PUNISHMENT Had the other specimens become as debased and degraded as me? Despite daily exercises to maintain fitness, they too had lost muscle and bone mass and acquired a softening layer of fat, and some of them now had noticeable breasts. But had they undergone emotional and psychological transformations like mine? And did they suffer the same reaction, the rebound, as I did when Festival time drew near?
Two days after Ms Takamitsu's visit, Ms Curtis attached an eight-inch dildo to the machine in my cell and penetrated my anus with it, gradually accelerating the thrusts over a twenty minute session.
The anger and resentment that my mind had suppressed for so long boiled to the surface. Left alone to shower and clean the dildo, it dawned on me how a real man would respond to the humiliation and abuse I'd suffered: an evening in the pub, beer and ribaldry, finding other holes to shag, reminding women what they're for, mates cheering you on.
My fists clenched without my volition. I roared, punched the door, and tried to smash the remote against the wall, but it had been made to withstand abuse.
Yes, I thought, but so have I. I hadn't, of course. The women had anticipated this last-ditch gesture towards masculinity. The four who'd questioned me about Laura took me back to the interrogation suite and played with me, making my cock half-erect and then ordering me to choose between an electric shock and a kick in the balls to make it droop again.
They gave me ten seconds to choose each time; if I didn't choose, both treatments were inflicted. Fifteen minutes of this torment made me grovel and weep. After that, not even their combined skills could stiffen my cock, and its irremediable limpness caused them helpless merriment.
Nevertheless they continued their game for almost an hour, forcing me go on choosing every two or three minutes between electric torture and ball-busting. To stop them, I had to plead for my arse to be fucked with a bigger dildo than ever.
They obliged, cheering and applauding as my anus was ravaged and I begged for mercy. My rebellion was stillborn. * * * * * * * * I entered a state of detachment, watching myself, as it were, from a parallel world. My psychologist friend Specimen Four would have attributed this to irreconcilable conflicts. I yearned for freedom and a return to my former life my real life, part of me still insisted and at the same time for continuing captivity: I was safe here, where others made decisions about me.
I wanted to retain my maleness yet longed to be rid of my genitals, the wellspring of so much trouble and heartache. The treatment my captors had inflicted made me angry and bitter, yet the pain and humiliation comforted me. As the Festival grew ever closer and the establishment began to fill with medical and security staff, castratrices, and guests who'd come for the show, part of me was a disinterested (even uninterested) spectator while the rest was filled in equal measures with excited anticipation and soul-shaking fear.
Maybe every specimen reached a similar crisis. As luck would have it, my feelings of gratitude towards my captors were uppermost when my confession about Laura was recorded.
My account was detailed and devoid of self-justification, and I declared willing submission to my castratrix and gratitude to my trainers and interrogators for teaching me the truth about myself. Had my mood swung the opposite way during the recording, the 'confession' might have been a diatribe lacking any hint of gratitude or submission. The day before the Festival began, all twelve specimens were taken to an upper room to view the amphitheatre.
The snow had melted, and although the air was chilly there were indications of spring advancing under bright sunny skies. Perhaps the choice of season for the Festival was symbolic. We were told that each of us was free to come here and watch the other specimens being castrated until our own turn came. I wondered how many would take advantage of the offer.
In the event I went once, on the second morning, to watch the fate of my friend Specimen Four; I was alone. The room was sound-proofed so it was difficult to decipher the confession, and the crowd's anger was sensed rather than heard. Specimen Four was led to the post by the usual quartet of guards, the customary two-foot chain linking its ankles. Its castratrix ordered it to be laid flat on its back with its wrists secured to the post, and then she put a wooden board under it and drove a nail through its scrotum into the wood, forcing its balls apart.
She began to tread on the spread-eagled testicles, applying the toe of her boot to each in turn, and when they were bruised and swollen but not yet destroyed she applied a collection of fish-hooks to the penis.
I yawned. It was obvious that Specimen Four's dick would be shredded and its balls would be crushed to pulp under the castratrix's boots. It would have been no more exciting for the viewer than an online porn clip, so I left. I watched no other castrations on day two. Or day three. On that final evening I ate and slept well. I even enjoyed a breakfast of fruit and water the next morning as the crowd gathered to watch Ms Takamitsu castrate me.
* * * * * * * * The crowd proved disappointingly small, possibly because the morning was cold and my castratrix wasn't a star of the show. The audience interpreted my confession as sarcastic rather than honest, so they urged Ms Takamitsu to exert maximum cruelty. Fortunately, Ms Curtis and her colleagues had believed me sincere so I'd received a shot of lignocaine, numbing the genitals.
The cock had been injected with Alprostadil. Alone in my cell I'd practised taking small steps, so despite the shortness of the manacles my walk to the post wasn't clumsy or stumbling. I suppose it looked feminine, but I remained upright and steady; the guards had no need to support me or suppress struggles.
I wondered what Ms Takamitsu had in store, and then asked myself why I hadn't considered the question earlier. I suppose my mind had shied away from it, though why would a castration fantasist not imagine its own neutering? Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued when I saw around the post an electric extension cable, a wheel-and-piston apparatus bigger than the one in my cell, and a food blender on a wooden table. A spool linked to the wheel-and-piston system reminded me of Ms Grüber's mechanical castration device, though as far as I could see there was only one length of wire; cheese-wire, I thought.
My curiosity increased when I was tied face-forward to the post, legs wrapped around it and tied together at the ankles, hands secured to hooks above my head. I felt an elastrator band clamp the root of the scrotum and understood why this step towards emasculation had elicited yells and screams from the specimens I'd watched. There wasn't much pain, but the pinching and compression were horrible, and the now-inevitable death of the testicles struck a harsher psychological blow than I'd expected.
Castration is very different in reality from fantasy. By shutting my eyes, clenching my fists, biting my lips and swallowing, I contrived not to cry out, but everyone could see my body shuddering. Through my suffering I felt the audience's gratification. "This specimen confess to anal rape," announced Ms Takamitsu, "so it suffer anal rape while it is castrated." There was a ragged cheer.
I watched the wheel-and-piston being pulled round behind me and felt the lubricated tip of a thick ten-inch dildo press my anal sphincter. No way will that thing fit inside me, I thought. Ms Takamitsu plugged the wheel-and piston into the extension cable, looped the cheese-wire around the scrotum just below the elastrator, and switched on the motor.
I'd been wrong; the motor was powerful enough to force the whole of the dildo into me on the first thrust. It tore a scream from my throat, and as thrust followed thrust I kept on screaming. Oh, Laura, what did I do to you? Each movement of the dildo also turned the spool a little way, tightening the cheese-wire loop and pulling the scrotum downwards millimetre by millimetre.
Helpless, bound tightly to the post, I awaited the inevitable. The audience was delighted. Ms Takamitsu lit a cigarette and whispered in my ear: "Fucking stop when balls come off.
Then we turn you round and end performance as victim request." She blew smoke into my face and stepped back to watch her specimen being simultaneously castrated and anally raped. By turning my head to the right I could see one of the screens. The camera was positioned to project both the ravaging of the anus and the lengthening of the ball sack.
Although the lignocaine numbed the pain I felt the scrotum stretching, stretching, and despite the elastrator I sensed the cheese-wire cutting more and more deeply into it. Please, speed it up, finish it, cut my balls off! I begged silently. I can't take any more! But seconds sauntered by, lethargic and uncaring, gluing themselves together into millstones of minutes. If only I could lose consciousness, I thought.
But I couldn't. I didn't. I heard someone taking bets on how long it would be before Specimen Ten's nuts were severed. Ms Takamitsu finished her cigarette, stubbed it out on the end of the penis, and lit another.
"Ten, fifteen minute," she said. "Maybe longer. Maybe not so long." In spite of the lignocaine I sensed the tip of the cock blistering from the cigarette burn, but by now the nut sack had been stretched to an impossible length and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.
Despite the elastrator, a trace of blood had started to ooze around the wire loop as it cut deeper into the scrotum. At last I felt the skin split. Now the cords holding the testicles were exposed, but only for a few seconds.
To my intense relief the wire cut through them. I heard the spool whine as it spun and the balls splattered on the ground between my legs. Almost simultaneously, Ms Takamitsu switched off the motor and pulled out the dildo.
The torture had stopped. Perspiration erupted though every pore in my body and a sigh escaped my throat. Then the truth struck me and I began to cry. My balls have gone. I'm no longer a man. The amphitheatre echoed with applause and cheers. Ms Takamitsu held the severed scrotum aloft and shouted "Behold the balls of a rapist", which sent the audience into whoops of merriment.
Then she told the guards to untie me, turn me round with my back to the post, and secure me again. "Tie its legs together," she ordered.
As soon as I was rearranged, she stubbed her second cigarette out on the penis and dropped the severed ball-bag into the blender. She didn't switch it on, though; the nuts just lay on the unmoving blades. As I stared at them through my tears, she started to masturbate me. I thought it would be impossible to make a cock erect after castration, anal ravishing and cigarette burns, but I'd underestimated the effect of Alprostadil following weeks of sexual deprivation.
In less than a minute the dick was as hard as a knife handle, the full seven-inch stand that Laura had loved inside her cunt or her mouth, though it no longer had balls attached. The surgeon stepped forward, made an incision in the base of the erect organ and ligated the blood vessels. To my amazement the erection survived. Then my mind detached itself again. The world blurred and drifted; I was elsewhere.
They say this is common among survivors of shock or serious injury; something to do with endorphins. Some far-off part of me was aware of Ms Takamitsu murmuring "We still have twenty minutes to play" and sliding a scalpel blade along the length of the penis, slitting the skin.
It didn't matter. Inside my head an ensemble was playing the opening of Beethoven's first Razumovsky quartet and my clever castratrix was moving her scalpel in time to the music.
Looking out over fields and trees clad in spring green, I smiled. There were people there. I wanted to wave but I couldn't move my hands. I was watching from the middle of a white screen. They were sitting on rows of red plush cinema seats, intent on the show. Ms Takamitsu had made a pattern of stripes along the cock. I could see its projected image. I whispered "Oh, that's so pretty!" I heard her voice say "Now we finish" and was distantly aware of her scalpel severing the penis an inch or so above the root.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. When I opened them again she was waving the dick to the crowd. Then she dropped it into the blender and flicked the switch.
The blades spun. In less than a minute the cock and balls had been liquefied. It was fascinating to watch. As caring hands released me from the post and bore me away on a stretcher, I saw Laura among the crowd, clapping and laughing with delight. I heard Ms Takamitsu say "We feed cock-and-ball purée to dog, Specimen Ten". Then I ceased to be aware of anything. * * * * * * * * RECOVERY Some buried part of my mind sensed the passage of days, weeks, months.
There were fleeting interludes of consciousness. I recall whiteness, sterile light, IV lines and catheters, monitors, disinfectant, pain, analgesia, sleep; kind hands and encouraging voices, nurses supporting me as they walked me along the floor. Twice or thrice there were masked faces above me, urgent discourse. Once I saw fuchsias in a vase beside me. I like fuchsias. Then I awoke in a hospital bed, clad in hospital gown, IV line in right wrist, monitors chirruping, summer light streaming through the window.
I'd had a complicated dream. My face felt odd and my head ached. I looked around: no other patients. How long had I been here? There were fresh fuchsias in the vase. I felt my lips sketch a smile, then realised I was thirsty. My hand trembled towards a glass on the bedside cabinet. "Let me help," said a familiar voice.
I blinked the face into focus. "Mandy. Ms Curtis?" My voice was scratchy and high pitched. "Mandy," she said. "Welcome back!" She helped me to sit up, held the glass to my lips, and then asked whether I'd prefer coffee. Coffee? Oh, my God, coffee! The word unleashed a flood of sensory memories. Saliva dribbled down my chin. A torrent of other memories followed, real or imagined: captivity, humiliation, neutering.
The end of the fourth movement of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, when the musical image of the murdered beloved appears as the guillotine blade falls. "Laura," I said.
"She was in the crowd, dancing with joy while Ms Takamitsu pulverised my cock and balls." Mandy smiled. "You imagined it, sweetie. You're bound to be confused: months in hospital, four major operations, heavy-duty pain killers. How do you feel?" "Slight headache. Face feels peculiar. Throat's sore.
Sore between my legs, too. Chest's tender." She nodded. "You're well on the way to recovery. Your throat's sore because the ear, nose and throat surgeon carried out pioneering surgery on your larynx, but thanks to that you sound like the woman you're becoming. Your upgrading is progressing rapidly." Upgrading.
Becoming a woman. While Mandy was bringing coffee I ran my left hand over my chest. I had breasts; no bigger than B cups but definitely breasts. I supposed they were sore because they were growing. I stroked my face; my nose had been shortened and my jaw was more rounded. Carefully, I felt between my legs.
No cock, no balls, but a slit. Four major operations. I remembered Part Four of the film in which Specimen Five had described its metamorphosis into Jennifer. * * * * * * * * A fortnight later I was transferred to the Recovery Compound, a convalescent home and training centre for nascent upgrades, under the care of the Feminine Deportment Team. The Recovery Compound resembled a hotel, with cafe, restaurant, bar, shops, salon, gym and leisure facilities as well as a training area.
The ambience was comfortable and the gardens were peaceful. Like the other new upgrades I was assigned a private en-suite room. Its door was made of wood, not steel, and I had the key; there was no metal appliance for forcing dildos into me; but the décor was still pink.
During the months since my abduction my body weight had fallen from eighty-two kilos to sixty-two, yet my skin didn't feel slack. The FDT measured my height, bust, waist and hips and fitted me with jumpers, skirts, underwear and court shoes. The clothes were strange but not uncomfortable. I was taken to the salon where my hair was styled, my teeth were whitened, my eyebrows were trimmed and my nails were manicured and polished.
I confessed to enjoying the pampering. The mirror shocked me, though. Days passed before I could reconcile myself to my reflection. I'd heard that people who're born male but want to be female consider themselves women trapped in men's bodies.
I seemed to be the converse - a woman's body with a man looking out through her eyes. Yet that wasn't accurate. Less than a year earlier I'd have contemplated sex with some of the FDT women, but now, although I could see they were attractive, they elicited no desire. Of course they didn't; I'd been castrated; yet I experienced no feeling of loss or deprivation, no resentment. Instead, I began to compare the women's body shapes, hair styles and choices of clothes and makeup with my own.
Closer study of my reflection revealed only faint scarring around nose and jaw and no sign of the throat operation, and the high cheek-bones were gratifying. The plastic surgeon had done a sterling job and the ENT surgeon was a genius. My waist was still too thick relative to the hips, and I'd look better when if - my bust developed further, but my bum was okay, my newly-styled hair looked good and my eyebrows had been shaped prettily.
My legs were rather heavy but not bad. Of course my feet were too big, but my mentors said the right shoes would compensate. And I kept admiring my nails. It seemed my first thought had been wrong: I wasn't a man, or even a eunuch, seeing the world through a woman's eyes. Not entirely. As well as the disconcerting changes in my body there was emotional turmoil. Jennifer had been right: the metamorphosis felt like an accelerated reprise of puberty, which would have been hard to bear but for the FDT's understanding and empathy.
Their training and teaching were a daily grind and their standards brooked no compromise, but their patience was inexhaustible. Pills formulated along the lines of oral contraceptives adjusted my hormone levels. I toyed with the idea of refusing them, but if I had they'd have been added to my food. Oh, the food! It was so much better than during Specimen Ten's captivity!
The quantities remained small because upgrades had to watch their weight, but the meals were delicious. There was variety, there was flavour. It would have been a sin to spoil them, so I took the pills. Meanwhile, daily exercises kept us toned and combated weight gain. My previous life had acquainted me with monthly changes in female mood, but subjective experience was different.
I didn't agree with Jennifer about 'undamped oscillations' but there were certainly oscillations. Since I lacked internal reproductive organs there was no bleeding, and my rising and falling oestrogen and progesterone levels caused only mild discomfort, so I didn't suffer as many women do. Nevertheless, my moods veered between love of humankind and a desire for genocide.
The FDT and psychiatric counsellors helped me control them. The psychiatrists were courteous and addressed me as Ms Hendry. Mandy and the FDT asked me to choose a name for myself.
For reasons I can't explain I settled on Clarissa, so they called me Clarissa. As the weeks passed the FDT taught me to walk and talk as woman should, to present myself with grace and dignity, to choose clothes and makeup and accessories that suited me, and to have my hair styled so it enhanced my appearance and self-image.
By my third month in the Recovery Compound those female arts had become second nature. Pygmalion reborn, I thought. My figure in profile had developed the spinal curvature, the concavity between shoulders and buttocks, that's integral to feminine beauty. I tried not to admire it too often; vanity's distasteful.
I'd developed a mild obsession with bathroom scales. The person who looked out through my eyes had become a woman called Clarissa. But wholly and unequivocally a woman? Of course not. The changes I'd undergone proved that body, attitudes, behaviour and speech could be reshaped in a few months, but I had no uterus or ovaries and my brain hadn't been rewired.
Conditioned to femininity though it was, the brain still had male connections. I retained my prostate gland, too, though the doctors told me they'd connected the duct from it to my 'vagina', so sexual arousal, if I ever experienced it again, ought to lubricate the orifice. This had helped to free me of residual masculinity.
Also, my urethra now opened beside where the clitoris would have been if I'd had one, and the surgeons had preserved the sphincter so I urinated like a woman. Anatomical anomalies notwithstanding, therefore, the male brain seemed the only ineradicable fossil of my past.
Why should I regret its persistence? I wondered. Yet regret it I did. As a man I'd never had transgender inclinations, never wanted to be a woman (except in fantasies), so my mental and emotional makeup must have been fundamentally changed.
"Don't worry, Clarissa," said Mandy. "Your brain's slowly adapting and the rest of you will follow. Brain scans on previous years' specimens showed gradual synaptic remodelling, and the successful upgrades from your batch are redeveloping more quickly. Our decision to start the feminisation process during preparation seems to have paid off." "We weren't treated as women while we were specimens, Mandy.
We were degraded and tortured." "I know. I'm sorry it was unpleasant, but we had to make you regret having been men." Try as I might, I couldn't hanker after my lost manhood.
I resented having proved so malleable, but I knew my mind had been manipulated for my long-term benefit. In any case it remained unchanged in most respects. For example, there was a well-stocked library in the compound and I was soon reading or re-reading books, including Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, to which I now related in a new way.
There was a wide range of CDs, too; the classical selection was limited but good. Feminisation hadn't changed my literary or musical tastes.
I received a moderate financial allowance, but how I spent the money was scrutinised along with everything else I did. Meals were heavily subsidised so I'd plenty left for clothes, makeup and accessories, and the salon. I opted for thrift but always tried to look my best, believing this would please the observers. Once again I wondered about the source of money. The set-up around the Festivals must be astronomically expensive. Mandy had begun to treat me as a near-equal, almost a friend, and at last she did what she'd promised before I was abducted: she told me her story, the story of how the Castration Festivals had begun.
We sat in the bar with a bottle of wine and I listened. * * * * * * * * MANDY'S STORY PART I Loretta Connelly (I learned) had been Mandy's best friend since school. She'd studied medicine and made a brilliant career but her private life had suffered.
Her architect husband had left her and set up home with his secretary. The infidelity, and the tawdry cliché, had humiliated Loretta. She felt old and ugly. One morning in 1995 she finished her clinic only forty-five minutes late. Her final patient was an elderly prostatic hypertrophy case with urinary incontinence, a severe limp and a faulty hearing aid. It took ages to reassure him: the surgery he faced had a high success rate, and postoperative recovery would be rapid thanks to the state-of-the-art minimally-invasive procedure she planned.
She had a headache and was desperate for coffee and lunch. The article she'd promised to write for the recently-launched Current Opinion in Urology could wait until evening; the draft was on her PC at home. She must organise her presentation for the BAUS meeting, too, but she'd do it during the weekend. She'd almost reached the end of the lunch queue when her mobile rang. Everyone in the hospital restaurant stared. Mobile phones were still a novelty.
"Hi Doc, how's the butchery business?" said Mandy's voice. "Hi, Dopey. Sending plenty of meat to the supermarkets, but most of it needs slow cooking. What's up?" "Your secretary said your clinic would finish an hour ago. Thought I'd wait 'til you'd had lunch before I rang." "When did any clinic finish on time?
I'm about to ingest a meal of uncertain ancestry and transport myself to heaven via a bloody awful cup of coffee. Idiots who opt for medical careers can't control their schedules like what idle slappers with booming business interests can." "I think this is where I say 'Oops, sorry, ring you later', but I suppose 'later' will find you up to the elbows in some poor bastard's innards.
Will you call me back?" Loretta ran a mental scan over her afternoon's agenda. "I can probably call between half four and five. Something wrong?" "I'd just like a chat." About you, Mandy added silently, and your drinking.
Mandy had talked to Bethany McCrimmon, another old friend who was worried about Loretta. Bethany, who claimed to be the only Highlander ever born in Peckham, was known to her clients as Mistress Dedesa.
Mandy said the anagram was unsubtle; Bethany said subtlety was pointless because her clients were mostly men. She'd read law at Oxford while Loretta was studying medicine at Edinburgh and Mandy was buying up businesses, but she'd dropped out because the course was making her lose the will to live, and experiments with two masochistic boyfriends had suggested a more congenial profession.
She'd invested in a detached house with a stone-floored cellar, which she'd soundproofed and equipped as a dungeon, and then she'd advertised. Her physical attributes had helped: tall, shapely, high cheekbones, thick red hair, natural pallor. Within a year she'd recouped most of her investment and enjoyed a three-week holiday in the Bahamas.
While Loretta endured four exhausting house-officer jobs, a junior registrar placement with the British Urological Institute at Southmeads, Bristol, and a senior post in the Urology Centre at Guy's, finally becoming a consultant urological surgeon in Manchester so she could be addressed as Ms Connelly rather than Dr Connelly, Bethany refined her dungeon and her techniques until she was rated one of Britain's top twenty dominatrices.
"Yes, Dopey, that is the plural of 'dominatrix', by analogy with helix-helices, matrix-matrices…" "I believe you." Mandy scanned the dungeon, awed and amused. "Good grief, what do you do with those things? And the hosepipe? The mind boggles, and a boggled mind is useless except to a town planner." Mandy knew female domination was a seller's market.
There were men out there even some women - who were happy to pay for it. "The hosepipe's for washing the floor," said Bethany. "If you tie the slave to that contraption and whip him 'til you raise welts, then torture his cock and balls and arse, he might lose bladder and bowel control, vomit.
Then the dungeon needs cleaning. There's a sewer directly beneath that drain. Disinfectants and mops and stuff in the cupboard in the corner." "So you're both cruel mistress and domestic drudge.
Oil and water?" "Don't be naïve, Dopey. The slave does the cleaning, then thanks me for allowing him to." - - - - - - - Six months after her divorce, conceding Tony's access to four-year-old Emma, Loretta's new-found freedom was tempered by insecurity and frustration. Some evenings, after Emma's bedtime story and goodnight cuddle, the walls closed in on her. One exhausted Friday she paid Moira the babysitter a bonus to stay overnight, then drove out of the city to a village she'd never visited and entered the pub.
She wanted to feel uninhibited, unencumbered, while she got drunk. If she could still attract male attention at thirty-nine it would gratify her. There was no ring on her finger. Male attention was forthcoming. "Before you ask, I won't sleep with you," she told Colin.
"I've don't do one-night stands and sex isn't on my agenda. I just want congenial company while I drink." He said that was cool and it was great to talk to an intelligent, attractive woman. He bought her another drink, and another. Loretta did most of the talking; Colin seemed to listen. In the morning she awoke naked on an unfamiliar sofa in an unfamiliar room, her clothes heaped on the floor. Even when drunk and incapable she'd never leave her clothes like that. Colin entered with a cup of coffee, greeted her with a grin and tried to kiss her.
She jerked away, sending a bolt of pain through her head. He proffered the coffee. Contriving not to puke, she grabbed her jeans and sweater and covered herself. His smile widened. "What's wrong, apart from a hangover?
You were keen last night!" "I don't believe this. Please tell me you didn't have sex with me!" "Course I did.
You wanted it, you enjoyed it. Too delicate for it this morning? Drink the coffee, you'll be fine." "I'd told you the answer was no. You know I did." "Changed your mind. Woman's privilege." "I was in no condition to consent and you knew it." Rage took control of her voice. "I'm trying to get over an ugly divorce, I went out to enjoy an evening's freedom, and you took advantage and - and I feel sick, hollowed out, violated, contaminated… Did you use a condom?" "Keep your voice down.
They could hear you in Liverpool. Did I hell! On the pill, aren't you?" "No, I'm fucking well not on the pill! Jesus Christ, I don't believe this. What the fuck are you laughing at? Have you any idea what you've done?" Five minutes later she stormed out.
It took an hour to find her car. By then she'd been sick three times and felt more or less sober. Her mouth tasted vile and she needed the lavatory.
She felt blood on her underwear. Had it not been for Emma she'd have ignored the seat-belt, accelerated to a hundred miles an hour and driven into a tree or a wall. But the child needed a mother, even a mother cheap enough to fuck total strangers. A voice in her pounding head told her it was her own fault. She parked outside her house, hid her face on the steering wheel and wept.
When she finally made it indoors she dodged Moira's questions, ran to the lavatory and discovered her anus was bleeding. She spent thirty minutes in the shower and then dressed, trying to stay calm. The clothes she'd worn the previous evening went in the bin. They stank of him, or so she imagined. She rang Tony's new number. A woman's voice answered. She put the receiver down and made more coffee. Her hands shook. I'm a surgeon, she thought; how can I work like this? She wanted to be sick again but her stomach was empty.
Moira had stayed, God bless her. She was playing with Emma. Loretta had almost managed to drink the coffee when Tony rang. "What's wrong, Lorrie? Is Emma okay? Why didn't you leave a message with Jenny?" Oh. Jenny, was it? The secretary: young, pretty and brainless; less of a challenge than a middle-aged surgeon wife, and more desirable. Loretta thought 'Some women are born whores', whereupon recent memory slapped her face and leered.
"Emma's fine, but something bad's happened. I need to talk." She screwed up her eyes and, forcing calmness into her voice, started to pour out the story. Tony interrupted. "I don't want to hear this, Lorrie. You're turning into an alcoholic, and if you start picking up strangers in pubs and sleeping with them. There are words for women who do that.
Get checked for STDs, make sure you're not pregnant, and stay off the bloody bottle. How can someone so intelligent be so damned stupid?" "Thanks, Tony," said Loretta. "I knew I could rely on you for understanding and compassion. Sorry to have bothered you. Go and screw your whore and forget I called. I hope your next office block falls down and they sue you for fucking millions." She slammed the phone down and lay on the floor, eyes shut, knees up to her chin, and rocked herself to and fro as she'd rocked Emma when she was a baby.
Colin phoned later. He'd copied her mobile number. He said his two mates had enjoyed her as much as he had; they'd fucked one hole each. Which explained why her anus was bleeding and her throat was raw.
She threw her phone away and bought another. - - - - - - - "Christ, Doc." Mandy put her arms around Loretta. "Three nights ago? Been to the police or the rape crisis centre?" Loretta shook her head.
"What could the police do? His word against mine. Their word. And it wouldn't look good, going to a pub and getting pissed and letting a guy pick me up and take me to his place so he and his mates could shag me. As for - " "But you didn't let them. They did it when you weren't capable of saying 'no'. Bethany says the Labour Party plan to abolish the Morgan defence and change the law relating to consent." "What's the Morgan defence?" Mandy explained.
Her kindness made Loretta feel inadequate as well as guilty. She also felt dowdy: unfashionable clothes, mousy hair with streaks of grey, unimpressive bust, tummy that had remained flabby since Emma's birth, face developing wrinkles. Tears pricked her eyelids again. She was too embarrassed to relate her phone conversation with Tony.
She tried to collect herself. "It'd still be difficult to convict the bastards, Dopey. The rape crisis centre couldn't tell me anything I don't know, and I'd rather talk to you or Bethany." She gave a small laugh. "Time I got my hair re-styled, and I must buy some new shoes before - " "Yeah, good plan," said Mandy, "but you're starting to gabble, Doc.
How are you coping with Emma, how are you coping with work, and what about pregnancy?" Loretta concentrated on deep breathing. "Emma and work are lifelines. Keep me focussed. As for pregnancy, I took levonorgestrel as soon as my stomach could retain.
Sorry 'morning after pill'. It's not a hundred percent reliable but I'm not much worried. And I've had a discreet STD check; most results pending. The worst thing is the insomnia. My nights haven't been this bad since the divorce. I keep dreaming about…" Loretta lost her battle against tears. "Christ, I'd like to rip their fucking balls off!" Mandy hugged her again.
"Would ripping their fucking balls off be consistent with the Hippocratic Oath?" Despite her overflowing eyes, Loretta sniggered. "Provided proper antiseptic procedures were followed. I mean, I'd be curing them of a pathological urge to shag unwilling women, so it would be in the interests of their mental health, not to mention the women's… Wouldn't waste anaesthetic on them, though. Minor operation." They both started to laugh.
Loretta dried her eyes. "Bethany claims she's done it," said Mandy, "presumably without correct antiseptic procedure. Probably wishful thinking." Loretta stared at the wall.
"She says some guys have castration fantasies," she said. "They enjoy what she calls edge play being completely sure she won't really geld them, and then ninety-nine percent sure, and then ninety-five percent sure, and. She wouldn't do it, though. She'd be charged with GBH, or murder if the client died, and there'd be no defence. At least, I can't imagine one. But she's the lawyer." Mandy gave a lascivious grin.
"Can you imagine a man sorry, eunuch admitting 'I asked this dominatrix to castrate me but I didn't believe she'd do it'? I don't think she'd find herself in court, Doc." Loretta thought of Colin and imagined wiping the grin off his face.
And his friends' faces. She pictured an injection of lignocaine into his hypogastric nerve plexus; scalpel, arterial clamps, forceps, scissors, sutures. She'd removed testicles from cancer patients, a quick, simple operation. No need for a general anaesthetic. "Wouldn't you do it?" asked Mandy.
"Not without proper antiseptic." Loretta shook herself. "It would mean a long prison term. End of a hard-earned career. Even if I could persuade the GMC that I'd acted in the best interests of the patient, which I couldn't, we live in a male-dominated professional world, Dopey. A woman who makes the grade daren't risk her status. And even if I didn't have Emma, or a career to lose, I wouldn't do anything that would land me in prison." "You'd only risk your freedom and career if you were identified and caught," said Mandy.
- - - - - - - Bethany phoned Loretta two days later. Loretta had taken sick leave; she couldn't sleep or eat and wasn't fit to work. Moira had moved into the guest room and was caring for Emma. Loretta kept her voice light on the phone. "Cut it out, Lorrie," said Bethany. "Dopey's told me." "Told you what?" "You got drunk and three guys raped you while you were out for the count. Probably spiked your drink.
Rohypnol or something." Loretta's tongue froze.
She focussed on breathing. She wanted to forget the misery, the dreams, the shame, the guilt. She'd no wish to talk any more.
"You're not the first they've done it to," said Bethany. "What.?" Bethany had contacts among lawyers, rape crisis centres and the police, so she gleaned information that wasn't public.
Those three men had a strategy, she told Loretta: one of them picked up a vulnerable woman, rendered her incapable, took her to a flat and stripped her. Then the trio played dice to choose who'd use which hole. There had been at least three other victims. "I have these men's names and I know where to find them." Loretta felt the ground beneath her feet subside. "So. So what do you - ?" "They need to be stopped, but their victims didn't have them prosecuted because they couldn't face the trauma of court.
Sound familiar, Lorrie? So Dopey and I are going to stop them. If you're with us, they'll probably survive the operation. If you're not, their chances won't be as good." - - - - - - - MANDY'S STORY PART II I asked Mandy how she'd acquired the nickname 'Dopey'. She was one of the least dopey people I knew, in so far as I could claim to know her.
She said she'd topped nearly every class at school but had chosen not to go to university. Instead, she'd used inherited money to buy businesses, put managers in charge of them and collected the proceeds, scrutinising cash flows and replacing managers who underperformed. "My wealth helped us deal with Colin and his pals, Clarissa.
I bought the equipment Bethany said we needed and we set it up in her dungeon. She used herself as bait; every woman who succeeds in the sex industry is an actress. When the three rapists got her to their flat they discovered she wasn't incapacitated; instead, their beer had been spiked.
Loretta and I were waiting to help them into the van I'd bought. They were in the dungeon before they'd time to recover." "Your friend Bethany. I take it she's the Mistress Dedesa who organised and equipped the interrogation suite here?" "Yes, she is." We drank our wine and she told me the rest of her tale. - - - - - - - They were big men so it took all three women to strip them, tie them to three St Andrew's crosses arranged side by side, blindfold them and gag them: Carlos on the left, Abdul in the middle, Colin on the right.
Loretta didn't want to go through with it, though she'd commandeered the requisites from the hospital, but the others persuaded her to stay.
Before long, their guests were conscious again and trying to express their sentiments - which, being bound, blindfolded and gagged, they couldn't. Bethany took the lead. "Now, gentlemen, you've raped at least four women and you're about to face the consequences.
We'll play dice. You enjoy dice, don't you?" She wrote numbers with magic marker on each man's scrotum: one and two over Carlos's right and left testicles, three and four over Abdul's, five and six over Colin's. "There are three of us," said Mandy. "We'll take turns to shake the die until one of us scores a six.
Then she'll shake it again. If she scores a one, she'll cut off Carlos's right ball. If it's a four, she'll cut off Abdul's left one.
And so on." "Don't worry, it'll be done under antiseptic conditions," said Bethany. She laughed. "Maybe we'll only cut off five of your balls, so instead of three men you'll be two eunuchs and a monorchic loser. Or maybe we won't be so merciful." "Oh, look!" said Mandy.
"Bladders emptying!" Carlos and Colin were pissing. All three men struggled, trying to cry for help. The women laughed. Then Loretta injected lignocaine. "This will numb the pain so you'll stay conscious while we castrate you," said Bethany. "Now we'll shake the die." She signalled Mandy to go first. Mandy threw a five, Loretta a three, and Bethany a six. "Okay," she said.
"Let's see who's first for the chop." She threw the die again. "Oh, look, a two!" She beckoned to Loretta, who put on her surgical gloves and approached Carlos with antiseptic spray and scalpel. Carlos whimpered through his gag, then screamed. "Your left ball's going, Carlos," said Bethany. Loretta sliced through his scrotum, exposed the left testicle and ligated the cord. Bethany took the scissors from their alcohol bath, cut the cord and dropped the testicle on the floor.
Carlos started to weep. "Don't cry," said Mandy. "You still have one. Who knows, you might get to keep it." They threw the die four more times until Mandy scored a six. Mandy threw again: a three. Five minutes later, Abdul's right testicle was on the floor. Loretta scored the next six, but then she threw a two. "Oh, dear. Carlos's left ball's gone already. Never mind, let's try again." And so they continued.
A five; end of Colin's right ball. Then a three: "No good - that's on the floor." Then Loretta scored a four, so Abdul was the first to become a eunuch.
When the women told him so he howled and fainted. Another five was thrown, then a six, and Colin was a eunuch, too. He screamed obscene threats through his gag.
Five testicles lay on the concrete. Loretta had entered the spirit of the game: "So much for the bastard who doped me so they could rape me. He should have had this operation sooner." The women whispered together, giggling, and then Bethany spoke aloud. "We've been discussing your right ball, Carlos. It hardly seems fair to leave you with it since both your friends have been gelded. So you'll have to decide. If you choose to keep it we'll throw the die again, just once, and if we score a one or a two, we'll cut off your cock.
If it's a three or a four, we'll cut off Abdul's cock. A five or a six, Colin's. So - your choice: if you want to keep your right nut, shake your head, and one of the three of you loses his dick.
Or, if you want all three of you to keep your dicks, nod your head and we'll finish castrating you." Carlos made noises but didn't move his head.
"He's not deciding," said Mandy.
"So we'll do both: finish de-balling him and then throw the die and see whose dick comes off. Ten seconds, Carlos: either nod or shake your head." Carlos perspired, struggled, cried; but when Bethany said "Time up. Shake the die," he moaned and nodded. Loretta relieved him of his remaining testicle. Then she applied more antiseptic to the three empty scrotums and stitched them up. She and Mandy hid while Bethany disguised herself with a mask and then took off the eunuchs' blindfolds so they could watch her crushing their severed testicles under her boot.
She threw a bucket of water over the squashed remains and swept them down the drain. All three cocks were shrivelled, dangling limp and useless over the empty nut-bags. "You'll never rape another woman," she said. "Any of you." Loretta put on a mask and administered nitrous oxide to the eunuchs. When they were unconscious the women untied them, took out their gags and carried them back to the van. They drove them to a country lane and dumped them naked under the hedge, throwing their clothes after them in a tangled heap.
Loretta was silent on the outward journey, but on the way back she said "We could do more of this. Plenty of men deserve it." Mandy suspected she was thinking of Tony. - - - - - - - I asked how Mandy and her friends had felt afterwards, and whether Loretta had got her life back on track, and what had become of the three castrated rapists. "You struggled to persuade Loretta, didn't you?
Even after you blackmailed her by saying the rapists might not survive unless she supervised the operation, she was reluctant." Mandy emptied her glass before she answered. "Don't you think those three got what they deserved, Clarissa?" I couldn't disagree.
Bastards who dope women and abuse them as Colin and his pals had done need to be stopped. But I wanted to know about Mandy's feelings, and Bethany's, and Loretta's, after the triple castration. "We agreed we'd do the same again," said Mandy, "but we'd do it differently." She paused and examined the backs of her hands. The skin was wrinkled but the nails were impeccable.
"Carlos lived alone. He was hospitalised with depression for six months, but he recovered and re-launched his window-cleaning business successfully. More importantly, he abused no more women.
Abdul was prescribed testosterone implants after the operation so he could keep his wife happy, but of course he couldn't father any more children, which led to tensions.
Unfortunately, the hormone replacement enabled him to rape two other young women a few years after we'd neutered him. Colin committed suicide ten weeks after we'd dumped him in the country lane." I let the information percolate through my mind. Abdul's case suggested that the impulse to rape can survive castration, statistics notwithstanding, which explained why the Festival was committed to penectomy as well as de-balling.
The cases of Carlos and Colin highlighted the need for psychological preparation before emasculation and psychiatric counselling afterwards; no one wanted to cause unnecessary suffering, let alone death. I put those inferences to Mandy. She agreed. "We considered other points, too, Clarissa. We realised we had to depersonalise the captured rapist, dissociate him from his past, before we castrated him: 'he' must become 'it', name replaced by specimen number.
You know the value of that from your own experience. It helps us to be more objective, too. Also, we realised that punishment isn't enough; we have to open doors to new lives. So 'he' must be helped to pass through 'it' and become 'she', with prospects and life chances. " "As you've done to me." Garden of Earthly Delights, then Hell, then Purgatory. Was there a prospect of Paradise at the end? "As we've begun to do for you." Mandy nodded at my growing bust.
I wanted to repay her for the story so I invited her to dine with me. She accepted. "I presume Bethany took charge of the interrogation facilities when you started the Festivals," I said, "though disciples such as Zsófia Kurtag must have reduced the demands on her time and expertise.
But I still want to know about Loretta. Did she get her life back on track? And what about her little girl, Emma?" My attention was on my plate: a small piece of sirloin steak, medium rare, sautéed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and a pepper sauce.
Beside it stood a glass of mature St. Emilion. Nevertheless I took in Mandy's reply; I'd become able to process disparate stimuli simultaneously. Loretta hadn't rekindled her relationship with her former husband, I learned. He still lived with Jenny the secretary. "Jenny the whore, as Loretta calls her," said Mandy. We both sniggered. "But has Loretta - ?" "She's found a great partner, Clarissa. Eminent plastic surgeon. They're very much in love and they work together here.
Both operated on you and other upgrades." I smiled at the happy ending. "I should seek them out and thank them. Who's the plastic surgeon? How was he persuaded to join your team? Or shouldn't I ask?" "The plastic surgeon's called Odile Deschamps. She's a year older than Loretta. They met at a conference in Montpellier a few weeks after we'd castrated the rapists in Bethany's dungeon. I think Loretta confided more than she intended. Her drinking's under control now, though. Odile's good for her, and she and Emma adore each other." Mandy smiled.
"When same-sex marriages became legal in Britain, Loretta and Odile became woman and wife and Emma was her mum's bridesmaid." I laughed with pleasure and said what a sweet story it was, picturing Emma as a child. "She isn't a little girl any longer," said Mandy. "She's doing a PhD in history at the Sorbonne.
Thanks to her upbringing she's bilingual." As we were talking I noticed a figure against the far wall of the restaurant, surveying the diners: stocky, unsmiling, arms folded, aura of power. It was the Russian who'd attended our aerobics classes and my interrogation session. I indicated her with a head movement. "Who - ?" Mandy glanced round. Her reply was a hurried murmur. "Olga Fyodorovna Matveeva. Former model. Widow of an oil billionaire who died under mysterious circumstances twenty years ago.
She inherited his wealth and invested much of it here. Without her there'd be no Festival." I asked how Mandy, Bethany and Loretta had contrived to strike a deal with a Russian industrial heiress.
It seemed Bethany had been the instigator; Mandy, despite her business connections and personal wealth, had reservations. - - - - - - -