*Features adult language and themes.*
Her fingers slid over his skin; the oil making it slick. His fat seeped up between her digits as she pressed harder. He moaned in appreciation of her touch. She used the balls of her hands to push harder, trying to find muscle under the blubber. It was a vain attempt.
The man grunted and tried to turn over onto his back. He managed it with some effort, but almost fell off the table three times. The towel around his middle slid to the floor. A smile spread across his big face, displaying uneven yellow teeth below a big red nose and small black piggy eyes.
Daisy slid her hands over his enormous belly and slowly worked down to his groin.
Time for the big finish.
* * *
Rehab hadn’t worked out.
It didn’t take Miranda very long to spot that Daisy had been less than sincere in her desire to get sober. The drug tests kept coming back positive and the counselling kept running into walls.
It was less than two weeks into the treatment when Miranda informed Daisy she would be going before the Judge again. That night she had fled.
The problem of where to go next was a tricky one. She had no money, no drugs and no ideas. She tried calling on Moe first. She found his flat had been raided and now stood empty. Julie’s obviously wasn’t an option. So she was left with her old round of users and pushers.
It was well known in those circles what had happened to her so nobody was willing to harbour a runaway.
That first night she’d slept rough. It had never been an issue for her. She’d done it before. She briefly contemplated life on the streets. She could have aspired to getting a laminated badge and a stack of magazines. It was the first time in a while she had thought seriously about a career.
On the second day she started to crash quite hard. She was irritable and a little irrational. She’d tried begging but only got blank stares and insults.
Out of desperation she went to the only other person in town she knew. It took her an hour to walk a journey that should have taken twenty minutes. Her body refused to move. Each step was a huge effort of will. All she wanted to do was lay down on the pavement and sleep. She made her way to a big respectable looking house on the far side of the park. Lifted a huge cast iron knocker and stepped back waiting for a response.
A man in his late twenties answered the door. He had short spiky blonde hair, cold blue eyes set in a face that wore a perpetual smirk or sneer depending on the way the light hit it. His jaw was softened a bit by a rough layer of stubble that gave his face texture; the hair was so light it seemed clear. The man looked Daisy up and down before his mouth went lopsided into an ugly smile. “Hello, little sis. Fancy seeing you here.”
“Hi, Darren. Can I come in?”
His face went serious. “Dunno, I hear you’re in a bit of trouble. Maybe I shouldn’t get involved. I got my own shit to worry about.”
Daisy looked up at him. She refused to plead. Rolling her eyes she summoned the effort to turn around and take a few steps back down the path.
“I’m just fucking with you.” She heard the door hinges creak as Darren opened the door fully. “Come on.”
The hallway was nicely decorated in keeping with the outward appearance of the house. Daisy didn’t know the architectural term for it, she just knew it was posh and expensive. A big wooden staircase led up to the second and third floors, while a black and white checkerboard floor went deeper into the house with doors sprouting off either side.
Darren led her past all of the doors to the end of the hallway into a big kitchen that had been stylishly modernised. She sat down at a breakfast bar, while her brother went over to a coffee pot and poured for them both. He sat opposite her and slid a cup towards her.
“Long time no, see, Daze. You must be fucking desperate to come and see me.”
“Yeah, I am.”
“That’s what I always liked about you. No bullshit. Straight to the heart of the matter.” He waggled his finger in the air. “That’s becoming a precious commodity these days.”
Daisy heard the stairs in the hallway creaking as someone descended. She looked past her brother to see a smartly dressed man letting himself out of the front door. Darren didn’t react.
“Don’t worry about him. Just another satisfied customer.” He sipped his coffee, enjoying the obvious power he held over her. “Come on then. What do you need?”
“Meth, cash and a place to crash.”
“Not much, then.” Darren’s face reverted back to his maniacal grin. “Going by what I hear on the grapevine you’re going to need more than that. Daisy Baxter is a marked name. You won’t be able to fart in public without the old bill hauling you off.”
“What would you suggest?”
He sniffed, and wiped a finger under his nose.
The stairs creaked and Daisy heard the click clack of heels on the hallway floor. A tall slim black girl came into the kitchen in her underwear and a silky dressing gown that flapped open. She went over to Darren and handed him a wad of cash. He took it and gave it a quick ruffle through with his finger, counting. He held the cash up to Daisy and winked at her.
“You could come and work for me.”
* * *
Daisy had deep reservations. If I say yes he owns me. How will I be better off if I say no?
Darren sealed the deal by throwing her a bag of ice, a pipe and a lighter. The offer seemed like a much better idea after that.
He took her on a tour of the house.
The whole bottom floor was what Daisy would have expected for a house on that sort of street, very stylish and proper. Darren used it as his own living quarters. He had a bedroom, sitting room, kitchen and bathroom. As they climbed the stairs the atmosphere changed dramatically. The clean cut decor carried through to the first floor landing, but the sounds and smells suggested a different world behind the doors. Music leaked from each room. Chill-out house music from the first door, slow classical from the second and a bit of Enya from the third. The smell of incense was strong and sickly but it didn’t cover the tangy scent of sweat and sex.
Darren lit a joint and puffed thick white smoke happily into the air to add to the oppressive atmosphere. “That Mad Bastard ruined the prostitution business in this town.”
“Yeah, a serial killer will do that.” Daisy replied.
He shrugged his response. “Everyone was happy enough with the arrangement. Prostitution’s always been like that. Everyone knows it’s going on, it’s simple commerce. If there’s a demand, it’s up to the the sharp entrepreneur to provide a steady supply. The girls took the risks, knowing what they were. Simple fact was they were so fucked up they didn’t have many other options.” He turned to Daisy. “Sound familiar?” He gave her a one armed hug, drawing her close to him. “Them girls weren’t lucky enough to have caring brothers, I guess.
“Anyway. As soon as some stupid bastard starts picking ‘em off the streets, killing ‘em and spreading ‘em round the countryside, suddenly every prick and his dog notices. They throw their hands in the air, start wailing about the terrible social problems the town has. Everyone knew they were there.
“Then the council and police invest an obscene amount of money. I mean a seriously offensive stack of cash, to battle the terrible immorality of a little market town in Suffolk. I mean who gives a shit? They reckon the girls were being exploited. Controlled by pimps through drugs. I accept that’s probably true, but if a good businessman can pay minimum wage for high productivity, he’s fucking gonna, you know. They made the customers the enemy. The blokes that wanted to pay for sex were the criminals. They took all the pro’s put ‘em in rehab and gave ‘em nice council houses. They were labelled the victims. If that ain’t misplaced guilt I don’t know what is.
“They say they’ve cleared Ipswich of street-walkers.” Darren stops and gave a slow hand clap to nobody in particular. “The game didn’t leave town, it just went underground.” He spread his arms out, gesturing at the closed doors of the first floor.
“Of course, to the outside world we are a high class massage establishment. We don’t advertise ourselves, but it’s well known in the right circles what goes on here. The coppers probably know too, but what can they do?”
They carried on up the stairs to the second floor. Only one of the doors was closed. Darren led her into the first room. “This’ll be your room.”
Daisy looked around and felt a small jump of hope. It was the nicest room she’d seen in a long time. In many ways it reminded her of the room she used to go to for her counselling sessions. Everything was soft, and comfortable. The bed was big, the sheets fresh. There was a stereo and a TV in a cabinet that could be closed to hide it. Along one wall a massage table had been folded and stored. She noticed that a curtain could be drawn to divide the room and hide the bed, turning it into a small massage chamber.
Darren sat on the bed and patted the space next to him. She sat.
“It works like this. The customers come in, they get a massage, some of them want happy endings. Now there are many levels of happiness and each one comes at a price. It’s your job to make sure the customer is very happy, and that they pay up.
“There’s always a couple of boys downstairs, if you look in the corner there…” He pointed, a small camera was partially hidden by a drape of fabric. “Everyone is monitored for their own safety.
“After each transaction, you bring the money to me. Now it’s very important that I get the full amount.” Suddenly Darren’s hand flew up to take Daisy’s jaw in a pinching grip. “If I don’t, you’re out.” He ran a finger from his other hand lightly down the side of her face. His eyes looked completely clear as he looked at her intently. “And you’ll be worse off for it.” He let go. His whole demeanour changed back to how it had been a few seconds before.
“In return, you get everything you need. A home, a bit of cash and a steady supply of what you need. Now, as you’re my little sister, I’m going to have to reduce your pay a little.” Daisy frowned at him. “You see, the other girls help pay their way… in kind, as it were. It might seem inappropriate for me to ask the same of you.
“So, what do you think? You interested?”
* * *
The fat guy got dressed and left the room.
Daisy sat on her bed with the cash in her hands. It was very tempting to take a tenner for herself and hide it somewhere. She stole a quick glance up to the corner of the room where the camera winked back at her.
It isn’t worth the risk. I’m on a good thing here, better not screw it up.
Once she’d agreed to work for her brother he’d showered her with gifts. They went straight into town where he bought her a whole new wardrobe, mostly comprising of things that she wouldn’t be able to wear in public. He treated her to a nice meal, took her to a salon to have her hair cut and the whole range of beauty treatments available. It made her feel great.
She looked at herself in a mirror when she got back and hardly recognised the person staring back. Her face was still thin, but the makeup gave her a bit of colour. Her hair had been brightened, and her eyes didn’t look so deep set and watery.
Her first ‘working’ week had been easy. Darren made sure she was high all the time. She didn’t get anywhere near crashing. Everything she did was fantastic. Her clients were easy and demanded very little of her. Some of them only wanted massages.
In the second week there had been a shift.
Her brother wasn’t so forthcoming in supplying the meth and her clientele became rougher. She had to begin accepting the more extreme requests before Darren would give her a hit.
Daisy didn’t care. As long as there’s a perk at the end, I can handle anything. It’s all about keeping one hit ahead.
She didn’t mix with the other girls much. There were five of them in total. All of them were users. If it wasn’t meth it was heroin, coke or oxy’s.
Since the day she’d shown up at the door and Darren had taken her into town Daisy hadn’t left the house. Her brother said it was a good idea to lay low in case the police were on the lookout for her. She never saw any of the other girls go out either.
Why leave when everything I need is given to me here?
She padded down the stairs to find Darren. He was in the kitchen talking on the phone. He looked up and finished his conversation. His hand shot out towards her, palm up. Daisy handed the cash over. He made a point of counting it.
“Good stuff, Daze. You seem to be fitting in alright. I’m going to have to put more work your way, OK? I’ve eased you into it so far, but you have to earn your keep, you know.”
Daisy nodded at him. She turned as there was a knock on the door.
Darren got up. “This is your next customer. He’s got a few special requests, so go with it, yeah.”
He made sure to close the kitchen door so Daisy couldn’t be seen as he answered. Daisy heard the front door open and a whispered exchange. The stairs creaked as someone went up them, then Darren came back into the kitchen.
“He’ll be in your room waiting for you. This is your last one today. You get your bonus afterwards.”
Daisy climbed the stairs and walked past the closed doors on the first floor landing, she heard the music barely covering the animalistic noises being made in the rooms. Busy day.
She went up to her room, the door was open. Standing in the doorway she couldn’t see her customer. She took a step inside. The door closed behind her as a huge arm pinned her. She felt cold metal against her throat.
“You’re going to do exactly what I tell you,” said a gruff voice in her ear. She could smell alcohol on his breath and the scratch of stubble on her neck.
The man loosened his grip and pushed her across the room onto the bed, her robe fell open to reveal her half naked body. The man was fully dressed and wore a ski mask on his head. He passed a big hunting knife between his hands as he stalked closer to her.
Fear rushed through her. She heard blood pumping in her ears and thought she was going to wet herself.
He’s got a few special requests, go with it, yeah. Fuck.
She looked over to the corner of the room at the camera. The red light didn’t blink back at her.
The man climbed on the bed and slowly ran the blade of his knife over her body. It left a long pink scratch as a trail. He ran it down to her thighs and cut off her underwear.
Daisy was shivering, the point of the knife pinched at her every time she moved, but she couldn’t stop.
The knife was at her throat again as the man fiddled with his belt.
Daisy tried to control her breathing. Tried to keep calm and accept the fear.
I can handle anything. It’s worth it. It’s worth it. It’s worth it.
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