Hello all! My story “Personal Benefits” is up for inclusion in the Best of Circlet’s Digital Library print anthology coming this fall. I’ve posted an excerpt below. If you like it, head on over and vote!
When Cara came home that Tuesday night, there was a woman kneeling
outside her door.
“Really,” she said, while pulling out her keys, “if the Institute was
going to take this long to fulfill my request, they could have at least
sent me a blonde.”Then she unlocked the door and went inside.
After pouring herself a glass of wine and taking off her shoes, she
went back out into the hallway to see if the woman was still there. She
Cara took a moment to consider her potential new acquisition who
continued to kneel prettily by the side of her woven door mat. The
woman was young,with pale silvery skin and short, sleek purple-black
hair cut into an asymmetrical bob.With her head bowed as it had
been―as far as Cara could tell, the entire time she had been kneeling
there―it fell forward to hide her face. She was wearing the regulation
white tunic and nothing else. Her arms were―like the rest of
her―slender but well muscled, ending in hands with beautiful, long
fingers and carefully manicured nails. She looked functional.
The girl wasn’t exactly what she had wanted, Cara thought, but if
this was what the Institute had available then she would probably do.
“You might as well come in,” she said, and walked back through the
Sitting down on her favorite couch by the fireplace, Cara watched
the girl’s face as she stepped into the apartment.The girl’s eyes opened
wide as she took in the view before her, and Cara waited for what felt
like minutes before the girl finally dropped her eyes to a pose of respectful
attention.The display was illuminating.
It wasn’t that Cara didn’t understand the attraction of the
place―the walls of glass, the extraordinary vista of the city lights
spread out below them―but the girl’s blatant fascination was… ex-
ceptional. Most of Cara’s friends and colleagues would not be caught
dead showing such a profound level of interest in anything. Seeing the
look on the girl’s face actually made her uncomfortable.The girl might
be her property, to do with as she wished, and yet to see such naked
enthusiasm seemed far too revealing. It was not what Cara had contracted
“Do you cook?” she asked the quiet young woman standing before
her, trying to distract herself from the new-found feeling that not
everything in her well-planned world was exactly as it should be.
“Yes ma’am.Yes I do.”The girl replied, her eyes still downcast towards
“Good.You’ll find ingredients in the kitchen.” Cara thought for a
moment about whether she had any specific orders and decided, instead,
to use her uncertainty as a test of the girl’s suitability for service.
“Use your creativity. I’ll instruct you further as to what I expect
from you over dinner.”
With that, Cara left the girl to her own devices and walked the long
hallway to her home office so that she could wrap herself, for a while,
in the comforts of work. – Excerpted from “Personal Benefits” in Kneel to Me