Conductor Wynona Archer stopped the orchestra with a tap on her lectern and glared. "Frances Francis, again! I have had enough of your constant mistakes. If you haven't the wit to prepare properly, go and wait in practice room 1, while the rest of us run through the piece again." The short and, frankly, fat middle-aged woman gestured dismissively towards the doors.
Frances shuffled from her rear desk of the 3rd Violins. She was, of course, everything Wynona was not: 21, tall, slender, with stunning blonde hair and perfect breasts and buttocks. She gathered her things and stormed out, clutching her instrument. Her partner on the desk raised his bow.
"Who'll turn my pages for me?"
Wynona sighed. "Do it yourself, dear boy. Now, tutti, from the top, please. Let's see if we can get through it one go before we leave for the night, now that disruptive child isn't here to bollocks things up." She lifted her baton, and marked the beat in.
Frances Francis wasn't at the next rehearsal, or the next.
* * *
6 months later, the orchestra met to rehearse a new piece.
Wynona greeted her musicians with a smile, "Ladies, gentlemen. We have kindly been invited to perform for a society of wealthy patrons, who delight in the unusual and, dare I say it, challenging. As a result, I have composed a concerto that should fit their tastes. I hope you all find your appropriate parts on your stands? Good. The soloist, alas, is not able to rehearse with us, but I am assured he will be ready to perform. Let us begin with movement one: Adagio in A."
The invitation had not been unexpected. Wynona Archer knew of 'RC' despite the collective's secretive nature, and despite having no interest in its doings. She supposed she had been left alone because she did nothing with the information, accidentally acquired. So it was a risk to reach out with her proposal. The concept was sure to appeal to the debauched minds who would be part of such an organisation but the question was whether they would restrain those expressions for the sake of enjoying the performance on stage, and not outing themselves to the 70+ musicians in the orchestra. The solo performance was risky enough from that angle.
But they said yes, and promised to provide a suitably musically-minded member to perform the solo. Which led to Wynona's cryptic announcement in the rehearsal hall.
* * *
"Concerto for the Human Body."
Every section was abuzz with speculation as to what their conductor meant. Ideas ranged from dance to beatbox. But now, it was performance night. Now they would find out what they had been working towards.
The lights in the auditorium went down. Wynona Archer strode to her lectern and turned to face the audience.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the honourable RC. Thank you for inviting us. As you see from your programmes, tonight's piece has been composed specifically to be performed for you. The challenge of composing a concerto for the human body interested me, and I hope I have risen to meet it and your expectations this evening. Now, please welcome your soloist, Charles Valery.”
Applause filled the chamber. Charles was well known to the members. The stocky figure they recognised walked out to the centre in a full dinner suit, followed by a small woman, naked but for a gold thong and bkini bra. The audience strained to see what lay on the trolley she pushed behind him, but only those closest to the stage could make out any details. Most of the orchestra who could see from their seats assumed he was a percussionist, based on the long rod-like implements. He set his sheet music on his stand and turned to face the audience. The woman stood ready as his page-turner.
Wynona continued, “Much of your appreciation for the work, should you enjoy it, belongs to Charles. I found in my studies for this composition that the human instrument, unlike most, is inherently unreliable in its responses. For that reason, the soloist must be allowed to improvise a large part of the performance, to fit his instrument to the music. I can assure you that Mr Valery has never met his instrument before tonight, and this impersonal element will ensure everything you hear is entirely genuine and authentic. And now, the moment I am sure you have all been waiting for. The human instrument, Frances Francis. Let us hope she is as loud as her initials suggest!”
The crowd roared with laughter. The orchestra gasped. But before they could say anything, two men in leather shorts and masks, with waxed chests, wheeled a frame onto the stage. A naked woman was bound spreadeagled in the centre. Her head was covered in a similar mask that left only an opening for her mouth but no one who had known her doubted it was the failed violinist. She struggled, but Wynona reached out with her baton to touch her hand.
“Not yet. Wait for the music.” The instrument nodded its head and allowed itself to hang limply in its restraints.
A third semi-naked man brought a contraption onto the stage. It was essentially a loud hailer on top of a microphone stand. He adjusted it until the mouthpiece of the cone was close to the instrument's mouth. Charles reached into his breast pocket and retrieved a pair of reading spectacles, which he perched on his nose. His slavegirl licked her fingers ready. After studying the first page, Charles selected a Wartenburg wheel from his implements, and shared a nod with Wynona. She raised her baton and gave the lead in.
The instrument yelped and shook in her bonds as the music started. Charles, however, still held his hands in the air. The audience laughed quietly, as one, understanding too well the conditioning that produced the helpless Frances's reaction, and appreciating Charles's skill in waiting. Only when the second phrase of the adagio began to swell did he go to work. His fingers only, at first. A touch here, a touch there. They saw his focus split between the sheet music, and the body he played. It was at the second crescendo he introduced Frances to the terror of the pinwheel. She shrieked just as the orchestra reached its loudest point, but Charles seemed to take it in his stride, simply moving back to his trolley and choosing something new: ice in one hand, and a knife in the other.
The slavegirl turned the page and the music swelled again. Charles brushed his instrument here and there with the ice in a contrapunctal rhythm, drawing frightened moans from the woman unable to see him. He used the back of the knife first. Then the side. The orchestra dropped to pianissimo. Charles lifted the blade to his instrument's arm, watched the conductor beat time and, as she drew the orchestra to a close, slashed. The scream closed the first movement.
The audience applauded while Charles bandaged the cut with efficient, dispassionate care. If he let it bleed, it might get awkward cleaning up later.
He checked the score.
“Scherzo. Impact toys. Ad lib.” He made sure his cane, flogger, crop and paddle were all in easy reach.
* * *
The lively music and vicious soloist forced the instrument to dance in her bonds, the rattle of chains and frame adding to the vibrant performance. The audience marvelled at how quickly Charles could read the music, and the instrument, to produce the right scream, or groan, or cry, to match the rhythm and key. As the movement drew to a close, he rested. The instrument's sobs echoed brassily from the loud hailer, seemingly in perfect time with the orchestra.
The page turned.
“Movement 3. Largo (Accelerando). Rape her.”
Charles undid the flies of his trousers and positioned himself behind the instrument's hips. The orchestra couldn't see what he was doing, but the audience did, and that was what mattered. He glanced across at Wynona. She nodded, and gave the up-beat. He slwly pushed his cock into the instrument. As her scream built in intensity with his depth, the rest of the orchestra responded.
There were few instructions, but Wynona had instructed some withdrawals and re-entries as rests, glissandos and staccatos. The music, and his thrusts, gradually became quicker and quicker. Halfway through, the slavegirl turned the page.
“Sodomise her. Tempo Libre.”
There were a few bars of rests, but Charles positioned himself for the sharp crescendo marked for the rest of the orchestra. With an almighty thrust of his hips, exactly on the beat, he drew a strangled cry from the instrument as he buried his cock deep in her arsehole.
The music was incidental, and yet seemed perfect for accentuating the instrument's screams. It became quieter as it weakened, no longer able to struggle or fight against the musician. Wynona instructed her orchestra to match, even as the tempo continued to race.
Charles's own voice was adding to the mix, his grunts clearly audible. Maybe the crowd thought it was his passion, but each grunt was marked in the music. Soon, though, they became more ragged. The instrument wailed, “No, no, no,” but there was no relenting. Charles felt his come pulse and gush into the instrument's rectum. He looked across at Wynona, and shrugged. She lowered the orchestra and slowed the beat for the last few bars. As the sticky semen oozed from the instrument's hole, the audience heard her sob pitifully. They gasped as one, when it stopped almost perfectly with the music.
* * *
Wynona assured her orchestra that Frances volunteered.
“She wanted to be in a performance that much. And obviously, we couldn't leave her as a player, so she had to be an instrument. I put the idea to her, and she said yes.”
Charles Valery watched them with her. It was easy to see who swallowed the lie, or wanted to believe it badly enough. It was even easier to see those who might cause trouble. Those ones would join Frances on the auction block soon enough, but Wynona knew hiring new musicians would not be a problem, with the compensation she'd been offered.
And part of her wondered whether the Collective wanted to hire a musical director, full-time.