Hinterlands Book II: The Stables (3 page)

Ms. Farstone led the way deeper into the stables. They
turned a corner passing thick wooden beams that soared upward into the
darkness. The women’s shadows danced in the lantern light as they marched along,
like some perverse shadow play children might perform, but this was no play and
the beauty of the stable was lost on each of them. Along the way there were many
stalls to the left and right with waist-high doors that must have once
contained livestock. Yet although there was a feint smell of horses wafting on
the air, and the occasional nickering here and there in the inky blackness,
there was no livestock about that Amelia could see.

Near the end of the hallway were two locked stalls on
both the right and the left.
 
These
stalls were entire private cells, large enough to accommodate multiple
livestock. There was no way to see inside the stalls save a small barred window
in the heavy wooden doors.

“You have arrived at your new quarters girls.” Ms.
Farstone said unlocking the door with a silver key that hung about her neck.
This was the first time Amelia had seen this key. It was shocking what that
woman could hide in that ample bosom.

“I trust you’ll find the accommodations quite fitting.”
She crowed.
  
The group filed
inside to find a hay-strewn space, large enough to accommodate eight people comfortably.
 
It was essentially empty of furnishings,
the sole exception being two large bed platforms, raised 8 or 9 inches off the
straw floor, and covered in thin mattresses. A single whale-oil lamp hung high
up on an iron rung. “Until tomorrow my lovelies, I bid you a good night!”
 
With this Ms. Farstone closed and locked
the stable door.
 
The girls were
alone at last.

The room was relatively warm, and at first most of them
wandered about remarking on this or that aspect of the décor.
 
The red haired Ms. Jenkins, who had done
nothing but whimper incessantly since she had been pulled from her bath,
actually perked up. “It’s not so bad girls…really it’s not.” She twittered,
almost back to her old gossipy self again.
 
“I expected much worse, but this is quite comfy.” She pushed down on the
straw mattress with both hands testing it.
 
“Not so bad right?”

“Speak for your self Molly.” It was the small pretty girl
from the orient. “I didn’t ask to come to this prison, but I’m here now, and I
don’t need to listen to your ugly mug.” The girl was shivering.

“I’m just sayin’ it does no good griping is all.
 
Sorry!”

“None of us wants to be here!” The curly brown haired
girl from the kitchens piped in.
 
And
there’s no need talkin’ about it. Besides, you haven’t worked a solid day in
your life Molly Jenkins!” This seemed to silence Molly Jenkins to everyone’s
relief, and she sat down on a pile of hay in the corner and began to separate
her hair.

Amelia herself sat down and felt lost.
 
She wished to God that Kitt were there
to give her some guidance.
 
The
temperature in the room continued to drop and pulling her knees tightly against
her, she began to shiver.
 
The
lantern was dimmed and the large curly brown-haired girl who had scolded Molly
earlier, dozed quietly on her side on one of the expansive mattresses. The
temperature didn’t seem to bother her, possibly the result of her extremely
long hair that curled down and around her back almost like a blanket.

Deciding that she was freezing, and that she would never
sleep in this state, Amelia rose and quietly crept over to lie down next to the
girl.
 
She curled her body, tightly
against the girl’s back in a spoon like fashion, and the girl seemed to welcome
the warmth and contact, giving a long sigh of approval. To Amelia’s relief she herself
began to warm considerably lying against the warm body. This idea seemed to
catch on and it wasn’t long before Molly Jenkins curled up behind Amelia,
squeezing her tightly between the two of them. The skinny girl clung nakedly to
her, holding her and shivering. She pressed her tiny breasts into Amelia’s
back, and wrapped her long legs tightly around Amelia’s, intertwining them. The
overall effect was quite sensual and when Amelia used her own slender arms to
embrace the kitchen girl in front of her, she could feel the girl’s sizable
breasts brush lightly against them.
 
It was a thrilling sensation.

When she had held her sisters tightly on nights such as
this, they had always been ensconced in layers of nightclothes. Now the contact
of skin upon skin, warm flesh upon warm flesh, and the smell of kitchen
pastries that had permeated the girl before her, made her heart beat with a
force to which she was wholly unaccustomed.
 
This would be every night as long as
they were to stay here.
 
The fall
was well upon them and the night air was starting to bite with its little
teeth, yet lying like this together, Amelia realized, could generate real warmth,
and
 
it dawned on her that not only
was this necessary for survival, but that it was also
pleasurable
. Admittedly, it was terribly immodest, but there had
been few times in Amelia’s life when she had felt more heat and comfort, then
here, pressed between these two young women. Despite herself, she felt excited
and aroused by the contact, jostling to lay even closer. She pushed her face
further into mane of hair and felt a different kind of shiver ripple through
her body. It was an energy that seemed to pulse between each of the huddled
girls, and even though they were all exhausted, the body contact kept many of
them awake late into the night.
 

 

The beam of sunlight dove down through the wispy clouds aiming
itself directly toward the large wooden stable. It poured its warmth through a
minute space between the roof planks, shooting downward to fall directly upon
Amelia Kerrick’s naked shoulder, lighting a small circle there with a golden
hue. She was wholly unaware of this however, for she slept the way all young
girls do, dreaming of better things and the simple pleasures of home. This very
moment it was a pot of tea, bubbling over the open flame and the smell of
toasty bread baking inside the warm oven coals that preoccupied her wandering
mind.
 
After a time, it was her
younger sisters chasing her as she tore down Monmouth Street screaming with
laughter, the very terror of the Seven Dials. These memories were good ones,
bringing forth deep feelings of comfort to Amelia.

Then her dreams took on a wicked tone, surrendering
themselves to a whole host of sensual images. She saw The Duchessa de Montaigne,
adorned in a scarlet dress with silk brocade lace, twirling this way and that
in a grand ballroom, each and every fine gentleman despairing for a single
moment of her attention, a single glance.
 
Her dark hair hung in tresses, wild and untamed, just as Amelia had
first seen it. Suddenly the Duchessa was perched in all her glory upon a
pedestal, gazing into a small hand mirror.
 
Then again she was standing above Amelia as she scrubbed the floor below
her, one foot upon a clothes chest. She had hiked up her skirts and was rolling
down her stocking slowly and seductively. Amelia was trying to concentrate on
the floor in front of her, using the brush to lather small circles on the
stones, but instead found herself looking up again and again at her mistress’s
smooth thigh.
 

Finally unable to suppress her desire, she dropped her
scrubbing brush and began to press her lips to her mistress’s calf, kissing the
smooth skin she discovered there and nuzzling it against her cheek.
 
The Duchessa responded in kind, running
her fingers through Amelia’s blond hair, encouraging her servant with soothing
words, with secret things she reserved only for her most favored darlings.
 
This made Amelia feverish, desperate to
please this untouchable girl. She was teasing, enticing Amelia to kiss still higher
on her leg, telling her to lick softly behind her knee, to taste the salty
sweetness that had gathered there.
 
Amelia went further, covering the forbidden territory above, mapping the
surface of the Duchessa’s thigh with her tongue like a mad cartographer,
pausing here and there to pout and suck upon the smooth skin.
 
She felt herself grow lost in the
swirling skirts, wild with hunger and desire----

She awoke with a start, lifting her head from the warm
skin of the kitchen girl to look around.
 
The girls had all assumed similar positions, wrapped tightly around one
other, clumped together in two small groups.
 
Small beams of sunlight filtered down
from a ceiling high above, covering their naked skin in a piebald pattern.
 
From the looks of it Amelia was the only
one up as of yet.
 
She gazed around
the stall in the light of day.
 
It
was considerably more cheery, though obviously still a stall.
 
Molly stirred slightly, mouthing a few
random words in her half-sleep and hugged Amelia tighter. A few of the others
also stirred slightly. She could see them holding each other on the other bed,
still deep in slumber. She realized couldn’t rise just yet, as she was still
sandwiched tightly between two bodies. Tucking her head back into the forest of
curly hair in front of her, she resigned herself to the proposition of waiting
for them to awaken.
 
Besides, this
was decadently cozy, being embraced like this.

This feeling didn’t last long.
 
A metallic clanking from the heavy door
signaled the arrival of company, and the sound startled the sleeping girls from
their slumber causing a momentary panic as they woke up disorientated.
 
Ms. Farstone and a number of the
farmhands entered the room.
 
Realizing
where they were, the girls attempted to cover themselves the best they could,
being naked in the daylight was a whole new immodesty for which they were
unprepared.

“Rise and shine lovelies! It’s a new day!” she called
out.
 
They all looked at each other
fearfully with no idea what to expect. “My job is to prepare you for your Lord
and Mistress, and I will do precisely that.
 
Now everyone, let us do away with the
tender formality that developed between us last night.
 
It’s sooooo tedious don’t you
think?
 
Let’s instead regard each
other as friends.”
 
She sneered
directly at Amelia.
 
“Everyone to
the bathing rooms!”

The girls were herded out of the stall one-by-one, still wiping
the sleep from their eyes.
 
Some looked
quite miserable, not really ready for another day like the previous one, and
thinking that even the prospect of unemployment and starvation was preferable
to this, yet no one really said anything for fear of drawing attention to
themselves.

After travelling down a set of wooden stairs they emerged,
one by one into the bright sunlight of a wide inner cobblestone courtyard. The
space was bordered on three sides by the stables forming a horseshoe
shape.
 
Most surprisingly, in the
center of the courtyard lay a large pool 30 or 40 meters square. On either side
of the pool were perched many exquisitely carved, lifelike marble statues
depicting Greek gods and goddesses, frozen in various poses, holding baskets,
and cavorting in ways Amelia had never seen.
 
The water was brilliant blue, a giant
mirror reflecting the sky and clouds passing before it.
 
Unlike every other aspect of the stables
this far, this pool welcomed all who stood before it. It was the most
incredible thing Amelia had ever beheld, aside from Hinterlands itself.

The girls had only a moment to reflect on the pool before
dozens of attendants dressed solely in loincloths emerged from all sides,
grasped their hands and began to lead them silently into the water.
 
Two older women and a young man took
Amelia’s arms gently.
 
They said
nothing as they led her gingerly down the marble stairs, allowing her to test
the water with her feet.
 
A shiver
ran through her as she stepped in. A few of the girls were struggling against
these attendants, Molly specifically bursting into tears as usual, but after a
few moments, the sounds of sighing and even laughter could be heard.
 
The water was warm, possibly heated from
some unknown source deep within the ground!
 
They began to splash and play,
overwhelmed with the sensations, many of them being in a large body of water
for the first time in their lives.
 
Even Molly Jenkins seemed to forget her predicament, cavorting with the
kitchen girl like children in the rain.
 
Amelia strode away from her three attendants to explore the pool further,
dipping her hands and splashing the water onto her shoulders. For the most part
it seemed no deeper than ones knees, with occasional areas of waist high depth.
 
After a few moments, the three mute
attendants, once again took her by the arms and led her over to an unoccupied
area.

The young man produced a burlap sack of very fine sand
into which the two older women dipped their hands.
 
Then, dipping them also into the warm water,
they placed the sand on Amelia’s shoulders and began to rub gently.
 
Amelia sighed. The feeling was abrasive
of course but not uncomfortably so.
 
They moved down her arms, lifting each one slowly and holding them up,
rubbing handful after handful of wet sand across her skin, onto her hands and
between her fingers, scrubbing the soft flesh until it was pink.
 
Amelia thanked them repeatedly for being
so gentle, but they simple ignored these formalities, focusing silently and intently
on her body.
 
They seemed determined
to make her cleaner than she had ever been, and she felt almost pampered by
their efforts. She glanced around to see all of the other girls, similarly
engaged with their respective attendants, being scrubbed and sanded clean, some
complaining and others rapt in the ecstasy that comes from being washed by
another.
 

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