Buying Trouble, PT 2: No Gags For Public Use

“Who says I’m a virgin?”

“The doctor will,” the handler said, hauling her into a low slung building with a shimmering blue cross hovering above it.

“I want a certificate of purity,” he grunted at the lady behind the counter.

“I can tell you now, he’s not pure,” Eris quipped. The woman smirked. The trader slapped Eris’ butt again, making it burn like blazes.

“Watch the merchandise,” she yelped. The slaps were starting to add up and get damn painful. If he kept it up, she was going to have to consider actually behaving herself. “Nobody is going to want me if you thrash my ass off.”

“I need a certificate for this one,” the trader said. “And a gag.”

“He’s trying to sell me for a discount,” Eris confided in the receptionist. The woman couldn’t help her, she knew that. Traders were allowed to trade. The law was clear on that. But it wasn’t quite so clear as to what they were and were not allowed to trade. The market was allowed to decide. And it turned out the intergalactic market really enjoyed virginal young women.

“The doctor can see her in an hour,” the receptionist said, maintaining a professional level of disconnection from the little drama playing out in front of her. “I’m afraid we do not provide gags for public use.”

“An hour?” The trader grunted with annoyance. Do you have a cage where I can leave her?”

“We do not have storage facilities, sir,” the receptionist said. “All merchandise is the responsibility of the vendor.”

“Fine,” the trader grunted. “I’m going to the bar, we will be back in an hour.”

Eris was glad to hear that. If the idiot got really drunk, maybe she could steal the key from around his neck and escape that way. She would have done that already, but he’d locked her in a cage every night since he stole her, making it impossible to escape. She hated the cage. It was too small to lie down in properly unless she stuck her legs out between the bars, and he got angry if she did that because then he’d trip over them on his way to the bathroom. She’d pointed out that it was his own stupid fault, but like pretty much everything she’d said and done since the hulking great asshole grabbed her out of the field, it only made things worse.

****

The bar the trader chose was a scummy dive filled with traders and merchants and working girls. To Eris’ sensitive nose, it smelled as if someone had sex and then died. Rot was in the air. She could see it on some of the girls, the small bubbles under the skin which hinted at a wider decay. The trader pushed her down in a dirty chair in a corner of the filthy place, unlocked the chain from his wrist and clamped it on the table leg.

First mistake.

Eris watched as he grunted at a serving girl to bring him a pitcher of his favorite fermented beer. She did so, presenting him with a foamy container of foul smelling liquid which he began immediately pouring into his face without the formality of a glass.

With her captor as distracted as he ever would be, Eris stood up sharply and put her all into running as far from the trader as she could. The chain snapped taut, the poor quality wood table splintered, tossed itself into the trader’s face with the force of its momentum, and Eris broke free.

She darted through the crowd, largely ignored by the inebriated men and women who were focused on getting as drunk as possible as quickly as possible.

“Stop her!” The trader’s voice sounded nasal and whiny in the ever increasing distance. Eris saw the door and grinned. She was almost free. Just a few more… “OOOF!”

She ran into something hard. Someone hard. Someone dressed all in black. Two large hands descended on her shoulders, and a voice like ice made her freeze in place.

Problem?