"THIS," LUTHER SNAPPED, "is not what you promised me. This was not our bargain."
"Yes it is," Sarah answered. "Why do you think I am here?" She wrinkled her nose. The guards, had, perhaps, been too enthusiastic in their preparations. The room reeked of sweat and blood. "Did they harm you?"
"No," he admitted, "they were very polite." The blood, she realized, was on his wrists and ankles. He had been trying to free himself. The chain was long enough that he could reach the cot, the little sink and toilet, but not quite to the door where she was standing.
"You tried to escape," she said. "How foolish."
"I lost my temper," he admitted. "I was so enraged that you had deceived me." He was, as she had ordered, naked. More hairy than she remembered, not as blonde, thicker in the middle, but still magnificent.
"Deceived you? Not at all. I promised you a night with me. I never specified the details." She slipped off her robe and sandals. "Really, how did you think it was going to happen? I can't invite you into my hotel room. It would be all over the tabloids. Here," she smiled a chilling smile, "no one will be bothering us."
"Where are we?" he asked. He had been hooded almost immediately after his arrest, drugged into a stupor. He had awaked to find himself stripped off all his possessions, shackled in this windowless little cell. Never again, he had thought, never again! The horror came back to him in a rush, and he had tried to break free, not even beginning to think, until pain and fatigue had forced him into submission.
"Somewhere. We are in part of my private space, my secret space."
"I take it," he said, "we are no longer in Toronto?"
"That would be a good guess."
"You used a wormhole." She shrugged in reply . "Isn't that illegal, on this precious little planet?"
Another shrug. "It is forbidden," she said. "The secret police have their own private network."
"This is all illegal," he said. "You have no right to arrest me, no right to hold me."
"Don't talk to me about law," she shrugged again. "I'm a lawyer, remember? I passed the bar exam, first try."
"What about your precious constitution?" He was boring in on her now. Shackled, he was still attacking her. She should have gagged him, blindfolded him, left everything a fantasy. Now she was standing here shivering, trying to match wits. She already knew she was stupid, she didn't need another evening of humiliation.
"This isn't like you," he was taunting. "Doesn't this go against everything you're preaching, everything you believe in?"
"Isn't it odd?" she sighed. She sat down on the cot, within his reach, and he sat down beside her. "I've grown better, and at the same time I grown worse. Both at the same time, like a tree spreading out."
"How much worse?" he asked. Goddess! This was something she had never talked about, not to Oscar, not to Susan, certainly not to her children. The only person she could ever have talked to was gone, missing. And now this man, this possibly very evil man, was coaxing it out of her.
"You're a king," she said. "You know how it is."
"Yes," he said, "I know."
"There are things you have to do, decisions you have to make …" she paused, unable to continue.
"It changes you," he said.
"I killed two men," she said, "when I was very young. I didn't have to kill them. It haunted me, sometimes it still haunts me. But now," she paused again.
"It gets easier," he said, and she nodded, mutely. "After a while," he said, "they lose their faces, you don't remember each one, you forget that each of them had a reason to live, people who loved them." She was starting to cry now. She wasn't going to cry in front of this stranger. She had come here to intimidate him, to force him to yield to her. "It's natural," he said. "It's part of being who you are, what you are."
"No," she said, "it's worse than that, much worse. Are you cold?"
"I've been very cold for a very long time."
"Let me see if I can do something about it." She went over to her robe and took her phone out of the pocket, spoke into it briefly. "Well, fuck you too!" she snapped. "Those fucking assholes!" she grumbled, draping the robe over her shoulders as she sat down on the bed.
"What did they say?"
"They told me it would be nice and warm once we got going. The nerve! The fucking nerve!" But she was laughing as she said it.
"They can talk to you that way?"
"The guards," she said, "have a special relationship. I wouldn't be queen, without the support of the secret police."
"They selected you?" he asked.
"Not exactly. But they supported the decision. They swore loyalty to me. They report to me and me alone. I wouldn't last a week without them."
"I thought you had a constitutional government now. A sign of weakness."
"I still control my guards." She smiled, a smile that few ever witnessed.
"You know who Stalin is?" he asked. She nodded. "He came from my part of Earth. He used to have his guards find little girls, kidnap them, bring them to him for the night."
"You think that I'm doing that?" she flared. "That I do this all the time? I've never done this before, never." He didn't say anything, but she could tell he did not believe her.
"You've been in this cell before," he said.
"No," she said, then added, "not this particular one." She took a deep breath. My God, he thought, in a sudden panic, she is going to tell me something that no one can know. I am never going to leave this little cell alive. "There are men," she said, "who want to kill me. Almost everyone loves me, but there are a few who hate me so much that they risk everything to kill me."
"Women, too?" he asked.
"So far, no women."
"Enough," she said. "At least one a week. Sometimes a couple in one day." He looked startled. "They come from all over," she added, "from all over the galaxy. Sometimes, they are captured alive, and they come down here."
"They go on trial?"
"No," she said. "If they can convince the guards that they are innocent, that they were arrested by mistake, they go free. The memory of their time with us is removed. It's easier that way, for everyone. The others …" she shrugged.
"You execute them?"
"Eventually." The way she said it made the room seem even chillier. There was a long, uncomfortable pause. "After a while," she said, "I got curious. I wanted to know why people hated me." Another pause. "I wanted to know," she added, "if they were seeing through my veneer, if I wasn't fooling them, if they recognized how evil, how unworthy I was."
"I came down to watch an interrogation. You have to understand, all the time I was working, I was the one who was bound, spanked, raped, humiliated. I was always the victim." The expert at being hurt, her son had said. "I never thought, I never dreamed …"
"You enjoyed it," Luther said, "and you hated yourself for enjoying it."
"H'raak used to rape his prisoners," Sarah said. "He was an evil, evil man, not even a man, a monster." Like his son, my son, my beloved little birdbrain, she thought, and she began to cry. Goddess, what was she doing here? What had happened to her, to bring her to this place?
"His guards kept up the tradition?" Luther suggested.
"These men were going to die anyway," she said. "Why not? Why not?"
"You let it happen."
"I watched it happen."
"You wanted to join in," he said, and she did slap him, this time. Not too hard, bur hard enough to point out that he could no longer block her. "Pretty difficult for a woman," he added. "Catherine the Great, you've heard of her? One of my favourites. She used to look for nice looking guards. Or horses."
Improbably, her phone rang. "In your dreams," she said, more amused that annoyed. "Yeah, fuck you too."
"Who was that?"
"One of the guards. He thought that was a great idea."
Luther squirmed in his chains. "We're being watched?"
"Of course we're being watched. You think I'm crazy enough to come in here alone with you, with no one watching? Does that bother you?" It certainly didn't bother her. She had always worked with a monitor. She would have been terrified to think that she didn't have that safety net. "It's a lot more comfortable for me that way," she added. Except, of course, when a son has been looking at recordings that never should have been made public, when a son questions all of your sexual activities. She saw how he was wilting. "Are you scared?" she taunted. "If you wish it, I can leave, and you can spend the rest of the night wishing you could reach your dick."
"It's okay," he said.
"Good," she said. "Let's get started." She fumbled in the pocket of her robe, and brought out the device. His eyes widened in sudden alarm.
"Boje Moi," he said, "what is that thing?"
"A toy my husband got for me," Sarah said. "It's more that just a dildo. It's a prosthetic penis. You can actually feel what it's feeling. Well, you couldn't, you don't have the right plumbing on the other end. But I can." She stood up and slipped it into place.
"You raped them?" he said. "You raped those men?"
"No," she said. "Never, never. But …"
"You brought me here, you tied me up," he stopped, snorting with laughter. "This is some sick fantasy for you! There's no reason we had to do this. We could have gone back to my hotel, to your hotel. We could have had a nice, civilized evening, made love like human beings."
"Made love," she snapped. "No! Never! Maybe we could have fucked nicely."
"You idiot! You sick idiot! You expect me to turn over and let you stick that into my butt?"
"No," she said. She pressed a few buttons on her phone, and the chain that held him began to retract into the ceiling. The restraints were beginning to tighten, to lift him up off the floor.
"Okay," he said, "I get the point. I'll cooperate."
She let chain go slack, and he stretched out on his stomach. She knelt behind him, and tried to enter him, but his buttocks were clenched tight. "Come on," she said, "I know you're very strong. What I want to know is how brave you are."
"Brave?" he said. "Brave enough to fight?"
"Brave enough to yield," she said. "If you want me, you are going to have to surrender."
"Fuck you!" he muttered, but he relaxed, and she slipped into him without resistance.
"Damn!" she muttered.
"What's the matter?" he said. "Not what you expected?"
"No," she said, "it feels wonderful. It's too easy, that's all. You're supposed to be screaming. In my fantasy, you're supposed to be screaming. You've done this before," she added.
"No," he said. She could feel him tensing. If it had been real flesh inside of him, it would have been squeezed right out. "Never. Well, some medical tests, but never for pleasure."
"No lies," she said. "You like it. I'll bet you went for a lot of those tests." She pressed up against him, feeling the hard little spot within him, letting it slide across the tip of the artificial penis. "Oh," she said, "a little large for a man your age. We're going to have to give you a thorough examination."
"You're good," he admitted. "You're very good."
"I haven't done this for a long time," she said. "My husband used to like it." Used to, used to. Her husband was history, very ancient history. Noah had been big, but not this big, strong, but not this strong. She rubbed her breasts on that strong, broad back and Luther began to tremble. She kissed his neck, and the shivers turned into one long spasm. She came then. It felt different, this way, so much sensation transferred out to her artificial maleness. It tingled, it glowed, but the final orgasm was centered back where it has always been. It had been a while, she realized, quite a while, since she had even had a hint of desire. This had been building in her, somewhere, silently, secretly. Now, at last, it was rushing through her body. She felt as if she was pouring fire into him, flooding him with her desire. Of course, the artificial organ could not ejaculate, but she could sense fluid pouring through it. Goddess! She was peeing into his butt! No, she realized, it was like that one time with Paula. It had never happened again, she had almost forgotten that it could happen.
"Boje moi," he said, feeling her ejaculate into his bowels, "you really are a boy."
"I thought you had never done this," she teased. She stopped, rested herself upon him, still inside him. "You know," she said, "I have advantages over a boy. I'll always be hard. I can come as many times as I want." She started to move again, just to prove her point.
"My lady," he winced, "perhaps that was enough?"
"I'm hurting you," she said, more a statement than a question.
"Somewhat," he said. She paused, thought it over for a moment, and released him. He sat up, clanking a little as he stirred the chains that held him.
"I guess," she said, "there's no need for those any more." She pressed some buttons on the phone, and the manacles opened. "It was stupid idea."
"Perhaps," he said, rubbing his wrists where they were raw, "we could make love properly, as a man and a woman?" He reached for the device to remove it, but she shoved his hand away.
"No," she said. "I'm not ready for that. I'll be a boy for you, if you would like that." She turned away from him.
"My God!" he said. "Not ready! You think you are holding on to some shred of your wedding vows?"
"Yes, no, maybe," she turned back to face him. "Look, it's been eighteen years, longer even." It couldn't possibly have been that long, could it? "Do you think I've been faithful all those years? We were never faithful to each other when we were together! I've fucked a lot of men, and it didn't matter, didn't matter!"
"So why?" he asked.
"With you," she said, "it would matter." He tried to kiss her, but she turned away again. "Just do it," she said.
"Lie down," he said, and she lay on her side on the cot. There wasn't really enough room for two of them, but he pressed in next to her. Her nose was almost scraping the rough concrete wall.
"Just do it," she repeated, but he stroked her hair, kissed her back.
"Damn you!" she whispered, "damn you!" Then, in a whisper, "I am not going to fall in love with you! Not like this!"
More kisses came, working down her back, and soft hands that found her nipples. Then he began to test her with a finger. Too rough, and she squirmed away. With the padded tip of his penis he searched for the spot to probe. Relax, she ordered herself, relax. She had done this hundreds of times, thousands of times. "This isn't working," he pointed out the obvious.
"It's okay," she said. "Just do it." Be a man, like all those other bastards who had rammed themselves into me.
"I don't want to hurt you," he said. He reached around her to remove her artificial manhood, but it was locked in tight. He stroked it instead, gently, caressingly, lulling her into a haze of pleasure. Suddenly, she realized that he had found the release button. He was slipping it gently out of her. "Come," he said, "come." He didn't move her off her side, he just slid down a little further on the mattress, aimed a little further forward. She was wide open already, dripping with desire. He slipped in so smoothly, so gently that it was a surprise to her when he started to move. Not that he was moving much, just enough for her to know that he was there, kissing her back still, one hand finding a nipple, rocking, gently rocking, until each brush of his flesh became a moment of suspense, until her flesh was tingling. He came then, not in a torrent, but a slow, gentle flow of passion, not sweeping her away, but carrying her, safe and comforted, to her own sweet climax. They hung together like that for a while, and it didn't end, really, it just faded into a cuddle that was still tingly, every time his breath brushed her neck.
"Goddess!" she said, and started to cry.
"I'm sorry," he said, and started to withdraw.
"No, stay, it's okay. It's just that," I love you, she was going to say, but stopped herself. She was not going to let her heart be so fickle. "It just that I'm happy, so happy. I didn't think I could ever be this happy again."
"I love you," he murmured. No, he could not possibly be saying that. "I've loved you since that very first day I met you."
You don't know me, she thought, you don't know who I really am. "You know," she said, pushing him off the cot, sitting up. "I am really hungry." She punched the phone. "Is it possible to get some food down here? Oh, very funny."
"What was that?"
"They wanted to know if I wanted to take something for my digestion first."
"They listen to everything?" he blushed.
"Everything. Well?" She eyed him critically.
"After we eat, perhaps," he sighed. "I need a rest."
There was a knock on the door, and a tray slid though the slot at the bottom. There were two bowls of stew, two mugs of coffee, a loaf of bread, some brownies.
"Not champagne and caviar," he said.
"Oh, this is so delicious," she had already emptied one of the bowls. "You know, I have not enjoyed food for the longest time. Are you going to finish yours?"
"My dear, if you eat too much, too quickly, you're just going to lose it again." Already, he was taking care of her. Yes, this was what she needed. Someone who could shelter her, nurture her, nurse her back to health. Someone like Noah. And that shattered her.
"I've got to go," she said.
"My dear, what is the rush? A night, a night, you promised me a night."
:"I think you got enough," she said, suddenly cold, "more than enough." No, what was she doing? It couldn't end like this.
"You will not marry me," he said, "because I am mortal. You do not wish to see me grow old."
Was that it? Was that fucking it? Her mind raced, well, it jogged. It was doing the best it could. "Will you be here next Tuesday?"
"I will be here, whenever you bid me," he answered, and her heart melted again.
"Come to dinner, at the palace. My son will be there." She paused, gave him a mysterious smile. "Have you ever kissed a boy?"
"What?" The startled look on his face was worth it.
"I'll explain," she said. "Enjoy the rest of your evening." And she left him in the little cell.
Oscar was waiting patiently outside. "We can make the next event," he said, "if we hurry."
"Of course," she said. "I'm sure it's very important." She started to laugh. "So important, so fucking important!" She raised her hands over her head, did a little twirl. "Oscar, what do you think? What do you think?"
"Of course, of him."
There was a long, disturbingly long, pause as they walked down the corridor to the wormhole that would carry them back to Toronto. "You are very well matched," he said at last.
What, the fuck, is that supposed to mean, she thought. But she did not dare to ask.