- Higher Education -

The following weeks were pure hell.

All my customary privileges were revoked and I was subjected to a regime of constant training and punishment. I had known I was scheduled for some pretty serious “educational measures”, but as it turned out, I had severely underestimated the result of combining my Master’s ingenuity with Maren’s malevolence. However, my memories of the events taking place at the time are somewhat blurred and disjointed, since I spent long periods subjected to severe sensory deprivation.

It all began harmlessly enough, at least when seen through the eyes of an observer not bothering to take my emotional upheaval into account. After seeing our guests off, my Master returned to the cell and prepared me for the night in the usual fashion, chaining me down into my so-called bed. He did so with icy calm and without showing the least inclination to accept the excuses I miserably offered. I have always been sensitive to his moods and the implacable anger I sensed in him this time chilled me to the core. No doubt, some of it would have been more appropriately directed towards George, but I happened to be at hand and an easier target to boot. It was grossly unfair! So far my husband had always been conscientious in the way he exercised his absolute power over me, thus justifying the total trust I placed in him; but since Anne’s unfortunate death and its aftermath, I sensed that my situation had become precarious.

I could understand that the double load of responsibilities he had to shoulder as head of a renowned clinic on the one hand and as my husband, slaver and warden on the other was taking its toll on him. The institutionalised short-sightedness of the political caste had put the State’s finances in desperate straits so that now the public health system in general, and his hospital specifically, faced budget cuts that meant an ever-increasing workload had to be shouldered by its already overworked staff. Never one to lead from behind, my husband had reacted to this development by working even longer hours, although egotistically I would rather have had him resign from his post and concentrate on our relationship instead; a step he certainly had the financial resources to contemplate. After all, it had been his doing to manoeuvre me into a situation where (with little else to occupy my mind) I craved his attention more than anything else. Instead, he had jumped at the chance to shift part of the responsibility for my care to Maren! I viewed this as a betrayal since I felt he was overstepping the boundaries implicit in our original agreement, at least as I understood it. True, I had surrendered myself to him unconditionally, but in my considered opinion, that had meant to him exclusively and not some haphazardly chosen other person he deputized. The deal had been: my submission in exchange for his domination!

Unfortunately, I could not think of any higher authority I could appeal to and recent events had undermined the last vestiges of control I still held over my fate. To the outer world I was dead, and of the few people who knew better, none was likely to grant my wishes. At present, George certainly would not lift a finger on my behalf and even the marginal support Fran could offer seemed dubious when she learned about my role in her recent ordeal. In effect, with no system of checks and balances in place anymore, all the stops had been pulled out and my future well-being depended solely on my Master’s whim. If he so chose, he could indeed have me locked into a USD for the rest of my life, although I would rather have him kill me outright instead. At the same time, he was actually my best bet against any such eventuality, since only his moderating influence stood between me and Maren’s apparently homicidal thirst for vengeance.

Sleep eluded me for the longest time while my hyperactive mind went in endless circles again and again over these unpalatable prospects. Often, I involuntarily jerked against the numerous chains holding me prostrate on my sleeping mat, assuring myself of their unyielding presence and restriction. At long last, I succumbed to an uneasy sleep that left me in utterly exhausted state when my Master woke me the next day for my morning routine.

He looked a little worse for wear himself, and the grim way he pocketed my broken toothbrush without one of his customary sarcastic comments told me I had not yet been forgiven.

Under normal circumstances, when he had the leisure to join me for breakfast, my husband would relieve me of my gag and either spoon-feed me, or sometimes even free my hands so I could eat by myself - always a small but joyful escape from my otherwise omni-present, back prayer bondage. On these occasions he would bring me up to speed on outside events, talk about his work and request my opinion on difficult decisions he faced, genuinely appreciating the unique perspective I could bring to the table. I treasured these moments of uncomplicated companionship; elated that he sought my counsel and unreasonably pleased with myself when I was able to serve him with a clever solution to one of his problems. Last but not least, often very satisfying bouts of love-making would ensue that I was kept on an emotional high for days to come. Unfortunately, these blessed moments had become increasingly rare of late, although I was certain they would have helped us both immensely to ease the strain we were under.

Today however, my meal consisted of the watery, dull grey paste sloshing in a transparent feeding bag my Master had brought with him: a mixture of ground cereals and fruit which he pumped directly into my stomach courtesy of the down-the-throat feeding tube incorporated into my gag. I knew from experience that the taste of the mush closely matched its colour, and so was actually glad it bypassed my taste buds. Purportedly, it provided all the nourishment the human body needed: an assertion I felt confident my husband had never bothered to verify for himself.

After the last lumps of what only marginally passed as breakfast had been forced into my body, he disconnected the feeding bag then began applying liberal amounts of lubricating gel to my bald head. The reason behind his ministrations soon became apparent when he fetched a slithery pile of gleaming, slick, and thick black rubber from the storage cabinet. With a sinking feeling I recognized it as my inflatable, isolation hood.

Turning the rubbery mass inside out, he carefully worked its pair of semi-rigid, laterally slotted air tubes high up into my nostrils while I writhed and struggled miserably to avoid them, until the fitting at their end, where they merged with the balance of the helmet, latched securely onto the U-shackle and cross bar assembly transfixing my nose. He went behind me, and stabilizing my head against his chest while pulling hard on the mask, stretched the thick resilient rubber envelope back over my head, immediately eliminating my sight and plunging me into a world of darkness and deeply muted sounds. After some minute adjustments to the hood’s fit, he proceeded to roll its flange down to my throat where it came to rest on the upper edge of my high steel posture collar. Eyeleted slits in the thick, reinforced flange allowed the numerous rings spaced around the collar’s circumference to protrude, while at the same time providing a convenient means to lock the helmet to it. Naturally, my Master availed himself of these, although with my arms forced high up my back in their normal, back-prayer configuration I found it hard to conceive how I could possibly have freed myself from the hood, even if he had not.

After having secured the hood to his satisfaction, he connected a bulb to the valve at its top and began to inflate it. He kept pumping until the hood’s inner surface pressed uncomfortably against the exposed portions of my skin and for an outside observer, my head had been replaced by a featureless, shiny orb of taut, black rubber. The hiss of my panicked panting through the air tubes was the only noise that remained faintly audible inside my helmet’s stifling confines.

With practiced ease, I was made to lie down on my stomach, to feel the rims of the imprisoning breast cups press firmly into my ribs, reminding me of their obdurate confinement of my flesh. Next, my calves were folded up against my thighs and held there with broad, thick and reinforced rubber straps, then my ankle bands were locked together and connected to my elbow cuffs. Additional chains leading from my toe rings to my chastity belt kept my feet arched, then he turned me onto my back and I felt the familiar and welcome twitches accompanying the removal of my breast cups. Normally, I would have greeted any occasion of having my breasts released from their constant confinement with enthusiasm, but this time my only emotion was one of trepidation. Cold chain slithered over the bared flesh of my left mound and was deftly locked to my nipple shackle and seconds later my right breast followed suit. Apparently, this was to be the extent of my bondage for my Master’s arms went beneath my body and he easily picked up the bundle of helpless femininity I had once more become.

I spent the next few eons suspended from the ceiling, blind and deaf, without any sense of smell, taste or touch beyond the familiar constriction of my bondage. Subjectively, it felt like days, although I have been informed later that my ordeal had lasted for a couple of hours only. A multitude of chains strung from the cell’s gantry to the anchor points my restraints offered in abundance kept me floating horizontally in midair. Although the way I was suspended bent my body into a slight bow, with my pelvis forming its lowest point, my weight’s uniform distribution among the various parts of my metal harness made the posture a comparatively comfortable one. However, since every small twitch I made was translated into painful oscillations of the heavy weights swinging at the other ends of the chains attached to my nipple rings, I concentrated hard on keeping still. After a while though, despite my usually vigorous circulation a slight numbness spread over my breasts, alleviating most my discomfort.

For the first hour or so my situation did not seem too bad and I kept reminding myself that I had endured worse. Come to think of it, I had survived less agreeable conditions in the economy class on some long distance flights and so with a little luck I might even be able to catch up on the sleep I had lost the previous night. Alas, with each passing minute, instead of becoming drowsy I felt ever more awake and alert and I was forced to abandon that hope. To make matters worse, I was afflicted by an aggravating itching that evoked the notion of an army of ants holding manoeuvres on my body. Their war games raged all over my skin, but perfidiously favoured those areas I had no possible way of scratching! Given the way I was trussed up, that held especially true for my head. One more reason I found the stifling heat, utter blackness and oppressive silence within the tight confines of my hood harder and harder to bear.

A creeping sense of disorientation gave me the first inkling that my breakfast this morning might have been laced with more than just vitamins and nutrients. It started with a sensation of movement: as if I was slowly swinging back and forth like a pendulum at the end of my chains. At first the rocking motion was not unpleasant, but before long I felt myself swaying sideways also, then spinning around my centre. My imaginary movements grew stronger and at the same time more erratic, adding to my mounting unease until suddenly, I found myself in free fall, as if tumbling down head over heels from a great height. I instinctively braced myself for the inevitable impact, but my plunge went on and on, never coming to an end! Soon I had lost any sense of orientation at all, although intellectually, I knew that my real circumstances had not changed in the least, and if I concentrated, could clearly perceive the bite of the harness suspending me. I imagined myself an astronaut floating in some pitch black region of space devoid of stars. The thought had barely crossed my mind when my other senses began to report nonsensical data as well.

Originating in my pelvis, alternating waves of warmth and chill traveled along my body, causing my head to throb in tune. Soon other parts joined in, seemingly expanding with each pulse of heat then contracting again when hit by the following cold surge. The intervals between consecutive waves decreased over time until I felt my whole body vibrating like a plucked string. I was still trying to get used to the disconcerting sensations when, with a wave of intense heat engulfing me, they abated abruptly. Instead, I found myself being stretched like an elastic band! My body seemed to elongate and at the same time become thinner and thinner. The process continued unabated for endless moments while my waist contracted to an ever smaller circumference! Even though I experienced no pain, I whimpered with discomfort and fear.

With a tearing sound more fancied than heard, my body burst into two parts! I instantly lost any awareness of my body’s lower half and still more horrifying, felt my inner organs heart, liver, lungs and everything else leak from the gash where once my abdomen had been, out into the surrounding void, then dissolve. In seconds, all that remained of me was a hollow shell, then that was gone too and I ceased to exist as a corporal being. I was but a bodiless mind, a thinking entity, floating in an all-encompassing emptiness. On the bright side, I had gotten rid of the dammed itching at last.

That was when the visions started, for deprived of all external stimuli, my feverish mind began playing tricks on me. Fragments of actual memory mixed freely with dreadful delusions oozing out of my subconscious, giving the latter an unprecedented credibility not held in check by any contradicting sensory input. It was a Hell of my own devising, built upon my deepest fears, amplified and made real. I lack the words to adequately describe the horrors I went through, desperately clinging to the one thread of sanity that told me all I experienced were just hallucinations produced by my overactive imagination. But in the end, was my life’s reality not just another nightmare? So how could I tell the two apart? I had lost my body already and now I feared I was going to loose my mind as well! This torture went on for hours or days; I had no way to tell. Along with the awareness of my body, my sense of time had fled so that I was trapped in an eternal ‘now’, and a very unpleasant one at that.

The next coherent memory I have is of laying in my husband’s arms. I had been freed of the clinging mask and the cell’s cool air drifted over my flushed face while I wept hysterically. My master made nonsensical but nevertheless comforting sounds until finally, I calmed down enough to stop weeping, although occasional sobs still shook my chained body. At last I blinked my tears away and looked up into his face. Judging from his worried expression, me becoming psychotic had not been part of his plan. With practiced movements, he checked my pulse and shone his pen light into my eyes, observing my pupils’ dilation, then settled back with a satisfied grunt.

“Are you with me again? How do you feel, love?”

I had to swallow before I could answer. I only now noticed how parched my throat was.

“I’ve felt better.” I croaked. “Can I have some water, please?”

“Yes, of course.”

While he fetched a cup, I took stock of my situation. I had not only been freed of my hood, but most of my other restraints were gone as well. Only the collar leash securing me to the wall remained in place, as always. My breasts remained unconfined, although the weights and chains had been removed from my nipples. I touched myself gingerly, relieved to find them tender instead of unnaturally numb. My Master returned and I drank greedily from the offered cup with slowly reviving spirits, exhaustion gradually giving way to anger. He waited patiently until I had recovered enough to confront him.

“What happened to me? You drugged me, didn’t you?” I accused angrily.

He hesitated for a second. “Yes, I administered a small dose of a mild psycho-tropic; something to enhance your susceptibility to the effects of the isolation hood. I’ve never before seen such a strong response as yours - your vital signs almost went off the scale. You gave me quite a scare there.”

“You haven’t been the only one to be scared, I can assure you!” I asserted with passion.

“Well, I’m sorry. That wasn’t what I had in mind. I had counted on a slight disorganization of the cortex caused by the sensory deprivation, but not an idiosyncratic reaction like the one you experienced. Quite fascinating, actually.”

“Not when you’re on the receiving end, it’s not!” I said hotly. “I thought I’d gone mad! Hey, I almost died!” I felt the urge to curb his scientific enthusiasm before he decided to study the phenomenon through further experimentation.

“A drug-induced psychosis is nothing to fool around with, that’s crystal-clear. We’ve been very lucky the effects wore off so fast and no permanent damage was done.”

He made a deliberate pause, mentally taking a step back from the calamity narrowly avoided. When he continued, his tone was no longer apologetic.

“However, although using the drug is out, we still need to continue your training with the isolation hood. After all, what you’ve just experienced is only a small taste of what it’ll be like to be locked inside your USD, hour after hour, day after day ... year after year. You will be required to repeat the exercise to increase your resilience and prepare yourself for its eventual fitting.”

Upon hearing his pronouncement, my stomach dropped and my heart rate spiked wildly while my skin became cold and clammy. To make matters worse, I began to hyperventilate and very nearly fainted. Even if I had not experienced the same symptoms numerous times already since I had embarked on my journey of enslavement, I would still have diagnosed them correctly as a panic attack, albeit a somewhat worse one than usual. My cracking voice held a decidedly hysterical quality.

“No! You … you can’t do that to me! Please!”

“I can and I will! Make no mistake about that. With the stakes as high as they are, the days of clemency are past. If I say so, you will be fitted with a USD.”

He held up a hand, preempting my next spate of desperate pleas.

“I’ll grant you one last chance. You’re going to spend the rest of your days locked up in the USD, unless you can convince me you’ve learned your lesson this time. You’ll be given an opportunity to demonstrate your obedience soon. Do not fail!”

“Please!!” I begged in absolute horror of what he could and would do to me, “I’ll do whatever ...”

“For starters, shut up! In fact, don’t talk unless asked to. No more pleading! You’ll accept your punishment without demurring. My other demands will be made known to you in due course.”

I closed my mouth and bowed my head in acquiescence, as much as my high collar permitted. After all, what choice did I have?

Over the course of the following week, sessions involving the accursed isolation helmet became a regular part of my schedule, replacing the leisure time I used to enjoy between my physical workouts and mental exercises. Fortunately, although my mind disassociated from my body again every so often, I did not suffer flashbacks to the horrendous visions that had assailed me the first time around. Had it not been for my drug-induced psychotic episode, I might even have found these altered states of consciousness inspiring, but now, I deeply dreaded each new encounter with the helmet and it took all my strength of will to suppress my panic and gracefully accept having my head locked into its tight confines each time I was fitted with it. Even my sleeping arrangements were temporarily changed so I could spend the nights in its oppressive enclosure. Naturally, this was not particularly conducive to me enjoying a good night’s sleep, so the disorienting effects of the sensory deprivation were aggravated by those of sleep deprivation and at times, I found myself wondering whether I was awake or dreaming. At others, when I was punished for my recent transgressions with computer-controlled electric shocks, administered through the plugs in my chastity belt, this posed, regrettably, no problem at all. Courtesy of George, who according to my Master, provided the requisite programming, I constantly had to be on the lookout for the uterus quivering convulsions and breast shuddering pain that lanced through my bowels and encased mounds on frequent but random times and for horrifying minutes and hours on end, even in the middle of the night! However, the physical pain of the punishment was far easier to endure than the perpetual anxiety caused by the looming spectre of being locked inescapably into the USD for the rest of my days. Unfortunately, adding to my woes was still another adversity: later that week the next phase of the scam to conceal Anne’s death was set in motion and Maren moved into the house full time, gradually taking over my daily care.

In an all day crash course, my Master briefed her on her responsibilities as my warden, demonstrated all the basic procedures that made up my daily routine, then went on to explain my revised weekly schedule to her. It was a wearying experience for all involved, but especially for me, for I got repeatedly gagged and ungagged, chained down and let up again, put end to end through my morning and evening routines and was made to demonstrate all of the various exercise machines that gave my cell the appearance of a fitness club for the violent mentally disturbed. Fortunately, Maren was a fast learner and seldom needed more than one demonstration.

“Keeping a slave is certainly a lot of work.” Maren complained at the end of the day.

“And it’s also a quite expensive a hobby, I can assure you. A substantial portion of my assets has gone into the construction of the cell and the equipment, all to keep my wife sound and secure.” My husband sighed theatrically. “Well, if slavery was economically viable, it would never have been abolished. By and large, capitalism is a much more efficient way to organize the exploitation of manpower.” A wicked gleam entered his eye. “Alas, when I hear my colleagues talk about their marriages, there appear to be a few redeeming aspects.”

“I thought you had your reasons.” Maren conceded with a smile. “But what about me? All work and no play makes Maren a dull girl. How do we make sure that I won’t get bored?”

In my considered opinion, Maren looked anything but bored! Rather, I would have described her as unbecomingly excited by the prospect of having me under her thumb. Unfortunately, the gag in my mouth left little doubt that my input was not requested.

“I can see what you’re getting at. Well, I guess I won’t mind if you two engage in Sapphic love from time to time; that is, if you’re up to it. My wife certainly won’t mind, at least she didn’t when she got her way. Besides, taking favours is what owning a sex slave is all about.”

I blushed and lowered my eyes. Admittedly, I had indulged in more than a few adventures with other women during my wild days and even more recently, Fran and I had used every opportunity to become better acquainted. Nevertheless, hearing my husband barter my sexual services to Maren in this way was deeply humiliating. Yet, despite myself, the thought of having Maren use me in this way, undeniably made my loins tingle. A detached part of my mind wondered anew at the strange wiring within my brain.

Maren eyed me speculatively, her face flushed. Apparently, she found the idea equally exciting, although from her flustered expression, I could tell she was new to this game.

“Just in case, what if she chooses to be stubborn or is lacking in enthusiasm? How may I encourage her?”

“In that rather unlikely case, you’ll have all of the disciplining capabilities built into her harness at your disposal. Anything more exotic will have to wait until you’ve finished your apprenticeship.” My Master turned to me. “But then, I trust Maren won’t have to resort to such means, will she?”

I quickly shook my head as much as my collar permitted, sending my dangling and readily available septum chain flying, tugging with painful reminders of its weighty and controlling presence. My ongoing punishment had thoroughly drained me of the will to resist.

“See? You’ll get your money’s worth.”

“But only until she’s consigned to the USD. What then?”

“Don’t worry, we’ll think of something.”

That memorable day marked the beginning of what I dreaded would turn into Maren’s reign of terror. For the first few days, some additional on-the-job training was still necessary, which, when my husband was unavailable, led to a strange reversal of roles. Sometimes, I had to explain to Maren the specifics of my own mistreatment and of course in these instances I always strove to ease my burden. Predictably Maren caught on quickly and was henceforth determined not to err on the side of leniency again. So, despite my ungagged vociferous protests and then silenced pleading, more often than not I ended up in a predicament worse than my Master would have left me in. Over a short period of time I thus made significant progress with respect to the size of gags or strictness of bondage I was able to tolerate. To my chagrin, the ridiculous, chipmunk-like aspect I offered with my cheeks distended by a large ball gag became especially popular with her. I soon learned that it was far better to omit certain mandated parts of my chastisement altogether than to haggle over the details of their realization with Maren. However, this strategy also backfired when my husband later on reviewed our sessions and encouraged her to use her own creativity whenever she felt I had skimmed over some particularly unpleasant point of my handling. Not surprisingly, I rarely enjoyed the results.

In fairness, I have to admit that despite our mutual animosity, Maren was very conscientious about her duties as my guardian. Her training as a nurse helped her to spot any sign potential medical problems as soon as they appeared and she never hesitated to take corrective action immediately. She had gained a pretty shrewd notion of my bodily and mental limits and took extreme care never to push the envelope too far. Without doubt, her new-found sensitivity was at least partially due to her training, received at my Master’s hand.

I do not think she realized that her apprenticeship would entail being at the receiving end of the tortures she might inflict on me in the future, if only just once and in a watered down variant. At first she demurred, but when she learned that even my husband had at one point undergone a similar education (he still made a big secret out of his teacher’s identity, although I badgered him for her name for years) she gave in gracefully. However, she insisted on one additional condition.

“If I’m to experience all the suffering you put your slave through, I will also want to enjoy the pleasures you occasionally grant her.”

If this was - as I came to fear - part of a ploy to steal my husband’s heart, as I had stolen her own lover’s one so many years ago, it was a masterful move. I could see how sorely tempted my husband was to take her up on the full meaning of her offer and grew horribly terrified, for my previous sins were about to be repaid in full measure, with huge interest! Being the dominant man he is, my husband reveled not simply in making a woman hurt (any idiot can and inevitably does accomplish that), but he took far greater interest in the power to give or withhold pleasure at will and the sweet suffering that caused. The control he exerted over a woman by turning her own lust against her was the treasure he hunted. Of course, the woman in question first had to grant him this power herself, by giving in to her darker desires and allowing lust to overwhelm her. Evidently, it had not taken Maren long to figure that out.

The practical “exercises” of her apprenticeship were held in my cell, because that was where all the relevant equipment was located. On these occasions I was subjected to another training session, fully enclosed in the isolation helmet and therefore had only my fertile imagination to rely on for an idea of what was going on between Maren and my husband. The one comforting thought I had during those endless dark hours was that if she actually succeeded in her attempted seduction, she would soon find that she had taken a far larger bite than she could possibly stomach, as my fate amply demonstrated. On the other hand, her plan might very well require me to take the brunt of his darker urges! If this was to be the situation she was engineering, I would remain incarcerated in my cell of course, but now deprived of the one thing that made my suffering worthwhile, namely my Master’s love! Maren’s revenge would be cruelly feminine in nature – total and completely devastating. The inner demons that haunted me during this period were amongst the most agonizing torments I’d yet had to endure.

However, rarely I was allowed to observe when Maren was taught what it meant to be my Master’s slave. She was a tough one, I had to concede that much. Her initial refusal to show any weakness when facing serious torture earned her my grudging respect, although in the end her resistance only prolonged her suffering since it provoked my Master to redouble his efforts until she could not withstand them any longer. Then again, it also served to further arouse his interest in her, my inner demons readily pointed out.

When it came to receiving pleasure, Maren unashamedly gave in to her feelings, displaying an ecstatic abandon which was by all appearances genuine. Nevertheless, I suspected her of even then keeping an inner reserve and modicum of control that forever differentiated her from a true submissive like me. During these sessions my Master was hard-pressed to keep his physician’s detachment, but he somehow managed, although he felt the need to cut some of them short, to Maren’s evident and vociferous displeasure.

All the while, my own punishment continued without respite! Maren soon began to add her own ideas to the mix, at first tentatively, then, as she gained experience through her own education, more boldly. The remote control for the shocking capabilities of my restraint and control harness was her favourite toy and she quickly became an expert wielder of its considerable power. With it in her hand, I was at her beck and call constantly. During the day, she supplanted the computer as my primary disciplinarian, replacing George’s heavy-handed concept of revenge with her own, more subtle approach. Meting out random agony was no longer the objective: instead the shocks she applied to my body were part of a perfidious guessing game whose unwilling participant I became at Maren’s whim. The punishment would not stop until I performed a certain action whose nature I had to figure out, guided only by variations in the frequency and intensity of the shocks I received. The list of tasks she came up with was endless; ranging from simple things like crawling backwards through my cell until I reached its far wall, to more complicated evolutions, such as chaining myself up in a specific way with a bunch of padlocks she provided. Often, when I found my pain-battered and sluggish mind incapable of guessing her intent, especially after I had spent yet another sleepless night with my head locked into the isolation helmet, I would burst into tears of humiliation, anger and frustration, always silent though thanks to being so efficiently gagged.

In the beginning, I unthinkingly raised my tear-streaked face to Maren in silent supplication, only to meet her impassive gaze. I knew that inside she gloated over my misfortune, but outwardly, she projected the calm propriety of someone determined to discharge an unpleasant yet necessary duty. She made it appear as though it was entirely my fault for having failed at the task she had assigned. After a while she’d relent and reluctantly, as if against her own better judgment, grant me cryptic hints that would eventually enable me to solve her puzzle. Despite myself, after the torment finally stopped, I often caught myself feeling genuinely grateful towards her and at times actually preened when she chose to commend my ingenuity. Intellectually, I knew that I’d begun to experience the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ but I could not help myself from feeling that way! Although I spotted the attempted conditioning early on and resolved not to succumb to it, her technique was extremely effective and nearly impossible to evade. However stubbornly I refused to beg for help, Maren only had to set higher goals then, lean back and wait me out. Eventually, at the end of my physical and mental endurance, I would break down and be forced to grovel before her just the same. In some rare instances she would use my vaginal plug’s pleasuring abilities to bring me to a mind-numbing orgasm, driving home the lesson that she had the power to reward as well as to punish, and that for all the suffering I endured, I truly had no one but myself to blame. In my beleaguered state, I found it increasingly difficult to ignore her insinuations and so nurtured my resentment towards her instead.

With my husband’s growing detachment, Maren became the sole human being I could relate to and soon, I found myself longing for her attention and even trying to win her approval, if only to earn a modicum of empathy. She however, was determined to carry her role as my righteous tamer to extremes, and so remained aloof and visibly uncaring. Not even once did she take advantage of my tacit, silenced offers to pleasure her, to avoid becoming attached to a “clever tongue” to soon be forever rendered inaccessible.

Towards the end of the second week of my penalty, I was deeply exhausted and squinting at my reflection in the mirror during my morning routine, I began to find deep crinkles and dark circles surrounding my eyes, for the constant barrage of psychic pressure and physical pain was taking its toll. By now, I deeply regretted not only my attack on George, but all of the instances I had ever lost my temper, and those occasions altogether amounted to a lot of regret. I solemnly resolved to become a model slave, vowing earnestly never to misbehave again, if only it would win me my Master’s affection back. I would gladly ask for any humiliation or torture he deemed necessary. However, for the longest time I was not given any opportunity to demonstrate my change of heart to him, being either locked into my isolation helmet or otherwise incapacitated by Maren before his visits. I used each short break to speak to the microphones in my cell, in the desperate hope that he would review the recordings, but I never received any reaction. In slowly deepening despair, I even tried to convey my message through Maren, but predictably with the same result. I feared that he had already fallen under her spell and in fact did not care for me anymore, other than as a prisoner he had a responsibility to maintain.

The third week found me weaving on my feet with my mind drifting most of the time in a twilight state of being neither asleep nor awake. I seamlessly oscillated between disconcerting dream images and my equally nightmarish, waking world; blending both into one single, soul-shattering reality. My recollections of those days are blurred, with not much more than a chaotic jumble of distressing pictures and raw sensations sticking to my memory; all overlaid by overwhelming feelings of loss and despair. The threat of the USD began to dominate both my waking and sleeping hours and in my mind, I obsessively went over my Master’s promise of one final chance to redeem myself, again and again, all the time finding it harder to convince myself of the veracity of my recollections. At that time, I was more or less convinced I had lost my husband’s heart for good and would be sealed into the USD as soon as George completed its construction. Maren smugly provided me with reports on his progress, being insufferably eloquent when the project had reached another milestone and infuriatingly terse when it hit a snag. For me, it was the countdown to doom, although I found myself increasingly resigned to my fate, whatever it should be, if only it brought an end to the gnawing uncertainty.

Then one evening, Maren informed me that my USD had been finished and that George would come over in a day or two, to oversee its fitting. That night, like a boon granted to a condemned prisoner, I was allowed to sleep unencumbered by either the isolation helmet or tortured by random electrical shocks coursing through my innards. Despite my palpable angst, I fell into a dreamless sleep almost as soon as Maren left the cell, my state of utter exhaustion working in my favour for once.

CHPTRS: 1 & 2 --- CHPTRS: 3 & 4 --- CHPTRS: 5 & 6 --- CHPTR: 8 - PT 1 --- CHPTR: 8 - PT 2