|Give me those keys," Mary Sands said in a deadly-serious voice.|
The confrontation was taking place in the bright clean kitchen of Ralph Johnson's rambling, single story ranch house. At Mary's side rested two battered brown suitcases the sight of which had sent Ralph into a cold panic. He knew Mary for a woman whose mind, once made up, seldom changed. If she left him now it would be for good. So he held her car keys in a death grip and tried to school his voice to its most reasonable, though there was a tremor in it he couldn't control. " Not until you listen to reason for a moment. I'm sorry about last night. I thought you understood. I thought that it was what you really wanted. Even if you can't understand, can't you forgive me? I love you, Mary"
I've put up with your sadistic games. I've put up with the straps and the handcuffs. I've done things that have disgusted me for your sake. Did you really imagine I enjoyed it? Last night you finally went too far. To brand me like an animal! That went beyond all our little contracts. That was unforgivable. Now. Are you going to give me those keys?"
Ralph's panic mounted. He could not lose her. It was unthinkable. He searched desperately for words that might make a difference. The truth was he had thought she had enjoyed their bondage games. Even now he believed that deep down she had; that she was just denying it to hurt him, or to hide the truth from herself. " Okay, no more games. I swear, from now on, no more games. I'll burn all the toys. I'll promise anything you like. Please don't leave me."
Swear? On what? I'll never trust you again. The keys! Right now or I'll phone the cops instead."
He stammered incoherently and moved sideways towards the phone. She walked towards him glaring with her hand for the key which he held away from her at the top of his reach. Quite without warning she kicked him in the balls, expertly and with considerable force. Then as he doubled up in agony she slammed the heel of her right hand against his skull, striking him a little behind the ear. Dazed, he fell onto hands and knees. She triumphantly snatched the fallen keys and was out the door with the bags before he was steady enough to stand. Even as he reached the door he heard her car engine catch, and as he opened it she was already driving off in a shower of gravel.
Ralph went quietly berserk then. She couldn't leave him! She was his! Didn't she understand how infinitely precious she was to him? As he snatched the deer rifle and rammed in two shells from a box whose contents, in his panic, he scattered all over the floor, he was unaware he was repeating " Bitch! Bitch!" under his breath.
Some still, cold part of Ralph's mind had been calculating. Their small ranch lay at the bottom of a secluded valley. The access road twisted back on itself as in climbed out and for a stretch of several hundred yards the car must pass close to the house. That was his one chance. It was a difficult road and she'd be driving fairly slowly. She always had been a careful driver. He'd stop that damn car that was taking her away from him.
The first shot missed. He could see her turn to look at him with sudden terror. That terror felt so good to him now. He was aiming at the front tire but the second shot thudded into the side of the engine. Whether is did any damage there was, as it turned out, academic. At the first shot she'd veered the car instinctively away without looking. Even as the second shot rang out her offside front wing smashed into the side of the cutting. Something broke in the steering and the car twisted the other way, breaking though the flimsy fencing. In a second it was on its roof amongst the bushes at the base of the bank. The engine coughed and died. Everything was silent for a moment except for the squeak of a still-turning wheel. Then her screams faintly reached the house.
Ralph stood for a moment, his mouth so far open that in other circumstances it might have been comical. Some part of the irrevocability of what he had done began to come through to him. There was no way on Earth he was going to talk his way out of this one. In his desperation to keep her he might have killed her and thus made his loss absolute and hopeless. Christ! She still might die! The thought finally galvanised him into rational action. He ran through the house into the small dispensary where he grabbed the big first-aid kit then he threw open the surgery entrance and ran around the side of the house to the wreck. She mustn't die! she mustn't!
At least there was no smell of spilt fuel. The most obvious damage was the smashed glass and buckled roof-pillars. She was still crying out in pain and fear, though more softly now. That was good, because the dead don't cry out. He dropped to his hands and knees by the door and looked in. She was held upside down by the seat belt and curled partly into a ball. Her shoulders were jammed against the crushed roof. There was a great deal of blood soaking through her dress, and her right arm hung at an unnatural angle which, to his knowing eye, spoke of something seriously amiss in the shoulder joint. At least she was partly conscious and her right arm moved, though aimlessly. He had to stop that bleeding, that was the priority. Ralph was not an M.D. but a vet, but when the chips are down, humans are animals too, and saving their lives has to be done pretty much the same way.
He braced his right foot against the rear door and hauled with both hands at the door post, heedless of the damage to his skin. To his relief, the door came right off. Unable to reach the buckle of the seat belt, he opened the first-aid box and ruined two expensive scalpels cutting the belt, supporting her weight as best he could at the same time. He hated to move her like this, but there was no choice. He had to get her out to stop the bleeding. Briefly he wondered if he should have called the emergency services but the rate of bleeding convinced him he was right to do this himself. She would be dead before any paramedics could possibly arrive at this remote location.
Making up his mind, he hauled her out. As he did so she gasped and seemed finally to lose consciousness. He dragged her a few feet from the car, as gently as possible, and then went to work. At least her head and spine seemed okay. There was a fracture of the neck of the right humerus just below the ball of the shoulder joint, but the most serious injury was a near-certain fracture of the pelvis. The bleeding had come from an open fracture of the left femur. Messy, but now, at least, the bleeding from that was under control. Her breathing was okay but her pulse was a little thready. She was stable for the moment but needed to be in a hospital quite soon. There would be internal bleeding.
He returned to the house to use the phone and fetch a blanket. He picked up the receiver. Then he stopped, his hand refusing to dial. He couldn't do it. If he made that phone call that would be the end of it. She'd go to hospital and he'd go to jail. Marking her with the brand of his small ranch was bad enough, even though he'd used liquid nitrogen and not heat, but to shoot at her car was beyond the pale.
He thought frantically. His surgery was very modern. He was not one of the " GPs" of the veterinary world, but a consultant specialising in difficult orthopaedic surgery, sometime performed here with Mary as assistant, sometimes at a veterinary hospital. As a consultant, he didn't quite have all the equipment found in the operating theatre of a human hospital, but he had most of it. He had successfully operated in there on horses, dogs, cats and occasionally more exotic animals. MDs tend to be dismissive of the veterinary profession, but a vet needs to know almost everything an MD does and a lot more besides. If it had been a dog lying there with a broken pelvis he would not have hesitated to go in. Suddenly that seemed the thing to do. It would keep her here for some time. In that time he would think of some way to keep her with him for good.
Getting her into the surgery without further damage was a nightmare. He found a wooden plank and slid it under her. Then he tied her to it with bandages. He drove the pickup the few hundred yards to the accident site. When lifting the plank, he thought he might do himself permanent injury. Fortunately, at the surgery he had installed lifting gear for manipulating large unconscious animals, and things were relatively simple. God, what he wouldn't give for an assistant to do the tasks that, up until now, were Mary's duty. He knew how dangerous it was to operate alone.
His eyes were full of tears as his hands performed their tasks. He set up a saline drip for the want of whole blood. He took X-rays. He gave her a muscle relaxant and, working quickly, intubated and connected the breathing gasses. He cut away her clothing and washed her with disinfectant soap. Only then could he go and scrub up. That wrenched at him. He'd never left a patient, of any species, on its own on the ventilator. That was a cardinal sin. He laid out the instruments, forcing himself to take his time over it. If there was an instrument he had forgotten to lay out, he would probably have to do without it. As he picked up the skin knife for the first incision, his hand suddenly started to shake violently and his vision blurred with tears.
What was the use? She'd never stay with him now. She would think he was crazy and dangerous. He thought about keeping her prisoner, but it wouldn't work. There were too many visitors to the veterinary practice, and hadn't she just demonstrated that she could handle him easily despite his size and strength? At some point in her past she'd obviously had some kind of karate training whereas he'd never been able to hold his own in a fight, even at school. If only she were an animal. He could handle animals. They behaved well for him. He could keep an animal and there would be no question of it leaving him.
The thought made him rigid with shock for a moment. No, it was too horrible. What kind of a person was he to think such things? He was mad. He wouldn't do it. He would call for an ambulance at once and forget this ill-conceived operation. Even as these thoughts were going through one part of his mind, another, colder part was beginning to act. He put the knife down and went into the dispensary where he opened a cupboard marked " Internal Prosthetics." He looked through his selection of titanium leg joints.
Mary woke, her mind leaden. It seemed at first that every part of her body hurt. The worst was her backside and thighs, but her shoulders, hands, and throat were all centres of pain. A moment later, she remembered the crash and the shots that had come before. At the same time, she recognised her surroundings with a sinking feeling. It was the guest bedroom at the ranch she had been trying to escape. It was now obvious that Ralph wasn't just unstable, as she had come to believe, but dangerously insane. And he was here in the room.
You've been in an accident," Ralph said, trying to sound reassuring. " You'll be okay. You know I'll take care of you but don't try to move or speak for the moment. Are you hungry? Just nod."
After a moment she shook her head. She was too much afraid for hunger. Despite her drugged state, her stomach was a tight knot. Hesitantly she tried to look down at her body to see how badly she was damaged, but a quilt covered her up to the neck. She started to bring up one of her sore hands for inspection. She hesitated because the first movement hurt her shoulder and her arm didn't seem to move right. " Don't," Ralph whispered, but that just increased her determination. She brought the arm up, gritting her teeth against the increased pain. Then she saw her hand and for a moment the pain was forgotten.
Fingers and thumbs were gone. Not even stumps remained. A howl of horror rose to her throat, but all that came out was a gasp. Her terror grew and grew. She tried to turn the hand over to look at the palm, but her wrist wouldn't turn at all. Dreading what she might see, she brought up her other hand. It was in exactly the same condition. This could not be any kind of accident. She looked at Ralph, tried unsuccessfully to speak. A whole series of expressions chased one another across his face. There was guilt in there, and triumph, and anger.
It's your own fault, love," he said quietly. " I just couldn't let you go. I couldn't. Now things will be the way they should be. You'll be mine and I'll take care of you. You'll never say those hateful things again. There will only be truth between us. You probably hate me right now, but you'll get used to it. You'll come to see that what I did was an act of love. You want to see? Look!"
He dragged over the dressing table and angled the large mirror so that she could see the expanse of the quilt. Then, with the air of an artist unveiling his work, he threw the quilt aside. She stared at herself in a kind of hypnotised horror. Her legs, which had felt stretched out to their full length, were at right angles to her body. Neatly stitched surgical scars were visible on her thighs, which seemed to have lost more than half their length. Her whole abdomen seemed unnaturally narrow, and yet, there was a wide gap between her thighs. Incredibly, she thought, he must have broken and reset her pelvis in a folded state, mimicking that of a quadruped. Her toes, like her fingers, were missing, and the balls of her heels seemed to have been trimmed off. She could now see the palm side of her hands, and found some thick callous tissue where the fingers used to be. There were similar calluses on the balls of her feet. To add insult -- literally -- to injury, there was a plain red webbing dog collar around her neck.
There's still work to do," said Ralph, with a kind of professional detachment. " We're going to need to do something about your head angle. I haven't exactly worked out how best to tackle that one. And, of course, those stitches will have to come out in a day or two. I'm trying to decide if I can do anything about your jaws. It's going to be difficult for you to eat and drink like that. Oh," he grinned for a moment, " and we're going to have to get you a better collar. That was the only one I had lying about, but it's just not you."
His flippancy broke the trance. For a moment the terror was replaced by pure fury. Unable to express it any other way, she spat at him, her spittle falling short. Immediately he slapped her on the cheek with the back of his hand, just hard enough to sting. " Now, I love you, but I'm not going to put up with any nonsense after all the work I've done. You've got some things to learn." In what seemed to be genuine anger, he walked out and shut the door behind him.
Mary's mind was now beginning to work again. It had been stupid to antagonise him. The man was completely demented. She ought to be looking at ways of humouring him until some realistic way out of this presented itself but how far out of this was it possible to get? When she found a way to let the authorities know about this they would deal with him, but how much could he do for her? Well, there were prosthetic hands, she supposed, and some of the damage ought to be reversible. What had he done to her voice?
She felt the need to do something now. At this point there was no realistic chance to escape. The only thought that occurred to her was to be more competent than he believed her to be. The thing to do now was to see what she was capable of. Could she even get out of bed? Well, she would try.
She pulled her arms and legs in against her body and rolled over onto her front. Each movement hurt like hell, but she was determined. What astonished her most was how far her legs folded, against the side of he abdomen instead of the front. She had to admit it was an amazing tour-de-force of surgery. She pushed the front part of her body up with her arms, then struggled up onto all fours. He seemed to have done something to the tendons of her ankle joint, because with her legs extended her feet seemed to extend automatically, forcing her to stand on the balls of her feet.
Standing on the edge of the bed she was very wobbly, partly because of the bed springs but partly because her muscles seemed weak and shaky. Now, how to get off the bed onto the floor without breaking something or making a loud noise that would alert Ralph to her activities? Furthermore, suppose she managed to get down; would she be able to get up again? She began to have serious doubts about that question. Okay. Now, suppose she did get down. To get back up again, she would need to put her hands on the bed and push herself forwards. In her presently weakened condition, jumping was out of the question. So, before getting down, she should try the necessary motions.
None of her limbs seemed able to move much from side to side, but only backwards and forwards. Even in that direction their movements were limited. Her legs would not reach more than a forty-five degree angle to the vertical. Hence, there seemed to be no possibility of balancing on her feet alone. So, the first thing was to get further onto the bed so that there might be no danger of falling off.
She shuffled sideways, one limb at a time, discovering just how little sideways movement they were capable of. Then she assumed a sitting position and tried to lift her hands above the bed. They didn't want to. She lifted one hand, but when attempting to lift the other, she found her legs would not hold her body up. With one hand in the air she tried to see just how much cross-body movement her arms had. Barely four inches. She was unable to bring her hands closer than about three inches from one another. She struggled to lift her hands again. It hurt so much that she just couldn't seem to manage it. Perhaps with exercise, she'd be stronger. Until she could do the " sit up and beg" manoeuvre she would not be able to climb as high as the bed, so she should stay where she was.
It seemed the best way she could occupy herself here was exercise. She lay down and got up again five times. That was about as much as she could take. Then she practised rolling from her side to her front and back for a while, listening all the time for any indications of Ralph's potential return. How long would he leave her here? What about when she needed to relieve herself? It was all so frustrating, yet she found that she no longer really hated the man. She was afraid of him, yes, but he seemed too obviously mad really to hate. In a way he was pitiable. In the end what he had done would destroy him more completely than it had destroyed her.
It seemed to be a very long time before she heard him returning, and hastily resumed an approximation to her original position. He brought a glass of water, a bowl of oxtail soup and a spoon, and began to feed her. " Sorry I was so long. I've been trying to organise a new nurse for my work. It's a bit of a nuisance, really because, obviously, I can't have anyone staying here for long periods now so I'll have to get someone to come in on surgery days. There aren't that many theatre-trained veterinary nurses around looking for work, you know. And that damned car. I've put it in the barn for the time being, but I will have to find some way of getting rid of it without inviting too many questions." His tone was petulant. Obviously, in his own mind, all this inconvenience was her fault and he seemed to expect an apology.
When she finished the soup, he produced a couple of small pills and told her to open wide. " It's all right, lovely, it's just ibuprofen for the pain and inflammation. You've got to learn to trust me. What other choice do you have, really?" She opened her mouth. He put in the pills and, rather inexpertly, gave her a drink of water. He poured too fast, and she began to choke on the water and pills. A considerable amount of water joined the soup stains on the bed. He shook his head. " This won't do. We've got to get you up on your legs as soon as possible." Then he looked at his watch and swore. He left hurriedly, pulling the door behind him. A couple of moments later she heard the front door followed by the pickup driving off.
Okay, now was the time to think carefully. This could just be the right time. Of course she wasn't sure how long he'd be away. She thought about the appointments book. Say she'd been out for about a day. That would make today Thursday the 10th. She seemed to remember he had an op scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The question was which hospital and how long an op. Try as she might, she couldn't remember. The book would be in the small reception area. Suddenly, she had another idea. A plan was beginning to form.
She shuffled to the edge of the bed. To one whose body seemed to be one huge bruise the floor looked a long way down. She shuffled around so she could push her hindquarters off the bed first, realising as she did so that she had begun to think of her body in the terms used for sub-human quadrupeds. That made her feel really rather strange. She pushed her hind legs down, but before they reached the floor the coverlet slipped, and she slid backwards onto her backside. The pain was enormous, despite the analgesics, and she wondered if she had done herself important damage. There was a lot of recent surgery in that area, after all.
After waiting a moment to let her heart calm down, she got back to all fours and walked clumsily over to inspect the next obstacle: the door. Movement seemed to be getting a little easier now. Some combination of practice, exercise and the analgesics was starting to work for her. With her head lifted uncomfortably high the handle of the door was just level with her eyes. It needed to be pressed down and then the door pulled. Two days ago only a reflex action, today this was a major problem. First she tried pushing the handle with the bridge of her nose. No use; the handle moved only fractionally and then sprung back. The she tried to lift a forepaw onto it, first standing and then sitting. No good. She couldn't get it high enough.
She thought for a moment then dragged a pillow from the bed with her teeth and pulled it against the door. Putting her front legs on it, she could just about reach the handle with her mouth. After three tries she managed to move the handle far enough to release the latch, and pulled. The door opened about an inch but then the handle slipped out of her mouth, and the pillow pushed the door closed again. Had she been able to, she would have screamed with frustration. After a moment she sat back on her haunches and wept for a time in total dejection. Was there nothing she was now capable of?
After an unmeasured period of self-pity she felt a little better. Her neck hurt from repeatedly bending it so far back. She almost wished that Ralph had worked out a way to " adjust the head angle." Okay, think of Robert Bruce: try, try again. She dragged the pillow a couple of inches away from the door and tried it again. Eventually she had the door opened against the pillow. Then she could drag the pillow away and paw the door open, oh so carefully. What a triumph to get out into the corridor!
Although she was moving better now she still walked with arthritic slowness, and escaping the ranch on foot was obviously out of the question. Oh, she might play hide and seek with him for a while but it was not a game she had any chance of winning. No, better to continue the original idea.
Her next target was the box room. This also had a handle, and before she could get in she had to return for the pillow, walking backwards and dragging it with her teeth. At least this door opened away from her which made it easier.
Now, if only her memory held true. Upon entering the room, she deliberately toppled a pile of cardboard boxes by pulling an exposed flap with her teeth. She winced as they rained down on her tender body. She had been on target. The box second from top held party favours left over from a long-ago housewarming. She turned the box over to scatter its contents. Then she picked up a noisemaker in her teeth. The whistle in it could provide her with a voice, of sorts, if she could get it into her mouth the right way round.
The door of the master bedroom had a knob, and she couldn't think of any way of getting that open. So she went down the corridor to the kitchen which didn't have a door. The phone in there hung on the wall at normal shoulder height, well out of her diminished reach. She had forgotten that. There was, of course, another phone in the reception of the surgery, but the door from the surgery area to the rest of the house had a snap lock high up on the door and it was fastened. The kitchen phone would have to do, somehow.
Her first idea was to use the noisemaker. She put it down on the floor and managed, after several tries, to get it round the right way in her mouth. Then she blew, the thing unrolling with the usual cheerfully rude noise. She tried to use it to snag a loop of the cord dangling from the phone, which consisted only of a handpiece. She quickly found she couldn't raise her head to an angle high enough to get the thing to reach upwards. She tried rolling on her back, but of course the noisemaker didn't reach far enough that way.
She laughed silently at what she now started to see as a ludicrous situation. " Ralph," she silently demanded, " come and fix the angle of my head so I can send for the men in white coats." She tried a broom. She found she could carry it horizontally in her mouth but the staff was really too thick to get a good grip on, and it fell every time she twisted her head to try and raise one end. This time, instead of despair, she was starting to suffer from the giggles, almost enjoying the challenge. What she needed was something long and reasonably thin that she could get a decent grip on. The loo brush!
Fortunately, the bathroom door was open a crack, so she was able to fetch the long handled brush. By clamping her teeth hard on the handle and twisting her head as far as it would go to the side, she could just get the bristles into one coil of the phone cord. It took several tries, but she finally hooked it well enough to dislodge the phone, striking her painfully on the side of the head. Now all she needed was to find something to hold in her mouth and push the buttons -- she was almost there! She had only to call Emergency and use the noisemaker to honk S.O.S. in Morse, and they would trace the call and be here. Then, finally, it dawned on her that there was no dial tone. What a time for the phone line to go down!
She looked closely at the phone for signs of the problem, not really expecting anything obvious. But it was: the end of a piece of insulation tape stuck out of the phone socket. In that moment Mary felt a surge of admiration for Ralph. He had outsmarted her. He had unplugged the phone and replaced the plug with a piece of tape to block the connection. She would give odds that the answering machine, which could not dial out, was the only functioning phone on the premises today. There was no way on Earth she could pull out and replace that finicky little plug. Nor could she think of any way to put the phone back in its cradle. Ralph would know what she had tried to do the moment he got back. Suddenly she was very much afraid.
Perhaps physical escape was still possible. She quickly established that the outside doors were both mortise-locked. She could see no sign of the keys, but the burglar alarm was off. That last showed more foresight on Ralph's part. Had it been armed, she might have contrived to set it off. She hoped that this had, at least, taught her not to confuse crazy with stupid. Now it was she who felt like a fool. Her escape attempt had been hopelessly premature. She should have waited until she had more information about how Ralph planned to arrange things and until she was more competent physically. The telephone had been a trap and she had walked right into it. How clever she had thought herself to solve those problems!
Her best course now was to try to appear contrite and to humour Ralph as much as possible, whatever it might cost her pride. She decided to tidy up as much as possible, returning broom, loo brush and pillow, and laboriously putting the party favours back into the box. Of course there was nothing she could do about restacking the boxes or straightening the coverlet. While she was engaged in these domestic chores she began to feel the need to relieve herself. First her bladder and then her gut began to make demands. She went to the toilet and tried to find a way of using it. It was too high for her. She would have to hold out as long as she could and hope that he came back in time. She thought of the shower cubicle, which would at least be easy to clean up, but couldn't find a method of opening the slippery sliding doors. When she had been working on the plan Ralph's likely absence seemed to be all too short. Now it seemed to be dragging on endlessly.
Finally the pressure was just too much and she realised that she could only choose a place and not prevent what was coming. She chose a corner of the kitchen. The kitchen floor was vinyl and easily cleaned, and it seemed better to do it out in the open rather than somewhere where only the smell would lead Ralph to it. She expected him to be angry about this, too, but he would be more angry if she made a futile effort to conceal it. She tried to tell herself that it was his own fault for leaving her locked up without thinking about this necessity, but somehow that reasonable argument did not lessen her shame. The three big turds and the spreading puddle seemed to glare at her accusingly.
If only there was some way she could clean it up. After a few minutes she walked over to the mess and dipped her head towards it, forcing herself to ignore the smell. Tentatively she put her lips against one of the turds. There was one way she could clean it up. She pulled part of the turd into her mouth, but her gorge rose and she started choking, almost vomiting, and spat it out. No, she just couldn't.
She looked at the mess in horror. That she had even contemplated doing such a thing filled her with renewed self- disgust. What was she turning into? The changes in her body were none of her doing, but could she convince herself that she had no hand in what was happening to her mind? Then she heard the familiar sound of the pickup coming down the hill. Oh, great timing, master. Why couldn't you have managed to get here ten minutes earlier? There was no point in trying to pretend she was still confined to the room where he had left her so she went and sat facing the kitchen door, where he would enter, and tried to look demure and contrite. It was disturbingly easy. At least part of her felt demure and contrite.
Ralph's surprise at seeing her sitting there was brief. " Well, I see you're feeling a lot better." He was carrying his instrument bag in his right hand and, in his left, a " Pets 'R' Us" bag which he now shook. " Well, I did promise you a prettier collar." Then his eyes took in the fallen phone and the mess on the floor. " But I see you don't deserve it." He replaced the telephone and walked over to the shit on the floor. " Come here," he ordered. His voice seemed to take its command from genuine anger. Not just the lower-than-normal tone you use when convincing a dog you are serious.
She went, not even thinking about it. He grabbed her by the hair and forced her head down, squashing her nose and mouth into the muck. He held her like that for so long that she could no longer hold her breath. The shit blocked her nostrils, and when she inhaled, some of it was sucked into her mouth and into her airway. It left her coughing and choking, her stomach heaving. " You dirty animal," he said, with real conviction. " You aren't fit to be allowed in the house." He took a leash from the bag and snapped it to her collar. Only then did he let her up. She tried to wipe the mess from her face on her foreleg but he saw her and said " No! Leave it where it is."
He then marched through into the house's surgery theatre. She tried hard to walk properly, to heel, but he was moving so fast she started to lag behind. He jerked the leash hard, hurting her, and ordered, " Heel closer." Behind the operating theatre was the recovery room that contained rows of cages: cages for large dogs at the bottom, smaller ones on top. None of them were occupied today. He opened one of the bottom cages and ordered her into it. Then he undid the leash and slammed the door. He glared at her through the mesh. " What the hell did you think you were doing? Don't you care at all what happens to me, you bitch? Do you imagine, even if you had succeeded, that they could have made you into a person again. To them you'd be a freak. They'd exhibit you at medical conferences. I'm the only one who will look after you now. You belong to me!"
Now I'm going to go and look around the house to see what more mischief you've been up to, so I know how much punishment you've earned. Stay here and hope I eventually forgive you."
The cage was just big enough for her to lie down. She longed to wipe her face but didn't quite dare to. Her mind was in turmoil. She had known that he would behave angrily, but she was shaken by the genuineness of his rage. After all, his precautions with the phone showed that he had at least considered the possibility that she'd try something like this. In fact the way he had disabled the phone inconspicuously suggested that it was a deliberate test. Yet he had acted as if the idea of such " betrayal" had never occurred to him.
The more rational part of Mary's mind could imagine something of what must be going on inside his head. He had to have enormous guilt about what he had done. He wanted to alleviate that guilt by proving she deserved such treatment. He wanted to find reasons to be angry with her. That meant his temper around her would be on a permanent hair trigger. The telephone had been a trap, all right. One he'd hoped she'd fall into so he could convict her of treachery. His failure to attend to her elimination needs would fall into the same category. An " accident" that he secretly hoped would produce just the result it did. He would beat her, all right. Punishment to prove guilt.
But there was a less rational side of Mary's mind to which such analysis meant nothing. That part of her had heard and believed what he had said about nobody ever being able to make her a person again. That part of her blamed only one person for all that had happened: herself. She should have seen a year ago that he was becoming obsessive, and gotten away then. She had been a fool to try for the telephone. She should have waited for a safe chance, no matter how long it took. In response, she should just take her punishment and then do whatever he wanted from now on. Maybe he was right. Maybe this was the best life she could have now.
Time passed and the room began to grow dark. Mary became first thirsty and then hungry. There was a food bowl and a water bowl built into the door of the cage but, besides their being empty, they were too close to the bars for Mary to get her mouth into them. She both longed for and dreaded Ralph's return. There was absolutely nothing to do here. She was as thoroughly trapped in the cage as a dog would have been, it was a simple enough latching system but she couldn't get any part of her body to it.
It was fully dark when he finally appeared and the sudden light made her blink when he switched it on. He was carrying a riding crop and, as he came in, he picked up the leash from a table where he had dropped it. When he opened the cage she stepped out and sat, allowing him to clip on the leash. Without a word, he led her out through the surgery entrance and tied the leash to a ring near the door, leaving no more than an inch of slack. Then, still not speaking, he began to beat her.
He didn't hit her very hard. He didn't need to. Most of the flesh on her backside was already inflamed and sensitive and he was presumably wary of undoing all his hard work. After three strokes she lost count. She found herself floating in a strangely peaceful state in which she felt the blows only as a kind of distant thudding. Only when he finished and untied the leash did she come back to something like normal consciousness. She became aware that he was leading her out to the barn and not back to the house.
Their farming activities had always been more of a hobby than a serious money-making enterprise, and these days they only kept a few horses for breeding. But there were still pens left over from an early and rather unsuccessful attempt to raise calves. He led her into one of these. He had fitted a chain loosely across the stall, attached to the middle rail on each side. There was a snap hook in the middle to which he attached her collar before removing the leash. Then he closed the gate. " Welcome to your new home," he said. " There's water in the drinker and I've put food in the trough for you. Good night." He left the barn without looking back, turning off the light which plunged the place into near-total darkness.
Mary just stood there in shock for what must have been about a minute. Then she remembered that she was both hungry and thirsty. She located the drinker and the food trough mostly by feel. The water was lukewarm and stale but she was thirsty enough not to care. The food trough, at least, was shallow enough for her to get her face into. It contained hard lumps of something dry which tasted a bit like porridge. She ate a fair bit of it without much enjoyment. She was hungry, but it was so very embarrassing to eat like this, and the food could hardly have been less appetising. At least there was no one to see her here like this. When she had finished she lay down, discovering that the chain was so short that she could lie only in one place. The bedding, as far as she could tell by touching it with her face, was of fairly fresh straw. She confirmed it by touching it with her tongue.
What a very animal-like thing that was to do. It set off a new train of thought. For her, animal methods were now going to be the best methods of behavior in most circumstances. She thought for a few moments about the differences between people and animals: their capabilities, the ways they behaved, and so on. Logically, as long as she was here under Ralph's control, she was better off as an animal rather than a human given all of these differences. An animal, for example, wouldn't be embarrassed about shitting on the floor, or being treated like this. She made a resolution then. From now on, unless a really good opportunity for escape presented itself, she was an animal, and would try to behave and, as far as possible, think accordingly. As a start, she wasn't going to let the state of her bladder go from " uncomfortable," as it was now, to " desperate," merely for fear of a little piss in the straw.
She slept surprisingly well considering the pain and her restricted position. When she woke, morning had brought a dim light to the barn. She ate some more of the pellets in the trough and took a long drink. There was probably enough food left for the whole day and, of course, the water supply was unlimited. She found herself wondering how long Ralph would be able to stay away. No doubt he was torn between his obsession with her and the desire to give her time to miss him. In a strange way that knowledge gave her a kind of power over him. She made a bet with herself. He would come in shortly, as one of them always had done in the mornings, to attend to the horses, and he would try to ignore her.
She felt a lot better this morning, both physically and mentally. It now seemed to her that if she could control her emotions, the worst part of this experience was likely to be boredom. Not that boredom was to be underestimated as an enemy. She thought about what he had said about further surgery and was surprised to discover that, on the whole, she wanted him to do it. The head angle thing had been a nuisance yesterday. When on all fours she could look forward only at the expense of neck strain, and even then she couldn't really see horizontally but at best only the ground a few feet ahead of her. Could he really give her a snout? She was learning why the only animals with flat faces, such as bushbabies, have manipulative paws.
She won her bet. Ralph came in some time later to lead the horses out to pasture and clean out their stalls. He tried, rather conspicuously, to avoid looking at her but she caught several of his furtive glances. She responded in kind by eating some of the food while he was there, paying him no special attention. He finished quickly and left.
Being patient in circumstances like these seemed to be one of the most difficult things she was going to have to learn. But she seemed to be learning. She fell into a kind of trance, not really thinking as she lay there. She defecated, refusing to allow herself to care. The smell was unpleasant at first but she soon stopped noticing it.
Some time later Ralph came back into the barn holding the leash that she had begun to think of as hers and the crop. He opened the gate of the stall and attached the leash. " Walkies," he stated.
Mary was actually pleased, and gave him a smile. Of course she'd rather exercise by herself, but exercise was exactly what she wanted to do, and if that meant walking to heel, so be it. Walking was much more comfortable today. The necessary movements no longer required conscious thought, and the pain was now slight. That left her free to concentrate on walking neatly to heel.
What made that tricky was the problem with the angle of her head. Walking with her head level with his body, she had to twist her head around to see him, and when she did that her body tended to follow her head. She had to do it on glimpses of his left foot out of the corner of the eye, by ear, and by the feel of the direction in which the lead was pulling. At first she had to concentrate so hard on that she could spare no attention for where they were going, though she was vaguely aware they were doing a tour of their small pastures. Every time she made a mistake he would jerk the leash and snap, " Heel properly." On one occasion she blundered into his legs and he flicked her with the crop on the backside.
After they had been walking for some time she had just about got the trick of it. Then she could pay more attention to her surroundings. It was a novelty to be seeing the ground this close up on a walk. Having her head so close to the ground also brought the smells of the grass and sometimes of other plants to her nose with unfamiliar intensity. After some time he stopped and sat on a fallen log. She sat in front of the log facing him, though she could see only up to his waist. He stroked her hair then massaged her persistently stiff neck. " I really do want to do something about your neck. It's probably hurting you, isn't it?" She rejected an impulse to nod. Animals don't nod agreement and her resolution of the night before was still very much on her mind. He never had paid much attention to her answers to questions like that anyway.
" I can adjust the tendons but the problem is the geometry of the Foramen Magnum and the cervix. Maybe I can extend the Foramen dorsally. I need to do a bit of further study." He patted her on the head " Sorry. You're going to have to live with it for the time being."
He began to run his hands over her body. It was mostly done in the fashion of a first aid examination but she found it strangely erotic and she was aware from the bulge in his slacks that his touch was not wholly professional. For a moment, out of habit she hid her arousal. Then she thought of the resolution. Animals do not hide sexual arousal. She rubbed her nose against the bulge in his pants causing his hands to recoil with his surprise. So, to make it perfectly clear she stood up, turned he backside towards him and lowered her back in a manner no one familiar with animals could mistake. She looked back at him over her shoulder with a grin.
" Well, well! The bitch is in heat," Ralph said, trying to produce a sarcastic tone but unable to conceal his real delight. He tried to take her then, kneeling, but that put his penis too low, she thought he looked ludicrous there but she really wanted relief now so, as he tried to angle his member she suddenly sat back into him, winding up in his lap. He grunted with surprise but the member went home. There was pain, too much of that area of the body was inflamed and tender, but the pleasure was greater. She wriggled and felt him orgasm with her, her own explosion following a moment later.
Suddenly he groaned and pushed her off. As he zipped up, a strange mixture of expressions passed across his face. There was self disgust in there, but then it shifted towards anger. He grabbed the lead and said " Time to go back. I've got work to do." He kept her on a very tight leash on the way back and said nothing further. She was puzzled and nervous. Why the sudden mood change? Surely that had been very much the sort of thing he had wanted. He left her in the stall, which still hadn't been mucked out, and left, seemingly unable to look at her.
She finally thought she understood. He had suddenly seen what he was doing as bestiality. A moment she was lying on the floor convulsing with painful, silent laughter. He had changed her into an animal and now he was ashamed of having had sex with her because she was an animal. Gods! What an idiotic case of belated scruples.
She gradually sobered. Actually this could be very bad news. It was another reason for him to be angry with her and it lessened her value to him. If she was right the new type of guilt he was feeling would even more readily rebound on her. The question was, should she try to seduce him? If she succeeded she would hopefully break through that guilt and make herself more valuable to him. If, on the other hand, she were to try and fail it could easily make things worse.
Ralph paced between the lounge and the kitchen. A mug of coffee was going cold on the kitchen table. It seemed to him that it was all going wrong. He had succeeded so well with the operation and the situation had seemed completely under his control. Of course she had been angry with him at first and had acted thoughtlessly on that anger. It was fortunate that it had occurred to him to disable the phones, even though he had thought the possibility of her having the desire or the capacity, either mental or physical, to do what she had done had seemed vanishingly small.
Today everything had been going so well. She had seemed to be settling down and accepting their altered relationship but, somehow, the dream didn't really gel with the reality. There was a jarring discrepancy between his image of her and her new reality. He could not really reconcile the creature in the barn with his Mary. He could trace this bad feeling. It had started when he had seen he shit lying on the kitchen floor. Then, this afternoon, he had been really enjoying sex, and even more enjoying her willingness. He had suddenly felt a penis-wilting paroxysm of disgust, at her and at himself.
He had made her an animal because that way he could feel confident that she would always be his, but he hadn't really wanted an animal, he had wanted her the way she had been. Had he made a mistake? No, he had had nothing to lose. Had he acted any other way he would have lost her anyway. Now, at worst, he had lost her and gained a fascinating pet that would be something to remember her by. He had expected the changes in her to be superficial and the way it had turned out was a shock but, he thought, he was beginning to deal with it.
As well as a fascinating pet she was also a work of art. He thought of her altered body with pride. What he had achieved was amazing. If only it was something he could publish, an achievement that could be recognised by his colleagues. Unfortunately nobody could be trusted to understand. With this he stopped pacing and selected an anatomy text book. The thing to do was to finish the job. He suspected her neck was really hurting her and in the long term it would probably get arthritic unless he could put it right. That was the urgent task. She would be even more beautiful.
Providing her with a snout so that she could eat more readily was a fascinating challenge but one that could wait. Bones could be extended. If they were broken and then clamped in a slightly extended state new bone would bridge the small gap. As the bone grew you reclamped them even further extended. Another possibility was the use of coral which, if joined to bone, was colonised by bone cells and gradually transformed to real bone. He would have to do a lot of library work.
It was a pity, in many ways, that they could never have children but with the way he had pinned her broken pelvis in a new, folded shape she could never have carried a child to term. Her birth canal now lacked the extra width to accommodate the large head of a human embryo. He had reluctantly tied off her fallopian tubes. He couldn't take the risk of her becoming pregnant.
He went into the dispensary and began to check his supplies. He checked his stock of carbon fibre tendon replacements, sorting out what he thought he would need. He took them through to the surgery and checked out the bone cutting bits for the drill. The plan for the operation was now fairly straight in his mind. Of course he was going to have to operate alone again but there was no help for it.
He took the leash and went out to the barn to fetch her. The smell, as he came to the stall was one he found perversely erotic but it reminded her he would need cleaning up. He decided that the yard by the surgery entrance would be the best place so he led her out of the barn and tied her to the ring by the door, ordering her to sit. As he did so another thought struck him. He was going to have to remove the collar to operate and it would have to stay off for, at the least, several days. The thought made him distinctly uncomfortable. The collar gave him a sense of control and security. He liked to see it on her.
Thoughtfully he went into the house and filled a bucket with warm soapy water adding a dash of disinfectant. Leaving the bucket in the kitchen sink he went into the workshop where after a little rummaging he came up with a metal ring about an inch and a half across. That would do it. He took it through to the dispensary and put it into the autoclave. Then he went back to the kitchen, put on some rubber gloves and took the bucket, a sponge and a brush outside.
The evening was getting cool and she was shivering as she waited for him. He started to clean her off with the sponge, carefully cleaning the muck out of her hair. Much of that hair was going to have to come off. Come to think of it he'd keep her hair clipped fairly short from now on. It would be a nuisance to her at its current length. The poor thing was feeling the cold. It was a pity there was no way to give her fur. Perhaps he should get her a dog coat. It was something to think about. Well, she was now reasonably clean. The operating field would have to be carefully sterilised in the theatre, of course.
Being washed like that was a mixed experience for Mary. The sponge was rather rough and the water got into her eyes making them sting but it was good to feel clean, especially to get rid of the patches of excrement that had found their way onto her body. When he finished and led her into the operating theatre she was again the subject of mixed feelings. She guessed that, as promised, he was going to do something about her neck but surgery was always dangerous, and the kind he had spoken of sounded particularly so. Furthermore, although if he succeeded it would be a blessing while she was in this state, it would one more wall between her and her humanity. Another worrying aspect was the way he seemed to be talking to her less and less. Even yesterday he would have told her what he planned to do. It seemed he was no longer thinking of her as a person who could understand his plans.
She found a little comfort in yesterday's resolution. An animal didn't look forwards for things to worry about. The lesson for her was that it was pointless to worry because there was absolutely nothing she could do about it anyway. He half helped, half lifted her onto the table and had her sit there. He began to cut her hair short, catching the clippings carefully in a cloth. When he had it down to a rough crew cut he changed to a razor and shaved the back of her head from the ears down. He then had her lie on her left side and used bandages to tie each of her forelegs to the opposite hindleg, efficiently immobilising her. Only then did he remove the collar.
She thought about how careful he was to keep her under constant restraint, never for a moment since the business with the phone had she been out from under his hands without a tether or a cage to keep her honest. What bothered her was that she was beginning to find this comforting. As long as escape was so manifestly impossible she didn't have to think about trying, to weight her chances as she had yesterday. At this rate if an opportunity to escape did not arise in the next few days she would have lost all will for the attempt.
He came back in scrub and found a vein in her arm for the butterfly. Then he put the pentathol syringe on the butterfly and slowly pressed the plunger. For a moment she felt the sting of the drug in her veins. The next thing she was aware of was coming out of it, groggy, feeling sick, wearing a broad collar of pain. Her nose hurt too. She opened her eyes to find that she was gazing at his ankles through the mesh of one of the cages in the recovery room. As she woke a little more she became aware of some pain and a strange, heavy feeling in her nose. He knelt and looked at her. " That's my brave girl, everything is fine. Just lie there and don't move about too much. In a little while I'll bring you some water once you are awake enough to drink it."
Well, she had survived. Her neck seemed to have very limited movement but after a moment she realised that she seemed to be wearing some kind of broad restraining collar, presumably to allow it to heal a little without too much movement. It seemed to have worked anyway. Although she was lying on her belly she was able to look upwards at an angle that would have been impossible before. Another change brought back a topic of thought she had been trying to avoid.
When Ralph finally got himself caught what would, what could, the doctors do to reverse these alterations? Operating a second time on the same site is always harder. She must be a mass of scar tissue inside. Then there were pieces that were certainly missing and couldn't be replaced. It was difficult to escape the feeling that they would change everything about halfway back and the most likely outcome would be that by the time they had finished she would be able to function neither as animal nor as human.
She thought back to something she hadn't really understood at the time. It was a T.V. interview with some thalidomide victims as young adults. They had been talking about the prosthetic limbs they had been given. They complained that these limbs were essentially cosmetic. They weren't really for their own benefit because, if anything, they could function better without them. They were for the benefit of other people, so those people wouldn't have to face up to the way they really were.
She feared they would change her from animal to cripple. If that were the choice she'd rather stay as she was. She wondered if they would be any more inclined to offer her choices than Ralph was. She suspected not. They would want to believe her mind had snapped, that she wasn't fully aware of what had happened to her. This time yesterday she had been looking forward to what she still believed was the inevitable time when all this come out as a day of revenge and liberation. Now she was beginning to dread it. She told herself to remember the resolution, forget the future, and live in the present as animals do.
He solved the problem of her drinking without being able to bend down using a bucket with a teat on the bottom, intended for use with calves that he filled with water and placed on a box with the teat between the bars. He gave her nothing to eat that night, knowing that the after effects of the anaesthetic would make her too nauseous to keep anything down. He checked her pulse and measured her temperature with a thermometer in her anus. Then he left her to her own devices until morning. She passed a very miserable night, finding it difficult to get comfortable and being constantly irritated by whatever was wrong with her nose.
Early in the morning Ralph came in and gave her another careful examination. He took off the posture collar and carefully manipulated her head, happy enough with its freedom of movement to leave the collar off. There was no significant bleeding and the stitches were all holding. He said " We're going to have to put you back in the barn, this morning. The new girl is coming in today and we can't have her thinking she's Bluebeard's new wife." Then she finally found out what was wrong with her nose when he attached the leash to the ring he'd put through it.
As he walked her out to the barn she found out that a leash through a nose ring is a very different thing to put up with than on attached to a collar. It hurt a little all the time, just from the weight of the leash but the least tug was agony. When he put her back in the stall and clipped the ring to the chain tether that was no fun either. It hurt a little whenever she moved her head. She wondered if it was something you could get used to. At least he had mucked out her stall and replaced the bedding.
She worried about the new girl. With Ralph it would be a girl, of course; the idea of a male assistant would never occur to him. They would never see one another, of course. She wondered whether Ralph might not develop a similar obsession with the new girl. She hoped not, for the girl's sake. There were four more stalls just like this one. She would hate to see them filled, one by one.
The day passed slowly. In the late afternoon Ralph came in and examined her neck again, then he took her " Walkies" again, though this time there was no suggestion of sex. He didn't speak to her at all except for one word commands. Still, there was a kind of rough affection in the way he handled her and he stroked her several times. It seemed clear to Mary that he was more and more thinking of her as an animal, and that, at the same time his obsession with her was receding.
For her own part both her anger and her fear seemed to be lessening. Her main problem became dealing with the boredom. He was feeding her the same food all the time. She supposed it was some mixture of dry animal feeds. There were no feeding times to give the day structure since there was food in the trough all the time. He just topped it up when it was getting a bit low.
She could stand up, sit down or lie down. She could move around within the narrow compass of the tether. She could eat and drink whenever she wanted to. That was about it. When he was not there there were no events. She found herself longing for his visits and, when he did appear, she found herself feeling a kind of frantic welcome. She imagined she was behaving like a dog who welcomes its master home and, to her shame, it was not something she could control.
It seemed to her that Ralph was deliberately subjecting her to a kind of sensory deprivation to produce just this kind of reaction. She was being conditioned to welcome his attentions as a blessed relief from the sameness of her time alone and although she was aware of the process there seemed nothing she could do about it.
The following morning the pain in her neck was almost gone. Her head would now move so that, on fours, she could face from a little above the horizontal to straight down. It was now hard for her to get into a position to look at any part of her own body. When he came in that morning he had a tape measure and made a whole series of measurements of her body which process became rather a game. It left her very curious and he obviously knew that because he laughed and said " you'll see" .
Early that afternoon he came in leading a ram by a head collar. He stopped in front of her stall. " King Tut VII meet Mary. Mary, This is King Tut VII. King Tut here has the distinction of being the most expensive animal ever to grace our humble establishment. Isn't he beautiful?"
She had to agree that he was. Solidly built. Splendidly symmetrical curling horns and a tight wool coat. He sniffed curiously at her. For a sheep, his confidence alone and in strange surroundings was the most impressive thing about him. She spotted a shaved patch on the side of his abdomen with a fresh surgical scar. He tethered the ram in front of her stall while he opened the next stall along and put down fresh straw. Then he led the ram into the stall and removed the head collar. " His lordship is going to be staying with us for a few days. Poor fellow had a huge kidney stone. Be polite. His pedigree is a lot longer than yours."
He filled the beast's trough and left them. Mary and the ram looked at one another through the bars that divided the two stalls. He was such a handsome beast he made Mary feel inferior. He moved better than she did, she suspected that he smelled better than she did and he seemed more self possessed than she was. She wanted to stroke him but even if the bars and the tether hadn't been in the way she had no hands. He seemed quite curious about her. At least he gave her something interesting to look at.
When he came back that evening he was carrying a collar she hadn't seen before, a pretty thing of silver plated chain links which he left on the gate of her stall while he checked out King Tut. When he had finished with the ram he put the collar on her saying " You could have had this the first day if you hadn't been such a bad girl. But I think you know better now and you've been well behaved these last two days." In spite of herself she felt absurdly pleased. Why did it matter so much to her what a psychopath thought of her? The answer was distressingly simple. She cared because it very much mattered to her well-being.
She decided the time had come to try and seduce him so when he sat down for a rest she rubbed herself against his crotch and curved her back. A pleasing bulge developed and he ran his hands down her sides, making her feel hot. Then, just when she thought she was getting somewhere he suddenly pushed her away and stood up. " No," he said, as much to himself as to her. " It just doesn't feel right."
She was still aroused when they got back to the barn and King Tut seemed very aware of it. The ram's interest did not escape Ralph's notice. " I wonder," He muttered and stood in thought a moment. Then he chuckled and said " Well let's try it. It can't do any harm. He's healed up well enough."
Instead of putting her into her stall he lead her into a vacant loose box and tethered her to a ring against the back wall, on a short enough leash so she could not lie down. A moment later he released the ram into the box and said " Now, Mary. I want you to offer our fullest hospitality to our distinguished guest."
Well, she had wanted to touch the ram but she hadn't envisaged anything like this. She was hot though. Well, why not? What was she afraid of? Appearing degraded? So it was that when the ram tentatively sniffed at her sex she made no attempt to evade him, or to thwart him by sitting on her haunches but, instead curved her back in invitation.
It was a strange experience, but then so had been her last experience with Ralph. He did his thing quickly and efficiently, his front hooves dangling against her forelegs. From the feel there seemed to be an astonishing amount of cum. She could feel it running down her leg. His fur was tickling her almost to distraction but, although she didn't orgasm, there was a considerable sense of relief. She wished she could see Ralph's face to judge his reaction to all this. Even as the ram spasmed inside her Ralph's reaction was very much on her mind. Was he enjoying this or would he feel jealousy?
Afterwards Ralph laughed and left them there saying " Well. I guess I'll just give you two lovebirds time to get aquainted." She cursed him silently for not, at least, giving her a bit more slack on the tether. The ram was now licking her ear and, in a sudden access of affection, she turned and licked his muzzle. Its taste was not very attractive but she did it again and he seemed pleased.
She had suddenly felt an affinity with the beast that she had never felt before with an animal. It wasn't the sex as such but that neither of them was in control of their own sexuality, or their lives. She felt now that her true kinship was with such animals. Ralph was of another sort. What she felt for him had little of affection in it. They were, in a very real sense, opponents in a game of manipulation and she was playing to win. The concentration she directed towards him was too intense to allow for emotion.
A few minutes later King Tut seemed ready for seconds. She could have refused him then. Her own heat had passed and Ralph wasn't there to say yea or nay but that feeling of comradeship was still with her. She knew that the ram would rarely, if ever, get an uninterrupted go at a real ewe. Artificial insemination had always seemed rather mean spirited to her. She decided to co-operate.
Although, this time, she had less initial sexual interest, without Ralph watching she found herself paying far more attention this time to what they were doing. As she felt the animal's cock searching for her vagina she found herself moving to accommodate him. For the moment of coupling all thought of her overall predicament was gone from her mind, perhaps for the first time since she had woken after her transformation. Their orgasms were simultaneous. Her only regret was that, in the way of most animals, he didn't linger.
Afterwards he went back to licking her body and she did her feeble best to return his grooming, though the tether was a maddening obstacle. Suddenly her eyes filled with tears. This animal, she thought, understands affection in a way Ralph never will. She felt a great pity for Ralph then. He seemed barely alive, a kind of cinema zombie. It seemed to her then that she and King Tut were equals and that Ralph was less than either of them. She bent her back again hopefully willing the ram to make the most of their brief time together.
When Ralph came back to return them to their respective stalls he had a kind of schoolboy grin on his face which Mary found disturbing. He did not speak but she had the impression of some victory in contemplation. A victory over her she had little doubt. Even though her neck was now giving her little trouble and she had learned to ignore the nose ring she slept uneasily that night. She still reeked of King Tut's cum which Ralph had made no attempt to clean up. He seemed to prefer her dirty and malodorous. The horses were mucked out religiously every morning even though they were out in the fields by day but her straw hadn't been changed since the last operation.
The next mornings visit he seemed hurried, but that silly grin was still there. In the evening, at the time she had got used to expecting him, he didn't appear. She began to worry a little. Had something happened to him? If anything did happen to him how long would it be before someone checked on the livestock?
When he finally appeared it was fully dark. He was carrying an instrument bag and what looked like a bundle of fur. He moved her to the loose box again and used a short piece of cord to tie her nose ring to the ring on the wall, leaving her with her face almost flattened against the wall, unable to see what he was up to. A moment later she felt a series of cold metal instruments in he vagina. He didn't hurt her of course, he knew what he was doing, but it was a very uncomfortable experience.
He finished whatever he was doing and after a moment during which she heard him putting the instruments away then he undid the cord. " On your back!" he ordered. He was unfolding the bundle of fur. She saw that it was a kind of coat which he began to put on her. It was made of some stretchy fur fabric. He pulled in on over her legs and then got her to stand up while he zipped it up her back. It enveloped her whole body up to the neck. He looked at it critically, pulling it straight and checking the fit, particularly around the crotch. The fur colour was quite a good match for her dark hair.
He had her walk around the box, and take various positions to see how it moved on her. It felt very odd to her. For a start she hadn't worn anything at all for five days but the way it clung to her whole body was strange and sensual. He left it on her for the regular walk and it began to seem comfortable, if a little too hot. When they got back he made some chalk marks on the coat before he took it off her, she presumed he was planning some adjustments.
As he pulled if off she saw that it had openings at the crotch, presumably so that she could relieve herself although she could see that the coat would inevitably get filthy in that area if she did. But then, she had already realised that he liked her to be filthy. It also came with a short stuffed tail. Still, she remembered the time before the neck operation that she had been left outside in the late evening and she thought that there would be times when the coat would be a blessing. She would have liked to have seen herself in it.
It was several days before she found out about the other thing. One morning he took a blood sample from her. A couple of hours later he came back in with a broad smirk. By this time she thought she had got far beyond shock. She was mistaken.
" Remember your friend King Tut?" he asked. " Well. His visit gave me an idea and an opportunity. I didn't know whether it was possible but it looks like it's going to work." He took a deep breath, apparently trying to control laughter. " Mary, he said, " you are going to have a little lamb." And, as it started to sink in, " I can't guarantee fleece as white as snow, but I suspect that it will go everywhere you do."