Several hundred people are gathered in the main amphitheater and the chatter is low, solemn, but cheerful. Ownership Day is usually a really big celebration, the day when owners are permitted to take their slaves to collar in public ceremony and submissives are acknowledged as being part of a household or in the collar of a particular family. Every year I’d loved that day and looked forward to the O.D. when I’d have my own collar cold fused to my neck or the wristband permanently attached to my hand.
And my Ownership Day had finally come and I was devastated.
I had reached a point in my career and service where I was obligated to be under a collar, as a slave. Problem was, I didn’t have an Owner.
Usually slaves would be housed with a loving Leather Family of their choice if this point in their lives came and they weren’t Owned. Due to the odd quirks in my character, by not finding a suitable House with a position befitting my status and the fact that most Owners simply cannot abide the idea of having their slave’s reputation eclipse theirs, I reached a position of Senior Slave without the necessary counterpart of an owner.
An old clause was invoked and I was “offered” the position of “Slave in Service to Leather.”
That is in quotes because I didn’t have any choice, really. I couldn’t go any further solo and I was being given an essentially face-saving honor that no one even gets anymore.
And it was killing me.
I stood in line at the processing and registration center with my flesh frozen on my bones as other bright eyed submissives and slaves came to me and congratulated me on this honor. I could taste their carefully worded congratulations tinged as they were with the patina of coppery pity. No one comes into their need for slavery and ownership and prays for the day that they are dedicated to the Community. The original title was “Utility Slave” and this was reserved for those who were unplaceable but conducted themselves well. Only after years of progression had the title slid towards an honorific.
But tradition is slow to change and the collar still bore the simple insignia U.S. and on the reverse indicated that you have reached the “Exalted level of service to Tradition, To Honor, and To All.
And I hated it.
The day of my number assignment, my collar fitting, my O.D. slipped around me like a chilled shroud and I can’t even remember how I got to the Ceremonial amphitheater. In the assembled crowd were the main family groups with their flags and colors. Groups of households, Alpha slaves to new trainees all in their place rank, some standing or kneeling according to their status and the Family’s tradition.
Here and there in the crowd, gems in a diadem, I saw the people who had moved through my life and though whose lives I’d passed. My first Trainer. Mentors, friends, lovers, play-partners, all of those who had stood behind me and supported me and broken me and taught me and brought me to this point.
This day where, very shortly, I’d be cut off from the one thing I had wanted: the singularity of my Owner’s hand on my heart.
In the front and to the left were the men to whom I had, in one way or another, offered myself and yet not ever been accepted as Family. They had to sponsor me into this collar. And that was so very, very galling. I would gladly have been their but for one reason or many, they never applied to take me.
Sure there are plenty of reasons…but as of now, even in the moment of profound ceremony, all I could do was rend myself inside and wonder why I was not enough. Why I was too much. Why it wasn’t ever right. And as I felt the curious piteous smug condescending empathetic blend of their emotions cover me, I did my best to shake it off. They could hardly look at me. I thought they were taking the easy way out by turning their gaze elsewhere. But then again, had they not already taken the easy way out?
The worst was the downcast demure kneeling of their slaves, gathered around them, never having to wade upstream of the humiliating, face-saving “Honor” I was about to accept.
The ceremony was a blur until my portion, set apart as it was by the fact I was the only one going U.S.
I knew there would be no prince on a horse to save me from this. I held in one hand my ceremonial Lead-tether and in the other the collar. A few simple words, the collar was on my neck, the serpentine platinum sighed as the cold fusing weld was applied and as surely as I was buried in my grave my heart would never be under the command of one master.
I turned to face the assembled crowd, who rose and applauded me, and I smiled, and tears surged in my eyes as this applause sounded like the coldest wind on the darkest night of my life.
I was in the receiving line as person after person came to hug or kiss me or shake my hand. My last House Leader finally crossed me and, as was his right, kissed me. Finally looking me in the eye, he stopped cold for a moment. I know he, of all people, saw the emptiness in my heart. He paused in the formality of the congratulatory speech, and blinked. I leaned in and whispered “I am lost.” and stood back and, with a polite smile, saluted him with my right hand on my collar as befitted my status and his. He turned away quickly without returning the gesture and left me to the task of greeting his slaves, my former “Sisters,” and “Brothers” and the rest of the assembled dignitaries and friends in the Hall.
And a bell rang.
And rang, and the edges of the hall were pulled away as the bell’s metallic tone rolled into the signature of a strange telephone ring…I woke up to my hand reflexively reaching for a telephone. Hotel. Florida. Phone Call from the gracious host of this leather event.
The events of the weekend smash back in and I compose myself to take this call, extended to me with so much grace it shakes the threads of this nightmare away.
I’m rolled in bed. Sweaty, shaken. This dream slams back in as I wrap up my phone call and I cry. I cry because this fear is so very, very real and yet, even so, it is, of course, “just” a Bad Dream.