Wicked Game Ch. 01byvelvetpie©
The invitation came to each one of the participants in the same manner. A black envelope, embellished with silver calligraphy, their names front and center.
Shane Kingsley was the first to receive his. Marshall's star quarterback returned from physics final to find the envelope delicately balanced on his pillow. He just stared for a moment, angrily wondering who the fuck had a key to his single room. He dashed to his desk and dug beneath boxes of paper clips and packages of ballpoint pens, smiling when his fingers wrapped around his ounce of sensimilla bud, tastefully hidden in a purple Crown Royal bag. He was still pissed off but his curiosity got the best of him and he ripped it open.
Across town, Ashley Martin, a bored housewife, pushed the dark hair out of her eyes, grabbing the wicker laundry basket and heading outside. Snow-white sheets and pillowcases fluttered in the afternoon breeze and she began to take them down, folding them into squares and tucking the clothespins into her pocket. As she folded the last sheet, she noticed that it was crunchy. Something was stuck to it. With a sigh, she flipped it over, thinking about how she'd have to re-wash it again when her fingers curled around the envelope's corner. She glanced around, plucked it from its taped spot and slid a fingernail under the flap.
Kelly Jo Marcus went over her checklist for the fourth time and heaved a sigh, surveying the movement in the space below. From her position on the catwalk, she could see a group of cubicles, each with its own DLP projector and Dell laptop, each prepared to convince the world that its product was the best. Her twin brother, Kevin, was below, troubleshooting an electrical outlet and she heard a whoop of joy as the last projector sputtered into life. She smiled and flipped to the last page of her checklist, astonished to find an envelope in its place. At first, she thought it was from Kevin, but both of their names were on it. She sat on the stairs and used her tip of her pen to slash it open.
Beverly Johansson finished her last hushpuppy and sat back with a contented sigh. Three chicken breasts, two thighs, cole slaw, hushpuppies and a tub of baked beans. That had to be a record. For lunch, at least. She burped, patted her stomach and was leaning forward for a napkin when she heard the bell ring. Another customer. She smiled at the picture of her great-grandmother standing arm-in-arm with Jessie Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr. and tugged her voluminous body from the chair, heading into the boutique. To her surprise, it was empty except a large black envelope perched on the keypad of her cash register. She grabbed her letter opener and sliced it open.
James Hawethorne Weathers, anchorman of WCHO's Live News at Eleven, gathered his briefcase and London Fog jacket and headed down the long hallway that led to the elevators. He was so tired. He glanced at his Rolex and noted that he was leaving a full fifteen minutes early tonight. It was nearly one o'clock. He stepped into the elevator and wearily got out on the garage deck, heading for his car. His hunter green Jaguar squatted in his assigned space and he gratefully shuffled over to it, pausing as he leaned to insert the key in the lock. An envelope was resting on the passenger's seat. He hesitated for a moment, unlocked the door and slid inside, relocking it. With shaking hands, he lifted the black square and gingerly pried it open.
The note read:
Beginning three days from now in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Enclosed you will find a plane ticket and five hundred dollars.
When you land at the airport, a limousine will be waiting for you.
If you choose not to honor this invitation,
Someone will be by to retrieve it, intact as you received it.
"Kevin! Come here!"
Kevin finished thanking the electrical contractor and climbed up to Kelly Jo's side. His spicy Aramis cologne wafted into her nostrils, touching a part of her soul that reminded her that she was safe with him. He smiled, his green eyes sparkling in contrast to his dark brown hair. "What you got?"
"Read this." She watched his eyes flit back and forth as he quickly scanned the words, then he reached for the envelope. "No postmark, no stamp. Where did you get this?"
"It was on my clipboard."
"On your clipboard?"
"Yes, under all the papers."
"Did you see who put it there?"
"No, and I've had my clipboard with me all day."
"You had to have put it down some time."
"Maybe for a minute ... "She took the invitation from him and read it over again. "It's very strange."
"Yeah, but it's so ... "
"Yeah! A scavenger hunt! When was the last time we went on a scavenger hunt?"
Kelly Jo grinned. "Mindy Arrington's thirteenth birthday party. You knocked the cake into the pool, remember?"
Kevin laughed. "Her father was mad at me for a year!" He took the invite from her and rubbed his fingers against the raised lettering. "Should we go?"
"We can't. We have the convention ... "
"Kel, the convention can run itself. And Royce can handle whatever else goes wrong." He looked up at her. "I think we should go."
"I don't know, Kevin. We don't know who sent it."
"But it can't be too dangerous. After all, we are going to Atlantic City, a well-populated place." Kevin grabbed her hand, squeezing her palm lightly. "Let's go. Please?"
Kelly Jo tossed her head full of ruby ringlets and gave her handsome brother one of her trademark smile. "Okay. Make the reservations."
* * * * *
"Hey, Jaime, check this out."
Shane dropped into his seat, watching the other students enter and take their seats, especially the girls. His friend, Jaime Scott, took the invitation and read it over. "Man, this sounds like fun. Can I come?"
"I don't know. It doesn't say I can bring anyone else."
"But it doesn't say that you can't, either."
Shane nodded in agreement. "What about a plane ticket?"
"We can drive there."
"Jaime, it came with a plane ticket."
"Really?" Jaime was amazed. "That's cool! Just give them a call and tell them to send another!"
"Uh, did you see a phone number on it?"
Jaime turned the invitation and its envelope over, thoroughly scrutinizing it. "No. Aw, man, that sucks." He paused. "Well, where did you get it? Maybe I can scam one."
"It was on my pillow when I got home yesterday."
Jaime just stared at him, handing the envelope and contents back. "That's sweet, dude." The professor came in, shutting the door and began to talk about the previous day's assignment on dangling participles. "So what are you going to do?" He whispered.
* * * * *
Arletta Johansson waited until her daughter was in the bathroom before snooping through the stack of magazines that Beverly had brought home from the shop. The boutique was a stupid idea, even though it was doing well, but Arletta's favorite perk, besides free clothing, was the magazines. Beverly ordered all kinds of magazines for the customers to read while they were waiting and Vogue was Arletta's favorite. She went through every issue, pulled out pictures of thin, svelte black models and pasted them on the refrigerator door, showing her daughter that other black women were able to maintain a nice figure.
Tucked inside last month's Ebony was a black envelope. Hmmm. Arletta lifted it out, read Beverly's name on the front and made a huffing sound. Who would invite her fat daughter any where? She tiptoed around the corner, making sure that the bathroom door was still shut and opened the envelope, drawing the invitation out. Her eyes widened as she read it and she strode to the bathroom, knocking rapidly.
"Beverly? Beverly, get out here!"
There were a few moments of silence, then, "Coming, Momma." The toilet flushed and Arletta heard the sound of water running as her daughter washed her hands. Finally, the door opened.
Beverly felt her stomach lurch, seeing the envelope in her mother's hand. "It's an invitation, Momma."
"Where'd you get it?"
"I don't know."
"Don't lie to me, fat girl. Where'd you get it from!"
"I told you, I don't know! I was eating lunch and the bell rang. When I went out into the store, no one was there and this was propped on the register."
"No, I'm not."
"And what were you eating?"
"A – A salad."
"You smell like chicken."
"It was a chicken salad."
Arletta whirled, heading for the kitchen. "Well, I've got some greens for dinner and some ham. I'll portion it out for you."
"Fine, Momma. Can I have my invitation back?"
Arletta turned, staring at Beverly. "I was going to throw it away."
"No, don't throw it away. I want it."
"You want it? What for?"
"I want to go."
"You want to go? To a scavenger hunt?"
"I don't think so."
"It's not your choice to make, Momma."
"It is while you live under my roof."
"Momma, I'm not a child."
"No, you're a fat girl who hides in her room and eats everything in sight. You're a fat girl whose friends are all married and have children."
"Maybe I don't want to be married! Maybe I don't want children!"
"That's just an excuse, Beverly. You couldn't get a man if you tried!"
"Yes, I could."
"As fat as you are?" Arletta laughed. "No one wants to date a fat pig, even if she is cuter than Star Jones!"
Beverly watched in horror as her mother lit the envelope and invitation on fire. "NO!"
Arletta pressed a fresh package of Double Stuff Oreos in her daughter's hand. "One day, you'll thank me for this." She kissed her cheek and turned back to the stove. "Now, go on up to your room. I'll call you when dinner's ready."
Beverly didn't bother to stop the tears from falling. She dropped the Oreos on the kitchen counter and clumped up the stairs to her room. She spied her purse sitting on the center on the queen-size bed and she suddenly smiled. She had forgotten that she'd taken the plane ticket and money out. She could still go!
And she would.
* * * * *
James Weathers raised the chilled glass to his lips and took a long, healthy swig of Glenfiddich. The Scotch slid down his throat and its warmth spread through his chest and across his face. He was a successful man. He had the best chair on local news television, the most coveted anchor position in the city. He had a Jag, a swanky penthouse suite and a bubble-headed mistress with the best oral technique he had ever seen. And still he was not happy. Worse, he didn't know why.
He stood, going to the window and staring out across the city. Right now, tomorrow's big story was happening. Some girl was getting raped, some teenager was leaving his baby in a dumpster, some guy was robbing a convenience store. He was safe and protected from all of that. And maybe that was his problem.
He turned, his eyes falling on the invitation, its silver script reflecting in the light. A scavenger hunt. It sounded fun, exciting. It sure sounded better than going to work. And if everything turned out right, he could make it into a story and finally convince Connie that he could handle field work again. He picked up the phone and dialed a number.
"Connie? Hey, it's James. How are you tonight? ... Great. Listen, I need to take some time off. ... Tomorrow. ... No, I'm not sick. I just want to take a vacation. ... No, I'm not going to go postal, Connie. I just want some breathing space. ... Yeah, Chris can handle my spot. ... I don't know how long I'll be gone. Probably two weeks. ... Sure, I'll call you. Thanks, Connie. Goodbye."
James Hawethorne Weathers turned back to his view of the city and felt more excitement than he had in years.
* * * * *
Everything was right. Everything was perfect. The house was clean, the cars washed and dinner was patiently waiting on the stove. Ashley anxiously waited at the door, waiting for Matt's arrival. He would be so pleased with her. Maybe he'd make love to her tonight.
A strange car pulled up in the driveway and Ashley checked her hair in the mirror and opened the door, a huge smile on her face. Matt was sitting in the passenger's seat, in a passionate lip lock with another woman. The smile died on Ashley's face. Matt looked up, saw her and said something to the woman. Both laughed and he kissed her again.
"Thanks for the fuck." He called as he slid out of her car. Ashley felt sick to her stomach. The woman just laughed and sped off into the encroaching darkness. Matt swaggered up the walk, climbing the stairs with much effort. Oh, God. Ashley started to back up. He's drunk! "Hey, baby! What's up?" He laughed, grabbing her and plastering a sloppy kiss on her mouth, trying to force her clamped mouth open. "Open up for your husband." He tried again and she resisted. "Open up!"
He pinched her shoulder and her cry of pain caused her mouth to open. She nearly gagged at the feeling of his mouth on hers, pouring alcohol-laden saliva into her mouth.
"You're supposed to welcome your husband home." Ashley shuddered at the sound of his voice. She should never have resisted him. It was going to be bad tonight. "Get in the house. Now."
"Matthew, I'm sorry. I'm sorry!"
He ignored her apologetic pleas and used his vise-like grip to propel her into the house, giving a self-satisfying push that sent her to the floor. He slammed the door shut behind them, tossing his suitcase onto the sofa.
"Matthew, I'm sorry! I-I wasn't thinking! I was just so happy to see you ... "
"It's not your place to think, bitch! You're my property! You do as I tell you!"
"I think you need a lesson."
"No, Matthew, please! I have dinner all ready for you!"
The anger in his eyes seemed to cool a bit but he grabbed her hair, pulling her upwards and pushing her towards the kitchen. "Then get it served!"
Ashley had prepared Matt's favorite dish: marinated skirt steak, sliced thinly with salad, mashed garlicky potatoes and steamed broccoli. She sat in her seat across from him, watching him eat, unable to eat her own meal. She knew that there was no hope of getting a session of lovemaking. It would be fucking and it would be painful. It would be by his rules. She collected his plate and refilled his wine glass, served him a large slice of lemon meringue pie with a generous dollop of whipped cream and disappeared into the kitchen to wash the dishes and clean up.
For a long while, she thought she'd escaped his wrath but she was quite mistaken. She was almost done with the washing when he came up behind her and rubbed his cock in the cotton-clothed cleft of her ass. She pretended that he was only playing until he grabbed her breasts and squeezed them painfully.
"Time for your lesson." Her body immediately stiffened in terror and he noticed it. "Is there a problem? You enjoy your lessons, don't you?" She remembered the lessons. The first had left her sore for a week. Another had left her vomiting semen for almost 24 hours, thanks to his friends. "Go upstairs and take a shower. I'll meet you in the bedroom."
Ashley could barely breathe. Her body felt like a column of concrete as she numbly moved from the sink and climbed the stairs. Tears dimmed her vision as she washed in the shower and striped her cheeks as she lay in the center of his bed, eyes closed, lingerie covering her scrubbed flesh, fear absorbing her virgin soul.
"I'm ready, pet. Shall we begin?"
Ashley sucked a sob deep within her and crawled off the bed, helping Matt off with his thick fleece robe. His body was hard muscle and tanned skin. Any other woman would have rejoiced at the chance to service a body like this but Ashley knew better. His perfection was based upon her degradation. She hung the robe on its appointed hook and stood quietly as he climbed on the bed, his erection standing at needy attention.
Ashley knew what she was supposed to do, although this wasn't a true 'lesson'. Matt liked to have his dick sucked as an appetizer. She crawled between his legs, closed her eyes as she briefly scented his masculine musk and bent to take his prick in her mouth. She always hated this. It served as the introduction to entering his warped world of love. His skin was tart, salty with the tang of old sweat but she forced herself to ignore the horrible smell, sucking his cock and pretending to enjoy it.
He groaned deeply. "You're doing well, Ash, but don't think that this is the 'lesson'."
She shuddered and continued her work, pretending that she hadn't heard his words. His cock leaped in her mouth, skin tightening as it swelled and lengthened. She did her best to take all of him, running her tongue over the head, under the crown and up and down the shaft, applying pressure and suction.
"Stop." Ashley looked up at him, startled at his order, his cock still in her mouth. "Get up and turn around." She let his penis fall from her mouth and did as he asked, kneeling on all fours on the bed. His hands roamed over her healthy ass, smoothing the soft, pink material of her teddy. In one quick movement, he ripped the garment from her body, ignoring her cry of pain. "You belong to me, Ash. I tell you what to do. I'm the man and I do whatever the hell I want, including fucking other women. It seems that you forgot this tonight."
"Matthew, I'm sorry!"
"I know you are, pet." She couldn't see what he was doing but she heard the drawer open and she started trembling anew. That drawer held her greatest fears. Matthew's torture toys. A sting of pain took her breath away and she released a deep sob. This was a new toy, one that he'd ordered last week. A short whip made of fine Spanish leather. The lash fell on her back again and again and her arms failed to hold her up, her trembling was so fierce. Then she felt it. His cock at the entrance to her virgin asshole.
"Matthew, please! No!"
The whip flew again, splitting her flesh open as his prick pressed into her ass, the head spreading her tight sphincter open and traveling inward. Ashley screamed at the pain, trying to dislodge him but her movements only made things worse. He plunged in again, using the pain to teach her a lesson, using the pain to convey his dominance over her. She felt the blood trickling down the inside of her leg and swallowed her sobs, letting him have his way, hoping it would end the pain.
It did. He dropped the whip beside her and focused his attention on plundering her ass, slamming his prick into her with demonic relish. It only took a few minutes for him to dump his load, grunting and groaning as he pumped his cum deep into her bowels. He remained still for a few moments, catching his breath, then pulled out, giving her a vicious smack.
"That was perfect, pet. I think I'll fuck your ass from now on."
Ashley closed her eyes, tears trickling down the side of her nose, her battered body above the covers. Matt crawled underneath and turned off the lights. She remained awake for quite a while after that. When she was certain that he was asleep, she arose, taking extra care not to awaken him, grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt and crept down the stairs. Her back wounds stung dreadfully but she didn't have time to take care of them now. Once she was dressed, she opened the downstairs hall closet.
On the top shelf, far back in the corner was a large duffle bag, packed with clothing and everything else that had sentimental value to her. She pulled it down and unzipped the top, taking out the invitation and giving it another quick read-over. This is mine. She let the tears fall as she read the words again. This belongs to me.
Ashley Martin threw the bag's strap over her shoulder and left the only home she'd ever known, looking forward to the scavenger hunt and hopefully, a future without pain.