Back home now. The place feels slightly alien after my time away, and I do not know how long I will be here before Gustavus calls for me once more. Alfred has done his usual excellent job maintaining the residence and most of my business affairs in my absence.
The sessions are going remarkably well. One image is still fresh in my mind: my final night at the compound, just a few short days ago. After many hours in bondage, G. released me sometime Friday afternoon (I could only figure that out in retrospect, as I began to piece together the fragments of my experience and match them to something resembling conventional measurements of time). My limbs were so weak at first I could do little more than prop myself up on the ground. He removed the blindfold and gag and I saw that the room was flooded with harsh red light.
He gave me a pair of hiking boots and told me to put them on. They were the only clothes on my body. He handed me the stinking, crusted sweatpants and shirt I'd been wearing for so long and had me hold them in my hands as we walked out the rear door of the house and down a trail into the woods out back. The sun was just beginning to set as we began our journey.
I had no idea what was in store for me at the end of the trail. Naked and ordered by a fully clothed man, I felt like a prisoner of war being led to his execution. I feared--perhaps hoped, on some level?--that all my trust had been mislaid, and that this was indeed my doom.
He took me to a clearing and ordered me to gather branches for a bonfire. When I was done, he directed me to a large old tree and bound me to its trunk. I remained there, immobile and silent, until the sky was pitch black. He lit the fire and waited for it to grow to its full potential before untying me.
The sweatpants and shirt were at my feet. "Cast them in," he said, and I did. We both watched as they burned into ash, and then saw the ash carried upward into the sky and out of sight.
"We are at a point of transition, Wayne," he told me. "Your old self is gone now. We shall rest a while, and then begin the process of creating your new skin."
We sat and watched the fire until it had burned itself out, a process which took hours. It seemed to me that the Gustavus I had come to know--ferocious, intimidating, larger than life--was softening a bit. I remembered I sometimes wanted to forget: that I had sought this man out. That he was not an enemy but a helper. A teacher. I looked him and realized that I ... wanted him. Wanted him to like me. To love me. He already knew more about me than almost anyone else I'd ever met.
And I realized then and there that, should the proper opportunity arise, I wanted to show him even more.