Alfred shifted from one foot to another, unable to find a comfortable posture in which to stand as he waited impatiently for the Tube. In one ear, he wore an innocuous earpiece designed to look like an earphone bud, but there was no music. All he could instead was ringing silence, but he strained hard to listen to it, just in case the voice was to give him further instructions.
"Catch the next train and ride it until I tell you to get off. I will be on it as well. I am always watching, so remember; no funny business."
The voice clipped off with a crackle. Alfred nodded to indicate he understood. Verbal communications was one-way only, his stalker and tormentor orchestrating his every move as a disembodied voice in his ear. But if he was being told the truth, that man was somewhere in the vicinity and could see him nod. He shifted from his right foot to his left and back again, wincing every time he felt that hard foreign object – lubricated and inserted into himself in the station's public toilet as per instructions – shift around in his ass.
The train arrived, and he waited for a carriage to empty out before stepping in. It was the middle of the day at an off-peak hour, so he had the carriage to himself at the very back of the train. He kept standing in spite of the many available seats, not quite trusting himself to sit down without a whole lot of discomfort. He clung to a hand strap as the train lurched forwards with a low, electrical hum.
"Don't try to look for me," the voice said sharply into his ear.
Alfred stopped craning his neck to look into the other carriages and obediently lowered his eyes to his shoes. He was terrified of retribution.
The train went through a couple of stops before a boozy, middle-aged man smelling of stale cigarettes clambered into his carriage. He tried to avoid meeting the man's gaze, but the voice had other plans for him.
"Talk to him."
Alfred was scared to do so, but he was even more afraid of disobeying the voice.
"Uh, nice weather we're having," he began, lamely.
The man ignored him in favour of a tatty, discarded Metro he had picked up from a seat. He licked a grubby finger and quickly flipped through the pages to get to the comics section.
"Sit next to him," the voice commanded.
Alfred felt sick. But he did as he was told on stiff, trembling legs, gently lowering himself into a seat beside the man. He tried again.
"Hey, so what's in the news?"
The man turned to look at him with undisguised contempt.
"Fuck off, you faggot."
Alfred felt as if he had been slapped. The train squealed to another halt, and thankfully, the man got up and left, spitting as he disembarked.
The voice was giggling in his ear. "Better luck next time, my sweet."
Fuck you! Alfred thought furiously, his cheeks flaming with shame. He sat in a contorted fashion to keep from putting too much weight on that wretched thing pressing against his prostate.
"Oh here's another one. Try not to fail me this time."
The earpiece crackled and went dead.
Alfred felt his heart racing. Another man had stepped into the train. He was tall and professional-looking in a sharp business suit, and had very fair features with white blond hair and light violet eyes. He held a book and briefcase in one hand. He looked quite kindly for a man of his build.
The man sat across from Alfred, dropping his briefcase down by his feet, and propped open his book with one hand, the other resting casually in a pocket of his suit jacket.
Slowly, as the train began to move again, Alfred stood up and hobbled over to sit beside the businessman. He winced slightly as he lowered himself gingerly onto the cushioned bench.
"Are you alright, boy?" the man asked, concerned.
"Yeah! Yeah, I'm good!" Alfred sounded a little hysterical.
He looked up at the businessman. This close to him, Alfred saw that the man had the most vivid pair of violet eyes and a kind, effortless smile. Yet there was something about him that felt amiss.
"My name is Ivan, Ivan Braginski. And you are?"
Alfred blinked down at the large, pale hand being offered to him, the one not buried in his pocket still. He took it, grasping it tight as they shook.
"Alfred, Alfred Jones. Er, just a student. From New York."
"Ah! And what brings you here to London, Alfred?"
Alfred was just settling into familiar territory – that of making new friends – when he felt something shudder up his spine which caused him to convulse. He blanched.
"Are you certain you are alright?"
"Yes!" Alfred gasped.
The jolt had settled to a low-level thrum against his prostate. It sounded quite loud in his ears, and he was paranoid that the man could hear it too. The thought of the man here – Ivan Braginski – catching on to his dark and shameful secret made him sick with terror.
"I-I'm fine! Just a little – y'know…"
"Ah, I understand. London can be a little too much."
The thrumming was not easing. On the contrary, it seemed to have increased in speed. As the train turned in a curve on the rails, he was jolted into a new position. He felt it there, forcing from his lips a sharp, involuntary moan.
"You don't look too well. Perhaps you should go home and rest."
Alfred felt as if he was floating deep underwater, and the man – Ivan Braginski – was speaking to him from far, far away.
"Yeah," he heard himself say, although he was not entirely sure what he was agreeing to. "Yeah, I'm just on my way back, back to my hotel. I'll be f-fine. I think."
The train was slowing to another stop. The buzzing in his ass was mercifully tapering off.
"Yes, you do that. Take care of yourself. You have done very well, my sweet."
And just as the train eased into the platform, the man – Ivan Braginski – pressed the vibrator's switch into his cold, sweaty palm, kissing him lightly on the cheek. He got up and left, and was long gone by the time Alfred had recovered enough of himself to realise what had happened.