Missus Sally Smallbridge – Missus! – parked the elderly motorcycle-sidecar combination and locked her helmet in the ‘boot’ of the ‘chair’. A year after marrying the man (me) who she preferred to think of as ‘Master’, I had persuaded (ordered) her to learn to drive and manage a motorcycle. In my turn, I’d learned to use the assorted instruments of destruction my great-uncle had left. Sally had, eventually, got me to ‘order’ her to teach me to shoot, and to use a selection of hand-to-hand combat techniques. The old man, Jerry senior, so to speak, had wanted her to know how to protect herself, though he put it more in terms of her protecting him and his property. Jerry junior, Jerry Smallbridge, (that being me) wasn’t as skilled as the young woman, but was a great deal more assertive. If my ‘groups’ when shooting weren’t as tight as hers, I certainly was getting them all on target. If my skills in hand-to-hand were less honed than hers, I was stronger and, potentially at least, more aggressive.
She loved the old BMW twin because of its associations with the old man, her first love and the first Master worthy of her devotion. She tore her gaze from the machine and walked with determination toward the mini-supermarket that was all the village could boast in the way of general supplies. Finished in there, she loaded her purchases into the sidecar and went to the small baker’s shop for fresh bread and pastries. Normally she would do all the baking, but she knew I enjoyed the Danish pastries, and the brioche and sour-dough would make a welcome change. Finally, she called on the butcher for the order she’d called in earlier.
Normally, she’d not have delayed, but a once familiar voice captured her attention.
“Sally? Sally Fellowes?”
She turned, and gasped. “Di ... Diane?” She did recognise the other woman, though the intervening sixteen years had not been kind to her. Her natural body form would have been lush, but she was emaciated, her eyes and cheeks sunken, the remains of bruising apparent on her face.
“You remember me?”
“Of course!” Diane had been the one person Sally had felt able to confide in. Perhaps it was because she detected that the other girl had similar problems. They were able to share their problems and comfort each other.
“When you disappeared...”
“I ran away.”
The other woman nodded. “I thought so.” Then, “So did I. But it looks as though you did better than me...”
“Not at first. I nearly died before Master Jeremiah saved me.”
“Yes, but ... When Master Jeremiah died, I wanted to die too, until I met Master Jerry. He’s Master Jeremiah’s great-nephew. He ... he was so much like Master Jeremiah, but young. I love him. When he asked me to marry him, I couldn’t say no, but I begged him to remain my Master.”
“You are lucky...”
“I am. Diane ... do you need help? Are you happy?”
“I am not happy, except to see you again. When I get ... home ... I will be punished.”
“Diane, Master Jerry would want to help you, I’m sure.”
“Really?” There was a quiet buzz from the region of Diane’s belly and the woman jerked. “I must go.”
“Your address, Diane, quickly!”
The other woman stammered out an address that Sally didn’t recognise, but jotted down as best she could as her old friend rushed off. She followed, not deliberately, but because she was walking the same way. She was in time to see an expensive-looking sports car exit the car park, leaving rubber on the tarmac.
I got back to my home, riding Oscar, after a day spent dry-stone walling for the National Trust. As I don’t need to earn a living, I feel it is incumbent upon me to fulfil a useful function where-ever I can, even if unpaid. Not for the first time I considered having an automatic gate-opener in order to preclude the necessity of dismounting, finding a suitable spot to prop Oscar, unlocking and opening the gate, then remounting before repeating the exercise on the other side. Sally never missed the sound of Oscar thumping up our drive and I wasn’t surprised, having put him away in the garage, to be met in the hall.
My wife (she’d rather I called her slave) is beautiful. I have no objection to her propensity for nakedness, for in my eyes she is the epitome of feminine perfection. I say nakedness; she is prone (when not in public at least) to wearing a studded leather collar. She knelt, head down.
“Sally!” She looked up and I spread my arms.
Beaming with pleasure, she stood and stretched up to kiss me, her lips soft and sweet. “Welcome home, Master Jerry.” She knelt again to unfasten the shoes which I’d only put on a few minutes before to replace my motorcycling boots. I sighed, but lifted my feet in turn to enable her to pull them off, then to replace them with slippers. “Dinner in twenty minutes, Master. Would you like help in the shower?”
Would I like help in the shower? Tell me, any normal, heterosexual males out there. You have a beautiful young woman, naked and available, whom you love, and she offers to ‘help’ you in the shower. How many of you would say no?
Of course, we didn’t have much time before dinner, but Sally’s sensual attention did far more than just remove sweat and dirt from my body. I was very happy and very relaxed as we descended the stairs to eat in the kitchen. Sally had prepared a meal that was not critical for timing. Being nearer to thirty than twenty minutes since my arrival didn’t matter and we ate together. It was excellent, as always.
“Yes, please, Sally.”
I went to the lounge and waited for Sally to bring the tray of tea. Although she was doing everything in the same way she always did, I could tell there was something on her mind. She knelt next to the coffee-table, close enough for me to touch her; she knew I loved to stroke her hair, or her shoulder, and she would lean against my leg and, often, lay her head on my thigh. We sipped at our Darjeeling tea, silent together.
At length, she put down her empty cup and rested her arm on my lap and her head on my knee, I caressed her cheek and the edge of her neat ear, and she sighed.
“Sally ... sweet, loving girl ... there’s something bothering you.”
“You know me too well, Master.” She said no more for several minutes as I continued to caress her. “Master, you know I went to the village to shop this morning?”
“Indeed.” I took a deep breath and might have said something else, but...
“Just as I was about to come home, someone stopped me...” she hesitated. “I’ve never told you about my life before I ran away, have I?”
“No, you haven’t.”
“I don’t like to think about it, actually. But at school, there was another girl, Diane. She was in a similar situation, and we ... confided ... in each other. Our homes ... we were both ... Master Jerry, my stepfather was horrible.” She stopped there and swallowed hard.
“It was Diane who stopped me. Master, she looked terrible. She used to be plump. Buxom, even, But she was gaunt. Her face was bruised. Master, I’m sorry! I told her we would – you would want to – help her.”
“And so I do! What’s the problem?” I was a little unsure how to handle this.
“Master, I presumed on your good nature!”
“Sally...” I hesitated, but made myself go on. “Sally, I am cross. I am cross, not because you ‘presumed on my good nature’, but because you didn’t trust me to back you. Do you understand?”
She nodded under my stroking hand. “Yes, Master.”
“Sally, you are my wife and you are entitled to ‘presume on my good nature’. I am going to spank you because you didn’t trust me.”
Although it went against the grain to hit my wife, I knew it wasn’t exactly a punishment as such. Perhaps once in a month, there would be some reason that Sally would contrive to justify a spanking. At the end of it, she would be wet as a swamp, and I would bend her over a chair or some other item of furniture, bury myself to the hilt and fondle her breasts as I pumped into her.
She moved the table away and draped herself over my lap. “Ten, tonight, Sally. Count them.”
I knew better than to hold back, as she wouldn’t count a smack she thought wasn’t hard enough, so after ten... “Ten, thank you, Master,” her bottom was bright pink. But as I intimated, her sex was positively dripping. We stood. She turned away from me, bent at the waist and grasped her ankles. This was not a regular position for us; I thought it was an expression of trust, since she would have to rely on me for balance, though I’m not certain of that.
For whatever reason, I wasn’t about to refuse, and slid into place. I grasped her firm little titties, which are a delightful handful for me, and began to thrust. As my sap began rising, I could feel her trembling. I’d made it very clear she didn’t need my permission to cum, but I was sure she was holding back.
“Cum for me, Sally. Cum for me, Darling, and show you know you are forgiven.” Two more strokes and I could feel her pussy contracting on me. I erupted into her as hard as I ever had before. “Thank you, Sally. Let’s shower, okay?”
She straightened up, one hand pressing her labia together to try to protect the carpet from spots, and I took her in my arms. “I love you, Sally”
“Oh, Master! I love you so!”
I followed her – I just love to watch her bottom gyrate as she walks, and it’s exaggerated as she climbs the stairs – to the bedroom and shower. The shower was welcome, sensual and most enjoyable, and we dried each other carefully. When we finished, she pressed against me and I held her tight. Her face pressed against my shoulder.
“Yes, Pretty One?”
“We ... if you agree ... we should go tonight. To fetch Diane.”
“You think we can do that?”
“It is likely that she is in a cage outside the house. If not, then we must rethink. If we go in the small hours of the night, we could probably get her away without a confrontation.”
We went to lie down for a couple of hours. I doubted I would sleep, but set an alarm for midnight anyway. I was out like a light. Waking was like struggling to climb a hill while wrapped in cotton wool – not a great simile, but the best I can do right now – though Sally was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to go.
I had assumed we’d just dress, hop in a car and drive over, pick the girl up and return.
Black rip-stop. Webbing. Night-vision equipment (had to find and fit new batteries). Knives? Guns?! Sally was more than usually assertive. She insisted I take the Browning, the weapon I was most comfortable with, and she, in turn, took the Luger. The rest of the weapons, less the shotguns, were secreted in a concealed safe. The shotguns were legitimate – the rest, not.
Transport? Not the Ford – too big, too distinctive. Not the Lotus – no room for a passenger. I rode Oscar and Sally took the BMW. The old BMW was quiet and smooth-running, the combination compact, easy to manage, and capable of squeezing through a tighter space than a car. At least, that was Sally’s explanation.
We left the machines in a lay-by about a quarter-mile from our objective, a farm – well, it had been a farm – at the end of a single-track, unpaved but quite smooth, track.
Ever felt like a fake? There I was, dressed all in black, military gear hung on me, following my wife who wore her gear with a great deal more assurance than myself. Pulling on a black balaclava which covered all but eyes and mouth. Night vision goggles.
The track led to the farm, but with a branch that curved off round the outside of the drystone walling. Gravel crunched under my feet – not Sally’s, she was moving like a ghost – and a dog barked. I trod more carefully, the night-vision equipment making things much easier; a bit like moonlight, if moonlight was green.
A gate to a back yard, a line of out-buildings at the other side.
The dog. I couldn’t describe its parentage, except I was pretty sure there was Rottweiler in there. Sally, on the ball, was tossing scraps of meat in front of it, while I was standing there, hoping that the dope in the meat was both undetectable to the dog and still potent after the years since old Jeremiah stashed it away.
The dog did, at least, snaffle up the scraps of meat, then came to the gate to sniff at Sally. Sally found some more bits for him and blow me, but the creature rolled onto his back to let her rub his tummy. She did that, talking softly and gently, soothing him, until his eyes closed.
That left us a problem as the gate opened inwards, but we were able to pull it the wrong way enough to squeeze through.
Once in the yard, sure enough, there was a cage with a naked woman crouched inside – it was too small for her to sit or stretch out, so she was crouched, folded up in a sort of fœtal position. Padlock – not a great one, but enough to prevent her escape. Sally produced bolt-cutters, which took care of that, and we helped the woman crawl out and straighten up. When we tried to stand her up, she stifled a cry. The soles of her feet, we saw later, had been severely beaten. I produced the blanket we’d stuffed into my backpack and we wrapped her in that.
“You’ll have to carry her, Master.”
“I know. But it’ll have to be a firemen’s lift, I’m afraid. I can’t carry her in my arms more than a few yards.”
“Can’t be helped.”
It wasn’t easy, but to be fair she wasn’t heavy. With Sally’s help, we got her vertical and I managed to get her on my shoulders.
At the gate, Sally managed to pull the dog – whilst crooning to it – far enough for us to get through with my burden, then we were off down the track.
Once Diane was ensconced in the chair, Sally set off in the opposite direction to home and I set off on Oscar, taking a long detour rather than straight home.
Sally returned, with our guest, almost an hour after me, having taken a very circuitous route. I carried Diane in and through to the kitchen. Sally got straight on with heating some soup and warming rolls. I sat our guest at the kitchen table and the blanket slipped off her shoulders.
What a mess. I felt sick. Grime, and under the grime the unmistakeable evidence of a comprehensive, brutal beating. The palms of her hands and the soles of her feet had come in for especial attention and when the food was ready it was necessary for Sally to spoon-feed her. I could see that she was ‘big boned’. But she’d obviously been systematically starved and those big bones showed everywhere. Her breasts were large and swollen. Now, I’d expect you’ll have picked up on my preference for small breasts. Sally’s are perfect. I’m afraid I find really big ones to be grotesque, but chacun a son gout as they say. Despite my preference, it was hard to tear my gaze away, both because of the evidence of abuse and the sheer size of the things. As I looked, one nipple leaked a drop of milk.
She looked at me, deep-sunken eyes large and dark in her face. “Not a pretty sight, am I?”
Sally spooned soup into her mouth. “No,” I admitted. “I cannot understand how anyone can treat another human being as you have been treated.”
“But I’m not a human being. I’m an animal. A hucow.” Sally spooned in another mouthful of soup.
I’m not ignorant. I’d encountered the term ‘hucow’ before. “Is that how you see yourself?”
She shrugged and accepted another mouthful of soup. She swallowed. “When you’ve been treated as an animal, as a worthless object, you begin to believe you deserve it.”
“Sally, unless there’s something you want me to do, I’m going to leave you to it. Before our guest goes to bed, though, I want her photographed. Comprehensively photographed.”
“Yes, Master.” Sally paused to present another spoonful of soup. “Master Jerry, Diane should probably be milked. She’ll be uncomfortable otherwise.”
“I don’t want to keep making milk!” Diane spoke firmly.
I looked at Sally, who shrugged. “I don’t know much about it,” I said. “I think breast-feeding, or in this case milking, should be tapered off gradually. Let me go and try a search.”
Sally finished helping Diane to eat and expressed enough of her milk to reduce her discomfort, then called me to carry her up to a bathroom. After taking a comprehensive series of photos, we soaked her in a warm bath, adding hot water as necessary, and assorted herbal oils, and washed her matted, filthy hair. Her hair, when clean and dry proved to be that light red they call ‘strawberry blonde’. It was so badly knotted and tangled, though, we had to cut quite a lot off. We applied paraffin gauze with an anaesthetic salve to her feet and hands and wrapped them thoroughly. She could then at least walk short distances without severe discomfort. We then put her to bed in a small room next to ours.
I slept in, so wasn’t aware that, like Sally earlier in our acquaintance, Diane had snuck into our room and curled up in her duvet at the foot of our bed.
I decided that our guest could probably do without a naked man parading in front of her, and dressed conservatively before going for my breakfast. Sally and Diane were in the kitchen. Diane was wearing a robe – one of mine, in fact as she had broader shoulders than Sally – and Sally was at the work-top wearing an apron; sensible when preparing to fry food, or even handle boiling water in pans, for that matter.
“Good morning, Diane, Sally.”
“Good morning Master,” blended with, “Good morning, sir.”
“I thought you’d like a cooked breakfast, Master. The usual, on toasted sour-dough bread?”
“That sounds wonderful, Sally. Yes, please.”
Sally delivered a mug of coffee to me and poured milk into a glass in front of Diane.
“We should call the Police this morning,” I suggested.
“No!” Both Sally and Diane protested that. Sally raised a hand to stop her friend. “Master, several senior Police officers have been involved in the abuse.”
“Master, you do not have the ... contacts ... your uncle had,” Sally pointed out, “but I think if you look in his documents on the computer, you’ll find contact numbers somewhere. Oh. By the way, the card out of the camera is on your desk, in an envelope marked with the date.”
As I ate breakfast I thought over the situation we were in and an unpleasant idea came to the surface. “Diane?”
“You aren’t the only woman involved, are you?”
“Oh, no, sir. There would be, I think, three or four others. But I was older and less valuable, so they enjoyed beating me. Not to mention, they liked milking me like a cow, usually the old-fashioned way, but they had a machine as well. Other girls I saw were younger, and had smaller breasts, so they probably thought mine were more like udders.”
That put a different perspective on things.
After breakfast, I went to look at Jeremiah’s files. I quickly found several encrypted files which I’d previously ignored, but it took all morning to find the key to open them.
“Good morning, Universal Exports. How may I be of help?”
It was tempting to comment. Universal Exports? Really? “I need to speak to Mister Schraeder,” I said.
“Just one moment, sir, and I’ll put you through.” A hiatus, filled with horrid, generic muzak. “Johannes Schraeder speaking.”
“Good afternoon, sir. You won’t know me, but my Great-uncle was Captain Jeremiah Taylor. He died a couple of years ago and I’m his heir. I find myself in a difficult situation, connected with my uncle’s past and I am hoping to find some help or, at least, advice.”
“I see. I was sorry to hear of Captain Taylor’s death; I knew him a little when I first joined the firm and we had some limited contact for a year or so afterwards. A fine man. How can I help?”
“I’d rather not discuss the matter on the phone,” I said. “It’s rather delicate”
“I see. I understand. I’m not sure if we can help, But I’m due for a visit to Carlisle. Could I prevail upon you for a bed for the night? Say, tomorrow?”
The relief was considerable. “Absolutely! Plenty of room. Just give us a little warning so we can have the gate unlocked. I suppose you know there’s no mobile coverage here?”
“Oh, yes. I certainly do. I’ll call from Kendal, probably.”
“Thank you! I’ll look forward to meeting you.”
I’d not long finished the conversation, when there was a ring of the door-bell. Since Sally, last time I’d seen her, was dressed in nothing except an apron, I went to the door. I did call as I left the study. “Sally! I’m going!”.
There, on the doorstep was a uniformed Police constable.
“Er, good afternoon, officer. Can I help you?”
“Sorry to bother you, sir, but we’re looking for a woman who’s gone missing. She has some psychological problems, apparently. Have you seen anyone, any stranger, that is?”
“Well, officer, there’s a footpath runs through the property, so from time to time we see walkers passing through to the fells, but no, we’ve not noticed anyone. I inherited the place from my uncle, who was very security-minded, and there aren’t any buildings a trespasser could get into without special equipment. Certainly there’s no-one in the house other than ourselves.” You see, I told no lies...
“Thank you, sir! If you don’t mind, I’ll have a quick look round outside and check any doors?”
“Feel free, officer. If we do see anything, is there a number to call?”
“Just the usual 101, sir, unless you are really concerned, then three nines, of course.”
I closed the door and walked briskly to the kitchen. “Sally, take Diane upstairs. I wouldn’t want any questions should the copper see her through the window, okay?”
“We need to think of somewhere she can go in case someone official comes along with a search-warrant.”
Sally blushed. “Um, Master...”
I chuckled. “Go on. Get her upstairs out of sight. Tell me later.”
In the kitchen, Sally had done the washing up, but I quickly put the plates and cutlery away. There was no sense in leaving three sets of things visible. I saw the policeman wandering around, but he didn’t approach the house again.
I went in search of the ladies. I found Sally, but Diane was no-where to be seen. I thought I knew the old house, but...
“Okay, Sally. You were going to tell me something.?”
“Yes, Master. I’m afraid it slipped my mind when I was showing you round, but there are a couple of, well, Master Jeremiah called them ‘priest holes’.”
“Oh, really? Well, we don’t have time right now, but I’ll deal with your error later. Show me these ... priest holes.”
She led the way to the attic. We’d been up there before, as it was laid out as a gym, even to the point of tatami for martial arts. At the far end, a row of cupboards which I knew contained an assortment of work-out clothing and ‘gi’s’ for martial arts. I had, in fact, worn one of the latter as Sally instructed me in the basics of unarmed combat. There was a locked cupboard which contained edged weapons and blunted practice weapons. Sally strode to one of the cupboards, opened the door and reached up behind the top of the frame. There was a click, and a panel, maybe two feet by four, fell forward, prevented from falling flat by thin webbing straps. She pulled it aside to reveal a space about three feet deep and the full height of the room. I poked my head in and could see a little light escaping from another panel to the right.
“Call her,” Sally suggested.
“Diane! Come along out.”
A narrow door swung back and Diane emerged. Behind her I could see a narrow futon mat, and behind that a tiny basin and w/c stool. All mod cons, it seemed, in this ‘priest hole’. Diane switched off the light and came toward me and, as I backed out, crawled through the low opening.
“There is food in there,” Sally explained, “Not wonderful, but an occupant would not starve for months. With care, it is almost undetectable. The toilet is almost silent. There is a radio and tablet with headphones.”
All mod cons, indeed. “Very good, Sally. I’m impressed. But I must punish you later. Twenty strokes, I think.”
“Sir...” Diane sought my attention. “Might I take some of Sally’s punishment?”
“Why? You’ve done nothing to be punished for. In fact, had it not been for you Sally might not have remembered this facility and I’m glad to know of it.”
“But sir, I feel...”
“No, Diane. You’ve been punished enough. Unless you enjoy being hit?”
“No, sir, but...”
“Diane,” Sally interjected, “you don’t understand. I like being spanked. I need to be spanked from time to time. It’s how I am. Master Jerry doesn’t really hurt me. I mean, yes, it does hurt, but I need that sometimes.”
“Diane, believe me, I’d rather not hit my wife, but I know she wants it, and it ... has another effect.”
I could see the light come on.
Thus, that evening after another excellent, easily digested meal, Diane followed us to the attic gym and Sally bent herself over the ‘buck’ in order for me to use a paddle on her lovely rear. Anything more than ten, I don’t want to make my hand sore! We let her watch? It was Sally’s suggestion. As I fucked my wife (that’s the only word I can think of, though I did it with love) Sally’s spectacular orgasm left Diane in no doubt that the spanking was more foreplay than punishment. I picked Sally up and carried her downstairs to the master bedroom.
“Sir,” Diane followed us into the room, “may I sleep in here?”
“Master, it would help her to see how we are together.” Sally then turned to her friend. “Diane, I will want to make love to my husband. Having you there will embarrass him...”
“Yes, it will,” I chuckled, “but if you think it will help you, I’ll live with it. Look, Sally and I should shower. Go and do whatever you need before bed, and come back, okay?”
I took my time with Sally in the shower and both of us washed our hair. In my case, that was a minor matter, since I don’t have much, but Sally’s is thick and lustrous so I was drying and brushing it when Diane returned. She sat nearby and watched as I made sure Sally’s hair was dry and tangle free. Sally leaned against me, eyes closed.
“You, you really love each other,” Diane said quietly. “Thank you for letting me see you like this.”
“You could find someone to love you, too,” Sally said, her eyes still shut.
“That’s ... hard to believe.”
“I know. I couldn’t believe it either.”
I finished with Sally’s hair and scooped her up to lay her on the bed. As I did so, I saw the duvet on the floor at the foot of the bed. “Diane, were you going to sleep on the floor?”
“Sally, do you think it would be good for Diane to share our bed?”
“Oh, Master! That would be wonderful! Would you like that, Diane? Share our bed?”
“Oh ... you really don’t mind? You two are so beautiful together. I’d love to be with you...”
Now, I have to tell you that this was out of my comfort-zone. But damnitall, my whole life for the previous couple of years had been challenging my comfort zone. I could hardly believe I suggested letting Diane watch, let alone sleep in our bed as I made love to Sally, but somehow it seemed right. The poor girl had seen relationships (if they could be called that) and sex done the wrong way for fourteen or fifteen years.
Diane lay straight, right at the edge of the other side of the bed from me, and Sally sat up, swung her legs out and held out her arms. “Sixty-nine, Master?”
I found myself on my back near the middle of the bed, with Sally laid on top of me. I was erect again, and she was juicy as I explored her with my lips and tongue. She squealed (muffled, of course, by the contents of her mouth. How she controlled her jaw to avoid biting me I’ll never know) through a couple of orgasms before straddling me and impaling herself.
“Don’t you mind?” Diane’s voice penetrated my distraction.
“What? Sally on top of me?” I stroked up my wife’s sides from her hips and moulded her breasts. “I love it. I can look at her, touch her, feel her, love her. Sally would rather be underneath, but she knows I like her to do this.” Sally hesitated in her movements and I could see her belly rippling and feel her pussy contracting. “God! So good!” She began to move again as the orgasm faded and I began to thrust up under her as I could feel my own completion approaching. We came together and Sally flopped forwards to lie on top of me, her cheek resting on my chest, and I pulled the light duvet over us all, and pulled the light switch. I think Sally was asleep before me. I know I wasn’t long awake.
Usually, Sally is awake and up before me. She’s pretty good at predicting when I wake. So she’ll usually be there unless she’s making breakfast. I’m getting in a tangle here. Anyway. I woke, sandwiched between my wife and my rescue. On my right, my lissom wife with smallish, firm tits, lying half on me so I have two places of firmish, soft pressure, punctuated by hard nipples. Breathing softly, smiling in her sleep. On my left, a somewhat bony woman, but warm, with large, soft breasts squashed against me. And yes, her nipples are erect, but large and quite soft. In fact, I notice dampness where said nipples are leaking a bit. But she’s awake. Large, dark eyes are glistening, her expression anxious, even frightened.
“Hey, Diane,” I murmured quietly. “How do you feel this morning?” My left arm, behind her, stroked her back gently.
“Safe? Worried? Warm? Sad? Hopeful?” She sighed. “I don’t know. You and Sally have shown me what I’ve missed all my life. Oh, and envious. Definitely envious.”
Sally stirred on the other side of me. My right arm was behind her, as her head was resting delightfully on my shoulder. I caressed her hip, where my hand was resting. She hummed, then jerked as if intending to roll out of bed. I tightened my arm. “Stay, beloved.”
“But...” there was a note of panic in her voice.
“It’s okay. There’s nothing spoiling. I’m enjoying holding my wife.”
She relaxed and moulded her body against me and her hand slid south to where Jerry junior was beginning to sit up and take notice. It took a few moments, but she remembered Diane’s presence on the other side of me. She released her toy and reached across to caress her friend. “Master, we should feed Diane – there’s a lot of starvation to reverse.”
I sighed. “Indeed. And we have a visitor coming. Give me a kiss, Sally, then we’ll get on with the day.” Kiss duly administered, Sally rolled out of bed and I was about to follow.
“May I have one of those?”
“What, a kiss?”
“Sally, your friend would like a kiss.”
“Then give her one, Master. Or two, even. She’s a guest, isn’t she?”
I was uncomfortable with that, and tried to think of a way to get out of it, but then I saw Diane’s expression. I turned toward her and pressed my lips to hers gently. It was supposed to be a token, only. But sometimes a kiss is deep communication. I sensed a limitless yearning, great sadness, but a trace, just a trace, of hope. Then it was over, and she rolled the other way to go to her room to dress. I got to the shower before Sally finished, so I had the pleasure of being washed while caressing her. Then we were drying each other and descending stairs to the kitchen; Diane had obviously left to do her own morning ... I was going to say routine, but I strongly suspected that her morning ‘routine’ involved unpleasant, degrading activities, rather than a leisurely shower and whatever. At least we could change that.
She appeared a few minutes after we got to the kitchen, wearing a pair of my pyjamas, the legs and sleeves rolled up. Sally was making porridge, the coffee machine burbling to itself as the black nectar dripped into the jug. A glass of milk was placed in front of Diane and she slowly picked it up and raised it to her lips. A tear trickled down her cheek. I found a clean handkerchief in my pocket and reached across to mop it. That precipitated real tears and suddenly Sally was there holding her friend. I handed her the hanky and went to stir the porridge to stop it burning.
There was a lot of porridge. I assumed Sally was intending to give Diane a substantial, easily digested breakfast and she knew I’d always eat any that was going begging. But as there was a lot, it took quite a while to reach the simmer. By the time it was ready to serve, Diane had collected herself and Sally came over to serve.
“Thank you, Master.”
I handed over the spoon and went to sit down. On reflection, I decided to sit next to, rather than opposite our guest. Porridge, with brown sugar for me and maple syrup for Diane. Full cream milk. Coffee – the first cup not really hot enough, but Sally made fresh for the second. The phone rang as I picked up my second cup, so I carried it to my study to take the call.
“Ah, Mister Smallbridge. Johannes Schraeder. I should be with you about lunchtime as I made an early start. I hope I may prevail upon you for some lunch?”
“Certainly! Of course! Sally would be most upset should you delay in order to eat somewhere else. When you arrive, give us a toot of the horn and I’ll pop down to let you in.”
“Thank you! I am quite familiar with the location and the roads, so I think I can say with some certainty I can be there about midday. I look forward to meeting you.”
I’m not quite sure what prompted me to do it, but when I saw it was only ten-thirty, I made my way to old uncle Jeremiah’s firing range to spend an hour shooting, during which I made a mental note to obtain more ammunition, which was not an easy matter. On an impulse, I took out the SM-LE. I knew the basics of using a long gun. I’d even fired the weapon a few times, but Sally had had me concentrating on hand-guns. The old Lee-Enfield was solid, reassuring, in my hands and I wondered if old Jeremiah was watching me as I practised with his old rifle. I knew it had taken lives during his service behind enemy lines.
I was cleaning up when Sally arrived, Diane in tow. The latter was wearing a dress of Sally’s which was too large for its owner, but which was barely large enough for Diane’s bra-less breasts. Diane’s eyes widened as I replaced the SM-LE in its place, then Sally handed her a pair of ear defenders, put a pair on herself, and picked up the Luger. Seeing where this was going, I replaced mine. As we watched, Sally flicked a switch by the firing station and stood, relaxed.
A silhouette target dropped. Crack-crack, the sharp sound muffled but not silenced by the protection. The target fell flat and was replaced by another, at the far end of the range – one hundred yards. One never uses a hand-gun at that range ... Crack-crack! The target fell flat. She ejected the magazine and laid the weapon down. Took off the ear-defenders and walked down the range. Two cardboard silhouettes peeled off their frames. Both with two holes an inch apart right where the heart should be.
“You see, Diane, we are not helpless.” She field-stripped the Luger, laying the parts out neatly, and fetched cleaning equipment, finally replacing the four rounds she’d fired and collecting the brass. She examined the cases carefully. “We can re-use these, Master.”
“That’s good. I was just thinking about how to replace the ammunition we’d used.”
She just smiled, and picked up the weapon and an odd-looking holster. “I’ll take this back to the house,” she said, still smiling.
The Luger went out of my mind as we made our way back to the house and I heard a car-horn at our gate. “Go on, Master.”
Sally was being uncharacteristically assertive. I changed direction and walked briskly down our drive. There, waiting, was a nondescript Japanese family car, silver-grey under a layer of grime. In it an ordinary-looking man and an only slightly more noticeable woman. I opened the gate. Closed it after the vehicle and reapplied the padlock, then followed it up the drive. The man was standing next to the car.
“Can we put it in your garage?” he asked.
I shrugged. “Certainly. I’ll just need to move Oscar – I left him in the way.”
“Ah, yes. Oscar,” the man smiled, and got back into the car.
“Let me introduce my wife,” Mister Schraeder said, once the car was tucked away. “Doctor Susan Schraeder. Darling, Mister Jerry Smallbridge, Captain Taylor’s heir.”
“A pleasure to meet you,” she said, her voice a light alto. “I only met your uncle a few times, but he was a fine man. A brave man and a true gentleman.”
“The pleasure is all mine, ma’am! I never knew my uncle, but all I’ve heard indicates your description is spot on.”
I ushered them to the house. In the hall, Sally stood, dressed as I’d never seen before; shorts, with a belt I didn’t recognise. With her figure she’d never needed a belt to keep trousers up. A shirt, and over it a long, loose jacket, open all the way. There was a tension in her which I hadn’t seen since we first met. I stood aside to allow our guests to enter, and I saw her relax, somewhat, at least.
“Mister Schraeder! Doctor. Welcome to our home.”
“Thank you.” That light alto.
Mister Schraeder’s voice. “Missus Smallbridge. Even more lovely than I remember. And Captain Taylor trained you well, I see. You will not need your weapon, but I applaud your caution.”