Chapter Nine

Crash His World

"God, I haven't seen you in forever!" Conrad exclaimed as his favorite staff member, Samel Witchard walked into his office. The gray-haired man had a bad limp in one leg from an injury he had sustained as a small child so his black leather boots sounded unevenly as he made his way up to Conrad's desk.

"How's the market?" Conrad asked.

Samel shoved the toothpick in his mouth to the edge of his lips with his tongue so that he could speak. "Good as gold," he answered in a gruff voice. He stretched a deeply tanned arm out and grasped Conrad's hand in his fist. They shook hands and Samel straightened. "Got a cig?" he asked.

Conrad pulled a cigarette pack out of the top drawer in his desk and tossed it to Samel. He always had a cigarette pack in that drawer. But he didn't smoke.

Samel chose a cigarette from the pack and lit it with a lighter from his pocket. "Now tell me about this little piece of shit you picked up and wanna get on market so quick."

"Thymyhn Gold," Conrad said slowly. "Is the best piece of merchandise this market will ever know."

"You're so sure?" Samel asked, raising his eyebrows. But he didn't wait for an answer before suddenly glancing about the room. "Hank been about?"

"Mr. Spezeli has not been in to see me for a little while," Conrad answered.

"Good," Samel grunted. He took a first breath on his cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke into the open air. "I don't like that man's opinions." He cocked an eye at Conrad. "I hope you aren't basing all this hope on his forecasts."

"The man knows what to look for when grading a person's sexuality, and that's what I need," Conrad answered simply.

"He fucks too many of our sluts himself," Samel growled.

"I fucked with Thymyhn," Conrad said, smiling. "It's heaven, Samel. If you'd ever dirty your dick with a prostitute, Thymyhn should be the one."

"So you say," Samel grunted. He took a long breath on the cigarette. "But I don't dirty my dick with sluts' asses. Paying for fucking or simply forcing someone to fuck destroys the purpose." He chewed the tip of the cigarette slightly. "Besides, I got a wife."

"Samel, she died years ago," Conrad said, shaking his head.

"Recon she's still keepin' track of who I fuck with all the same," Samel muttered with an upward glance. "But that's aside. What about this Gold bitch?"

"I got him loaded onto the system last night for a local trial and he's already got thirty-two demands," Conrad said, smiling.

"God-damn, thirty-two," Samel asked. But then he suddenly straightened and yanked both the toothpick and the cigarette out of his mouth. "Wait—him—he? It's a guy?"

Conrad nodded.

"You brought a stud in here? What the hell do you plan to do with him?!" Samel exclaimed.

"I'm going to sell him to men with homosexual desires," Conrad smiled.

"Not women?" Samel asked, relaxing slightly.

"I'm not catering to women, anyway, but I don't think I'll refuse them," Conrad answered.

"If I were you, I would refuse them," Samel spelled out. "Women become sympathetic and if they develop too much of a close relationship with any given slut, things might end in a disaster."

Conrad nodded thoughtfully. "But it matters little at the moment. All thirty-two of the requests are from males."

"Thirty-two requests…" Samel repeated. "This thing must have a pretty attractive look to get so much attention over one night."

"And local attention," Conrad added. He lifted a print-out from the day before's photoshoot with Jade and showed it to Samel.

"Holy shit!" Samel exclaimed. "Is that thing even human?" He bent over the print and studied it carefully. "How much was this photoshopped?"

"Just the lighting," Conrad answered.

"Height? Weight?" Samel asked.

"Here's his file," Conrad said and he handed a few stapled sheets to Samel.

"God—5'1"," Samel exclaimed. "He's tiny! 5'1" and about forty pounds underweight. Holy shit, he sounds gorgeous. How long is his erection?"

"I never had it measured," Conrad answered. "I'm not catering to females."

Samel nodded in approval. "Alright, I want to see him," he decided.

"Good. And you will," Conrad agreed. He stood up. "I'll show him to you now." He started out of his office and Samel followed.

Conrad led Samel to Jade's bedroom, unlocked the door, and proceeded inside. The two found Jade awake—standing beside his window.

"Thymyhn," Conrad called and he beckoned to Jade. The teenager took a few uncertain steps forward, but then stopped again.

"Holy cow…" Samel breathed. He had again taken his cigarette and his toothpick out of his mouth and was holding them between two fingers. "Where did you find him?" He tossed the cigarette and toothpick into the waste basket in Jade's room and strode up to the eighteen-year-old.

Jade shrank away from Samel, but the experienced man easily caught him by both his shoulders and held him stationary. He lifted a hand to grab Jade by the nape, but froze and glanced back at Conrad. "Freshly tattooed or no?"

"Freshly tattooed," Conrad answered.

Samel withdrew his hand and placed it back on Jade's shoulder. He turned the teenager slowly about in a circle. Then he lifted Jade's shirt a little. "Holy shit, I've never laid eyes on a stud this pretty," Samel commented. He glanced back at Conrad who was smiling on. "Barely seems human," Samel added, turning back to Jade. "I swear if it weren't for the pic of him without a shirt, I would have mistook him for a female."

"He's perfect, is he not?"

Samel released Jade and thrust a hand into his pocket. He pulled out a new toothpick and stuck it in his mouth. After chewing at it for a long moment, he spoke. "When are you opening him up?"

"For local or wide market?" Conrad asked.

"Local," Samel answered. He again glanced at the pretty creature that had, by that time, retreated back toward the window. "Shy little thing, eh?"

"This evening," Conrad answered the first question.

"You booking just one or more 'cause you have more requests."

"I'm booking two," Conrad answered. "Would you like to help me choose the two?"

"Sure thing," Samel muttered. "Am I escorting tonight?" The two left the room and the door closed behind them, shutting their conversation out from Jade's ears.

The teenager let out a shaky sigh and turned back to stare out the window as he had been doing before Conrad and Samel had entered.

Dandelion was right, he knew. He couldn't keep home off his mind now that his world was about to fall to pieces. He felt as if there was some sort of physical weight that was dragging his soul down. He was trapped. He was helpless. And his life was being ripped out from beneath his feet.

Yet the world right outside the Harper mansion seemed completely unaffected by the pain within. The flowers in the front garden were blooming, the bushes were green with health, and song birds filled the fruit trees. The only sign that this world was at all connected to Jade's was the black gate that loomed beyond the garden, separating it from the rest of the world.

Jade heard his bedroom door open from behind him, and he turned quickly to see who entered.

But it was Dandelion, and Jade relaxed. He had been half-fearing that Conrad might decided to have another "session" that morning, but apparently the human trafficking manager was busy with the stranger who had so carefully inspected Jade only a few minutes ago.

Dandelion placed the customary tray onto the dresser and then turned to face Jade. "Did you eat anything last night?" She asked.

Jade shook his head.

"You should eat now, then," Dandelion decided.

"No," Jade answered, realizing—now that food was mentioned—that his stomach felt tight.

"You need your strength," Dandelion insisted.

Jade shook his head and turned his eyes back to the window. But it was only so he didn't have to meet her gaze for a moment.

"Jade, the best thing to do is just to try to do exactly what they want you to," Dandelion said softly, knowing exactly what was troubling him. "I know it's hard, but believe me—they will punish you if you refuse to obey, and everything does go better if you don't fight."

"We need to get out of here, Dandelion…" Jade whispered.

She nodded. "And I have a plan, Jade." She took his hand and pulled him over to the bed. She sat him down on it and then sat down beside him. "The reason I have never been able to escape from this place is because no one can escape alone. Only one person can get out at a time. The other person has to make it so they can get out. There are three main obstacles. The first is escaping the house. The second is getting outside the gate." Dandelion paused and took a deep breath. "And the third is not getting caught."

Jade nodded silently.

"You know Hank, the inspector?"

Jade nodded again.

"I have…I have sex with him a lot," Dandelion said softly. "He likes to get drunk and then fuck…So unless he has someone else with him, he comes to me. But when he's drunk—and right after he's had his climax, he's virtually high. I've asked him questions he never should have answered and I've gotten answers. I'm going to ask him for the code that locks the front door."

Jade shook his head suddenly. "I don't like it," he whispered. "I don't like that you have to let him do that to you just to get the code to the door…"

"Jade, I don't have a choice in whether or not he fucks me. There's just something I can get out of it this time," Dandelion explained. "And that's how life is here. Every bit of help you get has to be paid for with sex."

Jade nodded wordlessly.

"Then," Dandelion went on. "At the end of this week—three days from now—Conrad is going out to a dinner party. He's going to bring his kitchen and serving staff from the first and second floor with him. At the same time, Neil, the doctor, is leaving on a week-long trip this afternoon. That will leave one person on the first and second floor—Ellie, the doctor's assistant."

Jade nodded, remembering the girl who hadn't exactly looked as if she had chosen her job of her own will.

"Now Ellie was a captive like you, Jade. She was originally put on the market, too. But she was upgraded to a staff member because she behaved better than she sold. But she was trained the same way as you and I…" Dandelion lifted a finger and motioned to Jade's burned wrist. "So she's afraid of fire. And I still have the lighter."

"You're going to threaten her into staying away from me?" Jade asked.

"And staying away from the alarm," Dandelion answered.

"The alarm?" Jade asked.

"Yes, there's an alarm that can be set off by anyone in the house that makes the electricity on the front gate impossible to turn off for half an hour—as well as making a racket."

Jade nodded wordlessly.

"But Ellie can turn off the electricity," Dandelion went on. "She doesn't have the code to the door, but she knows how to turn off the electricity on the gate."

"How do you know?" Jade asked.

"If she had the code to the door, she would have escaped by now. If she didn't know how to turn the electricity off, then she wouldn't be left alone with the next nearest person on the third floor as she has been more than once. She has to turn off the electricity and open the gate for Conrad when returns."

"And you're going to threaten her with the lighter to make her do all that?" Jade asked.

Dandelion nodded.

Jade was silent for a while. "How am I supposed to get out of my room?" Jade asked at last.

"I'll let you out of your room when I have the key in order to bring you a meal," Dandelion answered. "I'll let you out first thing. You need to get out of the house undetected and up to the gate. You'll hear it when the electricity goes off and there's a light that signals when the electricity is on. When the light goes out, you have to climb the gate."

Jade nodded. "And what about you?"

"Get out of the property. Run for help," Dandelion said slowly. "The town should send police to search the mansion for me and at that point, everything will be uncovered."

"Ok," Jade whispered.

Dandelion pressed his hand in hers. "Be brave, Jade. There is hope. Just look beyond today."

But it was hard to look beyond a day that Jade already knew would take so much from him. When Dandelion was gone, he became a helpless victim to his own abrasive thoughts. He saw through his window as Neil left the mansion, just as Dandelion had said he would. Jade watched as the heavy black gates opened and then closed behind the car.

And with a heart shredded by the mercilessness of his own mind, Jade could not bring himself to hope at all.

Towards evening, Jade was taken to the stylist and his hair and face were done. A spotless white cloth was wrapped gently around Jade's wrist to conceal the ugly burns, and then the teenager was handed over to Samel.

"You'll wait for your first client in the bedroom," Samel explained as he led Jade down to the first floor and showed him into a finely-furnished bedroom. "Sit," Samel ordered, pointing to the bed, and Jade did as he was told. "You know your commands," Samel said slowly. "And you know the punishments you will bring upon yourself if you fail to carry out any of them. I'll leave you to wait."

With that, he left. And Jade was alone in the bedroom—sitting rigidly on the bed, his heart pounding.

The minutes ticked by painfully slowly.

Jade did not dare to even shift his position. Every muscle in his body was tense. Remembering what Dandelion had said, Jade told himself to relax and let it happen.

But all the same, when the bedroom door opened and a tall, dark-featured man with a light beard and mustache walked into the room, Jade felt panic gnawing at his heart.

The man was very tall and at least twice as old as Jade was. He proved not to be one to waste time.

The man stripped off his shirt and dropped it onto the floor. Then he opened his belt, unzipped his pants, and took them off. Then he stood before Jade completely naked.

The eighteen-year-old's eyes were instantly attracted towards the man's crotch, as if in apprehension of what he was about to be forced through. The man was tall and thick and his penis proved to run along the same lines. It looked to be at least ten inches long and it was fully erect. Its tip was already laced with creamy liquid.

For a long moment, the man stood there, letting Jade have a look at him. Then, he advanced upon the teenager. "Take off your shirt," he said softly. "I want to see your nipples."

Remembering the threats he had received, Jade obeyed and slowly took off his shirt.

The man let out a pleased sigh and a moment later, Jade felt his rough hands begin kneading his nipples. "Can I suck?" the man asked after a moment.

Jade said nothing and the man leaned in slowly and gently closed his lips around Jade's left nipple. A moment later, the teenager could feel the man softly tugging at it with his tongue.

He was so gentle. So sickeningly gentle.

The man drew back and looked for a moment into Jade's eyes. Then slowly, he bent forward and placed his lips around Jade's other nipple. An uncontrollable tremor suddenly ran through Jade's body and the man reached out and placed his hands gently on Jade's bare shoulders to hold him steady.

When the man had finished sucking, he straightened and looked again into Jade's face. He lifted a hand and pressed a little of Jade's dyed blond hair back out of his face. "You are so…beautiful…" the man breathed slowly. His lips were parted. His mouth was watering.

And Jade obeyed. Just as he had been told to do, he bent his head submissively and let his own lips part.

The man met them in a kiss. Relaxing, he slipped his hands around Jade and began probing the teenager's body with his fingers while he sucked at his mouth.

Jade's eyes darted down towards the man's penis and he saw that there was more creamy liquid at the tip than there had been at first. It looked almost as if it might drip. With sickening dread, Jade realized the load was going to be a lot bigger than anything Conrad had ever mustered.

But the man could perceive none of Jade's thoughts. He ran his hands gently through Jade's hair and continued kissing his lips. He pressed his tongue into Jade's mouth, and the teenager let it enter.

Finally, the man drew away and again looked Jade in the eyes. "Sex now?" he asked softly.

Jade glanced involuntarily again at the man's erect penis. He said nothing.

"How can I love you?" the man asked softly. He lifted a hand gently to Jade's face. "You make it so hard. You're so cold. Why are you so sad?"

Jade still didn't say a word.

"You're so beautiful. You are like a pretty doll," the man praised. "But you don't have to act like a doll. You can talk. You can tell me what you want. Even though I paid doesn't mean I won't listen to you…"

Jade still said nothing.

The man closed him in with another kiss, but then drew back again. "I'm your alpha," he whispered. "I'll keep you safe."

The eighteen-year-old's lips parted again, but he still said nothing.

"Please take off your jeans," the man said at last. "I am ready for sex."

Jade shuttered. His hands dropped to his jeans. But he found that he couldn't do it.

"Please, I need sex," the man said. He motioned with one hand to his erect penis.

And then suddenly, Jade broke into hyperventilation.

The sudden sound seemed to fire the man off, and unable to hold back any longer, he pulled Jade down onto the bed with him. His fingers found the zipper on Jade's jeans, and then he had them down below Jade's hips.

But the eighteen-year-old panicked and then he was openly fighting—struggling to keep his distance—begging for mercy—pleading not to be mounted.

But the man had become intent on relieving his sexual desires. And like an alpha, he forced Jade onto his stomach. Then, with the indiscernment of an alpha mating with his females, he forced his thick penis into Jade's anus.

The teenager retched—his vomit hitting the pillow. But the man seemed to have transformed into an animal. He wrapped his arms around Jade so that they held his waist and his hands gripped his hips. Then he dragged Jade to the edge of the bed so that Jade's feet touched the floor. Once in that position, the man bent his knees for maximum driving power, and forced his penis all the way into Jade.

The eighteen-year-old threw up a second time, but the man did not stop. He drew out and then shoved himself in again so that his crotch slammed into Jade's anus and pressed the teenager hard against the bed.

When Jade broke into a desperate fight for freedom, the man sank his teeth into Jade's neck and yanked with his jaws, forcing Jade's head back into a position of complete helplessness.

The man did not say a word. He continued thrusting in an out with such force, he really was like an animal mating. And then his orgasm came and Jade felt the man empty his load. For several long, painful seconds it kept coming—the warm, milky liquid filling Jade's anal canal and gushing further in search of more space.

The man left his large penis in Jade's body for several moments longer, and the teenager found to his shame that in fits of uncontrollable muscle spasms, his anus was contracting around the man's penis. The pressure elongated the man's pleasure. "You're milking the rest of my semen off my penis," he announced with satisfaction. "You must be thirsty."

At last the muscle spasms stopped, and the man drew his softening penis out. He pulled Jade back up onto the bed and lay down beside him. He turned Jade so that the two faced each other. Then there was a moment of silence.

Jade refused to look at the man. He was sick to the stomach and terribly ashamed.

"I love you," the man whispered into the stillness broken only by the rasping of Jade's heavy breaths. "You're the prettiest creature I have ever mounted."

Jade was silent.

"Why are you so sad?" the man asked for the second time. He took Jade's face in his rough hands and kissed the teenager gently. "I know being mounted is painful sometimes, but you must learn to let your alpha mount. Otherwise, he will have to hold you down and mount like I did. But every alpha likes a willing mate best. It shows respect when you let your alpha mount."

Jade still said nothing.

Wordlessly, the man leaned forward and, gently lifting Jade's arm out of the way, he began sucking again at the teenager's nipples.

For another fifteen minutes, the man lay beside Jade, fondling the teenager's body gently with his hands. Then, after kissing Jade on the lips one more time, the man stood up and put his clothes back on.

When he had finished dressing, he walked back over to the bed and gently pressed a little of Jade's hair back out of his sweaty face. "It was a hard ride," the man whispered. "You're exhausted. Sleep tonight. Your alpha will protect you." He ran his fingers gently along Jade's arm. "I am your alpha, little Thymyhn. And you are my treasure."

After the strange words of parting, the man left.

Jade sat up and pulled his jeans up over his aching hips.

No sooner had he fastened the snap at the top, however, than the bedroom door opened again and Samel entered the room. "Good job, your first client said he was highly satisfied," he praised.

Jade looked up slowly at Samel as if he was unsure of whether or not Samel was only there by Jade's imagination.

"Come," Samel said finally. "You need to be cleaned up and gotten ready for your next client. You have ten minutes to freshen up."

Jade got up weakly and followed Samel out of the room, forgetting to bring his shirt with him. Samel took him to a bathroom where the old stylist waited.

"Oh, he's been worked way too hard," the stylist said the moment he saw Jade. "Look how he's sweating. You need to give him a thirty-minute break before you set him up with another client."

"I have eight minutes only," Samel spelled out, glancing at his wrist watch—a mechanism that had long ago shed its band and now resided in Samel's pocket. He pulled a toothpick from his jacket and began chewing on it.

"You're going to kill him," the stylist warned. But he began drying Jade's sweat with a hand towel and prepared the teenager to meet his second client. When Jade was sufficiently "prepared"—or at least as sufficiently as eight minutes would allow—Samel took Jade to a second bedroom on the second floor.

Jade was again told to wait on the bed and he did so.

But he didn't wait long before his second client entered the room. This man was shorter than the first and far messier in appearance. He looked younger, but still far older than Jade.

"God, I wanna fuck so bad," the man muttered as he laid eyes on Jade where the teenager huddled—shirtless—on the edge of the bed.

The man stripped his shirt off by the door and made his way eagerly over to Jade. He reached out and touched his finger to Jade's left nipple as if testing to see if it was truly real. "Damn, you're just as hot as you were in the pics."

Then the man pulled off his pants, revealing his semi-erected penis.

"You'll have to warm me up," the man announced and he pushed Jade down onto the bed. A moment later, he began sucking ravenously at Jade's lips. While his mouth busied itself on Jade's, the man ran his hands up and down the teenager's sides. He slipped his fingers down into Jade's jeans and began massaging the eighteen-year-old's hips.

Then the man drew away from Jade. "Strip," he ordered.

The teenager stared up at the man with a stricken expression on his face and made no move to obey.

The man rolled his eyes and stripped Jade himself, tearing the teenager's jeans completely off.

"Oh, god," the man muttered when he could see Jade's hips clearly. "God, I need to fuck." And right as he spoke, His penis lifted into full erection.

The man smiled and turned Jade over onto his stomach. He shoved two fingers into Jade's anus and smiled as the teenager flinched. "You've been fucked recently," he observed and he drew out his fingers to find another man's semen clinging to them. "No matter," he decided. "That just means your pussy's pre-stretched and lubricated."

The man positioned his penis and then drove it into Jade. The teenager's back arched with the pain. The man fixed his hands onto Jade's hips and began thrusting hard. With every movement, Jade's nerves became further alive with pain.

But the man treated Jade like an inanimate object and thrusted in and out until his orgasm came. He filled Jade's body with his ejaculation and then drew out.

"Sexy," he announced as his softening penis was followed by a little stream of his semen.

The man lay down beside Jade and began kissing the teenager again. He licked Jade's chest and bit at his nipples. Then, five minutes later, the man rolled onto his back and his penis rose in a second erection. "Let's fuck again," he suggested. He pulled Jade on top of himself and positioned Jade above his crotch. There was a short moment in which Jade could feel the wet tip of the man's penis searching for the anal entrance. It found its place, and the man suddenly slammed Jade down on top of the erection. The fully aroused penis thrust into Jade's body at an odd angle and Jade threw up, vomiting onto the bed.

The man smiled. "I love a little extra liquid." He parted Jade's legs over his and pulled the teenager down on top of him. Then he began thrusting from that angle.

Jade's body was being torn apart from the inside. The pain was so intense, his thigh muscles strained and locked. He couldn't breathe because of the pain. Inwardly, he told himself that the man could only mount him a second time and after this ride was over, he was done and he could rest.

The orgasm came and the man let his penis release its load into Jade's body without the slightest trace of shame. He drew out and let his own semen run down onto his penis.

Then he was again sucking at Jade's lips.

"Oh, shit!" he said suddenly, glancing at a clock that hung on the bedroom wall. "I've only got five minutes. Without hesitation, he took his penis in his hands and to Jade's horror, he masturbated himself a third erection.

Jade screamed for mercy when the man placed his hands on Jade's hips and prepared to mount. He begged and pleaded as he felt the wet tip of the penis touch his anus. But the thrust of the rigid shaft forced the air out of Jade's lungs and he could not make a sound as the man mounted for the third time in his single half hour.

Jade threw up again simply because he was sick to the stomach. But nothing stopped the man and he began to thrust rhythmically again. The pain in Jade's body kept mounting. And then suddenly, he couldn't hold on any more and he followed his instinct as the only way to stop the searing torture.

Jade bucked.

The man instantly let out an anguished cry and drew out. His stimulated penis went into orgasm in the open air and he ejaculated over Jade's back and shoulders.

But Jade was unaware of it. His mind went black and for the next ten minutes, he was unconscious of anything. He was unaware of anything at all until he was suddenly not in the bedroom anymore, but instead back in the bathroom with the stylist again. But there were others there, too. Jade didn't remember putting his jeans back on, but he had them on, then. His arms were twisted sharply behind his back and he was being held by one of the stylist's assistants. Conrad was there too and Jade came to himself just as Conrad finished saying something.

"But—but that's for third time extreme offenses!" the stylist cried. He looked worried and Jade wondered dimly why.

"I don't care," Conrad snapped. "I won't have any of these sluts behaving like that!"

"The rod is meant to be inserted through the vagina," Samel said, and Jade noticed for the first time that he was in the room.

"It can be put in his penis," Conrad decided.

"That may make him infertile," the stylist pointed out with a tremor in his voice.

"He doesn't need his fertility," Conrad said flatly. "Get me a rod and I'll put it up his dick."

Samel disappeared momentarily and then returned with a long, slender, plastic case. He handed it to Conrad and the man took it quickly.

"Hold him tightly," Conrad commanded the man holding Jade. The teenager gasped as the man twisted his arms further. Then Conrad reached out and unzipped Jade's jeans. The eighteen-year-old instantly began struggling, but he soon found that it was completely useless. Conrad lifted Jade's penis out and rubbed it between his hands until it lifted in an erection. Jade writhed against his captor, but he was too weak to budge the man behind him.

Conrad lifted the plastic case, opened it, and drew out a needle-thin metal bar that was razor-sharpened at one end. Conrad lifted the metal piece to Jade's erection. Without a moment's hesitation, Conrad drove the rod into Jade's penis.

The teenager screamed with all the breath in his lungs. His feet gave way and his weight dragged the man holding him a few steps forward.

Conrad zipped up Jade's jeans and then gave the stylist's assistant permission to release Jade.

The teenager fell to his knees. His mind and memory were completely wiped out by the surging pain the rod was causing. He lost his balance and a moment later found himself lying on his side on the bathroom floor. Something in his body shook and he vomited once—then twice. His stomach was completely empty. Strange lights started flashing in front of his eyes. Then unconsciousness fell over Jade's mind like a black curtain.

"It'll kill him," the old stylist said suddenly, his eyes shooting upward fiercely towards Conrad.

"It will torture him, it won't kill him," Conrad corrected calmly. "I warned him about bucking. He's been punished for it already. If burning doesn't work, this is the only thing that will."

"Forcing a metal rod up into his penis?" the stylist asked. There was anger in his voice. Anger in his face. He was angry. "You'll sterilize him for life, and—and don't you think there's a line between what you can do and what you can't? You can't torture him like this! He never did anything to you!"

"Leave the rod in overnight," Conrad said, turning to Samel, and ignoring the old stylist's last exclamations. "Remove it in the morning. But make sure he knows why it was put there." The two started out of the room together.

"He's innocent, Conrad Harper!" the stylist called after them. "He did nothing wrong! He was only trying to protect his own humanity!"