I was a postgraduate student in psychology and getting on well with my research. My main interest was sensory deprivation and the recent work of Professor Rivero Lange of the University of Seville. His studies concentrated on the individual's response to fear and how it ties in with sexuality and sensory deprivation. I was reading something he had written about how far we can push ourselves into danger against our better judgement; how far we dare go even in the face of our darkest fears. He undertook close analysis of his test subjects, their limits and their breaking points. It seemed exciting work and I wanted to know more. I wrote to him and told him about some of my own ideas along the same lines, but he never replied.
Then one day my supervisor, Dr Max Baal, a well known psychologist and an expert on the treatment of people who have been brainwashed, told me I looked tired and suggested I take a week off. He was right. I felt jaded and needed some sunshine. He said he had a friend who owned a small apartment on the Costa del Sol, and before I had time to think about it he arranged for me to stay there.
When I arrived in Spain it was hot, too hot. I had not expected the intense sunlight, and before I even got to the apartment I felt faint. A craggy-faced old woman met me at the door. She was cloaked in black and jangled a heavy bunch of keys in her bony hand. It was a ground floor flat; part of an old house squeezed into a jumble of white, thick-walled buildings, but inside it was spacious and cool.
The old woman shook the handle of a door leading from the hall that was padlocked. 'Locked,' she said emphatically. 'Doctor not here. Locked.'
I shrugged as she handed me a single key, pointed to the bathroom, and left.
I threw my bag down on the bed, opened the French doors and stepped out into a small, high-walled garden. A stone bench with flowers growing at its base sat against one wall, and opposite it a large grey wooden door was set into the bleached bricks. A terracotta pot with bright red flowers decorated a small metal table in the centre of the garden. I do not have to close my eyes to see it again, the scene is so vivid. I could feel the breeze drifting up from the sea, wafting through the tight rows of whitewashed houses in soft, billowing waves and bathing me in its humid warmth. I sat on one of the flimsy metal chairs beside the table and opened my legs wide. My thin cotton panties were damp with perspiration. I love the feeling of salty moisture wetting the gusset of my panties, the way the material tugs gently at my pussy whenever I move, and the way the sticky tension parts my labia and exposes my delicate inner flesh. Without thinking, I prized the edges of the flimsy fabric away and felt the warmth of my flesh against my fingertips. I looked around me, and suddenly saw a man standing on a balcony in one of the cluster of adjoining houses. He was wearing a bright red and white Hawaiian shirt, and the contrast of the bold, jumbled pattern against the whitewashed buildings was intensified by the bright sunshine as he leaned over the black ornamental railing. I knew he realised I had seen him and I felt excited by his penetrating stare.
I lowered my head and rested my chin against the top of my chest. I tried to look shy, as though I was going to remove my hand from between my legs, get up and walk away, but I was really concentrating on the glistening pinkness of my flesh where I had pulled my panties aside. I stared at my labia and felt the touch of the man's eyes. I was not embarrassed, I was only aware of being careful not to rush and disappoint him. I knew I was being watched, and it was as though his prying eyes were a gift; his presence forced me to take my time and very slowly and gently press my fingertips against my clitoris. Then I slipped two fingers into the warm depths of my rosy slit. Such delicate moisture, such satiny wetness, so silky it let my fingers slip with ease between my soft flesh as I sat back and opened my legs even wider.
I would recognise again that figure on the balcony by his garish shirt and his shock of black hair, but once I had seen him I always recognised him the same way I know my own fingers and pussy. Did it matter that I spread my thighs wide that afternoon and pulled the edges of my white panties away from my sex? Of course it did. I know I should never have leaned back and stiffened my legs and brought them together as I pulled my panties down around my thighs. I should never have twisted the material into a thin, cutting rope and rolled it slowly across the tops of my thighs as though binding myself. I should not have moaned so loudly as the heat of the sun against my perspiring skin made my labia swell and throb against my fingertips. I should not have opened my mouth as I felt the surge of tension making me stretch my toes out in an uncontrollable spasm and forcing my ankles out so straight they ached. I should never have lifted my hips as high as I could so the man on the balcony could clearly see the blooming lips of my vulva responding to his scrutiny.
But I did.
I opened myself to him; I showed him my pussy in all its glory while sitting in that sunlit garden as though it was just another innocent flower. I showed him how I brought myself close to orgasm and then held back so I could start all over again, writhing on the chair as I teased myself, holding on to those moments of delectable anticipation. Then, when I finally let go, I stretched myself out for him, my whole body jerking and quivering while I looked up at him as though it was he driving me past the brink.
No, I should never have done those things. If I had not done them, then I would not have felt the way I did later when I wandered down to a nearby café for a drink. I would not have felt so electrified, so aroused, so available, and perhaps, just perhaps, he would not have been able to capture me so easily.
The first time I saw him he was with his other pet. I call her the pet because that is how he used to refer to me as well. 'Syra, my pet,' he would say whenever he came up behind me and squeezed my neck. 'Syra, my pet,' he would say when he was instructing me and wanted me to stand with my arms by my side and listen carefully. 'Syra, my pet,' he would say when he thought I had disobeyed him and he needed to reprimand me. Even so, I believe I always thought of her as the pet even before I heard him call me that. She was taller than me and very slender. She was beautiful, I suppose, though I could never have admitted it at the time. Yes, she was beautiful and I was jealous of her straightaway. I can see her now just as I saw her that first time - a haughty pampered bitch, a dark poodle prancing along with her nose in the air and her leash dangling loosely from the collar around her throat. She was like a poodle, so obedient she did not have to be restrained.
He - this unknown beautiful stranger - walked across the café with the pet hanging on his arm. He was so handsome everyone looked at him. There was something about him that drew people's attention, just as it captured mine like a magnet. I immediately liked the shape of his nose, narrow and long, his golden tan, his long black hair and his muscular arms tipped with manicured fingernails. I smelled the pet's perfume, a sharp, citrus-like scent, and wrinkled my nose to convey my contempt for her. She did not see me surreptitiously sneering at her, but I did not care.
I felt nervous as they walked behind me. I should have known then, I suppose. That slight feeling of fear should have warned me. I felt him stop walking and knew he was looking at me; I could feel his eyes. I had draped my hair over my left shoulder and I could feel his stare on the nape of my neck. His regard was almost as hot as the sun's and made me feel a delicious prickling between my shoulder blades.
'Syra,' he said abruptly.
'Sorry?' I turned around in my chair. I should not have turned around. I know that now. It was the last time I had control of my life. That pathetic 'sorry' was the last word I uttered before I was enslaved.
'Why are you sorry?' he asked me very seriously. 'What have you done?'
'I don't know... nothing,' I replied feebly. 'I think you have me confused with someone else. My name is—'
'Syra,' he said emphatically. 'You could be no one else but Syra. Syra, my pet, I am not confused. May we sit with you?' He pulled a chair out for the pet and then sat down opposite me without waiting for my consent. The pet wriggled herself down onto the chrome strips of the shiny metal chair, and I inhaled her scent again.
'Eve,' she said in a low, even voice, grudgingly introducing herself to me.
Suddenly there was a commotion and a waiter came rushing towards us waving a towel, flicking it wildly at the customers as though he had gone mad and was hallucinating a world full of threatening wasps. 'Señor! Señor! Una bomba! Una bomba!' he shouted. 'Señor, una bomba! Darse prisa! Darse prisa!'
I glanced at the pet. She was holding her hand in front of her mouth as though trying not to laugh.
The beautiful man across from me smiled thinly, and without looking, he reached back and grabbed the waiter's towel as it flicked behind his shoulder. The frenzied server stopped in his tracks, shocked by the arresting hand, his face red around his panting mouth. 'Señor, darse prisa!' he repeated urgently. 'Darse prisa!'
My new acquaintance held on to the towel and hauled the waiter in like a gasping mullet. He tipped his head back and spoke softly. 'We do not want to leave,' he said. 'This bomb that terrifies you so much does not worry us. You may leave, and you may get everyone else to leave, but we will sit here until I decide otherwise.'
The waiter opened his mouth as if to argue, but no words came out. When he was released he hesitated a moment, then he turned and began urging the rest of the customers out of their seats with maniacal efficiency. In seconds the café was empty and silent. I could almost hear the ticking of the bomb and imagine the explosion flinging tables into the air and throwing our bodies around like chaff.
'See how they run,' my handsome friend said disdainfully. 'See how they fly from their hive like bees afraid of smoke? See how they scatter in a panic from the scent of impending doom? And yet they do not even see smoke and there is nothing for them to smell. There is no smoke, but they have been smoked out.' He threw his head back and laughed. 'Smoked out by their fear like panicking bees buzzing from their lair.' With a swift, excited movement of his head, he looked at me again. 'Do you like my little joke, Syra? Did you enjoy the spectacle of fear I have arranged especially for you?'
I looked at him, utterly confused.
'Oh, my poor Syra, does it worry you? Do you think a bomb might blow us up at any second? Are you in fear of your life? Do not be afraid, Syra, it is only a hoax.'
'How do you know that?' I asked breathlessly.
'Because it is my hoax, my little experiment. I wanted to see fear around me and I wanted to treat you to the spectacle.'
'But you didn't know I—'
His melodic laughter cut me off as he stretched his arm over the table. 'Give me your hand, Syra.'
I knew then that I should get up and go. I sensed I was in the presence of danger and knew I should not reach out and touch him. That was my fatal mistake. After that, there was no going back...