Michelle didn’t understand what had just happened to her. One moment she’d been lounging on the patio of a St. Bart’s hillside villa, contemplating her sexually unsatisfying life as she stared at the sun slowly setting into the sea, a glass of ice cold Chardonnay in her hand.

It wasn’t that sex with her husband was unfulfilling, in fact most nights it was fucking multi-orgasmic but still Michelle found herself longing for more, so much more. In ways that she’d never admitted to her husband or even to her therapist, Michelle longed give into her darkest fantasies, to be taken by someone who’d fulfill her darkest desires, someone sadistic and utterly terrifying, someone who’d enjoy making her scream in unrelenting agony, someone who when they finally grew bored with the sound of her screams might not hesitate to kill her for their own darkly sadistic amusement.

Just then, just as the sun disappeared beneath the waves that it happened. Michelle felt a sudden sensation of cold as a dark fog seemed to envelope her, she struggled to move but found to her horror that she couldn’t, than nothing. The next she’d suddenly awoke here, alone within this dark brazier lit chamber, her wrists and ankles restrained helplessly within tight unyielding steel manacles.

All this had to be a dream, she must have fallen asleep by the pool, and yet, it all seemed so vivid, so utterly and impossibly real. She was still wearing that revealing swimsuit she’d worn to the beach earlier that afternoon, the scent of the sunscreen coating her skin, even the lingering cool taste of the iced Chardonnay on her tongue. And yet, Michelle’s surroundings also seemed so real, the cold unyielding grip of the steel restraints around her wrists and ankles, the faint scent of burning wood that emanated from the flaming braziers that lined the chamber’s walls, the noticeable effect that the chamber’s cool air was having on her barely concealed nipples, and most of all the chamber’s distinctive smell, the smell of blood, freshly spilled blood.

It was then that she heard a sound in the distance, a distinctively familiar sound, the sound of tall stiletto heels clicking against the chamber’s hard stone floor. Watching the woman walking toward her as she emerged from the surrounding darkness, Michelle felt an overpowering sensation of pure terror gripping her racing heart. But, it wasn’t until the approaching woman’s eyes suddenly began to glow with what looked like the fires of hell itself that Michelle truly began to panic.

Ereshkigal, the ancient Sumerian goddess of death and the ruler of the Mesopotamian Underworld, smiled darkly as she tasted the stark terror radiating from the mind of her newest, soon to be willing, pleasure slave. “Welcome to the torture chambers of the Mesopotamian Underworld, I am Ereshkigal the ancient goddess of death.”

Seeing to look of confusion on Michelle’s face Ereshkigal continued, “I know all this must seem a bit confusing, in your era religions taught you to believe in the existence of heaven and hell and that if you live a religiously virtuous life you’d spend eternity in heaven.” Pausing to pick up an evil looking bladed claw Ereshkigal continued, “A charming concept but still only a cruel lie. In truth the nature of the universe remains as it was in ancient times, heaven is the eternal home of the gods and the gods alone. The souls of mere mortals are destined to wander the endless smoke shrouded plains of the Underworld for all eternity.”

Smiling darkly at the sudden look of delightful horror in Michelle’s eyes, “Of course, being the death goddess does have its perks. Time to time, as the ruler of the Underworld, I choose to recruit those mortals that I find amusing, those shall we say inclined to my pleasures. Most, beautiful masochistically submissive women who desperately long to fulfill their darkest most agonizing fantasies, and those who’ve proven capable of turning those fantasies into unspeakable blood soaked nightmares. For you the bargain is simple, eternal youth and beauty here in the Mesopotamian Underworld as one of my willing pleasure slaves, your days filled with unimagined carnal delight, but the price, your nights filled with brutal agonizing torture and death for all eternity.”

Staring up into Ereshkigal’s glowing red eyes, Michelle struggled to accept what was happening to her. Deep in her heart she desperately longed to accept Ereshkigal’s diabolical offer, eternal youth and beauty, but the price. She’d so desperately longed to give herself to someone who’d torture and brutalize her, perhaps even take her life. But to know with absolute certainty that she was going to be tortured to death every night for all of eternity? Michelle found Ereshkigal’s offer horrifying and yet.

Ereshkigal smiled as she sensed Michelle’s sudden acceptance. Reaching up Ereshkigal lightly ran her leather clad fingertips across Michelle’s sensuous red lips as she leaned forward to whisper into her ear, “Wish Granted,” before brutally slamming the three razor-sharp blades of the claw deep into Michelle’s guts.

The sudden explosion of pain was more than Michelle even imagined enduring, and yet, even as Ereshkigal pulled the claw’s blades from her belly and held it up before her eyes, with blood and bits of her torn flesh still clinging to its fiendishly sharp blades, Michelle found herself longing for, no needing so much more.

That first terrifying night in the dungeon torture chambers of the Mesopotamian Underworld, death did not come quickly or easily for Michelle but at the end, despite the pain, despite her fear of dying, a faint smile appeared on Michelle’s face as she whispered, “thank you.”