The conductor opens the slave van door. She barks, "All out for Saint Eves." I dodge past her and jump down to the platform.
This is the first time I've been out of the city since I was enslaved, but I can't see much. The vapour from the engine hangs in the air like the steam in my last mistress's bathroom.
Clutching my busboy cap, I hurry down the length of the train. I check each carriage as I go. My new mistress is behind one of the grubby windows, but will I recognise her?
I glimpse a bell-shaped cloche hat through sooty glass and hurry to heave open the door. The low platform puts her bosom at my eye level. I recognise her burgundy dress and matching jacket and relax enough to note that she is fashionably small breasted - whether by nature or foundation garment, I'll soon find out.
Like a good slave, I hold out my arm and lower my eyes. The waistless dress hides her figure, but it stops at her knees so I can feast my eyes on her stockinged calves tapering down to her tightly laced ankle boots. She takes my hand--
--Did I say stockings?
Yes. Don't ask how this could be, but this is the Jazz Era with a twist. There are Flappers and Vamps, racketeers and jazz singers, but they're all female. There are men, but they are like me; abducted and cloned from our own worlds to serve as slaves in this alternate 1920s. The Gynarchs tolerate our existence because of some ancient religious edict. The pretty young things take us for granted. To them we're part domestic servant, part sex toy.
--and the touch of her warm leather gloves sends a thrill down to my chastity cage. The mesh clamps around my lost penis. My collar feels too tight. I have the urge to put my finger under it to loosen it, but it's made of seamless stainless steel. It's not going anywhere, and not getting any looser. I am a slave.
Lena steps onto the platform. Intelligent blue eyes briefly fix on me, then she glances left and right making her wavy hair flick. She smiles with rouged lips, then seems to remember something. Her gloved hand lashes out and my cheek explodes. The sudden pain sends a jolt into my captive groin, but I can't help think how like a Femme Fatal she is from an old movie.
"Get the luggage," she says without malice. In her dippy looking cloche hat that looks like an upturned flower pot, she just seems sweet and lost.
I jog back towards the far end of the train. Despite my uniform, I feel naked. It's the lack of skyscrapers. This little seaside station is in the open air with only seagulls above second storey level.
A middle aged slave in railway company is already dragging crates out of the guards van.
I blush. Whether it's conditioning or embarrassment, I don't like talking to other slaves. "Hi, do you have a bag for Lena White?"
"Right here," he says. He drags a case out and pauses to glance down the platform. "Is she that foxy dyke?"
At this distance, Lena is just a sleek form, like a manikin in a shop window. I frown. "There's only one passenger on the platform."
"So, what's her story?"
He shows no sign of moving, so I lean past him and haul the case out myself. As it bumps onto the platform, I say "No idea, mate," I don't want to be rude. Slaves have ways of making trouble for each other. I add, "She bought me on the way to the station."
He chuckles suggestively. "Probably wants to enjoy a dirty week of tongue service, eh?"
My penis pulses in its cage, but I flush. "She's come a hell of a long way from New Womb if that was all she wanted."
"Well then, brother, I hope you can make it worth her while."
I shrug and start dragging the wheel trunk towards my mistress.
"Be like that," he calls after me. "See you around."
The case is heavy. I arrive before her puffing and panting.
Lena slaps me again. "Don't dawdle." Then she turns on her elegant heel and heads for the station exit.
I follow her clip-clopping boots, my cheeks throbbing in time to her step, eyes on the seams of her stockings. The cage prickles around my captive cock and I wonder; was the other slave right? I've been a slave for more than ten years--ten years while my other self was no doubt living my life in the 21st century, going to college, losing his virginity--I shouldn't be this excited by a new mistress.
Lena stops to speak to the station mistress - from the signs she doubles as a post mistress - and I check out the street.
The sheer normality hits me like a bucket of ice water. To a guy from England's Midlands, New Womb with its Art Deco skyscrapers is exotic. In a city like that, it's easy to forget you were ever anything but a slave, and that there are places... worlds... where women actually want to have sex with men. Here though... I shudder.
I guess seaside town look the same anywhere in the multiverse. The street is lined with quirky shops and cafes, most already closed up for the season. I shrink in embarrassment, suddenly ashamed to be a collared slave. This could be back home... except for the odd oldfashioned automobile rattling down the gritty street.
Not just that, I remind myself. None of the passersby are younger than eighteen. They're all in skirts or dresses. Gloves and hats are de riguer. No denims, a lady does not walk around in work wear. Instead, every single woman is wearing stockings... Seamed stockings that come to an end somewhere beyond all those swishing hemlines. Then bare thigh webbed by garter belts. How could I have taken all this for granted?
The blood drains from my brain into my groin. My penis inflates against its bars and I sway on the spot.
"So, there is no taxi?" says Lena, sharply.
"Sorry miss," says the station mistress. "End of season, you see. Marcia always visits the Mother Lands."
"So how," asks Lena. I detect a brittle edge in her voice. "Am I supposed to get to my accommodation?"
"Ask at the inn, they have a van." The station mistress slams down her shutter.
"Shit! Shit! Shit!" says Lena. She sniffs. "Right, this way." She sets off at a stride.
I drag the case after her, struggling not to fall behind. The pressure in my groin subsides and I just feel sweaty and abused.
A open topped car skids up to a halt making both of us jump.
A vamp in a leather pilot's helmet leans out of the driver's seat. "Say Lena, want a lift?"
Lena stiffens. "Charli! What the hell are you doing her?"
Charli shrugs. "I felt like a break."
"I'm the one taking a break. From women like you."
"Then you don't want a lift?" The engine roars.
"Hey! I didn't say that," yells Lena, laughing
Charli pulls a lever and the boot opens. "Hop in. Plenty of room for luggage in the back."
I drag the luggage to the rear and heft it into the boot. By the time I'm in back seat, Lena is already sitting next to Charli. She wraps a burgundy scarf around her hat. "I suppose you already know where I'm staying", she shouts over the din.
"Sure, doll, Clifftop Cottage," says Charli. The car lurches forward. "But let's take the scenic route!"
So we hurtle up the street. I glimpse a main street with an inn and fish brokers and chandlers, and strong armed sailer women. Then we're out of Saint Eves and whizzing along a cliff top with a view far out to sea.
With the wind in my face and the back of the car to myself, it's easy to pretend I'm a free man, and the woman in the passenger seat is my girlfriend. I stare at the nape of her neck and wonder what it will be like to kiss it.