Since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d treat you all to a vaguely supernatural piece of erotica. For those of you who’ve purchased my book ‘Concupiscent’, I apologise in advance, since you’ll undoubtedly recognise it as being the final tale in that particular book.
I hope you enjoy it.
Rebecca Carlson rolls herself away from her panting, perspiring lover. The Egyptian cotton bed sheets – pressed and crisply starched three quarters of an hour before – are now rumpled and damp beneath her naked back and buttocks. She fidgets, irritated by the peaks and troughs of material gathered beneath her.
Frank turns to look at her. “What’s the matter?”
“Your sigh suggests otherwise.
Rebecca looks along the sweeping curves of her gleaming body. The sight is both a source of pleasure and annoyance. Since her teens, she has understood the advantage of her beauty, used it without hesitance or shame to advance herself and her many, varied desires. Yet it has always failed to bring her the one thing that she has always craved. The capacity to orgasm both swiftly and powerfully. No matter how excited she becomes, no matter how she is pleasured and stimulated, no matter how skilled the fingers and lips and tongues and cocks of her lovers, her body will tremble upon the edge of release for an age, an interminable eternity. And when she does finally climax, the sensations that flow through her, though pleasurable, are underwhelming; a pale shadow of what she feels she should be experiencing, what she feels that she deserves.
Two husbands and more than four dozen lovers – both men and women – have failed to provide Rebecca with what she aches for, what she feels she needs to complete her. A drawer in her bedside cabinet is home to a multitude of toys and devices that have been purchased in expectation, and abandoned in dissatisfaction when they fail to compel her nerve-endings to reach the apex of pleasure she desires.
Frank brushes his fingertips along the inside of her outstretched arm. He’s a corporate lawyer, picked out from amongst the insipid customers in an overpriced wine bar in Lime Street. When she undressed him, his Italian suit gave way to a torso lean and firm after numerous gym sessions and squash court tussles. His cock is neither the longest nor the thickest she’s encountered, but it is adequate to the occasion. That is to say, obliging, but ultimately unfulfilling.
Rebecca turns to regard him properly for the first time since she felt his well-mannered prick disgorging itself deep inside her. He smiles broadly, revealing perfectly even, white teeth. A handsome, intelligent, and even moderately wealthy man. The perfect catch for almost any woman.
“Tell me what you’d like,” he asks her.
She smiles warmly. “I think I’d like you to leave.”
She picks up her first scent of fulfilment a week later.
She’s killing time at her computer, browsing through the messages she’s received at her latest Google e-mail account, one in a long line of addresses she adopts for online purchases of a more intimate nature, and which she offers to the men – and women – she doesn’t expect to become long-standing features in her life. As a result, the accounts soon become veritable Spam fests. She’s about to delete the latest batch of unsolicited messages, thinking that it’s time for her to change her address again, when a single subject line catches her eye.
“Do you crave the very ultimate in orgasms?”
When she opens the message, there’s just a URL. No images, no attachments, not the usual mass of imploring, overblown text. She hovers the cursor over the link. Her anti-virus software is up to date, but she’s been a circumspect web surfer ever since it took a week and several hundred pounds to repair the effects her first, and last, infection.
In the end, though, curiosity gets the better of her. She clicks on the link, and her web browser displays a small QuickTime video window in the centre of the white screen. Above the window is a single line of black text, written in capitals: “THE ULTIM8 ORGASM.” Beneath the window are several lines of neat Arial. Though she’s unaware, Rebecca’s gaze narrows hungrily as she reads the text.
“What is an ULTIM8 orgasm like? View this clip, and see just how fulfilling “out of body” intimacy can be. Climaxes so good, they’ll transport you – both physically and spiritually! Check in and see how sex can help you check out. ULTIM8 – the ULTIMATE in pleasure.”
Rebecca barely hesitates before clicking the play button. After a brief pause, the streaming footage begins to play on her screen. The setting is a neat, nondescript bedroom, the sort that would be found in millions of suburban homes. The footage is clear and crisp, yet something about it suggests an amateur set-up, as opposed to one instigated by a professional.
An attractive woman steps into the frame. She’s dressed in a thin, navy blue robe that adheres to her slender form, and glints in the light as she walks, as though it’s made from either satin or silk. The woman sits down on the edge of the bed, and takes something out of a bedside drawer, something that’s hidden by the way she cups it in her right hand. Whatever it is, there’s a moment when it sparkles metallically. The woman stretches herself out across the bed. As she does so, her robe parts, giving the camera a glimpse of her white lace bra and panties ensemble, and a pair of long, slender thighs.
The woman settles herself, slipping the item in her right hand between her thighs, against the outside of her sex, over the top of the lacy panties.
Rebecca watches attentively.
Almost immediately, the woman in the video begins to squirm upon the bed, slowly at first, sensuously, with dreamy decadence. Within a matter of seconds, her movements have speeded up, the smoothness beginning to decay until the woman is shivering, spasming, as though an electrical current is passing through her body. The transformation isn’t done there. As Rebecca stares, transfixed by the images on the screen, the woman in the blue robe starts to buck, as though she is fitting. Her head lashes from side to side on the pillow and her body twists and jerks against the bed in increasingly violent fashion.
All the time, the thing cupped in her right hand remains clutched against the outside of her sex.
The woman in the blue robe suddenly sits up, seemingly wrenched into a sitting position by the savage contractions of her muscles. As she does so, she snatches her right hand away from her sex. The camera zooms in on her. She might have just completed a strenuous exercise session; her face is bathed in perspiration, and her chest rises and falls in time with her ragged breathing.
From start to finish, the video seems to have lasted for little more than a minute. A couple of minutes at most, surely?
Rebecca presses the pause button, drags the slider all the way back to the left and presses ‘play’ again. Part of the way through, she realises that she is watching in silence. She flicks on the speakers that sit on either side of her monitor. This time, she hears the woman’s whispers of pleasure become sighs become moans become cries. As she sits up and wrenches her right hand from between her thighs, she screams, the very sort of scream that the starlets make in porn films when they come, or, rather, when they fake their orgasms. The very sort of scream that Rebecca has always yearned to make as she reaches her climax.
This time, the video plays through to the very end. The bedroom scene fades to black, and a line of white text appears.
“Would you like the ULTIM8 orgasm too? It’s not inexpensive, but then can you afford to say no?”
Centred beneath the line is a London telephone number.
Rebecca plays the video through for a third time, this time with one eye upon the second hand on her Rolex watch. It’s a one-camera, one-viewpoint set-up, and there are no signs that the action has been edited in any way. The woman appears to reach her orgasm one minute and twenty-four seconds after she pressed her right hand between her thighs
“She has to be faking,” Rebecca whispers to herself. “She has to be.”
Rebecca has always lived by a series of self-defined rules. One of those rules is that if it looks too good to be true, then it is.
She shakes her head and smiles.
She’s about to power down the computer when she suddenly stops, takes a notepad out of the desk drawer, and scribbles down the number in London.
Rebecca manages to wait an entire week before she dials. In those seven days, she watches the video clip again. And again. She understands that’s she’s watched it quite a few times by the week’s end, but it’s hardly as though she needs to keep count. Therefore, she’s unaware that the clip has been played back on her computer more than a hundred times when she picks up the telephone.
After each showing, she simply dismisses the clip as a fake, a glittering lure through which dim-witted marks will be drawn to their fate. Yet despite having dismissed it so many times, she finds that it’s impossible to forget.
In the end, the promise of the fulfilment that she’s dreamed of for so long – no matter how vague, how spurious it may be – is too enticing to resist.
The phone is answered on the fifth ring. “Hello?” A man’s voice.
“Er, hello. I’m ringing about-”
“Yes, I know. The video clip.” There’s a brief pause. “People only ring this number because they have seen the video clip.”
The man sounds eloquent, but he has no discernible accent. Rebecca had expected something different, something … baser.
“Right. Well, I’m very interested in what I saw. What can you tell-?”
Another pause. “I do not provide details over the telephone. Ever. I’m afraid you are going to have to meet me in person if you wish to learn more about the device I have to offer.”
Rebecca hesitates. The alarm bells she’s suppressed thus far just to make this call are now jangling loud and clear. “I don’t think I’m comfortable with that.”
“Then I will wish you a pleasant evening.” The line goes dead.
Rebecca stares at the mobile phone in her hand, scarcely able to comprehend what has just happened. The mark being hung up on by the roper? Or by the inside man himself? Am I being played? Her eyes narrow. Every instinct tells her that she is.
Her mind slips back to the video clip, to the woman’s sudden expression of stunned ecstasy as her orgasm / fake orgasm erupts.
“She has to be faking,” Rebecca whispers to herself once again. “She has to be.”
Then she presses the redial button.
Again, the call is answered on the fifth ring. “Hello?”
“Yes, hello. You … erm … you just hung up on me.”
“You said that you weren’t comfortable with meeting in person. There seemed little point in continuing the conversation.”
Rebecca closes her eyes and swallows hard. “Where did you have in mind to meet?”
The only reason she agrees to the meeting is because it’s a highly public place during daylight hours. 2pm, the following afternoon, at The Reef Coffee Bar on Waterloo Station. She gets there quarter of an hour early, buys herself a double espresso and takes a seat by one of the balcony’s glass partitions.
At the end of their telephone call, the man had asked her only for her first name. No request for her surname. No request for her description. He didn’t offer her any of those things in return.
“How will I know you?”
“You won’t. I’ll know you.”
“From just a first name?” She’d laughed lightly. “Should I wear a carnation in my lapel?”
“I’ll know you without the flower.” He’d said it with utter conviction, and then the line had gone dead again.
Rebecca rests an elbow against the brushed steel railing and scans the swirl of commuters criss-crossing the concourse beneath her vantage point. To begin with, she plays at guessing which of the many men he might be, but she quickly tires of the game. She’s never had much of a taste for games. Her first husband had found her low-boredom threshold to be especially tiresome. She’d started divorce proceedings a few months after that particular revelation.
She glances at her Rolex. 2.04pm. She wonders what the man is going to be like, whether he’ll be creased and crumpled, smelling of chip fat and stale sweat. She wonders what his scam will ultimately turn out to be, and how long she should give him before she leaves. Most of all, she wonders what the hell she is doing here.
“You must be Rebecca.”
Rebecca whirls round in her seat, caught completely off-guard by the soft voice behind her.
He’s older than she expected, certainly older than his voice. Late forties, early fifties. Rebecca is equally surprised by the fact that he is Oriental. There wasn’t the slightest hint of it in his voice when they spoke on the telephone. His full head of hair is iron grey, stark white at the temples. Even from her seat, she can tell that he’s much shorter than she is. 5’5″, 5’6″ at most. In her heels, Rebecca stands a fraction over six feet. Despite the relative safety of the extremely public venue, she finds the fact that she towers over him reassuring.
She continues her inspection. The man is neither creased nor crumpled. He wears a black suit, clean and well pressed. His white shirt and black tie are equally presentable. The black Oxford shoes gleam with fresh polish.
The man tilts his head slightly to one side while he waits for her to confirm his initial statement. In the end, Rebecca simply says, “Yes.”
The man sits down. He places his hands in his lap and laces the fingers together. He carefully looks around the balcony, and then, seemingly satisfied, turns back to face Rebecca.
“My proposal is this. We leave this place now, together, for a hotel of your own choosing.” He immediately sees Rebecca’s expression of aversion, and holds up a restraining hand. “Allow me to finish before you decide on how you wish to respond. I have something that you desire, very strongly. This is why you are here. The promise of a fulfilment that you cannot achieve elsewhere. I will provide you with the means to achieve this fulfilment, in exchange for the sum of two thousand pounds.”
“Two thousand pounds?” Rebecca snorts and shakes her head mockingly. “You are completely crazy if you think I’m going to give you two grand.” Her seat squeals as she pushes it back across the tiled floor and begins to stand.
The man continues as though Rebecca hasn’t spoken, hasn’t moved. “At the hotel of your choosing, you will book yourself a room. I will accompany you to the door. At that time, I will give you the device, and you will enter the room alone, while I remain outside. You may lock and barricade the door in whatever ways you see fit. Then you will test what it is that I am offering you. If it should prove to be to your satisfaction, you will then be required to pay me two thousand pounds cash, Sterling only, in return for its retention. If you are not satisfied with what I am offering you, then you will simply return it to me without there being any further obligation upon either of us.”
He looks intently into her eyes. “Is this agreeable?”
Rebecca has a hundred questions cascading through her mind. The only one she can think to annunciate is, “What’s your name?”
“You can call me Lee. Is my proposal agreeable to you?”
Rebecca stares at him for a long time before she says, “Yes.”
Mr Lee accompanies Rebecca in a black cab to the Park Plaza hotel. Rebecca walks to the check-in desk whilst Lee stands quietly a dozen paces away. A tall, swarthy man in a well-cut dark-blue suit walks very closely past her. He smells of Michel Germain. His roguish looks and the intense glance he gives her as he heads towards the bar quicken her pulse deliciously.
Then Rebecca remembers why she has come here.
In the end, she books a double room, to avoid raising the desk manager’s suspicions. She hands over her credit card, signs the computer-printed slip presented to her and accepts the key card to her room on the tenth floor. Mr Lee follows her in silence as she heads towards the lifts. Rebecca throws a glance back over her shoulder and catches the desk manager watching her inscrutably.
Fucker, she thinks, the colour hot in her cheeks.
The new lift hums as it ascends. Rebecca feels the coils of tension in her belly tightening. She fights not to let her grimace show. She slips a hand inside her Aspinal handbag and brings out her mobile phone. The battery indicator is at half, the signal strength full. She replaces the phone, noting as she does the location of the palm-sized canister of CS spray she purchased online last year.
“There’s no cause for your alarm,” Lee tells her. “I have not come here to molest or otherwise interfere with you.”
Rebecca knows that she has no business believing him, but there’s something so matter-of-fact about his voice, his whole demeanour, that makes her do just that.
The room Rebecca has paid for is a dozen paces away from the lift. The sign indicating the presence of an emergency exit looks to be another dozen steps further on. She stops in front of the doorway and turns to Lee.
Escape routes to the left of me.
Escape routes to the right.
Here I am.
Stuck in the middle with you.
The instant she conceives of the modified lyrics, the accompanying tune lodges itself in her mind, repeating over and over.
Mr Lee is watching her as inscrutably as the desk manager did a few minutes before. She swallows to lubricate her vocabulary. “What happens now?” she asks.
He reaches into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulls out a rosewood box. It’s the length and width of a paperback novel. There’s a copy of American Psycho on Rebecca’s beside table at home, and the box in Lee’s hands is twice as thick as the book. A gold metal clasp holds the two halves of the box together.
Lee holds the box before her, his fingers on either side. A sacred offering. The wood is heavily polished, almost lacquered in appearance. The lid holds clear reflections of the fluorescent lights mounted in the ceiling above their heads.
“Take this into the room with you,” he tells her, in the same, damnably calm and comforting voice. “Lock the door and barricade it if you wish. Then explore the limits of your pleasure.”
Rebecca finds it more than a little creepy, hearing those last four words spoken in so erudite a fashion by such a precise and controlled man. She reaches out for the box. It’s smooth against her fingertips, solid, cool to the touch. She looks into Lee’s eyes and asks him without saying a word.
Lee nods fractionally. “Take it. It is yours.”
Rebecca lifts the box from his grasp. It’s much heavier than she expected. Something shifts within. She moves her thumb over the clasp, intending to look inside.
“Do not open it here.” The suddenness of Lee’s voice startles her. “You must wait until you are inside the room. Until you are alone.”
Once again, disquiet and suspicion skitter their way down Rebecca’s spine. Give him the damn box back, a part of her thinks. Just walk out of here, find a bar, have a drink and wait until he’s sure to have left. Then come back, go to the bar, and find Mr Michel Germain. Let him buy you a drink or two, and then invite him up to the room and have him explore the limits of your pleasure.
Even as she’s thinking it, though, she knows that, ultimately, such a course of action will prove disappointing. No matter how swarthy and roguish he might be, no matter how firm and fit, how long and thick and hard, it will end the same way. It always ends the same way. Inadequate. Disheartening. Her body wrote that script long ago.
Rebecca looks down at the cool, hard, gleaming wood between her manicured fingers. Times passes. She’ll never know just how long she looks at the box for, desperately trying to decide.
In the end, her hand hardly shakes as she pushes the key card into the door slot.
Rebecca steps into the room, turning swiftly around in the doorway. Lee does not attempt to follow her inside. He’s not even watching her. When she looks back into the corridor, he’s already moved away from the doorway, standing to one side with his back against the wall. Rebecca closes the door, locks it and then slips the heavy security chain into place.
She scans the room, scarcely acknowledging the view of the Thames and the Houses of Parliament through the floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s a heavy-looking club chair in red leather in the corner of the room. She wonders whether she should place it in front of the door. The solid feel of the door and the bedside phone reassure her.
Rebecca drops the box onto the gold-coloured counterpane, slips out of her coat and drapes it across the chair. She stands beside the desk, looking towards the square spires of Westminster, willing her breathing to ease, her drumming pulse to slow. As the minutes pass, her body relaxes. Eventually, she feels able to turn around and regard her prize.
She sits down upon the edge of the bed, reaches out for the box. She can’t remember feeling anticipation as thrilling as this, not even in her most-longed for childhood Christmases. Her thumb brushes over the clasp, and the ripples course down her spine. There’s a click as she lifts the ornate fastening. The lid opens easily.
Inside, there’s a piece of polished, curved metal, the pinkish hue of rose gold, lying upon a blue velvet pad. Even in the brightness of the afternoon, the contrast in colours is startling.
Rebecca tries to think what the piece of metal looks like; the word that keeps coming to her is ‘tongue’. It has the same, roughly oval shape, the same thickness. She runs a single fingertip along it. It’s smooth, solid, warm. Warmer than it ought to be. Curious, she lifts the velvet pad. There’s nothing beneath. She strokes the metal again. Still warm. A little warmer if anything, though her perceptions might well be deceived by the sudden bloom of heat within her. She lifts the tongue – she can’t seem to shake that image now – from its cerulean cushion, and instantly realises that much of the weight of the polished box came from this … thing.
She turns it before her eyes, marvelling at the feel and weight of the construct. There are no hard or sharp edges anywhere. At all points, the upper surface rolls smoothly into the sides, which, in turn, flow into the base. At one end, the metal tongue is markedly rounded; at the other, it is much flatter, seemingly a point of termination rather than of beginning.
Rebecca cannot help but admire the artisanship.
Yet although beautifully sculpted, the tongue puzzles her. There are clearly no moving surfaces, no apparent means by which it might vibrate in the manner of a conventional jouet de sexe. No on/off switch, no compartment in which batteries of any size could be housed.
She continues to rotate the object before her gaze. How does it work? Rebecca’s mind drifts back to the video clip she downloaded. The way the woman slipped whatever was in her hand between the tops of her thighs, held it tight against her sex.
Rebecca places the tongue back down on its velvet cradle. She quickly undresses to her lingerie, not bothering to draw the curtains. Who could see her here? She finds that she doesn’t particularly care if someone is watching. For a few crazy seconds, she imagines herself being regarded from Westminster by a small group of backbenchers, maybe a Minister or two, all but one waiting raptly for their turn with the telescope or the binoculars.
In black bra and panties, she settles herself against the comfortable mattress. Ordinarily, she takes her time when she masturbates, builds the mood and her senses with almost agonising deliberateness. It’s the only way she knows to ensure that her climax is worth the effort. However, this time … Rebecca’s nerve endings are already quivering with microscopic expectation, and she is deliciously aware of the moist heat gathering in her loins. She reaches for the tongue, cradles it in her right palm as she imagines the woman in the video clip did.
For some reason, Rebecca can’t bring herself to watch. She stares up at the white ceiling, scarcely breathing, as she eases her hand downwards, and hesitantly presses the tongue to the outside of her sex.
For a few moments, she feels nothing, save for the smooth, warm kiss of the metal through the ephemeral lace of her panties. She clutches the metal tongue more tightly to herself, afraid that her touch is too slight for the occasion. She stares at the ceiling, her eyes roaming over the smooth surface, waiting for something to happen, willing it to happen.
Then she feels it.
It’s only a tremor at first; it’s so minor, she thinks it’s merely a symptom of her tight grip upon the tongue. Then she feels the tremor again, fractionally stronger this time. It’s followed by a third tremor, and then a fourth, then a fifth, each separated by a couple of seconds, each a little more powerful than the one that preceded it. They’re too regular, too purposeful, to be the result of any muscle tension. They’re like the pings of a submarine’s sonar, radiating out from the tongue, outwards through the entirety of her body, and as each tremor passes through Rebecca’s sex, she feels a shimmer of sublime pleasure.
The shimmer grows with each tremor.
Rebecca sighs, just as the woman in the video clip did. Scarcely aware that she is doing it, she arches her back, and her legs and her arms shift languidly across the bed. She still clutches the metal tongue tightly against herself. The tremors continue to build in intensity. So too does the sensation of heat against her sex, and the continually growing wave of pleasure flowing through her. The only thing that is diminishing is the interval between the tremors. Already, Rebecca is much too far-gone to calculate it with anything approaching precision, but she understands that the gaps are smaller now. A second? Three quarters of a second? With all of the delicious sensations building inside her, it’s impossible to be sure. Soon, it’s impossible for her to care. All she can do – all that she wants to do – is feel.
“Oh my God,” she whispers.
Not once has she ever called out to the Almighty in the throes of lust, has she ever been compelled to deify a sexual experience. Again, she’s only aware of what she has uttered in the vaguest of senses. Her ever-growing mental and physical bliss are stripping away the higher functions of her mind. Her powers of reasoning, verbiage and memory are dissolving, slipping through the fingers of her intellect like grains of sand, as she becomes a swirl of sensation, her body transforming into a vessel through which she can chart the most rapturous of pleasures.
The heat between Rebecca’s legs is incredible now. If she were capable of rational thought, she’d be afraid that the metal is going to burn her, raise blisters and leave scars. Yet there’s not an iota of pain, only pleasure, and so she doesn’t care, does fear. She just wants to feel.
The gaps between the tremors have disappeared. They come continuously now, a never-ending succession of vibration. They’ve grown in intensity too. They’re not deserving of the word ‘tremor’ any more. They’re ripples, pulses, vibrations, eruptions. They resonate throughout the length of her, through the core of her trunk, along her arms and her legs to the very tip of each finger and toe. They make her belly quiver as if she’s riding a plunging roller-coaster; they caress her breasts and raise her nipples like the most accomplished of Lotharios. And they make her cunt swell and ache and moisten like no one – no one – has ever done, has ever come close to doing.
She’s writhing across the bed now, her head whipping from side to side. She’s become a woman possessed, an animal, utterly intoxicated by the sensations emanating from the metal tongue, enraptured by her sensual journey, upwards, ever upwards.
Even in the midst of her rapture, Rebecca senses her orgasm approach. It’s as though she’s standing on the track at the mouth of a pitch-black tunnel, through which a speeding train is about to erupt. She can’t see it, but she knows that it is coming. She can hear its roar rising as it remorselessly devours the distance between them. She can feel the vibrations building beneath her feet. She can feel the buffeting wind generated by its approach. And she knows that there is no way to stop the monster, no way to avoid it now. All that she can do is surrender herself to her fate. All she can do is stand there and wait for it to hit her, to obliterate her.
The intensity is like nothing she has ever experienced, like nothing she could ever conceive of in her most potent longings. The nerve endings of her sex ignite. The fire catches in a nanosecond, triggering a sustained, uncontrollable chain of sensation that explodes throughout her body. It’s a thermonuclear come, an epic on Richter’s Scale.
At once, she snatches the tongue away from her quivering cunt. The tongue spins out of her grasp, sliding across the terracotta carpet until it hits the window frame with a heavy thump.
Rebecca collapses against the now-crumpled bed. Her breathing is fast, shallow, erratic. Her pulse lays down a fast, staccato drum track in her ears. It doesn’t matter though. If she were dying, she couldn’t lift a hand to save herself. She can’t move a single muscle. It’s as though her entire body has been bound to the bed with roll after roll of cling film. All she can do is just lie there, relying on her autonomic systems take care of the business of keeping her alive, while she revels in the afterglow of the most exquisite sensations that she’s ever experienced.
When Rebecca finally rises, she has no idea how much time has passed. She pulls her clothes on with trembling hands, has to reach out to steady herself against the wall as she slips back into her skirt. When she’s fully dressed, she goes to retrieve the tongue from the floor. She gets down on her knees, suddenly cold with the fear that she may have damaged it with her carelessness. Her worries are baseless. There’s a tiny dent in the window frame at carpet level, but the tongue itself is unblemished. In fact, it looks as pristine as it did when she first opened the lid of its polished box.
Rebecca carefully places the tongue back upon its velvet bed and closes the lid. She gathers her coat, and carefully slips the box into one of the pockets. As she turns to leave, she catches sight of her reflection in the full-length mirror. Her complexion has the most radiant glow she has ever seen, but the circles under her eyes are dark, weary. For a few seconds, it makes for a disconcerting contrast.
Then she remembers her pleasure.
Rebecca slides back the security chain and unlocks the door. Mr Lee is standing in precisely the same spot as when she went inside. He doesn’t move until he hears the door close again. Then he slowly turns to face her.
“So?” he asks. “Are you satisfied with what I have to offer you? Or would you prefer to return it to me?”
Mr Lee holds out his steady palm towards her.
Rebecca shakes her head vehemently. “You’re going to have to come with me to the bank so that I can get you your money.”
In the days and nights that follow her acquisition, Rebecca and her latest plaything become friends.
The best of friends.
These early, heady days remind her of the very first trip she made as a child to a fun park, the Pleasure Beach at Blackpool. It’s not just how the rose gold-coloured tongue makes her stomach lurch as though she’s riding in the front carriage of the Big Dipper. It’s the prospect of the excitement it offers that accompanies her through each day. It doesn’t seem to matter where she is: pouring over projected overspends and profit forecasts in her office; sitting in her car in one more sluggish line of traffic as she heads to and from work; guiding a trolley along the fresh vegetables aisle of her local Sainsbury’s; or dripping sweat onto the treadmill or the Concept 2 rower at the gym. The certainty of the sensations waiting for her when she returns home is always there, like an itch in the back of her mind: maddening, delicious. Every second she’s away from it is like that first fun park visit, as she held her father’s hand and skipped excitedly towards the next thrilling ride.
There are no consequences in the beginning. How could there be? There is only the oft-repeated reward of that explosion of exquisite pleasure, the volcanic eruption of delight. Rebecca begins to lose track of all the times she has to fling the tongue away from herself when she orgasms. She fancies that the depressions along her skirting board are beginning to merge, but it’s a fleeting thought, barely of any consequence to her amidst the blur of her daily routine, and her ever-growing desire to come home to her most secret, most precious treasure.
Through all of the extraordinary pleasure, though, three things continue to tug at the strings of her higher intellect.
The first seems rather trivial, but it’s there all the same. She’s already lost track of the number of times she’s used the tongue to bring herself to delicious orgasm. She still feels a ripple each time she flips open the box’s clasp and slowly lifts the lid, feels the electricity course through her each time she glimpses the pristine tongue. Yet she doesn’t ever recall cleaning it, or polishing it. She remembers the first time she used it at home, going into the bathroom on jelly-filled legs to find a towel to wipe it down with. Only when she picked up the tongue, it was already spotless, gleaming as it had the first time she opened the box.
Strange, she’d thought, before slipping the tongue back into its box, and then drifting into the deepest sleep she’d had in weeks.
The second thing concerns the mechanics of her prized possession. From the very outset, she’s been pondering the functionality of the tongue. There are no obvious joins in the metal, which appears to have been cast as one solid piece. No battery compartments, no places through which to apply oil to gears or motors or other moving metal parts.
Yet each time she holds it, the metal is warm to the touch, and no matter how cool the ambient temperature. On one occasion, too intrigued to dismiss the matter as she normally does, she places the tongue – still inside its box – inside the refrigerator, and leaves it there for several hours. When she retrieves them, the box and the velvet cushion are both cool against her fingers … yet the tongue is still warm when she gathers it into her hands. She considers conducting another experiment, utilising the freezer this time … but in the end, she baulks, terrified she might cause irreparable damage.
Rebecca tries rationalising the question. Perhaps the metal is similar to a crystal? She finds the thought encouraging, even comforting. Yes, perhaps it possesses its own harmonics and resonances, innate vibrations which only increase when the metal is brought into contact with the warmth of sensitive, human flesh. Rebecca’s an intelligent woman, but she’s an economist, not an engineer. Her knowledge of science is limited to the modest attention she paid during school physics classes. But where there was once a time Rebecca would have used the Internet to research the subject herself, or even sought out the advice of one of her university friends who are now working as fully-fledged scientists, now … well, it just doesn’t seem to matter that much. After all, it works. Good God, does it work! Does it really matter how it does it? I mean, really? And so Rebecca pushes the thoughts to the back of her mind, where they continue to nag at her lightly, but never threaten to annoy or overwhelm her.
The last thing nagging at her is how tired she suddenly feels. And not just sometimes. All of the time.
It’s easier for her to dismiss at the very beginning. Her recent promotion at work has effectively doubled her responsibilities, and the additional hours spent sitting at her Canary Wharf desk are only to be expected to be draining, mentally and physically. Besides, she enjoys the trappings of her increased salary and her company BMW far too much to regret accepting the advancement. And then there’s her social life. A dynamic, successful woman will always be a sought-after companion, and Rebecca is no exception. Nights spent at chic eateries or the latest West End productions have long been a feature of her existence. And if she doesn’t have plans for later on, it’s rare that a work day isn’t rounded off with a couple of drinks at one of the sophisticated bars that service the City. Then there’s the gym, and if she decides to skip the gym, she’ll jog a few miles when she gets home. Hardly surprising that she feels tired.
The thought nags at her. It’s a Saturday morning, and she’s sitting in her local Caffè Nero, nursing an unsugared double espresso. She shakes her head. Her thoughts used to be so crisp and effortless, criss-crossing through her synopses along a series of well-organised high-speed rails. Now … now it’s like she’s trying to think her way through a wad of melted marsh-mallows. She shakes her head again. Yes, she has lots of reasons why she should feel tired, even exhausted, and yet…
When was the last time she visited one of those chic eateries? Or a theatre, West End or otherwise? She sips the bitter coffee. She can’t recall the last time she visited the gym either. If she concentrates, she can see an image of her trainers stowed neatly beside the front door to her apartment, but she can’t remember the last time she didn’t just walk indifferently past them. And when did she last go to Hardy’s or Coleridge’s for a drink after work? She can’t even call to mind the last time she worked late. Most (all?) afternoons, her eyes will repeatedly stray to the clock on her desk, willing the hands to move more quickly, to reach six o’clock, when she can leave with a vaguely clear conscience.
I should be worried, she thinks. Really worried. She sips the last of her drink. The espresso ought to nudge her senses towards a higher gear at the very least, but it’s hardly making any impression. Abstractly, she thinks of an article she read in The Times a few months ago, about how long-term drug addicts had to use just to feel vaguely normal, to drag them out of their junk-fueled apathy and sickness.
I’m no addict, she thinks.
And on the heels of that:
Rebecca struggles to pierce the cerebral fog. Unconsciously, her hands fall into her lap. The tips of her fingers come to rest against the soft swelling of her mound. The stimulation sends tingles of sensation coursing up through her belly and down her thighs. It’s enough to grind her self-inquisition to a halt, to turn her thoughts back towards the wooden box, and its precious contents cradled in velvet, secreted at the very back of her bedside cabinet.
And on the heels of that:
She checks her Rolex. Eleven-thirty. She’s come out intending to do the weekly shopping, perhaps calling one of her friends and meeting up for a drink at a local wine bar. Now all she can think is about is the damned tongue.
I’ve got enough milk and bread and essentials to keep me going until after the weekend. She nods to herself absently. And I can always call Bianca or Melanie tomorrow.
She stands, walks swiftly out of the coffee shop and turns back towards home. The click of her heels grows ever quicker as she closes the distance to the secure compound her apartment block resides in.
Rebecca Carlson dies a little after ten pm on a Friday evening, six months to the day after she took possession of the golden tongue.
Both her land line and her mobile phone ring constantly throughout the following weekend. Nobody comes to her apartment right away. Rebecca has grown increasingly remote in the preceding weeks and months, and no one is overly concerned when she fails to answer or return their calls.
When she hasn’t appeared for work by the Wednesday morning, her boss and her secretary drive to the apartment. They see the BMW parked in her numbered bay and buzz for the security guard. When he reports that no one has seen Ms Carlson all weekend, they telephone the police. A young Constable – not all that long out of the police training centre at Hendon – arrives and enters the apartment using a skeleton key furnished by the guard.
It’s Constable Crook (Rebecca’s secretary finds the combination of rank and name hysterical – she mentions it frequently when she’s regaling some of her friends with the tale in a bar later that evening) who finds Rebecca lying in the centre of her king-sized bed. She’s naked, the single bed sheet thrown back so that it only covers her left shin and foot. Her unseeing eyes are fixed to the white ceiling. There’s a look of contentment, even bliss, upon her drawn face. Constable Crook calls her name several times, and then he gingerly tries to find her pulse. Realising that there’s none, he radios for an ambulance and a supervisor.
The routine bureaucracies of death take over. Rebecca’s autopsy is carried out a week to the day after her passing. It fails to determine an exact cause of death, although foul play is ruled out. When the inquest is held several months later, it determines that she died through natural causes, though misadventure might have been a more fitting verdict in the circumstances.
There’s sadness at her passing, but not as much as Rebecca might have expected, or have liked. Her belongings are gathered by her younger sister on behalf of the rest of the family. The BMW is returned to the leasing agent, and the keys to Rebecca’s apartment are handed over to an estate agent for appropriate disposal. Even with the fall in the housing market, its sale will net a significant profit. Rebecca’s sister decides that she’ll put her share of the estate into a trust fund for her own children, and that they’ll know that at least part of their legacy was founded upon their aunt’s misfortune.
No one – not the police, the paramedics, Rebecca’s family nor her friends – ever know about the golden tongue. They never learn how a short oriental man, his full head of hair now jet-black with just the merest hint of grey at the temples, came into Rebecca’s apartment on that Friday evening at the very moment she slipped away. They never know how she looked at him with a mixture of horror and gratitude as her last breath hissed into the night. They never know how he gathered the golden tongue from between her still-warm thighs, dried it on a piece of raw silk and placed it carefully back inside its box, before leaving as silently and as without trace as he arrived.
And no one knows about the email that’s sent out the very next day to a thousand women in the city whose career paths, love lives and sexual predilections are remarkably similar to Rebecca’s … an email that is comprised of just eight words.
“Do you crave the very ultimate in orgasms?”