Breathless

Breathless

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Summary

I'll put a real plot here when I've figured it out. As usual, this story is my own personal way of organizing certain feelings. While very little of the actual plot is relevant to my life, it is a genuine exploration of my current feelings, my usual feelings. I feel like a chimera- like I'm more than one thing pieced together, and at the same time, not real.

Summary

I'll put a real plot here when I've figured it out. As usual, this story is my own personal way of organizing certain feelings. While very little of the actual plot is relevant to my life, it is a genuine exploration of my current feelings, my usual feelings. I feel like a chimera- like I'm more than one thing pieced together, and at the same time, not real.

Chapter1 (v.1) - I am two people

Author Chapter Note

Aliere was traumatized two years ago, and the experience turned her into someone else. Now she feels as if she's in control of her own body for the first time in a year, and she's ready to figure out how to get back to her old life.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 13, 2018

Reads: 295

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 13, 2018

A A A

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"What am I doing?" I asked myself outloud. Obviously, I was holding a tray, but my name is Aliere, and I was holding a tray of cut up fruit that Einin was holding a moment earlier. It was ages, years, since I was a part of Einin. Ever since . . . well, for a while now, I was either this spark, sometimes even a flickering flame, deep down inside of her. Other times, I was watching her from the sidelines, or from above. Wherever was out of sight of everyone with whom she had to deal with, who dictated her life. Sometimes I would scream at her to react, to fight, to run, to do anything other than what she was being told. Other times, I whispered to her to give in, to do what they wanted, that she wasn't strong enough to fight, but she was strong enough to hold on, to breathe, to do anything that got her to the next moment, and the moment after that, and the moment after that. Time around Einin was often a string of moments, or a string of breaths. Then sometimes long lengths of time went by, and it felt as if I slumbered through them. 

I was aware that as soon as I spoke, the two men on the couch ceased their polite vocalizations and were staring at me. They were abiding by the strict and long practiced rules of gentry conversation, despite being close friends. Although Ohrena was regarded as safe haven for diversity and for its tolerant cultural practices, the Ohrena were strict with their cultural rules when amongst each other, especially the aristocracy. I, as a mere slave, had shattered this by daring to speak. It occured to me that my- that Einin's- master, Malcolm, quickly moved from shock to contemplative. In the year since Malcolm acquired her, Einin never spoke a single word. Staring up at me-her-us, I guess,  I'm sure Malcolm remembered as well as I, the solemn words of the slave trader who facilitated Einin's sale from her last master. "She's not nonverbal and she's not hard of hearing, but she does not speak."

Malcolm never pressed for more details. He just happened to be in the region for business, and his reputation for being a master and training a certain kind of slave girl had caused a local trader in the area to reach out to him. Their age difference was too great for Malcolm to consider training Einin in the manner that besot his reputation, but he purchased her anyway. I guess that made Malcolm marginally better than the last master Einin, no, that I had. Einin was born from our first master, but she was never subjected to him. Although he never pressed for details, Malcolm guessed at the traumatic story that led to Einin's silence, that I often relived for her, over and over again. Einin was everything that I never was: unquestioning and immediately obedient to any command. There are only so many ways one can be torn apart before being irreparably broken. 

Before the shocking incident happened, Malcolm led Alfie into a parlor and Alfie suggested Einin bring them some cut up fruit. As Einin nodded her head in acknowledgement of her task, she knew Alfie would insist that she partake in enjoying the fruit. It made her uncomfortable, as slaves were not supposed to take part in their master's enjoyment and the enjoyment of their master's equals, unless of course, the slave served a more intimate role than Einin, or I, could withstand. I wanted to believe that in his own, platonic way, Alfie cared for Einin. He thought she was sweet and felt sad for whatever melancholy tale made her mute, prevented her from meeting anyone's gaze without a firm command, and made her what would otherwise be known as the perfect slave. It frustrated me to no end that no one in this household seemed to want Einin to be this way, especially because I knew they were trying to mislead us. Me, I mean me. Now and then, Einin would falter, and I would remind her that it was a trick. They want to hurt you. Part of me genuinely believed that Alfie cared about Einin (and the person she used to be), and due to the fact that he was a dear friend of Malcolm, I guessed that Malcolm did too. I still warner her that it was suspicious for either of them to take such an interest in Einin's well-being and spoil her with exotic fruits.

I guess here they aren't exotic, but they were exotic to me. I was not from Ohrena, which was a large country expanding across much of the southern and eastern coasts. It was a warm and humid country that was known as a large cultural center, as it received more imports and exports than any other country. I was from a smaller, more mountainous country way up north known as Eiraven. It bordered a country with which it had a tumultuous relationship, known as Kiareinarat. They were a greater country with more resources, which allowed them to dominate mine. I always thought Ey-ra-ven to be a better war cry, but victory doesn't always go to those with the most spirit in the real world. I guess it was the relationship between our countries that made my idea of slavery very different from your typical Ohrenian. Needless to say, it creeped me out with the attention they sometimes spent on Einin. Just because they hadn't touched her, you know, sexually, since she was purchased, didn't mean it wasn't coming. Masters only want one thing from young female slaves.

I didn't like the contemplative look that Malcolm was giving Einin/me now. It felt sort of victorious, like Malcolm knew if he was warm and tender enough, that Einin would piece herself back to normal, or better, or whole. Like I was going to let Einin fall for whatever ploy he had in the works. Little did he know that after Einin, there was only me. 

I guess he wasn't wrong. Only a year of his gentle care, and I was talking again. No, I wasn't completely silent for a year, but it still was not often that I spoke. In the beginning, I did mostly slumber. After while, I started to be awake for more and more periods of time. Einin was always in control but I would whisper to her as quietly as I could.  Even though Einin tried really hard not to let me, I would encourage her to escape, I would sing to her when I wasn't mad at her for not escaping, and I reminded her everything I could remember about my old life back in Eiraven. As time went on, those details were becoming blury. I couldn't remember faces anymore. I was starting to forget names and I wavered on details such as how my old home used to look. I talked so little and only when I sure no one else could hear me that my voice felt raw, perhaps a little hoarse from not speaking for so long. I could see Malcolm's thoughts. It's a beautiful voice, and it's a step in the right direction. 

I didn't trust him for a second. My last master also thought that my voice was beautiful, but he only wanted to hear it when I had permission to speak. In the end, it didn't matter how beautiful either master thought my voice was, slaves don't speak out of turn, and I did. Once they were no longer stupified by the event, Malcolm and Alfie exchanged looks. Whatever Einin's first words, Malcolm did not expect those to be it, and the ones she said after were even more worrisome, I'm sure. 

After looking at them, looking at me, I set the tray of fruit down on the small coffee table between them and muttered, "I have to go." I smoothed out the skirt of the black dress that I wore, and spun around towards the door. I wasn't stupid, I promise, I was just unbalanced. This was the first time I was in control of my body since . . . well, it doesn't matter since when, everything was coming back to me so quickly, it was dizzying. Einin was a strictly controlled creature, but I was ruled by impulse and the main impulse was that I had to go, I had to leave right now and I had to go back home. The problem was that home was a distant memory and I had only a vague idea of how to get from Ohrena to Eiraven.The smarter part of me asked how I was going to get there? What money did I have? What was I going to tell nosy people, sinister people who could sniff out a runaway slave? 

Another problem was that I was not privy to a map in over a year, and I had no idea how to get from where I was to where I was going. I vaguely knew where I was, but I basically had to cross the entire continent going north. And west, I think. Northish west. Westish north? Wherever I ended up, it had to be away from here. Despite having no personal grudge for the man in the house, as he had been kind to me, I was still relegated to being a slave. I had no interest in being a slave, not there anyway.

No, I mean, I had not interest in being a slave again ever. I wasn't partial to the idea the first time around, or there never would have been an Einin. I had to go back. Yes, I had to go back to him. No! Shut up, Einin! 

I didn't say anything. 

I ignored her reply. I wasn't going back to him ever, and I would never forgive him for making me a slave in the first place. I realized that even Einin thought I was crazy, as I had felt her trying to tug me to stay, but as all the crazy took over, she seemed to slip away. I realized a few things then. (1) I was pacing back and forth, taking a few steps toward the door, before I took a step back as Einin's fears tried to keep in this life. (2) I was whispering indiscernibly to myself, and gathering a crowd of servants and Malcolm's family to watch what probably looked like a breakdown. (3) Malcolm was now standing between me and the door.

"Einin," he said calmly, warmly. Due to Einin's lack of vocalization, Malcolm did not know her name and he had to call her something. He liked the name Einin, though I never knew why. It was not an Ohrenian name, it was Eiraven in origin and it's meaning had something to do with birds. I guess there is a perverse pleasure among slave masters to cage something that has the power to fly away. Personally, I don't think I look like what an Einin should look like. He reached a hand out to my shoulder, repeating, "Einin-."

I did the unthinkable for a slave then, and my own arm whipped out before he could touch me and knocked his hand away. "Aleire!" I snapped. "My name is Aleire."

I heard even Einin gasp from deep inside me, horrified at what I had done and the punishment that it would bring. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath, waiting for their cue from Malcolm before they knew exactly how they were going to refute and crucify me. 

Then he did the unthinkable and gave me a warm smile. "Aleire. It's nice to finally meet you." 

 


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