“Bad boy. You’re a very bad boy.” Her voice was breathy, her tone bored. The soft tails of the cat o’nine lightly slapped the back of his thighs. “Naughty boy. You’re a very naughty boy.”
The young woman cracked her gum, refreshing the spearmint scent in the air. Her heels clacked twice against the cold concrete floor as she moved towards his feet. She paused for a moment of consideration before she spoke again. “Bad, bad boy. Very, very bad boy.”
He felt the tickle of leather along his calves and groaned inwardly. This was torture. And not the good kind.
“That’s enough,” he said, his voice muffled by the mask.
“Oh, yeah?” The gum crackled like distant gunfire between her molars as she chalked. “I’ll say when it’s enough ‘cuz I’m the one in charge here.”
He tried to shake his head but the device held his skull fast. “California,” he snapped.
She took a step back. “You’re fucking kidding me.”
“Don’t make me say it again.”
“Are you serious? We haven’t even got through the warm-up yet.”
“I didn’t sign up for a yoga class,” he said. “I don’t need a warm-up. Fucking California.”
“Okay. Fine. California it is.” She leaned over and unbuckled the straps along his back. “Asshole.” She loosened the screws of the vice that held his head in place. “You still owe for the whole session.”
“Just get me off this horse.”
Richard waited for her to leave the chamber before he rose from the bench to shake out his limbs. After a quick sniff test, he determined that he would not need another shower before work. He touched the ridiculously faint welts along his flanks and chastised himself for taking his anger out on the young dom. While her light touch and initial reluctance to heed the safe word had doubled-down on his bad temper, she was not the true source of his angst. If he couldn’t find someone strong enough to push him over the edge, his talent was dead and so was his career. He’d already wasted too much time wallowing in grief before accepting the transfer and his new partner thought he was useless and she wasn’t wrong.
The narrow corridor outside of the cell was clear and he made short work of the distance to the locker room. His bare feet slapped the cold floor, echoing flatly along the quiet length but the door at the end opened to a noisier, smellier world. The dungeon partnered with a local gym and the meatheads were on full display; half preened for the attention of their own kind, the other half for their own reflections. He moved through a clutch of men debating the merits of talcum versus cornstarch to open his locker.
Entering a combination was unnecessary as the contraption was keyed to his touch and fell open into his hand. He disliked leaving his badge and gun in shared spaces but his private lock would deliver a nasty surprise to anyone that did more than casually handle it. He wore casuals when he wasn’t on duty but since he had to go straight to work, he left the jeans and t-shirt in his duffle and slipped into his suit. The shoulder holster did not draw any attention as he strapped it into place but when the gun slipped into her leather sheath, a deep voice spoke up from behind.
“You a cop, buddy?”
Richard shrugged into his jacket, checked the inner pocket for his wallet and badge, then turned to face the speaker. The naked man was a broad-shouldered specimen with pale inkless skin but strategic scars on his chest bespoke a serious fetish. The neatly trimmed Van Dyke over an expanse of bare chest gave him a villainous yet oddly appealing appearance.
“Do I look like a cop, buddy?” Richard asked as he began knotting his tie.
“Yeah,” the man said. “You do.”
Richard shrugged. “Then I must be a cop.” Tie in place, he slid his fingers along its length to align the silk halves. The man’s eyes tracked the movement of his hand and then continued down to the front of his pants.
“If you’re a cop,” the guy said, his gaze locked on target, “then I’m a criminal.”
Richard shook his head. “I’m off-duty, man.”
“Come on.” The man deepened his voice to roughen the sharp edge of hunger. “I’ll pay you fifty bucks to take me into custody.”
Several members of the suddenly attentive audience behind the player chuckled and placed their bets. Richard slipped his hand into his jacket pocket and pulled out the leather wallet. He flipped it open to display his silver badge.
“Sac PD. Homicide,” he drawled. “Kill anyone lately?”
The man frowned. “You’re a real cop?”
“Sorry to disappoint.”
“Not at all.” The frown transformed into a shit-eating grin. “‘Cuz what I want from you ain’t nowhere near illegal in this state.”
“It is if I’m not interested.”
The man lifted his hands in mock surrender and stepped back while the losers behind him passed coins to the winners. “Alright, alright, no need to pull your weapon out yet.” He winked. “Unless you’re ready to get it serviced.”
“I’ve got a partner for that,” Richard said. “She specializes in tactical situations.”
Someone barked then howled and a chorus soon joined in. The men were getting restless and Richard decided that his decision to utilize this particular dungeon on the recommendation of a yellow page was less than stellar.
“She?” The man laughed and dropped his hands. “Sorry, man.”
Richard wondered if the guy might be about to apologize for the misunderstanding.
“Sorry, man,” the dude said again. “But, yeah, I just don’t see it that way, buddy. The way I see it is, I can smell talent from a mile away and you fucking reek. It’s oozing out your pours, man. Why would a guy like you deny your fellow man a taste of that kind of power and thus deny your own… needs.”
The aggressor utilized the long pause between the last two words to close the short distance between them. His use of bulk intimidation inspired Richard to take action. He lifted one hand and pushed it towards the bare chest of the other man. Before their skins touched, a red spark flashed between them and the larger of the two dropped bonelessly to the floor. Richard moved quickly to catch the limp man’s head so it would not crack against the nearby metal bench. When he was settled into a safe yet not quite comfortable position, Richard stood, grabbed his duffle, and slammed the locker door shut.
He turned to the hushed audience. “When the bizzaro Mr. Clean comes around in a minute or two, let him know that the next time he steps up on a cop like that, they’ll bring his fantasy to life and it won’t be near as gentle.”
“Hey,” said a fellow with chops to his chin and biceps laced with some serious hexwork. “Ricky’s a fucking teddybear, man. He wouldn’t hurt damned fly. You didn’t need to do that, man.”
“Teddybear,” Richard repeated, nodding in a thoughtful manner. “I’ll let the guys at the station know ‘Ricky’s a fucking teddybear, man’. Maybe one or two of them will drop by to give him a hug.”
Richard hoped to leave the morning, and the situation in the locker room, behind in an expedient fashion. He moved quickly through the lobby towards the stairs leading up to daylight but a woman’s cough and then her clear voice stalled his passage.
“Ahem- Mr. Smith,” she said, her accent lilting his name in a lovely manner. “Mr. Smith, a word, please?”
He kept his foot on the first step, turning only his head to look back. “Yes?”
“Please.” The woman smiled and beckoned with her fingers. “If you would.”
He glanced at his watch and determined that while he did have the time, he had no interest in useless interaction.
“I paid up front and left a generous tip,” he said. “There shouldn’t be an issue.”
“Oh, there is no problem with your payment, Mr. Smith. And this will take only a moment of your time. A moment that I know you do have as your session was scheduled to end at oh nine hundred hours and it is now only eight thirty.”
She’s got me there, he thought, a bit impressed by both her savvy and her physical appearance. Straight black hair swung like a silk curtain down the length of her torso and long brown arms sparkled with myriad golden bangles. Her orange sari looked light as air and he could imagine the ends of it lifting if she were to dance and spin before him. Despite the intrigue, he was still not anxious to delay his departure.
“I was cutting it close when I booked the appointment and I’d like to get downtown in a timely manner, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, but I do. I do mind, Mr. Smith,” she said, rather mournfully. “You see, Ferocity is new to our establishment and you are not the first to leave a session with her in a premature manner. I am afraid that I will have to let her go without recommendation if I do not receive a satisfactory explanation. If you would please allow me a moment—one moment shorter than even the one I have already taken so rudely—to gather information so that I might make a fair and just decision, my appreciation would be quite generous.”
He smiled in lieu of applause at the delightful verbal dance she had just performed for his benefit and walked towards the reception area, his annoyance almost mollified. He dropped his duffle on the floor with a musty thump and leaned forward on the counter. The woman pulled out a small notebook and an elegant pen.
“Please,” she said, holding the pen at ready. “Do provide me with any thoughts that may apply to this situation.”
“She has a light touch,” he said, after a moment. “Too light for my tastes.”
The woman nodded and made a note on the paper.
“And I think that she might benefit from more time as a sub so that she understands the importance of a safe word, no matter the reason for using it.”
“Ah.” The woman’s eyes widened and her mouth moued as she wrote.
“And she’s too young for my tastes,” he admitted. “She’s, what, twenty? I’m sure that she has potential but without another decade of experience behind that whip, I wouldn’t trust her with my skin.”
After finishing her notes, she capped the pen and closed the notebook. “Your information is highly valued, Mr. Smith.” She pressed her hands together and gave him a gentle bow. “I agree that a sublime submissive makes the best kind of dominant and I shall endeavor to instruct the young woman so that both her potential and her time are not wasted.”
Her dark lips parted to reveal a row of dazzling teeth in a smile that curled his toes. He opened his mouth to speak his first thought and then thought better of it. Instead, he asked, “What is your name?”
A gentle laugh escaped her smile. “I am retired, Mr. Smith,” she said. “But I do appreciate your thoughts.”
He blinked and straightened his back, lifting his arms from the counter in a near defensive posture. “Can you- uh…”
“Only the thoughts that you project, Mr. Smith,” she assured him. “My talent is much like having very good ears. It comes in useful when selecting for a client. But, as you can see, I am not always successful and for that I am sorry.”
“I can be a bit hard to read,” he admitted, clamping down on stray thoughts. “When I mean to be.”
“Yes, and perhaps that is why I selected Ferocity instead of a more appropriate soul. I do apologize for wasting your time. I will, of course, pay for your next session should you wish to trust me again. I believe I have someone who would suit you quite well.”
“I’ll think about it,” he said.
“Oh, that is too bad.” Her smile saddened. “I had hoped to see you again.”
He chuckled. She was good. No use hiding the fact that he was a cop. She’d obviously known it the moment from he’d walked in. “You’d come in handy down at the station.”
“I have.” She blessed him with a charming laugh. “Many times. Ask around. They call me the Lady Scorn.”
Richard thought that there could not be a more perfect time to end the conversation and leave on a marvelous note, so of course, the heavy phone on her desk rang in an unusual and officially insistant manner.
He ran his hand down his face while she answered. After a moment, she held out the phone to him, a look of mild surprise on her face. “For you,” she said.
He took the receiver and snapped, “Smith.”
Marianne from Dispatch spoke in monotone. “Suspicious death at 67 Folsom Blvd, Abby’s Autos. Male, caucasian, late thirties, crew on scene.” Then her voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. “She’s ten minutes out. You’re seven if you push it.”
The line disconnected.
“Gotta bolt,” he said to the Lady Scorn and then, out of respect, he bowed before he picked up his duffle and left.
When the detective had cleared the lobby and the doors above had closed between them, the Lady Scorn called her favorite submissive to her side. Ferocity eagerly fell to her knees in supplication and repeatedly pressed her lips to the jeweled rings on the brown toes.
“You may rise,” Scorn said, when enough time had passed.
The too-thin blonde obeyed but kept her head down and her eyes on the woman’s sandals.
“Did he have the mark?” Scorn asked.
“Yes.” Ferocity nodded, rushing her words fast enough to make them trip over each other. “Along his sh-sh-shaft, mistress. I-I didn’t get a good look but I- I- I’m p-pretty sure it was th-there.”
Lady Scorn sighed heavily. “Not. Good. Enough.”
She slapped the girl’s face hard with an open palm and waited until the mild orgasm had passed and her supplicant could respond to questions without fainting. “How good, of a look, did you get?”
“It was like- like two circles, sort of s-s-squi-s-s-squished together. They could have- could have- could have b-b-been teardrops if- if he was, you- you- you know, erect.”
Scorn considered the information. “I should have taken his reluctance into further consideration. I should have known that he wasn’t here for the thrill of it. Not if he was one Hers.”
“I did what you said, Mistress,” Ferocity pleaded, forcing each word out in pained gasps. “I held back. I played d-d-dumb. I was d-d-disrespectful of his wishes. I did exactly what you said t-t-to d-d-d…” her words dissolved into quiet sobs.
“Yes, yes, pet.” Scorn absently reached out to stroke the taller woman’s arm as though she were a sable wrap. “You did well enough, I suppose.”
“Have I failed?” Ferocity’s voice was thick with tears. “Have I failed you, mistress? Will you withhold the lash? Please, please don’t do this to me.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Scorn snapped. “I said you did well enough.”
The submissive’s face crumbled and snot spilled over her upper lip. She licked it away. “I’ll do better next time, I promise. I promise. Please don’t withhold the lash. Please.”
“There will be no next time, child. I can assure you. That man will not return as a client. Nor do we wish him to return as one. If he is one of Hers, as I believe him to be, we do not want anything to do with him in that way. However, I do wonder if we will be seeing him again.” She slipped her fingers under the girl’s chin and lifted her head until their eyes could meet. “Tell me, child.” She spoke softly, her tone sweet as syrup. “Will we be seeing him again?”
“Um… well, I… I don’t…”
Scorn leaned forward and pressed her lips to those of her submissive. She allowed the tips of their tongues to meet. Keeping her eyes open, she waited until Ferocity’s rolled back into her head and then she supported the sleight weight against her more substantial frame. “Do you see him, Ferocity? Here?”
“Yes. I see him.” Her voice was soft, her words distant. “He is here. With a woman. She has dark hair.”
“Is she one of ours?”
“No. No. There is a body. There is blood.”
“A body?” Scorn gasped. “Blood?”
“Oh, that is not good,” Scorn said. “That is not good at all.”