Okay, so the Rat is in deep doo-doo, and in this chapter we’ll start to see just how deep it really is. And if he thinks he wasn’t all that popular at school, just wait until he finds out how this collection of Africans is going to treat someone who has been described to them as an arrogant white racist…
I should say at this point that I was absolutely stunned by the volume of mail I received after the previous chapter was posted. I'd hoped for a bit of reaction, but the sheer number of replies I got was amazing. I should admit that not all of them were entirely favourable, but even the negative ones were polite and well-reasoned, and it was astonishing to find out how many people out there care about what is happening to David. So I'd like to thank everyone who took the trouble to write to me, and to reassure his fans that, although David still has some bad experiences ahead, this is the last chapter that is going to contain nothing but negative experiences for him.
David sat in his cupboard trying to think. He was more scared than he had ever been in his life, but he knew that if he was going to survive he had to start thinking clearly. He tried to sort out in his head what he knew about his situation.
First, it was real. He had no choice but to accept this: he was certain that Dhif would not have had him flown all this way just to scare him. And he had no doubt that he really was in Africa – the temperature, and the strong sunlight, and the view from the windows in Ali’s room of harsh stone mountains visible beyond an ornate wall – were enough on their own, without taking into account the cast of blacks and North Africans he had seen in the palace so far.
Second, he was on his own here: once Dhif had left he would be alone in a foreign country, one in which he couldn’t speak the language. Well, in a way that wasn’t so bad: he was, after all, used to being a loner and to relying on nobody except himself.
And third, his position here couldn’t be worse: he was utterly at the mercy of a ten- or eleven-year-old boy with the power of life and death over him, and of two black boys whose entire existence and manner of thinking were totally alien to him.
He reviewed what he had learned over the past two or three months. First, arguing, shouting and being rude would get him absolutely nowhere: that hadn’t worked with the Devlins, and it certainly wouldn’t work here, where his punishment would be appreciably worse than being made to sleep in an attic. Second, complaining to the authorities was a non-starter, too: here Ali was the authority, and even if he somehow managed to speak to Ali’s father, it looked as if it would make no difference, because apparently Ali had total freedom to run his household in the way he wanted.
Okay, so those reactions were out of the question. That left escape, which he discarded immediately: even if he could steal some clothes and get out of the palace and over the wall, where could he go? He had no money, he couldn’t speak the language, and he didn’t even know for certain which country he was in. Okay, probably it was Algeria – he’d looked up Dhif’s father’s home town in the atlas months ago – but he couldn’t be sure, and in any case, Algeria was a huge country.
Rescue? That seemed unlikely, too: as Dhif had said, nobody knew where he was, or even where to start looking. He thought that maybe now he had a couple more friends than Dhif gave him credit for: Michael certainly qualified now, and Joe, and of course Jordan had been his friend throughout – and probably Garrett would stand up and be counted if it came to the crunch. But according to what Dhif had said they were all two thousand miles away… no, he was definitely on his own.
He had found out with the Devlins, and with the cubs, that co-operation was the route that got the best results. The same was true of both Sherwood and Osterley, and Pope, too: when he did what he was told without arguing or trying to resist, they had treated him fairly. This would be harder: he would have to set aside his innermost feelings about race. In this place he had been put in a position of inferiority to blacks and North Africans, and he knew that if he failed to accept that he would be severely punished. And now that Dhif had told Ali about his racial beliefs he knew that everyone here would be looking to make him suffer for them. In this place, he was in the position that Dhif had been in at KEV: the one who doesn’t belong. Except, of course, that at KEV most people hadn’t felt the way he did about non-whites, whereas here it was a certainty that everyone would be out to treat him like dirt.
He knew he would have to accept that and not try to fight against it. Instead he would have to do the work he was given without argument, treat everyone in the palace politely, and submit to whatever appalling sexual mistreatment they had lined up for him – although he was convinced that if he was forced to take Ali or any of his servants in his mouth, he would puke. And as for the twins… well, that didn’t bear thinking about. Being violated by a black penis was the worst thing he could imagine – except, perhaps, for being castrated…
He put that thought away: Dhif had said it wouldn’t happen until his sixteenth birthday, unless puberty finally reached him first, which he thought unlikely. And that gave him a whole year to try to win Ali and the twins over: if he showed them that he was a good, obedient and willing slave, maybe they would change their minds about… doing that to him.
Yes, he decided: the only way to survive here is going to be obedience and politeness. If I can be a good slave, maybe they won’t hurt me…
He had no idea how long he had been sitting in the dark when the door opened once more and one of the twins gestured for him to come out. He already had a strategy planned here, so as soon as he was out in the room with them he dropped to his knees and bowed until his head hit the floor. Then he raised his head again, but remained on his knees waiting for orders.
The twins grinned at him, their teeth looking very white, but they didn’t say anything. Okay, thought David, I’ll go first. He pointed to his chest and said, clearly, “David.” And then he pointed to the first twin and raised his eyebrows.
The twin simply laughed, pointed at him and said something that sounded like ‘Kikem’.
“My name is David,” said David, pointing at himself again.
The twin waggled a finger at him. “Kikem-mm-u-w”, he said.
David looked at him, and after a moment the twin raised a hand to indicate that he should wait, and then left the room. The other one just stared at him without speaking.
A couple of minutes later the first one came back. He was carrying something in his hand, and when he put it on the floor and it skittered away David saw that it was some sort of beetle – a cockroach, he thought.
“Kikem”, said the twin, pointing at the departing cockroach. And “Kikem” he said again, pointing to David and grinning.
Well, that was clear enough: apparently he was still shrinking, from Rat to Gerbil to Cockroach. At least there wasn't anything lower he could be compared to next... and there was no point in arguing: he'd already decided not to argue or protest at anything. So he pointed at himself again and said “Kikem,” trying to get the intonation the same as the twin had. Both boys burst out laughing and nodding: yes, apparently David was now called 'Cockroach'.
Okay, he thought, that's my name sorted out. He pointed at the nearest twin and raised his eyebrows.
“Kuyo,” said the first one, and then pointed at his brother and added “Yeyne”.
David repeated the names, trying to get the intonation right, and accepted a correction from the first one, who then added a longer phrase, of which David obviously didn't understand a single word. He gave an apologetic shrug.
“You can see how much fun you're going to have once I've left now, can't you?” said a voice from the doorway, and there was Dhif grinning at him.
Dhif spoke to the twins in Arabic and got a hesitant reply.
“You have to swear obedience to them,” Dhif translated. “Apparently they need you to do that to formalise the relationship.”
“Well, I'll swear, but I can't do it in any language they'll be able to understand.”
Dhif spoke to the twins, and the first one – Kuyo – replied to him. David had noticed that Kuyo had a scar on the outside of his left knee, which at least meant that he could tell which of them was which.
“Okay, all you have to do is to repeat exactly what he says,” Dhif told David. “You won't understand it, but that doesn't matter as you're going to have to do exactly what they tell you anyway. It's just a formality.”
So, three or four words at a time, David repeated the oath. He caught the name 'Kikem' in the early part of it, but that was the only thing he understood.
“That's it,” said Dhif, when he'd finished. “You are now officially their property. They'll find you a collar later. Now, in a minute I'm going to explain your duties to you, so you'd better listen carefully, because you won't get another chance to hear this in English.”
He had a conversation with the twins, both of them contributing to the discussion. This was shorter than David had expected.
“Okay, this is fairly simple,” said Dhif. “Your main duty is to keep this room clean, and to fetch and carry for the twins. That won't take long, so the rest of the time you'll be loaned out around the palace to help the lower grade slaves with their work. Your work can be interrupted at any time if a servant or slave wants you to suck his penis – you'll do that for everyone on demand. The good news is that only the twins are allowed to fuck you, but the bad news is they'll probably want to do it quite often.
“My cousin has the right to demand you to attend him whenever he wants, of course. One of the twins is generally with him a lot of the time, except when he's in school or at his prayers, so most of the time you'll stay with the other one, unless you're working elsewhere in the palace. We'll work out a full timetable for you over the next couple of days. On Fridays you'll probably be kept in here all day – Friday is the day of prayer, but the twins are not Muslim and so they generally stay here for most of the day.
“That's probably all you need to know for now – unless you have any questions?”
“Well... they've told me their names, but probably I should call them 'Sir' or 'Master', or something. Can you ask them how to say that in their language?”
“I see you're learning to grovel already,” said Dhif, grinning. “Good.”
He spoke to the twins, who grinned at him, and Kuyo gave a short reply.
“Actually,” said Dhif, “they haven't told you their names – not their real ones, anyway. Those are secret except within their own village. The names they've given you simply mean 'One' and 'Two', but they'll be enough for you – they're all anyone here knows, including my cousin. And the word for 'Master' is 'Kpey', so if you call them that it'll help you to remember that they're in charge, even though they have nasty, horrid, dark-coloured skin. Now, we're going for a little walk: they want to beat you for attacking me earlier, and they don't want blood all over their floor, so we're taking you to the punishment room. Come on.”
The twins led them back along the corridor, down the stairs, along a further passage and down some more stairs into what was obviously a basement room.
“Uro-asoro”, announced Yeyne, opening a door.
Dhif asked a question and told David, “That means, roughly, 'the house of wrongdoing'. You'd better remember the name, because I'm sure you'll be coming here a lot.”
It wasn't quite the medieval torture chamber David had been expecting, but it was bad enough: along one wall was a row of hooks from which hung several different whips, and in the centre of the room was an A-frame, to which the victim could be tied.
“Get in position against the frame, and we'll sort out which set of straps to use,” Dhif said. “You'll probably be coming here every day, so you might as well learn how to get yourself ready. Stand with your legs spread and your feet against the foot of the frame – yes, like that – and strap your ankles into position. Okay, now your knees – you can't reach? You can remove the waist bar if you pull it towards you... okay, good. Use the second set of straps, I think, the ones just above the knee... right. Now put the bar back and lean forward against it, so it's pressing against your stomach. Perfect. And now if you stretch your arms up towards the apex of the frame... Good. Okay, one of the twins will need to tighten the wrist straps...”
One of the twins reached up and did just that, and David found himself immobilised, his feet about twenty-four inches apart and his arms stretched above his head, with the bar across his stomach stopping him from moving forwards. He was very much aware of how exposed he was like this, with both his genitals and his bottom completely unprotected, but there was nothing he could do about it. He swore to himself that he would take this punishment without begging for mercy: his future might well depend on showing the twins that he wasn't a pathetic little baby.
The twins wandered down the rack of whips, apparently discussing which one to use. Eventually they picked one they both liked and came and showed it to David.
“Bulahla,” said Kuyo, holding it in front of his face. David said nothing, and the black boy repeated the word, holding the whip even closer to him.
This seemed hardly the time for a language lesson, but David supposed he had to learn the name of the instrument, so he repeated “Bulahla”, and Kuyo seemed satisfied. So now David knew that a 'bulahla' was a fairly short whip – like a larger version of the Devlins' riding crop - maybe two and a half feet long, that looked very flexible, and that was made out of some sort of leather.
“How many?” he asked Dhif, trying to keep his voice from trembling.
“Six. I've told them that's the traditional number where you come from – which is lucky for you, because apparently nine is more usual here, for some reason. Of course, if all of us took three each... but I'm just going to let them do it. I expect I'll enjoy watching, though.”
The first twin took aim and delivered the first blow, and it hurt – oh, God, it hurt. But David had been beaten before, and this was no harder than Sherwood had done it using the riding crop at home, so he managed to do no more than gasp. Blows two and three were no worse. But when the other twin took over his blows started landing on top of the earlier ones, and that was far worse. David cried out in agony as each one landed, and after the third one he felt as if his bum was on fire. And he couldn't move, which made it worse: he couldn't hold his buttocks, or jump about, or do any of the other things that make the pain more bearable.
And then they released him, and he was able to hold his bottom – and he was surprised to discover that it wasn't bleeding.
“That was far lighter than usual,” Dhif told him. “They're trying to break you in gently. Kuyo says the next one will be a lot harder, and you'll get a double ration, too, so you'd better not do anything to annoy them. Now, it'll be time for evening prayers soon, so you need to get back to the twins' room.”
Kuyo handed David the whip, which surprised him.
“You have to keep this in the twins' room,” Dhif told him. “They might not bother coming down here every time. Okay, go – see if you can remember the way.”
David stumbled up the stairs – his bottom was really sore, which made walking difficult – and then back through the palace to the twins' room. Dhif left them at the door, presumably to go and get ready for prayers, and the twins simply took the whip from him, hung it on a hook behind the door, and ushered him into his closet.
“Na!” said Kuyo, pointing at the mattress.
David wasn't sure if that meant 'There' or 'Lie down' or 'Bed', and nor did he care. He lay down on his side and curled up into a foetal position. Kuyo closed the door and David heard the lock turn.
The mattress was thin enough that he was able to roll the top over to make a pillow, but he had no blanket, so he hoped it wasn't going to get cold in the night. And there was another problem: he hadn't been able to pee at any time since he had woken up in the store room. He wondered if he should knock on the door and ask permission to go to the toilet, wherever the nearest one was, but he thought that disturbing the twins would be a bad idea. He held it in as long as he could, but in the end he had to just pee against the wall in the far corner of the room. He hoped he wouldn't be punished for it the next day...
He woke up next morning when one of the twins opened his door and beckoned him out into the room. He had no idea what the time was, but there was bright sunshine coming in through the window, which suggested that he had slept through the night. And that was good, because it demonstrated that the night temperature didn’t fall low enough to be uncomfortable.
He felt a bit better this morning: at least the headache had gone, and he could think more clearly than when he had woken up the previous day still fuzzy from whatever drugs he had been given. But he was hungry: he hadn’t eaten anything since lunchtime on the Tuesday. He didn’t know what day it was, but he guessed it was probably Thursday.
He knelt in front of the twins and bowed, as he had the previous day. And then one of them sniffed and went into the closet, and came out again looking angry. He rattled off a sentence of which David understood not a word, though it was fairly clear that he was being berated for urinating in the closet.
“Sorry,” he said, knowing that they couldn’t understand him. “I had to go.”
They scowled at him. “Bulahla,” said Yeyne.
“Oh, please, no…” David caught himself and stopped: he had promised himself not to beg. He stood up, fetched the whip from the hook behind the door and presented it to Yeyne, kneeling as he did so.
“Bulahla, Kpey Yeyne,” he said. “Uro-asoro?”
“Hon,” said Yeyne, waggling a finger at him. He pointed to the table at the side of the room. “Gunggu-yu.”
Did that mean fetch it, or lie across it, or what? David walked across to the table and hesitated.
“Gunggu-yu,” repeated Yeyne, and when David still dithered he came and demonstrated by bending over the edge of the table, his legs slightly apart and his hands gripping the far edge. He stood up and David assumed the same position, and Yeyne whipped him three times, though no harder than he had the previous night. But because each blow landed on the previous day’s bruises it still hurt like hell, and David couldn’t stop himself screaming, or hopping about holding his buttocks afterwards.
The twins watched him, grinning at each other and apparently commenting on his performance, and then they marched him back through the palace towards the punishment room. But before they got there Yeyne opened a door and pushed him into what was a very basic toilet, with three holes on the floor. A young brown-skinned boy with a light chain around his neck was squatting over one, his robe bunched around his waist, and he stared at David in surprise: probably, David though, he had never seen a white boy before, and certainly not a stark naked one. Not trusting himself to hit the target standing up he knelt in front of the hole furthest from the other boy and urinated, uncomfortably conscious of the other boy’s eyes on him.
He finished and stood up. There was no visible flush mechanism and nowhere to wash his hands. There was another door in the far wall, but he didn’t know whether it went to a washroom or somewhere else where he wouldn’t be welcome, so instead he went back the way he had come in.
“Diyahsu,” said Yeyne, pointing at the room he had just used. David filed the word away, thinking that he was going to have to work hard at remembering everything the twins taught him: he didn’t think they’d be happy if they had to repeat the lesson.
He was good at languages: he’d been learning Latin and French for five years now, and Ancient Greek for two, and while the twins’ language was obviously completely unrelated to any of these, at least he had some idea of basic grammar and how sentences are constructed. And he knew that if he could at least manage some basic communication with the twins his situation might improve, which was a far better incentive to learn than avoiding his teachers’ red pens at school.
He was nonetheless happy when Dhif appeared in the corridor: at this stage an interpreter was still essential.
“I’m glad to see you’re not lounging around in bed,” Dhif greeted him. “First thing you have to do each day is collect the twins’ breakfast. They don’t eat with the rest of the servants – at least, not at this time of day. Come with me and I’ll show you where you get their food.”
He led David along the corridor and into a room that had a large hatch in the wall.
“That’s the kitchen, through there,” Dhif said. “It’s in my uncle’s part of the palace, but they do the cooking for this side as well. You have to go to the hatch each morning and ask for the twins’ rice – that’s all they eat for breakfast. I’ll show you.”
He went to the hatch and said something in Arabic, and someone on the other side handed him two bowls of rice.
“Remember that sentence,” Dhif told him. “You’ll need it every morning. Now you take these back to the twins’ room, wait until they’ve finished, and then bring the empty bowls back here. Well, what are you waiting for?”
“Well… am I going to get anything to eat? Only I haven’t eaten anything for ages…”
“Depends if the twins think you’ve earned it. If you like I’ll come with you and ask them.”
“Yes, please, Dhif. Look…”
“Nothing,” said David, though it was taking all his self-control not to fall on his knees and plead to be taken home. But he was sure that if he did that Dhif would just laugh at him.
They went back to the twins’ room and they took the bowls, squatted down on their mattresses and started to scoop rice out of the bowls and eat it using their fingers. Dhif spoke to them in Arabic, and Kuyo beckoned David over, scooped out a bit of rice and held it out to him. David held out his hand and Kuyo dumped the rice into it, and David stuffed it into his mouth, and then held his hand out again. Yeyne gave him a little too.
“How do I say ‘Thank you’?” David asked.
“Surely you don’t have to thank niggers for anything, Rat?” said Dhif, sarcastically. “I mean, they’re scarcely human, are they?”
He spoke to the twins.
“The word you want is ‘albarka’,” he relayed. “I’d use it a lot if I were you.”
David duly used it, twice, and the twins ignored him.
When they had finished eating David took the bowls back to the kitchen hatch and was then given a guided tour of the whole palace, so that he would know where to go if the twins sent him anywhere. The upper floor held the servants’ quarters and dining area and Ali’s bedroom, office, bathroom and toilet (which David was strictly forbidden to enter except on a direct order from Ali). The ground floor contained the slave quarters, the school room – although apparently Ali also sometimes studied in his uncle’s part of the palace – and Ali’s dining room and day-room (which was where David had first met him).
They took him out into the garden, which was a lot greener than David had expected, with palm trees of various sorts and beds of grasses and flowers.
“We’ll be very careful how long you spend out here to start with,” Dhif told him. “It might be funny watching you screaming with sunburn, but you won’t be able to work like that, and that’s what you’re here to do. So I’ve told the twins to break you in gently and gradually increase the time you spend out here until you’re properly acclimatised.”
At one side of the garden was the stable block, where Ali’s horses were kept.
“You’ll probably be working here quite a lot,” Dhif told him. “Shovelling horse-shit is about what you’re best suited for.”
The basement held only the punishment room and some storage rooms, and that was the tour over. Dhif showed David where the cleaning materials were stored, and he spent the rest of the morning cleaning the twins’ room and scrubbing away at the corner of his closet where he had urinated the previous night.
As they had moved through the palace they had seen a number of other boys at work, but although the boys had stared at David, they hadn’t stopped to speak to any of them. But while the twins were eating their midday meal Dhif took David to the slave quarters. There were a dozen boys there between the ages of about eight or nine and around fourteen, sitting on benches and eating, and Dhif called for their attention and spoke to them for a minute or so. David couldn’t understand what was being said, of course, but whatever it was seemed to amuse the slave boys no end. He was then taken upstairs to the servant quarters, and the six boys there were given the same explanation. Here Dhif told David the boys’ names, though he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to remember all these foreign names for very long.
“Now everyone in the palace knows all about you,” Dhif told him. “And I’m sure they’ll all enjoy showing you what they think of snooty white racists before too long.”
David had noticed something about the household, and so he asked, “How come all the slaves are… well, how come none of them are black?”
“There have been black slaves here in the past, and my uncle has a couple now. But slavery is still a culture here, especially among the nomadic tribes of the desert. Some of these boys were born slaves; others were paid for, one way or another.”
“And why aren’t there any girls here? I’d have thought… well, a boy who can do anything he wants… well, you know.”
“Ali will probably start taking female slaves in a year or two, but he’s not interested in girls yet. Once he reaches puberty he’ll start to find out about them, though: my uncle will arrange some sort of introduction for him, I expect. But until then girls are not allowed here: it would distract the older servants and slaves.”
“Oh. Well, about that… look, Dhif, are you sure that… you know, about you and Southgate? I mean, couldn’t your uncle find you a girl to… well, try things with? I’m sure if you did, you’d find it more… well… better than…”
“Oh, you’re sure, are you? And the Great Rat is never wrong, of course. Except I can’t think about girls since… look, just keep your stinking mouth shut, okay?”
“Sorry. But I know how you feel, because…”
“You don’t know how I feel! You’re nothing like me, Rat! And I told you to shut up, so shut up, or I’ll have you flogged all afternoon.”
He marched David back to the twins’ room, where he was just in time to take their empty bowls back to the kitchen hatch. And then he was simply put back into his cupboard and left there until the time came for the evening meal. Dhif came and fetched him, telling him that the twins usually ate with Ali at supper time, and that he would therefore have to eat with the other slaves. Dhif took him to the slave quarters, where he was given a bowl of mutton stew and a piece of flat bread to eat it with, but the other slaves wouldn’t let him sit on the benches: instead he was made to eat sitting on the floor. But he didn’t care: it was food, and he was starving, and he ate it greedily.
He was left in the slaves’ quarters for about an hour after the meal, and then Dhif came and collected him, taking him, and all the slaves, to Ali’s day room. All the servants were there, too, as well as Ali himself, reclining on his pile of cushions once again.
“And now you’re going to get the payback for the other thing that happened to me after that damned meal,” Dhif told him. “You’re going to find out what it’s like to have your manhood taken from you, except you’ve got a much bigger audience, and the twins are much bigger than your friend Fielding.”
David was tied down over a low table, his legs spread wide. He knew what was going to happen, and if it had never have happened to him before he’d have been terrified. But of course by now he’d been fucked several times, even though Dhif obviously didn’t know that.
But when Kuyo removed his kilt and displayed his erection in front of David’s face, he knew this was going to hurt. It was hairless, but very hard, curving a little upwards, uncircumcised and over five inches long – and, of course, very, very black, which made this seem even worse to David. He began to beg them to leave him alone, which of course just made everyone laugh at him.
And Kuyo didn’t seem to believe in lubricant, either: he simply spat on David’s anus and then lined up and rammed it in, and David screamed with the pain of it. Two or three thrusts and it was all the way in, and David was gasping and crying out with every thrust. At that moment he was incredibly grateful to Joe and the cubs, and to Benedict in particular: this hurt like hell, but if he hadn’t already had this done to him by Benedict he was certain it would have hurt a lot more, because at least he had accommodated one this big before.
Kuyo tormented him by drawing it out, stopping frequently and giving an extra big thrust every so often to see how loudly he could make David cry out, but eventually he simply got on with it, thrusting away steadily until he climaxed. And then his brother took his place and David had to go through it all again – though at least it hurt so much that he didn’t go hard or get excited. He hoped this proved that he wasn’t a pervert after all, but he had to admit to himself that this was nothing like the gentle, careful way Michael had done it to him… and being raped in front of a sea of jeering brown faces probably wasn’t likely to get him excited, either.
At last it was over and he was untied.
“This will be part of your life from now on,” Ali told him in French. “And in a day or so you can pleasure me with your mouth – and if you do not please me more than the last slave who did it for me, I will place a live scorpion inside your anus. It may not kill you, but afterwards it will make the twins’ fuckings feel like the deepest pit in hell.” And he grinned at David and waved him away.
The twins took him back to their room and opened the closet door, but David wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
“Diyahsu?” he asked, as politely as he could.
“Diyahsu, lo,” said Kuyo, opening the outer door once more.
David made his way, unescorted this time, back to the slaves’ toilet. There was nobody here this time, so he was able to squat over one of the holes and have a shit unobserved… and then he discovered that there was no toilet paper, or anything he could use instead. All he could do was to hope that it had all dropped away cleanly.
He peed and stood up, and then he tried the other door – and found it was a washroom - at least, there was a tap with a bucket beneath it. There was no soap, but even just rubbing his hands together under the cold water made him feel a little cleaner.
He went back to the twins’ room and went straight to the closet, though before he went in he knelt down and bowed to the twins. They grinned at him.
He went into the closet and closed the door. He didn’t hear the lock turn, and indeed he didn’t see the point of locking him in: there was nowhere he could go, and he couldn’t imagine how severely he would be punished if he was caught trying to escape. So he settled down, trying to ignore the soreness in his bottom, and attempted to go to sleep.
The next day was Friday, and so after breakfast (and today a third bowl of rice was supplied, which the twins indicated was for him) the twins just stayed in their room. To start with they practiced wrestling together, and then they played some sort of a game using pebbles, and finally they went out into the garden and practiced fighting with long sticks, which were presumably less lethal than using proper spears. David was allowed to sit under a tree watching them.
Dhif came and joined him in late morning.
“How’s your arse?” he asked. “Sore, I hope. Still, you’ll get used to it once they’ve done it every day for a month or so. Maybe we should make it more interesting for you: I’ll have to suggest they find a way to torture you while you’re being fucked – crushing your pathetic little prick in a vice, perhaps, or making you lie on a carpet of thorns. I hope you’re starting to learn the language, because I’ll be going home next week.”
“No! I mean… no, I’m not learning very much.”
“Strange, for a moment there I thought you didn’t want me to leave you. I’m touched.”
“Look, Dhif, can you get me a small notebook and a pencil? I need to make myself a dictionary – well, two, really, one for the twins and one for everyone else.”
“Slaves aren’t allowed possessions, you know that. You can ask my cousin, though: maybe he’ll allow it, as long as the twins look after it for you. You can come and ask him now if you like. Don’t forget to grovel – us racially inferior boys like being grovelled to by our white overlords.”
So David went and knelt in front of Ali and pleaded to be allowed a notebook and pencil, explaining that he would be a much more efficient slave if you could learn a little Arabic, as well as… whatever the twins’ language was called.
“I’ll allow it,” said Ali, “but only if you pleasure me now and I consider it a good enough performance. Well, what are you waiting for?”
“Well… I need you to take your robe off.”
“I never take my robe off in front of servants and slaves. You crawl up under it and get on with your work.”
So David wriggled up between Ali’s legs. This was a very loose-fitting robe or it would have been impossible, and he wondered if this was why that particular robe had been chosen.
He found that Ali was wearing nothing under his robe, and that his penis was already erect. It was perhaps a little over three inches long, not particularly thick, and of course it was circumcised. The balls were a bit bigger than his own, but there was as yet no hair. He slipped it into his mouth and set to work.
By now he knew how to do this, though the fact that Ali was… well, brown, made it a little more difficult for him. But then he closed his eyes and got on with it, realising that the organ in his mouth tasted the same as Joe’s or Pope’s or Osterley’s, and he’d sucked all of them in the past few weeks without difficulty.
He did everything he had learned to do: he fondled the balls, caressed the inner thighs, squeezed the buttocks and even pressed his finger against Ali’s hole, which he was a bit nervous about but which Ali seemed to like, at least if the groan he gave was anything to judge by. He stroked the younger boy’s chest and tickled his hard little nipples, he sucked on the balls, he licked the tip of the penis, and then he started sucking again in earnest, wanting to get this over and done with. And Ali loved it, gasping, thrusting and bucking beneath him until finally the orgasm swept over him… and David wondered if he could actually taste something, or if it was just his imagination. Three months ago that would have been enough to make him puke all over his master, which could well have been enough to get him executed, but by now he was a lot better equipped to handle this situation.
“You may withdraw,” said Ali’s breathless voice, so David let the organ slip from his mouth and burrowed his way back to the outside world.
“You have earned your notebook,” Ali told him. “I have never experienced a pleasure like it. If I use your mouth as a reward for good service among my slaves I will have the most obedient and efficient household in Africa…We must make sure that every boy in the house has a chance to experience that before too long. And I will want more of that myself – much more. You have done well.”
He spoke to his personal servant, a fifteen-year-old whose name David remembered was Rafik, and Rafik left the room, returning a few minutes later with a school-type exercise book, a cheap ballpoint pen and a pencil, all of which he handed to Dhif.
“I’m sure my cousin has told you that slaves are not allowed personal possessions,” said Ali, “but I am giving these to the twins for you to use. You may carry them with you when you are working, but you must not let it interfere with your duties.” He spoke to Dhif, who nodded, escorted David back to the twins’ room and told him to wait there, leaving the book, pen and pencil on the table while he went to find the twins. And when the twins came back with him Dhif explained to them that David was allowed to use the material to help him learn their language. The twins were of course illiterate, but they didn’t object, and so over the course of the afternoon David played a game with them, pointing it various items in the room and, later, around the palace and writing their names in his book. The twins entered into this game happily, later testing him by pointing to something to see if he could remember what it was called, but their enjoyment of the game didn’t prevent them from fucking him over the table before bedtime. He went to sleep with a sore arse again.
On the Saturday he started his work around the palace, first being sent to help the youngest slave, an eight-year-old whose name was Abdelkader, scrubbing the floors in the upper storey corridors. In practice this meant that he did most of the scrubbing while Abdelkader stood over him demanding more effort and hitting David’s bottom with his sandal if he wasn’t working hard enough for the younger boy’s liking. And that set the pattern for most of his work: instead of helping the other slaves, he found himself doing their work for them while they berated and beat him. And soon he was made to start sucking them, too, and some of the older ones had hair and spunk, and the first time one of them shot in his mouth he puked up. After being forced to clean up his own mess he was taken to the Punishment Room and the slave who had made him puke was commanded to whip him, which he did, enthusiastically.
On the Monday the twins fitted him with a collar. David had seen that the servants and slaves dressed similarly in the same sort of robe, but that the slaves wore a loose, fairly thin metal chain around their necks. This was more like a badge than a proper slave chain, but it had been decided that he needed something more, so a proper steel collar had been procured, about half an inch wide, and this was put around his neck and fastened with a small padlock. It wasn’t too tight and didn’t prevent him from sleeping, though it did get hot when he was out in the sun for more than a few minutes, and it was a clear indication that he was truly a slave.
And on Tuesday morning Dhif came to say goodbye.
“I’m going home,” he said. “Probably nobody has even missed you yet, or if they have they’re probably throwing a party to celebrate your disappearance. And I’m sure KEV will be a much nicer place without you. Now, you be a good little boy and maybe you won’t be whipped to death too soon, okay? Oh, one other thing: in four weeks’ time the twins are going back over the border to their own village for their manhood ceremony, and they want to take you with them – probably they want to share your arse with all their cousins, or something. Anyway, Ali has said you can go. Do what the twins tell you and you’ll be okay, I think, but you’d better work really hard on the language, because they’ll be away for almost a month, and there won’t be anyone there who can speak anything but their language. And Ali has arranged for you to be circumcised once you get back, because the twins will be having it done as part of their ceremonies, and so really you should be, too.
“I’ll probably pop back around Christmas, just to see if you’re still alive – and of course I have a standing invitation from my cousin to come and watch you being castrated next year. And I wouldn’t miss that for the world.”
David stared at him – until now he’d been desperately hoping that this was all a wind-up, and that Dhif would take him with him when he went back to England, but now he realised that it wasn’t, that Dhif really was going to leave him here…
“Please,” he said, barely able to control the trembling in his voice. “Please, Dhif… don’t leave me here.”
“Sorry, Rat. Nobody wants you in England. But I think you’re going to be in great demand here – your mouth, especially. Of course, the slaves don’t always wash very thoroughly, so there’s a good chance you’ll catch some nasty disease or other before too long… but maybe you’ll get lucky. And every time I feel bad about what’s going to happen between me and Southgate I’ll think of you with one of the twins ramming you up the arse and it’ll make me feel a whole lot better. So at least you’ll be good for something.” And he turned and walked away, while David stood watching him go with tears in his eyes, until Mohamed the eleven-year-old junior stable slave kicked his bottom and ordered him by gestures to get back to sweeping out the stalls.
And when he finally got to bed that night, his bottom aching and his throat sore from sucking two of the older servants, he knew that his last connection to England had gone and he was truly on his own.
Well, it looks as if David has a ghastly, hopeless future ahead of him. But in the next chapter we’ll find out what happens when Dhif gets back to school. Will Jordan be able to persuade him to give David another chance? Based on what we’ve seen so far, that seems pretty unlikely…
I know that by now quite a lot of you think I'm being way too hard on the Rat, even if he was a total shit when the story started. Or maybe you're looking forward to seeing him on the wrong end of even more unrestrained punishment. Either way I'd like to hear what you think, so get writing to email@example.com
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