Forty Five

Monday, time to fly out, over coffee, Katya changes plans.
“Ellen, I have a feeling about conflict resolution in Little Rock. You will go with Mani and Sarah.”
“What troubles you dear one?”
“Photographs of her. If I am wrong and it is a simple kill, okay. But her face, what you call it? Demeanor, expression is off, like she is always angry.”
Ellen flips through the photos which she was getting ready to shred, “Since I wasn’t going, I didn’t pay close attention. You’re right, she got mean bitch all over her.”
“I will call Blue Sky ad tell them to expect three, we didn’t order any food, it won’t matter for an hour.”
“Lemme grab clothes and my gun.”
“Take the Hyundai, better not to leave the Mercedes in the airport lot.”
The three head to Lakefront airport.
Katya calls for a rental, a standard black Nissan Maxima. When the car arrives, they load up and change the plate to one from Texas, cover the rental sticker and head to I-10. It’s a two hour drive to St. Francisville, one hundred and a dozen miles, straight up the interstate, to 110 North, twenty miles up highway 61. They arrive at noon.
Katya’s reading her phone, “Population seventeen hundred, town founded in 1809. Lots of plantations for tourists to visit. It was built on a ridge next to the Mississippi River. Looks like a nothing community, they have a few festivals.”
Katja, “Plenty of oak and cypress trees.”
“Turn left here, down a half mile.”
The house is a small ranch style, single story, the target's faded maroon pickup in the carport. The house was picked to avoid neighbors, there are no nearby homes.
Katja, “They don’t make him reech anyway, car must be ten years old, house ees een good shape though.”
Just then, the target comes out. His name is Jack DeLeon, which doesn’t matter to the twins. To them he’s just the next dead guy.
Katja, “We will shoot him here, ees nobody around,” she turns into his drive and pulls the car to just behind his pickup.”
Katya steps out, rounds the front of the Nissan, DeLeon is standing next to the truck wondering who is in his driveway. Nobody is ever in his driveway.
“Help you?”
“Nyet,” there’s a pop, then a red circle in DeLeon’s forehead. He didn’t have time to register the gun.
The force pushes him against the back wall of the carport. He bangs against it, then slides down, legs splayed as if he’s decided to sit on the concrete. His head tilts to the left. Katya does a quick search, takes his wallet leaves the cheap watch. She finds a mobile phone, takes that. Leaves the truck door open as it partially hides the body from the road, the important part, bloody hole in a head. She takes the keys still in his dead hand and goes inside. Small living area, kitchen and four seat dining table, the place is clean and orderly.
First bedroom is his, the bed is made, a pair pants thrown across a chair. He doesn’t own much. A tiny bump comes from down the hall. 
Katya, “A noise, go around the back.”
“Da, okay.”

Katya looks around the doorjamb, the hall is empty, she goes through the kitchen, unlocks the back door, Katja comes in, Glock in hand.
Down the hallway, an empty second bathroom on one side, a second bedroom behind the first.
Katya eases the door open. She peers in, a full size bed, small chest of drawers, otherwise empty. Closet to her right. She twists the knob, locked.
She has his keys, there are only five, car key is obvious, she used the house key to get inside. Two others are too small for a door lock. She slides in the only option, the door clicks open.
It’s dark, and the door opens inwardly, she pushes it, flips up the closet light switch. Inside is a small boy, eight or nine, blinking in the sudden light, eyes wide as he sees someone other than the man. His mouth is covered with duct tape, he’s tied with common rope and he’s wearing only underpants. His jeans and a t-shirt are on the floor next to him. She eases the tape off as lightly as she can. He begins to cry.
“Call Pearson.”
The boy hasn’t seen Katja, and Katya could be anything, a woman, a slim man, she’s wearing a watch cap, sunglasses, loose jeans and a black jacket.
She asks, “What is your name?”
“Jimmy what?”
“Jimmy Jeffers, where am I?”
“Where do you live, what city?”
Still sniffling, “Baton Rouge.”
“You are in the house of a bad man but your house is only twenty miles from here. You will be home soon.”
“Can you untie me?”
She does, then she helps him dress.
“Pull the car around back, do not want him to see DeLeon. Leave the keys in the car and get in the trunk. He does not know there are two.”
“I stuck body in truck, turned the car to face the other way, he will not see anything. I will get in trunk, keys are on the front seat, wait minute before you come out.”

Katya gets Jimmy situated in the passenger seat and belted, drives off, she doesn’t see another car until she’s back on Highway 61. The sat phone dings.
“You have a passenger you need help with in Baton Rouge, where are you now?”
“North, maybe twenty miles.”
“Get off I-10 at Bluebonnet. There’s a big mall. Go to the food court, give him some money and tell him to get anything he wants to eat.
When he’s ordering, tell him you have to use the restroom and call me with a description. Keep him in sight but don’t return. An elderly couple will engage him, you leave. They will call 911 and say they spotted a boy like the one on the Amber Alert.”
“Da, thank you.”
“No sweat, it’s what we do,” she clicks off.
Right at the Bluebonnet exit, left into the mall lot. It’s Monday but school is out, there are a fair number of cars. She parks out of the way, backs into a spot next to a wall.
She mentals Katja, “When we get out of the car, I’ll click the trunk release and leave the keys on the driver’s side floor. Hold the trunk lid so it doesn’t pop up.”
Katya tells the boy, “Out we go, we will get you something to eat while I find your parents?”
“Why can’t I just go home? I know where it is.”
“Do you know what an illegal immigrant is?”
“Yes, my dad talks about them all the time, they take people’s jobs.”
“Well, I’m one and if I get involved, they will arrest me and send me back. My country is at war and I left to escape persecution.”
“Oh, that’s bad.”
“So we have to do it this way, you understand?”
“Sure. What did that man want? He took me off so fast I didn’t know what was happening. I felt sleepy, then I woke up in the closet with my clothes off. He’s a pervert?”
“Yes. Do you recall him, doing anything?”
“If he did, I was asleep, when I woke up, I felt dizzy.”
“He didn’t get to the bad stuff, you just went missing this morning.”
“It’s still Monday? I was walking to the park.”
“Still Monday.”
“How did you find me?”
“Can you keep a secret?”
“I was robbing his house, then I heard the noise in the closet.”
“What do I tell my parents?”
“The only thing you know, what I told you. No need to make up anything, I will be gone. It is why I can’t take you home, or even stay with you in the mall. Just get whatever you want to eat, people will be along to help you.”
“How will they know who I am?”
“We are here Jimmy, no more questions. Here’s twenty dollars, I am going to the restroom and make the call, stay in the food court, okay?”
He looks up and blinks, still kind of out of it, but he’s regrouping. He gets in line at Dairy Queen, Katya walks off.
Ten minutes later, she spots the couple, they approach the boy. The woman smiles and talks, the man taps a mobile three times.
Katja has the car running when her sister returns, she’s out of the mall and on the interstate in a minute. 
No call to Pearson, Janah, she doesn’t need to know the story. A boy was rescued by accident. If his story gets out and he gets connected to the priest that’s a problem for him and his family, the twins are invisible. The story if an undocumented immigrant robbing such a small nondescript house is almost laughable. Jimmy was in a bit of a muddle, he didn’t ask why she drove a new Nissan.

Forty Six

It’s four by the time they get home, Katja makes strong black tea, squishes in a slice of lemon, they don’t take sugar much, sometimes agave.
Afterwards they shower together, then Katya, feeling hormonal after a kill, gives Katja an oral thrill ride. They snuggle for a time, share a few soft kisses.
“Sister is hungry and no Ellen to make dinner.”
“We will go to Galatoire’s and haf turtle zoup and feesh amandine.”
“Okay, maybe six thirty…oh, already six. Find us something to wear while I make vodka.”
Ellen calls, “Hey honey girl, we got a line on the subject.”
Katya doesn’t say anything, Ellen giggles, sometimes Katya misses the social cues, like the implication that a statement presumes acknowledgment by the listener.
“You nailed it, she’s weird, but it’s hard to say why, just a bad vibe. I understand why she runs a salon, I can’t see customers lining up to get a massage from her. I don’t know, maybe she fakes nice. Not clear why other therapists want to work for her though.”
Katya, “Business any good?”
“That’s hard to say, it’s Monday evening, we watched the place most of the day, only four people came and went. When she left, the shop stayed open, another therapist must have been waiting on an appointment. Target went directly from the shop to her house. It’s a common brick, small, looks like two bedrooms. On a more interesting note, a teenager showed up a few minutes ago, good looking one too. Chunk opened the door and before she closed it all the way, the girl was kissing her, not a peck on the cheek, a tongue swap.”
Katya, “Pay attention, this is starting to sound like a Shadow.”
“Sheeyt, you think so? Of course you do or you wouldn’t have said it.”
Katya, “You will be overnight then.”
“Looks that way, Mani is creeping around the back, Sarah’s keeping an eye on her. The house is in a semi subdivision, places are on big lots. Lots of trees, neighbor to the right has a privacy fence all around, that’s where Mani went. She should be able to do a quick tour without being noticed.”
Katya clicks off the satellite phone, duplicate of the one Ellen used, they wouldn’t speak so openly on common mobile.
Mani and Sarah return, “Talk to the twins?”
“Katya, gave her an update, her job must have gone okay, she didn’t mention it and she’s not in jail. Katya thinks our fat gal might be a Shadow.”
Mani, “That explains it.”
“Explains what?”
“Why a hot sixteen year old jumps a fat forty. I also got a glimpse into the room she uses for massage, the house next door has that big fence, guess she didn’t see any reason to fully close the curtains. Chunk was massaging all right, massaging the girl’s pussy with her tongue.”
Ellen, “Janah said they take your mind. I wonder how she gets her to come in the first place. She can’t control her twenty four hours a day.”
Sarah, “Implants the idea, even the time and place, like a hypnotic suggestion. Bet you a buck to a Katya Donut the girl believes the therapist is a cutie. The girl no doubt leaves thinking she got a regular massage. All Chunk has to do is cover her with oil, maybe she gives her a massage after she’s had her taste. I have an idea.”
They find an Embassy Suites, Ellen rents the room, Sarah and Mani go off to find pizza then return. They eat and have a glass of wine only, no hard liquor to dull the brain tomorrow. Sarah and Mani double team Ellen, then Mani sits astride Ellen’s head and gets tingled while she licks Sarah’s soft sublime.
Every need met, they surround Ellen and cuddle into sleep.
Hotel breakfast buffet, prep for the day, are outside the shop when Chunk opens up.
Sarah goes in a minute later.
She’s in a skirt so short it may have gotten her into legal trouble, platforms highlight the curves of muscle in her elegant legs. An unbuttoned sport jacket reveals a cut off t-shirt exposing a flat sheet of abs on a twenty two inch waist.
Chunk stares, Sarah notices a tip of lip in the corner of her mouth, practically salivating. The woman’s eyes roam the sleek territory.
“I need a good sport massage, I’m a runner and my legs are pooped.”
Sarah feels a tickling in her head, the woman is trying to take her mind.
Sarah feels wobbly, blinks and stares, “You’re just what I’m looking for.”
“Tell me what you’re looking for.”
Sarah glides next to her, whispers, “My pussy could use some therapy, have I come to the right place?”
The woman’s hand slide up Sarah’s hard thigh, lands between her legs, “Forgot panties?”
Sarah giggles, “Hardly ever bother.”
Chunk grins, more of a sneer, “You ready now? We got the place to ourselves, the others don’t have appointments ‘til the afternoon. I come in early in case there are walk-ins, and here you are to receive my specialty technique.”
A finger is sliding along the crevice, cherry scented lube eases the strokes.
“You are ready,” she leans forward, Sarah feels her head warming inside her skull, it’s evident what she wants. 
Sarah and Chunk swap tongue, finger works deeper, Sarah pulls back and moans.
“Back here, first on the right. The table is ready, just disrobe and climb on. Afterwards, I’ll give the rest of you a massage. I gotta get a few things, be right back. Face up, gonna get to the good part right away.”
Sarah giggles again, steps forward and kisses her, “You have such magnetism, I can’t resist you.”
Another sneer.
While Chunk is gone, Sarah strips, she hears the lock click on the front door, the metal ‘open’ sign flips to ‘closed’ and clinks against the glass.
When the woman returns, she’s carrying a pump bottle of oil and  strap-on, “You’ll need a good fucking after I finish licking you delirious.”
Sarah is on the table, head propped on a pillow. Chunk comes alongside, a  plump hand strokes up one leg and down the other, kisses to small breasts, hand lingers between her legs.
She says in a monotone, like she’s hypnotized, “Yesss, I want you to fuck my brains out.”
She sees the woman’s snarl of a smile, this time she does lick her lips in anticipation. Kisses down Sarah’s torso, belly, Sarah cocks one leg, opening herself to the woman. Kisses along the inside of her firm flawless thigh, a small gasp as lips kiss lips, then another as tongue touches target.
Sarah moans, shudders, “Yes, oh yes… ooohhh God, keep going, it feels sooo good.”
Chunk is focused on her subject, wondering how anything could be so splendid as last evening’s teen, now this one tops that. Today’s conquest is hardly more than a couple years older.
Sarah squirms in orgasm, holds Chunk’s head against her, “aaahhhh, oh shiiitt,” huffs out a deep breath, “wonderful.”
She sits up, “I want to taste me,” licks the woman’s lips, slides her tongue in her mouth, looks in sinister eyes.
“Turn over, I want that ass, then a massage, then I fuck you. You can eat my pussy after.”
Sarah’s monotone, “I want your pussy, you’re beautiful.”
Chunk turns to get squirt bottle of oil, when she turns back, her prize sylph has a gun pointed at her.
Apparently unfazed, Chunk growls, “Put it down, you will obey me or I’ll make you shoot yourself with it, you cannot resist and you know it.”
The silenced Glock pops, Chunk has a flash of disbelief before her heavy collapse to the floor.
Sarah says to the dead body, “Fats, you can’t take my mind, I’m a fucking psychopath.”
She takes the sheet off the table ad wraps it in a ball, dresses, rubs her back where the Glock pressed into her. At least it was the 42, small and mostly flat. Slides it into her shoulder holster, then pours mouthwash into the woman’s open mouth on the unlikely chance they swab her for DNA. It’s overkill, Sarah has never given a DNA sample. If they find a loose hair or fragment of fiber, so what? It’s a massage parlor, hundreds of people have been through.
Back in the car, “Need to lose this sheet someplace.”
Mani, “Plan go according to plan?”
“Yeah, I could have offed her in the room before I even undressed, but between her stroking my pussy and the anticipation of the kill, I was ready for an orgasm.”
“How was it?”
“She tried to take my mind, waste of time but I played along. Kissing her fat face was gross, but she was enthusiastic as hell with her tongue between my legs. She knew what she was doing, I got an seven out of ten orgasm.”
Ellen laughs, “Do you rank us at home?”
“Ten isn’t high enough.”
“Ain’t you the sweetest thing. I’m really liking that not dress. Fly home in it you gonna give the crew a heart attack.”
“I’ll change to jeans, better for them to focus on keeping the plane in the air. When do we leave?”
“Three thirty, we need to collect stuff from the hotel.”
Sarah, “I’m still randy, can one of you fuck me before we go?”
Mani does a thorough job with the toy, which vibrates so she gets off as well. Ellen straddles Sarah’s head as preflight preparation.
At three fifteen, the girls board, fine pink flush on smooth silky cheeks. 

Forty Seven

Ellen, “Galatoire’s last night, good for you babies, no doubt excellent.”
Katja, “As usual. Sister and I went to store, we haf tomato bisque zoup, two roast cheeken, coleslaw and baked bean. Also fresh lumpy crab for putting on cracker appetizer.”
Sarah, “Dang, thanks. We skipped lunch and didn’t have much of a breakfast.”
Over drinks and lump crab, they swap stories.
Sarah, “Tubby was a Shadow, but I learned something. If you’re as psychotic as they are, they can’t grab your brain, at least this one couldn’t. I could feel her trying, it was pretty easy to play along, let her think she had control. If she wanted to receive first I’d have shot her right off.”
Katya, “I will ask Janah tomorrow, she has more experience with Shadows.”
Katja describes their trip to St. Francisville.
Mani, “What a stroke, caught him with a boy he’d kidnapped that morning.”
Katja, “And we almost did not go anyway inside. Sister was thinking to make it look like a burglary, priest comes home, robber shoots him to get away. Eef she does not go een, boy might be stuck een closet until someone finds dead priest.”
“I almost left, nothing in his house worth the trouble. Boy bumped against the closet wall, so I took a look.”
Sarah, “Katja put the dead guy in the cab of his truck, how long do you think before they find him?”
Katya, “Already found. Pearson calls Society police contact with the information.”
Sarah, “Janah and Daphne got a long reach.”
Ellen, “Do tell. We hire out for a conflict resolution in Arkansas that turns out to be a Shadow. What are the odds of our work getting so tangled up”
Sarah, “Fatty pissed off somebody, fifty thousand worth of piss off.”
Katja, “We only see head shot, woman ees obese?”
Sarah, “No, I exaggerate to punch up the drama. She was one of those women people say would be pretty forty pounds lighter. Not my type but not biggie big.”
Ellen, “Where do they learn the mind control stuff?”
Katya, “Janah says qi, like Gerard talks about. A long process to get to the level you can take a mind. But it is not much different than any true expertise. Sister and I learned patience and stillness as children. Now we are going to make intention to develop qi.”
Ellen, “Not alone you aren’t, I want in,” Sarah and Mani agree.
“Then we will spend an hour every day, in the morning, early, before any breakfast, no caffeine, just meditate. Janah and Daphne learned from long nights in the cold winters of Manhattan at the Shaolin temple. They also had tasks assigned by monks advanced in the skill. If we can learn to bear cold, make our bodies warmer, or make them cool in the heat, then I will inquire about more.”
“Think they will train us?”
“If we go to them demonstrating some skill perhaps, not from nothing. She said Shadows become Shadows by going too fast, the mind must be made strong first or it breaks.”
Sarah, “But they still have the skill?”
“Da and nyet, some go insane, or catatonic. The ones who can function are evil, take minds for money or pleasure. There’s an outsized tendency to engage in deviant sexual practices, particularly with children.”
Ellen, “Then we got our work cut out for us.”
“Qi is what Gerard uses for telekinesis, but he trains himself and has made only a little progress. Still, admirable that he persists.”
Ellen pulls the chicken out of the oven, “Skin nice and crispy, there’s orange marmalade and cherry preserves if you want to sweeten it up.”
Sarah plops cherry on one piece and orange on another, takes a taste, “This is a good idea, it’s like Chinese food on the fly. When did you think of it?”
“We like turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches, and one day I had sliced turkey but no cranberry. So I substituted cherry preserves, then I thought of orange chicken and used the marmalade one time. You can get an extra kick by sprinkling habanero powder in, sweet and hot chicken.”
Mani, “Tiny touch of habanero goes a long way, and I’m Thai, chile sauce runs in my veins,” she sprinkles, takes a bite, “ooohhh, that is good.”
Sarah, “We start meditation tomorrow?”
Katya, “Da, yes. Janah has explained the basics, we will begin.”
Ellen, “Did you get all this in St. Martin’s?”
“Most of it, but I talked to her several times since then, also Daphne, Sloane and naturally Daria and Dasha. We will go to New York in October, whenever Sarah has a break from college.”
“Starts in two weeks. I took a light load, there’s no rush to graduate and we have other more interesting projects. I can do a bunch online, there’s not as much sitting around classrooms anymore.”
“Sarah, Mani and I were talking over whether you might be ready to move from parents since you are a college girl. Do you want to live here?”
Sarah’s jaw drops, she’s stuck, then, “I can move in? Really?”
Katja, “Why ees teen girl always ask really?”
Sarah giggles, “Habit I’ll lose, if I say it again, just say ‘no, not really, we’re bullshitting you idiot’. And yes, I would be delighted, but is it okay with Mani, I’ve taken half her space this summer.”
Katya, “Except for sisters, everyone has their own room. You will be studying to be top student. We will finish out the second slave quarter. You will have a desk, computer, IPad, a quiet space to concentrate. Until Ellen has made arrangements, stay with Mani.”
Sarah grins, “This is so great, thank you. My parents are hardly a hassle, but it is true, time to move along, fly the nest as they say.”
Ellen, “Shouldn’t take too long. We updated the kitchen when we did the work on the house. I need to fancy up the bath, hardwood floors are beautiful. It mostly needs furniture, you can choose your stuff. We do spare and lean to modern, you may want something else.”
“Cool, then I will have the first Japanese slave quarters. And a bonus, I like the name, slave quarters, suits my personality quirks. Mani has a hard time humiliating me, it isn’t much her nature. I can learn to self humiliate. Would it be okay to install chains with wrist cuffs on the wall? It’s coming to me, a Japanese dungeon, awesome.”
Katja, “You are strange girl.”
Ellen laughs, “Said the twin whose favorite sex partner is her sister.”
Katja, “See ees beautiful, I like her to be all over me, ees like I am all over me.”
Ellen, “Anyone would be crazy not to. I think Janah is particularly smitten.”
Katya, “She will do anything for me, and has. When we go to New York, she said we may stay in her room the whole time.”
“Okay, I’m happy to stay in another room with Daphne.”
Sarah, “I wonder if I can strum and go down on everyone?”
Mani screeches, “You are such a slut. And there are four more girls we haven’t met yet.”
Sarah, “Wow, a girl banquet for Sarah…” she blushes, "and Sloane’s cock in my mouth. Does that disqualify me from Gold Star status?”
Katya, “Gold Star lazebian ees girl who never ees with a man. Sloane ees a girl who was born with the wrong parts, but still a girl. Sisters did Sloane and Oceane, we are still Gold Star queer girl.”
Sarah, “Then that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
Mani, “Freak.”
Sarah, “People without perversions are boring.” 

Forty Eight

Life slides along, Sarah’s a month into college. If the weather is nice, she takes the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue, if it’s rainy, Mani drives her. She only goes three days carrying twelve hours. Her initial intent to be an English major changed to a degree in Asian studies. This semester she’s taking the Introduction to, a required first year writing course, Japanese, and pre-modern Japanese culture. She’s considered full time because she’s on a degree path. She can’t qualify for Dean’s List with less than fourteen hours, but she doesn’t care about that. If the degree takes her longer, she doesn’t care about that either.
Her new room is more a small apartment, kitchen and appliances, a study/living area, bedroom and a remodeled bathroom. Japanese furniture with sliding Shōji panels separate the bedroom and study.
Teak is the predominant wood, her bed is teakwood on a low full size tatami based frame. A low table for her desk, like in Japanese homes, no chair, sit on a cushion cross legged. There’s no black lacquer, no lanterns hang, not a cherry blossom in sight. Two large pots each with a stalk of bamboo outside the entranceway.
In a diabolical twist to the peaceful simplicity, a few feet in front of her bed a set of chains with wrist restraints is bolted to the ceiling. A black leather cat o’ nine tails hangs on the wall behind. The other elements include a set of leather wrist restraints and a ten meter soft cotton Japanese bondage rope. She wears a black leather choker with a ring to attach a leash, a subject of surreptitious curiosity to her classmates.
The elements are not mere atmospherics. In the last month, Sarah’s had a couple of disciplinary sessions, nude, arms spread over her head, wrists bound in the chain’s soft leather restraints. Helpless and blindfolded while Mani and Ellen played with her, employing a variety of toys and tongues, a few slaps to the face and Mani sunk a half punch to her gut. Out of her chains, they tied her up and made her lick everything lickable. 
Mani and Ellen will only go so far. They’re hardly squeamish, they do kill people after all, but Sarah is neither a target nor a Society project. The second time she asks Katja and invites the others to watch. Katja plays hard. Sarah strung up like a kicking bag, Katja takes advantage of it by using her for just that. Bangs her ribs and gut a half dozen times with roundhouse kicks. When Katja slaps her she uses a more forceful palm and backhand than Ellen and Mani. 
Katja pulls the nine tails from its hook, blindfolded Sarah feel the strips of leather drift over her shoulders, then she’s lightly flicked up legs and torso. Katja wants her to think it’s a tease. She stops, moves to Sarah’s side and waits, a minute, two, Sarah relaxes from the tension of anticipation, her chin drops to her chest.
“What is it?” she asks.
The moment Katja was waiting on, “You do not haf permission to speak, bitch,” and whacks her across the buttocks hard enough to raise red welts.
Sarah gasps and flinches.
The whip strikes an half dozen more times, not cutting hard, rather a sharp intense sting. Tears of pain creep down from the blindfold, other than a soft whimper, Sarah remains silent.
The blindfold comes off, released from the chains, she collapses to the floor, breathing hard. 
Afterwards, over cocktails, Ellen says, “That was engagingly erotic. Sarah, you’re a tough bitch, give you that.”
Sarah, “It’s not much different that sparring with everyone. Katya and Katja hit harder, but you and Mani do your bit. And everyone gets beat up, not just me.”
“Guess we’re all masochistic one day and sadistic the other, or even both on the same day.”
Katya, “Sparring is for practice in pain, another way to use qi. For that matter, Sarah can practice qi while she is enjoying her masochistic side.”
Sarah, “Right. I learned to deal with pain running. Eventually I got beyond it. This is a different kind of pain, blindfolded makes it scarier, the bonus of helpless humiliation. When Katja whipped me I had a mild orgasm, kind of a rush flush.”
Katya, “Sister had orgasm whipping you.”
Sarah grins, “Get out!”
Katja, “Ees true, not as good as wiz girls, but I haf anyway.”
Ellen, “Reassuring to hear we do it better. Ready for another drink?”
“Tonight we have slow cooked shredded pork, gravy, red cabbage tahini coleslaw, baked cheese grits and jalapeno cornbread. Ghirardelli chocolate brownies all crusty and chewy for later. ”
Sarah, “I am all anticipation,” she’s just in panties after a shower, Mani applied hydrocortisone cream to her back and butt.
Katya looks her over, “Marks are receding.”
“It’s tight, the sting is gone.”
“School is okay Sarah?”
“Yes, fine, I’m envied because I speak passable Japanese already. I have to learn kanji.”
Katja, “Sister knows, she can help if you wish.”
“Great! Will you review my work?”
“Sure. If you focus on twenty or thirty symbols, things start to fall into place. What about track? You will run for school?”
Sarah grimaces, “I only told Mani, sounds kind of…arrogant.”
Katja, “What happened?”
Sarah takes a breath, “At the first practice, we listened to the list of rules, which are endless, ‘team members are required’ is their favorite phrase. So I went to the grad student they pawn off on freshmen and asked him if I could practice on my own as long as my times were good. He rolled his eyes, ‘You’re a freshman, your times won’t be good’.”
She takes a sip of bourbon, “We fiddled around with warm-up, another twenty minutes wasted, a cheetah doesn’t warm-up before she chases down the prey. Then laps, like trotting around for a couple of miles is doing anything for the clip you need to hustle the three and five thousand.”
“They ever get round to a race?”
“Beginning of the third week. My times are already better than their best runner, I sure didn’t tell him that. He didn’t do his homework, some of my times are in the state record books. Then they wanted me to run with the freshmen and a couple of lesser sophomores, not their version of elite.”
“I’m envisioning how that turned out.”
Sarah laughs, “I decided they either needed to let me do my thing my way or I could walk off like I’d walked on. I wasn’t going to do a bunch of purposeless repetitive crap because some coach wrote it on a schedule. I dropped into chill, beat everyone and beat the best time of the former best runner. In fact, I broke the school record.”
“Bet that got somebody’s attention.”
“It took a while for it to filter through the upper class girls and the assistant head coach for sprints. She came along eventually, I asked the same question, got a lecture about team, the need for structured training and what if everyone wanted to train on their own? I said the school could save money on coaches and the team might do better. Then I turned in my sweats. She asked me to wait, called over the head coach, they had a chat. He said he could get me a scholarship. I said, ‘How about I train on my own time and pay tuition?’ No dice. They have a fixed idea and they can’t let go a bit of authority.”
“The others say anything?”
“The usual, can’t believe you just walked, I’d kill for a full ride. I said I might kill for something, but not for a scholarship that requires I do a lot of ridiculous unproductive training. They sort of shrugged and dropped it. Maybe I’m just spoiled, my parents can afford the tuition. I think though, even if they couldn’t, I’d be fine at a state school and work if I needed to. Dad’s happy that I’m at his alma mater, he’s glad to fork over the dough.”
Katya, “Some of them are likely happy you walked, you would take them down a notch or two.”
“Hadn’t thought of that, could be. Good then, I left tender egos intact by checking out.”

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