"Ready?" he asked.
I nodded my head, suddenly not sure that I was ready at all.
"Then let's get started," he said. I tensed, not knowing what to expect. I waited. Nothing. I couldn't hear anything. He wasn't moving. What was he doing? Still nothing. Then I felt something. A faint, almost imperceptible touch. A feather-light touch on my left upper arm. It startled me, and I jerked away from it to the extent that the restraints would let me. It stopped. After a few seconds it started again, but on my right shin this time. Again I twitched out of surprise, but this time not quite out of reach, and the touch continued, moving slowly toward my knee. The feather inched slowly along my leg, barely touching my skin, just brushing the hairs on my inner thigh.
"Please don't," I said.
"Don't what?" He answered. "I'm not hurting you. Am I?"
"Please don't tickle me."
"Am I tickling you?"
"No. But you're trying to."
He laughed. "If I were trying to tickle you," he said, "you'd be laughing your head off right now. Believe me, I'm not trying to tickle you. But now that you mention it," he paused for several seconds, "do you want me to tickle you?"
"No. Please don't," I said. I can't stand being tickled. I hate it.
Please don't tickle me."
"But you are ticklish. Good," he said. "I'll keep that in mind. But for now, I'll just go on not tickling you. Now let's see. Where are all the spots that I should not tickle? Armpits?" A feather lightly slid down my left armpit. I squirmed away from it, only to have another one quickly stroke up my right ribcage. "Ribs?" Again I jerked away, and again he retaliated with a feather against the left side of my waist, moving slowly toward my navel. Every time he touched me with one of those damned feathers I twitched or squirmed or jerked away, right into another one. He moved all over my body, without any pattern, startling me with every stroke, never letting me know where he would attack next. Upper arms, soles of my feet, backs of my knees, armpits, navel, inside thighs, the teasing continued relentlessly. True to his word, though, he never actually quite tickled me. But he obviously knew exactly where all of my most hopelessly ticklish areas were, and he concentrated his attention on those very spots where I hate being tickled most. The longer he continued not tickling me, as he put it, the more vulnerable--and ticklish--I felt, and I was beginning to giggle nervously whenever a feather touched a potential tickle target, even though it didn't tickle. I twitched and squirmed and jerked and tried to escape the feathers, but to no avail.
After what seemed like an eternity I blurted out, "Damn it! Either tickle me and get it over with or let me go! Just stop teasing me!" I realized immediately that this was what he'd been waiting for. The teasing did stop, the feathers went away, and again there was silence for several seconds. Finally he spoke.
"First you asked me not to tickle you," he said. "And for the last hour and forty-five minutes, I've honored your request. I haven't ticked you. But now it seems you've changed your mind. You've asked me to tickle you. And I will honor this request as well. I will now tickle you. Mercilessly."
"No, please, I'm sorry," I said. "It's just that the feathers were driving me nuts, and I needed a break. But, really, I can't stand being tickled. Please--please don't. I can't take it. Please don't tickle me."
"But I've already given you my word," he said quietly. "And I never break a promise. I told you I would tickle you, and I will. I will tickle you. Mercilessly. You may beg for mercy, if you wish. You won't get it, of course, but you may beg if you wish." He was silent again. I hated that silence; it made the tension of anticipation even worse. Seconds passed. A minute? Two? Five? I don't know. All I do know is that, without warning, his big, strong hand suddenly grabbed my thigh just above the knee. The fingers dug into the flesh, and I screamed in tickled laughter. Almost simultaneously the fingers of his other hand began working their way between my helpless ribs. My back arched and I laughed and bucked and laughed and thrashed and laughed so hard so I could hardly breathe. Both his hands were now methodically working on my exquisitely ticklish ribs and his teeth began nibbling on my heaving belly. His tongue probed my navel as his fingers ran from the insides of my upper arms, through my hyperticklish armpits, down my ribs to my waist and back again. I laughed and screamed and laughed and gasped for breath, and laughed and begged involuntarily.
"NO-HO-HO-HO-HO!!! PLEE-HEE-HEEE-HEE-HEEEZ!!! AAAAUGHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!!!!"
My laughing and begging and pleading only egged him on and he tickled me even more viciously than before.
I was soon exhausted, but just as quickly as it had started the tickle torture ended. And again there was silence.
"Please...please no more...I can't take any more. Please...I'll do anything you say...anything. Just please stop. Please. Please stop tickling me!"
For several minutes I was allowed to rest and recoup some of my energy.
But then...the whole process started...all over...again....
I honestly don't know which was worse. For the first hour and forty-five minutes he had relentlessly teased my most ticklish areas with feathers that were never allowed to actually tickle me, but instead made me ever more aware with each passing second of exactly how vulnerable I really was. Naked, tied spread-eagle and blindfolded, each slight stroke across my waist, each brush against my ribs, every glancing flick on the backs of my knees served to heighten my already intense fear and anxiety about being tickled and reaffirmed his ability to thrust me into ticklish hysteria with only a slight alteration of movement or pressure. And yet he had continued with his diabolical "non-tickling" torture--patiently, deliberately, and effortlessly breaking down my defenses until I finally cried out, "Damn it! Either tickle me and get it over with or let me go! Just stop teasing me!"
He had, of course, granted my request. After a brief rest in maddening silence he had grabbed my thigh, startling me back into the reality of my situation and tickling me immediately into begging for mercy. My laughter and begging seemed only to encourage him, and he had attacked my ribs and abdomen mercilessly. Which was worse? The anticipation? The worrying about what it would feel like when the tickling began? Or the actual tickling itself? I really don't know. Nor do I know exactly how long the episode lasted. Probably no more than five minutes, but for anyone as ticklish as I am, five minutes of intense tickling seems like an eternity in hell. I do know that I become desensitized to being tickled after a while, but he didn't continue long enough for that to happen. Instead, he stopped abruptly, saying nothing, leaving me alone long enough to catch my breath and beg, "Please...please no more...I cant take any more. Please...Ill do anything you say...anything. Just please stop. Please. Please stop tickling me!"
He had said nothing, and for a few seconds, anyway, I just lay there, trying to recover from the ordeal I had just been through. But after those first few seconds, the terrible realization came that, if the tickling were truly over, he would have untied me. But since I was still tied up.... His silence provided no distractions from my own thoughts. Would it start again? When? Where? How? How long? It would almost be better if it actually did begin again, to stop this wondering. No. That's what started the tickling last time. I had invited him to tickle me. Not again. I wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Id just have to wait. For however long he wanted to make me wait. But waiting was driving me nuts.
The waiting ended when a single fingernail raced up the sole of my left foot. Every muscle in my body tensed as I yelled, "NO! NOT MY FEET! PLEASE! PLEASE NOT MY FEET!"
I was surprised when he removed the blindfold. It took a couple of seconds for my eyes to readjust to the light, then I saw him standing to my left, smiling slightly.
"Oh, yes. Your feet. I am now going to tickle your feet. And since I want you to fully...appreciate...what is happening, I want you to be able to watch." He lifted my head, propping it up on pillows so that I was forced to look down the length of my body toward my helpless, vulnerable feet.
"No, please. Not my feet. Please. If you have to tickle me, anywhere but my feet. I cant take that! Please not my feet!"
He placed his bag on the dresser. "The first thing we need to do," he said, "is warm those feet up." He took an extension cord and a blow drier out of his bag. "Warm feet are more ticklish than cold feet, you know." He plugged the blow dryer in and pulled a chair up to the foot of the bed. As he sat down and grasped my left foot I tried to pull away, but his grip was too strong. He looked up at me and grinned as he switched the blow dryer on. A stream of warm air swept up and down my sole, heel, and toes, and I could feel my foot getting hot. After a few moments he switched the blow dryer off and went back to his bag. I couldn't see what he took out, but he knelt by the side of the bed, smiling. "Thought you might want to see some of my toys," he said. "This, of course, is a feather. You remember the feathers from earlier, don't you?"
"Yes, Sir," I answered, "Please don't...."
"Oh, don't worry. I'm not going to use it THAT way again. This time," he paused. I hated it when he paused mid-sentence. "This time, I'm going to use it to tickle...your foot. Just think about how its going to feel when I twirl it between your toes." He held the feather only inches from my eyes, then laid it on my chest. "And this," he said, "is a rather expensive artists brush. I'm told the bristles are sable. Quite soft, isn't it?" He traced circles across my forehead as I tried to shake my head away. "It should be quite effective on the webs between your toes." He placed the brush on my chest, next to the feather. "And this I found in the cosmetics department at the grocery store. I believe they called it a blusher brush." He brushed it across my left cheek. "I thought it would work well to tickle the sole of your foot."
"There's usually a singular spot on the sole of the foot," he said, ignoring my plea for mercy, "that is particularly ticklish. Well use this brush on that spot." He picked up the feather and sable brush and went back to his chair by my bound foot. "But first," he said, grasping my foot and bending it back toward my knee, stretching the sole taut, "I always enjoy watching the reaction to fingernails." He scraped his fingernails down my exposed sole.
I fought the restraints, screaming in laughter as his merciless fingers scratched and stroked up and down the sole of my left foot, from heel to toes, across the sole--especially across the sole--back and forth, driving me into tickle-hysteria. My whole body jerked and thrashed, but my foot was held immobile by his unforgiving hand.
As threatened, he stopped only long enough to switch techniques, placing the feather between my toes and twirling it, repeatedly moving the feather from one space to the next. When he stopped momentarily I gasped for breath and begged, "PLEASE! STOP PLEASE...."
"Stop?! I've only begun to tickle your feet!" He laughed quietly, then, spreading my toes, began flicking the sable brush across the web between my big and second toes, then up and down the insides and around the undersides of each my toes. I was now too exhausted to fight the restraints, and my breathless laughter was almost totally silent with tears flowing down my face.
The tickling stopped abruptly. As I caught my breath I watched him putting the brushes and the feather back in his bag. He unplugged the blow dryer from the extension cord and methodically wound its cord around the dryer housing.
"Your sole is so deliciously ticklish, I decided not to use the blusher brush on it," he said, taking something else from his bag.
"Thank you, Sir," I started saying.
"So Ill use this instead." I was horrified. He was holding an electric shoe polisher, which he plugged into the extension cord. The polisher was fitted with a small, round brush, about two inches in diameter, and when he switched it on, it made that high-pitched, whirring noise that I've always associated with small electric motors.
"What's this going to feel like against your sole?" he asked, smiling broadly. He moved the whirling brush slowly closer to my foot.
"NO!!! PLEASE!!! DON'T!!!" I was verging on panic.
He again held my foot with his free hand, roughly pulling it back to fully expose my helpless, vulnerable, hyper-ticklish sole.
"NO!!! PLEASE!!! ILL DO ANYTHING YOU SAY!!!"
"PLEASE DON'T!!!! PLEASE!!!!"
"Tickle!" He touched the spinning bristles to the center of my sole.
"AAAAUUGHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!! NO-AAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!! PLEEEEHEEHEEEHEEEHEEEZAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! AAAAUUGHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!!"
I laughed and gasped and laughed and coughed and laughed and begged for mercy when I could.
When the torture finally stopped, he waited until I was once again able to breathe. Then, standing to my left he leaned down near my face and asked, "Is your right foot ticklish too? Maybe I should warm it up. And find out."