Would you like to add your website? Click Here!

Avenging Angel chapter 2

2023-01-24 00:08:16

Between the first and second film shows

I lay in my hotel bed and mulled over the ‘evening’s entertainment’, as Mandy called it, until sustained arousal compelled me to masturbate. During the moments before I came I found myself recalling sex with Laura. Annoyed, I showered, made a cup of coffee and forced myself to consider the film’s implications. I tuned into the hotel’s Wi-Fi.

If ‘Castration Festivals’ were real events, I reasoned, there must be evidence for men disappearing without explanation and perhaps reappearing after they’ve been mutilated. But the results of my online search strained my credulity.

Every year in the UK, I learned, some 210,000 people go missing: 600 per day. They’re a mixed bunch: young men in their 20s; children escaping abuse and neglect by family or care home; middle-aged men unable to face domestic or financial stresses; dementia patients; and, of course, young women and teenage girls. Many of the disappeared return, or send messages, or are traced, but some are never seen or heard of again. Men aged 24-30 account for most of the ‘permanently disappeared’. The second largest group comprises men in their fifties, who’re unable to talk about their problems to family and friends and prefer to vanish.

Six hundred disappearances a day in Britain. One every two and a half minutes. And this is the second decade of the twenty-first century! Even if ninety percent of those people return, or are traced, it still leaves sixty a day; predominantly – who’d have guessed it? – men. But if even a tiny handful of those men suffered a fate like Specimen Five’s, their return home would be very newsworthy. Therefore, if ‘Castration Festivals’ really happened we’d have heard about them. So the films weren’t documentaries. They couldn’t be.

Then it struck me that just as many women are loath to admit they’ve been raped, so very few men would admit they’d been neutered; neutered, moreover, in a humiliating and excruciating way. And this was supposing they did go back to their former lives. Perhaps they didn’t. Inference: it was plausible - just plausible - that ‘Castration Festivals’ were real.

I needed to do more research, but not tonight. I glanced out of the window to make sure no one was watching, then switched off my laptop and went to sleep.

* * * * * * * *
Back at home the following morning I showered and shaved and then brewed coffee. My kitchen and living room are on the right as you enter the flat, opposite the bathroom and bedroom. The hall carpet was clean and I’d changed the bed recently, but the bathroom needed attention again. I checked myself in the mirror as I shaved: black hair, athletic frame, a little under medium height; in good shape. Odours of frying still haunted the kitchen from two days earlier, though I’d tidied away the pans and dishes. A few years ago I’d installed smoke alarms in the hall as well as the kitchen. They sometimes went off while I was making a fry-up.

Coffee in hand I went to the study, settled into my office chair and switched on the PC. From the study I can look down the hall towards the main door, which is equipped with security lock and alarms. The window on my right commands a view over the jumble of early nineteenth and mid twentieth century cottages lining our quiet cul-de-sac. I thought the woman standing under the maple tree was staring at my window, but as I studied her she walked away.

After ninety minutes I decided my research had yielded enough fruit. I printed copies and wrote notes and tried to order my conclusions. I kept re-reading and revising them but I wasn’t satisfied. Two days passed before I e-mailed my summary to Mandy.

Mandy, you were right: thoughts and questions. I’ve done some research on the value and validity of castration as punishment for sexual assaults. My findings don’t support the practice. Here are the main objections:
1. Surgical castration is used judicially in some countries such as the Czech Republic, but a visiting delegation found three cases in which sex offenders had committed serious sex-related crimes after being castrated. Therefore, the treatment isn’t always effective.
2. More generally, castration isn't likely to stop a sex offender offending. It will only change the nature of the offence. Impotent men can commit sexual battery. Minds, not gonads, are to blame for rape.
3. Testosterone and erections aren’t necessary for rape. Fingers or inanimate objects can be used as weapons. Like love-making, rape isn’t all about hard penises and female orifices.
4. The Council of Europe declared surgical castration to be a mutilating, irreversible intervention that can’t be considered a medical necessity for treating sex offenders.
5. Castration denies offenders the basic human right to reproduce.
6. If an individual accused and convicted of rape is castrated and is later proved innocent, there’s no effective redress for the wrongful punishment.
7. Castration is a prime example of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ and should therefore not be practised.
8. It is both unacceptably harsh and ineffective.
9. Aren’t we supposed to have done away with the barbaric use of physical pain and disfigurement as punishment for crimes? Aren’t we supposed to be enlightened about reforming and rehabilitating the offender? Castration can’t readjust the offender to society.
10. The American Civil Liberties Union stated that castration doesn’t treat the psychological roots of sexual deviance.
11. Declaring a castrated offender ‘rehabilitated’ wouldn’t reassure the public or prevent the spread of anxiety when he was released.
12. Even if the castrated rapist doesn’t reoffend, the effect on the incidence of rape will be miniscule. Rape is far too common and widespread to be eliminated from society by neutering a tiny handful of rapists.
Sorry – not well edited – been searching many sources and their messages overlap. But don’t you agree that these twelve points add up to a strong argument for abandoning and banning ‘Castration Festivals’? Castration-and-penectomy is great for fantasies - at least it entertains men like me - but in practice it’s highly illegal and shouldn’t happen.
See you (and more films) again soon, perhaps?

I guessed she’d react more sincerely if my e-mail implied I’d accepted the films as documentaries and the ‘Castration Festivals’ as reality. My hunch seemed correct because she responded within twenty-four hours:

Hi Douglas,
Delighted that you’ve been thinking and researching, but your argument is one-sided and weak. Here are my ripostes to your twelve points:
1. None of the nearly 100 sex offenders who’ve been physically castrated in the Czech Republic have committed further offences. A Danish study of 900 sex offenders in the 1960s showed that the rate of repeat offending fell after surgical castration from 80 percent to 2.3 percent. Pretty dramatic improvement!
2. The Polish government legalised castration to improve the mental health of convicted sex offenders and thereby reduce the risk of reoffending. It worked - consistently.
3. What you say is true, but as a study in Argentina proved, a drastic lowering of sexual appetite almost completely prevents rape and similar offences.
4. Okay, so what’s the medical alternative? There isn’t one. Chemical castration is reversible, and the offender can dodge it anyway unless there’s constant close supervision – and what legislature can afford that?
5. I’m not liberal enough to value the offender’s rights above the victim’s. I don’t value a rapist’s right to reproduce above a woman’s right not to be raped.
6. This is your strongest criticism. It means we have to be absolutely certain we’ve got the perpetrator, hence the need for confessions and victim testimonies (if available). And don’t say the confessions are worthless because they’re extracted under torture; we don’t start interrogating until we know beyond doubt that we have the right male.
7. Is anything more ‘cruel and unusual’ than rape? Except that rape is very far from unusual (cf. your point no. 12). More than one offender has admitted “Nothing’s more cruel and unusual than the pain I’ve caused to my victims”. Several say being castrated is the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
8. You missed an article in the Korea Times in 2010: “Because castration programs can be effective at reducing recidivism rates among sex offenders, they obviously protect the safety, lives, and rights of future prospective victims”.
9. Do you really imagine that imprisonment and counselling would stop men raping? The crime is caused by both psychological and physical urges and no rational counselling will prevent repetition. Castration not only stops further crimes by the offender (one of the purposes of any punishment), it’s also a strong deterrent to other prospective rapists.
10. Many rapists want to be free of their overwhelming urges, so many of them request castration to save themselves from themselves. By implication, forced castration of sex offenders can save them from themselves.
11. As things stand, convicted or even suspected sex offenders are subject to tabloid witch hunts, but if they’re castrated then they’re statistically very unlikely to reoffend (see above). Castration therefore makes the public safe from a former rapist and the former rapist safe from witch-hunts. Better for all concerned.
12. By analogy: imprisoning the tiny handful of burglars who get arrested, charged and found guilty has very little effect on the incidence of burglary. Do you infer that convicted burglars shouldn’t go to prison? (Of course, you raise a profoundly important issue – the very high incidence of rape – but that’s not your point, is it?)
If you’d like to watch more rape-castration films I’ll pick you up from your flat at 7.30 on Friday evening and we can continue this debate. Please e-mail to let me know whether the date and time will suit you.

Her counterarguments were strong but they didn’t convince me. On the other hand, the arguments I’d sent to her didn’t convince me, either.

One thing was clear from her closing words: she knew where I lived.

* * * * * * * *
Hall and bathroom cleaned, I listened to Tasmin Little’s performance of the Beethoven violin concerto while I prepared, cooked and ate a stir-fry. The rain had stopped and the afternoon was clear, so I put on my anorak and gloves and walked to the park. Council employees were paying desultory attention to paths and flower beds, schoolchildren were truanting, and dogs of numerous breeds were exercising their owners. Robins and blackbirds flitted to and fro, intent on not singing. I walked and observed.

It was too cold to sit, but I went to the bridge and leaned the parapet, pondering the brown water of the river and the brown leaves on its bank. ‘In a brown study’ is an archaic phrase, but archaisms helped to quench the fires in my head, and such phrases came easily to me that day because I’d started reading Wuthering Heights for the first time since my teenage years, when I’d wallowed in its contrived bleakness and fatalism. Now, with the detached eye of maturity, I could amuse myself with the devices young Emily Brontë had used to achieve her Gothic effects, particularly the ‘unreliable narrator’.

I forced myself not to imagine that the woman who’d stood under the maple tree opposite my flat was dogging my steps. I forced myself not to remember Laura.

I needed to go home, switch on my computer and reply to a magazine editor. He’d gratified me by promising to publish another of my short stories but irked me by regretting the absence of sex from my work. The Brontë sisters had demonstrated how to portray passion without being explicit. Many of their characters lacked depth, Emily’s in particular (were any denizens of a novel ever more one-dimensional than Hindley Earnshaw or Edgar Linton, or indeed Heathcliff?), but intimacy was handled with a subtlety that scarcely hinted at innuendo. Of course, our norms and literary expectations are different from those of the nineteenth century, but surely we can learn technique – and restraint - from our literary antecedents?

My mind started to phrase a reply to the magazine.

I needed to catch up on my editing, too. A significant backlog had accumulated. But my concentration was impaired, partly because the medical manuscripts in my inbox were incomprehensible and the high-finance documents boring, and partly thanks to Mandy and her damned films.

One-dimensional. Participants in pornography are one-dimensional. They’re nothing but the activities of their bodies, the doing and the done-to. Beyond their sexual virtuosity they have no character. This was the speck of grit I’d been trying to rub from my eye since leaving the little cinema: Part Two of the ‘Specimen Five’ film had made both the rapist and its victim into people, with lives beyond and outside the sex scene. The victim had a name, a partner, a home, feelings, responses. And despite his anonymity the assailant was also a person: articulate, a Shakespeare lover, a smoker. This had made its vampiric devouring of Virginia’s emotions unsettling, the darkness of a human soul made visible, and her partner’s urge to share the feast was both convincing and disturbing. Because of Part Two, the film was not, strictly speaking, pornography at all; extreme erotica, perhaps, hard-core and explicit and graphic, but inhabited by human characters, not robotic bodies. Which had made the castration in Part Three all the more compelling and exciting.

There was another facet to this. Here I was, a morning of housework and cooking behind me, walking in the park, staring at the river, remembering how Little’s violin had soared as she played the Beethoven concerto, reflecting on the Brontë novels, trying to forget Laura, planning another e-mail to a magazine, struggling for the will to edit a company’s annual report: a multi-dimensional person. But by inflicting her brand of pornography on me, Mandy was trying to make me as one-dimensional as the figures in everyday porn. When she’d first accosted me in the hotel bar she’d said she knew me, but she spoke only of my taste in pornography: a single dimension. She was right about it, but she’d ignored every other dimension of my character, my existence. Obviously she knew I was a literature graduate so she knew about my real life as well as my fantasies, so what was her game?

I went home, dashed off my e-mail to the magazine, glanced through two of the editing jobs, took myself out for dinner at the local Thai restaurant, and then went to the pub. In the bar I met five or six acquaintances. Over drinks, we talked mostly about football.

* * * * * * * *
On the Wednesday evening I booked an incall appointment with an escort. I’d never used her before but her website indicated an intelligent, articulate, mature female, which was what I wanted. Her flat proved to be clean, tidy, spacious and light, which put it in the top ten percent of escort incall venues. Some I’ve visited are dark, dank, poky, and so untidy you know they haven’t been cleaned for months. If a whore’s flat is a health hazard, what does it say about the whore? Who’d want to stick his cock into a grubby slut in a rented dump? But this place smelled clean and fresh.

The escort wasn’t bad, either. Five-six or five-seven, passable figure, D cups, not enhanced. A few tattoos, which I dislike, but no piercings, thank goodness. Brown hair dyed blonde, hazel eyes, not too much makeup. Reasonable conversation. After we’d negotiated, she let me tie her wrists to the bed-head with silk scarves while she remained fully clothed.

“You don’t know me,” I said as I stripped, “so you don’t want me inside you. Oh, I know you’ll consent because you’ve been paid, but if I asked ‘Do you want to feel my cock in your snatch?’ then your honest answer would be ‘No’. Correct?”

She was loathe to admit I was right; most escorts think they have to convince their clients that they fancy them. You’d have to be a dumb client to believe it, but I suppose many clients are dumb. I put on a condom and shoved my hand up her skirt. Standard prostitute lingerie: suspenders, stockings, lacy panties. I pulled the panties off and pushed her legs apart.

I wish these slappers didn’t shave their pubic hair off, but you grow accustomed to bald minges when you’ve been up a few. When I first came face to face with a pubeless pussy my dick wilted. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two reasons for a human female to lack pubic hair: prepubertal age or recent gynaecological surgery. And the thought of paedophilia, or of sex with a hospital patient, is enough to make me throw up. But I no longer let shaved muffs put me off my stroke.

Most prostitutes lubricate their holes when they’re expecting a client. This escort was no exception: nice and slippery.

“Do you want to feel me inside your snatch?” I said, slapping her face with my cock.

Divining my intention she muttered “No”, not very convincingly; but thereafter she made a good show of protesting and resisting - pretending to cry, begging me to stop and let her go.

“What’s the matter, bitch, never been raped before?” I said. “Good for whores like you, being raped. Good for any woman. Keeps them in their place.”

She was a skilled enough actor, and knowledgeable enough about men, to feign anger as well as distress. At least she didn’t giggle.
Immediately after I came I pulled out and untied her wrists. She sat up and asked whether I wanted her to strip, but I told her no. Most prostitutes don’t like that; they want their clients to admire their naked bodies, to be enthralled by their beauty. When you rip a woman’s knickers off and leave her otherwise fully dressed, you reduce her from irresistible seductress to mere hole-for-use. They pretend nonchalance but they hate it.

“I enjoyed the rape game,” I said. “But suppose you’d really been raped, or someone you cared about had been raped, and you’ve captured the rapist – me, for example – and you have him tied up, naked and helpless. Then someone gives you a knife and says you may cut off either his dick or his balls, but not both. Which will you choose?”

She hesitated only a moment.

“His dick,” she said. “That’s what he raped me with. Maybe de-balling would stop him wanting to rape again or even being able to, but it wouldn’t feel like revenge. Not to me. And if I let him keep his balls, he’d keep the urge to fuck but have nothing to fuck with, which would serve him right.”

It would probably make him bloody lethal, I thought. Nevertheless her answer corroborated my guess about Specimen Five’s castration. The two thirds of Ms Siddall’s audience who’d wanted the specimen to be de-balled before it was de-cocked had wanted to defer their pleasure and satisfaction.

I put my clothes back on, tipped the escort an extra tenner and went home. As I said, she wasn’t bad, and the state of her flat was worth a few brownie points. I decided I might use her again when the need, so to speak, arose.

Back in my office, I imagined for a moment that the watching-woman was under the maple tree again, but it was only a shadow cast by the street lamp.

Shortly before midnight I finished Wuthering Heights.

* * * * * * * *
By Friday evening I’d spent hours searching for information about castration in societies ancient and modern. I’d learned how it’s been deployed in war, as punishment for lawbreaking, to end the pretentions of claimants to kingship, as part of religious practice, and as a facet of enslavement. But nowhere did I find evidence of it being used for entertainment. Not in real life.

As a weapon of war, castration has been used to torture and demoralise enemies and to extinguish their male lineages, allowing the victors access to the defeated group’s women. Gibbon described the castration of defeated foes by the Normans in twelfth century Italy and Sicily. During the Anglo-Afghan Wars, Pathan women in the North-West Frontier Province of British India castrated all non-Muslim soldiers who were captured. More recently, Janjaweed militiamen have castrated villagers in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Castration was an established form of punishment in China from the time of the Zhou Dynasty. The Shang Kings castrated prisoners of war as well as malefactors. When the Mongol Empire was overthrown and the Ming Dynasty established, many Mongols were castrated and sold as eunuchs, and the Ming commanders castrated thousands of Miao boys when the Miao tribes revolted; they distributed the eunuchs as gifts to their friends. Nevertheless, eunuchs in China usurped power in many eras, notably the Later Han, late Tang and late Ming dynasties.

Eunuchs also gained political power in various Middle Eastern states and the Byzantine Empire. Loss of male genitalia and identity, it seems, didn’t always entail powerlessness. Also, the Chinese weren’t alone in using castration as punishment: as recently as the 1950s, European children who reported sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests were punished in this way, notably in Holland.

Castration of slaves has been a commonplace throughout history. During the thirteen centuries and more of the Arab slave trade in Africa, at least twenty-eight million Africans were enslaved and shipped to the Middle East, and an estimated eighty percent of the male black slaves were castrated. Boys aged between eight and twelve had their scrotum and penis completely amputated, which was also the practice in China. This castration-and-penectomy incurred an estimated ninety percent fatality rate, but since neutered slaves were such valuable commodities the procedure was still economic. Removal of only the scrotum and testes entailed much less risk of death by blood loss and infection than removal of the penis. Arab slavers also castrated Europeans who were captured during sea and land raids. Much more recently, an article in the Gulf Times revealed a major trade in Nepalese boys who were lured to India and sold to brothels; again, most had been castrated.

Many religious cults included castration as central to their practice. The Galli priests, devotees of the Cult of Cybele, castrated themselves publicly in emulation of Attis; many Christians from the late third century CE castrated themselves to counter the sinful desires of the flesh; and while Deuteronomy 23:1 excluded eunuchs from the Assembly of Israel, Isaiah 56:3 was much more tolerant, and in Acts chapter eight a eunuch was baptised into the nascent church.

I assembled my notes and wiped my brow, thinking again about the castration and penectomy of Specimen Five. War weapon, punishment, enslavement, religious practice... but only in the specialist pornography I most enjoyed was castration portrayed as a game. If it were really done, the victims being robbed of their cocks and balls, then surely – as in the case of the young slaves – ninety percent would die of blood loss or infection. Wouldn’t they?

Mandy had told me that a castratrix would be disqualified from the Festival competition if her specimen died during the operation. But did these films go on, in the interests of ‘authenticity’, to report deaths during the days and weeks after the castration? What was the ultimate fatality rate among the victims of ‘Castration Festivals’?

* * * * * * * *
“Less than five percent,” said Mandy. We were on our way to the little cinema; as before, I was blindfolded. “I know that in times past around nine out of ten men and boys died after their cocks and balls were hacked off, but our specimens are fit and healthy, and we have skilled surgeons and nurses - ”

“Okay. But all the matter-of-historical-fact castrations I’ve read about were performed quickly, irrespective of whether the cock and balls were sliced off or only the balls; one slash of the knife. Even when castration was part of an execution, as in hanging drawing and quartering for high treason, the genitals were removed with a single cut. The slow artistic approach I watched in your cinema last week only happens in pornographic fiction – and, apparently, in your Castration Festivals.”

As if there’s any difference.

Mandy said there was no way I could know about the speed and simplicity of every castration that’s ever been performed. Did I really believe that the victors in war and the authorities who exacted punishments in times gone by hadn’t found it entertaining to transform captive or condemned men into eunuchs? Might they not have lingered over the process, relishing the victim’s suffering?

“Don’t you think the Pathan women of the Afghan Border had fun de-balling their European captives, for example?”

She was a clever woman, was Mandy; always ready with an answer, always seeming to control the conversation, always well informed. It was obvious she’d had a hand in making the ‘Specimen Five’ film, but what hand and with what motive? I’d never seen a film remotely like it online or on a sex shop DVD. Yet I now knew there were other ‘Castration Festival’ films - we were on our way to watch one - so how and where were they being marketed? Anyone could see they were expensive productions, so the makers would need to recoup their costs and profit from their labours. And if the films weren’t being sold for profit, why had they been made? What was the point, apart from pornographic entertainment? Once again, the recurrent question Is this convincing fiction or is it real? whirled around my head.

* * * * * * * *

The screen darkened. The title appeared: ‘SPECIMEN ONE’, then the legend ‘A VALKYRIE FILM’, then ‘PART ONE’. The subtitle faded to reveal the inside of an unfurnished flat. I had the impression of a high Victorian tenement, possibly in Edinburgh.

“The narration in Part One is Specimen One’s confession,” said Mandy. “This specimen didn’t actually confess so the confession was written for it. You’ll hear an actor’s voice. But the reconstruction’s based on solid evidence.”

Yeah, I’m sure it is, I thought. Then the narration began as the camera panned the empty room. My guess about Edinburgh was correct.

I’d got the keys to an empty flat on the top floor of a tenement off Dalry Road, said the voice-over. Never mind how. Point is, they were in my pocket so I could pretend the flat was mine. The owner was none the wiser. He might have faced a few questions later but I didn’t care. I typed an advert - Unfurnished top floor flat for rent, Dalry area, suitable for 2-3 occupants - invented a low enough rent to attract interest, gave a phone number, and pinned the sheet to a notice board in the University Students’ Union. In those days you could walk into the Union whether you’d any right there or not. Nobody challenged you.

The calls started a couple of hours after the advert went up. Men were told “Sorry – it’s gone”. I let the girl callers talk long enough for me to decide whether they were promising. I told two I’d get back to them and pretended to write their phone numbers down. The third sounded dead right. She said her name was Katy.

A young woman’s voice now began to alternate with the actor-narrator’s.

“Right, Katy, if you’ve no classes this afternoon I’ll collect you after lunch and take you to the flat, then you can decide.”

“Oh – that’s really kind, thanks, but Jill will need to see it too, Jill’s my friend, we want to share, but she won’t be free ‘til later.”

“Can’t manage later. Why don’t you come and look at the flat this afternoon, just you, and if you like it I’ll hold it ‘til you and Jill can check it out together? Anybody else rings I’ll tell them it’s taken. I’ll give you a week to decide, then if you don’t want it I’ll advertise it again.”

“Oh… Oh, well, yes, thanks ever so much, that’s really generous, I’ll go and see it, but how will I recognise you?”

I intended to borrow Andy the accountant’s Lotus Elan; the bugger hadn’t paid me for fixing his hot water system so he owed me. Not that he’d know I was borrowing it. I reckoned there wouldn’t be many Lotus Elans in George Square on a wet Thursday afternoon, so Katy wouldn’t have much trouble recognising the car. I’d be disguised, though: I’d have sprouted a moustache and my hair wouldn’t be its usual colour, and I’d be wearing a suit with a little jar of Vaseline in the jacket pocket. Remembering my appearance wouldn’t do her any good because by evening I’d be fair-haired and clean-shaven again. Odd thing: they say only one rape in ten is done by a stranger; ninety percent are done by somebody who knows the woman, like a relative. I suppose I’m different.

“My Lotus is canary yellow. My therapist insisted.”

The joke went over her empty little head. She gave a silly giggle and said she was sure she’d find the car and she’d see me after lunch.
It went as planned. She was a pretty little piece, blonde, fashionable hairstyle and clothes, full lips, nice teeth. Putting her at ease was simple; a few questions – where was home, did she have family in town, what subjects was she studying, how was her course going – and I couldn’t shut her up. She chattered non-stop all the way to Dalry, and she went on chattering all the way up the five flights of stairs even though she was out of breath. The climb didn’t affect me; I was fit and I didn’t chatter. She was wearing calf-length boots but they wouldn’t be a problem. Her legs were thinnish but not bad. As far as I could tell through the pink top she wore, her tits were the size of bee stings, so she wouldn’t be worth stripping above the waist.

The narration with occasional dialogue faded. I was now watching an ordinary film sequence, the action present and direct; ‘showing not telling’.

Empty rooms look big, so Katy was impressed with the flat. Specimen One let her take her time: that could be Jill’s bedroom, she said, because it looked out on a green place, and she’d have this one because it faced the rising sun, and the kitchen would be lovely, and would Specimen One mind if they repainted the bathroom? Any idea where they could pick up cheap furniture? She adored the living room with its flowery wallpaper and high ceiling with decorated plaster cornices - and its big heavy sash window.

The window was integral to the rapist’s plan. Frowning, Specimen One went to it, staring down at the street below. Then it heaved up the bottom pane and leaned out.

“What is it?” asked Katy.

Ten seconds passed before Specimen One answered.

“Good Heavens. Take a look at that.”

It withdrew from the open window and Katy took its place.

“What am I looking for?”

“On the pavement, right below us.”

Katy leaned out further, her tummy balanced on the frame of the window, her boots scarcely touching the floor. The camera looked up the short skirt almost to her pert little bum. Specimen One’s cock was as hard as a crowbar though much shorter. It leaned forward and lowered the massive pane on to the small of its victim’s back. No way could she lift the window from that position, nor could she wriggle free of its embrace. She gave a nervous giggle.

“Hey! What are you doing? Let me out! I can’t see anything odd! What am I supposed to be looking at?”

It took only seconds for Specimen One to lift the skirt and pull the tights and knickers down to the top of the girl’s boots. She gasped, uncomprehending, but before she could find her voice the rapist had anointed its cock with Vaseline. Her cunt was dry and closed, so Specimen One greased the slit. As it did so it laughed with delight and its cock grew even harder.

“Fuck me, a virgin!”

“No! Stop it! What are you doing? I’ll scream!”
Her assailant laughed louder.

“You’ll scream all right, you pathetic little cow.”

It pushed the tip of its cock into the lubricated crack, grasped Katy’s hips, and thrust with all its might. In less than a second the whole shaft was up to the hilt in the girl’s twat. Her body stiffened and bucked, face twisting upwards, mouth gaping, hair in disarray. For a moment the breath was knocked out of her, but then the scream came. It echoed along the street. They probably heard in the Castle. It was a scream compounded of pain, rage, revulsion, bewilderment, incredulity and fear, an intoxicating cocktail. Watching, I gorged on it. The effect was more intense than it had been during the Specimen Five film. And I wasn’t alone: Specimen One was explicit - it too relished the girl’s response. The film returned to narrative voice-over, courtesy of the actor.

Even now, all these years afterwards, I can shut my eyes and hear Katy screaming and it still makes me smile. Nostalgia. There should be poems about deflowering without consent. Anyway, whether it was the way she reacted, or the situation, or thinking the scream might attract attention, I shot my load after half a dozen thrusts. Creamed the bitch’s cervix good and proper. I’d wanted to fuck her for longer, but what the hell, it isn’t every day you get to rape a virgin. She bled a bit and she sobbed a lot, and she moaned and tried to speak but couldn’t manage it. I laughed.

Specimen One wiped its cock clean on the girl’s skirt, indifferent to her cries. Then it straightened its clothes and asked: “What do you reckon it will be, boy or girl?”

The narrative continued:

I tidied myself up and off I went. I left the door open and the keys on the floor; someone would find her and let her out. Or maybe three or four strangers would walk in and see her naked arse and freshly-busted muff stuck in the window and take turns to shag her. Then she’d have no idea who the father was. My cock twitched at the fantasy, but it would have been risky to go back for more. I lit a fag and hummed [i]All You Need Is Love.

Next day, as luck would have it, I was called to a house a hundred yards or so from the flat I’d borrowed to rape Katy. I parked my van right beneath the window where I’d trapped her. I fixed the leak in the flooded kitchen, getting my boiler suit wet, then helped the old couple to tidy up the mess and listened to them complaining about the weather, the government, and the shocking way modern students behaved. There was no mention of a rape in the neighbourhood, no sign of police activity.

“No, sir, no call-out charge,” I said. “That’s only for false alarms or long journeys. I’ll bill you for time and materials, nothing else.”
They wished all plumbers were as honest and considerate.[/i]

* * * * * * * *
As in the Specimen Five film, Part One had ended with something irrelevant: Specimen One’s trade. What had that to do with pornographic fantasy? Who cared whether he was a plumber, however honest and considerate? I didn’t ask Mandy because her reply would have been slick, uninformative and probably mendacious. In any case I knew the answer now: the films weren’t strictly ‘pornography’ because the participants were given character. Instead, I asked her about the aftermath of the rape. Had there been a police investigation? Had ‘Katy’ recovered?

“Katy Matheson, Douglas. Real name. As Specimen One predicted she became pregnant. She was from a Catholic household; her father was a traditionalist and the rest of the family were scared of him. He threw Katy out. Even her brothers and sisters, even her mother, distanced themselves. Her student friends took her to the police but there was no significant investigation.”

Katy-girl wouldn’t have divulged the details, I thought, even if she’d been able to remember them. Anyway, the police had probably been too busy to listen to her.

“Was it a boy or a girl? Or did she have an abortion?”

“She killed herself,” said Mandy. “Jumped in front of a train.”

My heart skipped and I shut my eyes. She’d been damned stupid, going alone to an empty flat with a man she didn’t know; rape could have been expected. But ought naïveté to be punished with death? On reflection, I suppose it often is.

“And when you – or whoever runs this ‘Castration Festival’ business – caught Specimen One, or a man you thought - ”

“It was Specimen One. Katy had seen it in the street and pointed it out to her friends, who’d taken photos. The police still weren’t interested, though. They thought she’d invented the story, accusing an innocent man so she could avoid admitting the baby was her boyfriend’s.” Distaste washed over Mandy’s countenance. “She’d had a boyfriend, but they hadn’t slept together, and after the attack the relationship ended. She could no longer tolerate a man touching her.”

Of course Katy hadn’t slept with her boyfriend. Did Mandy think I’d forgotten Specimen One’s joy at discovering the girl was virga intacta? Every time I recalled it my cock twitched. But when I pondered her suicide it wilted again.

I said I needed a walk. The cinema door was locked and Mandy wouldn’t let me out without the blindfold, so I paced around the auditorium; not much of an amble. Part One of this film had excited me, but pity for Katy Matheson had dampened my arousal. Mandy watched and looked satisfied.

“Ready for Part Three?” she said.

I was no longer in the mood, but watching Specimen One’s neutering might rekindle my enthusiasm. After all, this was the Champion Castratrix’s performance. Should be worth seeing.

* * * * * * * *
During the preamble to Part Three (cameras panning the audience, brief welcome by the Mistress of Ceremonies) I paid more attention to the wooden post than I’d done previously. It was called a ‘post’ but I thought of it as a ‘stake’. It was square in section, some six inches across, and it rose ten feet above the ground. There must have been several feet below the surface, too, because it was rock solid. I also noticed features I’d missed during the Specimen Five film: in addition to the hooks in the sides there were holes in which appliances could be placed, and there were fittings for a cross-piece. And to greet Specimen One, the post had company: in front of it stood a sawing trestle bearing a heavy log.

Specimen One’s entry was similar to Specimen Five’s: it was naked, it lacked most of its body hair, its wrists were bound behind its back, there was a collar and chain around its neck and its ankles were manacled. However, its efforts to resist and escape were more frantic than Specimen Five’s. All four guards were needed to control it. The castratrix who’d selected it, the reigning Champion, was called Sura. Her surname sounded like Dree-lee-ah. I recognised it on second hearing: ‘Drilea’. I’d heard the name before. Romanian.

Thoughts and questions played dodgems in my head:

- I know what’s going to happen. It isn’t original. I’ve read it on a castration-fantasy site.
- It wasn’t filmed in Britain because the only amphitheatres in Britain are tourist attractions, which the ‘Festival’ organisers couldn’t have used. Was it filmed in Romania?
- Why had Mandy shown me Specimen Five first? Did she assume that an English graduate and part-time author might like to watch a Shakespeare fan being castrated?
Then, as Ms Drilea threw off her cloak to reveal a trim body in a black PVC bikini:
- Are those earrings and pendant for real?

I watched Specimen One being secured to the post, straddling the log on the trestle, hands tied to a cross-piece fastened two feet above its head, ankles padlocked to metal pegs in the ground. The cheering of the audience drowned its screams.

“She hasn’t started yet,” I said, “so what’s it got to scream about, unless it’s got splinters from that log in its arse and ball-bag?”

“It knows what’s going to happen,” said Mandy. “Last year’s winning castration made Sura famous, which explains why there’s a description of it online. And remember Specimen One didn’t confess, so it received no anaesthetic before it went to the post.”

Ms Drilea was stroking Specimen One’s cock, which despite the circumstances began to show the effect of Alprostadil. As the organ hardened I asked about the castratrix’s necklace and earrings.

“Oh, yes, they’re a real cock and balls, sliced off a well-endowed male who’d volunteered for castration. They were surgically removed, thoroughly and professionally cleaned, and then tanned, plasticised and gilded. The cock was suspended on that gold chain to make a necklace and the balls were made into earrings. The jewellery set is the winner’s trophy, awarded to the Champion at the end of each Festival. She wears it on formal occasions during the following twelve months, especially the opening session of the next Festival.”

Specimen One was pleading with Ms Drilea, to no avail. When she drew a light hammer and four three-inch nails from her leather bag, it started to scream again. Before its penis had time to shrink with terror she drove one of the nails through it, just behind the glans, so the tip entered the log. Specimen One’s bowels emptied and its body lurched forward at the hips, trying to reduce the strain on its tethered dick. Ms Drilea ordered the guards to pull it back to the post and hold it in place with a leather strap. They obeyed, then they swilled the faeces from the log and the wooden post with a hose-pipe. Specimen One was now held upright, its cock stretched to the limit of endurance if not beyond; the glans was purple. Its screams were of pain as well as fear. Sweat broke on its forehead and then over the rest of its body. It was shaking. The audience cheered and applauded.

The upper part of the nail through the penis was still visible. The castratrix tapped it with the hammer until the head was flush with the skin. Then she took her second nail, held it in front of her victim’s eyes, grinned, and drove it into the base of the cock until it too entered the log. Specimen One vomited and had to be cleaned again. Its scrotum was now crushed under the tethered penis, pushing the balls out to the sides, stretching the skin. They were quite big balls, perhaps swollen by the pressure on them, though the dick itself was unremarkable. Had been unremarkable, I should say. It was now coming to terms with not being a dick any longer.

“Su-ra, Su-ra, Su-ra!” chanted the women around the amphitheatre. Ms Drilea turned to acknowledge them, her gestures with the hammer eliciting more laughter and applause. Then she turned back to Specimen One.

Never before had I seen a man, or what had been a man, reduced to so abject a personification of misery, and never had I seen anyone grovelling while forced to stand upright. Perhaps it wanted the punishment to be finished as quickly as possible since there was no hope of remission. But Ms Drilea wasn’t disposed to hurry. She intended to proceed slowly so her audience could savour her victim’s torment in full.
The cameras zoomed in on the battered cock and projected it on to both screens, so the audience in the amphitheatre – and the cinema – could see every detail magnified. Gently, the castratrix tapped the nails that skewered the penis to the log, first the one behind the glans, then the one at the base, until after ten minutes both had been hammered down into the wood. The tip and the base of the cock were now crushed to pulp. For a moment I thought Specimen One was dead, but it had only fainted from physical and emotional agony. Ms Drilea gave an order and cold urine was thrown into its face. Not until the virtually-penectomised ruin of manhood was conscious again did she pick up the third nail. As she did so she sent a guard for more cold urine.

It was needed. She hammered the nail through Specimen One’s right testicle and drove it into the wood, splattering the gonad through the ruptured skin of the scrotum. There was a single tortured yell followed by the silence of unconsciousness. Many of the crowd were on their feet applauding.

“Smash the other one, Sura! Smash it flat!”

Ms Drilea held up her hand for calm. She wasn’t going to condemn the left testicle to the fate of its counterpart until Specimen One was awake again. So there was a five minute delay before the fourth nail was driven in, finally turning Specimen One into a eunuch, the remains of its genitalia secured to the log by four three-inch nails.

The cruellest twist came at the end. Specimen One’s wrists and ankles were untied. Despite its suffering it was now conscious again. Then Ms Drilea ordered the guards to take away the sawing trestle. Desperately, the eunuch grabbed the log with both hands, but it was no use; the log was too heavy for one person to hold, especially one who’d undergone such torment. It fell to the ground, ripping off the remnants of the genitals.

The surgeons and nurses rushed in, cauterised the wound where the cock and balls had been, and carried the eunuch away on a stretcher. Ms Drilea was sensible to have worn so little. She and her bikini were covered with blood.

The applause was rapturous. Even the guards joined in. So did the judges.

“So simple, that castration, and so brilliant,” said Mandy. “Everyone expected Sura to retain the Champion’s Trophy, but she didn’t. Renate Grüber won the award by a narrow margin.” She grinned at me. I must have looked green about the gills despite my erection. “You’ll see why when you watch Specimen Eight’s neutering.”

“I need recovery time before that,” I said, and shut my eyes. After a few moments I added, “Did Specimen One survive? It lost a lot of blood.”

“It needed a transfusion; four units of packed cells. But our urologist and plastic surgeon worked on place where its cock and balls had been. They deal with most specimens when they come off the post.”

I asked the obvious question, but Mandy replied “You’ll see when you watch a Part Four.” After a minute she added, “That part of the body heals quickly after it’s been relieved of unnecessary appendages.”

* * * * * * * *