UNDER GLASS: THE SERIES
| A ONE CHAPTER
MINI-MELODRAMA by Van © 2001
REEF, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
Penny lay back in the
a full length stretch, arms above her head, toes pointing. It
felt glorious. She'd already done her
hour long swim in the lagoon, had enjoyed a small breakfast, and now,
clad, was enjoying the morning tropical sun. Penny sighed.
Another day in paradise, she mused. Truth be told, Penny was
bored. There were no interesting resort development projects she
working on (short-term or long-term), and no visitors were
for the next six weeks. Penny sighed and stretched again.
"Perfect!" Jamie's voice echoed across
the verandah. "Hold that thought!"
Penny relaxed her stretch, lifted her
and watched her Aussie friend approach. The petite redhead was
in a TESSERACT T-shirt, hiking shorts, and boots, and was carrying a
TESSERACT HEALTH CLUB gym bag. "What are you prattling about?"
mumbled. "I thought your schedule had you going deep into
the rainforest today?"
"Ya got it right," Jamie said
amiably. "I'm doin' an upgrade to one of the weather sensors on
Big Peak," she explained. "A two hour hike, the module swap'll
take less than five minutes, then a two hour return. I'm leavin'
after lunch. Should be back before sunset."
Penny watched her friend drop the gym
and loom over her (or rather loom as much as the biologist's short
stature would allow). "'Module swap'?" Penny purred.
"Sounds like a boondoggle to me, an excuse to get away from your desk
and all that troublesome data you've been manipulating for the past
fortnight. Why not let Eve do the upgrade?"
"Eve could send one of her
bots," Jamie said, "but I can get up the steeper parts of the trail
quicker... and I don't manipulate data!" Jamie's smile
turned slightly feral. "I'd invite you along... but you're gonna
be busy." The grinning redhead reached behind her back
and produced what Penny recognized as a small emergency flare pistol,
molded in orange plastic. Jamie struck her best Charlie's
Angels pose, drawing a bead on her incredulous friend. "Don't
move, or I'll blast ya!"
blurted. She started to sit
up, then swallowed nervously. "That's not funny," she
scolded, with proper English reserve. "Playing with firearms
is..." Penny squinted into the sun and frowned. "There's a cork
stuck down the barrel of that thing," she observed.
"Of course, silly!" Jamie
giggled. "Don't get yer Pommey buns in a clench. Eve hasn't
had time to fabricate our toy guns yet, so I had to improvise."
Penny sighed. "This is that
silly role playing game idea, isn't it? I'm sorry I
suggested it." Penny settled back down in her lounge chair.
"We can't start playing now, in any case. We don't have costumes."
"We don't have to start with
costumes," Jamie observed, waving her pistol. "Come on, up you
"I have simply too much work
to do to waste time on—"
"I checked your schedule,"
Penny lifted her sunglasses and
smiled. "Okay, so I'm not busy at the moment. What do you
have in that twisted evil mind of yours? ...not that I'm
surrendering, mind you."
"That secret project you've
been so curious about is finished," Jamie said with a smug grin.
"'Secret project? ...in IVR
"None other," Jamie confirmed.
"Finished and tested. Now, are ya gonna come quietly, or
do I have to fill ya full of imaginary stun darts?"
Penny stared at her would-be captor
for several seconds, then sighed. "I'm going to regret this," she
"Oh, desperately," Jamie
agreed. "Now, sit up and turn around."
Penny sat up, spun on her bikini-clad
and turned her back to her friend, her legs straddling the lounge
chair. The tall, tan blonde turned her head to the side, just in
time to watch Jamie pull a coil of thin microfiber rope from her gym
bag. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to tell me—"
"Silence!" Jamie ordered.
"Hands behind yer back, 'Lady Penelope'."
Penny frowned, but complied.
"Mother will be most upset if she learns you've killed her off
just so my silly gaming character can have a title."
Jamie crossed Penny's wrists at the
small of her back and set to work binding them together. "We can
always say you married some fabulously wealthy inbred twit, he died in
some pointless and easily avoidable accident, and you've inherited his
money and title."
"I like that much better,"
Penny agreed, testing her bonds.
"Suitably inescapable?" Jamie
Penny continued twisting her wrists,
then sighed theatrically. "I'm helpless, you beastly
savage!" She half turned and batted her eyes
innocently. "What are
you going to do with me?"
Jamie smiled, reached between her
captive's shoulder blades, and slowly pulled on the strings of Penny's
bikini, unraveling the bow securing the top. "Ya mean after
I strip ya naked?" she asked.
"Cheeky Monkey!" Penny chuckled,
coyly pulling on her bonds as Jamie untied the bow at the nape of her
neck and pulled the indignant prisoner's top free. The grinning
redhead then used a second, longer coil of rope to bind her
prisoner's arms to her sides and lash her elbows together, yoking the
captive's shoulders and armpits and framing her pert, tan breasts,
cinching the bands tight . "This is uncivilized!"
Jamie said nothing, but reached back
into the gym bag and produced a scarf of purple velour-like
fabric. Penny watched as the freckled Aussie smiled and folded
the cloth into a narrow bandage.
"I suppose you're going to gag
me now," Penny sighed.
"I wouldn't dream of it," Jamie said
pleasantly, then leaned forward and tied the scarf over Penny's eyes.
Jamie untied her prisoner's bikini
bottom, jerked it free, then grabbed the bound and blindfolded blonde
by her elbow bonds. "C'mon, yer Ladyship," she ordered, stooping
to pick up her gym bag. "Your unspeakable fate awaits."
Penny climbed to her feet, lifting
over the lounge chair, and allowed herself to be led away. "I
demand to be taken to Her Majesty's Consul or other duly appointed
"Don't make me rethink the
Jamie said with a chuckle.
Penny and the Pendulum
GONDALOO ISLAND RESORT
VIRTUAL REALITY SUITE TWO
blindfold, Penny could
follow their progress as captor and captive wound their way through the
resort. There was a quiet hiss (a door opening), and they took
several steps forward. Penny could no longer feel the warm sun
and ocean breeze caressing her skin. The hiss repeated, and Penny
knew they were indoors, specifically, in one of the Resort's many
maintenance tunnels. The journey continued, punctuated only by
the occasional sound of air whistling through a ventilation grille or
the distant echoing throb of machinery as they passed a junction.
"Amazing how docile a simple thing
like a blindfold makes you feel," Penny said as they trudged along, her
own bare feet soundless on the cool, concrete floor, the soles of
Jamie's waffle-stomper boots making a quiet scuffling noise.
"They have their uses," Penny's
captor agreed amiably, then the unseen redhead's small strong hand
tightened on Penny's arm and the bound, naked Brit was pulled to a
halt. "On yer knees, milady," Jamie ordered.
Penny sighed and complied, kneeling
the cold, hard floor. Jamie took a step away, and the blindfolded
captive heard a series of quiet bleeps (a keypad in use)... then a
heavy door slid open with a low, whining rumble.
"On yer feet, Blondie," Jamie barked.
Penny sighed, then after a slightly
start, gracefully stood. "You made me do that just to humiliate
"And so I could watch ya
scramble around," Jamie smugly agreed. "It's kinda hard bein'
ladylike when yer naked and tied up, ain't it?"
"Just you wait, Savage," Penny
mumbled. "Uh... you are in your 'Jungle Girl' persona,
Jamie grabbed Penny's arm and their
resumed. "I'm not sure of the character yet," Jamie
admitted. "I'll have to give it more thought. Let's save
the real role playin' for after we get our costumes. Fer
now, let's just say
I'm good ol' Jamie, takin' her friend Pens to enjoy a nice quiet day of
exquisite torture, deadly peril, and horrible demise."
"Exquisite torture?" Penny
inquired, her voice slightly worried.
"Oh, good acting!" Jamie
laughed. "One would almost think you were really afraid.
Yes... exquisite torture... very exquisite, and speaking of
which..." She pulled her tall, naked prisoner to a halt and
dropped her gym bag to the floor. "...we're here."
"Here?" Penny asked, turning her
blindfolded head from side to side. "What here... I mean where
Jamie laughed... then her voice grew
serious. "You really are afraid," she whispered.
Penny shuddered delicately as Jamie's
warm hand caressed the countless tiny raised bumps of her gooseflesh
covered arm. The prisoner gasped when her captor's other
hand caressed her two considerably larger other raised bumps:
first her left nipple... then her right. "I am afraid,"
captive confirmed, her lips curled in a shy smile, "but it's the good
kind of afraid... the waiting in line at the amusement park
Jamie giggled, stood on her toes, and
gave her captive a deep, long kiss... a kiss her blindfolded prisoner
returned with enthusiasm.
The kiss ended and Penny, still
smiling, turned her scarf covered head coyly to the side. "I
trust you completely, Jamie darling," she purred, "it's that
beastly, half-naked, vine-swinging, uncultured, little jungle savage
about which I'm not so su-uuuu-re!"
Jamie had encircled Penny's bound
arms and waist with her left arm and used her right hand to delicately
probe the helpless Brit's glistening sex. "Yer not just
afraid," the amused Aussie observed, "yer randy as a rabbit, ain't ya,
Penny gasped and squirmed, her cheeks
blushing. "Barbarous Monkey Girl!" she whispered.
Jamie laughed and her grip tightened,
her right hand caressing Penny's flat, tan stomach. "It's no use
strugglin', Lady Penelope," she said. "I have you... and I'll do
anything I want to you... and there's nothin' you can do about it."
Penny shuddered again and turned her
head away. "Beast!"
Jamie placed both hands on Penny's
waist and turned her prisoner a few degrees. "I'm going to back
you up about half a meter or so, then help you sit," she explained.
"Sit on what?" Penny asked as
she allowed herself to be shuffled backwards.
"That would be telling," Jamie
Penny felt something hard contact the
back of her calves, then settled her naked rump on a chair height
surface that felt like cold steel. "The least you could do is
provide some padding," she complained. Jamie chuckled but said
gently lifted Penny's legs and helped her swivel to the side and lay
on her bound arms. Her unseen cold unpadded seat was thus
to be more of a table than a chair or stool. Penny squirmed and
explored its surface as best she could.
"Be still," Jamie scolded, "or ya
might fall off." Penny felt wide, rigid, padded shackles
being clamped around her ankles. She tried to kick and found the
shackles were joined closely together and attached to a rope or
"I said, be still!" Jamie barked. "Now... I'm going to
your upper body, and I expect your full cooperation... or else!"
"Or else what?" Penny
inquired pleasantly. "You'll smear by body with over-ripe bananas
and let your ape friends have their way with me?"
"Hmm..." Jamie mused aloud, "note to
self: have Eve lay in some extra bananas. Uh, no," she continued,
"actually, I was threatening you with exquisite torture," she explained
as she untied Penny's rope bonds, rolling the tall blonde on her side
Penny frowned behind her
blindfold. "I thought 'exquisite torture' the order-of-the-day,
whether I cooperate or not?" Jamie lifted Penny's wrists over her
head, one by one, and snapped them into wide padded joined manacles,
similar in feel to the
shackles on Penny's ankles.
"Well, it's a moot point now, ain't
Jamie observed. Penny heard a quiet hum, like an electric motor,
and whatever cables or ropes were securing her ankles and wrists slowly
retracted until she was stretched taut.
"Hey!" the helpless captive
protested, pulling on the mere centimeter of slack in her now stringent
"Let's get this show on the road,"
Jamie purred, and Penny felt her friend's strong fingers fumbling with
the knot of her blindfold.
Penny and the Pendulum
Penny's blindfold was removed
and she blinked in the sudden light. Except for several glaring
pin-spots shining down from above, the ceiling was dark. Penny
recognized the dome of one of the Resort's several Interactive Virtual
Reality suites with the hi-resolution projectors turned off. The
nude prisoner lifted
her head and looked down her stretched body... and found she was bound
to a long very narrow table, little more than a wide ribbon
of rigid textured steel. Her ankles were attached to a stainless
steel winch and electric motor assembly by a taut steel cable.
She craned her neck back and confirmed a similar arrangement securing
Penny flinched when Jamie's
warm, freckled hand caressed the her taut stomach.
The petite captor slowly slid her hand up Penny's body, pausing to
trace her now very prominent ribcage, then continuing to give each of
the her flattened breasts a deep gentle caress with her
palm. "I like you like this," the gloating redhead announced,
"all taut and deliciously stretched." Jamie's hand returned to
her prisoner's flattened chest, teasing her friend's erect
nipples. "It's almost as if your titties aren't there..."
Her fingers flicked Penny's nipples, eliciting a slight wince
from the squirming captive. "...except for these little
fella's. Of course, yer tits aren't very big, even when you
aren't bein' racked." Jamie's fingers flicked again,
and Penny winced again.
"Stop that!" Penny scolded.
"It's most inconsiderate."
Jamie giggled. "I
wonder... Ya think my larger fuller B-cups would
flatten to nothing like that if I was in yer position?"
"I'm perfectly willing to trade
places," Penny gasped, continuing to squirm in her bonds, "if you're
"That's okay," Jamie laughed, then
separated and coiled the ropes she had previously used to bind Penny's
and upper torso.
Penny watched this process, then
lifted and swiveled her neck as best she she could to examine the
device to which she was bound. "What is this thing?" she
"Eve," Jamie called out with a grin,
"please educate Her Ladyship."
"Lady Penelope," the voice of the
Eve-6900's local avatar intoned, "you are currently the victim of
TESSERACT Entertainment Division's new, Mark-III, Steel Bishop
"'Steel Bishop?'" Penny asked.
The lights faded and the hi-resolution
projectors came to life. Directly over Penny's head a classic
graphic illustration rippled into focus. She recognized the work
the most talented (and tragic) bondage artists of the last century,
Robert Bishop. The illustration showed a naked woman stretched
as Penny herself was stretched) on a narrow, hi-tech, steel rack.
was being whipped by a second naked woman (naked but for what appeared
to be a chastity belt).
Penny shuddered in her bonds.
"The Steel Bishop," she whispered, mesmerized by "The Bishop's"
vision. As she watched, the image morphed into a photorealistic
representation of herself, bound in identical condition, to a
nearly identical device. Penny lifted her head and swiveled her
hips slightly, actions mimicked perfectly by her projected, racked,
"It's called a 'rack armature'," Eve
explained, "because it forms the mechanical core of a family of
torture rack devices, each appropriate for different Virtual
Entertainment venues." As Penny watched, different appliances and
appeared and disappeared on the projected armature, changing its
from Medieval to Modern, from Oriental to Art Deco, from wood to
"Raise 'er about a third of a meter,"
Jamie asked, "would ya please?" The rack slowly elevated on its
massive central piston. "There ya go," Jamie said, and the piston
locked, presenting her blonde, naked friend at convenient countertop
height. The grinning redhead selected the long coil of rope she
had used to bind Penny's arms and elbows, and began binding the already
helpless blonde's legs together, above and below the knees.
Penny gasped as Jamie cinched the
bindings several times and jerked the free ends of the rope taut.
"Do you have to do that?" the prisoner complained.
"No," Jamie admitted, "it's an act
of free will." She tied several redundant knots, picked up the
second, shorter coil of rope and stepped even with Penny's worried head.
"Not the elbows!" Penny protested.
course the elbows," Jamie
confirmed with a chuckle, then began lashing the anatomical features
in question tightly together. "Now, stop yer complainin' or I'll
have Eve raise that nasty padded bar under the small of yer
"Complaining?" Penny inquired,
instantly contrite. "Who's complaining?"
"It sounded like you," Jamie
mused. The grinning redhead tied a final knot, then stooped and
produced something from her gym bag. "Well, no worries," she said
with an evil smirk. "I'm about to remove the option." Penny
looked down as her gloating captor dropped a wide roll of silver-gray
on her flattened chest.
"Duct tape?" Penny asked.
"Don't you worry yer pretty little
aristocratic head," Jamie purred. "It's TESSERACT Dermafoam,
hypoallergenic. The last shipment came in several colors.
seems appropriate for the present setting." The petite redhead
up a rubber egg-shaped object for her prisoner's inspection.
"I hate those things," Penny
grumbled, giving her captor her best wounded pout.
"We all hate them," Jamie
chuckled, then gave the object a squeeze. Her knuckles
whitened and they both heard a hollow snap. "Open wide," she said
pleasantly. Penny sighed and did as ordered. Jamie popped
the egg in the cooperative but unenthusiastic prisoner's mouth, then
placed her hand over her friend's lips and pressed.
Penny's eyes widened as the egg slowly expanded, filling her oral
"Mmmfrr," she complained.
Jamie leaned close and smiled.
"Shh... shh... I know, I know... It tastes like yer bitin' on a
tire and it feels funny... almost tickles," she cooed.
know the drill. Bite down as hard as you can, so the foam in the
set in the best shape." She leaned close and locked eyes with her
victim. "We've both experienced these little monsters
Ya know it'll keep ya nice..." Jamie kissed the tip of Penny's
nose. "...and quiet." After several seconds the gloating
removed her hand. "Has it set?" she asked.
Penny nodded. The egg now
trapped her tongue and gripped her teeth, having molded itself into
every nook and cranny of her mouth. She might have been
able to expel the horrible thing, with considerable effort, but Jamie
was already moving to remove even that option.
The redhead ripped a long strip of
tape from the roll and pressed it over Penny's lips. The first
was followed by a second, then a third. The fruity smell of the
ketones in the Dermafoam's catalyst filled the air as the strips fused
together into one tight, skin-grabbing mask. "Nice and quiet,"
Jamie repeated with a gloating smile, leaning close and surveying her
prisoner's tautly covered lips, then gazing into her wide blue
eyes. "Hmm... a test is in order... don't ya think? Scream
fer me, yer Ladyship."
Penny squirmed in her bonds.
"M'mmmpfh!" The sound was little more than a loud hum.
"You can do better that that... if
properly motivated," Jamie gloated. "Eve, prepare to take in a
centimeters of slack, and start the hydraulic ram so we can raise the
Penny's eyes grew even wider. I
have 'a few centimeters of slack,' she thought in
alarm. The naked captive put her head back and screamed.
"Never mind, Eve," Jamie laughed,
then patted Penny's gagged cheek. "Good girl." Jamie
laughed again as her naked, helpless friend mumbled something no doubt very
rude and unladylike behind her quite effective gag. The redhead
reached out and placed her hand between Penny's flattened breasts,
feeling her friend's steady strong heartbeat. "You're probably
wonderin' why I've called ya here this mornin'," she said. Penny
eyes in disgust. "Eve," Jamie said, "...the main event, please."
Penny locked eyes with her gloating
captor and pushed an inquiring sound past her gag.
"Oh, yes," Jamie purred. "All
this is only preliminary." Meanwhile, the lights faded to
complete darkness... and the surrounding reality of the hemispherical
dome dissolved, then resolved into... Virtual Reality.
Penny and the Pendulum
discovered she was in a dark, quite large, circular chamber. As
her eyes adjusted to the gloom, she made out walls constructed of huge
blocks of dressed stone. Two colossal statues loomed over
her. They were women, clad in long, elaborately pleated skirts,
slit to reveal their shapely legs. The stone women were bare
breasted and masked, one with the visage of a snarling panther or
tiger, the other, some sort of bird of prey.
Jamie made a
theatrical gesture, and several torches flared to sudden life.
Now, Penny could see things more clearly, and the roaring flames of the
torches provided scale. The chamber was vast... hundreds
of meters across, with wide terraces, and grand stairways leading to
semicircular openings. The statues were equally vast,
on a par with New York's Liberty. Their style was vaguely
Babylonian maybe. They were, Penny had to admit, very
projecting an air of grace and ideal athletic beauty, despite their
size... but there was something, their masks, especially the
half-smiles on their barely revealed mouths, something that
suggested... malevolence... even evil. The stone womens'
arms were outstretched, supporting the framework of a machine of some
sort. It was still
too dark to for Penny to see much, especially at that (Virtual)
but Penny could see the torch light glinting off several metal gears
other components. Whatever the thing was, it was big, on
order of a shipyard or building construction crane. The gears...
they were gears... had to be tens of meters in diameter, at
and smiled down at her prisoner, "Do you know Veronica
Allbriton?" she inquired, "...Ronnie Allbriton? TESSERACT
Entertainment, in Seattle?" Penny shook her head. "She
designed all this." Jamie took a step back and gestured at the
surrounding chamber. "Welcome to The Lost City of Kul'Dakar!"
flared, doubling the light, and Penny stared in wonder. She could
now see that the walls were intricately carved, both with some unknown
(probably fictitious) cursive script, and with elaborate
pictographs. One of the nearer staircases was decorated by a long
line of helpless maidens, chiseled in bas-relief. The maidens'
wrists were bound behind their backs and they were bound neck to neck,
in coffle. By their features, hair, and costumes, they were
Egyptian, Minoan, Persian, Nubian, Hindu, Han, and other cultures Penny
didn't recognize. The captives were being
herded by whip wielding female warriors, dressed in short versions of
pleated skirt worn by the masked colossi. The warriors had
and shields embossed with a stylized hawk and a leaping panther.
"No one knows much
about the Kul'Dakar Amazons," Jamie explained, "but
apparently they were the scourge of the Ancient World, raiding for
and tribute, possessing strange technology, centuries ahead of their
contemporaries." Jamie smiled and toyed with the rope binding
Penny's elbows. "They would capture beautiful maidens by the
thousands, dragging them back to their magnificent hidden city.
There, they would subject their captives to a series of sadistic erotic
trials and tortures. Those who survived either joined the Amazon
ranks, or became slaves."
Jamie slid her
hand down Penny's outstretched arm, across her stretched white armpit,
along her ribs, and to her flat taut stomach. "It's all fer
Virtual and Video Game design, of course, but the attention to detail
is incredible," she mused, rubbing the area between her
captive's navel and the start of her blonde, pubic bush. Penny
squirmed and pulled on her bonds. "I told Elke that Ronnie's an
Inner Circle Alice waitin' to happen," Jamie continued, "but she told
me... how did she put it? ...'Keep yer nose freckles out of
Margo's recruitin' program'!" Jamie lightly scratched her
finger's through Penny's bush, eliciting a delicate, quivering shudder
from her prisoner. "Anyway... to return to Ronnie's
creation... the Kul'Dakar are long extinct, and their city a
picturesque overgrown ruin buried in the jungle... but if an intrepid
explorer, like say..." Jamie's fingers slip lower to caress her
captive's glistening sex, eliciting more squirming,
Penelope, were to find the place, she'd discover that not only
were most of the Kul'Dakar torture chambers and dungeons completely
but so are several of the elaborate, intricate, blood-curdlingly
sadistic devices they used for ritual executions, such as—"
There was a low
frequency, creaking groan from high overhead, like the outraged and
surprised cry of a hibernating monster rudely awakened.
Penny could see the huge gears slowly beginning to mesh and turn on the
device being held by the hawk and panther masked colossi. There
was a second groan, a snap, and something hurdled through the
darkness and flashed through the air above. A steady
rhythmic cacophony of metallic protest began, and Penny's mind finally
made sense of what she was seeing. Despite herself, her eyes grew
wide and she moaned softly behind her gag.
Pendulum of Kul'Dakar!" Jamie finished. A second, much
ring of of torches flared to life, and Penny's dread vision was
confirmed. —Swoosh!— The metal arm of the pendulum
was long, on
a scale with the statues supporting it and its workings. —Creak!—
The blade was curved and wicked, as long as the
a small airplane, and looked to weigh as much as a small lorry...
—Swoosh!— ...the sort of thing a giant might use to dice
a full grown elephant! —Creak!— Penny knew it wasn't
real, that like all of her surroundings (save Jamie and the inescapable
'Steel Bishop') were projected fantasies... —Swoosh!— ...but it
seemed very real, right down to the hawk wings engraved
on the blade's flank, and the light glinting off its razor sharp edge.
land right... here," Jamie gloated, tracing a line across
Penny's chest, just above the prisoner's nipples. Penny dragged
her eyes away from the horrific blade and locked eyes with her friend
and torturer. Jamie nodded towards the ancient creaking machine
and whistling blade high overhead. "It has a period of about
thirty seconds," she explained, never taking her green, self-satisfied
eyes from her victim's huge pale blue eyes. "Right now
it's dropping at the rate of a few centimeters every sweep... but as it
gets close... it will start dropping only a few millimeters per
sweep... and as it gets very close, every few sweeps the rack
will tighten, a millimeter at a time... and the back bar will start
rising, a millimeter at a time... and in about seven and a half
hours... when it first begins to touch you..." Jamie
leaned close and kissed Penny on her tape covered lips.
"...something very interesting happens."
wide-eyed gaze darted to the blade as it hurdled overhead... then back
to her redheaded friend. She forced a whining inquiry past her
and backed away from the nude, helpless prisoner. "What
happens, you'd like to know?" she purred. Penny nodded.
spoil the surprise?" Jamie answered coyly, shaking her head.
mewed and struggled in her bonds. Jamie turned and took several
steps, then turned back. "One thing, darling," she said. "I
know you're aware that all this—" She gestured around them.
"—and especially that—" She pointed up.
"—are Virtual, but that, of course, is the opinion of yer fore
brain. The primitive hindbrain knows better. It
knows the blade is real. It knows the rack doesn't
have slip gears that won't allow your delicate joints to come to any
harm. It knows you're going to die... horribly
... in a little over seven hours." Penny stared at the sweeping
relentless blade. "So," Jamie said lightly, "be
sure to keep telling yourself: 'It's not real! It's not real'!
be interestin' to see who convinces who, yer forebrain, or yer
Penny tore her
gaze from the blade... and found Jamie to be gone. Then
she saw her again, walking across the vast chamber (and Penny knew she
was seeing a Virtual version of her friend). It took
about a minute (two sweeps of the blade) for Jamie to cross the stone
floor, and another three (six sweeps of the blade) for her to climb a
steep set of stairs. The redhead turned and waved. "See
ya in the afterlife!" she
shouted across the considerable distance,
then disappeared into the darkness of a cavern-like corridor.
returned to the blade. —Swoosh!— It's not real!
she thought, knowing from experience that Jamie's gloating advice had
been genuine and good. —Creak!— Penny squirmed in
her inescapable bonds, and continued to stare upwards. —Swoosh!—
It's not real... and I'm gonna get her for this!
—Creak! — High overhead, the blade of "the Pendulum
of Kul'Dakar" swept lower, and lower... —Swoosh!—
the region of her heart.
Poor Lady Penelope!
How can Jamie be so cruel?
...& what "something very interesting"
Can this truly be...
|| of The
| In a word...
...but Stay Tuned for the NEXT thrilling episode
COMING (SO TO SPEAK) SOON!