Weekend Fiction: An Evening With Madison Novak
Madison was driving a white van. It was a Ford Transit and it had more than enough room for the live human body she was hauling. She had considered buying a used M6, which would have had enough space for a body but only if that body kept itself very still. She picked the van in the end because she had been unable to disassociate herself from the feeling that if was she was the one tied up in the boot of an M6, she would find it uncomfortable and stiff and not very nice at all. It would have made it very difficult for her to drive, if she had to continuously linger on this empathic feeling. She would have worried about the body banging its head each time she was forced to stop suddenly; she would have kept picturing the body rolling over and getting itself into a suffocating position every time she took a corner too vigorously. She did not know if these were legitimate concerns to have (this was her first time transporting a body) but she did know that she was the sort of person that, if it could happen and she didn’t prepare for it, then it would surely happen to her.
This was one of the reasons Madison was very good at her job. In the van her feet, in dagger sharp high heels, struggled with the clutch, and the leather of her short skirt did not get on at all with the leather of the front seat and she kept slipping and last-minute slamming the brake to stop herself from putting everything on the accelerator. Had she gone for the once in a lifetime deal to pick up a second hand M6 in a lovely condition, the body would have ended up beaten and bruised. Like it had been through a washing machine. She had lined the back of the van with blankets and an old duvet. The body was male. He was blindfolded, gagged and tied at the wrists, knees and ankles with nylon ropes. He was struggling against the van floor and the side of the van closest to it, knocking the inside of the vehicle with his shoulder and his heels, but he could only create dull thuds against the padded metal.
She had found him where he said he would be: coming out of a shooting range in Kent with two friends. Their guns had been unloaded and disarmed, but they still carried the rifles over their shoulders. She watched as the two friends – who were as predictably middle-aged and divorced as he was – asked him if he wanted a drink with a mimed and over-performed drinking of a beer glass motion. He gestured no and pointed to his wedding ring. They laughed and just like he said he would, he walked out of the members only car park towards his Porsche, which he had parked a lonely fifteen minute walk down the road. She followed him slowly, until the sign for the shooting club was out of her rear-view mirror and then pulled over, got out, tasered him. He fell like an ungraceful drunk and she pulled him into the back of the van. He was lighter than he looked. Despite his beer belly and long legs, he seemed empty beneath his knitted sweater vest and shirt. She tied him up inside the van and laid his head down carefully onto a pillow. It did not take long for him to come to and start moving around. She thought about taking the gun. He had not mentioned what he wanted her to do with it. She nearly put it in the front with her (it could not go in the back with him) but then thought if a police officer should stop her and see it, the officer might feel the need to search the van more thoroughly. She threw it into a bush on the side of the road and tried to remember the scene so she could lead him back to it later.
He had contacted her through her agency. She was an experience curator. They had a website which devoted a whole page to Madison Novak and the experiences she had successfully created. She had a well-reviewed history of curating the experience of finding a soulmate for those who had not acclimatised to online dating but really became popular when she started experimenting with individually custom made scenarios. It had started out with the usual array of aspirational situations, whether they were high-minded – the accepting of Nobel or Pulitzer prizes for poets and scientists who would never see the day – or baser or more commonly sexual. Experiences where they saw Madison doing this or showing off that. But she became the Madison Novak everyone in the industry knew by figuring out how to develop these situations in such a way that the client, although they may come in wanting one thing, left with a sense that some deep and until then unexplored part of themselves had been exposed.
The man wanted to be kidnapped and tortured. He had key scenarios he wanted included in the experience, but he left most of the actual design and planning to Madison. He had given her money for the transport vehicle (separate from her fee) and said she could keep it afterwards on the condition that it was something that fitted with the overall experience. It had to feel like a vehicle a kidnapper would use, said his email. She was feeling good about her choice. She kept catching herself getting into the role without trying. She coughed up some phlegm, rolled down the window and spat it out onto the road. It was the large white van steering wheel that was doing it, she thought. She had chosen the destination too, an abandoned factory in North Woolwich. It was going to be a bit of a drive back into London and before she reached Blackwall Tunnel she pulled out a large burgundy jumper to wear over her corset and bustier. It didn’t quite reach to cover her where her stockings met her suspenders, however.
If you called Madison a dominatrix, she would call you an idiot. Although her expansion on her experiences often called upon her to wear tight and revealing leather or latex outfits, and issue upon her clients some form of sadistic punishment, this was due only to her client’s lack of imagination than anything she took a sexual desire in. As for intercourse itself, she might touch or caress, but they could not touch her.
When she reached Blackwall Tunnel she heard a crash; the sound of something slamming against the metal behind her. Either through accident or a slip in his blindfold, the man had managed to find one of the few exposed areas and had hit his skull straight against the stiff aluminium. He had not knocked himself out but was still dazed. The tunnel was busy and Madison was only able to inch along towards Greenwich. While in the traffic she watched him in her rear-view mirror. As he regained his senses, she could see him go through the differing levels of realisation as to where he was. She watched his fear as he realised he was tied up in the back of a van, his calm as he remembered that it wasn’t real and then finally his return to pantomime struggle; his desire for verisimilitude causing him to kick out and struggle but not really mean it.
She had not come to it yet, but she would soon figure out what he really wanted; the deep and real emotional want that had inspired his kidnapping fantasy. She always did, even if she didn’t really want to. It was never clear to them, the client, but she could see it as plainly as any doctor could see a wasting disease in a terminal patient. Only the other month she had been asked by a client to sit in the middle of a coroner’s office, on a metal tray, with a sheet over her. She had to pretend she was dead, said the message. She was allowed to decide the cause of her death. She picked death by swordplay and had her make-up artist create long, phoney gashes along her face and chest, ones that were barely held together by Frankenstein’s movie monster-type stitches. He had not asked for her to be naked, but she took the liberty of presuming it was implied. She found the right type of morgue she thought he wanted. It had dead bugs framed on the walls and a large spotlight above the metal examination tray. He had only asked for an hour and Madison assumed that the hour would be filled with sounds of one man masturbating, but the first thing she heard was his voice.
“…Why did you have to leave me?”
He stressed the me. As he talked to Madison lying beneath the cloth, he made it clear that he had a child, a daughter, and whoever she was meant to represent was the mother of that daughter. But he only wanted to talk about himself and how much pain and devastation her, the mother’s, death had caused him. He was tired of being strong, of putting on a brave face, he told her. Despite the cloth over her face, Madison felt like she could see the widowed father at the funeral of the dead mother; agreeing that it would be hard on their young girl and how lucky she was to have someone there for her. That it was only by the grace of God that he was not in that car when it had gone head first into that collision barrier. Madison was good at this, at picking up on what other people were feeling and the implications of those feelings. She could tell that it was not that he did not love his daughter; it was just that no one had seemed to notice (or comment upon) the fact that he surely loved his dead wife more than his daughter did and so obviously deserved equal or more of the consoling offered. She had not known her as long as he did. She had not been there when his wife was alive and first whispered in his ear that she wanted to have him; had not looked in her eyes as her telling him that she loved him made her cry. It was no more than an indiscretion, her leaving their daughter, when compared to the betrayal she had committed to him by dying. He could not say this at his last opportunity, her graveside. What would his and her friends and family think of him if he put his own grief above that of his child’s? He’d be joining her in the ground. So, there he was, telling Madison that if she didn’t appreciate the pain her leaving him had caused him than maybe she deserved to die.
Both he and Madison left the room physically untouched.
The factory in North Woolwich looked ancient. As she pulled into its empty car park she remembered again why she picked it. It was quiet and isolated, but was the type of quiet and isolated that made her feel like the place was lost in time. Like whatever happened inside its forgotten and vandalised walls would never leave the place. At the sound of her opening the double doors at the back of the van he jerked up. He was in a sitting position. She mounted the van to start the process of pulling him out when he started shaking his head. He must have sensed the taser she had in her hand. There were no double bluffs or yes means no in what Madison did. He must not have liked being electrocuted. It was something she had added. He had recommended something like chloroform.
She pushed the taser’s prongs against him but didn’t turn it on.
“Get the fuck up,” she said.
He obeyed, shaking either with fear or enjoyment.
She walked him into the abandoned factory. It was not quite dark but she had already prepared the scene. There was a small lamp and an uncomfortable but safe to sit on chair in the middle of the room. She tied him to the chair around his chest with more rope. Once he was secure, she undid the ropes on his knees and ankles and then used each of these ropes to tie each of his feet to the legs of the chair so that his thighs were spread open and secure. She panicked for a moment that she had forgotten the key but found it tucked in with her left breast. He had been very precise about what was meant to happen next.
She removed his gag and took his blindfold off. He fought back a smile and retained the expression of fear on his face. She had left the jumper in the van. His eyes dilated as he took in what she was wearing. She’d dyed her hair raven black as he’d requested but she thought it would all be ruined if he had any inkling of the leather wedgie she was suffering through.
“What do you think you’re looking at?”
“W…Who are you?” he asked. “Please… You don’t have to do this…”
This was scripted and pre-arranged. As opposed to an actual plea to stop, it was actually the signal to get on with it.
She removed his trousers expecting to find an erection, but there wasn’t one. She’d only seen a soft penis a few times in real life and never when it was in her hand. She said pathetic out loud but it didn’t even quiver. She paused for a moment, unsure if this made the experience and its execution easier or not. She wasn’t sure if it could even be done, but she started anyway.
She took the key from her cleavage. It was a small brass key with sharp teeth along its edge. A house key, maybe.
“Please… Please… Please…” He was bracing himself.
She took the key and put it into the orifice of his penis. She got up to the first tooth.
He screamed but did not tell Madison to stop. She had to push to get the second tooth in and when she did his cry filled the factory. He was in real pain. Blood was already filling what little space was left in the hole and he was shaking in agony. At the third tooth he vomited, narrowly avoiding Madison as he threw his head to the side.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” He said in between reminders of his pain. It wasn’t directed at her nor was it part of the script. This was real. He seemed delirious and was looking at one of the dusty factory windows the place was lined with. The darkness outside and the light inside had turned it into a mirror. He could see his own face in the window. The tears, the vomit and the sweat. Madison could see it then.
What this was.
This was punishment. It couldn’t be self-inflicted or enjoyable in any way. He deserved this but had to be a victim of it at the same time. To feel what it was like to be without a way out; to feel this pain without a way to dull it or ignore it or turn it into something else. She could see him, just as clear as she had seen the man at the graveside. He was leaning over someone; a woman with raven black hair. She was in pain. There was blood and there were pleas for him to stop. He had been like a razor and as painful as the key was inside him. The key was hers. But Madison was her now – getting her revenge.
Madison pushed the key up to its sixth tooth without stopping at the fourth or the fifth.
She was good at giving her clients what they wanted.
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