Lydia had a very severe caning punishment three days ago. It was bad timing that it happened just before her annual Companion week, a week every slave on this planet must serve where they are available to be rented out to travelers and businessmen and off-planet visitors, for one night or several. James, visiting from another planet, came along with a friend just to look, and finds himself talking to Lydia.
“Are you looking for a companion for the night?” Now she looked hopeful.
James held up his hands defensively and took a step back. “No, no.” He shook his head. “I’m just here with a friend. I’m not shopping.” He mentally cursed himself. Shopping was for food. This was an enslaved woman, and where he came from, there was a big difference.
Her face fell. “Oh,” she said again.
“Do you want to have someone rent you for the night?” He was confused by her obvious disappointment.
“Sir, what I want is irrelevant. But you seem so much kinder than… and so I thought perhaps that…” Her voice trailed off as though she shouldn’t finish the thoughts. “I’ll be among the last to be chosen, and only by those with little money.”
“But you’re beautiful! Why would you be last?”
She glanced down and to the side, towards the purple stripes that were visible on her legs below the short hem of her dress.
“Because you were punished?”
“Yes, sir. Men want companion slaves who are obedient and easy to handle. My marks show disobedience. The men who will want me are the kind who aren’t as worried about the health and well-being of their slave. Or they’re aroused by the sight of my punishment and see it as an invitation to add more. “
He let a breath out as he mentally cursed himself for having the exact same thoughts. What it might be like to take her over his lap, and run his hands over the raised, tender lines before raising his hand up high and bringing it down to smack right on one of them. The shriek that would erupt from her mouth, and the frantic struggle she would put up.
“I’m sorry,” he said, though he wasn’t sure if he was expressing sorrow for her predicament, or for his daydream.