There is no warning rattle at the door, or perhaps I’m in too deep to hear you invade the keyhole with your key, too far gone to hear the scrape of metal against metal. Either way, I’m down so deep I can barely move: I have no warning. You appear before me silently with a candle and a dark smile, holding a small metal bowl, which you set down carefully on the floor.
You circle me, examining me, clawing at me with your eyes. You tug my wrists strung behind my back, you pull my ponytail where it dangles, you run your hands down my spread legs to the shackles and bar at my ankles. You aggravate my hurts and I moan.
You enter my plane of vision and ravage the silence with a growl.
“I’m going to use you.”
I nod and mumble in agreement.
You slip a small knife from your pocket. You loom and cut the rope at my wrists. You let my arms fall to my sides.
You pocket your knife and snatch my hair in one hand. With your other hand you slap my face. Once, twice. A third time, and my face is stinging. I am awake now, you’ve seen to that.
I blink. Your small candle casts eerie shadows around the room.
You abandon my face and travel to my shoulders, which you take firmly into your hands. I find myself at the juncture of clavicle and phalanges. I smile.
You shove me to the cold, hard stone without another word; you watch me watch you deliberately undo your pants. You watch me watch you.
At last, “Open your mouth,” you whisper. I do, and you commence your ministrations. You push me, pull me, you fight me. You play with my breath, you take what’s yours and you steal what’s mine. I am forced out of myself. You persist at my mouth until you take matters into your own hands; your efforts culminate in a hot, wet arc that says it all.
Afterwards I am hot and wet. Afterwards my knees hurt. Afterwards I smile. I am here for your pleasure.
“Bedtime,” you say not unkindly as you replace your clothing. I wait for you to make your way back up the stairs, your quiet hum echoing in the gloomy chamber like a prelude to the slam of the heavy door. The scrape of metal against metal startles me now.
When I’m sure that you’re gone, I use my hands to support my weight as I flip my bound legs around to the front, a feat not so easy to accomplish. My hurts complain. I sit, naked, legs still shackled and splayed before me on the stone floor: I am a bird on a wire. I reach for the small metal dish you’ve left. I am hungry and I dig into the food with my bare fingers, enjoying my sustenance.
Later, as the small candle wears down and sleep threatens, I memorize the shadows. I take note of the size and shape of the empty dish next to me on the floor. A dog bowl, I think with my last few strands of consciousness.