Interlude Three: A Life in Bondage

WARNING: Graphic descriptions of rape and abuse.

Jack knew he had to escape. Just one week in to Darien’s ‘training’, and it was the only thing he could think of, when he dared to think of anything at all beyond Darien’s orders. Just two days in, and he was just about prepared to try and escape, no matter what consequences he was likely to face. Even death would be preferable to the debasement he was suffering at the hands of his captor.

The very first morning had been beyond a nightmare. As soon as he’d risen, Darien had been there with a robe for him to wear. It was black in colour, thin and barely reached his knees. He’d started to pull it closed around his body, only to suffer a cuff across the side of the head that left him seeing stars. The next thing he knew, he was bent over the bed, his legs roughly kicked apart and the robe pushed up over his hips to expose his arse.

He felt hot breath on his cheek, and Darien’s voice hissed in his ear.

“I want easy access. Do not cover yourself up in my presence, ever. Do you understand me, pet?”

A hand stroked one buttock, then the other, and finally both of Darien’s hands exposed Jack’s anus. The sensation of Darien’s cock literally ramming into him drew a scream from Jack’s lips. With no preparation at all, he could feel his hole not stretching, but tearing from the forced entry. Another violent cuff to the head stunned him into silence, and he lay pliant and in shock on the bed as Darien abused him.

He didn’t know how long it went on for. For all he knew, it was only seconds. It felt more like hours. He was still lying slumped on the bed, trembling violently and one step short of hyperventilating when Darien’s hand stroked tenderly over his head, and he felt the older man’s lips on his cheek, kissing away his tears.

“You have just had your first lesson, my pet. I will have you whenever I desire, and you will make yourself available to me without fail. Now, clean yourself up, and come to the kitchen. I wish for you to make my morning meal.”

It had taken Jack nearly half an hour to gather himself together, clean up and find the kitchen, where Darien was waiting. His supposed tardiness had earned him a solid thrashing, and then the blood that had been spilt over the floor had sent Darien into yet another rage. Jack had been rendered unconscious and utterly helpless within an hour of waking up on his first morning as Darien’s chosen ‘pet’. He’d spent the rest of the day back in bed recovering from the rape and the beatings.

The next few days had been only fractionally better – he’d lasted until nearly lunch time each day before Darien lost his patience and beat him into unconsciousness.

This morning – one week in – had been no better than the previous mornings. The one difference was that this time, for the first time since being brought to this little house of horrors, he had made it past lunch without doing anything serious enough to warrant a similar beating to those of the previous mornings.

Now, he huddled in his room whilst Darien was out on ‘business’, picking at the food that he’d been allowed to take from the kitchen for himself. It wasn’t exactly unpalatable, but the texture, taste and aroma left much to be desired. Giving up on eating, he put the plate aside and lay down on the narrow bed. He dared not pull the robe closed for fear that Darien might come in and discover him. Easy access at all times, he’d warned. The robe was a mockery of modesty, and no more. He may as well have been naked.

The irony was that under any other circumstance, his nudity wouldn’t have bothered him in the slightest. Indeed, he would have revelled in it, and taken every opportunity to show off. This constant, forced exposure and lurid scrutiny, though, had achieved something that Jack had never before considered possible. He had become embarrassed by his own body, and for once he was immensely grateful that he had no access to a mirror.

He curled up in a ball, trying to use his own body to shield himself in whatever way he could, knowing that Darien could be back at any moment. He cherished every precious moment that he had to himself, for they were few and far between. Even his nights were severely broken with trying to cater adequately to Darien’s every demand.

Darien was a cruel and sadistic master, despite his promises of rewards for obedience and pleasing behaviour. Even worse than the physical torment, though, were the vicious mind games that Darien played. Several times, he’d returned from business outside the house claiming to have a gift for ‘his precious pet’, only to find some trivial excuse to withhold it. The food tray had not been cleaned properly. A cup or plate was in the wrong place in the cupboard. The house was too dark, too light, too hot, too cold... It didn’t matter. There was always something for Darien to find fault with, whether it was Jack’s fault or not.

So far, all Jack had to show for his efforts were the burning welts of whip marks on his back – never on his buttocks – a constant parade of bruises, aches in places that didn’t bear thinking about and a head that was becoming steadily more convoluted by Darien’s warped ideas of care and concern.

A ‘lesson’ – otherwise known in Jack’s book as rape – was usually followed by a beating. The beating was followed by further abuse, usually delivered by means of Darien’s terrifying psychic abilities and usually resulted in Jack curled up on the floor and reduced to a whimpering wreck. That was then followed by Darien gathering Jack up in his arms, and holding him in an appalling and hypocritical display of care whilst he repeated his false promises again and again, until Jack wanted to believe him and whispered promises that he would try harder, and do better.

It was a vicious and degrading cycle that left Jack in a state of confusion, fear and pain.

A shadow fell across him, and he sat up quickly in fright. Darien stepped into the room, eyeing Jack with a keen look. A look that Jack knew only too well.

Without waiting to be told, he stood up on shaky legs and parted his robe wide for his master’s appraising gaze.

“Where would you like me, Master?” he asked hoarsely. Darien’s eyes gleamed, and a small, cruel smile quirked his lips.

“Very good, pet. I’m pleased. You are learning your place. Come here.”

Jack approached without hesitation. Hesitating meant risking Darien’s displeasure, and displeasing him meant pain. The Mendyrian’s smile widened, and it sent a shudder through Jack that he barely managed to suppress. When Darien smiled at him like that, he knew he had good cause to be afraid. Darien’s hand came up to stroke his cheek.

“Come with me. I have a gift for you.”

Jack followed silently, unable to keep himself from wondering whether Darien’s ‘gift’ would leave him writhing in pain.

He was led to a room that he could only adequately describe as Darien’s private study. It was the one room in the whole blasted house that Jack was banned from entering except under Darien’s orders, and Jack had learnt that lesson the hard way on his third day there. The assault after that particular infraction had damn near killed him, and Jack had never made that mistake again. Now, he hovered in the doorway of the room, afraid to go in for fear of it being a trap.

“Come in,” Darien told him in a deceptively gentle tone. “Don’t be afraid. I told you, I have a gift for you. See?”

He held out a plainly wrapped parcel. Jack ventured in slowly and held out a trembling hand to receive it. Darien pressed the parcel into his hands. He allowed his fingers to brush over Jack’s, and Jack nearly dropped the parcel at the unwanted contact.

“Open it,” Darien encouraged him. “Go ahead. I want you to open it.”

Trying his best to still the tremors that shook his hands, Jack peeled the paper back to reveal a book. It wasn’t the type of computer-powered holographic book that he was used to, but rather an old Earth-style book with real pages and real ink. He stared at it in wonder, barely even seeing the title to start with as he felt the weight of it in his hands. It was wonderfully heavy and solid, and he fancied he could smell the wood pulp that the pages had been made from.

“Do you like it?” Darien asked, and for just a moment he looked to Jack like he actually wanted him to be pleased with the gift. Jack nodded, clutching the book to his chest as though frightened that Darien would take it from him again.

“Yes, Master. I love it. Th... Thankyou. I... I’m grateful.”

Darien nodded in satisfaction that was punctuated by a nauseating leer.

“As you should be. Now. Put that down, come over here and show me how grateful you are.”

Numb; it was the only way to cope. Laying curled up on his bed after Darien finally retired for the night, Jack reflected that the only way to cope with the abuse and torment was to make himself go numb and his mind go blank. It didn’t work as well as he needed it to, but it was better than being completely aware.

For a long while, he let his mind stay blank while he lay on his bed, recovering from the most recent abuse inflicted on him by his sadistic master. When, eventually, his mind began to clear and he came reluctantly back to reality, the first thing his gaze focused on was the book Darien had given him. It sat on the shelf in his room, looking somewhat lonely, but the sight of it warmed Jack a little.

The book was a very old Earth title by an author that Jack was only vaguely familiar with. Stephen King’s The Stand, the title proclaimed. He didn’t know what it was about, and his grasp of twentieth century English was barely strong enough to be able to read it, but he didn’t care. Simply having the book in his possession gave him hope.

He eventually fell asleep, feeling encouraged for the first time since the whole nightmare had begun.

Jack awoke to the smell of smoke, and the heat of a fire. He was confused – there was no fireplace in his room. Turning on the thin mattress, he looked around in bewilderment that quickly turned to dismay. Darien crouched at the end of his bed with a placid look on his face, and Jack’s new book in his hands. He was tearing the pages out several at a time and dropping them into a steel bucket. As he dropped each sheaf of pages, the paper burst into flame and incinerated quickly inside the bucket.

A cry escaped Jack’s lips, and he scrambled off the bed. Darien looked up at him with almost a sorrowful look on his face.

“You disappoint me, pet. I showed you kindness yesterday, and you repay me with disobedience. I had to make my own breakfast this morning, because you overslept. It is unacceptable.”

Tears filled Jack’s eyes, and he barely heard Darien’s reprimand. His eyes were fixed on the book as it was steadily destroyed in front of him. For long seconds, he couldn’t move, and could barely even breathe. When a tiny smile flickered across Darien’s lips, though, Jack finally snapped. With a cry of rage, Jack launched himself straight at Darien, fully prepared in that moment to kill him.

It was a futile move. Jack barely made it two steps before he felt himself being lifted off his feet and slammed backwards into the wall. There he was pinned, in much the same way as had happened when he and John tried to confront Darien in that warehouse. He choked as his throat tightened, cutting his air supply short, and spots danced in front of his eyes as Darien approached.

“How you disappoint me, my pet. Fortunately for you, I am merciful and forgiving. But know this; I will not tolerate rebellion of any degree. For this infraction, you will be severely punished. Do you understand me?”

Jack couldn’t speak, even if he had wanted to. All he could see was Darien’s malevolent stare and, beyond him, the smouldering remains of his book. Tears spilled down his cheeks and he struggled to take another breath before darkness descended and he lapsed into unconsciousness.

He fast lost all track of time. Days and nights blurred into one, and the passage of time for him was marked not by time spent awake or asleep, but rather by each beating and every rape and sexual assault. It was one long, ongoing nightmare from which Jack had no means of escape, and what hurt worst of all was knowing that the only person who might have possibly cared enough to even consider searching for him was most likely dead.

Jack had to swallow his grief. He had other more immediate matters to worry about, such as ensuring Darien wasn’t aggravated with him in any way, if it could be avoided. Also, escape was never far from his thoughts. Unfortunately, that proved to be far harder than he had hoped.

During his first week of ‘training’, Jack had tried to map out the layout of the house for future reference. His idea had been to play along until Darien let his guard down around him, and then escape. It hadn’t taken him long to realise that futility of that idea. Much like the staircases in those old twenty-first century wizard books... Barry Cotter, or some such name... the rooms and doors in Darien’s house were never the same from one day to the next, and there were no windows anywhere in the house for him to have any idea of what the outside world looked like.

It left him severely disoriented, and hopelessly frustrated.

Worse was Darien’s open amusement at his bewilderment. He never explained whether it was a quirk of the house, or a deliberate ploy to keep him from escaping, and he took great pleasure in punishing Jack harshly for any delays caused by Jack’s inability to follow the many physical transitions. A late meal because Jack couldn’t find the kitchen, failure to be in the lounge room at the right moment to greet Darien when he returned from his business outside the house and even failing to make it to the bathroom in time when he couldn’t find the right door... All of it incited Darien’s wrath.

And all the while, Jack could have sworn that the house itself took delight in his torment, right alongside his captor.

He was almost at the pit of despair when, purely by chance, he stumbled onto the one elusive doorway to the outside world. In all honesty, he hadn’t even been looking for it. He’d stumbled out of bed in the early hours of the morning, needing the bathroom in order to clean out a seeping welt on his leg – the result of an earlier punishment for some perceived infraction – when he found it. He’d thought it was the bathroom door, he really had, and it took him a good minute to understand exactly what he was looking at.


For a split second, he actually contemplated shutting the door, and forgetting he’d seen it. Go back to bed, a tiny voice whispered in his mind. Curl up and wait for Darien to call for him again. And he very nearly did, too.

But then, the haze that had enveloped him for the last days... weeks... months... cleared a little, and his heart raced with anxiety and hope. Steeling himself, and all the while expecting Darien to appear any instant, Jack stepped past the threshold and into the early morning Mendyrian sun.

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