10.17.14, Unedited, First Draft Excerpt from “Survive”
Copyright SE 2014
I’ve already been bred twice, which sounds awful, but is a reality of our survival. I was sent here by the record keepers of my own clan to breed through theirs, just as my children would be shuffled to another clan when they came of age. The good thing is that as a skilled breeder, I have options available.
Foremost, I am allowed to work outside the women’s stables. As my skills outside of the breeding den grow, the likelihood of my presence being required within it recedes.
Not the least of allowances granted was the ability to opt out of my offspring’s upbringing. Again, this sounds awful, but is in actually, a blessing. All children are raised by the clans, being coddled among groups of breeders and their offspring, and mine are no different except that I am not among their daily caretakers. They know me only as an older sister, a friend when they’re in need. It is better this way, because in the end, we will be separated.
The greatest allowance though, was being granted first choice in the dens. All breeders are matched with three or more partners of similar likeness. This ensures that when a child is born to the clan, they belong to all and no man can claim that he is undoubtedly the father. It also ensures that a breeder may not be claimed by a man until her services have been rendered completely.
There were those girls who chose young, good looking partners in the dens, hoping to sow seeds of affection to last after the breeding. I was not one of those girls. I wanted my freedom, my own way. So, after first approaching the old mothers, the permanent wives of the clan, I chose clan elders. Men who knew how to handle a woman’s body, who would lay no claim on me beyond ritual and tradition, and who, by sheer strength and intelligence, survived the worst and come out on top.
The first to come to me was Jeremiah. With long braids of ebony hair, he was by far the cockiest bastard in the clan, claiming the strength of Sampson. Maybe the braids were a joke, but the strength was substantial, even at the age of forty-seven. Less than six months ago a neighboring clan had raided the oldhome, and in the midst of defending the wall, Jeremiah had literally hurled boulders at the clan’s men’s heads while manning a fifty caliber machine gun from the watchtower. He was an arrogant warrior, but he was also one of the most resilient of men. It would do clan children no harm to inherit such strength, even if it were only his strength of will, which I told him. His answering smile was full of mischief. “Strength I’m going to need when I return home to a wife scorned.”
“It was not my intention to bring you trouble or your wife dismay, Jeremiah. I will choose another.”
“No, you will not. My wife will enjoy the reclaiming when you are finished with me. Besides, she would not have given a false blessing. She respects the path you are following, and if she were not so gloriously happy to be my wife, she would probably envy you.” He winked, setting me again at ease.
“Well… then I suppose we should commence.”
It seems that I should have a horror story of those first times together – for unlike most breedings, Jeremiah insisted on taking me more than once.
“If I were to break you and leave, you would not welcome this again. I will do right by you, little warrior.”
Nothing that happed between us was a hardship. Truth, I am grateful for the education Jeremiah gave me. Instead of feeling fragile and hesitant afterward, I could actually smile remembering those days together, even the blunders I’d made in my haste to do what I thought was expected.
Jeremiah had stopped me, tangling my hands in his own before I could pull the robe from my body. “Lei, sweet one… Perhaps you would allow an old man a kiss first?”