Judging from the story tags, you might think this is a very dark tale. It is, but there is a happy ending. Enjoy.
“Igor, you worthless scum! Get up here!” the speaker in my cell ceiling squawked.
I hurried up the long stone stairwell to his laboratory. “Yes, Master?”
“This one isn't a virgin! She's been used! Weren't you suspicious when you saw she was shaved? Didn't you check? You've wasted my time!”
“But Master, she's a neophyte nun. I thought she would be a virgin.”
“You thought? Since when do you think? Look at this! Look there, you cretin!”
He grabbed my head and forced it between the shapely blond's knees to see her bald womanhood, cruelly exposed, a speculum stuck inside her. I staggered back when he released me. “Master, her head is bleeding.”
“Of course it is! YOU didn't drug her enough, so she fought with me. I had to hit her with a wrench!”
“Did you kill her, Master?
“Imbecile! That's your job! A dead subject is even less useful to me than an unclean one. Take her to the dungeon, wake her up, and chain her to the conveyor into the furnace, like the others. I want to complete my experiment by Halloween. Know this, Igor. If you don't bring me a suitable subject by then, I'll put YOU in the furnace!”
I undid her restraints and carried the young woman's limp body down to my world. Master would do it. He used to burn the women himself before he made it part of my duties. He would chain me to the conveyor and feed me inch by excruciating inch into the flames if I didn't fulfill his wishes. Either that, or he'd give me to the dogs.
When I first came to Master, I was a penniless young man, unable to get a job because of my appearance. My face and upper torso are covered with burn scars, my body twisted from the crushing force of the car that burned as it lay on top of me with my parents inside. Real doctors at a real hospital saved my life. Master worked there then in the morgue. He befriended me, staying in contact after he was relieved of his duties for reasons no one disclosed.
When my rehabilitation was as complete as it was going to get, I began working for Master, cleaning, caring for the animals he used in his experiments, and helping with his gruesome research. He paid my medical bills for me, something I would have spent the rest of my life failing to do. He gave me food and shelter when I had none. He enticed me into servitude with a promise of restoring my appearance to something acceptable in public if he succeeded with his experiments. But he treated me like a slave, forcing me to sleep in the dungeon below the medieval castle he called home.
When Master tired of his work on animals, he fed the few that remained to his dogs. Human research was next. When that began, my fate was sealed. There was no place for me in the world. I was a criminal, forced to help Master with his diabolical work, bound to him by my complicity in so much horror. I was doomed even by my name, “Igor.” Mom liked Stravinsky and never thought of the infamous creature by that name. Master did. He turned me into his fear-driven puppet, powerless against his evil cunning.
I lay the body of the young woman on the ancient hospital gurney Master had me use to use to prepare subjects for experiments or disposal. She was beautiful, a voluptuous girl torn from her life at its start.
She would live in the dungeon as long as I did. Master would kill me some day, but I was not going to my final judgment with the blood of a young girl on my hands. I had not killed anyone. I would not start now.
After bathing her and tending to her wounds, I dressed her in a faded hospital gown and pushed the gurney to the large cell my other captives called home.
“Another one, Igor?” Belinda asked. I always liked this young woman. Though she was blind from Master's cruel attentions, she held no malice toward me. She was already hidden here when Master disposed of one of his subjects, before he left the task solely to me, so she knew where her loyalties must lie.
“Keep her quiet if she wakes up. If she screams and Master hears her, it won't go well for anyone.”
“I'm good with the new ones, Igor. What's her story?”
“I don't know her name. I snatched her near the convent on the other side of town. She was dressed like a nun in training, so I thought she'd be pure, but she wasn't. Master was furious that I didn't check her.”
“I remember when you took me,” Belinda said, smiling at me with her ruined eyes. “I felt like someone was watching me when I left the library. I remember hearing footsteps, and then you grabbed me and held that cloth over my face. The next thing I knew, I was in your car, bound and naked, and you were looking at me.”
“I'm so ashamed you caught me. I didn't want you to know what I did.”
“Igor, please. We've talked about this. You know I don't care now. You could have been rough with me, but you weren't. You were kind, risking your own life to take care of me after that monster's machine blinded me. You're the only reason I'm still alive. I wanted to be a nurse anyway, so I'll do what I can.”
She put her head on my chest, and I stroked her curly hair as I always do. She hadn't gotten a good look at me before Master's abominable acts. Maybe that was why acted like she did. She never saw me. People always said I had a nice voice.
It was easy to see Belinda as she should be. I imagine her in big sunglasses at a swim-up bar, sipping a drink and nibbling on fruit. She wears a white bikini, shocking against the rich bronze of her Jamaican heritage. Her wild black mane is held off her high forehead by clips made of mother-of-pearl to match the piece suspended by a thin gold chain from her navel.
That's how she should look, on her honeymoon with the man of her dreams, not dressed in rags in a dungeon with three other women and a disfigured kidnapper and accomplice to murder.
My nun replaced the last girl. She died of infection from Master's skin-grafting attempts. He kept her in a cell off his lab, watching her deteriorate, until he commanded me to dispose of her. She lasted a few days with us, and then I cremated her remains.
My oldest captive, Sharon, struggled to sit up on her bed. “Can you bring her to me, Igor?”
Life changed for Sharon in January. She was a primary school teacher, saving herself for her intended to have when he came home from the Navy. Master was very pleased with her beauty and obvious intelligence. Knowing the rarity of an intact woman of that age, he attempted to impregnate her before consigning her to her intended use in his experiments with limb-reattachment. His technique failed, so I was ordered to feed the screaming, footless victim into the firebox, but I couldn't. Somehow, I kept her alive.
Sharon dangled her useless legs off the padded platform where she spent most of her time and examined their new roommate. “Are you going to be able to get us anything for her? We need antiseptic and bandages for that head wound.”
“How does she look?” Belinda called.
“Beautiful. Long blond hair that should hide the scar. Her breathing and pulse are good. You did a nice job cleaning her, Igor. Let's see if she wakes up.”
“I'll steal some clothing and things for you. I have to go out again to find a replacement for her.”
Belinda groped her way over to me. “Don't Igor, please.”
“Master will kill me if I don't. I'm ready for that, but what would happen to you?”
Belinda frowned for a minute. “I guess we'd die of thirst.”
“Assuming the rats don't get us,” Frieda said. “I read a book about that once. I hope I black out first. It's not like I could stop them.”
Frieda was the result of Master's dabbling in spinal cord surgery. The girls and I took good care of her, spending hours every day bathing and massaging her, and working the muscles of her limbs. We wouldn't give up on the former gymnast. I knelt on the floor next to her and combed her hair with my fingers. “I must go. If I fail him tonight, Master will do horrible things to me, and then he'll put me in the furnace. If it would help you, I'd jump in myself, right now.”
“I think you would, wouldn't you? Well, go do what you must. Hopefully you'll find a way to overpower him, and then we can all get out of here.”
She blinked back a tear, and kissed my hand when I held it to her. It was her way of telling me she understood.
Guilt ruined the farewell kiss from Sharon and the tight hug from Belinda. In my cell, I dressed in my hunting clothes for the evening, nondescript dark things a young man would wear on an autumn night, a backpack with supplies ready. With my hoodie and glasses, I could get close before someone knew what I was.
In my car, I looked back at the castle. Master watched from the tower window.
Halloween was the one time I could be in public without a disguise. Master always gave me light duty that day and encouraged me to go out and enjoy myself. I wouldn't run. I couldn't tell anyone what we did, because Master would know. He'd find me and hide me from the police, doing things to me that would never happen in the worst prison for as long as it suited him to keep me alive.
Halloween was my brief escape from Hell.
Earning the privilege of surviving to enjoy my holiday would take work and luck this year. Master's horoscope told him that was the best night for success with his insane work, since the planned experiment would be number thirteen in his dastardly series of studies on young women, his lucky number.
I drove to a club near the university campus.
“Hey, Igor!” said a kid in killer clown make-up.
“How do you know my name?”
“What else would a dude call himself tonight in that costume? Hunchback and everything, like in old movies. Very nice.”
“What kind of crowd does this place draw?”
The kid gave me a sly look. “What are you into?'
“Whoa, dude, that's so wrong! Like, how young? The chicks in there are legal. They're all at least eighteen, 'cuz it's a campus crowd.”
“That's young enough. I don't need trouble. I just want to see some that look young.”
“You're a real sicko, buddy. There's a naughty schoolgirl contest in about twenty minutes. Have fun.”
I was in a good seat sipping tomato juice when a spotlight illuminated an obese man dressed as an Elvis-impersonating vampire.
“Good evening, girls and ghouls. We have a number of lovely entries (or maybe that's entrees, mwahahahaha!) for tonight's competition. If you don't remain in your seats while the girls are on stage, the zombie bouncers will eat your brains. Now, without further ado, naughty schoolgirls!”
A troupe of young woman walked onto the stage. A few wore traditional cute socks/pleated skirt/white blouse outfits like the little sluts they probably were. Some got more creative. The girl in the sports bra and spandex shorts with “Freshman Female” on the butt brought some applause. So did the one with the damp white “Spring Break Forever” tank top and bikini bottoms.
The last girl on stage was ignored as her predecessors strutted and posed. She was a slender little thing in skinny jeans, a polo shirt with the logo of the local university, and a baseball cap with a wavy dark ponytail sticking from it. The only thing naughty about this schoolgirl was the way her shirt displayed her perky little breasts. She looked embarrassed. I've seen it before – sorority hazing or a stupid dare. She wasn't in costume, unless she borrowed the shirt from her big sister. Master might be happy enough with this one to get careless.
My first clear look at her came before the voting, when the girls were sent through the crowd to collect money for a local charity. Some allowed the patrons to stuff dollar bills in their bras or panties. When the girl in jeans got to me, she looked at me closely.
“That isn't make-up, is it?”
Her cute breasts were almost in my face, bare under her thin, knit shirt. “No. I don't have to wear any tonight.” I put a twenty-dollar bill in her hand. “Keep the change.”
She grinned at me, a penetrating, genuine smile, and walked away. Master would be thrilled, but even I wouldn't stoop that low. There had to be another virgin in here tonight. Maybe I could find one like failure number five. She passed out when she got a good look at me. No chloroform, no roofies, no blackjack, nothing. It was like she was already dead from the shock of seeing me.
After another over-priced tomato juice, I walked to the campus. There must be virgins at Halloween parties.
Near the freshman dorms, I saw her – the innocent-looking girl from the club.
“What are you doing?” she demanded, trotting from the shadows to stand on the sidewalk in front of me, hands on her slender hips. “Are you following me?”
“No, just going for a walk.”
“Not without explaining yourself. Why were you in that club?”
“Me? What about you? You looked pretty uncomfortable up there on stage. Why were you there?”
“I'm not really sure. Someone told me I should go.”
“You shouldn't listen to that person. You belong inside. It's not safe out here for a nice girl like you.”
“I can take care of myself.” She walked toward me until she was a foot from my chest and studied me. “What the hell? Oh! OH!” She winced for a second and then looked disgusted. “Really? That's what you do? Who is this guy?” she asked, glaring up at me.
“Don't play innocent with me, Igor!”
“Do I know you, miss?”
“I could eliminate you right now, you know.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I can read minds. Your name is Igor 'cuz your mom liked Russian music. You're a kidnapper hunting for virgins. When you take them home, they don't live long. You're sick. I'm for real, and I can make your life worse than your so-called Master can.”
“Who are you?”
“Sadie Hawkins. You can explain what I saw, or I can call the cops.”
“Calling the cops is a bad idea.”
“Are you threatening me?”
What an attitude! I could easily overpower her. If she ran, I could use the dart-gun in my backpack.
“I will tear you arm off if you go for your backpack, Igor. Someone I'm getting to know showed me how to rip a piano apart with my hands, so I could do it.”
“Sadie, I don't know what you think you are, but,...” I was on my back on the ground, as paralyzed as Frieda, this strange young woman hovering in the air over my chest.
“You're going to tell me exactly what's going on. I may be able to stop your Master from hurting anyone else.” She floated away and resumed her belligerent posture on the sidewalk.
I struggled to my feet. “I'll tell you whatever you want to know after you tell me how you did that.”
“Fair enough. Apparently, I'm the reincarnation of an ancient sorceress, or her spirit works through me or something. My driver's license looks real, but the address doesn't exist. I checked. The first memory I have is waking up in a freshman dorm with a closet full of nerdy clothes, a pile of books on the desk, a class schedule, a debit card on a bottomless account, and a car key. Supposedly, I'll be nineteen Christmas day. My classes are easy but the kids aren't my type. That's all I've figured out. I think I used to be someone else, but now that this witch is in me, I don't know.”
“My Master is very strong. He has powers. He says he'll put me in the furnace, and I believe him.”
“Who is the blind girl?”
“Can I buy you a coffee, Sadie? We need to talk.”
Huddled against a concrete retaining wall below the Student Union, I told her everything. When I tried to omit some horrible deed, she stopped me. She read me easily enough that I finally said, “Why do you keep asking questions? Let me stand here in peace. You'll pick up on most of it.”
“Because you haven't said it yet. You're blocking the thought right now. You're a victim, too, Igor. The only reason you're out here is to stay alive for your girls.”
I couldn't listen to any more. “It's been nice chatting with you, Sadie, but I need to find an unspoiled girl who will hopefully die quickly.”
I found myself on the ground again, Sadie floating, seated on nothing, several feet above the wall. “I'm unspoiled, but I don't have any plans to die. Watch.” She somersaulted in the air and hovered, facing the poured concrete wall. The entire thing lifted as a unit, tearing sod and dropping pebbles and dirt on the pavement below it. “You're going to listen to me.”
A breath later, everything was as before, a big, ugly guy with a limp and a hunched back and a dark-haired girl who looked like she stopped growing in tenth grade, drinking coffee, standing in the lee of the wind.
“Told you I was for real,” she muttered as she sipped from her cup. “If this Master of yours wants some Halloween fun, take me to him. Hold this for a second.” She handed me her cup. “Will this work?”
She collapsed to the ground, doing nothing to break her fall. She breathed slowly, like she was in a coma.
Suddenly, she sprang to her feet. “I can turn that on and off. I heard everything you thought while I was gone. I can be a couple of places at once, like astral projection or something. Now, take me to your leader.” She giggled at her corny line and collapsed on the ground again.
She was still limp when I hauled her out of the trunk of my car at the castle. I threw her over my shoulder to carry her into the dungeon. On my gurney, I checked her to make sure she was alive and then trudged up the cold, long staircase to Master's laboratory, her dead weight in my arms.
He kept his back to me and pointed at the clock. “I was about to send the dogs to find you. You would not have liked that. What did you bring me?”
I placed Sadie gently on the examining table. “She has no family, Master. She lives in a private room in a freshman dorm at the university. I talked to her at a club. She claimed she was a virgin before I drugged her, and I checked. She's intact. I hope she pleases you, Master.”
“She's adorable. Undress her.”
“Yes, Master.” I opened the zipper on her jeans again. She understood what Master expected when I told her my story, and she insisted I check to prove she was a virgin. I tried to keep my mind blank, but she knew I liked what I saw. Who wouldn't? Her natural, sparse dark hair covered a tiny peach. She needed a lot of lube on the speculum this time, too.
Master shone his light into her. “That part pleases me, Igor. Put the speculum away, and take her shirt off.”
“Yes, Master.” I lifted her upper body and pulled her polo shirt off. Sadie's small nipples were partially erect, just as they had been when I examined them in her dorm room before she dressed herself. She knew how I felt about that, too.
“Did you use chloroform?”
“Yes, Master,” I lied. “It works fast and it's quiet.”
“How much did you give her?”
“She may wake up soon, Master. I wanted to make sure you approved of her. If you don't, I'll have time to dispose of her and go get another one.”
“I should remind you how the furnace will feel with one of my branding irons for thinking again when I told you not to!”
“If you wish, Master.”
“We'll see. Move her around for me. I want to inspect her.”
I hadn't actually drugged Sadie. It had been so much easier with the ones who weren't aware of the demeaning acts Master forced me to perform.
“Spread her with your fingers.”
“Tear her for me.”
“I saw her hymen. I am pleased. She will be ideal. For this experiment, I need an unspoiled female, but having her lose her virginity to me could ruin the psychological effects of my new drug, so I want it done and healed before she sees me. Stick your finger in there, and pop her.”
She didn't say it, but I heard her voice. “Go ahead. I can block the pain.”
I never took a virgin before, not even as a younger, normal man. The girl I dated before the accident was intimate with me, but she was the only woman I ever touched. Now, I see and touch women in terrible ways, living, half-living, and dead, but I had never rammed my finger into an unconscious captive in exam stirrups.
Nervously, I smeared my fire-hardened middle finger with lube, and began to probe. Yes, there it was. I looked at her lovely, innocent face, mouth hanging slack, eyes closed, devoid of expression. I pressed against the membrane, testing its strength and looking for a reaction. Nothing. Not even her slow, steady breathing changed. I pulled back, and plunged the finger home, feeling the resistance give way, and seeing blood on my hand when I withdrew.
“Very good, Igor. Fun, isn't it? It's even better when they scream. Now, I'm going to have a late dinner while you clean her up. Keep her under light sedation. I will check on you later.” He put his lab coat in the closet and left the laboratory, closing the door behind him.
Immediately, she spoke. “That hurt. I have to get better at blocking pain.”
“I didn't want to do that.”
“I know. I heard your thoughts. You weren't aroused at all, seeing me and touching me like that, were you?”
“That filthy old psychopath was. I didn't have to read his mind to know that. He has some new drug he wants to use to make me his sex-slave or something, doesn't he? The sorceress says she can beat him.”
“She's wrong. No one can beat him. The best thing we can hope for is that his drug works.”
“That sounds like the worst thing. I should be able to resist the effects.”
“He'll kill you, Sadie.”
“I don't think that's going to happen. Now wash me the way you're supposed to. We don't want Master to suspect anything.”
I bathed her private parts with the scented water and mild soap Master used on his women, paying careful attention to cleaning away the evidence of my latest crime. I applied a healing salve to the smallest speculum in the laboratory and pushed it carefully inside, moving it around gently to try to reach the area I had wounded.
“That helps. The sorceress is letting me feel everything now.” Her nipples were erect and her button was swollen under its hood. “You should stop. I'm having distracting thoughts. So are you, Igor.”
In a different time, a different world, I would be wild with lust for this young woman, but fear and guilt squelched that before it could really start. “I'll leave you so you can shave. Master likes his girls to look as young as possible.”
“Shave my pubic hair?”
“Yes. Everything down there.”
“I don't think Sadie ever did that.”
“I'll bring you what you need.”
“Do you know how to do it, Igor?”
“Master makes me prepare all the girls.”
“Could you do it for me? I use an electric on my legs. I don't trust myself with a razor and a mirror.”
“Will you put yourself under?” I asked.
“No. We have to talk, and I have to get used to being touched.”
I was done with the careful scissors work on her mound and her lips. Taking both her legs in one hand, I moved her so I could work around her star.
“You have no idea what I just said, do you, Igor?”
“It's okay. I probably wasn't making any sense.”
By the time I was done rinsing the last of the shaving cream from her, Sadie was leaking, her peach opened on it's own, now to be defiled by my insane Master. My hatred for him made me want her more, and that made me loathe myself. I couldn't degrade her further. “Would you please dry yourself?”
“Of course. I'm sorry I embarrassed you,” she said. “I didn't mean to let my body react, so I'm not upset that yours did.”
“I don't know what to say to you, Sadie.”
“It's okay, really. I don't remember anyone ever looking at me or touching me that way. I,... well,... you know I was a virgin. At least, Sadie Hawkins was.”
I hung my head in shame.
“Igor, look at me.”
Her slender, pale nakedness was nothing compared to her eyes. It was the first time I dared look at them. They were old and wise, shockingly beautiful in her young face. “I'll deal with what happens here. I was always a strong girl, I think. I told you I don't remember anything before late August, but I'm doing pretty well, which I think says a lot about the real me, whoever that is. If the sorceress in my head wants me to do something here, I'll do it, but I may need your help.”
“Tell me more about his experiment.”
“Master developed a new drug. It's supposed to turn a virgin into a wanton, insatiable slut.”
“A date-rape drug?”
“Even if it worked, Master probably wouldn't sell it. He'd just make me get more girls for him.”
“He thinks he's going to have me,” Sadie chuckled.
“Why do you think that's funny?”
“Unless he restrains me, he won't be able to rape me, and he'll have to catch me to do that. I don't know what this thing in my head will do to him if he touches me.”
“Sadie, we don't know what the drug is. It could kill you. None of his other experiments worked. If you live through what Master does to you, you'll meet the others that survived.”
The dogs fell silent in the hall outside the laboratory. “Put yourself in a trance!” I hissed, shoving her down on the exam table and covering her with a sheet.
“Igor?” Master called from the doorway. “Have you finished?”
“Yes, Master. Clean and prepped. She is lightly sedated.”
“Good. She's an excellent specimen for my newest experiment. I have a very good feeling about this, and the cards say I must approach this one differently. Dress her and put her to bed in the cell next to the laboratory. Let her sleep it off. Feed her when she wakes. Try to calm her down. Bathe her again, and put more healing ointment in her. I want her good and ready. You will give me a progress report tomorrow.” He closed the door and walked away.
“I'm here. What am I supposed to wear?”
From a cabinet I opened, she chose a simple cotton gown and slipped it over her head. “Where do I sleep?”
We went to the observation cell next to the laboratory. Its walls were strong wire mesh, a huge cage allowing complete visibility.
“Not a lot of privacy,” she said.
“Not even for the toilet and shower. Not even a shower curtain.”
“Don't be. I didn't think you were an interior designer. All right, so I guess I try to sleep. Will you be the one to bring me food?”
“Master told me to feed you, so yes.”
“What will you do tonight?”
“I'll spend the evening with the other girls. I hope the nun is okay.”
“The sorceress thinks best in my dreams, Igor. None of the others will be able to help, will they?”
“I can't see how. The dogs will know if more than one person walks in that stairwell. I can go up and down, but no one else unless I carry them. Even then we might be attacked.”
“Hmmm. Four disabled girls and a pack of mutant dogs will make this a challenge. Maybe the sorceress needs to meditate. Go. Let a girl get her beauty sleep. I want to be well-rested for Master.”
I locked the cell-door behind me and went downstairs.
“Igor's coming! I smell dinner!” Belinda's excited voice echoed down the dark corridor.
I pushed my improvised food cart into their cell. “How is the nun?”
Sharon beckoned me to the gurney next to her bed. “Close to waking up. It would be better for her if she had something more modest covering her. She prays in her sleep, but she doesn't answer us.”
“I'll be right back.” Hurrying to a storage area near my cell, I gathered the bags Sadie and I filled with things from her room. Even though the nun was a much larger girl, maybe we could find something for her.
I dumped my loot on the floor in the middle of the girls' cell near Frieda.
Sharon scoffed, “What did you do, Igor? Break into a kid's closet?”
“This is from the university dorm room of experimental subject number thirteen in Master's virgin human female series. She's in the observation cell upstairs.”
“What does he plan to do to this one?” Frieda asked.
“Drug experiment. I hope she doesn't suffer.”
Sadie's voice whispered in my head, “Don't tell them any more.”
“Her stuff smells nice,” Belinda murmured, kneeling next to me and running her hands over the pile of clothes on the floor.
“Bring me that sweatsuit,” Sharon said. “If it's baggy enough, maybe we can stuff her into it.”
The zipper on the hoodie wouldn't close, so I forced a white tank-top down over the blond's breasts. On Sadie, it would have been modest, the sort of thing a girl layers loose over another shirt. On the nun, it was a second skin, but we felt a little better about her appearance with the dark green fleece zipped as far as it would go. The jogging pants didn't need to be tied.
“Did you shave her, Igor?” Frieda asked.
“No. That's the way she was when Master undressed her. I didn't think nuns shaved. If I knew she did, I would have found another one. Master wasn't happy about that.”
“She'll be upset when she sees what she's wearing,” Sharon said, “but I think I can get her through that part. You must be tired, Igor. Go get some rest.”
My sleep was interrupted by a cry from across the hallway. “Where am I?”
“Shush!” Belinda hissed.
“Who are you? What happened?” the new voice said.
“Be quiet,” Frieda whispered. “We'll explain.”
There was a lot of whispering, and then the new voice said, “But, I'm not a nun. I'm not even Catholic. I didn't sign up for this. I'm out.” She rattled the cell door. “Guard?”
I opened my own cell door and turned on the dim light in the hallway. “Be quiet.”
“What the hell are you supposed to be?” the nun gasped.
“That's Igor,” Belinda said.
“Incredible costume, big boy, but this isn't my kind of party, so let me out of here.”
“You don't talk like a nun,” Sharon said from the shadows in her corner of the cell.
“I'm an actress and a dancer. I was on my way to work when someone grabbed me. Then I was in stirrups with some weirdo, and now I have a bandage on my head and a killer headache. Please, just let me go. I won't tell anyone how I got hurt, okay?”
“What's your name?” I asked.
“My stage name at the club is DDDelicious. I could do a routine starting with an outfit like this if I had a water bottle and some free-weights but I won't have a job if I don't show up at that party. Where's my nun stuff? The hat thing should hide the bandage.”
“When Master was finished with his examination, I put what was left of your habit in the furnace.”
“I rented that stuff! Those granny-panties weren't even mine!”
“What is your real name?”
“Why should I tell a guy who goes by Igor? Take your mask off and tell me what's going on. This isn't funny anymore.”
“If you scream, we might all die. I want to know your name before I turn on all the lights.”
“On my website, it's Trixxxi, but my real name is Mary. Mary Hartman Goldstien. That's the truth. Our family tradition says the maternal grandmother gets to name her first granddaughter. Grandpa sold TVs. That's the truth. May I please go?”
“You're stuck here for a while, Mary,” Belinda said. “It's okay, Igor. Turn on the lights.”
I caught Mary when she fainted and put her on her gurney again. Sharon sponged her face, and Belinda held her hand, closing her eyes when their new cell-mate woke up.
“It's not a bad dream, honey,” Sharon cooed. “We are the way we are. We take care of each other.”
“What kind of freak show is this?” Mary cried.
I moved into the light. “This isn't make-up. This was all real doctors could do after my accident. Master took me in, filling my head with talk about miracle cures. He drugged me, made me commit crimes so I wouldn't have anywhere to go. I'm his slave now. The name on my birth certificate is Igor Hamilton. Mom liked Russian music.”
“Let me go,” the tear-stained stripper pleaded.
“Can she get past the dogs?” Frieda asked.
“Dogs? I'm scared of dogs. I got bitten by one when I was a kid,” Mary sobbed.
“You wouldn't last a second. I can't go outside or even some places in the castle if Master doesn't shock their collars. They're one of his early experiments – pit bull and Rottweiler cross, with leopard stem cell injections. Sometimes, they eat each other.”
“So what can I do?”
“Help Belinda make a spot on the floor for yourself between me and Sharon,” Frieda said. “We can talk in the morning. We have enough food and water for a few days, don't we, Igor?”
“Yes. Good night.” I locked their cell behind me and turned off the lights.
Everyone was still asleep when I went upstairs with breakfast for Sadie.
“What's going on downstairs?” she yawned.
“The nun's awake.”
“How is she?”
“She wasn't a nun, just dressed like one to go to a Halloween party and strip. She has a nasty lump on her head, and she's scared green of dogs.”
“Fine. I won't count on any help from downstairs, but the dogs won't be a problem after we take care of Master. The sorceress understands animals. I dreamed she made me walk with a couple of them last night. She spoke to me through one of them. She's angry, you know. She sees her opportunity to make things right with her greater power, or something like that. I didn't understand all of it, but I think Master is going to be very sorry.”
“I still don't see how you think you can resist him. We don't know what the drug will do.”
“We'll worry about that if the drug has an effect on me. The sorceress said it won't. She said she'll guide me when she has to.”
“I don't like it, Sadie. You don't know Master. He's crazy, but he's smart. He's evil.”
She put her hand on mine, the touch jarring in it's warmth. “You worry too much.”
The phone rang in the lab. I hurried to pick it up. “Yes, Master?”
“When do I get that progress report?”
“I had to sedate her again, Master. Shall I finish up here, or do you want me in your office immediately?”
“I'll shock the dogs in ten minutes. You shall grovel in my office one minute later. I want her awake soon.” He hung up.
“He doesn't want me sedated. Good. The sorceress works better when I'm awake,” Sadie mused.
She was under the shower-head when I locked her cage. “Lie down and play dead if you hear the laboratory door,” I said.
“Woof! Woof! Pant! Pant! I'll be fine!”
I hurried to the modern portion of the castle.
Master faced the windows, looking out over the dying autumn landscape. “My tea leaves said I should have patience. Were they correct?”
He spun in his chair to confront me. “You sniveling idiot! Can you say anything else?”
“Yes, Master. I mean, yes, sir, I can.”
“Good. How is she?”
“She woke in the night. She was restrained, but I heard her. I talked to her in the dark. She wasn't too bad until I went in to feed her.
“You didn't wear a mask?”
“Of course, Master, but she fought with me. I didn't want to mark her for you, so I let her struggle. She tore my shirt.”
“Moron!” he screamed. “Your incompetence may have ruined things.”
“Master, she calmed down a little after that. I didn't hurt her, and she learned she couldn't hurt me. I restrained her again and fed her. She asked me for a pill to help her sleep, so I gave her a small one. The tea leaves may be correct, Master.”
“She's trying to get herself under control, is she?”
“Yes, Master. It appears she is.” I wasn't lying that time.
“If she can get comfortable with something like you, she may like me very much.”
“She's got spirit. Maybe you won't need the drug, Master.”
“Hmmm. I must study that variable. My natural charm could skew the results of my experiment. Very well, Igor. Report back to me before I retire for the evening.”
“Yes, Master.” In the hallway back to the laboratory, I watched the dogs, frozen in place, sniffing the air and drooling as I passed. Master allowed me enough time to bolt the laboratory door behind me before I heard the first frustrated snarl.
Sadie lay on her bed. “I'm glad you're alone, Igor. The sorceress says it will be easier to defeat him than we think. I won't be affected by his drug, regardless of what it is.”
“I don't like it. He's going to give you something horrible, and if it doesn't kill you right away he's going to rape you.”
“He's going to try.”
“The best thing you can do, Sadie, is put yourself under and hope he tells me to take you to the furnace when he's finished with you. You'll meet the other girls, and maybe we can think of something together. Hopefully, you and the stripper will be able to help me move the others if we can.”
“You worry too much. Tell him tonight that you think I'll be ready to meet him sometime tomorrow. That will give me time to make a plan. Maybe you should check on the others.”
Mary's voice was the first one I heard. “Is that you, Igor?”
“Yes. Keep your voice down. What is it?”
“Would you come in here, please? The girls told me everything. They said Master tried taking videos of the women as their feet blistered on that damn furnace-feeder he built. I want to apologize.”
I unlocked their cell door.
“I want you to let me out of here, Igor.” The “nun” fell to her knees in front of me, unzipping her hoodie and popping her big boobs out over the top of Sadie's little tank top. Then she started on my pants.
“We told her it wouldn't do any good,” Frieda said.
“It won't.” I pulled Mary to her feet and held her at arms' length. “If I wanted that from you I would have already taken it and more.”
“I don't know what else to do, Igor. I'm scared.” She wept quietly until Belinda enveloped both of us in her arms in a tight, comforting hug.
Mary dried her tears on the tail of her hoodie. “You smell like my grandmother's place. What is that?”
“Master's favorite soap and his so-called 'demon water', both with his experimental scents.”
“I always think Igor smells like hot sand, and tropical flowers and fruit,” Belinda purred, moving to snuggle against me.
“It's hand sanitizer and library paste for me,” Sharon chuckled.
“Liniment, shower-gel, chalk and happy sweat,” Frieda said.
“Not all Master's experiments fail. When I bathe a new girl, I smell field grass, innocence, and virgin musk,” I said. “I sense what I want to smell, too.”
“I wonder what Master smells?” Frieda mused.
“Fear, ruined virginity, and roasting teen flesh. I'm sure it gets him excited,” Sharon muttered.
“You bathed the new girl again?” Belinda asked.
“She insisted I do it. She says she wants to get used to being touched by a man to prepare herself for Master. He has a new aphrodisiac drug he's going to try on her.”
“She's going to just lie there and let the creep rape her? Hell, I don't know if I could do that,” Mary said.
“She says he won't be able to rape her. She thinks she can resist his drug.”
“She's an idiot,” Sharon scoffed. “This is supposed to be an aphrodisiac? His surgery on me was supposed to demonstrate successful limb-reattachment. He hacked my feet off but couldn't sew them back on again. No anesthetics involved, of course. His drug will kill her or fry her brain.”
“Igor! My office! Now!” the speaker in my cell squawked.
I left my captives and hurried up the stairs. The dogs were frozen in the hall outside the laboratory. I knocked the required three times on his office door.
“Enter. Close the door.”
Immediately, I heard the dogs growling outside.
“They'll be enraged with hunger by tomorrow, Igor. Your preparations must be completed then. I will begin my experiment after breakfast, for it will be Halloween. If things aren't to my liking, the dogs will spend the evening fighting over your bones.”
“She may not be ready, Master.”
“She will be ready by morning, or I will supervise you putting her in the furnace before I turn you out for the dogs. Now go. You have work to do.”
When I put my hand on the door, a large canine body threw itself against it.
“I'll turn them off. Walk fast.”
The biggest one caught up to me as I fumbled with the laboratory door, snarling as it closed the distance. It yelped when I slammed the door against its leg and withdrew, allowing me to close the heavy steel barrier and lock it. The lead cur's cries ended quickly as his litter-mates fed like frenzied sharks.
“Not real cuddly, are they?” Sadie observed.
“That's why it doesn't matter if you can overpower Master. We won't survive the dogs.”
“One thing at a time, Igor. After dinner, tell Master I'm ready for him. Tell him you said he was a brilliant, dedicated man of science, and that he can be very friendly. Tell him I want to meet him. Maybe he'll forget to turn the dogs off when he tries to come here for me.”
“I hope you know what you're doing, Sadie.”
“I don't know what I'm doing, but the sorceress is ready. Make dinner for everybody, visit with the girls, and tell them everything.”
“What am I supposed to tell them? That I have a beautiful young girl up here who would be a virgin if I hadn't violated her with my scarred, ugly finger? That she's crazy enough to risk being poisoned and raped by a madman because the voices in her head tell her it's okay?”
She pursed her lower lip and glared at me, just like she had on campus. A heavily accented, older woman's voice spoke from her mouth. “Tell them things will change. I believe the word you people use is 'chill,' so I would ask you to do precisely that. This supposed Master's power comes from Evil. I know Evil. But I also know Good. Chill. I got this.”
“Oh my God!” Sadie squealed. “Did I say that?”
“No. I did,” the older foreign voice said. “There isn't enough time for me to possess both of you, so I must reveal myself. I am dust now, so you can not see me, and it is tiring to speak aloud, so I must ask you to trust me. I am also strongest on your Halloween. Wrongs will be made right.”
Sadie laughed again. “I didn't know she could do that. Now I feel a little more confident.”
I forced as much of a grin as the thick scar tissue of my face allowed. “If she talks to Master with your mouth, I don't know what he'll do! But I'm still worried.”
Downstairs, the girls thought I was crazier than I probably was.
“What happens to us when you fail?” Mary asked. “I don't like the chances of a crazy teenager and a cripple against a mad scientist.”
“We make sure the door is locked so the dogs can't get at us, and we wait to die of dehydration,” Sharon said.
“You're assuming he'll fail. He won't,” Frieda huffed.
When I went upstairs, I heard the shower running. I set Sadie's tray on a table outside her cell, and sat with my back to her, waiting for her to finish.
The water shut off. “You can turn around, Igor. I have to get used to having a man look at me. Should I be naked when he comes in?”
I studied her wet body through the wire. “No.”
Her face fell. “I look that bad, huh?”
“No. You should be clothed. Master doesn't deserve to see you like this.”
“Come in here, Igor. I want to know what he might do.”
I unlocked the cell door and carried the tray into her. She sat naked on the edge of her bed to eat. When she finished, she relaxed in the center of the bed, cross-legged, exposed to me. “I will let him have me if I must. What should I wear tomorrow?”
We chose a short white gown. She slipped it over her head. The neckline plunged on her short torso, so she flashed me constantly. The hem was below her knees.
“The panties are too big for me. How do I look?”
“That's good, I guess,” Sadie laughed. “Call Master and tell him I can't wait.”
“Good news, I trust,” Master said when he picked up his office phone.
“Master, she looks forward to meeting you. She says mature gentlemen are attractive.”
“I may run a controlled study tomorrow morning without the drug. I need to gauge the effect my appearance and charm have on her, especially since she's learned to put up with you. Tell her to expect me at eight. You will serve us breakfast in her cell.” He hung up.
“He wants breakfast with you here at eight.”
“Will you shave again me at seven? I don't want any stubble.” She stripped off her gown and draped it over a chair. “Tell the others not to worry. Get a good night's sleep.” She pulled me against her small naked body and leaned up to kiss me. When she broke away, she said, “That was supposed to be a kiss for luck. You forgot I read minds.”
Downstairs, Sharon said, “For her sake, I hope the drug fries her brain. Maybe she won't understand the heat until it's too late.”
Mary snorted. “For her sake, I hope she doesn't understand what your sicko Master wants to use her for – some kind of breathing sex toy. I've done some crazy things, but the thought of him putting his …. I can't even say it.”
“Please!” Belinda chided her cellmates. “Stop being so negative! Igor, do you think she has a chance?”
“Who knows? There's something very odd about her, like with the voice. She kissed me before I came down here. Really kissed me, only for a second, but she moaned.”
“She moaned?” Frieda giggled.
“Yes, but … I don't know. She sounded like an older woman, my age, maybe, like she knew what she was doing.”
“My last boyfriend loved that,” Mary laughed. “He said it felt like I gave him complete control.”
“No. You don't understand. She took control of me.”
“Who did? Sadie?” Sharon asked.
“She used Sadie to do it. The sorceress kissed me through Sadie.”
“Better than we do?” Belinda whispered, nuzzling her wild hair against my scarred chest.
“Differently. Like she could be any age she wanted. In that one second I felt like the first time I got kissed playing spin-the-bottle, and then like it was with my girlfriend, and my mother, and grandmother. And how I think it would be with a goddess and a whore. Were sorceresses also courtesans?”
“They probably were taught by older sorcerers. Maybe they slept with their teachers. I knew girls that did,” Frieda said.
“You said she's a virgin, right? Sharon asked.
“Was, until Master made me break her with my finger.”
Mary said, “No girl can do all that in a one-second lip-lock. You may be right about her, or it, or them, whatever. She may rock his world. Then, you can hit him on the back of the head and let us out.”
“Nothing is that easy. I have to be up early, so I'll say good night.”
I awoke before my alarm, well-rested, feeling better about things than I had in years. Sadie, or whoever she was, was my ticket – our ticket – out of hell.
“What is your plan?”