“I see you’ve been trained well,” his voice was a lot stern this time; he referred to her politeness. He heard some slaves could be defiant to their masters. “Yana is it?” Her name rolled in his tongue. “Yana, from now on you will live here with me in the penthouse. You will room with Mrs. Novac, the help. She’s got your bed all set up,” he got up from his seat, walking past her to the handsome drawer in the other side of the office. He opened one of the drawers and took out a box and walked back to where she was standing. “Wear this,” he said, now he stood in front of her for the first time. She was a lot shorter compared to him to seemed to tower everybody but she wasn’t awkwardly short next to him. He studied her face once again now that they were face to face. He opened the box and revealed a simple band- much like the ones slaves around the city wore. “You are to wear this at all times. This is to let everyone in the city know you have a master,” he took her right hand, which he found was quite soft, and slipped the ring in her ring finger. “Now,” he took a step back and sat on his table, arms folded across his chest, “tell me, who was your last master?” He didn’t know why it came out, possibly because he had been thinking about it. But he was curious and his curiosity was eating him, thinking someone owned her before him.
Yana closed the door quietly behind her with her front still turned to him, she didn’t know why but he was still a stranger and she didn’t want to have her back turned. She stayed quiet as he drank her in, she knew very little about slavery but the horror stories that surpassed her ears. She’d never heard of pleasant masters and yet her brother hadn’t spoken ill but she posed submissive. She’d be like him. Quiet, dutiful, she was here so why make it worse than it already was? She’d do most of what she was told in fear that he may turn on her as humans with control often did.
“I haven’t been trained at all” she piped, though she wondered if it was wrong to disagree with her own master, yet she was being honest. She wasn’t aware of how this worked, what to do or say. She found herself questioning every movement she made with her frail body. She nodded as he spoke her name again, it felt natural in his mouth and she wondered what his name may be. She’d been told only briefly to refer to him as master; he didn’t have a name unless he told her it. “Yes sir” she said quickly after, unsure of whether a simple nod was rude. She remained still; let her body speak no words as she stayed standing by the door. She knew it was the only place in the room that she felt safe, by an exit and yet she knew if she’d ever walked out that door without permission she’d be punished.
She stared at the velvet box he had placed in front of her, his close presence made her uneasy but she hid it will, let her increased heartbeat grow steady. She looked down at the ring, she’d heard of it and she’d seen the same type of ring on her brother’s hand as he lay dying. It was silly how much it symbolized, once it rested on her finger her freedom was all but finished. But she felt nothing as he grabbed her delicate hand, placed it there, he owned her now. “Yes- master” she tried, uneasy with the sound that trickled from her mouth.
She shook her head, “You’re my first master” she spoke again, thought of the university that she had left. She did not know how much of her past she could reveal, should reveal… She didn’t even know you could have several masters within a lifetime. It made her curious about her brother, how many he may have had. “Slavery, is in my family” she said, thinking of her older brother. “It’s in my blood” she said again.
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