The Black woman who steps out of the crowd is short of stature, but that simply means the authority she radiates is concentrated into a smaller space.
“I know,” she says as she walks toward the rack, her back to everyone, “that all you men think women can’t do what you do.” Her pace is deliberate, and she holds a riding crop in one hand, slapping it into her opposing palm in a slow, hypnotic rhythm. Her voice is honey-sweet and velvet-soft.
“And that’s because – ” She rounds abruptly on the crowd and drops into a half-crouch, like a panther ready to leap. ” – you haven’t seen us. You think we’re soft and delicate, that we’ll ruin your club. Well, I say – ” She suddenly bares her teeth in a predatory smile, and the effect is sphincter-loosening. ” – that we can blow your tiny – ”
” – little – ”
” – testosterone-addled – ”
” – minds!”
Leon remembers seeing this woman earlier. At the time she had on a denim jacket with a patch pinned to the back proclaiming “If you’re dissing the sisters, you ain’t fighting the power,” and one of a fist thrusting into a Venus symbol on the front. She was stomping around in combat boots, and her hair was held back with a ratty purple kerchief. Everything about her had screamed Fuck the system!
Now she’s wearing flowing silk pants and a suit jacket, all in white that glows like moonlight next to her golden fawn-colored skin. She’s put on heavy eyeliner and mascara, and her lips are stained dusty purple. Silver hoops gleam on both ears. She continues bouncing the riding crop in her palm as she glares imperiously at the gathered crowd.
Leon finds himself involuntarily taking a step away from her.
“Come here, Claire.” Her voice cracks like a whip.
A slim, slight girl scurries up to her. She’s pure Cyndi Lauper without the pink hair, a bouncing thing in a tulle skirt, a midriff-baring lightweight shirt under an acid-washed denim vest, and layer upon layer of jangling bracelets. She trembles before the other woman, the fabric flowers pinned to her vest fluttering despite the lack of a breeze.
The domme doesn’t bother with niceties. “Strip.”
“Y-yes, Mistress Morgan.” Claire begins removing her vest and shirt, handing them to Morgan without being told.
It’s immediately clear that, while Morgan’s presence is commanding and Claire is eager to please, their performance is more rehearsed than sincerely felt. Leon begins composing his rejection speech. While the ladies no doubt did their best…
Claire hesitates when she gets to her bra, and Morgan slaps her midsection with the riding crop. “Off.” Claire complies, but when her small breasts are bared she tries to cover them with her hands.
Morgan smacks one hand, hard, with the crop. Claire yelps and drops both to her sides.
“I think that’s enough clothing,” Morgan says. “Go stand at the rack.”
Claire does as she’s told. Morgan shakes her head and tsks.
“Wider.” She kicks Claire’s feet apart, until her stance is nearly as wide as the rack itself. Then she grabs the waistband of the tulle skirt and yanks it down, exposing the girl’s bare cheeks. “Arms up!”
When Claire has been secured to the rack, Morgan turns back to her audience.
“Walter did ten,” she says with a smug smile. “But I think Claire can take more. Can’t you, Claire?”
“Yes, Mistress Morgan!”
“Now… I know you leather daddies like your… toys.” Morgan holds up the crop, then tosses it aside. “But I believe in something more… personal.” She turns her hand in the air before them, like a woman admiring her fingernails. Then she turns to Claire and, without warning, smacks her resoundingly on the ass.
“Oh, no,” Morgan says with a low chuckle. “That one didn’t count. But the next one will. Keep count, and don’t forget to call me Mistress.”
Claire doesn’t respond, and Morgan grabs her roughly by the hair. “Did you hear what I said?”
“Yes, Mistress Morgan!”
The spanking commences. Their form of discipline fails to honor the deep relationships that sons form with their daddies, and with each other as brothers. They are play-acting, at best.
Somewhere in the middle, Claire loses count. “We’re starting over,” Morgan announces, and Claire lets out a moan of despair.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen. The blows rain down faster and faster, until Claire can’t keep up. Morgan continues for a few more seconds, then pauses with her hand drawn back.
“Have you had enough?”
“N-n… no, Mistress Morgan!”
“That’s right,” Morgan says, dropping her hand. “You can take more. Now, let’s show these boys what else we can do.”
It seems to Leon as though she looks directly at him as she puts all four fingers of her right hand into her mouth and slowly draws them back out. She runs them down the crack of Claire’s ass, then keeps going, pushing under the lowered skirt. Then she thrusts up, hard. Claire screams, though whether from pleasure or pain is impossible to say. Perhaps both.
The shout comes from behind them. A butch-looking woman bursts through the crowd, stopping short of the tableau with her mouth open in stark disbelief.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!?”
In an instant, everything erupts in chaos. The screaming woman leaps at Morgan, fists swinging wildly. Two more women surge forward to restrain her, one pinning her arms while the other does her best to haul her bodily away by the waist.
“I’ll kill you!” she’s howling. “I’ll fucking KILL YOU!”
More women are screaming, and one of the leather daddies rushes out with his arms spread, trying to calm them. Steven releases Claire from the rack with hurried motions. “Fucking bitch!” Morgan yells; “Fucking whore!” her attacker shrieks back. Dark muttering and shouts of disbelief rumble around and through the crowd.
By the time the dust settles, Claire has run off after the woman, calling “Barbara!” Leon guesses this must be her girlfriend’s – probably ex-girlfriend, now – name.
“Jesus Christ,” Sinclair mutters behind him.
Most of all, we don’t need the drama they will undoubtedly bring to our scene. Just take this shameful display as an example.
Leon takes a step forward, ready to deliver the speech that will put an end to this nonsense once and for all.
Steven holds up his hands for silence. “Leon,” he says, looking at him. Leon begins to smile and takes a breath.
“I know I asked you to judge,” Steven continues. “But this is my club.”
“And I say, these women have shown us what they can do. Chain,” he says, addressing the boy at the top of the steps. “Take down that sign.”
The sign that proclaims the Dark Room to be a men’s only space is ripped down. Leon can hardly breathe. Fury and humiliation war for superiority in his glare.
“This space is hereby open to women and men alike.” Steven and his crew disappear into the Dark Room as a cheer goes up from the female half of the crowd.
Leon slowly turns around. Sinclair, Nate, and a few others wear looks of disbelief.
“What… the fuck… was that?” Leon demands.
“Bullshit, that’s what,” Sinclair says, crossing his arms. “I can’t believe he just cut you out like that.”
“And let the women in, after that… that… fucking disgrace.” With the show apparently over, the crowd begins to disperse.
“It’s the end of the Dark Room,” Sinclair says. The cluster of them start making their way toward the main cabin. “Hell, it’s the end of an era. It might as well just be the end of the Cruisers.”
“It’s bullshit,” Leon says, and the others nod and echo it back to him.