Total blackness engulfed me. The hood, laced tightly at the back, was doing its job admirably.

I could not move; my arms and legs were restrained. But it was not like the other times, when the implements of restraint were harsh, cold. Then, the restriction itself was painful – when steel bit into my flesh. It didn’t hurt at first, but soon I felt my wrists and ankles chaffing, then bruising, and, finally, rubbing raw.

This time it was different. The restraints were soft – they kissed my skin. My circulation was not restricted. I was grateful. Before, numbness had visited me slowly, had crept up on me like a thief in the night. And, now, the temperature was moderate. Through my nakedness I could feel warmth – I was not cold, shivering.

I knew punishment awaited me. Would this, too, be different? I trembled with anticipation.

Before, the pain had been administered cruelly, taking me quickly to my threshold and pushing through it, so that I was left hanging on steel, a shattered mannequin, an effigy of cloth, screwed up into a ball and hurled into a corner.

I waited. I wanted to know if this time would be different. I had to know. I craved it. To know, would be my pleasure.