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from the frame in misery. Where's
Veronica? she wondered. What
———————————— ?? —————————
YES, WHAT HAVE
THEY DONE TO VERONICA?
cross-legged on the floor, close behind Veronica's bound, gagged, and
As best she could, Veronica looked over her shoulder at the masked,
catsuited brunette. The chain linking the back of the ball-gag to
her crossed ankles was pulling her head back and forcing
her to arch her back. She turned her gaze to the curtained
the store, through which her captor's companion had dragged Lindsay
Boxer, seconds before.
"Don't worry about the Inspector, Agent Mars," Betty said, then pulled
Veronica into a tight embrace, scissoring her
leather-clad and booted legs around the little blonde's waist and
hugging her close. "My partner will be entertaining your
partner..." Her gloved left hand cupped her prisoner's right
breast, and her right hand patted her thigh. "And I get to
entertain you. Neither of you will come to harm. I promise."
Veronica blinked and stared at a rack of leather harnesses against the
far wall. Her captor's lips were less than an inch from her right
ear and the embrace was tightening the ankle-to-gag
chain. She mentally reviewed her Hostage Situation Training, but
with her wrists and upper arms cuffed in leather, a
buckled around her throat, and a ball-gag in her mouth, her
training wasn't of much value—not physically, anyway.
"And speaking of promises," Betty purred. "If I remove your gag,
do you promise not to scream?"
Let the negotiations begin!
Veronica thought. She nodded, as best she could.
"Good girl," Betty whispered, and kissed her ear. She then
unclipped the ankle chain from the gag and reattached it to the central
the chain linking Veronica's cuffs and collar. She then
loosened the gag-strap. "Can you spit that out for me, sweetie?"
she cooed. "Give it a try. I know it's
big, but try for Betty."
Veronica worked her jaws and tongue, and after several seconds
succeeded in expelling the red, semi-soft rubber sphere. It fell
from her mouth, down her chin, and flopped onto her chest. The
now hanging around her neck at the limit of its strap, like a very ugly
necklace. The ball glistened with saliva. "You're in a
lot of trouble," Veronica
growled. "If you let me go right now, I'll try and—Hey! Stop that!—M'rmpfh!"
Betty had thrust her tongue into Veronica's ear, then clamped her hand
over her mouth in a tight hand-gag.
Veronica squirmed and mewled through her captor's gloved hand.
"I think it's abundantly clear which of us is in trouble,"
Betty whispered, then twirled her tongue in Veronica's ear, once again.
Veronica shivered in disgust. Bitch!
she fumed. She's messin' with
me. How should I play this?
"Are you finished pretending you have any
control of this situation?" Betty chuckled.
"Can I take my hand away? I have
an important question."
Veronica hummed through the hand in question.
"I'll take that as a 'yes'," Betty whispered, and took her hand away.
Seconds passed. "Well...?" Veronica huffed.
"What's your question?"
"Are you ticklish, Agent Mars?"
Veronica blinked in surprise. "Am I what?—Ah! Stop that! You bitch! Get your hands off me!"
Betty was seeking the answer to her question by the most practical of
Holding her squirming captive close with her crossed legs and left arm,
and reaching under Veronica's jacket with her right, she was prodding
ribs. This persisted for several seconds, then she reached under
Veronica's skirt and shifted her attention to her
"Oh... you're no fun," she said, finally, and withdrew
her hand. "On a scale of one to ten, you're a wet blanket.
ticklish at all."
"You're only making things worse for yourself," Veronica
muttered. "Let me out of these cuffs and—M'ffh!"
"No matter," Betty chuckled, as she popped the ball-gag back in
Veronica's mouth, tightened the strap, and secured the buckle.
have time to play, anyway." She unscissored her legs and stood.
Veronica fell onto her side and glared
at her captor. The leash chain was still looped around
her crossed ankles, and while she had more slack than she'd had when it
clipped to her gag, she was still hogtied.
"Please wait here while I go fetch something," Betty purred. "I
be a minute."
Hilarious, Veronica fumed as
she watched Betty walk toward the back of the store. She fought
her bonds and tried to twist her ankles free from the looped chain, but
Betty returned almost immediately. "Stop that, you bad girl,"
she scolded. "You'll
ruin those pantyhose, if you haven't already." She was hiding
something behind her back.
Veronica twisted her body and tried to
but was powerless to prevent her captor from lifting her back onto her
knees, then kneeling and scissoring
her legs around her waist, as before.
"I'm afraid this is going to be unpleasant," Betty purred, as she
handful of Veronica's hair and pulled her head back. "I have to
you ready for something, and it'll be much easier if you aren't
At the moment, Veronica was struggling
worth, because Betty had pressed a plastic breathing
with a small, attached gas cylinder over her nose and gagged mouth, and
was holding it tight.
"Don't fight me, sweetie," Betty whispered in Veronica's ear.
"Just take deep, even breaths, and go to sleep, like a good little
Veronica held her breath and
continued to squirm
and fight, but her bonds were too stringent and Betty's grip was too
tight for her to dislodge the mask. She knew her situation was
hopeless, and she couldn't go
without air, but she had to try.
"You are a fighter," Betty
whispered. "It's a good thing you're totally helpless." She
blew in Veronica's ear before continuing. "Otherwise, you'd
kick my butt... or try, anyway."
Veronica had to
breathe. She gasped—then held her breath again, but it was too
late. Her vision was already fading, and a buzzing sound filled
"That's right, deep breaths." Betty tongued her ear, then
playfully nibbled her earlobe.
I know, Veronica thought, I'll pretend I'm unconscious... and
then... and then... Her eyes rolled up in her head, and
she was out.
"Poor thing," Betty whispered, continuing to administer the gas.
"Hardly ticklish at all."
to ache, the floor was cold against her
bare skin, and something was sitting on her butt and legs, and—her eyes
popped wide and she screamed through her gag and tried to roll away.
"You're awake," Betty's voice noted. "Good."
Veronica continued to struggle. Her arms were still folded behind
her back, but now they were in a reverse-prayer. Déjà vu all over again,
rope demonstration from this morning... at least she thought
it had been this morning. From the light streaming through the
windows it was still
afternoon, so either she'd been out only a short time or more than
hours. In any case, her bonds were still leather, but they were
no longer the leather cuffs she'd let Betty lock her into
clothes were gone!
"I taped your fingers before putting you in those mittens," Betty
explained. She was the weight Veronica had felt earlier, of
course, and she was busy lacing a stiff leather corset around her
captive's waist. "Isn't the harness binding your arms clever?"
Leather straps yoked Veronica's shoulders and pinned her arms to her
sides, but she couldn't really pass judgment on whether or not the
thing was 'clever'. She could, however, confirm that it was
tight. Her legs were encased in
skintight leather thigh-boots, stiff enough that they more-or-less
knees. They held her feet
in a permanent pointe position,
a pair of the same cuffs that had bound her
wrists and arms, earlier, were around her booted ankles and
clipped together. She tried to kick, but only succeeded in
flopping like a fish out of water—a leather encased fish out of water.
Betty finished lacing the corset, stood, and lifted Veronica to her
feet. "Don't worry," she said, "I won't let you fall."
Veronica tottered on her toes, but managed to stay upright. The
boots were laced up the front, all the way to her upper thighs.
The corset hugged her waist and was uncomfortably tight. It had
stiff stays, and a pair of half-cups that lifted her breasts and
exaggerated their size. The only thing she could see of the
a pair of straps criss-crossing her chest and dimpling her upper
arms. Her hair had been combed back and pinned into a tight
bun. At least it's out of my
face, she thought. The ball-gag strapped in her mouth
completed the picture.
"Very pretty," Betty said, with a gloating smile.
I'm really getting to dislike this
bitch, Veronica fumed, glaring her disapproval. She looked
around. They were in the back of the store, in an area screened
from the front windows by racks and tall display cases.
Off to one side—Veronica's eyes popped wide, again.
She was staring at some sort of... display stand? It had a wide,
heavy, metal plate as a base, and from it projected a vertical steel
post. The post was about
two inches in diameter, maybe a little less than three feet in height,
and mounted on the top was a horizontal, triangular steel
wedge—and protruding from the
center of the wedge was a glistening rubber phallus! Veronica
turned to face Betty, unable to fully hide the fear in her eyes.
"Yes, that's right," the smiling brunette confirmed. "That's for
you. And don't look at me that way, sweetie. I lubed
it." Her smile faded and she affected a rather theatrical
I'd know you were going to be so ungrateful," the catsuited beauty
huffed, "I'd have used the
Flight was a ridiculous impossibility, but Veronica fought like a
wildcat—a tightly bound and well-gagged wildcat—as Betty lifted her
onto her shoulder and carried her to the stand. Slowly, using her
gloved hands to keep her thighs open, Betty carefully
lowered her onto the phallus. Kicking was impossible, trying to
clinch her inner thighs together didn't work, and neither did twisting
upper body to free herself from her captor's surprising strength.
Veronica squealed through
her gag as the rod impaled her sex and her weight settled onto the cold
steel of the wedge-shaped saddle.
"Good," Betty purred. "I got the height adjustment right. I
can tell by the way your cute little pussy is squashed that it's not
taking all your weight, just most of it." Her smile turned even
"You think it's bad now... if I'd adjusted the height so the
toes of your pretty boots were dancing in the air, then you'd really be
uncomfortable. That would
hurt so much you'd eventually pass out... but what would be the fun in
that?" She walked to a rack of leather straps, selected
several of various lengths, and returned to the stand.
Veronica watched as Betty knelt, released the clip joining the ankle
adjusted the position of her feet so that she perfectly straddled the
and began strapping her in place. She considered trying to kick,
but that wasn't really an
option, not from her precarious perch in these ridiculous boots.
especially thin leather band was used to bind her ankles. Betty
it through the attachment rings of the cuffs, then buckled it
tight. Oh darn,
Veronica thought, dipping deep into her dwindling reserves of dry wit, now I can't escape. Wider bands
around Veronica's shins, above and below her knees, and at mid
were cinched tight enough to dimple the supple leather of the boots and
Betty strolled away, again.
Veronica squirmed and struggled, but all this accomplished was a
twisting of her upper body. Her legs quivered and shook, but the
motion was barely perceptible—and her efforts, especially the torso
caused the phallus to send all sorts of unwelcome sensations through
her body. Veronica
Slut of the FBI, she fumed. In many respects, she was
surprised she was
taking all of this so well.
But then, the alternative was
gibbering hysteria, so internalized 'hostage humor' would have to do.
Betty returned with a tangle of wires. A roll of duct tape was
riding her right wrist, like an oversize bracelet. "This place is
incredibly well-equipped," she purred. "That's why we chose it
as one of our sources." She peeled the paper backing from
a small pad and stuck it to Veronica's left breast, just to the right
of the nipple. A second pad was pasted to the left. "They
have color-coded leads in a rainbow of colors," she explained, "which
makes it much easier to keep things straight when you plug it all into
Veronica glared, defiantly, but didn't bother even trying to squirm
away. What was the point? The pads and their trailing wires
resembled medical sensors of some sort, but she very much feared they
were something else entirely. She watched as Betty
applied pairs of pads to her right breast, to either side of her sex,
and a pair on each of her butt-cheeks.
Betty then used strips of duct tape to secure the wires against her
body, being careful to leave slack in the wires as she taped
"There," she said, then produced a black latex hood and began pulling
over Veronica's head. "This will protect all that pretty hair,"
she explained. The skintight hood had an oval opening for the
face. She then retrieved the roll of tape and ripped free several
"Now, let's make sure you stay nice and quiet, shall we?"
"No, we shall not! Veronica
fumed. She tried to struggle, but couldn't prevent Betty from
taking turn after tight turn of tape around her head, covering her gag
and mummifying her face from just below her flaring nostrils to just
under her chin. Additional windings were taken from under her
chin and across the crown of her head, then across her forehead and
around the back of her head.
"There's not much left," Betty cooed, "but let's not waste it,
okay?" She exhausted the roll by taking additional turns over
Veronica's already gagged and well-mummified mouth. She tossed
empty cardboard roll away, then reached out and pinched Veronica's nose
closed! "Testing, one, two, three," she teased.
Her eyes wide, Veronica struggled and squirmed. The air was
trapped in her lungs, so the only sound she made was the quiet
creaking of her
boots rubbing against the overlying straps.
"Perfectly airtight," Betty purred. "And your face is such a nice
pink. How 'bout some air?" She waited about two more
released her hold.
Veronica bosom heaved as she panted through her nostrils. She
continued to glare at her
"Such strength," Betty whispered. "How I wish you were
ticklish. That tiny, firm little body... all that tan, smooth
and that delightfully feisty spirit. I'd take you with us, if you
appreciate my art... but my feathers and brushes would be wasted on
you, I'm afraid. Such a pity."
She strolled away to a rack and returned with a long swath of very
thin, black leather. "Almost finished," she cooed, and pulled the
chamois-thin garment over Veronica's shoulders and body. "They
call this a 'hobble cape'," she explained,
zipping it closed down the back, and began tightening the laces that
the entire length of the cape, covering the zipper. This took
some time, and as she tugged and tightened the
laces, the leather stretched and conformed to Veronica's torso, to
the point one could begin to make out the shape of her underlying
the bulge of her breasts, and
the triangular front end of the saddle.
Betty stood, stepped to the front, and smiled at her victim.
"Squirm for me," she ordered. Veronica continued to stare.
"Would you like me to test your gag again?" she inquired.
No, Veronica thought. I'd just as soon not, thank
you. She tried to turn and twist her body. This did
"interesting" things to her sex, thanks to
the dildo, but she had little choice.
Betty beamed. "Perfect! You can barely
squirm. Perfect! One more thing." She stepped away,
and returned holding a black leather case by the steel
ring at the top. It had a curious shape, like a dimpled, oversize
potato perched atop a short, conical cylinder.
What's inside that thing?
Veronica wondered—then her eyes popped wide. Betty had released a
set of latches on one side, and the "case" had opened like a
clamshell. It was a stiff leather helmet, thickly padded on the
inside. Oh... I'm about to be
Betty settled the helmet on Veronica's shoulders, then locked eyes with
her captive. "Don't worry, sweetie, there are a pair of holes for
you to breathe, and this model has plastic goggles.
They're silvered on the outside, but you'll be able to see."
She closed the front and secured the latches, one-by-one.
Veronica blinked in the close, sudden darkness. Betty had been
telling the truth. She could breathe,
the so-called goggles were thick and heavily tinted. She could barely see out. The padding
pressed against her already gagged, hooded, and tape-wrapped
head. Her captor stepped into her severely limited field of
view. Now, she had a wire microphone clipped behind her right
"Can you hear me?" Betty asked.
Apparently the helmet incorporated a pair of tiny speakers, because
Veronica could, in fact, hear her captor. Letting Betty know she could hear, however, was a bit of
problem She was completely encased, from head to toe, and now she
couldn't even turn her head. That was assuming Veronica wanted to let her know, of
course. She was not in
a very cooperative mood.
"No matter," Betty continued. "I'll assume you can."
Betty stepped out of Veronica's line of sight. Seconds passed,
then a jarring shudder passed through the pedestal (and the phallus),
and she began to move. The goggles allowed her to track her
progress through the store as she was wheeled towards the front
door. The post continued to vibrate... but it wasn't too
bad... for the moment.
As she approached the door, itself, Veronica noticed that the robot
been beside the door was gone, pedestal and all. Her field of
vision spun—and she realized the truth—that she was taking the robot's
Betty was absent for several long seconds... more than a full minute...
then she stepped back into view. She had a small control unit of
some sort in her left hand.
"Alrighty then," Betty said. "Let's see if I plugged everything
correctly. Left nipple." She tapped a button.
Veronica flinched and screamed through her gag. A jolting
electrical shock had coursed through her left nipple.
"Well," Betty purred, "that got
reaction. However, I can't really tell if it was the left tit,
the right tit, or something else." Her smile broadened.
you certainly aren't in a position to tell me, are you? I'll just
tap the buttons, one by one, to confirm all the circuits are
She began tapping the buttons, pausing to gauge Veronica's reaction for
a few seconds each time.
Veronica continued to flinch and moan. She was shocked in the
right nipple—Zap!—the left
butt cheek—Zap!—the right butt
cheek—Zap!—and the upper part
of her sex, right across the clitoris! She blinked back tears,
and found Betty had taken a step closer.
"You okay in there, sweetie?" she inquired. "Here, I'll make it
all better." She touched another button.
Veronica flinched, again. The
phallus had begun to vibrate! She shuddered and tried to struggle
against her bonds, but could barely move. Betty was
continuing to push buttons, and each time, the vibrations increased in
intensity. Her tormentor pressed a final button, and the
Veronica panted through her nostrils, wondering what would be next.
"Okay, here's the program," Betty announced, "...by which I mean the computer program." She held
up the control unit. "I'm
routine that will randomly vary the settings and timing of the various
circuits, with an emphasis on the rubber cock in your pussy.
So... every few minutes, for as few as several seconds to as much as a
minute, the vibrator and/or one or more of the shock-pads will
on... which might or might not turn
interesting. And don't worry about getting shocked into next
Tuesday. The stronger the current flow, the shorter the
interval. So, there will be a continuum from long, low sizzle to
Betty tapped another button. "There, let
the suspense begin." Her smile turned evil. "By the way,
the vibrator has a wide variety of subroutines—rapid,
rhythmic shifting between two or more settings, variation in the pulse
timing, that sort of thing—and all of them are unique events as far as
the program is concerned. I expect some of the longer
combinations might trigger
orgasms, but mostly I suspect you'll find it to be very
Betty disappeared from view, then returned without the control
unit. "Well, I'm going in the back to see how Bella and the
Inspector are doing, but I'll be back." And she was gone, again.
Veronica mused, this certainly sucks.
and pulsed, alternating between low and
levels, for about twenty seconds. Wonderful.
passed... punctuated by jolts of
stimulation. Betty's prediction
was correct. The phallus had yet to deliver anything the prisoner
call a real orgasm. Part of that was her "fault". She
just wasn't in the mood. All Veronica wanted to do was slap the
Betty-Bitch in cuffs (none
too gently), toss her in the local lockup, and lose the
paperwork. Arousal wasn't in the picture—not for her
anyway. Her hindbrain and sex seemed to have other ideas—especially when the
invader was buzzing—and despite
the substantial wet blanket effect of the periodic shocks.
Suddenly, Betty stepped back into view. She was still wearing the
wire microphone. "How's it going, sweetie?" she asked, with a
bright smile. "I just wanted to let
you know we'll be leaving by the back door. We've sent your boss
text-message, and I expect she'll be coming through the front door in a
minutes. Beltway traffic is starting to pick up, but I'm sure
she'll be as quick as she can." She turned and unlocked the door,
then flipped the "CLOSED" sign to the "OPEN" position. "One more
thing," she purred. "The control box is also wired into the door bell, so
be sure and put on a show when the pads all go off at once. I put
the sign back on the base of the pedestal, by the way.
'Audio-Animatronic Gynoid by Roboto-Corp'?"
No! Veronica realized
Betty's plan. How long would it take Scully or whoever came to
their aid to realize the "robot" next to the door that squirmed and
moaned whenever anyone crossed the threshold was not a robot?
"Well," Betty continued. "Ciao, Agent Mars. I hope we meet
again. Of course, I doubt if you or your partner will let me
simply put you in bondage, next time. But don't worry, I'll think
of something. I've
handled reluctant volunteers before." She waved, spun on her
heel, and walked
towards the back.
This is bad, Veronica
thought. This is very—Ow!
just been shocked. The random "entertainment"
program was still running. Wonderful.
a parking slot near Leatherotica's
Claudia's phone was against her ear. "It go to the voice-mail,
again," she replied.
Scully turned off the engine and they exited the vehicle.
According to the sign on the door the store was open, but there was no
sign of customers or staff. Lindsay's text message had
read—"LEATHEROTICA. COME QUICK."—and that was all. And despite
calls, neither Lindsay or Veronica would answer. "I have a bad
feeling about this," she told her companion.
"I also," Claudia confirmed.
"Stay alert, and remember to clear my field."
Claudia smiled. "You Americans really are the cowboys, no?"
Scully smiled back. "Sorry. I've never worked with a Carabinari and don't know your
field procedures. This is probably nothing, so let's not get
jumpy and draw down on the first store clerk that pops into view—but
Claudia nodded. "I take the left and you the right."
They stepped through the door, jackets open and hands "casually" on
their holstered weapons. A gong sounded, announcing their
arrival, and a figure to the right side began moving and making quiet
mewing sounds. It was dressed, or rather restrained, in some sort
of black leather body-sheath and helmet.
Claudia pointed at the sign at the base of the writhing form's
pedestal. "The robot, to greet the customer," she chuckled.
"How very... Japanese."
Scully watched the "struggling" automaton for a few seconds, then shook
her head. "Let's go," she whispered, and led the way through the
store. "Hello? Is anyone here?" she called out, as they
passed the racks and cases of kinky leather merchandise. There
was no answer. "Hello?" Still no
As they approached the back, Scully noticed a curtained doorway with a
pile of clothing just to its left. She recognized the
jackets, blouses, and skirts Lindsay and Veronica had been wearing when
they left the task force office. Their badge and ID holders,
holsters, and weapons were on the top of the pile. Both handguns
had their slides locked back and the clips removed.
Scully drew her own weapon and Claudia followed suit.
"Watch my back," Scully whispered, her eyes on the curtain.
"Remember, the store isn't cleared." She parted the curtain, and
A very naked Lindsay Boxer was spread-eagled in a vertical, rectangular
frame of steel pipes, suspended by leather cuffs at her wrists and
ankles. Steel clamps were pinching her nipples, and a cell phone
was tied to the connecting chain, stretching her small breasts.
In addition, something, possibly another cell phone, was wedged in her
sex and bound in place with a black leather thong.
Lindsay lifted her ball-gagged head and mewled through her
"Watch the door while I clear the back," Scully ordered,
entered the storeroom, and did a quick search of the entire room.
"Clear!" she shouted, as she hurried back to the front area.
"There's one exit, in the rear." Lindsay's cuffs were secured
with heart-shaped padlocks, but not her gag. Scully stepped
behind the frame, holstered her weapon, went up on her toes, unbuckled
the ball-gag, and pulled it from Lindsay's mouth.
"Ah!—control box on the wall," Lindsay croaked as she worked her jaw
and licked her lips. She nodded towards a panel mounted on the
wall between two racks of boxes.
Her weapon still in her hand, Claudia opened the panel's cover and
pressed the green button labeled with a down-arrow. A winch
whirred to life, cable began unrolling from a drum,
and the pipe frame began lowering to the floor.
When the winch stopped and Lindsay was flat on her back, Scully reached
for the left nipple clamp. "Brace yourself," she warned, and
released the clamp.
"Ahh!" Lindsay gasped.
"Sorry," Scully said, watching the blood flow back into oval-shaped
marks on either side of the nipple.
"I wasn't planning on keeping it there," she huffed, managing a weak
smile. She nodded her chin at the right clip.
Scully sighed, and released the clip.
Better prepared for the pain, Lindsay managed to keep her reaction to a
sharp intake of breath. She looked up at her right wrist cuff and
mitten-encased hand, and tugged on the strap. The heart-shaped
padlock rattled against the buckle. "Better start looking for
some bolt-cutters," she suggested.
Claudia noticed a small key chain on the floor, directly beneath the
control box. Its fob was a black
pocketknife engraved with the store's name and contact information, and
the ring held a single
"Here!" she said, and tossed the key chain
and tried the key in one of the padlocks. It fit. She
worked her way around the frame, releasing the cuffs, one-by-one.
Finally free, Lindsay sighed and hauled herself to her feet.
"Maybe you better stay down," Scully suggested. She'd noticed the
red stripes criss-crossing Lindsay's sweat-slick, nude body. The
skin wasn't broken, and the marks couldn't really be called welts, but
from the way she moved, Scully could tell the tall, tan brunette was
stiff and sore.
"I'm okay," Lindsay huffed. "They've left, or said they were
leaving, anyway. We need to find my partner." She nodded at
another pile of clothes, on the floor to the left of the door to the
main store. "And whoever all that belongs to."
"Allow me," Claudia said, took the key chain from Scully, opened the
blade of the pocketknife, and cut Lindsay's waist thong.
"Thanks," Lindsay gasped, pulling the thong-cinched, glistening phone
from between her labia.
Meanwhile, Scully had pulled out her own cell phone (from the much less
embarrassing place of her jacket pocket) and was summoning help.
Most entered the store—Gong!—and
back out by a sergeant—Gong!
enough uniformed help milling about the FBI agents and the INTERPOL
"I tell you, I'm fine," Lindsay huffed, waving away an EMT. "At
least let me interview the other victims," she asked Scully.
"They might have heard something that will tell us where they took
The owners of the second pile of clothing had been located.
Claudia had eventually noticed movement in three large cardboard boxes
in the back of the
storeroom. All three boxes had a large "X"
on the side with a broad tip marker, and inside they discovered a
store clerk, a cute little redhead—the store's manager, a fair-skinned
brunette—and a store customer, a tall blonde. All had been forced
to strip, at gunpoint, bound and gagged with leather restraints,
and then packed in the boxes. Their catsuited and masked captors
punched holes in the heavy cardboard so they could breathe, then filled
space between their bodies and the box walls with Styrofoam
packing peanuts, up to the struggling
prisoners' necks. They said they'd watched Lindsay's whipping
ordeal through the tiny air holes, but could barely squirm.
were lucky Claudia was so observant, or they might not have been
discovered for some time.
"We'll all interview them,"
Scully said. "I'm worried about her
"I know," Lindsay sighed. She had donned her blouse, skirt,
jacket, and shoes, but not her ruined underwear, of course. Her
hair was combed back in a loose ponytail. She could use a shower
(although a long, hot bath and a full body massage would be better),
but she was okay, for the moment. She watched the EMTs roll their
equipment-laden gurney out the front door. The door gong sounded—Gong!—for the umpteenth time since
the cops had started arriving.
Scully turned to Claudia, who was on her cell phone.
"Still no answer," the Italian beauty sighed.
"Great," Scully muttered, "now we can't get hold of Gracie and
Megan." She noticed that Lindsay was staring at the front door.
"Oh my god!" the tall brunette gasped, and raced toward the door.
"What is it?" Scully demanded, hurrying after her.
"The robot. It's different," she explained. The cops and
EMTs watched as she fumbled with the latches of the leather helmet,
and pulled it open. "Oh, Ronnie!" she gasped.
The watching crowd of cops gasped as Veronica's hooded and tape-wrapped
head was revealed. Her tired, bleary eyes were wet with tears.
One of the EMTs pulled a pair of bandage scissors from a holster on
his belt and stepped back across threshold.
The door gong sounded—Gong!—and
gag and her
eyes popped wide.
Claudia lunged for the electrical control box behind the pedestal and
jerked the electrical leads plugged into the back. "I don't know
what this do," she explained, "but it look evil."
The EMT began carefully slicing through the duct tape wrappings while
Lindsay fumbled with the thongs securing the leather sheath. "Got
another pair of scissors?" she asked, and accepted a pair from the
second EMT. She made two careful cuts, and handed a piece of
knotted leather to Claudia.
The Italian's face was grim as she examined the knotted thongs.
"The Tudor Rose," she confirmed, and focused on Scully.
Scully pulled her phone from her pocket, placed a call, and held it to
her ear. Seconds passed, then she flipped it closed. "Still
going to voice-mail," she said.
"Gracie and Megan?" Lindsay asked, as she worked on the remaining laces.
"Gracie and Megan," Scully nodded.