Note: this is part of a short story I’m writing for a horror fiction contest. If anyone has feedback, even if it’s critical, I welcome your thoughts.
* * *
It was told that when it was properly trained and domesticated, it would be allowed into the house. Until then, it was sheltered in the place one keeps animals that traditionally live outside and are prone to running away or wandering off.
He kept it in the barn.
For the first few days, he fed it Xanax to keep it docile and to prevent panic attacks from the inevitable claustrophobia that came from having to wear a leather hood. He felt that the hood was necessary to disorient it and distort its sense of time and location. Truth be told, he also just like the way it looked wearing that hood, and wrapped up all snug in its straightjacket, laying on its futon mattress there on the floor. With the hood on, it couldn’t see and it could barely hear, which meant that he could walk right up to it and stare at it, and it wouldn’t even know he was there. He was delighted with this fun little game. It made his cock hard, which was the most important thing. It also made his cock hard to observe it through the cracks and holes in the barnyard walls, so he did that a lot, too. In fact, he was so preoccupied with his new playtoy in the barn that the people in his household started to wonder where the hell he kept disappearing off to.
“I’m editing my most recent manuscript!” he said. This seemed plausible, since he was, in fact, a scholar by vocation, and also because he was always taking his Macbook with him.
What they didn’t know was that he wasn’t getting much editing done, out there in the barn.
He was doing something creative, though: he was using the computer to make movies of the barn’s new resident. They were mostly brief, and the footage was sometimes grainy or shakey, but his special friends on the internet loved them. He told it that he was recording it, and that one day he would show it the videos he was making of it, so that he could see how much it had changed, and how far it had come, and how he had improved it.
He fed it periodically, but at irregular intervals, because he didn’t want it to know what time of day it was or when it would be fed again (it wasn’t very hungry anyway–the benzos kept it pretty groggy). He had to feed it himself, because it couldn’t use its hands or arms with the straightjacket on. He would feed it cheese and crackers through its hood, or apple slices, or even a sugar cube, as if it were a horse. He would also check the bandage on its leg that went underneath the metal shackle, to make sure that it was in place, so that the metal wouldn’t rub a sore.
After a few days, he took off its hood, telling it that if it caused him trouble or misbehaved, the hood was going right back on! He put his mouth up to where he thought its ear-hole would be and asked it if it understood.
It nodded, so he unlaced its hood from the back and pulled it off.
Underneath, it looked rather frightened and pathetic, and not at all like the confident young woman it had been before he brought it into the barn. Its face was alternately mottled and pale from being inside the hood for so long, and its eyes started stinging and watering from the sudden re-exposure to bright light after being in the dark for so long. It blinked furiously as its pupils pinpointed. Its blonde hair was matted to its head and darkened with sweat, and he told himself that he would definitely shampoo it when he washed the rest of it with the garden hose.
“There! Isn’t that nicer?” he asked.
It looked around itself at the barn, trying to figure out where he’d put it. The barn was huge, and there were barn owls up in the rafters, carefully observing all of the goings-on.
“I’ll take you out of that mean old straightjacket tomorrow morning if you promise me you won’t try to run away.”
It looked down at the metal shackle on its ankle and rattled it. The shackle was attached to a long length of chain which was wrapped around one of the oak beams that supported the barnframe, and padlocked.
“That’s going to have to stay on until I can trust you, unfortunately. Don’t worry. Soon, you won’t even feel it.”
(In truth, he was not so sure about this one. The chain was rather heavy. He’d used it as a chainspot when he watched his neighbor’s massive Great Dane the previous summer–the dog had to be restrained because it kept going after the chickens.)
“Please let me go,” it mewled.
He sighed and reached for the hood.
“Never mind! Never mind! I take it back!”
Its voice was much changed from when he’d snatched it off his campus. Then, it had been screaming its little head off, and it had fought back, too. He almost thought he wasn’t going to be able to get it into the trunk of his car without choking it out, and he’d had to wear a T-Shirt to bed every night so that his wife wouldn’t see the bruises.
He let it cower for a minute, and then put the hood back down.
“Ready for dinner? I brought something very special for you: fresh figs from my fig tree. You’ll see it when I let you outside.”
It watched him as he took his computer out of his bag. He turned it on, brought up the camera function, and sat it down on a chair by the futon, adjusting the angle. He wanted to make a video of this so that it could watch it when it was finally pretty again, and see how much it had changed.
Besides, his friends on the internet would love the footage.
Then he sat down on the chair in front of it and unzipped his pants. He had a huge erection, as he usually did whenever he was around it, or even thought about it, and how he had managed to capture it, and when he intended to do with it.
“First, eat this.”
* * * *
He brought the rest of the figs into the house and was washing them in the sink when his wife looked over his shoulder.
“I thought I saw more on the tree outside,” she said.
“I think the ravens must have gotten some,” he said.
“What are you smiling about? And, by the way, I can’t find my Xanax again, and I just had it filled. You don’t think the maid took it, do you? Have you noticed anything missing?”
“I’m sure it’ll turn up.”