He sent them to be seen by her. That he had tangible proof of his commitment to his purpose and his growth. Each session, each rejection of easy but costly temptation was there in the heft of his pectorals, the lines and striations in his hip flexors and the way that the softness around his jawline was disappearing. He loved the reaction, knowing that she carried the coiling heat of want within her. A talisman against the bland sweep of days. He could not fake the look in his eyes, in a moment sourced in purest expression of his primal, sexual self. Such awareness and acceptance was rare, he had denied it before, but now he was comforted and protected by it.
She struggled with it. She knew the angles to offset the parts of herself that remained distasteful to her. Her body rebelled with the marks of time, but his reaction cast its magic over her. A litany of informed praise, fuelled by want rather than need. Through him, she saw herself and it rubbed raw against everything else around her. A sweet pain, an eroticized grief that in its rejection, left deep scars that only he would be able to heal.
Now the mirror, the chain of static images connects them both and they pretend it is not there for the sake of sanity.
It remains though, and it would take so little yet so much to pick it up again and feel its comforting, powerful weight.
You swallow but your throat is acrid with tension. You cannot make out the details of the people watching you, only that they are there. The gown continues to shift up on the back of your legs, adding self consciousness, drop by drop, over the stir of emotions that collide and change within you.
‘To complete processing, you will undergo a cursory medical examination and a bathing procedure. Once those are complete, you will be assigned sleeping quarters and then left to your own devices until tomorrow morning.’
You narrow your eyes against the light. The voice has retreated behind an air of routine and its emotional content is all that you have to go on in terms of figuring out what is going on here. How much trouble, you potentially are in depends on what information you can glean from your present circumstances.
‘The correct response is yes sir.’
Your heart beats hard and faster. There is a low murmur of conversation, and a stifled giggle which rakes its nails down your spine. A hot flash of humiliation bursts in your stomach, a perfect emotional time travel, taking you back to high school again. The spotlight is hot, and you can feel perspiration beginning to teem underneath your arms and at the small of your back. At this precise moment, every sense is sharpened, ready to cut like a theatre of eager surgeons. Whether it’s you or someone else, depends on the response you give.
You raise a hand and a titter snakes through the audience.
‘Am I being held here against my will?’
The laughter grows and someone calls out ‘not with those thighs, dear.’ Your cheeks burn with blood and tears well in the corners of your eyes.
‘Don’t laugh at me.’
That draws a series of oohs.
‘What upsets you more, being held here against your will or being laughed at?’
The voice comes through, silences the others in its wake. The way a comet burns up air on its passage through the night sky.
‘Don’t play doctor with me. I want an answer to my question.’
The voice gives a dark chuckle that makes you shiver to be its subject.
‘What if you had already been asked that question?’
You frown, aware that the spotlight makes every expression exaggerated. Another ripple of laughter starts up. It hurts more than the first time and you start to back up.
‘Stop right where you are.’
You jerk at the change in tone and volume and in response, the back of your gown hitches up a centimetre, highlighting the backs of your thighs where they meet your ass. You give an involuntary yelp, which fuels the embarrassment even further.
‘I wouldn’t, there’s nothing wrong with me.’
He pauses and the laughter dies away again. It’s application reminds you of a whip or a paddle and its sting unsettles rather than the pure, stable joy of pain that you enjoy. That you recognise this comes to you unbidden and without import.
‘My point, exactly.’
A wall to the left bursts into brilliant, white light and coalesces into a screen. A series of numbers dance across, teeming in patterns of deliberate complexity before it opens on a woman’s face, smiling.
‘Hey, look you’re probably freaking out about now, but that’s kind of the point. I am you and you are me, before all this starts off.’
You watch yourself give your name, date of birth, social security number, mother’s maiden name and that you have paid to experience SIR, signed a raft of paperwork to avoid indemnity and that you should just relax and go with it.
Offscreen, a female voice asks you onscreen how you heard about SIR. You smile, and you recognise yourself, the telltale blink that you give and the bitemark on the inside of your lip that you could probably slip the edge of your front teeth again and find the indentation by instinct.
Your capacity to tear yourself to pieces without cause, a thought arises, might be part of why you are here.
Not that you are sure what here means.
‘I go to a munch two towns over once a month and one of the subs there went. She did not stop talking about it so I looked into it and -‘
You watch yourself spread your arms and grin. A hopeful light twinkles in your eyes. If this is not you, then it’s terrifying in its accuracy.
‘Here you are. Or I am. Sorry, I get tongue tied with things like this.’
The interviewer chuckles and you join in, a little ahead of the beat and the audience in the room follow along. The screen fades into black.
‘We’ve installed a block on your memories. We don’t change anything about you, and at every turn, we’re a bit like the opposite of a supermarket. We always offer choice. You are here because you want to be, but part of what makes this so popular and so important to maintain discretion is that we agree that this is all part of the play.’
Your breath is molten in your lungs and a heat begins to pool in the pit of your stomach, drawn downwards by gravity and you clench your thighs together to make the sensation flare deeper and warmer.
‘So, I volunteered for this?’
A hum fills the air and you experience the interview directly again. The leather chair underneath you, the scent of the Ethiopian coffee that you were offered on arrival and the drive over, calculating how much this was going to cost you. Chrissy had said it was ‘life-altering’ and you knew that your life could use some of that.
Some people went into simulations about the zombie apocalypse, you came here.
‘Does that answer your question?’
You stare into the darkness. The want is bolder than your fear, it puts a leash on it and a muzzle. The courage hardens your nipples, relaxes the muscles between your thighs, opening and transforming the emotions into fuel for the engine of your desire and your fear and your need.
There have seldom been clear distinctions between them and that, you know is part of why you are here. You smile and lower your head. Deferment is part of it, and you know that there is expectation and a responsibility here for you. It is a misconception that the submissive is powerless, and you stopped explaining this to vanilla types a long time ago. Here, you have the power and the voice, the eyes in the darkness are asking you to take it.
‘Yes, where do we start?’
The table is wheeled in with stainless steel stirrups mounted on telescopic stands mounted on the ends, a section cut away in the middle and velcro straps at the top end. A second table is brought in with a bowl of steaming, lilac and coconut scented water and a natural sponge. You run your tongue over your lips, and your heartbeat drowns out the thoughts in volume and rhythm.
No one is laughing at you now. Which is a good place to start.
‘Whenever you are ready.’
TO BE CONTINUED.
Episode 1 is here
‘Time to get up.’
The voice is smooth, assured and you strain your eyes to see who it is that has woken you. All you can make out is a silhouette and then you are helped to your feet with a brusque care that unnerves you. Normally, you need coffee and gentle coaxing like a wild animal trapped underneath your porch to do anything in the morning.
Not that you are sure what time it is. It is academic, you are on your feet and your legs wobble with the last vestiges of fatigue still in your muscles and bones. The gown is short, and you go to pull the hem down but you hear the voice tell you no, in a firm, polite tone.
‘Sir doesn’t like that. Don’t make this difficult for yourself.’
The hand goes to the small of your back and guides you forwards. The light streaming in from the door hurts your eyes and you lower your chin to your chest to avoid it cutting into your eyes. The hand at your back does not falter, insistent in guiding you out of the room.
You find yourself joining a line of women, all clad in gowns. You are stood behind a tall blonde woman, with shoulders and thighs that she has spent hours feeding and sculpting. Her hair is tied back in a french plait that falls between her shoulder blades. She looks over her shoulder at you, green eyes glinting with excitement and trepidation. You turn and look at the guard. She has a feral androgyny, with short black hair, high cheekbones with her lips pressed together. She had on a black t shirt and cargo pants, a black belt and on her hip, a small black box attached to a pistol grip.
‘Face forward. Don’t hold up the line.’
The woman in front did not turn around, kept moving forward but she gave a small sigh. You lean forward, afraid that this might be seen as an infraction but curiosity gives courage to your tongue.
‘What’s going on? I just woke up here.’
The woman does not turn and you both shuffle forward.
‘We get processed then assessed.’
Processed has a mechanical ring to it that makes your throat tight with discomfort. You are suddenly conscious of the length of the gown again. It keeps riding up on the backs of your legs, exposing them to the eyes of the guards that stand and watch you.
‘Processed and assessed for what?’
You hear her lips smack together.
The discomfort moves down from your throat into your chest, heating the air in your lungs and then sinking into your stomach.
‘I don’t remember how I got here.’
She gave a soft laugh, lending you the memory of high school all over again, the laughter that lived and died the moment you walked into the classroom or the lunchroom.
‘It affects all of us differently. Don’t worry, just do as you’re told, you’ll be fine.’
You go to ask her again but a guard catches your eye and puts his index finger to his lips whilst fixing you with a harsh glare. You get the message, sinking into yourself and following the line.
The corridor leads to a large hall, where the single line that you are in splits in two, leading to two large doors through which the women continue to file through. A guard stands at each door, waves each woman down with a tablet that they tap into before nodding and letting them walk through.
‘That depends on what I am being told to do.’
You stop thinking for a time, letting yourself go inside your head, focusing on your breathing and when you find yourself at the door, you blink heavily as the guard waves the tablet over you and nods.
‘What’s the tablet for?’
The guard, blonde hair with curls that resist taming and the look of a dissolute, slightly degraded surfer in the line of his jaw and the bright smile that he gives, raises an eyebrow.
‘Medical. You can go through now.’
The door opens and your heart hammers against your ribs. Inside is a rich, velvety darkness and there is a change in temperature, slightly chill compared to the corridor that you walked through. Perhaps it was the proximity of the other women, but for now, you are alone.
The door closes behind you. For a moment you are in absolute darkness, absolute silence.
A spotlight comes on, harsh as a slap and you raise your hand to shield your eyes. Your gown rides up at the front and your other hand holds it down.
The voice snakes out of the darkness. You cannot make out anyone but the voice is low, confident in it’s primacy. A voice that does not need to be raised to be heard, but you can hear the capacity for it.
‘What are you doing?’
There is a pause. You can make out the shapes of others.
An audience, distinguished only by the different patterns of breathing and the shift of bodies in constant motion. Their eyes glint in the darkness, a thousand flavours of hunger, all of them focused on you. You shift, uncomfortable with the scrutiny.
‘Whatever I want.’
A lilting amusement is there.
Processing has begun.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Trials lie in wait
On every corner
I hold within
A spark of purpose
I am earth, air, fire, water
And all things
Each quiet hour
Love to paper
If you would
Find me anywhere