Leaning over I whispered, "Would you like to hear a secret?"

He of course, could only grunt around the sock.

"I'll tell you." The knife felt so good in my hand. "Pain, pain is your body's way of telling you that weakness is leaving your body. And tonight, and tomorrow night, and maybe the night after that, I'm going to help you get stronger." I leaned in close, watching his eyes widen. "Are you ready to get stronger?"

I slid the edge of the knife back and forth across the palm of my hand. "From all that hullabaloo from you I guess you're as excited about this as I am. I'm glad that we'll both be having a good time. Just remember, if it gets too much, all you have to do is say uncle and I promise that I'll stop right then and there." Holding his pinkie I set the knife point lightly on the fingernail. "Just try not to have too much fun. After all, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye."

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