Chapter 1- Yahal Brothel

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Hot, stale air clogged Henri's lungs as he approached a metal chair built into the wall. A man came and pressed several buttons on the arm of the chair causing the metal wrist restraints to retract. No one spoke. Seven of ten chairs along the wall contained restrained men, most sweating profusely. Unlike the others, who quivered with nerves, Henri grinned.

His right eye twitched with excitement when he looked at the restraints that awaited him.

Sinking into his seat, Henri placed his thick wrists on the armrests, and metal bands emerged and closed, tightening around his wrists and ankles. The attendant walked over to the entrance and closed the metal door, settling net-glasses over his eyes. Once the metal bar clanged into place, no one else could enter. His work complete, the attendant stood by the door, arms folded, glasses black so he couldn't see the room.

The sweat, a product of both fear and heat, dripped into Henri's eyes.

From the chair, a final restraint slid forth and encircled his head, holding him in place. He didn't object to the restriction of his movement.

I didn't come here to see the other men strapped helplessly in their chairs, after all. I bet none of them even know what the show is. I wonder if any of them will scream. I love shows with screamers.

After a few moments, the lights went out. The heat remained, swelling, filling all his senses. The thick, sweltering air and straps were all he felt. One man began to whimper. The sound sent licks of anticipation down Henri's spine. This was going to be an exceptional show. No one else spoke or made a sound.

As the seconds ticked by, his eyes grew accustomed to the dark. In the nearly lightless room, he saw Silvia's slender form, the darkness holding her close. At first, she was only a curvy silhouette against the back wall.

Silvia moved among the shadows with no more substance than a muffled scream. A small flame bloomed on a candle. She stood in its flickering light, both hands clasped around the tall white pillar. Even in the grotesque shadows of the candle's flame, her face was cold and perfect. Black hair streaked with red hung to her waist. Her eyes glowed in the darkness, the black eyes of a beast. Silvia took a few silent steps toward them. The only sound she made came from the gold tassels of her belt rustling against the russet robe encasing her body.

The shadows partnered Silvia in a sensual dance. Hands pale as smoke against the night sky caressed a jungle of dark shapes and didn't neglect any of them. A sigh parted her full lips and rippled in the silence. Six candles blared to light along the side walls even as the one in her hand dropped.

Those pale fingers had better things to do than hold flame. The tasseled belt fell. The russet gown slipped like a creature forgotten to the floor. Beneath it, she wore only the tissue-paper-like undergarments usual to brothels. Her black eyes inspected the restrained men. She ran one finger down the center of her chest. Her nail cut through the undergarments, and they flared to ash.

Lust brought Henri crashing back into his body. This was not a woman he would ever touch, but the thought of her taloned fingers on his body brought a moan to his lips. Those were foolish dreams. Strapped to a chair across a room was as closer than any sane man would ever get to Silvia, the Spider Queen.

As she posed, a shadow entered the room behind her. Henri watched its skittering movements and waited with bated breath for the others to see the beast. The spider was huge, standing as tall as Silvia's waist, and its eyes stared back unblinking. Then one man choked back a scream.

Silvia smiled and began to dance, her movements fluid. The spider approached her. It came up and stopped inches from her white body. With infinite care, it caressed her shoulder with one long, hairy leg. Her face leaned against its leg in an automatic lover's gesture. Feelers touched her hair, and she reached up one arm to hold it against her.

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