Note: This is a retelling of a nightmare I once had. That is why it has no real beginning or end, you know how dreams are. Little bits and pieces that really do not ever completely connect. This story is told from the perspective of a girl who is crazy, but so far gone, that she doesn't know it.

I was his slave. I never knew his name, but I was his slave and that was enough. What I did for him was not cleaning or anything - there was no point. No, I was his pet, his toy. He was cruel, he was. Always hitting me, beating me. Sometimes he used a whip too. He scared me more that anyone at all could ever know.

But other times, he was nice. Too nice. He would kiss me, hug me, pet me, like I was his favorite dog. Once in a while, he'd kiss my neck. Other times, though, he would bite my neck and drink my blood. I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. My master was not a vampire. No, I laugh. Not a vampire. I think, though, that maybe he should have been. The grace, the beauty, the power, the strength, the mind-control. The deadliness. Yes, my master could have been a vampire.

The house we lived in was not a house. It was a mansion. A huge one. There was no light, really. Just, our eyes were used to the blackness. My room was the only one with any kind of light. My room was covered in cobwebs and had an eerie red glow. A blood-red glow. There were tons of stairways. Dark stairways. And corners. I'd always hated dark corners. My second greatest fear, aside from my master and his house, has always been having things jump out at me from corners. There were too many corners in that mansion. Not house, mansion.

The most active days in my life, at least, was when someone came to our house. And then there was the day that the policemen came. Yes, they came. No, they didn't leave. Not on their feet, at least. No. I laugh again, a croaking, hoarse sound. No.

There is a knock on the door. I go downstairs to answer it for my master. Not Master, for he has no name, no title. He is just my master. I am like a mouse, though I am treated like his pet dog. I sneak around the house. Now, as I open the door, I freeze. There, standing there, in our doorway, are policemen. Three of them. There are two cars parked out front. I blink in the sunlight. I freeze a moment longer, then I call hoarsely, for I cannot yell, "You have guests. Three policemen."

I must interrupt my memory for a moment. My master is deadly. He poisons anyone that enters his home. But me. He wouldn't kill his pet. Of course, no. There were poisons on doorknobs that seeped through the skin to kill. When I baked, and he knew there was someone coming, then he had a routine. He'd come up behind me, hug me, occupy me somehow, and slip poison into the food. He is a killer. For though I learned much from him, I did not learn to harden my heart. I learned every poison. Every one, for I had to make them. He would only soil his hands with blood. I learned much, yes. But I was used to being a victim, prey. For when the time came, I could not kill.

My master is extraordinarily cordial. He invites them in, asking if they would like something to eat. FOOLS! They say yes! It is irony, is it not? For they come to ask if my master knows aught of disappearances that have taken place in the last ten years. Ten years? I think. I have been here this long.

Apparently, these men are supposed to find out if my master had killed or kidnapped them.

They say this was the last place they had been seen.

"Get the food!" my master snaps into my mind. I find a plate of brownies and bring them out. I almost laugh at the officers expressions. They are uneasy. Yet not enough so that they don't eat. They are fools, brainless fools. In a few minutes, they are dead. My master disposes of them. I know not how.

To celebrate, he kisses me. At least, this is his version of a celebration. When he is done with me I go back to my room.

On my way back to my room, I touch the stair railing. His thinking is disturbed. For fun, he poisons food, doorknobs, my toothbrush, other things. He poisons something different every day. I think his mind has been poisoned.

He has poisoned the railing with something quick-acting. I run to my room and am disoriented, I care about nothing, I am separated from the world. I can hear his laughter, his eerie laughter, echoing through the dark rooms and hallways. My master, that cruel man, enjoys my pain. But he'd never let me die. No, never. Not me. His precious pet, his toy. I wasn't allowed to die. After what I thought was maybe two hours, I came out. Still laughing, my master informed me that I had been in there for three days. Then he stopped laughing. "You missed answering the door twice. I had to come down myself," he snarled. He beat me unconscious. Reveled in my agony. I screamed in hatred, then pain. Then it was blacker than our house.

That was how we communicated - telepathically. We never talked aloud. Our voices were used only when we had company.

When I awoke, he was asleep; I was curled in his arms. I asked if I could leave to my room. His assent was sleepy.

Later that day, the doorbell rang. I slunk out to answer. I opened my mouth to tell him, and they stopped me. Me! Only servant to my wonderful master! I did not think that then.

"We've come to free you! Shh! Come on!" We left without another word. As we ran, I grew to know and like my rescuers. How they knew of me, I know not. I never can remember their names - probably my masters doing - but the woman was kind, and I grew to love them and. I also grew to love the sunlight. We ran for a month, but my master found us, finally.

He brought me back, beat me, beat me more than once a day for what seemed forever. Time seems changed in our mansion. He killed the two that helped me. I had never cried before - not even when he first beat me - but I cried for the man I loved. Cried for him!

Now, I would cry for my master. My wonderful master. Yes, he beats me. He beats me hard sometimes, and it hurts, but he is my master. He has the right. But other times he loves me. I would die for him. I am immortal though. My master will never let me die. I am his pet, his toy. I adore my master.

I know again what you are thinking. No, you are right. I would never run away again. No, never. My master needs me.

I am here because I have been poisoned yet again. It is wearing off, though, and my master knows it. It seems I missed a knocking at the door.

He beats me. Always he beats me unconscious. It is no surprise. He laughs, as I am kicked, slapped, punched. He revels in my pain. Pain is beautiful, he tells me often. He can make anyone feel hate, pain, anything. Anything but happiness, for he understands that not.

Yes. My master does have a title. Oh, he does, yes. He is Master of Pain.

I am not crazy, no. I could never be.

For I do not love pain.