Bright, cozy light from the ceiling and table-lamps made the room feel warm. Lived in. Almost. . . homey. Bodies sprawled in comfortable positions as books disintegrating with age were studied. Girls in an untidy heap on the sofa, so intertwined that it was impossible to tell which limbs went with blonde, brown, or red. Glasses, half full of innocent carbonation, made rainbows against the faux Tiffany lamp.
On the floor, dark hair rested against the side of the sofa, just barely visible if someone were to stretch, length of body disappearing into the darkened shadows the last occupant hid in. The unusual insistence for keeping the shades up and open had shocked wide-eyed girls into wary nervousness—given the noonday sun beating down with fierce California intensity—but weeks of odd behavior had brought familiarity out to breed.
So long as there were no complaints, they didn’t care anyway.
The utter dismissal they exhibited for something that was neither powerful nor interestingly bothersome was useful. It made the current act, refined over weeks of practice, enjoyably devious.
Long legs, growing heavier from hidden activities, stretched into the shadows. Close examination would have shown the gentle back and forth of material disturbed by moving muscles. Light upon the shadows would have revealed the trailing laces of an empty work boot, positioned to block the actions its released foot made. Slowly, so slowly, with barely enough pressure to do anything, it moved back and forth. An interested observer would have seen eyes tightly closed, heard choking sounds barely muffled by four fingers jammed into a drooling mouth.
Had any of those that called themselves friends glanced behind the sofa, they would have been shocked at the malicious glee that shone from downcast eyes. The dainty, teasing touches of soft, sweaty cotton on uncovered skin. Hints of red as naked flesh was rubbed against the cruel metal teeth that framed it; the pain in the muted sounds lacking any vestige of pleasure.
Xander smiled. Were this some other couple, some other relationship, the basic actions would have been extremely graphic for public display, but understandable; even affectionate. One partner pleasuring the other, the spice of being seen adding additional heat.
While the latter part was true, the former was not. The arousal that forced blood into stiffened exposure came from the passion in black eyes, the bulge against drawstring pants, and the intoxicating scent that the humans somehow ignored. The intense pain of cut and brush on sensitized skin was a factor, of course, just as much as the fear of being caught. Yet the heat, the fire that burned along pale skin, came solely from the figure resting not three feet away.
Toes covered in worn fabric dragged down into denim-encased darkness, burrowing past rounded heaviness to begin the light brushes again, this time pressed against a smooth strip of skin not much larger than the toe itself. An idea occurred and the foot arched, pressing the delicate bones up into hypersensitive skin.
Blue eyes bugged out, all sounds stopping as unneeded air choked in motionless lungs. Newly sharpened teeth slid into flesh, crunching against bone. Nearly unseeing from torturous sensations, eyes fastened on the smirk the torturer wore, reveling in the sensuality, the superiority, the sex on a face that had formerly been innocent.
Master was happy.
The pain did not abate but gradually tense muscles undid themselves as pleasure in Master’s pleasure made the pain. . . desirable. For Master’s pleasure, anything could—and would—be endured.
“Buffy, did you go into Restfield last night?” The question, full of polished curiosity, did not stop the game untimely—conversations rarely included either of those on the floor.
“Restfield? No, not last night. Why?”
“Three men—humans—were found dead there last night. They died of blood loss—except there was suspiciously little blood around the bodies.”
“Three? Somebody was having a party last night.”
“Ordinarily I’d say yes, although the report suggests the bodies had been moved, however. . .”
“However what? Giles?”
“The bodies had been slashed—with a knife, the coroner believes. Only two bodies bore bite marks, and neither was on the neck—one on the leg, the other on the chest above the heart.”
That caused stillness.
The three men in question had been unable to stop watching two bodies writhing and twisting to the beat of the house DJ. With the horrified fascination of those watching a car accident, they had witnessed a hand stroke where a foot now rubbed, causing an explosion of sights and sounds at a single spoken command. Upon receiving a mocking wink while the mess was cleaned up, they had fallen into the disturbed rage of the sexually threatened.
Following an hour-long car chase, they’d ended up in a cemetery, confidently assuming that one awkward, goofy man and the thin, subservient figure beside him would be no problem.
Their deaths had been long and lingering, three more subjects for the ongoing experiment in what divided pain and pleasure.
There was nothing to be done about the cause—neither of them knew enough about micro-processes or even biology—but the effect could be modified. The idea had resulted after a very long night, innocence and naivete eradicated to the screaming sounds that prompted orgasm after orgasm and continuous cries for more. The more pain inflicted, the more pleasurable it had felt.
It was hard, exacting work, but trial and error had resulted in limited freedom. So long as eyes full of permissive enjoyment watched, tentative ability had been restored. The monster, leashed and dependent, was that much closer to reclamation.
All because of Master.
The exultant joy in long-denied actions had made them rougher, more violent than usual. They had also been less thorough in their clean up, anxious to return home to. . . celebrate.
Which was why the skin rubbed by the bones of an arched foot was nearly black beneath curly brown hair. Despite the lack of consistent blood flow, hours encased in leather with heavy weights attached had created deep bruises and small tears in the sensitive flesh. If it had been safe enough to allow the whimpering screams that were barely held back, they’d be ringing down the walls with their pleasured agony.
Panic seized, heightening the pain, making it precious. Discovery, previously only an added thrill, was now dangerously imminent. Either midnight activities would be found out, twisted games exposed to those who would condemn them. . . or the activities would be curtailed, made furtive and occasional to protect their perpetrators.
Either way, there was great risk that the hot, burning pleasure of flesh and sustenance would be diminished, if not stopped outright.
That could not be allowed to happen.
It had taken work, hard work, and sacrifices to regain what should never have been lost. It had taken weeks of training, giving, being taken, joy and pain melded into a single whole to reach this point and nothing could be allowed to jeopardize it.
Forcing thoughts past trembling torment and gripping panic, blue eyes were raised to search and hold brown. Silent understanding passed between and slowly insides tightened in a different kind of fear relaxed. Rage, deep and drenching, burning out of eyes still dilated to black. Fear of being taken away was displaced with Master’s rage that anyone would dare try.
If dark eyes had not been locked on distorted features, a feline smile of smug superiority would have spread. From naive loathing to lust-driven control and now to absolute ownership.
Wrist and neck, both bound in unbreakable iron, connected by invisible bonds.
Conversations continued to flow around them, but concern was washed away as muscles jerked and moved in faster motion. Punishing rhythms sent borrowed blood pumping faster; sounds crowded deep in a tight throat, aching for release. Blue eyes never moved from black, silently begging for permission, for the liberation that would tighten the iron around them both. Let the metal bite into flesh, let it rub abrasions into smooth skin, anything. Pain was pleasure and pleasure pain, the sting and rough and so good—
A wordless snarl, nearly a growl as good as those of unfettered days of dearly remembered, brought shooting pain streaking down flesh reddened and cut, scraped and blackened, to cause an explosion of silent, screaming pain and excruciating pleasure, melding, bleeding, streaming—
Muttered words, black and crackling, dropped from tightened lips like pebbles, scattered behind in their wake with physical remains. Scuttling behind, always behind, eyes downcast and biddable, plotted and planned without the stygian fury. Thoughts, gleeful and concerned by turns, circled around the invisible bite of sharp-edged metal, reveling in the icy touch.
No longer would it be silicon and micro-wires that held dominion, high tech gadgetry shorn away by the ancient power of cold iron.
Such a change needed to be rewarded and the discussion back where things were warm and cozy and homey and innocently safe had assured them of some time before their choices had to be made. Not much time, a real threat drove maddened fear, but certainly enough that a suitably perverse celebration could occur.
Through the door and down the stairs. Musty age, unclean despite repeated attempts, mixed with swirling dust and the scent of rutting male. Intoxicating. A warm, pulsing body threw itself upon the bed, arm over eyes, still muttering and planning just where to go and what to do.
Hidden by skin and bone and tensed muscle, a rapturous grin flickered briefly. Then knees hit familiar lumps, crawling forward to bring a grasping, open mouth to find a thin, flattened brass. Hard-won skill made the gesture easy, pulling metal teeth apart to release engorged flesh to slap against cotton. More bites and pulls and thick denim was removed, legs kicking thoughtlessly to free ankles and toes.
Hands twisted, held by invisible bonds behind a still-clothed back, knees straining from the upright weight pushed down upon them, the celebration of thanks commenced.
Sharp tongue extended to brush the tender skin of the sac, teeth just pricking above and below. Pull back, suction strong and rhythmic, before sinking back to try and take even more. Throat muscles loosened and opened, releasing the breathy cries of choking joy.
Hands, damp with sweat, slammed into bleached hair, grabbing hold. No effort was made to find freedom from the punishing grip, muscles twitched to move mouth and teeth and throat where desired. Throat violated over and over as leaking flesh was thrust in and out and in again.
A litany of pleasure began, crooning, praising, abusing, using, raining down on ears held by curled fingers. The words caused softened flesh to harden again; Master’s pleasure was pleasure, no matter how much physical pain might be involved.
The pressure changed, pulling up instead of forward and back. Following the directions, the face was pulled towards the top of the bed, rounded globes of flesh, fattened through recent feasting, resting in cool comfort over burning flesh.
Hands moved from their locked position, tearing at fiber barriers, eager to feel that heat inside, abuse made joyous. Burns, cuts, bruises, raw patches of skin rubbed rough; red, brown, yellow, green, bluepurpleblack all spread out along alabaster white. Each mark a badge, proud and pleasing.
Lift up, sink down. Borrowed blood, hot from excited friction, dripped from new tears, easing the tight passage up, making it slick and hurt and taut and good. A groan of pure pleasure as legs tensed and moved, up and down with blinding speed. Scarlet red spread across crisp black curls, spilling across the smooth planes of skin burned golden in the sun.
“We need to leave.” The words were a benediction, the feeling of metal cruel with its touch, pulling and pushing and always commanding. “Chicago. New York. Some place. . . big.”
Jackhammer thrusts, pounding agonized rapture into broken flesh. Hot hands grabbed, pulling roughly on flesh too tender to bear such mistreatment. Mewling cries turned into screams of pain. Answering calls of numbing pleasure joined them, mingling their ecstasy in a disjointed hallelujah.
A howling scream and hot and cold gushed out in powerful bursts.
“Yes.” A single word, the first in long days of silence, whispered against sweat-salt skin. Pink tongue slipped out and began to lap away all secretions. Gentling. Soothing. Praising. Rasping against flushed skin, cooling the fiery inferno. Encouraging sweet calm. . .
“Not L.A.,” a sleepy voice dictated. “Angel could find us. But some place big. Loud. People to kill. . . money to steal. . .”
Slumber took hold, the previous long night finally catching up. It was not supposed to have been so long, but the silent grumbling of a stomach that no longer functioned had kept them hunting, hurting, killing long after exhaustion asserted its presence.
Movements meant for stalking prey brought a slim body away from the comfort of the snoring warmth and to a secret place, hidden in the wall. Thick parchment, stained green, tumbled into waiting hands. Long fingers sorted and counted, eyes cataloguing items scattered around the room—to be kept, to be sold, to be left.
Pleased with the results, a phone was raised and nocturnal contacts reestablished.
It took two weeks to complete preparations, two weeks to plan their flight. Arguments, surprisingly, over destination had players on opposite sides. Youth wanted seedy underbelly, the darkness that would cloak their activities and offer them tentative protection. Age wanted to show youth all the things a small town could not. Art and history, though a history of psychotic violence and art created by bloody remains. . . A compromise was eventually reached.
Two weeks and seeds of suspicion among those who had been friends began to sprout and bloom. Confidence where there had been shame and humility; darkness where there had been warm, human light; violence instead of ineptitude; cruelty. Manufactured distance from old bonds helped strengthen new, and all was in readiness.
Five o’clock on a Friday afternoon. No plans, despite frequent calls growing more agitated with each dismissal. Threats were now being offered, suspicion coalescing into fear.
“I’m bored.” Rich tenor made silky and hard, unknowingly caressing satiny neck. The bearer of that neck shivered, feeling metal bite into tender flesh. Needing it. Loving it. Craving it. “Show me something fun to do.”
That night was glorious.
Remains were found only in morning’s light, bile immediately joining the mess. Hysterical girls made frantic accusations, tears and terror beneath every word, and even the lone male still remaining could not find anything—to hope for.
Old and worn, the girls were not told until later, much later. That it was not claws and fangs that had torn two humans to pieces; human tools, human mind, human. . . touch had reveled in gory destruction, spreading it with maniacal glee.
Rescue turned to hunt.
Yet no trace was found. Police in cities throughout the world would discover the makings of a horrifically bloody serial killer, exhibiting animalistic tendencies despite the logical precision—yet after a few weeks, a month, the deaths would stop and the suspects vanish.
Every night was a feast, blood and sex and pain and pleasure. Every day an adventure, finding prey, hunting prey, spending stolen monies for whatever was desired. When money was tight, a cool, sweet body would procure what was needed. Fangs and knives carved a bloody swath down every path.
Time and testing weakened previously placed restraints. A question was asked and answered; dying warmth became eternal cold. The stinging pain, the icy pleasure, should have transferred the hold—but bonds of blood and pain, still dependent despite new freedoms, were harder to break.
When dark eyes opened and became yellow, the first hissing request was for tattoos. Indulgent, this too was granted. Wide silver circles were picked, the likeness of thick, aged metal.
One neck, pale from shadowed centuries, one wrist, still golden from fading exposure to day.
Both chained. Both bound.