Chapter 10

Yelena walked down the hallway towards Marya's room. Her heart was pounding, her stomach jumpy with impending nausea.

This won't take long, she reminded herself. For me, it will help me solidify my character. My first moments onstage, as it were.

She was determined to make Yelena disappear altogether, if she could. To let Bad Mother truly take over.

She put the key in the doorknob, feeling a thrill of anticipation. There, she thought, there's Bad Mother.

Yelena briefly peeked out from behind Bad Mother, but Bad Mother forced her back down. Yelena was willing to be forced down. This, she reminded herself, yet again, is so that Marya won't suffer the never-ending agony I saw that other woman going through. The assassin. Marya will have pain enough, but nothing like that. She would thank me if she knew.

Yelena opened the door, leaving the key in the knob.

From the bed, she heard a shocked gasp, followed by almost impossibly rapid breaths, with a frightened whimper at every exhalation. After several hours alone, Marya knew someone had entered the room.

Marya jerked once at the chains, but subsided, knowing the futility of trying to get loose. She tried to communicate in the only way she could, shaking her hooded head slowly back and forth.

Seeing Marya actually in the flesh -- and unwillingly showing so much of that flesh -- rather than on a television screen, froze Yelena into immobility, as she automatically fought against Bad Mother for control. But Yelena withdrew once more, telling herself once more, I have to do this, I have to. For Marya.

Yelena, through Bad Mother, made herself walk towards Marya, her feet falling softly, silently. She felt sure Marya didn't know she was this close, as she reached out her hand. Hesitating a moment while working to withdraw herself once more behind Bad Mother, Yelena at last let her fingertips stroke Marya's upper thigh very softly.

Marya exploded into activity, jerking harder than ever at the chains, every muscle in her body standing flexed, quivering with effort, her head shaking violently now, with those same shallow, very fast breaths, again accompanied by terrified whimpers.

Yelena watched through Bad Mother's eyes, feeling the excitement coursing through Bad Mother. She withdrew her hand from Marya's thigh and reached higher on Marya's body, letting the backs of her fingers trail upward softly along Marya's drawn-taut stomach.

Turning her hand over, Yelena cupped Marya's right breast, and let her index finger run softly back and forth across the nipple, feeling it harden. Marya had stopped her futile struggling now, her whimpers turning into crying.

Yelena moved her hand once more, down Marya's stomach, slowing as it crossed the girl's mound, feeling the prickly stubble of shaved-but-not-recently pubic hair, and then across the labia, playing very lightly back and forth across the folds of skin as if they were guitar strings. Marya tensed once more, not pulling at the chains but simply contracting every muscle, all of them, on her arms, her legs, her stomach, all standing taut as if illustrating an anatomy text, her breath now held, her whole body quivering. When Yelena pushed one finger inside her daughter, Marya let out a scream such as Yelena wouldn't have thought possible with the gag.

Yelena, Bad Mother, raised her finger to her lips, sampling the slightly uriny taste, wrinkling her nose but licking her finger until the taste was gone.

This can't work, Yelena suddenly realized. Something crucial is missing.

Marya was still crying as Yelena returned to the door of the room, went through it and closed it behind her, locking it up again.

*   *   *   *   *

How long? Rachel wondered. How long until they come back and rape me?

She willed the time to pass slowly, as if her mental efforts alone would help give the outside world more time to arrange her release. They have to get me out of here, she said over and over to herself, before the work day is done.

Rachel recalled that her session in bed with the big guard in Alina's room had been intended to start at eleven o'clock. It was hard to guess how much time it had taken for her trip back to this cell block, with a haircut along the way, and then for the guard to arrange her entrapment in this awful position. Maybe forty minutes, she guessed. When did the girls and the guards return from whatever they did during the day? Eight o'clock? That seemed a reasonable guess.

Oh, Lord, she thought, moaning. I don't think even an hour has gone by yet. So have I got seven more hours to go? More than that?

Her legs ached intensely already, though she wasn't putting any weight on them. Just from the tension of being stretched so wide. Her arms were better designed to be held in such a wide V, but the rest of her upper body was in distress. Her stomach was tired of resting on the rough surface, and her lower back ached from her bent-at-the-waist position. Her breasts, squashed under her, were complaining, and she frequently had to work to lift her upper body off the surface, using her elbows pressed downward, to give her breasts some relief -- and now her elbows, upper arms and shoulders were starting to ache from those efforts. Her jaw hurt terribly from accommodating the gag, around which she drooled constantly.

And she was, by her estimate, not even an eighth of the way through this torment.

She lifted her head, as she did often, to turn it to rest on the other side. Even that simple movement was starting to cause pain -- her neck muscles were getting tired of lifting it by themselves. And it added to her misery in another way. She hated the loss of her hair, and every time she moved her head around she was reminded of it. There was no weight of hair resting on the back of her neck, no hair shifting on her head, brushing her cheeks or nose when she moved. When the back of her head brushed against her shoulders, she could feel the sharp, prickly stubble against her skin.

She moaned again, miserably.

In the utter darkness and silence, she felt completely and permanently abandoned, unable to believe there was a world outside the cell block, from which someone would come eventually to release her, and there was a growing fear inside her that she would be left here until she starved to death. She tried to convince herself that the guards would return, even to hope they would come soon, even if their return was accompanied by the physical abuse she knew was coming. Would rape really be worse than this?

She pushed down with her elbows once more, her breasts feeling momentarily better, at the cost of her shoulders screaming at her to stop. A wave of pain shot down her taut thigh muscles and her calves.

And she suddenly realized her bladder was starting to feel full. She could hold it for awhile, but absolutely not for seven hours.

She began crying.

*   *   *   *   *

Yelena burst through the door of the infirmary. "Doctor Tourachev, it's not working. I can't do it."

The doctor blinked at the sudden intrusion, then shrugged, as though a beautiful naked woman slamming into his office were a daily occurrence. "Very well. I will begin preparing your daughter for the other punishment."

Yelena frowned in puzzlement, not sure immediately what he meant, then gasped, almost panicked, when she understood his interpretation of her remarks. She waved her arms in negation. "No, I didn't mean that! Of course I will do what I need to do. But my body isn't cooperating."

It was the doctor's turn to be puzzled. "How do you mean?"

"I... I can act sexually aroused, but my body doesn't understand the need. It's my own daughter! I can't... physically react as if I were attracted to her! Inside me, I mean." She gestured vaguely at her crotch. "It's not a faucet I can just decide to turn on at the tap."

"Ah!!" The doctor caught her meaning at last. "You're not able to lubricate."

"Yes, you fool, what did you think I was talking about? I can't get wet for her! And that will give it all away! She's a woman herself. She would know the smell, the feeling of it on her skin. And she'd know if it was missing."

The doctor replied gently, not taking offense, "I suspected that might be the case. But I told you I have something for that. Don't you remember?"

Yelena thought she now vaguely recalled a comment to that effect, though she'd been in a fog at the time. "Some kind of pill, I think?"

The doctor nodded. "It is closely related to male erectile aids. It contains some of the same active ingredients, in fact. But it is designed specifically for women. Among other things, it will increase the flow of blood to the genital area. As a type of conditioned response, it will actually make you feel arousal. You will be, if you will excuse the crudeness, like a bitch in heat."

"Even... even for..." She gestured in the direction of Marya's room.

The doctor nodded absently while checking among bottles in a cabinet behind him. He said, almost to himself, "Even for a tree trunk, if it appeared in the right place at the right time. Ah!" He located the bottle he was looking for, and turned to present it to Yelena. "Take just one, not more often than every six hours."

Yelena stopped herself from saying "Thank you" automatically. The whole situation was one she would never feel thankful for. It is only, she reminded herself, my love for Marya, my need as a mother to protect her from the worst these monsters can do, that makes it possible for me to do what I am about to do to her.

As so often, since yesterday, Yelena froze up briefly, unable to force herself to take the next step. But she remembered, as she always did, how much her daughter needed her to be strong. How much Marya needed Yelena to force herself to do the unthinkable.

Grimly she held out her hand. "Water."

The doctor turned to the sink behind him and ran water into a paper cup. As he handed it to Yelena, he said, "Wait about thirty minutes after you take the pill, before seeing your daughter. I promise your body will be ready."

Yelena squeezed her eyes shut and took several deep breaths through her nose. Then she opened the bottle, dropped a pill from it into her hand, slapped it into her mouth and drained the paper cup. Inside, she burned with anger.

*   *   *   *   *

Rachel squealed in pain, squeezing her eyes shut, though she couldn't see anything with them open. She clenched her buttocks tightly. It was hard holding her bladder with her legs spread so wide.

How much longer? her mind asked repeatedly, desperately. Can I hold it until...

She groaned as a sudden thought struck her. These men are such animals. They may get off on seeing me forced to pee right in front of them. If I don't do it now, I'll probably have to do it with them watching. And laughing.

Even so, the idea of simply peeing on the floor where she stood was completely beyond her imagination. Animals do that, she thought. And not even all of them. Cats seek out an appropriate place. They don't do it just anywhere. Dogs can easily be trained to do it where they should.

A sudden wave of intense pain gripped her crotch. She continued trying to hold it back, but a dribble of urine made a trail down the inside of her left thigh. She tried to clamp down, but she could feel the muscles quivering, losing the battle to hold it in.

With a moan of despair, she let go. Relief surged through her body, if not her mind, and she could hear the splattering on the floor between her legs, loud in the otherwise total silence.

It seemed to run out of her forever. As the pressure slowly vanished, she felt a physical well-being that almost made her forget the other pains elsewhere in her body. Until the ache in her thigh muscles reminded her.

When the flow finally stopped, she lay inert, feeling fully both the relief and the shame. Seconds later, the pungent smell of urine attacked her nose.

She felt a coolness under the toes of her left foot, on the floor. When she wriggled her toes, she could hear a soft, wet sound. Her foot was far from the spot where the urine had landed, but the extensive puddle had reached to that distance. She was standing in her own piss.

She let out yet another groan. With effort, she pulled her left foot up. She had to split her legs even a little more, pushing her left thigh outward so the padlock holding her left ankle in place could slide a small distance up the cage bar. In less than a minute every muscle in her left leg was screaming at her to stop. She had to put her foot back down and stand again in the puddle of her own urine.

She began crying again.

*   *   *   *   *

Yelena finished applying her makeup, and gave her throat a light spray of perfume. She pressed her lips together to smooth out the lip gloss, and examined her eye shadow. She nodded. She hadn't made the effort to look this stunning in a long while.

To Yelena's left, the television monitor on the wall showed Marya on her bed. Marya had calmed down, inevitably -- there was no give in the chains, nothing she could do to get free of them, and she lay still. It was impossible to tell whether she was asleep.

Yelena sighed, closed her eyes, and made herself stand up. It has to be done. I determine when the curtain goes up, but I can't wait forever. I can't delay this any longer. They'll only give me so long.

Besides, the pill was definitely working. The tingling between Yelena's legs made her want to move. To touch something, or someone, to rub against that something or someone. Not that she put it to herself in those words. She was barely conscious of the need. But it was urgent.

After the short walk down the hallway, Yelena paused at the door of Marya's room, taking a slow breath, summoning Bad Mother. This is it, she thought, with butterflies in her stomach. She felt as she had, long ago, on the opening night of stage plays. Much more nerve-wracking than for her movies, where they could simply reshoot a botched scene. This is more important than any of those, Yelena thought. I have to get it right.

Just let the performance get started. I'm always okay then, she reminded herself. Lost in my character.

She unlocked the door and opened it.

Again, Marya reacted in instant terror, her body spasming in instinctive escape reflex, hopelessly frustrated by the chains, her breath running in and out almost faster than the air could move.

Yelena closed the door softly, and ran to the bed. She stroked the hood covering Marya's head, firmly enough for the girl to feel it, and crooned, "There, it's okay, it's okay! Darling, it's me! It's me!"

Marya stopped moving suddenly, though her breath couldn't settle down immediately. As she began to catch her breath, she said against the gag, "Mmmm? Mmmm?"

Yelena sat on the bed and moved both hands under Marya's head to lift it gently off the bed. The bed, like Yelena's, had no sheets, only the canvas surface of the mattress. The surface anywhere near Marya was soaked with her sweat. "Hold still, darling. Let me get this off you." Yelena unfastened the buckle of the hood around Marya's neck, and pulled the zipper upward behind her. With the back of the hood open, she peeled the front of it away from Marya's face, carefully working the gag out of the girl's mouth. Marya's hair was plastered to her head, soaked in sweat. Yelena smoothed it, again stroking her daughter's head.

Marya slowly closed the O of her mouth, winced and said "Ow!", and blew out past her lips, as if they were numb. She worked her jaw briefly, then stared up at Yelena. "Mom! Get me out of this!" She shook her arms, jingling the chains. "Do you have a key? I think..." Her eyes widened, looking her mother up and down. "Mom! Where are your clothes?? Did they do this to you too? How did you get away? Never mind, never mind. Tell me later. Just get me out of this!" She shook her legs along with her arms this time, as though Yelena couldn't see the chains holding her.

Yelena smiled -- Bad Mother smiled -- and said softly, "Hush, honey. Everything is going to be fine. Calm down. It's all okay." She leaned down and kissed Marya on the lips. Gently holding the sides of Marya's head with both hands, she moved her lips against Marya's, her mouth opening wider.

Marya calmed briefly at the start of the kiss, accepting the sign of affection as natural under the circumstances. In a short time she tensed up again, seeming at that point to realize that the kiss had gone far beyond the purely maternal. She closed her lips tightly and jerked her head to the side, Yelena's soft grip not strong enough to stop her movement. "Mom! I'm glad to see you too, but just get me free. Please?"

Yelena breathed slightly faster. The kiss had felt so good. The tingling between her legs was almost a buzzing now, accompanied by the promised flow of sexual fluids making the walls of her vagina slide frictionlessly as she moved. Within herself, Yelena knew it was the pill doing its job. But Bad Mother didn't think about it. She only felt.

Yelena gripped the top of Marya's head firmly with one hand, and leaned down to kiss her again, while her other hand cupped Marya's breast, fingers squeezing very gently.

Marya shook herself free again, and said, her voice now shaking. "Mom! What are you..." She gasped suddenly, and continued in a stunned voice, "Was that you, before? Did you come in here awhile ago?" She stared at Yelena, wondering if it was really possible that the petrifying sexual assault she'd experienced had been done by her own mother.

Yelena/Bad Mother smiled again. "Yes, that was me, dear. I was just playing a little game with you."

Marya's mouth dropped wide open. "Mom! It's not funny! What's wrong with you?"

Yelena laughed. "Nothing's wrong, darling. In fact, everything's right, finally. I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. This is what you were born for."

Marya stared in silence for a moment, then gave up trying to process that comment. She repeated, "This isn't funny. Get... me... LOOSE!" She jerked hard at all of the chains holding her.

Yelena turned on the bed, swinging her leg over and straddling Marya, her knees on either side of Marya's hips. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw one of the cameras, its silent, immobile eye watching. That is, she saw the place where she knew the camera to be. Marya would almost certainly not notice it, nor the other two in the room. The one on the wall to Yelena's left was behind the glass covering of a metal-framed modern art painting, consisting of circles of various sizes and colors, one of the circles being the camera lens. It was impossible detect its presence without knowing it was there. Another camera directly behind Yelena, and a third one in the ceiling above the bed, were equally cleverly camouflaged.

Though Yelena was conscious of the perverted, hateful monster receiving the cameras' images, still somehow their presence helped steady her. They reminded her that it was all an act, a performance. And she held desperately to the lie she had concocted for herself -- that Marya was performing too. Deep within, at the center of herself where her connection to the real world lived, Yelena knew how horrified Marya was. She knew Marya had no idea what was happening. But within the character of Bad Mother, there was a lie Yelena had created that was needed to make her performance possible: that Marya was playing a character as well, that she was merely performing, acting out lines written for her as part of her role as Victimized Daughter. Marya, so Yelena's fabrication went, had inherited the instincts of an actress from her mother. And she could be trusted to maintain her character, with no breaks. No matter how much Marya protested, no matter what Yelena did to her, Yelena could, as part of her own character, believe that Marya's behavior was all part of the show.

The knowledge that Marya's world was coming undone, that she was being betrayed and attacked by the one person she trusted more than anyone in her life...

Yelena would thrust that knowledge under the surface, to be acknowledged only when she was alone.

Yelena, on her hands and knees above her daughter, looked down into Marya's eyes. "I can't let you go yet, dear. I knew this would be confusing to you. I knew you'd resist, at first. I know you as well as any mother can know her child. So I had to make sure you wouldn't run away." She lowered her voice to a throaty whisper. "I had to make sure you'd stay with me long enough so you can see how good we can be together."

She cradled Marya's head in her hands again, and bent down to kiss her.

As before, Marya clamped her lips tightly shut, and violently swung her head from side to side. "Mom, STOP it!"

Yelena raised herself to arms' length above Marya again. She gave her daughter an indulgent smile. In the same tone of voice she had long ago used to coax smiles from Marya when she was crying, she said, "I want a real kiss, darling. The kind we were always meant to have." Her voice became more husky suddenly, as if full of physical need. "The kind I've waited so many years for."

Marya was still shaking her head. "Mom, stop it! This is..." She suddenly stopped herself. Whatever word she had been about to use -- crazy, sick, disgusting -- Marya seemed suddenly conscious of how helpless she was to defend herself if she made her mother angry. This suddenly unknown woman, whom Marya had thought she had known all her life, could hurt Marya very badly if her unexplained insanity turned violent, and there would be nothing Marya could do about it.

In a shaky, tentative voice, Marya said, "Mom, I think you need to... talk to somebody. Somebody who can... help you see what you're doing. This isn't right. Somewhere inside, you know that, don't you?" Her eyes pleaded with Yelena.

Oh, my darling, Yelena thought, if you only know what was going on inside me.

To Marya's obvious relief, Yelena lifted her right leg and swung away from her, to the side of the bed, and stood up beside the bed. Marya held Yelena's eyes and gave her an encouraging nod, clearly thinking Yelena was taking her advice.

Behind the footboard of the bed, coming across from the bedposts, the chains holding Marya's ankles circled a reel with a hand crank. The doctor had explained the crank's function to Yelena.

Yelena used the crank now. As she turned it by hand, more of each chain wound around the reel. Marya's feet were pulled farther down the bed, nearer the bedposts, her legs pulled apart even wider. As on a medieval rack, Marya's body was stretched painfully.

Marya screamed, knowing her arms would be pulled out of her shoulder sockets if her mother kept turning the crank. "Okay!! Okay!! You can kiss me. Kissing is nice... Stop, please stop!!!"

Yelena smiled and returned the crank to its original position, locking it in place. "I knew you'd understand. Touching and making love is so much better than hurting."

Marya's eyes went instantly wide at the suggestion, not quite brought into the open before, that her mother wanted much more than just a kiss. Then her expression suddenly changed, in a very subtle way. Perhaps only Yelena knew Marya well enough to catch the look and know it for what it was: Marya's I-want-something-you-might-not-want-to-give-me face, a wide-eyed, innocent, adorable expression that was never easy to resist. Yelena had failed often in the past to resist it, even after vowing to do so. "Mom," Marya began quietly, "If you'll let me go, so I can use my arms and legs, use my hands, use..." she dropped her voice into a still softer, conspiratorial tone, " fingers, then we can really make love. That's what you want, isn't it? Just let me go, and then tell me how you like to be touched." Marya's voice was a near whisper now. "I'll make you forget any men you've ever had..." She paused barely perceptibly, apparently just now realizing that the circumstances were suggesting that her mother had, perhaps, always been at least as interested in women as in men, "...or any woman. I'll make you go places you've never been before. I'll give you everything you want." She modified her expression gradually, from the standard please-Mom face to a sexually provocative one, her eyelids half-lowered, her lips parted, tongue gently licking the lower one lightly.

Yelena did feel herself weakening. Marya couldn't really escape, after all. She didn't realize how completely trapped she was, that eyes besides Yelena's were watching her at this moment, and that in any case the properties of the collar Marya was wearing would prevent her from getting away even if there were no other obstacles to her freedom.

But Marya had no clue about the forces at work determining her mother's behavior, and how crucial it was to Yelena that she fight off any type of weakness, for Marya's sake. Yelena had one goal above all: to keep Marya out of that agonizing hell into which she would plunge if Yelena failed in her performance here. And in any case, Yelena was required to stay in control at all times. She might have considered letting Marya free of the chains at this point, and Marya would find out about the collar as soon as she started trying to escape the room. But now that Marya had asked for freedom, it was impossible to give it to her. Yelena was prohibited from yielding an ounce of control to Marya.

Yelena pushed away the moment of weakness. She met Marya's smile with one of her own. "I have everything I want already, darling." She reached down and touched the crank.

Marya's eyes shot open wide, remembering vividly the pain of the rack. "Okay!! Okay! I'm okay like this. We can make love this way. I never tried... with..." She shook her arms, rattling the chains. "I mean, it's kinky, right? But it could be fun like this." Her eyes begged Yelena not to hurt her again.

Yelena grinned. "I'm so glad you think that. I knew you would." She came around to the side of the bed and crawled back over Marya again, this time letting herself down onto Marya's body, stomach to stomach, breasts to breasts, mound to mound. She took Marya's head in her hands again, and pressed her lips against Marya's.

Though the drug-induced tingling in Yelena's crotch had been present throughout, Yelena had been conscious of it only as a tool, making use of it as an actress, as her motivation to press Marya for a sexual response to her overtures. Yelena had been relying on it to help her look (and feel, and smell) the part of a woman with a need for sexual gratification.

But suddenly, with her mound in contact with another warm, soft, moving body, the arousal crossed a threshold and took control of Yelena in a way she had not thought possible. The awareness that the body beneath her was Marya's receded. She felt only the need overwhelming her.

The need was followed by a wave of shame that almost destroyed the cooperation between Yelena and her character, "Bad Mother." Oh my God, wailed Yelena within herself, I know it's the drug, but even so I still never thought I could want my own daughter sexually. But I do want her, I want her, I want her so much!

The tingling between Yelena's legs was increasing in pitch, leaving her not far from uncontrolled rape.

But I have to trust Bad Mother, Yelena told herself. She won't want to damage a... sex partner. She might hurt Marya. But the physical hurt will be temporary. The hurt to Marya's soul... Yelena wasn't sure that would heal. But I have to do it, she told herself. I have to. For her.

She let Bad Mother take over once more.

Breathless, Yelena gasped out, "Open your mouth, darling. A kiss, a real kiss."

With a brief whimper and an even briefer nod, Marya opened her mouth in a wide O, and Yelena covered it with her own mouth. As their lips moved together, Yelena used her tongue to rub Marya's, sighing with excitement over which her control was lost.

She spread her legs apart, as widely as Marya's, wider. Resting her thighs across Marya's, Yelena bent her knees so that the soles of her feet could stroke Marya's shins, slowly up and down. She let go of Marya's head with her hands, and stretched out her arms along Marya's, taking Marya's hands in her own, interlacing her fingers with Marya's. More than in any previous sexual encounter in her life, Yelena's consciousness was concentrated, all of it, on the body of her partner, the feel of her own skin rubbing the skin of her partner everywhere it possibly could, of her mouth locked with her partner's, pushing her tongue deeply into her partner's mouth, licking the backs of her partner's teeth with it. And between Yelena's legs...

Yelena had rarely needed to put her fingers inside herself while masturbating, and had certainly never required a phallus inside her, real or plastic. She usually only had to rub herself hard from outside. When she was aroused enough, simply flicking her fingers back and forth across her labia was enough.

Twisting her hips forward, Yelena found that she could bring her labia around to rub Marya's mound directly. She could feel the sexual juices almost gushing out of her. She had never felt so aroused. She gripped Marya's hands more tightly, pushed her tongue still deeper into Marya's mouth. Marya was making small whimpers of protest, but was apparently afraid of resisting any more.

Yelena rubbed the front of her crotch hard against Marya, faster, still faster. She felt the burning of Marya's stubbly pubes scratching against her own smoother skin, and it excited her still more.

She had absolutely no conscious memory, for now, that she had been coerced by forces outside herself into this sexual violation of her daughter. Her own body, and the drug coursing through her veins, were completely in charge now.

The explosion that shook her body was beyond any she had ever felt before, waves of heat and cold shooting outward from her crotch to all parts of her body. She threw her head back and cried out, again and again every time she exhaled, her fingers clenching against Marya's in a death grip. Marya's cries were of pain.

Slowly, on their own, Yelena's cries softened, became only gasps, and at last simply hard breaths. The heat remained, and Yelena felt her sweat mixing with Marya's to make their stomachs stick together. Farther down, near their crotches, Yelena's own juices made their skins nearly frictionless together.

Her body returning to her conscious control, Yelena hurriedly reminded herself that she must maintain her character. The shame and disgust at what she had just done billowed suddenly within her, almost overwhelming her, but she knew couldn't show any hint of it on her face. She pushed Bad Mother forward once more and hid behind her.

Smiling down at her daughter, Yelena saw that Marya's eyes were staring up at her, a look of pure disbelief and shock on her face. Yelena made herself giggle, and leaned down to take Marya's left breast in her mouth and suck on it briefly. Marya flinched away slightly, but then lay still, well aware by now of the pointlessness of struggling.

Yelena sat up and sighed. "Your skin tastes so nice. Just the way I always imagined it." She leaned over again for another long kiss on Marya's lips, more tender than passionate this time, and stood. "I'm going to go make some arrangements. I'll be back soon, darling." As if unable to stop herself, Yelena bent to kiss Marya one last time, pushing her tongue between Marya's half-heartedly clenched teeth, then turned and walked to the door.

Marya gasped and jerked at the chains. In a wavery voice, she pleaded, "Mom, let me go. Please!"

Without looking back, Yelena went out through the door, closed it, and locked it behind her. And froze, in the empty corridor.

She swam up out of her character. Back to Yelena. A mother who loved her daughter dearly.

Suddenly her mind went back to her own teenaged years. Remembering the huge battles with her own mother. Remembering how she had become allergic to physical affection from her mother, had pushed her mother away when her mother tried to hug her, those same gentle hugs mother had been bestowing on Yelena all her life.

And Yelena, inhabiting her younger self as she stood in the hallway outside Marya's room, could sense within herself exactly how she would have felt if her own mother had tried to seduce her, had presented herself naked to Yelena and declared her sexual need for her.

Not yet having taken a step away from the door, Yelena bent double at the waist, her hands over her eyes, and took several gasping breaths, with her mouth wide open so the gasping couldn't be heard, in case any sounds should carry through the door to Marya. Her legs went weak, and she nearly fell.

Knowing she couldn't hold herself in check much longer, she straightened up, her eyes streaming tears, and walked slowly down the hall, concentrating on standing, walking, and nothing else.

When she opened the door to her own room, she thought for a moment someone was in it, but realized quickly it was only the sound coming from the monitor. Yelena didn't want to look, but her eyes were drawn to it anyway. She saw Marya, stretched out by the chains, her whole body quaking, and the sound Yelena had been hearing from the speakers was Marya crying, in a way Yelena hadn't heard since Marya was five or six.

Yelena threw herself on her own bed, buried her face in her arms, and let go the emotions she'd been holding in. Crying in the same way Marya was.

General Karozki watched the two women on a split-screen monitor in his own office. He rarely smiled while alone, as his smiles were usually purely for show and effect, but he did so now. He muttered to himself, "I'm sure the president will be pleased."

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