NOTE from the PHOENIX: I was missing my OC Salen so I just wrote a quick little short story about him and his other captor 'Jake', Wilson's partner.
Fifteen years old Salen shivered from a combination of fever driven chills and true cold. The blankets that he had been given years ago to curl up in were so dirty that he hated having them against his skin. However, the other option was to be made even more miserable by the cold stone floor. With his recently cut arm held to his chest he tried to rub off some of the flaking dried blood.
Wilson had cut him deeper than usual in his hurry to get more blood and now the wounds were angry with infection. He thought about tearing off a piece of his tattered shirt to wrap around the cuts, but he feared that the stained threadbare cloth would only make the infection worse. Curling up tighter Salen began crying softly. He used to fight his tears, knowing that it was very un-Vulcan to cry, but he'd given up on that battle long ago.
"Hey, Kid, I brought you dinner."
Salen jerked at the sound of Jake's voice. With his damaged hearing he hadn't heard him coming down the stairs. He sat up quickly and pressed himself into the corner. Jake was Wilson's second in command as far as Salen could tell. Salen tried to stay motionless as Jake set down a tray of vegetables but a burning on his skin forced him to itch behind his ear. Jake watched him as he continued to scratch the irritated spot.
"Why do you keep scratching like that?"
"I...I think I have fleas, Sir." Salen whispered.
"Fleas? Come here." Jake ordered.
Salen cowered against the stone wall keeping his terrified eyes locked on Jake. This was the first time that the human had ever come downstairs without Wilson and he feared his intentions. When Salen didn't move closer Jake raise an expectant eyebrow. In Salen's experience that expression was usually followed by a human losing their temper.
Fearing the consequences of disobedience Salen scrambled over to the bars and knelt down. Jake reached through and took a handful of Salen's greasy hair and pulled him closer. Closing his eyes Salen held his breath, waiting for Jake to release him. Jake separated Salen's hair in a few places before letting him go.
"Hmmm...you do have fleas."
"I am sorry."
"It's not your fault, Kid." Jake sighed.
Salen scratched at his fleas once more before slowly slinking back over to the corner. He desperately wanted Jake to leave. After staring at his disheveled captive for a moment Jake shook his head sadly and turned to leave. Salen's blood turned to ice when Jake changed his mind and returned to the bars. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a set of keys to unlock the door. Salen wondered if he just crawled under the blankets if Jake would go away.
"Let's go." Jake beckoned him to come closer.
"I will eat everything you brought me, I swear...just...just leave me alone."
"I can't leave you down here with fleas. Come on, don't make me drag you out of there."
Hesitantly getting to his feet Salen walked up to the door of the basement cage and waited for further instructions with his hands held behind his back. He cringed as Jake put his hand on his shoulder and started to lead him upstairs. He brought Salen to the bathroom where he had his occasional cold baths. Stepping over to the tub Jake turned the water on before rummaging in the near by cabinet.
"There has to be something in here that will kill fleas." Jake muttered to himself. "Here we go."
Jake placed a bottle with a blue soap in it on the edge of the tub that was slowly filling. Salen's stomach turned at the thought of getting into the cold water. After Wilson had nearly drown him in the tub he'd become terrified of the water. Jake saw that Salen was trembling and flashed him an uneasy smile.
"I'm going to find you some new blankets, and clothes. Take your time in the bath."
"I will not be long, Sir."
"Stop calling me 'Sir'."
Salen trailed off, not knowing what else to call Jake. Wilson beat him severely the last time Salen had called him by name. Jake stepped out of the large bathroom and closed the door. Salen could just barely hear the heavy lock on the outside of the door clicking into place. He relaxed a bit now that he was alone again.
Looking over at the nearly full bathtub Salen sighed heavily. If Jake returned and he wasn't flea free he wasn't sure what the consequences would be. Stepping up to the tub he pulled off his clothing. As he was aging his muscles were becoming more defined, but they were still pulled painfully tight over his bones from starvation and the constant state of anemia.
Salen held his breath and put one foot in the tub. He was surprised to find that the water was pleasantly warm. Less apprehensive about getting in the water he sat down on the bottom of the tub and turned the water off. The heat of the water soothed his shivering and warmed him down to the bone.
Closing his eyes Salen enjoyed the sensation of warmth for a moment. He ducked under the surface briefly to get his hair wet before working the blue shampoo into his hair. The water started to turn gray as the filth came off his skin. When Jake didn't return right away Salen dared to drain the dirty water and refill the tub with clean hot water.
Lounging in the soothing water Salen enjoyed being clean and comfortable. His infected arm was still throbbing, but it was easier to ignore. Just as the water was starting to cool down Jake returned. Salen startled in panic and scrambled out of the water. Pulling a towel off the rack he wrapped it around himself and backed up against the cabinet.
"Take it easy, Vulcan...what is your name?"
"Does it matter?"
"I'm just curious."
"I brought you some clean clothes to change into, they'll be a bit big for you, but it's better than crawling back into those flea infested rags."
Jake held the clothing for Salen to take, but Salen was too afraid to step up and take them. Jake placed the clothing down on the floor and backed away. Salen held the towel closer to his wet body as he noticed that Jake was looking at his chest.
"Are...are you going to rape me?" Salen asked suddenly.
"Is that why you're getting me cleaned up? Because if so I would like to get it over with as quickly as possible, so there is no logic in me getting dressed."
"No, I'm not going to rape you." Jake shook his head. "What gave you that idea?"
"It was not even a word I was familiar with until a year ago."
"Has Wilson done that to you?"
"No...but a few of the men who give him money have."
"I guess that shouldn't surprise me." Jake said sadly.
"I still do not fully understand it...I only know that it is unpleasant and painful."
"I'll talk to Wilson about that, I think he could be persuaded to stop allowing it if he realized that there is a real danger that you could get a fatal disease."
"I...I would be very grateful."
"Honestly, it's the least I can do." Jake shrugged.
"Is he here?"
"No, Wilson's gone for the weekend. Spending some of the money you earn him."
Salen furrowed his brow, still not understanding Jake's behavior. He looked down at the black pants and shirt that Jake had brought. Kneeling down he reached out and pulled them closer. When Jake didn't say anything Salen put the clean clothes on. They were too big for him, but it was better than nothing. His wet white hair fell in messing locks down past his shoulders. Salen pushed his hair out of his eyes and tucked it behind his ear.
"Would you rather have short hair?" Jake asked.
"I'm no barber, but I think I can help."
Jake opened the medicine cabinet and rummaged around for a minute. When he pulled out a large pair of scissors Salen tensed visibly. He remained on his knees as Jake came up to him. Jake pulled Salen's ivory hair back in a ponytail and cut it off with the sharp scissors. Salen's hair fell just above his pointed ears in an odd slanted cut.
"Put your arm over the tub." Jake instructed.
Assuming that Jake was about to bleed him he placed his uninjured arm over the tub.
"No, the other one. I'm going to clean the cuts, they look infected."
"Please just let me go back to the basement."
"I can't have you getting sick on my watch."
Salen bowed his head in defeat and stretched his arm out over the tub. The deep wounds had started to bleed again now that they had gotten wet. Jake got a few things out of the medicine cabinet and sat down on the edge of the tub.
"This is going to sting, but I want you to stay still."
Jake took a breath to correct Salen for saying 'Sir', but decided against it. Salen was unprepared when Jake poured a cold liquid over the cuts that ignited them in a burning pain. He cried out, but remained perfectly still. Jake waited for the disinfectant to work before running cold water over Salen's arm. Using small strips of tape he closed the deep cuts to give them a chance to heal and then wrapped them in a gauze.
When he was given permission to move Salen pulled his arm back and held it against his chest. Now that the cleaning was over the cuts felt much better. Jake got to his feet and reached down to help Salen to his feet. When he took a hold of Salen's elbow he assumed that he was going to be lead him back to the basement.
He was shocked when Jake took him outside into the cool night air. It was the first time he had gotten a look at his surroundings. The only source of light was the moon as it splashed its silver light down on the forest that surrounded the isolated house. Salen got the feeling that there weren't any other people around for miles and miles.
"On your knees, if you even think about getting up I've got that sonic device in my pocket that you hate so much."
Salen flinched at the mere mention of the noise making device that caused him so much pain in the past. He knelt down in the soft grass and held his hands behind his back with his head bowed. Although the scent of fresh air was wonderful he began shaking with nervous anticipation of whatever it was that Jake had in store for him.
"Relax, Kid. I didn't bring you out here to hurt you."
"Why am I out here?"
"I thought you might enjoy some fresh air."
Salen dared to look over his shoulder at Jake. The human was sitting on the stump of what had once been a large tree. He was staring up at the stars vacantly. Making sure to stay on his knees Salen slowly turned around to face Jake.
"Why...why are you being so kind to me?"
"I don't really know." Jake admitted. "I had a son once."
"What happened to him?"
"He died" Jake said quietly. "It would be his sixteenth birthday today."
Salen stayed quiet for a while. He had learned through painful experience that humans could be amazingly temperamental and that the wrong words easily sent them into a fury. Chewing on his lower lip he eventually worked up the courage to speak again.
"Please help me." Salen whispered.
"Please, I do not wish to die in captivity."
"Sorry, Kid." Jake sighed. "Truth is you should have been dead years ago."
"Let me go, I promise I will never tell anyone what happened here."
"I can't let you go."
"You're afraid of him aren't you? You're just as terrified of Wilson as I am. You're a captive just like m..."
Salen didn't get a chance to finish. Jake lashed out and struck him against the temple. Cowering against the ground Salen tried to offer Jake as small a target as possible. He had said the wrong words in hopes of gaining Jake's sympathy. Jake kicked him in the ribs hard enough to crack one before reaching down and grabbing a fist full of Salen's hair.
Offering no resistance Salen peacefully allowed Jake to drag him back into the house. Jake shoved Salen back into the cell that had become his home and slammed the bars shut. Jake stormed back up the stairs. Salen walked over to the pile of new blankets and sat down. Leaning against the bars he sighed sadly.
"At least I no longer have fleas."