As noted in the ‘Stories’ page description, some of the stories posted here will not be “hot-off-the-press” of my brain, but rather stories that I have previously written for whatever reason. This is one such story, which I wrote for a creative writing class during my senior year of college. I was very proud of it at the time, and I figure that it deserves to be read, rather than languishing in obscurity on the hard drive of my computer.
Sadie was a sadist.
She hadn’t always been. She used to just be a doctor. But come to think of it, maybe sadism was the reason that she went into the medical profession in the first place. Hadn’t her residency in the Severe Burns Unit (notorious for the constant groaning of the patients whose wounds refused to grant a moment’s rest) been the best time of her life? She would go home at the end of the day, lie on her bed, shut her eyes and touch herself, imagining her pleasured moans mingling with the pained groans of the burned men and women at the hospital. It hadn’t felt like she was delighting in their misfortune. It just made her feel more alive.
Nothing in her childhood had prepared her for her development into a sadist. She wore pigtails and bright dresses until she was nine, and spent most of her time playing with Barbie dolls. If her parents had paid her a little more mind, they may have noticed that her dolls’ heads tended to fall off far more frequently than those of her friends’ dolls. But her dad worked long hours at the local bottling plant and her mother ran a hair salon. They had neither the time nor the attention span to notice these early warning signs in their young daughter. Aside from the dolls, her childhood was quite typical. Her Goth phase may have lingered a little longer than most, but she got over it and turned into, by all accounts, an exceedingly lovely young woman.
But then there was a series of incidents that made her suspect that she might be more different from her peers than she’d suspected. It began in the spring of her sixth year as a fully-practicing MD. She had repeatedly requested to be moved to the Burns Unit or at the very least to the ER, where she felt she could make a difference and could enjoy the satisfaction of helping people who were in real pain. However, the hospital administration insisted on keeping her on the post-surgical floor. Sure, the patients would often cringe when she went to check their stitches, and there were multiple occasions where people would wake up, still slightly under the influence of anesthesia, screaming because they couldn’t remember where they were or why they were missing pieces of their body. But her work lacked the urgency that had so delighted her during her residency. That was when she decided to raise the stakes on her own.
She started by playing little psychological pranks on her patients: whispered insinuations in their sleeping ears that their nurses were trying to kill them; red dye on her lapel to make them think she was bringing diseased blood into their rooms; a Backstreet Boys CD played on repeat for hours at a time; ‘accidental’ delivery of bad news to the wrong room. Each time she saw the fear in their eyes or their nervously-fidgeting fingers, it made her heart race a little faster. She hoped her flushed cheeks would be mistaken for embarrassed blushing.
She never physically interfered with her patients (unless you count surreptitiously turning up the thermostat on a hot day) until the day she was mugged. Well, it was a failed mugging, really. A mugging gone horribly wrong. Sadie was on her way to catch the bus to work that morning, when a man had stepped out of an alley and blocked the sidewalk. She didn’t look up, but walked around him assuming he was just an oblivious asshole. Then he grabbed her arm and spun her around so that she could see the knife in his other hand.
Scarcely a word had passed his lips before she drove her knee up hard into his groin. He cried out and released his grip on her arm. As he doubled over, she sent a solid punch between his eyes and took off running across the street. She was still running a few seconds later, frantically searching for safety, when she heard the screech of tires followed by a dull thump. She turned around and saw her attacker lying in the street in front of a car that had convincingly ended any hopes the man may have harbored of pursuit. Sadie didn’t wait around to give a statement. She sprinted straight to the next bus stop and made it to work less than ten minutes late.
Later that day, she was called in to check on a new patient – a man who had just undergone surgery to correct damage done to him by a car. He was currently in a medicated slumber so Sadie was the only one to react when she went into the room and recognized the man as her would-be mugger. She performed the check-up as professionally as possible for the sake of the nurses present (with maybe a bit more prodding than was strictly necessary), and finished her rounds.
When it came time for shift change, she sneaked back into his room with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. She stood over him for a minute and took in his injuries. He had several broken bones: fingers, a leg, some ribs and fractures in his skull. He was severely scraped up on his right cheek where he’d landed on the road surface after the collision. As mad as Sadie was at this man, she was equally intrigued. She splashed some hydrogen peroxide on his cheek and watched it bubble fervidly. Though his sleeping drugs didn’t allow him to awaken, the man’s brow furrowed with an obviously pained expression. Her own face twisted into a smile. This man wasn’t a threat to her. He was her plaything.
She dragged a chair over to his bedside and laid her head on his chest, then took her hand and pressed down on his broken ribcage. As she increased the pressure, she could feel his breath become quicker and shallower. Her own breath sped up in pursuit. Their heart rates increased as one. She felt moisture accumulating between her legs and slid her hand down his pants to see if his body was thinking the same thing. It wasn’t. But that didn’t matter – she couldn’t stop now. The next shift must have been just about ready to start making rounds.
As one of her hands ventured inside her, she grabbed onto the man’s hand with the other and squeezed. She could feel the broken bones in his fingers rubbing against each other in unnatural ways. From deep within his heavy sleep world, the pain elicited a groan of dissatisfaction. She joined in with her own moans of pleasure and was instantly mentally transported back to the Burns Unit. She finished, wiped the hydrogen peroxide off of the man’s face, caught the bus back home and slept peacefully with dreams of her life-sized toy dancing through her head.
That was the tipping point. After that she took every available opportunity to slip into the rooms of patients who met two criteria: that they were deeply unconscious and in a lot of pain. She pushed and prodded their fractures and bruises, poured salt into their raw wounds, placed wet rags over their noses and mouths, and got off while doing so. And she was happy again. Why shouldn’t she be? She wasn’t actually hurting anyone, after all. Not permanently. And things may have carried on in this manner indefinitely if she hadn’t met a certain man.
Mason was a masochist.
Not in his everyday life, mind you. Nobody at his church or at his office would have suspected as much. Neither would he have for that matter, if he hadn’t learned it about himself at a young age. Back when the usual response to conflict was to pinch the offender (sometime in elementary school), he’d come to the conclusion that he actually kind of liked being pinched. Though this had initially prompted him to act out against his peers with the hopes of a sharp reprimand, he had soon returned to his usual meek self after trouble with his parents and teachers.
It wasn’t until his early teens that he again began exploring this aspect of himself. He fell off his bike after school one day and had to limp the rest of the way home, leading the bike alongside him, as blood dripped from a scrape on his knee. His mother handed him an alcohol swab when he got in the door and instructed him to wipe the injury down well, while she went off to wash the blood out of his socks and shorts before the stains set. He sat on the toilet lid and braced himself as he opened the little packet that contained the swab. When he laid the alcohol-drenched cloth on his knee, it stung like hell. He rubbed it around softly to remove the dirt from the wound. As he did so he gritted his teeth. As intense as the pain was in his knee, he couldn’t stop. It made him feel good in other places. When his mother came back from starting the laundry, she found him rubbing a second swab all over the acne on his bare chest.
He personally never saw anything wrong with his love of pain. However, due to the religious propriety that dominated his neighborhood, he learned to hide this interest from the world. In private, he might clip clothespins onto the loose skin of his hands or listen to Michael Bolton cassettes, but in public Mason was a hard-working student, an obedient son and in every way a conventional human being.
He graduated high school, went to college, got a job, dated and got married without anyone suspecting his little secret. Once, a few years into his marriage, he’d asked his wife to spank him while they made love. She had obliged and he had enjoyed it immensely, but he could tell that it had made her uncomfortable. He didn’t ask her for any such thing again. He still didn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of his fetish. He just felt alone.
Then one day, about fifteen years into his marriage, he stumbled across an article online about sexual deviance. He recognized at once that the article was speaking to his personal situation. The author outlined all kinds of behaviors that had, at some point or another, been viewed as immoral, inhuman or downright evil. She even designated a whole paragraph to some of the ways that masochistic people had developed to appease their urges. Though he had long since stopped sneaking away to satisfy his ‘darker’ desires, he resolved to try as many of the acts mentioned in the article as he could.
He got off to a good start. He burned his hand pouring some coffee. He bruised his shins tripping on the stairs. But when his wife walked in on him in their bedroom one Thursday whipping his bare back with a belt, the game was up. He explained himself and how he had repressed his desires for so many years and begged her to understand. But she couldn’t help being the person her parents had raised her to be, and so she left him before the week was up.
That’s when Mason started trying more risky things. He administered electrical shocks to his erogenous zones. He stuck heated sewing pins into his skin. But the next thing he tried went terribly awry. As an introduction to the realm of autoerotic asphyxiation, he was sitting on his bed with a clothesline tied around his neck. He’d read that more people have died from improper practice of this particular technique than any other, and so had cleverly rigged it up so that when he passed out, his body would topple and the rope would be pulled off by the headboard of the bed, to which it was attached. His setup worked perfectly, but he’d overlooked the fact that, when he fell over unconscious, he wouldn’t be able to control where his body landed.
He must have taken a head dive right onto his bedside table, because he woke up two hours later in a pool of his own blood, with a large gash over his eye. He was lucky that he had woken up at all – he could just have easily have bled out there and nobody would have ever been the wiser. His hands slipped several times on the blood-soaked carpeting as he propped his body back up. He had lost too much blood to drive himself to the hospital, so he called an ambulance. He didn’t tell them the whole story, but rather said that he’d tripped in the dark after turning out the lights before going to bed. He figured they’d buy it, except maybe for the marks that were no doubt still visible around his neck.
No matter. He could deal with that later. At that moment he just wanted to go back to sleep. He lay down on his bed and passed out. He didn’t wake up during the whole ambulance ride to the hospital, and was still sleeping peacefully in his bed in the Intensive Care Unit when a woman doctor slipped in to pay him a visit during the shift change.
Sadie had been at it for weeks now – slinking into patients’ rooms for some quick abuse before her bus ride home. She had even gotten up the nerve to venture to different parts of the hospital to sample their fare. On this particular night, she was roaming the ICU.
She’d just found a room with a patient who had knocked himself out tripping in his own bedroom. He’d bled so much onto his floor that he’d been asleep since before the EMTs arrived to pick him up. If certainly sounded like a promising situation.
She sidled through the door cautiously. She wasn’t used to trying this with patients whose deep sleep wasn’t a result of medication. She snapped on a pair of rubber gloves, tiptoed over to his bed and looked at his face. Not a bad-looking face. The bandage above his eye looked intriguing. She lifted it up and saw three beautiful sutures keeping his brow from splitting open. She gingerly touched the raw flesh with her finger, then began to apply more and more pressure. The patients’ eyes screwed up and he grunted a little with the pain. Sadie’s face was just starting to flush with excitement when it abruptly lost all color. The patient had opened his eyes.
He smiled weakly at her.
“Are you the one who will dominate my heart?”
Sadie paused. Then she returned Mason’s smile.