A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place

by Van ©2022

Chapter 1

 Dramatis Personæ 


Scout Smith as...
Scout Smith!
Scotti Hunter
Scotti Hunter had a Grand Master Plan for the rest of her life.  She'd already graduated from Lewis & Clark University with a B.A. in English.  Now it was time for her to polish and expand the many stories and story ideas filling the many journals and notebooks she'd diligently kept since she was a kid, publish her first novel, and become rich and famous.

That was her ultimate goal.  Her immediate goals were to find better employment than the crappy waitress job she had now and to move out of her parents' house.  Don't misunderstand.  Scotti loved her parents and they loved her, but it was time for her to start her own life.  It was time to leave the nest.

So, in summary, Scotti had two teeny-tiny problems: (1) finding a better job, and, (2) finding a place to write that wasn't the bedroom she grew up in.

Thanks to the planning and generosity of the aforementioned parents she loved so much, and unlike many of her classmates, Scotti had emerged from the college experience debt free.  She'd helped a lot by finding a scholarship that had paid a good chunk of the expenses, but enough was enough. 

And as for her ultimate long term goal, the freedom to write, not writing wasn't an option.  Scotti knew she'd go certifiably Gnarls Barkley Crazy if she didn't write.

And then... it happened!  And it was the proverbial bolt out of the blue!

Like all freshmen not living at home, Scotti had been incarcerated in a dorm her first year at Lewis & Clark, but from her sophomore year on, Scotti had been fortunate enough to share a two bedroom townhouse/apartment near campus with three roommates, and they had all become great friends.  Also, because variety is the spice of life, they'd agreed to mix up the sleeping arrangements from year to year.  Scotti got to know all of her roomies quite well, and that included, Iris DuPont (with reservations).
Sophie Thatcher as...
Sophie Thatcher!
Iris DuPont

Iris presented as a Goth, Emo, or Vamp, in that she had unusually fair skin, big brown eyes, and very dark brown hair she kept cropped short (and stylishly tousled).  Anyway, that had been Scotti's initial impression, that Iris was a dyed-in-the-wool Goth... quiet, brooding, and two long, tight braids away from impersonating Wednesday Addams.  Also, she was too friendly to be Emo and didn't have fangs (real or fake), so she wasn't a Vamp.

And as it turned out, Scotti was right... and wrong.  Iris might not be Goth, but she was definitely Goth-adjacent, not because of her complexion, waifish looks, or semi-fondness for dark clothing, but because she was slow to warm to people and tended to ration her smiles.  Iris eventually warmed to Scotti and the others, but only after they'd all been together in the apartment for a full week.  In any case, she remained a very private person.

And oh-by-the-way, lris had an incredible green thumb and year after year had kept the apartment/townhouse in a jungle-like state with an abundance of lush and flourishing houseplants.  Appropriately, she was a biology (botany) major, with a business minor.

The roommates often took turns visiting each other's families on their holiday vacations, and one year Scotti hosted Iris at her parent's house for Thanksgiving; however, Scotti had never gone home with Iris.  There had been no actual reason, it just never happened, and it was no big deal.


About six months after graduation (when Scotti was starting to get really antsy about striking out on her own), Scotti received a phone call from Iris inquiring if she'd found that non-parental place to live and/or good job she'd talked about most of their senior year, and if not, would she like to stay with her family (meaning, of course, the DuPonts) for a while?  Apparently there was a small "cottage" near the main house, it was currently empty, and Scotti was welcome to use it if she wanted.

That was the aforementioned bolt out of the blue.

Scotti knew the DuPont family ran a custom furniture business outside the tiny town of Alderville, up near the Canadian Border and not far from the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  Based on after-action-reports from her other two ex-roommates' visits, it was supposed to be a very nice place, but neither roommate had mentioned a "cottage."  They'd gushed about a rustic factory compound, stunning gardens, lots of big cedars, and a big house, but no "cottage."

Anyway, Iris was her friend, it was a very kind offer, and above all, it was the actual nudge out the door Scotti admitted she probably needed.  Even if she decided she hated the place (or couldn't find a new job nearby), she could hang with Iris and satisfy her curiosity about the DuPont family for a few days... then return home and shift her job hunt into high gear.  After talking it over with her folks, Scotti called back and accepted the offer.

A Quiet Place 
  Chapter 1

It was a looooong drive to the DuPont family compound, three times as long as the drive from Scotti's parents' home to the Lewis & Clark campus.  Scotti braved the ordeal in her trusty (but not rusty) 2014 Subaru Crosstrek named "Tadhg" (Irish for Storyteller).  Tadhg was beautiful (in Scotti's opinion), resplendent in her coat of "Plasma Green Pearl" paint (a sort of olive-sage color).  She was a hand-me-down from her parents, Scotti loved her to death, and she took good care of her.  (Paying for Tadhg's scheduled maintenance was another reason Scotti needed a better paying job.)

Anyway, they (Scotti and Tadhg) drove north to the Seattle area, made the required right turn (east), and soon the drive was trees, trees, and more trees... followed by trees.  The only things breaking the monotony of coniferous splendor were farmhouses and fenced-in pastures with grazing cattle, horses, sheep, alpacas, and llamas (in exponential order of rarity), but mostly it was trees.  Luckily, Scotti liked trees, but still... even green can start to get old.  It would be different if she was on foot.  Hiking through a cedar forest was fun, but countless cedars whizzing past while concentrating on your driving was... repetitious.

Finally, she arrived at Alderville, the closest town to her destination.  It was little more than a gas station, general store, a couple of restaurants and other businesses, and a few dozen houses.  Scotti pushed on to the DuPont Family Compound.  If it wasn't for the map app on her iPhone, Scotti knew she'd have been increasingly lost soon after leaving Bellingham.  There was a moment of panic when the app announced that she'd arrived... and there was no there there... but then she noticed the low-key but tasteful sign marking a clump of grass that was actually the start of a semi-improved road pulling off the State Highway and heading up-slope and into the trees.  Seriously, without GPS she never would have found the gate... which was standing open.  And off to the side was a rugged steel mailbox with the appropriate address painted on its side, so all was well.

After a quarter-mile climb up the side of what Scotti decided was either a minor mountain or a foothill with mountainous aspirations, Tadhg arrived at... The DuPont Compound.  All she could say was "Wow!"

First was the setting.  It was more-or-less a wooded plateau tucked against a forested mountain, open to the east, west, and south and sheltered to the north.  The main house was in the center, a large barn-like building was set off to one side, a multi-car-garage/carriage-house to the other side, and further along what could only be The Cottage.  Everything was charming, very Arts & Crafts and/or English Country Village, painted in soothing earth-tones.  And there were flowers everywhere, little pocket gardens, window boxes, and hanging baskets.  The minor cloud of darting, feeding, and occasionally bickering hummingbirds approved.

Scotti eased Tadhg to a stop in front of the garage, climbed out and stretched—"Scotti!"—and smiled as Iris and another woman emerged from the barn/workshop and raced in her direction.  More precisely, Iris raced.  The other woman was approaching at a graceful, stately, smiling walk.

"It's so good to see you!" Iris gushed as she embraced Scotti.

"You too!" Scotti counter-gushed, and even though it had only been a few months, it was good to see her friend, who, if Scotti wasn't mistaken, was blushing, which wasn't her usual habit.  Also, embracing people also wasn't Iris' habit either, but she had.  Maybe that's why she's blushing, Scotti reasoned.

Anya Taylor-Joy as...
Anya Taylor-Joy
Amy DuPont

"Hi Scotti.  I'm Amy," the other woman introduced herself, stepping forward, smiling, and offering her hand.

"My big sister," Iris explained as she released Scotti from the embrace.

"Hi," Scotti beamed, pumping Amy's hand (which was strong, by the way.)  And speaking of strong, the family resemblance made it very easy to believe that Iris and Amy were siblings.  They even shared the same semi-Goth vibe.

"I love your red hair," Amy said, still smiling.

"Thanks," Scotti replied (and blushed).  The hair in question was, indeed red, or more precisely, ginger.  It was also straight and cropped short in what Scotti called an "off-the-shoulders pageboy" or a "longish Lulu-cut."

"When she's wearing her glasses, she looks just like Velma Dinkley," Iris stated.

"I'm farsighted," Scotti explained, "but not very.  I only wear my glasses for prolonged reading and writing."

"I get the Velma thing," Amy responded, "only you have a lot more freckles."  It was true.  Scotti was prone to freckles, unlike the DuPont sisters.

After that, things happened quickly.

Iris and Amy helped Scotti move her things into the cottage, which Scotti fell in love with instantly.  It was a mostly open-floor-plan structure with the only interior walls enclosing the bathroom and a couple of closets.  The various functional areas were delineated by hanging drapes or ceiling to floor book shelves and cabinets finished on both sides.

The bed was queen-size, with a solid-looking frame of rounded wooden parts that were too thick to be sticks but too small to be posts.  Scotti believed it was something often called Log Cabin Style, and was in no way out of place with the rest of the decor.  She gave the headboard (head-rails?) a shake... and the frame was rock solid.  It didn't even creak.  Obviously, it was one well-joined unit.

The kitchen area had modern(ish) appliances, and looked to be easily up to the task of cooking simple meals.

The bathroom included a shower stall but no tub.  There was also a cozy "office" with a large writing desk, a comfy office chair, and a bay window with window boxes and a view of a small garden, perfect for writing!

Finally, there was a lounging area with a cozy fireplace, a loveseat, a pair of overstuffed chairs, and a thirty-something-inch flat-screen TV mounted nearby for convenient viewing.  The overall decor/ambiance was very Snow White's Cottage, lacking only dwarfs.  It was ideal for Scotti's needs.

Next, rather than unpacking, Scotti was dragged (willingly) on a whirlwind tour of the rest of the compound.

The main house was an overgrown version of the cottage, only with a lot more solid walls defining conventional rooms.  It had the same Old World/Snow White decor as the cottage, but was also totally dwarf deficient.

The barn-like building was a fully-equipped woodworking shop with modern power tools, a state-of-the-art ventilation system to capture sawdust, extensive wood storage racks, other racks holding various kinds of clamps, and off to one side, a painting/staining/drying booth.  There was a second barn-like building behind the shop, but it wasn't on the tour.  Amy explained it was for storage and held finished furniture orders waiting to be shipped out, as well as prototypes of the various items in the "DuPont Catalog."

And speaking of flowers, there were flower beds everywhere, as well as a sizeable raised bed vegetable garden surrounded by a tall and low-key but fully functional fence of wire netting to keep out deer, rabbits, and other produce-poachers.  The flowers close to the buildings were a riot of different varities, but quickly transitioned into 100% native species.

Also, a path switch-backed down the slope on the far side of the main house and led to a spectacular swimming-pool/pond!  It was fed by a small stream from further up the mountain that fell over a jumble of rocks as a very pretty waterfall, and after filling the pool, continued down the hill at the far end.  The pond itself and the rock dam at the outfall end were obviously human engineered, but taken together the venue looked very natural.

After the tour, the DuPont sisters whisked Scotti back to the main house and they had a celebratory welcoming feast of grilled chicken breasts, garden salads (with edible flowers and home-made vinaigrette!), bottles of Bud Light, and a peach crumble for dessert.  It was yummy!

While they ate, Scotti learned that Iris and Amy's mother, Sybil, was away for the day, visiting friends, but would return either late tonight or early tomorrow.  Scottie was assured that she was going to absolutely love "Mother," who was very enthusiastic about having one of Iris' "little friends from school" stay in the cottage.  It was explained that the cottage in question had been built as a classic mother-in-law house two generations back, but had mostly stood empty for the last several years.  Iris quipped that it had always been a pain in the butt to keep clean and they all agreed they might as well have Scotti do it for them.

And apparently, that would be the sum total of the rent the DuPont's expected from Scotti's occupancy of the property.  Iris explained Scotti would be responsible for keeping the cottage swept and dusted and to perform any other minor odd jobs required around the property if requested, but only on a not-to-interfere basis with her writing.  Scotti was willing, but explained she wasn't exactly "handy," so they shouldn't expect too much.  The sisters assured her that wouldn't be a problem.

"Professional carpentry is the DuPont specialty," Amy explained, "so you'll be relegated to any 'mindless scutwork' that surfaces.  Work hard and we'll even feed you."  She then smiled at her little sister.  "You'll also be expected to help Iris root around in the dirt."

"She means help me in the gardens," Iris said primly.

"I can do that," Scotti chuckled, grinning at her former roommate.  "I love gardening."

"You'll have plenty of time to write," Amy reassured her, "promise.  Now, let's clean up and you can retire to your new digs.  You must be tired after all that driving."

"I am," Scotti admitted.

"Okay.  I'll come get you for breakfast," Iris added.

"Thanks," Scotti smiled.  (And was it her imagination, or was Iris blushing again?)

A Quiet Place 
  Chapter 1

Scotti only did minimal unpacking when she returned to her new cottage.  The contents of her toiletries bag were introduced to the new bathroom, she hung her jacket on the coat rack next to the front door, then unpacked her laptop, placed it on the desk and plugged it in, but didn't try negotiating with the DuPont WiFi server for access to the internet.  That sort of raucous fun could wait until tomorrow.  Hanging up her remaining clothes and finding new homes for her handful of knickknacks could also wait.  However, she did lug the cardboard box holding her many journals to the "office."  She even lifted the journal with her notes and plot ideas for her planned novel from the box and placed it on the desk, next to the laptop.  It was only then that she felt sufficiently moved in to decide she could justify turning down the bed.

The blanket and sheets were fresh, courtesy of Iris, and there were clean towels in the bathroom.  Scotti removed her trail-runner sneakers, socks, jeans, blouse, and bra, reducing her costume to panties and the silky (and slightly ratty) camisole she'd been wearing under the blouse.  Panties and whatever camisole, tank-top, or t-shirt she'd been wearing that day between her bra and blouse were Scotti's usual pajamas.  She padded into the bathroom and performed her evening ritual... and was ready to try out the new bed.  She slid between the covers, turned off the reading lamp on the bedside table, then rolled onto her back and stared up at the dark ceiling.

Scotti had left all the drapes at the cottage windows pulled back and there was a nearly full moon, so the ambiance wasn't that dark, but everything was deep, inky, and unfamiliar shadows, accented by the wan, silver glint of reflected moonlight.  The nocturnal cottage might have been considered spooky, but Scotti wasn't in a spooky mood.  The setting might be novel and the shadows and shapes semi-strange, but for some reason Scotti felt at home.  She couldn't say why, but it was true.

Also, while she was tired from the long drive... she found she was also too excited to sleep... which sucked.  Her eyes were now fully adapted to the near darkness, so the not-spooky-but-vague shapes had all resolved into what she knew was there when the lights were on.  There was also... "the itch."

If asked, Scotti would stringently deny having any sort of sordid fascination with the squirming, struggling spectacle that was the damsel-in-distress.  Admittedly, she found the sight of an actress bound, gagged, and striving to regain her freedom to be quite fascinating, but that was because she was a writer, right?  Action/adventure movies & TV shows were undeniably Art... not High Art, but Art.  Also, while Scotti was a feminist, she wasn't offended by some male hero's girlfriend, wife, or teenage daughter being taken prisoner by the villain or villains in the course of the plot, as long as the female captive in question was a fully developed character with more to do that struggle and mewl through her gag... then melt into the hero's arms when finally rescued.  It was especially egregious when a truly gifted actress with a long list of credits was hired, and her total contribution to the screenplay was to stand around and eventually land in jeopardy.  Scotti might, uh, appreciate the, uh, technical aspects of the actress' plight, but it was still just plain stupid and a deplorable waste of talent.  And more importantly, it was BAD WRITING!

Also, Scotti fully intended to integrate action/adventure elements into her writing, including having her heroines occasionally find themselves in damsel-in-distress situations.  That would require research, of course, and research the topic Scotti had.  There were books on the subject of tying people up!  Who knew?  The Japanese seemed to be especially fascinated by the subject, but then (in Scotti's opinion) there was no subject or activity some segment of Japanese society didn't find worthy of obsession.  And it wasn't just the Japanese.  Apparently, the younger sons of the British upper-middle-class were the same way, only on a lesser scale.  They collected beetles, butterflies, the eggs of songbirds, crafted model trains, models of bridges, etc., etc.  There was nothing so esoteric a landed British gentleman with nothing but time on his hands couldn't decide to take up as a hobby in order to become a World Expert.  Anyhoo...

Scotti knew all about bondage, meaning the various methods of binding a damsel (or dude, she supposed); however, opportunities to expand her research from the theoretical to the practical had been few and far between.  Tying herself up at home had always been a non-starter, and the same applied to life at college.  Parents, brothers, and sisters at home, and roommates at school meant no privacy, and therefore no practical research.  Bummer.

But now... Scotti had privacy.  She had the security of The Cottage!  And no roommate!  Of course, it would be totally absurd to start her long delayed practical bondage research program on her very first night in said Cottage.  Unthinkable!  Ridiculous!  Stupid!  Scotti smiled.  So why not?

Scotti bounded from bed, turned on the bedside reading lamp, then scurried about, rooting through her suitcases and boxes and gathering everything she could think of that would suit her purpose.  She had a section of her journal dealing with means and methods for restraining her heroine whenever she got around to finding an excuse for somebody to capture her, so she carried it and the double armload of miscellaneous supplies to the living room area in front of the fireplace, dropped it all on the floor, then turned on the floor lamp between the easy chairs.

The research material Scotti had gathered included a pair of slightly worn summer-weight scarves, a brown leather belt, a pair of cotton bandanas, and the sash from her bathrobe.  Scotti put on her reading glasses and gave the notes in her journal a quick scan (which was totally unnecessary as she more-or-less knew those particular pages by heart), placed the journal face down on the seat of one of the chairs... removed, folded, and placed her glasses next to the journal... then padded the three feet to the open area in front of the fireplace and sat on the floor.

Next came... The Binding.

Scotti started with her ankles.  She folded one of the scarves into a narrow bandage, looped it around the ankles in question, once, cinched it between, to cushion her ankle bones, then had just enough left to tie a tight bow.  She then moved on to her knees.  Those she bound together with the remaining scarf, but only had enough for a simple loop without any cinch.  She tied the bow extra-tight to compensate.

It was time to gag herself, while she still had the unrestrained use of her arms and hands.  This Scotti accomplished with the two bandanas.  The first (which was brown) she wadded into a ball and stuffed into her mouth.  It was a close fit, but she managed.  The second (olive-green) she folded into a narrow bandage, as she had the scarves, positioned the center over her gaping mouth and its brown stuffing, cinched it tight at the nape of her neck, and completed an equally tight square-knot.  None of Scotti's ginger pageboy was trapped under the "cruel gag."

Next came the problem of securing the arms of the damsel (Scotti) against her torso.  That was the task of the belt.  It was saddle-brown, somewhat worn, 1½" wide, and with a double-tongued buckle and the requisite double row of holes, and it proved to be just barely long enough to pin her upper arms to her body, across her boobs.  When she finally managed to secure the buckle (on the second pair of holes) and tuck the tongue through the retaining loop, her biceps were dimpled and her breasts more-or less squeezed flat and bulging above and below the belt.

Only one task remained: binding her wrists together behind her back... somehow.  She'd chosen the sash for that purpose.  It was 1¼" wide, something like a yard long, and was lightweight flannel in the same predominantly blue "Indian Blanket" pattern as its robe.  Scotti fumbled and groped and managed to form a loop around her wrists, then a second loop, then (with difficulty) passed a cinch between her wrists, pulled out most of the slack, then tied a sort of half-bow/slip-knot.  It wasn't very tight.  She'd be able to pull her hands through the layers of flannel with effort, even if she somehow botched trying to untie the securing "knot."  This compromised her research effort, of course, but the last thing she wanted was to be unable to free herself at the conclusion of the experiment.

Scotti squirmed and rolled on the floor, giving her bonds a preliminary test.  Everything held.  In fact, with the single exception of her wrists.  Scotti-the-Villainess had done an exemplary job of making Scotti-the-Damsel her helpless prisoner.  Scotti continued wiggling, kicking, twisting, and mewling through her gag.  "Mrrrpfh!"  She was a prisoner!  She was bound and gagged!  The villainess had sequestered her way out in the middle of nowhere, where she'd never be found, rescued, or liberated!.  Oh cruel fate!  The experience was very educational (and tingly).

Of course, the thought of being discovered in her panties and camisole, bound hand and foot (and knees, arms, upper body, and boobs) and gagged was too embarrassing to contemplate.  Iris and/or Amy would howl with laughter and she'd never hear the end of it.  Not a good way to start her tenure at The Cottage.  Anyway... that wasn't going to happen, and—

Suddenly, there were two sharp knocks on the cottage's front door—Rap-rap!—immediately followed by the click of the latch—Click!—the creak of the hinges as the door opened—Creee!—and a strange woman entered the Cottage!

Simultaneously, Scotti went rigid in her bonds, her heart and breathing stopped, and her green eyes popped wide!  If her throat wasn't paralyzed, like the rest of her,  she would have screamed through her gag for all she was worth!

A Quiet Place 
  Chapter 1

Saffron Burrows as...
Saffron Burrows
Sybil DuPont
The woman was probably in her... late 40's?  Scotti wasn't sure.  However, she was quite sure the woman was beautiful, as well as slender, graceful, fair-skinned, and with long, gleaming brown tresses.  All of that Scotti noticed, but mostly her thoughts were—ARRRRRGH!  (Apparently, Scotti's brain and vocal cords were paralyzed.)

"Hello, Scotti," the woman purred.  "I'm Sybil, Iris and Amy's mother."

Of course you are, Scotti thought.  She should have seen the family resemblance immediately.  It, the resemblance, was right there... along with the rest of her... meaning Sibyl.

She (meaning Sybil) closed the cottage door—Creee!  Click!—strolled to the fireplace (the Damsel-in-Distress Arena), and continued smiling down at Scotti.  She was wearing a very pretty black summer dress and a pair of sandals.

Scotti's heart had started beating again.  She'd also resumed breathing.  However, her eyes remained as wide as the proverbial saucers.  Iris and Amy's mother gracefully settled to the floor next to her, then—"Mrrk?"—her strong arms gently slid Scottie's head and shoulders onto her lap.

"Did one of my girls do this to you?" Sybil inquired.

"Nrk," Scotti responded, shaking her head.

"I see," Sybil purred, still smiling, then leaned towards the easy chair with Scotti's open journal resting on the seat, picked it up, settled back into a comfortable position (with Scotti's gagged head still comfortably on her lap), and began to read.

Scotti realized she was blushing like she'd never blushed before in her entire life.  She hadn't thought it was possible for a person to be as embarrassed as she felt at this very moment, but obviously it was.  She started struggling to free her wrists, but unfortunately, she'd done a better job tying herself up than she'd realized.  It was going to take her a while to squirm free of the sash.

Sybil continued reading... and smiling... then closed the journal and set it on the floor.  "I understand," she said, beaming at Scotti.  "You're conducting research."

Scotti blinked several times... then nodded.

Sybil began combing Scotti's bangs with her fingers.  "There's a flaw to your plan, of course," she said.  "To understand what a tied up character is feeling, you need to experience being truly helpless... but you aren't, are you?  Not really."  And with that, Sybil flipped Scotti over and hauled her further forward until Scotti was face down with her rump and bound hands centered on her lap.  "Not to worry," she announced.  "I can fix it."

Scotti felt Sybil untying the loose, sloppy bow/knot securing her loose, sloppy wrist bonds, heaved a gagged sigh, and relaxed.  Once she was free, she'd apologize to her new hostess/landlord and—Huh?  Scotti realized the long, tangled strip of flannel cloth was being loosened and rearranged!  Before, her hands had been more-or-less palm-to-palm, but now her wrists were crossed and the sash was tightening around and between, in several different ways!  She could tell the flannel was lying flat against her skin, but now it completely immobilized her hands!  Finger fluttering was her only option!

Sybil gave the still long free ends of the sash a firm jerk—"Mrrrk!"—completed a no-nonsense square-knot, then flipped Scotti over until she was face-up—"Mrrrk!"—gathered the free ends of the sash from either side, and tied another square-knot, this time more-or-less over Scotti's bellybutton, at the smallest part of her waist.  There was just enough sash to make that possible.  Obviously (Scotti realized) Sybil was an experienced "Rigger."  Either that, the now helpless-for-real prisoner mused, or she was just plain lucky.

In any case, there was now absolutely no way Scotti would ever be able to free herself, not with her wrists crossed and expertly bound as they were, and not with the "key knot" (the knot that had to be untied for her to make any progress in freeing herself) on the far side of her body!

And now, as Scotti digested the full gravity of her situation, Sybil eased her new tenant/guest off her lap and began examining her remaining bonds.  She tightened Scotti's ankle-binding scarf and replaced the bow with a square-knot, but appeared to be satisfied with the rest of her restraint ensemble.

"There," Sybil purred as she lifted Scotti's bound and gagged self into her arms, and gracefully climbed to her feet.

She is strong, Scotti realized, and not just her arms and hands.

"I'll send the girls down to release you when you're finished with your experiment," Sybil explained as she carried Scotti to the bed and deposited her on the rumpled sheets.

"Mrrrk?"  Scotti blinked, squirmed in her now inescapable bonds, and watched Sybil turn out the bedside lamp... the floor lamp between the easy chairs... then stroll to the cottage's front door.  Obviously, she was familiar with the cottage and its contents and was untroubled by the near-darkness.

Sybil opened the door—Click!  Creee!—then paused in the threshold, silhouetted in the moonlight.   "Again, welcome to the family, Scotti.  Goodnight."  And with that, she closed the door—Creee!  Click!—and was gone.

"Mrrrk!" Scotti remarked.  But... how will she know when I'm finished with my research? ...when I'm ready to be untied?  Her eyes popped wide, again.  Wait!  Come back!  "Mrrrf!"

Scotti struggled for all she was worth for nearly a full minute... then heaved a gagged sigh and relaxed (more or less).  Her first night in The Cottage was not going as she'd imagined.

A Quiet Place 
 Chapter 1


֍ Chapter 2