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Avenging Angel chapter 3

2023-01-24 00:08:58


Mental turbulence kept me awake half the night, and when I slept my dreams were lurid. It was still dark when the lash of cold rain on my window whipped away the belated harbinger of repose. I stumbled out of bed, put on the previous day’s clothes, made coffee and turned up the heating in the study.

Mandy and her cinema with its porn-but-not-exactly-porn films were becoming an obsession, but most of the questions they raised remained unanswered. Mandy had revealed little about herself, and I still didn’t know why I’d been singled out for the private viewings or how she’d come to know my tastes - or anything about me - in the first place.

To be fair, not much about me is secret. Even less is interesting. I live alone; I edit official documents and papers for professional bodies; I sometimes appraise and edit manuscripts for publishing houses and fiction authors; and I write fiction pieces (not erotica, certainly not pornography), mainly for magazines. I don’t need to work more because I inherited money and I own my flat outright. All this is public knowledge, or would be if the public were interested. Few people know me well enough to recall my one serious relationship, with Laura Renshaw. It ended when I uncovered the cheating bitch’s lies and duplicity. I now use prostitutes for sex, and although I don’t talk about it I don’t care if it becomes known: I’ve no one to cheat on and no close family to embarrass. Most of my time is spent walking, reading, listening to music, visiting the theatre and doing my pieces of work. I don’t smoke, I drink in moderation, and I watch little television. Thrilling life, isn’t it?

Who was Mandy, what was her game, and why did she seem so interested in - of all people - me? I asked the wall, the carpet, the curtains over the dark window and the blank computer screen, but they vouchsafed no answers. Nor did they explain what drew me to her. It wasn’t physical attraction; she wasn’t ugly but she projected all the sex appeal of a bath sponge (and no, that wasn’t among my tastes). Until Mandy chose to explain, I decided, I should set my brain to work on other matters.

Foremost was the question of whether the films were ‘documentaries’, as Mandy claimed, or fantasy fiction aimed at people with my tastes. I’d clung to the latter view, but was that because I genuinely believed it, notwithstanding Mandy’s assurance to the contrary, or because the alternative unsettled me? (Unsettled? How about ‘disturbed’ or ‘frightened’?)

All right, try the counterfactual argument: suppose Castration Fantasies were real events and the films were documentaries of them. What were the implications?

First, the men who were obliged to take centre stage, the ‘specimens’, had been spirited away from their homes, work, families and neighbourhoods, and their lives had been drastically changed. (‘Changed’ rather than ‘ended’ in most cases, if Mandy’s claim of a less-than-one-in-twenty fatality rate was correct, but ‘ended’ in that they were no longer men.) Surely searches were undertaken for them? But then I remembered the numbers who went missing in the UK: six hundred a day, mostly men, some of them never traced. This amounted to 0.3 percent of the population per annum. Presumably the percentage was higher in some countries.

Second, the performances were set in a restored Greek or Roman amphitheatre or a mock-up of one. No location of this kind in Britain could have been used for such highly illegal events. I’d already guessed that if the place existed in the real world it was in Eastern Europe, but I’d no idea where. However, failure to pinpoint its location didn’t prove it didn’t exist.

Third, many people were involved: the castratrices, the guards, the medical staff, various attendants, and of course the scores of women who thronged the amphitheatre. Surely someone would talk, let the cat out of the bag? But the more I thought about this the less convinced I became. The medical staff wouldn’t talk because it would end their careers, the guards and ancillary staff wouldn’t because the Festivals were money-spinners for them, and the castratrices wouldn’t for fear of arrest and imprisonment. As for the audiences, women can keep secrets when they need to, and they all had a vested interest in preserving the status quo.

Fourth, heavy costs were involved: the transport, housing and upkeep of the specimens and their medical treatment and supervision; payment of the guards and other staff; film production; no doubt accommodation, restaurant and other facilities for the audience members – though many of those women probably paid for tickets. Someone very rich was financing the Festivals, but what were they gaining from their investment? I’d wondered about the films, but there was no hint that they were being marketed, so I’d no reason to believe they were a source of income.

Fifth, what was Mandy’s involvement? She was obviously connected with the Festivals, but how?

I stood up and stretched. The night had ended and grey daylight pressed on the study window. I opened the curtains to behold a miserable morning, the wind divesting the maple tree across the cul-de-sac of its last remaining leaves. I swallowed the rest of my coffee and went to shower and shave.

The first three points of my ruminations had failed to prove the Castration Festivals were fantasy, so it remained possible that they were real. And if the films I’d watched were fiction, then the standard of acting, the set designs, the wealth of contingent detail, the sheer realism of the portrayals, matched the best in cinematic art. Was that plausible? Add the reappearance of Specimen Five’s victim, Virginia, at the castration, and her emotional response to Melanie Siddall - rape victim meets castratrix - and the evidence started to look credible.

The fourth and fifth points indicated that someone with wealth and power was organising and financing the Festivals, and Mandy was involved.

There were other matters arising, too. What was in Part Four of the Specimen Five film, and the others? And why was the abolition of the specimens’ manhood described as ‘upgrading’ when it was the exact opposite?

I dressed smartly, devoured a light breakfast and e-mailed Mandy. I’d noted her emotional reaction to any mention of rape so it would be easy to wind her up; and if she was wound up enough, I thought, her shell of secrecy might crack.

* * * * * * * *
Dear Mandy,

The Castration Festival films celebrate the most brutal and illiberal of punishments, predicated on the notion that ‘rape’ is necessarily a crime. But is it? What exactly constitutes ‘rape’? Does the UN definition set clear enough boundaries and does it provide an adequate basis for prosecution? More to the purpose, do you honestly believe that rape is always unjustified and unacceptable, even in times of war? It’s a time-honoured and universally accepted facet of warfare: to the victor the spoils, which include the losers’ women. The Bible acknowledges it.
In the twenty-first chapter of Judges, the Israelites slaughtered the entire population of Jabesh-Gilead except the unmarried females, who were taken away and raped. But since there weren’t enough to go round, the Israelites hid in the vineyards so they could kidnap the women of Shiloh when they came out to dance, thus making up the required numbers. Or consider the thirty-first chapter of Numbers, where Moses commands that all the Midianite captives be killed except the unmarried females, who could be kept for the tribesmen’s pleasure. Or try the twentieth to the twenty-second chapters of Deuteronomy. Or Zechariah chapter fourteen, verses 1-2. There’s plenty of Biblical justification for wartime rape.

The forced use of native women during the colonisation of the Americas wasn’t considered a crime under Spanish law because the victims weren’t Christians. But this principle was never limited to the Judeo-Christian world. The Mongols raped countless women in every land they overran. The Japanese raped tens of thousands of Chinese women during the Second World War and forced tens of thousands more into military brothels. The Red Army raped women throughout Eastern Europe. The UN says hundreds of thousands of women have been raped in conflicts in Central Africa – Chad, Mali, Rwanda of course (half a million women during the genocide), and above all the Democratic Republic of Congo. Around 200,000 women were raped during the Bangladeshi War of Independence, and Serb soldiers raped at least 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women during the Bosnian war. I could go on. The point is that wartime rape is
normal, natural behaviour.

Outside the arena of armed conflict, and excluding such ‘rapes’ as the sexual use of slaves and of female refugees in displacement camps, rape is required in many cultures as affirmation of male strength and honour. In some countries you’re not a real man until you’ve participated in one or two gang rapes.

Of course, in a country not at war, it should always be illegal to rape another man’s wife, or his daughter if she’s living under his care. Women in those categories are someone else’s property and therefore out of bounds. But young women who leave the protection of their homes without marrying are fair game. Men are taught to take the initiative and persist in sexual encounters, and women are supposed to refuse their advances even when they desire sex, which legitimates the male tendency to persist and coerce in the face of refusal. Male sexual urges need to be gratified. This is why so many commentators have refused to regard rape as a serious offence. For example, the great theologian Thomas Aquinas argued that although it’s sinful, it’s less unacceptable than masturbation or coitus interruptus because it fulfils the procreative function of sex.

Of course, not all rapes are the same in either motivation or execution. Aside from gang rapes, which have their own social significance (see above), Nicholas Groth in
Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender distinguishes rapes driven by anger against women (‘corrective rapes’) from those driven by the need to demonstrate power and control, and he puts sadistic rape (where the emphasis is on inflicting pain) in a separate category. I find it difficult to tell whether Groth asserts that all rape is motivated by the need for sexual gratification or whether he considers sex-driven rape to be distinct, though the former seems more credible.

Silly writers such as Susan Brownmiller, with her ridiculous assertion that ‘rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear’, try to tell us it isn’t about sex at all; it’s a means by which men deliberately assert dominance. Apart from denying what’s obvious to anyone with a couple of brain cells, i.e. that rape is a sexual act, they’re wrong about ‘intimidation’ and ‘state of fear’. If Brownmiller had said that rape is a way of warning women what might happen if they step out of line and reject male guidance and protection, I could have believed her. Anyway, this feminist clap-trap is demonstrably false. It predicts that the more patriarchal the society, the greater the incidence of rape; but there’s evidence, including a large study published in 1983, that the opposite is true. Rape tends to be less common in more patriarchal societies.

Comments about ‘marital rape’ are especially irritating. There’s no such thing. If a woman agrees to marry a man she’s consenting to sex with him; end of argument. One would expect him to make allowances during pregnancy or when she’s ill, but otherwise she has no right to refuse her husband’s advances. If she does then she should expect to be forced. (Naturally, this doesn’t apply if both parties have agreed to separate or divorce.)

To summarise: rape is natural male behaviour; we’ve evolved to rape. It’s primarily a sexual act, but it also serves to keep women under the protection of family or partner by warning them of the consequences if they rebel. Granted this conclusion, abducting men who’ve raped and subjecting them to public castration is wholly unacceptable and contrary to both nature and common sense. (Which doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed watching the films!).

I’ll be interested in your reply.

Best wishes,


P.S. Parts One in both films puzzle me. What exactly is meant by ‘reconstruction’? Some parts of those films looked as though they were recorded while a real rape was taking place.

This time, Mandy replied within twenty-four hours. I dispatched my e-mail just before lunch on the Tuesday and her answer pinged into my inbox on the Wednesday morning.

Hi again Douglas,

I see you’ve been doing more online research, and I also see that you’re trying to use your findings and ‘reasoning’ to anger me. So I hope a calm, rational response won’t disappoint you too much.

Your information about wartime rape is accurate, but do you think the Old Testament quotations justify it? Not many people would agree. The UN has now decreed war rape to be a war crime. It was high time they did.

There’s nothing natural, nothing biologically fundamental, about ideologies of male sexual entitlement, which seek to grant women few if any options to refuse advances and therefore appear to legitimise rape. Everything you write about the male tendency to persist and coerce in the face of refusal, the need to gratify male sexual urges, assumes those ideologies of entitlement, and your speculative (and unfounded) claim that rape is ‘natural, evolved behaviour’ is an attempt to assert a biological basis for such ideologies. In that regard it’s a serious category error, as a philosopher would tell you, because you can’t infer ideologies and values from biological ‘facts’ (or in this case, wild conjectures). It’s also false. The very fact that you recognise the rights of married women not to be raped by men who aren’t their husbands is inconsistent with any rape ideology, yet it’s a precondition for a stable society. As your ‘argument’ suggests at one point, rape becomes more common when social order breaks down, as it did in Haiti’s internal displacement camps in the wake of their country’s disaster a few years ago.

Historically, as you assert, consent was assumed within the marriage contract, thus making the phrase ‘marital rape’ meaningless. However, marital rape is now becoming more and more widely criminalised by international conventions. In 2006 it could be prosecuted in at least 104 countries and the number has risen since then. So if you mean what you wrote, you’re out of step with social, legal and moral progress.

I’ve no problem with Groth’s typology of rape though I don’t find it helpful. As for Thomas Aquinas, I don’t doubt his genius, but in regard to rape he was talking through a hole in his head. And while I don’t altogether agree with Susan Brownmiller, your e-mail makes a claim that’s unbelievably crass for a man of your intelligence: ... the more patriarchal the society, the greater the incidence of rape; but there’s evidence, including a large study published in 1983, that the opposite is true. Come on, Douglas, do you
really believe the evidence stacks up? Don’t you think it’s even remotely possible that the more patriarchal the society, the less likely it is that a woman will (1) report a rape and (2) be believed if she does? Consider the most patriarchal societies in the world today; ‘Islamic State’, for instance. According to your reasoning, the incidence of rape in ‘Islamic State’ should be virtually zero. And is it?

I don’t think you grasp the magnitude of the problem of rape. (I believe this is what Susan Brownmiller was really alluding to in the notorious sentence you quoted.) It’s estimated that 85,000 women in the UK were raped in 2006-7, one in every 200 female adults. In the same year there were just 800 convictions for rape. In other words, the perpetrators of[i] less than one percent of those crimes were charged, tried and found guilty. And there’s more: approximately one in four women have experienced attempted rape, and one in seven have at some time in their lives been coerced into sex; the figure for divorced or separated women is almost one in three. One third of teenage girls and sixteen percent of teenage boys have suffered sexual abuse. Most perpetrators are known to their victims and are most often their (current or former) husbands or partners.

Lee Ellis found a compromise between the sociobiological account of rape that you favour and the Brownmiller-type feminist account that you reject. Ellis spoke with the voice of moderation and I think you’d find his work interesting (I assume you don’t know it since you didn’t quote it in your e-mail). He made four key points:

1. Two drives, a sex drive and a drive to possess and control, underlie most rapes (and other forms of sexual behaviour);
2. Most of the techniques involved in most rapes are learned, though not all males are equally likely to learn them;
3. Evolution has selected males for learning ways to secure large numbers of mates, including the use of deception and force; and
4. Differences in tendencies to rape can be explained by differences in brain function resulting from differing exposures to high levels of sex hormones.

If we believe Ellis, as I more or less do, the inclination to rape needs to be suppressed through education (to combat the learned techniques) and through controlling hormone levels. This leads us back to the topic of castration. In your e-mail you once again asserted that castration is unjustified, but we had that argument in a previous e-mail exchange and I maintain that you were, and are, wrong. Castrate the offending male and you control its hormone levels.

So, although your arguments and conclusions didn’t make me angry (at least, not very), I reject them as vacuous.

Regarding your postscript: remember, Britain has the world’s highest level of camera surveillance. A lot of your everyday life is recorded somewhere, and people who know how can obtain the recordings. There are no secrets. [/i]

* * * * * * * *
Mandy always had an answer. Her ability to build a persuasive case on flimsy foundations could have brought her success as a politician or lawyer. Indeed, her style suggested ‘lawyer’. I was least convinced by the statistics she quoted in the paragraph before the Lee Ellis stuff. The figures seemed startling, even shocking, but they brought me back to my first question: what constitutes rape? Mandy said she was quoting data from 2006-7. If so, they related to a time after the Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force. Two major provisions of the 2003 Act were relevant. First, the definition of ‘rape’ was widened to include forced oral penetration. Previously, forced oral penetration had been classed as sexual assault, not rape. Second, the meaning of ‘consent’ was revised; the Morgan defence was abolished. Before 2003, a man charged with rape could tell the court that the alleged victim hadn’t said ‘No’, and the absence of ‘No’ was tantamount to ‘Yes’. Such was the Morgan defence.

The Morgan defence had been used in many rape trials: a man drugged a woman or got her drunk, fucked her while she was barely conscious, and pleaded Not Guilty on the grounds that she hadn’t refused. If he did this after 2003 he was guilty; he’d raped her. If he’d done it before 2003 he probably wouldn’t have been convicted. Therefore, if Mandy had taken data from before 2003, there would have been far fewer reported rape victims. By changing the definition of ‘consent’, the 2003 Act had increased the number of valid prosecutions, although the conviction rate remained very low.

Statistics are like tabloid newspaper reports: they don’t necessarily lie but they tell selective, distorted and tendentious versions of the truth.

Hiding within the Morgan defence like a worm in an apple lay the clinching argument against Brownmiller’s fatuous evaluation of rape. If a man’s motive for raping a woman was to dominate, humiliate and degrade her, he’d need her to remain conscious so he could gorge on her torrent of emotions. Raping a woman whom he’d drugged unconscious wouldn’t work for him. No doubt she’d feel horrible when she recovered and realised what had happened, but by then the rapist would no longer be there to enjoy her suffering. Therefore, the man who rapes is driven by the need for sex, or by a celebration of male bonding if it’s a gang rape, not by the urge to dominate. Given the frequency of Morgan defences in pre-2003 rape trials, this proves (if proof were needed) that the primary motive for rape is to empty one’s balls into a non-consenting female; though domination can be a significant secondary factor, as when Specimen One raped Katy Matheson and Specimen Five raped Virginia Mitchell.

I was most disturbed by Mandy’s answer to my postscript. I’d asked how the reconstructions or simulations of rape in Parts One of the films had been made to seem so realistic, even down to the victims’ identities. I’d seen Virginia Mitchell on film twice, first when Specimen Five raped her, second after she’d watched her rapist being castrated. On both occasions her behaviour and displays of emotion had been convincing and compelling - superb acting. Editing aside, what I’d seen in Part One of each film was as realistic as the corresponding Part Three. But Mandy’s reply implied yet again that the scenes weren’t simulations; they were edited and reconstructed from events recorded, so to speak, in the field.

I spent the next two hours checking my flat for hidden cameras and recording devices. I didn’t find any, but I didn’t have the equipment or the know-how to sweep the place for bugs, as they do in spy thrillers.

The watching-woman was standing under the maple tree again, clad in anorak, woolly hat, scarf, gloves, thick trousers and heavy boots. She needed the protection; the wind was cold and strong and the rain had begun to experiment with sleethood. As far as I could see she had no camera.

* * * * * * * *

Mandy’s riposte to my provocation had focussed my mind on the ubiquity of surveillance. But had she phrased her e-mail deliberately to lead my thoughts to the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, at least in regard to forced oral penetration, or was it coincidence? Unless her subliminal messaging about the Act was too subtle to discern even when I dissected the text of her e-mail, what ensued must have been coincidence. In fact, only when I watched Part One of the Specimen Eight film did I think again about the Act’s provisions.

We’d travelled to the cinema as usual, Mandy driving, me blindfolded in the back seat, and again she and I constituted the entire audience. I still didn’t know the cinema’s whereabouts.

The now-familiar ultra-simple title sequence gave way to a scene in an untidy flat: three bedrooms, bathroom and living-room-come-kitchen. To judge from the uniforms scattered among the squalor - unwashed cups, plates and wine-glasses, books, papers, teddy bears, badminton rackets and shoes – the flat was inhabited by nurses. The profession demands order and cleanliness at work, so nurses tend to react when they’re at home. Many of them live in chaos.

In one bedroom, a plump young woman with ginger hair was working at a laptop balanced on a card table. She was casually dressed: jeans, sweater, trainers. She was alone in the flat, so when the doorbell rang she took sensible precautions, peering through the spy-hole and then opening the door a couple of inches on its security chain. The caller was a young man wearing suit, tie and charming smile. He carried an attaché case.

“Hi, is Helen in?”

“On shift,” said Ginger. Midland accent, strong voice. “Back late evening.”

The young man’s face registered disappointment.

“I must get to London before half seven but I need to return this book to her. May I leave it with you?”

Ginger agreed. The caller said he needed to write a note to Helen but he didn’t have a pen, so could he borrow one? He wheedled until the safety chain was unfastened, then he entered the flat.

As soon as he was through the door he punched Ginger in the kidneys and, as she gasped and crumpled, kicked her in the stomach. Before she could move he’d opened his case and drawn out a knife. He grabbed her hair, pulled back her head and put the edge of the blade to her throat.

“Sharp, see? Very sharp.”

Rage and terror wrestled in her face. She opened her mouth to scream or yell and he pressed the blade into her flesh, drawing a little blood. It wouldn’t be clever to make any noise, he told her, or he’d have to cut her throat.

“Scarcely any cash on me,” she whispered.

“Pity. Never mind, you’ve got big tits.”

She gave a strangled cry and began to struggle. He tightened his grip on her hair and moved the knife to her left cheek, observing that a gash there would spoil her pretty face. Her face wasn’t pretty but she got the point.

“Let’s see those hooters. Get them out.” When she seemed not to understand he was more explicit: “Take the sweater off. And the bra.”

More threatening movements of the knife made her comply, weeping and pleading. Specimen Eight told her she could keep the rest of her kit on because he - it - wasn’t interested in her twat and arse. It was right about her tits. Nice firm pair, I thought. Double D at a guess

It dragged Ginger into the room where she’d been working and ordered her to sit on the bottom of the bed and then lie down, keeping her feet on the floor. This arrangement placed her head about half-way down the mattress. It held the knife to her throat with one hand and used the other to take off its jacket and unfasten its trousers. Its cock was fully erect; big one.

“Open your mouth,” said Specimen Eight. When she clenched her jaw in response, it punched her in the face. “I said open your fucking mouth!”

It gestured again with the knife and her mouth reluctantly opened. It lay on top of her, slid the end of its hard penis between her lips, and spoke quietly.

“Okay, here’s the deal. Keep your mouth open ‘til I’ve finished and you get to keep your tits. Bite my cock and I’ll cut them both off.” He held the knife in front of her eyes, gently sliding the edge of the blade down her cheek. “Don’t think I’m bluffing. I enjoy cutting bitches’ tits off. Understood?”

She gave the faintest gesture of compliance and without further ado Specimen Eight thrust its dick down her throat. Never before had I watched a porn film in which a chick got her face fucked so hard. She gagged and choked, her whole body thrashing as she tried to break free and breathe, but her assailant seized her hair with both hands and held her head still. Her legs kicked and her arms and fists pummelled, but her exertions only amused Specimen Eight.

“That’s nice, darling. I like a girl to struggle. If you keep this up I’ll not only let you keep your tits, I won’t even cut the nipples off. Special deal for you. I’m not so nice to most bitches.”

As I watched the scene evolve my breathing grew rapid and my penis became rock-hard. Mandy ran her eyes over me and sneered.

“If you need to toss yourself off, feel free.”

I restrained myself. Why should I wank in front of a woman who wanted to humiliate me? I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. Nor would I allow myself to recall Laura sucking my dick and swallowing the consequences.

On the screen, the girl’s face was purple, her eyes were staring, the veins in her neck and temples were swollen and her stomach was heaving. Specimen Eight was having fun, withdrawing its cock until only an inch or two remained in her mouth and then ramming it all the way down her throat again. In and out it went, faster and faster, until it started to cum.

“Swallow, bitch!” gasped the rapist, and shot its load.

She didn’t move when it climbed off her, except to lift her hands to her throat, trying to massage her voice box. Her mouth opened and closed like a fish’s. Perhaps she was trying to speak. Her breathing was heavy and rapid as her body struggled with its oxygen debt. If Specimen Eight hadn’t emptied its balls when it did, I thought, she’d have died of asphyxiation.

Specimen Eight’s voice was meditative.

“When a man needs to fuck, the horizontal slit in a bitch’s face is worth twice the vertical one between her legs. Anyone told you what a shaggable mouth you have? And guess what? I’ve enjoyed you so much I’m going to leave you with both tits attached. One more little service for you to perform, though: now I’ve spunked down your throat I need a piss.”

It pointed its now-flaccid penis at her face and urinated into her hair, her eyes, her nose and her mouth, then sprayed the rest over her breasts. When it had finished it wiped its dick on her sweater, which it threw into her face, and then it fastened its trousers, put on its jacket, put the knife back into its attaché case, and left.

At the bedroom door it turned and blew a kiss to her.

* * * * * * * *
Part One ended. Mandy stopped the film and the silence in the cinema quivered. I was painfully aroused but felt guilty, as though I, not Specimen Eight, had assaulted Ginger. When I spoke my words sounded inane.

“If that happened before 2003 it wasn’t rape, legally speaking. If it happened after 2003, it was.”

Mandy snorted.

“Use your judgment, Douglas. Was it rape or not?”

I took several deep breaths.

“It was aggravated rape. He – I mean It - knocked her about and threatened to kill or mutilate her.”

“And watching it aroused you sexually.”

I shrugged.

“Isn’t that the point of pornography?” When she didn’t answer, I went on: “Okay, I’m starting to believe that Parts One of these films are real-life rapes, incidents that actually – “

“So you’ve finally realised we’re not just showing entertainment for perverts.”

“Whoever ‘we’ are. You can’t blame me for being sceptical, Mandy. The alternative to sceptical is gullible. My point is that no matter whether these rape scenes are real or fictional, seeing them on film distances the viewer from them, which effectively turns them into fiction, so they become pornography. However, if I’d been in the flat when Specimen Eight fucked Ginger’s mouth – “

“Her name’s Janet McIvor.”

For the first time in my acquaintance with Mandy I allowed my annoyance free rein.

“How the hell was I supposed to know? Her name wasn’t on the screen, was it? See what I mean, Mandy? The film made her anonymous so the rape became fictional. If I’d been in the flat I’d have been furious, not aroused. I’d have battered the shit out of the bastard who was raping her. But I only saw it on film, so to me it’s porn, not reality. Remember when we first met? You invited me to watch porn films, not documentaries.”

“If I’d invited you to watch documentaries about rape and castration you wouldn’t have been as keen, would you?”

I shut my eyes and sighed.

“What’s all this about, Mandy? Why did you choose me as your cinema audience? Who else is seeing these films? Is anybody buying them?”

Her reply verged on flippancy.

“We’re showing them to a select few who we believe will appreciate them: preliminary market research. If the results are encouraging, the films will be offered for private sale to connoisseurs, at high prices.”

It sounded plausible. It also sounded like a lie.

“What happened to Ginger?” I asked. “Janet? Did she recover?”

I suspected Mandy didn’t know the details. She said Janet had required surgery to her pharynx, oesophagus and upper respiratory tract, so after a few months she’d been able to eat and drink more or less normally. Unfortunately, her vocal apparatus was permanently damaged. She couldn’t speak at much above a whisper and was no longer a singer. The psychological trauma was worse than the physical injuries. Janet was terrified that Specimen Eight would return so she was afraid of being alone. She was also scared of leaving the flat. Her career as a nurse was on hold. Her nightmares were recurrent and horrible.

“But Specimen Eight was caught and castrated?” I said.

“Yes, it was.”

“And the castratrix was Renate Grüber, who became the new Champion?”

Mandy nodded and smiled.

“Want to watch Part Three, then? Renate’s an aeronautics engineer. She’s inventive.”

* * * * * * * *
Mandy was right: Ms Grüber was accomplished and imaginative.

There was the usual preamble: introduction by the Mistress of Ceremonies, entry of Specimen Eight and castratrix, securing to the post, broadcast confession, outrage and venom from the audience. But there were differences. Specimen Eight contrived to swagger to the post, and when Ms Grüber confronted it, it spat in her face. That, I thought, won’t make its immediate future any pleasanter. Then two pieces of apparatus were brought into the arena: a solid frame supporting a long metal bar, notched at each end, which was placed in front of the specimen with the bar horizontal at knee height; and a ratcheted spool on which three lengths of phosphor-bronze wire were wound. This was secured to the middle of the bar.

“Got me guessing,” I said. “Did anyone know what Ms Grüber had planned?”

“The chief surgeon knew,” said Mandy, “but the audience didn’t.”

Excited curiosity buzzed around the amphitheatre, swelling to a burst of delight when Ms Grüber took from her leather bag a metal rod resembling a knitting needle. She held it up to the camera. The magnified image on the screens revealed an array of lines along it, like ultrafine scales on a long narrow fish. She turned a knob on the end of the rod and the scales rose to produce a forest of thin metal spikes, each half an inch long, pointing backwards. When the knob was turned the other way the spikes returned to their resting places and the rod resembled a knitting needle again.

“Ladies,” said the castratrix, “I present this new toy which I lately have designed and made. I call it the penis harpoon. The rod and spikes are of titanium alloy.”

Everyone, including me, now divined the harpoon’s purpose. Specimen Eight foresaw the fate of its penis and began to struggle, but the straps around its neck, waist and ankles held it still, and its wrists were secured to the hooks in the sides of the post. The audience cheered. My legs crossed themselves.

“That’s brutal,” I said. “Had anything of the kind been done before?”

Mandy grinned at me.

“One former castratrix forced a glass rod down her specimen’s urethra and then battered its penis with a hammer until the glass shattered. But the harpoon was Renate’s invention.”

I asked Mandy what role the metal bar and the spool of wires would play. She said “Wait and see”, so I settled back to watch.

Ms Grüber slipped an elastrator band on to the base of the scrotum and, as Specimen Eight yelled, she began to massage its cock. The Alprostadil injection soon took effect. Fully erect, the organ was eight inches long and proportionately thick. I thought about Janet McIvor’s mouth and throat, and noted that the harpoon was almost the same length as the aroused cock.

“It seems every specimen gets a hard-on immediately before it’s castrated,” I said. “I’m surprised the cocks can stand up when their owners know what’s about to happen, Alprostadil notwithstanding.”

“Not rocket science,” said Mandy. “During interrogation and preparation, which can last for weeks, the specimen is forbidden to ejaculate and erections are suppressed. Surveillance is continuous. A few strokes of a cane make a hard penis limp within seconds. Or the specimen’s balls are kicked, which has the same effect. Any attempt at masturbation has very painful consequences. So by the time a specimen goes to the post its balls haven’t been emptied for well over a month and it’s desperate for release. Of course, the release never happens.”

Ms Grüber gripped Specimen Eight’s hard dick with her right hand and forced the harpoon down the urethra with her left until only the end with the rotating knob was visible. Then, slowly, she started to turn it. Specimen Eight’s body bucked. It clenched its teeth, but as the spikes bit into the inside of its cock its self-control yielded and it started to scream. No anaesthetic can suppress pain completely.

The castratrix summoned the surgeon, who made a deft incision in the base of the penis and fastened ligatures around the arteries. With its blood supply cut off the cock began to shrink, embedding the spikes more deeply into the flesh. The effect was to make the dick thinner but no shorter; the harpoon held it rigid in a parody of sustained erection.

“The ligatures around the arteries stopped the bastard bleeding to death,” said Mandy.

Next, Ms Grüber took from her bag a hard plastic replica of a mouth: rigid lips and two sets of sharp teeth hinged together. She took one of the strands of wire from the spool, threaded it through the mouth and tied it to the hinge. She smiled. Specimen Eight’s eyes widened.

“You like to put cock in mouth, I think?”

She slipped the plastic mouth over the penis and jerked the end of the harpoon, pulling the skewered organ hard until the suspensory ligaments at its base were flung into relief. Then she fastened the rotating knob to the belt round Specimen Eight’s neck. Its dick was now held vertically against its stomach, plastic mouth dangling as though impaled on it. The specimen started to weep with pain, humiliation and fear.

Then Ms Grüber made two incisions in the scrotum with a scalpel, exposing the testicles. She tied the other two lengths of wire from the spool to their cords and slipped each wire through the one of the notches in the ends of the horizontal rod. The elastrator meant there was little bleeding, but Specimen Eight screamed more loudly than ever as its balls were tugged out of their bag.

“Now,” said Ms Grüber, “we have oral sex, yes?”

She closed the plastic mouth on to the already-ruined cock and began to move it up and down the shaft. Hieronymus Bosch couldn’t have portrayed anything more exquisite or grotesque: terminal cock-sucking. The more quickly the mouth moved up and down and the more tightly it gripped, the more the harpoon spikes shredded the inside of the penis. At the same time, the to-fro movement of the wire attached to the mouth turned the ratcheted spool, so the two wires holding the specimens’ ball-cords steadily tightened. The balls were dragged inexorably sideways and downwards, the cords stretching further and further.

“Place bets, ladies,” called the castratrix. “Will the harpoon come out first, or will the balls be severed before the penis is completely hollow?”

I was fascinated, thrilled, excited, repelled, almost unable to watch, completely unable to look away. A man’s cock and balls were being destroyed in a more elaborate way than even I, castration fantasist though I was, could have imagined. I’d never realised that the cords supplying the testicles could stretch so far. I was desperately aroused.

Some of the harpoon spikes were starting to protrude through the skin of what had been a penis. By this time most of the inside of the organ was mush. Ms Grüber’s hand moved more rapidly, the grip of the plastic mouth still tightening, until the harpoon started to tear free from the end of the cock. Then the cord holding the left testicle snapped and the ball was whipped down to the spool. The audience cheered. Finally the harpoon broke free, taking most of the macerated inside of the dick with it and ripping off the glans. Ms Grüber ended the performance by slicing through the cord of the right testicle, then seizing the now-untethered penis and squeezing out the remainder of its almost-liquid contents like toothpaste from a tube.

Specimen Eight remained secured to the post, all trace of swagger gone. Its scrotum was empty and nothing remained of its formerly eight-inch cock but a perforated shred of skin, dangling like wet bunting.

The specimen was untied from the post and stretchered away. Ms Grüber bowed. As they’d done for the other castratrices, the audience gave her a standing ovation. It was obvious why she’d been judged Champion.

* * * * * * * *