Death is a Service Rendered-6

Rosie had been advertising for a gardener on Brian’s dating website. She was an old hand on the site and had managed to persuade several of her “boys” to pay for her lifestyle ever since she arrived at Art College at the age of 17. She wasn’t, she had insisted to her father, a whore: she just attracted men who liked to do things for her. They hadn’t spoken since. When Davey replied to the advert, it was through Piers, and Piers explained to Rosie what his role was in the arrangement. Rosie knew Piers by reputation and readily agreed to the unusual fact that Davey’s services came with a minder.

At the beginning, Rosie couldn’t believe her luck. She was able to keep the boyfriend, for Davey had his sexual needs dealt with without having to touch her; she could afford to lose the irritating and usually troublesome money slaves as Davey would take over her rent and shopping needs with pleasure. It was a perfect arrangement and Piers gave it his blessing.

But this was the third time Davey and Rosie had fallen out. The first time, it was over a misunderstanding and Piers had to insist that Rosie came to his office so he could explain that disparaging his deceased wife was a red line not even Davey, probably the most submissive slave Rosie was likely to have, would allow anyone to cross. Piers couldn’t expect Rosie to apologise, that would have ruined the arrangement, but he did persuade Davey to go back and Rosie to accept that there were, even for her, rules.

The second time, the neighbours complained to the police about a naked man who appeared to be grovelling outside the front door of the terraced house. Even Rosie had been shocked by that incident and didn’t appreciate the attention of the Police who “had a word” with her. Piers never did find out from Davey what had happened. He just smiled and said that sometimes, even a fine lady like his Mistress needed to be “taught a lesson”. Davey could not be read by Piers as well as he would have liked.

The relationship had nevertheless managed to last almost a year, but here he was again.

Davey fingered and pulled at some of the plants which had finally succumbed to the winter cold and needed to be removed. He had worked all spring and summer in the garden and had turned it into a private and beautiful space. By judicious planting and fencing, he had managed to screen most of it, even in the winter, from prying neighbours’ eyes. It allowed him to indulge in his favourite hobby, naked gardening under the eye of a demanding Mistress. And Rosie looked great in men’s wellingtons, gardening gloves, long leather coat and very little else as she stood over him. But now, he was simply thoughtful.

“Who threw the dishes Davey?”

“She did.”

“And who provoked it?”

“I did.”

“Come on Davey, out with it”

“Weeeell, Mister Fellowes, I made a mistake.” He grinned more to himself than to Piers who felt there was a certain amount of maliciousness there. “I asked her to marry me.”

Piers scratched his head, rubbed his brow and generally looked exasperated and puzzled.

“I don’t understand Davey. You’ve told me often enough that you couldn’t see anyone taking Mary’s place, I mean, what the devil has changed you mind.”

Davey looked hurt, “I haven’t changed my mind, Mary can’t be replaced, I’m not suggesting that. I mean, I just thought, I’ve got this place looking nice, I’m paying for most of it anyway, I thought, I might as well ask her to marry me. Make it sort of official-like.”

“Apart from anything else, she has a boyfriend. She wants slaves, not husbands.”

“I know that, and I said that she could keep her boyfriend… it’s just that… well, it’s just that she might treat me as, you know, someone she has to think about first.”

“You want to marry her so that you can be her priority!” Piers turned Davey to ensure he looked him in the eye. “That’s never going to happen, Davey.”

Davey shook him off and walked over to the other side of the flower bed and his looked turned to anger again.

“Anyway, she said no. She said no using her dishes.”

“Yeah, I noticed. So, what now? Do you want me to make it better like the last time.”

“Mr Fellowes, it’s not like I haven’t been good to her. I mean, there was all that stuff I paid for. For her new business.”

What new business?” Piers suddenly felt very cold. “What have you been buying for her, Davey?”

Davey took on his sheepish look again. “It wasn’t that much. Nothing to worry about.”

Davey’s finances had been put into the hands of accountants, but Davey still thought Piers had a hand in them.

“I don’t mean that Davey, what is this business?”

“Well, she asked if I would honour her by backing her and her boyfriend in opening a Club. You know, like the ones you took me to at the beginning. Well, I liked the idea and helped her out. All the furniture, toys and stuff has been bought, and we were going to take a look at a place next week-end.”

Piers took note of the “honour her”. She wasn’t asking or wheedling. She was using her status to demand that Davey helped. Piers bristled at this departure from his usual rules. He had been clear to Rosie that Davey’s generosity needed to be kept in check and she had agreed.

“When was this?”

“Oh, about a month or so ago, I didn’t really do anything other than pay the bills when they came in. Chicken feed Piers, I was happy to do it.”

Piers noted the unusual defiance in using his first name. “And then you spoiled it by asking for something more in return.”

Davey nodded morosely.

“Stay here for a bit longer Davey; prune some roses or something.”

“Wrong time of year, Mr Fellowes.”

“And then you can come in, say you’re sorry, don’t ask her to marry you and clear up when it gets dark and your Mistress is in a better mood.”

“Yes, Mr Fellowes.”

*

Back at the house, Mistress RedRose Thorn was in a less prickly frame of mind. Glass of wine in hand, she invited Piers into the front room of the house, noticeably unchanged. Taking note of that Piers smiled encouragingly;

“He’ll come in later and apologise, then tidy up.”

“Yeah, well he better.” She passed over the bottle and another glass.

“You’re judging me, Piers, stop that.”

“You have to admit, he’s the best slave you’re ever going to have. I would have expected at least some outward gratitude by not taking advantage.”

“Taking advantage! Who are you again? You expect me to take that abuse. He asked me to marry him. That’s not in the arrangement and if he still feels like that, then he can fuck off now.”

“And take his shed with him?” I smiled.

Rosie, for the first time looked a little more embarrassed, but hid it badly beneath a look of contempt. “Well, I can snap my social network fingers and get any number of money slaves if that’s all you’re worried about.”

“Maybe, Mistress.” Piers emphasised the formal title. “And then again, Davey is an uncomplicated guy.” Piers paused as he thought about that and decided that he didn’t really believe it but stood by the lie for now. “Anyway, I don’t think he will repeat the offer. He just wants more of your attention.”

Rosie sighed and settled into a softer expression. “I know that, but it’s just that… well, doesn’t matter. I’ll keep him so long as he doesn’t ask again.”

“I’ll tell him. But there is something else. What’s the business idea you were talking to him about?”

At this, Rosie’s expression hardened. “None of your concern Piers. It’s just an arrangement we have. He won’t be diddled out of his wife’s bloody fortune, and he’ll benefit. Proper partnership and all that.”

“It’s not Subliminal Quest is it?”

“Never heard of it, it will be a private dungeon for invite only under my name.”

Piers decided this was true and let it drop. As for the enterprise itself, it would probably work provided her partner wasn’t a crook. And at the end of the day, it was Davey’s life. Anyway, he was confident that Mary’s trusts would not allow Davey to hand over his inheritance.

Piers’ last act as an unusual “marital” adviser was to call Davey in and witness a reconciliation as Davey knelt in front of a seated and supercilious Rosie and begged her apologies. As far as Piers could tell, he was witnessing a similar scene as Davey had performed before Mary for decades. Perhaps he had his “marriage” after all.

Chapter 9

The room at the station looked like any other corporate meeting room in any other modern office with its neat fabric and uncomfortable chairs facing a large screen at the front with several smaller in the aisles either side for the short sighted. But the crucial difference was the operations board with its pinned photographs and notes. There were few people occupying the chairs and not everyone in the room was a serving policeman. But few of them were in uniform anyway so it was hard to tell. DS Khan was the most senior but he merely lingered, standing at the back.

Piers Fellowes was there under duress. He didn’t like this sort of briefing, though he had attended similar in the past. Ross was in charge, with Paula assisting and it was Ross that set the meeting going.

“Good morning everyone, I know that not all of you are directly on the team for the Alice Hart-Graham case and of course our unidentified possible murder victim, but I called this meeting just to brief you all where we were. And to introduce Piers Fellowes here who has been asked to help us ‘profile’ the potential perpetrator.”

Someone laughed at the back and Ross glowered, saying nothing in case it was his boss.

He then turned to the screen and proceeded to give a partially scripted statement to the room on the main features of the case, the history to date and the current lines of enquiry. It didn’t take long. Essentially the room was told that they were treating Alice’s death as a potential manslaughter, that there was likely to have been a second male victim, probably murdered and that there was a likely link with BDSM play which was the reason Piers was about to speak. And no, Carrie was not a suspect.

He motioned to Piers, who took up position and spoke without notes, noting that he was probably the least respected figure in the room. Several had already begun to talk amongst themselves, until Ross motioned them to be quiet.

“As DI Grave has already said, the perpetrator is likely to have some knowledge of the BDSM lifestyle. But this of course today is a very wide constituency. Statistically, at least half of you will have watched BDSM porn online, and not in a professional capacity either, a quarter will have had certain BDSM play elements with your partners and perhaps a couple of you, statistically, will be active and practising within what might call the core BDSM community; attending meetings, clubs and gatherings or the like.”

This prompted a variety of snorts and giggles, and at least one called out to someone across the room to accuse a friend; “yep, I thought so”. This time, it was DS Khan who told everyone to settle down.

“But what we are likely to be dealing with here can be best described as an untalented amateur whose main interest is in the sexual thrill of harming people. And that is not an exclusively BDSM matter. Nevertheless, there are features of this case where the Venn Diagram of interests point to someone in the BDSM community, who is also a sadist willing to act on those impulses.”

“Even in the BDSM community that I know, this is rare and as such, in theory, they should be easier to find. So, what are you looking for? One, the perpetrator is likely to be male given that Alice’s tastes have been shown to be heterosexual and her communications male orientated. Two, the perpetrator knows enough about BDSM play to use the right language and obtain the equipment, but is dangerously inept at understanding it. Three, he doesn’t care about his victims. For if they die, they die appears to be his mantra. This means that he is going to stand out in our community whenever he appears amongst true BDSM lifestylers.”

Ross took over at that point.

“And that is why we concentrate on watching the specialist chatrooms and asking around at the clubs; a list of which Mr Fellowes has kindly provided for us.”

It seemed to Piers to be a weak ending. He needed to do more.

Chapter 10

After the police briefing, he took a taxi to a large house in south London. One of the few that hadn’t been sub-divided into flats or turned into shared student hovels. This house would have been a place for the newly wealthy a century ago. Its high Lutyens brick front hid a rabbit warren of rooms and outbuildings behind. Decorative brickwork gave it the feel of a having been put together by an artistic child. There was no garden in the front as it was concreted and covered in obviously un-roadworthy cars and bits of motorcycle.

Finding no bell, Piers knocked on the door using the heavy iron ring. He could hear the sound of barking dogs, skidding and tapping on the hall floor. Then the sound of swearing and arguing as they were obviously being shut away. Finally, with a sound of many bolts being slid, the door finally opened.

“Shite, it’s Piers. Bloody hell mate, howya doin!”

“Ah, the language of Chaucer still rings out in south London I hear!”

“Fuck off ya short-assed bender. Come in, come in, Ellie’s in the back baking. Get in!”

Piers followed the big man into a gothic oak and candlelit monstrosity of a house. Chaz was the only man he ever met who was better than he was at giving Lifestyle advice. He didn’t give it to rich clients in neat offices by means of discreet “appointments” like Piers. He gave it at the lower end of the market so to speak. Chaz lived the Lifestyle to the full and was legendary in his appetites for BDSM clubs, events and women. The latter interest took a serious knock when he turned forty last year and to his and everyone else’s surprise, he found Ellie. The interior design was in Ellie’s taste and Piers found it a bit too much like a schoolgirl’s bedroom fantasy. But if the look of his house didn’t worry Chaz, it was for the rest of his interests that meant he was probably the best known Dom in that circle in Britain. He didn’t hide it. If he walked down Oxford Street with his 6’6″ frame, wide leather clad shoulders, chains, piercings, including one obviously visible through the stretched leather over his crotch, no-one would have been in any doubt what he was.

He just picked women up whenever he came across them and before long, he taught them. Half the trained subbies in the south-east of England had been tutored and fucked by Chaz… a much smaller proportion of the other half had come to Piers, who was more choosy. They were friendly rivals.

Unlike most people in the lifestyle, Chaz made his entire living from it. And his speciality these days was making leather goods, mainly whips.

As he entered the Kitchen, Ellie, a slight wisp of woman wearing very little in the form of yellow tights and a purple t-shirt and who was also half Chaz’s age turned and squealed his name. After the briefest of glances to Chaz and the briefest of nods from him in turn, she ran to Piers and hugged him tight. Her nipples protruded from the thin t-shirt and pressed into his chest. He reddened under Chaz’s expansive, unconcerned gaze and didn’t know where to put his hands. Ellie was the most emotional and sexual girl Piers could think of.

“Piers you smell soooo gorgeous, it’s great to see you, where’ve you been, it’s been months since we saw you?”

“Toe-rag thinks he’s better than us girl, that’s why.”

“Don’t listen to him, he is all fucked up ’cause I trod on his cock last night.”

“Bitch didn’t even say sorry, just laughed. And wouldn’t rub it better.”

Piers smiled, he could listen to these people argue all night and never tire.

“Just sit there, and I’ll bring over some tea. And I’ve baked.”

This was less good news. Ellie’s baking was enthusiastic rather than edible.

Piers took a chair and Chaz sat across the table while Ellie chattered about when they had last saw one another, and what they had been up to recently. Piers had only half an ear tuned in as he looked meaningfully at Chaz.

“We need to have a serious chat, Chaz”, he whispered.

Chaz nodded thoughtfully and spoke quietly back, his loud voice now tempered with quiet worry at the look on Piers’ face.

“Ok, give it 10 minutes to get poisoned by Ellie and we’ll go to the workshop for a quiet one.”

The workshop was in fact most of the rear of the house. Even then it had been enlarged by knocking through into the old brick outbuildings to create a vast space full of tools, stock and racks. It had the feel of a well-organised tool-shed with every hand-tool in its special place, hanging from the walls. Strip lighting gave the premises a professional factory look. The racks were draped in leather hides of every colour and size. The benches had artefacts of the BDSM lifestyle in various stages of manufacture. There were constructs that looked like gym presses until you looked closer and noticed the wrist and ankle restraints. There were shaped metal bars with various hooks and eyes ready for victims to be splayed into bizarre bent shapes. But what interested Piers more were the leather strands.

These were everywhere hanging from the walls and the ceiling, bundled into crates and covering most of the benches. For what Chaz was known throughout the world for, was making professional hand-crafted whips. He had once told him that there was only one reason why he kept making them. Apart from the fact that they were hugely profitable.

“Piers, one of these days I’m gonna make one that’ll give ya an orgasm just by looking at it!”

Piers was sure that one day he would.

“So what’s the problem my friend, eh?”

“I’m looking into a murder… for the police.”

Chaz nodded and sat his huge frame on a on a small bench stool and idly played with a half made leather and gun-metal ankle strap.

“You should give that stuff up. It’ll kill you one day. I don’t trust them to give you a hand when ya need one.”

“Yep, Caroline, you remember her, said much the same thing recently?” Chaz nodded. “Chaz, I want you to take a look at this.”

Piers took his phone from his pocket and showed him pages of part of the Subliminal Quest website.

“This is a dummy website that doesn’t sell what it says it sells. At first I thought it was using hijacked images from other legitimate retail sites. But then I saw these.”

Piers stabbed a finger at two small photographs of whips. He enlarged them.

“That is your work, it’s obvious quality. And then I thought, you don’t advertise on websites. Unless things have changed, you still sell through the clubs and word of mouth?”

Chaz looked thoughtfully at the paper for a long time. “Subliminal Quest eh. Well fuck a bishop.” The last few words could have been spoken by a poet, they were said so softly.

“So what’s the story Chaz?”

“You’re right, it is my work, and no, I wasn’t going into the internet shopping business. Would ruin me it would.”

“Why?”

Couldn’t keep up with demand mate. Only me and the young lads working on this stuff. We take time, do a decent job and charge a fucking ransom for it. Can’t do that with fifty old perverts emailing a day who wouldn’t know a paddle from a poodle!”

“And?”

“And, about a year ago, a man I met in a club; shouted in me earhole that he had heard I could help him out. He wanted to fit out a dungeon. Said it was going to be a private club he was going to call Subliminal Quest.

I gave him a card and asked him to the house. About a week later, he calls and we arrange to look over the stock and talk about what he wanted.”

“Why did you think he was serious and not a time-waster.”

“Well, my friend, no time waster hands over a thousand in a club like’s it’s nuthin, as a gesture of goodwill.”

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