Lonnie waited until he put the necklace back down and turned away then he laid the fifty dollars that it cost on the counter and dropped the beads into his pocket.
”I have a call to make Joshua before we go back. You will have to come with me. We won’t be long.”
Joshua shrugged; it didn’t matter where they went, he was out of the compound and that was worth being bored for a little while.
Lonnie pulled up outside a dishevelled building on the south side of Madison and got out of the jeep. He walked around and let Joshua out then taking him by the hand led him inside. They went up a flight of stairs and Joshua turned his nose up at the filthy surroundings. Lonnie put Joshua in front of him and urged him upwards. When they reached the landing the African bodyguard ushered him into a small office and pressed him down on to a hard wooden chair.
”What are we doing here?” Joshua asked trustingly.
The big man grunted. “Business, “he answered. “You sit here and don’t speak.”
The door opened and three men came in. There was a tall blonde man with coarse stubble that covered his chin; the second man was shorter and redheaded. The third man was of Asian origin and stared blatantly at Joshua from the corner of the room.
The blonde man inhaled, making a rasping noise in his chest. “You brought the merchandise?”
Lonnie glared at the man and answered. “I said I would didn’t I?” the bodyguard grunted angrily. “The price is still as we agreed?”
The blonde man nodded his agreement. “You get first choice and can keep the resulting child.”
Joshua sat listening to the conversation and suddenly his blood ran cold. His head shot up and he met his bodyguards chocolate coloured eyes, they were devoid of emotion.
”Take him. He won’t be missed for another hour; I drugged both his father and the baby.”
Joshua jumped to his feet. “Traitor,” he screamed. “You are meant to protect me. You swore to protect me.”
The red headed man strode up to the terrified breeder and struck him across his face sending him flying across the room. “Silence breeder,” he hissed through clenched teeth.
Lonnie clenched his fists. “Touch him again and I will rip off your arms and beat you to death with them. The agreement is that I get to use him first and I like my meat un-bruised.”
Joshua crawled into a corner and huddled shaking against the wall. What was happening? Why was his faithful bodyguard turning against him, betraying him in the worse way possible?
”Don’t do this,” he begged. “Lonnie please.”
The African squatted down in front of his young charge. “It’s too late Joshua. The deal is done. I’m sorry it had to be you but I am not getting any younger and I have been denied breeding rights. Taking you is my only hope.” The big man touched Joshua's face tenderly. “Now be silent child. I can’t protect you any longer. Do as you are told and you won’t be beaten.”
Tears escaped from Joshua's beautiful blue eyes but he never spoke again. The threat of a beating made him hold his tongue. The red headed man snatched up his arm and injected him and Joshua felt the drug surging through his blood stream. The world around him started to fade and he collapsed back against the soiled wall. He reached out his hand pleadingly to his former bodyguard, tears still rolling down his face. Lonnie stood up and walked away, turning his back so that he didn’t have to watch any more.
The tall blonde man patted him on the shoulder. “It’s a good price. We get the boy and you get a child.”
Lonnie looked back at his unconscious ward. “I just wish there was another way.”
Slowly Joshua regained consciousness, his mind confused. He seemed to be bound from head to foot in what could only be described as bandages, even his face had been covered and he could only breathe through his nose which thankfully his kidnappers had left uncovered. He had the sensation of travelling close to the ground and felt every bump and jolt of the road in his spine. He whimpered pathetically and strained to kick at his prison when the vehicle in which he was being transported in stopped at a checkpoint but it was to no avail; his kidnappers had made certain that he was completely helpless. Left with no other choice Joshua slipped back into the dark oblivion of sleep.
He jolted awake as he was dragged from his prison and thrown over someone’s shoulder. He got the distinct feeling that he was descending, being taken underground and he shook with fear while his kidnappers chatted jovially with each other and congratulated each other on a job well done.
Joshua was dropped on the floor and his bindings cut. He was in a large dimly lit room with no visible windows or doors. He shivered, nude on the concrete floor and gazed up at his captors. He could hear the whimpering cries of other unfortunates and then out of the corner of his eye he saw a heavily pregnant boy being pulled along on a leash with his hands tied behind his back. Tears began to fall again as his fate became clear to him. He was in a breeding farm. He looked up pleadingly only to see Lonnie looking back down at him.
”Be a good boy Joshua. Be obedient and don’t give them a reason to beat you.”
”Let me go Lonnie please. I have a husband, a baby. If you want a child I’ll have one for you just please Lonnie please.”
One of the guards, a thin gaunt man strutted over to where Joshua lay and hit him repeatedly with a belt. “Shut it,” he hissed. “Breeders do not speak unless spoken to.” He turned on Lonnie. “You can wait in the mansion, when he has been settled you will be called for your first session.”
The gaunt man fixed his fingers into Joshua's hair and pulled him up onto his knees. “Kneel breeder,” he commanded, and Joshua stayed where he had been put trembling in fear and misery as Lonnie his only hope of saviour walked silently out of the room.
Tears that he thought had dried up started to fall again as his hair was cut, first handfuls were hacked off and then his scalp shaved to the skin. He watched bleary eyed as his crowning glory was gathered into a bag and thrown in the trash and then he was taken roughly by the top of his arm and dragged across the floor to a small cage. The gaunt man kicked open the door and thrust him inside and chained the door closed behind him. “Welcome to your new home breeder.” He taunted cruelly and then went off to deal with another crying boy.
Joshua sat on his bottom with his knees pulled up to his chest and rocked back and forth, his eyes staring into the dark distance where he could hear the crying boy being beaten mercilessly for causing a fuss. In the darkness his pathetic whimpers and pleas of mercy carried and increased Joshua's terror ten fold. He dropped his head onto his knees and tried to steel himself, forcing his fear to retreat and his eyes to stop crying. This was his fate. It had always been his fate, what he had been raised to endure since his birth and you couldn’t cheat fate no matter how hard you wanted to or tried.