Chicago, Illinois — 2006
Laresa sighed, unable to assist her Mistress due to the last command Hanna had spit out in a drug-fogged fit of pique.
Just stand over there invisible and watch. Stay out of this. I can handle my fucking high, okay?
Laresa shook her head sadly as she remembered the words, knowing they weren't true then, and certainly weren't true now. Bent over the arm of a sofa, Hanna was finally unconscious after two days of indulgence.
Sticky trails led from her sex and the puckered iris of her ass down her legs, evidence of the drug-induced euphoria she had ridden with reckless abandon for the last several hours. More semen matted her hair and covered her face, back, and buttocks. A string of spittle, mixed with more seed from the six men sprawled about the room, dribbled down her chin. Three other men had already left, in a slightly less impaired condition than those who remained.
Hanna's folds were a bright, angry red, as was her ass. Laresa knew her Mistress would be in pain when she awakened, but Hanna's last command still compelled her to stand and simply watch.
One of the men stirred, rising up groggily by climbing up the couch. Sitting down on it heavily, letting out a groaning gasp, he glanced over at Hanna and chuckled. His eyes lit up then, and he reached for her hand.
Laresa's heart leapt in her chest, but she could do nothing except watch as the man pulled the ring from Hanna's finger and said, "Bet I can afford some good shit if I hock this off. Thanks, slut."
Laresa turned into invisible wisps of smoke, returned to her home in the ring when Hanna lost possession of it.
Some time passed before Laresa felt the pull of a new Master calling her from the ring. The man was dirty, disheveled, and barely coherent. It took several attempts even to impress upon him that she was real, not just another symptom of his acid trip. Only an hour later did it dawn on him that he could make wishes.
He turned to the nude semi-pro prostitute, as she called herself, at his side and shook the woman, "Hey, Cheyenne, I got a genie, babe! Cheyenne, wake up already!"
Laresa knew the woman was not going to awaken, not now or ever again. Her new Master had been unknowingly sitting next to a corpse for several hours. After another few moments of shaking, the man suddenly realized how cold and clammy the woman's flesh was beneath his hands. He snatched them back and scrambled to the opposite side of the couch away from her.
He mumbled, "No way, you can't be dead. No way, no way, no way, no way..."
He raised his head then and turned toward Laresa in a jerky movement, his eyes alight with the thought that had just penetrated the thick fog in his brain.
Laresa began, "Master..." Her sense of right demanded that she inform her Master he was about to break a rule, but it warred with disgust over her enslavement to such a man.
"I wish for you to bring her back," Laresa's new Master commanded.
Having never asked for the rules of owning a genie, he had no idea that this was a wish beyond her power, or that it broke the bonds between them. Laresa turned back into tendrils of smoke, returning to her home in the ring, which vanished to hurtle through space and time once more.
Alaska — Winter 1925
James Paddock fought the urge to growl, already irritated at the other men in the place halfway through his first bitter, watered-down beer. The hastily constructed walls of the clandestine saloon barely blocked the wind, and the fire managed to put more smoke in the air than heat. The smoke did nothing to overpower the smell of stale sweat — and even more unpleasant odors — that hung in the close quarters either. Even though the place was supposed to be secret, the other men in the cramped room obviously couldn't care less. They were just as loud and annoying as before Prohibition.
Tossing back the last of his beer in one pull, James flipped a coin to the man who ran the place and thought, I should have just stayed out in the storm.
Exiting through the badly hidden door into the dry goods store, which drew far fewer customers than the real business beyond, James walked back out into the frigid wind and blowing snow. Shaking his head, he thought, I don't know why I bother. No matter where I go, it's always the same. Men who are too loud and full of lies, women who are only looking for money, and beer that tastes like piss. Hardly worth waking up in the morning in a world like this.
Walking to the back of the building and ducking to look under an awning that was, if anything, better constructed than the building it was attached to, James whistled for his dogs.
His black mood lifted a bit as his team bounded out of the shelter and toward their place in front of the sled, eager to run.
James squinted at the horizon, across the surface of the Blinding White, as he called this land when the snow flew so thick you could barely see the front of your sled, let alone your dogs. The storm was getting worse, and he was starting to feel the chill even through his rabbit-fur lined coat. He'd been cold before, though, and he knew a cave nearby that could shelter them if things got bad enough.
Even though the storm was picking up, he could still see his team — for now. He smiled, sensing the enthusiasm as they bounded through the snow, pulling him and his sled. His dogs loved to run, and James loved to indulge them. He had taken this trip with the idea of getting a beer and finding out what was going on in the world, but really, it had all been just an excuse to be out amongst nature in all her glory. Sighing, he thought, Wish I could just stay out here forever.
The change was subtle at first, but quite recognizable to James. At first, the dogs only glanced at each other, their fluid gait showing signs of hesitation. As they continued on, the animals actually began to slow. The nervous posture of his team prompted James to call for them to stop.
"What do you smell, Apogee? I know that look, boy. You too, Addie — something's out there putting you on edge, girl. What is it?"
The entire team stared off into the distance, their ears pricked to the wind. His lead dog, Apogee, and Addie glanced back at him when he called their names. He had a good team, with good feet, but Apogee and Addie were the best dogs he'd ever seen. They stood out from the rest of the five black and white dogs too — Apogee in his copper-brown banded coat and Addie in pure, snow white.
Smarter than half the men he knew, and better company, he'd come to trust the instincts of those two dogs as much as he trusted his own. Too many times — on days like this — he'd relied on those dogs to get him home, when he couldn't even see them for the blowing snow. They'd warned him of bears, pulled him around crevices, and found town through the most abysmal of storms too many times for him to do otherwise.
"Storm looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better, is that it?"
Addie turned to look at him again, and James locked eyes with her. She then jerked her muzzle back toward the horizon, sniffing the air.
Most men thought he was crazy to have a female on his team — he refused to call her a bitch — but it was times like this when James knew why he strapped her up. She was a damn smart dog, and seemed to understand nearly every word he said to her. He hated leaving her behind when she was in heat, distracting the rest of the team too much to get anywhere.
"Not the storm, then," James grunted, brushing some of the frost off his thick black beard with a gloved hand. Just then, he caught a glimpse of something through the blinding gales of snow. It looked like a sled.
"Somebody else out there, is that it?"
Apogee and Addie both let out a little whuff.
"Don't look to be moving, that's not good. Let's get over there — mush!"
The whole team looked a bit apprehensive, but they followed Apogee's lead and bounded off through the gale, the runners of James' sled hissing across the snow. As they drew nearer, James was able to determine that what he saw was indeed a sled, and it was sitting idle, gathering snow. It was also sitting at an odd angle. He could see no sign of team or driver, but mounds of snow nearby hinted at their location. That sight made James' blood run cold.
The dogs were all reluctant to approach too close, and that only confirmed James' fears. One mound of snow, beside the sled, was larger than the ones in front, and it was toward it he walked when the team stopped. Squatting down and brushing away a couple inches of snow revealed exactly what James expected.
He didn't recognize the old man, and James knew that if he'd ever seen him, he would have remembered him. The old man had a beard as white as the snow that covered him, and features that hinted at Inuit blood. The frozen mat of blood in the man's white hair revealed without a doubt what had killed him. He'd driven his sled over a hidden rock, and hit his head on it when he was thrown.
Shaking his head and grunting, James brushed away snow from the other mounds, finding the team frozen. They were hooked to their harnesses and that had prevented them from getting loose. James never liked a man hooking his team like that. He never did, so that the dogs would have a chance if something ever happened to him, unlike these poor animals. It looked like a good team too, and it was a damn shame they died because the man that drove them didn't leave them free to find shelter and food.
.... There is more of this story ...