The Old Killroom


Jenn Vesperman

This story is original material created for Companion in Zeor #12, by Jenn Vesperman. CZ's senior editor is Karen Litman. HTML conversion by Mike Giroux


The Sime~Gen universe was created by Jacqueline Lichtenberg. This story or its setting may not be reused without her explicit permission. This story copyright 1977, 1998 by Jacqueline Lichtenberg. All rights reserved.

The Gen knelt in the old killroom, trying to scrub the floor clean of paint, clean down to the bare rock. It had to be done before the Sime returned. Everything had to be done before the Sime returned. The walls had been restored to their mortared stone, the wood panelling which had disguised them now lay stacked among the firewood outside. Bared, the stone now showed holes at neck and wrist height, holes stained with rust - and possibly worse. Those had been impossible to clean, and the Gen hoped that the Sime would be forgiving.

When the room had been built, Simes had not been known to be forgiving. When the room had been built, the holes had been placed in the stone and iron embedded into the holes, iron loops that chains could be locked to. The chains had been to hold Gens, to imprison them in the stone room for later use. To keep them separate, out of the way.

In some houses, Gens had been used for cleaning or gardening, for manual labour - at least until their primary purpose was achieved. That purpose being to die for their selyn. In other houses, Gens were simply kept in the killroom until ready for use. In yet other cases, worse happened.

The Gen wondered what the Sime would choose to do.

What had been done in this killroom? This house was centuries old, surely many families had lived in it. What had these walls seen?

Yesterday had been the journey into town, the journey to purchase the collar, the chains. That had been horrible, a morning spent enduring the knowing stares of Simes. A morning spent among the worst parts of town, among those who sell the implements of desire - or the imitation of desire. A morning spent with hot eyes watching every move. Then the walk home, carrying the heavy packages. And the afternoon spent with a file and wire brush, cleaning the chain and painting it white, cleaning the collar.

All to please the Sime.

At least the day before that had been light work. Cutting the white cloth and sewing seams up the sides was easy. Sewing was even pleasant work, and the day had been filled with anticipation.

But today, arms felt leaden and the harsh soap was stinging skin. If only it had been possible to do this when the Sime was around, or to have started sooner. But no, the discovery that started this had only been a few days ago, and a Gen doing heavy work was always disturbing to a Sime. The Sime could not discover this until it was finished, that was the whole point.

And the Sime was not in the house today. It was time for the monthly journey into town - and when the Sime returned, it was time for pleasure. Yes, this would be a very memorable time.

How long was left? Not long. The floor wasn't yet perfect, but it would do. Time to go have a bath and to dress in the white cloth. Time to hurry.

Time to panic - the lock was still rusted! The Gen searched desperately for oil, for some way to open the lock. Time to panic - the front gate was creaking open. The front gate opened, and footsteps sounded up the path. Time to yank the white shift over a head, to run fingers through hair. The front door opened, and the Gen hastened into the old killroom, hastened to clasp the collar loosely into place.

The Gen's heart beat rapidly. No sound came from the main room. Harsh breath blocked out sound. Then a voice. "Where are you?" The Gen's heart beat rapidly. A tongue flickered over dry lips. "In here."

Sound from the main room, footsteps. Sound from the hall, footsteps. A soft ah. "You're in - the old killroom?"

Sound from the hall, the door opened. The door opened and the Sime stepped in. A twitch of tentacles as the Sime stepped in and closed the door.

The Gen's lips parted in a smile. "I wanted to please you."

"There is no use for this room."

"It no longer has its old use." The Gen's arms raised high, and Gen's lips parted. "But you should be post....."

The Sime's lips parted and the Sime stepped forward. "I am."

"So shall we create a new use - for this room?"

From Companion in Zeor #12

Last modified on 31 January 1998 at 1200