Off the north-east coast of Kent, England, lies the Isle of Sheppey. A number of dirt roads form a lattice pattern on the harsh lowland to the north of the island where an assortment of one and two storey houses litter the sides of these potholed roads.
In late November the wind howls through the night sucking up the dead leaves from between the shrubbery and the low, ornate brick walls used as dividing boundaries, blasting them into the cold chill of the night.
AnnaLee Bradley let the curtain fall back in place shutting out the bitter sights and rasping scream of the wind outside.
Although only twenty-years-old her young, oval face carried a certain heaviness as though she held rein to her emotions. This was more than compensated by laughter lines and a dimpled chin but highlighted again by sad, dark brown eyes. Eyes that held you encompassed with reflected imagery. A small uptuned nose, a generous mouth with full lips and long, luxuriant, wavy brown hair capped her five foot seven inch curvaceous frame.
A beauty untainted? No. Life had been cruel to this young woman.
Her father had left her mother before she was born and at eighteen she had been raped and sexually abused by the unsaintly young priest who had taken her virginity as payment for administering the last rites to her dying mother.
AnnaLee had managed to survive on her mother's life insurance that provided sufficient money to pay the household bills. She had not left the house since the night of her terrifying ordeal and her days were spent cleaning, cooking and writing. She was a prolific writer, self taught and capable of superb prose. She competently produced over two thousand words in a day.
No one knew this except AnnaLee. The novels she wrote were never published, because they were never sent to a publisher but remained, for now, locked within the large writing bureau in her front room.
Her literary genre encompassed erotica, horror and biblical fact.
Part of her mind had blocked out that horrendous night and so, to those who visited the house, she appeared to be a relatively happy young woman.
There were quite a few 'social do gooders' within the towns of Minster and Sheerness but none could release her inner pain.
Corrin LeFay lived opposite AnnaLee. She had watched the priest arrive that night. A little while later she'd heard a scream. She'd listened to hours of silence, then seen him come out of the house and take something from the car quickly returning inside. Over the next two or three hours nothing had happened, then she saw him leaving hurriedly, peering furtively around. He got into his car and drove off in the direction of the church. She had done nothing, said nothing. She too lived alone.
Two women living alone on the same broken, rutted dirt road.
Corrin had been twenty-six-years-old when her husband had been crushed beneath the wheels of a juggernaut travelling too fast and on the wrong side of the road. He'd been walking home from the steel foundary in Sheerness where he'd worked as a crane driver. His head had been bent down into a gale force wind.
At thirty-one she had learned to cope with her loneliness, though her oval face was unlined and unblemished she was a typical country woman growing up in a country town. People would have been shocked to discover a woman could change inwardly so much in such a short time.
The ten-inch chrome dildo, bought 'just for a laugh' at an 'Anne Summers' evening party, lay beneath her pillow and had become her nightly companion. She saw no shame in using its vibrating coolness to satisfy her sexual needs. Life had changed her. After being with her husband, the thought of making love to another man did not promote arousal.
Her ultimate sexual satisfaction was to make love to another woman. Not just any woman but one who was very much like her. Her mirror image. She lived opposite and she occupied Corrin's sexual fantasies as the vibrator hummed each night between her tanned, open legs. Her full figure tensing as waves of sexual release washed through her.
After her 'therapy session' she slept so much easier.
During one of these sessions she became conscious of where her fantasy was leading. It gave her an idea as to how she could achieve three things with almost a single action.
Over the next few weeks she prepared for her visit to AnnaLee.
The insistent rapping on her front door startled AnnaLee as she sat writing beside her mother's bureau. She stood up and walked through into the hallway. Passing the hall mirror she managed to primp her hair, making sure to look presentable.
She opened the front door but there was no one there. On the porch lay a pie dish. She bent down and picked it up, sniffing closely at the crusty, golden brown, sugary topping.
"Mmmm, apple pie," she said.
Looking around she saw no one.
'Strange,' she thought.
She took the pie indoors and cut a slice. It tasted delicious. She ate the remaining pie over the next few days. She washed the pie dish and left it on the porch. The next day it had gone but in its place was a stone holding down a small brown envelope.
'Don't tell me,' she thought, 'they've left the bill.'
She took the envelope indoors and sat down beside the bureau where she slit open the end with her index finger. Inside was a single sheet of notepaper and on it was neatly handwritten, 'A robin redbreast in a cage, puts all Heaven in a rage.'
AnnaLee read and re-read this passage over and over in her mind and wondered who knew she was her own prisoner. Someone seemed to care... Someone... But who, and more importantly, why?
Corrin opened the kitchen cupboard and placed the pie dish back inside. The next phase was slightly more complex and required a high degree of timing.
Sunday morning rose cold but cheer, a slight breeze blew from the east. Corrin washed, then dressed herself in warm, dark clothes and made her way across the rutted track to AnnaLee's house. She carried a freshly baked apple pie that she set down on the porch in roughly the spot that the previous pie had occupied. This time she wanted AnnaLee to see who left the pie but not to be able to ask why.
The porch was old and the weathered wooden boards creaked as she got closer to the furthest window to peek inside. Her heartbeat raced as she caught sight of AnnaLee sitting at the writing bureau. Her long brown, wavy hair gleaming from the low sun slanting through the window on the adjacent wall.
Corrin's heart skipped a beat. For her, time lay suspended. She gazed fixedly at the young girl's poise and concentration that seemed to create a void into which she had stepped. How long she remained in this state she could only imagine.
The rumble from an approaching lorry broke the magical moment she had formed in her mind. She looked into AnnaLee's eyes.
"Oh, my god," she said, turning and running from the porch across the street to the sanctitude of her home. She heard AnnaLee open her front door and cry out, then she was inside with the door closed; her breathing laboured from exhileration, success and lack of fitness.
Somehow she knew that AnnaLee would not follow her. She was right.
AnnaLee went back indoors with the second apple pie rather than crossover to Corrin and ask her to explain her actions.
Once again the clean pie dish was placed on the porch to await its owner, however, this time an envelope was taped to the underside. When Corrin returned home she opened it and read from the single sheet of paper, 'Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorned.'
They were communicating. The first step towards her goal had been fairly straightforward. Now came the hard part; the time for reason.
The next morning, dull and drear, saw Corrin standing pensively at AnnaLee's front door. She took a deep breath and rapped three times. She heard movement from the front room, then footsteps on the wooden floor drawing ever closer.
The door unlocked and opened.
Corrin spoke first, "I feel that I owe you an explanation. Apologies may come later but I need you to understand that whatever you feel about my intrusion into your life I will leave now and we can forget the incident the other day."
AnnaLee spoke tersely, "Explain, please."
"Two years ago, when your mother passed away... I saw the preacher that night. I heard things and did nothing. I am ashamed of my inaction and want to make amends in whatever way I can. Call it guilt... whatever, but would you allow me to talk to you ocassionally. I... I know you enjoy writing but do you like to read as well. I have a small library..."
"LeFay. Corrin LeFay... Call me Corrin."
"Mrs LeFay... Corrin, I want to thank you for the apple pies but I don't know what you believe you saw on the night of my mother's death. Please... I..."
"Don't shut me out AnnaLee. Whatever you say to me will remain between us. I'm not a social do-gooder. We can help one another. It just needs a step in that direction. I have something to offer... it's called friendship and I'd like you to take it. Don't make a decision today. I'll call again in a few days, 'bye AnnaLee."
Corrin smiled and turned to walk away. A hand reached out and held her arm.
"Stay... Please... I'm sorry. I'm not used to visitors and we seem to have... I seem to have... well..."
"Please... It's me who should apologise."
"Would you like to come in for a coffee? It's bitterly cold out here."
"That would be wonderful, yes."
AnnaLee stepped back and held the door open for her. As she drew close, Corrin caught the faintest hint of apple blossom.
"That's a nice fragrance you're wearing."
"It was... my mother's. Can I take your coat?"
Corrin took off her coat and handed it to AnnaLee who hung it on a coatstand that stood beside the hall mirror.
Corrin had taken great pains over her appearance that morning and wore a light green cardigan over a pale green high necked, cotton dress that fell to just above the knee.
Entering the kitchen Corrin felt she was back at her home. The oil fired boiler beside the back door radiated heat into the room. The warmth created a cosy feeling that pleasantly combined with the other pine kitchen furniture.
Corrin took a seat at the kitchen table while AnnaLee filled the kettle.
"Do you mind if I ask how you spend your day, besides the obvious cooking and cleaning that I hate as well?" asked Corrin.
"I listen to the radio a good deal... and do some reading from mother's collection of classic books."
"And...?" prompted Corrin.
"Not a lot more really."
"So writing doesn't take up any of your time?"
"Oh, I forgot," she smiled, "the startled face at the window watching me." She looked over her shoulder. "Well... yes, I do write the occassional story... for my own amusement, you understand."
"What do you write about... when the mood takes you?" asked Corrin, still probing.
The ululating shrill from the kettle interrupted their conversation and as she busied herself AnnaLee said, "General fiction... you know... romance. I write about people and their everyday lives and loves. What about you, Corrin, what do you do all day in that big house opposite, besides baking such delicious apple pies?"
"Well, like you, time can hang heavily... sometimes. As you may know I lost my husband five years ago. Since then I've not really needed anyone else's help or company. So, I only go out when it's absolutely essential. Solitude brings it's own routine. It's generally one that some might describe as boring. But I've found that rituals can be a way of holding onto one's sanity... or stability. When nothing else was there to take it's place I seemed to drift from one day to the next, not knowing in what direction to go or what to do next." Corrin picked up the mug that had been placed before her and sipped the hot coffee. "Mmmm," she said, "that's nice coffee."
"When you say you have a daily routine, what does that mean?" asked AnnaLee, nonchalantly, sitting down and sipping her own drink.
"Each morning around six o'clock I get up and shower. I like to linger in the shower. To feel really clean. I'm usually dressed and have made the bed by six-thirty. I have a plain breakfast of cereal, toast and coffee. Housework and some decorating usually take up the rest of the morning. Some days it's cooking that takes my time. Jack, my husband, used to say that he only lived for my cooking... Like you, I listen to the radio. Oh, and occassionally I'll sit crocheting just listening to the music. By ten o'clock in the evening it's time for bed, though I don't usually fall asleep till ten-thirty."
"Well... you know. Things to do... A woman's needs. Just because there's no man about doesn't mean that we have to go short. Surely you have needs too?"
" I... I don't... Well, I've never thought to... My writing usually fulfills me..."
"Sure, I can understand your writing fulfilling your spiritual needs but physical needs are entirely different."
"It's getting rather hot in here," said AnnaLee, taking off her dark blue woollen jumper. "Let's go through into the lounge." They stood up and walked through the kitchen door into the hallway then through another doorway, into the lounge. They sat together on a large, comfortable, fawn fabric sofa that had seen better days.
AnnaLee's curiosity had been aroused and when she asked Corrin how many times a week she satisfied her needs, then Corrin knew she had a subject that she could talk about for hours.
"Every night," she divulged.
"Every night? Wow, that must take a lot of stamina? How do you get aroused? Do you play with anything or just use your fingers?" she questioned, like an excited teenager. "I'm sorry. I got carried away. Too many personal questions. We hardly know one another and here I am asking you how you make love to yourself."
"Asking me or finding out for yourself, AnnaLee?"
"I... I don't understand..." she sounded nonplussed.
"Well, you can only be, what, twenty-years-old and as far as I'm aware you've not had a lover for the past two years which would make you around eighteen when you..." her voice trailed off as she realised her mistake. AnnaLee's face crumpled, her tears came easily.
"Go," she sobbed, "please go."
"No, AnnaLee, I'll not go. I'm sorry for my clumsiness. When you said nothing happened that night I believed you. But something terrible did happen to you and not talking about it will only increase the pain. Talk to me, please," she coaxed. "Telling me will halve your burden. Trust me. I've told you about my most personal life. I trust you not to tell anyone else. Put your trust in me. What happened that night your mother died?"
She wept, "I... I can't. It's too horrible... to put... into words."
Corrin leant across clasping AnnaLee's hands. She got up, drawing AnnaLee with her. They stood looking at each other for a few seconds then Corrin hugged her closely whispering, "It's okay to cry AnnaLee." Tears came into Corrin's eyes. "Let it out, honey. I'm here for you. I think I understand. No one was there for me either... when Jack died."
For the next few minutes Corrin was aware only of her own tears, her own breasts rising and falling against AnnaLee's. The apple blossom scent filled her nostrils, comforting her. They clung together.
Soon the tears subsided and they regained their composure.
In a very dispassionate tone and still clinging onto Corrin as if she needed her strength, AnnaLee recounted the events of that evening. As the story became sexual so too did the anger and vulgarity with which she described what took place.
"I knew when the time had come for my mother to receive the priest. I telephoned him and he said he would be right over. The church was only a few minutes drive and it was not long before I heard a knock on the front door. It was dark ouside and as he too wore dark clergyman's clothing the hall light lit up his face like a beacon. It was a face that reminded me of an actor I had seen in a film a few month's previously... A young, wild looking Jack Nicholson, if you can remember the film 'The Shining.'
"After the priest had administered the last rites to my mother he came up behind me. The first I knew of his intentions came as he lifted the hem of my dress. His soft hands travelled quickly up the backs of my bare legs onto my thighs. "No," I cried, twisting around. That's when he hit me across my face. I screamed out in terror and fell on my stomach onto the bed where my dead mother lay. He grabbed at my legs and my dress was thrown up over my face. My legs were forced apart. My thin cotton panties ripped away. He pulled me towards him. I knew what would happen and braced myself for his hardness to force it's way into me but as I felt the tip of his cock touch my sensitive lips it was wet. He had used his saliva to lubricate access to my virginity. There was a slight hesitation as his cock came up against my hymen, then he was rampant against my warm backside. His balls slapped against me as he enjoyed his power over me.
"I held onto my dead mother's cold hand for comfort and cried in anger and in anguish. My sobbing muffled beneath the heavy, velvet dress over my head.
"I felt his cock swell up and his urgent pounding increase in tempo as his seed exploded into me. I heard him cry out in relief as his throbbing manhood pulsed into my tortured body. He continued thrusting, using his strong hands around my narrow waist to pull me against him. Once his sexual urge had subsided he withdrew and bound my hands in front of me using my torn panties, then slowly he stripped away my remaining clothing. He used my bra to tie my ankles together and tore a strip of fabric from my dress with which to gag me.
"I remained on my stomach where he'd raped me, his seed oozing from my vagina. He picked me up and carried me across his shoulders into my bedroom where he flung me onto the bed face down, tying my wrists to the forged steel and brass headboard. Then he left the room. I heard a stream of urine hitting the pan in the toilet. Silence. The toilet flushed. Silence, deafening silence.
"He came back into the bedroom and I heard the rustling of fabric as though he was undressing. When he came up behind me he raised me up and pushed me towards the headboard so that I was forced head down onto my pillow with my buttocks pointing up to the ceiling. He used his rigid member to wipe the oozing semen from my vagina around my tiny anus and plunge forcefully deep into my arse. I grunted and groaned with the pain and indignity of this violation to my body but what could I do? I was helpless.
"Each groan from me seemed to incite his movements into me more forcefully. At sometime during my bodies defilement my mind slipped into a stupor, a trance-like state that seemed to separate my body and mind from what each was experiencing. I didn't feel his white fluid flow into my bowels, neither did I realise that he had untied my hands from the headboard or released my gag and been lifted into the bathroom. It was the warm stinging spray from the shower that brought me to my senses. His hands moved over my soft skin as he washed away the sweat and body fluids. He flung a towel at me and I slowly dried myself as best I could with my hands and feet still tied. On my knees, I watched wide-eyed as he played with his flaccid erection close to my face. Slowly it came erect. He grasped my wet hair and drew my head backwards saying vehemently, "Suck on it, whore. Suck on it till I come, then swallow all of my seed. If you bite it I'll kill you."
"He released my hands so that I was able to use them and my mouth to bring him to ejaculation. It took awhile and my mouth became sore from the constant rubbing from his hardness. As the time passed and he still hadn't come my mouth became dry through a mixture of fear and loathing. He used some baby lotion from the medicine cabinet and soon after applying this to his prick he came in my mouth, grasping and twisting my breasts, pulling harshly on my nipples.