She’s all limbs, long legs exposed under the insufficient length of what passes for a skirt, curled up against the cold truth of the world. Her face is hidden beneath a curtain of hair which won’t protect her from anything down here.
I saw her lift her head and look around as I was coming down the stairs, but she’s decided it’s better to pretend to not be awake now that I’m standing over her, a man she doesn’t know, and has no reason to trust.
She is lit by a single bare bulb hanging above her head. It casts shadows all around her helpless frame. Those dark depths hold horrors she can’t begin to imagine. This place of captivity will become her world over the next hours and days. Soon, she’ll forget that there is anything outside these walls. She won’t know anyone or anything besides me.
Her helplessness makes me throb with need. She is nineteen years old, almost too old for what I have planned for her, but I think we can make it work.
“Sit up,” I say, crouching down next to her prone form. It puts my face, my hands, my body closer to her, gives me more control and more presence.
She doesn’t move, but I can see her breath quicken in the flaring of her nostrils and the pulse visible at the base of her pale neck. Naughty girl, refusing an order. She’ll soon learn not to do that.
She’s going to learn to obey.
She’s going to become so conditioned to obedience that anything else is literally unthinkable.
That will come in time. Today she will be scared and perhaps even defiant.
I love these first precious hours with a new girl. This is the time in which I learn precisely where her soft spots are, and she discovers that the world is not what she thought it was.
I reach down, let my fingers run through her hair. It is smooth and silky, with just a little grip from the product she used to make it sit so sleekly around her face. My caress brings a whimper to her lips, then a gasp as I tighten my fingers, grabbing her hair down by the roots. I lift her head up. Her upper body follows. As I tilt her head back, she can’t help but look at me with pretty, innocent blue eyes.
She is trembling in my grasp, portraying the kind of fear entirely appropriate for a situation such as this. But that is the word that sticks in my mind. Portraying. I have been there when a hundred different girls have found themselves in this situation, I have seen a hundred frightened expressions and felt the tremors of their terror. There is something superficial about this one. She is afraid, but not as deeply as she should be. I wonder if the drugs are yet to fully wear off.
“Help me,” she whispers as I lift a bottle to her lips.
“I am helping you,” I say, dribbling a little of my sedative-laced water between her lips. She swallows automatically. Good girl.
“I need to call my family.”
“Sshhh,” I say, gentling her with a brief brush of my hand against her temple. “You’re alright.”
She’s not alright. She won’t be, either. With one rash decision, she’s fallen off the radar of safe society, and into the pit which surrounds it on all sides. Most people aren’t even aware how limited their safety is. They have no idea how brutal the chaos which surrounds them on all sides truly can be. This girl is about to find out, and there’s something beautiful in that.
Even if it means death, to have seen the true face of this world we call home just once, is real freedom. So, then, though she is locked away in this basement which is so distant from everything she knows, in some way, I am setting her free.
This girl is young, beautiful, and apparently, impulsive. She’s been taught that she is a person, but down here, in my basement, she is just raw material. We look into one another’s eyes for a long moment. She is trying to understand me, trying to work out if I am a hero who has saved her, or something else. Unfortunately for her, it is the latter.
“Please…” she has a tremor in her voice now. Reality is starting to sink in and she’s starting to get scared. She should be. Nothing good comes of finding yourself down here. This is the place hope comes to die.
“What’s your name?”
I pause. “You’re named after the app?”
“I was born before the app,” she says, somewhat indignantly. In that moment she forgets her surroundings. She’s pulled back to her original self, and I get a glimpse of the girl who she was before she came down here. There’s something proud about her, something elegant, almost regal. This is a girl who comes from power.
“Who are your parents, Siri?”
She presses her lips together, and I know she’s not going to tell me.
She gives a quick little nod, tugging her hair against my fingers.
I’m not sure I believe her.
“My father killed my mother when I was four.”
She says it bluntly, matter of factly. It’s not an appeal to my emotion, it’s just information - and it has the ring of truth about it.
“And your father?”
“Died in prison.”
“Tragic,” I murmur.
“Like you give a fuck,” she shoots back, sudden fire emerging from her fragile frame.
“I don’t give a fuck,” I admit. No point pretending that this will be a meeting of emotional beings. I want to know who her parents are, because I want to know what level of heat having her is going to bring down on me. By the sounds of it, she’s a perfect candidate for my little program, an orphan with nobody to notice that she’s missing.
Everything about this girl is superficially made to order. Her personal situation, her appearance, her very bearing. I can feel the aristocracy in her veins. She is European and finely bred with it. She speaks with a hint of an American accent, indicating she’s spent some time in the United States, but she was picked up in Athens, so she’s either on vacation, or she’s returned home.
“You have a boyfriend?”
She presses her lips together again. Oh she has a neat little tell when she doesn’t want to talk.
“Yeah,” she says. “He’s a marine. He’s going to come here and kick your ass.”
“Is that right? Where was he when you were being plied with drinks in the bar?”
Her eyes flash. She doesn’t know that I know absolutely everything about how she was picked up. Nothing was left to chance. I saw a video of her lithe little ass swaying to the music before my man lured her in. She was very much alone, and very much on the prowl.
“You’re going to want to tell me the truth,” I purr softly, pulling her closer to me. “If I find that you’ve lied to me, you’ll be punished. Harshly.”
Her eyes flash defiance before she gives in. “Fine. I don’t have a boyfriend at the moment.”
“You’ll never have a boyfriend again, little one. You’ll have an owner.”
Siri rolls her eyes.
I let out a short laugh, surprised by her reaction. Usually that revelation brings hysterics, but she acts like I just told her to clean her room.
“You do understand what is happening to you, don’t you?”
“I’d have to be an idiot not to,” she says, fresh attitude surfacing. This one is going to test me. I am going to be taking my palm to her ass frequently, I can already tell that much.
I turn my attention away from her attitude and toward her appearance. She’s very pleasing to the eye. I like her hair. It’s long, but we’ll grow it out even longer. Men like long hair on their toys. Her eyes are a very nice shade of blue. I imagine they’ll shine in the sun, if she ever sees light again.
“What do you think is happening?”
“You’re probably going to kill me or something.”
Again, she speaks as if it doesn’t matter, as if my killing her would be a minor inconvenience. I wonder if she’s more damaged than she looks. A violent father, a deceased mother… major losses at a young age leave their marks on people. I should know better than anyone. She may be broken.
“I’m not going to kill you, Siri.”
She shrugs, as if it doesn’t really matter one way or another.
“What do you last remember?”
“Being in a club,” she says. “A guy bought me a drink…”
“Never take drinks from strangers,” I chide gently. “They rarely have good intentions.”
“I know,” she says, looking at me with those strangely calm eyes. “That’s why I drank it.”
He is handsome, but it is the kind of handsome which is just a veneer for evil. His face is generic in an attractive way. Dark hair, dark eyes, smooth voice. His bone structure is square and well balanced. The worst things come in the most attractive packages in my experience, and he is no exception.
“What’s your name?”
My survival depends on understanding this man. As much as he is trying to work me out, I’m trying to do the same - except I can’t let that show.
“You can call me Stavros.”
He is a bad man. He has fucked up intentions. But he hasn’t hurt me, not yet, anyway. That’s good. I was bracing for pain. I thought he might be a sadist. I know he’s a sicko.
“So, why do you have me, Stavros?” I ask a question I already know the answer to.
“This is what I do,” he says, brushing another strand of hair away from my eyes. “I collect fine women, and I train them for service. When you are ready, you will be the pleasure toy of one of the richest men in the world.”
His words sound somehow far away, but I think it’s because I’m not breathing. I can’t believe he just said all of that, and so calmly too. I’m doing my best to stay collected in front of him. I have to toe a fine line. If I’m too calm, he’ll know something is up with me. If I give into my fear, then I’ll be useless to myself.
I’m already fucking this up. When I said the thing about drinking that laced drink, his head shot back like I’d socked him right on the nose. I can’t give into my nihilistic tendencies right now. I have to pretend I’m someone this would matter to.
“But, I have to go back to school. I have two more years… I have…”
“Nothing to worry about except me,” he interjects.
I like the way he speaks. His voice is low and calming. He doesn’t have the hectic energy of a madman, even if he is one. It’s helping keep me together, even as my world falls apart.
“Are you going to hurt me?”
“There is no benefit in hurting you,” he says. “And there’s certainly no point in traumatizing you. Nobody wants their toy to come to them broken.”
“Toys only get broken once they’re opened.”
His eyes light up with something like mirth. “Exactly,” he says without any kind of remorse or concern.
I swallow. There’s no point trying to appeal to his better side. I don’t think he has one. And there’s definitely no point in trying to make him feel sorry for me. He doesn’t care. My mind is racing. What do you say? What do you do? There are no scripts for moments like these. He said he was going to sell me.
“How much am I worth?”
His brow rises. “Why?
“I’m curious. I study economics. How much am I worth?”
“Depends,” he says, running his gaze up and down me with the critical eye of a marketer. “Are you a virgin?”
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to discover that people who sell women are misogynistic.
“Although, we could get you hymen surgery and sell you as virginal, you look innocent enough,” he comments thoughtfully.
Everything he says is terrible, but he delivers it in such a way that it sounds nearly pedestrian.
“I mean, ROI, am I right?” I agree blandly.
It’s his turn to look shocked.
“You do understand that I am serious, Siri. You will be trained and sold.”
“Your life as you know it is over.”
He shakes his head at me. “This is usually the part where the begging and the crying starts.”
“Does it work?”
“Well, I might skip that part, then.”