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Chamalis fought to keep a neutral, emotionless expression on her downward
cast face. The smell of burning flesh urged her gag reflex to escape her concentrated
efforts of suppression. Whispering rhythmically through the air the impossibly thin whip
sped towards it’s target sending out a hiss as skin and muscle melted away at it’s
slightest touch.

After what felt like an eternity the voice of the head human called out the order to
return to duty as he carefully coiled his instrument of correction. A firm, bony grip led her
back to one of the servant halls. Both anger and a deep concern colored the words
leaving her mother’s lips.

“You must be more careful. You nearly lost control of yourself. If you think
witnessing a flogging is bad imagine participating next time you want to lose focus.”
Chamalis kept her gaze firmly aimed downward at the bare cement floor. She
knew her mother was just trying to scare her, everyone knew girls her age were never
flogged, though just as many never returned from their destinations as men died at the
floggers cruel treatment. One girl in the kitchens had shared her limited knowledge
about what happened after a woman went away with one of the Angheal males that
inhabited the manse.

She had understood little of the telling, but a subconscious instinct
made her feel that fate would somehow be worse than death via heat whip.
One quick squeeze signalled her mother turning off towards her duties. Chamalis
proceeded to the atrium to wait for the mistress of the home to return. With only
seconds to spare she took her position in a slightly recessed alcove near the door just
as it slid silently into the wall. The creature that came through the threshold could only
be described as physically flawless. Thick, dark hair framed a pale face totally free of
even the slightest blemish. Pearlescent robes flowed from shoulders poised as if posing
for a portrait down to golden sandaled feet. Colorful strands of silken thread displaying
the identifying crest of the household wrapped about a slender waist.

Without a glance in Chamalis’ direction the Angheal female gracefully crossed
the spacious front lobby and disappeared behind an ornate doorway. Being unnoticed
meant no immediate danger of arbitrary punishment being handed out existed. Both
master and mistress of the household had a reputation of indulging an almost bored
sadism with distressing regularity. Their anatomically perfect faces never showed
anything but serene contentment, sending the clear message that humankind didn’t
even deserve contempt when being punished.

Several hours of standing still in the atrium awaited Chamalis. Gaze down, face
impassive, the only tolerated appearance the human slaves were permitted. Unbidden,
and with painful clarity, a memory forced itself across trillions of neurons bringing her
back to that fateful day a lifetime ago. She had still been young, not yet an adolescent
when the human officials came to the door of their single room living space. Her mother
had gasped and fallen to the floor even as one of the men started talking. The
recollection of his words filled her mind’s eye.

“....consider yourselves extremely lucky. This region has fewer lottery winners
than...Oh, Creator. Get her up would you?” The second man stepped forward and
pulled Chamilis’ mother into a chair. The first man extended a sheaf of papers and
resumed speaking.

“Your transport will depart in three days from communal car park 435, unit 76345.
You and your dependent are each permitted one bag each. If you are late you will forfeit
your entrance into the holy city. You are advised to speak to no one of your departure.
Do so at your own peril.” The second man smiled wide at Chamilis and said,
“You are one lucky kid. You’ll get to spend most of your life in the Creator’s
paradise instead of out in the shithole that is the rest of Earth.”

With a sudden start Chamalis realized tears rolled down her cheeks in heavy
streams. Her hand froze halfway to her cheek as a cold fear arrested her movement.
Standing only a dozen feet away stood the master of the house his beautiful sparkling
eyes gazing into her own dull brown eyes. The alien’s face remained a mask of almost
kind understanding as he spoke in a sparkling, clear voice,
“You will head immediately to my bedchamber. I shall be along in a short time.”

Then he strode purposefully down the hall. Stunned Chamalis realized her legs taking
her in the correct direction of their own accord. Total numbness dominated her mind not
even leaving room for the terror she knew she should be feeling.
As she approached the towering double doors that led to the masters private
quarters, another servant passing chanced a rush of whispered advice.
“Do whatever he asks of you without hesitation or question and you will escape
any further correction.”

And then she arrived at the golden colored doors. Everyone she had ever known
before winning the lottery along with another two billion humans spread across a
ravaged, impoverished planet would happily trade places with her only to find far too
late the paradise city of the Creator of Reality had already reached maximum
occupancy of His first created beings, the Angheals, who desired humans be allowed
entrance to the city only to serve them as they served the Creator. Nearly every living
person dreamt of entering this paradise that had descended from the stars.

wished to escape the poverty, violence, and harsh conditions of what they all swore to
be hell on Earth. Only the lucky would discover the true living hell life could become.
Chamalis no longer made any attempt to stem the tide of tears flowing down her
olive colored cheeks. No respite existed for humanity in this heavenly city, only casual
cruelty and cosmic injustice. Reaching for the handle she uttered the first prayer to the
Creator since entering the city.

“Please just let me die quickly. I cannot bear this nightmare becoming any
worse.” Stepping through the opening Chamalis went to face the prize she had been so
lucky to win.


I am an aspiring short fiction writer. My only published writings are the three letters to the editor I have submitted to my city's paper all of which made it in the Sunday paper. I used to have some talent for fiction writing in school, but it's been a decade since then. The success of my letters to the editor inspired me to attempt getting a piece of fiction published.


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