“Good afternoon, Ms. Goldman.”
An unknown man stood in the doorway dressed in an impeccably hand-tailored Armani suit with Gucci wing-tip shoes. Of average height, his broad sturdy build and ruggedly handsome features seemed at odds with his designer clothing, like he belonged on the cover of calendar of sexy fire fighters instead of standing in a damp, cold cellar. His light brown hair was tinted with a hint of red, just enough that the light picked up the fiery accents and made them glow. As if he was made to be a study in contrasts, the blue eyes beneath the warm auburn mane were as cold and pale blue as an iceberg; Carla shivered beneath their frigid, calculating gaze. Even his voice fit: slightly accented, it was deep and sensual but devoid of any emotion. A dead man, had he been able, would have spoken more warmly than this stranger. Pulling herself together, she stood to face him with her own unconcerned expression. Sometimes it was beneficial to be an actress.
“Is it? I’m not too thrilled with my afternoon thus far.”
He said nothing; instead choosing to close the distance between them. Taking one of her hands and then the other, he turned her arms to inspect them from every angle. She wondered if he was checking for needle tracks and if she should be elated or disappointed that she’d kicked that habit years ago. He let them drop to tilt her face towards the light; when she attempted to step away from him, his fingers tightened painfully and that cold glare fastened on her with a brow arched in warning. Trembling faintly, Carla ceased her struggles. Dropping his hands to her shoulders, he grabbed the collar of her minidress and abruptly ripped it open to her navel, eliciting a frightened shriek from the singer. When she tried to cover herself with her hands, he knocked them away harshly.
“None of that, Ms. Goldman. I’ve paid a very good price for you and I always personally inspect the goods I purchase. This will go much easier on you if you do not attempt to disturb or delay me.”
A shudder ran down her spine at his cold, remote words. He could have been talking about taking a car for a test drive or sampling a dessert before ordering. A glint of reflected light on metal was her only warning before he sliced through the center of her bra and then hooking it into the ragged tear to finish removing her dress. She could feel her cheeks flame with embarrassment as she stood before this cold, cruel stranger in nothing but her thong panties and heels. Carla fisted her hands at her sides to keep from covering her breasts from his appraising stare. He walked around her slowly, moving her hair from her neck so nothing was hidden from his view. She whimpered and jumped when he neatly cut the sides of her underwear and pulled them off her body. Never before, even when she’d been making adult films, had she ever felt so totally naked, scared, cold, and degraded as she did during this horrible man’s ‘inspection’. He moved back to face her and gave a small, cold smile which had her shaking even more than his silence.
“You are in fine shape considering your age and former occupation, Ms. Goldman. I already have an interested buyer and believe you will do quite nicely.” Carla refused to acknowledge his words and stared straight ahead and slightly over his shoulder. When she heard the slide of a zipper, she shifted her focus to his face and saw that his cruel smile had grown and there was a glint of malice in his eyes. “I did say I personally inspected the goods, didn’t I? Kneel!” His harsh command brooked no disobedience and she sank to the cold stone floor. When his hands painly tangled in her hair to bring her face closer to his groin, she knew what was expected of her and that he’d tolerate no opposition to his will. As she took his hardening member in her hands, tears of self-loathing and humiliation slid down her face. For the first time since she ran away from home all those years ago, she wished she’d never left New Jersey.
Though it seemed like days, it was only a couple of hours later when the stranger finally allowed Carla a small moment to rest. There were ugly bruises and red marks marring the pale skin of her breasts, thighs, and buttocks where he had gripped, slapped, pinched, or bitten her as he used her body in every way he could. She prayed he’d leave her to curl up and sob herself to sleep now that he was finished using her but her luck seemed to have run out lately. He dressed leisurely, never glancing her way even once, and pulled a briefcase to the bed. After working the combination, a cold metal band was pulled from its depths and wrapped around her neck. Carla had to fight the instinct to flinch away when she heard it click as it locked into place. A standard steel chain leash was attached to the collar. Closing the briefcase, he stood and smirked at her naked, abused body. Tugging none too gently on the leash, he led her out the door.
The trip out of her cell seemed much longer than the initial trip into it. Carla kept her eyes focused on an unseen point in space in front of her as her captor paraded her through the halls. She’d tried to focus on the floor so as not to see the men ogling her but that had earned her a sharp tug on the leash and a murmured word of warning. He wanted her to see every lurid, lustful gaze in order to break her down even further. When they’d pass a guard or other male worker, the man holding the leash would stop and encourage them to sample his latest acquisition. Some ventured only a harsh squeeze of a breast or her rear, while others demanded she prove her expertise while kneeling on the hard stone floor. The first time she cringed away from a touch and refused to perform on command, she was reminded that she was in no position to refuse anything. She had been held by the guard while her captor laid several sharp, stinging blows across her back and rear with his wide leather belt. Even before the pain had subsided, she was then forced to service them both as punishment and a reminder. Carla didn’t refuse a second time.
Her humiliation didn’t end once they were in the open bay of the warehouse. A limousine had replaced the modest vehicle in which she’d been brought and she was led towards a short, piggish looking man with greasy slicked back hair. After a brief conversation in that strange language she didn’t understand, the short man lumbered over to her to poke and pinch and taste her. Nodding enthusiastically, he spoke with her captor once more. A deal must have been struck as they both smiled and shook hands. One of the piggish man’s bodyguards set a briefcase on the floor near her captor and a guard instantly advanced to check for explosives or electronics devices before giving it the all clear. At a nod, the guard opened the briefcase to reveal cash in dollars and Euros, small gold ingots, and a variety of bank papers. Satisfied, Carla’s leash was handed to the piggish man and her captor turned to leave the warehouse.
“Wait! You can’t just sell me like a piece of meat! I’m a person, an American. I have rights, you know!” She completely loathed the man but… Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't.
“Ms. Goldman, the moment you decided to deal with my associate you gave up many of your so-called rights. Do not make me regret letting you live. Your American arrogance and sense of entitlement will only bring you more pain and suffering than I think you want to endure. Now, I’ll give you a bit of advice since you’ve proved to be quite…satisfactory.” His hungry, feral smile made her shiver and want to crawl under the car and hide. “Do not try to fight your new master, pet. He may not look like much but I’m told he makes me look like a fairy godmother in comparison when angered.” Carla paled so quickly she swayed on her feet in a near faint. How could anyone be more cruel than this hateful, disgusting man?
A tug on her chain brought her attention back to her new ‘master’ who had crawled into the back of the limo and was pulling on her to join him. Once inside, Carla was surprised to notice there was a second man there who looked, oddly enough, like an accountant of some sort. Before she could take a seat, the piggish man barked something at her in that strange language of his and tugged hard on her chain to bring her to her knees on the floor. When she failed to comprehend his orders, he yanked her forward pulling her face into his lap and then pointed at his belt. With trembling fingers, the former opera diva unhooked the belt and began working on the buttons of his trousers. As she performed her new duties, the accountant brought out several documents and they began discussing what she could only imagine was business.
In Kirov, Erik and Alexandra were curled up by a warm fire in matching bathrobes while their thick winter gear dried. His friend had somehow managed to secure transportation to the coast and, from there, onto a ship heading for Sweden. The only delay to leaving immediately was having to wait for new passports to be made. Since rushing meant a faulty end product, they would remain at his place for the next twenty-four hours which was perfectly fine with Alex. After a cup of coffee so strong it nearly poured itself, she caught Erik’s attention and eased the hem of her robe to her knee.
“I think I’ve learned my lesson on things of this nature, love, so would you see just how badly I’ve cut my ankle?”
“Of course, petite, we can’t have you falling ill so close to freedom.” Even a quick glance told him that the wound was already showing signs of infection and he rose to gather the supplies he’d need to treat it. Soaking a gauze bandage in betadine, Erik repeatedly rubbed over the scab; soaking it so that it would open naturally and with less pain than simply pulling it off or slicing into it. He could tell that even the gentle pressure he was using was painful but Alex barely flinched. It hurt him to his very soul to think that she was getting used to being injured and he swore this was it. If he had to lock her away in a castle to keep her safe from harm he would do so.
“How did you do this, Alexandra?” He really didn’t need to know but she needed something to focus on when he started flushing the wound with saline. Erik knew from experience that it tended to sting quite sharply. As she talked, he cleaned the cut, covered it with a light film of topical anesthesia, and stitched up the rather jagged wound. Though he would have preferred none of this to happen at all, he was proud of her strength and courage and amazed that this lovely creature wanted to be with him forever. By the time she was finished, he’d wrapped her ankle in fresh gauze and put the supplies away. He came back to see her starting to doze from the warmth of the fire, safety, and a bit of medicine he’d placed in her coffee to help her sleep. Picking her up in his arms, Erik carried her to the guest bedroom they’d been given, helped her out of her robe and into bed. He quickly followed and, pulling her back against his chest, turned off the light and held her close as she slept.