He was not some loathsome rapist, a thug who’d killed for the sake of money or an addled addict thieving for a fix. Neither was he insane or slow witted. She made sure of that. He was her social equal, at least by background, and his crimes were political and symbolic.

Of course they’d tortured him, so he arrived with a bruised body, cuts and punctures on his bare limbs and torso. He had a slice under one eye, and the men who’d made it told her he’d flinched when they were threatening to kill him, but otherwise kept his cool.

Now he was kneeling on the tile, just as still as when they’d worked him over in the basement of the jail. His only motion was to twist his hooded head, listening for what he could not see. Just shy of six feet, with a body earned from living well, but not the ridiculously sculpted physique of a gym junkie. His hands were chained together in front of him, mitts locked over his fingers to keep him clumsy.

She put her hand on his shoulder, approaching him from behind. He twisted away, uncomprehending.

“Adam,” She decided out loud. “Hello.”

The prisoner swiveled his head again, trying to see her through the thick weave of the sack. At her touch, his posture got even stiffer. “If you’re kill me, do so. You won’t get anything from me.”

“We have already seen what you have to offer, Adam,” she withdrew her hand, placing it on her hip. “I don’t intend to give you what you want.”

“My name’s not Adam. I am Phillip Joeshi, proud to be son of General Joeshi.”

“The Joeshi family is dead. The sooner you learn this, the easier it will be, Adam.”

Hearing this, the prisoner became silent again. She wondered what he’d thought of his family, though it can’t have been much if he was willing to gamble their lives on an offhand comment and some doggerel verse.

“Please remove his hood,” she gestured to the waiting guard. “I want to see if that cut they left is infected.”

Vision roughly restored as the large guardsman yanked the bag from his head, Phillip saw the woman for the first time and raised his brows in shock. He’d heard her voice before as a visitor to his cell in the prison after his arrest, but he needed to see her face to identify her. “Annette Harrington.”

“Once you could have called me that, Adam. Do not call me that again.” the woman said sternly. The guard held him by both shoulders while Annette turned his head to examine the freshly closed scab under his left eye. Her grip was firm, but not painful. “This will scar, maybe.”

Annette was exactly half way between five and six feet tall, with a long straight nose and grey-green eyes. She was more familiarly found on the arm of her much older husband, Councilman Harrington, but Phillip had attended several of the same social events with her. As typical to her tastes, she wore a modest dress of deep indigo blue and her dyed and decorated hair was swept back so only a few white and multi-coloured strands fell in her face. Fashionable, discreet, well placed, and completely incongruous in a dirty jail cell.

“Adam, look at me, and listen to me,” she was speaking slowly. “This can be easy, or hard. It is your choice.”

His mouth tightened into a sneer of dislike, but his brown eyes met hers. “Who the fuck is Adam? Fuck off and tell your husband he can fuck himself too.”

He doubled up. She’d kicked him very hard between the legs, with enough force he felt like he’d throw up.

He only knew they were going to move him from his cell thirty minutes before it was time to leave. They’d given him a prison jumpsuit again, one piece washed out grey, and the bag went back on his head. Now his hands were cuffed with heavier transport irons, as was his legs. His balls ached. He guessed, as they moved him, that he went up an elevator out of the jail, with a guard holding each of his arms.

The car they fed him into sat low, with large comfortable leather seats, suggesting the long body and comforts of a limousine. He could hear Annette talking to the guard on either side of him as they handed him into the car. Once inside another male arm clamped onto one of his. He guessed it was a man servant or a bodyguard by the gloves on his hands. The car door slammed shut.

“Home, please,” Annette said, her voice coming across from him.

The car took off. Phillip shifted in his seat, wondering what particular relationship Annette had to his arrest. She wasn’t, to his knowledge, involved in anything but charitable organization and the plethora of social events ruling class ladies devoted their time to.

“When will you kill me?”

“Be quiet please,” she said calmly. “Adam, you are in my custody. You will do as you’re told and perhaps you will survive. But remember, there is no Joeshi family any longer. They were traitors and Philip Joeshi cemented that fact when he broke the pact of his uncle and decided to make himself an enemy of the state. You have no family, no rights, no wealth and no friends.”

“I would rather die than betray my name. My father is a hero!” But beneath the hood he wondered if they’d really killed his uncle, despite the man’s long term loyalty to king and council. It was a not unheard of punishment, but Philip steeled himself against pity. By swearing fealty to the regime he had betrayed the name of Joeshi and deserved to be caught in the backlash.

“Adam,” she said softly. “There are fates much worse than a bullet in the back of the head.”

“Try me.”

“Believe me Adam, I will,” though he could not see it, Annette shook her head chidingly. “You will learn to obey, and in time it will become your very nature.”

Sullen in his hood, Phillip stayed silent for the rest of the hour long drive. Point made, Annette kept herself busy with a book.

When they reached the house, and navigated the check points that assured for the security of the estate, she watched dispassionately as her new property was dragged from the car and thrown onto the ground. She heard the man’s grunt of pain- with his wrists manacled he wasn’t able to catch himself and fell heavily on the flagstone walk way.

“Crawl on your belly.”

Phillip tried to rise and her body guard gave him a sharp kick in the ribs. Phillip grunted again.


“Crawl. People walk, but Adam, you haven’t earned the right to be a person yet.”

(to be continued…)

September 2018
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