Wolf Slave 7 – Alex Ankarr

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Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 7 – Alex Ankarr

He arrives back to no ceremony either; he has most of his few possessions in two cases, and the rest is to be sent on. No-one has expected him, nor seems glad to see him, and he has no organised plan of work to occupy himself with. Still, he was bought to make himself useful, and being as it’s the middle of a bright afternoon and no feast day or holiday has been granted, he figures that he’d best show willing and find occupation or the seeming of it, whether there’s anything that clearly needs doing or not.

So he hies himself to the main library in the north wing: and finds that, after all, he can probably keep himself busy enough. For it’s clear enough that no re-organisation nor collation has been going on since he left: and indeed if no-one else gets formally assigned to the duties, it’s probably all on him to get the Hottensat family records into some kind of shape.

Well. No time like the present, he supposes.

He’s deep in a brown study, when the heavy oak door of the library creaks, and he’s too absorbed to take much heed. The Hotstaat family history is labyrinthine, and in many instances scandalous, and really very- He’s not alone, that’s what he suddenly realises, crouched down to some filing cabinets and looking for a family album that’s out of order, in a dusty moted corner. Someone stands over him, behind him, towering over.

He looks back, and knows at least that it’s a Hotstaat, though not one he’s seen before. There’s a strong family resemblance amongst the whole clan, and when a number are gathered together it’s like a loud-voiced handsome quarrel of ravens. For they’re all tan and black-haired and moody of feature, smooth good-looking surly wolves to a wolf-man.

‘You’re new,’ is the curt greeting he gets. ‘I am Renally Hotstaat: identify yourself, man.’ It’s not aggressive, and nothing like the dismissiveness he’s accustomed to from some of the slave-owning class. But still Penn feels about six inches high, and very much a product to be bought and sold: as much something to be classified and catalogued as any of the books and folios he’s been dealing with this afternoon, and for months past.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Wolf Slave 6 – Alex Ankarr

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Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 6 – Alex Ankarr

He wonders, now, about his master. Renally, Renally Hotstaat, sometimes going by Ree. Penn’s ownership history is incomplete, his paperwork unsatisfactory, which brought down his price a fair whack at auction. He’s reliant purely on memory to some extent: and the family name of his first owner family is lost in time. But no, he thinks. It isn’t very likely: and it’s not such an uncommon name after all.

No doubt this fellow is a fat fifty-something, with a full beard and an air of blustering authority, who will bully and chivvy him on to more and more onerous duties, will perhaps harrass him for sexual favours like his owner prior to the last one, will- Penn manages to depress and worry himself with speculations, then dismisses all such unprofitable mental ambling. He’ll meet his new lord and master, soon enough. It will probably be bad news, like most things. He’s hardened up to that, by now.

***

A month, then two, pass. He spends much of them loaned out to a pack in the neighbouring state, for their libraries are in disarray after a fire and a burglary. With the aftermath of these things, and his own duties, and two family weddings being planned for this neighbour pack, the slaves and lower servants have an abundance of gossip to occupy them. Such an abundance, in fact, that no-one is the slightest bit interested in the visiting slave, nor his owner-family, nor the absent head of it. He’s forgotten the subject himself in a way: in the way that he’s owned, and he knows he’s owned, it’s just a fact. And he never has his speculation about the name of his owner come so much as to the forefront of his mind. Though if he was reminded he might begin speculating once more. He’s busy enough with his own duties, and more besides which are loaded on him: frantic with it.

Then, middle of the afternoon with the etiquette section not yet finished – it needs updating and new volumes ordering in – an estate truck is heading over to the Hotstaat estate, by chance, with goods and messages. And the chief of staff – a dignified freeman, an upper servant with the fullest consciousness of his status – decides that Penn has done sufficient, and can be dispensed with a day or two early. So that’s that, and he’s bundled off with barely a farewell and no goodbye supper, after two months making at least a few acquaintances and a friend or two. That’s a slave’s life after all: no autonomy and nothing you can rely on, and any human connections you make can be broken at a moment’s notice. And that’s the best you can hope for: it says nothing of the worst.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Wolf Slave 5 – Alex Ankarr

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Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 5 – Alex Ankarr

He sits and looks as learned as he’s capable of, over them, and lets his mind wander a little. Ree: it’s been ever so long since he last heard that name. First he heard it, he thinks – thinking back hard, and his brow furrowing a little – when he was little more than a toddler, perhaps three years old. That was when his mother – slave-born, too – was moved to a new household, and most of his memories begin at around that time. There was another little boy in the household, except sometimes he was a puppy instead. He was one of the master’s family, and Penn remembers him still, although not well. His name was Ree.

Most of his memories from that point until he was six are tangled up with Ree: in fact most of them are either of Ree and himself, or his mother and himself, and really precious little else. Almost like brothers, he supposes, they were: or as near as you can get, when one’s of the master class, the wolves, and the other is slave and human. The adults, both slave and servant, and wolf, thought them precious: yes, they must have been adorable, he supposes, tumbling and fighting and playing together, mostly in the most perfect amity. Ree had been a little older, a year or two: Penn had adored and followed him slavishly – the irony of it. One of his most vivid memories is of Ree as a wolf, and the two of them playing in an orchard: Ree tripping him up and leaping all over him, play-growling then licking his face until he’d giggled and he’d almost wet himself.

They’d been happy, pretty nearly perfectly so. He hadn’t hated wolves, back then: hadn’t had the sense or the information to do it. He doesn’t think of Ree frequently, now: can’t remember the last time he did so. But it’s strange to look back, and have it occur to him that one of the people he’s loved most in his life, thus far, was a wolf. There’s an irony in it.

When his mother was sold and took him with her, he’d kicked up a storm of rage, because leaving Ree behind was clearly unacceptable. The matriarch of the household, normally chilly and distant, had even got herself involved and patted his head, picked up her son and leaned them close enough in together that they could grab each other angrily and wail. ‘Poor little brat,’ she’d said with rough sympathy. ‘That’s the way of the world, I’m afraid: they’d both better get used to it.’ He can remember it, even now, clear as day. He can remember the anger that swirled inside him, too.

In the new household, with the new masters, they’d been much less happy, and even his mother was unsettled. He’d missed Ree horribly: but wasn’t allowed to write, or remain in touch in any way. It wasn’t deemed appropriate. Then, six months in, his mother had died, and it was a wolf’s fault. So, Penn hates wolves, now: not only for that reason, but it doesn’t help any.

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Review: A Slippery Slope in an Ad Agency (Forced to Work in Girls’ Dress) by Yu Sakurazawa

A Slippery Slope in an Ad Agency (Forced to Work in Girls' Dress)A Slippery Slope in an Ad Agency by Yu Sakurazawa

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ETA: Damn, posting a review minus the actual review?  Senior moment.

I had some issues with this one.  It is, on the surface, a cracky romp that addresses trans issues in a fairly superficial way, playing for laughs and yanking the reader along with it.  To an extent it succeeds in this aim.  But it left me feeling rather uneasy at the complete lack of affect displayed by prominent characters, over their own morally dark, dark grey actions and the damage done to at least one MC as a result.  Yeah, it’s crack, yeah it’s a romp.  There’s a limit, though.  Even in the glossiest most superficial soap, the MC him/herself wouldn’t usually 100% treat his/her own sufferings as if casually experienced at one remove.  Surgery without consent, medical negligence, assault, deception, lies and fraud are treated as if barely meriting a journal line, still less a page or two.

Beyond that, the author’s command of English is not impeccable, and the whole book would have benefited from a professional edit.

I can’t give the title an honest rec bearing in mind these issues, although it certainly has a lot of personality and energy, and is a long way from standard fare.

 

Wolf Slave 4 – Alex Ankarr

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Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 4 – Alex Ankarr

“Typical,’ says the young boy, with a resigned eye-roll. ‘Can you bring her back out to the hallway? We’re supposed to be going out, but she’s not co-operating at the moment.’

At this the little girl buries her face in Penn’s tunic, then peeks back out again with an expression of utter glee. ‘See Ree? Me see Ree. Want to see Ree!’ There’s an eager question on her round little face, scanty black spikes of human hair sweatily decorating her half-bald head.

‘Sorry, Pinks,’ says what is presumably her brother, ‘Mr Ree’s away. You won’t see him for weeks.’

‘Would that be the master?’ Penn asks cautiously, as he carries out a thrashing Pinks to the hallway, where a group of the extended Hotstaat clan who seem to intermittently occupy the estate are gathered, chatting obliviously. (The little girl has not taken well to the absence of her favourite. Her wails are almost enough to alert the wolf-kin adults to her discontent: but apparently not quite.)

‘Yep, Renally,’ the kid says vaguely. ‘He’s away on business. Oh, Pinks, don’t do that!’ For his little sister has switched back to wolf-form and leapt for the door. He goes running after her, and since the group of wolf adults are right there – ignoring his presence like any slave-owners, until such time as they should see fit to express displeasure or orders – Penn figures his work is done. He returns to the library, with an itch under his skin that disturbs him more than it should.

Ree, the child had said. Renally Hotstaat, his master, and it seems that his nick-name, at least to the children of the clan, is Ree. Penn takes a bundle of old folios, dusty and ribbon-bound, and sits down at the long central table of this particular alcove of the huge and burrow-like Hotstaat library. They are already classified and catalogued, but earnestly examining them will provide him with cover, should a member of the Hotstaat clan wander into the environs and demand to know with what he’s occupying himself. Being a slave, and all, and his time not his own.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.