The House of Winners **Adult content**
Adult Content: Some language and adult situations. You've been warned.
This is a dream I had about a week ago, that I wrote about in another blog post titled "Dream Hoarding". I know few who wanted to know the dream and the process of how I developed it after dreaming it. To answer that, Jack Lee, I have no clue. I just dreamed of a beautiful woman being forced to be with a once-beautiful man, and their dire situations prompted drastic escape plans. The end of my dream was clear, and from an aerial view of a parade in a darkened city street with hoards of police and military lining the buildings. This is what I came up with post-sleep:
The bottom twenty contest winners for Miss America, including Miss America’s third cousin herself are kept in a house decorated in an ostentatious theme that blended French Baroque with Hip-Hop Glam. Here they ate, slept, conducted their physical training, and generally kept to themselves. The house they lived in also moonlighted as a gentlemen's club, The House of Winners, where the right price can earn a man his own very private encounter with Miss America’s cousin Missa for a delightful 40 minutes; or an encounter with five Betty's for 20 minutes. Missa’s petite, average height, and gifted with gloriously thick golden hair. Her eyes are crystalline green and cant an innocent angle. To everyone she appears an Earthbound Angel.
Most of the House of Winner's income came from Kirby, a middle-aged, ruthless man who got his money from making and distributing Crack. His body had been depleted of all vital nutrients from decades of drug use; his skin is sallow and hangs off his frame, large crags ravage his face, and all that remains of his hair are two fried, wispy tufts at his temples. When he isn't at The House, he is at his place of business: an old, timeworn industrial building where the walls are crumbling and the ceiling has caved, but the lower levels have reinforced concrete and top notch security systems.
The first lower level, the Kitchen as Kirby calls it, has enormous vats of chemicals that when mixed, make his drug. The second lower level is just below the steel grated floor of the Kitchen, where anyone can look down and observe. The second level is Hell, and there Kirby keeps chained all the men who had done him wrong. When they angered him with their howls of starvation or despair, he poured those vats of liquid Crack over them for several hours. The exposure to such astringent and concentrated chems turned the men into something different. It made them more than Human.
An ex-CIA operative, Garner, has been chained for months there in the bowels of the Crack factory, with men of various and dubious backgrounds. It was with his keen mind and ability to charm the pants off Saints that he managed to get a message out to a friend in the CIA via Kirby's watchmen- rent-a-cops with little else going for them. Garner waits, squatting naked in the darkness for when his message gets through, when his risks pay off. For now, he plays Keeper of the Guards' dirtiest secrets, and it is then he learns the exact moment his risks have paid off; it is then, he slits the guard's throat and earns himself a 12 hour dousing of the vile chems. Secrets die hard in that place, and Garner makes sure they don’t get out.
Darrel is a friend of Garner's, still working for the CIA, still living a waking nightmare. Damned Psych's don't know mental disorders when they see them, just throw everyone who has been through trauma into the PTSD category and dust their hands off; job done, let's go home. Nothing to see here, just nightmares and violent behavior. Nothing to see but PTSD. Darrel gets Garner’s message from an overweight waste of space named Dennis, and he couldn’t get away from the man fast enough. Sitting in his car, voicemails and text messages flashing back and forth between Darrel and his superiors, trying to get an okay to make the case before the paperwork is generated and approved- or disapproved. Knowing his superior, the red tape would take so long to get cleared Garner would be dead before Darrel could help him. Parked in front of The House of Winners, the home for America’s bottom twenty most beautiful women, and he couldn’t even get past the front steps. Sitting there, the rain drizzling his windshield, he took out a notepad and wrote down the time. 9:52pm, Thursday night.
“Let’s see who visits the house, shall we?” He slumped further into the seat and turned the radio on, preparing for a long night of watching and waiting.
Missa hated this game. Hated everything about it; the other women, the men, the grittiness of Kirby’s hands on her body and gravel voice in her ear. The only thing she hated more than her lifestyle was Kirby, but since he paid the most to get the best, the best had to perform. A phrase from her childhood echoed in her mind’s ear, reminding her that only the best trained animals made the circus.
“Arf arf,” she barked at the mirror. Her reflection frowned at her. “Oh whatever, shut up.”
“Talking to yourself again?” Lilla asked as she sauntered into the dressing room. Tonight was Burlesque night and everyone was staking out their outfits before the night started. The hot pink boa had been claimed by Nina hours ago, much to Lilla’s frustration.
Missa sighed, “No, just reasoning with myself.”
“That’s talking to yourself.”
“Whatever. Shut up.”
The two finished their make-up and left to join the other women in the Meeting Room. Oh, the Meeting Room; the bane of Missa’s existence. The Meeting Room: where dreams were doused with shame and washed away with and degradation.
“Good, glad both of you could join us tonight,” Paula glowered as Missa and Lilla entered, late for the meeting. “Now that all of you are here, I can share the good news. Kirby has decided to let his Minions a night out of their Hell, and for what he’s paid the House tonight. Everyone will be present, everyone will be Willing, and everyone will perform their best. Understood?” Paula’s large, toothy smile was more menacing than encouraging and all but a few Betty’s looked at the floor in quiet subservience.
She continued, “Now, the Burlesque show is canceled for the night. I want you all to go take a good long soak to soften up those joints. I need you all flexible and pliable tonight.” With a snap of her fan, she turned and left.
“Great, a night with Kirby’s ghouls. Just how I wanted to spend my Sunday night.”
“Like you were going to spend it doing anything different.”
The girls bantered back and forth as they made their way to their respective hot tubs. When Paula called for long soaks, they knew the night was going to be a long one.
Darrel observed several buses coming and going throughout the night, but parked where he was, never saw who or what was being unloaded. Every hour a bus would drive up, park in front of the back service doors, sit idle for 10 minutes, and then leave. Every hour, on the hour, and Darrel couldn’t see shit. Annoyed, he turned his radio up a notch and marked the time: Midnight.
“Hold your horses men, you’ll get your turn,” Kirby chuckled from the front seat of the bus. Untrusting of his Minions and their chemically altered bodies, he personally accompanied each busload to and from The House to reassure himself that his decision to get them laid was a good one.
“Maybe it’ll teach you some fuckin’ manners, eh?!” He shouted at them as he passed. He glanced out the side window, noticing the same bland sedan parked where he’d seen it earlier in the night, when he’d arrived to make the monetary arrangements for his Minions’ hard earned night of delight.
They shuffled by, pale, blue veined, hard lined and lean. The regular douses of chemicals had turned their skin pale, almost white. Their hair and fingernails were the first things to start turning blue-black. Then the veins appeared, thickened and stark against their skin. The last one to leave the 12 o’clock bus was Kirby’s least favorite Minion- like any of them could be classed as favorites. Taller than some, the man’s skin had failed to turn completely white, but had cooled to an unnatural light honey color. Garner, the CIA agent Kirby’d caught snooping into his business; the one he wished he could kill. As it stood, the latest arrangement with the Director of the CIA, Garner couldn’t be killed, but neither could he be returned to the CIA for all he knew about Kirby’s operations. A nasty little catch-22 that pissed Kirby off every time he laid eyes on the bastard.
Shuffling into The House, Garner immediately took stock and inventory of all he could see and get within peripheral.
Stairs to the right of the back door entrance, thirty foot hall straight into the center of the place; huge sweeping staircase to the left, three separate rooms splitting the end of the hallway into three different directions; all doors between the back and the center were locked and both stairways were guarded. Getting out will be trickier than he assumed it would. A house full of beauty pageant whores? How hard could escape be? But he had underestimated Kirby and the manager, Paula. Garner had assumed the manager was as stupid as the girls she managed, and that Kirby would be too side tracked by their prize Betty, Missa, to notice him walking right out of the place.
Not the case.
“Back in line, Ghoul,” a sharp featured woman said as he passed by the main staircase. She was tall, thin, and held a riding crop in her white knuckled fists. He felt her eyes on him the rest of the way to the Room. Ahead, he could see as each man entered the Room their hand being taken by a feminine one and led off to one side or the other. When Garner approached the threshold, a soft, warm hand slid into his as a soft curvy body pressed against him.
“This way, good looking,” Missa said as she took her time gazing at the man who’d walked in last. He had strong, thick fingered hands with wide palms attached to long, toned arms. He looked down at her as her eyes completed their slow travel up his body and met his in stunned silence.
The most gorgeous woman Garner had ever seen stared up at him and a tightness cinched his chest, warmed his gut. She had hair the color of sunshine on gold, eyes that sparkled peridot and clear. He saw her chest rise in a long inhale, and one word fell from his lips as she spoke her next word: “Love”.
Love. Pure, intricate, uncomplicated, complex, and at its simplest; nothing could have been worse for them than that very moment.
Sounds of ecstasy slowly entered their nonverbal moment, returning them to the present.
Missa looked around. Melinda, Lara, and Sherry just completed a daisy chain with three men as Lilla did her famous backbend to accommodate the demands of the ghoul beside her. Stretched backward as she was, her own chosen ghoul continued his bruising pace between her legs.
Garner saw the men he’d come to see as his collective brotherhood hungrily, willingly loosing themselves in the little slices of heaven wrapped around them. Each woman was no more than 120 pounds. Each woman could easily be injured if the men weren’t careful. Garner wasn’t sure the extent of the men’s transformations, or how much Kirby knew about them, but he knew his own. Pulling on his shackles used to cause his skin to chafe; cut him up and rubbed his ankles raw. But over the past few days he’d noticed his skin was chafing the metal. He looked down at the hand securely holding the woman’s beside him, belatedly realizing it was his hand and not some deformed stranger’s.
He looked at her in surprise. He hadn’t expected to be given the crème de la crème.
“When did Kirby catch you?”
“Ten months ago.”
“Ten months in Hell is a long time to survive, Garner,” she whispered.
“You know about it?”
“Kirby talks when he gets head. Thinks whoever’s working him is so focused on her job to please him that she doesn’t listen.” She leaned in closer to him, “I listen.”
“The sex is getting to me,” Garner whispered back, changing topics. “I’d planned on escaping tonight while everyone was occupied.” His fingered fumbled at the laces of her corset. “I had plans. And you ruined them, Missa.”
“I’d planned on escaping tonight too, Garner,” she surprised herself with the admittance. “You’re right, the hormones being fed in this room are suffocating,” she climbed him like a tree, wrapping her legs around his torso and locking her hands behind his neck.
Their lips fused in a harsh kiss, and time slipped away in the throes of their embittered joy. Garner pushed and pulled Missa’s legs in directions she wasn’t sure they were capable of moving, but rode out the pain to the pleasure. On her hands and knees she realized she couldn’t leave without him, and when he flipped her on her back to hold her hands above her head, she began to plan. As she rode in reverse and was spun around sideways, she decided their next step. Then the whistle blew and it was time for the ghouls to be extracted from the Betty’s and returned to their Master. With an oppressive pain in her heart, Missa pulled herself up Garner’s long torso and wrapped herself around him one last time.
Their kiss was passion come to life and they were painfully and acutely aware it could possibly be their last.
“Don’t be brave. I have a plan,” she murmured against his lips.
“You don’t be brave, woman,” he grumbled back.
“I have a plan,” she insisted.
“So do I.”
“Mine is better. Trust me.”
“We just met, and I have the CIA on it.”
She slowly released her grip on him and slid down. “And look where you still are.”
They didn’t have much more time. The third to last ghoul was being shackled back onto the line.
Missa looked up as Garner looked down, their hands gripped together in panic they refused to express otherwise.
“I have a plan that will get you and me free, and bring down both operations,” she pulled his hips toward her and bumped them with her own. His grunt of frustration excited her all over again. “I’ll get a message to you through Benny.”
A guard grabbed Garner’s arm and pulled him away.
“I love you,” Garner mouthed.
As she watched the line of ghouls leave through the long hall leading toward the back of the house, they were passed by a fourth group of Ghouls. Melinda sighed in pain beside her, making Missa suddenly aware of the other nineteen women in the room with her.
“When does this shit end, Paula? We’re wearing a little thin here!” Lilla shouted. Paula stepped in with two 5 gallon buckets of baby oil.
“Then I suggest you use this. Looks like you could use the lubrication.”
One girl sported an already bluing hand print on her backside. “At least tell them not to be so rough! The last one nearly took my skin off.”
The next crowd would be less enticingly invited in, and they in turn would be rougher than Garner’s crowd. By the time the last group of ghouls departed, Missa, Lilla, Leah, and Sara were incapable of walking, and the rest suffered from extreme fatigue and bruising.
“I hope to Bob this never happens again,” one of the girls prayed as they helped support each other and exited the Room.
“Oh no girls,” Paula said from beside the door. “This is just the beginning.” Her wide, cruel smile promised pain beyond endurance.
“What do you mean?” Missa asked as she limped, supported under one arm by the petite Chinese girl, Ming.
“I mean that this is the first in a long, very fortuitous venture.”
The girls groaned in misery.
“The pageants are cancelled from here on out,” Paula continued to announce in a loud, proud voice. “Each month The House will be paid one million dollars to entertain Kirby’s ghouls for an hour, per ghoul.”
“So is it one million for each hour with each ghoul, or just one million to cover the busloads?” Missa asked snidely.
“That is still up for debate,” Paula replied. Snapping her riding crop against her thigh, she executed an about face and left the girls to their limping parade of pain.
“One million dollars is not worth the rehab I’ll have to go through between their visits,” someone from the back remarked.
“Did any of you notice something off about them? Like, something Different?”
“I noticed something alright,” Missa muttered. “We have to get the hell out of here.”
It would be two more weeks before negotiations between Paula and Kirby could be settled, and a few days after that before Missa could solidify her plans to escape and get garner to freedom and safety. She wasn’t sure of the details as Benny, the head of The House security, was coordinating a capture and release of all the women in the house, and his idea included a parade-size moat built to look like a child’s wooden train set. But whatever the silent old man came up with, Missa was willing to try.
“Just how do you plan on convincing Paula the girls need a trip a parade?”
He shrugged in response.
“What about convincing her the parade is legit? What about convincing all the girls they should go without spoiling the plans?”
Benny shrugged again.
“Do you have any solid plans, or is this some twisted way to get all of us caught and punished?” She gripped his shirt collar in her petite fist and curled her lip at him. “I will personally castrate you, Benny.”
As silently as he had participated in the conversation, he silently shrugged again, and slowly peeled her fingers from his shirt.
“Mum’s the word, huh? Nothing said is nothing betrayed?” she guessed, but could only hope he wasn’t going to turn her in to Paula.
Without further argument, Missa turned on her heel and headed for her bedroom. The last thing she needed was to be counted missing at nighttime roll-call.
The next saw the girls in their hot tubs, soaking up as much oils and minerals as possible, nervously anticipating the night to come. Like clockwork, each woman exited her tub thirty minutes after the previous, to use the bathroom, dry off, and to make up her hair and do her cosmetics. When the last girl finished in the bathroom, all were assembled in The Room. They noticed bars had been mounted on the walls at seemingly random intervals and heights, and chairs placed in the corners.
Lilla fingered a length of chain hanging from the nearest bar on the wall, “I guess we’ve graduated, ladies. Welcome to the House of Pain, where Winners take Losers, and nothing is for free.”
Saying it out loud somehow made it even more sad than already realized. Some women looked at the floor in complete defeat, where others, Missa included, notched their chins up in silent defiance.
“Bring the pain,” Ming said, the boldness of her statement incongruent with her petite stature.
“Your wish, my command,” Paula said from the door as a file of Ghouls were ushered in. Garner was not among the chained men, and for that Missa was grateful. It was going to take until midnight for Benny to get things in place and Garner showing up too early would throw a wrench the plans. He needed to be there after midnight if she had any hopes of Benny’s planning pulling through.
“As you can see boys, there’ve been a few additions to the room,” Paula continued in her haughtiest tone. “I suggest you use them to their maximum advantage.” With that, she turned and closed the door behind her, the lock clanging loud in the girls’ ears.
When the second crowd left and the clock in the ceiling chimed eleven, Missa began to worry. She hoped garner would be in the fourth crowd, or even fifth, as she was certain Benny wasn’t ready yet.
“Can someone help me down from here please?” Lydia asked, her left leg shackled to a bar above her head. Steadying herself in an awkward handstand, she tried to turn to face the wall, but only succeeded in twisting in a hilarious dangle.
“It isn’t funny,” she grumped as Lilla tried to undo the shackle.
“How’d you get up there anyway?”
“The dude was over six-foot! How else do you think my foot got up there? Not like I was ever a gymnast or anything.”
The door opened and one of the guards peered in, “The third crowd’s here.” With a low thud, a five gallon bucket of baby oil was left inside the door, a silent warning of what was to come. The clock chimed eleven-thirty as the door swung open and Garner walked in first. Before the man behind him could clear the threshold, Garner kicked back against the door, slamming it shut in the man’s face. Missa’s jaw dropped.
“Not now,” Garner said as he gripped her upper arm and dragged her to the far wall.
“What’s going on?” one of the girl’s asked, worry in her voice.
Garner didn’t respond but tapped the wall in a serious of thumps broken up by brief pauses. A few moments later and a panel opened in the ceiling and a rope ladder was dropped.
“Go on,” he urged Missa, and without further hesitation, she climbed, waving the girls to follow her as she made her ascent. When all the women had climbed into the crawl space above The Room, Garner hefted himself up and closed the panel.
Quietly shuffling, the twenty women crawled, scooted, and shuffled their way between the beams and old insulation to what looked like another panel in another ceiling.
“Where’s this going?” Missa couldn’t help asking.
“To the outside. Darrel’s waiting with his sedan. It’s parked under the caboose. Don’t hesitate, just go,” he shoved her through the panel where, instead of falling as she had braced herself to do, she slid down something like a laundry chute, abruptly erupting from the side of The House in a surprised squeak to land on her butt.
At first, it was only she and the other nineteen women in the back alley, loading themselves into various hidden compartments inside the enormous, thirty meter long parade Train, then suddenly, as in a B rate movie, the street flooded with people; men in uniforms carrying guns and shields filled the street as men with rifles lined the roofs of the surrounding buildings. A helicopter hovered, its spotlight bright on Missa as she stood from closing the last compartment. She was to ride in the sedan with Darrel and Garner, so she’d remained outside in the open, hurriedly tucking the girls away.
A man in black dropped from the helicopter and grabbed her around the waist, immediately hoisting her up into the air.
“No!” she shouted, struggling against the vice like arms around her middle. “No! Put me down! GARNER!” she screamed. A pale form emerged from the side of The House, handcuffed with his head down.
“Garrrnnnerrrr!” Missa screamed again. His whipped up and for a moment only too brief, their eyes met and held. She felt as if a live wire was connected between them and in that moment it had come alive. Her chest tightened painfully and tears blurred her vision.
“Don’t let me go,” she whispered.
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