Rachel Thompson

Excerpt: For Gods & For Men by James R Johnson

# # #

              The slaves in the kitchen were preparing for the evening meal. All the house slaves seemed to be in the kitchen at the same time as Phoebus entered. All the conversation came to an end as each slave looked upon his duties as if that was all there was in the world. The commotion slowly increased again, though instead of voices and laughter it was the banging of pots and the hurried shuffles of feet on their way to the next task.

              Sabina was preparing fresh laundry for her mistress’ return. Phoebus approached her from behind and placed his lips close to her ear.

              “You did not leave with your mistress”, he whispered. Sabina jumped at the hot breath on her cheek and neck. She spun and saw Phoebus smiling slightly at her. She flushed and continued folding. Her plump frame hid Phoebus’ hand from the other slaves in the room as he caressed the small of her back. Again she flushed.

              “I prepare for her return”, Sabina whispered. She knew when Phoebus rubbed the small of her back that he wanted something the other slaves were ill-equipped to provide. “But I have some time. She says she’ll be gone for several days.”

              “Follow me”, he whispered once again. He dropped his hand and stalked out of the kitchen. Sabina glanced around at the other slaves. They were hard at work on their specific chores, seemingly too focused to notice the exchange and her red face. She set her fabric down and shifted out of the kitchen following Phoebus. As she left the kitchen, many of the slaves made eye contact and snickered to themselves. They knew what was going on.

              Phoebus was waiting when Sabina arrived at Castimus’s dressing closets. It was tight but there was room enough to lie down on the tiled floor. Sabina entered the small room and pulled the curtain closed. He grasped her by both arms and gently kissed her. He then laid face down on the floor. Sabina smiled while she positioned herself standing just over his lower back. Bracing herself against the close walls of the closet, she stepped on his back with one foot, then the other. Balanced on his body, she began to slowly sway, rolling her feet around his back.

              “Have you noticed any difference in the behavior of your mistress”, he asked in caught breaths.

              “Nothing of any marked difference. As always, she strongly dislikes your master. She has been quiet, to herself for some days, but she does that sometimes.”

              “Did she say why she was leaving”, he queried.

              “She never explains herself to any of us. Maybe to Fausta, but not to me.”

              Fausta was Aurelia’s body slave and came with her, as Sabina did, from her father’s household at the time of the wedding. She went everywhere with Aurelia and never left her side, even for a moment. She was the slave that cared for Aurelia while she was still an infant. Once she was weaned from the breast, Aurelia was given to Fausta. There was nothing that Fausta did not know about the inner workings of her mistress’ life and desires. It seemed fitting for her to supervise the other attendants to Aurelia, but that was one role in which she was not skilled. So she focused on Aurelia personally and let Sabina supervise the other attending girls to Aurelia.

After several pops and cracks, Phoebus let out a deeply satisfied sigh. Taking this as her cue, Sabina stepped off. He rose and grabbed both sides of Sabina’s face and kissed her gently but deeply.

              “I am sorry, my love, but I must return to my duties”, he said. He kissed her again quickly and left the closet. Sabina stood feeling foolish for once again satisfying Phoebus, but left with her own needs unmet.

              Phoebus returned to the kitchen to prepare a snack for Castimus. As he passed by the slave entrance, he stopped when he saw a face he did not recognize.  The young man was slender and rather handsome in the rags he wore.

              “We have no handouts here. Be gone.”

              “My name is Linus”, the stranger stated.

              “I care not what your name is”, Phoebus snapped.

              “I bring an invitation to Marcus Tegerius Castimus.”

              Phoebus snatched the outstretched letter and immediately opened it, breaking the seal. Linus stood patiently, waiting for a response. Phoebus read the parchment and looked again at the messenger. He was not wearing a slave plate around his neck. Nor could Phoebus see any slave branding marks on him.

              “Whom do you serve?”

              “My master wishes to introduce himself only to Castimus. Until then he requests anonymity”, Linus stated.

              “Anonymity? Why have you come to the service entrance? Why not come through the main door?”

              Linus did not answer. Phoebus watched him intently and sensed a broodiness about this slave, if indeed he was one. Phoebus began to feel slightly alarmed.

              “I will deliver the invitation”, he said finally.

              “Very well. My master will be awaiting his visit at the appointed time”, Linus said as he stepped backwards and out of the door.

              Phoebus glanced down again at the invitation and then at the door. Who was this man? He felt that the invitation would bring nothing but trouble to his disillusioned master. But his duty was to deliver the invitation to Castius and hope he would asked for his slave’s opinion.

# # #

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG13

More details about the book

Connect with James R Johnson on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments


Post a Comment