The Penitent by Charles Arnold
Kathy Ryan's feelings of guilt began at an early age, when she used to masturbate in her uncle's basement, only later to hear him whisper, "Shame, Katherine, shame." As an adult, a lovely young wife with a promising future, she's haunted by her guilt. Writing to a man who captures her imagination, she says: I can only guess why I am so powerfully drawn to you, why I am both excited and repelled by you, desiring you, yet very much afraid. I can only guess at why I feel this overwhelming compulsion to subjugate my will to yours...I know that such a desire is wrong...obscene...terrifying.
The men Kathy desires disgust her... crude, filthy, wretched creatures... men no woman would want and yet she does. Even when she tries to swear them off, she finds herself again and again, lowering herself and returning for more humiliation and brutality. Driving heedlessly toward her twisted sexual shame, she quickly finds herself under the control of the hideous Mr. Stein. Though this wicked man repulses her, she's unable to extricate herself from his tight grasp. He knows her better than she knows herself, and at every turn, even when she most denies the pleasure she feels, he confronts her with the awful truth. From her marriage to Stein's dumb, repugnant son, to the vulgar, swarthy Abul, to the powerful Japanese businessman, who will have her at any costs, her life is circumscribed by the despicable men she's destined to love and crave. The author of Lisa, Her Initiation, again creates a scheming and treacherous world as he explores the most deviant aspects of the human species. Be warned, this very graphically told story may offend you! This is no romance. Its content includes humiliation, punishment, anal and oral sex, S&M, bondage, public sex acts, exhibitionism and an unusual scene with leeches.
Previously published in the UK.
Later in the afternoon, it began to drizzle, one of those late August rains that go on for days, muggy and hot. She wore a nylon blouse and a slim tan skirt. She was about to put on her raincoat, but she returned to her room and, from deep in the corner of a dresser drawer, pulled out a silver chain. Attached to the chain was a Saint Christopher medal. She placed it around her neck and fastened the clasp. Before backing the car out of the garage, she removed her bra and panties and stuffed them into her purse. On her feet were white high heels.
Hawthorne was ten miles down route eighty-six in a depressed area of the county. Long ago the coal mines had been worked out and the freight depot closed. Harry’s Hotel Bar was seldom frequented except for alcoholic pensioners and itinerant construction crews.
She pulled into a parking space and got out of the car quickly, not allowing herself time to think. In her stomach was a hollow, sinking feeling. Five men were grouped together at the bar, and one old drunk slept at a table in the far corner. The light was dim. An overhead fan turned lazily. Her heels clicked on the bare wooden floor. All of the men at the bar turned toward her.
“Hey, well Jesus H. Christ!” shouted Wally. “I told you guys she’d probably show.”
She stood before them now. Except for one man, the rest had swiveled around to stare at her, but no one had moved to offer her a seat. “Harry, you better ask for proof,” someone said.
“Yeah, Harry,” Wally laughed, “looks like you got a minor here.” His eyes were bright. She could see that he was excited. “Hey, what’s your name again?”
“Kathy,” she said, feeling her face grow hot and red.
“Right...Kathy...Katherine.” He turned to the huge black man on his left. “Look at them legs, Cliff. She’s got the best damn legs I ever seen.” He waved his arm toward the empty tables. Kathy, walk around the place. Let the boys have a look.”
“No, please...I feel...” she began.
“Go on, do it!” Wally said. “Stuff like you never pays us a visit here in Harry’s.”
No one smiled. The men continued to stare at her. The only sound was the soft whirring of the paddle fan. Kathy looked down at the floor. After a moment she walked over to the sleeping drunk and returned. She knew that they were undressing her; that they were pushing their cocks between her bare legs. “You’re all right!” Wally shouted. He was confident now, arrogant and drunk. He stood up. She hadn’t realized how tall he was or how thin. Through her mind flashed a picture of her on her knees in front of him. She would need a stool to kneel on or pillows, like a little girl at communion. The thought startled her. She had never touched a man there with her mouth, not even her husband.
“Kathy here ain’t no shanty Irish,” Wally was saying. “She lives up in Ceder Grove, big house, couple hundred thousand, right, baby?” He put his arm around her waist and reached up to cup her breast in his big hand.
“Yes,” she said, “it cost about that.” She wanted out of here. This was no place for her.
These men were ugly and mean. They had been drinking. Wally was the worst of them. But his hand was hot on her breast. She felt her nipples swell.
“And little Kathy here brung old Wally a cold beer in the middle of the morning and damned if she wasn’t wearing the tightest shorts you ever seen.” Wally shook his head and grinned.
Cliff, the big black man, sipped his beer, but did not take his eyes from her. His head was shaved. There was a gold ring in his left ear. Wide leather straps were buckled tightly around his thick wrists. There were metal studs and heavy loops embedded in the straps. The wide bracelets could easily circle her ankles. A cord could be put through the loops to pull her legs apart, to open her.
Wally tapped the arm of the man at her right, the one who had not yet swiveled around to look at her. “This here’s Ezra Stein,” Wally said. “He’s a fat, dirty old bastard, but smart. Ezra reads a lot.” The fat man nodded as he turned lazily to stare at her. His little eyes were set deep in his face. His belly hung over his belt. Several buttons were missing from the lower part of his shirt. She could see the pale flesh of his belly and a trickle of sweat. His hands were soft and puffy, the spatulate fingers swollen at the joints. His pig-eyes glanced first at the Saint Christopher’s medal, then rose to meet hers. She felt, all of a sudden, very cold and frightened. She tried to look somewhere else but couldn’t. He smiled slightly. The pudgy hands twitched. He turned his back to her.
Wally pointed to the empty stool between Cliff and Ezra. “Sit here,” he said, and took his place standing behind and to one side of her. The cracked plastic seat felt damp and sticky against her bare legs. She ordered a beer and paid for it herself. As she lifted her glass to drink, Wally’s hand slipped under her raincoat. She drew in her breath and quickly put down the glass. She glanced toward the door, but did not move to get up. She wondered if he would unbutton her blouse and rub his rough hand across her breast. The men, except for Stein, watched Wally’s hand as it moved beneath her coat. “Jesus,” Wally said, squeezing her breast, “they ain’t big but they are perky.” He laughed, looking around at the others and winking. “No bra, neither,” he said. The color rushed to her cheeks.
Cliff reached for her hand. She pulled back, upsetting her purse on the bar. Wally spotted the panties and dug them out. He waved them back and forth. She clenched her hands in her lap and stared down at them, her face red. Wally held her panties over his head. “And, Goddamn, nothin’ under her skirt!” he laughed. “Who wants a sniff? Only one buck for a sniff!” He put them to his nose.
“Ahhhh, a real lady!” The men began laughing and shouting.
“I’ll take them,” Cliff said, and held out a ten-dollar bill.
“They’re yours for free!” Wally shouted. Cliff stuffed the panties in his pocket.
“I pay,” he muttered quietly, and placed the ten in Wally’s hand.
“No!” Kathy cried. “Please, Wally!” Suddenly, under her coat, his fingers gripped her nipple. He dug his fingernails into it. The unexpected pain was sharp and searing. She gasped. He swung her around, still cutting with his nail into her nipple. She was about to scream, but a look in his eyes stopped her.
“It’s Mr. Wallowitz,” he said squeezing tighter. “Mr. Wallowitz,” he repeated. Tears came to her eyes. Stein still had his back to her, but the others watched silently. In spite of the pain, she felt a hot rush between her legs. “I ain’t givin’ you leave to call me Wally. Who the hell do you think you are? Just another rich bitch in heat, right? Ain’t that right?”
“Yes,” she gasped.
“Yes, Mr. Wallowitz.”
“Tell the boys why you’re here. What you want from Mr. Wallowitz.” He eased the pressure on her nipple. She caught her breath and forced back the tears.
“I don’t know. I...I...mean I want to...I...I…want to...to...” she couldn’t think.
“Speak up, Goddamn it!” He twisted her throbbing nipple. “Tell them.”
She looked up at him. The ugly scar had deepened. The pockmarks were an angry red. “I...I...want you to,” she paused. “I want you to come to my house and...and…”
“Say it right!” he shouted. The men waited.
“Do it to me,” she whispered, looking down at the bar, her voice on the edge of breaking.
He tore open her coat and ripped her blouse down the front. Her hands flew up quickly to cover her bare breasts. Wally took both of her wrists in one hand and held them against the bar. “Show,” he said, nodding to the men at the bar. He let go of her wrists. Still not looking up, she slowly lifted her hands to cup each breast. She held them out first to the men at her left, then turned to the fat man. Stein placed his hand lightly on the breast closest to him. His white flesh was cold and wet, yet his touch left a burning sensation that caused her to tremble. He slid his hand under her breast and lowered his head toward it. She thought he was going to take the swollen nipple between his thick lips. Instead, he spit on it. His spit was cold. She watched it slide, like a pale yellow snake, over her nipple and down the side of her breast.
“Ohhh,” she said, softly, “ohhh.”
Wally spun her around to face him. He placed her tiny hands on each side of his face. She pulled him down to her, pressing her bare breasts against him. Before their lips met, her mouth was open to accept his tongue.
“Jesus,” Cliff said.
Wally’s face between her hands was rough, his skin bumpy. Her fingers found the scar. She followed it with her fingertips. Wally shuddered and pulled away, shaken. With her right hand, she reached up and jerked violently at the Christopher medal breaking the chain. The room was silent as she closed her coat and fastened its belt.
“When?” Wally asked.
“Friday night,” she said, trying to keep her voice under control. The men knew she was hot. They could smell her heat. It hung in the humid air. It was as penetrating as the soft rain that whispered against the plate glass window. “Friday,” she repeated, “around nine. My husband won’t be back until Saturday.”
Wally had regained his composure. “And if I don’t show?”
She looked at him and shrugged.
“I’ll be there,” he said.
Turning toward Stein, she placed the medal next to his glass. He stared straight ahead, ignoring her. She picked up her purse and walked quickly to the door knowing that behind her were at least four hard cocks. As for Ezra Stein, she wasn’t at all sure.