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Well, here it is

January 30, 2017

Some time back I wrote a post about my efforts to write a book. Not just a book. Oh, no. Fiction. With dialogue, no less. One of the things I said was that I’d post snippets or excerpts (or whatever you call the things) from time to time. As it turns out, that’s harder than I thought. Oh, not the writing, though that is hard enough. No, I’m talking about posting portions of it. I have what I’ve written so far sitting safely in its own file on my computer. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to post it. Damn. Anyway, someone whose opinion I value a great deal said I need to go ahead and pull the trigger on the thing. Phooey. Okay. Give me your opinions and suggestions. Try to be concrete so I can have a decent chance of knowing what you mean rather than what I might think you mean. You can comment in the “comments” section or via email. Be honest, please.

***

Prologue

The woman was to all appearances a typical Southern California blonde. Tall, tan and toned, she sported the sparkling blue eyes and the rather impressive backside and chest so many associated with “SoCal” as the inhabitants called it. More than one aspiring man, some young and some not-so young, had wooed her over the years. Many of them had been attractive enough, some had been wealthy, some strong and virile. Starting when she was in her late teens, she had encouraged and given into them all – and emerged from each intimate encounter profoundly unfulfilled and increasingly discouraged. Now, at the ripe old age of 32, she retained the face and body of a much younger woman, but had a much more jaundiced view of romance, sex and intimacy in general. Still…

Over a year ago, her best friend and co-worker had persuaded her to rent and watch the previous year’s unexpected best-seller. “Alex,” her friend had said, “you’ve got…no, you need to watch this. It may be the sort of thing you need.” It had been all about what she used to vaguely refer to as “whips and chains.” While it wasn’t a great movie (or book, she discovered soon thereafter), it did strike a chord with her. So, she had turned to that great friend of the lonely and disconnected, the internet. There, she learned of a world she had never known existed, a world inhabited by people whose choice of relationships was oriented around BDSM. Her discovery led to research. Research led, eventually, to the discovery of a local group of BDSM enthusiasts and practitioners, people who were part of the “lifestyle.” Shortly thereafter, she was invited to and attended her first “munch.”

A munch, she had learned, was a low-stress, non-threatening way for people new to the BDSM scene to meet people already involved. Held in a public place, often a local coffee shop or restaurant that had some sort of at least semi-private room for rent, people attended in everyday street clothes and mostly just sat around and talked. The people she met were so, well, normal that her fears and concerns seemed to evaporate almost overnight. The folks at that first munch did, indeed, meet in a private room at a local restaurant, though they had reserved it under the name of “The Computer Users Group,” to help ensure anonymity. And then, when the waitress left the room and they started talking about the things they did as part of the lifestyle, Alex was hooked.

Hooked or not, Alex wasn’t about to rush into her first “scene.” She sat, listened and learned all she could about how things were typically done. Lots of male Dominants or Doms had approached her over the first few months, but her previous experiences with men led her to take her time. She didn’t want to agree to something, only to find herself disappointed once more. Then, 4 months ago, she met him.

Older than she by almost 20 years, he was everything she had come to picture as her version of the ideal Dom. At what she guessed was a lean 6 feet, he was taller than Alex by several inches. At the munches, he was always calm and unfailingly polite. She noticed he had blue eyes, brown hair with more than a little grey at the temples and favored black and grey clothing. The color choice was pretty typical for the lifestyle, but she thought he wore his particularly well. The longtime members of the local BDSM community said he had only been there a few months longer than Alex. Still, he had “played” several of the subs and earned a reputation as an experienced and skilled Dominant who took his obligations and responsibilities for the safety and well-being of his play partners very seriously. The first time she met him, she was hooked. Unlike the eager men she had already come to classify as “Dom wannabe’s,” the man had not pursued her immediately. When he did broach the topic of playing with her, it was not until they had chatted at a few munches and run into each other at 2 play parties – she had observed, but stuck by her decision to go slowly and hadn’t played – and at a barbecue he hosted at the rather quaint looking English style cottage he called home. He was refreshing…and confusing. Not only did he not chase after her, he somehow left the impression that if she said “no,” it would neither lead to his being rude to her, nor ruin his day. Now, the day had come. Today, she would have her first BDSM play experience.

HIs house was a good half-hour outside town, up in the mountains. When she had agreed to play at his house, he had very politely, and yet very firmly, informed her she was to arrive precisely at noon and that he was not one to tolerate tardiness. She had been told, ever since joining the group, that she should never meet a person the first time for play at his place. Rather, she should meet at a well traveled hotel or motel. This, she was told, was for her safety – part of the BDSM philosophy of doing everything in a “safe, sane and consensual” way. But, because he had such a solid reputation in the lifestyle community and because he seemed so balanced and normal, Alex had decided to meet him at his home. Besides, he had emphasized that since they had never played with each other before and because they were playing at his house, it was imperative that she let at least one reliable person know where she would be, who she’d be with and how long she planned to be there. Further, he told her she would be required, by him, to call this person periodically through their play time. This, he explained, would not only ensure her safety and his, but would help her relax, knowing someone who knew where she was waited for her call. If that call did not come, that person would call the cops. The truth was, he was a predator who had chosen her the first time they met. Over the ensuing months he had manipulated and played her expertly, allowing her to think the decision to violate a basic rule of safety was entirely hers. He didn’t really like what he had done, but justified it as necessary if he was to get what he wanted.

As she turned off the main road onto the private drive to her new Dom’s (that’s how she had started thinking of him, lately) house, she realized her eagerness and desire to arrive on time had led her to leave her condo far earlier than necessary. “I hope he doesn’t object to me being 45 minutes early,” she thought, looking at the tall, dark green trees lining each side of the drive. Stopping her car in front of his house, she reviewed the list of instructions he’d insisted she write down during their last negotiation. “Park in front of the house. Got it. Loose fitting casual clothes. Done. Knock, don’t ring. Done…”She read through the rest of the list before exiting the vehicle.

Because it was a mild autumn day, he had the windows of the house open and heard the sound of the car as it came up the drive. “Forty-five minutes early,” he said with a bit of a bitter chuckle. “Predictability is a good thing.” He had worked hard over the previous weeks and months to build the anticipation in this sub for what she, by now, undoubtedly expected would be a thrilling introduction to the world of BDSM. That she would be thrilled by what he had planned was beyond question. That she would enjoy it was doubtful, at best.

Moments after he heard the car shut off, he heard the expected knock on the door. He didn’t even think about answering the first knock. Instead, he finished adding potatoes to the already cooking beef roast – the one he would almost certainly be enjoying alone for dinner, tonight. Then, after cleaning up after himself, he went to answer the door. “Not too bad. She’s only on the fourth knock.”

Alex had tried hard not to fidget or act impatient as she stood at the door of his cottage. Her more experienced lifestyle friends had told her to expect things like this. They were designed to help maintain the sense that control was in the hands of the Dominant by making a sub wait for some things – and by keeping her off balance. Still, she was surprised when the door suddenly opened and he was standing in front of her. Dressed in a green striped Oxford shirt, jeans and, surprisingly, a pair of what appeared to be combat boots, he seemed somewhat surprised when he saw her. Glancing at his watch, he interrupted her even as she took a breath to speak.

“Hello. Was there a report of exceptionally heavy traffic on the freeway?” he asked.

“Well, no. I just wanted to be –“

“Was I not clear as to when you were to arrive?” he continued, still not allowing her to explain.

“No…I mean, yes. You were clear. I was simply trying –“

“I’m glad I was clear. I presume I don’t need to ask if you can tell time. After all, you’re an educated woman. So, perhaps you can explain to me why you’ve arrived almost an hour ahead of the time I gave you.” He stopped, clearly awaiting a response, his face completely expressionless.

This was not going the way she had anticipated at all. His efforts to keep her off balance were clearly working, as she was having trouble coming up with a reasonable answer. The hint that she was somehow deficient in her ability to even tell time had offended her pride. Yet, at the same time, she found it somehow, oddly exciting. Thinking carefully, she explained,

“I’m sorry I am so early, Sir. I did understand the time you told me to arrive. I was just trying to make sure I wasn’t late.” That seemed to help. His eyes became slightly more animated and a faint smile seemed to play about his lips for a moment as he stepped to one side, gesturing into his house. “Ah, I understand. That can, perhaps, be forgiven in one so young. In the future, be aware that when I give you an arrival time, my expectation is that you will arrive no more than 15 minutes early and that barring some unforeseeable event, you will never be late. Do you understand?

“Yes, Sir. I understand,” she replied.

“Very well. Since you are here, and since dinner has a good while to go, let’s step out to the patio. Come along and close the door as you enter.” Turning, he started off through the house, not bothering to look back to see if she followed. Though she quickly shut the door, she found she had to hurry to catch up with him. She barely had time to note how clean and neat the house was. “Almost like it’s staged for sale,” she thought briefly. Leading her through the house, he paused in the kitchen long enough to pull two sodas out of the fridge before stepping through the French doors that led to the patio. Opening the sodas, he handed her one.

“Drink. And, welcome to my home, Alex.” He had shifted gears on her. Now, he was the typical host, being considerate of his guest, throwing her further off base. “Please” he said, pulling a chair away from the patio table. “Have a seat. Now, the last time we talked, you said you were raised not too far from here? Tell me about growing up in this part of the country.”

As she talked of her childhood, he asked the occasional question, never taking his eyes off hers. The effect was almost hypnotic. And well it should have been, given the drug he had slipped into her soda before he gave it to her. She found, as she talked, that she felt more and more comfortable, more and more at ease. Indeed, had she been in a condition to notice, a glance in a mirror would have shown how her eyes had become a bit glassy, though that wasn’t noticeable when she made her “safe call.” A trained observer would have noticed how he “paced” and reflected her actions, as he leaned in closer to her, his eyes continuing to remain focused on hers. Her first call was the only one she would make. The others that would come at predetermined points consisted some of her words and voice – all recorded as she answered his carefully contrived questions. Soon, she was agreeing to not only share her phone’s PIN, but to take a walk with him, further up the mountainside behind his house. She even consented to wear a steel collar with a lock and attached chain. It seemed so reasonable in her drugged and hypnotically induced state. After all, wasn’t that sort of thing normal in BDSM? 15 minutes later, the once free end of the chain was secured to a tree and she was naked, sitting on the forest floor, her mind deep in her drug induced stupor, as the man walked away from her and disappeared into the forest.

The creature was filled with hunger. Hunger and a sort of bubbling rage, both of which threatened to spill over and take control at any time. Far back in its mind there was a distant and ever-fleeting memory of a different time. A time before the almost constant hunger. A time before the all-consuming rage. A time before the creature. A time when the creature had been a man. Unfortunately, each time the thing fed, each time it gave into the rage, the man it had been drifted further and further into the past and the creature came more and more to the front. Had there been a time when the man could have been saved? A time when someone might have prevented him from becoming the creature? The creature had no idea and no real concern with such things. Besides, even if there had been such a time, it had been long ago. These days, the man was all but gone, having reached the point that the change would come upon him without warning. He had come to welcome the feelings of strength and power it brought him. Soon, with more feedings and more raging, even the faintest hint of a memory of humanity would vanish, leaving only creature. In all practical ways, of course, that had happened long ago. The creature was hungry, again, and so, the creature was on the hunt.

For all of its hunger and anger, the creature was quiet in the forest. Much of what it viewed as prey had sharp senses and fast legs. Traveling upwind, it paused often to sniff, testing the wind for a scent of something warm and tasty to eat. During one such pause, it caught the scent of a human female. It didn’t feed often on humans. They tended to congregate in large numbers, away from the forest that provided the creature with a place to hide and hunt. Still, it happened occasionally. As it turned out, when away from others of their type, they were easy prey. Weak, slow and soft, they were little effort to hunt and kill. It remembered the last one. The scream of the woman when she had first seen the creature had fueled its rage, driving it into a blood lust that exceeded its already overwhelming hunger. The memory of the smell and taste of the human’s life blood as it erupted from its torn out throat lingered in the beasts brain and caused a low pitched rumble to emanate from its throat.

The man sat huddled up against a tree, trying to bring his breathing under control. After securing the woman to the tree, he had sprinted down (and back up) the mountain to his house to retrieve the handmade “ghillie suit” he now wore, as well as a few other items. First worn by the Scottish game wardens or “ghillies,” it provided camouflage by breaking up the wearers outline with bits of fabric and cloth attached to netting. This one, like all good ghillie suits, was designed specifically for the terrain in which it was being used. It was so good, even a trained observer would be hard-pressed to notice the man where he sat. In addition, he had sprayed himself and the suit with a scent neutralizer. He was, for all practical purposes, invisible to the eye and nonexistent to the nose. As he was finally able to slow his breathing, he heard the faintest hint of a sound – a body moving through the heavy brush, perhaps?

Alex found herself sitting on the ground in a clearing, surrounded by tall trees. She stood and tried to move, only to be brought up short before she had taken more than 3 steps. Reaching up to her neck, she felt the steel of the collar, then the padlock and chain. Slowly, she sank back to the soft ground. As her memory returned, she recalled the earlier events and began to yell.

“Sir? Where are you?

The beast paused at the edge of the clearing. The woman’s scent had been growing stronger and stronger. Now, it finally saw her, where she sat tethered to a tree. It felt its hunger growing and began to advance, leaving the tree line as it entered the clearing, its growl growing louder as both its hunger and rage began to increase with its excitement.

***

The man almost missed the beast’s entrance into the clearing, so softly and smoothly did it move – a sign of a very old and experienced predator, indeed. “Fucking werewolf,” the man said silently to himself. “God, I hate lycanthropes.” Easing to his shoulder the customized AR10 he had brought up the mountain on his recent run to and from his house, he spoke to the monster, his lips moving without sound. “Come on, boy. Get a little closer. You know you can smell her. Think how good it’ll feel to sink those big teeth into her throat. That’s it. Just a little closer, you hairy bastard.”

***

Alex was very absorbed in cursing at her erstwhile almost Dom. She had worked her way through pleas for him to return, gone through apologies for whatever she might have done to displease him and was now cursing him, his character, sexual preferences and family of origin. It was hardly surprising, then, that it took a few moments for her to become aware of the low pitched but increasingly loud growl coming from across the clearing and to her left. Finally, it broke through her litany of curses and she looked up into the eyes of death.

On all fours, the creature stood at about dining room table height. Covered with a coarse gray fur, the body was wolf-shaped, though no wolf had ever been this tall or this long. It stretched almost 7 feet from snout to tail. Its muscles rippled under its fur. Its glowing red eyes, grossly elongated muzzle and teeth over 2 inches in length contributed to its terror inducing appearance. And Alex was terrified. As soon as she saw the thing, she screamed in her terror, lept back to her feet and tried to run. Even as she ran out of short chain and was yanked back to the forest floor, her bladder and bowels gave way as her body attempted to prepare itself to possibly survive an attack.

For its part, the werewolf recognized the smell of prey as its body emptied itself. Even from where it stood, it could see the look in the woman’s eyes as she ceased screaming and prepared herself to become food. Crouching for just a moment, it gathered itself and then, as its rage and hunger finally boiled over into motion, it leapt into the air, aimed directly at its next meal.

***

The man watched the werewolf as it entered the clearing. God! It was a huge one. “Probably turned before I was even born,” he thought to himself. “Oh, well. Sucks to be him I supp –“ He was interrupted by the werewolf’s sudden leap. “Damn!” Surprised, he hurried his first shot, hitting the animal in the ribs, rather than just behind the shoulder. Still, while no rifle a man could handle would be powerful enough to knock the slavering monstrosity sideways, it was enough to force the animal to twist in the air, snapping at the sudden hurt. That wound would eventually kill the beast, but not before it killed the captive woman before him. When it hit the ground it bounced back to its feet immediately. Fortunately for Alex, the second shot from the rifle was right on target. The custom made, silver alloy variation of a “Partition” bullet performed just as it was designed to do, expanding on impact and being driven deep into the beast’s body by the second part of the bullet’s dual core construction, stopping just under the skin on the far side. Along the way, it cut a swath through the werewolf’s heart and lungs. More importantly though unknown to the petrified Alex, it had also obliterated the aortic valve, resulting in a precipitous drop in blood pressure. Unconsciousness followed almost immediately thereafter as vital blood and oxygen were denied to the brain. Death was not long in coming.

***

As the man arose from his hiding place, Alex became aware she had survived the beast’s would be attack. It took her but a moment to realize the truth. The man, the one she had thought to be the Dom who would introduce her to the many delights of BDSM, had used her as bait! As he approached, slinging his rifle on his shoulder, she began a litany of curses that overshadowed anything she had said before. Ignoring her as she vented her outrage, he stepped behind her and quickly injected her with the syringe of sedative he had palmed as he stood up. 5 minutes later, she was still breathing and all but unconscious as he placed her in a fireman’s carry and took her back down the mountain to his house, where he drew a bath, washed and dried her and put her to bed. For the next several hours he would re-dose her with sedative as he packed all his essential belongings, including those he had left on the mountain. All the other items in the house were simply window dressing – items he had paid for with cash and placed while wearing exam gloves. Periodically, he would make her scheduled safe call. If everything went according to plan, it would be mid-morning before anyone thought to come looking for her. There was a risk the person “she” had called would be suspicious about her rather abrupt manner on the phone, but that was an acceptable risk. His escape plan was detailed and thorough. As long as he had at least a thirty minute lead time, he wasn’t worried about the police. After eating his dinner and giving the dishes and house a thorough cleaning, he ignited the incinerator concealed in the shed on his property, placing in it everything that might link him in any way to the events of the day. When he returned to the house, Alex was once more coming out of her sedation. He took a moment to speak with her briefly.

“I’m sorry you had to experience this. It really was necessary,” he said in his most reasonable tone. “In one week, if you don’t call the cops, the house will be anonymously transferred to you. Sold, for the sum of one dollar. Keep it, sell it, burn it to the ground. I don’t care. Of course, if you do call the authorities, the deal is off.”

Before he gave her one final dose, she managed to ask the most obvious question.

“Why?”

His reply was cold and flat.

“Because they respond so much better to live bait.”

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