A Proper Education, Part 1

This is an excerpt from a story I wrote last year. I never got around to concluding the thread started with this scene, and I'm now considering the possibility of separating it from the original story and giving it a life of its own.

Here is the excerpt, with a few edits and the protagonist's name changed.

There is a land, very far away, and often forgotten.

In this land, there is a small harbor town.

There is a cliff by the town, and on this cliff is a lighthouse

At the top of this lighthouse is a hexagonal room of glass designed to protect both the source of the lighthouse’s brilliant light and the light keeper who maintains it. Five of the six walls of the room are made of glass and bordered in bronze; the sixth wall is not a wall at all, but a glass door. The revolving lamp in the center of the room takes up most of the available space, but there is a a three-foot wide path around the perimeter that can be walked in comfort.

Within this space, facing out towards the glass, a woman is held suspended by rope.

Although this room had been built for a single purpose, the master of the lighthouse had made some adjustments. Spaced at every foot and a half, hooks circled the ceiling above the path bordering the lighthouse lamp; a matching set of hooks followed in precision along the ground. Four of these hooks were currently in use and had, attached to them, long strands of rope that ended in leather strips. Positioned correctly, the leather could be used to hold a human figure spread-eagled above the ground. A figure such as Evelyn’s, the woman currently held locked into a spread-eagled position a good foot off the ground.

Sebastian paused on the last step of the spiraling staircase. A woman’s beauty can be captured in her silhouette; the hazy borders of the female form simplified in a manner that bypasses surface desires and strikes a much deeper chord. Shading gives definition to curves of breast and hip, depth to the concave shadows at the apex of her thighs.

He watched the suspended figure take each slow breath. The rising and falling of her chest in a rhythm that was both calming and stirring. She had the well-exercised but not quite lean body of someone who was used to working outside but knew the luxuries of a good home. Her dark brown hair draped over her bare upper back; her head was lowered and her bangs hid her in a waterfall of brown that obscured the details of her face. He didn’t need to see the details to remember well the dark green of her eyes.

He thought back on the circumstances that had brought her here. The daughter of a small town’s mill owner, she was cursed with enough beauty to attract the attention of a wealthy merchant. The arranged marriage brought her father enough mercantile contacts to increase his wealth twofold, but had brought her only the grief of a loveless relationship. This proved to have some unforeseen consequences; on her wedding night, every male within three miles – including her husband, the town mayor and several prominent clergyman – experienced a quite sudden, and rather dismaying, loss of ardor. Such a blow to male pride is hard to swallow no matter how forgiving the partner. This continued for several months (coinciding with each attempted consummation of the marriage). The extent, nature and source of the problem would have gone undiscovered (being of a subject not much admitted to, much less discussed) had her husband not complained loudly to her father in one of the town’s local pub. Looks were shared, connections were made, and an ultimatum was provided: she would need to learn to control her gift or have her wedding nullified before being exiled from the town.

Her father had sent her to Sebastian with a plea and several bags filled with gold. Neither meant much to Sebastian, but the sadness in the girl’s eyes had convinced him to take her in.

Sebastian stepped into the lighthouse room and walked to Evelyn. She raised her head, green eyes meeting his. There was no fear in her. Her vulnerability left no place for it.

The right balance of pull along the ropes holding her aloft kept muscle strain to a minimum – but she had been there for hours. Sebastian could see her fatigue in the slight trembling along her arms. His long fingers brushed strands of brown hair away from her face, fingertips tickling her cheek. His voice, when he spoke, was soft, “Why are you here, Evelyn?”

Evelyn raised her head just a bit further. Her eyes had the clarity of molten glass. “To serve…myself.” The words slipped free without hesitation, a reflex as deep as breathing.

He nodded once, “And how best to serve yourself?” His fingers drew down against her chest, parting so that thumb and pinky each found the starting curve of a breast.

Her breathing caught, and her eyes closed as she focused on his hand, the way it continued its path lower, to her stomache, palm resting at the top of her abdomen. “By serving you, by serving you…” the words were breathed more than spoken and she shuddered as he turned his hand and slid it between her thighs, fingers curling up to feel the searing heat of her.

Sebastian spoke just a single word, but it was enough, “Yes.” She responded to it by rolling her hips forward, swaying in the ropes to press his hand deeper against her. Sebastian wrapped his free arm around her, hand coming to rest on the small of her back. He drew her into an embrace close enough for him to rest his cheek against the smooth heat of her breasts.

He listened to her heartbeat as two of his fingers slid inside of her and moved along the top, finding the slightly rough spot just a few inches inside. It did not take long, body shuddering and moving under his rhythmic touch, before she came hard into his hand, her thighs tensing and relaxing but unable to close on him. She was open, restrained, and completely at his mercy.

Sebastian remained there for a moment, fingers inside of her, listening to the music of her heartbeat, waiting for it to slow before slipping his fingers free. Taking his time, he knelt on one knee and released each of her ankles from the leather's embrace. Standing, he pressed himself fully against her and then pushed her back until he felt the weight of her body alongside his. Carefully, he released each of her wrists and felt her sag into his arms.

In silence he lifted her, cradling her naked form in his arms, and carried her down the stairs and to her room. Settling her into bed, he drew soft white sheets over her and smoothed the hair away from her face. She had not stirred since he taken her down, and he smiled to see her now turn her face towards his hand, lips brushing the palm. “Rest Evelyn. For tomorrow will see your final test.”

He left her there, in the dark, with a single candle as company.

3 thoughts on “A Proper Education, Part 1”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.