I could use many different analogies and legends to try to describe a girl who was named Lily Lofton. I could liken her to Scheherazade, being clever enough to avoid death with her storytelling and her silver tongue. Or I could say she’s like the mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and she’s the end of snakes. There’s the Japanese legends of kitsune, the fox spirits who are clever enough to outsmart wolves. I could say she’s like the lotus flower or any other narcotic, sweet and sedating. There’s a hundred stories, but the problem is every last one of them is fucking faulty and doesn’t do the real her justice. Scheherazade told stories and Lily didn’t need to tell stories. Lily could spin real life into a romantic daydream. Rikki-Tikki had to tussle with the snakes and Lily would never have needed to because she’d just pet the snake into happy sedation with one easy paw while she effortlessly charmed it into harmlessness. Kitsune are closer but they often had to run off when their trickery was discovered and Lily’s wasn’t something that would ever make you angry.

Instead, I’ll say that I’m pretty sure my path was crossed with Lily’s by some touch of the devil’s. If you figure that God touched people’s lives in delicate little manipulations and the devil pridefully tried to imitate him, then he might try that same tactic. Hear me out on the happenstance. I worked IT in the corporation where Lily ran advertising campaigns and most every call I got could be handled over the phone or by remote access portal. But Lily’s problem had to do with this wireless printer and by some freak series of events, this printer had been incorrectly set up and then “fixed” to the correct settings in an incorrect way. There was a power flick one night and the printer went to the initial setup, didn’t work, and there just so happened to be one of the ad campaign meetings on that day and…

You get the gist. I ended up in the office of this red-haired, high energy, wild eyed demon to fix a printer connection. For every appearance, the encounter was absolutely normal except for one moment. I heard her curse behind me while I was working and looked around to see her crouching to pick up a folder she’d dropped. Her black skirt fit her well, yeah, but it wasn’t even anything meant to be sexual and the moment wasn’t even sexual. It was just that when she crouched, it drew her skirt up a little above her knee – still long in length – but there was an angry red welt there, low on the outside of her thigh.

I fixed her printer and left, heart beating fast because I’d never seen one of those stripes in person. It was something I had seen on several videos, but nothing really makes you ready for when you see something like a cane stripe in reality, not in a scenario like that. It was so much more vivid than I would have thought, this raised welt that made my blood race. I didn’t know why I had always been drawn to the things I was, only knew that I had gone down the paths of stories and videos, enough to recognize that mark easily. It made me even more curious to see it on an advertising executive like Lily Lofton, who was a powerhouse name in our company. She was excellent at what she did, she had endless amounts of energy without the appearance of being overly dominating or threatening, and everyone thought she was the sweetest, most adorable person they’d ever met.

But that’s not where the real story started. I never expected to run into Lily again, but something seemed to keep putting us in each other’s paths, despite the fact that I’m an introvert and rather reclusive. She was definitely neither of those things and she took over conversations when we spoke to each other, so much so that even I couldn’t be overly stressed by the social interactions. I started to like them, started to go along whenever she asked me to go eat lunch or whatever else. I have no idea what she got from these moments because I was a quiet person, but I can tell you what I got from them.

I got a connection with someone that didn’t require me to overthink, one of two forms of social interactions that I willingly took part in. And, of course, every now and again she would turn around, having taken her jacket off, or she would walk in front of me to lead the way and there would be another mark. The top of a whip line high on her back, for instance. They were little things that no one would have paid any attention to otherwise and it definitely wasn’t the kind of thing that I would bring up to her, but it was the kind of thing that started to have sway in my fantasies, even while I felt guilty about that fact. Even so, I wouldn’t approach her on it. It wasn’t in my nature. She was the one who initiated most of our friendship actually.

Eventually, she started another freak series of events that would start the real story.



After the whole story was said and done, Alex would always say that I was the romantic, but he was full of shit. Later on, he would always be the one to talk about how some force of religion made us cross paths. It wasn’t.

It was obviously because of my lucky pencil skirt I wore the day I met him. I had had that skirt so long that there wasn’t even a zipper anymore, but I had sewn the skirt rather than throw it away because it was lucky. It fit just right and everything turned up aces when I wore it. I did always kind of wonder how something bad like a printer problem would happen when I wore that skirt.

“Okay, so what’s the most stupid call you’ve gotten while working for our company?”

I went and found Alex on days before I had things like presentations because he was calm and I wasn’t. He was quiet and I never even thought before I spoke. He chose so much as every word and my life was chaos. So when I felt frantic for work meetings or I felt like I was fraying, and I couldn’t play my masochism games because I didn’t have time or for another reason, then I found him and he always made me think straight. By that point, I had had to experiment with ways to make him talk more, too.

I struck gold with that question and I knew it when he made a face. “I can’t actually tell you a single incident, but I can tell you that the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the angrier people seem to be about it.”

I laughed and took a drink of beer and that was another thing. I had also discovered he liked IPAs by then and I had to make him try a few different ones at a favorite restaurant of mine to get him to talk more. “Oh, this is good. Tell me names.”

He smiled into his beer, his head lowered in this shy way. That was another thing. Alex Horne was cute right from the start. He had this sandy hair set in a crew cut and these gray eyes, but more to the point was his mannerisms. He kept his eyes lowered a lot in this subjugated way. He always let me talk to waitresses, he never fussed when I was too energetic or when I chose things like where to sit without thinking. “I’m not exactly a ‘good with names’ person, Lily.”

“Liar. You just said mine.”

“Sure, because even I’ll remember them eventually.”

“You just don’t want to tell me because you’re too nice.”

He laughed one of those soft sounds again, taking another drink while I took one. “It doesn’t feel right.” He hesitated. “Okay, I can tell you that one of the accountants last week had me come all the way up to his floor when he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with his printer. I went through everything I could think of on the phone and was actually getting pretty confused myself. Then, when I got there, I just had to plug the power cord in.”

I choked on my laughter. “Oh, please tell me he had you delete a thousand print jobs after it started working.”

He made a face. “Yes.”

I couldn’t keep back the hysterics. Alex had this sense of humor that was so flat and dry as a result of being a pacifist. It had taken me a while to learn that he really was a pacifist, too. He would go out of his way to avoid and negate confrontation because it stressed him out. So when he talked to people and he felt something like “are you fucking kidding me”, his face went blank and his eyes were the funniest part of it. He would hide it so well, except for just a little bit of nihilistic exasperation that he couldn’t completely cover.

I drank more so that he drank more, enjoying the company after a high stress day. The problem with this is how impossible it is to tell if a quiet person is buzzed or not. I had made the mistake of adding alcohol to the conversation, for both of us, so he would talk more and then I realized I had a problem when my tongue felt really numb when I was trying to talk.

This led to two things. I lived somewhere along the same way Alex went to get home and he lived farther out than me in the city. We didn’t live in a bad part of it at all, but he was the kind of guy who made sure I got home okay. He was laughing those soft laughs at whatever I said too, while I wondered how much I was going to hate myself in the morning when he seemed the same as he always did and I was a fast talking drunk. I apologized when we got to my door while he shook his head and said it was fine and entertaining.

And the second thing was right before I was about to go upstairs. “Wait, hang on, let me see your phone. I just realized you don’t have my second social media page.”

He gave me his phone easily, quietly asking, “Who would ever want two of those?”

“Me. There’s too many people on the main one, so I feel like I can’t ever post anything without running the risk of offending someone. So I made the second one because I’m actually a pretty terrible person. There’s a lot less people on it and they… Okay, as a warning, they’re pretty damn vulgar and they curse a lot, but if you don’t mind that…” I used his page to add me and then accepted it on my phone because I knew if I just gave him the name and told him he could, then he wouldn’t.

“I don’t mind. You okay, Lily?”

“Yeah, I’m great! And I’ll see you tomorrow.”

And I honestly never once considered what might show up or be referenced on that alternate page. It was actually exactly what I said, the page with far fewer friends where I could post things like my dark humor. Of course, that meant that a lot of the friends on it were people I had met during my night life sadomasochistic forays and I wasn’t thinking of what would be indirectly referenced in things like, I don’t know, the comments sections.



Lucky skirt? Lucky skirt? That’s what we’re going with while accusing me of being the romantic? She-! You know what, I’ll just let the story decide it. So, that night.

Her last words before she left made me curious, made my heart race a little again. Vulgar friends, she’d said. What kind of vulgar friends did she mean?

The kind who left cane stripes down her thighs, low enough to see?

Even so, that wasn’t the reason that made me open Facebook when I got home. Her adding me had made me think of something else, which was how another friend of mine named Jason had messaged me for the one other social event I was willingly part of in life. Don’t judge me, but it was Dungeons and Dragons. Look, I was enticed enough by the tabletop setup to get out some, so that was something. I was shy, but I wasn’t a total recluse.

Pulling it up on that night was another event that… God, I swear to this day that she was sent to me by the devil. It was these little random touches in life, these coincidences that were wild. Her alternate Facebook name made me laugh. It was Morgan Le Pharaoh and it was the exact kind of random nonsense I’d expect from someone as chaotic as Lily Lofton. I still have no idea why it was easy for me to relax around her because she was everything that should have made me more anxious. Maybe it was the fact that I had met her along with my first real sight of a cane stripe, the fact that during our encounters she would have random other little marks and some of them I didn’t even recognize. Maybe it was the fact that she wasn’t actually an overly domineering person, but she was so excited and high energy all the time that she didn’t think about how she was taking the lead with me. She just did it, while I fell quiet and it was the little things like the restaurant when we drank together. She didn’t realize it, but the way she’d talked to the hostess and made those small decisions made me really appreciate her. And the way her cheeks turned flush when she was drinking made me smile, too.

It kind of made me feel all the more guilty that I had started to orgasm to twisted fantasies like someone spreading her agonizingly wide with a speculum. Even when we went to eat, I would sometimes visualize her with thin cords wrapped around her tits so that whoever was leaving whip marks on her could whip those as well…

I had meant to answer Jason. With the thoughts I was having, though, I got distracted with a feed post that showed up from that Morgan Le Pharaoh page. It wasn’t even something I had to look for, wasn’t something I had to so much as click on. It was a random picture, something cute and funny about kittens.

But someone had commented on it and it was the comment that got my attention because it referenced a fetish porn site, one of the ones where people could post pictures under various tags. And it referenced Lily.

It was someone teasing her about having a profile on that site, someone not so subtly bringing up her username on that site. It was right there and we had been talking for weeks by that point, while I kept having images inspired by moments with marks on her body. Even when we’d been drinking a little together that night, there had been another one of those smaller events, one where her shirt sleeve had fallen over her shoulder when she’d stood up and she hadn’t been wearing a bra, but when she turned around, there was another mark again, one that seemed like a thinner whip stripe this time. It was another of the ones I didn’t recognize.

I pulled up the page and typed the username in the search bar. I had thought my fantasies about her were bad before? They were nothing to the door I opened by doing that. The more I learned about Lily, the more she interested me. She talked about being a cynic, but she was so optimistic in every other aspect. She had brought up being a Laveyan Satanist, but she was so reserved about talking about it. She was sweet, but she had cane stripes that made me wonder. She was so sunny, so happy.

I had wondered how dark. I found out with those pictures. She was right there, but that wasn’t all of it. She had a fucking ton of images, ones that made me burn. I started flipping through them at the images that answered my cane mark inspired questions. The first one was a full body shot of her ass and back and she could apparently take a lot of pain. Her ass was covered in the stripes and her back was whipped with those smaller welts. It only got more interesting the further down I went, too. There was one where she had nails through her tits, one where her tits were wrapped in the cords I had fantasized about, one where her pussy was splayed open with a hoop spreader and painful clothespins. There were ones where she was wearing a gas mask and chained in heavy bondage and that was another thing. She never showed her face. It could have been anyone, so much so that even I kind of wondered if it was actually Lily I was looking at. It was one image in particular that made me recognize something I didn’t think anyone else would notice. It was that black skirt, the same one she’d been wearing when I first met her. I followed her on her kink page, feeling… a lot of different things, but the one I felt most was more curiosity.

Along with wild arousal. At that point in my life, I knew that there were words for the things I felt, words like sadist, words that made me shy away from the thoughts of my desires because I felt guilty at the time. I liked really dark things, but I couldn’t reconcile it with being a shy pacifist. I didn’t take the lead on anything in life because I hated decisions. They stressed me out, but I was confused, too, because the kinds of stories I liked were…

Let me tell you one, actually. It might be easier that way. I had a few favorites, even then, and some of them were realistic, while some traded the realism in favor of more sadism and humiliation. If that latter was good enough in writing, then it could be the kind of thing I really got into. For instance, there was one like that with this Master who had a slave he wanted to degrade into being his cow slut and, through some connection, had lactation drugs he could try, so he went on to do it and the drugs worked too well in the story. The slave started to hurt when he didn’t milk her and then he started to humiliate her by making her beg for it because he didn’t let her wear bras and it leaked through her shirt when she didn’t beg hard enough for him to take care of her. Another few were these brainwashing stories or mind control stories where the person was aware they were being controlled, but couldn’t do anything about it.

That’s the point where this happened in my life. I was confused, conflicted. I had been through a divorce that happened because I was too quiet and distant sometimes. I had fantasies that were dark as they could run and I couldn’t reconcile them with who I was. It felt like too much of a dual nature. And then Lily happened.

Have you ever seen a dowel rod right as you bend it to break it, if you do it slowly? You have to add steady pressure, creating a center of stress to it. My friendship with Lily had started as this innocent enough thing, despite my years of unrequited fantasies. And then she added pressure without meaning to.


It had started with run-ins before, but after I saw her drunk, it seemed like Lily decided she liked me. Which is fair, actually. I contend that it’s a decent friendship trial to see if someone will hang out with you after they see you get drunk. I didn’t judge her for it and after she seemed to realize that, she would come and find me for lunch sometimes and each time, after I added that page, felt like more stress being added on that dowel rod. The first time she was bouncing on her toes and breathless, her eyes excited. “I have another presentation after lunch.”

“I’m sorry.” That was my knee jerk response, to be honest with you, because that sounded absolutely fucking horrible with the type of people up in advertising.

She laughed, though. “No, no, it’s the perfect presentation, but I’m too excited and you’re calm. Do you want to go out to eat and talk with me?”

“Sure.” And I don’t know what I did to help her while out to eat with her because there isn’t much to tell about it. She told me about her color schemes while I answered and I was actually engaged in it even if it wasn’t a topic I knew much about.

You see, I was fascinated enough with the person talking that it made me interested. She sat in her chair with so much energy while I had mental images of the pictures she’d posted on her kinky page from the weekend, images where she’d had cruel looking torture hooks pierced like skewers through her back, where she was tense with fear and adrenaline.