The dappled reflections of the moonlight make patterns on her feet shifting and changing as the wind moves the water and as her feet swing slowly back and forth, stirred by the same wind that causes the water to ripple. The image is even more hypnotising because her feet gently rotate first left, then right. Braided rope would not cause the rotation, but that would spoil the effect. Her movement is slowing, if she does not spasm again, she will be still in another 30 seconds, maybe a minute. I watch in silence, she is almost motionless and then she kicks again and the swinging starts, her feet twitch in typical hangman's dance and the whole rotation business starts again. I sigh softly, so as not to be heard on the video and I thinking of thin based pizzas with ham and mushroom. Extra mushroom and possibly some asparagus.
There is a soft plop, and a wet drop appears on the floor under her left foot. This is going to ruin the entire video. I manage not to sigh again. Her hands twitch, thumb and fore finger touch, once, twice, three times which translates as "Release me!" I am stiff and slow to rise.
"Mm, mmmhmm!" She is obviously angry and frustrated. I lower her remove the twisted rope from her throat, support her until she finds her feet. Her first words are, as usual quite charming, "Fuck, you really take your time!"
"My, my but we are in a pleasant mood."
"You just sit there and mind the video camera. You do not have to hang from a rope, trying to look as if you aimed for some auto erotic stimulation, got it wrong and are now gonna die for the miscalculation."
"I didn't drip on the floor. "They" are not gonna like that. Not at all. So you have wasted another full moon by sweating too much."
As I say it, I worry that I have gone too far. She stares at me with complete insanity flickering at the corners of her eyes, then she bursts out laughing.
"Shit George, you are the only man I know who could put up with this, and my shit and still remain sane.”
"I expect you are using a special version of the meaning sane?" I try to look fierce and fail, miserably.
"I do get a perk you know." I add with a practice leer. "How many men get to watch a gorgeous red head strip naked, tie a rope around her neck and hop off a stool. And I get to rub oil into your chaffed bits." I leer even more theatrically.
"You lay a hand on me tonight and I swear I will emasculate you. Hand me that cream and back off."
I hand over the cream and back off as instructed.
Joking aside, this is a very lucrative business we are in. Some sick weirdos in Europe get off on autoerotocism but they get even more off on videos that show someone miscalculating and dying. I got into this particular business for want of a better word, because I am a very good video man, but I have certain habits or fetishes that make me unsuitable for mainstream video businesses. The last main stream producer I worked with put succinctly and accurately, "George, you could film an innocent child walk down the street and make it look like a porn movie." or to quote a friend, "you squeeze low rent till it howls". That low rent is what the people in Europe wanted and so they got me and Rolls Royce low rent.
By the time Camilla has rubbed cream on her chaffed bits and dressed, I have removed the disk with the latest video and replaced it with some innocent rubbish, family movies, our holiday in Canon Rock that sort of stuff and secreted the hot video disk in a secret receptacle in the walking stick that I use to help me walk more or less evenly.
Camilla is her working name - I don't actually know her real name and I really don't want to know what it is. Equally I do not wish to know where she lives or anything about her. I film her doing kinky things, I don't want to know anything more about her. I suspect she has a lover and indications are that he is a bit rough. Bruises occasionally have to be covered up before a performance. She may even like rough, who am I to question her private life. She got me the job, she told me to keep our relationship completely professional. "No peaking." she said and seeing as she was paying the bills, I obeyed. I must admit there have been times when I have been short of a bit of female company so that when she was stripped I had been seriously aroused, but she did not seem to notice and I was careful not to follow through, so all was well.
Our little stage for the nightly dramas is on a lake in a very flimsy bird hide with only one sturdy cross member and we use it for her to hang from by a thick, twisted rope. The reed covering of the bird hide allows reflected moon light to come through and illuminate parts of her body and we use the light to make her regular deaths that much more poignant. We adjust some of the holes so that her face is illuminated, the twisting of the rope takes her face out of the light every now and so often. Apparently this is exceptionally popular with the paying public.
We part in mutual animosity which is quite normal for us, I go to my favourite internet cafe, upload this evenings offerings and then head off for that pizza and a beer. So it is late when I get back to the empty flat. I was alone again. My last lover decided that my monthly disappearing act was just too much and had attempted to follow me. The confrontation had been noisy, vituperative, violent and pretty ugly all round. I was still wearing the scar from a round house slash with some fairly strong and sharpened nails. I unlock the door and that is pretty much the last thing I remember till I find myself in hospital, one leg in traction, broken ribs and assorted bruises. The cops had been called when the noise of real violence drowned out the noise of the canned violence on TV. They found me on the floor and remarkably actually summoned an ambulance to take me to hospital.
I wake the next morning not to the sound of nurses doing their early morning thing. I had slept through all that, remarkable as it may seem, but what does wake me is a stiff jab in the ribs. Ribs, which I may add were painful and not glad to be jabbed. I open my eyes as far as the swelling allows to see Betsy, Betsy Janse van Rensburg or rather Detective Inspector Betsy Janse van Rensburg of the Sex Offences unit. Our friendship, no, acquaintanceship has a long and fairly chequered history and is based on a game of one-upmanship. If Betsy wins, I get locked up, if I win I get to walk free and she storms out of court in a total frenzy. So far I am ahead on points, one goal to Betsy and three to me. The charges? Usually something to do with illegal porn movies, pictures, selling odd things on the dark web, that sort of thing. She has a vendetta against me and I can't say I blame her. Everything she stands for I tend to smear with mud, seriously bad odorous mud. Not intentionally mind, but none the less things get smeared and Betsy gets angry. I won't say she is beautiful but she has the charm of the salt of the earth peasant woman and a mothering instinct to go with it. In another life we might have never met. I actually wish we never had met in this one, but that is all water under the bridge.
"Well, someone gave you the beating you so richly deserve."
"Good morning. Did you bring coffee and croissants? The morning paper? A get well card from the people at the office? Hmm, probably not." I realise that long sentences, while artistic are going to hurt, a lot.
"What happened to you?"
"I opened the fridge and it fell on me."
"Don't talk kak. You were nowhere near that smelly tin can you call a fridge and you have been comprehensively worked over."
She is right, I have been thoroughly worked over, not that I am expert on such things, but it hurts; a lot so I limit myself to a grunt.
"We have your walking stick."
Now that is bad news.
"You bring it for me to hobble back to my home?" I mumble more than is really necessary, but it may help in court.
"No. Forensics are looking at it right now. Quite an intriguing little hidey hole you have there."
Once again I resort to grunting. Things are not looking happy. I am not sure if our movies were illegal, but Camilla and her backers will not be pleased if the cops had found the latest disk. I wait. She waits. We both wait.
I had the advantage of still being groggy and I outlast her.
"Why do you keep such shit on a disk?"
"Are those your family movies?"
What the fuck? I stay silent, more from shock that anything else.
"I mean crap, you are a better video man than that."
"Where is the real stuff. The sicko stuff you sell on the internet. We know you. We know how you make your money. Who you work with. Come clean and we will strike a deal with you."
The desperation in her voice keeps me quiet. After some more probing she leaves, but she leaves behind a conundrum. What had happened to the disk I had so carefully hidden in my walking stick? It was definitely not been family holiday movies I had left behind unless it was a very strange family. What had happened to Camilla's last swing?
After a long slow week I am discharged and trudge my way home to find the flat in a total mess. Whether it was the cops or the ungodly who had tossed the place, they had done a real good job. Stolen my video camera too. That was a serious blow to me. It was a pro machine, cost an arm and a leg and was one of the reasons Camilla was prepared to work with me. Good high definition imagery. Gone along with my walking stick and more importantly, the disk with Camilla's last video. Things are beginning to look seriously bleak and I am wondering if I should just torch the place and leave hurriedly when there is a knock at the door. I stare at the door for a while, uncertain. Knocking again and "Cummon, I know you are in there. Saw you go in."
My neighbour who seems to spend most of his life playing computer games and doing esoteric things with computers on and off the web.
"What do you want?"
"Return some stuff of yours, but if you don't want it. . . ." He left the sentence to hang.
I hit the door at a run. "What do you have?"
He smiled enigmatically. "Everything."
"Yeah, I got a high res video camera, some fairly nasty porn on a couple of hard disks and a tiny disk with an interesting snuff movie on it. Oh, and you owe me a new disk. The cops carried away my family videos. They may return it, but I would like a new one please. One that hasn't been in the hands of the cops for a month or so would be much more comforting shall we say."
We talk. Long and hard. And find that we like each other. Turns out he has a voyeuristic inclination coupled with a breaking and entry capability. A new occupant in the block? Possibly a pervert or at least someone with a murky back ground? A few choice cameras are installed, a couple of tiny microphones placed strategically.
"You get some lovely stuff from this block of flats. Ordinary people do some extraordinary things, but you are in a different league altogether. You do know that the last woman you brought home went through your wallet and extracted a goodly handful of notes while you were in the toilet?"
I didn't but that was not all that unusual. I remembered being seriously hungover the next morning and did not remember too much of what had transpired that night. I did know that my urges had been assuaged so all was well.
We part more accomplices than friends.
I replace his disk, but I never ask for a replacement from the police.
The full moon approaches and then passes and not word from Camilla. I guess that our lucrative partnership is over. I regret it, but in a way I am relieved. If the police were interested then I was hot and hot could mean jail time and I am not keen on that. My day job keeps me ticking over nicely. Legal, but not well paid it keeps me out of trouble.
A week after full moon, I receive an email, subject. "Camilla's last swing." It has a url. I ignore it for a while, then more out of curiously about the new camera man than anything else, I click the url.
The usual scene, the usual reflected light on her feet. I watch her professional acting with bored indifference, till the hand gestures come and are ignored. She repeats them, again and again. More desperation, less coherence. The woman is dying can't they see that? If they do, they don't care. I watch in horror as she slowly loses control and with a final almost insignificant twitch, dies. I rush to the toilet, almost make it, puke on the floor. They had wanted me to see that, they wanted me to know she was dead, that they had killed her. I am devastated, she was a lovely lady, did not deserve to die. It's obscene.
I tell my new friend about it. He, of course demands the url and having seen it, says it is the most believable one he has seen. Bastard.
Life returns to normal for me, I go to work, I cruise the internet for stuff to turn me on, I bring home the occasional pro or sometimes if I am really unlucky an amateur.
On the full moon, I go home to hide from the memories. It doesn't help. Her last moments haunted me. I writhed, moaned, twitched, but the images just will not go away. I phone for an escort to drive the images away. She arrives, all smoke and mirrors, no substance but she is a distraction and I take full advantage of her body. Sometime during the the epic session, she must have slipped me a drug, because my ability to reject stupid suggestions disappears. She feeds me water from a bottle and it gets worse. Suddenly there are people in the room and, despite the feeling I should not go with them, I do so without protest. They hood me and I don't protest, we drive for a long while and I finally find myself sitting behind my camera, filming nothing. Camilla is not there, just emptiness, but when they say smile, I smile, when they say laugh, I laugh, when they say I should say, "Die bitch." I do and I laugh again. Then they suggest I should stand on Cammila's stool and I do. I even put the noose over my neck, but when they say, “Kick the stool away”, I hesitate.
It doesn't help, they kick it away for me and and I hang by my neck, swinging slowly, swaying gently, reflected light on my feet. Suddenly reality seems to return. I am strangling, choking. I am going to die and they will not stop it. They want me dead, they want all untidy ends cleared up I try to lift myself up, off my neck, but as countless before me had discovered, it doesn't work for long, I fall back and the rope tightens and the oxygen starvation really gets started and I can feel my erection starting and the hallucinations, the thunder of my blood in my ears, ejaculation and then nothing seems to matter and I start to lose consciousness.
The pain of release, the pain of returning circulation, the harsh penalty of gravity shatters my dying dreams. Eventually I open my eyes.
Betsy is standing over me, feet apart, hands on hips. "You survived." she doesn't sound particularly pleased.
"Yes. Just." I manage to get out. Then "What you doing here?"
"Seems there is a modicum of honour among thieves. Your neighbour, phoned us and said you had been abducted. Suggested where you may have been taken. Told us to hurry. We tried not to, but then decided you might well be more useful alive than dead, so we pitched and found you just hanging around. Your neighbour says you owe him. Main reason he phoned us. Says he wants payment for services rendered."Back to Stories