"Get dressed and get out," he instructed me brusquely, hastily stuffing his flaccid cock back inside his trousers, "Your Kind disgusts me."

I hastened to comply, grabbing my blouse from where I had dropped it and slipping my arms into the sleeves. I found the vast and unflattering knickers, stepping into them hurriedly as if they would offer me some kind of protection. The skirt and jacket followed, and I fumbled with the unfamiliar buttons and fastenings. While I dressed, the Reverend returned behind his desk, and sat in the leather swivel chair, appearing to ignore me completely and giving his entire attention to the books and papers on the desktop.

I was still adjusting my blouse and skirt as I opened the door to leave. The same two bearded men were waiting outside for me.

"So the Reverend has finished with you - and so quickly, too," the younger one said, not even attempting to keep the smirk from his face, "And did he give you absolution?"

I bowed my head, not trusting myself to speak at that moment.

"Follow me," the older one instructed, and we marched back along the same polished marble corridor, down the stone steps and outside to the street.

"This way," Jacob said, pointing down the road away from the direction from which we had approached.

As we walked, Jem took great pride in pointing out the features and facilities on either side - here, a church with towering spires and arched windows, there a mission and workhouse for the poor and needy. I felt I was getting a guided tour of the complex - I could not bring myself to think of it as a town - as if it was something I would want to buy.

We arrived at what the older man took pleasure in describing as a "guest lodge". It was a heavily built building of stone blocks with tiny iron-barred windows. Jacob guided me inside, indicating a room I should use. I could not help but notice that the building was guarded and each room had a heavy wooden door with a lock which could only be operated from the outside. I racked my brains for a moment, struggling to remember the correct word - ah, yes, it was a prison.

"Ten minutes," he said brusquely.

I sat on the hard and uncomfortable bed, looking at the bowl and jug of cold water, and a meager and scratchy towel that had been provided. I washed myself as best I could, removing the stain of the Reverend's seed from between my legs. I adjusted my dress and reached to open the door, half-expecting it to be bolted from the outside, but it swung aside easily enough.

Jem and Jacob had been talking to the guards near the entrance, and turned when they heard my room door open. I approached, eyes downcast demurely.

"So now you will visit your sister," Jacob said portentously, "Come this way."

I bit my tongue, a retort unspoken in my throat.

It was another ten minute walk to the house where I would meet Selene. She lived in one of a row of seemingly identical establishments, each two stories high. I took care to note the number of the house by counting as we walked by. Low wooden fences at the rear enclosed plots of land which seemed to be intensively cultivated - by the backbreaking effort of actual people, no less - and grew a variety of plants which I assumed must be foodstuffs.

There was a covered wooden veranda or sidewalk in front of each building, which creaked alarmingly underfoot as I crossed. Jem knocked on the door, which was opened by the oldest-looking woman I had ever seen. Her face was a mass of wrinkles framed by a close-fitting cap of stiff white fabric. Surely, I thought, this cannot be my sister.

"Sister Mary, good day to you," Jacob addressed the crone in a surprisingly loud voice, "Is Goodwife Selene at home?"

"She is, sir," the old woman answered, bobbing down in a curious way that I finally realized must be some kind of polite gesture.

The crone led me to old-fashioned sitting room - a parlor - at the front of the house. Another woman sat in an easy chair there - a woman who had been exceptionally beautiful once, and even now exuded a certain powerful attraction. She was dressed, as I was, in unrelieved black and white, and her hair, what of it I could see under her linen cap, was a fine blonde color, although a little washed out and streaked with grey.

"Hello, Tania," the younger woman said, standing and crossing the room to take both my hands in hers, "I'm Selene."

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