T H E B O N D A G E I S O U T T H E R E
|by Van ©2009|
The panel truck was on the highway for more than an hour. 'Laundry delivery vehicle', Gracie reminded herself. Bondarella let slip that we're in a 'laundry delivery vehicle'. Of course, that could be misinformation, but the 'fact' is duly noted, nonetheless.
Face-to-face (and tit-to-tit) as she was with Megan, she couldn't really gauge how her partner was taking their predicament, but the freckled, auburn-haired Detective hadn't done any serious squirming or made any gagged "remarks" since the journey began. Gracie had done her best to remain still and quiet, as well. Bound as they were in a semi-reverse-prayer box-tie, their thumbs cable-tied, and additional rope binding their knees and ankles (and lashing their feet into their shoes), struggling was a futile exercise. This was made doubly so by the heavy canvas bag strapped around their bodies and suspended from the truck's interior by its taut web of nylon straps.
Bondarella pulled her Blackberry from her pocket and gazed at its tiny screen. "Almost there," she announced, then nodded at Betty.
Her companion stooped, unzipped a leather duffel, rummaged inside, and pulled out a small gas-bottle. Attached to its regulator was a loop of clear plastic tubing with nasal inserts, the kind worn by a patient or invalid to receive oxygen. She stepped behind Megan and dropped the loop over her head. Wheeler complained through her gag and twisted her head, but couldn't prevent Betty from fitting the nose piece in her nostrils and tightening the loop over her ears and behind her head.
Their features hidden behind their masks, the kidnappers watched Megan's reaction as Betty gave the valve on the regulator a twist, then clipped the bottle to one of the straps of their canvas prison. Megan continued twisting her neck and bobbing her head, in a vain effort to dislodge the plastic tubing. Her efforts grew weaker and weaker, and then her head slumped against Gracie's.
Sorry kiddo, Gracie thought. I wish I could have prevented this.
Meanwhile, Betty had produced a bag-like hood of black cloth. She dropped it over Megan's gagged, lolling head, and tightened the drawstring.
Gracie glared at Betty and growled a gagged (and supremely hollow) warning.
"Don't worry, Agent Hart," Bondarella purred. "We haven't forgotten about you." Her mask turned to face Betty. "No gas for our Beauty Queen. Hood only."
Gracie growled again, but a second hood went over her head, anyway. A weak glow penetrated the cloth, but she was effectively blind. Gracie realized Bondarella was playing head games, rubbing her nose in the multiple layers of restraint and control, reminding her that their situation was truly hopeless. She wants to terrify me. Gracie sighed through her gag. Well... it's not working. I'm scared, but I'm not terrified.
The truck rolled to a halt, and Gracie could feel the canvas bag (and Megan and herself, of course) being lowering to the floor. The nylon webbing and the bag's straps were unsnapped and unbuckled. The canvas dropped, and Megan's limp body was pulled away. Separation from her partner was unwelcome, but release from their tight, mutual confinement in the thick, tight canvas cocoon was a good thing. Gracie teetered on her bound feet. Her clothes were clammy and damp with sweat.
Without a word, one of her captors hefted Gracie onto her shoulder and carried her away.
Gracie was deposited on a soft, horizontal surface, then rolled onto her back and bound arms. Straps snapped closed above her breasts and over her waist and shins, and were cinched tight. This was followed by vibration and the sensation of motion, and Gracie surmised she was on a gurney with very thick padding. If only they'd untie my arms, she wished. Her shoulders were beginning to ache.
Walls were reflecting the sound of their passage, and from the tap of her captors' boots, they was probably on a tile or concrete floor. There were twists and turns, doors opened and closed, and the journey continued.
Finally, Gracie's gurney stopped. There was a lurch as its wheels were locked. Then, the hood was pulled from her head and she blinked in the sudden light. Overhead was a concrete ceiling with several florescent fixtures. It also held a metal track with a small, motorized engine-hoist. The room was windowless, with a single steel door, and the walls were unpainted concrete block. To the right she found Megan, strapped to a second gurney. Her hood had also been removed, but the plastic tubing was still in place and, apparently, still delivering gas. The small cylinder was tucked against her side, under the strap crossing her chest. To Gracie's left, their kidnappers were holding a whispered conference.
After several seconds, all three catsuited, masked women sauntered to Gracie's side. She looked from mask to mask, as they surveyed her rumpled, bound, gagged, and helplessly strapped down self.
"Betty," Bondarella purred, "why don't you hop up and brace Agent Hart's head."
"My pleasure," Betty responded.
Gracie could now tell her captors apart, despite their identical costumes and masks. Bondarella and Belladonna were the same height, but the former had long hair and the latter's locks were cut short in something between a pageboy and a stylishly disordered crop. Betty's hair was similar to Bondarella's, but she was a few inches shorter than her companions in crime.
Gracie watched with alarm as Betty leaped onto the gurney, straddled her upper body, and settled on her chest. Betty's legs took most of her weight, as her knees were planted to either side of the top of Gracie's head and her boots were tucked against the prisoner's shoulders. Gracie was being squashed into the padding and the added pressure on her bound arms was painful and restricted her breathing, but only a little.
"I think she's enjoying this," Betty purred, then lifted herself onto her knees, reached between her thighs, and opened the zipper running through her crotch. "There! Now we'll both have fun." She settled her weight, again, and gently squeezed her knees together. This locked Gracie's head between her leather-clad thighs and against the padding, immobilizing her head. It also positioned Betty's sex against Gracie's gagged mouth and a fraction of an inch from her flaring nostrils. "We had occasion to entertain Detective Boxer and Agent Mars, earlier today," Betty purred. "Unfortunately, there wasn't much time to play, but Agent Mars and I did manage to make a few memories." She leaned forward until her labia brushed Gracie's nose... then settled back down. "That's why I'm so wet."
"You're always wet," Belladonna chuckled.
"Which is why we love you so," Bondarella added.
Gracie glared up at her tormentor's mask and moaned through her gag.
"Yes, please, keep that up!" Betty gasped. "The vibrations are wonderful!"
Gracie continued to glare, but she stopped all attempts to squirm, growl, and otherwise express her humiliated disdain.
"She's making a little breeze," Betty whispered. "I can feel her breathing."
"Just make sure she continues breathing," Bondarella ordered.
Gracie couldn't tell exactly what was being done to her, but Bondarella and Belladonna were pulling her hair free of the padding. One of them was holding the silky, brown mass together, and the other was looping something around the bundled strands, at the crown of her head.
Betty decided to be helpful. "They're binding your hair around a steel ring. As always, our mistress is making a very neat, very pretty job of it."
"Flattery will get you a spanking," Bondarella chuckled, as she finished her task by tying an elegant knot.
"That's probably what she wants," Belladonna purred, then walked to one of the walls and thumbed a switch. The winch hummed to life, and a spring-loaded clip on the end of a steel cable was lowered. When sufficient slack had played out, she carried the clip to the gurney and snapped it through the ring bound in Gracie's hair.
"This would be better if we'd used one of those double penis-gags," Betty sighed. "That way I could hold her head even steadier, and I'd get myself a real ride."
"Hop down, cowgirl," Bondarella chuckled.
Betty did so, and, working with Belladonna, released the straps pinning Gracie to the gurney. They then lifted her still thoroughly bound and gagged form and planted her feet on the concrete floor. Bondarella embraced her from behind and held her close, and Betty rolled the gurney several feet away.
"This will give you a perfect view as we deal with your partner," Bondarella whispered in Gracie's ear.
Meanwhile, Belladonna had returned to the panel and was thumbing the switch. The winch whined, its reel spun, and the cable shortened. Bondarella shuffled forward, step by step, taking Gracie with her and making sure the cable remained untangled as Belladonna took in the slack with repeated taps of her thumb. Finally, Bondarella released the prisoner, took a step back, and Gracie found herself standing fully erect and directly under the winch. The cable was now vertical and taut, and the heels of her pumps just touched the floor. The tingling of her scalp told Gracie that her hair was taking a small portion of her weight. At least they were careful with how they tied the damn ring, Gracie thought. The pressure was evenly distributed, and it didn't hurt too much.
Megan, bound, gagged, strapped to her gurney, and slumbering under the influence of the gas, was about three feet before her. Gracie gazed at her partner... and despair knotted her stomach.
"Betty," Bondarella intoned.
Betty stepped around the gurney, to the side opposite Gracie. She released the straps, one by one, then began untying Megan's hemp bonds.
"Do you need any help?" Belladonna inquired.
"Will you let me help you play with your toy?" Betty responded.
"No," Belladonna admitted.
"Well then," Betty said, "there you go."
"Ladies, please," Bondarella purred. "Play nice, or I'll keep all the pleasant tasks to myself."
Betty had completed the untying of Megan. She coiled the ropes and tossed them in a corner, then unbuckled and removed Megan's gag. "Isn't she pretty," Betty sighed. "Just look at her." She slid her gloved fingers through Megan's hair, straightening her bangs. "How do you think I'd look with a pixie cut?" she asked her companions.
"Very cute," Bondarella said.
"Like the silly little girl you are," Belladonna responded.
Betty ignored both answers. Her full attention was on Megan. "Let's get you unwrapped, darling," she purred. Slowly, taking her time, she removed Megan's jacket and blouse, lifting and rolling her body as required. The skirt was next, followed by her pantyhose and heels. "Oh, just look at all those glorious freckles," Betty cooed. "She's absolutely adorable!" She tugged Megan's panties from her hips, and then down her legs. Finally, she half-turned Megan onto her side, released the clasp of her bra, and pulled it from her arms. She arranged Megan on her back, with her legs fully extended and her arms at her side. "Adorable," she sighed, then cupped Megan's breasts and gave them a gentle squeeze.
Gracie had to admit that her partner's freckled, lithe and well-toned body was attractive... even erotic... or might have been, under different circumstances. Lying in that position and under the bright lights, Megan's nude, prone form might also have evoked a corpse on an autopsy table, but the unmistakable blush of life infusing her smooth skin, and the slow, peaceful rise and fall of her breasts dispelled all such notions.
Erotic, Gracie mused. Uh... not that I swing that way, of course.
"Nudity is important, you see," Bondarella whispered in Gracie's ear.
Gracie flinched. Her attention had been on her fellow prisoner, and she hadn't even noticed Bondarella's approach. She was embraced from behind, again, and Gracie growled a weak threat through her gag as Bondarella's gloved hands slid over her body, cupped and squeezed her breasts, explored her thighs, and reached under her skirt to brush against her sex.
"Removing the target's clothing is both symbolic and practical," Bondarella continued. "Just think how Detective Wheeler is going to feel when she wakes up to find herself naked and helpless. Yes, nudity is important." She released her embrace and stepped back. "But there are many different ways to attain this goal."
Belladonna stepped into Gracie's view. She folded away a flap covering a holster-like pocket on the right thigh of her catsuit, revealing a gleaming array of steel tools: a thin-bladed knife, a scalpel, and two pair of scissors, one delicate and one somewhat heavier. She pulled out the heavy scissors, clacked the blades together, and stepped forward.
Gracie could see that one of the scissor blades had a blunt tip, like a pair of bandage scissors, but the cutting edge was serrated.
Belladonna cut the buttons from Gracie's jacket and blouse, then proceeded to slice both garments into ribbons.
Gracie stood perfectly still. Not only was resistance pointless, but it punished her scalp. To be stripped in such a manner, while bound and helpless... it was supremely humiliating.
More head games, Gracie fumed... and endured.
"I suppose it would be quicker and easier if I simply untied these ropes and undressed you as Betty did your companion," Belladonna said. She began making cross-cuts above the level of the chest ropes and jerking the strips of cloth free. "I'm not talking about all your bonds, of course. You wrists would remain bound until the last stage. Then, I'd bind your elbows, release your wrists, pull off your jacket and blouse, then bind them again. That way your pretty outfit would have remained intact... but it makes little difference. All your clothing—yours and Detective Wheeler's—are going to the incinerator."
The slicing and stripping continued until the jacket and blouse were pulled completely free. Then, Gracie's bra straps and the junction between the cups were severed, and it was also pulled from under the ropes. Next, the skirt was slit up one side, from hem to waistband. The button and clip were released, and the skirt dropped to the floor. Gracie's pantyhose were next. Once Belladonna had cut away the seat, she used the same horizontal ribbons and vertical cross-cuts technique she'd used with the jacket and blouse to stretch and pull the sheer nylon away from Gracie's legs and out from under her knee and ankle ropes.
"I guess there's nothing for it but to untie the ropes binding her shoes," Belladonna huffed.
"You have to do that anyway, to take them off," Betty noted.
"Yes, you're right," Belladonna sighed, "but it spoils the purity of the exercise, somehow. One item of clothing at a time, without touching the ropes—that's much more elegant. Oh well." She untied the ropes in question, then pulled Gracie's shoes from her feet, one-by-one, as well as peeling off the feet of the shredded pantyhose.
This forced Gracie to stand up on her toes even more, as she no longer had the support of the pumps' heels. She found there was sufficient slack for her to stand flat-footed, but she remained on pointe. Easing her already aching toes could wait... until their pain exceeded what would be the increased pain to her scalp... or until her muscles became exhausted and she had no choice.
"Such pretty feet," Betty whispered, "as pretty as the San Francisco cop's."
"Down, girl," Bondarella chuckled. "You'll have your turn with Agent Hart. Don't get greedy."
"Too much is never enough," Betty laughed.
"Enough," Belladonna purred, "or you'll miss the final unveiling."
Gracie's panties were all that remained of the clothing she'd donned that morning, before reporting to the task force, before the frustrating phone calls to the DoJ, before starting the field interviews... before her capture...
Belladonna returned the scissors to their sheath and drew the knife. She stepped forward, pulled the front panel of Gracie's panties away from her tummy, slit the sides—first on the left, and then the right—and jerked the ruined scrap of silk away. "Hmm... A little hairy," she said, as she sheathed the knife, "but very nice."
Betty and Bondarella joined her, and now all three kidnappers were standing before Gracie's helpless, nude form.
"What do you mean hairy?" Betty demanded. "She shaves."
"Too bushy," Belladonna clarified. "I like a nice Brazilian, with a landing strip."
"And now you can give her both," Bondarella purred. "Nice tits. B-cups, but a very pleasing shape, and just big enough to bind."
"Nice ass, too," Betty added. "Dimpled. Firm."
"See to your target," Bondarella said.
Betty stepped around Megan's gurney and began re-securing the straps across her body. She added buckled cuffs around Megan's wrists and strapped them to the side rails. Finally, she produced a roll of wide, white medical tape, ripped free a long strip, and plastered it over Megan's lips.
"Dial the gas to half-dose," Bondarella ordered.
"Are you sure?" Betty asked.
"Yes," Bondarella responded, then turned her mask to Gracie. "At half-dose, my sleepy-gas will cause Detective Wheeler to hover just at the edge of awareness, in a half-dreaming state. You'll probably notice her eyes start rolling under her closed lids, and she'll make weak struggles as she attempts to free herself." She turned back to Belladonna. "What sounds good? Mongolian?"
"Indian," Betty suggested. "I could go for a good Vindaloo."
"Indian sounds good," Belladonna agreed.
"Well, Agent Hart..." Bondarella gave Gracie's bare bottom a sharp slap. Smack! "We'll be back."
Bondarella and Betty left the room, but Belladonna paused in the doorway. "I'll be right with you!" she called after the others, then walked to Megan's gurney and leaned close to the slumbering captive's right ear. "Megan!" she said, in a sharp whisper. "Megan! Look out for the spiders! The spiders, Megan! They're huge, and they're after you! They're trying to bind you in their web! Look out! The spiders, Megan!"
That absolute bitch! Gracie fumed. She's trying to give her nightmares! Ignoring the pain in her scalp, Gracie twisted and fought her bonds. Even with her cushioning layers of clothing removed, the hemp network was still inescapably tight.
Belladonna strolled around the gurney and approached Gracie. She cupped the prisoner's mons, then slid her middle finger between her labia. "I'll be back," she purred, "and you and I will have a lot of fun." She pulled her hand away, spun on her heel, and retraced her steps to the doorway. She gave a mocking wave, and then was gone.
The door closed with a solid thud, and Gracie heard a bolt slide home with a metallic click.
Gracie's gaze returned to her equally helpless, equally nude partner. Megan had begun to squirm and strain against the straps, and her eyes were moving, just as Bondarella said they would. Their clothes, intact and ruined, littered the floor... and they were alone... and at their kidnappers' highly questionable mercy.
Gracie's shoulders were really starting to ache, as did her feet, as did her scalp—but she refused to surrender to despair.
Dana and the others will find us, she thought. Somehow, they'll find us... I hope.
Dana Scully paused at the threshold of the hospital room and peered inside. Veronica was in the bed, dressed in patient pajamas and tucked under the covers. Her back was raised and her head cushioned by a pair of fluffy pillows. Her blond hair was somewhat tousled, but her skin glowed with youthful health. Lindsay Boxer was in a bedside chair, wearing the same rumpled suit she'd been wearing when she climbed into the back of the ambulance to accompany her partner to the hospital.
"For the last time," Veronica was telling Lindsay, a sardonic smile curling her lips, "I'm perfectly fine. A little sore here and there, but no worse off than you are, I'm sure."
"It's my fault, Ronnie," Lindsay said, in a hoarse whisper.
"For the last time plus one," Veronica responded, "I'm just as guilty. I didn't exactly object while that Betty-bitch trussed me up. There's more than enough blame to go around."
Scully sighed, then cleared her throat and entered the room. "Ahem... I'll second that emotion." She focused on Lindsay. "I understand the motivation behind what happened. You wanted to put the 'store clerk' at ease, but your execution was a little flawed." She shifted her focus (and displeasure) to Veronica. "And as for you, Agent Mars, tolerance of the sort of good-natured hazing any rookie might expect is all well and good, but if you don't start standing up for yourself, you can expect to be reassigned. I need everyone on this task force carrying their weight... especially now."
"Gracie and Megan?" Lindsay asked.
"Still no leads," Scully answered. "Whoever took them left behind a computer, but they took the removable hard drive. Forensics was still there when I was called away."
"What else is happening?" Veronica inquired.
Scully sighed. "There's now a 'special team' involved."
"I should hope we finally get some help," Lindsay huffed. "A Special Agent and an NYPD Detective get abducted on the job? I imagine the top floor of the Hoover Building is buzzing like an angry beehive."
"I just came from debriefing two Assistant Directors," Scully said, quietly.
Lindsay sighed. "Do you mean debriefing, or getting your ass chewed? I ask, 'cause I've been on the receiving end of more than a few world class ass-chewings. When all this is over, we can compare notes."
Veronica stifled a smile and cleared her throat. "We're still in business? The task force, I mean."
Scully nodded. "We're to concentrate on catching Bondarella, and we're to 'closely coordinate' with the unit investigating the actual abduction."
Lindsay snorted in disgust. "And keep out of their way, no doubt. In a pig's eye."
"We're not gonna take this lying down, are we?" Veronica demanded.
"Well," Scully responded, "in your case, Agent Mars, the answer is yes, at least until tomorrow. I just talked to your doctor and they're keeping you overnight for observation."
"I'm fine," Veronica complained.
"Yes, you are," Scully agreed, "which is why you'll be in the office, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as soon as they let you out of here." She focused on both of her subordinates. "Let me handle the Bureau politics. We'll do whatever it takes and go wherever we need to go to get Gracie and Megan back. And the 'special unit' can either help, or they can get the hell out of our way."
"Damn straight," Lindsay agreed, and Veronica nodded.
Scully walked to the window and gazed out at the parking lot below, then turned to face the others. "Let's not harbor any delusions. Our chances of rescuing Gracie and Megan are not good. I don't think they're in mortal danger, and they will be released... eventually. Bondarella and her gang have been at this for at least eight years, and as sadistic as they are, they've never escalated to serious physical abuse. There's no reason to expect they'll suddenly start now, and the Bureau's profilers agree. But you two know the sort of things Gracie and Megan might be going through, better than anyone else... except for Claudia."
Cold silence hung in the room for several seconds. Outside in the hallway, a nurse wheeled a cart laden with supplies past the open door.
Scully focused on Lindsay. "Why don't you go back to your room and change?" she suggested.
"And shower," Veronica added. "You're a mess."
Lindsay gazed at her partner with amused tolerance. "Why not," she chuckled, "but I'll be back."
Veronica smiled. "Good. You can bring me some food."
Lindsay and Scully exchanged smiles. "You know," Lindsay said, "they'll feed you in this place, if you ask."
"Hospital food," Veronica scoffed. "I want some real food."
Lindsay smiled. "Like?"
"A Philly cheese-steak?" Veronica begged, "a great big, greasy, Philly cheese-steak?"
Scully grinned at Lindsay. "I know a good place."
"And fries," Veronica added. "Garlic fries, if they have 'em. And a beer."
"Nix on the beer," Lindsay purred. "Cola, or something else?"
Veronica's lips pursed in a theatrical pout. "Oh... Diet Sprite, I guess... extra large."
Lindsay nodded. "Diet Sprite, tub-size, a large, greasy Philly cheese-steak, and garlic fries. Got it."
Scully shook her head. "Once upon a time, I could eat like that. Youth is wasted on the young."
"Tell me about it," Lindsay muttered, and headed for the door. She turned at the threshold and smiled at Scully. "What about you?" she asked.
Scully sighed, then forced a smile. "I'm going back to work."
"Don't stay too late," Lindsay advised. "You know nothing's gonna break tonight. The forensics reports won't even clear 'til morning. Go home and get some sleep."
"You too," Scully responded. "We should all try and relax a little, so we'll be at our best when it counts."
"As if that's gonna happen," Veronica whispered. "Relaxing, I mean," she added in her normal voice, in reaction to Scully's stare. "I doubt if I'll get any sleep tonight."
"Try," Scully sighed. "We've all gotta try." She smiled at Lindsay. "C'mon, I'll tell you how to find South Street Steaks. Better yet, I'll drive you back to your room, you can get cleaned up, and we'll both go. We can eat and bring take-out back for the Rookie."
"Sounds like a plan," Lindsay agreed, and waved at Veronica. "Later."
Veronica waved back.
"Rest," Scully ordered, then followed Lindsay out the door.
Veronica sighed. "Rest," she whispered. "Fat chance." They might be able to keep up a brave front, but none of them would be getting any real rest until Gracie and Megan were free.
Megan was awakening from a series of disturbing dreams. She couldn't remember exactly what they had entailed, but she did remember darkness... thin, spindly legs covered with fine hair... and struggling to free herself from a multitude of sticky threads and cords. It had been very creepy, but the half-memories were already beginning to fade.
Megan was finally awake—but she kept her eyes closed and remained perfectly still, trying to ascertain her situation. She was on her back in a semi-reclined position, on a soft, thickly padded surface. She was still helpless, but her bonds had been changed.
Her arms were raised with her elbows bent back, and her wrists were crossed and bound together and to her upper arms, behind her head. Her legs were elevated, with her knees bent about forty-five degrees and her feet about a foot apart. The position left her lower legs horizontal and the soles of her feet vertical, and something wide and well-padded was clamped around her ankles. Finally, bands of rope encircled her waist.
Her gag was gone, and so were her clothes... all of her clothes. She was quite naked, other than where she was bound by what felt like more of the Bondarella gang's hemp rope, and where her ankles were imprisoned. The merest hint of a cool breeze was blowing across her skin, but this was offset by a warm radiance. Megan could see a reddish glow through her closed eyelids.
Megan opened her eyes... and found herself in a dark room. A myriad of small, glaring spotlights were set in a metal grid suspended from the ceiling and focused on her body, but otherwise, the room was dark. Some of the spots were emitting a warm, white light; but the majority cast a reddish-orange glow. Megan lifted her head and looked down her body. She was bathed in a warm, natural light, as if from dozens of candles. Additional illumination was provided by several flat-screen television monitors, arranged in an arc to either side of her body, and all were positioned for Megan's optimal viewing. They displayed various portions of her anatomy, in close-up and mid-shot, including her face, armpits, breasts, torso, a classic, humiliating "beaver shot" of her crotch, and finally, her bare feet. The cameras were hidden somewhere in the surrounding gloom.
Her bonds were, indeed, hemp rope, and her ankles were clamped in a set of wooden stocks. Mounted between two uprights, all elements of the stocks were six to eight inches wide and were finished with a deep, satiny walnut hue, like a piece of fine furniture. The ankle openings perfectly conformed to her anatomy and were thickly padded.
Piecing things together from the images on the monitors, she could see that the stocks were a part of the rather exotic and specialized piece of furniture on which she was reclined. It was a cross between a chaise lounge and an examining table. The frame was more of the heavy walnut, and it was padded by a series of thick, fluffy cushions. Like the padding of the ankle openings, the cushions were covered in a soft, velvet-like cloth, dyed a shade of deep burgundy. It felt like some sort of synthetic microfiber. The ropes binding her waist, wrists, and upper arms were tied to steel rings on swivel-mounts set in the lower frame. The stocks were hinged on one side and secured by a locking hasp on the other.
Megan made a few tentative, struggling movements... or rather, she tried. Her bonds were tight, without being punishingly tight, and wiggle room was all that they provided. Her ankles were completely immobilized. She bucked and heaved against her bonds, with greater effort, but the results were the same. Squirming was all that was possible. The stocks didn't even shake. She could flex her feet a few degrees and wiggle her toes, but that was about it. The only knot she could see, revealed by the monitor providing a mid-shot of her breasts and torso, was one of the gang's trademark "Tudor Rose" snarls. She groped with her fingers, but all she could feel was the padding, the back of her head, and a few strands of hemp. She was helpless.
"Awake, I see."
Megan flinched and lifted her head, trying to find the source of the voice. Finally, she saw movement among the indistinct shapes to one side, and it coalesced into the silhouette of a female figure.
"Which one are you?" Megan demanded.
The figure stepped forward. "Why, I'm Betty, of course," she purred. "Who else would I be, Silly Goose?"
Megan stared at the masked, catsuited, booted, and gloved apparition (and tried to control her fear). It was, indeed, the shorter of the three criminals, and she recognized the voice.
"Are you comfortable?" Betty asked. "I tried that thing out—without the bondage, of course—but you're a little taller than I am, and—"
"Let me go," Megan interrupted.
"Oh, Detective," Betty sighed, "don't get tiresome or I'll have to gag you."
Megan stared at her captor's mask for several seconds, then swallowed. "Okay, I was on the internet, but I'm not famous. The perverts you work for couldn't possibly be interested in me. Let me go."
"That's not going to happen," Betty purred, "not for a while, anyway. And as to whether or not you're 'famous'... that's up to the 'perverts' in question, isn't it? I wouldn't call them insulting names, by the way. The majority of our Honored Patrons are watching, as we speak, and you don't want to make them angry, believe me." She strolled to the foot of the chaise/stocks, and sat.
Megan lifted her head. She could see Betty's mask and leather-clad shoulders (and the toes of her imprisoned feet) above the top edge.
"Bear with me while I remove my gloves," Betty purred.
Megan watched as Betty did just that. "What are you going to do?" she demanded.
"Oh... I think you know very well what I'm going to do," Betty chuckled. Her now bare hands dropped from sight. "I went out and got myself a full manicure, just for you," she whispered. "Now, just to confirm my earlier diagnosis..."
Megan's eyes popped wide and she gasped in alarm. Betty had brushed the soles of her feet with her nails. "No!" She giggled, uncontrollably, as Betty continued to ever so lightly scrape her nails across her wiggling feet. "Please, don't!"
"Oh, diagnosis confirmed," Betty said, finally relenting. "The patient is very ticklish. Gentlemen, Ladies," she continued, apparently addressing the unseen audience of so-called Honored Patrons, "shall we proceed with the first item on your list?" Her head swiveled to the side, then back towards Megan. "I have a small monitor down here, next to my tools. I'd put the online chat up on one of the big monitors, where you could see it, but some of what's going to happen is better left as a surprise. Speaking of which..."
Betty tightened a noose of thin cord around each of Megan's big toes, then tied the ends to a pair of tiny rings on the top surface of the stocks. Megan's attempts to point her toes and prevent the process were defeated by Betty's tickling fingers. The taut cords stretched and pulled her feet back and greatly restricted her ability to twist and flex her soles, or to do more than wiggle her remaining, unrestricted toes. Betty then strolled away, into the darkness. Megan heard a door open, perhaps the door of a refrigerator, then it thudded closed, and Betty returned. She was holding a stainless steel bowl, and stirring the contents with what appeared to be a small, camel hair brush.
"Heavy cream and emulsified fish oil," Betty explained, "whisked together. The fishy smell is a little strong, but my little darlings love it."
Megan frowned. "What are you—Ahh! Stop!" Betty was painting her feet with the stuff! It was cold and clammy, and had the consistency of thick yogurt. This action, in its way, was just as disturbing as the scrape of her nails. "Stop it, you bitch!"
Betty was thoroughly coating Megan's soles and toes with the frothy white mixture. "We'll let that warm up a little while I get everything else set up."
Megan watched as Betty wheeled over some sort of elevated... wire cage? Its rolling frame was somehow clamped in place at the foot of the stocks, and the cage now enclosed Megan's feet. Its floor was lined with a thick pad of the same velvet-like, burgundy fabric as Megan's cushions. She could see very little of all this directly, but the monitors provided the details.
Betty stepped away, again, and this time she returned with a cardboard box... and high-pitched, mewling cries were emanating from within.
Megan recognized the sound, and her blood ran cold. "No!" she gasped, in a strangled whisper.
"The poor little dears are peckish," Betty said. She reached into the box and produced a pair of adorable kittens—at least, Megan would certainly have called them adorable, under different circumstances. They were ten or twelve week-old domestic short-hairs. One was uniformly black and the other was a calico. Betty deposited them in the cage, and their meowing became even more enthusiastic. "They can smell their favorite snack," Betty explained, as she added a third kitten to the cage. It was a gray, tortoiseshell tiger.
Megan's slimy toes curled, as if of their own accord. She bit her lower lip, fighting the urge to beg for mercy—a mercy which she knew she would not receive. On the monitor, she could see the kittens pawing at a wire partition that prevented them from reaching her glistening, helpless feet.
"Here you go, you little sweetie-pies," Betty chuckled, and slid the partition aside. "Enjoy!"
"Ahhh!" Megan screamed The kittens were licking her feet with a frenzy, their rasping little tongues stroking her soft soles and exploring the spaces between her toes. "Ahhh—he-he-he—Nooo!" She squirmed and fought her bonds, writhing, gasping and giggling. It was horrible! And it would not stop!! "Take them away! No—Nrmpfh!"
Betty had her right hand over Megan's mouth. "I take it you're not a cat person?" she inquired, then thrust a rubber ball between Megan's teeth and into her mouth. She lifted the still struggling captive's head, tightened the ball-gag's strap, and secured the buckle at the nape of her neck. "There," she purred, and sat on a stool at Megan's side. "Now our little feline friends can dine in peace... and you can't even beg for mercy. You're even more deliciously helpless."
"Mrrfh!!" Megan bucked and strained against the ropes and stocks. The hemp dimpled her skin as she pulled and tried to twist from side to side. The kittens continued to lick and nibble at her feet and toes. Their tongues were like coarse, wet sandpaper, and their tiny teeth were needle-sharp.
"Pace yourself, Detective," Betty advised. "Take deep, even breaths. I used a smaller ball-gag this time, to make it easier for you to breathe." She reached out and gently stroked one of Megan's heaving breasts. "And there's oxygen, if you begin to pass out. Pace yourself. It's difficult, I know, but try. This is only the beginning."
The kittens continued their feast. The drone of their contented purring and Megan's gagged moans and muffled, giggling laughter were the only sounds in the dark chamber. Her skin was flushed, and had begun glistening with sweat.
Betty pulled her Blackberry from a pocket and read the Patrons' comments as they scrolled across its tiny screen.
"FIRST RATE JOB, BETTY!"
"SUGGEST KITTEN LICKING NIPPLES?"
Betty smiled behind her mask, and began thumbing a response. "LET THEM ENJOY HER FEET A FEW MINUTES, THEN THE RUNT CAN LICK HER NIPPLES."
"SHE WILL STRUGGLE AND THE RUNT WILL USE ITS CLAWS!"
"DELICIOUS! SHE'LL HAVE TO REMAIN PERFECTLY STILL."
"YOU'RE VERY EVIL, BETTY."
Betty thumbed her response: "THANK YOU!"
Megan was unaware of any of this, of course. Her entire universe was reduced to the unbelievably unbearable sensations rippling and scintillating through her poor, helpless feet. She continued to struggle, writhe, gasp for breath, and giggle through her gag—and it would not stop!!