I don’t think I want to move anyway, so that’s okay. I have screamed, cried, struggled and begged for days and I have no strength left to do anything except lie here, completely broken.
Taun came to get me! Yes, my dear, sweet friend, he came to the Retreat, took me home and…
And my life has been a living hell and a waking nightmare since that day, probably a few weeks ago now but I have no way of knowing. I mean, I can see if it’s day or night but I have no idea how many days have passed because I wasn’t even conscious for some of the time and it’s not as if I get tucked in at night and woken up gently each morning.
So, what happened? If Taun came to get me, why isn’t my life wonderful and amazing and perfectly happy? Because of that stupid DVD, that’s why! At least, that’s what Taun is blaming his rage on but he also seems extremely angry that I walked off in the middle of the night and ended up back at the Retreat. But at least that one mystery is solved. I didn’t know how I had gotten to the Retreat because it’s much too far for me to walk and it’s not like I could take a bus or train there in my sleep! Apparently, I’d wandered out of Taun’s house half-asleep, half in a daze, and some man had found me and asked me my name and address and all I’d said was something like, “I’m Clara, from the Gentleman’s Retreat.” So the man had done some asking around and found someone who knew Mr. Negulesco who said he’d come get me and take me home.
Why hadn’t Mr. Negulesco told Taun sooner that I was there? Why hadn’t Taun come earlier to look for me there? I haven’t been able to ask these questions yet but I have a theory that Mr. Neguelsco was very happy to just let me stay at the Retreat for a while, not because he likes me, but because some of the gentlemen do. I guess. At least they like hurting me.
Anyway, it seems that after Mr. Kozlov made that edited version of the video from our “romantic” night together Mr. Negulesco decided to send it to Taun (although I don’t know if he was doing so because Mr. Kozlov asked him to or whether it was his own idea). In any case, once Taun had seen the video he was furious and drove straight to the Retreat. Why had it taken seeing that video to make him come and get me? Had he been happy to let me suffer there at the hands of those awful men and only wanted to get me back when he thought I was happy and in love with one of them? Or did he really not know that I was there before the video footage proved it? Maybe he had phoned Mr. Negulesco to ask him and he’d lied. I doubt I’ll ever know the truth and it doesn’t really matter as it won’t change anything for me right now.
Right now, I just have to figure out how to survive until Taun has decided that I have paid off my debt to him and also convinced him that I can be trusted. Oh, and of course I also have the meeting with Mr. Negulesco to look forward to tomorrow, during which apparently he and Taun will finalize the details of my sale. Such fun times…
Being sold to Taun, to live with him and be used by only him, would have been almost a dream come true, a few weeks ago. Taken from the hands of cruel strangers at the Retreat into the arms of a man who likes me and who treats me as a human being was something I would have agreed to in a heartbeat. But now, if being owned by Taun means that I will suffer the way I have for the past few weeks, then I think I want to go back to the Retreat. At least there, some days I am left in peace and some times the men are kind; here every day and night is pain and cruelty.
I’m sorry, my long-suffering friend, you are probably completely confused by my tale of woe. Let me back up a little and tell you what happened.
It was late morning when Taun arrived at the Retreat. I had just woken (the previous night had been long, but thankfully not painful) and I was standing in one of the small side rooms on the main floor of the Retreat. The sun was streaming in through the windows and making beautiful patterns on the walls and I was blissfully lost in my own little world. I remember hearing footsteps and looking up, hoping to see one of the kinder men approaching, and never for a minute guessing that it would be Taun.
You can imagine my surprise and utter joy! I started to run towards him with outstretched arms but the look of rage on his face stopped me dead in my tracks.
“Taun?” I stood about three feet away from him, suddenly unsure that it was even him. He looked furious and he seemed older somehow.
“Come here, Clara.” HIs voice was hard and cold.
I was frozen to the spot. I wanted nothing more than to go to him but I couldn’t make my body obey. Why was he so angry?
“I said, come here.” He was shouting now and I had to force my muscles to move.
As I approached, confused and suddenly frightened, he looked as though he was about to kill me.
“Don’t move.” He reached towards my neck and I barely managed to control the reflex to flinch away. He was holding something in his hand. It looked like a chain or a necklace but I didn’t have time to look more closely as he was already fastening it around my throat. I stared at him, perplexed, while he worked then I heard a little click and he stood back.
I saw him smile for the first time since his arrival. Well, smile isn’t really the right word; sneer perhaps? I felt my neck with my finger tips. The necklace fit snuggly around my throat.
“I should have done that the first time I took you from here. But it is done now. You are mine and you are coming with me.”
“But that’s exactly what I want-”
“I don’t care what you want, Clara. You have pissed me off one time too many.” His eyes were balls of fire, ready to jump out of their sockets and burn me alive if I uttered one more syllable.
So I stood in silence as Taun reached into his pocket and pulled out a long piece of leather, one end of which he clipped to the front of my necklace. Holding the other end of the leather he started to walk towards the front door.
My blood froze as realization hit me. It wasn’t a necklace. It was a collar! Taun had just put a collar on me and he was about to lead me out of the building with a leash!
I started to pull back, refusing to be lead along like a dog, then Taun turned around and looked at me in such a way I was sure he was about to pounce like an enraged lion.
His voice was a deep, low growl. “We are going to the car. You will walk behind me like the good, obedient little slave you clearly are not or, I can strip you and drag you around the Retreat and its grounds and make you service every man we meet before taking you to the car. That is the last choice you will have in a very long time. Use it wisely.”
I stared at him. I couldn’t believe what he was saying or doing but I very quickly made the decision to follow close behind him.
The drive was long and silent. I was too scared now to ask any questions and Taun obviously didn’t feel like speaking. When we finally arrived at the house he pushed me inside and pointed to the middle of the room.
I looked around; everything was exactly the same as I remembered, except for something new in the middle of the room. It looked like a huge cushion on a sort of platform and at each corner there was a large iron ring bolted into ground with a chain attached. I looked at Taun.
“It’s your welcome home gift.” He said as he unclipped the leash from the chain around my neck. “Go take a closer look.”
I walked towards the center of the room and could feel Taun following close behind me. The cushion was rectangular and red. I shivered, realizing it was exactly the color of freshly spilled blood.
Taun pointed to the cushion and told me to lie on my tummy. I did so.
“Oh!” I called out, surprised, as suddenly the middle part of the cushion began to rise, lifting my bottom into the air until I was almost on my hands and knees, with my tummy supported by the firm padding. I looked at Taun who laughed. He was holding some sort of remote which obviously controlled the platform at the base of the cushion. I heard a faint click and the platform lowered into a flat position once again.
“Clara, this is where you will live from now on until I decide otherwise. You cannot be trusted and so you will be chained here, where I can see you, in full view of myself and any house guests I may receive. I will decide when you will use the toilet and bathe. If you eat and drink it is because I have granted you permission to do so. If you are extremely well behaved, I may permit you clothing. Strip off.”
“And you may not speak. You are a run away animal, a stray dog. If you make even a sound you will be punished. Is that clear?”
I stared at him in disbelief, my eyes filling with tears. I had no idea what was going on or why Taun was so angry with me but I nodded that I understood I wasn’t to speak.
He didn’t wait for me to remove my clothes. Lunging towards me, he grabbed at the flimsy underwear I was wearing and easily ripped them off.
“Hesitation is the same as disobedience and you will be punished for both. Now, I’m going to chain you up and then we will watch a movie together.”
I remained motionless as Taun began to walk around me. I didn’t know what else to do! There was no way I could fight him off and even if by some miracle I managed to escape his house where would I go; we were in the middle of nowhere.
Crying softly, afraid to make too much noise, I lifted my head to see what Taun was doing. The chains that were attached to each ring in the floor had a thick leather cuff on their free end and Taun fastened each one around my ankles and wrists then pulled the chains until they were taut and my arms and legs stretched wide.
“If you are good, I will loosen the chains. If you are very good, they will be removed and instead you will be chained only by your collar. But until you earn that reward you will remain like this. Comfortable?”
I nodded, although I wasn’t at all.
“Good, then let’s watch the movie. I think you will like it. The heroine looks very much like you.” Taun walked over to the table and returned with a tablet. Sitting on the cushion next to me, he turned the tablet on and held it so I could see the screen.
I watched in growing horror as I saw myself and Mr. Kozlov together in the bedroom of the Retreat. I tried to look away but Taun grabbed my face and turned it back towards the screen.
“Oh no you don’t. You’re going to watch the whole thing. I had to. You are going to listen to every sigh, every moan, every “I love you, Mr. Kozlov.” And then you will start paying for what you have done.” He paused the video and fixed me with his dark eyes, so black with anger and hurt he almost didn’t look human. “You will pay for your betrayal, Clara. You will pay every day, slowly and painfully, until your debt is cleared. I won’t enjoy hurting you; I’m not like your little boyfriend, Kozlov. But I will enjoy watching you suffer for what you have put me through, walking out on me – yet again – straight back to the Retreat and into the arms of another man. You belong to me. You are mine. You will be punished until you understand that fact.”
My head was reeling. I knew now why he was so upset. If he thought the video was real his anger and hurt made sense, but I couldn’t even explain to him that it was edited to make it look worse because I wasn’t allowed to speak.
He started the film again and we watched until the end. Of course it had been cut off before Mr. Kozlov had revealed the truth of his trickery and ended with us both on the bed, my face flushed with a very obviously real and unfaked post-orgasmic satisfaction glow.
Taun put the tablet on the floor. Still sitting on the edge of the cushion he leaned over and brushed a lock of hair back from where it had been clinging to my cheek, stuck there by the tears I had shed while watching myself declare undying love for a man I despised. For the first time since seeing him again, Taun looked at me with kindness in his eyes. Did I see moisture there? Surely I was mistaken.
“Oh Clara. It could have been so very different. Why did you have to go and fuck it all up?” He stood and started to walk away.
“Taun? Please, I-”
He stopped and turned around slowly to face me. He looked furious, but also suddenly just completely exhausted. “I told you not to speak. You are already in very, very deep trouble; don’t make it even worse for yourself. It has been a long day for me and I am going to bed now. I suggest you rest too because tomorrow your punishments begin. Also tomorrow I will tell you about our upcoming meeting with Mr. Negulesco. I am going to buy you, Clara. You will never leave me ever again. Good night.”
I watched him walk towards the bedroom. There was nothing else I could do.
That all happened a few weeks ago. Since then I have been punished daily and sometimes nightly by both Taun and his houseguests. Tomorrow we are going to a secret location to meet Mr. Negulesco and finalize the details of my sale. I had thought I loved Taun but now I am terrified of him. I don’t think I want him to buy me, even if it means going back to my life at the Retreat. But I have no say in the matter and I will just have to wait and see what happens at the meeting tomorrow.
This morning Taun unfastened three of the cuffs, leaving me chained only by one ankle. He threw a book and pen at me, which hit me in the chest.
“Write. You have until tomorrow to catch up with everything that has happened since you last wrote in your diary. I expect you to record everything the way you always have and I may, or may not, read it. You are to record everything as you always do and you will not be punished for anything you say or report however, if you lie – even by omission – you will regret it for a long time.”
And so, my poor friend, here I am, chained by the ankle to this otherwise very comfortable cushion, desperately scribbling everything down before sunrise. I hope you can read my awful handwriting! I need a short break before I tell you what happened next but don’t worry, I won’t be gone long. I have too much to write and I can’t risk not finishing by the morning.