Cowering in the corner of the supposedly impenetrable safe room, her breath coming in short, panicked gasps, Abby Walker tried to come to grips with her fate. Though the walls were three feet of concrete and steel, she couldn’t imagine them protecting her or any of her colleagues from the alien’s advanced technology. Her capture was imminent and inevitable. Or her death. Would death be preferable? What might she suffer at the hands of the aliens? Tears of dread and regret spilled from her eyes.
A member of the Alien Life Forms Exploratory Expedition, otherwise known as ALFEE, she lived with a group of scientists and researchers on Earth’s first Martian colony. She’d been thrilled the day she’d been accepted, but now, quaking in terror, she longed for everything she left behind. Flashes of her former life zipped through her head: the rich lasagna at her favorite Italian restaurant, ambling along the beach near her home, ice cream in bed with Charlie, her funny, affectionate lover…
The alien suddenly towered over her. Humanlike, but with frighteningly glowing skin and a powerfully muscled body, his dark purple eyes narrowed as he gazed down at her. Literally frozen in terror, she watched helplessly as his hands moved toward her. She wanted to scream, she wanted to run, she wanted to do anything except stand there, and squeezing her eyes shut she waited for her fate. To her abject horror he grabbed her breasts.
Mortified and anticipating pain, she held her breath, but there was no torment, just pleasurable tingling waves pulsing through her limbs. To her great surprise she felt her heart steady and her breathing normalize, and though still cloaked in fear, she was no longer panic-stricken. As his hands dropped away she opened her eyes, and staring up at him she discovered the alien possessed almost pleasant features, and the multicolored, shimmering tunic covering his torso was vaguely reminiscent of an old-fashioned swimsuit. In spite of her dire circumstances the bizarre thought almost made her smile.
She heard the satisfaction in his gravelly voice.
She didn’t want to satisfy him. She didn’t want to please him in any way.
Abruptly turning, he strode through the empty space where a three foot thick wall once stood. All that remained was a huge pile of dust, yet she’d heard nothing. No blast, no crumbling concrete, nothing. Not a sound.
He paused to look over his shoulder.
There was a chance she and the others might be saved. Slim to none, but still a chance. When the massive, cigar-shaped, orange spacecraft had landed, the control room had been able to send an emergency signal to Earth before losing communication.
“Follow,” he repeated, a single deep line appearing in his forehead.
“J-just g-go away,” she managed, amazed she could speak, let alone defy him, but her swift reasoning told her if he wanted her dead, she would be.
“Is th-that the only w-word you know?”
Cringing, and wishing she could suck back her swift retort, she remembered what her boyfriend Charlie had once said.
Your quick tongue and that temper of yours will get you in trouble one of these days. It’s the redhead in you!
As the alien started back to her, and she noticed the crack in his forehead had deepened, she realized it must be the equivalent of a frown.
“Why do I care,” she muttered under her breath, “and why aren’t I still terrified?”
He suddenly lunged forward and swept her up, but he didn’t carry her in his arms or throw her over his shoulder. He held her at his waist like a sack of grain.
“Put me down! Please. I’ll follow.”
Though she writhed violently as he marched to the front of the compound, escaping his hold was impossible. Finally giving up and falling limp, she raised her head and glanced around. She saw no other signs of life, human or alien, nor any damage. There were many safe rooms scattered throughout the compound, and the moment the alarm had sounded everyone had fled for cover. She’d hoped someone would join her, but when she’d pressed the button to seal the room she’d been alone.
“Where are the others? Please, where are they?”
He didn’t respond, but he was moving at a fast clip toward the massive steel doors that would take them outside and into the unforgiving Martian air.
“Stop! Stop! Don’t take me out of here. I’ll die!”
The odd calm she’d experienced had suddenly evaporated, and engulfed in fresh terror, a wretched scream exploded from her lips. Coming to an abrupt stop, he effortlessly gripped her gyrating body and laid her on the floor. Kneeling beside her as she wildly flailed her arms and kicked her legs, his long, thick fingers grasped her breasts and began to squeeze. Though she wailed her protest, almost immediately her sense of doom dissolved.
He had spoken the word as a question, not an order.
“Follow?” he repeated, leaning over her and bringing his face disturbingly close to hers.
Defeat washed through her. She couldn’t fight him, she couldn’t do anything, but an idea suddenly sprang to mind.
“Yes, I’ll follow.”
His hand clamped around her arm to help her up, and as she steadied herself, she took a moment to catch her breath, then looking at him pleadingly.
“Please, where is everyone? Are they all your prisoners? Are they alive? Please tell me, or do you not understand anything I’m saying?”
She clenched her fists.
“Dammit, where are they?”
“Follow,” he growled, “or I carry.”
“Yes, okay, okay.”
He nodded, then turned and began walking, but she didn’t move until he was several steps ahead. With her pulse ticking up, she crept backwards as he continued forward.
Amazed that he hadn’t turned around, she ducked into a passage and broke into a sprint, quickly reaching the kitchen and dashing inside. Except for the lack of people everything appeared normal. Confounded, but not wasting a second, she grabbed a cleaver and a long pointed knife as she raced to the button that would open the freezer. The lights came on as the door swung open, and stepping inside, she watched it close and latch. Thermal suits hung on hooks against the wall for use during extended hours, and placing the knives on a countertop, she hurriedly grabbed one, hastily pulling it on over her clothes.
“Just go back where you came from. What could you possibly want from me?” she mumbled, staring at the door and flashing back to the alien’s hands on her breasts. Though the crude act had settled her, she shuddered at the memory. “I can’t think about that. I’m safe for the moment. I need to keep my wits. I must stay calm. I must think.”
But no sooner had the words left her lips than the freezer door began to move. Darting her eyes frantically around the room, she saw the only hiding place was the sterilization unit for the food deliveries. Dashing across the short distance, she stepped into the dark, small space and slid the door closed. It was only then she realized she’d forgotten the knives. Furious with herself and fighting a fresh wave of terror, she held her breath and stayed completely still. Maybe, just maybe…
“Abby Walker! Show yourself! I have no wish to destroy this food preparation center to find you, but I will if I must.”
Her head began to spin. The alien who had seized her could barely utter a few words. Another alien must have joined him.
“Your colleagues are all alive and perfectly safe. They’re sleeping. It’s only you I must take. Understand, Abby Walker, I will not leave here without you. Ah… there you are.”
Her heart stopped.
The door dissolved into dust.
“Please don’t panic. Panic is unhealthy for humans.”
Every part of her shuddered, but the alien standing in front of her was alarmingly attractive. He possessed the same muscled physique and glowing skin, and though he stood well over six feet, he wasn’t a giant. His dark glossy hair highlighted his lavender eyes, and his full moist lips were curved at the edges in what appeared to be a wry grin. Completing the picture, a skin-tight suit left nothing to her imagination.
“Abby Walker, why must you be so difficult? We wish you no harm. Please come with us.”
“What d-do you want with me?” she stammered, her fear quickly taking hold. “There’s nothing special about me.”
“On the contrary, for a human you are evolved.”
“How the hell are you able to talk to me?”
“Your heart is racing,” he mumbled, moving toward her.
“No! Don’t touch me!”
But even as she threw her arms wildly in front of her, his large hands groped her breasts.
“Our ruler has chosen you, and so it will be,” he declared as she felt the wave of calm ripple through her. “Unfortunately you cannot be trusted. You should have followed and entered our ship with dignity.”
The wave of calm grew stronger. Her eyes felt heavy. Her legs wobbled, then everything went black.
Lifting from a deep sleep, Abby prayed the horrifying ordeal had been a hideous dream. She’d slip out of bed, make herself some coffee, then head down to the cafeteria for breakfast where she’d tell her friends the story of her bizarre and terrifying nightmare. But as she opened her eyes, she knew what happened was real. Shockingly, horribly real. A dim, pulsing green glow filled the space around her, and slowly turning her head, she scanned her surroundings. Blank walls! No doors, no windows, and except for the soft bench on which she rested, no furniture. Trembling, she sat up, only to discover she was wearing a thin silver jumpsuit.
“Good. You have woken!”
“Who are you?” she yelled frantically, her heart racing as she searched for the origin of the deep voice. “Where are you? Why am I here?”
“I am Zaroff. You cannot see me, but you will see me in a matter of moments. You are not here by chance. You have been chosen by our ruler. My job is to make you ready for him. Humans can have difficulty accepting their fate, but you are highly evolved and should adjust quickly. Prepare yourself. I will now make myself visible.”
Though her head was spinning, one thought consumed her. She had no intention of accepting anything, but the wall across from her suddenly rippled, snatching her attention. Mesmerized, she watched the tiny waves, and as they began to abate the handsome alien came into view, appearing even more human than he had when he’d captured her. Standing tall and straight, with his wide shoulders squared and his hands behind his back, his powerful muscles bulged in his tight maroon suit. In the background she could see oversized monitors with moving graphs and blinking lights.
“I’m not staying here, and don’t think for a minute I’ll accept any of this,” she declared vehemently, trying to control her fear. “Not ever. And where are my clothes?”
“Your garments have been destroyed. They carried bacteria and viruses toxic to us. The suit you are wearing will keep your body temperature steady and protect you from an airborne spore. You’ve been inoculated, but until your immune system is sufficiently boosted you must wear the garment. It was a female who changed you. We don’t care about such things, but humans do and I am tasked with keeping you comfortable.”
“Comfortable? Are you crazy? How the hell can I be comfortable here, and where is here? Take me back to Earth!” she demanded, her voice growing shrill as her anger began to take over. “Why does your ruler want me anyway? I’m not evolved, as you call it, and I’ll never accept this.”
“Ah, so pleasing,” he muttered. “You are responding exactly as I knew you would.”
“Fuck you, asshole!”
“You will refrain from using such language!” he ordered brusquely, his voice sounding oddly British.
“I’m just calling it as I see it,” she retorted, then caught her breath. “Hang on a minute. You’ve done something to me. I’m scared, but I’m not freaking out. I’m having a conversation with a fucking alien and I’m not freaking out. How is that possible? What have you done to me?”
“You must be exposed to your new situation as your emotions and rational mind dictates. If we didn’t keep you sedated you would become hysterical. This would not be acceptable to the ruler. As his future wife he has great concern for you.”
“Wife? Wife? I’m not going to be some alien’s wife, and I don’t feel sedated, I’m just not totally freaking out. What am I saying? This is crazy! I must be having some horrible nightmare.”
“I assure you, Abby Walker, you are not experiencing a bad dream. Our methods allow you to remain rational and cognizant without being semi-conscious. Please pay attention. I must tell you about our laws. We have only a few, but they are, as you humans say, written in stone. You have already broken three, and while you must be punished, I will be lenient.”
“What are you talking about? What do you mean, punished?”
“You will now refrain from speaking. If you do not know our laws I cannot expect you to obey them.”
Reality suddenly hit.
A chill pricked her skin.
She was utterly and completely at his mercy.
“Sorry,” she said hastily, wishing her gut would stop churning. “I’m listening. Yes, I need to know your laws.”
“You see? Already you’re beginning to behave logically. Unlike your planet where people betray one another as easily as they breathe, betrayal here is a serious crime, one you have committed. When I say betrayal, I mean making a promise, then not fulfilling that promise.”
“I haven’t broken any promises!”
“You told the keeper you would follow him. You did not.”
“Do not interrupt again!”
Play along, Abby, she thought to herself. That’s all you can do for now. Play along.
“Your second crime, using vulgar language. This is strictly forbidden. Civility and respect must be maintained. Because you lack self-discipline and possess a quick temper, this will be challenging, but you will learn. Now we come to obedience. I’m a senior diplomat in charge of this vessel, and I’m also your trainer. Obedience is required by both. You disobeyed me. Three laws broken. You must be punished for each. Do you have any questions about those three laws?”
“You say you’re going to punish me, but that’s totally unfair. When I told the other alien—”
“The keeper? That’s what he’s called?”
“That is what you will call him. He keeps watch over you and will make sure you have what you need. Continue.”
“When I told the keeper I would follow him I was trying to escape. You can’t fault me for that. As far as swearing, how could I know that’s a crime, and when did I disobey you?”
“I told you to listen, and still you spoke.”
“I offer the same defense. You have laws, no problem, I’ll do my best to follow them, but to pass judgment on me when I didn’t know about them is wrong.”
“I will not punish you harshly, but you must learn consequences exist. This too, is a law. Perpetrators must be punished.”
“That’s a stupid law. If the perpetrator doesn’t—”
“Stop! I listened, and I have given my answer.”
“What about important things like murder and assault?”
“They are rare, but once proven the punishment is instant. A murderer is immediately executed; an assailant receives an identical assault to that which he or she delivered.”
“Let the punishment fit the crime. That’s reasonable, unless an innocent person suffers for it.”
“We don’t make such heinous mistakes, but enough. You must now take nourishment. The keeper will bring you something to eat and show you where you can freshen up. In a little while I’ll visit you to carry out your sentence. That is all.”
“Wait! What about—”
“I said, that is all,” he declared, as the wall rippled.
Heat cloaked the back of her throat. Was her life really over? Was she to become the wife of an alien ruler? Would she never see her family again? Dear, sweet Charlie and her friends, were they forever gone? How could anyone, even an alien, think for a single moment she could accept such a tragic fate? Heavy tears threatened, but abruptly subsided.
“That must be the so-called sedative,” she mumbled, a heavy frown crossing her brow. “I suppose I should be grateful they’re providing me a modicum of comfort, but how can I be? They’ve ripped me away from my life!”
As she gazed around the empty room, she realized the annoying pulsing light had stopped pulsing. It offered only a sliver of relief, but it was something. Slipping off the bench, she gingerly placed her feet on the floor. It was warm and spongy. Then moving across to where Zaroff had appeared, she hesitantly reached out her hand. Cool to her touch, the surface was as solid as concrete.
Startled, she spun around. The keeper stood by the bench, but she could see no door through which he would have entered.
“Where did you come from?”
“Food,” he repeated, placing a tray on a table that hadn’t been there just a moment before.
“Tell me how you got in here, and what about that table?”
Ignoring her questions, he walked to the opposite side of the room, and as he neared the wall a large oval space magically appeared. There had been no sound, and the keeper had done nothing except approach.
“Enter,” he said, with a theatrical sweep of his arm.
Apprehensive, but filled with curiosity, she walked past him and discovered a gleaming white bathroom that could have been found in any contemporary house on Earth.
“To make me feel at home?” she asked, staring back at him. “It doesn’t matter what you do—or what he does—I will never accept this! Do you hear me?” she shouted. “Never!”
“Food,” the keeper said again, still standing on the other side of the large hole in the wall.
“Will it open and close whenever I walk up to it? Probably a silly question.”
“Yeah, okay, I get it. Limited vocabulary,” she mumbled, walking past him as she returned to the room, then pausing her step, she looked back at the wall. The opening had vanished, and the keeper was following her to the table.
Continuing on to the table, she studied the tray. A wineglass filled with what appeared to be red wine, a china bowl with two bread rolls, and a plate covered with a purple lid. Lifting it up, her eyes grew wide.
“Holy crap! Lasagna? This is impossible.”
But the rich aroma tickling her nostrils smelled exactly like her favorite dish at Mario’s, the Italian restaurant she and Charlie both loved.
“Zaroff? Can you hear me?”
“Eat,” the keeper exclaimed, standing over her and pointing to the plate.
“Okay, okay,” she said hastily, staring up at him, “but where do I sit? Why am I asking you? It’s not like you can understand me.”
But as the words left her lips, he pointed to a chair at the side of the table.
“Good grief! Where the hell did that come from?” she muttered, sitting on the chair that had apparently materialized from thin air. “I hope this really is wine. I may be under the spell of some weird sedation, but I need a fucking drink.”
Bringing the drink to her lips, she took a sip, then another, and let out a satisfied sigh. It tasted just like her favorite cabernet. Thinking she must be dreaming after all, she put down the glass and took a mouthful of the piping hot pasta.
“My God, this is delicious!”
“I’m glad you’re pleased.”
Darting her head up, she found the keeper had vanished and Zaroff was standing beside her.
“You almost gave me a heart attack! Zaroff, will you do something for me?”
“Certainly, if I’m able.”
“This appearing and disappearing thing, it’s unnerving. There’s no warning, you’re just there! Can you please make a sound, or knock, or—”
“I understand,” he replied, cutting her off. “I can make the adjustment. I sense you wish to dine alone, but when you’re finished I’ll return to administer your punishment.”
“You didn’t hear me? I said when you’re finished, I’ll return to administer your punishment.”
“I heard you, I just couldn’t believe it. How am I supposed to eat after hearing that? I don’t mean to be rude, but—”
“My presence and comment were purposeful. Anticipation is a very important element of discipline.”
“Uh-huh. I see. And, uh, can you tell me what this punishment will entail?”
“The same correction is also used on Earth, which I find rather interesting. You will be spanked on your bottom while bent over my lap.”
It was not what Abby expected to hear, and watching Zaroff stride off through an opening in the wall that appeared as he approached, she picked up the wine and took a long drink.
“I suppose it could be worse,” she mumbled, shivering as she tried to push away thoughts of the horrible things he could do to her, “though with those muscles of his…! But why did the ruler choose me?”
A wave of despair suddenly swept her up, and placing her glass on the table, she dropped her face in her hands.
“This is all too much. I can’t stand it.”
A knocking sound broke the quiet, causing her to snap her head back up. A second passed and the knocking repeated, then the keeper walked through the wall.
“Eat!” he ordered, towering over her. “Zaroff orders.”
“You knocked! Damn.”
“I’ve lost my appetite, besides, the pasta will be cold now,” she muttered, turning her eyes to the lasagna, “and who wants to—holy shit. It’s still steaming. Of course!” she exclaimed, throwing up her hands. “Why should I be surprised? Why should I be surprised about anything?”
He stepped closer, and she noticed the crack in his forehead.
“Zaroff orders eat!”
Not wanting to make her pending punishment any worse, she picked up her fork, and after the first couple of bites her appetite began to return. With the keeper standing over her, she finished the meal and drank the wine, but as he lifted the dishes and disappeared through the wall, she knew it meant Zaroff would return. Zaroff and his punishment.
“This is nuts,” she mumbled, rising to her feet and beginning to pace. “I’m about to be over the knee of an alien. How can this be happening?”
“I’m coming in.”
Zaroff’s deep, accented voice seemed to bounce off the walls. Abby immediately assumed he didn’t care to knock, then wondered if he just wanted to unnerve her even more.
“I won’t let you get the better of me,” she swore under her breath. “No fucking way.”
“Miss Abby Walker,” he announced, moving through the magically appearing opening and into the room. “Are you ready for your punishment?”
“Is anyone ever ready to be humiliated and hurt?”
“Certainly. There will come a time when you will welcome my discipline.”
“I seriously doubt that. May I ask you something?”
“If the ruler wanted a doormat, why did he choose me?”
“A doormat? I don’t—oh, you mean a woman who is demure and weak. A doormat! What an interesting way to describe such a person.”
“Interesting or not, wouldn’t someone like that be more to his liking? Doesn’t he want a wife who will follow twenty steps behind him saying yes, sir, no, sir, three bags full, sir?”
“Three bags full, sir? What does this mean?”
“It’s an old nursery rhyme. The point is, why did he choose me when he wants a wife to bow and scrape.”
“Bow and scrape? What is this bow and scrape? Why are you talking in riddles?”
“I thought you spoke English!”
“I do, fluently, but I’m not familiar with these idioms, though I do understand your question. I assume to bow and scrape means to bow, obviously, and scrape? What is that? To serve unflinchingly? Scrape dirt off his shoes?”
“It means to bow so low your knee hits the floor.”
“Curious, but as to your question, why didn’t the ruler choose a floor mat—?”
“Whatever kind of mat, this doesn’t interest me, Abby Walker. You have made an incorrect assumption.”
“Can you please stop using my last name all the time,” she snapped, then hastily added, “Sorry. It’s annoying. Just call me Abby.”
“Abby,” he said pointedly, “the ruler has no wish for a docile, quiet wife. He requires stimulation and challenge.”
“But he expects total obedience.”
“Don’t you think—?”
“Enough!” he said brusquely, holding up his hand. “I suspect you’re engaging me in this conversation to avoid your punishment. That would be a grave mistake.”
“So would lying about it. I do not tolerate untruths, and neither will the ruler. I know it’s easy for humans to lie, but it is a habit you must break.”
“I don’t want to be here!” she exclaimed. “Don’t you get that? I was simply pointing out a woman less emotional and combative than me would be a better match.”
“This conversation is over,” he declared, lifting the chair and placing it in the center of the room. “It is time to execute your sentence.”
She watched, nerves firing, as he sat down, and when he turned his eyes and caught hers, she heard his unspoken command. Though she felt compelled to step forward and bend over his knees, she didn’t move. If he wanted her to do something he could damn well tell her.
“You know exactly what you must do,” he said quietly, though his voice was stern. “If I must give the order, I will spank you harder.”
Cursing silently, she moved slowly forward, paused as she reached him, then reminding herself she should be grateful he hadn’t stripped her bare, she stretched herself over his lap.
“Ten for your betrayal. I will be counting them out, but first I will bare your bottom.”
“You dare to question me?” he scolded, landing a hard, unexpected slap. “Don’t make that mistake again!”
Gasping as the hot sting burned her backside, she dreaded the exposure, then wondered how he’d removed the silver suit while bent over his lap. Her question was quickly answered as she felt the air kiss her skin. Somehow he’d peeled back only where the strange fabric covered her bottom.
“Naked and ready for punishment,” he exclaimed. “A spanking must always be delivered to bare skin. Now you will feel my discipline.”
A hot blush crossed her face. She hated that she was exposed to his eye. Never had she felt so vulnerable and helpless, and she despised him for it, but her thoughts were sharply interrupted.
“One,” he declared, spanking her on each cheek.
The smack hurt, and she hissed in the air as she waited for the next, but to her dismay he paused to run his fingertips over her skin. Mortified by the intimate touch, she wriggled, hoping it would provoke him to continue. She wanted the humiliating experience to be over, but ignoring her silent protest he began fondling her cheeks. Not wanting to give him the satisfaction of hearing her groan, she bit her lip and squeezed her eyes shut.
“Two,” he suddenly declared, landing the same pair of blows.
Not wanting to give him any satisfaction she didn’t cry out, but as he delivered the third, she found it difficult to remain still and quiet.
“Your backside is most appealing,” he murmured, fondling and squeezing her cheeks. “The ruler will be very pleased.”
The comment infuriated her. She wanted to scream at him. She wanted to fight. She wanted to pound her fists against him, but she knew any attempt to protest was futile.
“Repeat after me,” he abruptly ordered, landing the last smack with much greater force.
“Sir, I am sorry for my betrayal. If I break a promise again I will expect swift justice.”
“Sir, I am sorry for my betrayal,” she bleated, the burning sting taking her breath away. “If I break a promise again I will expect swift justice.”
“Your second crime. Vulgar language. You shall receive five on the lower area of your buttocks,” he decreed, resting his palm on her sit spot. “I will begin. One!”
The area was far more sensitive, but clenching her teeth, she managed to suffer through the first three blistering smacks without making a sound, but when he paused and spread her cheeks, she couldn’t suppress her groan of humiliation.
“As I suspected, you feel shame. You should feel shame for your crimes, not my eye on your back hole.”
His hand suddenly blasted with a fiery heat as he landed the remaining slaps, then quickly pulled her cheeks apart a second time. Her stomach churning with dread and completely mortified, she reminded herself the punishment was almost over.
“Repeat after me,” he ordered. “Sir, I am sorry for my foul mouth and I will not curse like that again. If I do, I will expect swift justice.”
“Sir, I am sorry for my foul mouth and I will not curse like that again. If I do, I will expect swift justice.”
“Time to address your disobedience. You lack respect for authority. This will not be tolerated. You will receive fifteen hard slaps. I will begin now,” he warned, lifting his leg and placing it over the backs of hers, “and Abby, I am not a fool. You’re limiting your responses because you do not wish me any gratification. I don’t require any. I am punishing you because you deserve it. Your choice to remain silent has no effect on me. These will be swift and hard.”
But his lecture proved unnecessary.
As he inflicted the rapid volley of sharp swats there was no controlling her squeals and squirms. His hand traveled its scalding kiss across the breadth of her backside, down to her sit spot then back up again. With no hesitation between each stinging slap, though the punishment was swiftly over, it left her near tears and gasping for breath.
“Repeat after me,” Zaroff exclaimed. “Sir, my place is to obey.”
“Sir, my place,” she panted, “is to obey.”
“Sir, I am ashamed of my lack of respect.”
“Sir, I am ashamed, of, uh, my lack of respect.”
“Sir, if I show such defiance again, please punish me.”
“Sir, if I show such defiance again, please punish me,” she managed, wishing she could put her hands behind her and rub her seared skin.
“Take several deep breaths,” he ordered, squeezing and rubbing her cheeks. “You will remain as you are until you settle.”
Except for a few swats during sex, which she’d found surprisingly exciting, Abby had never experienced a spanking, and as much as she didn’t want to, she suddenly felt an unwelcome need to be held and comforted. Refusing to consider such a thing, and hating the muscled alien for what he’d done to her, she purposely fell limp so he’d let her up.
“Better. You may rise.”
Her face flushed, her bottom burning with a prickling heat, she crawled off his lap and stared at the floor.
“Look at me, Abby.”
Not wanting him to see the deep resentment in her eyes, but fearing what would happen if she didn’t do as he said, she lifted her gaze.
“Now you understand consequences, but there are other ways I discipline besides spanking, though I do find corporal punishment effective. You will find life here more pleasant if you surrender to your circumstances.”
“You’re probably right about that,” she replied, her voice a breathy mumble, “but I don’t think I’ll be able to.”
“I sense there’s more you wish to say. Please feel free.”
“But I’m not allowed to speak my mind, not unless I want to be punished, and I don’t.”
“You misunderstand. You are always free to share your thoughts, but you are not allowed to be rude,” he said, his voice softening. “Please talk to me. I want to hear what’s on your mind.”
“I don’t want to surrender to my circumstances,” she mewled. “Why are you keeping me here? I want to go home.”
He sat silently for a moment, then rising to his feet he placed his hands on her shoulders.
“There will come a time when you will be offered that choice.”
“There will?” she said, her heart leaping. “When? I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Wait, are you lying to me?”
“I’m disappointed,” he muttered, his eyes darkening. “Why would you insult me so blatantly?”
“I, uh, I don’t know you. How can you expect me to trust you when you kidnapped me and brought me here?”
“Ah, that’s a fair point. You will be given a choice. That is a promise that will not be betrayed by me or the ruler. We all live under the law. You can—there is a phrase on Earth that escapes me. Something to do with money.”
“You can take it to the bank?”
“Yes, you can take it to the bank.”
“Thank God. Oh, do I call you sir or Zaroff?”
“Sir, during times of discipline and training, but otherwise, Zaroff.”
“Training? You said that before. What sort of training?”
“You will be taught how to please the ruler, and how to behave.”
“Are you talking about sex?” she whispered, afraid to say the word out loud. “Is that what this is about?”
“Partly. You will be trained as any potential wife would be trained, at least in our world.”
“I don’t even know what to say. When will I meet this ruler?”
“You’ll be presented when you’re ready.”
“I’ll never be ready.”
“Life is full of surprises, Abby. Now I must go.”
“Wait! You can’t leave me yet. I have more questions.”
“I don’t take orders,” he said sternly. “You must not speak to me in such a manner.”
“Sorry. Please, may I ask one more question, Zaroff? It’s important.”
“You see? Was that difficult?”
“No, and I’ll try to remember.”
“You will not try, you will. Try suggests you might fail, and failing at something so simple is unacceptable. What’s your question?”
“Do I have any privacy, or are you watching me all the time?”
“Ah, yes. I know this is important. Your bathroom is private at all times. From this point forward, when I turn off my viewing screen the light in here will change from green to yellow. Is that satisfactory?”
“Yes, Zaroff, thank you.”
“The keeper is still learning your language, but he’ll pick it up fairly quickly. He’ll return shortly with a device you can use to call him when you need something. Now it is my turn to ask a question. If you had met either the keeper or me on Earth, wouldn’t you find our appearance attractive?”
She blinked, surprised by his query, then taking a moment to study his face, she slowly nodded her head. With his dark hair, chiseled features, and muscled physique, he reminded her of the handsome actors and models who made fortunes from their good looks. Even with the advances in plastic surgery, natural beauty was still held in high regard.
“Yes, Zaroff,” she said sincerely. “I would.”
“The ruler will be pleased to hear this. He finds you very beautiful.”
“Tell him thank you, I appreciate the compliment, but I’ll never want to stay here. Zaroff, is he watching me too?”
“Whenever he is able. He’s intensely interested in you and your progress. Now I must go.”
“Uh, what about the walking through walls thing, and the furniture appearing from nowhere?”
“All in good time,” he replied, not turning around. “All in good time.”
“Good time? There’s no such thing, not as long as I’m here,” she grunted. “I have to find a way out, and I will.”