Sebastian is determined to save his sickly father from a painful death in a Northern mining camp. But first he’ll have to survive a night of interrogation and escape from this Ke’lan stronghold. Although it looks doubtful that either of those things will happen, as he hangs in chains—beaten but not broken. Then the handsome general arrives, offering precious water and promising to help… but can Sebastian trust him?
Leashed is a M/M romance novella set in a dystopian world containing explicit scenes of a sexual and violent nature. Not intended for those uncomfortable with these situations or under eighteen.
He couldn’t see much in the dark, dank room, but his future was mapped before him clear as crystals. He only had a few hours left to live. Maybe a few days, if he were unlucky.
The methods of torture used by the Ke’lan, speculated about in hushed tones by the rebels, would soon consume him. Arrogant insurgents claimed they could withstand anything. Sebastian didn’t share their bravado, but no matter what they did to him, he would never tell a rebel secret. He didn’t know any.
The black pool below him grew in his mind, and his heart beat louder and louder. This was the end, he thought. Over before it had begun. Thank the Gods.
But then a creak resounded in the small chamber, and a man stepped inside. Not yet, more to bear. Another flimsy strand of hope to cling to. This was so much worse than death. Torture, pain, and the almighty fear that he would degrade himself to avoid them. May the Gods grant him dignity in his death as they never had in life.
Sebastian felt the man’s cold regard like a wet slap, even though the shadows made it impossible to see outside the spotlight on his broken body. The slight tense of his weary muscles gave him away, sending a rattle through the chains that bound him. They had forced him to stand for hours until he feared his arms would dislodge from his body. Now his shoulders screamed in agony, as blood trickled back into fingers that had long since gone numb, but Sebastian remained silent. Even if he ground his teeth clean away, he would not give them the satisfaction.
The man’s boots clopped like horse’s hooves on the dirty concrete, drawing closer in a slow, predatory march. Sebastian kept his eyes on the floor, not in obeisance—in defiance. Let this man break his body. It was nothing more than the Ke’lan had done for centuries. Nothing more than they’d done to his father.
His father’s mind had cracked like the shell of an acorn, and Sebastian had grown inured to the daily beatings and the cries for forgiveness that defined his childhood. Now the man rotted away in a rebel prison while Sebastian died at the hands of their shared enemy, the Ke’lan. Neither of them had fought for the cause, not ever, but here they were, torn into halves the way a child might snap a twig and toss it aside.
“What is your name, boy?” The rich words rolled over Sebastian like a caress. His seductive voice coated in honey, as if the man cared, but he knew that was a lie.
His mind would not break. Whatever they did, they did to his body. He said nothing.
Long, cultured fingers toyed with the torn hem of Sebastian’s shirt. The old, dirty fabric looked particularly dingy against the thick fingers that were obviously well-groomed. This man had access to water. He had soap. All Sebastian had ever had was a brown river in which all manner of organic and inorganic material floated.
“Sebastian.” The man’s breath blew across the top of his downturned head. Of course it had been a trick. The Ke’lan already knew his name. They knew everything about him. Maybe they even knew that he had no information to give and were just toying with him, although he doubted they’d waste their time that way.
“Sebastian,” he repeated softly, his deep baritone almost melodious, as if the syllables rolled from his tongue. “I am not your enemy. I want to help you.”