by Toran



Feb 28, 1980 (Age 16)

Dear Diary, Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear dipshit, happy birthday to me. Well Diary, it's my sweet sixteenth. No, I didn't get the Trans Am wrapped in a bow. I wish. I didn't get John Travolta, either. All I got was you. Life sucks, diary. I'm going nowhere. School sucks, boys suck (I wish), life sucks. No one listens to me. No one cares. All Mom and Dad have time for is fighting. And Pabst. My dorko little brother, Micky keeps taking my panties out of the dirty clothes basket. What a creep. I can't wait 'til they go up to Richmond this weekend so I can stay home and mellow out with Steph overnight. She's my best friend and pretty cool. Someone left a piece of silky rope on my pillow last night. I woke up with it laying right next to my face. It was wrapped up like a little bow. Weird? Micky acts like he didn't put it there.

Feb 29, 1980

Dear Diary, Steph is going to invite ...

March 1, 1980

Finally, the weekend! I'm ...

March 2, 1980

Diary, my world is over. I'll write later. If I'm still alive.

March 7, 1980

Diary, I'm numb. I can't stop crying. Everyone is gone. Micky, Mom, Dad.There was a bad car-crash. I'm going to Chicago to live with Aunt Melinda and Uncle Charlie tomorrow. I'm going crazy, I think. I keep hearing things in this house, like ghosts. I told Aunt Melinda (she's been here since the accident, going through things and crying more than me) and she patted my head and said things would be fine. Like I'm a baby. Last night I heard noises in my room. I pulled the covers over my head and probably fell asleep, cause, Diary, I had to have been dreaming! I felt someone sit on the side of my bed and touch my knee. I slid the blankets down so just one eye was out and I saw this guy, in black so black he was almost a shadow. He was looking right at me and when I looked at his eyes I got really sleepy. He pulled the blankets back and lay my hands down on my belly, one over the other. The silver light from the window made his actions kinda like a blur. He tied my hands together with the rope I found last week. I couldn't stop him cause I just kept looking into his eyes. He had really white skin, like a pearl necklace, and bushy eyebrows. Black. He pulled my hands over my head and tied them to the bed frame. That's when I fell asleep. I mean, more asleep. I can't remember anything. But ... I woke up this morning and my wrists hurt. Like they were stiff. I think there was a little pink line around them, too. God, I'm going crazy.

March 8, 1980

Diary, the scenery just blurs past me. I know I'll get over it all sooner or ...

March 9 1980

Diary. Had a strange dream last night. I'll tell you tomorrow. I'm so

tired ...

March 10, 1980

Diary, I hate it here! Why did all this happen to me? I miss my Mom and Dad! And even dipshit Micky. I miss my friends. I miss my life. I hate Chicago! I'm so tired anymore. I can't sleep. I keep having really weird dreams. Mostly Mom and Dad saying they love me. But the guy is there too. The Shadow guy. I'm back in my room at home, (my old home) and it's that night and after he ties my hands to the bed, he hurts me. He squeezes my boobs so hard I want to scream, but I can't. Then he puts something, I think it was his finger but it is so cold, like ice, into me. All the way in. He gets angry. And, (Diary, this is between you and me only!), I get this ... feeling ... like he's angry at me for not being clean. A virgin. Why didn't I die like the rest, Diary? I don't want to go psycho!

March 11, 1980

I'm not going to be able to write much more, now, Diary. I'm running away. Maybe I am crazy, maybe not. S is HERE!!!!! The Shadow guy!!! No dreams this time. He is HERE. He came to me last night, only this time I wasn't awake. Not at first. I felt this big cold thing between my legs and when I tried to shake it off I woke up and I was tied again. My hands on both sides of the bed and my legs too. And He was there, looking down at me. Grinning. Diary, it was horrible! His ... dick ... was what I felt. It was huge. And cold. I think he fucked me. I can't remember. He WAS in me. I swear to God that he was! I felt like I was being ripped open! I tried to scream but I couldn't. It's his eyes. He held my chin so that I had to look in his eyes. I didn't notice right away, but he started slapping my face every time he slammed that thing into me. And he came. Cold. So cold. I can't

March 12, 1980

Sorry, Diary. I couldn't finish last night. I'll write a little more, then that's it. I don't know what's going on, or if I am crazy, but it doesn't matter. I'm on a bus to St. Louis right now. I have no more family. I cashed in my savings and the inheritance is going to be forwarded when I get settled. I don't know if I'll finish school. I don't care. I left a note for Aunt Melinda, and after this, I'm done with you, too, Diary.


I closed the crinkled, fake leather book. It's little toy key jingled against it's twin and I carefully locked the worn hasp. I was surprised I'd kept it. Those were the thirteen worst days of my life. Once, I thought that my life actually stopped during those days. A timeless swirling of dust and silence. Then a new life started, with new ways, new ideas, new scenery.

It is all just one life, I realize now. One bridge over a difficult gap. The mind builds that bridge with whatever it can find. In my case, a deranged Shadow Man, who came to me in my sleep and made me pay for still being alive while my family died. In the fourteen years since, I've grown, matured, learned to reason, learned to live. I've practiced confronting my fears and now fear nothing. I've erased self-doubt. I've grown to love myself for the first time since those early years.

I put the diary down on my nightstand with a trembling hand. Slowly pulled the covers up to my chin. Closed my eyes and opened them once more.

It's still there. Dangling from the brass frame at the foot of the bed, like a silky white snake. Since I'd woken up this morning.

Why has he come back?

She's suspended, legs splayed widely apart, each ankle connected to a thick, bristly rope running up almost forever, disappearing in the darkness. Her hands are lashed tightly together with more of the same, at wrists and elbows, behind her. Another rope pulls her wrists almost ninety degrees from her body, anchored to the stone floor. Her long golden hair, streaming past her flushed face, lightly touches the floor. But the damned rope that pulls on her wrists keeps her bent slightly at the waist, defying gravity to save her already throbbing shoulders.

Through a haze of pain, she squints at her upside-down world. A great wall of fire encircles her, the flames lapping and sizzling barely a few feet from her pinkly, sweating flesh. There is darkness beyond the flames, but she senses entities in the darkness. Watching her fight for

consciousness. Her agony has consumed her mind, licking at rational thought

like the flames consuming the air. She barely notices the beast enter the

circle of fire.

Its enormous, black phallus is all she can focus on first, as it bobs before her eyes. The monster behind it is likewise a black as cold as death. Two clawed legs, long arms with razor sharp talons, and a bull-like head with too many teeth. But its eyes are insanely intelligent. They glow behind the phallus with enormously malicious intent.

She tries to move her head away from the throbbing cock but this only angers the beast. With a single blurring motion, it slices her breasts with the talons of one paw, nearly severing a crimson nipple and baring a rib. She stares at the wound in wonder for a moment and then the pain hits, like a spoiled child. She shrieks loudly for several moments before the beast lashes out again, this time with closed fist. Her head rocks from the blow to her ear, stopping her braying.

The beast's grin has broadened. It dangles its paw in the flames for a few moments then squats next to her cheek. Looking intently in her eyes, it traces a claw along the gaping wounds, bubbling the flesh until the blood stops. She begins to scream again, but is stopped by a claw that snakes into her mouth and hooks her tongue. Her jaw snaps closed on the finger, but the beast only closes it's eyes slightly, as if in pleasure, as it gouges a deep groove in the pink flesh of her mouth. It digs the claws of the next two fingers into the soft flesh under her neck, locking her jaw

closed. With a casual flick of its other paw, it slices the wounded nipple

cleanly from her breast.

Her eyes close and her body tries to thrash, but the strain of her shoulders stop her short. In the end, she just looks up and into its eyes.

Straightening, the beast removes its claws from her mouth and throat with only a slight tearing. It walks around her then, silently appraising. Shaking its ponderous head, it stops at her exposed pussy. She doesn't see it clearly now, as her neck strains to keep her shoulders from popping out of their sockets. When the beast comes into view again it holds something in its paw. Long and thin, it looks like a red snake, but in place of its head is a small orb with tiny teeth. Yellow slime runs the length of the thing and a silvery fluid drips from its mouth. The beast holds it out before her, letting a drop of the yellow fluid drop on her cheek. Cold, it burns the flesh like acid and she moans, jerking her head away. The beast seems to laugh, then disappears from her vision to stand once more over her pussy.

At the first drop of the fluid, she screams as loud as she can. It hits her soft lips just seconds before she feels the thing's head sliding down and into her pussy. Its fluid burns a cold searing path deep into her womb, the only traces of the thing that now coils inside. She feels its bulk there, like a cold cancer. Her legs, held wide apart, thrash helplessly.

She feels a sharp prick, then, on the very tip of her labia. And another on the opposite fold of flesh. And back and forth, one side to the other, each crossing accompanied with a snug tug to her lips. The beast was sewing her shut. With the thing inside.

Her moans turn to gentle sobs. Her neck, finally giving in to gravity, slides back, putting the full weight of her torso on her shoulders. With a grateful sigh of pain, she sees the orange flames slowly turn black.


I awoke, feeling sweaty, numb, and a sense of foreboding I was sure I'dlost those many years ago. That was all in the first instant. Hitting me in the second instant was the searing pain in my arms and shoulder, as if part of my dream had followed me.

It had.

I raised my head and every small movement made my arms shoot tiny streaks of white pain through my body. I was hanging, naked in the coolness of my bedroom, from a course rope about my wrists. I tried to look up, to see what could be holding me. The rope went up and into the ceiling, as if the stucco plaster was just an illusion. No fasteners, no beam, just a simple ending of the rope. I hung my head, the only position I could handle without upsetting my arms. My ankles, tied snugly together, as were my knees and upper thighs, were floating over a foot off the floor. My diary, still on the nightstand next to the disheveled bed was still locked where I put it.

I closed my eyes and a long slow shudder worked its way up my spine. I was in trouble. Again. Just like before, He had come back and fucked up my life.

I heard noises in the kitchen. Sounds of running water, the refrigerator opening and closing, the microwave, plates smacking together. My arms hurt horribly. This could not be happening. All those hours in therapy, all those spoiled and ruined relationships. All wasted, now. I had finally, suddenly, quietly lost my mind.

After endless minutes, He poked his head through the doorway. I shuddered with cold, but welcomed the possible ending of my pain, or at least a change. His eyes glinted, sharp steel, his smile filled with many teeth that were sharper still. And yet he looked human. Not the beast I remembered from before, or even the demon from my dream. He was an illusion of a man, but a very good illusion. Pallid skin, white as the harsh moon, black hair darker than an idiot's soul. And malicious eyes.

He had come home. For me.

Casually, he brushed thick, black hair away from his eyes and flopped down in the vanity chair. He held a plate to his chin and slowly, delicately, fingered a slab of thawed raw beef. I noticed the vanity mirror behind him cast no reflection of him or anything else. It was a smoky red, from frame to frame.

I didn't speak and this seemed to amuse him.

His eyes traveled the length of my body, searching and probing every gentle curve or taught and straining muscle. I blushed in spite of the ridiculous situation. Something was happening, I later realized, that would have helped my Freudian therapist label me.

I averted his gaze. "Untie me. Please." Though it came out meekly, I was surprised it came out at all.

He stopped his destruction of the side of bleeding beef, seemed to consider it, and stood. He tossed the empty plate on the floor, holding what was left of the raw meat in one hand. A flash of steel, and a steak piece of my cutlery was in the other. He began to grin, in a grin that grew much larger than would be possible, were he human. As he sauntered close to me, I felt my breath catch, and all the pain in my arms instantly covered with ice. A body could lose a lot, looking into those eyes. Maybe everything.

His breath was foul, worse than just raw meat. It smelled of death, of rotting bodies, of vile evil, of the darkest of dark. And still, it was sweet, as sweet and sticky as the raw meat. He brought the knife up to just below my chin and I felt the cold tip press into the flesh at my neck. "Please," I whispered.

The knife moved down, lingering for an instant at my left nipple, and the instant flashback closed my eyes. But I felt the knife move further still, past my belly, to the soft fur below. Again it hesitated.

"Please ... Master."

The knife was gone, and I felt the ropes about my legs suddenly cut. As I opened my eyes, I felt a cold grip on my ankles spreading them wide. The movement sent fresh jolts of pain down my arms and I must have yelped, because my mouth was open for just the shortest of moments. His hand was at my lips immediately and I tasted blood in the instant before the first bit of raw beef was jammed in. Gagging, I tried to push the slippery mass back, but He kept working, packing my mouth tight with the meat. In the end, all I could manage was a soft gurgling sound. Both chewing and spitting were out.

My heart was racing as I finally looked into his eyes.

He was pleased. The grin was back. One hand still held one of my ankles aside. The other disappeared between my legs. I felt His fingers slide between my pussy lips, so cold, and I squirmed violently. The pressure on my held ankle increased painfully, until I was sure He would snap my foot off. I moaned and relaxed. His fingers probed deep within me, so far in that I began to lose feeling in my entire vagina. His fingers were so cold. Then I felt him withdraw. He released my leg and my arms screamed as my weight once more pulled at the rope.

Through half lidded eyes I saw him show me something in his hand. The something he had pulled out of me.

It was a small red snake.

With lots of teeth.

She lays in the dank cell, the smells of her own excrement filling her nose. The dirt floor is cold, so cold to her bare ass. But warmer than the slick, cold stone walls. It is almost complete darkness, the only light slants through the narrowly barred window, high up the wall. The course soiled rope about her hands behind her back have long since robbed her fingers of feeling. Dirt, where the tear streaks had once blazed, cakes her face and most of her starved body. Thought has left her, with the tears, and now she is only an animal, able to react not contemplate.

The door is thrown back and shards of red light cut her skin an angry red. She screams reflexively, trying to get up and run at the same time. A large nozzle, held between two darkly cloaked figures issues a stinging wall of water, and she is pushed back into the corner by its force. Screaming whenever she can gulp air, she huddles with her back to the water. The dirt is blasted away, forming a black soup around her.

The nozzle cuts off. Arms lift her up and turn her around. The nozzle resumes. Her bound wrists thrash helplessly against her ass, but the arms at her sides hold her. Her screams are cut off as a last wave hits her square in the face. Her legs buckle and she is dragged limply outside.

She begins to see again as her hands, re-bound by the now dripping rope, are anchored over her head. Flicking the long matted strands of blonde hair away from her eyes, she peers into the bright red light. Her vision comes slowly, the painful light forcing her eyes to squint.

Many robed figures huddle around her, beneath her. She is tied to a post on a stone platform, under the blood red sun for the first time in what seems like years. Through the hazy vision she can only make out cold steel orbs beneath the hoods of the robes. Another robed figure stands to her left on the stone. He holds a long strip of animal hide in one clawed hand.

The sound of her harsh breath is all she hears. The figure next to her suddenly snaps the strip and the tip bites her left breast. She yelps. The robed figures look amongst each other and one howls a strange guttural howl. Another does the same. She waits, feeling the flesh of her breast stinging hotly.

The strip bites her again, this time on the hips. Again she yelps, trying to move away against the pull of the rope on her hands. The first figure howls again, as well as the second, and now a third.

A soft, steady whimper now comes from her throat, and the strip finds her inner thigh. They're all howling now, the air ripe with the rotting noise.

Her flesh hot and stinging strongly, she is untied and half-carried, half-dragged off the platform by the robed figure that had howled first and loudest. Through a dusty, ramshackle street he takes her, passing other robed figures milling about.

To a run-down wooden shack he finally deposits her. Her hands are again raised over her head and tied to a beam. She looks about the room, not in fear or wonder. Only in a cold interest, as an animal regards a new cage. Another figure stands with its back to her. This one wears no robe and its shiny black skin ripples over hard muscle. It works a long shaft of iron in a bed of hot coals.

As it turns, the air rushes out of her body and a new intelligence glints in her eyes. Thoughts and memories return and with it, the pain. The thing's cold eyes glow and its mouth opens into a razor-toothed grin. It casually lifts the brand out of the pot and touches a clawed finger to the tip. A puff of smoke, a small sizzle, and the beast closes its eyes in pleasure. The other figure takes the brand and lets his robe fall away. These eyes she remembers, from a circle of fire.

A soft mewing comes from deep in her throat as the orange tipped steel is raised to her neck, below her left ear. The depths of his eyes, locked onto hers swim with the smell of her searing flesh.


So it was in me all along. That ... perversion. Coiled in my womb with teeth and slime ... Physically, symbolically, whatever. That's what that fuck was telling me. I could see his logic now, warped and hateful. Many sleepless nights in the life I fought so hard to forget and now would resume had walked me right up to the edge and forced me to look down into the yawning darkness of ... what?

Me? My own broken line?

Look too hard and you lose your balance and fall headlong into that darkness. Glance once or twice and you may miss what slides out from the depths and tickles your soul. In my waking moments, between dreams that both aroused and maimed, I took in my pit of darkness, at once glancing away then staring dumbly.

The heavy metal collar around my neck kept my body from escape. My mind was spared even this luxury.

She wears a path in the cold stones at the perimeter of her dark cell. Twenty steps. Ten steps. Twenty steps. Three steps. Door. Four steps. In darkness so rich her hands are only visible at a foot's length, she lets the flood of thoughts come, as a woman may try to remember how she came to wake up in a strange place. Her capture is only dimly remembered. Her brand on her neck and the welts on her body are fresh yet have no name as yet. What she is sure of is that she is property of a beast.

She pauses and mentally forces the blurred images of Him from her mind. The darkness of her cell already seems to be filled with His teeth.

Her breath evens and her legs resume their mechanical motion. Memories of what she was before are gone. She is as fresh as a newborn, as scarred as a leper.

To be property is an idea that is foreign to her, this she is sure. Loss of freedom, pain on a whim, a thoughtless future. Her mind reels. Would resistance matter? Would He set her free if she fought or merely stripe her back? And laugh. But the fighting is what she knows she should do. It may buy her a free life. Or it may cut her hard. One satisfies the mind. The other, the body.

Metal slams home in the lock in the door, jarring her. Instinctively, she bolts for the far corner. The lock turns and a hard, silver light cuts away the dark of the cell in a sharp sweep. She loses her sight for just a bare second, as the light pounds her eyes into squinting pain. Around her she hears shuffling of feet, then hands are on her, yanking her wrists before her. She yelps and is slapped. Rough cord binds her hands and another loop of rope is tossed about her head.

In the agonizing daze, she sees a two hulks on either side and a third in the doorway. This last holds the end of the rope about her neck. On this, it pulls hard.

She staggers about, flailing at the air with two arms now made into one. Her shoulders are prodded hard and she is pulled from her cell by her neck, slamming into the side of the metal door in the end with her hip. Up a long dusty corridor she is led, each step giving more sight to her adjusting eyes. Cells line both walls, moans of female pain coming from behind metal doors. The three figures wear the same brownish robes of the others, with any skin peeking out a jet black. Once on their way, the figures seem not to acknowledge her, save for an impatient prod or pull on the rope. Once, she cracks her toe on an upraised bit of stone and falls, skinning her legs and one thigh. The rope is pulled tight about her neck, robbing her of breath, good for a few well-placed kicks on her sides. Coughing, she scampers back to her feet.

The corridor ends at stone steps, going steeply up through the dark and webbed ceiling. She manages the climb with only cursory prodding from below and only a little rope burn at her neck. At the top, a door. It opens and she is thrown inside.

Living with a beast, definable, palpable, physically available to be beaten back, is far easier than to live with a blackness that rises up from your very soul, a blackness bearing your name. And somewhere, as that blackness rises like a bile, the lines of reality are softened, dimmed, then blocked out completely. Everyone has a blackness, as different as the person. Mine was something at first alien, later a womb sister. Growing as I grew, this thing was inside me. Maybe, at conception, we were apart and different. Now, the only now, we are one. It has shaped my life as I have fostered its maturity.

My collar wouldn't permit me from straying far from the rough wooden post that materialized in the center of my bedroom sometime during one of my delirious dreams. One foot of freedom. Not even enough reach to pull the sheets from my bed over my bare, cold body.

Two cycles of night and day have passed since I last saw Him. Two days without food or water. After holding my wastes as long as possible, I finally completed the circle of toilet training, fouling a spot on the perimeter of my chain. My butt and knees are sore from alternately sitting or kneeling. One foot of chain, anchored high on the post, is barely enough for a timid crouch. The pains in my stomach were a constant stream of agonizing contractions. My lips were cracked, my mouth a dry pit.

The sounds of the world outside my apartment taunted me with their freedom. Birds, voices, life. Reality. All beyond my reach. Beyond that damned foot chain. I tried many times to call out when I was sure there were human voices within range. But each time only a feeble croak came out. Monotony was now working its way into my mind, playing with time the way an artist paints shallow strokes on a canvas. A slash of red: was that five minutes or an hour? Green over blue: yesterday or today?

I would have gone mad within five cycles of day and night, if not for the woman. Her appearance signaled the end of the beginning.

The chamber, like a wet, hot cloth, presses in around her instantly. Her feet skids from the force of the shove and she slides through the doorway and lands on the slimy stone floor. Her wind leaves her and she has a few moments of panic and dry heaves before she can again breathe. The robed figures use that time to pull her up and face her master, seated on a throne of gold.

Still coughing, she avoids his gaze. To look there would turn her docile, and if she is to have any strength for what she thinks she must do, she needs to have control of her mind. To look into His eyes is to fall forever.

The rope is cut from around her neck and tossed into one of many burning firepits. She counts the number of robed figures in the chamber and tries to plan her moves. Though forced to develop work muscles in this world, she has never been known for her grace. Yet, it is grace and luck that she lives by now. Two robes on her left and two holding her arms, still tied and resting against her belly. She tries to breathe deeply, to save oxygen, to calm her mind. It is her heart that betrays her, thumping furiously in her chest. And, in the end, her fear.

Her master palms his clawed paw downward, indicating she should kneel. She feels the weight of her handlers shift. And she acts. Her elbow flies up and connects with the robe's chin on her left. It shrieks, a loud squealing like that of a wounded and indignant animal, and crumples beside her. Using the motion of her arms, she puts her weight on her left leg and pistons her right leg out and lands her foot in the thigh of the other robe. It too squeals and falls. Deep, rich rumblings fill the chamber, in concert with the braying of the robes. She whirls completely around, ducking slightly to avoid her Master's grasp. And falls in the moisture of the stone floor. The rumblings increase to a deafening roar and, as she tries to quickly find her knees, she realizes it is her Master's laughter.

There would be no escape. Not now. Not ever.

Rolling onto her side, she slides her knees beneath her. To a shaky kneel.

And waits. Head bowed.

Ashen gray. A gray that lacks any specific color, yet is made up of all colors. It was the color of the woman's skin, a stark contrast to the deep golden hue of her eyes. White hair, the color of fallen silver, rested on her shoulders. Her small breasts were chained at the nipples by small golden rings and a thin, fine chain. Mid-point along the chain, just below the curve of her neck, a second chain was connected. This chain rose up and threaded the small golden ring in the center of her nose. The tautness of the chains seemed to force her to keep her head bowed slightly.

She materialized out of nowhere. Or maybe I just thought so. When every thought you have concerns feeding your wanting belly, images come and go with regularity. I had never seen a woman, or man, chained as she was. But, I had never been collared like a dog before, either.

She looked at me coldly, in that odd, bowed-head way. Her golden eyes quickly scanned my bedroom without expression. Looking at me once more, she cautiously crossed the room to where I sat, chained to the post. I watched her breasts, unconsciously wondering if the rings hurt her as she walked. With every movement, the chains stayed tight, and she was careful not to raise her head the slightest bit. When she got close to me, about at the perimeter of my chain, she stopped and knelt before me. Without hesitating, her hand felt the back of my head, adjusting the chain, all the while her eyes coldly looked into mine. I could see that her pupils were slits, not round as mine.

As she looked at me, they dilated slightly. Her hand had stopped and was nestled in my hair at the back of my head. Slowly, never taking her eyes away from mine, her other hand came up and unclipped the chain from her nose. As it fell away, her head moved close. Her kiss was soft, her taste bitter. I tried to move my head away, but her hand in my hair held me. I closed my eyes and returned the kiss.

Then she was gone, out the door to the living room, leaving me to look down at my hands that had done nothing to stop her, and my nipples that had suddenly gotten hard.

Her ankle is held tightly, so tight she wonders if it will be snapped in two. Her Master bellows loudly and the two remaining robes come to his side. She is lifted hard, by only her ankle, and is left to dangle, upside down, before her Master's gaze. The air rushing from between all those sharp razor teeth with every deep roar is putrid. His eyes, smoldering orbs of fire, motion to the others. Hands grab her arms and legs and she is roughly carried to the center of the chamber.

She lays meekly in their arms, unwilling to fight, ashamed at her fear. The punishment will now be more than before, and it will have been her doing. In the future, she knows, she will be kept more secure.

Her hands are pulled up from a rope dangling from the ceiling and she feels herself rising. The hands that hold her slowly let go as she is pulled up and when she feels her feet leave the floor, ropes cut her ankles and pull her taught.

Her head rolls from the pain in her wrists and ankles. Every breath pulls on either her hands or feet.

She returned with my portable CD player and a CD, the cord from the player trailing her like a tail. She didn't look at me, which was good, because I wouldn't be forced to look away. And look at her was what I wanted to do now. The nose chain was back in.

Deftly, she plugged in the cord, popped the CD into the player and folded herself into a sitting position before me. Working the fast-forward and skip buttons, the CD came to life.

"hello" it said, only it was Teri Nunn's voice from Berlin, in the middle of one of the songs on the CD.

The woman looked up at me expectantly.

"What?," I whispered.

Her eyes flared. Again her fingers moved the buttons. "you ...would...try...answer." Pause. "hello," she said again in Teri Nunn's voice.

"Hello." I searched her eyes. For what, I didn't know. Too many things had happened to me to stop wondering what was real and what was dream.

Her fingers moved."


"You're supposed to train me? For Him?"

She looked back with cold eyes. "" She felt behind her back for something. When her hand came into view it held five things. Three small golden rings. Two lengths of golden chain.

He stands before her now. His claw goes to her neck and lightly traces the brand there. His other paw holds her chin, forcing her to look at Him. Slowly He shakes his head. He punctuates this with a hard scrape across her cheek. As she begins to yelp, He pushes her head roughly away. If her thumping heart had betrayed her before, it is close to exploding now. The four robes are hunched over the firepits, working with long, bamboo-like sticks. As the flames leap up and lick at the sticks they seem to become supple and a thick syrup substance begins to flow from the skin like blood. The Master, now sitting again on his throne, impatiently waves to them.

She lifts her head up, tries to move her knees and only succeeds in pulling on her wrists more. One by one, the robed figures, bleeding bamboo sticks in hand circle her and wait for the Master's signal.

"Fuck off. You and your asshole, blood eating, raping, family killing, rope-lord master." I tried to stand, forgetting the collar and chain, got half-way and was yanked down hard. The pain in my ass was only fuel. "If you think I'm going to let you drill my fucking nose and fucking tits you'd better hope there isn't another ring up your ass to get in my way, because that's exactly where-"

She was beside me in the blink of an eye, even before the CD player rolled lazily away from where it had moments before been sitting in her lap. She had a fist full of my hair in her free hand and used this to slam my head back into the post. My tongue, which had just gone ballistic, crunched between my teeth and only the taste of blood in my mouth kept me from quickly blacking out. And then she was back and out of reach, had I thought about retaliating. Casually, she gathered up the CD player and settled back into a folded legs position.

I winced at the pain in my tongue, which was throbbing with my heart, and spat a mouthful of blood in her direction. She didn't look up, merely wiped it off her leg. Her fingers moved across the player's buttons once more.


I spat again, this time on the player. "I'll respect him. For fucking up my life."


"You can be his whore, not me. Take this collar off me or I'll pull on it until my neck snaps."

She smiled. Normal teeth. ""

I looked away. Fuck her. Fuck me.

She doesn't see His signal. Her head hangs down, eyes closed, blood dripping from her cheek, hands and feet pulling her apart at the middle. The first crack on her left side snaps her head up. The second on her back follows before her muscles begin to respond. The third takes a thin line of her skin on her right side before she can draw breath for a scream. The fourth bares her belly as she begins to scream. As each stroke of the bamboo sticks hit, a thin spray of scalding syrup splatters her and slowly starts to run downward, pinkening the skin as it goes.

As the second round begins, her Master feels the need to laugh once again.


My temper, potently futile had shriveled. I wiped more blood away with a trembling finger. "What else is there?"

She looked at me with those strange, golden eyes, and I thought she was incredulous. "You...understand...inside."

I sighed. "There is no escape, now, is there. For me or for you."


She left the CD player going as she once again slid up next to me. For the first time, as I looked into those eyes, I saw something that might be human. An unconscious emotion that I'd only seen long, long ago and from a family now dead.

She unclipped the ring in her nose as Teri Nunn's voice began the second song on the CD.

'We walk into your room, A mirror's caught your reflection'

She held the back of my head again, running her fingers softly up the back of my neck, against the tuft there...

...Her body writhes as the bamboo whips rip her skin, around and around, leaving trails of fire with every hit. Her screams have ceased as the pain overwhelms her. The rhythm, intense and filling her world pounds her soft flesh, sparking something else...

...'You look away and call to me to fill in the frame'

Her eyes filled my vision, golden orbs that drew closer. Her lips tasted soft, as before, but now my blood mixed with her bitterness as her tongue gently probed my wound...

...A soft moan comes from her, and her eyes are rolled back deep in her head. Pain from everywhere, without end. Her legs strain and slowly rub together, defying the rope around her ankles...

...I opened my eyes and saw a golden ring in her hand, two sharp, needle-like tips poised on either side of my right nipple. I put my hands around her, not tightly, closed my eyes again, took a deep breath, and kissed her harder.

'You are the answer now, you don't know. You can be anything, you don't know. You don't believe it now, you don't know anymore...'

...The pain rises up, out of her body and fills her mind with a deafening wave, like a hot wall of fire that tears her very soul in two. Her body shudders and the bamboo continues to fall...

...The ring clicked shut and I dug my fingers deep into her back. Her mouth covered my moan and my nipple was on fire.

'You are the reason and the rhyme...'

...A second ball of dark pleasure explodes in her pelvis and rolls across her body, numbing her mind. Her legs rub fiercely together and blood now soaks the ropes at her wrists and ankles...

...'You are the only one, you don't know. You are the fire of love, you don't know.'

The second ring closed on my other nipple and I bit her lip, drawing bitter blood.

'You can't believe it now, you don't know anymore. You are the reason and the rhyme...'

The bamboo suddenly stops. In the silence, the Master stands before her. She hangs her head, her eyes closed, her lips drawn up into a contorted smile. Syrup still runs down her striped and scalded body, but subtle muscle twitching is the only indication she still lives. He gently lifts her head. And smiles.

All teeth.

'I walk this road, you follow me, I don't know why.'


She stands motionless, eyes closed, feeling the rings buried in her nose, nipples and labia begin to throb with pain as The Beast methodically chains the four together. The stench of his breath, the roughness of his skin, the burning heat that comes off of him in waves, all these start the damnable warmth in her belly. Her hands fall motionless at her sides as she waits for the rings to be pulled taut by the heavy iron chain. All around her, she hears the moaning of the slaves the Master has assembled to watch. Their fate, she knows will not be the same. It is with immense pleasure that she is first and last to submit to this torture.

May 28, 1994

`It's been nearly 3 years since my `awakening', when I stopped running and turned around to gaze through the threshold of my deepest desires and longings. For many, including me, a lifetime of running would end in death without growth. And that's what it really is all about, isn't it? Growth. "To thine own self be true." God what a statement. And yet, the alternative is living a lie.'

I put down the diary and looked out at the sunny, happy spring day. The little worn diary had been relegated to a beat-up box of oddities in the closet. So much had happened in those last three years that self-documentation was almost out of the question.


I bent my head to the book in my lap and took up my pen again. Some

soapboxes support a good deal of weight.

A grunt from the Master tells her to open her eyes. For a moment, the being before her looks almost human, with shiny black hair and obsidian eyes. But the smile has too many teeth; the eyes too bright. Over His shoulder, she sees the ashen gray woman, holding the ends of the chain which now binds her body. She too smiles, the light of the sooty fires burning in her eyes and making her face glow.

Abruptly, the Master grabs the slack chain and pulls hard. She screams as the four rings strain to rip free of the human flesh it pierces. The Master's other hand shoots out to smack her cheek, drawing a trickle of blood, and causing her to suck in her screams. Silent agony. She thought she had learned this lesson well. This transgression will be punished severely.

`The Beast, as I had come to call him, is me. The side that lies waiting with it's coiled tail and sharp talons. The embodiment of everything I SHOULDN'T want, yet everything I need. You don't look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say that you would be a different person if your boobs were bigger, or your ass a little smaller, or your hair a crisper shade of evening blonde. You might voice it. But you don't really think it. At least deep down where the real thinking is.

`To thine own self be true.

`I was pierced. Physically in the nipples. Spiritually in my womb. Even though I was marked since birth, or before if you want to get existential, I needed to be `baptized' by my own desire. To be washed in the water of yearnings I could summon but not control. To birth the only person I could faithfully be. Only when I was forced to see what it is I am, could I begin to understand all of it, including the Beast.

`He is my Master. I give Him control and responsibility over my body. I need Him to tie me, hurt me, subject me to tortures. The human body is sometimes nothing more then a complex web of raw nerve endings. We wash it, feed it, care for it. Yet the `we' part is in our mind. Only when I am forced to feel pain and pleasure at the same moment, does the perfect meld between mind and body happen. Spiritual.

`My last threshold.'

Her eyes again closed, she feels the chains slowly lift her body from the floor. The rings pull her sensitive skin to the breaking point. She tries not to flail her arms and legs for fear that the earth will again claim her newly ripped body. So she dangles, body a screaming traitor of flesh, and feels the first wave of pleasure ripple from the four tiny rings.

'The ashen woman, as I came to call her, was my tutor. Always there to prod me in the right direction. She was the one who branded me with the small golden rings I wear in my nipples and labia, the larger silver ring I wear in my nose whenever I am not in public. Did she ever exist? Do any of us? Time turns all of us into ashes.

'My entire family died in a car accident. My world died with them. Heavy shit for a teenager. The fetal position is what we fold into in times of anguish. All terms go to zero. Nothingness. Except it isn't really zero. Something exists where we think nothing should. And when the light of our consciousness graces its face for the first time, it may look like a Beast.

`It was the ashen woman who turned me into a slave. It was she who taught me obedience. And it was she who was the keeper of my dark side until the Beast came to teach me about myself. In this world of instant gratification, I learned to wait for direction. I learned to mindlessly do what was demanded of me. I learned to submit.

`I went out. Seeking that which only existed in a pseudo-fantasy life, I looked to the practitioners of this dark religion. Bars, nightclubs, organizations. All of them were churches of faith devoted to the seeking and finding a climax to the fire that burned in all of us. Lifestylers, performers, everyone had their own niche. Except for me. I needed more, wanted more. In stark contrast to the world of the Beast, this looked like dress-rehearsal for the High School Prom.

'And I still haven't found what I'm looking for.'

Her Master cups one breast, tracing the line of taut skin to the base of her torso. Then up the other breast, this time allowing his razor sharp claw dig a ragged path to her nipple. She swallows a burst of agony and nearly submits to the waves of pleasure and pain that control her body.

`He will embody all that the Beast embodies and more. He is of the same vein as I, always a traveler, never an anchor. I will be his slave for life. He and the Beast will merge. My fantasy will become reality and that reality will be my life.

`And so I wait for my next threshold to appear. When it comes, I will not hesitate to step through.'

She feels his cock, swollen and enormous, enter her stretched pussy. As he rams into her, the strain on her rings is picked up by him, causing a brief moment of respite from the pain. But almost immediately, he jackhammers down and the rings scream in agony. Again and again, he impales her, forcing her body to cry in pain anew with every thrust and withdrawal. The fire now rages through her body and she feels the ashen woman bury her tongue in her mouth. She climaxes and for a second that could last an eternity, the pain, the pleasure, all become one. The force of this new beast sends wonderful blackness to her numbed mind. Her body hangs limp, a smile on her face, a glow in her belly. Yet the Master pumps on. It will be some time before He gets His fill.

I closed the diary with a snap. The song I had been waiting for came up on my CD. I closed my eyes and lay back on the silk sheets as James Hetfield sang to me.

'Where do I take this pain of mine.'

I stretched my toes and fingers as far as they would go, imagining

hard, course rope holding me.

'I run but it stays right by my side.'

The silk rustles beneath me and I feel his breath on my skin. Hot. And sickly sweet.

'So tear me open, pour me out. There's things inside that scream and shout.'

He pulls on my nipple rings and the first electric pain warms my impatient flesh.

'And the pain still hates me.'

I open my eyes and He towers above me.

And grins.

I am lost in His teeth.

'So hold me until it sleeps.'