The Dark Spot

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I wake up in a strange place in a strange body, with no memory of anything which has happened before. Who am I? What sex am I? What race am I? What am I doing here? Why am I wanted by the police? What should I do about the pervert spying upon me? Is he involved in getting me into this position?

The questions seem never-ending.

Author’s Note: There is no explicit sex or violence in this story (apart from a punch under the jaw). There are one or two swear words, and there is talk of historical crimes such as rape and murder. Do not read or read with caution if you think you may be offended or upset by this.

The Dark Spot
by Lin Dale

There was a dark spot on the ceiling. That was my first thought as I woke up that day. There wasn’t normally a dark spot above me when I awoke. In fact, this ceiling was painted magnolia, the kind of non-colour I really didn’t like. My preference was something like…

Like what? What colour paint did I have on my bedroom ceiling? I must have had a heavy drinking session the evening before because my mind was an absolute blank. I shook my head in frustration, and something crackled slightly as I did so, as though my hair was sticking on end and scratching on the pillow. Strange!

I repeated the operation. Another crackle. I lifted an arm to smooth down my hair and that’s when the world turned upside down. My arm was black. That’s to say it was covered in a dark brown skin instead of its normal…

Well, I must be Caucasian… Mustn’t I? I used my other arm – also brown – to throw back the bedclothes and then sat up. Something moved on my chest and I glanced down to see two pert brown breasts, wobble slightly as I moved. I gave a little shake. They were definitely mine as they shook in sympathy.

Shit! What the hell was going on. Surely, I was a Caucasian male. I sat right up so I could peer down between my legs at my… Except there was a slit where other things should be. Shouldn’t they?

My name was… Shit! This was crazy.

I glanced around the room, the kind of room typical of a cheap hotel or B&B. Facing me in the mirror was a scared looking naked black woman with Afro hair.

I tried to put my mind into a rational mode. How could I be that black woman when everything was telling me that I was someone else. But then, how could I not be that woman when my memory was a complete blank and every muscle I moved was faithfully replicated by that woman, and not just the one staring at me in the mirror, but also the one I saw when I stared downwards. Ergo, I was that woman. Any vague recollections I might have were invented by my mind to make up for so much of my memory being totally blotted out.

I gave one of those so pert breasts a little poke with my index finger, realising too late that I had a cherry-coloured fingernail protruding from the end and jerked slightly at the sensitivity of my breast. I don’t mean sensitivity in terms of sexual arousal – more a kind of, “Ouch! That hurts.” I needed to be careful of my breasts, and even more careful of the talons on my fingers.

There was one other place I needed to check, and I slid one hand downwards towards that slit between my legs. My skin there was just as unpleasantly sensitive as my breasts until I very carefully slipped an exploring finger inside my slit. Cripes! It felt as though I’d slipped a razor up there and was carving a way inside my body. I wasn’t going to play with that bit again in a hurry.

I needed to locate my personal belongings. There was nothing on top of the cheap bedside tables or the equally cheap dressing table, where I might normally have expected to leave things overnight. Opening the top drawers simply revealed they, too, were bare. I opened the wardrobe door. Inside was a cheap button-up white dress, looking as though it had been worn a thousand times before, and a pair of sandals with low heels.

The absurdity of it was crazy. I mean, everyone has a phone, nowadays. How could I not have one? Or at least some kind of identity such as a bank card. I checked every drawer and cupboard in the bedroom. The curtains were drawn across the windows, but when I pulled them back a little, I looked out onto dark woodland, totally devoid of any kind of human life or even, it seemed, any kind of life at all apart from trees and vegetation.

After opening the bedroom door slightly to check no one else seemed to be around, I padded out into the adjacent lounge, my breasts giving almost painful little jogs with each step. There was a TV set, a settee and chairs. A wall clock announced it was just turned nine, presumably in the evening. The kitchen was to the one side, with two bar stools next to a counter. On top of the counter was a small display stand containing a series of pamphlets giving information about the surrounding area. Apparently, we were in Oakham Woods, which I had vaguely heard of but had never been there before. Thankfully, there was a little food in the cupboards and fridge, and the windows gave onto views to the surrounding woodland, identical to the view from the bedroom.

I decided to put on the dress, make myself a mug of tea and then sit and contemplate my position. At least, I suddenly realised with jubilation, I knew I preferred tea to coffee.

The dress buttoned right down the front so putting it on was the same as putting on a raincoat. So why, I asked myself, would I be familiar with putting on a raincoat but not putting on a dress? As I buttoned it up, it fitted quite tightly around my breasts, so my nipples protruded through the thin material far more than I felt comfortable with, even though there was no one else around to see me.

Or was there? Ever since getting out of bed, I’d had a feeling that someone was watching me… Like a laboratory rat being watched by a scientist? I shivered. Why would anyone do that? But then, how could I be in this position without someone putting me here?

I returned to the kitchen to make my mug of tea. Fortunately, I found tea bags, milk and sugar… So I liked sugar in my tea. Something else to add to my little scraps of information. And after taking my first sips of tea, I realised this was a nectar-like substance which felt as though I hadn’t drunk for the last one hundred years. I drank it as fast as the hot liquid would allow, and then made another mug, and consumed that rather more slowly. And I started to feel a little better.

Not that I had any clue who or even what I was. But I felt it was time to step outside the house and see what was around. I went back to the bedroom and put on the sandals. As I walked to the front door, I realised I had never before worn shoes with heels.


From the outside, the house had the appearance of a little cottage in the middle of the woods. It could easily be the home of Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, except that it was only single floor. A crooked lane ran along the front; it had once been tarmacked but that was clearly a long time since. Looking from left to right along the lane, the two routes appeared identical, with both directions quickly disappearing into the trees.

I tossed a mental coin and chose walking to the right, and within just a few seconds I was out of sight of the house. I walked for several minutes with no change at all to my surroundings and decided that with dusk starting to fall, it was time to return to the safety of the cottage – or so I thought.

Walking back seemed much quicker and I was almost there when I heard the sound of hammering on the cottage door. It wasn’t a gentle knock. More the kind of knock as a prelude to breaking it down, and so I cautiously moved forward until I was just in sight of my visitors.

There was a police car, its blue light flashing, standing in front of the cottage, and one constable was banging on the door, whilst the other was observing from besides the car. “The door’s unlocked,” I could clearly hear the one shout to his mate. “Let’s go and have a look inside.”

“OK,” the other said, looking around. “This place would certainly be a great hideaway for anyone who doesn’t want to be found.”

My rapid steps into the undergrowth at the side of the road were instinctive. Immediately after, my rational thoughts justified the action. If I’d been Caucasian, I’d have naturally been running towards them requesting their help. But as a black person without identification, I’d be instantly suspected of being an illegal immigrant. I’d be thrown into an Immigration Centre and all hopes of discovering my identity would have vanished.

There was a narrow path just inside the trees, running parallel to the lane. The heels of my shoes had sunk into the soft earth as soon as I stepped onto it, so I bent down, removed them, and carried them with me as I quietly moved forward along the path. As I got closer to the cottage, the path veered towards the rear, and I found myself in a little clearing amongst the trees at the back of the cottage with a direct view of the large rear windows. And whilst the curtains may have been drawn across, they were of the lightest of material and with the lights on inside the bedroom and lounge, the antics of the police inside as they peered in the empty drawers and cupboards were clearly visible. I realised that someone had probably been similarly watching me from this position earlier on. It made my spine tingle, remembering how I had walked around naked for a while.

With the police making signs to leave the cottage, I carried on along the path which now circled the cottage to arrive back at the lane where I decided to wait until the police had left me in peace; with the cottage appearing completely empty, they would probably not return.

I could hear them chatting to each other, saying something about ‘fucking illegal immigrants,’ as they got in the car, started the engine, and then went about turning around in the narrow lane, switching on the headlights as they did so. I suddenly realised the danger I was in. With their headlights shining through the trees, my white dress would stand out like a flag. I raced back along the path until I was behind the cottage again, and sheltered from their headlights.

Standing in the clearing, staring through the shrubs at the rear of the cottage, and presumably waiting for me to re-enter and give him a display, was a man wearing camouflage trousers and jacket and with a balaclava hood. With my shoes held in my hand, I’d been moving fairly soundlessly in order not to alert the police, and as he swivelled his head around to see what had caused the disturbance, he was clearly more surprised than me. Even behind the balaclava, I saw his eyes widen and his mouth start to open.

After racing to avoid the police headlights, the adrenaline was still surging through my veins. I didn’t think twice before striding quickly up to him and punching him on the jaw as hard as I could. He went down like a light, half turning and ending with his head partly inside a bush. For a second, he was still.

I was so angry and I knew that when you have someone down you make certain they stay down. I dropped to my knees next to him, undid the belt on his trousers and pulled it out through the loops. I fed it around the arm trapped behind his back and then grabbed his other arm and pulled it to join them together behind his back, winding the belt a couple of times around the elbows and securing it. For good measure, I undid the fastenings on his trousers and pulled them down around his ankles.

That’s when I realised that he was dressed commando style. He had no underpants on! I had caught myself a pervert!


Of course, when you’ve caught a pervert, you have to decide what to do with them. Normally, you ring the police and they come along and go through the due process of law. The problem was that I still reckoned that if I did that, they’d arrest me for being an illegal immigrant and thank the perv for bringing me to their attention.

He was already coming round from my knockout blow, and spluttering beneath his mask. I grabbed the balaclava and pulled it off to expose him. I’d expected an older man but I guessed he was in his late twenties, about the same age as me.

Did I just say that? Am I in the late twenties? I shook my head to clear it. I could have a debate about my age later. I currently had a pervert to sort out.

“Wha… Wha…” Then his eyes widened. “You hit me,” he accused. He struggled to move his arms then realised he was tied up. “You’ve tied me up. Let me go.”

“You perv,” I said. “You’ve been watching me through the window. Whilst I was naked.”

“You shouldn’t prance around like that,” he said.

I glanced around the clearing we were in. “This is a regular spot for you, isn’t it? I bet I’m not the first woman you’ve stared at through those almost transparent curtains. Come on. Stand up. We’re going in the house.”

“Please, no,” he stuttered. “I’m sorry if I’ve embarrassed you.”

“Not half as sorry as you’re going to be,” I threatened. “Now, come on. Get to your feet.”

“I can’t,” he said. “You’ll need to release my arms.”

“No way,” I said, “but I’ll make getting up easier for you. I’ll take the lace out of your boots, tie it around your bollocks and then start dragging you back to the house. Let’s see how far I can pull you before you decide that you can get to your feet, after all.”

Until then he obviously hadn’t realised that his trousers were around his ankles and that he was on full display. But he stared downwards and his eyes widened as he realised his position.

“I’m naked,” he snivelled. “Please pull my trousers up.”

“Get to your feet,” I said, turning him over onto his front, as best I could. He struggled up and when he was standing, I pulled his trousers up so he could walk without tripping over and I pushed him towards the cottage.


“What’s your name?” I asked him, when I had him back inside the cottage. I’d taken the precaution of tying his shoelaces to the legs of the stool on which I had sat him. With his arms still belted behind his back and his feet secured to the stool, I felt on much more comfortable ground.

“I’d rather not say,” he responded in a fit of bravado.

“Then I’ll call the police and they can find out.”

“I was following you on your walk,” he retorted. “You’re hiding from the police. You’re not going to call them at all.”

“Is that so?” I said, reaching out and opening the pocket in his camouflage jacket, where I thought I could see a mobile phone protruding. I was right, and I quickly removed it as he tried to twist away. “What’s the unlock code.”

“I’m not telling you. Release me and we’ll say no more about this attack you’ve made on me.”

“OK, I can still take the lace out of your boot, and then tie your balls to that door knob, over there,” I gesticulated. “By my reckoning, you’ll have to stand on tip-toe to avoid your balls being ripped from your body. Shall we see how long you can stand on tip-toe before you give me the unlock code?”

He looked down at his testicles and then across to the door knob. “It’s 3574,” he whispered in a voice that indicated he was on the point of crying.

“Thank you,” I said with a nice smile. I unlocked his phone and went straight to his Photo folder, where I thought I might find something of interest.

“Oh, you wicked man,” I said. “Whoever Maggie Turner is she has nice tits,” I commented.

“Oh,” he muttered. “Please don’t look at any other videos…”

“And she does enjoy her vibrator,” I interrupted. I clicked on another video. “And just look at Susan Sharp and her companion. I didn’t know such a sexual position was possible.” I continued to browse for a few minutes.

“Right,” I told him. “From the few movies I have just watched, I reckon you could go to jail for ten years for everything that’s on this phone, so stop bulling me and start answering my questions.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he said. “Please don’t contact the police.”

“So, start talking,” I said.


His name was Howard Turner and he lived in a nearby house, until recently with his elderly mother, who was now in hospital. His mother owned the rental cottage we were currently in but he looked after the internet bookings, so he’d steered his mother to advertise in women’s magazines and he knew the names of everyone coming. He had been watching the guests for some time, but it had now clearly got obsessive.

“And you don’t have a girlfriend?” I asked him.

He shook his head. “I’ve never had a girlfriend,” he replied. “Maybe if I had, I’d be different.”

“Stop right there,” I said. “You have never had a girlfriend in your entire life.”


“Then do you visit prostitutes.”

“No!” He was shocked. “Mother would never allow it.”

My turn to shake my head. “Most men don’t ask their mother’s permission to visit a prostitute.”

“I wouldn’t know where to go, anyway.”

No wonder he was such a perv, I thought. I tend to think that chatting up someone should be on the national curriculum, as should a few basic sex positions. I mentally filed away that thought as something else on which I had an opinion.

But the main question had to be: Where did I go next?

I smiled. “Let’s have a cup of tea,” I suggested.


I washed out a dog bowl for Howard, and made him slurp his tea from there as I wasn’t yet ready to trust him, but he seemed quite happy to comply. I suspected his mother had a not too dissimilar way of treating him.

It was while we were drinking the tea that he said, “Venetia? Is that your name?”

“What makes you think my name’s Venetia?” Certainly, I didn’t know, so why should he.

“The name on the rental booking was actually Ven Smith. Venetia was one of the few female names that seemed to match.” In a rash mood, he added, “I thought it was a very beautiful name.”

“Venetia Smith! No one is called that. It sounds completely fictitious.”

For the first time, he grinned at me. “That’s what I thought, but I couldn’t see any other name that fitted so I assumed that you’d made it up. But it’s none of our business what you choose to call yourself. The important point was that my mother received payment for the rental, and that’s good enough for me.”

“Was it paid by credit card in my name?”

“It was paid in cash to my mother.” He hesitated a little and then asked, “So what is your real name?”

I too hesitated before replying, “I don’t know.”

That shook him. “But you must have some name, even if you don’t know what name your parents gave you. How can you go through life without a name?”

“All I know is that I woke up this evening in that bed. I don’t remember any part of my previous life; not my name or where I lived and I can tell you that everything seems strange to me. I don’t even know what day of the week it is.”

“Wow, that’s weird. It’s Sunday, by the way. Those two women who brought you must know more about you. Did they not tell you anything?”

“Which two women?”

He nodded towards his phone. “I just happened to be around when you came in at lunchtime.”

“You were around at lunchtime and it’s now turned eight. Have you been waiting around all that time?”

He looked embarrassed and was clearly debating whether to tell me. Then I think he remembered the threat I had over him and said, “I leave that phone wedged in a tree, with an app running which alerts me on my other phone when there’s movement inside the cottage. It only takes a few minutes to walk here from my house.

“I’d been away most of the last week,” he continued, “so this was the first time I’d seen you.”

“Sorry. Are you saying I’ve been here a week already?”

“Your booking started last Saturday, but you hadn’t arrived when I left on Sunday morning to go to my aunt’s, in Eastbourne. So, this lunchtime was the first time I’d seen you. I took a video. I’m surprised you didn’t look at it on my phone just now.”

I picked up his phone again. “I didn’t look specifically at that folder because the name Venetia Smith is as unfamiliar to me as the twenty other women’s photographs you have.” I scrolled down to the folder in my name and clicked on one of the videos. The thin curtains obscured no detail of my body. It showed me, strolling around naked in the bedroom, walking naked to the window and briefly pulling back the curtains to stare right into the camera lens, and then stepping into the lounge, still naked.

I shook my head. “Howard,” I said, holding out the phone for him to view, “I’m not even going to ask why the camera is shaking so much as you film this.” He had the grace to blush.

I opened one of the other videos in my folder to find it showed a middle-aged woman entering the lounge through the front door and holding it open for another middle-aged black woman to push in a wheelchair with me strapped in it and clearly asleep – or perhaps more accurately, unconscious. I was wearing my only dress, and had a blanket folded around me. I was wheeled into the bedroom where they pulled back the sheets on the bed and the black woman lifted me onto it, with the older woman supporting my legs. My dress was removed and hung in the wardrobe, and then the women had a final look around both rooms, presumably checking they had left nothing behind apart from me, and then left by the front door.

“Do you not recognise those women,” he asked.

“I’m not certain,” I said. “Maybe I can vaguely remember…”

“They must be nurses,” he said. “You can tell from the way they handled you, just like they move Mother about.”

“Nurses, of course,” I said. “That’s…” I stopped and thought some. “That kind of rings a bell,” I added, “but not a very loud bell.”

“So, you’ve been in some hospital and they have just dumped you, like that?” He looked astounded. “That can’t be right. A hospital would never do that.”

“There are people who steal body parts,” I said. “Kidneys and… things.” I hadn’t really got a clue. “Maybe that’s what’s happened to me.”

“But having dumped you there,” Howard said, “they must have tipped off the police that you were an illegal immigrant. Why else would the police have descended on that place? They’ve never been before.”

“Jesus!” I said. “That’s evil, isn’t it? Not only do they steal my kidney but they then give me something to make me lose my memory so I can’t report it to the police. Then, they tip the police off that I’m an illegal immigrant, so I’ll be thrown into a detention centre.”

“You need to see a doctor,” he said.

“But how can I,” I asked, “when I don’t have any identity and if people start asking questions, they’ll come back to me being an illegal immigrant.”

“If you’re in hiding from the police for whatever reason, you could stay at my place. You’ll be safe there, even if the police do come back here to look for you.”

As I considered the idea, he hurriedly said, “You can sleep in my mother’s bed. I haven’t really gone into her room since she went into hospital.”

I had a sudden idea. “Presumably, if she’s in hospital, she must have left some clothes here?” I asked. I really needed some clothes other than one thin dress and absolutely no underwear.”

“She only uses a few clothes, now,” he said. “But she’s never thrown any clothing away. She’s got tons of stuff stored in our loft, dating right back to her youth. I’m sure there’d be something suitable for you, even if it is a bit dated.”

“OK,” I said. “That sounds good.”

“In return,” he said, “do you think you can release my arms?”


It would have seemed churlish to refuse. At some stage, I was going to have to trust that he wasn’t going to overpower me, and somehow, with the threat from the rest of the world, I really felt I needed a friend.

“OK, it’s a deal. But I’m going to delete all these folders on your mobile phone, apart from mine. If the police did see them, they’d put you in prison for years, so you’re turning over a new leaf from now on. Is that agreed?”

He nodded. “Yes.”

I deleted the files before unbuckling his belt and releasing him. He stretched his arms and rubbed them, before securing his trousers with his belt.

“Shall we go?” I said.

“Actually,” he said and then paused.

“Yes?” Was he now going to refuse to go along with our deal?

“The house has got into a bit of a mess since Mother left.”

I relaxed. “Then we can have a good tidy up,” I said.


An hour later, we’d tidied away the worst of the mess in his house, although to be fair, Howard had kept the place fairly clean. He had sorted out several bags of old clothes from his loft, all of them carefully labelled, Evelyn Turner, with a date when they had been packed. Evelyn was clearly a methodical woman. I picked my way through the bags. As I tried on a few of her clothes, it appeared that Evelyn was not a very different size from myself, although until I started to read the labels in the garments, I hadn’t a clue what that size actually was. In her younger day, she’d had some quite pretty clothes, and I started to feel a whole lot better, especially when I discovered a bag of clean underwear. Evelyn seemed to have gone through a range of different sizes, presumably as she got older and after having Howard and, by trial and error, I discovered I was a 36B bra size.

One heavily mothballed bag of jumble contained lots of mini skirts and dresses, and I guessed it dated back to the sixties. I did the maths. He’d told me his mother had been quite old when he’d been born so she could have been in her middle or even late forties at that time, so the figures did fit. Howard had shown me a recent photograph of her, an extremely miserable-looking elderly woman. It was impossible to think of her in these exciting clothes. I slipped on a minidress and went downstairs to show Howard. You should have seen how his eyes bulged with excitement.

“My mother could never have worn those,” he protested.

She even had the stockings and suspenders to go with them,” I said, lifting the hem of my skirt to demonstrate.

“Oh my God!” he said, sitting down heavily on the settee. “This is too much.”

“Poor Howard,” I said, sitting next to him. “But now we’re together like this, I want to talk about whatever surgery those people were doing to me. There are no obvious incisions where my kidneys are located, so what could it be?”

He shook his head. “I really haven’t a clue.”

“I wondered whether it might be female genital mutilation.”

“What!” his eyes stared wildly at me, I suspect because like many people, myself included, he didn’t really know much about it.

“I think I need to see a doctor,” I said. “Is there anyone you can suggest?”

He thought for a second and then said, “My mum went to a woman doctor at the surgery, Dr Kendall. I could ring up and make an appointment in the morning. I’ll just tell them that you’re away from home and staying with me.” He smiled. “Maybe they’ll think you’re my girlfriend.”

I smiled back at him. “Well, we are friends, aren’t we Howard?” I leant forward and kissed him on the cheek, realising too late that it also meant my left breast pushed against his chest.

He gasped. “Oh God! This is too much. I need to go to the toilet.” He hurriedly made to stand up, hunching forward as he did so, clearly trying to hide his erection.

“No!” I firmly said, stopping him in his tracks. “Howard,” I said, “You’ve led a sexless life for too long. I realise I’m going to have to do something about you.”

“Do something?” he repeated.

“In my current condition, intercourse between us is clearly out, but I think I’m going to have to take matters in hand,” I said.

I did as well, and although I had no memory of ever having done it to anyone before, I reckon I performed a very reasonable job on him that left him totally shattered.


“You have certainly experienced female genital surgery,” Dr Kendall said after she had examined me in the most intimate and embarrassing manner. “However, it is certainly not mutilation. I would be more inclined to call it genital cosmetic surgery which has been done by a very fine surgeon, indeed. That surgeon has reconstructed your vagina, for whatever reason, and it could be because it has undergone some kind of trauma which had dramatically damaged it. Or it may simply be cosmetic surgery. What’s also of note is that your breasts have been very skilfully enhanced with just the slightest of incisions beneath the armpits, which tends me to think the former.

“What is more puzzling,” she continued, “is why the aftercare has plainly gone so dramatically wrong, that you be discharged whilst clearly still under the influence of anaesthetic. I suspect that someone, probably your next of kin, has discharged you of their own accord, but why they should bring you to a rental cottage and dump you, I simply cannot explain.”

“But what about my memory?” I asked.

“I think that is an after-effect of the recent anaesthetic and your abrupt discharge from hospital. I believe that you will regain your memory within a day or two, given rest and care. I could get you re-admitted to the local hospital, but you say a friend is offering you accommodation and care, so I think that will be all you need. If the symptoms persist, come back and see me in a week. Oh, and er, no sex for a week or so. Good day.”


“But that doesn’t explain,” Howard said when I repeated these words to him in the car as we drove home, “the furtive way in which those two women behaved and why the police were called, presumably tipped off there was an illegal immigrant in the cottage.”

“We agreed,” I said, “that I wouldn’t mention the videos you took, for rather obvious reasons. Nor would we involve the police. But it is comforting that my surgery appears to have been done so competently.”

“Not just competently,” Howard said, “but you said that Dr Kendall said very fine surgery indeed. That suggests it was expensive and private. So why should that be?”

“As well as enhancing my breasts,” I said. “Why would anyone do that?”

“Whatever the reason, I’m glad they did,” Howard said. “You look great and in a week’s time...” He broke off in embarrassment.

“In a week’s time, like most women, I’ll be able to have sex,” I completed his sentence. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to have sex, does it? I think we should talk about the two of us.”

“What... what about us?” he nervously asked. “I mean, what you did last night was incredible and... and I’d really like it if you would do it again...”

“And again, and again, and again?” I said with a grin.

He nodded. “I’d do anything for you to... and well... other things as well.”

“Howard,” I said, “I’m not averse to having a sexual relationship with you…”

“You’re not,” he gasped, turning to look at me and causing the car to swerve.

“But not if you crash and kill us,” I said, “and also…” I paused.

“Also what?”

“What you’ve been doing...”

“I’ll stop it,” he said. “I won’t ever do it again.”

“Howard, you’re a man,” I said.

He grinned. “I’m glad you’ve noticed.”

“Which means,” I continued, “that your brain is comprised of two parts. There’s your reasoning brain which is prepared to make commitments with every intention of keeping them.”

“I will, I promise,” he said.

“Then there’s the other part of your brain which is located in your cock. Your reasoning brain would never have allowed you to break the law on such a massive scale. But the unreasoning part of your brain located in your cock doesn’t care a shit about the law. It’s only concerned with sex. Your cock made you do it, which may be no defence in law, but it’s the fact. And that’s what we have to take into account.”

How do you mean?”

“If you want to have a relationship with me, then your cock has to be controlled to prevent you getting into the same position again. I want you to wear a cock cage. I will hold the key and when we’re together you can bonk me silly, but when you’re not with me, your cock will be locked up. What do you think?”

Rather than looking surprised or even shocked as I suspected, he looked uneasy. He muttered something under his breath.

“What did you say?” I asked.

“I’ve tried it, for precisely the reason you say. I thought I’d be able to stop what I was doing, which I knew was wrong. But I always had to have a backup key in case of emergencies and I would always end up unlocking myself and… You know.”

“So the problem is resolved,” I said. “That is, it’s resolved if you want to have a relationship with me. When we arrive home, you can get out your cock cage, put it on and handover the key to me.”

“Well, the only thing is…”

“The only thing is what?” I asked.

“Well, you hear these stories of women who… Well, they lock up their men for weeks and weeks…”

“Howard,” I said. “I promise that I will take care of your sexual needs. Remember that Doctor Kendall said I shouldn’t have sex for a week, but as I showed last night, there is more than one way of taking care of things. OK. Are you up for it?”

He smirked. “Yes please.”


At this point, you may be thinking back to my initial feelings, as I awoke in that strange bed in the strange room with the dark spot on the ceiling. My thoughts had been that I was a Caucasian male and yet somehow, I was in the body of a black female. So how does that line up with me agreeing to have a sexual relationship with Howard?

Dr Kendall told me that my vagina appeared to have been reconstructed; certainly, my breasts had been enhanced. The obvious question was whether I’d undergone gender reassignment surgery? If so, had I wanted to change sex or…

Or what? What surgeon would undertake gender reassignment surgery unless the patient wanted it? What about the colour of my skin? Was I really a Caucasian who had been turned black? I’d heard of some model who had turned black by having melanin injections, so clearly it could be done. But why would anyone do that unless the patient wanted it?

It left me totally mystified, but in the meantime, a girl (as I now was) has to survive. I needed food, shelter and safety, at least until I knew my own identity. I had a vagina and I was going to have to use it, as countless women before me had done.

I smiled at Howard. “I think we’re going to have fun,” I said.


And we did. As soon as we arrived home, I made Howard show his cock cage to me. It was steel with a smallish cage which abruptly bent downwards, and a cock and ball ring which, after he had gone to the toilet and put it on, appeared to be a snug fit.

“OK,” I said, holding out my hand, flat. “Give me the keys.”

He handed over a key.

“I said keys, Howard,” stressing the plural.

“The other one is locked in a key safe in my bedroom,” he said, “I thought it would be safer there and wouldn’t get lost.” he hesitated a little, then realising he was going to have to hand it over, he added, “I’ll show you where it is.”

He took me up to his bedroom and showed me the key safe. I may not have been able to remember my name but I was familiar with this kind of device.

“OK, unlock it,” I said.

“Yes, Venetia,” he said and unlocked it and then handed it over to me.

“Right,” I said, “I’m going to look after this, and I shall reset the combination so it’s no good searching for it in my room. OK?”

“Yes, Venetia.”

I did, too, but decided from the way that Howard’s eyes followed the safe, he was working out how long it would take him to go through every one of the ten thousand combinations. I decided to leave the safe locked, but without the key inside, which I would hide somewhere else. I also found out a chain necklace of his mother’s and slid the first key onto it, and put it around my neck. It would do well to remind him that I was in charge of his cock.

So, the relationship between the two of us began. Me, a black woman who didn’t know her own identity and who might be an illegal immigrant but who suspected herself of being a Caucasian male; and Howard, a man who had preyed upon woman, videoing them in their personal and intimate moments, and was attempting to reform.

I was convinced that the answer to both our futures was lots of good sex, and as a reasonably attractive female, I did my best to ensure Howard was extremely satisfied and sated. Although my vagina was off limits in the first week, I ensured that the rest of my body was ready to please. I did my best to look good, wearing Evelyn’s younger clothes, and I behaved as a good housewife does, doing the cooking and cleaning, and satisfying my man in the most important way.

Howard got me a casual job as a checkout assistant at the supermarket where he worked, which I was pleased about as it gave me an income, and I persuaded Howard to give me his second phone that he’d been using to take his porn videos, so I even had a phone. Bank cards, unfortunately, would be impossible without some kind of identification.


After a couple of days, Howard suggested I meet his mother. “I need to tell her that I’m in a relationship,” he said. “I’m not certain when, or even whether, she will come out of hospital.”

“What’s wrong with her?” I asked. Until now, Howard had seemed very reluctant to say much about his mother.

“It was initially thought she was having a heart attack,” he said. “Later on, they said it wasn’t a heart attack, as such, but something else wrong with her heart, only they don’t seem certain what. She is very weak though so I don’t think they’ll be discharging her for some time.”

“Right,” I said.

“The thing is,” he said and stopped.

“The thing is…” I waited.

“The thing is she can be a bit racist.”

“I guessed as much when I saw all those back copies of the Daily Moan in her bedroom. So I’m sure she would probably be aghast if she knew I was wearing her clothes, sleeping in her bed and doing intimate things with her son.”

He blushed. “Yes.”

“What do you want to do about telling her?”

“Well, we don’t have to mention that you’re sleeping in her bed, and I thought I could buy you a pretty dress so she doesn’t see that you’re wearing her clothes.”

“That would be lovely, Howard. But if she sees me in my new dress, she’s certainly going to notice that I’m black.”

“She’s going to have to get used to the idea,” he said. “I want her to see you and I want to tell her that you’re wonderful.”

I couldn’t stop my grin reaching from ear to ear. “Wow,” I said, “but perhaps, before you tell her that, you could tell me, and we’ll see what happens as a result.” I leant forward and gently kissed him on his lips.


When it came to choosing a dress, I was a bit lost – and when does a woman ever say that? I really didn’t know what style, what colour, or even how long and what kind of neckline I should have. Howard took me to a large clothes shop in town, and we spent ages just looking around and trying on a few things. Eventually, I chose a pretty summer dress with a flared skirt which billowed out as I walked and I felt good in and Howard whispered that he’d like to fuck me whilst wearing it, so we decided on that.

I bought some flowers to give to Evelyn (well, actually, Howard paid for them but I chose them) and we then drove to the hospital.

“I’ll go in and tell her the news,” Howard said as we approached the ward, “and then I’ll call you in.”

“Right oh,” I said, guessing he didn’t want me to see the terrible scowl cross her face when she found out about me. So, I sat down on a chair in the corridor and waited. Somewhere, a woman gave a terrible scream. I really hoped that wasn’t Howard’s mother, but as the minutes ticked by and Howard didn’t call me in, I guessed that it was.

After about twenty minutes, Howard came out looking tearful and lost.

“Sit down, love,” I said to him. “Does she hate me?”

“She never got round to telling me that,” he said. “She started screaming before I’d finished the sentence and then she had some kind of an attack. They eventually pushed me out whilst the doctor examined her.”

“Oh, Howard, I’m sorry,” I said. “What do you want to do?”

“I think it will take ages to sort her out. I think we’d better go home and then I can telephone later on and find out how she is.”


When Howard rang the hospital after we got home, they told him that she’d had a stroke and was now resting. He’d be able to see her the next day.

The following day, we both agreed it would be better if Howard went to hospital on his own. When he returned, he told me that she’d seemed barely conscious, certainly unable to speak or communicate in any way. I gave him a comforting hug, which turned, as usual into a steamy sex session. And as the days passed and then turned into weeks, they continued and we started to settle into a routine of living together.

The house belonged to Evelyn, so we didn’t have to worry about rent. Howard and I had our jobs at the local supermarket which, along with the rental from the cottage, brought in sufficient cash to keep us going. So, we settled down to sex, work, sex and more sex, typical of many new couples beginning to live together.

However, Dr Kendall’s belief that my memory would return within a few days did not materialise. We chatted about it regularly, whether I should return to see her or just to let things go. For the time being, we decided on the latter. I continued to dress in the clothes of Evelyn’s younger days and excite him as much as I could. I did find though, with experience, that I’d got my bra size wrong – I was actually a 36C rather than a 36B. I sorted out all the bras I could find of that size.

I was delighted that I seemed to have got Howard weaned off his desire to look at the succession of women, sometimes with their partners, who came to stay in the cottage. However, I did feel it best to continue to keep his cock caged until he was about to stick it into me. When he occasionally rebelled and asked for it to be removed, I warned him that he had a very wicked cock which was uncontrollable. If he repeated what he had previously been doing, he would lose me, so what was wrong with the continual sex that we were having? He had no reply.

To relieve worries he had about me keeping him locked up against his will, I put the key on a chain around my waist, so that it dangled down between my thighs. Since I rarely wore panties, it meant that Howard would frequently come up behind me, slip an arm around my waist and bend me over. I would obligingly spread out my arms and go down, doggie style, on the floor whilst he reached between my legs and unlocked his cage, and then gave me a good seeing to.

After another week, I noticed that I was bulging out of my bra, again. After trying on a few more of Evelyn’s bras, I reckoned I was now a 38C. That kind of scuppered my ideas that I might have had a gender change, since silicone breasts simply do not grow, as mine were undoubtedly doing. About the same time, my tummy started to feel a bit strange. Until then, I’d had no concern that I might become pregnant, but I did go out and buy a pregnancy test kit and a set of electronic scales which I thought would be rather more accurate than Howard’s outdated mechanical ones. Although the test showed I wasn’t pregnant, I weighed myself and took a note of my weight. I was determined to keep a regular log from now on. My tummy continued to feel strange, and after a few days, I could see it was starting to swell. I took another pregnancy test which was still negative and then decided to go and see Dr Kendall again.


She examined and prodded me several times, took a blood sample, and told me to return the following day. On my next visit, she gave me the news, although not in the sympathetic manner I’d have liked.

“When you came to see me before, I told you that you’d had reconstructive vaginal surgery. Have you now regained your memory about the events which led up to that?”

I shook my head. “I’m afraid it’s still as indistinct now as when I came to see you before. I don’t have a clue what led up to it.”

She frowned. “I really think it’s time you told me the truth. People do not simply lose their memory as you claim to have done. And from your blood test, it appears that you are a biological male. This means that when you saw me before, you were recovering from an operation to change your gender. I can understand that you may have undertaken a sex change operation and want to keep that secret. I can understand that you may even be ashamed of what you have had done and don’t like to admit it. But you must tell me the truth.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I really have no knowledge of any of the events leading up to my waking up in a rental cottage in Oakham Woods, a few weeks’ ago. However,” I paused, trying to put into words my thoughts at the time and since.

“However,” I continued. “My first thoughts when I awoke were that I was a white male in a black female body.”

“And yet,” Dr Kendall said, “you’ve told me that you’ve been having a hetero-sexual relationship with your landlord, Howard Turner, ever since. You obviously haven’t told him that you’ve had a gender change operation.”

“I didn’t know until you just told me.”

“And are you now going to tell him?”

I considered. “I’m not certain,” I said.

“Which I suspect means that you’re not, but don’t like to admit it.”

I kept silent.

“I have to tell you that Mr Turner is also my patient,” she continued. “A patient who is properly registered with this practice. What has been said between us is obviously covered by medical confidentiality, but I feel I cannot continue to treat you unless you are absolutely honest with both him and me.”

“Are you refusing me medical treatment?”t

She hesitated. “I will ask Dr Sharman if he will take you on in my place.


The next day I saw Dr Sharman, a large burly man who looked at me with suspicion. Clearly, Dr Kendall had briefed him on her feelings. He asked me to go through my earliest memories, which I did. I even included the dark spot on the ceiling, but as with Dr Kendall, I said nothing about the police visiting the cottage.

“Have you really no recollection of events leading up to that moment? And has no one been in contact with you?”

“No,” I said. “But what about my symptoms of being pregnant?”

“They are unusual,” he said, “but as a biological male it is impossible for you to conceive. You appear to be undergoing a false pregnancy. Men can experience what’s called a sympathetic pregnancy when their partners become pregnant. I think in your particular position you feel very vulnerable, which could well explain your symptoms. However, this is nothing to worry about. I could give you some pills to reduce your anxiety levels and help you relax, if you wish.”

“No, thank you.” I didn’t want to say it, but I didn’t want to take any pills when I was showing every sign of being pregnant.


“I’ve put on over a kilogram since I first started weighing myself, two weeks ago,” I told Dr Sharman when I next saw him.

“You’ve put on over a kilogram in two weeks,” he repeated. “That on its own is not significant... Oh.” He broke off as he stared at my tummy where a bulge was clearly perceptible.


“And your breasts have grown as well.”

“Yes.” I was now a 38D bra.

“Then I don’t understand what’s going on. I’m going to get our nurse to give you a scan.”

“Thank you.”


“There’s no sign of a baby here,” the nurse said, staring at her screen, “but equally, I don’t know what the cause of your bump is. There’s no sign of any kind of cancerous lump. I think I’d better send you to Dr Hutchinson at the hospital. She’s the real expert in these kinds of cases.”


Howard had not liked to cancel Evelyn’s daily newspaper order on the basis that it made it appear as though she wasn’t expected back. It meant that one of us had to go to the general store in the village every few days to pick up a bundle of newspapers which we generally put straight in the bin.

One evening, Howard was flicking through them before throwing them away, when he said, “Look at him. He must be your brother.”

I glanced at the picture Howard was holding up, obviously a police mugshot of a man who bore no resemblance to anyone I would want to call my brother.

“Not only is he white,” I said, “but he looks nothing like me. Who is he?”

“He’s just like you,” Howard contested. “Apart from being white, admittedly. But then siblings of mixed-race parents can be different colours.”

I shrugged, non-committedly. “What’s he done?”

“He’s been murdered,” Howard said.

“Murdered?” That brought me up sharp. Someone who Howard thought looked identical to me had been murdered. “Can I read it?”

Howard passed the paper across to me.

Gavin Collins had been released from prison on Wednesday last week, it read, but his whereabouts had been unknown until his murdered body had been found yesterday. Police were anxious to trace anyone who may have seen him, particularly a black teenage girl who is thought to have spoken with him in a pub called The Hole in the Wall next to Wakeham Prison, shortly after he was released.

“Wakeham Prison!”

Howard looked at me. “You know it?”

“It’s a top security prison. The name… it seems familiar.”

He looked serious. “Are you the black girl who met him in the pub? Is that why the police were looking for you?”

“I’m hardly a teenager,” I said.

“Then might you have been in Wakeham Prison? Perhaps you’re an escaped prisoner?”

“No, and no,” I said. Really, I wasn’t certain. “Look it up on the internet,” I said. “Is it a woman’s prison?”

He searched the internet on his phone for a bit and said, “No, it’s a male top security prison in the north of England. Apparently, according to the blogs, they house lots of sex offenders there.” More twiddling, “This Gavin Collins had been sentenced for multiple rape.”

“Right,” I said, my mind going into overdrive. Collins was a serial rapist who had just been released from prison. I looked similar to him and suspected my gender had been changed, possibly without my permission. He had now been murdered.


That night, I had a dream. I was walking through a yard, heading towards a large steel double gate, set in a wall twenty feet high. A man in a uniform smirked at me as he opened the gate.

“See you soon,” he said.

“No you won’t,” I replied as I stepped through the gate. “This is my last time here.”

His smirk turned into a wide grin. “That’s what they all say,” he said. He amiably nodded. “I’ll be seeing you.” The door clanged shut cutting off his snort of laughter.


The next day, I went onto Howard’s elderly laptop and looked up more details about Collins. He was not just a rapist, he was also a member of BOE - Blacks Out of England - and he’d been found guilty with a group of other members, of kidnapping teenage black girls and gang-raping them. It left my mind in a whirl. But then, my symptoms of pregnancy and the next day’s appointment with Dr Hutchison had them in a greater whirl.


“I’m afraid Dr Hutchison has been called away to conduct an emergency Caesarean,” the nurse told me as she led me towards the consulting room. “Fortunately, Dr Horsfall has just returned to work today so she can see you instead.”

“Right,” I said.

She knocked on the door and led the way in. “I have Venetia Smith to see you, Dr Horsfall.”

The nurse briefly smiled at me before departing but I barely noticed it because, when she saw me, Dr Horsfall’s mouth had dropped open.

“You,” she said.

“Yes,” I said, hesitantly.

“How did you find me?”

There had been a few seconds when I’d been wondering whether we’d innocently known each other before I’d lost my memory, but then I’d realised that I’d hit the nail on the head.

“It wasn’t easy,” I said.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“An apology would be a start.”

She scowled defiantly at me. “I know who you were and I don’t believe you deserve an apology. Presumably, you know who I am?” Her left eye started to tick occasionally.

That was awkward. Until a minute ago, I’d not known I was going to meet someone other than Dr Hutchison, yet she clearly thought I knew her. “Not really,” I said. Then a thought flashed through my mind. “Dr Horsfall? You’re the mother of Helen Horsfall.”

“Yes,” she said.


It had been a few years ago when the rape and murder of seventeen-year-old Helen Horsfall had hit the news. Her killer had been caught but been given a paltry sentence. Her mother, this woman sitting behind the desk, had campaigned to bring back hanging for murderers which, of course, had been unsuccessful.

“How did you manage to get back from Amsterdam without a passport?” she asked.

What was she talking about?

“I was never in Amsterdam. I was dumped in a rental cottage in Oakham Woods from here.”

“You were dumped in a cottage?” She was astonished. “No wonder I never found you in Amsterdam.” Seeing my silent interrogation, she added, “The plan was to take you to Amsterdam and sell you to a brothel where you would be repeatedly forced to have sex with men, hopefully black men.” She smirked, but the eye tick was becoming more frequent.

“The nurse told me,” I said, “that you’d just returned to work. Were you off sick?”

“Yes.” A nervous smile. “I found the surgery on you quite stressful.”

“Particularly as it tore a hole through your Hippocratic Oath.”

“Yes.” The tick was happening almost every few seconds, now. “I took time off but I couldn’t settle at home, so I went to Amsterdam for a few days, trying to find you. To see you being abused and to relish in it.”

“But your buddies in crime let you down?”

“Obviously. They told me they were going to take you there. I don’t know why they didn’t.”

“My memory of events before I awoke as a woman has totally gone. I can remember nothing about myself before I awoke. Did you give me something to make me forget?”

“Yes. We used a variation of flunitrazepam – or Roofie as you probably know it. The variation is designed to help those with PTSD erase their traumatic memories. But your memory shouldn’t be totally obliterated. The idea was that it would make it difficult for you to recall who had done these things to you, not that you wouldn’t know who you were. After all, what would be the point of you suffering abuse as a black female prostitute if you didn’t know you’d once been a male who did horrible things to black females?”

“And yet my memory has totally gone. Did you give me too much of the drug?”

“I’d had to leave the team by that time, but I left clear instructions on how much was to be administered. They must have accidentally given you far too much.”

“Your associates gave me a massive overdose of the memory loss drug and left me in a cottage rather than taking me to Amsterdam.” Then inspiration flashed through my brain. “Perhaps they realized they’d captured the wrong person.”

“Captured the wrong person. What are you talking about? They trapped you as you came out of prison and I changed you into a woman.”

“Because you thought I was Gavin Collins.”

“What do you mean by saying, ‘I thought you were Gavin Collins.’ That’s who you are – or were, anyway.”

“The real Gavin Collins was released from prison a few days ago and was then murdered.”

Her other eye joined in with the ticking, only not in unison with it. It was really rather alarming just watching her.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re in front of me now.”

“I am not and never have been Gavin Collins.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Take out your phone,” I said, “and search the internet for ’murder Gavin Collins’.”

She did, although her hand was shaking so much, she had to have several attempts to type it in. Eventually she found the entries.

“Ah!” She threw the phone onto her desk as though it was on fire and stared at me, her eyes ticking wildly.

When it became apparent that she wasn’t going to add anything, I asked her. “How do I appear to have become pregnant? Surely you didn’t give me a womb.”

“Huh.” She seemed to calm a little. “You think I’d waste a womb on you? No, whilst I was doing the liposculpture to transfer fat from your stomach to your hips and bottom, I inserted an elastic bladder in the front of your stomach, connected through a valve set to pass about three millimetres an hour, which is equivalent to half a kilogram a week, so the bladder will gradually get bigger and bigger at more or less the same rate as a pregnant woman, although you’ll start gaining weight a lot sooner than a pregnant woman normally would. Eventually, you’ll grow to the enormous size of a woman bearing triplets.”

“And what then?”

“It will end quite naturally, as though you’re having a miscarriage.”

“And my breasts? They’re growing as well.”

“But all men like big breasts,” she said. “You can hardly complain. I would have given you huge breasts to start with, but there wasn’t sufficient tissue and skin to cope. Instead, your breasts will grow bigger as the skin stretches. Just think, your breasts will never sag; they’ll simply get bigger and bigger. Of course, all this will leave you feeling continually tired and worn out, just like those young black girls you left pregnant after raping them.”

“Except that it was Gavin Collins who raped young black girls. That was not me.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right.” The ticking had returned and was going so fast I could barely see her eyes. “I suppose that means you’re going to report me to professional standards?”

“I suppose it does,” I said.

Dr Horsfall ran out of the consulting room, leaving me to explain to the nurse that Dr Horsfall appeared to be unwell.


If only I’d used some other words, things might have turned out very different. As it was, I went home deep in thought and totally undecided what to do. Now I understood her reasons, I could empathise, even though what she had done was completely over the top. But who could say what was reasonable behaviour for anyone whose child had been raped and murdered? I’d collected a form to report professional misconduct, but I was loathe to complete it.

I’d told Howard that Dr Horsfall believed I was going to lose the baby before birth, which upset him but at least he was prepared for the inevitable. And as I procrastinated, I got bigger and bigger, in both breast and belly.

After a few days, I rang the consulting rooms to book another appointment with Dr Horsfall and was told she had died the previous day. After a little research on the internet, it seemed she’d committed suicide.


“Sorry,” Dr Sharman said, when I saw him a few days later. “Are you really trying to tell me that Dr Horsfall conducted an illegal operation on you to forcibly change your sex? The idea is totally preposterous. I’ve known Dr Horsfall for many years and she was widely respected throughout our profession. Now she’s dead, she’s not able to defend herself and you invent this rubbish. I seriously think you have some severe delusional problems.” He sat looking at me, a foul look on his face.

“Dr Kendall was absolutely right and I think I’m going to do the same as her and refuse to treat you any further. Good day.”


“It’s the woman,” Howard said, whilst he was watching TV news that evening.

“What woman?” I entered the room to see, but the picture had already moved on.

“That woman,” he said, doing a trick with the remote to rewind live TV. “There,” he said, displaying a picture of the Government’s Lord Chancellor leaving his offices and getting into a car whilst being questioned by reporters, whom he ignored.

“The Lord Chancellor?” I asked. “Has he had a sex change?”

“No,” he said, rewinding the video again. “That woman behind him.”

It was presumably the Lord Chancellor’s assistant who had followed him out of the building carrying a briefcase and got into the front seat of the car besides the chauffeur. She was dressed in a smart business suit and looked rather more formidable than the Lord Chancellor.

“You mean one of the nurses who brought me to the cottage?” I asked. “She doesn’t look much like her.”

“It’s her,” he said, taking my phone from me and finding the video he had taken at the time. Howard was not the best of video cameramen and the video shook quite a lot, and this woman’s mode of dress and her attitude were completely different. However, I had to admit, she was quite similar.

“Are you sure?”

He nodded.

“Then what does that mean?” I asked.

“What that means,” Howard said, “is that you have been secretly operated on by the Government and dumped for some reason which we do not know.”

“But it’s ridiculous,” I said. “Why would they do that?”

“Perhaps,” he said, enlightenment animating his face, “the plan wasn’t to arrest you as an illegal immigrant. They were going to arrest you as a spy. MI5 had set you up, for some reason. Perhaps they wanted to pretend to make an arrest and have a showcase trial. You’d be pleading your innocence but they would have all the evidence stitched up to throw you in prison for a hundred years.”

“It happens in spy films,” I said, “but not in real life.”

“What about nerve gas in Salisbury?” he retorted. “That was like a plot from a film but it was real life.”

He was, of course, right, and I didn’t know what to think.


That night, after our heavy round of sex, I lay awake whilst Howard gently snored, thinking about his discovery, and his deductions from it. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that it was absolute bunkum. If MI5 had been involved, the work would have been done by agents whose activities could be denied; there was no way they would allow the person who had handled a body – even a living body – to ride in the same car as the Lord Chancellor. Even if it had not been the Government as such but something personal to the Lord Chancellor, he would have similarly ensured that he wasn’t at all connected with the people doing the dirty work.

Therefore, it was the woman who was doing this, unknown to her employers. Therefore, I had to find out more about her.


The next day I went onto Howard’s laptop and searched the identity of the Lord Chancellor’s assistant. There were a number of people in his office who were described as assistants, but I eventually found their photos and ruled them out.

However, when I researched where he had been the previous day, I struck lucky. He’d been visiting a prison and I managed to log onto the news pages of the Prison Service staff newsletter. There I found news of the Lord Chancellor’s visit to the prison along with a photograph of the woman who’d accompanied him, an executive officer working for the Prison Service in London. Her name was Gwendoline Jones.

She had featured several times in the staff newsletter, having moved to the Prison Service from the Treasury, and before that, the Royal Mint in Cardiff. It was all fairly innocuous stuff but there was no doubt she looked extremely fierce and miserable, and had risen rapidly through the ranks. But there was nothing in the newspaper about her personal life, and I had to browse the web for that, with all the difficulty of researching a surname as popular as Jones. Then I struck lucky, finding details of her wedding, fifteen years previously, to Dylan King in Cardiff, so Gwen Jones had become Gwen King. She had divorced after a few years and had obviously reverted to using her maiden name.

Gwen King. The name had a strange ring to it but I just couldn’t place it. I decided to give my thoughts a rest and hope that I would remember.

It hit me a few hours later: graffiti I’d seen scrawled on a toilet wall: I’m WanKing over Wen King. It would have been mildly funny in different circumstances. For five days, she’d been in the news headlines in the hunt for her missing thirteen-year-old niece, Sophie, in Cardiff. “Someone must know where Sophie is being kept prisoner,” she had repeated time after time. “A partner, a parent, a brother or sister. Please come forward and save this little girl.”

Wen King had been the family spokesperson. She was very attractive and, I guessed, in her mid-thirties, but looking younger with her brown hair cut in a bob with a fringe and her face always full of hope. Then, on the sixth day, suddenly looking so much older, with no hope at all, after Sophie’s body was found.

We hadn’t seen Wen King again for many months, until the murderer had been arrested, tried and found guilty and then sentenced to life imprisonment. “Life imprisonment may seem a long time to him,” she had said after the trial to the press, on behalf of the family. “But Sophie is gone forever, torn from her family, raped and murdered by this savage pervert. I can only hope that the staff and other prisoners turn the rest of his life into a living hell.”

Now, here she was, looking very different from the Wen King who had appeared on TV and in the press. She’d moved from the Royal Mint in Cardiff and was now working for the Prison Service, presumably without their knowledge of her words at that time. And, if my suspicions were correct, she and Dr Horsfall had given me a sex change against my will, changed the colour of my skin and, after she discovered they had operated upon an innocent person, she – and not Dr Horsfall – had left me dumped in the cottage and then reported me to the police. A few days after that, another man recently released from prison had been found murdered.

A sudden thought had me back on the internet and I found my suspicions were correct. Gavin Collins had been murdered exactly ten years to the day after the death of Sophie King.

I had felt considerable empathy for Dr Horsfall who had carried out an unlawful and unethical procedure on someone she believed to be evil. After doing so, she had become a nervous wreck and had clearly disintegrated after meeting me and discovering that she had carried out the procedure on an innocent person. Wen King, in comparison, had clearly felt so little remorse that she’d been prepared to sacrifice that innocent person in order to protect her own guilt. The overdose of flunitrazepam she’d given me could have killed me or left me with permanent brain damage – perhaps it had. Then, she had tipped off the police, presumably telling them I was an illegal immigrant. With no knowledge of my own identity, I’d be defenceless in the case to avoid my deportation.

But then, I remembered, there had been a third woman involved who had left me at the cottage. Who was she? And was it her rather than Wen King who had tipped off the police. Before taking further action, I decided I needed to find her identity. With two out of three found, I thought I might have a chance.

After thinking about it, I realised that my change of skin colour from white to black was important. Gavin Collins, who had been the target of their attacks, had been a racist and made a point of raping black girls, so perhaps this third woman who was black had been related to one of those girls who had been raped. The problem was that whilst the names of murder victims were public information, the victims of rape were protected. I simply couldn’t find any details of the victims or their parents.


“Venetia,” Howard said, “there’s something strange happened with the rental of the barn.”

“What barn?” I’d never heard Howard mention a barn before.

“Along with the cottage,” he said, “we also own an old barn which we’ve rented out to a local farmer ever since we’ve had it. However, I noticed this morning that he didn’t pay the rental for last month. I rang him up and he said that Mother had cancelled his contract, two months ago. He’d offered to increase his rent but she said she had another use for it.”

“Right,” I said.

“Well, Mother never said anything about this to me, which is very unusual.”

“When was she taken into hospital?” I asked. “Perhaps she got confused about things just before.”

Howard shook his head. “She’s only been in hospital since a couple of days before you arrived. This change of rental of the barn happened two months before that.”

“Has someone else being renting it?” I asked.

“Let me check the accounts,” he said, looking puzzled. A few minutes later, he came back and said, “No rental has been paid for the last two months. It appears to have been unused since she told the farmer to vacate it.”

“Can we go and look inside this barn?” I asked.

“I’ll get the keys,” Howard said.


The barn was only a short distance away so we agreed to walk, although in my case, it was beginning to more resemble a waddle, as my bump was now quite noticeable. Even the fairly short walk, had me starting to perspire a little (ladies definitely do not sweat!).

The barn looked like so many others built around the British countryside since time immemorial; brick with a pitched roof and large doors at the one end to permit trailers stacked with hay to enter; or, as we found in this case, a large, white-painted shipping container on a trailer.

“What do you think is inside it?” Howard asked, staring at it as though it might suddenly become transparent.

“There’s only one way to find out,” I said. “We have to get inside. Look.” I pointed along the side. “There are some steps there which lead up to a door in the side of the container.”

I was incredibly curious but I let Howard take the lead, as he walked along the narrow gap between container and barn wall and then up the steps. I wasn’t yet so big that I thought I might get stuck but for some reason, I felt nervous as I followed Howard into the barn.

“The key has been left in the door,” Howard said, “as though they’re not intending to come back.”

He twisted the key in the Yale lock to unlatch it and then pulled the huge steel handle set in the container. As the door swung open, it gave a terrible screech.

“Aagh!” I yelled.

“What?” Howard turned to face me, probably thinking I’d been attacked.

But for some reason I had shot backwards so I was now standing just outside the barn, shaking uncontrollably.

“What is it?” Howard asked, coming down the steps and up to me. He placed his arms around me, and gently asked, “What is it? What’s the matter?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “It was that screech. It… it terrified me.”

He turned to look at the container again. “I’ll go and have a look inside,” he said.

“Be careful,” I said. “Don’t stay long inside. If you’re not out in five minutes, I’m calling the police.”

He grinned. “It’s alright,” he said. “I won’t be long.”

He went back up the steps, pulled the door fully open, causing it to give another screech and looked carefully inside before stepping in.

I waited. And waited. And waited. It felt like he’d been in there hours but I suspected it could only have been a few minutes. Then he came out again.

“Darling Venetia,” he said, walking right up to me and hugging me.

“What was inside?” I asked.

“It’s a sort of emergency operating theatre – the kind they can take to some kind of disaster. The operating theatre is at this end; in the middle is a lobby and nurses’ station, and then at the far end is a tiny ward with a hospital bed.”

“Yes,” I said.

“The safety bars around the bed are all bent,” he said, “as though…”

“As though…” But I thought I knew what he was going to say.

“As though a patient had been chained by their hands and feet to them to prevent them escaping.”

“Oh, God!” I said, stepping backwards away from it. “Oh God! Oh God! I think I can remember it. Nothing very clear… Just my… screaming to be freed… And someone saying they had cut off my testicles. They’d castrated me.”

I stopped, suddenly aware I had said the words I should never have said in front of Howard. I looked at him. He was smiling at me.

“I’m glad you could say the words at last,” he said.

“You knew?”

He smiled again. “I strongly suspected you’d been male and had a gender change. But as Dr Kendall said, some fine surgeon gave you an excellent vagina. And the pregnancy thing has certainly confused matters. The question now is why was it done without your permission?”

“Let’s go back to the house, make a cup of tea and talk,” I said.


“When I first saw you get out of that bed in the cottage,” Howard said, “your stance was like a male and your behaviour was like a male but you had this marvellous female body. I found it so incredibly erotic, far more so than any of the women I’d spied on before. I fell in love with you on the spot and then everything that happened subsequently has just cemented that love.

“But then,” he continued, “even though your breasts were growing and then so was your tummy, I still felt that you had once been a man. And now this.” He shook his head. “I guess the police will find out what and why it happened.”

“I don’t want to go to the police,” I said. “At least, not just yet.”

“But someone did these things to you. They have to go to prison for it.”

“If it went to court, I would be in the public domain. The press would pounce on me and describe me as some kind of monster. They would state in horrific detail everything that had been done to me. And they’d say no smoke without fire. I must have been evil. And they’d say it over and over again. It would be never ending, for the rest of my life.”

Howard nodded. “There is something else as well. My mother.”

“What about her?”

“Over the last few months, she’s had something going on. I didn’t know what but there’d been a kind of excitement about her. Then she sent me to my aunt in Eastbourne saying she needed some help repainting some rooms. When I got there, I discovered my aunt was perfectly capable of redecorating by herself, but Mother had insisted that I go down for the week to help her. Then, whilst I was away, she had her heart problem and I had to come back here.”

Howard shook his head. “Finally, there’s this thing about the barn rental being changed to provide a home for the trailer. I just don’t know what to think.”

“You think,” I conjectured, “that she provided the barn in order for the gang, whoever they were, to house the portable operating theatre and that she is therefore totally involved in my forced conversion.”

He nodded again. “I haven’t told you the other thing which has been going round and round my head ever since we visited her in hospital. I left you in the corridor and went in to see her. I said something like, ‘I’ve met a girl and we’re going out. She’s a black girl who’s staying in our cottage.’ Then she freaked out. It could have been simply the mention of the word ‘black’, but the more I thought about it afterwards, it felt…” He paused.

“It felt,” I completed the sentence for him, “as though it was the bit about me staying in the cottage which actually freaked her out.”

He nodded. “Which would mean,” he said, “that she really was totally involved in your conversion. Perhaps she had her heart attack when they realised they didn’t have Gavin Collins, but instead some innocent person. Whilst she was in hospital, she must have agreed for you to be left in the cottage. Perhaps it was even her who tipped off the police about you.

A sudden grin split my mouth wide. “And then you go in,” I said, “full of the joys of spring telling her you’ve fallen in love with the person she’s just converted from man to woman. No wonder she freaked out.”

A smile came to his face and lit it up. “How can I be smiling?” he said. “My mother has had a stroke because of what I said to her…”

“No!” I interrupted. “Your mother had a stroke because of what she had done to another human being which had suddenly come around to smack her in the face. You are not guilty of anything, other than being honest with your mother.”

He nodded. “I guess you’re right,” he said. “But I don’t know what I should do…”

He was interrupted by the phone ringing. It was the hospital, ringing to tell him Evelyn had worsened and he should go in to see her.


I went with him to the hospital, thinking that if he received the worst kind of news then he’d need some support. As before, I sat in the corridor outside the ward, although this time it was an intensive care ward.

I didn’t really notice the nurse who came along the corridor and was about to enter the ward – not until she suddenly leapt backwards after glancing through the glass panel in the door and, I guessed, seeing Howard by Evelyn’s bed. I recognised her from Howard’s video as the black nurse who’d brought me into the cottage. She turned around, clearly about to return the way she came when she saw me watching her.

“Come to visit your partner in crime?” I asked as she hesitated over what to do. I read her name badge. “Nurse Annabella Benton. I think they called you Ella in front of me, didn’t they? You certainly didn’t wear your name badge.”

“No,” she said quietly, looking around to make certain we weren’t being overheard. “We didn’t want you remembering any of our normal names for rather obvious reasons. Miriam became Amy and Evelyn was just Lyn. I suppose…” She broke off as someone exited the ward behind her and walked past. It gave her a little time to consider what to say.

“Can we talk. I… I need to explain… to apologise.”

“Where shall we go? The café?”

“No,” she said. “There are too many ears flapping in there. I’m off duty now. Let’s go to the pub across the road. That’s quiet at this time of day.”

“I’ll text Howard,” I said, “and tell him to meet us there when he can.”


“You’re looking very pregnant, now,” Annabella said. “Far more so than a woman normally would after – what is it? Seven weeks. That’s because a woman doesn’t normally gain much weight in the first trimester. Still, we thought most blokes wouldn’t work that out. Did Miriam tell you how she did it?”

I nodded. “Yes, she explained about me gaining half a kilo per week. I’ve put on over two kilos since I started weighing myself, and reckon I must have put on well over a kilo before that.”

“She was an incredible surgeon,” she said. “And she put her skills to such wonderful use for the good of humanity.”

“Apart from me,” I said.

“Yes” she agreed, “apart from you, but presumably, you know what happened to her daughter.” I nodded again. “When she moved to this hospital, I made a point of making contact with her. We had a lot in common as my daughter, Chevelle, committed suicide after a man called Gavin Collins raped her and she became pregnant. Miriam and I became best of friends, and we’d frequently meet up for lunch and have a chat. We’d often get into a kind of fantasy fest – you know, what we’d like to do to those men who killed our daughters. Castrating them and, in my case, turning their skin black. It was a release for us and we got to the point where we could laugh about our ideas.”

She stared at me. “You don’t realise what it’s like to lose the most important person in the world. It’s like part of your heart has been cut out and you will never live again. Our lunches together meant we were starting to rebuild. Then one day, Evelyn came into the canteen as we were chatting. She knew Miriam from Gynaecology and she came over to greet her. We jokingly told her how we’d been planning these horrific tortures for these evil men and she joined in. I could tell straightaway that she didn’t like black people but it seemed she hated men even more. She’d been raped when she was in her mid-forties and, er...” She paused, considering. “She became pregnant with Howard.”

“Oh God!” I said. “Does Howard know?”

“No,” she said. “Please don’t tell him. I’ve only told you because you need to understand the reason why she got involved and why things progressed as they did. Once Evelyn got over the colour of my skin, we all got on well together, and then, whenever she came into hospital for one of her regular appointments, she’d always pop into the canteen at lunchtime and see if we were there.

“We must have been chatting like this for months before Evelyn suggested that talk was fine but we should seriously consider taking it further. Miriam and I were both a little taken aback but I guess we felt that, actually, she had a point. We started talking a little more seriously about how we would go about implementing our wild plans. Miriam knew of the portable operating theatre held by the Health Authority which was about to be sold off and Evelyn said it could be stored in an old barn that she owned in Oakham Woods.”

“Howard and I found it,” I said.

“Then I was informed that Gavin Collins was to be released on parole from prison,” she said as though I hadn’t spoken. “That was the final catalyst.”

She looked grimly at me as she took a sip of her wine, before continuing. “The problem was, how did we know exactly when Collins would be released, and then how would we capture him. We hadn’t a clue about either of those. That was when Evelyn said that she’d been on blogs with like-minded people and was going to make contact with one person who said they were employed by the prison service. Miriam and I thought that this person was probably bulling, as you get on these blogs, but actually, she came up trumps.”

She paused for a little and then continued. “She called herself Vengie, short for Vengeance. Like Miriam and me, she’d lost someone to a sex crime but we never knew who she really was – and didn’t want to find out.”

This was presumably Wen King, I decided, but didn’t say anything.

“She was able to find out the exact day when Collins was being released. She also knew past offenders who could help kidnap him. I know it cost her money and they used a young-looking black prostitute as bait in the pub next to the prison. Through one of her other contacts, she’d got hold of someone who ran brothels in Amsterdam, and the plan was that after the operation, she and I would drive him there, concealed in the luggage. We didn’t think there’d be a problem with customs travelling to Amsterdam rather than away from it.”

She looked at me, the pain in her eyes. “Then Collins’s release was postponed at the last minute and Vengie didn’t find out until some days later. Somehow you must have walked into the trap. Presumably, this black girl enticed you into a car or van. I don’t know how they managed to capture you, but Vengie brought you down on the Monday evening in her Range Rover, sedated and packed up in a large suitcase.

“Miriam and I had already decided to carry out all your operations in one go. I think we both felt that otherwise we might not go through with it. We kept you sedated until the operation, the next day. It was a long operation. Miriam was fine during the operation but afterwards, she went to pieces. I took her home, sedated her and finally got her settled down. By the time I got back to the portable theatre, it was bedlam. You had returned to consciousness and Evelyn and Vengie had delighted in telling you about your operation and their plans for you. You’d been persistently telling them they had the wrong person, which they didn’t believe. By then, you were in shock. I went crazy at them and had to throw them out and treat you to avoid you dying on us.

“The next few days, we kept you sedated whilst we made you look more the part. Evelyn had once been a hairdresser and beautician, so she took the lead: electrolysis on your body hair, false nails, collagen on your lips and cheeks to thicken them, dying your hair black and giving you an Afro style.”

Another pause as she prepared to say the most difficult words. “On Friday, Vengie discovered you’d been telling the truth. Collins was still in prison and was to be released in a few weeks. Evelyn went crazy at her and had what appeared to be a heart attack and was taken into hospital.”

The tears were rolling down her cheeks, now. “That left Vengie and me to try to sort out the mess. I contacted Howard who was staying with an aunt in Eastbourne and asked him to return home. Vengie had made an agreement with someone in Amsterdam to take you into a brothel and she didn’t want to let them down, so she wanted to take you to Amsterdam anyway. I refused to go with her and, when she said she’d do it on her own, I said that if you did, I’d tip off the police about her.

“We’d always planned to give you a heavy dose of flunitrazepam – that’s what’s known as Roofies – to cloud your memory,” she continued. “I suggested we did that and then dumped you at Evelyn’s rental cottage which Vengie had been staying in until then.”

“Sorry,” I interrupted. “Did you say that Vengie had been staying in the cottage where I was found? That would mean it was booked under her name of Vengie?”

“Evelyn thought the name Vengie was too obvious so that if the police did investigate, they’d immediately be suspicious. So, she shortened it to Ven and added the surname Smith just to give it a ring of normality. Vengie was furious about that, so much so that we reckoned her name really was Smith.”

Not quite, I thought. It had been Gwen Jones rather than Ven Smith – far too similar for comfort. But I couldn’t help but smirk that Howard had translated this name based upon hatred into something as beautiful as Venetia.

“Anyway,” Annabella continued, “Vengie seemed to go along with the idea of dumping you in the cottage and I went to see Evelyn in hospital who agreed. She said that Howard was driving back from Eastbourne that day – which was the Saturday – and would be visiting her that evening. She’d use some pretence to get him to go round to check on you the following evening. He’d find you and would then probably take you to hospital. So that sounded like a plan, only unknown to me, Vengie put the whole pack of flunitrazepam into your drinking water. She didn’t care whether you lived or died since, once she’d left the area, she was untraceable.”

“Didn’t you take a note of the registration number of her car?” I asked. “It sounds like you were being left holding the baby.”

“Vengie had made a point of telling us that one of her iffy friends had got her a stolen Range Rover and given it false number plates,” she said, “so there wasn’t much point.”

“We left you in the cottage on Sunday morning and then Vengie and I split up, with the plan never to see or contact each other again, although we all had Pay As You Go mobiles just in case. I went home to sleep. Even though I was exhausted, I slept little and later on, I decided to go to the portable theatre and give it a thorough clean out, as we’d always planned. The first thing I did was to clear out all the drugs we’d been using. That’s when I discovered the missing flunitrazepam and realized what Vengie must have done. I knew I had to get you to hospital straight away so I drove towards the cottage. That’s when I saw the police car with its blue light flashing. I presumed you’d been found dead. I went back to the portable theatre, cleaned it out and then went home and waited for the police to come to arrest me.”

She paused, seemingly stronger now she’d told the worst. “And the police never came. I went back to work but decided to wait until Miriam and Evelyn were back before trying to find out what had happened with you. Then the real Collins was murdered and the police came around to interview me, as one of the people he’d wronged. Fortunately, I was working the day he was kidnapped and was clearly shocked that presumably Vengie had gone ahead with her revenge, in spite of the terrible cock up she made with the first. It seems to me that she’s a little crazy.”

“You didn’t try to get rid of the portable theatre?” I asked.

“It was Miriam who’d arranged to borrow it from the Health Authority on some pretext. I’d need a lorry and driver to move it and I assumed the police would be buzzing around having found you dead. As the weeks ticked by, and there was no mention of finding your body, I tried to put the whole thing behind me, at least until Miriam returned to work. She eventually came in for half a day and then went crazy over some patient and committed suicide the next day. And as the story circulated around the hospital, I realised that patient sounded just like you. When I heard the name of the patient, I realised that you had taken the name of Ven Smith as your own and expanded it. I assumed you would talk to the police investigating Miriam’s suicide and they would quickly latch onto me. Again, it never came.” She looked at me, confusion in her eyes.

“You need to understand my position,” I said. “When the police came to the cottage, it wasn’t because my body had been found, but I think they’d been told there was an illegal immigrant staying there.”

“No?” she gasped. “Vengie must have done that so that you were locked up in an immigration centre rather than treated in hospital, which is what you needed.” She shook her head. “The evil bitch.”

“I understand why you did what you did,” I said. “I know you must all have been a bit out of your minds, and I guess Evelyn drove you on, as later did Vengie. My real concern is not about having you thrown into prison, but about finding out who I really am. I need to know what name I gave you, when I awoke from the operation. I need to find my old self.”

“I don’t think Evelyn is ever going to recover enough to say anything, and she and Vengie never told me. I’ll ring her on her PAYG mobile and ask her. I can’t do it straightaway as we don’t keep them switched on. I have to send her a text giving a time when we can talk, and then we all check for texts daily. I’ll come back to you as soon as I have some information. I promise…”

She broke off as my mobile started ringing. It was Howard and as soon as he started speaking, I knew it was bad news.


Howard’s mother had died whilst I was speaking to Annabella. I went back to the hospital, advising her to make herself scarce in front of Howard who, I told her, thought he had glanced me being taken into the cottage by two women.

There’s so much to do when someone dies, and usually, it’s at the worst time in someone’s life for them to handle it. I gave my loving support to Howard and tried my best to handle the logistics. I arranged for an undertaker to collect her body and took Howard home and made tender love to him. The next few days seemed to be occupied with doing all the standard things one has to do: registering the death, notifying friends and relatives, arranging the funeral, seeing the solicitor who had handled her will and visiting her bank and building societies.

I’d put my conversation with Annabella out of my mind for the main part, only thinking of it when I had a few moments free.

Then, on the Friday following Evelyn’s death, I was waddling back to the cottage after getting off the bus at the end of the lane. There was an elderly Range Rover driving down the track towards me. It was quite unusual to see any vehicle driving along that track but not completely unknown. I guess that with it being a Range Rover, I also wondered whether it might be Wen King, since Annabella had told me she had one.

So, when the driver suddenly gunned the engine and swerved towards me, I was already alert. As the car leapt towards me, I swivelled sideways and fell into the ditch besides the road with a thump which took my breath away. My body rolled another half turn before coming to a halt, winded but otherwise unhurt.

Until I felt something trickling between my legs. My initial thought was that I had landed in the stream, but I put my hand down and brought it back, covered in blood.

“Shit!” I struggled to sit up to examine the source when I heard a sound above me, and looked up to see Wen King standing there, menacingly holding a thick wooden branch.

“Bloody hell!” she said, in a conversational way. “Looks like Amy wasn’t such a smart surgeon after all. Something’s burst and there’s an awful lot of your insides gushing out.”

She was right. The blood was pouring out between my legs. It seemed that my new vagina had withstood all the pounding that Howard had given it over the last few weeks, but it had now collapsed after a fall into the ditch.

“When Ella told me that you weren’t dead or rotting in some Immigration Centre, but alive and well and asking embarrassing questions, I’d hoped to make it a simple hit and run,” she said. “Then you so promptly dodged out of the way and I realised I was going to have to turn it into a bludgeoning to death. Now, it looks like Amy’s dodgy surgery is doing the job for me.”

The blood was streaming out between my legs and flowing like a river to the bottom of the ditch where it was forming a large puddle, and beginning to flow downstream. It was like when you drop one of those two-litre milk containers and it bursts; only it was red and there was far more of it. There was a buzzing in my ears and I started to feel rather faint. “Before I die,” I whispered. “Tell me my name.”

She smiled. “Your name is Bond. Gavin Bond.” She said it in the theatrical way that I’d heard countless times before.

“When you regained consciousness and told us your name,” she continued, “we thought you’d invented it, Bond being the only surname you could think of on the spur of the moment. Presumably, when our tart chatted to you in the pub next to the prison, she assumed the same.”

Her smile turned into a grin as she added, “But I can’t hang around here for long. Someone might come along and I’ve always wanted to say this.”

She stood more upright and said in a sort of wooden voice, “I don’t expect you to talk, Mr Bond. I expect you to die.”

She giggled as she turned away and walked over to the Range Rover. Before getting in, she said with another dramatic giggle, “Goodbye, Mr Bond.”

Then, she got in and drove off, leaving me to my fate. The buzzing in my head got louder until it swamped out everything else.


There was a dark spot on the branch. That was my first thought as I woke up. There wasn’t normally a branch above me when I awoke, with or without a dark spot. In fact, normally I’d wake up with a red emulsioned ceiling above me, rather than open sky interspersed with trees. As I recalled the last few minutes of consciousness, I realised there was now no buzzing in my ears, simply the rapturous sound of birds singing in the trees. I was no longer in pain and my body felt lighter, in some way. Was this what it was like to be dead, I wondered.

I sat up, so much more easily than normal and looked down between my legs. The bleeding had completely stopped and my blood formed a grungy mess along the bottom of the ditch as far as I could see.

What next, I wondered. Did St Peter come and get me, or did I have to find my own way there? When it was clear there was no heavenly taxi arriving, I thought I had better stand up. And that’s when I discovered I was still attached to the blood-stained legs before me. What’s more, I could move them.

I gingerly got to my feet and climbed out of the ditch. I even managed to extract my handbag from the bush, where it had landed. Then, I started to walk in my blood-drenched dress towards home.


By the time Howard came home from work, I’d had a shower and carefully examined my tummy. My bulge had completely disappeared but it had left slight stretch marks on the skin. All of my blood-stained clothing was in a black plastic bag in the dustbin. Now, I was dressed in one of Evelyn’s lovely gowns which I was slim enough to fit back into, and I felt superb.

“But I don’t understand,” Howard said after I had briefly relayed the events of that afternoon, “why you aren’t dead. Surely, no one can lose that amount of blood and simply get up and walk home?”

“Dr Horsfall thought it would be very funny to make me appear pregnant. She sewed an elastic bladder in the front of my stomach, which gradually filled up with time – about half a kilogram per week. I’d assumed it was filling with juices from my stomach, but now I assume it was connected to an artery and was filling with blood. When I got to the size of a gestating elephant, a valve would open and make it look as though I was having a miscarriage. When I landed in the ditch, the valve prematurely opened and discharged all the blood from the bladder, which after this time, would have been almost as much blood as most people have in their bodies. And Wen King knew nothing about that, which is what saved me from being bludgeoned to death.”

“We have to go to the police, now,” Howard said.

I smirked. “Don’t worry,” I said. “It’s all been taken care of. You see, as Wen King told me my name, my whole life history came back to me. Well, most of it, anyway. Let’s make some tea and I’ll tell you the story.”


“It started,” I said, “with Miriam Horsfall and Annabella Benton indulging in harmless escapism about what they would do to the men who had killed their children. Then your mother got involved and turned it into a real project and unfortunately involved Wen King, who is seriously crazy.

“Afterwards, Miriam had a breakdown and when she later discovered her victim was innocent, she committed suicide. Your mother had a heart attack, then a stroke which killed her. Annabella is full of remorse. But when Wen King discovered the mistake, she had no remorse. After the operation, she didn’t care whether I lived or died. Now, she’s prepared to murder me. Annabella thinks she’s crazy and I’m sure she’s right.

“I asked Wen King my real name,” I said, “and she told me I was Gavin Bond. Then she simply had to add that quote from Goldfinger when James Bond asks him if he expects him to talk and he says: No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die.”

I paused a little. “That brought everything back. I remembered Matthew Walters saying that at primary school. And I remembered Peter Bevan saying that when I was first in a pub. And so on and so on. They all think they’re being clever and witty. When you’ve heard it a thousand times before, it simply sounds monotonous and rude.

“However, it may have been monotonous and rude but it brought back my entire life. I can remember almost everything, except for those last days in the portable theatre, which thankfully are still blotted out.

“I was a software consultant, engaged to perform security audits at prisons across the country. I’d also advise them how to make their systems secure. It was always miserable going inside the prisons but it was a job and it paid well. And when I got out of prison, I always found it essential to go into the nearest pub and have a pint.

“I can remember going into the Hole in the Wall after getting out of Wakeham prison. There was what I thought was a student from the local college, doing a project about prison reform and she wanted to ask me some questions. She obviously didn’t want to chat to a software consultant so I pretended to be a criminal. We chatted, and then she asked me if I wanted to go back to the college minibus to ‘do some practical tests’.” I shrugged. “She was attractive and I thought why not. I can remember climbing up into the minibus and feeling a sharp jab in my leg. Then, nothing until I woke up inside the cottage.”

“What’s happening about Wen King?” Howard asked.

“I sent the police in Wakeham an email about her. I’m pretty certain that from that they’ll be able to charge and convict her for the murder of Gavin Collins.”

“And what about Annabella?”

“Four people were suffering from the results of hateful crimes and their own hatred consumed them. Two are now dead; one will go to prison. The one thing to learn from these events is that hatred against others, no matter what they have done to deserve it, will destroy you. We must all let it go and get on with our lives. I wish Annabella well.”

Howard bit his lip a little and hesitated with his next question. “Now you know your real identity, does that mean you’ll return to it?”

I smiled at him. “Apart from sending an email to the police, this afternoon, I’ve also sent emails to all my clients, explaining that I’ve been ill and that I’ve recruited my cousin, Venetia Bond, to join in partnership with me. I’m sure she’ll get on with my clients far better than Gavin used to.”

“I bet she will. But...” he hesitated. “What about us?”

“The paperwork will take time to sort out but I don’t think there’ll be a problem with it. Which means I should be able to do everything as Venetia Bond. I could get married, for example. Clearly, I cannot bear children, but could adopt them.”

“You said ‘could adopt them’.”

“I meant me and my husband could, whoever that might be.”

His eyes widened. “Venetia...”


“Venetia, will you marry me?”

I smiled at him, put my arms around his neck and gave him a lingering kiss. After a while, I said, “Ask me again in ten minutes.”

He did, as well.

“Ven – e – tia – will – you – marry – me?”

“Oh God!” I screamed, digging my nails into his back. “Yes! – Yes! – Y-EEE-SSSS!”

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Interesting how Howard turned

Rose's picture

Interesting how Howard turned around. I don't see much fiction where that happens with someone like him.




Sex is a wonderful medicine

Thanks for the comment, Rosemary.
As I said in the story, I think there are far too many men who live, at best, unhappy lives because they have difficulty making sexual relationships. I suspect many men who rape do so because they do not have fulfilling sex lives. (Sounds like a good research project for someone.)
Best wishes

Very clever!

You made what is usually such a cliche, amnesia, into a clever, well planned and well written story.