The nubile Neekin
returns in...

The Garden of Death

A 5-chapter Sword and Sultry Saga!

By D.K. Latta
About the author

Episode Three:


NEEKIN AWOKE TO FIND herself in a small room, her wrists bound high above her so that she dangled in the middle of the chamber. Her shoulders ached. She instantly brought her feet properly beneath her to take the weight off of her arms. She scowled at the surrounding clay bricks visible in the streams of daylight creeping through the open doorway, no doubt from a window in the hall outside. She was naked. Her knife was gone, as was her makeshift poncho. The absence of both items pleased her not at all.

Something shuffled behind her.

"Who's there?" she demanded, unable to turn. She suddenly remembered that Festann had suggested there were other survivors from the ship wreck. Was this another prisoner? she wondered. Or-? "Talk to me, damn it," she said, well aware of the fear welling up inside her, brought on by this eerie place.

She started unconsciously as fingertips brushed her shoulder; they gently traced the edge of her shoulder blade, then followed the line of her spine, as though fascinated by her supple contours. A grunt sounded from behind her, an indecipherable sound that she could not identify as a word. Yet she had the strangest feeling it was meant to be. Big hands cupped the bare roundness of her bottom, squeezing, sending a not-unpleasant jolt through the nerves of her body. She resisted the urge to squirm. There was no point in expending useless energy, she told herself carefully. There was little she could do while he was behind her. Little she could do...yet.

She gasped as the fingers grew more intrusive in their explorations, but the voice, mumbling occasionally behind her, seemed oddly dispassionate.

Her nostrils caught a whiff of her assailant. He smelled of flowers.

Finally, deciding to endure no more violations without offering at least a token resistance, Neekin slammed her head back. She was rewarded with a painful collision that sent sparks flashing briefly before her eyes. A whine went up behind her, the hands vanishing from her skin. She heard her unseen assailant stagger back, then a heavy, shuffling tread as, slowly, he came around in front of her.

Instantly she saw that he was like the others: a tall, gangly albino. He clutched a bloody nose, then dropped his hands as his red eyes met hers. Blood dribbled down his lips. Neekin shivered. His eyes were dull, seeming barely more intelligent than a beast; his mouth was slightly agape and he breathed noisily.

He grunted, as though a question.

Neekin could only stare at him, uncomprehending.

Slowly, getting no response from her, his ruby gaze fell to the roundness of her breasts. He reached out a pallid hand, pinching the soft flesh almost experimentally between his big fingers.

Neekin glared at him. Closer, she thought. Come closer.

The albino leaned forward, nuzzling her clumsily, like a novice...

With a snarl, she rammed her knee up under his ribs. Something cracked audibly. He lurched, moaning his surprise.

Using her ropes for support, she flung up her legs, clamping her thighs about his neck. He gurgled; her legs closed tighter, silencing even that frail sound. His red eyes grew wide, but still seeming without true comprehension. He struggled weakly, clawing at her thighs, her hips, wrenching her this way and that with greater and greater frenzy. He slammed one knotted fist into her belly and Neekin snorted in pain. He struck her again, but still she squeezed as his blows grew weaker. Neekin held on, like the jaws of an alligator. Then his eyes rolled up into his head and, with a final shudder, his body went limp. She released him and he fell heavily upon the floor.

Neekin stared at the dead man. Even his attempts at molestation had seemed odd, as if he was not entirely sure what to do. Or why. She shook her head. Those were concerns for another time. As it was, she was still a helpless prisoner...only now she had killed her jailer. It would not go well for her when his companions returned.

She tugged on the ropes above her, futilely, then looked down again, an image her eyes had already seen suddenly registering in her mind. Sheathed in the dead man's skirt was her knife. She stretched out a leg, toes wriggling as she sought to snatch the weapon. Her big toe brushed the handle. Straining even more, she managed to snag it between her toes, her hold tenuous at best. Gently, carefully, she dragged it free of the albino until it clattered at her feet. Squeezing it length-wise between both feet so that the fine blade rose marginally above her feet, she hoisted her legs into the air, lifting them to her wrists. She dangled there, awkwardly sawing at the bonds with her feet, her breath coming in noisy pants, sweat coating her sleek body in a thin sheen, every muscle protesting against the strain. Her arms ached, her knees and thighs trembled. The small of her back burned.

After long, arduous minutes, though, the rope at last parted. She fell, only her nimble reflexes saving her from a broken tail bone as she twisted in mid-air, landing in a painful bellyflop. She lay on the ground for a long moment, inhaling deeply, shuddering from her exertions. Then she rose and, knife in hand, slipped out into the hall.

Speed was now as important as stealth. The islanders knew she existed, so her priority was simply to get out of the valley. She padded down a narrow corridor, every sense alert for the sound of approaching footfalls.

She paused before steps leading down to a lower corridor and her sensitive nostrils flared. The smell of men came to her; not the floral aroma of the islanders, but the salty-scent of sweat, of fear. She glanced up and down the corridor, but no one was near. Like a pale shadow, she raced down the steps. The short corridor below terminated in iron bars, stained a blood-red by years of rust that had corroded their surfaces. It was pitch black beyond. She grabbed the bars and rose up on her tiptoes, attempting to peer into the shadows. There was a rush of movement and, suddenly, big, black hands closed about hers. She gasped, then a bald head pressed against the bars, the light filtering from behind her gleaming off his ebon skin.


"Chumbobo," she said, recognizing the big man from the ship.

"By the Gods, girl, you're a survivor. I thought sure you had drowned."

"How many are you?" she asked, slowly beginning to make out other shapes in the darkness.

"Three. We were four, but they took Strev'n away. You're a welcome sight," his eyes lingered over her nude form, "in more ways than one. Hurry, you must help us." He tried to grin. "You owe us -- at least so Hapeth says." He gestured at one of the other prisoners.

"Owe you?" she demanded skeptically.

"Aye. A few of us plotted to free you and wrest the ship away from Captain Strev'n. And then we hit...well, whatever we hit. Hapeth says it was the sea god's punishment for plotting mutiny."

"But you travelled with Strev'n," she reminded him.

The big man shrugged, almost sheepishly. "I'm pragmatic, I'll grant you. Once we were wrecked, and we thought you dead, well, there seemed greater security in numbers." Even as he said it, it was apparent the irony was not lost on him, given their current predicament. "Please, girl, get us out of here."

Neekin glanced around the dim room. "There's no key here." She turned and raced up the stairs. "I'll be back."

She started down the upper corridor again. If it occurred to her that it would be easier to just leave the men below, her thoughts did not linger long on such an idea. She passed doorways, ever wary of sounds, not at all sure where she would find a key to the cell. She froze in mid-step as the shuffling of heavy feet came to her from just around a corner. She turned and, lifting the bar on the door beside her, slipped soundlessly into a side room, closing the door again after her. She leaned against the door, listening as the steps passed.

"Wh-who's there?" She jumped, then turned, knowing it was the voice of a stranger -- not a voice she had heard before on the ship.  

Back to Episode 2....A Debt Paid in Full

On to Episode 4....The Other Garden

Back to Pulp and Dagger

Back to The Garden of Death: Table of Contents

"The Garden of Death" and the character of "Neekin" are copyright by D.K. Latta. It may not be copied or used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously, you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)