Joseph stood at the threshold of the dark dungeon, hands in his pockets and a cold expression on his face. So this was it! This was the day when everything would change.
There are moments in a man’s life when you have to choose between fight and flight. It takes only one split second to make a difference and, most of the time, you don’t realize what happened until you’re already in the thick of it. This was not the case for him, a calculating soul that never made anything happen without overthinking it first. He imagined where possible scenario, weighed the effect of every decision, and ultimately concluded the best course of action. It was Pure Reasoning led to an extreme, a characteristic that often maddened those dear to him.
Not familiar with the world of underground S&M and ill-advised hypnosis practices associated with it, Joseph had never heard of her until the day his younger brother Matt came to him, covered in bloody lashes, with no memory of what he had done in the past forty-eight hours. The last thing he recalled was seeing this mysterious woman in her castle of iniquity and then blacking out after having a glass of water. No consent, no negotiation, just a never-ending barrage of pain waiting for him. He was in terrible shape and in desperate need of medical attention, which he was fortunate enough to get just in time. While his body would eventually heal, doubts remained about his frail state of mind, doubts that Joseph no longer had.
Tracking down the bitch hadn’t been easy but, luckily he was a man with many connections and those had plenty of their own. A Franklin here, a Franklin there, and he was put on the right track, somewhere on the edge of town on a rainy night that was ideal for his intentions. “It will help wash the blood away,” he thought.
Joseph took a deep breath and descended a flight of irregular stairs into the mouth of the abyss. The walls around him were covered in fluorescent graffiti depicting all manners of barbaric rituals no human eye should be allowed to see. As he continued down a long, winding hallway, the chromatic assault grew increasingly more obscene, more than enough to make his stomach turn. Joseph gripped the pistol he had been concealing in the right inner pocket of his jacket and concluded right away it would not be enough. He finally reached a worn-out door at the end of the corridor and noticed it was partially open. He was expected.
He pushed the door gently aside and peeked in, seeing a modern recreation of a Medieval torture chamber coexisting side by side with a sterile chamber straight out of a low-budget sci-fi movie. Racks of leather and wood implements were scattered across the large room with no apparent order to their disposition. All the lights inside oscillated between an oppressive shade of red and an eerie shade of blue. It was all too quiet even though he could hear the screams of everyone that had been there recently, hammering his mind.
Joseph walked inside, and the door closed behind him. No mechanism was visible to the naked eye, but he was sure there was one. No matter - he had already anticipated such a possibility, anyway. He drew the gun out and removed the safety, eyes fixed on the imaginary dividing line between old and new, hoping to see something or someone there.
Something whirred to his right and his prayers were answered. A busty, yet elegant woman, clad in fiery red PVC and sporting a long curly wig of the same color emerged from an adjacent door he had failed to notice the first time. The black thigh-high boots exhibited a single red vertical line from the bottom to the top. She held a black cigarette holder in one hand and a nine-tail whip in the other. Her fake nails were sharp and intimidating like knives that could cut through a man’s jugular with little effort. Too many layers of make-up on her oval face made it impossible to determine her true age although, if he were to hazard a guess, he would put it somewhere between the late forties and early fifties. Dark gray eyes that no doubt had witnessed more horrors than he could count turned his way, challenging him to a duel of wits. “Mistress Erin” was a predator through and through, and the predator wanted to play.
“I was wondering when you’d get here,” she smirked. “It took a while.”
“Do you know who I am, bitch?” he asked.
“Hmmm, let’s see. Joseph Skinner, aged 41, banker, married to Hannah Wincroft for three years now and currently expecting a baby that’s due next April. Older brother of Matthew Skinner, a certified pussy that should have never been allowed in my chambers... Yeah, I know exactly who you are though it’s unlikely you know much about me.”
“I tracked you down, didn’t I? I know enough.”
“You think you do,” she tapped her right foot on the damp floor and walked toward him, “but that’s the problem with most men. They only ever catch glimpses of the real world and yet somehow believe they’ve already unearthed all its secrets. This type of self-aggrandizing behavior is as foolish as it is annoying, and it gives me great pleasure to correct it thoroughly so that they realize what they truly are: piglets pretending to be kings, and I eat pork for breakfast.”
“Stay right where you are!” he exclaimed, raising the pistol to her head level. “Not another step or I’ll shoot.”
“You’ll do no such thing no matter how much you’ve convinced already things would play out in your favor. “In my domain, I make the rules. Drop the gun on the floor right now.”
“Who do you think you are to give me orders? You may have drugged my brother after getting him here, but you will not do the same to me. He with the firearm is the person in charge, not the other way around.”
“Yet another ill-conceived notion we will have to remove from that thick skull of yours,” she yawned. “And yes, I admit to having made your brother feel more ‘comfortable’ when he came to me, but drugs are just one possible means to an end. I don’t need them when I have this.”
Mistress Erin clapped her hands and the entire illumination system in the dungeon went haywire, stroboscopic flashes crashing down on him like an epileptic storm. Seemingly unperturbed by the phenomenon as if she had seen it countless times, the nefarious woman grinned at her opponent’s sudden disorientation, his eyes blinking uncontrollably to avoid being blinded by the chromatic onslaught. In-between the moments when Reality was reduced to a series of incoherent blurs, she closed the distance between them and brandished the whip.
“Bad pig, coming to a woman’s domain and trying to play the dominant role!” she hissed. “We’ll have none of that in here. Let the lights consume you until you’re nothing but a drooling mess on the floor.”
Joseph flailed his upper limbs like a chicken whose head had just been cut off. He held to the gun through the first sting of the whip but dropped it on the second, a solitary bullet firing to the ceiling before the pistol fell to the ground. The whip grazed his right cheek and then drew blood on the back of his hand.
The unnerving spectacle of light continued, an array of thin needles slowly penetrating his brain. Joseph felt his head getting heavy and lost control of his muscles, his arms and legs quivering like jelly as she grabbed his collar and forced him to stare into her devastatingly cold gaze.
“Still think you’re tough, little pig? Your strength is no more than a lie you told yourself to justify trespassing into my quarters. You found me because I wanted to be found. From the moment I got inside your brother’s head, I knew he was small fry and the real prize rested with you. A man of finance is much more useful to further my plans than a wannabe musician who doesn’t even know the difference between an acoustic and a bass guitar and so, yes... I hurt him. I hurt him real bad and left him to dry, waiting for the spark of revenge to fill your mind. The people you were in contact with work for me and now, here we are, finally face to face as your will to resist me grows weaker and weaker.
“You’re obviously thinking that will not happen, that there’s no way that the hate you’re experiencing at the moment can be repurposed into absolute obedience and devotion and yet, as I’ve explained already, your beliefs are founded in unstable soil, one that quickly dissolves into quicksand when you’re this close to me. Everything else is collapsing in your brain except this. You see nothing but my eyes and focus only on the sound of my voice. This is the combination that will drive you mad, pulling you deeper and deeper into the world I want for you. In here, men don’t tell me what to do but only do as they’re told. Here, any thoughts of independence are quickly shattered and turned into an effigy in honor of my superiority. You may not look away. Stare harder into the dark flame that is about to devour you whole.
“Deeper you go with each word and each sentence, eyes reflected on mine, ensnared by the light. Glimpse harder and you can see the patterns that spell your doom, one at a time in quick succession, one for each stray idea you still try to hold on to. There is only me and nothing past me and you keep dropping and dropping and dropping, falling from the glass rooftop of your once perceived masculinity onto the floor where slaves belong. Feel your arms growing heavier and heavier, your legs becoming like lead and dragging the rest of your body down. To remain on your feet is both foolish and painful. How long can you stand this grueling fate?
“Keep looking... keep falling... You want to be on your knees as much as I want you there, listening and accepting... listening and surrendering... bound to the will of your new owner, the only person you’ll serve from now on. It will happen as soon as your legs falter. Touching the floor will be the signal for your mind to break under my control. You cannot fight me when you do. You cannot think for yourself when you do. You will do nothing except what I command of you. Give in, Joseph... break into a million pieces like your silly little brother and become my newest toy.”
Mistress Erin let go of the bedazzled man’s neck, smiling as he sank helplessly between her legs, glassy eyes transfixed by their beauty. The entrancing patterns relentlessly dissolved what was left of his former independence, fury transformed into complacency and an endless craving to be of service. Warm saliva drizzled down his now silent lips as his new identity as an obedient thrall took over.
“Much better,” she remarked, towering over him. “You are in your perfect position, ready to live by the most important of rules: mine. Your ways around money will be most useful in funding a renovation for my beautiful playground, and despite having no real use for your stupid brother, I’ll ensnare him once again when he’s fully healed. I take it you never sucked a man’s cock before, right? Well, that’s about to change and what happens in the family stays in the family. As for your wife, I’ll leave her be for now. She still has to deliver a child, after all! However, one day I may just decide to make her mine too and if that happens, know in advance you’ll be the one to betray her and bring her to me. Imagine how glorious it will be for her happiness to be swept under her feet once she realizes that the man she loves and respects the most in this world, has been converted into a helpless sycophant and slave! Hmm, I can already hear her cries of desperation as she fights against your brainwashed self with no hope of escape. Yes, this will definitely come to be, Joseph. Not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but before the year is over, she too will be a part of my legion and you can three can take turns licking my sweaty ass!”
He nodded in his subservient state, hearing the words without registering their content or meaning. Only a fleeting ember of who he used to be, remained in the darkness of trance, and the chances of it turning into a liberating fire were growing weaker and weaker. Everything had changed indeed.
For the first time since forever, Joseph cared not about weighing the pros and cons of his decisions, for he had none to make. The only thing that truly mattered was the branded truth of her forced conditioning, one she would continue to impose in the days and weeks to come with a one hundred percent rate of success. Mistress Erin had to be obeyed, and she would.