I've long admired the writing of novelist Margaret Atwood and the "other" worlds she creates within in her stories. It was her The Handmaiden's Tale that started my muse moving into new realms, and the erotic possibilities of taking a story out of real time and beyond its restrictions. Atwoods' novel was the inspiration for the world of Outer Island, my first story of this kind. For an author of BDSM fiction taking real world restrictions off a story opens a wealth of possibilities...slavery can still exist and corporal punishment can be a routine answer to a society's crimes. Yes, there are places where these things still take place in our modern world, but I'm writing erotica here, and the ultimate goal behind whatever message I may also wish to throw into my fiction, is to entertain, get the sexual juices flowing, allow readers to blow the restrictions in their own mind for a few hours of fun. This is about fantasy not reality. This kind of fiction is not for everyone. I like to walk about the dark edges of sexual expression in my fantasy life and not everyone does. But for those that do Outer Island, Into the Dark Wilds, Taken Before Dawn (and a few others) exist to capture the imagination and take fantasy into new territory and a different kind of erotic dream.
An excerpt from Outer Island...
It was verboten such levity, but there were other giggling women at their machines. The small break in the eternal tension caused by the flip remark of a new offender—so out of character with the serious atmosphere of the workhouse—everyone who heard it was amused. Except for the overseer.
The newcomer’s insurrection was put down quickly, though in Delila’s mind, the woman who sat at her right was not really relinquishing any of the spark that could be seen in her flat gray eyes. That defiance gave Delila cause to hope; though another muttered remark and Delila’s all too apparent giggle in reply was noted by the overseer with a chilling glare.
When Delila was led from the factory floor by a matron later that day, she wondered if it had something to do with the incident that morning.
When she arrived at the destination of this side trip, she found herself sitting alone in an office where she took great pleasure looking out of a window on a garden of fading summer roses and lush looking vines. She stared so long at the sight that she had no idea when someone entered the room. When she felt a hand on her shoulder she let out a frightened shriek.
“I’ve startled you?”
She didn’t need to turn around to know it was Degas at her side. Though doing so she found herself instantly kidnapped by the man’s provocative stare. He smiled, and then moved away, but not far. Rather than taking his seat behind a desk, he went to the window and looked out.
“It is a lovely day, isn’t it?” he said.
“It appears so,” Delila replied cautiously.
“Ah! But the season is fading, the autumn so brisk now with the dusty smells of decay. Can you smell it?”
He turned to her seeking an answer.
“Now that you mention it,” Delila said. Taking a deep breath, she could quickly imagine herself in the park outside Armand’s apartment, sitting with her husband in the grass on a warm fall afternoon, the expectancy of winter in the air, the moment pregnant with the last vestiges of the year’s sensuality all seeming to converge in that final whiff of decadent air.
“You’re a sensualist like me?” Degas said, not so much a question requiring an answer, but a statement of his observation.
Delila didn’t respond.
“So you’ve been here nearly a month, I see.”
“Yes,” she replied. Interesting that he didn’t look at some official clipboard reviewing her records as every other official and overseer regularly did.
“I understand that you are behind on quotas.”
“Just barely,” she said.
He nodded and smiled again.
“I have to insist. The State gives me so few workers and so much output is required. I imagine that the corrective means I use to ensure compliance to the quotas is something that is understood?”
She looked at him not sure what he was saying or how much to confess to know about how things really worked at his workhouse.
“The canings are real, Delila Armand.”
“Yes, I know.”
“And though you’ve only been here a short time, I feel compelled to make an example of you.”
She was speechless, hearing him, realizing what he was about to say. As bewildered as the day she was arrested for her crimes, there seemed a wicked plot against her that she had no awareness of, and certainly no control over. As cold as he’d been though, his expression lightened again, that sexual ephemeral spirit in him giving her the oddest grin.
“Yes, a caning. It’s a cruel way to treat my workers, but it’s most satisfactory in instilling the importance of the mission that we have here at this factory. You’ll have to get used it since your wickedness has wrought this plight. And yet…” She watched his lips, sumptuous lips that were speaking with the hushed tones of an erotic moment. “I suppose there will be some pleasure for you in your chastisement.”
“You think I didn’t notice the way you behaved being flogged. Breathtaking, actually. All that fine female lust ignited with each strike of the lash.” Degas noticed her dumbfound expression. “You think it wasn’t obvious? Maybe not for everyone, but I relish it. I look for that kind of response and can see it, even if it’s muted by the distress.”
Degas leaned back against the window sill, his bearing ever so dark against the backdrop of lavish light that came through the window—a muted afternoon light that gave the room a sepia glow. How appropriate that it matched the decaying aspect of autumn that Delila could see beyond the window. A tree in the distance still bore a wild splash of orange.
“But I digress,” Degas went on. “I don’t often warn my workers of their lax work habits.” His voice turned brutally stern. “But in your case I was moved. There will be a caning tomorrow at first light. Ten, I believe you’ve earned, if my records are right. Twelve perhaps.”
She was shocked but remained impassive.
“Severe, isn’t it? But there’s also that matter with #336 next to you. I’m afraid your breach of the rules has been noticed. I might not have noted such disregard, but since it has been recorded by my overseer, I can’t allow you to go unpunished.”
“I…” she was trying to stammer something, but no words were coming out.
“You’ll get used to it…perhaps.”
“I have no choice,” she agreed. The resignation in her voice came from fear, certainly not the anger that was brewing just beneath the surface of her composure.
“Of course, there are options,” Degas continued. “Ones you’re unaware of right now.”
“What do you mean?”
Degas moved from his casual repose and strolled the room, going behind her and around, the sound of his boots clicking against the wood floor.
“When you look at the faces of the women here, what do you see?” he asked.
His question taking an unexpected turn, she thought a moment. “Sadness,” she replied at last.
“Yes, very sad,” Degas agreed. “You realize that most of these women have been here a scant year. How washed up and old they are, when in truth they were just mere babes like yourself when they arrived.”
“I’m making a mistake to say so, but you make them that way,” Delila replied, her emotions rising.
“Ah! That is the lie,” he retorted. “You make yourselves that way by the crimes you perpetrated.”
“That’s true if indeed they were crimes at all!”
“You think not?”
“Sometimes I wonder,” she said with a flash of indignant anger. Already sentenced to a caning, what could it possibly hurt to be bold now?
“That’s a thought not welcome in these times. Without sex crimes, the State wouldn’t have you fine women as workers for their sweatshops and mines. No sex crimes and there’d be no way to control your awesome female power.”
Delila eyed him, unsure what he was trying to say.
“Perhaps you understand the way things are more than I realize,” he postulated.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Delila replied.
“You’re right, Delila, completely right. And that’s exactly the point I want to make with you. Sex is not a crime, lust is not a crime. The State has made what is natural into something unnatural. They’ve taken your lust away and your power to express it. Just look…” he motioned outside the window. “Can you take away the earth’s natural lust? She’s like a lover after sex out there now, don’t you think? All dwindling and warm and fragrant with the pungent smell of things ebbing away. The State cannot take away the sexuality of the earth, but it has made inroads in taking away passion from our female species. They’ve done a damn good job of it, making what is natural illegal. It has bound your loins with so many rules it becomes hard to function as a female at all.”
“But why should you care? You’re profiting from the State’s decrees? You make it even worse the way you treat us here.”
“Unfortunately, that’s unavoidable in my position,” he said, his eyes looking deliberately sorrowful.
Delila took a deep breath thinking of the contempt she had for the man. But to her surprise the dark haired, dark skinned man knelt down on one knee at her feet, his eyes on the same level as hers arresting her attention from her indignant thoughts. After seizing her focus with his demanding gaze, he abruptly softened, while taking her sweaty palm in his hand.
“My, what a sweet rose you are, and such thorns. By now your retraining should have made you so docile you wouldn’t think of sparring with me. But I hoped it wouldn’t. I hate broken women, though I see them every day. I suppose that’s why I can perpetrate such woes on them. I see nothing left of their spirit, so why bother protecting it?”
“I find your reasoning inhumane,” Delila said. A little dazed by his compelling but confusing treatment, the remark was less sharp than she intended it.
He held her hand in one of his and stroked it gently with the other. “See out that window, see the sensuousness there.”
She followed his eyes to the trees beyond the window, and to the tops of rose bushes where large buds had yielded to the full flower and the air was trying hard to contain the exuberant essence of their fragrance.
“You haven’t forgotten it, have you?”
“And I’d daresay you’d like a stroll in that garden. You’d like to sit in the cool damp earth and entwine your arms and legs with a lover. You’d like pleasure bursting from you. What would it feel like to have it again? Can you tell me?” As he looked back at her, his eyes narrowed. “Briel tells me you enjoy the feel of her hands, would you enjoy the feel of mine.” Moving closer, Degas had his hand at Delila’s thigh caressing it. She was too frozen by fear and erotic stimulation to reply with words, yet the way he had her mesmerized by his black eyes, she telegraphed everything he needed to know.
“You miss this, don’t you?” he said, as his hand moved under her dress, along her inner thigh, just inches from her pubis. “You miss the pleasures of the body, grappling in the earth, commingling with the savagery of that opulent creative force of nature. You miss that and you don’t even know why. You miss it not because you ever had the chance to experience it fully, but because somewhere in your loins, in here,” his hand found her crotch and pressed against it hard, “somewhere you know that there’s a wealth of richness that is yours to have, if…”
He stopped speaking as Delila’s eyes widened. Her heart was pounding and her groin was beginning to move involuntarily against Degas’ hand. But just as she thought he might trip her orgasmic force and send her careening over the edge, he backed off, his hand slipping outside her dress.
“…If you hadn’t been born into a time that has ruthlessly made the mighty power of your sex a banned commodity.”
He was whispering, he spoke so softly.
“What point is there in this?” she whispered back, feeling tears join her lust in a longing that ran deep. This was the worst cruelty of all, for him to rave at her about such sensuous bliss when it was an impossibility.
“How would you like to have your pleasure restored?” he began again. “How would you like to have the craving in you satiated? How would you like to feel the softness of a soft bed again, the luxury of a bath of silken water, kisses and warm hands, and days where you have nothing more to do than lie about and be the sexual creature you are?” His hand was at her crotch again, moving with the movement of her groin.
Was he was going to take her now, make her his mistress, is that what this was all about?
“You want me to have sex with you?” she asked aloud, knowing that at that moment she would have denied him nothing.
“No, Delila, sex is too crude a word for what I want to give you. I want to take you to another place where there are no limits, no rules, no State to arrest you for sex crimes, no board that governs what you do with your body. I want to take you to a magical spot where you will not have to worry about growing old before your age, and you can bask in every hidden desire in this wicked mind of yours.”
A hand at her cheek played with her skin tenderly.
“I want you to come with me, be a bride to a freedom and independence you’ve never known, and will never know anywhere else. Will you come?”
There was a tiny burst of energy in her, as his pressing hand felt the flutter in her belly of a quick climax.
“You’re talking foolishness,” she said, when her transfixed eyes woke to the reality of the dingy room, and the lewd way this man was conducting a seduction.
“Oh, it’s not foolishness at all, my sweet one. All you have to do is tell me that you’re ready to quit this place and take up another servitude—that of your body’s passions.”
“It would be illegal if such a place exists.”
“So it would, but that does not keep this place from existing. Though I can’t give you the freedom to pursue a life outside this assignment, I can alter your task in ways you cannot fathom, and allow you to survive, indeed enjoy, these next years.”
“You are serious, aren’t you?” she asked.
“I am. All you have to do is agree not to speak a word of this to anyone, ever.”
Degas stood up and suddenly the sensuous mood changed as his eyes took on those of a demon shooting flames to her soul. “If you enter this other world, you must comply as completely as you would working behind your machine, and not a word of your work to be breathed to anyone, including your husband, especially your husband. The fact is, none of what I’ve proposed exists at all, the words I’ve spoken have no meaning at all, because there is no official knowledge of this place anywhere. But if you can agree to these two conditions, then I could take you to your pleasure yet today.”
For a long time she was too overwhelmed to speak.
“You’ve filled me with vague ideas, with fantasy that has no form, with nothing of substance but some fleeting dream. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Just as it should be. I’ve given you hope and inspiration nothing more; you need to take a leap of faith into my unofficial world. I can give you no more information. There is a proposal before you. Accept it, and you come with me. Reject it, you return to the factory where you’ll be ruthlessly caned in the morning, and where you’ll remain until the State finally lets you go home. It might be two years, though it might be more. It usually is.” He finished speaking, his speech punctuated by a resolve that made Delila shiver, he’d turned so deathly cold. Turning his back on her, Degas retreated behind his desk.
Delila: I sat with a fixed stare on the window, though I was actually seeing nothing, just the light, and that was fading rapidly. We’d been in the room a long time, perhaps dinner had already been served, even though missing the meal was no great loss. I’d be back at my machine by now, if I hadn’t been in the room. But thinking of that, something flashed in my mind about reality, and what was the strangest offer I’d ever had. Somewhere I knew in my gut that if I refused this nebulous proposal, I wouldn’t be returning to my same job. Something worse awaited. And though he was sly and very good at manipulating my mind, I knew he desperately wanted me to take up his offer, so there really wasn’t much choice at all.
Degas looked up from his desk. “Well, if you have nothing to say, you’re dismissed,” he said, his words clipped.
“You walk out of this door, the offer de-materializes just as the last hour will de-materialize, vanishing into nothing. It never happened.”
“I’ll go,” she said, knowing she spoke too loudly, but she wanted him to hear her clearly. She wasn’t rejecting his offer at all, she was just trying to make sense of it, even if there was no way to do that.
Degas nodded, giving away no emotion, but if she was still attuned to his inner beating, she knew he was both relieved and pleased.
After making her choice, Delila was removed to a windowless room deep in the interior of the factory. Strange how the garish lights and clattering sounds of machinery all ceased, swallowed up by the quiet of the empty place where she waited. She remained there in the silence, having no idea how much time elapsed. She sat on the floor, a gray tile that was smooth and cool to touch, but hard to sit on. When she grew too tired to keep her eyes cast on the vacant room, she fell asleep, slumping against the wall to rest her head.
Delila: I was dreaming, falling into a distant land, somewhere in the outer reaches of the known world, where I could have everything I wanted. Far far away from New Victoria. It was an island somewhere with green so lush that the tongue could taste the essence of it. I thirsted for the sensuality of wildflowers and savage vines that crawled their way like cats up trees, and then dangled their sinewy opulent leaves to brush against my face when I walked by. I wanted to embrace what was not embraceable, bring it inside my loins.
I walked into the arms of a man whose limbs, like the vines that surrounded us, mingled with mine. Moving together in the sensuous heat of the day, under the protective shade of this Eden canopy, I was entered and ravaged.