By: Tara Crescent

What Madame Lorraine offered was something far rarer and correspondingly much more expensive. The consensual slave auction. The billionaires of the world still came to bid, but this was a more refined gathering. In this crowd, the slave wanted her subjugation. She craved humiliation. She needed to serve.

A three-month contract was the norm for this particular operation, run only twice a year. However, from the dossier that we had accumulated on Madame Lorraine, I knew that she also offered a shorter one-week term for people newer to the lifestyle.

Money didn’t exchange hands in the one-week version. The house charged a token fee for its expenses and the Dominant made a donation to the charity of the submissive’s choice. Those exchanges were farces, meant to attract the men and women who experienced a sexual thrill at the idea of being purchased as a sex slave. They were glorified vacations where a willing man and a willing woman got together for the purposes of having consensual, kinky sex.

The three-month auction was a darker animal. There were checklists and protections built into the system for the safety of both the clients and the slaves. But three months was a long time and anything could happen. Especially when the slave’s list of hard limits was as short as mine.

On the checklist, I’d indicated that I would do anything. I would perform any act of debasement. Take any amount of torture. Obey any order.

I could see Madame Lorraine read the list that I’d spent the last ten minutes filling out. While she was reading, I surveyed her covertly. Though my dossier had included pictures of her, she still wasn’t what I would have expected. She was short and plump, her skin the colour of warm caramel. She was in her late fifties, but her face didn’t betray it. It was smooth and unlined. Just some crinkling around her eyes and a few lines around her mouth.

Laugh lines? Somehow, I doubted it. Madame Lorraine started holding her auctions after her sister was killed by a slaver. This was her own defiant gesture against the dark underworld of sexual slavery and human trafficking. Her attempt at letting go of her dark past and reaching towards the light.

You know that scene in the Matrix when Neo was expecting to see some super human being and when he met the Oracle, she turned out to be a cookie-baking grandmother? I had that same moment of cognitive dissonance when I first met Madame Lorraine.

“This is an auction for slaves and submissives with prior experience,” she spoke finally. Surprise after surprise, because her accent was about as upper-class British as I’d ever heard in my life. “Can you tell me where you were trained?”

Through a force of will, my mind stayed firmly in the present. “It was a private affair,” I replied briefly. “My former Master does not wish to be identified.” It was a fairly common response in a world where people dwelt largely in the shadows.

She nodded and I smiled inwardly. Lucien and I had prepared for this interview. Every question we had thought she might ask, I’d practiced my response.

“Why do you wish to participate in this auction?” One dark eyebrow was raised.

No doubt she’d already researched me and my past, my reasons for knocking at the door of her auction house. I had to trust that Lucien had done a good enough job falsifying the paper trail so that my cover story would hold up. “My twin-sister has leukemia.” My eyes lowered demurely and I twisted my hands in my lap. I’d practiced that gesture many, many times in front of the mirror. I needed to show that I was falling apart emotionally due to my sister’s illness and the fact that we didn’t have enough insurance to provide her with the treatment her body so desperately needed. Yet I also needed to project that I was strong enough to withstand the rigors of the next three months. I needed to convince her I was desperate for the money, but that I would still follow the rules and not sully the reputation of her auction house.

“My dear, I’m so sorry.” This time, her voice was warm with sympathy. “My own niece died two years ago from the same savage, wretched disease.”

I nodded again, blinking back the fake tears. I’d been taught, through painful beatings that were seared into my soul, to feel nothing and to hold back my tears. It took a conscious act of will to bring them forward at this moment, but I needed to show emotion to bond with Madame Lorraine over our mutual pain. It wasn’t random chance that my cover story had my sister dying of leukemia.

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