Review of “Passion Play” by Fallen Angel

Hi, readers and friends. Fallen Angel has given my story, Passion Play, (Torquere Press Jan. 2009) a mixed review. Here’s the link to it: www.fallenangelreviews.com.  In fairness to the reviewer, Passion Play is a dark piece, and the narrator, Reverend Luke, is not, ahem,  a stable individual. Though the story has a somewhat happy ending, it’s clearly not for the squeamish, nor for those who like their erotic romance entirely upbeat. The sex gets rough and there’s an intense scene toward the end of the story where James Thibodeaux is severely disciplined by Reverend Luke.  (Ouch!)   Here’s where you can purchase the story: www.torquerebooks.com

Here’s an excerpt:

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It’s Saturday night and a crowd swarms The Dungeon’s labyrinthine cellar. Leather-clad men appraise one another in dim corridors. Couples slip into alcoves or cubicles. Odors of sweat and butyl nitrate scent the air. Speakers offer techno music. The air is damp and cool. Close by a strap licks bare skin. I hear three loud pops, and then a voice cries out. My curiosity is stirred and I move in the direction the sounds came from.

A black light casts a purplish glow, it lends patrons an unearthly appearance, as if I’m seeing them in a dream or underwater.

I turn a corner and I come upon a young man wearing nothing but a jock strap, work boots, and a harlequin mask, one adorned with sequins and feathers. The young man’s physique is like a gymnast’s. He displays a randy bulge in the elastic pouch between his thighs. He stands at the doorway of a chamber. A cardboard sign, hand-lettered, is taped to the wall beside him and I squint to read it. The sign says: “Slave for rent: Five minutes. Twenty dollars.” An upturned ball cap rests upon the seat of a bar stool, next to the doorway. It holds a clutter of currency.

At first I think the masked  fellow is offering himself, but when I draw near I see there’s another young man who stands inside the chamber with his back to the doorway. Above him a railroad lantern with a ruby lens hangs from a wire. It casts a hellish glow. The young man is naked. He is tall and broad-shouldered, with a slim waist. He wears a leather collar with rows of metal studs and the collar is chained to an eyebolt that’s screwed into the wall before him. He wears leather cuffs on his wrists and these are secured by chains to other eyebolts. His hands hang level with his ears. He wears a mask, too, but I can’t see much of it, just the feathers. They form a halo around his head. A leather strap hangs from a nail. Two switches lean against a wall. A flogging device with a wooden handle and multiple leather tails hangs from another nail. The young man’s back and shoulders, his buttocks and thighs and even his furry calves bear multiple stripes and welts, his skin is cross-hatched with angry marks. His buttocks clench, then relax, then clench again. He shifts his weight from one leg to the other and the chains securing him jingle.

Inside the chamber, lamplight reflects off cinder block walls, they are shiny with condensation and mildew. There’s a constant drip-dripping of water and the slave stands in a puddle.

The young man at the doorway looks at me and his eyes blink behind his mask. He extends an arm, palm up, pointing to the captive.

I look at the chained  young man and I try to imagine his suffering, the humiliation and disgrace he must feel. I have never understood sadomasochism. I ask myself: Why does he submit? And what’s the pleasure in whipping him? Swinging my gaze to the other young man, I raise my eyebrows and shake my head. Moments later, when I’m climbing the basement stairs, leather strikes naked flesh anew. The blow sounds like a pistol shot and the prisoner cries out, his feet dancing in his puddle while his chains jingle, merry as a Christmas sleigh.

Copyright by Martin Delacroix 2009

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