BONDAGE

By Tessa Just   

Swish, crackle, swish. The sound of straw being moved filled the longhouse. Fifteen-year-old Katrina blinked as a burst of sun lit the gloomy interior. A tall boy grinned down at her through the hole in the roof and teasingly dropped a few strands of straw onto her golden hair.

She glared up at him. “You’d have been sorry if I’d been cooking your meal,” she scolded. “Can’t you give me some warning next time?”bondagess

Lang laughed good-naturedly. “I told you that Miksa and I were replacing the thatch today. You should have chosen to do something outside.” He turned to the boy behind him. “Can you bring up the fresh straw, Miksa?”

“Yes, master.”

Katrina and Lang winced. How they hated that title. The two siblings had offered friendship to Miksa on more than one occasion, but he refused it. Katrina gazed up into Lang’s troubled brown eyes. He leaned down toward her.

“Meet me in our secret place tonight,” he whispered. He glanced over his shoulder. “I need to talk.”

Katrina nodded and returned to her spinning. [Read more…]

Blinded by Conviction

By Jackson Graham

1657 – Port Bristol, England

Those men attack ships and take their money—and kill the crew…” blindedbyconviction

Jade dove behind the trunk, stopping his ears against the horror. These brutes killed sailors and innocents alike. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to disappear. Minutes earlier, savage freebooters had barged into his family’s home, demanding money in their drunken stupor. At his father’s flat refusal, the buccaneers drew their cutlasses. Muffled cries rang out. Then silence.

Boots thudded as the men staggered throughout the house, searching for valuables. One pirate flung open the lid of the trunk, further concealing the trembling child, and rummaged through an unrewarding collection of blankets. Another wrenched the family coin chest from its poorly hidden position by the hearth and raised it high. As the footsteps faded, the boy waited, then he backed out of his hiding place. Jade shuddered in relief—and despair—and raced to the door, averting his gaze from the bodies of his family. [Read more…]