Stark: The Best Revenge
more tears now; I will think about revenge." -- Mary, Queen of Scots
get mad, get even." -- Robert F. Kennedy
Stark sat in the coffee house,
nursing a grande decaf and thinking ugly thoughts about what some parents do to
their kids. In the year since she started her crusade against those who would
feminize innocent men and boys for their own amusement, she'd seen a lot of
evil. Heck, she thought sourly, I even caused some of it, with some
of the things I did in return. She didnít want to think about the kind of
monster her own deeds were turning her into, because that monster was the only
thing that kept her own demons at bay. She needed her monster to keep from
losing who she was -- to keep the programming from turning her into the
submissive slut her dead tormentors wanted her to be, back when she was at
Back before she killed them all.
The tabloid story Chesser and
the research team dug up was pretty old, about three boys caught at the
beginning of a mischief spree on Halloween night. Six years to the day, Stark
thought, gazing around at the Halloween decorations on the walls of the coffee
shop. As a punishment for the things they never actually got around to doing,
they were forced to dress up as little girls and made to go trick-or-treating
that night. According to follow-up investigations, the boys had been girls ever
since -- their records changed, their former lives destroyed.
They'd be sixteen now, give
or take, Jo mused, thinking of everything that must have been done to them
since then. The fire inside her flared. According to the article, the boys
didn't even do much damage in the first place. They were stopped practically
before they started.
Stark stared down into her
coffee. The parents just wanted to play some sick game with the lives of
their children, and then decided to let it go on and on and on. Cruel and
hateful and ... She shook her head angrily and forced her rage back. Once
she stopped trembling, Jo took a sip of her coffee and thought some more. But
if I go after the parents the way I want to, it's going to hurt the kids even
more. They'll wind up in foster care, or worse. After what's been done to them
already, is that any better?
Stark had used the Internet to
contact the leader of the three boys mentioned in the article and arrange a
meeting at a local java joint. She'd explained what she wanted in her e-mail,
but the tone of Paula's reply seemed to suggest that the idea of Stark taking
revenge for them was amusing somehow. She was still trying to puzzle out what
that meant when the bell over the door rang. Stark half-turned in her seat, and
"Paula?" The question
just slipped out, but the girl smiled and nodded and cat walked across the
room. Every male eye in the place was glued to her undulating hips, and her
blonde hair tumbled down her back nearly to her waist in a flurry of large
curls, swaying with every step. Her face was innocence personified, except for
the dark gothic make-up that framed her blue eyes and the bright red lips that
glistened in the muted overheads.
Paula slid into the booth across
from her and crossed her legs at the knee. She was dressed head to foot in soft
black leather. A tight leather corset put her well-rounded chest on display.
She wore long opera gloves with the fingers cut out, showing her inch-long
nails, polished a shining black. Her painted-on leggings hugged every curve so
tightly, Stark knew she was wearing a thong underneath ... and nothing else.
Her boots rose almost to her knees, with four-inch heels, and her backpack
purse was big enough to be practical but small enough not to get in the way.
"Hello, Ms. Stark,"
she said, her voice a well-modulated contralto. "You look surprised."
"That's because I am."
Stark raised her cup and looked over the rim. "And please, call me Jo.
Actually, you're not quite what I expected. When the story of that Halloween
years ago fell onto my desk, I thought you'd probably been put through the
whole 'forced fem' thing pretty hard for a long, long time. In fact, I figured
you'd show up tonight looking like something out of a fifties sitcom."
Paula laughed, a totally female
sound that made the other patrons look over briefly before going back to their
papers or laptops. She shook her head. "Those days are long gone, Jo. At
first, when the 'rents thought they had to reinforce the whole girly thing
every minute of every day, I got so sick of pink that I almost threw up every
time I saw a bottle of Pepto Bismol! And the frillies, and the dolls, and the
endless emotional bullshit." Paula sighed. "It made me angry, and sad
... but mostly it was annoying and frustrating as hell. The one thing I never
wanted to be was a girl, and there I was in a box, being force fed femininity.
But I was a lot younger then -- we all were -- and even though it took 'em a
while, eventually the folks thought we were beaten and ... relaxed a
Stark laughed. "With you in
that outfit, I'd say they relaxed a lot!"
"Oh, come on! It's
Halloween! Although I must admit, Mom'd freak if she saw me in leathers. Oh,
just a sec!" Paula waved, and one of the counter staff came over. She
smiled up at him and lowered her eyelids slightly. "Hey, Bobby," she
purred, touching him on the arm and watching him blush all over. "Bring me
a triple espresso and another grande for my friend, k?" He nodded and
nearly tripped over himself heading back to the bar. Paula shot Jo a look and
smiled. "He's cute, but soooo shy. Still, if he ever asked, I'd go out
with him in a heartbeat. Not that he will, though. I scare him to death!"
She heaved a small sigh and watched him walk away. "Nice ass, though,
don't ya think?"
Stark's eyes narrowed, and she
gave Paula a long look. "They thought you were beaten?"
Paula stared right back at her,
slightly indignant. "Hey! I may have been forced into clothes other girls
my age wouldn't wear on a bet, but clothes don't make the man. OR the girl. I
was ten years old then, and my options were limited. Joan and Allie, too. We
had to go along, at least until we could figure out what our play was going to
"Your ... play?" A
slow realization made Stark smile, and Paula could almost see a hard light
flare behind her eyes.
"Oh, yeah," she said,
smiling back. "It took a while to come up with something, but we had time.
They sent us back to school like this -- had someone on the inside to change
all our records, even our birth certificates. But they couldn't keep an eye on
us all the time, even at school, so we got together and decided we'd let them
think they won. It wasn't easy at first, but the punishment was so totally
extreme, no one dared tease us at school. The guys were scared to death their
'rents would get the same idea if they started acting up, and the girls were
royally pissed off at our folks for treating us this way. They welcomed us with
open arms." Paula grinned.
Bobby took that moment to
deliver the coffees, and Paula gave his arm a squeeze as a thank-you before turning
back to Stark. She raised her cup in a toast.
"To friends, old and
new!" Stark's lip twisted slightly, and she raised her own cup in
response. After a shared sip, Paula continued.
"The girls helped us adapt,
took us in and made us part of the gang. Helped us fit in, and helped us get
over the worst of the early days." Paula looked down, and a small shiver
ran through her shoulders. "It was pretty bad for a while there, for all
of us. To have your whole life ripped apart because somebody else wants it that
way?" Jo's eyes flashed, and Paula stopped, wondering if she had hit a
nerve. "Not to mention that the people who are supposed to love you, watch
out for you and keep you safe decide to remake you. That was harsh." She
shook her head. "It took us all a long time to get past being betrayed,
but eventually, we realized we needed to pick and choose who we trusted, and
not count on genetics to do it for us. In the end, we just trusted each other.
It was enough."
Her eyes turned inward, and
Stark stayed quiet.
"We three became the best
students in school, with straight A averages. When your only alternative is
playing with dolls or practicing with make-up, you learn how to make your
homework last, believe me. But that wasn't the only reason we studied. We knew
from the minute they caught us that we'd been stupid, and they'd outsmarted us
way too easily. So if we wanted to come out on top, we needed to get a whole
lot smarter -- without the 'rents knowing about the things we REALLY wanted to
get smart about."
"The first rule of strategy
is 'know your enemy,' right? So we tried to learn everything we could about our
folks. What they liked and disliked, where they worked. How they made their
money. It was a long and incredibly boring exercise. Heck, it took us years to
get what we needed. But we had to know, and we had to know without them knowing
we knew. I kept all my notes in a little pink diary -- not the one I left under
my mattress for the 'rents to find, all full of puppies and crushes and junk,
but a second one hidden under the floorboards in the corner of my closet. At
lunch, we shared what we had found, looking for common threads, and things we
could take advantage of. But we still had so much left to learn when time ran
out on us, the hard way."
"Two years after that awful
Halloween, school closed for winter break. We went back to our houses and had
dinner that night, but the food was drugged. We all woke up three weeks later,
strapped down in hospital beds." Paula's mouth moved, like she was tasting
something awful. "They'd 'fixed' us in our sleep. Flew us all down to a
clinic in Mexico and paid extra to have everything done, quickly and quietly.
That was our Christmas present that year. Vaginas and hormone implants."
She shuddered again and took a sip of her espresso. "The year after that,
we started getting the curves, the mood swings ..." Paula smiled ruefully.
"When my voice finally changed, it got higher."
"When we went back home,
everything went back to normal ... for the 'rents, anyway. For the three of us,
it was another dark time. Before that, we all thought there was time, you know?
If we could hang on long enough, play the game, we could get free in the end.
But what they did in Mexico changed everything. Joan came close to committing
suicide, but we kept her safe and kept the folks in the dark. After a while, we
all faced the truth. For better or worse, we were what they made us. But it did
make us work harder. Payback became much more important to all of us."
"By the following summer,
we had a lot of sweet stuff. We had checking and savings account numbers,
credit card statements, mortgage info and investment portfolios. We knew how
much money the folks had, where they hid it, and how they got at it. All the
while, we played the girl game. You know, short skirts and lingerie, make-up
and make-overs, bikinis and ... and boyfriends." Jo gave her a sharp look,
and Paula shrugged. "Like I said, by then we pretty much accepted what we
were. Puberty hit hard, and there were enough hormones in those implants to
give me these in record time." She waved at her chest. "I was a horny
teenaged boy trapped in a hot teenaged girl body -- I was being chased by
everything with a cock, and the girl in me wanted it more than the boy
did." Just the same, her voice got very small. "And enjoyed it just
Stark said nothing, and the
teenager shrugged again and went on. "Anyway, we had all this information,
but no way to do anything with it. We had the keys to their bank accounts, but
no way to use them. None of us looked old enough to impersonate our moms, and
everything we could do to hurt them would be discovered the next time a bank
statement came in."
Paula took another sip and gave
me a grin. "Then the business world discovered cyberspace. Online
investing really started to take off. And online banking. Companies competing
for mortgages on the Internet. Then everybody wanted to get in on the
Jo smiled. "On the Net,
nobody knows you're a dog," she said.
"Or a minor," Paula
replied, still grinning. "It was just what we needed."
"Allie begged and pleaded,
and was on her best behavior for months," she continued. "Finally,
she got that pink Barbie PC she'd been asking for, and she squealed and
delivered hugs to her Mom and Dad on Christmas morn. Joan? She got an iMac for
Hanukah ... perfect for graphic design and desktop publishing. And me? Well, I
received the best gift ever -- a woman's business suit with a choice of blouses
and shoes. I told Mom I might want to do some job interviews and wanted to look
my best. The truth was, I was the tallest of the three of us, and the most ...
developed. If we needed somebody to play the adult, I was the best we
"At first, we only took
enough from everyone's savings accounts to rent an apartment, and Joan put
together a copy of Mom's driver's license with only the birthday changed."
Paula snickered, and ducked her head. "No WAY could I look as old as Mom,
not even on my worst day. But it turned out that it really didn't matter. They
xeroxed the fake, accepted the first and last month's rent, and we were on our
"We changed the address on
every single account our folks had, and set up a secure, untraceable account in
the Caymans. Then we began siphoning off assets. Allie enjoyed being a hacker
as much as she enjoyed teasing football players. We sent false statements to
all the 'rents every month, courtesy of Joan's Macintosh, and her magic
fingers. Every account statement told them they were still stinking rich --
that everything was still in their accounts and all was right with the world.
After a while, we convinced the folks that e-mail statements and checking the
websites periodically beat keeping files of paper any day of the week. So now
they get their false statements online, and check a phony Internet site. No
more messy physical evidence."
Paula finished her coffee.
"Eventually, all of their money would up in the Caymans. We even put a few
extra mortgages on every house, just to be nasty. We've got a lot of it
invested, and Allie's keeping an eye on it. Each of us is worth a few million
-- but our folks are dead broke, and they don't even know it. It's a good thing
they never tried to touch the principal, or we would have been so screwed. But
we watched them long enough to see they were keeping their hands off, waiting
for retirement to go wild."
"We've set up a dedicated
computer in a pirate server farm offshore. It's programmed to keep sending
digital statements on a regular basis -- properly formatted, of course. And by
the time retirement rolls around, the 'rents will discover that their golden
years have just become a lot less golden."
She went quiet for a while, her
eyes down, moving the coffee cup around in circles on the scarred wood table.
Then suddenly, without looking up, she spoke. "Weíre leaving tonight. It's
Halloween -- we thought it was the right time to go. Karmic balance or
something, you know? And then there's the hook for the news people. 'Mysterious
disappearance of three young girls.' It'll hit all the media, big feeding frenzy.
Put the spotlight on the 'rents, and maybe somebody will dig up what we used to
be, and make a stink." She paused, thinking. "Or maybe no one will
ever remember Paul, John, and Al. I guess in the end, it doesn't matter. We're
just gonna ... go. We'll fly off to somewhere sunny on our shiny new false
passports, and live on the beach for the rest of our lives drinking rum drinks
with umbrellas and seducing beach boys until we're too old to remember
Paula stood up. "So while I
appreciate your offer, I'm afraid we have to respectfully decline. I'm sorry we
didnít just wait around to be rescued or revenged, but I guess I'm just a 'do
it yourself' kind of girl at heart."
"So I see." Stark
smiled and stood up as well. "You had the situation well in hand. Less
work for me. I'm sorry I intruded."
"No, no," Paula
replied quickly. "I'm glad you found us. It's good to know you're out
there. I mean, it's good, what you do. You're needed, believe me. I'm sure
there are a lot of girls out there in our position who aren't quite what you'd
call ... self -starters. If you ever need a hand, doing what you do ... well,
it can get pretty boring lying on a beach. And you've got to admit, we do have
Jo laughed, and nodded.
"You do, indeed."
They shook hands solemnly, and
then Paula surprised Stark with a hug, which the older woman tentatively
As they broke apart, Jo raised a
finger. "One question?" The teenager turned and cocked her head.
Stark chose her words carefully. "You seem very well ... adjusted to all
of this. You're a beautiful young woman, and seem to enjoy being one. If you
and Joan and Allie are all like this -- if you all like what you've become --
why choose revenge at all?"
There was a long silence. Paula
stared out the window into the parking lot, and when she spoke, there was a
touch of regret. "Before we put all this together, I started having second
thoughts about stripping them bare. I mean, it had been years since it
happened. The three of us were doing okay, for the most part. Maybe this wasn't
the right way to go." She sighed. "So I went to Mom and Dad, to try
and get some answers. I want to know why they did this to all of us. I just
wanted to know why."
"Do you know what they said
to me?" Stark shook her head. "They both smiled and said, 'Because we
could.'" Paula snorted. "No regret. No apology. Just because they
could. Now that's cold."
The teen shook her head.
"Just because we got used to being this way, maybe even learned to like it
... well, that doesn't mean they had a right to do this to us in the first
place. Back then, we were just ... boys, you know? Wanting to blow off some
steam, raise a little Hell. Doing this to us was just ... cruel. And
She looked off into the
distance, thinking, and spoke slowly. "And in the end, I guess we could've
gotten all kick-ass about it. You know, poisoned them, or crippled them, or
done something physical, you know? Paul might have, maybe, if there was any of
him left in me after six years like this. But I guess being forced to become
female did teach us a lesson after all -- that maybe there is something to be
said for being subtle, and smart. Maybe it is better to take a quiet but
well-thought-out revenge instead of taking the more direct route."
Two more girls appeared at the
front door and waved, all smiles. Stark recognized them from the surveillance
photos. Joan was dressed as a pirate's wench and Allie as a sexy cat burglar.
Paula waved back. "Besides, I heard someone say once that the best revenge
is living well. And we'll all be living very well very soon." She smiled,
with just a touch of sadness. "Well, not the folks, of course. But as for
that ... it's just the price they get to pay for doing what they did, all those
Paula thought for a moment, and
her sad smile became a feral grin. "Hey! I guess we got to play a
Halloween trick after all. Even if it is six years too late. No treats for them
-- and they'll be left holding the bag."
Paula blew Jo a kiss and glided
across the room to her friends. After Stark watched them all disappear into the
October night, she sat back down and picked up her coffee.
The best revenge is living
well, she thought. Maybe ... maybe I've been going at this all wrong.
Stark took a sip and let her mind roam.
Now there's something to
© 2006 as a work in progress, all rights reserved.
Posted with permission of the author.