“So what are you into?”
Their introductions were barely cold, hadn’t even been given a chance to breathe and she’d already dived for that conversational hot potato. It was a mad scramble at a life raft that might or might not have been there. For a moment, he entertained the thought of divulging, letting her know every little piece of the puzzle, where his fetishes lay, and exactly what he liked to do.
But she didn’t want to know, not really. This was an attempt to force a stilted conversation into motion, lurching forward with enough fuel in its engines to keep going for a few more minutes before she disengaged and wandered to the next unsuspecting guy, blindsiding him with that same question. She was only asking it so she could answer it herself.
“This and that,” he replied, taking a sip from his drink and letting his eyes slide off her over-earnest face, scanning the rest of the room, looking for someone with a little more substance. As soon as the thought ticker-taped across his mind, he felt awful for dismissing this girl so out of hand, but she wasn’t exactly doing herself any favours.
Munches came with certain caveats. Primary among them was the fact that while everyone there was kinky, that didn’t mean the sole conversation topic had to be exactly what people enjoyed in the bedroom. It was a meeting of like minds, but those minds weren’t fixated on just the one thing—or at least not all of them were. This girl… Jack forced a smile and excused himself, gliding over to a group of friends.
The question lingered, though, a piece of gum stuck to the underside of his mind. What are you into? What have you submerged yourself in? Allowed to envelope you completely until you’re struggling to think without having every part of it permeate your conscious mind? Because that’s what this was. Not so much a kink as an extensive rewiring of his personality, interpreting it through an entirely new set of criteria. Who he was hadn’t so much come under question but under fire, each part of it whittled away until only the most resilient parts remained.
The worst of it was the isolation, which was the primary reason he was here, in this place, among these people. Not to discuss fetishes like they were stats on a Top Trumps card, something to compare and contrast with all the other attendees, but rather finally to be able to enjoy himself in the company of people who were similarly stranded, and finally able to talk about things without having to police every word in case they let that alter-ego slip free.
Society had made him feel like a schizophrenic, and it was exhausting.
Compartmentalisation had always been a part of him— segregating sections of his personality when he was with friends, or family, or strangers. But that was more for convenience than social survival; in a world where the transfer of information was becoming ever more easy and quick, he had to be incredibly careful not to incriminate himself. His job was the primary concern, but it was more to avoid all those awkward questions that would no doubt bubble up from the mouths of friends and family like so much frothing rabies, their ferocious appetite for gossip overriding any empathy they might feel towards him.
Questions like, ‘What are you into?’ He smirked, if only to disguise the internal wave of nausea that washed over him. He was into hurting pretty girls and watching them revel in that pain. He was into hearing them whimper as his fingers worked against them, unable to do anything but lose themselves in the pleasure because he had bound their hands, and their ankles, and any other part of them that was likely to buck and writhe. He was into watching their will buckle under his, and seeing them come out the other side utterly submissive to his dominance. He was into pretty much everything that girl had wanted to hear spill out of his mouth.
It was her fault, of course. Emily. Not that Jack was blaming her, but it was never something he’d come to on his own. The discomfort that sat in his gut like guilt wasn’t her fault, but the primary cause lay with her. He knew that much. That was why he was here and why things had gone in the direction they had. It was the way she’d tensed. He knew that much.
Cable ties had become a modus operandi for him— a faithful fallback that had none of the finesse of rope, but none of the potential embarrassment either. He could slip a hand under his bed, grab a pair of ties and have her restrained and powerless in a few seconds, rather than having to pore over rope for ten minutes, making sure each loop was tight and fixed, and that she couldn’t just wriggle free. Cable ties were simple, and he was starting to appreciate simple.
The only caveat was that the plastic wasn’t friendly to the softness of skin. After a short while, she’d start to squirm and struggle, the pain shifting from the enjoyable kind of uncomfortable to something much more malicious, the bite of the tie more than just a pleasant distraction. At that point he’d have to cut her free, adjust, adapt.
He kept a pair of wire cutters on his bedside table for just that purpose —the rubberised grips a lurid red, the better to find in the low light of lovemaking. As he’d done a dozen times before, he reached for the cutters and brought them up to her wrists, and that was when it had happened.
The slightest intake of breath. A sudden sharpness in the muscles on her neck. A tension, drawn thin and tight, some inner cord inside of her suddenly winding up and making her withdraw, slightly. Her entire body made incrementally smaller. Everything, that is, except the eyes. Those were wide, excited, attentive. They were drinking in everything he was doing, everything he might do. They were waiting for something.
“You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you liked having sharp things near you.” The words formed on his lips before he had even considered them, an alien thought bursting from his tongue like Ripley’s worst nightmare. There was only one way for them to go, a single avenue of conclusion he couldn’t want to go down.
He’d thought about knives before. He knew he didn’t want to have anything to do with them, that the dangers were too high, the payoffs too low. It wasn’t high risk/high reward so much as it was stupidity and an almost Icarus-like hubris. He didn’t want to fly that high, because he knew what the sun could do.
And yet here he was, steering things in exactly that direction. What was he doing? The look on her face couldn’t make things any more obvious, or any more fatal for him.
Confidence was a trait he valued highly about himself, and it all drew from a deep-seated knowledge that he was who he was, and the tenets that made up his personality were rooted in stone. When he made a decision, it was made. There were no do-overs.
“You know better?” Jack half laughed, a sudden expulsion of air that hung in the room like a challenge. A challenge to meet hers, only hers was going to win, and he knew it.
He didn’t know better, he just liked the way the phrase turned between his teeth.
Now, though, they both knew what was expected. His eyes flicked to the Stanley knife that sat so conveniently next to the wire cutters. Why was it there, again? What had he been doing in the bedroom that required such a blade? Opening some delivery, perhaps, or cutting labels off a new shirt. It didn’t matter. It was there now, and he was doomed.
There was something distasteful about knives to him. A certain barbarity that he didn’t prescribe to. He liked to cultivate his scenes with an air of sophistication, bring his hand down with confidence and strength, yes, but also a finesse. The cable ties were about as predatory as he wanted to get, and while he might have a crate full of deviance resting under his bed, nothing inside it was designed to draw blood.
Perhaps that was it; he didn’t like the idea of the mess. To reduce it to such a crass aversion seemed beyond trivialisation. He was a better man than that, and she deserved a better reason. A lack of comprehension, then. Not understanding why you would want your blood to be anywhere other than in your veins.
“You make my sadist grin.” The words fell out of his mouth, an unwanted overflow of thoughts he wasn’t thinking. But that was exactly it, wasn’t it? The duality of his personality proved in a single sentence. As he fretted, his proclivities thrived, seizing the sudden relaxing of his control to wrest it for themselves; perhaps they were right to.
The Stanley knife was in his hand—his thumb against the notch, pushing it forward to make the blade slide out with practised ease. There was something almost phallic about it, and the thought made him smirk.
She hadn’t said anything, but her eyes were glued to the glinting tip of the blade, sliding over it with a perverse fascination. He slowly moved it from one side to the other, transferring it from his right hand to his left, and then back again. He was a snake charmer, and she was his viper, eyes swaying as he lulled her into a trance.
He’d never done this before, but somehow it made sense. Eyes narrowing slightly, he slipped the heavy knife into his left hand and picked up a roll of bondage tape, the glistening black reflecting a surreal reflection of him. He stared at it for a moment, the twisted smile, the crooked nose, the lopsided eyes. For as long as he’d been doing this, he’d never felt quite as out of himself as he was now, every second riddled with the weird lack of control you have during déjà vu, where you know what will come next, and you’re powerless not to have things play out in exactly that way.
“You’re mean,” Emily’s voice broke him out of his reverie, and he arched an eyebrow. Back in character, back in role. He knew this, and the familiarity of it was comforting, even if the scenario was new. He shook his head, an easy shrug rolling off his shoulders before he glanced down at the tape again.
“Mean? Oh I don’t think so. I think I’m exactly how you want me to be. And, ever since I picked up this knife I’ve slipped from a lovely reality into your deepest fantasy. Mean? Quite the contrary, little girl.” The worlds spilled off his tongue with a practised ease. For all that made him uncomfortable, rhetoric had always been something he had a flare for.
“However, I think you’re spending far too much time staring at the knife without actually thinking about it, and so I’m ever so sorry, but I’ll have to blindfold you.” He was smirking, and the pout on her lips started to shift as she opened her mouth to speak, to revoke, refute, refuse. But his hand was faster, clamping his palm hard over her mouth before he shook his head again.
More words weren’t needed. Not from him, and certainly not from her. The stern reproach in his eyes told her as much, and when he removed his hand she didn’t try to challenge him. Instead he just turned his attention back to the roll of tape, finding the edge and peeling it out, the plastic giving with a satisfying reluctance.
It wound around her head, clinging to itself, forming an ever stronger bond that gave her a pleasant restriction and made sure no light would find its way to her sight. He realised that he always seemed to add some sort of sensory deprivation to his scenes, even if it was just to slip a gag over the mouth, take away the sense of speech. But sight was always the one that elevated touch the most, placed the very fundamentals of sensation at the forefront of the mind.
Her hand was between his legs, he suddenly noticed. She’d found what she’d been after before he’d blindfolded her, and those slender hands were happily sliding up and down the length of him while he set about making her blind. It was playfully distracting, and if he had any pretence of being consistent in what he punished and when, he’d put an end to it right now. But, well, hah. He just smiled, cutting the end of the tape off and smoothing it down against the side of her face.
There were times when he was jealous of submission. When you clearly define a pair of roles like that, it’s hard to ever completely find yourself at home on either side. They’re too clear cut, and people are messy things, full of thoughts and inclinations and desires. The titles of ‘dominant’ and ‘submissive’ have such strong connotations that you get lost chasing some ideal. Still, he was what he was, and occasionally that meant he was jealous.
It was because of the freedom of it, that you can place yourself entirely in someone else’s hands, surrender yourself and allow all your emotions to fill you up and vent out of you. He, on the other hand, had expectations, both from her and himself. He couldn’t allow himself fear, anxiety, nerves. He couldn’t be anything other than responsible and in charge, while she squirmed and writhed and enjoyed the devolution into a being of pure arousal, a sex toy on the bed for him to play with.
There was some fear, now. Some anxiety, and a little nerves. Inexperience was welling up in his throat like a thousand tears, and he was afraid he’d burst at any moment. What if he genuinely didn’t know how to do this, just how to look like he did? What if he broke the skin, or worse, nicked an artery and she bled out on his bed while he frantically dialed an ambulance? Less dramatically, what if he just didn’t like it?
The hand between his legs tore him away from such macabre thoughts, and he felt a grunt bubble up to his mouth, an involuntary encouragement. He watched her grin, and couldn’t help but smile himself, before he carefully reached down and grabbed her wrist, extricating her, before bringing her hand up and above her head to join the other, which still clung to the headboard.
“Why?!” she exclaimed, affronted, and he just chuckled.
“Because I don’t want you tugging on my dick while I have potentially distressing and sharp objects around your body. What if you squeeze too hard, silly girl?” She just pouted, knowing that no answer would dissuade him.
“Now, do I have to get the cable ties out, or are you going to be a good girl and keep your hands where I put them?” The question was redundant, but he liked giving it voice anyway. He still had a few strips of the plastic beside him on the bed, and he grabbed a set, wrapping them loosely around her wrists before ratchetting them tight. After checking they weren’t too tight, he straightened out, towering over her before glancing down at his hand again. At the knife.
Before he’d even met Emily, he’d been at a fetish night, all latex and corsets, men strapped to gym equipment and flogged by women with shaved heads. He was there with friends, but he’d remained a spectator regardless. Just wanted to get a feel for it.
One of his friends was a woman, a towering and perfectly composed construction, where even the mane of hair that exploded out of her head was part of her facade, the costume she chose to wear. She was dominant, and once she’d leaned over to him, conspiratorially, and informed him that she would never dominate another woman.
“I’d be too mean.” Those were the words she’d used, and it had struck him as odd at the time. Odd because she was mean enough to the men, so this must be a particularly uncaring kind of sadism she was talking about.
That night, he’d seen her strap a girl to a frame, and have her way. It didn’t look particularly mean, despite the way the flogger rained down blow after blow on the frail, pale form. The way she’d surge in, whisper beautiful nothings into the girl’s ear, none of it screamed malicious intent to him.
Everyone has exceptions.
He realised that he’d found his, a sliver of metal sitting heavy in his hand, the nervous smile jittering on her lips like an addict. Entire days had passed, and he’d delayed that realisation with an almost alcoholic reserve. A problem pushed from the mind with an unconscious focus. He’d written it off as something he wanted to do for her, fulfilling a fantasy and dwelling in that lovely place of making someone else’s dreams come true.
He hadn’t, for a second, thought he might enjoy it, too.
The knife was heavy in his hand, and he traced it down her cheek with a casual, lazy curve, letting the point trail against blushing skin, flushed with arousal and embarrassment, mixed with a little twist of fear. She kept quiet, but the way her mouth hung open, tongue pressed against the back of her teeth, he knew it was doing what she wanted.
But that wasn’t enough. If he was going to do this, he was going to take it to its natural conclusion, and as the knife trailed down her body, from her cheek to her lip to her chin to her neck, he pressed it ever so slightly against her neck. His head was swimming; he felt drunk, and he was swaying as he sat there, watching her.
“Lie very still, you beautiful, vulnerable, delightful, little girl.” Even his words sounded half gone, the consonants melting away until it was just vowels and authority. But she did as he asked, somehow understood him, and the knife pressed into her breast, a few inches above the nipple.
He wasn’t going to break the skin. He’d never go that far. But he would score it, trace the knife hard against her, sharp lines that made the skin blanch and flush, each one coming back into sharp relief a few moments after the knife left her. The skin swelled around the marks he made, and she swelled with it, arching her back and opening her mouth wider.
She gasped, and she moaned.
It took minutes, but it felt significantly longer, a test of focus and intent, following through with what he started, even as she started to wince with discomfort as he got close to the end of things. He cooed out soothing words, used his free hand to stroke against her face in between stretching the skin out for him to mark it.
Finally, he was done, the tiniest fleck of blood marking the middle letter, almost a flair, rather than a sloppy mistake. Ignorance had made his hand too enthusiastic, and he’d pressed down a little too hard, but she’d be fine. It had barely done damage, let alone posed any danger.
He sat up, and looked down. His thumb pulled the latch back, retreating the blade into its sheath. And there, scrawled out on her skin in the most barbaric way he now knew how, was a single word. And it made him smile.
Photo: Spyderco Urban, Safety Orange, VG-10 Wharncliffe Blade, Thirteen of Clubs
About the Author Cameron Sykes
Cameron Sykes is a professional writer most of the time, just not when his words are filled with moans and the sharp crack of hand connecting with skin. He’s been writing kink on Tumblr for almost two years, where you can find him at My Trousers Rolled.