Sasha’s not sure how she’d come to be standing within this place of unspeakable horror, a place filled with all manners of torturous death, each diabolically cruel instrument more terrifying than the last. Suddenly, she noticed something that made all else pale in comparison, something that sent cold tendrils of icy terror racing down her spine, the Iron Maiden.
Long infatuated with the most torturously diabolical delight featured in the classic 60’s horror films, the Iron Maiden haunted Sasha’s darkest erotic nightmares, nightmares where she became the unfortunate ‘damsel in distress’, helplessly watching as the cruel executioner closed the Maiden’s spike-lined door, dooming her to suffer a slow agonizing death within the fiendish Iron Maiden. Intriguingly, unlike all the other barbaric instruments of torturous death, here only the Iron Maiden was beyond reach, locked away behind a door of heavy iron bars.
Her heart pounding uncontrollably, Sasha forced her eyes away from the sight of that hideous Iron Maiden, only to notice an old-fashioned key dangling from a chain across the chamber from where she was standing, a key seeming to glow as if illuminated by some unseen golden light, a key that moments before she’d have sworn hadn’t been there. As she stood there staring in helpless fear at that brightly shining key, Sasha instinctively knew that it would unlock the massive padlock that secured the heavy Iron Gate protecting the Iron Maiden. On the other hand, the Gate, as Sasha was beginning to suspect, also protecting women like her from a fate far worse than mere death.
Never having forgotten her darkest erotic nightmares Sasha spent several summers traveling Europe researching the fascinating legends of the Iron Maiden. Believed to have originated somewhere in Germany during the early thirteenth century, it wasn’t until she was doing some unrelated research in the church archives that she’d found a series of intriguing entries within the journal of the Bishop of Nuremberg where he wrote of the ‘abomination that is the Maiden’. Employed solely for the execution of women found guilty of adultery or promiscuous behavior, the Bishop wrote that women subjected to the ‘abomination’ died screaming in unrelenting agony, their terrible suffering often lasting two or three days before they died. The Bishop later discovered that many of the women sent to their deaths within the Iron Maiden appeared innocent of the charge of adultery and at the Bishops urging, the church finally banned the use of the ‘abomination that is the Maiden’.
Of course, even Sasha had to admit some of the Bishop’s later journal entries did cast doubt upon his sanity, entries that claimed he placed a curse upon the abomination. A curse that said, “Only those women whom the abomination judges guilty of adultery or promiscuous behavior will die within the abomination’s torturous embrace.”
I was still dwelling upon the unlikely nature of the Bishop’s final entries when I was stunned to realize that I was standing directly before that key dangling ominously from the ceiling with no memory of walking across the chamber. I’m not sure just how long I stood there staring at the key, infatuated by thoughts of all the mysteries, all the horrors that key might unlock before finally reaching up to touch it.
I felt a powerful electrical shock the instant my fingertips touched the key, the kind of shock that you experience when a dangerous thunderstorm approaches. It was in that moment that I noticed that the key was no longer on its chain but lying across the palm of my hand. Gripping the key tightly I turned staring at the ominously waiting Iron Maiden, fresh waves of overwhelming terror coursing through my trembling body as, I started to suspect that the Bishop’s final few months of journal entries might actually be true. I knew I should flee this place of horrors, never to return, but the graduate research assistant part of me desperately wanted to discover the truth. Call it curiosity, call it girlish infatuation, call it gross stupidity, but I had to discover the truth.
It wasn’t long before the key, and its massive padlock lie discarded on the chamber’s floor, the heavy Iron Gate standing open as I finally reached up to touch the Iron Maiden. That’s when it happened, the closest analogy, I can think of, a sudden electrical shock followed by a mystic out of body experience that ended with me suddenly discovering myself strapped tightly within the Iron Maiden.
I could feel myself starting to panic. My wrists bound behind my back and the Maiden’s leather straps so tight that I couldn’t move. Of course, maybe the real reason I was panicking might have been the terrifying sight of the Maiden’s spike-lined door slowly starting to close, which went way beyond any concept to fear I’d ever imagined experiencing, especially as I watched those two spikes destined for my eyes moving steadily closer.
Still, I managed to endure almost three full days of unrelenting agony before I finally died within that diabolical Iron Maiden. And, as it turns out, I was fated to die, to end my mortal existence within the Iron Maiden’s cruel spike-lined horror. Having grown up in the early twenty-first century, by the standards of thirteenth-century moors, I was a poster child for promiscuous behavior. At least, that’s how Ereshkigal, the ruler of the Mesopotamian Underworld, explained it to me. It turns out that the Bishop, while cursing the Iron Maiden, accidentally invoked the ancient gods, and Ereshkigal, who’s also the Sumerian goddess of death, granted his wish and as Ereshkigal likes to say, the Maiden rarely makes a mistake.
So, I awoke in the Mesopotamian Underworld to discover I’d become one of Ereshkigal’s willing pleasure slaves, destined to spend all of eternity locked in the Underworld’s endless cycle of limitless pleasure and unimagined agony, days of boundless carnal delight, nights of brutal unrelenting torment, all merely for Ereshkigal’s sadistic amusement.
Actually, knowing what I know now, all those years ago, on that fateful night, I truthfully don’t know if I’d make a different choice. Oh yah, I’d still choose the key, every time...