Natalie (pars duo) -or- est Murum -or- "Magnificum in Suspensio"

The Wall weighs more than 300 pounds. It is a construct of forty-two pine 2x4s, each six feet in length. As such, it is roughly square, and a smidge smaller than your standard king-size bed. It required a somewhat herculean feat of engineering to position it and fasten it securely to the drywall and studs beneath, but I managed. And it was quite worth it—as far as easels go, it really has no equal.

Above the Wall, secured into ceiling joists are two galvanized steel, half-inch eyebolts, precisely eight feet apart. There is a similar set up on the floor, but here the eyebolts are anchored directly into the concrete. Threaded through the bolts are lengths of chain, each culminating in a screw link with a pair of handcuffs dangling from their own chain. This allows the cuffs to be doubled around wrist and ankle. A person of virtually any size or weight can thus easily be suspended—or stretched—against the Wall indefinitely—or until their hands are torn from their arms. And in case you are wondering, the answer is yes; it tends to be a messy endeavor.

Generally speaking, I have little need of souvenirs. My impeccable memory renders them a trivial and unnecessary luxury that could someday too easily connect me to my crimes. But Natalie was so splendid—such ripe perfection suspended against the smooth pine surface. If I wasn’t to keep her, then perhaps something a bit more… tangible was in order. After all, profound beauty is all but owed some form of enduring commemoration, wouldn’t you agree? I positioned and secured a blanket of finely woven linen canvas to the Wall beneath the full breadth and length of her glorious body.

For some time, the tremendous weight of Natalie’s eyelids moored her to the dark waters of unconsciousness, even dangling from her chains as she was. I traced a finger lightly along her smooth, bare skin to entertain myself until she came around enough to begin to evaluate her predicament. Groggy, she pulled against the cuffs and chains that held her in place. They jangled like music—a soundtrack of sorts to the next phase of our relationship.

She was understandably confused and winced against the pain of hanging in such a manner. “Hurts,” she said. “Help.”

I guided her feet to a small stool so that she could take some of the pressure from her splayed arms. Once her heels were upon it and bearing most of her weight, she was able to draw several long, deep breaths. For a brief moment, I was transfixed by the rise and fall of her impossibly perfect breasts. Then I drew taut some of the links of the chains secured to her ankles. I was not about to underestimate a well-placed kick.

The increase in oxygen helped to bring her around a bit more.

“Hello lovely,” I said.

Her blinks were slow and deliberate. Tears slipped down her flushed cheeks. She gave me a look awash with fury, but there was not even a hint of fear in her eyes. She pulled at the chains binding her arms to test their strength. When she realized that was futile, she attempted every possible contrivance that she could come up with. Seduction was her principal tactic. She offered her body to me again. Tempting as it was, I’d already reveled in that experience and I would soon enjoy her body in an entirely different—though no less enjoyable—way.

She said she would leave her husband and stay with me permanently. Given her sociopathic nature, I suspected she’d be very suited to my particular vocation, and might well take immense pleasure in it. Unfortunately, one’s sincerity can hardly be trusted when chained to a wooden wall in someone’s basement. But I did so enjoy her plotting—and her silky, slightly hoarse voice provided a pleasurable lyric to the chorus and jingle of chains and metal.

I didn’t bother to disguise my disappointment when she tried to buy her way off the Wall. That was the least original, and most ineffective of all of her pleas. Though I suppose it must be for some, money has never been part of my primary motivation. Besides, I’d already checked, and there was at least a thousand dollars in her wallet, and the giant gleaming diamond on her finger would easily fetch several thousand more.

I drove the first nail through her left wrist. It’s mostly a superficial wound, intended more for mounting than anything else. The radius and ulna prevent much in the way of side-to side movement, and the metacarpals of the wrist bear the weight of the body nicely—just ask Jesus. The wound can also have the added benefit of damaging the nerves that control movement of the fingers, which makes subsequent stages on the Wall much easier.

Natalie surprised me by snarling in anger as the nail pierced her. If there was pain, it was masked by rage. She flexed her toned arms—pulling herself up off of the stool I’d so kindly provided—and tried to kick against the chains at me, to no avail. Still she pulled and struggled, the steel rings of the handcuffs digging into her divine skin.

When I pounded the second nail into her right wrist, she howled like a wounded animal and tossed her head from side to side and banged it into the Wall behind her. Blood coursed down the white canvas, tracing crimson gravitational lines parallel to her body. It, likewise, trickled along the inside of her arms and dripped off near the elbows. I gave her tight belly a soft kiss. She bucked and squirmed under my lips and roared. Her empty platitudes became emptier (and increasingly vulgar) threats­—she made it abundantly clear that our little honeymoon was over.

I made some adjustments to Natalie’s chains that left her tightly spread-eagled against the wall. Her breathing immediately became more labored and shallow. If I did things just right, and didn’t clip an artery along the way, she might have a few hours before she suffocated. In the meantime, we had art to create.

I began with her fingertips, one at a time. Here, two-inch common nails were more than adequate. Sometimes the nails would ricochet off of the distal phalanges before embedding in the Wall. Other times, I could feel the bones shatter through the handle of the hammer. I pounded several more through the metacarpals at the knuckle joints and a few more into the center of the hand. Then I moved down her body, dragging the galvanized tips of two eight-inch spikes along her smooth skin as I went.

These were destined for the tibiotalar joints in Natalie’s ankles—the point where the tibia meets the talus bone of the foot. After a wealth of experimentation, I’ve found few things more exquisitely painful than the ravaging of a joint. By her screams for a God I’m quite sure she didn’t believe in, I can only assume Natalie agreed.

I drove two twelve-inch spikes through the soft flesh of her hips. They pierced the ilia of her pelvic bones and sank several inches into the Wall. With those, I was reasonably certain that she would not be leaving our intimate arrangement without substantial assistance. I unclasped the cuffs from her feet and wrists, which left her suspended by a combination of fewer than thirty nails and spikes.

If she thought she’d been granted a reprieve, she was mistaken. She wasn’t going anywhere, but still she struggled and raged. I was reminded of our sweaty fuck from just a few hours prior as tears dripped from her chin and fell onto her breasts. I licked one from a pink nipple, relishing the taste of her anguish and wrath on my tongue. The hatred in her eyes bordered on maniacal or perhaps feral. On the Wall, Natalie had become more animal than human. I watched with interest as she strained and pulled against the nails pinning her to the 2x4’s, grimacing, grunting and screaming through an agony of broken bones, punctured flesh, and ruined joints. Fresh blood began to pour from her wounds as nail heads tore through tissue. I must admit, I was impressed by her determination.

“I think not, my darling,” I told her, and retrieved a ten-inch spike from my cart. I impaled her right shoulder with it, angled inward toward her spine. Her shriek was one of purest suffering as the spike shattered her acromion, obliterated her rotator cuff and punctured her scapula before embedding into the pine. Her upper body weight put additional stress on the devastated joint, and all of the fight went out of beautiful Natalie. Her screams, deafening at first, degraded into moans and whimpers. Blood streamed down her chest and fell to the floor from her nipples with perceptible plops.

Natalie’s breathing was now very rapid. She couldn’t find any leverage to raise herself to exhale adequately, and any attempt to pull herself up by her left arm would be met with excruciating pain from her opposite shoulder. Her head hung down, bobbing with silent sobs. She could no longer find the air to scream.

After the best part of the following hour, both Natalie and the canvas were painted with long, thin strokes of red. The spaces beneath her outstretched arms looked rather like bright, crimson wings. Blood oozed between her legs, and dripped from her painted and manicured toenails.

She never asked me why. The empty darkness inside of her understood. She never begged me to stop, or to finish it. She knew there would be no reprieve.

Our time was drawing to an end. I lifted her chin and kissed the corner of her exquisite mouth. Then I pounded a spike through the back of her throat. She began to retch and gag against the metal and could no longer exhale. I watched her until she started to fade.

“Farewell, my sweet,” I whispered. She focused on me for the briefest of seconds. Her mouth moved in a silent goodbye. Then I plunged the longest of my spikes through her eyeball. By hand.

I shuddered and sighed as she departed for the Else.

Perfect Natalie now hangs over the fireplace mantle—“Magnificum in Suspensio,”—even more lovely than in life.

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