Martin Mundt’s third short fiction collection, Synchronized Sleepwalking, offers stories from the perversely amusing to the darkly imaginative to the unsettlingly heartwrenching. This collection is filled with some of the best stories you’re likely to read this, or any, year. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find inside. We’ll let you decide whether this is one of the perversely amusing or heartwrenching offerings…
A BIRD IN HAND
Winner of the World Horror Convention Flash Fiction Contest, 2005
“Punish me, Mistress,” I said.
Lady Mistress Godiva’s black hair flowed in braids to her knees, shining from the silver wires that were bound into them, the steel tips glittering in the dungeon’s candlelight. She whipped her favorite slaves with her barbed-wire braids, raking up blood with the needle-points. I deserved a whipping like that.
“Your obedience will be unconditional, unquestioning, utterly complete,” she said, her braids shimmering down her back like violet wands as she paced.
I nodded. She paid no attention. What more agreement was needed beyond my eager presence?
“You’re new, of course,” she said, “so you’ll need a safety phrase …”
“Please don’t sue me.” I blurted out the phrase I’d used so often before with women. She glared at my interruption. I hung my head. “I’m a lawyer,” I mumbled, radiating shame.
“I must finish with another slave,” she said after a terrible moment of silence. “When I return, you will be naked and kneeling.” She left without another word.
I stripped and knelt, then glanced around the room, having noticed nothing while my Mistress was present.
Coiled bullwhips swirled like sadistic graffiti on tables. Buckled harnesses hung on the walls, straps spread like black blood-splatter. Unidentifiable chrome devices, like medical equipment gone feral, menaced me with the promise of unbearable stretching and hoisting and piercing. And I saw the parrot, perched on a padded leather stand.
I stood, having never in my wildest fantasies, my most pornographic researches, my most humiliating cravings, ever imagined any possible use for a parrot.
“Kneel!” the bird screeched.
My knees flinched, reflexively obedient. Had the bird merely repeated a word spoken so often in its presence that it mimicked the sound and inflection of command without understanding? Or did Mistress’ mind-games extend even to hidden cameras and demonstrations of abject servility shown even to her personal bird?
“Kneel!” shrieked the bird.
I couldn’t take the chance. I knelt.
“You’ve been a bad, bad boy.”
Guilt — my familiar pre-ejaculate — squirted into my brain. I hung my head, having indeed been a bad, bad boy.
“Awk, you’re a pathetic worm, awk,” squawked the parrot, though I heard only my Mistress’ voice. “Give me your cock, awk.”
In seconds, the bird squirmed in my hands like a clawed vagina.
“Give me your cock!” it squealed, feverish, frenzied.
“I’m trying,” I pleaded.
I was harder than I had ever been before, and I gave the bird my cock in the only opening I could. The sharp, bony clamp of claws on my testicles was a new, if welcome, agony. I thrust my hips, swabbing my penis with the warm, bloody, horrible, lovely bird. Thrust and squawk drowned out the world for minutes or hours, until, suddenly, the bird detonated, feathers exploding everywhere like green shrapnel. I collapsed in a pool of blood, semen and parrot-nuggets, totally spent, barely alive, and certainly no longer fully human. I lay in a post-coital fugue, autistic static filling my mind, until, at long last, Mistress’ stilettos straddled my face, now glued to the drying puddle of my bestial humiliation.
“Please don’t sue me,” I croaked, thinking I meant it, but Mistress knew better. She lashed her fee out of me in blood with her braids, and I gladly paid extra for the bird.
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