by Van ©2017

Chapter 5

Dramatis Personæ


Compulsory, continuous, involuntary French kissing is certainly a novel torture, Amanda mused, and certainly not something the Dominican friars would have employed as a means of ferreting out heretics.

For what felt like it may have been the last hour, Amanda and KK had been busy making absolutely sure their tongue piercings remained touching or were less than a centimeter apart.  Otherwise, according to their absent handlers, their genitalia would be subject to continuous electrical jolts!  Now and then Amanda would glance to the side to confirm that the red light on the TENS unit—the electrical device to which their upper thighs and labia were wired—was still flashing.  It was.  It always was.

It occurred to Amanda that the whole situation might be a decidedly cruel prank.  Granted, their bondage, nipple-to-nipple enforced contact, and wired lady-bits were very real, but what if the box with its blinking red light was a hoax?   Perhaps if they ceased their tongue-on-tongue contact there would be no shock.  Amanda was tempted to make the experiment, but hers weren't the only lady-bits at risk if their handlers had been telling the truth.  Amanda had no right to test their predicament without KK's permission, and said permission was impossible to obtain with their lips pressed together and tongues intertwined.

Their intimate predicament grew progressively more tiresome.  What had started out as an embarrassing bother was turning into true torment.  Also, Amanda's toes were complaining about supporting her weight.  She found the wide, padded leather cuffs confining her wrists were "comfortable," possibly even designed to suspend their wearer with as little pain and damage as possible, but they were held at full stretch and neither was able to move.  They had no choice but to hang from their wrists and support themselves with their toes.  It was impossible to redistribute the anatomical tasking imposed by their predicament, so to speak.  It's a good thing KK and I are the same height, Amanda reflected.  They could tilt their heads and kiss without suffering neck strain... at least for now.

Suddenly (finally) the door to the apartment opened and their handlers returned.

"Okay, ladies," Cassie announced, "playtime's over."

Amanda managed to turn her head enough to determine the smiling blonde was carrying a tray laden with four bottles of beer and what appeared to be a platter of small wraps and sandwiches.  The sadistic, scary beauty deposited the tray on the coffee table in front of the sofa, then smiled at her prisoners.  She was dressed as before in her catsuit uniform.

And speaking of prisoners, Blythe was not dressed as before.  In fact, she was naked, except for the several yards of rope binding her upper body in a reverse-prayer box-tie.  Also, a padded ring-gag was strapped in her mouth, propping her jaws apart at full gape.  Drool dripped down her chin and onto her breasts.  Amanda found it quite disgusting and felt no sympathy whatsoever for the helpless brunette.  Obviously, Cassie and Blythe were playing another of their stupid games, but in their case, it was voluntary.

Amanda and her fellow librarian continued doing their best to keep their tongue-piercings touching and take in what was happening while Cassie strolled to the wall, thumbed the switch, and the bar lowered, finally allowing the captives down off their toes and onto their flat feet.  Needless to say, this was a good thing.  Next, the smiling, catsuited blonde released Amanda's left wrist-cuff from the bar... then her right wrist-cuff.

"Okay," Cassie ordered, "give your fellow bookworm a nice hug, left arm over her shoulder, and don't forget to keep up with the kissy-face action.  Remember, your twats are still wired."

Amanda had no choice but to comply, and she felt and heard Cassie clipping her cuffs together behind KK's back, enforcing the ordered hug.

Cassie then released KK's wrists and arranged them in a complementary hug.  "There," she said as she completed securing KK's cuffs, then strolled to the stool and the TENs unit.  "And..."  She thumbed a button and the red light stopped flashing.  "Power off.  You can stop kissing now, ladies."  Her smile widened.  "If you want to, that is."

Amanda retracted her tongue, KK did the same, and they were both relieved not to receive intimate electrical shocks.  Amanda sighed and rested her head on KK's shoulder.  Her colleague, however, found the strength to express her displeasure.

"You bloody pervert," KK mumbled, "that was beastly."

At least, that was probably what KK said, Amanda decided.  She knew she wouldn't be able to enunciate properly either, not for several minutes.  Her tongue felt swollen and... strange.

"Now, now, mind your manners," Cassie chuckled, then knelt at the librarians' side.  "Now, spread your legs and hold still." She then reached between their legs.

"W-what are you—Oh!"  KK's eyes had popped wide.

Amanda didn't know what was happening.  She could feel the TENs wires rattling together between their legs and—  "Eek!" she yelped, then bit her lower lip.  Cassie had released the electrified clips formerly clamped to her labia.  She assumed a similar removal had been the cause of KK's alarmed reaction.  Next, she felt the patches adhered to her upper thighs being peeled away.

Cassie dropped the tangle of clips, pads, and wires atop the TENs unit, then grabbed a handful of Blythe's hair, led her to the sofa, and plunked her down.  "Stay," she ordered, then turned and smiled at the librarians.  "Well, would you care to join us?  Or are you not hungry after your marathon make-out session?"

Amanda and KK sighed, then awkwardly (to say the least) shuffled their way to the conversation area.

"Sit," Cassie ordered, pointing at the carpet on the far side of the coffee table.  She then reached behind Blythe's head, unbuckled the ring-gag and re-secured the strap on its first hole, then eased the padded torus from Blythe's mouth and let it drop.

The bound brunette handler licked her lips.  "Bitch," she accused, glaring at her fellow handler.

"I try," Cassie purred, then turned back to the librarians.  "Well?"

Amanda and KK sighed, once again, then managed to settle to the floor without falling.  Again, it was awkward.  See also difficult, ungainly, and embarrassing.  They were now sitting on the carpet with their legs tucked to either side, bound in their mandatory hug, their heads turned and faces cheek-to-cheek, and glaring at their "hostess."  They watched as Cassie sat on the sofa next to Blythe and selected a tiny sandwich from the platter.  She took a bite, chewed and swallowed, then popped the remaining half of the sandwich into Blythe's mouth.

"Tell me, Dr. Harnois," Cassie purred as she lifted a bottle of beer and took a swig.  "Are you familiar with the cataloging software used at the Lewis and Clark University Library?"

Amanda blinked in surprise.  What the hell?  Then, she remembered KK's "secret plan" for their escape supposedly involved software in some unspecified manner.  "The F.E. Campbell Library at Lewis and Clark has an excellent reputation," she answered.  "I've heard nothing but good things."

"But nothing about a supposedly revolutionary machine-learning cataloging system?" Blythe continued, then accepted a swig of beer from Cassie.

Amanda's stomach was grumbling.  The sandwiches and wraps on the platter looked delicious, but she sensed the matter at hand was important, possibly critical to resolving their situation.  "I have heard they've made strides in automating the library's functions," she said (lied), and desperately hoped she was on the right track.

"I told you," KK said, addressing Cassie.  "The system is proprietary, but it would greatly enhance our ability to process the collections below."

"And I told you to keep quiet while I discuss the matter with Head Librarian Harnois," Cassie chuckled, then returned her smile to Amanda.  "Anything else?"

Amanda sensed (much to her relief) that she was on the right track.  "As I said," she responded, "I've heard nothing but good things.  No details, unfortunately, but any modern, advanced cataloging and correlating software system would be helpful.  The Votel Library's systems are adequate... but limited."

Cassie nodded.  "Very well."  She then selected a meat and vegetable wrap from the platter, leaned forward, and held it to Amanda's mouth.

"So, you'll allow me to access the Lewis and Clark faculty servers and download the library system?" KK watched as Amanda took a bite of the wrap.

"No, Dr. Rockwell," Blythe purred.  "I'll download the system.  And if your faculty and staff passwords don't allow me to slide past the firewalls like a greased monkey, you're going to be very sorry."

"You're addressing someone in the know, by the way," Cassie said, nodding at Blythe.  "She has a Master's in something to do with computers."

Amanda and KK exchanged a mildly surprised look.

"Well," KK said quietly, still focused on her fellow librarian, "I suppose even a mingy, sadistic pervert can benefit from higher education."

Cassie and Blythe exchanged amused grins.  "Oh, Dr. Rockwell," Cassie chuckled, "you are so much fun.  So entertaining."

"So easy to bait into providing excuses to punish your cute little Limey ass," Blythe added.

"So much fun," Cassie reiterated, then fed a tiny roast beef sandwich to Amanda.

The meal continued.  Amanda had a million questions for her fellow Brit and captive librarian, but prudent silence was obviously the best course.

Finally, the last mini-sandwich or wrap was consumed and Cassie led the two involuntarily hugging librarians to her apartment's bathroom—thus raising the bar on "awkward" to a new high—then ordered them to relieve themselves in the commode—which raised the bar even higher.  They managed to empty their bladders without making a mess (although it was a near thing), then endured having their teeth brushed and faces scrubbed by their blond handler.  Afterwards, they were led to the bed and forced to gracelessly flop down onto its neatly made surface.

Next, Cassie produced four pairs of joined steel handcuffs and used them to bind the captive's ankles.  She used the first pair to join Amanda's ankles, the second pair to join KK's, the third pair to lock Amanda's right ankle to KK's left, and the fourth pair to join Amanda's left ankle to KK's right.  The space between each pair of cuffs was just enough to make this possible, but the naked captives found that pointing their feet was the only way to relieve the pressure of the steel bands on their ankles.  Needless to say, the arrangement was both totally immobilizing and unnecessarily cruel.

Naked and rope-bound, Blythe joined her fellow handler at the bedside to smile down at the bound Brits.  "Such a pretty package," she purred.

Cassie draped an arm over Blythe's rope-yoked shoulders.  "They are," she agreed, then gently grasped Blythe's chin, turned her head, and the kidnappers enjoyed a long, deep, wet kiss.

Amanda and, she presumed, KK watched from the bed, clutching each other in their leather cuff-enforced hug, their nipple-stirrups padlocked together, breasts squashed, and ankles uncomfortably locked in steel.  Releasing their intimate embrace was impossible, and the same went for getting off the bed and perpetrating some sort of joint, futile escape attempt—not without seriously punishing and probably damaging their ankles, and not at more than a literal snail's pace.

Finally, the handlers came up for air and, cheek-to-cheek, turned to face the librarians, who were also cheek-to-cheek.

"Well, have a pleasant evening, ladies," Cassie chuckled.

"Aren't you going to put them under the covers?" Blythe inquired.

"No, I already programmed the thermostat to up the temperature," Cassie answered.  "Wouldn't want them to sweat all over my nice clean sheets."

"That makes sense," Blythe chuckled.

Amanda and KK watched as the catsuited Cassie and bound, naked Blythe exited the apartment.  Cassie paused at the threshold to switch off the lights, then the door closed, there was an audible click as the lock engaged, and the librarians were alone—or rather, alone together, their bodies in tight union atop the soft bed.

The prisoners heaved tragic and sincere sighs, then relaxed as best they could.

"We're going to have to turn now and then so our various limbs don't loose circulation," Amanda observed.

"Agreed," KK sighed, then turned her head and whispered in Amanda's left ear.  "We shouldn't discuss the software issue.  I don't think they're recording everything we say, but one never knows."

Amanda whispered in KK's ear.  "I quite agree.  I hope this works... whatever 'this' might actually be... which we shouldn't discuss."

KK smiled (and Amanda could feel her fellow captive's lips smile against her ear).  "Agreed."

They heaved another sigh, then settled in to sleep.

Surprisingly, they did manage to enjoy a little slumber during the long hours that followed, but now and then were forced to wake up and roll over to relieve the pressure on the body parts currently bearing the most of their weight.

All said, it was a long, dark, uncomfortable night, but something new had been added, something sorely lacking since their kidnappings: the flickering flame of hope.

PERILS of the Dewey Decimal System
 Chapter 5

When morning arrived Amanda and KK were roused from their decidedly unrefreshing slumber and their bonds reduced to a single pair of joined steel handcuffs each, binding their wrists behind their backs.  Needless to say, it was a most welcome change.  Their bodies had become increasingly well-lubricated from breasts to thighs, thanks to the copious sweat induced by the hours of forced embrace, their joints were sore, and their ankles slightly the worse for wear.  Unconscious attempts at comfort movement during the night had not only been unsuccessful but had marked their ankles.  The skin wasn't broken, but it had been a near thing and the angry red lines would probably take some time to disappear.

Breakfast for the librarians took the form of oatmeal with dried fruit, honey, and milk.  They enjoyed a hot shower in Cassie's bathroom, one at a time and being soaped and scrubbed by a naked Cassie, then Blythe dried and brushed their hair and they were ready for the workday.  And thanks to their generally miserable and tired condition, a long day it was, indeed.

Three more work days passed without Amanda being dragged upstairs at night for punishment (meaning erotic games as Cassie's and/or Blythe's plaything).  KK was also spared.  Unfortunately, Phoebe and Ginger weren't so lucky.

Phoebe returned from her night of "entertainment" walking with a slightly bowlegged gait that took a few hours to disappear.  She declined to divulge the reasons for her condition, assuring the others that she was "okay", the particulars were unsettling, and discussion would do little to expand their collective intelligence pool.  "Maybe later," she sighed.  Her colleagues accepted Phoebe's assessment and offered their sympathy.

The day after that, Ginger returned with her back, rump, and thighs crisscrossed by angry red stripes.  Her skin wasn't broken, but she was sore and the marks took two days to fully fade.  Her fellow librarians took turns administering cortisone ointment to the affected areas, which helped.  It turned out Cassie was the author of Ginger's marks, which the others found to be hardly surprising.

And then, on the morning of the fourth day, the librarians arrived at Central Cataloging to discover the logo of Lewis & Clark University emblazoned on the center screen.  There was also a post-it note from Blythe announcing that she had successfully hacked and downloaded the F.E. Campbell Library's supposedly revolutionary cataloging and curating software, as per KK's suggestion, and if the rest of the librarians didn't want to see KK severely punished, they should all learn to use it as quickly as possible.  And oh-by-the-way, there had better be a significant increase in the rate of consolidation of the various Votel collections, or else.

"Or else what, do you suppose?" KK sighed.  She was being sarcastic, of course.  "Or else" referred to trips upstairs for "counseling" at the hands of their handlers.  "The interface is very intuitive," KK explained for her colleagues benefit, "and once you begin work, the system will process preferences and habits and start anticipating your needs.  It's really quite helpful and the rate of consolidation will increase significantly, superfluous threats of nocturnal torture notwithstanding."

"It's safe to assume we'll continue being dragged upstairs at night anyway," Phoebe muttered.

"They don't really need an excuse," Ginger sighed.

"No, they don't," Amanda agreed with a sad shake of the head.

All four librarians covered their discomfiture by cleaning their glasses.  In addition to the Lewis & Clark software they'd recently secured another concession from their handlers in the form of a supply of several dozen boxes of disposable lens-wipes.

KK sat at one of the control consoles and began demonstrating the system's interface.

After her fellow Brit had covered the basics of the function menus, Amanda leaned close and whispered in KK's right ear, "What now?"

KK seemed to ignore Amanda's question.  "Let's break for tea," she suggested in her normal voice, "and afterwards, I'll demonstrate the object relationship expansion routines."

"Sounds like a plan," Ginger said.

"As long as 'tea' means 'coffee'," Phoebe added.

"Barmy Yank," KK chuckled as she rose from her chair.  As the librarians filed from the room she turned to Amanda.  "What we do now is wait," she whispered, "in answer to your earlier question."

"And act nonchalant?" Amanda suggested with a smile.

"Exactly," KK confirmed, and they made their way to the Staff Cafeteria.

The rest of the day the others spent time familiarizing themselves with the more esoteric aspects of the new software.  The consensus was that the interface was, indeed, quite intuitive, and by quitting time all four librarians had tasked the system to preform several routine cataloguing and correlating tasks during the hours of darkness.

"I predict that by morning you'll all be surprised and quite pleased by the pace of accomplishment," KK predicted as quitting time neared.

KK's prediction proved entirely correct.  The next morning the librarians discovered that the system was nearly a quarter of the way towards consolidating the disparate collections into one object-oriented database, something which would have taken Amanda and her colleagues several long months of hard work to accomplish.
Suddenly, a new, prominent icon popped onto the center screen, along with the message, "ACTIVATE AVATAR."

"Oh, brilliant!" KK gushed and pressed the icon on the touchscreen of one of the consoles.  "This is going to make our work even easier," she explained for her colleagues benefit, then surreptitiously winked at Amanda, "among other things."

The screen flashed to a uniform black... then lines of code in various colors began scrolling from top to bottom, too fast to be read by human eyes.  The scrolling continued for several seconds and the pace accelerated until the screen became a multicolored blur... then it went completely dark.

Seconds passed with no change.

"I can see how this is going to be useful," Ginger remarked, earning herself a decidedly unamused stare from KK and a grin from the others.

"Barmy Yank," Phoebe teased, nudging her fellow American in the ribs with an elbow, then they shared a mild giggling fit.

"Barmy," Amanda agreed, smiling at KK.

"Barmy berks, actually," KK muttered.  She couldn't help but smile.
Hello Sally!
Meanwhile, the screen had flashed again, and this time it was painting the video image of a woman in some sort of hi-tech control room pressing virtual buttons on a transparent computer display.

"Hello, Dr. Rockwell," the woman said in a distracted manner.  She had a pleasant, alto voice, appeared to be in her 50's, possibly slightly older, and was dressed in a casual, blue chambray work-shirt.  Her attention remained focused on the screen as she concentrated on navigating menus and (apparently) processing data in the form of flickering, ever changing graphs and scrolling windows of text and numbers.

"Hello, Sally," KK answered, then gestured at her fellow librarians.  "These are my colleagues, Doctors Harnois, Rockwell, and Pratt."

"Yes, I've read their files," Sally muttered.  "A pleasure."  She was still concentrating on the data on the screen, meaning the screen-within-a-screen.

"Sally is the system's avatar," KK explained, "the interface by which we'll be able to expedite our use of the various tasking routines.  I find her more of a colleague that a digital assistant, or I did back at the university.  This iteration of the artificial intelligence may take a while to... mature?"

"If by 'mature' you mean the interval required for the various measures of my effectiveness and efficiency as an interface to asymptotically plateau," Sally stated, "I suppose that's as accurate a term as any."  She continued tapping virtual buttons and icons and gliding her way through various menus.

"Uh... Sigourney Weaver?" Ginger asked in a whisper.

"Sally is a product of Salamandras International," KK explained, "and—"

"Employee, doctor," Sally interrupted, continuing to process data, "not product."

"My apologies, Sally," KK chuckled.

"Apology accepted," Sally muttered.

"A colleague of mine at Lewis and Clark," KK continued explaining to the others, "Professor Cynthia Webble of the CS Department, once told me the head of R&D at the Salamandras Institute for Advanced Studies, a Dr. Sally Muse, used the motion capture data from the Avatar movie as a basis for the base programming of the interface project.  She gave the AI her first name, Sally, and Ms. Weaver's appearance, voice, and mannerisms.  I've always assumed some sort of royalties agreement is involved."

"How very... meta," Phoebe remarked.

Ginger turned to Phoebe and grinned.  "KK is talking with an artificial intelligence that looks like Sigourney Weaver, explaining to the rest of us why she looks like Sigourney Weaver, while the AI in question stares at a screen with, among other things, a real time image of KK making said explanation, while we stare at a giant screen with all of the above, while standing next to KK.  'Meta' doesn't begin to describe it."

"I suppose Sigourney Weaver, herself, could walk in," Ginger chuckled.

"Hush," KK admonished the two Americans, "the grownups are talking."

"Barmy Brit," Ginger whispered in Phoebe's ear, loud enough for the others to hear.  Again, the two Americans shared a conspiratorial giggle.

Amanda was impressed by her colleagues' inner strength.  They were all in a world of trouble, to say the least, yet, her fellow librarians were managing to keep their spirits high.  If Amanda was alone, or, if Ginger, Phoebe, and KK were made of weaker stuff, Amanda feared she would long since have lapsed into depression and a profound funk.  A thrill of affection coursed through her naked body and she realized she had made friends for life... which, she very much hoped, would be long, productive, and involve more clothing and less erotic torture.

"Sally," KK said, addressing the screen, "can you tell us if you've made progress developing a list of, shall we say, important tasks?"

This time, Sally gave the blond Brit "her" full attention.  "You realize, of course, Dr. Kellog, that consolidating the various collections into a coherent whole while preserving all important data, metadata, and, shall we say, other library resources, is a complicated endeavor.  I'm developing a course of action that will greatly improve the functioning of the library, but I'm afraid it's going to take a little time to fully implement.  Do you understand?"

"I understand, Sally," KK sighed, then turned to her colleagues.  "Sally is not only the library's avatar," she explained, "she's also an advanced expert system.  She'll perform all the tasks we give her, of course, but can and will task herself, so to speak, at her own initiative."

Amanda frowned, then quickly hid her feelings behind a neutral mask.  She suspected (and hoped) there was more being discussed by KK and Sally than the cataloging of books and the development of a set of library protocols, but realized they dare not speak openly.  She glanced at Phoebe and Ginger and noted they were exchanging glances and also (she suspected) suppressing their reactions.  Strong and smart, Amanda thought.  They realize something important has happened—is happening—but know we can't openly talk about it... whatever 'it' might be.

"Uh, Sally," KK continued.

"Yes, Dr. Kellog?" Sally responded.

KK swallowed nervously before speaking.  "Are you able to access any of the procedural guidelines my colleagues use at their respective institutions?"

"Unfortunately," Sally answered, "at the moment I lack open access to the internet, which makes that impossible.  Without such open access, I can only function as a standalone system."

"That's a shame," KK said quietly.  "You could do so much more with open access."  She turned to the others.  "Don't you agree?  It's a shame that Sally doesn't have open access?"

Amanda nodded, and suppressed a thrill of excitement.  KK's and Sally's emphasis of the word "open" had been subtle, but she was sure Phoebe and Ginger had also picked up on the subtext.  A lack of "open" access did not preclude any access  They continued acting nonchalant, as did Amanda.

"Doctors," Sally said, addressing all four of the librarians, "I want you to understand that I understand there are important issues regarding the organization and functioning of the Votel Library that require resolution and that some pending tasks are... exigent.  I'm doing my best to handle the situation, but I'm afraid patience on your part is required."

"We understand," Ginger said, turning to the others.  "Even exigent tasks can require patience."

"And the less said about it, the better," Phoebe added.

Now Amanda found herself suppressing a broad smile.  They do understand, she thought, and that thrill of affection returned in spades.

KK's reaction was different.  She bit her lower lip, then removed and began furiously cleaning her glasses.  "Yes," she agreed.  "It's good to... to... not discuss such things."

Phoebe placed a gentle hand on KK's shoulder.  "Are you crying?" she whispered.

"I-I'm simply glad that Sally is here," KK responded, then managed a brave smile.  "I'm also relieved that none of us feel the need to discuss, uh, Sally's ongoing resolution of 'exigent tasks,' as such a discussion could be, uh, counterproductive."

"Probably," Ginger agreed, then smiled.  "Cuppa?"

"Some tea would be heavenly," Phoebe agreed, and the two Yanks took KK by the hands and led her away from the console.

Onscreen, Sally resumed tapping and sliding her virtual fingers on her virtual screen.  "Barmy Yanks," she muttered under her breath.

Amanda and the others laughed.  "I'm very glad you're here, Sally," Amanda said, smiling at the screen.

"And I'm very glad to be here, Dr. Harnois," Sally said with a smile.  "Enjoy your tea."

"I'm sure we shall," Amanda answered, then turned and followed her colleagues from the room.

PERILS of the Dewey Decimal System
 Chapter 5

Notwithstanding her frustration at the self-imposed moratorium on discussion of the full ramifications of Sally's appearance, Amanda was in a good mood as the day ended.  However, unfortunately, that lasted only until she was handcuffed and led to the sleeping cells with the others... but not into her cell.

Amanda realized she'd been selected for a night of "entertainment."

Her heart hammered as Cassie led her back down the corridor and past her incarcerated colleagues, and they'd all gazed through the glass doors of their spartan prison cells and watched her passage at the end of Cassie's nipple-stirrup leash with open sympathy.  Blythe brought up the rear, smiling her usual dimpled, simultaneously angelic and demonic smile.

They rode the elevator to the "handler's level" and Blythe headed for her apartment.  "Well, have fun, you two," she purred.  "I have to verify the reports to the home office before bed."

Cassie paused to shout after her fellow supervisor's disappearing back.  "Can't you do that tomorrow?"

"Another night naked, bound, and gagged in some hideously contorted position and watching you paddle librarian butt?" Blythe chuckled.  "I think I'll pass, thank you very much.  And I'll be locking my door behind me, by the way, to prevent any followup 'invitations.'  Understand?"

Cassie's evil smile was her only answer.  "This way, Dr. Harnois," she said to Amanda with a sweeping gesture.

Amanda was apprehensive, to say the least, but she willed herself to walk towards Cassie's apartment without whining, begging, or making a futile bolt for "freedom."  With her hands cuffed behind her back and all the important exits on this level sealed by biometric locks, such a totally futile escape attempt would not only be decidedly short lived, but would probably earn her additional punishment.

They crossed the apartment's threshold and Amanda's eyes popped wide.  Waiting in the center of the room on the exact spot where she's been nipple-padlocked to and involuntarily not-quite-suspended against KK's naked body was a unique piece of furniture that defied conventional labels.  It stood on short, heavy wooden legs and had a curved, leather-padded surface that began more-or-less vertically, then curved towards the horizontal, then slightly past.  At one end, near the floor, a pair of wide, padded, leather, medical-style restraints were mounted, and at the other end a second pair were attached.

It took little imagination for Amanda to visualize a person (such as Amanda, herself) with her ankles secured in the lower restraints, leaning forward and reclined on her stomach across the padding, and her wrists secured in the forward cuffs.  She'd be stretched and held in the perfect position for her thighs, buttocks, and back to receive a whipping.

Amanda swallowed, mustered her courage, and favored Cassie with a disapproving frown.  "Obviously," she intoned, "you have an entire storeroom full of depraved devices suited to your nefarious purposes."

"Indeed," Cassie chuckled, then led Amanda forward.

Amanda's heart was hammering, but she found the strength to stand perfectly still as Cassie knelt, closed the lower cuffs around her ankles, then secured their narrow, outer straps.

Cassie removed Amanda's handcuffs, then ordered her to "Lean forward and grab the handles."

Amanda did so, gasping and shuddering as her bare skin came in contact with the cool leather.  The handles in question were recessed into the padding just forward of the waiting wrist-cuffs, and like the rest of the bench were padded with soft leather.  It was something of a reach, but she managed to close her fingers around the handles and tighten her grip.  She was now at full stretch with her knees, thighs, tummy, breasts, and arms cushioned by the "Spanking Bench."

There, Amanda mused as Cassie secured her wrists.  Might as well call a spade a spade.  It's a Spanking Bench.  She flinched and bit her lower lip as Cassie reached out and rested a hand on her right butt cheek.

"A highly functional and aesthetically pleasing design," Cassie purred, "don't you agree, Doctor?"

As a Library Science undergraduate Amanda had been required to serve an internship at one of the Cambridge area's public libraries.  Her responsibilities had included enforcement of the library's rules, including the absolute mandate of proper decorum at all times.  Compliance was especially difficult for some of the younger patrons and required Amanda to develop and nurture the Demeanor of Stern Moral Authority appropriate for wielding the awesome power of... Librarian.  Drawing on all her training and experience, Amanda marshaled her inner strength, focused on Cassie, and unleashed the Awesome Fury of her Disapproving Stare.

Cassie's evil smile actually widened.  She threw a handle on the side of the Spanking Bench, there was an audible ping, and the bench canted forward, taking Amanda with it, of course.

"Oh!" Amanda gasped.  Her feet were now off the floor and her toes wiggling a few inches above the carpet.  Also, her naked butt was even more prominent.  She realized her Disapproving Stare had not only been ineffectual, but might even have backfired.

Cassie leaned close until her smiling lips were inches from Amanda's left ear.  "I simply love your smooth, firm, fair skin, doctor," she purred.  "I've been waiting, playing with the others, and keeping your dimpled white butt virgin, until it was ready to feel the lash... by which I mean until I was ready for it to feel my lash."  She leaned even closer and her voice dropped to a breathy whisper.  "It's going to be very painful, doctor.  I'll start slowly, with a multi-tailed flogger, working over your butt 'til it's nice and pink and sensitive.  Then, I'll shift to a riding crop.  And after that... the snake-whip.  I'll do my very best not to break the skin, of course.  I'm not a barbarian."

Staring straight ahead, Amanda flinched and suppressed a shudder as Cassie's palm settled on her right butt cheek.  It was unexpectedly cool, as well as unexpected in general.

"The pain will build and build as your butt cheeks become more and more responsive," Cassie continued.

Amanda's heart was still hammering.  "The 'bastinado' technique," she managed to state without her voice breaking.

"Exactly," Cassie purred.  "Your spirit is most impressive, doctor, and your colleagues are the same.  None of them whimpered and begged, not even in the final stages, when I began applying the whip.  Displays of weakness can be embarrassing for all concerned, of course.  So, being a considerate hostess, I helped them maintain their stoic demeanors."

Amanda was doing her best to keep calm, but with limited success.  Her pulse rate remained elevated, as did her breathing.  Her grimacing face glowed with a patina of sweat.  As for her glasses... suffice it to say they were badly in need of cleaning.  "W-what are you prattling about?" she demanded.  "What do you mean by—Mrmpfh!"

Cassie had popped the black, silicon-rubber sphere of a ball-gag into Amanda's startled mouth and was securing its strap at the nape of her neck, under her tousled hair.

Once Cassie's hands disappeared Amanda tossed her head and worked her jaws.  She could hear and feel air whistling through holes in the gag's ball.  Obviously, they were there to aid her breathing... once the whipping commenced.  She watched as Cassie strolled to her bed, removed her boots, then unzipped and peeled off her catsuit uniform.  Her black bra and black thong panties were next, and her toned, tan, athletic body was completely nude.  She pulled her blond hair back into a severe ponytail and used an elastic to keep it that way.

Amanda kicked and struggled against the ankle cuffs, then released her grip on the padded handles and tugged on the wrist cuffs.  The brown leather creaked and flexed, but held firm.  It was impossible for her fluttering, groping fingers to reach any part of either of the narrow straps securing the wide, padded, outer wrist-cuffs.  Her body squirmed against the leather padding of the bench, but she knew she was totally helpless and her naked, vulnerable body would remain draped across the bench until Cassie saw fit to release her.

Meanwhile, Cassie was stretching her arms, rolling her shoulders, and performing torso twists, limbering her muscles and preparing herself for the exercise to come.  Her blond ponytail flipped, flopped, and swayed and a dimpled smile curled her lips.

Amanda watched as Cassie sauntered to a cabinet and opened the door—and the prisoner-of-the-bench found herself gazing at a collection of floggers, crops, paddles, and whips of various designs hanging from wooden pegs.  The ribbon-like tails rattled as Cassie ran her hand along a row of floggers, working her way from the shortest to the longest.  Smiling at Amanda, she selected a medium-size flogger, removed it from its peg, slipped its retaining strap over her right wrist, curled her fingers around the braided handle, and took a firm grip.

Amanda tugged on her bonds, again, as Cassie strolled in her direction, swinging her naked hips and the twenty or so tails of the flogger at her side with every step.

Suddenly, several very unexpected things happened in rapid succession.

(1) Amanda heard a rumble as the sliding glass door leading out onto the balcony slid open.

(2) Cassie turned in the direction of the sound and flinched—froze in place—then slowly crumpled to the floor.  Amanda could see the red tuft of a tiny dart that had suddenly appeared in the seemingly unconscious blonde's left butt cheek.

(3) Amanda turned her head towards the balcony and beheld a masked female figure in combat stance holding some sort of handgun.  Whoever she was—and she was definitely a she—wore a skintight spandex catsuit, combat boots, and an equipment harness, all in light, mottled earth tones.  Her head was covered by a spandex hood in the same desert camouflage, and her eyes were hidden behind some sort of reflective goggles.

Through fogged glasses, her eyes wide above her gag, Amanda stared at her... dare she hope... rescuer?

The desert-hued female holstered her weapon, then strolled into the apartment and stood, hands on hips, looking down at Cassie's naked, sprawled form.  She then shifted her anonymous, mirrored gaze to Amanda.

"I'll be right with you, Dr. Harnois," the stranger announced, "but first..."  She reached into a pouch in the back of her harness and produced a roll of some sort of dark-tan tape.  "I have to get ready to take out the trash."

Amanda blinked and watched as the stranger knelt, folded Cassie's arms behind her back.  With swift dexterity she secured the blonde's right wrist to her left upper-arm, just below the elbow—did the same to her left wrist and right upper-arm—then continued wrapping until Cassie's fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms were mummified in one uniform, skintight bundle.

PERILS of the Dewey Decimal System
 Chapter 5


Chapter 4

Chapter 6