the wemic snarled, his breath hot across my face as he lifted me into the air
His furious yellow eyes stared deep into mine. "You will stop before you damage yourself further."
My heart thudded so loud I was sure he could hear it. His pupils expanded as he came within an inch of my face and inhaled. "You're bleeding." The setting sun shined on his white fangs when he spoke.
I'd gone without food or water since the dawn of the previous day. I'd expected death for so long, wished for it many times, but now that it was coming …
"Breathe." The wemic shook me.
I decided my heart was going to explode as the darkness overtook me.
I was freezing. Moaning, I tried to open my eyes. What had happened? Had I been punished again?
Burning hands lifted me. My stomach heaved. Moaning, my head lolled forward against something firm. Blinking, I tried to force my eyes to focus. Golden blurs were all I could see as I was lowered into a blazing heat until my vision cleared.
"What ...?" Water lapped around my naked hips and then around my nipples. My ass hit the bottom as the water swirled around my shoulders. I looked up and gasped. The wemic!
"You can't cook me!"
He frowned. "Why would I cook you? Silly cub."
I tried to get up when he let me go. He growled and pushed me back down into the tub with one hand.
"Stay in the water. You're chilled and need to burn off the dysantha." The wemic turned his paws silent on the stones. Dysantha explained why I felt so weak. My little sister had a lung infection and my mother had given her dysantha. The syrup made from the orange flowers made her sleep for days. How long had I been out?
"You're not going to eat me, wemic?" My eyes widened at my stupidity. Questioning a master? I braced for my reprimand.
"My name is Tek Joordunu, not wemic. I do not eat humans, no matter what rumors your kind believes. I would've thought a son of Imvar Youk would know better, even if you are a slave."
A gasping shudder shook my thin body and tears ran down my face. It didn't matter what else the wemic might do to me, that one act broke me. My former master, my own uncle, had forbidden his name from being spoken.
It'd allowed me to distance from my failure to save my family's honor. I should've died when our family was shamed by defeat. If his name couldn't be spoken, my father's shade couldn't see my shame.
My tears dripped into the water, creating holes in the shaky ripples.
A snarl broke the silence. "What's wrong with you now? Mewling like a newborn!" A scratchy cloth scrubbed at my face but the expected blow didn't come.
His rough touch pushed my head under the water; I didn't fight. Nails scored my scalp as his hands scrubbed it. I gasped as I surfaced.
I knew I'd fail his command at the first punishment, but I wouldn’t invite one. I bowed my head. "Yes, master."
A vicious snarl made me press my back hard against the wood rim of the tub. I tried to stand but couldn't. Water splashed over the edge.
"I'm sorry, master. I'm sorry," I babbled.
He roared, "Don't speak!"
My mouth slammed shut. He pulled me out of the tub, crossed the room, and dumped me on a soft surface.
"Get under the blanket." When I stared at him dumbly he yanked the covering from under me, then wrapped it around my shoulders. "Stay."
My fingers squeezed the thick mat under me. Surely it couldn't be my sleeping place. But my master had put me in this spot and told me not to move. The conflict consumed me.
A bowl was shoved at my face. "Eat."
The smell of meaty broth filled my nostrils. It'd been so long since I'd tasted meat. My hands trembled as I pushed myself up, expecting the bowl to be yanked away. The wemic watched closely until I took my first sip.
My stomach cramped at the rich liquid. I moaned and took long, greedy drinks anyway. A small trickle escaped me and one hand came up quickly to wipe it. I sucked my finger, refusing to lose a single drop.
A sharp huff startled me. I hunched over the bowl, protecting my meal. I stared into his fierce yellow eyes, then dropped my gaze with a gasp. I drained the bowl before he could take it or I could drop during my beating.
I cowered when the wemic took it. "Sleep."
I sank down in the bed, unwilling to draw his ire by disobeying. My bid for freedom failed and I kept forgetting my training. I was as useless as I’d been taught. Despair filled me.
I was almost asleep when a golden shimmer filled the room. I gasped. Twin roars echoed in my ears. A lion jumped across the room to stand over me. A giant head with a mouth full of teeth framed by a huge ruff of dark yellow and brown hair filled my vision.
Then his rough tongue licked up the center of my chest.
A man pushed him back. The wemic, standing on two legs, was that man.
*rubs hands* The plot thickens. Is he evil, biding his time? Why did Tek buy a slave? How did he know Imvar? And the biggest question of all ... what the hell is he? Don't forget to check out my fellow Wednesday Briefers!