Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe
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Wolf Slave 16 – Alex Ankarr
He’s beautiful, but that’s no surprise and no big thing. Wolves are made beautiful: it gets to be annoying and more than annoying, the effortless superiority in every direction. Penn doesn’t look further as Hotstaat – as Ree pulls his clothes off, throws them behind him. He doesn’t join him, either: quietly takes the reins of both horses and walks away, back to what’s some kind of home for him now.
It seems safer.
After that Hotstaat requests his presence fairly often: not every day, but every few days at least there’s some job he’s required for. It generally involves not much work, as such, and a lot of bearing Hotstaat company. Except it’s hard to think of him as Hotstaat, now, although Penn tries. He’s careful at least of his mouth: it’s still all ‘sir’ and ‘if you please’, all the formal signifiers of submission and deference. He’s not an idiot. Hotstaat – Ree – may have sentimental memories of their early years, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into presumptions of an equal footing. Well, in fact, it certainly doesn’t: Penn isn’t such a fool.
He thinks that if he had any sense, he would take all the sly advantage he can of Ree’s evident lingering preference for him: would work it to his advantage for all he’s worth, while being careful to continue to please as a good slave, not to transgress every explicit and assumed rule of deferential behaviours towards wolf masters. He could, conceivably, wind up as a senior member of the clan’s staff: could even – it’s not impossible – be freed, perhaps after long service. The thought tingles through him like sparkling wine: to have his papers stamped, his documentation as a free human, to be able to direct his own life, perhaps to travel, to start a business with the contacts he’s developed through years of assiduous networking with anyone he’s come into contact with. You never know who’s going to be useful. As a slave it’s all the more vital to be on the best terms with anyone and everyone.
© 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.