I know they always say your life passes before your eyes when you're facing death. That was true, apparently, and standing on the stool, watching the girl in the mirror, I thought back on the things I'd done that had led to this point.
I'd been fascinated by bondage as far back as I can remember. My initially clumsy attempts to tie myself inescapably, and then try to get out of it, had led to my first orgasms.
My excitement grew as I started adding elements of danger to the bondage. It didn't seem to be the thrill of being caught, so much as the possibility of getting myself into something I couldn't get out of. I always made sure the chance of getting trapped was small, but it wasn't nearly as exciting if the danger wasn't there. One time the key I needed to get free nearly fell off the bed, out of my reach, leaving me without any other way to get loose. I managed to retrieve it by grabbing a handful of bedsheet and pulling it, and the key laying on it, away from the edge of the bed, not knowing as I started whether this would work or would flip the key off the edge instead. It was a fitted sheet. Pulling it off ripped the far corner of it. I got new sheets at Sears, telling myself to let this financial penalty be a lesson to me, that I had to stop these dangerous games.
I don't know exactly when my fascination with hanging started. It didn't seem consciously connected with the bondage thing at first. I just became aware of staring open-mouthed at any movie scene involving hanging, feeling an excitement I tried to pretend wasn't there. I was afraid to actually try it, but my self-bondage scenes began to include pretending that I was helplessly tied up waiting for "them" to come take me to the gallows.
Just after high school my parents died in a car wreck. I was devastated. As an only child, I'd been the center of a lot of their attention, and the loss was almost more than I could bear. I started thinking about killing myself --- by hanging, of course --- and found, strange as it seemed to me, that fantasizing about hanging got me excited enough to lift me out of my depression, to the point where I didn't feel a need to kill myself anymore. I had a job as a secretary, I could make ends meet, I struggled through. And I started thinking more and more about what it would feel like to hang.
I experimented in the living room, using a towel as a noose, standing on a chair, naked, my hands held behind me with my favorite handcuffs, the key inserted. I squatted down to let the towel take more and more of my weight, stood back up to let my heart stop pounding, repeated the process, and finally stepped off the chair when I felt ready.
There is just no way to describe the feelings: while I had been getting ready I had been so wet I was dripping on the floor; as I was about to step off I felt an orgasm coming, from a long way off. The moment I swung free, suspended by the towel around my neck a foot off the floor, the orgasm rushed up and hit me like a runaway freight train. I couldn't make a sound, couldn't even breathe, and the inability to release through moaning and sighing just seemed to add to the intensity. I wriggled like a fish at the end of the line as the spasms wracked me. I nearly fainted, probably never to wake up, before a belated self-preservation alarm went off in my head, telling me I'd better damn well get back up on that chair. My foot fumbled behind me and found the chair, nearly kicking it away in the process. I stood on it and unlocked the cuffs, untied the towel, and had just enough strength left to step down off the chair before I fainted on the floor.
I awoke to the internal clamor of an argument going on, two voices screaming at each other inside my head, one of them saying don't you ever, ever do that again, the other shouting More! I need more! I felt like an innocent bystander waiting to see who would win the fight. I knew which one it would be.
Over the coming days the winner of the argument told me what to do next. I needed a real noose, with rope, not a towel. I needed to make it harder to get out of, not just a matter of stepping back up onto the chair and opening handcuffs that weren't actually legitimately locked. I needed a full-length mirror so I could watch myself. And I needed -- most of all, if this was to be a truly transcendent, maximum experience -- I needed that extra element of added danger. I needed there to be a possibility that my escape plan could fail.
The place to do it, I knew, was the cabin. My parents had left me a vacation cabin, deep in the woods, from which my dad hunted. We'd spent a lot of happy times there. I'd visited it once with the lawyer for the estate after mom and dad died, and hadn't been back since. But it was still there, still mine. Actually the deed to it had been held in trust for me until I turned 21, but I'd reached that milestone a few months earlier.
The mirror was easy, of course. The rope took a little more effort; I wanted it to be just right. I eventually found the perfect thing: red, very silky, about three-quarters of an inch thick. It was really meant to be used as a decorative border -- you know, you're displaying something you don't want people touching, so you hang a rope restraining line on each side of a square around it, and people get the message... from the rope and the armed guards. In spite of its stress-free intended use, it was more than strong enough -- it held my full weight and then some -- and I bought about a 10-foot piece of it, which I knew would be plenty.
My anticipation of the hanging scene accelerated once I had the rope. I loved the feel of it; I'd take it out of the drawer sometimes and rub it against my face, to feel the softness. I wanted so much to make a hangman's knot with it and put it around my neck just to see how it felt, but I wanted to wait until I had everything ready. Instead I just held it in my hands and fantasized about it. I'd always have to change my panties afterward.
I didn't have a red ball-gag to match the rope, so I ordered one from my favorite bondage-gear web site. I'm sure they had my credit card number memorized. While I was at it, I ordered red leather wrist and ankle cuffs.
The danger part: that was the part I thought about long and hard. I knew right away how I wanted to get started. I would be standing on a wooden box, a foot or so high. (I already had the box, and it now became another focus of my fantasies, as I pictured stepping off the box to hang by the neck from that beautiful red rope.) There would be a bungee cord attached to one side of the box, the other end attached to... something else, it didn't matter what. (Another purchase: bungee cord. I wondered if anybody was analyzing my credit card statements.) My weight, as I stood on the box, would be the only thing keeping it in place: as soon as I stepped off, the bungee cord would yank the box out from under me. This, of course, brought up the question of how I would then get loose.
I must have thought of a hundred ideas and variations over the next week or so, throwing them out for either safety or esthetic reasons: either some detail would be just a little too dangerous, or else would spoil the illusion of danger by making escape too easy. When I finally visualized the ideal solution, I lay awake all night, too excited to sleep, running the whole scene through my head again and again, telling myself I really was going to do this.
The main ingredient would be a mechanical contraption. I put it together in my dad's workshop. I'm sure my dad had been disappointed sometimes I wasn't a son, but he never let on. In the end he made the best of it and familiarized me with tools; as a result I'd never been uncomfortable with them, or felt that working with tools was something men did. To me it was something me and dad did.
I was really pretty proud of the contraption once I got it done. I'd wanted control over how much danger there was, and I got it. I'd used the old melting-ice trick many times for self-bondage, and my escape here was going to rely on that.
The device consisted mainly of a hollow clear plastic tube, about an inch in diameter, standing upright. I'd put 6 identical keys for my handcuffs, each frozen in its own ice cube, into the tube, and wait for the ice to melt so the keys could fall out. At the bottom of the tube was a divider. If a key fell on one side of the divider, it would drop into a pouch, way out of my reach. If it came down on the other side, the key would slide down a long slanted chute that would deposit it onto the floor, next to the box I was standing on. To reach it, I'd use a magnet that was hanging down from my handcuffs on a string. The key would stick to the magnet and I'd pull it up like reeling in a fish, up to my hands, and I'd then unlock the handcuffs. All I needed was for any one of the six keys to fall on the right side of the divider and come down the chute. There was only one chance in sixty-four that all six keys would fall through the wrong side and get stuck in the pouch. That was the chance I was willing to take -- wanted to take. There was that much chance I'd be stuck standing on a box, the rope around my neck, my hands cuffed behind my back, with no way at all to get free. Once my hands were free, I'd worked out a way to get myself down -- one I couldn't make use of until my hands were free.
I tested the key-drop machine -- endlessly. I had a couple of weeks vacation time coming in July, which was still months away. I wanted to make absolutely sure it worked the way it was supposed to. I must have tried it out a hundred times. It usually took about two hours for the first ice cube to melt enough to release its key, and the rest would usually follow over the next twenty minutes or so. Pretty often three keys came down the chute, three fell in the pouch. Not always, of course: anything could happen. I never did get all six keys down the chute, but one time, out of all those tries, every single key ended up in the pouch. Another sleepless night then, telling myself that was okay, I knew the odds, that was going to happen sometimes. If it happened while I was standing on the box with my head in the noose, I was dead. But what a way to go, huh?
I tried out the other elements of the scene too, of course. I practiced standing on the box, my hands in the cuffs, dangling that magnet down to pick up a key from the floor. At first it took me nearly twenty minutes, but I got pretty good at swinging the magnet around from way up there and could get the key within a minute or so every time. Of course, I'd also practice reeling it in, and using it to unlock the cuffs while I was still standing up there.
I got more and more excited as the time got closer. I told my friends I was going to go down to Mexico. A couple of them hinted about wanting to come along, but I put on my struggling-orphan face and told them I felt I needed a little time to myself. They thought that was understandable. I had taken to wearing turtlenecks several months in advance, so I wouldn't have to explain why I was wearing them after I got back: I anticipated I would need to, for awhile.
Vacation! It was finally here! It was a ninety-minute drive out to the cabin, and I think I hardly breathed during the entire trip. As soon as I got there I filled an ice cube tray halfway and stuck it in the freezer. It was a beautiful, warm night, hardly a breath of breeze, and I sat out on the porch for hours, thinking about the next day. I was going to do it in the morning. I knew I couldn't wait longer than that. Before I went to bed I went back to the freezer, lay a key on top of each of a half-dozen ice cubes, filled the tray the rest of the way with water, and put it back in the freezer.
I'd been short on sleep for the last few nights before leaving, so I was so worn out I actually managed to get some that night. I woke up at first light with a start, and a smile, thinking, this is it!