[mc, mf, fd, hy]
((Written in 2006. I felt like revisiting an old friend (i.e. character) at the time, and this was the first idea that came to me.))
Simon Hunter was, undoubtedly, the most resilient and annoying insurances salesman ever to live on Manhattan Island, a unique individual with highly developed predatorial instincts, the kind of person that doesn’t take “no” for an answer and has no problem whatsoever in stalking you on a regular basis until he gets what he wants.
Because of this ferocious trait, he was one of the best in his company, if not the very best. Most of his co-workers were jealous of him and didn’t exactly like him as a person. That didn’t bother him much, as he was pretty much of a loner. Overall, he considered human contact bothersome and friendship a hindrance of sorts; his great passion in life was a forbidden one, a secret he had managed to keep well hidden for over a decade.
You see, Simon had a peculiar taste when it came to stealing. At night, after work, he would usually stake out the most luxurious houses in surrounding neighbourhoods, mentally registering all of the safety devices installed and coming up with cunning plans that would allow him to break in and come out with a few precious items. He wasn’t a ravenous thief, just a guy who had some fun dismantling other people’s sense of security, especially if they were being insured by rival companies.
A few nights ago, he became interested in the house of Rachel Gardner, one of New York’s high society rising stars. No one knew exactly how she came to be in the possession of such a large amount of money, but that wasn’t really significant. What mattered to his sticky-fingered instincts was the fact that she owned a very valuable diamond necklace, which he had fallen in love with ever since he had seen pictures of it, taken at a cocktail party at the Waldorf-Astoria. This night, he was going to swipe that costly gem, no matter what.
The security measures Rachel Gardner’s mansion were laughable, to say the least. There were no armed guards, no raging dogs, and no electrified fences. A handful of infrared cameras could be seen here and there, but their placement seemed utterly random, and it was very easy to find blind spots. Still, he wasn’t stupid enough to forget wearing a ski mask, just in case.
The windows had no alarms whatsoever. As he managed to slip inside the big house, he couldn’t help thinking it was too easy, and seriously reconsidered doubling back before something jumped at him from out of the blue, catching him completely off guard.
This moment of cowardice soon melt away as he evoked the image of the diamond necklace in his mind. He was certain he would find it inside the house, because it was well-known that Rachel didn’t exactly trust banks, no matter their prominence or status. She was kind of old-fashioned and, although she didn’t sleep with the diamond under her pillow, it was bound to be near her.
Swiftly, he located the master bedroom and the main study, the most likely places for the diamond to be hidden. He was certain the owner was away because he had seen her leave in a limousine not so long ago, wearing a shoulderless Versace dress and a beautiful gold choker around her neck, almost as costly as the notorious necklace. It was a shame, really; if only she had taken some other, less flashy, piece of jewellery, he could have added that choker to his collection, too.
The bedroom was very spacious, but there was nothing really important on the inside. The same thing couldn’t be said about the study, though, which turned out to be very elegant, featuring only the most expensive adornments. Beautiful original paintings from the great masters of the Renaissance decorated the walls and there was a very large bookshelf next to the mahogany desk, where one could see the works of numerous Nobel Prize winners in their original languages. Of course, the main attraction of the room stood at its centre: a small table with a green cushion on top under a crystal-like dome. The diamond necklace was sitting on that pillow, as if waiting for him to take it away.
Simon took some time to examine the dome from a distance. For all he could see, there were no motion sensors attached to it, and no lasers. Nothing! Rachel Gardner sure wasn’t afraid that someone might be so bold to sneak into her house and escape with her rarity. Again, the same blood-curdling sensation that something was not right came to him, only to subside once more in a matter of seconds. The sight of the apparently unprotected stone was just too powerful, and he wanted to hold it so badly… Reaching for the table, his gloved hands lifted the dome and just like that, he was holding the true purpose of his “visit”… and, by God, the sensation was truly marvellous!
The necklace was far heavier than he had anticipated, and even the centre diamond looked bigger. There was no way for him to know for certain at that moment the true value of that jewel, but he knew it had to be a figure with a lot of zeros in it and he had some of the foremost contacts in the international black market. Shipping it out of the country—for a hefty sum—wouldn’t be a problem.
A final inspection of the study led him nowhere. The other expensive items at hand weren’t exactly portable, and it was best not to become too greedy. A quick getaway was just what he needed at the moment and so, putting aside all other thoughts, he wrapped the necklace in a suede cloth—which he hid in a pocket of his pants—and concentrated on making his way back to his point of entry.
Instantly, he perceived things weren’t exactly the way he had left them. The window through which he entered was now firmly shut and, in the adjacent living room, one could see a smoldering ashtray… someone had been smoking in there just a few seconds ago, probably at the same time he was claiming the diamond necklace as his own personal property…
There was a clapping sound and all of the lights in the room responded to the call, invading it with traces of gold and silver, and Simon’s eye caught of Rachel Gardner looking his way. The beautiful, late-thirties woman with blazing red, long hair, big deep-blue eyes, and, overall, the traits of an genuine seductress was sitting on a sofa in what appeared to be a very comfortable position, and had an almost joyous expression on her face. Being discovered was quite traumatic for Simon, as it was the first time in his long career as a night prowler, but what frightened him the most was the fact he hadn’t heard the limousine returning to the house. How could he have been so distracted with his operation that he missed the noise of the engine and the slamming of the doors?
He took a small knife from his utility belt and dangled it in his left hand. Rachel didn’t look very impressed. Then she moved both arms, as if stretching, and placed them behind her neck to remove the choker she was wearing, which she tossed to the ground, rather disdainfully.
“This thing is killing me.” She said. “It’s just too tight.”
“Look, lady …” said Simon, disguising his voice with a pronounced southern accent and waving the knife a couple of times in the air, “… this wasn’t supposed to have happened. I don’t want to hurt you, but I’ll do it if you leave me no other choice. Now, I’m going to ask you a simple question and I would like a simple answer: how long will it take for the police to get here?”
The answer was given with a smile: “I don’t know. I didn’t call them. And no, the driver isn’t outside preparing to do so as we speak, if that’s what you were about to ask next.”
That had him puzzled. Beneath the mask, his eyes blinked and wrinkles of amazement became prominent in his forehead. “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”
“You don’t? Hmm… let me put this in simple terms: we’re alone in the house. It’s just you and me, and I have no intention of calling the police. My driver left me a few blocks from here and went for a ride on his own and I came back to see what kind of man was lurking in my domain. It’s too bad you’re wearing that mask. I would very much like to see your face.”
Not sure where the conversation was heading, Simon exploded with a frantic question followed by a very sombre exclamation. “Are you telling me you knew I was coming? Impossible!”
“Not really. You see… I have a few undercover ‘spies’ patrolling everything within a five mile radius of my house, twenty-fours a day. They’re very good at what they do, so it’s only natural you didn’t notice them. I’ve been aware of the presence of a man observing my grounds in a rented black Honda for quite some time, and I figured it was either a nosy reporter looking for a story or a thief preparing to strike. Judging by your clothes, my second guess turned out to be the right one.”
Simon wasn’t buying some of the details of her account. Altogether, the story was just a little too far-fetched and he almost said so out loud, with a twist of irony: “So your “spies” spotted my car but didn’t take pictures of me to verify my identity? That’s kind of odd.”
“I told them not to. I knew you would make your move sooner or later so I waited patiently for the moment to arrive … and—guess what?—it finally came! My name is Rachel Gardner, but since you already know that, why don’t you introduce yourself?” Her eyelids flashed enthusiastically after the final interrogation and the tip of her tongue became slightly visible.
Her nerve really upset him. “Are you crazy? Do you actually think I’m going to tell you my name?”
Rachel looked away, almost resenting his lack of manners, but the apparent infantile behaviour lasted only a fraction of a second. Soon she was all jocose again, playing with a loose curl that had fallen gracefully on her left cheek. “It won’t hurt that much. In fact, I think it would be a very courteous gesture from you. A sort of apology for breaking into my house and trying to steal whatever it is you came to steal.” Her eyes glimmered. “My instincts tell me it was my necklace. Where did you hide it?”
The audacity of that woman perplexed him. Not only had she admitted knowing in advance he was up to something, but she also seemed very pleased with the outcome of the events, toying with him with her unthinkable questions (a thief revealing his name? In what kind of fantasy world was she living?!). If indeed she hadn’t called the police (and at the time, he was actually feeling more predisposed to believe her) the conversation was going to be cut short. Ignoring her last question, he waved the knife one more time and opened up a window.
“Hey, where are you going?” she asked in shock. “I thought we were having a good time together.”
It was his turn to look the other way, emphasizing the difference and distance between them.
“I have what I came here for, so I’m leaving. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to run…”
“I don’t want you to go.” she insisted, getting up from the sofa. “At least, have a drink with me before disappearing into the night.”
“What? That’s almost as preposterous as asking for my name!” Now, he was genuinely mad, and the way his body wiggled and hissed at the same time proved just that. “Miss Gardner, thieves don’t usually fraternize with the people they came to steal! And I’m not going to be the first.”
“That’s too bad, because if you do leave through that window, I’m going to have to reconsider my choice of not calling the police.”
Simon closed the window upon hearing her supposed threat. Despite the fact he didn’t like any form of intimidation that was something he was good at dealing with, a part of his daily routine in the insurance business.
“In that case, I’m going to have to tie you up or lock you in a dark room or something, to make sure you don’t have the opportunity to change your mind.”
The solution didn’t please her. A yawn demonstrated it. “Or you can choose to talk to me some more so I don’t feel bored. For starters, you could lose that phoney accent that doesn’t fool anyone; afterwards you could take away that mask and look me in the eyes, just like a real man.”
“Right! That’s exactly what I’m going to do: let you see my face! I’ll do that the moment I finish telling you my whole life’s story and then we’re going to celebrate our newly formed bonds with a few drinks, get drunk and end up in bed together!” ironized Simon.
His words definitely produced some positive result. Rachel became ecstatic: “It sounds like a plan to me, unless you’re more interested in handsome young men; that would be a shame!”
“I believe you just insinuated I’m gay!” he groaned. Swiftly, Simon moved the knife from one hand to the other and was just about to throw it at her head…
A veil of outrage covered her face. “I did no such thing! If you think I’m the kind of woman to insinuate things, that’s because you don’t know me at all! What do you want me to think when here I am, being so generous and welcoming, and all you want to do is run off with something you stole?!”
He was starting to get a headache. The insanity of the things she was saying was truly unbelievable! When would the surprises coming from her sultry lips end? And why on earth, after her last burst of indignation, had she moved forward, practically gliding in her luxurious gown? Was she really attempting more intimate contact?
Rachel was now less than two feet away from him, her hair falling gently above her shoulders. The hand holding the knife began losing its grip, as if being magnetized and drawn to her. Not a word was spoken in the next few moments: unwaveringly, her right index reached for the blade, allowing for a brief fusion between skin and metal and a small scratch on the weaker surface. A single droplet of blood emerged from the finger: a crimson dot of life she took to her lips and savoured intensely, as her vocal chords produced a gentle, quasi-orgasmic moan. Simon didn’t say a word but felt his arousal growing. If that was the kind of response she was looking for, her strategy up to that moment had been brilliant.
“Come to my study and let’s have that drink.” He heard her say while turning her back to him so that he could admire her bare shoulders and wonder if indeed she was more than willing to lose the dress after a few rounds of alcoholic satisfaction. Although it was strikingly obvious that Rachel Gardner didn’t play with a full deck, he, too, could be included in that very same category just for considering accepting her final proposal.
The way she walked was very enticing, her hips describing movements he didn’t even think possible for a human body to produce. Suddenly, just by observing her, every square inch of his face, concealed beneath the warm and fuzzy mask, felt enveloped by a curious concoction of sweat and pheromones, a natural form of temptation he wasn’t sure he was capable of resisting.
How she had managed to arouse him so drastically in such a short period of time was a tremendous achievement, a true testament that a woman who knows her wiles can pretty much do whatever she wants of a man without too much effort. Removing the uncomfortable mask that was now making it difficult to breathe, Simon went right after her, entering the study where the diamond had become his, the same place where the tables would turn, transforming the hunter into the prey.
“Ah… much better,” Rachel commented when she finally saw the face of her own private thief. Simon wasn’t particularly handsome, but neither could he be called repulsive to the eye. Everything in his features looked pretty standard and normal, an advantage for someone with a night job where too many distinctive traits eventually helped the men in blue increase the average of successful arrests. “Aren’t you feeling more relaxed now?”
In honesty, he replied as he gazed into her eyes: “Not really, but…”
Breaking eye contact, she let a faint giggle slip by her lips. “Oh, I promise that will change once we get to know each other better. I just love a good glass of Vodka; how about you? What’s the drink that really makes you feel good for being alive?”
“Vodka does the trick sometimes.”
“Then Vodka it is. Now that we’re on our way of becoming good friends, can you please tell me your name?”
“Not just yet.”
“Then at least put away the knife, Mr. Burglar.” And he complied.
A sliding wall next to the bookshelf revealed the mini-bar, and the exotic collection of liquorish beverages contained therein. She really did like her Vodka; one section of the bar had nothing display besides the Russian version of liquid paradise. She told him to choose the bottle they were to open, something he was already going to do even if it didn’t please her. There was always the possibility that she would give him a drugged drink from a private stash hidden in plain sight and then end her game of seduction with a frown and a call to the nearest police station…
“I want you to trust me,” she whispered. “Don’t you think if I wanted to hurt you in any way, I would have done so already?”
“Frankly, I really don’t know. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.”
“Well, the proverb is definitely true: there’s always a first time for everything. Since you’re choosing the bottle, do you mind preparing the drinks? The ice is in that small refrigerator to the right.”
Simon located it with a glance and uncorked the largest bottle of the lot. As he looked for the glasses, Rachel reached from behind, soundlessly. Things happened pretty fast: a partly wet kiss in his right ear lobe… a feminine set of fingernails caressing his waist, and afterwards dropping down to his thighs… a suede cloth being carefully extracted without him ever noticing it… when he turned to look at her, the necklace was already around her neck, where it belonged.
“What the…?” Simon gasped. His hands widened and the bottle fell to the ground, breaking into a million shards of glass. “How did you manage to do that so quickly?”
“I guess I must have the hands of a thief as well… Please, don’t be upset! I just wanted to feel its cold contact upon my skin before relinquishing it to you…”
Simon went for the knife but it had simply vanished from his belt. The glass cutter would have to suffice to regain control of the situation. “Enough with this charade!” he yelled. “You’ve tricked me far too many times in the past few minutes and I’m not going to be manipulated by your sweet talk anymore! As of this moment, consider yourself my hostage!”
“Oh, please, cut the drama!” Rachel responded, her left hand stroking the diamond, making the rock spin. “Just let me tell you a story: the story of I got this diamond in the first place.”
“I don’t want to hear it!”
“Well, unless you kill me right now you’re going to listen to it anyway!” She said in a pushy, commanding pitch. Then her voice toned down, became mellower, a set of captivating musical whispers, as the touch of her fingernails made the stone twirl faster, “It was a few years ago, right after I got married. My husband–who’s no longer with us, God keep his soul–was a wealthy and respected doctor from an equally wealthy and respectable household in England. His father ran a business of imports/exports that spread across the five continents, and one of the businesses he was involved in was a diamond mine in South Africa. I didn’t know it at the time, but his exploration of the mine wasn’t exactly in full accordance with the law (so much for the respectability of the family!) and it got shut down by the proper authorities in just a few months time. Luckily, before that whole turmoil that led to my divorce, Robert (that was the name of my husband) kept some of the most precious stones and gave them to me. One of those stones is the one that dominates this necklace; Robert used to call it a “mind thief” as he couldn’t help but feel his spirit go completely blank when he concentrated intensely on its shape, on the prismatic reflections of light that glimmered from within it … maybe you’re not seeing them properly because you’re not paying enough attention, but I can assure you they’re deep down in its centre …”
Simon Hunter’s neck veins stiffened, their shady blue outlines clashing against his pale skin. “That’s really far from interesting, Ms. Gardner! Just hand me the damn rock before I cut your pretty face!”
“Call me Rachel. I promise I’ll give it to you as soon as you let me finish my story. I’m a lonely woman, you know. It’s not every day I get an opportunity to open up with a complete stranger. Now, as I was saying: once my husband started gazing down at the diamond, he usually lost track of time, especially if the diamond was around my neck. I really don’t know why, but there seems to be a magical combination of power and relaxation, of control and repose that’s born every time the necklace is wrapped around my neck. As the stone draws all the light, all the attention and all of the willpower of the people staring at it, I become more confident, more excited and more in charge. It just can’t be helped; the alluring influence of this beautiful gem automatically transfers itself to me, giving me more strength and authority with each passing moment, whilst weakening your mind’s defences, reeling your focus into the shooting reflections … capturing your soul with my soothing words … my words are the words of the diamond and the words of the diamond are your words as well … the meaning conveyed in them also has meaning for you … in fact, it’s pretty much the only meaning you’re really capable of assimilating right now, in your dark outfit, with your drooping hands beginning to realize the absurdity of your threatening gestures towards me … your brain completely shut off from all stimuli except the diamond reflections speaking to you … when I speak to you with this charming voice … enveloping you … engulfing you … ensnaring you … bringing you down into my fortress of imagination … a castle of transparent walls closing down on you … imprisoning you … bending you … controlling you deeply … just like I did to my husband and so many after him … there’s nothing different about you, is there? The diamond can also steal your mind … and it has done so already, my stupid, stupid little burglar …”
Simon distinctly heard her calling him stupid, and yet his reactions to that direct insult were dull or practically non-existent. His arms were pulling him to the ground; his eyes staunchly transfixed in a dance of illusions that channelled the diamond’s glow into her moist lips and then back into the enthralling shape where it exploded like colourful fireworks on a starry night.
“There’s no point in trying to rationalize what’s happening to you right now.” she continued. “It’s beyond reason, beyond your frail and malleable intellect … it’s the power I was referring to earlier, the force of the diamond becoming completely irresistible … altering your perception … transforming it into my own. As your spirit slowly succumbs to this marvelous sensation, you will grasp the most profound meaning of our encounter today: to take away all of your false hopes of grandeur and show you how truly insignificant your stripped-away soul is … to train you in the ways of my will and determine exactly what you can or can’t expect out of life … and the answer is so simple that can be no denying from you once I reveal it … it’s an answer you’ll come to think as the only one possible, because right now your thoughts are just an extension of the diamond and the diamond’s voice cannot be silenced, not by you and not by anyone! Listen now to the last part of my story, the one where your eyes will flutter to sleep and your individuality will cease to exist! Observe as I stop moving the diamond, getting ready to extinguish its shine by closing my fist on it, the same fist that will close upon your independent actions at the very same moment. The diamond has shown its true colours to you, and I have made you mine!”
Her hand devoured the necklace, and Simon Hunter was banished from the face of the earth. In its place stood an almost perfect replica that even had the ability to breathe, although one might argue if that subdued breath actually meant he was alive. Putting aside all philosophies, it should be noted that this facsimile of a human body was but a shifting product in Rachel’s knowledgeable hands. The traits it would show throughout its long, fulfilling years of binding subjugation would constantly be updated by the needs of her quirks and resulting quirks that would produce other needs, in a constant dance of light and darkness, the Yin and Yang of a dominant woman’s point of view.
Returning the diamond to its unguarded dome, Rachel Gardner’s warped sense of accomplishment was expressed once more as she taught her new male servant the words he would have to use to please her: Mistress, Mistress Rachel, or Goddess. So accustomed to them, she admitted no others, despite all the catchy titles she knew that possessed the same connotation. It was just one of those fetishes better left unquestioned.
At the end of that triumphant night, her dress did indeed come off, but the shadow of the man who had once been a dreadful insurance salesman by day and a craven crook after dusk wasn’t the only one present to admire and obey her naked body. Joining the party was also Rachel’s previous conquest, the police officer who shouldn’t have overreacted when confronted with a traffic violation.
These two opposites of society in the real world were now one and the same in a newfound shrine of glory, taking turns in the sheer joy of plunging their undeserving masses of inflamed flesh and muscles in her thirst-quenching cornucopia of reddish pubic hairs, or simply providing their Mistress of minds a double means of contentment, through the front and through the back; either way was perfect!