As Lauren pottered, making cheese on toast, making tea without milk or sugar, she thought about her books, prompted by the lasting image of the man on the train.

American books, English books, all featuring ladies who were getting spanked, tawsed, caned and whipped, hard.

And the reason for the break-up with Justin. Not that he needed much of an excuse, it had been coming for some time. Too many late nights, unexplained phone calls, letters in plain envelopes that were swiftly hidden when she came in, it looked very much as if the relationship, conceived in a storm of passion and mutual lust, was heading for the rocks. The finding of her precious s/m books had been the final reef on which to crash.

“You’re perverted!” Justin had shouted as he tore up the books, confetti of snatched body parts, words, illustrations, things she knew well, images she had creamed over in long empty nights when Justin had been flirting elsewhere. “Perverted! No woman wants to be treated like that!”

But I do! she had cried - silently - I do! I wanted you to do that to me!

Lauren switched out the overhead light, switched off the memories at the same time, sat before a tiny radio listening to bland music and bland voices, thinking.

The man on the train. Oh so sophisticated and smooth, so dark, so strong looking. So still! How still he had sat, clutching the walking stick, firm fingers slim wrists. How easy it was to transpose the walking stick into a riding crop, for surely such a man would use something sophisticated like a leather riding crop, or even - leap of thoughts, surge of feeling spreading from cheeks to pubis to thighs which quivered at the mere thought of it - even a plaited dressage whip.

The small lamp gave out a warm glow, inviting moths and daddy-long-legs into the room through the small window she had pushed open. Lauren ignored them, too busy with a fantasy to worry about creeping flying things. She’d catch them later, all of them.

Outside a car door slammed, someone shouted a greeting, someone else raised their voice and there was a crash. Then it all went silent again, only the humming and fluttering of the creatures round her lamp broke the evening silence.

Did he really speak to me? Did he really say those things, or did I imagine it?

But what should have happened, what didn’t happen was -

He should have come over to me, pressed a hard edge printed card into my hand and said:

“Come.”

I would have phoned the number, oh so shy, so afraid, so trembling with fear and lust because the mere thought of going to someone sends shudders, sends waves, sends creeping crawling not-to-be-denied feelings everywhere, but particularly down there. Nipples go hard -

I would phone. And he would say:

“I know who you are, I know what you want. Come. Now.”

And the place would be somewhere smart and expensive, Grosvenor Square? one of the big London squares so full of elegance, money, and hidden vices. I would walk up the steps, carefully, on heels that threatened to give way under the weight of trembling knees, knickers so wet it was a wonder I could walk at all.

The door opens if by magic, but there is a man there, who gestures to me to enter, who closes the door behind me. Thick carpeted hall, rich tapestries, oil paintings of long dead people all wearing immaculate clothes and stern looks, the men with their matching Van Dyke beards, for surely he has come from another age, another time!

The smooth faced man leads me to a door, opens it after the lightest of knocks.

“There you are” and the library is there for me to see, all leather bound books with gold blocked titles, huge leather chairs, large oak desk carved richly with leaves and vines, a leather edged blotter, a gold pen stand. Here he is at home in his rightful surroundings, this man with the beard and the slim wrists who said so much with a look and a single sentence, and a way of moving that said ‘I am a Master.’

The door is closed, we are alone.

“Tell me what you want” and it is an order, not a request. I must confess. I must say what is in my most secret of hearts, the place where even Justin, never Justin! could penetrate.

There, in the rich luxury of the library, with emerald green carpet and richness of leather books and chairs, the solidness of the desk, the calmness of the man with the beard and the wrists, toying so lightly with something I cannot see, a whip? a riding crop? the scent of polish and books, the scent of power and domination.

I confess:

“I want to be dominated, humiliated, subdued, thrashed. Bound if necessary, if a Master considers me worthy of being bound, so I cannot escape. Ever.”

The words come spilling, they are there, trembling on the tip of the tongue, ever ready to spill, which is why Justin ultimately stormed and kicked and damaged and destroyed and walked out of my life, putting me on the street within three days, demanding his share of the flat and all that was in it and I had no comeback. I settled for a lousy smelly little home and a fantasy.

No.

Exclude Justin, exclude everything - go back. The man, his eyes and his hands and of course his wrists. Now I see what it is he holds, a riding crop. The shudder goes deep, so deep it touches my mind as well as my body.

“Come here.” The words are so quietly spoken I cannot believe they are for real, that I am about to have something I have never had, but often dreamed of.

Oh so often dreamed of!

“Stand still” and I stand, hands before me, eyes down, I need no telling that is the way I must be before this man.

The crop lashes out, sharply, even through my clothes it hurts so much I cry out. I stand, burning, a single line flaring across my buttocks, my eyes and mouth open with shock.

“I hurt.” And I know he means to, he is hard and cruel, this man with the beard and the wrists. “You said humiliation, and you will be humiliated. It is bad enough to bare yourself to me, but to do it in front of others” - he rings the bell sharply, a silver bell stood on the desk. The note is high and clear, it carries.

“Sir?” the smooth faced man is there again, as silent as a robot.

“Summon the staff.”

“Sir.” And he is gone and I feel redness creep into my face. Am I to be thrashed in front of others? Many others? Who?

They come. A cook, a maid, a gardener, the smooth faced butler. They stand, silent and aloof, disapproving looks worn as uniform. Not a word is uttered.

I follow the line of the crop, walk to the desk, lean over it as he indicates, for there is nothing to do but follow. There must have been a signal I did not see for the butler, for surely that is what he is, has appeared behind me and in front of me, my wrists are bound with leather strips, tied tight, and neatly bound round the desk drawer handle, I cannot move. My ankles are tied, tight, so tight the blood must be cut off. I cannot kick and move.

Knickers are lowered by the butler, making it worse. I feel shame, creeping shame, flush over and through me, it is coupled with the fear of what is to come, for surely everyone can already see the blazing red line writ clear across the cheeks, the line that said “I will hurt you” and it did.

And he did.

“I will not tell you what you are to have, for there can be no limit to what you should have.” The crop comes down again, as hard as before, it cuts it burns I cry out I scream aloud and the people stand silent as it comes down again and again and again.

There is no end to pain. There is no depth to pain. It flares it burns it cuts to the heart it shrieks for mercy for release but none is to be found anywhere. Again again again a crop bound in leather flexible as the skin it once was finds skin that is unwilling oh so willing to take it.

God help me I take it.

God help me I have no choice with wrists and ankles bound with the desk cutting into the mound with nerves screaming for release with soft so soft breasts crushed against the top and my breath marking the smooth polish she would have to polish it again tomorrow the maid with the short skirt and bland disapproving face watching me being thrashed oh if only they weren’t there so often I think of them being there eyes on my body calculating scheming wondering if I should make that much noise would they make that much noise do they make that much noise does he beat them too - as the crop lands over and over and over -

“You can go” and the room is suddenly empty. There is no sense of eyes any more. Tears flood my own eyes my face my mouth sobs catch in my throat I long for freedom but no freedom is to be found anywhere.

He does not untie me. I am red raw I am burning I am choking on tears but he does not untie me.

Instead so slow so cold so hard so unyielding! the handle of the crop is slid into the waiting arching body while something cold hard and rigid is slipped into the other orifice which waits oh how it waits for something to happen.

The crop handle slides in and out, wet with my juices, ribbed enough to cause screaming sensations the screaming of the pain of thrashed cheeks screaming of the pain of suppressed desire explode as I writhe and scream and yell my orgasm aloud.

Lauren sat shaking, trembling from head to foot, nipples hard, clitoris aching, vulva begging.

Tomorrow I’ll phone and ask about that job. Tomorrow I’ll go walking in Fleet Street, in hope of finding a new job and a new man.

I cannot go on like this.

I cannot go on alone.

I need a Master.