The photo shoot began just as any other on the fateful night that ripped Mercedes from her life of fame and fortune and thrust her into the less than moral underworld of RhyDin. Dark hair that fell below shoulder blades had been straightened and then teased into an incredibly wild coif. The shape and color of her rich, golden amber eyes were accentuated with black kohl to points extending past the corners. Shimmering crimson shadow was then swept over her eyelids from lashline to brow, before false lashes were applied and painted. The makeup artist moved on to outline Mercedes lips black, shaping them into a distorted grimace before filling in sanguine. Lastly, a dusting of shimmering powder was applied over the thin layer of white makeup that covered her face, then was dusted over her neck, upper chest and shoulders giving her an ethereal quality in the special lighting.
The photographer’s set manager, Helga, began to adjust the black lace over red satin corset, pushing each breast into the most aesthetically pleasing position. This was all done mechanically, as if Mercedes was a doll to be dressed, and not a woman. Modeling was nowhere near as glamorous as the general public assumed; it was long, exhausting hours filled with nonstop demands and rude attitudes. A successful model learned to endure scathing retorts and harsh criticisms, those who could not, would never make it in the world of fashion.
Helga spun Mercedes around after she had the model’s breasts situated just so and gave the laces of the corset a sharp pull before tying them off. A large pair of black feathered wings were pinned into place before Merci was spun around once again. She was ushered into a chair where fingernails and toenails were rapidly painted obsidian prior to fingerless black lace gloves being drawn up to her elbows. Soon she was standing; floor length, crimson taffeta skirt with a stiff overlay of black lace was fluffed and then Helga stepped back with narrowed critical eyes and began her search for any visible flaw.
“You are ready,” was announced in the woman’s husky, cool voice.
She clapped her hands and two of her assistants rushed forward and were given direction. One led The Gothic Angel off to await the arrival of the photographer, admonishing her not to disrupt her appearance. The other went to fetch the photographer whom was noisily finishing up in another dressing stall with the next rising star, or so he promised her ten minutes earlier.
The girl, obviously underage, was tugging down her dress as the assistant rounded the partition. “She’s ready,” was all he said, not even raising a brow at the scene before him, as this was the norm. His boss had certain appetites and it wasn’t his place to question or care.
The photographer smiled fake benevolence towards the girl he had just unleashed his lust upon. “Your reward, darlin’ will be joining this photo shoot with the beautiful and talented Mercedes Velasquez, would you like that?” His voice slivered over and around the girl’s dreams like the snake he had already proven himself to be, coiling and squeezing the innocence from her.
“You just keep taking care of me and I will take care of you, baby girl.” The pet name because he hadn’t cared enough to learn her real one. Leaning down, he bit her collarbone fiercely, drawing a cry from the girl’s black painted lips that caused the predatory smile upon his own to unfurl further. “The camera will love that.” Pointing at the teeth marks that marred the pale perfection of her flesh, dots of dark crimson welling up where each canine had gouged the skin. He gripped her wrist and pulled her undernourished, waifish form along behind him, barking orders to the various members of the team.
In mid puff she heard the rustling of footsteps rushing upon her and then felt a hand cover her mouth even as an arm strong as a band of steel wrapped around her and pinned her arms to her sides. She felt the cool metal of the collar snug against her neck and then watched as a chain was attached to each side that connected to a pair of wrist and ankle cuffs. The sound of cloth ripping could be heard as one of the slavers cut the skirt from her body and then slipped the tip of the dagger beneath the hem of the corset and sliced upward. All underclothes were removed in the same manner and soon she was naked and unable to stand without the arms that held her imprisoned. Blindfolded and gagged, Merci was led away from the building and through a portal that took her, the slavers, and the mage that created the portal, back to RhyDin.
Within a drawer at the photographer’s workstation, sat a bag of gold as payment for his part in the abduction of Mercedes. The one responsible for arranging the sale, the model’s own agent and longtime boyfriend - Jorge, had received five times that amount.
Disoriented by the travel between realms, having no idea such a thing was even possible, Merci had to be forcibly moved. She was quite suddenly a mass of chained limbs in a pile upon the ground, having finally succumbed to her terror. The blindfold was removed and rivulets of black leaked down the white painted and powdered cheeks; black kohl liner and mascara met in a coupling that defiled and stained. The painted on grimace, that had been her mouth, was now just a smear of carmine and black; the grimace very much real, the paint no was no longer needed to depict it.
The Gothic Angel revived with a splash of icy water suffering across bare olive skin, goose bumps rising as the cool night air fondled along wet flesh.
“Rise, it is time to meet your Master, you filthy whore.”
Sputtering her protest, it took Mercedes very few moments to regain her bearings and remember where she was. Knees were drawn protectively to her chest, dragging her thin frame into the fetal position, for all the good it did her.
She wouldn’t be able to recall at a later time, which had been most effective, the sound of the whip as it cracked a half second prior to lacerating the smooth flesh upon her back or the actual rending of that flesh. The screams that were issued from her throat pierced the silence of the night, filling it with the commodities that gave the Boogeyman his notoriety: torment and terror.
Those screams had cost the disoriented model a valuable few seconds of movement, and once again, that whip was brought across previously unmarred flesh. She unfolded from the useless protection of her current position and attempted to rise, coming to rest upon her calves tucked beneath her. One shapely leg was drawn out from beneath her body and her foot planted, weight adjusted as she attempted to stand, only to feel the slice of the whip once again.
“You do not stand in the presence of the Master unless commanded to do so.”
Sobbing that waterfall of soot down already begrimed cheeks, Mercedes descended into the position of resting upon her calves, deeming this “safe” as it had not brought the wrath of that whip across her trembling frame.
The Master stood back in the shadows, studying how his newest acquisition responded to these methods, face impassive.
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