Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe
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Wolf Slave 8 – Alex Ankarr
But he has self-preservation aplenty, if no true respect for the race of wolves, and he scrambles to his feet and drops his eyes with appropriate submissiveness. ‘Penn, Sir. Penn child of Margaret, late the property of Jay of the Parrin clan, prior to that-’
‘Enough,’ is the response he gets, with a dismissive wave, though every slave knows well enough to be ready with a recitation of his history of ownership, like a car with its own talking logbook. ‘You are assigned to library duties?’ he asks.
‘Amongst other things,’ Penn agrees. ‘Should it suit you, sir: but my skills are various, and I can account them for you if you think I might be better put to use elsewhere. I speak both Spanish and Catalan, good Italian and fair French, a little–.’
But he’s cut off again. How very tedious he must be, for his new owner seems to want to know little enough about him. (So this is his new owner, he thinks. As handsome as the rest of the pack, with lighter eyes than most of them: something between green and blue, where most of them have brown. Just the same dissatisfied expression, though: as if the world has not strived earnestly enough to meet his very high expectations.)
Penn half-expects to be dismissed, since his owner has so very little interest in him. He stands a moment, since it’s not a slave’s place to offer suggestions nor proffer questions, and folds his hands primly before him. But for a little moment Renally Hotstaat says nothing: just looks at him, from the advantage of a couple of inches extra height. ‘How are you liking it here? Your duties. And – the other staff.’ The last bit is searched about for, clearly enough.
And Penn chooses his words carefully: because you always do. Words can be life or death, for a slave. ‘I’ve been away, lent to the Herron household, sir. I’ve not spent long enough here to say, but I’m sure I’ll settle in well.’
And he hovers another moment, waiting for dismissal, as you do, because you can’t decide that an interaction is over on your own initiative. God forbid. Silence lingers: but finally Hotstaat says, ‘Well. You may be about your business, Penn.’
© 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.