Needles are a rare luxury for me, and needles with Empress even more so. She is, as I was enthusing (slightly wobbly voiced and wobbly knee-d) later on exceptionally good at it, not simply the technical ability but the entire experience which captures her enthusiasm for the art and for you as a subject of her skill.
"I'll just strap you down, for safety" I can hear the grin in her voice and it makes me grin too - one thing about a Ladies Who... meet up is that there's a great balance of intense play with a very light-hearted attitude underlying it. Fear and tension are created, yes, but also dispelled and expurgated. Plus there's cake, and often champagne which tends to soothe mostly everyone. I only had a glass and a bit though after being reminded of the need to not pour blood all over the floor.
She puts me on the bench and ties me down after I've stripped down to my pants. I relax into the soft leather covered pads and let my arms rest loose against the metal bars beneath. I close my eyes and listen to the ritual rustling of plastic gloves, alcohol wipes being torn from packages. The liquid is cold on my bare back and makes me gasp a little, which then becomes a nervous giggle. It's been a while since I've played with needles - a long while. I know that they hurt. I know that I like them. I can't remember what the balance feels like. I breathe out and try not to clench my muscles.
The first one goes in... Then out. That's when they hurt. A bright, light pain that makes me wince for less than a second before sparks and flashes appear behind my eyelids and the high kicks in. I don't know where it comes from, it's like the world disappears from beneath me and I am floating where once I was lying in a room. Everything is buzzing. My breathing slows and I become very conscious of my skin and my presence within it: the blood just under the surface. I am a space, warm, wide and deep. It's a little like the moment just upon waking, when everything is calm and numb and not quite present within the real world.
More needles. Sharp and hard when they puncture the skin on entry and departure, like the briefest, cruelest kisses. Once there, lodged like lovers under the epidermis they are snug and lively. The feeling is similar to electric pads from an E-stim unit - an ongoing sensation that has no physical force behind it. The closest and best analogy is the shiver that runs through your body when you take an Ecstasy pill, that increased awareness and sensation, the hot/cold wash of reaction that is the first flushes of a body in mild shock.
There are noises in the background. Voices talking. Someone is screaming. It provokes little response in me, as if heard from the bottom of a well. Murmurs and moans. I can see the floor when I open my eyes but I'm not really looking, not really taking it in. I am being taken in, instead, falling freely into the blank space of spreading, dreamy sensation. And it is very dreamlike, both at the time and afterwards. I tried to describe the experience at a munch the following day and I suspect the questioner found my free-associating a little vague and disconcerting, but it's impossible to be precise. Now, a few days later I'm stuck in the usual place of not really being able to remember it, although the marks are still there, thin red lines over my shoulder blades. Fine razor slices. When I touch them I can almost call to mind the wicked pleasure they are a memorial to - but only just, like a wil o' the wisp it is beyond my reach.