Saturday, 23 December 2017

NEW! Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy part three (of three)

Boston USA - December 24th 2023, early evening


An hour or two later I stood in the shower for several minutes feeling the hot water spray against my skin. I closed my eyes, leaned back my head and enjoyed the moment for what it was – an escape from the pressure and stress of my life these days. I closed my eyes and I ran my hands over my wet body, feeling myself, the way Emma’s experienced hands had felt me in the Northern forest all those years ago after Brinn had whipped us both and we had lain together and made love that one time. I remembered how good she felt, and how intense my orgasm had been when she had put her mouth to my vagina, licking and kissing and driving me to heights of guilty bliss. She was a trained pleasure slave after all. An amazing pleasure slave. You have no idea what she can do to you in bed. I had never felt anything like it before. I felt the brand on my left hip – a permanent reminder of my last days on Gor – a mark that I would wear on my body for the rest of my life.

I had been branded by Brinn’s will at the exchange point on the banks of the Laurius river, and it had been the most painful experience of my life to date. I had then been a slave, and it had been the precursor to Brinn using me as a slave, and I recalled with humiliation how well I had responded to his forceful needs. I felt ashamed at the pleasure I had enjoyed from being so submissive, so helpless, so subservient to him. I still felt angry that my body had betrayed me that way. I could never allow a man to do that to me again. I didn’t trust myself in the arms of a man like Brinn, though thankfully there were no men like Brinn native to Earth, or if there were I had never crossed paths with them. Earth men did not share his natural aggressive and uncompromising dominance.

The brand was a shameful thing to my mind – a declaration of how weak I had been. It also meant I could never wear a bikini. I could never risk anyone seeing the brand. What if a Gorean slaver resident on Earth saw it? He would understand its meaning immediately. He would pursue me to find out who I was and how I was branded but still apparently free. These days there were many men on Earth who secretly did the bidding of the Kurii factions. Women too I supposed. I had to assume anyone I met was an enemy.

I balled my hands into small fists and then slapped them as open palms against the glass of the shower. My freedom was an illusion of course. I was still technically a slave in the eyes of any Gorean. An escaped slave. I sometimes woke up at night traumatised by nightmares, my skin slick with sweat, my body trembling beneath the sheets. I would curl myself into a foetal ball and try to hide under the sheets. I was a slave girl. They might come for me at any time.

No, I was Rachel. I was my own woman. I would survive. And more than that, I would strike back.

I never let Alan touch my brand. He did so once, tracing his fingers softly along the design of the kef in what he thought was an erotic and tender moment, and I had screamed and slapped him.

“Never touch me there!” I had shouted, and he seemed dismayed by my reaction. I had run out of the bedroom, naked, and I had locked myself in the bathroom after that, and I didn’t come out for several hours despite his plaintive apologies. Later that night I apologised to him myself, but I didn’t let him touch me again anywhere for two weeks.

Alan is a good man. I don’t deserve him.

I’m not sure I deserve anything any more. I was in a sense safe, comfortable and reasonably well off. All that was down to the sacrifice that Emma had made, sending me back home from Gor while she remained behind in a slave collar. Six years had gone by since then, and God only knew what suffering she had endured in that time, suffering for my sake. I felt a strong sense of guilt, survivor’s guilt, every time I thought about her. What she had given me had been given with love, and it was a gift of a second life that she would have wanted me to embrace and enjoy, but how could I when she remained behind and knelt at the feet of men, subservient to their every demand? I would never be happy until I saved her in return. But how could I? A vast gulf of space separated us both.

I sometimes wonder, does Emma ever think of me? Or has she found some sort of love in the arms of Brinn or whichever Master has her now, and I am just a distant memory? I have no way of knowing, but on Christmas Eve I still lay out a present for her under the tree, beautifully gift wrapped. It is always something exquisitely feminine that I know she would cherish. This year it is designer silk lingerie and a matching perfume.

You have so many presents now Emma, waiting for you, wrapped and sparkling under the tree lights.

Emerging from the steam filled shower I walked back into the living room with a silk wrap in my left hand. Alan had left earlier on because I was supposed to be a single chaste woman, and so he couldn't be here in our flat when Adam Coulter sent a car to pick me up. I slipped the soft silk over my body and tied the sash tightly about my waist. The wrap was short, and it had wide flared sleeves. It felt very good against my skin. Silk always did. It is very different of course from Gorean slave silk. Very different indeed. I picked up the glass of Merlot and sipped it as I paced to the bay window that overlooked the street below. Several groups of children were doing the rounds wrapped up in big coats and scarves and woolly hats, raising a bit of pocket money by carol singing. I saw a small group of girls and boys arrive at my door and ring the buzzer. They couldn’t see me, but I could make out their bobble hats and gloves. They were maybe nine or ten years old if their combined height was anything to go by. Standing maybe eight yards away were three parents, two men and a woman. They watched over the kids as they knocked on doors.

Cute, I thought to myself as I sipped my wine.

I was told to expect a car to pick me up at eight o’clock, so I still had plenty of time to pick out an outfit. While I considered my options I noticed three new gift wrapped presents sitting under our tree. They were all for me and they would be from Alan, because it was Alan's thing that on Christmas Eve he would sneak presents into the flat and scatter them around in various places for me to find when I least expected to. I had bought him two presents as I usually did. One was a good quality cashmere sweater from Ted Baker, and the other was a new pair of sparkly high heeled pumps for ‘Ellen’. I had seen him looking at them last week when I took him shoe shopping. Truth was I didn’t need any new shoes for myself, but I was hoping to find something Alan might like. By pretending to shop for myself, I got an idea of his tastes. I was actually looking forward to seeing him wear them. Alan does have very good legs for a man.

I selected another sheath dress from my wardrobe with a modest hem line below the knee. It was fashionable within New Feminism circles and suited my preferences as short skirts were a no-no for me now that I had a slave brand. I could never wear a mini skirt again without possibly revealing a glimpse of the brand on my thigh. A shame really. I therefore didn’t own a single skirt shorter than just above the knee.

I picked out a sheath dress with capped sleeves in a soft peach and laid it out on the bed beside Alan’s cast off paisley dress. I picked that up along with his stockings, knickers and bra and tossed them in the wicker wash basket. I had hoped he might still be wearing the knickers, but his sense of discomfort in wearing women’s clothes after coming always meant he didn’t want to dress up again until his sexual needs took over once more.

I smiled to myself. That is a man of Earth for you – prepared to put on a dress and hose in order to get laid if his girlfriend tells him too. For we had been doing this so long now that I refused point blank to have sex with him any other way. I felt safer in the arms of Ellen then I did in the arms of Alan. Alan was too strong. Alan could if he wished, be forceful. I shivered, thinking back to my experiences on Gor. I am not the prize of a man. I will never surrender like that again.

There was still an open bottle of wine. Fuck it. It's Christmas Eve. I crossed the room and poured myself a glass. I picked out a CD copy of Diamond Dogs by Bowie and popped it in the CD tray.

The door buzzer rang at 7.45, earlier than expected. I checked the view through the curtain and saw a black limousine idling close to my building. A uniformed chauffeur stood at my door. In his right hand he had a garment laundry bag. Strange. I buzzed the intercom and spoke into it.

“Who is this?”

I never took nay chances.

“Is that Miss Evans?” came the voice from the door.

“It is.”

“Your car awaits, Ma'am. And I have a dress that you are to wear tonight.”

“A dress?” I stood there by the intercom in my peach dress and matching court shoes. “I’m already dressed.”

“Mr Coulter wishes you to wear the dress he has picked out for you. It is a themed party tonight. I am to give it to you and ask you to put it on. I will wait for you in the car.”

An unusual request, but then I was dealing with unusual men. I went downstairs, opened the front door and took the garment bag from the driver. I told him to wait by the door in case I needed anything. Then I closed the door and went back upstairs to my flat. I unzipped the bag and drew the garment from it. The label was haute couture and I suspect was priced some where in the region of $3,000 to $5,000. The garment itself was a fabulously soft red cocktail dress, possibly rich silk, figure hugging, sleeveless, and quite brief but with a modest neckline. It was beautiful and I could understand why a man might want me to wear it, but it was far too short for my liking. I held the dress to my body and gazed in the mirror. The dress would just about cover the brand on my thigh, but I would have to be very conscious of the hem line all night or risk the brand being seen when the hem line moved. I walked back over to the intercom and buzzed the driver again.

“Ma’am?” he said.

“I don’t think the dress is appropriate. It’s shorter than I normally wear.”

“Mr Coulter was quite clear when he said it was a themed party and that I am not to drive you to the house unless you are wearing the dress.”

I frowned. I was aware my heart was beating faster now with a rise in my anxiety levels. I was incredibly self conscious of my brand and paranoid someone might see it.

“One moment.” I walked back to the mirror and decided to try the dress on and see exactly how short it might be on me. I unzipped the soft peach dress that I already wore and placed it on a padded clothes hanger. Then I unzipped the cocktail dress, stepped into it and fumbled with the zip at the back. The zip moved up like it was liquid. Obviously everything about this dress was expensive high quality. It looked beautiful once it was on me, but yes, the hem line was a mere inch below my brand site. And short as it was, there was a glimpse of my stocking tops as I walked. I chewed my lip for a moment. I could wear a coat outdoors and when inside carry my clutch bag in my left hand and have it ostensibly hovering over the area of my thigh where I was branded. I slipped my feet into a pair of high heeled black pumps and adjusted the hem of the dress, pulling it down about as far is it might go. Then I picked out a knee length dark wool overcoat and belted it about my person.

I picked up the .22 Beretta pistol from the coffee table where it sat on an old towel. Alan had finished cleaning it before leaving for the night. I slid back the breach to ensure there wasn’t a bullet there and was rewarded by an empty click. I placed it in my clutch purse along with a screw on silencer, the clip of six bullets and a selection of essential bits of makeup that I really couldn't live without. I added my favourite powder compact, zipped the clutch bag shut and put on my coat. The length of the coat made me feel a lot better as I stepped out of the flat and made my way downstairs to the private foyer – a grand enough name for what was simply a small cupboard like space just large enough for the front door to open in to.

The uniformed chauffeur waited patiently by the car as I left the building and he opened the door to the back seat as I approached it.

“Ma’am” he said as he touched his cap and closed the door once I had climbed inside.

To my surprise I wasn’t alone when I entered the back of the limousine. A red headed girl, maybe five feet three inches tall, but with an extra four inches height from her white heeled pumps, sat on the left hand side of the car. Like me she wore stockings, a dark woollen coat to her knees and evening make up. The coat was unbuttoned as the inside of the car was warm, and so I could clearly see she was wearing the exact same style of dress as me, only hers was white instead of red. She glanced at me briefly without saying anything as I sat down and then she made a point of staring out of her window to avoid talking to me. I settled in, clipped my seat belt in place, opened my own coat and glanced at the complimentary array of drinks facing us. There was a good Scotch, some high end brandy and a bottle of champagne on ice. I licked my lips and reached for the champagne. This brought a cross look from the red headed beauty. She sniffed once before gazing back out of her window again.

The champagne was vintage and of a sort that was usually outside my price range, so I popped it open and poured myself a flute as the car drove down the street. I replaced the bottle in the chiller and leaned back in my seat to savour the delicious bubbles.

“I’m Rachel,” I said after a while.

“Louise,” said the girl without looking at me.

“Who are you with?” I asked, assuming she must be someone’s date for the night.

“Mr Coulter,” she said sourly.

“Adam Coulter?” I said in surprise.

“Yes,” was her icy response.

“I was under the impression I was his date tonight.”

“Well you were wrong.” She regarded me now. “I am Mr Coulter’s date.”

“Okay, there’s obviously been some sort of mistake.” I tapped on the window of glass separating the passengers from the driver. An intercom light came on and the driver said, “yes, ma’am?”

“Why are there two of us here?”

“I wouldn’t know, ma’am. I simply have instructions to deliver two dresses to two young ladies and drive them to Harschmort House tonight.”

“I see.” I sat back again and drank some more of the champagne.

“How do you know Adam?” I asked the girl.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” said Louise, “but I really don’t want a conversation with you. Okay?” She stared at me for a moment before looking away again.

And so we drove on, out of the city, into the countryside surrounding Boston on a white Christmas Eve in silence.

Boston USA countryside - December 24th 2023, mid evening

We drove through the gathering darkness for maybe 45 minutes before the tires began to touch the gravel of a private driveway. The trees outside were beautiful, the very picture of a fragile winter wonderland with a very light frosting of snow. It was a still night which contributed to the patches of snow remaining in place in time for Christmas. As soon as I saw the security details standing at the gates to the mansion house I knew for certain that this was a Gorean stronghold. The men were Gorean warriors in old fashioned dark suits, of that I had no doubt. It was the way they stood – that uniform caste stance of the infantry of Ar. They waved the car through without hesitation, though I guessed had we been anyone else the outcome might have been very different. I shifted in my seat as the car now crunched its way down the long gravel driveway towards the house that was lit up with not one but two thirty foot tall illuminated Christmas trees. How incongruous for a Gorean house, but then I suppose many of the men here were sympathetic Earth men and they would still have a fondness for Christmas that their Gorean Masters would surely accommodate.

I felt a tense tightness of breath as I realised how close I now was to men who would place me in a collar if they knew what was burned on my left thigh. I swallowed a final mouthful of champagne for Dutch courage and replaced the flute in its holder as the car came to a stop in front of the main doors. The driver stepped out from the front of the car, walked round to the side facing the doors, which happened to be mine, and silently opened it for me and Louise to emerge. I stepped out carefully, my stiletto heels sinking slightly in the gravel. Louise came out behind me. Her own coat was tightly buttoned as high as her throat. She held a white handbag that matched her dress that she slung over one shoulder.

“Straight through the doors, ladies,” said the driver pleasantly. I didn’t think he was Gorean.

I walked up the flight of fifteen stone steps and entered the house where a welcoming warmth pervaded, intermingled with the party sounds of laughter, clinking glasses, soft music and the seasonal smell of orange peel, cinnamon, spices and frankincense. It was beautifully Christmas like with garlands of holly and ivy decorating the panelled walls and stair cases. A beautiful girl carrying a tray of champagne flutes offered me one, but I waved her aside for the moment for I needed to leave my coat somewhere. The girl wore a very short clingy dress, sleeveless with a deep plunging neck line. It reminded me of a Gorean slave tunic, though it was manufactured from modern materials. It was slit at the sides so it was possible to see the creamy flesh of her thighs where on Gor a brand would be. Her thighs were of course unmarked though I noticed she wore a crescent circular design plate necklace, secured with a clasp of some kind at the back of her neck that had a familiar engraving on it – the Gorean kef, the same kef design that was displayed on a series of banners within the main hall of Harschmort House. As the clasp was covered by her hair it was impossible to tell whether the girl could remove the plate necklace herself or whether it was locked on her.

The main hall had a small side room with a lift up counter which was being used as a cloak room. Another girl similarly dressed in the same revealing attire and kef necklace as the serving girls offered to take my coat. I undid the buttons, removed it and passed it over. As soon as I did I picked up my clutch purse and held it in left hand beside my thigh. It would remain there while I was standing for fear of letting any man have a glimpse of the slave brand displayed above my stocking top. The dress was far too short for my liking, though I noticed it everywhere now. The women at this Christmas Eve party were dressed in three ways. There were the serving girls in their slave like attire, and there were women dressed in red such as myself, and a smaller number of women, maybe a fifth of the non-serving girls, who wore the white version of the dress. Louise divested herself of her coat too, and I saw a disgusted look on her face as she saw I was dressed in red.

She was as lovely in her white dress as I had supposed she might be.

One or two of the red dressed women nodded at me softly as I stood by the cloak room, adjusting the hem of my dress. None of the white dressed women did. They seemed to be keeping to themselves, talking softly and only throwing the occasional hostile glances at the rest of us.

“Louise...” I tried talking to her again.

“Be quiet, red silk girl!” she snapped. She turned away and walked towards an indoor fountain in the main hall where she snapped open a compact from her handbag and checked her makeup.

Red silk girl... that of course meant something to me, though it maybe wouldn't do to a girl who had not lived on Gor. I looked at the women wearing white dresses. Presumably they were white silk girls then, and the colour of the silk referred to whether or not a girl was a virgin. That was the Gorean meaning of the words. I obviously was not white silk. Louise perhaps was. She certainly seemed to hold herself in a higher esteem for her vaunted virginity. 

The men wore tuxedos. They all seemed rich and important or at least they were the friends of the rich and important. To my experienced eye they fell into one of three categories. The genuine Gorean men I was able to spot instantly. There was no mistaking them and they scared me. Then there were the dominant looking Earth men – confident in their rising masculine society, but with nowhere near the imposing look of the Goreans. And then there were the meeker Earth men, in the majority, who were just here to be wined and dined because they were useful to  the Kurii. Maybe in time some of them would become dominant with guidance from the Goreans, or maybe not, in which case once they were no longer useful they would presumably be cast out of the inner circle.   

“Rachel, you made it. And how lovely you look in your soft shift of red silk.” Adam Coulter appeared on my left side where I was holding my clutch purse close to my thigh. He had a flute of champagne in his hand that matched mine as he moved forward to kiss me on the cheek.

“Thank you, Mr Coulter,” I said, slightly breathlessly like a well behaved supporter of New Feminism might. “It's a little indecent though, don't you think?” I tried to look timid. He seemed to like that.

“It's Christmas Eve, my dear. There are exceptions to every rule. And look, all the other girls are dressed just like you.”

“We seem to be wearing the same dresses,” I said as I sipped from my flute. Adam was clearly in the second category of men here – a dominant man of Earth hoping to learn from his Gorean Masters. Just how much he knew about these Gorean Masters and where they come from was something I was hoping to discover tonight amongst other things.

“There is a slight variation in dresses tonight of course, as you may have noticed. Red silk and white silk.” He smiled, believing I had no clue what that meant.

“Oh?” I sipped the champagne again delicately, though back at home I would have guzzled it and be reaching for a second glass by now.

“Certain women in our movement have earned themselves the right to wear white silk. They are pure, untouched, unsullied, chaste – of an exalted class of Free Women that should be respected and cherished.”

“Free Women?” I looked confused, though I was anything but.

“Ah, never mind that now,” said Adam, realising he had used a phrase that wasn't perhaps appropriate yet. “How is the champagne?”

“Delicious, Mr Coulter.”

“Please, call me Adam,” he placed his hand at my lower back as he talked. I shivered, knowing what he wanted from me by the end of the night for in his eyes I was red silk and therefore available.

“I met Louise in the car,” I said softly as I glanced in her direction. She had met with two other white silk girls and they were laughing together about something that amused them. “She said she was your date tonight...” I tried to sound disappointed.

“Ah, in a sense she is, but not in the sense you think, Rachel. You are my actual date tonight, in the usual sense of the word.” I felt his hand stroke my lower back in a way that made me tighten my muscles. “Louise is untouchable of course, for she is white silk. We respect women like her. She will have a place of honour in our movement and in due course the society we are building here in America. And yes, she is with me in a formal sense, but not sexually.”

“I'm not white silk...”

“No you are certainly not white silk.” Adam's eyes sparkled, and he smiled as he kissed my cheek again. “But there will be a place for you in our new society too. Trust me on that.” He glanced down at the clutch purse that I was keeping close to my left thigh. “You could put that in the cloak room if you preferred?”

“It has my powder and some feminine things in it,” I said with a timid blush.

“Oh. Feminine things?” I could see he was now worried I might be suffering from some 'feminine problems'. Maybe it was 'that time of the month'.

“I meant makeup of course. A woman should always look her best for men.”

“You are so right Rachel, so very right.”

I glanced back in the direction of Louise because I now noticed she was talking about me to the other white silk girls. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but her body language made it obvious I was the point of her conversation. “So, Adam, who is Louise then, and why is she saying she is your date?”

“Ah, well, now there's the thing, Rachel,” said Adam as he motioned for one of the slave-like serving girls to approach with some more champagne. I noticed now that they were all barefoot. As the girl approached she lowered her eyes and didn't dare to look at me. “That's kind of why I've invited you to Harschmort house tonight. How long have we been dating now?”

“Three weeks, Adam.” I had contrived to meet him at a well to do wine bar and happened to bump into him by accident. “Dare I say they have been the happiest three weeks of my life? I feel giddy when I am with you. You must think me awfully silly.” 

“Not at all. I find you delightful company, Rachel. Stimulating even. Three weeks, yes, so I think it's high time we took things to the next level, don't you?”

“You don't mean...” I pretended to look startled. “Adam! Is that why you brought me here?”

“No, I'm not suggesting any intimacies at this stage, but I should perhaps explain a little about the way men at our level conduct our formal relationships with women of fine breeding. The times, Rachel, they are a changing, as I'm sure you've grasped only too well.”

“I fully support the campaign for New Feminism,” I said, “I'm not one of those silly mixed up, troubled girls who thinks she's the same as a man. I fully support a policy of back to basics and morality for women after so many years of slutty behaviour from my sex.”

“Of course, and that's why I like you.” Adam took me by the elbow and steered me towards the grand stair case. “Now you will be aware that we are... reshaping society... and part of that involves the way men will relate to free women in the future. We envisage in our new order for America when we are through that there will be a caste system for women. Four levels of castes in fact, and the highest two castes – the most exalted women, the ones we will respect, cherish and protect above all else, they will be the white silk girls and the red silk girls. Maybe just 2% of the female population by the time we are through. The majority of the female population will be classed in the third tier – simply low caste women who will look up with envy whenever a delightful and charming red silk girl such as yourself passes by. How they will wish they too could wear red silk!”

“I didn't know I was red silk,” I said. “I thought I was just Rachel.”

“At the moment you are, but I am hoping that after three weeks of dating me, you will agree to become my honoured and cherished red silk girl,” said Adam. He was leading me up the stair case now to where the bedrooms were situated in the house. “Let me show you how this actually works and then you can tell me whether you wish to take your place amongst the most exalted 2% of the female population. Now this may seem strange at first, Rachel, but it is the future and you are either going to be part of it, or you will be left out in the cold with the... undesirables.” Adam smiled.

“I don't want to be an undesirable, Adam,” I said.

“Of course you don't. Please, if you would go through that door.” He indicated a bedroom with a closed door.

“You said we wouldn't be...”

“And we won't. But inside that room are the white silk and red silk girls that are Free Companioned to Arthur Barlow, the owner of Harschmort House. They will explain to you from their own delightful experiences what I am offering you now. Go, speak to them, hear what they have to say, and then rejoin me later downstairs.”

This was getting a bit weird, but as Adam went back down the stairs I opened the door and stepped into an all white bedroom with a four poster bed and an open adjoining room to a connected bedroom on the other side. I could just about make out through the open door that the second bedroom was all red.

Waiting for me were two beautiful girls, both dressed in silk lingerie. One wore white french knickers and a camisole top with thin straps, all made of silk, and the other wore a red silk chemise, again with thin shoulder straps. They smiled at me as I entered.

“Welcome, Rachel,” said the white silk girl. “I'm Amanda, and this is Bernice.” The girls smiled at me rather than at one another. I'm a good reader of body language - I learnt to be when I worked for Kurgus for forty years, and I could tell by the way they stood that the girls did not particularly like one another, but they had no doubt been told by Arthur Barlow to sell me on whatever bizarre proposal Adam Coulter had in mind.   
   
“You are so very lucky,” said red silk Bernice as she stepped forward to touch me lightly on the arm. “Mr Coulter is a wonderful man, and he has chosen you for a position at his side in honour and dignity. You are to be a red silk girl, like me! You will be so happy.”

I glanced at the all white bedroom and the all red bedroom beyond. “And what does that entail, exactly?” I said. I kept my clutch bag close to my thigh.

“The strong elite of men who will guide America at every level of its infrastructure will probably constitute maybe 1% of the male population. We are their consorts, their respected Free Companions who will enjoy their respect, their strength and their honour. Each man of the elite chooses two women to take in formal companionship.”

I raised an eyebrow at that as was probably expected of me at this stage, but Bernice brushed aside my concerns. “It is not like that, Rachel. The white silk girl that he takes is a social companion who shares his bed, but not his desires. She attends dinner parties, provides refinement and delicacy to the relationship. She is chaste and pure.”

I glanced at Amanda. “You're a virgin?”

“I am, yes, and I shall remain that way, for I have been chosen by men to be white silk.”

“The white silk girl is the highest, proudest, most revered caste of women,” said red silk Bernice. “She shares every aspect of the man's life but does not surrender her purity.”

“And the red silk girl...” I could see where this was going.

“We too are honoured and revered,” said Bernice.

“Though not to quite the same degree as the white silks,” said Amanda with a trace of superiority that made Bernice's smile falter for a moment. My reading of their body language seemed correct then.

“But what we provide satisfies a man's other requirements in a woman. In tandem the white and red silk girls combine every aspect of pure femininity that a man looks for in free companionship.”

“The man sleeps in the white room,” said Amanda, indicating the white bed camber, “and when his desires awaken, he satisfies them in the red room.” She indicated the adjoining room.

“But even in that we are as one,” said Bernice with a smile meant to reassure me. “The white silk girl stands proudly and permits the man to first arouse himself by touch, nothing more.”

“I remain chaste of course,” said Amanda, “but the man will honour my body as I stand before him in my innocence.”

“And then in the red chamber I shall be waiting,” explained Bernice. “I lie on my back on the scarlet sheets and I hold with my hands two steel rings – one set on either bedpost. My Free Companion then enters me with the arousal he has earned from Amanda. I deliver to him the... rapture that he deserves.”

“And then he returns to me in the white chamber,” said Amanda. “And we sleep together in honour.”

Wow. And I thought Gor was fucked up. I was trying not to say anything sarcastic because the role I was playing was meant to be that of a naïve member of the Campaign for New Feminism, but really...

I could see some parallels here with the accord men gave to Free Women on Gor, but obviously here on Earth it had been ritualised, perhaps to train the men of Earth to relate to Free Women as Free Companions in the Gorean manner.    

“You will of course live your life in unparalleled luxury and grace, as befits a red silk girl,” said Bernice. Her constant smiling was freaking me out.                 

“It is the new way,” said Amanda.

“Come, I will show you the red room,” said Bernice. And then she took my hand and led me through the adjoining door.  The bed there was very big indeed and very soft, designed for sex. On either side of the headboard was a large steel ring set into a clasp. The rings reminded me of the sort of linking rings stage magicians would use in their conjuring acts. “I lie supine, thus,” said the chemise clad Bernice as she then gracefully sat on the edge of the bed and lowered herself down onto the mattress and its silk sheets. She stretched out her arms and gripped each ring in her hands. And then she parted her legs sufficiently to permit a man to take her.

Lie back and think of England.

“Do you... move much...” I asked.

“Of course not. It is not proper for a woman to submit to unnatural urges. We are better than that,” said Bernice, eyeing me suspiciously. She didn't seem to like the question. “There will be a different, lower place in our society for cruder women who choose to submit to such stimulus.”

“So you lie still on your back, gripping the rings while Mr Barlow...”

“While Mr Barlow experiences a rapture between my thighs.”

Well, I wasn't thinking of it in those terms.

“And it's just you? Never the white silk girl?”

“The white silk will of course be touched before Mr Barlow becomes excited enough to enter me.”

Oh...kayyyyy...

“We hope you will join the new order, Rachel,” said Amanda as she appeared in the doorway. She seemed reluctant to actually step into the red room as if she found it somehow vulgar. “The cruder alternatives for our sex in the coming years will not be so good. You do not want to find out the hard way what they are...”

Something was going on as I walked back towards the central stair well, past various intrigued party guests who seemed to be converging on a large bedroom from all directions. I swiped another glass of champagne from a passing serving girl who again seemed terrified when I looked at her. I recognised the way she tried to make herself look small and inoffensive, sexually unthreatening. It was the same thing I used to see on Gor when I met slaves in my capacity as a Free Woman. I decided to test my theory and I said to her, “girl, pull your tunic down. You are a disgrace.”

“Yes Mistress,” she said and, holding the drinks tray with one hand, tugged at her skimpy tunic with the other. “Forgive me, Mistress.” she said.

The reaction was the same. I had been right. I walked past her and noticed Louise, Adam's white silk girl, heading towards the bedroom where there was some sort of commotion going on. She saw me and broke away to intercept me before I could walk past.

“You need to see this, Rachel,” she said. “It will set a few things straight for you now that we are going to be matching silk girls for Adam.” She took my wrist rather forcefully in fact and led me inside. Most of the people inside were men, but there were a few white and red silk girls too. There were no serving girls, for reasons that soon became apparent – the men wished to spare the red silk girl in the centre of the room the humiliation of being seen by a serving girl. I say, 'serving girl' but I was beginning to think of them now as house slaves in all but name.    

“What is going on, Louise?” I asked. I saw a red silk girl pleading with a man who I assumed was her Free Companion. He had ordered her to step up to a far wall where two parallel steel rings were screwed on clasps to the wall slightly above head height. They were far enough apart that a girl could grasp them with her arms raised and stretched out either side of her. This is what she was being made to do while the man in the tuxedo reached under her skirt and pulled her knickers down about her ankles.

“Shameful,” said a white silk girl on the other side of the room. I could see the red silk girl's suspender belt and stockings as her skirt had been lifted. The back of the skirt was hitched up and clipped into place, revealing her bottom

“There was a scene downstairs,” said Louise matter of factly. “An argument between two silk girls. A loud argument.”

“What about?”

“I have no idea. In the end the red silk girl splashed a glass of champagne in the white silk girl's face. It caused a scene. A red silk girl should be demure and meek in polite conversation. Her behaviour wasn't acceptable. Watch and learn, Rachel. You need to understand the power dynamics between us.”

“Please, I'm sorry, Henry...” said the red silk girl as 'Henry' was given a whip crop that he flexed in his hand.

“He's not going to whip her is he?” I said in genuine surprise.

“Of course he is. Don't be so naïve, Rachel. She caused a scene. She was disrespectful to her white silk companion.”

We all watched as Henry delivered six blows of the crop to the girl's reddening bottom. She howled and cried with each blow but didn't dare let go of the steel rings. I suspected it would go worse for her if she did.

“Linda, you may now strike the silk blows,” said Henry as he passed the whip crop to a white silk girl who had been watching the punishment with obvious excitement, the swell of her breasts rising and falling softly with the sound of each blow.

“Thank you, Henry,” said presumably his white silk girl. She took the crop, pressed it to the red silk girl's lips and said, “kiss it.” The girl did so, crying. And then the white silk girl delivered four final strikes of the crop. 

“To be red silk is to be meek and pleasing,” said Linda as she motioned that the red silk girl could now step away from the rings. Her eyeliner and mascara had run from her tears. “Clean yourself up, you red silk slut,” snapped Linda. 

There were general murmurs of approval from the men in the room, all of whom seemed to agree that this had been the correct and necessary outcome for whatever the girl had done downstairs. The red silk girl seemed distraught as she picked up her discarded knickers and pulled them back up her trembling legs, not daring to look at anyone's face in such shame.

“I don't think I want to be a red silk girl now,” I said to Louise. “Why on Earth would I?”

Louise gave me a mocking laugh. “Don't be so stupid, Rachel. You can't be so naïve as to actually think you have a choice? You were a red silk girl  the moment you walked into the party in that dress. Adam chose you. You don't really have a say in it. We all pretend to have a choice because it works out nicer that way.”

“What?”

“Drink your ridiculously expensive champagne, Rachel. You'll be earning it soon enough. Let me make something perfectly clear, Rachel,” said Louise as she took hold of my wrist and pulled me away from the other party goers. “In our relationship, I will effectively be Adam’s wife. I will be the one who stands proudly by his side at social functions. You exist to satisfy his needs that I cannot satisfy, that is all. Do not think yourself my equal in any way. I am white silk. Do you understand me?”

I could of course have simply twisted the little bitch’s arm behind her back and frog marched her out into the corridor to give her a piece of my mind, but that wouldn’t be good for the part I was playing, and nor did I think it would go down well with the Harschmort elite who seemed to buy into all this white silk, red silk crap.

“I know my place,” I said with eyes lowered. “You’re white silk.”

“Good.” She seemed very pleased by this. Perhaps she had expected some sort of argument and was delighted to see that I would submit to her authority. “Maybe we will get on okay after all”           

I hurried down the staircase again, noticing more and more barefoot submissive looking girls with clasp locking necklace collars, and brief little tunics serving the various male and female guests. I assumed they were the fourth tier of female society that Adam had obliquely referred to but hadn't named. Three categories of Free Women and of course the slaves. They were going to slowly push women on Earth into the barbaric conditions of Gor. It might take a while, but within the elite echelons that controlled all the assets, wealth and power, it was already happening. Every single barefoot girl seemed scared to meet my eyes. I suppose I was a Free Woman. As on Gor they feared me.

I took another champagne flute from one of them, and I couldn't help but notice that she lowered her head and said the words, “thank you, Mistress.”  

I moved through the reception room where musicians were now playing slow dance music. I suddenly felt a hand grasp my right wrist, and I found myself turning to face Adam Coulter.

“Rachel! You're back. Good. And how was it?”

“Um...” I fluttered my eyelashes in a confused kind of way. “It was a lot to take in...”

“But it's lovely, isn't it? Such a beautiful thing the Free Companionship between a man and his silk companions. Many women are desperate to earn red silk and rise to the very summit of our movement. I do hope you will join me.”

“I do want to be with you, Adam.” I noticed his gaze was suddenly distracted by a beautiful oriental girl in a slave like tunic who glided past with a tray of expensive looking snacks. No doubt the men did not simply avail themselves of their white and red silk girls.     

“Excellent. We shall talk more of this later, formalise things satisfactorily, and announce the beginning of our free companionship. But for now there is music and we should dance.” Before I could react he suddenly took my clutch bag from my hand and gave it to one of the slave like girls to look after. I think he saw how alarmed I was to lose it for he cupped my chin with his hand and laughed. “You've been holding on to that all night like it contains priceless gem stones. Leave it for now, Rachel. I wish to dance with my red silk girl.”

And then he pretty much led me on to the dance floor. A jolt of fear went through me as Adam rested his right hand on my left hip while his left hand gently grasped my right hand and held it up to about shoulder-level so that both our arms were bent upward from the elbow. His hand was now dangerously close to my slave brand which at the moment was still covered by my dress. He stood about a foot away from me and he told me to place my left arm on his shoulder. My main concern now was to ensure my dress didn't ride up on my thigh and expose any of my brand.

Adam saw the worry in my eyes but misread it. “You haven't danced before, have you, Rachel?”

“No, not formally.”

“You will learn. A red silk girl will be taught to be delicate, fragile, gracious, charming, erudite, a pleasure to be with. Think of it as attending a high class finishing school. You will learn to speak softly and be demure in polite company. You will learn well, Rachel. We will make sure of it.” He smiled as he began to guide me, leading me by subtly pushing my right hand in the direction of the dance. “You smell exquisite. What is your perfume?”

“Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Do you like it, Adam?”

“I do. It is very feminine. Like you, Rachel.”

“Thank you.” I felt the skirt of my dress shift a little as I stepped in time to the music, but with both my hands occupied I couldn't do anything about it. 

“You seem nervous all of a sudden. Is something wrong?”

The more we danced, the more I could feel the hem shift. Already I knew my stocking tops were partially exposed. I swallowed hard, knowing how close his hand was to my brand site.

“I confess the bubbles from the champagne seem to have gone a bit to my head. And all this spinning around...”

Adam laughed softly. “Women are such fragile creatures really. How foolish of them to have strived to compete with us for so long. But that will soon be a thing of the past. Believe me when I say you will not recognise America in the next ten years. Women will be happier in their new roles before then.”

“I look forward to it, Adam. I for one know my place beside a man.” And then I felt his right hand slide down my dress, seeking the bare skin just above my stocking tops. I felt his fingers slide just slightly under the hem of my dress and before I could do anything I felt those fingers touch my slave brand.

“Rachel?” he looked at me puzzled. “What is this?” He slowed the dance to a stop and continued to hold my right hand in his left as the fingers of his right hand explored the shape of my brand.

I pulled away, but he still had my hand in his, holding me there.

“It's nothing.” But in pulling away he caught a quick glimpse of the cursive kef above my stocking top, where his fingers had lifted my my clingy dress by an inch or two. It was the same kef design that was inscribed on the necklace collars of the serving girls, and emblazoned on wall banners within the main hall.    

I felt sure he knew what the brand meant and that he would hold me by my wrists and call attention to it in the room, but several seconds passed by as he looked confused, and I realised with relief that he did not fully know about Gor or the practices on that planet relating to women in general and slaves in particular. His Gorean masters it seemed had not yet fully drawn him into their confidence.

“It's just a burn from when I was a child,” I said as I pulled my wrist free from his hand. “I feel self conscious about it.”

“The shape...” he said, “very much like..”

“No. Just a burn.” I placed the back of my hand to my forehead as if feeling dizzy. “I'm sorry, Adam, I need to sit down for a moment... powder my nose... please excuse me...”

He opened his mouth to say something but I hurried on my heels through the crowd of dancers, pulling down the skirt of my dress as I went. I had to assume my cover was blown, for he might mention the strange thing he saw to a man who did know what it meant. I scanned the room and saw the serving girl with my clutch bag and I made a bee line straight for her.

“Mistress...” she lowered her head submissively as I simply snatched the bag from her hands and headed out towards the hallway leading out to the side of the house where smokers were congregating in the fresh wintery air. A quick glance back showed me that Adam was talking with concern to one of the smartly attired security men who watched the proceedings from discrete corners of the hall. He glanced in my direction with his eyes narrowing slightly. 
 
Yes, time to head out, I thought to myself as I pushed my way past various men and women who were making small talk close to the bay window doors leading outside.

“You're in a hurry my dear,” said a smartly dressed man as I hurried past him.

“My craving calls,” I said with a smile, fishing inside my clutch bag for a cigarette case.

“Ah yes,” he said, smiling as he gazed at my legs. “Vices... the downfall of us all sooner or later.”


Boston USA countryside - December 24th 2023, night time


The cold night air hit me as I stepped outside. It was probably minus three or four and I felt it in just my short sleeveless dress.  I went through the motions of producing a cigarette, lighting it and taking a few puffs and then I began to move along the paved patio along the side of the building, away from the illuminated arc lights set in the garden grounds. Within a few minutes I was lost from view in the darkness.

I could of course make my exit now, but there was one more thing I wanted to check to satisfy my suspicions about Harschmort House. On the way in to the estate as the limousine headed down the long drive I had seen a collection of out buildings partially screened from view by tall hedges. One of the breeze-block outbuildings looked secure and didn't have any windows. Strangely enough though there was smoke rising from a chimney. I headed in its direction, crossing the neatly kept lawn in my designer heels. I was maybe thirty feet from it when I saw the door open and a man emerge holding a bucket. I dropped prone to the grass and lay there as he closed the door and began walking back to the rear of the main house – a walk of maybe four hundred yards. Inching forward on my belly, not caring if it dirtied my dress, I made it closer to the building and then rose and ran the last couple of yards to the door.

It wasn't locked. This suggested to me that men might intend coming and going from this building throughout the evening and didn't wish to keep locking and unlocking the door.

Amateurs.

When I had been a Kur agent, a lapse in security like this would have merited some stiff reprimands. And in the ranks of he Kuriian steel worlds you didn't want to find out the hard way what the word reprimand often meant. I eased the door open, slipped inside and closed it behind me. The building was essentially a single room that had been subdivided with the construction of an internal cell that took up maybe two thirds of the space. Straight away my suspicions were confirmed. The occupants of the cell were visible through a long barred door that slid along recessed grooves when opened. Inside were maybe a dozen girls, all beautiful, all naked, all branded. They looked fearfully at me at first and then they seemed confused that I wasn't one of the men of Harschmort House. The other third of the chamber was pretty much empty except for a work bench, a large coal burning stove that seemed to heat underfloor pipes, and some feed sacks. The man who had just left had brought the girls some food, for there were pieces of chopped fruit and raw vegetables thrown to them, along with a bucket of what I could tell was slave gruel. Several of the girls had their cupped hands full of the sticky tasteless paste and were eating it as best they could without utensils. Some of the gruel paste seeped between their fingers and onto their thighs, but they were hungry enough to eat like this. Slave paste is nutritious and good for you, but at best it tastes like the blandest of porridge and at worst it tastes greasy, lumpen and bitter. It is made from food pellets mixed with water and perhaps a bit of milk. The girls here were lucky to have the chopped fruit and vegetables to go with it.  

I took the iphone from my clutch bag and began to photograph the cell and the girls within. Several of the girls shrank back, while one or two of the others lowered their heads, thinking I must be someone of importance.

“I'm not going to hurt you,” I said. “How long have you been here?”

“A week, Mistress,” said a girl with a short crop of dark hair. On Gor she would be made to grow that hair out of course. It was obvious to me that this was a shipment bound off world, unlike the serving girls in the house who wore serving tunics and necklace collars. Perhaps the girls in the house didn't even know they were slaves. I felt for them, for I knew only too well what was in store in their future.

“You don't have to call me Mistress,” I said. “I'm not one of the people who kidnaped you. I'm here to help.” This sort of thing had been going on since the late 1960s. Beautiful girls had been abducted by Gorean agents of the Kurii and, after being processed in a holding pen such as this, shipped to Gor. Harschmort House was obviously the organisational nexus point for the consignments in the Boston area of the US. I suspected the girls here knew very little of their eventual fate though.    

And then I heard the sound from outside. The sound of snuffling, whining, grunting. I froze, for I knew exactly what that sound was, but here on Earth? No, it couldn't be? And yet that was the sound of a guard sleen – a beast from Gor. Had they brought trained sleen with them? Well, why not? They certainly had the resources to do so.

And then I heard voices from the same direction as the sleen.

“The red silk sleen has picked up a scent. It must be a girl straying from the party. She'll be around here somewhere,” said a man.

“Wherever she is, the red silk sleen will find her,” said another.   

It was my dress of course; my beautiful red haute couture clingy silk dress. It was a clever and easy way to implement a simple security measure on the estate and I had heard of such things back on Gor. The garment would be impregnated with a distinctive scent that meant nothing to humans but could easily be detected by a trained sleen. From what I heard the men say outside I suspected two sleen were being used – one sensitive to the red dress scent and one to the white dress scent. Any girl who decided to stray further than she was permitted would very quickly be detected by one or the other of the sleen. There was nothing I could do – the sleen would follow the scent of my dress all the way to this out building. Fleeing would be pointless – the sleen would only find me quicker if I ran outside.

I glanced back at the slave pen and the coffle of beautiful naked girls with brands who cowered within, scared by the growling of the beast as it came closer with its handlers not far behind. The sleen would be leashed I suspected. The intention wouldn’t be to let the sleen rip a girl apart, for it may have been an honest mistake on her part to stray so far from the house, and presumably both the white silk and red silk girls were of some value to the men here. They would want to take the stray girl alive and find out what she was doing. On that basis the sleen would simply lead the men to this building, sensing the termination of the scent, and it would then be held back on a leash while the men investigated within.

I knew what I had to do. The only thing I could do now. I quickly kicked off my shoes, unzipped the dress and pulled it away from my body. I opened the door to the heating stove that supplied warmth to the under floor of the slave cell and thrust both the shoes and the dress inside. While they burned fiercely I ripped at the laces of my corset, pulling it from my body. I peeled off my knickers, the other support garments, the bra, the stockings – I was throwing every garment I had into the blazing stove fire until I stood there naked. All I kept was my clutch bag.

The growling and snarling sounded very close now.

I thrust the stove door shut with a clang and moved back through the observation area facing the cell. There on the wall was a key to the cell door. I seized it and fitted it in the lock on the cell door. I quickly slid the door open along the recessed grooves in the floor and ceiling and stepped inside with my clutch bag in hand.

“Please…” I said to the naked girls, “Please help me. Don’t tell them anything.” My life was pretty much in their hands now. I slid the bars closed and thrusting my arm through the bars managed to lock it in place again.

“Why should we help you? Why should we risk angering the men? They have whips,” said a dark haired girl who didn’t seem happy that I had entered her cell and made them all accomplices to whatever I was doing. “I will tell the men you are here. They will reward me.”

The other girls didn’t seem happy with what the dark haired girl had just said to me. I suspected they had little time for her. I suspected she was the sort of girl who thought she was better than the others, who thought maybe she might win favour with the men who had taken her, by being their spy within the cell, reporting any infraction or undesirable behaviour in the hope of receiving preferential treatment.

“I don’t have time to argue or appeal to you,” I said to the dark haired girl as the snuffling of the sleen drew near. I reached under the straw for my clutch purse and drew the .22 Beretta from it. “Let me put it this way. If you say or signal the men in any way whatsoever, I will spend my last few seconds of life drilling some new holes in your head.” I pointed the gun directly at her. “Is that clear?”

She looked astonished and scared at the sight of the small pistol in my hands. She looked into my eyes and I think what she saw there convinced her I wasn’t bluffing.

“The men will kill you if you hold a gun,” she said.

“Yes they will. Approximately three seconds after I’ve killed you. That’s all you need to consider.” The obnoxious dark haired girl backed away in the straw, pressing her back against the far wall as I swept my gaze over the other girls, seeing no signs of resistance or hostility on their part towards me. I nodded and placed the gun in the straw beside my right knee. It was covered up and I would be able to draw it from hiding within a second if needed.

I had just enough time to scramble to the heaps of straw, roll around in it to diffuse any lingering scent from the dress, and hide the clutch bag and the key in the corner under a pile of straw.

I made it with maybe ten seconds to spare before the door to the out building swung open. Two men with guns entered, expecting I think to see a red silk girl cowering somewhere inside. Instead the entrance space was empty and the only women visible were a group of captives in the cell pen.

“Did anyone come in here?” asked one of the men as he walked towards our cage.

“No Master,” I said before any of the other girls could answer. I guessed that by now they must be in the habit of calling men Masters, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have been fed. “But we heard footsteps outside earlier on. I think there was someone there.”

He looked at me and I lowered my head submissively which seemed to satisfy him.

“Sharon…” the man looked at the dark haired girl now, she who had threatened to give me away. “Did anyone come into this out building? You know the penalty for lying by now.”

The girl swallowed and looked down at the straw around her thighs. She trembled and the man mistook that for her being afraid of him and what he might do to her. I was lucky that the man was an Earth man and not a Gorean for I think a Gorean slaver would have recognised the hesitation on her part and would have read her body signals to guess something was wrong. But the Earth man didn’t have that level of observation or training.

“No Master,” she whispered, knowing I could have the gun up out of the straw before either of the men could possibly save her. In actual fact I would have shot the men first, but she wasn’t thinking clearly about my options.

“You’re certain about that, Sharon?” The man obviously felt she was a reliable witness. No doubt the girl regularly informed on the other girls in her cell.

“Yes Master. I would tell you of course.”

“Good girl.” He reached through the bars and stroked her hair. Then he walked to a bench where some small treats were kept in a box. He produced a small chocolate and passed it between the bars. “For you.” The girl looked up, scared still by my presence in the cell, and she took the treat between her teeth.

“Thank you Master,” she said as she moved it inside her cheek with her tongue to savour.

But the man still wasn't 100% convinced it seems. “Line up, all of you, left thighs facing the bars.” We did so, presenting our brands to the men’s view. It was a sensible thing for them to check. Had I been an unbranded red silk girl I would immediately have stood out amongst the other girls and my deception would be discovered. But of course I had the same kef brand that they did. The conclusion they drew was the one I had anticipated – we were all new slaves awaiting transit to Gor shortly.

“Get some rest,” said the Earth man as he at last seemed satisfied. “You may have some treats tomorrow as it’s Christmas.” He smiled at Sharon in particular who gave him a trembling smile back. Any Gorean slaver would have recognised that something was wrong with the girl.

I watched as they left, closing the outer door behind them and then I breathed a great sigh of relief.

“We’re going to be whipped…” moaned Sharon in misery as she sat against the far wall with her knees up under her chin.

“Better than me killing you,” I said as I drew the gun from under the straw and replaced it in my clutch bag.

“You should just submit!” snapped Sharon angrily. “They will punish you terribly! Just submit!”

“I’ll kill as many of them as I can if they try.”

“Who are you?” said a black girl with flat iron straightened hair that had now gone very frizzy after several days of captivity. 

“I'm Rachel.” I said.

“Adela,” said the black girl. She gazed at my brand and then at the clutch bag. “Your brand looks very old. It's not in the slightest bit red.”

“It is old. I received it in 2016.” Another thing the Earth man hadn't noticed in the dim light and his haste to get back to his sleen.

“Why have they marked us like this?” asked Adela. “What do they want from us? My family aren't rich.”  

“Mine are,” said Sharon as she curled herself away from the wall. “I don't know how much ransom these men want, but my family will pay it.”

“There won't be a ransom,” I said softly to the assembled girls. “Haven't you noticed the obvious?”

“And what is that?” said Sharon tersely.

“You're all incredibly beautiful. All of you. That's not coincidence.”

Adela suddenly looked very scared. I think she was quite rational and understood the possibilities more so than the other girls. “Please, no...” she said with a whimper.

“We're not all incredibly beautiful,” said Sharon. “I am considerably more beautiful than her for example.” She pointed at Adela.

“Actually, you're not. I have some experience in these matters and all other things being equal, looking at the two of you, I think Adela will command a much higher price on the auction block. Goreans like voluptuous womanly curves. You're a bit too fashionably thin, Sharon.”

“Auction block?” said a red head in fear.

“Yes, auction block. You're not going to be ransomed, you're going to be taken far from here and sold to men who will own you.” I rose from the floor and dug the key out from under the straw.

“I knew it...” whispered Adela under her breath. “We're slaves...”

“Slaves!” sneered Sharon. “How ridiculous. “I'm Sharon Marcia Astor - my family own large tracts of Oxfordshire.”

“Good for them.” I was growing rapidly irritated with the brown haired girl.   

“What can we do?” said Adela as calmly as she could. Yes, she was definitely the brightest girl amongst them.

“We can get out of here. We have a key.” I brandished it.

“No,” said Sharon in fear. “The men will catch us and beat us for trying! No one is to leave! In time, when the moment is right, I will ask to talk to the gentlemen and we will come to some sort of arrangement. Everyone knows that it is foolish to anger your captor. Better to wait calmly and reason with them over time.”

“Good luck with that,” I said, “but I've got a gun and I'm leaving.”

“I will scream and alert the men!” said Sharon.

“Are you really that fucking thick? Is it your centuries of aristocratic inbreeding?”

“How dare you!” said Sharon angrily, greatly offended.

“I will keep her quiet,” said Adela unexpectedly as she eyed the brown haired rich girl with displeasure. “If she makes any noise when you leave, I will hurt her. Do you understand, Sharon?” Adela balled her hands into fists and bared her teeth. Seeing this, Sharon shrank back.

“Thank you, Adela.”

“We'd only slow you down, Rachel,” she said. “And many of us would be caught. Get out of here, alert the police and bring help.”   

Fine in principle, but I knew better than she did that some high ranking police were now in the pay of the Kurii. It was how they conducted their slaving operations on Earth without too much attention. But there was no point in dashing her hopes. The whole point of this had been a reconnaissance mission anyway, as soon as I had heard about Harschmort House and its possible connections with the Gorean slavers. I never believed I could actually rescue anyone on my own, but I hoped in future I would be able to do something to bring this operation down.

“You're very brave, Adela.” I hugged her. “Very brave.”

“No Rachel, I'm terrified, but I know you won't abandon us when you get out.” And then she told me the address and phone number of her father and mother. I tried hard to remember it. Other girls began to crowd round me and tell me the addresses of their family too, begging me to make contact and tell their loved ones where they were. With a sinking heart I knew I would never remember all those names and addresses, but I nodded and pretended I did. I could have typed the details into my iphone but I didn't have the time. I felt terrible for not doing so. Very soon these girls would be drugged and placed on board a silver ship to be taken to Gor. Anything I did once I got out would probably be too late for them, but maybe it might help other girls who were yet to be taken. I would save the many if not the few.  

I unlocked the cell door, slid the door back as quietly as I could and then I pressed the key into Adela's hands. “Hide it in the straw. Use it if you have the opportunity. You're going to be moved sometime soon. If you want to try and escape, it has to be while you are still here. Trust me on that. There is no escape where they will take you.” 

I waited a few minutes until I was absolutely sure there was no sound outside and then I crept out to the front of the building, keeping low and hiding in the shadows. It was reasonably dark tonight and I ran quickly across the hard frozen ground to the cover of some trees. I had my iphone out and the map display showing the area of the grounds and my location. From this I could see which direction I needed to run. Somewhere close by Alan would be sitting in a country lane with the car and he would be studiously watching the track a friend application that monitored where my phone was at any particular time. He would see me moving now and he would as we had planned, move the car close to where I was headed. I had the option of hitting a panic button on the phone which would essentially tell Alan the game was up and if he could save me, now would be a good time, but I swore I wasn't going to use that until I was close to the edge of the estate, for Alan would go plunging head first into danger if he thought I was threatened in any way. He didn't know Goreans like I did. I didn't want him to risk his life unless it was absolutely essential. I realised as I ran through the tree line how much I loved him. Why hadn't I ever told him properly? Why had I always been so coy and reserved within our relationship? Alan was a good man. Alan loved me, but I kept shutting him out. I knew I was fucked up from my years on Gor, but I had to let that go, I had to open up to Alan in future. He deserved it after all this time. In the distance I heard the growling of a sleen, possibly a common patrol sleen somewhere on the grounds. There were raised voices of men. I had to get out while I still could.

I ran blindly, freezing cold in the minus three degrees temperature but fear and adrenalin kept my body from seizing up. And then I ran into a ten foot tall barred wall that seemed to run around this side of the estate perimeter. In my haste I nearly collided with it. I gazed up. It was crenelated in places with spikes and served a dual purpose of keeping intruders out and girls inside. I needed my hands free and so I dropped the phone and my clutch bag and I jumped as high as I could to catch the top of the rails. I pushed with my bare feet against the vertical metal rails and tried to climb, to push my body up the rest of the way and over the top, but the bars were coated in something that gave no traction and I found myself sliding back down. Again and again I tried jumping and each time I failed to get over.

And then I heard the barking and growling of the sleen getting closer and I knew it had picked up my trail. I grabbed my iphone and stabbed at the panic button and then threw it on the ground. The sleen was close. I grabbed the clutch bag that had my pistol and the full clip of bullets.   

Only a fool tries to run from a sleen. The sleen is the most savage hunter on Gor and it is said that once it has your scent it will pursue you until it either has you or it is dead. There is no scaring a sleen away and there is no hope of distracting it. The sleen closes on a single prey until it has that prey in its jaws.

Kurgus of the Iron Mountains had bred sleen on his estate near Corcyrus, on Gor. He had a fondness for the creatures that I never quite understood, for the sleen is a six-legged serpentine-bodied, mammalian carnivore. Fast and dangerous, it exists in many regional forms but the most usual one found on Gor is a stinking creature with a scent not unlike that of a weasel or ferret. It snuffles and grunts, emits dog like whines and tastes the air with its whiskered snout. Young ones may be up to eight feet long, while fully grown ones may be as much as twenty feet long. Sleen mate for life and raise four babies at a time in their burrows. Goreans train them from a young age to use for war, guarding valuables (such as slave girls), herding, trailing and hunting.       

I crouched down on the cold ground and braced myself in a firing position. I had in my panic simply unzipped and upturned my clutch bag, spilling all the contents out onto the ground. I picked up the Beretta and the clip of bullets and I loaded the gun with trembling hands. I then braced myself for the slavering jaws that would emerge from the thick copse of trees directly ahead. My back was to the high fence now that I knew I could not climb it.

The beast broke cover with a roar and ran towards me, seeing only its prey, trapped and defenceless. I fired and kept pulling the trigger until I was clicking on an empty clip. The body of the sleen lay maybe ten feet in front of me where its dying velocity had caused it to slide to a halt. Most of my shots had gone through its head. I had been lucky, very lucky. One or maybe two bullets had struck its brain, otherwise it would even now be tearing me limb from limb and gorging itself on the flesh from my bones.

The gun was useless now so I dropped it. I had to try the fence again. I gripped my iphone between my teeth as best I could and I made a running leap for the fence. My hands touched the top once more and I tried to pull myself up, but I was still too weak. I cried piteously as I tried again and again to scale the barred obstacle, but my feet slipped on the thin bars and after a while I simply hung there, pathetic, until I let myself drop.

They would find me. The Goreans would find me. They would see my kef brand and they would collar me. I began digging with my nails against the soil at the base of the fence but it was frozen hard and all I managed to do was break a nail. And then I saw Alan. He ran up to the other side of the barred fence and he didn’t waste time talking. Alan vaulted up and he was able to pull his body weight up onto the fence bars and over it.

I ran to him even before he landed on the ground on my side of the fence. I think I was probably babbling with relief.

“I have never been so pleased so see anyone in my entire life!” I said as I kissed him furiously.

“Fuck's sake, Rache, you’re naked and covered in scratches. And... what the fuck is that?” He pointed at the dead body of the sleen.

“Sleen,” I said as I stood there shivering. I couldn't feel my feet any more.

“What's a sleen?”

“That's a sleen. Can we please go? Now?”

“What the hell has happened? Are you okay? Are you injured?”

“I'm fine, and I'll tell you later, I promise, just please get me out of here!” I held his hand for a moment and then I said it. “I don’t deserve you. I've never deserved you. I’m a piece of shit compared to you. But I love you, Alan. I’ve never had the decency to say it, but I fucking love you.”

“Wow, Rache… that… that’s worth coming out here tonight just to hear you finally say that.”

I had never seen him look so happy before. He hugged me.

I nodded furiously, overcome with emotion now. “Yes, I fucking love you, Alan Anderson, and when you get home you can do anything you like to me. Just please get me home.”

“I have got to rescue you more often...” said Alan as he took me in his arms and kissed me. “I feel the same about you, only a thousand times more. But be damn sure I’m going to take you up on that offer!”

I laughed despite the overwhelming danger we were facing. “I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to tell you. I’m yours, Alan, I’m really yours, and I’ve been such a shit to you. You could have left me at any time…”

“Will never happen.”

“I'm yours if you still want me,” I said, crying now. “No conditions. Really yours. We'll say goodbye to all of this. Move back to England. I'll be the perfect girlfriend from now on.”

“You are seriously giving me an erection, Miss Rachel Evans. Now let’s get moving, because I am so going to fuck you tonight. This is going to be a good Christmas. Come on.” And then Alan lifted me up in mid jump as I tried successfully this time to scale the fence. I managed to fling myself half way over and I squirmed the rest of my body over the top to tumble down in some bushes on the other side. It wasn’t a very dignified landing, but if it put me on the other side of Gorean men with guns and nets that was always going to be a win in my book.

“What are you doing?” I said as I saw Alan move along the length of the fence instead of immediately scaling it himself.

“Looking for your phone. You dropped it I think.”

“Never mind the phone, just get over here with me!”

“I gave you that phone last year, Rache. It has all your photos on it of the two of us last Christmas.”

“I don’t care.” I grew scared now. “Leave the phone. Just get over here. Please, Alan!”

“Just a minute, I think I see it.” Alan bent down and picked something up and he straightened up holding it for me to see.

“Please, Alan, let’s get to the car.”

“A hundred yards to your left, Rache. I’m coming over to join you now. And put this on.” He flung his woollen overcoat over the top of the fence. I caught it and began putting it on as I watched fearfully for any signs of guards appearing. And then Alan took a run up to the fence. He was about to leap when suddenly a shot rang out. He was flung forward with a spray of blood from his chest. He had been shot by a military grade rifle through the back. I screamed as he was flung forward face first into a thin patch of snow. He twitched, tried hard to rise and then he rocked erratically on his forearms. His head gazed up at me with blood forming on his lips, not fully comprehending what had just happened.

I screamed again.

“Run,” was his final word before he collapsed lifeless in the snow.

I sobbed hysterically when I should instead have been running for my life. Alan’s last ever word to me had been ‘run’ before he fell and bled out into the snow. I hadn't downloaded the Christmas photos... it had never seemed particularly important at the time. I howled in misery. I knelt there in shock as I reached my arms through the narrow railings of the ten foot tall fence, but try as I might I couldn’t touch his body. He was maybe eight inches beyond my furthest reach. I was numb to the biting cold as I watched the pool of blood spread around his body and I saw the flickering torch lights as men ran through the trees towards our position.

“Call it in,” said one voice that was tinged with a Gorean accent. “There may be another one. I thought I heard a second scream.”

“We should loose more sleen into the woods,” said another voice. “But we will need to retire to the house first.”

Something made me get up to my feet and I stumbled back away from the fence. My whole body was shaking in shock. I ran blindly down the country lane in the direction that Alan had said the car could be found. I was alone. I was truly alone. I had not really made friends on Earth. Alan was all I had. I cried all the way to the car and I almost ran past it for Alan had methodically driven it close to the undergrowth in a lay-by where another vehicle might pass by without noticing it. The car doors were locked, but I knew we kept a spare key securely taped to the underside of the vehicle with gaffa tape. I fumbled and found it, breaking a nail in the process because, I was shaking so much. It took three attempts to get the key into the door lock and then I clambered in to the driver’s seat, my hands pulling open the glove compartment where there was a spare gun and two clips of ammunition. I was choked with tears as I fumbled the first clip into the butt of the weapon and chambered a round. For a moment I considered running back to the fence, confronting the Goreans and firing both clips into them until either they were all dead or I was, but then I heard Alan’s voice in my head with that one word, ‘run’. I pressed my head to the steering wheel and howled my despair. I had lost him. I had lost the first man I had actually loved since those early days when I was a student naively besotted by Kurgus. And I had killed Alan. I had directly pushed him towards his death. I was a fucking monster.

Rachel Evans was a fucking monster!

Move, Rachel, I thought to myself. You’re not some useless girl who freezes at the first sign of trouble. You’re Rachel fucking Evans. Do something! I reached under the driver’s seat and found the keys that were taped to the underside. One key was for the ignition. The other key was for the house.

“Please forgive me, Alan,” I whispered as I got the engine running and with a squeal of tyres drove it quickly down the road and as far from Harschmort House as I possibly could.

I think I was veering erratically on the road from a combination of shock and too much alcohol in my system, because I had barely driven for ten minutes before I attracted the attention of a lone police car out patrolling for Christmas drivers who had partaken too much of the Christmas spirit.

I swore to myself as the police car signalled for me to pull over. I did so, and pushed the gun deep into the right hand pocket of my oversized coat. I turned the engine off and quickly buttoned the coat up to conceal the fact that I was naked beneath it. I swept my unruly hair back with my right hand and I tried to look calm and sober-ish as I wound the window down and placed both hands on the steering wheel.

The cop regarded me with amusement. He seemed relaxed enough when he saw that I was the only person in the car.

“Evening Miss. Bit late for you to be out and about, isn’t it?”

I kept my hands on the steering wheel as he shone a small torch into the back of the car.

“I’m returning home from a Christmas party, officer.”

“By yourself?” He frowned, for possibly he was one of those men who didn’t approve of women driving alone late at night.

“I was with my boyfriend but we… we had an argument.” I gave him a pensive smile.

“It’s a shame to be arguing on Christmas Eve, Miss. What was it about?”

“Oh, well, just silly things really…”

“Uh-huh. Silly things. I see. Can I see your license, Miss?”

“I… you’re going to think I’m terribly scatter brained, but I left my bag at the party. I’m such a clutz. I’d probably forget my house keys if I didn’t keep them in the car.” I laughed nervously, hoping the cop would laugh too. Unfortunately he didn’t.

“Hmm. Well, it’s not good for a young Lady to drive around by herself late at night. There are some mighty bad folks around after dark.”

“I agree officer. I wouldn’t normally drive myself.”

“You wouldn’t, hmm?” He looked down at me and saw the cleavage where the coat didn’t quite cover it. “Dressed to party then, Miss?”

“I’m sorry?”

“That must be quite a low cut dress you have on there under the coat.” He frowned with disapproval.

“I’m sorry.” I pretended to blush and pulled the lapels of the coat closer together. “It is Christmas Eve after all…”

“No excuse for morals to slip though, is it? The Lord’s birthday and all?”

Shit. He’s one of those. I smiled again and tried to look demure. “I’m a fully paid up member of the Campaign for New Feminism, officer. I agree with you.”

“Really? They’re mighty fine women in that movement. Mighty fine. Know a thing or two about family standards and decency, they do. You’re a member, huh?”

“I am, yes. An early joiner in fact.”

He was looking at something and as I glanced down I could see he was looking at my bare knees, for Alan's overcoat only came to about mid-thigh on me.

“Your skirt seems a little short for a New Feminist, Missy. And you’re barefoot? No hose? Have you been drinking Miss?”

“Um, it was a party… I may have had a few drinks… oh gosh, I may have over done it without thinking… I am so very sorry.”

“What’s your name, Miss?”

“Rachel.” I smiled up at him. “Rachel Evans. I live in Boston.”

“Well Rachel, I take a very dim view of drink driving, especially when it involves young ladies who should know better. I’m going to have to ask you to pull the car over completely and step out. A young girl like you shouldn’t be driving home alone anyway, and especially not if you’ve been drinking. What I’m going to do is call this in. I’ll drive you in to Boston and you can give me the name and address of your closest male relative. I’m going to have to write you up for the drink driving, and I’m going to give your father or brother a few words of advice on how to look after a high spirited girl like you in the future. I’m sure they’re going to be mighty annoyed with you the way you’ve been flaunting yourself in public and high tailing it around the roads late at night with drink inside of you. It would probably do you the world of good if your daddy gave you a spanking.”

“A spanking?” I couldn't believe this. “I'm twenty eight years old!”

“Well you don't look it, Miss, you don't look much older than my daughter, and she's a proper little twenty one year old missy with decent standards. And anyway, twenty eight ain't too old to receive a spanking the way you've been carrying on. I can smell the booze on your breath. Who do I call? A brother or your daddy?”

“I don't have a father or brother in Boston. I'm English.”

“Well now, that makes things a mite more awkward. Do you have a male contact registered with the Boston police department?” He was referring of course to the local ridiculous and demeaning new Boston by-laws that permitted the police to pick up women travelling alone if it was thought they were endangering their own safety. It was 'for their protection'. The police would return them to either a husband, a boyfriend a father, or a brother in that order. If a girl had none of those, she was advised to register the details of a trusted male work colleague or friend who could be noted to take care of her in such cases.

“No I don't, officer...”   

The cop scratched his ear and regarded me again with a stern look. “I don't care how you folks do things back in England, but over here in Boston we have standards. We're decent folks.”

“I know, Sir, I'm very sorry.”

“You were at a party you say?”

“Yes, but I just want to go home now.”

“That'll be that fancy party at Harschmort House, yes?”

I didn't say anything.

“Better tell me, young missy. If you were at that party I might be inclined to be a bit lenient and overlook the drinking behind a wheel. There's some mighty fine gentlemen at that house and I wouldn't want to embarrass them at all. Mighty fine.”

“Yes,” I aid softly. “I was at Harschmort. I just had a silly argument, that's all.”

“The name of your boyfriend, missy?”

“Adam Coulter, but please don't make a thing out of this. He'll be annoyed I left.”

“Of course he will, young miss, you going off and spoiling his Christmas Eve like that. And him being a Gentleman and all. You're a red silk girl, yes?”

I looked up startled. Obviously he knew a few things about the set up at Harschmort.

“I asked you a question young Miss.”

I nodded quickly. “yes.”

“Thought so. No way you could be a white silk girl. Not with all that there booze on your breath. Them white silk girls, they're proper fine ladies they are. You could do with taking a few tips from them on how to behave.”

“I will. They seemed very nice,” I said as I gripped the steering wheel hard. 

“So here's what we're going to do. I'm going to ask you to step out of the car and then we'll move it to the lay-by where it's not a risk to traffic. I'll drive you back to Harschmort and...”

“No!”

“Now here's what you don't seem to understand, missy. When I'm doing the talking, you don't talk. Then when I'm finished talking, you can talk. Isn't that simple?”

I gripped the steering wheel until my knuckles turned white from the pressure.

“I'll hand you back to Mr Coulter and after you've give him a proper apology, what with ruining his night with your hissy fit, I'm sure he'll arrange for you to go home safely.”

“I just want to go home now. Please...”

“Uh-uh. Can't do that. Now you just sit there all pretty for a moment while I call you in, little lady. Fix up your hair a bit and check your lipstick because you'll be wanting to look darned pretty for Mr Coulter when I bring you back. He's going to be mighty angry with you after all, so you'll be wanting to look your prettiest. That's my advice. There’s been some funny goings on tonight, and I’m just going to check in that everything's okay at Harschmort.”

My ears pricked up at that and I felt a cold chill down my spine. I knew from my time working for Kurgus that some police were in the pay of the Kurii, even if they didn’t know what a Kur actually was. Was this man one of them? Would he be calling in to Harschmort House to check if I had been involved in the gunshots? Would they tell him to be on the lookout for anyone in suspicious circumstances heading away from the house at rapid speed?

I watched the man turn away slightly to call the traffic incident in. I couldn’t risk it. My right hand dipped in to my coat pocket. It came up with the automatic. I held the gun with both hands as Alan had taught me to do and I squeezed off three shots in cold blood. The policeman was flung into the side of the bushes where he lay before he could possibly react.

“You had to fucking push me, didn't you,” I said with fresh tears in my eyes. “You couldn't just let me drive home...”

I sat there for a while with the warm gun now in my lap. I was in shock again for it is no easy thing to gun a man down from behind. His police car sat idling maybe six yards away, the lights still on. I sniffed and wiped snot from my nose. No turning back now, Rachel. No turning back. Just keep going.

I drove carefully for another fifteen miles before I passed a river. I brought the car to a stop, cleaned the gun of finger prints with a windscreen duster from the glove compartment and threw it into the water. Then I drove back in to Boston.

Boston USA - December 24th 2023, close to midnight


I parked the car round the corner from my building and I ran on bare feet towards my door, dressed only in Alan's woollen overcoat. It still smelt of him, of his aftershave that I had got him for his birthday. I wept and stuck the key in the lock, pushed inside and ran up the stairs to the landing. The neighbours downstairs had gone away for Christmas, but old Mrs Mulligan above me was still around. I staggered into my living room, still sobbing and I pulled off the overcoat and threw it over the armchair.

Everything inside here looked so Christmassy. The tree was lit up, there were festive scented pomanders hanging from it, and Alan had set out a bottle of wine and two glasses on the coffee table. We would normally now be curled up on the sofa, drinking, laughing and talking about what 2024 had in store for us.

I couldn't stay here. I would have to get dressed, grab some clothes and a few essentials, my passport and papers, retrieve my remaining diamonds and the rolled up wads of dollar notes that I kept in a bag behind the fridge and get out of Boston. I'd fly back to England and call on the two bikers in the New Forest. They would hide me out in a caravan on their private land throughout winter. I would be safe there.

I sobbed as I saw the mistletoe hanging in one corner of the room. And then I saw a gift wrapped present waiting for me on the coffee table. Another one.

This is what Alan did every Christmas Eve without fail. He would squirrel away extra presents for me to find throughout the evening, and there would always be a big smile on his face as I found each additional one.

“Stop getting me so many presents!” I would say, laughing, as I’d add another one to the pile under the tree that I found, say, on my makeup counter in the bedroom.

“I love you, Rache,” he would then say as he tried to lure me once again under the sprig of mistletoe that always hung somewhere strategic every year. “You are the everything.” It was a reference to some song he liked by some band I didn't know because they were popular while I was on Gor.

“I’ll turn into a spoilt bitch if you keep doing this,” I’d say. “Honestly, you don’t have to give me so much.”

“I’d give you the world if I could,” and then he would put his arms around my waist, loosely, for he knew I still flinched from being held tightly by men, and he would stroke my cheek with such tenderness and I would see the love in his eyes that I hoped was reflected back in mine, for I did love him, even if I didn't dare tell him, because I'm so fucked up and damaged deep down.

And there it sat – Alan’s last present to me. It was wrapped in pretty paper with the words ‘Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy’ repeated on the design. It was neatly done with a ribbon bow and propped on top of the gift was a small folded piece of cardboard that read ‘you can open me now’.

I cried as I knelt there beside the coffee table looking at the last gift Alan would ever place for me to find on Christmas Eve. I had killed him as surely as if I had shot him with that military rifle myself, for I had dragged him into this life instead of leaving him to live a happy life. I had cursed him with love for me and he had suffered the consequences.

Oh Alan, baby…

He was still so young compared to me. He could never quite understand the age gap between us when he looked at a girl who appeared to be several years younger than him. “I’m almost old enough to be your grand mother,” I would say.

“Sexy granny,” he would say back as he kissed me.

Alan, baby…

You never quite understand how much you love someone, how much you need someone, how much you’ve grown to depend on someone, until life snatches them away from you.

I had killed Emma’s brother. I was a fucking monster and shouldn’t even be alive. By rights I should have been the one to die back at Harschmort House, not Alan. I didn’t deserve to live.

One of the primary rules of my line of business is that you never involve loved ones. Never.

I wiped the tears from my eyes with the back of my hand and I reached for the present. I had to be strong now. It was only a matter of time before the Goreans figured out who Alan was. I didn’t know how they might do that but if there was one thing that modern television dramas had taught me it was that people with computers could do anything, as if by magic. And I had shot and killed a policeman. There would be a manhunt for his killer, and I had almost certainly left some bits of evidence in my panic to get away from Harschmort. I hoped the policeman had been in league with the Goreans for otherwise I had gunned down an innocent man.

I reached for Alan’s gift and pulled the ribbon away. I kissed the wrapping paper and left an imprint of my lips on it.

I didn’t deserve you, Alan. Why did you love me so much with all your heart? Why couldn’t you have found someone who could have returned the love the way you truly deserved?

I wiped the tears from my eyes again and slit open the paper. The box was quite lovely, and inside I found crumpled tissue paper protecting the gift from sliding around. I moved the tissue paper until I found the gift and then I froze. It was a slave collar. It was a Gorean slave collar.

My hands were shaking as I lifted it from the box. No… I had to be imagining this. It was inscribed with a name: Rachel. And there was a gift tag on it that read ‘for the slave who owns nothing, not even her name. Merry Christmas from Udumi.’

I suddenly felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise, for I suddenly knew I was not alone in the living room. I didn’t try to turn round to face whoever was there, I simply dived across the room, jumping from my kneeling position in an adrenaline fuelled spring, heading straight for the sideboard where we kept a spare gun. I wrenched the drawer open, grabbed the pistol and one of the loaded clips. I fumbled the clip into place and was in the process of turning round, about to chamber the first round when I saw that the barrel of the gun was melted and sealed shut as if by a very high temperature. The gun was useless.

A hand punched me across the face and I flew back, colliding with our Christmas tree that came crashing down on to the carpeted floor, scattering baubles and presents in its wake. I screamed loudly hoping someone might hear, someone might help, and I tried to scramble to my feet as the Gorean man hit me again, this time sending me crashing into the coffee table. The wind was temporarily knocked out of me as he seized my hair, drew my head back and stabbed his knuckles into my stomach. I threw up, and couldn’t speak. I lay there with vomit dribbling down my chin, gasping for breath, panic rendering me incapable of thinking straight.

I became aware of a woman entering the room now through the connecting door from my bedroom where she had been hiding with her two thugs. It was Udumi, and she held a slave crop in her right hand.

“You know Rachel, I’m really quite disappointed. I searched through all the presents under the tree and I couldn’t find mine.”

I choked on the bile still in my throat and tried to rise. The man who had attacked me simply kicked me back down.

“I love this time of year,” said Udumi. “So many pretty things to acquire. You have good taste in wine by the way.” Now Udumi motioned to the second man to stand by the external door in case anyone might have heard my screams and come to investigate. I could hardly breathe let alone scream again.

“I was going to tell you that you were going to be enslaved and given to strong powerful men to satisfy their desires, but imagine my surprise when I saw just now when you removed your coat that you’re already a kajira.” She indicated my brand. “That must be an interesting story in itself. Just how does a Gorean kajira find herself on Earth, apparently masquerading as a Free Woman? I look forward to hearing the full story when you’re put under the lash tomorrow morning. It will be more entertaining than another Charles Dickens adaptation on TV.”

Udumi was interrupted then by an urgent knock on my door and the concerned sounding voice of my elderly neighbour upstairs, Mrs Mulligan. She lived alone now ever since her husband had died of cancer three years ago.

“Rachel dear, is everything all right? I heard an awful commotion just now. Did you fall over? Has something happened?”

Mrs Mulligan was a kind woman who often gave Alan gifts of home baked biscuits whenever she happened to see him on the landing. To his embarrassment she would never take no for an answer. Udumi nodded to her man at the door and I watched in horror as he screwed a silencer onto his gun, opened the door and shot the surprised woman in the face before she could say anything. There was suddenly a splash of bright red on the wall of the landing behind her as her body crumpled to the ground.

“See what screaming achieves, Rachel,” said Udumi as she lifted my head with the toe of her right boot and tapped my right cheek with her slave crop. “Anyone else you want us to kill?”

I will kill you, was the only thought in my mind. However long it takes, I will kill you.

And you will suffer.

“So you’re a runaway slave, Rachel? You must have known deep in your heart, deep in your slave belly that there is nowhere to run to in this solar system. You must have known that the slavers of Gor would find you again eventually. Did you think Earth would be safe for you? We’re everywhere now. The Priest Kings do not have the resources any more to guard and protect two planets properly. Guess which one has been left to its own devices? We control the police, we control big business, we even control the most important governments. I mean, we don’t even have to be subtle any more.” She indicated the slumped figure of Mrs Mulligan and the spray of blood and brain tissue that was slowly sliding down the far wall on the landing. “We don’t even need to cover things like that up any more. You know what happens to an escaped slave, don't you? Aside from the vicious beating they receive? They get a second brand – a punishment brand and it will mark you forever as a troublesome slave. The Masters you have in the future will know what you are the moment they see you, and you’ll be kept in the strictest most uncompromising of slaveries. You’ll soon be so broken and crushed in spirit that I expect you won’t even dare look at a man directly unless ordered to, let alone disobey him. You stupid bitch. You should never have come after me all those years ago, Rachel. I don't think I ever did anything to you. You're certainly not one of my past acquisitions. I'd certainly remember a face and figure like yours. You stupidly put yourself on my radar and that’s not a good thing for an escaped slave. You could have kept quiet and hid yourself away in a cave somewhere and I’d never have known who you were or had any reason to fuck up your life. I look forward to hearing you tell me everything about this mysterious vendetta of yours tomorrow before I enjoy my Christmas dinner. You’ll sing so sweetly beneath the strands of my whip.” Udumi rose to her feet and nodded to the first man. He grabbed me by my hair and pulled me violently through the open doorway and into the bedroom where I was thrown onto my belly on the mattress of the bed. I tried to rise but I was cuffed back down and my hands were lashed to the bed posts.

I struggled with a sense of rising panic as a crude gag was then stuffed into my open mouth and fastened behind my head. My nightmares had come true. They had come for me. They had found me.

Men pulled my legs apart and that was the cue for me to begin screaming again, but all I managed was muffled noises through the gag.

“Tomorrow is another day Rachel. Christmas Day in fact. Do you know the sort of Christmas you have to look forward to? It's going to be a Christmas you'll never forget. You’ll be housed in our slave pen at Harschmort House in the countryside. It's a secure facility for girls that we abduct. We have a shipment leaving on Boxing Day, which is convenient for you. You’ll spend Christmas itself being whipped until I think you’ve answered every question I didn’t know to ask you. And then I'll have you branded with a punishment brand so there's never any disguising what you actually are – a runaway slave. Until then, well, it’s Christmas Eve, and I promised my men a traditional Christmas bonus. This year you’re it. Merry Christmas, Rachel, and a very Gorean new year.”

Boston USA - December 24th 2023, one minute before Christmas Day


My ankles were pulled violently apart and the first man who had now unbuckled his belt and unzipped the front of his trousers stood behind my raised ass where I was secured to the bed.

Despite the futility of it, I screamed again as Udumi left them to it.

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