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  1. Chapter 1.
  3. Extreme Action Broadcasting had its global headquarters in New York City, with satellite offices in London, Paris, Toronto, Moscow and Sydney. Completed in 2035, the building was one of the tallest in the world and all of the company's administrative and production offices were located on the upper floors, overlooking a most unusual media empire. Today known around the world simply as XB1, it began inauspiciously in the fall of 2025 as a low-rated, fifth tier wireless broadcasting network featuring a twenty-four hour cavalcade of shock reality programming. First re- running vintage episodes of Survivor, Fear Factor and other similar fare, the XB's viewership showed little growth for the first year of its existence and it seemed certain the network would join the ever expanding list of defunct and forgotten media ventures.
  5. That was before William Durand purchased a controlling interest in the failing company and began adding original programming to the line-up. Unique original programming designed to attract a very small but very wealthy and influential segment of the population. Durand had a deep personal interest in his network's development of new entertainment, and he knew without a doubt that audiences worldwide were simply waiting for his brand of reality television to come along. In an earlier century, even an earlier decade, perhaps Durand's XB1 would have remained a small underground sensation, catering to very small but enthusiastic market. However that all changed when the United States became a signatory to the International Child Slavery Act, which was passed and ratified by the World Assembly of Nations in 2027.
  7. Within twelve months of the passage of this euphemistically labeled "social engineering" law, Extreme Action was offering fare such as "Bully my Middle-schooler", in which college-aged jocks put twelve and thirteen-year-old boys through all sorts of brutal hazing and humiliation. "Little Guy's Fight Club" in which boys aged nine through eleven essentially beat the crap out of each other in front of a live worldwide audience. And of course the controversial but highly rated "Enslaved" which followed thirteen-year-old Mark Davis through his first year of servitude under the government's newly enacted child slavery act. The small underground network exploded into the mainstream, and people around the world, men and women both, discovered something terribly shocking about themselves: They enjoyed watching young teenaged boys being humiliated and subjected to all manner of suffering.
  9. The network is now one of the most-watched around the world, but in the cut-throat world of reality broadcasting, you are only as popular and credible as your latest epic spectacle of human misery. William Durand understood this, and he understood the somewhat remarkable but not exactly shocking truth that viewers of all ages, classes, races and orientations enjoyed watching boys nine to fourteen suffering all manners of tortures, humiliation and degradation. For his newest program, in the coveted Saturday prime-time slot, he needed something amazing, astounding, utterly and totally shocking. Something that would raise the bar for all future shows to come.
  11. Lara Tomlinsin was sure she had the answer. She'd only been at XB1 for a few months, and while she personally had no great fondness for her employer's programming, she appreciated the addictive nature of voyeuristic television. She also had no particular moral apprehensions about developing a concept that would make all of Extreme Action's previous efforts appear tame by comparison.
  13. "I don't normally make time for personal meetings with junior producers, Ms. Tomlinsin," Durand began as he looked out over the city from his office on the 121st floor. "But you were quite insistent. This had better be worth it, or you'll find yourself over at Fox."
  15. Lara smiled at the open insult, but quickly and efficiently set up her presentation. The office lights dimmed, and William Durand stared at the large viewscreen at the far end of the room. Lara began her pitch, flashing a single picture onto the screen. Durand immediately sat forward and laced his fingers. "What am I looking at there, Ms. Tomlinsin?"
  17. "This is a detail taken from an ancient Roman fresco. Pompeii, I believe, though that hardly matters."
  19. "Those would be gladiators, would they not?"
  21. The attractive brunette nodded, her long hair flowing easily with her graceful movements. "They are, sir, but they are much more than that. Take a closer look."
  23. She magnified the image. Durand was amazed at what he saw. The smooth slender limbs, the beardless faces, the youthful expressions.
  25. "Those are boys."
  27. "Yes, sir. Boy gladiators."
  29. "I didn't think the Romans ever sent children into the arena, not as gladiators anyway. Women yes, but boys . . . "
  31. "Oh, they sent them. In fairly large numbers if recent re- evaluations of frescoes like these are to be believed. There are a great many details about the ancient world that conservative history texts tend to overlook. This happens to be one of them. I suppose it would have all been too shocking for early twenty-first century moralists, but of course, our standards have changed somewhat in the last ten years. Thankfully."
  33. "We would not be in business if they hadn't."
  35. "And it's my job to ensure that you remain so. I call my concept 'Worldwide Boy Gladiators'."
  37. "I'm interested already."
  39. "I thought you might be."
  41. "Details, Ms. Tomlinsin."
  43. The young woman brushed her hair back. "Please call me Lara."
  46. "Very well, Lara. You have my attention."
  48. "Well, sir, my concept is really very simple, and
  50. based upon XB1's proven successes. As the show's title indicates, we will subject a group of boys to various trials and tests of strength and endurance, they will, of course fight one another . . . "
  52. "Little Guys Fight Club. We already have that show."
  54. Lara nodded but was not deterred. "Gladiators will be significantly more . . . intense . . . and considerably more creative in its execution and production."
  56. "I'm listening, Lara."
  58. "The boys we recruit for the show will all be between the ages of ten and fourteen. In order for them to participate, they and their parents will have to sign a contract of indenture, which we will hold exclusively until the boy's sixteenth birthday."
  60. Durand's eyes lit up and he nodded slowly in approval. Lara Tomlinsin had done her homework. It was a brilliant idea. "So we will own each of them."
  62. "Precisely. And since the boys will become the bonded property of Extreme Action Broadcasting, we will have the widest discretion imaginable."
  64. "Limitless, I would say."
  66. "Under the terms of a standard contract of indenture, the only stipulation is that the boy not be killed. I think we can safely guarantee that."
  68. "Tell me more about the program. What can I expect to see if I tune in on Saturday nights?"
  70. "As I said, sir, we will feature extreme tests of strength and endurance. The boys will also be subjected to constant and extraordinary physical and mental . . . duress . . . "
  72. "You may use the word 'torture', Lara, for that is what it is and that is why people will be watching each week."
  74. "Yes, torture. There will be competitions each week, with the boys pitted against each other either in teams or individually. And also, since the boys will legally be slaves, we can introduce certain, shall we say, sexual elements into the program without risk of government fines or cancellation."
  76. "That would be a first for us."
  78. "And a sure ratings bonanza."
  80. "How will we handle eliminations?" Durand asked.
  82. Lara smiled. "We won't. Remember, sir, for all practical and legal purposes we own these boys until they turn sixteen. We don't eliminate anyone. Oh, there will be winners and losers each week. The winners will receive some reward, the losers will be punished. In addition, we will keep the boys on a competitive points system. Pluses for achieving, demerits for failing. The boys with the lowest scores will of course be subjected to far worse ordeals and humiliation than those with higher scores."
  84. "I assume the rankings will change constantly."
  86. "That's the plan. Certainly you can expect the youngest boys to be at or near the bottom most of the time, but we'll set things up so they get a fair chance at winning at least some of the time. I can virtually guarantee that every boy will spend some time on the bottom. This system will help create rivalries between them. We don't exactly want them hating each other, but we don't want them becoming best friends either."
  88. "What's in it for the families? I mean I don't think we're likely to find too many families willing to indenture their sons just for the mild celebrity status they might possibly attain."
  90. "Don't be so sure about that, Mr. Durand," Lara said with a smile. She then flashed up the first of the pertinent financial charts and figures. "But you are right of course. The chance to be on television for a few years is a rather steep price for selling a boy into slavery, so we will be offering financial incentives to each family."
  92. "How much incentive are we talking about here, Lara?"
  94. "Five million into a trust fund for the boy, accessible upon the expiration of his indenture. And an additional half-a- million paid immediately and directly to the family upon the signature of the indenture contract."
  96. "That's not a great deal of money for us, is it?"
  98. "Our advertising income for the first season alone should net us far more than we will ever pay out in trust."
  100. "How many boys?"
  102. "Ten is a nice round number, don't you think. We don't want too many or people will get them confused with one another. With ten its big enough to allow for some real competition, but small enough that viewers worldwide will get to know them."
  104. "I'm sure the odds-makers will have a field day with this."
  106. "Yes, and since we hold majority shares in several of the major wagering parlors and casinos, we should net a tidy profit there as well."
  108. "So, we're looking at about sixty mil to acquire the boys."
  110. "Yes."
  112. "Facilities? Where do you plan on producing and filming this gem?"
  114. The screen flashed once again at Lara Tomlinsin's command, this time showing an aerial photograph of a small island. "Recognize it?"
  116. Durand smiled. "That's my island, Ms. Tomlinsin."
  118. "Yes. Durand Island, formerly San Miguel. A tiny little paradise in the Caribbean. Present population: One very wealthy and very bored part-time resident. You."
  120. "It's the perfect location."
  122. Lara laughed in agreement. "Somehow I thought you would not object to being close to the production facilities on this one."
  124. "Indeed I don't. What did you have in mind?"
  126. "Well, sir, of course your private manor will remain untouched and off-limits to everyone, but the entire southern two-thirds of the island is completely unused. Perfect for the development of this project. And since you personally own the entire island, there'll be no licensing or permits required. We can begin immediately."
  128. "What do you propose?"
  130. "Let me show you," Lara said. A new graphic was superimposed over the aerial view, showing an extensive complex of buildings clustered in the southern area of the island. "Of course here in the center you have the main arena. It's designed to seat five hundred people. XB1 can invite clients, advertisers, or personal associates to attend the events. Of course to support visitors we will need to enlarge the current landing strip, as you see here," Lara pointed to a runway running perpendicular to the shoreline, several miles away from the complex she was proposing.
  132. "Next to the arena you have the training facility. Toward the east you have the housing area for the film crew and island staff. This building next to the housing units is the administrative and pre and post-production facility. It also has a cafeteria, and medical facilities for the XB1 staff. Everything is state of the art, of course."
  134. Lara then indicated a small structure, which appeared to be surrounded by a fence. "Over here, to the north of the arena, we will have a maximum security barracks for the boys. We don't want any of them deciding they'd be better off swimming home once they get on the island. When they're not competing or in training, they will be kept under strict control."
  136. "Excellent. The barracks seems rather small."
  138. "It is, Mr. Durand, intentionally. The boys will be permitted no comforts, no television, no outside contact except a weekly call home. The barracks contains five separate cells. Two boys will be housed in each. It is more than adequate to meet their needs."
  140. "Again, excellent. What is the cost and timetable for construction?"
  142. "Assuming you give me a green light today, Gladiator Island can be up and running by the end of the summer. I anticipate having the boys arrive in August to begin their training, with the premiere episode airing live worldwide on September 7th. Total construction cost will be approximately thirty- two million dollars, US. The sale of box seats in the arena should net twice that amount within the first six months."
  144. "Several times now you've mentioned the need for staff. Explain this to me, Lara."
  146. "Well, Mr. Durand, Gladiator Island will be a new venture for us, something XB1 has never attempted before. Not only will we have a large on-location set and broadcasting facility, but we will also have to deal with ten boys who will be the legal property of the corporation. To do this right, we need to have a doctor, a team of nurses, at least six individuals trained in juvenile corrections and a separate trainer for each boy, to manage them on a day to day basis. Not to mention the film crew, the commentators and a master of ceremonies for the broadcasts."
  148. "You are talking about a sizeable outlay for payroll, my dear," Durand said, shaking his head.
  150. "Not as much as you might think. It is not terribly hard to imagine that there are qualified individuals out there who would be more than happy to relocate to the island and oversee the boys for limited or no salary."
  152. "I'd do it in a heartbeat."
  154. "And you're not alone. I've already taken the liberty of having our recruiting office begin the search for suitable candidates for the island's full-time positions. Travel, room and board would of course be provided by the company for the duration of their employment."
  156. "That seems fair. Do we have prospects for all open positions at this time?"
  158. "We do, all except master of ceremonies. But I have someone in mind for that."
  160. "Indeed. Who?"
  162. Lara flashed her boss her winning smile. "You, sir. Who could be better?"
  164. Durand was flattered, and quite pleased with the idea. "I humbly accept, Ms. Tomlinsin," he said with a dignified bow of his head. "Now, tell me about the boys. Have you begun recruiting them as well?"
  166. "Not yet, sir," the young woman answered, knowing she had the world's most powerful media mogul sold on her idea. "But we naturally want slim, handsome, athletic boys . . . and since we're calling it 'Worldwide Boy Gladiators' we need to recruit from outside the United States as well."
  168. "How will you find them?"
  170. "I'll start by having recruitment search the web for elementary and middle school athletics
  172. pages. We need boys who are champions. We'll focus on swimmers, wrestlers, soccer players, maybe runners and gymnasts too. Boys from those five groups should all have the physical characteristics we're looking for."
  174. "You have your green light, Lara. Make this show a reality."
  176. "Thank you, sir. You won't be disappointed."
  179. Chapter 2.
  181. Six months later. Bowie, Maryland. USA.
  183. Thirteen-year-old Christopher Andrews stood in front of his family's mailbox, holding the plain brown envelope in his left hand. Chris never got mail, at least not addressed directly to him. What was even more amazing was that his younger brother Josh also had an identical envelope.
  185. "Mr. Joshua M. Andrews," the blond-haired eleven-year-old said, holding the letter up to the sky. "That's me alright. You got one too, huh, bro?"
  187. "Sure did, squirt," the equally blond-haired young teenager replied. "Let's get inside and open 'em up."
  189. "Race ya!" Josh shouted, bolting toward the front porch without further warning.
  191. "No contest, baby brother," Chris laughed. It took his slender five-foot frame about seven steps to pass that of his four-and-a-half foot tall brother.
  193. "No fair," Josh yelled as he tromped up the wooden steps. "You're legs are longer 'n mine."
  195. Chris gave Josh an affectionate little punch in the shoulder and they went inside. The two boys were about as close as brothers could be. Josh was just old enough not to be a pest to his big brother, and Chris was still young enough that he didn't mind hanging out with Josh. They certainly looked like brothers. Both boys had blond hair, which they wore shoulder length. Chris had blue eyes, like his mom, Josh's were brown like his dad's. They were both were lightly tanned from summer days spent outdoors. Chris had a few freckles across his nose. Josh did too. They were slender, athletic, muscular young boys who loved, and played, practically every sport ever created. Chris was the state swimming champ for his age group. Josh carried the same title in wrestling. Their medals hung proudly on the family mantle above the fireplace.
  197. Young Chris was in his first year of puberty, his voice always crackling and breaking at the most embarrassing moments. Josh was still prepubescent, but he was starting to get taller and would probably start noticing other changes about his body in the next few months.
  199. "Mommmm, we're home," Chris called as he shucked off his shoes and put his envelope down on the kitchen table. Josh copied his brother precisely.
  201. Lindsay Andrews came up from the basement carrying a basket of laundry. She smiled when she saw her two sons. "Hi, boys. What did you two get up to today?"
  203. "Nothin', mom," Josh answered. "Just rode our bikes 'n stuff."
  205. "Someone sent me and Josh a letter," Chris said.
  207. Lindsay set the laundry basket down on the table and examined the two identical letters. The return address was a post office box in New York City, but there was no name for the sender.
  209. "Can we open 'em?" Josh asked.
  211. "They're your letters, boys," mom answered. "Don't see why not."
  213. The two boys tore open the envelopes. Inside each was a single page letter bearing the XB1 logo in the top left corner.
  215. "XB1!" Chris whistled in admiration. The thirteen-year-old loved 'Little Guys Fight Club' and often practiced moves on Joshua. The boys weren't allowed to watch any of the networks other shows, but Chris had sneaked downstairs a few times when everyone else had gone to bed to watch 'Enslaved', which this year featured a fourteen-year-old named Ryan. That show gave Christopher a rather funny feeling in his gut, and his teenaged dick always got hard when he watched it. He didn't really know why.
  217. After he read his letter, he looked over at his brother who was busy staring back at him. He looked down and read the letter again. Josh did the same.
  219. "Fuckin' shit! Oh, fuckin' shit!"
  221. "Christopher!" his mother shouted. "Watch your language!"
  223. "Sorry, mom," the young teenager said, "but look. Just look what it says! They want us to be on TV!"
  225. "Yeah, mom! TV!" Josh echoed his brother's excitement, thrusting his letter in front of his mother's face.
  227. "Calm down, boys," their mom said. "Let me see your letters."
  229. She read them both, then handed them back.
  231. "Well?" the two boys asked in unison.
  233. "We need to talk about this as a family, guys. Let's wait 'til your dad gets home. "
  235. "Are they for real?" Chris asked.
  237. "Yes, Chris, they are."
  239. "Wow!"
  241. Eleven-year-old Josh started jumping around the kitchen, unable to contain his excitement. "We're gonna be TV stars!"
  243. Matthew Andrews pretty much had the same initial reaction to his sons' letters as the boys themselves did. The family celebrated by ordering pizza. Lindsay Andrews however was a little worried. "I just don't understand why they'd pay us so much money to put Chris and Josh on television, before the show is even on the air. And I don't think I like the title very much."
  245. "Oh come on, Lin. The least we can do is hear whatever it is they want."
  247. "Says right here they'll pay us, mom," Chris said, pointing to the number with all the zeroes after it. "How many is five with six zeroes after it, dad?"
  249. "That's five million dollars, sport."
  251. "Freakin' awesome."
  253. "I get that much too, right?" Josh asked.
  255. "Sure do."
  257. "What would we have to do?" Chris asked, shoving a piece of pepperoni pizza into his mouth. From his limited experience with the network's programming, he had a vague idea that some unpleasant things might happen to him if he agreed to be on the new show.
  259. "That's the question, boys," their father said. "XB1 does some pretty extreme stuff . . . "
  261. "Duh, dad!" Josh, always the family smart-ass replied. "Extreme is like in their name."
  263. "I mean they'd do extreme stuff to you," their father said, "and make you do things you probably won't like. I've seen some of their other shows, the ones you two aren't allowed to watch. Come to think of it, five million dollars each might not really be enough. They'd do some pretty nasty things to you boys."
  265. "But it's so much money," Chris said, "plus you get to keep some it right now, don't you?"
  267. "That's what it says, honey," Lindsay Andrews replied.
  269. "You guys could . . . like . . . pay for the house and stuff, right?"
  271. "With money to spare, sweetie," his mom answered. "but this isn't about your dad and me."
  273. "Sure it is, mom. Its about the whole family, you, dad, me an Josh. It's so much money," Chris repeated for the fourth or fifth time since the family's debate began.
  275. "Look," Matt Andrews told them, "it says if we're interested, we should call them and they'll send someone out to meet with us. We don't have to decide until we talk to them and find out what this is all about."
  277. "Let's call right now, dad, pleeeease," Josh begged.
  279. "Chris, you're the oldest," their father said. "Why don't you call for yourself and your brother."
  281. "Can I? Really?" It was such a grown-up thing to do, make the call all by himself. Josh gave him a big smile. The thirteen-year-old took a last gulp of Pepsi then got up and went to the phone. A few moments later his family heard him talking to the person at the other end of the line.
  283. "Hi. This is Christopher Andrews . . . yeah . . . you guys sent me and my brother Josh a letter . . . yeah . . . yeah that's us . . . yeah I am a real good swimmer . . . you bet we are . . . okay . . . when . . . tonight . . . uh, sure . . . hang on a sec, k?"
  285. Chris covered the receiver with his left hand. "They wanna send a guy to see us tonight, all the way from New York City! Private jet or somethin' . . . can I say okay?"
  287. Mom and dad nodded slowly, a little concerned at how fast things were moving. Josh was practically bursting. Chris turned back to the phone. "Okay. My folks said it's cool. Eight o'clock. Okay. You guys need directions or somethin'? Okay. Bye."
  289. "They'll be here at eight," Chris said, sitting back down and taking another piece of pizza. He looked up at the clock. "Shit it's five-thirty now!"
  291. "Alright," mom told them, "why don't you both get showers and put on some clean clothes."
  293. Eleven-year-old Josh, who still believed baths and showers should be optional, rolled his eyes. Mom scolded him gently. "Don't give me that look, mister. Besides, you want to make a good impression, don't you?"
  295. "Yes, mom," the boy said as he followed his brother upstairs.
  299. The boys were dressed in cargo shorts and pullover shirts when the doorbell rang. Both of them were barefoot. There was a large Hummer parked in the family driveway. The man at the door was young, in his early twenties to judge by appearance. He was dressed business casual with a laptop and briefcase at his side. It was Chris who got the door, and so unknowingly met for the first time the man who would become his trainer on Gladiator Island.
  301. "You must be Chris," the man said with a smile. The five- foot tall boy standing in front of him was even more attractive in person than he was in his picture. The word cute definitely came to mind and described Christopher Andrews perfectly. "My name is Jason Sanborne. Extreme Action Broadcasting. I've got a business card here somewhere. May I come in?"
  303. "Yes, sir," Chris said enthusiastically. The boy offered to take one of the cases from the man's hands, but was politely refused. The thirteen-year-old led their visitor into the living room to introduce him to the family. Along the way Jason Sanborne enjoyed the view of the trim athletic young teenager in his beige shorts. The boy's calves were fantastic. His bare boy-feet were adorable. His little butt covered in light summery cotton was a thing of almost poetic beauty.
  305. "Everybody, this is Jason," Chris said, trying to sound as grown-up as possible. The man set his briefcase and laptop on the coffee table and met the parents of the two Andrews boys for the first time. "And last but not least this must be Josh," Sanborne said when the sandy-haired four-and-a- half-foot-high eleven-year-old offered his small hand. "Pleased to met you, young man."
  307. Jason Sanborne was in fact very pleased. Chris Andrews' eleven-year-old brother was every bit as cute as the older boy, with a pair of the deepest darkest brown eyes the man had ever seen.
  309. The two Andrews boys were going to be stars. If he could convince their parents to let their sons become boy gladiators.
  311. Sanborne removed several folders from his briefcase and set up the laptop. "Shall we get down to business then?" he asked in a friendly tone, his eyes casually wandering over the slim bodies and handsome faces of the two young brothers.
  313. "Your letter has us all very excited," Lindsay Andrews said. "It all seems too good to be true."
  315. "Oh, it is all quite true. We're looking for ten strong, smart, athletic boys for our newest program."
  317. "What exactly is the program about?" the boy's father asked, not trying to sound too interested.
  319. "Well as you know, we are calling the show 'Worldwide Boy Gladiators'. I believe that name probably speaks for itself. It is certainly meant to. I can only assume you are familiar with some of our other programs. This one will make them all seem rather dull in comparison."
  321. Matthew and Lindsay Andrews were much more aware of the content and extreme nature of some of XB1's programming than their thirteen and eleven-year-old sons. The thought of willingly allowing their precious boys to be involved in something so potentially traumatic was certainly troubling to them. But the money being offered would secure a wealthy future for Chris and Josh and help pay off all the family's mounting debts, which were beginning to become a real problem. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Matt and Lindsay had sat up half the night arguing. Matthew had gently raised the possibility of selling one of the boys into slavery.
  323. Lindsay went ballistic at first and threatened to leave and take the boys with her. Matthew calmed her down.
  325. 'Just hear me out, Lin. It is something we might have to consider. Other parents do it. The Wildesins down the street sold Timothy last summer.'
  327. 'I never liked that boy anyway,' Lin confessed, 'but still its horrible. Do you know the kind of things they do to boy slaves?'
  329. 'I do. I also know we're in way over our heads. If the government steps in, they'll take both boys from us.'
  331. 'Don't say that. Don't ever say that . . . '
  333. And so the conversation went on while their two sons slept blissfully in their beds down the hall. Now a man from one of the biggest and richest media companies in the world was sitting in their living room offering them enough money to never have to worry again. They looked at their boys for a moment, ushering away the thoughts of what might befall them should they agree to take the money. They then returned their attention to Jason Sanborne in his casual shirt and tie.
  335. "We've done extensive research for the past two months and your sons appear to meet all of our physical requirements. They both fall within the right height and weight range for their ages, and, to be quite frank, they are very attractive boys. I won't pretend it is not a major criterion for selection. Good-looking boys draw viewers. But mostly we need boys who are champion athletes. Boys who like to win at all costs. You are both good athletes, right?"
  337. "Yes, sir," the boys answered in unison.
  339. "Good. That's why we want you. I've brought two contracts with me with your names on them. If you agree to participate, you'll be competing in all sorts of events. Some will be familiar, like swimming and wrestling . . . "
  341. "That's what we're best at," Chris interrupted, boasting on behalf of himself and his brother.
  343. Jason smiled at the cute teenaged boy. "I'm glad to hear it, but that's just the start, boys. There will be other events you can't even imagine. Things you probably would not consider sports at all. We'll be testing your strength, your speed, your endurance, your intelligence. I won't lie to you. It's not going to be easy, and most of the time it's not going to be fun. You'll have to do things you never thought you could do. Things you probably won't want to do. But you will do them. You won't have a choice. We're going to push your bodies to their limits, and when you think you can't take any more, it will get even worse. You will not be allowed to stop or quit. Not even for a moment."
  345. "We're not quitters," Josh said strongly.
  347. "They wouldn't have sent me here if we thought you were, young man. Now if you boys will stop interrupting and let me continue."
  349. "Sorry, sir," the brothers said, Christopher's adolescent tenor mixing sweetly with Josh's
  351. high unbroken boy soprano.
  353. "If you agree to participate, there will be no backing out. You will live on Gladiator Island with the other boys and your trainers. You boys cannot quit or go home. And you, mom and dad, may not remove them from our custody once the contract is signed. And I must tell you we expect a long- term commitment. Simply put, Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, the corporation needs your sons, and we are prepared to pay handsomely for them."
  355. Matthew sat back on the sofa and looked over at Chris and Josh. The expression on his oldest son's face told him that the thirteen-year-old vaguely understood Mr. Sanborne's meaning. Young Josh on the other hand seemed not to have been paying a whole lot of attention at all. "Mr. Sanborne," the boys' father asked, "are you saying what I think you're saying?"
  357. "I am," Sanborne replied, at last flipping open the two folders he'd laid out previously. "And for the money being offered, I think you'll agree the price is fair. If you want your sons to participate, you and the boys must sign a contract of indenture. The boys will become the property of the corporation up to and until their sixteenth birthday, at which time the indenture may be canceled or transferred to a third party at your discretion. The indenture is irreversible and non-negotiable. We would own all rights to your sons."
  359. Chris definitely got it at this point. "Fuckin' shit! You mean we'd be . . . like . . . slaves or something!
  361. "That is exactly what I mean, Chris. And there would be no something about it. You and Josh would be slaves. The corporation would own you and you would be our property. You would forfeit all your personal and physical rights. You will be kept on Gladiator Island and you will participate in the program until your indenture expires when you turn sixteen. That means we'd own you for three years, Chris. In fact, I'd be your trainer, if you and your parents sign the indenture. Josh, you'd be a slave on the island for five years."
  363. "Don't sell me, dad! Please!' Josh burst into tears. Every boy in his sixth grade class had recently taken a trip to one of the state's five slave processing centers, where boys his own age and even younger were being readied for their new lives as slaves. Juvenile criminals, boys whose parents were simply too poor to raise them or too greedy to care, third and fourth and fifth sons whose existence was now illegal due to strict population laws. They all ended up as slaves. There were girl slaves too, but very few. It was almost always boys. No one even knew how many boy slaves there were right now, but Josh knew he did not want to be one of them, not even for five million dollars.
  365. "I will remind you, it is only an indenture," Sanborne said to calm the anxious parents. "You will get your sons back, and they will be millionaires. They will be worked very hard during their time on the island, but once they're freed, they will never have to work again."
  367. It was Chris who sat forward, his hands on his knees, his eyes dancing. "It really doesn't
  369. sound that bad, guys. I mean it'll suck to be a slave an all that, but like he said it's not forever. Come on, Joshie, we'll be rich, totally filthy stinkin' rich. All we gotta do is go to this island and live there for a few years. Plus we'll be on TV. Everybody will know who we are, won't they Mr. Sanborne?"
  371. "They certainly will. Weekly viewership is projected at close to thirty-six percent saturation. You boys will be quite famous."
  373. "But they'll be slaves," their mother said sadly. What a horrible choice had been laid before them. A horrible, tempting, terrible, alluring choice. So much money. It would start as five million, but it would be kept in trust, invested by XB1's own financial wizards. By the time Chris was sixteen in three years, he could maybe have twenty or twenty-five million. And Josh, he was only eleven, he'd have to be a slave for five years, but how much money might he end up with when he was freed? A lifetime of security for her two boys. What more could any mother wish for. But what price would they have to pay, living as slaves on that island, the whole world watching horrible things being done to them week after week.
  375. "I don't need your decision tonight," Jason Sanborne said. "You can have forty-eight hours."
  377. Chris stood up and looked at his parents. "I'll do it. I'll sign the thing right now. Let me do it, guys."
  379. "Chris, honey," the thirteen-year-old's mother said, "once we sign that paper, you can't take it back. You'll be a slave until you're sixteen."
  381. "Dad?" Chris turned to his father. Jason Sanborne sat back quietly enjoying the drama of this family about to willingly sell at least one of their sons into slavery.
  383. "Five million is a lot of money, Lindsay."
  385. "Matthew! I can't believe you're making this about money. Do you really want to see your son on that awful show?"
  387. "Somebody's son is going to be. Why not Chris?"
  389. "Yeah, mom. Come on. Let me do it. I'll sign the paper right now."
  391. Josh stared up at his brother. Chris was so brave and so cool. He wasn't going to let him go away and leave him behind. "If Chris signs it, I'll sign it," he said. Lindsay stared at her youngest in pity and horror. Chris clapped his brother on the back. "That's right, squirt, you and me."
  393. "What do you say, Lin?" their father asked. "I'll sign, if that's really what the boys want."
  395. Lindsay stood up and drew first Chris then Josh into her arms. "Are you boys sure this is what you want to do?"
  397. The two young brothers nodded. Jason Sanborne drew a black pen from his shirt pocket and held it to Chris. "This is your file, Chris. Sign the last page. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, you'll need to sign below your son's signature. Then we'll take care of Josh's indenture. Since he's under twelve it's a little more detailed, but it will be equally binding."
  399. Ten minutes later it was done. Jason closed the files and returned them to his briefcase. He did not close the case but instead pulled out a slim card-sized digital camera. "Before we finish here, I need to take some photographs of you both for our official records. Take off your clothes."
  401. Chris and Josh both stared open-mouthed at Jason Sanborne, not sure they heard him correctly.
  403. "You two are now slaves. Slaves do exactly as they are told. Now take off your clothes."
  405. "Right here, in front of mom?" Josh asked, already blushing.
  407. Jason smiled at the boy's modesty. "Mom, dad, perhaps if you were to go into another room this would be easier."
  409. "Sure," Matthew said, dragging his wife into the kitchen.
  411. "Okay, boys, I gave you a break. Now strip."
  413. Chris and Josh slowly pulled off their shirts, revealing their slim, muscular, well-tanned torsos. Chris was already shaped like a young man. Josh still had some of the softer curves of a little boy, but he was every bit as lean and athletic as his older brother.
  415. Sharing a nervous glance, the boys then lowered their cargo shorts. Chris was wearing black boxer-briefs, Josh had oversized boxers with cartoon characters on them.
  417. "Underpants too, boys. You'll be kept naked on the island, so you'd better start getting used to it."
  419. Josh looked at Chris and Chris looked at Josh. Neither boy was too happy about that last piece of information. Josh was particularly upset. Like most eleven-year-olds he was very modest. He wouldn't even let his mom see him in his underwear. In fact the only person who'd seen him without his clothes on in the last three years was his big brother.
  421. "Let's just get it over with, Josh," Chris said, digging his fingers under his waistband and pulling down his underwear in a swift graceful motion. Spurred on by his older brother's courage, Josh did the same. The two boys stood naked in their own living room. Jason Sanborne looked on, pleased with what he saw.
  423. Thirteen-year-old Christopher was slender, with nice shapely thighs, lean arms and a tight muscular abdomen. His chest was developing nicely, his pectoral muscles beginning to define themselves. His small dime-sized boy-nipples had been tanned a pleasant brown from exposure to the sun. He had a sparse patch of wispy blond pubic hair just above his penis. Aside from that he was still completely smooth and hairless. Jason paused at the boy's genitals. Chris' penis was quite impressive for a boy his age. Uncircumcised and about four inches long. His balls were big and heavy and hung down surprisingly low in his pink hairless scrotum.
  425. Eleven-year-old Joshua was a nearly perfect copy of his older brother in miniature. He was of course completely hairless, but the great surprise was that his penis was nearly as big as his brother's, a long thick sausage dangling between the eleven-year-old's slim legs. His balls, though noticeably smaller, hung every bit as low as Christopher's did, swinging back and forth between the eleven-year-old's smooth shapely thighs.
  427. Chris, in spite of his nice endowment, seemed to be a little embarrassed, standing next to his little brother whose cock was in actuality only 1/8 of an inch shorter than his own. Sanborne made no particular comment about either boy, although he was greatly impressed at how beautiful they were and what perfect slaves they were going to be. And Joshua's oversized penis was certain to make him a big hit with the viewers.
  429. "You first, Chris. Put your hands behind your head."
  431. Chris did as he was told. To his horror, he felt his penis slowly starting to harden. By the time Sanborne had finished taking the pictures, his four-inch dick had grown to a full six-inch erection.
  433. Josh went next, bravely copying his brother's pose. His penis too managed to erect itself, reaching an impressive five and ¾ inches.
  435. "I see we're going to have to train those penises of yours not to get hard unless you're told to," Jason said to them quietly. "We have some very strict rules on the island, but you'll learn all about that on Friday. Josh, you can call your parents back in."
  437. "Can we get dressed again?" Chris asked.
  439. "Josh can. You can't until tomorrow morning. I'm your trainer so we might as well get a head start. I want you to get used to being naked. You won't be wearing regular clothes again for a very long time."
  441. Chris blushed and shivered, but made no attempt to retrieve his clothes. His mom and dad both noticed that he was still nude while Josh was back in his shorts and shirt. They also noticed their thirteen-year-old son was having an erection. They didn't ask, and Chris chose not to talk about it. He just stood there with his hard dick bobbing up and down. Jason shook both Matthew and Lindsay's hands, then he turned to address Chris and Josh. "You two are now slaves. I am allowing you to stay with your parents for the rest of the week. You are not allowed to leave this house. You will keep yourselves clean. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, as Christopher's trainer I have given him orders to remain naked until the morning. He is not allowed to cover himself with his hands or anything else. That means no sheets or blankets tonight on his bed. Please see that he obeys my orders. We'll be sending a collection team for them on Friday morning. I'm leaving them each a copy of the basic rules we'll be expecting them to follow once they reach the island. See that they read them and start to memorize them. You have a lovely home. It has been a pleasure. Boys, I'm looking forward to seeing you on the island."
  444. Chapter 3.
  448. Eleven-year-old Josh had a great time teasing Chris for having to remain naked for the rest of the evening, taking it upon himself to point out to everyone whenever the thirteen-year-old's penis showed even the slightest signs of becoming erect.
  450. "Chris is getting a boner again, mom," became the high- pitched giggling refrain that echoed through the house that whole evening.
  452. "Shut up, Josh. Jason said I had to be naked. He didn't say anything about my dick."
  454. "Don't yell at your brother, young man," their mom said.
  456. Were it not for the fact that their eldest son was nude, and that both of the boys were now legally considered slaves, it would have been just another normal night in the Andrews house, with two brothers teasing and taunting and tormenting each other. It was summer, so the boys didn't have a set bedtime. Their father had retired around eleven-thirty. It was past midnight when Lindsay kissed her boys goodnight, trying not to think about the fact that she had only three days of goodnight kisses left before they were taken away.
  458. "Make sure you two start studying those rules," she admonished them before going upstairs.
  460. With their parents both asleep, the brothers sat together on the couch, Chris naked, laying back, his hairless legs spread, his four-inch penis dangling soft over his big thirteen-year-old boy balls which rested upon the cushion. Josh had stripped down to just his boxers. His hand absent- mindedly found its way inside his shorts and he fiddled with himself as he watched TV, enjoying the tight feeling of his throbbing not-quite-six-inch erection. Soon that weird tingly feeling started to build up in his balls. He rubbed his boy-cock even faster until he gasped and cried out and his entire body writhed with a powerful dry orgasm. Josh lay his head back on the couch, exhausted from his latest effort.
  462. Chris smiled at his eleven-year-old brother and leisurely stroked his own penis. He got hard almost immediately, but he didn't want to make a mess in the living room. He decided to wait until he was in his bed, then he'd jerk off as hard and fast as he could. With is erection still pointing up toward his belly, Chris picked up the paper Jason Sanborne had left him. "Guess we should read these, Josh."
  464. "Yeah, guess so."
  466. The boys took turns reading each rule on the list. There were ten of them. This is what they read:
  468. Chris: "You will address every adult on the island as 'sir'
  469. or 'ma'am'."
  471. Josh: "You will be naked at all times unless your trainer
  472. gives you clothes to wear."
  474. Chris: "You will obey every order given to you and
  475. participate in every activity you are
  477. assigned to."
  479. Josh: "You will not speak unless you are spoken to, except
  480. when you are in your barracks. Then you may speak quietly with the other boys."
  482. Chris: "You will not touch your genitals or the genitals of
  483. another boy for any reason, at any time, unless you are told to by your trainer."
  485. Josh: "If you think you are in danger of being injured, you
  486. will tell the nearest trainer immediately. He or she will decide if you can continue."
  488. Chris: "You will eat only the food that is given to you each
  489. day. You will not share food with other boys and you will not eat food from the staff cafeteria."
  491. Josh: "You will go to the bathroom only at your assigned
  492. times."
  495. "Wow," Chris said after they'd finished. "Some of those rules really suck."
  497. "Yeah."
  499. The two boys were suddenly very quiet and very subdued as the monumental weight of their decision began to set in. They were slaves. They were going to be treated like slaves. They were going to an island someplace they didn't even know where. They would be boy gladiators.
  501. "Think we'll have to fight each other, Chris?" Josh asked.
  503. "Probably. I'll try not to kick your ass to hard."
  505. "Thanks."
  507. The two boys went upstairs around one in the morning. Josh crawled into his bed right away. Chris noticed that his parents had stripped his bed of its sheets and blankets, just as Jason Sandborne had ordered. Chris would have to sleep naked with no covering for his lean hairless body.
  509. "Good thing its summer, or I'd freeze my balls off," the young teenager said. Josh laughed, quite happy it was his brother who had to be naked and not him.
  511. Josh rolled over onto his stomach and was asleep in a matter of minutes. Chris turned down the lamp beside his bed, lay on his back, spread his perfect thirteen-year-old legs and jerked himself off, sliding his left hand frantically over the length of his six-inch erection. He paid special attention to his foreskin, pulling it all the way up over the tip of his cock, then skinning it all the way down his shaft. He loved that tight wonderful feeling. It wasn't long before the feeling started, deep inside him. Carefully, slowly, as he'd done for the last few months, he inserted a single finger into his butt. His cock got even harder. In the dim light of the lamp the boy could see the tip of it was wet and oozing with sticky clear fluid.
  513. "Oh yeah," he whispered to himself as his balls drew up toward his groin. "Ugh, fuck . . . ooohh." Chris shot his thin sperm in violent bursts onto his tight muscular stomach. It had never felt so good. To his surprise, the boy discovered he'd put a second finger into his rear end. He didn't remember doing it. "Damn," he said quietly, grabbing a handful of tissue and cleaning the sticky mess off his body. "I'm gonna bust something if I keep doing that."
  515. But then again he hadn't busted anything yet in two years and counting of twice-daily jerk-off sessions. One during his morning shower. One at night right before bed, after Josh had fallen asleep. With his head still swimming, Chris fell asleep on his back, snoring softly, the lamp still glowing on its lowest setting.
  519. In the morning, Chris woke up first, as always, and roused his little brother. Josh opened his eyes to see Chris standing over him naked, his four-inch cock swinging back and forth as his big brother moved around.
  521. "You still gotta be naked?" the eleven-year-old asked, yawning.
  523. "I guess."
  525. Josh got out of bed, pulled off his boxers and trotted naked over to his dresser. He picked out a clean pair of underpants, silky blue soccer shorts and a tank-top. His cock was as stiff as a nail, but Josh didn't pay much attention to it. "See ya downstairs, bro!" he said as he tore out of the room they'd shared all their lives.
  527. Chris puttered around for a while, kind of enjoying the way it felt to be naked. He turned on his computer and played a video games for a while until Josh's high voice shouted to him from the bottom of the stairs. "Mom says you'd better get down here for breakfast before its gone."
  529. Chris then realized he was really hungry. He hurried downstairs, quite forgetting he was still in his birthday suit.
  531. "Well, I see my naked son has survived the night," his mom said.
  533. Chris blushed and sat down to a big plate of pancakes. The phone rang a few minutes later. His mom answered it.
  535. "Its Jason Sanborne, Chris."
  537. Chris took the phone and tried to remember how he was supposed to address his trainer. "Hello, sir," he said quietly.
  539. "Good morning, Christopher. Are you naked?"
  541. "Yes, sir. I'm naked. Just hangin' around, you know."
  543. Sanborne laughed on the other end of the line. "You can put on shorts and a T-shirt today. No underwear. I will be calling you every morning until Friday and instructing you on what to wear. After you've eaten your dinner tonight, you will take off all your clothes and spend the rest of the night naked, just like last night. Oh, and one more thing. You are not allowed to masturbate. Do you understand?"
  545. "Yes, sir."
  547. "Good. Have you and your brother read the rules I left for you?"
  549. "Yes, sir."
  551. "Do either of you have any questions?"
  553. "Not right now, sir. Some of them seem kinda scary."
  555. "They're meant to. You aren't free boys anymore. You and Josh are slaves. The sooner you start to think like a slave, the better off you'll be."
  557. "Yes, sir."
  559. "Hang up the phone and repeat my instructions for today to your mother."
  561. Chris did exactly as he was told. Josh giggled at the thought of his big brother having to be naked again after dinner.
  563. "Shut up, squirt."
  567. Thursday evening, the Andrews boys last night at home, came quickly. Chris spent it naked. Thankfully his penis only got erect twice, and both times when his mom wasn't around. The family ate a quiet meal. There really wasn't much to say. Their mother was trying her best not to cry. Josh and Chris were trying to be brave for her. The boys had nothing to pack. They were told they were not allowed to bring any personal possessions with them. Just after eleven o'clock, the boys marched upstairs to brush their teeth. It was time for bed. The last night they would spend in their own beds, in their own room, in their own home until they turned sixteen. Chris realized he would not be coming back for three years, and Josh . . . Josh would have to be a slave for five years. He would be left behind on the island when Chris was freed.
  569. "At least we don't have'ta go to school anymore," Josh observed as he crawled under his covers.
  571. "Yeah, that's totally cool. I never really thought about it. I mean, by time we're free, we'll be so rich it won't matter. Fuck school!" the young teenager shouted joyfully.
  573. "Yeah! Fuck it!" Josh shouted. Any time Chris used a naughty word, young Josh took it as free license to do the same.
  575. Naked, Chris lay atop his bed, his hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling, his tight, slim, muscular thirteen-year-old swimmer's body stretched out in front of him. He looked down at himself, at his cute little bush of blond pubic hair and his soft uncut penis resting over his balls. He wiggled his boy-toes and took a deep breath. He suddenly realized his heart was pounding in his chest. He knew he wasn't going to be getting much sleep tonight. Tomorrow their new lives would begin, and he had only the faintest idea what would happen to them. "Are you scared about tomorrow, Josh?"
  577. "Kinda. Are you?"
  579. "Yeah. Maybe we shouldn't have signed the contracts."
  581. "Yeah."
  583. Their mom came in. Chris brought his trim muscular legs together and drew his knees up, trying to conceal his genitals from his mother. It wasn't that he was particularly shy. He was getting used to be naked. It just seemed wrong to be lying flat on your back with your half-hard wiener hanging out when your mom was around.
  585. "One last goodnight kiss, babies," she said sadly, kissing each of her boys on the forehead. "I'll get you up early tomorrow. They'll be coming to get you sometime around ten."
  587. "Okay, mom," Josh said.
  589. "We're ready," Chris added bravely. Lindsay Andrews gazed at her eldest son.
  591. "Chris, I want you to promise me you'll behave yourself. Do everything you're told and don't cause trouble."
  593. "I will, mom."
  595. "And promise me you'll look after your brother. Take care of him, okay?"
  597. "I will, mom. I won't let anything happen to Josh, don't worry." Chris of course did not realize how utterly powerless he would be to protect his little brother when their new lives began on the island. Or how powerless he would be to protect himself.
  601. Friday morning came. The boys' parents woke them up at seven. Chris and Josh showered and put on the same shorts and shirts they'd worn when Jason Sanborne had visited earlier in the week.
  603. At exactly ten o'clock, a white van pulled into the driveway. Two men in business suits stepped out and walked quickly to the front door.
  605. "Mr. Andrews?" one of the men inquired.
  607. "Yes."
  609. "Mitchell Harwell. XB1Corporate Security." The man produced a business card verifying his identification. "I've come to take Christopher and Joshua Andrews into custody in accordance with the contracts of indenture signed August 12, 2039. Are they ready?"
  611. "They are, Mr. Harwell. Please come in."
  613. Matthew Andrews escorted Mr. Harwell and his assistant into the living room. Chris and Josh stood up immediately.
  615. "Good morning, boys," Harwell addressed them, shaking both their hands. "I'm here to escort you on the first part of your journey to Gladiator Island. Are you excited about your little adventure?"
  617. "Yes, sir," the brothers said in unison.
  619. Harwell nodded. "Good. Now I need you both to listen carefully. There are a few rules you must follow once we leave this house. You are officially slaves as of this moment. That means you must do exactly as you are told, do you understand?"
  621. "Yes, sir," Chris said in his soft pubescent voice.
  623. "Yes, sir," Josh said in his high pre-teen voice.
  625. "Neither of you are allowed to speak unless you are addressed directly by me, or one of my aides. If you must ask a question, you will raise your hand."
  627. The boys nodded that they understood.
  629. "You will be sedated for this first part of the journey. Do you know what that means?"
  631. Chris shook his head yes. Josh shook his head no.
  633. "Christopher, please explain it to your brother."
  635. "Yes, sir," Chris said, then turned to Josh and told him. "He means they're going to give us a pill, or something, to make us feel sleepy."
  637. "Oh," was Josh's only response.
  639. "It simply makes the transition to your new lives easier. But before we give you your injections, we have to get you properly dressed for the trip. Strip."
  641. The boys quickly obeyed. They'd already stripped for Jason Sanborne, so it wasn't anything new for them. It didn't make it any less embarrassing though, having to take your clothes off in front of total strangers and your parents. Harwell however did not seem like a very patient man. Chris and Josh were down to their boxers in a hurry, exhibiting their tanned, tight, slender young bodies. They looked at each other, and slid their last remaining source of modesty down their slim hips.
  643. The boys' parents looked on helpless as their sons were made to remove their clothes in the family living room for the second time in a week. It marked the last time Chris would wear normal clothing for the next three years. For eleven-year-old Josh it would be five years. Once the boys were naked, Harwell addressed them again.
  645. "Put your hands behind your heads."
  647. The young brothers obeyed. Harwell was very impressed at the slender, athletic, hairless
  649. young bodies now on display. He noticed the older boy had the sparse beginnings of pubic hair above his four-inch long penis. Both boys were uncircumcised and very well endowed, especially eleven-year-old Josh, whose penis was already nearly as long and thick as his teenaged brother's.
  651. "As you are now slaves, you will be attired accordingly. If you are taken from Gladiator
  653. Island for any reason, you will have a uniform to wear at all times."
  655. "We get to leave the island sometimes?" Josh asked. "Like go home 'n stuff?"
  657. The company security man smiled at the two boys. "You won't be allowed to go home until your indentures expire. You will, from time to time, be taken from the island for various public events sponsored by the company."
  659. Harwell's assistant handed him two paper-bound packages, which Harwell in turn gave to Chris and Josh. "Open them and put on the clothes you find inside."
  661. The clothes they found consisted simply of a gray sleeveless tunic and a pair of white shorts. Chris was the first to put his on, and he was sure he'd gotten Josh's by mistake. The tunic ended just above his navel. And the white shorts were very, very short, and very, very tight, making his penis and testicles bulge out in front of him in a rather obscene way. When he looked over and Josh though, he saw that his younger brother's tunic also came to an abrupt end above the boy's outtie-style belly button, and that Josh's shorts were every bit as short and tight as his own. The shorts made the four- and-one-half-foot tall boy's rather oversized genitals appear almost comically large as they bulged out in front of him. For the most part, Josh was unaware of just how big his penis was compared to other eleven-year-olds, but he did look down at his boyhood package jutting out so prominently in front of his shorts and giggle in his innocent boyish way.
  663. Each boy was then given a pair of shoes, plain simple white trainers. The boys never wore socks anyway, so they did not think to miss them.
  665. It was humiliating, being forced to wear the tunics and those small tight shorts. Chris and Josh were both blushing fiercely. They certainly didn't want their parents to see them like this.
  667. "Say your final good-byes, boys. You have two minutes. Come out to the van when you are done. Do not make us come back in for you."
  669. Chris and Josh hugged their mom and shook their dad's hand.
  671. "Be good, guys," Matt Andrews said. "Be brave. Be safe."
  673. "We will, dad."
  675. "Remember your promise, Christopher," his mom added, holding back tears.
  677. "I will, mom."
  679. Chris looked around his house one last time, then turned to his younger brother. "Ready, Josh?"
  681. "Yeah."
  683. Clad in their slave tunics and their embarrassingly small white shorts, the Andrews boys left the house and walked quickly down the driveway. It was just after eleven in the morning. There were neighbors out and about, and more than a few of them stopped whatever they were doing when they saw the two boys in their scant skimpy uniforms. The back door of the van was open, and at Harwell's instructions the boys climbed in. What they saw when they got inside made them both shiver. Their new lives had taken an immediate and frightening and unexpected turn. Christopher took in a sharp breath. Josh's brown eyes widened. On the floor of the van there were the two iron cages placed side-by-side.
  685. "Crawl inside, boys," Harwell ordered.
  687. It was too late to go back now. Chris and Josh had signed the indentures themselves. Their parents had signed them too. The boys knew they had no choice. Chris was the first to get down on his hands and knees. Josh quickly followed. The brothers crawled into the small cages. Harwell closed them and his assistant clicked heavy padlocks in place over the latches.
  689. Harwell double-checked the locks, pulling on the doors of the boys' cages. "Give me your arm, Chris," he then demanded.
  691. Chris fished his slender arm between the thick iron bars. His eyes widened when he saw Harwell draw a sharp needle and syringe from a leather case. The man jabbed the boy's arm and injected the sedative. Ten seconds later, the thirteen- year-old's head was already spinning. Thirty seconds after that, he had a mild drug-induced seizure and slipped into unconsciousness.
  693. Poor Josh had watched the whole thing and panicked when Harwell stood in front of his cage.
  695. "You ain't stickin' me with that," Josh shouted, backing away as far as he could. "You killed him! You killed Chris!"
  697. Harwell smiled warmly. "I did no such thing. I merely put him to sleep for a while. And now I'm going to do the same to you. If you make me pull your arm out of that cage, I promise you I will break it."
  699. Josh wiped the tears from his eyes. Chris rolled over onto his side and moaned softly in his sleep. That evidence that his big brother was indeed still alive seemed to calm the pre-teen. He bravely stuck his arm between the bars and received his injection, a considerably larger dose than his brother had been given. Josh's seizure was sudden and violent and lasted for almost a full minute before he finally succumbed and passed out. Harwell reached through the bars, wiped the fluid from the boy's mouth and with surprising tenderness rolled the little eleven-year-old onto his side.
  701. The van backed out of the driveway and slowly drove off, carrying Chris and Josh Andrews toward their harsh new lives as boy gladiators.
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