|DAMSELS UNDER GLASS: THE SERIES|
— by Doush
Naomi Curtis sucked in a lungful of all too precious air, and moaned into her tight cleave gag.
Her abduction had happened so fast, it was almost as if she was dreaming a particularly masochistic nightmare. And yet, here she was, inescapably bound into a ball, sealed in some kind of expanding gel that contoured to every part of her body (and would long ago have suffocated her had it not been for the oxygen mask covering her nose and gagged mouth), and packed into a small box destined for God-knew-where.
All she knew for sure was that she had been kidnapped and packaged by a woman dressed in black leather— and that the woman had enjoyed her work immensely.
The question now foremost in Naomi’s mind was WHY? Why had she been kidnapped? For what gain? And who was the woman in black leather? Naomi was positive she hadn’t seen the woman before - she would definitely have remembered someone as striking as her. Even without the leathers.
With little else to occupy her, Naomi found her thoughts turning inwards. Away from the helplessness of her position, and the fear of what could be about to come. Instead, lunch earlier that day with Brie sprang to mind, and since the memory was so comforting...
Naomi was used to eyes widening and heads craning to get a better view of her as she walked into a room. Her bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes were attention getters, but it was her lithe, yet generously proportioned figure that did the real damage. She knew that most of the employees at INS gossiped amongst one another that her curves were due to the latest in plastic surgery, but it wasn’t true. They also whispered that the only reason she had risen through the ranks to be senior investigative reporter was that she slept with Clayton McCray—the newspaper’s senior editor—on a regular basis. In this instance, the gossips were only partly correct in that she had been out with Clayton on a single disastrous date, but he had never laid a hand on her.
Although today’s little verbal demand had been almost as bad.
The lunch venue her best friend had chosen on this particular day was “Harry’s”—a popular restaurant situated right on the sound, that not only served excellent food and was a cut above in the service department, but also afforded an extraordinary view of the Northern Cascades on a clear day. As Brie invariably managed to secure a seat outside on the “Docks”, Naomi had been pleased to note on the drive over that the clouds looming earlier in the day had burnt off for once.
The table was just one of the perks associated with being a “Special Projects Associate” (or whatever the hell her title was) at Tesseract, Naomi noted without a hint of jealousy. And if anyone deserved those perks, it was Brie. She worked harder than anyone around—often giving up weekends or holidays at the drop of a hat to be spirited off to any number of places around the world. And all because Margo Wells, Tesseract’s CEO and Brie’s ultimate superior, decreed it. Not that Brie seemed to mind — in fact she was always very excited when a trip came along— something that Naomi had never been able to fathom. Her best friend evidently loved her job in a way that Naomi had trouble envisioning for herself. If only Clayton didn’t consider himself the ultimate prize for any and all women...
Naomi shook her head. There was no point in worrying about it now. She was here to enjoy herself and catch up with her friend. Everything else could wait until later. But first, she had to find Brie amongst the crowd. To say Harry’s was busy would have been a large understatement. Locating Brie, even with her distinctive long dark hair and exotic features, was going to be no small task amongst so many diners.
Thankfully, an alert waitress happened by and was only too happy to point out the “Sanchez” table. Naomi nodded appreciatively when she saw the table in question was right on the water’s edge.
“If you can make your own way outside, I’ll be along to get your orders in a few moments.”
Naomi thanked the waitress and quickly weaved her way through the crowded restaurant. It only took her a few moments to reach the “Docks” and gain a clear view of the table’s sole occupant.
As usual her best friend, Sabrina Sanchez, looked stunning. Like Naomi, “Brie” was dressed for work in a stylish two-piece business suit, complete with high hem line and tailored jacket. Brie’s navy blue suit, however, was probably worth about double what her own black number had cost. Likewise the silk blouse and three inch heels she was wearing.
Naomi smiled to herself.
Brie stood as Naomi neared, her own smile wide in greeting. “So glad you finally decided to join me.”
Naomi ignored the oozing sarcasm behind her friend’s words and glanced at her watch. “Hey, it’s only five past twelve.”
“Well, better late than never I suppose,” she sighed in mock exasperation. “C’mon, sit down, I ordered us a glass of wine each.”
The two women sat and Naomi took a long sip from the glass laid out before her. “It’s excellent Brie, thank you. You must have read my mind.”
The other woman waggled her perfectly arched eyebrows. “So, what’s been up with you the last couple of days?”
“Ohhhh, this and that. Not much really. Until today at any rate.” Naomi sighed quietly.
“Are you okay? What happened?”
“It’s nothing big really, but... I don’t know. I’m actually beginning to think I can’t work at the paper any more. I mean, ever since we went out on that one date, Clayton hasn’t let up. ‘Let’s do this.’ ‘Let’s do that.’ He just can’t seem to get it through his thick skull that I’m not in the least bit interested.”
Brie, frowned in concern. “And he said something today did he?”
Naomi nodded. “He asked me to kiss him in his office. And he looked shocked when I told him no way.” She sighed again. “Don’t get me wrong Brie, if it was just Clayton and his crush on me I’d probably be able to deal with it. But for a while now I’ve been getting all the really worthless assignments. And not just from Clayton.”
“You’ve mentioned that before— numerous times actually. But the real question is: what are you going to do about it?”
Naomi slumped a little in her chair. “Start looking for gainful employment at another paper I guess.”
Brie’s eyes narrowed slightly. “You know, maybe I can find something for you at TESSERACT?”
“Oh come on,” Naomi laughed, “what the hell do I know about software development?”
“Tesseract’s much bigger than that Naomi. Much bigger. You only need to look at the number of people with journalism degrees in the Corporate Publicity Department alone to see that.”
“Well, I suppose it couldn’t hurt to check it out,” Naomi said reluctantly.
“Great!” Brie beamed. “You never know, maybe we’ll end up being slaves to the grind together.”
The waitress who had directed Naomi to the table chose that moment to arrive and ask for their orders. Had she been a moment or two later, Naomi may have had time to process Brie’s subtle emphasis on the word “slave.”
“I think she’s had enough Margo,” Elke commented softly.
Margo glanced at her closest friend, personal trainer and director of the on-site health club. In spite of her soft voice, Elke was perhaps the most physically impressive female she had ever seen. In general, her Amazonian appearance was enough to intimidate almost anyone she met, but Margo knew better. Underneath her powerful exterior, Elke was an extremely kind and caring individual. Traits that the CEO of Tesseract valued in what was an essentially power hungry environment.
“I’m not so sure,” Margo answered. “Eve, physiological status of the subject please.”
Eve’s feminine, perfectly impassive voice answered immediately.
“Heart rate slightly above normal. Oxygen intake regular. Body temperature well within prescribed safety levels. Pupil dilation slight.”
“You see? I think a little longer won’t hurt our guest at all.”
Elke looked doubtful, but turned back to the wall of multiple monitor screens without further comment.
The image on the screen was dominated by a lithe female bound securely to a stake nestling in the middle of a large pile of carefully stacked wood. The woman was clothed in what looked like a dirty, overly long, and very old fashioned night shirt. The coarse rope binding her to the stake encircled her ankles, thighs, stomach and upper chest tightly. Her crossed wrists were also bound behind the pole, while her mouth was hidden behind a thick white cloth.
A group of six men stood in front of the woman. All of them carried wooden clubs of some description, while the leader read from a piece of paper he held in his hand.
“....have been found guilty of witchcraft. As per God’s law, we now sentence you to death by flame, so that the evil will be purged from your body and that you may rest in peace.” The man paused to make the sign of the cross. “If there is no-one here who would dispute this decision....” He pointedly ignored the woman’s muffled keening, and wide eyed shaking of her head, choosing instead to look at the men gathered behind him. “Then let us begin.”
A flame was struck and each of the men took turns lighting the wooden clubs held in their hands.
The fear was now unmistakable in the woman’s expression and desperate attempts to pull free from her inescapable bonds.
The leader walked forward, flaming torch in hand...
The woman screamed into her gag...
An instant after Margo had spoken, the entire scene on the screen faded, leaving only the obviously shaken and relieved woman bound to a pole in an otherwise empty room. Rather than an old fashioned night shirt, she wore skin tight lycra leggings and a top. And instead of ropes and a white cloth, she was bound by buckled straps and gagged with a leather plug gag.
“Leave her for an hour or so Eve, then allow her to wash herself and eat.”
Margo sat back contentedly in her chair. That was one former trustworthy employee who wouldn’t be abusing her privileged access to the biosphere again.
“Wouldn’t you consider that a little harsh?” asked Elke.
“No actually, I wouldn’t. If anything I think she deserved worse. And I’m sure Kat would agree.” As soon as the words were said Margo felt a touch guilty. She rarely if ever played on the strained relationship between her personal bodyguard and close friend, but sometimes (like now) Elke had a habit of being a little too caring.
The issue of how Elke would respond was never resolved, however, as at that moment, Eve’s voice chimed in.
“Unauthorised computer access —level five, room nine.”
Margo sat up straight in her chair. “Closest security camera Eve.”
The wall of monitor screens instantly blinked to life with the image of a reasonably large office. In the centre of the picture, seated at a desk behind a computer monitor, was an incredibly beautiful blonde woman. Although Margo knew the woman wasn’t one of her employees (or, at least, not one with access to any computer terminals on level five), she had an undeniable feeling she’d seen the gorgeous woman at some stage before.
“Eve, what files is our guest accessing? And who’s office is that?”
There was a slight pause as Eve accessed the appropriate information. “The ‘Spherus’ confidential summary files, as compiled by Sabrina Sanchez.”
“Which would make that Brie’s office,” added Elke.
“Correct Miss Weber.”
Margo’s eyes narrowed sharply. Something like this could not be tolerated. A blatant security breach called for action...
The only question was: of what kind?
“I think we’ll just wait and see what happens for the moment.” Margo said, half to herself. “Oh, and Eve, bring up the footage for the last half hour on the camera you’re now displaying.”
Margo and Elke shared a short look of concern, and settled in to watch.
|of Naomi's Story —Chapter 1|