Sunday, May 8, 2011
The Rusty Jug
Here's the story I wrote over a year ago and have been typing up for the last week. I decided to alternate it with Tsuki! to give my readers a little variety. Enjoy, and as always, feel free to comment on this and share it with all of your facebook friends. :-D
The Rusty Jug
Over a thousand years ago, a man was cursed. He had upset a witch by toying with her emotions; pretending to love her so that she would grant him the things he wanted: wealth, beauty, and control over others.
Once the witch discovered that he was using her, she cursed him. She allowed him to keep the illusion of wealth, and the beauty she had granted him, but he was forever doomed to reside inside a rusted and dirty bottle. If he was ever released from his prison, he was at the mercy of – or in other words, under the complete control of – whoever released him from the bottle.
The releaser would have complete control over the man until 3 wishes were granted; at which time, he was immediately re-locked up in his bottle to wait for the next person.
Jin paced his spacious and well decorated prison. He was so utterly bored that he almost didn’t admire himself in the many mirrors as he passed them. It was one of the few things he still loved to do after all these years, and he often spent hours working on his appearance.
His elaborate clock caught his attention as it began to chime. Once a day, at midnight, the clock would announce a new day, and change the number of the count it kept. It was intended by the witch to slowly drive him crazy, but in a way, it kept him company, which prevented insanity.
The clock told him many things. It told him exactly how many years he had been cursed. It kept track of how much time passed in between each of his brief releases from prison; how long each release had lasted, and it even told him the time difference between his homeland and each land his bottle had been taken to. For example, it was currently just after noon wherever he was.
In short, the clock kept track of all thing related to time for him. He studied his clock in disgust. There once was a time in which very little time passed between one releaser and the next. He called them releasers despite the fact that each had forced him to call them master.
He may be cursed to grant them whatever their heart desired, but he would never admit to being under anyone’s control. No matter how clever his masters thought they were, he was always able to maintain control over the situation. In a way, he was no different than he was before the with cursed him, only now he had magical powers.
He sighed. It had been 500 years exactly as of today since his last master, and he was beginning to wonder if he would ever have another. The thought that he might literally be stuck in this jug forever was almost depressing. I’m going to have to think of something new to do with my time.
Lia opened her eyes – which watered in the bright sunshine – to see that she was lying in atop a pile of garbage. She coughed as the stench registered in her brain, and realized that her ribs were sore. In fact, her entire body was sore!
She pushed herself into a mostly upright position, and took in her appearance. She was bruised, dirty, and covered in dried blood; presumably hers, judging by how much she hurt.
Her shirt was torn, and completely exposed one small breast. Meanwhile, her jeans… Well, the legs had been ripped off, giving them the appearance of fashionably flirty short-shorts – except that the crotch was also torn away. This made them look like an obscenely short mini-skirt.
Lia also realized that her panties were missing, and probed herself with fingers from the slightly less dirty hand. This exploration confirmed what she remembered. She had been raped, beaten, and left for dead.
She looked around amended; left for dead in the city dump! She wondered if anyone would have ever discovered her body if she had actually died. Would it matter? There’s no one left to care.
Lia slowly tested each part of her body, and determined that despite several sprains and strains, she was unbroken. She felt her face, and discovered that one eye, her nose, and her lips were puffy and swollen, which explained why it was so difficult to focus.
She ran her hands through her hair, and softly gasped in dismay. My hair! It was short – extremely short – and felt like it had been cut by someone who didn’t care about style in the slightest. It was probably now a trophy…
She tried to stand, stumbled, and fell. Her one hand tried to protect her ribs, and was squashed underneath her, but the other had tried to stop her fall. It was now cut up, and bleeding. It rested on a rusty jug, and she wondered if she would be poisoned by it, but she didn’t have the strength to move her hand away from it. She watched her blood ooze all over it.
Lia chuckled wryly. She had known when she announced her intent to leave the gang that this would happen, but it was the only way she would ever be free to live her own life. No one was just allowed to leave the gang!
Her chuckle grew crazier. “If only I believed in magic! Where’s my genie with my three wishes when I need them?”
The rusty jug under her hand began to glow, and Lia wished that she could see it more clearly. Is it really glowing, or am I now seeing things?
“What?!” A man demanded of her.
Lia sighed in defeat. Obviously one of the gang members had come to make sure she was really dead. She gathered up every last meager drop of energy to turn over. There was no way she could defend herself, but she wasn’t going to lay there like a coward!
“No matter what,” she vowed weakly, “I will face you as you kill me, and I hope my face haunts you for the rest of your life!”
The man studied her closely. Her tattered clothing left no doubt about her gender. He gaped at the sight of her.
“A woman?” He’d had female masters before, but they were usually the gently bred ladies who were the wives and sisters of previous masters. Never had he seen a woman who had been treated so badly!
“Mistress… Tell me what you wish… Anything you desire, I will make it yours.”
“Stop trying to mess with my head, you sick bastard! Just kill me and get it over with!” Lia yelled hoarsely. Her throat felt like someone had choked her, and she bet she had vividly purple finger prints on her neck. She was nearly ready to cry, and she hadn’t cried in almost 10 years!
“Mistress, you must believe me. My name is Jin, and I exist solely to grant your wish.”
“Jin?” Lia asked in confusion; there’s not a Jin in my gang. She made herself concentrate on his appearance. He looked wealthy; like a prince from a distant time and place. What’s someone like him doing in a garbage dump? Her energy failed, and she passed out.
“Now what?” Jin asked himself. He had never been in this situation before. He picked up his bottle, and examined it. It was bigger than he remembered, and now bore quite a few dents. Even so, it was still tiny compared to what it looked like on the inside. He set it back down.
He had never brought anyone inside his bottle before, but he knew from previous experience that if a releaser died before the three wishes were granted, he’d immediately return to his prison. If, however, he tried to save her, she’d hopefully live long enough to cure his boredom for a while.
Little idiot! Why didn’t she simply wish for me to heal her?
He sighed, and carefully lifted her into his arms. He placed a foot on his dingy bottle, and said, “I wish to return to my prison.”
He wasn’t entirely sure it would work because he had never willing gone into his bottle. The next moment, he was inside his bottle, and she was still in his arms. He stood there holding her for a few moments; his magic healing her. Then, he removed her shredded clothes, and carried her into his large bathtub.
He cleaned her thoroughly, dried her off, and dressed her in some of his clothes. Finally, he laid her on his large bed. He made himself comfortable next to her, and watched her until he got bored and fell asleep.