(With thanks to Suzie for her editing)
She rose slowly to consciousness, laminated between the painful light outside her eyelids, and the thunder rolling in from the back of her skull. Oh, someone please kill the guy with the drum.
What did I drink last night? For that matter, where was I last night? She took a deep breath, otherwise still unmoving, and eyes tightly shut. From a subliminal touch or a subliminal odor, she knew she alone, and not in her own bed. Satin sheets. More importantly, where am I now?
She slid a hand between her thighs. Oh shit. I wonder who he was? This is probably his bed, so where is he? Gonna have to look. The room was dim, light coming from behind her. A wide empty space separated the bed from the opposite wall, finished in a maroon color, with swirling spots. Cork tiles. Inset handles marked the presence of doors which otherwise melded into the cork patterns. The wall beyond her feet was covered with mirror tiles, but the lighting was too dim to give her more than a shadowy image of herself.
Groaning, she rolled over. She glimpsed a full-wall curtain with daylight leaking around all four edges, but her attention was elsewhere. As she rolled over, something dragged at her right ankle something that encircled the ankle. Oh-oh. Oh-oh. She drew her knee up so she could feel whatever it was sure of what she would find. Her fingers confirmed the chain.
The headache was still there, but she paid it no attention, as she threw the covers back to be able to see the chain. Light-weight, closed by a small solid padlock. Without a key or a bolt-cutter, it was not coming off. Oh shit-shit-shit-shit She held her head in both hands, clenching her jaw, trying to remember. What the hell did I do last night?
The sheets were spotless. Better and better. I've been fucked, but I don't know by whom and I don't know even where. Sheeeee-it!
Suddenly those considerations lost all interest her bladder screamed for relief, brought tears to her eyes. She swung to a sitting position on the edge of the bed, scanning the room for salvation. Big room, almost empty. Her feet bumped something next to the bed. Mules. High-heeled mules. HIGH-heeled mules. She slid them on without thinking about it.
Wooden-tiled floor. Just in front of her, a chain was padlocked to a sunken D-ring. Her chain, she presumed. Close to her on the right was a leather easy-chair, and beyond that a desk nothing on it. To her left, a staircase led upward. Beneath the staircase an ordinary doorknob marked the presence of a room. It must be.
Bent over, thighs tight together, tottering on the heels, she staggered to the door and threw it open. Automatic lighting went on. Yes! She swung around, dropped onto the toilet, and let go. Sweet relief. She sat, panting, eyes closed, letting the pain recede.
She flushed the toilet, but did not move. Head down, she kept her eyes closed. If she kept them shut, the nightmare wouldn't be real.
Minutes went by. She couldn't stay there forever. Could she?
She pried her eyes open, and looked around the bathroom. There was more to observe here than in the big room. She was sitting just inside the door at one end of a corridor-shaped room: shower at the other end, same side as the toilet; full-length counter facing her, with a large sink; round, thickly padded stool in front of the counter, between the shower stall and the sink. On the counter in front of the stool there was a stack of boxes, as long and wide as pizza boxes, but two or three times as deep. They were hand-written numbers on the sides of the boxes, from "1" on the top box, to "5" on the bottom one. I do NOT want to know what is in them. She managed to avoid looking at herself in the mirror that covered the whole wall above the counter.
She looked down at the mules. They fit well, but she rarely wore high heels, and then only moderate ones. These were not monstrous, but well outside her habits. So just take them off. No, don't be rash. He left them, and nothing else. So he wants you to wear them. You don't want to make him angry any sooner than necessary. Besides, the floor's cold.
She hung her aching head, thinking of nothing. Trying vaguely to collect herself.
You can't just sit here. Sure you can. No, you can't.
She stood, looked at herself over the basin. Omygod! Ruined make-up, hair a rat's nest. A filthy, ugly mess. Screw it. I'm not in a beauty contest. If I'm too ugly to play with, he can just take me home. Sure he will sure. She shivered. She opened the cold-water faucet, bent over the sink, cupped her hands and drank deeply. Then left the bathroom. The chain crackled along behind her.
In front of her, between the bed and the cork-lined "rear wall", there were sunken D-rings scattered all over the floor. Dreading what she knew she would find, she looked up. More D-rings. Oh shit-shit-shit-shit sheeeee-it. Panic began to well up, but she choked it down.
The doors in the cork wall were locked.
She retraced her steps around the bed to avoid shortening her tether. Passing by the bottom of the stairs she could see that there was a closed door at the top. She did not bother to try going up. The chain was surely too short, and the door would be locked.
The draw-cords for the curtains were here on the left side, for both the opaque and the peach-colored decorative curtains. She opened them a few feet. The view through the panoramic sliding glass doors was magnificent, a lush lawn falling away abruptly to give way to a pine forest. Opposite her eyrie, craggy hills rose above the forest. Cloudless blue sky, with the sun at mid-height. Mid-morning. This is nowhere in Boston's suburbs. Berkshires, maybe, but maybe even further.
She sagged against the wall. I know I can get pretty drunk sometimes, but this time I really did it right I never imagined I could stay out for so long It's hard to believe unless I've been drugged. Oh shit-shit-shit. Damn-damn-damn. I am in deep, deep shit.
Don't panic! She dug her fingernails into her palms to distract her from her predicament. Think! She tapped on the glass. It was hardly cooler to touch than the wall next to it, although an autumn day in altitude had to be chilly. Thick, multi-layered; good insulation against winter cold, It could surely be shattered, but until she could get rid of the ankle chain there was no point in it.
She closed the curtains, returning the room to semi-obscurity.
The desk was as empty as she had presumed at first glance. It was just a table with an offset drawer, empty. The legs were bolted to the floor.
She ran a hand over the back of the easy-chair. It looked comfortable, but it was surely off-limits.
And so, back to the bed. It was also peach-colored, smooth, soft, and sensual. Right, sensual She sat on the edge of the bed, the mules thrusting hers knees high.
She felt empty. Filthy. The dried swabs between her thighs seemed to burn her.
Think, for God's sake. You have to remember what happened last night. Have to.
It had been a party given by a friend of a casual acquaintance of a chance encounter. She may have met the party-giver, but did not remember it. She couldn't even remember exactly who had taken her there.
Start from the beginning
I went to Dixie's. Must have been about seven. Bad day at work, my son-of-a-bitch boss jerking my chain again. chain Bad metaphor!
Wanted to loosen up a bit well, to be honest, I wanted to get blind drunk. Dixie's is good for that. Too good, too often. I'm going to get into trouble some day, Yeah some day
I remember loading up quick, a couple or three or whatever Bloody Marys. Then there was a gaggle of girls I don't think I knew them. They must have noticed that I was drinking pretty hard, because we got to talking about booze. One of them said there would be plenty at the party they were going to; and did I want to go along? Party? Oh yes
It was a town house, I'm sure of that. Couple of staircases. Lots of people, lots of pretty women and lots of men ogling them. YES I remember
There was one woman gorgeous. Pick-up-your-eyeballs-guys gorgeous. Can't remember what she was wearing, except that there wasn't much north of her nipples. Bare shoulders, bare back, bare mostly everywhere. Hair piled high to show off all that bare skin. Bare except her throat. She was wearing a collar, a heavy dull-gray metal band.
We were a small group, standing in a circle talking, and the collared girl was a little way off. We couldn't help but notice her, and since she so God-awful gorgeous, we were all talking about her. There was a guy next to me, talking to me. Big guy really big. Loomed over me. Glasses. I can't remember his face. Don't remember anything about him except "big" too plastered by then.
"Do you think she's pretty?" he asked, or some dumb question like that.
"Naw, she's a hag, a witch. She's horrible that's why all you guys are drooling."
"You like the collar?" he asked.
"What? On her? Or would I like one on me? Pffffff!" There was no denying that the collar was sexy. Who was it who said there's nothing as seductive as a woman in chains? Like most people, she'd never really asked herself what she thought about the bondage scene she found the collared woman hugely sensual, without analyzing the thought. The whole bondage thing was ambivalent seductive and frightening at the same time. The kind of subject best handled by benign neglect.
And then don't remember after that. Damn, damn, damn . Nothing more arose from her memory.
Her eyes roamed the room again, squinting at the woman dimly reflected in the wall beyond the foot of the bed.
Inaction was insupportable. She knew that she should take time to think things through, but she could not just sit there. Could not. A shower get into decent condition to confront him. Or to be more presentable to him ?
Screw it, I can't bear staying filthy like this.
She stood, wobbled in the mules, and semi-stumbled back to the bathroom. The chain clattered noisily in the silence.
There was no medicine cabinet, and nothing loose around the basin. No soap, no shampoo. Look in the top box. Obviously. There were the soap and shampoo, along with skin conditioner, hair conditioner, a comb, a hair brush, a hair dryer, and a towel. Toothbrush and toothpaste. All she could possibly desire
She took a long, hot shower, washing her short sandy hair again and again, and her thighs, too, again and again. She had never tried skin conditioner before. The slickness it left displeased her. She soaped up twice again, to get rid of it. The hair conditioner, on the other hand, was welcome.
The shower lasted a long, long time. She was in a time bubble events could not progress as long as she was in the shower.
It was not true, of course. After a while there was no longer any excuse for staying under the shower. In box number 1, there was a small towel, fluffy and absorbent; effective for drying herself but far too small for a wrap-around. Obviously.
She stared at the woman in the mirror. Reasonably good face not beautiful but not too bad. Long face, softened by rounded features, cheekbones and jaw. Large eyes, light blue, set fairly wide. Aquiline nose, too big for her own taste, but in fact quite in keeping with the general form of her face. A "cute" button nose would have been out of place. Her mouth fit less well; it was large, with full lips. Men liked her mouth.
Her figure was average. Good breasts, large and firm, with little sag. Unfortunately, her waist was also large and not firm enough. Earth-mother hips, which men also appreciated. Good long legs, although a jagged scar from childhood marred the left knee. She frowned; losing a little weight around the waist would be nice, but by experience she knew a diet would first turn her shoulders bony and deflate her breasts. This is NOT the moment to be thinking of improving your looks. You'd be better off if you were a hag.
For an instant she thought about letting her hair dry as it was, but she could see no circumstances where jumbled hair would be an advantage. It would be bad for her own morale, and might make him angry. So she sat on the padded stool and went to work with the brush and the dryer. She'd had her hair done recently, so it was fairly easy to restore it to the rounded bob which filled out her face, attenuating its length. Despite herself, she smiled at the result, which kicked her mind back to the party.
A man's voice she couldn't understand what he was whispering. He was standing tight behind her, his lips close to her ear. Just about her own height, so it couldn't be the same one who talked to her about the girl with the collar. He had one arm around her waste, first steadying her own wavering, then bending her over. The other hand raising her skirt
She jerked back to the present. Grimaced. Reached into the box for the toothbrush.
Since the boxes were numbered, it was clear that he wanted her to open them successively. But did she herself want to? She sat back down on the stool and stared at the stack, as if it would tell her what to do.
She tried to weigh the alternatives. If she did as expected, he might be pleased, and therefore go easier on her. Or he might be stoked, and therefore harsher. There might be clothes that could only be good for her she did not want to be nude when she faced him. Well then again she could think of some clothes that might in fact be worse than nothing. Dammit, the contents could be almost anything there was not really much point in trying to second-guess him on precisely what was in the boxes.
More generally: What if she did not do as he expected, did not open the boxes. What if she disobeyed. She could see no circumstances at all, in which disobedience would be advantageous.
Besides, she could always go along box by box. She could stop any time. Sure, sure believe it
The uppermost of the boxes, with the number "1" magic-markered in one corner, which had held the materiel for shower and hair, was now empty. She opened the second box. Make-up. Not just basics, but a full set of cosmetics: skin, eyes, mouth. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath as the reality of her circumstances rolled back over her. She looked down at the chain around her ankle. Shit-shit-shit-shit Now you have to decide. Go along or refuse. You have to decide now.
Her shoulders slumped. Her mind's eye saw the D-rings in the floor in the other room. He's probably going to hurt you whatever you do. Then again, who knows how he'll behave. The less you confront him the less chance for danger, that is the only line you can take.
So she dug into the cosmetics. Make-up had never been a big thing for her she had good skin and her biggish eyes did not need much enhancement. Perhaps, too, she was somewhat in revolt against a mother who had always been too anxious about perfect good looks. Her mother had made sure she knew all about cosmetics and how to use them.
These were not intended for shy little girls. The lipstick and the nail polish were a vibrant liquid red. The eye-shadow an iridescent, almost sparkling pale blue. Eyelash enhancer to make them look about twelve miles long. She took her time. Any job worth doing is worth doing well damn damn damn damn There was even depilatory cream, but she did not need it. Her legs and under-arms were smooth.
She smiled tightly at the mirror as she added subtle color to her nipples and nether lips.
There was perfume. Jean-Paul Gauthier, a musky fragrance she did not know. She smiled grimly at the woman in the mirror. He wants perfume, he gets perfume. And applied it more than liberally all over her body. All over.
The odor provoked her sense of smell and made her hungry. Ravenous. How long since she last ate? Tell me what day it is and I'll tell you when you last ate. Jesus, how did I get myself into this? What the hell happened that night?
Her vision lost focus as she willed herself back to the night she'd been kidnapped what was the right word? "Kidnapped?" No there would be no ransom request. Was that good or bad? She closed her eyes and struggled to repress the upwelling fear. That won't help. Get back to the night you were whatever She shivered.
The man behind her raised her skirt up over her back. Kicked her feet apart. She wavered drunkenly. He steadied her. Spread her cheeks. Plunged into her.
When she had finished with the makeup and the perfume, she stood before the mirror, taking stock. Good. Very good, even. I hope whatever he wants me to wear will clash But she doubted it.
The third box contained her "clothes". He could have saved the box a medium-sized envelope would do. Peach-colored. Obviously. A teddy, giving just the bit of support useful for her breasts, and playing transparency peek-a-boo with the rest of her body. Under other circumstances, she might have found it desirable. But now it just added to her repressed terror. This was all too clever.
Eyes closed, fists and jaw clenched, she rebuilt her resolve.
She picked up the string. She hadn't been expecting full-bellied cotton panties, but this She had expected crotch-less. This was worse. There was no front at all.
The string that ran between her ass-cheeks split in two to rise on either side of her outer lips. Just above the lips, a horizontal string joined the two vertical ones, forming an elastic triangle. The three strings dug into her soft flesh, making her sex stand out. She stared at the spectacle. It was grotesque. It was disgusting. It was incredibly erotic.
And a problem. The horizontal string cut across her pubic hair, and was nearly lost to sight. The effect of the string would be all the stronger if she were shaven. The depilatory cream She sighed. Once again he was a step ahead of her. She hadn't even heard his voice yet, but she was obeying his whims. Not a good start. Or maybe too good a start Oh, screw him so maybe I just didn't think of the cream. He'll ask. I'll say I didn't think of it. He won't believe it, and he won't be happy. So screw him! Somebody will get screwed, that's for sure. And more or less gently. He
He's going to kill you. The words she'd worked so hard to repress rose brutally, ripped through her. He's going to kill you kill you kill you kill you kill you
She pivoted, falling to her knees, bile flooding past her lips into the toilet bowl. She dry-heaved, again and again. Sheer muscle-fatigue in her diaphragm finally put an end to her retching. She sat back on the padded stool, leaning her elbows on her thighs, gasping for breath.
No, no, he won't kill me. She struggled to regain composure in her own mind. It's not true. He doesn't have to do it. I don't know who he is. I don't know where I am. I don't even know where that goddam party was. There's no way to trace back to him he can just let me go when he's through.
Bullshit. He's not going to take that chance. He's going to kill you. She clenched her fingers into fists, hard against her lips to keep from screaming. Eyes tight shut, her whole body shaking.
You can't think that you mustn't There's a chance there must be He doesn't have to be a killer. All rapists aren't killers.
He has ABDUCTED you! He is not just a rapist he is one hell of a lot more dangerous than just your ordinary rapist.
Her body was rocking forward and backward. She was unaware of the movement.
So I mustn't anger him. If I don't give him a reason to kill me, maybe he'll let me go. If I give him a reason to be angry then who knows
Slowly, slowly, she regained control. The rocking stopped. Her fists unclenched. Her shoulders relaxed. Her eyes opened, looking into the mirror. She sighed deeply, knowing that she was doing his work, defeating herself and unable to do otherwise.
She pulled the string down to her thighs, and went to work with the cream.
Next box, number "4". I DO NOT want to do this. You've come this far. You've taken off your pubic hair, so you can't possibly stop now. Even if you were to get rid of your make-up, even if you were to ruin your hair-do, he would see your sex, and he would know that you have surrendered. You can no longer back out.
She lifted the lid of number four.
They appeared to be leather bands, with hardware attached. Slowly and cautiously, as if they might bite, she reached to them, touching the largest, the collar. It yielded under her fingers, soft with padding under the thin leather skin. Emboldened, she grasped it, squeezing. And dropped it instantly. Under the padding, the collar was unyielding steel. Little D-rings front and back. Shit-shit-shit-shit-shit Tears welled, but she stifled them. There was no point in wrecking her make-up. No point. The steel was frightening, bringing home with force the fact that she would be already was constrained. She looked down at the chain around her ankle.
Last chance to resist. Joke. There's no resisting, there's only more or less trouble.
The ankle bands fit snugly, closing with a small "click". Ominous little sounds.
She closed her eyes and forced herself to breath deeply. Her hands were trembling. The wrist bands were also snug. He fucking measured me, the son-of-bitch!! Calm, girl! This is on purpose he's getting his jollies just thinking about you going crazy. Don't give him that pleasure. Stay calm!
She kept her eyes closed as she put on the collar. It was beyond her strength to watch in the mirror. It fit perfectly. When she opened her eyes, it was as though she was looking at a different woman. Hugely sensuous, like the woman at the party, but much, much more so. Dear God, give me strength She did not believe in God.
One last item in the box. A ball-gag. She'd seen pictures, but never the real thing. Yellow rubber ball, with a plastic-coated chain through the center. An open padlock on one end. She did not hesitate if she hesitated even an instant, she would be unable to go through with it. The ball popped past her teeth. She fumbled behind her neck, and there was one last little "click". No more voice. A glance in the mirror showed that her lipstick was intact around the yellow ball. I've gone mad
There was still one box. She stared at it. What more could he want? With a sigh, she opened it. Two small, open padlocks. Nothing else.
She slurped back the spittle that was threatening to leak past her gag. The hasps were made from slim, round-section stainless. And slipped neatly through an anklet or bracelet D-ring.
Nodding to the mirror, she left the bathroom. The ankle chain clattered again as she returned to the bed. She squeezed her eyes shut a moment, breathing deeply. Then straightened out the satin sheets. With her back to the bed, she turned to face the easy-chair. He would sit there. Off to her right, she saw herself in the mirror-covered wall. He'll want me to be able to watch what happens.
She climbed onto the bed, centered herself, oriented between the easy-chair and the mirrors. Another compromise won't be the last
What position? She'd seen bondage pictures.
Suspension? She trembled. She did not have the means, no rope or chain. Thank God for small favors
Spread-eagle? No. That would also require more materiel.
Hogtie? She would be utterly helpless he would like that. Then again, he might think she was presumptuous, deciding herself how she should be bound.
She knelt, knees spread but not too wide. Reaching behind her, she maneuvered a padlock into position and clicked it onto the second anklet.
She looked at her wrists. She was breathing hard through her nose, of course Whatever she did, she knew she was at her captor's mercy. But as long as she had her hands, she could at least imagine that she could defend herself. Ridiculously false, of course. But despite knowing that resistance was futile, she remained reluctant to give up her last pretence.
The staircase was behind her left shoulder. She twisted to look that way. Was he up there yet? Waiting behind the door for her to make the final gesture?
Turning back to her right, she looked at the mirror-wall. Was he watching her from there? He had been behind the mirror in the bathroom, he'd watched her there, preparing herself for him she was convinced of that. Was he watching now, or could he be so sure of her that there was no need to observe her.
Need or not he would certainly be watching.
She studied the mirror wall, but there was nothing notable.
Raising her arms to horizontal, pointing them toward the mirrors, she showed her hands, palms up and open. Then she raised her arms high, her right hand taking hold of the padlock on her left bracelet. In two wide opposed arcs, her arms first spread and then rejoined, behind her back. click
She was trembling again, and breath came hard. There was nothing left but to wait.