I turned and looked at Knox, who stood by the door watching me examine the room. “How do I earn the credits?” I was almost too scared to ask the question in fear of what I would hear.
“By doing every single thing I say without protest. If you argue or put up a fight, I will still do what I intended to do, but you won’t earn a credit for it.”
“What do you intend to do to me?” My voice cracked, and I thought I would have to run to the small bathroom I saw attached to the room and throw up.
“Make you pay your penance.”
Knox took a step toward me. “You’ll see.” He reached into a leather holder on his belt and pulled out a knife. The silver of the blade glimmered beneath the light cast by a small chandelier above. “But it’s time we begin.” He took another menacing step toward me as my heart stopped. “Remove all your clothing.”
His command was accented by the scream of a woman in another room, as if I needed a reminder of what would come if I said no.
I reached for the top button of my blouse and slowly unbuttoned it. “Am I to be a whore to earn these credits?” I asked, staring him directly in the eyes. “So, I have to fuck you in order to be free? Is that what I am understanding?”
Knox closed the distance between us and placed the knife at the side of my neck right below my earlobe. “Fucking you would give you pleasure. And the last thing I plan on doing to you right now is give you pleasure, my dear sparrow.” He ran the knife along my collarbone and down until it reached my fingertips holding the button of my blouse. He then forced the blade between the button and the fabric and started plucking the buttons right off, disrobing me his way.
“Am I to fuck Oz then? Is that what he is expecting in exchange for my life?” I remained perfectly still. The knife was so close to my flesh that I worried the slightest move would have it slicing my skin instead of the blouse.
“No,” Knox answered as he used the knife to cut through the thin band connecting my bra between my breasts. “Oz isn’t here. He rarely visits the manor, but instead leaves the punishments in the hands of his hired monsters.” He paused and looked me directly in the eyes as the cool air kissed my now exposed nipples as Knox ripped the material of the bra off me. “And you will be punished, my sparrow. You will definitely be punished.” He took a step back and said, “Now remove the rest of your clothes and stand naked before me. I will give you your first opportunity to earn a credit.” When I didn’t move right away, he raised one eyebrow and added, “You will be naked standing before me one way or the other. I’m giving you the opportunity to at least earn a credit toward your debt for the act. Your choice.”
Glancing at the knife in his hand, and then at the way his jaw clenched while he waited, I decided it best to do exactly as he commanded. At least for now. I had to regroup. Think everything through. I needed time to process, but I needed to be alive to do so. So, if all I had to do was stand naked before this monster, then so be it. Trying to not overthink, or allow my pride to get in the way of my survival, I disrobed as fast as I could.
“Leave your panties on,” he instructed. “For now. I like the way they look on you. Delicate and sexy.”
I paused as his deep voice broke my spell of compliance. “I don’t understand what’s happening. What is going to happen to me?” My voice quivered as much as my body did. Fresh tears erupted and ran down my cheeks as I watched Knox, who kept the same cold expression on his face he had from the beginning.
He once again closed the distance between us and put the knife under my chin so I had to look up into his brown eyes. He inhaled deeply. “I love the way your tears smell against your cheeks.” He pressed the tip of the knife into my skin, forcing a gasp to break free from my closed lips. He then darted his tongue past his lips and licked a trail up my cheek, collecting my tears for his tasting. “These will not be the last of your tears,” he nearly growled as he then lowered the knife to the edge of my panties.
“Please,” I said softly. Another sob broke free. “I’ll do as you ask. I’m scared. Please don’t hurt me.”