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Comments: 538711

The Yellow Sign

Categories Fantasy, BDSM, Bestiality, Death

Author: Crassus

Published: 13 May 2019

  • Font:

On peut dire que l'érotisme est l'assentiment à la vie.

Eroticism, it may be said, is assenting to life.


AMY

The Demhe out of Batumi lay at anchor in a quiet cove on the western shore of Kheros. A warm, red light rippled across the water from the deck like a paler echo of the setting sun. The faint sound of a Dvorak piano quintet drifted to the shore.

Even in the pale twilight the woman’s nudity was startlingly luminous against the grey sand. She zipped up a weighted bag containing her newly-bought clothes and carried it into the sea - the cool, black water lapping around her calves and thighs until she was wading chest-deep through the shallows. Soon she was close enough to make out the boarding ladder slung from the yacht’s deck in readiness, and, dropping the bag, she struck out towards it, swimming surely and smoothly. Dmitri smiled and left the cabin to meet her.

The following Monday afternoon Vasiliki paced briskly out of the hospital morgue and through the narrow streets of Baphoria, past the crowded white terraces with their gaily painted doors and down the steps where neo-classical houses cascaded from the hill to the harbour. At the street door of her apartment she fumbled for her key, a little out of breath, and hurried inside. Carissa was waiting in the shuttered coolness of the salon with a bottle of Dempina in a terracotta chiller and the most recent King in Yellow video clip. As she rose in greeting she set it playing and an image of His scalloped tatters filled the widescreen.

“You’re late” she said, wearing nothing but a wicked smile. Her deep blue eyes widened in surprise and then closed in surrender when Vasiliki flung her bag aside and bore down on her ruthlessly, seizing her round face in both hands for a fierce, hungry kiss. Their hips ground together for a moment before they pulled apart, panting. Carissa glanced at the opening scene of the illicit recording but gasped and jerked her head back as her cheek was slapped hard. A furious blush spread across it.

“Now” Vasiliki purred “let’s watch it together while I tell you my news”. She fell back to sprawl in her chair, slinging one black denim leg over the wicker arm and taking a mouthful of wine from the neck of the bottle.

“Was it another sex murder?” asked Carissa, as a young, yellow-haired actress – not unlike herself in appearance – peeled off her satin dress before a black-draped altar. “And the victim cannot be identified”? On the screen, cloaked and hooded figures closed in around the woman and hands reached out to her from all sides. The tip of Carissa’s tongue darted between her full lips and her lashes fluttered. The devil was in her eyes again. “I think it would excite you to tell me about it”. Vasiliki ran a hand through her fine, dark hair and stroked her fingertips along the line of her jaw. She swallowed.

“It was him, I’m sure of it” she replied without taking her eyes from the screen, where the willing victim now lay supine while the cultists produced curved blades from the folds of their robes. “The cadaver was recovered from the beach at daybreak, after a call to the coast guard from a tourist who now cannot be traced. The police found nothing around the site - they are calling this case the ‘brain teaser’ because they don’t realise that all the clues were left for me. And all the clues point to a woman giving herself to the Waldenstein cannibals”. A shiver ran down Carissa’s spine and her breathing quickened, but a silence fell while they both focussed on the bizarre footage. The blonde woman’s bosom rose and fell, and her head rolled from side to side. The camera pulled back to show steel blades gently stroking her belly and thighs, sharp points pressing into her nipples and clit without breaking the skin. At last, Vasiliki continued, “My subject today had an unusual tattoo behind her left ear, very fresh and composed entirely of shades of yellow”. She pulled a sheet of paper from her back pocket and unfolded it.

The actress’s hands slid over her hips and the muscles of her flat stomach and knives pricked at her soft flesh while her lips moved silently. She pouted and let her eyes close for a moment and her fingers lazily caressed her ribs and flanks. Her body arched and twisted sensuously under the icy caresses of the steel blades.

“The cause of death was severe trauma” Vasiliki almost chanted the words, as though her pathologist’s report were part of some eldritch recitation. “This was most probably due to displacement of the internal organs by a length of metal which was passed through the body from anus to mouth, although neither metal nor internal organs have been recovered. Much of the flesh from chin to ankle has been cut away using at least two sterile, high-carbon blades by someone familiar with anatomy and with butchery. The body has been grilled over open flames, although the head, feet and hands have been preserved from the heat. Gashes running from the ankles to the remains of the calves and from the small of the neck to surviving fragments of shoulder suggest a comprehensive laceration of the body before roasting using one or more flexible implements. Prints have been taken successfully from hands and feet and mouth swabs have yielded DNA evidence of the sperm of five separate, unknown men and of the vaginal and anal secretions of the deceased”. She tilted her head back to pour a long stream of wine into her open mouth, letting the paper fall from her fingers. “Of course, the document I filed says none of that. It speaks vaguely of death due to internal bleeding and partial consumption of the cadaver by crabs”.

As she spoke, the silent film had reached its inevitable conclusion. One by one the hooded figures had stopped their insidious teasing, lifting their knives away from the woman’s white flesh to form a ring of blades poised in readiness over her spread-eagled nudity. She threw back her head and arched her spine up towards them until they stabbed in unison, cold steel violating her young body in a great, bloody explosion before the screen went dark. According to urban legend, these scenes were not staged; the anonymous devotees who shared the films on the dark net insisted that the deaths were real. Carissa’s slender hands wandered over her heavy breasts and rounded throat and she moaned softly. Sliding forward to the edge of her seat she began to pull a patterned stocking over her foot, her eyes begging silently to be told more.

“I think that her tattoo meant something” Vasiliki mused. “It was a sign of some kind...something to do with the King”.

“A brand…” Carissa began, and a look passed between them. Stretching out the other leg with a gymnast’s grace to sheath it in black silk she sighed low in her throat. “Perhaps a brand to mark her as livestock” she breathed, swinging her foot above her head as she tugged the stocking top into the softness of her open crotch. “You promised me”. Vasiliki watched hungrily, teasing at the tip of her little finger with sharp, white teeth while Carissa clipped on a leather choker necklace

“I promised you” she agreed. Carissa ran her tongue around her lips and fluttered her dark lashes. Vasiliki reached out to grip her chin in strong fingers. “This is happening” she growled. “I’m close to penetrating the cannibal grapevine behind the King in Yellow films. When I do, there can be no second thoughts, no going back. You can scream, but you will not be heard. You understand that”? She let her hand fall away and Carissa nodded.

“It has to be this way” she agreed, lacing the leather garter-belt tightly around her trim waist. Her tone became ardent and passionate. “I have been waiting for you to kill me since the first time we shared our nightmares, when we were still medical students obsessing over the Waldenstein Affair”. Vasiliki snorted.

“You’re such a romantic” she said, scowling scornfully. “Bend over”! Carissa turned to lean over the back of the couch and presented herself obediently. Her tawny hair fell before her in a curtain as she twisted her neck to look back over her shoulder. Vasiliki held up the crotch strap with its evil rubber plug and smiled at Carissa’s smouldering gaze. “In a little while” she said, sliding from her seat to seize the proffered buttocks in strong hands and spread them apart. “You’re so open when we speak of your sacrifice” she murmured, leaning in closer. Carissa voiced a soft sigh of resignation.

“No, please” she whispered, then bit her lip; Vasiliki’s tongue lapped with infinite gentleness at the sensitive strip of skin between her gaping cunt and the tight rosebud of her arse, then her sharp teeth nipped at the velvety softness of her inner thighs. Growling softly in her throat she arched her neck over her panting slave’s loins, tracing the contours of her cunt lips with a soft wet tongue and then darting the tip between her cheeks into the pink, puckered ring. Carissa whimpered and ran her hands languidly along the back of the sofa, slowly rolling her head from side to side and baring her teeth in a tortured grimace as she fought to keep control of her traitorous body. Teeth and nails ran over her quivering flesh, nibbling and scratching from her heels to her neck, never breaking the skin yet always threatening to draw blood. With one finger Vasiliki tilted Carissa’s chin up to suck a mouthful of her white throat into her hungry mouth. This tender, teasing torment continued relentlessly until her thighs began to quiver and her breathing became hoarse and rapid - then Vasiliki sat back on her heels and wiped her mouth.

“You are on the very edge” she remarked. Helpless, Carissa could only groan and nod her head. “Then you know what to do” she went on, handing over the plug before returning to her own chair and her bottle of wine. Carissa carefully buckled the thong to the back of her belt while Vasiliki regarded her with cold amusement. Wincing and panting, she forced the broad plug into her moistened arse and then pulled the attached leather deep between her cunt lips and up to its fastening in the front, never taking her blue eyes from Vasiliki for a moment. “Now attend to your face and hair” she ordered, “and wear the white cotton frock - and the high-heeled boots. Then we shall go to Susan’s villa and see what she does with you”.

Soon they were making their way along a winding road back up the hillside to where an isolated and derelict Venetian villa looked down over Baphoria’s harbour. Night was falling, and as soon as they were away from the edge of town Vasiliki bent Carissa over a rough stone wall at the side of the road, swiped her arse twice with a braided leather dog lead - just to leave two red marks - and secured it to her collar to lead her onward.

“I think I am coming to like Susan” she observed, suddenly talkative after a long silence. “She is evil to her slaves - quite brutal. Before the first of these cannibal victims washed up on the shore of Barataria I even hoped that she might be the one, if only we could have found a way to make you disappear”. She sensed that Carissa wished to speak. “Yes”?

“I - perhaps I can do that” she stammered. “I think about it all the time - and I found a blog about Dmitri which said that some of his women may have been falsely reported missing in an avalanche. I could do something like that. I don’t know”. Her voice trailed away.

“We must be completely sure” Vasiliki pronounced. “And I know that they are out there, watching me, waiting to make contact”. She set her jaw and quickened their pace. “I’m sure of it. Enjoy grovelling for me tonight, because these games and pretences will soon be over. Soon we will find the King in Yellow and it will all become very real”. She smiled to herself at the shiver which ran through her slave’s luscious body from head to foot and pulled the leash tighter to whisper in her ear “We will have your haunches grilled with cinnamon. I promise you”. Carissa moaned quietly in response.

“Eat me alive” she whispered, “and screaming”.

“Such a romantic” Vasiliki said again, mocking, and they went on their way.

The villa was boarded up and fenced off but, as arranged, the mesh gate was not padlocked, and the two women slipped through it and entered via a side door. The interior was harshly lit by bare bulbs strung from the ceiling and powered from a boat battery. The few items of furniture were just anonymous grey shapes under their dust covers but three mattresses lay side-by-side across the tiled floor and loops of steel chain hung above and around them. A red-haired young woman with long, white limbs sprawled on the nearest, her eyes closed and her fingers working slowly and gently into her cunt. A long, antique dagger lay on her flat stomach. If she was aware of Vasiliki and Carissa arriving she gave no sign of it and kept on touching herself, her small bosom rising and falling. Then Susan stepped out of the shadows, cool and elegant as ever in a short grey and cream kaftan and carrying long glasses of iced tea on a silver tray. She smiled, and her teeth flashed white against her brown skin.

“My darling Vasiliki!” she exclaimed warmly, leaning in to kiss her on both cheeks. “It’s so good of you to come. I have been looking forward to this evening”. Her Greek was faultless although the English accent was unmistakable. She turned to Carissa. “For me?” she asked, her eyes twinkling. Carissa stood with her head bowed while Susan unlaced the front of her dress and pulled it down over soft shoulders to expose her voluptuous form.

“To do with as you will,” Vasiliki smiled “if you want to trade”. Susan paced slowly around Carissa, looking her up and down, bending a little to inspect the strip of black leather which imprisoned her cunt and arse before replying.

“Her life is promised” she said, indicating the masturbating woman at their feet. “Do as you will with the meat”. The redhead did not open her eyes, but her fingers moved a little faster and she lifted her hips so that the knife slipped over a few centimetres of smooth flesh and came to rest against the silver pendant at her navel. Vasiliki squatted down beside her and inhaled deeply, watching attentively while sipping her drink. Meanwhile, Susan ran one sharp fingernail down the length of Carissa’s spine with a slow and evil tenderness, making her tense and sigh breathily. She smiled and stepped closer, nuzzling her ear and reaching around to brush her hard nipples with her fingertips. “I’m going to begin by caning you here and here” she murmured, drawing another helpless gasp from her. “Brace yourself”. Carissa nodded her acquiescence then reached up to wrap her wrists in the chains hanging above her head. Susan’s heels rang on the white marble as she strode over to where a brace of wicker canes lay in readiness. The sound stirred Vasiliki from her trance and she reached to take up the dagger. She tested the edge with her thumb and the young woman regarded her through long lashes, licking her lips lasciviously and circling her clit with slow fingers.

“This will slide into flesh so easily” Vasiliki purred. Behind them, Susan smiled into her victim’s eyes and dipped her head to lick softly and wetly at each nipple in turn so that they stood proud and glistening from her round breasts. Carissa chewed at her lip to contain her excitement at being so gently and cruelly prepared for the cane and her breathing came a little faster and a little deeper. Gripping the chains more tightly she turned her face to the ceiling, but Susan would not permit this.

“No” she commanded in a calm voice. “Watch me, never look away” and with that she brought a short but supple wicker switch down hard onto a defenceless breast, making it flatten against Carissa’s chest. A bright red line stood out across the pinkness of the areola when it sprang back to shape and a terrible scream burst from her. Susan waited, twisting a strand of blonde hair girlishly between her fingers until her victim recovered and straightened her shoulders, pressing her bosom forward boldly to welcome further punishment. To catch her unawares she targeted the same breast for the second stroke, slicing into the tanned skin parallel to the burning trace of the first and provoking another anguished howl of animal pain and terror. Carissa fought to regain her breath, her lovely face twisted into a tear-drenched mask of agony, and then moaned in despair when the eager tongue again found her poor nipple and wet it anew. “It soothes” remarked Susan as she lifted the cane again, “but it makes the next blow more painful, don’t you think?” and she arched a perfect eyebrow.

“Yes, yes” Carissa panted. The wicker whistled into the other, untouched breast even faster and harder than before, tracing a line of white-hot fire level with the others and driving all the air from her lungs. Her knuckles whitened where she clutched at the steel links and her fair hair tossed to and fro as she flung her head from side to side, stamping her feet and screaming herself hoarse while her bosom was viciously striped by a flurry of backhand and forehand strokes. Finally, she could hold on no longer and slid to the floor wailing pitifully. Susan knelt beside her, stroking her head and making soothing noises.

“And do you scream so prettily, I wonder?” asked Vasiliki of her victim, leaning over the slowly writhing body to prick gently at a nipple with the point of the knife. The woman met her gaze with a voluptuous smile, then winced momentarily when the blade pressed a little harder, almost breaking the skin, before tracing an invisible line over her pale, freckled chest to rest threateningly at the other breast. “Your skin is flawless, unmarked” she went on. “You have not been cut recently”.

“Not ever cut yet” she replied dreamily, with an even stronger English accent than Susan’s. She had been sliding two fingers back and forth between the lips of her cunt but now she reached with her other hand to hold herself open and stab the fingers inside herself to the knuckle. Enchanted, Vasiliki pressed their mouths together in a deep and lingering kiss which ended with a long, low moan. The knife was now buried half its length into a pert breast and a startlingly red trickle of blood ran down her ribs. “Yes…” the woman sighed and Vasiliki sat back to draw the tip carefully down her naked flank describing a shallow cut down to her knee. Tiny droplets of blood started along its length and she sighed again, arching her back to invite more of this sweet torment.

Carissa lay back, propped up on her elbows, weeping softly as Susan licked and kissed her torn breasts with a tenderness born of calculated cruelty. Her fingers wandered to the delicate buckle that secured the thong and quickly unfastened it, freeing her victim’s dripping cunt but leaving the anal plug in place, then she reached for the cane and rose gracefully to her feet. Carissa followed her every move with smouldering eyes, slack-jawed with lust.

“Turn around” Susan ordered in her low, musical voice. Carissa lifted herself onto her knees and elbows, with her head down and her hips raised high. Smiling, Susan planted a foot on her outspread blonde hair to hold her in place and took aim at the round cheeks humbly presented to her, framed by stocking-tops and suspender-belt. Carissa bore two dozen powerful swipes in obedient silence, never shifting her position, until a fine latticework of crimson scars decorated her abjectly surrendered arse and a drop of moisture ran from her cunt lips to fall on the mattress between her outspread knees. “You are so greedy for pain” Susan told her, with real warmth in her voice, and she could only close her eyes and nod her head. “Now spread yourself as widely as you can and give your arse up to me”. As she obeyed, Susan stepped over her to stand astride the flare of her hips and bent forward to grab the leather straps hanging from the thick rubber plug in her arse. “Pull yourself open” she said and as Carissa reached back to spread her burning cheeks apart she drew it out with a slow, steady motion that made her groan deep in her throat. “And keep still for as long as you can”. Gazing up at her over her shoulder she saw the cane rising again and her cunt twitched with delicious dread.

Vasiliki looked over from where she sat cross-legged above the crying and sighing body of the English girl and smiled. Her exquisite knife-play was etched all over the lithe body before her - patterns of arabesques and curlicues standing vividly red against alabaster skin. She touched the edge of her blade to the woman’s white throat and she slowly returned from her ecstatic trance like a diver emerging from the depths, her blank eyes focussed on Vasiliki’s again and then followed her gaze to the tableau unfolding beside them.

Susan tapped the end of the cane lightly against Carissa’s anus once, twice, then flicked it gently back and forth over her open cunt. Raising the switch again she brought it down smartly onto the pink, bud. Carissa screamed, and her arsehole winked, but she held her position and kept pulling at her bleeding buttocks, opening herself to the bitter kisses of the supple wicker. There was no rhythm to the beating now; her cunt might be caressed for long seconds between blows or the cane might fall several times in rapid succession. Carissa howled and wept and moaned, trembling from head to toe and fighting for breath. Susan only paused to haul her dress over her head and fling it across the room before continuing her punishment of the burning ring so abjectly surrendered to her. She was satisfied only when Carissa’s eyes rolled back into her head and her shrieks were silenced as she fell forward, swooning, onto her face.

“Roll over now” Vasiliki told the redhead in an urgent, thrilling voice and she lay down alongside her to begin decorating the flawless milky-whiteness of her back, buttocks and thighs with more stinging, bloody tracery. Her crisis was imminent and her fingers still busy between her legs, tremors making her tight arse quiver and her long lashes flutter at every fresh wound carved into her yielding flesh. “If I just cut a little deeper,” Vasiliki whispered, dragging the gleaming steel over her shoulder-blade “I could flay you alive and watch you bleed to death while you frig your wet cunt”.

“Please” the English girl begged. “Do it deeper! Kill me”! Vasiliki smirked as she drew the sharp edge over the sensitive skin where Amy’s upper thighs joined the globes of her arse and watched thin streams of blood run into the warm crevices.

“They all want that” she said absently, toying with the ivory hilt.

“They all want that” Susan confirmed from where she now knelt behind Carissa, pressing sweet, teasing kisses onto her reddened arsehole and soaking her fingers in the thick wetness of her cunt. “Sacrifice this one to me, and you may kill Amy”.

Angered, Vasiliki stabbed Amy, a second time - sliding the tip sideways into her taut buttock. “It’s only a dream” she spat. “She wants it and I want it, but it cannot be”.

“My poor Vasso” Susan replied, and immediately there was a rasping cry from Carissa as two toes were suddenly and brutally rammed into her arse. Susan worked them in and out and added more, pushing in as far as the ball of her foot. “There is none so blind” she mused in her native English - which she knew Vasiliki could understand.

“Kill me” Carissa panted, lifting a face drenched with tears and tensing her shoulders to take the pain of Susan’s whole foot sliding inside her. “Impale me” she sobbed and then pressed her own fist into her mouth, gnawing at the knuckle to stifle any further indiscretion. Susan was expressionless as she focused completely on her merciless reaming of the tight arse yielded up to her, treading down and grinding Carissa’s clit onto the mattress. Vasiliki also returned to her play. She sat astride Amy’s thighs and ran the knife almost mechanically over her back and shoulders but when she brushed the auburn curls away from the girl’s neck she backed away, shocked, her hand flying to her mouth. Looking from Susan to Amy’s yellow tattoo and back she frowned in concentration for a moment as the full truth sank home.

The Yellow Sign” Amy said, in English.

“She has already vanished without trace” Susan said without looking away from Carissa, still churning her foot inside her. “Her name is with the King in Yellow; Amy no longer exists in life. Nobody will come looking for her”. Carissa’s mouth opened and closed soundlessly, and she pressed back against the violent fucking, welcoming the pain. “Kill her” Susan continued. “Be your true self”.

Vasiliki licked at the amber and lemon symbol, making Amy shiver in anticipation, then sat back. She turned the knife to and fro, watching the bright electric light play on its polished blade. “Why?” she asked, simply.

“We want Carissa” Susan replied. “Give her to us. Let me sign her up to be sacrificed like Amy”.

Carissa was already approaching delirium when Vasiliki spoke. “Then take her” she said, and a copious spending gushed from Carissa’s neglected cunt as her body froze rigid in a transport of catharsis.

It was profoundly dark outside the villa when they finished using the tablet computer. Susan and Vasiliki had watched while Carissa submitted her whole identity, personal, professional and academic, to the King in Yellow.

“And now she waits in the apartment for a few days until I come to collect her” Susan concluded. “By then a trail will be laid showing that she left Kheros tonight for heaven knows where, her share of the cosmetic surgery business will seem to have been disposed of last year and her departure will appear to have been planned long ago”. She eyed Carissa hungrily. “I’m envious of you, Vasso. Pentecost weekend is coming so you will have lots of free time to spend on her”.

“Unless I lose another day to a forensic autopsy” Vasiliki ventured, uncharacteristically unsure of herself.

“That won’t happen” Susan smiled, laying a delicate hand on her shoulder. “Amy’s remains will not be found”. Together they looked to where the redhead still lay bleeding from many superficial cuts, a blissful smile lighting up her freckled face. “She is your payment as soon as you are ready”. Vasiliki opened her mouth as though to speak and in an instant, she and Susan were sharing a slow and passionate kiss.

They had Carissa and Amy lie on their backs side by side and they took their places obediently yet languorously. Susan threw off her lingerie and hurriedly stripped Vasiliki from the waist down, still kissing her mouth, face and neck and running busy hands over her trim, athletic body. Gently breaking their embrace, she handed Vasiliki the knife then led her by the hand to where the two naked offerings awaited them. Carissa stretched her throat and parted her lips as Susan straddled her face, presenting her cunt to be sucked and licked. She guided Vasiliki beside her onto Amy’s eager mouth. They shared another lingering kiss, their tongues fluttering like trapped butterflies. Vasiliki reached down with her free hand and tenderly took Amy’s wrist to place her hand back at her open cunt. She understood at once and began to rub herself with soft fingers, her face buried happily between the bare thighs of her assassin. The room filled with soft cries and whispers and the faint, wet sounds of lapping and swallowing.

Susan was the first to call out “Yes!” when she felt Vasiliki begin to quiver and shake, her hips bucking and her bosom heaving. “Now!” she cried as the excitement flowed from one to another like an electric charge and Amy clutched convulsively at the slim hips imprisoning her, straining her body away from the mattress and up towards her own death in a frenzy of self-abnegation. “Do it!” Susan wailed in a faltering voice as her own climax finally gripped her. The tip of Vasiliki’s knife wavered over her victim’s breastbone until Amy reached up to enfold her trembling hand in both of her own. Her lightly-muscled arms tensed as she guided the blade to her breast and pulled down with all her strength. She cried out in despair and triumph.

“The Pallid Mask!”; the sharp steel slammed under her ribcage to its full length, ripping her open. Vasiliki screamed her excitement as Amy’s dying breath spattered a fine mist of blood onto her cunt.

Late the following afternoon a parcel of beautifully marbled steaks was delivered anonymously to Vasiliki’s apartment.



OLIVIYA

Oliviya closed the oak kindergarten door, still smiling and waving cheerfully as the last parents left with their child, then shot both bolts. The sharp cracks rang out like rifle-fire. Hitching the skirt of her grey matron’s uniform she hurried upstairs to the office with a girlish enthusiasm and impatience, shaking her hair free from its austere bun as she went. She flung herself into the chair and quickly jabbed her password into the computer keyboard. Her elfin features were bathed in a yellow glow from the screen as the forbidden sign flashed up and an illicit recording began to play. She loosened the front of her dress and idly wrapped a strand of straight, black hair around two slim fingers.

“I could fast-forward” she mused aloud, crossing her legs tightly as she leant forward and removed her glasses. The clock in the corner of the screen ticked on, and the anonymous message on her phone had told her the exact time when the secret would be revealed. But, although she had already watched this footage many times searching for clues, she allowed herself the luxury of one final viewing, just for her own pleasure. Nibbling delicately at her lower lip, she followed the young actresses’ – or victims’ - bizarre crucifixion scene. There was no sound but the distant rumble of Mirenburg’s rush-hour traffic.

A pair of black crosses cast long shadows in the setting sun. Two nudes crawled with a slow, serpentine grace over the wet grass towards them, occasionally casting lascivious looks over their shoulders to the camera. They smoothed their lithe bodies up against the rough timbers, wrapping long legs around the beams and pressing fervent kisses to the woodwork, sharing a long and burning gaze of pure lust before dipping their heads to suck and lick lingeringly at the bulbous heads of the two sediles. Their fingers stroked the worn oak and their own soft bodies, pert bosoms rose and fell, tongues fluttered in mouths slack with mindless desire. At last, with yet more knowing glances into the lens, each stepped up the set of three wooden steps before her own cross. Oliviya let slip a small sigh and pressed her nylon thighs more closely together. No matter how often she witnessed this dark lewdness she felt herself melt every time with vivid premonitions of embracing her own fate. She knew that she might face only a quick stroke of the knife – and the mere thought of that sent a hot thrill coursing through her body – but she still dared to dream of a lingering, public demise that she would meet with the same naked self-abasement as these two performers – or sacrifices. Bending from the waist with a deliberate and elegant motion the dark-eyed beauty on the right closed her red lips around the polished wooden dildo that jutted from the centre of her cross. The other dropped promptly to her knees and spread her companion’s buttocks apart with both hands, craning her slender neck to probe the exposed arsehole with an eager tongue. Both women writhed for long minutes in this brazen display before changing their stances so that the nude on the left enjoyed a slavish rimming while she, in turn, leant forward to lubricate her own sedile with a hot mouth. Oliviya’s fingers tensed around the mouse and her pupils widened as the women settled themselves in place, wincing and biting their lips while their hips sank slowly and inevitably onto the protruding rods. The lengths of smooth timber disappeared between their arse cheeks as their knees bent and their empty cunts gaped wetly and hungrily above the invading pegs. Again, they drank each other’s souls through their eyes in a deep, mutual stare and then, as though rehearsed many times, they reached out to slip their wrists through the leather loops at the ends of their crossbars and kicked out, propelling the steps away over the floor so that each was helplessly transfixed on the sedile stabbing up into her bowels. They screamed silently, and piss spurted briefly from the cunt of the woman on the left before diminishing first to a trickle and then a spattering.

The camera panned out and zoomed in, it changed angles crazily and then picked up again from the original position. The victims were now convincingly dead, slumped motionless and decorated with fearsome whip marks that had transformed their whole bodies into slabs of raw, bleeding meat. It was so easy to believe that the film was a macabre piece of performance art, staged and edited to titillate the jaded appetites of nameless perverts – but Oliviya was watching carefully to see the digital display edge remorselessly towards the critical time. The camera tracked around the beautiful corpses until she froze the frame as instructed and forced herself to focus unblinkingly on the still image. Spotting a faint legend typed on a scrap of paper in the corner of the shot, she gave a small squeal of delight and magnified it excitedly. As promised in her mysterious text, there was an internet address hidden in plain sight. With trembling hands, she noted it down and typed it into a fresh address box. A familiar scene unfolded immediately; the moaning and writhing pair hung evilly suspended from their crosses as before. A deep and warm voice that thrilled her to the very core spoke from out of shot.

“Fasten the restraints before we start” he said. At this an athletic, blue-eyed young woman, naked and sporting the shaven head and collar of a chattel slave, stepped into view. Oliviya felt her own nipples pucker and tighten at the sight of the heavy rings the actress wore in her breasts, and she imagined how it must feel to wear them permanently. With a calm and business-like efficiency, the bald slave moved around the crosses, standing on tiptoe to tighten the leather cuffs around the women’s wrists. They spoke words of thanks, she assumed, in some strange language. Both were already panting and straining from the effort of supporting their bodies on the cruel rods embedded inside them.

“It is done, Dmitri” the slave announced, and Oliviya’s heart leapt at the sound of the name. She had found him! Without ever taking her eyes from the screen, she unfastened more buttons at the front of her staid dress until she was able to slip it from her shoulders and wriggle out of it, revealing a half-cup brassiere and leather suspender-belt which would have shocked and scared the stolid bourgeois who patronised her school.

“Back behind the camera” he rumbled, stepping forward as the slave moved away, regarding him with worshipful eyes as they passed. Dmitri was just as Oliviya’s imagination had created him in her erotic nightmares. He dominated the room by the sheer physicality of his presence; the huge muscles of his broad shoulders were not disguised by his loose shirt and his hair and beard were a great mass of grey-flecked curls that was somehow savage and animalistic. He drew the full length of his black whip over the palm of his hand, lost in thought, and then spoke to some accomplice. “Have them repeat the message”. A different male voice spoke from the shadows, in the strange tongue the women had used before. There was a change of focus, to the anguished face of the dark-eyed woman, and she began to speak in the curious, stilted way of someone reciting words memorised from a foreign language.

“You have been chosen. For collection. Later. There will be a form to submit”. As she finished speaking, she turned to the other and the camera followed her eyes.

“We will die now” her fellow victim pronounced. “Watch. And follow us. If you choose”. Dmitri turned his head to look out of the screen and deep into Oliviya’s soul. Entranced, she put the tip of her little finger to her mouth and closed sharp, white teeth gently around it. Before her, the screen went dark for a moment, and then the scene opened again with Dmitri readying himself and the two sacrifices helplessly crucified and breathless with anticipation. There was a sudden explosion of energy and the long whip swung in a great, blurred arc around his head and into the soft flesh of the victim on the left. A fierce crimson line appeared against the white curves of her breast and belly where the bitter kiss of the plaited steel wires had opened her skin. She drew in a great, tortured gasp and streams of blood started along the length of her wound. Without a moment’s respite the whip swept around again. Both women screamed, the one in physical shock and pain but the other in wide-eyed terror. She was quickly silenced by the cruel laceration of both her breasts by a whip-cut deep enough to start a fine spray of blood. Her wounded bosom heaved twice before she threw her head back and screamed again and again.

“Dmitri...” sighed Oliviya, distractedly, staring intently at the awful drama unfolding before her. The two women writhed helplessly under the vicious onslaught, arms straining and loins trembling over the wooden shafts that pinned them to their crosses while his whip carved a thousand cuts into their outstretched bodies and blood rained down around them. Hoarse screams and hopeless sobbing filled the air. Oliviya, too, moved sensuously in her seat. Her hands roamed about her undulating form, brushing her skin and tousling her mane of coal-black hair, now caressing the arm of the chair, now pressing the aching nub of her nipple between thumb and forefinger. She groaned deep in her throat and, without taking her eyes from the screen for a second, reached lazily to open the desk drawer. A particularly vicious stroke had caught one of the women on the side of her breast and carved deeply into the tissue. The wound gaped raw and bloody and her cunt spurted copiously, shamelessly, at such brutal treatment. With a shaking hand, Oliviya took a smoked-glass, jewelled plug from the drawer and brought it slowly to her open mouth to roll her tongue around the glass bulb, moistening it languorously while her black eyes drank in the brutal depravity of the film. Both women were slick with gore now, and blood poured freely from many cuts. Their movements were becoming more sluggish and less frequent as the punishment took its toll. Oliviya raised her legs, planted her conservative shoes wide apart on the edge of the desk and drove the wet plug hard into the dry bud of her arsehole. She groaned again, and her breath came in ragged pants until her tight ring accepted the invasion of the coloured glass and closed around the waist so that only the semi-precious stone at the base was visible, glinting in the flickering light of the computer screen.

Dmitri’s face looked into the camera and his eyes bored into hers. Slowly and deliberately he raised his right hand and pulled on a strange gauntlet of brass and leather. Each finger was fitted with a five-centimetre blade of blued steel, fashioned to resemble the talon of a raptor - or perhaps the claw of a big cat. Buckling it securely around his wrist, he turned back to the bleeding and crucified submissives. They slowly lifted radiant faces at his approach, with utterly broken yet tender and loving looks. With one last, meaningful glance over his shoulder he stepped close to the spread-eagled beauty on the right and drew his finger-knives slowly and almost gently down her raw, bloodied flank to sink the wicked tips deep into the flesh of her arse. Her face was already a transport of agony when he seized her thick hair in his other hand and pulled her head to the side, exposing her slender neck to his hungry mouth. The woman whispered a phrase in her strange language which Oliviya was sure must be the hailing of the Pallid Mask and then her face froze in a rictus of terror and pain as Dmitri’s teeth clamped again and again on her outstretched throat, rending and tearing in a huge outpouring of blood which splashed over his face and beard. Soon she slumped motionless in her bonds. He turned a wild and gory face to the camera before moving in on the other woman. She licked her lips and strained imprisoned arms to force her flayed body away from the cross towards his fatal fingers. He took her delicate chin in his left hand and pinned her head back against the rough timber. Gazing into his eyes she repeated the other’s dying words in an exultant cry that became a gurgling, rattling whisper when the wicked points drove between her breasts and into her chest. Powerful shoulder muscles moved beneath his shirt as he thrust steel-tipped fingers deep into her dying body, rummaged inside her ribs and finally, with a cry of triumph, tore the dripping heart free and held it above his head. Oliviya began to shudder uncontrollably; her slim thighs trembled, and her fingers clenched on the arms of the chair. Turning to the camera, Dmitri slowly raised the dripping heart to lips that were already gory from his first victim, closed his eyes in a dark ecstasy and sank his teeth into the raw meat. Blood streamed into his beard and spurted into the air - and Oliviya gushed across the floor under her desk with a strangled cry. The image froze, and the room was silent save for ragged breathing as she struggled to control herself, knuckles white at the edge of the desk.

The haunting sound of an oud drifted from the speakers and the screen became a business-like patchwork of text and entry fields. An ornate silver crucifix swung between Oliviya’s bared breasts as she leant forward to type, brushing a stray lock of hair from her face with one hand while the other tapped at the keypad to enter her National Identity Number. The sun was setting now, and her delicate features were up-lit by the glow of the screen while she typed intently, giving up her financial and personal details and all of her passwords – the blasphemies and obscenities that she inwardly yearned to shout aloud but only ever picked out in secret at a keyboard. Before long - because the jotter in her locked drawer had every code and reference carefully noted in readiness for this day – the display refreshed, and one word appeared in an antique script of rich, dark yellow.

When her submission was acknowledged, Oliviya switched to another screen and reactivated her gym membership. She wanted to be lean and fit when she was collected.



SUSAN

Carissa climbed gracefully over the side of the Demhe, tossed her wet hair out of her face, and stood before the men next to Susan, her arms loose at her sides, one knee bent in a relaxed pose and her chin tilted proudly upward. Droplets of water ran over her smooth flesh and fell onto the teak planking. The two women had swum out from the beach nude, and now presented themselves obediently on the deck of the yacht. Dmitri and his companions looked like any group of tanned, wealthy tourists in their crisp linen suits and light cotton ducks as they gathered around, eyeing them appraisingly.

“You understand that you have been collected? You understand what collection means?” Dmitri asked in English.

“Yes” breathed both women in unison. Carissa turned startled eyes to her mistress.

“You served your purpose well, Susan” Dmitri went on. He threw an amused glance at Carissa. “She was submitted to the King in Yellow since before you first knew her, just like Amy”. He took a seat and crossed his legs. “Her mission was to bring you here, to act as my agent in acquiring you. You may speak”.

“Why?” she asked. “I am not worthy - you can have any woman”.

“Indeed” he confirmed. “I have so many women to choose from, it is scarcely a challenge for me and I grow bored sometimes”. He leant forward, “I have plans for your future, which we can discuss over dinner”. Carissa groaned as though in physical pain and he smiled with his eyes. “Yes” he mocked her. “Not only do you have to wait, but you have to watch - and partake”. Rising, he gently ushered her to one side while the others pressed in closer around Susan. Andrei touched her first, turning her head from side to side and lifting her hands - checking for jewellery - then staring into her face while his fingers rummaged in her cunt and his thumb pressed onto her clit. When she breathed a soft sigh he stepped back, running his fingers under his nostrils and inhaling deeply.

“She is quite ready” he said, turning to Pierre who stepped forward.

“Please, gnädiges Fräulein, let me show you to your place” he invited, with old-world courtesy. Susan parted her lips but did not, or could not, speak. Pierre nodded in understanding. “Here” he said, sweeping his arm back towards the other side of the boat “we have a full-sized gas barbecue with a rotisserie large enough for a döner - or a sow”. She sighed. He raised an eyebrow then walked over to the grill. “The spit detaches easily” he went on conversationally as he disengaged it from its motor and ran the six feet of stainless steel over the palm of his hand. When he tested the point with the ball of his thumb, Susan took a great breath and her round breasts rose, the nipples standing out long and hard. She sank her hands into her blonde locks. There was the rasp of match on sandpaper as Dmitri lit a Burmese cheroot.

“Put her on the machine, man, for pity’s sake” he said, exhaling luxuriously. Pierre beckoned her to follow him over to where a sun-lounger was positioned in line with an electric engine. With practised ease, he knelt to fit the steel rod onto the crank and looked up to where she stood watching intently.

“Face down” he said curtly “and present your cunt”. Susan nodded and spread herself over the cushions. Looking over her shoulder she shifted her hips up and back until the gleaming tip aligned with her wet and welcoming opening. A sudden clank made her turn her startled face to the front; Leon had approached barefooted, making no sound until the buckle of his belt fell to the deck. Naked from the waist down he sat on the headrest before her face, legs spread wide and his stiff, twitching cock presented to her mouth. Propping herself up on her elbows she wrapped one hand around it and commenced a gentle, humble kissing and licking of the head, darting the tip of her tongue softly over the slit and ridged underside until a tremor ran through his wiry frame and he pulled her down by the hair to engulf him in her mouth. While she sucked furiously, bobbing and turning her head and walking her fingers over his shaft and balls, he draped his braided leather single-tail over her back down to her open crotch, teasing it to and fro between the swollen cunt-lips. At last his breathing quickened and he took her face in both hands to fuck her throat roughly, grunting his satisfaction as she swallowed. A single trickle of spunk started at the corner of her mouth, but she stopped it with a knuckle, determined to drink every drop. Leon shivered once, drew a great lungful of air, and rose to his feet. His whip still lay on her back and as he bent to recover it he stroked its full length across her cunt one last time and her shoulders tensed with the effort of keeping her hips still. Pierre had settled back with a cold bottle while Leon was being serviced - now he looked around for somewhere to put it down and shuffled on his knees to the controls of the motor. He spent a moment checking the connection of the spit to the crank one last time before finally flicking the switch. The length of steel began a slow vibration and he clambered to his feet, grinning. Leon waited patiently while Pierre leisurely retrieved his drink and took a long pull. All eyes were on the ripe nakedness of their victim, poised millimetres from the sharp, shivering point. Susan remained compliant and motionless, but she could not help but close her eyes and lick her lips, her cunt quivering in anticipation of the coming ordeal. At last she was given her order - “Take it” - and she pushed back gratefully to swallow many centimetres of buzzing metal into her sopping hole. A long, low moan of animal lust was wrenched from deep inside and her head fell forward onto her forearms. Then the whip struck.

Leon used all of his strength, swinging the leather from far behind him, high over his shoulder, and violently down across her upturned cheeks with a tremendous crack that echoed around the deserted cove. Susan froze rigid and a dark red stripe stood out immediately on the ivory flesh of her arse and around her hip. He paused just long enough to let her draw breath and then slashed into her again, flattening the flesh where a second vivid stripe crossed the first. She screamed. On the third strike, she fell forward onto her face crying out brokenly as floods of tears coursed down her soft cheeks. Still sobbing she lifted her hips again and pressed back onto the humming steel, emitting a low sigh as the vibrations worked on her. Leon smiled grimly.

“You welcome the spit now,” he said, hefting the whip “but it will not be my knout that kills you” and he laid into her again and again in an explosion of energy, forehand and backhand strokes falling viciously in rapid succession. Her knuckles whitened as she gripped the frame of the lounger and she clamped her jaws over her own arm, but she began to grind against the sharp steel, sucking the point still further inside herself. The twin orbs of her pale arse were marked with lines of fiery pain before the thrashing stopped and Andrei moved to position himself behind her. Naked, he stepped over the rod that still tantalized her, spat onto the head of his cock and pressed it down into the ring of her arse with his thumb. A thrust of his muscular hips buried it right inside her and she opened her mouth wide in a silent cry of dark pleasure.

The men were all now at least half-naked and all were excited and erect. Carissa’s eyes darted to and fro as she took in the whole scene, enthralled. She shivered when Dmitri’s hand brushed her ribs and flank to rest on her hip.

“Watch” he murmured as Grigori stepped up between Susan and the motor. Sweating, Andrei pulled out and stepped aside while the older man straddled the vibrating steel rod to drive into her arse in his turn while Andrei moved around to present his twitching cock to her mouth. She lifted herself onto all fours to worship him with her lips and tongue, closing her eyes to relish both the brutal shafting and the heavy, sweet taste in her mouth. Both men turned their faces to the night sky, the tendons in their necks standing out as they panted and snorted in furious passion. The lounger creaked and rattled in time to their thrusts, and the engine buzzed relentlessly. “In the banal world, the tame world, they call this ‘roasting’” Dmitri whispered into Carissa’s ear. “Look how excited she is”. Carissa sighed. At last, Andrei let himself explode into Susan’s mouth, his fists locked in her hair and his muscular body rigid and tense like a statue. Drawing a great breath, he disengaged and went to gulp thirstily from his glass while Grigori took his place, making way for Pierre to use her arse.

“She is so beautiful” Carissa breathed, forgetting herself, but Dmitri only nodded his agreement.

“You are all beautiful when you have found the Yellow Sign” he said, stroking her cheek with strong fingers and making her blush like a schoolgirl.

Grigori pulled free from Susan’s mouth and spent over her face; she wiped his spunk from her cheeks and chin, sucking it greedily from her fingers, panting and gasping in time to the pounding at her arse. Grunting a curse, Pierre came inside her and over her cheeks then almost staggered back to the controls of the electric motor and switched it off. At this, Gregori seized her hair and pulled her cunt away from the steel and she fell onto her belly blinking in confusion, looking to Dmitri for instruction.

“Clean her” he told Carissa, and she went eagerly to kneel behind Susan, dipping her head to suck from her arsehole and scrupulously lapping every drop of spunk from her welted buttocks. Taking Susan’s face in both hands she kissed her full on the lips and passed the precious mouthful to her. She swallowed and smiled her gratitude. Pierre waited patiently, composing himself.

“On your back,” he said, almost gently, re-aligning the spit with the lounger “and present your arse”. Susan turned around, lifting her hips and spreading her legs as ordered to offer herself up for further, final punishment. The others watched while Pierre adjusted the controls so that the steel began thrusting back and forth, extending a little further each time and inching towards its victim with a painfully slow inevitability. Only Carissa looked away, only briefly while Dmitri took her hand and guided it to his rigid cock. With a flush of pride, she accepted the honour and began to caress him softly, so spellbound by the sight of Susan’s sacrifice that she scarcely dared to breathe. Dmitri ran his fingers idly through Carissa’s golden tresses.

“She frigged me over our last victim,” he rumbled in his beard “just as you are doing now. She saw Ellie skewered in this very place. Look at her now”! Carissa followed his gaze. Susan’s nostrils flared, her fists clenched and unclenched and she chewed her lower lip in an agony of anticipation. Her cunt was wet and open. “We left that one’s remains to be found as a clue, as part of my little game with your Vasiliki” he continued, as Susan reached beneath her hips to part her cheeks, holding herself open and ready for spitting. “But Susan is dying simply because her work is done, and we are hungry”. He chuckled quietly when the women moaned in unison. Then the tip penetrated her punished and stretched ring and the impalement began, steadily and deliberately, she arching her back to accommodate it. Leon and Andrei steadied her, forcing her down onto the sun lounger by the hips and shoulders and trapping her arms.

There was a sudden hiss and a sputtering; all eyes turned to where Grigori stood preparing the barbecue. A warm orange glow spread from the other side of the deck and danced on the droplets of moisture trickling from her cunt onto the steel rod stabbing her arse. Pierre left the engine and reached between the others to maul Susan’s breasts with clawing hands, kneading the flesh and pinching brutally at her teats. Her breathing became ragged and she twisted helplessly in the men’s grip.

“Pin her down now” Pierre said as he excited her throbbing nipples with evil fingers. “The steel is about to break into her torso and slide between her vital organs - so long as she is sufficiently still”. Susan wailed in an ecstasy of despair and her cunt spattered its juices over the canvas. Then she caught her breath abruptly.

“Watch!” hissed Dmitri and Susan’s eyes opened impossibly wide in shock, her face contorted with the fierce pain of the shaft’s fatal violation. Carissa almost slumped against him, moaning her arousal as her legs trembled beneath her. Susan’s spasm passed, and she began to emit a series of short, soft cries as it pressed further into her. Pierre slapped her breasts hard and took his final position holding her head back, immobile over the edge of the chair.

In a husky voice, she purred “The Pallid Mask” and her eyes rolled back in her head. Her whole body quivered, her throat bulged, and Dmitri sprayed her face, throat and bosom with thick gobbets of spunk at the sight of the head of the stake emerging, dripping and throbbing, from her mouth. Shyly, Carissa let her hand fall back to her side. After a few minutes, there was a half metre of steel protruding from Susan’s mouth and Pierre went to turn off the motor. Andrei and Leon took an end each and together they hoist the spitted victim over to the grill, where Grigori gleefully whetted his gutting knives. Carissa managed to exchange a look with her as she died swinging like a pig in a slaughterhouse.

Later, Dmitri fed her mouthfuls of woman flesh when she lay curled at his feet as his pet bitch.



HEATHER

Vasiliki threw herself into her work after Carissa was collected, but there was nobody to notice any change because she mainly worked alone and unsupervised. After a week of long days and intense activity she found that her outstanding documentation and administrative tasks had all been cleared and time began to weigh heavy on her again. Casting around for something to keep herself occupied she discovered that she was owed a handsome stretch of leave due to an apparent error within the personnel department; she wasn’t inclined to question it twice so booked herself a long holiday. On her last day, she was eager to depart and had brought a packed suitcase into work with her, but a cadaver came in for routine examination just as everyone was leaving for the weekend. Vasiliki was tempted to redirect them to the main site but her work ethic got the better of her and she had them put it in the autopsy room.

She looked over the paperwork as she made her way there. The corpse was a young woman named Heather, an American student who been struck by her own boat’s propeller in full view of the shore. The US consulate only needed the cause of death confirmed officially before collecting the remains to ship home. Resignedly, Vasiliki set down the folder and removed the sheet from the body. The dead girl had been rather attractive, she noted with professional detachment, and had been sunbathing nude. She lifted sundried blonde hair away from the neck and shoulders to examine the lacerated throat and then froze, open-mouthed with shock. The cadaver bore a tattoo identical to Amy’s, in the form she now knew to be the Yellow Sign. She stood and stared, her mind racing, then shuffled like a zombie to bolt the door. Stiff and slow in her movements she unbuttoned her coat and pulled off her shirt and slacks without ever taking her blazing eyes from the mesmerising design on the neck. She was so beautiful, Vasiliki thought. Utterly available and vulnerable, completely open and offered. Why had she never realised, she mused as she stripped, that the taking of a victim was only the beginning, not the end?

“I’m going to do this” she whispered, unfastening her brassiere. “She submitted, and they sent her to me”. She slid her briefs down her slim thighs, stepped out of them and climbed onto the autopsy table to lie alongside the girl’s cadaver. Suddenly, it seemed bizarre that she had never allowed herself this intimacy with the dead before now. She ran her hands slowly over the smooth flesh, stroking the belly and ribs and then the cheek, sweeping the hair aside. With infinite tenderness, she traced her fingertips down the body again to the knee. “How did you die?” she asked softly, and it seemed the most natural thing in the world that the corpse should open her blue eyes and answer.

“It was wild and beautiful” Heather told her, in accentless Greek, as she draped a cold, white arm over Vasiliki’s waist and pulled their bodies closer together. “We all met on the island of Dascalio on a moonless night; everything had been planned months in advance”. Her dead eyes fixed Vasiliki with a basilisk stare and drew her deep inside. “There was so much blood”.

They gathered in the courtyard of a ruined farmhouse; there were only a few sun-bleached stone walls still standing and neglected olive trees surrounded the site, secluding it from the beaches nearby. A dozen women of various ages and nations were grouped in twos and threes, all more or less naked but for fripperies of silk, lace and leather. There were flames everywhere – from the circle of torches around them, from the huge pyre of deadwood in the centre and from three firepits laid out at a distance from the trees. Grigori tended the spits over these, wearing only a leather apron. It was the crimson glimmer from the coals that caught Heather’s attention as she approached to join the throng. With a frisson of excited fear, she realised that the spitted roast crackling over the nearest pit was the body of a woman like herself. Her hand went to her mouth, but she took another faltering step forward, and another, and soon found herself in the midst of the company. A dark-skinned beauty wearing only laced court shoes and a pearl necklace approached her.

“Heather” she said.

“Jazarah”. And she pulled the cotton dress off Heather’s shoulders and down her body. They stood like that for a moment, with the torchlight playing over their naked flesh and Jazarah’s hands resting lightly on her hips. Heather parted her lips but before she could speak a quiet voice came from beside her and she turned to see two women embracing on the parched grass. The younger knelt behind with her long arms enfolding the other’s fuller figure, pinching her swelling clit and kneading her heavy breasts. Pierre and Andrei approached them. Both wore black jeans and shirts.

“Take her” Pierre said, looking neither in the eye but handing a long knife towards them, hilt first. All eyes were on them now, drawn by the magnetism of the man and by the sweet, menacing allure of the blade. Tentatively, the older woman extended a trembling hand and took hold of the dagger. There was a profound silence broken only by the faint hissing and cracking of the flames. Reluctantly pulling her lover’s fingers away from their wicked tweaking of her nipples, she pressed the dagger gently but firmly into her hand, guiding the point into her own soft belly. Her head leant back for a long and deep kiss and then her mouth and eyes opened wide as the icy steel penetrated her flesh, again and again and again. Blood welled from the wounds to run over her pale cunt and thighs.

“The Pallid Mask” she gasped, then coughed and choked while her killer clasped her more tightly pushing the blade deeper and grinding her crotch shamelessly against her back, her ecstatic face almost a parody of her victim’s death agonies. At last she was released to topple forward. The men stooped to seize the body by wrists and ankles and haul it away. The young woman followed after them, treading daintily amongst the loose stones and stunted shrubs, until they stopped at the fire pits. Heather looked back to Jazarah.

“I have such delicious nightmares about this” she whispered.

“Then watch” Jazarah replied, pulling her closer. Heather bit her gently on the lower lip and teased soft flesh with sharp teeth. From the corner of her eye she watched the men drop their burden onto the low table beside the fire, its limbs flapping and head lolling.

“Get me a spit” Andrei ordered, in a quiet, measured voice, rolling up the sleeves of his black shirt. The girl’s skin shone sleek in the firelight as she handed him a length of gleaming steel. He dropped to one knee, seizing the smooth metal in both hands. “Spread the legs and hold it steady” he continued, and she rolled her lover’s corpse onto its back, spread-eagled and open to him. Blood oozed in slow rivulets over the fleshy flanks as she tilted the head back and braced the soft shoulders with her hands. He adjusted his position slightly for better alignment and aimed the point between the lips of the wet cunt. Heather sensed that everyone around her was holding their breath as he set his shoulders and took a firmer grip. He began to feed the skewer into the meat with one fluid and powerful motion, driving through the membranes with practiced skill until the bloodied tip emerged slowly but surely from between rows of white teeth and the body was completely spitted. There was a collective sigh from the assembled women at this, and Jazarah ran her fingers through Heather’s hair, nuzzling her neck.

“So lovely” she murmured into her ear. The woman’s breasts swung free and her raven hair curtained her face as they hoisted the skewered corpse to their shoulders. Pierre drew a knife from his belt and gutted her with one deft movement. Coils of intestines and organs dropped wetly to the ground and splashed onto the glowing coals where they hissed angrily. The men swung the meat over the pit and settled her in place, next to where the other, half-roasted woman was slowly turning. Heather slumped against Jazarah, weak at the knees, her nipples hard as bullets. Their lips locked in a deep and fierce kiss and they sank to the ground, grappling like wrestlers, wrapping their legs around each other’s hips and grinding their cunts together in an aggressive tribadism. A man’s voice distracted them, and they twisted about, chocolate-brown and snow-white thighs voluptuously entwined and frotting furiously, to face the cannibal barbecue.

“There is still an empty place” said Grigori over his shoulder as he turned the spit to set woman-fat sputtering over the coals. “We must not waste the fire” he grinned. The others returned his smile and set down their bottles of dark beer, turning as one to the young woman who had killed and helped to spit the previous victim. She returned their gaze boldly, pouting and pinching lewdly at her dark nipples.

“Find yourself another shaft” said Andrei, as he began casually to unbutton his shirt and pull it from his lean torso. The girl licked her lips lasciviously before bending at the waist, slowly and deliberately, to grab another long steel. Regarding the men coyly over a shapely shoulder she put the wickedly pointed tip to her mouth and ran her tongue over it as though exciting the prick of a lover. They chuckled, and she smiled back before kissing and sucking at the point wantonly. Andrei discarded his shirt and stepped forward to take the moistened spit. She turned slowly away, looking lustfully through drooping lashes as she dropped to all fours, offering herself to be taken and used. His fingers delved into her hot, wet cunt and stirred around brutally. Her cheek fell to the ground and she moaned shamelessly, bucking her hips back onto the thrusting digits. There were a few moments of slick fingering while the wild women waiting around them panted in Sapphic raptures, each watching avidly and enviously. When he decided that he was suitably lubricated – or when he took pity on her, if pity were possible in a cannibal – he withdrew his hand and stabbed it ruthlessly into her arse. Three fingers were pressed inside, then a fourth, and then the thumb joined to push to and fro until the knuckles drove inside and her arsehole closed around his pumping wrist. She screamed in an agony of delight. Jazarah groaned and Heather sank blood-red nails into her tight buttock, frantically grinding their pubes together. Andrei pulled his hand away, leaving a gaping and twitching arsehole ready to be pierced. She reached a hand back to claw her cheeks apart and spread her knees even wider, arching her back.

“Please” she sobbed. No-one breathed except for the gentle wind in the branches and the hot drafts rising from the fires.

“Meat.” Heather sighed. Jazarah silenced her by pressing a pert breast up to be suckled and chewed, but neither took her eyes from the drama at the pits. As they looked on, fascinated, Andrei lined up his steel rod carefully and stabbed the end slowly into the young woman’s surrendered arse. Firelight played over his rippling muscles as he began to push. The girl dug her fingers into the parched earth and moaned; Pierre knelt in front of her and took her pretty face in his strong hands, holding her head steady while her whole body shook like a leaf.

“Impale yourself” he told her, smiling into her eyes and brushing a stray lock of brown hair from her sweating brow. She pressed herself backwards, away from him and onto the invading spit that Andrei held firmly. With the steel a few inches inside her, she faltered and cried out in pain but clenched her teeth and pressed back harder, panting and groaning. There were gasps of amazement when she moved a knee and then a hand to crawl backwards to her death, forcing herself onto the skewer while her strength lasted, wincing in pain. At the end, the men each put an arm under her to keep her from falling and pushed the pole through the last half metre. She had not enough breath in her lungs to proclaim the vision of the pallid mask, but her lips moved to form the words just before the sharp point emerged from her mouth in an outpouring of blood and her eyes rolled back. There was a collective sigh from the watching victims, and Andrei pulled off his trousers, rolled the corpse onto her back and commenced a frenzied rutting. Pierre produced a cheroot from his pocket and lit it while going back to his bottle, content to rest while Andrei defiled their victim’s body before gutting. Heather released Jazarah’s bruised teat from her hard, sucking bite and slapped it hard. The marks of her teeth showed white on the dark skin. Jazarah took a fistful of blonde hair, threw her head back, and pulled Heather’s mouth down onto her other breast. She bared her teeth and bit down fiercely. As her tender flesh was gnawed brutally the African raked long nails down her tormentor’s back and they moaned together. There was a gruff laugh. They broke their fierce embrace to see Grigori standing over them with a white enamelled serving tray piled high with bloody slices of roast woman.

“Don’t eat her now - raw meat is bad for the digestion” he chuckled, offering the platter to them. “Have some of Tanya instead”. They grabbed steaks and tore at them with their teeth like maenads, juices spilling over their lips and chins. As he walked away, Grigori nodded towards the bloodied knife still lying beside them. “When you have finished eating, bring her over and kill her” he said. The women stopped chewing and looked at each other for a long moment. Then, with a wicked smile, Jazarah placed one finger under her bleeding nipple to catch a crimson droplet. She put it to Heather’s lips to be kissed. They ate more slowly after that, savouring each mouthful while gazing deeply into each other’s eyes. A wild, delirious shout that became a scream and then subsided to a choked gurgle started them into awareness of their surroundings; they licked each other’s fingers clean and then Heather reached for the knife. She turned it around before her face, catching the warm, orange glow of the torches on the polished blade.

“It is beautiful” Jazarah said, rising to her feet and beckoning with a long finger. Together they walked between the feasting victims towards the pervasive smell of roasting flesh. At the barbecue pit, Andrei awaited them. He was now fully naked save for a black satin face mask, and he held two dominos out to them. With a rush of excitement, Heather saw the video cameras set up around the courtyard; this part of the proceedings was going to become one of the disturbing film clips which had first drawn her to the King in Yellow and she herself had the honour of becoming a faceless sacrifice on a deeply buried corner of the Darknet. Strange men would drool over the sight of her youthful nakedness, watch her death agonies and ask themselves how the fantasy had been so cleverly staged. Somewhere there might be a woman like herself, watching with a morbid fascination that would draw her insidiously to the same dark apotheosis. With gentle fingers, he settled the mask onto her face and laced it behind her head; she caught her breath, close to a screaming climax at the very touch of his bloodied hands. When he did the same for Jazarah she buckled at the knees, moaning and scrabbling at her cunt, transported by the evil eroticism of the moment. He gripped her arms roughly, holding her upright until the tremor passed and the echoes of her ecstatic shrieks died away.

“Make her wait” said Grigori. “I want to see that one spitted. The blonde can go into the sea”.

“I didn’t know what he meant” the cadaver murmured through cold, blue lips, “but I understood that I was to give Jazarah the knife. Her hand was shaking when she took it and I tilted my head back to offer my throat. I saw the King in his pallid mask standing behind her…”. Vasiliki sobbed and wailed in the grip of a shattering orgasm, furiously sliding her sopping cunt up and down the chill, waxy flesh of the corpse’s thigh.

There was a strange smile in her eyes when she walked out of the morgue and headed down to the ferry.



STEPPENWOLFIN

Two women danced around each other lasciviously on the dais in the centre of the club. The contemporary dance troupe engaged for the evening had cancelled at the last minute – there were dark rumours of an awful tragedy and breaking news of a motorway pile-up – so there had been an appeal to the life members to provide two women to compete in a challenge for the entertainment of the clientele. At his usual table, The Greek sipped at a vodka, regarded the glass carefully by the light of his slave-lamp, and threw the rest of the drink down his throat with one motion. Beside him, the waitress stood chewing on her lower lip. Her striking cheekbones and willowy figure marked her as a fashion model - others of the staff were ballerinas or gymnasts in their daily lives. A length of polished blonde wood had been stitched to her pert breasts with two hemispheres of steel nails hammered through the soft flesh and through her erect nipples. Tears came to her eyes when he pressed the empty glass down hard onto the tray and her hands, chained behind her neck, clenched into fists. Settling back in his quilted leather chair with a smile he turned his attention to Vasiliki.

“So, Steppenwolfin, I must ask you about the Indian girl” he said in his strong Pontic lilt. “Wasn’t she one of yours”? He indicated the darker of the two nude performers, who was wrapping an arm around her blonde companion’s waist. As they watched she dipped her head to lick the girl’s pale throat from breastbone to ear. The blonde sighed low as strong hands seized her face to press their lips together and her willing mouth was plundered by an invading tongue.

“Yes, Mallika belonged to me” Vasiliki agreed. “She is very passionate, but she became demanding and greedy for punishment. I find it tiresome when they lose their spirit, so I offered her tonight”. She gave an arrogant shrug. “I can find three others just as beautiful, who still shiver at the sight of a knife”. The Greek nodded in agreement.

“My Milena falls into a petite mort if I even reach for a riding-crop,” he observed of the blonde “she cannot control herself under the whip”. Young bodies entwined as the two women kissed ferociously, running their fingers over each other’s smooth skin and tousling each other’s hair. “She, too, is utterly broken – she bores me”.

“They are both natural slaves” Vasiliki replied. Just then a bell chimed, and Milena pulled sharply away from their embrace to fix Mallika with a fiery stare. She pushed her onto her back, wrapped her fingers around her throat and straddled her face.

“Open your legs” she panted, bringing an open hand down sharply onto her shaven cunt with a ringing slap. Mallika’s hips undulated but she kept her trembling thighs parted to welcome another smack, and another. Her hands clutched at the ornate soumak and silk cushions; Milena’s crotch ground down onto her face and a flurry of slaps tormented her throbbing clit. The buzz of conversation at surrounding tables lessened as attention turned to the entertainment. Masters and slaves watched avidly while the lush, olive body writhed and trembled in the grip of Milena’s sweet malice. The blonde looked around, smiling at the attention, and dipped her head slowly to Mallika’s parted legs. Drawing back her bright red lips she sank her perfect teeth into the soft inner thigh in a slow, sucking bite.

“A whole month” The Greek said quietly, steepling his fingers. He fixed his piercing gaze on Vasiliki.

“There is something I need to do” she replied.

“I will be honoured to play my part, I’m sure.” he smiled “And I look forward to finding out what that will be”. The bell tolled again, and both turned their attention back to the tableau at the centre of the room. Milena rolled off her victim and lay back spread-eagled with a bold challenge in her eyes. Mallika sat astride her mouth to pin her down just as she had been trapped herself and immediately began to subject her to precisely the same torment, slapping her palm harshly first over the tender flesh of the inner thighs and then onto the fine, blonde pubes. “Such a want of imagination.” observed The Greek “It’s a pity she can’t be more creative”.

“There is still time before the next bell” she replied. “Look how Milena is offering up her cunt. It will not take much to tip her over the edge”. She had arched her back like a bow and her calves quivered with the effort. The Greek signalled for service while Vasiliki continued. “The fighting bulls of Seville never see a man on foot until the day they enter the arena,” she remarked “so that they do not know how the torero will behave”. A nude waitress appeared silently at The Greek’s elbow. She was a striking young woman, slender yet heavy-chested, and her bosom was decorated with concentric circles of Chinese needles. Demurely, she offered him a silver plate containing more. With practiced ease and casual cruelty, he pressed another half-dozen into the undercurve of her left breast while she held her breath and her mouth trembled. Droplets of blood formed and dropped, spattering her bare feet and running between her painted toes.

“Bring me a flask of vodka, chilled.” he said, flicking at the head of the final pin to coax a pained gasp from her, then turned back to Vasiliki. “The fighting bulls of Seville, Steppenwolfin?” he prompted.

“Milena has been tested before,” she explained “and Mallika was present, watching”. As she spoke, the Indian girl delivered one final, resounding slap and knelt upright over Milena’s face, reaching down to pinch and twist her rosy nipples. She tossed her long, black hair and clutched cruelly at the blonde’s bosom; a trickle of startlingly red blood ran onto Milena’s white clavicle where a sharp nail had broken the flesh. With a wicked smile Mallika lifted her hips, opened her cunt, and released hot piss over her victim’s face and neck. Milena stretched her slender neck to drink thirstily from the stream, helpless in the grip of her mounting storm. Her eager mouth overflowed and her whole body convulsed.

“I am finished!” she cried out in an ecstasy of despair, her body thrashing on the floor like a dying eel. With a cruel compassion Mallika drove four fingers into Milena’s wet cunt so that her eyes rolled back, and she collapsed limply onto the floor, swooning at the intensity of her climax. There was a general release of tension around the room and the murmur of conversation began again. Mallika rose gracefully to her feet and stood easily with an arrogant hand on her hip, her head held high and her eyes flashing in triumph. Milena lay sprawled, panting, semi-conscious at her feet in delightful dissolution, her hair lank and sodden and her breasts and cunt reddened from calculated abuse. The Greek drank in the scene with his black eyes.

“They both have a month, of course” he observed, sipping delicately at his drink. “A moon. They play for twenty-eight days of torment”. Every member of the club had to provide a submissive available for general use - for a period of at least a month, so that scars would have time to heal. He set his elbows on the table and brought his face closer “But I do not know what game you are playing. Of course, we never know the mind of the lone she-wolf”. His gaze shifted when Milena struggled upright on trembling legs to stand beside Mallika, her head bowed in defeat and her full bosom heaving. The maître d'hôtel stepped forward and addressed the clientele.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, “Kali” is victrix. Garçon! The whip, if you please”. At this a beautiful boy in club livery arrived smartly bearing an ornately tooled knout of the finest Bokharan leather and, at the maître’s signal, held it out to Mallika in both hands.

“And, so?” The Greek said, raising an eyebrow. Vasiliki slid her smartphone across the table, turned to face him. He lifted his horn-rimmed spectacles to see the photograph of a yellow tattoo on a white neck then passed the phone back with a puzzled frown.

“So, you have never seen this symbol before?” she asked.

“Should I have”? Both turned to the podium as Mallika’s musical tone rang around the room.

“I thank you, Master” she said, accepting the whip. Milena lifted her head with an air of resignation and took a step towards her. Mallika smiled sweetly as she laid a hand on her shoulder. “No safe word” she said as Milena reached to take the braided leather from her and the two men lifted her wrists high above her head to clamp them into restraints hanging from the ceiling. They stood aside, and Milena flexed the supple leather as she moved back, making room to swing.

“That boy, the club servant” said Vasiliki, “he is a qualified nurse. This flogging will seem wild and brutal to the bourgeois around us, but it is all very carefully managed. She will receive the best medical treatment upstairs and will make a full recovery, even if it takes her whole month. It bores me”.

The Greek spoke without taking his eyes from the Indian’s outstretched and defenceless body “I do not wish to appear rude” his manner had become exaggeratedly suave “but I am at a loss. You joined me at my table just to show me a tattoo on the neck of a corpse”?

Milena swung around at the hips, letting the lash trail far behind her before bringing it round forcefully across Mallika’s flat stomach with a startling crack. The room held its breath as the white mark turned pink, then an angry red, and a tortured sob broke the silence. Milena paced slowly around the stage, with the long knout trailing across the parquet behind her, to take up a position behind Mallika. Suddenly she broke out of her languor and slashed viciously at the backs of her slender thighs in an explosive flurry of blows that echoed around the room. Mallika froze rigid in her manacles, her lovely mouth opened in a silent scream of anguish. The flogging ceased. Milena ran the tail of the whip over the palm of her hand, smiling knowingly at her audience, and a long, low groan escaped Mallika’s quivering lips. A murmur of conversation and clinking of glasses spread from table to table. The maître d'hôtel sat astride a stage light and pulled the boy’s head down into his lap.

“I think the design is significant” Vasiliki said, looking him in the eyes, “and I think you know what it means”. She arched a perfect eyebrow and rested her chin in her hands.

“Steppenwolfin” he began and then hesitated, looking down at the floor. From her place between his feet a shaven-headed, androgynous beauty turned an adoring face to him. “My shoes are not properly cleaned” he said, and her face fell for a moment before she dipped her mouth to his toes again, her pink tongue darting forth slavishly. He pushed her away with his foot. “Go over to the WC” he ordered, “and give your arse to anyone who wants it, until I send for you”. Naked save for a leather bustier which cupped her small breasts she crawled amongst table and chair legs to obey, her cunt visibly moistening at the cruelty of her dismissal. Idly, Vasiliki watched her slim form slither past the stage where Mallika panted and groaned, blood beginning to spatter from her tormented form onto the clients at the nearest tables – to their evident amusement - and take her place by the gentlemen’s lavatory next to an older brunette who lay across a bench holding her arse open to all comers and regarding the room pleadingly from over her shoulder.

“You were about to tell me something?” she prompted.

“Only that you are mistaken. That device means nothing to me. Is it Svitavian heraldry”?

Vasiliki smiled. “How did you know that the tattoo was on the neck of a corpse?” she asked, almost teasingly. At last, The Greek seemed discomfited and he shifted awkwardly.

“You work for the coroner’s office” he began, his voice trailing away at her mocking glance.

“Nevertheless, most of the people I meet, and photograph, are alive” she said. “Not this girl, of course”.

“So, what do you want?” he asked, quickly composing himself. “What do you think I can tell you”? A scream rang around the club. Neither looked aside to see if it came from Mallika or from one of the other women being abused in various ways over tables or on the floor. Vasiliki leant forward and spoke in a low, urgent voice.

“You introduced me to Susan” she said. “Since then I have seen women killed, and I have eaten human flesh. I can no longer live a normal life. Something has been awakened; Susan called it our true nature. Now you must introduce me to the Waldenstein coven”. He started, and she put a hand on his wrist – an unprecedented step. “Don’t try to deny it. I have seen The Yellow Sign on my slave’s computer screen and I watched her set out to be collected. I expect that she is no more than the memory of a satisfying meal by now. After today, I need to be amongst those at the table”.

The Greek sat back and stretched. There was a crooked smile on his full lips; Mallika’s worthless cries for mercy rang around the room.



DMITRI

The yacht had passed through the straits overnight and cruised without incident to a small fishing village on the coast of South Circessya. Swaggering abreks had met them at the newly-built jetty and soon it was clear how much respect Dmitri still commanded in this war-torn backwater. Their helicopter flight over the mountain border to the old convent was undoubtedly tracked by all the interested intelligence services from north and west – and each undoubtedly dismissed it as harmless smuggling. This suited Dmitri perfectly, however much the ongoing communal strife saddened him.

Carissa had spent the whole voyage stripped naked, observed from time to time by smirking fishermen. She had held her head high, perversely proud of her subjugated position amongst the men. One afternoon she had been down on her belly sucking at Grigori’s toes when a coastguard launch from one of the unrecognised statelets drew up beside them, hard-faced men in aviator sunglasses watching them from the deckhouse. They remained alongside for several minutes, laughing and joking amongst themselves. Grigori identified them as Alaniyan separatists who had shown benign neglect towards some of his cross-border enterprises and he had ordered her to show herself to them. As she rolled on the decking, legs splayed, churning her tongue lasciviously around his feet she had been overwhelmed with a sensation of submission and eager humiliation, revelling in how cheap and low she had become. With Grigori’s permission, she had experienced her only orgasm of the voyage, crying out with wild abandon while strange men jeered at her in some foreign tongue. The memory prompted a secret smile as she lay curled like a cat at Dmitri’s feet on the floor of his private sitting room in the old convent. It was the first evening after their arrival.

“So – you are quite satisfied that the clinic has everything you require” he rumbled.

“Yes, Dmitri. There is better equipment than I had in my private practice, but I have spent the day re-labelling everything. I think it was all Turkish”?

“Azeri. And Janika has learned enough to work with you”?

“She seems very capable”.

“Good, good”. Dmitri paused to take a long pull at his black cheroot, and soon a cloud of sweet-smelling smoke floated above his head. “You submit to the Order of Anna Darvulia. You understand that”?

“Gladly and with all my body and soul. Until my work is finished” she replied looking aside coyly, to hide the fire in her eyes.

“Until I choose to take you” he corrected, setting aside his cigar, and he brought his huge hands together with a startling clap. Exquisite Syrian classical music began playing softly, filling the room with a sweet and plaintive melody. On cue, three young women tripped lightly from the side door onto the carpet before him and began a stately traditional dance. They were gloriously nude, their bodies decorated with rouge and kohl, silver jewellery and intricate patterns of henna along their slender limbs and lightly-muscled torsos. Each wore a sign of yellow ochre painted onto the small of her neck, her hair piled high with combs and grips to expose it, and each swept a gleaming Cossack shashka in graceful arcs around her. The room was scented already with jasmine and with Dmitri’s Burmese tobacco, but the women brought with them the aroma of attar of roses and the heavier, earthier smell of moist cunts. Their faces were blank and vacant masks of lust, and their nipples swollen with excitement. Only the strictest discipline – the total commitment of these most utterly debased and dedicated of slaves – kept their performance as flawless as it was impassioned. Bare feet moved surely, lithe hips swayed, and soft arms passed elegantly through the air, telling their ancient tale of love and death. The afternoon sun slanted through stained glass to strike subtle glints from the polished rings and chains in their skins and the shining blades in their little fists. Carissa was enchanted by the spectacle.

“I have seen this piece many times” Dmitri mused, examining his fingernails casually. “These women are trained dancers and have been rehearsing for weeks while we made space for them in our meat safe, like so many others before them”. He looked down, and Carissa followed his gaze to the long bulge in the fabric of his silk pyjamas. “I will fuck the corpse of the most accomplished and perhaps have the others feed me her cooked flesh while they await their own turn on the spit. Women throw their lives at me. In Hastur’s name, I am becoming bored!” and he ground out his cheroot while the three dancers turned and stepped before him, hearing his words and each of them aching to be the headless body he would ravage when the song was played out.

Carissa ran the words through her head three times before she trusted herself to speak, “You are an artist, Dmitri” she declared in a quiet voice. “You have honoured me with a part in your work, and I live for it”.

Dmitri ruffled her hair and she turned her besotted gaze to him. “You are right to reproach me” he said, silencing her protest with a wave of his hand. “I am fortunate in my meat, and it behoves me to remember that.” The dancers twirled in unison before them and then began to stamp their bejewelled feet in a delicate counter to the insistent rhythm of the drums. Their ringlets bounced around them and their breasts swayed; bare arms snaked to and fro sinuously. Dmitri watched them for a while in silence then turned back to Carissa. “They are competing to be chosen as victim – dancing for their deaths”. He sighed. “I am seized with an ennui and I will not make the decision. You must do that”. She regarded him with a look of dismay and his tone became sterner. “This is the rule of your order” he told her. “It is your destiny to live and serve, envying the sweet fate of the meat. Accept this”. Carissa’s face showed her despair at his words.

“My love” she stammered, her lip quivering, “I deserve nothing – I am nothing. Test me, I beg you”. Tears started at the corners of her eyes. He looked away.

“Choose” he commanded. “I will need your decision when they finish”. The dance proceeded faultlessly, although the women must have heard everything, and Carissa soon found herself appreciating their artistry and skill for its own sake, forgetting the bizarre burden placed upon her. Each young woman was a remarkable beauty in her own way; two of them were raven-haired and olive-skinned daughters of the mountains, one with the aquiline nose of the highlands and the other, more full-figured girl with the deep blue eyes of the original Svitavians. The third dancer was an oriental girl whose fine, black hair brushed over her tiny breasts and delicate shoulders when she span around, dipping and bowing according to the ancient patterns of the dance. Suddenly, Carissa found herself picturing this girl screaming in the grip of her death spasm and realised that her choice had been made. She watched the rest of the dance with mounting excitement. The sun was setting behind the hills above the convent, the swirling shashkas glinted red and orange while the girls turned and twisted, and the music wove its spell. The drums beat faster and faster as the strings built a crescendo; the three girls fell to their knees before Dmitri with their slim bodies arched from the floor towards him, their arms flung back, and their legs spread in surrender. The climactic chord was sustained while three trembling forms waited in an agony of expectation, and Dmitri turned his huge, shaggy head to Carissa with a questioning look. She swallowed, took a deep breath, and responded.

“That one” she said in a clear and steady voice. The oriental woman moaned faintly as she glided from her position on the floor to kneel upright with her tiny wrists crossed behind her back and her slender neck extended and exposed. “And you must do it” Carissa went on, smiling at the nearer of the other dancers. The girl bit her lip and, with an effort, suppressed the quiver that ran down her spine; she then floated to her toes, lifting her shining blade high, and the dance drew to its fatal conclusion. With well-practiced and elegant steps her companion moved behind the chosen one to cradle her head in both hands, supporting her weight as she leant back and offered her throat to the blade, facing the ceiling with her lithe body bent backward like a bow. All eyes turned to Dmitri, who stared beyond everyone into some pale distance at the back of the room. No one breathed until he nodded.

The Oriental sang out “The Pallid Mask!” and the sword sliced effortlessly into outstretched sinew and flesh, parted vertebrae, and sent a great pulse of arterial blood pumping into the air to spatter over the floor. The headless body hung in the air for an impossible moment, still arched in its posture of willing sacrifice before a twitching seized the limbs and they fell thrashing to the carpet. The blue-eyed girl never moved a muscle; she was left holding the cleanly severed head, looking down into an ecstatic face. The executioner gathered her victim’s sword from where it lay discarded and she and her companion, who carried the dripping head by its hair, bowed deeply before traipsing from the room as daintily as they had arrived. Carissa saw that Dmitri had slipped his trousers down and he stepped out of them with his cock swinging before him.

“Is she wet?” he asked abruptly, and Carissa hurried over to the corpse to press searching fingers into the cunt.

“Very wet, Dmitri” she confirmed, arranging the limp thighs to receive him.

“Then roll her over. And lift her up onto her knees”. Blood seeped from the severed neck as she hurried to comply, presenting the body for sodomy and moving aside only when satisfied that the arse was offered up properly on knees and headless shoulders. Wide-eyed and panting with arousal, Carissa watched enviously as he stabbed hard flesh deep into the warm bowels, growling and grimacing at the tightness. She kept her own hands obediently behind her back while he bucked and rolled over his victim, but she could not restrain the trickle of moisture which ran down her inner thigh when her thoughts turned, inevitably, to the long and bittersweet servitude she must endure before her own time came. His thrusts became longer and slower until finally he knelt still and upright and his piercing gaze focussed on the room around him once more. Spreading lifeless cheeks with his huge hands Dmitri pulled himself free of the corpse and shoved it away from him to sprawl brokenly across the blood-drenched rug. She watched his right hand reach out for her and anticipated it, bowing towards his groin at the merest touch on the back of her head.

“My love” she whispered and leant in to breathe hotly onto the twitching head of his cock. He made no protest, so she pursed her lips and pressed a tender and delicate kiss onto the underside of the shaft. Dmitri settled his knees further apart, taking his weight on one muscular arm as he thrust his crotch into Carissa’s face. She kissed his cock with quivering lips and trailed two trembling fingertips with exquisite delicacy around his balls. He drew a long breath. Strong fingers locked into her thick, golden hair as she ran her tongue slowly along his stiff length from base to tip and began to sink into a submissive reverie, avidly sucking, licking and swallowing hungrily to secure every treasured drop of spunk. Dmitri sighed and rose to his feet.

“I am going to finish my book” he said over his shoulder as he stooped to gather up his trousers from the floor. “Tell Grigori that there is one for roasting now and two to be spitted alive this evening. Then go to Janika; she has been told what to do”. Carissa’s eyes followed him as he walked away through the doorway to his chamber. She looked around at the scene of carnage, dark stains spreading from where the decapitated beauty lay peacefully, then hurried out into the passageway.

DOULÉ

At a corner table, Ensign Pavel watched The Greek through narrowed eyes and sipped mineral water from a chilled vodka glass. He knew the Steppenwolfin’s face from her previous visits to the club and from intelligence passed to the Waldenstein police by friendly countries in the region, but he did not know her to be so close to his subject. He had not attached too much importance to their meeting at first but, as they spoke into the evening with increasing intensity he had given them his full attention. His superior officers had been indulgent of his instinct to follow The Greek, but Pavel knew they feared he was wasting his time on a shady character guilty of no more than unethical business practices and unorthodox sexual preferences. There had been no link whatsoever between him and Grigori since the Carcosa Club was raided, decades previously. This evening, however, he was spending his time with a mysterious lesbian dominatrix and Pavel dared to hope that this uncharacteristic behaviour was the lead he had been looking for. When the shaven slave was dismissed from her place at his feet to wait outside the lavatories at the disposal of the membership he was sure that something of unusual importance was being discussed. Then, The Greek and the Steppenwolfin left the club together without collecting her first and Pavel was sure of it – and saw a way to learn more. He adjusted his tie and cufflinks, sauntered over to where The Greek’s slave still knelt over a bench waiting for abusive attention, and stood over her.

“What is your name” he asked, quietly, and she looked around at him confused and frightened.

“I…Doulé” she stammered, wide-eyed. He regarded her coldly, and she shivered. “Or…whatever you want my name to be” she went on, her voice trailing away.

“You have been left here to be used” it was a statement, not a question, and she simply nodded. Pavel went to kneel behind her when another member of the club suddenly appeared at his side. The man smiled briefly before unzipping his leather trousers and ramming himself abruptly into the arse of the middle-aged woman waiting beside them. She voiced a groan that was at once pain and gratitude and the two settled quickly into a steady rhythm that set the wooden bench rattling on the parquet flooring. Thinking quickly, Pavel reached into his suit jacket and produced a ginger-root and a paring knife. He carried these items specifically to be found carrying them when frisked by the club’s security staff. It was a nice touch, he thought. Figging was not particularly in fashion but the doormen were familiar with the practice; it was all part of his carefully crafted persona. While the vigorous sodomy continued beside them, Pavel coolly commenced to peel the root, slivers of beige skin falling softly to the floor as the glistening flesh of the ginger was revealed. His face was utterly impassive while he worked, but the slave’s lip trembled as she regarded him with horrified fascination over her slim shoulder. She was a girl barely out of her teens, he mused, and would crumble under the sort of punishment he had dealt out to women during his career. He cursed under his breath and glowered at the way his own thoughts betrayed him – this scared her more, and her thighs twitched. At last, he brought the flat of his hand down hard onto her arse. She jolted.

“Master”? she ventured.

“Hold yourself open” he ordered, in the same calm, measured tone as before. She shuffled back to rest her weight on her chest and shoulders and reached behind to part her cheeks obediently, offering up the pink bud of her arse to its cruel invader. Pavel forced the root into her dry, only the sweat from the ginger helping it slip inside her tight ring. She froze rigid for a long moment while the couple next to them moaned and panted through their random encounter and then a pitiful wail was wrenched from her as her insides caught fire. He stood back and waited for her to get her breath back, grinding her teeth and gripping the edge of the bench in agony, then he clicked his fingers, turned, and walked back to his seat. He did not look back, knowing that the slave would be on her hands and knees, crawling after him between the tables with the end of the ginger plug protruding obscenely from her pert arse. By the time she caught up with him, her cheeks were glistening with tears and her supple body shone with sweat. Every movement in her laborious trek through the club had forced her unwilling muscles to clench around the root. Wave upon wave of pain had exhausted her but still she forced herself to kneel subserviently at his feet, thighs spread and hands behind her shaven head. Her lower lip trembled until she bit down on it, but Pavel’s appraising eye noted that her nipples were as hard as bullets. Toying with his drink, he studiously ignored her, giving his full attention to the entertainment in the centre of the room. The Indian woman was begging brokenly in some unknown language now while the blonde pressed close against her – so close that smears of blood tainted her own pale skin – and rubbed the braids of her whip teasingly over her victim’s welts and cuts. There was something theatrical about their performance, he mused, and yet the wounds and the screams could scarcely be more real. He crossed his legs and glanced surreptitiously at his watch. Five minutes would be enough for the ginger to stop burning, he decided, and then he would start work on Doulé again. The blonde woman stepped back and raised her whip – an ambivalent, pleading look on the Indian’s face as her eyes followed it. Pavel settled back to enjoy the show.

“Yes, Sir?” the waitress had tripped daintily across the floor when summoned and took a graceful stance at Pavel’s table, naked save for her shoes and a polished chastity-belt.

“Have you any incense sticks? Good. Bring me half a score, some needles, and a bucket of ice”. As she turned to go, he stopped her, “And fetch me some piano wire”.

“Sir”. The servant bowed and glided away. Doulé’s eyes flickered to follow her, despite herself, and Pavel smiled coldly.

“You have been abandoned” he whispered. “He doesn’t care what happens to you”. She looked down at his feet, her pert bosom rising and falling above the tight leather corset, until he lifted her chin and had her face him. “What does that make you? A whore, a slave, what?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Whatever you want me to be” she murmured.

“You could be furniture” he replied. He turned in his chair to face the table-lamp and reached out lazily to draw the tip of his finger from her underarm down the side of her ribs. The lamp almost suppressed the shiver that seized her from head to foot at his touch. She was also a shaven headed slave, somewhat older and with a fuller figure. Her elbows were bound together behind her back and her wrists fastened to her ankles. A row of brass skewers ran from the undersides of her breasts, through her trembling flesh, and into the long candles that lit Pavel’s table and dropped hot globules of red wax onto her long nipples. Her lips drew back over clenched teeth, her nostrils flared, and her lashes fluttered as he turned away again, ignoring her as completely as before.

“Whatever you want me to be” Doulé repeated, with a slight catch in her voice.

“You equivocate”. His fingers slid from her face to enfold her throat in a sinister caress. “I shall have to beat it out of you” he said softly.

“You will do whatever you want to me” she breathed. The tip of her tongue wet her lips and he smiled into her eyes.

“I shall”. On the return of the waitress he broke their gaze “Leave everything on the table” he told her. The implements were displayed elegantly on the marble surface; a silver ice-bucket, incense sticks smouldering fragrantly in a cut-glass holder, long needles with jet heads sprouting from a black, satin cushion and a neat coil of wire lying between them. Satisfied, Pavel waved her away.

Slowly and methodically, he worked on Doulé’s pert bosom; the white globes were pushed upwards by stiff, black leather but pressed towards him by the sheer force of her submissive will. She gasped and moaned, biting her lip and screwing up her face in anguish, but even when her reflexes made her flinch away she immediately straightened her shoulders and presented herself for the next torment. With an ice cube held delicately in the thumb and forefinger of one hand and a burning stick of sandalwood in the other he rained agony onto the pale flesh of her breasts and her rosy areolae. This technique came from the police of the old regime and Pavel had never encountered it amongst the sado-masochists. The Institute taught him that it had been designed to wear down the subject’s resistance; the alternation of burning heat and freezing cold confused the pain receptors and this made the victim more susceptible to suggestion. The ginger plug was his own refinement; every centimetre that she writhed or jerked at the cruel shocks to her breast-flesh started a fresh jolt of fire in her bowels. It would be the end of his career to treat a suspect this way in a police station, he thought wryly, but it was a useful part of his cover on this assignment and, besides, the bald bitch seemed to relish the pain. He rolled a red-hot tip slowly down the gentle swell of her bosom until she groaned, then he sat back with his hands behind his head in a mockery of her obsequious posture to contemplate the smattering of burns across her blue-veined bosom.

“Look at me” he ordered in a low voice. He sat for a while in silence, reading her face – the dark brown eyes, fine cheekbones and soft, trembling lips. Cries of pain and pleasure rang around them, sounds of sobbing and of conversation, but their own world was confined to his seat at the table and her place on the floor at his feet. With clinical detachment, Pavel selected a long needle from the table and began to heat it in the flame of his petrol lighter. He beckoned her with a long finger and she leant forward, cupping her soft globes in bold hands.

“And what do I want you to be?” he murmured as he pushed the point swiftly through her nipple. There was a sharp intake of breath and her face screwed up in agony before she could speak.

“Master?” she gasped, genuinely lost for words and terrified of displeasing him. He let one corner of his mouth turn up just a little before reaching for another needle. Again, she was perfectly submissive and compliant, offering herself up eagerly to this stranger’s whim. She froze rigid when the hot steel slid through her flesh and the smell of burning mingled with the musky aroma of her arousal.

“You will tell me what I want you to be” he persisted quietly as he began to unwind the gleaming wire. When he had finished, he lifted one finger to summon the waitress. “Don’t look away from me” he reminded her as the naked ballerina approached and bowed.

“How may I help, Sir?” she asked.

“Attend to this slave, please” he directed. “First, unplug her”. The waitress dropped to one knee and drew out the ginger with a single, swift motion, setting it down on the table as Doulé panted and shook. Pavel was fashioning the piano-wire into lengths with loops at either end and he spoke without looking up from his work. “Get between her legs and lick her cunt. Suck her clit and her arse”. The waitress tried to keep the lustful smile from her lips, but it danced in her eyes as she squirmed on the floor on her back until her face was between Doulé’s slender thighs. Clawing at her hips with nude nails she pressed her open mouth eagerly into her crotch, lips and tongue working feverishly with a fierce passion that had only awaited the word of command. Her own thighs rolled and ground together sensuously and wetly and soon both women were trembling and sweating, their voices joined in a soft crescendo of husky moans and deep sighs.

“Enough” Pavel announced in a clipped tone, and the club servant rose to her feet immediately, to be dismissed with a gesture. The Greek’s plaything was his now, he thought, regarding her cunningly from under his lashes while he prepared her next torture. Her body had forgotten the pain, but he could bring it back in an instant and the effect would be many times greater. He spread his legs. “Come here and sit on my lap” he whispered. As though in a trance, she moved towards him, spreading herself astride him and pressing her wounded bosom forward. With a cold smile, he slipped a wire noose over both of her impaled nipples and pulled them tight, cutting cruelly into her swollen flesh. She threw her head back and cried out brokenly, her hands fluttering uselessly at her sides. After a moment, she began to recover her composure and went to place her hands back, slavishly, behind her shaven neck. Pavel tugged on the wire and her spine sprang back into a bow, her hands grasping at the air and her head tossing wildly from side to side. He relaxed his grip, waited for the spasm to subside, and then cocked an eyebrow.

“Meat” she breathed. “I have found…” her voice faltered.

“You have found it?” Pavel tried to cover his eagerness, although her pupils were wide and rolling back in her head and he knew that she was scarcely aware of what she was saying.

“The Yellow Sign” she said. “I found…I am just meat”. He slapped her across the face – not hard, but with enough of a swing to shake her from her reverie. As though surfacing from great depths, the nervous and submissive slave-girl face reappeared, blinking and shaking. He waited until her eyes were fully focused. He would simply dismiss her now, he decided, back to the benches outside of the water closets. This would be in keeping with his character as a solitary sadist who watched the entertainment and occasionally took an available woman to humiliate, torture and cast aside. Her breasts were close to him - burnt, pierced and cut – and her face shone with tears in the dim light.

“Good evening”. Pavel turned with hastily-concealed surprise to see a tall and Junoesque blonde woman appear at his side. She was dressed quite conservatively for the company they were in; her off-shoulder dress was a rich, pure purple that set off her striking blue eyes and daring slits revealed a glimpse of a toned thigh behind sheer, silk stockings. A velvet choker completed the ensemble.

“I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure” he said, rising to take her hand.

“Ingrid” she purred. “This is awfully forward of me, I know, but may I join you”? From her place on the floor at their feet, Doulé let out a whimper of fear.



OSCAR

Carissa had found her in the surgery and Janika’s warm smile of welcome set her trembling with eager foreboding. With a solicitous manner and a gentle touch, she had fastened Carissa into her own saddle chair with soft leather straps spreading her thighs apart and pulling her elbows together behind her back so that her pert breasts jutted proudly upward. Then, with an arch look, she had pressed soft lips to her cunt in a brief kiss and sauntered out of the room without a word, leaving Carissa to relish a period of helpless anticipation. By the end of an hour of this perverse pleasure she was close to delirium; the sacrifice in Dmitri’s study had already brought her to a peak of excitement and being bound, nude and vulnerable to she knew not what was pushing her beyond all endurance. There was the soft patter of footsteps and she turned a look of anguished longing to the door as Janika entered carrying a wicker basket. Carissa caught her breath when the older woman approached brandishing a straight razor and she lifted her chin a little in surrender. Janika’s eyes sparkled and she ran her fingers over her own close-cropped, white hair.

“Your hair is lovely,” she said in her strong Mirenburg accent “but you will be even lovelier as a shaven slave”. With this, she stepped behind Carissa and began to work on her long blonde tresses, using scissors and clippers and shaving-oil from her basket. Her gentle fingers massaged Carissa’s scalp so that she closed her eyes and sighed with pleasure while her golden locks tumbled to the tiled floor around her. “Be patient my sweet” Janika said. “After this, there will be pain”. Carissa’s eyes flickered hopefully to the side when she glimpsed a tan strip of leather before realising that it was only the razor-strop; she bowed her head obediently for it to be shaved clean. “Dmitri told me that you had no master before him” Janika said, applying the blade.

“Only my Vasso. My lover. But she whored me out to men”. The razor swept up from her neck to the crown of her head in easy strokes while she spoke. “I was given to them to be abused, but I always belonged to Vasiliki”. A faraway look came into her eyes, and a blush rose on her cheeks. “When she brought me to the illegal cinema behind Independence Street she would have me strip naked and order me to suck and frig all the men there. But there were always rubber plugs inside me, trapped by a tight leather thong. I would be weeping with frustration by the time she deigned to remove them and flog me to ecstasy”.

“And now?” Janika prompted as she shaved from the temples, smearing a scented lotion over the denuded scalp as she worked. “Do you belong to Dmitri, or is your life a gift to him from your lover”?

“It is…” she began, then paused. “I don’t…but I am only meat”. Janika lay down the razor, rubbed a hot towel over Carissa’s smooth head and came to stand before her.

“You are a sister of the order” she reminded her, then reached down to take her nipples in the fingers of both hands. With her right, she caressed with infinite tenderness while with the left she gripped hard and twisted. Carissa bared her teeth in a grimace of shock and pain, but her throaty groan betrayed her body’s response to the stimulation. Janika smiled into her eyes then dipped her head to brush soft lips down Carissa’s white throat and over her chest to bite hard on the breast she had been stroking gently. An anguished cry echoed around the tiled walls.

“I belong to everybody” Carissa blurted the words to her own surprise and looked to Janika for approval. She nodded, satisfied, and reached into the basket beside them to retrieve two gold hoop-earrings, about ten centimetres in diameter, identical to the ones that hung from her own breasts. Snapping them open she positioned the ends over the now erect and throbbing nipples. Carissa’s bosom heaved twice, three times, and then she drew a deep breath and arched her back, willing herself to hold still. Janika held her gaze for an eternity before pushing the ends deftly and firmly through her dark pink flesh to mount the rings in place, grinning at the wail of agony this provoked.

“Do you realise that you can never wear clothes again – unless perhaps those rings are torn away?” she remarked lightly as she rummaged again in her basket. Tears streamed down Carissa’s cheeks, but her pierced nipples were stiff and erect, and she chewed at her lip to contain her excitement. Carefully, Janika opened a small vial of ochre ink and emptied it into a white, porcelain saucer which she set down on the steel trolley cart beside her prisoner. “I had no-one” she said conversationally as she repeated the process with other amber and gold pigments. “Even before I found the Yellow Sign, I think I knew that I had to belong to anyone who wanted me”. She turned to Carissa with a light laugh “I was an adventuress - a wanton”. Then she frowned in concentration as she wrapped black ribbon tightly around the tattoo needles, fastening them to the bamboo grip. Carissa’s eyes widened as she realised that she was about to be marked by the painful, Thai method - and the significance of her open-legged position dawned on her. She wet her lips when Janika set a small leather cushion on the floor between her feet and knelt at her crotch. “Don’t worry” she said, aiming the vicious needles at her exposed pubic mound “I have branded this design on so many women since I joined the Order of Anna Darvulia. And I will tell you how that happened while I work”. There was a sharp intake of breath when she first stabbed into Carissa’s skin; the pain was excruciating.

“I had been the bitch of the Dark Wolves Brotherhood for several months when they were all rounded up and arrested. I expect you remember the story from the newspapers? The police spy who exposed them was one of the many men who had shared me, but he could never believe that I submitted to the abuse willingly. Pavel thought that I kept his secret because I wished to escape and that I was falling in love with him. In fact, I simply didn’t care what happened to any of us. I was on my journey to the very end. So, the men and their girlfriends were all put on trial, but I was treated as their innocent victim, rested and rehabilitated and helped on my way. I let the police think my family had moved to Europe. It seemed to explain my predicament and they had no reason to doubt me, so they discretely put me on a plane to Scandinavia and wished me well”. Carissa’s face was frozen in a sardonic grin and she sobbed openly while the vicious needles jabbed into her tender flesh.

The yellow press had been dominated by two international stories that summer. One was the daring infiltration of the Dark Wolves motorcycle gang by the Waldenstein police – some welcome publicity for a force still associated with the repression of the old regime and chiefly remembered for being manipulated by the famous cannibal cult – and the other was the spate of gruesome murders in a little Baltic peninsula attributed to the mysterious “Barber of Borstad”. This was where Janika was headed.

For almost two weeks she had cruised to and fro along the stretch of coast where most of the women had disappeared, hitchhiking on lonely roads and drinking alone in dockland and roadside bars. She had been close to abandoning the project, she told Carissa as she deftly delineated the secret symbol onto her exposed flesh, when a blue coastguard jeep pulled up alongside her on the road to a desolate headland. A square-jawed, fresh-faced young man leant out of the window and addressed her in a friendly and concerned manner. He wore a short-sleeved white shirt with epaulettes and a black baseball cap over his blond curls – a uniform of some kind, it seemed.

“I’m sorry. Do you speak English?” she replied, bending at the waist so that her leather jacket fell open and her breasts swayed before her.

“Of course. I said that it is dangerous to be alone out here. May I give you a ride somewhere? Perhaps people are expecting you”?

“I would be so grateful.” Janika simpered “So very grateful. I am completely lost, and nobody knows where I am. Please take me with you”. His bright blue eyes ranged up and down her athletic body, underdressed for the autumn winds, and then quickly flickered to the side to confirm that the road was still empty of traffic.

“Jump in, Miss,” he said, easily “I am Oscar and it is my pleasure to help”. The door swung open; she unslung her rucksack and climbed in.

“We drove for a while, away from the coast and away from the main road and I gave him the story of a foolish and adventurous back-packer alone in his country” Janika told Carissa, stabbing burnt umber ink into her most sensitive skin, disregarding her laboured breathing and trembling thighs. “He concentrated on the road and let me talk, but I know he caught some of the coy, sideways glances I threw at him. I think he understood that he was very nicely put together. Eventually, we drew up outside an abandoned log-cabin in the middle of nowhere, weed-ridden and with moss growing thickly on the roof. For the first time, he seemed unsure of himself, so I smiled sweetly and suggested that we go inside”.

The interior of the cabin was pitch-black and there was a strange, sweet odour partly masked by the smell of rotten wood and neglect. Janika stood just inside the doorway while Oscar struck a match and lit a paraffin lamp. As its light began to spread across the room he stepped quickly back to shut and bar the door behind her.

She looked around slowly. Holly and ivy sprouted thickly through the only window and damp paper was peeling from the walls. As her eyes adjusted to the gloom she began to make out shapes in the darkness. A battered armchair, losing its horsehair stuffing and festooned with coils of rope, stood in the middle of the room. The bare floorboards around it were stained with dark spatters. A bare mattress lay behind it, also discoloured with red-brown smears. What might have been a collection of blonde and ginger wigs in various lengths and styles were scattered over and around it. On the table beside the lamp sat a car battery with a collection of crocodile clips and wires and what looked like a small cattle-prod. There was also a gleaming machete and a scattering of photographs. Janika felt his eyes burning into the back of her neck as she went over and began to flick through them. They showed the humiliation and torture of six different young women - pleading or screaming in agony, stripped and bound and tormented mercilessly. Hearing movement she stole a glance over her shoulder and saw him positioning an automatic camera on a tripod. She hurriedly turned her attention back to the pictures. They were arranged in sequences each of which ended with the victim’s naked corpse either beheaded or garrotted but always scalped, abandoned in some secluded place to be discovered by a horrified passer-by the next day. He set the timer on the camera and stepped up close behind her to watch over her shoulder as she spread the pictures out, a wordless and menacing presence that thrilled her to the core. With a wriggle of her soft shoulders she slipped out of her jacket and, without ever taking her eyes from the vivid snuff laid out before her, hitched her thumbs into her waistband to lose her skirt and knickers with a wriggle of her hips. She made sure that she remained in full view of the lens throughout, undressing to the accompaniment of shutters and flashes.

“You know your fate” he growled into her ear, his hands hovering near but still not touching. She reached calmly behind her back to unfasten her brassiere and let it fall to her feet.

“Where do you want me?” Janika asked, a naked offering in only her walking-boots and wristwatch.

“She thinks I will be easier on her if she gives me her arse first, the slut.” he said with contempt. “The whore”!

“My arse is yours until you kill me, while you kill me and after you have killed me” she whispered. Her fingers went to her engorged clit, rubbing in tight circles while she stared, spellbound, at the image of a mature and curvaceous blonde woman spread-eagled beneath Oscar’s muscular young body. His cock was deep inside her bowels; his strong hands were closing around her outstretched throat and her bloodied thighs were wrapped around his back. “I am nothing” Janika said, frigging shamelessly and pinching cruelly at her own nipple. “Where do you want me”?

“She kneels at my feet” he replied, and she dropped into position immediately, spreading her knees and putting her hands obediently behind her head. He glared down at her. “She unfastens my belt and gives it to me” he ordered in a steady, calm voice. She sighed as she reached past the bulge in his trousers and passed the supple leather through the loops and into his hands. He touched her head lightly and she leant her pretty face to one side while he ran the belt around her throat and drew the buckle tight under her ear. Her mouth hung open and her eyes rolled back into her head as he pulled hard, dragging her down to the floor. He released his grip at the last moment and knelt astride her shoulders, pinning her arms to her sides while she fought for breath, gazing lustfully up at him. Unfastening his trousers, he presented his cock to her and she licked her parted lips. She was grinding at her clit with both hands now and the heavy aroma of her excitement was beginning to mask the pervading metallic odour of blood. Oscar kept his distance and let her stretch painfully towards him, open-mouthed, before pulling back his foreskin to piss a great stream over her face. Janika turned her head to catch as much as she could swallow, panting and gulping. She pressed her thighs together and pulled her hands away from them, reaching instead to pull Oscar’s pants over his hard buttocks and caress him between his muscular thighs. The last hot drops spurted right down her surrendered throat. She looked up at him in worship, droplets on her face and chest glistening in the lamplight and her slim fingers coursing softly around his balls and along the crease of his arse, eager to excite and provoke him.

“Should I lick the floor clean, Master?” she asked humbly. His open hand shot out and slapped explosively into her cheek, spinning her head around in a great spray of chestnut hair. She caught her breath and turned her adoring gaze back to him, her face tilted to the side to welcome another blow.

“Perhaps she doesn’t mock,” he mused, rising to his feet and stepping out of his clothes “but it makes no difference – I am going make her scream”. He gestured to the wrecked armchair. “She sits there, and she doesn’t cross her legs” he commanded in the same even tone. Janika obeyed, spreading her luscious body open with her thighs spread over the arms and her crotch slumped forward. Her bosom rose and fell, and she could not completely suppress a tremor in her spine and hips while he connected the battery to a convertor and plugged in the toothed clamps and the picana.

“As I recall it, I was in the grip of a long, slow orgasm from start to finish” she said as she sat back on her heels and set the darker inks aside. “I’ve completed the outline, so now I’m going to shade it in” she added casually, picking up fresh needles and another grip, “and this is where the real suffering begins”.

A hot blush spread across Carissa’s breasts, neck and face as she begged in a small voice “I cannot hold my water any longer. It’s the pain”. She had endured a relentless rain of needle-points, and the Yellow Sign was now delineated in a subtle range of golden-browns above her gaping cunt. Janika beamed with pleasure and leant in closer to Carissa’s crotch.

“Give it all to me” she urged her and stuck out her tongue like a parched traveller at a mountain spring, lewdly pulling open the moist cunt lips before her. Carissa groaned hopelessly and released a jet of shimmering gold that spilled over Janika’s chin and breasts and streamed down her flat stomach. When the flow died away she smoothed herself sinuously up Carissa’s bound body and passed her a mouthful of her own urine in a long kiss. “Sister” she murmured, brushing gentle fingers over her nude scalp. Collecting herself she took up the needles again and went on with her work and with her tale.

Oscar had bent over her with a crocodile clip in either hand and she straightened her shoulders against the tattered upholstery so that her stiff nipples were thrust forward, abjectly surrendered to their fate. His face was the same expressionless blank as he let the springs close over her tender flesh. She froze with shock at the fierce intensity of the pain then threw her head back to scream her utmost, howling like a wounded animal. Oscar watched her intently; his nostrils flared when he caught the scent of her arousal and perhaps the ghost of a smile flickered across his face. Soon Janika was out of breath and she commenced a ragged and rasping panting as the shudders slowly subsided in her limbs and the look of panic left her face. She managed to focus on him again just as he reached, arching an eyebrow at her, to turn the dial on the converter. A thin, pitiful shriek filled the room as the electricity surged through her tender, tortured flesh. He had the current ebb and flow at random while Janika tugged at her hair and chewed on her knuckles in paroxysms of agony, sobbing in pain and terror. Her cunt gaped wetly.

She lay back twitching and taking great lungfuls of air when the current was finally switched off, and Oscar reached out to her cunt. He rubbed his hand between her lips and inside her, smearing her copious juices everywhere while she purred and melted into the chair. An intense look passed between them when he leant forward with the fully-charged picana. Carissa stopped breathing when the wires approached her trembling wetness, but her hips never stopped pumping against his fingers until the instant the electric prod shocked her clit. Then she went rigid, screamed like a screech-owl, and passed out in a dead faint. He played her like a harp for the next hour, pinching at her clit and cunt and nipples with fingers and clamps, tantalising her and terrorising her and always doling out vicious, burning bolts of pure agony that wrenched anguished, mindless cries from her until she had no voice left to beg. He only said one thing, repeating it from time to time.

“She may not come”.

Carissa was now crying constantly and hopelessly, the exquisite burning of the tattoo needles driving her to the brink of madness. The severed head of the dancer - with that glorious look of triumph on her face - swam before her eyes, tormenting her. Only Janika’s melodious voice, speaking in her delightful accent, kept her conscious.

“He left me alone while he went out to his jeep to get smokes and beer. He stripped, then perched on the table drinking and smoking, eyeing me coldly while I awaited his pleasure”.

“She holds still” he observed as he lit his second smoke. “The others had to be tied down before now to stop them struggling”.

“They were fools” Janika said. “We die just the same”. He bent over her with the glowing tip of the cigarette dangling close to her sweating skin and she arched her back, lifting her hips up from the seat and offering herself up to him. She flinched and grimaced when the red-hot end brushed against her skin but time and again she raised her body up for searing punishment until the smell of burning flesh filled their nostrils. Wracked with pain, Carissa remembered having noticed how Janika had flawless, creamy skin on her back and down her legs but the faintest dappling of light tan marks across the front of her torso. The burns had never fully healed - just as her own agony was being written indelibly into the soft skin of her groin.

At last, Oscar was erect. He stroked his cock with one hand while hefting the machete with the other. Janika watched him through heavy-lidded eyes, pouting. With infinite care and patience, he drew the wickedly sharp edge of the blade down her body, drawing a fine line of fire over the globe of her breast, across the nipple and down her ribs into the taut flesh of her belly. She purred and stretched. He applied the blade again, breathing heavily while subjecting her other side to the same devilish treatment. They moaned together, and he raised the knife high above his head, poised to sweep down in a killing stroke. His pelvis thrust forward, and a low groan escaped him. His cock spurted great globules of spunk over her smiling face - and a flashing length of shining steel sliced under his armpit and up out of the opposite shoulder, sending his head and sword-arm sailing across the room in a tremendous explosion of blood. Gore and sperm spattered all over Janika’s bosom, and she cried out in ecstasy. A fine spray of moisture gushed from her cunt as the two parts of Oscar’s body dropped to the floor with a dull thud.

Dmitri stooped to grab the uniform shirt from the floor and used it to wipe his sabre before sheathing it with a single, graceful movement. Janika regarded him blankly, dazed and bewildered. He extended a hand and she took it without question, rising to her feet over the corpse of her torturer and would-be murderer to go with his assassin.

Panting, Carissa looked down at the intricate design decorating her mons veneris while Janika unbuckled her bonds.

“I remember now” she said in a tone of wonder. “They said that the last victim, an unnamed tourist, managed to surprise him with his own weapon and then raised the alarm”.

“But it was Dmitri” Janika told her. “He hates rapists with a passion and he has become very good at hunting them down”. Her manner changed. “He was disappointed, he said, that a woman like me would encourage a monster who preyed on the unwilling. Now I serve The Order to atone for that moment of selfishness, to prove myself worthy”. She seemed so miserable that Carissa could not resist the urge to embrace her, pulling their bodies close together and stroking her velvet crew-cut soothingly.

“Shall I take charge?” she whispered, and she felt Janika nod and squeeze her tighter.

“The battery and the crocodile clips are in my cell” she breathed into Carissa’s ear. “And the photographs he took of me – for inspiration”.



ZAINAB

Dmitri settled himself comfortably in the dental chair and waited while Carissa gathered her equipment beside them in readiness.

“This will be a long session” she warned him as she spread out an array of drills and scalpels “and you will be unable to speak for quite some time during and after the procedure. Do you want some music – or I could put a video in the player”?

“What about the film you made with Zainab?” he replied. “Is it finished?”. Her nipple-rings swung before his face while she adjusted the padded brace that held his head in place and she smiled.

“Janika still has to edit it” she explained. “There is only the raw footage – but you should find it diverting”. She went over to the player and began to flick through the pile of discs. There was a screen positioned on the ceiling above the chair to distract patients during long procedures. It was one of the unnecessary items they had ordered to give their supplier the impression of being a normal, commercial practice - but they were now glad to have it. Soon a countdown started above Dmitri’s head. Carissa selected a bottle and hypodermic needle while the recording of the Arab woman’s sacrifice began to play.

The opening shot showed the former coach-house where Pierre had installed his impaling machines. Spotlights picked out the stage where the evil steel rods drove through brass sockets in the floor up to a gantry in the ceiling. Three were completely retracted but one ran through an outstretched skeleton – an anatomist’s model, of course, wired into place – from the pelvic girdle through the ribcage to protrude from the open, grinning jaws. A figure walked slowly into shot and approached the cadaver. Zainab was a petite woman in her early twenties, brown-haired and fair-skinned. The camera closed in on her oval face and almond eyes as she extended a finger to feel the ties at the victim’s wrist bones. She turned her head when Carissa’s voice spoke from the shadows.

“You are face to face with your own death” she said, flatly.

“I welcome it” Zainab answered boldly. Carissa’s footsteps echoed around the empty room as she strode out into the light. She wore thigh-length snakeskin boots and a matching under-bust corset; a double dildo of the same material strapped to her groin and a feathered mask such as women wear at the carnivals in Venice completed the outfit, all of it burning gold. Without a word, she indicated the next socket in line. Zainab wet her lips, smiling with her eyes, and reached slowly to slip the straps of her dress from her slim shoulders. White cotton slid from her smooth skin and pooled around her feet leaving her a naked offering. Two metres from the impaled skeleton there was another brass plaque in the floor with a round hole in the centre. Zainab positioned herself over it, with her feet spread apart and her hands behind her back.

“Secure yourself” Carissa ordered, and she bent gracefully at the waist to loop the waiting ropes around her ankles. Stretching, she caught another length that hung from the ceiling and tightened it around one wrist then held out her other hand and waited. Carissa stepped up behind her and completed the bondage. Zainab was now helplessly outstretched above the second stake, and Carissa brushed aside her soft curls to kiss her tenderly on the side of the neck before moving over to the heavy lever that operated the hidden mechanism. As her slim fingers wrapped around the wooden grip their eyes met and Zainab drew a deep breath. Carissa pulled, and a motor began to hum beneath their feet. Slowly and relentlessly a dull, steel tip began to emerge from the socket between Zainab’s legs and she watched it rise with an awful, depraved fascination. Suddenly her head jerked up as she heard a clanking and whirring above her and the light muscles in her arms and thighs tensed. Carissa was turning a drive-wheel mounted at the side of the stage and this pulled on the ropes at her wrists, lifting her onto her toes and stretching her limbs so that she was wide open and vulnerable to the metal violator inching towards her waiting cunt. She sighed.

Eventually, the head of the stake was level with her knees and there was the sound of heels on the boards as Carissa paced over to stand before her victim, eyeing her exultantly. She reached out with both hands to run fingertips through her hair, brushing it gently away from her beautiful face and stroking her chin, cheeks and mouth. Zainab parted her lips eagerly and suckled on her fingers like a hungry lamb, leaving them wet and slick. She turned her head to follow Carissa as she moved behind her and then raised her face to the ceiling gulping for air when the wet fingers were driven abruptly into the puckered ring of her arse.

“Please” she moaned softly at the fierce fingering. Carissa pulled her hand away and presented her fingers to be kissed and sucked again. She brought her mouth close to Zainab’s ear.

“You love it, don’t you?” she demanded in a loud whisper. Her hands ranged down the Arab woman’s ribs and flanks to grasp her hips firmly, sharp nails breaking the skin here and there and starting tiny streams of bloody droplets.

“Please,” she repeated, “please”! With a manly thrust of her pelvis Carissa stabbed the leather phallus brutally into Zainab’s arse. They both moaned, mouths agape and heads tossing from side to side. Their hips rocked and bucked together as violently as the restraining ropes would allow. Zainab closed her eyes and muttered hoarsely in her native tongue; Carissa’s shaven head gleamed under the stage lights as she gnawed on Zainab’s slim shoulder and clawed viciously at her erect nipples. The dildo was buried as deeply inside her own cunt as in her victim’s bowels and soon they were groaning and panting in unison. The steel rod continued its remorseless journey until it pressed against Zainab’s cunt lips and she cried out in excitement. Sensing what was happening, Carissa slowed her thrusts and pulled their bodies close together; Zainab turned her head to find parted lips eager for a long and deep kiss. There was a screech of gears as the mechanism creaked to a halt.

“We shall break here” said Pierre’s voice and he move into shot, dressed incongruously in his everyday working clothes of corduroy trousers and collarless shirt. The two women held still, Zainab suspended by wrists and ankles over the steel pole centimetres deep in her cunt and Carissa’s half-naked body wrapped around her, stabbing the leather dildo into her tight arse. Pierre carried an aluminium rod, identical to the one rising from beneath the floorboards except for its lightness. At one end, there was a screw-thread which he reached up to connect to the overhead socket, and at the other a soft, leather crescent. He twisted the device until it was fixed into the ceiling and level with their faces, then stepped back. Zainab took a breath, tilted her head back and her chest forward, took the leather grip at the end of the descending shaft into her mouth and bit down, closing her jaws around it. The illusion was that a single length of stainless steel ran through her from cunt to mouth, and this was enhanced when Pierre produced a flask of human blood and poured a few drops around her lips to trickle over her chin before tipping the rest over her cunt to stream down to the floor. Genuine blood appeared quite different on film; ironically, most viewers found it unrealistic. However, there was so much actual gore in these productions that Pierre felt he could never use the theatrical substitute.

When he was back in place at the camera, Carissa pulled away, prompting a muffled groan. She paused to unstrap the dildo from her hips, pull it from her cunt and drop it carelessly on her way to the wings. When she returned, swaggering menacingly in her high-heeled boots, she dragged a plaited bull-whip along the boards behind her. With calculated cruelty, she dipped her head to tease Zainab’s swollen nipples between her teeth, one after the other, and then trailed the fall of the whip over her upturned face. Their breathing came in shallow gasps now and Carissa dropped languidly to her knees, pressing delicate kisses down the length of her victim’s ribs, belly and hips until she settled into a gentle nibbling at her inner thighs. Her tongue flickered briefly over the exposed and erect clit, provoking a deep shudder through Zainab’s immobilised form, and then she rose to her feet again and licked her lips.

“Now you will be finished with the lash” she murmured, as the leather coils traced sensuously over smooth skin. There was only a moan in reply, and she stepped back to make room to swing at her helpless, immobile target. Carissa delivered the first blow with tremendous force – her many hours on the tennis courts having granted her enviable muscle tone and strength – and blood started immediately where the tip bit into soft flesh. The whipping continued at a steady, measured pace; Carissa moved around the transfixed woman, striking her from all sides. The black leather wrapped wickedly around her thighs, her waist and her bosom, leaving dark welts and bloody cuts where it kissed her honey skin. Zainab could scarcely move, secured as she was at wrist and ankles and by the rods in her mouth and cunt, but her hips and shoulders writhed in unfeigned agony as the toughened leather bit into her time and again. At last, after a particularly evil flogging of her calves and lower thighs, she slumped in her bonds.

Pierre appeared again, walking across the shot to slacken the tension in the ropes. Carissa pulled off her jewelled domino, panting slightly with exertion, and went to remove the pole from Zainab’s mouth and help him to lift her down to the floor.

“Clean the wounds with saline solution” he told her over his shoulder as he moved towards the camera, “and then coat them with petroleum jelly”. With this, his arm reached out and the screen went black.

“It would be wiser to stay in the chair for a few more minutes” Carissa told Dmitri when he began to sit up. “The anaesthetic is only a local one, but still quite powerful”. She went to the player, ejected the disk, and inserted another while he settled back again. “This is the footage which has to be edited in before the flogging. We made it two weeks later, after the marks had faded”. Again, a countdown played on the screen above Dmitri’s head.

The scene opened from the same angle as before. Next to the skewered skeleton the steel pole had been left at crotch height and the four looped ropes were still in readiness. The two women walked into shot, Carissa in her boots and corset, carrying the double-dildo and Venetian mask, and Zainab wearing only her slippers. They paused before the apparatus.

“You had scratched me” Zainab said.

“I’m sorry?” Carissa was confused. Zainab reached for her wrist and drew her hand towards her hip.

“Here” she explained, with a shy smile. “Your nails had dug into my skin here, and there was quite a mark”. Then she clenched her jaw as Carissa repeated the action, scoring red lines into the flawless, olive flesh of her flank. Biting her lip, she gently placed the scarlet-nailed hand onto her left breast. “And you clawed my nipple also” she breathed, before uttering a low moan when her skin was ripped again.

“That is good continuity” Pierre spoke from off-camera. “She matches the first shoot, now”. Carissa sighed aloud as she slid the dildo into herself before strapping it in place around her waist and pulling on the mask. Then both women busied themselves fastening the ropes around Zainab’s wrists and ankles, just as before. Carissa worked the ratchet to hoist her up to her toes and stood behind to help her rock her hips up and over the tip of the stake, embedding it in her cunt. Then she spread her cheeks apart with both hands and wriggled the bulbous leather head into position.

“I have forgotten lubricant” she whispered.

“Then push harder” Zainab replied, before crying out when the dildo burned into her. There followed a clanking sound and the hum of motors as Pierre reactivated the mechanism to drive the rod upwards.

“Action” he called, and Carissa wrapped her arms around Zainab, bucking her hips in a long, slow rhythm. As before, the Arab woman turned to press their lips together in a deep and searching kiss. For long minutes, they sodomised blissfully, sucking at each other’s mouths and moaning in unison, Carissa’s hands roaming over Zainab’s doubly-impaled body to rub at her clit and pinch her nipples. Zainab threw her head back and began a pitiful wailing that grew into a scream as the rising steel tip broke through into her abdomen. Blood gushed from her cunt and her limbs went rigid in their bonds. Carissa held her all the tighter as the stake pushed on through her slim body, raining passionate kisses on her neck and shoulders and scrabbling at her clit until the intense agony broke her and a spattering of moisture sprayed forth, mingling with the blood.

“The Pallid Mask!” she panted to the ceiling, moments before the dull point emerged evilly from her mouth and continued its inexorable rise. Carissa, too, called out wordlessly as her crisis gripped her.

The screen went red, and then dark. Dmitri snorted, now quite incapable of speech, but Carissa understood him at once. She unfastened his trousers quickly and brought her mouth down on him, fervently grateful for the opportunity to worship.



MILENA

Vasiliki would scarcely have been recognised by her colleagues or neighbours and certainly not by the fetish scene which knew her as the Steppenwolfin. Her tiny skirt and daringly low-cut lace top showed off a perfect figure which was more usually hidden under jeans and chequered shirts. Her short, dark hair had been elegantly dressed and she wore a few items of discrete and expensive jewellery in place of her usual leather bracelets and wooden beads. Quite comfortable with this new image, she relaxed in the calfskin luxury of The Greek’s prized Bentley, sipping at a chilled mineral water while the limousine rolled smoothly along the clifftop to one of his remoter dachas. One perfect, black-varnished fingernail tapped on the walnut trim in time to the music of a Russian jazz trio as she enjoyed the majestic scenery through tinted windows. From time to time she glanced at Milena in the driver’s seat. Her blonde hair was pulled up under a traditional peaked cap to reveal a finely sculpted neck above the collar of her chauffeuse uniform.

“Are you hot, my sweet?” she asked suddenly. The blonde’s eyes smouldered at her from the driving-mirror.

“I am terrified, Vasiliki” she replied, her hands tightening on the wheel as she turned her attention back to the road. “And I have never been so wet” she added more huskily.

“Perfect”. With languid grace Vasiliki lifted one arched foot onto the seat beside her and pushed aside black silk lingerie to stroke lazily at her cunt. “Perhaps I will toy with you before I kill and eat you. Like a cat, you see”? Over a quiet passage in the music she heard a little moan from the front seat and allowed herself a sly smile while she caressed her breasts.

“Please take me” Milena begged in a trembling voice.

“You must choose the place” Vasiliki purred while frigging quite brazenly. “Stop the car somewhere suitable once we’re inside The Greek’s property. Be naked when you open the door for me”. She closed her eyes and sighed deeply before continuing. “And have a knife ready”. They drove in silence for a whole kilometre while Vasiliki abandoned herself completely to the exquisite touch of her own fingers, sighing as she slithered out of her clothes and ran her hands delicately up and down her body. The Bentley whispered to a stop under the shade of two bragania trees at a bend in the road and she waited eagerly for Milena to come for her, quivering with anticipation.

“Have me” she murmured as she opened the rear door, nude but for cap and boots and proffering a gleaming hunting-knife with a black grip. Vasiliki licked her lips as she stepped out.

“You are such a slut” she said, running a fingertip down Milena’s face and throat to rest on her breastbone. “You look like a Troma actress in this outfit. But leave it. I like it”.

“The knife?” Milena held it towards her, hilt first. Vasiliki grinned and shook her head.

“Look amongst those trees and bushes” she ordered. “Cut me a good length from a thin and supple branch”. She enjoyed watching her victim suppress a shiver as she walked off to obey. Soon she returned with a metre-long cypress branchlet, carefully stripping the twigs and foliage from it with the blade. Vasiliki took it by the thicker end then, with calculated cruelty, she poured her icy, sparkling water over Milena’s breasts, flanks and belly so that her blows would bite more keenly. Setting the bottle aside she began to swing the switch whistling through the space between them, trying it for weight and balance.

“Please” Milena moaned, spreading her arms wide. “Please…”

“I wish I could flog you like you flogged Mallika” Vasiliki said, inching forward and describing figure-of-eight patterns in the air. The supple rod was just a blur and Milena’s eyes followed its movements, utterly absorbed. “But you must be able to lift your head to be decapitated” – with this, she brought the thin tip across both surrendered breasts. Angry red wheals arose at once and a tortured groan was wrenched from her before she was struck again, first higher then lower and then right across the bruised nipples a second time. A shudder ran the whole length of her young body and she began a thin, piteous wailing. Vasiliki silenced her by ramming three fingers into her mouth to be sucked and tongued slavishly. When Milena began moaning and smoothing herself against Vasiliki’s outthrust hip she pulled her hand away and brought the other sharply down, open-palmed, in a resounding slap onto her burning nipples. The blonde’s nostrils flared when Vasiliki clung to her, nestling her dark head on her shoulder while she drove wet fingers into her own cunt. “Such a greedy slave” she murmured to herself before taking a deep breath and presenting her slickly coated fingers to be sucked clean. She delved into Milena’s mouth again and the eager tongue churned around her probing fingers – then her blue eyes open wide in pain and shock when Vasiliki dragged her down to her knees with a long, brutal tug at her right nipple.

She squeezed Milena’s left breast firmly. “You like that, don’t you?” Milena smiled wolfishly and nodded. “Sit back, Milena” she went on, staring deep into her eyes while stroking her wounded bosom with both hands. “And open your legs”.

“Yes” she breathed, pouting while she obeyed. Vasiliki gripped her cunt lips and pulled at them.

“You are so wet” she said, inhaling. Milena laughed throatily.

“I want it” she said with wanton insolence. Vasiliki seized her smiling face and slapped her again, making her squirm with delight.

“You don’t care!” she exclaimed, brushing the hair from Milena’s forehead. “You are so openly submissive - so shameless” and she slipped a brutal thumb inside her, smoothly and wetly.

“Yes” Milena moaned, nodding happily while her sopping lips were pulled open and thrusting fingers rummaged inside her. Then the merciless hands moved back to her round breasts, kneading the fleshy orbs roughly and tweaking her nipples until she grunted and fluttered her lashes, her mouth drawn into a lustful smirk. Vasiliki leant back, and saw that Milena was rubbing at her clit.

“Lie down with your hands behind your head!” she ordered and stood over her to press a stiletto heel into her cunt while grinding the red sole down hard on the swollen bud. Milena writhed in ecstasy at this treatment, her tongue flickering like a lizard’s and her head tossing from side to side. “I didn’t say that you could come” Vasiliki snapped.

“You made me come, my love” she replied boldly and Vasiliki dropped to her knees again to slap her face right and left and right again.

“Look at me” she demanded, spitting in Milena’s face. “Look at me”! Milena’s tongue stretched out to lick the white spittle from her face eagerly. “Do it for me now, woman!” Vasiliki urged her, “Finger yourself”.

“Yes!” she cried in lecherous abandon, splaying her legs and mashing her clit with both hands.

“Did I say that you could come?” Vasiliki shouted when Milena began to slap her swollen cunt lips and arch her back. “You are only meat!” and she swung the switch again to redden her inner thighs with a flurry of backhand strokes, grinning into her face as she brought it down harder and harder until Milena threw her head back and howled like a dog.

“Please…” she stammered, brokenly, and the wicked grin spread across Vasiliki’s face again.

“Frig yourself” she chuckled, grimly. “And don’t dare to come”. She obeyed with alacrity, rubbing and grinding until her tormentor took mercy and reached down to pinch and twist her cunt lips between thumb and forefinger. There was a sharp intake of breath and Milena grabbed at her ankles to drag her legs even wider apart, her tongue lolling from her mouth. When Vasiliki slapped hard at her pubes and labia repeatedly with both hands in an explosion of energy, she gave a great despairing cry and her body froze rigid.

“I am your meat” she panted when she regained her breath, and she reached out to stroke Vasiliki’s hair. “Punish me” she begged with a debauched smile on her lips and a fire dancing in her eyes. Wordlessly, Vasiliki extended her come-spattered boot to be cleaned, fucking herself roughly with the thicker end of the switch while Milena lapped devotedly at the soiled leather, her own fingers fluttering over her throbbing clit.

“Sit up” Vasiliki panted. Milena clambered eagerly to her knees, bright-eyed and beaming, eagerly offering her breasts up to the cruel fingers that clawed at her, kneading and scratching savagely. She moaned, her lips parted and her tongue flickering lasciviously. Vasiliki groaned too as she lifted the switch over her shoulder, forcing herself to forego the grinding of rough bark on her clit.

“I want to feel your juices cascading down my slut face while you beat me” Milena pleaded - and then cried out as the springy branch sliced across her stomach. She caught her breath and grinned down at the angry red stripe then up at Vasiliki, her bosom heaving, and she groped and mashed her cunt while the rod swished back and forth over her abdomen, centimetres away from her hands.

“Are you playing with your arse, you wanton?” demanded Vasiliki, lifting the switch high. Milena met her stare while bucking her hips and driving bunched fingers deep inside her dark hole.

“Please…” she whispered and bit her lower lip coquettishly. Vasiliki smirked and struck downwards with all her strength onto Milena’s cunt. The laugh and the scream rang out together and then the blows began to fall in earnest. After each blow, Milena collapsed whimpering in agony and after each blow she offered her crotch up for another. An angry red flush spread over the flesh of her belly and thighs and her cunt was covered by a huge purple bruise. At last, Vasiliki turned the switch to her own pleasure again, sliding it back and forth over her aching clit and moaning openly. She heard Milena groan aloud too and saw that the blonde had been fisting her own arse throughout the pussy-whipping.

“Come here” she hissed through clenched teeth, letting herself slide to the ground, and Milena crawled over to her, licking her lips, the black cap askew on the back of her head. Vasiliki picked up the knife. “I could kill you now” she whispered, touching the tip to her throat.

“Oh, yes” Milena breathed, eagerly. “But let me get into the car first,” her eyes closed in ecstasy and her voice faltered “so that you can drive my body to the house afterwards, to be butchered and cooked”. Her white teeth gnawed at her full lip as the blade hovered above her soft, white flesh. Suddenly, it fell away, and she looked at Vasiliki in confusion.

“Not yet” she panted, pressing the hilt into Milena’s hand. “Fuck me. Fuck me, and then you must drive us to your beheading”. With this she turned around onto her hands and knees, presenting her arse and cunt and letting her head fall onto her forearms with a deep sigh. Milena ran a tentative tongue the length of her crotch, from the lips of her cunt and up over the crease of her pert arse. Vasiliki trembled and groaned and turned a smouldering gaze over her slim shoulder. “Do it” - her voice was almost pleading, and then she began to moan rhythmically as the grip was rammed into her gaping cunt and pumped in and out. She arched her back and pushed back into the thrusts, yelling exultantly, kicking her feet and pounding her fists when the handle stabbed deeper into her and began a brutal grinding. At last she fell forward onto the sandy ground howling, her cunt gushing and her eyes rolling back in her head.

When the Bentley drew up outside The Greek’s woodland lodge, Vasiliki was dressed again, looking immaculate. Milena was still nude, displaying welts and cuts all down the front of her full figure. They shared a secret smile as Vasiliki swung her long legs out of the car, then Milena followed her meekly up the path to the open door.

SERAKH

“An outstanding performance! But of course, every evening you bless us with an outstanding performance”. Roman was effusive, as always, but tonight Serakh struggled to conceal her irritation. She opened her mouth to snap that that nobody can be consistently outstanding but caught herself in time. His enthusiasm was genuine, after all, and he was trying to please. She shouldn’t blame him; he had no way of knowing what pleased her.

“Thank you” she smiled, leaning closer to smell the bouquets he held. “Please put them in water for me”.

“And shall I attend you in your room”?

“Not just now, my dear Roman. I shall be a little while, so indulge in some tea and I will call you when I require the car”. With this, she swept away down the corridor, graciously if somewhat brusquely acknowledging the compliments of other National Opera staff until she reached the haven of her personal dressing room. Without even removing her stage makeup, she hurriedly bolted the door behind her and rushed to log into her hybrid, fingertips pattering surely over the keys. The situation was exactly as she had feared; all King in Yellow collections were suspended and submitted women were required to wait indefinitely for operations to resume. In the illuminated mirror, the most beautiful face in Mirenberg society crumpled and wept. Serakh let waves of black despair wash over her until a small thought began to form at the hazy edge of her consciousness and gave her some consolation. She didn’t matter. Her own wants and cravings made no difference to anything because she was already meat. Feeling almost ashamed of her initial reaction, she blinked the tears from her eyes and saw that a new message had appeared on the screen.

WILL YOU WATCH THE LAST VICTIM BEING TAKEN?

To see the woman ahead of her in line being slaughtered was a torment she could not deny herself. Violet fingernails tapped urgently in answer and a series of curt instructions followed, occasionally prompting her to acknowledge that she understood. The King in Yellow knew everything about her and perhaps even more than she knew about herself - a dark, thrilling wave coursed through her at that thought. When the screen darkened again, she began to think through her plan. That weekend, she put it into place.

“My father served your great-grandfather back in the old country”, Roman told her with a catch in his voice. “My whole life is devoted to your service”. Smiling, Serakh set down her champagne flute and extended one long, slender leg across the floor between them.

“Do you like these boots?” she purred. They were high-heeled black suede and fastened with crimson laces high up her ivory thighs. Apart from her pearls and a gold wristwatch she wore nothing else, presenting a vision of patrician loveliness that photographers all over the world would kill to capture. Roman swallowed and dropped his eyes to her toes. He was privileged to see her like his in her boudoir, he knew, but he also realised that the months since she last tantalized him this way had been a mercy. His heart pounded, and his mouth was dry.

“I worship the ground they walk on” he blurted.

“How did a warrior-poet’s son become so bourgeois?” she tinkled icily, crossing her legs. “Don’t you know the story of Naotalba and the Phantom of Truth “? She watched his face shrewdly and read there what she had expected. Her unseen correspondent at the King in Yellow website was correct again; Roman was familiar with the play and understood the reference. Of all people, he understood. Their eyes met. “I have found the Yellow Sign” she breathed. There was a long pause while Roman met her stare for the first time in his life. Sunlight and birdsong streamed through the un-shuttered window.

“I am your servant” he announced, with calm deliberation. This time it was Serakh who dropped her gaze to the floor.

“They want us to watch a broadcast together” she told him, in a quieter voice than before.

“It will be difficult” he began. This was the form of words he always used when he was unable to grant her wish. She sighed.

“They insist that I be with someone,” she persisted “and I have submitted to the King. I have no choice”. She lifted her face to his, but the usual look of command was absent. He swallowed again and shifted in his seat. His face, always a mask of courteous civility, suddenly became quite blank and soulless.

“You must tell me what I have to do” he said. Serakh regained her air of effortless superiority in an instant.

“You may pour me more champagne” she laughed. Then she ran the tip of her tongue delicately around her lips and rested the tip of her little finger on the famous dimple in her cheek. “And bring the toy”. Roman nodded, struggling to keep his face expressionless. She had sent him to the sex shop in the city centre where, with collar turned up and head bowed, he had pushed past the picket line of religious protestors to experience the excruciating embarrassment of purchasing a stainless-steel plug. The memory of that exquisite humiliation brought a flush to his smooth cheek.

"E' permesso?" he enquired on his return.

Avanti”. Serakh had moved to the bed in his absence and had set her laptop computer up against the satin-covered headboard. He blinked at the sight of her nude body on knees and elbows before the keyboard, back arched and thighs parted.

“Am - am I to wear this now?” he asked, unable to keep a note of eager anticipation from his voice. She turned an almost pitying glance over her creamy-white shoulder.

“Don’t you understand?” she asked sadly in her low, musical voice. “I have found the Yellow Sign, I am utterly submitted. You must put it inside me before we may play the recording”. He looked from the bulbous head of the steel plug to her proffered arse and back again.

“But it is so big…” he began.

“Do what you must” she replied curtly, shifting her knees a little further apart. The webcam LED flickered and blinked.

“Very well” and, taking a deep breath, Roman brought the cold metal to his mouth. He licked all around the tip and dome of the plug until, satisfied that it was thoroughly wet, he climbed onto the bed behind her. As he approached, her sharp nails sank into the flawless, porcelain flesh of her buttocks; she pulled them apart and pushed back towards him in a posture of crude, bestial submission. With tears running freely down his face he crawled between her legs and pressed trembling lips to the pink rosebud so lewdly presented to him. His tongue darted softly around her hole then probed inside while he sucked hungrily. Serakh growled low in her throat and rocked her hips to and fro, faster and faster until her whole body was squirming and writhing. Her glossy mane of black hair tossed from side to side like waves.

“Roman, stop! You must not satisfy me!” she sobbed, panting in time to the thrusts of her crotch. “I order you to push it into me now, before I take pleasure”.

“I…” he stammered and swallowed, shaking his head as though to clear his thoughts. She gazed up at him over her shoulder with blank eyes and a slack jaw, her tongue churning between her teeth. But her words belied her broken expression.

“I have often dreamt of your losing control, being pushed beyond endurance, and attacking me brutally with that huge blade” she purred. “Didn’t you know why I torment you so? It’s because I frig myself to sleep imagining you looming over me with your knife to slice me open”. She swayed her hips in a crass and sluttish display and her voice dropped to a hoarse whisper. “It would be so deliciously demeaning to have my guts spilled by such a weakling”.

Without a word, he rose up behind her and took the round base of the plug in one hand while reaching the other around her waist to hold her still. Her nails clawed at the silk sheets and her nostrils flared. There was a new air of determination or even ferocity about him as he forced it into her arse, pushing against her burning sphincter relentlessly despite her agonised crescendo of screaming. At last she was filled, and her anus gripped the slim, cool steel of the neck. She wept brokenly, quivering and gasping for breath, but she lifted her head when a golden glow came from the computer screen. The yellow sign flashed up briefly and then high quality, professionally produced video footage began to play.

The establishing shot drew a gasp of genuine shock from Roman. Even Serakh, who had long ago been drawn into the dark web of torture and murder films, could not supress a small cry of surprise. They were looking into an old kitchen with a vaulted, stone ceiling and lime washed plaster walls. Shelves filled with copper and stoneware vessels ran along one wall towards the vast ovens and open fire which dominated the back of the room but, on the other side, a line of half a dozen female torsos hung from steel abattoir hooks over a well-scrubbed timber counter. In the centre stood a table so huge as to dominate even such a large room. The entire surface was an enormous butcher’s block, quite clear save for a knife rack holding cleavers and carvers. They heard the sound of footsteps and the camera followed two figures into shot.

“It’s all perfect – everything I imagined”! The young Waldensteiner who spoke with such enthusiasm was a curvaceous brunette of medium height. She wore a tracksuit top in the colours of the Institute hockey club and tight blue jeans.

“Why thank you”. Grigori sounded amused as he walked past her, pulling his own jacket off to hang it by the pantry door. His fingers went to the buttons of his shirt. “You must strip now” he told her with a smile. The student took out her hair band, shaking her curls free as she put it in her pocket with wristwatch and earrings. Slipping the jacket from her bare shoulders she paused and looked around her.

“Where should I..?” she began. Grigori nodded towards a hatch in the exposed brickwork behind her.

“Non-food waste goes in there” he said, carefully hanging up his silk shirt and Circessian scarf. She tossed the jacket in and reached to unfasten her halter top, freeing her heavy round breasts. He eyed her appraisingly and she turned that way and this, proudly displaying her body.

“I have kept my skin unmarked by whip or rod,” she teased, fluttering thick lashes “just for you”. Her fingertips ranged over the creamy, flawless flesh of her bosom and stomach. “Do you like what you see?” she went on, with a pout. “Does your mouth water”? He grinned wolfishly while kicking off his moccasins and unbuckling his belt.

“Spread yourself on the table, and I shall show you” he chuckled. Biting her lip, she began to work the tight denim down over the swell of her hips and the luscious flesh of her thighs, wriggling coquettishly. They were unclothed at the same moment and met in the centre of the room. Her eyes dropped to see Grigori’s cock stiffen and jut out from beneath his belly. She almost dared to let her hand stray towards it when suddenly a little yelp of surprise was wrenched from her as he seized her by the waist and hoisted her up to sit on the edge of the table. Their eyes met, and she sank her fingers into his coarse hair while planting a bold kiss full on his lips. He looked on, bemused yet amused, as she laid back on the timber surface before him, stretching out her voluptuous form with a feline grace and an arch smile. She purred, and the camera zoomed in closer.

“Will you fuck me first?” she asked, as he bent over her and she lifted her feet up on either side to make herself completely open to him. “Or bugger me”? He reached past her to the block and retrieved a great cleaver and a long, curved butcher’s knife, looming over her with one in either hand and, at last, that wild fire in his eyes that she so craved to see.

“Afterwards” he growled, lifting the knife high. She moaned deep in her throat and arched her back, willing the point to drive into her until, finally, the blow fell. Powerful muscles rippled in Grigori’s arms and shoulder, forcing the blade through muscle and bone to rend her open. Her young life was already ebbing away when her lips worked for the last time.

“The Pallid Mask” she croaked in a hoarse whisper, an instant before the wicked cleaver swept down into her soft throat and parted her head from her body with a great, climactic spray of blood. Grigori grunted, dropped the knives, and hauled the headless corpse onto his hard prick while it still twitched and shuddered and pumped gore from the neck. He bucked and thrust into the unfeeling meat, panting and snorting like a wild beast, while the camera panned out and the screen slowly darkened. There was a final glimpse of the Yellow sign, and the film ended.

The silence fell like an axe; the birds in the garden had stopped singing with the setting of the sun and the only sound was the whisper of the hard disk. Roman cleared his throat.

“You have offered yourself for that” he said, coldly.

“And you are angry with me” Serakh ventured.

“I will be loyal to you unto death”.

“Then I release you from your service” she replied. Their eyes met. Silently, she closed the laptop, pushed it aside, and reached under the pillows to retrieve a long, oiled bull-whip which she humbly offered to him.

“You simply assume that I can be manipulated into playing your game” he mused, running the braided leather over the palm of his hand. “You make everything meaningless by throwing away the life I am sworn to protect and then you want the pain you have given me to be returned with twisted lust, to gratify your dark urges”. Suddenly, he grabbed at her with an evil glint in his eye that was both thrilling and terrifying and drew the plug slowly from her bowels. She bit down on her necklace to bear the agonising sensation of being turned inside-out and pounded her fists onto the bed, then sighed in a paroxysm of blissful expectation.

“I am only meat” she murmured. “It doesn’t matter what happens to me. But you must have your alibi, you must follow the plan – you understand why. You cannot be the one”.

“Your last order as my mistress was that I should deny you sexual release” he hissed. Much later that night, when Serakh lay on the cellar floor licking slavishly at the arid bitterness of his arsehole her cunt was as hot and molten as lava. The searing cuts across her shoulders and back and on the soles of her feet, where Roman had inflicted ancient tortures on her, pained her anew as grit and sand worked into them. A stream of his precious piss played over her belly and thighs – his gift to her for her devoted rimming - and she reflected on the long ordeal of frustration and degradation she faced as the worthless plaything of her own slave. It seemed that a cold breeze blew over her gaping cunt as though the tatters of the King Himself were trailing over her clit.



INGRID

Pavel and Ingrid sat and talked over a bottle of sparkling Kalecik Karasi, not noticing when the Indian woman was taken down unconscious and stretchered from the room nor when a trio of nude musicians began to play while a silent snuff film was projected onto the wall beside their table. He found everything about her compelling. They discussed movies and music, their backgrounds and their careers. Pavel presented himself as a revenue investigator. This was a well-rehearsed cover story, close enough to his real work as a detective, and he was secretly pleased he could tell his charming companion so much of the truth about himself. Ingrid was a published poet and critic. They were both delighted to find that he had read some of her work when studying German at the Institute. As the evening passed into early morning they discussed everything about themselves – apart from what had brought them both to an extreme fetish club.

“I think we’re the last customers” Ingrid said, with a tinkling laugh. He blinked and dragged himself out of her bright blue eyes to glance around the room. A few people were clustered around the cloakroom, preparing to leave. Naked beauties moved quietly to and fro with empty glasses and bottles or waited demurely against the wall until they could begin to sweep and mop. The maître d’ caught Pavel’s eye and sidled smiling to their table.

“This has been left behind by another member” Pavel told him, indicating with a nod the forlorn and wounded slave sitting at his feet.

“How inconvenient for you, Sir” he responded, rubbing his hands together unctuously. “I shall have her chained in the basement until he returns”. He clicked his fingers and two long-legged servants appeared to lead a compliant Doulé away. “May I assist you with anything else? A nightcap? A taxi”?

“If you would please have them bring my coat” Ingrid said.

“That will be all” Pavel confirmed, and the man hurried away. Ingrid reached across the table and drew one perfect red fingernail gently down the back of his hand. He suppressed a shiver; her touch had electrified him.

“My apartment is very close” she murmured. “The building used to be a music college” she went on, archly, “and the bedroom is still completely soundproofed. But I won’t cry out”.

“You will” he said, warmly returning her smile.

“Pavel” Ingrid had gasped when he released his grip on her throat and leant back to pull his cock from her arse, spending copiously over her cruelly striped belly while looking deep into her eyes. It had been a novel experience for him to whip and bugger a woman purely for his own pleasure, something he had not done since losing Eva. It was also the first time he had been able to put Eva from his mind and find physical release. Now he felt weak from the intensity of his ejaculation, weakened and hugely relaxed as he sat slumped against a pile of pillows on Ingrid’s futon with her blonde head resting in his lap. She stretched out one long, shapely leg and winced, grinning ruefully as her fingers traced the weals and cuts that wrapped around her calves and thighs.

“I was a brute” he said lightly.

“A magnificent brute” she replied. “But my poor throat is raw from screaming for mercy”. He stroked her hair.

“I can hurt you in other ways, without leaving marks” he said, reaching idly to flick at a nipple.

“Tell me” she sighed, stretching luxuriously. “What else will you do to me”?

“Tell you stories - until I grow hard for you again,” he laughed “and then do something brutal – to satisfy your shameful cravings”?

“Yes” she breathed, her eyes twinkling, and ran her fingers through his soft chest hair. “Let’s share our darkest, filthiest fantasies until you are overcome with brute passion and satisfy my shameful cravings”. She pouted up at him and he felt a stirring deep inside, despite his utter satiation. “I’d love it if you treated my breasts the way you did that little slave girl in the club” she said, her tongue and lips lingering over the word - love.

“Oh, I shall” he smiled, seizing a nipple between thumb and forefinger to tweak it until she heaved a painful breath. “And your cunt, too. Perhaps I will master your shameful cravings by stapling your labia together and drenching your crotch with hot wax”. He ran his fingers through her fine blonde pubes and she squirmed in delight like a pampered cat.

“So, I shall be utterly yours?” she asked, letting her thighs fall open and melting into his lap.

“Perhaps I will whore you” he replied. “I have been treating you like a princess, whipping you in private where nobody can see or hear. You should be degraded and humiliated, soiled and abused like the crawling pain slut that you are”. His hand closed around a fistful of her hair, tugging her head up from his lap.

“How?” she asked, licking her lips.

“Were you ever sent to offer yourself to strangers in the club, like my odalisque last night”?

“Well, I was never actually sent to do that” she teased “but perhaps I might have put myself there. Of course, it isn’t the same when there is nobody to punish me afterwards”.

“But there is someone now”. He let her head fall back again. “Tell me what happened”. Again, he thrilled inwardly at the wanton look in her eyes while she reflected for a moment before beginning her story.

“I was on a lecture tour, amongst the German-speaking communities. There is an academy in Gothny, Alaniya – near your home, Pavel”.

After delivering her presentation to a room half-full of elderly Volkdeutsch who knew nothing about her work nor about poetry in general, Ingrid had left the academy building and set off to walk along the harbour front in the warm evening air. The docks were badly lit and almost completely deserted. She passed a pool of light from the window of a lonely café then strolled along a desolate wharf, listening to the quiet lapping of the water against the slimy stonework of the harbour wall. In the moonlight, she saw a tobacco kiosk on the corner where a road joined the quayside. It was painted a rusty red and covered with graffiti and tattered political posters. As she approached, she realised that it had been abandoned; the hatch was not properly closed because two hinges were missing from the shutter, which hung uselessly open. Following some obscure impulse, she went over to look inside. She found that by bending at the waist she could just squeeze her head and shoulders through the small opening where cigarettes and money had been exchanged and into the stygian blackness beyond, where the interior smelled of dust and rotten timber. She was resting her elbows on the counter top waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness when she heard footsteps on the cobbles behind her. Her first instinct was to free herself from her compromising position and walk on briskly to the better-lit end of the street, but something stopped her. Male voices were coming closer and she could easily imagine how she would appear to them, just a woman’s lower half bent over a rough and flaking worktop, the head and arms lost from sight, and it was this capricious thought that determined her to remain trapped at the waist and find out how they would behave.

“You want to touch yourself, don’t you?” Pavel asked.

“Do you want me to”?

“Use only a little finger - the left” he ordered and watched as she slid the digit slickly between her wet and welted cunt-lips to circle slowly around her erect clit. It used to amuse him to make Eva excite herself this way, but he wasn’t thinking of her as Ingrid continued the story.

There were perhaps a dozen voices – she was never sure how many – and they were speaking a language she did not even recognise. She heard an exclamation of surprise, followed by coarse laughter, and then the sound of their heavy boots closing in around her. They fell silent, save for mutterings and suppressed chuckles, as one man addressed her in a bantering tone of voice. She had no idea what he said but, guessing at his intent, she wiggled her hips invitingly. There were calls and whistles from the men and more laughter. Then a powerful slap landed on her left buttock, slamming her hips into the woodwork and sounding unnaturally loud in her private darkness. She let out a startled gasp, then began to roll her hips like a dancer; it was the only way she could let them know how much this treatment excited her. More talking, and then another slap, and another, mixed with the sound of footsteps and a rhythmic chanting which she guessed was their counting out the blows in their mysterious language. She kept her position while they took turns at spanking her or, at least, she managed to arch her back and present her arse for fresh punishment after each swat. There was a ragged cheer after the final, and especially forceful, smack.

The men fell silent. She could hear only their breathing, some shuffling and rustling, and then there was an arm snaking around her waist to the front of her jeans. Raising her hips from the counter to give him easier access she felt his fingers fumbling at the stud and zip and then both hands tugging the tight denim over the flare of her hips and down to her ankles. Her cotton briefs he simply grabbed in one brawny fist before tearing them away to the mocking cheers of his comrades. Rough fingers rummaged in the cleft of her arse and under her crotch to jab abruptly into her cunt. There was more laughter and chatter and then more fingers roaming over her exposed cheeks and thighs and poking inside her. With a shiver of abasement, she realised that the first man must have invited the others to feel how wet she was. Then brutal fingers dug into the flesh of her hips, there was an urgent probing and stabbing between her thighs, and the first fucking began. He finished very quickly – to an ironic round of applause from the others – and she had just begun to feel his abundant ejaculation dribbling down her inner thighs when more hands seized her, and another cock rammed up her. In the musty gloom of the stall’s interior she tried to imagine what they looked like, how they were dressed, whether they were old or young, clean or dirty. She found that she could not keep quiet any longer and abandoned herself to her own depravity, moaning and crying out while they laughed and jeered behind her.

“Was this the mystery behind your poem, Sehnsucht in der Dunkelheit?” asked Pavel suddenly.

“Ja, yes” her voice had become husky and her eyes were closed as her finger frigged gently.

One after another the anonymous strangers fucked her, encouraging each other with shouts and clapping that mixed with the creaking and rattling of the timber. She lost count in her debauched delirium, perversely proud of the streams of spunk mixed with her own juices that soaked her crotch and legs, until she heard an angry voice and a stiff cock slithered and slid between her slippery thighs. Awkwardly, she shrugged her shoulders and twisted her arms, pushing her hands back through the narrow window to reach behind herself. The stranger was quiet while she contorted but he exclaimed in astonishment when her hands grabbed and spread her buttocks, offering herself up to an assault on her tighter hole. There was a change in tone amongst the men; their voices were harsher, and she grinned into the darkness at the note of contempt she heard from them. Then the head of a hard prick was forced through the ring of her arsehole and she cried out in anguish at the burning and tearing pain that engulfed her. Her hands clenched into fists and her head tossed wildly from side to side in the inky interior. After the third or fourth buggery, she began thrusting her hips back at her attacker, groaning in sweet agony and spurting a fine spray of clear moisture from her jealous cunt. At last, a cock was pulled out of her with a gush of spunk but was not replaced. Matches were struck, and their voices became less raucous; she heard footsteps and sensed them moving around her. A voice spoke, contemptuously and derisively, and suddenly she felt a warm jet play over her arse and legs. There was an angry muttering, a bitter laugh, and she became aware of another stream splashing over her polluted skin and then a third. A powerful spray drummed against her exposed clit and this final degradation sent her over the edge. With a cry of jubilation that she could not contain she celebrated the crossing of a new boundary on her journey, here in the docklands of a dreary, provincial capital. They had taken and used her cunt and arse like the cheapest of whores and now they were sluicing the spunk from her skin with their piss, showing their contempt in the basest manner.

Pavel had shifted while she related her tale, to cradle her head in the crook of his leg, and now his cock stood stiff and proud before her face. She raised herself up on her elbows to press her lips to the head in a reverent kiss. He regarded her fondly.

“So, what are you?” he asked absently.

“Meat” she sighed. Pavel started. Before he properly registered what was happening, he had slapped her quite hard across the face. Shocked in her turn, she edged away from him nervously.

“You. You hit me” she stuttered, wide-eyed and hurt. The colour drained from his face.

“What? I did. No. I don’t know” he was genuinely confused now, both at what he had heard and at how he was responding to it. With a visible effort, he composed himself and focused on her beautiful, unhappy face. “What are you saying?” he asked, in a more measured tone.

“Then you are not the one” she whispered, more to herself than to Pavel.

“Which one”?

“I cannot say”.

“You cannot deny me anything” he spat, seizing her head in both hands and bringing his face to within inches of hers. “You are meat and I am a man. Answer me”!

“You are not the one who was sent to collect me” she said, simply. His hands fell away from her and she reached out to caress his face. “It doesn’t matter” she assured him, smiling bravely into his fierce stare. “Nothing matters now. You can have me. You can be the one”. Dazed, he watched her take his hand in both of hers.

“What are you telling me”?

“I have found the Yellow Sign. I thought you would know what that means. I thought that, perhaps, you would be the one to take me. Kill me. Eat me”. She turned pleading, tear-filled eyes to him, trembling at his glowering fury and yet completely surrendered to it.

Pavel’s mind was in a turmoil. A multitude of voices were speaking at once, all of them his own. He did not want to lose this lovely and eager playmate. He had worked for years, driven and dedicated as a warrior monk, to uncover the secret of the Waldenstein Cannibals. He needed to sodomise Ingrid. He wanted to revenge Eva, to atone for his weakness and prove himself worthy of her. He pushed away, as always, the nagging doubt about where his weakness lay. He wanted to make Ingrid scream in pain again; he hated her, and he wanted to give her what she needed. He had a growing fear that he was falling in love. He had a growing fear that he did not dare admit, a dangerous insight hovering on the edges of his awareness, always threatening to break out of his nightmares into his conscious mind. He shook his head, drew a great breath, and focused. The GPS tracker in his wallet would answer all his voices. It was inside the jewelled head of a long, golden pin. He had only to make her bend over and accept it as a piercing.

“I am going to hurt you some more” he told her, reaching out to seize her cunt lips in a fierce grip which grew tighter and tighter. She drew in her breath sharply and smiled again. He drank in her candlelit nudity, the smooth softness of her, and returned her smile. 

RÓISÍN

Pierre set down his glass of lemon tea and extended his right hand for Janika’s attention. Carissa had already applied the local anaesthetic to his left and had begun work with splints and scalpel. She was keen to keep him relaxed and distracted and remembered that he had arrived carrying a memory stick.

“You cannot use your hands and soon you won’t be able to speak, either” she said. “I’m afraid you will be bored. Would you like us to put something on the screen to divert you”? Her tone was brisk, cheerful and professional but she had awoken in the middle of the night on a sodden mattress, howling in ecstasy, after a vivid dream of Pierre tearing her breasts and ripping her throat out.

“Yes” he replied with a smile. “I have some material from a woman’s submission that I want Janika to edit into a short film for the website. You see, I have been on one of my fishing trips to Mirenberg, where I visited the Black Museum”. Janika looked up disapprovingly from her filing and cleaning, then bent over his hand again with downcast eyes. There was silence.

“You should punish me” she murmured.

“No,” he smiled, “you are quite right to be concerned for my safety – and you serve The Order, so you know that punishments are not earned so easily. Still, I maintain that it is the safest way for any of us to move around in the city. In the Black Museum I am surrounded by images of Pierre which look nothing like me, so there is nowhere I am less likely to be recognised. And I can always tell when a volunteer is posing as a sightseer. I can smell them”. He grinned wolfishly, and Carissa turned away to hide her blush – she knew he could detect her arousal. “I was loitering near the cannibal exhibits, pretending to be absorbed by something on my ‘phone, when I first saw her – a striking, red-haired western woman in her thirties. They have a replica braquemard in a display case together with the actual iron cuffs and chains used on Marie-Claude and she was staring at them, lost in contemplation. I found an angle where I could watch her reflection in the glass and saw her bite at her lower lip and close her eyes, unconsciously running her fingers through her hair and nibbling at her necklace. I was quite sure, and I tapped her on the shoulder. She started, of course, and jerked her head around but when she met my eyes she froze, and her hands dropped limply to her sides. After a moment, I turned and left for the Yhtill Café across the street”. Janika opened her mouth, but Carissa spoke first.

“Perhaps it was dangerous for the men to keep visiting Mirenberg,” she said, “but we know it cannot happen ever again. Why worry”? Pierre grinned widely at this and continued.

“I was not waiting for long. No sooner had I ordered a vodka than she was there at the doorway, shaking the snow from her coat. She wore an Aran sweater and jeans, but there are always curious tourists in the Yhtill during the day, so the clientele wasn’t entirely composed of leather-clad goths. I watched her scanning the bar and then enjoyed the sight of her crossing the floor towards me, boldly terrified, determined and vulnerable all at the same time. The music in the club was as annoyingly loud as ever but at least that gave me a reason to lean forward and murmur the question into her ear – had she found the Yellow Sign? Well, she was close to tears as she explained how hard she had been searching”. He paused to take a sip of tea.

“I suppose the website never gave her a submission screen for security reasons?” Janika ventured.

“She raised all the red flags” Pierre confirmed. “This was her last throw of the dice. She had come to Waldenstein on a mission to find one of us and present her bona fides in person, the prey hunting the predator – the lamb seducing the lion”. He drained his glass and indicated the flash drive with a nod. “You both understand English, I believe”? Carissa slipped it into the media player and then both women busied themselves working on Pierre’s hands and jaw, occasionally glancing up to follow the video.

The footage opened with a close-up of a pale, delicately beautiful face framed by a helmet of fine titian hair. The woman frowned in concentration for a moment then, satisfied with the position of her camera, backed away from it to reveal a suburban bedroom, clean and comfortable with a white eiderdown and pillows. From the pocket of her crisp, white shirt she produced a laminated identity card, which she held up to the lens.

“I believe the reason there has been no response to my messages is because I am an officer in the Air Corps Police” she said. “As you see, I am Lieutenant Róisín F – here is my service number and date of birth”. As she spoke, two brown muzzles appeared in shot and she smiled down at the mastiffs who had started forward at the sound of her voice. “I know that you will find it difficult to trust me,” she went on, in a soft brogue, “so I’m going to give you something utterly compromising”. She squared her shoulders and a wicked gleam came to her eyes as she unbuttoned the shirt and slipped it off. “Gross moral turpitude,” she breathed, “dishonour and disgrace”. The two mastiffs had clambered onto the bed beside her while she spoke, watching with intense expectation as she slowly stripped off her serge skirt to reveal long white legs, very non-regulation black and scarlet satin lingerie and a silver chain around her slim waist. To complete her outfit, she unfastened the studded collar of the nearer dog. It licked enthusiastically at her smiling face while she secured the choker around her own slender neck. “Professional suicide” she whispered, giving the camera an arch glance while tugging at the cups of her brassiere to let her creamy white breasts spill out. She ran her fingers through her short hair. “Have me”!

At these words of command, both dogs jumped on her eagerly. She turned her head from side to side, open-mouthed, and they licked her lips and tongue. Her hands roamed over their backs and flanks as she sank back on the bed to embrace their thick necks and drink from their slavering maws. Long tongues washed her throat and chest until she guided them to her breasts and luxuriated in the bestial bathing of her nipples, running her fingers through the short fur on their heads. She kept her face turned to her audience as she squirmed beneath them; there was a look of the fiercest depravity on her face and a bold acceptance of the wild challenge she had set herself. She gasped with a thrill of dark pleasure; one of the beasts had torn open the lace gusset of her knickers and its muzzle darted forward to delve wetly into the folds of her cunt. She spread her legs wider and seized the other dog’s head in both hands to press their mouths together, closing her eyes in a transport of self-abasement. Her panting became a series of short moans. With one last, lustful glance at the camera, Róisín gave a great sigh of release and abandoned herself utterly to debauchery. Her fingers sought out the cock of the dog she was kissing, reaching beneath its belly to caress the ruddy flesh into stiffness. It responded immediately, leaping up and pushing at her with its front paws. Snarling and pouting, she turned over onto her hands and knees to present like a bitch in season. At first the mastiff licked at her gaping cunt hungrily while she rolled her hips shamelessly until, with a gruff rumbling deep in its throat, it pounced on her back with a furious bucking of its hips.

“Och, yes” Róisín gasped, and she reached back to seize the base of the animal’s cock, blindly trying to guide the head into her cunt. The prick lengthened and stiffened between her fingers, stabbing and thrusting, smearing glistening streaks of pre-ejaculate over her arse before finally lodging in position to drive deep inside her. Scrabbling claws scored bloody lines over her freckled shoulders. The other mastiff moved around her, confused and excited, tongue lolling. Bracing herself against the rapid pounding with one arm, she reached between the animal’s hind legs and pulled its red cock towards her trembling lips. It shuffled backwards in response to the gentle tugging and was rewarded when her tongue teased at the tip of its prick, milking a jet of thin spunk before she closed her mouth around it, closing her eyes to suckle in blissful abandon.

“This is beautiful” Janika exclaimed. She had finished preparing Pierre’s fingers and was sitting at his feet gazing up at the screen. “See? The dogs finished together”! Carissa broke from her work to look. Róisín smiled happily at the camera, wiped stray drops of semen from her cheeks and chin with a manicured finger and savoured them wantonly before turning to display the stream of mixed ejaculates running down her inner thigh. The mastiffs paced around her and one dipped its head to lap eagerly at her dripping cunt. A low groan escaped her, and she reached blindly for the other dog’s head, pulling its slavering maw to her swinging breasts. Their tonguing drove her to dissolve into a fit of ecstatic moaning and they responded with pants and yelps.

“Finn!” she gasped, “Lie down”. The dog rolled onto its back before her and she brushed a stray lock of hair from her face, ran the tip of her tongue over her upper lip and reached for its prick and for its tail. It whined and whimpered in excitement. With one hand she stroked its red prick into stiff hardness while the other exposed its black hole. The silver chain fell about her ribs when she arched her back, kissing and licking at its arsehole while its brother leapt at her proffered hindquarters, stabbing wildly until she reached back to guide it inside her, fumbling between her legs to pull her cunt lips apart without ever ceasing her slavish rimming. Eventually they settled into a rhythm and Carissa chose her moment to interrupt.

“I’m sorry Pierre,” she said, “but I will have to lie you back now”. His numbed mouth could only grunt in reply and she reclined the chair to the horizontal. Janika stood on tiptoe to adjust the overhead screen for his convenience and was gratified to see his eyes follow her nude stretch from behind the plastic visor. Carissa pulled on a fresh pair of surgical gloves and bent to her work again.

“Please, Finn” Róisín moaned as the dog twisted its neck to taste her mouth and its own anus. She glanced sideways at the camera, her eyes afire, glorying in her own humiliation. “Please” she pouted. This was evidently a trigger word from long training. The beast sprang to its feet and moved behind her, easily shouldering the other aside to rise up and place its front paws on her back. “Please” she repeated, pulling her cheeks wide to allow its dick easy access to her arse, then cried out hoarsely in unfeigned agony when it thrust itself into her yielding ring and began a vigorous and relentless buggering that drove the air from her lungs and brought tears to her eyes. After some moments of this she collapsed face-down on the mattress with another scream of pain; she was knotted, and the dog turned to face away from her, panting and drooling. The room filled with the sound of hopeless sobbing and she clawed at fistfuls of bedsheet as her body gradually absorbed the pain.

“Those mastiffs are very good” Janika observed, craning her neck to see. “It’s a pity they’re at the other end of Europe because we could use them here”. There was a throaty arousal in her voice that she made no attempt to hide. A short bark came from the screen and Carissa, too, took a break from her work to watch.

“Here, Cian” Róisín gasped as she raised herself back to her hands and knees. The dog thrust its muzzle forward eagerly and its thick tongue lolled out to slobber over her panting mouth. She closed her eyes and swallowed greedily. A slender arm snaked around to its hindquarters and it twisted around at once, presenting its tail-end to her. Fumbling, she pulled the swinging prick between its legs and fed the tip between her parted lips. Her eyes darted sidelong to the camera as her cheeks hollowed. Soon afterwards, the screen went black and the action picked up again from a slightly different angle to show both dogs withdrawing from her.

“There is someone with her, operating the camera” Janika observed.

“I had a feeling” Carissa replied, without looking up from her painstaking work on Pierre’s lower jaw. “She is too submissive to have trained the dogs so well on her own – she lets them dominate”. On the overhead screen, Róisín grovelled on her belly, seeking out puddles of spunk on the bottom sheet and lapping at them like an animal herself. The dogs paced around her aimlessly, occasionally venturing to lick her face and taste her mouth, until she patted each on the back to guide them down from the bed. Looking boldly into the lens, she perched on the edge of the mattress with her thighs spread and began to slap and grind at her clit. Two wet noses appeared expectantly between her legs and the camera zoomed in on her face and heaving bosom – there was definitely another person in the room. Her whole body began to tremble violently, she mouthed voiceless words and then, with a scream indistinguishable from her earlier cries of agony, she flung her ginger hair back and an abundant spray of juices gushed from her open cunt. The mastiffs drank enthusiastically and pressed forward as the fountain died away to a trickle, licking at her inner thighs and deep between her cunt lips while she melted joyously into the bed.

“Look!” Janika exclaimed, and she reached for the control to pause the film. Pierre winked, and Carissa carefully and unhurriedly finished the incision she was working on before turning her eyes to the ceiling. A second woman had moved into frame. She wore jeans and a man’s shirt, her hair was long and tied back into a pony-tail, but she was very obviously Róisín’s identical twin. She dropped a towel onto her sister’s belly and turned to switch off the camera.

GRIGORI

The morning sun shone through the high, barred window of Yewubdar’s cell and lit her sleeping face, gently easing her into wakefulness. She stretched luxuriously and swung her legs over the side of the bed to slip her feet into satin mules, then sat for a moment while she came to her senses. She had work to do in the laundry and the garden, she recalled. She would probably attend to one task in the morning and the other in the afternoon unless, she thought hopefully, someone wanted to abuse her, and she had to change her schedule to work around their whims. With this thought she left the room, wearing only her leather collar, her outsize nipple-rings and the golden tattoo on her pubic mound, and walked past the open doors of desolate cells to the washroom at the end of the corridor. Before long the men would begin to rise and would expect to find her there, kneeling demurely on the slate floor. They all wore surgical gloves now and did not have the full use of their fingers. Yewubdar would unfasten their pyjamas for them to relieve themselves over her face and into her mouth or over her throat and breasts. A round-headed brass hook was suspended over the drain cover by a length of chain; she raised it to her mouth to moisten it before reaching behind to press the end into the winking bud of her arse. As she settled herself into position she smiled at the taut stiffness of her nipples and the musky aroma from her neglected cunt. She took a perverse pride in her utter subjection, in the thought that she could find a more intense pleasure from waiting alone in a lavatory than she had ever had from the most cruel and passionate of lovers. And yet, it only whetted her appetite for more. As always, her thoughts turned to the adventure which had brought her to her new life.

Heads had turned when she met Therese in the café. Yewubdar was one of the very few black women in this part of the world – most international students and diplomats had left when the conflicts started – but both were so smart and glamorous as to attract attention in any company. They embraced and kissed before taking a secluded table by the back wall.

“I love your dress” Yewubdar said after their coffees arrived, “it’s a different look for you”. Therese regarded her long, silk caftan with a rueful smile.

“Thank you – but it’s not from choice”. After looking around to check that they were not observed she shifted in her seat to pull the hem to her lap. Yewubdar stifled a giggle; Therese had been severely whipped, and a pattern of vicious welts decorated her toned thighs. “I’m marked like that all over” she added with a grin as she covered herself again.

“A lover?” Yewubdar asked.

“Do you remember the men we met in Switzerland?” Therese asked in reply. Yewubdar nodded eagerly. The sleazy Balkan gangsters had filmed them in one fetish scenario after another and they had urged each other on to ever wilder excesses, losing themselves in a downward spiral of depravity. She switched easily to the Italian they had used on set. “Don’t piss all over her face because blinking is not sexy. Let her bring her mouth to you and swallow it all”.

“They made me the girl I am today” Yewubdar laughed. “So, you have found new pornographers”?

“The worst!” Therese exclaimed. “They make snuff films. The finished versions seem so real…” Her voice trailed away, and she recovered herself with a start. “I know that the blood and the screams are real” she added, sliding a business card over the marble table-top.

“I cannot wait to tell Yeza” Yewubdar said, turning the card over with slender, manicured fingers.

The bath house of a ruined hotel had been swept out and lit with a few strategically placed wireless stage lamps. It must have been a glamorous space in its day, expensively designed all'antica. The walls and vaulted ceilings were of raw, sandstone blocks, the floors and tubs were tiled in muted grey and blue ceramics. Shells landing nearby during the conflict had caused a few cracks and crumbling edges here and there, just enough to create an air of abandonment and decay. Stage blood was spattered liberally over the chipped tiles; a length of rusty scaffold had been rigged across the centre of the room and two limbless, headless bodies swung from it, bleeding into the shallow bath beneath. Eerily convincing severed hands and an auburn scalp were strewn around it. Yewubdar and Yeza undressed at the side of the room while Koba went over camera angles on his computer.

“It’s almost too real” Yeza whispered, with a nervous giggle. It was, indeed, hard to accept that these were only pig carcasses with added wax prosthetics - as Koba had explained in the bar earlier.

“It convinces their clientele” Yewubdar replied, unbuttoning her blouse. “The men – and women – who watch this believe the cannibal-cult storyline. They must be the most evil audience we’ve ever performed for” she added, with a sly smile. They set their clothes down out of sight and looked to Koba for direction. He gestured for them to wait.

“Soslan!” he called, and a tall, well-built man sauntered over to the bath. He was naked and erect, his cock jutting proudly from a clean-shaven crotch. “Remember” Koba went on, turning to the women, “authenticity is everything. We chose you because you are true exhibitionists and squirt like cats in heat when you’re abused in public. Don’t smirk, you bitches. Just get over there and behave like the filthy sluts you are”. He dropped to one knee and put the camera to his eye, choosing an angle. The women exchanged a look and started over to the middle of the room.

“Authenticity” Yeza muttered scornfully under her breath, “in a snuff film”! But Yewubdar recognised the signs, all the same; her friend’s nipples were swollen and there was the unmistakeable glint of animal arousal in her dark eyes. They both gave their best performances when treated badly. Soslan was standing under the carcasses now, letting the blood drip over his bare flesh. He beckoned to them, leering, and spat out some command in his own language.

“Crawl to him” Koba said quietly, and they dropped to their hands and knees for the last few metres, sliding over the edge of the sunken bath on their bellies into the puddle of gore that had gathered around Soslan’s feet. They rolled over in it, trailing handfuls up and down their bodies and letting their hair spread out, becoming soaked and darkened. Yewubdar gathered blood in her cupped hands and poured it over Yeza’s mouth and chin, then lapped it from her outstretched throat. Her friend dipped her head and her wet tongue snaked out, searching for her. They pressed their polluted lips together in a deep and hungry kiss but Soslan broke it, seizing a fistful of Yeza’s hair and pulling her up to stand before him.

“Fuck me” she whispered, running bloody hands over his hard body and wrapping a shapely leg around him. She knew he understood that much. He pulled free and dragged her easily to her knees in the pool of blood surrounding them. He slapped her cheek once as a signal and she eagerly sucked his cock into her mouth. Tears started, cutting white lines down her crimson stained cheeks, as he took her head in strong hands and pumped his hips brutally, fucking her face until she choked. She clutched cruelly at her own breast as he drove into her and, watching, Yewubdar too let her hands roam over her bloodied flesh, teasing herself. He caught her eye and beckoned for her to join them. She crawled over to take Yeza’s place and felt her friend’s gentle hands smearing warm blood over her back and arse while she opened her throat to his thrusts. He had her lick up and down the shaft and around the head and she set to busily, sighing when she felt Yeza lapping at the shallow pool gathered in the small of her back. Soslan saw this and dragged Yeza by the hair to kneel behind him and she eagerly spread his hard buttocks to drive her tongue into the crease of his arse, following the rhythm of the face-fucking. At last he sat down and let the women indulge themselves; they licked and stroked together at his cock and balls, spilling mouthfuls of blood over his crotch and over each other as they worked together. Yewubdar watched, wide-eyed and panting, while Yeza swallowed his whole length deep into her gullet, one arm wrapped around his waist and the other reaching high so that her wicked fingers could toy with his nipple. After a few moments of this, he sat back and pulled her towards him, guiding her hips over his so that she straddled and rode him. She quickly found her rhythm and leant back to grab at Yewubdar’s breast. They kissed again, and she smeared falling blood over both their bodies, scooping handfuls from the pool beneath them to massage it into Yeza’s breasts and cheeks. As her friend tossed her hair and howled in ecstasy, Yewubdar even dared to let her bloodstained fingers flutter around Soslan’s heavy balls. His knuckles whitened as he dug his fingers into the flesh of Yeza’s hips, dragging her violently up and down over his rigid cock. Yewubdar chewed on her lower lip as she watched enviously, her eyelids drooping and her chest heaving. Without taking her eyes from them she dropped to her belly and grovelled on the tiles, lapping at the pools of blood like a kitten at a saucer of milk, her hips writhing. She rose up from the waist to smear her breasts with handfuls of red ichor and to share a deep and bloody kiss with Soslan. He now lay on his back while Yeza bucked up and down over him, his cock buried in her cunt and her fingers flicking over her clit shamelessly. With an evil smile, Yewubdar sucked up a mouthful of blood from the floor and bent over Yeza to spill it over her face and neck, spreading it down over her breasts and belly with both hands.

“Yes – more of that” Koba commanded from behind the camera, and she sucked up another load to stream from her lips over Yeza’s cunt and Soslan’s balls. Her lips and fingers ranged across the brunette’s outstretched and bucking torso, leaving crimson streaks over her white flesh. Abruptly, he lifted Yeza away from him and pushed her face-first to the floor. She raised her arse high and growled low in her throat as Yewubdar and Soslan both smeared blood around and inside her arsehole, wet fingers probing and opening until he knelt behind and pressed his cock firmly inside her. A broken cry escaped her lips and her young face was drawn into a grimace of pain and lust. Yewubdar put a tender hand out and smoothed Yeza’s damp hair from her brow while she fought for breath, shuddering under the relentless pounding. She slid through the puddles to lie between their legs, turning her neck to lick at Soslan’s balls while he drove back and forth above her then, after briefly meeting his eyes for approval, arched her neck to reach Yeza’s cunt with her tongue. Soslan altered his rhythm to ravage her arse slowly and deeply, pressing her face to the floor and occasionally pulling his cock free to feed it into Yewubdar’s eager mouth. They continued like this for a long time, sighing and groaning and smearing red traces over each other’s bodies while the arteries of the corpse overhead slowly drained out, spattering them with crimson droplets.

“Halt!” Soslan barked, easing himself out of Yeza’s arse. Koba took the opportunity to move around them and choose a new angle. The women exchanged a knowing look and stole a kiss, their tongues flickering like snakes’. Above them, the two swaying carcasses still dripped what tasted like real blood. There must bags of it hidden inside the ribs, Yewubdar thought idly. The men held a hurried and muttered conversation in their own language.

“Action” Koba said. “And face him this time”. Yeza lay back on her shoulders with her legs spread in the air as Soslan drove into her arse again. Yewubdar knelt beside them, rubbing Yeza’s clit with cruel fingers. Soslan grabbed both ankles and leant further forward, pounding into her. He turned his head to lick the blood from Yewubdar’s tongue and lips before pulling out to direct her mouth over the head of his cock, dragging her down brutally by her tight curls until she choked. He released her, and she bent down to lick Yeza’s arse, spreading the cheeks wide open to delve deeply into her gaping hole. When Soslan stabbed his cock back inside, Yewubdar circled her fingers over her friend’s clit once again. Yeza was bent double under his weight, moaning and gasping, her mouth open in a silent scream of delirium and agony. Yewubdar rose to stand under the butchered torso and rub the dripping blood through her hair, throwing her head back to catch it in her mouth and then let it spill from her lips onto Soslan and Yeza. He released an ankle and as Yewubdar squatted to seize it and to suck and lick at Yeza’s bloodied toes he reached down to grasp her throat. Again, he stood upright and used Yewubdar’s mouth. Again, he thrust down like a pile-driver into Yeza’s upturned arse while torrents of gore flowed down his torso and groin, over her buttocks and stomach. He and Yewubdar shared another mouthful of blood, drinking from each other’s open mouths. At last he began to mutter under his breath, his face screwed up and he suddenly froze rigid, flooding Yeza with his spunk.

“Cut!” Koba called, pacing towards them. He jabbed a furious finger at Yeza. “I am disappointed with your performance” he spat. “It is mechanical, there is no passion. You are supposed to be the frenzied devotees of the cult, crazed and wild, but you just act like a slut with her boyfriend”. She met his stare boldly.

“Then punish me” she smiled, and put a bloodstained finger to her cheek, coquettishly. His anger faded, and he gave her an evil smile in return, then spoke to Soslan who nodded his agreement.

“Get on your hands and knees under the bodies” Koba ordered over his shoulder as he went back to his bags behind the tripod. He returned with a plain riding-crop and an antique yagatan, bone-handled with its gleaming, recurved blade dripping red. He passed the sword to Soslan, who took it gleefully.

“What is this?” she asked nervously from the floor.

“You are to be beaten with the flat of the sword” Koba told her, taking up his camera again. “And try to look as though you want it desperately”.

“But I do” she simpered, looking up at the bloodied brute standing over her. At Koba’s word he delivered a few lines in his own language while making passes in the air with the yagatan. Yeza licked her lips and swung her hips in shameless invitation, reaching between her legs to excite herself even more. Koba called out to Soslan again.

“I told him to wait” he explained quietly. “This is good, I want to see you begging for it”. Yeza groaned, but she complied. Her body undulated and her fingers ground onto her clit, she panted and moaned, and her smouldering eyes fixed longingly on the bloodied sword. At last, Koba gave the signal and Soslan brought the weapon swishing down onto her proffered buttocks with a tremendous crack. Her cry was almost triumphant. Yewubdar sat open-legged at the side of the pool, lazily massaging blood into her breasts and belly while she watched with wide eyes. The yagatan swept down again and again, hissing through the air and smacking loudly onto Yeza’s arse. She cried and howled at every stroke, but Yewubdar could tell that she was acting, and suspected that Koba knew this too. At last she called out.

“More! Harder! Beat me, please…” and she shook the hair out of her face to stare at Koba.

“Very well” he replied, grimly, and set down the camera to take up the riding-crop. “The sabre works well visually, but it is not designed for this kind of cutting” he said, slicing the crop through the air with a more menacing hiss. “Brace yourself. I’m going to scar you for the next shot – and, after this, even a table-tennis paddle will make you sing”. Yeza’s nostrils flared and she settled herself onto her elbows, spreading her knees wide apart and arching her back to welcome the fierce, burning pain that she craved. She was not disappointed. Koba laid on mercilessly with a flurry of blows, backhand and forehand in alternation with a relentless rhythm that echoed around the bathhouse like gun-shots. Yewubdar leant forward eagerly to see the white flesh of her friend’s cheeks and thighs darken and split. Yeza was wailing like a damned soul now, tense and rigid, her beautiful face wracked with agony. Soslan also watched avidly, and his hand inevitably moved to his throbbing prick at the sight and sound of her anguish. Soon Yeza slumped onto her face and chest and the screaming subsided into a breathy panting and sighing. Like Yewubdar, Koba recognised the signs and he stopped, sliding the crop into his belt.

“Thank you” Yeza sobbed. Wincing, she raised herself back up on her hands and knees in the same posture as before. Soslan moved closer, raising the yagatan to shoulder height, and Koba circled around them to film from a new angle.

“You are in the frame now” he warned Yewubdar as he raised the viewfinder to his eye. Soslan belaboured Yeza’s arse with the flat of the sword again, but this time each slap wrenched a heartfelt cry from his victim as her tenderised flesh was attacked a second time. She writhed and squirmed in earnest, pressing her thighs together and clawing at her breasts. Yewubdar watched, fascinated, while a strand of fine, dark hair floated back and forth over Yeza’s open, panting mouth. Remembering herself, she knelt upright and turned her face to the steady, gory drip from the suspended torsos above them and revelled in the crimson rain, shaking her head from side to side and twisting her body so that she was slickly coated. She was only dimly aware of Soslan dropping the yagatan and kneeling down behind Yeza’s bleeding haunches because she found herself completely focussed on the carcass swaying over her head. The torso was wearing a belly chain of Indian silver, but it was not just another example of Koba’s attention to detail. She remembered this piece very well – Therese had always worn it, even during filming. Once she realised this, recognition hit her in a rush. That faint, white line centimetres from the navel was Therese’s appendectomy scar that Yewubdar had licked and kissed so many times. Those round marks were traces of the piercing she had once worn in her labia. This Grand Guignol prop for their sex games was the murdered body of her old friend. Rubbing furiously at her clit, she turned to watch Soslan impaling Yeza’s arse with his cock, his sword still gripped in one hand and the other buried in her thick hair, dragging her to and fro. Her eyes had rolled back in her head and she had begun to jabber senselessly. At last she shrieked like a banshee and spurted a fountain over Soslan’s crotch and thighs in a great burst of moisture. Yewubdar felt her own body succumb at the same time, and sensed that she, too, had cried out.

A man’s voice shouted, “Compose yourself!”, and Yewubdar slowly came to her senses to realise that Koba was setting the next scene. She blinked and looked around. Yeza was on her knees before Soslan, coaxing a fresh erection from his drooping prick. Koba stood beside them with an armful of chains and manacles. “Come here” he ordered. For the next scene, you will both be secured and immobile”. Her eyes flickered to the yagatan. Of course, the actresses she had seen in their videos were always chained down when the cutting began, for the believable screams and realistic bloodshed. Yewubdar heaved a great sigh and rose to her feet. She walked towards Koba with her wrists extended to be cuffed, her cunt as wet as a swamp and her heart pounding with terror and excitement in equal measure. She sighed when the first steel bracelet closed with a crisp snap.

Koba stood motionless, staring at her, while a black hole appeared in the middle of his forehead. Yewubdar heard the gunshot an instant later, as he began to crumple at the knees and slide to the floor. She jerked her head around to the source of the sound to see Soslan also falling, a great gaping wound where the back of his skull should be and a fountain of red and grey spattering over the pool behind him. Yeza screamed once with fright and then put her hands to her head and began to scream over and over again, quivering in shock and horror. A heavily built man in combat fatigues burst through the door, followed by a handful of bearded abreks carrying Kalashnikovs and sporting white headbands. Two of the guerrillas went straight to Yeza; Yewubdar saw that one of them was a young woman. Together they wrapped her in a blanket and spoke to her slowly and quietly. Meanwhile, the big man approached Yewubdar and gave her a searching look as he freed her wrist.

“Are you unharmed?” he asked in a soft Waldenstein accent. “I am Grigori. My friends are members of the resistance – you can trust them”. As he spoke, another female guerrilla handed her a field-grey greatcoat and she pulled it around her shoulders.

“Why?” she stammered.

“We have been watching Koba, and yesterday we made sure of the rumours surrounding him” Grigori told her. “Cigarette”? She shook her head and he took one from his map pocket, then turned to speak a few words of Circessian to his comrades. As one, they slung their weapons and began to gather up the bodies, props and equipment into hessian sacks. Yeza was helped to the door, clinging gratefully to the solicitous militia woman.

“Rumours?”

“The actresses in their films never appear in sequels” Grigori explained, lighting up and inhaling deeply. “You don’t know it yet, but we have just saved your lives”. He turned to give more orders to his men, and Yewubdar let herself be led away after Yeza. As she left the room she looked back over her shoulder. Grigori and a bespectacled young man were taking great care to gather up all the electronic equipment and computers. Another abrek had found a power-hose and stood ready to sluice away the blood. This was probably what Koba had planned to do when filming was finished, she reflected, as the woman ushered her out of the building. There was an army truck standing outside, its government markings hastily overpainted with the Circessian colours. Her escort helped her over the tailgate, speaking her own language in a soothing tone as though reassuring a frightened child. Ahead of her, Yeza was still trembling violently.

“We have inspected everything we found in the bathhouse,” Grigori told Yewubdar “including your own possessions”. They were in a safe house on the outskirts of Mirenburg – that was as much as she knew – and he had brought her to this empty room for a private discussion. A tearful Yeza had already been safely delivered to her own apartment, now almost recovered and making heartfelt protestations of gratitude, but Yewubdar had been flatly ordered to wait. Now she toyed nervously with the collar of her borrowed khaki shirt.

“May I have my own clothes back?” she asked, with a boldness she did not feel under his piercing gaze.

“Perhaps” Grigori replied. He produced her phone and laid it on the table between them. “Yedij hacked their computers. I have taken over their website, and their subscribers. We checked your phone also - as a precaution, you understand”. She nodded, and he pushed it over to her. The screen displayed a message Therese had sent her the previous day.

Stay away from Koba as you value your life. The films are not faked. They are going to kill us on camera. I just saw a woman die. Tell the gendarmes to come to

“I deleted that message” she told him, caught off guard.

“I wondered if perhaps you had deleted it without reading it first – but evidently not” he said. “So, you knew that the celebrated production values of Koba’s snuff films were not just skill and technique. You knew that the deaths were real, and you knew what they had in store for you”.

“I did know it” Yewubdar replied. She saw the look on Grigori’s face and, without really understanding why she was telling him this, she continued. “They were going to string us up and slaughter us, like Therese and her friend”. She folded her arms and held her head high, defiantly. Grigori’s eyes narrowed.

“Did the other girl, Yeza, know this?” he asked. Yewubdar shook her head. “You found out what was happening, but you didn’t warn your friend, did you?” he went on, regarding her with a sorrowful expression. Her bravado fled.

“I wanted it for myself” she offered, shamefaced. Grigori looked her up and down, his face betraying nothing. He reached inside his camouflage jacket and produced what looked like a business card. He slid it across the table to her and she looked at the strange symbol on it, puzzled and confused.

“It is the Yellow Sign” Grigori told her. He sat back, relaxed. “It is going to be the logo of the website now that we are in control of it. The Circessians have no idea; they know that we have destroyed a criminal gang of murderers and that all their material will be expunged from the net, but they don’t know that I intend to continue their work”.

“You are going to make snuff films? Normal, faked ones”?

“No” he smiled. “We are going to film the deaths of willing victims”. He lit another papirosa and watched her mind race as she considered this.

“There are others like me?” she asked, at last.

“Many”.

“Then use me” she breathed, pressing the Yellow Sign to her breast.

“First you must be punished for betraying Yeza” he told her. He leant forward to stroke her cheek. “You will never be whipped nor fucked again, and you will not be killed until I decide you have repented”. His eyes bored into hers and she trembled at the intensity of her own surrender. She would gladly have fallen to the floor at his feet, but she felt he already knew that.

“I am yours” she said simply.

“When you experience sexual release…” he pre-empted her protestation with a look, raising one eyebrow imperiously. “It will happen, because you are a wanton. You are being ridden to your death by a daemon of lust”. His hand slid around her shoulders to the nape of her neck and drew her face to his.

“Command me” she pleaded, wallowing in her own abasement.

“You must deny yourself catharsis, otherwise you will be strung up by wrists and ankles and flogged until you faint”. An evil smile played around the edges of his full, sensuous mouth. “How does that make you feel”?

“Complete” the answer came from somewhere deep inside herself and it was followed by a foaming torrent of wild abandon, fierce and furious contortions and a high-pitched scream of joyous despair. She fell to the floor, her crotch drenched and jerking from the intensity of her orgasm, and she had devoted herself to the rule of the Order of Anna Darvulia from that moment. She knew that she could abandon herself to carnal frenzy at the slightest, forbidden touch of her own fingers and that she would be rewarded with the fulfilment of her deepest desires. Even before she had buried the end of the hook in her arse and spread herself open to every defilement she had been floating on a plane of delirious arousal, but she remained unsatisfied in accordance with Grigori’s wishes. The sound of bare feet on the stone flags outside woke her from this reverie and she turned an expectant face to the doorway, the prospect of a hot stream of piss running over her chin and belly to drip from her cunt bringing an animated radiance to her delicate features, but the footsteps passed by and disappeared into the depths of the building. To punish herself for her over-eagerness she pinched at her throbbing nipples, slowly, deliberately and cruelly until she began to feel a wave of depraved pleasure building deep inside herself – then clasped her hands firmly together behind her back. A tear welled up at the corner of her eye as a cold breeze from the open window played over her erect and neglected teats.

LOUISETTE

Vasiliki strode into The Greek’s art deco villa like a conqueror; she covered the fierce, abandoned excitement she had betrayed during their dalliance with her usual composed coolness. Milena followed meekly behind, as her defeated and naked victim, but she could not suppress an intense moan at the scene which greeted them. The walls, floor and ceiling were all pure white against which two items stood out starkly – a stainless-steel guillotine and an oaken block, against which leant an antique doppelhänder sword. As they drew closer Vasiliki was startled by a click and whirr from above them and she jerked her head around to see a closed-circuit television camera suspended from the ceiling which had begun to track their movement. She turned back to Milena, arching one perfect eyebrow.

“It seems there is a choice” she said, her voice echoing around the bare chamber. Milena regarded her silently, her nude body whipped and welted and her eyes blazing. “Which one scares you? Which excites you”?

“I cannot” Milena stammered pitifully. A tear formed in the corner of one blue eye and her lip trembled. “It doesn’t matter what I want” she murmured. Vasiliki stepped closer. There was an air of wild exuberance about her, a barely restrained ferocity, as she closed her fist around a handful of blonde tresses and pulled their faces close together.

“But I wish to know what you want” she spat. Milena swallowed hard to collect herself and met Vasiliki’s passion with profound submission, surrendering to her executioner’s embrace.

“I want only to be butchered” she pronounced. “I want it as much as you do”.

“As much as I do” Vasiliki muttered under her breath, trailing her fingertips down the soft flesh of Milena’s throat. “Then help me to decide” she went on, pressing her hip into the warmth of Milena’s groin and wrapping long arms around her. For many minutes, they remained like that, the air filled with the sound of fingers churning wetly and soft, breathy moans. The shadows lengthened. Vasiliki licked the nape of Milena’s neck and then abruptly dragged her down to her knees by the hair.

“Thank you, thank you” she breathed, over and over, as she crawled on her belly to the block. Bracing her knees well apart she dipped her head to rain kisses over the darks stains and notches on the oak, then bent forward to settle her head and shoulders into position, gazing up adoringly from that position of ultimate surrender. She arched her back and rolled her hips slowly. Vasiliki turned away and ran an exploratory fingertip over the blade of the great sword.

“Very sharp” she said, smiling, as she took a firm grip of the hilt and lifted it to waist height. It glinted in the golden light of the setting sun. “And yet, surprisingly light”. With this, she ran the blade gently along Milena’s spine from her bare neck to the swell of her hips and then, with a flick of her wrists, slapped her round arse with the flat of the blade. There was a yelp of surprise.

“Ach, yes!” Milena exclaimed, rolling her hips in invitation as a broad, pink stripe blushed across her buttocks.

“You crave the pain” – it was not really a question. She let the sword rest on the small of her victim’s back. “But what else? Oblivion”?

“No. Not that” Milena’s voice was low and husky. Her eyelids drooped, and her open cunt gaped wetly. “I fear it” she continued, more quietly “but it doesn’t matter how I feel. I am nothing. I am the sacrifice, to be taken and eaten”. Her words were lost in a hoarse moan. Vasiliki stood silently over her, stroking her own ribs and belly absently while her high breasts rose and fell. Then she shook her head, the black bob swaying around her slender throat and chin.

“The ultimate” she murmured and sank to her knees to brush Milena’s hair away from her forehead. “You always have to go further and surrender more of yourself”. She smiled, almost fondly. “You have to be the lowest and most degraded – don’t you”? Milena sighed happily.

“My last owner gifted me to The Greek as a punishment” she said. “She had seen how he repulsed me, how my skin crawled at his touch. Then, when I was completely at his mercy, with his hands and his smell all around me, I became so deliciously degraded” she shivered at the memory. “I just wanted to be the least of his collection – to be meat for anyone who desired me”. She stretched her arms out behind her and squared her shoulders, turning her face to the ground and licking her full lips. Vasiliki rose to her feet and hoisted the sword high above her shoulder. Her small bosom heaved.

“You look quite beautiful” she said, lifting Milena’s chin with the steel tip. “But I would like to see you on the guillotine, too. Hurry now”. With a sigh and a groan, Milena lifted herself from her posture of surrender, tossed the golden hair from her face and walked unsteadily to the Louisette. An electric motor hummed as the overhead camera followed her to where she sat astride the bascinet and regarded Vasiliki coyly from under her thick lashes.

“I have seen this machine before” she said. “And you will have to help me. Please…” she breathed, indicating the lunette. The mechanism was minimalist and simple, constructed entirely of stainless steel. Vasiliki ran her fingers lingeringly over the cold, clean lines of the uprights and soon located the catch which allowed her to raise the half-moon. At this, Milena turned around and began to slide into position.

“No, stop”. She looked up, bemused. “Lie facing upwards” Vasiliki ordered, smiling evilly. With a smile that was equally depraved Milena lay back, wriggling her shoulders to edge herself along the bench. Her hands gripped the frame and pulled as she slid her head into position then reached to spread her hair out like a yellow curtain on the other side. There was a moment of silence. Vasiliki glanced around at the block and sword then turned back to Milena. She had closed her eyes and her hands had strayed down over her curvaceous body to flutter at the soft, welted flesh of her inner thighs.

“I – I “she stammered, “I must ask you to close the lunette. It cannot be moved from below”. Vasiliki leant closer to examine the mechanism and found the catch which allowed the top half to drop into place around the victim’s neck. Milena sighed and shifted her body, her fingers moving away from her shaved cunt to the metal supports either side of her head. “I can reach the release switch from here” she murmured.

“What is the thinking behind having the victim operate the blade?” Vasiliki asked casually, leaning on the crossbar and looking down curiously on Milena’s profound arousal.

“It allows the executioner to have – to have the victim before, during and after, while she is trapped and helpless”. Her voice caught as she spoke, and her fingers fluttered helplessly over her breasts and thighs. “She has no control at all over what is done to her, except that she can end it”. She gave a low moan deep in her throat and clutched at her round breasts with both hands, digging painted nails into her white flesh.

“Or she can lift the lunette and climb out”. Vasiliki’s tone was sardonic, although she was obviously relishing the spectacle. Milena moaned again and began to massage her whipped flesh.

“No” she explained, “the lunette locks when it is closed, and can only be released afterwards”. Her fingers delved inside her labia now, pulling them open to give her access to her wet cunt. “Please” she sighed, chewing at her lip. Vasiliki knelt down, took her face in both hands, and kissed her deeply - and so roughly that a bead of blood welled from her mouth.

“You will indulge yourself” she ordered, “until you approach your crisis. That must not happen – you must release the blade at the very last moment – do you understand”? She nodded happily, hanging on every word. Vasiliki stood awhile in thought, absently stroking her hip. “Show me how you fuck your arse” she said at last. Meeting her gaze shamelessly Milena chewed on her lower lip while insinuating one arm under her body to reach between her thighs from behind. Her thighs twitched once as she spread her cheeks apart. Still regarding Vasiliki wantonly she sucked on the fingers of her free hand, wrapping her tongue lasciviously around them until they shimmered wetly. She stretched, head thrown back and legs wide open, and pressed one finger into her anus. Both arms were beneath her now and her breath came in gasps as a second finger and then a third pushed inside of her. Her flawless brow furrowed at the intensity of her self-penetration and she could not supress a groan when she deliberately and forcefully drove her whole hand inside the fleshy ring up to the knuckles.

“Vasiliki!” she sobbed in wild abandon, delving into her tighter passage and bucking back and forth.

“Stop now” she commanded, and Milena wailed her acquiescence. “I want your bladder empty when you die,” she went on “so defile yourself for me”. She favoured her with a look of blatant and primal lust and arched her back, raising her hips while both hands pressed and rubbed at her clit. With another lewd smile, she spread her cunt lips wide apart and opened her mouth in depraved anticipation as a jet of piss rose over her, splashing onto her belly and bosom and finally arcing over the steel lunette onto her face. Her head fell back as the stream slowed and she massaged the hot shower into her breasts, catching some in her cupped hands to pour over her face and rub into her hair in a transport of self-abasement. Again, she smiled while a hand went back to rub slickly at her wet cunt and she sucked and licked at the wet fingers of the other. “Keep frigging yourself” Vasiliki ordered, and there was silence for a while, save for little, panting cries and the warm, wet churning of fingers in cunt. Vasiliki glanced up to the ceiling –a red light on the camera mounting winked back at her.

“Yes!” Milena cried. Her movements became more frantic and desperate, and her cries faster and louder. “Yes, yes!” she called again as her hands punished her own flesh, slapping, pinching, squeezing and grinding in a wild display of crazed abandon. Vasiliki looked on with a hungry, predatory glint in her eyes and her white teeth bared in a cruel leer. Milena’s voluptuous body thrashed on the bascinet and a series of wordless, animal wails burst from her. Her right hand reached up to the frame of the guillotine and she began to hammer wildly on the metalwork. At last, she lifted her soft hips up from the bascinet and stretched her left hand up towards the fatal button.

“Do it!” Vasiliki shouted, barely containing her excitement.

“The Pallid Mask!” she sobbed, shaking the length of her body and slamming the catch that released the heavy blade. There was a brutal clanking, a bright flash, and the cold steel crashed down to slice effortlessly through flesh and bone with a tremendous thump. Her beautiful, blonde head dropped to the floor with a slight thud and hot blood jetted across the room. The body twitched and jerked, ejaculate spraying from the lifeless cunt before it fell back limply onto the bench. Vasiliki let out the breath she had been holding and ran her fingers through her hair. Looking down, she saw that a great spurt of blood had spattered her top and skirt so, with a little shrug, she pulled them off and dropped them carelessly onto the body. Naked and aglow she inhaled deeply, savouring the heady scent of arousal mixed with the bitter, metallic tang of blood. Slowly and inexorably the headless corpse slid sideways to the floor where it lay twitching feebly. Vasiliki dropped to lie beside it. She took a fistful of blonde hair and pulled the severed head to her to plant a deep and searching kiss onto the dead lips.

“I need to taste your juices” she told the blinking eyes and bent to brush her lips along Milena’s smooth thigh up to the groin and licked delicately at her cunt and belly, spreading shaven lips to delve deep into the warm crevices. Her breathing came faster now as she writhed naked over the corpse, sucking and savouring. Lifting one limp arm she turned the body over, parting tanned buttocks to lap hungrily at the crease of her arse and then down the back of her leg. She lifted a foot and nibbled the toes, rubbing them around her face and throat before drawing the big toe into her mouth and sucking on it lasciviously.

“So sweet” Vasiliki murmured, running her hands over legs and arse. Straddling the body and facing away from the oozing neck she pulled the foot to her again and pressed the toe onto her clit, rubbing it slowly and firmly, rocking her hips to slide her moist cunt to and fro. Her head rolled back, and she moaned aloud. She turned around to push the corpse’s legs apart then spread the cunt to probe it with her tongue - fingering her own clit and sliding two fingers inside her warm hole. Groaning, she climbed astride again and ground her crotch back and forth over the dead arse, exciting her nipples between thumb and forefinger while tossing her hair from side to side in a frenzy.

“Mine!” she cried out, sweat-drenched hair flicking her face “My corpse, my sacrifice!!” and she let herself fall forward, smoothing her warm flesh over the headless body, writhing and squirming urgently. She pushed the cadaver onto its back again and her hands roamed over it, caressing the limbs and kneading the breasts. Panting and trembling, she fiercely sucked both swollen nipples in a long, lingering kiss before trailing her tongue down over the bosom and belly to settle over the cunt again, sucking wetly. Crawling over the supine form again she seized a hand and moistened the index finger in her mouth before pressing it onto her clit. She frigged herself for a while and then forced it inside. She worked Milena’s dead hand into her cunt faster and harder, arching her back and rolling her hips. In a frenzy, she rubbed the palm over her breast and pinched a hard nipple between the limp fingers, then trailed them over her face and neck and back to her cunt again. She moaned in frustration - and then her eyes lit on the huge sword, lying where she had dropped it. In a flash, a wild plan came to her, an idea mad enough to satisfy her dark desires. The muscles of her athletic arms and shoulders stood out as she put the tip into Milena’s cunt and thrust it deep inside her with one powerful motion, pushing the razor-sharp steel through yielding flesh and innards until the whole length disappeared with only a few bloodied centimetres of blade protruding from the jagged wound at her neck and the hilt standing out from her cunt. Licking her lips, she dipped her head to lick at the pommel before swallowing it deeply, moving her head back and forth until it was slick and wet. She positioned herself between Milena’s legs, in line with the sword, then slowly impaled herself to the cross-guard, crying out in pain and delight as the two-hander’s hilt filled her. Seizing Milena’s hips, she pulled their groins together and began to buck to and fro, quickly finding a desperate rhythm. Her hands roamed over her breasts and belly to her cunt and fluttered at her clit. Milena’s blank eyes watched her from the corner where her discarded head had rolled. In her frenzy, Vasiliki arched her back to howl at the ceiling and her cries echoed around the empty building until she fell back, panting, and licked at the corpse’s calf and foot. When the spasms subsided a little she slowly spun around to face the marble floor, keeping the shaft deep inside of her, and resting her weight on her bosom. She began to rock her hips again, more gently than before, and reached back to ease two wet fingers into her arse, growling low in her throat. Above her, the camera whirred and buzzed.

“Yes” she rasped, lifting her head suddenly and grinding her cunt down hard onto the leather grip. “I need it” - there was a note of surprise in her voice. Pulling her crotch away she spread her buttocks with both hands and then pushed back again, now taking the whole length of the haft into her tighter hole, snarling and growling in agony as it stabbed deep into her bowels. Her fingers scrabbled at her empty cunt and she rode harder, running a hand through her hair and moaning. At last she called out brokenly and collapsed face down. She lay for a moment, still impaled and her body wracked with sobs, before reaching out to drag Milena’s head over the floor for a long, wet kiss, fondling the blonde hair and sucking greedily at her slack lips.

When she recovered her senses and staggered out, dazed, into the cool twilight she was not surprised to find the Bentley gone and a black jeep left in its place. There were clothes in her size – and in her style – left on the driver’s seat, together with a road map inside a folder decorated with the yellow sign.



MALLIKA

Carissa made her way along the narrow, whitewashed corridors. There had only been a short time to become accustomed to the routine at the old convent before her own work changed everything quite profoundly. Although women were still submitting themselves to the King in Yellow in ever-increasing numbers, Dmitri had stopped the collections altogether. Only a very few, selected victims were being permitted to make their own way to the remote valley while the majority were simply instructed to remain at home and wait for orders. When she lay in her cot at the end of each day of her cruelly prolonged life, Carissa fancied she felt the collective frustration and longing of all of them washing over her shaven, branded and plugged body in a great, dark wave. But the kitchen was closed – Yewubdar was busied there, scrubbing floors and counters naked – and only occasionally were corpses left outside the men’s private rooms in the morning for disposal.

Carissa’s project had come to a halt for the time being and she was curious to learn how they had planned to keep her occupied until the next round of procedures. The men were entirely unable to speak now and communicated their wishes by gestures or in printed messages; Carissa clutched to her naked breast the note which Andrei had passed her, commanding her presence in the main hall. She was instructed to meet a new arrival and prepare her for the next entertainment. Despite being imprisoned in surgical masks and gloves, Leon and Pierre continued to devise theatrical deaths for devotees of their films. At the great, oak door she paused to collect herself, running her fingers over the silkiness of her sheared scalp and taking a deep breath before stepping into the hall.

“Mallika!” she exclaimed, surprised. There in the centre of the room stood the glamorous Indian student who had been one of Vasiliki’s lovers before being casually discarded. She wore hiking boots and shorts and her shirt was pulled down to her waist. A sheet of notepaper was fastened to her bare breast with a steel pin. She, too, gave a little start of recognition as Carissa moved closer to brush aside her glossy black hair and detach the note from her long brown nipple.

GIVE HER TO LUCIFER.” it read. With a smile, she turned the paper so that Mallika could read it.

“Oh, darling,” she sighed in her charmingly accented Greek “I am so very hot already. I don’t know if I can stand any more excitement”. There was a challenge in her black eyes. Carissa met her gaze, but her hand strayed unbidden to tug absently at the oversized ring in her own nipple.

“If you cannot perform, then perhaps they will let me take your place” she breathed, putting a finger to the corner of her mouth.

“You are in the Order of Anna Darvulia” Mallika said with genuine pity. “My role is the easier one”.

“Strip” commanded Carissa and the young woman began to pull the walking gear from her firm, slim body. “We will read the script together when I have bathed you” she went on, “but first I will take you to the paddock to become acquainted with Lucifer”. Noticing that Mallika seemed hesitant, she added “You may ask me anything, Sister”.

“Please - who is Lucifer”?

“He is the black ram “, Carissa smiled. “We have been training him for this”. She turned to the door. “Bring your clothes and boots for burning” she said lightly over her shoulder. They walked together, nude in the warm sunshine, around the side of the building to the gardens at the rear. Mallika gave a little start when they passed the kennels and a clamorous barking filled the air as the Molossian hounds leapt up and threw themselves against the mesh fencing.

“Excellent watchdogs” she remarked.

“They are excited to smell a new woman” Carissa explained. “While the kitchen is shut down, we feed the bodies of our victims to them. Dmitri is determined that they must not lose their taste for human flesh while he and the others are fasting,” with this, she rested a hand on Mallika’s soft shoulder, “and they know they will have your remains tonight”. She shivered deliciously.

“You said there is a script” Mallika said, composing herself. “Am I to put on a show for the men”?

“For the cameras” Carissa corrected her as they continued past the ancient granite slab and through a grove of young fruit trees. “Dmitri and the others are at a stage of their treatment where they must wear masks day and night and can only take liquids. While they are disguised this way, it amuses them to make movies, to be put on the network. Tonight’s play is a story of devil worship and sacrifice. My sister Janika will film you. You have been chosen for your anonymity. Like Yewubdar, even those who will recognise you from your films have no idea of your real identity, and so your faces can be shown throughout”. Mallika’s eyes flashed with excitement and she swallowed hard before speaking.

“All those deviants will watch my death and hear my screams” she murmured. “And I expected only a blade to the throat and a quick gutting”.

“Yes, you are privileged” Carissa could not keep an edge of envy from her voice. “Now, here he is” and the goat trotted curiously across his paddock to meet them. “On your hands and knees” she ordered as she opened the gate. “This may take patience, but it will be worth the effort”. She gave Mallika a sly smile, “I spent a long time in training him. It was a new depth of servitude”.

The filming went without a hitch. After Carissa and Janika had dismantled the set and props they sat together in their shared cell to view the footage before presenting it to Dmitri for his approval. The Yellow Sign blazed from the screen as the recording began to play, then slowly faded as the scene opened in the deconsecrated chapel.

A lone violin began playing an eerie and haunting Bosha melody. The sanctum had been set with black drapes and candles and an iconostasis of the Armenian type – but depicting plump witches and demons and blasphemous tortures in the bizarre, Primitivist style that Leon favoured. The original crucifixes and other devotional artefacts had been retrieved from an attic and hung, inverted, on the walls around the altar, but otherwise the chains and racks of torture implements had been left in place. The Sabbatic Goat was tethered by a golden chain to the altar rail and its eyes burned in the candlelight. The opening shot showed Adélaïde’s slender figure wearing nothing save a lacquered goat’s head mask and gold jewellery stride arrogantly through the side door. The camera followed her over to the altar rail where Mallika and Yewubdar stood together, dressed in simple, unbelted cotton shifts, their arms hanging limp at their sides. Both wore long, white wimples. She approached Yewubdar first and casually draped a proprietary arm around her shoulders. The African’s frightened eyes looked straight ahead, then Adélaïde moved on to Mallika.

“Turn around” she said. Her French accent was thick and strong; neither she nor her sister spoke English at all and had learnt their lines by rote. Shivering slightly, Mallika obeyed. Long fingers passed over her round buttocks and lifted her arms to shoulder height, then she was turned to face forward again and Adélaïde gave her attention to Yewubdar. She tilted her head from side to side and with the lightest touch to her chin had her open her mouth and bare her even teeth and pink tongue for inspection. Adélaïde stepped back, and Yewubdar reached out to Mallika; the two clung together fearfully, looking around with wide eyes.

Janika took a sip of water and passed the bottle to Vasiliki as another masked and nude blonde – evidently Gisele, whose height could not be disguised – stepped into the frame.

“Strip” she commanded – with the same tortured pronunciation – and the women moved as one to pull their chemises over their heads.

Gisele’s long arm reached around Mallika’s trim waist and drew her away. She inspected her hands, raised her arm and pressed gently at her left breast. Mallika stood impassive as her body was pawed in this shameful and predatory way - but her lower lip trembled. Meanwhile, Adélaïde was subjecting Yewubdar to the same humiliating inspection, having her turn slowly around, then bend over and spread her legs. Their movements became more intimate, prodding forcefully at the women’s cunts and arses and brushing wicked fingers over their breasts and bellies. The sound of the violin died as both women faced away from the camera, bent double and holding themselves shamelessly open.

“You may serve the black ram” said Adélaïde.

The screen was filled with a picture of the setting sun and the the sound of wolves howling came from the speakers. The story picked up again in the chapel, where Yewubdar now lay oiled and waiting on the obscene altar cloth, stretched out luxuriously amongst grinning skulls and black candles. All signs of fear had left her now. Her thick lashes fluttered, and she licked her cupids-bow lips, squirming lewdly in delicious anticipation. Her eyes flickered from Gisele, who stood over her with a sheathed sword in her two hands, to Adélaïde, who led the black he-goat towards her by the horns. The sound of some liturgical chant filled the room, weirdly distorted and low-pitched so that the words were indistinguishable.

“Present yourself” said Gisele commanded and Yewubdar spread her legs wide open so that her cunt gaped at the edge of the altar in invitation. Raising her shoulders from the surface she looked down over the occult symbols drawn on her flesh to where the ram stalked forward between her knees, its hooves clattering on the chapel floor. She panted and sighed with a depraved longing as the beast sniffed the air and caught the scent of the salt solution which Carissa had smeared inside and around her cunt and arse before they began shooting.

“Wilt thou take the offering, Demon of Mendes?” said a thick French accent. Vasiliki’s grip tightened and Janika squeezed her hand in return when Lucifer suddenly reared up over Yewubdar, planting his front hooves on the altar and nuzzling at her groin. His thick tongue lolled out and began to lick vigorously, slavering over her cunt lips and delving into first one, then the other of her tight holes with swirling and thrusting motions. Yewubdar dissolved into a trembling and moaning frenzy. Her head rolled from side to side, her round breasts rose and fell, and her fists clenched at her sides. With a strangled cry, she forced herself up from the altar and span her athletic body around to lie face-down, her thighs parted, and her arse offered up to the animal’s attention. Her eyes were filled with dismay when the horns butted into her taut buttocks and the long tongue drove into her crotch again, rolling between her cunt lips to lap up the moisture inside her.

“I am unworthy” she cried out in anguish, as rehearsed, while Lucifer’s brutal tongue continued in its relentless licking and probing.

“Aye. Unworthy” replied Gisele. “You must be degraded further”. At this, Yewubdar let out a low moan and her hips spasmed. To those who didn’t know of her solemn vow, it would seem that she had allowed herself sexual release at the beast’s tonguing.

Gisele beckoned to her as Adélaïde pulled the goat away. She swung her legs over the side of the altar and moved unsteadily towards her, her head bowed and the pure white muslin of her wimple falling in a curtain before her eyes. When she drew level, Gisele pushed her down to the floor, and she crawled on her hands and knees out of the chapel, the camera dwelling on the shining wetness between her lean thighs. Her pitiful sobbing and wailing could still be heard as she crawled shamefully away down the hallway to await mortification for her failure. Then the shot changed to show where Mallika waited to take her place before fading to black.

Carissa appeared in the next scene, nude save for her feathered commedia dell'arte mask, a realistic black wig and a leather cache-sexe to hide her pubic tattoo from the uninitiated. She carried a curved knife and a simple, iron chalice. With a measured and stately pace, she moved over to the altar where a black gauze drape barely concealed the spread-eagled body of a woman. The fabric was drawn between her lips with every breath, in time with the excited rise and fall of her bosom. Carissa kissed the knife lingeringly before drawing the razor-sharp blade through the flimsy shroud, revealing Mallika’s perfect nudity centimetre by centimetre, then set it aside on the table of oblation. A graceful sweep of her arm emptied the oil from the chalice over her naked body, then she leant over to work it slowly and sensuously into the surrendered flesh. The marks of Mallika’s ordeal in the club stood out against her wheatish skin more vividly as her skin began to shine in the warm, orange light. Carissa’s fingers worked tirelessly but tenderly, kneading her breasts and pulling at the nipples, massaging her feet and legs firmly but stroking with cruel delicacy over her ribs and belly and into her cunt until she sighed with pleasure. At this, she took up the knife and cup again and, while Mallika looked on with smouldering eyes, swiftly drew the edge of the blade over the palm of her own hand. Blood started immediately, and she let it drip slowly into the cup until the flow lessened. Mallika sank long fingers into her mass of fine black hair and her body undulated as Carissa used the steel point to trace eldritch designs onto her using her blood as paint. Pentagrams and crosses were smeared over her trembling skin with painstaking strokes of the bloodied knife until she was patterned from cunt to chin.

Finally, Carissa leant close to kiss her softly and brush the hair from her brow. She stepped back into the shadows when the two goat-headed figures returned, leading Lucifer to the altar. Mallika ran the tip of her tongue around her lips and shook like a leaf as its shaggy head loomed up between her parted thighs, sniffing at her moistness. It clambered over her, surefooted on the black altar-cloth and she reached between their bodies to guide its cock, crying out when it slammed deep inside her. It began a brutal pounding and she wrapped her legs and arms around its back, calling out in a wild, wordless passion to the rhythm of its frantic hammering. The camera moved around her, catching the perverse performance from all angles. It closed in on the soft moistness of her cunt and the thick pizzle sliding slickly inside it then panned out to show her manicured hands pulling the beast’s hindquarters closer to her, lifting her smooth loins up to meet its bruising assault. Her mouth hung open in a paroxysm, her eyes closed blissfully, and her slender throat outstretched, spattered by flecks of white spittle from the ram’s slavering maw. At last it lifted its head to the vaulted ceiling and gave forth a thin, bleating cry. Her hands fell away limply, and the black goat jumped down to trot briskly away out of shot leaving Mallika spread across the altar panting and moaning.

“She is chosen” came Adélaïde’s voice, and Gisele nodded in agreement. Together they stepped forward to stand before her like figures from a nightmare – tall, athletic and muscular as Amazons, naked but for gold bracelets and necklaces and their fearsome satyr masks. Gisele drew the braquemard from its bejewelled sheath with a flourish.

A shadow fell across the room; Janika and Carissa turned together to see Dmitri and Grigori appear in the cell doorway. They began to stand obediently but Dmitri waved them back to their seats with a bandaged hand. His face was still completely concealed behind sterile gauze and he could only communicate by laboriously tapping messages into the tablet he now carried everywhere. He showed them the message he had already prepared.

THE NEW VIDEO WILL BE READY SOON”?

“Yes, Dmitri” Carissa answered. “We were just reviewing the final cut. Would you like me to start it again from the beginning”? He gestured for them to continue and sat between them on their shared cot while Grigori took the chair.

MALLIKA’S DEATH?” he typed.

“Not yet. She is taken in the next few minutes. I’m sure it will be beautiful”. With this, Carissa set the recording to play again.

Gisele bent forward to lay the edge of her blade against Mallika’s eagerly outstretched throat. She held her breath, but Gisele prolonged the agony, teasing her aching nipples with the point of the blade and running the edge gently back and forth over her glistening flesh until she was driven to the very brink of madness, unable to keep from touching herself. Adélaïde laid a masterful hand on her sweating brow while her lithe body undulated sensuously, her knees spread wide and busy fingers delving shamelessly into the wet folds of her cunt. Carissa reappeared, hidden behind her domino, to run her fingers through Mallika’s lustrous hair and spread it tenderly around her beautiful face. She brushed her fingertips over the Indian woman’s open lips and, cradling her head, fed her own nipple between them to be lapped and licked. Gisele pricked delicately at Mallika’s outspread thighs with the very tip of her sword while they indulged in this lascivious display, pressing the sharp point close to her caramel skin but never quite breaking the surface. Her writhing became more desperate.

“Please” she breathed, staring at the blue steel that toyed with her navel “I beg”! These words had not been written for her, but Gisele gave a curt nod behind her disguise and raised the sword high over the writhing body. She spread her arms wide and turned her head to the vaulted ceiling for a small eternity, then brought her hands back together to aim the blade down at her victim’s bosom. “The Pallid Mask” Mallika cried, as the steel slammed down between her ribs and into her heart in a great crimson explosion. The chanting stopped, and the camera held still for a moment while she arched up from the altar and crashed back again, then panned slowly around and finally focused on Carissa. She bent over the twitching corpse and put her mouth to the oozing wound, licking and kissing and sucking in a sweet frenzy. Her hands ranged over the still flesh, smearing streaks of blood as far as she could reach. Adélaïde stepped up behind her, pulled her gently but firmly away, and hoisted the body easily over her broad shoulder; she carried it through the side door and out into the sunset. Her statuesque figure moved through the twilight to where the Molossian hounds had been ordered to wait; Janika had followed her, filming as she walked with well-practised skill. Adélaïde flung the body down before the dogs and they sprang at it ravenously, rending and tearing the beautiful form into an unrecognisable tangle of bones, flesh and innards.



JANIKA

Carissa clutched Janika’s hand as they watched this scene, remembering how Mallika had met her eye when she begged for the blade and the dark ecstasy she had read in her young face. Dmitri, too, was moved. He pulled Carissa towards him by her huge nipple-rings and spread his legs wide, turning a blank, masked face to her expectantly. She understood at once and eagerly reached to unfasten his trousers and release his twitching cock, gently enfolding it in her fingers while watching him intently for more instructions. Meanwhile, the final scene of the video played out in complete silence. The two French sisters stood either side of the bloodied altar, arms akimbo and heads held high so that their throats were exposed beneath their grotesque masks. The camera panned around to the chapel door and followed the stately approach of a masculine figure, hooded and robed completely in black like some phantom monk. This sequence had been edited very differently and jerked suddenly from one angle to another as he bore down on the two women. Suddenly, he was standing directly in front of Gisele. At this point she had forgotten herself and cried out to le masque livide but Pierre had performed his part regardless, producing a long, thin blade from his sleeve which his gauntleted hand swept effortlessly through her jugular in a great scarlet arc. As the body collapsed to the floor he turned to Adélaïde and the camera-angle changed once and twice before zooming in on her. Her body was pressed outwards and upwards in mute surrender and the blade shot out a second time. The clip ended with Adélaïde lying across her sister’s corpse with blood spurting from her throat. Janika turned off the monitor when the image of the Yellow Sign filled the screen again and went to kneel at Grigori’s feet, waiting for orders. Carissa began to pump her fist briskly, still using the loosest grip, and Dmitri threw his head back. His breathing became laboured and rasping and his mighty chest began to rise and fall more deeply. He brushed her aside, scrabbling with clumsy fingers for his tablet. The room fell silent while he jabbed at the screen and turned it to face Janika. Her mouth fell open in surprise and she pressed a hand to her chest.

“Upon me?” she asked, her face aglow, “upon me”? At his nod, she fell to the floor and kissed the toe of each of his velvet slippers, then sprang to her feet, grabbed Carissa by the hand, and hurried her from the room.

“What are we doing?” Carissa asked as she was led along the corridor, past the open doors of empty cells.

“I am to be hanged” Janika explained, breathless with excitement, as she went to the store cupboard to retrieve a length of rope. Carissa’s mind raced. Janika had shown her how to use the camera and studio equipment; Yewubdar was available for everyday chores. There was no reason for her sister to stay alive any longer.

“What must I do?” she asked. Janika paused and looked down at the rope.

“I am to meet the king” she said quietly. Her hands shook as she tied the end into a hangman’s knot. “You should bring a whip” she told Carissa, nodding towards a rack of canes and lashes. Hesitantly, she reached for a long strap of supple, tan leather. They had spent many quiet hours together, massaging oil into these instruments.

“This?” she asked. Janika took it from her and put it back, selecting instead a vicious whip made of fine chains and barbs. She drew a deep breath.

“This” she told her, fiercely. “Now - come”!

When they returned to the cell the men rose to their feet, turning masked faces towards them. Carissa helped them strip off their clothes and folded them carefully on her cot - where she would sleep alone that night she remembered, with a dark shiver at the thought of what was to come. Janika went to a beam in the centre of the cell’s ceiling and passed the end of the rope through a loophole which Carissa had never noticed before, then placed the footstool beneath it and stepped on. She ran her fingers through her close-cropped white hair, down the nape of her neck and around her throat. With a sigh, she reached to the back of her neck to unfasten her slave-collar for the first and last time, and let it fall to the floor. Carissa stepped forward to settle the noose under her chin and pull the knot tight behind her ear. She pressed the length of her nude body against Janika’s and licked her neck. Then she took the end of the rope and hauled on it until the muscles in her arms stood firm and taut and Janika swung helplessly choking, her hands reaching desperately over her head to grasp the rope and ease the tension on her throat. Carissa looped the end around the lamp bracket and adjusted it so that Janika could just stand on tip-toe before tying it off securely.

Janika’s eyes followed her as she picked up the scourge and brought it to her lips to be humbly kissed, then stepped back to give herself room to swing. Now began the most brutal flogging Carissa had ever delivered. A fierce exultation seized her at the sight of soft flesh presented for punishment. With no subtlety and no thought of restraint she swung the shining steel in great arcs, left and right, slicing into white skin, tearing and rending. Janika twisted from side to side at the hips as her toes desperately sought purchase on the worn woodwork. Her mouth gaped in silent agony and her fingers scrabbled wildly at the hemp biting cruelly into her tender flesh of her neck. In a moment of respite while Carissa paced around to lay into her back she managed to take a firm grip of the rope above her head and settle her feet together. She drew great lungfuls of air, her body at full stretch and pathetically vulnerable to the whip when the torment began again, as violently as before. The screams were full-throated now, an unfeigned expression of complete and utter despair. The strokes landed slightly higher each time, first cracking into her buttocks and wrapping around her hips and then cutting a latticework up her back until the wounds were being carved into her shoulder-blade, under her arms and into her round breasts, where blood sprayed when the hooks ripped her. Janika’ s hands fell away from the rope and her feet slipped on the smooth oak; she bared her white teeth in a grimace of pure anguish and her tongue protruded soft and wet as the noose tightened. Dmitri folded his arms and observed her frantic struggling in quiet satisfaction, impassive behind his surgical mask, until at last her writhing lessened and her hands fell away, limply, to her sides. Her eyes were half closed and her mouth half open and she spoke in a low, husky voice when Dmitri and Grigori closed in around her.

“Thank you”. Both had gym-hardened bodies, although Grigori would never quite lose the weight he had put on during years of enforced idleness in prison. Her hands roamed over them, stroking chests and bellies, running her fingertips delicately around their balls and over their throbbing erections while she chewed on her lower lip and flared her nostrils. Dmitri moved closer and seized her arse, taking the weight while positioning her exposed cunt over his twitching cock. Her breathy sigh of relief was stifled almost immediately when he rammed himself deep inside her welcoming wetness and began to ream her with brutal stabs of his broad hips. Her arms enfolded his heavy shoulders as she pressed her slender body to his, meeting his attack with an equal fervour. Meanwhile, Grigori had stepped up behind her and reached an arm around her waist. Taking careful aim, he drove his stiff cock firmly into the puckered bud of her arse. She sighed as his hips began to pump up and down. Grigori grunted with effort and Janika screamed at the violence of the dry prick stabbing deep inside her and wrapped herself even more tightly around Dmitri’s mighty frame. The cries of pain settled into a series of staccato yelps as her two executioners took hold of her arse and thighs, found their pace, and began to thrust into her two holes with long strokes - first the one, then the other.

“Upon me!” she sobbed. The motion of the two became harder and faster, their grinding and pounding redoubled. Janika’s breasts bounced and she laid a hand onto Dmitri’s heaving chest to excite his nipples with fluttering fingers. He could only grunt and pant, but Janika began to cry out as she bucked and writhed under the double assault. At last, he finished with a muffled snarl and froze rigid, his hips thrust forward and up before he backed away from the makeshift gallows. His arms fell away from her and a great shudder ran through him. Janika slipped back from his clasp and her feet lost purchase on the stool. As the noose went taut she had barely enough breath to gasp “The Pallid Mask!” before Grigori’s cock was wrenched, spurting, from her bowels, leaving her hanging unsupported. Her tongue lolled from her mouth and her face went a fiery red.

The body swung gently from the rafter. Grigori took up the tablet and laboriously tapped out a new message:

DRAIN HER BLOOD INTO A BASIN FOR ME. GIVE THE FLESH TO THE DOGS”.

While Janika died, Carissa ran to the kitchens to find a suitable bowl, and a knife.  

ANASTASIYA

The men were almost recovered from the final procedures. They now wore only cotton face masks, to prevent infection during the healing process, and could speak normally at last. Dmitri sprawled comfortably over a chesterfield armchair in his own sitting room while Carissa painstakingly removed the dressings from his hands for the last time.

“And so, people rather think of you as a kind of Bluebeard character” she said, continuing their conversation from lunch.

“More grey than blue these days” he chuckled, in great good humour after a proper meal, and with the prospect of being able to use his fingers freely again. “But how do you mean”?

“Like Gilles de Rais, you were a war hero who became a monster – a sex murderer. They say…” her voice trailed away, and she bent to her work to cover her confusion. “I’m sure people simply don’t know” she added, hesitantly.

“It is a gift to know how others see us” Dmitri said easily from behind his mask. “So says the poet, the Scottish one”.

“Quite so. Well, they say that you were working with the gendarmes and a beautiful young Waldensteiner dissident was brought in for interrogation. They did not know she was your lover when they ordered you to torture her, and both of you kept the secret until she died in agony at your hands. Some say it was the false information she gave them that led to the rebels’ victory. Everyone says that was why you led the Twenty-First Battalion to mutiny against the regime. And,” she added with an uneasy shrug, “that it made you lose your mind and become a cannibal and killer”.

“Some of that is – not untrue” he replied. She looked up eagerly from her work. “Yes, there is a tale” he went on, his eyes twinkling.

“My battalion, the famous twenty-first, had been relieved from front-line duties for a week to refit and re-equip. We were billeted in private homes all over Mirenburg – this was one of the measures that made the regime so unpopular – but, as sergeants, Grigori and I had been allocated an old platelayer’s hut to ourselves. That meant our evenings were our own”.

The young people of the city were in a ferment. Students and factory hands, office workers and off-duty conscripts mingled together in cafés and clubs, openly defying military rule by following Circessian fashions in clothing and music. Dmitri and Grigori used to wear work fatigues without rank markings and spent their evenings in the folk music club they had frequented when final-year students at the institute, only a year earlier. It was housed in a decayed townhouse in an abandoned corner of the Saxon Quarter, where the militia had never bothered to patrol and were hardly likely to start patrolling now. The more radical of Mirenburg’s youth congregated there - alongside various smugglers, petty criminals and elements of the demi-monde.

“The atmosphere was intoxicating” Dmitri’s words held Carissa enrapt. “Where we had once idly discussed art and philosophy there were fizzing debates about revolution, civil disobedience and even armed resistance. And I kept hearing the same girl’s voice from the tables around me. It belonged to a tall student with henna-dyed hair who seemed to settle every argument with a passion and a confidence that soon garnered her a crowd of followers. She had such vivacity, and such a compelling beauty”. The fabric was drawn taut over Dmitri’s lips as he heaved a great sigh. “Grigori joked that he could stare at her for all eternity, and then would turn to see me still staring at her”.

“Dmitri is simply right” Anastasiya declared. Her imperial-era jade necklace clattered on the table-top as she leant right across it to jab a purple fingernail into her interlocutor’s chest. “The army and the people must unite. Or the revolution will be defeated”! She sat back. “And you should listen to what Grigori is telling us about the mood of the troops in the occupied zone. Nothing is more important”.

The youth shrugged, and all eyes turned back to Grigori. He had scarcely opened his mouth to speak when the door to the street was flung open and a student burst into the gathering, breathless and dishevelled.

“Cossacks”! he cried. “By the canal in St Nerses. They have knouts and knives”! There was a great scraping of chairs as all the men rose as one and rushed to follow the young activist out to the streets. Anastasiya leapt to her feet also, but Dmitri laid a hand on her arm.

“There are enough strong lads to chase those thugs away” he told her. “You don’t have to put yourself in danger. Your words are more valuable than your fists”. Smiling, she sat down again. Grigori looked around the now-deserted café and took a long pull at his drink.

“May we walk with you to your room”? he asked.

“I am in the accommodation on Rosenstrasse” she said, using the old, imperial name.

“Why, that’s on our way” Dmitri smiled. “Let’s drink up at our leisure. We can tell you more about the front”. Grigori threw him an amused, sidelong glance.

The streets were quiet when they finally left, the rain had stopped, and a full moon shone down on the wet cobbles. Anastasiya had been gently encouraged to tell them more about herself, and the conversation had taken a very different turn. They found that she was at least as enthusiastic about the sexual aspect of the revolution.

“My thesis was to be about sexual ethics during the empire, but I haven’t worked on it in months” she said. “I have been doing my own research, looking into new forms of morality that transgress and replace everything that has gone before”. As they walked, Grigori dropped back a step, then two, as they fell into a deep and animated conversation about books he had not read. One work which was mentioned several times, Bek’s Commentaries on De Sade and Desclos, gave him a good idea of where things were going; the samizdat edition was usually bound with the first act of The King in Yellow. Outside the student residences the trio shuffled to a halt. Anastasiya reached out to touch the lapel of Dmitri’s khaki jacket.

“Does the evening have to end here?” she asked quietly. Grigori coughed.

“I think I shall pay Vadim a visit” he said. “The old widow he is billeted with sleeps like a log, and he is always ready to drink and play cards all night”. But she laid her other hand on his shoulder and smiled sweetly into his face.

“I had hoped to go back with both of you” she murmured. The men looked at each other.

“There was that curious girl we met in our first year…” Grigori began. Anastasiya slipped her arms around their waists and spoke in a determined voice that also had a slight catch in it.

“I am looking for the Yellow Sign”. She lifted her chin proudly.

“Do you know what you have just said?” Dmitri asked her, in a careful and deliberate tone. She closed her eyes for a moment, and her breasts rose and fell beneath her peasant blouse.

“Yes” she breathed.

“It means a complete and utter submission” he continued, watching her face intently. “You understand that”?

“Submission can be a revolutionary act” she replied, quietly.

They went on in silence to the hut where the men were quartered, hundreds of yards inside the deserted marshalling yards. Grigori unlocked the door and lit the lamp. As the light slowly spread he shot the bolt behind them and led Anastasiya by the elbow to stand in the middle of the room. A chill had gripped the old building, even on such a mild night, and Dmitri went immediately to stoke up the fire. Its warm glow tinged the Spartan ugliness of the interior; there were two cots, haversacks and bandoliers slung from the exposed rafters and then stacks of military supplies which took up most of the space. Grigori grabbed a small canvas satchel. He spoke without looking around.

“Take off your jeans and your pants”. Anastasiya obeyed at once, wriggling out of tight denim to reveal the slim hips and long legs of a ballerina. With one foot, she pushed her clothes and sandals under a bed, then shook her red hair free from its pony-tail and stood naked from the hips down - one knee bent and her arms loose like an artist’s model. While Grigori emptied his bag, and spread the contents out on his blanket, Dmitri approached her. He stood regarding her, arms folded, and she met his gaze unflinchingly.

“You should tell us your limits now” he said.

“No limits” she insisted. “I am utterly yours”. He took her peace-symbol pendant between his thumb and forefinger, turning it to and fro.

“Then there is no going back”.

“I have longed to hear those words” she sighed. “You can do whatever you want with me,” her voice faltered, and she swallowed hard. “Nobody knows I’m here…”. He stepped back, eyeing her curiously. Grigori pushed between them with a muttered apology, taking a spool of barbed wire towards the side wall and fastening the end to the window-frame.

“We will make you beg for mercy” Dmitri said. He ran his fingers through her hair as he spoke, and she closed her eyes, tilting her head to the side like a cat being petted. Her eyes widened in surprise when he took a fistful of her hair and kissed her brutally, full on the lips. Clumsily, her fingers sought the front of his uniform and fumbled with the buttons. When he released her mouth, she trailed her lips and tongue down his throat and chest, frantically pulling his tunic open to fasten her lips over his nipple. He tossed his head back and snorted, grimacing, while she suckled like a hungry lamb and ran her fingers down his ribs and around his back.

“Move her aside, please” said Grigori, steadily unrolling the wire as he backed towards them. Dmitri seized her by the shoulders and held her away from him. She was passive and limp in his grip, moving only to part her thighs when the coil was passed between them. She grimaced in pain as Grigori slowly raised the wire, her teeth gleaming white against dark lipstick. He secured it to a hook in the doorframe, tight enough to lift her to her toes and digging deeply into her cunt. A barb pierced the pale skin of her pubic mound. She heaved a rasping breath then her eyelids drooped lazily, and she licked her lips. Dmitri smiled and turned to take two bulldog clips from the array of equipment laid on Grigori’s cot. He held one to her face and opened it to show the strength of the spring.

“Pinch your nipples” he directed. Her hands went immediately to pull open the neck of her peasant blouse, freeing her high breasts. She began to tug and squeeze at her teats, which quickly became long and erect. When Dmitri reached towards her she dropped her hands and watched while he opened both clips, just a few centimetres away from her nipples. At his nod, she leant forward; her nostrils flared as the wire cut a little deeper then she offered herself to the cruel bite of the steel plates. Her broken cry of pain filled the hut when they snapped closed, and she thrust a fist into her mouth to stifle the sound.

“Scream all you want” smiled Grigori, moving towards her. “Nobody can hear you”. With this, he passed one of two C-clamps to Dmitri and dropped to his knees beside her, loosening the bolt. “She is very wet” he observed, inhaling deeply as he applied his clamp to her cunt lip and began to tighten it again. Beside him, Dmitri was doing the same. Soon both devices were fastened and hanging free, stretching and pinching her tender flesh. Instinctively, she let herself lower from her toes; the barbed wire cut more deeply into her crotch and her hands clawed at the air as she threw her head back, grunting and sobbing through clenched teeth.

“She is ready for us to begin” Dmitri said. She blinked the tears from her eyes to watch him select the next implement of torture.

“We cannot keep fetish gear in our kit” Grigori explained, “because the officers would think it “decadent”. However, we have gathered some things from the quartermaster’s stores”. As he spoke, Dmitri was snapping segments of fibreglass tubing together. “For example, that collapsible rifle cleaning rod makes an excellent cane, and this telephone cable can serve very effectively as a whip”. Draping the cord over her shoulder, he looped a hank of rope around the rafter above them until the ends hung at the level he wanted. Anastasiya offered her wrists obediently and he secured them with swift efficiency. Her shoulders and arms tensed to lift her cunt a few precious centimetres away from the barbed wire and a grim smile came to Grigori’s face.

“That will only ease the pain briefly” Dmitri said from behind her. “Your arms will tire as we beat you and then the steel will cut into you again”. As he spoke, Grigori took the length of cable and doubled it into a loop. With an evil smirk, he flicked it over one of the bulldog clips and sent darts of fiery pain radiating from her nipple.

“Please!” she moaned. Dmitri grabbed a fistful of her coppery hair and pulled her head around to face him.

“You want to beg?” he mocked and swung the rifle-rod through the air beside them with a woeful whistling. Her eyes smouldered.

“I am begging” she gasped. “Use me. Take your pleasure of me”. Grigori tapped the other clip and she cried out throatily.

“His pleasure is your pain” he said, drawing back the loop of telephone wire ready to strike.

“And your submission” Dmitri growled from behind her. Both men swung at her together, striping her arse and belly with a double swish and crack, driving the air from her lungs. They each laid on another five strokes, alternating and intermittent. Angry red tracks stood out on her round cheeks where the rod had bitten, duller marks where the cord patterned her lower belly and pubic mound. She hung her head, taking great, sobbing gulps of air, while the two changed places. Looking up again, she saw Dmitri standing before her, thoughtfully running his improvised cane over the palm of his hand.

“I will mark your breasts now” he told her with a cold smile. “And so, I shall first remove these clamps. Brace yourself”. With this he removed the bulldog clips, gently and patiently. She howled like a wounded animal as the blood rushed back to her distended nipples. Dmitri stood in readiness while she twisted and writhed, every movement forcing the steel wire to cut her cunt more deeply. Behind her, Grigori took a pocket knife to her blouse, cutting it from her shoulders so that her back was bared to him. She craned her neck to watch the fragments of cotton drift down around her.

“I won’t need it again” she sighed. “I will die before I will betray my comrades”. A single drop of moisture fell from her cunt to the floorboards between her feet.

“I remember the look Grigori gave me” Dmitri told Carissa. “It was a mix of amusement and disappointment. Role playing seemed such a let down from her initial enthusiasm for an honest session of torture and abuse. However, we took it as a challenge and set to forcing her to break the fourth wall”.

Dmitri took careful aim, slicing into her champagne-glass breasts above and below her swollen nipples at long intervals, shifting his stance from time to time to place his blows from different angles. Fiery lines stood out angrily on her pale flesh. Grigori was far less subtle. He swung at her buttocks and back in flurries of blows, forehand and backhand, until she wore a huge red bruise from shoulders to hips. Anastasiya screamed wordlessly throughout this ordeal, rocking to and fro in her bonds as the pain visited her from before and behind, until Dmitri brought the cleaning-rod smartly across the tips of both her nipples. She froze rigid, her eyes rolled back in her head, and then she slumped onto the crotch-wire in a dead faint.

“Catch her.” Grigori spoke over his shoulder as he went to slacken the barbed wire and pull it away. Dmitri untied the rope from her wrists and lowered her gently to the floor, then accepted a pull from the neck of the brandy bottle Grigori passed to him. They stood over her naked form smoking papirosas until she uttered a low groan and lifted her head painfully from the rough boards. Propped up on one arm she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and turned a tear-streaked face to them.

“And what will we do with you now?” asked Dmitri, mocking her.

“My mouth is yours to fuck, my arse is yours to pierce and rip”.

“The slut wants us to reward her”. Grigori stubbed out his cigarette and took another swig from the bottle.

“Why indulge her?” Dmitri returned. “She has not earned it”.

“I will wash your feet with my tongue” she said, crawling towards him. “I will lick your balls and arseholes and drink your piss, but I will never talk. I would sooner die at your hands”.

“You will do exactly as you are told” he replied sternly, a note of genuine anger creeping into his voice.

“Then command me” she implored, looking from one to the other as she knelt naked and bruised at their feet. The silence that followed was broken by a metallic clatter when Grigori’s heavy belt-buckle hit the floor. Dmitri followed his lead and pulled off tunic and trousers; both men stood before her unclad save for boots and dog-tags, their pricks standing proud and engorged. She eyed them hungrily until Grigori swung his open hand brutally onto her cheek with a tremendous clap. She gasped and reddened, but swiftly raised her head again to welcome another blow.

“You will not enjoy this” he spat. “This is no lovers’ game. We are about to torture you beyond your limits. You will break down”.

“This is the end” she sighed. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her face to his groin.

“Use your mouth well” he ordered, presenting his stiff cock. “I will be first to bugger you, so make me wet if you don’t want to be torn”. Her fingers wrapped delicately around the shaft and she looked deep into his eyes before pressing a gentle kiss to the underside of the head with softly pursed lips. “Defiance!” he barked. “You will pay dearly for that decision”. Meanwhile, Dmitri had taken his place on the edge of the camp-bed, leaning back on his elbows with his legs spread and his crotch thrust forward.

“Crawl to me” he rumbled, and Anastasiya humbly dragged her bloodied form over the bare floorboards. Wrapping his strong fingers in her hair he pulled her slowly but firmly to her feet then guided her hips over his so that she was positioned astride him. He paused and regarded her with narrowed eyes. From thighs to throat her white flesh was patterned with a mesh of welts and bruises. Her cunt lips were an angry red and spotted with blood where the barbs had bitten into her, but still dripping wet and gaping. He pulled her down and she impaled herself on his erection with a grateful sob.

“Excuse me”. Carissa interrupted the story. “I have finished your right, Dmitri. Can you move the fingers”? He turned, and his shoulder flexed.

“It is good” he replied, “everything I expected”. She shifted her stool to begin work on the other hand, and he continued his story.

“I held her down on me, grinding our hips together very slowly, and she wrapped her arms tenderly around my neck. I sensed that she was about to cry out for more when Grigori seized her arse and stabbed his prick deep inside it in one, brutal thrust. We had shared a girl once before, in our student days, but that had been a slow and gentle opening and she sang out with pure lust the whole time. This was different. Anastasiya shrieked like a forest demon, shaking violently and tossing her head so that her hair and face were just a blur. When she fought to catch her breath, the room was filled with the clatter of the bed frame on the wooden floor rattling under the weight of Grigori’s fierce assault. His fingers dug into the flesh of her slim hips and he pounded like a steam hammer; I could feel him inside her, driving violently to and fro”. His eyes smiled above the mask. “Grigori was a phenomenon. He fucked like an animal, relentless and powerful. I had never witnessed such a fierce sodomizing – at that time – and I kept expecting a call for mercy which never came”.

At last, Grigori froze rigid and grimaced like a gargoyle. With a great exhalation, he pulled free of her bleeding hole and stumbled to the other cot, grabbing the neck of the bottle on his way. He ran his fingers over his buzz-cut scalp, swallowed a great draught of brandy, and sat panting like a gun dog. But Dmitri allowed Anastasiya no time to compose herself. Hauling her up from his groin like a rag doll he flung her face-first onto the thin mattress and moved behind her. A groan issued from deep inside her and she lifted herself onto knees and elbows, twisting her neck to look over her shoulder.

“What do you have to say?” he demanded, smiling grimly at this pantomime.

“I know,” she panted, “that you are - are men of the twenty-first”. A tremor ran through her and she bit down on her upper arm until it passed. “People disappear. I will – ah! – I will be found in the canal…” she fell into a fitting of sobbing. Dmitri stood behind her, his prick twitching and dripping with her juices.

“I admit, I was taken aback” he told Carissa. “Grigori and I wore no insignia so that we could pass ourselves off as depot troops. You must understand that the twenty-first had a reputation at that time very different to its reputation since the mutiny. We were the president’s green-eyed killers, unquestioningly obedient and ruthless and, frankly, we two were ashamed of that. Suddenly, this game had taken a strange and sinister turn. Then I sensed that Grigori was at my shoulder.

“We cannot let her live, sergeant” he said, with a sly wink that Anastasiya could not see. “Use her and snuff her”. With this, he handed Dmitri a length of cord with a wooden toggle at either end, perhaps the fastening of a duffle-bag. Understanding the subterfuge at once, Dmitri took it and looped it tightly around her throat with one fluid motion, wrapping both ends around one fist. Her hands clawed uselessly at the air when he pulled her to kneel upright in front of him and then pressed the head of his cock into her bruised arsehole with his thumb. With his comrade leering beside him, swigging brandy and laughing, he ploughed her arse thoroughly while tightening the noose little by little so that her cries became croaks and her desperate writhing transformed to a frenzied jerking. Her face turned crimson, then purple as she gasped, choked and coughed. Her lips drew back over white teeth and her tongue lolled out. As her eyes rolled back in her head and her limbs went limp, Dmitri gave a huge groan and, releasing the ends of the rope, fell forward onto her unconscious body.

“We found a woman’s uniform shirt to replace her blouse, dressed her and carried her back to the student residence. It must have been the last time I rang a doorbell and ran away,” he chuckled, “and God knows what they thought had happened to her. A lot of citizens were taken away and tortured that year, many of them by men of our battalion, and not all of them returned”. Dmitri looked down at Carissa, bent attentively over his fingers. “I had clipped one of our cap badges to the back of her peace symbol pendant. I did not tell Grigori because I felt foolish, but part of me thought that she had not been play-acting when she challenged us to make her talk. I wanted her to know that I was a sadist but was never one of the president’s killers”.

Suddenly, the door was thrown open and Yewubdar rushed in. Carissa leapt to her feet.

“So? He has taken the bait?” she asked.

NATALYA

Months had gone by since Natalya had found Dmitri’s depraved passion play on the dark net and, following the instructions from the crucified women, had submitted herself to the King in Yellow. Every morning now, she pushed the glass plug into her anus and spent the whole day secretly thrilled at the dull pain it caused her. Every evening she perched naked and open-legged on the edge of her single bed to thread a length of amber silk through the piercings she had made in her cunt lips, both to keep the holes from healing and to close herself in readiness should they come to collect her before morning. But, every night, she lay between soft sheets with her arms and legs outspread and a hot tear welling in her eye, neglected and frustrated, until she found herself waking from dreams of Hastur to the dawn of another quiet, respectable working day. She had almost become perversely reconciled to her living hell when the long-awaited sign appeared on a hand-delivered envelope one Sunday morning. She pressed the sheet of typed instructions to her bosom in a rapture, on the edge of a sexual frenzy at the very thought of making the journey but forcing herself to remain calm and to follow her orders methodically.

Later, she stood at Mirenburg Central waiting for the Alaniya train, holding a ticket for the second stop in the Armenian Quarter which she had bought with her credit card. She had made the same journey many times to spend the evening with her widowed cousin, although never with her cunt sewn closed and her arse plugged, and she marvelled at the omniscience of the King in Yellow. She found the empty carriage at the far end of the platform and went straight to the W.C. As ordered, she pulled off her jeans and sweater, tucked them into a canvas carrier-bag with her ticket, and changed into the cargo trousers and combat jacket that she had been hiding for months. She tucked her raven hair carefully under a woollen hat, put on a pair of black sunglasses, and reached behind the soap dispenser to find the ticket which her instructions had told her would be waiting. By this time, an electronic voice was announcing the first stop, just outside of the old city walls. She had barely enough time to check herself in the mirror before hurrying to disembark. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw another woman entering the carriage with downcast eyes, heading towards the toilet. Presumably her task was to retrieve the clothes and ticket, but it was better to know no more than was strictly necessary. Natalya made sure she was in the middle of the short queue to pass through the ticket barrier and then stood with her back to the closed-circuit television cameras studying the city map on the wall of the tram stop until the others had dispersed to cars and taxis. She looked both ways and suddenly set off, with a purposeful and confident air, into the side-alley opposite. It opened out into a grey courtyard where a black van, perhaps a military vehicle of some kind which had been repurposed for civilian use, was idling at the kerbside. Without looking left or right, without hesitating for a moment in her step, she went straight to the hatch at the back and climbed into the darkness inside.

Hours passed before the vehicle finally came to a halt, after an increasingly rough ride out of the city. When the door swung open Natalya, the last to enter, was the first to emerge blinking into the low sun of the late afternoon. They were outside of a stone structure from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, perhaps a monastery or seminary. It had a tiled, hexagonal tower of modest proportions and a few outbuildings in various stages of dilapidation. There were wooded hillsides all around and the gravel driveway was carpeted with dry leaves and pine needles.

“Line up over here, please”. The speaker was a tall, lithe, shaven-headed African, with high cheekbones and delicate features. She was naked save for high boots, a leather collar, nipple-rings and a tattoo of the Yellow Sign above her cunt. As Natalya moved over to the path she gave an involuntary start at the sight of another nude, collared slave; she was also tall, but fair-skinned, and she was unmistakably the woman who had assisted Dmitri in the King in Yellow film. She smiled warmly into Natalya’s eyes, who blushed to realise that she had been staring. Women of various ages and nationalities followed after her, each casting curious, sidelong glances at her companions. There was a suppressed gasp from the group when the last passenger stepped into the light and came to stand beside them and Natalya heard her own voice breathe the name, “Serakh”. Such a celebrated beauty and artiste that she needed no surname, and she had been somewhere in the vehicle’s stygian interior with the rest of them!

“You are all welcome,” the white woman said, “I am Carissa, this is Yewubdar, and we will direct you”. Behind them, they heard the engine start up and tyres crunching as the unseen driver set off again. Carissa indicated the piles of shoes and clothing on the steps outside the great oak door and the women began to undress. Most wore anal plugs, often beautifully decorated, and some had their cunts laced closed with leather thongs or fine chains. Oliviya, the petite brunette kindergarten-teacher who had sat next to Natalya on the journey was the first to be naked, revealing the black leather slave harness she wore under her modest dress, and she adopted a posture with her feet somewhat apart and her hands clasped behind her head. One by one, the others followed her example; Natalya was strangely proud of them all, certain that each would die beautifully and roast well. The two slave overseers walked slowly along the line, appraising them.

“We’re going to need you to remove your piercings” Yewubdar told the first woman, and her scarlet-dyed fringe fell over her eyes as she began to unscrew the steel barbells in her nipples and navel.

“But you may leave the jewellery in your ears and eyebrows” Carissa said. “They suit you and won’t cause a problem in the kitchen”. She ignored the collective frisson which ran through them all at her words and moved on to inspect Serakh. Her clear and milky-white skin was covered with indigo bruises and pink rope-burns, decorating her generous curves with a pattern of calculated and severe abuse. Carissa took one of her punished breasts and weighed it in her hand, smiling at the shiver provoked by her gentle touch.

“You have been well beaten quite recently” Yewubdar remarked, running a long finger over the swell of her belly.

“This morning” she replied, huskily, and a faraway look came into her eyes. “My servant strung me up by the wrists and worked on me with a heavy belt until the moment of my collection”. Carissa reached out with both hands and brushed the thick hair away from her temples.

“She has the face,” she said “and her skin bears marks beautifully. I think we have found the one to be crucified”. Yewubdar paused for a moment in thought.

“I agree” she said, at length “but she should put her hair up”. Serakh began to rearrange her coiffure and they carried on along the line; this one needs lipstick and eye shadow, this one should wear nude nail-polish, another bears the brand of her last owner which must be masked with body-paint. The young woman next to Natalya confirmed, to Carissa’s satisfaction, that she had trained as a dancer and then it was her own turn for inspection.

“Athletics?” asked Yewubdar, raising a perfect eyebrow as she ran her fingers over Natalya’s firm thighs and abdomen in a thrillingly proprietorial manner.

“I do gymnastics training – I did, when I could…” she stammered in reply, feeling embarrassed. Yewubdar silenced her with a gentle hand to her lips, smiling into her eyes.

“Then you can hold a pose steadily, even when all you know is pain” she observed. It was not a question. Natalya returned her smile.

“You will all be given roles to play – living or dead” Carissa was addressing all of them now. “Your sacrifices will be an important performance; it is a privilege”. She turned and strode purposefully up worn steps to the massive timbered door that dominated the front of the building. All eyes followed her towards the ebony X-frame which lay at the top of the stairs. Her oiled body glinted in the sunlight as she bent to take up a hammer and long nails and stood waiting. Now, heads turned to watch Serakh as she slowly climbed the steps to join her. The creamy flesh of her back, buttocks and thighs was discoloured as comprehensively as the skin of her breasts and belly with vivid welts and bruises. Her arms swung loose at her sides as she walked, her head held high and her eyes fixed on some unknowable distance. On reaching the cross she bowed to Carissa and spread her voluptuous body slowly and luxuriously over the woodwork, stretching her hands and feet out to the ends of the timbers and letting her head fall back to gaze up at the evening sky. Her battered breasts rose and fell; for all her courage and dark desire she could not disguise her body’s reaction to the coming ordeal. A look passed between her and the shaven-headed slave before she closed her eyes and gnawed nervously at her lower lip.

“Please – what is happening”? Natalya looked curiously at the young woman beside her, who was blinking in confusion. “I cannot see without my glasses” she explained, in a low whisper.

“Serakh, the soprano, is about to be crucified” Natalya told her, under her breath. “She is surrendering her wrists and ankles to be nailed to the cross”. A shrill, drawn-out scream rang around the hills and prompted birds to take to the wing in alarm from the trees around them. There were gasps and sighs from the line of women while the cry died away and a short series of sharp hammer blows echoed around the valley as the first nail was driven home. The second scream was shorter and more breathy and followed by a pitiful sobbing that seemed to follow the rhythm of the hammering.

“Anything else!” she was begging now, fighting for breath as she panted pitifully. “Do anything to me, but not this”! Tears coursed down her cheeks and her whole body convulsed as far as her pinned wrists would allow. Her legs kicked out, crossing and contorting as she fought the ambivalent agony. “Let me be your lowest slave, your animal…” and she collapsed into bitter weeping, clamping her thighs tightly together.

“Carissa is beckoning, and two of the women have gone to her. Now they are holding a leg in place, ready for the next nail”. She was interrupted by the flat chiming of metal on metal and a long, low moan of agony. “They have moved back now,” Natalya continued. “She has stopped struggling”. And the final nail was driven home. Yewubdar glanced towards them.

“You – the tall one” she ordered, and Natalya stepped forward. Confused, the short-sighted woman followed close beside her.

“She cannot see” Natalya explained, misunderstanding. Yewubdar smiled.

“That won’t be a problem” she said, stroking the girl’s hair. “But now I need your height” and she gestured towards the spread-eagled beauty at their feet. “Would you take the other side, please”? Between four of them it was easy enough to lift the cross and suspend it from the iron brackets on the door. Anyone approaching the convent now would be met by the sight of a flogged and suffering victim nailed to the entrance. The combination of calculated cruelty and the careless use of a willing woman as an ornament rendered Natalya both weak at the knees and moist at the cunt. Carissa leant close to Serakh and kissed her full on the mouth, silencing her soft groans of pain.

“You like to beg” she said, and her shaven head shone in the afternoon sun as she glanced up at the sky. “It will be light for a few hours, and then I will send someone to put fresh whip marks on you” and she drew her nails down from her shoulder to squeeze the full breast. “Then you can beg until you have no breath left”. She pushed the heavy door open and Serakh threw her head back, grimacing in pain. They followed Carissa inside, and the preparations began.



PAVEL

Hidden in a thicket of rhododendron, Pavel stretched one leg then the other, pushing down on his knees to ease tight calf muscles after the brisk hike uphill. He had never dared to rest for a moment since his tracker had stopped working near the crest of the ridge, amongst a dense cover of firs and oriental oaks, and had raced against the sun to keep Ingrid in sight. Dusk was creeping across the treetops when he caught up with her at an old herdsman’s shelter, a simple structure of planks and shingles. Again, he cursed himself for not foreseeing a loss of coverage in the mountain borders; since leaving her boudoir that Sunday morning he had trailed her by anything up to a day, entirely reliant on signals emitted from the device hidden in the perineum piercing he had left her with. There was no real danger that he was being followed himself, but some instinct had compelled him to use all his counter-surveillance techniques; he had paid for travel and accommodation in cash and under various names, never following Ingrid’s route too directly and making a long and involved detour when he knew she was safely embarked on that sixty-hour ferry trip. Of course, she had boarded the ferry using a false identity and her hair had been dyed a light brown somewhere along the way – much the same shade that Eva’s hair had been. She wore a beige hijab and used yet another name to buy a rail ticket to the interior - then he had been obliged to follow her more closely as she hiked into the mountains, falling back on the hunting skills his uncles had taught him as a boy. In any case, he knew he was back on course because she had been in and out of the hut several times now, fetching firewood and water and hanging her equipment up to dry. He put down his binoculars confident that she was settling in for the night. They were probably a few kilometres inside Waldenstein, he reflected with some satisfaction. Everything was going to plan.

The moon shone brightly that night and Pavel placed his feet carefully as he moved silently towards the cabin. She had left her jacket hanging outside to air, confident that there would be no passers-by in these desolate hills, and he checked the pockets with brisk efficiency. There were few personal papers – all false – but there was a hikers’ map of the Waldenstein uplands identical to his own with a route to the next valley marked in red ink and a circle around what the map showed to be an abandoned building, perhaps a farm. He noted the reference and replaced the chart carefully, then edged closer to the narrow window and peered inside. His training told him to retire cautiously back to cover and observe from a distance, but a deeper urge compelled him to see her in the flesh.

The room was brightly lit by two lanterns and a cast iron stove. Ingrid sat cross-legged on a shaggy, black fleece, wrapped in a towel and brushing her hair with a faraway look in her eyes. Her hands moved like an automaton’s, her mind obviously elsewhere. When her routine was complete she reached to lay the brush down with her modest collection of toiletries and the towel fell away from her. Pavel drank in the sight of her superb nudity as she lay back luxuriantly on the fleece, still gazing into some unknown distance. With lazy movements, she swept a lock of hair from her face and trailed long fingers down her throat and chest to rest on her breast, squeezing gently. She spread her thighs slightly and he glimpsed the jewelled tip of the guiche he had given her glinting beneath the shaven folds of her cunt before her left hand slipped softly into her crotch and began sliding to and fro. Her breathing became a little quicker and a little deeper as her hands ranged slowly up and down her body, lingering over her nipples and clit to tug or pinch for mere moments before fluttering away again, toying with herself to prolong the excitement. She must have been in a state of intense arousal all day, he reflected, knowing that she was on the penultimate day of her journey – and of her life. No sooner had this thought struck him than she slipped a hand under the sheepskin and withdrew an open clasp-knife with a gleaming, twelve-centimetre blade.

She brought the weapon reverently to her lips and pressed a kiss to the bright steel, closing her eyes and licking the edge while her bosom rose and fell, and her free hand ranged over her abdomen towards her cunt. For some time, she kept the knife at her mouth, sucking at the tip as delicately as though fellating a lover, before voicing a low moan when she traced the blade over her chin and throat with exquisite slowness. Pavel struggled to suppress a cry of shock and pained excitement when the knife pricked at her swollen nipples and then pushed against the taut flesh over her ribs and stomach, never quite breaking the skin, while she squirmed luxuriously as though she were guiding a slave-girl’s tongue over her body rather than a deadly weapon. He clenched his fists and closed his eyes, shaking his head in a doomed attempt to exorcise the image of his Eva lying naked on her back and playing with just such a knife. That was the night he lost her, the night when she offered him the hilt and offered him her life, but he had been too – too weak? – to take her. To his tear-filled eyes, Ingrid seemed to resemble his dead fiancée more than ever and his mouth hung open when she moved the blade down to her cunt. After teasing the hood and bud of her clit and then dallying over the new barbell piercing Ingrid raised her hips and slowly pushed the tip of the steel blade inside herself, her thighs quivering and her breaths coming ragged and rapid. Her head tossed from side to side while she fucked herself with the long knife and she began to moan, wordlessly at first, then giving voice to her passion.

“Please!” she called out brokenly. “Now – please – Pavel! Ah, Pavel, yes…yes”! He started at hearing his name and then froze when she turned her face towards the grimy window. “Have me!” she panted, holding the blade over her belly between the palms of her hands so that the handle could be seized. She threw her head back, “Pavel. Take me – do me”! Again, she teased her nipples with the cruel blade and her back arched. He was sure his face was invisible in the darkness and quite positive that she could not know she had been followed. As she writhed and moaned in the soft lamplight he told himself that she called his name because he was the last one to abuse her. Such a pain-slut must have been used by many men and women; she was using her latest pick-up as the protagonist of her fantasy, that was all. A pine log cracked and burst into flames, casting a warm yellow glow from the open door of the pot-bellied stove and she began to speak again. “Plunge it into me,” she beseeched, “stab me! Stab me over and over again until my lifeblood soaks you”. On hearing those words – the exact words Eva had used - his eyes glazed over.

Pavel had relived that night in his dreams almost every time he laid down to sleep, and now while he skulked by this cabin window. In his waking life, he was a crusader against the cannibal ring who had seduced his Eva away from him, a dedicated servant of law and moral decency who engaged with the decadent only to trap and expose them. At night, when sleep finally overcame him, he was the man who had risen to the challenge and taken the knife, the man she needed him to be. She would have to grovel and beg while he regarded her with a calm, ironic detachment, not play-acting this time but playing with her like a cat. Something buried deep inside of him rejoiced at the thought of a victim weeping from her desperate need for release at his hand. He knew precisely how events should unfold from the moment she opened her eyes to see him standing over her.

“Do it” she breathed. With both hands, she held the knife up to him like an offering and, with a grim smile, he bent down to take the hilt. He turned it over in his hands, inspecting the stainless-steel blade and the bone haft while her fingers crept over her flat stomach to her cunt.

“You have not asked permission” he said quietly, testing the point with the ball of his thumb.

“Please?” she simpered, writhing luxuriantly on the fleece at his feet and coyly regarding him from beneath fluttering lashes.

“You may excite your nipples” he replied, without taking his eyes from the knife. She brushed her index fingers softly over the swollen tips, pausing briefly to wet them with her tongue, then pinched – gently at first but soon making herself moan. Craning her neck forward, she scooped up one prefect breast in her hand and sucked the nipple into her mouth. Her eyes closed blissfully. At this, he stepped over her to set a foot right beside her face. She beamed up at him for a heartbeat and turned onto her belly to press fervent kisses to the toe of his boot. Cradling his foot in her hands she lapped hungrily at the muddy leather while he looked down at her, idly switching the dagger from one hand to the other. Then he pulled his leg away from her and she turned an eager face back to him.

“Is it time?” she asked sweetly, rolling onto her back again and spreading her arms and legs open. Her cunt glistened moistly.

“All in due course” he smiled, relishing her impatience. He knelt beside her and held the knife a few centimetres above her exposed flesh, turning it this way and that to catch the warm, yellow light from the fire. She watched it avidly, licking her lips. He made several passes over her supine form, sweeping the blade back and forth, looping it in the air above her and hovering ominously over her cunt before finally bringing it to rest at the base of her neck. Slowly and with infinite gentleness he ran the edge from her soft shoulder and over her twisting torso to her hip, lingering over her breast and belly, teasing cruelly. She moaned.

“Slice me open” she begged. “Impale me. Stab…” then she gave a little cry of excitement and caught her breath. He had marked the silky smoothness of her stomach with a long, red scratch that barely broke the skin, starting a tiny trail of scarlet at the end of the line. She leant forward to see as he swept the blade across and down to inscribe the letter П into her flesh. Smiling, he raised the steel to his lips and licked at the smear of blood it had collected.

“You want this so badly” he murmured as he bent to his work again.

“Ah, yes!” she sighed, and her fists clenched around handfuls of soft wool. “Own me. Carve your name into me”. He was painstaking in his cruel calligraphy, tracing the letters slowly and evenly. From time to time he extended one finger to wipe away a drop of blood. As he finished the lettering, he put the bloodied digit to her mouth.

“Taste” he whispered, and she licked and sucked lovingly, looking deep into his eyes.

“Now”? Her tone was pleading, her thighs splayed and her breasts heaving. “There is nothing to stop you. Nobody knows I am here, and we are so alone. You can do…” here a tremor coursed through her, and she struggled to speak, “…you can do what you want with my body”. He lay down beside her and dragged her on top of him. Eagerly, she straddled his groin and fumbled frantically at his trousers to free his pulsing erection. She sank onto it in one fluid motion, smiling into his eyes, and began to buck her hips in slow, sensuous strokes. A look of grateful delight lit her face when he raised the knife toward her belly, eyeing her coldly. “Please…”. The shining steel swept up and drove effortlessly into the taut flesh of her abdomen. Blood rained down on him hotly and she groaned low in her throat. He stabbed two more times and she threw her head back and keened pitifully, her whole body thrashing and flailing. When her movements became slower and more feeble, he reached up to clutch at her bloodied breast and lay the edge of the blade to her slender throat.

“Now I will have you” he murmured in her ear.

“The Pallid Mask” she rasped, and he drew the knife through her jugular and trachea in a roiling eruption that drenched his face with her life blood.

Pavel slowly returned to reality like a diver emerging from the depths. He was half clad and his prick was buried inside a warm and limp corpse. He shook his head and blinked, taking great gulps of air. Ingrid’s beautiful and blood-spattered dead face stared up at him, a smile still playing at the corner of her mouth and a tremendous bite-mark around her left nipple. He who fights against dragons, he thought, still dazed from the tremendous sensation of sexual release that flooded through him. There was a movement and a sound, something in the corner of his eye; he became aware of a suede boot and then of its owner.

“You like them?” asked a woman’s voice, low and faintly accented. “They are girlskin – stylish yet practical”. Her tone was mocking. As he focussed he saw that the speaker was a slender, toned woman in her thirties, wearing hiking shorts and a chequered shirt. She held a Simonov carbine. Clumsily, he rolled onto his side and ran a hand over his brow and through his hair.

“Who…” he began, rising to his feet. He froze when he heard the gun’s safety snap off and saw that it was aimed between his eyes.

“Hands on your head” the stranger said. She had a full mouth and a strong jaw and cheekbones framed by a helmet of black hair, and she flashed him a bright smile when he knelt upright to obey the command. Her eyes strayed to the body lain between them. “You did well” she remarked. “It’s all on camera, you know. I was watching, and I like your style. As did she”.

“Who are you?” Pavel asked dully. “What do you want”?

“Vasiliki” she told him. “I am Vasiliki. But the question is - what do you want”? She swung the muzzle towards the door and stepped aside to let him go ahead of her. “You will discuss that with Dmitri. Oh yes,” she added, seeing him start at the name “you are going to meet him. Now pick her up and bring her outside”. He stood a moment looking down at the bloodied nude until he was shaken from his thoughts by a bark of laughter. “Your prey” she told him, mockingly. “Bring it”! He lifted Ingrid easily, as though she were sleeping, and ducked out of the low doorway into the night air. There was a black jeep drawn up outside the cabin, and Vasiliki had him lay Ingrid’s corpse in the back, and then take the wheel while she kept her carbine trained on him. He found the keys in place and started the engine.

“Which way”?

“Follow this goat track – you see it? – up the rise to the left of that outcrop” she replied. As he had suspected, it was the route that Ingrid had been following, towards the unknown building in the next valley.



VASILIKI

The sun was burning away the morning mists when Pavel drew the jeep up on the gravel outside the deconsecrated convent. Vasiliki backed out of the passenger seat, still covering him with the Simonov, and stretched her long legs.

“Bring Ingrid, darling” she ordered, smiling. Pavel had sunk further into his sullen and defeated mood during the drive; his head and shoulders were bowed as he hoisted the cold body from the back seat and carried it in his strong arms towards the building. He was shaken from his thoughts by a low groan, then stopped dead in his tracks. There was a buxom woman, nude, dying and dripping with blood, nailed to the convent door. At his approach she slowly lifted her head, parted her thighs, and flashed him a brave, beautiful smile. Even in his despondency he was impressed at this coup de théâtre. They had sacrificed Serakh herself, the queen of the Waldenstein State Opera, merely to decorate the door to their lair.

“The Pallid Mask” she whispered with her last breath. Vasiliki stepped briskly forward but, before she could knock, the door swung open.

“Vasiliki and Pavel, you are most welcome. Please, enter”. The naked slave stepped aside, inviting them in with a graceful sweep of her long, ebony arm. They walked into a spacious hall with a stone floor, well-lit by windows high on the whitened walls – walls which were adorned with preserved heads hanging by their hair.

“I am Yewubdar” she smiled. “I am entirely at your disposal. Please, lay down the meat and it will be taken to the kitchens”. With this, she indicated a long, wooden trencher at the side of the room. Behind it stood a refectory table laid with silver cutlery and goblets and fine china serving plates laden with thick slices of meat. Pavel was sure of their provenance. He walked over slowly, like an automaton, and set Ingrid down as ordered. Pausing for a moment to look at her beautiful, sleeping face he found he did not feel any emotion - and wondered if he ever would.

“May I take that for you?” Yewubdar asked and Vasiliki handed her the carbine without a thought. She, too, was somewhat overwhelmed at their surroundings. The genius loci was heavy and tangible, as though the shades of all the many victims taken under those antique beams thronged around her. She found herself staring into the eyes of the trophy head displayed on the chimneybreast. “Magda” seemed to gaze back at her with a knowing smile. Then they all turned at the sound of a door opening, and footsteps approaching.

“Hello, Vasso”. Carissa stood before them; like Yewubdar she was shaven from head to toe and wore only collar, boots, piercings - and a golden tattoo on her mons veneris. Unlike Yewubdar, she was bespattered with blood the length of her body – some of it drying to rusty-brown streaks but much of it still fresh and streaming down her luscious curves.

“Cari”! Vasiliki started forward. “But… you were collected! I thought you were dead – the whole world thinks you are dead”.

“The whole world thinks you are missing in the Strandzha mountains” she replied, gently. “Nobody is looking for any of us” here she turned to Pavel “- except you”. He gave no indication that he had even heard her.

“It is all on camera” he muttered, staring at the cold flagstones. “My career – my life – is over”.

“Your old life is over” Yewubdar corrected him gently. She glided over to where a thick velvet drape hung in an archway and the muscles rippled beneath her glossy skin as she hauled it to one side. Faint music came from behind the studded timber door now revealed, something modernist and experimental but with an insistent, pounding beat. There was an air of pride and expectancy about her as she beckoned to them. “Please. Follow me”. And she opened the chapel door to a scene of hellish fantasy.

Natalya strained her neck to see them enter. She lay on her back in the centre of the room with her knees drawn up to her chest and her feet high in the air, in the position of the famous Allen Jones chair. Three other gymnasts held the same pose to either side of her and another, more statuesque woman was on all fours before them to serve as a table, with a table-lamp fashioned from a human skull resting on the small of her back. They had been selected for their matching colouring, which had been enhanced by the skilful application of cosmetics and a golden polish on their finger and toe-nails. Despite the stress of holding her position Natalya knew that the ribbons sealing her cunt were soaking wet. Even though it was difficult to see from her place on the cold floor, she had stolen glances from time to time and knew what kind of spectacle was greeting their guests. The man she knew to be Pavel looked past her to the vaulted apse. His face was unreadable; she saw weariness there but also something fierce in his eyes, something that stirred her. She followed his gaze to the left where the oversized doner grill filled the room with the aroma of roast meat, then to the lewd and shameless display to their right. With a tremendous effort of will, she remained as motionless as a piece of calfskin furniture while he was led over to her and guided solicitously to his seat. He lowered himself onto her upturned thighs and arse; the coarse fabric of his breeches rubbing against her cunt lips was the first experience of a man’s intimate touch in her short life and it sent a delicious shiver coursing through her.

“Look about you” Carissa was speaking now. “This is the new life you are offered”. As Vasiliki and Yewubdar took their living seats beside him she gestured expansively around the room. Six young women regarded them suggestively through painted lashes; they stood in a row, naked save for the strips of yellow silk that imprisoned their cunts, quietly suffering agonies of anticipation. Beside them a wooden idol had been set up in place of the altar. The sculptor had captured the scalloped tatters of the King in Yellow with uncanny artistry but had, of course, ensured that His face was obscured by the folds of a cavernous hood. The whole piece was spectacularly clad in gold leaf. Róisín clung to it like a lover, her freckled arms and long legs enfolding the unyielding wooden figure. From her broad shoulders and down her slim back to the generous curve of her hips and arse her skin was a bloody mass of welts and cuts; rivulets of sweat ran down her face and only the heaving of her white breasts showed that she was still alive. Oliviya stood behind her and to the side, arms akimbo. Her pert bosom also rose and fell from recent exertion and the wicked single-tail whip clutched in her fist showed what role she had played in the proceedings. She waited motionless, with an evil smile playing around the corners of her full lips, until the slaves and their honoured guests were seated and then, with a respectful bow of her blond head she turned again to Róisín and drew the whip back to strike. Toughened leather shot out and sliced into the soft flesh of the redhead’s upper thigh with a tremendous crack and a fine spray of blood. Her hips bucked, and her crotch lifted up from the great phallus that impaled her. A length of golden cock was revealed, dripping with her cunt juice, before she sank back onto it and clenched her slim thighs about the statue again. Lifting her head, she turned a tear-streaked face to Oliviya and cried out hoarsely in bittersweet anguish. Pavel caught a slight movement from the corner of his eye and turned to look. In a shallow pool of blood that spread over the marble floor of the transept lay several nude women and a short sword which Pavel grimly noted was a braquemard. Some were dead and gutted, their torsos ripped open from sternum to crotch and great, bloody loops of intestine coiled over and about the pale and beautiful bodies, others were literally flogged raw – whipped to death. The motion that had distracted him was the twitching leg of one of these, who sprawled supine with her head pillowed on the bloodied breasts of another, decapitated, corpse. She had evidently taken a turn at riding the golden phallus and her smooth skin was decorated with many purple wheals where tough leather had wrapped around to cut open her belly and breasts.

He turned his attention back to Carissa when she laid a soft hand on his shoulder and handed him a silk bag. “Diamonds” she told him “and there is a new identity for you – a choice of new identities, in fact, in various countries. You can become another exiled oligarch with a past that is never discussed and a source of wealth that is not questioned. Your department has never successfully traced any of our subjects, so I think you know that we can make this happen”. Pavel nodded. Despite himself, he was beginning to surface from his defeated mood and something of the usual eager alertness had come back to his face.

“You would have to take me with you” Yewubdar put in. “On your own terms. I can hang from your arm on a yacht, or hang from chains in a private dungeon, gladly suffering any torment your imagination can devise. The only condition is that, to assure Dmitri you are keeping your side of the bargain, I should have to stay alive”. She smoothed a hand down her body, around the high breasts and muscled abdomen and over the swell of her hip. “If you choose to join us, you can kill me now”. His eyes burned into her and she parted her lips, rolling her tongue around them and returning his stare. His hand slammed onto Natalya’s thigh and she stifled a gasp of shock.

“I don’t understand what you want of me”! He was standing now, unshaven and dishevelled with his blood-soaked shirt half-buttoned and his muscles tense. “You have tempted me to kill already and I have done it. I am a killer. I am a necrophile. What more do you want”?

Everyone started and turned to look when a bell tolled from somewhere beyond the vaulted ceiling. In the profound silence which followed only its dying echoes and the sputtering of fat from the grill could be heard. Faces turned expectantly to Carissa as she went to the living table and bent to pick up a chalice fashioned from a de-fleshed skull. Yewubdar caught Vasiliki’s inquisitive look.

“All the women have numbers” she whispered in explanation. “When the bell chimes, random chance chooses their role. One will be chosen to fuck the idol while another scourges her and a third is put to the sword”. As she spoke, Carissa drew three ivory tokens from the skull.

“Sixteen” she announced. “And seven and twenty-two”. Oliviya and two other women stepped towards her. Each walked with her shoulders straight and her head held high, but each had an air of trembling, excited terror that could not be denied. With a smile, Carissa took the whip and handed it to number sixteen, who bowed her head reverently and kissed the worn braiding. Oliviya then went to the idol and stroked Róisín’s auburn hair, murmuring quiet words of sympathy and comfort. Solicitously, she lifted her away from the statue’s dripping phallus and helped her to stagger over to the eviscerated corpses where her strength failed her, and she slumped onto the macabre heap. Oliviya laid her down across a slashed torso and seized her face in both hands, kissing her brutally. She traced searching fingers over Róisín’s flogged flesh and inhaled her soft dying breaths. With the last of her strength, the Irish woman reached out to touch her face with a trembling hand.

“The Pallid Mask” she gasped, then died.

Oliviya retrieved the short sword from amongst the bodies and brought it back to Carissa. Now the silence was absolute and the tension almost tangible.

“One of twenty-two and seven will be whipped on the idol” Yewubdar whispered. Pavel shifted closer to hear and again Natalya thrilled secretly at the sensation of his clothing rubbing over her sensitized skin. “The other will be slashed wide open”. Carissa turned the blade in the air, letting it catch the torchlight and glint before their fascinated faces, gloating while their eyes melted at the prospect of its fierce and icy kiss. Gliding closer, she tantalized them with the sword, first the one then the other. She touched the edge to their throats and drew it around their bodies, millimetres from the skin, the veins and the arteries. They held themselves still, relaxed and open in their posture despite the quivering of their muscles and the trembling of their lips.

“I could stop this” Pavel said.

“Or you could take part?” Yewubdar ventured, arching an eyebrow.

“I want to” Vasiliki interjected, rising to her feet and unbuttoning her shirt.

“We knew you would” Yewubdar said. Just then, there was a low groan. Carissa was touching the bright sharpness of the braquemard to the cleft of Oliviya’s moist cunt, smiling into her flickering eyes. She turned to Pavel.

“I might slice her open now and spill her guts onto the floor” she teased. Oliviya moaned again, and her hands went to her breasts, kneading and pinching. Pavel looked on coldly, but his fingers clawed at Natalya’s arse and dug into her flesh fiercely while she struggled to control her traitorous body without tensing. With precise and deliberate movements, Carissa cut open the amber ribbon that laced Oliviya’s labia together. Her cunt gaped wetly, and a trickle of moisture splashed onto the grey flagstone between her feet, but the sigh that escaped her was one of despair and disappointment. She nodded once and then began to remove the fragments of silk tape from her lips. They drifted to the floor. Carissa favoured her with a wicked grin, before leaning in closer to press a sisterly kiss to her damp forehead. She turned to number seven, whose eyes were aflame as she spread her arms wide and pressed her heaving bosom towards her executioner. Looking into her eyes, Carissa put the point of the sword to her imprisoned cunt and let it rest there for a moment. Seven met her gaze, and parted trembling lips. She began to sway unsteadily.

“The Pallid Mask” she murmured, and the blade sliced effortlessly through her brown skin from crotch to chest in a great, broiling explosion of blood and innards. The corpse stood swaying and bleeding out for a long instant until Carissa reached out to push it sideways onto the mound of cadavers. As the body fell, blood spattered over Róisín’s welted back. Natalya felt Pavel shift and turn above her - she followed his eyes to the line of waiting victims. They were all staring as though mesmerised at the mound of bloodied and disembowelled victims and she read a fearful envy in their faces.

“Twenty-two?” called Carissa, breaking the silence. Oliviya paced over to the gilded statue of the King in Yellow, her eyes fixed on the thick cock that stood proudly from the folds of His ragged robes. All eyes were on her, she knew, eager and expectant. As she drew near, heart pounding and inner thighs coated with juices, a depraved impulse took hold of her and when she looked back over her shoulder at the young woman with the whip there was the devil in her eyes. Slowly and deliberately she turned to face the room and inched backwards to the idol until she felt the head of the phallus touch her lower back. Baring her teeth in a lustful snarl she rose onto her toes and reached behind to pull her buttocks apart and welcome the thick rod into the tightness of her arse. Róisín had left it sopping with her juices but still Oliviya cried out in pain at the burning and tearing deep inside her as she sank into place. There was barely time for her to catch her breath before the first stroke of the whip landed across her midriff, biting into her shaven pubic mound with a vicious crack. She raised her face to the vaulted ceiling and howled like an animal. Carissa smiled indulgently and returned to her guests, fresh blood spattered over her naked flesh and high boots.

“And, so?” Pavel persisted. “What is my role in all of this”?

“Eat me” said Yewubdar, and she slid to her knees at his feet, her arms outspread, and her pert breasts pressed towards him. There was an ardent longing in her deep brown eyes as though she had asked him to kiss her, or to fuck her. Pavel drew a deep breath, swallowed, and looked around from one face to the next, his mind racing. Vasiliki had stripped off all her clothing now; she crossed her long legs and turned to watch him more closely, resting her chin on her fist.

“That is what we want” Carissa confirmed. “Be true to yourself”. His fists and jaw clenched, but she continued regardless. “We know about you and Eva, we always did. And you know that we did. The men killed and ate her because you could not. I am truly sorry.” Pavel’s face was twisted in pain, almost physical pain, as he slowly sank back onto Natalya’s taut flesh and took his head in his hands.

“Eva was only meat” Yewubdar said from her place at his feet. “You do know that, don’t you? It doesn’t matter who we used to be once we find the Yellow Sign”.

“You have spent years searching for Dmitri” Carissa told him. “But you were searching for Pavel. You were searching for the Pavel who did use the knife on the roadside by the marshalling yards – the Pavel who could take the safety catch off the old guillotine”. He dropped his arms and squared his shoulders, looking up at her in wonder. In that moment of silence, a drop of blood from her last victim welled up around her nipple and fell to splash softly on the stone floor.

“The King in Yellow” Pavel breathed. “He sees everything”. Yewubdar glanced at Carissa then fell to kissing the toes of his boots, licking at the dusty leather and snaking closer to tug at the laces with her teeth. There was a scream from behind her as the whip landed squarely across both of Oliviya’s nipples.

“They need you here, Pavel” Vasiliki told him. “They want you to join them. And you know that you want to – isn’t that why you lost contact with Waldenstein days before Ingrid led you back here”?

“Perhaps I knew you were monitoring me and I was operating in deep cover” he answered, as Yewubdar began to pull off his boots.

“Then you would have taken Ingrid’s map last night and slipped away to Mirenberg, returning to this valley with helicopters and gendarmes” said Vasiliki. “I was watching you to make sure that didn’t happen” she grinned “although it seems nobody but me really thought you might”.

“But you weren’t following me” he responded, “you must have been waiting there”.

“I came here through the King in Yellow site, like the submitted victims” she told him, nodding. “I have already been tested, and bringing you here was the final gesture of good faith. I am here now as a guest”.

“We weren’t aware of guests” he said, looking puzzled. “Known associates like The Greek are under constant surveillance and yet never led anyone here”. Yewubdar was now sucking at his toes, lapping between them with an eager tongue while grovelling on her belly. Her gentle fingers ran up and down his calves. He had known slavish devotion many times before, often sincerely given if insincerely received, but had never felt so worshipped. Carissa moved closer and bent over him, insinuating an arm around his shoulders and under his shirt while caressing his cheek. Her outsize nipple-rings swayed before him.

“And so?” she murmured, her full lips brushing his ear. “How do you choose? Shall I activate your new identity, or will you accept her sacrifice and become a Waldenstein Cannibal”? He made no protest as her hands strayed to his shirtfront, unbuttoning it and sliding the stained fabric from his shoulders. Her fingertips ruffled the fine, brown hair on his broad chest as Yewubdar’s hand crept upwards and along his thigh. She unfastened his trousers and freed his twitching erection; his broad chest heaved, and his knuckles whitened as he gripped Natalya’s thighs again, adding to the row of blue bruises he had already inflicted while she ground her teeth and suffered in silent submission.

“Don’t fight it” Vasiliki said in a low voice, as she rose from her own contorted slave-seat. She stepped over her discarded clothes and stalked towards the altar with burning eyes, her hips swaying arrogantly. There was another agonised shriek as Oliviya was struck directly onto her erect clit, leaving a harsh, red stripe over her hips and pubic mound. And then the rhythm was interrupted when the flagellatrix surrendered the whip to Vasiliki and stepped back meekly with her hands behind her head. The flogging resumed immediately, with redoubled force. In time, the screaming abated when Oliviya had neither air in her lungs nor voice in her raw throat. During her torments she had taken the whole of the wooden prick in her arse, right to the base and the pink folds of her cunt lips glistened wetly and quivered convulsively. With evil and calculated cruelty Vasiliki prowled forward and dipped her head to lick slowly and sensuously the length of Oliviya’s reddened cunt, provoking a groan of hopeless desperation. Suddenly Vasiliki’s hand shot out and secured her labia in a cruel, twisting pinch. She let the pitiful wailing subside a little before locking their lips together and sucking the cry of agony from Oliviya’s mouth. Her hands ranged over the welts and bruises, then grabbed cruelly at the flesh of her arse to grind their groins together. They broke their kiss and Vasiliki stepped back again to give herself room to swing. Oliviya arched her back.

“Bitch!” she growled, baring her perfect, white teeth. Vasiliki raised an eyebrow, placed a hand on her hip, and turned away with an exaggerated toss of the head. Her eyes flickered to Pavel, to be sure that he was watching, then she extended a slender arm and beckoned to number sixteen. The woman responded instinctively to this imperious gesture by dropping to her hands and knees and crawling forward like an animal. Vasiliki seized a fistful of hair and pulled her face to her cunt. Sixteen’s tongue went straight to work on her clit, making her bite her lower lip and groan deep in her throat. She regained control of herself almost immediately.

“No! Lick me here” she ordered, as she twisted around to spread her buttocks apart. Sixteen leant forward to comply, pressing her lips lustfully to the puckered, pink hole. Vasiliki trembled deliciously at this devoted tonguing and looked around her with a depraved smile and a gleam of triumph in her eyes. Gazing challengingly at Pavel, she brought the whip to her lips and licked lasciviously at the bloodied leather. Still impaled on the idol, Oliviya was defiant to her last breath.

“Do it, bitch” she panted, hoarsely, then screamed again under the lash.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Carissa murmured. Yewubdar was kneeling between Pavel’s legs now and the gold hoops in her nipples brushed maddeningly against Natalya’s inner thighs while she struggled to unfasten his belt and flies. “Wouldn’t you like to take the sword?” Carissa continued, archly “and have willing victims kneeling at your feet, worshipping you”? He slapped Yewubdar across the cheek and pushed her away brusquely, but she had already freed his erection from its confines and it betrayed his body’s excitement, hard and proud. She pouted prettily from the floor at his feet.

“You know you want to stab me” she teased, eyeing his throbbing cock and licking her teeth. From behind her came another ragged and hoarse cry from Oliviya. Sixteen groaned into Vasiliki’s arse when her fingernails raked slowly over her slim back. Pavel took all of this in with a vague, unfocussed glance and raised his hips a little to let Yewubdar pull his trousers off. Natalya could not supress a faint moan at the feel of him shifting around over the stretched and hyper-sensitive skin where the backs of her thighs and her crotch supported his weight. She bit her tongue – she must never remind him that his chair was a living girl bent double beneath him in a display of submission and devotion. But it was too late. He looked down into her face with cold, dead eyes that thrilled her to the core.

“We had no idea that you recruited” he said, turning back to Carissa. “In fact, I’m sure that there have only ever been the same four men. And no guests who survive” he added, quietly.

“You are honoured” she replied. “Dmitri says that you are too close, in every sense. You may take the diamonds and go, of course, but we want you to stay”. He was sure she spoke with unfeigned sincerity.

“I don’t know” he muttered. Absently, he let a hand fall onto Natalya’s upturned cunt and, to her horror and delight, his fingers began to rummage between her lips and into her vagina with a casual arrogance.

“You could leave at any time,” Yewubdar was advocating now “with wealth and anonymity – and perhaps some other girl to serve you”. Her dark eyes were pleading. Just then, the bell rang again somewhere above them, and everyone froze. Vasiliki looked up from where she was now rolling over fresh corpses, revelling in the eager tongue and fingers of number sixteen. There was a great smear of blood over her cheek, yet more over her high breasts and boyish hips. Over on the idol, Oliviya let her head fall and gasped for air with great, racking sobs, every centimetre of skin on the front of her young body burning red and patterned with angry weals. Blood streamed down her flanks and legs from scores of deep cuts.

“The Pallid Mask” she rasped, coughing blood.

“Twenty-five” called Carissa, rising to her feet. “Twenty-eight - and one”. Two women stepped forward from the line, one a Junoesque Asian who wore her hair piled on top of her head, the other younger and more slender with tattooed limbs and bright blue hair. Together they lifted the dying Oliviya from the gilded statue, laid her down amongst the cadavers, and stood waiting for orders. The chapel fell silent. Hesitantly, number sixteen slipped back to join the others. At last, Vasiliki could stand the tension no longer.

“So, who is number one?” she demanded. Pavel looked from one face to another, still toying idly with Natalya’s exposed cunt. He met Yewubdar’s eyes and read something dark and knowing in them. At long last he smiled warmly and openly. One by one, the women turned to see this change in him, and each shivered as she sensed the presence of golden royalty.

“No mask!” Yewubdar breathed, speaking for all of them. As though noticing her for the first time, Pavel’s firm hand guided her shaven head to his crotch. Gratefully, she ran her mouth softly around the base of his cock and commenced a delicate licking and sucking of his balls, falling swiftly into a blissful trance of oral servitude. As her tongue flicked devotedly around his sac she felt the grip on her neck tighten and, taking this as a signal, wrapped a thumb and two gentle fingers loosely around the head of his prick and began to tantalize with infinite tenderness. Suddenly, Carissa’s voice rang out.

“Number One! Fetch Pavel the braquemard” she ordered. Yewubdar’s devotion to her task never wavered for an instant, but a tremor ran through her at the words and her fingers trembled a little as she caressed Pavel’s balls. He stabbed his cock towards her and she twirled the tip of her tongue around the glans lightly and briefly.

And then Vasiliki understood everything. She rose gracefully to her feet, gathering the sword from where it lay. She allowed herself a moment of communion with Carissa, bowed to her, and then took the sword to Pavel, presenting it hilt-first.

“Kneel” he commanded, with a slight catch in his voice that delighted Yewubdar and prompted her to frig at his rigid shaft all the faster. Vasiliki dropped to her knees humbly before him, stretching her arms out behind her in the classic pose. He reached out to lift her chin between thumb and forefinger and they gazed into each other’s faces; her pert breasts moving in counterpoint to the heaving of his powerful chest. Staring into her soul he raised the sword high above his head and she moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. Yewubdar looked from one to the other, eyes ablaze. Her petite fist pumped at his swollen prick. Pavel took a fistful of Vasiliki’s thick, black hair in his left hand.

“The Pallid Mask!” she cried in an ecstasy and blue steel whistled through the air, sweeping cleanly through her shapely neck. Her body fell sideways, and a great jet of arterial blood pumped over the floor. Yewubdar glimpsed the look of rapture on Vasiliki’s face as Pavel pulled her severed head to his groin and stabbed his prick into the open mouth. Dying lips closed around him in her last moment of awareness. His eyes rolled back, and he groaned low in his throat as he spurted copiously, spilling over the corpse’s chin, then slumped back onto Natalya’s thighs, sated. The head settled, face up, in his lap. Carissa leant in, unbidden, to press her lips to Vasiliki’s slack mouth in a lingering kiss, then took her dead lover’s skull in both hands to suck and lick the spunk from the warm flesh. A low sigh started amongst the watching victims and built in a crescendo to a collective, ecstatic moaning of one name.

“Dmitri!” they chanted. “Dmitri”! The unseen bell began to toll to the same rhythm. Everyone stood, and Pavel too stepped out of his remaining clothes to join them, blood-spattered, still erect and seized by a heady and passionate mood. He looked down at the red sword in his fist absently, as though surprised to see it there, and then his eyes landed on Natalya’s upturned, young body. Sensing his intention, she braced herself more firmly on her upper back and shoulders, spreading her legs further apart to give him free access. This was everything she had ever dreamt of, she thought happily, as the man who had used her unthinkingly as nothing more than a seat reversed his grip on the hilt of the braquemard and aimed it at her crotch.

“The Pallid Mask!” she proclaimed joyously, and the sword sank deep into her proffered cunt and on through the abdomen until its cruel tip pierced her heart and sent her soaring to Demhe.

“Dmitri! Dmitri! Dmitri!” the urgent chanting continued from every mouth save Pavel’s. Women soaked in blood, sweat and cunt-juice, others still oiled and perfumed ready for use, and even those who had served as furnishings or as holders for candles stood together in the summoning. Then, with a terrible crash, the door to the chapel was flung open and four figures stood starkly outlined in the entrance.

Pavel heard his own voice cry out, “Mother of Kazan”!



YEWUBDAR

Pavel sat back in a club chair in Dmitri’s private room, drawing luxuriously on a mild cigar and swirling his chacha in an oversized brandy glass. He had slept extremely well, bathed and breakfasted at leisure and then enjoyed a pre-prandial stroll through the wooded hills, up to the crucifixion mound and back, before an immensely satisfying lunch of cold slices from Vasiliki’s haunches, grilled with cinnamon. Calm, relaxed and at peace with himself, he was a different man to the anguished and defeated Pavel who had arrived at the convent the previous day. Watching Yewubdar’s beautiful form cross the floor to pour Dmitri another drink, he recalled his first sight of the men when they had burst into the chapel so dramatically.

They appeared like mountain beasts of ancient Svitavian legend. Their jaws had been completely re-sculpted, and their snarling mouths revealed rows of outsized implants – great canines and carnassials gleaming and champing. Pierre sported the huge tusks of a wild boar while Leon’s front teeth were now long and pointed like a bat’s. Their hands, too, had been surgically remodelled so that each man’s fingers ended with hooked, black talons like a wyvern’s claws. Their hair and beards were long and flowing. Pavel had lived for many years with photographs and film footage of the four of them, but now felt as though he were seeing a fantastic, hallucinatory version from their own victims’ sexual nightmares. There had certainly been a dreamlike quality to what followed. Leon was the first to take a woman. He bore down on the voluptuous Asian with his hard face twisted into a bestial snarl, teeth bared, and claws outstretched like a grey forest wolf. She offered herself with the attitude of a martyr meeting ravening beasts in the arena, wrapping her arms and legs around his lean body to draw him close and throwing her head back so that her soft throat was exposed and vulnerable. Pavel recalled her face vividly; ecstatic and glorious as she announced her vision of the Pallid Mask and then even more beautiful in the moment when his fangs pierced her jugular. The others had their prey just as brutally; Pierre opened the throat of one woman with his left hand and immediately drew another eager sacrifice to kneel in the fountain of gore while he stabbed his right fiercely into her bosom and belly. Grigori flung his chosen victim to the floor and had her in such a mad frenzy with hands and teeth that she was roughly decapitated, blood pumping across the room from the jagged remains of her slender neck. Dmitri alone moved with a measure of restraint, brushing the young goth’s blue hair tenderly aside and allowing her a few moments of dread anticipation before sinking his terrible fangs into her soft flesh while drawing the pulsing heart from her chest and stabbing his hard cock into her dripping cunt.

Pavel settled more comfortably into his seat, graciously permitting Carissa to catch his ash in her cupped hands. She looked down demurely to hide the fire of profound servitude in her eyes as she put it to her lips and swallowed. He recalled how she and Yewubdar had fallen at his feet while the men ravished corpses and his loins stirred at the memory of their slavish tongues and clever, lustful fingers. The next four victims had been despatched in the most perfunctory manner, eviscerated and exsanguinated with casual detachment. They took the woman who had served as a table, the wax-covered gymnast who had posed motionless as a living candlestick and two freshly bathed and scented nudes who had only stood in line to watch and wait and want. Pavel had barely registered their existence before they were snuffed out so carelessly, but he smiled to remember how he had relished both the spectacle and the sound of broken voices sobbing out witness of the Pallid Mask. He took a sip of his drink and felt desperate eyes follow his movement. Yewubdar slunk past, carrying the bottle back to its table. Her hips rolled and her breasts swayed as she moved, and he knew the lewd display was for him; Pavel and Yewubdar had a dark, unspoken communion. She would be his next kill and the earthy scent of her arousal was heavy in his nostrils. As a trainee detective, he had experienced a morbid fascination with women like her, who waited in an agony of expectation for inevitable death. He drew lazily on his cigar while Yewubdar took her place at Dmitri’s feet. It was diverting to see the intensity of her need, he reflected, both diverting and amusingly cruel. He smiled at her and saw her suppress a shiver.

“You have a very comfortable room here” Pavel remarked, taking another sip. “And keep a fine grape vodka”. Dmitri showed terrible, huge canines in a vulpine grin and spread his gargoyle hands in an expansive gesture. On the rug before him, Yewubdar pressed her thighs together and was beginning to lose control of her hips. Her face shone, adoring and worshipful, and her yearning eyes rested on Pavel.

“And have you made your decision yet?” Dmitri asked. Yewubdar chewed on her lower lip; her nostrils flared, and her pupils were dilated to deep, black pools. Both men regarded her in silence for a moment.

“It is easier today” Pavel replied, slowly, drinking in the sight of her quivering and trembling body. “I know what I want…” he began, then shook his head angrily. “No! There are still questions. I know that Yewubdar craves death, but Ingrid was lying to me”!

“Was she - really?” asked Dmitri gently, shifting forward in his seat to draw the tips of his talons softly over Yewubdar’s breastbone. She froze rigid and let slip a sad sigh. Pavel watched her face and learnt another lesson.

“No” he replied, at length. “Ingrid never lied to me”.

“I beg you” Yewubdar blurted out the words, seeming as surprised as anyone that she had dared to speak. Her supple body was aquiver now and the gold rings set in her mahogany nipples shook like leaves in an autumn breeze. Carissa laid a hand on Pavel’s knee.

“Take her” she murmured. “This is where you belong”. Pavel set down his glass.

“Bring me a knife” he replied and Yewubdar finally submitted to the great crescendo of forbidden excitement that had been stoked within her from the moment she first devoted herself to Anna Darvulia.

“Yes!” she howled, an expression of bestial abandon transforming her beautiful face. Her body had surrendered, and she was in the sweet, cruel grip of a shattering catharsis. Juices flowed freely from her cunt until her legs gave way and she collapsed whimpering and writhing onto the carpet. Pavel and Dmitri looked on indulgently, watching as she gasped and panted through the aftershocks, jabbering under her breath in Amharic. Then Carissa hurried back with the knife she had chosen for her sister.

“It’s quite beautiful” Pavel remarked, admiring the ivory and brass inlays in the hilt and the silvery delicacy of the long blade. Yewubdar raised herself on one elbow. “I’m told that you have waited a long time” he smiled. She could only nod helplessly. He tried the knife’s sharpness with the ball of his thumb, and a tiny red bead welled up in the centre. He beckoned to her with the index finger of the same hand and she forced herself across the floor to him on her hands and knees, still sobbing softly at the waves of release coursing through her, to lick the drop daintily away.

“How,” she gasped, “how do you want me”?

“The intensity of her need is quite compelling” said Pavel, suavely.

“I suppose so”. Dmitri affected boredom. “But there will be others after her. Many others”.

“So why are you sharing them with me”?

“Isn’t it obvious?” Dmitri smiled again, showing his demon teeth. “Now that we have become what we are, we need a human face to represent us when we have to speak to the outside world”.

“I thought that you were going to use Vasiliki for that”.

“But, as you saw, it was never her true nature, as it is yours”.

“It is my nature” Pavel agreed. “I no longer doubt the willing victims – I accept them. But the unwilling”? Dmitri templed his razor-tipped fingers.

“I have more information on them than the Waldenstein police could ever discover” he said. “That, too, will be yours. I understand your mission, because I share it. Your work will continue, except that it will be more successful and,” he added with a vulpine grin, “considerably better funded. You travel First Class”.

“My work will continue”? Pavel was both surprised and pleased.

“A series of hugely successful Category C missions – oh yes, I know all about your system – which should bring you recognition and promotion. To begin with, there is a Dutch politician we have been watching; his visits to the refugee camps are not made for humanitarian reasons and, when you return to Mirenberg, you will have enough evidence to have him arrested. There will be no questions asked about the time you have spent since following The Greek to that club”. Dmitri took a drink – he now used a golden drinking-straw.

“And while I am undercover, I am free to come here as often as necessary” Pavel said thoughtfully.

They were interrupted by a low groan from Yewubdar. Her excitement had reached boiling point again while they were talking over her. She bit her lip to keep it from trembling and her small hands clenched into fists.

“Would some punishment help you to possess your soul in patience?” laughed Pavel, now thoroughly enjoying himself.

“Please” she quavered. Tenderly, he put the knuckles of his knife-hand under her chin and lifted it slowly, guiding her up to kneel before him.

“For how long have you been denied pain?” he asked, quietly.

“It has been almost eight…” Yewubdar began, before drawing a great breath to voice a scream that echoed around a building that had known few so loud and so anguished. With one powerful motion, Pavel had grabbed the two golden hoops suspended from her breasts and drawn them high above his head. She was dragged from her knees but could not find her feet quickly enough to stop them from being ripped from her flesh to fly across the room, leaving her nipples split and tattered. She fell forward, gasping and sobbing, until another spasm seized her, and a spray of clear moisture spattered from her cunt. Carissa looked on, wide-eyed, and discretely clasped her hands behind her back to quell the urge to pull and twist on her own rings.

“Then I shall have to give you a very painful death” Pavel replied and, even as her ripped flesh throbbed, she thrilled at his words. “I have an idea,” he went on, turning to Dmitri, “Could we adjourn to the refectory”?

Yewubdar had to be helped from the room, her legs buckling beneath her whenever a fresh spasm started in her cunt. Carissa murmured words of encouragement in her ear as she supported her, and as she fastened her ankles and wrists into steel cuffs and chains to expose her, spread-eagled and upright, in the centre of the hall. Pavel watched with a studied air of ironic detachment, occasionally casting a sidelong glance at his host. He knew that Dmitri was not judging him on the coming performance but, nonetheless, he wanted to make a good impression. And he had to admit to himself that he was nervous. His previous two victims had been taken in the heat of the moment, with his mind in turmoil. This was to be his first calculated and premeditated kill – a challenge to himself. He toyed with the knife, avoiding the razor-sharp edge.

“She is secured” Carissa said. Yewubdar was stretched wide open, so tautly that she could scarcely shiver.

“Please fetch a bowl of boiling water, and a bath sponge” Pavel replied. As she ran off to comply, Dmitri cocked an eyebrow, lending his demonic face a bizarre aspect.

“Flaying?” he ventured. Pavel nodded, and Yewubdar let out another long, low moan of ecstasy. Incredibly, she had been hovering either side of orgasm continually since first seeing the knife and now she knew how it would be used. The men ignored her. Dmitri pointed out various features as they strolled around the room, explaining which fittings were original and which reproduction, and promised to go through the stories behind each of the preserved heads which adorned the walls. Then Carissa returned to set down a copper samovar, wash-cloths, tongs and sponges.

“You may blanch the meat” Pavel told her. Dmitri held up a grotesque hand in polite protest.

“But leave the face” he said and turned to Pavel. “We should save her head for display, don’t you think”? The other smiled and nodded, then Carissa began work. Gingerly, she brought steaming water to Yewubdar and applied it methodically from her breastbone down to her calves, a little at a time. She drew a gasp of shock and pain from her with every touch, especially when the steam assailed her wounded nipples. Dmitri and Pavel watched for a while and then continued their conversation while Carissa diligently repeated the preparation time and again, from top to bottom, until all the water was used up and Yewubdar slumped in her chains in a near-faint from the continuous physical shock of her scalding. Her flawless, coffee-coloured skin had taken on a dull and almost grey appearance.

“She is ready”, said Carissa, stepping back and adopting the classic posture with her legs apart and her hands behind her bald head. Pavel stepped forward and put the blade to Yewubdar’s throat. She looked up at him as though awaiting a lover’s kiss.

“I have to be very careful not to apply to much pressure” he said to the room in general as he drew the blade slowly in an arc just above her clavicle. She bared her teeth to take the pain and he moved behind her to complete the circle at the back of her neck. The incision was so fine and precise that very little blood flowed, but the look in her eyes spoke of how much it stung. Reaching up, he made similar cuts around her wrists a few centimetres below the manacles. Dmitri came up behind him as he worked.

“You seem well practiced” he said, conversationally, when Pavel finished the second wrist.

“Thank you, it seems to be going well, but this is all based on theory, not practice. I learned it working on a case” still talking, he began to cut where her arms joined her shoulders. “We arrested a man in Papensgasse who left his victim this way”. He dropped to one knee to describe another ring just under the ribs and then around the lower calf of each leg. She had now lost all control and a thin keening sounded in the intervals between her voiceless sobs. The light from the high windows reflected on the damp skin of her cheeks and thighs. Standing again, Pavel took Yewubdar’s head in both hands and kissed her long and hard on the mouth. Her eyes closed at first, then opened wide with shock when she became aware of his fingertips scrabbling at the cut just below her shoulder-blades. Her head jerked back, and her face froze in a terrible rictus as strong hands pulled upwards, slowly and inexorably peeling the skin from her back. While she fought to find enough air to scream he performed the same mutilation on her front, tearing the skin from her ribs and away from her high breasts until all of her upper torso was raw and bloody. She finally managed a horrified shriek when he began to work on her arms, starting first at one wrist and then the other as though he were rolling up her sleeves. He silenced her with another kiss, a gentler and longer one, then stood back to admire his handiwork.

“I could bring some atropine?” Carissa suggested.

“A good idea” Pavel replied, without looking round. “And I would like another drink, please”. He drained his glass while the injection was administered and, duly refreshed, set to work again. Yewubdar bent her head to watch sheets of dermis being pulled from her abdomen and legs, fascinated by the fatal mutilation of her superb body. At last, he cut away the tattered remains to leave her denuded from ankles, wrists and neck. Blood streamed down her flayed legs and puddled around her.

“I could not be more impressed” Dmitri boomed. “This is tremendous! And she still lives. My boy, you have surpassed my expectations. Bravo”! Pavel looked away shyly, surprised at how much this praise moved him. For the first time, he truly felt that he had met the challenge had Eva presented in his old life, when she handed him the knife and offered herself up. He began to unbutton his shirt and Carissa was immediately by his side to take his clothes for him and place them carefully aside, away from the blood. Naked and erect, he closed in on the raw slab of meat that had once been so elegantly beautiful and gazed into Yewubdar’s dying eyes.

“I am going to fuck you to death” he breathed, wrapping his arms around her and stabbing his cock into the warmth of her sopping cunt. He was smeared with her lifeblood and drenched with sweat when, after a protracted and brutal thrusting and bucking, she finally succumbed to the awful wounds he had inflicted.

“The Pallid Mask” she moaned as she died, and as he pumped his spunk into her, buckling at the knees.

THE YELLOW SIGN

“I was telling the story of Anastasiya when we heard you had arrived” Dmitri said, as the surviving trio settled again in his study. Pavel had become accustomed to his host’s extreme modification over the last few hours, but still sometimes blinked at the impression that he was conversing amiably with a demon from the mountain forests. “I’m sure you know the story”? Dmitri went on, flashing his terrible fangs in a wolfish grin. Pavel lay down his cigar.

“I know more than most” he ventured. Carissa looked up at him curiously, through her thick lashes. Encouraged by Dmitri’s nod, he continued. “In the months before the mutiny, your 21st Battalion was deployed to Circessya on a punitive expedition. Under the old regime, political officers had more power in some ways than the proper military command. You were under the orders of Captains Yakov and Berzin, as they were known, and you had to play along with their counterrevolutionary reign of terror until the time was right to rise up”.

“A generous turn of phrase” Dmitri put in, amused.

“There has always been ambivalence about your early career, even amongst the police” Pavel replied.

“Bluebeard” breathed Carissa, and Dmitri let his hand fall onto her shaven head, as a man might absently pet a faithful bitch.

“It’s now agreed that you had been working undercover for the resistance all along”, Pavel explained. “Around the time that you were first accused of murders, they discovered the truth about your interrogation techniques, but the superiors felt it would be politically difficult to let the story go public just as they were seeking to arrest you for so many serious crimes”. Pavel took another sip of chacha while he gathered his thoughts. Dmitri waited, politely interested and encouraging, and he sensed that Carissa was simply enthralled.

“My interrogation techniques?” he prompted. “It’s well known that I was the regime’s most prolific torturer”.

“They say that the work turned your stomach and inspired you to join the rebels” Carissa ventured. ”And some say that it turned your mind”.

“The men his spies turned in for questioning were traitors” Pavel told her. “He was conducting a very cunning black operation”. Here, Dmitri bared his fangs in a broad smile. “Men the rebels did not trust were approached by undercover soldiers and some were persuaded to turn informant. Then their comrades fed them disinformation, which they would faithfully relay after their capture by the military, expecting to be rewarded”.

“But nobody outside of the unit knew about Captain Berzin’s ‘Doctrine’” Dmitri interjected. “He had been persuaded that only information extracted under torture was of any value and, furthermore, that only the evidence of a prisoner being tortured to death could be trusted”. He shrugged his huge shoulders. “These were men who were willing to sell their friends and brothers for dollars…”

“And your network saved countless lives and hastened the end of the regime” Pavel said earnestly, leaning forward.

“But it cost Anastasiya her life”. And so, the story unfolded.

Battalion HQ was a commandeered religious school – a deliberate provocation, of course – and Dmitri was taking a rare break to drink tea and listen to a concert on the short-wave radio when the door was flung open. Captain Yakov and Captain Berzin strode into the room with two of their interior ministry gunmen and a hooded female prisoner, anonymous under a cover of army blankets. Dmitri sprang to his feet and saluted.

“At ease, sergeant”. Yakov acknowledged him with a perfunctory flick of his wrist. “My apologies for disturbing your rest period, but we shall need your expertise in the cellar”. He turned to his goons. “Take the bitch downstairs and chain her to the wall. After that, you may have the rest of the evening to yourselves. I shan’t need you until after breakfast tomorrow”. With a grunt of thanks, they bundled their captive out of the room and down the stairs. Dmitri winced inwardly at the lack of professionalism, but he adopted his loyalist persona as smoothly as he switched off the radio.

“I beg to report that this is a very nice surprise” he leered. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to sign myself back on duty”.

“Your zeal does you credit” the captain drawled.

“It’s unusual to snare a woman, sir” Dmitri spoke offhandedly while fastening his Sam Browne, but his mind was racing. He had never expected them to bring in a prisoner without his foreknowledge. All else aside, none of the commissars spoke a word of Circessian and they relied entirely on the military for local intelligence.

“Indeed” replied Captain Berzin. “You must be wondering how we made an arrest on our own, when we’re so deaf and blind in this benighted backwater”. His tone was light and bantering and his smile open and friendly. Dmitri continued to play the part of the dependable subordinate, wondering, as ever, just how much of this snake’s trust he had really won.

“But seriously, sir, our usual organizational structure has been working very well for us. Yours is not typically a front line role and collecting suspects is perhaps not the best use of your valuable time”.

“Seriously, sergeant” Berzin returned “I myself am a little dubious about the information we have just received. It may be a wild goose chase, but I don’t doubt that your methods will soon discover the truth”.

“We know this much,” Yakov put in “she is one of those radical student sluts from Mirenberg who sniff around after separatist fighters like bitches in heat around a wolf pack. So, if someone is wasting our time, then just waste her”. He smirked at his own quip. Their two bodyguards came back upstairs, Uzis slung over designer fleeces.

“Ready for you, chief” one growled in their strangely-accented Waldensteiner, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. “Of course, we will stay close, inner perimeter, call if you need” and with that they headed for the door, donning tinted aviator glasses against the cold rays of the setting mountain sun.

“So, she’s Mirenberger?” Dmitri asked.

“Yes. One of our men overheard her in the Café Rosenstrasse, openly boasting about her contacts with the rebels in the mountains”. Yakov shrugged as he lit a cigarette. “It may have been empty posturing, or it may be that the opposition conspiracy is so over-confident that they think they can spread their poison even inside the safe zone, even where Waldensteiners gather”.

“Or it may be that she is a decoy, a diversionary tactic. Perhaps the enemy have fed her false information and then set her up to misinform us” Dmitri suggested. He tried to ignore the impression that Berzin was watching his face shrewdly.

“That’s what you have to find out. We have plenty of time” Yakov replied, looking out of the window at the deceptively still and clear afternoon. “There will be no action on either side during the coming blizzards”.

“Shall we?” smiled Berzin, and the three headed for the cellar door.

“You must understand that I was bracing myself for an indoor gunfight” Dmitri spoke to Pavel with a glint in his eye. “I counted every enemy of the regime as a brother or sister - and I could never lay a finger on anyone targeted by the interior ministry”.

Yakov and Berzin waited courteously at the top of the stairs and let Dmitri go ahead of them. He flexed his fingers as he walked down, fighting the urge to touch the butt of his pistol. It took a supreme effort of self-control to mask his reaction when he reached the bottom and saw the naked woman manacled to the cellar wall. Anastasiya had changed since he had last seen her. Her hair was shorter now and bleached. She wore stainless steel all around the edges of her ears and in her eyebrow, lip and navel. The most striking change was an intricate design tattooed in shades of gold and ochre across the flawless flesh of her chest – a pattern which Dmitri had never encountered before and registered only as a yellow sign. There was an expression of abject terror on her beautiful face, an expression which never faltered even when she met his eyes and read the flicker of recognition there.

“Please, please! I don’t – don’t know anything” she stammered, wide-eyed and trembling violently.

“We’re not inclined to take your word for that” Yakov sneered. He moved to stand right in front of her, his lit cigarette within a centimetre of her bare skin, and she shrank back as though she wanted the cellar wall to swallow her.

“Please” she whimpered. “I will do anything you want – anything”. His hand shot out and seized her face. There was a sharp intake of breath, and then her lips moved soundlessly, forming the word – “please”. He turned to Berzin with a smirk.

“She will do anything” he purred.

“She said the same thing to our Cossacks” Berzin replied, folding his arms. Yakov dropped his cigarette and stamped it out. Unfastening her cuffs, he seized her right nipple between thumb and forefinger and twisted it viciously to drag her down at his feet. Brown eyes stared up at him, pleading, as he fumbled his tunic and trousers open to free his cock. Her hesitant hand reached out to caress, but he took a fistful of hair and thrust himself into her mouth. It took only a minute or so of skull-fucking before he froze rigid, his face locked into a pained grimace. Anastasiya gulped and panted, turning hopefully to Berzin. He approached in his turn, cold-eyed and flaccid.

“I can be nice to you, too” she pleaded, but he had a different plan in mind. She blinked, startled, when the jet of piss played over her face. He gave a mirthless bark of laughter when she leant into the stream, catching it in her mouth and drinking thirstily in a blatant display of the most abject surrender.

“Come along” Yakov said, straightening his uniform. “If you would conduct your usual softening-up process please, Sergeant?” he asked Dmitri. “That should just give us enough time to dine at the hotel, then we’ll return for the main part of the interrogation”. Anastasiya looked from one man to another in desperation. Dmitri saluted and then fixed her with a hard, forbidding stare until the officers’ footsteps faded away on the floorboards above them. When they heard the door slam, he burst into an angry tirade, the words tumbling over themselves in his panic and fury.

“What on earth were you thinking of? This is real – this is not one of your games back in Mirenberg. Do you realise what you have done? I will have to kill them both” here he unholstered his Makarov and began to pace back and forth. “And then we will have to run for the Circessian positions, with this blizzard coming on, and I won’t have time to warn the others, and it’s all because of your stupidity”.

“Why do you have to kill them?” she asked when he paused for breath.

“Because when they return in a couple of hours they will expect to find you tortured and broken” he shouted. She rose to her feet, swept damp hair from her face and squared her shoulders.

“Then torture and break me” she breathed.

“I am very tempted to do just that” he returned angrily. “But nobody survives these interrogations, you little fool! The rumours are completely true, they spread them deliberately to terrorise the people of the town and keep them from joining the rebellion. Whatever nonsense you were babbling in the café, you had set yourself up to be tortured to death and to become one of the disappeared. Being Waldensteiner wouldn’t have saved you”. Nervously, he checked the clip of his pistol and then slammed it back into place. “And you don’t understand how much damage you’ve done to the cause. You have stumbled into a hugely important intelligence operation here, and completely ruined it”!

“You bring in men who are betraying the revolution and use them to feed the army false information. They die telling the commissars what they think are secrets that will end their pain, and then your friends in the hills set their ambushes accordingly. That is the truth behind the legend of the Circessian Ghosts”. She smiled at the look of shocked confusion on his face. “Don’t worry. Nobody knows. I discovered all of this working alone. Their Cossacks just assume that nobody speaks Alaniyan”.

“I don’t understand” he replied. His anger had gone now, and he seemed deflated, sad and lost. Anastasiya reached out and caressed his cheek.

“Listen. They are going to attack the Svitavian Heights in force from both north and south, with air support, as soon as the blizzard blows over. They will encircle and destroy the whole Circessian militia and most of the rebel groups, too – you know that we cannot face their mercenaries and “advisors” in open battle, even in the uplands”. He stiffened, and his eyes darted to and fro, panicked. She took his face in both hands and looked at him lovingly. “I’m so sorry, but they finally stumbled over some evidence on their own and, because it contradicted the intelligence you had been giving them, they decided to keep it secret from you. They are about to uncover your operation and stamp out the revolution”.

“It cannot be true”!

“Do you think I could lie to you?” she returned, staring fearlessly into his smouldering eyes.

“No” he replied thoughtfully, after looking into her soul and reading there her complete surrender, “I don’t believe you could”.

“There was a girl from Mirenburg who was just the sort of character they think I am” Anastasiya explained. “She was spoiled and rich; I suppose she had the right political instincts, but she knew nothing of the real world. She came out here to work with some children’s charity where she soon met up with a Circessian boy. He was one of those who had lived in Mirenburg all his life and only knew the struggle in the homeland at second hand, but he wanted his new girlfriend to think he was Spartacus. He told everything he heard to her, and then she would blurt it all out in the café just to be the dangerous rebel girl in the black leather jacket. Even Yakov and Berzin, off duty and fully occupied with their “business interests”, were bound to hear her and pay attention”.

“That was why the raid on the dam was just a massacre” Dmitri interjected. “We had no idea how they were warned - and you’re telling me that some callow volunteer just told it all to his goth girlfriend out of braggadocio”? He pounded his fist into his palm.

“Yes. They picked her up while you and Grigori were in the field and they tortured her to death. Of course, she told them everything she knew, and so did her boyfriend, when she betrayed him. They’re the lowest filth, Dmitri. These were just two silly kids who liked to boast, and those bastards made them die hating themselves for cracking under torture”.

“They know we’re based in Upper Svitavia” Dmitri mused. “After all the false trails we’ve laid to make them suspect the abandoned streets in the Moravian Quarter”. Suddenly he span around and pummelled at the brick wall in helpless fury.

“No, listen. They think that I’m another such. It suits them to believe that all sympathizers are besotted young women. You can torture me to death, here in this basement. And I will die telling those disgusting pigs that the guerrillas are all massed in the Moravian slums …”.

“This is no game!” he cried, his rage returning. “Some madmen think they can win us the war by driving a car bomb into a military convoy but it’s the wrong way”!

“It is the only way for us, today” she said. “My death will turn this defeat into a victory”. Her attitude changed, and she gave him quite a different look, twisting a strand of hair playfully around her fingers and smiling wickedly. “Do you remember what you used to tell me just as I was on the verge of fainting from pain and pleasure”?

“I said that I would fuck your corpse. And that I would eat your heart” Dmitri replied. “But it was just a chimaera, a fantasy to excite us”.

“The thought excited us because we both wanted it so much” she purred. “I always hoped that you would make a mistake one day, go too far, and kill me”.

“I also thought about that” he admitted. “But it could never have happened”.

“Perhaps not then,” she agreed ruefully, “but now it must. Four thousand fighters in the hills will live if I die”.

“I don’t like suicide as a tactic” he spoke more hesitantly.

“Not suicide,” she replied, “but sacrifice. Consent is morally transformative”. She moved closer. “I want to see the Twin Suns set over Lake Hali”.

“You cannot want what I do to traitors to happen to you”.

“Look at me” she said. “You know I do”.

“And you are prepared for it?” his resolve was wavering. She smiled archly and ran her fingertips down from the eldritch tattoo between her pert breasts and over her belly to the clitoral piercing.

“I had several tanning sessions and a full-body wax at the International Hotel” she teased. “They were glad of the custom and I have no further use for my savings”. He glowered at her and she pouted prettily. “Don’t you want to torture me anymore”? Boldly, she reached out and pressed a painted fingernail to the breast of his khaki tunic to stimulate the nipple beneath, then gasped and grinned when he wrapped his hand around her throat and pulled her face to his.

“But how can I concentrate on deceiving those two vipers if you are playing this brat’s game with me”? he demanded. She brushed his cheek with her fingertips while her other hand wandered over his muscular chest and abdomen.

“When they return, won’t they expect you to rape me?” she asked in a low, quiet voice, gazing into his eyes pleadingly. His face was impassive as he unfastened his belt-buckle and lifted the supporting strap from his shoulder.

“They will expect you to have been well marked, too” he remarked grimly. Without taking her eyes from his she backed slowly away to the staircase where she draped her long form over the wooden steps. Her light muscles tensed as she braced herself, watching his approach over her shoulder. There was neither elegance nor subtlety to the beating that followed. Dmitri belaboured her legs and back with a rapid, but irregular, series of great, swinging blows. The crack of leather on skin rang around the brick walls like rifle fire. Anastasiya gasped and groaned in a constant counterpoint to this fusillade, only breaking into a scream on the occasions when he used the heavy buckle to bruise and cut her. When her shoulder blades and the backs of her thighs were vividly painted in purple and blue she no longer twisted and jerked under the strapping but lay like a corpse on the rough timber, breathless and defeated. Only then did he drop the belt and wipe the sweat from his brow. He was halfway through a foul, army-issue cigarette when she lifted her tear-streaked face.

“At the very end,” she said, “I should betray you as an agent of the rebels. How can I do that to convince them that it is all false information”?

“You have given this a lot of thought”.

“And dreamt of it often. How I would die willingly, and you would butcher me willingly to save lives and to save the cause”. She turned around to face him, wincing at the feel of wooden steps on the raw flesh of her back . “But I cannot do all of the work” and she essayed a brave smile, despite the pain. Dmitri drew on his cigarette and stared into space.

“I have it” he announced, at last. “On the morning of Independence Day, Berzin had me take two boxes from his room and put them with the hazardous waste for secure incineration – there was about to be an inspection, by interior ministry men of whom even he is afraid. He made very sure that no-one knew the two of us had ever left the Green Zone, so if you claim to have met me somewhere at that time he will know it for a fabrication – and he won’t be able to discuss it with Yakov because, believe me, nobody should know what was in those boxes”. Dmitri stamped out his cigarette while supressing a shudder.

“Ideal!” Anastasiya exclaimed, with an incongruously bright smile. She lowered her eyelids and licked her lips. “Now break me while we can still be honest sadist and honest masochist. After this, I will be telling lies but don’t ever doubt that I will be burning inside and always thinking of your cock ravishing my dead cunt”. To conceal his inner turmoil, Dmitri turned away as he bent to pick up the belt. He lost his ambivalence in delivering the furious hurricane of flogging that followed. The worn leather slashed across her nipples, slapped into the fleshy mounds of her breasts and sliced into the soft curves of her belly, crotch and thighs while she threw her head back and howled at the vaulted ceiling. He redoubled his efforts, swiping furiously left and right while she thrashed about like an eel on the quayside, crying out in pain yet spreading her thighs time and again to welcome the leather onto her engorged clit and erect nipples. Reading her like a favourite book revisited, he marked the exact moment to bring the iron tip down in a great, overhead arc to land wetly just above her gaping cunt. At last, she arched her body upwards and her scream rose in pitch to a weird, banshee wail that emptied all the air from her lungs. She hung motionless in the air while her eyes rolled back in her head, then crashed back onto the steps in a dead faint.

“They are back” Dmitri whispered in her ear as she returned to consciousness. Lifting her head and blinking she became aware that she was now lying in the middle of the cellar floor, next to a trestle-table which had not been there previously. There was the sound of footsteps overhead.

“Rape me” she breathed, and then a change came over her face as she composed herself in preparation for the role-playing to follow. Dmitri moved away and busied himself with the various boxes on the table until Berzin and Yakov descended the stairs.

“At ease” Berzin replied to Dmitri’s salute. “I think we may dispense with formalities for now”. They stood over Anastasiya and smiled at the sight of her welted and bruised body.

“Is she becoming, ah, malleable?” asked Yakov.

“Please, Exzellenzen,” she began, “I will tell you everything…” She broke off when Berzin’s gloved hand slammed into her cheek and her head jerked back. Dmitri spoke without turning around from his preparations.

“As expected, sir. But, of course, the real testing is still ahead of her”.

“And have you had her yet?” Yakov went on, to a bark of mirthless laughter from his brother officer. “We were just discussing this. Why don’t you”? And he began to unfasten the front of his tunic.

“Anything,” Anastasiya begged from the floor at their feet, “anything you want”. Now Dmitri turned around, his face twisted into a brutal snarl.

“Then, with your permission” he mocked and stepped forward to grasp her hair and haul her unresisting body to lie face-down on the cellar floor. She moaned when he knelt between her splayed thighs and lifted her hips up and back to aim his stiff prick into her cunt.

“No, please” she protested weakly, as though gasping for breath “Don’t hurt me”. Dmitri thrust into her sopping warmth and began to fuck her with a slow, insistent rhythm. She voiced a little wail of utter surrender, and he pulled her head back by the hair to growl into her ear.

“Now that it’s wettened, I will give you the pain you deserve” he hissed before pulling out slowly and deliberately. She screamed like a damned soul when he stabbed the head right through her tight, pink ring to ram his cock deep into her bowels in the first of a long series of brutish thrusts. The screams became groans and then grunts as he continued to drive to and fro, both hands buried in her hair. In the meantime, Yakov had taken off his tunic and unfastened his trousers and now he knelt before them. Dmitri pushed her head down over the commissar’s prick, seized her by the hips, and redoubled his efforts. Berzin stood aside smoking, watching with his cold-fish eyes until spunk decorated her face and, many minutes later, arced across her back. Dmitri slumped forward and took a moment to regain control of his breathing before running a hand through his thick hair, rising to his feet and re-fastening his clothing. She had been quite right – his urges were satiated for now, and his head was clearer.

“A more enjoyable interrogation than our usual sessions, eh Sergeant?” Yakov remarked, smirking.

“The rebels are in the Moravian Quarter” Anastasiya began, hesitantly, while wiping her face with the back of her hand.

“Silence!” Berzin shot back. “You will answer the questions put to you”.

“Come here”. Anastasiya moved hesitantly to where Dmitri stood by the table. He gestured to the hand-cranked generator that sat in the centre. “Work this crank until I tell you to stop” he said. Their eyes met for a moment, then she slumped forward, naked, abused and defeated, and began to turn the handle. The device whirred into life while Berzin and Yakov found themselves chairs and settled in to enjoy the unfolding drama.

“There is no need for this” she whimpered. “I will tell you anything you want to know”.

“We understand too well that you will say anything” Berzin replied. “And we might believe that you’re telling the truth - when all you care about is stopping the pain”. She kept turning until, at last, the indicator glowed green.

“Stand up with your hands at your sides” Dmitri ordered. She raised her beaten and buggered body to obey; he smiled as he approached her with the end of a roll of copper wire. She remained silent, trembling a little, while he looped it around her from waist to shoulders. Her wide eyes followed him as he went back to the table to take up a staple gun. Berzin lit a cigarette. The match sputtered, then all was silent again. Suddenly, Dmitri fired the gun twice into the table-top.

“What? Please, why”? Anastasiya stammered, shrinking away from him as far as her bonds would allow. He moved closer to her and brought the device up to her face. She started in shock when he fired a staple past her ear to bounce off the bricks behind her.

“Brace yourself – bitch” he spat and reached down to lift one of her legs, exposing her cunt. The stapler sounded once, twice, and she began to scream. Five more reports rang around the room before he stepped back and let go of her leg. She continued to scream, in shock and horror.

“You don’t plan on raping her again?” drawled Berzin, pointing with his cigarette at the metal fastenings now sealing her labia.

“We still have her arse” Yakov jeered, and Dmitri joined in the laughter. She looked desperately from one man to another.

“Their positions are in the slums of Mirenberg, I swear. In the vaults and tunnels under those abandoned buildings. Give me a map, and…” here she shrieked with all the air in her lungs. Dmitri had brought the two exposed wires of the generator to the copper that encircled her bare flesh and sent a jolt of electricity through her.

“That’s just a taste” he remarked casually, turning to take two lengths of chain from his selection of evil implements. She fought the urge to collapse onto the floor, shuddering with pain and fear.

“This is going to be very enjoyable” said Berzin. “May I assist you, sergeant”?

“I would be honoured” Dmitri replied with mock civility. “Perhaps you could feed these chains through the rings above her head”? Once again, Dmitri felt a chill when the interior ministry apparatchik smiled and stood on his chair to oblige. How much did he know? What did he suspect? He felt that he was being tested more than Anastasiya, and perhaps was in no less danger but he hid his doubts behind an evil grin.

“I think this is about the right height” Berzin said, passing the ends of the two chains to Dmitri. Each ended in a barbed steel hook.

“What…”? Anastasiya began, looking fearfully over her shoulder. Now Yakov stepped forward and seized her face in both hands, staring.

“Face forward” he hissed. “You will find out soon enough”. With a look of evil pleasure, he watched her crumple with pain, her mouth working wordlessly, and her eyes screwed up tight. Dmitri had pinched she skin of her back and pressed the hooks deep into the muscle beneath, first on one side, then the other. He stepped back and released his grip.

“They’re not in the Moravian Quarter at all” she gasped, her breathing now hoarse and ragged. Her eyes darted from side to side. “That’s a feint, a deception. Don’t do this to me, please. Their positions are in the mountains, where you think there are only bandits and smugglers”. Yakov shrugged.

“Perhaps,” he said, dismissively, “but you must excuse me for a moment while I help my colleagues”. She could manage only a thin, despairing whine when the three men pulled together at the chains. The links clattered slowly and relentlessly through the two iron eyes bolted to the cellar ceiling and hauled her almost a meter from the floor. Her feet kicked uselessly while they secured the ends to leave her hanging there, agonisingly hooked and unable even to use her arms to relieve some of the weight. She grunted, breathless, and then let out a strangled cry when Dmitri slapped her hard across the buttock and set her swaying. They watched, cold and appraising, until the swinging lessened.

“I think I will be disappointed if she can’t hold out for another hour or so” Berzin said to no-one in particular, standing with his legs apart and his arms folded.

“Please let me down” she wailed. “I cannot stand any more – and I’m telling you the truth. I can show you their positions in the mountains. I’ve been there. I – please! No!”. Her voice broke down into a pitiful sobbing, her beautiful, ruined body wracked by great convulsive gasps. Dmitri had begun her second beating, swinging a great bullwhip patiently and methodically around her arse and crotch, all down her flailing legs and then back up again. Berzin and Yakov stepped back into the corners of the basement to allow him room to work.

“There is a kind of poetry to this, don’t you think”? Berzin affected the Teutonic vowel-sounds of the old aristocracy.

“The fellow is – ach – more artist than artisan, dear boy, I must agree” replied Yakov in the same tone. They were genuinely enjoying themselves, Dmitri thought, as he walked around his trembling victim to strike from a new angle. They didn’t realise that he had treated Anastasiya worse than this on many occasions. They hadn’t guessed that he stapled her cunt lips together to hide her arousal. When he moved on to the next stage, they would believe her. His whip cracked over a nipple and she howled. Deep inside, a part of him relished the thought of killing. For the cause, of course. For the greater good. Because she had left him no other course of action. He put her strange metaphysical notions and her romantic ideal of revolutionary martyrdom out of his mind – but it took a tremendous effort of will.

“It’s time to finish this” he said, in a flat voice, as he lifted the generator. Her bound breasts heaved.

“I’ll talk” she begged, terrified. But the current hit her and ran around the copper that constricted her, sparking and crackling. She jerked and spasmed, kicking out and setting her body swinging agonisingly from the piercing hooks. Then, with no pause for respite, Dmitri electrocuted her again. And again. Her screams of pain and fear were no longer human – just the cries of a wounded animal. After the fifth shock she lost all control of her body and piss spurted from between the staples closing her vulva. On the seventh, her eyes rolled back in her head and her legs finally stopped kicking. Dmitri checked her pulse, then went to release the chains. He lowered her down into the pool of piss and blood and bent to unfasten the chains from the hooks, although he left them embedded in her back. Her long lashes fluttered, and she groaned. Berzin squatted on the floor in front of her and lifted her chin. She turned a tear-soaked face up to him.

“This will continue all evening” he said, pleasantly. “Then we might nail you to the table while we get some sleep before continuing tomorrow morning”.

“Kill me now” she gasped. “I just want it to stop. By all that’s holy, kill me now. I’m begging you”.

“What is that tattoo on your chest?” asked Yakov, suddenly.

“It is the Yellow Sign,” she replied, “the Sign of The King”. Berzin raised a quizzical eyebrow.

“Something to do with that decadent play” Yakov explained. “The point is – they’re all supposed to be sworn to secrecy”.

“I have been keeping the truth from you” Anastasiya said in a quiet voice, her head hanging in defeat.

“Give me the truth, and I will grant you a quick death” Berzin replied.

“I’m sorry, Dmitri” she gasped. “I haven’t the strength”. Yakov drew his pistol and pulled back the safety catch.

“How do you know our sergeant’s name?” he asked in a slow, calm voice.

“He is one of us. They are planning a mutiny” the words came tumbling from her quivering lips.

“Just because they have somehow found out my Christian name…” Dmitri began, but Berzin held up a hand to silence him.

“Go on” he said to Anastasiya.

“We planned all of this together” she continued, the words sounding dull and robotic. “I was to die convincing you that the rebels and separatists are gathered in Upper Svitavia. He said you would believe me if I were bargaining for my own death. It was the only way to have you call off the assault on the city…”.

“Stop” Berzin snapped. “What assault? What are you talking about”?

“Dmitri feeds us information” she replied. “He spies on you for us. But too many captured rebels had told you too much about our plans. So, they arranged for me to contact him and make this plan. I came out to Circessya on Independence Day, when most soldiers are off duty, and we met in that Armenian restaurant”. She began to weep pitifully, utterly broken. “I’m so sorry, Dmitri. I’m just too weak. I just want it all to end. I’m so sorry”.

“Where were you on Independence Day, sergeant?” asked Yakov, coldly. He raised the pistol. “I seem to remember that you didn’t appear until late in the evening”.

“Put down your pistol, captain” said Berzin, now smiling broadly. “My apologies, sergeant”. Anastasiya and Yakov both looked confused.

“They use the old shepherd trails and the caves the smugglers dug…” her voice trailed off as all eyes followed Berzin. Unhurriedly, he sauntered over to the bench , sat down, and lit another cigarette.

“Captain Berzin can answer for my whereabouts on Independence Day” Dmitri told Yakov, who looked startled, pulled off his peaked cap and ran his fingers through his short, fair hair.

“We almost made the most terrible mistake!” he blurted, confused and shocked.

“Of which we shall never speak again” Berzin replied. “I’m now more convinced than ever of the intelligence our comrade has gathered for us over all these weeks,” he gave Dmitri a look that was almost embarrassed, almost apologetic, “and that our other information was deliberately fed to us by the terrorists – just like this”. Anastasiya looked down at the floor.

“Shall we try to find out more about the Moravian Quarter?” Dmitri asked.

“She probably knows nothing we don’t know already” Berzin replied. “They sent her here with a false story about guerrillas in the mountains and, ah, about your being a traitor, but they are savvy enough not to have let her have important details of their true plans”. He straightened his shoulders and a self-satisfied smile came to his thin face. “They must have known they had only a slim chance of deceiving me. Just kill her”. Dmitri nodded once and then, his face darkening, he unsheathed his combat knife.

“Just kill me” Anastasiya said. She tried to struggle to her knees, but her arms were still wired to her sides with copper wire and she was beyond exhausted by her ordeal. Dmitri pulled her upright by her hair, then held the knife between his teeth while he unwound the wire. She winced and whimpered as the constriction was eased. He stared into her eyes and saw a flicker of her real self.

“You were promised a quick death before you tried to incriminate me” he hissed. “But now it will not be so quick”. In a flash, the knife slashed across her bosom to create a great, gaping wound on the underside of either breast. She scarcely had time to breathe before it swept back again, slightly higher on the return stroke to slice her nipples open. She gasped in shock and looked down at her ruined breasts in dismay. Blood spattered on and around her feet.

“Take your time,” Berzin said, “But I do have to call headquarters”.

“My apologies, Captain. I could slit her throat now”?

“Sergeant, please! You have earned this. But – perhaps ten minutes”?

“I understand, Sir”. Dmitri turned back to Anastasiya. He grabbed her shoulder to turn her slightly away from him, regarded her abdomen appraisingly and then drove the point of the knife into her belly. She opened her mouth and eyes wide in silent shock and blood began to trickle from the wound and over the swell of her hip. Again, he chose a spot carefully and judiciously before stabbing just as forcefully into her ribs. This time, her legs crumpled beneath her and she fell to her knees.

“He’s avoiding the vital organs” Yakov said to Berzin. “Most impressive”.

“Finish me” she begged, hoarsely. Dmitri knelt beside her and pulled her face to his.

“I think you need to suffer” he said. The others could not see the look she shared with him just before the blade swept down and back again, opening two long, but shallow, cuts from her shoulders to her hips. Then he put an arm around her shoulders to both trap and support her and began to play. The knife moved all over her body, sometimes without breaking the skin but sometimes leaving a crimson trail. At random intervals he chose a spot and pushed the tip into her flesh, sometimes just a pricking to start the blood flowing but sometimes right to the hilt. She moaned and whimpered and was soon only kept from falling by his strong embrace. The knife-point wandered over her flank and under her ribs and then, already weak from loss of blood, she just managed to speak before the cold steel found her heart and ended her torment.

“The what?” asked Yakov. “The pallid masque? What does that mean”? Dmitri let Anastasiya’s body down onto the floor and shrugged.

“These kids today, who knows”? he replied casually. He noticed that Yakov had laid his pistol down on the table and he moved nearer it, picking up a piece of cotton waste to clean his knife and to disguise his intentions. Berzin was punching numbers into his satellite phone at the foot of the stairs.

“Silver Fox,” he barked, “This is Silver Fox” and Dmitri struggled to keep the contempt from showing in his face. “Situation report” he went on. He glanced at Dmitri, smiled, and continued. “Antelope” he said. “Project Antelope situation report. Abort the attack on the Svitavians. I repeat, abort. The intelligence was flawed. We revert to plan A, the house-to-house searches in the Moravian. I know, I know, but we now have very compelling evidence that the information provided by the 21st Battalion has been correct all along”. Here he smiled at Dmitri again. “We were too suspicious, for once. Sergeant V has my full confidence; I commend his work and I assure you that you can rely on him completely”. Dmitri gave a nod – almost a small bow – to acknowledge this praise, picked up the gun and shot Captain Yakov between the eyes.

“No!” Dmitri shouted, “Help – guards!” and then shot Berzin, first in the stomach so that he dropped slowly, still staring in disbelief, and then in the face. He fired another shot into Yakov’s corpse, to reduce the chance of ricochets, then shouted some Circessian curses, and then fired again. He threw over the table, smashed an empty bottle onto the floor, and picked up Berzin’s phone.

“Captain Berzin!” an unknown voice was shouting, “Answer me! What is happening! Captain Berzin, can you hear me”?

“This is Sergeant V.” Dmitri said. “We have been overrun. My officers are both dead. I think the terrorists were trying to stop the bitch from talking – but they were too late”.

“The headquarters is in rebel hands”?

“I beg to report that it is, sir. I have barricaded myself down here, but I can hear them going through the rooms upstairs. Sir, they will find our codebooks and plans! You must order an airstrike, before the blizzard grounds all our gunships”.

“But what about you, Sergeant? Have you an escape plan”?

“I will have done my duty, Sir. I will die knowing that the bandits are to be flushed out of the Moravian slums”.

“Then Waldenstein salutes you” said the voice. “The airstrike is coming, and I pray that your end is as quick as it will be heroic and glorious. Do you want us to contact anyone”?

“Yes,” said Dmitri “Please send the message ‘Mailedfist’ to Sergeant Grigori K. of my company. There is no time to explain, Sir, but he will know what to do. Now I have to go”. He hung up, stepped over Berzin’s body and walked calmly up the stairs to bolt the door. In time, he heard the thunder of boots overhead – that would be the signallers and clerks of his company leaving to join the rest of the battalion, he thought with satisfaction. Soon afterwards the Cossacks were hammering on the door, shouting to be admitted and demanding to see their officers. That was when the first of a series of deafening crashes shook the building and the lights died.

CARISSA

“I will never forget the taste of dust in my mouth, nor the smell of burning from the building above” Dmitri said. “I had a Zippo and by its light I was able to connect a lightbulb to the generator and see the damage. The ceiling had caved in around the doorway and steps, trapping me completely, but the vault was still sound and clean air was coming from somewhere. There were even some bottles of water”.

“You were trapped for three days” Pavel said. “Is that right”?

“The snowstorm lasted for just over two days, but that was long enough” he replied. A faraway look came over his nightmare face. “When the noise abated and the dust settled, I calmed myself and decided to make the best of the situation. I dragged the corpses of the interior ministry men to a dark corner, out of my sight, and then stood over Anastasiya’s body. I had no idea, you see. I didn’t know the meaning of that design,” he gestured to the tattoo above Carissa’s cunt, “and I hadn’t understood her witness of the Pallid Mask when I killed her. I only knew that she was more beautiful than I had ever seen her, lying in her own blood and wearing the marks of so many slashes and stabbings”. He drained his drink and, unbidden, Carissa rushed to refresh both men’s glasses.

“So, you fucked her corpse?” Pavel asked, swirling his drink in the glass to release the flavour.

“I did. Her cunt was still hot and wet, just as we had fantasised. As I had fantasised, I mean – she had worked to make it a reality, and I felt almost honour-bound to play my part. It was the most intense and spiritual pleasure I have ever experienced. Out of all the hundreds of victims I have killed and fucked over the years, there has been none to compare with that first, joyous release.

Afterwards, I fell into a deep and peaceful slumber, and that probably kept me alive until Grigori and his men dug through the snow to find me”. He smiled, baring his incredible fangs. “Of course, I told the men of Grigori’s platoon that her heart had been ripped from her body by the commissars, and they had no reason to disbelieve me. And you know the rest. The Presidential Guard and the mercenaries moved into the tunnels and condemned buildings where our booby-traps and snipers decimated them, while the freedom-fighters came down from the hills, with the 21st leading the way, in the first attempt to overthrow the regime. And, it is true, I had set out on the path which would inevitably lead me to this, to the King in Yellow” he gestured expansively around the room, with its costly silks and carpets, its skulls and scalps and the silver platter of woman-flesh. He paused, looking quizzically at Carissa. “You are crying” he remarked, with genuine concern in his voice.

“I am sorry, Dmitri” she replied from the floor at his feet, turning her tear-streaked face away from him.

“But why”?

“It isn’t important” she gasped, losing the battle to control her sobbing. “I am of the Order of Anna Darvulia and my life doesn’t matter”.

“But I wish to know” he persisted. “Carissa, my dear, tell me what is wrong”. She wiped her face, drew a deep breath, and looked up at him.

“I understand why you made Janika wait, and Yewubdar” she said, her lip trembling. “But I committed no crime and I have gladly done everything that was asked of me. The convent is filled with blood and death, but I am still here”. She bowed her head to hide the fresh tears as her voice began to quaver again. “Unwanted”. Pavel rose to his feet.

“I shan’t have another” he said, putting down his glass. “I promised Grigori that I would visit him in the kitchens and I am looking forward to watching him work. If you would excuse me, I will see you at dinner”. They exchanged bows, and Pavel left Dmitri and Carissa alone.

“Would you care to accompany me to my chamber?” Dmitri asked with imperial-era courtesy, extending an arm. “Your time is today” he confirmed, when her face brightened and a look of hope came to her eyes. “The bed can be replaced”. Rising, she took his arm and walked with him to the adjoining bedroom. She was thankful that she had serviced the room so recently. Everything would be perfect for him. He closed the door behind them – although few doors were ever closed in the old convent – and she stood proudly before him, her arms outspread and her throat and bosom pressed forward in joyful expectation. Moments passed.

“How – how do you want me?” she stammered, confused. He drew a talon gently down her cheek and across her throat.

“Slowly” he smiled. His new teeth gleamed. “Slowly”. He flexed his fingers, admiring the claws she had built for him. “I want to enjoy you properly. After all, you have waited so long already”. She blushed. He spread his arms in the manner he used to command her to undress him and she set to work, stripping him solicitously of his kosovorotka and taking off his linen trousers. There was a fresh brightness in her face now, and her fingers moved surely and eagerly. She began to fold the clothes neatly but he gently took them from her, flung them aside, and took her face in his hands – fingers splayed to keep the sharp points and edges away from her skin. He kissed her on the lips, on the eyelids, on either cheek and then pressed their mouths together in a deeper and longer kiss. At this, she dared to put her arms around him. Her legs felt weak, but he swept her up into his arms and carried her over to the bed. Languorously spread-eagled on the thick quilt she trembled with the intensity of her confused passions. His shaggy head bore down on her, terrible fangs bared, but moved down her body pressing gentle kisses along her throat and chest until his mouth settled over one pierced nipple and sucked gently. She felt the thrilling touch of his claws down her ribs and over her hips, stroking so softly that even the razor-sharp tips never made a cut. The vicious incisors and canines she had implanted just rested at the tip of her breast and his tongue churned maddeningly around the nipple. Then there was a gentle sucking and nibbling and she forgot herself completely, taking fistfuls of his coarse hair and thrusting her soft body up against his hirsute hardness.

“Please” she begged. “I cannot bear it”.

“You must” he rumbled as he shifted lower, trailing his murderous teeth and nails down her surrendered body with infinite tenderness until he pushed her unresisting thighs apart and fastened his mouth over her cunt. As his tongue swirled around her stiff clit he bit into her just a little, his two incisors sinking softly into the shaven flesh of her mons veneris where she wore the Yellow Sign, and she cried out in an ecstatic spasm. He sat back, grinning wickedly, while she squirmed and panted open-legged on his bed. Fresh tremors seized her when he drew the nail of one little finger over her body, from the left shoulder to the right hip, leaving the faintest of red lines, then he leant over her to place another long kiss on her parted lips. This time, she wrapped her legs and arms around him. Carissa was deeply lost in an erotic trance when he finished drinking from her lips and took his teasing hands from her yielding body. She melted into the bed, watching him through her lashes while he reached for a long, plain riding-crop.

“No” she breathed. He flexed the crop.

“No?” he laughed.

“Because I – I won’t suffer. I mean…the pain of a crop is, for me…but…it just arouses me… even satisfies me…” her voice trailed away.

“That would be amusing” he said as he moved to stand beside the bed. She turned around onto her knees and arched her back in readiness for the first blow. It did not come. Instead, she had to endure the sweet torment of the buckskin keeper running the length of her spine and circling her round buttocks - strangers to the whip for so long - tapping softly here and there until she was moaning and undulating and clawing at the bedding.

“Yes!” she screamed in a delirium of gratitude when she finally felt the bitter kiss of leather across the tops of her thighs. She raised her arse higher to welcome the following flurry of sharp swipes but she no longer had the tolerance for a long session of whipping such as she had enjoyed with Vasiliki on Kheros. Months of pent-up frustration had built inside her and the first orgasm had only left her craving more. After the first dozen blows a clear liquid sprayed from her cunt and she fell forward howling and crying out hysterically.

“On your back” he said and she almost leapt to obey, twisting around and splaying her legs to present herself in the lewdest submission. This time, it took even fewer vicious strokes over her tattoo of the Yellow Sign before she reached another peak and collapsed in a quivering daze. When she recovered her senses, she was on her belly again. Dmitri had lifted and parted her legs and his face was buried between the burning cheeks of her arse, his moustache and beard prickling her while his tongue delved into her anus.

“No, no” she protested, weakly, even as she reached back to pull her welted buttocks further apart for him. “I am unworthy”.

“You do not matter,” he reminded her, “and I will treat you as the mood takes me”. He returned to his licking and she gave a long, low sigh of joyous despair. There were trickles of saliva running between her legs by the time he stopped and she heard him shift his weight on the bed behind her. She turned her head to see that he was kneeling down and his cock was standing proudly before him. He beckoned her towards it with his grotesque fingers. Ever since she had begun the extreme modification of their fingers, the men had relied completely on her, Janika and Yewubdar. Now that the procedures were complete it was even more important to have a woman to use her hands for them – the longest fingernails were less hazardous than their new claws. She approached him and wrapped her fingers loving around the shaft.

“Will you spend in my mouth?” she asked.

“Only wet me a little,” he replied, “then impale yourself”. Gleefully, she set to work with her lips and tongue until she felt him shiver and heard him groan. Delighted, she turned around and backed carefully onto him, guiding the head to her moistened arsehole and welcoming his stiff length inside herself with a gasp. He drove to and fro slowly, wrapping an arm around her to pull her close; she leant back into his embrace and responded to his gentle thrusts by rolling her hips to the same rhythm. He cupped her full breasts in his fearsome hands and then she threw her head back and gasped. The moment she had dreamt of every night since first beginning her work in the clinic had finally arrived – his claws were sinking slowly but inexorably into the flesh of her bosom, sending bolts of delicious pain through her and starting ten rivulets of blood that met and mingled on the gentle swell of her belly.

“Thank you” she panted, rocking a little faster against him, despite herself. “Thank you, thank you”. He nuzzled her neck, hot breath played over her skin and his fangs brushed against her ear.

“I want you to touch yourself,” he whispered. As soon as he saw her obey, heard her moan and felt her sphincter tighten he raked a hand across her belly. This time, the cuts were deeper and she howled in pain and pleasure as another orgasm seized her.

“Yes, do that” she sobbed as the blood poured down her cunt and thighs. Dmitri leant back a little, still pumping his prick into her, and put both hands on her shoulders. Sensing his intent, she arched her back and screamed when he clawed her gently but firmly, effortlessly opening her tanned skin like meat scored for roasting. Again, his arms enfolded her, his talons now sunk into her upper arms and making fresh wounds while she continued to frig wantonly and to ride his cock careless of her agony, careless of the ruin of her body. She was slick with blood now; it dripped from the huge hoops in her nipples and covered the tattoo above her cunt.

“I will die of pleasure unless you kill me soon” she moaned.

“Soon” he murmured. “Soon I must feel your body’s death-grip on my prick when I tear your beating heart from your breast to my mouth”. She gasped with an all-consuming pleasure to feel his awful jaws close softly on her neck. The sun was low in the sky and flooding the room with a rich, yellow light but as the blood flowed from her veins she felt that everything was touched with a warm, golden glow. Dmitri’s teeth settled in place and she felt his left hand poised just underneath her ribcage, ready to strike. There was a presence, she sensed, something she had always craved but had never fully recognised, someone who had always been right in front of her, in the palest of disguises. Her cunt flooded and she sang out in joyful praise.

“The Pallid Mask”!

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The Yellow Sign

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