Curry On, My Haywardson (Part 2)
Michael nearly choked on his own tongue. How could she possibly know my name?
But he found that he was already moving in spite of himself. Without another thought, he stepped behind the counter and followed the woman through the beads, down the hall toward the kitchen.
But they weren’t going to the kitchen.
She trod right past the entrance to the kitchen, past a small, cluttered office, past an array of cleaning supplies in a pile on the floor, all the way to the end of the slender hallway to…
A dead end?
The woman waved her hand in front of the wall which, much to Michael’s ever-growing surprise, faded away completely to reveal the entrance to a stone staircase. She turned to make eye contact with Michael, long enough to make it clear that she intended for him to follow her into the darkness, and smirked.
She raised one upturned hand, and with a snaking curled finger, she said, “Come.”
Michael’s eyes bulged wide.
This can’t be happening. It must be some kind of… illusion.
But she walked beyond the illusion, through the very real hole in the wall.
And Michael was far too curious now not to go after her.
The air just past the threshold was markedly cooler than it had been in the hall. He heard the plinking echoes of water droplets tinkling through the immeasurable darkness on all sides as he proceeded with caution. He had no idea how far the drop might be if he were to trip over the edge.
Though the woman held some kind of lamp up in front her to light the way, Michael couldn’t make out much more than the glowing aura around her curvy silhouette from behind. He kept his eyes turned down toward his feet, taking one careful step at a time as he followed her deeper into the bowels of the earth.
She never checked to ensure he was behind her until they reached the bottom. When she turned to shed light on the last step for him, Michael noticed that the lamp she held was not a lamp, but an orb of flame, inexplicably floating an inch above the flesh of her dark palm. The heart of the flames flashed purple almost as if to acknowledge his confusion.
The woman raised the slender fingers of her free hand to his mouth to hush his thoughts. The hum of the stolen words fell back down his throat and thrummed deep in his belly as she walked away from where he stood.
Michael became frightfully aware of how little he could see beyond the heavy shadows when she got too far away from him. He had no choice but to follow close behind. Close enough to catch a whiff of warm cloves and cinnamon.
“Where are you taking me?”
His ears flashed hotter with every curt command.
Michael noticed a tiny static light at the end of the infinite dark tunnel. It grew with every step until they reached an arched opening in the stone. They moved through the arch, passing into a domed cave, which was all lit up by a myriad of twinkling orbs hovering with the same soft violet-orange glow that the woman held in her hand.
Just then, that fireball left her magical grip, floating up to the ceiling. Michael’s eyes followed it all the way until it had nestled itself into place amongst its sisters, all floating around like lazy fireflies.
When his gaze landed back on the woman, she wasn’t as she had been. She had shed her simple attire in favor of an intricately gold-beaded bralette that just covered her modest breasts, exposing the rest of her strikingly dark torso; wrapped around her waist was a long, dark gossamer skirt, embellished with threads of black and purple and gold, which hung from her hips like a web of gauzy silk. Wild and lush, her hair had escaped its bindings and swirled around her head like a crown of soft black tentacles with curly, fiddlehead tips.
Every limb was adorned with golden jewelry that clinked softly as she walked past him toward the stone throne that had appeared, perched on a dais in the center of the dome. Michael caught a glimpse of her face before she looked away from him. Her eyes were lined with smoky kohl, carved with fierce, feline precision, and he couldn’t fathom how he hadn’t noticed before that her eyes were a deep shade of purple.
Same perfect eyebrows though, he thought.
A pall of dark purple silk appeared on the throne. Just as suddenly, the woman disappeared in a plume of purple smoke, and reappeared in another powdery explosion sitting proudly upon the throne like it was her favorite island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. She draped herself lithely across the carved armrests and dared him to come closer.
“Welcome, Michael, to my debauchery lair.” She adjusted the dozen gold bangles on her wrist as she spoke. “This is where I bring depraved dreams to life. Do you like it?”
Michael was too stunned to sort through the chaos of thought and feeling, never mind speak. But he did think it was impressive that something like this could exist so far into the earth.
“I’m so glad to hear that,” she said, still not looking at him.
“This can’t be real,” he murmured, more to himself than her. Because he wasn’t entirely convinced that she was real either.
“Depends.” She raised a long pointed finger and locked eyes with Michael. The curled end of a lock of her onyx hair twirled around the finger on its own accord.
“Depends on what?”
“On your definition of reality, I suppose.”
He scowled again and looked away, crossing his arms over his chest again. Interestingly enough, Michael didn’t care for these cryptic mind games she was playing with him.
Relishing in his squirming angst, she locked her eyes on him and her chiseled eyebrow rose high as her smirk pulled wider. “It looks this way because on some level, you wanted it to.”
“Wh-what…” His arms slackened, but his brows scrunched all the way into the bridge of his nose. “What do you mean, I wanted it to,” he sneered.
“Let’s just say that I’m what you need me to be so you can be what I need you to be for me.”
She snickered at the puzzlement all over his face as he slowed her words down and recited them back to himself under his breath.
“Don’t, however,” she continued with a little more weight to her words, “make the mistake of thinking that I’m doing this for you. It’s just that a girl’s gotta eat. Simple as that. And you, my dear, have piqued my appetite.”
“You’re going to… eat me?” Michael instinctively rubbed his neck as he said it.
“Relax. I’m not some low-level vampire. Your flesh is of no interest to me.”
Michael’s brow furrowed again. What… are you then? If she’d heard that one, she ignored it, and before he could ask any follow-up question out loud, she continued.
“Your deep, dark fantasies, however… Mm.” Her violet eyes flashed with neon ferocity. “Well, they look positively scrumptious. And I want a taste.”
He struggled to swallow the lump of saliva that seemed to have congealed in his throat.
Michael had never confessed any of his ‘deep, dark fantasies’ to anyone before. He’d barely admitted them to himself.
“My mother always encouraged me to play with my food,” she continued. “And something tells me that I’m going to have a lot of fun with you, my dear. If you’ll let me.”
Michael crossed his arms over his chest again. His breathing had shallowed and he still didn’t quite know what she was getting at. He did, however, know from the nervous twitch in his cock that it was just as confused as he was.
“So, my dear Michael, here’s how it’s going to work. This is your line in the sand, as it were. I can’t enjoy you without your permission. It spoils the meal, you see. So I must officially ask: do you want to feel the extent of my power over you today?”
Somewhat mesmerized by the steady autonomous flick and curl at the ends of her hair tendrils, Michael found himself nodding at her.
“Oh, I do love that I leave you speechless, dear, but I’m going to need to hear you say it out loud for this to work.” Her singsong voice was jaunty yet somehow still melodic. “I can’t taste you without your express permission.”
Given what he’d seen so far, he couldn’t even begin to predict the possible extent of her power. But he couldn’t resist his rising urge to concede to it.
“Y-yes,” he rasped past his dry, anxious lips before he could stop himself. “Yes, I want that very much… I—”
That was when he realized that he didn’t yet know her name.
Does something like her even have a name?
He opened his mouth to ask, but she responded before he could get the first letter out.
“You can call me Ginger.”
“Ginger,” he said getting a feel for it. He could almost taste the eponymous spice on his tongue. “Is that your name?”
“It is for now,” she said with a playful shrug. “I think it’s kind of cute. Plus, I like a little wordplay.”
Michael didn’t know what she meant by that.
Ginger laughed because she didn’t plan on explaining to him just why her little nickname was so clever.
“So, once more for good measure. Michael Haywardson, do you wish for me to put you in your place?”
He was finding some footing at last. He cleared his throat, let his arms fall to his sides, stood a little taller, and said, “Yes,” with so much conviction, it almost startled him to hear it. “Yes, Ginger, I do. I really do.”
“Say it, Michael. Tell me. What do you want?”
“I want you…” he slowed his words so they all came out as clear as can be, “to put me in my place.”
Her eyes flared bright purple with approval. “Good.”
Two gold manacles appeared suddenly in tiny whispers of purple smoke in front of him and locked snugly around his wrists, lifting his arms above his head. He looked to her with a combination of dread and excitement. Michael’s heart rate picked up as his feet left the floor; held by the cuffs, he was levitating. He kicked his feet around, trying to reach for the ground, but it was no use.
Her mouth was closed, but he could have sworn he heard Ginger laughing.
As Michael floated across the room, ever higher, up toward the throne where she still sat, Ginger started to recite the terms of their engagement to him.
“First and foremost, you will only speak when spoken to,” she said.
Just as he reached her, she disappeared in another poof of purple. He was then lifted up over the throne itself, and dropped abruptly in place when he was about an inch from the seat's surface.
“You will address me either by my name, or my lady.” Michael jumped in his seat when she peeked around from behind the tall back of the stony seat. “I am not your mistress. You have not yet earned the right to call me that. Understood?”
“Yes, uh… my lady.” It felt as natural to say as it made him uncomfortable.
She picked at her long, black fingernails as her voice boomed out, as if it was passing through a microphone, and ricocheted off the domed walls all around them.
“Next, you will need a safe word.”
“A safe word?”
“Yes,” she said a little softer. “Do you have one?”
“No, why would I?”
Ginger clucked her tongue and shook her head.
“Because it’s part of the rules, Michael,” she said with the coy sternness of a primary school teacher. “It can be whatever you want. But it needs to be made clear before we can begin.”
Michael screwed up his face and his mind fell blank. Every single word he had ever known seemed to disappear all at once.
Ginger continued, giving him time to collect his thoughts. “Something you won’t forget, but aren’t likely to say in the heat of the moment. But it’s up to you to choose. In order to give yourself to me, and me to take you where we both want you to go, you must exercise this power of choice. It’s like adding the perfect array of spices to a dish. Without them, it’s just a bowl of flavorless slop.”
Michael was suddenly hyper-aware of the aromas lingering back in the curry shop.
“What about… Cardamom?”
“Yes, Michael. That is excellent. Your safe word then, should you ever need it, will be Cardamom,” she said. Moving at impossible speed, she whipped her body around the throne to position herself in front of him, hovering a nose length away from Michael’s face. It was then that he finally noticed the shining gold ring looped through her left nostril. “Repeat it to show me that you understand.”
“Cardamom,” he said again, nodding through the syllables. He stared deep into her violet eyes as the hum of the final letters rolled off his lips. His throat was desert-dry again and his pulse beat so hard down into the rock beneath him, he thought he might pound a hole right through it.
“Thank you,” she said leaning back to turn away from him once again. “In some ways, the whole point of this is to make you uncomfortable.” She clasped her hands behind her back and walked away from him. He shuddered when a few stray ends of her hair licked at his cheek before he was out of reach. “But if at any point you feel that you are too far beyond your comfort zone, experience veritable pain, feel any kind of distress, or just don’t want to play with me anymore, say this word out loud, and everything will come to an end. Is that clear?”
Her hair tentacles spasmed like she had just been electrocuted and she whipped her head around. Her glaring eyes burned fiery red when they met his.
Michael quickly realized the problem. Embarrassed and obedient, he instinctively lowered his head to a slight bow and said, “Yes, my lady.”
The red in her eyes melted to a pink and back to their soft purple. “Good,” she purred. “Very good, Michael.”
Two more cuffs appeared around his ankles and he yelped when all four of his gold bands moved on their own, spreading his arms and legs wide as the throne beneath him reclined to form a bed-like platform, with him splayed spread-eagle across it.
“Shut up, Michael,” Ginger barked. “This is what you wanted.”
Michael craned his neck in an attempt to look up at her. She was out of his line of sight, but looking down his body, he was able to watch as first his coat, then the fabric of his suit disintegrated—not unlike the wall at the top of the stairs—right before his eyes. He was left in nothing but his fitted navy blue boxer briefs, which were bursting suggestively at the seams.
Though he could still see a lot of the room from his supine position, she was beyond his field of vision and he was blind to her movements. The clink of her dozen golden anklets didn’t help him place her either. It was all around him.
Inside me, even.
The sound was gradually drowned out, overpowered by her rolling, malicious laughter, which seemed to rattle from his own ribcage.
In another sudden burst of violet smoke, Ginger was standing between his spread legs. Looking down her nose at him, she curled her lip and let out a scoff.
“Look at you. How pathetic you are. What kind of man not only chooses to be in such a position,” she scanned from his face down his body toward the cock straining to break free, “but loves it this much.”
He stammered a moment before he realized that it wasn’t actually a question.
Ginger took a single step forward and pressed the ball of her bare foot into his budding erection. The trill of instinctive fear that shot through Michael’s body only galvanized him further. In spite of himself, he grew even harder back into her.
“Yes, Michael. I feel you,” she cooed. “I see you.”
The way she looked at him when she said it made him believe it unconditionally. It was as if before that very moment, no one had ever truly seen Michael for who and what he really was. It was unnerving. But more than that, it was almost…
Ginger smiled and released her gentle downward force on his crotch, allowing his blood to surge to all edges of his shaft. She took another step up his torso, straddling her feet on either side of his ribcage. She gathered up the length of her skirt and squatted down over him, leaning her face in so close to his that she could taste the nervous excitement on his heavy, ragged exhales.
She clasped Michael by the chin and turned his face from side to side, as if appraising his jawline. She stroked his cheek with the soft side of her thumb; he closed his eyes and swooned into the nurturing warmth of Ginger’s touch.
He barely had time to notice that she had let him go before her open palm struck him cleanly across the face.
Michael’s eyes shocked open when he whipped his head back to look at her. Ginger’s lilac irises were smoldering in the firelight. She looked ravenous.
When she slapped him again in the same place as before, Michael could feel that heat in his own eyes firing back at her, and the subtle kiss of her wetness on his bare chest every time he breathed back into her.
“Mmm, this is going to be fun.” Ginger laughed and licked at the edge of his lip with the tip of her tongue. “Are you ready to give yourself to me?”