Chapter Seventeen – The Carrot After the Stick
The next few hours were not very happy ones for Eric. As they had been told to do, they treated their new cage-mate without a shred of dignity or compassion. They stood on his chest, sat on his face, bounced on his belly like a bean-bag chair, kicked him in the sides from head to toe, and even whacked him in the privates.
However painful and humiliating all this was though; at no point did they make any attempt to really hurt him. Considering his helplessness, they could easily have done far more damage to him than they actually inflicted. In fact, if they went all out he could have been killed or at least put into a coma within a few moments. Instead, it was obvious that they were holding back enough to make him really miserable – but short of doing him harm enough to require more than basic first aid. Evidently there was some unspoken limit of the agony and damage that they were to put him through. After all, he wouldn’t make much of a slave if he were too badly injured to obey any commands he was to be given later on; right?
Even the humiliation had its limits; apparently. Though not of a sadistic mind himself, Eric could easily think of a dozen really nasty things they could being doing to him that wouldn’t hurt him much if at all – but all of these would involve ‘fouling their own nest;’ so to speak. Evidently they spent quite a bit of time in this cage and they didn’t want to make it any more unpleasant for themselves being locked up in it than it already was. So while he had an incredibly uncomfortable time while locked up inside the cage, Eric consoled himself with the fact that it could have been very much worse!
Even so, time seemed to drag on forever before his five new captors came down into the cellar to check up on him. The three other boys inside the cage with him suddenly redoubled their efforts to torment him, but a simple terse command from Bill caused them to desist and stand back to the further side of the cage without delay.
“Ready for a change of scenery now, slave?” Bill asked Eric as he stepped up to the cage door and proceeded to unlock it.
Being gagged, Eric was about to simply nod quietly in affirmation when Brad suddenly crouched down beside his head and removed the gag with a few fast, deft movements. Eric flexed his jaws experimentally for a moment to get the kinks out. Then, having by now grasped the nuances of how someone in his position was expected was reply, said, “Yes, master; if it pleases you.”
“You sure you don’t want to get to know your fellow slaves a bit better first?” Bill asked somewhat snidely.
Eric was unsure of the best answer to that, but figured the more servile it was the better; however insincere. “What I want doesn’t matter anymore, master.” Eric ventured timidly.
“True enough,” Bill retorted as his brothers Ben and Bryan walked around to opposite sides of the cage from the outside and proceeded to free Eric from his forced prostrate condition and helped him to his feet. “I kind of doubt you really mean that… yet. But you get points for effort.”
Eric merely nodded in mute acknowledgement as he was escorted out of the cage and was then compelled to kneel while the cage door was locked behind him again. The five Jameson brothers gathered around him and looked down at him; Eric however was afraid to look back up at them and merely looked at the floor directly in front of him.
Brad knelt on the floor ahead of Eric and gently said, “Look at me.”
Eric shyly but immediately complied. Somewhat to his relief, Brad looked more sympathetic and amused now rather than heartless and stern like he had seemed before. He didn’t dare look up to see what the expressions on the other boys’ faces were like; he had been told to look at Brad and so Brad was the only one he looked at.
“Good boy,” Brad replied approvingly. “Now listen up. You’ve seen a taste of what we can and will do when we’re displeased with slaves. Now, are you ready for a taste of the carrot instead of the stick for a while?”
Eric thought he knew what his captor meant, and felt a glimmer of hope. But he also realized that it was unwise to make assumptions at this point. So he feigned ignorance in hopes that the boy would make his meaning clearer.
“Suspecting a trick, huh?” Brad asked with a wry grin. “Think I mean something nasty when I say ‘carrot?’ Well, I guess I can’t blame you. But don’t worry; none of us are perverts. I mean it like the original saying goes. Now that you’ve seen the consequences of displeasing us, would you like to see what it will be like if you please us instead?”
“Y-y-yes master,” Eric replied hesitantly; his voice quivering with half-suppressed excitement.
“Glad to see you show some self-discipline,” Bryan said approvingly as he fitted the leather collar with leash back around Eric’s neck. “It gets embarrassing when slaves get too excited. It’s cute with puppies and kittens, but vaguely annoying when it’s a human.”
“Yes, master,” Eric acknowledged mildly as his wrist manacles were adjusted to lock them behind his back; “thank you.” He meant it too. The more he learned about what his masters wanted and what they disliked, the less difficult his life would hopefully be.
“Huh! He seems docile enough to me,” Bobby stated. “Why were Kyle and the others having so much trouble with him?”
“Aw, you know by now that they don’t know squat about how to train a new slave,” Brad told him with a smirk as he grasped Eric’s leash and proceeded to lead him up the cellar stairs. “They can probably handle one that’s been properly trained well enough, but they have no idea how to bend ‘em to their will without breaking them altogether.”
“Just as well nobody else knows how to train slaves like we do, anyway,” Bryan added as the six of them emerged from the cellar and proceeded up another set of stairs to the second floor. “After all, we’d be out of business if people could properly train slaves to make them like it, now wouldn’t we?”
Eric shuddered inwardly. His captors were talking like they had not only done this sort of thing before, but that they had been doing it all their lives!!
The boys led the leashed Eric along a hallway at the end of the stairway at the second floor and into a moderately large room at the far end. The room looked like it was designed to be a separate housing unit, as there was a small but complete kitchen at one corner, a bed at another, and a few basic living-room furnishings at the two opposite corners. In front of the small kitchen appliances was a small table and a few wooden chairs.
Ben went to a small dresser drawer and pulled out a set of clean gray shorts. He held them up to Eric just as Bryan moved behind him and briefly unlocked his wrist and ankle manacles. “Here, put these on,” Ben invited Eric as he gently tossed the shorts over.
Eric hesitated; uncertain whether he was supposed to remove the speedos he already wore first or simply put the shorts on over them. The speedos were pretty grungy after all his experiences, but Eric was reluctant to remove them in front of his captors without their explicitly telling him to do so. Uncertainly, he began to pull the shorts on over the speedos.
“You want to spend the night wearing those stinky things?” Ben asked with a snorting laugh.
Eric stopped in mid-action. “No, master,” he replied truthfully. He wanted to add an awkward explanation as well, but suddenly decided to keep mum after answering the question. If his captors wanted an explanation, they would probably let him know.
“Up to you, but you can change out of those first if you want to,” Ben added graciously.
Eric hesitated as his face began to bush deeply. Then, noticing that the brothers were now all on one side of him, he turned to face a corner so that no one could see his front. Then, with as much alacrity as he could manage under the circumstances, he began to pull down his soiled speedos.
“Don’t you have any sense? Use the bathroom, dolt!” Brad snapped contemptuously but nonetheless with wry good humor as he stepped on to the further side of the room, opened a door there, and revealed a small but clean bathroom on the other side. “And wash yourself too first. There’s soap and water and clean towels in there. You may close the door. But don’t take more than a few minutes.”
Mortified, Eric hurried over to the bathroom and closed the door behind him. He quickly surveyed the situation. The door had no lock on it, and the small bathroom was completely windowless. No chance of escape from here then; that was obvious. Immediately resigned to his fate, Eric removed his speedos and dumped them inside a laundry hamper that was evidently intended for this purpose. There was no shower in this bathroom, but there was a small sink and a mirror to one side. Grabbing a wash cloth and a fresh bar of soap, Eric washed himself as thoroughly as he could but also as quickly to ensure his captors did not lose patience with him. Seeing that there was still some make-up on his face and lipstick on his mouth, Eric took the time to remove these as well. If his captors were getting impatient, they fortunately showed no signs of it; Eric could hear them merely chatting quietly but amiably among themselves.
Once he had finished washing and had pulled on the fresh pair of shorts, he emerged from the bathroom and then stood still to submit to inspection.. The Jameson brothers snickered a little at Eric’s obvious discomfort but did not subject him to any further snide remarks nor to any unwanted touches. And for the first time in days felt like a real human being again rather than something vile that had been thrown in the trash.
Brad led Eric to one of the kitchen chairs and bade him to be seated.
Eric did so without hesitation; though not without a little trepidation. He was pretty sure he was going to be tied down to that chair and rendered immobile immediately; but what choice did he have? Against his five captives, his situation was obviously already hopeless even with the restraints previously removed so he could change clothes and wash.. And that was assuming there was no one else around who would immediately jump to their aid if he was dumb enough to try escaping at this point. The idea that there was no one else seemed extremely unlikely to Eric; how could they keep firm control of so many slaves as he had already seen if they had no means to effectively keep them subservient to them? Eric decided he didn’t want to find out the hard way; he’d already tried and failed twice with his original captors, and his new ones didn’t look to be the kind of people he was willing to have mad at him! So he sat perfectly still and did not flinch as the manacles were once again locked around his wrists and ankles.
As Eric had expected, his captors quickly and efficiently bound him to the kitchen chair. It was a moderately sturdy and heavy chair, and with his feet secured off the floor he had no chance at all of moving anywhere – either with it or without it. Bobby left for a moment and returned with some clean shirts for his brothers (all of whom had been shirtless up to this point other than himself). Once they had put on some shirts, all five boys stood around him in a circle and looked Eric over. Eric looked nervously back at them; this time daring to look them in the eye (though in as mild a manner as he could manage) rather than down at the floor.
“Now, were you already a well-trained slave we could trust, we wouldn’t need to keep you restrained like this,” Bill explained mildly. “We’d let you come and go with only minimal restraints – if any at all. But for the time being we have to be careful until you prove to us that we can trust you not to run away. But we’ll try to make it as comfortable as we can for you. Do you understand?”
“Yes, master,” Eric replied immediately; “thank you.” Again Eric was sincere; he was definitely less uncomfortable now than he had been in the last two or three days at least.”
“So what we’re going to do now is clean you up a bit more, feed you, and then put you to bed for the night,” Bill continued. “Just relax, go with the flow, and you’ll have a more comfortable night than you had with Kyle’s kooky little crew. The serious training begins tomorrow, but you’ll get a good meal, a bath, and a good night’s sleep tonight. A taste of what you can expect if you do as you’re told without question or complaint.”
Bill paused and looked at Eric quietly. “Yes, master,” Eric replied quickly after a short pause; deciding that was the safest and wisest thing to do at this point.
Apparently he was correct, as all five of the Jameson brothers smiled and proceeded to attend to their slave almost as if he were their master rather than the other way around.
Ben approached Eric with a shaving kit. Eric was not as nervous as he had been when his previous captors had shaved him; as he realized by now they probably knew what they were doing. To Eric’s relief, they not only gave him an expert clean shave but also removed the utterly ridiculous hairdo he had been given before. Being as bald as a billiard ball was definitely preferable to having a sickly blue Mohawk! It made Eric feel even better than before; despite being securely bound to a wooden chair!
Once the top of Eric’s head had been shaved and thoroughly washed off, two of his captors walked over to the small refrigerator and pulled out a couple of boxes of Crispy Kreme donuts of many different shapes and flavors. “Sorry we don’t have anything more elaborate or nutritious for you right now;” Bryan told Eric as he seated himself in a second chair in front of his captive. “You can eat more regular meals starting tomorrow if you earn your keep. So indicate which ones you’d like and I’ll feed them to you. Eat all you want.”
Eric was suspicious of a trick at first, but Bryan immediately held the donut he indicated up to Eric’s mouth and let him take a bite. The donut was not altogether fresh anymore but it was definitely still quite palatable, and soon Eric found himself gorging on several more. He was also given fresh milk in a plastic cup with a straw to quench his thirst. The other boys also ate a number of donuts as well, but it was evident they had already eaten supper previously and so did not display the voracious appetite for them that Eric had.
True to their word Eric’s captors let him eat as many donuts as he wanted; merely cautioning not to eat so many as to give himself problems over the night. Eric had already thought of this himself. If he was to be tied down all night as he expected to be, he’d better not incur the need for a bathroom break during the night; he might not be allowed one once he was ‘tucked in’! At least he had already been told he could have one just before then, so he need not restrain his healthy appetite too much!
To Eric’s surprise, Ben freed his wrists after he had finished his second donut. “I think we can let you feed yourself now,” Ben told him mildly. “Don’t abuse the privilege.” As Eric’s ankles were still bound to his chair, he was almost as helpless as before anyway. However, being given the simple dignity of having his hands free to feed himself had a much bigger impact on him than he would have thought. Already feeling very much less anxious about his situation than he had been, Eric found himself feeling almost positive about his current situation. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad after all if he simply stopped resisting his captors!
After he had eaten his fill with redoubled appetite, Eric’s captors engaged him in idle chit-chat for what must have been over an hour. Eric found himself getting more relaxed and talked more freely; answering any questions about himself that was put of him as if he had known the Jameson brothers all his life. Before he realized it, the five boys had managed to get Eric’s entire life history out of him with no coercion used at all.
By this time it was dark outside and Eric’s captors seemed to be almost as tired as Eric now felt. “Okay, I think it’s you got ready for bed,” Bill told Eric as Brad removed the ankle restraints. “You may have a few minutes to use the toilet and wash up further if you need to. Brush your teeth, too; there’s a fresh toothbrush and toothpaste in the medicine cabinet in there. Hop to it.”
“Yes master,’ Eric replied quickly as he dutifully obeyed Bill’s command; feeling almost more like a small child responding to one of his parents than like a slave to his master.
Eric completed his ablutions with what he felt was the best compromise between quickness and efficiency and emerged from the bathroom with a small smile on his face. All five of his captors stood beside the bed at one corner of the room and looked at him almost indulgently. Instead of the manacles he had previously been restrained with, the four older boys now had long coils of thick rope in their hands.
“Over here,” Ben gestured to Eric with a crook of his finger; making no effort to come over to compel him over by force. Almost as if he were safely at home with his own family, Eric quickly strode over to the bed and, after a questioning look, sat down on the edge and quickly lay on his back in the center. Before he could be told to do so, Eric spread his arms and legs out to the four corner posts of the bed and lay still; ready to be tied down. Since resistance was futile, maybe cooperation would win him some leniency.
“You’re doing better than Eric let on,” Bobby said gleefully to Eric as he sat down on the side of the bed adjacent to Eric’s waist. At the same time, each of his older brother knelt at a different corner of the bed to quickly and efficiently tie Eric down. Much to Eric's surprise, the ropes merely felt secure rather than tight; causing him next to no discomfort at all.
“Yeah,” Ben agreed. “Keep up the good work and maybe tomorrow night we’ll let you sleep with your arms free!” He made it sound like an achievement equivalent to winning the jackpot in a lottery. Under the circumstances however, Eric by now felt the same way about it! He wanted to earn the privilege or sleeping with his arms free; if only so he could scratch any itches that were bound to arise otherwise and make a good night’s rest all the harder!
Ben and his brothers finished tying Eric down to the bedposts and – except for young Bobby, who remained seated on the side of the bed – stood up. As subtly as he could, Eric tested his bonds. It didn't take long for him to realize that he didn't have a hope in hell of ever getting himself loose. But secure as they were, the ropes did not cut into his circulation at all as far as he could tell. The Jameson brother definitely knew their ropes!
“Any requests before we dim the lights and leave you for the night?” Bill asked with a quiet, almost kindly tone as he looked over his shoulder at Eric. "Once we're out, we aren't coming back until morning."
“Uhhh… are you gonna leave me all alone here all night?” Eric asked timidly; uncertain whether he would better off alone or with someone who potentially decide to torment him if he got bored. What if he had a bathroom emergency during the night, or got cramps from being tied down so securely that he could scarcely move a muscle.
“No, Bobby’s going to stay here with you for a while.” Ben replied; and Eric suddenly felt an enormous rush of relief. “Talk all you like about anything you like; he enjoys talking with slaves. He’ll even give you more food or water or anything you need until he’s ready to go to sleep. His room is right beside yours anyway; that door by the kitchen leads to it and he’ll keep it open all night. He’ll hear you if you call to him; but if you do it had better be for something important.”
Then Ben’s friendly tone abruptly turned almost ominous for a moment. “But fair warning. Don’t try to talk him into helping you escape. He won’t untie you no matter how persuasive you get… and would only rat you out. Moreover, if you try to escape on your own he’ll hear that too – and then you’ll find out that there are much worse things than being locked in that cage with the other new slaves downstairs. Do I make myself clear?”
“Clear as crystal, master,” Eric replied both hastily and honestly. “Honest; I’m learning my lessons. I’ll behave yourself. I know when I'm well off.”
He meant it too; and apparently all five of his captors believed him.
Ben’s expression relaxed into reasonable friendliness once again. “See that you do. It’ll be better for all of us… and most especially you!”
Of that Eric had no doubt at all. He watched quietly as the four older boys stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him. Eric almost expected to hear the door being locked from the other side, but apparently his captors were confident enough not to bother with that. Besides, they probably didn’t lock their own kid brother in here with him either.
Acting as if having a captive tied down to his bed was a perfectly normal experience, Bobby turned to look at Eric with a happy and utterly guileless smile on his face. “So, you got anything you’d like to talk about?” the young boy asked Eric cheerfully.
“Ummm… perhaps now would be a good time for you to explain to me the basic rules around here?” Eric asked quietly. “What’s going to be expected of me? What chores I’m to do? Basic slave etiquette? All that sort of thing?”
“Sure, I’ll be happy to explain all that to you,” Bobby replied eagerly. “Of course, what your real masters will want from you will probably be different from what we’ll demand. You’re just here for a while until we train you to please *them*. But we’ll make sure you’ll know how to please them so that they’ll treat you nice.” Bobby paused as his smile faded somewhat to a small but brief frown. “Well, as nicely as you can expect from Kyle’s brothers anyway. What we do as punishment to train slaves, they sometimes like to do just for fun!” Then much of his smile returned as he continued; “but they won’t be very rough on you - like they are with Kyle - if you just obey them. They’re kind of bratty sometimes, but they’re not really mean if you behave.”
And so Eric and Bobby talked amiably until well into the night; talking more like friend with friend than as captor to captive. And before he knew it, Eric fell fast asleep.
Dare to be different... and make a difference.
To boldly go where no one in their right mind has gone before...