Who is the master and who is the slave?
In Rick R. Reed’s tortuously sexy short story, you might not always know. Fugue takes the brave reader into the dungeon playroom of a master and his boy. It’s the kind of place where “darkness skitters into corners, hiding in shadows where the walls disappear.” A boy is chained to the pipes along the ceiling. Hooded, he can only experience the sensations his master delivers with his whips, fingers, tongue…
But in the boy’s mind, a dream state takes him places even the master could not imagine…places where the established pecking order is turned upside down. As he’s being deliciously whipped, tantalized, and tortured, the boy takes a mental journey on a late-night train where his adventures are even more raw and erotic than what goes on in this very dungeon.
Come along for the Fugue…and answer for yourself the question: who is the master and who is the slave?
Fugue begins with a slave awaiting his master in a damp, filthy dungeon, and the author sets the stage so well that I had no difficulty picturing the sub chained to pipes, shackled, his naked, freshly shaved body shivering in anticipation and dread for the pain he will endure for love of his Master. This book is made up of layers and aromas, from the decay and mildew of the roach infested surroundings to the smell of the leather hood that covers the sub’s head and face as his world is thrust into darkness. I felt what he feels as he escapes the darkness into an alternate imaginary world, riding the el train in Chicago.
On the el we meet two men sitting opposite each other, one young, in his late teens, the other a much older man dressed in leather chaps, boots and cap; the Leatherman is tall, muscular and has a small tattoo on one of his biceps – one word: fugue . The men are total opposites, one is rough, tough and powerful and the other is little more than a boy, affluent looking, with a lean body and beautiful. Their only companion in the carriage is an older woman who disembarks at the next stop and when the men are left alone a metamorphosis takes place as the boy becomes the Master and the man the sub.
The men explore their physical attraction in a darkened alcove of the train. Just when things are getting hotter and they are about to embark on a new, more sexual journey the train stops at the next station at the worst possible moment and our would-be lovers have to hide their presence, frustration and what they had been doing as a young couple enters the carriage. They hope for deliverance from their unwelcome companions and hold their breath; their prayers are answered as the couple leave at the next stop.
The intensity is maintained throughout the story as our lovers continue their train journey which turns into a wild ride in a scenario that’s as sexy as any I have ever read. In both the dungeon scene between the young sub and his Master and on the train there is no let up as the author generously takes us along with him.
This is the second Rick R. Reed book that I have read and I was struck by his delightful prose and spectacular world building as he weaves these two tales on parallel tracks – one is pure imagery and escapism through the mind of the sub as he turns his situation around 180 degrees and becomes the Master, and the other story is more traditional as the slave submits to his Master.
Fugue is perhaps more reality than most of us will ever want to experience. There is not a lot of dialogue, and it’s more a sensuous and deeply emotional ride as the slave invites us along. Mr. Reed is an exceptional writer who provided me with an experience that’s not just another well written tale. His writing style is unique and he paints pictures of different hues with words, and his worlds are so detailed that you live them. Fugue is not a love story even though the boy loves his Master, what it is, is an adventure into eroticism that is emotionally and physically intense both on the train and in the BDSM sequences, and the train is as much part of the story as the well drawn, three dimensional characters, as it stops at different stations and the protagonists wait with bated breath to see if someone will join them.
The word “fugue” is defined as a work of music with many “voices” based on a single melody, repeated in various ways and Rick R. Reed’s book of the same name is a lesson in how to strike the right notes at varying intervals to increase the intensity in a different type of performance