This story started a long while back. The previous chapters can be found on the Serial Stories page.
It had been over a week since Rachel had been told of the deaths of her family. Rachel moved through the day in a haze. Nothing mattered. Her family was gone. The farm burned. She was adrift. Standing in the stall she stared off into the distance. The big horse snuffled her hair and she brushed at him as if he was a fly. He wanted her to take him out, but she hadn’t ridden him in a week. Rachel finished cleaning out the stall and closed the door. She sighed and left the barn.
George watched her from the box stall across the barn. He’d asked the Master why she was so withdrawn, and when Raven explained, he nodded. His family had been lost in a flood when he was small. He wondered what it would take to snap her out of it.
Tod followed Rachel as she walked from the barn. Maggie was worried about her too, but had to keep the house in order. He was clever enough to keep out of her sight after the first day when she’d yelled at him to go away. She headed off to the garden and slipped down through the back gate to the river. Tod knew the current was swift just past the pool and worried what she would do. No one went swimming there this time of year. The water was just too treacherous. He saw a gardener and ran over to him. He gave the man a message for Lord Raven and then ran to follow Rachel, breaking twigs along the way so the Master would know where they’d gone.
Raven ran towards the river as soon as the gardener had delivered the message. He cut across the bottom of the garden wall and vaulted the gate. He quickly saw the trail of broken sticks. “Clever lad that Tod!” he thought. He nearly ran into Tod as he came around a corner of the trail.
“Sire! She’s on that rock just over the falls,” said Tod. His heart was pounding with fear.
“Good lad. I’ll take over. Go home and have Maggie heat some water. I think we’ll need a bath before this is all over,” Raven said quietly and turned Tod towards the main buildings. Tod ran.
Raven walked as quietly as possible, working his way downstream of Rachel. He checked on her nearly every other footstep, not knowing if she’d just stand there or if she’d jump. When he was below her and in a good spot to intercept her if she did go into the waters, he stepped out onto the bank.
“And where do you think you’re going?” he asked loud enough to be heard over the waters.
Rachel startled, and then turned towards the sound of his voice. He was the last person she’d expected to see on the river back. She just stared.
“Answer me Rachel! What are you doing here?” he called.
“I…” she started and then closed her mouth. She looked down at the water and then over at him and without taking her eyes off of him fell forward into the waters.
Raven dived the second he realized she was falling. The pools here were deep and he knew that the real dangers were nearly a quarter of a mile downstream. He surfaced and didn’t see her. Diving again, he saw her down under the water, bubbles escaping her lips. He swam down until he could grab her by the belt. Once he had her by the belt, he pushed towards the surface. She struggled and fought him. Being the stronger swimmer, he had them on the surface in a moment and headed towards the bank.
“Dammit! Why did you stop me?” she cried.
“You are mine! I will not have anyone kill themselves while I can prevent it!” he snarled.
“Your slave, your property you mean,” she cried. She tried to pull back into the current to get away from him.
“You stubborn woman!” he yelled and pulled her up hard against him. “I won’t let you die!”
Rachel struggled again and in frustration, he sat, pulled her over his knee and began to slap her ass through the soaked clothing. She struggled, wiggled and tried to get away. She almost managed it when the belt buckle broke. Raven grabbed her again and this time with her trews half round her hips, he spanked her bare flesh until it was red and she was sobbing. He stood her up, fixed her clothing and then marched her back to the mansion.
When they arrived at the kitchen, Maggie was there to take Rachel. Raven shook his head at her and kept marching Rachel straight up to his room. Maggie followed asking questions and trying to figure out what was going on. When they got to the door of Raven’s room, he shoved Rachel in, turned to Maggie and gave her orders for food. No bath, just food. When it was ready, knock on the door. She was also to send the blacksmith up to his room. Then he closed the door on her astonished face.
He turned to find Rachel where she had fallen. “Why?” he asked.
“Why not,” she countered.
“You have every reason to live. You have a place to be, people who care for you and freedom within limits,” he said.
“I’m a slave. An orphan. All I’ve loved is dead. I see no reason not to join them,” she said.
“You will live, as I have no intentions of letting you die,” Raven growled.
“Oh, because you don’t want to lose your investment?” Rachel said not realizing that he was trying to let her know he cared about her.
“No. That is the least of my worries you stubborn wench!” he stopped short as someone pounded on the door. He walked over, took the tray from Maggie and nodded for the blacksmith to enter the room. The blacksmith stood off to one side as Raven put the tray of food on a low table. Raven then turned to the smith. “I need a strong but fine chain and a leather cuff with a locking clasp,”
“Yes sir,” said the smith. “I can have that for you in a quarter of an hour.”
“Fine. Leave it outside the door. I don’t wish to be interrupted,” said Raven. He opened the door for the blacksmith who departed in haste. Then Raven locked the door.
“Come and eat,” he said to Rachel. He was trying to calm down, but her stubbornness was making him angry.
“No,” she said weakly.
Raven growled, walked over to Rachel and grabbed her by the braids. He pulled and she stood up. “Fine. You wanted to be treated like a slave, I will treat you thus,” he said. “First off, slaves have to earn clothing. Strip.”
Rachel tried to take off her clothes, but her fingers were cold and her clothing still wet. Raven growled again and quickly pulled her clothes off. She stood there with her braids hanging by her sides. He realized as he looked at her that she hadn’t eaten in at least four or five days. “Damn!” he cursed silently to himself. “No wonder she’s been listless.” He walked over to the food and motioned for her to come to him. She stood there. He walked over, took her hand and pulled her to the table. Then he pushed her to her knees. Picking up a piece of bread, he held it in front of her. Rachel turned her head away.
“Open your mouth,” he growled.
Rachel shook her head. He put the food down and pulled her to him. He placed her across his knees as she struggled to get away once she realized what he planned to do. Pinning her chest against one leg, he brought up his hand and began to spank her already reddened ass.
“I. Will. Not. Let. You. Starve. Or. Die.” he said punctuating every word with a slap. “Do. You. Understand?”
Rachel tried hard not to cry out, but couldn’t cope. Her sobs robbed her of all control and soon she was crying uncontrollably. Raven stood her up and held the bread in front of her again as she seemed to get her sobs under control. She shook her head again. He pulled her across his lap and continued to spank her. He counted to fifty. His hand stung and he stood her up again. Tears and snot ran down her face.
“Shall I continue to punish you? Or will you listen to me?” he asked.
Rachel shivered. She was cold although her ass burned. She was confused. All she had wanted to do was die. Yet this man had pulled her from the river and was trying to save her. Willing to beat sense into her until she capitulated. She was so confused. Her body was full of contradictory signals.
“Well?” he asked again. He really didn’t want to have to beat her any more, but if that was what it took, he’d do so.
She realized she didn’t have the strength to talk. Rachel opened her mouth.
“Finally!” he thought. He put a small bite of bread in her mouth since he wasn’t sure when she’d eaten last. As he’d spanked her he was aware of a number of things. Rachel was thin from lack of food and that he would do just about anything to save her.
Rachel ate three bites, and shook her head at the fourth bite. Raven gave her a drink of water and then tried to get her to eat some of the meat. She refused. He leaned over and smacked her ass. As her mouth opened, he popped a bite of meat into her mouth. He shook his finger at her when she started to spit it out. It took an hour interspersed with bites, drinks and spanks to get her to eat. After the last bite, he realized she was falling asleep on her knees. He picked her up and put her in his bed. She was asleep in seconds.