Beware of the Mad Cat

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Last time, on The Adventures of Cat Madigan…

I couldn’t remember what happened after I was caught with Daniel in the brothel.

And now I do. And now, I feel okay to write about it.

So here’s what happened. Please god, don’t read this if you think it’ll trigger any bad experiences, that’s the last thing I want. Thank you for your patience, this was a bitch.

_________________________________________________

I awoke to a flood of sensations; my head ached, my arms cramped up and the burning between my legs was too much to focus on. Everything was black, but I could hear sobbing in the background.

“Oh look,” a female voice cooed. “She’s awake.”

Someone touched my face and my sight returned. And I saw the smirk of someone very familiar. “You!” I exclaimed.

The Fury from before beamed at me in response. “Where’s Daniel?” I demanded.

She tilted her head to where he was lying. From what I could see, his chest was barely rising. “If you’ve hurt him you bitch…”

“Don’t worry darling,” she laughed in her husky voice. She leaned in till her nose was nuzzling mine. “He’ll be fine as long as you do as you’re told,” she informed me, before pressing her lips against mine.

I stayed perfectly still, and when she pulled away, I spat right in her eye. I chuckled when she yelled out; it was childish, completely childish. But I didn’t have a care in the world. I just wanted to get out of there, to take Daniel and run.

She struck me across the face, again and again, and still I didn’t care. “Harpy,” she hissed. “Give me one reason to release you from your chains.”

I just laughed. “I don’t see how that would help you, but feel free to go ahead.” But I could feel no heat in my hand now, and when I looked up, the whole mass where my left hand should’ve been was encased in iron.

This time, the slut laughed. “Surprised? Don’t worry, as long as you behave, we’ll take it off for you.”

“Behaving’s not really my thing, though,” I informed her. “Gets kinda boring. And when it comes to people whose heads I want to smash in, it’s pretty painful.”

“Is that so?” she replied. Then she smiled. “But you can behave.”

“That is a matter of my choosing.”

“Very well. You can choose whether to behave now.” She turned away from me and walked over to Daniel.

“Don’t you dare!” I shrieked.

She took out her whip. “Please!” I yelled. “No!”

She stopped, and turned around with a shit eating smile on her face. “That really wasn’t so hard, was it?” she purred.

I refused to speak. “Well thankyou, Cat Madigan,” she continued in that patronising tone of hers. “I’m sure that was very difficult for you to do.”

With that, she raised her whip and slashed Daniel across the chest.

“NO! Don’t hurt him!”

She called back to me, “He’s drugged, you see. It’s not good if Meeks try to murder their clientele, you know.” She proceeded to give him another lash, and another, and each time Daniel would hiss and curl up.

STOP IT!” I screamed. And suddenly, the heat in my hand returned, and my whole hand was on fire. The iron encasing my hand had heated up as well, and I couldn’t help but hiss as it scalded my hand.

The Fury just kept laughing, and I just kept getting angry. “I have a better idea,” she said suddenly. She came towards me and uncuffed my arms and legs. “Before you think of doing anything, just remember that whatever happens to him, it’ll be your fault.”

I hissed, but I stayed still. “What are you saying?” I watched as she walked away and went to a giant display of items at the other end of the room.

She chose two and came back. “Now this,” she purred. “Is for you…” She pulled Daniel up so I could see his face. His gaze was hazy and there were more bruises from before, ones which may not go away. The Fury then leant over and kissed him like she kissed me. I just closed my eyes. I felt sick and disgusted, but I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t even sure if I could do anything.

“Don’t worry, Cat Madigan,” she called over. “You can have a present too.” I could hear her coming towards me, and my eyes flashed open. I saw Daniel, dazed and confused, and I saw that his ‘gift’ was now decorating his neck. A collar.

I wanted to kill her.

I said nothing when her hands were on me. I didn’t even hiss. I did what I always did. I squeezed my eyes close and waited for it to be over, praying for this horrible horrible nightmare to stop right now.

A blow to my head made me stumble back, and I couldn’t stop myself from growling. When I looked at the Fury, I saw a long black cane in her hand. “This is for you,” she told me, her voice sweet as poison. “Now here’s how things are going to work. You’re going to do everything I tell you to. Five seconds, and you’ll get a lashing.” As if to prove her point, she raised her whip and as it cracked across the front of my body, I cried out. I wish I didn’t, but I did.

The Fury laughed in response. “You see? Pain isn’t fun when it’s you, is it darling?” she said pointedly. “I haven’t forgotten before.” She showed me the dark marks on her throat, now covered up with a black ribbon. “See? Not so pretty. Now.” She walked away, evidently bored with hurting me. “Here’s what happens when it takes ten seconds, when you keep being naughty.”

Suddenly Daniel let out a scream, and started spasming. “Daniel!” I shrieked, running over to him. But then that bitch’s whip slashed me across the back, and sent me falling to the ground.

I landed at Daniel’s feet. His face was screwed up in pain, and I could only watch helplessly. “What did you do?” I screamed at her.

“Oh come now,” she said exasperatedly. “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a shock collar before.” I turn to her, horrified. “They may be old news, but sometimes, old news can be very…enlightening. So to speak.” She gestured towards Daniel now, and I noticed that there were slight sparks coming from that collar.

“I’ll kill you!” I screamed, the metal layer coating my hand bubbling and running down my arm.

“Give it a rest.” The Fury was completely unfazed. “I’m not the one controlling it. You’ve met Dimitri, of course. He made you do the reading.”

It’s simple. You take the one thing he cares about the most, and destroy it in front of him. And there she is. I looked around for the man. “Don’t bother,” she said. “He doesn’t want to be seen. But he can see us. That’s all that really matters. Now then, Cat Madigan,” she pulled me up by my corset. “Are you ready to behave?”

I just shut my eyes. “That’s not the right answer,” she hissed in my ear.

Another crack sent me to the floor. “Y-y-yes,” I sobbed. Don’t give him another shock.

“Good girl,” she purred.

I was nothing. Less than nothing. I was only an instrument, a new toy, to be used to play to her tune. Ready to be broken in.
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Everything’s slowed down. Voices echo through my head and I can’t see any more.

TEN! And Daniel’s crying out again, tears streaming down his face. But I can’t move anymore. It’s like there’s some narcotic paralysing my limbs and my senses.

Have you given up already?! I hear. Have you started to enjoy it yet? It’s a hungry voice, a mad voice. Do you understand now? How good that pain feels? Yours and his combined?

She’s already broken, another voice barked. You can stop now.

I’m not done yet. I want her to understand what I’m trying to tell her!

The job is done. Cat Madigan is broken. And he will be too, now that his play thing is gone.

Gone…

I can hear him though. Him and her. I’m not broken. Actually I am. My pieces are scattered across the floor. But they’re coming together now, like a jigsaw puzzle. I’m broken, but not without repair.

Everything’s in focus now. And I can feel my limbs again. I’m back in reality, or at the very least, this reality. I can hear him. I can see him. I can smell him…

I rush towards him and fly at him. I grab him and throw him against the wall, and he crumples on the floor under it. I can smell his blood, but more than that, I smell how afraid he suddenly is. I can feel him shaking, even as I stand above him. And he suddenly shakes violently and coughs out something. It smells of vomit, but it’s black in colour.

Why do I stop to watch him? I pick him up easily, and I see his eyes widen. I hurl him across the room, and upon reaching the wall, his form suddenly turns into a mass of black viscera. I stop to marvel at my handiwork. How much power had that taken to cause him to splatter so?

“Dimitri?” A voice filled with fear enters my ears, and I turn towards the sound. The Fury is staring at the black mass on the wall in shock. I had nearly forgotten about her. No such luck though. She might have lived longer if she hadn’t done that.

But then I see something on the ground next to her. It’s a body. My body, actually. I know it’s mine because of the long brown hair and the liquid iron coating my left hand. My chest- which is naked and bloody from the whip- is barely rising.

“Monster…” I hear the Fury whisper.

I pause. Then I let my lips turn up into the same smile she wore, and I give a laugh with a touch of insanity, and watch her blanch. And I turn to her. “Freak,” I correct her. My voice is husky and deep. “I’m a Freak…my dear. But do you know what?”

I hold out my arm out in front of me. It’s as black as a shadow, but for the veins, which glow like the light from that evil collar. But I’m most interested in my claws; I grin with twisted excitement when I see them, with their long sharp nails, almost like knives. “I’m not like you though,” I tell her. “You…you hurt people because you get some…release from it. From breaking people down till they’re less than worms in the mud.”

She backs away from me. “Please…don’t kill me….”

“Please…don’t kill me!” I mimic. “Wow…that sounds familiar. Well, not those exact words. But kind of similar. I think you’d remember them.”

“Don’t…”

Please, don’t make me do this!” I scream out like I did before, buckling over in sobs. Then I stop my performance, and look up at her. “And now look what you’ve done. You’ve broken me. Although…I do have a feeling that this probably isn’t what’s meant to happen.”

I pause for a moment. Am I dead? I don’t know. This…thing isn’t me, but I’m oddly comfortable with it. I look over at my body once again, and I decide that I’m still alive. But I’m not ready to go back yet. I have one more thing to do.

If I was human before, I wasn’t now. But I didn’t care.

“How many hours did you torture me and Daniel?” I ask mildly, walking towards her slowly. “Actually, to put that another way, how much did you put into it?”

“I…”

“And before that. When I was blacked out. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.” She’s backed against the wall now, but I won’t let up. “I don’t remember what happened, so fill me in. How many times?” I place one hand on her throat, and tore through her ribbon.

“Please no!” she screams. “Cyrus! Cyrus!”

“Don’t worry,” I tell her, ignoring her cries.

My fingers clawed into her throat, looking for bones to snap. Her eyes were bulging, and she was screaming for her life, just like I was screaming for his.

“So I won’t hurt you that way,” I conclude, deaf to her pleas. “Not like you hurt me and Daniel. Because I’m not like you; I don’t enjoy taking or inflicting pain. I don’t want some perverse satisfaction from it. You see…what I do want is for you to feel the same way I had. And I think I’m doing a good job so far.” I look down at her, crying and screaming hysterically. “I think I’m done here though,” I say softly. “I’ve dragged it out enough.”

“No!”

“This’ll be quick. Oh, it’ll be painful,” I reassure her. “I will never forgive you for what you’ve done, and what you made me do. But this is going to end now.”

Cat’s gone. No more mercy. There’s just Freak.

CRUNCH.

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Taste the Whip

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Last time, on The Adventures of Cat Madigan.

I woke up in a brothel that I had to save Daniel from. I also got a dominatrix to take her clothes off.

And now things are going to get weirder.

___________________________________________

Act natural, act natural, act natural. Christ Cat, you’re a frigging model, that’s one step away from a hooker. You can do this.

It’s easy to not show anything as I walk through this place, but it’s another thing entirely to not feel anything. In truth, I am scared half to death. This place is far more frightening than any of the dungeons or torture chambers I’ve had the misfortune to be in.

The Fury instructed me to go to the cells to find the woman. But this place is huge, and everywhere I looked, there were writhing figures and strange…contraptions with people strapped or chained onto them.

Suddenly, I’m span around, and I’m facing a tall, dark man with piercing eyes. “And what do I call you?” he enquired.

Fuck… “You can call me whatever you want,” I said randomly. The man frowned, so I added, “I think the question you want to ask is, Who are you?Fan-fucking-tastic Cat Madigan.

To my relief he chuckles. “You’re a different dish,” he mused. “But you’re too shy for a Fury.” He grabs me by the waist. “I think my dear, you are wearing the wrong uniform,” he breathed in my face.

It’s like my heart is getting squeezed from the inside. This man is a giant, and he could do whatever he wanted with me at the snap of his fingers.

…no.

Not today.

I slap him across the face, and I know, as he staggers back, that everyone starts watching this new performance, even stopping their own…acts, in order to focus on us. “I know what I am,” I inform him frostily.

“Fucking bitch,” he growls. “You’ll do as I-”

CRACK!

In a split second, I had pulled out my whip and cracked it at him. It slashed his chest and he cried out. “You do not have control over me,” I snarl at him. “I am not yours to command, no matter what you may think.” Conscious of everyone around me, I continue. “The next time you touch me I’ll strike that hand. The next time you curse at me I’ll strike that tongue.” I crack my whip again and he falls to the ground. I walk over to him and pull him up by the hair. I whisper to him, “I am not your whore. I am your mistress, and you’ll obey me till I see fit.”

“Now,” I hold him behind his back. “Take yourself to the cells, I’ll be with you in a minute.” When he hesitates, I bark out, “Now!”

He immediately starts walking, and I follow. It can’t be that easy, I was thinking. This guy was about to rape me a moment ago, why is he doing as I say?

The cells were remarkably like the dungeons in the castle. The only difference was all the…toys. I shove the man into one cell and I close the door behind us.

When the door slams shut, he rushes at me. He grabs my throat and shoves me against the door. He pulls my scarf down and grips my face as if he would crush it in his grasp.

I growl, and hold my five lettered hand down on his chest. They burn into him and he cries out. Now that I have the advantage, I kick off his stomach and he goes crashing into the other wall.

Dusting myself off, I pick up one of his arms and cuff it. He starts refocusing just as I am finishing the other, and he snarls at me. “Fucking cunt,” he spits.

“Oh shut up,” I groan, rearranging my scarf. “I am sick and tired of this place already. I am trying to find my friend and I am not in the mood for anymore of this bullshit. I just want some facts.” I look at his savage face. “Which I’m guessing you’re unwilling to give me?”

He spits at my feet. “Don’t worry, I’m not an actual Fury, so I won’t hit you,” I inform him. “But you’ve probably already guessed that. Anyway, I need to go and you are a very loud person, so…”

Looking at the display on the wall, I ask him, as if I were asking for the time, “Which of these will knock you out quickly?” Ignoring his responding curse, I pick up a cane and analyse it. “Good enough.”

His eyes widen as I swing it up. “Sorry,” I tell him, before swinging it into his temple.

Praying that he didn’t have an even more damaged brain, I quickly got out of there and started listening in the other cells for anything of note. But there was nothing, no talk of humans, or anything sounding remotely like Daniel.

The woman probably lied to me. Of course she did; I had held her at knifepoint, or whatever the flammable equivalent is, and forced her to strip. She wouldn’t get anything from telling me the truth. Why the hell did I believe her?

Exasperated by my ignorance, I started walking out of the cells. But then someone grabs me by the shoulder and pulls me back in. “Let me go,” I snarl at him.

“I need you for something,” the man growls.

“Did it not occur to you I’m busy?” I retort.

“I don’t hear any customers of yours,” he replies. “I just need a helping hand.”

I automatically hear the euphemism first. “Can’t you use a Meek for that?”

“Not that.” He spits out the word as if it tastes foul. “We have a little problem back here, and I want to know more about it. I want someone to read him.”

Read him? “What does that have to do with me?”

“Since you’re not busy, you can do the job,” he replied. He takes me into a cell at the far end, and I look away from the occupants, trying to seem more polite than disgusted. There’s another door in this cell, though there wasn’t one the one I had been using. He leads me through the door into a well furnished room, which reminded me of Daniel’s own chambers. There’s one more door, and when we go through it, I feel a wave of dread crash through me.

Two chains extend from the ceiling, suspending Daniel’s arms in the air. His feet are attached to the floor by a similar set, and when he looks up, his eyes are detached and bleary.

“What can you tell me about him?” The man looks at me expectantly.

I hesitate, before walking over to Daniel. “I…haven’t read many people,” I say.

“And you call yourself a Fury?” the man spits.

“I can do it,” I tell him hurriedly, even though I have no idea what to do. Kneeling before Daniel, I cup his face in my hand, and I pray that he’s not gone, that he knows I’m here.

Almost if by magic, he begins to focus and he blinks himself awake. Then he takes in the sensation of the chains pulling at his arms and he hisses in pain. I put my thumb over his lips. “Shhhh,” I warn him.

He looks up at me and his eyes flash with shock as he realises who I am. His eyes look me up and down, and I know that he’s registering me, with my scarlet corset and black skintight pants. I turn back to the man. “What do you wish to know?”

“Start physical. Look at him, tell me what you can see.”

I hesitate. “He’s dehydrated. And probably starving. He keeps dissociating, or something of the like.” I just say things at random, in the unlikely hope he won’t suspect something. “Build…” I release Daniel’s face and walk around, checking for anything I can tell the man. Daniel’s shirt is gone, and I can see the bruises on his back. “He’s a fighter,” I say. “He’s taken some recent wounds, but these,” I indicate the lighter marks, “have been there for years. He can take a beating, probably anything you can throw at him.” I pause. “Sensitivity.” I rest my hand on his waist and I feel him flinch. I run it up his side and he groans. “Very,” I said. I turn to the man. “There’s no reason to torture this man. He’s not going to tell you anything while he’s still breathing.”

“You know him,” the man said flatly.

Trying very hard not to show anything, I look up. “Oh?”

“You forgot to mention that this man is human,” the man informs me. “It was almost as if you didn’t notice. Interesting.”

I clench my jaw. “I don’t see the difference, if I may be honest. And besides, who wouldn’t know him? He’s almost as well known as Kaya.”

He flinches. “You should know better than to mention her,” he growls. “The name’s taboo. We’re in enough trouble anyway.”

“Why is he here?” I ask. “I thought they had already interrogated this place. What reason does he have for coming here?” I grimace. “Apart from the usual reason.”

“The Meek,” the man groans. “Or rather, the one pretending to be.”

“What are you saying?” I can feel my heart rate rising at the word pretending.

“There was an infiltrator. What’s more, she was a human one. Understand now, Fury?”

I only took in the word human. “You mean…”

He sighs. “We found the girl after. They don’t know about her yet, but it’s only a matter of time. We should’ve killed her, if I may be honest.”

“You didn’t?” I frown. “Why…if I may ask.”

He looks at me as if I were an idiot. “I’m not a monster,” he says. “I know what everyone says of me, but I can’t kill someone just to avoid bad publicity. You might, but I can’t. It’s…cowardly, but I can’t live with her death on my conscience.”

“I think I can understand that.” I pause. “So you won’t kill her. Or this man.”

“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did. But I can’t let them out either.” He thinks for a moment. “They can both work here. They’re both able bodied, well, he will be after he’s fed up again. We need to break them though.”

“Break them?” I already have a bad feeling in my stomach.

“This one especially.” He indicates Daniel. “Let out now, he’d attack the customers. He’s too wild.”

I close my eyes. “Isn’t that the same as killing them?”

“No one’s dying. Not really. Think of it as retraining.”

“Brainwashing.”

“Yes,” he says, completely unfazed. “Everything is fine as long as no blood is spilled. Much like how it is out there,” he indicates where the prostitutes are all coupling.

“There’s still the matter of ‘breaking’ him,” I tell him. “How do you break a man who has endured enough pain for a thousand?”

“Simple. You take the one thing he cares about the most, and destroy it in front of him. And there she is.” He looks at me pointedly.

I’m silent. “Oh don’t feel sad about it,” he says in what sounds like a comforting voice. “For what it’s worth, you put on a very good act. If you hadn’t probed further, you would’ve gotten away with it. You certainly behave like a Fury. And your reading is quite good, for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Maybe that’s just your relationship with him, but still, you seemed to grasp physical and mental analysis quite well.” He smiles at me, but it only reaches his lips. “It’s your eyes which are the problem. Not something people care about usually. But they show too much emotion for someone around here…. If it makes you feel better, he was found fairly quickly, far faster than you.”

“What are you going to do?” I ask. They won’t kill you, but it won’t be pretty either.

“Waste not, want not,” he replies. “You can be broken in too. And then I’ll have two new employees. It all works out in the end.”

At that I burst out laughing. It’s a mad, maniacal sound, but that’s the last thing I care about. “I’m already broken!” I crow at him. “Broken beyond repair. Go ahead! Smash every bone in my body! Take anything you want, take everything I am!”

He shows nothing. “It’s fine,” he says easily. “We have things for freaks like you.”

Only then do I notice the two Fury’s behind me. Before I can react, I fall to the ground, weighed down by the massive shackles on my hands. “This is my field, Lady Madigan,” he tells me. “I make the rules here. And I accept your challenge.” He turns to the Fury’s. “Make sure he watches as you break her. That’s the point of this. Break her soul, and you’ll break his.”

I’m sorry Daniel, I thought, as the Fury’s approached me.

_

Fear the Freak

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I have a new name to add to the many I listed in The Many Names Of Cat Madigan.

Mistress.

I was in class when it started. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large black mass that could only mean that something was going to happen. I left class immediately, murmuring an excuse. I walked past, he started following me. I ignored him until we entered the bathrooms, empty because of class. “You have a lotta nerve,” I told him, in the most threatening voice I could muster.

“That’s no way to talk to me, Lady Madigan,” he replied. “Perhaps I should leave Daniel to die?”

“Now you’ve got my interest,” I said. “You see? If you had given me hint of that, we wouldn’t be here.”

“It matters not, right now.” He and I start walking away as a bunch of students start walking over to where we are.

“So where will I be going this time?”

“Somewhere new,” he said. “Daniel brought you in with him, but no one knows who you are, or where you are.”

“How did he do that?”

“You’ll find out. When you get there, I’m going to need you to find out information about our little intruders,” he told me. “Someone had sheltered them here, and I want to know who.”

I said nothing at that. “Any questions, Lady Madigan?” I shook my head. He nodded. “Start asking the women, they’ll tell you anything,” he informed me. “And go from there. If you get caught, they won’t kill you, but it won’t be pretty either.”

“Why is Daniel going to die?” I demanded.

“Oh, of course. Daniel is there as well, but unfortunately, he was asking too many questions and they’ve locked him up somewhere. That’s another thing you have to do, though honestly that’s more of an optional extra.” His voice was barely containing that smug undertone. “Will you go now?”

“After you,” I said to him. I didn’t trust him to be left alone with Kaya, especially when she’s in a bad mood. She had found out about the corset.

He vanished. I went to the disabled stall, the largest one in the bathroom and sat down.

When I woke up, things were remarkably familiar. It was dark and stuffy, and only a slight bit of air coming through. I was in a bag again. Great.

This one was easier to escape. All I had to do was untie a single strap and I could step out.

I felt around, looking for some indication of where I was. I touched soft fur and ran my fingers across lace, until I found one part of the wall which I could push away.

I stepped out, and looked at one of many closets I had just stepped out of. The euphemism didn’t escape me, but before I could chuckle, I realised I could hear other people.

I turned around. A large curtain separated me from them. If I had been more innocent than I was, I would’ve pulled back the curtain. But I soon recognised the sounds, and I recoiled.

I was in a brothel.

People were having sex within earshot of me.

Oh…..cock.

I looked down. My school uniform was probably the least appropriate attire for this place, but I didn’t have anything else.

Then I remembered the closet. I went back, looking at the contents. There was only one outfit in there, and it reminded me of a straitjacket. Great. Well, that had to do.

“You shouldn’t be here,” a female voice said behind me. Directly behind me.

I froze, and she chuckled. “I know what you are,” she murmured, her lips tracing the back of my neck. “And I know they’re hunting you and your little friends. Oh no, they’re not here,” she told me. “One of our Meeks let them go. Stupid girl. On the plus side, now that you’re here…” She gripped my shoulder. “Maybe I can get back into m’lord’s good books if I hand you over.”

“I’m not like them,” I told her. “I think I know who ‘m’lord’ is, and I think you’ll find that he knows me, and will not be pleased that you gave me away.”

Her seductive laugh was right next to my ear, her hot breath tickling my neck. “Oh, you are cute,” she whispered. “Those three were pathetic, but I could definitely have some fun with you…”

I turned around. “I think you don’t know who I am,” I said to her, raising my hand. The one that says F R E A K, the letters glowing with heat.

She flinched at the sight, and turned to run. She wasn’t fast enough though, and the second she turned around, I caught her around the neck, my burning letters searing her neck. She gasped. “Not a sound,” I warned. “You can handle the pain. I don’t want any trouble, and I’ve killed too many people already, and I really don’t want to get into the double digits. I just want to find my friend. Compri?”

She hissed. “Fine.”

I release her neck, but I have a death grip on her arm. “Where can I find the woman who helped the intruders?” I demanded.

She glared at me. “Try the cells. That’s where the Meeks usually go.”

“What exactly is a Meek?”

“Meek, submissive,” she told me.

“Oh…” I understood then. “And you would be…”

“I’m a Fury,” she said. “Dominant.”

“Thanks. One more thing.” I hadn’t entirely forgotten my school uniform. I needed something else.

And there wasn’t anything in that closet…

“Take off your clothes,” I told her.

“That costs extra,” she replied, not missing a beat.

I raised my hand again. “Fine,” she sighs. She takes off her own uniform, a red sheer lace corset and her tight black pants. Once she was stripped, I pulled on the pants and slipped off my school dress. When I struggled with the corset, she sighed, and hooked it for me. “Amateur,” she said, tightening the laces.

“Thank you. You’re quite cooperative,” I noted.

“I changed my mind,” she told me. “I’m happy to help now.”

“I thought you were a Fury, not a Meek.”

“You learn quickly.” She laughed again. “I like you Miss Madigan. Yes, I do know who you are now,” she informed me. “People tell you a lot of things here, and your name has slipped out a couple of times.”

I grimaced. “You would do well here,” she continued. “You’d be a wonderful Fury, if you weren’t so shy.”

“Who said I’m shy?”

Immediately her hand slid down between my legs. “Whoa!” I half-shrieked. I span around. “No! Not cool!”

She just smirked. “You were saying?”

I sighed, and I picked up a piece of red fabric in the closet. I started tying it around my face, leaving only my eyes uncovered. It fell down past my shoulders, so I wrapped the extra fabric around my neck. “Do I look the part?” I asked.

She nodded. She was still standing there, naked. I frowned. “Are those real?” She grinned in response. “…never mind.” I turned to the curtain. “Thankyou…whatever your name is.”

“You forgot something.” When I turned around, she handed me a long thin object. “Anyone asks, just whip them into shape.”

“Thanks.” Whip in one hand, and whatever courage I could muster in the other, I stepped through the curtain.