How It Came To Be
“Is it true, Paula? You came here, to the Center, by choice?” The question came from Trina, the most recent addition to the circle of friends. The two women had something in common. Katrina, Trina for short, had also started her life at the Center as a willing if uninformed participant.
The dinner conversation had turned to early days at the Center, a safe topic since they weren’t in the secure area. Paula and Big Mike, her master, were the earliest arrivals at the Center among the group sitting around the table. Paula looked a question at Big Mike, silently seeking permission to answer.
With his nod of approval she began. “It isn’t a simple yes or no answer. Master and I first crossed paths at a different location, sort of a private jail, in Los Angeles. It’s a long story, how we wound up here. In a way it was a voyage of self-discovery. Master swept into my life, grabbed hold and never let go. Along the way he guided me through a learning process, revealing to me what I secretly knew but didn’t want to admit.”
Paula carefully folded her hands in her lap. Big Mike insisted on certain rules she could not ignore. “This is how our relationship came to be…”
The machine was remarkably quiet when running. The only sound was a deep hum while the press bore down on the rivet, flattening out the top and bottom into rounded buttons. I watched the one on the left side being slowly squeezed into shape. The point of no return, I thought, no backing out now. Rivets meant playing for keeps, as in no way to possibly escape from the bonds that I wore.
“That should do it,” the machinist announced while he unwound the vise holding the shackle. Inside the cuff was my left ankle, now permanently confined within the leg iron. My right ankle was the mirror image to the left, bound with the same oval band riveted shut. It represented permanent bondage, at least in my circumstances. My dream was coming true.
Carefully I lowered my feet to the floor. The manacles were very different compared to the police style leg irons I’d worn up to now. The shackle around each ankle was at least five times the width, and the additional weight a reminder of how difficult it would be for me to remove them. The reduced length of the substantial connecting chain was not quite long enough to place one foot in front of the other. I could still stand and walk, but slowly and with difficulty. Restrained, I told myself, a reminder that from now on I wasn’t going anywhere faster than a slow shuffle. The restricted gait was a stark reminder of what I had to face from now on.
I tried one step forward, and then another. The chain brought me up short, a fraction of my normal walking stride. The shackles weren’t so tight as to cut off circulation but there wasn’t much play either. The oval shape was custom formed to the dimensions of each ankle, thanks to the machinist’s skill. The close fit prevented them from turning and rubbing against my skin.
The bright nickel-chrome plating on the connecting chain stood out in sharp contrast to the grayish stainless steel of the shackles. The chain links, cut from a length of tow chain, were far larger than necessary, adding to the security and the weight. Overall, the amount of metal I carried was far more than necessary to keep me a prisoner, but I specifically asked for the most restrictive version. I might regret it later on but for now the sheer size of my leg restraints made it all so much more real.
“Not too tight? No pinching?” the machinist asked. He leaned over to run his hands around my ankles, checking for abrasions. “You’ll get used to the shortened pace after a few days, but until then you need to remember not to hurry. Try to run in these and you wind up flat on the floor.”
“Thank you, sir, the cuffs fit perfectly. They are heavier than I expected, but I suppose that makes them hard to ignore. I should be okay as they are.” I sat back down in the chair. I was already beginning to question my decision to ask for high risk status, though it was too late to change now. I stared down at my feet, fascinated by what had been fastened on my body.
“It’s not like you have much choice in the matter,” one of my guards joked. “Getting out of those things isn’t going to be easy.” That was from the guard on my left. Glancing up over my shoulder I saw the smirk on his face. That was enough to create an instant dislike for the man and his attitude.
He was right though. The rivets were made of mild steel. Unlike the shackles they could be easily cut off with a chisel, or drilled out. Not by me though; I didn’t have the tools, the expertise, or the physical strength to make that happen. Someone else with the right skills and equipment would be needed to release me.
The machinist checked his clipboard. “We don’t see many orders for a full thirty days at the high risk level. I hope you realize what you’re going to face. Even two weeks in permanent bondage is more than most guests tolerate before begging for their freedom. It’s too late to alter the order, just thought you’d like to know you’re out there on the fringe. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like wearing those things for one day, much less an entire month.”
No, it wouldn’t be easy, but that was precisely why I asked for them. There were no keys, no locks to pick or ratchets to shimmy. The rivets were both the simplest of locks and the most difficult to open. Permanence, I thought, they’re on for keeps, or at least for the length of my sentence. I looked forward to the challenge.
“One more to go,” the machinist spoke, holding up the last piece. “If you could lean forward? That’s good; we’ll complete the fitting.”
The collar felt cold when he closed it around my neck. Like the ankle cuffs it was a close fit, not tight, but I’d never forget it was there. It too was customized to fit my body, a large oval ring that closed in the front. In a moment the bolts were in place and the hydraulic press was back in action, slowly squeezing the rivets into shape. I couldn’t see the result but I knew it was a match for the rest: a metal collar, with a half link welded in front and riveted tight in the back.
The machinist ran his hands around my neck, checking the fit. “Excellent, you shouldn’t have any problems with it.” He tugged on the front loop. “Remember, this is all a part of you now. Work within your new limitations. There’s no point fighting them; don’t even try or you’re likely to injure yourself.”
The collar had a mental as well as physical purpose. The half link in front was useful in holding me in place, as in chained to a wall. That was secondary to what it did to my head. The leg irons might mark me as a prisoner, but the weight of the collar was a constant reminder I was now a thing, an object rather than a person, and would be treated as such by those in authority. Just the thought sent a shiver through me.
Without any warning my guards grabbed my arms, pulled me up out of my chair and all but threw me against the wall. “Hold still,” one of them ordered. I felt my left arm being pulled down, behind my back. It was immediately followed by the familiar ratcheting sound of a handcuff closing on my wrist. My right arm followed, along with the sound of the cuff closing on the other wrist.
“Welcome to our little slice of heaven on earth,” that was from the obnoxious guard. “In here the rules are simple. We tell you what to do; you obey. There will be no arguments, no excuses, and no delays. Try it and all that happens is you piss us off. You don’t want that. Think about it.”
I didn’t answer him. My eyes were closed, lost in the moment. This is what I wanted, the reason I volunteered to be incarcerated in this place. When the other guard locked on the second set of handcuffs around my wrists it barely registered. I was helpless, powerless to resist the aggressive guard’s intentions toward me. I didn’t like him but that made no difference. I was driven to try to please him, any way I could, including my obedience.
Reality came back when the machinist resumed with his duties. “Now the basics are in place, we'll move on to the next phase. After that you’ll be shown to your room.” The guards spun me around in time to see the machinist reaching for a box on a nearby shelf. Checking the label, he looked me over once again. “I think this should work without requiring too many adjustments. Closer, face me, feet as far apart as you can manage.” His tone changed when it came to issuing orders, going from friendly to terse. I was one of the inmates now, a guest as the guards liked to describe their prisoners.
Hands on my arms the guards dragged me forward. The collar and leg irons I had expected since it was my request they be used. I had assumed that would be all but it appeared they had more in mind.
When he opened the box and lifted out the contents my eyes went wide. “As you know you did not specify any restrictions on sexual access. That’s somewhat unusual though we do anticipate it and prepare accordingly.” I stared at the metal chastity belt in his hands. “We’ve found this particular device is quite effective in governing intimate activities for our guests.”
I wanted to protest but all I could do was watch in silence while he unlocked the belt, hypnotized by the idea it would soon be encircling my body. The touch of the padded steel around my waist was only a warning of what came next. When he reached between my legs and pulled up the center section the close fit was arousing. The definitive click of the lock in front echoed loudly in the sudden silence. It brought home the message that I was a helpless woman in a room full of men; men who were in a position to take full advantage of my condition, without any consequences.
This wasn’t part of the agreement. In fact there hadn’t been any mention of a chastity belt. Would I have gone ahead if it had been warned ahead of time? That was a difficult question. I’d agreed to no restrictions, knowing fully well I might well be used sexually without my consent. What I never expected was the opposite, being denied the opportunity. It was moot now. The men running this place could pretty much do as they pleased with me. I was in no position to offer much in the way of objections.
In the same way he checked my shackles the machinist ran his hand around the waistband, looking for gaps or rough spots. He ended his inspection by running his fingertips around the triangular center section, making sure it was a snug fit. “Think of this as a reminder that access,” he paused to accentuate the last word, “will be a factor during your stay, but it will be on our terms, not yours.” He gestured with a hand. “Move around, let’s see if there are any problems.”
The guards continued to hold onto my arms while I walked back and forth. The chain between my ankles jerked tight, a reminder to keep my feet closer together. The best I could manage was a slow, hobbled shuffle across the floor. I smiled at an image that flashed through my head, where I broke free from my guards and tried to run away. They’d easily catch up to me as soon as they stopped laughing.
“Your room is ready,” one of the guards informed me. “We’ll let you have some alone time to get better acclimated with your new, umm, lifestyle.” All three of the men laughed. I pivoted to face the door when one of the guards pointed toward it.
Then the lights went out when a hood was pulled down over my head. “Relax,” the guard, the one I was beginning to detest, reassured me. “We’ll make sure you get to where you’re going. This will be standard procedure from now on, so get used to it. We have a rule here about sightseeing. Like most everything else, it’s forbidden. I’ll guide you, and if I let go of your arm you stay put. Do not attempt to remove the hood. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied. His instructions were clear even if my eyesight was not. I was to be kept in the dark, literally, as much as possible. Lack of information was as powerful a restraint as my bonds. It all came together to force me to be wholly dependent on my captors, exactly as I hoped. Although I knew what was happening there was a brief moment of panic when my sight was cut off. I jerked on the cuffs holding my wrists, even though I knew I couldn’t reach the hood.
With his hand tightly gripping my upper arm the guard yanked my forward. “Move,” he ordered. When I hesitated, he put a hand on my back and shoved. “Don’t mess with me, girl. You better learn quickly that I don’t like to repeat myself. Try that again and you earn some extra time as our guest.” My opinion of him was going down every time he spoke, yet I was in no position to protest. I might not like it but he was in charge. As a prisoner, his captive, I was obliged to submit to his authority.
The other guard let go of my arm. The remaining officer, I was beginning to think of them as jail Corrections Officers, all but dragged me into the corridor outside the machine shop. I tried to keep up but kept tripping when the chain pulled taut between my ankles. “Please, sir, I can’t walk this fast,” I pleaded. I tried but it wasn’t physically possible to comply. He didn’t reply but the pace slowed enough for me to get my feet back on the ground.
The simple act of walking was proving to be an increasingly complicated task. Those old pictures I’d found showing chain gangs in the 1920s didn’t reveal just how difficult it was to get from point A to point B. I had to concentrate on keeping my feet close together compared to a normal walking stride. The weight didn’t help either, throwing me off balance. I had foolishly assumed the shackles would be similar to the limitations of police leg irons. Now I’d suffer the consequences for that mistake.
So began my much-anticipated new adventure into a world of extreme bondage, captivity and domination, far more intense than anything I had ever experienced before. It hadn’t been easy obtaining an invitation into this private and most exclusive lockup. There was a certain irony in that most inmates in a prison tried their best to get out instead of in. Nor did this particular institution aspire to lofty goals of rehabilitation. No, in this place all that mattered were confinement, obedience and punishment. It was rules and protocols, unquestioned authority, all strictly enforced with excessive discipline, no excuses accepted and no compassion offered. And most important of all, there was no ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card. No one left before they completed their sentence. I was in jail for the duration, by my consent if I cooperated, or against my will if I changed my mind later.
For the last three years I’d been a regular at various dungeons and bondage parties around Los Angeles and the sprawling suburbs. People knew me, recognized I was discreet and could be trusted. My reputation was the key to discovering one of the best kept secrets in the city, a dungeon that catered to the most exotic tastes in bondage. I made it known I wanted in, finally received the prized invitation, and here I was.
From the outside the building wasn’t all that impressive. It was located in one of the industrial sections of the county, where there was room to spread out instead of up without the zoning problems that came with residential areas. The sign outside labeled it as a warehouse, with few other specifics. Inside though, it was nothing like I expected. Past the façade of a normal business front office, it was more like a supermax prison, though scaled down for a small number of visitors. Reinforced concrete walls, no windows, locked gates of steel bars instead of doors, and guards, all male, with the physique of gorillas. It all came together to create an oppressive yet realistic atmosphere. Thirty days would push me to the limits of my endurance, in spite of my eagerness for the experience. Even I didn’t want to contemplate what it would be like to be trapped in this place for months on end, much less for years.
I was careful to ask questions first, but very few were answered in any but the most general and ambiguous way. Prisoners, or guests as the term was used in the agreement, were treated as flight risks. To prevent escape attempts any information on procedures or building layout would be kept secret until the individual was safely isolated behind multiple layers of security, blocked from any contact outside the walls of this place. No phone, no computer, no TV and especially no visitors were at the top of the list of regulations. For the next month I’d be cut off completely from the outside world.
There were no negotiations other than the length and severity of my incarceration. In my case the sentence, the length of my stay, would be for thirty days under the most rigorous conditions. My choice was to blindly accept their terms, with few details as to what they were, or go someplace else. I could opt in for some of the extras, like my new set of shackles. Otherwise, I had to accept whatever happened, without any preconditions. Those were the conditions for the supermax packaged deal: blindly hand over the cash or go home. There were no checks, no credit cards, and no paper trail leading to where I was being held.
Considering the services being offered the agreement’s confidentiality clause came as no surprise. Essentially, I promised not to reveal any details of my stay to anyone. I had to post a substantial bond as part of my fee to guarantee it. That explained why I wasn’t able to find anything about the place online or from previous guests. The only information I had was word of mouth from casual encounters at bondage events. Other people had made it through, some more than once, so I had the assurance the place didn’t simply murder their customers. Being a commercial venture, eliminating customers didn’t make much sense if the business was to be sustainable.
There was a long list of regulations attached to the contract. If I signed then every one of the rules had to be followed, to the letter, without exception. The short explanation included something about security measures as justification. Many of the procedures were obviously there just to make life difficult. Ironically those I understood and accepted from past experience. Dominant men liked to exercise their power; I looked forward to it. Meaningless rules did have a hidden purpose, to remind me of who was in charge. Those I accepted without argument. It was not my place to question authority. I never admitted my secret beliefs to anyone, but I disapproved of anyone who disobeyed, and believed whatever punishment they received was well deserved.
Other regulations, like no last names or personal details, were welcomed. Privacy and anonymity were key factors for the business and the prisoners. No one needed to know my real name or where I lived. When talking to other guests I was only permitted to use my first name. I wondered how those rules were enforced until the obvious answer came to me. There must be hidden cameras and microphones everywhere. They’d know if I violated the regulations immediately.
More troubling was the penalty clause. In a real prison inmates could earn ‘good behavior’ credits to reduce their sentence. This place turned that procedure upside down. A guest who exhibited ‘bad behavior’ would receive additional time added onto the sentence, plus any other punishment management might deem appropriate to discourage repetition. What constituted bad behavior? That was at the sole discretion of the men in charge. The clause that really worried me was the length added to the agreed sentence was decided entirely by the manager, better known as the Warden in keeping to the prison theme. It could be a day or a week, and I wouldn’t know exactly how long until the day they let me walk out the front door. There was no hearing, no appeal, no recourse open to me if I was ‘written up’, as the agreement described it.
The argument for the deterrent was persuasive, when explained at my admission. There had to be an incentive to cooperate, or more to the point a disincentive to discourage unacceptable behavior. If I really wanted that total loss of control there had to be not only confinement and bondage but inflexible discipline and swift punishment to ensure my unconditional submission to authority. When the penalty was explained in those terms I couldn’t object, for it represented something real instead of a vague threat. There has to be a stick to go with the carrot, I told myself. Rules had to be rigorously enforced, and I expected no less during my stay.
When it came to the length of the sentence in the agreement, I had three options: one week, but that excluded the high-risk status and permanent shackles; two weeks, with some increased security, whatever that meant; or thirty days, recommended only for those most experienced with the mental stress of prolonged confinement. The warning sounded ominous, but I was confident I could handle being incarcerated for the full term. I wanted more than the single night or in a few rare cases a long weekend under someone else’s control. It was never enough, knowing in a few hours or days it would end. This time it wasn’t going to be over after a couple of days, or even a week. This time it was an entire month with no way out, but only if I was a model prisoner. If I acted up then I’d have no idea when I would be released. The uncertainty added to the excitement.
The moment I signed the agreement events proceeded at a rapid pace. Two guards entered the room, handcuffed me and took me to the processing room. There I was forced to strip, restrained again, and booked into the facility. That procedure included fingerprints, DNA sample and photographs, something I didn’t like but couldn’t prevent. I was not given a jail uniform.
There had been no mention of taking away my clothes in the agreement, but now that I was committed it would be quite a while before I would be allowed to wear clothes again. Thinking about it, I saw how it made sense. Nudity, especially for women, creates a sense of being placed at a vulnerable disadvantage in relation to our captors. They had uniforms, high jackboots, a black leather belt, essentially all the symbols we associate with enforcing authority. Me, I had a collar, a chastity belt and chains; the rest was exposed to anybody who cared to look.
In one sense it wouldn’t be difficult to complete my sentence. There was to be no safe word, no secret password where I could end my ordeal early and walk away. That was what made this place different from a commercial dungeon. Even if I had a change of heart and wanted out no one was going to pay any attention to my pleas, except maybe to correct me for being a nuisance. The thirty days was every bit as permanent a time limit as the chains I wore.
A Room for the Night
By the time we reached my room I’d had plenty of time to learn just how effective my new restraints were when it came to denying my freedom of movement. The reduced length of chain between my ankles turned walking into a sluggish and tiring ordeal, placing a strain on my legs. The hood was an excellent blindfold, which made it even worse. At least the guard did stop several times to let me rest. Judging from the sound of keys in locks and the clash of barred gates opening and closing we were in some kind of cell block. From the sounds alone the number of locked gates represented a formidable barrier to any escape attempt, even if I could somehow escape from the chains and handcuffs.
The route seemed to go on forever. At some point I began to suspect he was deliberately leading me in circles to confuse my sense of direction. If that were true it was working. I had no idea where I was, much less how to get back to the entrance. That’s why they use the hood, I realized. It’s so I can’t figure out what’s going on or how to find my way out.
They certainly were delivering on my request for risky prisoner status, with excessive security imposed on me night and day. My escort, a large man, could easily subdue me even if I wasn’t conveniently outfitted in chains. I saw the necessity, because I never considered fighting back.
Another stop, the sound of a door being unlocked, and once more the pressure on my arm hustled my forward. A few steps and he stopped me, letting go of my arm. Off came the hood, to reveal a tiny, cramped jail cell. If the décor was intended to be depressing the interior decorator had certainly demonstrated remarkable skill.
It was no more than what I envisioned for a modern jail cell. At least I had a private room, though the front was covered in bars rather than a wall, which meant no real privacy at all. The guard removed my handcuffs, freeing my hands. That was a relief. For a moment I was worried he might leave them on all night. I was not accustomed to sleeping with my hands tied behind my back.
“Against the rear wall,” he ordered. I took two steps, his hand on my back pushing me forward. “Turn around. Place your hands behind your head, arms out, against the wall. Stand with your feet apart, as far as they’ll go.”
He was standing in the center of the cell, watching my every move. I could see his eyes sweeping up and down. I was acutely aware I had no clothes.
He shook his head. “No, that won’t do.” He grabbed my elbows and lifted them up before pressing them backwards until they touched the wall. “That’s better. We have a certain procedure you are required to follow whenever a guard is present. When you hear the outer door open you will assume this position at once. You will remain there unless you receive further instructions, or until you hear the guard leave, closing the outer door. You will not speak without permission.”
So it begins, I told myself. He didn’t elaborate on what would happen if I weren’t in position against the wall. It wasn’t necessary. If I failed I would be punished. Exacting discipline, the kind I was here to experience, came with only one answer to disregarding the rules. Being written up with extra days added to my sentence would be the least of my worries. I could sense the man standing before me wasn’t the type to show leniency or compassion.
“You will remain in here until tomorrow morning. You are not allowed to sit on the bunk, but you may sit on the floor after I leave. When the lights dim, what we call ‘lights out’, then and only then can you make use of the bed. You are not required to get up during lights out when a guard makes the rounds to check on you. You will receive further instructions when you wake up.”
There wasn’t anything complicated in his orders. I wasn’t thrilled about sitting on a cold concrete floor until bedtime. And there was the question about what time I was supposed to wake up. Without a clock or alarm that might be a problem. I assumed I’d find out how that worked when the time came.
“One last word of warning. We like it quiet in here. Talk to yourself if you feel the need for company, but we don’t tolerate shouting or loud noises. After lights out there will be no talking.”
How long before I went around the bend, so to speak, pacing back and forth, engaged in an ongoing conversation with my imaginary other self? That’s all I needed, a mental breakdown leading to a straitjacket and the psychiatric clinic. They could leave me in this cell for the next month, with no one but myself for company.
The guard stood in front of me, arms folded, studying me as if he were waiting for something to happen. Whatever he had in mind I wasn’t going to be the cause for a reprimand. I could play the waiting game too. I was confident my position was flawless, and I wasn’t going to move a muscle. That was a point of pride for me; when being dominated by a man I delivered everything he asked for, regardless of how well he handled the power granted to him.
In essence it was a little test of mine. How well did the aggressively dominant male handle the exceptionally submissive female? Did he have a single-minded obsession with sex, or did he have the patience to understand the mind game, to make use of the more subtle aspects of control?
I wasn’t sure where this guard fit into my test. I was certain he had a key to my chastity belt, giving him both the means and opportunity, yet there he stood, staring at me. I could sense he liked what he saw, though he made no move to satisfy his desire.
Suddenly he was close, in front of me. He curled two fingers around my collar, using it to force my chin up. Our eyes met, and I couldn’t look away. “Don’t move,” he whispered. “Not a sound, don’t speak even to answer me.” His voice was so low and soft I could barely hear him.
The results of my test were in. He was definitely in the mind game category. That was my last coherent thought before my brain’s higher functions started to shut down. Whether or not he found me appealing, I was drawn to him like the moth to the flame. My only concern was to please him, an overpowering obsession that drove out any doubts.
He jerked on my collar. “This suits you, doesn’t it? Is that why you’re here? Who wants to be thrown into prison, to be deprived of their freedom, to be stripped of their dignity? The answer? That rare individual who needs one of these,” he pulled on the collar again, “to put her in her place, the place she desires above all, at the feet of a man strong enough to own her.”
Every word he spoke was boring its way deep into my head. So much for critical thinking; I was convinced he was right. More than anything I wanted him to keep talking, but it wasn’t up to me. He let go of the collar, took a step back, turned around and walked out to the corridor.
Part of me ached to call out to him, to plead with him to stay. Instead I stood there, against the wall, silently watching while he locked the cell door before walking away. I didn’t have permission to move or speak. It didn’t matter what I wanted; his commands took precedence over my own wishes.
The First Night
I didn’t move a muscle until I heard that outer door slam shut. I remained in place for a while afterwards, just in case he suddenly returned. Was it fear that held me in place? It was a factor, yet there was something else at work in my head. I couldn’t explain why, but I actually wanted to prove to him, or maybe myself, that I was eager to comply with his orders.
While standing there I took more time to examine my home for the next month. I suppose it might be called an ‘efficiency apartment’, except it would be an understatement. Minimalist was a better choice of words. To my left was a toilet with a sink on top of the tank. To my right was a bed, essentially a concrete block shaped into a sort of bunk. There was a vinyl covered pad so I wouldn’t be sleeping on bare concrete.
At the foot of the bunk was a folded sheet and pillow. A sign on the wall listed the numerous regulations governing the use of the bed and the cell. I could not sit or lie on the bed except during lights out. I could not touch the bedding before lights out either. That meant it was out of bounds for now.
Lights out was evidently the overnight period when we were allowed to sleep. I didn’t have to get up and stand next to the wall if a guard came in to check on me. I was allowed to cover myself with the sheet while sleeping, another luxury. According to the sign when the lights came back up I had to immediately get up in order to neatly fold the sheet and put it back in place, along with the pillow. So much for sleeping in; the snooze button was only a dream from now on.
So I was left with sitting on the floor. Carpet would have been nice. However, that was a luxury not afforded to prisoners. Cautiously I lowered my arms. No outraged shouts followed by the magical appearance of a guard greeted my tentative first move. Satisfied I was relatively safe I risked moving, very slowly, to the bars at the front of the cell. Even with my limitations it didn’t take long.
The walls of my cell extended well into the corridor, blocking any sight of what else might be near me. No wonder my cell was so tiny. The placement of the bars cut my space in half. I doubted that was an oversight on the part of the architect. I’d read about prison cells; there was a minimum area per person, required by law. Anything less was considered inhumane. It was apparent this place was not overly concerned with legal mandates.
I grabbed the bars and gave them a good shake. Or tried to, they were as solid as the walls. I could see why. The vertical steel bars were set in a frame with horizontal braces. The frame was bolted to the floor, ceiling and side walls. No question it was more than sufficient to confine me for as long as necessary.
How long was necessary? I was stuck in here until someone came by with the key to the cell door. Or maybe I should call it a gate, since it was just as stout as the rest of the cell front. Multiple large, heavy hinges, welded shut, and a massive lock box meant I wasn’t going to be able to open it.
Holding on to the bars I lowered myself to the floor. The concrete was hard, cold and uncomfortable. I stared at the bunk with its pad. It was so tempting. All I had to do was stand up, walk over there and sit down. Sure, no problem, except I was sure to be caught in the act. Putting it off limits was a test, no doubt in my mind. I leaned back against the bars.
I pulled up my knees so I could get a better look at what they’d done to me. I ran a hand back and forth along the connecting chain between my ankles. Could I cut through it if I had a hacksaw? I wasn’t very strong; it would take hours, maybe all day. Not that I had a hacksaw, or a file.
I used both hands to study one of the shackles. Trying to cut through the shackle wasn’t a good idea. The close fit would result in deep gashes all along my ankle. That left the rivets. I knew they could be removed with a chisel, or a powerful drill. I definitely had nowhere near the physical strength for a chisel and hammer. I might be able to figure out a drill. There weren’t any nearby.
I wrapped my arms around my legs and closed my eyes. This place earned immediate checkmarks for bondage and confinement in my future review. The jury was still out in regards to the discipline, and for that matter the sense of being dominated. Tonight was a promising start. The guards were controlling me with a practiced ease I was unable to resist.
What did they have planned for me? The fact I had no clue was thrilling for what it represented. They weren’t obligated to tell me ahead of time. I could demand an answer, which would be promptly ignored. I wasn’t going home tonight, or in the morning, or next week. Not unless they decided to let me go, and I was pretty sure that option was not on their agenda.
I heard a chime. When I opened my eyes the lights had dimmed down. They weren’t completely off; I’m sure the cameras needed some light to work. This must be lights out, in which case I could assemble my makeshift bunk and lie down for the night.
When I finished I settled down on my bed. I wondered what time it was. I had yet to see a single clock, a wristwatch, or even a window. They were depriving me of something as simple as the time of day. What else did they intend to take away from me?
Time passes very slowly when one’s only companion is boredom. That was always a problem with long term bondage. What to do to pass the time while helpless? I fell asleep pondering that question.
When he slid the two boards together I was trapped in one very nasty piece of furniture. It was made out of wood, traditional with stocks, with cutouts to fit my neck and wrists. I was forced to kneel, fortunately on a padded board, with my ankles also fastened in place by another pair of boards. A wooden rod ran behind my knees so I couldn’t shift around.
Unlike the stocks in movies this one kept me upright. The guard had adjusted the boards so I was kneeling but with my head up and back straight. Upright posts on either side held the stocks in place. I recognized the setup for what it was: positional stress bondage. The longer I was trapped here the worse it would be.
I had virtually no freedom of movement. I couldn’t move up or down, side to side, or front to back. I could turn my head and that was it. The rigid frame holding me was bolted to the floor. There had to be a latch or lock fastening the stocks together, since my effort to push the boards apart was unsuccessful.
I had an excellent view of the walls around me, except behind my head. The cut out for my neck was large enough to accommodate the collar. Any smaller and I’d be choking. To my left were two more of the stocks, or pillories to be more precise. At the moment they were empty.
Was it comfortable? Not by any definition that came to mind. This was one of my ‘morning exercises’, which was supposed to instruct me on a properly respectful attitude. That’s the explanation I received from the guard who put me in this infernal machine.
I heard the door behind me open and close. I tried to turn my head to look. The guard hadn’t left. Instead I was about to meet a fellow inmate, when they installed her in the pillory next to me. I did notice she wasn’t wearing a collar. She must have declined the extras for her visit.
The place did not lack for customers. They brought in a third woman. It didn’t take long for her to join us in shared misery.
One of the guards, the one I recognized from yesterday, came around to stand in front of us. “Daily morning exercise attendance is mandatory. If you behave then you’ll be allowed to take a shower afterwards. If I see any signs you are not benefitting from the program, then we’ll provide you with more time to meditate about what you think to gain from defying us.”
He held up a gag. “After we leave you have permission to talk. If anyone abuses the privilege you will all earn one of these, along with an extended session. I don’t care who starts it; I will finish it. Remember the regulations about which subjects are off limits.”
I got the message. He walked over to the latest arrival. “Carol won’t be contributing to your discussion. She can listen but does not have permission to talk, not until she learns to choose her words carefully. I’m sure these exercises have been helpful.”
I could see her glaring at him. I figured this was not her first day in the stocks. He went behind her, out of my sight. I heard his boots on the concrete, back and forth. I tried to hold still, not that I had much choice in the matter. I didn’t know what he was looking for but he seemed to be satisfied with his inspection. “When I close the door you two may speak to each other. You will ignore Carol. Do not try to include her in your conversation. As far as you’re concerned she isn’t here.”
It appeared all I was going to learn about Carol was her name, and that she was not on good terms with the guards. When the door opened and closed I assumed he’d left the room. I turned my head to learn more about my exercise partner for the day.
“Hi! My name’s Paula, Paula …” I stopped suddenly. Last names were forbidden, one of the privacy regulations listed in the agreement. If someone was listening, I was sure to be written up. I was beginning to doubt I could last the full thirty days, much less an extra week or two added on for penalties. “Sorry,” I continued, “almost slipped there. Anyway, this is my first day.”
“Yeah, I heard them bring you in last night. I’m in the cell next to you. We’re not allowed to speak when the guards are present, in case you didn’t know, so I had to keep quiet. My name’s Sherrie. I can’t tell you my last name either. The officer who put me in here warned me not to provide any personal details. He told me I’d be punished if I broke the rules.”
Sensing the caution in Sherrie’s tone I was positive our conversation was being monitored. I carefully looked over the walls in front of us, trying to find a camera lens. If there was one, and I was sure it existed, it was well hidden. From now on I had to assume everything I said or did was being recorded. Maximum security, the kind I had asked for, meant there would be no privacy as long as I was confined in this place.
“Okay, Sherrie it is. If you don’t mind me being nosy, how long have you been here?” It would help if I could pick up some pointers on what to expect.
“Uhh…” Sherrie hesitated. “I’m not really sure, maybe a week? I still don’t understand what’s going on. A cop car pulled me over. I was stopped for drunk driving, but I hadn’t been drinking. The cops explained they had to take me to the station. Then they handcuffed me and put me in the back of their car. I’ve been here since then. They won’t let me make any calls or contact a lawyer. I keep demanding my rights but they ignore me.”
A chill went through me. If what Sherrie told me was true it was a clear case of kidnapping and false imprisonment. This place was no police station. It was the perfect place to hold a kidnap victim indefinitely. It also occurred to me I might be the next kidnap victim too. After all, I was no better off than my companions.
It was a well-crafted little story, one that would terrify anyone. That is, if it were true. The more plausible explanation involved some role-playing by an actress; with the intention of making me think I was in the hands of hardened criminals instead of players in a scripted drama. Seen in those terms the scenario presented to me made perfect sense.
I decided to play along with the script. The people behind all this had put quite a bit of work into making my fantasy come true. And considering what it cost, there was no point in spoiling the fun. “They won’t let you call anyone? Are you sure it was the police who arrested you?” I had to show some skepticism.
“I think so. It was an unmarked car, but it had lights and a siren. They weren’t in uniform, but they said they were detectives. I saw their badges.” I nodded my head. There was an explanation for everything. Someone had gone into depth for her backstory.
“After they put me in the back seat of their car one of them searched my trunk. He said there were drugs in there. They showed me two bags of some white powder and a gun. I swear, none of that was in my car the last time I looked.”
It read like any mediocre plot for a TV show. My opinion of the script writer went down a few notches. There wasn’t a trace of originality anywhere in this plot. The only part I didn’t get was the presence of Carol, our silent companion in adversity. She didn’t seem to fit into the story.
“The detective told me they had to hold me incognito, that’s the term he used, so as not to tip off the gang that I’d been caught. That’s why I can’t call anyone. There was a court order from a judge. The Warden showed me the piece of paper, saying they can hold me for as long as needed, until they catch the gang.” Sherrie concluded her story. There was just a hint of a sob at the end.
It was a neat package explaining everything, even though I knew the legal explanation was pure fiction. I told myself it was only window dressing, but there was a small, nagging doubt I couldn’t shake. That might be the hidden purpose, to plant the seed of uncertainty that would grow into the fear that I was in the custody not just of strangers, but men who weren’t overly concerned with legal niceties.
“I’m in here for the next thirty days. A jewelry store accused me of shoplifting.” That was the story I had been given to explain my presence. “I didn’t do it but the judge disagreed. The cops told the judge I tried to run away, so he sent me here, no bail. Supposedly a little ‘hard time’ will do me good.” I could embellish my own cover story too. It made more sense than asking to be thrown in jail.
I continued, “How are you being treated? You hear all these horror stories about jails and prisons. I don’t know what to believe.” If all this was planned then I’d given my unseen companion an open door to describe something worse than the Spanish Inquisition.
That’s not what happened. “They took my clothes and won’t give me anything to wear. I didn’t think they could do that, but the guard says it’s to prevent an escape attempt. They handcuff me whenever I leave this cell, like I’d be able to beat up a man twice my size. Oh yeah, they put this bag over my head too, so I can’t see where they take me. What I don’t understand is why they put me in this thing. I’ve never seen the police do that on TV.”
“They took my clothes too,” I answered. I decided not to mention the shackles for now. “The guards, do they ever get too friendly?” That possibility both worried and aroused me. I’d given my implicit permission to be raped by a stranger, a harsh word but accurate. The image in my head of suddenly being assaulted and unable to offer any resistance was so enticing I hoped it would become reality during my stay. If it went all the way, I’d live with it. The larger question is whether I’d be disappointed if it didn’t happen.
Sherrie did not answer the question immediately. “Well, I haven’t been assaulted, if that’s what you’re asking. They make me wear this thing,” she paused. “The guards call it a chastity belt. It goes around my waist and between my legs, so I can’t really do anything like, you know, have sex. I saw that you have one on too, and so does Carol…” Sherrie suddenly stopped when she realized she’d disobeyed the order to ignore Carol. “The guards do put their hands where they shouldn’t. I try to push them away but with my hands cuffed behind my back I can’t do much. I guess I just put up with it now.”
I expected one of the guards to rush in and drag Sherrie off, but nothing happened. Instead of being sympathetic I found I was irritated she was getting away with what I considered to be inexcusable behavior. Maybe I shouldn’t be so judgmental; after all, I wasn’t the one in charge. Even so it bothered me to see the rules being broken.
Putting aside my disappointment in Sherrie I decided to see how far she’d go with her story, assuming it was all fiction. “They have to let you talk to a lawyer if you ask for one. They can’t keep you in here forever.”
“I know,” Sherrie replied. “I keep asking but they tell me it’s impossible. I don’t know what else to do. Something isn’t right, the way they’re treating me. Do you think they might not be the police? I’m scared of what they’re going to do with me.” I could hear the fear in her voice. If this was staged, I had to admire the skill of the actress.
That’s when the waste product hit the air circulating device, to paraphrase a popular cliché. I heard the door burst open behind me. The guard who had put us in the stocks marched around to face us. I could tell from the frown on his face he wasn’t in a good mood.
He went over to Carol and grabbed her hair in one hand. He jerked her head back with what had to be a painful tug. “I made it clear Carol here was to be ignored. It was a simple, easy to follow instruction, yet you ignored it. The purpose of this exercise is to learn to respect authority, specifically those of us who are responsible for you. That includes doing what we tell you.”
I was starting to worry. He wasn’t singling out Sherrie for a reprimand. The ‘you’ sounded like it included all of us. That fear was confirmed when he continued.
“Maybe you think you’ll get away with it, claim it’s a slip of the tongue, not intended to be impertinent? You’re here in part to learn excuses like that don’t work. Either you get it right or face what happens when you disappoint me.”
So much for my silent complaint Sherrie was going to get away with her violation. From the barely controlled anger in his voice I was sure we were all about to be penalized for what one of us had done. The guard disappeared behind us, out of sight.
I was the last one to be gagged. He started with Carol, then Sherrie and finally I had the foam covered, hard rubber wedge forced into my mouth. It was held in place by a wide leather panel and a series of straps surrounding my head. It might not completely silence me but any attempt on my part to say something intelligible was all but impossible. It had a revolting rubbery taste and wasn’t at all pleasant to wear. But then its purpose was to punish, and in that respect it was well suited to reminding me of my obligations.
“Next time you’ll all do better, won’t you? We can spend the entire day here if that’s what it takes. It’s entirely up to you. Why don’t you take some extra time this morning to meditate on the wisdom of being careless, if not outright disobedient?” He stood there, his eyes sweeping back and forth, scrutinizing us for any reaction.
I didn’t blame the guard for my predicament. He was only doing his job. He was left with no option but to punish us for a blatant disregard of his clear and explicit orders. No, it was Sherrie who brought this on us all. I wasn’t a violent person but at the moment I was ready to strangle her, figuratively if not literally. Not that I could do anything about it with my hands clamped in the stocks.
“The morning exercise period will be extended due to issues with participation. The usual rules will be in effect. You can talk among yourselves, but keep the volume down. By the way, Carol’s prohibition on joining in has been lifted. She has permission to talk, and you don’t have to ignore her.”
I heard him laughing before the door closed behind him. He may have thought he was being funny but I failed to see the humor. I tried to say “hello” through the gag, though all that came out was a meaningless grunt. Both Carol and Sherrie shook their heads; that wasn’t going to work. I gave up, resigned to kneeling in the stocks in silence.
Finally, it was over. The morning exercise session was coming to an end. I knew that because the guards were in the process of releasing Carol, the woman who originally wasn’t allowed to speak. Next they took away Sherrie, the cause of our extended session. It was my turn when they came back.
My back was sore and my knees were killing me. Was this going to be every day? If it was then I might not be able to stand up in a week’s time. They claimed it was to teach us to be respectful. I was willing to start and end every sentence with ‘sir’ if that’s what it took to keep me out of the grip of this furniture from hell.
I said a silent prayer of thanks when I heard the door open again. From the corner of my eye I saw a single guard with the standard hood in one hand, standing off to my left. The other guard, the one who delighted in reminding me how bad off I was, stopped in front of me. The man behind me removed the gag, to my immediate relief.
“I’ll see to this one, Pete. You go ahead and take the others to get cleaned up.” Wait, what was happening? The session was over. I was promised a shower and breakfast.
The remaining guard disappeared for a moment, before returning with a folding chair in one hand. He sat down, not very far from me, folded his arms and stared at me, not uttering a word of explanation. From the way he looked at me there was only one thing on his mind. Except for the chastity belt I had nothing to hide. I was on full display, for as long as he wished.
“You have my permission to leave, if you’d rather not stay to keep me company.” He waved toward the door behind me. He did not get out of the chair.
Leave? How was I supposed to accomplish that feat? “Sir, I’m unable to free myself,” I began.
He didn’t stand up. “That’s your problem, not mine. Since you choose to stay we can become better acquainted. The Warden asked me to keep an eye on you. Seems he’s concerned you might turn out to be a troublemaker.” He held up his hands. “Before you deny it, I’m not so quick to judge. Your behavior over the next month will either confirm the Warden’s preconceptions, or prove to my satisfaction you’re here for the right reasons. You’ve already been punished for being disrespectful,” he gestured at the stocks, “and that’s not a good start. It’s up to you to do better.”
Me, a troublemaker? I’d been here less than a day, and in that time I was sure I’d done nothing to earn the Warden’s mistrust. It wasn’t my fault I’d been dragged into Sherrie’s reprimand. I had no way to avoid guilt by association, and started to say so. “Sir, I didn’t…” I started to reply in haste, and just as quickly stopped.
He folded his arms, cocked his head to one side and stared at me. “You didn’t what?”
I didn’t want to dig a deeper hole for myself, is what. Complaining that I’d been unfairly included in collective guilt wasn’t going to improve this man’s opinion of me. He must know the facts, yet he had not chosen to ignore what happened. There was something else at work here.
“I admit I did not act immediately to speak up when someone else violated an order. It was wrong of me, and entirely proper I was included in the group punishment. It won’t happen again, sir.” That wasn’t an empty promise. From now on I had my own zero-tolerance policy towards any of my fellow guests if they showed the slightest hint of challenging our keepers’ instructions.
He didn’t respond immediately. I silently knelt in front of him, held in place by the stocks. There wasn’t much else I could do to demonstrate my sincerity. Either he believed me or he didn’t; it was out of my hands.
He unfolded his arms and leaned forward. “You’re learning. That’s a good sign.” He stared at me but didn’t continue. After a moment he leaned back in the chair again. “Hold still. No talking. Head up, look at me. Straighten up your back! I didn’t give you permission to slouch.”
As usual my brain shut down when I heard that firm, commanding voice. I was aching all over but I had to do my best to lift myself up. I could see the way his eyes narrowed, judging me.
He said nothing but somehow I knew he approved. Maybe I’d never understand how he could affect me with only a few words but I had no doubt as to the result. I still didn’t like him but I couldn’t help but try to please him, regardless of how I felt.
One again those eyes swept over me, up and down, over and over again. At some point he nodded, apparently satisfied with what he saw. “With the right attitude you’ll do well. It’s not going to be easy for you but as long as you stay positive, work hard, remember what you learn about yourself, you might look back on your stay here with a certain fondness.”
A stray thought was cynical about his promise. I didn’t care. All I really wanted was to listen to him, even if I had to endure the stocks.
He stood up. “Let’s get you out of that thing. You missed breakfast but I had the cook set something aside for you. You can eat after a shower.” He reached out to push a wisp of hair away from my face. “I’m trusting you, so don’t disappoint me.” The hood went over my head.
Without any warning the guard spun me around to face him, before he shoved me roughly against the back wall. “Don’t move! Not one word, not a sound,” he ordered. We were alone in my cell.
I was frozen in place, overwhelmed by his sudden aggressiveness. I couldn’t react; I was fixated by his intense stare into my eyes, looking up at him. His hand was in my hair, pulling my head back. The other I felt on my breast, caressing it. His weight pressed against me, pinning me to the wall.
I didn’t care who he was or what he thought of me. My mind emptied except for the irresistible compulsion to please him, any way I could, though sexually would be my preference. Somehow he had discovered my weakness; uninhibited domination, for me, was as powerful a drug as heroin. I was addicted to it; I’d do anything to experience the rush it brought.
I wanted to wrap my legs around him, to feel him inside me, overpowering me. The leg shackles and chastity belt didn’t cooperate. The moment passed when he let go of me and stepped back. I was breathing hard, flushed from arousal, but most of all disappointed he had stopped. He turned away from me and walked outside the cell, pulling the door shut behind him. A turn of his key and I was locked inside.
“Sorry, no room service, but there will be a wakeup call in the morning. We’ll let you know when that will be.” His eyes narrowed, scrutinizing me. “I suggest you try to get some sleep after lights out. You have a busy day tomorrow. And in case you forgot, there’s no talking after the rest period begins. We like to keep it quiet while our guests are sleeping.” He walked away, soon out of sight when he passed the walls extending out from my cell. A moment later I heard the crash of yet one more security door being shut.
The guard, Officer Obnoxious was my name for him, hadn’t bothered to remove the handcuffs. Using my fingers, I explored how my wrists were bound together. Both pairs of cuffs were the hinged type, which ensured my hands stayed close together and in line. He’d used two sets, which was a change compared to what I’d experienced before my arrival here. The two pairs faced each other, covering the keyholes. They could be pushed apart, enough for someone to insert a key and open them. There was no way I could manage it on my own, even if I had a key.
I leaned forward, trying to slip my hands over my hips so I could step through the cuffs and at least bring my hands to the front. It was a trick I could sometimes accomplish with regular police style cuffs. It didn’t take long to figure out it wasn’t going to work this time. My wrists were too close together. I walked over to the front of the cell.
Backing up to the bars I held on to them while lowering myself to the floor. With my back to the hallway I leaned back, stretching out my legs. How many days did I have left on my sentence? It was a jolt to my self-confidence when I couldn’t immediately come up with a number. The days were beginning to run together.
Idly I stared at the bare concrete wall at the rear of my cell. Whatever they chose to do with me, for the foreseeable future, was beyond my ability to prevent. Behind my back I wrapped my hands around the bars, holding them tightly. The collar around my neck pressed against the bars, yet one more reminder of my condition. This was it, exactly what I’d signed on for: stripped, bound and confined in a cage I was as helpless as any damsel in distress in the movies. The chains and bars were real though, not special effects. I couldn’t run away, and I couldn’t fight back.
I spread my legs as far apart as possible, pulling the ankle chain taut. Looking down I could see the gleaming shield of the chastity belt. The bondage was having a predictable effect on me, arousal but no relief would be forthcoming. Clever how they waited until it was too late for me to protest before bringing out that belt, I told myself. It had been one of the first steps in asserting their power, claiming the right to withhold my sexual release.
I was reminded of the agreement and the section dealing with sexual activity. I could have listed any number of restrictions; instead, I left it blank. No halfway measures, I told myself, shaking my head at how idiotic that had been. I’d literally given my captors consent to rape me at their leisure. What I had not expected was the opposite, total denial.
If I was giving up my freedom I might as well go all the way. At least that had been my reasoning, though it didn’t seem so clear to me now. I stared at the front plate of the belt again. They must have understood my intentions. If, or when, one of the guards decided to make use of my there wasn’t much I could do to stop him. He would need a key though. I had to smile at a random thought; it would be pointless trying to seduce one of the men in here unless I was sure he was in possession of one of those all-important keys.
This was an incredibly stupid stunt, I scolded myself, staring up at the ceiling of my cell. Careful what you wish for, you may get it. The old cliché ran through my head over and over. I glanced down at the chain between my ankles again. The image stuck in my mind. A week from now, even two weeks on it would still be there.
The band around my neck wasn’t going to disappear either. I was well aware of what that collar represented. It marked me as a man’s property, subject to the whim of the Warden, or even the guards, especially one Officer Obnoxious. They had the means to put it around my neck; I did not have the power to remove it. It was a simple statement of fact yet it had a profound effect on how I now fitted into a new world far removed from the reality outside the walls around me.
I closed my eyes, letting the day’s events wash over me. This was a world I was born for; discipline, confinement, bondage, and yes, even isolation. I wondered, what was in the news tonight, beyond these walls? I had no idea, and that’s how it should be. Someone was watching over me now. If I needed to know, they would inform me. And if they didn’t, then I would accept their censorship was for my own good.
On an impulse I fought the handcuffs one last time. Twisting and turning my wrists I tried to slip off the steel bracelets. Of course, my efforts were a waste of time. They were on to stay, as far as my wishes were concerned. Why had he left me this way? Up to now the guard had always freed my hands at night. Was it some new kind of policy, or maybe he had intentions of returning later in the night? Whatever the reason, it wasn’t my place to question the motives of those in charge. And if I did object, what was I going to do about it?
That prospect brought up a recurring concern. What would happen at the end of my sentence? There was that loophole, the extra days added on for misbehaving. Supposedly it had a limit, though there was nothing I could do if they kept adding on more time. On the last day, assuming there was one, would I walk out, get in my car and drive home? Or would I still be sitting here, trying to figure out some plan to get out of this place?
I had no illusions about sneaking out on my own. I’d seen enough to convince myself it was impossible to escape. Either they let me go or the police burst through the doors to rescue me. Neither possibility seemed to be very likely. No one knew I was a prisoner in here, nor was it likely a guard would take pity on me and smuggle me out, assuming it was possible. I thought about Sherrie and her story about being kidnapped. If she wasn’t making it up…
I pushed aside that scenario. There was no point in worrying about a future that might never happen. I told myself this was still one of those exotic adventure vacations; thirty days in a nightmarish prison and that was all.
Whatever was in store for me I had a more immediate problem. How was I going to manage sleeping with my hands tied behind my back? Was it deliberate or just an oversight, leaving me without the use of my hands? It really didn’t make a difference; I was stuck in what was going to become a most uncomfortable position before too much longer.
“Paula? Are you there? Can you talk? Are you okay?”
I recognized Sherrie’s voice, my neighbor in the adjoining cell. I scooted around on the floor until I faced the bars. “I’m here. I’m alright, except the guard forgot to take off the handcuffs. How about you?”
“Did you…” she paused. “Did you do something to provoke the guard?”
“Not that I know of. He didn’t say anything. Maybe he was distracted and forgot.” That was my hope for the night, that he’d notice his cuffs were missing and come back for them.
“I’m scared they aren’t going to let me go. I keep asking about a lawyer. They ignore me. That part about the gang? I think it was all a pretense. The way they treat us? I don’t think they’re really the police.” I could hear the sobbing; she must be crying.
By now I was convinced Sherrie wasn’t acting out a script. She’d been kidnapped and brought here. I wasn’t sure what was worse; her being held against her will or me knowing about it. I had knowledge of a serious crime. Letting me walk out of here would be foolhardy. They had every reason to assume I’d go straight to the cops with the whole story. I had a bad feeling I might be in the same position as Sherrie.
Night to Remember
The lights dimmed. That meant lights out, time to sleep and an abrupt end to our conversation. On the plus side it meant I was finally allowed to use the bunk. I struggled to my feet and managed one step before the corridor door opened and in came two guards, judging by the sound of their boots on the concrete. As best I could I hurried to the rear wall to take my position. With the handcuffs on I wasn’t able to place my hands behind my head but in all other respects I was in my proper place. One of the guards reached for something on the wall, out of my sight, and suddenly the lights came back up.
My old friend, Officer Obnoxious, positioned himself by the cell door, studying me. The other one, I knew his name was Officer Pete, stood in front of the bars. He began talking, explaining why they were present. “We have a number of house rules for our guests. I’m sure you understand we insist they be followed, for everyone’s protection. One of those rules is what we call a ‘spot inspection’ of your quarters. For obvious reasons it is conducted without prior notice, at any time day or night.”
I had a bad feeling about what was coming. I had been thoroughly searched on the first day, and several times since then. There was no way I could sneak anything in. This inspection had to be an excuse for something else.
The cell door swung open. Apprehensive, I watched Officer Obie, short for Obnoxious, approach me. “Turn around and face the rear wall,” he snapped, in a tone that warned me he was used to being obeyed.
“Inspections will be conducted in silence,” he explained. “It’s a mandatory regulation.”
I didn’t get it at first until I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the gag in his hand. The meaning of ‘mandatory’ was clear to me now. “Open your mouth, wide.”
I hated gags with a passion. It was one of my few conditions when I handed myself over for bondage play. That particular stipulation was a moot point now.
When he held up the gag my mouth opened wide, of its own accord. In went the gag, filling my mouth with the rubbery-tasting foam covering a hard core. One strap went behind my head, another over my nose and head in a Y-shape. They met above my neck, in back of my head. He pulled the straps tight. I consoled myself with the reminder that it was a house rule, and rules must be obeyed regardless of personal preference.
He took hold of my upper arms. “One step back, slowly. Don’t look around.” I followed his orders, carefully sliding my feet back. Was something happening behind me? I dare not look just to satisfy my curiosity.
“Stop!” I came to a halt. What next? He grabbed the mat on the bunk and threw it on the floor, in front of me.
“We’re going to the floor. Kneel down. I’ll hold onto you.” It wasn’t as easy as I expected. I bent my knees but the shackles on my ankles were too close together for me to keep my balance. Without the use of my hands I would have fallen over. With his hands steadying me I was able to kneel on the pad, still facing the wall. I noticed there was a steel ring set into the wall in front of me, below my chin.
“You’re doing well.” It was an offhand comment but to me it meant everything. He knew exactly what to say to keep me focused on his instructions. “Keep that back straight! Don’t sit back on your heels.” The sudden change to an abrupt tone had the desired effect. It wasn’t the most comfortable of positions but the mat did save wear and tear on my knees. I still wasn’t sure what he had in mind for me. What did this have to do with an inspection?
“It’s important you hold very still. Will you do that for me?” This time his voice was soft, comforting, when he spoke so low it was almost a whisper in my ear. I might not be able to talk but I could nod my head in agreement. Somewhere in the back of my head a voice was warning that he was manipulating me. I didn’t care; at that moment I’d do anything for him.
He reached under my chin. I couldn’t see but I heard the rattle of a chain threading through the ring on the wall. A moment later the snap of a padlock closing on the retaining loop of my collar explained the mysterious reason behind the placement of that ring. My collar went from symbolic value to functional restraint. I was chained to the wall. I had to continue kneeling now; I’d choke if I tried to stand or even lean back.
“Excellent, I’m pleased you obey so diligently.” Simple praise, yet in my condition they sunk deep into my brain, reinforcing his power over me. “The inspection will start by checking the guest for contraband.”
What? I had no idea what he meant by contraband, or where I would hide it on my person. Other than the lovely jewelry the management insisted I wear all I’d brought into the cell was my birthday suit.
He began by running his fingertips down my arms, stopping at the handcuffs binding my wrists. That feathery touch left a line of fiery sensation like nothing I had ever experienced before. Then he moved to my hips, using that same light touch to trace a course all the way down to my ankles. Next it was my waist, one finger running along the boundary between the waistband of the chastity belt and my bare skin. I closed my eyes, lost to a world of sensation.
When his hands reached around to my breasts I lost it. I could hear moaning sounds, muffled by the gag. It had to be coming from me. Without thinking I tried to reach out behind my back with my bound hands, hoping I might touch him, if only for a moment.
“Stop that, right now!” His hands disappeared. I jerked back my hands, once more resting them against the small of my back. “I told you to hold still, don’t disappoint me.” There was a harsh tone to his reprimand. Tears came to my eyes. I deserved it.
“Mike?” That was the other guard, Pete. I’d forgotten all about him. “We got a call, out in the hallway, right now. You can finish with her later.”
“Remember what I said,” he whispered in my ear. How could I forget? It was up to me to prove to him I would not be disobedient again.
I heard him walk away. The cell door slammed shut. I heard the sound of the key in the door lock. Two sets of footsteps dwindled into the distance, followed by the sound of a distant door opening and closing. The lights dimmed, back to rest time levels.
There I was, alone in the gloom, kneeling on the floor and chained to the wall. What concerned me more than my uncomfortable position was the undeniable fact that I could not look away from that spot on the wall, the one he had directed to my attention. I wanted to look over my shoulder, in the hope I’d see a guard return. Whatever he’d done to me, my head was locked in place, my eyes fixed onto that tiny spot. Try as I might, I couldn't overcome his command.
There was little else to distract me from contemplating what was happening to me. A small part of me was still there, fighting to regain some kind of control. The rest of my mind was in a mental cage, trapped in a cycle of compulsion I could not break.
Hold still. That was the cage around my brain. I was alone, no one would see if I just took a quick look. That’s what I told myself. That other part wasn’t listening, or maybe my mental words were being drowned out by the sound of his voice. Whether I was alone or there was a crowd standing behind me, it made no difference. I would remain in position until he came back.
I had no idea how long my ordeal lasted. My back ached, my legs felt numb, and my knees, oh my knees, they were sawn off stumps. Even my shoulders began to remind me my hands had been bound behind my back for some time.
Physical discomfort was the price I had to pay for my disobedience. I was positive I was being punished for that one moment when I failed him. I knew better than to try to reach out. What else could he do, given the circumstances? It was his responsibility to maintain discipline. He had to correct me.
I heard the outside door open and close. The lights came up, followed by the sound of boots on the concrete floor. It had to be a guard. Was it him? It was important he see that I was still in place.
The boots stopped in front of my cell. Hold still, hold still, the words raced through my head, over and over. There were the now familiar sounds of the key in the lock, and the door swinging open. Then the guard was behind me, standing in silence. My anxiety level shot skyward. Had I missed something?
He knelt down close beside me. From the corner of my eye I recognized Officer Obnoxious. No, it was Officer Mike now; I knew his name. Not that I’d ever use it in conversation. He was Authority, capital A, with only one name, sir.
He unlocked my collar and removed the chain connecting me to the wall. That was a relief. I was starting to worry my legs would give out and I’d hang myself. I kept my eyes on the wall.
“You are a remarkable woman,” he told me, pushing aside hair that had fallen over my face. I couldn’t help myself. I started to cry, tears running down my cheeks. Behind my back I felt his hands on my arms. Then the handcuffs were gone; my wrists were free.
“C’mon, I’ll help you stand up.” He put his large, weathered hands under my arms and lifted me up. My legs turned to rubber, but he held on, helping me to the bunk. One odd thing, with my hands free I wasn’t sure where they should go. I settled with crossing them in my lap. I couldn’t ask, that horrid gag was still in place.
“Lean forward,” he told me. The gag came off after he loosened the straps holding it in place. That was an immense relief. I worked my jaw to ease the cramped muscles. “You have permission to speak.”
“Thank you, sir. You are very kind.” He was being nice to me and I did appreciate it. Even though he was directly responsible for my hours of misery I had no ill feelings toward him because of it. I was here for three reasons: confinement, bondage and discipline. Officer Mike delivered all three.
“Feeling better now?” At my nod he stood up and faced me. “Look at me,” he ordered in that certain tone that demanded my instant obedience. I lifted my face up to him.
“Listen carefully. Sit up straight, hold your head high. Legs together, both feet on the floor.” I hurried to meet his demands. “That’s right. Now, if you are not restrained your hands are to be placed on your thighs, palms down, like this.” He grabbed my hands, folded in my lap, and placed them on my legs. “Keep your fingers together.” He nudged my hands a bit more to the outside.
“There, remember this position. When you are seated, this will be the only acceptable manner for you to present yourself.” He crouched down to eye level. “You will get it right every time. No forgetting, you will be perfect in every way. Threats of punishment won’t be necessary, because there will be no mistakes. I have no doubts you can accomplish this. You will not fail me.”
He was so confident in the way he spoke about me, as if it were established fact. I had all kinds of doubts as to my ability to be perfect, but he simply brushed them aside without even asking. The way he looked at me, how his eyes seemed to peer deep into my soul, what did he see that I missed? I found myself gaining confidence from his words, drawing on his strength to build my own resolve. No, I would not fail him.
“You stay where you are. I’ll be right back.” I watched while he strode out of the cell and disappeared from sight. To my astonishment the door to the cell stood wide open. I could just walk out on my own; there was nothing to stop me. That wasn’t right. Why hadn’t he locked it when he left?
A few seconds later he came back, an extra sheet in one hand. There must be a linen closet in the hallway. He was close by, all the time. Even so, that open door bothered me. Confinement required physical security. It was wrong for him to leave me alone like that.
He must have seen the concerned expression on my face. “What is it?” he demanded. Put that way I couldn’t hold back. I explained how I thought it was inappropriate for him to leave me alone in an open cell.
He stepped back and leaned against the wall, gazing at me with a strange expression. Suddenly he stood up straight. “Stand up, turn around! Put your hands behind your back!” The abrupt change sent me scurrying to meet his orders. I felt a set of handcuffs being closed around my wrists. Had I angered him with my complaint?
With his hands on my shoulders he guided me over to the rear wall. “Hold still! Don’t turn around. Do not speak.” Me and my big mouth; I was in trouble now.
He picked up the sleeping mat off the floor, where I had knelt on it. He slid it under the sheets and pillow. To my surprise he began making a makeshift bed for me, with the pillow against the rear wall, close to where I stood. When he finished he took me by the shoulders again, this time steering me to the bunk. “Sit down,” came the expected order in his crisp, no-nonsense voice.
When I sat down I remembered his instructions. Naturally I had to leave my hands behind my back, but for the rest I was sure I got it right. He backed up, arms crossed, scrutinizing every detail. He does notice, I thought.
“I’m not mad at you, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m angry at myself. You’re right; I should have locked the door, regardless of how long I was gone. I owe you an apology. It won’t happen again.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He represented Authority, he was in charge. If he made a mistake he certainly didn’t have to explain it to me. Make a change, ensure it didn’t happen again, but that was it.
He reached down and curled his fingers under my collar. “Don’t worry, no self-recriminations here. Did you really think you had a chance to reach the door without me hearing you?” He used the tip of his boot to jerk upwards on the chain between my ankles. “You make a lot of noise when you walk. My apology is for tempting you. You’d never make it to the corridor. Besides, I told you to remain where you are. You were incapable of standing up, much less making a dash for freedom.”
He was right, but then that was part of his job. As far as I was concerned, he was always right. A verbal order was sufficient to restrain me. The bars were merely decoration. All that was required to keep me in my cell was for him to look me in the eye and tell me I couldn’t leave.
“Is there something you want to say?” I took that as permission to speak.
“Yes, sir. I didn’t think about your command. I feel much better about the door now.”
“Yes, well, just the same, it will be kept locked from now on. Allowing you to freely wander around the premises, that won’t do at all.”
“No, sir,” I agreed. Strolling along the hallways, on my own, without a guard to supervise me? No hood over my head, and not fully restrained? Physical control was enforced by the twin pillars of bondage, through the restraints; and confinement behind the walls of this place. Mental control came with the rules of the house, along with the discipline administered by the guards. I needed, and expected, both to be present at all times.
It had been a long day, and I was feeling it. I tried to suppress a yawn but it slipped out despite my effort.
He noticed. “I’ll allow you to get some sleep in a moment.. There’s one last task I’m going to impose on you.”
“Yes, sir?” I was tired, but his demands came first.
“Every day, when you first wake up in the morning, and when you go to sleep at night, I want you to recite this pledge, out loud if you can, or to yourself if you must be quiet.”
A pledge? It was an odd sort of requirement but if he wanted it I was eager to comply with his wishes.
He reached behind me and released the handcuffs. Mindful of what I must do I immediately placed my hands in the proper spot on my legs. He nodded in approval. It gave me a warm feeling, to see the way in which he paid attention as to how well I kept to his orders.
“Repeat each line after me. I want you to memorize this. It’s short.”
I had to deliver it twice a day, so I paid careful attention.
“I am proud to be a submissive woman, obedient to those placed in authority over me.”
I echoed back the line, thinking about it. The wording was simple but profound in the implications. That phrase, placed in authority, might need some qualification.
“I do not apologize for who I am; neither do I accept criticism for behaving the way I am taught.”
I repeated it back, word for word. I liked that one. I interpreted it as meaning I didn’t have to make excuses because I chose the path of deference and submission to others. I caught myself; I was already thinking in terms of that phrase from the first line.
“I will remain faithful to my beliefs. I will not be swayed by detractors. That’s the last line,” He concluded. I ended my pledge by speaking that same line. I ran through all three lines one more time, to make sure I had it right.
Twice a day, I could easily manage that. The way it was affirmative, not negative, was reassuring to me. Best of all it was something beneficial, a small daily ritual I could perform for Officer Mike.
He rested a hand on my shoulder. “That’s enough for one day. I want you to get some rest. You’ll have a full day tomorrow. You will remain seated until the lights dim. You will recite your pledge, and then you will lie down. When the lights come back up, you will immediately sit up and recite your pledge again. Any questions?”
I had all kinds of questions, but those would have to wait for another time. “No, sir,” I answered.
He turned around and walked away. I watched while he made an elaborate show of locking the cell door. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing. He disappeared, but I could hear his receding footsteps in the hallway, ending with the outer door being shut. The lights dimmed.
Head high, I stared straight ahead, at nothing in particular. Slowly I recited my pledge, whispering each word since we weren’t allowed to talk after lights out. When I finished I kept my position for a little while longer. Only a few days in here, yet I had changed. I was a prisoner here in every sense. Confined behind bars, legs chained together in bondage, and inside my head, ahh, there was the real transformation. Between this place and Officer Mike my mind was in a sort of bondage too; confined within the rules, bound by nothing more than one man’s commanding voice.
I lifted up the sheet and lay back on the bunk, covering my legs. When I went to pull the sheet up I had to pause; it didn’t feel right. Did I have permission to cover myself? After reviewing his instructions in my mind I decided he wouldn’t have given me the extra sheet unless it was allowed. And there was the sign on the wall; according to the regulations it was allowed.
I had to put my arms under the pillow to prop up my head. Otherwise the collar kept choking me when I rolled around, trying to find a comfortable spot. Overall it had been a wonderful day. My only regret was Officer Mike not lying next to me. Oh yeah, I had to add not having a key to that chastity belt. It was unquestionably the single worst instrument ever devised to torment the wearer. I fell asleep in seconds.
“I love this story!” Cathy exclaimed. “It explains so much about our Paula. Sir?” She turned to Big Mike. “Does she still say that pledge twice a day?”
He nodded. “I never told her to stop. Paula?”
“Yes, sir. That pledge is such an ingrained habit by now I’d go crazy if I didn’t say it twice a day. When it’s just the two of us I repeat it out loud, otherwise it’s purely internal. Master agrees that I should keep it to myself when I’m in the secure area, out of respect for the other women who might overhear.”
“I disagree,” Trina spoke up. “I apologize, sir, but from where I am I think that pledge should be obligatory for any of us assigned to the secure area. I know it would mean a lot to me to be able to repeat it before going to sleep. May I have your permission to mention it to my master?”
Big Mike shrugged. “So you know, I made it up on the spur of the moment, while I was sitting next to Paula. She can send you an email with the text if you are permitted to ask.”
“Sir, can I add my name to the email list, if I get approval first?” That was from Cathy.
“Hmm, seems this may go viral. Okay, this is what we’ll do. Paula? You have permission to send the pledge to anyone who sends you an email first. That email must explicitly state the request is with her master’s consent. You will forward those emails to me. I want to make sure I’m not interfering.”
A Full Day
I was already awake when the lights came up. I didn’t wait for the wakeup alarm to chime. Instead I tossed aside the sheet and sat up. Without hesitating I assumed my special position and began reciting the pledge, louder this time. When I finished I heard the outer door open.
I began again when I saw it was Officer Mike in the hallway. I went through the pledge one more time, for his benefit. I felt different; self-assured, that was the best way to describe it. As soon as I finished I jumped up and began folding the bedding. While he stood there, watching me I carefully placed it all at the foot of the bunk before assuming my position against the wall.
“Elbows are too low, get them up!” he snapped. I raised my arms.
Mike unlocked the cell door and slowly walked in, looking around as if he were conducting a room inspection. In truth there was little to check. To say my room was sparsely decorated was an understatement. He didn’t hurry.
I watched him, concerned he might see something I had missed. He stopped when he looked over the bedding. Suddenly he picked up the pillow and threw it to the floor, at my feet. “The pillow case is crooked. Fix it, and then return to the wall.”
“Yes, sir.” I didn’t see anything wrong with the pillow but I wasn’t going to argue. His attitude was distant and maybe on the intolerant side, yet underneath it somehow I knew he was enjoying the moment. This was familiar territory for me. There was a certain trait in the dominant male personality, the desire to see their power over a submissive woman in action. It was sort of a guilty pleasure, seeing me jump through the proverbial hoops in a completely arbitrary way.
I suppose I had the right to be indignant, to tell him where to go and how to get there in graphic detail. That was the politically correct way, and in another life I might do just that. But not here, and especially not now; no, all I was concerned about was how I could best please him in carrying out those seemingly callous orders. I carefully straightened the pillow case and placed the pillow back on the bedding. I took my time in exaggerating how I centered the pillow. It had to be perfect. For Officer Mike everything had to be in its proper place.
I returned to my spot against the wall. My arms went up, elbows even and pulled back, the way he demanded. I stood like a statue; only my eyes were moving, tracking him while he paced back and forth in front of me. I saw the way his eyes swept up and down my exposed body. For once I was grateful I wore that chastity belt, because of the way it accentuated my natural curves in a most attractive way, drawing in the eye to focus in what was behind the metal plate securely nestled between my hips
I risked lifting my chin an almost imperceptible amount. It was enough to catch his attention, but hopefully not enough to warrant a reprimand. It was almost instinctive; I wanted him to look at the collar around my neck. It worked. He stared at that band, held on by the clearly visible rivets. Permanence was the word that came to his mind.
No question Officer Mike was fascinated by my collar. Did it work its magic on him to the same extent it affected me? In my heart it was his collar, his claim of ownership marking the woman standing before him. If only I had a way to get him to see me that way.
He reached behind my head, taking hold of my small wrists in his massive hands. I was surprised when he pulled my hands downward to where they rested just above the collar. That wasn’t the proper position.
“That’s better,” he explained. “It makes for a nice backdrop to the lovely necklace you have on. This is what I will see from now on.” And just like that it was now the right way. Order and structure were now restored with a few words. Was it capricious? Of course, but I didn’t care. What did matter is I knew exactly what to do.
“One last item,” he added. “When you get up in the morning, before you recite your pledge, you must neatly fold up the bedding first. It will be placed on the end of the bunk, close to the bars. It must be centered on the bunk, and the width of your hand from the edge. The pillow will be placed on top. Once the bedding is in order you will sit back down and begin your recital. You did well, this morning. I neglected to specify the order of your tasks last night. It’s my job to see you have explicit instructions. Tomorrow you don’t have to guess.”
The Busy Day
He turned away from me and strode out the cell door. I noted with approval he immediately turned around and locked it. The smile on his face left no doubt the show was for my benefit.
“Do not break your position. I’ll be back with your breakfast.”
I certainly had my structure now: the right way to sit; the right way to say my bedtime prayers, in a roundabout way; my duties when I woke up; and now the right way to stand. I caught myself, why was it right? Why did I just assume it?
Emotionally it felt like the proper way, no argument there. Intellectually? Sure, I had signed away my freedom for the next month, but did it include rearranging my life to suit their preferences? Obedient to those placed in authority, the phrase from my pledge tended to pop up at the most inconvenient times. I had consented, at least indirectly, when I signed the agreement. I’d placed them in authority all by myself; no one else to blame.
Now I had to face the law of unintended consequences. How was I to know in advance one word from Officer Mike and critical thinking centers in my brain switched off? Standing there, against the wall, I had plenty of time to meditate on what was happening to me. I stared at the bars in the front of the cell. They were a tangible symbol of physical confinement, restricting me to a tiny space, depriving me of my freedom. Yet the real confinement was his order mentally binding me to the wall pressing against my back. The bars were, in one sense, pointless because I was incapable of breaking my position. I was surrounded by invisible bars and chains, held firmly in place by Officer Mike’s will.
My lovely necklace, how I prized the sound of it. I felt the cool metal under my fingers. Through all my waking hours it weighed on me, literally and figuratively. It was as impossible to ignore as it was for me to remove it. No matter what was going on it kept intruding on my thoughts, day and night. Just to add to my confusion Officer Mike found it attractive, and even worse I wanted him to look at it. What did that say about me?
Meanwhile I had to wait until he returned. My arms were getting tired; I hoped he’d be back soon. Why did he force me to stand like this? There was the obvious answer, assuming he liked what he saw. I was convinced there had to be more to it.
These ‘one right way’ exercises he was handing out, they were getting into my head. I’ve never encountered anything like it before, so I’m not sure what was going on. How to sit, how to stand, and that pledge! The words kept coming back to me. It raised the serious question of why I was here in the first place.
I couldn’t move, and the explanation had everything to do with Officer Mike. There was no sane reason I had to stand here, against the wall, in a manner that screamed sex object. When Officer Mike came back I’d just walk up to the bars and tell him to take a flying leap. The only ‘right way’ was whatever I felt like doing. I was here for some bondage fun, and that’s all.
Sure, that’s what I was going to do, except for one thing. I will be obedient to those in authority, the line from my pledge. Every time I decided to go my own way those words came back to haunt me. Maybe there was some kind of short circuit in my mental processes. Whatever it was, I was caught up in it. I decided I’d go sit down on the bunk. Nothing happened; I was still staring at those bars, all my muscles frozen in place.
Up to now it had always been my decision to submit to a man. If I didn’t like what was happening all I had to do was walk away. In retrospect I had unconsciously assumed the same would apply when I signed up for my thirty days. Maybe I couldn’t walk away, but worst case I’d have to go through the motions if I changed my mind. After that I’d go home and write off my experience in here as old history, a bit of fun but that was all.
Standing there, contemplating my future, I realized my choice to submit was no longer voluntary. While it was true I was being forced to obey, my internal viewpoint was shifting and I couldn’t stop it. In some mysterious way I still didn’t understand I transitioned from what was important to me to what Officer Mike wanted from me. It wasn’t that I enjoyed pleasing him; it was essential to my own peace of mind that he got whatever he desired from me.
That’s what held me against the wall. I’d never felt more helpless in my life. My feelings, my dreams, my goals, nothing really mattered when he spoke to me. That look, the tone of his voice, it was his irresistible force and I was no immovable object. What scared me is that I hadn’t given him that power over me. He had simply come into my life and seized control in a matter of days. Was it fear of what he might do to me? No, not really; the real shock was how quickly and easily I had surrendered.
He finally returned, pushing a cart. I could see covered plates and a carton of milk. I hoped that was for me; I was hungry. The aroma of scrambled eggs and bacon made my stomach rumble in anticipation.
He opened the cell door and wheeled in the cart. It took all my willpower to hold still and not run over to the cart and gobble down the food. Don’t forget, I was reminded by the weight around my ankles, you can’t run.
I watched eagerly as he lifted the cover off the plate. I counted eggs, bacon and potatoes, all the basic food groups for breakfast. And was that coffee in the Styrofoam cup? He replaced the cover and wheeled around to face me.
Yes I was looking at the cart instead of the bars, but the temptation was too great. I did have the presence of mind to bring my eyes back to where they were supposed to be, before he caught me. Sure I was guilty but it was his fault for making me wait. I had no intention or compulsion to confess to this infraction.
He backed up and folded his arms, glaring at me all the while. Maybe he was suspicious. I was under orders to remain silent, which is precisely what I did.
“Before you eat,” he began, “I want to hear you recite your pledge. Let’s make sure you haven’t forgotten any of the lines. Begin.”
I’d never forget those words for the rest of my life. When I finished he just stood there, head cocked to one side, as if he were waiting for something else.
“Sir, may I be allowed to speak?”
He waved a hand in agreement. “Go ahead. You have something to tell me?”
How did he know? There was no way he could have seen what I did, yet in some inexplicable way he was waiting for me to confess.
“Sir, while you were gone I moved my hands out of position to touch my collar. And when you brought in the cart I failed to keep my eyes forward. No excuses, sir, I disobeyed you.” Once I started the words tumbled out. It was that pledge; it messed with my head. I felt guilty that I had even considered hiding what I’d done from him.
He unfolded his arms and started pacing back and forth in front of me. “I can’t ignore this. You will remain in position, and this time you will not violate your instructions. Is that clear?”
There went my breakfast. Poor behavior brings its consequences.
He stopped pacing and turned to face me. “The next time you will receive two days added onto your sentence. Make sure there is no next time.” He stood there, looking at me, then to the cart, then back at me, all the while rubbing his chin, seemingly lost in thought.
“I hate to waste food. Since you can’t feed yourself I suppose I’ll have to do it for you. After all you are my responsibility; you depend on me.”
He rolled the cart over, in front of me. Taking the cover off the plate he held it up to my chin. Stabbing a chunk of eggs with the fork he held it up. “Open wide.”
For the first time in my life I was, quite literally, eating out a man’s hand. It should have been degrading but I had a very different reaction. It was a sensual experience, and more than a little, umm, stimulating? Was I aroused by Officer Mike feeding me?
I finished eating breakfast, though it took a while. He wheeled the cart out of the cell, made an ostentatious show of locking the door, and disappeared around the wall. What he did not do is release me from my punishment. I stood against the wall staring at those bars, and this time I did not break position with my hands. My penance was taking its toll on my arms and legs, but I didn’t care. I had to pay for my lapse, but once I was done it would not be mentioned again. My guilty feelings had already disappeared.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d survived the full thirty days. The last day started with the leg shackles and collar being cut off. It was a welcome relief to get rid of the shackles; the collar I missed although I had to be practical. There was no way I could wear it in public.
Perhaps the nicest change was the jail uniform I was issued. It wasn’t much, a short, sleeveless and low cut dress, but after a month with no clothes it might as well be one of those expensive designer evening gowns.
The ‘Prisoner’ stitched on the back did not add to its value as a fashion statement. It was accurate. The shackles were replaced with the familiar police style leg irons. I could almost manage a normal walk, though I was not about to go jogging. Officer Mike had wasted no time in fitting them around my ankles. Them, as in two sets, with the connecting chains twisted together. That was the Officer Mike I expected these days. If one was enough, he used two.
Here I was, outside the Warden’s office, waiting for my exit interview. Naturally I had to sit the ‘one right way’, that was still in effect. I did have to modify the routine to accommodate the handcuffs. Two sets of handcuffs, but thankfully not the hinged type. My wrists were held close to my waist, in front, by the chain around my waist. I was so used to having my hands locked behind my back that the change was quite comfortable. Since I couldn’t place my hands on my legs I settled for crossing them in my lap, left hand over right. Officer Mike noticed, but then he always spots those details. When I looked to him for approval he nodded his head. I was proud I figured it out by myself.
Naturally I wasn’t waiting on my own. I never left my cell without an escort. To my delight Officer Mike was sitting next to me. He was intolerant of any deviation from his one right way, which meant I had to sit there quietly with back straight, head high, and eyes front. He was out of my line of sight, yet I was sure he was continually checking. That was his job, to watch over me and correct me if I got out of line. My job? I ran through the pledge, in my head. Up until the minute I walked out the front door of this prison that was my job.
The last thirty days had transformed me. Was it for the better? I hoped that was true. One thing definitely marked a turning point. Once I was back home, every morning when I woke up, and every evening before bed, I’d be there in front of the bathroom mirror, reciting my pledge. Those were my words to live by now. I’d be standing the one right way too, no clothes, with my hands behind my head. That ritual was part of me; I’d go crazy if it didn’t complete it every day.
What would happen to my cell? It would be home for someone else after today. I’d miss the comforting sight of those bars confining me, keeping me in my place. Most of all I’d miss the sound of Officer Mike locking the cell door. After I complained that first night he never left it open and unguarded. The cell wasn’t much, in fact it was very little, but it had become a second home to me. I’m not sure why the austere lifestyle was so appealing. The irony was it had none of the comforts of home, yet I was content to sit on my bunk, again, the one right way, and wait for a guard to show up. With no distractions I had plenty of time to think.
I heard the office door open. It must be the Warden, but again my eyes were fixed on the far wall. I did not have permission to turn my head or look around. “We’re ready, bring her in.”
A strong hand wrapped around my upper arm and lifted me up. I made my way through the open door with Officer Mike behind me. “Stand here,” he ordered, pressing my back against a wall.
Training took over without me even thinking about it: feet apart, wider now with the new leg irons; a straight back; and head up. Look directly ahead and don’t make a sound. I carefully crossed my cuffed hands in front. The day wasn’t over yet; I still had to follow the rules.
There was a stack of papers on the Warden’s desk. “You need to sign off on her behavior review before I go ahead with approving the completed sentence.” Why the show of paperwork? This was fantasy, not reality. It must be for my benefit, to keep up the pretense.
From my vantage at the wall I saw Officer Mike sign my review. I trusted it was positive. I could see lines of text on the page but it was too far away to read. Was it real? Had he actually written down a review of my stay? It would make for fascinating reading to discover what he thought of me.
The Warden took the second sheet of paper and signed it. “Okay, as of six this evening Paula is released from our custody.” He picked up another piece of paper. “After that she’s all yours, Mike. Here’s the transfer. Everything’s arranged.”
What? After six I better be on my way home. I almost said something but caught myself in time. Officer Mike turned around to look at me, frowning. I could still get into trouble if I wasn’t careful. I wouldn’t put it past the Warden to add a few days for bad behavior at the last minute.
At his desk he checked the time on his phone. “Not that long, go ahead and take her to the waiting area.”
On went the hood before Officer Mike led me out the door. Discipline, order and rigid structure, it must be the slogan of this place. I’d have to go through the motions right up to the last minute. It was a regulation, and in here rules were inflexible.
Had the experience been worth the cost? On balance I had to admit I’d do it all over again, even the unpleasant parts. Those moments were important too. If I failed to follow orders there was no question I had to be punished for it. Sure, it was a classic carrot and stick approach, but wasn’t that what discipline was all about? Rewards for behaving properly; punishment for unacceptable behavior. Properly as in the one right way, I told myself. I’d certainly learned that lesson.
Six o’clock, that was the hour when my freedom would be restored. I had every intention of asking Officer Mike if we could stay in touch once I left. I’d have to wait until then though; I was sure it would be inappropriate to bring up the subject while still subject to his control.
No, that wasn’t the correct way to phrase it. I would always be subject to his control, even after going home. That was the reason I hoped he’d at least call me. I didn’t want to lose something very special. At six o’clock I would no longer be placed under his authority. That sounded better. It was that line from my pledge getting in the way again.
The Waiting Room
When the hood came off I was startled to see Sherrie sitting on the wooden bench. Unexpectedly I found myself irritated at the sight of her. She must have been taught the right way to sit, but her execution was, to be charitable, sloppy. Slouching, head down, feet not lined up, it was a disgrace. Why hadn’t she been punished, or at least reprimanded? If Officer Mike ever caught me like that the least I’d receive would be all day lying on the floor hogtied in a pretzel, while he endlessly lectured me on my failings. That’s if he were in a good mood.
I was ordered to sit next to her. Immediately I assumed the position, my one right way. Maybe if she saw how it was supposed to be done Sherrie would try to do better. If I were allowed I’d try to talk some sense into her, but I didn’t receive permission to speak.
Officer Mike backed up to better see us. “Both of you are to wait here until it’s time to go. I’m going to let you talk to each other, but keep it down. Paula,” he turned to me, “see if you can get her to listen to you.” He nodded toward Sherrie. “This is unacceptable.” He walked away.
Time to go? That must be when I leave for home. Did they plan on releasing Sherrie, though it seemed a risky move assuming she had been kidnapped? Either way I had one last task to perform, to straighten her out. Though why the guards were bothering with her didn’t make any sense if she was departing soon. My place wasn’t to question why; those in authority knew what they were doing.
First, I had to get her attention. She was self-absorbed in pity, sobbing with her head hung down. I nudged her leg with my knee, which was about all I could do since my hands were cuffed and I wasn’t allowed to leave my place on the bench. Eventually I got her to look up at me.
“What?” she asked.
“Pull yourself together,” I urged her. “Sit up and stop blubbering! You’ve been taught how to sit, so get with the program. What’s wrong with you?”
Sherrie had an odd expression on her face, but she did make an effort to comply. “What’s wrong?” she laughed. “Oh, not much, just that they won’t let me go home. I’m being moved to some other place, out in the desert. No one will ever find me there. Other than that everything’s just great.” She jerked against her handcuffs. Like me she had a waist chain; there was no point in struggling.
What was she talking about? We were waiting to be released, not carried off to some remote site in the middle of nowhere. Any minute now Officer Mike would take off the chains, and unlock that awful chastity belt. I’d change back into my street clothes, get into my car and drive home. I’d have many fond memories of this place, but my sentence was up. It was time for me to return to the real world.
I needed assistance with Sherrie. If she knew she was going to be released it would help to calm her down. I looked over at Officer Mike. He was seated at a table at the far end of the room, his back to me. “Sir?” I called out. “Could you help us?” They were supposed to watch over us, so I figured asking for help would be tolerated.
He stood up and came over to our bench. He didn’t seem to be irritated by my request, which was a relief. “What is it?” he asked.
“It’s Sherrie, sir. I’m trying to explain to her we’re waiting here before being released. She keeps talking about being taken to some place in the desert.” He’d clear up her misconceptions.
He stood there, towering over me, not saying a word. I looked up at him, confused at why he wasn’t dispelling Sherrie’s fears.
“Released? What are you talking about? The two of you are scheduled to be transported to the Center, in the Mojave Desert. You’ll receive advanced training there, to prepare you for your new life. The driver should be here any moment with the van. We’ll get you loaded up and on your way.”
I stared at him, not believing what I was hearing. Advanced training? A new life? None of it made sense to me. This wasn’t right.
“Sir? I completed my sentence. According to the agreement that ends my stay here,” I protested. Maybe Sherrie was being moved somewhere else. I certainly was not.
“You’re correct; it does complete your visit. I decided it’s in your best interest to continue on in a similar environment. We operate another location that’s suited for long duration residence. No distractions, you’ll be more comfortable there.”
I was speechless. Sherrie was right. No wonder she was hysterical. My best interest? What right did he have to decide for me? That thought brought me to a screeching halt. He’d been doing just that for the last month, with my enthusiastic cooperation. I didn’t miss that peculiar wording either. He said ‘I’, not ‘We’. The implication wasn’t lost on me. Officer Mike had unilaterally chosen to run my life, regardless of my opinion.
The shock of discovering Sherrie and I were being kidnapped hit me like a physical blow. What could I do to prevent it? The touch of cold steel encircling my wrists and ankles reminded me I wasn’t in a position to offer any real resistance.
Aside from the cuffs I had one big problem I couldn’t ignore. Officer Mike had ordered me to sit on the bench. Despite all I’d just learned I was still essentially stuck in my sitting position, unable to move until he gave me permission to stop. If he directed me to get in the van I don’t think I could refuse.
He crouched down in front of me. Resting a hand on my knee he carefully explained what would happen next. “Paula, you will never truly be happy and content if you go back to your old life. I’m sure of this. I’m not going to let you make a mistake that’ll leave you miserable. You are my responsibility now; I won’t let your future happiness slip away. When the van arrives I will escort you to the passenger door. The driver will strap you into the car seat. You will cooperate with him; it’s the right thing to do.”
Our eyes were locked together; it was impossible for me to look away. At that point I realized I was going to do exactly as he instructed me, for precisely the reason he gave. The right way, the way he defines for me. No, I wasn’t being kidnapped. It was voluntary imprisonment, for as long as he wished.
“Sir? I…” I couldn’t complete the sentence. All it takes is a few words from him and my free will disappears. How did he do that?
He took his hand off my knee and laid it over mine, folded in my lap. “Your pledge, recite it now!”
The words came out of my mouth of their own accord. I heard them, I recognized my voice, yet it was as if someone else in the room was speaking. The words were accurate; I was obedient to authority, his authority over me, now and forever into the future. It was a bond between us that would never be broken.
“That’s what brought us here. For my part I had no idea what to expect. I think my biggest surprise was how easy it was to adapt to life here, in the secure section. When I heard about all the regulations the first time I thought I’d never survive. These days I don’t even think about it.”
Paula turned to Big Mike. “Anything else, sir? What did I leave out?”
Big Mike didn’t answer right away. “Well, the way you tell the story is much more interesting than my version. About all I’d add is that idiotic stunt in choosing riveted leg shackles is a good example to everyone why those kinds of decisions should be left to someone who knows better.”