As Cassandra hurriedly pushes the empty bottle into her bag, Mercy hears the staccato click-clicking of the Sister’s heels striding towards them.
“And how are we doing over here?” she asks airily, obviously suspecting that a rule has been breached. “Has Cassandra put our mind at ease, Miss Skreemings?”
Mercy considers telling her that she feels a good deal better now that Cassandra has quenched her thirst. She feels nothing but contempt for Cassandra. Giving Mercy the water was not an act of compassion. It was prompted by pure titillation, an impulse of dizzying sexual excitement, which she, doubtless, now regrets.
Cassandra will be well aware that in giving Mercy the water she has committed a crime that merits the death penalty. Just one word from Mercy - corroborated by the evidence of her fingerprints on the bottle - would be sufficient to convict Cassandra of giving aid and comfort to an enemy of England. That is tantamount to Treason. And the penalty for Treason is mandatory crucifixion.
Mercy is consumed by a desire to have Cassandra arrested, tried and crucified. Her heart quickens as she imagines her therapist made to endure the squalid reality of being nailed up in public.
This vapid, simpering, girly swot, with her pseudo-intellectual platitudes, and her condescending talk of Canebitch University, must be made to suffer the bestial, depraved death that she herself wishes upon others, and so glibly fetishizes in her so-called therapy sessions.
But Mercy must choose her moment well. She must not squander the opportunity. Mercy’s power over Cassandra - her ability to destroy her with one utterance - has become the conduit for all her pent up rage, her thirst for revenge against the English government and the people who elected it and sustain it in its barbarism.
Her one regret is that she will not live to watch Cassandra’s torture and death. To witness the shattering of Cassandra’s sanitized little middle-class fantasies of peril, powerlessness and public nudity, to listen to her screaming for mercy, even howling for her mother, as her cross is raised up in front of the baying mob.
Cassandra is sitting on the chair next to Mercy’s bed. Mercy meets her gaze and savors the gleam of fear in her eyes.
Turning to the Sister, Mercy says plaintively: “I think I’m feeling a little bit better, thank you, nurse. My head feels clearer. And … I guess I’m ... mentally refreshed.”
There is a sheen of perspiration on Cassandra’s forehead as she shifts her wide-eyed gaze between Mercy and the Sister. She folds her arms over her gray pullover, hugging her pert breasts. With an elegant swish of nylon she crosses her legs, squeezing her slim thighs tightly together, making her knee-length skirt ride slightly upwards.
“Good,” says the Sister. “Then you’ll be in excellent mental shape to brave the whip and the hammer, Miss Skreemings.”
Keeping her thighs crossed, Cassandra stretches out her legs, jamming her ankles together, twisting her cute, stiletto-heeled booties hard against one another in a posture of neurotic contortion.
To Mercy, she looks like a teenager caught in a spasm of girly excitement. Can she perhaps sense what Mercy intends to do to her? Has the smoldering menace in her patient’s eyes has brought home to her the tightrope precariousness of her situation?
In her heightened state of awareness Mercy’s senses have become keen and exquisite. She can smell Cassandra’s fear. She can even taste on the air the musky wetness of Cassandra’s cunt. Cassandra’s beauty is enhanced rather than diminished by the wretchedness of her predicament.
She is transformed from a smart confident professional woman into a forlorn and pathetic creature, a delicate butterfly, about to be broken on a wheel, a gorgeous nymph ready to be tossed among wolves. And it strikes Mercy, in a giddy epiphany, that she no longer despises Cassandra. Rather, she feels pity for her. Pity and overpowering lust.
Mercy stares at Cassandra’s slim nubile figure, at her lovely lips and earnest blue eyes. If only the two of them could be alone together. Mercy would gladly spend her final hour kissing those lips, running her tongue over every curve and crevice of Cassandra’s hot body.
Cassandra looks dreamily at Mercy parting her moist lips, shifting her thighs, and running her fingers through her sleek hair.
The Sister, standing arms akimbo, glowers at each of them with gimlet eyes. She is evidently disconcerted by the intense chemistry that prevails between the two women, a secret language of pheromones and fetishistic fantasy, over which she can have no control.
“Then your work is done, Cassandra,” she says, at length. “First class job, as usual! You’d best be getting back to your ward now, before they start wondering what’s become of you. And you, Miss Skreemings, have had quite enough pampering for one day. Time to get down to brass tacks. The doctor and the Crux Team will be here in exactly five minutes. There’ll be important decisions to be made. Dr Painjoy will look at your x-rays and decide where to position your nails.” She gestures towards the four shiny iron spikes sitting on Mercy’s bedside cabinet. “You’ll find, Miss Skreemings, that crucifixion is a very precise and sophisticated branch of medicine.”
Mercy’s chest heaves and she lets out a sob. She fights hard to maintain her composure, not because of the gratuitous cruelty of the Sister’s words, but because she is about to be separated from Cassandra.
Satisfied that she has reclaimed her authority, the Sister doubles down on her prey.
“He’ll also decide what size cornu you’ll be given. A nice tight fit, I’m sure. And in what position your legs should be flexed. How to display that well-used vagina of yours to best advantage ...”
Mercy’s face crumples and she breaks down, sobbing convulsively into the bedsheet. Cassandra leaps up and puts a comforting arm around her.
“That’s it. Just let it all out”, she says, reverting to her role as Mercy’s therapist. “Sister, I think perhaps I ought to stay to speak to the doctor. He’ll be wanting a full report on Miss Skreemings’s mental state.”
“Yes. Good point, Cassandra. Dr Painjoy likes to be in possession of all the facts. He ought to be told if his patient is in danger of having a nervous breakdown before she even gets to the whipping post.” The Sister gently takes hold of Mercy’s wrist. “But you were doing so well, Miss Skreemings! What could possibly have triggered this little upset?”
Even if inclined to do so, Mercy would be unable to articulate her feelings. Her mind is unfixed - in free-fall - hurtling towards the abyss - spinning in a vortex of dread and self-laceration.
All the straws to which she has been clutching, in her effort to hold onto her sanity, are now flying around her, like so much chaff. What an idiot she has been! To try and displace her own terror by projecting it onto Cassandra. To think that getting Cassandra crucified would in any way help her own situation.
How naive! - to convince herself that she had the tiniest crumb of power in this hellhole - that anyone would have taken the slightest notice if she had reported Cassandra’s little misdemeanor to the Sister. All self-delusion, because Mercy cannot face up to the hideous reality of what is about to be done to her.
“Once the doctor has seen you, we can get you all cleaned up”, says Cassandra. “You can put some makeup and some nice clothes on. You’ll look really lovely when you go out …”
In a renewed bout of bitter crying, Mercy tries to speak through her sobs. “She … Never … Came.”
“Who never came?” asks the Sister.
“Susannah! … Tristram said … she’d … bring my … clothes … and shoes …”
“Yes, that’s quite right”, says Cassandra. “Her lawyer told her that his secretary would bring her something nice to wear for her execution.”
“Oh! I see!”, says the sister, “Well, I shouldn’t worry about that. We can ask Helen to bring you a pair of high-heels, some panties and a brassiere from the Gallows Room. She’ll have plenty to spare.” The Sister thrusts out her chest, and glances downwards with a smile at her own magnificent cleavage, now beautifully supported by Cordelia Boundwell’s bra.
Mercy’s eyes flash with anger. “I was promised a skirt, and a top,” she says with controlled fury.
“But you’d be rather overdressed,” chortles the Sister. “You’re not going to a job interview, Miss Skreemings. You’re going on a walk of shame, to be executed in the nude. Anything more than the bare minimum wouldn’t be worth the bother.”
“That's right!!” Cassandra chimes in fervently, once again looking very flushed and flustered. “I’ve been trying to get Mercy, I - I mean, Miss Skreemings, to see that the trick is to think less about herself and more about the pleasure that watching her pain and humiliation will give to the spectators. She’ll look lovely in just lingerie.”
“Very well put, Cassandra”, says the Sister. “Up until now, Miss Skreemings, it’s all been ‘Me! Me! Me!’ with you, hasn’t it? That’s how it is with you narcissistic media personalities. No sense of public duty. Always self before country … Oh! That reminds me,” she glances at the clock on the wall, which says 10.58, “Emma, sweetheart”, she turns to the Staff Nurse, “could you switch the ‘MEGA-News Channel’ on. There’s been an important development. I’m afraid it’ll mean some extra work for us.”
Emma points the remote, and the large wall-mounted screen lights up to show a glamorous blonde standing in a street thronging with people in carnival mood. Behind her extends a vista of crucified men. And next to her is a sour faced woman with short black hair.
“And with me here”, says the blonde, “is Verity Gritt, Member of Parliament for Dolcester South, and a well known campaigner for women’s rights. Verity, you’ve written to the Prime Minister, to express concern about what you’ve termed a ‘Gender Pain Gap’ in today’s executions. Briefly, could you tell us what you mean by that?”
Thank you very much indeed, kind Phoenician! It's great to be read and appreciated.I'd like to join the chorus of praise for this story, very entertaining, and quite erotic, I'm looking forward to where it may go next. The scenario of a harsh judicial future is an alluring one, I've been there myself in stories.
“My husband will be so thrilled,” says the Sister, as she watches Helen unhook the bra and let it slide over the woman’s huge natural breasts. “Thank you, Albert. Thank you, Helen.”
Restrained and erotic, I can just see the woman, arms bound, forced to leave the hospital completely bare breasted, greatly humiliated by this small unkindness.
“Oh fuck!” says Tristram. “I’ll have to go, Mercy. It looks as if Cordelia will be coming back to the Ladies’ Ward. She’ll be joining you up on the crosses. What an absolute drama!”
And now we find she is back in the story, after a humiliating public rape, to be crucified with our heroine. She is the perfect villain of our age, an expert who said something that her masters didn't approve of. Poor Cordelia.
“If it wasn’t illegal, I’d want nothing more than to make love to you Cassandra. I know your pussy’s wet for me. I’d lick you and kiss you till you came against my mouth. I’d …”
Ah, another professional lady skating close to peril. Dare we hope?
“I … I could get into trouble …”, says Cassandra, “get arrested, my husband ....”
“You might be stripped naked and flogged, gang raped, even executed as a traitor,” says Mercy. “Wouldn’t we look beautiful - the two of us - two lovely English roses - crucified side by side?”
As soon as the words are out, Mercy senses a tremendous surge in the current of erotic energy that has been pulsing between them.
Now Mercy is actually having some fun, and will Cassandra slip into danger? Will we get 3 for the price of one, Mercy, Cordelia and her huge natural breasts, and Cassandra who craves the forbidden fruit? I'm looking forward to the next episode
Anyway how much of the Gender P... Gap is due to discrimination and how much is just the consequence of individual preferences ?!!Part of the story will hinge on it.