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Sian's Story part 13 - Emptiness is an Emotion


jfraser

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What happened next was completely my fault. I should have known he would be in a bad mood because he always was when he met with one of the commanders. I waited until he had had a few drinks - my second mistake - before I told him. He went apoplectic and gave me the worst beating I have ever had. I tried to cower, but he yanked on my chain to drag me up to meet his fists over and over. I spent the night huddled in my own blood and had difficulty even standing the next morning. But I had to stand, of course. My master needed his breakfast. It was my own fault that I had been beat. He didn't say a word as he ate and I limped through the task of tearing down our camp. Once I was done and had the pack balanced on my shoulders - the cuts and bruises screamed with every jostle, but I said nothing and showed no signs of pain - we moved out.

 

I redoubled my efforts to please him in the following weeks, but the pregnancy added a strain that made everything I did turn into a flare of anger from him. He beat me nearly every night, and started to take me at random times, before I could prepare. The pain of those days is some of the worst I have ever gone through. I was certain I would die from the constant beating, but I knew it was his right, and it was all my fault, so I accepted my fate.

 

Finally, one day, the beatings stopped. He sat by the remains of the fire one morning after I had finished packing the camp. He had not eaten his breakfast, which made me nervous. Something about it hadn't pleased him. I lowered myself to my knees in front of him, prepared for my beating. I had done something else wrong. He surprised me - instead of hitting me, he spoke to me, for the first time since the first day of my enslavement.

 

"We will go to Riften when the baby's time comes. Once it is born it will go to the orphanage. I will send money there every month to make sure it is well taken care of. I do not have time to raise a child, but as it is mine, my honor holds me to provide for it."

 

I had never felt so happy in my life. I would be allowed to bear his child! I wept and thanked him, and only a moment later flinched because I had spoken. But he did not beat me for it. He just rose and, to my wonder, picked up the pack and shouldered it himself. He forestalled my attempt to take the pack with a curt wave of a fist. I stood still to allow it to connect, but he stopped before it reached me. Instead, he shrugged the pack more comfortably on his shoulders and started walking. After a moment's hesitation, I followed, feeling lighter than I had since I couldn't remember.

 

And that was the moment, when the life I had lived for all of twelve-ish months (but the only life I could clearly remember) was at its highest, happiest peak, that all hell broke loose in the form of a giant, fire-breathing, winged lizard that descended on us from out the blue. My master, encumbered as he was by the bulky pack, had difficulty moving, and the dragon's first fire blast caught him full force. He screamed in pain, and I screamed in anguish as I rushed toward him. My scream seemed to affect the dragon somehow - it heaved back as if pushed, and its head swiveled sharply toward me. With a cry I almost seemed to recognize, it shoved itself back into the air.

 

I rushed to my master and laid my hands on the burst skin of his face.

 

"Ow," he said. Then he fumbled at his belt, took out his keys with shaking hands, and handed them to me. "Run," he commanded. "Save my child."

 

"Maaaassstterrrr!" I screamed, but he pushed me away with his last strength and his eyes glazed over. I heard a rushing sound above, and a shadow briefly blotted out the sun - the dragon was returning. With shaking hands I fumbled at the locks, but I could not get the key in any of the holes. Finally, as the dragon descended once more, I just picked up the now-slack end of my chain and ran into a nearby copse of trees. I felt the heat of the dragon's breath as it followed me, watched the foliage around me wither into ash. I ducked and weaved through thick, thorny underbrush, ignoring the scratches on my bare legs. The sound of the dragon had lessened, but I kept running until everything around me was quiet. Then I collapsed in a heap and just panted for what felt like days.

 

I shook and wept with emotions so mixed they would have made a nice omelet. Well, maybe not a nice one. An omelet of despair. And hope. And loss. But joy in the loss, except I didn't feel joy.

 

How was that possible? I didn't love my master, I loathed him. Didn't I? Shouldn't I? I didn't know, and the blood flowing from my groin wasn't helping any...

 

The bright red gush cleared my head of all thought. I just watched in horrid fascination, legs akimbo, as blood pooled in the grass. Meandering rivulets found paths and snaked away like tiny rivers of bright lava. Moments later I felt painful contractions well up in my gut, and I screamed as my diaphragm pushed down, hard. A slimy lump flowed out of me like a surfer riding a red wave and plopped onto the ground. A length of cording clung to it, keeping it connected to me. I felt tears stream down my face and somehow mustered the strength to gather my baby to my chest. I held him and kissed him and whispered his name.

 

My little Oron.

 

Don't feed the bastards - they'll just want more

Edited by jfraser

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