As promised to some of my readers, I am releasing a teaser from the book I am currently writing . There is still much to be written and a lot of work to be done, before I can even think of a release date. This piece is in its raw, unedited form. A title has been chosen, but I will keep that to myself, until closer to a release date. Happy reading,
Wellington, New Zealand, April, 1999
Thursday night always saw a large gathering of politicians at The Diamond Bar. Their week’s requirement to be in Wellington for Parliament sittings often showed on their strained faces, as they knocked back the first drinks quickly. The journalists that drank there knew better than to bother them. This was a neutral zone, where politics remained outside the doors and opposing parties could socialise together. Any infringements of that were dealt with swiftly by the bar staff, and a nosy journalist would find himself issued with a life ban from the popular watering-hole.
There was a still a lot that could be learnt through observation and eavesdropping on conversations, amplified by several rounds of drinks. Three journalists were seated in a central booth, where they had a good view of everyone and could discuss their theories among themselves. It didn't matter that they were from competing newspapers. Sometimes you had to give a little, in order to get a lot back.
Gary peered at his colleagues. “So who are you betting on for the outcome of this trial?”
“I’m tipping the government for this one,” Alex replied sullenly. “I mean it takes balls to go up against them, but you just got to know that they’ll all be closing ranks. Hell, they’re not even letting the poor bastard see the warrant.”
The youngest of the journalists shook his head in disgust. Brendan North hadn't been in his reporting career long enough to have developed the cynical attitude of the older men.
“If it happens to one man it can happen to us all. Anytime the government want to know your business then all they have to do is send in their heavies and rip your household apart. It’s not right. There are laws.”
The door to the bar opened and instinctively they looked to see who the newcomer was.
“That’s Sean Kavanagh,” Alex told them. “Poor bastard lost his wife just over a year ago to cancer, leaving him with a kid to raise.”
“No doubt he’ll play on that one, to get the sympathy vote.”
Alex shook his head. “No, from what I’ve heard he’s half a decent man. His wife was a stunner too. Can’t be easy raising a kid when you have to be away half the week, across the country for work.”
They returned to their former conversation until the next patron entered.
“Oh shit, it’s Grim Mary,” Gary smirked.
Brendan turned to see a woman who looked to be in her early thirties. The pencil skirt and business jacket she wore, hung loose on her thin frame and looked as drab as her mousy hair, caught back in a bun. Thick framed glasses were perched on a long thin nose and her mouth was turned down as if she was displeased with her surroundings.
“She’s been coming in here every Thursday, for the last four years,” Gary explained. “I think she hopes to find Mr. Right in here but, I’ve never seen her get lucky.”
“Not exactly a centrefold, is she?” Brendan observed. “What does she do?”
“Assistant to the Clerk of the House. Just about runs the Beehive. Does all the menial jobs, picks up all the other secretaries’ slack. Works fucking long hours. I feel sorry for her. She’s not that bad looking, but she’s boring as shit and I doubt she’s ever had a decent fuck.”
Brendan laughed. “You seem to know an awful lot about her.”
“Like I said, I feel sorry for her. Sometimes I yack with her, but the only thing she seems to be able to talk about is the laws around legislation. I tried once to get a bit out of her, what goes on in the Beehive, but she gave me this long lecture, and I mean long, on how and why civil servants of our Parliament must restrain from idle gossip and have a duty and legal responsibility to keep their mouths shut.”
They watched as Mary stood at the bar, being ignored by the staff until she started waving her card at them.
“She’ll get a gin and tonic and sit at that bar and try to strike up conversation with anyone who sits next to her, but everyone knows her now and tries to avoid her.”
Brendan frowned. “We should invite her over.”
“Are you mad?” Gary leaned in towards him. “Unless you want to know what the latest amendment to the Employment Act of 1975 is.”
“Actually, it’s 1992,” Brendan grinned. “But hell, she must know other things. Hell, she's a woman. You know what they say: It’s always the quiet ones.”
“Yeah right,” Gary chuckled. “Alright, I’ll go get her, but don’t say you weren’t warned.”
Brendan and Alex watched as he went across to the bar and spoke to Mary. When she looked in their direction they both smiled and waved. Mary stared back with her mouth hanging open, but nervously followed Gary back to their booth, sliding in beside him.
After introductions she sat silently, sucking on her drink through a straw.
“So have you got plans for the long weekend, Mary?” Brendan asked.
Her eyes widened. “I’ve got holidays.”
“Sweet. Are you going away anywhere?”
Mary bowed her head and kept sucking on her drink. She didn’t look at them as she answered. “Yes.”
“So where are you off to?”
She raised her head and stared at Brendan fearfully. “Why do you want to know?”
He leaned back and saw Gary pursing his lips together tightly, trying not to laugh. “I was just interested.”
“I don’t know where I’m going," she remarked sharply. "I can’t talk about it.”
“Fair enough.” He glanced at his amused companions. “We were just talking about the trial going on in the high court this week.”
Mary nodded. “The government has to act when they suspect threats to security of the country.”
“Yeah, but this guy is hardly a radical and yet the SIS smash their way into his home, take all his files and won’t even show him the warrant.”
“They must have had just cause, and that type of warrant had to be signed by the Prime Minister himself, and therefore will most certainly be valid. This is not something that should be discussed in establishments of this sort.”
Brendan smiled. “Well, what do you like to talk about, Mary?”
Again the fearful look passed over her face and she looked about at them. Her thin lips opened and closed until she finally spoke.
“Have you ever felt terrified about doing something, but you know you have to do it, because if you don’t you would never know what might have happened and it would haunt you for the rest of your life.”
She now had all their attention. Brendan frowned and peered at her. “You might need to elaborate a bit more, Mary.”
She shook her head and looked at the watch on her wrist, before fumbling about in her handbag and drawing out a ten dollar note.
“Would one of you get me another drink, please?”
Alex waved her money away and got up. “Another gin and tonic?”
Mary breathed heavily and shook her head. “No, something stronger. A whisky. Can I have a scotch on the rocks?”
When she looked down at her bag again, he gave the others a quizzical glance before heading to the bar.
Gary nodded to Brendan to keep talking.
“So you were saying about doing something scary.”
Mary looked up at him anxiously. “I didn’t say that I was doing something. I posed a hypothetical question.”
“Well I suppose we all have to take risks sometime, otherwise life would get pretty, bloody boring.”
“That’s right.” Mary nodded emphatically. “And as long as it’s legal, that you’re not breaking any laws. I would never do that, you must believe that.”
“You don’t have to convince me, Mary,” Gary grinned. “Everyone has the deepest respect for you.”
She stared at him, as if he had said something terrible. “But what if I did something that wasn’t respectful, that people wouldn’t approve of?”
“Then it would be a personal choice of whether you live up to other people’s standards or live up to your own.”
“That is the choice, isn’t it, and I’ve made mine.” Mary suddenly got up and took the ten dollar note from her purse, laying it on the table. “Tell Alex, thank you for the drink. I have to go.”
Before they could respond, she was out of the booth and walking determinedly to the door, leaving the men staring after her, stunned.
“I thought you said that she was boring,” Brendan remarked.
Gary chuckled. “Well, whatever the crazy bitch is doing, I hope she does have fun for once.”
“I didn’t tell them anything,” Mary stated as she hurried along the city street.
The night air was cold and the footpath void of other people, though the traffic moved steadily past her. She should have been part of it, on her way home in her car, to her safe little apartment. Instead she was headed to a building, to a car park, where she now had an hour's wait to see if anything would happen. She cursed herself for going to the pub.
Perhaps if she had gone home first, she wouldn’t have ventured out again and all this madness could have finally been done with, but as she had told those men, it would have haunted for the rest of her life.
The excitement that had gripped her for the past three months, now felt more akin to fear. She was no longer within the security of her home. It was all going to take place in an isolated setting, and she was conscious of putting her life in very real danger. The risks of what she was doing were screaming out in her mind, but through it all came that small spark of hope, that this could be a turning point in her boring and lonely life.
Turning into a narrow street, Mary stopped and looked at the bleak scenery before her. The street was dark and empty, and halfway along it was the car park. When she ventured forward her heels clicked loudly on the concrete and echoed off the dark buildings. She could barely hear the traffic in the main street behind her. This was as lonely as it could possibly be and yet she walked on.
The car park loomed in front of her, ten levels of layered concrete lying in darkness. A large wire gate sealed the entrance and a sign on it clear announced that it was closed, but upon approach she could see that the padlock was open. With trembling hands she removed it, pulling the gate back enough to get around it. Once inside, her heart picked up pace as the echo of her heels amplified her walk into the eerie space. One dirty light, surrounded by moths, revealed the ramp that she had to go up. The incline made walking difficult and she reluctantly removed her shoes.
On reaching the first level she peered out into the darkness, seeing only an empty space, and a light over a door in the distance which said ‘exit.’ It seemed to glow back at her like a warning. Staring at it, Mary suddenly heard something, like the faintest sound of extra footfalls on the concrete, after she had stopped in her tracks. She froze and listened for several minutes, her heart thumping painfully against her ribs, but only her heavy breathing was disturbing the silence. She decided firmly that she had simply heard an echo of herself.
Slowly she walked on, traversing more levels, keeping close to the wall to guide her, until she had reached the sixth level. With a deep breath, she walked to the centre towards a concrete post, with a large number ‘six’ on it. She stood next to it and waited, pressing a button on her watch to light up the time. She still had half an hour to change her mind and get out of there.
With nothing to do, she tried to imagine what he would really be like. He had described himself as tall, with black hair and blue eyes. He had tattoos which should have turned her off immediately, but it was the way he communicated with her that told her that he was not some uncultured thug.
Every night for an hour he was there, or at least his words were, appearing in the box on her computer, answering her questions, telling her things that sent shivers up her spine. At first she had ignored him as one of many internet perverts that wanted to have cybersex. Being in a public chat room, she was used to this type of harassment and would simply click their private box shut. Online she could be as aggressive as she liked, be anyone she wanted to be and certainly able to communicate boldly. It was easier to imagine herself as a sexual being and be brazen and seductive in her online character. Why was it was so much harder in real life?
She also knew that the same rule applied to anyone else in the chat room. The stats that her fellow chatters offered meant nothing and few were eager to exchange photos to back up their claims. The first time he had messaged her, she had laughed at his demanding words, “We need to talk.”
“I don’t think so,” she had laughed as she put a block on him. Anyone with the nickname ‘Master’ must have tickets on himself.
It was when he had bypassed the block and her nickname, using her real name, that she could no longer ignore him.
“How do you know my name?” she had typed furiously.
The answer that came back had chilled her. “I know a lot about you, Mary, where you live, where you work and I know how unhappy you are. I have no plans to approach you in any capacity, until you want to be approached.”
“I will never want that. I am going to report you to the police.”
“And tell them what? They will find no traces of me.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. I log all of my conversations.”
“And I delete them all for you.”
Her disbelief had turned to terror when she brought up her log file to find it empty.
“How is that possible? How have you done that?”
“I can do a lot with computers. I’ll give you a demo.”
Her computer had suddenly shut down. Mary had jumped up from her chair and stared at it in horror as it began to start up again. Her normal desktop appeared but with it was a private chat box, without even being in the chat room. Whimpering, she had sat back down again and ran her fingers across the keyboard.
“Stop this, please. Why are you doing this?”
“Because you’re ready to give up on life. The searches you do on the internet tell me all I need to know. I just want you to know there are other options and you have nothing to fear from me.”
“Then leave me alone, please.”
“Goodnight, Mary. When you want to talk I’ll be waiting.”
The chat box had disappeared and for the next week she had avoided the chat room, and heard nothing more from this person, but he invaded her thoughts constantly. It was shameful that someone knew the terrible things she looked up on line. It had been curiosity at first, but had soon turned into a morbid study. Ending one’s life was not easy, but as each day ended, existence was losing its appeal.
No longer had she been able to dismiss the thought that she would spend her whole life alone. Her childhood had been miserable from the start, with a drug addict mother, who had overdosed when she was only four years of age. From there she had been put with an uncle and his wife and children, none who wanted her and who eventually sent her back to social services. A string of foster homes followed and she barely got to attend the same school longer than two years.
She had read the reports about herself one time, when a social worker had accidentally left her alone with her file. “A sullen child, with poor communication and social skills, constantly seeking isolation.
At sixteen she still had fight in her and was determined to make something of her life. What life had denied her in physical charm, had been made up in her ability to learn. With a decent scholarship behind her, she had got her degree, majoring in law and politics. She had a dream of championing the underprivileged by being their representative in government, but sadly lacked the charisma and personality that brought her any support or got her noticed.
Now her skills were relegated to administrative duties in the Office of the Clerk. Instead of being heard in the House of Representatives, she sat at that front bench, taking down every word spoken and constantly being asked to research the legislative ruling on any particular matter being debated. These days she rarely needed to research anything and could spout the article, page number and interpretation, without leaving her seat.
Her expertise was often sought after by lazy politicians, who needed to research legal matters and some of her evenings were spent doing their work for them. It left little time to improve her social skills. The few dates she had managed never went any further than dinner.
Discovering the internet chat rooms had stripped away some of the loneliness. She could be as flirtatious and witty as anyone, without having to reveal her true identity, and if she acted a little immorally what difference did it make? Wasn’t she a woman as any other, with needs and desires and longings to feel the touch of a man? Every lonely birthday seemed to herald that she was destined to die a virgin.
Whether it was madness or desperation, Mary had returned to the chat room and sought out the ominous nickname. When she couldn’t find it, she typed into the open room, “has Master been in here?” It had inspired many sarcastic replies and finally she had left.
Within a few minutes his message box had appeared on her screen and her strange sense of happiness to see it, had never departed. For an hour every night she shared her life with a stranger. When the talk had become sexual, she had not turn away, even when he had made demands of her, sick demands to do things to herself, sexual things. The more she complied, the more she wanted him to command her. Her shame was like adrenaline, pumping through her, and as the tasks grew more humiliating, so did her excitement and arousal. Her intellect was turned against her, having to describe back to him, in intimate detail, how she had obeyed him.
At work she had found herself looking around at her colleagues and smiling with her thoughts. You don’t know me, you don’t know what a bad girl I am. For the first time in her life she had an empowerment, a superiority to her peers. Their dull lives had nothing on her secrets.
That power had manifested itself when she refused to take on their work. The rumours had circulated that ‘grim Mary’ must have got herself a man. With her new found confidence, she had begun to make applications for more powerful positions in the government. If she couldn’t represent the people herself, she would certainly influence the ones who did.
Now she was about to meet this man who had made it happen and put her life into his hands.
“I want this to be real,” she whispered, as she unbuttoned her skirt and pushed it down over her hips. She mindlessly folded it and lay it on her handbag. “I want you to be real, exactly as you told me and I will do anything you ask of me.”
Hesitating for a moment, she grabbed the sides of her panties, took a deep breath and slid them down her legs, stepping out of them and dropping them onto her skirt. Her jacket and shirt soon followed, leaving her clad in a bra, garter belt and stockings. With another deep breath she lifted her small breasts to sit on the rim of her bra, making them jut out with swollen nipples. She smiled, pleased that she had obeyed him and done all that he had asked of her.
The cold breeze caressed her buttocks and gave her goose bumps over her entire body. Slowly she turned to face the concrete pillar and linked her hands to place on her head.
Tears rolled down her face, as she contemplated all the ways that this could go wrong. It had occurred to her that this could be an elaborate, sick office joke and any moment a bunch of her colleagues would come out to confront her, roaring with laughter over her gullibility.
Her stranger could also turn out to be a gang of rapists or a serial killer who would make her last hours violent and painful. It was strange how that scenario didn’t summon the fear that it should. Just thinking about strange men holding her down, taking turns using her body, sent unbridled adrenaline racing through her body, erupting that thumping pulse between her legs and draining the strength from her legs.
The worst she imagined was that no one would come. The fact that she had said anything to those journalists could have ruined her chances. Her stranger seemed to know everything she said or did. He had become more than a chat box full of words. He was like an omnipresent being that was always there, always watching.
Mary stiffened as she heard noises in the distance and recognized the approach of a vehicle. The desire to look around wrestled with her need to obey him and keep her eyes on the pillar. It made her nauseous, enhancing the probability that she was about to humiliate herself. Any moment she expected to hear laughter and jeering, with the flash of a camera, surrounded by cruel people reminding her how insane she had been.
Suddenly there were lights shining on her, the headlights of an unseen vehicle. Mary’s body shook with tears and fear, but she remained as she was. A door was opened and she heard the slow, solid fall of steps on the concrete.
“Why are you crying, Mary?” The voice was deeply masculine, raspy and gentle, and very close to her ear.
“I’m afraid,” she sobbed.
Mary gasped and shuddered as a large hand ran over her bottom. She could feel him closing in on her. The hand travelled slowly up her side until it was cupping her breast. A thumb caressed her nipple making her squeal and seize the intrusive hand, the sensation too foreign and startling. She was suddenly pulled back against a hard body and felt his breath at her ear.
“You don’t have to be afraid anymore,” He whispered. “Especially when I touch you. Take your hand away from mine.”
“I’ve never been touched,” she protested. “I’m not used to it. It feels strange.”
“The next time you disobey me, Mary, I will punish you. Now take your hand away from mine.”
Trembling, she slowly linked her hands again and put them back to her head. Her legs could barely hold her as her nipple was gently captured between his fingers. She felt his breath on her shoulder and then his lips nuzzling softly against her skin, travelling up to her neck.
“Oh god, this can’t be happening.” She could sense how small she was against him. “Please, Master, please may I look at you?”
He stayed behind her and moved her around so that the headlights were shining in her face. She squinted and held her hand up against the light and then felt him step back from her.
She shuffled about slowly and her mouth fell open as she got her first look at him. He was nothing like she had imagined. Despite what he had told her, her common sense had not allowed an unrealistic version of this stranger. In her mind he would be attractive enough, possibly a little overweight, probably not as tall as he had stated. He might even be a bit balding on top. It didn’t matter. There would be something of the truth in him and that was enough.
But everything he had told her had been true. The man who stood before her was startlingly attractive, rugged with the lightest blue eyes that she had ever seen. His hair was thick and a little unkempt, falling about his face and neck. A black singlet clung to a powerfully broad chest and she could see that his arms were tattooed and bulging with muscle. He was terrifying and magnificent.
Mary shook her head and bowed her head. “No, this isn’t right.”
“What’s not right?”
“Someone like you, taking an interest in me. That just doesn’t happen. I’m ugly. I don’t understand it.”
He stepped forward and pulled her against him, lifting her chin so that she had to stare into his face.
“You’re itching for that punishment,” he told her sternly, his eyes boring into her. “You are exactly what I want. For the next three weeks your body will be mine and I intend to use it often and watch as others use it as I direct them, just as I told you, and all for my pleasure alone. Is that understood?”
She continued to stare at him in awe and he smiled.
“Now is the time to change your mind, Mary. If you come with me, I will take you to the room I told you about, where I will take your virginity and explore every part of your body with my mouth and my hands. I will also punish you, for ever wanting to take your life and it will hurt. After that, you will be able decide whether you want to spend the next three weeks with me.”
Mary trembled, searching his face for any sign of deception, but seeing only those incredible eyes boring into her.
“And you will stop if I ask?”
He shook his head slowly. “I will only stop at the utterance of one word.”
“Red,” she whispered, but doubts still gnawed at her. “What if I fail to please you? I’m not exciting and I know nothing about sexual things, apart from what you’ve taught me.”
His smile was almost sinister. “You already please and excite me, and I know enough about sexual things for both of us. I’m going to teach you to love your body, to see your beauty and to know that you belong to someone for as long as you need.”
She was still trembling but her breathing had calmed. More tears spilled down her face as she realised that this was the first time in her entire life that she no longer felt afraid.