"It's all right, ma'am; they used to do that to me at the academy, blindfolded too when one of the members wanted it. I even managed to sleep that way, except when people came in and - did things to me."
"I don't think that will happen tonight; let's get you arranged." Removing Anne's leash and detaching the bracelets in back, she refastened them in front and attached them to the ceiling tether, then pulled until they were drawn fully upwards. Just like the scourging; Anne shivered at the memory.
Next she knelt and attached one end of a long bar to each ankle bracelet, widely separating Anne's legs. Anne could not support herself in this position and only the tether kept her from falling.
Francesca looked up for a moment at the point where Anne's thighs met; Anne thought she might reach out to the nest that awaited her touch, but she rose and stood. As she passed in front of Anne the sleeve of her silk blouse brushed one of Anne's breasts and the nipple stiffened. Francesca looked down and smiled but said nothing, though she patted Anne gently on the cheek before checking the tether. She stopped to arrange a stray lock of Anne's hair, bringing her face close; their eyes met for an instant and the pounding of Anne's heart was almost unbearable.
Francesca gathered up her wool jacket and put it on. She paused at the door before shutting off the light. "Do you know, it was less than twelve hours ago that I met you; what a day it's been, eh?"
"Yes ma'am, it has; thank you for - everything."
She turned and left, bolting the door; through the barred window of the cell Anne saw her recede up the path and out of sight.
Suspended by the tether, Anne faced the servants' quarters in a corner of the estate. Slowly, one by one the light in each of the windows went out as the servants retired and darkness reigned. Francesca probably lived there or in the main house. Was she curled up asleep now on a feather bed under a comforter? That would be nice.
Anne wondered if Francesca slept in pajamas, or a nightgown, or in the nude like her. She used to have a collection of nightgowns; cotton, silk, nylon, wool for cold nights. She had a favorite one, pink trimmed with lace, very sheer, a gift from a former boyfriend. She wore it to stimulate him before they made love. It stimulated _her_ now to picture Francesca wearing it, her muscular body visible under the filmy garment. No, she mustn't; she tore her mind away from the image. She would be punished if anyone knew what she was thinking. Should she tell Francesca and await her chastisement?
She tried to compose her agitated mind. An owl hooted from a tree not far away. She leaned her head against an upraised arm and closed her eyes.
Some hours later she was awakened by the opening of the door. It was Francesca.
"I think Georges should be satisfied now. I'm going to let you lie down and rest." She attached the leash and removed the bar between Anne's legs. "Can you stand on your own now?"
"Yes, ma'am." Francesca looked sharply at her.
"I mean yes I can, ma'am. I'm sorry; I forgot. I really was listening, ma'am."
Francesca unhooked Anne's bracelets from the tether, but left her hands tied in front. She let Anne drink some water, then walked her over to the window alcove. Anne lay on her back with her head in Francesca's lap.
Despite the more comfortable position, Anne could not sleep. After half an hour she looked up. The moon shone down on her, leaving her visible to anyone who looked in the window. Lying down when she should be hung up in the middle of her cell. Francesca was in shadow, her head lolling against the alcove wall, her eyes closed.
"Ma'am", she called softly. No response. "Ma'am". Francesca opened her eyes and looked down at her.
"Ma'am, I was wondering if it might be better to put me back; if Mr. Schuyler thinks we disobeyed him it could be bad for you." And the end of herself.
Francesca thought for a moment, then agreed with Anne and said "Stand up". She led Anne back to the center of the room, hoisted her with the tether and applied the spreader to her ankles, forgetting in the darkness to remove the leash that dangled down her front. She left without a word or a look back at Anne.
Suspended again by her wrists, she tried to puzzle out Francesca's feelings. Letting Anne rest might just be proper livestock management. Try as she might, Anne could not tell if Francesca was motivated by affection or ambition. She would be unwise to develop an attachment towards Anne, whom Mr. Schuyler could give away or terminate at a moment's whim.
She didn't think Francesca was unwise, and reluctantly concluded she was in control of her emotions. Anne was not in control of her own though, but irretrievably devoted to Francesca. She pondered the paradox of the younger woman not yet out of school who had won her heart so completely. She hoped Francesca did not feel rejected by Anne's words. The thought of that plunged her into an agony of doubt and misery.
Anne waited, but sleep did not come. Not long afterwards the door opened again. This time it was Mr. Schuyler.
"Sir." Anne blinked in the sudden light and lowered her eyes, afraid he had discovered the deception or that he would ask her how she spent the night. She could not lie to him, and the consequences of candor were terrible. She trembled a little.
But he had no intention of asking her anything; he wanted to see for himself how Francesca had carried out his request. He checked the tension of the tether, the bar between her ankles, and noted with approval ("A nice touch, that") the dangling leash; and her fearful state, which he attributed to his presence. "I will have Frieda release you now."
He paused to toy with one of her breasts and examined the fleece between her legs. Talking in a low voice to himself he debated whether to have it removed. No, leave the bush for now; his clients seemed to like it.
After he left Anne breathed a sigh of relief at her narrow escape. And she was glad he let her keep her fleece; she was an old-fashioned girl that way. It was the one bit of covering left to her and it added a hint of mystery to that special place.
A few minutes later his servant arrived and without a word slackened the tether, lowering Anne to the stone floor on her back. Mr. Schuyler gave no instructions about the bar or the leash, so she left those untouched. Anne swung around so her head was away from the doorway with her wide-open legs facing it. She hoped to make a dramatic welcome for the next visitor.
It was Francesca, several hours later and well after dawn. She was wearing jeans and a short-sleeved blouse in a bright primary color. If she was moved by the sight, she concealed it. She stood with one foot between Anne's legs and looked down at her.
"What are you doing on the floor?"
Anne described Mr. Schuyler's and Frieda's visits while Francesca removed the bar.
"I didn't ask him to let me down, ma'am", she said anxiously. She knew she was forbidden to request lenience. "I hope you had a good night's sleep."
"Yes, not bad except for that little gap here. Mr. Schuyler gave me a cottage next to Frieda's, with a good bed and the best sheets I slid into. I sleep in the buff" - Anne's mouth dropped open - "and these were as smooth as any I ever touched. Sit up."
Anne did as she was told and Francesca bent over her, wrapping strong arms around Anne's chest below her breasts and lifting her easily. Anne thought her embrace lasted a fraction of a second longer than necessary, but could not be sure.
Francesca fed and watered Anne, adding a thin layer of white powder to her feed. She lubricated her ("you might need it, you never know") and announced this morning Frieda would begin her education here.
"Education, ma'am?" After yesterday, Anne thought Francesca knew everything.
She explained Frieda would show her some advanced techniques. "It won't be easy for you. You'll be heels-up and wide open most of the day."
Anne followed her mistress outside to the frame. Carol with a camera, Paul, Frieda, and Mr. Schuyler awaited them. Francesca laid her on her back with her arms outstretched and tied them to the ground.
The wet grass was cold beneath her. For a moment it reminded her of the dewy lawn on her first morning at the academy; then Frieda attached her ankles to a pair of ropes and pulled her legs apart over her head. Her hips hung in the air.
Anne saw what she was in for and grew wide-eyed with fear. Carol moved in and captured her expression from several angles: from the side, overhead, and through the gap in her legs which framed her face in a broad V. Perspiration or something began to appear at the base of the V and run down her upraised belly between her breasts.
Frieda brought in a set of leather straps in varying lengths and stiffness, and placed them on a nearby table. Paul sat on a chair next to Mr. Schuyler where he could watch.
Like a tennis coach, Frieda demonstrated strokes to the inside of Anne's thighs. Following her, Francesca copied her movements. Carol continued to photograph Anne's expression of mingled terror and desire.
After a half hour of instruction, Frieda left Francesca to a period of free-form exercises. At the end of it, Anne was sobbing and writhing in her bonds. Mr. Schuyler called Francesca over to where he and Paul sat; they conferred while Frieda ushered the reluctant Carol away. The two men went inside after giving Francesca her instructions.
Her mistress stood over her, wiping Anne's face with a towel and stroking the silken skin of her inner thighs before speaking.
"We both passed our first test today. They want me to continue as your trainer." Anne smiled up at her.
And they had plans for Anne, ambitious but risky ones. The lessons would get progressively more severe. She explained that the plan had its dangers; if it failed Anne would have to be destroyed.
"If they decide to put me down, would you be the one to do it?"
"I hope so; thank you."
"There's no need to think about it today; we won't reach that point for a few weeks."
She opened a box and drew out two devices like those used at the academy, made of some bright orange material and shaped like a male member. Anne gasped as she forced one into the narrow passage and tied it in place with a ribbon.
"Yes, it is larger than you're used to. Mr. Schuyler wants me to widen you some more. I suspect Georges recommended it; we all heard you howling in the library last night."
Anne shuddered. "I thought he was going to split me open. This one feels the same."
She turned it slowly inside Anne, who began to moan. There was - something about it - in that narrow space. Stretching her to the limit, it was just short of unbearable, it brought tears to her eyes, but she had to have it. Francesca continued to rotate the device for a minute more while Anne wept and cried out incoherently.
"Get used to it; we're going to use larger ones day by day." Anne could not imagine what they would be like in her.
The other had a hole down its center for breathing; she placed it the length of Anne's mouth until the end lodged at the back. Anne struggled not to gag.
"I'll be back in a few hours; practice with them. We'll go through the same routine tomorrow and I don't know how many days after that."
As she had no more to say and Anne was plainly incapable of speech she left, unaware of the helpless loving gaze that followed her out of sight.
For the rest of the morning Anne practiced as she was told, first with one insert, then the other, then both at once (because you never know), ignoring the flies that settled on her moist places. She felt Francesca's presence in her through the surrogates, and tried to honor her mistress by following her instructions without respite.
When Francesca returned around noon, Anne was exhausted from her efforts. Her muscles were tired and sore but she felt she had made a little progress. Francesca brought a nippled water bottle and a pack of feed pellets. After removing the upper device, she alternated squeezing water into Anne's mouth and holding pellets in the palm of her hand. Anne turned her head and extended her tongue to reach them. It was hard but she was very hungry and managed to eat them all. Francesca replaced the device and left. Carol returned and took more photos of her.
Anne practiced alone for hours as the shadows of the trees lengthened across the lawn. Francesca appeared toward sundown in a flower-print dress; she removed the devices and released Anne to stand up without touching her and soiling her dress. She fastened Anne's hands behind her, attached the leash, and led her across the courtyard to her cell.
Anne admired Francesca's neat professional appearance. It was was in stark contrast to Anne's own, begrimed with sweat and dirt. It showed off the difference between them nicely, and some of Mr. Schuyler's clients liked to see her this way. Still, she hoped she might be washed tomorrow.
Once inside Anne took comfort at the sight of her bowls, though eating pellets from Francesca's outstretched hand while pinned to the ground was good too. Francesca attached her collar to the ceiling tether, refilled the bowls, and brushed her hair as she knelt. In a little while, Francesca would be meeting with Georges to discuss the results of her academic work. Anne asked if this would be a good time to continue her story of the academy; Francesca nodded and she began.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
On her next morning Anne was wakened by an attendant she had not met before. Pia had a naturally sour disposition; she gave Anne only half a bowl of cold paste before hustling her out to the exercise yard for training with the rest of the inmate herd.
Anne was groggy from lack of sleep and slow to understand some orders; they marked her down for punishment on several occasions. Each time she thanked the trainer and kissed the hands that beat her.
After group training the inmates were chained together and driven like cattle to a sandy area to relieve themselves, hosed off and left to dry.
Then each girl was taken to her individual session. Paul wanted Anne schooled on the frame in whip work. Two attendants led her there and suspended her from the corners. Her trainer emerged from the house with his (a little more than half the trainers were men) case of tools and her book. After checking her bonds, he examined her skin to see how much it could endure. This part always frightened Anne. He reviewed her book and turned to the day's lesson plan.
After five minutes or so (less as the weeks passed) she became a creature of the moment, all thoughts driven from her head. Sometimes she fell in love with her trainer and wanted the session to last forever.
Francis was patient with her when she was assigned to him, going over and over an exercise until she got it right. He trained her like a puppy, saying "no, no, no" slowly to correct her errors, or giving her a food treat as a reward.
Others were less tolerant; one grew so cross that he put a garrote on her neck and tightened it halfway to remind her what she would face if she failed. Another trainer, a small sinewy woman with steel-gray hair tied in a bun, terrified her; Gudrun was officially responsible for terminating inmates when necessary.