Chattle (1/2)

Last week I did a short review on the book ‘Allette‘ written by Sir Jaerls.

Sir Jaerls has approached me, wanting to know whether he could submit a short story to be published on my blog as a guest post. Of course I agreed. You can read more about Sir Jaerls on ‘his’ guest writers page.

This is part one of his short story called ‘Chattle’.

The summer sun reflecting off the white sands was blinding as well as stifling. She couldn’t breathe, but the catch in her chest had less to do with the sun and more to do with the reason she stood behind the block at the auction.

She was to be sold.

She rubbed the bottom of a bare foot over her other calf and tried not to fidget. The simple grey shift she was allowed to wear scratched and pulled at her skin and threatened to rub her nipples raw. It was a slave shift, worn and passed to the next girl to stand on the block. It might never have been washed, and though she wouldn’t wear it long, the nervous sweat of hundreds of girls make it smell sour.

She hadn’t known that old fear could have a smell, but her nervousness added to the cloth brought up ages of terror. There was a knot in the single shoulder strap where it had been torn but the bare shoulder was freed from the constant itching.

She couldn’t see the crowd from where she had been set, nor could she see the block itself. The noise carried an indication of a vast swarm of potential buyers. The prices seemed to escalate from the tone of the buyers and from the guards’ expressions. The girl gathered they were impressed, but the money in these foreign lands meant nothing to her, so the sale of a girl for so many of these or that had no comparisons.

The girl in front of her, plain but young and shapely was untied from the line of slaves waiting to be sold. The guards wrapped cords around her wrists and tied them as they had with all the others and left a goodly amount of lead to dangle as they lead her away.

The crowd murmured, though with less enthusiasm than they had shown for some others. She tried to calm herself, but her feet itched and she couldn’t help but fidget. A weary glare from a guard meant to silence her movements succeeded only to resolve her to making them less noticeable. It seemed to be enough to placate him.

Again the shouting of numbers and strange monies echoed through the plaza. There were not many and the bidding was over in less than half the time it took for the previous slave. She tried not to think about it, but could not for the life of her squelch the curiosity of how much she would go for.

The guards cut her from the line and one grabbed her hands while the other wrapped the ubiquitous cords around her wrists. He let go of her hands and took her by the back of the tunic and lead her around to the front of the block.

There must have been a hundred people in the square, men and women fanning themselves with hands or cloth or whatever there was to hand that would create a breeze in the sweltering white sands. There were some sold girls in the crowd, naked and kneeling by their buyers, trying to keep their eyes respectfully down.

The plain girl knelt beside a dowager, a stern looking woman of means who watched the girl on the block like she was a puppy whose training was sorely in doubt.

“If I am to be sold,” she whispered, “let it be to one as her, a lady’s maid or even scullery maid in her house would not be so bad…”

She was lead to the front of the crowd, between two posts she had not noticed in the blinding light. Each rope was taken and tied high against the pillars and she hung on the balls of her feet, almost suspended off the floor in front of the crowd.

The murmur grew louder at her entrance and lasted so long the auctioneer had to roar for silence before he could begin.

“A rare beauty!” he called to the crowd, “Taken from the fields of Greece, plucked like a virginal flower and hastened here for your pleasure!”

She had never even been to Greece, but this was not the time to argue.

“Look at her!” he bellowed again, “eighteen, virginal and wanton. Never has she held a brand or collar. She is strong, capable and healthy and did I mention her beauty? Start me at twelve for this lovely!”

“Fifteen,” wheezed a fat sweaty man.

“Seventeen,” called another, but the girl could not see who it was. The dowager glared as though the puppy had just shit in front of her.

“Twenty,” called a youth in the back. His expression was hard for one so young, a cruel and mocking face behind cold dead eyes.

“Twenty three,” the sweaty man was determined.

“Thirty,” the youth called again much to the surprise of the crowd.

The auctioneer turned back to the fat sweaty man, “Sir? It is your bid.” Apparently seeing the all too obvious hesitation in the pig-like little eyes, he called out, “Do NOT let this opportunity go by! You will regret it forever as the one you lost, I assure you!”

The fat man breathed heavily and just started to shake his head.

“Observe!” the barker cried and with a flourish pulled the knot apart at her shoulder and flung the garment to the ground at her feet. She stood on tiptoe, naked before them all, breasts rising in the heat and a sheen of sweat making her glow in the sunlight.

She couldn’t help but squeal when the covering was taken from her, much to the delight of the jeering crowd.

The rough cloth had done its job well. Her nipples, scratched and mauled by the rough fibers, protruded from her breasts, pointing to the crowd like invitations. Her legs tried to cross to hide her sex from their eyes, but shifting legs meant that her wrists took all her weight so she was forced to keep them apart.

They had taken the hair from her sex when they prepped her. Even that little concealment was gone.

“Thirty two,” the fat man wheezed.

“Thirty five,” another voice joined the fray.

“Young sir?” the auctioneer called to the back of the crowd, soliciting another bid.

The young man now hesitated. Virile and rather good looking, he no doubt had many conquests and the image of a naked girl tied between posts in front of a crowd was not as appealing as it might have been to someone more pressed for relations with free women, say a fat sweaty man.

“Is she responsive?” the youth called out and was supported by a general laughter and egging on from the crowd.

“She is very responsive, good sir, she has the heat of a lioness and the loins of a goddess!” His hand snaked down behind her and the slave felt his fingers stroke her clit.

To be continued… Chattle (2/2)

© Sir Jaerls

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