My name is Sapphire. I have given my parents trouble from the moment of conception. My mother was bed ridden for the last four months of her pregnancy with me. I arrived six weeks early. I acted like the spoiled little child that I was. I wanted everything my own way and to hell with everything and everyone else. I never gave in to anyone; I got what I wanted and was willing to do whatever it took to get it. If sugar and spice did not do the trick, then I kicked and screamed and destroyed my room until my parents relented. I have never been use to giving in, not even if it meant getting injured. That was my downfall.
I awoke with a start, feeling myself being lifted off the silk sheets of my bed by strong hands. Involuntarily I gasped, feeling as if I were soaring through the air. And I realized that I was not dreaming. Before I could even take a breath to prepare to scream, a gag was wrapped securely around my mouth, and a blindfold was tied tightly over my eyes. The silvery light that had shone through my window was now gone as I was plunged into darkness. Taken off guard, I hesitated, and I lost my only chance to fight, to flee, to save my soul.
I found myself being shoved to the floor, the floorboards cold despite the humidity of the night. Someone put their knee into the small of my back, pinning me effortlessly to the floor as my hands were bound securely behind me. My legs were tied together in two places, at my ankles, which were crossed, and right above my knees.
Professionals. There was no way I was going to be able run or even stand with the way I was bound up.
Judging from the muffled whispers, I guessed that there were three of them. If I had seen this scenario on television I would have laughed. How many men does it take to hog-tie a five foot tall one hundred ten pound woman? They were not taking any chances.
In one swift motion I found myself slung over the shoulder of a man. A few seconds later I felt a soft breeze lift the edge of my nightshirt, and I realized that my kidnappers had forgone the door in favor of the window and we were now quickly descending down the fire escape. Less than thirty seconds later I was unceremoniously dumped into what was obviously the trunk of a car. I heard the engine roar to life as the trunk door was slammed shut right above my head. As the car lurched down the road, I was left wondering how the hell I had managed to find myself in this situation. This whole thing had taken place in less than two minutes, not giving me a chance to even react to the situation, must less contemplate how or why this had happened.
Okay, Sapphire, think. I moved my arms in a vain attempt to loosen the ropes that had my wrists bound. But they were not ropes, I quickly realized. I had been bound with those damn plastic hand-cuff things that had to be cut off. With the way that they were biting into my flesh, I knew that there was not as much as a centimeter of spare space in which to slide my hands through. My legs and ankles were bound in a similar fashion. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was only the latest victim in a long line of kidnappings.
Several hours later the car finally came to a stop and I heard the engine die. Doors slammed. I heard the trunk lid lift open, but I still could not see even a glimmer of light through my blindfold. My internal clock told me it was still a good two hours before dawn.
I was heaved out of the trunk and once again slung over the shoulder of a man. Minutes later I found myself being dropped to a hardwood floor. Hushed voices were all around me. I heard muffled laughter, the soft clink of crystal glasses. Someone squirmed and whimpered on the floor beside me.
A man behind me growled, ‘Quiet,’ and gave the girl a kick. She squealed behind her own gag, and became still, but I could hear that she was still sobbing quietly.
A choir of voices went up, ‘Master Raven has arrived!’ And then the gentle swishing sound of dozens of long skirts brushing the floor as women curtsied. A hush fell over the room as heavy footsteps approached. The only sound in the room was the quiet sobbing of at least a half dozen women who were laying on the floor near me, no doubt bound and gagged as I was.
The footsteps grew louder as their owner entered the room, the hollow sound echoing in the huge room. I expected the footsteps to stop at the other end of the room. But instead, they grew louder as their owner approached our little group crouched together on the floor. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up as a deep, growling voice asked, ‘Is this all you have brought to me?’
‘Yes, Master Raven, these are all the ones we found that lived alone,’ a second man stated.
The one called Raven replied, ‘Fine, then, let me see what you have brought for me.’
A man behind me grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear, ‘I am going to remove your blindfold. You will NOT make eye contact with anyone in this room, especially not with Master Raven. Keep your eyes downcast at all times and do not look around. If you do, you will be beaten.’
My blindfold was promptly removed from my eyes, and I squinted even though the light was little more than a dull glow. As my eyes grew use to the light, I saw that I was in what looked to be the ballroom of a grand old plantation house. Men and women dressed in eighteenth century attire were sitting or standing all around the walls of the room. Most of them were drinking red wine from goblets of crystal. All seemed intrigued, even aroused at the scene that was playing out in the middle of the room.
Raven walked slowly along the line of girls who were huddled on the polished floor. He stopped a few feet away from me. I cut my eyes to the corner to see seven other girls sitting on the floor beside me, their mouths gagged and their limbs bound together with the same plastic handcuffs that were cutting the circulation off of my own arms and legs.
Raven stood in front of a set of girls in their late twenties who looked to be sisters. I strained to see the mysterious Raven. I must have involuntarily moved my head slightly because the man that had removed my blindfold nudged me with his foot and hissed, ‘Eyes down!’ I bent my head as I was told. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Raven reach down and remove the gag from one of the sisters.
The girl began crying hysterically and pleading with Raven, ‘Please, let us goes! Why are you doing this to us?’
I heard a loud smacking sound as Raven slapped the girl hard across the face. ‘You do not speak unless I command it.’ Two men reached down from behind the sisters and pulled them to their feet. Each sister was thrown over a shoulder and the four of them disappeared through a door in the far end of the room.
Again, the foot nudged me, and I looked down. The five other girls left were all crying or whimpering, shivering on the floor. All were crying, all except for me.
Raven slowly walked down the line of women, inspecting each one in turn. And apparently each one was rejected. I held my breath as Raven stopped in front of me. I could only see back boots, black pants, and the tail of a black coat that reached nearly to the floor.
After a moment Raven reached down to grab my left arm and pulled me to my feet. With my ankles crossed and bound, I was unable to stand on my own, so I found myself having to lean against him to keep from falling over.
Black silken shirt, silver and gold necklaces with cross and onk charms hanging down, a patch of golden skin. He was taller than I, close to six feet. His hair was long, well past his shoulders, straight, black, shiny, silky in the glow of the lamps. He removed the gag from my mouth and I saw a flash of silver rings, long fingers with perfectly manicured nails that had been filed into a sharp point. I let out a small gasp as Raven ran his hand through my hair and stopped to cradle my neck, his fingers massaging the back of my head gently.
‘Such hair,’ he whispered. ‘What is your name?’
Despite myself I looked at him. One moment, for just a fraction of a second my eyes gazed upon his face before I lowered my gaze for fear of incurring his wrath. He had high cheekbones, perfectly formed heart-shaped lips, the bottom lip full, the type of lips that women always wanted. And his eyes, those eyes could look directly into your soul. His eyes were a deep brown, like coffee with cream, the kind of eyes that you could just drown in, framed in long, black lashes. He had the slightest hint of laugh lines beginning around the corners of his eyes, lending his youthful appearance an air of maturity. I would have pegged his age between thirty five and thirty eight years old. His tailored shirt stretched across broad shoulders, his torso lean, chiseled muscle. But it was his teeth that struck terror into my heart. Perfectly straight, stark white, but I swear the man had fangs.
His grip on my arm tightened as he bent his head to whisper in my ear, ‘Your name.’
Permission to speak. I licked my lips and barely uttered the word, ‘Sapphire.’
I felt by the tone of his voice that he had a smile on his face as he said, ‘It suits you.’
Abruptly he let me go and I fell to the floor. A moment later I was thrown over the shoulder of the man who had nudged me. We, too, disappeared through the door at the end of the room. I caught a glimpse of a large, heavily carved chair sitting at the end of the room, the back and seat draped with black silk. I found myself thinking that this must be Raven’s thrown, a place for the Master of the House to reside over his coven.
As I bounced along stranded on this man’s shoulder, I struggled to look around me. We were traveling down a long, dark hallway, with doors every few feet on both sides. At the end of the hallway was another door, and it was through this door that we passed.
I found myself in what looked to be a combination sitting room, parlor, and study. Bookcases that reached from floor to ceiling were along the back wall and stacked with as many books as could possibly crammed into them. A large mahogany desk sat in front of the bookcases, and a leopard print sofa and matching chairs sat before a fireplace at the far end of the room.
But it was not this room in which we stopped. We continued on through a door beside the fireplace. This room was obviously the bed chamber. A huge four posted bed sat in the middle of the room, the canopy hung with heavy black satin and draped over all four posts so that they made curtains which could be pulled together to enclose the bed. Embedded in the floor at the foot of the bed were four metal rings with shackles and chains attached. Beside the doorway we had just entered sat another leopard print sofa with matching shag rug. At the other end of the room was a small brick wall about three feet high and about as long. This wall separated the bed chamber from the bath house.
And it was here that I was once again unceremoniously dumped onto the brick floor. Looking around I saw four shower heads on the far back wall and a huge claw foot tub to the side. I realized that anyone taking a shower or bath here would easily be seen from the bed chamber. There was absolutely no privacy at all. My heart sunk as I thought that this was probably the whole idea behind the renovations.
The two sisters had also been brought to the bath chamber and had already been stripped of the few clothes they had own. The showers were turned on and the two men which had brought them to the room shoved them under the steaming water. ‘Master Raven wishes you to bath and dress. He will join you shortly. You must keep your eyes lowered at all times and do not speak unless Master Raven commands it of you. Master Raven will inform you of any other rules himself.’
The man which had brought me cut the plastic bands which had bound my wrists, ankles and knees. He reached down, grabbing my nightshirt at the collar, and ripped the shirt open, sending the buttons flying in all directions. In one swift motion, I found myself sitting naked on the brick floor, shivering in the pre-dawn air and vainly attempting to cover myself. ‘Bath now, dress yourself, Master Raven will join you in a few moments,’ he said to me.
The three men then stepped to the other side of the small brick wall, turning their backs to us, but standing guard so that no attempt at escape would be possible. I noticed that I had not seen a single window in any of the rooms in which we had passed. I seriously doubted that there were any. Even if I could get past my own personal body guard, I would have to also fend off all the others who resided in the coven house. Even if I could do this, I would have to find my way to an outside door, and since I had been blindfolded I had no idea if I were even on the ground floor.
I stood up on shaky legs, the marks of the plastic binds etched deeply into my skin. I limped over to the water and began to bathe as I was told. The two sisters stood holding each other and crying. I quickly finished, wanting to be dressed before Raven came in. I wrapped myself in the large towel that had been left out. The man who had brought me pointed to a corset and skirt ensemble hanging over the back of a chair beside the bed.
I picked up the skirt and put it on. It was black silk with a red silk ruffle around the bottom. The skirt tail wrapped around in front, creating a slit that fell just a few inches below my thighs. The corset had black lace overlain on red silk with black silk lacings. My bodyguard came over and laced the corset up so tightly that I could barely breathe. My small breasts were pushed up and together, making their roundness all the more full. If I had not been in such a situation I would have found the effect quite appealing. My feet were slipped into black heels. My hair was quickly twisted up into a knot and secured with a few decorative hair pins.
The sisters had to be dragged out and dried off by their bodyguards. They were attempting to dress the two of them in attire similar to my own when Raven entered.
I had been brought back over to the wall, where I noticed another set of four metal rings embedded in the bricks. My bodyguard pushed me to my knees and whispered, ‘Always kneel before your Master. You may not stand unless he commands it of you.’
Raven took no notice of me, but instead turned his attentions to the two sisters who were still crying and pleading to be returned to their home. When Raven approached them they quickly hushed, no doubt remembering the slap received only a few minutes earlier.
One of the bodyguards brought forth a large, exquisitely carved wooden box. From this box Raven took out a black leather collar studded with rhinestones. He placed the collar around the neck of one of the sisters. To the collar he attached a chain link leash. Raven gave a gentle tug on the leash and leads the woman over to the short brick wall where I now kneeled. He clipped the leash to one of the metal rings embedded in the wall. He then did the same thing to the other sister.
And then Raven approached me with a similar collar. As he reached down to place the collar about my neck, I recoiled, lurching backwards away from him. I tilted my head up a bit to look at him, and realized too late that he had raised his hand. His hand slapped me hard across my left cheek, the sound of it ringing in my ears, the force of the blow knocking me over. I raised my hand instinctively to my mouth as the salt and metallic taste of my own blood filled my mouth.
Raven leaned down and growled in my ear, ‘Never withdraw from my touch.’ And he placed the collar about my neck.
‘None of you will ever withdraw from my touch. You will not speak unless I command it, and you will address me as master. You will not raise your eyes but always cast your eyes downward. You will always kneel in my presence until I tell you otherwise. You will do as you are told. If you do not follow my commands then you will be beaten.’
Raven kneeled back down and grasped my chin in his hand, forcing me to look him in the eye. ‘In time,’ he said softly, ‘you will come to crave my touch.’
‘Anyone that continues to displease me or whom I no longer have use for will be given to another member of my coven. You will find that I can be cruel, but loving as well. The others of the Family are not so kind. I cannot protect the slaves of the other members of the Family, only my own slaves. If you do as I command you will find living here quite agreeable. If you do not obey, however, you will find that my temper can be quick and vicious.’
Raven gestured towards the bodyguards. Each one took one of us and unhooked our collars from the leash it was clasped to and lead back to the bath area. The sisters, who never got dressed past their bath towel, were quickly stripped and put into white, silky gowns. My bodyguard unlaced my corset and handed me a similar gown. I noticed that none of the bodyguards were actually looking at us any longer than it took to do their job. I realized that they must be forbidden to look at any of Raven’s so-called slaves. We had been left alone with the guards long enough for all three of us to have been raped by each of them, but they had not so much as looked at us inappropriately, much less touched any one of us. I shuddered to think that Raven had such control over the members of the coven. I had never known a man to turn away the chance to enjoy female flesh out of love for his neighbor, so I could only guess that Raven ran the coven with an iron fist.
Once we were all gowned, our guards took us to the foot of the bed and shackled our ankles to the chains that I had seen when I first entered the room. My guard presented me with a satin pillow and light blanket. I guessed we were going to be made to sleep on the floor.
One of the sisters grasped the hand of her guard and pleaded with him, ‘Please help us. I’ll do anything, give you anything, if you will help us get out of here. We have money, we can pay you whatever you want.’
The guard snatched his hand away and retreated out the door with the other two.
Raven laughed a deep sinister laugh that echoed throughout the room. ‘And you need not try to bribe your way out of here. The coven knows that the penalty for helping a slave escape is death.’
‘Now, my darlings, you should sleep. We will be attending a hunt at midnight tomorrow.’ Raven came up to us and placed the blanket over each of us in turn, much like he was tucking in a child for the night. I lay my head down on the pillow given to me and curled up as Raven tucked the blanket around me. He then walked to the bath area and pulled a drapery across the small brick wall. I had not noticed the drape before, but I doubted that we would have the luxury of using it. Exhausted, I fell into a deep sleep as the sound of the water from the showers drone on.
Groggy, I slowly opened my eyes, thinking to myself, what a dream! I stretched my arms and my legs, and it was then that I heard the clink of the chains still binding my ankles to the metal rings embedded in the floor. I sat up with a start and looked around, thinking that I had to still be dreaming. As the veil of sleep slowly withdrew, I felt my stomach sink as I realized that this was no dream.
‘Oh, God, no,’ I whispered. In the grip of a sudden panic attack, I snatched up the chain and pulled with all my strength, praying that the metal ring would come free from the floor.
My bodyguard came in at the sound of the noise. He hurried over to me and put his hand over my mouth. ‘You must not wake Master Raven. He can be quite fierce if he is awakened before his scheduled time,’ he said to me. The guard then unlocked my shackle and led me to the bath area.
‘It is four in the evening. Master Raven arises at six. It is Master’s wish that you arise no later than five to prepare yourselves. I have lain out your outfit from last night. Bathe and dress yourself. You will dine with Master Raven at seven. I have been commanded to bring you a little something after you are dressed.’ My guard then retreated to the parlor while I bathed.
I did not rush through this bath as I had the night before. I lingered under the steaming water, letting the heat wash away the stiffness in my neck and back. As I had feared, my ankles, knees and wrists were badly bruised where the plastic ties had bound them together, my skin every shade imaginable between purple and black. I looked about to discover that every bathing need I could possibly have had been provided for. I washed my hair, shaved my legs, and quickly applied a heavenly aromatic and silky lotion to my entire body. My eyes were dry and irritated from sleeping in my contacts. I noticed that even this had been provided for. A small contact lens case sat on a small shelf, the wrapper still in place, along with eye drops and contact solution. The only thing that seemed to be missing was cosmetics and, strangely enough, a mirror. In a stupor, I cleaned my contact lenses and placed them back into my eyes, which was no easy feat without a mirror. I imagined that my usual blue eyes were red and swollen.
I heard the sisters in the other room stirring, the clink of their chains sounding incredibly loud in the hushed room.
Quickly I gathered up my still wet auburn hair and wrapped it into a tight knot on the top of my head and secured it with the decorative hair pins that had been used last night. I hurriedly donned my skirt and shoes, and wrapped the corset about me just as my guard entered.
‘I have your breakfast waiting for you in the parlor. Here, let me lace you up,’ he said.
I turned around and let him lace the corset up.
In the bed chamber the sisters were fully awake now and having their own panic attacks. One of them was screaming and apparently fighting with her guard while the other sobbed uncontrollably, begging once again for her guard to let her go home. And then I heard the unmistakable sound of the heavy silken drapes being shoved back away from the bed.
‘Can you not control those slaves?’ Raven roared as he bolted out of his bed. I heard him walk with heavy steps to the foot of the bed. ‘Why are they not dressed yet?’ he demanded. ‘And where is the other one?’
My guard hurried me into the bed chamber. ‘She is here, Master Raven.’
Raven looked towards us, his eyes roaming over every inch of my body, lingering on the small swell of my breasts. I found myself blushing under his gaze despite my thirty years.
‘Ah, you are dressed already. I am pleased that the clothes I have picked out for you fit so well. I trust you slept well.’ It was a statement, not a question.
But I answered anyway without thinking, ‘I slept on the floor. How well do you think I could have slept chained at the foot of the bed of an animal?’ I had been quite demure the night before. After all, it was the middle of the night and I was pretty much in a fog. But now that the sun had risen, my usual fiery temper was in place and I had my claws out. I might be here against my will, but I was not about to bend to anyone’s will, much less a sociopath who had me kidnapped out of my own bed.
I blatantly stared right at him, returning his scowl. In two long strides he was standing in front of me, his bare chest devoid of the ornamentation from the previous night. His hair was slightly rumbled, as were the silk pajama bottoms he wore. The man oozed sensuality, there was no doubt. But despite this I had taken an instant dislike to him. I imagined that even if we had not met under these circumstances I would still have not liked him. He was too damn arrogant, too controlling, too sure of himself.
He lifted his hand to slap me again, but before he could land the blow I spoke again, ‘If you lay one finger on me then I will claw your eyes out, cut your dick off in your sleep and feed it to my cats.’
For an instant I saw a glimmer of shock pass over his face. Me, defend myself? Please! I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper sack, much less defend my five foot frame against someone nearly a foot taller than me and a good hundred pounds heavier. But I could fight like a girl, and we all know that girls fight dirty.
And then the shock was gone and replaced by full blown rage. He growled at me as he clamped his hand down hard over my upper arm and dragged me into the parlor. I squealed in protest, struggling against him, but his grip might as well have been made of iron.
At the other end of the room was a long, heavy black drape I had not noticed the night before. The drapery ran the entire length of the wall. Raven pulled this back to reveal what resembled a medieval torture chamber. There was a metal rack with shackles in all four corners. Whips of all sizes lined a wall along with blindfolds and gags. There were other instruments in the room that I could not even imagine what they were for.
Raven shoved me face first into the metal rack and hastily closed the shackles over each of my wrists and ankles. He furiously unlaced my corset, ripping the ties in his haste, leaving my body bare from the waist up.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Raven take down a large black whip, similar to a riding crop. It was then that I lost my cool. I struggled against the shackles, screaming almost hysterically. ‘Let me go you psychotic freak! Are you crazy? Let me go!’
I heard the whip crack a split second before I felt the streak of fire across my back. I gasped, nearly losing my breath at the wave of pain that soon engulfed my skin. Another flick of the wrist and Raven landed another streak of fire across my back. I started screaming again, viciously pulling at the shackles, and the pain in my wrists a dull ache compared to the welts on my back. And yet another blow. By the fourth blow I was no longing screaming but crying. And after the fifth lick I was begging him to stop despite my best efforts not to.
‘Stop, please, stop!’ I begged.
And thankfully, he did.
Raven came up behind me, wrapped his hand around the back of my neck, and pulled my head back. ‘Do you want me to stop?’ he growled in my ear.
‘Yes,’ I whispered, ‘Please.’
‘Yes, please what?’
‘Please stop,’ I replied.
His grip tightened on my neck. ‘Who am I?’ he demanded.
I swallowed, parted my lips, but my pride refused to give him the satisfaction.
Abruptly Raven let go of my neck and landed another whack on the bare flesh of my back. I screamed again, and began crying even harder.
Again Raven gripped the back of my neck, pulling my head back hard, and demanded, ‘Who am I?’
‘Please stop,’ I whimpered, my whole body shaking with the pain, ‘Please, no more. Please, Master,’ I whispered.
I could tell he was smiling that evil smile again. ‘And will you disobey me again?’
Now there was a promise I could not make no matter how much he beat me. ‘I will try, Master,’ I replied.
Satisfied, he let go of my neck and unshackled my limbs from the rack. Still sobbing, I picked up what was left of the corset and held it in front of my body.
Raven threw the whip down and said to me, ‘Go, and get cleaned up.’ To my guard he said, ‘Get her an appropriate frock to wear. When she is done, bring her back to the parlor so that she may eat.’
My head down, I walked to the bath area, still sobbing, my skin on fire. I dreaded the thought of the water hitting my flesh. I was pretty sure I was not bleeding, so I rinsed my back quickly and slipped into the backless, bright yellow dress that had been lain out for me. I briefly wondered how long I would have my guard dog.
As I emerged from the bath chamber, my guard gestured for me to go into the parlor. Raven was standing at the large wardrobe opposite the great bed, pushing through the garments. The wardrobe was as big as the bed and had to be a good seven feet tall. There were brightly colored garments on one side and darker ones on the other. I figured that was where the dresses I had been wearing had materialized from.
I rushed past Raven into the parlor where my guard dog seated me at the sofa. There was a small glass table that sat in front of the sofa that was laden with platters of fruit, cheese, deli meats, and glasses of wine.
‘Eat,’ he said to me, ‘Master Raven will join you shortly.’
I looked around, vaguely wondering where the sisters were at. I opened my mouth to ask this, but decided it would be in my best interest to keep my mouth shut. My back was still aching terribly from the beating I had just received at the hand of Raven, and I was not eager to repeat the episode.
I heard the barely audible sound of the showers running in the bath. I breathed a sigh of relief and for the first time relaxed. Finding myself strangely famished, I attached the plates of food with much gusto, savoring the sweetness of the fruit and the saltiness of the meats. The wine was a lot stronger than I was use to, and I made a mental note to stop after one glass or else I would be passed out on the floor.
After finishing my so-called breakfast, I looked around the room. As I remembered, there were no windows to be seen. I figured that the bookcases on the back wall had been built over the windows. The room was devoid of any type of decorative art work or the like. Other than the bookcases, desk, sofa, and chairs, there was nothing else in the room as far as furniture went but a few end tables scattered about. And the torture chamber was still at the opposite end of the room, the drape opened to reveal the multitude of instruments.
Remembering my earlier first hand demonstration with these instruments, I shuddered, and looked away. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I was almost positive that my personal guard dog was waiting just outside the chamber doors. Terrified that if I got up to look around I would receive another beating by Raven, I stayed seated on the sofa and waited.
The wait wasn’t long. A few minutes later Raven came into the room. I noticed he carried my collar in his hand. He bent down to place the collar on my neck, and I braced myself, willing my body to not recoil as I had done before. He fixed the collar about my neck and then snapped the chain link leash to the collar.
‘Sit on the floor,’ he said to me.
Without hesitation I slipped off of the sofa and sat on the floor. I once again resisted the urge to ask about the sisters. Instead I contented myself with examining Raven from beneath my lashes.
He was once again wearing black pants. His shirt, however, though made of silk, was a deep purple. While he was wearing the rings again, he had left off the necklaces. The long coat, too, was gone. He had tied his long hair back away from his face.
While I was looking Raven over, he had helped himself to a glass of wine. After a few sips he looked at me and asked, ‘Do you like what you see?’
Taken back, I glanced up at him and hurriedly lowered my gaze again. He had not once turned his head towards me, but he knew I had been scrutinizing him as intently as he had looked at me earlier in the evening.
‘Well?’ he asked.
I knew he expected me to answer him, but what the hell kind of question was that to ask someone you had recently beaten and chained? And what kind of answer could one possibly give without it being the wrong one? Yes? That would imply that he could get away with treating me however he wanted. No? That would only incur more of his fury.
‘I don’t know,’ I replied, for I honestly didn’t.
He chuckled at this. ‘You don’t know what type of man you are attracted to? Perhaps you would prefer a female?’
‘No,’ I stated. ‘Attraction has nothing to do with it. I don’t like you. But that’s not what you asked me.’
‘No,’ he said, ‘it’s not. And I don’t want you to like me.’
Well he wouldn’t have to worry about that. I loathed him. I would have just as soon stabbed him in his sleep as I had look at him. Which was a pity. He was a fine specimen of a man. What a waste. I thought all the good looking ones were taken. It turns out that a few of them are psychotic.
The door to the parlor opened and a man announced, ‘Dinner is now being served, Master Raven.’
‘Ah, good. I have worked up quite an appetite this evening. Isn’t that right, my pet?’ Raven laughed, pulling me to my feet with the leash, thankfully not expecting an answer from me. I followed behind him, looking about me curiously. Raven turned his head slightly to glance back at me, and I quickly lowered my head. I wasn’t sure if he was being lenient with me or if my beating had put him a good mood.
We passed down the hall and back through the great ballroom I had first seen the night before. We walked through another door at the far end of the ballroom and ended up in what was a large dining hall. A huge dining table ran the entire length of the room, some twelve feet long. Chairs were lined up along both sides of the table. But oddly, there only seemed to be about half as many chairs as what could actually have been seated at the table.
At one end of the table sat a large chair with a silk pillow sitting on the floor to the left of the chair. Raven led me over to the chair and pointed to the pillow. I kneeled down on the pillow as he took his place in the chair. A few moments later members of the coven began to arrive and take their places at the table.
After everyone had taken a seat, Raven gestured with his hand and a man disappeared out of a nearby door. A few moments later several dozen men and women were herded into the room and lined up against one wall. Raven looked them over and gestured towards one brown headed man. The man was pulled out of the line up by one of the guards and pushed to the side. Each one of the men and women were then selected by various members of the coven seated at the table.
As each coven member received their pick, screams began filling the air as they fed. Raven took the young man he had picked out and wrapped his hand about the man’s neck, much as he had done me. I watched in horror as Raven bent his mouth to the man’s neck and bit into it, the blood trickling down the man’s chest. Raven closed his eyes, obviously enjoying his kill.
It was over in a matter of minutes. Raven handed his victim over to one of the guards. ‘Would you care for another, Master Raven?’ another man asked.
‘No,’ Raven replied, gesturing for the man to leave him. ‘I do not want to spoil my appetite before the hunt tonight.’
One by one, each of the members of the coven finished their ‘dinner’ and relinquished their victims. Wine was brought out and glasses filled.
A glass was offered to me. I looked at the crystal glass and the crimson wine swirling about in the bottom. Nauseated, I shoved the glass away from me.
Merry laughter rang out all around me. I glanced up at Raven to see him smiling. Yep, beating people must bring out the good side in him.
I sighed and once again wondered how the hell I had wound up like this. My small apartment and boring job were beginning to seem like an illusion. I had only been in this coven house for less than thirty hours, but already I felt as if I had never known any other existence.
I felt Raven’s hand in my hair, removing the hair pins. My auburn hair fell down about my shoulders, the smell of my shampoo filling my nostrils. Raven ran his fingers through my hair, much like he was petting an animal.
A few hours later a guard approached Raven. Bending down, the guard whispered in Raven’s ear. Raven stood up and announced, ‘My family, we are now ready to begin the hunt.’
Applause went up from around the table, cheers and laughter once again rang out. Raven rose from his chair, lightly tugging on my leash. I got up from my pillow and followed Raven out of the dining hall. The members of the coven followed behind us, talking amongst themselves. We passed through a dozen more rooms, and not a single window was to be found.
Several minutes later we passed through yet another doorway, and I found myself standing outside in the moonlight for the first time since I was brought to the coven. I noticed that the sisters along with the other half dozen or so girls from the previous night had all been chosen by some of the coven members and were tethered to their own leashes. Most of the girls had bruises and bite marks to go along with their welts. One girl looked like she had been drained of blood nearly to the point of death. She was so weak that she was sitting on the ground behind her master, pale of face, looking as if she would pass out at any moment. Somehow, my welts and bruised arm didn’t seem so bad after all.
From around the corner a dozen guards herded a small group of men and women towards the coven members. The guards unshackled each of them. Raven addressed them, ‘You have one chance tonight to hold on to your life. Five miles through the woods is a fence which borders my property. For those of you who are lucky enough to make it to that fence, your lives will be spared and you will be integrated into the coven.’
Raven nodded towards the guards and they began shoving the small group of people towards the wood line. ‘Run, run damn you. Run if you value your life!’
One by one each woman and man took off running into the woods, fleeing as if the devil himself were at their heels.
‘Now, we will give our prey a five minute head start,’ Raven said to the coven members. ‘After all, we don’t want to make things too easy. Where would the fun be in that?’ The members of the coven laughed.
As soon as the five minute time frame was up, the members of the coven began calmly walking into the woods. Raven handed my leash over to my guard. ‘Shall I take her back to your rooms, Master Raven?’
‘No, bring her along. I wish for her to enjoy the hunt with me,’ Raven said to him.
Raven, too, began walking into the woods, my guard leading me along a few feet behind. We walked for what seemed like hours, Raven steadily drifting farther and farther away from us. A moment later I heard him growl low in his throat and take off running. My guard stopped and said to me, ‘Be very quiet now.’
Several minutes later I heard a woman screaming, and then I saw Raven approaching us in the distance, his hands wrapped around the screaming woman’s arms, dragging her along. As Raven neared us he threw the woman to the ground. In a second she was on her feet again and running. She did not make it three steps away from us before Raven had his hand wrapped in her hair. Laughing, Raven bent his mouth to her neck and bit into the tender flesh, a thin trickle of blood snaking down between her breasts.
The blood drained from her now limp body, Raven tossed the woman aside as if she were no more than a hamburger wrapper. His bottom lip was stained with a tiny drop of blood, and his tongue flicked out of his mouth to lick the drop away. I knew I wasn’t supposed to raise my head, but I watched all this in fascinated horror. Raven looked at me, his brown eyes glinting in the moonlight, obviously getting some kind of demented delight out me watching him, and he licked his lips again. I saw the tiny flash of silver of his tongue ring.
Raven walked past us and back towards the coven house. Just as the lights around the house came into view, he stopped dead in his tracks. He waved us back and continued on ahead. A moment later I heard another squeal followed by the unmistakable sound of a face being slapped. Raven came back towards us dragging a black-haired girl who didn’t look like she was even eighteen years old yet.
He held this girl by her throat and bent to drink from her neck. His eyes never left mine. And I snapped. She was barely more than a child.
‘NO!’ I screamed at him.
Raven lifted his head. ‘Perhaps you would rather take her place?’ he asked, pushing the girl to one side, his hand still around her neck.
My guard had turned towards me when I yelled. Suddenly I snatched the end of my leash out of his hand and ran full force into Raven.
Not expecting this type of reaction, Raven let go of the girl who wasted no time in darting off into the deepening night. He reached out to grab my arms but I ducked out his grasp and kicked him hard in the lower leg with my stiletto heels.
Raven yelled as his leg gave out and he tumbled to the ground. I should have ran, but I knew that was about as useless as me picking a fight with Raven. I knew I would not land more than one or two hits, but anything would be worth it to put him in his place if only for a few seconds. I knew this would be all out war.
I jumped on top of him, wrapping my left hand in his hair, yanking his hair as hard as I could. Let’s see how he likes it. I dug the nails of my right hand into the hollow spot of his neck that is located right above the top of the breastbone. Hissing under his breath, Raven grabbed my hand and wrenched it loose from his throat, my nails slicing into his flesh. Before he could grab me, I let go of his hair and dropped to the ground again, latching onto the calf of his leg with my teeth, biting as hard as I could. I saw his other leg move out of the corner of my eye so I let go of his leg and jumped to my feet, tripping over the tail of my long skirt in my haste.
I stumbled, trying desperately to regain my balance and get out of Raven’s way, but in a fraction of a second he was on top of me. I never saw the blow coming. My face burned like fire as stars exploded in front of my eyes. I felt the hard, leave strewn earth beneath me for an instant before blackness engulfed me. Raven grabbed my arm and dragged me back to the coven house.
As we neared the door to the house, I knew that I was about to enter a fight for my life. I tried to snatch my arm from Raven’s grasp, and he reacted by digging his nails into my already bruised flesh. I beat at his arm with my other hand, screaming at him, cursing him for every name I could think of. I bent my head and bit into his arm. Raven growled and let go of me. I ducked, expecting another slap. But instead Raven reached out for me, slinging me over his should. I kicked and pummeled his back with my fists, screaming the whole time.
Raven slammed the door to his parlor with such force that the whole wall creaked. He threw back the drape to the torture area, and I renewed my frenzied efforts to get away from him. As he had done before, Raven shoved me face first into the metal rack. I found myself quickly shackled to the rack again.
I felt his hands at the back of my neck, untying the top of my dress and then the back sash that held it together, letting the garment fall away from by body. I found myself shackled to the rack completely nude except for my yellow stilettos. Humiliated, I pulled against the shackles, screaming for him to let me go.
I did not know when he picked up the whip, but I suddenly felt the familiar fiery pain slicing across my back. I screamed again, and my screams were met with blow after blow. I felt a warm trickle of blood sliding down my bare buttock. By now I was crying again, begging him to stop.
‘Please, Master, please stop!’ I begged, my entire bravo washed away in a sea of blood and pain. I would have called him anything at that point to get him to stop.
But all my pleas fell on deaf ears. Raven landed blow after blow on my back, my buttocks, and my upper thighs. More and more tiny rivers of blood etched their way down my back and legs. I continued to scream in pain, fearing that I would faint at any moment.
‘Raven, please!’ I begged, ‘please stop!’
At the sound of his name on my lips, Raven paused. He came up behind me, smoothing my hair away from my face, and whispered in my ear, ‘What did you say?’
I rested my head against the metal rack, tears sliding down my cheeks. ‘Please, Raven, no more. I will faint if you continue. I beg you, please stop,’ I said to him in hushed tones.
Raven continued to stroke my hair. He bent his head to my shoulder and licked at the blood. I gasped, my back arched, not expecting such an intimate touch. I found myself aroused beyond belief. I fought the mounting heat between my legs, no longer feeling the sting of my wounds, only his touch.
I felt Raven’s hands on my arms, his palms lightly touching my skin, moving down the length of my arms, the back of my shoulders. As his hands moved further down, the tips of his fingers grazed the sides of my breasts, his palms following the curve of my hips and thighs. I was trembling now as much from his touch as from the pain. He kneeled down to unlock the shackles on my ankles. I whimpered, not wanting him to stop.
Standing up, Raven wrapped his left arm around my waist, reaching up to unlock the chains that held my hands in place. Once free, I turned around in his embrace, tilting my head to gaze up at him. He brought his right hand to the back of my neck, his left hand resting on the swell of my buttock.
I watched in eager anticipation as he lowered his head and brushed his lips teasingly against mine. I groaned, wrapping my arms around his neck, pulling his head down to me, closing the tiny gap between our mouths, finally getting what I had wanted ever since I first laid eyes on him.
Raven picked me up and I wrapped my legs around his waist. Good God, but I wanted him, wanted him more than I thought it possible to want any one or any thing. The beatings, being chained, the collar and leash, it was all worth it to have this moment, his lips on mine.
Raven carried me to the bed, gently placing me on the silk sheets, his mouth never leaving mine. I struggled to unbutton his shirt, finally just ripping the buttons off in my haste, eager to feel his bare flesh against me. I ran my hands over his chest, his stomach. I slipped my fingers into the waistband of his pants, unbuttoning the button and sliding the zipper down. Raven gasped, groaning low in his throat.
Raven stood up, and I cried out at the sudden loss of his touch. He smiled at me, a mischievous smirk, as he removed the remainder of his clothes. I stared at him, drinking in the sight of his exquisite, perfectly tanned body. His skin was luminous in the warm glow of the lamps, his body finely toned without being overly muscular. I held out my hand to him, urging him to come back into the bed. Raven lay down beside me, his leg resting between mine, pinning me easily to the bed.
I wiggled beneath him, wanting to explore his magnificent body. Raven lay back as I began kissing his neck, his chest. I traced the outline of his nipple with my tongue, feeling the hardness of his organ against my bare thigh. I left a trail of kisses down his stomach, reveling in the silkiness of his skin. I moved further down his body, kissing the inside of his thigh. I hesitated, glancing up at him. Raven was watching me through half closed eyes, his breath as labored as my own.
I licked the tip of his member, barely touching his skin, trailing my tongue down the top of the shaft. I heard him take a sharp breath, a low growl coming from his throat. Raven wrapped his hands in my hair, urging me to continue. I took the whole of him into my mouth, sucking gently. Raven groaned, tightening his fingers in my hair.
I released him, once again teasing the tip of him with my tongue. Raven sat up, pushing me back onto the bed, his arm cradling my back. He lowered his head to my breasts, his free hand cupping their roundness. He licked my nipples, sucking on them gently in turn. I groaned, arching my back, digging my nails into his shoulders. He lay be back on the sheets, his mouth never leaving my body. He traced tiny kisses down my stomach, pushing my legs apart to allow him access to my most intimate part. I gasped as his tongue flicked over me, his lips gentle sucking.
I groaned, the pleasure almost too much to bear. ‘Raven, please,’ I begged. ‘Do not make me wait any longer. I want you now.’
He slid back up to poise himself over me. I wrapped my legs around his waist again, lifting myself up to meet him, urging him into me. Raven was hesitant, gently easing himself into me. Groaning with pleasure, I dug my nails into his buttock, pushing him deep into me. I gasped with the feeling of him feeling me up, loving the way he felt inside of me. Raven thrust deep into me as wave after wave of pleasure ripped through my body. I cried out, and Raven covered my mouth with his, muffling my screams of pleasure.
The waves of pleasure continued on and on. I scratched my nails down his back, leaving small gashes in his flesh. ‘Please, Raven,’ I groaned, drowning in the sensations ripping through my body. Raven’s body stiffened as he cried out, and I knew that he was experiencing the same pleasured bliss as I.
He bent his head to my neck, sinking his fangs into my neck. I took a sharp, hissing breath in, the pleasure continuing to pulse in me. Raven drank long gulps of my blood. I could feel the life draining from my body, and I didn’t care. I didn’t fight him, but let him drink the life from my body. Groaning deep in his throat, Raven released my neck and looked into my eyes. My breathing was still labored, our bodies still united. Raven reached over to the table beside the bed and withdrew a small dragon shaped dagger from the drawer. He put the blade to the side of his neck and dragged it across his skin, a well of blood oozing from the cut.
Raven lay the dagger down and held my mouth to his neck. ‘Drink, Sapphire, be with me.’
I placed my lips over the gash in his neck and drank, the salty liquid slipping over my tongue and down my throat. Again the pleasure mounted in me, and I drank deeper. I groaned against his neck, biting into his flesh, feeling the fangs sink in, releasing another drought of blood.
Raven cradled the back of my neck, gentle pulling me from his neck, his body shaking with the pleasure. He looked at me, his brown eyes shimmering in the light. ‘Sapphire, my Mistress, my Queen.’