It was a strange and oddly magnificent dream. In it he was told he would receive a man that no one else could see or here,
a man that would be entirely his to do with whatever he wanted for a full year.
A ridiculous dream, but intriguing nonetheless.
His alarm snapped on, playing the radio. As always on the hour, they could never wake him up with a song or anything, but
instead played the news. Apparently some accident had occurred on some road near a major city roughly two hours away. He covered
his face with his arm and winced.
Waking up was always one of the hardest parts. He always felt tired after he woke up, like his body was telling him to quickly
retreat back into that safer place. But he wouldn't run.
He sat up with a sigh. The newscaster, whose name he could never care enough to remember, was promising songs after about
ten minutes of advertisements. He glared at the alarm clock before turning it off.
“So you're awake?”
With a mile-high jump and a strangled gasp, he turned.
“I take it you are Caius Richardson.”
The man was around six feet tall and lean, with uncut black hair and piercing violet eyes. He wore strange, lacy garments
in which he stood as he stared into his eyes. A frilly ascot and a navy blue suit adorned him, like an old-time British lord.
His hands were cuffed before him, and a chain latched him to the wall.
At his coolly assessing look, Caius felt almost frightened. There was a strange man in strange clothes chained to his bedroom
wall. What the hell should he do?
“You were told of my arrival, were you not?”
What a strange speech pattern. Still, his voice was intoxicating, almost deep. Oddly seductive, for a guy. “Told?”
He shook his head and rubbed his temple. “No-”
He flinched almost violently as he remembered the dream.
He rounded on the man. “You mean that dream was real?”
“Dream? I see. That is how the knowledge is passed.”
He seemed to be musing to himself, a wholly unhelpful way to give Caius information. “What do you mean? What knowledge?”
“You were told that I am yours for a year, correct?”
The way the man said those words made Caius' throat back up in his lungs. What exactly did he mean? He couldn't possibly mean
That voice was sensually deep. Caius felt something shift in him, and he didn't like it. “Well, I don't want to keep
you, so go home.”
“I am afraid such is impossible.”
Caius grimaced. “What? Oh. You mean the chains. Let's see if we can get those off you.” The last thing he needed
were cops coming into his room and finding this. No, it would be much better if he got the chains off himself.
“That is not-”
“Quiet. Father may hear you.” He stood from the bed and walked over to the man.
“No one can hear or see me but you. They can still bump into me, at which point they will see or hear me, but I am to
avoid that if at all possible.” His voice was a whisper.
“The hell?” Caius muttered. “Okay, whatever, buddy.” He looked over the chain. There didn't seem to
be any latch, and there was no keyhole...
“My name is Anakin of Blackburn.”
“Anakin of Blackburn, huh?” Weird name, and a weird way to say it. Why not just say Anakin Blackburn? Or was he
merely stating his hometown? What for? So Caius could give him a ride home? The man seemed important enough to be missed.
“Dammit,” Caius growled, and angrily snatched the chain and tugged it. “How the hell do you-”
The chain instantly dissolved in his hand.
Caius made a hasty retreat. “What – what the hell-”
“You are my master,” the man said. “You control whether I am free or not.”
Caius glared at the man. “What the hell are you talking about? I'm no one's master, dammit! I'm just a guy who-”
He checked his clock. “Shit! Who's going to be late for school!” He turned wildly and grabbed his bureau drawer.
He pulled out the first thing his fingers touched. He turned to the strange man. “Get out. I need to get dressed.”
“I cannot leave your side.”
In frustration, he threw the shirt in his hand. “Son of a... then cover your face with that.”
The man looked down at the shirt, and his face flashed something for a second – it looked like amused irritation. “Pathetic,”
he muttered before using the shirt as a screen.
Caius growled. Dammit, he was uncomfortable as hell having a complete stranger in his room as he dressed. Going to school
in pajamas, however, was against the rules, and he'd only be told to go back home. He grabbed another shirt and got dressed
as quickly as he could, pulling off his pants and pulling on jeans. He zipped and buttoned them before grabbing his shirt.
“What do these symbols mean?” the man asked.
Caius froze. Was the man seriously talking to him while he dressed?! “What symbols?” he groused. He began unbuttoning
“These.” The man turned the shirt in his hands. On the front it read, 'Organized people are just too lazy to look
“It's words,” Caius drawled, then stilled in his unbuttoning. “Wait – you can't read?” But that
made no sense – the man was wearing a hand-made tailored suit!
“I can read. Just not this language.” The man turned it back around. “What does it say?”
“You can't read English? Then how are you speaking it?”
There was a pause. “I do not know. Perhaps it is a part of the punishment. After all, if I cannot understand your orders,
I cannot follow them.”
“I'm not giving you any orders,” Caius snapped.
“You ordered me to hold this between us,” the man said.
“The hell-” He broke himself off. Behind his door, there was the sound of heavy footsteps. “Shit,”
“Caius! Get out here!”
“One moment, father! I'm not dressed yet!” He hurriedly undid the last button and threw the shirt off. He grabbed
the shirt he'd pulled out and tugged it on. Then he opened the door.
“What the hell are you doing in there, getting late? You better make the bus, boy.”
“I will, father.” His father was big and burly, thanks to his regular trips to the gym. He had hair of a darker
brown than Caius and eyes of a deep, dark brown. Caius hated that color, the deep animosity of it. He saw it everywhere, in
the trees and even in classrooms. The color was supposed to be earthy and calming. It never failed to put Caius on edge.
“Good. Little nothing like you should at least be good at running. Can you run from the bullies?”
“I don't get bullied, father.” At least not much.
“Yeah, you do. A little shrimp like you would be perfect bait. If you had muscle, you wouldn't be such a sissy.”
“Yes, sir.” The hell he was a sissy.
“Don't you 'yessir' me, boy.”
“That's not the least bit better. A real man wouldn't be such a pansy.”
There was no winning with this man. If he bowed to his father's will, he was a pansy. If he talked back, he was a good-for-nothing.
The man was never pleased.
“Hmph. You're gonna end up being one of those queers, I guarantee it. Just you wait, boy. You'll be taking it right
up the ass.”
“Don't you 'no, father' me. I know what I'm talking about. You have a boyfriend, fag?”
“My ass. You probably do. You probably sneak off to him in the night.”
“The hell you don't. You're a fag, pure and simple. You gonna miss that bus, boy?”
“'Cause if you do, I'm not bringing you to school. I won't be seen around a pansy-ass like you. You won't be seen as
“I won't miss the bus.”
“Don't you get smart with me, boy. You're too pussy-thin to be talking back.”
“Yes, father.” He wanted to clench his fists, but he knew his father would notice.
“Get your ass ready and get out of here. I've got to get to work.”
“Yes, father.” He waited until his father had walked back into his room from the hallway before closing the door.
“Nice man,” Anakin commented. The shirt was down by his side.
Caius snarled. Finally, finally he let his fists clench. That damn man. Why did his father think he was such a waste of space?
Just because he was skinny? Because he didn't want to build or construct for a living? In the end, because he wasn't what
his father thought was acceptable for a man to be, he was worthless. He was always labeled either a gay or a eunuch, depending
on his father's mood.
He heard the man take steps toward him. He tensed.
But the man just laid a hand on his shoulder. “Are you well?”
Caius shrugged it off. He didn't understand such a thing as comfort, and he didn't want to accept it. It would weaken him.
“I'm fine.” He turned back to his bureau and grabbed his socks. “Could you explain to me what's going on?”
“Is that an order?”
Dammit, he'd specifically spoken the question so that it wouldn't sound like an order. “No,” he growled.
“Perhaps you don't understand yet, then. I have been sent to act as your slave for a year. If you tell me to kill myself,
I will. If you tell me to kill you, I will. I am yours to command.”
Again, Caius stilled. Kill me? He shuddered. “Why?” he asked. “Why do I have that power over you?”
“This is my punishment for going against that man,” Anakin murmured. “That is all you need to know.”
“The hell?” Caius shot the man a glare and grabbed his shoes. “So...”
“Basically, for the next year, I am your slave.”
“Why?” he demanded, finishing tying his shoes and standing. “Why do I have to deal with you following
me around everywhere?”
“Do you not understand?” the man repeated. “Whatever you say, I must obey it.”
“Unfortunately, I cannot. I am to stay by your side.”
Caius wanted to scream. “Dammit, I don't have time for this!” He grabbed his bookbag and ran into the bathroom.
“You are not following me in here – I'm just going to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth.”
The man sighed as he followed into the hall. “I am not pleased to be in this position, but I must follow you.”
Caius frowned severely. “But why? I don't... dammit, why me?”
“You were the one chosen. I do not know why.”
“Fine. Stay out here, dammit. I'll be out in a few minutes.” He slammed the door behind him.
Anakin didn't follow him in, and he was allowed a few minutes of peace. He went to the bathroom, then flushed and washed his
hands, then just looked himself in the mirror. What the hell was he going to do? There was a weird man following him around,
someone who couldn't read but who wore expensive clothes, someone who apparently couldn't be seen or heard by anyone but him.
What was he doing with that man?
He grabbed his toothbrush, and only then noticed that his hands were shaking. What was he supposed to do with that man? A
year? A full year? What the hell would he do with the man for that whole time? With the man in his room watching him dress,
watching him eat, following him around everywhere he went...
He squeezed out the toothpaste and brushed hard enough to flake away the bone. What was he going to do?!
He washed away the paste and spat out the water and still he didn't have an answer. He didn't know what to do with that violet-eyed
stranger. Would he truly be trapped with that man for a full year?
His hands trembled harder when he remembered what that man had said – that if he told the man to kill him, he would.
He closed his eyes. No, that wouldn't be right. Anakin had also said that he would kill himself if told to. It would be against
his will. The man might not want to stain his hands. It would be unfair to force him. On that thought, he grabbed a towel
and wiped off his face.
“Are you truly well?”
He swiveled around. “Dammit, I told you to wait out there!”
The man frowned. “You said a few minutes. I cannot stay away from you longer than that. This Collar will start to burn
if I try.” The man pointed to the intricate metal clasped tightly around his throat. It was only then that Caius realized
his hands were still bound together.
“Shit! I'm sorry.” He moved forward and touched the chain latching the two hands together. That chain disappeared,
as well. “Sorry about that.”
Anakin's eyes bored deeply into him. “This is not how I was told things would occur.”
Caius looked up to meet the man's gaze head-on. “What do you mean?”
“I was told that the master usually becomes greedy and selfish. Perhaps it takes a while.”
Musing to himself again, Caius noted. It seemed to be a habit. “I'm not greedy, for the most part. At least, not when
it comes to other people.”
Anakin shrugged, letting his hands fall to his sides. “Whatever the case.” He looked around. “I would like
to learn the language here, and how it is written, if you will allow me.”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, sure.” Caius thought about it for a moment. “Look, I have perfect attendance. If you like,
I can skip classes today, and we can go to the bookstore or something. Maybe the library?”
“Classes are important,” Anakin reprimanded softly.
Caius felt a bubble of irritation spill over. Dammit, he was trying to help. “I know that. I was just offering.”
He turned away from the man and grabbed his bookbag. “Well, let's go, then. I can't be late.”
“Shouldn't you break your fast?”
Huh? “Oh, breakfast. No time.” He slid his backpack on and started to the door. His father was in the kitchen
eating. He didn't bother to say good-bye as he left.
The day was clear and bright, with the sun peaking over the eastern horizon in a blaze of yellows and oranges and pinks. The
clouds were outlined with the morning's majesty. The streets of the suburbs were empty but for the houses and trees and sidewalks,
silent testimony to time and place. He knew this place. He knew that house across from his, with its white balcony and meticulous
garden. And he knew that house, two houses down and to the left, where old Margery kept wildflowers growing as haphazardly
as they would in the wild.
He began the walk to the bus stop. He looked over to the man following silently beside him. “So... how old are you?”
“I have lived through twenty-eight winters.”
“Hm. I'm sixteen.”
“Sixteen?” The man looked into his eyes. “Your eyes are older.”
“What?” Caius tripped a bit, startled. He righted himself and turned back to Anakin. “What do you mean?
My eyes are...” He shook his head. “What, like wiser?”
“More mature,” Anakin corrected. “Your eyes are more mature than sixteen.”
Caius shifted, uncomfortable. He looked away. “We're almost there. I won't be able to talk to you anymore.”
“I see.” The man fell silent.
Dammit, he felt guilty just by having this guy around. “Look, you're considered... mentally unbalanced... if you're
caught talking to yourself, okay? I have enough trouble fitting in.” He hadn't meant to say that last part.
Anakin didn't say anything to that. “Where are we?”
“This is Hydrangea Circle. Up here's the bus stop. The town's name is Lowdeston.”
Caius turned silent as he approached the other students. He stood slightly away from the rest and waited. Soon the rumbling
of the bus could be heard as it trudged up the hill.
Dammit, he didn't know what to do with this guy, this random person who had just shown up from out of nowhere. If he was honest
with himself, he was scared. There was a complete stranger hovering over him.
Acting on impulse for the first time in years, he jogged away from the bus stop. Someone called his name, but he ignored it.
“What are you doing?” Anakin demanded, keeping pace beside him easily. “Where are you going?”
“Shut up,” he said softly. He couldn't think yet. He couldn't let himself. Not yet. Not yet, dammit!
He made it back to the house, which was thankfully empty. His father must have just left. He pulled out his key and entered
it into the lock, turning it. He rushed in as if hounds were on his heels and slammed the door immediately after Anakin. He
dumped his backpack on the floor and ran to his room. Anakin followed.
He rounded on the man. “Go away!” He slashed his hand through the air. “Get away from me!”
Anakin frowned and shook his head.
“I don't want you here! I'm doing fine on my own – I like being alone! So leave!”
Again, Anakin shook his head.
“Why? Why can't I be alone?” He swerved around, glaring at his bed. He never should have woken up.
His arm was grabbed, and he was turned back around. Anakin's frown was severe. He pointed to his throat.
“What?” Caius snapped.
Anakin's mouth moved, forming words. No sound came out. Why? What did he want?
Then Caius remembered that he'd ordered the man to shut up. “Oh God, oh God, I'm sorry! You can talk, I allow you to
talk.” He felt panic shudder through his system. Could such randomly spoken words, said in the heat of anger, truly
be so... so powerful?
“I apologize, but that is the one order I cannot follow.” Anakin spread his arms. “It is not my will.”
Caius' hands fluttered uselessly. “Are you hurt? Does...” His gaze fell to Anakin's throat. “Are you...”
“It left no effects. You did not order any pain on me.”
“Oh God. Oh God.” He turned away and grabbed his head. What was he going to do? What if he got angry and told
the man to jump off a cliff? By God, the man would actually do it! He had no choice!
He collapsed before his bed and clenched his hands in the covers. What was he going to do? What the hell was he going
“You left that place suddenly. May I ask why?”
“God.” The man had to get permission to ask a question. “Yes. Ask whatever you wish.”
“Thank you. Well?”
“I... I need to adjust to this, and figure out...” He couldn't seem to get his thoughts in order. “I need
to panic a little, okay?” he snapped testily.
There was a short pause, then, “all right. Do you need anything?”
“Jesus, are you always like this?” He turned to Anakin. The man was tall, lean, graceful. He truly did have the
look of a nobleman, his face soft and aristocratic. Only his nose didn't fit, and that because it was a bit too straight.
It gave an air of strength that would otherwise be lost with those deep purple eyes of his. He didn't seem the type to go
out of his way for others too often.
“Then be you, dammit! I don't want some fake around me for...” God, for a full year.
Determined to ignore him, Caius turned away and put his head on his bed. He was scared. Suddenly someone's very soul was in
his hands. If he wanted, he could make the man anything he desired. A mute, obviously, just for starters. He could strip the
man of his very will. He could accidentally kill him. Now, more than ever, he needed to keep a tight rein on his emotions.
God. He was terrified.
He clenched his hands again, then again, before getting up. He rarely did this, and only when his father wasn't around. But
still he leaned over and turned on his CD player.
“I'll get you some books to help you learn English,” he muttered as he worked. He wanted one song in particular,
the one he relied on to save him when he was scared – like right now. And he wouldn't wear headphones.
“Do you often say 'thank you'?”
“Only when it is deserved.”
Caius humphed a short laugh. “So it's deserved?”
“Yes. You needn't do such a thing for a slave.”
Caius punched in the last command with a bit too much force. “Don't call yourself that,” he hissed.
“That is what I am now.”
“Dammit, you're Anakin, not some puppet. I'll try not to give you orders...” He sighed. “I'm not a saint,
though. And I might slip, like before. Please let me know if I've ordered you somehow.”
“Is that an order?”
“No, dammit!” And Trivium's “Rain” came in blasting. He closed his eyes and soaked in the pounding
Anakin knealed and peered at the CD player with a bit of trepidation. “What is this?”
“Hm? Oh. It's a compact disk player. It plays music.”
“Uh, it reads the disk inside. I don't really know how – something about tiny bumps on the disk.” Caius
smiled. “You've never seen one before, huh? Is your town called Blackburn? Where is it?”
“No, my home is the Blackburn Estate. The city's name is Chrysalya, of the kingdom Regaliae. I am of the planet Arinna.”
Caius stared with wide eyes. “Wait – planet? You can't be serious.”
“Of course. This planet is Earth, I believe? It has strange things – a black ground as hard as rock, and a tan
one, also. Yet there is grass right beside it.”
“Uh, the 'black rock' is a road, and the other is called a sidewalk. We made them. Humans, I mean.”
His face turned quizzical. “Why? Can you not walk on grass?”
“No, we can, but cars can't, at least not easily. Cars are a man-made form of transportation, sort of like carriages
except you don't need horses to push it.”
“Strange,” Anakin commented. “So what will you do now?”
Caius listened to the lyrics of the song. “I dunno. The bookstore is first on the list, I guess. It's best... if I just
rationalize all this the best as I can, and deal with it a piece at a time.” He shrugged. “Well, we might as well
get going. I have to go to school tomorrow, after all.”
“All right.” Anakin stood.
He glared at the man. “And are you always so damn accommodating?”
“No, but this is something that I want, as well.”
Caius looked up with a small frown. The man was certainly taller than him, by quite a few inches. He hadn't quite hit a full
spurt yet, and was thus only about five foot seven or so. And the man, though his eyes were that odd purple, was strong. The
man could beat Caius easily if it came to a fight. So why was it that such a strong man had to yield to him? Who was this
so-called 'man' that Anakin was being punished by?
“Is something amiss?”
Caius jumped slightly. “Uh... no.” He looked away. “No, everything's fine.”
“We are to be together for a long time. Perhaps it would be better for you to tell me.”
Caius shook his head. There was no way he would say what he was thinking. It was never a good idea to open oneself up. “No.
I was just... it's nothing. Let's go.” He turned off his CD player and double-checked for his wallet. Reassured of its
existence, he led Anakin once again outside.
Return to Original Fiction