Wolf Slave 11 – 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 11 – Alex Ankarr

It seems enough, for Hotstaat says, ‘Then go choose a book, and come sit by me and read to me.’

‘What manner of book might you prefer, sir?’ Penn does ask, for it seems wisest not to annoy the man with ill-choices. But he gets an impatient gesture of the hand in reply, and so moves off to make a decision himself. Better not to annoy with ill-received questions, also.

Out of a library of thousands and tens of thousands of books, to make a choice for a first impression upon a new owner, for a first reading… Damn, it’s not going to be easy. The classics, Penn decides: and fiction, definitely. Out of all safe choices, it’s surely the safest. Dickens, Voltaire, Tolstoy… His eyes run over them as he walks down the stacks. Then his eye falls upon Jane Eyre, and he picks it up. Mostly because he’s right by the appropriate shelf, and he can’t afford to aggravate Hotstaat by keeping him waiting any longer. This is it, this is the one.

When he goes to sit down by Hotstaat – as invited, not as if he would take the liberty off his own bat – he begins to announce his choice of book, mention its history, and seek approval of his choice. Or at least he would, but even as he begins he gets another impatient shooing-at. ‘Just read,’ Hotstaat says, journal on his lap and staring at the fire.

So Penn just reads, and he just reads for a good long time. By the time he has come to the point of the French child, Adèle, and Rochester disclaiming parentage of her because, after all, she is not a werewolf, and if she were his child then she would most assuredly be wolf-born – well, he has almost forgotten that he has an audience.

He remembers, though, when Hotstaat interrupts the flow of his narration, turning his head and speaking to him abruptly. ‘Annoying child, simpering miss, isn’t she?’ he says to Penn. ‘One can hardly blame Rochester for wishing to disown her. Do you remember, Penn, when we were that age? I am sure we were never half such little moaners and complainers. You might have whined a little for attention when you were in a snit: but you did not continue excessively, and when you were comforted you paid heed and quieted yourself.’

And Penn is transfixed: so much so that he cannot clear his throat to speak, not even when Hotstaat abruptly rises from his seat, and exits the library with a smooth despatch that leaves him gaping. The reading is at an end, then, at least as far as this late afternoon is concerned.

That is what he thinks, left sitting there with a great gape on his face, and quite a number of thoughts chasing each other through his head. One is that Ree’s hair has darkened quite a lot, since they were kids together. Another is along the lines of well, well, so it is Ree after all. He is Ree. Another says, well, there’s a piece of my childhood gone. From beloved childhood friend to distant master, and isn’t that just the way it goes.

He remembers clutching a hold of his Ree’s neck, as they’d torn him away, the day he’d had to leave with his mother. He remembers wetness on Ree’s cheek, his lips clamped together, sturdily being a little wolf-man. Well, they’ve certainly come a long way from those days.

 

© 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.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

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Wolf Slave 10 – 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 10 – Alex Ankarr

It also occurs to Penn to linger over his previous wondering about his childhood playmate. The memories are dim and distant: to recall an exact impression of Ree, to his mind’s eye, is extraordinarily difficult. He wasn’t as dark as Hotstaat: had a soft childish lineament about the face, but that was only to be expected, of course. He was extraordinarily gentle of manner: comforted Penn when he fell and cried, shared his toys and games, split candy with him and sang to him to amuse him when Penn was sick.

It seems unlikely, in the highest degree, even based on this insubstantial beginnings of an acquaintance. So Penn dismisses it from his mind, and gets on with his work. As best he can, he disregards Hotstaat’s presence in the room, except of course to be exceedingly careful not to infringe upon house rules in any way that could call down disapproval and punishment upon his head. Not that he isn’t always alert to any such infringement: one can’t be careful enough, and there’s always someone to go tattling or catch one in a crime.

After twenty minutes or half an hour or so, he’s pretty much managed to get into a rhythm of work where he’s not too much disturbed by the presence of one of the master class in the library, his direct owner at that. But he can’t disregard that presence quite entirely: every so often Hotstaat will turn a page of his journal, or murmur the vaguest disapproving ‘tut’ at some article or other, or get up and pour himself more cordial. It’s a little distracting: but Penn perseveres. He’s encountered a lot worse than that, in his time.

So as his nerves settle and his mind wanders, his attention is eventually a good deal more upon his work than upon the unused presence at the other end of the long room. That only makes it the more startling when he’s spoken to, in an exceptionally quiet moment as he is sifting through a pile of papers and enjoying the ray of warm sunlight that shines over his face in a golden benison, dustmotes drifting through it. He jumps about a mile: then catches and calms himself.

‘Come over here, Penn,’ is what his master says to him, and the meaning, as well as the speech itself, is alarming as always. But Penn does as he is bid: because that is what a slave does.

When he stands by Hotstaat’s chair, the wolf-man does not look up at him, but continues to train his attention upon his journal for a moment, not remarking further. For a moment Penn half-thinks that perhaps he imagined the instruction, is hearing things, and is almost preparing himself to creep away again to the other end of the room in embarrassment, when Hotstaat puts down the journal, and looks up at him. Measuring, his gaze is, and hooded. There’s nothing Penn can gauge from it: and in any case he swiftly averts his eyes, the better to avoid any hint of direct challenge.

‘How is your reading voice, Penn?’ his master asks, and Penn relaxes, a little, at the question. A few owners have had him read to them, before now: could be worse, could be worse. It’s half a slave’s life, to be assessing every command and telling himself that, of course.

‘Some have adjudged it quite satisfactory, sir,’ Penn replies, with temperate modesty. Better not to go boasting: under-promise, over-deliver, that’s the thing.

 

© 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.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

Wolf Slave 9 – 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 9 – Alex Ankarr

Penn nods agreeably, eyes vaguely evading directly meeting his master’s, and moves off to another part of the library to rearrange the current periodicals. He doesn’t much fancy still struggling with the filing cabinet, right under Hotstaat’s eyes: it’s inhibiting, and there is plenty more that needs doing instead. Halfway, he expects Hotstaat to leave him to it: but no. Hotstaat takes up the latest copy of the local newspaper, and pours a glass of cordial from the decanter on the long table, then seats himself in the corner in one of the soft leather easy chairs, settling down to read. Penn has not noticed the decanter before now, a new development since he was last in here. It looks like an indication that Hotstaat intends to spend a good deal of time in the library – perhaps he normally does, when not on business – and mentally Penn curses the notion.

Working under the eye of one’s master: it’s a long way from the worst thing that could happen, but it isn’t altogether agreeable, either. The general idea, he finds, is to avoid notice as far as possible: to be as much invisible and inconspicuous as one can render oneself. Attracting notice rarely proves to be a good idea. It can lead to all sorts of things, as he has found: extra work, disapprobation, demotion in duties. Approval, new training, travel, favouritism and preferences that make one unpopular with one’s fellows. Attractions, amities that might have been friendship between equals. Sexual attentions, that might be welcome but generally is not, in his brief experience of such. Whether good or bad, none of these things are under the control of the lower-caste party, which is the main reason why it’s better to avoid them altogether, by means of avoiding notice altogether.

His eyes run over Hotstaat, over in the far corner, as discreetly as he can manage it: and two thoughts enter his head pretty much simultaneously. First off it occurs to him that perhaps it wouldn’t be altogether a hardship should the wolf decide to take some notice of him in that way. Better not, because one never knows what form of expression that attention may take, and his prior experience of it wasn’t pleasant. But if things should fall out that way, Hotstaat is at least youngish and attractive, not a greying bulldog-faced asshole with a stentorian roar and a brutal dick. It all depends on the approach: and though he hates the fact, he also knows that sexually, as in any other way, plenty of owners regard their slaves as property and fair game.

 

© 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.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

Wolf Slave 8 – 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 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.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

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.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

What I’ve been reading – Bethany by Anita Mason

BethanyBethany by Anita Mason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sly, subtle portrayal of the implementation of cult structures and procedures in a social grouping. Complete with an abusive, narcissistic bully posing as caring commune leader, and submissive devotees serving dual function as enforcers – and all without ever being so crude as to explicitly state the purpose of the narrative. Compliance is rewarded, and consent vigorously manufactured to Newspeak assertions that up is down and the earth is – metaphorically – flat. Resistance and dissent are vehemently discouraged. But will one prospective mug/mark manage to evade the net?

Clever. And unsettling. Not a jolly read, but a memorable one.

View all my reviews

what I’ve read

Alex Ankarr is on page 228 of 544 of The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF:

Finished Ellen Klages’ ‘Time Gypsy’, and for once the critics are right – pretty awesome. The MCs are really likeable, their gradually developing romance is touching and believable. (I say gradually, but – well, read it and find out.) The actual sex is a little clunky and clichéd – I said clichéd, people, not cliché, that’s right – but the romance is lovely.

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But it’s not just a lovely lesbian romance with a little skipping up and down the decades thrown in. For a short story, it packs a lot of serious ideas and musings in there. How far the LGBTQ movement has come – and how far it hasn’t – in a few short decades. About time travel as a tool for plagiarism and stealing credit for other people’s ideas. About normalisation and minimisation of abuse of ‘other’ed and excluded groups. About the struggle of women to forge a place in the groves of academe, to be heard, to hack out a route through the hazing and silencing and double standards. About co-operation, solidarity, true friendship and fake collegiality.

It’s about time-travel itself, though, don’t forget that. And purely as a time-travel romp, it’s a ton of fun and lifts the heart, is joyful despite the seriousness of much of what’s discussed. If you love time-travel or you love (gay) love, this is a yes, this is a rec.

 

Image – public domain, photo by Bernard Spragg NZ of an artwork Passing Time by Auckland-based sculptor Anton Parsons.

What I’m reading now

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Alex Ankarr is on page 214 of 544 of The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF: The reviews are accurate for Ellen Klages’ ‘Time Gypsy’, at least – so far it’s trememendous!

(I did catch the neologistic typo before pressing ‘publish’.  But I liked it, so there you go!  It is trememendous!)

let’s talk about boys and kissing

Yeah!  Let’s!  Admittedly, these chicks may be talking about the adorable joey.  What a cutie!  But I like to think they’re obediently conforming to the dominant paradigm and submitting to externally imposed peer-group  demands, just the same.

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Anyway, I’ve got into a new writer! Isn’t it always so terrific to discover somebody new-to-you, and plunge into their work, to experience a whole new way of looking at the world?

Yeah. It’s Alison Bechdel. YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF HER. I’m always a little late to the party, every time.

Really, this is the point where I ought to play at being Cooler out of Flaked. “Dennis! Your little pop-up off-licence is called Dennis Wines! Like you! Isn’t that amazing!”

Eh lol. Shoulda done that. “Hey, Ms Bechdel! There’s this thing called the Bechdel test – and I understand you’ve actually discussed it quite often!  And you’re called Bechdel! Synchronicity, wow!”

Well, I haven’t read much of her work so far – really only her section in Best American Comics 2008, and nothing else in it either. But that’s the best time with a new artist: when they have a massive (throbbing?) body of work, and you’ve barely dipped your toes in the water.

Now, just to make sure: BOYS! KISSING! BOYS! KISSING!

Never wanted to pass a test that wouldn’t have me, anyway.

 

Image – State Library of New South Wales, no known copyright restrictions.

finished sense8 season 2 finale

…and all I can say is, ridiculous.  Ridiculous.  and also, big respect to Sun for HOT DAMN ROCKING THOSE SILVER PANTS right on sister!

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Can’t find a pic with a, ahem, better view.  But take it from me, or better yet just watch the ep.  Season 2 is worth watching, because at least it always has Lito and Sun, however daft it gets.

but as I say.  It brings to mind the immortal words of Matt Damon in Will & Grace:

‘Rockin’ ass!: for he himself has said it, and it’s greatly to his credit!

SPOILERISH…-> Continue reading “finished sense8 season 2 finale”