Genevieve’s breath was there one moment, and gone the next. Out of instinct, she opened her eyes, only to see a dark figure looming over her. Two, to be exact. One of them was holding a cloth over her mouth and nose, and it was probably soaked with some kind of drug. When she began to feel her lungs scream and burn for air, she grabbed his forearm and tried to pry it off.
Genevieve tried to scream, but it was muffled behind the cloth. She kicked at the men, but they dodged her attempts easily. The young girl clawed at the man's hand, her nails dug into the man's skin and drew blood, but he didn't seem to notice. They probably did this often, breaking into homes and stealing people away into the night. The room was bathed in moonlight from the window, illuminating two silhouettes. The shadows seemed to grow as Genevieve felt pure terror grip her.
They were talking about something--her, most likely--but their words were muddy and mumbled. She felt as though she were underwater, her moves slow and weak. In one last ditch effort, she kicked out her foot and felt it connect with flesh. Genevieve only managed to take a gasp before the cloth was returned to her face. Her world began to dim and slowly but surely, she was carried back off to sleep.
Genevieve’s consciousness came and went. Sometimes brief enough that her eyes never opened, yet sometimes long enough that they would open and look around before drifting off again. The trance was never ending and Genevieve felt as though she would never wake up. She was not that fortunate. Genevieve felt herself wade through the darkness and the quiet until she reached her destination.
When she opened her eyes, Genevieve was met with an unfamiliar sight. The building she was in was some sort of warehouse, with only a few large windows along the walls. Small rooms--pens, more like--were lined against the edges of the warehouse. Genevieve then realized that she was in one herself. The warehouse was, in a word, magnificent, as far as warehouses go. The pens were made of beautifully designed wrought iron, and the walls were adorned with paintings and sculptures that were sure to be worth a fortune. Genevieve peeked through the gaps of her pin and into the others.
To say she was surprised would be an understatement. The pens were filled; from exotic or endangered animals, to people themselves. Genevieve knew exactly where she was and why she was there, it’d be hard not to.
She was at the Global Trade Network, and she was there because her blood granted immortality. As for the rest of the people locked inside these cages, she had no idea. Most of them were likely being sold as slaves, but some of them might have been there for the same reason she was; they had a magical ability that someone would pay a pretty penny to have. Genevieve cursed herself for her foolishness. Of course someone would notice her if she was bleeding white blood. She should’ve been carrying her bandages. If she had been carrying her bandages, then none of this would’ve happened.
She moved to stand up but found that her ankles had been chained to the floor. It gave her enough leeway to take a few steps but nothing more. At least her cut was doing better, that seemed to be the only plus. She must've been out longer than she thought. Last Genevieve saw, her leg was worse for wear, but now there was barely a mark. Days must have passed while she was asleep. Those drugs were stronger than she thought.
Genevieve heard the sound of footsteps and the jingling of a key in a lock. She turned to see the giant doors of the warehouse push open and three men step inside. If she were honest, the men looked like they belonged inside of the pens themselves. They were scraggy and looked as though they hadn’t bathed in weeks. Genevieve expected more from the infamous Global Trade Network. Perhaps they were new recruits or just small henchmen that looked over the merchandise. There was no telling how many warehouses like this were scattered around Portsmith, 3 or 4 at least.
The men walked past the pens, and Genevieve fought to hold her nose from their stench. Although it was repulsive, the girl could swear that she had smelt it before somewhere. They paid her no mind and moved towards the other end of the building. They sat down in some chairs and pulled out, what she assumed was absinthe, and drank their troubles away. Of course, it also loosened their lips.
“Where the hell does Erickson get the idea that he can schedule a trade off in the sewers?” The tallest one said.
“I bet that’s how he gets his kicks. You know he acts like he has a stick up his ass.” said the shortest one.
“Y’all need to shut up. These heathens will do anything to lighten their load, even if they have to gab about us to Erickson himself. You know how he deals with insubordination.” The three were solem. If Erickson was as bad as everyone made him out to be, Genevieve could understand why they didn’t want to get on his backside. Genevieve began to wonder how much she was being sold for. Did they even have an idea of how much she was worth, really?
Everyone knew about the mystical people with white blood. There were many different stories told about them. Most of them were outrageous and completely untrue, but it was interesting to see how people thought. Some of them weren’t so bad, thought. One in particular stood out to Genevieve.
There was a man, who loved helping people. He would go out of his way to make sure that everyone had what they needed and wanted. He owned a small toy shop where he would fix broken toys for children for free. The man had a beautiful wife that he cherished and loved beyond life itself. Eventually, she became sick and was on the verge of death.
On her deathbed, the woman told her husband to never mourn her, that he should love again. He could not. The man lived the rest of his life alone in his toy store. He quickly aged, but never once tried to find another love. As he aged, the man found out that he had the same illness that took his wife, and that his life was nearing its end. He surrounded himself with the shop and the children, but in the end, he was miserable and lonely.
One day, while working in the store, a beautiful women came in. She was looking for a toy for her younger sister. She tried to speak with the man, but he was uninterested and the conversation was mostly one sided. She ended up buying a doll and leaving. The woman returned the next day, looking for a present for her friend’s son. She spoke with the man, and he decided to humor her. She bought a toy knight, and left.
Thus, the cycle continued. The mysterious woman would come in everyday, looking for a gift for one person or another. Slowly, but surely, the man began to warm up to her. Soon enough, he discovered that he had fallen for the beautiful woman, and she for him. He and the woman would speak for hours and would tell each other stories of their youth. The man felt as though he had known her his entire life.
Eventually, his illness began to make an appearance. His health quickly deteriorated, and he knew that he must tell the mysterious woman. The female came to him on his deathbed, and he told her the story of his wife’s passing, and how he was devastated because he would be doing the same thing to her. He asked her to make the same promise that his wife had made him, for he could not imagine such a beautiful woman like to her to remain alone for the rest of her life. When he made the request, the woman simply smiled.
He asked why she was smiling at such a grim time, and she replied that she would not have to make that promise. He asked her what she meant, and she told him that they could live together, forever, if that was what he truly wanted. Of course, the man was confused and didn’t understand what she was asking. The woman had been waiting to see if this man had truly loved her as she loved him. When the man made her promise to not remain alone, even after his death, she knew their love was true.
She explained to her love that she had been keeping a secret from him, one that could not only heal him, but grant him immortality. She explained that her blood was magical, that it was tinted white and if drunk on a regular basis, would not only keep the man from dying, but return him to a physically healthy state. The man could not believe what she had told him. He had heard of the mystical people, but had never met one
So, he agreed and the woman shared her blood with the man she loved. Slowly, his body began to recover and his wrinkles and pain left him as well. He and the woman remained in love and lived together forever, literally.
That was how most of the stories went. Someone was going through a hard time, and then someone with white blood shows up and makes everything better. Genevieve had never heard of someone actually meeting one--other than her and her mother of course--nor had she met one.
Everyone loved her mother, it was hard not to. She was always so vibrant and carefree. Her mother, Evangeline, was never angry or malicious. Genevieve remembered one night when she asked her father why he loved Evangeline. He told her that when he met Evangeline, she was in a bad situation, but throughout it all, she remained hopeful and kind. That was just one of the reasons he loved her.
It was one of the reasons Genevieve had loved her too. The sound of the men getting up caught her attention. They must’ve finished their drinks while she was thinking. The men stretched and yawned, as to be expected after drinking. The tall one walked over to a desk and picked up a clipboard with a thick layer of paper on top.
“Okay, boys, we best be taking inventory.” The three walked to where the iron pins began and started to take their inventory. One would call what’s written down, and another would confirm if it was there. About three pins in, the came to one with a young boy inside of it. Child slave, if Genevieve had to guess.
“Please, misters, you gotta let me out. I ain’t gonna tell on ya, I don’t even know where I am.” So, uneducated as well. It wasn’t surprising. Even though Portsmith was mostly developed, they had their fair share of homeless children and families. They’re better targets too. The police won’t look for a missing person that’s homeless, that’s just how it was. The shortest man slapped the kid when he got too close to the edge of the pin.
“White male slave, check.”
“W-what? I ain’t gonna be no slave, please, I’ll do anythin’--”
Genevieve looked away when he saw one of the men enter the boy’s pin. She closed her eyes when she heard struggling. Cries of pain filled the warehouse, and Genevieve covered her ears. She could feel tears begin to well up in her eyes when she heard a loud crack. There was a loud shout and then nothing but whimpers. Despite covering her ears, she could hear the men continue on with their inventory. She uncovered her ears as the men eventually reached her own pin.
“Awe, look at the wee lamb.” She heard one say. “She sure is a beaut, what do you think she’s here for? Surely not just a slave.”
“Says on the sheet that she’s got white blood or something.”
“Well shit, ain’t that stuff magic?”
“It sure ain’t normal.”
“What do ya say, Lads? Should we take a peek?” Genevieve backed up against the wall of the pin when the shortest one pulled out a small blade. The three men entered her pin. The tall one sat the clipboard down and grabbed her arm. She kicked him as hard as she could, but when he let go in pain, another one grabbed her in his place. She struggled, but the other one grabbed her other arm. They held her in place as the man neared her with the blade. She hissed when he cut a large gash across her upper arm. To their astonishment, white liquid began to leak out of the wound.