Asking For It

by Beth Friedland

The bruises are freshly bright pink with red welts rising up out of the flesh. They look nothing like they will look in a few hours when they begin to settle into my thighs. They are only moments old, still blooming on my skin and have not found their full form or color yet. Several reddish-purple rays are coming up where you violated my body with more aggressive strikes. The tattered skin is sultry hot like summer sunburn.

We negotiated the scene over breakfast.

“The pain will be abundant,” he said, as he buttered his toast.

All of a sudden I did not want to finish my coffee, nor had I taste left for juice, but I ate the omelet he had prepared. The detached tone in his voice unnerved me; the calmer he was the more hostile he would turn out to be. A mysterious, maybe even dangerous shift was creeping in to disturb the playful mood of morning.

This story really begins before the half-eaten breakfast, before declining a second cup of coffee, before even waking that morning curled up in his arms with my wrists and elbows tied neatly together by a single twenty-five foot length of soft cotton rope.

He spooned me so closely that night as we slept, somewhat tighter than usual and quite lovingly, in his way. He had twisted a long length of that same white rope around my feet, in between my toes, under my soles and heels and around both ankles to unite them. Wrapped into a charming little package, or stilled for sleep, as he called it.

He pulled me into the arc that he made with his long, lean body so that my back was flush up against his torso and stomach. He bent his knees into my legs and nestled his sex in the warm, welcoming cavern where the bottom of my ass curves into the tops of my thighs. His heart beat against my back until my heart learned the cadence and echoed the same rhythm into his chest. Nothing separated us. We like it like that, rubbing bodies up against each other as we sleep eager to commingle our dreams.

He laced one piece of gentle white rope around my neck and tied it to the headboard so that my face craned unnaturally upwards though my head still rested on the pillow. A single piece of soft white surgical tape sealed over my lips caught hopeful breaths as they tried to escape.

The spongy tape and the soft rope are tools of his benevolent cruelty. The devices and his use of them in specific times serve to keep me sufficiently restrained without endangering me excessively. I am fully confined, even with some discomfort smoldering in my limbs, but the danger is minimal, and the pain insignificant so he can rest without having to monitor my breathing and safety every moment. For my part, I have gotten used to the simmering pain and can sleep with it for hours, literally hours; there is a certain small pride we take in this unnatural feat.

As I dozed off fully compromised his right arm fell asleep under my body. I could feel his skin chilling the way skin does when numbness begins to set in. I am familiar with the cooling temperature of numbing limbs. The tips of fingers and toes grow cold and lose sensation and the skillful skin pushes feeling along the arms until it reaches a part of the body that has not numbed yet.

The last thought I had before falling sound asleep was my surprise that he had not readjusted his body to minimize the pain that must have been building in his arm and I wondered if he would sleep with it trapped like that throughout the night.

He had draped his left arm over my chest and his forearm rested along my ribs and breasts. His palm pressed lightly against my throat.

“Good night, my sweet,” he whispered. Or maybe I dreamt that he spoke before he fell asleep snoring quietly into my ear.

The bruises have diffused and the creeping pain is inescapable. Violet-blue lines have formed in precise horizontal rows down along the insides of my thighs. They seem to be perfectly spaced though I do not remember you being so meticulous when you gave them to me. In my memory you were in a vicious frenzy as you circled around my immobilized body beating only the upper halves of my legs with your thin bamboo cane. My thighs are inflated and severely misshapen from the violation. The puffed areas are clearly visible when I am naked. It is not so easy to tell over clothes because stockings hold the swelling together, but a tight skirt pulled over my thighs seems somehow irregular if one looks very close. And then there is the heat seething from my legs. Not a warming glow, rather it is a distinct steam-like heat that can be felt even through fabric.

He is fortunate that I trust him so much and that I do not startle in my sleep and wake him up disturbed and thrashing away at nightmares, losing my mind completely. He does not seem to worry about my trust. He keeps testing my obedience and waiting for me to oppose him, testing my devotion and then waiting again for me to reject him, testing my loyalty and even sometimes wishing I would deny him so that he can manipulate me, tie me tightly, break me, and add yet another to our long list of secret accomplishments.

I never do refuse him, though I consider trying to decline his more perverse requests, mostly out of a sense of embarrassment and a terrible fear that agreeing, even one time, to some truly deranged sexual game would finally prove me a crazy masochist after all.

Of course, there is the sheer sexy joy of it. I do not fight him and his harsh imagination when he introduces me to some sort of new torture. Among his cruel devices, behavior modifiers and his kindly-fierce domination I am his tractable lover.

“Remember that one time that we had a conversation about drawing blood?” I asked one evening, months ago, over a meaty dinner at my kitchen table.

“Clearly. You said you were against it,” he answered.

“Yes, I said I was definitely against it, I did not want you to cut me under any circumstances at all. Ever.”

“You were quite adamant, as I recall,” he noted.

“And you said, I remember these words exactly, you said, ‘Drawing blood is off the table.’”

He smiled and took my hand in his own, turning it over to examine my palm.

“Did I say exactly those words?” He laughed and clapped my open palm with his warm, stiff fingers. I felt as if I were small enough to stand in his hand.

I am not embarrassed that I recollect whole sentences with complete accuracy. I even remember the expression of easy acquiescence he wore on his face in the moment that he said it. I recall thanking him for his understanding and feeling pleasantly responsible for instigating the agreement and asserting accountability for my personal boundaries and safety, or so I thought. I live in an illusion of control.

“Well, what happened?” he asked. “Is it back on the table along with your arm? Do you feel ready to be cut?”

And with that he gripped my hand tightly, picked up his steak knife and drew the blade from my inner elbow down to my wrist pressing a little too hard as he traced the line of my prominent vein. I stopped breathing.

“Would you let me cut you right now?” he asked. His face hardened and his smile contorted. His kissable lips, no longer wanting my mouth, split into a maniacal grin.

“I don’t know.” I whispered, or perhaps I said nothing at all as he tightened his grip.

He pushed the tip of the blade in between two blue veins, directly on the last horizontal line before wrist turns into palm. It was as though he was waiting for me to stop him and when I did not resist he pressed the blade even harder before abruptly pulling the knife away. He released my hand, placed the knife at an angle on his plate and sat quietly and very still.

Despite the urge to stir the heavy silence with sound or movement, I let my unrestrained hand lay limp on the tabletop and contemplated how easily I relinquish power to him. I studied his tenor as I waited for him to rally the mood in the room again. He seemed to be entranced and I did not want to disturb his meditation. Several silent moments passed and then, gradually the familiar smile and the expression that looks like compassion eclipsed the cruel appearance that had overcome his face just minutes before.

But, again, I digress; the cutting has long been tolerated between us. And that conversation over steak dinner served as a kind of formality rather than a revised boundary. Even in that first moment of my anti-cutting declaration I knew I was only borrowing time. My rejection of cutting was a white-gloved slap across his face, the challenge was awkwardly obvious. My clear and distinct boundary became a potent dare for him to take on, a new obstacle for him to maneuver and patiently break through. I am easy prey, but that is another story altogether.

This story begins well after the roles had been completely established. After the idea of inserting various challenges had been adopted as commonplace. This story starts long after love...

The bruises and the pain are both enhanced today. This morning the design has changed radically. The purple color has darkened and the red spots have grown so that they bleed into each other forming small red clouds over the purple sky of flesh. The dozens of distinct lines have darkened as well. Under the purple masses deeper violet streaks stripe my inner thighs. Next to the horizontal slivers that were so prevalent yesterday there are now long vertical stripes (four on my left thigh and three on my right) traveling from the bottom to the top of the bruises. The marked areas span eight inches long on each leg. I think you would like the vibrant mosaic you painted onto my flesh, it is unique and unpredictable. My thighs, wrapped in tightly stretched skin are swollen, bulging and deformed. My legs rub together and chafe as I walk. I think I will be carrying the inflamed sensation throughout today, and perhaps tomorrow. This suffering is like a scalding burn; it gets worse before it gets better.

We began negotiating this particular ordeal of copious pain over dinner during a cheery reunion after too much time apart. It was well before the preparations for sleep, still wide awake and feeding each other with catch up stories. The recent separation illuminated how much we had missed each other. There was that slightly uneasy anticipation that makes it hard to stay focused, like being on a first date. After arriving he held me in his arms for an extra long time.

There was talk of it even then, in our first hours back together, casually, as we ate our supper and while the wine loosened us. It was circuitous, hypothetical talk about extreme pain and suffering that never quite referred to me or to him. I never said that I was courting pain or tempting him to bring it to me. He never said that he desired the experience or that he was feeling that sadistic side of himself conspicuously bubbling to the surface. In fact, he implied the opposite.

“I wonder where my limits are,” I contemplated.

“Would you like to find out?” he asked, inferring that it was all my choice and that his interest in my interest in being beaten was somehow a charitable generosity and not self-gratification. That is how he works it to keep his conscience clean; he makes me ask for it. He offered to beat me, if I wanted it.

For himself, he declared, “I can take it or leave it. Now tying you, that arouses me endlessly.”

I did not deliberate long. I could (but, did not) note that he seems to harbor a hidden thirst for beating me. I have seen the craving in his eyes when his desire escalates and dirty suggestive talk collides with opportunity. A notorious smile etches out of his face when he raises the cane high above my paralyzed body pausing threateningly in the air before…. but, I am getting ahead of myself again.

At this point, over dinner he was still surveying the territory as he inquired about my lascivious eagerness. I was indeed in the mood for pain and he could smell it.

“In the past, in the history of my life, I don’t remember fantasizing about violence.”

“Hmmm, so this is an acquired desire?” he asked.

“No, it feels like it comes from deep inside of me. Arousal from being beaten feels like a buried hunger.”

He laughed out of amusement, I laughed out of insecurity.

“Is it terrible to want pain?” I asked him. “It seems to me that it’s a little deranged.”

“How does it feel?” he asked, carefully stacking perfect bites of food onto his fork in predetermined order.

“Vulnerable.” I said and the word lingered in the air for a long time.

He did not mind my silence. Then suddenly, perhaps incited from consuming half a bottle of wine, I fell to pieces weeping while sitting unbound on a chair at the kitchen table with my legs folded under my hips. He did not reach out to embrace me while I cried big tears from raccoon eyes. He did not try to alleviate my pain with his comforting arms. The more I cried the harder it was to tolerate him watching me. When I could not take it any longer and rose to clear the table in a paltry effort to deflect emotion, he interfered.

“Sit again. Tell me, what’s causing your tears?”

“I am so afraid of love.” I sobbed, meaning, I think, to say something else, something more specific.

The veil of protection I have worn my entire life melted away the more he wanted to know me. Wrapped in his compassionate gaze my ribs bent inside my chest to make room for my heart as it expanded with love. The fine veil that keeps my vulnerability scarcely guarded fell away and I cried out the pain from a lifetime of holding my deepest demons at bay from the rest of the world.

“You don’t have to be afraid,” he said.

“There is this wall that I have kept up to prevent myself from being hurt. I have been keeping myself secluded in plain sight and have felt so alone and unknown.”

“I can feel the weight of your struggle to keep it all together,” he said. “You do not need that protection any more. Are you ready now to give it up?”

Soon he took me to bed where he made slow vanilla love to me. Without bondage, without cruelty, just soft and sentimental lovemaking, except for those last few minutes of impassioned fucking when he lost himself in my sex and nearly split me in two with the fervent, thrusting force of his wild hips.

Exhausted, done… it took all of his energy to tie me for sleep last night.

The bruises are bizarrely arresting. The orange-red has become blood-red and the purple gradations range from deep violet along the inner softest parts of my thighs to an innocent, lovely lilac dotting the fringes. The streaks have formed clearly now, they are short, distinct red lines. They look as if they are about to bleed, as if the blood is being held inside by just one gossamer layer of skin. What fascinates me the most is the great, clean hole that has formed in the middle of each large colorful mass. It is almost as if you missed those spots. On each leg there is one unblemished circle, they are the shape of fists, deep wells enclosed by fiery rings of anger. The center is the color of my natural flesh, unmarred and clear. In your madness could you have missed those spots? No, you couldn’t possibly have neglected those areas; that is not like you at all. Each deep hole is over two inches in diameter; I have measured them with my ruler. The aperture on the right leg is slightly lower and wider and considerably more painful. The bruises do not match in color, size or shape. Just looking at them one can see that you were easier on my left leg than you were on the right. Both legs are still swollen, though less so than yesterday. And now the pain is much more prevalent on the inside, almost as if the pain itself is clinging with sharp claws to the underside of my skin.

He investigates my constitution each time he encourages me to reveal my boundaries and undisclosed desires. He probes to discover my fragility. He notes my interests and stows them away in his mind to use when he disarms me later. He butchers my fantasies when he manifests them into reality. He expands upon the deviant fascinations that I make up and takes them far beyond my romantic notions. The rope tied to contain my body, the one I have begged for, always has some sort of added trial. Like when he ties a noose around my neck and traps the loose ends between the frame of a window and its pane, forcing me to balance on the tips of my toes and frustrate my breathing. I must gasp for air while he waits a fair distance from me, keeping an eye out, I suppose, for possible damage or authentic distress. He takes my simple curiosity about pain and introduces me to the very edge of my limits of endurance. He is good like that, it is one of his best techniques.

On this morning he wakes me early by untying and retying my wrists. He pushes me down onto my stomach and mounts me from behind. He fucks violently and then savagely explodes onto my back and ass. He does this without releasing my neck from the rope which is laced to the headboard, and without stripping the tape from my mouth. It is morning and he is aggressive. My body is strong though, and has surpassed the pain. Tolerance of pain is the only thing I control and I am mastering my endurance and ability.

He rips the tape from my lips before collapsing and falling asleep for a few minutes. My skin feels tight, especially where last night’s tears have dried on my cheeks. When I wake again, I notice there is a knot of rope pressing hard on the back of my neck in the depression where spine meets with skull. I open my eyes and he is already awake, he has been watching me.

“Are you ready to be undone?” he asks.

I am thirsty and hungry and my skin smells of sweat and dried semen. He unties me completely and leads me into the bath.

The bruises have become ugly now. The right leg is much worse than the left in every way imaginable. The right thigh is now a darker rainbow of color. The sensation on the left is less pronounced. In comparison, the bruises and marks on my left thigh look insignificant but taken alone they are still mean enough. The right thigh tingles sometimes when I walk and always when I bend and always when I place my hands on my lap which I do deliberately, particularly when I need to remember my own abilities. Two sets of vertical tracks have mysteriously appeared overnight, I had not anticipated these unusual formations. Each set runs along the insides of my thighs from the bottom of the bruised area to the top. The longer track on the right is six inches, the left is just short of that. A dozen or so smaller lines dart horizontally next to the massive bruise. They are actually slightly raised up from the skin. The little lines are so precisely spaced and identical that it is clear you were paying attention to the outcome when you went clipping me with that dangerous bamboo cane. They are bright red and angle in from the front and tops of my thighs to lower thigh where they have moved closer to the inside. The long vertical tracks are the ones that are most livid now having just been born from under the already esteemed marks. The deep, natural colored circles have also transformed, they have grown more discrete, they are like protected areas surrounded by all that darkness and angry slashes that give the illusion of bloody cuts. The circles look painless but when I touch them there is more sensation than on the deepest violet colored blossoms.

I struggle through eating my breakfast because a prophesy of extreme pain now hangs in the air causing me to lose concentration for minor tasks. The morning conversation has been light and playful, perhaps owing to the purging of sadness last night. When I am not suffering he has a desire to repair that. He finishes every bit of food on his plate and even eats my leftover slice of toast. He can wait to be satisfied. I do not find it so easy to be patient.

After breakfast, we take a walk to feel the crisp autumn air on our skin. We laugh at how seldom we need to leave the house, preferring instead to stay indoors with the rope and the torture and the undistracted conversation. I tease him that he only wants to spend time with me in our sexual escapades.

“I am joking…. mostly,” I say.

He takes a sharp left at the next corner and steers me back toward the apartment immediately.

Inside again, he tells me to take off all of my clothes.

He is the same as he often is, presumptuous, carefree and laughing easily when the mood strikes him. I must watch him very carefully to see his poetic transformation into serious meanness. I am easily diverted by his overwhelming domination which commands all of my attention. I must remind myself to stay focused on him if I want to observe his evolution; despite the distracting obstacles he introduces, I must keep myself sharp.

He sits me on a straight backed chair that he has brought into the living room and positioned so that the warm rays of the sun shine through the window and onto my thighs. He attaches my knees and feet first to the legs of the chair. Then he confines my arms, chest and stomach to the wooden chair seat and back by winding hundreds of feet of rope around my body. He uses the darker hemp with the tight, itchy braid. This is the hemp that smells of the earth and leaves patterns imprinted onto my skin that do not disappear for many hours afterwards. He is working hard. I cannot tell if the sweat that is forming on the back of his neck is from effort or illicit excitement. The light expression on his face during breakfast is mutating into a stony dark grin as he pulls rope and more rope around my form. He stops, smiles and unbuttons his white shirt, strips it from his body and drapes it over the back of the sofa. He lays a bamboo cane across my lap and I am distracted in the contemplation of my future.

My body is heavy with the weight of hundreds of feet of rope. Terror, suffering and unspeakable pain are closing in on me. He will teach me about having expectations. I am embarrassingly aroused. And although my sex is screaming out to him, he does not reach his hand down to feel the dampness between my slightly parted legs.

When he has finished securing me, he leans his face in very close to mine, so close that his breath blows along my skin as his words enter my consciousness, sexy, as I like it, better than that, better than I wish for.

His mouth and nose graze along my body and the tiny hairs on my skin rise to meet his breath. He could take a bite out of my neck or my shoulder or just as easily place velvety kisses all along my flesh. Instead all I notice is the sound and the feel of the light air whispering from his mouth.

“Now, what is it that you want?” he asks, deep voiced and serious.

I remain silent, hoping that he will not force me to say the words and claim responsibility. He seems surprised by my resistance. He takes a step back from me and cocks his head to the side…

The bruises have been frightening me today. Latticed patterns have emerged out of the funny short streaks. The deep violet was so much more charming than this mass of reddish-purple. The formerly innocent hollows have now turned into jaundiced pale green-yellow circles that change color and shape all the time. Today, I do not like the marks as much; though I have gotten used to wearing them they are no longer beautiful to me. The slightest touch still stings but it no longer gives me pause as I move about my day knowing that underneath my clothes I have been battered. You were not available to see them at their pinnacle. You missed witnessing the best part of them, when they were still gorgeous and fresh and uniquely mine; before I got used to them, before they turned into massive absurd flaws that I have to hide from judgment. I have stopped nursing the marks and now I am waiting for them to heal which is taking an excruciatingly long time. I cannot remember just when the swelling went down, or when they became stunningly angry.

With every breath I am reminded of my imprisonment by the dark ropes constricting my chest. He is leaning against a wall directly in front of me waiting for my response.

After a prolonged silence he says, “You know, if you don’t tell me what you want, you won’t get it. And I’ll be just as happy to watch you remain tied to that chair all day long.”

He takes a few steps toward me so that his shins lean against my bent knees. My eyes stare at the swelling in his pants. He places two fingers underneath my chin and tilts my head up to face him.

“You are in a rare position. Anything you ask will be honored, you need only ask for it.” He raises that compassionate smile from behind an otherwise inscrutable expression for only a few fleeting seconds and my heart opens wide when he finishes his thought.

“You must ask for what you want.”

It takes all of my strength to form the words that follow.

“I want you to take this cane and use it to beat me painfully.”

“Yes, and?”

“I want you to introduce me to suffering beyond what I think I am capable of enduring.”

“Is there more?”

“And I want you to be cruel beyond what you think you are capable of being.”

The last request seemed to take him by surprise.

The bruises are trying to seep down my legs and into my feet. It might be an illusion but I think they have stretched closer to my knees overnight. They are definitely fading now as the yellow bleeds into the purple bleeds into the red bleeds into the blue making the whole area the dull color of dusty dry dirt. I notice now how I resist their disappearance. Yesterday I was angry at their meanness and today I feel as if they are retreating because I do not appreciate their significance enough. It is still true that the area suffering the most sensation is what used to be the unmarked centers. I no longer cringe when I touch the darker bruises but sharp pains still sear though me when I poke at the lighter, now grayish middles. You managed to plot your brutality so that the recovery keeps bringing me back to you despite your physical absence. Visible suffering slowly disappears to reveal insidious sensation hiding in the most conspicuous places; and the less distinctly marked skin conceals deeper pain.

He gently lifts the cane from my lap.

“Do you need a gag?” he asks.

“No.” I answer.

“I will gag you if you decide to scream out,” he warns.

I have stopped using words.

He wields the cane in sharp, quick movements; hitting my left thigh with fast, bullet-like taps, starting close to the top of my leg and working his way down to my knee. The cane strikes the inside of my thigh dangerously close to my sex for such fast motion which I worry might spin out of control and slice though my most delicate skin. I must remember to trust him now. My cheeks are burning, they have to be flushed red. His face has darkened and his eyes have grown impossibly wide.

I cannot look at my legs. I have that same feeling I get when an injection is about to be inserted into my arm, I want to look but the sight of it makes me dizzy and causes the pain to worsen in anticipation. Like the needle, I think I feel the piercing sting before it is in me. I keep my eyes fixed on his beautiful-mean face.

He strikes me over and over with that bamboo cane, applying measured pressure in slaps that come too fast to count. He does not slow down or rest, he does not take the time to breathe; he just continues to hit me unceasingly. The repetition helps me concentrate and as my focus narrows to him and the cane the quick snapping of the weapon across my thighs becomes easier to tolerate. Not just easier, there is pleasure the more I am able to withstand the pain. I have either expanded my tolerance for pain or his application of it has diminished. It is like this for several minutes and I am growing comfortable with my capacity to endure. Then, without any warning he issues a slap that cuts into my flesh and sends stars shooting across my eyelids.

The pain is powerful and now he brings it ferociously. He was only warming me up with the short slaps. I must face my naïveté once again.

His face reveals previously undisclosed passions. He is not doing this for me, he is finding a grotesque pleasure in this savagery. He is lying when he says he does not enjoy bringing the pain. His face reads contentment mixed with cruelty and stirred by pleasure.

A single whimper hysterically slips from my mouth compelling him to remind me of the gag and even a blindfold if I continue to make noise. This is not playtime and enacting my distress is not going to influence a sympathetic change to my situation. He cannot control the attempts my body makes to take flight but he can limit the offensive outbursts. Relaxing the beating however, is not in the offing.

He promised to honor whatever request I made and now he will see to the expansion of my experience. I asked for it, after all.

The beating is wild now, like machine gun fire up and down my thigh. He is still working on the left leg. He has not even begun on the right but the shift is coming; he will have at it before he is done. My eyes are watering. A less confident sadist would back down. A less confident masochist might quit too.

He is finding a rhythm and he likes it. My skin is turning bright, brilliant red, one big aggregation of stinging red, enflamed flesh. Sweat is running from his brow into his eyes. His face has gone flush, a slightly lighter shade of cherry than he is pulling out of my skin.

Now he mixes hard forceful strikes into the cacophony of easy taps and as I watch him carefully through the fisheye lens of tear-filled eyes I cannot anticipate the force of each strike by his stance or the lift of the cane in his hand. I refuse to betray the extraordinary pain with jerking body movements and unrestrained sounds of agony. I can take it, I keep telling myself until the pain is too much and then my mantra distorts.

Suffering is an illusion. Suffering is an illusion… The words echo in my head and instead of resisting the pain now I am absorbing it.

He switches to the right leg, finally, at just the moment I was about to break and scream out. Is he trying to teach me a lesson about resilience? No, now he means to see how far he can take it before he cannot dole out this punishment any more. He is challenging himself.

Unlike his method for starting on my left leg, there is no warm preparation on my right thigh and the very first strikes are so forceful that purple marks break out of my skin instantly. The moments of gradually rousing the red skin are long gone; this beating is about doing damage. This beating is relentless.

He is breathing heavily and moving around me gracefully, like a dancer. Even caught on this chair I am dancing with him, attached to him, inside of him. I see how my fortitude coaxes his aggression and this knowledge makes me even more committed to enduring this torture. The more I seem to take it the harder he strikes me. I will abide it obediently, silently.

I am immovable, determined to take whatever he is donating. The words reverberate in my head as he unceasingly draws contusions from my body.

“Suffering is an illusion.”

Sweat is pouring down his brow and the darkening marks are acclimating to my skin. The abandoned left thigh is stippled with broken capillaries and purple streaks where the cane met the flesh again and again. My right leg is ignited with pain.

It is almost as if I can feel his cruelty and he can feel my agony. I no longer read the stinging slap of the rod on my skin, even as each blow is so sharp that it draws a fresh design out of my flesh. I have surrendered ownership of my body so that we may exchange suffering and know compassion. Each excruciating strike seems to open my heart even wider.

Without ceremony he puts one final caning into my legs. There was no indication that he would stop but in an instant he is done. He kneels down next to me and the cane falls to the floor. He places one hand lightly over my wounded thigh and the torrid heat from the brilliant flowering marks absorbs into his palm. He is gazing into my crying eyes. He rests his head on the torn and broken skin of my lap. The red hot burn of my flesh seeps into his cheek.

The bruises and marks have faded considerably. They are still clearly visible but they seem less angry. They look like greenish-yellowing, purplish-brown blotches, hardly attractive, though compelling enough to activate the imagination. Certain areas faded where I was sure the skin would never give up its adopted purple discoloration. Other spots held their appearance though I really thought they would have evaporated early on. The latticed stripes are still apparent here and there, but you have to look carefully to find them. It is now nearly two weeks since you put them on my body and it will be another week at least before they are gone completely. The most curious thing today is the strange and noticeable distortion of the muscles, or tendons, or veins, or blood running underneath the skin on the softly substantial parts of my thighs. When I press my fingers to my flesh I feel distinct anomalies in the form under the skin. A rippling of sorts, as if the mass underneath has valleys and hills and currents running through it. It is an unusual, even alarming malformation that I pray will mend itself. One day soon I will wake up and look for my bruises but they will be gone and I will spend the rest of that day mourning their disappearance and wishing you would find it in your heart to come and lovingly beat me again.


Beth Friedland lives and writes in New York City. She facilitates free writing workshops with New York Writer’s Coalition, a not-for-profit community organization offering creative writing opportunities to formerly voiceless members of society. She is currently writing a collection of short erotic stories about bondage, sensual suffering and extreme love. Beth can be contacted at bethindeed [AT]

Asking For It
© 2008 by Beth Friedland





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