R. C. SmithShort Stories and Vignettes

Do not read my works if you are offended by descriptions of sexuality and violence.
(Do not read them just for those descriptions, either.)

Instruction Hour

Audio read by Meri Paite (6:06)

It’s always the same. The girls are different each time, of course, but since they are only here to listen, this doesn’t make much difference. To them, it does, but not to me, the one they have to listen to. Only for about an hour, just some words to make them acquainted with their new situation. Sometimes there is a new group two or three times a day, sometimes once every few days. Usually about a dozen girls, but that number varies, too. And so do their looks — body types, hair and skin color — and probably their origins. It depends on the season, on the market, on the wars and on politics …

In the beginning, I had cared — I had looked into their eyes, I had looked at their naked bodies, trying to read them for signs of what went on in their minds — little signs, necessarily, as they were standing with their ankles bound with short ropes between them, their hands tied behind their backs, and under strict orders not to move and not to make any sounds. I still look at their faces and their bodies, of course — where else would I look in this barren hall? — but I have lost interest in them, in who they had been, and what they were about to become, and what it made them think or feel …

Most of them would soon be dead, anyway. Or they’d wish they were dead. I was there to tell them.

We don’t train them — we are responsible for their looks, and their physical health, but not for their skills, or their minds. We wouldn’t even have to tell them what I’m telling them, but we found that it made things easier, both for them and for their buyers. Or maybe it just makes things easier for us, by scaring them into more manageable behavior, the short time they stay on our premises.

You’ll not be sold as toys, but as slaves, I tell them. Toys cannot do anything wrong. Toys are just played with. It is easy for them — they just suffer and die.

You will suffer, too, and die, but not so quickly. And as long as you live, you will have a duty to serve your owners. All you have is this duty, you have no rights. When you do something wrong, you will be punished. When you do something right, no matter how hard it is, you will not be rewarded. And right or wrong are only for your owner to decide.

There are obvious rules, I tell them. You will do whatever you are ordered to do. You will not do anything you’ve not been ordered to do, with the exception of breathing, but even that is a privilege that can be revoked. And, most important, you will never flinch.

And then I give them the example that I use to make them understand. When your owner tells you to take the pot from the oven, I say to them, then you take it. No matter how hot it is. When you are ordered to take it, its weight or its temperature are not your concern. And then you hold it, until you are told to put it down. And when it has been so hot that in putting it down you rip the burned skin off your hands and it is now sticking to the pot’s surface, then expect to be punished for damaging your owner’s property.

It’s a stupid example to give, but it does give them an idea of what they’ll have to face, and how they’ll have to face it. At least I hope it does. Or I used to hope it, when I still cared. I tell them a bit more of the same, I watch their reactions, out of habit — some look horrified, some cry, some look as if they were close to fainting, and some are even aroused — I can see their slightly parted lips, their stiff nipples and swollen labia. Will it be easier for them than for the others? Or will they be treated more severely? I do not know, I never know what becomes of any of them. I only know that, sooner or later, their buyers return to buy new ones.

My speech is done. I turn away, I do not look at them as they awkwardly but silently hobble out of the small hall, back to their quarters, where they will receive final preparations before the auction. I do not look at the open door through which they go, through which a fresh breeze of air comes in and the sound of birds can now be heard. I do not look at the scarred palms of my hands, either.


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