Xi - Chapter 7 - Image
Xi blanched when she saw the contents of the manila envelope that Sabra had handed her. She looked around to see if anyone was looking over her shoulder and felt thankful that Sabra had chosen a corner table with some privacy.
"Oh... my... god... Who took these?"
"They were emailed to me anonymously." Sabra seemed to be gauging Xi's reaction. "I get submissions everyday."
Xi looked up from the pictures with her mouth open and concern in her eyes. "Are these posted all over the Internet?"
A couple of days before, Xi had gone to Diamond's to retrieve the message waiting behind the bar. It was from a woman named Sabra Davies, the owner of [fictional-wed-site-deleted].com. The web site was one of the most frequented female chastity belt related sites on the Internet. It contained anything anyone would ever want to know about chastity belts - stories, reviews, historical facts, pictures...
Xi suspected that perhaps Sabra had heard rumors of the night she flashed her belt. Maybe she was interested in an interview or something. Xi had no idea that someone could have caught her exhibition on film.
"I prefer to avoid legal troubles so I generally ask permission."
Still a bit in shock, Xi sat looking at the pictures. There were four high definition images. As she flipped through the photos, each successive shot zeroed in on her. In the third photo, she stood with a grin on her face, eyes closed, head thrown back, her dress raised well above her hips. The fourth featured a close-up of the belt tightly encasing her sex.
"They're really good pictures," Sabra said.
Xi looked up, stunned. "There are cameras everywhere. I can't believe-"
"You look great. Look at your face here." Sabra extended her hand as though she was presenting a work of art. "What would you call that expression? Contentment? No. Elation? Closer, perhaps. You can't fake expressions like that."
Xi sat in disbelief slowly shaking her head back and forth, biting her lip.
"This is fashion magazine quality," Sabra continued. She looked at Xi for a moment and then her entire face broke into a friendly comforting smile. She playfully poked Xi's shoulder. "Hey, girl, I'm giving you compliments here. You're supposed to be thanking me."
Xi snapped out of her thoughts. "Oh. Yeah, thanks. I'm sorry. I, uh, I just..."
Sabra's expression suddenly gained a certain intensity. "Is it possible that I could see this belt?"
Xi glanced into Sabra's eyes. They were green and piercing. Xi nervously looked away. Sabra seemed nice. Xi liked her. Should she let her see the belt and collar?
"Um, no, they're not mine." Xi hoped that Sabra's gaze would not pierce through her little fabrication. Xi pointed to one of the photos. "It belongs to my friend, Sage."
Sabra immediately smiled. "Sage. What a beautiful name!"
"It fits her too. She is the best. Unfortunately, though, she lives on the other side of the country. She was only visiting."
"Hm. That's too bad." Sabra sat back in her chair. "The reason I'm interested is because - and maybe you already know this - I also design and sell chastity belts. I'd like to think that they are some of the best in the world. But, I've never seen a belt like this. It's marvelous."
"Oh." Xi hoped that her disappointment didn't show through. She knew about Sabra's belt business. Xi had been hoping that Sabra would have information for her about Anna's belt.
"Tell me. Where is the locking mechanism on the belt?" Sabra asked, studying the last photo.
"There's just a little slot that this special disk fits in."
Sabra looked again at Xi, her brow furrowed. "You mean - like a key?"
"No. It's just a disk."
Sabra sat back again in her chair slowly nodding. Her face was pretty but there was something rugged to it. It wasn't a face that had grown up on Park Avenue. It had not been molly-coddled. It was a face that had been places and seen things. Xi could tell the intense rays of the sun had kissed it. The roar of icy winds had whipped it. It had been lashed with salt water and rain. Sabra's face was brilliant and alive. Beautiful and powerful.
"Was the belt comfortable?"
Xi brought her hand to her mouth and pinched her lower lip, smiling. "Yeah." She felt a comfortable tingle ripple through her soul remembering her two weeks imprisoned in the belt. She remembered the way that it teased her and kept her so aroused. "I wore it for a couple of days straight. It fit perfectly and didn't rub or anything. There was no way to bypass its security."
"Wow," Sabra said smiling. "As a designer of belts, that's, like, the Holy Grail. I've been trying to make a perfect design such as you've described for years."
"Cool," Xi said, still partially lost in memory.
"You know..." Sabra continued, "maybe I could get you to try out some of my designs. I'd be interested to see if you think mine are as comfortable."
Xi shook her head, suddenly brought back to the present. She couldn't believe that she was sitting in a coffee shop having such an intimate conversation with a complete stranger. But she liked Sabra. She seemed completely trustworthy...
Xi remembered that Sage had told her to put Anna's belt away and become more social. Here was an opportunity to become more social and, at the same time, investigate this fascination that she had developed. "Yeah..." Xi said, "I think that I'd like to help you if I can."
"Excellent!" Sage sat back. Even her eyes were smiling.
"I need you to put on this swim cap, take off all your clothes, and step into the 'Monster'." Ice (as she called herself) was pointing at a large cylindrical container of some sort in the corner of the vaulted loft. Xi looked to Ice's face to determine if she was kidding. There was not a hint of humor in her expression. Ice apparently was a fitting moniker.
"The monster?" Xi asked.
"Sorry. That's what we call it. This machine, the 'Monster', enables us to get a perfect, dynamic, 3D model of your body and removes the necessity for embarrassingly intimate measurements."
Sabra's assistant walked to a hook on the wall where she pulled off a pair of black goggles. She handed them to Xi.
Xi looked up into Ice's cold expression. Her Nordic hair was pulled back with severity. If her neck was any indicator, the rest of her body must have been bulging with musculature. Her masculine qualities seemed to have a hand up on those that were feminine. "Where do you get a machine like this?"
Ice's steely blue eyes lowered until they cut into Xi. "You'll find these will be used quite often in the medical industry. Remote imaging is the future. This model is quite new. Sabra has government connections and she has a way of getting the things that she wants."
Xi shook the swim cap to open it up. Then, keeping one eye on Ice, she fished around in her purse for something to tie back her hair. "Is it like an x-ray machine?"
"Yes, but it works in a different wavelength range. It's safe. Now, when you step in the monster, close the door behind you. Stand on the two marks indicated on the floor. Put on the goggles to protect your eyes. Finally, reach up and grab the two handles above your head. Hold on to the handles for the duration of the imaging process. You will be notified by a bell when the imaging is complete. Do you understand?"
Xi nodded meekly. Ice's voice was commanding and precise. She reminded Xi of a strict aerobics instructor she once had.
"I will leave you now." Unceremoniously, Ice turned and walked out of the room.
Xi looked around the room nervously as she pulled her hair into a ponytail. Even in the heat of summer, there seemed to be a slight chill.
She pulled the swim cap over her head and shoved in all the remaining loose strands of hair. With another glance towards the door from which Ice had departed, Xi slowly unbuttoned her blouse and walked to a wood chair set against the wall near the device. As she removed each article of clothing, goose bumps rose from her skin. The cool air against her naked flesh wedged itself into her awareness. She felt like she was about to go skinny-dipping alone in a mountain lake.
Naked, except for the swim cap, Xi tiptoed across the cold, hard floor to the machine with the goggles in her hand. She pulled on a latch and the thick, heavy door slowly swung open. Dim red light spilled from within. Xi climbed a couple of steps up into the interior of the monster. Her heart was beating faster and she had to remind herself to breathe. She placed her bare feet on the two marks indicated on the floor, which were spaced a little greater than shoulder-width apart. She was now standing in a cylinder not quite a meter in diameter.
All the comforting noises from world outside had disappeared - shielded by the make of the machine. Xi looked up. The handles were a little higher than her head, but well within reach. The handles were suspended from somewhere above, held by chains that disappeared into shadows.
Xi took a deep breath. Her hands were shaking as she pulled the goggles over her head. Their opaque lenses rendered her world in darkness. Blindly, she reached up and grasped the handles and waited.
After a moment she heard a swooshing sound of the cylinder moving around her, followed by a low hum that started above her and slowly descended. When the hum reached the bottom of the cylinder, Xi prayed that the process would soon be over. She waited patiently for the bell to ring. But it did not. She heard some hydraulic motor turn on above her and felt the handles slowly pull her arms up higher and higher.
"Ice said to hold on to the handles until I hear the bell," Xi thought to herself. She felt her arms straighten. The muscles of her torso stretched and became taut. Soon she was pulled high enough that her heels left the ground. Just as Xi thought she would be fully suspended, the hydraulic motor stopped, leaving only the tips of her toes touching the floor. The low hum began again. This time it slowly rose until it was well above her.
Finally, the handles lowered. Her feet were once again firmly on the floor. The bell rang and Xi removed the goggles. She was sweating a little.
Siren, another one of Sabra's employees, sat at a desk studying a computer monitor when Xi entered the main room from the "lab". Siren jotted some numbers on a piece of paper, then turned and yelled towards a back room: "Yankee... Hotel... Foxtrot..!"
A second later Ice's voice cut through the office from somewhere. "What!?"
"Yankee! Hotel! Foxtrot!"
Siren turned back towards Xi and muttered under her breath, "The bitch is deaf." She let out a huff of air and looked up at Xi. "Now, how do you pronounce your name? Is is 'z-iy'?" She used a long 'i' sound.
Xi smiled. "Actually, it's 'k-sigh' like the Greek letter, but that's kind of a mouthful. 'Z-iy' is fine."
"Are you Greek?"
"Maybe a little... Mostly, I'm just an American mutt. My parents were both math people. They liked Greek letters for some reason. My sister's name was Phi."
Siren looked down at the piece of paper. "And what is your last name?"
"No last name. It's just Xi."
Siren looked up. "How does that happen? Did your parents not pass down their name."
"I legally changed it. You know how great athletes have their number retired because no one could live up to their performance ever again? Well, I decided to retire my last name."
Siren looked at Xi with a confused looking expression on her face. "I don't watch sports." She looked back down at the form. "I need to get your home address and some emergency contact information..."
Minutes later, Ice came from the back room with a cardboard box. Xi felt like she was in a shoe store.
Ice gave the box to Siren. "Here you go, Worm." Siren's silent reply to Ice said more than any vocalization could.
Ice turned to Xi. "Have you seen the worm that is forever crawling on her hand?"
Xi nodded her head. "Yes, I was admiring that... snake?" A tattooed snakehead slithered from underneath the long black sleeve of Siren's dress and ended on the back of her palm. The head was menacing and filled with intricate designs. Siren smiled and raised her hand for Xi to see. Just as Xi bent closer to look, Siren struck out towards Xi with her hand and made a "Ch-ch-ch-ch ch" sound like a rattlesnake. Xi jumped with a short scream, then put her hand to her mouth and forced a polite chuckle to accompany Siren's guffaw. Ice did not react at all.
"Weird," Xi thought to herself. "Cute, but definitely weird."
Siren opened the box and pulled a shiny metal device from within. With the turn of a set of keys, the chastity belt opened. She handed the belt to Xi, but kept the keys. "Try it on."
Xi rode the bus home. She was in a bit of a daze. Everything had happened so quickly. Sabra had shown up at the last moment to make Xi feel welcome and thank her for her help. Xi wasn't exactly sure what she was supposed to do, but she felt good that Sabra thought she might be helpful. Sabra promised that she would have a custom fit of her latest belt design for Xi on Monday based on the imaging they had done. Monday was five days away. Until then, she begged Xi to wear the belt that Ice had brought from the back room. Xi had quickly agreed to do so.
The belt had been cold when it first came in contact with her delicate flesh. Shivers ran up her spine. When she locked all the pieces in to place, the belt felt really tight. But, Xi felt comfort in the tightness. She felt happy and protected. Secure. Invulnerable. She did not even think about the fact that she didn't have the keys until the bus had driven for some time into the growing darkness of twilight.
To be continued...