The other day, i was chatting on a completely benign subject with a friend of mine who resides on the complete opposite side of the continent from i, when a very vivid image of a scene came into my head. Amidst our amicable catch up, i started writing down the pictures and the narrative that came attached with it, fleshing out characters and actions and speech. What follows is the opening of the story that pronounces the imagery that had slid into my head.
I'm not certain what i'll do with it. I don't know if i'll continue it. I don't know if i'll make it a subscription-only piece of fiction. I have no idea what will happen beyond this post. All i know is that i offer to you, the reader, the opening to what i've come to think of in my head as "The Price".
During the day, I work in the financial district of Lower Ambourdy. I've managed to amass a good amount of wealth by managing the money of the affluent. These upper crust members of the population acquired this surplus through various ways. Some entrepreneurial, a few through windfalls that brought a sudden cashflow, but most of it inherited. The old money came about through the hard work, the cheating, the conniving, the finagling, and backstabbing of their ancestors - but most importantly on the back's of indentured servants and slaves.
I can make this harsh pronouncement firstly because it's true - I've seen it in person. Secondly, because having my own expanding bank account, I too have relied on the fruits of bondage. Now currently, at the moment, I do not have any chattel in my possession. However, that will change come week's end.
For the past decade, I foreswore myself off the practice of human trafficking, and for many years, I'd been successful at keeping those yearnings at bay. Perhaps the pressure of my career (which is an excuse, I know) leads me to reconsider my prohibition. In actuality, I understand that it is the utter abyss of soullessness that surrounds me at every turn in my vocation - the pursuit of money and nothing else is a carcinogen of the worst form - that I find myself dialing dark numbers, recalling old cryptic passwords I once had set to memory, and making cash withdrawals from my bank in only small bills. I feel the same revulsion at my decision to go this route as I did years past, but I also feel a familiar sublime weightlessness that accompanied the guilt and self-doubt.
Exactly two weeks ago, I acquired in my possession a new charge through contacts I had in the underground market, and assuming her medical examination passes without any alarms, she is to be delivered to my residence by Noon on Sunday. I assigned my sergeant-at-arms with the task of personally conducting the search for the hired girl. In a period of five months, he examined well over 300 females, in different venues scattered about the Sound Staten proper. In regards the one he selected, his report has her as young, early 20's, very quiet and shy, and of exceptional refinement. He said that throughout the entire time he spent scrutinizing her, she only said - actually, yelled - one thing. She didn't demand that he stop his manhandling, or cease his drudgery, instead she insisted with four words.
"PLEASE - KEEP ME PURE!"
I can't imagine what this means, and it has me quite frankly intrigued. Is this creature's purity so precious that in the midst of being sold as an object, she must pronounce its sanctity to the evaluating audience? The urgency in her tone, aroused me, but her apparent acceptance of her fate gave me a deeper fulfillment. I allowed myself to sink back into old habits where each breath I respire has an immediate purpose. That of torment, pain, transformation. Every thought, every daydreaming moment focused on this girl's arrival and my preparation for it. Thankfully, I remembered lessons I'd learned from past experiences that stayed fresh on my mind as I continued to stretch my mental faculties. It's crucial that I avoid learning too much about these girls before they arrive, and I absolutely never ask for their name. Once they enter my chambers, their past becomes a shadow that only they can see.