First chapter of Chozen: Part 1

(Headspace series)

Prologue

 

Wren

 

Giving myself a pep talk and sweating bullets, I opened the door to the police station. Ever since they’d repeatedly come to my home when I was younger due to my mother, police officers had scared me. She would attract every loser from a ten-mile radius, and they’d all bought a bunch of trouble with them. Once she’d starting issuing threats to keep me silent, I was tarred with the same brush, and the police always walked away and left me with her.

I’d learned the hard way that life often sucked worse than a bitter lemon. However, it had taught me some vital lessons, and looking after true friendships was one of them. That meant doing something which had my stomach roiling and bile burning the back of my throat as I met the stern-looking man at the counter’s gaze. Ferron Robertson had been my best friend since year one in school, and that fact hadn’t changed in nearly eighteen years. I wasn’t about to let him down, not when it had been me that had sent him off to the new BDSM club, only for him not to have been seen since. I didn’t have a clue if it was linked to the place, or something else entirely. But I needed to find my friend and make sure he was okay. So that meant coming here and facing this dude.

Here goes nothing!

I licked my lips as I walked over to the counter and stopped, offering a smile I wasn’t feeling.

The man’s gaze remained hard as it swept over me. “How can I help you?”

Coughing to clear my throat, I brightened my smile. I’d been told before that it was sunny. Maybe it would give this guy a boost. “I’m here to report a missing person.”

There was a slight eyebrow raise as the man reached for something I couldn’t see under the counter. He asked several questions and I gave him my name, which the guy duly noted down. “Who is it that’s missing? And when did you last see them?”

That was easy to answer. I hadn’t seen Ferron since sending him off to the club that had been mentioned by some guy, who was more of an acquaintance than friend. He’d been super excited about what Dom’s Haven had to offer, and he’d suggested it was a perfect place for a sub looking to find a long-term Dom. The guy had raved for hours about the place, saying new subs were treated like kings. Thinking that was just what Ferron needed after the disaster I’d helped to create between him and Carl, a Dom at The Playroom who was also the co-owner, I’d pushed him to apply. Ferron and Carl had contracted on a few occasions, and Ferron had mooned over the guy. They’d seemed to have a real connection, which was the reason I’d stupidly encouraged Ferron to approach Carl. Carl had been a complete douche, rejecting Ferron in front of other club members, and it had sent Ferron into a tailspin.

The fact I’d been the one to encourage Ferron to join the BDSM scene and The Playroom was a bit of a downer. I’d recognised that Ferron was just like me—a sub at heart. Explaining all of this to the stern-looking copper though, was going to be difficult. I eyed the man in front of me and stood tall, pushing my shoulders back. “The missing person is called Ferron Robertson. And it’s been two weeks since I last saw him. We’re best friends and he hasn’t responded to any of my calls or text messages. It’s not like him. He hasn’t been to work and I’ve been to his house and it’s empty. There’s no one there, and it looks like there hasn’t been for some time, given the post gathering at his front door.”

The policeman’s eyebrow was now a little higher than before and he looked… bored. “Are you sure he just doesn’t want to talk to you? Maybe he’s taken a trip and hasn’t bothered to tell you.”

I huffed out a breath and willed myself not to shrink under the hard stare. “He’s not like that. He hasn’t been to work and he hasn’t called in sick or asked for time off. And the club we go to, he hasn’t been there either.” I avoided mentioning what type of club it was. Although, it would have to come out as the last place Ferron had gone to. “It’s like he’s disappeared. I’ve tried everything to find him.” I continued to explain my concerns, the officer writing down the details. But when his lips thinned into a disapproving line at the mere mention of BDSM, I didn’t hold out much hope of him doing much to help.

Was he even aware he was projecting a ‘don’t waste my time’ attitude?

I left half an hour later, the evidence for my theory that they weren’t interested having increased, given all the reasons I’d been provided with why Ferron hadn’t returned my calls. The officer probably thought we were sick, depraved fucks. Those that didn’t understand what we got from the lifestyle were often judgemental in my experience. I’d had previous boyfriends that fell into that category after mentioning what I liked. I was a pain slut who’d struggled for years trying to figure out why I got pleasure from pain, but in the end I’d given up worrying about the whys and wherefores and simply embraced who I was.

Frustration simmered within me as I hurried out of the police station and down the busy streets of London towards work. I worried my lower lip with my teeth while I tried to think about what else I could do. I’d considered talking to Carl, but after the way he’d rejected Ferron, that wasn’t on the cards. Nathan, the other co-owner of The Playroom, was also a no-go due to being best friends with Carl and the likelihood of him sharing whatever I told him.

I ticked off all the noes until I was left with just two options: leave the police to it, or go to Dom’s Haven and see what I could find out. Would the latter be the best option?

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the best thing to do. Once at work, I took a few minutes to go to the website for Dom’s Haven and pull up the application form. I filled it in, pausing at the question which asked for next of kin. When it wouldn’t let me move on, I inputted ‘none.’ I didn’t see why they’d need to know about my useless mother. Form completed, I hit send, tucking my phone away in my locker before heading out to set up the bar for the lunchtime crowd.

 

***

 

Days passed, my concern increasing as there was still no word from the police. Therefore, despite my legs aching from eight straight hours of standing, I decided to take Dom’s Haven up on their invite to join a newbie night. The bar I worked in paid well, and the tips were great, so I never complained about the lack of a break to sit down.

My stomach snarled at me as I headed towards a restaurant I often ate at on the way home. I was naturally skinny and could eat anything without gaining weight. This meant that even with my plan to go to the club tonight wearing tight leather or next to nothing, I didn’t need to worry about what I’d look like. I stepped into the divine-smelling fast food restaurant and ordered a burger with everything on it.

While I waited for my order, I dug into my pocket for my phone. The icon for emails showed several new ones, but it was the one I’d received days ago that I opened. There wasn’t much information about what to expect, except for the time I needed to arrive. That was a little odd. I shrugged it off, concentrating on the flutter of excitement that came from being able to figure out what had happened to Ferron.

I grinned, thinking about it in terms of going undercover. Maybe there’d be someone there who could tell me if they’d seen Ferron. Then I could tell the officer where to stick his missing person’s file. I chuckled at the thought as my name was called. Burger in hand, I mentally ran through all the outfits I had and what might be suitable for a first time in a new club.

Three hours later, my excitement had waned as I eyed a building that looked like it had seen better days. The place wasn’t what I’d expected. The pictures on the internet hadn’t shown how rundown it was. The big dude on the door, when he finally decided I could go in, gave off a scary vibe as I passed him. I’d arrived early, only to be forced to watch while others had gone in as I’d been held back. The weirdness of it all made me nervous. When I finally stepped into the foyer, it was empty apart from the sub staffing the front counter. I glanced around, noting that the interior was shabby enough to match the exterior. There was a stale scent, my nerves ramping up another notch.

Oh, this wasn’t good.

 Alarm bells started to ring inside my head. Had the guy at the bar been lying about this place? Stop being so pessimistic.

The Playroom was modern and clean. This place… wasn’t. The smell was off-putting to say the least.

The subs demeanour wasn’t helping. It was… scared. He didn’t meet my gaze. In fact, he didn’t even acknowledge me. An itch developed between my shoulder blades. The weird vibe from the place said ‘get the fuck out.’ After years of living with a thoughtless mother, I’d learned to listen to my gut feeling. There was something not right about this place, my concern for my friend increasing.

I clasped my hands together as I was struck by an urgent need to turn around and walk right back out of the door. Or run. Yeah, that seemed like the best idea. I eyed the closed door, my stomach twisting into one huge, painful knot.

Why wasn’t anyone coming in behind me? There’d been other men queueing. I looked back at the silent man. “Why is no one else coming through the door?”

Nothing. He sat like a statue, staring at the floor.

Oh fuck! I took a step backwards, sweat beading on my skin. I hadn’t taken any more than two steps when a door opened to my left, the urge to flee increasing as an unsmiling Dom appeared. His appraising gaze swept me from head to toe, my blood freezing in my veins at the feral grin that followed his scrutiny. He was staring at me like I was a… prize.

I took a step towards the door. Suddenly, this was the last place I wanted to be. I felt like I was prey in the forest, one who was being stalked by a wild animal. The Dom hadn’t moved, but his presence loomed large, the space shrinking more with each passing second.

A shuddery breath left my body as my back hit the closed door. I felt for the handle at my back with a slippery hand. Something sinister passed across the Dom’s face, the action making me unable to exhale despite having just sucked in a deep breath.

“Now… where do you think you’re going?” the Dom questioned as he reached for me with a meaty hand.

“I’m not feeling well. I think I should go,” I croaked out past dry lips. I pushed on the handle but it didn’t budge. Oh fuck! My pulse rammed itself into the back of my throat, making it impossible to swallow.

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere,” he snarled.

Before I could do anything, the Dom launched himself at me, and I was lifted and thrown over his massive shoulder. The air that, only seconds earlier, had refused to leave my chest came out in a noisy exhale with force as I hit the guy’s shoulder. An arm clamped across the back of my legs, pain shooting through me as he swung me around so fast that my head bounced off the wall. White spots appeared in front of my eyes. I blinked, tears dripping onto the floor beneath me.

The scent of cheesy cock enveloping me caused me to balk. Dazed, I started to struggle as it dawned on me that I was in serious trouble. I wasn’t sure how I knew, but I knew that if this man managed to cart me off I wouldn’t be able to get out. I shouted for someone to “help me!”

My frantic gaze went to the man sitting at the desk. His eyes briefly showed sadness and regret before he dipped his head.

Jesus, what was happening here?

I struggled anew, continuing to shout as the Dom hauled me towards the door he’d appeared through. My voice was raw, my heart beating a hard tattoo against my ribs as useless tears fell from my eyes. The last thing I saw as the door closed was the sub’s eyes. They were empty, and I understood that whatever was happening, it wasn’t the first time.

Fear crawled its way through my body to leave me speechless. I was paralysed by the knowledge that I’d walked right into a living nightmare.

 

Copyright © 2021 by J Paton