The Watchmaker

by Wendy Quallsham
She stepped through the doorway skittishly, as if the room contained all manners of mechanical horrors lying in wait for her. The watchmaker brushed his hand gently across the small of her back, a tiny caress, and urged her forward.
     “Come and see, my dear.” He closed the door, the lock clicking shut behind them.
     She stood docilely while her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the single gas lantern burning quietly in the corner. The shadows resolved themselves into blobs, and then into shapes, those of the watchmaker bustling around his newest invention in the semi-darkness. There was a click, a whirr, and something in the device started to move.
     “I promised you would like it, did I not?” he asked. “Two years I’ve been building it, in between my other projects, and you will be the one to help me put it through its paces. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
     “Yes,” she whispered.

     The watchmaker came to her then, his wire-rimmed spectacles reflecting tiny glints of light. “Miranda.” He took her cold hands in his own. “Come.”
She squeezed his hands and took a step forward. It wasn’t far, but it was assent.
“Excellent!” The watchmaker led her toward the device in the center of the room, then released her hand for a moment to pick up a length of silk cord. “Think of this as a maiden voyage.”
     She held her hands out trustingly, wrists together, and the watchmaker obligingly tied the appropriate knots. She let her gaze slide over the machine while he occupied himself with her hands. It was large, about a man’s height, and shaped rather like an empty spool of thread with some assorted clockwork at either end. The spool appeared to be smooth, but as she allowed her eyes to linger she was able to make out the occasional wooden knob on the surface.
The watchmaker jerked abruptly on the rope, throwing her off-balance, then caught her around the waist and pressed a quick kiss on her mouth as she toppled toward him. She gasped and shivered against him.
     “You may keep the dress, my dear, but the drawers have to go.” He carefully tied the loose end of the rope around one of the protruding wooden knobs, just above her head, then knelt and casually ran his hand from her ankle up the inside of her leg. She flinched and murmured softly. The watchmaker smiled and ran his hand higher, up to the seam of her drawers, and pulled them sharply downward. The scent of her arousal whispered through the air, and the watchmaker exhaled in satisfaction.
     “Good, good. Focus on the machine.” He made short work of her drawers, shoes, and stockings, urging her to shift her weight so he could slide them off her legs.
     “Is it . . . moving?”
     “Very good, my dear! Yes, it moves autonomously. You may think of it rather like a clock-powered waterwheel, I suppose. Can you feel the rotation pulling your hands higher?”
     “Yes,” she sighed.
     “It will keep moving as the clock inside it moves.” The watchmaker produced two more lengths of silk cord and commenced binding her trim ankles to bolt-rings driven into the base of the machine. “As time ticks by, the machine will wind tighter, pulling your arms up and backwards around the drum. If I were to leave the room right now and come back in a few hours, you will have been quite literally pulled apart.” He finished his knot and caressed her bare foot. “And if I were to just sit here and watch, I would see you stretched tighter and higher until you were lying completely on your back spread against the drum, with those pert breasts pointed up into the air. I could wait and delight in your exquisite suffering until you were ready to beg me for mercy.” He stood abruptly and leaned in to loom over her. “I’ve changed my mind – the dress needs to go too.”
     She shifted her weight and tested the strength of her bonds, but they held fast. “I . . . the dress fastens in the back,” she panted. “But please don’t untie me.”
     “I wouldn’t dream of it, my dear!” the watchmaker replied. “I will promise to buy you a new dress, though.” He rummaged through a drawer of a side table until he came up triumphantly with a small pair of scissors.
     “It’s not– oooh!” Her words broke into a moan as the watchmaker jerked harshly at a handful of material at the front of her skirts, then buried the scissors in the cloth. The rending of fabric echoed in the air as he tore a single line down to the hem of her skirts and chemise, then ran the blade up the skirts until they were split to her waist. She sucked in a breath at the feel of the cold of the metal touching her skin as he ran it higher, across her waist, and between her breasts.
     The watchmaker carefully replaced the scissors in their original drawer, then turned and spent a moment just admiring the rise and fall of Miranda’s breasts in the dim light. With an abrupt turn, he retrieved the lantern from the corner and held it high in the air. She turned her head from the light, but the watchmaker took his time appreciating the smooth lines of her skin, tantalizing beneath the ragged edges of the torn dress fabric. Her arms were bound higher now, and she was struggling to stay upright and not be pulled up and backward onto the slowly rotating drum behind her.
     The watchmaker turned and set the lantern on the side table, then knelt at Miranda’s feet and flicked her torn skirts aside. He leaned forward and delivered a quick jab of his tongue to the back of her knee, causing her legs to buckle and a soft moan to escape her mouth. The ropes around her wrists kept her upright, but she sagged against the drum as the watchmaker ran his tongue and his nimble fingertips up higher, past the sensitive insides of her thighs, up to the place where she was already damp and aching. He trailed his fingertips across her hipbones, then held her skirts out of the way with one firm hand on each buttock as he bent his head and feasted.
     Miranda moaned and shook her head from side to side, pulling ineffectually at her bound wrists which were now pinning her tightly against the curved surface at her back. She tried to hitch her hips, but the awkward angle and the watchmaker’s hands and the ropes at her ankles prevented her from doing more than just increasing the torture of his touch. The watchmaker darted his tongue around her center and sucked powerfully. The sensation was too much, and an involuntary scream burst from her as she convulsed. The tension on her wrists and her ankles prevented her from moving her body as she shuddered, which only made her quiver harder.
     The watchmaker waited for the last tremors to leave her body before standing and shedding his clothes. She lay back against the machine and watched him patiently, out of breath and eyes slightly unfocused. He took his time unbuttoning his shirt and sliding it off his arms, then unbuttoning his trousers so his erection could spring free. As drained as she was, Miranda couldn’t suppress an appreciative smile when she saw it.
     He noticed her attention and his erection bobbed all on its own. He moved more quickly then, shedding his shoes and trousers until he was standing before her wearing his spectacles and nothing else.
     “Can you feel it move, my dear? The power of the machine pulling you apart?”
     “I feel it.” She shuddered again.
     “Good.” The watchmaker stepped forward again and caressed her breast, running a light path down her chest and stomach before tracing around her hip and letting his hand come to rest at the small of her back. Her skin quivered under his touch. He shifted even closer, urging her forward with his hand on her back while letting his erection trace patterns across her taut stomach. She was standing on tiptoe now, the silken rope cutting into her ankles, and her skin was pulled smooth and tight as her arms were stretched to their fullest above her head.
     A sound broke from her throat, somewhere between a pant and a sob. “I want . . .”
     The watchmaker hitched his hips forward, grinding his pelvis against the softness of her stomach. “What is it you want, Miranda? You want me to do this inside you? Or you want me to stay here and suckle you like this” – he leaned forward and gave her breast a vicious tug with his teeth – “until the machine pulls you apart?”
     “I don’t know!” she sobbed, trying to thrust her hips forward to grind against him but only managing to lift them a fraction of an inch from the unyielding drum.
     “Do you want to come apart with pleasure or with pain?” he demanded.
     “I don’t know! It doesn’t matter! Just-”
     “Just fuck you?”
     “Yes,” she cried. “Oh god, yes!”
     He grunted assent and used his free hand to position himself at her entrance. She was panting in earnest now, little feminine sounds of despair or delight. Her toes were just grazing the ground. The watchmaker pushed forward, just a little, and closed his eyes in bliss at the feel of her slippery wetness coating the tip of him. He withdrew, then thrust forward again sharply.
     Her cry echoed through the room, and it was only the lateness of the hour and the relative privacy of the workroom that prevented any passerby from taking alarm at the intensity of it. The watchmaker joined her cry with a groan of his own, and began a steady cadence of thrust and retreat. Miranda’s cries became wordless entreaties, a tumbled rush of noise and breathing and longing, and the watchmaker responded to each tiny sound with an unyielding rhythm until she tensed under him one last time and they both shuddered together and he collapsed across her taut body.
     The watchmaker eventually roused himself enough to lean around the side of the machine and fiddle with the clockwork until the whirring and ticking stopped and the machine quivered to a standstill. He untied Miranda’s ankles and then lay back on the floor, chest heaving in great bursts as he regained his breath. Miranda lay silently, half-reclined on the curve of the machine, also waiting for her heartbeat to return to normal.
     “So, my love,” he asked when he finally had enough breath to speak, “do you approve?”
     “I do indeed,” she said quietly. “I anticipate discovering a great many things about your machine in the future. Tomorrow, perhaps we could try it out again?”
     “Aye, tomorrow, perhaps.” He pulled himself to a sitting position and smiled up at her. “Will you be wanting to do the tying, dear wife?”
     “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she replied.