Monday, January 4, 2021

I Want You To Want Me

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 sexual activity, restraint, and torture. It is intended for mature readers who wish to view such material, and for whom it is legal to do so. The author in no way condones or promotes non-consensual acts in real life.

Copyright © 2021 by POW. For spam prevention, an animal name has been added to the author's e-mail address. Remove the animal name to get the actual address: POWauthor zebra at yahoo dot com. This story may be freely copied and distributed so long as it is copied in its entirety, unchanged, including the author credit information and disclaimer. Other POW stories are available at The author welcomes feedback.

I Want You To Want Me

It's Tuesday, March 15.  I'm on the number 24 bus heading south on Victoria Park Ave toward the lake, my usual ride in to work.  The morning sun is bright and the sky is clear for the first time in days.  It's still cold, but maybe some of that grey, slushy mess by the roadsides will finally start melting away.  I like snow when it's fresh, but after it's been sitting around for weeks it's just ugly.

The bus is a little more than half full.  I'm on the right side toward the rear, my favourite spot to sit, in the row of seats right behind the rear exit door.  I like that spot because I never have a neighbour in front of me blocking my view.  I like to spend my ride partly watching the scenery roll by out the window, partly scrolling through news on my phone.  The view of buildings and cars and people parading along as the bus moves is pleasantly mesmerizing, but when we stop for lights or traffic I get bored and need the distraction the phone provides.

I've been at this job for eight months now and I've ridden this route enough times that some of the faces are starting to get familiar.  Across the aisle from me, for instance, is the lotsa-handbags lady, who always carries at least three and takes up a double seat for her and her baggage.  Two rows ahead of her is the guy who moves his head in quick, jerky movements, like a bird.  And in the row beyond that is the couple that always commutes together.  The husband gets off at my stop with a quick good-bye kiss to the wife.  She stays on, so I don't know where she eventually ends up.  And there various others that I recognize to one degree or another.

I don't know much about the people behind me since I never face that way.  I catch glimpses when I'm getting on, or when they're getting on or off and walking past my seat.  Two of them I've seen enough that they're familiar: a really tall guy and then a guy who always wears a hoodie, no matter what the weather is like.  Others are less familiar.

Three stops from mine.  Lotsa-Handbags Lady climbs laboriously to her feet, gathers up her gear, and trundles off the bus.  Two other people get on.

Two stops away.  Nobody moves.

One stop away.  Hoodie Guy gets up and comes up the aisle, turning as he passes me to head out the rear exit directly in front of me.  I've never really spoken to anyone on the bus, just the occasional "excuse me" or "sorry, behind you", but nothing chatty.  The others mostly live in their worlds and I live in mine.  So when Hoodie Guy stops in the doorway and faces me, I at first politely avert my gaze, not wanting to invade his space.  He's probably just looking back at his seat to see if he accidentally left something there.

But no.  He stands there and waits until I get uncomfortable and look at him to see what the holdup is.  I've never really paid much attention to what he looks like before - if he ever took the hoodie off, I probably wouldn't even recognize him.  Paying attention to his face for the first time, I notice that his eyes are strangely bright, a clear intense blue with very small pupils.  Those eyes catch mine and I don't look away.  I don't intend to stare but that is what I'm doing, and that's when he speaks.  He looks right into my eyes with his disorienting blue ones.

"I want you to want me," he says.  Then he disappears out the door.


The next stop is mine and I get out.  I spend the day at work fielding calls and emails, resolving the issues I can and enlisting help for the ones I can't.  It's a day like pretty much any other, and yet.

And yet.

I can't get Hoodie Guy out of my mind.  What was the deal with that strange, brief interaction?  Was he just trying to get me humming that campy little ditty from the 70s or 80s or whenever?  If so, it worked - the song stayed stuck in my head for an hour or more.  Whatever he intended, I think about him off and on all day long.  Every time I have a moment when my attention isn't taken up by something else, he pops back into my mind.  On the bus ride home I think of pretty much nothing else, though I've never seen him on the northbound bus before and he isn't there this time either.

In the evening I manage to forget about the incident, distracting myself with Facebook and a couple of video games. I head for bed around ten-thirty and have a restful, dreamless sleep.

The next morning, Hoodie Guy is not on the bus.  The times when I have seen him before, he was always already on the bus, sitting in the backmost row.  He is not there today.  I take my usual spot.

The whole way in, I can't stop thinking about him, and I have no idea why.  It's a strange feeling, kind of like the feeling you get when you find something that catches your attention - you hear a cool new song and just want to sing it over and over, or you get an addictive a new phone game or find a new flavour of coffee that keeps you coming back for refills.  That sort of feeling, but there's no reason for it this time.  Why would I be obsessed with some random guy on a bus?

The "... want me" part of the line he said keeps running through my brain from time to time.  I don't "want" him!  I don't even know him!  And even if I did, I'm not into guys, so that is a non-starter.  Not gonna happen.

I manage to distract myself during the day and only think about Hoodie Guy a few dozen times.  Each time, I firmly turn my attention to something else.  Anything else.  I even let Stan, the reigning Most Boring Man In The World champion, linger at my desk when he comes by after lunch.  Usually I shoo him off after about three minutes by pretending to have way more work than I can handle, because otherwise he would stay for hours, I think, telling stories about "adventures" he's had and "witticisms" he's delivered.  Imagine someone telling you about their dreams, and they all go something like: "... and then I saw a dog, and it was brown, only it wasn't a regular brown, it was a browner brown, you know?  Like, a really brown brown.  I don't know how to describe it."  That's Stan.

But even that doesn't work.  Stan's life is too dull to keep my mind from wandering.  He drones on about how his fitness tracker got screwed up because a glitchy GPS receiver made his route look like he was jumping from one side of the road to the other, walking through yards and houses.  It's a tale that could be relayed in a single sentence but he draws it out for fifteen minutes, and as he meanders his way through, my thoughts keep drifting back to Hoodie Guy and wondering if I will see him on the bus again tomorrow.

This is too weird.  But it will pass.  I'm sure it will.

On Thursday, as I stand waiting for the bus, I catch myself hoping that he will be there.  When it arrives and I climb on board, my heart is fluttering hopefully in my chest.  I tell myself there's no reason for such nonsense, to calm down, but I can't force my racing heart to slow down.  I turn toward the back and look at the farthest seat.

He's not there.

My usual spot is taken, so I take the place across the aisle.  From elation, my mood drops straight to despair.  Why isn't he here?  When will I see him again?  I realize this is absurd.  I am acting like a 13-year-old with a crush, which is absolutely ridiculous.  I am not thirteen any more, I am more than twice that age, and this guy is a total stranger to me!  I don't even know his name!  And oh yeah, HE'S A GUY!  If I'm going to develop a crush on someone, it's not going to be on a dude.

Nevertheless, the dark mood hangs over me all morning at work and I struggle to stay focused.  It's harder to distract myself when I'm in a funk.  I don't have the mental energy to try to not think about Hoodie Guy, and so he occupies my thoughts even more today than before.  I don't think ten consecutive minutes go by without me thinking about him in some way - those weirdly compelling eyes, the way he walks, even those six words he said to me, which of course brings that song back to mind and I end up humming it throughout the day.  Every time I catch myself, I put my earbuds in and drown it out with something else.

I am way too old for this nonsense.  I left this kind of obsession behind in seventh grade.

Friday morning I am standing at the bus stop.  The sunshine from earlier in the week has vanished and the sky is overcast.  I am forcing myself to think about the remaining unmelted slush piles because I know exactly where my thoughts will go if I don't keep myself distracted.  I studiously contemplate the fascinating, complex fractal shapes of the melted-and-refrozen slush.  Such depth, such easily-overlooked beauty - who knew these scuzzy piles of roadside slop could be so interesting!

The bus arrives.  I climb on.  I tell myself I am not going to look at the back seat because I don't care who is in the back seat.  I don't care if anyone at all is in the back seat.  Or any other seat, for that matter.  With that settled, I head for my preferred spot and my eyes flick straight to the back of the bus.

Hoodie Guy is there.

I try to maintain my composure, keeping my face carefully neutral as I turn into my usual row and sit down.  I know he is there behind me.  Is he watching me?  It seems like I can feel his eyes on the back of my head.  But why would he do that?  What am I to him?  A random stranger, just as he is to me.  I tell myself I'm being ridiculous.  It's a certainty that he is spending a lot less time thinking about me than I am spending on him.

The whole ride in to work, I resist the urge to turn around.  Part of me wants to very much.  Just a quick look.  But I know what would happen then: he would notice me turning around and wonder why I'm looking at him.  And what would I say then?  "Sorry, just stretching my neck"?  At this point I am so on edge I'm not sure I could squeeze words out.  My throat feels tight and constricted, like there's a lump in it that I can't swallow down.

This is exactly what a crush is like.

I cannot possibly have a crush on some random schmo in a bus.  Especially a male one.  It's absurd.

I pull out my phone and start playing a mindless game, something that requires just enough attention to keep my fingers busy and my brain distracted.  I glance out the window from time to time to make sure I don't miss my stop.

Three away.  Lotsa-Handbags Lady isn't here today.

Two away.  Two people get on, chatting with each other in sign language.  I watch a while, not needing to fake fascination in their soundless conversation.

One stop away.  I hear the sound of fabric rustling behind me.  A body passes by on my left.  It's him.  Is he going to stop again?  Say something?  What would I do if he did?  What should I do?

He pauses briefly in front of me and my heart starts pounding.  I don't want to look at him, but I do all the same, just to see if he is looking at me.  But he isn't; he's just waiting for the door to finish opening, and then he is through it and out onto the sidewalk.  I watch him through the window, walking down the sidewalk, heading back the way we just came.  People are getting on at the front.  In a few seconds, the door will close and the bus will be on its way again.

In a moment, I am up out of my seat and out the door.  I don't even think about doing it until I am already on the sidewalk, rapidly catching up to Hoodie Guy.  "Excuse me," I call.  He stops and turns around.

What the hell am I doing?  Why did I put myself in this horrible, awkward position?  More immediately, what am I going to say to this guy now that I've brought his attention down upon myself?

"I'm sorry," I hear my mouth say.  "So sorry to bother you."  When in trouble, fall back on good old Canadian politeness.  The words buy me a few precious seconds to figure out what I'm going to say next.  "This is going to sound funny, but... have we met before?"

He looks at me with an expression of mild interest.  Those eerie blue eyes search my face while I stammer out more words.  "I don't know why, but I feel like I know you from somewhere.  Maybe?"  I stumble to a halt in the face of his silence.

"I don't know," he says.  "How about we go get some coffee and try to figure it out?"

I don't really want to, but I agree immediately and let him lead me to a coffee shop two blocks away.  We each place our orders and I insist on paying for his by way of further apologizing for interrupting his day.  I need to get to work, but I can take ten minutes to figure out what is happening to me.  Whatever it is that's haunting me, I can put it to rest here and now.

We talk a bit and discover that we have nothing in common other than a tendency to ride the number 24 bus in the morning.  His name is Currin and he takes the bus all the way from the start of the line near that Bank of Montreal business centre in Markham.  I ask him if he's commuting in to work like I am.  He says no but does not go on to explain further.  I find I do more than half the talking.

By the time we finish our coffees, I know very little about him, but hopefully this will be enough to put an end to the nonsense I have been experiencing the last few days.  There is nothing special about this guy, no reason why my thoughts should be obsessively dwelling on him the way they have been.  I start to get out of my seat.

"Would you like to come back to my place?" he asks.

No.  Not in the slightest.  I need to get to work, and even if I didn't: no.  I start to speak, leading with an apology once more - no reason to hurt his feelings.  "Sorry..."

I meet his eyes as the first word comes out.  They have taken on that strange eerie look again, almost as if they are glowing.  But they aren't, of course.  It's some sort of trick of the light.  I realize that whatever I had been planning to say, I am not saying it.

He fills the silence.  "I want you to come."

Right.  Well, that's nice and all, but I need to get to work, so: still no.  "Okay," I say.

Wait, what?  No!

"You should call your boss.  Take a sick day today.  Play hooky."

Before I realize it, I have my phone out and am dialling the receptionist.  Carol puts me through to Theresa and I hear myself claiming to have come down with a major headache, migraine-level, and asking for the day off so I can lie down in a dark room with ice on my forehead.  She agrees right away and wishes me a speedy recovery.  We have a good relationship.

"Great," Currin says.  "I'm glad you got the day off.  Now turn your phone off."  I comply.  Why would I do that?  "Come on," he continues, standing to go.

We go back outside and cross the street to wait for the next northbound bus.  Standing at the stop, I think about how wrong this all is and how I should be going to work, not traipsing around with someone I just met, heading to his home of all places.  And yet, this is what I want to be doing, and so I wait patiently until the bus arrives.  We climb on board and head for the back seat.

We sit next to each other during the trip, mostly not talking.  The northbound bus is not crowded at this hour and we have the whole back half of the bus to ourselves.  When we pass the stop at Sheppard Ave, where I usually get off on my trip home from work, I rouse a bit.  "Look, I'm sorry, this is my stop, I need to get off here."  I start to rise but he simply says "Please.  I want you to come with me."  And so of course I do.

At the end of the line, we get out and walk alongside the grassy field next to the bank building, then cross through the parking lot.  The snow piles loom hugely in the far corners.  All the snow from the rest of the lot has been heaped into these giant mountains over the winter.  It'll be June before they completely melt, I'm sure.  On the other side of the lot, we walk down residential streets packed tight with comfortable houses.  He leads me up to the door of one of them.  There is nothing remarkable about the house that would distinguish it from any of its neighbours.  It has a brick face and a small, tidy lawn and flowerbed in front.  He opens the door and we go inside.

All the while, my brain is screaming "NOOOO!"  But this is what I want to be doing, and so I do it.

Currin closes the door behind us.  He takes his hoodie off and offers to take my jacket.  "No, that's OK, thanks, I won't be staying long."  I don't want to be here at all and I don't plan to stay any longer than necessary... but that gets me started thinking: how long is necessary?  And the answer is: no time at all.  None.  I shouldn't have come here in the first place.

I should go.

I turn to the door and put my hand on the handle.  "Wait," he says, but I am not waiting.  This is too weird.  "I want you to take your coat off.  Come in.  Sit down.  Stay a while."

And I intend to keep right on plowing out that door, but instead my body turns around and starts taking off my jacket!  I can't even believe it's happening until a few seconds later when I'm handing it to Currin.  My mind is so intent on getting out that door and away from this guy who is seriously starting to creep me out that I don't even realize I'm doing everything he tells me to do until after it happens.  It's like I'm running on an auto-pilot that he controls.

"What are you doing to me?" I blurt.  He just looks at me with an expression of mild puzzlement on his face.  "I don't know what you mean," he says.

I look at him.  There is nothing remarkable about him.  He is neither devastatingly handsome nor horribly disfigured.  Average height (and thus half a head shorter than me), average build, average appearance all around.  Even the eyes are normal-looking now, still blue but not weirdly so.  Nothing unusual about them.  This is not someone I would notice in a crowd.  In fact, I hadn't noticed him before - I only recognized him on the bus because of the hoodie.

And yet, somehow, he is able to make me do things.  This terrifies me.

"Come on in," he says.  "Make yourself comfortable."  The inside of the house is not nearly as tidy as the outside.  Clutter is strewn everywhere, not to the degree of a hoarder where there is so much junk that you can only move from room to room by following cramped pathways between the piles, but it's definitely a well-lived-in place.  There is a layer of dust on the less-used surfaces  I follow his gestures and clear some clothes and boxes off a sofa beneath a window that looks out on the front yard and the street beyond.  He seats himself on a chair next to the sofa, set at a ninety-degree angle so we are sort-of facing each other.

"Why am I here?" I ask.

He chuckles.  "Because you want to be, of course.  Why else do you do anything?"

"But I want to be at work."

"Really?  I don't think you do.  I mean, I think you do a little bit, but you want to be here more.  Otherwise, you would get up and go.  Nothing is stopping you."

"You're stopping me!  I don't know how you're doing it, but you're making me want to stay here!"

"Heh.  Listen to yourself.  Mind control.  Really?"

I fume and try to stand to head for the door.  I tell my body to rise up off the couch and it feels like I'm about to do it... any second now... but somehow, it never happens.  Nothing is holding me down; I am free to stand any time I want... and I want to very much... at least, I think I do.  And yet the moment when I actually move never comes.  It is the most unsettling feeling.  I don't know how to compare it to anything.  I realize if I tried to describe this situation to anyone else, I would come across sounding like Stan: "I wanted to want to stand up, but I must not have really wanted to want to want to."  A babbling nutcase.

I become aware of Currin watching me not standing.  A small smile plays at the corner of his lips.  I seethe but can't think of anything to say.  That's OK - I don't need to say anything.  Politeness can go to hell, I just want to get out of here.  Once again I firmly resolve to get up and go, and once again nothing happens.

"You look warm," Currin says.  "Why don't you take that sweater off?  Be more comfortable."

And just like that, I stand up.  It's the easiest thing in the world to do.  Effortless.  Whatever weirdness was going on, it seems to have stopped.  At least for the moment, and a moment is all I'll need to head for the door, grab my coat, and get the hell out of here and away from this very frightening place.  And person.  I take my sweater off, fold it up neatly, set it on the boxes that I had cleared off the sofa earlier, and sit back down.


"You can take your shoes off too, if you'd like," Currin says.

No, I wouldn't like!  But I suddenly want to very much.  I start to lean forward and then, with great effort, manage to stop myself and sit back up again.  It's hard, very hard to resist.  The urge to lean forward never goes away, and I have to constantly work to resist it.  I look over at Currin.  I realize I am clenching my teeth with the effort of not taking off my shoes and I am starting to sweat a bit.  He still has that same playful hint of a smile on his face.  I am absolutely enraged.

Suddenly, his eyes change.  The blue grows intense, the pupils shrink, and that weird, eerie look comes over him.  "I want you to take off your shoes," he says.

And just like that, I am loosening the laces and slipping my shoes off my feet, lining them up neatly beside the couch.  I do not feel as if I have "caved" or "given in".  I have simply changed my mind.  I wanted to keep them on before, and now I don't.  This is what I want to be doing, and so I am doing it.  Even though I know it is not what I want at all.  

"Are you starting to see how this works?" Currin asks.  "There are varying levels of persuasion.  I can give you suggestions.  Or I can give you suggestions with greater... urgency."

Oh, I see how it works, all right.  "Why?" I ask him.  "Why me?"

"We'll get to that.  For now, you still seem kind of warm.  You've got beads of sweat on your forehead.  Why don't you go ahead and strip down to your underwear.  You'll be more comfortable."

Like hell I will.  But of course, the desire to do exactly that sweeps over me.  I fight it, I resist it with everything I have. I want to rip my shirt off over my head, but I don't.  I want to tear my pants open and shuck them down my legs, but I don't.  It costs me, but I don't move.  Sitting in place on his couch, in his house, in this perfectly unremarkable suburban corner of Toronto, I am fighting for my sanity.  And I'm afraid I am going to lose.

"I kind of enjoy watching the struggle," Currin says, "knowing that I could end it at any moment with a few words.  How long do you want to keep fighting?" he asked.  "The feeling will eventually fade, but how long do you think that will take?  Wouldn't it be easier to just give in now?"

Easier, yes.  Better?  Not one bit.  I keep resisting.  It's not a battle I can "win" and then be done.  Every second I have to fight my own instincts anew.  We sit in silence for a while, him resting comfortably on his chair, me constantly straining to not move.  I slip up a few times, relaxing my guard for just a moment to find my hands reaching for the hem of my shirt, and I have to work extra hard to force them to let go.  It is exhausting.

"Humans only have a finite amount of willpower, you know," Currin says conversationally.  "If we spend too much on one thing, we don't have any left for later.  You've probably noticed that yourself.  Have you ever come home from a day at work where you were tempted to do something, like fire off an angry e-mail to someone who richly deserved to get chewed out, but you fought off the urge all day long and then decided you deserved a 'reward' later?  Something totally unrelated, like a pint of ice cream.  That's what I'm talking about.  Think about what you're doing: you're spending a lot of your willpower right now trying to resist something that isn't all that awful.  Aren't you worried that you might want to save some of that strength for later?  Just in case?"

Oh, god, what does this maniac have planned for me?  His logic is tempting, but I realize it's all just more manipulation.  I force myself to sit still.  He waits about a minute longer - sixty calm, peaceful seconds for him, sixty long, effort-filled seconds for me, and then says, "All right, I'm bored with this."

I know what's coming next and I look away from him.  I refuse to look into those weird blue eyes again.  But it doesn't matter.  Just the sound of his voice is enough: "I want you to take off your clothes."  And I do.

Everything.  Socks and underwear as well.  I fold it all up and make a neat pile on top of my sweater.  I am standing stark naked in a stranger's living room.  I want to be screaming but instead I watch myself calmly disrobe.

"Turn and face me," he says.  I do that as well.

"Hands at your sides.  Face forward."  I stand at attention, awaiting my next command.

He gets up off the chair and stands directly in front of me, looking my body up and down.  He is shorter than I am, so my eyes are about at the level of the top of his head.  I watch him size me up like an item in the deli case at the supermarket, and I stand there and let it happen.  "Very nice," he says.  I know I am in reasonably good shape.  Not like what I was like a few years ago, but still decent.  I hit the gym a few days a week and run on other days.  I'm not bad-looking.  But this - being eyed up by some guy - is not why I keep myself toned.  I seethe and rage silently inside as I stand on display for his perusal.

"Hands behind your head," he orders.  Up they go.  "Elbows out.  Back straight.  Chest up and forward.  Spread your legs.  Shoulder-width apart."  I feel my body obeying his commands before the words even register in my brain.  He puts his hand up and runs his fingers down my side from my armpit to my waist.  I flinch, a hesitant start of a motion to bat his hand away but he says "ah ah, stand still," and I obey.  He inspects me thoroughly, first tracing my muscles with his hands, then kneading them firmly with his fingers and palms.  Front, back, everywhere.  I am itching to punch him in the face and leave, but as before, I am frozen in place, constantly on the edge of making the movements I want to make but never actually making them.

"In winter it's hard to tell what a body looks like under all the layers of clothing," he says.  "But I had a hunch yours would be a good one, and I was not wrong."

Then he lifts my cock and my balls and inspects those as well.  I am cringing from the humiliation of being manhandled like this.  At least now I know the answer to the "why?" question I asked earlier.  It's not a comforting answer.  I don't ask again.  Instead I say, my voice choking a bit: "Please.  Please just let me go."

He smiles, his face centimetres from mine, his hand cupping my balls.  "Why?" he asks.  "Don't you want to be here?"

"No!" I blurt.

"I think you do," he purrs, groping my dick with his other hand.  "If you wanted to leave, you would leave."

"I do want to leave!  You're making me want to stay!"

He leans in and nibbles the side of my neck, still groping my dick.  It is responding to the attention, becoming ever so slightly stiff.  I know that's not from any kind of desire.  It's only reacting to a physical stimulation.  "Yes, I am," he murmurs gently.  "But it's still you who's doing the wanting.  Speaking of wanting... do you remember the first words I said to you?"

I do.

He continues.  "I want you to want me."

And oh god, suddenly I do.  I have never felt any hint of same-sex attraction in my life and yet suddenly I am overwhelmed with desire for this man.  My cock rockets to full hardness in seconds.  The paralysis that had held my muscles locked in place abruptly vanishes, but instead of running for the door I instead wrap my arms around Currin and seek his lips with my own.  We kiss, deeply, and it is bliss to feel his masculine chest pressed against mine.  I tear at his shirt, appalled at what my hands are doing, trying to lift it up over his head without breaking the lock of our lips, but he breaks away laughing.  "Down, tiger!" he chuckles.  "All in good time."

I stand there frustrated, simultaneously wanting to take him in my arms again and wanting to flee this house of horror.  My cock points straight up at his chest, harder than I ever remember feeling it get.  I grip it with one hand, but he wags a finger at me.  "Nope.  No touching," he says.  My hand falls to my side.

"In fact," he continues, "let's make sure you can't touch yourself."  His eyes take on that strange look again and my mind races like a hamster in a cage, running and spinning at high speed but going nowhere.  "I want you to open that cabinet."  He points.  "Take out a pair of handcuffs and lock them on.  Hands in front of you."

This is a bad, terrible, horrible idea and I would be insane to obey him.  But I am only a passenger in my own body.  Currin is the driver.  I watch myself open the cabinet, which contains not only handcuffs but several other restraints as well: steel, leather, rope.  I select a pair of cuffs and without hesitating ratchet them down over my wrists.  I turn and present my shackled hands to him.  The sight of him stirs me once again and I feel my dick throbbing.

"Now take a short chain and two locks," he says.  This doesn't have the same force of urgency that his "command voice" has and so I am permitted to resist.  As always, it costs me, and this time, I relent before he has to resort to forcing me to comply.  I turn back to the cabinet and choose a piece of chain and two padlocks.  If there are keys, I don't see them.  He didn't tell me to fetch keys anyway.  I turn and face him once more.

"Stand on the table and lock one end of the chain to that bolt in the ceiling."

I look up and, sure enough, there is an eyebolt in the ceiling.  I drag the table over from its spot in front of the couch, stand on it, and lock the chain to it.  The bolt is secure, firmly embedded in an overhead beam.  I know what is going to come next and it terrifies me.  As helpless as I am feeling now, it is still possible for me to run out the front door and scream for help.  I don't even care that it's cold, that I'm naked, that I'm wearing handcuffs - I would gladly run outside and leave everything behind.  And it is still possible for me to do that if I can somehow break the invisible hold he has on me.  But the moment I lock myself to that chain, I am done for.  I will never leave this house unless he permits me to, which means I might never leave this house again.  Ever.

I try to leave.  I want to leave.  I need to leave.

I don't leave.  Instead, I put the table back in its place.

"I want you to lock the connecting chain of your handcuffs to the end of the chain above you."

He uses the command voice, perhaps knowing that I would resist this instruction with every bit of my strength.  In the face of that command, all my strength is useless because there is nothing to fight against; I have no choice because I want to do exactly what he wants me to do.  I am eager to lock myself up while dreading it at the same time.  I watch my hands reach up over my head, lock clenched in the fingers of my right hand.  It is awkward to fasten the chains together, but I manage it.  Less than twenty seconds later, I am standing with my arms chained up over my head, shaking and terrified.  My dick remains rock-hard.

Currin approaches me once more, and I am again inflamed with desire for him.  I seek him out with my lips, but he evades me.  He touches my erection and the gentle brush of his fingertips is like lightning in my groin.  I hump the air, while he continues to touch me so gently I can barely feel it, making me hungry for more.  I am desperate to engulf him in my mouth.  He stands just out of reach and lets me stretch toward him to the limit my chain will allow.  I am disgusted at myself for craving him this way, but nevertheless, I crave him all the same.

He steps back and sits down once more.  With the increased distance between us, my desire for him lessens in intensity a bit but is still very much there.  I look down at my engorged dick and watch a trail of pre-cum ooze out of the slit and dangle toward the floor.

"Believe it or not, that chain is for your own good.  You'll appreciate it later," he tells me.  I find that hard to believe.

"What is happening to me?" I whisper.

"I can't really explain how it works," Currin replies.  "I only know that it works.  For whatever reason, I am able to persuade people to want what I want them to want.  It's been this way ever since I was a kid.  I first noticed it when I was ten, but it was probably developing a couple of years before that.  I guess it's good that I didn't have this ability when I was a toddler, right?  My parents would never have been able to civilize me.  As it was, it was tough on them, especially in the teen years.  My mom became terrified of me and to this day refuses to see me.  Dad's a little more lenient, but I try not to impose on them these days.  I just send them an occasional birthday or holiday card.  No voice contact.  It's better for them that way."

"You're a monster," I say.  Even if he is, he still looks gorgeous to me.

He sits up.  "No, don't you get it?  I'm trying to tell you I could be a monster but I have chosen not to be.  When I was sixteen I had my parents wrapped around my little finger.  My friends, too.  They would do anything I wanted them to and I took advantage of that shamelessly.  I had a vague sense that not everyone had the same gift I do, but I figured it was just a matter of degree.  I thought I happened to be particularly persuasive, that's all, but that anyone could be if they really tried.  It was only later that I learned that's not the case.  It's not a question of degree; the rest of you seem to lack the talent entirely.  When I finally figured that out, I undid what I had done to my friends and family as best I could and then left.  I felt guilty over what I came to learn was using them, and I didn't like feeling that way."

"So let me go too," I say.

"Ah.  You, on the other hand, are not friend or family.  You're just some hot stud I met on the bus.  I don't feel guilty about using you at all."

Shit.  I'm dead.  Or raped.  Or both.

"Why chain me up, then?" I ask, hoping to keep him talking to delay whatever plans he has in mind.  "If you can keep me here just by telling me to stay, why the locks?"  My arms are starting to get tired from being held over my head.

Currin stands.  "Like I told you," he says, "those really are for your own good.  I'm going to give you a demonstration of what I'm capable of, and you're going to appreciate those cuffs by the time it ends.  Trust me."

I feel the change the moment he says it.  I don't trust him at all... but the moment he says "trust me", suddenly I do... sort of.  Not fully.  I remind myself that it's not real, that he's the enemy, but it's hard to shake the sensation.

"So here's how it works," he continues.  "If I just say something, with no effort behind it, then it's just a statement.  No more or less persuasive than one from anyone else.  Here: the sky is pink with green polka-dots.  Take a look."

He goes to the window, slides the sheer curtain aside, and I look through.  The sky is the same pearly-grey colour it was when I got out of bed.  Perfectly normal clouds.  A woman passes by on the far side of the street.  If she looked this way, she would see a naked man hanging from a ceiling chain.  She doesn't look, and I don't call out.

Currin speaks again.  "But if I put a little oomph into it, it becomes more convincing."  The tone of his voice changes just a bit.  "The sky is pink with green polka-dots," he says again, only this time it rings differently in my ears.  I look out the window again.  The sky is... well, it's weird.  It's not pink and green, but it doesn't look normal either.  Wherever I focus my vision, I see regular clouds.  But out of the corner of my eye, I see glimpses of the colours he said.  The moment I look elsewhere, though, that spot becomes normal and the pink or green moves somewhere else.  I close my eyes and shake my head, trying to clear my vision.  The sky is not pink and green.  It never was.  It can't be.

"But to really get the effect going, I have to get myself into the proper mindset.  I find that using a fixed phrase helps.  If I start a sentence with... well, I won't say the four words but you know what they are. You've heard them several times already.  If I start a sentence that way, then it really has an effect.  I've never felt the effect myself, but others have explained to me what it feels like.  They tell me it feels... normal.  Natural.  Whatever I tell you to believe, that's what you believe, and you believe it deep down in the heart of your being, with no doubt whatsoever."

He pauses.  I can tell he is working up the proper mindset for his command voice.  And I know what the command will be.

"I want you to believe the sky is pink with green polka-dots."

I look out the window, and it is.  It's not a sunset pink, it's more of a bubble-gum pink.  The dots are large and widely spaced.  It looks completely ordinary, as if the sky had always appeared this way and always would, and yet a part of me knows that's not right.  I can't un-see it, though.  I can't catch any glimpse through the illusion, can't peek behind the curtain to see how the trick is done because there is no trick.  The sky really is pink.  With green polka-dots.

Currin is grinning at me.  "The effect wears off over time.  Exactly how long it takes varies.  Depends on what kind of person you are, how strongly I influenced you, how unreasonable the thing I'm asking you to believe is.  Most importantly, it depends on whether I'm around to keep reinforcing the suggestion.  Something like this might take you three or four days to shake off.  But if I give you a booster dose every day, you'll keep believing it forever."

Try as I might while he is talking, I cannot make the sky return to the colour I know it should be.  And in the face of the evidence of my own eyes, I of course begin to doubt myself.  Am I absolutely certain that the sky can't look like this?  People say "is the sky blue?" when they're asking a rhetorical question whose answer is "duh, of course".  But it's frequently not blue at all.  For half of every day it turns black.  And even in the daytime it can be grey or white or brown or yellow or orange or red.  Or pink.  And people in tornado-prone zones talk about green skies.  So... while I am certain that the sky had been pearly grey a few minutes ago, can I be absolutely certain that it has not truly turned pink since then?  Those green spots could be due to some natural phenomenon, too.  I am absolutely certain this is lunacy, but at the same time I am absolutely certain of what I can see with my own eyes.

It won't take much of this before I lose my sanity.  If I can't trust my own thoughts to be real, what can I trust?  I am in the grip of an incredibly dangerous man.

Currin closes the sheer curtain and comes back to me.  My cock, which had begun to droop slightly while I tried to remember why I thought the sky shouldn't be pink, becomes fully hard once more.  He brushes it with his fingers, which sends a moan of ecstasy from my mouth.

"I can make you believe all kinds of things," he purrs.  The sound of his voice is like a drug.  I just want to hear more and more of it.  "I could convince you you could fly, for instance.  You wouldn't be able to, of course, but you would think you could.  You would go on believing it from the moment you leapt off the top of the CN Tower till the moment your skull shattered on the pavement below.  You would genuinely, sincerely believe you were flying.  Want to see what it's like?  Here.  I want you to be able to fly.  To want to go flying."

Without fanfare, I know how to do it.  I know that gravity can only hold me when I choose to let it.  If I were to push off from the ground, I would soar up into the pink-and-green sky with no more effort than it takes to walk.  The only thing stopping me from doing it now is the cuffs on my hands securing me to the ceiling.  They keep me tied down, inside.  I mean, sure, I could float up off the ground right here, but that would be no different from lifting myself up with my arms.  To truly demonstrate my ability, I need open air.

"What do you want to do right now?" Currin asks me.

"I want to go fly," I respond.

"In a plane, you mean?" he prompts.

"No.  Just by myself.  Take the cuffs off, please?  I want to go soar a bit."  It's ridiculous, and I know it's ridiculous, but it's also very, very real.

"Could you start flying from the ground?  Wouldn't you need a bit of room to get started?"

He's right.  Starting from ground level is tough.  Some birds have to take a long running start to get going.  It might be easier to launch from someplace higher up.

"Maybe I could go up on your roof?" I ask him.

"Sure.  Do you want to do that?" he asks in reply.

I don't.  I do.  I say nothing, torn.

"If I were to take those cuffs off you and take you outside, would you climb a ladder up onto the roof, take a running start, and jump off?"

"Definitely," I hear myself say.  I am eager to go do it.  The glorious pink sky awaits!

"You're sure?"

"Of course!  Please, let me go?"  I yank at the cuffs, eager to get moving.

"You can't fly," he says.

I deflate.  Of course I can't fly.  No human can.  What the hell was I thinking?

I was thinking exactly what he told me to think, that's what.

I am in such deep, deep shit.

"Now aren't you glad you're chained up?" he asks.  I don't answer, but the answer would be yes.  If that chain hadn't been holding me in place, I would have willingly, eagerly, climbed up as high as I could go and hurled myself off.  "It's much easier to cancel an illusion, as you can see.  I don't need to focus my effort much, I can just tell you straight out."

"Please," I whimper, trying to ignore the intoxicating musk of his scent so close to me, "please just let me go."

"Aw, we're just getting started!" he says.  "But OK, enough foreplay.  Time to get to the good stuff."

I have just enough time to think oh, shit while he focuses his Command Voice.  I try to cover my ears with my upstretched arms and tear my gaze away from his dazzlingly beautiful eyes, but his rich, mellow voice comes through anyway.  "I want you to know that your testicles are actually alien parasites."

This catches me off guard.  I am not expecting him to say anything like that, but the moment he says it, I know it's true.  I look down at my groin.  My dick is still rock-hard and my scrotum beneath it looks as it always has.  Slightly hairy, holding two egg-shaped blobs that are somewhat smaller than golf balls.  I can see them moving, though.  It's subtle, but it's happening.  The right one is sliding slowly downward; the left is rising up even more slowly.

This is perfectly normal - balls move around all the time.  But it is also evidence that the incubating larvae inside my nut sac are nearing the stage of their development when they will start to eat their way out, after which they will scurry off to find a place to hide and grow until they are large enough to find and impregnate another unfortunate victim the way I have been used.

The sensation of having these creatures inside me makes my skin crawl.  I start to feel sick to my stomach.  I squirm my legs around, trying to catch the invaders between them and squeeze them to death.  They elude me.  I can't get a good enough grip on them with just my thighs.  My erection starts to droop - who could stay hard with parasites crawling around where his balls should be?

I become frantic.  Currin watches me with that same amused smile on his face, but this isn't funny.  I know they're just my balls, not aliens, because that is a ludicrous thought, but all the same, I know they really are aliens and they are inside my body and it is completely creeping me out having them in there.

I keep squirming, trying to catch one of the slippery bastards long enough to crush it.  Without my hands, my efforts are useless.  I just don't have the dexterity using only my thighs.

"Help me... please..." I grunt between exertions.  My breathing is starting to grow laboured from the dance I am doing.

"What do you want me to do?" he says, drawing near.

"Kill them!" I shout.  I am growing frantic from the sensation of them crawling around.  I can feel dozens of tiny legs brushing against the inside of my scrotum.  It is horrifying.  If I had the use of my hands, I would be using them to rip my sac open and yank the unnatural monsters out.  Stab a knife through them.

Currin takes hold of my balls.  I am torn between desire for him, his scent, his touch, and revulsion at the beasts eating at my insides.  He squeezes my nuts and forces the little horrors down.  I look down and see their bulging, nightmare shapes in Currin's hand.  How can he stand to touch me like that?  Is he not revolted by the thought having of those parasitic creatures so close to his skin?  They could chew their way out of my sac right now and emerge in a bloody heap right in his palm!  And yet he seems unfazed by that possibility.

"You want me to squeeze them?" he asks.  I do, yes, very much.  He obliges.  It hurts, oh, it hurts bad.  The little monsters don't like that at all and they lash out at me in their agony.  I thrash and buck, but the chain holds me in place and I urge him to keep squeezing.  "Harder!" I shout, tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes.  He doubles down and I see stars, the pain is so bad.  The cuffs are chafing the skin of my wrists as I squirm around, but I barely notice.  He mashes my balls until I think the little fuckers have got to be dead, but then I feel them kicking again and despair.

"This isn't working," I gasp.  "Just cut 'em off."  Currin releases me.  The pain subsides and a wash of relief courses over me.  But the aliens are still there, and they've got to go.  I'll be a eunuch afterward, but that's better than living with these things inside me.

"You're sure about that?" he asks.

"Yeah," I tell him.  "Do it.  Please."  It'll hurt, I know, but it will be worth it.  Currin leaves the room, then returns with a medium-sized kitchen knife, too short for carving a pumpkin with but perfectly sized for the task it needs to do.  He grips my balls once more with his left hand (oh, the feel of his touch!) and pulls them away from my body.  He hold the knife in his other hand and places it blade side up against the underside of my sac.  It's sharp - I can feel it digging into the skin.  One swift pull and it will slice those creatures right off.  I close my eyes and wait for the relief.

And wait.

I open my eyes again and look at him, swept away once more by his intense beauty.  What on earth does he see in me? I wonder, awestruck by the good fortune I have had, that this perfect man is not only willing to spend time with me, but actually seems to want to.  I am not worthy, I think.  NO!  That is wrong, wrong, WRONG!

But, more importantly, to the task at hand.  "What are you waiting for?" I ask.

"You're absolutely sure?"

Of course I am.  It's the only way.  "Do it," I tell him.  I feel the knife shifting under my balls as his arm tenses for the stroke that will sever them.

"Your balls aren't aliens, you know."

The world lurches around me.  I think I would have fallen down if the cuffs weren't holding me up.  What the hell am I doing?  "No!" I shout.  "Wait!  Stop!"  But I am too late.  The arm moves; there is a searing pain at the back of my scrotum.  I close my eyes.  I can't look.  Oh, god, what is happening to me?

"I want you to know," Currin says, "I cut off your balls.  Just like you asked."

I open my eyes.  There, in his hand, is my scrotum and my until-five-seconds-ago perfectly normal, healthy, non-extra-terrestrial testicles.  They are drenched with blood.  Looking down, I see more blood dripping down my legs and falling to the floor.  I squeeze my legs together to try to stop the bleeding, feeling somewhat faint.

"Noooooo!" I wail.  "What have you done?!?"

This man is a monster.  An intoxicatingly attractive one, but a monster all the same.  I have got to get out of here, but I am trapped, trapped by both the visible chains at my wrists and the invisible chains he has wrapped around my brain.  I am so, so lost.  Completely, totally screwed.  I sag in my chains, tearing further at the skin of my wrists.

"So," Currin says.  He pokes at the wreckage of my manhood in the palm of his hand.  "What do you want me to do with these?"

I can't rouse myself enough to care.  What I want is for him to reattach them, but that is not possible, and any other option is a distant, distant second best.  I suspect I am going into shock.  Everything around me seems remote.  Out of focus.  Only half real.

"I could fry them up in some olive oil," he suggests.  "Some garlic and salt would go well with them.  You think you'd like that?"

No.  My stomach turns at the thought.

"Well, if you don't want them, you mind if I have them?"

I don't care.  They are no good to me any more; what do I care what happens to them?  The blood flow has slowed to a trickle, at least.  I won't bleed out hanging here, it seems.  Maybe I should want that.  Or maybe that's what he wants me to want?  I can't trust anything any more, not even myself.

He disappears into the kitchen then, leaving me to hang.  Soon I smell oil warming and garlic simmering and hear the sound of sizzling grease.  A few minutes later, Currin returns with a place containing two small, round hors d'oeuvres.  God, he's gorgeous.  Every move he makes is irresistibly sexy.  Somehow, even without my balls beneath it, my dick (which had grown soft in Currin's absence) perks right back up.  He spears one of my balls on a fork, picks it up and blows on it.  "Kinda hot still," he says, waving it around.  The smell is appetizing, but the thought still makes me sick to my stomach.  Eventually it is cool enough.

"You sure you don't want it?" he asks.  No.  I don't.  He could make me want it, I know, but he doesn't.  Instead, he pops the nut into his own mouth and chews.  When I woke up this morning, if you had asked me whether I thought that before noon rolled around I would beg a man to castrate me and then watch him eat my balls in front of me, I would have either laughed or called you a sick weirdo.  Now...

He downs the other one next.  I watch his beautiful mouth chew what used to be my testicle and weep softly.

He swallows and says "Now that those are gone, do you really need the other bit?"  I don't know what he means at first - my thinking is not exactly at its clearest at this moment.  By way of explanation, he steps closer and rubs his hand between my legs.  He presses on my cock and I moan in despair and delight.  "This bit.  Without the other two parts to power it, this part is pretty useless.  Don't you think?"

I can feel my erection softening.  He's right, of course.  What good is a dick with no balls?  I would miss it, of course, but I don't really need it any more.  Maybe it would be better to...

No.  What am I thinking?  Even if I no longer need it for one purpose, it's still got other uses!  And even if it was no use at all to me, that's no reason to chop it off!  And yet what he's suggesting is so... reasonable.  So convincing.

"I think I'd like the look of you more without it," he tells me.  "And I think you'll agree once you get used to the idea."

I shake my head frantically back and forth, all the while thinking that he's probably right.  I watch his eyes go wide and I grit my teeth.

"I want you to have no dick.  No balls.  I want you to be smooth as a Ken doll down there."

Nothing happens.  I don't feel any different.  I don't want to look, but I have to look.  I tip my face down.

My cock is gone.  Not only gone, there is no sign that it ever existed.  I am, just as he said, smooth as a Ken doll.  There is no bump, no bulge, nothing that needs to be supported by a jock strap or briefs.

He is still rubbing me.  I can feel his hand sliding along my crotch.  Nothing blocks its motion.  It moves seamlessly from between my legs up to my belly button and back down, touching nothing but unbroken skin.  I feel it through its whole range of movement.

I am no longer male.  I am not female, though.  I am neither.  Neuter.  Sexless.

This can't be happening.  I squeeze my eyes shut.  The touch of his hand on my emasculated crotch is still erotic, even though I no longer have the equipment to do anything with the sensation.  He rubs for a while while I bask in the glow of his touch.  It feels so good, so sensual.  Sex and sensuality are tightly intertwined, but they don't need to be.  It's possible to have a sensual but not sexual experience.  I'm having one now.  I lean in toward his hand, pressing my empty groin forward.

"Aw," he says.  "I'm just messing with you.  It's OK.  Look: your dick is still there, right where it's supposed to be.  And so are your balls.  What I just ate were tater tots.  Sure you don't want one?  I made more."

I look down.  He's right.  There, beneath my achingly-hard dick, is my full, intact scrotum.  Unbloodied, still attached.  At first, I am relieved, but the feeling passes in a moment.  Which is real and which is illusion?  How do I sort the truth he tells me from the lies?  Was my dick really there the whole time and I just somehow didn't notice it?  Are my balls really dangling beneath it, or have they been pulped between his teeth and are now slowly dissolving in gastric juices, and what I'm seeing is the fake?  I have no way of knowing!

My head is spinning.  "Please..." I croak.  I can't get any more words out.

"See?" he says, slowly stroking my cock.  "Totally unharmed.  For the moment."

I continue looking at my crotch, trying to peer through the layers of illusions, and it takes a few seconds for the meaning of his words to penetrate my mind.  When the unspoken message sinks in, I look up sharply to see him looking at me, that eerie glow lighting up his face.

"I want you to be quiet," he says.  This is puzzling because I am not saying anything.  I am already quiet.  I was not planning on saying anything, nor do I intend to change...

At last it hits me.  I am not thinking at my best just now.  He is about to do something to me that will cause me to want to make noise, but the knowledge comes too late for me to even react.  Already he is speaking again.

"I want you to know..." he says.  I try to close my ears.  "... that your dick is on fire."

It takes a second, and then:


I cannot believe how much it hurts.  Every nerve is lit up in shock.  I glance down, knowing what I will see.  My erect cock is still jutting out in front of me, pointing straight toward my tormentor.  It is awash in flames, which lick upward at my belly.  I thrust my pelvis forward to keep the flames away from the rest of me.  Through the flickering light I can see my dick, which now resembles a log in a fireplace.  It is a glowing red ember, crusted with flaking bits of darker or redder material, laced with bright yellow traces.  The sensation is pure agony.  I am dancing on my toes, still suspended from the ceiling by metal cuffs.

And now it is obvious why he preemptively ordered me to silence.  I would be screaming my lungs out.  I want to do exactly that, in fact.  But I can't.  I hang from the chain, suffering in silence while the flames billow out of my still-erect dick, somehow never consuming the flesh as they burn so that the burning can just go on and on and on.  A tiny, tiny part of me knows this can't be real, but that part is insignificant set up against the evidence of my eyes and nerves.  A much larger part knows, deeply and fundamentally, that it is very real indeed, and that is all that matters.  I hang.  I suffer.  I am constantly on the edge of letting out a scream but it never emerges.  The ordeal never gets any easier.  The seconds stretch to a minute, then several minutes.

I am losing my mind.

At last, relief comes.  "OK, OK, enough.  Your dick's not on fire."  I gasp in a huge breath and collapse, all my weight supported by my wrists, which would be extremely painful in other circumstances but at this moment barely registers.  I look through tear-washed eyes at my cock.  The image is blurry, but I can see it there.  It is no longer hard, but it looks intact.  Unharmed.  I want to crumple into a ball, but I can't.

"First time I tried that trick I didn't think to give the guy a be-quiet order beforehand," Currin says.  "Poor Mrs. Blumenstern across the street got all worked up about it.  Fortunately it didn't take much to convince her she hadn't heard anything, but still, it broke the rhythm of the scene.  Now I know to prepare in advance."

I become aware of the pain in my wrists and force my legs to support my weight.  He has done this before, it seems.  I am not his first victim.

I wonder what has happened to the others?  How long they lasted before he got tired of them and discarded them?

He goes over to the cabinet where I got the cuffs and comes back with a key.  He pulls the table over and stands on it.

"I'm going to unlock you now.  I want you to stay right here."

Of course I will.  I don't want to leave, so why would I?

He unlocks the cuffs from the chain but leaves the cuffs on my wrists.  I pull my arms down for the first time in what feels like days but cannot possibly have been that long.  I cup them around my battered, aching genitals.  Somehow I remain on my feet.

Currin sets the chain and the locks on the table and stands in front of me.  He looks at me.  I look back at him and I see the glow start to form in his eyes.  I want to want to resist.  I don't have the strength.  Whatever he wants me to want next, that is what I will want.

"I want you," he says, "to go blind."

Without any fuss, the room goes dark.  I am looking at what seems to be the insides of my eyelids, but I know my eyes are open.  I blink a few times to try to clear away the effect.  The effect does not clear away.  All I see is formless grey.  It's not blackness - vague shapes bloom and fade in slow progression just like they do every time I close my eyes.  But my eyes are open.

My eyes are open, and I cannot see.

"I find this one to be very interesting," Currin says.  "I'll demonstrate.  Close your eyes."

I close them.  No reason not to.  It makes no difference in what I see.  I stand there for a few seconds, and then a soft foam ball bounces off my forehead.

Currin's voice comes again.  "Now open them."

I comply.  The world around me is still a void.  I stand there, and then suddenly my still-cuffed hands fly up in front of me and I catch a ball just before it hits me.

"Is that not fascinating?" Currin asks.  I don't reply.  I don't know why he thinks that is "fascinating" and I don't really care.  He continues speaking.  Half the words don't even register.

"You can see the ball, but your conscious mind doesn't know you can see the ball.  That tells me more than anything about how my talent works.  Your eyes are fine, your visual cortex is fine.  I watched your eyes track the ball as it came toward you; you had no trouble following it, and no trouble getting your hand up to catch it.  Anything that requires you to only react to a visual stimulus, without having to think about it..."

Suddenly I flinch away from something.  I have no idea why, or what it was.

"I just swung my fist toward your face," he tells me.  "You can react just fine as long as it's something that happens at an autonomic level.  But your conscious mind doesn't have access to your vision.  Tell me... how many fingers am I holding up?  Oh, you may speak again."

I hadn't really been aware of being forbidden to speak.  I just hadn't felt like saying anything... or so I had been thinking.  I realize I have lost track of all the commands he has given me, and of which ones he has rescinded, and as a result I have no idea at all which of my thoughts are my own and which ones he has implanted in me.  How can I tell which thoughts are my own real thoughts?  By... thinking about them.  But my thinking is compromised, so thinking about thinking can't be trusted.

Unless that thought itself is something he implanted?

I get lost in a meta-swirl, thinking about thinking about thinking.  It's made worse because I am still weak and reeling from the maybe-real, maybe-not traumas I have just endured.  The thoughts I have, whether they are my own or not, are sluggish and confused.  Part of me doesn't trust this man Currin at all.  I only spoke to him for the first time a few hours ago, after all.  And yet part of me trusts him completely, not least because he's so damn sexy and I want him so badly.

I don't know which part is the real part.

I wonder if that is something I should be concerned about.  Maybe it doesn't matter.  What does "real" even mean, anyway?  I am real; this moment right now is real.  What is the past but a flawed, imperfect memory?

Thinking is hard.  It is much easier to not do it.

I hear Currin asking about fingers again and realize I have been lost in my thoughts for a while.  I don't know how long.  I pull myself together and focus on the now.  That is all I can do.  I answer honestly.  "I have no idea."

"Are you sure?" he asks.  "Look again.  Try to see."

I aim my open eyes toward the sound of his voice, but I know it won't make a difference.  Even so, I go through the motion of blinking, once again trying to clear my vision.  Nothing changes, of course.  I can't see a thing.  I consider guessing, but he would know it was a guess.  And he might punish me for guessing.  "Sorry.  No idea."  Of course, he might punish me for not guessing, too.  I have no way to know.

"I see," he replies.  "Tell me, what colour is the sky?"

Again, no reason not to answer honestly.  "Pink and green."  I don't need to see the sky to know that answer.  Was that supposed to be a trick question?

"And there are five lights," he says quietly.  There is a satisfied tone in his voice.  I have no idea why.  I can't see any lights, of course, so there could very well be five.  Or four.  It doesn't matter how many lights there are.  If he says there are five lights, then there are five lights.  I am just glad he sounds happy.  "You still want me, right?" he asks.

Of course I do.  It's why I'm here enduring all this!  I had lost sight of that with everything else going on, but now that he has reminded me, I feel my dick springing back to life.  I cup it with my hands, aware that it should be tender and sore for some reason, but instead it's my wrists that are sore.  I try to reposition the cuffs so as to not rub on the already-chafed areas.

"Heh," he chuckles.  "No need to answer that - your dick has already answered for you.  Come here."

I walk toward him.  I stop when I know I've reached the right place, though I don't know how I know I've reached the right place.

"On your knees," he says.  I obediently sink down.

"You may undress me."

Quivering, I reach out toward him.  At last, permission to touch his body!  This is what I have been craving ever since I arrived, from before that even.  I unfasten his belt and pull the ends apart.  I loosen the fly on his pants and slide them down his hips.  His underwear follows and soon his cock is in front of me.  I can't see it, but I can smell it and I can feel it and it is everything I had hoped it would be, thick and meaty and starting to swell in my hands.  

I don't bother taking his pants all the way off.  I just tug them down far enough that I have free access to the thing I have been craving and I dive in.  I caress it with my nose and lips, savouring the delicious aroma and the feel of the soft skin of his balls.  His dick continues to grow while I root around with my face and fingers.  When it is fully hard, I open my mouth and prepare to engulf him.  I pause at the tip, letting my tongue flick the slit, nibbling at the head with my lips.  He is huge!  He is everything I had dreamed and imagined he would be.

I take him fully into my mouth, slowly swallowing more and more of him.  I have never given a blow job before, but my body knows exactly what to do and how to do it.  I simply imagine what would feel good to my own equipment and do just that to his.  Nothing could be more natural.

I get his cock wet with my spit and slide it in and out of my mouth.  It glides smoothly.  I make sure to give special attention to the head with my tongue, compressing it against the roof of my mouth as it moves.  He moans gently, and it makes me feel good to know I am pleasing him.  I reach down to touch my own cock, which is firm and hard and dripping, but because my hands are cuffed together, they have to both move down and he notices.

"Don't touch yourself," he tells me, and I let go.  "Your turn will come."  He's right, of course.  This moment is about satisfying him, not me.  I bring my hands back up and use them to fondle and squeeze his balls while I try to deliver the finest blow job I can.  I don't need to see to know that my cock is jutting out proudly into the air while I devote my full attention to his.

I don't want this experience to end, so when I can tell he is getting close I ease off.  But I can't keep myself away from him and so I set back to work sooner than I maybe should.  I try to draw the process out, but he is so irresistibly sexy that I can't help pulling him as deeply down my throat as I can stand to.  Inevitably, he tenses and I can tell the moment is near.  I try to pull away, but he pushes my head back down and then it is too late to stop.  I feel the hot, wet shaft pulsing with my tongue and lips and then a steaming hot load of juice is squirting against the back of my mouth.  I greedily swallow it down and then there is more of it, seeping forward to where I can taste it, the scent rising up into my nose and I am in heaven, nursing every last possible drop out of him.

Eventually, he pushes me away.  I crave more but he denies me.  He is sated, but I am still desperately hungry for more.  I would milk a second load out of him if he would allow it.  A third.  I long to touch my own dick and trigger an eruption there as well, but he has forbidden me to touch it and so the thought of doing so is literally unthinkable for me.  I would never defy his wishes.  I cannot, because his wishes are my wishes.  I can't even want to defy him, and so we are a perfect match for one another.

"Ahhhhh," he moans.  His voice comes from a point lower down now, so he must have settled himself into the chair.  I knee-walk forward and place my head on his lap, reaching up with my cuffed hands to caress his spent cock.  I move slowly, unthreateningly, so that he knows I will not try to overstimulate him further, and he allows me to touch him.  I take a final droplet off the tip with my finger and insert it into my mouth.  Before today, I would never have imagined doing that, but it feels totally natural right now.  I rest my head on his thighs, blissful contentment washing over both of us.

"That was excellent," he tells me.  I beam with pride.  It might have been my first-ever blow job, but apparently I did it right!  "You're one talented muscle-boy.  I think I'll keep you.  Would you like that?"

Would I?  Hell, yeah!  I can't believe I have gotten this lucky.  What are the chances that the two of us would find each other, never mind the chance that this man - this magnificent, perfect man - would see something in me that he thinks is worth keeping?  A small part of me tries to remind me that just yesterday, my plans for the rest of my life were very different.  Also that straight guys don't typically suck cock.  But that was yesterday and my plans have changed since then.  And maybe I'm not as straight as I once thought I was.  Maybe I'm one of those straight guys who doesn't mind giving a blow job if the conditions are right.  With Currin, the conditions are most definitely right.  I can't remember ever wanting anyone as much as I want him.  And he wants me back?  That is perfect, because I can think of nothing I would rather do than spend every waking moment in his presence.

"Very much," I say from my position on his lap.  I turn my blind eyes up to where I think his face should be.  "I would like that very, very much."

"I'd like that too," he says, and a rush of contentment washes over me.  "I want you to marry me.  Right now, right here."

I can't even speak.  My voice would break if I tried, the tide of emotion is so strong rushing through me.  Yes, yes, of course, I would say, but instead I just nod.  That much I can do.

"Wonderful," he says.  "I'm so glad you agree.  Now, I think it's important that we be exclusive to each other.  Would you agree?"  Again I silently nod.  That is exactly what I want.  To have this magnificent man, who I do not deserve, all to myself.

"OK, then.  I want you to only have eyes for me."  At first I think he is being poetic, and then I think he's being redundant, because I know I could never desire another the way I do him.  But he goes on.  "I want you to only be able to see if I am what you are looking at."  And then I understand.  As suddenly as it disappeared, my sight is restored to me.  I lift my head and look at him, and he fills my vision and the image of him brings renewed vigour to my still-straining dick.  I crave him, but he has told me I must wait, and so wait I will.

Then I turn my head and I discover what he means.  To either side of him I can only see formless grey void.  It is only when I look at Currin that I can see clearly.  It is as if he were an actor standing on a dark stage with a spotlight shining down on just him.  The rest of the theatre is dark, invisible, but he shines bright.  I can see everything about him plainly - his clothes, his skin, his face.  I can even catch glimpses of objects near him, like the chair he is sitting on.  Aside from that, nothing.  The only thing I can see is Currin.

Both poetically and literally, I only have eyes for him.

This probably should bother me, but it doesn't.  There's really nothing else I want to look at anyway.

"All right," he continues when I have finished testing the vision he has granted me.  "Now.  I want you to wear this ring.  A symbol of our devotion to each other.  I want you to wear it always.  Forever.  It can never come off."

He hands me a ring.  It is not a ring meant for a finger.  It's huge.  This thing must be five, six hundred grams of steel.  I can see it while it is in his hand, but it vanishes when I take it in mine.  He must be able to see the puzzlement on my face because he tells me it doesn't go on my finger.  He gestures with his toe to indicate where he expects me to wear it.

I feel his foot nudge me in my balls.

Now it is clear, and of course I agree.  He hands me a hex key wrench.  I feel for a place to use it and find that the ring has recessed holes in it, at the base of which are threaded bolts.  I unscrew both of them and the ring comes apart into two halves.  It takes me a while, and the handcuffs make the job even harder, but I manage to fit the two halves into place around my scrotum.  Currin helps by holding my balls for me, stretching them down and away from my body.  A thin neck of skin is formed that the ring fits nicely around.  I am about to feed the screws back into the holes when he stops me.  "Wait.  Forever, right?  I want you to use this steel weld.  Make it permanent.  Do you understand?"

I do.  He hands me a small tube.  I squeeze a generous amount into one of the screw holes and more onto the screw itself before seating it in the hole, then repeat the process with the other screw.  Working quickly but not rushing, I torque them into place, being careful to not pinch any skin between the two halves as they come together.  In less than a minute, I am finished.  I squeeze more weld into the holes, filling up the hex heads of the screws.  In five minutes the compound will be set; in an hour it will be fully dried and cured.  This ring - this symbol of my devotion to Currin - will never come off my testicles.

Currin lets go of my balls.  They swing heavily between my legs.  It is an uncomfortable sensation, but one that I know I will get used to because I have no choice.

He stands up and leaves the room.  I wait there, still on my knees, for him to return.  I stare into the shapeless grey void in the direction where he left.

Before long, he comes back.  He literally lights up the room when he walks into it - I can see his whole body (as radiantly handsome as ever and moving with lithe grace) and flashes of wall and ceiling and furniture around him as he moves toward me.  He is carrying something I can't quite make out.  It seems heavy.

He sits once more in front of me.  "Married couples talk about their other halves being 'the old ball and chain'.  I don't want you thinking of me that way, so I want you to wear this."  He hands me an actual ball and chain.  I take the ball from him first.  It is indeed heavy.  I can't accurately guess how much it weighs, but it must be at least ten kilograms.  The ball is attached to a metre-long chain, which ends in a shackle.  I open the shackle and fit it into place around my left ankle.

"Forever," Currin says, handing me the weld once more.  Yes, forever.  I squirt weld along the edges where the shackle comes together and hold it shut.  I coat the screw as well and insert it into the hole, then crank it down with the hex wrench.  As I did with the ring, when the screw is tight I apply more weld to the head to keep the key from fitting into it.  When I am finished, I stand and test my mobility.  I can move freely - though with care - in the metre-radius circle that the chain allows.  The ball is too heavy to move with just the force of my one leg.  (I could do it, but it would be pretty tough on my ankle.)  Better to lift the ball with both hands and set it down in a new place.  This will be a difficult way to move around, but the sealant is already curing so it's something I will just have to get used to.

The tiny part of my mind that objects to what is happening to me is putting up less and less of a fuss about it.  Perhaps it has realized that I am fully committed to this new phase of my life and don't want to hear its buzzing complaints any more.

I bring the ball back to my spot at Currin's feet and kneel in front of him again.  "Thank you," I say.  He smiles and lifts my chin so that I am looking into his face.  "You're welcome.  I have one more thing for you to wear."  He hands me the chain that he had used to hang me from the ceiling, along with one of the locks that he had used to secure me in place.  "Put this around your neck," he tells me.

I do.  The chain fits perfectly, just long enough to wrap around my neck without pulling tight or hanging loose.  I lock the padlock in place, fixing the two ends together.  "Forever," Currin says, once more handing me the weld.  Without a pause, I squirt weld into the keyhole of the lock.  No key will ever fit into it again.  The only way this chain or any of the other metal adornments I wear will be coming off is with bolt cutters or a power tool.

I am ready to begin my new life.  My cock, still hard, still eager for its master's touch, twitches in delight.  I stare hungrily into his beautiful, wide blue eyes.

"Now," Currin says.  "Here is what I want you to do..."

I wake up early, as I always do.  Currin - my beloved husband, my master - is sleeping in the bed.  I can hear his deep, even breathing.  I can't see him, which means it must still be dark outside.  Or else he has shifted over to the far side of the bed where he is out of my field of view.  I am not in the bed with him.  I am in my cage on the floor.  It is not a large cage, but it is adequate for me.  I can't stretch out; I have to sleep curled up.  It would be nice to have more room, but this is what Currin wants for me, and so I am content.  It means that I tend to wake up early from the discomfort of the cramped position and from not having a blanket or pillow.

I lie there quietly as the day breaks, listening to the peaceful sound of Currin's breathing.  I shift my position as softly as possible - I can move the ball around fairly silently, but the chain that attaches it to my ankle has a tendency to jangle, and so I move my legs slowly to not disturb my beloved.  Eventually I get my body arranged in a less-uncomfortable position and lie back, thinking of nothing in particular, content to wait until Currin decides it is time to start our day.

I spend a lot of time in the late-night or early-morning hours alone with my thoughts.  Usually I don't think about anything in particular, but sometimes I think back to what my life used to be like before I met Currin.  I remember being content with that life at the time, but now I can't imagine going back to it.  How empty, how meaningless that existence was!  Now my life is overflowing with fullness.  I have a purpose: to serve my beloved master, and I could not possibly be happier about it.

At last I hear him stirring and see him on top of the bed.  He props himself up on his elbows and looks down at me.  He smiles.  "Good morning, my pet," he says.

"Good morning," I respond.  Even rumpled with sleep, even after all this time, he is still as gorgeous as the day we met.  My heart skips a beat at the sight of him.  Another part of me twitches in delight as well, but I know better than to touch that part.

He pushes the blankets off and stands.  He is wearing boxer shorts, his usual sleepwear.  I am, of course, naked, as I always am.  "Ready to begin your day?" he asks.  Oh, yes.  I am eager.  He unlocks the cage and I crawl out, working the kinks out of my muscles as I slowly stand.  The weight of my wedding ring tugs at my balls, but I have long since grown used to that sensation.  It feels normal.  In fact, something would feel wrong if my balls were ever not toting more than half a kilogram around with them wherever I go.  But that can never happen - I made sure of the ring's permanence myself long ago.  I go and make the bed for him, tucking the sheets and blanket in place by feel.

"I'll have eggs this morning," Currin says.  "Scrambled.  With toast and orange juice."

"Coming up, sir!"  I salute.  He doesn't require me to call him "sir" or "master", but sometimes I do.  Half in jest, half in utterly serious respect for what he means to me.  I turn to go, but he stops me with a touch to my arm.

"Oh, and by the way," he says.  "Happy anniversary."

I am surprised.  I knew it had been a while, sure, but... a whole year already?  Really?

"Yes," he says, reading me like a book like he always does.  "It was one year ago today that you came into my life."

"I... I didn't know," I say.  "Now I feel bad... I didn't even get you a card."

He kisses me.  It's a tender, gentle kiss, but my cock pulses all the same at the electric touch of my beloved's lips on mine.  "That's OK," he says.  "Your presence in my life is present enough."  I beam.

He turns to go into the master bathroom.  I pick up the ball and head for the kitchen.  I can't see where I'm going, but I don't need to.  My body knows where to turn.  I stop in the other bathroom on the way and empty myself out.  I can hear Currin moving around on the other side of the wall.  I wipe myself carefully, front and back - don't want to leave drips on the hall or kitchen floor after I finish here.  I flush and stand and continue toward the kitchen, confident that I will not bump into a wall even though the world around me is an unbroken grey blob.

When I get there, I set the ball in the centre of the room where I will be able to reach everything I need without having to reposition it.  I'll have to stretch my leg a bit, but this is something I've grown accustomed to.  I clear a space on the counter to prepare his breakfast.  Somehow this place has gotten to be a mess again despite my best efforts to keep it clean.  I am going to need to devote some time to this room today.  If Currin permits, of course.  I whisk the eggs and pour them into the pan, then pop the toast into the toaster.  Eggs are easy; toast is a bit tougher.  I can't tell by sight when the eggs are ready, but they feel different through the spatula when they are cooked and ready and so I am able to get them off the pan when they are just the consistency he likes.  The toast, though... I just have to guess when it's done.  If I try to judge by smell, it will be too late and the bread will have already burned.  I try to estimate the time it spends in the toaster as best I can.

I can apply butter or jelly just fine - my hands know what to do without my brain having to think about it.  One thing I can't do, though, is tell strawberry jelly from grape just by looking at the jar.  Touch doesn't help; the jars feel identical.  I know he will want the grape jelly - the strawberry is for sandwiches - but I can't tell the difference.  I open each jar and try smelling, but they just aren't different enough.  I don't dare take a taste without permission and so I end up putting only butter on his toast and leaving the jelly jars out so Currin can tell me which one to use.  When everything is ready, I kneel down on the floor next to his chair and wait.

He comes in a few minutes later.  He literally lights up the room for me when he walks in.  He is dressed in sweats, but he might as well be wearing a tuxedo because he cuts a fine figure to my eye no matter what he wears.  I smile at him, thrilled to be in his company once more after being separated, however briefly.

He sits down.  He frowns slightly.  "The toast is too dark," he says.  "And there's no jelly on it."

"I'm sorry," I say, looking up at him.  I have no excuse, so I don't even try.

"Three punishment points," he says.  "Two for burning it and one for making me put the jelly on myself."

I surge upward, still on my knees.  "I'll put the jelly on for you.  I just didn't know which one was the grape."

He waves me back down.  "Too late now."  He begins to eat.  "You can get your own breakfast," he says around a mouthful of egg.

I stand and go to the pantry.  I pull out a box of cereal and fetch two bowls.  I pour cereal into one bowl and fill the other with water.  I set the bowls down on the floor next to Currin's feet and kneel down once more.  I bend down, not touching either bowl with my hands, and take alternating mouthfuls of dry cereal and slurps of water.  We eat our breakfasts together in companionable silence.

"I'm finished," he says after a bit.  I have not finished my food yet but I rise and take his dirty dishes to the sink.

"This room is a mess," he tells me as I rinse his plates.

"I know," I say.  "I don't know how it got to be so bad, I try to keep up —"

He cuts me off.  "Spare me the excuses.  Five more punishment points.  You're to get it cleaned up today."

He stands.  I see his foot knock against my bowls.  The water bowl splashes a bit, but the cereal bowl is completely upended.  Cereal sprays across the floor.  He glances down at his water-splashed slipper, then looks at me.  "Three more punishment points," he says.  Of course.  It's only fair.  I shouldn't have left my bowls where he could trip over them.  "Finish eating that, then get to work," he instructs.

I kneel down and vacuum up the remaining cereal with my lips, hunting blindly for the scattered grains, washing them down with what water is left in the bowl.  Currin has gone into the next room; I hear the sound of the television, and my world is once again completely grey.  I set to work.

It takes me several hours to get the kitchen clean.  Much of my work goes easily - I don't have to think about what I'm seeing to know what to do.  My eyes see a dish towel and my hands know how to reach out and pick it up.  Once I can feel it, I can identify it as a towel and I know to put it in the laundry pile.  Same for plates and cups and all the other items that have somehow been strewn all around.  I try to work on one section of the room at a time because it's hard to carry my ball around while holding other things in my hands too.  The added inconvenience of my ball and chain makes everything take longer than it would for an unencumbered person.

But I get it done.  I wash all the dirty dishes, the pots and pans, the storage containers.  I scrub the stovetop, scour the inside of the oven, clean all the countertops, empty the toaster of crumbs, wash the microwave inside and out, put all the packages and cans and bottles either in the pantry (if full) or the recycling box (if not), which I then take out to the garage (slowly, carefully, carrying my ball with me all the while).  I do the best I can to clean the fridge as well.  The outside is no problem, but the inside is tough to manage without conscious sight.  Then I vacuum the floor and mop it.  I also take the towels and washcloths to the laundry (slowly, carefully) and bring in some of Currin's clothes too (for obvious reasons, there are none of mine to wash), running the washer and dryer while I do the other work.

When I am done, I am tired and ready for a break, but I am satisfied because I know, even without being able to see it, that our kitchen is clean once more.  My nuts ache from swinging around with my ring on, but it's a pleasant kind of sore, like the ache you get after a good workout at the gym.

I carry my ball out to where Currin is sitting and plop down at his feet.  This room, at least, is clean.  Not like it was the day I first arrived.  I just dusted and vacuumed in here yesterday, in fact, along with the bedroom and guest room.  He scratches me behind my ear and I nuzzle against his hand, feeling the rush of endorphins at his touch.  "All done in there?" he asks.  I nod happily.  "All right.  Let's go take a look."

We stand.  I pick up my ball and follow him back to the kitchen.  He inspects the result of my efforts.

"Not bad," he says.  I thrill with pleasure at his compliment.  "You missed a spot here."  He gestures with his finger to a point on the countertop.  I can see the area immediately around his hand and sure enough, there is a stain there.  It's not something I would have been able to feel or (obviously) see, but it's there all the same, and I need to get it out.

"And here," he says.  This time he points to a patch of floor near the sink.  Same problem: a stain.  Impossible to see with my vision, impossible to detect by any other method.  He finds two more during his inspection.

"All in all, you did pretty good this time," he tells me.  "Four punishment points.  So how many is that total so far for today?"

"Fifteen," I reply.  I have been keeping track, of course.  It's one of my duties.  Fifteen is a lot considering that we haven't even had lunch yet.  But I don't let my dismay show on my face.  I know he only punishes me for my own good.  To correct me in areas where I need correction.

"Hmm..." he muses.  "I know the punishments can be tough on you, so I'm thinking I want to split it into two sessions.  Tell you what, it's almost one o'clock.  Why don't you finish up in here, then make me a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  You can eat your own lunch while you're making mine.  After lunch, we'll knock out ten of those points.  That'll only leave five for later... assuming you don't earn any more."

I am totally on board with this idea.  I'm not looking forward to the ten-point punishment session, but I know I will be grateful later today to have only a small number left.  It probably won't be as small as five because I will almost certainly earn more points before the day is out.  But I would definitely rather have two shorter sessions than one long one.

I scrub the four places in the kitchen where the stains were, covering not just the spots where I remember them but a wide area around each one, just in case my memory is off.  Then I start lunch: grilled ham and cheese.  While it's sizzling on the pan, I wolf down my own food: two protein bars.  They come in various flavours, but since I can't read the labels to tell which is which I always get two at random.  I wash them down with swigs of water straight from the tap - no sense dirtying a glass just for me.  When Currin's food is ready, I put it on a plate, take out a selection of chip bags for him to choose from, wash and dry the pan, and then kneel by his chair before calling him in.

I did well with the stains, it seems, because he doesn't comment on them.  Instead, he eats his sandwich while I rest on the floor beside him, my head on his thigh.  From time to time, he tears off a bit of his sandwich and feeds it to me.  I accept the food gratefully from his fingers.  My belly is far from full - two protein bars is not a lot - and I would very much like more, but I know he feeds me as much as I should eat.  Any more would be unhealthy for me.  I would start to put on weight and become less attractive in his eyes.  He knows what I need to keep my body in good shape for him to enjoy, and I trust him.

Besides, if I go into a punishment session with a full belly, there's a good chance the food would just come up again anyway, and that would do neither of us any good.

I don't want lunch to end, but of course time marches on as it always does.  "Well, let's get on with it," he says, rising up out of his chair.  I take his plate and glass and put them in the dishwasher, then stow the chip bags back in the pantry.  Then he leads me down the hallway to the guest bedroom.

It's kind of a misnomer because there is no bed in the guest bedroom.  Instead it is where he keeps his bondage equipment.  I am not into bondage, and he knows this, but he enjoys tying me up anyway, and he particularly enjoys that I don't enjoy it.  He likes my suffering, in other words.  And I, for my part, willingly allow him to tie me up because I know he likes it.  I know that he likes the fact that I don't like it, and thus I deliberately, knowingly, suck up my discomfort for the greater good: Currin's happiness.  Because when Currin is happy, that makes me happy.

I know that many of the times when he issues me punishment points, it's not because I have committed any kind of infraction, but rather because he wants to hurt me.  And, again, I am okay with that.  I don't like it and I don't think I ever will, but I love and treasure our marriage.  Enduring the punishments is essential to the long-term health of our relationship.

Yesterday I earned twelve points for various infractions, and I paid for all of them with torture while in bondage.  The hardest was a position where he tied my hands behind my back and lifted them up, securing the rope overhead.  My legs were spread apart and tied in place.  The way my hands were hoisted up forced me to lean forward.  Then he screwed a hook into my wedding ring and used a bungee cord to stretch my balls implacably downward.

I had no good options.  I could keep my knees straight and let the unforgiving cord pull hard on my nuts, or I could flex my knees to alleviate the strain on my balls, but at the cost of working my thigh muscles until they burned and at the same time increasing the burn in my shoulders as my wrists were yanked higher.  It was awful.

He kept me there a long time.  And just when I thought he was coming over to release me, it turned out he was actually coming to make my position even worse by putting clips on my nipples and letting weights swing from them.  I was hurting absolutely everywhere.  But he loved it - the times when I looked up at him, I could see him stroking himself, enjoying my predicament.  He rubbed his hands over my straining muscles as well, feeling them all bunched up and quivering under his fingers.  The only good part of the whole experience was when he allowed me to taste his cock, just the tip.  That was enough to provide me a partial distraction from the pain.  He teased me with it and I stretched to reach it, jangling the nipple weights and tugging harder on my arms and legs and balls.  But when he let me catch it, oh, that was worth it!  He wouldn't let me suck him all the way off, but at least I got a little reward during all the punishment.

I don't know what today will bring.  It depends on what he is in the mood for.  We enter the room.  "We'll start with a couple that don't require restraints," he tells me.  This might seem like good news, but I know it is not.  It's just a different variety of bad news.

"Number one: I want you to do fifty jumping jacks," he says.  I immediately begin jumping.

Jumping jacks may not seem like much of a punishment, particularly for someone like me who is accustomed to exercise.  But most people don't have 600 grams of steel wrapped around their nut sac.  Every time I land a jump, the weight wants to keep moving down and, in obedience to Newton's law, is only prevented from doing so by application of an equal and opposite force via my balls and the stretching and yanking of the skin and cords that hold them attached to the rest of me.

In non-academic language: it fucking hurts.

By the tenth jump I am desperate to stop, but I don't slow my pace.  I keep jumping, arms flailing over my head, chains jangling at my neck and feet.  The weight bounces beneath me; my balls scream their anguish as I land jump after jump after jump.  I start to sweat, not from the exertion but from the pain that Currin is making me inflict upon myself.

At last I reach fifty.  I am breathing hard.  I want to cup my balls in my hand, taking the weight in my palm and giving them some relief.  But I don't.  I know that I am feeling what Currin wants me to be feeling and I have no right to try to change that.  He gives me a minute to catch my breath.

"Number two: fifty pushups," he says.  I drop to the floor.  This I am okay with.  I can crank out fifty pushups with no trouble, and the ring around my balls is not a factor in this position.  I suspect he has chosen this punishment because he wants to tire out my arms for a later one.  But it's possible that he just wants to watch me do pushups because he thinks it's sexy when I do.

I deliver the pushups, then sit up on my knees and wait for his next instruction.

"Stand up," he tells me, and directs me over to the bondage frame.  This is the device I was hooked up to yesterday.  It is a set of black metal bars and pipes that he likes to attach me to in various ways.  It has a near-infinite variety of positions and possibilities.

"Use one of the clips to attach your neck chain to the bar over your head," he tells me.  I do.  I have to stand up on my toes to be able to reach.  Once it is attached I can sink back down a little bit, but not enough to rest my heels on the ground.  The chain forces my chin upward and my head is thrust backward and I am staring blankly at what would be the ceiling if I could see it.  He leaves me standing there for a while until I can feel my calves starting to tire from keeping me up on my toes.

"Number three: jerk yourself off until you are close to the edge, but do not come."  This is nothing new.  He likes to keep me on edge, horny and frustrated and desiring him, without letting me reach orgasm.  It has been a long, long time since he last permitted me to climax, so long that I can't even remember how far back it was.  Orgasms are for him to enjoy, not me, because after I come I am no longer horny and frustrated and desiring him quite as much, and neither of us wants that.

It doesn't take me long to get myself close to the edge, even with the pressure on my neck and the steadily-growing strain in my calves.  I am simply so turned on by Currin that I can get hard and get close under almost any circumstances.  I feel myself nearing the tipping point and take my hands off.  After a few seconds to cool down, I start again, edging myself over and over for his pleasure.  I can't see him to know if he's enjoying the show I am putting on for him, perhaps pulling out his own cock and stroking it too.  I hope he is.

At last he tells me to stop.  "Number four: I want you to lift your left foot up so that it touches your ass."

This is challenging.  My calves are sore and cramping from holding my weight up on tiptoe.  I have been doing a little dance with my feet, shuffling them around, taking more weight on one to give the other a break, then switching.  Now he wants me to keep all my weight on just my right foot.  It will be hard, but I comply right away.  I bend my left knee, lifting the foot up until I can feel it pressing against my butt.  I take a little hop with my right foot to get it centred under me, but I have no balance at all.  I tilt from side to side, front to back, and the chain at my neck is the only thing that keeps me from falling over.

"Keep stroking," Currin commands.  I resume, teetering on the edge of an explosive climax that I know I will not be permitted to reach.  He watches me for a while.

"Number five," he says at last.  "I want you to lift your right leg up the same way."

I hate this, and yet I do it.  I lower myself down, taking all my weight by my neck gradually so I won't have to deal with a sudden jerk, then kick my right leg up to match the left.  My entire body weight is now swinging from the chain around my neck.  The suspension point is in front of me so there is no pressure on my Adam's apple, but there is definitely pressure on the back side.  The chain is not like a noose; it does not close tight and squeeze my throat to stop my breathing.  It is not a comfortable position to hang in, and it would probably hurt or kill me if I stayed like this long enough, but for a few minutes I can endure it.  It's not easy, and I hate it, but I can do it.

"Keep stroking," he says.  With a few strokes I bring myself right up to the edge again for the twentieth or thirtieth time.  My neck really hurts.  I hope he lets me down soon.  But it's not about what I want; it's about pleasing him.

"Okay, that's enough.  You can put your feet down," he says at last.  Gratefully, I put my feet on the floor.  My heels touch the ground easily, which just goes to show that what I first thought was uncomfortable - the amount of stretch on my neck that I was enduring while standing on my tiptoes - was hardly anything at all, really.  Currin knows these things.  He knows what I can take and would not ask for more than I can give.  Nevertheless, I stand up on my toes again and enjoy the sensation of having my neck stretched slightly less, and of not having my head bent quite so painfully far backward.

"You can release the chain now," he says.  That's five down, so five to go.

Next he has me stand at a parade-rest position, arms at my sides, feet shoulder-width apart.  My aching balls dangle freely in the air between my knees, supporting the weight of my wedding ring on their tender topsides.  After a minute or so of watching me stand perfectly still, he issues his next command.  "Number six: I want you to stop breathing."


He has timed it so that I was finishing taking a breath just as he finished speaking.  And just like that, my throat closes up.  No air can pass in or out.  Or rather, it's not entirely my throat.  It's my chest and diaphragm too.  The muscles in them refuse to move.

He steps close to me to watch me from close up.  He takes my cock (still hard, still dripping) in his hand and gives it a few strokes.  The sensation is electrifying.  I nearly shoot but I am somehow able to maintain control.  He looks into my eyes and I look back into his.  It has only been ten or fifteen seconds since he ordered me to stop breathing, so I am not hungry for air yet.  I can go as long as a minute and a half without taking a breath... when I'm calm.  Right now I'm not calm - he has had me exercising and hanging from the neck and jerking off, so I am definitely not going to be able to last ninety seconds.  But for the moment I'm OK.

We maintain our eyelock as the urge to breathe slowly grows stronger inside me.  I don't think I could look away if I tried, even though he did not command me to keep my eyes on him.  I feel like a prey animal hypnotized by its predator.  Carbon dioxide builds up in my blood as the seconds pass.  There is no obstacle physically stopping me from expelling the increasingly-stale air from my lungs, but nevertheless I can't do it.  I can no more will my throat to open and my chest to move than I can will my pancreas to squirt out insulin or my teeth to detach from my gums.  I am helpless to do this most basic biological action, one so fundamental that newborn babies can do it effortlessly.  But not me.  I am going to stand here and not breathe until Currin decides otherwise.

I start to squirm in discomfort.  I feel my chest wanting to heave, wanting to use its muscles for their intended purpose.  But those muscles don't move.  They don't even twitch.  I desperately want them to, but Currin has made me want something else even more: his pleasure at watching me suffocate in a room full of air.

He touches my body.  As always, I melt at the sensation.  My cock throbs, eager to discharge its load.  My hunger for air is beginning to grow desperate.  I want to breathe.  I need to breathe.  But he does not yet allow me to.

I don't know what sign he watches for in my eyes, but he knows it when he sees it.  I don't take my eyes off his, watching that handsome face grow faint and blurry as darkness closes in from the edges of my sight.  My head is spinning and I know I am only a second or two from passing out.  Somehow he knows it too because at that moment he says "You can breathe now."  Calmly.  Conversationally.  My chest convulses and air explodes out of my mouth and nose.  As quickly as I expel it, I suck a fresh lungful in, then repeat the process a half dozen times.  I don't know long he kept me airless, but it was long enough, definitely.  It's such a helpless feeling to know that he could snuff out my existence with just a few words, without even touching me, and I am powerless to stop him.

A helpless feeling, yes, but an erotic one.  It turns me on to know that he controls me so thoroughly, dominates me so completely.

I am still breathing hard while he reaches up and puts a bit gag in my mouth.  He fastens it around the back of my head, which is sore from where the chain dug into it.  "You're going to want to have this in," he says.  I don't know what's coming next but I believe him.

"Number seven: I want you to know," he says when he has finished strapping the gag in place, "that your tongue is a giant slug."

I know it's only my tongue, but I also know that what he says is true.  This warm, wet, fleshy blob in my mouth is something that belongs on a jungle floor or under a rotting piece of tree bark somewhere.  It is coated in slime and it... moves.  Disturbingly so.  It pulses and bunches up and squirms inside my mouth.  I try to keep it from touching my teeth or the edges of my mouth, but of course it does.  Slime rubs off and coats every surface it touches.  Enough builds up in my mouth that it starts to dribble out past the gag, coating my chin and dripping down onto my chest.  It's horrifying, and what's worst is knowing that this horror is attached to me, it is part of me and I can't get rid of it, can't spit it out.  I know that if the gag weren't there I would chomp down as hard as I could to sever the foul thing as close to the root as I can and spit out as much as possible.  But the gag stops me.  I know he only does things to me for my own good, and I trust that he meant it when I said I would appreciate the gag, but right now I want it out, OUT, OUT so I can use my teeth on my once-was-a-tongue.

While I am concentrating on that, he says "Number eight: the floor is lava."

A familiar kids' game.  But I can feel my feet getting first warm, then hot, then blisteringly hot.  I need to get them up and away from the heat.  The bondage frame is nearby.  I jump up and grab hold of the bar that my neck chain was recently attached to.  I lift myself up by the arms as best I can, but I can only go so far - the ten-kilogram ball that is shackled to my leg stays down on the surface of the lava, somehow not melting or being destroyed.  It's too painful on my ankle to try to lift the ball up by its chain with just my leg, which means I can't climb up out of harm's way, can't wrap my legs around a pole or stand on anything.  I have to keep supporting my weight by my arms.  They are a bit tired from the pushups earlier, but adrenaline gives me extra strength and I hang there in a chin-up position, lifting myself as far as I can.

I stay there, forcing my biceps to remain curled, for as long as possible, but eventually they fail me and I have to lower myself down.  I bend my legs to keep them away from the searing heat and as soon as I can, I lift myself up again.  I can't hold on quite as long this time, so the process repeats itself in shorter and shorter intervals until I am exhausted, hanging straight down from clenched fists and smelling the hair on my legs sizzle, kissed by the fiery heat from below.

"Number nine," I hear Currin say above the roaring in my ears.  "You have no arms."

I fall.  There is nothing to hold me up.  I fail to get my feet under me before hitting the molten floor with my knees.  I leap up and dance on the red-hot liquid rock, feeling the fire in my feet and all the way up my legs.  With no arms, it is a miracle that I can keep my balance, but somehow I do.  I hear a high-pitched keening noise and realize that it's coming from my throat, working its way out past the slug that is still oozing slime all over my mouth and the gag that keeps me from biting the slug in half.  The pain is horrific - I can't imagine anyone enduring this much flaming agony and surviving, yet somehow I do.

"Number ten: you have no legs," Currin says.  I collapse completely, lying inert in a puddle of lava.  The heat turns my sweat to steam that sizzles loudly in my ears.  I am lying on my back, unable to flip my limbless torso over.  The pain is indescribable and goes on far longer than should be possible.  My entire body - not just my sweat - should be dissolving into its constituent atoms, but something is preserving it, forcing me to live this unbearable agony beyond what any normal human could endure.  My muscles quiver weakly, without focus, as I bob on the molten surface.  This can't go on, and yet it does.

And then I hear his voice.  "OK, the lava is gone.  Your arms and legs are back.  Your tongue is a normal tongue again."  And just like that, the pain vanishes.  I am lying on the floor of the guest bedroom, limbs intact, tongue probing at the gag in my mouth.  The sight of my lover fills my view.  I sit up, slowly, shaking.  He lifts me to my feet and enfolds me in his arms, murmuring soothing words that I can't understand into my ears.  He unstraps the gag and gently removes it from between my teeth.  He even helps me adjust my wedding ring, squeezing it higher on my scrotum so that the skin over my balls isn't stretched taut like a drum head.  I am too shaken by my ordeal to think about anything but how good it feels to be held by him, comforted by him, soothed by him.

It takes a while, maybe ten minutes, but I slowly come back to myself.  "Thank you for the punishment," I say when I am ready.  "I'm sorry I disappointed you."

"You're welcome," he replies.  "You took it like a champ.  Just like always.  And I'm not disappointed at all.  This is how we learn, after all."  He's right.  I will improve.  I will become a better husband to him.  I will become the husband he deserves to have.

During the afternoon I clean the bathrooms, and to my great surprise and delight, I earn no new punishment points in the process!  Currin further surprises me when I am finished and tells me that we will deal with the other five points before dinner.  Usually punishment sessions are held between dinner and bedtime, so this is unusual.  But it is his call to make and while I am not looking forward to more pain, I know that I have to do it sooner or later.

We head back to the guest bedroom.  "Because it's our anniversary," he says, giving my shoulder a squeeze, "I'm going to take it easy on you.  No pain.  Just a good workout."

I am pleased.  I know he likes to watch me suffer, and I am happy to let him, even though I hate it.  But how lucky for me: he also likes to watch me work my body for him.  That is much more pleasant for me, even though I know there will be pain enough in the workout he has planned!

First he makes me do pushups to exhaustion.  Back in gym class when the teacher would say "to exhaustion", what that really meant was "until I don't feel like doing any more".  Here, now, it literally means "to exhaustion".  I already did an arm workout earlier, so I'm starting at a bit of a deficit, but nevertheless I crank out ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, getting slower and slower as my muscles tire.  Seventy, eighty, and now my arms are absolutely burning.  But he wants me to continue, and so I want to continue, and I force my exhausted muscles to keep tensing over and over despite my body's pleas for rest.  Up to ninety, and now it's taking long seconds to get back up each time and I know I won't be able to go much longer.

I make it to one hundred and beyond, but I can't do the 103rd pushup.  I focus all my willpower into making my arms move, and they simply can't.  I drop to the floor, completely spent.  A hundred and two is still way more than I ever managed in my old life.  I never had the mental strength to force myself to keep going until I absolutely could not do any more.  I would always think "eh, good enough" and find an excuse to stop.  With Currin's inspiration, there are no excuses.  There is nothing I want more than to be able to keep cranking out the pushups.  I want that more than I want to give in to the craven weakness of my body complaining that it hurts to keep doing them.  The only thing that stops me is the physical failure of my muscles.  When I reach the point that chemistry and physics - not willpower - determine whether I can lift myself up one more time, that's how I know I am giving it every ounce of effort I can.

He lets me rest a bit and then we're on to the next: leg lifts, also to exhaustion.  I stand and run in place, lifting each knee up as high as I can.  The right is easier than the left, which has a length of chain and a huge weight attached to it.  The chain jangles loudly as I run, flailing around in rhythm with my pumping legs.  I don't time myself, but as with the pushups, I know that I am giving it my all.  Minutes pass by.  As it did when I was doing jumping jacks, my wedding ring is bouncing all over the place, yanking my balls with it everywhere it goes.  It hurts, but that pain is not the point of this exercise and I power through the discomfort.  Sweat is flying off me.  My heart is pumping and my thighs are burning and I feel like a character out of some old story, where the hapless victim puts on the shoes (or in this case, the ball and chain) that have been enchanted by the fairies to compel him to dance until he drops dead.  But Currin is no evil fairy, of course.  I can see him watching me, an appreciative gleam in his eye.  I am delighted that he derives pleasure from my sweat and effort.

The end doesn't come suddenly as it did with the pushups.  There, my arms failed and there was nothing I could do.  With this exercise, I slow more and more and my movements become formless and ragged, but I keep lifting my legs one after the other, losing my balance, staggering to gain it back, re-centring myself over my ball.  My knees don't reach as high as they did when I started, but they are still moving.  I keep forcing myself through the pain and exhaustion, straining to keep running even if my pace is more like a brisk walk now.

Currin, as always, knows when I've had enough.  He stops me with a word and at last my dancing legs can rest.  I can barely stand and I wobble drunkenly on my feet.  He gives me some water to drink and I guzzle it down greedily.  Two minutes to recover, and then it's on to the next assignment: chin-ups on the bondage frame.

This doesn't take nearly as long.  My arms are already tired.  Even though chin-ups work a different muscle group than pushups, there is some overlap.  But even if I were starting fresh, I can't do as many chin-ups as I can pushups.  I do my best, of course, because I cannot even conceive of doing otherwise.  I lift my body up and lower it down, over and over.  The chain drags along with me, but my foot never gets high enough off the ground for the weight of the ball to be an issue.  By the tenth rep I am not able to get my chin up over the bar.  By the twentieth, I have to hang and rest briefly between reps.  My arms are nearing their failure point.

Currin is standing in front of me.  He places his hand on my chest as I hoist myself up again.  His palm slides smoothly along the sweat-slicked skin.  "God, you are just amazing," he tells me.  I blush and it throws my rhythm off and I clunk to the bottom, hanging by straight arms.  But I remain motivated to push on, and so after a second or two of hanging, I lift myself up again, this time not distracted by his touch (though my dick is sure aware of it!).

I squeeze thirty-four chin-ups out before my arms fail.  I know this is my limit: I cannot possibly lift myself up again without resting.  Damn, I feel good!  My blood is pumping, my dick is rock-hard, and I have that hurts-so-good feeling that always comes after a hard workout.

"That's good enough," Currin says.  He bends down and licks a bead of moisture off my nipple.  "Come on, you sweaty hunk of muscle.  Let's hit the shower."  I can see the hunger in his eyes.

We shower together in the master bathroom, his bathroom, the one I never get to use.  It is clean, of course - I saw to that earlier.  The shower stall is tight and we have to stand close together to fit.  My ball stays outside, the chain clanking against the low wall every time I move.  Our wet skin is in constant contact.  We have to turn the water off to lather up.  He washes me first, then I return the favour.  Both our dicks are sticking straight out, poking into each other's hips and butts, pressing up against our stomachs when we grasp each other in a slippery embrace.  We turn the water back on and rinse.  My muscles are aching all over, but it is a good ache, and it does nothing to reduce my horniness.

Both naked, we slip into the bed.  I am only rarely allowed on it, and only when Currin is with me.  Our still-damp bodies roll and tussle as we kiss deeply and passionately.

"I have an anniversary present for you," he breathes as he nibbles on my neck.  "I want you to come for me today."

I am beyond thrilled.  What a perfect gift from my perfect husband!  Joy bubbles up in the back of my throat and I don't trust myself to speak.

"I want you to do me first, though," he says.  "Use that magnificent mouth of yours."  He doesn't have to tell me twice.  In an instant, I am down between his legs.  My lips find his cock and I pull it deep into my mouth.  I feel the tip pressing firmly against the back.  He fills me completely and I love being filled.  My tongue works his cock and I never, ever, ever want to let go.

I don't know how long it lasts.  Time has ceased to have any meaning.  There is only him, and me, and our passion for each other.  I am wholly engaged in offering pleasure to my lover, my sir, my master, my everything.  There is nothing else.

I want this moment to last forever.

The end comes as it always does: the tensing, the thrusting, the pulsing pressure that I can feel with my lips, and then the eruption reaches the surface.  Sticky fluid bursts into my mouth and I swallow it down greedily, hungry for more.  He keeps pumping and I keep swallowing until at last his orgasm fades away.  Still I engulf him with my mouth, not quite ready to sever our connection.  I suck him tenderly, softly, gently, knowing that he will be extra-sensitive at this moment and not wanting to give him anything less than the perfect experience he deserves.

After a time, he stirs and pulls at my head.  "Come up here," he says.  He positions me over him.  He is lying on his back and I straddle his belly.  "Stroke yourself off," he commands.  "Don't come until I say you can."

Three strokes are all I can manage before I have to let go.  I am so keyed up, so on edge that anything more would put me past the point of no return.  I take a moment to cool down, then stroke again.  Over and over and over.  I am lost in pre-orgasmic bliss, held right on the cusp of blinding ecstasy.  I want him to let me go over the edge, but I also want to stay right where I am, lust-maddened, overcome with desire for him, completely unable to think about anything but this moment right now, this eternal present.  He holds me there for ages, aeons.  Mountain ranges are born, grow old, and crumble away while I hover on the brink.

At last he gives the command.  "Shoot now," he tells me.  And shoot I do.  A year's worth of semen sprays out of my cock, landing on his chest and chin and face.  My body convulses with the power of the most violent orgasm I have ever experienced.  It feels as if my dick has turned into a cannon, spraying out globs of sperm hard enough to drive them straight through the walls.  My brain soars away while I am lost in the sensation, which lasts almost as long as the buildup before it did.  When my mind finally comes back, I am still kneeling over him: my one and only true love.

"Happy anniversary," he says.  "The same to you," I gasp in response, spent and smiling.  I go to collapse down onto him, but he stops me.  "Let's get this cleaned up first," he says.  I reach for the tissue box, but again he stops me.  "No, no.  Use your tongue."

Well, now, that I don't really want to do.  Eating his load is one thing - that happens while I'm all horned up and eager.  But eating my own... that has to happen after I shoot it out, of course, and I don't really feel like doing it now.

Currin notices my hesitation.  A familiar look comes over him, his eyes in particular.  "I want you to lick this up and swallow it," he says, pointing to the spatters that cover him.

Of course I do it.  I know that I don't really want to be doing it, and yet I also do.  It tastes... unpleasant.  The sticky drops get all over the outside of my mouth.  But I swallow it all down and lick my lips to try to clean my face.  Then I once more go to collapse next to him on the bed, but once more he stops me.

"Go into your cage," he tells me.  "I have one more surprise gift for you."  Slightly puzzled, I do as he directs.  All I want is just a little bit of snuggle time!  But more than that, I want to do what he tells me to do, and so I climb off the bed, get down on my knees, lift my constant 10-kg companion and wedge it and my body into the tight confines of the cage.  He gets off the bed and locks the cage door shut.

"Here is your gift," he says.  "I give you yourself back.  Every suggestion I gave you is now over.  All the desires that aren't your own - done.  Gone.  You will keep your memories, but you will know which ones are real and which ones I implanted."

The sensation is sort of like waking from a dream, but sort of not.  I have two sets of memories, both of them equally real to me.  But they contradict each other.  I try to integrate the two, to make some sense of what I am experiencing.  I go through a period of time where both of my realities are true at the same time, even though they can't possibly be.  It is true that I have spent the last year here, chained up and labouring for my husband.  And it is also true that today is Sunday, only two days since the man I believe to be my husband first brought me to his home and...

My... husband?


This man is not my husband.  I'm not married at all, and certainly not to a man.

This man is...

And I just...

Oh, god, oh, fuck, what the fuck is going on?

I say nothing, disoriented, while I try to make sense of my two conflicting lives.  I know it was all real: the long, sleepless nights in this cage, the endless days of horny frustration when he kept me on constant edge with no release, the way I slaved for him, making his meals and cleaning his messes and... and suffering for his fucked-up pleasure!  And yet... not all of it was real.  Some of it was.  What I endured today and yesterday and the day before, that really happened.  The "punishment" sessions before that, though, the whole fucked-up point system, months and months of slavery and torture and abuse... those were memories he made up for me.

The truth is: I arrived on Friday at a house that was a total disaster and fell victim to whatever weird mind-control power he has.  He then forced me to clean his house for him, among other acts of humiliation and service.  Two rooms Friday, another three on Saturday, and finally the kitchen and bathrooms today.  The place is spotless now.  I cleaned it all for him.  Because I "wanted to".  I cooked for him, I slaved for him, I endured mind-bendingly horrible agony for him.  Goddammit, I knelt at his feet and ate from his fucking fingers like a fucking dog and all the while he made me enjoy it!

I find my voice at last, rattling the door of the cage as I speak.  "You fucking bastard, I am going to kill you."  I realize I can see again, not just Currin but myself, the cage, the whole room.  Except for the newly-rumpled bed, it all looks immaculate.  Dust-free.  Neat.  Tidy.  His slave did a good job.

"You can see why I had to lock you in first," he says.  He is putting his clothes on.  I look at his body and am repulsed, though a lingering hint of memory informs me that I was, not long ago, powerfully attracted to that pudgy, pale physique.  Attracted enough to...

Oh.  Oh, no.  I feel sick.  Knowledge of what has gone into my mouth, down my throat, and into my belly threatens to bring everything right back up again.  I force myself to not throw up.  Not here, not now when I'm locked in a cage.  I don't need to taste that shit a second time, or have it lying in a puddle beneath my face until my jailer deigns to unlock me.

"Thank you for your service this weekend," he says.  He tosses me a hex wrench and a key.  "You can unlock yourself."

"Like hell!  You made me permanently seal this shit on!" I shout.

He holds up a small tube and shows it to me through the bars.  It is the tube of weld that he gave me when I was locking the weight on my balls and the shackle around my ankle.  He holds it close enough that I can read the label.  It says "mineral oil".

I look at the screw holes.  There is no weld in them.  I put the wrench into the ankle shackle.  It turns easily, unsurprisingly, since the screw is coated with oil.  I have soon kicked it off, revealing an angry red welt around my ankle.  The ball weight comes off next.  Damn, my nuts are sore!  I can't believe I lugged that massive thing around for three days of hard labour and hard workouts.  My poor balls are going to be tender for weeks.

I try the key in the lock on the cage door, but it doesn't fit.  "That's for your neck," my captor informs me, tucking in his shirt.  I fumble the key into the (unsealed, unwelded) hole and it opens.  I remove the chain from around my neck.

"You can never unlock this cage, you know," I inform him.  "Because I am going to wring your puny fucking neck the moment you do."  I could do it, too.  I'm taller than he is, I outweigh him by a lot and, unlike him, I have muscles and I know how to use them.  They're tired and sore right now, but I'm still more than a match for him.  I've never hit anyone in my adult life, but I could easily see myself pummelling this asshole to a pulp.  Possibly even killing him.

He snickers.  It's an ugly sound.  "No, that's not what's going to happen, and you know it.  What's going to happen is, in a little while, I'm going to unlock that cage, and you're going to get out, get dressed, and leave."

"Yeah, after I bash your face in," I snarl.

He laughs again.  "I know you think I'm a monster.  But like I told you before, I could be one, but I've chosen not to be.  Think about it.  Think about everything you remember about the past year.  I could have done that to you for real.  I could have kept you here in happy contented slavery until you dropped dead of old age.  Or, more likely, until your good looks faded and I kicked you out to replace you with a younger, hotter model.  But I didn't."

He squats down to get his face close to my level.  "Instead, I took just one long weekend from you.  I even made sure you arranged for the day off from work first.  I didn't have to do that, you know.  I could have picked you up, had my way with you, and left you to figure out how to explain your absence to your boss.  My point is: yeah.  I used you.  But I could have used you a lot worse."

"What, you're saying I should be fucking grateful?  You make me your slave for three days and tell me I should be thankful you didn't do worse?"

"You don't have to be grateful that I took you.  But you should be grateful that I'm letting you go.  Hey, everyone on this earth uses the talents they were born with to make their way through life.  That's all I'm doing.  You don't happen to have that talent?  Boo hoo.  You have other attributes that make up for it.  Your smoking hot good looks, for instance.  You probably have no idea how many doors that sexy body and face opened for you all your life.  Attractive people just assume that everyone gets treated the way they do, that everyone else always goes out of their way to be nice and attentive and go the extra mile.  News flash: it doesn't work that way for us plain folks.  You and I are not that different.  You use your assets; I use mine."

He stands up again and looks down at me while he talks.

"Once I grew up, I decided I would spread the use of my gift out.  I don't ever demand too much of any one person.  I take a reasonable amount, just what I need, and that's all.  I don't like cleaning my house, so every couple of months I find myself a hot, fit guy and get him to do it for me.  And while he's here, I use him for my other interests.  I like hurting guys, getting off on the way they suffer, especially the big-muscled ones like you.  I love watching you work those massive muscles, sweating and straining, all for me."

Yeah.  I remember.  The happy-slave part of me actually enjoyed strutting my stuff for him, flexing and preening, knowing he was getting off on me, on the show I was putting on.  That part is actually hurt - crushed, even - that it was all a lie.  I squash that part down hard because the rest of me - the real me - is sickened by the memory of it.

"You were sexy to watch, for sure," he goes on, "but truthfully, this was never about you in particular.  You're nothing special; I don't even know your name.  No, this was about me getting my needs met, and I don't feel guilty about any of it.  Physically, you're completely unharmed.  Sure, you're sore and you've got a few scrapes and bruises, but the aches and marks will fade.  The worst tortures I inflicted on you all happened in your head, and I'll fix that up soon enough too.  You're just another fish I caught and am now tossing back into the pond none the worse for wear.  You're welcome."

"Fuck you," I bite out.  I am so filled with rage that it feels like my head is going to explode.  This reign of terror is going to end.  I am going to smash his face in, and then I'm going straight to the police.  They may not believe me, but if he's done this before maybe they've already got reports on this nut case.  And if not, I'll find a way to convince them.

He bends down once more and draws close to me, not quite close enough that I could reach out, grab his face, and slam it forward into the bars, but almost.  "Before you go, though, tell me honestly," he says.  "Was that not the number one, greatest-of-all-time, best orgasm you have ever had?"

He hasn't used the full-power Command Voice on me, but I nevertheless feel compelled to answer.  I shut my mouth tight and bite my lip to stop the word "yes" from escaping, because it otherwise would.  It's true.  Having been completely horned up for two days straight made for a long and powerful buildup.  It was an incredible orgasm, may he rot in hell.

I slam my arms into the cage door.  It rattles but does not open.

"I thought so," he smirks.  "So here's what's going to happen next."  That glow comes over him and I realize that whatever plans I've made might just get thrown out the nearest window.

No.  No, they won't.  Not this time.  I'm too fired up with rage to let that happen.

"I am going to give you the key.  When I do, I want you to get out of the cage, put your clothes on, walk to the bus stop, and catch the number 24 bus back to your usual stop.  You will get off the bus and go straight home.  You will speak to no one on your way.  You will leave your phone off until you arrive home.  When you enter your home, I want you to forget everything that has happened involving me since I first spoke to you.  You will remember being sick this weekend.  You had a bad case of something on Friday and Saturday.  On Sunday it got better, but you still didn't leave the house all day.  On Monday morning, you will feel fine and be ready to resume your normal life."

With that he tosses the key into the cage, then walks out of the bedroom and down the hall.  I pick up the key, fumble it into the lock, work the opened lock loose, shove the door open and climb out.  It's a lot easier to do without all the metal weighing me down.  His freako-hypnosis trick isn't working on me this time.  I heard the words he spoke but they mean nothing to me, nothing at all.  I surge to my feet, intent on chasing him down and punching him in the face.  But I realize I'm still naked and, now that I have my memory and my dignity back, I decide to get dressed first, then punch him in the face.

My clothes from Friday are sitting on top of the cage, still neatly folded.  I yank my underwear on, my shirt, my pants, my sweater.  My hands are shaking with fury.  I put my socks and shoes on, then take off down the hall to track Currin down.

He is not in the house.  I check every room.  He is not in any of them.  I go to the front door, grab my jacket from the hook where he hung it up the day before yesterday and put it on.  I step outside.

It's early evening.  The neighbourhood has lights, but the sky is dark (NOT pink, goddammit!) and there are shadows everywhere.  Any one of them could be a hiding place for him, concealing him from my view.  I look for him in the yard, then walk down the street, checking every potential hiding spot I can find without trespassing too brazenly.

Eventually I reach the bus stop.  Is it possible he tried to flee that way?  I think about it and realize it would be poetic - he captured me on the bus, maybe thinks it's clever to escape my wrath the same way.

The next number 24 comes along in a few minutes.  I get on and follow him south, the only direction he could have gone.  I watch out the window for any sign that he might have gotten off the previous bus and is now walking back north toward his own home.  I don't see him.

By the time the bus reaches Sheppard, my stop, I realize I've lost him.  It's probably for the best - my rage has had time to cool while I sat in enforced stillness and I realize that if I assault him, then I'm the instigator.  It's better to go to the police.  They will not believe me at first, probably.  It's an insane story and I wouldn't believe it if I heard it.  But I will find a way to convince them.

There's a police station not far away.  I get off the bus and walk toward it.  As I pass my building, I decide to stop off at home first.  Take a minute to gather my thoughts, get my story in order, maybe jot some notes down on paper.  I head toward the door.  I open it.

I cross the threshold.

It's Monday, March 21.  Dang, what a weekend!  I feel like a train hit me.  My entire body is sore all over.  I've got a nasty crick in my neck and everything aches, even my balls.  Whatever bug I caught sure was a doozy.  There are marks on my wrists and one ankle where the skin is red and raw.  Some kind of infection, maybe, under the surface?  I don't really know.  Whatever it was really knocked me for a loop.  At one point yesterday I realized I was still wearing my work clothes from Friday and I was ravenously hungry.  That seemed to be the turning point because I scarfed down some food and ever since then I've been steadily feeling better.

It's a glorious morning, the kind that promises spring to come.  Still a little chilly, but the sky is blue and tiny puffy white clouds skid quietly along.  By midday it might even get up to shirtsleeve temperatures.  This is Toronto and it's still March, so winter probably has one or two more tricks up its sleeve yet, but the end is definitely near.

The bus arrives and I climb on board.  I see some of the regulars.  The honeymooners are there, and so is the guy who moves like a bird.  Lotsa-handbags lady is not, but the hoodie guy and the really tall guy are in their usual spots in the back.  I slide into my own usual seat and watch the city go by.

I pass the time with the window and the phone.  At the stop before mine, Hoodie Guy comes forward and stands at the door in front of me waiting for it to open when the bus stops.  He looks over at me.  This is unusual enough to catch my eye and I look at him as the doors open.

He nods in friendly acknowledgement as he steps out.  "Have a nice day," he says.

And I do.

Author's note, placed here instead of on the "About the stories" page because it contains spoilers: Hello, any Canadian readers!  When I conceived of this story, I knew that I had to set it in Toronto.  I'm aware Canada is not Utopia, but nevertheless I have a severe case of culture envy for what you guys have going there.  I sometimes wistfully think that your country is what mine could have become if we didn't prefer to spend all our time being so darn shrill at one another.

I have given the sadist here a horrifyingly powerful talent, one that is just too strong, too insidious, too unstoppable.  Currin could easily set himself up to be the next Hitler or Stalin if he wanted to.  But I wanted this to be a "catch and release" story, so I needed him to not want to be a Stalin, not even on a small scale.  I wanted my sadist to enjoy hurting guys but to also have a decent sense of social responsibility... the kind of mindset someone might develop growing up in "Toronto The Good".  So I set the stoury nourth of the bourdre and even ran it through a spell-checkre set to Canadian English, which helpfully added lots of extra u's to wourds that I didn't realize needed them and also swapped soume r's and e's around.

I'm not saying Canadians are perfect saints.  You've still got crime and rudeness and all the other problems people have any time you put more than one of them together, but overall you seem more civilized about it.  If someone is going to be given the power that Currin has, I think the chances of a good outcome for the rest of us would be improved if the gift went to a Canadian.