Author: R. J. Erbacher
Power reigns supreme.
“Come, Bia. Your Master summons you.”
The man who came to get her was a slob, big-bellied and slovenly. His mouth drooled as he barked his order and stared at her.
She dressed in a simple sparse tunic, her feet were bare, and she knotted her hair atop her head to keep it out of the way. The lackey took her up the stone crest to the small arena with the hard, wooden post in the center. Circling the dirt field stood the masses of the village, murmuring and ready to explode. Her Master was there trying to hide the whip behind his back as if she didn’t know what was coming…again. Bia let her shelf be led to her Master; huge, muscular and formidable, still, even after what she’d taken from him. A single swipe of his hand grabbed the robe and tore it from her body leaving her naked. The crowd cheered. He pushed her face up to the pole and bound her hands stretched over her head, her breasts divided by the shaft.
Stepping back and uncoiling the whip the crowd began to thrum in anticipation. He heaved his arm back cracking the cruel skein behind him and let it snake into the dust, holding it there and drawing out the moment. Then with all his might he propelled his force forward and ripped the leather strap across her back, the tip curling around and catching the side of her breast. Bia’s head jerked with the pain and she bit back the scream. Every other voice erupted in shouts of ecstatic glee. Her Master pulled back the lash, held it and repeated the stroke harder, striking a fresh section of skin. The cord split her flesh and she felt the power of his energy as the braid slid along the flayed muscle, her blood soaking up the impact. Again, and again, each blow investing evermore force against her accepting body. It went on until her Master had exhausted his strength and he dropped the now red-stained leather cable onto the ground and padded away.
The throngs of people scurried off into nooks and niches to pleasure each other with the buildup of lust that had spiked in their loins from the event. Attendants untied Bia’s hands, bundled her onto a travois, covered her with a tarp and dragged her back to her room where she was dumped onto her cot. The pain was real, and Bia felt each stinging lash as it throbbed in her flesh but by tomorrow, they would be healed. Not into puckered raw scars but back to her alabaster smooth skin.
Her beautiful skin that had been the cause of so much of her troubles, had caught the attention of many of the Beings, men and women, who wanted to ravish her. But she’d shunned their advances until finally they’d collectively had enough and banished her to this rock. In this distinguishable appearance, yet still beautiful, for her continuous punishment, thinking they had ruined her. Made her pay for her audacity.
What they hadn’t realized was that each penetrating strike allowed her to absorb the energy from her Master and store it and expand it until she now could crush boulders at a distance, bend the air and manipulate the sea. Soon she would be so strong that she would blow this puny village away with a single breath.
And then it would be the Beings turn. And then they would all understand that beneath her beautiful skin was a Being who was dreadful. And Powerful.
Because power reigns supreme.
I think that there is a very real problem with all writing, actually with all art, in that the message or intention of the work is often taken as skin deep. I personally find myself writing from a female perspective and that draws toward me a fair amount of flak. Its not intentional, its just how I see my characters. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to think as a female but I do think in the end we are all human (mostly) and gender is not the be all and end all of what we are. In your story the torture of this woman is, for me, far from gratuitous. It spoke to me of the blindness of mob mentality and of the underlaying power inherent in not just women but in all of us. That’s the magic of writing – what we get and what the author was intending us to get can be quite different animals. I loved this.
Thanks, Hari. I really was not trying to make a statement here except very generally, ‘What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.’ And to emphasize your point as well as the underlying point of Whipping Girl; don’t take things on face value. Enjoy the story for the story, or for the writing, or for the imagery. Or for that matter – don’t enjoy the story. Your prerogative. But if it stirred emotion in you when you read it, either way, I think I’ve done my job.