(This is part of a series. The previous episode can be found here)
A knock on his bureau door, tore him away from the file in his hand he'd been aimlessly studying.
"Uhm, everything is as you asked," said the male voice on the other side of the closed door.
"Ahhh, yes. Good. Excellent."
The unseen person's footsteps sounded off their departure down the hallway that extended from his private den. Almost with a sense of gratitude for the interruption, he closed the manila folder, sliding it onto his desk. He stared intensely at a spot on the wall just beyond the oak appointment, while his fingers drummed out the patter of calculation. He'd nearly forgotten about these arrangements as their reminder came as a pleasant surprise.
He lifted himself from his chaise and stepped into the corridor. As he strode down the long, empty lane, with each step, he ran his fingers along the textured surface of the wall. Turning into the downward stairwell, he placed his weight on the top step, then flicked the switch just to the right of his shoulder. The quiet cellar beneath him illuminated with a dim, yellow glow. Cool air accompanied the silence as his escort for his descent.
A thin, dripping sound greeted his arrival to the cellar. As he gathered his bearings, his eyes fell upon the door marked "Arrivals", just opposite the landing of the stairs. He approached the door, and slid open the eye-level wooden hatch. Peering inside, he saw her.
Curled up in a ball, squinting up at the intrusion of sudden light.
She'd turned, at the sound from the hatch opening, toward the thick wooden entrance, but as he had designed it, the imposing, luminating fixture aloft kept her from seeing anything of real recognition through the momentary slot in the door. He quickly sliced the panel shut.
Just to the right of the entrance to the cell, on top of a flimsy metal stand sat the interned inhabitant's nighttime meal. As instructed, he noticed a complete lack of utensils accompanying the tray of warm morsels. Lifting the coiled leather whip hanging from the wall, he grabbed a hold of the modest meal, and undid the latch to the door.
Pulling the loaded portal open, he stepped foot into the small prison. His presense - his warmth, his commotion, his smell - caused the collapsed girl to shrivel even more into her epidermal ball.
He didn't wait for nor expect a response.
He paced about the room, tray in one hand, leather flogger in the other, looking for a suitable place to rest her food. He settled for putting it right in front of her, on the cold concrete floor. The figure before him moved not a single inch.
"I'm not sure you understand what is to happen to you. As it has been told to me, you gave your full consent. However, i've come to learn, that isn't ever something the gift-giver completely grasps."
He crouched down to one knee, lowering himself so that his face hung just above her arm-covered head.
"Look at me." He spoke with a complete absence of urgency or contempt. She pulled her head out of the nest of her arms, and gave him a first-time view of her stunning, chestnut brown eyes.
"I've heard you are refusing to eat. That can't continue," on this command, she looked down at the aluminum tray of food at her feet. "I must apologize for the lack of proper utensils."
He took the butt of the whip's handle, and dug it into the scoop of beans occupying the upper right quadrant. Lifting this upward to her mouth, he held it in front of her face. Gradually, she opened it, allowing him to slowly place the thick, leather stave inside. With the smallest of movements, she cleaned the sweet, briny beans from the handle.
He laid the whip over the tray, and stood back up. He brushed his hand over her head, feeling the warmth exuding from her crown, then stepped towards the open door.
"I expect to hear that you've finished all of that."