Seven-Plus-Eight   Jersey Identified as Ish-Mikhan

Year 1706


Eleven Rakum proselytes populated the lair house, ranging in age from seven to thirteen, Jersey being the youngest. The low pupil residency required only a single proctor/instructor who went by the moniker, Gash. When including two resident cooks, the facility housed a total of fourteen Rakum. It was the older of the two cooks that first identified Jersey as ish-mikhan.

Jersey entered the table-room at a jog, racing his brethren for the choice meats. First come-first serve kept them fierce, and at least twice a week, he outran his lair mates. Tonight, he hit the line third and put out his tray. Instead of plopping his portion onto the pewter platter, the thick and frowning chef called Otto removed the dish from his hand, tossed it into the sink and instructed him to stand still and shut up. Jersey did so, his eyes flitting between the two tall Rakum as they discussed him, speaking over his head in Hungarian. All Rakum spoke at least four languages—English, Hungarian, Hebrew, and the Rakum dialect,[1] so Jersey followed their conversation, happy to be their focus even if he didn’t yet know why.

“I am one-hundred-percent certain this one is a fix-it man,” Otto said, scrutinizing Jersey with intent. Uncle, the other cook, watched him, too, slowly running his eyes across Jersey’s tiny frame. He was small—even for seven-plus-eight (seven years, eight months). Slight and nimble as a gymnast, Proctor Gash had already guessed he’d be more an intellect than a soldier, but tonight, the cook saw beyond the everyday grunt assignment.

“Come back here,” Uncle commanded.

Without hesitation, Jersey joined the adults behind the low counter. When the same Rakum gestured he wait, he did, watching them serve the remainder of the lair members. Proctor Gash had not joined them, so Jersey wondered what the two men had for him to do. He took orders from everyone on the premises and had learned well that as the youngest, he was subservient to all. When every brother was fed, the cooks escorted Jersey into the interior rooms where the wood-burning stove crackled on the far wall, filling the space with the pleasant aroma of cedar. Otto and Uncle turned to Jersey, hands on their hips.

“What’s the test? He won’t have a sexual thought for decades. How can anyone tell this young?” Uncle shook his head, still speaking to Otto with no regard to Jersey.

“In 1600, I tested a pre-rit[2] for ish-mikhan. It’s not difficult.” Otto waved Jersey closer and touched his cheek, cupped it, and his thumb caressed the skin under his eye. “It’s not about sex—it’s a reaction. It happens inside them.” Otto’s voice grew soft and he fell into his thoughts, his eyes deep into Jersey’s. Jersey did not dare look aside. Master Gash taught them fierce concentration in all things, so although the Rakum spoke over his education level, Jersey felt certain they would soon explain.

“Okay, do it,” Uncle said just as softly, moving to Otto’s side to face Jersey head-on. “Test him…”

“I will,” Otto mumbled and dropped the contact with Jersey’s face. Maintaining the eye-lock, he unbuckled his trousers. “Pup, clear your mind.”

Jersey did as instructed; Gash had taught them to envisage a blank white wall. All adult Rakum were telepathic and Otto humphed with approval at Jersey’s mental acuity. He grasped the waistband of his stiff woolen pants.

“Now, act on instinct. Do not think. Act.” Otto said the last word telepathically and his pants dropped to his ankles.

Jersey considered the cook’s genitals. He’d seen them before, as all those in the lair bathed, ate, and slept, communally. Now, he was supposed to do something. What should he do? What action would bring the most favor upon the smallest Rakum in the lair? Jersey set his jaw; he wasn’t supposed to think. Relaxing his mind, Jersey reached forward and wrapped his hand around the cook’s penis. A sound of surprise came from Uncle, and Otto remained quiet. Jersey studied the white wall of his mind and allowed the outer world to muffle. The light of the oil lamps diffused into a brownish gold, the hum of his brothers chittering on a dozen topics in the next room became an incoherent buzz, slowly also disappearing into his subconscious. The one sensation indwelling Jersey’s innerspace that multiplied as his five senses faded blossomed with a rosy-gold hue, and a bubbling contentment filled his being. Jersey watched the edges of the phenomenon creep, fanning outward, erasing everything tangible and satisfying his psyche to the utmost. Jersey licked his lips; the glow was alive, and it petted him singing his praises. By the time it developed a voice of its own, singing a new song of worship, telling of his magnificence, gentle fingers squeezed the back of his neck.

“Jersey?” The tender grip wiggled with a smidge more weight. “Pup? Wake up.” Jersey looked upward and to his left. Master Gash stood over him and Jersey found he was standing, his palm flat against the cook’s naked hip. He swallowed, grinned, and tucked his hands into his pockets.

“Masters,” he said and took time to meet each of the three adult Rakum’s eyes. “I’m ish-mikhan.” Jersey hadn’t planned to say those words, but he allowed the rosy glow of his memory to speak in his stead. He must have said something wonderful because all three masters smiled and clapped first his small shoulder and then each other’s. Otto readjusted his clothing, nodded to Gash, and returned to the table room. Uncle spoke with Gash over Jersey’s head, reporting what he’d seen and asking questions for his own edification. When Uncle shuffled out, Gash regarded him with a grin.

“This is fantastic news, little brother,” he said and turned away, walking from the room at a clip.

Jersey followed, jogging to keep up, and happy to see his master so gay. They reached Gash’s personal quarters and he instructed Jersey to undress.

“Lay flat and wait.” Gash leaned against the wall, crossed his arms and lowered his chin. Jersey shrugged off his loose trousers and plain white smock and made himself comfortable on the stiff straw mattress. In his peripheral vision, Gash rolled in his lips, his eyes closed and squeezing—he was calling someone telepathically and Jersey rolled his head to the side to watch. In another minute, Gash nodded and took a deep breath. He met Jersey’s eye.

“We have the go-ahead from the Fathers. Tonight, right now, you will be cut—it’s an honor—and in three days, the closest Elder will be by for the official identification.”

“Yes, Master,” Jersey said, aware that the cutting meant his foreskin would be removed. Among the Rakum, the Ten Fathers, the One Hundred Elders, and the ish-mikhan were the only ones cut in this way. Jersey resisted a grin, enjoying how he suddenly became very much like the leaders of their people.

“It’s good, pup,” Gash said matching his exuberance. “They say it is a wonderful existence. You will be happy.”

“I am happy, Master,” he said and allowed a high laugh. Gash scrunched his nose, ready to perform the light surgery. His proctor was a healer so even though Jersey’s body was too young to regenerate as quickly as it would when he matured, Gash made certain he healed within minutes.




The next three sun-ups, Jersey bunked with Gash, who showed him what he could of the fix-it man’s trade. He had admitted there were experts, proctors who had trained up ish-mikhan in the past, and one would come once the Elder confirmed Gash’s findings. Also, there had never been an Elder in the lair, so his proctor explained how they differed.

“Elders are bred differently, raised and trained differently, treated differently by the senior Elders and Fathers,” Gash explained as they lay together awaiting the moon. “The shit grunts survive makes us stronger. Elders die and are revived multiple times, learning amazing abilities we can barely fathom. They are superior. When you see your first Elder, as ish-mikhan, it may be overwhelming. Do your best to stay upright.”

Jersey nodded, wondering to what extent the meeting would affect him. An hour beyond the fourth sundown from being identified, he found out.

Elder Emil rode to the lair house atop a huge Friesian stallion. Jersey had been watching from the front window and when Gash sent him a nod, he trotted for the door and swung it open as the larger-than-life Rakum reached the entrance.

“Master! Welcome!” Jersey said, his voice high and small in his own ears. When would he be big enough to sound serious and important? He fell to his knees, his hands behind his back and chin tucked into his chest, determining to corral his internal complaints.

“Oh, yes!” the Elder said, crossing the foyer with huge strides and reaching for Jersey with hands as big as pie plates. He swooped Jersey into his arms, cradled him like an infant, and looked into his face. “Beautiful and perfect!” Emil cooed, and nuzzled the hair at Jersey’s forehead.

“Master honors me,” Jersey said, as he’d been instructed, but inside wanting to use different words.

Elder Emil inhaled and using a measured telekinetic electric shock jolted Jersey to catch his attention. “You would have said something else?” he asked Jersey still in his arms. “Lesson Number One: most of what a fix-it man does is instinctual. What did you want to say?” Emil held his gaze, fierce green-hazel eyes nearly hidden by his deep brow. Jersey swallowed and said with a small voice the words he’d first wanted to respond.

“Seeing you ride up on that magnificent beast,” Jersey began and then braved on, “causes my heart to race. Let me show you, let me prove my loyalty. I am small, but something inside of me says I can make you so very proud.”

Emil grinned and since he still held him like a child, he pulled Jersey to his face and kissed his mouth, first a quick peck and then longer. When he pulled back, he lowered Jersey to the ground.

“I will allow you to try,” he said and indicated he’d follow if Jersey should lead him away. “You may start now.”

Jersey grinned, grasped his fingers and tugged him down the hall. The lair house had guest quarters suitable for the Elder’s evening visit and he brought him in there. Emil closed and bolted the door with telekinesis.

“Okay, little brother, fix me.” And three months shy of eight years old, Jersey did a pretty good job.


[1] (Our leaders say that the Rakum language is “unknowable” to mortals. So far, so good. ~Jersey)

[2] Pre-Ritual student; all Rakum go through the brutal trials of First Ritual from age 13 to 20 before they are considered mature.

(All "Emil Jersey" photos on this site are licensed by their copyright owners to be used here. Email from this site for proof of license. Emil Jersey is the pen name of Emil Stern, author of this and many more novels to come.)

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