“Anything, what do you do?”
“I’m an artist.”
Justin smiled excitedly, “Really! What you paint like pictures?”
“Anything really, portraits, landscapes anything that takes me.” Joshua hung his head, picking at the skin at the sides of his nails.
“Yeah I can see you as the arty type, sipping your coffee and discussing the pro’s and cons of the renaissance. Do you make any money from it PB?”
“Why do you call me that? It’s not my name.”
Justin grinned, “PB, it stands for pretty-boy, cus that’s what you are sweet cheeks, a pretty little boy, and you will answer to it. Tell me something else about you.”
The willowy man never answered he just turned his back, the pulsing of the chip in his arm taking his attention. One pulse. Joshua racked his brain trying to remember what task No.1 was.
Joshua jumped, “Go fuck yourself.”
Justin’s eyes widened. “What did you say to me?”
“I said I’m not answering to your fucking stupid name. Just fuck off back to your room.” Joshua hugged his legs, his forehead resting on his knees.
Justin flushed with temper, he was in charge here. “You WILL answer to PB. Or do you prefer to have your skinny ass kicked?”
“Just leave me alone.”
Justin got up from his seat. “Give me your fucking hands” he demanded. Joshua ignored him, task No.1 be uncooperative.
“I said give me your fucking hands!”
The caged brunette laid down, his back to his jailor.
“One more time PB. Give me your fucking hands.” Still Joshua never moved. He was playing with fire and he knew it but he had to obey the rules, he needed the fee for this nightmare.
“So you want to play games?” Justin walked around the outside of the cage, and then reached through the bars, whipping away the blanket. “You get the blanket back when you decide to act correctly; actually, maybe you just need to be strapped again?”
Joshua whimpered in his cage and curled up tighter. His chip pulsed signalling the end of his task. Slowly he got up and crawled to the door on his cage. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I’ll try to be good.”
Justin brought himself up to his full height. “What’s your name slave?”
“Go to bed PB, maybe in the morning I’ll give you some clothes”
The night went slowly, Joshua tossed and turned, unable to sleep, he shivered from cold and pulled his knees up to his chest, his teeth chattering. The door to Justin’s apartments opened and Justin threw him a blanket. “I wouldn’t let you freeze. Try to sleep sweet-cheeks.”
“Yes sir.” JC hesitated, “Sir? Will I … I mean are you going to … you ... you know again?” the imprisoned man stuttered terrified that he might be beaten again.
“I don’t know PB. We are in a difficult situation. The man you see in here isn’t the man I am.” Justin paused knowing he shouldn’t really go on, but feeling he had to. “I hated it sweetness, I don‘t want to hurt you, but I will, just remember that.” Joshua sniffed back his tears that were threatening to fall once more. “Goodnight sir.”
Justin smiled to himself, “Goodnight My pretty-boy, Sweet dreams.”
“So do you have a girlfriend?” Justin asked a couple of days later as he sat on his chair watching PB eat his paste dinner, meal times hadn‘t gotten much easier on Joshua, he constantly heaved through out and seemed to be having difficulty digesting the foul gruel.
“No sir, it’s just me."
“Why are you doing this? Putting yourself through this shit? I wouldn’t think any less of you if you gave up now.”
JC almost laughed but shrugged instead. “I did something really stupid, I trusted someone that
I shouldn‘t have trusted. He broke my heart, and destroyed my life.”
“He ended it?”
JC shook his head sadly, “I wish it was that simple.”
“He set me up, ripped me off. He left me destitute; I’m on the verge of being evicted from my home. I’m in debt so deep that I can’t see a way out.
“That’s why you’re here? That’s why you are still taking this shit?”
Joshua nodded and blinked rapidly, clearing the gathering liquid from his eyes.
Justin picked at his pants. “So you’re gay then?”
JC winced, and swore softly. He hadn’t meant to let that little piece of information slip.
“Yeah.” he answered cautiously.
Justin smirked, “I pretty much figured that out for myself PB. I mean you‘re not exactly MR. Masculine are you?
“You‘d fucking know” JC muttered under his breath.
JC shrugged, “I didn‘t say anything?”
“You said something.”
“No, I didn‘t”
“Don’t fucking lie to me pretty-boy! What did you say?”
“It was just a stupid remark, it was nothing.” Joshua was beginning to get worried.
“Give me your hands.”
JC paled at the sudden change in temperament of his jailor and reluctantly turned his back and pushed his hand through the bars.
Justin rattled the key in the door lock, cussing when he realised it was the wrong one. The door eventually swung open and Justin went into the cage and grabbed JC by his hair dragging him out into the main room.
Under his skin Justin’s chip pulsed 4 times. He threw JC across the room screaming at him to get on his fucking knees. JC obeyed as his chip began to pulse at the same time.
Justin’s head was throbbing, he had to be violent. As Joshua lifted himself up Justin kicked him in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him and bending him double; he grabbed a handful of brunette curls, cruelly twisting his fist till his prisoner’s head was twisted painfully.
“I’m sorry. Please master, I’m sorry.” Joshua wept in fear, with his hands secured he was helpless and his jailor could do anything to him. “Don’t hurt me … please.”
Justin’s eyes met Joshua’s and he recoiled from the absolute terror he saw there. Dragging Joshua across the floor he thrust him back into his cell, slamming the barred door shut, locking it. He threw the keys across the room and Joshua crouched, terrorised against the wall. He stormed into his rooms, flinging open the drinks cabinet and pulling out a bottle of scotch. He took a healthy chug, then another. He leaned on the kitchen counter, his eyes closed. He had really frightened the slender man. He climbed onto his couch and took another swig of his bottle, then another. He put the television on and pulled the earphones over his head, turning it up as loud as he could bear, drowning his sorrows and his disgust with himself.
Justin woke up and lifted his head, groaning as lights exploded behind his eyes and cringing against the brass band that insisted in playing in his head. The empty bottle lying on the carpet next to him bore witness to his indulgent evening. He rolled off the couch and went to shower, letting the hot water cascade over his body, washing the stress away. He dried himself and made himself a cup of strong coffee before slouching back into his comfortable seat.
The clock striking nine roused him from yet another long nap that he had taken that day. “PB!” he leaped up and ran into the cage room, dressed only in his boxers. Joshua was lying on the floor, not moving. He fumbled with the lock; dropping to the cuffed mans side, cradling his head in his lap.
“Wake up sweet-cheeks, come on baby, PB, honey please wake up.”
Joshua whimpered and rolled his legs up to his chest. “C …c … cold.”
Justin rubbed his prisoner’s skin, trying to get the blood circulating again. He lifted the frail, feather light man into his arms and carried him into his bathroom. He lowered him to the floor, holding him around the waist, supporting him as he turned on the shower. It was painfully obvious that Joshua could not hold himself upright, so Justin got under the water with him, massaging his prisoner’s skin, rubbing the warmth into him.
JC’s eyes flickered open; pain filled his steel blue orbs.
“I’m sorry PB; I didn’t mean to leave you so long.” Justin lifted him out of the shower wrapping him in a towel. He carried his weakened prisoner to the couch, and laid him down. Justin made sure JC was comfortable then went into the kitchen, mixing up a bowl of JC’s gruel, using boiling water so that it would be something hot inside him. Sitting by his prisoner’s side he lifted his head and spooned the gruel into JC’s mouth.
JC choked on the tasteless paste and tried to turn his head away. “Eat it PB. You need to eat.”
The frail prisoner stopped fighting and choking back a sob opened his mouth and accepted the remaining food, gagging as he swallowed. Tears run down his face, leaving his eyes red and puffy. Justin held a glass of water to JC’s lips and he drank thirstily.
“Let me dry you,” Justin said as he started to rub JC’s body. When he was satisfied that he was dry, Justin lifted his prisoner up. Back in your cell PB,”
JC sobbed and shook his head. “No, please.”
“PB you have to. I can’t leave you un-caged.”
“But it’s so cold. I’ll be good I promise.” JC’s eyes brimmed with un-spilt tears as he looked up pleadingly with his jailor.
“Back in your cage.” Justin hauled JC to his feet and pulled him back into the main room and pushed him into the cage, padlocking the door behind him. JC crawled onto his thin mattress and drew his knees up to his chest, crying softly into the smelly fabric. Justin watched him silently, his own eyes stinging. Never had he felt so cruel. An irresistible urge to unlock the cage and comfort the slim man almost over took him. Instead he went back into his own quarters and collected a blanket. He pushed it through the bars, draping it over JC’s nakedness. He crouched down. “Go to sleep PB. We’ve got a long way to go and it’s going to be tough on both of us, especially you.”
JC never answered.