“I think we left him alone too long.” Justin said softly as he took hold of the old frayed rope that was attached to the wooden door and heaved. Lance lifted the lantern high illuminating the shallow storage area. Joshua lay on his back his arms pinned to his sides by the narrow walls; his face was streaked with tears, his nose red and running. Justin and Chris reached down lifting him free, pulling him back up into the stall.
“Joshua I want you to lay down just here.” Joey pointed to where he had laid a blanket and placed the surgical instruments that he had brought with him.
The slave eyed the covered tray uneasily and pulled back from the guiding hands that were pushing him forward. He looked over to Justin for reassurance and the blond nodded mouthing “Go on, its ok.”
Joshua laid down and nervously blinked as the four men gathered round him. The Italian man cupped his chin turning his face sideways.
“Well?” Lance asked. “Can you do it?”
Joey examined the brand. “Bring the light closer.” Lance brought the lantern in, placing it on an upturned barrel. “That’s better.” the dark haired man measured the width and length of the unsightly burn before sitting back on his heels. “I can do it.”
Justin rubbed the heels of his hands in his eyes then scratched at his chin. “Do it.” He said.
Joey uncovered the tray and Joshua’s eyes grew large and round at the sight of the sharp knife. He began to shake his head and kicked out with all his might catching Justin in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. His bare feet scrambled for traction as fear took over. Lance and Chris grabbed him forcing him back down on to the floor. Justin recovered his breath and scampered round to hold the panic-stricken slaves head still.
“It’s alright Joshua, you have to be brave, you have to be quiet, we need to remove the brand.” Justin did his best to assure the struggling man that they were helping him.
“No Mas’er don’t hurt Joshua, please Mas’er.”
Joey took a piece of thick wood off the tray and pushed it between the slaves teeth and Justin clamped his jaw shut, holding him tightly and still while Lance and Chris held his arms and legs.
Joey picked up the knife and a small pathetic whimper escaped from Joshua. He squeezed his eyes shut and stiffened as the cold steel touched his skin. On feeling him tense the three men holding him down tightened their grip. A muffled scream rang out as the blade slit expertly through the burn and the Italian removed a little of the abused flesh. Joey picked up the needle and catgut thread. He wiped the blood away from the incision and began to neatly stitch up the open wound. Joshua screamed against his makeshift gag the whole time.
“Maybe we should have just knocked him out.” Chris said, his observation coming too late to help the pain racked man.
“Nearly done Joshua, just a little more.” Justin’s fingers relaxed slightly and caressed the side of the slaves face as Joey cut the thread.
“Finished.” He announced proudly.
The four men admired the new neat scar that ran up Joshua’s left cheek. The slave began to shiver and shake, crying uncontrollably. “I think we should take him up to the house.” Joey said “That scar has to be kept clean, put him back down there and it will get infected then all this would have been for nothing.”
Justin swallowed. “Okay, we’ll put him in my room momma never goes in there.” They lifted the blubbering slave to his feet and draped a blanket over him. Lance darted outside, ensuring that no one was around then they half pulled and half pushed Joshua towards the mansion. Again Lance checked that no one was there to see the fugitive. They manhandled him up the stairs and thrust him into the lavish bedchamber.
Justin followed him in muttering “See you in the morning” and closing the door behind him letting Lance Joey and Chris go back to their rooms to sleep.
Ignoring the slave Justin went to his bowl and filled it full of water from the porcelain jug, splashing it on his face and breathing again.
His eyes reluctantly sought out the ragged blood smeared man cowering against the wall and his heart somersaulted. The man must have been a few years older than himself; he had a sharp pointed chin and a nose that was maybe a little too big for his face. His cheekbones were high and lent a sculptured look to him. Justin couldn’t help but think of the drawings he had seen in the academy’s library of the Greek Gods, Thick dirty brown curls framed his face and hung down in a matted mess to his shoulders but it was Joshua’s eyes that set off his features. The most amazingly beautiful blue eyes that Justin had ever seen but reflected the unending sorrow and hopelessness of his existence.
Carrying the ornate bowl to where Joshua was sat against the wall hugging his legs, Justin sat down on the floor beside him. Dipping a clean washcloth into the water and wringing it out he began to gently wipe the blood from the beautiful face. “I’ll try not to hurt you but I need to clean you up a little,” he whispered gently to the subdued man.
“It no matter if you hurt me Mas’er, I just be a slave anyhows. I be used to being hurt.” His words were false bravado because Joshua cringed and leaned into the wall biting his lip as Justin reached out with the cloth.
The blond slave owner suddenly felt sick, he had never considered what it must feel like to be enslaved, to be at another man whim and mercy, he had grown up with slaves, expecting them to do as they were commanded with out question. He had never considered the morality of slave ownership before but here and now with this slight pathetic creature his conscience had been prodded. Maybe it was the lily-white skin, that was so grossly marked with black-blue bruises, or the huge mournful cobalt orbs that refused to look him in the eye, fearful to lift from the ground afraid of what they may see.
Joshua hissed and bit hard on his bottom lip as the cloth caught one on the even stitches that ran down the left side of his face.
Joshua shrugged and tried to hold still for his master to finish cleaning the wound. Justin finished up and disposed of the red tinged water. He scratched his head at a loss of what to do with the slave, he didn’t trust him enough to sleep with him unshackled in his room and if by any chance his mother did decide to pay him a visit how would he explain the white slaves presence. Making up his mind he beckoned the slave to him.
Joshua crawled unsurely to Justin’s feet, kneeling with his head bowed. “I’m going to tie your hands Joshua and then I want you to crawl under the bed and lay on your side.” The slave nodded obediently and meekly put his hands behind his back for his master to tie them then he crawled under the big brass framed bed lying on his side as he had been instructed. Justin got down next to him and looped a belt round his neck, securing the free end the bed. He then covered the shivering man with a blanket. “Do I have to gag you?” He asked.
“No Mas’er, Joshua be quiet.”
“I will accept your word Joshua, Get some sleep. Goodnight Josh.”
Justin couldn’t get his mind off the boyish man under his bed. The slave’s soft breathing echoed in his ears as he rolled over on his side trying to get comfortable. Joshua couldn’t be comfortable, the floor was hard and wooden, Justin kicked himself for not slipping a rug beneath the bed before ordering the brunette to crawl under. It was too late now, if he got up and did it now it would be a sign of weakness. A soft sigh emanated from beneath him and the breathing evened out. The slave master smiled briefly to himself and shook his head realising his foolishness, Joshua didn’t mind the floor, he was used to sleeping where he could and had probably never slept on a bed in his life. Somewhere in the back of his mind he remembered Alex McLean saying that he had slept at the foot of his bed since he was 4 years old. Justin settled down, letting his body relax. He closed his eyes and listened to Joshua’s breathing finding it soothing as he slowly drifted off to sleep.
A firm sweat slicked body slid over his as his hands swept over the well muscled but thin back down to the pert round buttocks that hovered above his cock. He groaned as he slid into the hot tight crevice that clamped round him, low moans filled the air as he pulled himself up high enough to lick the sweet sweat running down the chest of the man straddling him. He opened his eyes and gazed into the incredible cobalt depths.
Justin jumped awake sweating, the sun streaming through a crack in the curtains. A small shuffling caught his attention. Joshua. His dream came flooding back making his cock harden and pulsate. He reached between his legs and stroked himself slowly remembering the feel of the hard body against his. He groaned low and long as he cum soaking his hand. Guiltily he wiped it on his underwear and climbed out of bed to wash.
He had just finished shaving when there was a tap at his door.
Lance poked his head round the door. “Just wondered if you were alright.”
Justin washed his switchblade razor and dried it on his towel. “I’m fine.”
Justin pointed with the razor to the bed. “I have him secured underneath, thought it best to keep him out of sight. Check him will you, I haven’t yet today.” Justin pulled his pants up and buttoned them closed. “I need to go take a piss, he probably needs one too. There’s a bucket he can use in the closet.”
Lance nodded and collected the pail as soon as the curly haired blond had left locking the door as he passed. He got down on his knees and reached under the bed feeling round till he found the end of the belt, releasing it he tugged at it indicating that Joshua should come from under the brass bed. Joshua wriggled out and got onto his knees not speaking, just keeping his head low and his eyes fixed on his masters’ shoes.
He flexed his shoulders as his hands were released and opened and closed his fingers getting the blood to flow again as he ignored the pins and needles attacking his hands.
“There’s a bucket there boy, use it.” Joshua started slightly at Lances voice he had thought it was the other man the one with the curls. He got swiftly to his feet and dropped his pants relieving himself into the metal pail. He sucked his bottom lip into his mouth and looked quickly at the tall shorthaired blond that was watching his every move, he looked again at the pail, unmoving, waiting for permission to fully relieve himself.
“Empty yourself Joshua, I’ll wait.” He carried a jug of water to the slave so he could clean himself after, then went to the window looking out towards the fields.
“I is done Mas’er.” Joshua had covered the bucket with a cloth and was kneeling beside it.
“Good boy Joshua, now I want you to get back under the bed and stay really still and quiet till I tell you to come back out.” The slave obeyed immediately and Lance pulled a bell pull that hung by the fireplace.
The door opened and Carrie entered the room. “You rang Mas’a?”
“Yes.” Lance pointed to the bucket. “See to that.”
The teenage black girl bobbed in a quick curtsey “Yes Mas’a.” She grabbed the bucket and left quickly.
As soon as she had gone Lance said “You can come out now.”
Joshua crawled back into the room and knelt silently by the wall. “Justin will be back soon then we will decide how we are going to deal with you from now on.”
There was a knock at the door. “Who is it?”
“Chris and Joey.”
Lance unlocked the door and let the two northerners inside locking it behind them. Joey went straight to the kneeling slave tilting his head to examine the scar. “Does it itch?” the slave nodded timidly. The door knocked again and Justin’s voice whispered through the wood.
Lance let him in and he stood watching as Joey smeared a salve over Joshua’s cheek.
“”Well we can safely say we got rid of the brand. Now what?” He asked.
Chris smiled and winked at him. “Now we teach him how to be a gentleman.”
A raucous laugh ripped from Justin, He wiped tears of laughter from his eyes. “He’s not going to pass as a gentleman, the first time a white man lifts his hand he’s going to go scurrying into the nearest corner, he is going to be the death of us all.”
Chris ignored the southern man and lifted Joshua to his feet. “Now I want you to listen to me. No more kneeling, no more cowering do you hear me? And you will learn to speak like a gentleman man.”
“That’s not going to work with him Chris.” Justin pushed the shorter dark haired man aside and grabbed Joshua’s arm digging his fingers painfully into his flesh. “Now you listen boy and you listen good. The next time you get on your knees or cower away from us you’ll get something to make you be scared. You will speak in real sentences, no more Black English. Now I know you grew up in the McLean house and they wouldn’t have you as a playmate for Alex if you couldn’t talk like a southerner and couldn’t be passed off as a white boy. Now you speak to me in your real voice.”
Joshua licked his lips nervously and swallowed looking from man to man. His mouth trembled as he considered his options. Swallowing hard once more he spoke. “Please master, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what you want from me. I can speak like you said, but I learned not to, I meant no disrespect sir I swear.”
Joey looked on his mouth dropped open. “That’s fucking amazing. How did you know?”
Justin smiled and winked. “I didn’t” he said “Until he told me just then.”