Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Written because I just wanted to write something fun.
Carlie hadn’t meant to end up at a slave market.
She’d been aiming for – well, to be honest, she wasn’t aiming for anywhere, more away from. She wasn’t exactly in a hurry but she was trying to keep moving. She might not have anyone on her tail, but it wasn’t the sort of thing one really wanted to find out.
But her horse was getting tired, she as getting tired, and there was a roof, which seemed like a really good idea. Portable-shade was a decent Working, but it was still a Working, and that meant it took energy. Energy took fuel. She’d had to leave half of her supplies behind in the last place, and the next Group safe-house she knew about was at least two days away, if she wanted to lean on the Group. Again.
So here she was, under a roof, thinking it was a market and she could trade something in her remaining stores for some fuel. And the first thing she came upon was a cage.
No, a row of cages. They came to hip-high, they were about as long as they were tall, and they were made of a mesh like a dog kennel only thicker. Every single one of them was padlocked shut. very single one had a man or woman in it, more than half of them in thick wooden collars and the other half in equally-thick steel collars.
She needed to get out of here before she ended up on the other side of those padlocks. She needed to get far gone before her horse ended up either in a stable for sale or in a pot for meat. She needed to leave, leave, leave as casually as possibly.
She locked eyes with a man in a cage and started mentally inventorying her stocks. If she was here to buy, she thought, well, they didn’t enslve their customers. That would be bad business.
He had green eyes, notched black cat ears, and a scowl that showed off a lot of teeth. He’d been beaten, he’d been in a couple bad fights, and all four of his limbs were shackled to the edges of the cage.
He was naked, too, and there was something in the set of his back and the way his snarl twisted that suggested maybe it wasn’t so much the chains as the person who’d put them on him who was the problem.
She knelt in front of the cage and looked at him. “Can you ride?”
He started to answer and stopped, nodded, gritted his teeth.
“Do you bite?”
He grinned, showing her all his teeth – except two that had been broken.
“Well then. Think you’re worth your purchase price?”
He looked startled by the question. After a moment, much more uncertainly, he nodded.
“I guess I’m buying you today, then.” A pity she couldn’t buy the whole market. “Try not to let me regret it, okay?”
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