Part 2: The Remedy
Narelle stood in the doorway to her apartment. She checked her bag. Keys. Phone. Cards. Cash. Make-up, Condoms. Everything was there. She locked the door behind her and started down to the street, her heels clip-clopping on the stairs. She held on tight to the bannister. The five inch heeled pumps had more than an inch of platform and she had no plans on falling off them.
Waiting outside the apartments for the taxi to arrive she didn’t know where to look. To catch someone’s eye would be embarrassing. She was dressed for the night but autumn twilight still held sway.
The wind had a cold snap to it now that the sun was fading. She tugged down the hem of her extremely short black dress so the tops of her hold-ups didn’t show. There was nobody around, just the passing traffic. Still, there was a prickle in the back of her neck, the feeling of being watched.
When she glanced down the street where the taxi should come from, the last rays of the sun’s light dazzled her. She shaded her eyes with her hand. Why were these cars always late?
She checked her phone. Yes, it was late. She had no messages. No texts. No missed calls. She’d shut herself off after the doll business with Scott. After a few weeks her friends had stopped calling. Scott hadn’t called either but that was no surprise. He’d dumped her hadn’t he?
The only message she’d had from him was a large cardboard box left in the hallway, addressed to her. At a guess it contained all the rubber clothes he’d bought for her. She was afraid to throw it away in case somebody saw her disposing of a box of rubber bondage toys. It was still somewhere at the back of her pantry. She’d opened it once, that was all.
She almost lost her balance at the sound of a car’s horn. How long had she been lost in thought? The taxi was right in front of the building. She’d wandered away while she was thinking. She turned to hurry back and nearly fell off her shoes. As she recovered from the stumble, three people stepped out of the entryway and clambered into her taxi.
She should say something, but it was too late now, wasn’t it? The taxi doors slammed shut. She opened her mouth, closed it again. She just had time to give them the finger as they drove off. They didn’t even notice. Bastards.
She’d have to walk to the tram stop now. No fun. No fun at all.Club Pickup
The bass drilled though her body, shaking every particle of her existence. The DJ was mixing something harsh into an old disco track. The sweat poured off her as she threw herself into the dance. It was old, but the rhythm was perfect. What was it called? Disco Inferno?
She had to go hard at it, or guys would come and bother her. She’d hit her second wind now and the pain was ebbing away. She’d had some pills again. That was always a bad idea, but so what, she’d turned bad ideas into an art-form.
One thing she’d learned, coming to the club alone, week after week, was that it was easy to avoid attention. Blokes sensed something was amiss when a girl was by herself. When she’d been out clubbing with friends in the past, she’d been hassled non-stop, but that was barely a problem now.
Once off the dance floor, she could be completely ignored unless she did something stupid like make eye-contact. But on the floor, even a girl by herself was fair game. Unless she was dancing like a freak. Sometimes a guy would try and join in, sometimes two, but it only happened once or twice a night.
It was fine, because she liked to throw herself into the music, hoping that she could somehow disintegrate into it, fading away into the tune until there was nothing left of her but a brief refrain, and eventually, not even that.
The floor was getting too crowded. Time to rest. She headed up to the bar. What would it be? Water or gin? Would she keep on dancing, or was it time to drink herself into oblivion?
A press of hot smelly bodies blocked her from the bar. She was no better than them, her hair soaked with sweat. It stuck to her face and she pushed it out of her eyes, reminded of another hot and sweaty time. She was back in the suit, bound motionless in the darkness, 3D porn playing on an endless loop while she whispered her doll pledge to herself.
Why was she remembering that now? She wasn’t there, she was in a crowded club, just trying to get a drink. If the server was a woman sometimes she couldn’t get served at all. There was a downside to being ignored.Sex
“Let me,” he said. It was a man’s voice, deep and smooth. It was the sort of voice that you could listen to all night and never get tired of it. It wouldn’t matter what he was saying. The three-times table or the rules of cricket would do just fine. “What do you want?” he added.
It was a bit of an open ended question; he probably meant it that way.
She turned just her head to face him. He was standing next to her, pressed up close by the crush of customers. Nothing really special to look at, a sharp haircut, an expensive shirt and a trace of stubble but nothing remarkable about his body. Thin and wiry, he didn’t have Scott’s toned muscles. Tall though, her eyes were level with his collar bones.
What should she say?
“You know how to talk right?” he said.
“Yeah. I’ll have a gin and tonic. Make that a double.”
“I’ll make it a triple.” He shoved forward to the bar, the crowd parting easily for him. Ordering over the head of the girl still waiting in front of him, he had two glasses in his hand inside a minute.
“How do you do that?” she said.
“Pure skill of course.”
“You know the barman don’t you?”
He laughed and put his hand on her arm. “You really look hot,” he said. “I guess you need to get in shape more.”
She ought to be insulted but she knew what he was doing. She laughed instead and took a glass from his hand.
“What’s funny?” he said.
She swallowed down half the glass in one gulp. It was strong enough for the gin to burn her throat. She coughed slightly. Not as cool as she’d intended to be. Maybe she could pass it off as cute? “You’re a funny guy?”
“I thought you were about to ask for something else instead of a drink for a minute there.”
“I was going to say I wanted you inside me but then you started with those lame negs.”
She swallowed down the rest of the drink. A warm glow heating up her throat and settling into her empty stomach. Put downs were for girls that were full of themselves and she was hardly that.
He took the empty glass from her and passed her the other.
“You are my kind of girl.”
She took a sip of her new drink. He put his hand on her back and steered her away from the bar, over into the shadows by the wall. It was only a few feet away but the bright lights nearby made this area seem unusually dark.
His eyes were deep brown. Not as hypnotic as Scott’s but penetrating. When this guy looked at her he saw what was there, not what he wanted to see. Right now he could probably guess what was on her mind.
“You really are quiet aren’t you? It must be my lucky day. Hot and quiet. Almost the perfect woman.”
“Almost?” She took another sip of her drink.
As she took the glass from her lips, he grabbed her wrist and pushed it against the wall. He pressed in for a kiss, trapping her against the wall.
He was a fast mover. Just what she needed. She hadn’t been joking with him about what she’d been going to say. Well it looked like he wasn’t going to let that chance slip away.
He was strong. She couldn’t’ escape his grip even if she wanted to. But she was fine with it, wasn’t she? This was what she’d come here for, wasn’t it?
She let him force his tongue into her mouth, pretending to resist, then sucked it in eagerly, letting him taste the alcohol in her mouth. His lips crushed against hers. The drink in her hand spilled and trickled down her arm, running down her body and inside her dress like a trail of cold sweat.
He hitched up her dress. He only had to move it a few inches. She didn’t have any panties on. Girls who were fine being fucked up against the wall by the toilets didn’t wear knickers, now did they?
His hand was on her pussy. She softened at his touch. He broke the kiss and looked at her with the see-everything stare of his. “Jesus girl, you’re already wet.”
He didn’t need to tell her that; she knew very well.
She reached for the zip on his pants. Slid it down. He was wearing boxers but the slit in the front made for easy access. His dick was hard, burning in her hand. It was going to feel good, so good, putting that fire inside her. She needed the warmth to thaw the gnawing cold inside, if only for a few moments.
Or was he going to push her head down? It didn’t get much more humiliating than doing that in public.
Before the idea could occur to him, she guided him into her and he rammed up forcefully, just about knocking her out of her shoes. His hands found her ass, lifting her up. She wrapped a leg around him, using it as leverage to shift up and down on his rock hard member.
She’d forgotten the condoms. What a stupid bitch she was. She had an implant of course, but a guy like this might come with baggage: HIV, Hep-C, who could tell? Too late to worry now. She’d pulled the trigger on her turn in the Russian roulette game; the results might not be in for a while.
She really needed to make a note… He thrust into her again, hard enough to rattle her teeth. Wow! He ground himself against her, crushing her clit. She felt great, alive for once.
He slid a hand up into her hair and pulled her head back. “Aiii!” she squealed at the sharp spike of pain. He silenced her with a rough kiss.
He was pounding into her pussy. One hand was supporting her ass. The other moved onto her breast, kneading gently, then finding the nipple. Tweaking it.
He gave another big thrust and just about twisted her nipple off. A double bolt of pleasure shot through her. The tension was rising in her belly already. Could she really be so pent up that she was cumming already?
He continued the kiss, stopping her breath. Blissful dizziness. His rough fingers pinched her nipple harder, crushing her breast with the rest of his hand. His thrusts pinned her hard against the wall. Her dress was up around her waist.
Some girls drifted past, pretending not to notice they’d seen anything, brash voices just babble lost in the thudding bass of the music. For an instant she saw the look of horror and disgust on their faces. She stared directly at them but they’d looked right through her. They couldn’t bear to acknowledge her existence.
Swapping hands, he moved onto her other breast, the other kneading and pinching her ass even as he held her up. She was tensing up, the waves crashing inside her about to break the dam. She wrapped her legs tight around him, pulling him in.
He took his hand away from her ass now that she was holding on by herself and used it to grab her hair.Wake Up
Narelle returned to consciousness. Why did she have to wake up? Her head was a smashed watermelon. She had something beyond a headache. It was like her brains had been scooped out and dropped into a hot frying pan. She could feel them sizzle.
She daren’t open her eyes, the world was already too bright with them closed. White sun spots filled the darkness.
Her mouth was dry, furry, her tongue swollen. There was a horrible taste, like mouldy coffee grounds. Not that she’d ever tasted mouldy coffee grounds, had she?
For all she knew she’d been eating them with a desert spoon last night.
She probably hadn’t been doing that, but you could never be entirely sure after stupidly mixing mystery pills and alcohol.
If the soreness down below was any clue, she’d been having some ferocious sex.
She opened her eyes just a crack, squinting. She was naked, lying exposed on an uncovered bed. In front of her was a window, blinds wide open, second floor by the look of it. There were more apartments on the opposite side of the courtyard. Anyone looking across from the building on the other side would have a grandstand view of her legs and pussy.
Was anyone looking now? She couldn’t see them. She reached out a hand, searching for a sheet to cover herself. She came back empty. She tried the other hand but her wrist pulled up hard against something sharp and metal.
Her eyes popped wide open despite her intention to keep them closed. Her eye sockets were filled with scratching, scraping sand. “Fuck!” she said, gritting her teeth against the pain.
She forgot all about her arm. Blinking and blinking, burning eyes running with stinging tears. She couldn’t see a thing.
The pain began to fade. Blinking repeatedly, she could see a little.
Her wrist was cuffed to the bed.
There were no sheets. There was nothing visible in the room except for the fake wrought-iron bed and her. Her clothes and bag were missing too.
“Hello?” she called out. “Anybody there?”
A noise came from beyond the half open door. She pulled herself upright into a sitting position, clamping her legs together and hiding her breasts with her arm.Less than Helpful
A woman pushed through the door, leaving it open behind her. She was dressed in baggy cargo pants, a faded red sweatshirt and her bleached blonde hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail.
She was holding Narelle’s bag in her hand.
“Oh, you woke up,” she said. “I thought you died or something. This yours?” She held up Narelle’s bag.
“Yes, that’s my bag thanks,” she said. Her voice was a dry croak. “Why am I cuffed to the bed?”
“In case you weren’t dead, stupid.” The woman started searching through the bag. She pulled out Narelle’s phone. “Shiny. You steal this? Or can you afford to buy this overpriced shit?”
The woman stuffed the phone into her sweatshirt pocket and kept on searching. “Oh, right,” she said, pulling out the card wallet. She took the cash then flipped through it, methodically pulling out everything that was a credit or debit card.
She considered each card again in turn them pushed them all into her pocket.
“Hey. Stop doing that and unlock me.”
The woman laughed. “Come over and make me, bitch.”
“What are you doing?”
“What does it look like? You really must be a dumb slut.”
She held up Narelle’s driver’s license. “Nice picture. You think we look alike?”
“Sisters maybe? You’d be the plain one.”
“Add a pair of sunnies. I think I might pass. You don’t think so?”
“Want to bet on it?”
She found the condoms. Narelle had thrown the whole box in there. The woman flipped them out and dropped them on the floor. “You a pro? I had my suspicions.”
Narelle felt her skin heating up. She bit her lip.
“I didn’t hear ‘no’ that time. But if you are, you haven’t been doing it for long, huh?”
She had to get free before this crazy bitch ran off with her stuff. She couldn’t force her hand through the cuff. Somebody had done it up tight. Her wrist was sore and starting to swell from the scraping already.
The woman continued to rifle though the bag. She pulled out Narelle’s keys.
“Ah… And what’s this?”
She pulled out a Chanel compact. She flipped it open and checked herself in the mirror. Abruptly, she hurled it onto the floor, where it smashed. She crunched the pieces under the sole of her baby-pink trainers.
Narelle couldn’t think of anything to say. Probably best if she kept quiet anyway. What was going through this woman’s mind? What did she have against powder compacts?
The lunatic woman turned the bag upside down, emptying out the remaining contents, mainly makeup items. They clattered onto the hard tiles, some breaking, others rolling and skittering over the tiles.
“See you around. Thanks for your stuff. You won’t need it anyway.”
“You’re going to regret this,” Narelle said.
The woman fixed her with a feral stare. “Don’t threaten me bitch, I’ll cut your fucking tits off… Then slit your throat. Shut the fuck up. Stupid slut.”
She smiled, still fixing Narelle with that unblinking stare. She pulled a disposable snap-off craft knife from her pocket and thumbed out the blade. She held it up so Narelle could see it clearly.
“How about it? You want to lose a nipple now? How about an ear?”
“No. Don’t do it! I’m sorry alright. I didn’t mean anything.”
She walked around the side of the bed where Narelle’s arm was free. There was no way for Narelle to lunge across and reach her. She daren’t try anyway. She was frozen. So stupid. All the last year she’d thought she was ready to die. Here was her chance and she didn’t have the guts to accept it gracefully.
The woman leaned over and knelt on Narelle’s arm. Her weight pinned it to the bed. She grabbed a handful of Narelle’s hair and pulled, forcing her head back, baring her throat. The blade scraped her neck close to the artery. It scratched down her neck, across her chest and over her breast until it reached the aureole, leaving a long shallow graze on the snow-white skin. Small beads of blood formed where it crossed her collar bone.
“Just learn to shut the fuck up. You’re lucky I can’t hang around to play with you.”
The woman spat in her face then stepped away; pocketing the knife in a fluid motion.
Spittle dribbled down Narelle’s face, getting in her eyes and mouth. She closed her eyes, and tried to wipe away the spit with her hand.
When she opened them again, the woman was gone.The Flat
She tried shouting for help but nobody came.
She lay trapped on the bed for hours.
She watched the clock of the shadows slowly changing as morning turned into afternoon.
She shouted again, several times, without result. She started to feel sicker than before. The nausea was getting worse. No. It was overwhelming. She was going to vomit. Not on the bed. A desperate twist wrenched a muscle in her side but at least she was looking over the edge of the mattress at the floor.
She threw up. There was no carpet, just cold, dark brown tiles. The vomit spattered everywhere. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see it but the smell didn’t go away.
Some had gone in her hair. She’d let it grow out since the rubber thing and it was down to her shoulders now. Like the woman that had robber her, she’d had it bleached platinum blonde.
Time hung heavy. The shadows lengthened. The brightness had gone out of the sun.
The pain in her bladder was intolerable and the smell of vomit wasn’t easy to cope with.
She’d thrown up on the floor so she might as well pee on it. She had enough slack to get off the bed though it would be hard to avoid standing in the puke spatter, which had sprayed everywhere.
There was a lot of stuff under the bed. The visible parts of the room were barren. She would never have guessed there was so much junk hidden so nearby.
Clothes and oddments had been hastily shoved out of the way. She pulled out everything she could reach.
A pair of smelly jeans with the reek of long abandoned gym-bag were heavier than they ought to be. There was something in the pocket. A bunch of keys? Could she be in luck?
Unbelievable. There were several keys. Some were obviously handcuff keys. She tried them in the lock. One of them had to work.
The third one clicked, and she was free.
She had to wait a minute to overcome the giddy feeling when she stood up.
Moving slowly in case the nausea returned, she edged through the doorway. Was there anything to worry about? She’d been shouting for ages and nobody had come. She hadn’t heard anyone moving about in the flat. But that was no guarantee she was alone, was it?
Another wave of nausea struck. She doubled up in pain. Spirits on top of an empty stomach. How much had she drunk? She had a vague memory of holding a bottle. She dropped to her knees and dry heaved. Nothing came up. Black blobs floated in front of her, clouding her vision.
Gradually, the pain faded away.
Crawling slowly on all fours, she restarted her exploration. She was in the main room, a living area that opened into a kitchen and dining room. There was a grubby looking sofa with her crumpled dress and an empty vodka bottle on it. She couldn’t see her shoes or stockings.
She picked up her dress. It was caked with some damp rusty-smelling goop. She dropped it, making a disgusted noise.
A large off-brand television hung on the wall. A pile of empty beer bottles was heaped at the side of the sofa. A small table held a cup with some burned out incense sticks and an empty plastic lighter. The dining area was empty, unfurnished, unused.
She found the bathroom and relieved her aching bladder. When she went to wash her hands there was no soap. A few dirty towels were piled on the floor. The walk-in shower had a bargain sized bottle of body wash. She used it to wash her hands and face. Nothing had been cleaned in weeks, possibly months, but the toilet and shower were only slightly grubby – the dirt was dried on, old – did anyone really live here?
She searched the kitchen cupboards for a clean glass. There wasn’t anything to drink from except the pile of dirty mugs in the sink. She rinsed one and gulped down mouthful after mouthful of lukewarm water. No matter how much she cleaned the mug, the water was tainted with a note of stale coffee. Or was that just the lingering taste in her mouth?
The fridge was empty apart from an out of date bottle of Tabasco sauce and a plastic container half full of milk that had gone out of date three weeks ago.
There was nothing to eat and no sign of anything ever having been cooked here. The cooker and work surfaces were clean apart from a layer of dust.
There was one room left unexplored. Unlike the others, the door was closed. She reached for the handle then paused. Why, unlike the others, was this one closed? Hesitating now would be foolish. She had to see what was in here. If this flat followed the typical pattern it would be the master bedroom with ensuite. Perhaps somebody was still sleeping off the booze in there?
She pushed the door open. Inside it was near dark, the blinds were closed. Her fingers searched for a light switch.
There was a figure slumped on the bed. A naked man. Seemingly dead. An ominous black strain all around him. No. It wasn’t black… that was a mistake. Now she looked more carefully, it was blood. Blood… Dark and rusty, like the stuff on her dress…
Her knees felt weak, she stumbled back against the wall.
The flat was tainted with death. After everything else, this was too much.
She leaned back against the wall, her hands flat against it, as if the world were about to spin away without warning. Nothing was real. Nothing was real and in a minute she’d wake up in her own bed with a real hangover.
She was panting, trying to regain her breath. She mustn’t hyperventilate. Fuck it. This was reality, there would be no convenient awakening for her.
A noise of keys jangling came from the front door.
She stepped away from the wall and turned just in time to see it open.
A man stood framed in the doorway, a surprised look on his face. He wore a dishevelled suit and overpriced canvas shoes.
He looked her up and down and smirked.
She was naked.
She gave a yelp and hunched up, covering her privates.
“What the hell?” he said. “Who are you?”A Man Arrives
“Could you look away please?”
He laughed, ignoring her request. He was tall, thirtyish and in need of a haircut. His mouth had a cruel twist to it, lips thick and cracked. “Naked chick? What the hell are you doing in my flat you skank?”
“Your flat?” she said. “What do you mean?”
“I got a call from the neighbours. Some kind of racket here. Shouting. I’m supposed to be at an all-weekend bachelor party that I had to leave to see to this crap. Apparently, you’re to blame. So, what’s the deal?”
“There was a woman here. Not me. She did something. Can you look in here?” She stretched out her arm to point towards the bedroom door. Her arm was shaking, her hand trembling.
He stalked across the room. “Let’s get this over with then.”
She edged away, towards the bathroom. She wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t like it would be any safer there.
“What the fuck?” he said. “Dave?” She scurried closer to peer around him. He strode forward into the room. She waited nervously, clinging to the door frame, hiding most of her body with the wall, watching him examine the scene.
She hadn’t noticed it before. The corpse’s hands were tied to the bed-posts with stockings a lot like hers. Her blood crusted platform stilettos were on the bed.
The bachelor party man adjusted the position of the head. A horrid gash mark marked the neck, blood still seeping through the crust. The front was still wet with blood.
“Shit,” he said. He span around and pushed her out of the room. She stumbled back as he came out. “You don’t want to see this.” He slammed the door behind him and blocked it with his body.
“Too late,” she whispered.
“Right. You look bloody awful,” he said. “Better than him though. Somebody’s done a number on Dave alright. I’d worry but if you’re hiding a weapon I don’t know where you put it.”
“Screw you. This isn’t funny.”
“Do I look like I’m laughing?” he said. His mouth twisted easily into a snarl. “You better tell me everything. Everything, right?”
“Wh-What?” The wall was solid behind her. There was nowhere to run to. No. What was she thinking of? Why was she afraid? Was it him? The apartment stank of death, wasn’t that enough?
“Come on. Speak. What happened here?” he said, not a question but a demand.
How could she answer that? There was a big hole in her memory.
He pulled out his phone. “I don’t know if I should put a call in. Not sure what the uniforms would do with you, but I doubt they’d offer you tea and biscuits.”
“How the fuck did I get sucked into this mess?” she whispered.
He stared at her, his eyes cold. His finger was poised to dial.
Let him call the police. She’d done nothing wrong. On the other hand, her dress was covered in blood. Her stockings… Probably, her stockings, were used to tie the victim. Neighbours had heard shouting. That was open and shut guilty wasn’t it? What if they found his semen in her? What if they searched her flat and found all the kinky shit?
This wasn’t looking good. Maybe the police weren’t the best idea.
“Wait a minute,” she said. “Let me explain.”
“I’m waiting. Don’t miss anything out. I’ll know if you lie to me.”
“I met the dead… your… Dave? In a club last night. We screwed and then I guess we came back here to carry on. He was pushing drinks onto me. I was really out of it. Don’t really remember what happened. I woke up with a killer hangover, cuffed to the bed in the other room.
“The other room? You sure about that?”
“Yes.” Her answer was deadpan flat. “I’m pretty sure about where I was handcuffed to a bed for hours, alright?”
“Don’t get your knickers in a knot.”
Who talks like that? Why was this bloke talking in old dad phrases? She sighed.
“Go on,” he said.
“So, first sound I made. Some woman, bleached blonde hair. Looked like a heavy smoker… She came in and rifled through my bag, right in front of me. Told me straight out she was stealing all my shit. Then she put a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me if I said shit about it. And then, I guess she left. As far as I can tell she’s not here now.”
“And after that?”
“I spent the day chained to the bed, yelling for help. Hence the racket.”
“Chained, or cuffed?”
“What are you, Columbo? I was cuffed alright. So when I threw up and then I looked under the bed and saw there was some stuff underneath it. I found some trousers with the handcuff key in the pocket.”
“That’s a pretty fucking convenient thing to find.”
“At least I’m not still chained there. I only got free a few minutes ago. I just looked in here as you got to the door.”
“I see,” he said. He leaned back against the door with a groan.
“Your story is shit. If you tell that to the uniforms you are going to carry this for sure. I don’t believe much of it myself, but I’ll believe you didn’t do for Dave and then sit around waiting to get caught.”
“Who are you really? Dave could never pull somebody like you. You work for an agency? Who paid you? Was it Dave, or someone else? Were you working with him?”
“What are you on about? Agency? I just met him. I got drunk. I don’t know who he is.”
“Sure, sure. You were chained up right? But now you’re not.”
“I found the key. Trousers under the bed.”
“The pants with the key in the pocket? Alright. I can remember leaving the keys there. And the woman. I know exactly who she is. We both do, don’t we? I don’t doubt for a moment that she could slit Dave’s throat and smile while she was doing it. You on the other hand, are a different kind of operator. Am I right?”
“Is that some kind of back-handed compliment?”
“Yeah. For some naked slut with dried sick in her hair, it’s about the best you’re going to get.”
She reached up to touch her hair and found it stuck down with dried puke. She felt her face heating up. She glanced down, her chest had gone red too, which only made her feel worse.
“Arsehole,” she said. She meant it. She never used that word. It felt good to let it out.
“You ought to treat me better because I’m going to do you a huge fucking favour and deal with this train-wreck myself. You need to take a shower. That’s not a suggestion by the way. I’m not going to let you out looking like that.”
She opened her mouth. She had meant to call him an arsehole again, but fact was, he was right about the shower. And if he could really make all this go away, the last thing she needed to do was get in his way.
She had enough problems ahead of her without getting in a fight with him. Between the robbery and the death she was facing too much. She wasn’t strong enough to cope with something like this. Any minute now she was going to break down in a sobbing mess, just as soon as her hormones caught up with her numbed senses. She had to get away before she did that in front of him.
But she couldn’t leave.
“What’s your name?” he said.
“I’m Nelly,” she said. “Narelle.” She instantly regretted it. She could have given him some fake name. He wouldn’t know any better.
“You can call me Seb.”A Shower
She did as he told her and took a shower. There seemed to be endless hot water and she took her time relaxing in the rush of cleansing water, letting it wash away her rising panic. She slowly slotted her thoughts into order. From outside she could hear a lot of bumps and noises.
She kept the water running until the sounds stopped. There were no clean towels, she had no choice but to re-use the dirty ones, wrapping the largest one around her to make an impromptu robe. The lingering scent of musky maleness reminded her that the towel was well used.
She wrapped another towel around her hair and stepped out into the main room. Seb was standing in the middle holding her bag. “You want this?”
“It was expensive, but I guess after what the bitch did, I’m over it. You want it for something?”
He stuffed her blood-stained dress into it then went into the bedroom. When he came out the bag was bulging, not closed properly, the heel of one of her shoes sticking out of it.
He wrapped the bag inside a black garbage sack and threw it to join two others stacked by the door.
“So why are you so keen to clean this up? Wouldn’t it make more sense to go to the police? We could confirm each other’s stories and they could pick up that woman, who’s probably robbed my flat as well.”
“You know very well. There’s too much here I don’t want them to see. Bit late now anyway.”
“I didn’t see anything.”
“Of course you didn’t. A smart girl knows when it’s none of her business.”
“Alright. I get the picture.”
“This is the last of it. I’ll drive you home, or wherever you’re pretending that is.”
She flounced her towel. “Like this? My dress is in that bag.”
“Shall I get it out so you can put it on?” He snorted, not quite laughing.
“No. Don’t be stupid.”
“You can wear some of my clothes. When we go out make sure that nobody gets a good look at you. Then you won’t have anyone saying they saw you here if there’s an investigation.”
“How am I going to do that?”
He went into the bedroom of death and came out with a pair of boxers, a black hoodie top and a pair of jeans. He dropped them on the floor in front of her.
She had to bend over to pick up the clothes. She was conscious of his eyes on her in a way they hadn’t been before. He was relaxing now and had time to stare. She pulled the shorts up under the towel. They hung off her hips but stayed up.
She dressed in the rest of the clothes. He picked up a roll of duct tape from the floor and pulled out a stretch. He stepped towards her, holding it out between his hands.
She took a step back, ready to fend him off. “What’s that for?” She couldn’t take her eyes off that tape. It had far too many associations in her mind. Hadn’t this bloke admitted that the handcuffs were his?
He laughed. “You’re a wary one. Pull the jeans up tight around your waist and I’ll make you a belt. They’re too heavy to stay up otherwise.”
He bit the tape to start a rip in it and stared over the top of it at her, his gaze holding her attention. Above the tape those evil eyes, and below that wicked grin. Who was this man? Someone who could dispose of a friend’s body with no more than a shrug.
He taped the jeans up like he’d said. His grip was strong, confident, handling her with casual ease. His movements were decisive in a way his clothes weren’t. His hair was too long, greasy and uneven. The seventies reject look jarred with the ill-fitting suit and the suit jarred with his slate grey Vans.
He picked up the black bags and with a hand in the small of her back, pushed her out of the door, pausing to pull it closed behind him.Leaving With Care
“Follow me and keep your face covered.”
She pulled the baggy hood down over her eyes. The top was massive on her. The cotton rough against her bare nipples. The metal zip was a line of ice down her front.
She couldn’t get a good look around because of the hood as they headed down the stairs and out onto a normal looking street. A Land Cruiser with fading black paint was parked illegally, close to the door.
He put the bags in the back then opened the passenger door. “Don’t stand about. Get in.” It smelled of stale smoke and old engine oil.
She went to climb in. As she stepped up he put his hand on her ass and lifted her in.
“Hey.” She scowled at him from under the hood. He probably couldn’t see it.
He slammed the door. She snatched her hand way just in time to avoid it being crushed. A few seconds later they were in motion.
“Keep the hood up and hunker down in the seat. I don’t want to be seen with you. Best if there’s no witnesses that you were ever here, eh?”
Was that true? It would be ideal if he planned to make her disappear. Still, if he’d wanted to do that it probably would have been safer to wrap her in duct tape back in the flat.
“Where are we headed?” he said. It was almost dark and his eyes were on the road. He didn’t spare a single glance her way.
She reeled off her address.
“Fancy. By the beach huh? Making good money somehow…”
“I’m three blocks away from the beach. Even the estate agent didn’t try and pretend I have a sea view.”
“Still, not far to walk.”
“I guess not. You can hear the gulls. It’s noisy sometimes.”
She glanced surreptitiously out of the window; tried to get an idea of where she was but she couldn’t see any street signs or landmarks in the half-light. She didn’t even know what suburb they were in.
He pulled his phone out of his pocket, the car swerving dangerously.
“Careful,” she said. He ignored her, giving all his attention to the phone.
“Hello,” he said beginning a single-sided conversation. It made just enough sense for her to guess that he’d got some friend or associate to arrange a locksmith to meet them at her flat.
She couldn’t decide how to start talking to him. She couldn’t decide what she thought about this guy. He was kind of a shit, but he got things done and he hadn’t fucked her over yet. He had to be some kind of gangster but he didn’t talk like a thug. None of it really made much sense.
After a while he broke the silence. “You go to the beach much?” he said.
“Not for a year or so now,” she said. Why did he have to ask about this? The beach of all things?
“Nothing particular. Sick of it I guess.”
“Sounds like more than that.”
“Not really. What about you? I get the impression you don’t visit your flat much,” she said.
“You’d be right about that. If Dave had thought I’d be around, he wouldn’t have gone there. I used to let him use the place if he pulled a chick, as he lives... lived in a share. I haven’t seen him around much lately though. Drifted apart you might say.”
“What are you? Some fucking feminist? In your profession? I’m thinking not by the way you ended up in my flat.”
“Is that any way to thank me for helping you?”
“What were you expecting? Trumpets and a heavenly chorus? A blowjob?”
“Maybe later. You do good work?” he said. He answered with studied indifference. It was an obvious answer, but still a little unsettling.
“I’m not a whore either, if that’s what you’re thinking. Not the sex-worker kind anyway. But I work in marketing.”
“Sounds like you don’t have a very high opinion of it.”
“You think? I do all the research, write up all the proposals, and fetch the coffee. They drag me out for eye-candy during meetings so creeps can stare at my breasts. Then some old geezer, with a comb-over and an Armani suit makes the handshake at the end, gets the glory and the bonus.”
He said nothing after that. She still didn’t have a good idea of where they were. Somewhere north maybe?
“Not a whore huh? A nympho then?”
“You’re starting to sound repetitive. You tell a good story, but that was a lot of condoms in your bag. Looked professional.”
“You saw those?”
“And the smashed makeup on the floor. Christy… She’s got her issues.”
They were on the Eastlink now. The familiar signs passed overhead. She knew where she was but not where she’d been.
They drove in pregnant silence. The words were building inside her but they were stuck. Nothing was coming out. “She’s ripped off my flat, hasn’t she?” she said. At last she’d managed to spit it out. No wonder it had been troubling her.
“I should think. You best prepare yourself.”
“Worse than a body?”
“Do you live with somebody?”
“Fuck. Are you saying she’d kill them?”
“You don’t live with anybody do you?”
He gave a sigh, settling back in his seat. “She likes to make a mess but Dave probably the only person she’d kill. Did he mention that to you?”
“No. How do you know all this?”
“We have some history. The bitch tried to cut my dick off one time. You could call it a cry for help but she’s a fucking nutcase. She glassed a guy once just for wearing a Hawks cap. Collingwood had just lost, but still … they hadn’t even been playing the Hawks. That’s just irrational.”
“And what did Dave do to piss her off?”
“He made some real trouble for her. You were lucky. She must have decided you were just a generic skank. If she’d though you were working with him she’d probably have had some questions.”
She didn’t know what to say to that.
“There’s nothing in your place going to get her attention is there?”
She sucked in her bottom lip. How would she know what might draw the interest of that evil woman? Was she the sort to get interested if she found Scott’s box? Or the rubber outfits in a vacuum bag under the bed? Or the collection of toys in her bedside cupboard?
“You’re not saying anything,” he said. “There is something, isn’t there? What? You said you only just met him. That is the truth, isn’t it?”
“No. There’s nothing to do with him. I don’t know what she’d care about, that’s all I was thinking.”Homecoming
A plain white ute was waiting outside the flats when they got there.
“Stay here. I’ll sort it out,” he said.
She made to get out of the car anyway. He pushed her back into the seat.
“He’ll ask questions if he sees those clothes. Right?”
“But you don’t-”
“I don’t give a shit. Stay here. Do I have to cuff you to the wheel?”
“Don’t say it.” He put his hand over her mouth. “I’ve heard that word out of your mouth enough times already tonight. Your customers might like being treated that way but it doesn’t sit right with me. Now, stay put or you’ll get a slap.”
She growled but settled back into the seat. He’d defeated her for now. She’d let him know what she thought of this later… Once she had her keys and he’d paid the locksmith. It wasn’t like she could dictate terms. Christy, or whatever her name was had taken all her cards and cash, even her driver’s license. She was going to have a hell of a time sorting this out even without a dead guy in the mix.
Just because he was helping her didn’t give him the right to push her around. She’d make sure he knew that, just as soon as she got the chance.
She spent half an hour sitting in the car while Seb and the locksmith did whatever it was they were doing.
How had Seb convinced the locksmith he was the resident? Was the locksmith somebody he knew? Another gangster? Whatever the case, he didn’t seem to need her help.
Finally, the ute drove off and Seb let her out of the car. “Here’s your new key,” he said. I got him to put a serious deadbolt on there. It was the best he could do on short order.”
She followed him up the stairs to the flat in her bare feet. Yeah. It was her flat but she was following him. How did that happen?
“I cleaned up a couple of things, but it’s not good. She did a proper job on your place. I hope you’re ready for it.”
“Am I going to need to sit down?”
“You’re going to need about half a bottle of Jack Daniels.”
“I don’t think my stomach’s up to it. All I want to do now is pee and collapse in bed.”
“She didn’t smash the toilet, so there’s that. You won’t want to use the bed though.”
He gestured for her to use her key to open the door. From the outside it looked perfectly normal, except the doorknob was gone, in its place was a flush plate with a keyhole.
“The landlord is going to kill me.”
“Trust me, he’ll want to keep you alive to pay for this.”
She pushed the door open. Inside the lights were already on. At least the down-lighters were still working. The regular light fittings were hanging off the walls.
The walls had been methodically sprayed with a jumbled mass of red and black graffiti. Where a word could be made out it was probably ‘slut’, ‘whore’ or ‘cunt’. There was one odd spot where she could make out the phrase ‘alien nazi monkey cocklicking cumbucket’. Nazi? What the fuck? The paint was still wet in numerous places where it had run.
Her arms and legs were numb. She was cold inside. The more she looked the more she found ruined. Every piece of glass or china was smashed and scattered all over the floor, the cutlery hammered into the table and bent leaving deep gouges in the wood. Smaller appliances like the microwave and the rice cooker were gone. Her big computer screen was gone too.
Carved deep into the fridge door with something sharp were the words, ‘This cunt will get what she deserves’ and ‘Rubber whore dolls don’t need food’.
All the food was on the floor and Scott’s box of rubber had been pulled out of the walk-in pantry and opened. The items looked to have been taken out, examined and then stuffed back in. She’d guessed at what was in there but she’d never looked inside to see for sure. Now she could see a tube with the enema nozzle poking up and the arm-binder hanging over the side.
It was not a good look with visitors round.
She drifted into the master bedroom on frozen legs that moved of their own accord, somehow avoiding treading on anything sharp.
The wardrobe doors had been pulled off, the mirrors smashed, the floor here was strewn with thin shards of glittering glass and she couldn’t go in to look closely. The wardrobe itself stood bare and empty.
The mattress had been set on fire but it hadn’t taken. Her sheets, quilts and bedding had been burned on it, and the mattress was partially burned. There was a scorch mark on the ceiling and the down-lighter there was dead. The chemical stench was terrible.
“This was still burning. I put it out,” Seb said.
She couldn’t bring herself to look anywhere else after that.
“It’s hopeless,” she said. Her voice sounded distant, as if somebody else was speaking.
“I don’t blame you for being upset but Christy, she has her reasons, doesn’t she?”
She shook her head. “It was all a load of unnecessary shit. I’m probably better off without it. Apart from the bed. I could really use that bed right now. I could really use a drink too.”
“I was right about the Jay Dee.”
“Not that kind of drink.”
“What you going to do now? Call your agency? Partner? Pimp?”
“Pimp? Fuck you. This happens and all you can do is make cracks like that? Does it look like a whore lives here?”
“Pretty much. Fucking kinky one too. Dominatrix maybe, the attitude you got on you.”
“I give in,” she said. Defeated. This was the limit. Everything was ruined. There was nowhere to sleep. There was the dead guy, and … and this asshole kept calling her a whore. Couldn’t he leave off the snide remarks for five seconds?
She sniffed, wiping away tears with the back of her hand.
“Fuck it. This is uninhabitable. I’ll take you to a hotel,” he said.
She sniffed again, trying to hide the tears. “I don’t want your pity.”
He laughed. “Pity? It’s not that. I just want answers.”
“Same here. What was it?”
“What did you clean up earlier?”
“Ah… She just left you a curly turd on the kitchen table. And the fire.”
He was lying. He hadn’t touched the table. Whatever it was he’d done, he wasn’t going to tell her now.A Helping Hand
She was exhausted, worn out and hungry. Her stomach was a twisted knot. A bag of McDonalds sat congealing on the dressing table. Despite her hunger she couldn’t bring herself to eat. She turned out the light and lay back on the sheets that had been polished to a shine. She didn’t bother to get underneath them.
She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t even begin to sleep. The thoughts that turned around and around in her head were an incoherent jumble. She wanted to sleep more than anything, but she couldn’t. This happened sometimes with pills. She’d taken them on Friday night. She might not get a good night’s sleep until Tuesday.
Maybe she could sleep through Sunday.
Seb had paid for the room and given her some cash. Was that the last she’d see of him, or would he be back some day for repayment of the loan with interest? Somehow he didn’t seem the type.
The dawn light came and she still hadn’t slept. A few hours later, it was time to leave the hotel. The sound of housekeeping slamming doors and rattling trolleys was gradually drawing nearer. She would have to leave any minute.
There was a knock on her door.
“Wait a second.”
She stood up. She didn’t have any luggage or clothes, just the jeans still held up with tape and the hoodie top that Seb had given her… Those, and the stale bag of McDonalds. It actually seemed appetising now in a horrible way. No. She wasn’t that desperate.
It would have been useful if he’d given her some shoes. The soles of her feet were scratched and cut from walking around the flat. Now they were black with dirt too.
She opened the door, and there he was.
She had expected to see one of the housekeeping staff with a laundry trolley.
“Come on,” he said.
She had nothing better to do than to follow him. It was just too easy really. It would be a long walk to the nearest station from this stupid hotel-motel.
He opened the car door for her.
“I can get in just fine by myself, you know?”
“So?” he said.
She went to climb in, and like before, he helped her up with a hand on her ass. What a weirdo.
“What are you doing?” she said. He didn’t give her a second glance. He started the car.
“I’m taking you home to your shit-hole of a flat, which I spent all night cleaning. The thanks are appreciated.”
“You’re kidding me?”
“Yeah. I am. I paid some guys to do it this morning.”
She felt her face heating up. She turned away from him. “What about the private things?”
“They’re in the car. I told them anything left in the flat was for the trash. I figured that fetish shit of yours was expensive and critical to your income, so I kept that.”
“I’m not into that sort of thing. It’s embarrassing. Some stalker guy sent it to me.”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
“No. It’s true.”
He laughed. “Whatever you say. Bear in mind though, if you lie to me about anything serious I’ll knock that shit out of you quick-sharp.”
She shook her head to let him know she thought he was nuts.
“But we both know you’re holding out on something, aren’t you? Too much doesn’t add up. I’ll have my eye on you until I work it out. Something tells me that you’re connected back to our troublesome businessman.”
What was this guy’s deal? He said it in such an ordinary way. He wasn’t talking big or getting excited. It was just a fact he was reminding her of. What serious thing would she have to lie to him about? How would he punish her if she did? More than likely he had his ways of making people pay attention… Just like Christy had, with her craft knife.
She’d worked her way into the ordinary world of commuter trains, soy lattes and browsing the internet at work. These people were a throwback to a life she’d left behind. They had no business dragging her back there.A Cleaned Up Flat
The flat was clean but barren. The walls were still covered with graffiti, the fridge still painted and scratched, but the broken glass and crockery that had covered the floor was gone. The scorched mattress, the ruined bed, the burned things, the smashed cosmetics – all the debris – all that was gone. The broken light fittings weren’t fixed, they were gone too, fresh plaster splodged in the holes.
They stood in the kitchen-living area. There were no chairs. Seb had brought a plastic shopping bag up with him from the car. After she’d looked round the flat he handed it to her.
She looked inside, then tipped the contents out onto the marred but functional kitchen table. She picked up each item in turn.
Two large towels, white. Quite nice.
Shoes, red patent look, four inch heels, no platform. Very slutty. Not comfy.
A dress, pale pink, store brand, short, tiered, with spaghetti straps and fake lace. Suitable for a teenager with low self-esteem.
A second dress, pale yellow, similar to the pink one, but longer.
Stockings, white, hold-up with a fancy pattern. Too fussy and distracting.
Sunglasses, huge, tortoiseshell-look frames, unbranded. Obviously cheap.
A pack of toothbrushes and a bargain container of toothpaste that would last her about three years.
A box with two-dozen condoms. Extra durable kind.
A small red bag with shoulder strap. Probably supposed to match shoes. Not really matching.
Inside the bag was a cheap phone and a pair of tiny headphones with a microphone in the wire. Both brand new, but no box.
“Basics for what?” she said. “Are these for me?”
“You should say thank you.”
“Sorry. Thanks. I appreciate the effort. You didn’t have to do this. It comes off a bit creepy.”
“The condoms? I’m just messing with you. You had so many in your bag before.”
“A detail that I will apparently never be allowed to forget,” she said.
“I figured you would need them.”
He grinned, then gestured to the pile. “Actually, it’s the same kit I give all my girls when I start them off on the job.”
Narelle felt the blood drain from her face.
He laughed. A cold sound. “I’m kidding. You should see your face. Is that what you think I do? I’m some kind of pimp? Fuck off. Dressed like this. Honestly. A pimp can afford a decent suit. But if there is a pimp in this setup somewhere you better admit it now. I’ll be pretty pissed off if I find out later.”
He reached into his jacket and pulled out a fat wallet. He opened it up a few inches from her face.
“I’m supposed to be one of the good guys.”
“And you disposed of a body?”
“That never happened.”
“But if a body ever showed up. I’m pretty sure a bag with your blood soaked clothes would be of interest to the investigating team. Probably plenty of other leads linking you to Dave. So, if I were you, I’d shut the fuck up about what happened yesterday, and from now on do as you are told without throwing a princess tantrum over it. Even better, come clean.”
“What do you mean? Tantrum? When did I throw a tantrum?”
“Oh look. You’re doing it now. This is exactly what I mean. Always with the back talk.”
He cut her off with a shake of his head. “You don’t get it, do you? I may not be planning to pimp you out but I do expect a little quiet obedience from a piece of gutter trash like you.”
“Gutter trash? Fuck you.”
“That’s your last chance. Trash in a designer dress is still trash. And I do expect a little discretion. Between the evidence and the rubber gear I’ve got enough to bury you. If that weren’t enough there’s the computer. God almighty that was a fucking eye opener. You really are one messed-up piece of work. I reckon Christy wasn’t sending a message when she left that behind. She was just afraid that shit was so feral it would contaminate her by contact.”
She wanted to answer him, to explain, to stop it all. She couldn’t, the only thing she could do was swallow and that wasn’t easy either. Her mouth seemed dry, her throat swollen.
“That’s better,” he said. “I’m not a bad guy, but a chick like you puts herself in a situation... A piece of work like you always does. I can’t just let you go shooting your mouth off now can I? I’m going to have to keep a close eye on you. Or would you rather I leave you to play with Christy?”
She would be a fool to answer that.
“Are you going to behave?”
“I guess,” she said. “But this is blackmail.” Her lip was trembling. Was this how it was going to be from now on? She was about to cry but that was nothing. She was melting down below.
“Don’t get all weepy. It’s not blackmail. I haven’t made you do anything. If I had…We both know that you’re totally into all that bondage shit. You’re probably wetting those boxers of mine right now. Aren’t you?”
Had he read her mind? Could he tell somehow? Or was it simply that obvious to everyone?
“No answer. I tell you what, strip them off and we’ll see.”
She hesitated. He had to be joking.
She sucked on her upper lip, looking at the things on the table. She raised her gaze to meet his. “I admit it. I’m soaking wet. Are you happy now?”
“That’s better. Why didn’t you just say that right off? Still. I think we should check just to make sure, shouldn’t we?”
She tugged at the jeans but she couldn’t find the end of the duct tape. She couldn’t get them off.
He pulled a multi-tool from his pocket and cut the tape.
“There. Don’t put on that miserable face. I don’t’ want to see it. I’m not even going to touch you. I just can’t tolerate dishonesty.”
She put her thumbs in the waistband and pushed down the pants, exposing her thighs. The boxers went down too. Why was she so nervous? He’d seen her naked already. He’d seen her naked, and dirty with sick in her hair. He’d seen everything in her flat.
He’d even seen stuff on her computer. Which was weird. What did he mean about a message? Why would Christy leave a nearly new, expensive laptop? It would be easy to sell for a nice chunk of cash. What kind of thief would take a hundred dollar microwave but leave a fancy aluminium laptop?
She stepped out of the pants and pulled up the baggy hoodie top, showing him her pussy.
“Spread the lips. Let me see.”
She reached in and did as he said. Moisture seeped out onto her fingers.
“You really are a nympho aren’t you? I’ve seen a few, but never a good looking one.” He paused, small expressions seemed to come and go. Was he thinking about something? “Nah. It all bullshit you made up for Dave wasn’t it? Something he paid for? Nobody in their right mind would do that shit for free. Nympho slut or otherwise. I reckon you can do that at will. You don’t seem completely nuts to me, so join the dots.”
Made up for Dave? What did he mean?
“I can’t decode a thing you’re saying. Why are you doing this? Haven’t I had enough bad luck?”
“You’ve got it backwards. You can stop this any time. Just come clean. Until then, we can pretend that you really do like to be made to do this shit and so I’m just doing what you want. You should thank me for the wish fulfilment.”
She gave a snarl of frustration. He was right. This was exactly what she’d been hoping for every time she let another pickup artist fuck her in a club toilet or bend her over a parked car. But she didn’t really want it. Not this way.
“I’m the victim here. Why are you being so cryptic? Have we talked about this before? Because I don’t remember it.”
“Something of mine is still missing, and the situation with you. It just doesn’t add up. You messed up somehow yesterday. I don’t know what you had planned but it didn’t come off the way you wanted. Until you tell me what really happened, we can play it this way.”
“You made me take off my pants and show you my pussy. I’m pretty sure there’s a name for that.”
He turned away. “Get dressed. And if you go out without the sunnies on, I’ll make it so you need to wear them.”
“You didn’t buy any underwear.”
“You’re just bluffing.”
He grinned and passed her the dress. “I thought I made this clear already,” he said. “I’ve got some leverage but I’m not going to use it all at once. As long as you stay quiet about the important things you get to stay alive and out of prison. As for the rest, you’re going to do what I say because otherwise your story all falls apart doesn’t it?”
She shook her head. What did that even mean?
He went on. “No matter how much you pretend to be a good girl on and off, we both know you aren’t. It’s just looks awkward when you try. I know you’ll want to keep it interesting though, so if you can’t behave there will be punishments. Proper punishments, not some kinky sex game. Simple enough?”
“I have a choice? This is coercion right? Kidnapping?”
“You’ve done more to make this happen than me, but if you want to pretend otherwise, then whatever. We’ll end it when you decide to talk. But yes, you do have a choice. You can stop this bullshit act, or you can shut up and put up. Understand?”
“No. Not that word again. You’ll be polite from now on. No more abuse. You can call me Sir in private. In public Seb is fine, but keep it respectful. Remember privileges can be revoked. The only time you use a dirty word is in reference to yourself. Got it?”
“No. No more bullshit. I’m sick of your voice right now. You can put on that plummy accent but we both know that deep down you’re nothing more than northern suburb scum. Even Christy’s got more class than you.”Trip to the Bank
The suit was a cheap one. Even the interns had better than her. People had definitely noticed; it was embarrassing. She’d told everyone that she’d been burgled but that didn’t seem to cut much ice with the fashion police at work.
She tugged down the too-short skirt. It was becoming such a habit that she rarely noticed herself doing it now. The jacket was cut to show too much of her figure and her blouse showed too much cleavage and was too sheer to be in good taste, especially if she didn’t have a bra on.
A bra was a privilege item. Yesterday she’d had to do without, which had been awful. For a balconette, this one had good support, though it was a bit too fancy for work. Matched with the blouse it attracted disapproving stares from the other women, though not as many as doing without had done.
He’d tried to get her into a push-up until he’d understood that her breasts were too big to suit that style.
The shoes were the worst. Normally, for work, she never wore a heel over two inches but he wouldn’t let her have anything less than four. It was hell on her feet and the older women made snarky remarks about her seeming taller lately.
She was already getting shunned by people in the lunch room. If this went on they’d shut her out altogether. Meanwhile, she’d noticed certain male colleagues standing closer than she was used to or comfortable with. Brad, her weasel of a boss had started touching her on the back and shoulders.
It wasn’t fun. It was horrible to be shut out. She couldn’t complain about how the men were acting either. Anyone in the company would blame it on her, say she invited it. She was pushing the limits of the dress code and nobody would feel sorry for her.
At least she didn’t have to endure the train dressed this way. So far Seb had dropped her off and picked her up from work. He’d warned her that if she wasn’t ready waiting outside at the right time she’d be in trouble. He showed no sign of enjoying the process. Was he unwilling to let her out of his sight?
As for her car, Christy had taken it, along with all her other stuff. She’d put in a claim but it would be months before she saw anything. Seb had filled out the forms, making sure the theft seemed random.
He’d refused to let her claim for the flat or any of her belongings on her insurance. He said it would be fraud, which made no sense. He’d only made her claim for the car because if they didn’t report it stolen, it would be hard to explain if it was used in a robbery or found on fire and blocking the highway.
He’d told her not to leave the office until she got a text that he was outside waiting. Why didn’t he want her to go out and get lunch? Not that she could afford it. She didn’t have so much as a dollar to her name. With no cards, she couldn’t even order a new license online.
She’d had enough of it. She had to go to the bank and talk to them about her cards and her account. He wouldn’t be watching the office at lunchtime, would he? She left her phone on the desk, picked up her cheap little bag and set off, it was only a few minutes’ walk to the bank. Even if he called her to check – and one time he had done – she could say she’d been in the toilet or something.
The Friday-lunchtime queue at the bank was enormous. As usual, there was one woman at a window handling customers and three more standing there doing paperwork, offering people a false sense of hope. She slotted herself into the back of the long queue. Maybe it would move quickly? Sometimes that happened.
If he called her phone and she didn’t call him back within a couple of minutes, he’d suspect something. Fuck him, she had to sort this out. If she’d brought the phone, it was possible he could track her. He’d hinted that he could. In the end, it was his phone and he could have put anything on there.
She shuffled her aching feet. The high heels were rotten to stand in. At least most of her work was done sitting down, but the morning meetings were a trial. With the hurried walk to the bank she’d hurt the backs of her heels, creating blisters on top of the blisters she’d got on the first day.
The teller was still talking to the same customer. The queue wasn’t moving at all. She couldn’t risk it any longer. She slipped out of the line, which had already grown behind her, and headed back to the office.
When she got back there were three missed calls and a text. It was so unfair, he hadn’t called her at lunch since Monday.
“Have you been out of the building? Was it a client?” the text said.
What could she say to that? Better not to answer; at least he couldn’t’ accuse her of lying to him. He’d made a lot of noise about that. He seemed to have a thing about it. Maybe it would be better to own up to her trip. It wasn’t like she’d done something wrong. It was absurd of him to tell her not to go out. Besides, he’d made no progress in sorting out her missing cards.
“I went to the bank,” she texted back.
She waited for the reply. She stopped herself, just about to chew on her nail and turned back to the computer. She didn’t have any lunch to eat so she might as well work. Her stomach gurgled. Food had been hard to come by the last week.Collected from Work
She was late getting out of the office. She’d sent him a text to warn him she’d been kept back in a meeting. Now she found herself standing outside the office building waiting. She wasn’t supposed to come out unless she got his text – well screw him – she’d had enough of his ridiculous rules.
She waited. Her feet were aching again. She wore heels like this out all the time, and hadn’t she been completely used to them a few years ago? Were passers-by sneaking glances at her? She tugged her skirt down. It would be just like him to make her wait on purpose. He was probably irritable over the lunch thing, and now the change in pickup time had probably put him in a worse mood.
He stopped the car in front of her, got out smiling. “Good evening Nelly,” he said. He opened the passenger door for her, and helped her in, hand on her ass.
As he pulled away she looked down at her hands. Her knuckles were white, one hand gripping the other.
“I suppose you were planned to annoy me with this stunt?” Seb said.
“No. I’m sorry sir. If I waited inside I might have been left to lock up.”
“Putting aside the unlikelihood that you’re doing any kind of work in there, what bothers me is the twenty minutes warning. Forty and I might have delayed setting off. As it was I was already on my way. Hardly bloody respectful or considerate was it?”
“I’m sorry sir. I didn’t realise they were going to overrun.”
“I’m not going to whinge on about it, but you will have to be punished, and there’s the lunchtime bullshit as well. I don’t want you talking to anyone you shouldn’t be, or going anywhere you can be seen, and I don’t want anyone who shouldn’t be, talking to you. Understand?”
“But I didn’t talk to a soul.”
“That’s a good thing or you’d really be in trouble. Typical woman. I tell you something. No room for misunderstanding and you go out and do the exact opposite. Then you’re sorry. Sorry doesn’t cut it. We’ll clear this up later. Don’t bloody worry about that Nelly.”
Narelle looked down at her hands again. She had a strange squishy feeling inside. She bit her lip hard. Any harder and it would bleed.
He shot her a dirty look, and started to complain again. “What’s with this fake job anyway? What are you doing in there? Phone sex? Dispatch for your call-girl sisters? Sitting in the lobby all day, staring into space?”
“Why don’t you go in and ask them?” She’d told him repeatedly it was an insurance company, but he didn’t seem to believe her, despite the fact it was easy to check.
“Sure. You think I didn’t check the basics already. Obviously, you’re using another name. The only way to know for sure is to walk in there and ask. You think I can do that without people back in my office finding out I was asking? So you know fucking well why not. You might have a death wish but I’m not going to be to facilitate it.”
They stopped at the usual spot. He helped her out of the car, making sure to get a good feel of her ass again as he set her on her feet. His arm gripped around her waist as if he was afraid she’d make a run for it.
The inside of the café was hot and close. The sweat dripped off her forehead. As before, the only customers were wrinkled old men with tiny coffee cups in front of them. They were talking in whispers, hardly touching the coffee.
Seb ordered some pasta dish, paying no attention to her. The waiter wore a white apron that made him look like a butcher. There was no order for her. If she was lucky she might get to finish Seb’s left-overs. One evening she’d complained at him in the car and he hadn’t given her anything. She’d asked him for something to eat and he’d just looked at her blankly.
There’d been nothing in the flat when they got back. She’d drunk a litre of milk from the work fridge the next morning.
Seb ate in silence. Narelle felt increasingly uncomfortable. Her hands were dry, her skin papery. She couldn’t stop rubbing them. The waiter had brought some water but she’d finished hers earlier.
“Sir… I need to pee,” she said quietly.
“You can go,” Seb said.
All the old men turned to look at her as she pulled back her chair and stood. It was a struggle not to scurry as she walked the short distance to the toilet. There was a single entrance to the toilets, shared between men and women. It probably didn’t meet health and safety requirements. She pushed open the door expecting to see a horror with no seat, stained with dried on shit.
Actually, it wasn’t too filthy, but the stink of old-man-pee was heavy in the air and the oppressive heat made it worse. There was no window and the ventilation fan didn’t look as if it had worked for years.
She looked for a way to lock the door but there wasn’t one. She peeled up her skirt. At least she didn’t have to worry about her knickers – she still didn’t have any. Everybody in the place had seen her come in. If anyone walked in on her it would be on purpose.
She was so tense that at first the pee wouldn’t come out. She sat in agony, wishing for it to let loose. What was wrong with her? What was wrong with her life?
It wasn’t until she started to cry that she managed to release her bladder.
She hadn’t expected the tears. What was happening to her? She couldn’t go on like this. Ever since Scott, things had just been getting worse. Of course, her solo clubbing and one-night-stands had been certain to go wrong sooner or later. This mess wasn’t really a surprise to her, was it?
Probably, she’d expected to catch a disease, or get raped, or beaten up, or perhaps even kidnapped. This wasn’t as bad as any of those things. She’d been looking for trouble. She’d got off lightly, hadn’t she?
Looking back at it, she’d been planning to teach herself a lesson. She should have done whatever it took to keep Scott. He’d been worth keeping and he had never hurt her on purpose. She should have known better. She had to learn to control her whims. This was it now, wasn’t it? The lesson was on. She should stop feeling sorry for herself, shut-up and learn.
Seb didn’t say anything when she sat back down. He’d almost finished his meal. As expected, there would be nothing for her tonight. Tomorrow was Saturday and she wouldn’t even be able to steal milk from work.Saturday Morning Trip
The evening had continued being miserable when they got home. He’d sat in a beanbag, smoking and watching a movie on his phone.
She didn’t have a beanbag so she’d gone to bed early. He insisted that they both sleep in the bedroom but there were still no beds. She slept on an airbed with a beach-towel for a sheet. Seb did the same but it didn’t seem to bother him at all.
It was dawn and she was awake already. He was still sleeping. She could get up, sneak out; run away. Maybe there were still old friends who’d take her in?
No. It was hopeless. He’d assume the worst. The evidence would show up and she’d be arrested, or worse. She’d disappear, never seen again – vanished into the same void as Dave – just another forgotten missing person. Or perhaps he’d give Christy a call?
If Christy tracked her down she’d rather be dead. Christy… She’d been through everything. Christy would know all the places to look for her.
It might be hours before he woke up. She might as well do something useful. She sat up, naked. There was nothing to wear if she got up. She had her two work outfits, but nothing for home or doing chores.
She pulled on one of Seb’s discarded t-shirts. It smelled of stale man-sweat but it was long enough to cover down to mid-thigh.
The cleaners hadn’t done a good job on the flat. There was still a lot to finish up. Her old cleaning products were still under the sink – at least Christy hadn’t taken those – it was a surprise they hadn’t ended up all over the carpet.
She was still cleaning when Seb found her in the kitchen.
“I’ll get some paint today. You can cover the graffiti tomorrow,” he said.
“Thanks,” she said. She didn’t say what was really on her mind: her aching, empty gut. She’d drunk a lot of water but it didn’t’ fill the hole.
“I woke up and you were gone. Maybe I should get a deadlock on the bedroom door. You can still use the ensuite.”
“I won’t run off. You know I can’t.”
“Is that so? I guess if you had an accomplice, he’d have shown up by now.”
“Will you let me have something to eat? I’m really hungry.”
“If you ask nicely. Very nicely.”
“What do you want? A blowjob or something?”
“Funny that’s the first thing in your head. Such a fucking slut. But no. I’d think twice about sticking my dick in you, even with a condom. Fuck knows what I might catch.”
Narelle winced. He sure knew how to make a girl feel good about herself.
“Please sir, may I be allowed some food?” She said. It came out a bit snide, though she hadn’t meant it that way. She really needed to eat. There was no way she wanted to fuck that up to score points.
“And that’s the first time you’ve called me sir since last night. Remember that I told you privileges can be revoked?”
Narelle’s hand flew to her mouth. Shit. She’d broken his rules again. He had the rest of the weekend to make her life hell. What would he do? Last time she forgot to call him sir she had to do without a bra for a day. Surely it would be something worse than that?
“You took my shirt without my permission too,” he said.
“But sir, I’m sorry. I didn’t have any other clothes.”
“You’re right. You shouldn’t wear your work clothes to clean in, but while you’re at home I expect you naked. Except for your shoes. The shoes stay on. You’ll get something else to wear when you’ve earned it. As you’ve taken my shirt, you can wear that out this morning.
Narelle opened her mouth to argue. She stopped herself just in time. She mustn’t say anything. If he was determined for her to go out in nothing but a t-shirt arguing would only make it worse.
He reached out and casually flicked her nipple through the thin cotton. “Good girl. Now go shower and do your face so we can go out. You stink right now.”
He drove her somewhere out west to a town whose name she’d never even heard of. It was a dry and dusty suburbia, desolate, like something out of a Breaking Bad episode. He stopped the car in a sad little strip mall. There was a shabby collection of run-down businesses: a general store, a bakery, a butcher, a florist, a hairdresser and an electrical appliance repair shop.
He helped her out of the car. She was bra-less; his hand roughly groped her breast. She shivered at the touch. His fingers found her nipple and twisted. Squinting at the pain, she fought back a yell. Only a muted grunt escaped her lips.
“The appliance store,” he said.
He led the way and she followed, scurrying along behind in her ridiculous heels.
The drive had been humiliating and there was a wet spot on the back of the shirt where she’d been sitting. Hopefully, nobody who saw it would work out what it was.
Inside the store was overwhelmingly brown – from the tired old counter-top to the fake-pine-panelling-effect plywood that lined the walls – everything in sight was brown or beige.
A man in his sixties with a tuft of white hair over each ear stood behind the counter working on a commercial coffee machine, tubes and wires packed together so tightly she couldn’t tell one from another.
“I’ve brought my appliance in, like we talked about on the phone. The fucking thing keeps leaking all over. It’s probably unsanitary. You said you’d be able to fix it?”
The old man glanced at Seb then turned his gaze on her, looking her up and down at length. He looked back towards Seb to answer. “I see what you mean. Don’t worry. I see this kind of problem all the time with shoddy equipment. There’s a reliable solution but it’s not cheap. Do you want me to take a look?”
“You said fifteen hundred.”
“And three-hundred extra for making me come in on a Saturday morning.”
“They weren’t kidding when they said you were expensive.”
The old man sniffed. “Expensive? For what you get, it’s cheap. I only charge so little because it’s a labour of love. I should tell you to get lost right now.”
“No… I see,” Seb said. “I guess I don’t know shit about this. Sorry I misspoke.”
The old man laughed. “You better bring your appliance in the back. Too many nosy people in this town. Idiots that can’t keep to their own business.”
Narelle looked around for the ‘appliance’, but Seb hadn’t brought anything out of the car. It had to be some kind of code.
Seb pushed her in front of him and steered her through the side-door after the old man.
Behind the door was a workshop, brightly lit by natural light from the frosted skylights. There were a few partially disassembled coffee machines on trolleys and a few microwaves and other appliances. The workshop was equipped for metalworking as well as electrical, and there were gas bottles, bench grinders, polishers, drills, saws and other tools that Narelle didn’t recognise.
Seb shoved Narelle into the middle of the room. She would have fallen off her shoes if he didn’t catch hold of her at the last moment.
“Shirt off Nelly,” he said.
Narelle twisted and looked over her shoulder at him. “Sorry?”
“Get your bloody shirt off. Do I have to ask you again?”
Narelle felt the blood drain from her face. She struggled to peel off the shirt, shivering despite the heat. The cold had settled into her and chilled her to the bone, just like that. It was all she could do not to sway from dizziness as she handed the shirt to Seb, who let it drop onto the floor with all the dirt and sweepings.
She looked down at her naked breasts, her naked pussy. It had been all she could do to keep decent in the car. Now she was standing in front of some dodgy old man in nothing but a pair of cheap heels. Cold sweat ran down her face like tears.
The old man picked a dressmaker’s tape measure from the bench.
Narelle chewed on her bottom lip as he measured her efficiently. He didn’t ogle her, he didn’t stare or grope. He took his measurements quickly. He handled her firmly. His hands were warm and dry against her cold-sweat-frozen skin.
He positioned her, just so, one way then another. He spread her thighs, even pulled apart her buttocks. With each measurement he made marks and notes on her body with a marker-pen.
The process seemed to drag on and on. With each repeated measurement he seemed to pull the tape tighter. It cut into her pussy. She fought back a cry.
“You should have prepared the slut for this. Made her wear a close-fitting belt for a week. It’s on the web-site,” the old man said.
“Didn’t know I was coming here until yesterday afternoon,” Seb said.
“Bring her back next week and I’ll revise the fitting.”
“Is it needed? I mean, it’s only her.”
“It has to fit right to work. I wouldn’t waste my time otherwise. I don’t make substandard goods. You want her to get infected sores, or be able to get access when she shouldn’t?”
Seb shook his head. “How long will it take?”
“Around noon most likely. I have most of the parts ready to finish. You can go now. I’ll call you when it’s ready.”
“You want me to leave her?”
“No. I don’t want this smelly slut around while I work. Take it away,” the old man said.
Narelle felt her face heat up at that. Anything was better than the chill that had taken away all her strength. She snatched up the shirt from the ground. There were metal shavings and large dusty footprints on it. She tried to brush them off.
“Hurry up Nelly,” Seb said.
He grabbed her arm and she had to struggle to get the shirt on before he dragged her out of the room.
They drove to the next town where there was a café. It was still early and quiet. Seb helped her seat herself at one of the outside tables. She kept her thighs clamped together, her hands holding the shirt in place.
“Everyone can see from the way your tits are sagging that you’re not wearing a bra,” Seb said.
“I know sir,” Narelle whispered.
“You’d be wearing one if you’d followed the rules. Don’t blame me. So, what do you want for breakfast?”
“I’m very hungry sir,” Narelle said.
“Don’t call me sir in public. Don’t do it. People should think you’re doing this because you want to, not because I’m making you. And in a way you are, aren’t you?”
“I don’t understand,” Narelle said.
“Oh come the fuck on. You’re probably leaking onto the seat right now.”
Narelle’s face flushed hot again. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
“That sick shit on your computer… I read a couple while you were pretending to work. What do they call a chick like you in those stories? A slut? No question, you fit the bill. Unlucky for me. If you’d been clean I might have taken advantage. As it is, I’d need a ten foot pole. Besides, people that fuck you seem to come to a bad end, don’t they?”
“I don’t care if you abuse me. I don’t even care if what you say is true. I’m just so hungry. Please…”
Seb summoned the waitress. She was young, probably still in school. She faced Seb, seeming to ignore Narelle, but her gaze kept sneaking sideways to steal glances at her.
“I think I’ll have the big breakfast, and she’ll have the Caesar salad. Can we get that with an extra egg?”
“I don’t know. I’ll ask the chef,” the girl said, her face getting pinker by the second.
“You do that darling,” Seb said. A smug look crept across his face as the girl’s discomfort increased.
“Can I get you any drinks?”
“Two double-shot lattes,” he said.
The girl bobbed her head and hurried away. Her eyes sneaking one last glance at Narelle. Her face was flushed red. Narelle was beyond embarrassment. She wanted to sink into the seat but it was no good. Seb was doing this to her on purpose and he wouldn’t let her do anything to mitigate it.
“The salad?” Narelle said, raising an eyebrow to clarify her question.
“Quit your whining. It’s got more calories than the breakfast. I was thinking of you, slut. You can get yourself off imagining that the cream is jizz or something,” he said. He narrowed his eyes, smirking.
At least he didn’t order her to be silent. If anything, he seemed in an uncharacteristically good mood. It was probably a bad omen.
“What was all that about at the repair shop? That old geezer handling me like a piece of meat.”
“Heh. Did you get that earlier. ‘The Chef’? I fucking ask you…” he said, ignoring her question.
She was about to repeat her complaint, but as soon as she opened her mouth his expression silenced her.
“A chef in this shithole town. I reckon my breakfast comes with homemade black tomato and zucchini chutney and the artisan-crafted sausages with chives and fennel and a ‘jus’ poured all over them instead of ketchup,” he said.
Narelle glanced down at the t-shirt. Her nipples were outlined against the thin fabric. She couldn’t face him when he looked at her like that. A piece of meat? Maybe she really was.
“Cat got your tongue?” Seb said. “Can’t say I mind. Keep it up.”
“Sorry,” she answered.
Seb pulled out his phone and ignored her until the coffee arrived. Narelle caught the girl’s eye but immediately regretted it when her face turn red as a beetroot. She hurried away, almost tripping over the chairs at the next table.
“What’s her problem?” Seb said. His smirk was gone. “Some kind of lezzer? You giving her the come on?”
“You know that’s not it. She can see what’s happening here. I expect she feels embarrassed for me.”
“Disgust more like. If this was my place I wouldn’t serve you.”
“Can I drink the coffee?”
“Yeah, you can drink it. I didn’t get them both for me, did I?”
“I wouldn’t know,” she said. The coffee was too hot but she gulped it down anyway. Even without sugar it was sweet. It tasted amazing through the filter of her hunger.
A few seconds later her stomach was in knots from the caffeine but it was no worse than the hunger pangs. The hard metal chair was cold against her bare behind. She would probably have a pattern marked there when she got up.
Seb went back to his phone, ignoring her again. Finally, the food arrived, both meals together. The girl made a point of staring over her head as she arranged the plates and the cutlery, seemingly without looking at what she was doing. This time their gaze didn’t meet.
“You can eat your jizz salad. I don’t need to cum in it. The ‘chef’ probably did that for you already. You know they do that, don’t you?”
“It’s an urban myth.”
“You ever worked in a kitchen Nelly?”
“I have. I didn’t have anybody to pay for my education.”
“Poor you. So you never saw the staff make up a special for some mouthy bitch?”
“Some servers spit in the food. I saw that sometimes… But I never saw a chef spoil food on purpose. Not even an assistant.”
“So what you’re saying is that I’m wrong, and you’ll never get served up with a special sauce salad? That a disappointment for you? Need me to spice yours up?”
“Sorry. Of course, you’re right… Men wank onto the salads of women they want to degrade all the time,” she said. Her voice faltered. She looked down. Was he going to punish her somehow?
“Nelly. You’re so boring sometimes. I thought you might really have been into that. Or were you? Be honest with me now.”
“Maybe a little,” she said. She wasn’t at all, but if she denied it completely he’d be sure to keep on pushing.
“If I had sauced it up for you, would you have eaten it?”
“Probably. I’m starving.”
Seb sighed. He looked away then went back to his food.
“Can I eat it sir?”
“Yes, dammit, yes. And don’t call me sir in public. Don’t do it again.”
“Sorry,” she said, and started to wolf down the rich salad. To her disappointment, there was no extra egg and there wasn’t half-enough chicken or bacon.
It was all she could do not to lick the bowl clean.The Appliance
In the back of the repair shop, Seb ordered her to strip again. She hung her t-shirt on a chair and stood in front of him in just her heels.
“Keep your eyes on me Nelly. No looking around. I want this to be a surprise. I know you’ll be excited.”
The old geezer wrapped something hard and cold around her waist. She daren’t look down to see what it was. Seb had lost his good mood after he paid for lunch and she knew better than to give him an excuse to take it out on her.
It felt like she was being cut in two by a hard metal band. There was a click as the old man latched it at the front somehow. It felt different as soon as he took his hands off it. It was just a belt. A metal belt? An uncomfortably tight one.
He pushed a cold, dry finger between it and her waist.
With measured care, he ran his finger around inside the belt. She winced. There was insufficient room for his finger and the skin of her belly was soft. It was like being sandpapered around the middle.
“Make her stay still,” the old man said, his voice as rough and rasping as the skin on his hands.
There was much less clearance in some places than others, and he paused to make a mark when he found one.
The process done, he unlatched the belt and carried it away. Banging and clanking started up behind her. Something being hammered? She began to turn and see what he was up to, but Seb’s expression said no.
It was a few minutes before the old man put the belt back again. It wasn’t as uncomfortable this time but something cold dangled against her bottom. No. Not one thing, two things… Straps?
“Spread her feet apart,” the man said.
Before Seb could move, she shifted her feet. An uncomfortable draft came across her sex. She couldn’t suppress the shiver.
There was a clank from behind her and then a scraping noise. The old man reached up between her legs and pressed something cold and metallic against her sex.
She almost let out a shriek, biting it back only just in time. Cold metal was touched her belly, her sex, and between her legs. Hard straps were pulled tight against her buttocks. Whatever he’d done, something was pressed against her tightly, pinching the soft flesh between her legs.
The old man pressed even harder and something latched into place. The pressure released a little but it still had her firmly in its cold metal grip. The cold soaked into her skin, a chill spreading up inside her.
Again, a probing finger came, this time feeling beneath the straps on her buttocks, beneath the edges of the plate on her front, and trying to press between her legs. It wouldn’t fit there.
“Not a bad fit given the time I had, and the lack of preparation on your part.”
“Shouldn’t there be a lock?” Seb said.
“Lock is your choice. You want a padlock, or the circular one?”
“I don’t want it to show too much.”
“Better take the circular. Swedish. Hundred bucks extra, but that’s not my problem. I don’t make a cent on them either way.”
A momentary grimace twisted Seb’s features, then it was gone. The old man probably never saw it.
There was a click at the front, where the belt joined.
“There you go. That should put a stop to your appliance doing anything it shouldn’t.”
“Take a look Nelly,” said Seb. He gave an unsettling smirk. “It suits you.”
She looked down. She could see now that the metal belt was covered with some kind of black padding, probably rubber. It looked as tight a fit as it felt, maybe even tighter.
Attached to it at the front was a metal strip that got broader as it descended towards her pubis, narrowing only to pass between her legs, where she guessed it somehow linked to the two straps now cutting into her bum and joining back onto the belt at the back.
There was a single narrow slot in the front plate, which was also rubber covered. Her soft flesh pressed through the slot, just a little. She couldn’t see, but she could imagine her outer lips poking slightly through it. Not very sexy. There was a circular, wider spot in the slot, just above her pubis.
It all fell into place. Narelle had seen something like this before, but only in pictures. Pictures from the bondage sites. She put her hand to the smoothly bevelled circular lock on the front of the belt. The key was still in it. Without that single key there was no way out.
The old man dropped a curved strip of shiny metal grille-work into Seb’s hands. It was perforated with a pattern of small holes and had a kind of bracket shape at each end.
Her heart sank through the floor. To be trapped in the belt was bad enough in itself, but now there was also no way she could run away. No matter where she went she’d still be locked in its grip. Without the key, Seb had her.
Sure, it would be possible for a mechanical minded person to cut the belt off. She had no idea how to go about it. At a hospital or a fire station they could probably get it off in a couple of minutes, one way or another. That would be fine if it weren’t impossible.
To go down that path would be to admit she’d let somebody lock it on her in the first place. Or they might think she’d done it herself. Either way, it would be humiliating beyond belief. Questions would be asked, things would be written down. She might end up on TV. It would haunt her forever. No, she couldn’t do that. The only way out was with the key, and no doubt Seb would keep that safe.
She could reach for the key and unfasten the belt right now – if she dared. Instead, she ran her finger over the slot in the front. It was almost wide enough to fit a pencil through. It certainly wouldn’t admit a cock or a dildo. Clearly, Seb hadn’t been kidding about not wanting to touch her. Why did it matter to him whether anybody else did?
In the stories, people in belts like this went crazy with frustrated lust. They’d do anything for release, slaves to the key-holder, the only one who could allow them to cum; desperately obedient in the hope of receiving that reward.
This was her punishment. She’d disobeyed him on Friday lunchtime, and then made him wait later. She’d thought he might hurt her, or starve her, or even humiliate her. But this? She’d never expected this. If she’d known, she’d have played along a whole lot better.
Seb took the key from the lock with a grin. She didn’t try to stop him. From now on her only hope was to make this asshole happy. Was this what it was like to be born a hundred … two-hundred years ago? Back in the days when women were property for every practical purpose and everyone thought it was ok.
She’d been afraid of getting raped. At least that wasn’t likely now. Not in the usual way.
“Come back in a couple of weeks and I’ll make sure it isn’t pinching or getting slack. If there are sores, take it off and call me immediately,” said the old man.
It was all spiralling out of control.
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story continues in Narelle's Discovery 3: Delusion's End