Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Page 11 of my novel Afterglow Fire

   The loud laughter made her shiver in her dreams. She recognized the man with the horns that had plagued her since childhood. He was not here, even though she feared he was. Conner stood above her with a sword in his hand, looking very menacing, completely different from her impression of him.
  There were no deeper dreams, no contact with herself. The collar did that, did that, too.
  She woke up coated in cold sweat. A woman stood in the doorway, obviously cautious.
  – Fair morning Tippy, the woman greeted her. – This woman’s name is Cherry Ganfar. She will be your guide on the premises.
  Janet sat up and rubbed her aching head.
  – Tippy?
  – We assign a name to those not presenting themselves at arrival, assuming they do not want to give away their identity.
  Janet reached for her clothes.
  – You may not dress, Cherry stated. – You may bring whatever valuables you carry.
  Afterglow wanted to comment on Cherry’s excessive clothing, but relented and followed her down the hallway to the room at its end. Cherry stepped inside and Janet followed her. Cherry closed the door.
  – You may move for me, now, the woman bade her.
  She had a quiet authority rubbing off Afterglow in all the wrong ways.
  Janet hesitated just long enough for the other to notice.
  – Tippy knows Conner’s reputation, Cherry stated. – She would not have put herself in his power if she did not trust him and his people to not subdue and enslave her.
  Janet began moving, presenting herself to the other woman like the pleasure dome trained Dancer she was. She did not hold herself back, but attacked the other with her wiles, not merely presenting her talent. It did affect Cherry, causing a layer of sweat to form on her brow.
  – Tippy may stop, now.
  Janet did. Cherry had clearly learned to resist pleasure dome displays. She remained cool and collected. A hand reached out and grabbed Janet’s jaw, appraising her further. Janet did not resist.
  – Tippy may have an excellent future as a Dancer, if she so chooses. She has not fled from a contract, has she?
  – She has not! Afterglow said firmly.
  – Illicit performance would still be illegal according to Arcadian law, of course, Cherry remarked.


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