Tuesday, November 14, 2017


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, torture, and death. 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 © 2017 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 http://powauthor.blogspot.com. The author welcomes feedback.


February 15, 2024

Dear journal,

I met someone today.

He answered the door and I stood, spellbound, transfixed by the vision of perfect masculinity that filled my gaze. He was about my height, but there the similarity ended, for where I am somewhat slender of build, he was shaped like the proverbial fireplug. Arms as wide as my thighs, thighs like oak limbs, and a chest that could fit two of mine inside it. But not portly, not at all! His chest and stomach were not composed of unsightly excess lipid tissue, but solid muscle. He wore a baseball cap, but I could still see that his head had been shaved completely smooth, either by nature or by a razor, probably the latter. The hair that was no longer there would have been a light tan shade, judging by the color of the neatly-trimmed goatee he wore. His eyes were piercingly blue. His clothing was unfortunately loose and heavy, but that was understandable given the season. Still, I should have liked to have seen a hint of definition through fabric more suitable to warmer environs, or a mound in the sweatpants that would have suggested socks worn in an unexpected location... on anyone else! Set against this individual's splendid physique such a prominence would have passed without question.

I only stared for a moment or so, not long enough to trigger his reflexive unease at being eyed up by another male. I saved my admiring gaze for the time after I handed him the bag of pork lo mein and won ton soup that he had ordered, while he was fumbling in his pocket for a few dollars to hand me for a tip. With his eyes down, he didn't see how my own lingered lovingly on the curve of his shoulders, the veined-marble tendons in his neck, the raw masculine power that he cannot help but shed as the sun cannot help but emit light and heat. He pressed the bills into my palm and I turned to go, hearing the door click closed behind me as I stepped softly down the hall to the stairwell.

I must have him.

Target acquired, Paul thought. Commence acquisition mode.

He had a first name - "Landon" - and a Spruce Street address already in hand from the food order. Back at the restaurant, he found thirty seconds when the Wicked Witch of the Far East, Mrs. Yang, was busy venting a tirade at the kitchen staff and snuck a peek at the day's order logs to get a last name off the credit card receipt. "Henderson", it turned out to be. With a name and an address he could find out all sorts of other information online. The ones to focus on were the connections to others. Parents, siblings, girlfriend (boyfriend?), ex-spouse, children... anyone who might care enough to raise a fuss when Landon went missing.

The results were gratifyingly slim. Parents divorced, mom in Texas, dad's whereabouts unknown, possibly deceased. One older half-brother, last known address with the dad. No other brothers or sisters, no kids. One recent ex-girlfriend, relationship ended by her initiative two months ago, according to her postings. Worked in construction. That was perfect - construction workers were constantly drifting in and out of jobs.

This showed every sign of being a perfect catch. The beast inside growled its approval, hungry and insistent but willing to be patient, appeased by the promise of future prey.

Sadly, there had not been enough DNA on the bills from the tip to provide a decent sample. Paul would have to wait until Landon placed another order for Chinese takeout and be ready. That unfortunately meant spending more hours dealing with the intensely unpleasant Mrs. Yang, but it was a sacrifice worth making. He hadn't taken the job for the money, after all.

February 28, 2024

Dear journal,

"Landon". Say it loud and there's music playing! Say it soft and it's almost like praying. "Landon"!

I know, it lacks the trisyllabic poetry of "Maria", and I certainly hope that our love is not star-crossed like those ill-fated lovers in West Side Story! But I know how Tony felt; the mere mention of my beloved's name sends my heart soaring.

I have been working as many shifts at Golden Palace as the gracious Mrs. Yang will permit, hoping to get another delivery assignment to his address. But alas, I cannot force my beloved to eat Chinese food... not yet, at least. He will order it on his own schedule. The last one came on a Thursday evening, so I made sure to be on call this past Thursday, but with no success. I will work again tonight, and tomorrow night, and this whole weekend, just in case he takes a fancy for more lo mein. Mrs. Yang has been her usual elegant and refined self about the amount of time I am spending at the restaurant, whether or not I am on the clock (usually not unless there there are orders for me to deliver), and of course I am happy to oblige her kind requests to pitch in even when I am off duty by taking mop and bucket in hand rather than sit about idle, distracting the rest of the staff.

If he doesn't place an order soon, I may have to try an alternative strategy to get a sample.

He is the last thing I see every night before I sleep, and the first I think of each morning when I wake.

The wait was intensely frustrating. The beast within could only be stalled for so long before Paul would have to find some minor outlet for its appetite. He would try to forestall it as long as he could, but inevitably, the craving would grow overpoweringly strong. In the early stages, when the craving was still vague and diffuse, simply jerking off was enough to satisfy it for a while. But the hunger for sex wasn't really the same as the hunger for another's pain. Jerking out a load could ease the pressure, but only a little bit. Eventually, he would have to head online to seek out a one-night stand with someone who was willing to let Paul indulge some of his rougher-edged desires. And it would have to be someone new; the men Paul met seldom showed interest in a second date.

Such encounters would soothe the beast and send it back to sleep for a while, but they were invariably unsatisfying for Paul, who had to hold himself back so as not to find himself on trial later for assault or worse. That's why this Landon thing had to come through. It had to. Paul couldn't keep the hunger at bay for much longer.

March 6, 2024

Dear journal,

Success! He ordered beef and broccoli this time, with an egg roll instead of soup, but the moment I saw his address on the delivery slip I knew this was my chance. I was ready when he opened the door. Still, even though I was prepared, I was still hit by a wave of desire when the door swung wide and revealed his perfect form to me. If anything, he was even handsomer in the flesh than in my memory. Pheromones positively washed off his body in waves, and if I had not steeled myself ahead of time for the effect he would have on me, I would no doubt have failed in my mission.

But fail I did not! As I handed him the bag, I closed my fingers briefly, scraping the skin at the base of his palm. Of course I apologized profusely to him for the "accident", and he shrugged the incident off without a thought. Heading back to my car, I held my right index finger close and as still as possible, lest I accidentally dislodge even a single flake of the skin I had purloined. In the car, I wrapped my finger in plastic, called Mrs. Yang to plead sudden illness and take the rest of the night off, and headed home.

The cells went into the culture medium the instant Paul got home. Tomorrow he would set about purging any trace of his own DNA from the mix. Doing it tonight would be ill-advised; the work was tedious and exacting, and the consequences of a mistake would be disastrous. Best to wait until he was well-rested and alert.

After that would come more exacting labor, some of it machine-assisted but much of it requiring the unparalleled ability of the human eye and mind to see patterns. The miniature CRISPR lab could help with the mechanics of DNA extraction and modification, but it still took Paul's hand at the control to snip this strand here, insert that segment there, unbend the helix enough to make room for an additional payload. The mini lab crammed into this crappy little apartment was nowhere near as sleek and powerful as the one he had once had access to at Genoprax in Seattle, but those days were five years gone and he found he didn't miss the high-stakes, fast-paced world of biotech one bit. Still, he did find a use for the tools of his former profession every now and then...

After the techwork was done would come the most frustrating, uncertain phase of the project: the delivery and subsequent abduction. It was no trivial matter to make a man vanish. It took careful planning and even then, after all possible contingencies had been taken into account, it still required a bit of luck. The best-laid abduction could turn into a debacle by an unexpected dog-walker or a phone ringing at exactly the wrong moment. Paul would have eliminated every last vestige of uncertainty if it were possible to do, but had to content himself with laying the best plans he could.

Best of all, now that he was actively working on the plan, the beast was content to wait. Paul was able to work undistracted by the appetites of his darker side. The wheels were in motion now. The process could not be rushed, but it could not be slowed either. He would have his quarry.

March 26, 2024

Dear journal,

I am finished. It is ready. Landon's customized elixir is brewed and sits waiting in the refrigerator for the right moment.

He seems to not be a frequent appreciator of Chinese cuisine. I checked the records at the restaurant (oh, that dependable Mrs. Yang, so reliably distracted by rumors of malfeasance in the kitchen, so quick to go investigate, leaving the front desk unstaffed!) to see if he had perhaps ordered delivery on a night when I was not working, but he did not. One one hand, that is good - I would have hated to miss an opportunity knowing that the next one would be weeks away. How frustrating it would have been to have him place an order only a day or two before I was ready! But thankfully, that did not happen. And yet now I am faced with the prospect of having the potion ready, but uncertain when will come the next opportunity to deliver it! A different yet no less piquant agony!

I told Mrs. Yang I was available to work all this week, but after the last few weeks when my availability was limited due to other commitments, she tactfully expressed her reservations as to my dependability. I suppose it is understandable. I have been rather wrapped up in my other work. I assured her as best I could that the distractions are past and that I am once again fully committed to her restaurant's needs. She neither assented nor negated my arguments, which I shall dare to consider acquiescence. I think I will head down to the Golden Palace tonight anyway, just to hang out a bit. If Jackie is doing deliveries, perhaps he wouldn't mind if I tagged along. Just in case.

But no, that would not work. I would need to be able to deliver the potion, and there would be scant opportunity with Jackie hovering close by.

I will go to the restaurant anyway, just to show my face.

The second wait was even more agonizing than the first. The uncertainty, the fact that he could not control the day or time, was devastatingly unsettling. And, of course, in the absence of constructive forward motion, the beast prowled like a caged lion, ratcheting up the level of the cravings until Paul couldn't think of anything else. At times the hunger grew so intense that he actually fantasized about torturing a female - if Demon Yang told him to mop the already-spotless bathroom one more time, he could easily see himself nailing the bitch's wrists to the mop handle and hanging her up crucified from it.

But no... that would be a minor short-term satisfaction that would undercut the real, long-term goal: acquiring Mr. Henderson. Nothing could distract from that. The beast would not like it, but the beast was just going to have to wait.

He could hear the frustrated howling in his mind.

April 4, 2024

Dear journal,

Oh, I can scarcely believe it! The delivery went perfectly! I just returned home and had to set the memories down.

Another Thursday, another pork lo mein and won ton soup, just like the day we first met. And it was my regularly scheduled night to work, so I was alone in the car, just me and the food that Landon would soon be putting into his mouth. It was as if the universe had conspired to bring us together under the most auspicious circumstances.

It was the work of but a moment to uncap the vial and pour its contents liberally over the greasy noodles. The elixir is tasteless and clear; he will never know it is there. I briefly considered adding some to the soup as well, just in case Landon plans to save the noodles for another time. But the liquid is hotter than the noodles and I fear the heat may prove deleterious to the elixir's potency. Besides, he is a robust and hearty man. I'm sure he has a healthy appetite and will eat the whole meal tonight, soup and noodles both. By now, in fact, he has probably already finished! Oh, it gives me shivers!

Three days. In three days I shall return to my beloved's home and fetch him forth.

By the time Paul finished his shift at Golden Palace and returned home, trillions of viruses were infiltrating their way through Landon's tongue and palate, working their way into his bloodstream, replicating and replicating and replicating. Once they reached critical mass, sometime later tonight, they would begin to seek out and transform the cells that matched the template encoded into them. Already, the process was irreversible, unstoppable. Landon's life had forever changed. He just didn't know it yet.

Things really kicked into high gear for Paul at this point. Everything had to go from the crappy apartment. There wasn't much stuff, but the stuff there was had to go somewhere, and there weren't a lot of places Paul trusted. Using storage facilities left paper trails, paying for anything with a credit card was out of the question, and avoiding security cameras was practically impossible these days. What that meant was prosthetics to confuse facial recognition software, bulky clothes and hats (unremarkable thanks to the lingering winter chill), and two trips out of town, halfway to the cabin, to an abandoned garage well off the highway. The lab equipment went there, packed in smudged, worn-looking (but surprisingly secure and strongly locked) crates so as to blend in with the neighboring heaps of partial tires and rusted tools.

Ideally, he would have brought everything to the cabin, but that was a six-hour one-way trip, and he didn't have the time to spare. The garage at the abandoned service station was not secure, but it was anonymous and seldom saw visitors. There would be time in a week or so to make the trip from the cabin to retrieve the equipment... after he had had a chance to catch up on some sleep. He would be getting little enough of that for the next few days.

April 6, 2024

Dear journal,

All is in readiness. I have given notice to Mrs. Yang. I took the risk of offering to stay on for two weeks, confident that she would decline, and indeed she did, and a good thing since there is no way I would be able to stay on any longer. She took the news in good enough grace and was even kind enough to wait until I had started turning to go before calling Jackie to offer him my former hours. She never asked for a forwarding address, so I suspect my final check will not be forthcoming, but that is all right; I was never in this job for the money.

I am walking on air. Tomorrow is the day. I am tempted to go today, but that would be foolish. By now he will be feeling the effects of the elixir, but he will be far from ready for the journey by then. 72 hours is the optimal time, and much as I may wish the hours to fly by, I must bide while they plod along, one after the other.

There is little more here to do at the apartment. The remaining furniture belongs to the landlord; my few possessions have been packed. I have informed the landlord that I am moving out tomorrow, but that I will pay until the end of the month as the lease specifies. I'm sure he will be happy enough to re-let it as quickly as he can and get double rent for a few weeks.

I should walk again. It will probably be some time before I have occasion to return to Portland. Much as I love the wilderness around the cabin, there are certain amenities that only the city can provide.

The retrieval went like clockwork. Paul went to Landon's apartment and rang the bell. There was no answer, which was the desired result. Picking the lock took only a few minutes, but they were long, tense minutes - every creak or thud could signal the arrival of unwanted eyes. Thankfully, there were no interruptions, and shortly he was in.

Landon was in his bed, drenched in sweat with the blankets pulled up to his chin. His body was racked with fever as it tried to fight off two threats: the viruses, and the payload they were delivering. The viruses themselves were mere variants on the common cold, utterly benign by the standards of biological warfare. But this particular strain had been tailored with a molecular lockpick. When the virus invaded a cell, the lockpick went to work. If it found a match to the DNA that Paul had encoded into its matrix, it would attach itself to the strand, excise certain base pairs, and replace them with others. It was simple work on a case by case basis; harder to perform on a living organism in vivo. If there was no match, as would be the case in any other host that Landon may have spread the infection to, nothing happened. The victim merely endured a few days of nasal congestion and a mild cough.

Within a few days, the virus's work would be complete and all of Landon's cells would match one another again. The viruses themselves would be assassinated by white blood cells and carried off for disposal. But now, mid-transformation, the old DNA and the new each saw the other as an alien invader to be repelled, and so his immune system had been kicked into high gear. Thus the fever.

With considerable effort, Paul picked him up out of his bed - the man was heavy! Already he could sense a telltale stiffness in his victim's joints. Bleary-eyed, Landon tried to focus on Paul's face. "We're getting you to a hospital," Paul said, repeating the lie over and over until it seemed to sink in and Landon started cooperating. He leaned heavily on Paul with his arm across Paul's shoulders. Unseen, they went out the door, down the stairs, into the car, and off into the night.

Six hours later, they arrived at the cabin. Paul wrestled Landon inside, then cut him free of his clothing. Landon struggled a bit in his delirium but was too weak to put up any serious resistance. Then came the longer, more arduous task of casting him. Paul knew he would only have one chance at this and wanted the result to be absolutely perfect so, tired as he was, he took care to get the angle of each limb just right, even down to the curl of the fingers. It took most of the day. He thought about adding a bit to the journal, then decided he needed sleep more. The journal entry could wait until morning.

April 9, 2024

Dear journal,

We have arrived at the cabin. I don't know what Landon thinks of it - he is still in the throes of fever and will be for another day or two. I will be eager to see his reaction when he awakens.

He looks so peaceful there now, lying on the bed. The head end is propped up on blocks so that the whole surface is gently tilted, and he reposes at a modest angle, not completely flat on his back. His entire body is wrapped in bandages and plaster. The poor dear doesn't know it yet, but it's for his own good. He looks like he could be in a comic strip, one of the ones where the punchline has something to do with ski lessons or scratching an itch. His ankles are about eight inches apart with padding all up the insides of his legs to maintain the separation, his arms down by his sides, knees and elbows bent at an oh-so-slight angle. His head was the hardest to cast since I wanted to protect him from distending his jaw and yet not obstruct his breathing. I was able to get a tube into his mouth, which I will use to feed him with for the next 15 days or so... but of course in order to do that I first had to remove one of his forward upper molars to make room for the tube. Such a long day it was!

And he has a catheter, of course, because he's not going to be able to stand for many days yet. I left an opening for solid wastes to emerge through, if there are any, but he's going to be on a liquid diet for a while (plus a calcium supplement) and he probably hasn't felt like eating much the past few days anyway. So that may be a non-issue, we'll see.

I'm feeling rested now. I've had breakfast and I've supplied Landon with vitamin-enriched water, and now I'm just sitting back watching and admiring my beloved. Such a strong man! And even larger than I realized. I very nearly ran out of plaster yesterday - I thought I had bought half again the amount I would need to fully cover him, and yet by the time I was applying the last bits to his chin, I had very nearly run out. Every once in a while he stirs and tries to thrash around. He can't, of course. The plaster holds him completely immobilized. Pretty much the only things he can move are his eyes, and those are still closed.

I expect the fever will break in the next day or so, and then he will have some questions for me. He won't be able to ask them because of the tube in his throat, but he will try. I will give him answers to the questions I think he's asking. I so look forward to the day I can hear my true love's voice again!

Paul slept for fifteen hours on the cramped sofa. There was still plenty of work to be done, but the time crunch was past. He could proceed at a slower pace.

When he woke, Landon's eyes were still closed. He wrote in the journal a bit, had some breakfast, washed himself, and finally saw that Landon was awake too. "Morning," he said. "This is gonna be kinda tough, 'cause I bet you have questions but you can't ask them. I'll try to answer what I can, but if I mis-guess, just be patient. We'll have you out of that cast as soon as it's safe to take it off." Oh, the best lies were the ones that were built on truth. "As soon as it's safe", yes... for Paul.

"Let's start here: you're in my cabin up in the hills, far from pretty much anywhere. You were infected by a biological agent, a disease. It caused damage to your cells. Your body will heal, but it's going to take time, and while that happens, it is essential that you not move or you might harm yourself. That tube in your throat is there so I can feed you. It's going to be a frustrating couple of weeks, but hang in there - you're gonna live."

Yes, Landon would live. Hopefully for a good long time... unlike his predecessor.

April 10, 2024

Dear journal,

Sure enough, the prediction at the end of my last entry was spot-on accurate. Landon woke this morning and it was clear the fever was on its way out. And did he ever have questions! He wanted to know why he was in a cast, why there was a tube in his throat, when both of the aforementioned inconveniences would be removed from his person, etc. I don't think he knew the catheter was there, or he would have campaigned vociferously for its removal too. And he wanted to know where he was, who I was, for of course he did not recognize me.

I had anticipated this. Much as I would love to believe that he was as smitten with me as I was with him when first we laid eyes upon each other, I knew it was more likely that if I registered in his mind at all, it was as "Chinese food bringer #3", but that was fine. He would have the rest of his life to get to know who I truly am.

Such astonishing powers of communication my love has! Or perhaps it is due to the intense emotional bond we share that I am able to hear his muffled grunts and interpret them as if he had spoken plainly with his natural rich baritone voice. I fear my answers did not completely set his mind at ease, because no amount of explanation brought a look of calm acceptance to his eyes. Instead, he only grew more and more agitated as the day went on.

Eventually he exhausted himself struggling against the unyielding plaster. I kept trying to explain that the cast was necessary, that he would only hurt himself, but my lover is strong of will and insisted on learning for himself. He fought with all his powerful muscles to break free, but it held fast. Eventually, when he had exhausted himself, I watered him again, this time adding some electrolytes and two calcium tablets. He would be needing them.

As the days passed, Paul was able to leave Landon for longer periods, returning to the abandoned garage to retrieve his lab equipment, heading to Clearwater for supplies, paying cash everywhere he went and keeping his face partly obscured behind hats and sunglasses. He kept the Portland car in the barn and used the pickup for his travels. All of the precautions were probably overkill, but it cost little to take them. Multiple layers of protection were always better than one.

Back at the cabin, Landon seethed with frustration, but was powerless to do anything about it. The layers of plaster were thick and covered him completely, leaving only his eyes, nose, and lips exposed. Paul would sit watching him for hours on end, sometimes rubbing his hand on his victim's second skin, other times just quietly staring. What would it be like, he would muse, to be in that position? Restrained so completely that no motion at all is possible? It was an academic question, for Paul had no intention of ever allowing himself to be rendered so helpless. Nevertheless, the concept fascinated him, and he spent long stretches of time holding himself as still as possible in silent union with his victim while Landon's body underwent its transformation.

Other times, Paul would imagine speaking to Landon, explaining what was happening to his body, comparing his condition to that of a caterpillar. Does the caterpillar see the chrysalis as a coffin? It is, after all, the end of the caterpillar's existence. Or is the chrysalis a womb, bringing the butterfly to birth? But he held those thoughts to himself; it was not yet time to inform Landon of what was happening to him during his time in the chrysalis. When he did speak, it was of inconsequential things, merely to pass the time, or to try to calm Landon during his periods of rage, when the trapped man would strain vigorously against his plaster prison, perhaps aware that none of his previous attempts had had the slightest effect but unable to stop himself from trying again all the same.

Still other times, Paul attended to the large pile of work that needed to be done around the place after a winter's absence. It was still too early for some of the chores; snow still covered the ground except in patches that had been exposed to the sun. The garden would need to be dug out and planted. The chicken yard would need to be cleaned and stocked with fresh pullets. The solar panels and the small dam with its hydropower turbine were working fine and only needed a cleaning. Some of the trees had grown closer to the house and needed to be trimmed back to keep their shade off the panels, which was OK because the woodpile could always use more logs and branches. It was still fairly well-stocked due to his absence during the recent cold months, but he was steadily using his reserve to heat the cabin and would need to chop another cord or so over the summer.

It would have been nice if Landon had been able to contribute to the upkeep. He certainly had the build for prolonged manual labor, and Paul wouldn't have minded having a willing slave to do the work. But Landon would not have been a very willing slave and besides, work was impossible given Landon's situation. Paul pondered at times the idea of abducting someone and not modifying him, instead chaining him up in the yard the old-fashioned way and compelling him to toil on Paul's behalf. But that was a much trickier prospect than what he had done with Landon, and any number of things could go wrong over time. Giving a captive slave a tool for chopping wood was equivalent to giving him a tool to attack his restraints with. Or to attack Paul. Or even himself. The risk was too great. Besides, Paul found some satisfaction in completing a chore himself, and always slept well the nights after a hard day's work outdoors.

And so the days passed.

April 14, 2024

Dear journal,

Nothing much to report here. Spring has arrived in the mountains; the days are starting to warm and the earliest flowers are opening their faces to the sun. The solar panels are starting to produce more power now that the days are lengthening and the sun is higher in the sky. Over the course of the year, they deliver more power than the small hydro-turbine over at the stream, but the hydro system's current, though smaller, is more consistent as it does not depend on the vagaries of the clouds. Overall, the two systems complement each other well. Both feed into a bank of batteries in the cellar below the cabin, which I then draw on to run the refrigerator and the lights and certain other items of electronic gadgetry. It helps that our needs are small. We have no television, no radio, no phone, no internet, and we don't miss them. Or at least, I don't when I'm here, and I am certain my new soulmate will come to feel the same way.

Soon will come the work of maintaining the well and the garden and the chicken yard. Over the next few days, I will begin plowing and sweeping and making the 25-minute drive down to Clearwater to buy seeds and hens, staples and seasonings. For today, it is enough to sit and enjoy some warm sunshine after the long, damp winter.

This is such a lovely area. We truly are fortunate to be able to live here, just the two of us.

The day came when the cast could be removed.

"It's time to get you out of there," Paul remarked. Landon looked back at him through glazed, unreadable eyes, which Paul found vaguely disappointing. He had expected a more enthusiastic reaction. But then after a few seconds, the light of understanding dawned and Landon's desire for escape became plain to read. The man must have merely been zoning out. Oh, this was going to be delicious. The beast within was roaring with bloodlust and triumph. "I'm gonna cut your head free, then we'll get that tube out." Landon, of course, could not respond.

Working cautiously, trying to avoid the skin, Paul cut slits in the plaster at various spaces around Landon's head, trying mostly successfully to keep the airborne dust away from Landon's nose and mouth. The going was slow, but Paul deemed caution more important than speed. Nothing would be gained by rushing, though it was clear Landon wanted the process over as quickly as possible.

Slabs of plaster came free from chin and ears and scalp. Paul tilted Landon to the side to remove a chunk from the back of his head. Landon began to grunt. "Hang on, hang on, lemme get that tube out. Then you can say whatever's on your mind." Paul took hold of the tube and gently but firmly pulled on it steadily until the end emerged from Landon's lips. Landon coughed a few times, then spoke.

"I can't move my head," he bit out through closed teeth. His voice was raspy and rusty from long disuse. "Why can't I move my head? You took the cast off, I should be able to turn my head. I can't even open my mouth."

Paul kept his face impassive. "Ah, yes. About that. That's not going to be possible any more, due to your condition."

"What the hell is this condition you keep talking about? The only condition I'm in is stuck in this cast!"

Paul resumed his work, starting on the chest and arms. "That's not exactly true. I told you. You were infected by a biological agent." He spoke slowly, with long pauses between the phrases while he focused on cutting. "It... transformed you."

"What does that even mean???"

"Well, what it means for you is that life as you knew it before has unfortunately ended. There's no point in sugar-coating it: there is no going back." There was a pause as Paul lifted a large block of plaster off Landon's chest. A powerful wave of two-weeks-unwashed body odor poured out from beneath it. Paul ignored the stench, setting to work on the more detailed areas around the hands and fingers.

"I didn't see any point in telling you sooner. It wouldn't have eased your mind any, and you probably wouldn't have believed me until you could see the evidence for yourself." More dust flew as he made incision after incision in the plaster. "This biological agent altered your DNA. Your genetic code. The changes that it made were fairly minor at the cellular level, but the impact is more significant." Both arms were now free, yet remained where they were at Landon's sides.

"Specifically, it affected the tissue that made up the intersections where your bones meet. The joints. Your elbows, knees, knuckles, shoulders, hips. All the ligaments and connective tissue that allows your joints to bend and flex. The change in your DNA means that your body now views those tissues as defective bones, and it has been working to correct what it perceives as damage."

Landon was now free of the cast from the waist up. "I can't move my arms! Nothing! My hands... my fin... WHAT THE FUCK!!!"

Paul started on the leg sections, which would go much faster. "Your body has spent the last two and a half weeks replacing your joints with bone."

"WHAT?!?" Landon was beginning to panic. Paul tried to calm him down.

"I would strongly recommend that you not flex your muscles too hard. You could very easily break one of the newly-formed bones in what used to be your joints, and that would cause you considerable discomfort. And then, of course, I would have to put the cast back on the injured area until it can heal and re-solidify."

Landon was breathing heavily, his chest rising and falling... no... his chest was only flexing a little bit. Most of the movement was lower, in his abdomen. "No. That can't be right. You gotta get me to a hospital, they can fix me."

"Sorry, no. I can't do that. It's not safe to leave this place just yet, and besides, there's nothing that any doctor could do for you. The change is irreversible. I'm afraid that every joint you ever possessed, from your toes all the way up your spine to your neck, is now solid bone. Your jaw will never open again. Your head will never turn to the side, or up, or down. Your arms will remain at your sides. Even your ribs will no longer flex the way they once did. You will feel like you can't take in a full breath because you can't expand your rib cage." It was fortunate that Landon could not turn his head to see the raging erection straining at the front of Paul's pants. "But that shouldn't be a problem because you will never again be able to exert yourself to a degree where you would need to take a deep breath. Your life has changed, my boy. It's a good thing I found you when I did, or you might have gotten locked into a less comfortable position."

Landon flexed a bit, testing his limits. Paul watched the play of the muscles under the skin, flexing and bunching. For all the effort, the only visible results were slight. A hand lifted half an inch, then sank back; the feet twitched, dancing in tiny circles. Nothing more. "Shit. This can't be happening."

Paul watched, transfixed. This was not paralysis, where the connection between mind and muscle was severed or blocked and the body just lies there, an inert lump. Landon had full control of his muscles, only there was nothing for them to do. Everything they could pull on was fixed in place, so they could bunch and flex and knot just as powerfully as before, just without any visible effect. The contrast was so incredibly erotic for Paul - massive, straining muscles; utter stillness.

"I'm gonna take this catheter out next," he said, hiding (he hoped) the tremor in his voice. Landon apparently had not known it was there, and this provoked a fresh round of profanity-filled denial. He also discovered during the removal that he was naked, and expressed futile outrage that Paul had no plans to change that. "What the hell? I need clothes!"

"Your body can't bend," Paul replied. "How would I get clothes on and off you? Besides, what do you need them for? If you're cold, I'll cover you in a blanket, and if you're afraid of peeing on the floor, I'll be happy to rig you up with a diaper."

Landon fought and protested for a full hour before finally giving up - for the moment. Paul asked a few probing questions during this time, trying to discern what the sensation of bone-replaced joints felt like to a man who had only known flexible ones all his life. Landon's replies were not very helpful, consisting mostly of protests, denial, obscenities, and frustration, but over time Paul got the sense from what Landon said (as well as what Matthew had said last year), that it was something like this: trying to bend, say, an elbow met with resistance that manifested in the form of increasing discomfort, not unlike trying to force a normal joint to bend in a way contrary to its design. Increasing force met with increasing pain; decreasing force lessened the discomfort. Landon would have no pain at all if he would just be content to remain in the position his body was frozen in. Trying to alter that position in any way would be obstructed by pain proportional to the amount of effort.

Exactly as Paul had intended.

When Landon had come to a grudging and no doubt temporary acceptance of his fate, Paul initiated the next steps. "Let's see if we can get you upright, here."

Standing in a corner of the room was a dolly, all gleaming stainless steel and aluminum with a padded surface. It could rotate freely, from horizontal to vertical, head up or face up, head down or face down, or any angle between. Paul laid it out horizontal and put it next to the bed. He slid Landon sideways, inch by inch, until all the weight had been transferred to the dolly, then put a strap around Landon's chest to hold him in place. He tilted the head end upward, adjusting the angle so that Landon was just shy of vertical, standing upright for the first time in weeks. There was a lip at his feet that let him rest his weight on his ankles. With his feet slightly spread and his hands at his sides just ahead of his hips, the illusion of standing was nearly perfect. He looked like he was holding a comfortable parade rest posture.

They took a test roll around the cabin, stopping by the bathroom to try out the plumbing. Urination was straightforward; Paul described how solids would be handled - the surface of the dolly had a large gap just below waist level. When the time came for a bowel movement, Paul would be able to place a bucket to catch and remove the result. While in the bathroom, Paul sponged Landon down. The cabin had no shower or running water, so bathing would be done in a tub with water pumped by hand from the well and heated on the wood stove. At some point, Paul planned to give Landon a proper bath, but for now the important thing was to wash away at least the top few layers of weeks-old sweat and shed skin to try to get a handle on the stench. Some man-sweat smell was erotic; this was not.

After that came feeding time. Feeding still took place via tube, since Landon could not chew. But instead of enriched water, Paul now fed him actual food, running it through a blender first, and the liquid now went into Landon's mouth rather than directly into his stomach, allowing him to taste what he was eating and enjoy the limited autonomy of swallowing his own sustenance. Landon claimed he was ravenously hungry, but Paul insisted on doling out meals in small-but-increasing doses until his digestive system was up and running again. In Landon's state, vomiting could be fatally dangerous.

Two small meals later, they took a brief trip outside. Paul showed Landon the garden, the chicken yard, the towering trees that pressed in from all sides. Then a third small meal, since the first two had stayed down, and by then evening had come and the shadows pressed in from the forest. Paul brought Landon back inside, laid the dolly back to horizontal and started making the transfer back to the bed, Landon asked "So how bad is the epidemic? Is that why we're here at this isolated place? When can we go back? And how come you didn't catch whatever it is?"

Paul paused. This was his opening. He finished the transfer and used the time to carefully consider his words. "There is no epidemic," he finally said. "You are the only victim. I can't catch it because the biological agent was tailored to infect you. Just you."

"WHAT?!? Who would do...?" There came a long pause. Paul waited.

"You," Landon breathed. "You did this to me." Then the rage was back. Had Landon been in his full, pre-altered state, Paul would have feared for his life. Now, he could sit in perfect safety right next to a man who wanted to kill him. He could - and did - stretch his hand out, placing it on his victim's chest, touching him in an overtly sexual way for the first time, gently stroking the helpless, motionless body while the fully-intact mind seethed with impotent fury. "WHY? Why the hell would you, oh god, you sick, sick fuck. No. No, this is not happening, this is NOT happening..." Landon's voice trailed off into sobs and grunts as Paul's fingers kissed the massive pectoral muscles, somewhat diminished due to fasting and inactivity but soon to be restored to their full glory.

"I think you have figured out why," Paul murmured over the grunts. "It's because I..." There was a sudden sickening snap and Landon's right arm bent abruptly at the elbow. This was immediately followed by a scream of pain as the arm fell back to its original position. The tone of Landon's wordless cries changed from angry complaints to pain-wracked whimpers.

"Ah, you idiot, I told you not to do that! Now I have to recast you..." Rather than use up the last of his plaster to make a fresh cast, he searched through the pile of debris from before and found the two halves of the right arm piece. He replaced them around the arm and strapped the two pieces together with ropes. The result stretched from wrist to biceps. He hoped it would be enough. Given the man's reaction to the pain of the break, he doubted Landon would try too hard to move it.

Work completed, Paul looked at his victim's face. The eyes were screwed shut and the mouth kept whispering "This can't be happening... this is not happening..." The mood had been somewhat broken by the interruption, but Paul was able to restore the eroticism by once again reaching out to fondle Landon's meaty nipples. And oh, they were satisfyingly plump! Fat little nerve-filled knobs that yielded between his thumbs and index fingers, perking involuntarily as he squeezed despite their owner's distaste and disgust. Soon enough, the blood was coursing in Paul's loins again. He flipped Landon over (injured arm up!) and shifted him so that his face was hanging over the edge of the bed. Fumbling his pants down, he brought out his attention-starved cock, applied a palmful of lube, and positioned it over the immobile man's ass cheeks.

"You wanted to know why? I think deep down you already know why. This is why," Paul said as his dick made contact with the entrance to Landon's hole. He had held himself back for weeks, not so much as stroking an early-morning hard-on since abducting the man who would become his perfect statue, all in anticipation of this moment. This was a terribly awkward position to fuck a man in. The mechanics of the victim's unbending waist and inseparable legs made for a hard-to-reach opening. There was no way Paul would be able to plunge his weapon as deeply into Landon's body as would have been possible had he had his captive been hauled up in a sling with ankles spread wide, or strapped down onto a fucking bench. Still, he would be able to reach in far enough to violate the man's hole, and that would be enough for his purpose: to demonstrate his total dominance. Fucking a man, especially a straight man, was only incidentally for pleasure; the main goal was to dominate, to humiliate, to demean, to objectify, to dehumanize. The resistance was fierce; Landon held his ass muscles clenched and locked tight. But the invader was patient, and well-greased, and before long the gate had been breached. Paul's cock slid past the obstruction and beyond that there was no further impediment. He buried the entire length as deep as he could go, eliciting a delicious choked-off grunt from Landon's throat, then slowly, luxuriously, began to pump.

Paul could not explain why raping an immobilized man was such a turn-on for him, any more than any other man could explain why he preferred blonds or brunets, beards or clean-shaven cheeks, dark or light skin, slender or heavier builds. All he could say was that this felt right, this was what he craved, this was what he needed, this was what would finally quiet the irresistible cravings of the beast inside him. Stillness, immobility, the anti-Pygmalion, the opposite of a statue brought to life: a man become a statue. The effect could be simulated with restraints or sleepsacks, and for many years the beast had had to subsist on that poor substitute. But nothing could compare to the real thing. Here the restraints were all on the inside, neatly out of sight, immobility enforced by the man's own bones. His bare skin lay exposed, unobstructed, his neck and shoulders open to Paul's probing tongue and nipping teeth. No strap held him down, no rope kept him in check; stillness was imposed by his very cells, a man held prisoner by his own body, unrestrained yet incapable of taking any action, of showing any agency, of having any control at all over what happened to him.

Weeks of denial and anticipation meant the moment arrived quickly. The rape lasted mere minutes before Paul was grunting and clenching and squirting his seed as far as he could into Landon's ass, then slipping out and leaving Landon to lie on the bed, semen and lube puddling on the backs of his thighs, while Paul went to wash up.

After he returned, Paul gently turned Landon (now sobbing softly) face up on the bed, then climbed in beside him, turned out the light, and pulled the blankets up over them both. Without the plaster casing to keep him warm, Landon would need the covers during the night. Paul snuggled up beside him, bare skin to bare skin. He laid his arm over Landon's massive torso and soon was snoring softly in the pitch-black night.

Landon, however, remained awake for many more hours.

April 25, 2024

Dear journal,

It has happened at last, the consummation of our union. After the weeks of planning and preparation, and then more weeks of delicious agony waiting for the transformation to be complete, with him near enough to touch and yet kept apart by the unyielding plaster wall between us, at last the day came when the cast could come off and I could behold my love in his new, true form. And what a splendid sight to behold he is! True, his magnificent musculature has lost some tone due to the demands of the transition and the necessarily reduced diet during that time. But that is a small thing and a temporary one - I shall have him back to full form in no time at all.

So... our first experience... modesty would prevent me from sharing the details with any other soul, but you, dear journal, are no stranger. I am as intimate with you as I am with my new love, and I am certain he would not feel I were "kissing and telling" if I were to inform you of certain aspects about the experience he and I shared together last night... and then again this morning!

After spending so much time waiting, we could scarcely contain ourselves and I confess that I fairly threw myself at him, undignified as that may seem. I can only claim to have been overcome by the moment, and I am certain he was as well to judge by the animal cries he was making during the throes of our passion. All too quickly, the first heat of our love had spent itself, and we slept side by side, my head pillowed against his powerful shoulder. But it was not to end there!

I stirred in the first half-light of dawn, uncertain at first where I was or what the warm shape beside me was. Then memory came flooding back and a fresh stirring of passion rose in my breast. And when I moved my hand under the covers, I discovered that Landon felt the same way, though the steady rhythm of his breathing suggested that he remained asleep. Nevertheless, the evidence was there, hard in my hand, and I took it upon myself to act. Moving slowly, so as not to rouse him, I positioned myself over him, still underneath the covers for there was a chill in the air. I took him with my lips and gently, oh so gently, provided him with what pleasure I could. The taste of him, the manly musk of his scent, was overpowering, and I confess I provided myself with a bit of pleasure at the same time, and who could blame me? For he truly is an unutterably gorgeous creature, and I find it impossible to resist his charms... not that I would try to!

Nature took its course, as it is wont to do. At a certain point, I could tell that my beloved was nearing the apex of his delight, and that knowledge brought me near to the pinnacle myself. Then, just as I felt the swelling in my mouth that warned of an impending explosion, my beloved was roused from his slumber and began to speak. Or shout, perhaps I should say. Oh, the language he used! He certainly knows how to "talk dirty", as it were! Various profanities punctuated his convulsions as his engorged member discharged its essence into my ready mouth while at the same time my own essences burst forth to land upon his thighs, still ever so slightly sticky with the juices of the night before. Then, as the time wore on and I persisted in my ministrations, the timbre of his cries changed. I could feel him trembling beneath my body as my tongue continued its ardent labor, intent on extracting every last drop through vigorous suction. How he begged me to stop, for the heat of our passion was so all-consuming! And yet I knew that in his heart of hearts, he truly wanted me to persist despite the involuntary protests from his lips.

Finally, long minutes afterward, I was forced by exhaustion to cease my attentions and slump back onto the bed beside him. I think I must have slipped off to sleep again afterward, for next I knew the light had increased and my love lay beside me still, eyes open, waiting for me to wake and begin our day.

"I'm going to kill you. I don't know how yet, but I am going to fucking kill you."

The words were calm, but there was fire in Landon's eyes. He was propped upright on his dolly beside the table where Paul was eating breakfast.

"I'm sure you want to," Paul replied, bringing another forkful of scrambled egg to his lips. "I'd feel the same way if our roles were reversed. Didn't stop you from shooting a load this morning, though, did it?"

Landon's composure snapped. "SHUT THE FUCK UP! I was asleep, I thought it was a dream..."

"Yeah, whatever. Rationalize it however you want. It doesn't matter. You haven't accepted it yet, but your thoughts, your opinions, your intentions, your desires... they don't matter any more. None of what you care about matters. I have taken over. You are just a passenger now. I am the captain of the ship that is your body. I decide what happens to it and when. You... you're just along for the ride. If I want you to get hard, you'll get hard. If I don't, you won't. Simple as that. And if I want you to shoot a load, you'll shoot a load, but that's not going to happen very often. Mostly, I'm going to get my pleasure from experiencing your suffering, not your joy." The thoughts of the beast, spoken in Paul's voice.

Landon was incandescent with fury. He struggled to move again, but was met at every turn by the pain of joints that no longer bent at his whim, instead resisting his force with pain proportional to his struggles. After a few minutes, he exhausted himself and once more yielded to the inevitable. Paul knew the yielding was only temporary. In fact, he looked forward to Landon resuming the hopeless straining over and over and over as the weeks and months passed by, because every time was a delight to watch. He admired the show while bringing occasional forkfuls of scrambled egg to his mouth.

"Why?" Landon finally asked. "Why me?"

"Honest truth? Because you're hot, and because I could. There's nothing more to it than that." Landon fumed in silence while Paul, equally silent, finished eating, then washed his dishes.

"Now. I need to feed you. There are two ways to do it. One is the way we did it yesterday, before you knew that I was responsible for you being frozen. That way is, I make you a breakfast like I just had, eggs and toast and sausage and fruit, and I chop it up fine or run it through the blender and let you take it in through that gap where I yanked out your tooth. It'll take a while to do it that way, but you've got no other appointments on your calendar and you'll get to taste what you're eating. The other is, I put that feeding tube down your throat, going in through your nose this time, and serve you protein shakes.

"We might as well get this discussion out of the way, too," he went on, "because if you haven't thought about it already, you will soon. Suicide is not an option. I will not allow you to escape me by dying. I went to too much trouble to get you, and I plan to keep you a while. So assist me in feeding you or don't, one way or another, you will get fed. You decide how much you want to cooperate, and therefore how much unpleasantness is involved."

Landon was still ravenously hungry after his two-week fast, and was soon allowing Paul to spoon bits of food to the side of his mouth, where he would pull the particles in with his tongue, swirl them around a bit, then swallow. Orange juice went in the same way through a straw. It took about twice as long as Paul had needed for his own meal, but there was no reason to rush. Paul washed and dried those dishes as well.

"Now. Exercise time. For two weeks, your body has been cannibalizing your muscles while it built bone. We need to bulk you back up."

"Why? What do I need muscles for? I can't do nothin' with 'em," Landon spat bitterly.

"You keep asking these 'why?' questions. I think I'm done answering them. The only reason you'll ever need for anything, ever again, is 'because that's what I want'. You're a smart guy. You can figure out that I want you to have big muscles because I think they're sexy on you."

Since movement was not possible, Landon would get his "exercise" via external stimulation. Paul spent about half an hour attaching electrodes all up and down Paul's arms and legs, with a fine mesh of wires all running to a single control box. Landon's face grew more and more worried as Paul worked, and he sputtered ineffectual protests about what was about to happen. He closed his eyes when Paul moved to flip the power switch on. After a few seconds of nothing happening, though, he opened them up again to see Paul fiddling with the dials on the box. Then a tipping point was reached, and the reaction came.

"Ow! Ah, shit! Stoppit, turn it off!" Paul looked up at the still man's skin. There, the biceps and triceps were flexing together in perfect synchrony, then the opposing muscles of the forearm, and on down the various pairs of leg muscles. Bunching, releasing, bunching, releasing, under the direction of the electric current. By working them in pairs, each set of opposing muscles clenching at the same time, Paul would strengthen Landon's sinews without causing any strain on the joints. The downside (for Landon, at least), was the painful sensation of the electricity stabbing in dozens of places all over his skin. Paul, of course, did not consider the pain to be a downside at all.

It was a thing of beauty to behold: his magnificent statue having its muscles worked against its will, with a hefty dollop of pain thrown in for good measure. Paul pulled down his pants and began to fondle his dick with one hand and Landon's spasming upper arm with the other, feeling the flesh twitching rhythmically beneath his fingers. Landon endured - what else could he do? - grunting and gasping while the current relentlessly worked him over, focusing for a while on his shoulders, then shifting down his arms to his hands, then skipping to his thighs, then his calves, then starting all over again at the top. Because the nature of electricity and human sensation is such that the body adapts over time, the program was designed to ramp up the intensity as it went. Landon never had a chance to get used to any given level of sensation because the next wave was even higher.

By the 15-minute mark, Paul had reached his own tipping point and squirted a hot wet load onto Landon's twitching quadriceps. There wasn't much - this was his third orgasm in 12 hours, and he was not in his twenties any more. Still, after such long denial, getting to shot #3 in that time frame was easily achieved. The droplets of juice remained there, slowly drying while the muscles beneath them quivered and flexed. Paul stood and watched a while longer, then went to wash the remaining dishes.

"You know," he commented idly from the sink, "it takes surprisingly little electricity to power a human body. We're off the grid up here and all the power comes either from the sun or a small hydro-turbine, so there's none to waste. And yet running your exercise program for two hours takes only about as much power as running three light bulbs for the same time.

"In other words," he added after a pause, "we're never going to run short on energy. Even if it's cloudy for a solid month. In case you were wondering." Paul finished rinsing and came over to stand by Landon once more. "I plan to do two hours of arms and legs one day alternating with two hours of core the next - your back, torso, and abdominals. I have to be more careful with the rigging there, wouldn't want to stop your heart. But I will set up the wires so the current never crosses the center of your chest. Six days a week, then rest on the seventh. In three or four weeks, I expect you'll be back to your former shape."

With that, he dried his hands and headed outside to start planting the garden, leaving Landon to continue writhing under the ministrations of the machine.

April 29, 2024

Dear journal,

I do believe we have settled into our new routine. Landon is faithfully attending to his exercises while I manage the work of the yard and household. I made a trip to Clearwater yesterday and found myself positively agoraphobic in the bustling town - and this a collection of twenty-some houses and two businesses! How did I ever endure Portland? So many people, so much noise.

Life is far more pleasant on our mountain. I just know Landon and I will be happy here for many years to come. We have each other; there is nothing more we need.

Day eight since the removal of the cast. The reconstituted cast on Landon's right arm still remained in place and would for another two weeks or so. Landon's system was ramping down from its frenzy of bone construction and would eventually settle at a point where it repaired bone at the same rate it did before the transformation. For now, though, the process was still somewhat accelerated.

Landon was standing, strapped to his dolly. Attached to each nipple was a large clamp, tightly pressed against the nubs of flesh. From each clamp dangled a weight. Paul was idly tapping the weights with his fingers, staring into Landon's face as he did.

"It's not a separate instance," he said in response to a remark Landon had made about what Paul was planning to do "this time". "The way I see it, this is all one long scene. Most scenes are short. Two guys get together, they fool around, they shoot their loads, they go their separate ways. Sometimes a scene will go on longer, overnight or a weekend or even a week. One guy will be in some form of bondage the whole time, to a greater or lesser degree of restraint. There might be multiple orgasms, or none at all. But even if there are breaks between cumshots or changes in the level of intensity, even if they both go to sleep and wake up the next morning, it's still all one long scene."

He tugged on the weights, adding downward pressure to that which was already stretching Landon's tits away from his chest. Landon sucked in air between his teeth.

"You and I are living through an even longer scene, one that I am going to try to make run for a very, very long time. Think: you are in constant bondage. Full-time. Round the clock, for every second of the rest of your life. Sure, right now I'm toying with your tits, and in a little while I'm going to leave you with another load of my cum drying on your skin. But that moment doesn't mark the end of the scene. You're still bound; the scene keeps going. And going. For you, it's never going to end. For me, it one day will, but I hope to postpone that day for as long as I can."

Landon said nothing, but by now Paul could read him like a book.

"How long, you are wondering? Well, your predecessor only lasted four months."

"My predecessor?" Landon mumbled. "you did this before to some other guy?"

"Yeah. Guy named Matthew. He was my first try with the DNA alterations, and something didn't go quite right. His body got confused and instead of converting just his joints to bone, it kept on converting tissue at a slow rate. Liver, lungs, kidneys... all his organs started developing flecks of bone. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. He just kept getting sicker and sicker and I couldn't tell why. It would have showed up on an X-ray, but I couldn't get him to an X-ray machine, or bring a machine here. One day, out of desperation when he was clearly not going to get better, I sliced him open to see if I could see any clue inside him. Took out a chunk of his liver. He sure screamed a lot through that. But it was clear then what was going on - there were little bone fragments embedded all through the chunk."

Paul added another weight to each clamp. Landon let out a small groan, but bit it back. "He was too far gone by that point. A few months earlier I might have been able to do something about it. But by then he had bone chunks all over the place, blocking ducts, interfering with organs, generally screwing up his system. He lasted another two days right here on this table, with his belly sliced open and his insides hanging out. It was a shame - I couldn't even use the protein because there were bone flecks all through his muscles too. Even his dick and balls had chunks in them, and all the chunks everywhere were attached to the other fibers so I couldn't even boil them into a soup and strain the crunchy bits out.

"Ah, well. I'm confident I fixed that problem with you, so you should last at least three years, maybe five if I can keep you healthy enough. Some day I'll take you to see Matthew. Not right now, though. Hey... HEY! Snap out of it! Don't you get sick on me! You barf and I'm gonna have to rip your jaw open so you don't choke to death! Think about something else, here think about this..."

Paul gave the clamps a vicious squeeze and a twist and Landon found something else to focus his attention on.

One day, Paul decided to take a day of rest for himself. It happened to be Landon's day off from the exercise regimen as well. He had been working hard outside now that the warm weather was in full swing and needed to take a break. There were still chores to be done both inside the cabin and out in the yard, and always would be, but nothing that had to be taken care of immediately. So Paul spent the day relaxing. He fed himself, his statue, and the chickens at breakfast, then let the dishes sit by the sink. He took care of toilet trips for himself and his statue, but left bathing and shaving for another day. Aside from those distractions, he spent the day in bed lying next to Landon.

This was something he had done before, prior to both Landon's and Matthew's abductions, so it was not new, but it still took a while for him to sink into the right mindset. Most of the time, life consists of running around for one thing or another: obtaining food, clothing, shelter, the necessities of life. Seeking social interaction, fighting for status, for mates, for approval. Paul had engineered his life so that he was exempt from most of that. Six years at Genoprax had been more than enough time in the rat race, and when he had saved enough to build the cabin, buy the equipment for his mini-lab, and still have sufficient funds left over, he dropped out. The money was tucked away in investments; the annual income was enough to provide for the few needs he had. He now obtained most of his material needs from his garden and the woods around him. His social needs were even easier to meet: as an introvert, he usually went out of his way to avoid interaction with others, not seek it out. It was a far simpler life, and he was happier now than he had ever been in the mainstream world.

But even that reduced footprint still involved motion. Food had to be gathered and prepared, water had to be pumped and carried and poured, the cabin roof and walls had to be maintained, wood was needed for warmth from the stove... sometimes it was good to just take a break from all that and do absolutely nothing.

For the first half hour, he held himself still without effort. Landon, next to him, of course did the same. Neither spoke. After half an hour, his body was itching to move, but still he kept himself motionless, listening to the buzzing of thoughts in his head, nagging at him about all the things that still remained to be done in the house, in the yard. He did not try to quiet the thoughts, he simply let them have their turn, one after another. His body craved movement, and holding himself motionless required a constant and deliberate effort. Each minute crawled by grindingly slowly. Paying attention to enforcing his stillness meant there was less attention available for his racing thoughts. Eventually, perhaps an hour and a half in, the sensation passed. His thoughts quieted; his body relaxed.

He stared at the ceiling, tracing the irregularities with his eyes. Faint old water stains, strands of cobweb, dust particles, a piece of straw... he lost himself in the upward view from his bed, his chest rising and falling regularly, the chest of his victim sometimes moving in time with his, sometimes in counterpoint. No pressure. No stress. Just stillness.

He had worked it out once - he spent about four hours per day meeting his physical needs. That was far less than a rat-race workweek and left plenty of time for leisure. He had no interest in most entertainment - TV, movies, music, video games. What he did want... well, now he had. His one luxury item here in his wilderness home was his living statue. A statue that could breathe and blink and talk and feel, but that could not act. If it weren't for the beast within, Paul could have managed just fine without Landon, or Matthew before him. He had lived here on his own for almost two years in almost-perfect contentment, except when the cravings grew too intense and he had to spend a weekend in town. In fact, having Landon here was a bit of a burden, since he required regular feeding and cleaning and tending. But the benefits outweighed the costs. Sure, it took almost half an hour to hook him up to the exercise equipment, then another half hour afterward to put it all away. Meals took twice as long as they had when it was just him. But what else did he have to spend his time on?

Four hours a day on his own physical needs, plus maybe two or three more meeting the basic needs of his victim, left plenty of time to devote to: his statue. Tending it, exercising it... using it. At any given moment, his eye might be caught by the play of light on a part of Landon's always-naked body, and it might spark an idea of something to do to it. Much of the time he didn't need to do anything at all. Landon was, after all, in full-time fully-restrictive bondage, and that was erotic all by itself. But sometimes Paul wanted to do more. Maybe he just wanted to touch, or stroke, or caress. Maybe he wanted to shave or adorn or decorate. Maybe he wanted to cause pain. Sometimes the pleasure (or the pain) was sexual; other times not overtly so. So many options, and limitless time lay out before him to indulge them. The beast within lazed contently like a lion basking in savanna sunshine; Paul satisfied its cravings so often that the hunger, the need, never had a chance to build up to impossible levels any more. He was at peace in a way he had pretty much never been before, except briefly with Matthew. There was no rush to do any particular thing, there would always be another opportunity as the sun wheeled in slow circles around the sky and the seasons came and went, passing by the cabin as if it were frozen in time the way Landon was frozen in his body...

"Hey, I'm hungry."

Landon's grunting voice roused Paul from his reverie and he emerged, blinking, into awareness. It was well past noon, judging by the sloping sunlight coming in the window. Probably closer to dinnertime, in fact. No wonder Landon was complaining. Now that he thought about it, his own belly was unhappy at skipping lunch as well, and his bladder was unpleasantly full. Drat. Paul had hoped to have a second session of downtime after lunch, but at this point, that would run straight into bedtime. He began to climb out of the bed, working stiffness out of his muscles and blood back into them, revising his plan for the day as he went. Supper now, bathroom trips, then straight back into bed. Let the sun set on their motionless bodies and ease them into night.

May 12, 2024

Dear journal,

How the time does fly! Spring is well and truly here and life is positively bursting out all through the hills surrounding our romantic idyll! Sometimes I feel like running through the meadows, breaking out in song like Maria von Trapp.

The garden is thriving and has already produced early lettuce and spinach, and the broccoli and carrots and squash and corn are thrusting their leaves heavenward. I dare say we shall be quite nearly self-sufficient before too long, though I imagine it well never be possible to completely eliminate the trips to Clearwater. Some supplies are impossible to make or grow. Still, with careful planning, I can consolidate many trips to town into one and thereby minimize the time I must spend away from my beloved.

My beloved, yes! Even after a month of nearly constant togetherness, how my heart soars at the mere thought of him!

Looking back through these first few weeks, I am struck by how perfectly fit for one another we are. While the division of labor is necessarily unbalanced, I regard my efforts on our mutual behalf to be more than compensated by the joy that he brings me by his mere presence. Every time I must go out to tend to the chores, I know that he will be there, just as I left him, waiting for my return. And when we are reunited, oh, the pleasures we share!

His exercise program has rewarded us both handsomely, if you will pardon the pun! With the bulk of his strength restored, he now cuts quite a dashing figure, and I am struck from time to time when I catch sight of his debonair silhouette out of the corner of my eye. True, the actual exercise itself can be a grueling effort, but then, hard work always is, and I admire his stamina in enduring the long hours and the sore muscles. But the result is most certainly worth the investment!

My love has accepted my suggestions about his grooming. While I find his goatee to be attractive, I couldn't help but wonder what he would look like with a clean-shaven face. I convinced him to allow me to shave him one morning. The result was appealing (as how could he ever looking anything but fine?) and so I have decided to maintain this, at least for the moment. I also allowed his hair to grow in a bit. This has revealed an unfortunate lack of productive follicles around the top of his scalp, and so I reverted to his previous style of an all-over shave of the head, which I maintain for him once a week. And while I am at it, I give the same treatment to the rest of his marvelous body. He looks so appealing with smooth skin. No fuzzy hair clouding the definition of his thick muscles or his ample... well, you know. Endowment. Perhaps one day I shall let some hair grow back in, just for a change of pace, but I think I shall keep it trimmed short. I may even bring the goatee back. So many options! Such an attractive man!

Mostly, we find ourselves spending time quietly together in the evenings, when the day's labors are done and the sun is lingering like a lover's caress low in the western sky. I lie by his side and gently stroke his strong body, which I know he appreciates even though he does not always say so in so many words. Of late, in fact, he says very little at all. With a love such as ours, there is no need for words!

Paul gave the vise handle another quarter twist. The vein on Landon's forehead popped out even further against the red skin as his testicles were compressed by another fraction of an inch. Still, not a word from him. He had not spoken a coherent word for ten days now. Not that it mattered - Paul had no need for Landon to speak. But the fact that he was intentionally not doing so gave Paul an additional lever to use in the mind game that Landon thought they were playing.

In fact, there was no mind game, or rather, there was, but it was not the one Landon thought he was playing. The only thing Paul required of Landon was his presence. Verbal reactions were nice, but not mandatory. If Landon wanted to play the stoic under the torments Paul inflicted on him, that was fine. Paul could tell what his victim was feeling by involuntary tells like the throbbing forehead vein. But if Landon believed he was denying Paul something that Paul wanted? Great! Paul was happy to feed that delusion.

Without ever coming out and saying so, Paul let Landon believe that the silence was getting to him. He acted more gruff than he felt, pretending to snap at minor inconveniences like a dropped spoon. He feigned frustration when he would ask Landon a question and receive no response. And he ramped up the torture sessions like the current one.

A typical day in the first two weeks after the removal of Landon's cast would have involved some titplay, some fondling, some light S&M like a riding crop or some mild abuse of the cock and balls. There would even have been some pleasure for Landon - Paul would stroke him into an erection and pump the shaft for a while, once even taking it into his own mouth to attend it with his tongue. Paul would shoot a load every day, sometimes twice, but there had been no second orgasm yet for Landon. Paul would dangle the promise of it in front of him, assuring him that one day, some day very soon, Paul would not cease his stroking the moment Landon came close to the edge, but would instead allow him the delight of having his spinal cord execute its reproductive algorithm and reward Landon's brain with jolts of dopamine. But the promised future orgasm always remained in the future.

Lately, though, there was no pleasure at all. Instead, Paul ramped up the pain intensity considerably, such as today's session of crushing his statue's testicles between heavy acrylic sheets, squeezed by a vise. Sweat was beading on Landon's forehead as he endured the unendurable compression of his balls, desperate to protect himself but forced by his own body to lie still and take it.

"Go ahead," Paul whispered in his ear, lying next to him on the bed. "Move your arm. Bend your spine. Reach down and grab that vise, unscrew it, yank it off your balls. Do it. You know you want to. Why are you letting a little discomfort stop you? Go ahead. It's worth breaking a few bones to get that clamp off, isn't it?"

The expression on Landon's face was priceless. For a moment, Paul thought he actually might try.

"Just know this," he continued, his whispered voice filling the space next to Landon's ear with vivid intensity. "I went to a lot of trouble to freeze you just the way you are, and it would be a shame if you were to mess up my work. You've got your full strength back now. You could easily use those muscles to break one of the bones that used to be your joints. But I am warning you now: for your own sake, don't do it. If you screw up my statue by breaking part of it, I am going to just reset the joint and re-cast you until it's solid again. But before I do that, I am going to take whatever movement you made and repeat it about twenty or fifty times. If you bend an elbow or a knee or a shoulder or a hip, I'm going to bend it back and forth and around and around, over and over again, grinding the edges of those bones against each other until you pass out from how bad it hurts. And then I'm going to put the cast back on, and those broken bones are going to heal badly, and you will hurt in that joint for the rest of your days. Think about that. I hurt you every now and then, but when I'm done hurting you... you stop hurting. You go back to being pain-free as long as you don't try to move. That state of being pain-free, that is a precious thing. That is what you would be giving up if you do anything right now but lie there and TAKE IT."

With the last two words, Paul gave the vise another half-turn, cranking it to the max that he intended to go for this session. Paul's red face darkened to purple and an involuntary cry escaped wordlessly from his lips. Paul let him feel the squeeze for about half a minute, then spun the vise handle the opposite way, easing the pressure by three full turns before getting off the bed and heading out to weed the garden.

In another two or three months, Landon's new bones would be as solid as his old ones. Then it wouldn't matter how hard Landon flexed and tensed his massive muscles, because he would be unlikely to snap either an existing bone or one of the newly-solid joints. Paul just had to scare him off doing it until they had fully grown in. He would carry through on the threat he had just made, if necessary, but right now, Landon's one-piece skeleton was in perfect shape. Better for it to remain that way than to have to penalize Landon for marring it.

June 5, 2024

Dear journal,

My beloved doesn't know it yet, but I have a surprise planned for him tomorrow. It is not his birthday, nor our anniversary, nor any major holiday. It simply marks six weeks since the day his cast came off, and I thought the occasion worth noting.

I have a hunch he will be quite taken by the experience!

"You're going to shoot a load today," Paul announced while feeding Landon breakfast. "It's been six weeks and I want to watch you come."

"Not a chance," Landon replied from his enforced standing position strapped to the dolly. He had stopped has "vow of silence" some days earlier, but still spent most of his time in quiet depression. On another day, those three words might very well be the only ones he would speak all day. Paul didn't care; Landon's attitude was irrelevant. Besides, today was not going to be like most other days; Paul figured another utterance or two would be forthcoming.

He started with gentle massage, wrapping his fingers around Landon's balls and stretching them downward while squeezing his cock with his other hand. It took only a minute and a half before the blood started stirring and Landon's nub of a dick started swelling and expanding. Two minutes after that, it was fully erect.

"Typical straight guy," Paul commented as he stroked. "Your mouth says no, no, no but your dick says yes! yes! yes!" He rubbed for a while longer, never too firmly or too fast, keeping the sensations slow and steady. Landon's dick stayed rock-hard.

After twenty-some minutes of this, Paul let go and brought out the electro box, wiring it up to Landon's dick and balls. Landon's hard-on slumped a bit during this process, but Paul knew it would be back. The power started off at a barely-perceptible level; it would ramp up over time. The program was one of gentle pleasure for the dick and pseudo-random blasts of pain for the balls. The dick wires provided steady pulses of smooth current, delivering a constant stream of low stimulation. The balls, on the other hand, were set to supply a 1.5-second jolt at irregular intervals ranging from 5 seconds (very rarely) to a minute (most often) to three minutes (very rarely). Now, in the beginning, the blasts were small and barely perceptible, but over time they would grow in intensity. By the time an hour passed, Landon would be constantly on edge anticipating the next one, never knowing when it would hit. The cock current would also increase with time, keeping his attention focused there in between ball blasts.

Paul sat back to watch. There was little to see. Landon simply stood attached to his dolly like he always did. His face was mostly expressionless. He would rock gently back and forth, flexing the muscles in his legs to send himself lurching half an inch forward into the supporting strap or backward into the padded surface. He would open or close his eyes, or press his lips together, or his dick would occasionally twitch - the sum total of the possible movements available to him. But Paul could imagine what was happening very clearly. Landon's dick was slowly feeling more stimulation. About ten minutes in, the level had risen to the point where Landon's semi-hard-on returned to full stiffness, and the occasional ball jolts were visible in Landon's face and posture.

Paul stood up and touched Landon's balls. Nothing. Not even a tingle. He kept his hand there until one of the blasts came. Landon flinched and his chest muscles tightened, but Paul felt nothing at all in his fingers. Ah, the beauty of electricity! So perfect for targeted, directed suffering! He rubbed Landon's chest and legs a bit. The muscles felt so good under his palms, so strong and firm. He squeezed the powerful pecs, kneaded the thick thighs and quads, all the while watching Landon's dick quiver and jump under the stimulation of the current.

The next ball jolt was enough to make Landon shout out loud. Paul stepped back and leaned against the table, taking in the sight. His statue was tense and sweat was starting to bead on his face. Paul couldn't tell exactly what he was feeling, but he had a pretty good idea of the conflicting war of emotions playing out in Landon's head. Male human brains were fairly simple machines, in certain circumstances. Feed stimulation in through certain nerves, and you would trigger certain responses. Landon would be experiencing some stimuli that his lower brain would interpret as "mmm, good, more!", while his higher brain would be desperately trying to ignore those stimuli. But there was no way to ignore them. So Landon would soon start to rationalize that maybe it would be OK, just this once, to accept the pleasure since he now got so little of it. Paul would be watching for the moment when that rationalization started to win out in his statue's thinking.

The ramp up to sexual release was slow and jagged. After a ball blast, Landon would spend the next ten or fifteen seconds dreading the next, which sometimes came as he was anticipating it, but more often, time would tick away and the incessant buzzing in his cock would slowly draw him in and demand his notice. His attention would drift to the gentle throbbing pulses in his dick and sometimes he would lose himself entirely in the tickling sensation, too low to actually put him over the edge but driving him inexorably in that direction... only to come crashing back as the next ball jolt struck.

About 45 minutes in, the moment came. Clear fluid had been seeping out of the slit for some time, trailing toward the floor in a long threadlike strand. Paul watched Landon's ass and thigh muscles clench in a movement that would have thrust his hips forward if they were still capable of flexing. Paul yanked the dick wires out of the control box. Landon's eyes flew open. "Shit!" he shouted as all stimulation immediately stopped. His cock bounced up and down a few times, pulsing but unable to get itself over the last hurdle. Slowly, slowly, it deflated, sticking out into the air with nothing to rub up against.

Then, inevitably, the ball blast came - Paul had not disconnected those wires. Landon repeated the word he had said before, only this time it was clipped and short because his diaphragm had spasmed along with the nerves and muscles lower down.

"That's one," Paul said. "We're gonna do at least five of those before I finally make you come." It would be nice if he could break his statue's will to the point where Landon would beg him for the privilege of orgasm, but he would not say that out loud because it would only give Landon incentive to not do it. The first rule of the sadist: never issue an ultimatum that you don't have the power to enforce. Paul had already said he would make Landon come today; to tell Landon he would have to beg for it first would be backpedaling. It would put control into Landon's hands where control did not belong.

Ten minutes of rest punctuated by randomly-timed ball blasts gave the statue's dick enough time to soften up. Then Paul reset the dick program and plugged the wires back in. The second approach to climax arrived more quickly, after only half an hour. Again, the wires came off abruptly, the victim cooled down, then it was back for round three. Then four. Then five. Then six, because Landon had heard that number "five" that Paul had said hours earlier and had forgotten about the words "at least" that had preceded it, so he was expecting that after such a long buildup, a buildup of sexual tension like none that he had ever experienced before in his life, that this would be the time when he would finally be allowed to unload. Only just like before, the current shut off, the stimulation abruptly ceased, and his engorged cock was left poking its swollen purple head into the empty air. He actually whimpered with frustration and Paul smiled quietly to himself.

Paul brought him through one more cycle (again yanking the wires before the crucial moment), then paused to feed both himself and his quivering, testosterone-drenched victim. He toyed with the idea of leaving the ball-blaster cycle running during the meal but decided against it, not out of any sense of mercy but because he didn't want the distraction to make feeding time take longer than necessary. Then a bathroom break while the victim's cock was soft, then it was time to start back up again.

He resumed teasing Landon's cock, using a vibrator instead of electricity. This was riskier territory - once Landon had been brought back up to full erection, it was mere seconds before he was ready to shoot, and Paul had to be ready to pull the device away on a moment's notice so as not to allow Landon the satisfaction of release just yet. It was still far too soon.

After fifteen minutes, he gave up the vibrator - it was just too coarse a tool for the state Landon was in. Instead, Paul used his palm and fingers and generous helpings of lube. With nothing more than these, he kept his statue stiff as a flagpole for the entire afternoon, repeatedly bringing him right up to the brink of orgasm yet never letting him pass over it. The point of "beg for it" was passed early on, to Paul's amusement; by the time the shadows started to lengthen around the cabin, Landon was pleading for release in pretty much a continuous stream.

Paul took a break. Ten minutes, during which time Landon's dick softened up just a fraction, dipping slightly below horizontal without losing much of its bulk. Then it was time to move in for the kill. A fresh round of lube, slow, deliberate strokes, and a solid grip were enough to start Landon's pathetic pleadings up again. Paul kept the pace measured until the moment was clearly approaching once again, at which point instead of easing off, he ramped up the frequency of the strokes. Landon's body, conditioned at this point to denial, didn't know how to to cope with actual culmination, and so it kept him right on the edge for infinite seconds longer, constantly expecting the cessation that failed to come.

Finally, there was no stopping the long-dammed waterfall. Paul squeezed and stroked and felt the power building up beneath his fingers, and then with a grunt that tore through Landon's throat like a tiger's claws, the first burst of semen erupted from between his thumb and forefinger and shot halfway across the room to land on the floor beyond the table. This was followed by a second, third, and fourth that each landed successively slightly less far away. While the massive explosion was occurring, the muscles all up and down Landon's body tensed and fought against the constricted, bone-locked joints, straining to convulse and bend the man's massive frame. Landon's mind was lost in the surging waves of pleasure and he gibbered like an animal.

Paul kept pumping. A fifth, sixth, seventh spurt came drizzling out, no longer ejected with as much force as before. Still he kept his grip firm and steady. The eighth spurt came after a long pause, so Paul knew the orgasm was finally starting to draw to a close. A few more pumps should do it...

Sure enough, the tone of Landon's cries began to change. No longer lost in waves of pleasure, now the cries suggested a hint of discomfort. Paul could feel the first hint that the swollen organ in his fist was starting to shrink, but he maintained his steady pace, making sure to squeeze the sensitive head firmly with every stroke. Landon's cries shifted even further, and now all hint of pleasure was gone and he was pleading for Paul to stop, claiming he couldn't take any more. Paul knew very well that that was a lie - he could and would take much more.

Five more seconds of steady pumping, then Paul reached over and flipped the switch on the electro box, nudging the program to the "after" cycle. There were no wires attached to Landon's cock, but the ball wires from before were still in place though they had gone unused for the last few hours and Landon had almost certainly forgotten they were there. He remembered now as the first ball blast started up again. This time, the interval between blasts was a steady 1.5 seconds, a simple program of a 3-second cycle, half-on and half-off. The power level was up at the maximum, where it had been left at the end of the previous session. Of course, in the previous session, Landon's nuts had had long minutes of incremental ramp-up to gradually get used to that level of intensity. Now he was being hit with it all at once. He screamed and his body redoubled its efforts to fold in on itself. Had Paul not thought to attach the dolly's straps firmly around Landon's shoulders, waist, and legs, Landon's convulsions could easily have been powerful enough to snap his spine. Paul squeezed his other hand around the base of Landon's dick to keep the blood pooled inside it and kept stroking.

Three full minutes after the onset of Landon's orgasm, Paul finally stopped squeezing the abused, steadily-shrinking cock and shut off the power to the ball zapper. Landon sagged against the straps of the dolly. An enormous breath sighed from his body as his exhausted muscles finally went limp. Paul laid the dolly back at an angle to give Landon's ankles a break from supporting his weight and let him quietly sink into unconsciousness. The sleeping statue didn't even rouse when Paul transferred him to the bed later that evening.

June 7, 2024

Dear journal,

Another lovely day! I think Oregon's mountains have the most magnificent climate in the entire world. The months from May until September are pretty much one steady stream of perfect springtime. It is true that the day will come when all the clouds that were absent from our skies during the warm months will blanket us without cease during the colder half of the year. But that will merely provide incentive for my beloved and I to spend entire days snug under the covers, sharing our mutual warmth and basking in the toasty glow of the wood stove! For now, I shall simply enjoy the delightful weather.

Landon is somewhat spent from his exhaustive efforts yesterday. I am certain the experience was as rewarding for him as it was for me, but it certainly took a great deal of stamina and I fear he needs to rest and recuperate. To help him do that, I have provided him with a bit of ornamentation - jewelry, if you will - that is both beautiful and functional.

The portion of him that requires respite should, in my diagnosis, not be allowed to thicken and stiffen, lest he find himself in the same state in which he spent much of the previous day. To prevent such swelling, even of an involuntary nature, I have fitted him with a most attractive and eye-pleasing sheath. It is made of stainless steel and gleams quite appealingly in the light. It fits snugly, a perfect cozy home for the bit of flesh that was so grievously strained yesterday.

To hold it in place, I also supplied him with a matching ring that encircles him a little lower down. The ring splits in two such that the halves may be put into place and then attached together with cunningly recessed screws. When the two halves are joined, both screws and seam are practically invisible to the eye, leaving the impression of a solid metal band.

I had a few smaller options on hand, but with Landon's bulk they would have appeared comically small on him, and so I chose the largest of the available sizes. It weighs twenty-two ounces, nearly a pound and a half, which I think is just the right size for him. It is to this band that the sheath attaches, holding it securely in place. The ensemble also comes with a lock, which I considered applying but then thought better of it. After all, a lock is hardly necessary in these circumstances.

The first time I brought my beloved out of bed and set him upright wearing his new jewelry, he was a bit put off, uttering comments about the heft of the ring and the inconvenience of the sheath, but I assured him that both looked absolutely splendid on him and that it would do him good to wear them for a while, and he eventually accepted my reassurances.

I expect that four to six weeks should be sufficient time for his recovery. I shall leave myself a note on the calendar to remove them and check his condition towards the end of July.

"I'm gonna take you outside today," Paul said. "It'd do you some good to get some fresh air and sunshine."

The hour was early, and the sky was just turning from black to deep blue as the sun neared the horizon from below. Paul got Landon out of bed and onto the dolly, handled the morning's toilet and feeding needs, then wheeled the dolly out the cabin door just as the sky was pinking up.

The dolly did not roll easily over the rough ground around the cabin - the wheels were small and designed for indoor use. This was one reason why Paul had not yet taken Landon outdoors since the day the cast came off. But he managed to get Landon out to a spot near the garden and set him up at about a 60-degree angle, facing east. He undid the chest strap that normally kept Landon from falling over when he was upright - at this angle, there was little chance that Landon would be able to knock himself down. In his frozen position, he was capable of tiny movements, so Paul kept an eye on him as the sky paled and the day arrived.

"Longest day of the year," Paul mused. "Nearly fifteen hours of sunshine. Of course, we'll get a bit less here because we'll be in the shadow of the mountains during the morning and evening. Still... plenty of daylight to be had today, and not a cloud to block any of it."

Confident that Landon was not going to tip himself to the ground, Paul began to toil in the garden. Landon reclined and stared at the sky and the forested peaks nearby; tipped back as he was, he could only catch vague glimpses of ground level. Two hours passed and the sun finally shouldered its way above the trees. Paul went inside to get a drink and brought some water out for Landon as well. He sat on a lump of rock and watched the day brighten.

Half an hour later, he stood up and flipped Landon over. The dolly had an oval-shaped hole on its surface that was ordinarily kept covered. But when Paul had Landon face down on the surface, he could remove the cover to allow for breathing and to prevent his statue's nose from being squashed. Paul retreated to the shade of the cabin's small covered porch.

Another half an hour passed and Paul came back out to flip Landon over once more. By now Landon had formed a half-clear idea of what was going on and started to protest, obliquely. "Hey, it's gettin' kinda hot out here."

"Yup," Paul replied, and headed back inside. "You probably want to keep your eyes closed as much as possible," he called over his shoulder.

"YOU FUCKING BASTARD! I can't believe you're gonna do this to me. Stinkin' son of a bitch, get back here!" Paul ignored the shouts and let the soft leaves of the forest soak up the sound.

The day passed in half-hour intervals, with Paul flipping Landon back and forth to ensure that every inch of surface area got equal exposure. Every so often, Paul would adjust the angle of the dolly to keep Landon's body pointed more or less toward the sun's incoming rays. At the start of the day, after weeks spent inside, his skin was as pale as it ever got, but the steady stream of sunlight changed that rapidly. By mid-morning, Landon's chest, arms, legs, and back were all reddish pink; by noontime, his entire body was bright red... all except for his cock and half his scrotum, which were shielded from the ultraviolet radiation by the chastity device and heavy ball collar. Still, there was discomfort even there, because the steel absorbed the sun's rays and heated up as time went on. At one point, Paul's hand brushed against the chastity sheath and he flinched from the touch. The thought of all that hot metal surrounding Landon's helpless dick brought a smile to his face.

Throughout the day, he kept Landon well-watered and fed him at the usual times. At last, evening came and the sun slipped behind the hills to the west. Paul manhandled the dolly back inside the cabin. Landon was delirious and shaking all over. His skin was a bright, angry red from his forehead to the tops of his feet, and presumably all down his back as well, though that side was currently pressed up against the dolly and out of view. Paul had given him a fresh all-over body shave the night before, so there had been not even a wisp of hair to shelter him from the sun's punishing rays. Paul slid his statue into the bed and slipped in beside him. Heat poured off the unmoving body next to him such that it was like cuddling with a stove, and yet the body was wracked with shivers as if he were chilled.

Neither man slept much during the night. For Landon, there was no comfort to be found. His body had been seared on all sides, and any contact with any surface, even the soft bed and blankets, merely irritated the burned skin further. Paul's wandering fingers, kneading and scraping over his muscles, likewise caused scorching pain at the slightest contact.

In the morning, Landon was a bit more in control of himself; his tremors had stopped, he was hungry and thirsty, he was able to speak coherently. Paul fed him and gave him generous amounts of water throughout the day until his urine at last ran clear again instead of dark orange. At the end of the day, he judged his statue recovered enough for the next stage of the ordeal.

He cleared the table from the center of the cabin's main room, pushing it up against the wall. Wheeling Landon's dolly to that spot, he put his statue into a standing position. He slipped a rope around Landon's chest, under his arms, then fed it up behind his back to a hook in one of the roof beams. Carefully, he slid Landon's feet off the edge of the dolly until the feet were flat on the floor and all that held him upright was the rope around his ribs.

Then he got the whip out.

Twenty-four hours after being seared by the pitiless sun, Landon's body was at the peak of its burn reaction. His skin was at maximum sensitivity; even the slightest touch burned like fire. In such a state, to be struck with a thin leather strap was to have the effect multiplied tenfold, and Paul did not hold back. There was not enough room in the cabin for a full-out flogging, but Paul made do with the space he had available, taking a long windup and letting the whip fly. Landon, facing the other direction, was caught completely by surprise by the first stroke, which came speeding through the air and landed with a loud crack on his shoulder blades, just beneath the supporting rope.

The pain was so intense he could not even scream. He just hung there, gasping like a fish, making choking noises in his throat as rivers of lava poured through the nerves up his spine. Paul waited a minute before applying the next stroke, placing it an inch below the first and slowly repeating until he had built a ladder all the way down to Landon's ass. By the third stroke, Landon was screaming uncontrollably, sobbing incoherent noises and pleading for mercy.

Paul paused a bit, then, when the screams had settled down into quiet sobs, started on his statue's chest. Carefully placed, well-separated strokes bit into the red skin, leaving marks that Paul knew were there but that did not show up at all against the fiery background.

Landon passed out.

Paul still had three more strokes to deliver to complete the set on the front, but decided he could do without them. He checked Landon's breathing - still steady - and waited for him to revive. The reduced lung capacity caused by the frozen ribs coupled with the oxygen demand of the constant screams created an unfortunate combination that made loss of consciousness likely. But that was a direct effect of the condition he had inflicted on his victim, so Paul didn't mind a brief break in the action.

When Landon came to, Paul started stroking himself. Very little stroking would be needed - the action of the day before and of today had been pretty much constant foreplay and he was ready to pop. Standing in front of Landon's fire-red body, stroking his cock with his right hand, he placed his left on Landon's chest, covering the sunburned nipple with the base of his palm and stretching his fingers upward. He kneaded the meaty pectoral muscle, eliciting a wincing moan from the statue. Landon's eyes - inches from Paul's own, kept darting nervously about, flicking to Paul's, then away, and Paul could plainly read the fear in them. Close... so close... Paul lifted his hand and brought it down with a hard slap. Landon's eyes flew open wide and he gasped from the shock and pain. That was enough. Paul's climax rose up like a wave and engulfed him. Shuddering and gasping, he shot jet after jet of cream onto Landon's thighs.

Coming down after such a high, he didn't much feel like cleaning up the play space afterward. But his statue needed to get off its feet, so Paul dutifully tended to his toy and put the room back the way it was before heading off to bed.

June 24, 2024

Dear journal,

My Landon is recovering nicely from his summer solstice hijinks. I have been tending his poor skin with creams and salves, and I think we may have passed the worst of the effects. It is a certainty that the outer layers of his skin will begin to peel away one day soon, and perhaps he will even shed the layers beneath that after that. Ah, well! Doubtless the new growth underneath will have him right as rain and as fetchingly handsome as ever before too long!

It took quite a bit of planning and effort to pull it off, and it quite tired me out, but I wonder if we should make this first-day-of-summer celebration into an annual occurrence?

The chastity device came off in late July. Paul found that causing Landon to have unwanted erections was more entertaining then preventing erections. He amused himself by squeezing Landon to full hardness but only seldom allowed him the pleasure of climax, always followed by post-orgasmic overstimulation. By the time fall came, Paul had Landon trained to the point where he would actively resist coming even when Landon wanted him to, because his body was already anticipating the frantic, squirming discomfort that it knew would follow.

Paul left the ball weight on even after removing the sheath. He liked the way Landon's nuts looked weighed down by heavy metal, and would sometimes strap his statue tightly to the dolly and then flip the dolly completely around, from vertical to horizontal to head-down to face-down and back up again just for the pleasure of watching the weighted nut sack dangle and flop around, yanking heavily with every movement.

Every day he used Landon in some way. Most days involved only mild discomfort, but perhaps once a week or so, not on any regular schedule, Paul would crank up the intensity level, using the flogger or weights or sharp objects or flames to get Landon sweating and shouting. Usually these sessions ended with Paul jerking himself off or rubbing himself to climax against his suffering statue's skin, but every so often he would repeat the rape from Landon's first night, just for the sheer brutal physical reminder that no part of Landon's body was beyond Paul's reach.

By the time the days started growing noticeably shorter, Paul had accumulated enough wood to last all of the coming winter and half the next. The garden had produced abundant supplies, which he had dried, preserved, stashed in the cellar, or frozen in the cabin's efficient freezer. He had taken three deer from the hillsides over the summer and they had both enjoyed the venison while it was fresh, with plenty more frozen or salted for later. The chickens had stopped producing eggs and would soon find themselves, one by one, one the stovetop. Paul had made two more runs to Clearwater to purchase canned goods, propane, and other such luxuries. By the middle of October, they were ready for the cold season to come.

"One more thing to take care of before the weather turns," Paul said late one morning. "Enjoy your day off - no exercise today." He left Landon in the bed and took the dolly with him. For Landon, the hours passed as quickly as they ever did - which was to say not quickly at all - lying motionless with nothing but his thoughts for company. The shadows were closing in when Paul returned.

There was something on the dolly.

Paul kept the dolly and its contents out of Landon's direct view; not difficult to do since his face was pointed immovably toward the ceiling. But he made sure Landon could catch glimpses of what he was doing by rolling his eyes to the side. It didn't take long before curiosity won out.

"What the fuck is that?" the man on the bed asked.

Paul didn't answer immediately. He was fiddling with the object on the dolly, making adjustments.

"Decided to take a little hike today," he finally said. "Headed up into the hills a ways. There's no trails up here, nothing human-sized at least, so it was tough going getting that dolly through the underbrush. Still, I did it before, about this time a year ago, and it was doable again today."

He finished fiddling with the dolly and adjusted it to a near-upright position.

"I wanted to retrieve something I had left out there last year. Figured a year was enough time." He wheeled the dolly over to the bed and watched as Landon's eyes strained to see sideways. He helped out by tipping Landon's body over on its side, saying as he did, "Landon, I'd like you to meet your predecessor, Matthew."

The skeleton on the dolly was not like an ordinary skeleton, made of separate bones wired together to maintain their correct positions relative to one another. Instead, this skeleton was all one solid piece. The shoulders were huge lumps; the knees were like tennis balls at the junction of the tibia and fibula. The fingers were all single units, gently curved arcs of continuous bone. All of the places that ordinarily would have gaps were instead filled in with the same off-white color as the rest of the structure.

"Oh god oh god no way..." Landon moaned.

"He's been out in the woods this past year," Paul said over Landon's complaints. "After he died, I wanted to preserve his best features, which is what you see here, but I didn't have an easy way to get rid of all the rest. Letting the forest take care of it seemed easiest. But I didn't want the creatures out there to scatter him or break the fragile structure, so I rigged up a steel cage. Small scavengers and insects could get in between the bars, but bears and other large critters couldn't."

Landon was still gibbering at the sight of the empty eye sockets and the rigid, immovable limbs, so much like his own rigid, immovable limbs.

"I haven't been back for about a year, so I honestly didn't know what I'd find up there. But to my delight, it worked out exactly as I had hoped. I mean, he needs to be cleaned up a bit, get the moss and dirt off him. And maybe there's something I can do to whiten him up a bit. Not that there's anything wrong with him right now, but still, I'd like him to be brighter, less yellow-looking. He's the color of a smoker's teeth right now.

He let Landon flop back down onto his back again.

"I'm gonna spend some time tomorrow cleaning him up, then I'll store him down in the cellar. For now, let's get you fed and all."

"I'm not real hungry somehow," Landon said.

"Nonsense! You need to keep your strength up. How about we break out some venison tonight?"

After that, neither man said a word about Matthew, whose scavenger-cleaned bones impassively watched the routine activities of the household until the two still-flesh-covered men slipped into bed and the room went dark.

October 21, 2024

Dear journal,

Such an awkward moment! I knew that the meeting between my beloved and a former flame would be fraught with tension, and it was. Fortunately, it went as well as I dared to hope, and while there was an uncomfortable moment or two, the two managed to get along cordially, if somewhat stiffly (ha!).

It helped that Matthew had nothing to say. I think to a degree this reassured Landon that whatever Matthew and I once shared, it is now firmly in the past, and that my heart truly belongs to him and him alone.

Still, out of respect for the relationship we once shared, I felt it was my duty to provide Matthew with an honorable resting place.

I must say, he looks truly magnificent now. I was able to clean the last vestiges of the forest from his body, and to shine and polish him until he positively gleamed. It took much of the day after I retrieved him, during which time Landon waited with forbearing patience, keenly aware that it was not him on whom I lavished my attention that day but understanding of the duty that compelled me to behave thus. Once finished, I propped my onetime paramour up on the dolly, where he cut a splendid figure. Landon and I both admired him for a few moments, and then I escorted Matthew down into the root cellar.

He stands there now, a silent sentry, ever unchanging, unmoving, unaffected by Time's relentless flow. He has fulfilled his destiny.

Winter came, and with it snow. The cabin was far enough from the coast to be spared the worst of the storms that blew in off the Pacific, but there was still a substantial accumulation at times. Paul found himself experiencing a new emotion, one that he had never felt in his cabin before: restlessness.

Most of the time, he viewed the cabin as a warm and cozy burrow, as it had been for each of the two previous winters he had spent here. But this year, for the first time, there would be times when he would feel it as a prison that he was desperate to escape from. He told himself it was the darkness, the short days and long, long nights that began around 5 PM and didn't end until 8 the next morning. Even when the sun was up, it was never very high above the southern hills, and frequently was obscured by clouds. But he knew he was only fooling himself. He had never had a problem with the darkness before. The only thing that was different this time was Landon. (Matthew had not lasted to winter; Paul had dumped the corpse in the woods the previous autumn and fled back to civilization to find his next victim.) Somehow, Landon's mere presence was enough to alter the emotional atmosphere.

Paul tried to figure out how the dynamic worked. In all ways, he was fully in control; he decided what would happen and when. He decided when to speak with or listen to his captive and when to ignore him. Landon had no power to do anything at all. And yet, Paul found himself unable to fully relax sometimes, experiencing the same sort of tension that he used to feel in the extrovert-oriented workplace at Genoprax, with its open floor plan and privacy-free desks. Somehow, the presence of his statue was triggering his introvert's distaste of social interaction. Yet that should have been impossible - Landon was furniture, like the chair or the stove. He should not have been able to induce feelings of social anxiety.

Before the snow grew too deep, Paul found himself idly musing about bailing out and heading off to Eugene or Portland just for a change of scene. He fantasized about food cooked by somebody who was not him!, that he obtained simply by driving up to a window and telling a microphone what he wanted, then accepting it right through the window of his car. He even dreamed once of a plastic tub full of the greasy, salty slop that Mrs. Yang specialized exclusively in, which told him that he must be tired of his own cooking indeed if he had sunk that low on the culinary scale.

But he knew that if he did leave, within days he would be going crazy from the endless traffic and bustle and noise, the constant press of people from every side. And of course, Landon would freeze or starve to death, which would have made a waste of months of effort. He almost did it, though, once in late November when the skies had been overcast and spitting icy rain for four straight days. Surely he could make it to Eugene, spend two days there, just long enough to remind him why he hated cities, then make it back to the cabin in time? But he held himself back, and then December came and the white layer on the rutted dirt road grew too deep for the truck to power through, and the bailout option was taken off the table.

He passed his time with his statue. There was only so much sex a man could have, but the options for torture were plentiful. Not every day any more, no - he didn't have the energy for that during the winter. Some days he just felt like lying still himself, snuggled under the blankets for much of the day. But certainly there was torture more days than not. He found all sorts of ways to stimulate the nerves on Landon's motionless body - clamps and sharp points and fingernails and heat and compression and teeth and impacts and, of course, electricity, though that was in somewhat short supply. The solar panels produced very little this time of year, so he was dependent on the trickle of energy provided by stream that still flowed even as the ice crept inward from its banks. Keeping Landon's muscles toned was the first priority of the power that was generated, so Paul cut back in other areas, which meant the cabin was frequently only dimly lit. Which only added to his bouts of depression.

Occasional trips out to hunt provided a welcome respite from the close confines of the cabin. A fresh rabbit made for a nice change of pace from dried meats and cellar-stored vegetables. And the trip out to get one gave him a chance to clear his head so that by the time he returned to the cabin, it was once again a snug and welcoming place.

Landon, of course, had no such escape, and Paul watched as the weeks passed and the once-strong man steadily withdrew from the horror that his world had become. Paul had to walk a fine line: the whole point of having Landon here was to be his victim. And yet if Paul overworked him, he ran the risk of triggering a meltdown in his victim's mind that would render him useless for Paul's purpose. In order to fill the role of victim, it was essential to Paul that the victim be aware and conscious and responsive. The responses didn't have to be voluntary; it was enough to watch sweat bead on the statue's forehead or listen for the tell-tale change in respiration that told Paul exactly how much hurt he was causing. But there had to be some response - torturing or fucking a limp doll or a sack of jelly was no fun at all. So he had to attend to Landon's mental well-being and not push him too far, or else his toy would cease to entertain him. And that would be a pity, because he was hoping to get years and years worth of entertainment out of this particular toy.

And so in between the torture and the sex, Paul would soothe Landon as best he could. He gave him entire days free of pain, sometimes several in a row. He even spoke, haltingly, of things Landon might have cared about in his former life, though these efforts seldom went well. Paul had never been particularly gifted at small talk or social interaction in general, and he knew his attempts at bonding were rather pathetic. Landon coldly rebuffed the first few attempts, stunned that his tormentor was actually acting interested in something other than his suffering, and assuming it must be a trick.

But a day came when a crack appeared in the wall between them. Paul had prepared soup from one of the hens that had to be culled as the winter closed in. He had frozen it at the time, and on a bitter January day, brought its body out and began to boil it. Past chickens had been roasted or fried, but he was in the mood for something different this time. With onions, celery, potatoes, and carrots added, the cabin was soon bathed in the delicious aroma of chicken soup. From his spot on the bed, Landon actually initiated conversation.

"is that gonna be ready any time soon?"

"Well, not soon, no," Paul replied. "It's only 2:00. It has to boil for a few hours yet to get everything tender. Why, you hungry now? I could feed you something else."

"Nah, I'll wait. It just smells so good!"

That led to a discussion of chicken soup as prepared by others, moms and grandmothers, and then to other foods prepared by those moms and grandmas, with a digression into baked goods and the merits of various different varieties. At one point in the conversation, Paul noticed that it was starting to get dark and that somehow, the hours had flown by and it was now indeed time to consume the soup. It had been a comfortable, relaxed conversation despite the looming elephant in the room that was their roles as captor and captive. Perhaps this was the onset of Stockholm syndrome, where an abductee came to identify with and eventually even love his abductor? Paul was aware this could happen at some point. Was this the beginning of that stage? He would watch for further signs in coming weeks.

He spooned the soup gently through the gap between Landon's teeth. The meat was tender enough that Landon could break it up simply by pressing it with his tongue, and the vegetables simply fell apart in his mouth. And oh, it was good. Paul was a utilitarian cook, not a gourmet by any stretch, but it is very difficult to put the ingredients for chicken soup into a pot, let them stew for hours, and not end up with something delightful to the mouth.

Paul went to bed that night with a full belly and a warm sense that all was well with the world.

"A little dickwork today, some teasing," Paul muttered idly, half to himself as he adjusted the dolly into a more upright position in preparation for an afternoon of playing with his toy. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a flicker of movement on Landon's face.

"Wait, was that a grin? Did you just smile? Are you actually looking forward to what I just said?"

Landon immediately went stone-faced. "Yeah. You got it, boss." The tone was flat. Paul was mystified for a moment.

"I don't believe you," he eventually said. "You never like when I edge you. What gives?"

Landon's face squirmed; the rest of his body, of course, did not.

"Consider this," Paul continued. "I will get to the bottom of this. I could change my plans and we'll play 'prisoner of war' where I torture you until you reveal the information I want to know. Or you could just tell me now."

"Okay, okay," Landon caved. "Look, I know you have to do this to get your rocks off, so go ahead and do it. And you're right, I hate it, every single time. It's just... if you're gonna be playing with my dick, that means you probably won't be messing with my chest, and that made me smile, OK? Because my nips are still really sore from the last time jeez I can't believe I'm telling you this..."

Paul grinned. "You want more titwork, eh? OK. I had planned to focus lower down this go-around, but I don't mind working over your nipples instead." He turned to get some supplies from one of the cabinets and in so doing, missed the brief gleam of triumph in Landon's eyes.

The session that followed was short on out-loud screams, but nonetheless still an intense one. Landon's nipples were an especially tempting target - they were plump and thick and responded very satisfyingly to Paul's touch. He squeezed them both with his fingers and with various implements, massaged them once the clamps were removed to get the blood and sensation flowing again, bit them between his teeth, poked them with needles.

"One of these days, you know what I'm gonna do?" Paul asked, while stroking his dick with one hand and scraping the point of a sharp knife just below and around the peak on Landon's left side. "I'm gonna put a ring in here."

Of course Landon had heard this before - it was not the first time Paul had voiced this particular fantasy.

"I'm gonna carve a ring out of Matthew's bones. Pure white, the size of a nickel. I'm gonna plant that ring inside your tit so you're constantly wearing a part of him.

"Only how to get it in, right? It's made of bone, not metal. Can't bend it, can't cut it and then seal it back up, so how's it gonna go in, huh? You know how I'm gonna put it in? I'm gonna take this knife here and I'm gonna slice right through your nip, straight through from one side to the other, right through the center. I'm gonna stick that bone ring inside and I'm gonna tape the cut shut over it. Couple months go by, that ring is in there permanently, his bone lodged forever in your... in your... uhhhhhhhhhhh...."

The orgasm came swiftly, as it always did when he indulged this fantasy. The idea of forcing Landon to wear a bone from his predecessor as jewelry, melding it with his own body until the two were inextricably joined, was so hot that he could hardly keep from coming once he got to thinking about it. The only reason he hadn't actually carried through on the fantasy was practical: Landon's body would reject Matthew's bone if he tried. He would have to come up with a way to wrap the bone in metal, steel maybe, while Landon's tit healed around it, then remove the metal once the healing was complete. And he couldn't think of a way to do that easily. So the fantasy remained just a fantasy. Which was fine - it would have been a shame to carve a chunk out of Matthew's perfect skeleton anyway. It was hot enough just to imagine it during a scene.

Afterward, after cleaning up the gear and stowing Landon away, Paul found himself with time on his hands. He had originally planned to spend pretty much the whole afternoon teasing and tormenting Landon's cock, but once he thought about doing the bone-ring scene instead that had definitely taken over his interest. He'd shot his load and was satiated now, but it had only taken maybe forty-five minutes to do so. What to do with the rest of the afternoon?

He settled on making one of his more time-consuming dishes for dinner, a rabbit stew. He dug the rabbit out of the freezer and set about cleaning and cutting it, and chopping some carrots and potatoes. The onion and garlic had to be in powdered form because he had used up all the fresh. He was pretty sure there was still some spinach he could use in the freezer, though he might have to rearrange things to find it and get to it. Soon enough he was whistling to himself as he puttered about the kitchen, stove merrily pumping out heat to drive away the January cold seeping in through the walls.

By the time the days began to lengthen noticeably toward the end of February, Paul realized that his relationship with Landon had drifted somewhat away from where it had started, with one sadist and one victim, but found that he didn't mind. It even occurred to him on more than one occasion that there might be some sort of subtle manipulation going on, that Landon had somehow engineered the change. But that was too far-fetched to be plausible; Paul was in total control, making decisions in full command of his faculties.

In his attempts to make sure not to overuse his statue and blow it out prematurely, he necessarily had to consider Landon's state of mind, which meant asking him questions or observing him with an eye toward his well-being. It was all for the greater good. The beast within huffed a bit at the absurdity of the idea of asking a victim's permission before torturing him, but Paul knew that if he wanted to make his toy last a long time, he needed to take care of it. He was still the one in control. If he ever felt like indulging his craving for pain, he could do so any time he wanted. Things just tended to work out better if he coordinated the scenes in advance.

And so Paul found himself scheduling "dates" when he would break out the torture implements and go to work on Landon's still-beautiful, still-unmoving body. Planning it in advance made it easier on Landon, or so he claimed, and Paul believed him. Paul still got his fix from it, and the orgasms were as satisfying as ever. There were fewer of them, but that was partly on him. In the depths of the dark winter, he just didn't feel like putting the effort in to shooting a load quite as often, so sometimes three or even four days would pass between episodes. Much of the time he would only inflict mild discomfort: a little titplay, some light flogging, a bit of pressure on the balls. Landon still wore the ball collar, which had not come off since it had first gone on. He even got to come himself twice in a single month, and the second time Paul uncharacteristically let him enjoy it rather than ruining it with post-orgasmic persistence.

There were still times when he would get rougher and make Landon scream with pain. The beast would get its fill and then afterward, Paul would spend time helping to bring Landon back to what passed for normal. "Thank you," he would say. "I appreciate you suffering for me."

Landon never got to the point where he would say something as patently false as "Sure," or "No problem" in response. But Paul made a point of thanking him all the same. And in between, when there was no pain being exchanged, the atmosphere was almost "normal", as if they were two hunting buddies out in the woods together instead of captive and captor. They exchanged banter, Landon gently insulting Paul's cooking skills, Paul accepting the role of goat and joking back that Landon was actually better off for having his meat cut up, since the way Paul cooked it was too tough to chew. They could even gingerly joke about Paul's tastes in entertainment... gingerly.

Paul knew there was danger in allowing himself to see Landon as a person rather than a victim. There was a fine line between caring enough for the victim to keep him healthy for long-term use, and actually caring for the victim. He tried to make sure to stay on the right side of the line, and supposed he must be doing it right because things were going along so smoothly. The beast stayed quiet, which could only be because Paul was feeding it what it wanted.

February faded into March, March became April...

April 9, 2025

Dear journal,

Ah, spring at last! Please forgive me for not writing for so long; I fear I was poor company during the cold months and not fit for decent correspondence.

But I had to write today, because today marks the one-year anniversary of the arrival of my beloved and me at our mountain hideaway. The snow still lies in piles under the trees, but the meadow around the cabin is clear and wet, the ground fairly heaving with new life ready to climb forth into the golden sunlight. Soon it will be time to clear the ground and plant the seed, and fetch more hens for the yard; oh, how I look forward to fresh eggs again after such a long and drea

"What are you writing?" Landon asked.

"This? Ah, it's nothing," Paul replied, putting his pen down.

"No, it's something. You used to write in it a lot when I first got here. Then you stopped for a long while. Now, today, you started again. I'm just curious is all."

"It's a journal."

"A journal. I kinda figured it had to be. What else would you be writing? So it's what, a session log? You write down your playtime ideas, browse through it again later if you want to refresh your mind with things you've tried before? Only why today, if that's the case? You haven't hit me with anything worth writing down in the last few days."

"Mmmmmm... that's not exactly it. Here." Paul held the journal up where Landon could see it and flipped through some of the older entries. Long minutes went by, broken only by Landon murmuring "turn" when he reached the end of a page. Eventually they got to the one marked with today's date. Landon read through it, then flicked his eyes away. Paul set the pages down on the table.

"You know," Landon eventually said, "I had allowed myself to forget what a sick fucking bastard you are." His voice began to intensify. "Has it really been a whole year since you did this to me? A whole year that I have been locked inside this frozen body, all my joints turned to stone? While you've been prancing around, getting your rocks off by beating me up? Somehow, I allowed myself to start thinking of this life as normal. Only just now, reading what you wrote about how you fucking stalked me for weeks at my apartment and I had no idea, that reminded me that, yeah, I used to have an actual normal life and this life? It's not normal, not at all. I just walled off how fucking not normal it is and ignored it because it's the only way I can get through a day.

"Then you show me this, and suddenly it all comes crashing back how seriously fucked-up this situation is. What is all this shit? 'My beloved' and 'oh how my heart soars'? Is that seriously how you see this situation here? You think you're Romeo and I'm your Juliet? Because I don't see it that way at all."

"No," Paul broke in. "No, that's not how I see it. The journal is a work of fiction. I know that."

"Oh, so it's a joke, then? My pain is a joke to you? You gave me a full-day sunburn, nearly killed me from heatstroke, then whipped me so bad I felt it for two weeks afterward, and when you write about it you call it 'hijinks'? What the fuck, man?"

"No, no joke." Paul found himself at a loss for words. Dammit, he was the sadist here! Why did he feel compelled to explain anything at all to his victim? Victims were for suffering, not for justifying the suffering to! That's what the beast would say, and yet the beast was strangely absent, and Paul found himself desperate for Landon to understand. "It's... well, it's entertainment, yes. But it's also camouflage. Remember, a year ago I didn't know if I had the law hot on my tail. I took all the precautions I could think of to prevent anyone from knowing that I was involved in your disappearance, or from following my tracks to this cabin. The journal was kind of a backup to a backup plan. If somehow, the police ever do find out what's going on here, the journal is my way to end up in a psych ward instead of a prison."

"So you admit that you know that what you're doing to me is prison-worthy," Landon pressed. "It's criminal."

"Yeah, of course it is."

"And yet you're doing it anyway. You put me through hell, you are still putting me through hell every single day, even though you know it's criminal, and it's not just criminal, it's not just wrong, it's downright evil. You are downright evil."

To be described as "evil"... that should have been a compliment. It should have been the most satisfying thing Landon could have said to him. And yet, somehow, it wasn't. Where was the beast, who would lap up such praise and purr with pride? Paul suspected that more manipulation was at work here, though he had no idea how that could be happening. And yet he could not stop the tears from welling up in his eyes. He fought to speak past a breaking voice.

"Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I know it. I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry."


"I can't... I can't do that," Paul said. "I can't let you go or they'll lock me up. You don't know what it's like, these... these cravings I have... I know it's awful for you, and I'm sorry for that, but I have to do it, I had to make you be still, I have to hurt you, this need... it's the only way to satisfy the need..."

"That's a pathetic excuse. Plenty of people go through life not getting everything they want out of their sex life. You could too. You just don't want to. You like keeping me trapped here, unable to even scratch my own nuts when they itch, which they do all the time now because they're locked into this fucking weight and the skin underneath it is just festering away, unwashed for months. But you know, I'd even settle for living with a constant itch in my nut sack if I could just bend my neck. You have no idea how much easier just that one small power to move would make this on me. Just that one tiny change, surely you could do that?"

Paul was shaking his head, the tears flowing freely down his cheeks now.

"No... no... I can't undo it. Any of it. Even if I wanted to. Your bones are all solid now. What I did to you before... that worked because I could... program you to turn cells of one type into cells of another type. Ligament into bone. But now, all your bone is the same. There's no way to tell the difference between bone-that-used-to-be-ligament and bone-that-was-always-bone. If I tried to turn you back the way you were, I would just melt you into a puddle. Even just freeing up your neck... I'd sever your spinal cord. You'd lose all sensation below your neck if I didn't kill you. It's not possible. There's no way."

"You're wrong. There is a way," Landon said, his voice low and intense. "Do it. Set me free."

Paul just shook his head, taking half a step back. He looked away, down, unable to meet Landon's gaze. "I can't," he whispered.

"You mean you won't," Landon sneered. "Coward."

Paul fled to the relative safety of the garden.

Summer came. Landon continued to suffer torments at Paul's hands, but the tone had changed since that day in April. Landon's reactions to the torments varied. Sometimes he responded with fear in his eyes and pain in his voice, and Paul relished these sessions because that was exactly what he wanted from his victim. Other times Landon bore the abuse stoically, only reacting to the worst punishments Paul could devise. Still other times he reacted with scorn, sometimes with his voice, sometimes merely by rolling his eyes with disdain at the unimaginative torment Paul had settled on for that session. Worst of all, in Paul's mind, were the times when Landon actually seemed bored, as if Paul's attentions were an unwelcome but unavoidable interruption that he wished to get through with as soon as possible so he could return to other, more interesting pursuits.

That last attitude turned out to be a remarkably effective erection deflator. The first time it happened, one warm July day, Paul responded by cranking up the intensity until Landon's screams rang out from the cabin's windows, and that gave him some satisfaction. But then it happened again the next time, and Paul just didn't have the energy to go all-out again. That session ended without a climax. As the summer wore on, more and more of them turned out that way simply because getting Landon to respond in a desirable way took more and more energy from Paul. As a result, the actions that used to turn him on now felt rote and mechanical, pointless to pursue.

Summer turned to fall, and fall became winter. The darkness closed in again. Days, even entire weeks would pass with neither man speaking a word. Paul found himself battling depression. Every so often, once or twice a month, Paul found that subjecting Landon to torment would rouse him to his old self. But doing so took ever more effort and resulted in ever less satisfaction. More and more often, Paul just couldn't be bothered. There was no reward to be found there; he was just going through the motions. Where once the cravings had driven him to such actions, now he was acting out of mere habit. The beast, which had never wandered far from his thoughts since he first came of age, was strangely silent for long stretches of time. When it did express desire, it was a hollow thing, the ghost of a craving.

Paul spent long hours wondering if perhaps he had chosen the wrong victim, that perhaps another man would have provided more satisfaction over a longer time. It was certainly possible. Paul could always head down out of the hills, back to Portland or to Seattle or San Francisco and seek out someone new, possibly even someone who wanted a life of immobilization and pain. Such men existed, he was certain. It was worth considering, but there were two main problems. First, what to do about Landon? The only way he could fetch a new victim would be to first terminate the current one, which he was not yet ready to commit to. And second, would that really solve the problem? For Paul, a large part of the turn-on (or what had once been a turn-on) was the fact that his victim was straight, and unwilling, and desperately unhappy with his circumstances. Would he get the same rush out of paralyzing someone who wanted to be paralyzed? Out of beating someone who wanted to be beaten? Who saw Paul's dick as something appealing and erotic instead of foreign and threatening? The only way to know for sure would be to try it, but he suspected that a willing victim would not provide the same thrill.

And yet, there was no thrill to be had from his current arrangement, either. The cabin wasn't a dungeon any more, it was a nursing home. Paul spent his days feeding a man who couldn't feed himself, bathing him when he needed bathing and cleaning up his shit because he couldn't do it on his own. And for what? He was no longer receiving any sexual gratification from his efforts, so what was the point?

"I figured something out," he said one damp January morning, breaking over a week of silence, lying in bed next to Landon's inert form. "You have been manipulating me."

Landon snorted derisively. "How do you figure, genius?"

"All this time I've been on the lookout for Stockholm syndrome. You falling in love with me, or at least forming some sort of emotional bond with me. And I've been guarding against forming any kind of emotional attachment to you, more or less successfully. But that's the wrong model. I should have been thinking of a prison instead.

"The problem with prisons is that the cons have unlimited time on their hands and bored brains that come up with all sorts of ideas. They are powerfully motivated to alter their environments to suit their desires, whether that is digging an escape tunnel or getting access to a phone or jockeying for the best spot at lunch. In your case, the only tool you have to operate on your jailer is your voice. But like any other con, you have had the same limitless time and imagination. You spent a few months this past spring and summer experimenting on me, and you discovered what worked to influence me and what didn't. And since then, you've been using that against me. And not just words, you're using body language against me even though you barely have any."

Landon said nothing. It didn't matter what he said or didn't say: Paul knew his conclusion was accurate. Anything Landon might say was likely to be a lie or more manipulation. Paul suspected that most people would probably have caught on to what was happening sooner. His rudimentary social skills had prevented him from figuring it out for a much longer time.

"You figured out how to break the first rule of the sadist: never issue an ultimatum that you don't have the power to enforce. Or, phrased differently, never give the victim power over you. Somehow, you found a way to get power over me. You figured out that I want something from you, and you devised a way to deny it to me. You learned that I want your reaction to what I do to you, and you have discovered how to stop reacting.

"No, that's not quite right. I can still make you react if I try hard enough. You've done something worse. You have made it so that your reaction is no longer satisfying to me. How the hell could you do that? That should not have been possible. And what's sad is that even though I know you're doing it, I can't stop you. Somehow, you have gotten into my head. You have made me stop wanting to hurt you. I didn't think that could ever happen. You have managed to do something I haven't been able to do for as long as I can remember. You have made the craving stop."

A long silence stretched between them. Drops of rain began to tinkle against the window pane.

"Seriously, I'm impressed. You can't move, you barely speak. And yet you have been able to make the cravings stop. The beast inside is not just quiet, he's utterly gone, and I don't know if he'll ever come back. Because there's a problem with what you did. The problem is... by taking away the craving, you've also taken away everything else that makes me want to go on living. I can't enjoy anything any more. There is nothing I look forward to. The craving must somehow be deeply connected to everything else that ever gave me joy, because now that it's gone, so is any desire for pretty much anything else."

Another long silence. The rain continued to drum against the cabin.

"Wh... no." The silence stretched a few moments longer, then Paul continued. "I was going to ask you why you did it, but I know the answer. It's the same answer I gave you when I first brought you here. 'Because that's what I want,' you would say. You want an end to your suffering. You wanted me to stop hurting you back when I was still doing that regularly. Now that I've mostly given that up, you want an end to all the suffering. And you know I won't give you that as long as I still have a use for you. So you have made yourself useless to me, only you did it in such a way that you changed me instead of yourself.

"It's absolute genius, and the most amazing thing is, even though I've figured it out, I'm powerless to undo what you've done. I'm caught in this black depression where every path out turns around and leads me right back to you. And that will continue to be true for as long as you and I are both here. I think the only thing that has a chance of bringing me back to 'normal' would be getting away from you, getting away from this place. Maybe getting back among other people, out of this rut would change me back. But I can't do that as long as you're alive. Which means you get what you want."

Only the raindrops answered.

"Here's what we're going to do. We're going to wait for spring. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is just Seasonal Affective Disorder and it'll clear up once the warm weather comes back. Then I'm going to try hurting you again. We'll see whether that's enough to bring the beast back."

Spring came, and the days began to lengthen. Paul found that the warm weather and increased sunlight did indeed brighten his mood. But only by a little bit. One clear April day when the sun was shining brightly, he tried to rekindle the erotic flames that he used to feel when tormenting Landon. He dragged Landon up out of bed, stood him up on the dolly, and began to slap his balls. But he found he needed to use a strap, because he couldn't stand the idea of touching Landon's skin. Endless consecutive days of wiping the crap off Landon's ass and legs and - yes - sometimes his balls meant that Paul couldn't see the dangling, weighted nuts as anything sexual any more. They were just one more thing that had to be tended to, one more item on each day's to-do list, a list that was exactly the same as the list from the day before. So he pounded the living hell out of Landon's balls until they were swollen to half again their normal size, never once getting any response, neither from his victim nor his own dick, which stayed stubbornly soft and shriveled throughout.

He realized he actively loathed Landon. Two years of playing nurse to an invalid had made him stop thinking of Landon as an erotic living sculpture. Now he was a burden, nothing more. Paul had to think of Landon's needs constantly, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, with never a weekend, never a day off, never a vacation.

He had gotten exactly what he had planned for, and hated every minute of it.

He stopped sleeping on the bed and curled up at night on the sofa, where he would lie awake long into the night, thoughts spiralling endlessly around nowhere. As spring wore into summer he had to retreat outside into the woods any time he wanted sexual release. Even there, the act was mechanical, purely for the ejection of built-up fluids. He couldn't fantasize about things that had once turned him on. Every restrained limb reminded him of Landon's frozen arms and legs, which were now symbols of uselessness and need, not erotica; every imagined concussion of leather against flesh was followed by an image of the bored, blank expression on Landon's face during a flogging; every scream of dismay turned into Landon's sneering, belittling voice.

Paul tended the garden and the chickens, but only half-heartedly. There would be no need to store up supplies for another winter in the mountains. Now, while the sun poured its bounty liberally onto the hillsides and he could escape the confines of the cabin whenever he wished, things were bearable. But he knew he could not face another cold, damp, dark, claustrophobic winter here. Something would have to change before the season turned.

September 7, 2026

Dear journal,

I must tell someone, and yet I can tell no one. There is no one I can turn to to unburden myself. No one but you.

I cannot live this lie much longer. My idyllic life is an idyll no more, nor can I stand to pass another winter in this dark and dreadful place.

My beloved is not the man I once believed him to be. And, if I am to be completely honest, I am also not the man I once believed myself to be. Once, it seemed, we were made for each other and "forever" was simply not long enough. Now I dread the idea of spending even one more day in his company, and I have no reason to doubt that he feels the same about me.

We have been together for too long with only each other. It was foolish of me to not anticipate this, and yet how could I have known? I was blinded by love, I think. By illusions of what I thought love would be.

Landon has taken to refusing food, and so I must provide his nourishment via mechanical methods. He will not cooperate with his basic hygiene, relieving himself wherever he may be, whatever his circumstances. I tried setting him up with a diaper so as to localize the soiling, but the moment I go to change it, he chooses that instant to release whatever he has pent up inside. I find myself playing housemaid in addition to nurse, constantly cleaning floors, blankets, bedding, clothing, whatever he has lately dirtied. I cannot keep up; the cabin is suffused with the most dreadful odor, one that is scarcely diminished by keeping the windows open at all hours, and the door during the day.

We have not made love in a satisfying way in longer than I can remember.

Oh, journal, how did it all go so wrong? How could a love that seemed destined to last forever fade to dust in two short years?

Nevertheless. I must soldier on.

Journal, I relate this to you in the strictest confidence. I know what I must do. The way before me will be a hard one, but the path is clear.

Please do not feel I am abandoning you, even though in a sense that is exactly what I will be doing. You have been a dear friend to me, my journal, and I still treasure your companionship. Nevertheless, when I return to the city, I must leave you here in the cabin. Perhaps for you these mountains are still a place of beauty, serenity, and joy.

Farewell, dear friend.

Paul began the day by stroking Landon's dick until it stiffened in his hand. Touching the man at all triggered a reaction of deep disgust. Paul had once savored that reaction when it had been Landon experiencing it; now that it was his own, he could barely force himself to keep up the stroking. He tried to force his mind back to the state it had been in when he had first dragged Landon here to the cabin, back to when stroking an immobilized victim had been the height of eroticism.

He could not remember when he had last had Landon shoot a load. All he recalled was that the last two or three were so grueling he had stopped trying. The man had a remarkable ability to withdraw into himself and ignore whatever stimuli may be coming through his nervous system. Once Landon's dick was up, Paul shifted to a vibrator. Trying to provide the necessary stimulation by hand would take too long and Paul's arm would grow tired long before the end was in sight. The vibrator could maintain its steady pace with much less effort.

It took most of an hour, but Landon was eventually roused to the point where his cock spasmed a few times, dribbling a few wet blobs onto his abdomen. It was the best Paul could expect; the man was shutting himself down as best he could, his body's systems were running on auto-pilot since the brain that controlled them was trying hard to cease to be.

Well, today Paul would help him along in that effort.

Paul looked down at his statue's body. The muscles were still there, but they were somewhat diminished by Paul's failure to keep up the exercise programs. It had been weeks since he had last hooked up the electro-controller. He just didn't see the point in putting all that effort into setting up the wires just to tear them all down again two hours later. Landon's physique had correspondingly declined, though he was still stronger and more heavily-muscled than most men. His face was utterly blank, eyes half-lidded, staring at nothing. His hair had grown in (another area Paul had not kept up with) on his head, his face, all over his body. The stubble was actually somewhat appealing, and for the first time in weeks Paul was not completely repulsed by an attribute of Landon's body. Perhaps that would be enough to let him "fake it till you make it".

"We're going to do something different today, ol' buddy," he said. "Today we're gonna go all the way." No response, of course.

Paul had considered many options. The method that he had used on Matthew was the wrong choice here. Too messy. He was tired of cleaning up messes. Landon needed something tidier. Using the electrobox would have been clean - clamp a wire on each nipple, turn the dial, and wait, and if that didn't work, he could try running the current from chest to back. But though that was clean, it was swift, and Paul was not looking for swift.

Paul went and got an item from the kitchen: a large, clear plastic bag. So odd to think that such a flimsy, wispy thing could be enough to serve the purpose he had in mind. Methodically, he slid one end under Landon's head and snugged it down below the thick, heavy neck, holding it in place with his hands. Tape or a rope might have done, but Paul wanted this to be a hands-on experience even if, perversely, he found little pleasure in actually laying his hands on his victim. He lay down on the bed beside his statue.

The bag puffed out and deflated, slowly, over and over. It was a fairly large bag and could hold a good deal of air, and Landon's metabolism was now much slower than it had once been, so several minutes passed before there was any visible effect. Gradually, steadily, Landon's respiration rate increased as his body attempted to expel the carbon dioxide that was building up in his tissues. His breaths became deep and heaving, desperately seeking oxygen that was in shorter and shorter supply.

Paul held on, his hands pressing gently against the throbbing veins in the neck. Landon's body trembled, as if he was trying to move his arms toward his throat. Paul wasn't sure how long he could make Landon go before irreversible changes happened, so he stayed on the side of caution and lifted the edge of the bag clear of Landon's face well before any damage could be done. The heaving breaths now brought in fresh air and expelled stale and gradually began to ease. To Paul's surprise, Landon's voice emerged, croaking and dry between the gasps.

"Why'd. You stop?" he asked.

Paul thought a long while before speaking. He hadn't expected to have to explain his actions. And in fact, he didn't have to. But he chose to. "You're getting your wish. I'm granting you an end to your suffering. But I want it to last a while."

"Go. To. Hell," Landon wheezed.

"I will," Paul replied, and pulled the bag down over Landon's face again.

This time, he waited longer before lifting it free, curious to learn where the borderline between living and not was to be found. He did not want to cross that border too soon, and so over and over he would clench the bag shut then open it a while later, each time pushing Landon a little closer to that line before retreating back.

By the fifteenth or sixteenth repetition, Landon's body was reacting autonomically. Oxygen deprivation had probably killed off at least some of his higher brain functions, though it was difficult to know for sure since he had offered so little in the way of responsiveness for a long time. His body didn't care that his cognitive powers were dwindling or gone - it fought for life even as Landon's brain slowly shut down. He could not keep his lungs from straining for air, much as he may have wished to had he still been around to do any wishing. And thus, Paul found himself growing aroused by the ordeal he was subjecting Landon to. A ghost of old times rose within him, when he would dish out the suffering and his beautiful, noble statue would endure it and offer satisfying reassurance that suffering was indeed taking place. He began to stroke himself with one hand, holding the bag closed with the other.

The moment came for Paul sooner than it had for Landon. A spray of semen splattered onto Landon's belly, mingling with the drops still drying there from before. Paul shook the last few sprinkles out, then added his right hand to help the left, closing off the last gaps that small bits of air had been able to leak through.

Long minutes later, the heaving seemed to stop, then there was one more giant pulse from the diaphragm, then a longer pause, then another enormous heave. Each time Paul thought the last had come, it seemed there was one more after that, and so he continued to hold onto the bag long after the last twitching movement, weeping silently to himself. Finally, he sensed the body beside him beginning to cool. Setting his ear to his victim's chest, he heard no heartbeat, felt no pulse. Lifting the condensation-fogged bag free, there was no more attempt at breath. His miraculous living statue was now just a statue.

It was still only mid-morning. Paul moved Landon's body to the dolly, then set out through the forest. The underbrush had grown in even thicker since the last time he had come this way, and the going was hard. It took three hours to reach the spot where the cage lay, buried in the undergrowth and far from any path. Paul collapsed the dolly to its lowest position, which was still a good twelve inches off the ground. With infinite care so as not to shatter any bones, he slid Landon off the dolly and onto the ground, then pushed and pulled until it rested inside the cage. Paul closed the door and clipped the padlock into place. He would leave the key on the table in the cabin. Someone, some day, would come by and find him. Until then, here in the ancient forest, his statue's temporary parts would be slowly consumed by the elements, just as Matthew's had been. By keeping the larger carnivores away, the structure of the lasting parts would be preserved for all eternity. By this time next year, Landon would be flensed clean, and all that would be left would be a perfectly-formed skeleton, formed from one single, beautiful, pure, undifferentiated bone.

Paul fled back down the hillside to the cabin.

Halloween was still two weeks away, but the houses were all decorated with orange lights and cobwebs, stuffed witches and cardboard tombstones. It was the right season, if only Paul could get into the proper frame of mind and ignore the cartoonish nature of the supposedly scary adornments, which were of course not scary at all.

Perhaps that was proper. Death, after all, was not scary.

He lifted the phone, dialed the familiar number. He was only mildly surprised when the voice that answered was one he did not recognize and announced the name of the restaurant as "Szechuan King" instead of "Golden Palace". He had long ago noticed that there seemed to be an entire underground ecosystem of Chinese restaurants, which constantly changed hands and names while inexplicably keeping the same phone numbers and the same ordering of the specials on the menu. Mrs. Yang was no doubt long gone, possibly even two or three changes of ownership ago. Yet somehow, this same phone number still worked, and he could still order a number 7 and know that in twenty minutes, pork lo mein and won ton soup would arrive at his door.

They did. The delivery boy was young and handsome, an Asian lad of perhaps 25. The beast inside let out a vague, sleepy growl at the sight of him and Paul thought briefly of changing his plans, changing his choice of victim. Once more, just once? the beast begged idly, as from a distance. But it was merely habit, not actual desire. There would be no more victims, whether play-acted like the one-night stands or real like Matthew and Landon. The craving need that had once dominated his entire existence had gone away entirely up in the mountains. It had stayed away for weeks after his return to Portland, only creeping back on shadowy paws in the last few days, when his plans were nearing completion. After today, it wouldn't matter if the beast stayed away forever or came back with full strength - it would be powerless to control his actions any more.

He tipped the delivery boy generously and brought the bag inside. Sitting at the table, he found that the won ton soup looked the same as he remembered, but the noodles were a slightly different recipe, thicker than the ones Golden Palace used to use. He let both soup and noodles vent hot steam into the air while he stood and went to the refrigerator.

Reaching in, he retrieved a small vial, then sat back down at the table. Slowly, deliberately, he removed the stopper and lifted the vial in front of his face. The contents were odorless, clear, invisible. He contemplated the vial a moment more, then tipped it sideways and sprinkled the tasteless liquid liberally over the noodles, where it was absorbed immediately. He dipped his spoon into the soup, planning to stall for a bit longer, but he found it still too hot to eat and besides, there was no reason to procrastinate. He turned his attention back to the lo mein, plunged his fork in, and lifted some steaming strands into the air. He hesitated only a moment before bringing the food to his mouth and pulling it from the fork, grinding the chewy noodles, the crisp vegetables, the somewhat stringy meat between his teeth with an up-and-down motion of his jaw that somehow he had never taken the time to fully appreciate before.

He took the time to appreciate it now, savoring every bite of the meal. He couldn't finish it all, in fact not even half. Ordinarily, he would have packed up the leftovers to save for later, but there would be no point to that today. From this point on, he would be on a liquid diet.

By this time tomorrow, he would be running a fever. The day after that he would find himself confined to bed. The day after that his phone would place the call to 911 that he had pre-scheduled. At some point, paramedics would arrive. He would do his best to hold himself in the proper position while they took him to a hospital and scrutinized him and failed to come up with any way to change the inevitable outcome. After that he would no doubt be transferred to some sort of nursing home. It would be loud there, with a constant din of people and noise from media screens, and it would smell of stale body fluids and industrial cleaning chemicals: a thoroughly unpleasant place for an introvert and a far cry from the clean, pure quiet of his mountain. He would be in constant discomfort every minute of every day, and the thought of being trapped forever in such an environment terrified him. But it was only fair atonement.

Death, after all, was not scary. What was scary was the yawning gulf of time before it came.


  1. I have just found your blog and I'm shocked about your outstanding writing skills! Do you happen to have writen about deaths by (slowly) stabbing (well, is ok if it doesn't end in death lol)? And do you still write nowadays?

    Best wishes from Spain! :)

    1. To the gentleman from Spain -

      Thank you for the kind compliments! I am still writing, producing a story or two per year. I can't remember writing any death-by-slow-stabbing stories, or even any non-lethal stabbing stories. "Cascina del Benessere" does have a stabbing scene, but it's far from central to the plot.

      For most of my stories, death isn't the goal. In fact, death almost represents a failure on the part of the torturer. A dead body feels no pain, after all, and since pain is the point for me, then the victim dying inconveniently early really gets in the way of that.

      (Speaking about fiction only here. In real life I'm actually a pretty nice guy who would never actually do the stuff I write about.)

      Best wishes back to you!

      - POW

    2. I see your point, I meant in the edge of death I find something special in a sharped tool cutting into flesh while the victim moans (and I speak about fiction too hahaha :P)