She entered the tiny room.
Bound in a corner was an emaciated, ravaged body draped with barbwire.
“How are you, slave?”
The object addressed replied with an inarticulate whisper.
The woman laughed softly. Surely she was satisfied.
“You are just another weak man.
“Pride and bravado dies with experience.”
She tugged the barbwire. He flinched, increasing his pain. Moaned.
“A cheap bit of wire, a few broken razor blades can defeat any man.
“There’s nothing left inside you but fear.
“Or do you want to shout at me? Tell me that I can never control you?”
The man wrapped in barbwire could barely move. A feeble twitch signaled no.
“You were so amusing. Cocksure, defiant. Physically and – better – mentally strong.
“It has been a wonderful game. I’ve taken everything from you. Except your life.
“It isn’t yours anymore. I own the residue. the bits and fragments.”
He had not wept in days. Her gloating brought a solitary tear. She came forward. Licked it.
“Even that is mine.
“Now I’m going to resurrect you.
“Your body will recover. I’ll make you strong again.
“Your ego is dead. It will never again live.
“You have a brain. I will use it.
“You will worship me. Won’t you?”
Another whisper: “Yes, Mistress.”
He felt no love for his tormentress. But he did adore her. Instead of self-respect, he had her. The center of his universe. The woman who would define his life. One day, bored with him, she would take it.
Until then, as her faithful slave he would comply to each command. Conform to every whim.