Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe
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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.