It all started when the heating packed in, the coldest spell for ten years; frost and snow covered the fields. Ice on the windows. I knew that heating the cottage was going to be an expensive exercise but given its suberb location on the edge of the New Forest it had to be worth a try, at least for six months to see how it worked out. My landlady lived in the manor, just 100 metres up the lane. Canadian, from Toronto originally, but she’d been in the UK since 1985. Married, but now divorced, with her settlement from her ex-husband (a prominent London Lawyer) ploughed into her ‘little estate’ as she always referred to it.
I found her to be increasingly pretty for some unknown reason. At first she seemed very distant, purely businesslike in her manner. Abrupt even and offhand.
“Take or leave it. It’s yours if you want it, but I have other people waiting to view it if you don’t want it.”
I awoke that Saturday in early February to find the bedroom colder than usual. After I had summonsed up enough courage to leave the safety of the duvet my heart sank as I felt the coldness of the radiators. Ice cold water from the hot tap in the bathroom too. What to do? No signal on my mobile either, so I donned my thickest jumper and jacket and headed up the lane to see Nina.
As luck would have it she was coming towards me in her BMW and I waved her down.
“I’ll call the heating man, get him round as soon as I can, but of course it’s the weekend so he may not be able to come until Monday. I’ll try him now”. She fumbled for her mobile phone and dialed his number. As it rang I stood there, trying hard not to let her notice me entranced by her leather gloves and her black stockings, protruding from under her thick outdoor coat.
“Oh, he’s not answering. What to do?” She thought for a moment.
“It’s up to you. The only thing I can do is offer for you to stay over in the manor, if want. At least it’ll be warm there until I can get your heating sorted.”
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the trap was set. I should have known, but I didn’t.
As darkness of the early evening approached we sat in her kitchen drinking cups of tea; a welcome relief of warmth at last. Polite conversation. We chatted about our lives and put the world to rights.
“If I start dinner can you light the fire in the lounge”. I went outside with a large basket and collected logs from the store; within no time at all there were flames flickering around the fireplace.
It was whilst we ate dinner I began to realize that I was drawn to her. Not sure if was the sparkle in her eyes, or her smile; may have been her hair or the soft tone of her voice.
We finished dinner in front of the fire with brandies and coffee. As we sat there her soft voice swept over me; calming & comforting, relaxing.
“Look into the flames. What can you see?”
I tried hard to focus on the bright flames and tried to mumble a response but my lips couldn’t move.
“Relax, relax. Breathe deeply and slowly. As I count down from 10 to 0 you will relax still further until you sleep deeply. You will hear only my voice and do only what I tell you to do. You will submit to me totally. You will do as I say and never question me. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0”
“When I met you originally I wasn’t sure that you were what I wanted, but then I when I saw your reaction to me this morning in the car I knew that I’d made the right choice.”
“The thing is that my taste is, well, by some standards, a little strange, very perverse even.” I’ve had many men in my time but I’ve never found one that will willingly suffer in the way that I really want. Which is why you’re here now, drugged and hypnotized.”
I tried hard to move, to get up from the chair but couldn’t. I felt fear but calm at the same time. I felt I should panic but I couldn’t.
“Remove all your clothing and then assume a kneeling position, whilst I go upstairs and change into something more appropriate for this auspicious moment. Put all your clothes on the fire. Do not look up at me unless I say so”.
The flames flared up as I placed garment after garment in the fireplace. My jeans, my jumper, my socks.
“That’s good. It’s so important that you obey me. To obey and submit makes you feel so good. You may look at me now.”
In the flickering light there she stood in the doorway; sublimely attractive in her figure hugging black evening dress. I tried to speak but couldn’t..
She approached and cupped my chin in her leather gloved hand.
“That’s right, you can’t speak unless I tell you you can. Well done. It’s so important that you do as I say first time, every time.”
She opened a bag that she had brought in. I shuddered inside as chains and leather straps poured out onto the carpet.
“Men always leave me. But you won’t.”
She started to fix shackles around my wrists.
“Men can’t be trusted. But I’ll be able to trust you. You’ll be faithful to me”
A metal collar round my neck clicked as it closed. A padlock snapped shut.
“If you love someone set them free, so they say. I’ve tried that and it’s nonsense.”
She paused; I could feel the heat from the fire warming me and the chains against my flesh. My body trembled, my mind confused between a calmness that I felt in listening to her voice and my subdued feelings of disbelief and panic.
“You need to know that you have no choices now, no rights, no feelings, only those that I instruct you to have. You are here for my entertainment, for my enjoyment. You are here purely for me.”
She slowly walked around me, surveying her new possession.
“Women are the superior race. Men are inferior. You are a gift from mankind to womankind. Men are all the same. To be taken and used.”
She sat down again in front me and held me with her stare.
“You need to know that I have a liking for hoods. Black, smooth, tight. The tighter the better”
She reached into her bag and produced a black leather hood; she fondled and caressed it.
“I paint and draw in my spare time; one thing you learn is that the eyes and the facial expression in a portrait are everything. A pencil line in the wrong place, the smallest brushstroke can make a beautiful face just so different. That’s why I like a hood; it removes your personality; it takes away your ability, to smile or be sad; it takes away your ability to communicate, to be who you are. You’re a blank canvas now, something for me to draw on.”
She came towards me and started to fit the hood over my head; bit by bit darkness overwhelmed me.
“Add to that of course it takes away your senses. Sight, smell, hearing, taste.”
She pulled it tighter and tighter, forcing my mouth closed.
“This one is my favourite. I love its plainness. No holes or zips to clutter its clean lines.”
I could feel her hand following the outline of my head through the leather.
“It will become a part of you.”
Each laboured breathe of mine was now accompanied by the sound of air surging from under the neckline of the hood. It’s surface now expanding and contracting as I fought to fill my lungs.
“That’s right, you know it feels so right to submit to me.”
She whispered in my ear. “Now lie on your back.”
I struggled to comply against the restrictions of my bonds. I could feel her straddle my torso, her gloved hands pressing down on my chest, her legs either side of me.