Note: Though this is not actually in Tears of Surrender, it was fun to imagine what an interview might have been like with Mercer soon after Parin becomes his slave. Women on Midros are trained from the age of 5 to be slaves, but Parin was raised off the planet since she was a baby when her parents escaped. She’s been recaptured as an adult. This is about two weeks after arriving at Mercer’s house.
~ ~ ~
Transcript of on-camera interview with Mercer Pennis about his new slave, including some interesting behind-the-scenes interaction after the interview ends.
Reporter: Thank you for allowing us to interview you in your home. So, Mr. Pennis, all of Midros wants to know how it’s going with the first off-world slave in a generation? Your father made such a stunning bid for her the other week. How did she end up here, with you? Did he purchase her for you?
Mercer: Not exactly. But let’s just say that we came to an understanding about ownership, and now she’s here. <He leans down to pet the head of the slave kneeling next to him. She’s naked except for her silver collar, and bent over with her face almost to the floor. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a tie, and the ends of a bit gag peek out of the corners of her mouth. Her hands are folded neatly together under her chin. >
Reporter: I see that her ass has a number of cane strokes running across it. How difficult has it been to train her?
Mercer: There’s been a few challenges. She definitely has no understanding of her role. She thinks it’s acceptable to speak to me any time she wants, in any manner she wants. I’ve whipped her several times for that, and she’s been wearing a gag since last night for one particularly outrageous outburst.
Reporter: Yes, she’s certainly quiet right now. You have her collar on a short chain that’s bolted to the floor. Is this a punishment?
Mercer: No, it’s just some education. She doesn’t stay where she’s put, or come when she’s called, either. So she’s going to practice staying still for a few hours, and I’ll punish her for any movement. I might put some ginger up her ass to make it more challenging.
< Sound of whimpering from the slave >
Reporter: Hmm, it appears she has something to say about that.
Mercer: Yes, she’s just earned another cane stroke. I’m also teaching her to get used to me touching and stroking her any time I want to. She told me the other day to stop doing that.
< Disbelieving laughter from the camera crew out of sight >
Mercer: Yes, it was amusing. I think she’s getting more used to it, though, and she doesn’t protest as much anymore. < He runs his hand down the slave’s back, between her cheeks, and then slips several fingers into her cunt. She squeals. He frowns, but when he pulls his hand back up it’s wet.> I think it’s harder for her tonight to be displayed in front of so many people. It’s just been the two of us for a couple weeks. My apologies. But overall, she’s responding well to my conditioning.
Reporter: No apologies, please. If we want to see a trained slave, we’d just go home. It’s fascinating to see what an untrained one acts like. You showed us how wet she is now. Does she stay like that always?
Mercer: Most of the time. I edge her four or five times in the morning, then after lunch, and again before bed. If I do a random check in the day and she’s not wet, I’ll edge her then and there. In a few weeks, it will be automatic for her to remain wet, and then I’ll reinforce the lesson by spanking her if she’s dry. Spanking her always makes her wet and more submissive, so we do it at least once a day in addition to any punishments.
Reporter: I see she has an electrochaste belt on. Has she actually tried to masturbate?
Mercer: Oh, yes. We had quite the time with that. She managed to sneak one past me when I didn’t have the shocks turned up enough.
Reporter: What did you do?
Mercer: I turned the shocks up two levels, so the first shock is really unpleasant, and the second is awful. I had to hold her down and trigger it to demonstrate to her what would happen, and she certainly learned her lesson. Didn’t you, Parin? <He strokes the back of the woman again, and when she doesn’t answer, he gathers her hair in his hand and tugs her head up. He’s surprisingly gentle even though she’s being disobedient.>
Parin? Did you learn your lesson about masturbating? <The slave nods yes, and he lets go of her hair, then strokes her back. She’s trembling, and he continues to stroke her, talking in low tones, bent over and close to her ear. She nods again. He sits back up.>
Reporter: May I ask what you just said to her?
Mercer: I told her she was being good, and that I was proud of her. I feel it’s important to encourage them as well as punish them. It makes for a more well-rounded slave.
Reporter: That’s an interesting philosophy. Very modern. What other issues have come up?
Mercer: Well, I don’t trust her not to run, so she wears chains between her wrists and ankles that are too short for her to stand up. Even when she’s ready to be allowed to walk, I’ll be keeping her on a leash for a long time. I hope it’s not too many years, but it depends on how well she settles down.
Reporter: Any plans to brand her? That’s very popular right now.
<The slave tries to look up and when the chain on her collar is too tight, she begins to fight it, yanking her head and swinging her hips, obviously attempting to get away. Mr. Pennis tries to speak to her but she isn’t listening. Everyone in the room is watching, fascinated by this act of rebellion. He kneels down next to her, calling her name. He’s very patient with her. Finally, he puts one hand on her neck to pin her in place, and with the other hand he smacks her red bottom several times. His spanking technique is good, and each slap leaves a dark red imprint behind. She stops struggling after five blows. She’s crying. He leans over her once more and talks too softly for us to hear, then to our surprise he unbuckles the gag from her mouth. She says something quietly to him, and he replies back, and then pets her head as he stands up.
Mercer: Apologies again. The idea of being branded is terrifying. I just reassured her I wasn’t planning to do it to her.
Reporter: Why did you tell her that? You could have used that fear to keep her under control.
Mercer: I don’t believe in lying to her. I think she’ll become more obedient if she knows she can trust me. I know that’s not a widely-held opinion.
Reporter: You are certainly right about that. Does she have any skills, or are you having to teach her those, too?
Mercer: <chuckles> She doesn’t know how to cook or clean, and she’s having to learn everything about pleasuring me. I don’t know what she was taught where she lived before, but it wasn’t anything useful.
Reporter: Well, we’re just about out of time. Thank you for allowing us to do this interview. This has been fascinating.
< They stand and shake hands. The bright lights turn off, and the crew starts gathering things together. It takes them about 15 minutes. The slave is still in her kneeling position as Mercer talks quietly with the reporter. Then she lifts her head as much as she can and surprises the whole room by calling out to him, begging to be allowed to move, claiming she’s cramped and in pain. He shakes his head no to her as a good owner should when a slave begs for something, but she stuns everyone again by asking again. He excuses himself from his conversation and returns to her side, picking up the gag and pushing it back into her mouth. She starts crying again, but as he talks to her and strokes her head she quiets. He’s a surprising mix of stern and gentle. We’ll have to see if it works, and if he’ll grant us another interview so we can follow along with her progress.>
They came for me one night, just as my father had warned me they would. My husband had just patted my arm and reassured me it was the story of an old man.
He was wrong.
~ ~ ~
Masked figures entered our bedroom so silently that despite my restless sleep, the first I knew of the invasion was a hand over my mouth and a gun in my face. My eyes flicked to the left where Jack lay. He had a gun to his face as well.
“Livvi? You okay?” I could hear the fear in his voice.
“Mmm hmm.” With a large sweaty palm over my mouth, that was the best response I could give.
“Get up.” The gunman over me waved his weapon in the direction of the closet. “Get dressed. And if you make a fucking sound, I’ll kill him.”
There wasn’t any point to making a sound. No one would rush to my aid, not in this town. And honestly, I was almost relieved, in a ‘feels-so-good-to-have-the-boil-lanced’ kind of way.
What does one wear to a kidnapping? If they were giving me a choice, then I opted for a turtleneck sweater, sturdy jeans, thick socks, and boots. It had been unusually bitterly cold outside earlier today when we’d laid my father’s body to rest beside the flat, hard-packed earth of my mother’s grave.
My thick and frustratingly curly hair had been braided since before the funeral yesterday, so I didn’t bother with it.
As soon as I pulled the second boot on, one masked man grabbed an elbow, and a second one grabbed the other side, and they hustled me to the bedroom door. My courage began to waver as I realized I didn’t know if I’d ever see my husband again.
There was no answer.
They dragged me through the hall and down the stairs, and out the front door into the night. A black SUV waited at the curb, the tailpipe exhaust billowing in the cold. A third dark figure stood motionless next to an open door. As they pushed me into the back seat, my shirt rode up. A cold draft whistled down my jeans. Fuck. I forgot to put on underwear.
~ ~ ~
It was no surprise where the SUV took me. I took a deep breath as I got out in front of the sprawling old stone manor that belonged to Jacob Schultzman. As teenagers, my girlfriends and I had speculated just what kind of wonders lay beyond the massive wooden front door, or behind the lattice glass of the casement windows. There had been rumors of a handsome son, but he’d been sent away to schools since he was a little boy and no one ever remembered seeing him.
The person inside I knew as well as anyone in town knew him. Jacob Schultzmann owned everything, and pretty much everyone, in town. If you needed to buy a house, you went to Schultzman Realty. If you needed a mortgage for the house, you made an appointment at Schultzman Savings and Loan. If you had a child, she went to Schultzman Elementary School. Same for the hospital – all named after him.
And if you needed the police or the court system – well, you’d better hope you weren’t on the opposite of the issue from him. He pretty much owned them as well.
For the most part, things ran smoothly. He was good for our town. Crime was low, jobs plentiful, no one was homeless. But there were rumors that spoke of evil lurking below the surface.
And I had known the truth of those rumors for a while now.
As I walked up the broad stone steps, the dread in the pit of my stomach got worse. The door swung open silently. I entered the foyer and looked around, concealing my astonishment. There was marble everywhere. The floor, the walls, the matched set of curved stairs that ran on either side of the hallway up to a balcony, even the railings of the balcony itself.
Perhaps marble is easier to clean when it gets stained with blood?
Stop that! Jesus, Livvi!
My escort, who had removed his balaclava, nudged me to the left. I entered a richly decorated room – red carpet, red flocked walls, mahogany trim, and stuffy, uncomfortable sofas. And of course, a magnificent, over-sized desk complete with scroll work on the corners, polished until it shone. Sitting behind it was Jacob Schultzman.
I’d seen him before in public, and he wasn’t much to look at. Balding and given to a slight paunch, he had a face that sported a five o’clock shadow just fifteen minutes after he shaved. He had piercing blue eyes you could see from a hundred feet away. I’d never been this close to him before. Up close, he radiated power like a furnace radiated heat. Almost everyone called him J.S. when they were talking about him, and Mr. Schultzman when they were talking to him.
“Olivia Parkhurst. Oh, excuse me. I forgot you were married. Olivia Rye. Welcome.”
“I suppose I should thank you for letting me attend my father’s funeral before dragging me away.”
He inclined his head, ever the gracious ruler. Fuck him.
“So exactly why am I here?”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Didn’t your father fill you in?”
It almost killed him to tell me what he did. “Of course he did. But I’d like to hear it from your perspective.”
~ ~ ~
Ever since my father’s whispered, tearful confession, I had lived in dread of this moment. He’d pulled me aside on my eighteenth birthday. He looked older and worn down, and even in my self-centered youth I could sense something really wrong. He pulled at a thread on his well-worn pants, avoiding eye contact.
“I did something a long time ago that I don’t regret, but there were consequences I didn’t anticipate. You need to know about them. You remember I told you how your mom and I met?”
“Of course. She was a maid at a hotel you stayed in, and you fell in love with her on the spot and eloped.”
“That wasn’t quite how it happened. I had a meeting at the house of a… client. Your mother was …employed there. I was attracted to her. And we did elope that night.” He ran his hand through his thin gray hair. “The client was Jacob Schultzman.”
I did a double-take. My father was a financial planner, but he’d never had more than one or two clients at a time, and he certainly didn’t run in the same circles Jacob Shultzman did.
“The truth was, we didn’t elope for love. I helped her escape.”
My mouth fell open. “Escape from what?”
Dad chewed on his lip and took a minute to reply. “From being ill-used.”
I looked at him sideways. “Ill-used? What the hell does that mean?”
He resumed picking at the thread and didn’t answer.
“Never mind. I think I get the picture.” I felt sick.
“We ran away, as far away as we could, to the other side of the country. And we thought we’d started fresh. We got new identities through some connections. We had a home, and I had a good position in a prestigious firm, and then we had you. And it was perfect for a while.”
“One day when you were two, and your mama wasn’t home, J.S. showed up at our front door. He was so angry I honestly thought he’d kill me right there. And then, you ran into the room, like a ray of sunshine. He smiled and picked you up, and said he had a deal for me. He wouldn’t take your mother away from you. And he wouldn’t kill me. We would come home and I would work for him for the next 25 years, until you were the age that your mother was when we eloped. He would pay me a modest amount of money to live on. After twenty-five years, the debt would be forgiven. And if I didn’t agree, he’d take you away, right then. He started making funny noises at you, and you laughed and gave him a kiss. I had no choice, and I agreed on the spot.”
“Dad…” I reached my hand out and held his tight. It was bony and cold. When had he gotten so old?
“There was one more part to this so-called deal. If I died before the debt was paid, you had to finish the time. Doing what your mother did.”
I stopped breathing. And then I started again – fast and shaky. “Dad?”
“If you weren’t yet eighteen, he’d wait until you were. If you were older, he’d collect right away. Livvi, I wasn’t going to accept those terms! How could I? And then he walked out the door with you, and his bodyguard blocked me from leaving the house, and he got in his car and started to shut the door…And I screamed at him that I agreed. I had to.” He was hunched down, tears running down his face. I put my arms around him.
“What else could I do?” He wiped his face with his hands. “So, we moved back here. I went to work for him. Your mother just knows I’m working for him and why, but I never told her what happens if I die. And I’ve been working for him for sixteen years now.”
“And nine to go?”
He nodded. “You’ll be twenty-seven when it’s done.” He looked up at me and I watched him force a smile on his face. “And I have no intention of dying before then, I promise!”
“So what do I do now?”
“Nothing. You go to college. You study hard, you graduate, and get a good job. I’ll continue to do what I’m doing, and in nine years it will be over.”
Go to college? Study? Get a job? Suddenly, none of that seemed in my future. I could think of nothing else besides what if? What if?
~ ~ ~
But eventually the worry faded. There was too much excitement in my new life. I did go to college, and I met a man there – Jack – and from the first, we were inseparable. He was tall, with deep brown hair, and emerald green eyes that almost seemed to glow in the dark. He was every woman’s Prince Charming. And the day before graduation, he asked me to marry him. My parents were ecstatic.
I loved my husband fiercely. We had the occasional rough patch, of course. Sometimes he seemed moody and irritated by trivial things, especially when he returned from the frequent business trips his law firm sent him on. I learned to give him space and time, and he got over it and was his usual self again. A year after we got married, my mother passed away, and my husband held me while I cried. My dad looked lost without her, but refused my pleas for him to move in with us.
Dad stayed in good health, and I tried not to think about the time he had left to serve. Five years. Four years. Three. Two. Early on, I had told my husband about my father’s secret. He looked at me disbelievingly and pulled me close. “That’s something out of a good crime drama. Things like that don’t happen in real life.” He hadn’t seen the fear that I’d seen in my father’s eyes the day he told me. I had no doubts.
I never brought it up again.
And then, thirteen months before the debt was paid, a phone call came. Massive stroke. No chance of recovery. A bedside vigil. I’m not ashamed to say that I begged the doctors to keep him alive long past when I should have let him go. They looked at me with pity and sent a grief counselor in to talk. But she didn’t understand. She couldn’t.
Then my father made the decision for us all, and simply stopped breathing.
And yesterday I had watched his coffin be lowered into the grave as the icy wind swept over the mourners, and a cold stillness swept over my heart.
Friends and family extended their condolences at the house afterwords, no doubt sure that the pallor in my skin was from tiredness and grief. They were right about one thing. Part of my pallor was fatigue. I hadn’t slept more than an hour or two at a time for several weeks, since it became obvious he wouldn’t survive the massive stroke.
And when I went to bed last night, I knew the time was short.
~ ~ ~
From “Tears (of a Slave)” I’m having fun posting teasers!
Continuing their discussion of punishments after Mercer spanked Parin at the dinner table:
“I don’t want to be punished!”
He smiled at her much like a tolerant parent with a naughty child. “No slave is ever perfect. Punishment reinforces what you did wrong, and gives you the incentive to correct your behavior.”
“But – but – where I come from, when I make a mistake, i apologize, and try to do better next time. You don’t have to punish me!”
“But I’m going to make you do things you don’t want to do. And when you rebel, having to apologize isn’t enough to give you the incentive to change your mind. Punishment – usually painful, and always unpleasant – restores the balance that gets upset when you decide that your will is more important than mine.”
I think that’s my new favorite explanation of why slaves must be punished.
From “Tears (of a Slave) – Midrosian Chronicles Book 3″ – the book that has taken me nine months to write! I’m doing final edits now, so look for it to be out late summer!
Parin tried to run away. It didn’t work. Now she has to make a decision:
“What do I have to do if I stay here?”
He looked at her incredulously. “I’m saving you from my father and everything he’d do to you as a runaway slave, and you want to negotiate?”
“No, I want to know if staying with you is better than killing myself.”
He let out a breath as he dropped into a chair. “All right. Fair enough.” He thought. He hadn’t planned to own a slave. What would she do? “You’d cook and clean, and… do whatever else I wanted you to do.”
“Would you expect me to have sex with you?”
He furrowed his brow. “I don’t usually have sex with a slave; I use a slave for sex.”
She understood the difference. “Would I be safer here than at your father’s?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Yes. Considerably.”
He nodded and stood, a little confused at how he’d let himself be manipulated into bargaining with a slave. “I’ll be back in a little bit.”
“I have to pee.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Hold it.”
Stay tuned – more excerpts to come!