Monday, December 19, 2016



Disclaimer: The following story is a purely fictional account. Any relationship to any real person living or dead is coincidental. The narrative contains non-consensual male-on-male sex and torture. It is intended for mature readers who wish to view such material, and for whom it is legal to do so. The author in no way condones or promotes such acts in real life.

Copyright © 2016 by POW. For spam prevention, an animal name has been added to the author's e-mail address. Remove the animal name to get the actual address: POWauthor zebra at yahoo dot com. This story may be freely copied and distributed so long as it is copied in its entirety, unchanged, including the author credit information and disclaimer. Other POW stories are available at The author welcomes feedback.

The little white pop-up with the blue text on Colin's phone didn't look particularly menacing at first. It looked like any other nag screen, wanting Colin to upgrade his OS because he was still running last week's version and was therefore woefully in need of something better, or informing him that he might like to purchase this killer new game, or letting him know that 4G coverage was spotty here. Colin almost clicked OK from sheer habit.

Even reading the text wasn't all that distressing . It read "Your phone has been locked" and there was only one button below that read "Instructions". No cancel, no other explanation.

It was only when Colin tried to clear the message that he started to get a sense of how disturbing this really was. There was no way to clear the message except by following the link, which he had no intention of doing. But nothing got rid if it. The screen didn't respond to his touches and pressing physical buttons had no effect. The only thing he was able to do was turn the phone off, but this didn't help because when he brought it back up the message was still there.

If he had had more time, he might have poked at it a bit more, but the subway was nearing his stop and he'd need to walk the two blocks to Jimbo's burger place. So he shoved the phone into his pocket and figured he'd deal with it later.

Later turned out to be a little after 10:00 PM when his shift ended and he started the trip home. Not having the phone all evening had been inconvenient. No music, no Facebook, no texts with his buddies. Maybe it had cleared itself up.

But no, the irritating message was still filling his phone screen when he next turned it on. Annoyed, he jammed his finger down on the "Instructions" button. A browser opened and text filled the screen.

"Your phone has been infected by VRansomwear. Your data is safe, but encrypted. To gain access to your data, use any of the links below to make a payment of US$150. You will receive further instructions upon receipt of payment."

Colin was incensed. This sort of thing should not be possible!

He began furiously pressing controls. Nothing he tried had any effect. The phone was now capable of showing only three things. One was the instructions page in the browser; the second was the original message, only now there were two buttons under it: the one for "Instructions" and a new one for "Enter Unlock Key". The third screen was reached by tapping the "Enter Unlock Key" control, which brought up a screen with a text entry field and a keyboard. Angry, he entered "FUCK THIS SHIT" and hit the "Go" button. The screen flashed red and said "INVALID UNLOCK ATTEMPT #1. After the fifth unsuccessful unlock attempt, your data will be permanently scrambled."

"FAAAACK!" he swore. It was now 10:20 and he needed to get home to sleep. He had to be up early for his shift at the construction site tomorrow. He figured he would try again later when he had more time.

Three days later, Colin conceded defeat. In the course of trying, he used up two more of his unlock attempts. There just was no way to unlock the phone, nothing he or any of his buddies could do with it. One of them recommended he just replace it with a brand new one, which would be only a bit more expensive than $150.

To Colin's chagrin, this didn't help. First of all, it was considerably more expensive than $150. Because of his lousy credit rating, they wouldn't let him put the phone on an installment plan unless he paid for at least half of it up front. So he dropped $375 for a brand-new phone (half of it borrowed from his girlfriend Eva, who was not pleased about being his ATM), but when he tried to get his music and contacts brought down to it, he learned that the damage done by the hijackers was even more insidious than he thought: the cloud-stored copies were encrypted too! He had a brand-new phone, but couldn't use any of the purchases he had already made on it. And as soon as the first file copied over, the new phone locked itself up with that same bland "Your phone has been infected by VRansomwear" message displayed immovably on the screen.

Fuckers can't even spell "ware" right, he fumed.

So here, on the third morning since he first saw the message, he was filling out the form that he reached by tapping on the PayPal button at the bottom of the hijacker's instructions page, preparing to use the very last money he had available on his debit card to send a hundred and fifty bucks to some acne-faced geek in Romania or god knows where so he could have his stinkin' phone again. He only hesitated a moment before committing the payment.

Gratifyingly, the response was immediate. The system spat out a string of letter-number gibberish. He copied it and pasted it onto the unlock form and - halleluia! - his phone was free again! He ran it through a few test paces, and it all looked good. Nothing was missing, nothing was out of place. Everything worked again.

"The end," Colin thought.

Only it wasn't.

Seven days after that, an e-mail message arrived. It was from a generic "no-reply" address and contained an embedded photo. There was no need to click anything - it just showed up on his screen. It was a picture of... him. Or at least, the face was his. The body under the face was not his, and it certainly wasn't doing anything he had ever done. It was stark naked and it was crouched in a straddle position over another male body. The man on the bottom had his erect dick sticking upward into Colin's - the fake Colin's - ass. The expression on Colin's face was one of puzzlement mixed with wonder.

Even though the photo had to be faked, whoever had made it had done a very convincing job. The skin tone was consistent with Colin's own and there was no visible transition line at all between what was legitimately his and what belonged to the body double. The activity portrayed may have been equally simulated, but Colin suspected his head had been grafted onto an actual gay porn scene. He knew there was certainly no shortage of that available, even though it was not a corner of the internet he had any interest in visiting.

He stared at the image, lips working soundlessly, for a good long minute before it occurred to him to read the text of the message. What he read did not leave him any less thunderstruck. It said:

Hi, Colin.

Thank you for your payment to Team VRansomwear. We appreciate your business. Now we have a new opportunity for you, but don't worry - this one won't cost you a penny.

The above image is a sample of the material we have available. There are five full-length videos, 26 short films, and a gallery of over 200 photographs showing you indulging in an amazing variety of homosexual activities. The material can all be found at - feel free to browse around.

We appreciate the wide variety of facial expressions you made while reading the unlock instructions for VRansomwear, as it allowed your phone's camera to capture them and transmit them to us for use in constructing our film library. We also appreciate the vocal sample you provided during your first unlock attempt. Your choice of word was very appropriate for our videos and you can hear yourself uttering that word most convincingly throughout our films. We had to synthesize other words so those aren't quite so authentically you, but people who know you will recognize it as your voice and let's be honest: high-quality dialog is not something our viewing audience cares much about.

You yourself have free access to the entire library of films and photos that you star in. Use your VRansomwear unlock code when prompted to log in. Other visitors must pay for anything beyond the previews, and that's the reason we won't be charging you any further: the revenue stream we are already experiencing with these films.

What we want from you is not monetary in nature. We want you to make a choice. One option is to do nothing. If you choose this option, then in three days your entire contact list - including "Mom" and "Eva" - will receive an e-mail from you with a link to this site and a few excited-sounding lines about how you have kept this side of yourself hidden for too long and it's now time to share it with everyone you know.

Option two is to play a little geocaching game. Use the GPS feature of your phone to guide you to latitude 40.7544, longitude -73.9946. Open up locker number 7578 with combination 34-15-27. Follow the instructions inside before 11:00 PM on Friday, October 21.

We'll know if you do. Again, thanks for your business!

Team VRansomwear

Colin read the note as his heart steadily sank. When he was finished, he re-read the whole thing from top to bottom. Then spot-re-read a few other paragraphs. By the time he looked up from the phone, he felt well and truly fucked.

These people had everything on him. His face, his voice, his contacts... and he had no doubt they would use them exactly as they threatened to. He sat stunned for a while, then went through the motions of verifying the contents of that site. He paged through the material, horrified, for about a minute before snapping the phone off in disgust. A minute was more than enough time to see that they had ample material to cause him some serious embarrassment. Not that he had doubted.

He waited two days, just in case something happened to change his situation, some white-hatted hero riding in from the sunset to save his ass. No such salvation came. Tracking down the location specified by the GPS coordinates was not hard to do without going there: it was a few blocks from the Port Authority building.

On the morning of Friday the 21st, Colin caught a train to midtown and found his way to the locker. The combination worked on the first try. Inside the locker was a gym bag. Taped to the front was an envelope with a paper sticking prominently out of it. Ignoring the paper for the moment, Colin unzipped the bag and took a look inside, cautious to make sure none of the other dozen people in the room could see inside. He found a heap of black rubber, stiff and strong.

Down one side of the bag was an envelope. He pulled this out, zipped the bag shut again, and began to read.

Hello again, Colin.

We're so glad you've made it this far. Your next task is to put this suit on. There are changing rooms on the second floor.

A generous handful of talcum powder will make it easier to get the suit on. We've included some in the bag. Start at the feet and work upward, finishing with the separate hood piece. Please make sure that the suit fits snugly and comfortably over your entire body. It is especially important to get the crotch area fitted correctly to avoid compromising the suit's waste elimination capability. You'll need to remove everything else you're wearing, including undergarments, before donning the suit.

If you have any questions, one of the videos on shows a demonstration.

(By the way, now that you have opened the locker, the countdown has accelerated. You no longer have until 11:00 on the 21st to get the suit on; you have two hours from the time you opened the lock.)

Once you have the suit on and sealed, you will be provided with further instructions. Good luck with the game!

Team VRansomwear

So much for going home and deciding what to do from there...

Colin shoved the paper into his pocket, checked the time on his phone - 10:24 - grabbed the bag, and took the stairs to the second floor. The changing rooms were, thankfully, private, with doors that closed fully. Colin set the bag down and lifted the heap of black rubber out. There were two pieces - body and head. The bag also contained a pair of plain black boots. With still almost two hours to go before the deadline, there was plenty of time. He paused to inspect the pieces.

The rubber on the larger body piece was as thick as a pencil with very little give. The only opening was a zipper on the front of the body that ran partway down the chest. With the zipper open, he would be able to get his body into the suit, then zip it up. The legs were straightforward, just long rubber sleeves that ended in booties for his feet. The crotch area was smooth and featureless on the outside, but on inspecting the inside he found separate pouches for his balls and his cock. He could see that the cock tube had an opening that led down and back - that must be what the note meant about "waste elimination capability'. There was a larger hole on the back side. The arms, like the legs, ended in attached coverings for his hands, but unlike the booties that contained all his toes together, each finger got its own separate enclosure, so he would have use of his hands while wearing the suit.

The hood was scarier-looking. There were holes for the nose and mouth, but nothing where his eyes and ears would be. Instead, there were electronic-looking things both inside and out, bits of metal and plastic whose function he could not figure out. The idea of putting that... thing... over his head and being entombed away from light and sound... it completely creeped him out.

And yet... the alternative of NOT putting it on...

Best to get this over with as quickly as possible. He stripped, coated up the inside of the legs with the talc and began working one leg in. The fit was not too tight and before long he had both feet in place and the rest of the body suit bunched up around his waist. Fitting his crotch into the holes was awkward. His balls were drawn up tight against his belly and his cock was about as small as it ever got due to the utterly unarousing circumstances. He finally got his balls lower by wrapping his fingers around the base and pulling a few times. This allowed him to insert them into the enclosure designed for them. A loose elastic band held them in, but not so tightly that he couldn't pull his nuts back through. With his balls tucked away, his cock could then slid into its tube above and he could pull the waistband up over his hips.

It felt strange, this layer of rubber over his skin. It just sat there, neither tight nor loose, neither warm nor cool against his skin. It was almost as if the rubber was an additional layer of skin itself. He flexed his knees a few times. There was resistance, but not uncomfortably much. He continued pulling the rest of it on.

More talc. It took some awkward stretching to get his arms into the sleeves while pulling the body of the suit up along his own body. His first two tries failed, in fact, leaving him with his arms stuck midway down the sleeves where his fingers were useless and the rest of the suit stuck unmoving in just the wrong place. Fuming, he decided to watch the how-to video. It was hard to find, and turned out to be buried among all the other videos on the site, so he had to wade through multiple copies of his face in various expressions of wondering bliss riding atop some stranger's sexually adventurous body. The text tags were no help; there was nothing labeled "rubber suit tutorial" or "readme" or anything obvious like that, so the hunt took a while. He eventually found it, 2/3 of the way down the list and labeled "Colin's Secondskin Gangbang". The video was mostly about "Colin" having sex with at least four different men while dressed in a rubber suit (minus the hood), but the first 5 minutes did indeed show how "he" put the suit on.

The real Colin followed the imposter's example, coating the inside of the suit liberally with more powder, then working one arm fully into its sleeve, requiring him to bend way to one side. A few squirms got his hand all the way to the glove, and then it was a matter of carefully aligning the fingers until everything was snugly in place. That arm could then help the other arm in, and with both in place the rest of the suit flipped nicely into place over his shoulders.

Like the legs, the top fit well, but not too tightly. He could move around, with slightly more difficulty than usual, but it was not uncomfortable. It wasn't fun to be dancing to the tune of these remote pipers, but so far it wasn't bad.

But there was still that horrifying hood left to put on...

Colin was absolutely repelled by the idea of fitting putting his head into that thing. Tight rubber against his ribs or thighs was one thing. Against his cheeks? His forehead? Covering his eyes and ears and leaving only tiny holes to breathe through? It just gave him the shakes.

And yet... the alternative...

He stalled a bit by adding the boots over his feet, then checked the time... only 22 minutes left, crap! He picked up the hood with all its cryptic sci-fi ornamentation. Carefully, he set it on top of his head and began to work it downward. The fit was tight so it took an effort to get the thing started. Once it was over his forehead, he was able to grit his teeth and inch it slowly down until it was more or less in place. He panicked briefly when he tried to breathe in through his nose and found it misaligned with the holes, but he could get air just fine through his mouth and a quick adjustment then fixed up the nose hole alignment.

But he could see nothing, and sounds were muffled. He wondered what he was supposed to do next. All that was left were the two zippers, the one up the front of his chest and the other around the neck to attach the hood to the body of the suit. But what would happen then? How could he get told what to do next if he was locked in a dark, silent prison?

Well, it was always undoable. He zipped up the front of the chest, then fumbled with trying to get the hood zipper started. It was a tough go without the use of his eyes and with his fingers working through a thick layer of rubber (not quite pencil-thick around the fingers, but still thick enough to make fine motor work a challenge).

At last the zipper was seated correctly and it only took a few tugs around his neck to get the zipper wrapped all the way around.

The room appeared.

Colin was thrown by this and nearly fell over from the surprise. One moment it was pitch black; the next, he could see as plainly as if he did not have a thick rubber mass covering his eyes. He reached up to see if the hood was, in fact, still in place or if it had somehow managed to vanish without him noticing. It was still there.

It all clicked right at that moment. Crap, he thought. It's a VR headset. All the extra plastic and metal bits on the hood... they were virtual reality gear. He wasn't seeing a room at all, he was "seeing" a virtual projection of one. One that just happened to match the room he happened to be standing in... oriented in exactly the direction he happened to be facing.

Experimentally, he turned to his left. Seamlessly, the projected view of the room turned along with him. He stretched out his arm and there, in his peripheral vision below where his eyes were pointed, he saw a black limb come into view. He looked down, and there was the arm, absolutely lifelike. He clapped his hands together; the sight of his rubber-clad palms coming together was simultaneous with the sensation that traveled up his nerves from his hands. And, come to think of it, with the sound of two slapping palms, twice muffled by the rubber over his ears and the rubber over the palms themselves, but still audible.

There was a shimmer off to his right and he spun to look at it. Slowly, in a twinkling of ethereal stars, a figure gradually materialized, like Captain Kirk beaming aboard the Starship Enterprise. As it slowly became visible through the sparkles, Colin could make out a tall figure, his skin tan and dusted with dark hair. The glitter faded away, leaving some kind of Greek god standing in the small room with him. He stood at least six and a half feet tall and was wearing only a pair of shorts, black leather that clung tightly to his waist and thighs, boots (also black), and wraparound mirrored sunglasses. Colin stared.

"Put the lock on, Colin," the god said, staring back at him. Or at least facing him - the sunglasses completely hid his eyes from view. The voice was monstrously deep, seeming to reverberate off the walls of the tiny changing room. Colin realized, looking at him, that his skin glowed. Literally, there was light emanating from the bronze skin, forming a faint halo all around him, everywhere his skin showed. Which was most places. The effect very much reinforced the "god" idea, as if the bulging muscles weren't doing that well enough on their own.

Colin had no idea what lock he was talking about. He reached out his hand, certain this apparition - glowing muscles and all - was nothing more than pixie dust generated by the visor over his eyes and ears, but before he could touch the interloper (or, more likely, sweep through the empty space where the mirage was projected), the god vanished.

"Put the lock on, Colin," the voice boomed again, coming from everywhere and nowhere. This time Colin answered aloud. "What lock? I don't see no lock."

"In the bag." Unspoken, but very much implied, were the words "you moron," which did not sit well at all.

Colin looked in the bag and sure enough, tucked in a fold of fabric was a lock. It wasn't quite as heavy-duty as a bike's padlock might be, but it was still sturdy enough. Colin pulled it out slowly, weighing the implications. Presumably the lock was intended to keep him in the suit, which meant that if he clicked the lock in place, he was committing to whatever these nut jobs had in mind for him. Up until that point of no return, he was still free to tear the rubber off his body and get the hell out of here. Of course, that freedom would have its consequences.

There was something odd about the lock... he puzzled at it for a few seconds before realizing what was so odd: it had neither keyhole nor numbers for a combination.

"Hey, how does this lock open?"

"You don't need to know that now. Right now, you just need to put it on."

He stalled for time. "Where does it go?" he asked the empty room. The god reappeared on his left side. "Thread it through the two zippers of the hood and suit. Close it." The voice was patient, almost annoyingly so, as if the god felt he was delivering a lesson to a particularly stupid child.

Slowly, carefully, Colin reached up under his neck with the lock. It was hard to feel the zippers through his rubbered fingers, but not that hard; some of his fumbling motions were definitely for show. Or for stalling, more accurately. He really, really did not want to click this lock into place.

As if reading his mind, the god spoke again. "Nine minutes. More or less. Then we click 'send'." The god stared at him, impassive and making the already-small room feel cramped with his presence.

"All right, goddammit," Colin muttered. The shackle was already through the two zipper pulls. He lined up the hasp and pressed the two parts together. The click was tiny compared to the god's booming voice, but it still reverberated in Colin's ears with a horrible finality.

The moment the lock clicked, things began to happen all at once. The suit, which had been tight but not oppressively so, now began to contract around him. All over his body, the rubber began to change shape, expanding in a few places but contracting in many more. Within a few seconds, Colin could feel the rubber pressing him pretty much equally firmly on every square inch of his body. He gulped in a breath of air, afraid that the pressure on his ribs would prevent him from being able to.

While this was happening, two tendrils inserted themselves into his ear canals. They probed their way in, stopping short of the eardrum, then expanded until they filled the space. The ambient sounds of the room cut off.

Something else was happening at his crotch. The pouch that had been gently holding his balls grew tighter. The ring around the base of his scrotum shrank until there was no way he could possibly pull his balls out. And the pouch itself shrank just a bit so that rubber pressed firmly in on his balls from every direction. It didn't exactly hurt, but it was certainly uncomfortable.

Colin's arms flew around undecided, fluttering up to his ears to see if he could draw out the plugs, down to his groin to rescue his trapped testicles, up to his neck to undo the clicking of the lock... None of what he tried had any effect. The hood was molded seamlessly to his skull and resisted any movement. Likewise, his crotch was covered by a smooth, featureless expanse of rubber. He could press his fingers against it, but he couldn't get a grip to adjust anything inside. And the lock wasn't going to open just because he tugged on it.

The god strode forward and grabbed him by the arm. His hand was huge, large enough to wrap all the way around Colin's upper arm. Colin could feel the fingers squeezing.

"You need to understand what the suit is capable of," the god said. "It can generate the sensation of pressure; observe how you feel me holding your arm." He lifted Colin's hand and placed it against his own thickly-muscled chest. Colin's fingers looked like a child's up against the massive pecs.

"Push," the god commanded. Colin pressed forward and met resistance. He tried to straighten his elbow to press the god away and found he could not. Instead, his own body shifted backward; the god's remained rock steady.

Dammit, there was no way anyone else was really in this room!

"We control what you see," the impossible god said. "We control what you hear. We control what you feel. Most of the time, the sensations we deliver to you will be accurate representations of what you think of as the real world. You will be able to walk around and not run into walls or people or step into the path of oncoming traffic. But our world is equally real, and you will also see, hear, feel, and be able to interact with the objects and people in it. It is in our would that you will find the object of your quest."

"My... what quest?" Colin stammered.

"You are playing a game. Much like the way we locked up your phone, now we have locked up your body. You had to pay to get back your phone, but to get back your body you must play. When you reach 1,000 points, you can request that an unlock code be sent to the lock around your neck, and it will pop open, setting you free."

The grip on his upper arm grew stronger. "We strongly recommend that you do not attempt to remove the suit by any other means."

Colin's voice was a mouse squeak compared to the god's booming tones. "A thousand points? How do I get points?"

"The game has begun." As he was speaking, the god began to disappear in the same sparkly way he had arrived. The voice faded away, echoing slightly, and the pressure around Colin's biceps eased at the same rate the god's grasping fingers vanished. In a few seconds, the last of the starry sparkles had evanesced, and Colin was alone in the room... just as he had been all along.

Colin stayed in the changing room for about forty-five more minutes before working up the nerve to leave. He regretted now that the day had been warm; his clothing consisted of baggy jeans, a T-shirt, socks, and sneakers. No matter how he arranged things, there would still be a lot of exposed rubber. Of course, his face was covered by the rubber, too, so that gave him a certain anonymity. Still, everywhere he went he would be a freak.

That realization was what finally drove him out: he was only a few blocks away from Times Square. If there was any place where a freak could blend in, it was there. Especially ten days before Halloween.

He put on everything he could and packed the few other items into the gym bag. Easing the door open, he slipped into the empty hallway and started down the stairs. Here in the early afternoon the locker areas only held a few people; rush hour was when all the commuters from New Jersey and Pennsylvania would swarm through on their way in or out of the city. Now there were only a handful: a white woman in her fifties, a dark young guy, Latino or possibly Arabic, a Wall Street wanna-be in an expensive suit, and a father with his daughter of about six. Colin emerged from the stairwell and strode through the hall with more confidence than he felt.

The six-year-old stared, of course, but that would have happened without the rubber. The rest ignored him in that practiced way New Yorkers have. He kept his own eyes forward... not that any of them could see his eyes... from their point of view his face was a blank mask.

Something flickered in his peripheral vision, drawing his eye involuntarily. Floating over the Wall Street wanna-be's head was a thought balloon that read "Isn't wearing underwear!" followed by a blushing smiley emoticon. He studied the floating sign as he walked past, trying not to be too obvious about looking at it. Clearly it had to be a creation of the suit, or whatever software was controlling it, but the illusion was perfect. He felt as if he could have reached out and plucked it out of the air as he walked past the man, who studiously pretended Colin wasn't there. The sign was off-white with a blue border, rounded corners and blue text, and it swiveled to face him as he went by. With each step he told himself he wouldn't look back once he got to the door, but the moment he reached it his resolve failed him: he turned half-around and glanced over his shoulder. The sign was still there. And three of the other people in the room had joined the little girl in staring at him. He resolutely faced forward again and emerged into the day.

He turned left out the door and headed along 36th. Past 8th Ave, one more long block to 7th. There were a handful of people either walking or standing on 36th and about a quarter of them had little white signs floating over their heads. A guy climbing out of a cab had one that read "Had Cheerios for breakfast". Further along the street he passed a woman who was labeled "Waaaay too much makeup!"... and sure enough, that was indeed what she was wearing. Another guy's sign said "Not as rich as he pretends to be", and there was a young teen marked "English: B- Math: C+ Science: B+". It was disorienting - his eye kept flicking to these labels, unable to not read them.

Left on 7th Avenue and now the street was even busier. Off in the distance, tiny signs hovered, illegibly small. As he neared, they swam into focus, bearing their cryptic and unverifiable commentaries... "Go Yanks!", "Could sure use some coffee", "Is skipping his cousin's bar mitzvah". All were the same off-white color with blue borders and text. Sometimes a sign would wink out of existence; other times a new one would pop up somewhere with a jittery little animation that attracted his eye whenever it happened.

He collected a few stares on his journey, but was otherwise untroubled. Half a dozen short blocks later, there was Times Square, and at last he didn't stick out quite so obviously. In a crowd made up of Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, Papa Smurf, Minnie Mouse, and at least three Elmos, he fit right in. He stood off to the side, leaning against a building, and stopped to think.

A game, the giant had said. A game with no explanation and no obvious rules. What the fuck? What was he supposed to do? And more importantly, how long was it going to take before he could earn his thousand points and kick the suit to the curb where it belonged?

He tried to block the floating signs out of his attention, but they kept catching his eye as people wandered by, wafting over their heads. He saw his first repeat: "Had Cheerios for breakfast"; all but one of the rest were more of the same generic babble. The one that hit home came from a kid who stared straight at him while his mom or nanny or whoever dragged him along by his arm, and it read "Is wondering who the rubber guy is supposed to be".

Cheap party trick, Colin fumed. The signs were all total make-ups. Their sole purpose seemed to be to distract him, to get in his way. Whatever AI was controlling the suit must have enough facial recognition ability to detect when someone is staring his direction, and inserts that particular thought balloon about the rubber guy just to mess with him.

As he mused, he became aware of a presence coming up on his right side. He glanced over and saw that it was the Greek god from the changing room. Colin looked out at the crowd, but no one else seemed to notice the god, even though he loomed a head taller than anyone else around and was dressed the same as before, which was to say not very dressed at all.

"You seem to be in need of assistance," the god's voice boomed in Colin's ears.

"Yeah, no shit," Colin muttered.

The god took one step closer, standing just beyond Colin's reach. It was jarring - the guy looked just as real as every other person he could see, and yet he had to be a construction, right? The way he had appeared and disappeared in the changing room, he couldn't possibly be real, and yet the illusion of having his arm gripped and squeezed had been very, very convincing.

"I can provide help, for a price."

Colin chewed on this for a moment, then spoke aloud. "What help? And what price?" A man walking past clearly heard Colin's words and resolutely ignored them, quickening his pace ever so slightly.

"For five points, I will give you a hint on how to use the suit's interface and what your goal in the game is. For twenty points, I will give you explicit instructions."

"But I don't have any points. Do I?"

The god stared at him... or so Colin assumed. The mirrored shades made it hard to tell which direction he was looking in. But Colin felt stared at. Finally he spoke. "You are allowed to incur some debt." There was a slight emphasis on "some".

Colin thought another minute more. One of the Elmos had hopped and skipped his way near to where Colin was standing, but at the sight of the rubber-suited figure he started bobbling his way back toward the rest of the cartoon conglomeration.

"I'll take the five point hint."

The god continued staring impassively.

"Yo, I said I'll take the five point hint!"

The god turned to survey the passing traffic.

"Hey, buddy..." Colin reached out and snapped his fingers, hoping to get the god's attention. The snapping didn't work because of the rubber gloves, but he got the god's attention in a way far beyond his expectations. In two swift strides, the figure had closed the gap between them. One massive arm reached out for Colin's neck and grabbed it. Colin could feel the fingers and thumb wrapping nearly all the way around his throat. They squeezed and Colin very quickly felt the blood start pooling in his head. He reached up to try to dislodge the god's hand but it was like trying to move a steel beam with a dandelion stem. Though he could feel the god's impossible, can't-be-real fingers very clearly through the gloves covering his hands, he could not move them in the slightest. Breathing was impossible; speech was out of the question.

The god held him there for long seconds while he clawed ineffectually at the phantom arm. Red haze started to creep in around the edges of his vision. As he was nearing the point of passing out, the god released him. Colin bent forward, coughing and gasping as cool clean air surged into his lungs. The blood began to flow in his brain again and the haze slowly receded away.

The god waited until he had halfway recovered, then boomed "I tire of your insolence. This lesson I give you at no cost: demonstrate proper respect. The next lesson will come at a price."

Colin coughed a few more times, enough to draw the attention of a few people around him, but not enough to elicit any offers of actual help. He took a moment to collect himself, and when he could speak again, it was to say "Sorry, uh, your majesty. May I please have the five point hint?" A long pause. "Your worshipfulness?" Your royal jackass-ship he added, but only in his head.

The god glared at him for a long moment, then said "Sir."

"Sir," Colin echoed. Then "May I please have the five point hint, sir?"

A yellow number zero descended from above him, scrolling down smoothly and discreetly, small and partially transparent so that the building behind it was visible through it. As he watched, the zero morphed into a -5. It held its position a few seconds, then slid silently back up into nonexistence. Meanwhile, the god's voice boomed in his ears.

"To bring up the interface menu, look down and right, then blink twice about half a second apart. To activate a menu choice, look at it and blink. To clear the menu, look up quickly. Demonstrate this now. Find and choose View Score from the menu."

Colin did. He goofed up the first time, moving his whole head. It turned out that what mattered was just his eyes - whichever way he was facing, he needed to slide his eyes down and right and blink twice to bring up the menu, which materialized into view, hovering translucently over the street scene before him. After that, it was very easy to navigate. He found the View Score choice and activated it. The yellow number -5 slid back into view overhead for a few seconds, then disappeared. When he had cleared the menu away, the god continued speaking.

"To earn points, you must seek out Leathermen. Leathermen are identified by red thought balloons."

The sparkling light show began again and in a few seconds there was nothing but air where the god's massive bulk had once been.

Twenty minutes later, Colin was striding purposefully uptown. He had figured out how to turn on the overview map, which was now gently riding over the lower left portion of his field of view. Currently it was at about 10% opacity, which was the setting it took when his vision was focused far ahead. If he glanced down at it and focused his eyes close, it would darken to 90%. There were a half dozen deep red dots on it, some standing still, others slowly moving about. He was headed for the nearest of the burgundy splotches, a short hop west on 46th.

White thought balloons drifted past as he moved, a bit easier to ignore now. They weren't so very different from the ads plastered all over every available building, bench, and bus, really. Every once in a while one caught his eye and delivered its message to his brain. One actually made him chuckle: "Regrets turning down that fifth slice of pizza" over a spectacularly large individual. The rest were fast becoming just white blurs.

All but one. Up ahead he saw a thought balloon that was not the familiar blue-on-white, but instead white-on-burgundy. As he neared, it grew a white border and some text. The map in his peripheral vision showed his own blue dot nearing the red dot, an exact match for what he could see with his own eyes... or what he appeared to be seeing with his own eyes. The text, when he drew near enough to read it, said simply "Leatherman". All he could see was the sign, though, because it stood above the heads of the crowd.

He worked his way around the last few bodies and found himself standing mere steps away from his target, and saw that the label was 100% accurate. The man was dressed head to toe in leather, from the black jacket all the way down to the equally black boots. Here and there were glints of silver. He was leaning against the door of a theater, closed now in the afternoon hours. One leg was supporting his weight while the other was angled over the first, kicking languidly at the ground. He wore a hat and sunglasses that hid his eyes; his beard was short and thick and flecked with grey.

Colin's eyes flicked upward, expecting that his score would now rise, since he had found his target. But nothing happened. People continued to pass by on the sidewalk. The leatherman continued to lean idly against the wall. Colin's sense of purpose started to fade into a mess of indecision.

He took a step toward the red-signed figure. "Hey, uh..." That was as far as he got before a blast of pain jolted his crotch.

"SHIT!" Colin squeezed his eyes shut and curled inward on himself, but there was no way to reach his balls! The pain had stopped, at least. It had only been a brief blast, but from what? It felt as if a massive hammer had slammed into his balls, but he could not figure out how that could have happened. He opened his eyes to look and there, hanging front and center in his visual field, were flashing red letters: DO NOT SPEAK TO THE LEATHERMAN!

OK, message received. He would not try that again any time soon. He inched closer to his target, wary that getting too close to the man might set off another alarm. But he was allowed to approach until he was right in front of the guy. It was impossible to see the leatherman's eyes, but the face showed he was clearly aware of Colin's presence, watching him from behind those sunglasses. Still nothing from the suit's display.

Then, as if it realized his hesitation, the suit gave him a clue. A fat red arrow appeared, in outline only, hovering over the leatherman's chin and chest, pointing downward. Colin glanced downward, then back up, then down again, looking at the ground for some sort of clue. After a few moments he felt a gentle nudge in his right hand, the merest suggestion of pressure directing his hand forward. He looked back up at the arrow and it suddenly all came clear to him.

"Aw, no wa... FUKKK!" The moment he had carelessly spoken, another hammer slammed into his balls and sent him crashing to his knees. Electricity, he realized, pawing at the rubber covering his groin. They wired the suit up with electricity, and they're gonna zap my balls every time I don't do what they want. But what they wanted him to do... that was just wrong.

He got back to his feet. The leatherman was still watching him, totally indifferent. He glanced over his shoulder, where people continued to stream past in both directions, willfully oblivious to his plight.

Gritting his teeth, he reached out and placed his right hand on the leatherman's crotch. When that seemed to have no effect, he gritted his teeth and squeezed ever so slightly. He could feel... shapes... beneath his fingers and tried not to think too hard about it. The leatherman responded with nothing more than a brief nod, one small movement of the head down and back up. And then, at the top of Colin's vision, the yellow -5 score number descended and, with a cheery little animation consisting of the words "Leatherman Tagged!" in a joyful dance, morphed into...

a minus four.

That was it?!? He tracked a guy down across Times Square, felt him up, and earned one lousy point for it? How carelessly he had spent five of those points just to learn a few tidbits of information about how to use the suit! It would take him the rest of the afternoon just to climb back up to where he started! Suddenly a thousand points seemed impossibly far away.

He pulled his hand back and stalked off a few paces. The leatherman continued to stand there as if he had occupied that spot since the theater was built and would continue to be there long after it was gone.

He took a couple of deep breaths and was able to calm himself down. He didn't yet know the game's scoring system, after all. It could be that the first leatherman he found was worth a point, but that later ones might be worth more. There might be other ways to score points in larger quantities that would become clear as he went along. It might still be possible that he could be home and out of this suit by the end of the day. The only way to know was to try.

Off he went. According to his map, the next closest leatherman was a short distance uptown, at the corner of 46th and 8th. He set off, not quite jogging, but definitely walking briskly.

He reached 8th Ave, turned right, but before he had gone one short block along, he had to slow down. It was too damn hot in the suit! According to his phone, it was now almost 3:00 and the day had warmed to 72 degrees. Comfortable if you were wearing shorts... not so much when clothed all over in thick, sunlight-absorbing black leather. There was plenty of shade, of course, with the sun so low in the sky, so that only rarely did he emerge into the space between the shadows of buildings and take the sun's heat directly. Even so, the heat his body was generating was enough that he could feel the sweat oozing off him with no place to go. And carrying the gym bag didn't help.

He wanted out. He wanted this fucking suit off his body and his fucking life back.

One more block, walking now. The map showed him nearing a dark red dot; his vision showed him coming up on a fire station and sure enough, there was a red sign floating above an individual who was too far away to make out clearly. He drew closer, and the words on the sign swam into focus:

Firefighter Leatherman

The leatherman was walking slowly back and forth in front of the dark opening where the fire engines sat. He was dressed in what was basically a firefighter's uniform, but with leather making up much of the outfit and with the same speckling of gleaming metal bits the last one was wearing. Colin stepped up next to him, matching his pace. The leatherman ignored him. They reached the far wall and the leatherman paused. Colin moved to stand behind him so that when the leatherman turned around, he came full up against Colin. The fireman / leatherman stared down at Colin - like the others, his eyes were concealed behind reflective lenses, so Colin could only guess where he was actually looking - and cocked his head. Staring. Waiting.

Gritting his teeth, Colin reached out and placed his hand on the front of the leatherman's tight black pants. He held it there for a few seconds, and then the chipper little animation started up again. He watched as his score rose from -4 to -2. Two points for a themed leatherman, one for a plain, maybe? Or maybe 1 for the first, 2 for the second, 3 for the third...?

He dropped his hand and moved out of the path of Pyridor, who resumed his slow, swaggering pacing. Colin stood back a bit and watched. No one else on the street walked into or through the leatherman, but they never needed to alter their paths to avoid him either. After a few minutes, Colin was no surer than before whether the leatherman was real or a virtual construct.

He stopped at a Sbarro to buy a slice of pizza and two Pepsis for now and a bottle of water to save for later, and to use the restroom. His pointing and pantomiming of his order earned him puzzled looks from the clerk and the other customers, but no comments, which was just as well - he wasn't sure if he'd be punished for speaking to non-leathermen and wasn't about to risk a jolt to find out. (Later that evening, he would discover by accidentally blurting out some words that it was OK to talk to normal people. Only leatherman required the silent treatment.) Then it was back out to the street to hunt down his next target.

At 1:30 AM, a tired, sweaty, and very dejected Colin was heading uptown on the A train. A blinking glance upward pulled down his score: 17 points. Some blinking through menu commands brought up a log of how he had achieved that figure.

Time Event Points Balance
2:25 PM Start 0 0
4:14 PM Hint purchased (-5) (-5)
4:46 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 (-4)
4:58 PM Pyridor (Firefighter Leatherman) Tagged 2 (-2)
5:21 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 (-1)
6:03 PM Blueball (Police Leatherman) Tagged 3 2
7:12 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 3
7:18 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 4
8:00 PM Sargeox (Army Leatherman) Tagged 5 9
8:47 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 10
9:38 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 11
10:11 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 12
10:20 PM Grizzle (Bear Leatherman) Tagged 2 14
10:50 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 15
11:52 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 16
12:34 AM Leatherman Tagged 1 17

Half an hour after that, he had given up and caught the train for home.

The long-ish delay between the Police Leatherman and the next tag was the point where he discovered that while it was possible to re-tag a leatherman he had already tagged once, he would not earn any points for it. Each tag had to be on a new leatherman to be worth anything. He learned from this event that after being tagged, a leatherman's color in his display would change from red to a red-tinged grey, and knew not to bother chasing down the grey ones in the future.

Sitting on the train, he ran through some math in his head. To earn 20-some points in the game had cost him eight hours of pounding the pavement, massive aches in the muscles of his legs, and vast quantities of sweat that he could still feel sloshing around him whenever he moved. To get to a thousand would take... a hundred... no... divide the... aw, fuck it.

Too long.

He slogged the two blocks from the station to his one-room apartment, managing to make it in his door without being spotted by any of his neighbors. All he wanted to do was kick back, rip off the boots and let his feet breathe... but that was impossible. The boots would come off, but his feet were as trapped as the rest of him. Despairing, he sat on the toilet to drain his bladder (since standing was not an option) and then collapsed into bed.

Sleep was difficult. Even with the blankets off, the thick rubber trapped his body heat and kept him too warm all night long. He tossed and turned, sleeping some but spending long stretches in a twilight half-slumber, aware of his discomfort but trying to disregard it in the hope that by staying still and keeping his eyes closed, sleep would eventually overtake him.

Morning did not brighten his outlook any. He went into the bathroom and gazed at his reflection in the mirror. Thick black rubber, head to toe, with odd gleams of metal and plastic over where his eyes would be. The idea of going back out there, hunting around the city for imaginary leathermen to gain another paltry 20-some points... it was impossible! He had hoped to be done with this nonsense after a few hours! At the rate he was going, it would take weeks to win his freedom. He couldn't do it. There was no way.

A sudden rage seized him. He started tearing with his gloved hand at the lock at his throat and the zippers it constrained. The results were unimpressive. No amount of pulling had any effect; the rubber was strong enough to resist his strongest efforts, which were pretty weak because he couldn't get a good grip through the gloves. Calming a bit, he realized that there was more than one way to pick a lock. Sometimes the best way to open a lock was not to open the lock at all...

A minute later, he was back in front of the mirror, having dug a pair of scissors out of the junk drawer. Carefully, he stuck one arm of it into a tiny gap where the hood and body zippers met. The angle was awkward, but he was able to maneuver his right hand around to the right position so that he could start squeezing the two handles together, when...


The blast to his balls went on for five seconds that felt endless. A red haze of pain clouded his vision, and he collapsed to the floor, the scissors clattering harmlessly into the sink. He couldn't even find the breath to scream.

Finally, it stopped, but the red cloud in front of his vision was still there. Slowly, gradually, he realized that it wasn't his vision at all: it was a warning message pulsing at him, saying "DO NOT TAMPER WITH THE SUIT". It flashed at him for long seconds while he whimpered quietly in his throat, then gradually faded away. Colin sat up and sobbed quietly to himself.

Five minutes later he gathered himself together, stood up, and walked back into the main room where find the Greek god standing, arms crossed, in the center of the apartment. "You," he said.

The god stared at him from behind his mirrored lenses. Colin stared back for a few moments than blurted "What? What do you want?" Then, seeing the god's arm come whipping toward his throat, he added a quick "Sir."

The god's arm slowly retreated. "You try my patience with your lack of respect," the deep voice boomed. "But you will learn."

The massive body turned and took two slow steps, crossing the room to the lone window that looked out across a two-foot gap to the neighboring building. He gazed out. "If you wish to get out of the suit, learn how to play the game. Or don't. The choice is yours."

Colin was pissed. Rage bubbled close to the surface. He struggled to keep it from boiling over, but exhaustion overcame his self-control and he snarled "I don't want to play this fucking game! I want this fucking suit..."

That was as far as he got. Halfway through the first sentence, the god spun around to face him and twirled one arm around in a complicated gesture. Colin found himself suddenly unable to move his body. His muscles still worked, still tried to respond to his commands, but the suit had lost all flexibility and was now as rigid as steel. Only the small muscles, like those controlling his eyes and mouth, were still able to function normally.

With his ability to move compromised, so was his balance. He began to teeter forward, but the god made another motion with his arm, as if he were trying to shove Colin sideways from ten feet away. It couldn't possibly have worked, and yet it did - Colin found the suit driving his muscles to topple him to his side, where he landed on his bed, rolling onto his back as soon as he hit and choking off the word "suit" as he uttered it. He tried to stretch out his arms to cushion his fall, but they had somehow drifted upward without him noticing until they were crossed over his chest, and there they remained.

The god took three giant paces to where he lay and loomed over him. Still without touching Colin, he moved his hands as if to untwine the pretzel shape of Colin's arms. Colin felt them obeying, uncrossing and moving down to cling to his sides. He tried to resist and found that he could, but it cost him all his strength to do it. The moment his effort flagged, the suit drove his arms in the direction it wanted them to go, and no amount of force could move them back up. Then the god squeezed his hands together and Colin's slightly-spread legs obligingly came together in a straight line.

Colin shouted wordlessly, helplessly voicing his anger and frustration. The god held up a finger toward Colin's lips, not touching them but making his desire for Colin's silence clear. Fuck that. Colin continued to rage and rail, attempting to toss and turn on the bed but always rolling back to lie prone. He saw the god making yet another gesture, this time squeezing one fist closed. He felt the result immediately - the suit began to constrict around his chest and stomach. He sucked in a breath and clamped his mouth shut. The squeezing intensified. Long seconds passed while he fought to prevent air from escaping out his nose and mouth, a battle he eventually lost explosively.

Once the air was gone from his chest, there was no way to bring it back in. He writhed helplessly on the bed, able only to suck in tiny, unsatisfying breaths. The suit was too powerful to resist. Blackness began to close in from the edges of his vision. He continued to struggle, thrashing more and more feebly as his strength waned. Throughout, the god's hand remained clenched, as if Colin's entire body were merely a toy in his gigantic fist. The black haze closed in, and the world drifted away...

He awoke to find the god looming over him, the giant head and massive shoulders filling his entire vision. He began to squirm again, and the god squeezed his fist once more. Titanic pressure returned to crush his chest. Despairing, Colin fought helplessly again until consciousness drifted away a second time.

Half a dozen more times the process was repeated until at last Colin awoke and, instead of struggling, lay still, exhausted. He couldn't have moved a muscle if he had tried, but this time he did not try. He had given up fighting. He was an insect pinned for display, a mote, a speck of dust before this all-powerful being filling his entire universe. He knew on one tiny level that this reaction was caused by the lack of oxygen in his brain, making him vulnerable to this kind of quasi-religious experience. On another much larger level, that didn't matter a bit. All that mattered was that in front of him was a god who had total control over his entire life, right down to the level of whether he would get to take a breath in the next minute or not. His own will was a secondary concern; what captured the whole of his attention was the overwhelming desire to do whatever the god wanted him to do so that he wouldn't get punished again. He stared into the god's face, awaiting whatever instructions the god might choose to convey, content to lie there forever if that's what it would take.

After an eternal instant, the god did speak. "Today's lesson: submit." The voice reverberated in his ears. "Heed me well: when you see me, you will submit to me by kneeling in my presence. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Sir" Colin breathed.

"You will respect the leathermen you encounter. You will submit to them as you submit to me. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Sir."

The god held his position for a long minute before saying "Then I grant you the freedom to move." He backed away. Colin lay still at first, then, almost belatedly, realized what he was expected to do with his newly-restored mobility. Tentatively, expecting to meet resistance, he tried moving his arms and was nearly stunned when they obeyed him. He pushed himself up off the bed, then, obediently, knelt down in front of the god. He stayed there, not moving, for long minutes, keeping his gaze down at the god's feet. He waited.

"You demonstrate that you can learn," the god said. "I offer you another hint, then, this one at no cost. Do you wish to hear it?"

"Yes, please, Sir."

The god leaned down, as though to whisper a secret though the voice boomed as loud as ever in Colin's ears. Colin kept his eyes firmly aimed downward. "Tagging is one way to earn points from a leatherman. There are other, more effective methods."

With those words, the god - or at least his feet, and presumably the rest of him - began to dissolve into shimmering bits again.

Colin had felt shaky after the experience of the morning and had huddled up in his apartment, downing some tasteless cereal and emptying his bowels when the need arose. That process turned out to be clean and simple - the suit did not interfere at all and the hole was large enough to get his fingers through to wipe. By about noon, he felt ready to face the pursuit of more leathermen.

The day was cloudy and cooler, and Colin was able to choose clothes that made him less conspicuous. His jeans wouldn't stretch to fit over the legs or waist of the rubber suit, but he found a pair of sweat pants that would. He debated pulling on a T-shirt, then decided not to - his ultimate aim was to cover his entire upper body with a hooded sweatshirt, and putting the tee on under it just seemed like an extra layer of insulation he didn't need. So that was all: sweatshirt, sweatpants, suit-boots. No need for underwear, even. He left the gym bag home and took along a smaller knapsack instead.

Before leaving, he called his boss at Jimbo's burger place. He was supposed to work 4:00 to 10:00 tonight and there was no way he could show up in his impossible-to-remove rubber suit. His boss was unusually accommodating - Colin told him he was sick and that if his boss could find a sub for him today, he'd gladly make it up next weekend. Then he was out the door.

The subway trip had been easy enough to manage. Most of the people around him barely noticed him. Only those who looked him in the face did double-takes and stared worriedly at the black mask they saw there. He tried to keep his head down as much as possible and resolved to wear a scarf next time... if there was a next time! He was hoping that, armed with the clue that it was possible to extract more points from leathermen, perhaps he would be able to finish this disaster today. Tomorrow at the latest.

In the back of his mind, ideas were churning about what sorts of actions the "other, more effective" ways of earning points from leathermen might be. He didn't let it reach the front of his mind. These were all virtual constructs. They had to be. What he was probably going to have to do would be gay in real life, but it this wasn't real life, it was just a game. So it wasn't really gay. No one else was really involved. He just had to keep it compartmentalized from his real life, get it over with, get it done.

And so here he was back at Times Square, trolling for leathermen. The first one he found was in the same place as one he had tagged yesterday, but the color was full red today. Apparently it was OK to tag a leatherman twice if you did it on different days. He reached out his hand and touched the leatherman's crotch and watched his score rise to 18.

Then he wasn't sure what to do next. Speaking was obviously out of the question - he remembered that lesson from yesterday vividly. The leatherman wasn't giving him any clues, either. He just stood there. The two of them stayed for long moments while people passed them by on the sidewalk, the leatherman showing no interest in Colin at all. This, more than anything, convinced Colin it was a CG character - what other guy would show no response to a total stranger who dick-grabbed him on a public street?

Well, he had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but on the subway trip he had planned out what he would do if the leatherman didn't give him any cues. Slowly, he got down on his knees in front of the leatherman, pointing his eyes downward to the sidewalk. Respecting the leatherman just like the god had taught him to.

He had to wait longer than he cared to, but it was the right approach. The leatherman reached down under Colin's chin and lifted it up so that Colin was gazing into the leatherman's face. The leatherman nodded his head toward a door, released Colin's chin, and walked to the door. Colin got up to follow.

He lost sight of the leatherman inside, but there was only one way to go, down a hall that turned a new corner every few steps. At the end of the third corner, the leatherman was there. As he neared, a message flashed up in his display.

The leatherman wishes to touch your chest. Permit this?
Yes   No

Colin blinked the Yes control and the leatherman reached his hands up to rub his palms across Colin's chest and belly. Colin could feel the fingers as if they were on his bare skin, as if the man's hands had somehow passed right through the sweatshirt and the half-inch thickness of rubber. The illusion was unbelievably convincing. Colin reminded himself that there wasn't really another guy there feeling him up, that he was alone in this hallway, that anyone else who came by would see Colin standing still all by himself. There was no way anyone else could tell that he was experiencing the sensation of rough, masculine hands sliding up and down his ribs. He swallowed hard and tried to pretend they were his girlfriend's soft, gentle fingers instead...

It didn't work. The visual of the square-jawed, stubble-cheeked leatherman inches from his face was impossible to ignore.

The hands paused over Colin's nipples, then he felt his tits being compressed between thumbs and sturdy forefingers. The pressure was strong but not unbearable, but it continued to increase until it became uncomfortable, then borderline painful. Against his will, Colin let out a little gasp. The leatherman released him, stepping back with a satisfied expression.

The score swooped into view and morphed from 18 to 22. So... a chest-grope was worth four, it seemed. Better than one, certainly, but still not going to get him to a thousand very fast.

A different movement flickered at the top of his vision. It was the white writing on top of the leatherman's thought balloon. Colin had gotten to the point where he was tuning the balloons out whenever he saw them, like the omnipresent ads scattered all over the city, but the flickering motion of the change caught his eye. The text that used to say simply "Leatherman" now was longer and in smaller type. It now said "Wouldn't mind having his own tits tweaked".

Ah. So that's how it worked.

Colin reached out his hands, gingerly touching the leather-clad torso. He mimicked the movements that had been performed on him, rubbing his hands up and down along the front and sides. Unlike the imaginary sensations of bare fingers on his own chest, what he felt through his own fingers was the texture of leather, not skin. Still, he groped and caressed, and found that the leatherman's shirt had two tiny flaps positioned right over the nipples. He manipulated his thumbs and forefingers inside and gave the meaty tits a squeeze, gripping steadily tighter until the leatherman sighed a contented sigh. Four more points richer, Colin dropped his hands to his sides.

Another short pause, another message box.

The leatherman wishes to touch your cock. Permit this?
Yes   No

Yeah, good luck to him with that. Colin's dick was locked up so tight nothing was going to touch it. Sure, why not? He'd gone this far... might as well see what a dick-grope would earn him.

The leatherman moved in and placed his palm over Colin's crotch. The sensation was... strange. Like with his chest, where the leatherman touched him it was as if the suit wasn't there at all. He felt what seemed to be bare fingers on his cock. And yet, looking down, he could clearly see that his cock was still firmly behind a solid wall of rubber (and a thin layer of fabric), pointing downward in its tiny tube. But if he closed his eyes or looked away, he would swear the guy... no, the imaginary guy, the make-believe guy... had fished it out and was fondling it between his fingers and thumb. It felt... it felt...

To his horror, Colin realized his dick was trying to get hard.

There was no way, no way it could, but it sure felt real. He looked down again and the hand was still flat up against the sweatpants and the smooth rubber beneath. But with his eyes closed, his cock was steadily rising, now gripped by a firm, masculine hand that started to slide smoothly along the shaft's length...

This was too much. He almost spoke aloud and backed away, but clear as a flash he saw what would happen if he did. The current would blast his balls and make him crumple to the ground, and by the time he recovered, the leatherman would be gone and he'd have earned nothing from the encounter. Swallowing his pride, he forced himself to stand and take it, trying hard to concentrate on anything else at all besides how goddamn GOOD it felt to have his cock stroked...

To Colin's relief, the leatherman released his grip and stepped back, and the score indicator swung down and morphed merrily from 26 to 32. So six points for that. Still not great, but better than chasing around all day. He glanced up at the leatherman's thought balloon, which now read "One good turn deserves another." Clear enough. Was this something he really wanted to do? On the one hand, no, of course not. On the other hand... it was all pretend, so what difference did it make?

Colin reached forward and pressed the leatherman's crotch, same as for a tag. He held his hand there and moved it around a bit, but apparently whatever he was doing was not good enough. The leatherman reached down and unzipped his fly, reaching in and shifting his junk around until it hung out through the open gap. He engulfed Colin's hand with his own and guided it to the semi-hard dick now available for use. Colin gingerly wrapped his fingers around it. He could feel the meaty cock stiffening against his fingers. He squeezed a bit, then began to rub it back and forth.

The sensation was weirdly like jerking off, only backward because the dick was pointing toward him instead of away. And of course it provided no stimulation to him at all. But the mechanics were... very familiar, and not all that uncomfortable. He grew bolder, squeezing a bit harder, and the leatherman responded with a soft moan and a look of urgent satisfaction on his face. Colin stroked for a short while longer, then the leatherman pulled away. He tucked his engorged dick back into his pants (though Colin couldn't tell how he fit it in there) and zipped up again as Colin's score indicator registered another six points. Then he slapped Colin solidly on the chest three times, with the flat of his palm, strode past him around the corner, and was gone.

By the time Colin had returned to the street, there was no sign of the leatherman, either visually or in the on-screen display. He checked his score log to see what that episode had bought him.

Time Event PointsBalance
12:34 AM Leatherman Tagged 1 17
2:13 PM Leatherman Tagged 1 18
2:17 PM Received Tit-Tweak from Leatherman 4 22
2:18 PM Leatherman Tit-Tweaked 4 26
2:20 PM Received Dick-Grope from Leatherman 6 32
2:22 PM Leatherman Dick-Groped 6 38

So twenty points in ten minutes. Not bad! Confidence restored, he was off through the Times Square crowd to find more leathermen.

At 1:00 that morning, riding back home on the train, he was both satisfied and disappointed with the day's haul. His score had climbed to 121 points, which was a major improvement over the previous day. But it was still only a tenth of the way to freedom, which meant that if he kept the pace up, it would be over a week before he was out of the fucking suit. A week was an impossibly long time. He just couldn't conceive of being trapped inside for that long.

He reviewed his progress. He had learned that the "novelty" leathermen would deliver more points for the same activities. He had come across another Grizzle and a new kind, an "Impaler (Russian Leatherman)", a square-jawed, blond-haired wall of a man who looked like he had stepped out of a Soviet propaganda poster. Tagging the Grizzle was worth 2 points, twice the value of a plain leatherman, and the other two actions were worth 5 and 8 points. The Impaler had an even better multiplier: 4 for a tag, 8 for tits, and 12 for dick. However, neither of them had been interested in reciprocating, only receiving. So he had earned a total of 39 points from the two of them, half what he had been hoping to bring in. Still, 39 points was 39 points.

The plain leathermen were more likely to go both ways, so even though the point rate was smaller, he could earn twice as many per interaction before they dismissed him and walked away. And damn if he wasn't starting to look forward to the times when one of them would give him a hand job, and he could actually get some enjoyment from his locked-up cock...

So 121 points, he mused as he stepped into his apartment. Not bad. But tomorrow he would need to step it up again. Maybe even make it the rest of the way to 1,000...

Sunday began with Colin trying to wipe away the crustiness of dried sleep-gunk in his eyes. Still only half-awake, he went to rub them clear and found his fingers' way blocked by the confining rubber of the hood. For a brief moment overnight, it seemed he had been able to somehow forget that he was a prisoner in a form-fitting cell. His waking had been gentle; he rose smoothly and gradually from the depths of sleep. The lingering vestiges of a pleasant but already fading dream left him with a general sense of well-being. He was comfortable in his bed, the temperature was mild... and so when his hand failed to wipe his eyes the memory of his captivity came crashing back all at once. His mood instantly plummeted.

It was a tight fit, but by using more of the talc supplied in the gym bag he was able to work a finger into the mouth hole of the hood and worm it all the way up to the inner corner of his eye, clearing the tiny but infuriating chunks away. He worried the suit might zap him for tampering, but it allowed his action without interference. Even so, the effect on his mood lingered, and didn't get better as the day went on.

He had promised Eva he would spend the afternoon at her sister's birthday party. Prior to a few days ago, he would have told anyone who would listen "I'd do anything to get out of going!". Now, today, he realized that there were limits on what "anything" might mean; an afternoon with Eva's family started to seem downright appealing in comparison. Still, there was no way he could show up there. She wouldn't like it, but he had to tell her he wasn't going.

Texting seemed best, although it was awkward with rubber-coated fingers. Eva would have preferred he call, but that would have meant a 20-minute-long bitch session he was in no mood to listen to. So he sent a quick "Sorry got 2 cancel 2day. Will make it up 2 u promise." She took a while to respond, but when she did, to his relief, it was to say "Thats ok, know u don't like this kind of thing," which was much better than he expected. He sent back "Thanks, ur the best" in appreciation.

Then it was a scrounge for breakfast - food was running low; he would need to grab some groceries soon. Preferably downtown, far away from home. There were no visitations from muscle-bound deities, so he was on his way by noon.

... and was back at home at 1:30 AM, exhausted, sore, and sporting a score of 193. An entire day of pounding the pavement, and a mere 72 points to show for it. Plus a bag of supplies bought while still downtown so he wouldn't have to risk showing his masked face at a store near his home.

The leathermen that had been so abundantly strewn all over the place before were rarer and harder to find today. At least the ones he did come across tended to be the higher-value ones. He was starting to get a sense of how the game was organized, and was thinking of the leathermen he encountered as falling into categories of 1 through 5 based on how many points the initial tag was worth. During his travels, he racked up a 4-point "Inkatha (Zulu Leatherman)", another giant of a man whose skin was so glisteningly black it was hard to distinguish it from the leather he wore. He also re-found two that he had seen on his first day: a 3-point Blueball cop, and a 5-point Sargeox.

The Sargeox was decked out in full military gear, but leatherized. He carried some formidable-looking weaponry, which told Colin that this game absolutely had to be imaginary. Or at least this one leatherman. There was no way a guy could be walking around the streets of New York carrying that much heavy-duty artillery with him; he had to be a fake. Or... maybe the guy was genuine and only the hardware was digital? Damn, it was so frustrating not to know what was real and what was a creation of the suit! If he had to spend many more days like this he would seriously start to worry about how he would hold onto his sanity.

Sadly, Colin was unable to get anything but a tag from the Sargeox. He had hoped that the 5-point multiplier effect would have helped out his score, but the leatherman showed not the slightest bit of interest in Colin, who eventually gave up and wandered off in pursuit of other more cooperative dots on his display. But they were few and far between, and he found himself roving far from what he thought of as the game's home base: Times Square. He arrived home in a foul mood after exchanging inconclusive jerkoffs with "Fetter-cini" (2 points) and, later, "Dominus" (3 points).

Monday morning brought another frustrating bout of wanting... craving... NEEDING to get the hell out of the suit. Two and a half days... he could smell himself every now and again whenever a few odorous molecules worked their way past the tight confines of the rubber and into his nostrils. He was desperate to rip the fucking thing to pieces, and the only thing stopping him was the knowledge that his balls would be baked to a crisp before he could even get started. He contented himself with venting his frustration on the drawers and cabinets, slamming them around until the neighbor next door shouted at him to knock it the hell off. He shouted back and felt a tiny bit better.

A very large, heavy hand descended on his shoulder.

He spun around to look, but knew even as he did who it would belong to. His heart leapt with a purely involuntary spasm of memory at the near-religious experience he had experienced during the last visitation even as his rational mind knew the whole thing a trick geared toward making him compliant. Part of him wanted to beat the fucker to a pulp; a more sensible part knew he'd just be worked over like the last time, and so he - belatedly, after a long enough pause that the god very nearly lost patience with him - got down on his knees and stared at the floor between two tree-trunk legs.

"I come to offer you a hint. 10 points."

Sure. No acknowledgement that he had, sheep-like, followed orders and dropped down on his fucking knees without being told to. The ungrateful bastard. Colin swallowed his anger. "What is the hint about? Sir."

"Earning points. What else?"

Colin stewed. 10 points represented some serious effort on his part. It was not to be spent foolishly. Previous hints had certainly been helpful, but was the information he might learn something he could figure out on his own?

Maybe. And yet, given yesterday's difficult performance, maybe not. Spending 10 points was worthwhile if it brought his income rate up. He risked a glance higher up the god's body, as far as his waist. Not so much as a hair was moving, not a flicker of muscle twitch could be seen; he might as well have been a statue who could stand there waiting all day for Colin to make up his mind.

"Yes. Sir. I'll take the hint."

Colin's score flipped into view and dropped to 183. The god said "When kneeling before a leatherman, hold your arms out to him, hands together."

With that, the oak legs vanished into sparkles and Colin was alone.

Well. Something new to try. Perhaps that gesture would have made yesterday's interaction with the implacable Sargeox a more profitable one.

Before heading off downtown for another day of cruising for leathermen, he called in sick to the construction job that his cousin had set him up with. He usually put in a half shift a couple of days a week, getting paid under the table to do the shitwork no one else wanted. The boss was pretty flexible if you caught him in a good mood, but could be an absolute jerk otherwise. Fortunately, Colin caught him on a good day. Then he was off to the touristy part of town.

At 7th and 35th, leathermen were once again scarce on the ground. He steadily worked his way uptown and found a few along the way, scoring a handful of points from them in the same way he had on previous days. But the hands-out pose didn't prompt anything different.

Then he found "Bulldog (Truck Driver Leatherman)", a 3-point tag. This was the first out-of-shape character he had come across, although on taking a closer look, he realized that the guy was not out of shape at all. He was just as thoroughly muscled as the others but his abs, instead of being washboard flat, were covered by a layer of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Colin knelt submissively on the street corner and held his hands out in front of him, wrists together.

The leatherman stared down at him for a moment and a pop-up appeared in Colin's vision.

The leatherman wishes to control your suit. Permit this?
Yes   No

There was fine print. "You can revoke consent at any time by using the menu. You will forfeit any points earned if you do this."

Yeah, sure, bring it on. Colin blinked "Yes". A few seconds later, the Bulldog reached out and tapped twice at the spot where Colin's wrists met, uttering the first word Colin had heard a leatherman speak: "cuffs". Thick silver handcuffs shimmered into existence, already locked around his wrists. They were the tight hinged kind, with the two metal circles joined directly together at their bases instead of having a few links of chain between them.

Colin pulled his hands in and examined them. The cuffs looked absolutely real, as solid as anything else he could see. He tried to pry his wrists apart and found that he couldn't. No matter how hard he pulled, he could not separate his hands. His mind reeled. The cuffs had to be fake. Real metal couldn't just materialize out of nothing. If he could get out of the hood, he was sure he would see his rubber-gloved hands at the ends of his arms with no heavy bracelets adorning them, which made him wonder: was this a trick of his mind? If he could just get visual confirmation that there were no cuffs, would the restriction of his movement turn out to be an illusion too? Was he hypnotizing himself into playing by the game's rules, or was there really some magic force holding his wrists together? It was getting too difficult to think about what was real-real and what was game-real...

The Bulldog beckoned for him to stand. As he did, the score counter dropped down and rose from 201 to 202. He followed the Bulldog down into an alley. They passed a dumpster and the Bulldog stopped and turned around. He tapped the cuffs on Colin's wrists and said "remove cuffs"; obligingly, the heavy shackles vanished and Colin's wrists were free to move again as if they had not just spent the last few minutes glued together. A message appeared: "The leatherman wishes you to remove your clothing." Colin obeyed, stripping out of the baggy sweatshirt and pants he used to camouflage himself on the public streets until he was wearing nothing but the rubber suit.

The leatherman then pushed Colin up against the container's side and tapped two fingers against Colin's throat, growling "collar" as he did. Colin felt a heavy metal band materialize around his neck. He tried to look down to see it but found that his neck could not move - it was attached to the wall behind him. He could turn his head from side to side but could not get leverage to look down at his body. His score rose by another point as he began to feel the first twinges of worry about what he had gotten himself into.

The leatherman lifted Colin's right arm up and held it in place while he repeated the tapping gesture and spoke the word "cuff" again. Colin watched a new cuff, a single shackle, appear around his wrist. Like the collar, it was fastened to the structure he was standing against. He tried to inspect the connection to see how the hell an imaginary handcuff could hold his arm in place against a real wall and in so doing missed the moment when the Bulldog attached his left wrist to the wall in the same way.

Another point was added on to his score. The Bulldog went on to fix Colin ever more firmly to the wall of the dumpster, adding cuffs around both upper arms and two large bands around his chest and waist. Once those were in place, the Bulldog did something that completely freaked Colin out - he kicked Colin's right leg out to the side until it was off the ground and cuffed it into place... then did the same with his left. Colin was floating! Suspended off the ground by imaginary restraints wielded by an imaginary character.

This could not possibly be happening. He began to thrash about, moaning wordlessly. Nothing he did could break the metal bonds he could see and feel pinning him to the wall. He couldn't move his arms or legs, chest, waist, or neck. All were firmly fixed in place, with his feet a good four inches off the ground.

The Bulldog watched him impassively. Colin's score continued to climb, unheeded by Colin as his mind tried and failed to understand how this could be happening. His moans turned briefly into words - "uhhhh... uhhh... ah, god"...


His balls lit up with a blaze of electricity. His body convulsed but utterly failed to change position. "DO NOT SPEAK TO THE LEATHERMAN!" flashed red in his vision. Colin was beyond speech anyway... all he could do was scream, even for long seconds after the current stopped passing through his testicles.

The Bulldog continued to watch him hanging like a pinned insect. Colin thrashed uselessly, his mind surrendering now to full-on panic. It might have lasted for seconds. Or minutes, or hours. The part of his brain that tracked the passage of time had temporarily ceased to function.

Eventually, though, he began to calm down and felt some small sanity returning. He still hung trapped on the wall, but the rational part of his brain had kicked in with a suggestion: Out. There was a way out. He had read that somewhere in the menu there was a way to revoke consent. He could take control of the suit back. Still hanging, he eyed his way through the suit's control menu and found what he was looking for. There were two "Are you sure messages" once he selected the proper choice from the menu, the second one reminding him that he would forfeit all points from the time he had given consent for the Bulldog to control the suit. With the panic fading, he flicked his glance upward to check his score just as it descended into view, morphing from 233 to 234.

That was much higher than when he had last checked. He wasn't hurt, he wasn't maimed... well, except for the ball zapping, but that was his own doing for breaking the no-talking rule. He was just being held still. He paused a long moment, then blinked the menu away. He couldn't remember exactly what his score had been before he met the Bulldog, but he had to have earned somewhere around forty points since then. And it was still climbing. Just for hanging here on a wall! That was too many points to just throw away. Better to endure some short-term immobility if it brought him closer to eventual complete freedom.

He hung a bit longer, squirming against the restraints as they grew uncomfortable the longer he hung in them. It wasn't unbearable, but he still felt better if he shifted position every minute or so. His score continued its steady rise.

Eventually another pop-up appeared. This one said:

The leatherman wishes to cause you discomfort. Permit this?
Yes   No

"Discomfort". Right. Colin had been in this game long enough to know that word was almost certainly an understatement. He had earned maybe 50-some points so far... that was good enough for this session. He blinked "No". Perhaps he'd be more desperate in a future encounter. Not just yet.

A different pop-up appeared. This one was familiar.

The leatherman wishes to touch your cock. Permit this?
Yes No

Yeah, that he could handle.

The Bulldog approached him and began to fondle his crotch. Colin shut his eyes and waited for it to be over. He was not surprised at this point to find himself boning up - after doing this with so many leathermen he had learned that his dick didn't much care who or what it was being rubbed by.

This session went on longer than most. The hand played expertly with his cock. Colin didn't even try to guess how the suit manufactured the sensation of a rock-hard erection being stroked by a confident hand when his cock was actually trapped tight in a confined space. But as time went on, that ceased to matter. The pleasant sensations washed over him and Colin found himself tensing in his bonds, desperately seeking... something. He opened his eyes to see the Bulldog's face looming right in front of his and realized he was very, very close to shooting a load.

As if sensing this, the bulldog released his grip. Colin bucked his hips pointlessly a few times, but it was useless - he could only move them a negligible distance and there was nothing but empty air for his virtual erection to thrust into anyway. Biting back a cry of frustration, he sagged into his bonds and gave up trying to reach a climax. His dick slowly softened, leaving Colin aching to come. Unnoticed, his score silently crept higher.

The Bulldog set him free then, one limb at a time, releasing Colin's feet until he was standing on the ground again, then taking off the chest and waist restraints and the wrist cuffs. Then, to Colin's surprise, he turned and walked away, leaving Colin with his neck still trapped against the dumpster. He almost called after the guy, then remembered the penalty for speech and kept silent. Just as he was beginning to fume about having to use the control menu to free himself and maybe forfeit all the points he had earned, the leatherman turned at the head of the alley and pointed at him. The collar vanished and Colin stumbled forward, catching himself before he fell. He caught a glimpse of the man disappearing around the corner, then set out to put his clothes back on.

Dressed once more, he examined his score history since encountering the Bulldog.

Time Event PointsBalance
1:13 PM Bulldog (Truck Driver Leatherman) Tagged 3 201
1:14 PM Bulldog Granted Control (start) 1/min -
2:04 PM Edged by Bulldog 20 221
2:06 PM Bulldog Granted Control (end) 52 273

72 points for an hour's effort. If he had allowed the "discomfort" option, he had no doubt it would have been even higher. That was the key, then. Find the leathermen and let them have their way with him. Figure 90 or even a hundred points an hour... that was going to rocket his score up. Fast.

He was going to be out of this suit by the end of the day.

... or maybe not. Ten hours later he had reached 427 points. He was willing, dammit, but he had found only two other leathermen who wanted to play the game! He had figured out that the plain 1-point leathermen were never interested in the kinky stuff. They were good for a low-point five-minute grope and nothing more. It took a higher-rated leatherman to be willing to go further. Colin had gotten to the point where he didn't even bother "respecting" the 1-pointers any more. It wasn't worth the trouble. He just took the point for the tag and kept moving.

He had found a Blueball cop-type who had cuffed his hands behind his back, frisked him, and then let him stand there and sweat for a while right out on the street corner. People were walking past, giving him a wide berth, but Colin was past the point of caring what his bizarre activities must look like to normal, unaugmented bystanders. The Blueball put him through another edging session, again right there in the open, but never made the request to cause Colin "discomfort". That session ran for not quite an hour and earned him another 62 points and left him so mind-warpingly horny he couldn't think straight. He had to shoot a load soon, just had to... Once the Blueball had had his fun and set Colin free, Colin stumbled off in pursuit of other leathermen in a ball-churning daze.

After night had fallen he had come across a Terminator who looked just like Ah-nold straight out of the movie of the same name, only with a lot more leather. The Terminator had been much more aggressive than the Blueball. He had conjured gleaming chrome restraints of metal that looked and moved like a liquid but held Colin immobilized in a convincingly solid manner. The Terminator (a 5-point tag) had conjured the mercurial material out of thin air and caused it to pour down over Colin's shoulders, where it ran down over his limbs and then hardened. Colin's body was leaning up against a wall and after it solidified he might as well have been a steel beam for all that he could bend.

Then the request for "discomfort" had come. Colin had readily assented. The Terminator had placed his hands on Colin in various ways, uttering words like "fire", "ice", "clamp", or "vise". Each word and gesture sent the corresponding sensation tunnelling through the metal and onto Colin's skin. The clamps (on his tits, of course) were so bitingly tight he couldn't stop trying to lift his hands to yank them off, but the metal coffin allowed no such movement.

Scariest was the moment when the Terminator re-liquified the metal and made it start flowing up over Colin's head. Colin could feel it climbing up his neck and chin and crawling over his scalp before starting to close in on his face from all sides. The Terminator pointed at Colin's eyes right as the metal began to encroach and said "blind". The world went black. Then Colin heard the word "deaf" and suddenly the only sound he could hear was the singing of his own blood in his metal-shrouded ears. Then he felt the metal finish coating his face and re-harden, encasing him entirely. Somehow he was still able to breathe, the air was flowing in and out through his mouth and nose just fine even though he knew in his gut the metal was there surrounding him completely leaving him alone in the black silence and he knew that this was the end, this was it, he was going to die in some anonymous alley in midtown Manhattan, killed by his own hyperactive imagination and why was his cock so damn hard? and then his thoughts went away completely...

When he returned to himself, he was still leaning against the wall, but sitting instead of standing. The Terminator was gone, he could see and hear again, his score had climbed by 92 points... and he was painfully desperate to grab his cock and squeeze a load out. It would only take two strokes, maybe three, that's all. But it was still locked away behind an impenetrable layer of rubber.

Almost midnight. Colin climbed to his feet. Gotta find more leathermen...

Meanwhile... the next morning, in Queens... and Brooklyn... and across the river in Secaucus, New Jersey ...

Ken's phone chimed with a sound he was not accustomed to hearing. He pulled it out and looked at it.

It was a notification from an app he remembered installing a few weeks back. It was called "VRealWorld" - pronounced with two syllables, the first two letters slurred together like the VRs in "vroom vroom" - and it was supposed to be an online hookup tool like grindr or recon. Like grindr, it supposedly got you in touch with guys near you who shared your interests. But it had never shown Ken anything and after a few days he had forgotten it was even there, had even forgotten that the account had been created under the name "Rockit". Seeing it now on the screen now his reaction was that it was almost too cutesy a nickname, a callout to the band he played lead guitar for as well as a thinly-disguised reference to dicks and orgasms.

Now the app was chiming for "Rockit's" attention. The notification said "Rubberlad near you!" A... "rubberlad"? Skeptical, Ken swiped the message.

"A rubberlad has completed the VRealWorld training program and is currently active near you. If you wish to let the rubberlad find you, see you, and interact with you, read on!" There was a link to more instructions.

Ken's reason for signing up for this free-but-so-far-bogus service was simple: lack of dates. His mother, a first-and-a-half generation Korean (born in Korea but brought to the US by her parents as a toddler), had married a man of Afro-Caribbean heritage. The result left Ken and his siblings not looking quite like anyone else around them. Ken was too black to be Asian, too Asian to be black. While Tiger Woods had been able to pull the look off elegantly, Ken found himself wearing awkwardly-placed features and awkwardly-styled hair atop an awkwardly-built body that pretty much no one found sexually appealing. The world of gay erotica treated white guys as the default, with niche markets for blacks, Asians, and Latinos. There were precious few gay men who were actively seeking out men with an ethnic heritage of multiple blended minorities. Hardly anyone ever looked at Ken and said "you, yes, now you are my type!"

Hence the apps. There had been a string of them, some successful in scoring him some sex, others not so successful. This one seemed worth a try. The fetish angle was not really his thing, but really all Ken craved was a satisfying blow job from a hot guy. Maybe this would get him one? He flicked down through the instructions.

"The rubberlad lives in a virtual world made up of a blend of the real world plus additions that only he and other participants can see: the VRealWorld. For the best experience, use a VRealWorld virtual reality headset, but you can still take part for free using only your phone."

Jaime in Brooklyn (or "Jamzz", as he was known to the VRealWorld app) scoffed a bit at that part... that was always how these things worked: they hook you with the free sample, which would contain nothing worthwhile, then hit you with a never-ending stream of in-app upsells. Still, as he read further, it seemed like it might be worth a shot. If he could believe what he was reading, then at the worst, he would meet up with a guy dressed in a rubber suit and may or may not get it on with him, all without committing a dime. This "rubberlad" was probably overweight and ugly as sin, there was always a catch with these things, that's probably what it was.

Still, he could go and see for himself. All he had to do was tap the "Enter VRealWorld" button and two things would happen at the same time: he would be informed of the general location where the rubberlad was, and if he was close enough to the rubberlad, then Jaime's precise location would be made available to the rubberlad. Jaime just needed to get himself to the rubberlad's neighborhood, then it was a matter of waiting for the rubberlad to come to him. Jaime was too busy to read through all the details, but the app's instructions were very clear on that much: he was to wait for the rubberlad to approach him. After that, Jaime could take charge. Jaime couldn't make the rubberlad do anything he wasn't willing to do, but it seemed like the guy was up for a whole lot of kinky shit. It said:

"The rubberlad is a straight man in his early 20s who more or less voluntarily agreed to be locked into a rubber suit. To win his freedom from the suit he has to provide service to VRealWorld players."

That was the part that caught the attention of Evan in Secaucus. A straight guy? Volunteering to be locked up in rubber and have to provide service to gay men to win his release? Holy fuck, that was just the thing to get Evan's juices flowing! Aw, man the idea of having a straight guy at his mercy, agreeing to be bound and abused even though he hated it just so he could get something he wanted more? Fuckin' HOT! That was Evan's biggest turn-on, and it was so difficult to find a straight guy willing to submit to it. It was a shame he was stuck at his job until 5:00 making sure the servers of the import / export company he worked for didn't crash.

Still... the servers weren't actively crashing at the moment, so he had some time to read the instructions for what was possible in the VRealWorld...

"The rubberlad's suit responds to a combination of words and gestures. If you are using a VRealWorld virtual reality headset yourself, you can see and hear the results of your commands. If you are using the free phone app, you will see the effects of your commands on the rubberlad, but not the virtualization. But don't worry - all sessions are recorded, so if you upgrade later you can replay the session as often as you want from your point of view, the rubberlad's, or a third-person observer. The available commands are:
  • Say 'cuffs' while tapping the area you want cuffed.
  • Say 'rope' while gesturing from the starting point to the ending point of where you want the rope to run.
  • Say 'clamp' while pinching your fingers over the area you want clamped.
The list went on. Evan memorized as much as he could. It sounded incredible, like magic: say the right words, move your hands the right way, and things happen. Even more was possible if you had your own set of VR equipment. Headsets and full-body suits were available for purchase.

Evan knew the wise thing to do would be to try the free version out first, but he was not a patient man. Or a poor one. The VRealWorld headset was not cheap (though it was a steal compared to the full-body rig), and his delivery requirements added even more to the price, but Evan could afford it. In short order one headset was on its way to him by courier, scheduled to arrive before 2:00 PM. That would give him plenty of time to try it out, learn how it worked, lay some groundwork, set up some pre-arranged scenarios.

He had the perfect place in mind, too: his company's warehouse in Chelsea. It contained a vast area of floor space that tomorrow would be filled with crates from an arriving ship, but was wide open and empty tonight. Better yet, his activities could go unmonitored because as the IT guy, he was the one in charge of the video surveillance system. He decided the video feed would be "accidentally" directed to a full drive right after he left for the day, which would go undiscovered until he returned in the morning. That was easier than trying to muck around with raw video files, pasting fake time stamps on scenes recorded earlier. There would be logs showing him using his badge for entry, of course, but that was OK; it was not unusual for him to go in and tweak the cameras or patch the warehouse's computers. And the doors only registered entries, not exits, so there would be no record of how long he stayed.

In short, the setup was perfect.

This was going to be the longest workday ever... but the instant that clock hit five, Evan "Nightmare" would be going out to play.

Tuesday morning found Colin nearing Central Park in his quest for more leathermen. They were getting harder and harder to find, a far cry from his first day in the suit three day... wait... four days ago? Colin couldn't remember how long it had been since he first put on the suit on and there were little red dots on the map everywhere he looked.

He had slept on the subway a bit, an activity frowned on by the authorities but still popular with the city's homeless. Two, three hours, no more, of light, unsatisfying sleep, constantly broken up by the train's jostling motion. When a particularly violent jolt roused him enough that he could not get back to sleep, he left the train and headed upward, his mind focus one one thing: find more leathermen. He had surfaced on the Upper East Side, a neighborhood that people of Colin's ilk seldom had reason to visit. But according to his map there was a leatherman near here, so here is where Colin needed to be.

The day was grey and overcast with a light drizzle falling. The drizzle didn't bother Colin at all - he couldn't feel a single drop - and the cool conditions actually felt good after days of soaking in his own sweat. He crossed 5th Avenue and found himself in a different world: trees instead of buildings, grass instead of streets, and actual sky overhead: Central Park.

He followed his map toward the leatherman's red dot, passing a pond and a fountain made of characters from Alice In Wonderland. There were scattered joggers and walkers about, but few people sitting on benches or feeding ducks - the day was too gloomy. Colin barely noticed the lack of crowds; he had long since stopped paying attention to anyone whose identifying sign was merely white. A little further along, he came to a bike rental place, and there, standing next to a rack of bikes that no one wanted to rent on such a day, he found...

A plain old, worthless, 1-point leatherman. Colin's heart sank... another wasted trip. He tagged the leatherman with a perfunctory swipe of his hand and re-checked his map in the vain hope there would be a new dot on it somewhere close by.

Surprisingly, there was.

He would have sworn it hadn't been there before. Everything was so hazy now, though, running on little food and little sleep... the dot must have been there and he just hadn't noticed. He headed toward the new dot, deeper into the park. This led him to a wilder region where no structures stood and all was nature, with unpaved trails threading their way beneath trees still dense with flame-colored leaves, muted now in the grey mist. He wandered a bit; he could see where the dot was, but the paths all curved so that whenever he thought he was nearing the right place, he found himself being taken in a different direction entirely. He had to frequently double back and retrace his steps, his frustration mounting until at last found the leatherman leaning against one of the trees.

It was a new variety, one he didn't recall seeing before. The sign over his head identified him as "Rockit Leatherman". Was he supposed to be an astronaut or something? If so, he didn't look the part. He was dressed in the same sort of leather getup that the plain leathermen wore. Colin tagged the leatherman and found him to be a 3-pointer; he sank to his knees and held out his wrists.

Some of the leathermen had made him wait a while before initiating some other action, but this time the wait went on so long he started to think the "Rockit" was going to be yet another dud. But he didn't really have anyplace else to go at the moment, and it felt so good to get off his feet for a while.

A popup flashed into view.

The leatherman wishes you to look at him.

Fine. Whatever. Colin lifted his eyes up from the leatherman's booted feet.

Stand up. Step back.

These were oddly simple requests compared to the rest of what he had endured. He dutifully moved back, his eyes still focused on the leatherman.

The man's jacket was taut, as were the pants, which hugged the Rockit's muscular thighs like a second skin. His eyes were hidden by the ubiquitous mirrored sunglasses. His skin was a gleaming bronze wherever it was visible: his hands and face, of course, but also the rest of his head due to his shaved, hairless scalp. Like all the leathermen, he cut an impressive figure. The leatherman had a phone out and was staring at it, turning his body from left to right as though... preening in front of a mirror? This was very strange behavior, but Colin didn't care... obeying "stand", "step back", and "look" had earned him another point, which made it the cheapest point he had earned in days.

The leatherman then took his jacket off, despite the damp, raw air. He set it aside and continued to look at his phone. Without the jacket all that was left on his torso was a complicated arrangement of leather straps and silver buckles forming a harness over his chest. Moisture from the air quickly condensed onto his muscled body, causing his taut skin to gleam wetly where the droplets beaded on it. Colin stood and waited, not thinking about anything at all.

Then the letters on the floating burgundy sign over the leatherman's head morphed until they spelled out "Would appreciate a little tongue action". Colin couldn't make any sense of these words at first, but after a long minute of staring blankly, a thought percolated up into his head. The guy wants a blow job. Of course he had known it would come to this eventually. For the last few days the game had been steadily leading him toward actual gay sex, which would have appalled him a week ago but now was just one more obstacle between him and his freedom. He stumbled forward to get it over with.

The leatherman reacted with surprise as Colin dropped to his knees and reached out his hands to work the Rockit's dick out of his tight pants. The Rocket yanked Colin back up onto his feet and looked around. Colin had no idea what he might be looking for, but was content to just stand there until further instructions came. The leatherman pulled him off the path, ducking through trees and brush until they were out of sight of the path they had left and any others. It was here that the Rockit undid his fly himself, which was good because Colin's hands didn't seem to be working well enough to manipulate buttons and zippers. A semi-hard cock flopped out. Colin dropped to his knees again (ah, bliss for his feet!) and opened his mouth to take it in. One more imaginary humiliation to endure in his pursuit of escape from this madhouse world...

The dick hardened up quickly in his mouth. Having had no experience on the giving end of this experience, he had very little idea what to do. It seemed straightforward enough... move mouth back and forth. Create suction with tongue and lips. Take a break every so often to breathe because his nose wasn't quite letting in enough air. Repeat. Colin didn't really keep track of how long it took. He tried to ignore the buzzing, tingling sensation that enveloped his own dick while he provided this service, knowing with the tiny part of his brain that still cared about such things that it was all part of the suit's conditioning program while the much larger animal part just said "MMMMM... GOOD!". Fuck, if only the damn suit would let him come, just once! But no, it just held him at a point midway, too far from orgasm to even hope of getting to it but desperate to do so all the same.

Colin kept on plugging away at the virtual leatherman's virtual dick. After a while, his mouth started getting a little achey, but he kept on working, his thoughts a muddled grey haze like the chilly air around him, idly watching the numbers of his score periodically tick up without actually paying attention to what they were. It was only as he felt the thing tensing up in his mouth, growing even larger and firmer, that a somewhat clear thought broke through the murk that his mind had become and crystallized in his awareness: the suit did not cover his mouth.

The cock in his mouth was real.

It was at that moment that an eruption of salty fluid shot out of the leatherman's dick and into his mouth. He tried to pull away, but the Rockit's hands were on the back of his head and forced him to stay where he was. Three more shots came; Colin tried his best to keep the gunk as far forward as possible, away from his throat, but that just meant it got smeared all over the part of his tongue where the most taste buds were. Gagging and choking, he fought to get air into his throat while keeping the repugnant liquid out with only partial success. It went on for what felt like hours, the leatherman's cock surging and pulsing against his tongue and palate. At last the Rockit released his grip on Colin's head and Colin fell back onto his heels, leaning sideways to spit the remnants of the wad out onto the ground. He caught a glimpse of his score dropping ten points, down from 577 to 567. What the hell? For spitting?

Well, if there was a 10-point penalty for not swallowing, it was worth it. He was still up a hundr... wait, ninety-t..., no a hun...

Fuck it. His score was up. A lot.

Ken tucked his spent dick back into his pants. The rubberlad had finished spitting and was just sitting there on his heels, not doing anything. Ken stared at him a bit, both directly and by viewing him through the phone's screen.

Damn. He was going to have to get one of those VR headsets and replay this experience. He had no idea where he was going to get the money from, but he absolutely had to have one. Watching the experience through the phone's tiny screen was like catching a glimpse of a whole world through a tiny peephole in a wall. He needed more.

It had taken him a while to get the hang of the app. The communication thing was the hardest part - the app's instructions said that the suit filtered out his voice so the rubberlad couldn't hear him speaking. He had to talk or type into his phone, where the app would translate his words into some format the rubberlad could understand. It took a while to say anything, so he didn't try to talk much. The rubberlad's own mouth was not blocked, so presumably he could speak if he wanted to. But during their whole interaction he hadn't said a thing.

The app provided three views of his interaction with the rubberlad: his own (only if he was holding up the phone), the rubberlad's, and a simulated bird's eye view.

His own view was just like looking through the phone's camera, except that according to the app, it could show "enhanced reality". He hadn't figured out how to do anything with that yet... it had been a total surprise that he had found the rubberlad at all... or rather, that the rubberlad had found him, had walked right up to him and patted him right on the crotch! That was just surreal. No one ever hit on him, ever, and this guy had just strolled up and dick-grazed him.

The second view was what the rubberlad saw. With his entire head encased in solid rubber, the view must be generated by cameras in the hood of the suit. This was the view that had so captured Ken's attention. Because in the eyes of the rubberlad, Ken was... gorgeous.

Instead of the Yankees jacket, the rubberlad saw one made of sleek black leather. And underneath it was not a scruffy T-shirt but an imposing harness. His jeans had become tight black leather; his frizzy, unruly hair was gone entirely, and damn if he didn't look hot with a shaved scalp! And he had abs! And biceps! And pecs! The transformation was incredible. He was still clearly himself, but in the rubberlad's view his features were handsome, his body was fit, and his demeanor was confident and assured, and the frizzy hair that had irritated him all his life was just flat-out gone. In this VRealWorld he saw the Ken that he could be, if only, if only...

And the third view, from an imaginary camera placed somewhere above, was why Ken wanted the VR headset. He had basically just starred in his own porn video and wanted to watch it again and again until he wore out the rewind button. Then, maybe, venture back into the VRealWorld to make a new video.

"Thanks, man," he said to the still-kneeling rubberlad, who didn't respond. He leaned in and said more loudly "Hey, thanks, man." Still no response. Then he remembered, right: you could only talk to the rubberlad through the app.

Oh well. Ken put his jacket back on, called out "later", and went off through the park. He was going to walk into the first barbershop or hair salon he came across and have them shear every strand of hair off the top of his head. Then maybe see about hitting a gym...

The leatherman ambled off without a word. It looked for a moment like he had wanted to say something, leaning down toward Colin briefly, but he never actually spoke. Instead, he straightened up, put on his jacket and left. Colin climbed wearily to his feet and stumbled off in another direction.

His course took him deeper into the park, angling toward the West Side. He passed and tagged two more plain leathermen, one point each, not worth stopping for the petting games that were all they would offer. He needed the high-value ones. His score stood at 569.

There. A red dot, moving. The 1-pointers just stood there, not walking around much. If this guy was moving, he was probably worth more. He quickened his pace and caught up with the leatherman. The guy actually seemed startled when Colin tagged him, revealing him to be "Jamzz Leatherman", a 3-pointer. His appearance was very much like the plain leathermen; there was nothing distinctive that set him apart. Colin knelt and held his wrists out.

Nothing happened for a long while. Colin's heart began to sink, but he stayed put for two reasons: the leatherman might eventually cough up some points for him, and it felt so good to get off his feet.

He felt a shove on his shoulder. The leatherman had pushed him, rocking him backward a bit. But his display revealed no instructions, no options to select from, and he knew better than to speak. Colin merely knelt and continued to wait.

In vain, as it turned out. With an angry set to his body, the Jamzz leatherman turned away and stalked off toward the street. There would be no points for Colin from this encounter.

He couldn't take any more. He lurched to his feet and stumbled off to find a place where he could take a nap, just a quick bit of rest...

Waste of time. Just like Jaime knew it would be. He had come all the way into Manhattan, not even sure if this rubberlad would find him but figuring at worst he'd enjoy a walk in the park. Once there, he hit "Enter VRealWorld", then shoved the phone back in his pocket.

Then nothing happened. Well, nothing except a constant spit of cold rain, which made walking in the park a pretty goddamn miserable experience. He had waited two hours, then given up on any chance of finding the rubberlad and was walking out to the subway, when suddenly, the guy chose that moment to show up. He had come up behind Jaime, walking fast, passed him, then turned, blocking Jaime's path. When Jaime had stopped, the guy had reached out and touched Jaime right on the crotch. WTF?

Jaime was about to start shouting when the rubberlad knelt down and held out his hands. That was somewhat mollifying - it was hard to stay pissed at a guy who was kneeling at your feet.

But that was all he did.

Jaime had tried talking to him, but the guy just pretended he couldn't hear him. He snapped his fingers in front of the hooded face - nothing. This was it? How the hell was he supposed to get it on with a guy if the dude was deaf? Or a moron? The rage came back and he started shouting at the kneeling figure, who still did not respond at all. Even a shove to the shoulder didn't rouse him, he just stayed there kneeling. With a stream of expletives, Jaime left. He didn't have time for this. All the way back to Crown Heights he sulked about falling for this total waste of an app.

Colin slept on a park bench for a while, then was on his way again through the mist. He tagged two more leathermen, a plain one and a 2-point Grizzle. He earned a few points off the Grizzle by letting him bind his hands and legs, but the guy wasn't interested in much and soon ended the encounter.

Colin's belly ached from lack of food - his money had run out a while ago... yesterday?... and he hadn't eaten since then. He wasn't quite desperate enough to go diving in the trash for perfectly-intact food tossed out by young kids, but on a day like this there wasn't likely to be much of that. He tried to fill up on water from fountains whenever he passed one, which helped, but only a little.

He left the park and found himself walking down 9th, his score at 585. Somehow the day had vanished... he could have sworn it was still early afternoon, but the light was getting dim so evening must be falling. It didn't matter. He just kept putting one foot in front of the other. There were no leathermen to be found, so Colin just kept walking.

And then suddenly, one appeared.

The red dot winked into existence on his display right on top of where he was standing. He looked around, disoriented, and after a moment spotted the man climbing out of a cab right across the street from him. He stared - he was at the middle of a block, and the traffic was too heavy to get across to do the tag. He glanced left, then right, and decided the crosswalk to the left was closer. Colin just hoped the leatherman didn't vanish before he could get to him.

But there seemed to be no danger of that - the leatherman followed Colin on his side of the street. When the light changed, he waited for Colin to cross the street to come to him. As Colin neared, he tried to get a look at the guy to see if it was a type he recognized, but his vision was strangely distorted. If he looked straight at the leatherman, all he saw was a blur, but if he diverted his eyes to the side, he could see hints of clear focus in his peripheral vision, which of course tempted his eyes back to center again on the face, which immediately blurred into haze.

He reached the far side of the street and did the tag. A 5-pointer! The suit identified it as a "Nightmare Leatherman". He knelt and the now-familiar dialog window quickly appeared:

The leatherman wishes to control your suit. Permit this?
Yes   No

Colin blinked yes and was soon rewarded with a tap on his outstretched wrists. He looked up to see shiny silver cuffs holding his hands together. As before, when he tried to pull them apart, he found he couldn't.

The leatherman wishes you to stand.

Colin did, watching his score inch up another digit as he rose. He risked a glance at the Nightmare's face, but it was still a blur. Close up, he could see that it was moving, as if dark shapes were swimming beneath the surface of the man's skin... if he had skin. It was very creepy and Colin quickly looked away.

The leatherman reached down and tapped Colin's crotch. Colin looked down to watch and was surprised to see a glowing rope appear. The rope stretched out like taffy as the Nightmare pulled his hand away, shining with an electric purple gleam. He lowered his cuffed hands to touch it, but as they came close sparks flew from the shining strand and lit into his fingers. He quickly lifted them away.

When the rope was about four feet long, it stopped growing. Now when the Nightmare pulled on it, Colin felt it on his groin. The impossible electric rope was wrapped around the base of his genitals... the leatherman literally had him by the balls. He tugged and Colin lurched forward, forced to follow wherever the leatherman chose to lead him.

It had been fairly easy for Evan to find the rubberlad. The VRealWorld app on his phone had said he was in Central Park, then suddenly it said he was in the area of Lincoln Square. He had the cab driver cruise the streets while he scanned the sidewalks for anyone dressed all in rubber. There were few enough people out, and the guy stuck out like a sore thumb. He told the cabbie to pull over, tipped generously, and hit "Enter VRealWorld" on the app, watching the rubberlad as he did. The effect was immediate. The rubberlad stopped his plodding walk and started looking around. Evan climbed out of the cab and stood, watching. Very quickly, the rubberlad spotted him, then started figuring out how to get to him. Evan decided to speed the process along and waited for him at the corner.

The cock-touch came, just as the app's instructions had said it would. Then the guy knelt down and held up his wrists. Evan was ready - he tapped "Request Control" on the phone screen. In a few seconds, the phone chirped a happy tone and a green "Control Granted" message danced across the screen. He tapped the rubberlad's wrists and murmured "cuffs". Nothing seemed to happen.

But when he held up the phone and looked through the app, he could see the silver cuffs. And the rubberlad was certainly acting as if his wrists were now pinned together, trying and failing to separate them. Evan lowered the phone. The real-world view was almost comical, as if the guy was performing some kind of mime act.

From the reading he had done all afternoon, Evan knew the trick was done using electromagnets in the suit. The suit could be told to stick to itself, or parts of it could be made to stick to any magnetic metal like iron or steel. Also, part or all of the suit could be made rigid. The suit didn't have enough strength in it to completely restrict the wearer's movements, but it could resist them. From the wearer's standpoint, the suit would be trying to push him into a particular position, and though he could fight it, before long he would tire and take the path of least resistance, conforming to the pose the suit "wanted" him in. The cuffs illusion was a combination of the two: rigid forearms coupled with a magnetic link. In the VRealWorld, it was very convincing, as if the cuffs really did exist. Evan couldn't wait to get to a place where he could put the headset on and immerse himself in the illusion.

He tried another trick he had practiced: the electric rope. He spoke the words "electric rope" just loud enough for the suit to pick up as he touched his hand to the spot where he wanted the rope attached. He circled his fingers to indicate where the rope should loop around, then stretched it out. He tried to be discreet, shielding the point of contact from view between their two bodies, but still, he would guess that to any bystanders his actions looked ridiculous. Not through the phone, though. On the screen he could see the electric purple-white glow extending from his hand to the rubberlad's groin. He tightened his fingers and the rope stopped growing. Now when he moved his hand he felt nothing in his own fingers, but the rubberlad arced forward at the waist as if something was pushing his butt from behind, leading with his hips until he could get his feet moving under him.

Evan noted something about the way he stumbled that didn't seem like it was entirely induced by the virtual rope. Walking now, pulling the rubberlad along by an invisible leash, he tried an experiment.

"Are you hungry?" he asked, glancing back. There was no response. He repeated the question into his phone. After a short pause, an answer came back on his screen: "Yes". Best to get that fixed... Evan had a long night planned, and having his subject drop out from lack of stamina was not part of the plan.

They walked two blocks before coming to a hot dog cart. There was a streetlight post nearby. On a whim, Evan reached out as he passed and tapped the post with the hand that was holding the leash. "Rope stay" he said, then continued on to the cart. Glancing back, he saw that the rubberlad had stopped and was now standing facing the post, carefully holding his cuffed hands away from where the rope must be. There was one person ahead of Evan at the cart; while he waited, he took a quick glance through his phone to see what the scene looked like in the VRealWorld. The rope leash appeared, a glowing catenary curve connecting post and captive. Hot...

Evan ordered two dogs with everything, then made it three, along with two bottles of water. He carried them over to where the rubberlad waited and tapped his wrists to set him free of the cuffs, though he left him tethered to the post. Evan ate one of the dogs himself and gave the other two to his victim, who had devoured them both before Evan had eaten his one. The guy sucked down the water, too, so Evan gave him the second half of his own.

Then they were on their way again. Evan began walking downtown, leading the rubberlad with the invisible leash. He tried to hail a cab, but the sight of the pair of them must have made the cabbies skittish. Three of them zoomed by, empty, before one finally stopped and let them climb in. Evan directed the cabbie to the address of the company's warehouse in Chelsea.

On the way, Evan tried to converse with the rubberlad, insofar as it was possible. The translation mechanism from Evan's spoken (or, now, with the cabbie listening, typed) instructions through the VRealWorld app to the suit's internal interface would only allow for simple statements and yes / no questions. If a translation couldn't be made, the app would suggest ways he could rephrase. Over the course of the ride, the following dialog took place, slowly and fumblingly on both ends:

Are you straight?

(After a long pause) Yes.

Do you like being bound?

(A longer pause, then) No.

Is it OK if I fuck your ass?

This produced the strangest response yet: "The rubberlad respectfully requests that you honor the spirit of the rubber by wearing a condom". Seriously? He had no problem with gloving up, but the phrasing of the request was pretty strange. He couldn't help but wonder what question the silent man next to him had actually been asked, and what his response had been.

After that, communication ground to a halt. The system was unable to translate any variation on "Why are you in that suit?" or "Why can't you speak?", and Evan couldn't learn anything more about the suit's occupant by the time they arrived at their destination.

Evan held his badge up to the scanner and the door beeped to let them in. He looked around for a moment - a cavernous dark space, mostly empty but for a handful of support pillars here and there. Concrete floor and walls with a few metal truck-sized doors - perfect for sticking magnets to. The support pillars were metal as well. He didn't bother with the lights - neither he nor the rubberlad would need any real photons to see with, and it was a good safety measure to keep those video cameras from recording too much. Quick look completed, Evan methodically removed his clothing down to his underwear, then put his socks and shoes back on. Then he slipped the helmet over his head, inserted the sound-muffling earplugs, and entered the VRealWorld.

He had gone through most of the first-time setup prompts when he had first donned the helmet earlier in the day to configure this virtual space. But now one more appeared, asking him whether he wanted to allow the rubberlad to make noise with his mouth. Apparently the guy had been trained out of making sounds audible to the real world, but now that Evan was in the VRealWorld with him, he had the option of allowing the lad to speak.

Or to scream.

Hell, yeah, thought Evan, and clicked the "Allow" button.

The warehouse disappeared and a forest took its place. It was deep and dark and stretched on forever. The only light came from whatever moonbeams could filter down through the black branches overhead. Dense thickets of thorny brambles lined rocky paths that led between the trees, branching and forking and endlessly crossing one another, creating a maze of possibilities. Sounds came from all around: scratching noises, the rustlings of animals small or large nosing through the night. Once, a wolf howled in the distance.

Evan stepped in front of the rubberlad and shifted the perspective so that he was looking out from the rubberlad's perspective. The avatar he had crafted for himself was absolutely perfect - massive of chest and arm and thigh, bronze of skin, and towering over the rubberlad by a good twelve inches. (Outside the VRealWorld, the two were about the same height.) His face... his face didn't exist. Or rather, it did, but it was a visual distortion. It was a blend of constantly-shifting shapes and colors ranging from flesh-toned to deepest black. It actually hurt to look at for too long. Evan thought it was a good visual representation of his chosen Avatar's name, Nightmare.

He flipped the perspective back to his own view and activated the avatar for the rubberlad. Now, instead of a black, featureless suit, he saw a young, slender but still well-muscled man of about 20 years, with short brown hair and two days' growth of stubble on his cheeks and chin. The youth was buck naked, his genitals shriveled and withdrawn from apprehension that was written plainly all over his face, apprehension that would soon blossom into all-out fear. Evan had no idea what the straight fellow in the suit might actually look like, but this was a figure that appealed to him, and it would do nicely for this stage of the evening.

Visuals taken care of, it was time to start. "Run", he told the rubberlad. Presumably the headset would relay it to the rubberlad using whatever mechanism it needed to. He waited a few seconds, but there was no response. Evan repeated the command, more firmly, and this time the rubberlad took a few stumbling steps forward down one of the rocky paths. Evan aimed a kick at his backside but misjudged the distance and missed. Right... play by the VRealWorld's rules. Instead of a physical kick, he cued up one of his sound effects: a monstrous, deafening roar. The rubberlad didn't even look back, but scrambled down the path on legs that were clearly already more than halfway to exhausted.

Evan waited until the pale figured disappeared into the gloom and all he could hear were the sounds of his retreating footsteps and the occasional swipe of a branch. He played the roar once more to keep the lad properly motivated, then stood waiting until he could no longer tell what direction the sounds of the rubberlad's flight were coming from. The warehouse's floor space was limited, of course, and the path the rubberlad was following would eventually turn around on itself so he wouldn't run into the walls. But distances in the game world were not the same as in the real world - Evan and the rubberlad might be standing five feet apart and never know it because in VRealWorld terms there was a mile of dense forest between them. If Evan took his helmet off, he could break the illusion, but why would he do that when he had gone to such trouble to set it up?

He took one more moment to savor the anticipation. Tonight he was going to get to live out every fantasy he had ever had since he first shot a load, all in one go. First up: manhunt. With live human prey.

He stalked off through the woods. Glancing behind him, there was no trace of anything resembling the start of a path. The woods went on forever behind him, indeed in all directions. He walked silently, his feet making no sound against the rock-strewn dirt beneath them, listening for the sounds of his prey. He allowed himself to sink into the fantasy, admiring the realism of the dark leaves and branches, the way the fog drifted wraith-like across the path and gathered in occasional thick clots that completely obstructed visibility.

There. The snapping of a twig. Evan bumped the volume of his own sound output up a few notches from "silent" - now he would emit a ragged breathing sound punctuated by occasional growls, and his footsteps would no longer be inaudible. He wanted the lad to be able to hear him as he approached, prompting him to run and thus prolonging the time until the inevitable moment of capture.

Evan reached into his briefs and fingered his throbbing erection. His cock would have been happy to get everything over with right now, right this instant, but his head insisted he take measured steps, pacing himself, drawing out and magnifying the suspense that the lad would be feeling by now.

And there, a glimpse of movement in the fog. Evan quickened his pace, jogging now as he took a branching path to the right toward where he saw the flickering flash of pale skin in wan moonlight. He glanced down at his own body - the hair he had arranged for was starting to grow in, covering his chest and arms and legs in ever-thickening mats. His nose began to stretch out before him and he could see the beginnings of fur covering it as well. His fingernails were growing longer, darkening, yellowing, becoming claw-like. He jogged on.

His prey had given up any hope of stealth and was now racing full-out through the dark woods. Evan could hear his panicked footsteps and labored breathing. He paused to let him get away, then continued, loping along, now completely covered in grey and black fur and with a full length of muzzle jutting from beneath his eyes. He couldn't see his own eyes, but in a few moments, his prey would, and they would be bright golden yellow, and that would be last thing he saw before the wolf was at his throat...

Over and over he toyed with his victim, coming threateningly near before allowing him to escape into the dark silence of the empty woods, each time making the escape narrower and narrower, coming ever closer to his prey before allowing him to dart away. He could only imagine the fear and adrenaline that must be coursing through the man's veins. Oh, this was not an experience he could have any way but like this. No online porn, no fictional story, no consensual role-playing fantasy scene could replicate this, the thrill of pursuit, the anticipation of the inevitable moment of capture and utter domination...

Lost him. Where had he gone? Evan stopped, listening, vulpine ears cocked in the still night air. His cock was achingly hard, throbbing with each beat of his heart. He took one silent step, then another. On the third an explosion burst forth from the thicket beside him as his prey emerged, his skin torn and bleeding from where the thorns had scratched it open. In a flash, Evan was off, bounding after his fleeing victim, roaring his triumph to the ghostly moon. Five paces behind, now four, now three. The lad tripped and stumbled, rolling, and Evan overshot him, rapidly coming to a halt and turning around just as the lad clambered to his feet. Evan plowed into him, shoving him up against a tree and spinning him around so that the two faced each other eye to eye, man to beast. The lad's eyes were rolling wildly as he pushed helplessly against the massive weight of the creature pinning him in place. Evan reared back, then plunged his muzzle down against the defenseless pale skin of the lad's throat, tearing it apart and reveling in the jet of hot blood that sprayed out into the wet night.

He released his victim and stepped back, throwing back his head and pouring a bestial howl out into the dark air. The lad stayed propped against the tree while his blood continued to fountain out from his severed arteries. His hands batted feebly at the gushing blood as if he could somehow push it back into his veins. As Evan stood watching, his heart pounding, he caught a glimpse of a flicker of light off to his right and his eyes flashed over to watch it. Mmm... time for the next scene. The flicker grew to a bright yellow spot, then continued to expand until it was the height of a man, a portal to another world. Swiftly it neared the pair. Details became evident as it approached - the forms of sand, scrub brush, sun-weathered wood took shape in the glow. The wave of change passed over them and now it was the deep woods that looked like a doorway, a black patch receding off to the left that swiftly shrank away into nothing.

Both Evan's face and his victim's had changed along with the surroundings. The lad's wound was gone as if it had never been, along with the scratches that had laced his arms and chest and legs. His hair was now sand-colored and his face was spotted with freckles. The hair around his dangling dick had a reddish tint. The tree that he had been leaning against was still there, but now it was a dried, desiccated thing, reaching pale grey branches into a sunburned sky. Evan took a quick glance down at his own body to find the fur and muzzle gone, replaced by a strong reddish-bronze chest, a breechclout of white leather, and tan leather boots. He couldn't see his own face, but was confident that the rubberlad was now seeing the stern, stony features of a Pawnee warrior.

While his captive was still reeling from the change of world and the sudden disappearance of his injuries, Evan strode forward and seized the aimlessly fluttering hands. He whipped his own hand through the air and a rope appeared in it, pre-knotted with two small nooses that he slipped over the wrists of his victim. Tossing the rest of the rope over a high branch, he quickly yanked it taut, forcing the lad's hands up over his head, then secured the line. Evan kicked his captive's legs into position against either side of the tree and conjured more rope to secure them.

Stalking back into his captive's field of view, he gestured again and this time a bow materialized out of thin air, fitted into the grip of his left hand as if it were part of him. With his right hand, he flicked an arrow into being. He stepped away from the bound man, who stood puzzled and disoriented, squinting into the sun in his direction. Evan nocked the arrow into the string of the bow, sighted, and took aim at the tiny figure 20 yards off.

With the sun in his eyes, the lad - the captured cowboy, stripped and ready for torture at the Pawnee warrior's hands - couldn't tell what was happening until he heard the swish of the arrow slicing the air and felt the thunk as it drove through his wrist and sank into the wood of the tree behind him. Evan let a second shaft fly and it sank with unerring accuracy into the lad's other wrist, pinning both in place, and it was only then that the cowboy found the breath to utter a scream. With slow, measured steps Evan strode off to the struggling victim's left and let loose another arrow, which sizzled through the air and pierced the cowboy's calf, spiking it to the tree. Fresh screams erupted from the cowboy's throat. Evan repeated the process on the victim's right leg, then paced slowly in to inspect the results.

At the sight of his approach, the cowboy jerked and thrashed, struggling to get away but held fast by the arrows placed dead through the center of his wrists and through the meaty flesh of his calves. There was only a small trickle of blood seeping down from the wounds, but as the cowboy fought, more trickled out and down the slowly-reddening skin of his arms and legs.

Evan groped the cowboy's pale chest with his own reddish-brown hands, fingering the protruding nipples, stroking the light coating of fur on the heaving chest and stomach, tracing the outline of the exposed cock. The cowboy sobbed and thrashed, fueling Evan's desire all the more.

Damn, he thought, all I feel is rubber. It sort of broke the fantasy for him. He was going to have to buy the full-body VR suit before his next session. It would cost a bundle, but it would be worth every penny. As long as the mood was temporarily broken anyway, he lifted the VR headset off his head and checked the scene out with his own eyes. The rubberlad stood with his back to one of the steel support pillars, arms held up over his head and legs spread to either side, looking for all the world as if he was holding that pose of his own free choice. Freaky. Evan glanced over to the side wall where the next scene would take place. He would need a way to get his captive's feet off the ground, and one of the steel truck doors was perfect. It was half-raised now. In a short while, once the cowboy was released from his current predicament, he would find himself chased over to that door and backed up against it. There, the magnetic power of the suit would hold him in place from the waist up, and when Evan raised the door another eight inches, the captive would find himself suspended with his feet completely off the ground...

... but enough. He had done all the planning. There was no need to double-check it: everything would go fine. Time to sink back into the fantasy - that was the whole point of all the planning! He slipped the VR headset back on. The gloomy warehouse disappeared and his eyes had to squint against the brightness of the desert sun. It had to be his imagination, but he actually felt like the act of putting on the headset had made the temperature go up a good ten degrees.

The cowboy stood there, suffering in the sun, skewered to the tree by wrists and legs. Time to give him a few more piercings. The Pawnee warrior drew out his bow and stepped away to the front of his captive. Methodically, taking his time with each one, he fired arrow after arrow into the cowboy's quaking body. He put less force into these, so they did not travel all the way through the flesh but stopped partway, where they stuck out, tracing patterns in the air with every twitch the bound man made. The thighs took three each, the arms two apiece, and he finished by sinking four arrows at the corners of a square into the cowboy's rock-solid abs. When he finished, he walked forward.

The cowboy was fighting to control his heaving breaths because every movement he made caused the dangling arrows to swirl and sway, tearing at the holes in his skin. Evan traced the lines of his muscles with his fingers, distracted once again by the feel of rubber instead of hot, sweaty skin. Then, inspired, the conjured a pair of latex gloves from thin air and put them on. Perfect... he may have compromised the strict realism of this Western scene, but at least the sensations from his fingers now matched what his eyes expected.

He focused his attention on the cowboy's dark, tight nipples, squeezing them between his fingers until they perked into tiny raised mountains. "Please..." the captive murmured, lost in his agony. It was the first clear word he had spoken... but Evan the Pawnee had no interest in the white man's English. He stepped back, angling off to the cowboy's left side, half a dozen paces. He steadied the bow, took aim, and released. His arrow shot through the air, crossing the short distance between the two men faster than the eye could follow. It struck the captive on the chest, just at the base of the peak of the tiny nipple mountain, and traveled on until it was halfway through, where it came to a sudden, impossible stop. The cowboy screamed.

Evan moved over to the cowboy's right and took aim at the left nipple. Moments later, a second 18-inch-long shaft mirrored the first, both extending out to either side of the cowboy's freshly pierced and bloodied tits.

One more to go.

The Pawnee once more approached his captive. With his left hand, he began stroking the cowboy's dick (can't feel it, but that's OK, just do it anyway), while with his right he gingerly fondled his own, which was so close to erupting he didn't dare squeeze it too hard. The cowboy was lost in his pain, moaning constantly with occasional louder punctuations whenever the movement of the arrows caused him a fresh burst of torment. Pain notwithstanding, the dick responded, stiffening until it was a shorter, thicker version of the many other shafts sprouting from his body. Evan materialized a stone and a string, magically binding them to the head of the cowboy's cock. He dropped the string, causing the stone to pull the head down until the dick pointed toward the ground. He stepped back once more.

As he was raising the bow for this final shot, stretching the bow tighter than ever before, the cowboy figured out what he was going to do. His moans became shouts, which become one repeated word: "NO! No, no, NO, NOOOOOO!" The bow stood rock-steady in the Pawnee's grip, keeping its aim squarely on its target for long seconds that ticked away steadily in the hot desert air.

Evan released the string. The arrow flew faster than lightning across the few yards of space, zeroing in on the head of the cowboy's dick. The point landed dead center; the arrow continued on, straight through the flesh and out the back side, where it severed the string, releasing the stone to fall to the ground, and then buried itself deep in the trunk of the tree. The cowboy's shout turned into a scream and Evan nearly shot his load at the sight.

But no, it was still too soon for that. He savored the image for one last moment, then triggered the next change of scene. His face morphed back into the Nightmare configuration, then his body transformed into a swirling whirlwind, black with flying earth and sand, that swept up into the sky and vanished.

At the same instant, the cowboy's arrows evaporated, along with the ropes that held him to the tree, leaving not a mark on his skin. He collapsed to the ground and lay there, sprawled. His hair was more red than sandy now, his body still lean and taut.

Mere seconds later, though, he was roused by the sound of horsemen approaching. They were a small cloud on the horizon at first, but swiftly grew until eight individuals could be discerned.

Sheriff Evan rode out front, his dark, weathered face grim behind his grey-flecked beard. The leader of the posse that would bring the murderer to justice pulled his horse to a stop, then climbed down. His men followed suit and formed a circle around the "Red Renegade", the notorious killer who would finally pay for his crimes.

The men poked at the renegade with the muzzles of their rifles, urging the naked criminal to his feet. Sheriff Evan watched as they prodded him into a run, some of them climbing back onto their mounts so as to pursue the fleeing man, toying with him as a cat toys with a mouse. Evan kept one eye on the chase as he ambled over to the spot he had chosen for the punishment. The men drove Red around in a wide loop, slapping at his exposed skin with their horsewhips to urge him to keep up his pace.

Now they came circling back, driving the renegade straight toward where Sheriff Evan stood waiting, unarmed, unencumbered by any equipment at all. The fleeing murderer attempted to skirt around Evan in his haste to outrun the pursuing posse, but just as he ran past, the sheriff whipped out his hand and flung it toward Red as he passed by. A rope appeared from thin air, snapped itself across the intervening distance, and wrapped itself around the wanted man's neck. The pursuing horsemen pulled up and watched as the rope tied itself into a noose. The renegade was yanked to a stop, nearly losing his balance.

Evan closed the gap between them with two strides, spun the murderer around and (oh, so carefully positioning him so he wouldn't feel the impact of his body against the steel door) gently eased him backward a few inches, then triggered the magnetic lock. He then took the end of the rope in his hand and hurled it upward into the blank blue sky. It stuck there, hanging from nothing at all, stretched up taut from the condemned's neck.

"Now, Red. Time fer you ta draw yer last breath," he pronounced. The surrounding men made gruff noises of approval in their throats. The murderer himself just stared wide-eyed, panting and exhausted from his run. Evan gestured upward and the rope tightened. Red's face began to match both hair and name as the pressure increased. Another gesture from Evan and the doomed victim's ankles began to rise up off the dusty ground. Evan held his hand in position until Red's feet had completely left the ground, then rose a few inches more, his toes swinging back and forth as they involuntarily sought renewed contact with the earth.

There was none to be found. The Red Renegade hung, suspended by the neck from the sky itself. He swung, kicking, at the end of his noose, struggling to get air past the constriction at his throat. That was a beautiful touch, Evan thought. He can't actually swing around because he's glued to a steel door... but the software can just swing the whole world around him, and that's effectively the exact same thing. No! Stay in the fantasy.

Time to ease up on him a bit. Evan gestured again and the rope noose loosened by about half, allowing the doomed man to breathe again, though painfully. "Hangin's too quick fer you, Red. I've a mind to make this last a good long spell." The man still hung from the noose, but the noose was only as tight as if it were supporting a man half his weight... the perfect arrangement for a long and torturous execution.

Evan and the posse stood for long minutes, watching Red struggle and suffer in the blazing sun. Still out of breath from the lap the men had made him run, he was desperate to get air in and out of his lungs. But every breath tore at his throat as he hung suspended from nothing by the impossible noose. His hands clawed at the rope, but his fingers couldn't get a grip on it. They passed right through the rope as if it were a phantom. But its effect on his neck was real enough. Long minutes went by while he suffered, hanged just enough to hurt, not enough to kill.

Finally, his struggles began to grow feeble and his hands sagged down toward his sides. From nowhere, a storm blew up. Thick black clouds blotted out the sun. Lightning crackled across the sky, cutting the rope free and dropping the noosed man to the ground. The white strands vanished and the naked man was left lying in a heap. Blinding rain fell, cutting visibility to nothing and yet somehow not getting anyone wet.

When the rain cleared, the desert was gone and there were only two men left. They were on a massive starship, watching the defeat of the Rebel Alliance after the saboteurs on the forest moon of Endor had failed to destroy the shield generator.

Fuck the straight guys and their "Slave Leia" fantasies, Evan thought. THIS was the Star Wars scene that always got me revved up.

Evan gave the lad a few minutes to recover his breath. He listened to the heaving gasps as the lad reclaimed the oxygen he had been deprived of. After about two minutes, when the labored breathing had settled down a bit, Evan could wait no longer and spoke his line. "And now, young Jedi," he said to the helpless figure on the floor. "You. Will. Die."

With that, he snapped his hands out. Bolts of purple-white lightning hurtled across the distance between him and his quarry, who threw back his head and howled his anguish. He paused, just long enough to let his victim catch his breath once more, then nailed him a second time, and a third, sustaining the jolts longer and longer with each blast.

Oh my fuckin' god, this is fuckin' awesome! I am Emperor fuckin' Palpatine, shooting fuckin' lightning bolts out of my fingers!

The onslaught went on until the victim's screams finally ceased, leaving him lying limp on the floor. Evan half-ran over to where he lay, picked him up, and awkwardly carried him over to a steel table, coincidentally placed in the same location in both reality and the VRealWorld. He lay the man down on his back with his head at the edge of one side and his ass up against the other. Lifting up his legs, he flung ropes from the man's ankles up to the starship chamber's distant ceiling, securing his feet in the air. With more flourishes, he conjured restraints into existence around the man's waist, chest, and arms, securing him in place. Then one final wave brought a guillotine into being, its blade keen and sharp and hanging several feet above the neck of the man he was about to fuck. At the last second, he remembered to put a condom on as he had promised. His victim grunted as Evan's cock insistently forced its way into his ass, but he seemed as incapable of forming speech as he was of doing anything to stop the assault.

It didn't take long at all. Evan's cock was on hair-trigger alert. It seemed he had barely had a chance to start thrusting into the restrained man's hole when he was nearing the point of shooting, and then suddenly he was too close to the edge to turn back, and it was time to trigger the fall of the blade. He flicked his fingers toward the catch just as the first churning spurt boiled up out of his balls and jetted out through his dick. The blade glinted in the light as it fell. It struck bottom just as the second jolt of Evan's orgasm came, slicing cleanly through the man's neck and sending his head plummeting off the edge of the table and rolling across the floor in a spray of gushing blood. Evan was lost in ecstasy, unable to sustain a thrusting rhythm as his muscles failed under the wave of bliss that washed over him, merely quivering in place as his cock pumped out load after load of thick, hot fluid.

Half a minute or three hours later, he collapsed down onto the rubber-covered body beneath him, gasping for breath. He lay there for long minutes as the last shudders of climax faded, then stood and withdrew his dick, peeling off the condom and shoving it into a bag. He walked around to where the rubberlad's virtual head lay on the floor, its eyes blinking and mouth working soundlessly. Gently, he picked it up and carried it back to the table where its body still lay. He waved the guillotine off into the void and carefully placed the head back into place up against the neck. Evan watched as the skin grew together, the blood evaporated, and the two parts became one whole again. Waving his hands once more, he released all the restraints and set his captive free.

Tomorrow morning he would probably regret the amount of money he had racked up during his visit to the VRealWorld - billing was a complicated mix of time spent, actions performed, physical laws violated, and pain inflicted. But right now, it was worth every penny.

Colin kept dying, but not.

First there was that... thing, that wolf-creature that had chased him through the woods. God, how his heart had been pounding in his chest as he fled, so loud that he was sure the thing was tracking him from the sound of it beating. He had suddenly found himself out of the suit without knowing exactly how it happened. Had he blacked out? However he had gotten out of it, it didn't do him any good because that was when the wolf-thing had started pursuing him and all he could do was run to try to escape it. But there was nowhere to run. The woods just went on forever and all the paths wound around back over themselves so that he might have run a mile and yet ended up right where he had started. And his movements were all slow and leaden, like he was still fighting against the rubber suit even though it was obviously gone, he wasn't wearing anything at all, where had his clothes gone? And how had he gotten here? But he couldn't think about those sorts of questions because he could hear the horrible creature coming for him, it seemed like it was everywhere he turned and he ran and ran but was so tired he had to rest so he tried to hide but then the monster was Right There, right next to him and his heart was hammering so hard there was no way the creature couldn't hear it so he jumped up and fled again, but it was hopeless and then the thing had him and had ripped a giant chunk out of his fucking neck oh god, the pain...

... only to be suddenly dropped into a scene from an old Western. The relief washed over him like a drug, it felt so good to not have all his blood gushing out of his torn throat, miraculously healed only to be shot full of arrows by a stone-faced Indian, left pinned against a tree to bleed out through a dozen holes in his hide only he didn't because suddenly he was running again only to be brought up short by a noose that dropped straight out of the sky and lifted him clear up into the air, and the world spun crazily around him while he kicked and struggled for air and it had to be a dream, it just had to, only he couldn't wake up, ever, they said that when you were about to die in a dream you always woke up right before only he didn't seem to be waking up, the dream just went on and on and he kept dying over and over in different horrible ways.

Then somehow he was lying face up, staring at the wickedly sharp blade that was about to slice clean through his neck and he actually hoped this would be the one that did it. He was so desperate to just make it all stop he barely noticed the pressure at his ass, and then suddenly the blade was carving the air down toward his throat. Before he even had a chance to be grateful, his head was rolling and bouncing across the floor and he had to shut his eyes to stop the world from spinning around him... but even that wasn't enough because even with his head physically cut off from the rest of his body, the nightmare still went on! He opened his eyes and could see some faceless creature humping his headless remains, collapsing on top of him and damn but he could still feel the dick shoved up his ass and the man's weight pressing down on his stomach even though that should have been impossible because it was all happening several yards away from where his severed head lay like a discarded ball on the floor.

Then it was over, and the faceless stranger came and picked up his head and re-attached it to his corpse, somehow magically reuniting all the separated blood vessels and nerves and muscles and connective tissue. He gasped for breath, certain now that he must have died after all and that this was hell.

The nightmare creature helped him to his feet and helped him to walk. He made noises with his mouth, but the noises made no sense to Colin. He let the sounds wash over him, waiting for the next stage of the horror to begin. Then the stranger pressed something into his hand and finally, inexplicably, left.

He stood on a street corner, having nowhere else to go. The suit had returned, covering his entire body as inescapably as it had before. Perhaps it had never left and he had only hallucinated his freedom.

It didn't really matter any more.

The night life of the city passed around him. Occasional cars passed by. No one noticed him, a black figure standing in the shadows.

After a while, a sparkling movement caught his eye and he turned, slowly, to see a tall, bronze-skinned, muscular man appear beside him.

"Come, Colin. Follow me."

The words didn't register as words, but the meaning was clear enough. Colin obeyed. It was what he did.

The man led him on a long walk. Buildings and cars passed in a vague blur. Colin simply put one foot in front of the other, trailing along in the muscle god's footsteps. After an unknown interval of time, the god beckoned toward a door. Colin opened it and stepped through. The god led him to a bank of lockers, making more noise at him that carried as much meaning as the chatter of seagulls at the shore. Nothing else seemed to be happening. After a while, Colin could sense the god growing angry with him. He remembered that making the god angry was bad, and he didn't want to hurt any more, so he tried to pay attention to the sounds the god was making.

"...teen, twenty-seven. Go ahead, put your hand on the dial. Put your hand on the dial. That's it, yes, good Colin. Now spin it to the right a few times. Just like that, yes. Stop at thirty-four. Good, good Colin. Now left, keep going left, yes, now stop at fifteen. Now right again, and stop at twenty-seven".

Whatever incantation the god was having him perform caused one of the cupboards in front of him to open. The god told him to take out the gym bag that was there and to carry it upstairs. Colin obeyed. It was what he did.

They entered a tiny room, too tiny, it seemed, for the god's massive bulk to fit inside, and yet, somehow he did. He started making sounds again. Colin again tried to make sense of them.

"You have to do it, Colin, I can't do it for you. Do you want to get out of the suit? Do you? Then you have to say so, Colin, I can't open the lock until you tell me to. You have to say it. You have to tell me you want to spend 1,000 points to open the lock. Can you say that, Colin?"

Colin tried to speak, but his body fought his mind's will. He could not force the words out. His subconscious mind had learned all too well that speech led to pain.

The god took pity on him. "Here. I'll make it easy on you. How does that feel?"

The buzzing in his cock - which had never gone away, had always been there every minute of the past two days - suddenly increased and he was flooded with a wave of horniness. He absolutely had to reach his cock so he could jerk it. It would only take a few strokes, just a few. He needed to get to his cock.

"Open the lock," he said, the words now coming effortlessly. Then, quickly, he added "Sir!"

The god smiled faintly, his eyes masked, as ever, behind the mirrored sunglasses. Colin watched as pale yellow figures descended into his view. Numbers... that's right, they were numbers. Slowly, haltingly, his brain picked them out. There was a 1... and a 7... then a 3, and then a 2. As he watched, the 1 vanished, leaving just the other three numbers. As it did, he heard a tiny snick. Instantly, the room went dark and he felt the rubber of the suit go slack. The taut second skin that had enveloped him for so long now sagged like a limp balloon. And the hood was now just a hood - no light, no sound, just a dark, claustrophobic space that he wasn't quite sure how to get out of but desperately needed to.

The lock. The sound had been the lock opening. He pawed at it with fingers that didn't want to work right and eventually fumbled it out from between the zipper pulls, dropping it to the floor. He grabbed the zipper and pulled. His fingers didn't want to keep their grip on the handle, so it took him several slipping, groping tries to get it unwound from around his neck. Once it was loose, it took him several long seconds more to pry the sticky thing off his head - it kept clinging to his skin and he had to work his hands in to loosen one section, then another, repeating until the horrible thing finally popped free and he could see once more with his own eyes, hear with his own ears.

But he still couldn't touch his own cock. He yanked at the zipper on the chest, tugging it down as far as it would go, then wrestled with the clinging rubber of the arms and shoulders, almost tearing it in his haste to be free. Left arm out, right arm out, and then he could pull the suit down past his waist, setting his cock and balls free from their latex prison. He grabbed his cock, already at half mast, the hardest it had been able to get for days, and started stroking. Oh god, it felt SO FUCKING GOOD to actually be able to touch it after long days of frustrating stimulation that kept him constantly on edge but never letting him do anything about it!

Not anymore. His cock stiffened in his grasp now that it was able to, but it hadn't even had a chance to harden fully before the moment was upon him and he was coming harder than he had ever come in his life, holy fuck he could not believe how long it lasted, wave after wave of surpassing pleasure, throbbing, pulsing, shooting a gigantic load that sprayed out all over the floor and even hit the far wall, explosive shuddering breaths that tore in and out through his still-raw throat as if he were having a seizure...

At last, after long minutes, the orgasm started to fade away. Colin knew he needed to finish getting out of the suit, and he would, very soon, in just a minute, but before that happened he was just going to rest his head on the nice soft gym bag, just for a moment, just to recover a bit after that massive, whole-body eruption...

Exhaustion claimed him.

Epilogue - Friday, November 4th, 7:00 PM

Colin fretted.

On the one hand, even contemplating what he was actually contemplating was simply impossible. Unthinkable. Not even anywhere close to within the realm of possibility.

On the other hand, he was thinking it, which made it not, in fact, unthinkable.

As he had been promised, he had, indeed, earned his freedom from the suit. But it would not be true to say that he had gone back to his normal life.

For one thing, Eva had dumped him. Or rather, he had dumped her, although he hadn't known it at the time. He had taken a day to recover from his ordeal, then tried calling her. It went to voice mail; he hung up without leaving a message. He tried again a few hours later - same thing. Seconds later, her sister called him, accusing him of having a helluva nerve, telling him Eva never wanted to so much as hear his name ever again, then screamed abuse at him for five long minutes before he finally just hung up on her. But one of the things she said caused him to go looking back through his phone's history.

What he found explained the tirade. The day he had texted Eva to get out of going with her to her sister's party, he could have sworn he had typed something like "Sorry, I've got to cancel today. I'll make it up to you, I promise." That's what his eyes had seen, at least. But what his fingers had actually typed, and what his eyes saw now that they could perceive the world directly, unmediated by the hood's optics, was "F U babe, I got other plans 4 2day", and there was a photo of his face wearing a giant, goofy, shit-eating grin, buried between two enormous bare breasts. So that relationship was over.

Then there was the job situation. He had shown up for his next scheduled shift at Jimbo's, only to have his boss go ballistic. He insisted that when Colin had called to beg off a few days earlier, he had told him to either show up on time or not to ever show his face there again. Colin remembered the conversation completely differently, of course, but realized that once again, the suit had been between his phone and his ear, and had obviously altered the words he had heard.

And likewise with the construction job he had gotten through his cousin. Wary this time, he called first instead of just showing up, and found the same had happened there. He was no longer welcome on the job site.

Even his friends were holding him at arm's length. Checking his text history, he could see why. There were some some pretty scathing comments there that had supposedly been sent by him. Some of his friends forgave him once he tracked them down in person and stammered out some half-plausible explanation, but they nevertheless kept Colin at arm's length; others weren't even willing to cut him that much slack.

And so here he was, ten days after escaping from the prison suit: broke, unemployed, without a girlfriend or really any other friends to lean on. And the rent was now four days overdue.

He pulled out the note, the one he had found in the gym bag after waking up in the changing room, and read it through one more time.

Hi, Colin.

Thanks so much for playing our little geocaching game. We know it probably wasn't your first choice of recreational activity, but it worked out OK in the end, right?

For now, please pack the suit away in this gym bag and put it back in the locker you found it in. Obviously, we can't force you to follow orders using the suit any more, but we'd appreciate your cooperation.

Oh, if you haven't found it yet, in the bag with the clothes we put together for you is your phone. You left it behind after your interaction with the Terminator leatherman, so we sent a crew out to retrieve it for you. Good thing phones have those location capabilities built into them, right?

If you ever want to play again, you're welcome to. We'll have the suit cleaned and charged up, then return it here to this locker. You have the combination; you can put it on again any time you want.

It'll still cost 1,000 points to open the lock to get out, but you've already got some points in your account left over from this session. AND, if you put the suit on voluntarily, rather than waiting until the next time we ask you to, you get a 500-point bonus the moment the lock clicks shut.

But it gets better. You can also redeem points for cash, a dollar apiece, in quantities of 1,000 at a time. That means if you are able to rack up 2,000 points, you can buy your freedom AND emerge a thousand bucks richer. That 500-point bonus for locking up is like free money.

So thanks again, and we hope to see you again soon!

Team VRansomwear

The first time he had read the note, in the changing room with the limp rubber suit still clinging to his legs, he had scowled in disgust and nearly torn it to shreds. After the experience he had just endured, that horrific last session, they thought he would voluntarily do it all again? Ha. Unthinkable.

But he didn't tear up the note. Some tiny little voice that he refused to acknowledge reminded him that if his memory was correct of those flashing yellow numbers right before the suit shut down, he had 732 points stored up. 500 more would put him well over a thousand, so he could bail out any time he wanted.

Not to mention the hundred-dollar bill he had found on the floor of the changing room after he woke up. He assumed at first that it must be from the puppet masters who were pulling his strings, but that didn't quite fit their profile. It was two days later that he realized it must have been the thing the Nightmare had put into his hand before they parted. Somehow he had managed to not drop it all the way back to the changing room until it had fallen from his fingers while he frantically tore the suit off.

The little voice had grown insistently louder as the setbacks in his real life piled up over the following days. Time put its usual haze on his memories, and he found himself rationalizing that even the final experience with the Nightmare hadn't actually harmed him. Scared the shit out of him, sure, but he had emerged from the scene no worse for wear. It hadn't been all that different than visiting a haunted house at Halloween, just a lot more real feeling. And it had earned him over a thousand points in a single night. Sure, he hated the bastards who had royally fucked up his life, but still... a thousand bucks for a day's work was way more than he ever got paid at any other job he'd had before. And it's not like he had a date or anything else to do tonight.

One thing he deliberately did not allow himself to think of was that massive orgasm right after the suit came off, by far the most powerful he had ever experienced. That did not factor into his decision at all. Not one bit. This was strictly business.

Colin put the note down on the table, pulled on a jacket, and headed out the door to catch the A train downtown.