The Bare Minimum Cage
He awakens in darkness. He is lying on his stomach, his head cradled on one of his arms, which has gone tingly and numb. He tries to move it and quickly bumps into walls in every direction: up, down, left, right. He panics for a moment, wondering if he somehow has forgotten the beginning of whatever bondage scene he is currently in, because the last thing he remembers is not a bondage scene at all but an ordinary night at home.
He would have no way of knowing that he was locked into a solid-walled cage that, at its greatest extent, would encompass less than two cubic meters of space. And that the cage was currently configured to allow him only half that much room. All he knows is that he can't move, can't see, can't budge the walls that enclose him from head to toe, and the panic begins to blossom inside his chest, making his heart race and the hairs on the back of his neck stand straight up in alarm...
Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself...
I wrote this in response to something I read on MetalBond's web site. It's called The Human Hamster and it really resonated with me. What a fascinating glimpse into a world of no escape, of constant confinement within a tiny space, while still allowing for the inputs (oxygen, food, water) and outputs (carbon dioxide, wastes) necessary to sustain a human's life.
If you haven't read it already, I strongly recommend you do so. Go ahead. I'll wait.
You're back? Wonderful.
I think the author, Bind, did a masterful job of portraying this situation, and my writing below is in no way intended as an "improvement" on his work. Rather, it's just my variation on the theme. Bind wrote a description of a situation that, I assume, exactly fits with his fantasies and turn-ons. A lot of what he wrote sure pushed my buttons as well, but there were two aspects of The Human Hamster that I thought I might change, if I were in charge of building a human hamster cage, to make the setup more suitable to my particular tastes.
The first thing that came to mind was the size of the space involved. There's a drawing posted along with the story that shows the dimensions of the cage as 13 feet 4 inches by 9 feet 2 inches. That's about 4 meters by 2.8 meters, for those who prefer metric. He does not specify a height for the standing portions of his box, but we can assume somewhere around 6 feet, or 2 meters, the standing height of a man. In either measurement system, it strikes me that that is WAAAY more space than strictly necessary! Wouldn't it be nice to find a way to further restrict the cage's occupant? And maybe to repurpose some of the space so that it is not necessary to rely on the cooperation of the victim to move from one functional area to another?
The second thing I noticed involves a spoiler, so if you haven't yet read Bind's work, I'm going to disguise the spoiler: read only the Capital Letters of the following sentences: IN THE HUMAN HAMSTER, skIrT trIpS feArLessLy pAnda aDdREssAbleMan. WOULDN'T IT BE NICE IF mIghTy sCOUndreLDash aBidE pRicEmAiL?
So here's my take...
The "Bare Minimum" cage is intended to keep a human male occupant alive and healthy in body (if not in mind) for an extended, indefinite period of time, in the absolute minimum possible space. For that reason, I cannot give exact dimensions, because men's sizes vary. If I knew how tall and wide Mr. Bind was, I might use his measurements for the sample cage, because I have a hunch he might enjoy being imprisoned inside one. Lacking those numbers, I'll use my own size instead.
I stand 5 feet 10 inches tall (178 cm). The cage should be about 6 inches (15 cm) taller than its occupant. This allows some space for vertical movement, but not so much that there is wasted room at the top. So a cage for me would be 193 cm tall. Length and width would be about a meter each, unless you're confining a particularly large or small specimen.
I need a way to refer to the sides of the cage, so please picture a pair of dice, simple number cubes. Place them so that each shows a six on the top face. Stack one on top of the other. Now rotate the dice so that the numbers on all four side faces match. You should have a tiny scale model of the cage with each wall, ceiling, and floor conveniently numbered. Side 1 is the floor, side 6 is the top, and sides 2, 3, 4, and 5 form the walls, with 2 opposite 5 and 3 opposite 4.
Sides 2, 3, and 4 are fixed together. The remaining wall, side 5, is set flush with the others, but it can slide inward, its edges firmly pressed against the other surfaces. The mechanism for sliding side 5 can be either motorized or human powered - I'm picturing it as motorized and computer-controlled because I like scenarios where torments can be set to happen automatically while the sadist/controller is off thinking about other things. But a manual system would work just fine for captors who prefer a more hands-on technique. However it is moved, it must be arranged in such a way that the occupant inside can't stop its motion - some kind of screw-driven or hydraulic system that no human muscles could possibly overpower. Side 5 is capable of moving inward until it reduces the cage volume by half. Once there it can be locked in place.
Likewise, side 6 - the ceiling - can be slid downward. Obviously, side 5 and side 6 can't both be slid at the same time because they would obstruct one another. But when side 5 is locked in its "out" position, side 6 can come in, reducing the height of the cage. Side 6 has a few extra features: it has numerous small air holes all over its surface, and it contains a half dozen water nozzles as well. A fan gently pushes air into the cage through the air holes, just strongly enough to keep the air inside from growing stale (it flows out through the bottom), and the water can be turned on or off by a control outside the cage. Water temperature is up to the captor's discretion.
Side 1, the floor, consists of the surface of a treadmill. It is oriented diagonally in the cage, so that when it is moving, new tread comes in from the junctions of sides 3 and 5, and tread leaves the cage at the junction of sides 2 and 4. The surface is rough and porous, to allow air or water to drain out through it.
Side 2 is split by an irregular seam. This is hard to describe, so I'll use some ASCII graphics to illustrate. (If it looks goofy when you see it, copy and paste it into a text editor and change the font to a monospace font like Courier.)
6 +-----+ | | | | +--+ | 4 | | | 3 | +--+ | | | | +-----+ 1
The bottom portion can slide inward about halfway into the cage - toward the viewer in the above graphic. When it does, it provides the occupant with a place to sit in the form of a bench with a toilet hole in it, on the lower portion, the portion closer to side 3. Toward side 4, behind the upward-pointing chunk of sliding wall is a recessed area that can be used as a shelf to insert objects - food - into the cage. When it's time to slide the partition back out, an additional chunk of material is pushed in from wall 4, causing anything in the recess to be pushed rightward until the recess is gone. Then the partition can be safely slid back out until wall 2 is a flat level surface again, with no chance of the captive poking his finger or foot into the gap to try to jam the mechanism.
The surface of side 2 is slightly more giving than the others, which have the hard, plastic feel of a shower insert. Side 2 is more yielding, not quite soft, but something approaching softness.
Small LED lights are placed flush into the walls. They are controlled from outside and are capable, when fully lit, of providing about as much illumination as a night light - plenty of light for the occupant to see by, but by no means bright. Also, there's a captive-controlled water jet on wall 3. Push a button, water flows out for a few seconds, then stops. This is the captive's source of water for drinking.
And that is all there is. This is the occupant's entire universe - less than two cubic meters of space.
The only other feature of the cage is its ability to be rotated. Sides 1 and 6 become walls, while side 2 becomes the floor and side 5 becomes the ceiling. This puts the cage - and its occupant - into a horizontal position, suitable for sleeping.
But enough dry, technical details: what's it like on the inside? Mr. Bind - the "I" and "me" of The Human Hamster - has graciously consented to letting me imagine him in the role of the guinea pig - er, excuse me, "hamster" - for this experiment...
Bind awakens in darkness. He is lying on his stomach, his head cradled on one of his arms, which has gone all tingly from lack of circulation and pressure on the nerves. He goes to move it and quickly bumps into unyielding surfaces all around - to either side, above him, headward, footward. He suffers a moment of panic, thinking that one of his bondage scenarios has gone awry. He thinks back, trying to remember what could have led to him being in this situation. But all he can remember is eating dinner, watching some TV, and going to bed just like any other perfectly normal night.
He would have no reason to remember an e-mail exchange from six months previously, when he and I talked about him trying out a bondage device I had constructed. Once he had agreed to give it a trial run, I had gone dark, not responding to his messages. A month later, he had forgotten all about me, dismissing me as yet one more online poser. He had no reason to suspect that I was the one who had crept into his room after he had fallen asleep, drugged him up, and deposited him in this cage. It would have spoiled the surprise if he had known what was coming...
He fights against the confining space, but nothing gives. He shouts a bit but cannot tell if there is anyone nearby to hear him. The gap between ceiling and floor is so low that he is only able to turn himself over onto his back with great difficulty, hunching his shoulders into his chest in an effort to make himself thin enough to fit sideways in the tiny space. He tries pressing from this supine position, but it is equally futile. Eventually, he gives up and dozes off again.
Some time later, he awakens again to find that dim lights have started to glow along the walls and ceiling. He can now see his prison, but there is nothing much to see - the walls and ceiling are all grey. His back and neck are a bit sore and stiff from lying on an unforgiving surface, as are his hips, and he squirms around a bit, trying to find a position where he doesn't ache quite as much. He is naked, and so does not have any clothing that he could use to cushion his head or body.
With a slight grinding noise, the ceiling suddenly begins to move. For a brief instant, he fears that it is coming further downward to constrain him into even less space than before, but then, to his relief, he sees that it is receding upward. His emotions go into overdrive the opposite direction then, certain that this must be the end of the scene... whatever the scene is. Surely his captor is releasing him now.
But when the ceiling reaches a point where he can just barely touch it with an outstretched arm, it stops. The emotional roller coaster reaches its peak and he begins to plunge downward toward despair again. He fights to force the ceiling to keep moving, but nothing he does can budge it in the slightest. He pounds the walls in frustration.
The lights dim, then brighten, once, twice, three times. A few seconds later, he feels himself shifting - his head is rising and his feet are sinking down, but it's not just him that's moving, it's the entire grey-walled cell he is trapped in. Gravity causes him to slide along the surface that until now had been floor until his feet reach the surface that used to be a wall. The cell keeps rotating, slowly, until it has completed a ninety-degree turn and he is left standing in a space the size of a shower stall.
Nothing happens for a while. He explores the limits of the space available to him, focusing particularly on the seams where he had seen the wall slide before. He tries to pry his fingers inside the seam, hoping to forcibly open a gap that he could eventually make large enough to fit his body through. But the surfaces have been machined with precision, and there is not even enough space to slip a fingernail into, let alone an entire finger. Other seams and joints are likewise impervious to his probings.
At about eye level on one of the walls - neither the sleeping wall nor the sliding wall, but one of the side ones - there is a small indentation. He explores it with his finger and finds that it can be pressed. He is immediately surprised by a stream of water erupting from a hole near the button, splashing out and spattering his shoulder and chest before he backs away in startlement. The water is tepid, cool on his skin but not cold. After a few seconds, it stops. Standing out of the way, he presses the button again, and is again treated to a few seconds' worth of running water. It lands on the floor and quickly seeps through, leaving only a few stained patches behind.
He continues to explore his prison, but there is nothing more to find. A while later, while he is at the point where he knows further examination will yield no results but has not yet given up the attempt, the lights blink again, twice this time. He grows alert, suspecting that something else is about to happen but not knowing what. The answer comes after a short delay when one of the walls - the softer one, the one he had once lain on - parts along a previously-invisible seam and the bottom portion begins to slide inward. He takes two tiny steps away from it to keep it from bumping into his toes. It stops when its leading edge has reached about halfway in.
It is an oddly-shaped protrusion - part of it forms a bench with a hole in the center. It is not too difficult to guess what the intended function of the hole is. But next to the bench is a wall that extends up to about his belly. He looks behind the wall and finds that the bench continues there, and that placed on the bench is food: scrambled eggs on toast, sausage, apple slices. There is no plate, no utensils have been provided, and there is nothing to drink. The food smells good, and he decides that it would be best to eat even though he is not particularly thinking about food at this moment. It just seems like the smart thing to do because he has no idea when this gift might be taken away and there is no way to know when, or if, it will be offered again.
He sits. He eats, messily, with his fingers. A few times during his meal, he stands up to press the water button and drink from the stream, since, clearly, this is to be the only source of liquid for him. The water, which had felt cool on his skin, feels insipidly warm on his tongue. Too warm to drink, too cool to bathe in...
When he is finished eating, he rinses his fingers and lips in the water, then sits and waits, with nothing else to do. A few minutes later, he feels the need to make use of the hole in the bench. The hole has clearly been placed to accept only solid waste, but he has already figured out that the porous floor means he has a disposal method for liquids.
Time passes. He stands, he sits, he shouts for help, he screams at his unseen captors, he waits. There is nothing else to do.
The lights flash again, twice. The recess where the food had been placed begins to disappear. A portion of side wall is sliding toward the center of the cell until the food recess is gone and the lower portion of the soft wall begins to recede back from where it had come. He is standing when it starts to move, but it would not have mattered - he simply would have been dumped to the floor as his seat vanished. When the motion stops, he sees that the soft wall is now one flat surface again, with only a vanishingly thin seam to mark where it had once been otherwise.
He stands a bit more, not particularly feeling like sitting on the floor. In time, the lights dim and brighten again, four times. He has figured out that the number of flashes is significant, and so knows to expect something different. He waits a few seconds, then feels it in his feet - the floor has begun to move, very slowly. It is carrying him toward one corner of the cage. He does not want to risk having his feet get wedged between the moving floor and the bottom of the walls, and so he takes a sideways step toward the opposite corner. Gradually, the moving floor's pace picks up and he is compelled to take another step, then another, and soon he finds himself walking on a treadmill.
This lasts for what feels like several hours. Occasionally the speed quickens until he is jogging, and it stays there for ten minutes or so before dropping back to the usual walking pace. He grows thirsty as time passes and drinks from the stream. It is awkward to drink while walking, and more water splashes on his body than goes into his mouth. But it doesn't matter, because he has no clothes to cling wetly to his skin, and the cool water actually feels good now that movement has warmed him.
Another four flashes of the lights, and the treadmill gradually slows to a halt. He stands a while longer, and then notices another change in his tiny cell: it has grown even tinier! The ceiling, which had been within easy arm's reach, is now brushing against the top of his head... and still lowering! He crouches down, then squats on his heels, nervous about how bad this new torment might get. The ceiling falls to the point where it is a short distance over his head and then the pattern of the lights in the walls changes again. Now they start dimming and brightening in a pattern: bright at the bottom, then the next higher light brightens, and then the highest of the three remaining visible lights brightens. Repeat: bottom, middle, top; pause; bottom, middle, top.
It takes a few seconds, but he gets it: up! The lights are moving up! He places his hands against the roof and pushes, then pushes a bit harder, then a bit harder yet, and the ceiling begins to move. He lifts it upward against some resistance until he has lifted it as high as it will go, back to its original spot. As soon as he has done this, it begins to lower again, and now there is nothing he can do to stop it - the force is too strong. It reaches its bottom point and again the lights begin to blink "up!", so he tries to lift and again finds he can move it.
Ten times this repeats, and after the tenth time he is sweating from the effort. Fortunately, the cycle stops at this point and he is not required to do any more lifting. He sits down, tired now, and nothing happens for a while. He dozes off, leaning against the wall. Some time later, he is awakened by the sensation of the floor moving underneath him and he leaps to his feet, still worried about getting a pinch of flesh pinned under a wall. The walking / jogging cycle repeats itself for a few hours more. Again he drinks when he needs to, urinates when he feels the urge. After a time, the floor stops again.
Two blinks: the food and toilet bench re-emerges and he sits, grateful for both the rest and the nourishment. The meal is a pair of wraps, chicken and lettuce and tomatoes and onions. He eats hungrily, drinks more from the tap, though his legs don't like to lift him up to reach it after their workout. He sits a while longer, staring blankly at the empty walls around him, so close he can touch each one easily.
Two more blinks and the food recess disappears into smooth nonexistence. He feels the bench beneath him begin to slide away and stands before he can be dumped off of it. He waits, and waits some more.
The next signal is one long blink. This is soon followed by water sluicing down all over him from more jets than he realized existed. They spray from the ceiling in all directions, and there is nowhere he can stand without getting soaked. This lasts half a minute, then the spray stops. At least the water is warmer than the drinking water. He notices that his skin feels slick. He rubs a bit and sees a few foamy bubbles. He realizes that there must be soap mixed in with the water. He washes himself a bit, cleaning his crotch, his armpits, his chest and arms and legs and head. After another minute or two, the jets turn on again. Fresh water, no soap added this time, pours over him and he rinses himself off. After the water stops, he thinks he can feel an increase in the flow of air from ceiling to floor, but it's hard to be sure. Perhaps his wet skin is simply more sensitive to the faint breeze. In any case, he is dry before too long. More waiting.
The next signal is three blinks. He doesn't recognize what it means until he feels his prison shifting again, rotating so as to return him to a recumbent position. Floor becomes wall, wall becomes ceiling, and he once more finds himself lying on the one soft... well, softER... surface available to him. He lies there a while, waiting again, and after perhaps half an hour, the ceiling begins to lower itself toward him. Encouraged by his experiment with the earlier ceiling, he tries to push it upward, but finds (with no feeling of surprise at all) that he cannot budge it. He is pinned once more in his sleeping position. As he expects, before long, the lights gradually dim, then fade out all together. He is left in close, confining blackness to sleep as best he can.
The next day, it all repeats itself, exactly the same way. And the next. And the next. The menu varies, but aside from that, each dim, constrained day is exactly like the one before it.
From outside the box, I speculate at how Bind might be holding up inside, because with the lights off, my two hidden cameras aimed into the cell can see only blackness. Even when the lights are on, they are too dim to provide the cameras with a good picture. Mostly I can only tell if he is standing or sitting or crouching or moving in one of the limited ways available to him. I can't see his facial expressions, but that's fine. I stroke myself, picturing what he must be thinking as he tries to sleep. He is completely sealed away, isolated in a lightproof, nearly soundproof enclosure in the basement of my house. No one but me - not even the captive himself - knows where he is, or why he disappeared without a trace.
I do plan on letting him out to return to his normal life.
That's it. That is the victim's whole world. Sleeping, waking. Tending to his body's needs: being fed and watered and exercised. Having his wastes removed. And above all, endless, unvarying tedium.
Other sadists' tastes may vary, but this setup works for me. The arrangement ensures that I don't have to care whether the victim cooperates, which means I don't need to either encourage or punish his behavior. If he refuses to eat or drink, fine: let him hunger, let him thirst. He only increases his own discomfort, not mine. If he seems in danger of starving himself to death, I can step in and remedy that, then return him to the cage. If he doesn't want to shower or put his crap in the disposal hole, he's the one who has to put up with the stink. If he refuses to walk and jog, it doesn't matter to me. The treadmill occupies the entire floor, ensuring that either he walks or he has to brace himself against the walls to hold his body up off the ground - it's a workout either way. And the weight-lifting routine in the form of the lowered ceiling... I don't need his cooperation there either. If he chooses not to lift the ceiling back up, then he can just crouch there, cramped and squashed, until either he feels like doing his workout or I feel like letting him up to feed him or walk him again. Or until my automated systems do it for me.
I don't have him in any other restraints, either, no cuffs or chains or collars, no chastity device. He is free to jerk off all he wants, and indeed, that's probably going to be his sole source of entertainment. He gets all the water he wants and two nourishing meals a day. Nine hours horizontal, eight of them in pitch blackness. Four hours walking in the morning, four more in the afternoon, plus however long it takes him to complete his ceiling-lifting reps (ten shown here. I would up the rep count over time). Then several hours of down time sprinkled throughout his day, either with the bench available to sit on (and crap through) or without, when he can either stand or sit on the floor. A shower before sleep.
And nothing more.
There is another posting on Metalbond's site that describes a man spending a nineteen-day stint in an isolation cell and the immense mental stress it caused. I am curious how long a victim might last in the Bare Minimum cage. Surely any healthy man could manage a day, even two. But how long would it be before the lack of mental stimulation begins to loosen his grip on his sanity, even his sense of self? Could he last two weeks if he knew in advance what the length of his sentence would be? What if, as illustrated here, he was snatched from his normal routine while unconscious and then awoke in such a situation, not knowing how he got there, how long his captivity might last... or whether it would even have an end?
Thank you, Bind, for sharing your vision of a human hamster cage. You provided me (and other readers, I'm sure) with plenty of fodder for both fantasies and nightmares. I hope my version can inspire of bit of each for you as well.