guest posts

A Good Beating, Guest Post by Xan West

This story contains: consensual kink including pain play, rough body play, boot play, edge play, D/s, playing with rage.

an excerpt from Shocking Violet

for Edith, who helped immensely in the eleventh hour

Hunter was one of those older leathermen who didn’t use the word play, called his scenes sessions, and took himself extremely seriously. Zak was certain he had never seen him smile.

This was one of the zillion ways that leather life would make no sense to outsiders. He’d never call Hunter a fuck buddy…because they would never be buddies. (Or fuck, for that matter.) But once a month, he beat the snot out of Zak for a couple hours. They’d been doing this for two years, and it was one of the steady constants that kept Zak going. He needed this.

He’d been surprised when Hunter approached him, because silver fox muscled cis leathermen didn’t generally line up to play with thirtysomething fat trans guys in thick glasses who were more cute than handsome. It had been a few weeks after Sam and Neo had dumped him. His friends had dragged Zak to the Eagle with them, even though he was absolutely certain he had “just dumped” stamped on his forehead and would be terrible company.

He’d seen Hunter around, of course, with his perfectly trimmed silver beard and well-used, extremely well-kept leathers. Zak knew his reputation as a heavy top who was very serious and respectful, and wanted no romance and no sex in his kink. But he was shocked as hell when Hunter approached him before he’d even ordered his usual seltzer, and had said, “You look like you could use a good beating.”

Zak was demiro and gray-ace, and had considered approaching Hunter for play, even though they’d never spoken. He’d thought Hunter would be a good fit, because of his boundaries around romance and sex. When they’d negotiated, Hunter had lead off with “I want to be real clear about something. I’m aroace, do you know what that means?” And Zak had sighed with relief, before sharing his own a-spec IDs. He’d never played with another a-spec person before, and that had him even more excited than the prospect of a good beating.

Though Zak had definitely needed a good beating that night. He’d needed to have the snot beaten out of him so damn badly. It was the best way to find his mad, which was blanketed over with numbness.

He needed a good beating today too. Needed the pain, and the intensity, and just the sheer physicality of it, as a way to move some of what had gotten stuck last night. All that rage he’d had to control when he was facing down Rickie’s asshole of an ex. He needed a way to let some of that out, or it would eat at him.

Sessions with Hunter gave him a way to release some of his rage. For all his formality, he was perfectly fine with Zak screaming, sobbing, and cursing him out. As long as Zak took everything he could, pushed himself, Hunter was happy. He actually seemed to like it when Zak cursed at him, though he would never smile. But his eyes would get this gleam…Zak was pretty sure Hunter was happiest when Zak called him a fucking asshole. What more could he ask for, really? It was rare to find a top that was up for that.

The first Sunday of the month at 1pm, Zak would show up at Hunter’s fancy place in DUMBO, to be methodically taken apart in the man’s living room. After all this time, his body knew what was coming, and was already running on adrenaline before he rang the bell. Hunter was in his full leathers, like always. The only thing that ever changed was the boots. Today it was Wesco Jobmasters, with red stitching, and Zak had a hard time paying attention to anything else for a moment because they were so beautiful. Those treads were going to feel so good.

After greeting Zak, and leading him to the living room, Hunter picked up his very fluffy light grey cat, Melisande. (Zak suspected, but had never confirmed, that she was named after the character in Kushiel’s Dart.) Hunter carried Melisande to her room, crooning to her, telling her she was beautiful and perfect and how very much he adored her. Yes, she had her own room, but of course she liked to roam freely through the apartment (aka her territory). So, when Zak came over for a session, Hunter always set her up in her room and put on Richard Attenborough’s Birds of Paradise for her—it was her favorite video, after all.

When he came back into the living room, he usually slid right into the scene, so Zak shucked down to his boxer briefs and boots, and got himself into headspace. Today was no different; Hunter stalked over and immediately bent him over the side of the couch, yanking his belt from his pants, and proceeded to beat Zak’s back. It was gloriously quick and jarring, and so much of Zak’s most favorite kind of pain all at once, with no traditional warm up at all. Zak couldn’t make words, or even sounds, everything went quiet for this. He was grateful for the couch, for its cool leather pressing into his cheek, the sturdy way it held him. He would not have been able to stand as Hunter poured this gorgeous blaze of pain into him, filled him up with it, methodically, ruthlessly. Yes. This was the way to start, pain swirling into every bit of him so there was nothing else at all. Nothing but the searing wonder of this.

This was the way they began, the way they re-learned each other, tested each other. Abundance, right from the start, a foundation of things to come. It would build and build until Zak bent, like always, and let the first drops of whatever was stuck, out. That meant tears. Sometimes it took 3 minutes of the belt, and sometimes it took 30. It rarely took more than that for Zak to let go. For Zak’s body, and psyche, to take in the reality that he could have as much pain as he needed, and that it was okay to let go.

For so many tops, tears were a signal to end a scene. In their sessions, Zak’s tears were a signal it was really beginning. It took a wonderfully long time to make a crack in the dam today. Such an incredible relief when it finally came, and the sobs were drawn from his body by the inexorable, patient blows of the belt he loved dearly.

It made him so angry to cry. He had always hated it, and most especially hated doing it in front of other people. That’s why this worked, tears were the best way to create an entry point for the rage. Hunter pulled Zak up to stand, and marched him over to the exposed brick wall he had in his fucking living room. That wall was the height of self-indulgence, and a marker of wealth funneled into kinky purpose. Hunter wanted a brick wall in his living room to slam boys into, so he made it happen. And really, who was Zak to complain? It felt so damned good, the roughness of the brick against the welts on his back.

Hunter was done with the belt. He put on his gloves, then pulled his leather sap from his back pocket, fitting the strap onto his hand as if he had all the time in the world. Which, Zak supposed, he did. They were on Hunter’s timetable now. Where he got to be patient and precise, and use as much thud as he wanted. Sting cracked the dam, but thud…thud pissed Zak the fuck off, so much that he let his rage flood out.

Zak thrust his chin out, anticipating what came next. When Hunter put a hand on his shoulder to hold him in place, and met his gaze, Zak glared. Hunter nodded, and began, the blows slow and methodical, driving into Zak’s bicep. They were jarring, in a deep way, made Zak feel off balance, even with the wall behind him and Hunter’s hand bracing him. The off balance was inside, this sense of being trapped and needing to prove himself and bubbling rage, already sparked by the tears still drying on his cheeks.

“Fuck you,” he spit into Hunter’s face. The man simply hit him harder, making it very clear that he was barely using his strength at all, didn’t need to, as the lead inside the sap did the work for him. Heat built under the pounding, bruises were blooming. Hunter was fucking relentless. The ball of anger grew inside him, the more Zak stood there, and took it, and glared; and Hunter’s face was this completely fucking inscrutable wall for Zak to throw himself against. Steady, constant, dependably there, poking and poking until Zak exploded, knowing that Hunter would stay steady all the way through, hold all of it.

Zak hated and loved Hunter’s inscrutability, because it made so much fucking room, because it meant that Zak had no impact. It wasn’t real, of course. He’d seen the man be completely gooey over his cat. He knew Hunter was deeply committed to raising as much money as he possibly could for AIDS research, and matched donations at the big leather fundraiser for it every single year. Hunter had a sweet queerplatonic partner named Xavier, who lived with him and whom he loved dearly, who always brought Zak a blanket, water, cocoa and cookies at the end of a session.

He knew Hunter wasn’t actually who he presented as during sessions. He might not smile, but outside of topspace he was affectionate toward Zak, and caring, offering an ear for whatever might pour out after a scene, checking on him at least once a day for a few days afterward. His inscrutability was a tool, one that suited his style as a top, one he offered to Zak along with his beautiful methodical sadism. Zak knew all of that, but in the middle of a beating, it floated away; he got to just have the room and the goad that it made for him.

Hunter began to knee Zak in the thigh. It forced Zak to concentrate, because his body wanted to curl in to protect itself. It made him grit his teeth and curse, focusing on staying still for it. There was nothing like rough body play to get his mad going, and he began to spit out curses incessantly, as Hunter drove his knee into his thighs, his fist into Zak’s pecs, in an irregular pattern that Zak couldn’t quite catch up to enough to predict. He just dug his boots into the floor and clenched his fists, so he wouldn’t inadvertently fight back.

That was the thing about allowing rage to build, it still demanded that he control the course of it; as adrenaline flooded him and emotion drove him, he was in charge. That’s part of what made it such a rush, because as much as he was now flooding Hunter’s living room with shouted curses, he wasn’t battling Hunter at all. He was fighting for control over his rage. Not by bottling it up, but by releasing it in exactly the way that he chose.

He focused on making sure his shoulders were back, his legs were steady, his chin was raised, as he glared into Hunter’s face and called him a fucking asshole for doing this to him. He saw that gleam in Hunter’s eyes that told him the man was pleased, and bared his teeth in satisfaction. Then, just as he caught himself swaying, and gripped the wall to steady himself, Hunter told him to lie on his back on the floor. The man was a fucking hawk. Nothing got past him. He always made Zak stand until he just fucking couldn’t anymore.

The floor was cool and hard and perfect against the welts on his back. Zak knew what was coming next. He was going to get to feel the treads of those spectacular boots. Not right away, though. First, Hunter began to kick, driving his boots into Zak’s arms, then his thighs, circling, delivering blow after shattering blow.

Being on the floor, with this miracle of a top towering over him, kicking him, made Zak more aware of his helplessness than anything else ever did. If there was one thing guaranteed to bring out his rage, it was that kind of awareness. This feeling was what had filled him last night, that there were things he could not control, however desperately he wanted to. That was what he had to release. So he concentrated on it, feeling it build inside him, this terrible rage-inducing feeling, as Hunter stoked it with every single blow.

He was screaming incoherent rage at Hunter, had lost words at this point, was just screaming and screaming, even though his throat was hoarse, and Hunter kept going until Zak’s voice was nearly gone altogether, before he lifted his boot, and ground it into Zak’s thigh. Zak felt himself growl, as he glared up at Hunter, who nodded, and, bracing himself on the wall, lifted his other boot, so his entire weight was on Zak’s thighs. Then he slowly, methodically, began to grind first one boot, then the other, into Zak, whose growl turned into a sob, and transformed into a shout.

“Fuck you, you fucking asshole!” Zak shouted at full volume, before breaking into sobs again. Hunter slowly removed his weight, then sank into his chair nearby, and crooked his finger at Zak, who crawled over to him, and grabbed onto his boots like they were a fucking lifeline. He kept on sobbing, Hunter’s hand stroking his hair, until he was spent. Then he just lay there for a good long while, his cheek pressed into Hunter’s boot, enjoying the man’s hand in his hair.

He raised his head finally, and Hunter told him to sit at his feet and drink some water. Zak sat between Hunter’s thighs, drank the water Xavier gave him, and listened, as Hunter told him what a good boy he had been, how brave and strong, and how much he had pushed himself, but Hunter knew he would, that was one of the things Hunter liked most about their sessions, and that was why he’d chosen to wear his new boots for the first time with Zak. Because Zak had earned this. His tears should be the first ones to touch them.

Zak breathed that in, wanting to set this memory in his mind as one he could draw on whenever he doubted his own strength. It was a beautiful gift, and he thanked Hunter for the honor and babbled a bit about how beautiful the boots were. Then he let Xavier fuss at him, and wrap him in a blanket, and concentrated on drinking his cocoa and eating his cookies—Xavier had baked the gluten free almond ones that he loved. As Zak focused on sweets, Hunter drank his own water and leaned into Xavier, who stood next to his chair, a pillar of support, telling him about the dinner he’d made for them.

Published by Xan West

Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, a recent transplant to Oakland from Brooklyn, who has been doing community kink education for over ten years. Xan has been published in over 35 erotica anthologies, including the Best S/M Erotica series, the Best Gay Erotica series, and the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Xan’s story “First Time Since,” won honorable mention for the 2008 National Leather Association John Preston Short Fiction Award. Xan’s work has been described by reviewers as “offering the erotica equivalent of happy ever after” and as “some of the best transgressive erotic fiction to come along in recent years.” Xan refuses pronouns, twists barbed wire together with yearning, and tilts pain in many directions to catch the light. Xan adores vulnerable tops; strong, supportive bottoms; red meat; long winding conversations about power, privilege, and community; showtunes; and cool, dark, quiet rooms with comfortable beds. Find Xan’s thoughts about the praxis of sex, kink, queerness, power, and writing at xanwest.wordpress.com.

One thought on “A Good Beating, Guest Post by Xan West”

Leave a Reply