Life Goes On
The classes continued, and Cathy learned more of the submissive lifestyle. She quickly fell into the routine, up in the morning, classes, exercises, some free time to relax. Like the others she lost track of the days. She had no idea of the time of day, the date, or even the month. She thought it had been less than two weeks, but she wasn't really sure, and of course it was forbidden to discuss it.
Interspersed with the lessons were exercise periods and what were called “self-discipline periods”. The exercises weren’t difficult. There were the typical aerobics and some more traditional exercises, usually in a room equipped with sunlamps in the ceiling lights. Cathy looked forward to the exercise periods because they invariably got some free rest time afterwards. Since they were never allowed outside the exercises helped to keep muscle tone and the lights helped to maintain vitamin levels from the skin.
What were euphemistically called disciplinary periods Cathy did not enjoy at all and dreaded each one. They were placed in a long narrow room in a line, kneeling on a cushion facing mirrors. For however long the session lasted they must remain immobile, in a submissive posture, staring at their reflection in the mirror. Behind them Wardens would walk back and forth, scrutinizing them closely for any mistakes. The pacing behind her made Cathy very nervous and difficult for her to concentrate. After the first session, she had asked Paula why they were forced to practice their posture in such an odd way.
“That’s not what it’s about,” Paula had told her. “They deliberately make it unpleasant. You aren’t supposed to be enjoying your stay here, remember? Aside from that, there is another purpose. It’s a type of training exercise, no, not on how well you present yourself, but on how well you handle orders you don’t like. It’s easy to submit when you are told to do what you want to do anyway. When it really counts is how well you obey when it isn’t fun, like when you are required to kneel in front of a mirror with some stranger staring at you, something you would never do normally. That image you see in the mirror? You are being forced to confront your own nature, the core of who you are. No pretense, nothing concealed. You begin to realize just how truly dependent you are on your master. Give it some time, Cathy. After a while you start to see a change. Who knows, you may even start to enjoy it,” Paula laughed. Cathy thought about it. Paula was right in one respect; the disciplinary periods were not pleasant interludes.
One particular lesson had fascinated Cathy. Like many others it started with a teacher entering the classroom, in this case Sarah again, but for this one lesson Sarah’s master also attended. At the start, he sat down at the front of the class. When everyone was ready, he nodded to Sarah for her to begin.
“I’m sure you have all read the countless books and essays on what it means to be submissive, how we should behave, what makes us the way we are. But did you ever wonder what it is that goes on inside your master’s head? What is it that drives him to dominate you? In this lesson we will look at those questions and more. Now this may surprise many of you, but I am not the most qualified to talk about this subject.” Everyone laughed at Sarah’s joke. “So I will join you for a while and we shall all listen to my Master describe the innermost dark secrets of that most feared and loved, by us at least, species of man, our masters the dominant males. Afterwards we will discuss how we can use that knowledge to better serve.” Sarah went to a cushion to one side of the rest of the class and knelt facing her master.
Once she was settled he stood and began. “Why am I dominant? Why do I want to own someone like Sarah? What is it that makes me want to control her entire life, dictating rules, overseeing and approving her every action? Well, here’s the secret: men want to dominate, to master, because they are insecure. They want to control their environment. They want to control anything and everything that affects their lives. They want to be sure that what they have today they will also have tomorrow.
“Wait a minute you say, isn’t it about sex? Don’t men want to have a willing woman available any time, day or night? Sure, any man who denies it is lying, but there’s more to it. Yes he does want to find you there whenever he rolls over in bed in the middle of the night, but he also wants to know you will be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. He wants you to be his best friend, who’s always there, the one he can share his secrets with, the one he can trust. Yes, trust, surprised? You hear so much about how a good submissive builds trust in her master, but you don’t think about the rest of it. He has to trust you as well, trust that you will keep his secrets, trust that you will be there for him, trust that you won’t walk out or turn on him.”
“It goes back to that basic insecurity. He wants a woman he can spend a lifetime with, but he has that craving for control, to make sure everything is done his way. Who can best answer that need? Someone who loves him, is devoted to him, wants to serve him, take care of him, but also someone who will obey him, defer to his judgment, be it right or wrong, someone who can allow herself to become dependent on him. What type of woman would best be suited to a role like that?”
He stopped and looked around at the class. Cathy had never thought in those terms before. She couldn’t picture her master as being insecure.
“The answer is obvious to all of you here: a deeply submissive woman,” he continued. “Each one of you has chosen to submit to your master. Why you choose to do so is another topic, but you submit knowing that it means you accept his unrestricted authority over your lives. Is it what he really wants? Yes, and don’t ever doubt it. Your submission is like a powerful narcotic drug to him. The more he gets from you, the more he wants. It draws him to you, an attraction more powerful than you can imagine.
“As a submissive it must seem that you take all the risks. You give him everything, yet he could abandon you on a whim. Reality is far different. The more you draw him in, the more power you give to him through your submission, the more he will need you. Can you walk away from him on a whim? No? Well, he can’t either. You are fulfilling dreams he’s had since childhood. He will no more abandon you than he would cut off his arm. Remember this: just as his dominance binds you to him, so your submission holds him to you.
“To me, domination is not about what I actually do, but the potentials, what I could do if I wished. If I were so inclined I could order Sarah to crawl around on the floor barking like a dog. Am I going to do that? No, it would be silly. But I know I have the ability to make her do that if I wanted it. See the distinction? That’s why your master isn’t some kind of abusive monster. He doesn’t need to prove he’s in charge by issuing a constant stream of orders and rules, to put you through some degrading or humiliating scene. Rather he sees, from how you obey him, how his power over you is there whenever he wants to use it.”
“We’ll take a short break now. Afterwards Sarah will continue the lesson. Sarah? Come to the front.” He concluded his lecture and left by the teacher’s entrance. Sarah stood after he had left the room and took her place at the front of the class.
“As my Master said, there will be a break, you can stand and talk quietly. Afterward I’ll speak of my own experience and how it fits with what you’ve just heard.” She gestured for everyone to stand.
After the break Sarah called the class to order again. “You have heard from my Master about what motivates a dominant male to seek our submission, to be our masters. Now, how do we use that information to better serve them?
“Remember what he said about insecurity, and that drive to control to overcome it? We attract a master in part by offering our submission, but it doesn’t stop there. We have an obligation to demonstrate his control over us in tangible ways. Let’s take an example to illustrate the point.
“I’m sure every one of you has certain rules imposed on you by your master. Some may be practical, some for your own good, but there are always a few he dictates just for his own personal enjoyment. For instance, my Master insists that I always put on my left shoe first and take off my right shoe first. Sounds sort of ridiculous, doesn’t it? How could it matter to anyone which shoe you put on first? It’s a rule, so of course you follow it, but more than likely you will think it a waste of time. It isn’t. There is an excellent reason for rules like that, if you know how to look at it.”
Cathy thought about some of her own rules. One oddity was that her master insisted that she always wear a skirt and blouse when they ate lunch together. She hadn’t thought much about it, perhaps he liked to look at her legs, but she never understood why it had to be a skirt and not a dress. A few times she had forgotten, so he had told her to go change before they sat down at the table. After that she had gotten into the habit of simply wearing a skirt during the day. She listened as Sarah continued.
“Does my Master care which shoe I put on first? Not really. Does he care if I follow the rule or not? Absolutely, if I forget even once he’s on me immediately about it. After a few, umm, let’s say painful reminders, I don’t ever put on the right shoe first.” There were several laughs at Sarah’s comment; everyone there knew what she meant by a reminder. She continued with her example.
“Why does he care? Because it’s a way to control me, to see that I obey him. It’s a reassurance that he’s in charge and our roles are not subject to change. He can see his dominance over me on a daily basis. It’s important to me as well, because I know I’m doing something special for him.
“That’s the key point to this lesson. Why are all of you here? In some way or another you disobeyed your master, broke one of his rules or challenged him in some way. Do you see what happens when you do that? You strike at the core of his insecurity. For those of you who believe being sent here is unfair and an overreaction to what you did, think about it a moment. It wasn’t what you did, but what it represented which brought you here. Remember my master’s comment about potential? When you defied your master, you took away that same potential from him. He no longer had the certainty that you would be there for him. He doesn’t want to lose what he has, so here you all are.”
That ended the lesson for the day. Cathy thought about it as they were taken out of the classroom and back to their cells. In retrospect she could see what she had done. It wasn’t so much that she had walked out, but that she had deliberately disobeyed his direct order. She had intended to get his attention, but not to push their relationship to the brink. She had not understood the impact of what she had done to him. If she could turn back the clock now she would never have left that afternoon.
Time Drags On
In their short time together Cathy and Paula had become close friends. She looked forward to the long talks during their free time when she and Paula were assigned the same dormitory cell at night. She appreciated how Paula would listen to her, and sometimes offer helpful advice. Several times Paula had helped her understand the point behind the lessons. For one problem in particular, Cathy needed Paula's insight and experience.
Cathy had not felt her Master's touch in some time. It was becoming more difficult to sleep at night. Her thoughts were filled with memories of her Master, the times she had been with him. More than once her hand had strayed to the metal strip between her legs. She had jerked it away as soon as she felt the shield, warmed by contact with her body. Her desire was becoming unbearable, satisfying that desire impossible with the belt on.
Once, late at night, unable to sleep, she had dared to leave her hand between her legs, knowing she risked punishment if a Warden saw her, but driven to recklessness by her need. She had tried pressing against the steel, then rubbing it, finally even trying to slip a finger underneath it. All her clandestine efforts were to no avail, the fit was too close and the metal unyielding. She could not seek release from her desire while the belt was fastened on her. In frustration and desperation she had tried to force the waistband over her hips, but the loop around her waist was too narrow to slip.
She asked Paula what to do. Paula shrugged, "Cathy, there is no answer; all you can do is wait and hope your Master comes to visit. This device from hell," Paula grimaced, tapping the shield between her own legs with one finger, "is to make sure you don't get used to the routine here. It isn't enough to just get by, you have to work at your lessons, earn a good report from the Wardens for your Master, so that he will come to see you. That's the only way to solve your problem."
Paula's words had not helped much, but Cathy did put more effort into her lessons. And then one day her routine began to change. She had not seen Paula for several days, but that was not unusual as the Wardens constantly moved them around. Every day there was a changing mix of students and teachers in the classes. Each night had been with a different group too. Cathy had been asking Paula about visits by their masters, but Paula had been evasive, not going into detail. Cathy had hoped to find out more about it, but she hadn't had the opportunity yet. But she was sure she would see Paula in a few more days. Cathy really hadn't made any friends with the other women, other than casual conversation, and didn’t feel comfortable talking to them about intimate subjects.
The day had not seemed out of the ordinary. Cathy had gone through the usual routine and she had been placed in a cell for the night with three women she only knew slightly. She had settled in for the night, but as usual was finding it difficult to sleep. She heard the steps of a patrolling Warden, slowly walking down the hallway, pausing at each cell door. The footsteps came near her cell, before they suddenly stopped. She could see him standing at the door, looking in at them through the bars. She expected the Warden to walk on, but he just stood there, staring right at her. She became uneasy, had she done something wrong? Did they know of her attempt to get around the belt? Probably, they seemed to know everything.
"Cathy, stand up, approach the door," he ordered. Immediately she pushed back her thin blanket, rose, and went to the door. She stood in front of him, close to the bars, back straight, head down, arms at her side, waiting for his orders. "Turn around, hands behind your back, feet slightly apart.” Expecting just such orders, she turned, placed her hands behind her back, palms facing out, the backs of her wrists a few inches apart. She could see the other women watching her from their sleeping pads. She heard the familiar click as the Warden closed the cuffs around her wrists and ankles. Her back to him, she heard the key in the lock, the opening door, and then his hand was around her upper arm, pulling her into the corridor. He locked the door behind her.
While she stood in the hallway a shiver went through her. How would she be punished? The Warden led her down the hallway, past several cells. She could feel everyone’s eyes on her as she went by, but of course no one said a word. She had to concentrate on walking, her guard set a fast pace making it difficult for her to keep up given the short chain hobbling her ankles. They went past the end of the sleeping cells, through the cell block exit, and past other rooms with closed, solid doors.
The Warden stopped in front of one unmarked door, opened it with a key, and brought her inside. It was a small room, carpeted, a table and one chair in a corner, a low bed fitted with wide leather straps placed against the wall. Her guard placed her next to the bed, and began removing her handcuffs. "Get on the bed, on your back. Place your hands and feet next to the straps."
Seeing the smaller wrist straps at the head of the bed she laid down, her hands toward the wrist restraints, and her legs as wide as possible drawing the leg chain linking her ankles taut. She looked up at him as he strapped down her wrists above her head, spread widely apart. Satisfied her hands were secured, he moved to the foot of the bed, unlocked the cuffs on her ankles, and placed them in straps too, her legs now held wide apart. Finished, he looked down at her for a moment from the foot of the bed, then without a word he turned around and walked out the door, leaving her alone. The door closed and a moment later the lights went out.
Cathy lay spread out on the bed in the dark, tied down and helpless, unable to move, wearing nothing but that accursed belt and her master's collar. Wild thoughts raced through her mind. Would she be beaten? How long would they leave her here? What if no one remembered her? She pulled on her bonds, testing them, but it was immediately obvious she had no hope of freeing herself. She relaxed, waiting patiently in the knowledge someone else would decide when she would be freed of her restraints. She remembered her lessons on trust: never panic, her master would not let her come to harm. She closed her eyes and awaited her fate, whatever it might be.
Time passed, and she drifted into a light sleep. She was only half awake when she noticed the lights were on. Opening her eyes fully, she realized someone was standing at the foot of the bed. Looking up, she saw her master towering over her, looking straight into her eyes. Shock and joy rushed through her, and an involuntary "Master...” escaped her lips before she remembered she had not been given permission to speak.
She looked up at him, tears of joy filling her eyes. Without thinking she tried to rise up, go to him, but the bed restraints held her down. He just stood there, his eyes moving up and down her body, not saying a word. Desperate to please him in any way she could, Cathy tried to pull her legs further apart, to arch her back to better display her breasts. Her eyes pleaded with him, to allow her to speak, to let her beg for his touch.
He stood there a moment longer, enjoying her wordless pleading, before he walked around to her side. He knelt down next to her, and placed one hand on her knee. His touch felt like fire to her, she gasped for air as a shiver ran through her aroused body. Still he would not allow her to speak. He lifted up his other hand, a small key dangling from a golden chain necklace he held in a fist. She recognized the key, and a wide smile appeared on her face as she nodded in eager agreement.
Cathy's master chuckled at her eagerness. He inserted the key into the lock securing the belt around her waist. Cathy was very still, hoping her master would open it, but knowing the decision was not hers to make. She watched him, trying to look at him and the key at the same time, hoping to see him open it. He paused, a low laugh as he saw her anxiety that he would not unlock her. He turned the key and released the belt that had held her prisoner for so long. He pulled out the top of the shield from the lock and away from her body, setting it down between her widely spread legs. For the first time since she had come here she was uncovered, fully open to her beloved master.
He reached down, touching her intimately, feeling her wetness. Cathy gasped and moaned, her eyes closed as the sensation washed over her. She tried to push against his hand, but he didn't allow it. Instead his hand began to roam over her, touching, stroking, exciting her. Cathy kept her eyes closed, drinking in the feel of her master's touch once again, feeling herself lose control. Distantly she felt her aroused body respond, breathing faster, nipples hard, skin hot and flushed. She heard low moaning sounds, knew she was making them, but unable to stop it. Then she sensed the presence of her master over her, around her, entering her. She pulled at the straps on her wrists and ankles, wanting to put her arms around him and pull him further into her.
She could not reach him, her master had chosen not to allow it, but she could push against him, trying to move in rhythm with him. And then the thinking stopped, she reached the point of release. Her love for her master, his love for her, her complete surrender to him, his power and dominance, all combined in an endless moment when she and her master merged, becoming as one, the parts completing the whole.
Slowly Cathy returned to her exhausted body. Feeling her master stroking her cheek, she opened her eyes, looking at him. "Quiet, no words," he told her in a low but commanding voice. She tried to reach out to him, but she was still held down. Noticing her struggle with the straps, her master leaned over and kissed her, then said "No, I'm not going to untie you. You are doing very well here, so I decided you deserved a visit as a reward. I am quite pleased with your progress so far. I will not be taking you home today, but if you continue to work hard, learn your lessons, you won't have to stay here much longer."
With those words, he reached down and pulled the shield up over her, inserting the top back into the lock plate of the belt. He turned the key, and she was once again imprisoned by the cool metal strip between her legs. Cathy's eyes went wide as he closed and locked the belt around her, but she knew any protest would be futile. The choice belonged to him; she had given it to him willingly.
He stood up and once again looked down at Cathy. He hung her belt key around his neck. "It's safe here, I'm sure I won't lose it this way," he told her, smiling as he patted the key. "I know this is hard for you, Cathy. This is not a pleasant place, and the methods can be harsh at times, but I want you to complete the program here.
"I know you didn’t agree to being sent here, to be imprisoned like this. I doubt you ever imagined anything like this would happen. But I think we have progressed beyond the issue of consent. We’ve been together long enough for you to learn I will never harm you. Every decision I have made about your life has been toward what I thought was best for you. Being here is no exception.
”I will come for you when you’re finished, Cathy, but not until then. No one here will let you leave; no matter how much you threaten or beg here you remain. You will not be released until I’m satisfied you’ve learned your lesson. But never think I will abandon you or forget about you. I miss you every day.”
He bent down and kissed her one last time, then walked out the door, closing it behind him. She heard the Warden lock the door behind her Master, then the lights in the room went off again. Tired, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of her Master. Still strapped down to the bed, unable to move and at the mercy of anyone who came into the room nevertheless she felt safe, protected by her master, trusting him to watch out for her. Whatever her future held, she knew he would be there for her, she would feel his presence.
Though Cathy was bound tightly to the bed, still she was happy and content. As she fell asleep she thought of her master, now absent but always watching over her. She was disappointed she would have to remain here, more than a little annoyed her master had left that belt on her, but she trusted him, accepted his judgment that she had not finished her lessons.
He knew her too well; he was right about not needing her consent any more. She couldn’t tell him no. He had paid for her kidnapping and confinement here, all serious crimes, but he rightly wasn’t worried about it. Even if she somehow escaped in the next few minutes she wouldn’t go to the police. That explained in part how this place could operate; no one who left would ever consider filing a complaint. Cathy sighed as she drifted off to sleep. Somehow masters always rigged the game with rules to let them win, she thought drowsily.
Sometime later she was awakened by a Warden's hand shaking her shoulder. Sleepily she looked up at him, momentarily confused, forgetting where she was. She started to sit up...and suddenly remembered where she was when the bed straps halted her movements. The Warden walked over to the foot of the bed, released her ankles, then walked back to the head and freed her wrists. Cathy carefully did not move, waiting to be told what she should do next. The Warden stepped back, waiting for a moment. When Cathy did not move, he nodded in approval and gestured for her to stand up. Cathy quickly got up, stretching her stiff muscles for a moment before standing in front of the guard, head lowered. He took out a pair of handcuffs, locked her wrists together in front of her, and then led her to the door, holding the chain between the cuffs in his hand.
He took her through the open door, and then closed it behind her. He stood by the door for a moment, still holding her wrists, until a line of women came by in the hallway. Her Warden placed Cathy at the end of the line, wrists in cuffs on a common chain, then the group moved on at a command from the Warden at the head of the line.
In the showers and during classes afterward Cathy looked for Paula. There was so much to talk about; Cathy hoped they would be assigned to the same cell tonight, so they would have some time to talk. She felt sure she would be going home soon, and she wanted to tell her friend all about it. But she didn't see Paula at all, and that evening she was put in with three others she had never met before. Cathy was disappointed, and did ask her cellmates if they had seen Paula, but none of them knew who she was.
The next day was back to normal: eat, shower, classes, inspections, but still no sign of Paula. Cathy hadn't seen her all day, and neither had any of the other women. Cathy was concerned, what had happened to her? Had she broken a rule? Was she being punished somewhere else, isolated from her friends? Cathy knew it was forbidden to ask a Warden or a teacher, it was even risky to ask the other women. No one seemed to know what had happened.
Several days passed, always following the same routine. Every day Cathy looked for her friend, asked about her, and every day the same answer, no one had seen her. The days and evenings seemed to be so long and empty without those conversations with Paula. Cathy had no one to talk to, no one to share her thoughts, no helpful advice about the day's lessons. And she especially missed her master. As wonderful as his visit was, he had not yet returned, and her desire for him was as strong as ever. More than once her hand had again found its way between her legs, and more than once it had been stopped by that frustrating steel plate covering her.
Day after day the loss of her friend and her own needs built up within her. The constant confinement, the lack of privacy, the Wardens always watching her, her missing master, all combined to make Cathy edgy, sullen and irritable. She wasn’t speaking to the other women, and she obeyed orders reluctantly and with little enthusiasm. Matters came to a head during an afternoon class.
Cathy had been depressed all day. Her one friend was gone, her master had abandoned her, and she felt cut off, lost, no hope of ever escaping the misery of this place. She had forced herself to go through the motions yet one more day, and now she was in an afternoon class, listening to the teacher, Sarah again, lecturing on how to kneel at a master's side. Cathy was only half listening to Sarah, more concerned with her own problems.
"Cathy, come to the front and demonstrate the position we just went over.” The words from the teacher caught her by surprise. Cathy hesitantly stood up and walked to the front of the classroom. She looked at Sarah, unsure what to do next.
"Well? Show us how to kneel next to your master's chair," came the teacher's impatient order. Sarah took her pointer stick and tapped the floor in front of Cathy. Furiously trying to remember what the lesson had been about, Cathy knelt, legs wide, sitting on her heels, back straight, hands on her thighs.
"Very nice Cathy...if you were submitting yourself to your master's use. But this lesson was about how you behave when your master has guests. Perhaps if you paid more attention and learned the lesson you would do better and not embarrass your master in the process.” Sarah continued to berate Cathy, touching her with the pointer to emphasize her mistake. "Knees together, remember you most likely will be wearing a dress. And legs to one side, lean against his chair."
Cathy knelt there, humiliated in front of the class. Sarah continued to correct her; Cathy seemed unable to get it right. "Come on Cathy, concentrate on what you are doing. Your master will never come for you as long as you do so poorly.” Sarah crouched down in front of Cathy, the pointer in Sarah's hand touching Cathy's leg.
That comment pushed Cathy over the edge. All her anger and frustration boiled over. Cathy reached out and slapped Sarah’s pointer away with her hand. "Don't tell me what to do. You are not my master. He will come for me and take me away from here, because he loves me," Cathy shouted. The classroom fell silent, no one spoke or moved. Sarah backed away, a look of sadness on her face.. Instantly Cathy regretted what she had done, "Please Miss Sarah, forgive me, I didn't mean to strike you. Please, tell me what to do."
Sarah shook her head. "I'm sorry Cathy, but there isn't anything I can do for you now. Stay where you are, don't move or speak, and when they come for you, don't even try to resist. Class, you are all to remain where you are, don't move, no talking, face front, until I tell you otherwise. Sarah then knelt down, some distance from Cathy, quietly waiting. Cathy looked around, at the class, unsure just what Sarah had meant, then froze when she saw the frightened look on Sarah's face.
Cathy heard a noise behind her, to one side. The teacher's door opened and four large, heavyset Wardens came in, swiftly moving to surround Cathy. She knelt, not daring to move, too scared to even breathe. The Wardens on either side of her grabbed her arms and forced her down onto the floor, pulling her arms behind her back. The guard behind her was locking large heavy cuffs around her ankles, with a steel bar rather than chain linking them. One of the two guards at her side was closing a matching pair of handcuffs around her wrists. The Warden in front of her knelt down, lifted up her head and admonished her, "If you talk you get a gag. I advise you to keep quiet. The gag is very unpleasant and you will be forced to wear it for some time. Do exactly as I say. Any resistance will only increase your punishment.” Cathy looked up at him, saw the glint of determination in his eyes, and all the fight went out of her.
The Warden on her other side took out a wide padded leather strap and covered her eyes, fastening the blindfold behind her head with a buckle. Hands grasped her arms and pulled her up to a standing position. Someone pulled the ends of a chain, connected to the handcuffs behind her back, around her waist and locked them in front. Her wrists were pulled close against the small of her back. The bar cuffs around her ankles had a swivel where the bar joined the cuff, allowing her some movement for short, hobbled steps. The Wardens turned her around, and began to march her forward, she guessed toward the door they had come in. The guards forcefully pulled on her, keeping her off balance, unable to keep her feet under her because of the bar between her ankles. She would have fallen several times except for the hands holding her arms. They didn’t let up, virtually dragging her from the classroom.
They went through the door, paused while one Warden locked it behind them before they headed down the hallway. Unable to see, Cathy had no idea where she was being taken. They stopped several times to pass through some kind of door or gate, she wasn't sure. Finally she heard one heavy metal door close behind her, and then a Warden removed her blindfold.
Pay the Price
Cathy blinked at the light, letting her eyes adjust before she looked around. She was in a round room, a Warden seated at a circular desk in the center. Around the wall were several small brightly lit cells, some occupied. The Warden at the desk pointed to one empty cell, and her guards led her toward the open cell door. Inside she could see what looked like a high backed chair, facing a mirror. One guard led her to the chair, "Sit" he ordered. She sat down, leaning forward because of the handcuffs behind her back. Two of her escorts held her in the chair, hands on her shoulders, while another removed the cuffs around her ankles.
After he removed the ankle cuffs he placed her ankles in heavy padded steel shackles built into the legs of the chair. Then he unlocked the chain around her waist. The two Wardens at her side pushed her forward, while one reached down and released her wrists, pulling the handcuffs and waist chain off her. Both Wardens at her sides immediately grabbed her wrists and arms and forced them into padded metal shackles on the chair arms. Once her wrists and ankles were secure they continued with several leather straps across her legs, arms, and body, fastening her tightly into the chair. There was something odd about the straps. On the inside what looked like metal plates were touching her skin. More ominous were the wires running from the straps to a box in the base of the chair.
They finished by gagging her. It was an impressive piece of apparatus: a wide panel across her lower face, straps around and over her head, and what tasted like a foam rubber insert stuck in her mouth. A final strap went across her forehead, pulling her head back against the chair. Cathy knew serious preparations like these foretold an extremely unpleasant experience as about to commence.
Her original escorts left the cell, and the Warden at the desk entered, standing in front of her. "This is how it works. See those two lights at the bottom of your chair? The green one corresponds to the button under your right hand; the red one on your left. When the light comes on you push the matching button. You hold down the button until the light goes out. Any deviation from those instructions will be punished. You stop only when I tell you.” With those words he turned and left the cell, locking it behind him. Looking down she saw the lights reflected in the mirror.
Cathy sat there, unable to move a muscle, not even able to turn her head. The mirror in front of her showed the extensive restraints holding her, and the Warden in the background, staring at her. She recalled Paula's words when she had first arrived, "discourage improper behavior.” Now Cathy would find out for herself what Paula had meant.
Cathy stared at her reflection in the mirror, strapped into the chair, unable to even turn her head to the side. She pulled against the straps, trying to slip a hand or ankle free, but she was held too well, no escape would be possible. She shifted her weight, trying to move the chair, but it was securely bolted to the floor. As she struggled, testing her bonds, she could see the Warden watching her, expressionless, sitting at the desk.
She gave up trying to free herself, and sat there quietly. How long would they make her sit in the chair, and what would happen after that? Since she had to sit anyway, she closed her eyes, trying to relax and make the best of her situation. Her mind wandered, times with her friends, her master, her time in this school turned prison. For the first time she truly regretted not only running away from her master but also not accepting his decision about that party in the first place. If she had only trusted him, waited for him to explain why she couldn't go to that party...she wouldn't be here.
The red light lit up. She pushed down on the button under her left hand. It had a stiff feel to it. She waited until the light went out. The green one came on next, followed by two more with the red. There has to be more to it than this, she thought. The lights were like some simple child’s game. There didn’t seem to be any pattern to which light came on next, or how long it remained on. There didn’t seem to be any point to pushing buttons but she continued under the assumption they’d find something worse if she didn’t obey.
After two hours and no respite in the lights the game was starting to wear her down. It was boring, the chair was uncomfortable, she was tired and the gag was driving her crazy. Right after the green light went out she closed her eyes for a moment to give them a rest.
The sharp jab in her thigh felt like a hot poker. Her eyes flew open, in time to see the red light on. She slammed her hand down on the button until it went out. Electric shock, she realized after a moment. It had been a mild one but still painful. That explained the wires on the chair straps.
It wasn’t a simple game any longer. The stakes were higher now. No wonder she had that gag stuck in her mouth. It wasn’t to prevent her talking; it was to spare the guard watching her painful screams if she missed another light. Her initial boredom was replaced by grim determination not to close her eyes.
The ordeal went on and on, without even a few minutes rest. She could see the silhouette of the guard in the mirror. Because of the lighting it was difficult to determine if he was actually watching her. Cathy wanted to cry out for help, to somehow beg him to make it stop. The gag frustrated her efforts, muffling her pleas into meaningless garble.
The green light flashed on. Exhausted and disoriented Cathy accidently hit the wrong button. This time the sharp pain was in her back. It felt like she’d been stabbed with a knife. She screamed in agony, though the Warden showed no reaction.
Her world shrunk to the two lights. She battled sleep, fighting to keep her eyes open. Her hands were tired to the point muscles were near to cramping. Still she battled on, desperate to stave off the chair’s punishment for failure.
At some point the lights stopped. She kept both hands poised on the buttons, waiting for them to start again. I have to keep going, she told herself. Suddenly the guard was standing in front of her.
“You’ve earned a rest,” he told her. He reached behind her head and loosened the straps on the gag, pulling it out of her dry mouth. “Here, take a sip of water.” Eagerly she took the straw into her mouth and sucked on cold water. “Not too much,” he warned, pulling it away.
“Please, sir. I’ve learned my lesson. I swear I’ll never misbehave again. I…I can’t take any more of this.” Her voice broke. All she wanted to do was escape those lights, close her eyes and sleep.
“You have permission to sleep.” He slipped a cloth bag over her head, blinding her.
“Thank you, sir.” That was all she got out before falling into a deep sleep, despite being strapped into the chair.
When she woke and opened her eyes once again she saw the same image of herself, bound to the chair. A different Warden was at the desk, but he was staring at her, watching her like the other one. Again she pulled at the straps, desperate to get away from that constant stare. But there was no escape, all she could do was sit there and wait. She could not bear to look directly at his reflection, but she could not turn away.
What seemed like hours passed. No one walked by, the room was very quiet; no sounds reached her apart from her own breathing. At least she wasn’t being subjected to those lights. And always there was the Warden, watching her. Once again she shut her eyes, trying to block out that stare and the prospect of the lights starting again. This time sleep did not come. Instead she lived over and over the incident that had brought about her punishment. If only she had paid attention, if only she hadn't been distracted. If only her master had visited her again, she wouldn't have felt so lost...and then she realized, if she had trusted her master, accepted that he would come for her eventually, she wouldn't be in this chair now. For the second time, her own failure to trust her master's actions had only worsened her own situation.
She sat there pondering her actions to date, good and bad, and what had come of them. In retrospect, if she had followed the simple path, allowed her master to do his job, she wouldn't be in this punishment cell, or even in this training school. Instead she would be in her small studio, working on her next painting, waiting for him to come home from work. She smiled, thinking of how incredibly foolish she had been to ever risk losing an idyllic life like that.
She wasn't sure how long she had been in the chair, there was no way to mark the time, and she didn't want to open her eyes and see that Warden's cold stare looking back at her. At any moment he could turn on those hellish lights again. Cathy sat there calmly, resigned to her punishment, knowing she had earned it by her own misdeeds but at the same time praying the Warden wouldn’t take notice of her. Time passed, she drifted, waiting. Eventually they would come and release her, but until then all she could do was sit, think, and hope.
Time had blurred. She might have been there a few hours or several days, she no longer had any idea. The boredom was the worst, except for the alternative. At times a woman would come in and give her some food and water, feeding her by hand. At other times someone would come in and clean her off with a bucket of warm water. No one would speak to her, not a single word. More and more she sought refuge in sleeping, or at least daydreams, anything to help her escape the confines of the chair.
Cathy wasn't sure who it was, but she suddenly felt another presence, close to her. At first she was afraid to open her eyes, knowing the Warden would be there, observing, watching her every move. But, somehow she knew it was not the Warden standing near her. She could sense someone standing over her, behind her, somehow familiar. She opened her eyes, looked into the mirror, and caught her breath, her master's reflection clearly visible. She started to speak, but the word "master" died in her throat when she saw the look in his eyes and on his face. It was the look she had prayed she would never see again: anger and disappointment.
"I know what happened, Cathy, everything. I had hoped to take you home today; instead I find you here. You were doing so well, and then this. I am disappointed that you could not do better. I know the potential is within you, and I hope you will improve in the future.” And with those words he turned away and walked out of the small cell, leaving her behind.
The tears flowed freely from Cathy's eyes. She was crushed, she had failed her master and thrown away her chance for release from the Center. She watched his receding back as he walked away, desperate to call out to him, but knowing she had nothing to say. He was right; it seemed he was always right, she had failed the one person whose approval meant the world to her. At that moment, she resolved she would never again doubt him. She had freely chosen him as her master; she had given herself to him totally, without reservations or limits. She had trusted him to decide for her, guide her path in life. But now she realized it had not been quite the full commitment she had thought it was. She had held back, second guessed him, but no longer.
There was no question now, she would accept him as a master should be, complete and total. If she had doubts or questions, she would tell him, as he always insisted on, but whatever the outcome she would follow his wishes. She would do her best, show him that she could learn. No matter how long, if it was his desire, here she would stay, until he decided to come for her.
Cathy kept her eyes closed, even as she cried from the pain inflicted by her master's harsh words. A few sobs crept out, but she willed herself not to make a sound. She did not have permission. No more improper behavior, she had been well and truly discouraged. Now she understood why Paula had never disobeyed, never broken a single rule. It wasn’t the fear of some physical punishment. That would have been relatively easy to take, especially when she wasn’t given a choice. Far worse was to be left alone day after day, isolated, and her master’s disappointment weighing on her mind.
She opened her eyes, looking straight ahead. The picture was the same, her body trapped in the chair, and the ever-present Warden watching her. Her master was gone, she was alone again. She stared straight ahead, directly into her reflection. She had no idea how much longer she would have to sit there, but however long it was, she would wait, with a new determination to succeed.
At some point she fell asleep again, because she awoke with a start when she felt the Warden's hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, at his reflection in the mirror since she couldn't move her head to look directly at him. "Your time here is over Cathy, for the moment. But remember, the chair, and worse, is always here.” The Warden moved in front of her, began to undo the straps holding her. When he finished, he stood back, and nodded for her to stand up.
At first it was agony, her muscles were stiff and sore at the prolonged immobility. She staggered, nearly falling as she tried to stand on her weakened legs. She caught herself on the arm of the chair, waited a moment to recover, and then shakily stood up. She could see the marks all over her body where the straps had held her. She looked at the Warden, uncertain what to do next.
"Stand still for a minute, take your time, then move around a bit," he told her. "When you have recovered, you will be taken to the showers, then to a dormitory cell where you can sleep in better conditions. You are not allowed to discuss what has happened here or the incident in the classroom with anyone, except of course your master. If you break that rule you will be immediately returned here. You do not want that to happen."
Cathy waited for a few moments before she tried walking around. Her steps were unsteady at first but she recovered rapidly. It seemed that every muscle in her body was complaining, but not quite as loudly as when she first tried. The Warden stood close by, to catch her if she started to fall, but allowing her to work out the stiffness herself. She walked around some more, sat for a moment to rest, then stood and nodded to the Warden, "Sir, I am able to walk now."
He took hold of her arm and led her out of the cell toward the desk. Another Warden was waiting there, out of sight from within the cell. The first Warden took her over to him. "Extend your arms in front of you, wrists slightly apart," the new Warden ordered. Cathy held out her arms toward him while he produced a set of handcuffs and locked her wrists together. He took hold of her upper arm in a firm grasp and led her to the exit door. As Cathy and her guard approached it opened from the outside, a third Warden watching when they left the punishment room.
He took her to the showers first, where she indulged in a long hot shower, which did wonders for her sore body. Afterward the Warden took her to an empty sleeping cell, with bedding and a meal already inside. After the Warden left her alone she devoured the meal, not realizing how hungry she was. She placed the empty meal carton next to the door, in a corner, and then turned to her bed. As she lay on the pad, the thin blanket barely covering her, her thoughts turned again to her Master, as they always did at bedtime, and once again her hand met the impenetrable metal shield covering her. A slight smile, she would have to wait. It would be for her master to decide when she would be freed from her own personal prison. She fell asleep, with renewed determination that she would be the best she could be, for herself and for her master.
Cathy had fallen asleep immediately after eating, exhausted from her punishment and emotionally drained by her master's words. She woke in the morning, but it seemed to be early as she didn't hear any activity from the corridor, and no Warden came by. She lay on her bed, glad for the time alone to rest and gather her thoughts. She thought about the pressures, the stress that had brought her to strike the teacher.
She had felt so lost. Her friend Paula was gone, no one knew where, and it seemed her master had forgotten about her. Yet, he had appeared so quickly after she had been taken to the punishment room, surely within hours. If he had truly been ignoring her, how, why had he gotten here so fast? Then she realized, he was already on his way here, to visit her, maybe even take her home. Once again she had doubted him, and yet once again she had made a mistake. And his words, "disappointed", she could not remember the last time he had ever said that to her, before she had been sent here.
She heard movement farther down the corridor, the bedding cart. Cathy quickly folded her blanket and placed her sleeping pad and bedding next to the door. She moved into the daily routine once again, kneeling as she had been taught, waiting for the bedding cart and meal carts. After her meal was delivered, she ate thoughtfully. Everything she had done contrary to her nature had caused a problem for her. It started with running away, and now culminated in physical violence. She didn't want to be like that. She loved being submissive to her Master, following him while he guided her, set her boundaries, having him take on the responsibilities that so distracted and worried her. And he asked so little of her in return. She had a nearly ideal life, virtually all she could want, and she was throwing it away.
Cathy knew if she really insisted, demanded to be freed, the Wardens would comply, at least with the point of contacting her master. She had not asked for it, because deep within she knew she still wanted to belong to her master, to be owned and controlled by him, and if he wanted to place her in this Center, a virtual prison, then so be it. It was time to stop playing. Either she accepted him totally, or she walked away from her life with him. She had pushed him to the edge; she risked losing him, the one person she wanted to please, the one person whose approval she needed.
The Warden was at her door, gathering the women for the day's classes. At his order she rose, approached the door, and joined the group under the Warden's supervision. Walking down the hallway with the others, she resolved to do her best from now on, no more doubts; her master's presence would always be with her, as it had always been before now, even if she had never really thought of it that way. Her master had put her here to learn, and as Cathy smiled ruefully, she had indeed learned her lesson.
The day went normally, no one mentioned her incident. Some of the other women had looked at her oddly, but not one asked. For Cathy that was just as well, because she remembered all too well the Warden's admonition not to discuss it. Too, the uncertainty, a fear of the unknown, and her own unwillingness to discuss it would only serve to discourage the other women from copying her own inappropriate behavior. That evening she was placed in a cell with three others she knew slightly. All three of them had looked at her, asked if she was feeling alright, but skirted the real question. Cathy had smiled, thanked them for their concern, and made some small talk about the day's class. The others had taken the hint, and dropped the carefully veiled questions as to what had happened.
The days became weeks, and Cathy again lost any track of time. She allowed herself to be absorbed into the routine. She was always attentive in class, and worked hard to understand the lessons, and how they would apply to her when her Master finally came for her. And she had no doubts now, one day he would come. She dreamed of that day, when a Warden would come for her, and then take her to her Master, and then they would leave together. But until then, she would wait, because he would decide when she was ready.
Over the next few weeks, several women seemed to leave, as the classes were getting smaller. Cathy would often find herself with only one or two other women in a sleeping cell. One night Cathy found herself sharing a cell with only one other, a woman she had only seen a few times. Tonight the new woman, she had said her name was Alicia, was very quiet, sitting in a corner by herself. Cathy had tried to start a conversation, but Alicia had said very little, so Cathy left her alone, thinking she wanted some privacy. After the bedding came, they settled down for the night, but after a few minutes, before Cathy had fallen asleep, Alicia spoke to her. "Cathy, I think something is wrong. I feel so sick I can hardly move. Please, call a Warden, I need help, please."
Cathy sat up. It was a serious violation to speak after lights out. If Alicia broke that rule deliberately, something must really be wrong. She got up and went over to Alicia. At a glance she didn't seem to be that sick, her skin didn't feel too hot or clammy, but Cathy could feel slight tremors as Alicia shook beneath her blanket. Up to now Cathy had never seen anyone get sick in the Center, so she didn't know what the approved procedures were. But Alicia did appear to be sick, so Cathy went to the cell door and looked to see if a Warden was close by making rounds. She didn't see anyone in the corridor. Looking back at Alicia, Cathy could see her shivering. She got her own blanket, laid it over Alicia, and then went back to the cell door. She hesitated, but the situation was so serious that she called out, "Sir? Is anyone there? Sir, a woman here is very sick and needs attention. Please, Sir, I think it may be an emergency.” If they really did monitor everyone with cameras and microphones then her calls would surely attract some attention, even if it was late at night.
After a moment she heard the by now familiar sound of a barred gate open and footsteps heading her way. Cathy stepped back from the door, kneeling close to Alicia. "Relax, hon, someone is coming. They’ll take care of you.” Cathy reassured her.
A Warden stopped at the door. "What's going on here?"
"Sir, this woman, Alicia, seems to be seriously ill. I’m worried about her. She was complaining earlier, now she is shivering.” Cathy looked from Alicia to the Warden, waiting for him to decide what to do. The Warden took a set of keys out of his pocket, selected one, and unlocked the door. He knelt to the other side of Alicia, opposite Cathy, and made a quick examination of Alicia, taking her pulse, feeling her forehead for fever.
"Okay, this does require attention. C'mon Alicia, try to stand up and I'll take you to the infirmary. We have a doctor here, I'll wake him and he can treat you.” The Warden put an arm under Alicia and helped her to stand up. Alicia didn't say anything but did stand shakily and walked out the door with the Warden holding her. Stopping outside the door, the Warden closed it behind him and locked it. Just as he removed the key Alicia started shaking violently and collapsed against him. Caught off balance the Warden staggered and fell to the floor, but managed to hold onto Alicia and break her fall so she wouldn't injure herself. Alicia continued to shake and thrash about violently, but the Warden was able to hold her down. In a moment Alicia had stopped, just as another Warden arrived with a medical gurney. As Cathy watched, the two men loaded Alicia onto the gurney, strapped her down, and quickly wheeled her off to the infirmary.
The lights were still dimmed, and Cathy knew she should return to bed, but she was worried about Alicia. She went to the door, trying to catch a glimpse of Alicia as the Wardens took her away. She could hear them moving quickly down the corridor, but could see nothing. As she turned away, her eye was caught by a gleam on the floor. It was a ring of keys, close to the bars of her cell.
Immediately she knew what had happened. Just as the Warden was putting the keys back in his pocket, Alicia had gone into her convulsions. As the Warden fell, holding Alicia, the keys had fallen out of his pocket. And the other Warden had been unlocking the gates; they might not miss this set of keys for several hours. Bending down, she reached out through the bars and picked them up. Looking closely at each key in the dim light, she could make out the labels: "SLEEP," "GATES," "SHOWERS," "EXIT," "ELEVATOR," and "VAN.” She stopped at the last ones. This was a complete set; she could open her cell door, make her way to the elevator, and escape in a van parked at the entrance. It was night, there were only a handful of Wardens awake, and at least two of them were occupied. After all these weeks, even months of captivity, she held in her hand the means to leave it behind. She selected the key labeled "SLEEP," then reached back through the cell bars and inserted it into the door lock. The key went in easily, it was the right one. She started to turn the key, to open her door to freedom...
… and stopped. She couldn't do it. Not like that. Cathy felt her master's presence, looking at her, waiting for her to choose. She pulled the key out of the still-locked cell door, gazed at the ring of keys wistfully, and then tossed them out the bars to the far side of the hallway, out of reach. She turned and went back to her bed. It was lights out; she was supposed to be asleep. The rules did not allow her into the corridors without a Warden as escort, and she was certain she wasn't permitted a set of keys. Falling asleep, she smiled in satisfaction. She would continue on her chosen path, and wait for her master.
About fifteen minutes later the first Warden returned, picked up his set of keys in the hallway, looked over at Cathy sleeping in her cell, nodded in approval, and continued on his way. His woman Alicia was a superb actress; even he had been halfway convinced she was having some type of seizure. Alicia was back in their quarters now, sleeping. He had stopped in the surveillance room for a few minutes, to review the tape of Cathy with the keys, and then continued on his rounds. Cathy's master would be pleased when he saw that tape. And he would collect that five dollar bet from Joe, the other Warden who had helped tonight. Joe had been sure she would at least open the cell door.
The next morning Cathy awoke to the usual routine. When the Warden came to collect her, she started to ask about Alicia then thought better of it. The Warden noticed her slight hesitation, smiled, and told her, "Alicia is okay, Cathy. She had a quiet night and won't be returning here today. She’ll be well cared for."
"Yes, Sir, thank you for telling me," Cathy replied as she took her place in line. The day proceeded normally; the incident with the keys was never mentioned by anyone. That night Cathy was back in with several women she had known for some time. Cathy and the others talked about the day until lights out, when they all went to bed.
Cathy did not see Alicia again, and assumed she had been released to her master for medical reasons. She had worried it might be something contagious, but no one else got sick. She had seen the Warden from that night a few times since, once he had looked at her oddly, but he had never mentioned the keys in the hallway, or how they had gotten to the far wall. Since he still made rounds at night, she assumed he had not gotten into trouble over the keys, or no one had known they were missing. Just as well, he was a decent guy and she didn't want to see him get into trouble.
The daily routine continued for a few more days, until one morning after showering, while the group Cathy was in was headed down a hallway to their assigned classroom, the Warden in charge suddenly stopped them. Another Warden came through the door, spoke to the supervisor for a moment, then came back to where Cathy was standing. The Warden unlocked her wrists from the group chain, handcuffed her hands behind her back, took hold of her upper arm, and led her away from the group. Cathy glanced back, saw them continue on, and then turned back to her guard. What was happening? Had they finally discovered the incident with the keys? Was she being taken to the punishment room again? She almost spoke, to plead for leniency, but she knew better.
They continued on for a while before he stopped at a barred door. He unlocked the door, freed her wrists, and then pushed her inside, closing the door behind her. She looked around, suddenly realizing where she was when she saw the sign on the wall, "SECURED AREA," and the rules underneath. There was the small table, and the other door, the one to the elevator. This was the lower entrance.
On the table a set of clothing was waiting for her, including underwear and shoes. Next to it was the familiar box that had held the chastity belt she had worn since the day she arrived, and which she still wore. Sitting by the box was a simple necklace, with two keys on it. Cathy recognized them immediately, the keys to her belt and the collar around her neck. On top of the clothing was a short note in her master's handwriting, "Your time here is over. I will arrive shortly to take you home. You may dress while waiting for me.” Cathy looked at the note, read it over and over, tears in her eyes, relieved her long ordeal was finally over and she would be with her master once again. She set the note down and reached for the keys to that belt that had caused her so much frustration and misery.
Cathy smoothed her skirt one last time as she heard the entrance door unlock. It had been such a long time. She wanted to look her very best for her Master. The door opened, and there he was. She ran to him, put her arms around him, and felt his muscular arms encircle her once more. She laid her head against his chest, feeling again his sure strength holding her, surrounding her. He held her for a long moment, bent down and kissed her, then held her out at arm's length, "Let me look at you.” Cathy stood with her head down, sensing his gaze on her.
"Well, I think you are more than ready to leave, shall we go?" he asked her. He walked over to the table and picked up the box off the table. It felt very light so he looked inside, and saw only an empty box.
"Master? I believe these keys belong to you," Cathy said, placing the long necklace chain with the keys around his neck. "But please, master, don't lose them,” she smiled back at him. He reached for her, slid a hand around her waist, and felt the hard steel band of the belt underneath her skirt. Looking close, he could just see the steel still circling her throat, under the high collar of her blouse. He looked a question at her. "Master, it is for you to decide what I will wear for you, and for how long. I want you to hold the keys."
He looked at her for a moment, one hand holding the keys hanging around his neck. Then he picked up the empty box in one hand, took Cathy's hand in the other, and led her into the elevator. At the top, the elevator door opened, and the guard looked in to make sure Cathy and her master were the only two passengers. He unlocked the gate, nodded to them, and resumed his seat by the door. The two of them walked out the front door, to her master's waiting car in the driveway.
"I have a surprise for you Cathy. We aren't going straight home. A friend has loaned me his beach house on Coronado Island, in San Diego. We will be spending a few days there first."
"Oh master! That's wonderful. It is so pretty there. And we have so much to talk about, so much I want to say. And do, if you might consider using that key around your neck," she winked at her master.
Her master roared with laughter. "Yes I would imagine you are very interested in the disposition of this particular key. By the way, I invited some guests to meet us there. I don't think you ever met Big Mike, interesting story, he's a mining engineer, and was held hostage by Bolivian Indians for about a year. An old friend of mine, he just got back to the States a few weeks ago. I think you do know his woman, her name is Paula."
Cathy sat back in the car seat, "Paula? You mean the Paula I met in ...” Her voice trailed off at the sight of the big smile on her master's face. "Oh master! You know all about her. Sir, I really did learn my lesson in there. No more doubts, I want to be your woman, I want you to be my master. I will never disappoint you again."
"Cathy, I believe you. I can see the difference. I love you, I want to be your master, to care for and protect you, to give you the space to grow in your own way. It hurt me, more than you can know, to have sent you to that place, but I knew it would save our relationship."
"It was a terrible place master, but it also works. Free from distractions, forced to focus on what's important, I came to realize, and accept, what I am and what I want. I hope I never have to go back there, but if you believe it is in my best interest, I will go willingly.” She leaned across the car seat, kissed him lightly on the cheek, and then settled back as they drove through the desert.
“Sir, I was wondering if you could answer just one question, about that place? I never figured out how the Wardens always seemed to know where they were going, but none of the hallways or doors are marked. I never did figure out how they managed it.” All during her stay Cathy had tried to spot some hidden signpost on the wall or pattern in the floor or ceiling, but never saw anything to mark particular locations.
“Funny you should ask, that’s an idea I suggested from some unrelated research I did for a customer years ago.” He started to explain. “There is a small radio transmitter in each wall and by many doors. As they walk by the location is whispered into a hearing aid type receiver in their ear. It’s very short range, only a few feet. They always know exactly where they are, and they can hear announcements over a private intercom too.” Cathy nodded, it made sense. She had been looking for some secret mark and had never noticed the receivers.
She relaxed and closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of once again belonging to her master, the feelings of freedom and completeness in her submission to him. And she knew, with a certainty, the next time she heard the words your master requires your presence, she would be there, at his side, her place.