It's stupid, you think to yourself.

You have a good life, a good home, a faithful hardworking man and a family. You have everything that you ever wanted and longed and hoped for. You man is gentle, faithful, loving, successful and attentive to you and your needs. He's a good provider and a better lover. He's just slightly kinky in the bedroom in what should be just the right amount.

You should be happy. Any normal person would be happy with this.

So why do you feel so dissatisfied?

You think about this while you pedal the bike at the gym. The wheel spins and so does your mind.

What is wrong with you?

The dreams keep coming. They keep haunting you. They aren't nightmares. They're something else.

You've been dreaming for a while about being trapped somewhere. It's a dangerous place. There are violent, evil men there, and you're hiding from them. But they always find you. Always.

And when they do it starts, your clothes are torn away, and you're forced down, made to obey, to serve in horrifying and brutal ways. You can't remember all the things they do to you. It seems too punishing and violating to recall.

Yet when you wake up from the dreams you're always beyond aroused. Your loins are slick with your own passion and twice you've awoken with your own hand inside you.

The first couple of times you rolled over and nudged your husband until he woke up to the happy prospect of spontaneous sex. And like a happy, wonderful husband he complied and you spent a few minutes making the sheets sweaty and sticky and after he'd thrust into you a few dozen times he climaxed and was spent.

Unfortunately you were not satisfied or spent. So he'd doze off happy and you'd be left laying there aggravated, wet and sticky with a set of sheets that you'd need to wash tomorrow.

After a while you stopped waking him up. He was gentle and caring and attentive and apparently not at all what you needed.

You took to surfing in the evening when you should be sleeping. You'd surf around various risqué sites and look at things that should be disturbing to you but were titillating instead.

Eventually, that wasn't enough either. You couldn't just look at them, you started to touch yourself as you looked at the pictures. And as you did so, a pattern emerged.

The more degrading and humiliating the pictures were, the more aroused you became. And if there was an aggressive man in the picture, using the bound and helpless and sometimes suffering woman, it was all you could do to not scream in passion as you released the urges you were feeling.

It felt weird. Only sad, lonely guys sat in front of their computers and masturbated to this pathetic, degrading... pornography. But you weren't a sad lonely guy. You were a mature, beautiful woman with a family and a sleeping husband two rooms away with a very serviceable libido.

It was making you crazy.

And then you made it worse.

You stumbled on a site that featured all sorts of writing. And the writing, naturally, was about sex.

Most of it was drivel. Pathetic, ham fisted masturbation fantasies composed by what you assumed were more sad lonely men most likely living in their parents basements.

And then you found the story.

That fucking story.

You thought about it as you peddled away on the exercise bicycle and you felt your pace pick up. It was par for the course.

It had been on a list in the BDSM section (naturally...) and it had been pretty highly rated by everyone else. So you took a look at it and the story just... owned you.

Two characters, two normal, flawed human characters connecting in a way you could barely conceive of and doing the things that you were literally dreaming of.

You couldn't stop reading the story. It was ridiculous how you obsessed on it, how real the characters felt, how deeply, utterly *erotic* the sex scenes were.

It was also completely absurd that the author hadn't finished the story yet and left you desperately looking for more. What was worse was that he'd left it on a pseudo cliff hanger with no resolution and you anguished to know what was next.

The gearshift on the bike whined with the strain as you peddled harder. It was hopeless. This stupid story got into your head and you kept fantasizing about it.

You reached out to the author and he sent you back a completely banal reply telling you that he appreciated your feedback and he was working hard on the next section.

You could strangle him for that, the ridiculous prick. How dare he make a story that compelling and just throw it out there unfinished?

As you contemplate hideous violence against this man you have never met, a drop of sweat slides down your nose and splashes on the odometer on the bike. It rolls over onto forty three and the little tenth of a mile markers spins rapidly as you realize you've been frantically pedalling for forty five minutes now.

Slowly you dial down the pace until the tenth of a mile marker languidly circles the dial and you stop and immediately grimace as your thigh muscles scream their displeasure at you.

You'd hoped that exercise would give you respite. Instead you couldn't stop obsessing on your dark dreams and that stupid story and your leg muscles feel like you ripped them from the bone.

'Nice job Arianna, you dipstick.' You mutter to yourself as you stagger to the change room. You plunk down on a bench and try to get your heart to stop pounding. It takes a little while, but you gradually slow your breathing and pulse down to normal levels.

You look around, and the change room is mostly empty. A slim, young university student strides out of the shower area and slips off her towel and starts dressing in her modest street clothes.

You sigh as you quietly eye her. She's tall and lithe and her body has no stretch marks or scars like yours does. You take a little solace and note that her long, lean runner's body is as flat as a board and nobody will ever accuse you of that.

You feel oddly deflated and yet proud at the same time as you wander into the shower and try to blast away this obsession with high pressure hot water. You emerge ten minutes later pink and clean and still obsessed.

As you comb out your long dark hair you eye yourself in the mirror. The tiny, pretty girl with long, almost midnight black hair trailing down to her waist stares back.

God her eyes are hungry.

How is your husband not seeing how desperate you are? Is he completely oblivious to this? Can he not sense your screaming *need*?

You press your hands to your face. It feels like you're going insane. You can't think about anything else. You're walking around in a hazy perpetually aroused state and nothing at all seems to satisfy you.

The gym has been a bust. Maybe on the way home you can stop in at that sex shop you spotted the other day and purchase a disturbing dream in a can. Or a heavy duty vibrator.

'Wait..' You say out loud to nobody in particular.

Maybe that could help. An intense, powerful vibrator. Maybe that could get your mind off... whatever this obsession is.

This new idea compels you, and you rapidly towel off your hair to a light level of dampness and then slip back into your clothing. A snug pair of jeans and a tight little t-shirt mould over your tiny black underwear and you eye yourself approvingly in the mirror.

You smile to yourself as you preen just a little in front of the large pane of reflective glass. You do look pretty hot. It's nice that you still got it.

Your eyes still look hungry though.

You sigh and head out to the car.

The sex shop is less than you hoped for. It's in a strip mall with little parking so anybody watching can clearly see you walk into the storefront clearly labelled 'XXX' and there are two male shoppers wandering around the endless racks of porn DVDs.

This place isn't erotic. It's depressing.

One of the male customers eyes you and licks his thin lips. You can see furtive movements at his waist level and you realize it's creepy here too.

You're unsure later on if the clerk spotted the man fondling himself or if she saw the horrified look on your face, but whatever the reason the result is the same. She marches out from behind the counter armed with nothing more than a little white can and confronts the pervert pleasuring himself under his soiled overcoat as he stares at you.

'Trevor! We talked about this!' She barks.

'What?!' The man protests, his left hand hidden beneath the jacket and little movements making clear that he's continuing with his self gratification.

'Out! Out now! You can't do that in the store!' She barks.

'Aw c'mon Morgan! I just.. '

She holds up the little white can in front of his face.

'Awright! Awright! I'm going!' He surrenders weakly and moves toward the door. You're glad that he's leaving, but he's heading right for you.

Awkwardly you back away from Trevor and his creepy leer until you back into a wall stocked with jingling items and phallic devices in cheap cardboard boxes. Trevor gives you a disturbing and longing gaze as he passes and you force yourself to glare at him like he was a piece of mobile pond scum as opposed to a creepy guy in a trench coat that makes your stomach clench up.

He oozes out the door and it clicks shut behind him. You make a mental note to disinfect your hands when you leave if you touch the handle.

The clerk wanders over to you and begins to apologize.

'Hey, listen, I'm really sorry about Trevor. He's normally not that... disturbing.'

'No problem. I'm fine.' You reassure her as you wonder if you should take a second shower just for being in his vicinity.

'No really, I'm sorry. I'd ban him if the owners would let me. He's gross, but he spends a ton of money on porn.'

'Somehow I do not find that incredibly surprising.' You say wryly. Morgan laughs out loud when you do.

'Ha! I like you! What's your name?' She says gleefully as she smiles at you with a ridiculously broad smile that is marred by one gold tooth.

'I'm Arianna. Just... just call me Ari.'

'Nice to meet you Ari!' She says brightly as you look up at her.

Morgan is unique, without a doubt. She has shoulder length, bright pink hair and she's shaved the sides of her head bald. She has a septum piercing and she's wearing funky but not really punky clothing and ridiculous striped stockings that would look stupid on anyone else but look quite charming on her. She's tall and lean, even thinner than the runner girl you were eyeing/envying at the health club, but she radiates a little aura of absurd good humour that sets you at ease.

She seems born to work in a porn shop. It isn't that she seems cheap or perverse, more that she'd take this sleazy little place and spin it into a thousand hilarious stories that would keep you giggling for hours.

You like her. Her demeanour is calming. And with this dark obsession you haven't felt at ease in a while.

Morgan shakes your hand and gives you the grand tour of the store. The grand tour of the store consists of her pointing at one half of the store, making a grand gesture and saying 'The porn's over here!', then turning and making an equally grand gesture to the other half of the store and saying 'The sex toys are over here!'

You giggle. She really is funny.

'So... whatcha looking for Ari?' She says with a broad smile.

'Do you always give this level of personal service Morgan?' You ask.

'Only when there's another girl in the shop, so about every four years or so.'

You laugh again.

Morgan grins at you and waits for you to stop snorting. You almost get back to calm and then you burst out laughing again.

'Wow Ari, are you nervous?' Morgan says with a smile.

'Heh... a little bit.' You say. 'I'm looking for a personal... uh... a personal...'

Your voice trails off and you blush. It's hard to say it.

'A vibrator?' Morgan asks with a small smile.

'Oh god. Yes I am.' You're certain you've turned bright pink.

'This way Ari.' Morgan says with a broad smile and yet another grand gesture and she leads you over to the sex toy section of the store.

And then she shows a mind boggling display of vibrators and dildos to you. Large ones and small ones and ones that have attachments and controllers and things you don't even recognize. All designed to bring you to glorious, intense orgasm as many times as you can bear.

It's a little intimidating. You eye a black monster with an appalled look and Morgan grins.

'I think that one's just for show.' She says with a chuckle.

'It's bigger than my arm!' You squeak.

And as you look at it in horror, you see something hanging on a peg to your right and you stop and stare at it.

It's a pair of handcuffs. A pair of shiny handcuffs with a short chain and a pair of circular keys and a little paper tag stating a price of thirty nine ninety five.

And just like that the urge is back, more powerful than ever.

You zone out for a minute and imagine yourself on your knees, the metal bracelets tight on your wrists and a similar set on your ankles and nothing else covering your skin. You look up at the dark figure and all you can see is the whip dangling from his hand...

Morgan snaps her fingers in front of your face.

'You ok Ari? You zoned out on me pretty good there!' Morgan says with another broad smile and just a hint of concern.

'I... uh... I'm sorry Morgan. Sorry. I just... I ... can I buy the handcuffs?' You babble like a confused child.

'Those?' Morgan turns and looks at the shiny metal bracelets. 'You don't want those. They're shit.'

'What do you mean?'

'They're made in china knockoffs. You could snap the chain with a strong tug. Well, I did anyways...' Morgan trails off, blushing a little.

'Wait, you wear the handcuffs?'

'Yeah. Occasionally. When I'm feeling switchy.' She tussles her hair and grimaces, embarrassed by her oversharing. 'I had a pair on like that last weekend at the Darkside and the chain snapped the moment I put some weight on it.'

You stare at her, ravenous for more information. She's living the life you've been dreaming of. Morgan and her pink hair and gold tooth and ridiculous but oh so cute striped stockings. Morgan who casually breaks handcuffs... at the Darkside.

'What is the Darkside?' You ask, and your voice trembles with desperation and need.

Morgan tells you all about it.

It's a bar, a bar that sits on the seedy side of town. A bar that caters to a special crowd. A bar that has a special back room and if you know the right people you can go back into the special room and things can happen to you.

Dark, disturbing.... Things... can happen to you.

You look up at the non descript placard hanging outside the door.

'Darkside – bar and tavern' is all the sign says.

You know they offer more. If only you could find the strength to go in.

You look up at the sign and at the door again. You clutch at the black plastic bag that holds the extra strong handcuffs and the sleek, black vibrator that Morgan says gets good reviews and is too intense for her liking.

Too intense seems to be exactly what you're looking for.

You look up at the sign again then back at your car. This really is a shitty section of town. You shouldn't hang out here. Bad things could happen.

Yes, bad things could happen.

Abruptly you open the door and enter the dark, dingy bar. It's certainly not much to look at. There are a lot of beaten up tables and chairs and more than a few televisions around the room showing a random science fiction movie that you don't recognize. A large wooden bar takes up the one side of the room and someone obviously loves it because it's polished and shiny and beautiful. Gleaming brass rails polished to dullness and then polished all the way back to shiny circles the bottom of the old school wooden bar.

A large selection of liquor sits behind the counter with plentiful glassware and a reasonably large selection of beers. It's a little odd when you look around at the empty bar and see that quiet would be a massive uptick from the silence you hear now.

How is this place even in business?

'Can I help you Miss?' The rough voice says behind you and you nearly jump out of your skin.

You spin and see the wiry, hard looking man reclining on a chair in the corner. A tall glass of dark beer sits next to him. He's wearing a simple black t-shirt with blue jeans and a pair of expensive looking sneakers that are well broken in. His face is stubbled and his shock of whitish blonde hair is cut short and spiky. A small scar creases his right cheek. He wears a pair of spectacles that clash with the rest of his look.

You sense he cares little for how he appears.

He eyes you critically. The way a spider looks at a fly.

Suddenly you feel very small.

'Miss?' he says again, still reclined on the chair.

'Uh... I... was talking with a... friend and she told me... there... there...'

You feel incredibly awkward. Why is this hard?

'There what?' Says the man relaxed on the chair.

'She said there's a special room here. In the... back.'

The man snorts and gives you a disdainful look. You wince a little at that. You don't know why.

'And what would this friend's name be?' He asks casually.

'Morgan. Her name was Morgan. She has... pink hair.'

'I know who she is.' He states dryly.

He picks up his glass and takes a long pull of the black liquid. Then he sits back and sizes you up again.

He doesn't look at you like the pervy guy in the sex shop does. This is a different look. Before with Morgan, the creep looked at you with pure lust. This gaze is different. You feel like you're being measured, evaluated... judged.

Who is this guy to judge you?

'What are you looking at?' You demand of him.

He snorts again.

'Morgan is losing her touch.' He says cryptically.

'What does that mean?' You question him again.

'What it means...' He says with a smirk as he sets the glass on the table. '... is that if you want to see the backroom it's twenty bucks.'

You glare at him, then fish a twenty of your pocket and set it on the table. He looks at it and smiles at you.

'There's a two drink minimum.' He says with a sly smile.

'How much are drinks?' You ask calmly and try not to roll your eyes.

'For you? Ten bucks each.' He says with that same annoying smirk plastered across his face.

You grit your teeth and fish another twenty out of your pocket.

The man looks down at the two twenties, and then looks back to you with a completely deadpan look on his face.

'No tip?'

'Are you going to show me the back room, or not?'

He grins, and then stands up. He's taller and thinner than you imagined.

'Absolutely short stuff. Follow me.' And he walks towards the back of the bar.

'My name is Arianna, thank you very much!' You say with some frustration. You cannot believe how rude this man is being to you. This gangly, wiry annoying prick walks in front of you and into the shadows...

The plastic bag with the handcuffs and the vibrator clatter onto the floor as you stop dead. You're seen this before, when you were having the nightmare that wasn't a nightmare.

He's tall and wiry and mean looking and he's wrapped in shadow in the back of this dingy little bar. He stops and looks back at you. He doesn't look concerned, he looks annoyed. His face is hard.

'Move it shorty.' He growls at you. 'You wanna see the back room or not?

'Yes. Yes I do.' And you walk forward through the door with him.

You look around the room and catch your breath. It's everything Morgan told you it was, and more. There are cages and chains and restraints and... things you do not recognize.

'What is that?' You point at a wooden triangle standing upright. Chains and manacles protrude from it.

'It's a horse. You ride it.'

'How do you ride it?'

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