Van © 1996
bizarre business began innocently enough. Erin and I had
just finished our every-other-day (when we can make it) step
aerobics class and/or Nautilus session, and were relaxing in our
health club's steam room. Erin was stretched out, stomach
down, on a towel on one of the upper benches, her long,
copper-red curls hanging rather limp and auburn, and her lightly
freckled, peaches-and-cream complexion rather more peaches than
normal. (100% humidity and 105° F in the shade (with no shade)
will do that to a person.) I was sitting in the corner
with my chin on my knees watching the sweat roll down my legs
and trying to think cool thoughts.
Erin and I have been roommates since University, first in a
(loathsome) dorm, next in a series of low cost (meaning cheap—in
every sense of the word) apartments, and for the last five years
after graduation, in a rather eccentric loft in the big
city. (More about the loft later.)
Erin is a successful information technology manager for a large
clothing design house. She's less a computer geek (she
certainly doesn't look like any kind of geek) and more a
computer guru. She's there to insure the firm gets
the most out of their computer hardware and software, and to
help them plan for the future. They have other
"info-tech" people who actually pull fiber-optic cable, install
circuit cards in computers, and do the other hands-on technical
work, (although Erin can more than hold her own with the
Erin is about 5'8" and 101 lbs, with a slender figure, firm,
conical breasts with small coral nipples, and a classically
beautiful face: high cheekbones, petite, ever-so-slightly
upturned nose, perfect teeth, and green eyes with flecks of
gold. She's a Celtic Venus, a veritable Fairy Princess,
graceful, poised, and alluring. I mention all this to
illustrate my powers of observation and description, essential
tools of my trade. I am a writer.
I'm several inches shorter than Erin, and while she has all
those magnificent foxy red curls, my hair is black, straight,
and I keep it cut in a rather short "wash-and-wear" bob.
Our figures are similar (although in my size range, that sends
me to the petite or even to the "Junior Miss" racks); however, I
am rather better endowed in the boob department. Mine
aren't exactly huge, and I'm certainly not what you'd
call buxom; but next to Erin's pert little pair, my c-cup
bazongas stack up very nicely, thank you (pun intended.)
My face? I think of it as goofy, but Erin says I'm every bit as
attractive as she. OK, my features are even, I've got
killer dimples, hazel eyes, a lopsided grin that people tell me
is sort of cute, and Mediterranean skin that tans up nicely; but
as attractive as Erin?—NOT!
Oh yeah, my name is Brooke, or "Babbling Brooke," as my editor
calls me. He thinks I go on and on and on, and over
describe, and put in all sorts of excessive prose, and require
too much blue pencil, and... (I'm doing it again,
aren't I?) Anyhow, I've published seven short stories (and
got paid for five of them,) and two novels, both
mystery/adventures. It was my writing, or actually a
discussion (argument) Erin and I were having about my writing,
that caused the whole mess.
"Look," I said, "all I'm saying is good writing is based on
experience, and at some point research and imagination have to
be grounded in real life, or the whole thing rings hollow."
Erin took a swig from her water bottle and rolled over on her
back. "No argument. The issue isn't experience or
not, it's real experience or fake experience or not."
"I mean experience that matches what you're writing
about, as opposed to experience that's only superficially similar
to what you're writing about and doesn't give you a real,
I stretched my arms and poured some of my water over my head,
back, and breasts. "An example being...?"
"OK. Towards the end of Minoan Gold" (my last
novel) "Mikos and his gang" (the bad guys) "keep Carrie" (the
heroine) "bound and gagged for nearly 48 hours, and right after
she gets free she runs three miles back to the village to alert
Inspector what's-his-name and save the day. Have you ever
been bound and gagged for anything like 48 hours?"
"Well, no," I frowned. "I was tied-up for about two hours
back in my high school baby-sitting days," (which, by the way,
got me fired when the little twerp's parents came home
and found me tied to the living room sofa and their darling
little "cowboy" overdosed on corn chips and root beer.)
"Are you saying I've got to experience exactly what I
want to write about, or I can't write about it?"
"No, but I'll bet you'd have written those two chapters
differently if you'd ever been a real prisoner."
I turned in mock outage. "What was wrong with those two
chapters? The book's selling very nicely, thank you very
"I said 'differently,' not better, but it probably would have
been better. If you'd ever been a real prisoner I bet
Carrie's thoughts and actions would have been totally
different—and you might not have written them like the formulaic
hack you are. (She was teasing. We do this all the time.)
"Formulaic hack is it?" I sneered. "Like I need writing
advice from a whey-faced, orange-haired, techno-geek!"
"Like I care about being called a techno-geek by a nano-sized
formulaic hack with boy-hair!"
I gave her my best wounded pout. "That part about the
"The truth always hurts," she laughed. "Your hair is
boyish, although no one would mistake you for a boy—especially
not naked in the steam room."
"I'll take that as some sort of compliment," I answered primly.
"Getting back to Carrie, the bad guys, and the bestseller
list—repeat your point."
"You've never been a real prisoner is the point.
Now granted, a writer can't go everywhere and experience
everything for real—"
"Yeah. That would sort of eliminate the murder mystery as
a viable genre," I observed.
Erin smiled. "But what you can experience for real—you
If I had know where all this would eventually lead, I probably
would have run screaming out of the steam room; but an
intriguing (and rather perverse) idea was forming. I stood
up and wrapped my towel around my upper body. "OK," I
said. "Let's do it!"
Erin looked puzzled. "Do what?"
"Make me a prisoner for real. If you're right, I'll be a
better writer. And if I'm right, I'll be…right.
Let's do it!"
Erin stood and wrapped her own towel. We had reached our
tolerance for the steam room. "The heat has melted your
brain. How can I make you a prisoner?"
"I have a one month hiatus before I start novel number three and
I told my editor not to call me or in any way bother me (unless
of course he wants to increase my advance to six figures, in
which case he's free to call me anytime) and you're forgetting
one important fact."
"The vault!" I said evilly.
Erin smiled and rubbed her hands together, doing her best Boris
Karloff. "Yes, my proud beauty, the vault. No one
will ever find you in the vault."
We both laughed like demented villains and headed for the
showers. (For some reason we got rather peculiar looks
from the other occupants of the locker room.)
Our loft is
located in a part of town undergoing what is politely referred
to as "gentrification." In other words, a part of town
that used to be on the wrong side of town, with the help
of "urban homesteaders" and a little capital, was being dragged
kicking and screaming to the right side of town.
The loft in question occupied about half of the top floor of a
nondescript brick edifice in a neighborhood formerly given over
to office spaces, warehouses, and light industrial
manufacturing. Our loft, in its former life, had been home
to a small bonded courier service. Its 30,000 square feet
of usable floor space had been subdivided into offices, barred
security cages, and one large vault in the back of the
complex. The other lofts in the building were reached by
direct access off a common freight elevator, but on our floor
the elevator opened onto a brick alcove facing a large steel
door, a welcome remnant of security measures past.
to loft status the only major change on our floor had been the
installation of a large tub in one of the small offices
refurbished and redesignated as the new "master bath." The
security cages and vault were left intact, any further
renovation being left to the tenant. Eventually the
landlord planned to gut the floor and subdivide into two or
three small apartments, but for at least the next five years we
were getting a lot of floor space for a reasonable
rent. All the rooms in our loft (with the sole exception
of the vault,) had either a skylight or one or more banks of
narrow windows high in one wall, all with frosted, wire
reinforced glass, and heavily barred. "Not much to look at
in this neighborhood any way," Erin had observed. All in all,
the loft looked like a cross between Alcatraz, Fort Knox, and a
Aside from the obvious advantage of security, the loft offered
total and complete privacy. The walls were thick and
solid, and the floor was one massive reinforced concrete
slab. You could have a full volume moshing party with a
live band and a hundred of your closest friends and all the
neighbors might hear would be a low (but no doubt very
Erin and I had quickly adapted to the brick-and-bars ambiance of
the place, and were putting off any major renovations into the
indefinite future. We loved almost everything about "The
Loft," (and of course the near meager state of our finances
after closing the lease had nothing to do with our decision to
leave all the security gates and doors intact.)
"The vault" was at the end of the central corridor that ran from
the front door, and was secure behind a solidly framed inch
thick steel door. Overall, the vault was about fifty by twenty
feet, and was subdivided into five, ten by fifteen steel barred
cages. For all the world it looked like the town jail set from
an old Western movie. The landlord had given us the keys to the
vault door and all the cage doors, and they all locked solid and
tight. We joked that our Christmas decorations, out of season
clothes, and suitcases had the safest storage in town.
That fateful day we returned from our health club and had a
light supper. As it was summer, we were both wearing our usual
casual-at-home uniforms: denim jeans, loose cotton blouses, and
bare feet. (Bikini panties but no bras, for those of you
interested in such things.) After the meal, we began making our
"Obviously, we need some rules for this little escapade," Erin
"Rules, schmules," I rejoined sagely. "Just pop me in a
vault cage, and lock the door. Presto! Instant
"I think you're missing some of the subtleties of the situation.
You and I have been pals for a long time, and I don't want any
misunderstandings to get in the way of all that. If you’re
to be a true prisoner, that means, I allow no escape and no
parole, and you can't be imposing on our friendship by
whimpering that you want to be set free and getting huffy when I
"Hence the rules," I said.
"Hence the rules," Erin agreed. She got out her PowerBook and
began taking notes.
I made us some tea and laid some ginger cookies on a plate. "OK,
rule number one. The imprisonment will be for one week."
"Correction," Erin said. "The imprisonment will be between three
days and one month, and you won't know when it will end.
The suspense will make it more real, and less of a lark."
"Oh, good one! You’re starting to get into this, aren't
you?" I accused.
Erin smiled. "I'm only trying to make this work."
"And doing a fine job of it I might add. Rule two: I promise to
be a submissive and compliant prisoner."
"Correction again!" Erin exclaimed. "You will try to
escape every chance you get, and I will do my best to prevent
said escape. You won't be playing prisoner—you'll
be a prisoner. All prisoners have the right to escape."
A slight chill went up my spine. "You are getting into
this," I accused.
Erin chuckled and continued typing. "I'm drawing this up in the
form of a contract, so you can't sue me for false imprisonment
and taking unauthorized liberties."
This time it was my turn to laugh. "Like that contract will
really help you in a court of law. 'Your honor, it's all here in
black and white. This is a case of true imprisonment and
the taking of authorized liberties.'"
Erin smirked and continued typing. "A serious social experiment
like this must have bounds; therefore, rule three: no whips,
leather-clad Teutonic maniacs, candle wax dripped on naughty
parts, or strange devices used by the Spanish Inquisition,
medieval witch finders, or the Young Republicans."
I spat out my tea laughing and pelted her with half a cookie.
"You fool—Agreed! Do your worst, ...excluding
tattoos, brands, and ritual scars."
"Oh, good point. No tattooing, no ‘If found return to Erin’
brands, no blood-letting tribal rituals, and no sacrificial
rites to appease angry spirits. Specifically, no being fed to
hungry crocodiles, lions, leopards, tigers, hyenas, or badgers."
"Don’t stop me, I’m on a roll. No being torn apart between bent
saplings, no being impaled (slowly or otherwise) on bamboo
spikes, and no being buried up to your neck in desert sands with
honey smeared all over your body and ant-sized signs reading
‘this way to free picnic’ all over the place," she typed.
I smiled indulgently and ate the last of the cookies. "How will
the time element be handled," I asked as I started cleaning up
"I've got a little routine I wrote for my calendar program that
randomly inserts a 'quote-of-the-day.' I’ll start a new
thirty day calendar and make one of the quotes 'today would be a
good day to rescue fair damsels.' The day I boot up my
calendar and see that quote will be your last day of
captivity. Pardon me while I go print this out."
I finished my cleaning and joined her in the den/computer room.
I read and signed the "contract," and watched as Erin shut down
her computer. "We might as well get started," I said nervously.
"What do you want me to do?"
Erin opened the drawer in which she kept her tools and computer
tinkering supplies and took out several plastic ties, the kind
used to bundle electronic or optical fiber cables together and
secure them to brackets and stanchions. These particular
ties were each about a foot and a half long, and I had the
uneasy feeling they were going to be used to secure me.
"Point of no return," Erin said. "If you let me put these
on you, you'll be my prisoner until I decide to set you free."
I swallowed and held out my hands, wrists together. I was
breathing rapidly and my heart was pounding like I'd just run
the 100 yard dash. I also noticed that my nipples had
become very sensitive, and I was ever so slightly wet between
the legs. I was getting excited?!? I'd never
entertained any serious sexual fantasies of bondage or
submission, and I'd certainly never done any of that stuff with
any of my boyfriends. What was going on?
Erin stood and approached me, several ties protruding from her
left hip pocket. She took me by the shoulders and spun me
around. I closed my eyes as she gathered my wrists behind
my back and encircled each of them with a tie. I heard a
dry rattle as the ties were tightened, and felt them vibrate as
they closed around my wrists. I heard two soft snicks and
then Erin turned me around to face her. She had a small
pair of wire cutters in one hand and the long, cut-off ends of
two ties in the other. My throat was dry, but I could feel
sweat beading on my forehead and beginning to soak my blouse
under my armpits. This was getting embarrassing! If
it kept up, I'd probably start staining my jeans.
I groped with my fingers, exploring my bonds. My wrists
were crossed, and I could easily touch the interlocked bands
with my finger tips—not that it was going to do me any good;
there were no knots to untie. These plastic cuffs were on
me until someone—until Erin—cut them off. The bonds were
tight but comfortable, although they'd probably hurt if I
started struggling really hard.
Erin pointed to the rug at our feet. "On the ground if you
please," she said. I went down on my knees and then onto
my stomach in the middle of the rug. Erin knelt and used
two more ties to secure my ankles. She then used another tie to
attach my wrists at the small of my back to the braided leather
belt I was wearing with my jeans. She then rolled me over
onto my back, tightened my belt a notch, and made sure it would
stay tightened by lacikng a small plastic tie through the
leather braiding and the brass buckle, sliding it closed, and
snipping off the end.
Erin stood and surveyed her handiwork. I was still
breathing heavily, and for the first time, I noticed Erin was
too. She was also slightly flushed, and the light sheen on
her forehead matched my own. I looked up from my impotent
state and gave her my most disarming grin.
"Hot in here, isn't it?" I murmured. Erin blushed, tossed
the remaining ties on the desk, and left the room.
Curioser and curioser. Not only was I turning into a cat
in heat, but Erin was too.
It was then that I realized, this was my first chance to
escape! All I had to do was get out of these pesky ties
and the game was over. What to do? I could crawl over to
the desk, use it to (somehow) stand up, open the tool drawer and
find something sharp, cut my bonds, and bask in the thrill of
victory! Fat chance. I was only halfway to the desk
when Erin returned.
"Miss me?" she quipped. "You weren't trying to get away,
"Get away?" I asked innocently. "How can I further my experience
as a prisoner if I get away?"
"I'll remove further temptation." It was then I noticed
the coils of cotton clothesline in her right hand. Erin
moved one of our hardback chairs from the kitchen to the middle
of the den, hauled me up into it, and set to work. She
pulled loop after tight loop of rope, securing me to the chair
at knees, thighs, waist, above and below my breasts, and across
my shoulders. By the time she was satisfied, I could
hardly twitch. She even tied my ankles (already secured
with plastic) to one of the chair legs. She then took a
second coil of rope and began interlacing my bonds with
various parts of the chair and each other. When the second
coil was used up I was trussed, laced, and webbed into that
chair so tightly I knew that no amount of twisting, turning, or
struggling would result in one iota of slack.
All this time, with Erin pulling rope around me, tugging it
snug, leaning over me, at times with her breasts almost in my
face, at times with her rump in the air as she worked on my
legs, I was aware that my excitement was building and
building. I could smell Erin's perfume (or was it her
natural musk?) and I could see sweat stains on her blouse,
between her shoulder blades and between her breasts.
Finally, she tied a last, unreachable knot and stood, surveying
"That should hold you," she said.
"Understatement of the decade. This would hold Rambo and
the Terminator, and wouldn't you just love that."
Erin smiled and combed her fingers through my hair. "Yes,
but all I've got is you—and I will hold you."
I shivered slightly and could practically feel my juices soaking
the chair seat. (Surely Erin could smell me.
Surely she could see the state I was in.) Erin
reached into her hip pockets and produced a large silk
scarf. Before her intentions had registered in by
increasingly fevered brain, and before any verbal protests could
be registered, she stepped behind the chair, pulled my head back
with one hand in my hair, and began stuffing the scarf into my
mouth. The dry silk filled my entire mouth and trapped my
tongue. Before I could spit it out, Erin began wrapping
turn after turn of inch-wide adhesive tape between my teeth and
around the back of my neck, compressing the silk wad and forcing
it even deeper. She produced a new roll of much wider
tape, and began plastering strip after wide strip across my
lips, until my lower face was tightly and smoothly sealed from
nose to chin. Without realizing what I was doing, I held
my head steady for her smoothing hands, even turning it as
needed to make her job of rendering me voiceless easier.
When she was finished, I was as silent as I was still, able only
to make small muffled moans, to flutter my fingers, toss my
head, flex my ankles, to cause my ropes to stretch and flex—but
I twisted in my bonds for what felt like several minutes while
Erin watched. Finally, with somewhat forced nonchalance
she walked to the door and turned.
"You can practice escaping while I'm gone. I've got some
work to do, moving junk and rearranging the vault, making your
new quarters ready. It shouldn't take more than a few
hours, but if I don't get done in time to move you in before
bedtime, I'll be sure to come back and turn out the
lights. I can always finish preparing your prison in the
morning. You certainly won't be going anywhere in the
She turned to leave, then paused. "Think about it.
No one knows you're my prisoner. If anyone asks where you
are, I'll say you took a little vacation and didn't tell me exactly
where you were going. I think tomorrow I'll log onto some
travel bulletin boards, using your e-mail account of course, and
yes, I do know your password. I'll make a few inquiries,
forge some reservations, lay a few false trails. How does
Lake Tahoe sound? Alaska? Tahiti? Australia?" She snapped
her fingers. "I know—a Mexican Cruise! I'll book you a
suite on the 'Love Boat.'"
She put hands on hips and gave me a sinister smile. "I can
keep you under wraps for as long as I want, and no one will ever
come to your rescue—because no one knows you need
rescuing." (We both knew this wasn't quite true. My editor
would eventually come looking for either the first
chapters of my next book or the return of the advance he'd given
me.) It was all a game, and I wasn't really scared, but
nevertheless I shivered in my bonds, embracing the delicious
fantasy. I was Erin's prisoner, tightly bound and gagged,
and about to be locked in an inescapable prison.
Erin blew me a kiss and winked. "Pleasant
struggling...'Carrie.'" I watched her leave, wondering if
I ever would get free, if I could get myself off by
struggling against the ropes, and if anyone had ever died of
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