When, when the fire's at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They're whispering, you're out of time
But still, I rise
This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in, think again
Don't be surprised, I will still rise
- Rise, Katy Perry
I am an Omega, but I will not let that define me. They want it to, but I'm still in control of my destiny, regardless of their plans.
This is my mantra, and so far it has carried me through whatever I've been made to deal with, even what I'm enduring now; despite the smoke and haze filling up my head.
They've drugged me with something, and I can feel it burning through my blood. It's made me heavy and slow and compliant.
It's made me the ideal Omega. I wouldn't have cooperated otherwise.
And they knew that as soon as they looked at me. Despite the chains, I was still fighting; would continue to fight.
I'm still fighting inside my head, where they can't see, but my inner voice is screaming; caught in the tempest raging inside of me.
The place where the needle was inserted throbs, there in the crook of my arm. It aches when I'm held in place before the crowd. I look out at the audience with bleary, unfocused eyes, and I can see the cigarette smoke hovering over their heads. It's thick and gray and when it reaches my nose it makes me gasp softly.
"As you can see, this specimen is still quite young," the auctioneer is saying in his deceptively melodious voice, enticing an already intrigued crowd. "He is on the cusp of 18, has experienced no Heats, and -"
He pauses, I suppose for dramatic effect; the crowd seems to hang in the balance. I merely drift.
" - he is completely untouched."
Now there's a rustle rippling through the audience like a dark wave, voices rising with a palpable excitement. The first threads of fear unravel within me, but I cannot move so I can't do anything with them; only pant and moan and try to stay awake.
"Turn him," the hawker says to my handler, a Beta with a bland face that I will quickly forget as soon as I'm gone from this place.
I find myself being placed on my hands and knees, turned from the crowd and made to expose myself. I whimper as I'm spread, and I can hear the hawker detailing my virtue and assets.
"Pure," he says, running a finger over the slope of my backside, "and we have it on good authority that not even a finger or tongue has ever been inside of him. Completely virginal."
As soon as the words leave his lips the crowd is shouting, voices mixing and fighting against one another.
And so on, the numbers climbing into the astronomical. I shut my eyes, cold fingers of dread spreading over my backbone.
The auctioneer, however, chuckles and manages to subdue the crowd in a voice that's warm and soothing as tea laced with honey.
"Gentlemen, the bidding hasn't formally begun, as you well know, but since you're so eager." He clears his throat before turning to the Beta. "Show the crowd his face."
I'm being turned yet again, and now a hand is pushing under my chin to raise my face to the light.
"Open your eyes," the Beta hisses in my ear.
I shake my head but yelp when I feel my hair being tugged.
"Do as you're told or it'll be the whip," the hawker says in my ear, "on your palms and the soles of your feet. You didn't like that the last time, did you?"
My eyes flutter open at the memory. They hadn't wanted to leave bruises where they would matter the most, but my hands and feet still ached.
"Red curls and green eyes," the auctioneer, back in good spirits, announces, turning my face every which way as I listlessly stare ahead. "Quite unusual, yes, and very pretty. You won't find another one like this anytime soon. So, shall we start the bidding at...30,000?"
"30!" a gruff voice calls.
"Such enthusiasm," the man smiles, still cradling my face. "On that note, I'm sure 35 isn't out of the question..."
It isn't, and soon the air is crowded with shouts until I'm so dizzy I can barely decipher what's being proposed; 100,000...150,000... until -
"500,000," a dark, arresting voice, like chamber music, breaks through the din. It has a sensual quality on its surface, but the underside of it makes me shiver; drawing and conjuring images of bloodshed and knocks on the window at night when you're alone. It's like fear incarnate.
Silence descends and the hawker smiles a blank-faced, jackal's grin. I can understand why. My knowledge of the Auctions is limited since schooling of any kind has been outlawed for Omegas, but even I know that half a million dollars is an unprecedented amount to pay. He lets me go and, exhausted, I hang my head in silent defeat.
"Now that's real money," he all but purrs, standing. "Is there anyone here that can challenge such a sum?"
The atmosphere is thick with jealousy and anger, I can feel it, but there's a current of reluctant admiration. A man of means, true means, walks amongst the fray, and the collective, wealthy in their own rights, can sense it.
"Well, then," the auctioneer nearly sighs, "I suppose I have no choice...500,000 going once, going twice..."
My head rolls towards my chest as the drug, reaching its zenith, drags me down into an abyss I can't help but welcome now. I don't even have the strength or presence of mind to cry, even though I've been torn from everything that matters to me.
I'm just glad that my mother passed away before she saw me reduced to this, her eldest son exchanged for mere handfuls of paper. It would've broken her heart, and I pray that her spirit isn't here to witness my fall from grace.
"SOLD!" the hawker yells out in a warped, unreal voice; malfunctioning as I succumb to the pull of the drug. Like a stone being dropped into a bottomless pool, I shut my eyes and slide under; grateful that, at the very least, I'm being spared from looking my buyer -
- in the face while in this state of complete disarray. For the moment, I can convince myself that I'm safe...
Until I'm forced to wake up, that is.