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Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.
This collection contains three edited second editions stories that were previously individually published, plus one all-new story, by Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites.
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.
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Part 1: Sold
“Take off your shirt.”
This isn’t even a nice place. The carpet is worn, the lighting is dim, and it stinks of stale cigarette smoke and alcohol. But I guess my dad was banned from the nice places years ago. Now he’s about to be banned from the shit places, as well.
My dad is an inveterate gambler. He can’t help himself. Once, when I was eleven, I locked his bedroom door to keep him from going out, just like he’d begged me, but I didn’t count on his sheer force of will, or on the sheer weight of him against a flimsy interior door. I’ve still got the scar on my chin from the stitches; Dad took me to the hospital and left me to get seen to while he headed for the nearest bank of poker machines.
We don’t talk about the cost, usually. We talk around it. About how we don’t have enough to cover school fees, or the power bill or, more than once, groceries. He tells me how good I am to put up with him. My mom didn’t. She walked out when I was eight, but she had her own problems. She OD’d when I was nine.
Right up until now, at least, I could say I wasn’t as fucked up as my parents.
Right up until now.
My dad owes this place twelve thousand dollars. That’s rounded down, because they’re generous like that. Except my dad doesn’t have twelve thousand dollars. We could hardly afford the bus fare here.
Which is where I come in, I guess.
Which is why I’m standing in a dingy office of a can’t-be-legal casino, and the man who runs the place has just told me to take my shirt off.
I could have walked away before now, but I didn’t. I don’t owe my dad shit, not really, but I still love him. I love him, even though I hate what he’s done to us.
“Take off your shirt, Dennis,” Mr. Carne says.
“It’s Danny.” I don’t know why I bother to correct him.
He shrugs like it doesn’t matter, and he’s right.
My fingers fumble with the buttons on the only decent dress shirt I own. I shrug it off. I’m okay to look at, I guess, if you like your boys on the skinny side. It’s amazing what living on the poverty line your whole life can do for your figure. Mr. Carne looks like he could stand to miss a few meals.
“How old are you?” he asks me.
“Eighteen last week.”
“Legal.” He taps his pen against his desk. “You ever been fucked?”
“No.” My voice is shakier than I want.
Mr. Carne looks me up and down. “You’d better get used to it then.”
I guess I’m hired.
Beside me, my dad starts to sob—huge, choking gulps. I don’t know if it’s with horror or relief.
I stand there, my shirt hanging from my trembling fingers, while Mr. Carne signs off on my dad’s debt. “You’re banned, Clyde. For good, this time.”
My dad snuffles.
“Danny here will be done in a month or two.” Mr. Carne smirks at my dad. “You’ll get him back in one piece.”
My dad nods, wiping his nose on the back of his hand. He disgusts me. Everything about this place disgusts me, myself included.
Mr. Carne turns his smirk on me. “More or less.”
Am I supposed to say good-bye to my dad now? If this is a tearful farewell, it’s all one-sided. I’m too numb. My dad looks at me, and I suddenly see how old he is, how thin, his face covered in tears and snot. It’s the gratitude shining in his eyes that sickens me the most. He opens his mouth to say something.
“Don’t,” I tell him, because whatever it is, I don’t want to hear it.
Maybe I should have just let them shoot him in the kneecaps, or the head, or whatever. He told me he wasn’t worth this, and I’m fairly fucking certain that’s the truth. But every time I try to hate him, that voice in the back of my head pipes up: But he’s Dad. I can’t hate him. I wish I could.
“Well, then,” Mr. Carne says, once it’s apparent there’ll be no heartrending scene. He picks up the phone on his desk. “We’re done.”
I stare at my feet, at the frayed carpet and the old cigarette burns.
A few moments later the door opens, and a muscle-bound bruiser in a black T-shirt two sizes too small enters. He clamps a hand on my shoulder. “I don’t want no trouble, okay, kid?”
“Okay,” I tell the oversized cliché.
He turns me around and steers me toward the door.
“Wait!” my dad exclaims.
Muscles pushes me through the door.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’ve changed my mind!” my dad yells out behind us. “Please, I’ve changed my mind!”
And isn’t that just typical of an addict? They’re always fucking sorry once they’re okay.
The office door closes.
Muscles is called Max. I wonder if that’s his real name, or if he picked it because he thought it sounded cool. I don’t ask him, though; I just sit quietly in the storeroom he puts me in.
It’s a small room. The ceiling tiles are peeling off. I’m sitting on a metal chair. Muscles rattles around there for a while, and then finds what he’s looking for: a syringe.
I almost leap out of the chair. “You don’t have to drug me, dude!”
His face cracks with a grin. “It’s a blood test, kid. He’ll wanna know you’re clean, right?”
“Right,” I say, and hold out my arm. “Have you done this before?”
“Sure.” He snorts, and I don’t know if he’s lying or not.
“So, um, I know I’m clean, but what about . . .” I don’t even want to finish that thought.
“Should have thought of that before you signed up,” Muscles offers. A quick sting, and we’re done. “Don’t go anywhere, kid.”
He locks the door when he leaves, and I wait some more.
After a while I think I even doze, but I’m sitting bolt upright when the door handle rattles and Mr. Carne walks in.
“Here’s how it is, Dennis,” he says.
“Danny.” Why do I keep doing that?
His eyes flicker in his pudgy face. “Here’s how it is, Danny. The owner, Mr. Archer, is coming out to have a look at you. If he likes what he sees, he’ll take you on himself. If not, he’ll take you to one of the clubs, understand?”
Sure. One man or a hundred. On that equation, I’m going to cross my fingers and hope Mr. Archer thinks I’m fucking gorgeous.
Mr. Carne smiles at me. “I think he’ll like you.”
“That’s, um, that’s good, right?”
Mr. Carne tilts his head as he looks at me. “Sure it is, kid,” he says, in such an amused tone that I get the sickening impression the joke’s on me.
An hour or so later, the door opens again, and a man in a suit is staring at me. He’s in his forties, I guess, maybe even older. His brown hair is going gray, and when he smiles, lines appear at the corners of his dark eyes. He’s not bad looking, I suppose, for what it’s worth. He’s not gross to look at, I mean. The things he’ll want me to do, I know they’ll be gross.
“Daniel,” he says, and his voice is smooth.
Should I stand up? I stand up. “It’s Danny.”
His mouth thins for a moment as he looks me up and down. “It’s Daniel.”
Okay, it’s Daniel.
I try to meet his stare, but my gaze finds the floor instead. I don’t really want to look this guy in the eyes, knowing that he’s studying me and deciding if I’m good enough for him to fuck.
“My name is Peter Archer. You will address me as ‘sir.’”
What? Except everything in this asshole’s tone says he’s as serious as a heart attack. And he’s the boss, right? Or the whatever.
“Yes, sir,” I mumble at the floor.
My heart is racing, but the rest of me is sluggish. I almost stumble when I move, like my feet don’t remember how to work. I follow Mr. Archer into the corridor. Max falls in behind us.
We take the fire exit onto the stairs, and sunlight blinds me for a second. I stop, but Max elbows me forward, and I reach out to catch the rail so I don’t fall. On the other side of the parking lot is a fast-food restaurant. Look at that. People sitting in there, shoving burgers in their faces and laughing and talking, and I feel like I’m walking to my own execution. Why doesn’t anyone notice? Why can’t they hear the screaming panic in my head?
We reach the asphalt, and Mr. Archer points his car keys at a black Audi. The doors unlock with a chirp. Max opens the passenger door, shoves me inside, and then I’m sitting there hoping I don’t vomit on the leather seats.
A moment later, Mr. Archer sits down behind the wheel. He looks at me again. “Well, who would have guessed this stinking dumpster would have turned up such a prize?”
“Do you, um, do you own the casino, sir?”
“I own a lot of things, Daniel. Seat belt.”
Right. Safety first. I draw the belt across my body.
“But you won’t find that place on my portfolio.”
I guess not. Mr. Archer looks too classy for a place like that.
“I own you as well, don’t I, Daniel?”
Fuck. I drag my gaze up to his. “Yes, sir.”
He starts the car. Cold air blasts us. Something classical is playing on the radio as we pull out of the parking lot.
“While you’re living under my roof, there will be rules, Daniel.” He drums his fingers on the wheel. “I expect obedience. If I don’t get it, there will be consequences. Your father might have been no disciplinarian, but something tells me you need a firm hand.”
I don’t. I really don’t.
“I know what boys your age are like,” he continues. “Lazy, insolent, and moody. All of that, I promise you, will change. It will be beaten out of you if necessary. Do you understand?”
I understand why Mr. Carne was amused when I thought Mr. Archer was my best option.
“Yes, sir,” I say in my most respectful tone. I don’t want to give this asshole any reason to hit me.
Archer looks at me like he’s expecting me to say something else, but I don’t. I’m not an idiot.
His house is big, and clean, and fucking opulent. That’s the word, right? For when there are floor-to-ceiling windows, and a gleaming chandelier in the entryway, and a staircase that’s big and wide enough to curve? It’s like an expensive hotel from a brochure.
A man comes out to meet us and takes Mr. Archer’s coat. “Drink, sir?”
Holy shit. He has a butler.
“Please. I’ll be in my study. Please show Daniel to his room.”
I trail up the stairs after the butler, the knot in my guts worsening. The butler doesn’t look like a butler. Maybe he’s not. Maybe he’s a personal assistant or something. He’s not old, and he’s not wearing coattails or anything.
He leads me along a wide hallway and opens a door at the end. “Your room, Daniel.”
My stomach churns as I take it in. No. No way. “Isn’t someone already living in here?”
A kid is already living here. A kid who likes model airplanes and toy robots and has planets and spaceships on his sheets. This is fucking wrong.
The maybe-butler raises his eyebrows, like I’ve said something really dumb. “This is your room, Daniel.”
I step inside, into something more fucked up than I could have imagined.
“You will find clothing in the drawers,” the maybe-butler says, like this is normal. Like bringing home a guy to fuck and putting him in a kid’s bedroom is normal. “Mr. Archer wants you to get settled.”
“And then what? He’ll be up to read me a fucking bedtime story?”
The almost-butler’s bland façade breaks with the hint of a smile. “Now, Daniel, I’d hate to tell Mr. Archer how you used a swear word.”
I clamp my mouth shut.
The almost-butler’s smile grows. “I’ll bring you some dinner.”
He turns and leaves. The door clicks as the lock turns.
Oh God. I don’t know what to do now. A part of me tells me it doesn’t matter, that he was going to fuck me anyway and the décor doesn’t count for shit. But that’s not true, is it? This is sick on a level that I’ll never be able to reason away.
I check the door anyway, but it’s definitely locked. There’s another door on the far wall. I open it warily, but it’s just a small, clean bathroom with nothing obviously freaky about it.
I come back into the bedroom. I check the clothes in the drawers. Shorts and tees, mostly. And, in the next one, underwear. Boxer briefs. The pajamas are next to them. Tops only. Spaceships and planets, to match the sheets.
I sit on the bed and wait, because I’m not going to sprawl in the blue beanbag, and I’m pretty sure all the books on that shelf are for between ages eight and twelve.
This is fucked up.
I lean forward and put my head in my hands and try to remember that in a month or so, none of this will matter. I’ll be out of here, and my dad will be okay, and maybe one day I’ll be able to leave him alone in the apartment for a few hours without wondering if the furniture will still be there when I get back. This will be it, won’t it? This will be enough to show him that he has to stop.
Or maybe this will be it for me. Maybe I’ll walk away this time. Because maybe every time I’ve stayed, every time I’ve worked some shitty job to pay his debts for him, or every time I’ve helped him bolt in the middle of the night, maybe I’m not actually helping him at all. Maybe I’m just enabling him. Maybe if I left, it’d be enough of a reality check to shock him into stopping.
I wish I could believe that.
I look up sharply as the door opens, and the almost-butler comes back in with my dinner. It’s a plate of peanut butter sandwiches and a juice box.
I’m not a fucking child, I want to scream at the guy, but I don’t. There would be consequences for misbehavior, Archer said in the car, and I don’t want to test that. No way in hell do I want to test that. Besides, I’m hungry.
“Thank you,” I say when he puts the tray down on the floor beside the beanbag.
I sit on the carpet to eat.
I expect the almost-butler to leave and lock the door, but he doesn’t. He leans in the doorjamb and watches me.
I force the sandwiches down and stare at the carpet. I try not to think of my dad. Try not to think of the wet sobbing sounds he made when I agreed to do this. It would be easier if I hated him.
“How’s he doing, James?” a voice asks.
I snap my head up to see Archer standing there as well, both of them staring at me like I’m a freak in a cage. A cage, sure, but I’m pretty certain I’m not the freak in this scenario.
“He is a little resistant, sir,” the almost-butler says, and smiles as though he likes the taste of the word.
“Well, it’s only his first night.”
I chase a few crumbs around the plate with my fingers, but I can’t delay the inevitable for much longer. Taking a deep breath, I push the plate away and wait for them to tell me what’s next.
“Go and get in the shower, Daniel,” Archer tells me. “James will supervise.”
I climb to my feet. “I know how to take a shower. Sir.”
“Do as I say, Daniel.” His tone is cold.
I go back into the little bathroom, and James follows. I think he’s probably as much of a pervert as Archer, but he hardly looks at me. He smirks a bit when I cup my hands over my cock, as though it’s my modesty he finds amusing instead of my nudity.
The water is hot, and I try to relax and pretend that the steam keeps me hidden. The bathroom might be small, but the shower takes up most of the room. There’s a series of hooks on the wall opposite. For a second I wonder why someone would put towel hooks inside the shower where they could get wet. Then I figure they’re probably for something I don’t want to think about yet. Or ever.
“There’s a razor in there,” James calls out over the sound of the water. “Use it. Mr. Archer wants you to be smooth.”
Wait, what? I pick up the safety razor in my trembling fingers. “What do you mean?”
“I mean all over.” I can hear the smirk in his voice. “Everything except your eyebrows and the hair on your head. Your chest, your underarms, your abdomen, your cock and balls, and your ass. Did I miss anything?”
“What about my legs?” I ask sarcastically.
He snorts. “Waste of effort in your case, but yes, your legs as well.”
It takes forever. A part of me can’t believe I’m doing it, but it’s only hair. Hair will grow back.
I’ve never shaved my balls before, and it’s difficult. I’m scared I’ll nick myself. I’m pretty sure I miss places. When I finally step out of the shower and grab a towel, James rolls his eyes at me.
“You’d better get faster at this.” He tosses me a bottle of lotion. “Put that on. I’ll do your back.”
James’s touch isn’t as gross as I thought it would be. I’m still pretty sure he’s a sick pervert, but he doesn’t try to grope me or anything. He just slaps the lotion on, rubs it in quickly, and then shakes his head.
“You’ve missed a few spots. Tomorrow I’ll show you how to shave properly.”
“Have you done it?” The thought that I’m not the only one is somehow a relief, but James soon disabuses me.
“No.” He arches his brows at me. “I’m Mr. Archer’s personal assistant, not his bitch.”
My stomach clenches.
James’s smirk grows into a real smile. “Time to get you ready for bed, Daniel.”
Archer is still waiting in the bedroom, and he smiles at me as I shuffle back inside, clean and naked and shining with lotion. He sits down on the narrow bed. “Come over here, Daniel.”
Shaking, I obey.
Archer studies me, and looks less than pleased. “He’s missed some places.”
“Yes, sir,” James says. “We’re going to go over it properly in the morning.”
“Good. Add it to his schedule.”
“I thought straight after breakfast, sir.”
“No.” Archer reaches out and trails a finger down my smooth chest. “Punishment comes after breakfast.”
I flinch. “But, sir, I haven’t done—”
“You will. I guarantee it.” Archer takes something out of his pocket. It’s clear, and plastic, and just the right shape to fit over my cock. “This is called a cock cage. It will stop you from touching yourself.” Archer grips me by the hips and jostles me until I’m standing between his spread knees.
“You don’t need to . . .” My whisper trails off when he frowns at me. He owns me, he said. This is him making a point.
I want to close my eyes as Archer reaches for my cock, but I can’t. I’m scared, but I need to see what he’s doing down there.
His touch is electric, and I jerk. Archer clicks his tongue impatiently, and it takes all my effort not to pull away. To just stand there, shaking, as he manipulates my cock and balls. The plastic cage fits together around my flesh like puzzle pieces. The sheath slides over my shrunken cock, the ring snaps around my balls, and the whole thing is locked together with a tiny padlock.
Archer taps the plastic with his fingers. “That’s a good fit. It will stop you from getting hard as well, even while you’re asleep.”
As if I’d ever get hard in this place except in my sleep.
“What do you think, James?” Archer turns me around so I’m facing the other man. I flush.
James smiles. “A marked improvement, sir. Nothing like caging a boy’s little cock to adjust his attitude.”
Archer laughs. “Wait outside, would you, James? Daniel and I are going to have a talk.”
The door clicks shut.
Archer maneuvers me so that I’m sitting down on the bed next to him. “Do you like your room, Daniel?”
“Yes, sir,” I lie. I want to run, but it’s pointless. I need to do this, whatever it is. This is for my dad, and my dad is all I have. I’ll do it even if Archer is a sick fuck who can only get off by pretending he’s with a little boy.
Mr. Archer smiles at me like he knows exactly what I’m thinking. “It isn’t for me, Daniel.”
“What do you mean, sir?”
He gestures to the room. “This is for you.”
“You want me to dress like a kid, to sleep in a kid’s room, for me?” I remember the rule a fraction too late. “Sir.”
“I know you’re not a child, Daniel, but you never were, were you?” His smile fades into an expression that’s almost sincere. “An upbringing like yours, a father like yours, you never had the chance to have all this.”
“I’m eighteen; it’s too late for this now.”
“It’s never too late.” He reaches up and tucks my hair back behind my ear. “That’s two.”
“One for swearing at James earlier, and one for forgetting how to address me.” He leans in closer, his breath tickling my ear. “Get on your knees now, Daniel, and show me why you’re here.”
Fuck. I drop to my knees and look up at him. “Sir, I’ve never . . .”
“I know.” He widens his legs so they’re bracketing me. “But you have to learn.”
I want to cry.
“You need guidance, Daniel. I understand that. And the discipline that your father never showed you.” He strokes my hair almost tenderly. “I’ll provide everything that you need while you’re in my care, and you will learn to be grateful for it.”
Grateful. Yeah, right. I’m here to pay off a debt. He can’t make me grateful for that.
“Get to work, Daniel.”
Archer makes no move to unzip his trousers, leaving me to do it with shaking hands. I want to be sick. I probably will be the second I have to put my mouth on him. I’ve never done anything like this before, because I like girls. I’ve never even had it done to me though, because it turns out girls don’t much like me. And, even if one did, what was I gonna do? Take her back to whatever fleapit Clyde and I were staying in? Opportunity never exactly came knocking, I guess. The only erect cock I’ve ever seen in my life is my own, and from the moment Archer’s pokes out of his fly, I can tell that his is bigger. Much bigger. The head is red and shiny and ugly.
“Take it in your hand first.”
Trembling, I reach in and curl my fingers around his hot shaft. I can’t close my hand around it; it’s thick. It’s already damp with the beads of pre-cum that are drizzling down from the slit in the head of his cock. Sticky, and warm, and gross. The thick vein on the underside pulses against my thumb.
“Now your mouth.”
I’m terrified it will choke me, but it’s not like I can refuse, right?
I wet my lips and lean forward slowly. The first taste of it is bitter, and hot, and musky. The head slides across my tongue and I want to throw up. I try to draw back, but Archer threads his fingers in my hair and holds me there.
“Do it properly.”
I know this won’t be the worst of it. I know there will probably be a time when I look back on this first blowjob and wish I could be this naïve again. But it doesn’t make it any easier as he feeds more and more of his cock into my mouth.
It hits the back of my throat, and I gag. The universal signal for needing some fucking air, but Archer uses the opportunity to thrust, and then his cock is in my throat, and it’s massive and I can’t breathe and I try to struggle free. I don’t care if he rips the hair out of my head. I don’t want to choke to death.
“Don’t panic, Daniel.”
I struggle some more, and he eases back just far enough that I can suck in some oxygen from around his cock. Then he’s pushing forward again, waiting until my lungs are trying to burst before he lets me get more air. My eyes and nose are running, my stomach is heaving, and I fucking hate this. I hate Archer for doing this, I hate myself for letting him, and I hate my dad for being a useless piece of shit and putting me in this position.
“That’s it,” Archer tells me. “Keep going. Good boy.”
I sob around his cock.
“You’re doing fine.”
Fine now that I’m weak with oxygen deprivation? But his grip on my hair loosens, gentles, and I don’t pull away. What would be the fucking point?
His breathing quickens, the rhythm that we’ve fallen into falters, and then I’m choking for real as he blasts my throat with hot cum.
I wrench back, and he lets me go. I land on my ass on the carpet, spitting and dribbling. Shaking, I wipe my mouth on the back of my hand. My stomach turns, and I retch. Soggy chunks of my half-digested sandwich land on the carpet, along with gobs of bile and cum.
“Go and wash up, Daniel,” Archer says, tucking his cock back in his trousers. He points to the bathroom.
I haul myself to my feet and stumble into the bathroom, turn the faucet on and wash my mouth out. I stare at my face in the mirror and wonder what the fuck just happened to me. My hands start to shake, and then the rest of me follows.
I ignore him.
My reflection stares back at me, knowing, hating. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at it again without thinking of this moment.
“That’s three, Daniel.”
Three what, asshole? But whatever it is, I don’t want four. So I shuffle back into the bedroom, and find that the sheets have been turned down. A pair of boxer briefs and a pajama shirt are laid out on the end of the bed.
“Just the shirt for now,” Archer tells me.
I button it on with shaking hands.
“Kneel down now,” he says. “Lean over the bed. Rest your head on your arms.”
The sooner I do this, the sooner it’s over, right? I obey.
“That’s it. Legs apart, please.”
Oh Jesus. Just because I know what’s going to happen next doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near ready for it. But I also know I can’t stop it from happening, right? Tears sting my eyes.
Archer puts a hand on my tailbone and gently rubs as I shudder. I bury my face in my arms and squeeze my eyes shut.
The door clicks open again. Something rustles behind me, but I don’t want to look.
“Yes, the smallest one should do it,” Archer says. “We’ll work up to the rest.”
Then his hands are on my ass, easing my cheeks apart. A glob of something cold hits my exposed crease, and fingers rub it down toward my hole. It warms up as it’s spread, as Archer’s fingers work it around the edge of my hole. I whimper as a fingertip skims my entrance and dips briefly inside.
“Just relax and open up, Daniel,” he commands.
I choke down another whimper.
More lube, more pressure, and then he’s got a finger up my ass. Panic threatens to overwhelm me as he works that finger in deeper and starts to swirl it around inside me. It doesn’t feel good, but it doesn’t exactly hurt either. I try to control my breathing and try to forget that this morning felt like just any other day and—fuck, look at me now.
This is crazy. It can’t be happening. Can’t be, can’t be, can’t be.
Archer eases his finger out and pushes some more lube in.
I’m expecting his cock next, but the blunt, unyielding thing that presses against my hole is too cold to be flesh. I try to turn and see, but James pushes my head back down and grips my hair tightly.
“Just a little plug, Daniel,” Archer says.
The thing breaches me, makes me whimper and shudder. It’s wider than his finger, and gets wider as it pushes in. Like a bulb, I realize as the pressure abruptly eases and my ass clenches closed on the end. It stings, yet it’s also filling me, pushing against something inside me that aches in an almost pleasant way. Like a bruise you can’t stop jabbing.
James releases me.
I stay down, clenching on the plug to feel it, unclenching, clenching. My balls tingle, and my cock tries to harden. Can’t though. The cage keeps it small. I groan and roll my hips, trying to get some friction—on my cock, on the plug, on anything—and Archer laughs.
“Naughty, naughty boy.”
His voice is smooth, knowing, and like a bucket of cold water thrown over whatever scant arousal I was feeling.
“You can put your pants on now, Daniel.”
Flushing with humiliation, I rise to my feet. The movement shifts the plug in all sorts of new ways, and sensation zings through me. When I pull the boxer briefs up, I try to bend away from the plug. My knuckles knock against the plastic cock cage. When I’ve finally got the underwear on, the cage bulges out obscenely.
Archer stands up and rubs himself through his trousers. “You’ll wear the plug all night, Daniel. Try to take it out, and you will be punished.”
He gestures at the bed, and I crawl into it, still shaking. I curl up on my side to try to take the pressure off the plug.
Archer pulls the sheets up and then sits down beside me. He brushes the hair away from my forehead, and I stare at the poster on the wall. Robots. Who picked out the stuff for this room? Was it Archer?
“You’ve had a big day,” Archer tells me. His tone is soothing, and it makes me want to scream. “Fresh start tomorrow, hmm? After your punishment.”
A chill shivers through me, half revulsion and half something else. Something I don’t want to name. I can feel my own heartbeat in my ass, pulsing against the plug. I can feel my cock pressing against the cage, trying to get hard. I try to speak, but I can’t. I mouth the words instead: Yes, sir.
“Look at you,” he murmurs. “Oh, you’ll hate me by tomorrow morning.”
I hate him already.
Archer strokes my hair. “You’ve tried so hard to be a grown-up for so long, to be strong for your father. He doesn’t deserve a son as devoted as you.”
It’s not devotion. It’s blood.
Archer leans down and brushes his lips against my damp forehead. “And he’s not the father you need, Daniel. You need a man who can give you guidance and discipline. You’ll get those things here.”
Tears sting my eyes again.
Archer sits back, then reaches out to brush his thumb against my swollen lips. “You’ll get those things from me.”
I twist my face away.
Archer laughs. “And that’s four.”
I open my mouth to protest the unfairness, but clamp it shut again. Because I can’t win. That’s the whole goddamn point, right? I can’t win.
Archer stands up and leaves the room and closes the door behind him.
I lie there, too afraid to cry in case he’s listening.
Beautifully written. . . . [Takes] you to scary places you’ve never been or imagined.
Lisa Henry has succeeded in turning me on, turning me off, emotionally working me over. . . Thank you ma'am.
These are dark stories that, while short, are incredibly written.