The Witching Hour
By Clayton Stillwater
Diane no longer remembered why she and her girlfriends starting calling themselves witches. A movie they’d seen? An offhand comment at a progressive dinner? In any event, they now referred to themselves as witches routinely. The word had absolutely no occult aura; it was just an amusing label for a clique of middle-aged suburban women. The group included a Fat Witch, a Kind Witch, a Dark Witch. Diane was the Blonde Witch.
When her last child departed for college and her husband’s business trips became more frequent, Diane had time on her hands. She spent it in the town library. Once she had been fond of mysteries; now she found herself lingering amid biographies. How had other people dealt with the ebb and flow of their marriages? She wanted facts.
One autumn evening she stumbled across a tell-all biography of William Seabrook, written by his second wife. Diane was looking for something on August Seagraves, the landscape painter and Romantic poet, when the Seabrook book caught her eye. Perhaps it was the title. "The Strange World of Willie Seabrook." I could use a dose of strangeness, she thought, and slid it off the shelf.
Seabrook, she learned, had been a journalist in the Twenties and Thirties. He was notorious for both his sensationalistic reporting and his decadent lifestyle. When he wasn’t adventuring in Africa or getting into trouble with Aleister Crowley, he was tying up girls with Man Ray in Paris. The world sobered up in the Forties, and he lost his celebrity. According to his second wife, he finished out his days on a farm in Connecticut, living in obscurity while he did research for a book on magic and witchcraft. He did so in an unusual way. As his wife put it, "I tried to keep things running smoothly, while knowing that in the barn studio some rather nice girl had been persuaded to let herself be hung by a chain from the ceiling until she was so tired she hardly knew what she was doing or saying, and might ‘go through the wall’ into a psychedelic state."
Reading between the lines, it was obvious to Diane that Seabrook was a sadist who enjoyed tying up women, and "magic research" was a cover story that allowed him to satisfy his urges.
To her surprise, Diane found herself turned on by the lurid tale. In college she been intrigued by the idea of bondage, but the men she went out with were too cowed by feminism to do anything so retrograde. Then she married Philip, who was a good provider but predictable in bed. Too bad she hadn’t been around when Seabrook was luring coeds into his barn. What a lark that would have been!
The book gave her ideas.
One October day when she had the house to herself (as was the case so often of late) she locked the front door and walked up to the attic. It was a big semi-finished attic, taking up most of the third floor, with a vaulted ceiling and exposed beams. The windows were small and looked out into trees, so it was completely private.
She knew that witches were supposed to do magic in the buff, but she was a little too self-conscious for that. So Diane took off her mundane clothing and donned a set of black underwear from Victoria’s Secret. Little bikini panties, a comfortable bra. Cotton so thin it barely registered. She stroked her hips and rubbed her breasts, wishing she had someone to admire how good her figure looked, even after three children.
The provocative underwear made her feel like a sexy superheroine. She pretended to shoot lightning bolts at a rival wizard. Take that, Voldemort!
Using black electrical tape, Diane roughed out a large circle on the floor, and laid out a five-pointed star inside the circle. Now it gets weird, she thought with satisfaction, wondering what her friends at church would make of this.
She sat down in the middle of the star and opened her equipment box. In it were shiny steel handcuffs and a set of manacles, which had locking rings like the handcuffs, connected by about 18 inches of chain. It was amazing what you could buy in the privacy of the Internet, she mused, as she locked the manacles on her ankles.
After imagining this scene for so long, the reality was pleasingly physical. The metal was heavy. Cold. Unyielding. She leaned back on her arms and moved her legs up and down, making the chain puddle liquidly. Then she handcuffed herself, hands in front, and lay face up on the star in the circle.
Eyes closed, she reached down into her panties and played with herself. The metal cuffs weighed on her stomach. She imagined that she was Seabrook’s latest "research assistant." He had her secluded in his barn, back where no one could hear her scream, in the cage in which he kept his experimental subjects...
As she became aroused her legs rose from the carpet and pointed at the ceiling. The manacles proved helpful; she could let her legs fall outward and pull against one another, stimulating a new set of muscles. As her fingers worked faster and her excitement mounted she continued to bend her legs until her feet were near her ears. This increased the tension in her pelvis and made for better orgasms. Philip thought it was a vulgar pose, and complained when she did it, but Diane was proud of her limberness. The manacle chain touched her forehead, and she gasped and convulsed.
After she came she lowered her legs and relaxed on the floor, breathing hard. She felt silly. It was fun, but not as satisfying as she’d hoped. The bondage gear was a nice prop, but she could get loose any time she wanted, so where was the risk? The thrill? It just wasn’t the same without the hot breath of a mad scientist on her shoulder. Disappointed, Diane put away her toys and slipped back into her daily stupor of cleaning, shopping, lunches.
A few days later, on the morning of October 31, she received a call from the Kind Witch, AKA Marge.
"Do you have any odd jobs that need to be done around the house?"
"Odd jobs? Like what?"
"Handyman stuff. A bookcase to put up? Some painting? You know my black-sheep brother? He’s in town, and he’s broke again. I’m sick of just giving him money. I want him to earn it for a change."
"He could clean the gutters," Diane said. "Philip was going to do it before he went to Atlanta and he never got around to it."
"Dirty messy gutters. Perfect. What time do you want him?"
Diane had heard plenty about Christopher’s antics, but somehow Marge had never gotten around to describing what a hunk he was. When she opened the door and saw him standing there she was struck dumb. He could have been a male model. Piercing gray eyes, jet black hair, fabulous shoulders. The hair needed a cut and his face was stubbly, but it made him look like those sulky boys in Vanity Fair, who seemed to have been up all night partying with movie stars. No wonder he was able to slide through life leeching off women.
"Mrs. Humphrey?" he asked.
"Yes, you must be Christopher. Come in, come in." She ushered him in, embarrassed that she was wearing an old blue denim shirt, then irritated for thinking that way. "I hear you’re looking for work."
"No. Work and I don’t get along. But Peggy thinks it would be good for me. Build character and all that." He winked conspiratorially, and casually looked her over. Diane automatically fluttered her eyelashes. He was probably 15 years younger, so there was an element of artifice in his approach, but she had to take her compliments where she could.
Christopher fetched the ladder and started on the gutters. She tried to read a magazine, but after reading the same paragraph five times she gave up. It was impossible to concentrate with a strange man climbing around on her house and peering in the windows. Sitting motionless in the living room, she listened to him clatter around outside and began to strategize how to pay him. Would he be insulted or grateful if she threw in a tip? Suppose she gave him the agreed-upon amount, then offered him a drink?
It took him three hours to clean the gutters on the big old colonial. Marge had portrayed him as a slacker, but he did a thorough job and didn’t skip an inch. He even asked for a brush so he could remove the splotches that rotting leaves had made on the light blue paint. Peeping through the mudroom window, she watched him put away the long heavy ladder. Philip always called a neighbor to help; Christopher handled it by himself, and made it look easy. The word "manhandled" came to mind. She tried to compose herself.
When he tapped on the back door, she invited him into the kitchen. He stood with his muscular arms folded as she slowly counted out five twenties. Without bothering to check the amount he folded the money and crammed it into the pocket of his jeans. His tight jeans. She tore her eyes away from his crotch, and found Christopher gazing at her curiously. The initial scan had seemed polite, but now he was really interested. "Are you one of the witches Peggy talks about?"
Diane laughed. "That’s just a joke."
"Really? Then what’s with the pentacle in the attic?"
She froze. He must have seen it when he was up on the ladder. Blushing, she stammered something incoherent.
"So tell me. Are you using it with the point up or down? It means two different things, you know, depending which way it’s oriented."
Diane drew herself up. "And how do you know these things?"
He shrugged. Those shoulders! "I get around."
The money was in his pocket, but he didn’t seem in any hurry to leave. He looked at her in a passive-aggressive way, as if to say, your move. His physicality was overpowering. It was as if a wolf had padded into her kitchen and sat there licking its chops. Unable to meet his stare, Diane gazed out into the golden afternoon light, where trick or treaters would soon be assembling. "Would you like a drink?" she said, in an artificially bright voice.
Armed with vodka gimlets, they made their way to the attic. "Great space," he said. "Do you and Peggy really do witchcraft up here?"
"Marge doesn’t know about this. It’s my private laboratory," she said haughtily, pronouncing the word in the Bela Lugosi manner. La-BORRRR-a-to-ree. "I experiment with altered states."
"Drugs?" His skepticism was palpable. Do I seem that boring, Diane wondered. She decided to shock him.
"No. I’m trying to use physical restraint to force my mind into another dimension."
She explained the Seabrook theory, neglecting to mention that it wasn’t her own idea. Christopher was fascinated. He told her about someone named Terrence McKenna, who had ideas similar to Seabrook’s, only he used psychedelic mushrooms instead of bondage to break through to other dimensions.
"How are your experiments going?"
"I’m stalled," she admitted. Drifting around the attic, she ended up facing him across the pentacle. She felt as transparent as the vodka, but somehow didn’t give a damn. "I’ve reached the point where I need an assistant."
"Oh? I do odd jobs."
"What a coincidence. Perhaps you could help me."
"What do you have in mind?"
"What would you charge to chain me up and leave me here for an hour?"
Christopher blinked. He scratched his chin and pretended to think it over. "Sure beats the last chore," he smiled. "Hell, I’d even do it on the house."
"No. I insist on paying."
They shook on it. Diane finished her drink to give herself nerve. She went around the corner and undressed and put on her sexy Victoria’s Secret set. She adjusted the black panties to cover her buttocks, and made sure her pubic hair was tucked in. It’s just like a bikini, she told herself. He’s not going to see anything he wouldn’t see at the pool. She took a deep breath, and stepped out.
Christopher nodded appreciatively. "Very nice," he said, openly studying her body. "Should I address you as Dr. Humphrey? Since you’re doing important scientific stuff and all?"
"Diane will suffice." She handed him the restraints. He took one arm and spun her around and handcuffed her wrists behind her back with the practiced ease of a cop arresting his 200th suspect. It happened so quickly! Diane tugged at the cuffs and felt an odd tingle in her arms and chest. Yes, this was distinctly different.
Christopher knelt behind her. She was embarrassed about the cellulite, but he didn’t say anything. He fastened the manacles on one ankle. "Lie down."
"You want to be restrained or not?"
Grumbling, she complied. He made her lie face down on the floor, then threaded the manacle chain through her handcuffed wrists before attaching the remaining manacle to her other ankle. Since there wasn’t much slack between the manacles this forced her to bend her knees and bring her ankles to her wrists, rendering her unable to walk. Diane rolled on her side and lay curled like a shrimp.
Christopher waved the two keys under her nose, then placed them on a window sill, high out of reach. He grinned down at her, and she got a warm glow from the situation. It felt very feminine to be lying undressed and helpless at the foot of a virile young man. From the bulge in his jeans it was obvious he liked this situation too.
"How about a gag?" he suggested. "If you want to really feel helpless, you should be gagged."
The attic had several dressers full of old and out-of-season clothes. He found a rayon scarf. Diane obediently opened wide to receive it. He looped the ends around her head and through her mouth several times and tied it snugly.
Diane bit her gag and mumbled something incoherent.
"Atta girl. I’ll go watch TV. Hope you don’t mind if I hit the bar. An hour you say?"
Diane nodded, and he left.
Alone, she savored her situation. Bound, gagged, helpless... Yes, this was what she needed! By a strange man yet. It reminded her of the excitement of a first date, of not knowing if the guy would turn out to be a choir boy or a sex killer. God, how many years since she’d had a first date? She rolled back and forth, mashing her breasts against the carpet plush, thrilled by the unrelenting metal embrace. She really was a captive. Until he let her go.
Laboriously she crawled toward the window where the keys were. They were completely out of reach, up that high, but she reveled in the struggle to operate her body under new rules. She had to hunch her shoulders, push with her knees, just to move a few inches.
After managing to wiggle a few feet she gave up and slumped on the floor, thrilled at the trap she’d set for herself. A prisoner in her own lovely home! If someone came to the door looking for her, Christopher could talk to them and send them away, and the caller would never dream that he had her tied up and gagged in the attic.
Why, it was like a scene from a detective show. She pretended Christopher was an escaped convict who’d captured her. Breasts pressed against the carpet, chewing on her gag, she settled into a pleasant sex dream.
The hour went by in a flash. All too soon she heard the young man bounding up the steps. He had a light, bouncy tread, the opposite of Philip’s weary trudge. He untied her gag and settled on the floor in a half-lotus position. "How’d it go, Professor?"
"Great," she said, licking her lips. "The experiment was a success."
"Did you break through into that new realm?"
"I’m getting closer."
"Great! Science marches on."
She rolled on her side, facing him, hair falling over her face. Christopher contemplated her serenely.
"Uh, you can release me now."
He cocked his head. "Are you sure you want me to? We could keep the experiment going."
Hmm. He had a point. It wasn’t like she had to make dinner for Philip or take the boys to band practice. It was Halloween, and trick or treaters would eventually be ringing her doorbell, but so what if she didn’t give them the candy they expected? It would serve the little extortionists right.
Languidly, she rolled on her back. It hurt to lie on the cuffs, so she rolled again, away from Christopher, so that he was looking at her back and bottom and tangle of restrained limbs. "I’d like to try another position," she said.
"What is the experimental protocol?"
He unlocked the manacles so she could stretch out, but kept her handcuffed. Diane sat up thankfully. She rotated her shoulders, which were a bit stiff. "Handcuffs?"
"I want to maintain the charge you’ve built up by being restrained. What should we call this new form of energy? Restrainium?"
"That sounds like an element."
"You’re the occult scientist. You think of a good name."
"All right, I will."
But it was impossible to think with a handsome stud moving his hands over her body. Christopher selected a length of thick rope from her equipment box and tied it around her waist. The rope hung down in back like a tail. He guided it between her legs and up in front and pulled it through the loop just below her navel. He did this so skillfully she was tempted to ask if he’d done it before. But she didn’t want to hear about other women. Just thinking about it made her jealous.
"What’s this?" she demanded, looking down at the rope that bisected her.
"A leash. Come on. Walkies."
When he tugged on the rope, she felt it from her anus to the top of her vagina. The panties were no barrier at all. Reflexively, she tiptoed, but Christopher just pulled the rope harder to keep the pressure on. Biting her lip, Diane obediently followed, trying to match his pace so he wouldn’t jerk on the rope again.
"Where are you taking me?" she demanded.
"Down to the living room. We have to get ready for trick or treaters."
"No!" She froze on the landing, and he yanked the rope. It sank into her crotch, and the sensation made her knees weak. It was like being caressed in every sensitive place at once. Christopher tugged again, and reluctantly she submitted. She felt like a slave girl being dragged through a castle. It was humiliating, and strangely exciting too.
The front of her colonial had the typical arrangement of two rooms on either side of the front door. To the left was the formal dining room they seldom used, as they preferred to eat sitting at the counter in the kitchen. To the right was the living room, and that was where Christopher took her. She had just painted it red, and with the lights off it was dark and spooky. The thought of being observed through the big bay window made Diane nervous. Fortunately dusk filled the room with shadow.
Christopher cleared the coffee table, and made her sit on one end. He tied her ankles to its legs, then released her from the handcuffs and made her lie back so he could tie her wrists to the opposite end. While he was at it he removed her bra, leaving her only the little black panties.
Diane tested her bonds. Rope should have been less secure than metal gizmos that locked, but Christopher seemed to know his knots. Both ankles and wrists were solidly tied. "I never expected to be a decoration in my own living room," she commented.
"I hear a lot of suburbanites are doing it nowadays. They say it livens up those boring dinner parties. People can drink shots of vodka out of your navel."
"My dinner parties aren’t bring. We discuss art and politics."
He reached under her back and untied the crotch rope and extracted it from between her legs. In the course of doing so he casually felt her up. This is getting out of control, she thought, as he stroked her through the wisp of cloth, which clung to her wetly. It was embarrassing how wet she was. She should tell him to stop. She would tell him to stop. Yes. Very soon now.
"Here’s the plan," he said. "It’s getting dark. Trick or treaters will be coming. I will greet them in the doorway and hand out candy. They won’t be able to see you, but your nearly naked body will be only a few feet away, just around the corner. If you call out, or make any noise at all, they will know you are there. Why, they could even step in and see you."
"So I keep quiet," Diane mused. "What’s so hard about that?"
She soon found out.
Christopher selected a floor lamp and moved it beside the coffee table. He took a long tapered candle from the mantel and fastened it to the lamp with rubber bands. He positioned it sticking out horizontally, and then adjusted the lamp so the end of the candle was over her. Right over her chest, Diane realized, with a sinking feeling.
He struck a match and lit the candle. It flared, bright to her dark-adapted eyes. She stared at the flame and braced herself.
For a minute nothing happened. Then a drop of hot wax flung itself at her and splattered across the tender skin between her breasts. Her entire body convulsed, but the ropes held her down. Despite her vow to be stoic, she moaned. The second drop followed a moment later. A third.
Plop. Plop plop. Hot wax puddled on her chest. She grit her teeth. "You sadistic bastard," she hissed.
Agonizing. Yet stimulating too. Breathing heavily, she found herself scooching from side to side to control where the wax hit. It was best when the hot wax hit bare skin. If it landed on wax that had already cooled it wasn’t as good. She didn’t quite dare to take a droplet on her nipple, but different places on the breast itself... Yes! Oh! Yes!
"That’s the spirit," Christopher said, stroking her hair back from her face.
The doorbell rang.
"It’s showtime," he said.
So began the weirdest Halloween night of Diane Humphrey’s experience. She lay in her darkened living room, spread-eagled on her coffee table ($360, Pottery Barn), hot wax dripping on her nude chest like a scene from a cheesy horror movie. Only a few feet away, in her tastefully decorated entryway, her captor dispensed Butterfingers and Mars Bars to gleeful children.
When the door was closed the candle burned at a steady rate and she could predict when the next jolt would come. Every time the door opened, however, cool air rushed in and disturbed the candle flame and unleashed a shower of hot wax. When that happened Diane writhed and strained at her bonds, tears in her eyes, trying to choke back her moans.
A lull in the trick or treaters. Christopher came to the coffee table and pried the patches of cooled wax off her chest. "Having fun yet?"
"Does Marge know what a sadistic bastard you are?"
"Sure. She said to go extra hard on you."
"Naw, I’m kidding. It’s just that I’m good with women."
"Good at torturing them?"
"Good at giving them what they want."
He fondled her breasts and kissed her. She kissed him back passionately, furiously, energized by the mounting risk.
More kids came. She recognized some of the voices as neighbors’ children. She was a ghost, present yet invisible, as she listened to Christopher joking with them and commenting on their costumes and pretending to be scared. (He had put on the mask she intended to wear, and no one thought to ask who he was. The parents waiting on the sidewalk probably assumed he was Philip.)
"We’re out of candy," he announced, after an hour or so.
"Well, turn off the lights and lock the door," Diane instructed him. She was relieved when she heard the lock snap. A little disappointed too, since her adventure was winding down.
Christopher blew out the candle. "I think you’re warmed up now," he murmured. He knelt beside her, face spooky in the wan light that crept in through the front windows. They kissed again, and he played with her breasts some more. Diane had very sensitive nipples. She was so horny she felt giddy. Everything below the neck was a puddle of wanting. It was obvious he was going to take her right there on the coffee table. Diane spread her knees in anticipation.
Suddenly he stopped and grinned. "Let’s go trick or treating."
"No, let’s stay here. I don’t want to get dressed."
"Who said anything about getting dressed?"
But he was relentless. He untied her arms and made her put them at her side as she lay on the coffee table. He tied her left wrist to the left thigh, at the outside of her hip, in an oddly precise way: three turns around the wrist, three turns around the thigh, then two turns in the middle to cinch it tight. He bound her right wrist in the same way. This of course gave him many chances to reach between her legs and feel her up. Diane didn’t mind. In fact, she rubbed her vagina on his hand, hoping to distract him from his crazy scheme. Hell, she would have lifted her legs to her ears. Christopher seemed like a man who would know what to do with a woman in that position. But her ankles were still tied down.
He didn’t use much rope, but when he finished, her hands were useless. She flexed her fingers experimentally. No chance of reaching the knots. Was she limber enough to bend over and undo them with her teeth? Yeah, right.
When her upper body was secured he untied her legs and helped her sit up. He took her arm and walked her around the dark living room. Diane discovered that although she was bound, she was quite mobile. Through the bay window she could see groups of children running on the sidewalk.
"You’re not really going to take me outside," she protested.
"You said you wanted to go to new places."
"You see a door keeping out the world. I see a gateway to the world."
"Spare me the New Age drivel."
He treated himself to another lingering kiss, then taped her mouth shut. Diane had never had her face touched by a man face because he was gagging her. It was weirdly intimate, in an industrial way.
For a costume he covered her with a sheet. Viola! A ghost. The laziest Halloween costume in the world. Looking at herself in the make-up mirror by the door, Diane appreciated his cleverness. She could see out through the eyeholes, but her gag and bound arms were completely covered. All an onlooker would see was a ghost wearing sandals.
Christopher got himself a sheet and they set off.
Walking out the front door in her current state reminded Diane of the first time she went down an advanced ski run. Talk about scared! Under the sheet she was essentially nude (the panties didn’t cover much) so if the wind kicked up...
And the cool night air made her nipples erect. They rubbed on the sheet, and excited her.
A group of teenagers approached, and Diane tensed, but they were joking with each other and passed without comment. No one noticed that the shorter ghost was not swinging its arms like the tall one. Christopher kept his arm on her waist or shoulder. To the casual observer they were just a pair of affectionate spooks.
Clear cool night. Stars looking down from afar. Flickers of wind made dead leaves scuttle like restless crabs in the cul de sacs.
Diane seethed with sexual frustration. She hadn’t been this aroused in years. She tugged at her hands and tried to get her fingers around in front. But her fingers wouldn’t reach, and the ropes wouldn’t slide. The asshole had tied her with cunning skill. Absolutely no way she could get herself off. If she were to get the orgasm she craved, it was up to him. She brushed against his hip, trying to signal her interest.
Christopher walked her for several blocks. She was terrified they would run into someone who might want to stop and talk, but fortunately there weren’t many people out. Despite what he said about trick or treating, Christopher seemed content to wander around the neighborhood looking at expensive houses. He lived in a crummy apartment, Marge said. He worked as a bartender or repo man or something. The Dark Witch once said something about jail. Was it Christopher or a friend? God, could he be using her to case the neighborhood for a burglary?
Finally he took her home.
She should have felt safe inside, but his preoccupation made her uneasy. She tried to steer him toward the living room sofa; instead, Christopher grabbed some candles from the mantel and took her back to the attic. As they climbed the stairs Diane sensed events were spinning out of control. On the street she had had the option of running away or doing something to attract attention. In the house, hidden from public view, he could do anything. Anything at all.
In the attic he removed her sheet. Diane wiggled her chest, trying to rekindle his interest in her breasts, but he parked her in a corner and set to work. First he arranged the candles where the points of the star met the circle, and lit them. Then he walked around the circle, gesturing over each of the candles. Frustrated, horny, Diane stepped forward and grunted urgently through her gag. He looked at her as if he’d forgotten who she was.
"Do you need something?"
Her hands were tied at her hips, but she managed to point her index fingers toward her vagina.
"Oh, that. Is it getting agitated?"
He stroked her between her legs. She moaned, clamped her thighs on his hand, and pleaded with her eyes.
"All right, all right."
Leaving her tied, he produced a jack knife from his pocket. Ceremoniously he cut the straps of her panties. "You won’t be needing these," he said, tossing them aside.
He motioned to the pentacle, and Diane stepped in. She folded to the floor and lay as he indicated. One advantage to the way he had tied her: with her wrists at her side, she could lie on her back in comfort. Had he planned that far ahead? If so, she was grateful. Christopher stood looking down on her in the candlelight. He seemed to be muttering to himself. Completely nude now, she slowly spread her legs wide and gazed at him mutely. What the hell was he waiting for? Did he need an engraved invitation?
Christopher solemnly shed his clothes. God, he was gorgeous. As she stared at his hard muscular body he extracted his leather belt from his jeans and wrapped it around his left fist. He gestured with his hands as if outlining a door, and stepped into the pentacle. He knelt between her legs, cock bobbing like a pale sausage.
"Funny you should be interested in altered states," he said dreamily, as he looped the belt around her neck and threaded the free end through the buckle. He tightened it until it was as snug as a collar, then tightened it a little more.
"How far do you want to go, Diane?" He scooted forward, and she felt the tip of his penis prod her wet vagina. Finally! The belt tightened on her neck until she could feel her pulse pounding in her throat.
Let’s go there, she thought, raising her heels toward the ceiling, as he slid his magic wand into her.