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The Tie that Binds

On the fourth Daze of Christmas,

James Shaffer gives us whips, masks, and leather.

The Tie that Binds by James Shaffer

Helen drugged him. She slipped some pills in the mulled wine. Blame it on warm drinks, or  blame it on Their site alert, five golden rings. He'd sent the alert to his phone. She'd heard it ring. Bi-bi-bi-bi-bing.

Then he’d give a quick excuse to leave the room. “Sorry. Work,” he'd say.

But Helen knew: his babe was on line, naked maybe--the hot slut!

Laid out on the sitting room floor, Dave looked peaceful; a holiday tribute, peace on Earth. All her good will had gone to Dave over the years. She entertained his clients and kept house.

Dave? Dave was her good-will benefactor who forgot their anniversary and Helen’s birthday, but somehow remembered his secretary's. He’d sent Helen to buy the flowers. Dave was a real gem.

She stripped him naked. A diamond in the rough, he’d said. She stared down at him. More a lump of coal, she thought.

She'd been planning for this night. Bought the plastic ties at the hardware store. She pulled those plasti-cuffs tight. She'd seen enough of those TV cop videos.
The doorbell rang. Helen checked her watch. Those phone orders were quick. She’d explained what she wanted and paid with Dave's credit card, an added holiday treat.
Helen opened the door.
The lady had a big smile. “Hi. My name is Wanda.”
“Helen. Please come in.”
Wanda's six-foot frame clomped into the hallway on stiletto heels. The fluffy coat she wore didn't hide her broad shoulders and hips. She hefted a large black case in front of her and set it on the floor.
Helen took her coat.

Wanda sported a tight little black leather, mid-thigh number. It amply displayed every contour of her well-toned body. Wanda turned to Helen. “Where's our boy?” She rubbed her hands together in anticipation.
Helen led Wanda into the sitting room and pointed down at Dave, who was still out cold.
“My, he does look peaceful, doesn't he?” asked Wanda.
“A real holiday tribute,” answered Helen.
After a moment of contemplation, Wanda broke the silence with a clap. “Well, let's get going. I've got my little show to set up. It takes a few minutes.” She stomped over to her black case and started pulling things out: metal tubes, lights, and rods.
Helen left her to it.

About ten minutes later, Wanda called out, “Hey, Helen, what do you think?”

Helen entered and stared wide-eyed at a kind of dome tent in the middle of her sitting room. Its wide opening faced the sofa.
“I'm impressed,” Helen said.
“Thanks. It's got strobe lights and music. Black Sabbath, my choice.”
Wanda cut Dave’s cuffs, and Helen helped strap him into a kind of metal high chair just inside the tent.  
“I picked this up recently. Can’t have too many of these.” She handed Helen a black, leather hood that pulled down over the head. “Okay. We're ready to start. Hit the lights, Helen.”
Wanda flipped a switch.

Helen found her way to the sofa. She sat facing Dave. The music shrieked and vibrated her teeth. She pulled the leather hood over her head and found the eye holes. She wanted to watch.

The lights strobed as Wanda, standing behind Dave, raised her muscled arm and lashed his back with a whip.

Dave bolted upright. His eyes popped open wide, wild and red, filled with surprise--and pain; lots of pain.
As Wanda raised the whip again, Dave saw Helen's leather face.

And Helen saw him. She pulled the hood off her head and leaned toward him. Her face a stroboscopic white mask with a distorted black hole for a mouth that screamed, “Merry Christmas, Dave!” 

Born in the USA, James Shaffer has spent almost half his life in Europe. He lives in the South East of England where he writes, reads, and watches movies. He's had thirty-some stories published in online magazines such as Near to the Knuckle and Bewildering Stories. Being a serious fan of noir, he hopes the stories he writes bring to life some of the creatures that live on its dark, wet streets.