The Lost Lamb
I was being delivered to the spa by an unmarked van, blindfolded, with only my clothes, a travel bag, and a gold medallion that I toyed with nervously.
It would be my first real taste of freedom since that night when I had become the captive of an organization of women. I had been broken in spirit by the death of my wife many years before and was restored by the efforts of a woman I knew only as Mistress Minx. I was to be trained to serve others now, but my real love remained with her. I hoped that I would be able to return soon to the side of my Mistress.
It was her decree that I should become better trained in body service and the spa, owned by the organization I knew as Ay'esha was the best place.
My thoughts were interrupted by the van slowing down and making a sharp turn. We proceeded down an incline, and I could smell salt air and hear the ocean surf. We braked to a halt and the engine was turned off. The voice of a woman I did not know instructed me to remain seated until someone came for me. The drivers' door opened and closed. There was a short delay and the side door of the van was opened and the blindfold was removed.
I found myself looking at a giantess of a woman, over six feet tall and powerfully built.
"You are the new trainee?" she asked looking me over carefully.
I nodded, being unsure as to permission to speak.
"Speak up! You were sent here for training?" she repeated.
"Yes Ma'am. My name is --" I started to say.
"Your name is of no concern here. A name will be assigned to you for the duration of your stay and you will respond to it only. Is that understood clearly?" she barked.
"Yes Ma'am." I replied quickly.
"Very well. Bring your things and follow me. I want to examine you before I assign you to a duty post."
I looked around before following her and could see that the building was almost a Spanish or Italian fortress by way of design. Looking behind me I could see a fence and a guard post at the top of the bluffs that I had come down in the van.
I followed her across the driveway and down a flight of stairs into the lower floor of the building. She led me down the hallway and into a medical examining room at the end of the hall.
"Put your things down and strip. I want to take some measurements." she ordered.
I did as told and stood while she used a tape measure to check my pant size and shirt sizes.
"On the scale." was the next instruction.
I was actually grateful for the diet that my Mistress had placed me on as the Giantess examined me intently.
"Normal. The scars on your back are healed and the medical report that was sent to me before you arrived indicates you are in acceptable shape."
"Thank you Ma'am"
She slammed her fist down on the examining table.
"Acceptable is not good enough! When you leave here you will be in exceptional shape. You will lift weights, you will run, you will take part in our self-defense classes. If as nothing else, as a target. I intend to run your ass off slave. Is that a problem for you?" she demanded in the tones of a Marine drill instructor.
"MA'AM NO MA'AM!" I replied loudly. I knew my place, and it wasn't very high around here.
She blinked at my response.
"Very well slave. You are aware that not all of the guests here are members of Ay'esha.
You will therefore speak to no one without permission from me, or someone I personally designate. And I mean NOBODY! Clear?"
"MA'AM YES MA'AM!"
Her tone softened a bit.
"I will have someone escort you to your quarters. When not in training or on duty, you will stay there until I say otherwise. Questions?"
She left the room and I sat down on the examining table to wait for my escort to arrive.
It gave me time to reflect on my situation. The tune that kept running through my head was "You're in the Army now". Sigh!
My musical musings were interrupted by the arrival of a well-tanned young woman in shorts and T-shirt.
"Hi. You must be Charles. I'm Katy. The Queen sent me to escort you to your room." she said holding out her hand.
I shook her hand and nodded in answer to her question.
"Grab your stuff and C'mon. It's just upstairs from here."
I picked up my bag and started to follow her but was stopped by her giggle.
"Maybe you should get dressed first." she suggested.
I would have been embarrassed, but after the time spent in Mistress Minx's service, I had become accustomed to being nude. The Mistress was right in sending me here. I needed to relearn the conventions of society again.
I dressed quickly not sparing Katy more than a cursory glance then followed her down the hall and up the stairs.
My room was actually quite nice, with a window, a real bed, and even a small bathroom. A major change was the presence of a telephone sitting on a small desk.
"You'll find your schedule on the desk. I'll come back at six to escort you to dinner." Katy advised.
I bowed towards her and she smiled.
"You don't talk much do you?' she asked.
I pointed to my mouth and motioned as if pulling a zipper.
"Ah, one of those people." she said in sudden understanding. "Don't worry I won't tell anybody else."
With that she left the room and I heard the lock click behind her. I thought about what she had said. "One of those people". What people? I knew I wasn't the first to be sent here, but were there others here now?
I had about an hour according to the clock on the wall before she returned. I used the time to clean up and change into fresh clothes. An examination of the schedule called for my day to begin at six in the morning and last until six at night.
At exactly six, Katy unlocked the door and invited me out. I stepped out into the hall, and she took my arm and led me to the far end of the hall and through a door.
The dining area reminded me of a school cafeteria in design, right down to the steam table at the end of the room. Katy escorted me to the serving line and placed items on my tray as I indicated them by pointing.
When I was finished she led me to a table already occupied by about half a dozen other people.
"Everybody, this is Charles. He's taken a vow of silence, so he can't answer questions." Katy explained.
Well that made as much sense as the truth anyway.
A big guy stood up and offered his hand.
"I'm Neils Pederson. I'm in charge of water safety." he said with a slight Danish accent
I shook it and was glad to still find all of my fingers afterwards.
A slim older woman with reddish hair was next to offer me a hand in greeting.
"I'm Emma. I'm the self defense instructor here", she said in a pleasant English tone
I bowed politely over her hand as Katy giggled.
"You must forgive Katy, Charles. The conventions of polite society are foreign to her", Emma scolded.
"Don't bother much with that stuff here," said another man in a harsh Texas rasp. "I'm Jerry Dodge, Chuck. Nice to meetcha. I'm the wrangler for this place."
"Katy tells me that you're going to be working here for a couple of weeks. What are you going to be doing?" Emma asked.
Katy intercepted the question again for me.
"The Queen wants him to spend time everywhere. And she asked us all to help shape him up."
She reached for my tray.
"In fact, I'll start right now."
She took the piece of pie I has taken and proceeded to hit me in the face with it.
"You are on a diet. Remember?" she snarled at me.
I sat with the cream dripping from my face. There were far more polite ways to remind me of that fact and most of them less embarrassing. I wanted to say something but I couldn't. I did however reach for the pie on Jerry Dodge's tray.
"You wouldn't dare!" she said as I picked it up.
I hefted it, measuring the distance and considering the results, and glared at her evilly. The rest of the group sat waiting for the strike. I didn't want an incident, but I didn't relish letting the insult go unpunished.
I gently set the pie slice down on Jerry's tray and wiped the remnants of my slice from my face.
Wordlessly I pantomimed bending her over my lap and spanking her.
The whole group broke out in laughter and Emma tossed me a napkin to finish wiping with.
"You guys sure take your vows seriously", Jerry laughed. "I mean turn the other cheek and all. I'd a hit her."
"He just knows how to control himself better than you do." Katy said. "Don't you?"
She was of Ay'esha, I knew that now from her speech habits.
In a natural motion I touched the medallion around my neck as she nodded in acknowledgement.
"Finish up Charles. The Queen wants to see you after dinner," she said.
I ate my dinner in reasonable silence and was escorted to an office on the second floor of the building.
The Queen sat behind a large desk waiting for me. I knelt before her upon entering and heard Katy close the door behind me.
"Well I see you know what to do in my presence. I was watching that little incident in the dining room on the monitor camera. You did very well. Katy was under orders to try and break your silence. Katy and I are the only ones here who know exactly who you are. To the rest of them you are Charles Freeman. You have been sent here to survey our operations. You will tell them nothing else. You will follow the training program laid out for you. You will keep your conversations with the guests to a minimum."
The Queen got up and walked to my side of the desk.
"You will obey any orders that Katy gives you as if they were mine. Understood?"
I nodded in agreement.
"When you leave here you may speak again. GO!" she commanded and directed me towards the door.
I exited and found Katy waiting for me.
She took me by the arm and led me outside onto a balcony overlooking the sea.
"Would spanking me make you feel any better?" she teased.
"No Miss", I said looking into the night sky.
"It's Katy, not miss. I have no title. Not Mistress, Master, or anything else. I still need to earn one. Perhaps you can help."
"What kind of help could I provide?" turning to face her.
"If you tried to escape, I could stop you. That way the Queen might be impressed enough to give me a title." she suggested.
"No what?" she pressed.
"Miss Katy, I'm not going to escape or even have it look as if I was trying to escape. I don't want to escape."
"Because I love my Mistress. I will not risk my returning to her to help you. You will earn your title as I have earned mine. By working hard." I told her.
She scoffed at that.
"What possible title could you have. After all you're just a slave."
"I am Mistress Minx's slave. I could ask for no better title than that." I replied proudly.
A gleam came into her eye.
"You have been instructed to follow my orders as well as the Queen's?" she confirmed.
"Yes Miss Katy."
"Then follow me ... slave"
She escorted me back to my room and locked me in.
She returned a few minutes later with a canvas travel bag and locked the door behind her.
"Now slave, let's play. Strip!" she ordered.
I removed my clothes and knelt at her feet and waited.
With quick hands she tied my hands and feet behind me and stepped back to assess her handiwork.
"Now slave, do you know what I enjoy doing?"
I shook my head no.
She reached into her bag and removed a wig and a makeup case.
"I enjoy making little boys into little girls. It gets me very hot."
I recoiled at the thought somewhat. I'm not a real good looking man, but as a woman?
I tried to back away from her, but the second she detected movement she grabbed me by my hair and stopped me.
"Naughty boy! Mommy will spank you if you don't hold still for her."
I continued my resistance until she collared me with one hand and attached it to the bed frame.
"Now that I have your attention, I will start with lipstick. A nice bright red shade should suit you."
The pain of her grip on my hair was rapidly overcoming my objections to the procedure, so I relaxed to the inevitable. I felt like a dog a little girl was playing dress up with.
She painted my lips with precision, despite my flinching from her touch. The next step was makeup to cover my less then female skin texture. It seemed like hours before she finished and proceeded to put the wig on me.
"Now, little girl. Let's see the results!" she said when she was done.
She untied me, and released the collar from the bed and marched me into the bathroom. Reflected in the mirror was, well, sure not what I expected to see. I actually didn't look half-bad, as compared with all bad.
"You make a very nice girl. Next time, I'll dress you up as the slut you are", she crowed.
I could feel myself blushing under the makeup at that idea. It seemed to arouse me as well.
She led me back to the bed and pushed me down onto it, then straddled my chest, while she tied my hands to the bed. She leaned back with a smile on her face and removed her shirt to reveal a lovely firm pair of tits. I saw for the first time she had pierced nipples, with small silver rings inserted.
"Would you like to suck my tits little girl?" she asked toying with her nipples.
"Oh yes." I whispered, fascinated by the light reflecting off the rings.
"Tell your mommy what you want little girl," she crooned.
"Please mommy, let me suck your tits. I'm so hungry", I whimpered like a tired child.
She brushed her nipples across my red painted lips as I opened my mouth. She teased me with them, keeping them just out of range of my eager mouth. Then she plunged her left tit in my mouth and commanded me to suck. I could taste the metal of the ring and the cherry like taste of the lipstick combined with sweet woman flesh. I relaxed into submission with my face buried in her breasts, licking and sucking as she directed.
I could feel a slight dampness on my chest and smell her musk, as she became even more aroused.
She raped my mouth with her tongue, smearing lipstick all over her face and mine. My cock became hard as she thrust her tongue deeper each time. She slid back and trapped my cock under her rubbing it against her now damp shorts.
"I want you to cum!" she demanded, removing her shorts and rubbing her now exposed pussy against my prick.
I moaned from the sensations. I wanted to cum, but I couldn't let myself. Katy was demanding something I had no right to give her. Mistress Minx owned my seed, not I.
Then it was too late. I exploded all over Katy's belly and tits. She collected the cum from her belly with her fingers and shoved it into my mouth.
"Eat it little girl. I want you to eat your cum. I'm going to teach you to eat another man's cum before you leave here." she hissed as I sucked the filth from her fingers.
She rolled off me and dressed again. Before she left me bound for the night, she removed the wig and stuffed it into her bag.
"I will be back at six to wake you up." she said unlocking the door. "And I might have a treat for you if you're a good girl."
She switched off the light and left, leaving me painted and cumsoaked until morning.
Morning came all too early for me after the activity of the night before. My reverie was broken by the sound of the lock clicking back and Katy coming in dressed in a jogging suit, and carrying another one.
"Good morning," she said smiling down at my bound form. "After you shower, we're going jogging before breakfast", she continued brightly.
"How delightful", I replied sarcastically." And what other affronts do you bring to my day?"
She untied my hands from the bed and stood up.
"My, my little girl is cranky this morning. Perhaps she needs a spanking to change her mood." she said teasingly.
I rolled out of bed and headed for the shower with Katy trailing behind me.
A few minutes of hot water later I felt somewhat more normal, and even ashamed of being cranky. My mood brightened even more when I was joined by a slippery wet Katy who insisted on helping to scrub my back and remove the makeup from the night before.
She treated me as a partner, rather than as a slave. It was still a bit uncommon to be treated that way but I reminded myself that had her own ways of controlling a man.
She helped dry me off and I dressed in the jogging suit. It actually fit, which explained the reasons for the measurements Mrs. Queen had taken. A pair of shoes in my size completed the outfit and I followed Katy down the hall and outside towards the beach.
I will say it was a nice change to be jogging on a beach, rather than on a treadmill in a lab, wired to a set of electrodes designed to shock me if I slowed down.
It wasn't all pleasure though, for as I reached the end of the course that Katy had indicated, she stopped me, then climbed on my back to be carried the rest of the way back to the main house.
She couldn't have weighed much more than a hundred pounds, but jogging in sand with a hundred pounds of extra mass really weighs on the knees. I made it though, but at a considerably reduced pace from the outbound trip.
"That was pretty good for a first time. Tomorrow you can carry me both ways and we'll see what happens to your time" she said as I set her down and collapsed on the sand.
"You do have a mean streak, don't you?" I said gasping for breath.
"Yes. Remember it slave. The Queen wants you trained in certain ways, and it's my job to see you trained. Besides it's what I do anyway." she told me.
"What do you mean by that?" I said sitting up.
"Didn't I tell you what my job here is? I'm in charge of physical training for the spa. And some of the women are in worse shape than you are. If I can whip them into shape, I can literally do the same to you. Now get up and follow me. I want you to spend some time in the gym before you eat."
I got to my feet and followed my new taskmistress to the gym.
From my point of view all of the exercise machines looked like torture devices after that jog, but I cooperated and placed myself in a machine designed to build up my stomach muscles. Actually it was designed to force me to do sit-ups at a rate that no sane person would do them.
"Now I'm setting this to slow, so you can adjust to it. It's probably going to hurt for a bit until you get used to it. I'll only set it for five minutes this time, but before you leave, you'll do this twenty minutes at a time." she advised.
"Willingly?" I asked suspiciously.
Her voice hardened slightly.
"Or not. Your choice slave. Now be quiet. I'm going to pick out your breakfast for you today, because I can't trust you to stay on your diet. I'll be back in a few minutes."
With that she started the machine and left.
The person who designed the machine obviously was a student of the Inquisition. I was bent and unbent repeatedly for five long minutes. The machine sighed to a stop, and I sat up.
I had noticed a set of fencing foils in a corner of the gym, so I decided to try them out. Now I'm no expert with a sword, but I had taken Kendo at one time.
I had just put on the fencing mask and picked up the foil when another woman entered the gym.
"Good morning", I offered. " I was just fooling around a bit"
"I didn't think anybody else would be in here at this time." she said walking towards me.
"If I had a choice, I wouldn't be here myself." I said pulling off the mask. "I'm Charles Freeman"
"Are you employed here Mr. Freeman?" the woman asked
Without the mask on, I could see her clearly. She was about my height, middle aged, and dark-haired with a strong German accent.
"Not exactly. I'm just checking things out I'll be working in various places, as well as taking advantage of the facilities here to shape up a bit", I said, reciting my cover story.
She came over and picked up a mask and foil and offered to teach me a lesson.
"I wouldn't mind some instruction. I've never used a foil before."
She placed the mask on as did I and moved to the center of the fencing area.
"En garde!" she barked.
Well I knew what that meant at least. I tried to remember all of the swashbuckler movies I had seen, but all I could think of was "The Court Jester" with Danny Kaye. Who couldn't handle a sword at all.
We crossed blades with the singing sound of steel. I parried as well as I could as she pressed her attack, then got mad and started really fighting back. She was more skillful, but I was more intent on winning.
The battle royale was broken by Katy's return with my breakfast.
"What are you two doing?" she interrupted sharply.
The sound of her voice proved my undoing as my mystery adversary slipped under my guard to pierce my jogging suit over my heart.
"Touché'", was all she said.
I removed the mask and bowed to my enemy, who was unmasking as well.
"You fought well for someone with no training. You would make a good student." she complimented me warmly.
"Well, if I catch either of you fighting without a vest again, I will make sure that Mrs. Queen hears about it. You know the rules, Mrs. Hoffmann." Katy scolded us.
"Katy, It's my fault. I was just fooling around, and Mrs. Hoffmann is it, offered to teach me." I assured her.
"Mrs. Hoffmann is our fencing instructor Charles. You're very lucky she is as skilled as she is. You could have been hurt." Katy continued.
"I'm just fine. Tired though. You know, I never realized how much work fencing is." I comforted.
Katy started to regain her composure after her outburst and suggested that perhaps fencing could be added to my training routine.
"I would be happy to train him. Perhaps after normal hours", Mrs. Hoffmann agreed.
"Well, I'll let the two of you determine my fate. Katy, you know my schedule. If you can work fencing into my stay here, I would appreciate it. I'm sure Mrs. Queen would agree." I said turning towards my rapidly cooling breakfast on a nearby table.
I was rewarded with a somewhat poisonous look from Katy as I turned away.
When she completed her negotiations Katy returned to my side in less than a good mood.
"What sort of fool are you? ", she demanded.
"Oh, just your everyday fool I guess", I said lightly.
"You could have been hurt. And it would be my fault." she continued.
I picked up a piece of dry toast and dunked it into my coffee and looked at her.
"I could have been hurt last night too. But I wasn't. Did you tell the Queen about last night?"
She sort of hemmed and hawed and admitted she hadn't
"Why not? She does have the right to know. Or perhaps you don't think she would approve of last nights recreation?" I suggested.
"Probably not. I was afraid you might get into trouble." she admitted.
I looked at her and smiled.
"Katy, if I get into trouble I have it coming. I was told to follow your orders, and that you had full authority over me. If anything, you'd be the one in trouble, for letting me get into trouble."
She looked at me with a strange expression.
"I don't understand you."
I pointed to my head
"Never mind. Why do you think I have gray hairs? That way I can worry and nobody can tell. What's my first class today, anyway? Hopefully something nonstrenous ", I commented.
"As a matter of fact, you should enjoy it. You're going to learn how to give a proper foot massage today. So, let's get you showered again and into your new clothes." she instructed.
"What new clothes?" I asked suspecting the worst.
"Well if you're going to work here, you have to dress like the rest of the staff. And I know maroon is just your color. You'll love it."
I hated it. I was now dressed in a maroon smock and matching pants. I don't mind a little private humiliation, but this was going to be all too public.
"I think you look cute", Katy commented." But you'll look better when I put you in a corset and heels.
I sneered at her.
"Thank you. I'll be sure to remember that. It might be useful under a bizarre set of circumstances."
She led me out of my room and into the foyer of the house. It was the first time I had been in the main part of the house. Up to that point, Katy had kept me out of the main public areas. I was more than impressed with the decor, in fact if I'd had a choice; I would have never gone into a place like this.
I froze for a moment at the doorway looking around.
"What's wrong?" Katy asked. "Did you see someone?"
"No, it just that...well I'm not used to a place like this. I'm a pretty common sort of guy."
She smiled in reassurance.
"Common is not how I would describe you. Now, remember who you are."
"Who I am?" I was a bit puzzled by what she meant
"You are Mistress Minx's slave. A cut above the common." she reminded me.
Mistress Minx's slave. Deep breath.
"Lead on Miss Katy."
She led me across the vast lobby to the main desk and introduced me to the head clerk.
"Mr. Freeman will be working here for the time being. Show him how you want things done."
The head clerk sniffed disdainfully at me and asked if I'd had any resort experience at all.
"No sir. I'm afraid not." I apologized.
He looked at Katy.
"Is he another one of Mrs. Queen's pets, Miss Katherine?" he asked sourly.
"Yes Mr. Terwilliger."
His eyes rolled back in his head.
"I hope he's more competent than the last one. Well we'll see what happens." he said.
I listened carefully as he outlined what he expected of me. I would be assisting him at the desk to start with as a bellboy.
I wasn't the best bellboy he'd ever had, but he did concede I was far from the worst.
I learned how to pack things properly, how to unpack a bag and lay things out, and how to avoid problems with women who wanted to make more intimate use of me.
That was only part of my day.
I studied with a massage therapist and learned how to give a proper massage. I worked in the salon and learned how to do a pedicure and a manicure. I studied chemistry and learned how to mix hair dyes and solutions properly.
Some of my previous experience with super glue came in handy when one of the other people accidentally glued himself to a client.
Nail polish remover takes it right off.
Mr. Terwilliger had me do some of the bookkeeping and in fact my computer skills even saved the Spa some money.
My morning jog with Katy was still a pain, although I was getting a bit better at carrying her. She just kept increasing the distance and time.
"Are you trying to get me in shape to run a marathon?" I asked after we finished one day.
"And why not? You're in pretty good shape for a man your age." she said flatly.
The tone of her voice hurt me slightly. A man of my age.
"You are my physical trainer Miss Katy. And my Mistress by proxy. Am I failing to perform or serve properly?" I asked cautiously.
"You are doing very well. Better in some ways then I expected. Your body is becoming more fit everyday. The reports I have from Emma on your self-defense training show a latent ability. And the fencing lessons from Mrs. Hoffmann aren't hurting you either."
"Thank you Miss Katy."
"But you are not spending enough time serving women. I'm going to have you moved to the salon and the kitchen. "
I tried to control my nervousness. Up to that point I had pretty well managed to stay in the background unnoticed.
"Yes Miss Katy. When do you want me to start?' I asked.
"This afternoon. This morning I want you to take me to town."
I wasn't sure if I had heard her correctly.
"Excuse me Miss Katy? You want me to take you off the grounds?" I asked.
"Yes, I need to pick up some people in town and the other drivers aren't available. You do drive don't you?"
"Yes, but I'm not sure I should leave the grounds."
"I am in charge of you. You weren't planning on running away were you?" she smiled.
"No Miss Katy."
"Good. Get changed and meet me in the lobby in ten minutes."
I did as I was told, although I was still a bit nervous about it.
Once I was off the grounds I could escape if I wanted to.
The idea of freedom again tempted me. But freedom to do what? To return to my old life, my old habits?
But I could go home again. My house, my bed. My books and comforts.
But did they still exist? What had happened to my things while I was gone?
At what a price though.
I would lose Mistress Minx.
The second night at the spa I had picked up the telephone in my room. It worked. I was tempted to call someone. Anyone, just to hear a voice that was not under the control of Ay'esha.
I put the phone back down carefully.
Who could I call? And again the question of why?
When Katy and I reached the gatepost the guard just looked at us, and then waved us through.
I drove down the highway as Katy chattered away about things happening at the spa that I was too busy to notice. It was a nice day and listening to Katy I felt alive and aware of the world after my isolation.
She directed me to the small airport and ordered me to stop in front of the main terminal.
I got out and helped load the bags into the van as Katy introduced me to the new guests.
"Charles, this is Janice. She's a very old friend of mine." Katy said and I bowed in respect.
Janice was a large woman with her hair in a bun and a motherly presence.
"Well he's sure trained well Katy. Is he one of your boys?" Janice asked smiling at me.
"No, he's just well mannered." Katy denied
"That's not quite true Miss Janice. She's the one that's keeping me in line. Otherwise I'd be a real pain in the ass." I said without thinking.
Katy looked at me in shock and I started to apologize for my language when it was cut off by Janice's laughter.
"I like him. He's not afraid to speak up." she roared.
The woman standing behind her however had a little different take on that.
"Impertinent is what I would call it." she said with a chill in her voice that would have frozen a polar bear.
She was dark haired, thin but muscular, and wore a business suit.
"Charles, this is Ms. Clair", Katy said quickly.
Ms Clair thrust the briefcase in her hand to me and ordered me to store it carefully.
"I expect you will curb your tongue when in my presence. I expect you to respond quickly to my orders and keep your mouth shut otherwise." she snapped.
I nodded quickly.
A young blond woman introduced herself to Katy as Amanda Gayle.
"This is my first time here. I read the ads and had to see for myself." she said.
"I hope you enjoy yourself. We have many activities for your enjoyment. Horseback riding, swimming, a full gym and spa." Katy said warmly
Amanda looked at me and smiled at Katy.
"I'm sure I will. Would you get my bags please Charles?" she asked.
I picked them up and almost fell over from the weight.
It took two hands to get them up and I almost pulled my shoulder out placing them in the van.
"Excuse me Miss Amanda. Do you mind telling me what you have in your bags?" I asked.
"Books. I'm an author and a reviewer. I need some time away from my office to catch up, so I brought them with me." she said.
Our last passenger was a young oriental woman who introduced herself as Judy Chen.
"My company thought I needed a rest, so they sent me here." she said shaking hands with Katy." I think they need a rest from me."
I liked her easy way of talking. She wore glasses and had a cheerful expression.
With everything loaded in the van I drove us back to the spa and unloaded everything as Katy helped the ladies register.
Mr. Terwilliger came out a few moments later and directed me to take the bags to their rooms.
This time I had the sense to get a cart to move Miss Amanda's books to her room.
Ms. Clair accepted the briefcase from me and directed me to place her other bags in the closet then get out.
I did so gratefully.
Miss Janice patted me on the ass as I unpacked her things as she directed.
"Nice ass." she said.
"Thank you. I like it." I said with a smile.
"I like an honest slave."
I feigned confusion at her words.
"Slave? I'm sorry I don't understand."
She grinned at me and from between her breasts removed a medal identical to mine.
"Of course you don't"
I knelt before her without comment.
"You are a good slave. How long have you been here?"
"A short time. Mistress Minx sent me here for training."
Miss or I guess it would be Mistress Janice, looked impressed.
"You are a slave to Mistress Minx?"
"Then you are very special indeed. You may go now." she directed.
Miss Judy just had me place the bags inside the room and leave.
I reported back to Mr. Terwilliger for another assignment and was told to report to the kitchen.
"Miss Katy is interested in seeing what kind of a waiter you'll make. Myself, I'm interested in seeing what sort of a mess you'll make." he said.
"Your confidence is overwhelming." I said.
"Young man, you remind me of my students. A miserable bunch."
"Students? What did you teach?" I asked.
"Piano. The little wretches simply would not practice as I directed. I finally had enough and retired from teaching."
"Well, if you showed the same amount of confidence in them as you do me, I understand the problem."
He glared at me as I left for the kitchen, and I didn't care.
The headwaiter gave me a quick rundown on my duties and then sent me to work.
Everything was just fine until Ms. Clair came in for lunch.
Nothing was right for her. The soup was too cold, the salad was wilted, and the steak was undercooked. With each new complaint my sense of humor shrank as well as that of the chef.
He finally managed to prepare it just the way SHE wanted it.
Of course the urge to add a little rat poison was there too.
The rest of the day went along with a minimum of errors. Not that I didn't make a few, but the people involved understood it was my first day as a waiter.
By the time I got off work and headed to my room to change for my fencing lesson I was ready to kill something.
Mrs. Hoffmann noted my aggression.
"Your thrusts are very powerful tonight Charles, but your focus is elsewhere." she said after a few minutes of practice." Would you like to skip the lesson this evening?"
I apologized for my lack of focus, but that didn't satisfy her.
"If you are angry and upset, it would be useless to practice. Is there anything I can do?" she asked.
"No Ma'am. One of the new guests is a bit difficult. And she and I don't seem to get along very well."
"Would I be in error if I suggested that the party in question is Ms. Clair?" she said hanging her fencing foil on a hook.
"No you would not." I said removing my fencing mask.
"She isn't an easy person to get along with. Especially if you are male. She'd rather see you shot after being castrated."
Sounded like a friend of Lydia for sure.
"Well, I'll try and avoid her then. Thanks for the warning." I said.
"Of course. Why don't you go over to the sauna for awhile? I'll send Katy over there and tell her your lesson was canceled." she suggested.
I thought about it for a moment and then agreed.
The sauna area was empty, but I didn't want to take any chances so I made sure I posted the OCCUPIED sign on the room I was in.
I stretched out in the hot room and tried to relax.
My mind kept going back to the Mother of Many's warning as she placed the medallion around my neck.
"To those who know, this medallion indicates you are owned and part of Ay'esha. Until now, no member would harm you while you wore this. With Lydia's departure from our ranks, I would caution you to be wary of those you do not know be they male or female."
I fell asleep finally and woke up a short time later sweating profusely.
I rolled off the bench and opened the door. Or I should say tried to open the door.
It wouldn't move. I thought it might have swollen shut, so I pushed a little harder. Nothing.
I looked out the small porthole in the door and saw that someone had placed a stack of weights from the gym in front of the door, blocking it closed.
I looked towards the thermometer on the wall and saw the temperature was rising slowly towards the danger zone. I tried to turn the heat down with the controls on the wall but the needle kept rising.
I started to panic. Someone was trying to cook me alive. I threw myself at the door and felt it move slightly. I tried again and again. Nothing. I didn't have enough weight to force the door open.
I lay back down on the bench and thought as the heat increased. I didn't have anything to break the porthole with did I? Yes I did. My fist. I wrapped my hand in the towel I had been wearing and faced the door.
"Remember the power flows through the arm and into the fist", I could hear Emma saying as I focused on the porthole.
Through the fist. I punched the porthole and was rewarded by a sharp pain in my hand and a crack in the glass.
Once more. The fist struck the glass and the crack widened.
I changed fists and tried one more time.
The glass shattered and I felt cooler air flow into the sauna and gulped it eagerly.
Both my hands were swollen from the punches and I was sure I'd broken at least one finger.
I started yelling for help through the porthole and was rewarded by Jerry Dodge running into the room and pulling the weights away from the door.
"What the hell happened?" he asked pulling me from the sauna.
I turned to look back and saw my OCCUPIED sign had been changed to an OUT OF ORDER sign.
"I was relaxing and fell asleep. I guess someone was moving equipment and parked it there without seeing the OCCUPIED sign I put up." I said toweling off.
"That sign says OUT OF ORDER." Jerry said.
"Well I put up an OCCUPIED sign. Guess the person who parked the weights must have changed it."
"Man, you could have been killed." he said
"Don't I know it."
Later back in my room I thought about the incident I knew it was no accident that the weights had been left there. The question was who did it? Mrs. Hoffmann knew I was going to the sauna. And she had said she would tell Katy where I was. But anybody could have seen me sleeping in there and taken advantage of it.
And where was Katy? She never had shown up, and when I went to her room she wasn't there.
Should I tell the Queen about the incident? Who could I trust?
"Paranoia runs deep, into your life it will creep." was what the song said.
Now I really understood it.
I locked the door that night for the first time and tried to sleep.
I woke up to the sound of a key turning in the lock and rolled over to look towards the door.
Katy crept into the room and crawled into the bed with me as I sat up and turned on the light.
She blinked and apologized for waking me.
"Miss Katy, where have you been?" I asked softly.
"Didn't you get my note? The Queen wanted me to go into town again for supplies. I left you a note about it."
"I never got it." I said looking her in the eye.
"I slipped it under the door."
She rolled out of bed and handed me a piece of paper lying next to the door.
I read it and then tossed it aside.
"Sorry. I guess I missed it when I came in earlier. I was in a pretty bad mood."
"Well I'm here now. What's wrong?" she asked innocently.
"Nothing. Just a hard day with Ms. Clair."
"She is a bitch isn't she?" she giggled. "I wanted to slap her when she was so rude to you."
"I think Rudolfo wanted to poison her after her comments about his cooking." I said with a snicker of my own.
Katy crawled back into bed and snuggled next to me.
"Don't worry about it. Just do your best." she said, reaching past me to turn out the light.
I kissed her softly and was rewarded by a slap for my efforts.
"Naughty boy. I'll kiss you when I choose to." she reminded me warningly.
"Stop that." she said as the lights went out.
After my run with Katy on the beach she suggested we take a swim in the pool before breakfast instead of my time in the gym.
"Miss Katy, I don't swim very well." I warned.
"That's ok. Neils will save you." she said and ran laughing towards the pool.
She dove into it like a seal while I followed more like a walrus.
Neils was already in his chair watching the pool even at that early hour.
"Neils, do you ever leave that chair?" I called from the pool.
"Only to sleep and eat. I'm here from the time the pool opens to the time it closes. Safety first." he replied.
"Do you give the swimming lessons too?"
"Yes and the SCUBA lessons as well. Katy assists me for those classes."
I looked at Katy who was floating in the deep end of the pool.
"Is there anything else I should know about you? ", I called.
She splashed water towards me and dove for the bottom and then came up and pulled my underwear off.
"Katy!" I said as she held them in the air.
"If you want them, you have to catch me!" she said and headed for the deep end again.
As I pondered my ability to catch her without drowning, Miss Judy and Miss Amanda came into the pool area.
"Well, I see this place has everything. Even naked pool boys!" Miss Amanda laughed upon seeing my underwear being held by Katy.
"Come on Katy, this isn't funny any more." I called hotly.
"Be nice to me Charles. Or I'll throw them in the drain", she said.
Neils finally decided to take a hand in matters at that point by diving in and pulling Katy to the bottom.
She released my undies and they floated to the surface, where Miss Judy dived in and recovered them.
"Here you are." she said tossing them to me.
I slipped into them as Katy and Neils rose to the surface again.
"I'll get you for that Neils!" she said coughing.
"You need to remember how to escape from a drowning person, Katy. Practice makes perfect." he said climbing out of the pool and sitting back down in his tower.
I thanked Miss Judy and climbed out of the water and followed Katy towards the main house.
"Why didn't you come after me?" she said with a hint of anger.
"Miss Katy, I can't swim very well. I almost drowned as a child, and I've been a bit afraid of water ever since." I admitted.
"I'm sorry. I wouldn't have done that if I'd known." she said, mollified.
Katy brought me my breakfast and I had just started eating when Jerry came in.
"Boy, you really made a mess last night." he said clapping me on the shoulder.
I shook my head to warn him off but it was too late.
"What happened?" Katy said looking at me.
"Ah hell. Some idiot locked him in the sauna. He had to break the window to get someone's attention. It's a good thing I was there. He coulda been cooked."
Katy looked at me narrowly.
"So, nothing happened last night?" she said evilly.
"We need to see the Queen about this after breakfast." she said.
I didn't feel much like eating after that, but what the hell.
The interview with the Queen was short and to the point.
"I am responsible for your safety while you are in training here. Any more incidents like this need to be reported to me or Katy at once!" she said.
"MA'AM, YES MA'AM", I snapped from my kneeling position.
"Katy, take him out and punish him. I'll let you decide what sort of punishment to administer." she directed.
Katy ordered me to crawl out on my hands and knees and then sat in a chair in the outer office while I knelt at her feet.
"Well, what can I do to you? Something that will always remind you to tell the truth to me." she said thinking aloud.
I just waited for her. I had it coming and I knew it. Even though I had been warned not to trust anyone, I couldn't tell her that.
"I have a perfect punishment in mind for you." she finally said. "Come with me SLAVE!"
A few minutes later I was dressed in my jogging suit and being strapped into the exercise machine that forced me to do sit ups.
"Now, you are going to suffer. I'm going to set the machine for the maximum number of cycles and watch. By the time I'm finished with you, you will tell me anything I want to know." Katy said pulling the last strap tight.
"Mistress, please." I begged.
"No. You have to be punished for lying."
She started the machine and stepped back. I was bent forward then back over and over again. Each cycle bent me like a pretzel and the sweat poured off of me along with the tears of pain.
"You will not hide anything from me again. You will tell me anything I want to know." she said as the machine tore at me.
"Yes Mistress." I sobbed through the pain.
To add to my embarrassment, Ms. Clair entered the gym, watched me being twisted and laughed.
"Much better. That should keep the little swine in line." she said.
Over and over again I was bent. My back and stomach muscles rebelled and I vomited my breakfast onto myself.
This was worse than being beaten. The machine never stopped or slowed or took a break. It just tortured me. No feeling, no mercy, no pleasure. Simply a mechanical action.
My vision started blurring from the exertion and then became a gray fog.
The machine sighed to a stop at last and I laid back limply in the seat covered in sweat and vomit.
"Now he should eat his vomit." Ms. Clair commented savagely
I laid there, eyes closed and waited for Katy's order.
I would do anything she wanted to be released from the clutches of the machine.
"I don't think so." Katy said." But he is going to clean it up. With his hands."
I felt her release the straps and as the last one was released I fell limply to the floor.
"Now clean up the mess you made and thank me for permitting you to use your hands instead of your mouth." Katy snapped.
I opened my eyes and looked at the remnants of my meal and then looked at her with tears in my eyes.
"Thank you Mistress for letting me clean up my mess." I said weakly
She grabbed my hair and pulled my head back.
"Louder!" she demanded.
"Thank you Mistress for letting me clean up my mess!" I said in a louder tone.
She released her grip and I slowly gathered the mess into a pile on the floor and then removed my shirt to swab it up.
"Tell me Katy, haven't you ever really wanted to hurt one of these little swine until he screamed?" Ms. Clair asked her as I mopped up the slime.
"No, I really enjoy making them suffer silently. I don't want to hear them at all." Katy said.
"With an attitude like that, I can see why you aren't a Mistress yet. Lydia would never approve of someone as soft as you are on men."
Lydia. Even in my weakened state I felt a surge of fear.
"Perhaps you're right. But I'd rather torture a real man, rather than a man like this." Katy replied.
I just laid there, head on the floor waiting for permission to move or speak.
I heard Ms. Clair walk away and waited for the next phase of my punishment.
"Are you all right?" Katy whispered in my ear.
"No, Mistress. I hurt." I moaned.
"Good. Will you obey me now?" she asked.
She half dragged and half carried me to a bench and laid me down on my back.
"I'm going to get you a drink. Just stay there."
I did as I was commanded and didn't move. Even the thought of a friend of Lydia's wasn't enough to cause me to budge.
Katy returned with a squeeze bottle of water and let me suck on it slowly, saying nothing, just looking down at me.
"I want to know why someone would be interested in hurting you?" she asked firmly.
I hesitated for a moment. I promised to obey. But if she was in league with Lydia it was just as likely I would be put back on the machine and left until I was dead.
"Mistress, I can't tell you. The Mother of Many told me not to." I said plaintively.
Katy looked at me intensely.
"You know the Mother of Many?" she asked.
"Yes Mistress. She gave me my medallion." I said with pride.
"I will not ask you to violate your promise to the Mother of Many. But if there is danger to any one else around you, I must know."
She was right. I had been warned not to trust people, but I couldn't let someone be hurt because of my silence.
"Do you know Lydia?" I asked carefully.
"I've heard about her. She doesn't care much for men at all. I guess that's why Clair likes her."
"Lydia has left Ay'esha. She disagreed with the Mother of Many and left with some others."
Katy looked at me in disbelief.
"But why? It makes no sense. She would have been the Mother of Many someday."
"She and Mistress Minx disagreed about me. My Mistress feels that men can be trained to serve willingly without brutality. I offered myself for punishment to spare Mistress Minx for an error I made, and Lydia thought I was a fool. She claimed that my willingness to suffer in place of my Mistress proved that men were unworthy to survive without being under control."
"And were you punished?"
I took a deep breath and another drink of water.
"Yes. And Minx whipped me herself. It was her right as my Mistress to punish me. She was going to be punished for my mistake and I couldn't let her do it." I said quietly.
"But as a slave you are an animal. If you make an error, you are not responsible for it." Katy objected.
"And that is why Lydia left Ay'esha. I insisted on taking responsibility for my actions even when I didn't have to. I refused to be a dumb animal when it meant pain for my Mistress.
"I love Mistress Minx with all my heart."
Katy sat silently, considering my words.
"What would happen if Lydia found you?"
I looked her in the eye.
"I would be killed by her." I said.
"You're not serious?"
"She is. You didn't see the expression on her face. She really does want to kill me. And I don't want to die at her hands." I said shaking at the memory.
" I shall leave Ay'esha." Lydia swore. "And you, slave. There will come a time when you will regret this meeting. I shall not kill or harm a sister, but you will pay for your foolish ways."
Katy touched me softly.
"You mean it. She would kill you."
"Like you might swat a fly." I said.
She shook her head.
"Not here. I won't let it." she said protectively.
"You can't watch me all the time Mistress. ", I said quietly.
"When you are not working or in class, you will stay in your room with the door locked." she ordered.
"Yes Mistress. But I don't think it will help." I said docilely
"At least whoever tried will have a harder time." she observed.
"Or an easier one. If I'm always in one place, I'm a sitting duck."
"Do you always argue with your Mistress?"
"No Mistress, I'm sorry Mistress." I said cringing at the rebuke.
She patted me on the head and tugged me by my chain.
The Queen was less than amused, but agreed with Katy that the possibility of an innocent bystander being hit outweighed the security aspects.
"Steps will have to be taken to increase security. Make sure he does not roam after dark without an escort." The Queen instructed. "The rest of the time there are enough people around to make an incident unlikely."
"What about at night?" Katy asked.
The Queen's lips quirked in a small smile.
"I believe your current sleeping arrangements will provide enough security for him."
I blushed and Katy didn't.
"I know everything that goes on in this house. Never doubt it." The Queen warned. I didn't doubt that for a moment.
Katy led me back to my room and pushed me into the shower to get me cleaned up from the earlier activities.
When I stepped out she threw my work clothes at me and ordered me to report to the kitchen.
"Back to work for you slave. When you finish I will meet you here. You will not go to the gym or anyplace outside of this building after dark without an escort or telling me."
"Yes Mistress." I said getting dressed hastily. The tone of her voice conveyed her annoyance and dissatisfaction with the Queen's decision.
"And stop calling me Mistress. If you have to call me anything formally, stick to Miss Katy."
"Yes Miss Katy. Please don't worry." I asked.
"I want you to leave here. It's not worth your life." she said.
I reached out and touched her arm gently.
"I have nothing else to do. I don't have a home, a job or anything else Miss Katy. I've been a prisoner for, well I'm not really sure how long. My friends probably think I'm dead. So what do I have to go to? At least here I have something like a home and people who do care about me."
"I'm sorry." she said.
I took a deep breath.
"I'm not. I was much worse off before. At least I know someone loves me now. I had forgotten that I could be loved."
She kissed me softly on the cheek.
"Never forget that."
Even though I felt like I needed eyes in the back of my head, I actually avoided making any errors than day as a waiter. In fact the only unpleasant moment came from Miss Clair who asked if I had enjoyed my exercise earlier.
"Yes Miss Clair. Thank you for asking." I said without a trace of sarcasm.
Rudolfo spent sometime during the lull between lunch and dinner showing me how to make a plate attractive.
It really is an art form to place the parsley sprig just so and to cut the tomato so it forms a rose. I'd never really appreciated that fact until I watched a master chef do it.
"Now Pisano, you try one. Make a rose for me." he said handing me a knife and a ripe tomato
Eight tomatoes later he stopped me.
"Well now I don't have to chop tomatoes for the sauces tonight." he laughed. " Practice makes perfect. You can practice a little everyday until you get it right. "
He swept the remains of my efforts into a pot and wiped his hands.
"Well I guess I'm not very good with a knife." I apologized.
"Ah, but you are with a sword. Mrs. Hoffmann was commenting on how good you are." he said.
"She hasn't said anything to me about it. I guess she doesn't want my head to swell." I replied.
"I wouldn't worry. She'd just pop it like a balloon."
Now that was a scary thought.
The dinner service that night was light and one of my tables was Janice and Amanda.
They both ordered the steak and shrimp dinner and I felt privileged to be able to help Rudolfo make it look good.
I delivered the meal with a flourish and a polite bow and asked if there was anything else I could bring them.
Janice just looked at me and smiled.
"Yes. Feed me my shrimp with your fingers."
I was a bit uncertain of what I should do, then decided that an order was an order.
I took the first shrimp and dipped it into the sauce as directed and she nibbled her way up to my fingers as Amanda watched in a mixture of amazement and amusement.
"Would you like him to feed you too?" Janice asked her.
Amanda looked at me with interest and then nodded.
I spent the next ten minutes feeding the two women their shrimp before being released to return to my regular work.
Saul, the headwaiter, looked at me aghast as I went back into the kitchen and I waited for his wrath to descend upon me.
"Would you like to tell me exactly what you were doing with those two ladies?" he snarled.
"I was feeding them shrimp, sir." I said honestly.
"You were feeding them shrimp." he mimicked. "And while you were feeding them shrimp, other people were waiting for you."
"And you have nothing else to say?" he said shortly.
He rolled his eyes back and then waved at me to go away.
I went back on duty and finished my shift with no further disruptions in service, but more than a few odd looks from the other patrons.
Saul called me into his office after dinner was over and gave me what he called "the plain, unvarnished word."
"I expect you will treat all of the guests with the same level or service and respect. I don't know what transpired with you and the two ladies, but do not let it happen again."
"Yes sir." I said.
Katy caught up with me just as I left Saul's office.
"Janice told me what happened. What where you thinking?" she asked.
"I wasn't. I was following the orders of a Mistress of Ay'esha. That's what I do."
She shook her head violently.
"You can not just follow orders blindly. Everybody was staring at you. Now what do they think?"
"Was I supposed to care?" I asked, actually a bit uncertain.
"Serving a Mistress of Ay'esha privately or in a small group of the Daughters is one thing, but in a public place is another one entirely." she explained.
"But, if I don't make a habit of following the orders now, I might forget and make a mistake later." I objected.
She groaned in frustration.
"I know it's been said that a male slave only has two brain cells, but I hoped you'd be the exception to the rule." she swore.
"I'm sorry. Am I being a bit too careful about serving properly?" I said.
"Yes, perhaps you are. None of the Mistresses here have the right to punish you for making a mistake. Only the Queen and I have the right to do that. And even when you return to your Mistress, she is the one who has the right to punish you. No one else." she said patiently.
I sighed in a mixture of relief and embarrassment.
"Am I in trouble now?" I said, looking down.
"No, silly. But there are a lot of people who are wondering what Janice and Amanda did to get you to do that."
"I was only following orders?"
She sat in a corner during my fencing lesson and watched as I did my Errol Flynn imitation with Mrs. Hoffmann.
When we took a break, Mrs. Hoffmann suggested we change from fencing foils to sabers.
"I think it's time you changed to something a bit more challenging." she suggested.
I was still a bit pumped up from the earlier practice, so I agreed.
The saber was a bit heavier and it took a bit more wrist and a lot more control to handle it.
The difference became very apparent in the first few minutes of practice and Mrs. Hoffmann demonstrated that by "killing" me multiple times.
"You need to keep the blade higher, Mr. Freeman." she said as she penetrated my defenses again.
I started becoming angry and my performance worsened even more.
A few minutes later she stepped back and lowered her sword.
"Well, if someone attacks you with a saber, you die. We'll try with an epee tomorrow. That's a bit lighter and probably more controllable for you."
"I wish you had a katana blade. I think I'd actually do better with that." I said hanging my saber up.
Mrs. Hoffmann looked at me intently.
"I do. But you do understand that I will bloody the blade before I put it away." she warned.
"If you can." I said confidently.
She smiled and left the gym.
"Are you crazy?" Katy asked as I hung up my mask." Bloody the blade?"
"Yes. You don't draw a katana blade without putting the blood of an enemy or your blood on the blade."
"No.", she said.
"Excuse me?" I said
"No. I forbid it." she said.
Mrs. Hoffman walked back into the room at that point carrying two katana swords.
"What were you forbidding him to do?" she asked.
"I don't want him using a real weapon. Someone could get hurt." Katy protested.
"He claims he can use one. A little blood will remind him not to be so cocky." she said, handing me one of the swords.
As I gripped the handle all of my old training came into place again.
Katy stepped back from me as she saw the change in my demeanor.
I stood taller and more confidently. I knew I could do this. And I knew why I wanted to do this, even if Katy didn't.
Mrs. Hoffmann drew her blade as I drew mine.
We stared at each other for a moment and then as swift as a striking cobra she swung. Without any conscious thought I blocked her and then parried, swinging the blade in a reverse action that caught her across the arm, cutting the fabric of her fencing jacket.
I turned and faced her and saw the anger in her build.
I stepped back and bowed to her in respect.
She paused, returned the bow and took up her position again.
This time I took the offensive and feinted to her left.
She disregarded my feint and drove towards me, forcing me to turn and block. Her blade slipped by me as I turned and then she swung backwards and I fell back to avoid being slashed across the stomach.
I could sense her. All of the training of my Kendo master flowed back into me, a renewal of myself.
I saw Katy out of the corner of my eye as she watched the two of us.
A quick motion and the flash of the blade was blocked by mine with a ringing of steel.
"Should I do my Ben Kenobi imitation now?" I said, bowing again." Or would you like to do your Darth Vader?"
Mrs. Hoffmann raised her mask and I saw her smile. It was the smile of a wolf about to devour a rabbit.
"Your powers are weak old man. You should not have come back." she said, lowering the mask.
"You mean I shouldn't have challenged you? Who else did you tell I was in the sauna?" I said holding my blade at the ready.
Her response was to slash forward with her blade as I ducked and tripped her to the floor, kicking the blade from her hand.
Katy pounced on her and pinned her down as I got to my feet.
"Did you have anything to do with the incident in the sauna?" she demanded.
"No! I was talking with one of the guests about the facilities and mentioned the saunas. I did warn her that he was in one, so she wouldn't be startled."
She shook her head.
"I don't know her. She's a new guest. I haven't seen her before."
Katy climbed off Mrs. Hoffmann and I helped her to her feet, then helped Mrs. Hoffmann up.
I handed her the katana, and held my palm up.
"Blood for your steel." I offered.
She raised her mask and drew the blade gently across my palm drawing a trickle of blood. Wiping the blade, she offered her hand to me for the same ritual drawing of blood.
I drew the blood from her, wiped my blade clean then bowed in respect to her.
She returned the bow and then we shook hands.
"You did have a good instructor. I enjoyed the challenge. You were very focused on things."
"I think so. The first time I caught him with a reversed blade he stopped, bowed, and than proceeded to treat me with more respect as a student." I said.
Katy apologized for her anger and Mrs. Hoffmann just smiled.
"Katy, it's nice to see you caring about someone that way. He can take care of himself in more ways than one." she said.
"She's just a bit overprotective after what happened. If something happened to a guest and word got out, it could really be a problem for the Spa." I explained.
"Yes, dead bodies do have a tendency to draw attention. And I get the impression that you aren't the most popular person around here." she said lightly.
"You've noticed?" I said cheerfully.
Katy pulled me away before I could get myself in any deeper and we walked out.
She waited until we were away from the main building before she exploded at me.
"On your knees SLAVE!" she snapped.
I dropped and waited head down for my punishment.
"You took a chance doing that. I told you not to and you disobeyed me." she continued.
"Yes Miss Katy. But I had to." I said.
"Why did you have to? Was it a case of macho insanity I witnessed?"
"Miss Katy, I needed to prove to myself that my time with Ay'esha hadn't destroyed the person inside me. That I still had the fire inside."
She said nothing and I waited for the other shoe to drop. I had disobeyed a direct order from the superior present.
"Get up." she said, led me to the pool and hip checked me in.
I spluttered my way to the surface in anger.
"What was that for?" I asked.
"You needed to cool off. A fire inside is good. Letting it escape is not."
Her smile cooled my anger and I laughed.
"Yes Miss Katy. Noted and logged." I called.
She was right. I was trying to be super slave. Not just be a good slave, but to be the ultimate slave.
Moderation, is what Minx and Dr. Ruth had tried to instill in my mind and I still hadn't learned.
"Why are you laughing?" she asked reaching out to help me out of the pool.
I pulled her into the pool with me with a tremendous splash.
"Because I just remembered something funny!" I said as she came to the surface.
"What are you doing?" she laughed.
"I am remembering a lesson that Minx and Mei Ling taught me. I am a good slave, not the greatest, but a good one." I said.
"So?" she said.
"So I should concentrate on being a good one."
"You are the strangest man I've ever met." she said.
"I'm cute though."
We were walking down the beach wet, dumb and happy when I heard a cry for help from the water. In the lights from the cafe patio I could see a figure in the water waving it's arms.
Katy ran for the water after telling me to run for help. I ran up to the patio and grabbed a phone and dialed Neils' room.
"Neils, this is Charles. We've got someone in the water at the beach in trouble. Katy's gone in after them."
"Get back to the beach, I'm coming!" he said.
I ran back down to the beach in time to see the Katy reach the figure and then disappear into the crest of a wave.
I waited for them to reappear. Seconds passed as I stood there watching, then two figures broke the surface for a moment and disappeared again into another wave.
They were getting farther out with each wave and the waving was becoming weaker. I couldn't tell who was who any more.
I shifted from foot to foot nervously. Where the fuck was Neils?
I saw lights coming up the beach and heard a truck engine.
I couldn't wait any longer and ran into the water towards the struggle. I swam as hard as I could towards the figures and saw in the reflected light that one of them was Amanda.
She had her arms wrapped around Katy and kept pulling her down into the water, as she struggled to break the hold.
I pulled at Amanda's arms when she came to the surface again and she released Katy and grabbed me.
"Gotcha." she said and then pulled me to the bottom.
We must have been in about ten feet of water but it felt like ten miles worth as I tried to swim to the surface again.
I regained the surface and saw Katy swimming towards me again and on the beach I saw lights pointed towards us.
"I'm trying to help you." I gasped.
"I'm not." she hissed and pulled me down again.
I went limp in her arms and my ears popped as she took me deeper into the water. I fought back the panic as my childhood accident bloomed in my mind.
I was at the lake in the small town in the mountains I lived in. My sister was supposed to be watching me, but I'd slipped away on my own and waded into the water. A few feet into the lake I dropped into a hole and sank to the bottom.
I thrashed my way to the surface and tried to call for help, but I sank again. I might have just been able to float to the surface if I had remained calm but like a wild animal I clawed at the water engulfing me. I reached the surface again and cried out.
My sister heard me and dove into the water and pulled me up as I was sinking for what would have been the last time and dragged me to shore.
"You are a stupid boy, Michael." she screamed in fear and anger as I cried.
She took me home and for the rest of that summer I couldn't even look at the lake without crying.
A few months later I cried again as they lowered her coffin into the ground. She had crashed her car coming home from the city with my birthday present. She was nineteen years old.
I held my breath as long as I could and I could hear the sounds of thrashing in the water and then felt myself being dragged towards the surface again.
I popped to the surface and gulped in air again as Neils pulled Amanda and I apart.
She kicked him in the face and tried to pull me down again, only this time I had enough time to grab the rescue buoy that Neils swam out with and stay on the surface.
She released me and dove for the bottom as Katy swam up and grabbed the float as well.
Neils started to go after her, but I called him back.
"Let her go. I'll explain later", I called over the surf noise.
He looked at the spot where she had disappeared and then joined us as we swam back to shore.
All the while I kept looking over my shoulder for Amanda to surface like Jaws and try and attack again.
Neils wasn't exactly happy with being told to forget what he'd seen and was a bit concerned about Amanda washing up on the beach dead.
"Neils, I wouldn't worry. She swims like a fish. The drowning bit was just her way of getting to me." I said sipping a hot cup of tea in the kitchen.
"Why, is what I don't understand." he said worriedly.
"Well, she hit on me and I turned her down. I don't fool around." I said, glancing at Katy for a little help.
"She must really be disturbed." he said.
"In more ways than one." Katy said darkly
And that closed the incident so far as Neils was concerned.
Katy on the other hand was not content to let things "sleep with the fishes."
When we got back to my room she ordered me to strip and kneel, face on the floor, and not move until she returned.
I did and waited, knowing that I had really pushed the outside of the envelope, as Chuck Yeager would put it, with my actions.
I hadn't disobeyed an order, but I had certainly put myself at risk.
But I'm a bit stupid that way. Katy was in danger of drowning, and I couldn't just stand there. Neils knew where I was going, so I didn't think I was taking that much of a risk.
When Katy returned, I could see she was wearing high heels but that was all I could see from my position.
"Do not move slave." she said closing the door.
I held my position even as the lights went out. I became nervous as I knelt there. Could Katy be one of the people trying to kill me? I fought with my fears in the dark. What was she doing in the darkness that filled the room? I could hear her moving and then a click of a lighter.
Slowly the room filled with flickering candlelight.
"Are you ready for your punishment?" she asked from behind me.
"Yes Miss Katy." I answered.
I heard a whirl and the felt the solid crack of a cane across my exposed ass.
I whimpered in pain.
"One!" she said.
Again the sound and the pain.
And yet again.
I moaned from the blow and gasped for breath.
A pause and I felt her hand on my punished flesh, running a finger across the weals.
"You will start obeying properly after this won't you?" she said with a sharp edge in her voice.
"Yes Miss Katy." I moaned.
The hand was removed and I felt the slash of the cane again even harder, collapsing me to the floor.
"I don't believe you. You haven't obeyed properly yet. You persist in doing things your way, without asking for permission or advice. You try and be a good slave, and you do very well most of the time. But you risked your life tonight twice without regard for your Mistress's feelings or mine.
"I will protect you as will the Queen. Your insistence on protecting yourself without help is disrespectful and shows a lack of trust in us. You will trust us, as you do your Mistress, to protect and care for you, or I will recommend that you be returned to your Mistress as a failure."
I lay there and listened to her words, stinging me more than the cane ever could.
I wanted to protest, to tell her she was wrong. I couldn't. She was right.
I had grown so accustomed to having to take care of myself, that when the time came for someone to care for me, I couldn't accept it.
I had to be a man about it. What a crock of shit. Mistress Minx loved me and cared for me. I accepted that. Why couldn't I accept that other people might also love and care for me as well?
I had isolated myself after my wife and daughter died. I stuck to my work, didn't socialize. My friends and I grew apart. I didn't do anything except go to work and come home to my empty house.
When Denise died all of the love in the world and all of the love I had for the world died as well. I punished myself for failing to save her.
If I had just kept driving that night, not stopping to help someone in distress, I would never have been brought to Ay'esha. My life would have continued in the same vein until I died. Alone and forgotten.
I started to weep at my foolishness and pride.
I would never have been forgiven.
I wanted to be with her so badly at that moment.
" Your Mistress does love you, or she would not have sent you here. You are a very special man." I heard Katy say from above me.
I didn't say anything. There was nothing to say.
And that is how I spent that night. Lying on the floor, thinking about my foolish pride and Minx's love for me.
Katy said nothing to me about the incident the next morning at all. She had slept while I had lain awake on the floor.
My muscles protested as I took my shower, and the soap caused the welts on my ass to burn, but not as much as the embarrassment did.
The morning jog on the beach was a bit easier as Katy ran with me instead of riding on me. There was a bit of a chill in our relationship that hurt as much as the cane did, but I tried to keep my focus on the tasks at hand.
We passed Ms. Clair on the way to the gym, and I greeted her politely.
She ignored me and continued towards the pool without a backward glance.
"Well I guess she didn't have anything to do with last night's little fiasco, or she's a damned fine actress." I speculated.
Katy ignored the comment and when we got to the gym, we found Mistress Janice working out.
"Good morning children." she greeted us cheerfully.
I knelt before her for a pat on the head, and she looked down at me and then back at the expression on Katy's face.
"I see that you two have a little problem today. Is there anything I can do to help?" she asked kindly.
"Yes. Would you keep an eye on him for a little while? I need to speak to Mrs. Queen about something. When he's finished his exercises perhaps you could go to breakfast with him?" Katy asked.
"Of course dear. I'll take good care of him." Mistress Janice assured her.
Katy left and I started my usual workout routine. I had increased my weight lifting abilities during my stay and was actually leg pressing over three hundred pounds. Looking at the scales I grimaced. I should have used my legs as a brace and just forced the door open instead of breaking the glass. Oh well, twenty twenty hindsight.
Mistress Janice just watched as I went from machine to machine, saying nothing, but noticing my distraction.
"Charles, stop what you're doing and come here." she called.
I walked back to where she was sitting on a weight bench and knelt before her.
She patted the bench and invited me to sit next to her.
"Now, tell me all about it. What happened between you and Katy?" she asked kindly.
"I'm not sure I should talk about it Mistress." I said.
"I can make it an order you know." she smiled. "Now, what's the problem?"
"I'm not a very good slave sometimes and Katy had to punish me. I think she thinks she's not a very good Mistress because I screwed up." I confessed.
Mistress Janice hugged me for a moment before speaking.
"I know Mistress Minx by her reputation. She is a very demanding Mistress because she doesn't want a groveling worm for a slave. She wants a slave who can stand up for himself and takes pride in serving her. Someone who wants to serve her, not someone who has to serve her to feel complete.
"Katy is still young and learning her way. She has never felt like a Mistress of Ay'esha, although she is one in her spirit. Her way is not the same as Mistress Minx's, or my way. My slaves want to serve me because I love them and care for them."
"But I don't know what would make Katy happy. I'm just trying to learn what I was sent here to learn. I don't want her blaming herself if I'm not a good slave." I protested.
"That is not something you can control. All you can do is try as follow her orders as well as you can."
"It's pretty hard not to try and control it."
"That's called Topping from the Bottom. Not a real good idea." she warned.
"It's Janice, unless I tell you otherwise. Let's go eat."
I guess Katy must have left orders for my breakfast, because before I could order, the server said she knew what I wanted.
Janice found that amusing as she ordered her breakfast.
"She keeps you on a pretty tight leash doesn't she?"
"I wish she didn't at times. I'd love to have some hash browns." I complained.
"She's just watching out for you. Just like your wife did." she said, sipping her juice.
"Excuse me?" I said carefully.
"Oh I know you're married, or at least were. I can tell from the way you act around other women. Willing to please them, but not anxious about it. And I can see where your ring was worn."
"If you don't mind telling me, how did you learn to be that observant?"
"Oh, I've been around a long time. I make jewelry so I have a habit of looking at people's hands. The rest, well just experience." she demurred.
The food arrived, but instead of the usual dry cereal and toast, I was served a small steak and hash browns.
"Excuse me, I don't think this is my order." I said.
"No, Miss Katy said to feed you meat today. Enjoy it." the server said, and went on her way.
Well in the words of Jim Nabors, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.
"I'm not sure if this is a test or not." I said looking at the food.
"Well do you think she'd try and trick you into violating an order?" Janice asked.
"I'm not sure. But I'm not going to take any chances today."
I called the server and had her take the food away and bring me my normal breakfast.
I watched with regret the departure of the hash browns, but I knew that I would be better off eating my corn flakes.
Katy came in a few minutes later and joined us.
She didn't say anything about the steak and I didn't say anything at all.
Janice excused herself after a few minutes, ostensibly to use the ladies room, but I think Katy and I both knew better.
We both started to speak at the same time and then stopped.
"You first Miss Katy." I offered.
"No, you go ahead." she said.
"I want to apologize for disappointing you. I haven't been on my best behavior."
"And I wanted to apologize for taking my disappointment out on you." she said.
I looked at her.
"Friends?" I asked holding out my hand.
"No. Master and servant." she said shaking her head.
"Yes Miss Katy." I said withdrawing my hand.
"That would be 'Yes Mistress Katherine', if you please."
I smiled in relief.
"Yes Mistress Katherine." I said.
Janice returned to the table to find me feeding Katy, oops, Mistress Katherine, grapes from her fruit cup.
"I see you two are back to normal." she said happily.
"No ma'am. Better than before." I corrected.
My time at the Spa seemed to speed along with the change in Mistress Katherine's attitude.
There were no other incidents and I was soon permitted to roam freely again.
Jerry Dodge taught me how to at least sit on a horse, but I never did learn to ride very well. Neils taught me how to swim much better and even gave me some basic SCUBA lessons with Mistress Katherine's help.
People came and people went. Ms. Clair departed a few days after Amanda disappeared and Miss Judy extended her stay an extra week. Mistress Janice praised me to the Queen and Mistress Katherine before she left and I finally did learn how to cut a tomato properly.
Even Mr. Terwilliger got off my back as soon as I admitted I wanted to learn the piano.
His "Happy Fingers" exercise stank, but I did discover I could at least play "Chopsticks".
Which he hated.
Weeks passed. Mistress Minx had said only two weeks. What had happened to her?
One morning after my exercise, I was called to the Queen's office.
I knelt before her as she picked up a report.
"You have applied yourself well after the early part of your stay here. You are in far better physical shape than you were before, and your mental attitude has improved as well."
"Thank you Ma'am." I said humbly.
"Yes," she said reading the report." There is only one problem you need to work on."
I waited. What was I still doing wrong?
"You need to be a little less aggressive in how you do things. Willingness is good, and being intent is good as well. But you do have a problem with getting either too focused on a problem, or not seeing the big picture.
"The things you do and the choices you make reflect on your Mistress and Ay'esha. Always remember that."
She walked around her desk and sat on the edge of it and looked down at me.
"Have you considered what you're going to do when you leave here?" she asked.
The question startled me. Leave?
"I expected to serve Mistress Minx again. I hadn't really thought about anything else."
The Queen shook her head.
"No, I mean for a living. What kind of work do you want to do?"
"I was trained to solve computer problems Ma'am. And I've learned how to solve people problems here. I'm not sure what I would do." I said honestly.
"Think about it." she said and turned away.
"Ma'am?" I asked.
"Is something wrong? Have I done something to offend you?" I asked seriously.
She turned back and laughed.
"No, slave. But your time in training is finished. You're going home."
Home. Where was my home now? I had begun to think of Minx's rooms at Ay'esha as home, but that was taken from me. Then I had settled here. That was to be taken from me as well.
I sat in my room and considered my fate.
The room grew dark as night came. What was I going to do? Was I going to see Mistress Minx again? Had I been abandoned? No. That I knew in my heart. She said she would never leave me.
A knock on the door stirred me from my thoughts.
"Come in!" I called.
Mistress Katherine opened the door and switched on the lights.
"Why are you sitting in the dark?" she asked.
"I'm sorry Mistress. I just didn't feel like turning on the lights."
She sat on the bed next to me and put her hand on my leg.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
I turned to her.
"No I am not all right. I'm confused and hurt and even a little bit angry." I admitted.
"I don't know what's going on. I'm told I'm a slave of Ay'esha, and then I'm told I'm going home. I don't even know if I have a home to go to anymore. I'm not sure what's going on."
"Michael, it's time for you to leave the nest. That's what's going on." she said softly.
"That's the first time you've ever called me by my proper name." I said in wonder.
"I've known all along. But Charles Freeman doesn't exist anymore. Michael Forbin is going out into the real world again. And the Michael I know is strong and proud and healthy and able to take care of himself."
"It's been a long time. In fact I don't even really know how long. I didn't even have an idea of the date until I got here." I said.
"Do you want to know how long you've been gone?" she asked.
"You have been in the control of Ay'esha for almost a year."
My mouth fell open in shock.
"I've been gone a year? ", I said.
"Almost. And in that time you have been reborn. It takes nine months for cow or countess to have a child. Why should it take any less time for a slave to be born?" she said reasonably.
"I know but..." I started to say.
"Michael, listen to me. You will understand everything soon. But come with me now. There is something you need to see." she said rising and holding her hand out to me.
She led me to the beach and there, waiting on the sand was a meal.
"Eat with me one last time Michael. Tomorrow you return to whence you came."
We ate in silence and watched the Moon rise over the water, turning it into a show of sparkling light.
It was comforting somehow, despite the emotions in my heart to see it. I knew that somehow Mistress Minx was watching over me, and the moonlight fell gently upon me like a blessing from my Goddess.
"Thank you." I finally said to Mistress Katherine.
"The sea and the light are always comforting to a troubled soul. They are eternal and we are not." she said.
"Time and tide wait for no man." I said remembering the old poem.
"No they do not. And the tides of our lives take up to places we have never seen or imagined. And when the time comes to leave, we do."
She looked at me, her face glowing softly in the moonlight.
"You are a fine man Michael, and you have taught me things as well. Someday we may meet again."
She kissed me and I felt a weariness come over me. I looked out over the water and it seemed to blur in the light into a dazzle. Then nothing.
The alarm clock woke me up and I rolled over and almost fell on the floor. I slapped it off and then sat up startled.
I didn't have an alarm clock in my room. I hadn't had a clock since before I was taken by Mistress Minx.
I was in my bed. In my house.
This was impossible. Or was it? Had I dreamed the whole thing? Minx, Ay'esha, Lydia, all specters of my mind.
I felt like Scrooge the next morning. I looked out the window and saw my car parked in the driveway.
I got out of bed and made my way into the living room.
The room was clean and orderly, cleaner than I usually left it. A stack of mail was piled on the desk and when I went into the kitchen I found food in the cabinets and fresh milk in the fridge.
I opened the door and found the newspaper waiting for me as it always had been.
The date confirmed that it had been a little over nine months since that night.
So, I had been gone. Or was the headline a joke? Did someone have it printed for this occasion?
I switched on the TV and found out that cable was still connected. I switched to the Weather Channel and the date indicated on the screen matched the newspaper.
It finally occurred to look at myself in the mirror.
The body I looked at was not the body I had left the house in. It was the body developed over the months with Mistress Minx and the Queen.
I was home. My mind spun. If I was home, where was Mistress Minx? Would I see her again?
My medallion was gone.
The confusion was even worse now.
I picked up the phone and called my office. The number was disconnected.
I got dressed in the clothing I found in the closet. It all fit, so some one had been there and replaced all of my old clothes.
I found my car keys in the bowl on the table where I always kept them and got into the car. It had a full tank of gas and the mileage reading showed that someone had used the car.
I drove towards my office and as I reached the place where I had first seen Mistress Minx I pulled over and parked.
There was no sign of anything in that spot, not even an oil stain.
I finished driving to town and looked at all the changes that had happened during my absence.
Things seemed newer and different. One change was my office. There was a FOR SALE sign on the property and no sign that the company ever existed.
I drove back home and parked.
Opening the front door I found an envelope on the floor marked with my name. I opened it and my medallion fell out with a note.
"My loving slave," it read. "I know you are confused and perhaps a bit frightened by what has happened.
"Please trust me when I say we will be reunited someday.
"You will find things as you left them, perhaps a bit better than they were when we met.
"Always remember that I love you."
The signature was that of my Mistress.
And so, the lost lamb had come home.