Prison of Wishes

Posted: November 29, 2010 in Single-run ("One off") Stories
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She lay on the huge bed, clad in a very expensive, very flimsy nightgown of silk with velvety trim. She spent a lot of time there, because it was where she was expected to be so often—just in case he “needed” her—and sometimes that need came at lunchtime or other random points in the day.

Aside from bathroom visits and meals and cleaning up, she didn’t leave the bed much, except to do some spinning or treadmill time—after all, she had to stay in shape for him, too.

It might be nice to have something else to do, but I went through his meager library of books long ago, and he’s never been all that keen on shopping for more very often, she considered ruefully, though he brings so many other gifts.

The gifts were her own fault, in a way, and she knew why he plied her with them initially. Why he bothered now was beyond her. Maybe they were meant to woo her heart or perhaps to make up for what he did to her. Maybe it was both.

Then again, maybe it was habit, or maybe it was to taunt her. Those seemed more likely most days.

Staring at piles of gifts didn’t do much to occupy her mind, though. Logging on any amount of computer time would be a nice change of pace, but she was locked out of his computers as surely as she was the phones in this large condo. She had the bed and the television to keep her company—every once in a while the hundreds of channels of crap yielded something worth watching that engaged her. Those were the good times, when the company of those two inanimate objects almost took her mind away from her imprisonment.

Sometimes, of course, she had him for company instead.

Those were the worst times.

* * *

She heard the sharp “ding” of the private elevator that led up to this penthouse domicile in which she resided, and she cringed beneath the sheets. She’d have 20 or 30 seconds to compose herself before he entered—often he would wait several minutes but she’d learned not to assume that. He had to at least take time to put his mask and goggles back on. He didn’t wear them when he entered the building or went up the elevator, for obvious reasons, but he wore them for her all the time.

Partly for effect, she assumed, but mostly to prevent her from spraying glass cleaner in his eyes or dosing him with some kind of homemade pepper-powder concoction.

“Darling,” she heard him say softly from the doorway, and realized she had drifted a bit—she pulled herself into character quickly and looked toward him, smiling.

“Darling,” he repeated, “I have a gift for you.”

He worked long hours at some kind of legitimate job; investment banking or something else, she guessed—something with long hours that required a Type A personality. And when he wasn’t in the office, he spent little time here at the penthouse condo—after all, he went out to commit crimes almost every night he didn’t work late and often he slept elsewhere, and she feared to ask where, suspecting that often it was in a victim’s own home. Not every night resulted in a crime, and not every crime was satisfying or lucrative, but more often than not, he came home with a gift for her.

Lucky me, she thought with a deep, abiding and sarcastic agony.

She hadn’t even known he was a criminal when she first met him. He was just that awkward, vaguely creepy guy in the support group with her and a dozen other folks. They had only minor powers and none of them were particularly happy being transhumans even though it was easy for most of them to hide their powers, and that was why they were in the group to commiserate with one another. She’d never suspected he had something more than a smidgen of power; never knew he was happy to use his powers and was simply lurking in the group.

Never knew he had targeted her. He probably never would have actually abducted her, though, if she hadn’t given him that accidental invitation—that little bit of goading that made him feel justified in claiming her. He’d asked her out, and she didn’t like the idea one bit, but in a bit of petty nastiness, she’d told him he’d need to be quite the provider for her to consider a date.

“I’m the kind of girl who has lots of wishes,” she had said haughtily, “and I need someone who can make them come true. Jewelry, fine wines, fantastic shoes, expensive dresses, fancy foods, rare wines, furs and all that. You can’t do that.”

So she’d set the trap for herself without meaning too, and she’d baited it. She’d never expected him to take her so seriously and to ply her with expensive gifts. That had intrigued her, she had to admit, so she’d allowed him to take her out a couple times. And then, finally, to have a drink at his place. She’d never imagined a guy like him would live in a penthouse suite of such luxuriousness. She’d never guessed it would become her prison.

It was her own fault coming here against her better instincts, and certainly she’d started the ball rolling with her attempt to dissuade him through ridicule at first. But in the end, it was his fault, because while the things she had done might have earned her some degree of humiliation, they didn’t justify anything near what he’d done to her, she thought as she touched the collar around her neck.

“Darling,” he said again, snatching her attention to the horrid, sickly present circumstances—the hellish reality that had defined the past 10 months of her life. “I have something for you.”

She smiled as realistically as she could, and let him drape the expensive fur around her shoulders, as she guided her arms into the sensually soft lining of the sleeves, wondering at how the trick of perspective and fate could cause something so fancy to now fill her with such revulsion. But he was giving her what she had demanded, of course, here in this prison of her desires. In this cage formed of her former dreams. Binding her in chains of her own vainly professed wishes as he worked his own insidious agenda on her mind and on her flesh.

“I hope you like it,” he said, his eyes greedy as they took in her taut body framed in fur.

Then she felt the warm stickiness at the back of her neck, and stifled the cry that threatened to escape her throat. She tried not to imagine how much of the blood of the coat’s previous owner might be there at the neck of the coat, and perhaps other places as well. She tried to concentrate on the softer, silkier warmth of the rest of the coat, and the softness of the sheets, and tried to block out the feel of fresh blood and the press of his body against her as he took what he thought he had paid for in full.

She gasped and moaned not just to please him and keep him from possibly hurting her but to hide the choking little hiccups in her chest that threatened to become sobs. Which would then become screams. And probably hideous shrieking and cackling thereafter.

There lay madness, and probably punishment at his hands, as well, so she turned her inward eyes away from the abyss and choked off her cries before they could summon her doom.

Her soul cringed inside her as she tried to pay attention to him and yet ignore him.

She tried to tell herself that it could be worse. He’d never actually been violent toward her. Aggressive and insensitive, yes. Degradingly sordid, certainly. Rough, often. But psychopathically violent, no.

Not yet, at least.

But as she tried to convince herself that it could be worse, all she could think of was that if it was this bad without being beaten, or threatened, or cut—how much worse was it for a woman raped with more overt violence? How much worse would it be for her, when perhaps he decided that pleasure could only come from upping the ante and taking more than his pound of flesh from her and stealing a greater slice of her soul?

* * *

It was a minor blessing that he didn’t take her every night. In fact, he didn’t share the bed with her most nights since he rarely stayed here long.

But he took her body twice more over the course of the next five days, paying for the “right” with stolen goods as he stole her dignity.

As she waited for the gift she really wanted.

Finally, he came home with it, along with other items from the store—food for her to cook for herself and sometimes for him; cleaners with which to keep his home tidy. For a month now, she’d been slacking in one area of her duties: cleaning. For weeks now, she’d been less diligent as she used a new cleanser he’d bought. She’d been lax on purpose, letting the grime build a tiny bit at a time, blaming it on the inadequacy of the new brand, and begging him to buy the old one again when this ran out, before the bathroom and kitchen failed to meet his expectations.

And finally, he had produced it.

Tomorrow, she would use it.

Too often, all those channels yielded nothing good, but two months ago, there was that program that talked about how easy it was to make simple explosives with household chemicals.

Never had she been so glad for satellite television, pirate TV channels and paranoid individuals who wanted to tutor “normal” humans how to protect themselves from transhumans in the imagined coming genetic apocalypse.

She had gathered and hoarded and hidden what she’d needed, and then realized she lacked one ingredient. Realized the container that contained it was nearly empty. Insufficient.

And then he’d replaced it with a new brand to be more cost-effective, and her hope had died inside her when she realized it lacked the active ingredient she needed.

But her scheming had worked, and she had it now. She could finish her gift to him now that he’d given her this gift tonight—an item he didn’t even know was a gift.

It was the last gift she ever intended to receive in this prison of wishes that was his home—and her hell.

* * *

As well as his job must pay him, she’d long realized it couldn’t support the opulence in which he had trapped her and in which he lived a few hours a day himself. So that meant his crimes were fairly fruitful overall, and his transhuman powers were probably somewhat formidable.

Not that she knew what they were. He hadn’t told her. She doubted he had invulnerability, since he made sure she couldn’t surprise him when he came home. If she got within two feet of the front door, the elevator, or any window, the collar around her neck gave her a taser-level jolt. It probably also alerted him by pager or cell phone that it had been activated.

She still remembered with mingled humiliation and horror as he cradled her head in his lap that day so many months past, his erection hard against the back of her throbbing skull, as he told her, “Bad girl. I told you not to cross those lines on the floor. I have to keep you safe from the world, so that I can bring just those parts of the world to you that you want. That you need. My princess. If you leave me, how can I give you what you desire?”

And then, as if it was something she desired as much as he did, he stripped her and fucked her body, still recovering from the stunning jolts of electricity, and as she clenched against his manhood in terror and disgust, he no doubt thought it passion and love.

She’d tried to figure out what his powers might be many times since then, but to no avail. He wouldn’t share the information, and the story he’d told them all at the support group—that he had a minor morphing ability to mimic simple textures and colors of nearby surfaces like a chameleon—was probably incomplete at best, and pure fiction at worst.

Not that knowing his powers would give her much of an edge, she realized. Her own abilities weren’t exactly going to win her any fights—acute, almost telescopic vision like a hawk, a nose probably as sensitive as any bloodhound’s, and a level of hearing that sometimes allowed her to hear people on the floors below her captor’s condo, making it feel like help was so near, yet so achingly unreachable. He’d even taken to calling her Sensorama at times because of her powers, like she was some pet superhero he kept, and that diminished her in new ways she hadn’t thought possible, all the more so because it sounded so close to her real name, Sarah. Renamed and ridiculed all at once, in a sociopathic attempt at control over her very identity.

But she had wanted something—something to have of his. The fact he wouldn’t give her that knowledge about his powers irked her—all he had ever told her was the villainous moniker he had decided to take for himself: Mister Master. He took such intimate things from her and left her with the kind of scars that never showed and might never heal, and gave her nothing in return but gifts she no longer desired and nicknames that filled her with dread—when all she wanted now was freedom and vengeance and to know who it really was she was about to kill.

Or try to.

But she could live without knowing his name or his powers. As long as everything else went as planned.

In the end, her near-certainty that he wasn’t particularly resistant to harm was what gave her hope. It was the one rapidly disintegrating vine she clung to as she hung from the edge of her dwindling strength over a precipice of madness.

* * *

It was three more days before he came to take her body for his own again, and it was the first time since she had become his prisoner that she had longed painfully for him to share the bed. She needed him there.

And when finally he was there, panting and pounding her, pinning her body to the bed like a butterfly to a display board, she slipped the small bottle from its hiding place, with that little wrapped parcel taped to the side. She moaned and cried out for him to ravish her harder, so that he wouldn’t sense what was to come.

She realized that she was likely going to sacrifice her left hand in this effort, and perhaps even scar her face, neck and chest. There had once been a time that might have horrified her, but she was beyond the ability to conceive that she would ever let another man see her naked again, so what did she care?

Her chest clenched in fear. This might not work. What if she only stunned him? What if he was able to punish her? Could life become even worse for her? Did she have a choice?

The hand holding the bottle began to shake, and she thought she might drop it, but then she bit her lip, committed herself, and wrapped her legs around him to keep him close; to keep him intent on his assault of her femininity and her autonomy.

He would have to die. She had to believe he would. She would have to stay conscious, though, and wrap the sheets around his throat, just in case he was still alive—just in case he was a Regenerator. She would cut off any hope of air to his lungs or blood to his brain and she would leave that sheet there, tight against his neck, until his body began to rot or she managed to get out of the apartment, whichever came first.

Oh, there would be pain beyond a mangled hand for her and scattered other scars. She would have to step across one of those lines on the floor at least once. Perhaps twice or thrice, to exhaust the battery on the stunning device locked to her.

Then she would be free. She only hoped the multiple taser jolts wouldn’t leave her with some lasting damage.

He had already visited so much destruction upon her already, after all.

But she paused in that thought, and on the verge of striking her blow against him.

Was escape the path to her freedom now? Actual escape? Simply running from this place and reclaiming her old life?

No.

He’d taken her identity and tried to give her a new one.

She would forge her own.

He’d taken her freedom and walled her inside his tower of depravity.

She would claim it for her own.

It would take time to get herself in the shape she would need to be in to do what needed doing. But gaining weapons, at least, would be no problem. When he was dead, she would take the keys from his pocket, and unlock the room she knew housed his arsenal. She could make her own costume. She could use her senses to seek out men like him. Hunters who stole women’s bodies. Who scarred their souls.

She lifted her arm as he came inside her and lost all sensibility and awareness, and she smashed the bottle against the back of his head.

The world roared around her, a sharp and concentrated heat and smell of burning flesh, and she forced herself to remain conscious as her hand was engulfed in agony and her acute hearing made a roaring symphony of the tiny wet sounds of a few small pieces of bloody bone and flesh striking a side table and headboard.

The explosion wasn’t just the sound of her freedom, but a mad epiphany as she abandoned who she had been—as well as abandoning what he had made of her.

Ladykiller, she thought. That will be my name, and what an ironic double entendre it will be when I prowl the night instead of him.

Hours later, she limped from the bedroom, but her steps had never felt more sure. Never lighter.

Never more her own.

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