Malcolm grinned smugly at the pallid curves that rested atop his lap. Having Veronica here, like this, took effort and time to orchestrate. There was nothing easy about arranging such a tryst in these conservative and repressed times. Social convention made any such encounter nearly impossible. It was only because the girl had no family and was of a very liberal and hedonistic mind that she could ever socially survive such a decadent relationship and therefore agree to one. And yet, here they were. Here she was…...yet again. She had come before.. His hand descended sharply, with intent. The pale muscle wobbled from the impact before displaying a pink replication of the palm and five digits that had just struck it. Malcolm slapped the opposite mound and smiled at the restrained reaction in his prey. He loved when a girl enjoyed herself and wondered whether he might be IN love with her as well, or perhaps he just loved what he was doing to her?

  There was no punitive reason for the spanking. Veronica was not a servant in disgrace, no wayward niece, and she was certainly no schoolgirl. No, this spanking, while it hurt perhaps as much as any for the aforementioned situations, was purely for mutual gratification. And gratifying it was. Malcolm paused and savored the moment, watching the small naked bottom twitch a bit in anticipation of another strike. She was waiting for it. Wanting more. They had only just begun after all. There was a lot more to come. By the time he finished, he would make sure she’d yip at each bump during her carriage ride home. It was what she asked for. She’d be disappointed otherwise.

  Unwilling to displease this exceptional petite beauty, and even more willing to indulge his own desire to deliver blow after blow, Malcolm drew back his hand and struck again in a series of rapid, alternating slaps. It was time she began feeling what a true spanking meant. Unable to process the staccato stings, Veronica kicked wildly, but otherwise made no attempt to escape. She wanted this pain, even if her body thought she was crazy. The erratic undulations of creamy white skin reminded Malcolm of a bedsheet billowing on a clothesline, except Veronica’s nude form was far more shapely and organic.

  As the spanking progressed, Veronica found it harder to take the pain quietly. The searing burn, though delectable, still prompted reaction. She yelped at the following smack, swallowed, sighed, then yelped again at the next. As the heat in her throbbing bottom grew, she became more wanton in her reactions…...both physically and vocally, yet still made no attempt at ending the ordeal. Despite the pain, she hoped it would go on forever. Each spank now produced a loud reaction and while Malcolm enjoyed the sounds of a victim in distress, he also knew that such a risky and misunderstood activity could not be made known through careless vocalizations. Veronica knew this as well, but could not help herself, so when she felt Malcolm’s strong hand cup her mouth, she did not wriggle from it but welcomed the additional assertiveness, arching herself backward to accept the control. It fed her submission. 

  Thus restrained and muffled she felt even freer to react. But her increased wriggling worried Malcolm and he instinctively grasped her tighter to prevent her noises from giving them away to eavesdropping ears. Thus silenced, Malcolm continued to crisply slap the beautifully-reddened posterior. By now the girl’s bottom was a glorious combination of color, heat, and texture. ‘What a magnificent creature,’ he thought to himself as he renewed his attack with fervor. Maybe he did love her? Was it possible?

  Unfortunately something in Malcolm’s increasingly forceful determination shifted Veronica’s mood from submissive appreciation to concern, and she now found herself trying to desperately tell him so. It’s not that she wanted him to stop, just to ease up ever so slightly. But her cupped mouth prevented any communication and so she struggled harder against him. Malcolm only reacted to this with more restraint pulling back even harder on her head. Panic overtook the flailing woman. But her struggling was futile. Malcolm just met each increase in resistance with a strengthening grip, pulling back harder and harder…...until the wriggling reached an impassioned crescendo, then stopped. The sudden cessation surprised Malcolm, who was enjoying Veronica’s spirited interaction. Her wanton expression of dueling emotions thrilled him as he devoured the contradictory urges of surrender and resistance. So he frowned at this sudden complacence.

  Letting go of Veronica’s mouth, he asked her why she was no longer playing the desperate captive, but as soon as he released his grip, her arched head flopped forward limply. Not one to panic, Malcolm assumed she merely fainted from all of the excitement, and gently lifted her from his lap and gallantly laid her upon the mattress so he could fan her back to consciousness. She weighed nearly nothing…..a mere bird of a woman. But as soon as her head fell back lifelessly on the coverlet, Malcolm saw the open eyes, plaintive and terror-stricken. His usual calm quickly soured to a sickening spasm in his stomach.

  Despite his feelings for this woman, a man in his position could not afford scandal.Too many questions would lead to revelations that could well ruin him. No, he had to keep this quiet. He had to dispose of the body, but how? Malcolm knew all too well how his neighbors pried into each other’s affairs under the guise of polite concern. Even with darkness to obscure his activities, he simply could not risk leaving the house with anything resembling a body. He had heard tell of others, who similarly challenged, resorted to dismemberment, but even these people aroused suspicion with their frequent, package-laden departures and were eventually undone. No, he had to somehow conceal what was left of his adventurous playmate somewhere in the house, and fortunately for him, his home was large enough to offer several possibilities. As he plotted, Malcolm recalled how Veronica’s solitary existence in the world used to sadden him, but now he appreciated her lack of relations and isolated lifestyle, and even if the girl was missed by someone, no one would be able to link his name to hers. Meticulous caution had its rewards, and he was not about to become careless now.

----------

  Immediately following the accident and his creative concealment of Veronica’s corpse, Malcolm brooded in worry and regret, cursing his own unnatural appetites for causing his current situation, but as time passed, it became clear that his earlier confidence was justified. No one inquired about Veronica. Even the papers carried no story of a missing person. Her employer and landlord must have just assumed she ran off, perhaps to elope with some secret lover, and with no family to ask questions or to report her missing, she was written off as another irresponsible girl and forgotten.

  Eventually, as Malcolm grew more confident in his successful cover-up, his unusual appetites resurfaced, but he stuck stubbornly to his prudent ways and opted to satisfy his urges more safely and privately than seeking live companionship. Besides, he needed to wait for the lingering odor that drifted up from the basement to dissipate a bit more before having company.

  One Friday evening after leaving his place of employment, Malcolm dined early and retired to his room accompanied only by a bottle of dry sherry, a clean glass, and a tied folder filled with sepia-tinted photographs of ladies in various poses and situations, all revolving around the subject of discipline, whether domestic in nature or blended into some illicit Lesbian relationship. He had spent some effort and expense in obtaining this collection and, as was his nature, devoted equal care in ensuring his collection remained a hidden and secret indulgence. Only he knew of the wall panel in his study that slid with the right touch to reveal a compartment well-suited to hide his treasure of bare-bottomed darlings.

  There was one picture in his collection he had always preferred above the others which featured a diminutive young lady, dressed as a servant, whose long dark hair and waiflike body resembled his dear departed Veronica. The lookalike model posed bent over a stool, skirts up and wincing, as the ‘Lady of the House’ applied a ribboned bundle of birch branches to her exposed bottom. A broken pitcher in the foreground provided the simple rationale for the chastisement. Whenever Malcolm’s longings grew desperate and he could not be with Veronica, he would turn to this scene and pleasure himself. But now the picture sickened him. Impetuously he tore the offending image and tossed it on the floor……. as if such action would expunge her memory, and quickly sorted through the other photographs until he found another that excited him. 

  Satisfied with a new image, he finished his sherry, adjusted the wick in the flickering lamp, and reclined against his pillow. The subject of his new selection was a plump beauty who could well be Veronica’s polar opposite, dimpled, blonde, and practically cheery in her plight. Malcolm pictured this eager vixen squirming over his lap and reached for himself. Images flooded his mind of the smooth doughy buttocks clenching and coloring under his hand. He imagined the interwoven slaps and squeals as his body tensed and his breath grew rhythmic until he finally arched and ejected a spitload of cum high into the air, nearly splattering the newly-beloved object of his fantasy. Overcome with relief and post-orgasmic fatigue, Malcolm allowed himself to doze off just as he was, stained but contented. And as he pushed his precious collection aside, he drifted off, hearing what seemed to be moans that were not his own as he hovered in the limbo between wakefulness and slumber. He shivered at a passing chill and unconsciously dragged the coverlet across himself.

  The next morning, Malcolm awoke refreshed. He cleaned himself up and changed his clothing before gathering up his photographs and returning them to their special place to await the next time they would be called upon to provide stimulation. Thus renewed, he ventured back out into the world determined to break his fast and enjoy a day out of both his office and home. Sunshine seemed to render the recollections of his darker deeds and desires superfluous and he exhausted every opportunity to assuage his boredom with whatever wholesome diversion his bustling city could offer. 

  As the sun set early in the Autumn evening, Malcolm found himself dining out alone. His ample means allowed him to indulge in a fine meal of Duck confit and several glasses of sherry. But since eating alone provided little distraction, observing those around him became his primary amusement. In a city like this, the bounty of lovely young ladies provided considerable fodder for his thoughts, which like the day, grew darker as time went on. He pictured each proper woman seated around him stripped of her finery and modesty, sprawled luridly over his lap as the scent of her imported perfume commingled with the musk emanating from her nethers. His hard hand would spank away the conservative decorum borne of their station in society, until they were nothing but weeping tangles of naked, sweaty limbs and repentant tears. As the sherry took deeper hold, Malcolm’s casual gazing gave way to leering. One lady who had become the frequent object of his attention caught him staring and rebuked him silently with her own expression. Malcolm realized he needed to leave and return to the safety of his home since he could no longer trust his own impaired sense of discretion.

  It was rare that his appetites would return so soon after a private release. It normally took a few days before the hunger replaced his self-loathing, but Malcolm found himself hurrying home with long, purposeful strides, eager to revisit his cache of photographs and once again rub away the desires overwhelming him. He entered his home with lecherous intent and after locking the door, made his way to the study, lighting lamps as he went. The house felt oddly colder than the air outside and he contemplated whether or not to make a fire as he retrieved his beloved folder. He smiled as he held it. He could soon be himself once more. Eagerness and lust raised the temperature of his now-pulsing blood and he dismissed the effort of a fire in favor of other warming activities. 

  Normally more reclusive when indulging himself, but emboldened by the sherry, and stimulated by his imagination, Malcolm just sat himself in a plush chair near the lamp and opted to pleasure himself right then and there. All he needed now was the blonde imp who inspired him the night before, but as he opened his folder, he was shocked by what he saw. Every image had been cruelly marred. Every face and every bottom had been burned away as if held above a candle so that only a charred hole remained. But how could this be?

  A nauseating worry flooded his gut. Who could have done this? He had no servants. Even though he could well afford help, he could not afford to have any witnesses to his activities, and so he had always maintained his own estate. Furthermore, no one had access to his home and there seemed to be no indication that someone had entered unlawfully. Even if they had, why would they leave his valuables and target a photograph collection whose existence and location was secret? Anger, fear, frustration, and worry obliterated his lustful mood and he decided to retire and contemplate what to do next since, in his case, calling the police would not be prudent. 

  Making his way to his room through the darkened house, Malcolm again felt the chill that first greeted him as he entered. Thoughts and doubts taunted him as he lit his lamp, and for one instant, as the match just teased the oil-soaked wick with orange flame and the room hovered between darkness and light, he thought he saw a silhouette against his window. It was enough to cause him to gasp and almost drop his match. But as the wick’s flame overtook the darkness, he saw that there was nothing there. However, what the light revealed instead was far more disturbing than an imagined fleeting phantom, because on his bed, bathed in warm light, was the photograph he had ripped and discarded the night before, now crudely restored. Someone had taken the torn sections and pasted them back together on a separate parchment so that the image was scarred, but whole. 

  Malcolm then recalled that when he had gathered up his photographs in the morning he had not seen the torn pieces on the floor. Given his mood at the time and the absence of the discarded reminders, he had forgotten about the ripped image…... until now. But if the pieces were missing in the morning, whoever took them and presumably also burned the others, had to be in the house the entire time. Malcolm knew of only one person who shared his residence, and to his mind that person would be physically incapable of such mischief, but he thought perhaps it would be prudent to be sure.  

  The basement felt like it was constructed of ice. A dank, putrid fog hung low in the musty air and Malcolm watched his breath float like small spectres in the lamplight as he cautiously approached the corner where he hoped Veronica still resided. It occurred to him that perhaps she had not died that night and given her shallow resting place, was now wandering his home, disoriented or mad. He had certainly heard similar tales often…..often enough so that bells on strings were not an uncommon sight in the local cemeteries. Sometimes the dead were just not as dead as they seemed.

  But a few hesitant steps later, he saw that the spot where he had placed her was utterly undisturbed. Not a pebble had been displaced in the dirt floor, not a footprint of any kind imprinted the dry dust. But those facts alone did not stop the meticulous Malcolm from probing the spot with a length of iron. A few inches down, the iron caught on some material and he could see the unearthed remnants of Veronica’s dress still where it should be. Having no desire to disturb the decomposing body any further and risk a stench beyond the odor already permeating the room, he merely shuddered and left the basement satisfied that whomever he was pursuing was a crafty, though living, adversary.

  Days passed torturously. Malcolm found it difficult to concentrate on his work while also growing more frustrated in not being able to either solve the mystery of the marred photos, or being able to indulge his desire to put a pretty young woman over his knee and spank them. He had expected to be contacted by some shrewd blackmailer seeking money in exchange for keeping his bizarre interests secret. But no contact was ever made. It occurred to him that even this explanation made little sense since a blackmailer would have taken the photos and not ruined them. The mystery of it all confounded him.

  After a few weeks of lonely frustration, Malcolm grew bold. Other than some inexplicable drafts, even during times when robust fires burned in the fireplace, nothing unusual had happened in his house since the episode with the fetish images. During the days after the incident, he had searched the entire place to no avail. Whoever perpetrated the mischief must have been satisfied with their one act of vandalism and was unwilling to risk being caught by breaking in a second time. Malcolm decided that it was time to satisfy himself with something more substantial than an image on paper. Despite never having resorted to paid professional ladies before, he found himself willing to overlook the distastefulness of prostitution in order to finally get some relief from his growing obsession.

  Luckily his wealth enabled him to locate and procure a reliable young woman, not only familiar with his preferences, but willing to indulge them in the privacy of his own home. Her name was Penelope and while her expertise was in being able to satisfy the needs of clients wishing to indulge in a spanking fetish, either from the giving or receiving end, she also assured Malcolm that her entire reputation was rooted not only in her talents, but in reliable and mutual discretion. Penelope seemed like the perfect solution. And so after some negotiation of what he wanted and what it would cost, a rendezvous was arranged for the upcoming weekend. 

  On the night Penelope was to arrive, Malcolm was careful to ensure that everything was perfect. The sherry decanter was full and a healthy fire danced across well-seasoned cordwood in the living room fireplace. A score of pomanders dangled from the various cabinet knobs masking any telltale scent of decay. Earlier that day, suspicious of any intrusions, Malcolm once again searched every inch of the house, including the dreaded makeshift plot in the basement corner, which remained exactly as he had left it, the small flag of a dress still visible as proof of occupancy.

  So when Malcolm heard the knocker rap he confidently welcomed Penelope inside. Before shutting the door behind her, he noticed a rather tough-looking gentleman on the street, obviously there as both escort and warning to clients that everything had better remain within the confines of the prior negotiations. Malcolm forced a smile at the man which was not returned. He found the snub distasteful. Closing the door, he now focused on Penelope eager to erase the image of her unsavory escort from his mind.

  He took her coat and offered her a sherry which she eagerly accepted as she warmed herself briefly by the mantlepiece admiring the silver candlesticks adorning each end. A passing reflection in the shiny metal prompted her to ask Malcolm if they were indeed alone. When he assured her that they were, Penelope dismissed the fleeting blur as a mere trick of the irregular illumination of the fire in the hearth and retreated to small talk until these banal pleasantries gave way to the real reason for the meeting. Malcolm suggested that unless she preferred to play out their adventure in the living area, he would recommend the comforts of his bedroom instead. Not being a lady of society, and appreciating a soft bed more than silly convention, she agreed with a broad and suggestive smile.

  The two ascended the staircase, flirting as they went until they entered the dark room. Malcolm quickly struck a match and approached the bedside lamp as Penelope shivered with a frown at the unusual chill in the room. She began to think that perhaps playing downstairs might be better after all. But before she could offer the suggestion the lamp again flickered into brilliance and the spreading glow immediately revealed that the two were not as alone as they had previously thought.

  From the other side of the bed a small, thin, female figure with dark hair stood motionless. To say the figure had dark hair was true only in that the woman was not blonde, but having only the hint of a corporeal form, there was not enough density to give richness to the color. In fact it almost seemed as though one could see through her, though not clearly. Penelope gasped at the apparition at first glance, but when it raised its ethereal hand and shrieked a warning to leave, the hardened prostitute screamed like a schoolgirl. 

  Malcolm saw the spectre as well and knew instantly who it was. The somber eyes fixed not on him though, rather Veronica’s spirit addressed Penelope directly. “Get out while you still can,” it warned. “He will kill you just as thoughtlessly as he killed me. And even if, unlike me, you have someone to mourn or avenge you……...you will still be dead and no loved one’s concern will ever bring you back!”

  Penelope needed no further persuasion. She turned and fled the haunted room, dashed through the hallway, and vaulted for the stairs screaming all the while. At first Malcolm just stood rigid in shock, staring at the apparition, but when he heard Penelope shouting that she was going to call the police, he reflexively turned to stop her.

  “No! No police,” he pleaded as he chased the terrified woman. He could not have police snooping around his house. But despite his desperation, the spry Penelope easily outran him and was back down on the main floor before he even got to the staircase via the long hallway. Still he continued his pursuit until, at the third step, he felt a tug at his leg and lurched forward. He reached for the rail to steady himself but missed and pitching forward with desperate arms paddling the air like a swimmer out of water, tumbled all the way to the bottom. Splayed like a ragdoll carelessly discarded by a bored child, Malcolm lay dazed on the cold floor until the woody clap of the front door being slammed roused him and he instinctively tried to turn towards the sound….only to find he couldn’t.

  Despite the long fall, he felt no pain or panic, just a dull disconnect he attributed to the blow to his head, until he tried to get up. Nothing would move. Only his arms seemed to respond slightly, but not to any functional degree. Malcolm wondered if he was dead but he could feel himself breathing, not robustly, but enough to live. Only what kind of life? Possessing only sight, hearing, thought, awareness, and breath, he was dead to any movement. But if Malcolm’s biggest concern was living as an invalid, he did not need to worry, because just as soon as he realized what had happened, he saw a familiar face leaning over him. 

  “Veronica?” he whispered. The apparition nodded solemnly. “Have you come to release me from this prison?”

  The pale spirit smiled and whispered back hoarsely. “I will only release you from this prison of a body so that your soul can be imprisoned forever in this house.”

“Veronica, truly I did not mean to kill you,” Malcolm confessed.

  “But you did,” the implacable ghost replied. “And rather than honor my memory and mourn me, you hid me in the corner of your basement to rot alone, unloved, and without peace, a dirty secret to be disposed of. You sentenced me, a woman whose whole meaning was based on sensation, to an eternity of being incapable of feeling anything. That is why I denied you the means to your own satisfaction…….so you could share my frustration. And now I will ensure that your frustration, like mine, is eternal.”

  Malcolm watched a nearly transparent hand descend upon his face. The sensation of cold, bony fingers gripped his nostrils, blocking the scent of death, as a palm as flat and chilly as marble capped his mouth. Paralyzed as he was, he could not shake free. He could not fight back. The breath that he so recently labored for was now denied him completely. And being so thoroughly muffled he could not even utter an apology as he slipped away into a spectral oblivion.

--------------

  In the morgue below the police station, the coroner was finishing his analysis just as the lead detective investigating the case came in.

“So doctor, did the fall kill him? They say he came in with a broken neck.”

“He did come in with a broken neck, but he died of anoxia,” the coroner responded as he wiped his hands.

“But doesn’t that happen to people when they break their necks? Their brains can no longer tell their lungs to breathe?”

The doctor nodded and smiled. “It does if they break any of the first four cervical vertebrae, but Mr. Littlefield here has a fracture to his C5. No, Detective, in my expert opinion, Mr. Littlefield was smothered after the fall. You might well be looking at a murder.” The hardened detective’s face unexpectedly grew pale which the perceptive physician noticed immediately. “What’s wrong?”

“You said his C5 was fractured?”

“Yes, why?” The coroner asked with suspicion. “It’s not uncommon in this kind of fall.”

“Are you aware of the other body they brought in? The unidentified woman they found in Littlefield’s basement?”

“Yes,” the doctor replied. “The one they found almost by accident? I heard if it wasn’t for the sensitive nose of an observant young officer and a little piece of material sticking up from the floor, they never would have found her at all. What about her?”

The detective sighed and winced wryly. “The initial report on her remains was that she too had a broken neck…….in her C5 vertebra.”

“Was she smothered as well?”

Shaking his head, the detective replied, “the body was too badly decomposed to make such a determination.” He paused and stared at the coroner with one raised eyebrow. “But it would not surprise me if she had been.”

The pair stood silent for a long time wondering if there needed to be further inquiry into Malcolm Littlefield’s death. Were both victims of a neck-snapping serial killer still on the loose…………………..or had the two bizarre crimes already been solved?

-------------------------------Epilogue-----------------------------------------

  Today it is said that the Littlefield Estate is haunted, and those familiar with the strange discoveries of vintage fetish photography and antique spanking paraphernalia hidden about the rooms joke that it must be the only place where instead of creaks and eerie whispers, people hear smacks and ouches. But it isn’t true. Only anguished moans can sometimes be heard late at night…...the separate cries of a man and a woman, both tortured for all eternity by their mutual inability to indulge the desires that had defined them and satisfied them only for the briefest of moments in their short lives. It was a satisfaction each gave to the other, and it was also each of them, who in their own way and time, took away the other’s ability to ever be satisfied again.

--------------The End









C 5