RavMe Ch. 01


The decrepit elevator gasped and wheezed to make its climb up to the fourth floor. Its frame rattled like old bones in a tin can. Finally it squeaked to a jerky stop. Kelly bit her lower lip for the worrisome pause before the thick doors with the ripped vinyl quilting decided to open. She leapt over the threshold onto the solid flooring of the hallway that led grimly down to apartment number 41, the overpriced dump on the lower East Side she called home.

The keys in her hand chattered noisily to coax the three cranky locks to release their hold on the door. Every night she faced the same argument with the stubborn door that would eventually heave to with a disgruntled groan. Once inside, she would hastily relock them and secure the chain guard. Every night she would step into darkness for the chintzy landlord sealing up all the ceiling fixtures where bright and happy lights should click on with the flick of a switch to welcome the weary tenant with reassuring iridescence. Instead, Kelly entered a dismal arena where she fought off the fear of things hiding in shadows.

This night, instead of rushing to turn on her one and only lamp with a heavy cut-glass base and no shade -- a fifty-cent special from the thrift shop -- she actually made it all the way into the bathroom before succumbing to her hunger for light. Her small hand reached up to jiggle the faulty toggle on the wall. The flickering fluorescence lit up Kelly's young gaunt face in the warped and cracked mirror. Then the bulb petered out. "Damn," she muttered in the dark. She unbuttoned her blouse and rubbed the tightness from her throat when a deep voice resonated from behind.

"You said eight o'clock. It's half past nine. I don't like to be kept waiting."

The mirror revealed the dark outline of man standing at the door. With the fleet reactions of a white-tailed doe caught in the cross-hairs, she swung around hard, braced herself against the sink, and kicked a black leather hoof into his firm abdomen. He went reeling backwards. She bounded past him and ran for the door. Her fingers tripped over each other to unfasten the locks. Just as she pulled the door open, it slammed shut with the force of the man at her back. She shrieked in glass-shattering high C.

The intruder at her back grappled to pin down her flailing arms. Kelly managed to twist her willowy frame around and hurl a right hook that glanced off his chin. "Hey!" he carped. "That's gonna leave a mark." The momentum of the swing lost her her balance. She fell to the hardwood floor with a slap. Before she could right herself, he was on her. "You should have told me you wanted to play rough. I would've put on protective gear." He pulled her up and pushed her to the bed where he forced her to lie face-down. Kelly cleared all the air from her lungs with another piercing scream.

"A screamer, huh? Good thing this is New York where no one pays the least attention. Now, hold still. The tie-up job you requested is gonna take time and concentration, and your fighting me doesn't help. Geeze, and I thought this was going to be an easy gig." He fastened her wrists together with a plastic zip tie. He lashed her feet together with a second tie.

Kelly's tears soaked the bed cover. He ears picked up rummaging sounds. She craned her head but couldn't catch him in her limited field of vision. "Please, take anything you want just don't..."

The sound of an approaching siren made him look up. Kelly played on his apprehension. "You can get out before they come. I'll tell them you didn't hurt m--" Before she could finish he flipped her onto her back then he clicked on the lamp. Shock surged in Kelly's sea-green eyes to see her attacker. It was a lean man dressed up as an insectile-looking superhero -- or villain.

He breathed hard under his black mask with the airbrush yellow streaks and silver eyes. "Don't what?"

"Don't rape me, please," she cried. Her hopes of rescue faded out with the passing sirens.

A light chuckle jiggled his balaclava-style mask. "God, you're good, but rape isn't part of our contract."

"What contract?" she cried.

"Uh-uh, don't play coy, Ms. Roy. This is your scene. You know perfectly well what contract."

"How do you know my name?" she stammered.

He bent down toward the floor and rose back up with a thick roll of duct tape in one hand and a bunched up white cloth in the other. "Now, what kind of gag would you prefer? You didn't specify so I brought two options." When she didn't answer promptly, he decided, "I think the cloth would match the rope better and probably be more comfortable. Although, I don't know why I should be so thoughtful after the pugilistic welcome you gave me. I don't mind a little tussle. In fact, I sort of half expected some resistance as part of the scene, but you really didn't have to hit me so hard, you know."

Kelly fought the thick cloth being laced through her teeth. "This is a special creation," he explained as he tied the ends at the back of her head. "I take a rolled terrycloth hand towel and wrap it in white silk. That way, you get the muffling quality without the rough texture." He reached back down into the black gym bag that he had brought along for the job. He pulled up a bundle of white nylon cord and began winding it methodically around her ankles and up her legs. "You tell me if I make this too tight, although I think you'll find my roping technique comfortably snug."

Kelly squealed and jerked her legs.

"Please, Ms. Roy, if you want this scene played according to your specifications, stop messing it up, okay?" He held her legs firmly and worked the rope quickly around her knees, thighs, hips, and waist. "I hate doing sloppy work," he grumbled. "But since you're being so unruly, I guess this'll have to do. What, are you on the rag or something?"

She squealed loudly.

"Sorry, that was impertinent and insensitive of me, but you have really put me on edge with your belligerent attitude," he chastised as he bound her up. "That really kills the buzz for me, you know." In a matter of minutes, he had her in coils from heel to shoulder. He pulled the knot taught above her sternum. "I was so looking forward to a fun scene with you too."

She squirmed like a worm in a chrysalis. Tear-filled panic rose in her eyes.

"Your fussing is making me lose my concentration. Now, I can't remember what your contract stipulates." He sighed and reached into his bag. In his hands he held several sheets of printed paper. He ran a black-and-yellow gloved finger across the text. "The party of the first part agrees to... yada-yada-yada," he murmured. "Ah, here it is." He read silently then set the page down on the nightstand. Propping himself on his well-toned arms, he hovered over her and purred, "Ready for those caterpillar nibbles you requested?" He peeled back her blouse to the extremes of her clavicle. Kelly swung her legs hard into his side.

"Ow!" The caterpillar man yelped. He grabbed his cocooned prey by the shoulders and held her down. "What is your problem? Why are you so combative? I'm only following your instructions." He noted the confused horror in her stifled screams and snatched the paper. He looked at it, looked at her then looked around the room. He read aloud, "614 E 9th Street, Apt. 41. That's here, right?"

An anguished keen rose from her throat.

"Your name is Kelly Roy, right?" She heaved and gasped for air. Her pale complexion turned an apoplectic red.

"This is your picture, right?" He showed her an image on one of the pages. "And your signature?" He showed her the name signed at the bottom of a legal looking document.

Kelly began to choke.

"Okay, okay. Take it easy. I'm only asking. Here, let me get this out of your mouth." He pulled the cloth down over her china-fine chin. The intake of oxygen powered up her lungs into a fitful wail. He covered her mouth with his smooth nylon-covered hand. "Your caterwauling won't help me figure this mess out." His hand moved from her lips to brush tangles of her fiery red hair from her face like smoothing the feathers of a trapped tropical bird. "Settle down now."

"Look, I don't have much here in the way of valuables," she blurted, "just a computer and fifty dollars in my pur--"

He put a finger to her trembling lips. "Hush. I'm not here to rob you."

Her face balled up into a dreadful contortion.

"Just, chill, okay?" he ran a hand over the tight-fitting hood covering his face and skull.

"Please untie me," Kelly mewled.

He looked down at her with a disappointed sigh before undoing the coil of rope. "Where did I screw up? Did I get the date and time wrong? How could you not know I was coming? It's all laid out in the contract," he puzzled with each pull to loosen the strands. "All this beautiful work for nothing." He dropped the rope to the floor with a brush of his hands and reached into his bag for a box cutter. Kelly gasped at the sight of the blade. "What?" he asked. "I've got to cut the zip ties." Remembering her swing to his jaw, he paused. "I think I'll free your feet first." He sliced through the tie around her ankles then snapped the binding about her wrists. He helped her sit up.

Kelly furtively wiped away her tears while the human caterpillar walked over to the kitchenette. She heard a rush of water from the spigot and saw him return with a glassful.

"Here, drink this." He sat down on the bed next to her, passed the glass, and watched her quaff it down. He took up the printout in his hands and mused, "I don't get it. This is the right address. You are the Kelly Roy as shown in this picture. I followed your instructions to the letter, and you act like I was about to cut your throat. What gives?" He looked at her through expressionless lenses.

"Look, I have no idea who you are, or why you're here brutalizing me," Kelly spat out between sobs.

He read from one sheet: "'Hi, I'm Kelly Roy, and I want a naughty boy. I love being gagged and bound by the handsomest man around. But my real fantasy that suits me to a tee is to have Spiderman creep in and put me in his spin.' He broke off in an ad hoc on his superhero attire, "I like being original and didn't want to infringe on copyright... you know," then resumed, 'I want to be wrapped up in his web so tight and feel his tingling spider bites in places on my body unseen, in places on my body obscene. So, surprise me at my place by coming up the fire escape. The window is never locked, and I'll have loads of moaning pleasure stocked. Let's make it a contractual date, this Friday at eight. Follow the agreement to the letter, and I will feel all the better. Rav me, Spidey baby.' It's not exactly Longfellow, but it definitely conveys an explicit message."

"Can I see that?" Kelly braved. The sheets rattled in her trembling hands. "How did you get my signature?"

He handed her the documents. "I don't get it. If you didn't want me to come in and play, why did you write this scene and send it?"

"I never wrote this... this... what did you call it?"

"A scene."

Her upper lip curled in distaste. "What the hell is it and how did you get it?"

"It's a scene, you know, where we act out our fantasies. It was emailed to me last night at 12:02." He drew his finger across the date and time signature.

"But how did you get my picture and my signature?" Anguish wracked her voice.

"Is that your laptop over there?" He stood up and moved toward the dresser where he saw it.

"Yes, but I didn't send this. I couldn't have. I don't have Internet access from here," she exasperated.

"Got wireless capability I see."

"Yeah, but I've never been able to use it."

He unplugged it and brought it over to the bed where he resumed his seat, opened it up and powered it by battery. His masked face glowed in the bluish aura of LCD screen. His fingers summoned the World Wide Web before Kelly's eyes.

"How did you do that?"

"I have access." After a dazzling display of clicking and stroking, he connected to a site. "Here's your profile page. You're twenty-four years old from Davenport, Kentucky. You recently graduated from the University of Kentucky with an M.F.A. You're an award-winning graphic artist, I see. Take a look." He pulled back to make room for her to see.

Kelly leaned in for a close look. "That's my picture from a portfolio page I posted last year." She bit her knuckles and shook her head at the appearance of her face bordered by licentious advertising. She began to cry.

"You sure you didn't put this up?" the Spiderman poser asked.

A hoarse denial fell from her lips.

"Well, then someone's playing a very cruel prank. Got a jilted lover out for revenge over a broken heart?"

Kelly shook her head and rouged.

"Come on," he cajoled, "a pretty girl like you. You must have dozens who've fallen by the wayside."

"Just one, and he certainly doesn't possess this level of sophistication or imagination."

"And who would that be?" he nosed while rolling a finger across the mouse pad.

"Jimmy Thornblatt," she spat out, "all-American quarterback hopeful who dropped out of university his sophomore year due to bad grades and a blown-out knee. He made couch sitting, channel surfing, and beer swilling his prime vocation. To him, a computer is a whittled-down TV set while the Internet something the lunch ladies in the cafeteria wear to keep their hair from falling into the greasy fare he shovels into his bulging gullet with everyday. But why am I telling you this? Nerves, I guess." A lingering sob provoked a hiccup.

"Well then, if not him, then someone else. Got any enemies at work?" He manipulated the cursor to open the dropdown menu then clicked on the "config" command.

"I've hardly put in enough time for that. I've only been there a week."

"Sometimes a week is all it takes." He clicked through screen after screen of streaming information. "How about someone you met in a bar, or maybe a woman you experimented with at college?"

"What the dickens are you implying?" Her southern drawl intensified with her defensiveness.

"All right, don't get testy. Let's see if I can find out how this was transacted." He tapped the keys like Horowitz playing Rachmaninoff. More cyber windows opened and closed. "You wouldn't know your password for your account, would you?" He looked at her blank expression and kept typing. "Of course you wouldn't, since you didn't create it. Okay, then, I'll just have to resort to my old hacking tricks." He linked his fingers together and cracked his knuckles before calling up software from a remote source. It juggled number and letter combos. A screen opened up. "In through the back door... Here's your account info. Damn, it's encrypted." He tapped and clicked with determined fury. "Looks like you paid with a VISA card but the number's incomplete. I don't think I can find out anything more from this station." He spied a pen in a cup and took it to scribble down the partial card number showing on the screen. "Do these digits match any of your credit cards?"

Kelly looked at them. "I'd have to check. My cards are in my purse."

He closed the lid to the laptop to make use of its flat service. "Check them out when you get the chance, okay?" He continued writing as he spoke. "Look, it's obvious something is very wrong here. I advise you go directly to this address here in the city and tell them to remove your name from the list, or else this is bound to happen again. If it does, you might encounter another mystery ravisher who may not be as understanding as I am." He set the pen down on the nightstand and handed her the paper.

"Ravisher? As in rapist?"

"As in sexual fantasy role-play carried out by pre-arranged signed and sealed contractual agreement." He pointed to the pages in her hands. "It's a very lucrative business."

"I don't get it. What kind of business is it when women agree to be assaulted by a comic-book figure who breaks into their apartments to do mighty disturbing things?" Once more, her upper lip curled from disgust.

He set the laptop on the bed then bent down to gather up the rope. "I know it sounds perverted, but it's perfectly legal, quite popular and effectively harmless, really." He stuffed the rope into his bag then saw the cloth draped around her neck. "Uh why don't I get that?" He untied the knot at the back of her head. Kelly gasped with the sheering of strands from her scalp.

"Sorry. Got some of your hair caught in it." He smoothed down her fiery curls.

Kelly flinched. Then she saw him picking up the roll of tape from the bedcover.

"Easy. I'm just going to seal up that window to make sure no one gets in the same way." He got up and plastered the window frame with layers of tape.

"How can you call this sort of thing harmless? It's cruel and demented." Kelly opined.

"One person's dementia is another person's ticket to ecstasy," the man with the V-shaped figure in the cartoon hero costume replied. "Besides, we all undergo heavy-duty psychological screening and extensive training. Since everyone involved is a consenting adult, there are no issues."

"Well, I surely didn't give my consent."

"No, you are an unfortunate victim of misappropriated information for probable malicious intent."

"You talk like a lawyer. But in my book rape is rape is rape."

He tossed the tape back in his bag and sat down next to her. "It's called ravishment, and as long as penetration isn't forced, it's not rape, not by any legal definition."

"I knew you had some loophole to snake your way out of from under a judge's gavel," she sneered.

"Let me enlighten you here." He folded his hands across his lap. "I belong to a society of people who hold regular sessions to discuss our desires to be physically and sensually overwhelmed. Different members of the group play different roles. For example, I only play a masked ravisher. The women I contract with never see my face."

"Why not? You ugly or something?" She grew bolder.

"Well, at least my mother didn't think so," he jested. "No, you see, by wearing a mask, the woman whose fantasy I am catering to can imagine me however she pleases. A person's face can be an immediate turn on or a turn off. Maybe I'm too old. Maybe my teeth are crooked or my eyes are set too close. Maybe my ears are too big. Whatever the case, I choose to hide my features in order to keep her fantasy alive so that she gets the most from the experience."

"And what, pray tell, would a woman in half a right mind hope to get from pretending to be raped by a masked villain?"

"I'll let that villain crack slide, along with the punch in the jaw," he scolded and rubbed his throbbing chin.

"Fat lot of good growing up with five brothers did me," she snorted.

"Five brothers?"

She didn't elaborate.

"Back to your question," he redirected, "believe it or not, a good number of women fantasize about experiencing forced sex but of course don't want to really be brutalized by a monstrous stranger. Most women keep it to themselves, while a few are daring and inquisitive enough to join groups like ours to enter the world of sensual distress without the fear of being seriously harmed. It's safe, conducted in a secure environment, and usually involves more toying than actual sex. Just because a woman wants to be overpowered by a tall dark stranger doesn't necessarily mean she wants him inside her.

"On the other side, there are men who'd like the experience of seizing a desirable woman and forcing her to do their bidding. Our exclusive society offers mutually interested parties to work up contracts and arrange scenes. And there are others who just want to watch the scene in play, which could be as light and fluffy as dressing up as a sheep for Little Bo Peep or as dark and painful as being a sex slave riding the wooden pony."

"The wooden what?"

"Use your imagination. On second thought, forget it. It's too excruciating to even picture. At any rate, we have subscription Web viewing for that. Keep in mind, it's all an act. No one is actually forced into doing anything he or she doesn't want to do."

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