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  • Carla Buchanan

BGGM Entry 9: Saturday, December 19, 2026, continued…

This is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and happenings are solely products of the author’s imagination or fictitious retellings. Any likeness to actual events, locations, persons living or dead, is coincidental.

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Saturday, December 19, 2026, continued…


“Don’t try to pull at it or you will set off the poison within,” the new Beau says, taking me roughly by the arm and shoving me through the portal he opens. I pull at the cuffs that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, though, in all honesty, I can barely see because tears cloud my vision. “Do not try to pull at it or you will set off the poison within,” he says again on the other side of the portal. I hear the portal close behind us as I fight the bit of nausea that still comes when traveling. The nausea quickly wears off and what’s left is shock and fear. Shock, because this place is so different than any other than I’ve been to, definitely not the back of my cabin. I can smell the scent of the manmade lake in the distance but there is not a cabin in sight. We’re in the middle of a field of some sort like the area around the lake was never developed.

“You are on Lacoste property now, Chrissy, and everything within its limits, I own. That includes you. You will replace the Chrissy who got away and will not tell anyone you are not her. I don’t need anyone knowing there is a way to escape Lacoste Plantation, especially not when you being gone leaves my bed empty,” the other Beau says, full of himself and his importance. I then realize what he said... that his Chrissy got away, and don’t feel as hopeless as I did only a minute ago.

That thought allows other thoughts to permeate the fog of pain and disorientation I’m feeling right now, and I can’t help but recall what Beau said. He said, “And just so you know, your mother is as smart as you always thought she was. She made this for my father,” Beau had said and had held up a very modern-looking Home Phone. “I’ll tell her you said hello…”

This whole time he’d known where my mother was and had kept it from me, had kept it from my brother and my father. My father’s best friend had taken his wife and kept her and made her do who knows what for who knows how long. But if what the other Noble Anson said is true, that a Laurent and Beaumont Lacoste on any world is probably violently obsessed with Elise and Christmas. I don’t want to think about what Laurent has done to, or with, my mother since he’s had her.

“When I release the magnetic grip between the cuffs, they become a tracker and escape deterrent,” Other Beaumont is saying when I start listening again, as we approach a vehicle that hovers about a foot off the ground. “You will get the poison for an attempted escape and shock for disobedience. If you try to escape three times, you are out, and no antidote will be administered after you are poisoned. You will die and your infested body will be burnt in front of your peers to prove a point,” Other Beaumont says. “This is my security detail. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are the only men you allow to take you anywhere. They are the only men you are allowed to be alone with. They are the only men you are allowed to speak to other than me unless I specifically permit you to talk… Understand?” The new Beau asks. I realize the new Beau has a slight southern twang that my Beau doesn’t have. The tone distracts me and first I’m nudged for an answer. I nod, and then cry out in pain when I feel a zap through my wrist, fingers, and arm. “Yes, Master Beau, are the words I believe you were looking for, and I suggest you remember them for future reference if you do not wish to be punished.”

The doors of the hovering car open like elegant robotic bird’s wings. Beau then releases the gentle grip he had on me as he helped me limp through the wooded area. He pushes me toward the ground but one of the men, John I think, catches me before I hit my face to the ground.

“Watch how you handle my property, John,” Other Beau warns, “I’ll shock you for touching her and shock her for letting you. I doubt she wants another one so soon.”

I don’t, and I’m embarrassed that I’m sure the desire shows all over my face. I cast my eyes down from John who whispers, “You’ve been gone for weeks. Mr. Val was sure you got away. He was sure you had a way to get out and never come back.”

Mr. Val? Another Valentine Trudeau? His name floats through my mind making me wonder if he’s back at the cabin with Breanna and knows I’m gone yet. I wonder if Beau will somehow make him believe I’ve left him. I hope he doesn’t believe that I would do that to him but I’m not so sure if he won’t after I tried to leave once and then changed my mind.

“John, boy, I warned you didn’t I?” Beau says and John stiffens a second before I do. John doesn’t pass out, but I do.


~~~~~


When I wake, I’m still in the hovering car. I’m in the back seat next to Other Beau but I don’t know if anyone else is in the vehicle because there’s a dark partition between the back seat and the front of the car. I have no idea how big the vehicle is or how it’s powered, which makes me a little angry with myself for not being like #2’s Christmas who is surely smarter than me. She’d know how to get herself out of this situation, probably using spare parts from the car we’re in.

Now is not the time for me to feel sorry for myself, I know. But I can’t help but think there’s no possible way I’m getting out of this situation. I don’t have a Home Phone, I don’t have and Elise, and I don’t have a Christmas who knows how to do anything useful. For so many years I thought styling was important, I thought it helped people with their confidence and self-esteem. For years I thought the smiles of people in items I picked for them gave me a sense of accomplishment. But I doubt how I make people feel when they put on clothes I pick will make anyone feel good in this place, at least not anyone who I’d want to choose clothes for.

I don’t know what I expect, but I know it’s not what I see. Out the side windows of the car, the night is lit up like Time Square or Las Vegas. There are skyscrapers and hovering cars, and drones with police lights on them. There are people dressed like they are from every period in time like historic dress, current dress, and futuristic dress is all accepted here, but only by people whose skin is like Beau’s or lighter. People with fair skin look rich and important, wearing devices that ring around the back of their heads, tapping at screens that float in the air, and some even walking next to strollers that hover between parents as they walk. Digital marquees light up every corner advertising one service or another, and the great rates on slave labor that can be contracted from one of the five major slave traders. I notice that one of the major slave traders is The Lacoste Group who have slaves that are of the highest quality guaranteed. That knowledge makes me see all the advanced technology so much differently. I think about the many times in my world’s history where others have taken credit for the inventions they didn’t create. I can imagine that not having to pay workers but giving them access to technology and education can make for a very prosperous society - at least for those who aren’t working for free.

The sensation of a hot hand on my thigh snatches me from my thoughts and brings me back to a present that doesn’t seem real. I feel like I’ve stepped forward and back in time in the same breath, and the feeling has left my senses in flux and overwhelmed.

I know I’m not supposed to snatch away but I can’t help it, I do. I snatch away and press my body against the door - at least what I think is the door. I briefly wonder if I can just throw myself out of the car and getaway, but I doubt I’ll live through such an action as fast as we are now going, or with these cuffs on my wrists.

His hand flies up and he backhands me in the face. My teeth nick my lip and I grunt in pain, tasting coppery blood. As I grab my face, Beau grabs the hem of my dress, pulling me toward him. The slinky material rips, making me angry for myself, and on Valentine’s behalf. Less than an hour ago Valentine was running his hands over the slinky material, making promises of pleasure. But now some other version of Beau disrespects that memory so violently.

“You’ll soon realize that what you once thought would always be your life, will never be your life again,” Beau says with his clammy hand resting between my clenched thighs. It’s a reflex to resist an unwanted touch or do the opposite of what I’m told because it’s what I choose to do. I don’t know if I can get on board with being owned like a dog. “You are my property, Chrissy. In this place, I own you and can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and unlike your backward world, there isn’t anything anyone can do.”

“That may be,” I say. “But I won’t like it, and the Beau I know needs me to love him back. The Beau I know needs to win. But you won’t. You won’t win because I’ll never love you back.”

Beau removes his hand and there’s a brief second of relief before the shock that is more painful than the previous two. As soon as the pain comes, the complete and utter blackness follows.

When I wake, I’m woozy and my muscles feel weak and twitchy and my vision is hazy. But I notice the buildings have gotten smaller. There are fewer lights, and the houses are bigger, making me feel like time is all mixed up in this place, like I’m going backward and forward in time all at once. Large, gaudy, super modern structures that have infinity pools and exotic grottos are flanked by solar power farms. Rows and rows of solar panels reflect the moonlight and the hovercraft as we pass over them.

Over them?

I sit up seeing that the hovering cars make up four lanes in the sky. Two going in one direction, two going in the other, saying our side is going south and the other is going north. Above us there are four more lanes, I assume going east and west. I shake my head, once again in awe of what free labor can do for a world, but I’m snatched away from my awe when the vehicle veers to the right as if taking an ‘off’ ramp on an interstate.

I have a feeling that when I get to Lacoste Plantation I won’t be treated with love and care if the way Beau treated me in the car is anything to go by. I have a feeling Beaumont Lacoste will be showing all his ‘property’ what happens to someone who tries to escape from him, and I doubt how he makes it will be pleasant or painless.

But the thing is, this world’s Christmas did escape. I’m sure that’s part of the reason why he needs me. He can’t have his property thinking there’s a way out of the life they’re in.

The exit from the sky interstate, I realize, only goes to Beau’s property. The sign I see says, Now Entering Lacoste Plantation Territory. Visitors must check in at the gate. We then merge onto a road lit on either side like an airport runway, through a canopy of Spanish moss trees that look creepy and ominous in their bare winter state.

“Welcome back home, Chrissy,” Beau says when the vehicle stops.

I don’t make any move when the doors lift and the chilly air flows in. Beau gets out on his side but doesn’t give me any instruction. I take the moment alone to take a few deep breaths but halfway through the last breath, a body appears in front of the door. It’s not Beau. It’s not Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, but it’s this world’s version of Valentine Trudeau. He’s dressed in a tailored black suit with a bright white shirt, and he looks like he was about to leave here. He looks almost exactly as he did the day we ran into one another at Anson Cafe, which is the day after Ripley caught my brother cheating on her with my best friend.

That day seems like an eternity ago when only about a week has passed since that day. It was after our first time using the MV Generator and the experience had reawakened all our old feelings for one another. There’s nothing I wouldn’t give to have that day back, something simple and normal, like dealing with the aftermath of my brother’s infidelity and being clueless to the realities of the device.

I can tell from the way Valentine looks at me that he didn’t believe it was going to be me. Whatever plan his Christmas had, he was sure it had worked and now he’s not so sure of anything anymore. His expression is stricken like the sight of me is a slap to the face of whatever plan he and his Christmas had. I want to tell him their plan did work, that his Christmas got away, that I’m some half-assed replacement.

“Chris.”


~~~~~


“Well now, Mr. Trudeau,” Beau says appearing next to Valentine. “You are the first to see all of your hard work come full circle,” Beau says which makes my face scrunch. I’m not sure if Beau is saying Valentine helped me escape or something else. I realize it’s definitely something else when Beau adds, “You’re worth every penny. You trained my trackers and now one of my most valuable possessions has been returned.” Beau approaches me, he extends his hand and the last thing I want to do is take it. “She’s a little worse for wear but she’ll heal.”

Valentine clears his throat as if trying to clear away any emotion before he speaks, though it doesn’t erase the expression on his face. He’s startled but he recovers and steps forward to help me out of the vehicle.

Sighing, I reach out for both of their hands and let them lift me from the car. I notice Valentine’s eyes travel down to the brace covering the sprain Gray caused, the bandages leftover from where the space heater burned me, and then to the rip in my dress. Outside the car and in the lights outside Beau’s monstrosity of a structure made of clean concrete lines and large glass panels, Valentine can probably see the evidence of Beau’s violence if my still stinging cheek is anything to go by.

“May I ask which one of the men found her? I’d like to congratulate him on his efforts.”

“He’s still out on patrol. I’ll make sure he gets the message,” Beau lies.

“So, I’m guessing Chrissy will be getting sent to the dorms. She’ll go into the work pool. I’m sure someone will pay top dollar for her science and math skills,” Valentine says, and I flinch. I can’t say that I completely understand what they’re talking about, but I can guess. On the way over we flew over large homes just like Beau’s and then what looked like large apartment complexes beyond. I’m guessing those are the dorms and where Beau’s ‘property’ lives.

“Your guess would be wrong. I don’t need the ones in the dorms pumping her for information and getting any ideas about attempting an escape of their own.” I feel better that Beau is afraid to leave me with the people in the dorms. He knows I won’t remain silent about who I am, and I will try to escape just as his Christmas did. Though, if I did escape, I have no idea where I’d go. Without a Home Phone with my world preprogrammed or an MV Generator, I’m stuck on this world forever. But… there is a Home Phone here. This world’s Beau has it and he used it to come to my world which means it can take me back. “I’m sure the wife won’t be happy about it, but she doesn’t get a say. Honestly, women of a certain persuasion aren’t as good at some things as the darker skin beauties,” Beau says and laughs heartily like I’m not between them. “They can take it a little better, can’t they?”

Valentine chuckles and it’s hard to tell if the chuckle is genuine and he agrees with Beau or if he’s just going along with Beau to keep the peace. It makes me wonder if Valentine could be the kind of man who’d accept this kind of life regardless if he was born into it or not.

Though, Valentine’s chuckle is the last thing on my mind when he says, “My Brenna would kill me if I indulged. Her mama never let her daddy own any women younger than fifty and Brenna is the same.”

He said the name twice. Brenna. Valentine is married to Brenna Oliver. Is that why he doesn’t seem to be on the right side of this equation? If this is indeed the slave world as I suspect, Valentine isn’t a slave. And now I know that he isn’t because he’s married to someone who always prided herself on how lily-white her skin remained even through the harsh summer months.

Is being married to someone white a free pass or something? I wonder this, and then wonder why Valentine looked at me the way he had. Even he isn’t dumb enough to risk his freedom for me - his world’s version of me. Though, I might be overestimating the intelligence of this world’s Valentine Trudeau because I doubt a free man married to a white woman is supposed to use his thumb to caress my arm gently as he helps me.

Wait… Did he say Brenna is the same? Valentine own slaves? You have got to be fucking kidding me.

It doesn’t feel like I just arrived in a new world, I feel like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone.

Approaching a set of stairs, Valentine offers, “If you want me to carry her up for you I can. It’ll be a lot more efficient that way,” Valentine adds, and I can’t help but hear the twinge of subservience in his tone. I want to slap some sense into him for going along with this life, and especially for being involved. Not to mention he’s married to Brenna Oliver which makes me wonder if fate is telling me that he and I shouldn’t be together. On every world, we’re apart or fighting to stay together. It’s been like that on every world except for mine. On mine Brenna Oliver gets to have Valentine, and he claims a child with her that’s probably not his. It’s like Brenna gets to have everything I should’ve.

I know right now is not the time to think about my relationship with the Valentine on my world, but when he effortlessly picks me up and carries me up a grand concrete staircase that leads up to a set of glass doors, I can’t help but think about how my Valentine has refused to allow me to walk anywhere. He’s carried me to the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the couch to watch television, acting as my legs and feet as much as I’ll allow. I smile softly and hate that this Valentine smells a lot like mine.

The glass doors slide apart like those at the entrance of a supermarket, allowing us entrance into a stark white grand foyer whose walls are decorated with large canvases with paintings in shades of black and white. They are abstract in a way that says the person who picked them out wanted to look like they knew something about art, but they don’t. The wide, square space has a high ceiling and a skylight overhead.

“Meet me at our spot after my next training shift,” Valentine whispers and I have no idea what he’s talking about or when that is and can’t ask. I want to tell him that I’m not his Christmas which is why I have no idea where to meet him. There’s a chance he might think I’m crazy if I say that but then again, he might not. He might know about the MV Generator and the Home Phones which is why he wants to meet me at ‘our spot’. He might want to ask what happened. I need to find out where that spot is so I can ask. I have no earthly idea how I will find out, but I know I have to if I have any chance of getting off this world and back to mine. I can’t watch people live this way without wanting to stir up trouble by trying to make people believe that things don’t have to be this way.

I’m afraid if I’m stuck here, I won’t survive.


~~~~~


I’m placed on my feet and as soon as I am two women appear. One has skin the same medium brown as mine and the other is almost as light as Beau. Both of them seem to recognize me, their expressions holding as much surprise as Valentine’s had.

The two women are in uniforms that are nearly exactly like the ones the guards had on. Just like the guards, the uniforms are black but instead of black buttons, the women’s are silver and travel asymmetrically down the figure-hugging bodice. I notice the buttons on their uniform shirt are laser cut with the letters L and P, the initials of Lacoste Plantation.

“Get her cleaned up, feed her, and put her in the box before lights out. No clothes, no food, no water until further notice. Do you understand?” Beau says. “I’ll send the doc around to have her fitted for another brace and to remove those bandages on her leg and replace it with healing gauze as well.”

“Yes sir,” the women say in unison and then lead me away. I look back over my shoulder to Valentine, hoping he sees the plea in my eyes. Regardless of who he’s married to, or if he owns slaves, I saw the Valentine I know in his eyes. Couple that expression with his whispered message, and I know in my heart I can trust him, and he can help me.

“We didn’t believe it was you when Master Beau said he was going to get you,” the woman with the lighter skin whispers. “It’s been weeks. We were sure we’d never see you again.”

“Shh… Lydi you’re talking too loud,” the other woman adds. “If Mrs. Lacoste catches you talking to her, you’ll end up in that box with her.”

“What is ‘the box’?”

Both women stop to stare at the sides of my face. We have stopped in front of a door but neither of them moves to open it. I can tell they both think I have fallen and bumped my head on something, and I have to remember that I’m not their Christmas so I can’t say stuff like that out loud.

Neither woman gets a chance to respond because an impeccably dressed woman appears as if out of nowhere. My forehead scrunches and I realize I know the woman because she’s, Yasmin Cobb, my best friend from California, or at least that’s who she was on my world. Here, she is Mrs. Lacoste, the lady of Lacoste Plantation it seems.

An hour later, I know that the women who are silently helping me are called Clea and Lydi. Yasmin barks out their names several times during my bath, styling my hair, and putting makeup on my face. She barks at them even more to clean up after themselves when a doctor shows up to fit me for a new brace and puts healing gauze over my burns. The asshole unapologetically ogles me since Yasmin won’t allow me to cover up when he arrives. It only takes minutes for the doctor to leave, and he returns as I limp from the room, still naked. He takes off the old brace, puts the new one on, letting his hands linger a bit too long on my body. When the brace is on, admittedly it’s a perfect fit and allows me to walk without any limp at all.

“I want everyone to see the beauty they all admire and then watch the ugly person she becomes when my husband finally lets her out of the box,” is what Yasmin says when she inspects Lydi and Clea’s work and the doctor steps aside. The women are then told to lead me through the house, and for them to take the ‘long way’ right before Yasmin steps into the hall and starts to giggle with glee over my predicament.

It’s the strangest, and most degrading walk of shame I could’ve imagined. I am naked, yet clean with my makeup and hair done like I’ve been readied to go to cocktail hour. I feel like a pig forced to endure the walk past all those who will chew on my bacon later.

Thankfully, at this time of the evening there aren’t many people milling around the large house. What I’m not so thankful for is the fact that it’s December which doubles my level of discomfort.

With my hair perfectly styled and my makeup perfectly applied, Clea and Lydi obediently lead me through the house in the middle of a beautifully landscaped backyard with plants and fountains, and leafless trees. They don’t say a word, but I can feel their empathy for me coming off them in waves of comforting thoughts. Though, it’s clear to see they are afraid of Yasmin because every time she says a word both women flinch. I briefly wonder how my doe-eyed friend who looks like a Disney princess could be such a bitch on any world. She was never a bitch, spoiled maybe, but never a bitch.

There’s nothing sweet or doe-like about this Yasmin and I know we aren’t best friends. Her hate for me is thick and palpable as she follows behind our trio telling us to slow when we begin to walk too fast.

Down a beautifully landscaped stone path next to other brick paths that spoke out in various directions, is a glass box. The box sits in the middle of the outdoor courtyard area and looks ominous in the dark, lit only by dim lights along the path and around the structure. The box has just enough light for a person to see what’s inside at night, which will soon be me. I shiver the whole way there, and I don’t know if it’s from the chilly December air or because I’m scared shitless, wondering what state I’ll be in once I’m released. Valentine thinks I’ll be out by his next shift whenever that is.

I can’t help but wonder when the reality of my situation will kick in because it hasn’t yet. I feel like I’m in a dream, a nightmare, or a fantasy world that won’t exist tomorrow. I know its denial allowing me to fully process my situation so I won’t react in a way that might get me hurt or killed, and I hope the feeling never has a chance to resolve itself because that would mean I’ve been here for too long.

The denial is the commonsense part of me, the part of me that wants to survive. But there’s a part of me I can feel quickly trying to take over. Desperation is already niggling at me, and I’ve barely been on this world a few hours, and I’m afraid it’ll end up making me do something that might get myself, or someone else, killed.

Lydi and Clea don’t turn back to look at me once I take the three steps leading up to the raised part of the courtyard where the box sits. They head back to the main house, leaving me alone with Yasmin. Moments later Beau joins Yasmin, and he wraps his arms around her waist and then winks at me. I turn away from them, but Beau immediately retaliates for my insolence. He shocks me for longer than he ever has before, making me fall to my knees and then blackout. I’m sure Yasmin giggles when this happens, but I can’t hear her through the thick glass. It’s probably better that I can’t hear, and I’m positive that unconscious obliviousness is a lot better than awake with my mind forced to think about where I am.


*****

















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