Author: Alex (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: The Pillow Book
Archive: My page only -- The Sublevels:
Warnings: Bondage, breath control, cruelty,
Disclaimer: Peter Greenaway, Channel Four Films.
Feedback: Is treasured.
Thanks: to kimberlite, for support, MAJOR
inspiration, and beta.
Sequel to Miseshime:
Summary: Seihon: (n.) In publishing --
I have been accused of many wrongs during the span
of my life. Many of the denunciations have been
true. I have never been accused of not completing
what I have begun, though, a matter of some pride
to me. I am nothing if not thorough.
The urge, therefore, to continue Jerome's
education is a very tempting and powerful one. It
is perhaps not the wisest of decisions. It would
be easier to abandon him, to leave him to that
petulant, childish woman who has captivated his
fancy. This in itself is no surprise; Jerome is
petulant and childish as well. In many ways they
are ideally suited.
There is an undertow in the stream of my pride. I
am not ready to give him up altogether, and I am
used to -- indeed, enjoying -- the dangerous game
we three -- publisher, vengeful writer, and blank
scroll -- play. Of us all, Jerome is the most
vulnerable, the most expendable. He is only a body
after all, despite his accomplishments; a
beautiful, pliant body, to be sure, but even the
most ornamental tablet is easily discarded in
favor of newer, creamier paper.
He seduces, playing both ends against the middle,
each of us against the other in wanton displays of
painted skin. He is not so clever as he imagines.
I have given him a suggestion: let the woman
inscribe him with words of possession, in as many
languages as pleases her, and let him come from
her to me so inscribed. He laughed when I proposed
it; the notion appealed to his sense of vanity. It
delighted him to allow her to think it was his
idea. Translator that he is, he has so little
imagination of his own.
It is an exciting image -- the brush, heavily
soaked with ink, hovering above the sleekness of
his pale skin. The flesh my text, the text his
flesh. I shall inscribe my own lexicon of
possession onto that fine paper. I have only been
cruel to him once; he has forgotten the taste of
claiming. I am determined that he will know it
He stands before me in clothes I purchased for
him -- a pale, exquisitely cut suit that sets off
the glow of his skin. His hair falls to his
collar, swinging against his smooth cheek. Its
color is glorious -- russet streaked with gold,
the hues of an autumn sunset.
He smiles at me with easy affection, with
arrogance; he is far too sure of himself, of the
power of his youth and beauty. I feel mingled
regret and anticipation; he is the proverbial
tabula rasa, ignoring the lessons I have
endeavored to teach him. If there is frustration
at the lack of growth or progression by such a
creature, it is slightly compensated by the
pleasure of imparting such lessons as if each were
bestowed for the first time.
I instruct him to remove his clothes. He obeys
without question, but moves with deliberate
leisure, dawdling over each mother-of-pearl button
with the alluring smile of an expensive
prostitute. I sit impassively and wait; my
patience is infinite, and it is pleasurable to
At last he is naked but for the calligraphy that
covers his body. I stand and approach him to read
what she has written. Instinct or happenstance has
propelled him beneath one of the hanging lamps; he
smiles and stretches languidly as I move him this
way and that to better decipher the inscriptions.
The title of the text decorates his collarbone
like a jeweled necklace: The Book of Possession.
Black, red, gold; she has inscribed words,
phrases, odes of proprietorship upon him. Some of
the discourse is of her own devising, as in the
writing upon his chest:
Woe betide the fool
Who accepts a body gifted wholly to another.
For the willfully enslaved soul
Will almost certainly awaken to its plight
And flee, leaving the owner
Of whom, I wonder, does she speak? Herself? Or me?
There will be time to ponder the meaning later. I
continue my examination. In places -- scrawled
across a shoulder, trailing from elbow to wrist,
encircling one rosy nipple -- she has merely
written single words in varying languages --
French, Welsh, Russian, Greek.
Dominion. Chattel. Prize. Enthrallment. Captive.
In others, she has written poetry. Inked in kanji
across his back is a rebuke in the words of
It would have been better that I slept
the whole night through
without waiting for him,
than to have watched
until the setting of the moon.
I hide my smile. How well she knows her straying
lover. Scrawled in a column down the back of
Jerome's right thigh, in spidery English
penmanship, is a verse by John Donne:
So must pure lovers soules descend
T'affections, and to faculties,
That sense may reach and apprehend,
Else a great Prince in prison lies.
Apt again; for Jerome there is no spiritual
elevation save that which he gleans from physical
pleasures. He is and ever will be a creature of
I crouch before him to examine his scrotum, his
sex, and am surprised; they have been left
determinedly unpainted, and now I do smile at the
woman's anger, her jealousy, her lack of subtlety.
There is an amusing yet refreshing transparency in
the young; they have not yet learned to dissemble
with grace and skill.
Neither of us speaks of her. Instead, I urge him
into the room nearest the garden, where tea has
been prepared, and kneel on the tatami tea mat.
Jerome sinks to his knees. The lighting in this
room is soft, warm, diffused by cream-colored
paper; it casts a glow upon his complexion,
burnishing it to pale gold.
I am clothed; Jerome is naked. Like a sleek
animal, he is scarcely aware of the difference
between us, the gap that divides owner from
object. Fleetingly, I wish the room were colder,
so that he might experience some infinitesimal
discomfort and remark upon the contrast.
Jerome has learned the rituals of tea ceremony.
His manners are graceful and almost perfect,
watching politely as I whisk the bitter green tea
to a thin froth. He compliments me on the flower
arrangement in the wall niche, on the beauty of
the blue-glazed tea service. I hand him the
finished bowl of tea, and he bows, his hair
falling forward. "I will partake of your tea,
I incline my head and watch him drink.
He takes a sip. "It is marvelous, Yachi-san." I
have taken care to order his favorite, but this
evening I have infused the tea with another
ingredient, an herb that will render him pliant.
It is not at all certain that he will be receptive
to the ropes that will bind his body. I have not
attempted to bind him since that first lesson; the
memory of the restraint and humiliation may still
be fresh, though the lesson was unlearned.
We talk of inconsequential things. As he continues
to drink, his guard drops, though I am unsure
whether that is due to the drug, or merely to his
supreme confidence in his own charms. "Nagiko did
not number this book -- did you notice that?"
I had indeed observed that. "I did," I reply.
"I suspect she realized it was not for
"Perhaps." The woman is a fool. This book may
prove more worthy of transcription than any other.
Jerome smiles. "You have made her jealous,
Yachi-san. She was angry with me when I left."
"She has no reason to be jealous."
Jerome's smile dims slightly, becoming uncertain.
He finishes his tea in silence and returns the
bowl to me. His eyes are slightly unfocused. The
drug is mild and short-lived; I have perhaps
twenty minutes before he is restored to full
I rise to my feet and offer him a hand. He stands,
looking a little shocked as his movements are
slightly uncoordinated. "Yachi-san," he laughs,
"I'm hungry, I think. Were you planning to starve
"Not at all. Come with me." I lead him to my
bedroom and settle him upon the bed. I open a
chest and remove a ebony box inlaid with ash.
Taking the box to the bed, I sit, placing it
between us. "Open it."
Jerome's eyes are alight with anticipatory
pleasure. He opens the box and stares in
astonishment at the object inside, a large phallus
of carved jade. "Yachi-san, you never fail to
I lift the phallus into my hand, admiring its
weight and proportions. Its length and girth is
considerably more than an average man's sex, twice
as large as my own. "Take it in your mouth."
Jerome obeys at once. His lips and tongue caress
the phallus lingeringly. He closes his mouth over
its tip and suckles gently, leaving the jade wet
and glistening. His movements become rhythmic; his
neck is a slender stem, his bright hair like
flower petals. The calligraphy on his body
undulates sensuously as he applies himself more
thoroughly to his task.
I gently remove the jade from his mouth and undo
the simple belt to my kimono. I sprawl upon the
bed, placing the phallus next to my own hard sex.
Understanding, Jerome lavishes his attentions on
both, licking and sucking with astounding skill. I
permit this for several more moments, nearly
losing myself in the wet depths of his mouth.
At last I rise and push him back upon the bed. He
lies there, legs apart, his sex hard and flushed
with arousal. His eyes are half-closed; the tip of
his tongue slides out, wetting the inner rim of
his lips. He curls a hand around his sex and
strokes it. "What are you doing now, Yachi-san?"
"You shall see." From the chest I take a jar of
sweet almond oil, two silk scarves, a candle of
creamy yellow beeswax, a flint, and two lengths of
beaten linen rope -- one short, one long. Swiftly,
before he can react, I wrap the short length
around his scrotum and sex, binding them tightly.
To assuage any fears, I bend down and draw my
tongue up the length of his shaft, prompting a
soft moan. Gently, I apply some almond oil,
rubbing it up and down his sex. I rub the oil into
his nipples, tightening my fingers upon them until
he gasps. I massage them lightly with my palms,
reveling in their hard texture, their dark rose
Jerome twists and writhes on the bed, utterly
malleable in my hands. "Don't stop, Yachi-san.
Please don't stop." He groans when my hands and
mouth cease their ministrations and I rise to pull
him to his feet. He is strong, nearly pulling me
down beside him. "No -- don't make me get up."
I smile to assure him of my good intentions and
exert more force. Obligingly, he rises, stifling a
grunt of pain as his bound scrotum rubs against
the sheets. The long length of rope coiled
innocuously in my hand, I lead him to a large
object draped in dark cloth and unveil it like a
It is an ordinary wooden carpenter's sawhorse.
Jerome stares at it, blinking, swaying slightly. I
take advantage of his state and push him across
it, lengthwise. He lets out an inane giggle.
"Honestly, Yachi-san, there are far more
comfortable --" His laughter turns into a sharp
cry as I pull his arms behind his back and truss
them together, high above the wristbone.
"Yachi-san, no -- no!" He surges up, his mouth
open in alarm.
I grasp his hair and force him down against the
rough wood. "This time," I say quietly, "I do not
ask your permission."
At full strength, he might have resisted with
ease; drugged, he can only struggle weakly as I
take the two long lengths of rope trailing from
his wrists and bind his body to the frame,
arranging the restraints in diamond shapes of
varying sizes. Shoulders, arms, torso are rapidly
secured to the horse; the linen rope is passed
around his waist, lashing him inescapably to the
unforgiving wood. I bind his legs to the legs of
the horse in the same diamond pattern, finishing
with severe knots around his ankles.
Bent over the horse, he cannot free himself. I
watch him thrash against the ropes, whimpering
when he realizes the extent of his helplessness.
"Yachi-san, please. Please. I don't like this."
"If you struggle excessively, you will topple
over," I tell him. "Don't risk injury to
The drug is beginning to wear off; I see the anger
in his eyes as he whips his head around to stare
at me. "Untie me now. Now! I hate this,
Yachi-san!" His voice rises, becoming strident.
I collect the scarves I have taken from the chest
and roll one into a ball, compressing it tightly.
Jerome attempts to look over his shoulder, but the
movement disturbs his equilibrium and he rests his
head on the horse, panting raggedly. "Yachi-san,
I'm telling you --" He catches sight of the scarf.
"Oh, no -- no. I'll be quiet. I couldn't breathe
with that in my mouth before, Yachi-san. Please,
don't gag me. I'll be --"
"Silence," I admonish him, pushing the ball of
silk into his mouth. He mewls in panic and tries
to spit it out, but I hold his head still with one
hand clenched in his hair, keeping the silk in his
mouth with two fingers until his struggles lessen.
I tie the other scarf, pure white silk, over his
mouth and nose, obscuring the lower half of his
face. Crouching down to look into his lovely,
transparent eyes, I brush back a waving lock of
auburn hair. "If you breathe slowly, deliberately,
the sense of suffocation will lessen." I pet and
stroke him as I would a nervous horse, murmuring
to him until his breathing calms and he closes his
eyes in resignation.
I stand and walk around his bound body, admiring
it from every angle. His body is presented to me
like a feast, an offering; I examine it minutely,
tracing my fingertips over the calligraphed
letters and characters on his skin. I read the
poetry aloud, pronounce the exotic words of
possession, letting the foreign resonance linger
upon my tongue.
Jerome offers no resistance; he rests his cheek
upon the harsh wood of the sawhorse, his eyes
closed. His hands drape limply over the small of
his back; I see in this a measure of victory. A
defiant captive would clench his hands. Perhaps he
is learning something after all.
For no reason, this minute detail irritates me. I
take the candle and light it directly before
Jerome's face. His curiosity gets the better of
him; he opens his eyes and regards the candle's
tiny flame with hypnotized fascination before he
realizes its purpose. His eyes widen, and he emits
muffled pleas beneath the swaddling silk. He
attempts to struggle again, surging to no avail
against the punishingly tight ropes.
I stand still, holding the candle at a slight
angle, letting it drip onto the crumpled cloth on
the floor. When Jerome's efforts have exhausted
him, I move along his body and tilt the candle,
letting the hot wax splash onto the taut curve of
Jerome lets out a wail and struggles again,
panting in desperation. I tilt the candle again,
spilling wax onto his inner thigh. His scream is
stifled by silk; his body trembles and his hands
curl into helpless fists. I am pleased again.
The wax is not hot enough to permanently disfigure
his creamy flesh, but anticipation combined with
not knowing where the liquid will sting him next
magnifies the intensity of his fear and pain. I
make elaborate patterns upon his body, in harmony
with the words inscribed there. Each splash of hot
wax elicits a cry. Every word of ownership bears a
waxen seal of the most refined cruelty; poetry is
blotted out by spilled liquid and his pain and
After a time -- short, though it must seem endless
to my captive -- I take the jade phallus and brush
it over his bound mouth. "I will ungag you, but you
must peform adequately." With my free hand I explore
his sleek, decorated body, pinching his nipples,
testing his still-hard, trapped sex. He moans and
squirms; a sob escapes him. He is more pliant now
than when he was drugged.
Gently, I untie the gag and pull the wet ball of
silk from his mouth, listening to his sobbing
breaths. I place the material upon his back; it
will be needed again shortly. His submission, his
fear is exquisite, but it does not last long. With
freedom of speech, I feel him regaining his
confidence, his presumption. "Yachi-san --" he
Before he can say another word, I thrust the
phallus deeply into his mouth. He makes a choking
noise; his eyes flare in panic. I withdraw the
phallus slightly, then begin a slow, languorous
motion, in and out of his mouth. Presently I
remove the phallus and stand in front of him,
pushing my sex into his mouth. Jerome complies
eagerly, making small whimpering noises
in his determination to please.
At last, I am ready. I extricate myself and settle
the phallus in one of his bound hands. Jerome
looks at me, puzzled, his expression wounded.
Without speaking to him, I take up the wet wad of
silk and catch hold of his hair.
"No! No! Please --" His protests are smothered as
I shove the wad deep inside his mouth and once
more bind the white silk over it. I take the
phallus and coat it with the sweet almond oil,
then move around to where Jerome is spread apart,
his bottom elevated, the vulnerable opening
exposed to me.
I take my sex in one hand, and with the other,
drive the phallus brutally inside Jerome's bound
body. He freezes, then arches in pain, wailing
behind the gag. I thrust over and over, the
muscles of both arms tensing with the strain. I
feel his resistance, his anger and hurt, and as I
force the jade deeply inside one last time, I see
his body shiver and stiffen as the stone pushes
against his prostate. He tosses his head, moaning,
and I allow myself to climax, the white liquid
bursting out of me, wetting the backs of his
After a few moments have elapsed, I collect myself
and carefully remove the solid phallus from his
shivering body. I get a blade, slicing the ropes
and freeing him. I guide him to the bed, helping
him onto it, and remove the gag from his mouth.
With a warm, wet cloth, I clean him, back and
front. I take his chin in my hand and kiss him,
tasting the salt of his tears.
"Yachi-san," he whispers, "what have I done? Why
would you --"
I silence him with another kiss and cradle him
"I love you, Yachi-san. Don't you understand that?
I'm yours, I always have been."
Perhaps I was wrong about him; perhaps he has
learned the lesson after all.