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The Golden Road

Chapter 1 -- Dark as Wine

In your presence, my posture changes. My shoulders are slightly rounded. I let my long black hair cover my face. My eyes tend downwards. It's not deliberate. It's the effect your presence has on me. This is not a game. You do not call me "slut, bitch, whore". I do not call you "master, owner". I don't pretend to understand a relationship where those words mean anything.

But I submit to you entirely, knowing that in doing so, I am letting you become a part of my psyche. I am transferring my ego to you, so that my rationality and my emotions can flourish in the space they leave behind. Imagine a future when I could grant you control of my hands or my legs or my speech. What happens when I'm with you is the same, but I'm granting you control of part of my mind.

And of course, I would grant you that control in an instant: become your puppet, to do with as you will. Because I trust your will ultimately, utterly and completely. Your penetrating intelligence understands me like no one ever has. You understand my desires and needs better than I do myself. You respect my own intellect. My intellect and my emotions I will never surrender.

You understand the nature of the ultimate responsibility that comes with the power I grant you. And you will never, ever, abuse that trust. And that is why I love you. And why I can't imagine this journey ever ending. And if it does end, months or years in the future, then I know that what we have shared will be infinitely precious. Something that few human beings, aimlessly buffeted through their trivial quotidian lives will ever be able to understand.

You stand nonchalantly in the corner of the anteroom. Jeans, t-shirt. No shoes or socks. No matter. Your presence is immensely calming. Even before you say anything I can feel the warmth of that presence, and I can feel the worries, cares and conflicts that constitute my ego abate.

I peer up at your through my bangs, and you almost imperceptibly nod, meet my gaze with your abysmally deep eyes, and give me a subtle but devastatingly alluring smile. I know that look is something only I will ever see. And with that, our minds interlock. And I reveal my smile to you in return.

You stand more upright, and gesture for me to disrobe. It's warm. The window is open, and a cooling breeze gusts in. There is a profound stillness in the room as I slip off my simple summer dress. There's nothing underneath. I fold it gently, carefully and place it on the foot of the bed. You watch my every movement. Not commenting. Not critical. I stand next to the bed. My gaze still lowered, and my long black hair covering the upper slopes of my breasts. I'm naked, apart from the beautiful jet, amber and antique silver necklace you bought for me in Sacramento.

You turn round with fluid ease to the door behind you, and open it, motioning me through. You've been in the room for hours, preparing. It's always a delicious anticipation to enter whichever sanctuary I know you've created for me. You are endlessly resourceful. As I pass by you, you gently grasp my naked shoulder, and turn me towards you. I tilt my head up to yours to receive a subtle kiss. I feel your essence radiating through the places on my shoulder where you grasped me. I feel a deep calm, like the onset of meditation. Time slows. I am conscious of the hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms pricking. And I enter the chamber.

Today, it's bare. White, blond wood. Diaphanous drapes billow in the breeze. Sunlight floods it. A sensuous tropical smell of sandalwood and musk pervades. At the far end of the room is an object I've never seen before. A wooden St. Andrew's cross six feet high, the bars in the shape of the letter X. You lithely slip into the room behind me. The door clicks shut. Excluding the outside world. Now, it's just you, and I.

After a pause precisely long enough for me to form the question as a thought, you speak for the first time. Quietly, authoritatively.

"They're cedar -- over 100 years old, but I've been smoothing and sanding them for the past few weeks. That scent is their long-locked away sap, released for the first time in a century." You're endlessly capable with your hands, and your mind. I'm awed that you've created this for me.

I walk automatically towards the cross, feeling the restrained power of your will. You speak. Without inflection.

"I'm going to hurt you."

I inhale sharply and close my eyes. A deep calm envelops me.

Your voice justifies the thoughts and memories which I am allowing myself to replay in the theatre of my mind. I think of a fragment of our poem: "We take the golden road to Samarkand". The golden road. My journey. You: my guide. I mount the platform on which the cross stands. The wooden surface is rough on my naked feet.

Your will demands me to touch the smooth timber in front of me with both hands, and slide them along the surface, feeling the texture of the surface you have prepared under my fingertips. My arms draw, up and out, matching the angle of the cross, and my belly falls snugly against the central point. The chiasmus. The meeting point. I stretch a little, and notice that my wrists each lie at the same height as a groove cut in to the wood.

My head remains bowed as you approach, and you lift each wrist from the wood, slip a pad of soft leather underneath, and then deftly pinion each wrist to the cross with a hemp rope. I allow you to manipulate me: my muscles provide minimal resistance.

I love the details. Your preparation. I imagine you thinking how the wood would feel against my skin. Too hard? Chafing? And then you select a square of soft leather. Maybe you place your own wrist against the wood, trying different materials underneath, until you find the perfect leather. You'd smile, as you take the leather and cut out two identical pads. And then you select the right weight, texture and gauge of rope. Your work in this detail alone takes maybe two hours. Two hours when I wasn't even there, and you were preparing for my pleasure. How can I not love you?

You tie with a complex knot. It lets you pull my wrist against the cross, snugly. I recall our first meeting. The knot you tied for me then...

My right hand is secure. My upraised arms cause my breasts to rise. You take care not to touch me. You secure the left wrist, gauging the tension. I smell your clean freshness as you move around me, busy in your work. I part my legs, matching the lower limbs of the cross, until my feet touch the inner angle where wood meets floor. You bind my ankles to the cross. More loosely than my wrists, so my ankles have some freedom of movement. The act of opening my legs causes more of my weight to tell on my bound wrists, and the sinews of my arms stretch. I have to balance by standing slightly on tiptoe, and I realise that keeping the equilibrium between my feet and my wrists will, in itself, be a trial.

Throughout, my head is slightly bowed, and I keep my eyes closed, losing myself in my remaining senses, as you execute your plan.

I'm perfectly arrayed and framed on the cross, a vitruvian woman. My sinews taut, my weight telling on the bonds, my breasts lifted. I recall an article you once showed me about proprioception as an aesthetic sense, and now understand what you are so cunningly demonstrating. I am hyper-aware of the positioning of my limbs and my body, and it is beautiful.

You touch me for the first time since I entered the room. A touch I have been aching for. My right nipple pulls tight. The touch of ice. You judge it suitably erect, and apply the jaws of a small metal clamp, tightening until the threshold of pain is reached, and then release. You judge the tightness so finely. The clamp is weighted, and pulls against my breast. It's a familiar feeling. You found out how much I loved this soon after we first met. I gently tense the muscles of my chest, pulsing my breast. Feeling the delicious weight on my nipple.

Now: the left. Cold. Contracting tightness. Exposure. My legs are open, my sex exposed and moistening from the insistent tug from each nipple. I feel my nether lips gape slightly.

A cup of cool water is brought to my mouth. I drink, awkwardly, spilling water. It drips onto my breast, and a rivulet of water runs down from my dampened nipple to my belly. I feel its precise path tracing across my skin. It's a loss when your touch ceases.

I hear you walking to the back of the room. I need you to be there.

We'd long talked of you taking a whip to my naked flesh. I'd become obsessed. I'd devoured de Sade, Sacher-Mashoch, the Story of O. We'd discussed it often, when dressed in the lives we showed to outsiders: the Starbucks-domestic world which for want of a better word I'd describe as normal. You were intrigued, but reluctant to hurt me. But could tell from the rhythm of your voice, and the dark glint in your beautiful eyes that the threshold would be crossed. There's pain, and pain, and you are the only person, my love, who will ever earn the trust that allows it to be administered to me.

The ache in my nipples is starting to tell. I try to keep as still as possible to prevent the weights from moving, but the cool breeze from the window causes them to swing in a minute arc. Every oscillation shoots pleasure-pain to my core, and causes my sex to respond and flower.

I'm straining to hear what you're doing. I'm anticipating.

"Six. You count them. Aloud." you say.

My heart is racing, but my muscles are not tense. I let myself relax against the cross, waiting for the sound of two quick steps across the floor and then

"crack"

And a sting, followed by a glowing warmth, and then a profound jagged agony as each set of neurons occupying that six-inch-long stripe of my left buttock signal the strike, at maximum intensity, to the deepest, most primitive parts of my brain. I yelp. A flash of light fills my vision. My body twitches and in its movement violently jangles the weights on my breasts, triggering an avalanche of further pain and the deepest, aching void in my gaping cunt.

"Count!" you say.

"One," I mumble.

"Louder!"

I try to gain the strength to vocalise more loudly, but the effort makes the tears come. My eyes prick.

"One," I sob, more loudly.

I'm tenser now. My cunt is gaping and exposed. I want you inside me. Teasing my lips, and then filling me to the womb with your delicious precious length.

"crack"

Right buttock. Balancing the continuing warmth from the left. I howl. My field of vision sparkles as my overloaded brain tries to make sense of the sensory input. But I feel euphoric as endorphins start to kick in.

"Two!" I declare, more confidently.

The pain from the weights has a different character now. I don't say anything, but you walk to me, and slowly release each clamp. My nipples flood, and I gasp. You unscrew a small jar of cream, and you tenderly apply it to each nipple and its areola. An exotic, spicy, slightly medicinal smell fills my nostrils.

"Spikenard, like in the poem," you say. I smile. You've been looking for the rare spice since before we met.

It cools me.

"Water?" you ask.

I nod.

You bring the cup to my lips again. I sip. And swallow.

I look up at you through my tears. Pleading.

I can sense you hesitating.

"More", you say neutrally. I know you're not talking about water.

I nod my assent.

You place the cup down, and walk back.

My wrists and my legs are painfully stretched, but I try to tilt my spine and present my buttocks by way of invitation. My buttocks open slightly. I'm prepared and ready. Mounted and displayed. I have never felt so vulnerable. But I know I am completely secure.

Step. Step. Crack.

It's more intense this time. You're in your stride. You've marked me on my left buttock again. I gasp. The pain is more co-ordinated, and warm glow spreads throughout, but is centred in my womb. There's a point in my arousal where my perception shifts. It's not like a physical orgasm, but there are similarities. My mind opens, outwards: I imagine it be like a flower, unfolding, exposing itself to the dew-fresh world for the first time. Colours take on an unnatural heightened radiance, and I become hyper-aware of my body. I have a yearning to reach that point. You are the only one who has ever sent me there. The only one I would trust to know how to reach it. And I am close.

"Three." Time becomes fluid. I moan. I'm entering the flow state. You're administering the perfect drug to me. Soma. Lotus. You're my personal pharmacologist. Every single psychoactive molecule you create for me is targeted precisely at a specific pleasure centre. I'm sure I can't take any more, but...

Step. Step. Crack.

"Four."

I sigh. Inhale. Smelling the spikenard, and the unmistakable scent of my own arousal. I try to move my limbs, but the restraints hold. I'm going to come, physically. My cunt starts to tense.

Step. Step. Crack.

"Five."

You're finding this tiring. I can hear you panting. Hefting a bullwhip's a strenuous job. I'm reminded of the noises we make when we fuck. The thought of your strong velvety cock filling my gaping cunt makes me moan. My clitoris cries out for an impossible touch.

Step. Step.

Nothing.

Step. Step. Step. CRACK.

This time, the pain suffuses both buttocks, crossing the other marks you have already made. I twitch and convulse on my bindings. Much harder than before. I'm weeping uncontrollably. I come, hard. A combination of mental and physical. Oh god. I'm bathed in a thin film of sweat. You rush over to me, and take my face in your hands.

You release my ankles, and then my arms. I collapse into you, spent and limp. You scoop me up, holding me to you your enveloping strength.

I melt into you, and close my eyes, feeling your arms around my naked body. We enter the anteroom, and I dare look up at you.

There are tears in your eyes. You swallow, and delicately arrange me on the bed, curled into the foetal position, and gently tend to the wounds with the lotion.

When you have done, you slip in behind me, and hold your body against mine, and cover us with the comforter. You gently stroke my hair. I allow myself the luxury of replaying the afternoon in my mind. The last thought I have: I was so right to choose you. And knowing that when I awake, my mind will be whole again, but refreshed and invigorated, I slide into a deep sleep.

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