THE HOUSE OF LADY GRAY
Her Slave Property
Lady Charlotte Gray
Mistress of her House, shrouded in mystery and dark rumours. Seductive voice, piercing eyes. Possibly villainous? Definitely beautiful and powerful. Despite all the stories, it’s impossible to find anyone who has actually met her…
Our hero(?). A delicate sort. Prone to swooning, fainting, etc. A friend of his has not been seen since visiting Lady Gray, and she has extended him an invitation to visit her manor to meet with her. Despite what better judgement would say, he has agreed to do so…
In the attic, where he carefully counted all the steps as he followed her voice…
“Is that the scent of ether on the air? Strange, it’s becoming more and more difficult to think…”
His vision blurring, his heart pounding in his ears, he continues up the stairs. Four, five, six… He climbs further and further, but they never seem to end. But he has to get up there. He has to, because… Why was it, again? So hard to remember. She’s waiting, though. Just a bit further, only a few more stairs. Four, five, six…
And his feet are feeling so heavy now… such a long way… and was it six or five steps since the last one two three more to go… so much effort, it would be so very nice to rest on this suddenly spiralling staircase…
The heaviness spreading to his whole body as he breathes deeply, now – his legs, his arms, his eyelids… Even his thoughts feel heavy, too heavy to think, and maybe it’s OK for him to just stop thinking now, just relax… Only a few more stairs and he’ll see her, and then he can…
…and everything goes dark.
His mind spirals in chaotic swirls. That scent again, filling his senses, drowning his consciousness… sweat breaks out under the stuff collar of his starched shirt, he can’t think… can’t breathe… can’t… and somewhere quite close by now, he hears a soft, musical laugh.
He keeps moving, toward the sound, that beautiful laughter like a siren song. It fills his mind, expanding into the empty space – no room for thought, or will, only… need. The need to keep going, to follow the spiral taking him higher and higher, as his mind falls further and further away, deeper and deeper into a soft cloud of ether.
And then, the door. It feels… good, just to see it, like he’s finally made it to his goal. He opens it with the last of his strength, sees the white flash of a smile in the shadowy room…
…and, once again, everything goes dark.
He comes to, shortly after, but everything is still just as dark. “Perhaps I had another of my fainting spells,”, he wonders, “they’ve been getting worse ever since I received that letter from Lady Gray.”
And then, as if she could read his very thoughts, she appears. A candle sheds a soft light over her face – she’s sitting in the corner of the room in a luxurious-looking chair, reading a book. The rhythmic flicking of the pages was clearly audible to him, although the design on the cover was unlike any he had ever seen. As the warm glow illuminates his surroundings, and some of the fog of sleep clears, he realises he is lying on a comfortable bed, arms by his sides. The room is warm, cosy even, yet he still feels shivers down his spine as he looks up into her eyes.
“L… Lady Gray? What is… how did I get here?”
“Sssh, never mind that now. Are you alright? That sounded like quite the fall.”
“Yes, I… Apologies, I’ve been rather prone to fainting in these past weeks. Where… exactly are we?”
“Why, we’re in my attic, of course. Isn’t that where you were trying oh-so-hard to get to?”
The attic, yes, that’s right. How could he have forgotten? He tries to stand up and collect himself, when he feels something around his wrists. Cold and metallic, encircling them tightly, but not painfully, as though they were placed deliberately, and with great care. He shifts his vision as best he can to get a better look, when he realises that it’s not just his wrists – his ankles, too, have been ensnared. Chains vanish out of his sight as they trail off the bed.
“Wh… what is the meaning of this? Why am I restrained so?”
“Oh, you were in quite a state, sweetness. I didn’t want you to wake suddenly and hurt yourself, after all.”
“Swee… I- I see. Well, thank you for your kindness, Lady Gray. As you can see I’m quite alright now, so if you wouldn’t min-“
The single syllable brings the same shivers from before, wracking his whole body now as he breaks into a cold sweat. No? What did she mean? What… what was she going to do to him? Depraved ideas spring into his mind unbidden, clouding his thoughts, clouding everything, it’s too hard to think… And then, he looks again up into her eyes, to find her staring intently back at him, the hint of a smile playing at her lips. Suddenly, the cloud is gone, or perhaps it’s encompassed everything. For him, though, the effect is instant – his mind becomes blank, his head empty. Everything is at peace, for a moment. She continues reading, the rustling of the pages the only sound in the room.
“N…No? Lady Gray, really now. I apologise for worrying you, but I’m perfectly fine. So, if you wouldn’t mind…?”
“Mmm, I don’t think so, sweetness. You’re not uncomfortable, are you?”
“Well, I, no, I suppose not. But-“
“Then it’s all alright! Just relax, and stay there for a while.”
‘Sweetness’, again. Why was she addressing him so? The hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end – something wasn’t right, here. He decided it was time to leave.
“Lady Gray, truly, I feel fine. If there’s nothing else you wish to discuss, then perhaps we can pick this up another day? I really do need to get home…”
But she does not reply. The pages go flick, flick, flick. His heart begins to accelerate in his chest.
“L…Lady Gray? Really, now, I must insist you let me out of here.”
Still, no response. Flick, flick, flick. He can feel his body heating up, the nervous energy spreading through him – was it always this stuffy in here?
“This… You cannot simply keep me here like this! Release me at once! I demand that you let me go!”
Again, to this she does not respond. But the sound of pages turning stops, and as she closes the book and puts it to one side, he realises his breath has caught in his chest. She stands up, slowly and deliberately, and walks over to the bed.
“You… demand?” She peers down at him. His heart has either stopped completely or is about to beat out of his chest – at this point, he cannot tell. The only thing he can perceive, is her.
“…really, now, sweetness. You may have fooled yourself,” she says with a chuckle in her voice, “but you cannot fool me.”
Fooled… himself? He didn’t know what she was talking about – although, to be fair, he didn’t know much of anything at this point.
“Do you even remember the reason you had for coming here? Something about a friend, or a letter? Well, the details aren’t important now, are they?”
The… details. No, of course they were, he was here for… What was it, again?
“A bit of a fabrication, I’m afraid. A pretence – you’d never have summoned the nerve to come here on your own, after all. No, the truth is, sweetness, you wanted this. You’ve always wanted this. But, more importantly…” and she leans in, now, her mouth right up to his ear, and he flinches in place as she says
“I wanted this. And now, I have it.”
She flashes him a wicked smile, the kind that says a thousand words, a million things that she’s going to do to him. He swallows once – twice – three times, before stammering out:
“But I… No, I- I don’t want this. Please, just let me go…”
To this, however, she laughs. Such a beautiful laugh, genuine and musical and full of joy.
“Sweetness… I told you, you can’t lie to me. You DO want this. Here, look, I’ll prove it to you.”
She leans in close, and for a moment his mind is clouded again with thoughts of depravity – but, again, one look in her eyes and everything is blank once more. She smirks, and takes the chain from his right wrist in her hand, trailing it through her fingers until she…
Until she gets to the end. The end which, as it jingles softly against her fingers, is clearly not connected to anything. His eyes grow wide with realisation.
“You never even tried to escape, did you? Slut.”
The harsh sound hits him like a bullet, his mind spiralling with the revelations. His heart restarts violently, pounding out of his chest. His vision begins to cloud around the edges, the darkness enveloping him once more.
“Fainting AGAIN. You really are delicate, aren’t you? I’ll have to be sure I don’t break you… That’s fine, sweetness, go ahead and sleep for now. Just remember…”
She leans in for a final time, lips practically touching his ear. A whimper escapes his throat and she quirks an eyebrow, clearly amused at the wanton display.
“…you WANTED this. And now you’ve got it. See you soon, sweetness.”
Her voice is the last thing he hears before sleep claims him.