The rose and the blade, one like the woman holding it, a thing of fragile delicate beauty, the other, five hundred pounds of razor-sharp stainless steel death.

Veronica fantasized about death beneath the flashing blade of the Pendulum for years, ever since she’d first read The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe as a teenager. To lie helplessly bound beneath the pendulum's blade, watching in growing horror as it’s deadly razor-sharp blade steadily sinks closer to your waist with every terrifying swing. The pendulum, a thing of nightmares, a relentless and utterly unstoppable killing machine, one that will absolutely not stop until it’s blade brutally rips your guts out. I guess you could say that my earliest teenage sexual fantasies were decidedly darker than most.

Now, years later, I own one of Hollywood’s most sought-after legal firms. A firm originally started back in 1969 by my grandmother Sarah, who passed ownership of the firm to her daughter Janice in 1987, who eventually passed ownership to me, her daughter Veronica in 2003. Of course, that’s all a lie, but it’s helpful that all those clueless movie execs and actors whose contracts I write actually believe it. I doubt they could have handled the truth. That, thanks to the Resort’s breakthrough in regeneration technology back in the early 1980’s, my grandmother, my mother and myself were all actually the same person, and one of the Resort’s original Vacation Club members.

Tonight, I’m back once again at the Resort where I usually spend two months a year. One month spent in the fall, another, like this visit, in the spring, and this visit also marks an important milestone. Today is the fortieth anniversary of my joining the Club, and thanks to the Resort’s regeneration tech, I still look like a pretty, smoken hot 24-year-old babe, not bad for an old gal well into her late seventies.

It may seem odd to you, but becoming effectively immortal brings with it some profound changes to the ways you interact with those around you. First, you stop forming long-term relationships with those outside the ranks of the Vacation Club’s membership. The real reason I’m the firm’s sole senior partner is simply, is that I’ve outlived all the other original senior partners and shortly after assuming my role as Sarah’s daughter, I was already wealthy enough to buy out the few lawyers, who like me, also “inherited” their partnerships in the firm. The Resort even started a singles group since you eventually stop making long-term friendships in the outside world, the funerals of the friends from when I was Sarah and Janice still haunt my soul.

Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom, tonight I’m celebrating my fortieth anniversary as a member of the Resort’s Vacation Club, and just a few hours ago had an intriguing phone conversation with a man who's become a dear friend over the years, Raphael. When I first joined the Vacation Club, Raphael was the one working the concierge desk at the Resort hotel I was staying at. Today, Raphael runs the Resort’s concierge service, and while forty years may have passed, still looks to be in his mid-twenties, access to the regeneration facilities being a fringe benefit of employment here at the Resort.

Just after sunset, Raphael met me at the north entrance to the Resort’s distinctive castle, an authentic medieval castle that once stood on Germany’s Baltic coast, where he kissed my cheek and presented me with a single blood red rose, “Welcome home Veronica, you’re looking as beautiful as always and congratulations on your fortieth anniversary as a member of the Club. As promised, I have something special to mark this monumental occasion, a diabolical new attraction, a deathtrap meant to go online several weeks ago, but that I kept offline so that you might be the first to experience it.”

Smiling seductively I leaned into Raphael, my lips brushing ever so lightly against the side of his throat, my breasts delightfully pressing against his firm muscular chest, “Dearest Raphael, you’re always so thoughtful and kind.”

Perhaps, after I’m fully recovered from tonight’s torturously delightful surprise, we can spend a few days together in one of the castle’s north tower dungeon torture chambers.”

A knowing smile, with just a hint of darkly sadistic anticipation in his eyes, “May I escort you down to the castle’s catacombs where I promise something awaits so diabolically enticing even you will be suitably impressed.”

Smiling, I offered him my arm as we started down the long steep steps that led to the castle’s ancient catacombs and dungeons. Raphael has always been such a gentleman until you don’t want him to be, that and the first time I tried to descend these steps in heels, I tripped and tumbled down the steps, breaking one arm, one femur, and by the time I came to a stop, three of the vertebrae in my neck. Sadly, I skipped the torture chamber that night and instead went straight to regeneration.

Finally reaching the entrance to the castle’s catacombs without killing myself prematurely, I breathed a sigh of relief as we left behind the torch light of that poorly lit staircase and entered the well-lit and smooth floored corridor of torture chambers that replaced the bone filled catacombs still residing under that rain swept hill on Germany’s Baltic coast.

Surprisingly, we stopped before the first portal along the corridor, a doorway that, as I vividly recalled from my last stay at the Resort, led into a chamber containing an exact recreation of the Guillotine that removed Marie Antoinette’s head during the French Revolution. Glancing up I saw an expression of Raphael’s handsome face that I’d normally associate with watching him picking up red-hot pinchers from the glowing coals of a medieval brazier, hot pinchers destined for one of my nipples.

Responding to Raphael’s palm print on the scanner, the torture chamber’s heavy sound-proof steel door slid open with a faint hydraulic hiss, revealing an abyss of darkness. Veronica could feel Raphael’s eager anticipation as he led her into the waiting darkness, the lights slowly brightening to reveal the ominously sight of a pendulum’s massive blade poised above its intimidating steel pedestal.

Gesturing toward the deadly waiting pendulum, Raphael elaborated, “This is the Resort’s first autoerotic pendulum.” Pausing to allow the implications of what he’d said to sink in, he continued, “It’s intended for someone, harboring an intensely erotic death wish, perhaps someone like yourself.”

“Raphael, did you just say ‘Autoerotic Pendulum’? Interesting, someone would have to a seriously intense erotic death wish to use something this brutal. So, how does it work?”

Managing to hide his smile of amusement at the sound of surprise in Veronica’s voice, Raphael responded, “When you’re ready, just press the large red activation button at the base of the pendulum's pedestal. The pendulum's massive blade will slowly rise until its deadly razor-sharp edge is poised high over the pedestal below. Once the blade reaches the top of its travel, the pedestal’s wrist and ankle restraints snap open. You’ll have thirty seconds to lie back upon the pedestal positioning your wrists and ankles within the open restraints, before they automatically snap closed, locking you helplessly beneath the pendulum's blade.”

Attentively watching Veronica’s expression, Raphael continued to describe the pendulum’s operation, “Thirty seconds after the restraints lock around your wrists and ankles the pendulum’s massive, 500-pound stainless steel blade starts to swing, commencing it’s deadly descent. As the blade slowly descends, each powerful swing of the pendulum’s blade takes exactly two seconds to complete. The blade starts from a height of 120 inches or ten feet above the pedestal’s surface and descending an inch at the end of each swing, taking 4 minutes to complete its terrifying descent.”

Pausing as he noticed the erotic mix of fear and eager anticipation in Veronica’s eyes, “By the time the pendulum nears the bottom of it’s descent, it’s razor-sharp blade is a blur as it flashes by mere inches above your belly, the accompanying sound of its horrifying passage an evil hiss. Of course, the last few inches of the pendulum’s descent tend to be a bit messy.”

Turning to Raphael with a knowing smirk on her lovely face Veronica undid her long leather coat, revealing the figure hugging black latex strapless body suit and matching gloves she was wearing, “As I recall Raphael, weren’t you the one who arranged for me to die beneath that pendulum’s gruesome blade on my first night, forty years ago. In fact, as I recall, you were the one who activated that pendulum.”

Always the gentleman Raphael helped Veronica with her coat before folding it over his arm, “I’ll ensure this is returned to your villa by morning. Have a thoroughly pleasantly torturous evening Veronica.”

Captivated by the deviously diabolical autoerotic pendulum, a faint smile appears on Veronica’s face as she leans down to press the pendulum’s activation button. With a hydraulic hiss, the pendulum’s massive blade slowly starts to rise as the pendulum’s arm retracts upward. Moments later, as the blade reaches its maximum height over the pendulum’s pedestal, its wrist and ankle restraints snap open. She knows she has just 30 seconds to lie down and position her wrists and ankles with the waiting restraints. Instead, she lays the rose one the center of the pedestal, directly in the path of the pendulum’s razor-sharp blade. Moments later, the pedestal’s restraints snap closed as the pendulum’s blade begins to swing, each terrifying swing bringing its deadly blade an inch closer until four minutes later, the massive blade descends its final inch, flashing across less than a hair’s breadth above the pedestal before gradually swinging to a stop. The rose still lying exactly where she’d placed it, it’s stem cleanly sliced in half.

Picking up the two pieces of what, until a few moments earlier, had been a long stem rose Veronica knelt down gently placing the rose on the floor before she once again pressed the pendulum’s activation switch.

Welcome to the Resort, where all your darkest sexual fantasies come to life...