The handler who has been watching me opens the doors to let me In the grand salon of the castle where an orgy is in full swing. I am ten years old and pretend to notice nothing and no one, like the baron going at it with a skinny naked blonde crouched on all fours on a stuffed leather chair. Sometimes I see him at church service on Sundays: he’s extremely proper. His shirt and tie look impeccable even now, but his trousers are down just enough.
I spot the men I call the bosses, huddled together around the “big boss” in a sitting corner. I try to slip away, out of their sight, but a polished looking silver haired acolyte of the big boss throws me a significant glance and I approach. As I stand near him, he runs his hand across my jeans, my buttocks, the inside of my thighs, and carries on a conversation with a guest: a tall, thin stranger with a long face.
Ignoring me as he fondles me, the silver haired one is showing the guest that I’m available for sex. The guest watches, entirely impassive, strange for a newcomer, who usually betrays agitation at this point. My intuition says that this man may not be attracted to girls. The silver haired one pushes his fist up between my legs, obliging me to widen my stance. I feel my cheeks burn. The newcomer smiles. The silver haired one nudges him but the newcomer subtly shakes his head. The silver haired one dismisses me with a disdainful glance, as if I were too dirty to please anyone.
Men have gathered in small groups, by appearances casually talking and drinking while their gazes hungrily dart about the salon as couples are formed in various stages of undress and sex.
A balding man in a suit eagerly makes eye contact with me. As I slowly approach him, I feel myself transform under his gaze: I’m now awfully small, thin and delicate, and look at him very shyly. As he offers for me to sit I sense his arousal, as if my attunement turned me into his energetic suffix.
I catch the glance of another pedophile from another cluster. Sitting next to man number one, I keep shooting looks at the second man, who’s younger and eyes slightly better. My looks say: “Come and save me!” For the brief instances in which our eyes meet, I seem to metamorphose into a playful, mischievous girl, bored out of her mind. The purpose of this game is to win as much time as possible before having to be alone with anyone. Man number two heads over, shakes hands with man number one and company, and sits in an armchair across from me. Man number one notices why man number two is there and agitatedly begins to tell a story, placing his hand on my thigh as if I were his girlfriend.
I notice someone who instantly attracts my attention. For a second I wonder if he is one of the kids. He looks really young, maybe just too old to be one of us. He is very tall with white-blond shoulder length hair, wearing jeans. He limps slightly, and as if to make up for his handicap his vigorous energy explodes through the room.
My heart races. He strikes me as a fierce survivor with impossible hurdles, too sensitive, too intelligent and too hurt. He turns his head, looks at me, and abruptly changes his course in my direction. As he makes his way over, his gaze briefly slides down to my thigh with the man’s hand on it. I jump out of my seat and advance into the room to meet him. The adrenaline pumps through my body as I take him in, plying my senses in attunement. I seem to take on the glow and proportions of a glorious goddess, but my face, strangely, is just my own, as though I can finally be myself. A charge flows from the center of my belly to all extremities. When he stands before me I smile.
“So you like your job, do you, you little whore?” he says softly, quickly.
“You think I like it here?” I shoot back.
He stares at me in shock. The ferocity of my reaction surprised me too, but I’m sure it was just part of the game. As the young blond man continues to stare, the surroundings, the room and all the people in it cease to exist. His eyes transmit an entire universe of emotion. I see all the feelings that have ever been experienced by humans throughout the ages, all together and at once. The myriad of feelings coagulates into one; all others exist but in relation to the presence or the absence of the one: his eyes become a mellow, bright blue ocean of love.
“Thanks for getting my drink for me!”
The girl’s words alone were more than enough to break up the moment, but with a nasal snigger she also deftly positions herself between the blond one and myself, her back to me, facing him with one nod at the glass of champagne in his hand.
This girl is the daughter of the baron. I see her in church on Sundays as well. Though she is my age and from nobility, her parents bring her to orgies where she is sexually abused.
“Here you go,” says the young blond man, upon which he hands her the glass and turns on his heel, leaving us both.
The girl saunters over to the bosses, sits next to the new guest with the long face and chats. He answers but frowns, displaying not the slightest interest in her.
Maybe he likes boys, I think. He strikes me that way, sitting there as if he were a little boy himself, knees closed and hands neatly on his lap, well-behaved and pleased as pie to be part of the Big Boys’ club, even though he is very wrinkled and clearly in the same age-range as the bosses. The big boss taps his thigh and the baron’s daughter crawls on his lap.
I rejoin my suitors. Man number one possessively puts his hand on my thigh and sends a smile that says: ‘I’m not going to let you escape again.’ I lower my eyes and lift them to meet the amused gaze of man number two. Behind him, I can’t help but notice the young blond man again, advancing purposefully towards the bosses’ group.
I observe the young blond one having an animated discussion with the bosses. From the way he confidently addresses the group, it is clear he is not one of the lowly pimps. The big boss shakes his head with a wry smile. The new guest nervously wriggles his fingers, eyes wide and worried. Though one is very ugly and the other very beautiful, the young blond one and the new guest have the same build and the same long face. I believe that the new guest may have brought his son to this orgy. The big boss holds out an open hand, as if to say: ‘go ahead, have it your way.’
The young blond once again heads straight towards me. If he asked the big boss for me in front of the entire group, this blond son of the new guest is amazingly defiant of the network game rules.
“Would you like to accompany me?” he asks quietly, politely, though he brazenly ignores the bedazzled looks of the men around me.
He made it sound as if I had a choice. As I begin to follow him, he lets his open hand trail behind, offering for me to take it. I respond, but his way suggests that it would have been perfectly okay if I hadn’t.
We are led up a staircase and through a wide hallway to a corner room. Fingering a large set of old ornate door keys, our guide unlocks the door and leaves. Entering and switching on some lights, the young man at last releases my hand to indicate the sprawling room.
“Do you like it?” he asks.
Assuming that he is making fun of me, I glare. He smiles and mumbles d’accord - Okay. Whatever his game, he’s good at it. There’s something about him that reminds me of something about me that I don’t want to know.
Alone with him, I’m suddenly overtaken by fear and begin to tremble. My hands, arms, legs, even my lips are shaking.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” says the young man in his gentle voice, which has an immediate soothing effect.
I feel very bright and beautiful. An unearthly light threatens to dissolve the structure of every known foundation, seems to unravel the room. The room! I remind myself. ‘Why are we here?’
“Don’t worry,” he says as though he heard my thought. “I am not going to touch you.”
He leans against the wall and casually crosses his arms and feet. What does he mean?
He laughs in reply.
So then what? I think.
He widens his eyes slightly and smiles. ‘It’s up to you,’ he nods. Though he doesn’t speak the words, it is as if I had heard them loud and clear.
I look at the four-poster bed in the majestic surrounds. I climb up thinking it would be nice just to sleep, though I don’t dare say it.
Standing on the white cover I look at him. Right now he looks very young, like a boy, but his face hasn’t looked exactly the same twice since I’ve been observing him. He looks like he has my disease, never solidified out of infancy into a single personality. There’s many of me, of different ages and temperaments, each with a particular characteristic or skill to deal with the abuse I survived so far, appearing and transforming me as necessary. Some parts of me don’t even know the others.
He looks like he grew up too fast, awkwardly. I picture him among teens and sense he was an outcast like I am. As I think this, his awkwardness is suddenly reflected in his expression and he limps towards the bed with a sheepish smile.
“Isn’t this better than downstairs?” he asks.
With me standing on the bed our heads are level. The look on his face is so sweet my arms shoot out and I place my hands on his shoulders.
“Yes, it is.”
He responds with a brilliant smile. I’m struck by his exquisiteness. His pale skin tone evens out and lights up with a deep, purifying glow. He lifts me off the bed and holds me on his hands, moving me up and down to demonstrate how light I am. I don’t even have to kiss him. His game is very different.
The first thing I notice when I awake the next morning is that I am lying in clean, soft sheets under a comfortable cover; the second is that my underwear is still on.
The blond one is sleeping, the corners of his mouth turned up in a slight smile that looks as if trying to decide between peace and sarcasm.
I slide off the bed and move to a tall window to absorb the magnificently colorful autumnal landscape and the events of last night. It seems impossible but there was no sex of any kind.
A rustle calls me back to the bed. He puts his hands behind his head and smiles. He looks so at ease and attractive I’m drawn to kiss him, but don’t. He pats the pillow next to his head. As I stretch out next to him, he leans on one elbow and places his hand lightly on my cheek. I tremble in fear. He brings his lips close to mine. As I look into his eyes, I notice his pupils are dangerous pins bobbing on a tumultuous ocean of blue. I back my head into the pillow, maybe an inch. He jumps up and pulls on his jeans and shirt.
“I’m hungry. Are you?” he asks. I nod.
“I’ll be right back,” he promises.
Ten minutes later he returns with a large breakfast tray. With a wide grin, he places it on one of the barrel shaped porcelain stands by one of the grand windows and, taking a jug of steaming milk in his right hand he lifts it, while with his left he pours the hot chocolate, aiming the milk so it dramatically cascades into the bowl and froths. Deeply suspicious I observe the activities.
“I made them melt the chocolate,” he divulges; and unceremoniously pours himself a café au lait, adding: “that’s why I took so long.”
When he smiles I stare coldly. Undeterred, he busily drops four sugar cubes in his cup. I can’t figure out his game.
“You might need some, too,” he says, extending the bowl of sugar. “I don’t believe the chocolate is sweet.”
The chocolate indeed tastes bitter and I follow his example, dropping four cubes of sugar in the bowl. Then I follow his example again and dip the tip of a croissant into the liquid. The taste explodes into vibrant good feeling. The doughy, buttery sweetness in my mouth, the beautiful autumn view out the windows and the familiar-looking young man: this is the most nurturing experience of my life.
I notice that he has noticed my change and that he is pleased. I’m furious. I just got beaten at my own game.