Publish Novellas 12 May 2021
EPISODE 3 – SERVITUDE
A supposed Fijian vacation has led Jayson and Caroline into captivity on a remote island. They now work as servants to appease their medical captor.
Brian is currently the one-eyed captive…
Five captives share a long communal table with fruit, root vegetables, and bread in unbreakable bowls. There is no silverware. So they begin eating from the common bowl with their hands before passing it around. The head of security, Leonid, observes from a distance.
Jayson breaks the silence with some pleasantries, “Well, my name is Jayson. I’m from California. We have met Brian. Can I ask with who else do we have the pleasure of dining?”
The two women mutter their names in succession without looking up. The older one, “Isabela.” The younger one, “Sheena.”
“Nice to meet you. I would shake your hand, but I seem to be handcuffed,” Jayson says with sarcasm. “Will someone tell me what’s happening?”
Nodding toward Leonid, Sheena warns, “Try to contain yourself. We don’t want any trouble.”
“Don’t want any trouble? Look around, we’re already in trouble from what I can see,” Jayson says with frustration.
“Try to calm down, Jayson. How long have you guys been here?” asks Caroline.
Sheena then replies, “Eight months.”
There’s a long pause as Isabela picks potatoes from the bowl of root vegetables. While passing the bowl to Brian, Isabela responds, “Two… Two years,” as she twists her torso uncomfortably without notice.
Caroline gasps at the duration. Jayson turns to Brian and asks, “And you?”
“About six months. That’s enough questions for now. Our time for eating is almost over,” Brian says abruptly as he passes the bread bowl to Jayson.
Caroline begins biting a handful of guava and pineapple as the juice spirals down her forearm. This reminds her of the spiked libations that brought her here. “If I never see coconut juice again, it would be too soon.”
Then Leonid announces loudly, “Dining is done. Isabela, train Caroline in her assignment.”
“Come on, you’ll be clearing away the table. Just follow my lead so you can get your handcuffs removed,” urges Isabela softly.
They take the bowls to an outdoor prepping station shaded by large palm and banana tree leaves. “Scrape the leftovers into the plastic containers and snap the lids tightly,” Isabela instructs. “Keep the containers in the shade. This is our lunch and dinner. We get fresh food each morning. Now we must clean the rooms before more guests arrive.”
“More guests, like us?” Caroline asks.
“No, guests who pay money to Dr. Toussaint. Keep your toiletries with you or you will have to wipe yourself with leaves in the outhouse. Now follow me,” Isabela instructs.
Making their way through the brush, they emerge in an area with much nicer cabins, but not as luxurious as the ones in the brochure. Using palm fronds as makeshift brooms, they begin sweeping the pathways to the cabins and their porches.
“Who stays here?” Caroline asks again.
“I told you. The guests,” Isabela says with some irritation.
“Well, sweeping would be easier without these handcuffs. When will I get them off?” asks Caroline.
“If you make it through the first day, maybe you can get them off tomorrow. But with all the questions you ask, that’s not likely,” Isabela quips while grimacing and grasping her side.
“Are you all right?” Caroline asks with concern.
“Yes, keep sweeping,” replies Isabela. Now, we must fetch water. Isabela, reaches for two large clay water vessels. Because of her restraints, Caroline grabs only one. They head through the forest in another direction.
Meanwhile, Brian takes Jayson to clean the septic tank. The stench seems unbearable.
“Whew! It smells like a dead body is in here. How often do we need to do this?” asks Jayson.
“You need to sprinkle this disinfectant at least once a day, preferably before it gets dark so you can see where you’re stepping,” is Brian’s reply from a distance.
“I don’t get it. You’re a big guy. It seems we could overpower the two men and get some help,” Jayson pleads.
“Leonid is an MMA fighter that also has weapons. When I first got here I was like you, looking for an opportunity to make a run for it. Two months ago I tried to get the jump on Leonid and he gave me quite a beatdown. He then left me with broken bones in the sun for more than an hour as scavengers flew overhead.
“Finally, Dr. Toussaint, came and patched me up. And as you can see, I am still in shackles. If you keep your head down, you may get your restraints removed this week.”
“Is that how you injured your eye?” asks Jayson intently.
“That story is for another day. We have compost to tend to,” Brian concludes.
By now Caroline and Isabela have drawn fresh water and are taking the full clay water vessels back to set on the porches of the guest quarters.
“Is that the stream where we bathe?” Caroline asks.
“Yes, but work on getting your handcuffs off first or you may drown in the water. Remember, you earn privileges,” Isabela replies.
“What’s next?” asks Caroline.
“Now we head back to the orientation area so Dr. Leonid can share itinerary details. Hurry!” urges Isabela.
All the servants gather back at the open clearing and Dr. Toussaint begins addressing them.
“I hope you enjoyed your breakfast. Is anyone feeling ill?”
“Sir, no, Dr. Toussaint, sir!” they shout in unison.
“This evening, some VIP guests are arriving. Before then, Aahna will draw your blood near the dining table and check your vitals. Afterwards, you can eat lunch and return to your cabins to await further instructions. You are now dismissed.”
“Sir yes, Dr. Toussaint, sir!” they shout in unison.
On the way to Aahna, Jayson begins blurting out more questions. “Why do they need our blood? Who are the VIP guests?”
“Aahna won’t take all your blood, just enough to test for compatibility,” Brian assures.
“Compatibility with what?” asks Jayson.
“Within the next week, one of us will donate a lung to a VIP,” Brian somberly replies.