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THE LOFT continues
Aunt Carol unlocked the cage door and gave me a one-sided hug. (One-sided because, as you'll recall, my wrists were securely locked behind my back with a pair of shiny new hinged handcuffs.) Her arms enveloped my nude, embarrassed body and nearly crushed the air from my lungs. I'm somewhat lilliputian (as you'll also remember), and Aunt Carol is something of an Amazon (about a good three inches taller than Erin—and strong), so she very well might have crushed the air from my lungs if my nose and mouth hadn't been buried in her ample bosom.
"Well, you don't look much the worse for wear," she gushed. "I see a few very minor bruises and rope burns, but nothing that couldn't be explained away by a good creative 'there I was sliding into third' story."
"Ah, right now I don't think I could think of anything very creative," I mumbled. "What are you doing here?…not that I'm not always glad to see you."
"Let's have some tea and I'll explain."
As she lead me out of the vault and towards the kitchen, I began to recover my wits.
"Could we stop by my room so I can get some clothes?" I asked.
"Nice try, Brooke," she laughed. "I know all about the game you and Erin are playing. I'm not here to spoil the fun, just to make sure things aren't out of control." I sat in a kitchen chair while she put on the kettle.
She rummaged in the cabinets. "Darjeeling? Camomile?"
"Earl Grey. You could act as my accomplice," I ventured, "and help me escape the nefarious clutches of your cruel and sadistic niece."
"You don't really want me to do that, do you?"
"I'm not sure," I said quietly.
Carol chortled. "Even if you were sure, I wouldn't let you go. I'm casting myself in a different role. Besides, your contract is with Erin, not me."
"Erin told you about the contract?"
"No, I found it in the den, along with the keys to the vault, that cage she had you in, what I assume are all the other doors in this brick maze, and this tiny little key which I'm sure you recognize." She held up a keyring with the handcuff key extended.
"Want me to show you how it works?" I asked.
"You're hopeless," she laughed, "as well as helpless... and at least for now, you're going to stay that way."
We chatted and lounged around the loft (or at least I lounged as best as I could, hands cuffed behind my back and all), until Erin came home about three o'clock. (Somewhat early for her.)
Erin was as surprised to see her Aunt Carol as I had been. Standing and facing each other, the family resemblance was unmistakable. Save twenty years, three inches, (and two or three bra sizes), they might have been twin sisters.
"I told you on the phone she was fine," Erin groused.
"I knew she'd be fine, but as I told you, I'm concerned that Brooke is going stir-crazy locked in that cage all day." Aunt Carol flopped next to me on the sofa and gave my shoulder a sisterly squeeze. "I just thought I'd come over and brighten her day. Besides," she winked at me, "I never could resist a captive audience."
"Or an abominable pun," I groaned.
"We discussed that too," Erin said. "You're the one that talked me into taking my vacation early, so I could spend the rest of the month with the 'Prisoner of the Vault' here."
"Vacation?" I asked.
"It's a slow time at work anyway," Erin explained. "Nothing new will be happening 'til the new LAN servers get here, and they won't really need me when they do get here, so I swapped my vacation time with Ronnie. I was going to surprise you with the news," she turned and glared at Aunt Carol, "until a certain uninvited guest spoiled things."
"Well, rather that spoiling surprises," Carol laughed, "I'm full of them. Help me bring a box up from the van and you'll see."
Erin and her aunt started towards the front door when Carol turned and pointed in my direction. "Forgetting something, Erin?" she asked.
"Oh, go ahead," I said innocently. "I'll be fine right here."
Ten minutes and thirty yards of rope later I was gracefully if somewhat indignantly reclined on the couch, hitched and wrapped from neck to toes, and chewing on a cotton washcloth held tightly between my teeth with the sash from my bathrobe.
Several minutes of impotent struggling later Erin and Carol returned wheeling a large wooden crate.
"Whew! Good thing your van has that hydraulic lift," said Erin, "or we'd never have gotten this thing out the side in one piece. It doesn't weigh that much, but it's so bulky."
"The lift is so I can move my sculptures with minimum effort and expense. (Carol is a very successful artist.) Speaking of which..." Aunt Carol opened the several latches sealing the top of the crate and lifted the lid to reveal a second, much smaller crate, and two large dufflebags. With Erin's help they lifted out the second crate and opened it to reveal an exquisite bronze sculpture about nine inches in height. "Behold 'Andromeda Waiting!'" Carol proclaimed proudly.
Erin gasped in amazement. I could only give a wide-eyed stare. (I may have gasped too, but with all that terry cloth stuffed in my mouth who could tell?)
The sculpture was exquisite. Seated on a realistically wave-worn rock encrusted with tiny barnacles, starfish, and such was a tiny maiden with wrists and ankles locked in heavy chains. Her plastered and hanging hair and the shining finish of her bronze skin gave the uncanny impression of streaming moisture, as if a cloud of spray had just passed over the rock. Head bowed and eyes downcast, her pitiable expression was the very image of resignation to a tragic fate. (The effect might have been somewhat morbid, if I hadn't known the story of her coming rescue... a rescue I could have used just about then.)
"The foundry only cast 20 of these," Aunt Carol explained. "This is the first satisfactory test casting, and is unnumbered—but I signed it for you."
"She's beautiful," Erin whispered, stroking the tiny maiden’s head and back. She embraced her aunt and kissed her cheek. While Erin began rearranging our knickknacks to find Andromeda a prominent place to await her rescue by a little bronze Perseus (who probably wasn't going to show any time soon), Aunt Carol hauled the two dufflebags out of the crate and dropped them on the carpet.
"This stuff is for your experiment," Carol explained. "I stopped at the home of a performance artist I know and picked out some things to keep you ladies occupied for the next few days or weeks or whatever." She dumped the contents of one bag, creating a large pile of what appeared to be belts, straps, and various other leather and metal accessories of uncertain utility.
"Aunt Carol!" Erin laughed. "I never knew!"
"Hey, I just thought I might broaden your horizons, and give you two something different to play with. You know, a little break from rope and handcuffs."
Oh joy! Auntie Carol had brought her niece a "Bondage Dolly Play Set"—and I got to be the dolly.
"Now some of this stuff is kind of complicated," Aunt Carol explained, "so you'll have to watch closely." At this point, things got unconventional fast. To our utter astonishment—Carol began undressing in the middle of our living room!!! Erin was speechless. (Me too. Gag or no.)
Her costume reduced to panties and bra, Carol rummaged through the leather goods and shook out what looked like a bridle or harness for some sort of weird alien horse. She stepped through part of the tangle with one leg, put her arms through what seemed to be a couple of randomly chosen leather loops, shrugged her shoulders, and was wearing a collection of dangling straps and buckles.
"Oh, this will never work," she complained. "There's just no way you can put one of these things on yourself. You have to put it on someone else." She stepped out of 'it' and stood rubbing her chin, puzzling out a solution. Suddenly she snapped her fingers. "Got it! Erin, you can be the model. Grab this stuff and meet me in your bedroom. I'll get my clothes and follow."
Erin was still dazed by the experience of seeing her semi-naked aunt parading around the living room modeling kinky leather goods. (Aunt Carol was a knockout, by the way. Athletic, tanned (and freckled), with firm, generous breasts, and the sort or grace, muscle tone, and vigor I hope to have when I'm the high side of 40.)
"Huh?" Erin remarked profoundly.
Aunt Carol pointed to part of the heap at her feet and the hall door. "Go!" she commanded, and began donning her skirt, blouse, and sandals.
Erin stood in apparent ambivalence for a moment, then shrugged, gathered the tinkling leather mass, and headed for her room as ordered.
Aunt Carol came over to me, buttoning her blouse. She bent over, kissed my forehead and whispered into my ear. "You'll want to watch what happens in the next several minutes quite carefully," she said. "You'll probably want to write about it some day." With a wink, she left my rather puzzled, amazed, and well-roped self and walked after her niece.
I spent the next half hour trying to spit out my gag and wiggle some slack from my ropes, all without success. At some point I grew bored (again) and sort of dozed off.
Next thing I knew, Aunt Carol was standing in the hall door with a broad smile on her face. In her hand was a leather leash which seemed to be attached to something out of sight down the hall. When Aunt Carol stepped into the room and tugged on the leash, I was greeted with a truly amazing sight.
Stumbling into the livingroom came Erin, naked but for several dozen interlacing straps, a complex leather corset, and a tiny leather g-string. The leash in Carol's hand was clipped to a broad collar clasped tightly around Erin's neck and secured with several small buckles. From the collar branched a network of straps and metal rings that pinned her arms very tightly to her sides and attached to the corset and each other with various buckles and clips. Her wrists were secured in broad leather cuffs and held at her sides by leather straps circling each thigh. Similar cuffs secured her elbows and upper arms and were joined to the system of straps circling her arms and torso. The hourglass corset held its tight shape by a cunning web of tiny straps and buckles and had a small window-like cutout for her navel. Erin's pert breasts were restricted by several very small straps which crossed from the top of the corset and various parts of the upper harness to anchor two metal rings through which her nipples protruded. A buckle and strap from the base of the corset passed through a ring at the top of the shield-like front of the g-string. When Erin turned at her Aunt's request, a tight strap from the base of the g-string to the lower back of the corset was revealed. Broad leather cuffs encircling each ankle and linked by a foot of silver chain completed the ensemble. All of the buckles and snaps on the harness, corset, collar, and cuffs were securely locked with tiny, silver, heart-shaped padlocks that tinkled like bells as Erin pranced and turned.
Lightly freckled at the arms and shoulders, porcelain white on her breasts and dimpled behind, Erin's fair skin was a striking contrast to the dull black leather of the harness, which was matte and textured like the hide of some exotic wild animal. Erin's flesh bulged slightly between the spaces separating the thin, tight straps, and as she made what little motion the harness allowed, her ineffectual muscles flexed, causing the straps to ply and creak. From her rapid panting, it appeared the tight corset was restricting her breathing a little. A sheen of sweat glistened on her forehead, shoulders, and between her captive breasts. She strutted and posed, shameless in her naughty pride.
"Interesting sensations, aren't they?" Aunt Carol asked.
"Did you have to buckle these straps so tight?"
"You get used to it after a while," Carol chuckled.
"After how much of a while?" Erin asked uncertainly.
"I was part of the performance piece these little numbers were designed for. I put up with those straps four hours a night for six weeks. After a while the strobe lights and what the artist called music began to be more of a bother than the harness. Luckily the show didn't tour."
Erin and I exchanged startled glances. Apparently Auntie Carol had a much richer past than we had ever guessed.
Erin fluttered her fingers and found she could touch no part of her bonds. (The posing was over. She seemed to be seeking a means of escape.) "Weren't you embarrassed?" she asked.
Carol laughed. "Not embarrassed at all. No one can recognize you when you're wearing one of these." She held up a leather hood. "Here, I'll show you."
Erin took small, chain encumbered steps backwards as Carol approached her with hood in hand. Despite half-voiced protests, the butter-soft leather was pulled over her face and down around her head. The hood had small, exotically slanted openings for the eyes, nostrils, and mouth. Working quickly, Carol gathered Erin's red curls, pulled them through a hole in the back of the hood, and let them swing free in a ponytail. The hood fit like a second skin, and Erin gasped as the laces were tugged and knotted.
"We usually wore spandex body suits under the harness system," Carol explained, "so the only clues to our identities were eye and hair colors...that and our figures."
"Ah, can we put this thing on Brooke now?" Erin asked with forced nonchalance. "I think I've learned all I need to know about how it works."
"Oh, there's more," Carol smiled and held up a small harness and strap affair with a large ball of foam attached. "You see, we weren't allowed to talk to the audience."
"No! I don’t think so. No gag!" Erin protested.
"I do think so," Carol answered pleasantly, and began strapping on the harness. It had a large ring in the back (for the ponytail), and several straps that circled Erin's forehead and ran down either side of her nose, under her chin, and between her lips, anchoring the large foam ball in her mouth.
"Stop! No! Aunt Carol, NO! I won't let you! I-won'-mwermpf!" A final broad padded strap buckled tightly over ball, mouth, and lips, rendering Erin nearly completely mute.
Carol stepped back and we both watched as Erin danced in small circles, straining against the harness, tossing her head, and making well-baffled angry howls. She struggled and kicked for several minutes, bloody murder in her eyes. (I have only seen my roommate truly pissed-off a few times, but when she gets really angry, look out! She turns into the proverbial red-headed spitfire.)
After several minutes Erin wore herself down. Her gagged screams turned to muffled sobs, and she collapsed to the floor, angry tears streaming down her leather covered face. Aunt Carol sat down beside her, rocked Erin's tightly restrained body in her arms, and crooned a lullaby 'til the sobbing subsided.
"You know why I did this?" Carol asked.
Erin looked into her face with tear stained eyes.
"I did this for the sake of your friendship with Brooke. If you continue this game the way you've been going, without either finishing it or taking it further,...it will end in heartbreak. I know you better than you think, Erin. You talk like a free spirit, but in the end you always choose the safe course. You've started something you don't know how to stop, and poor Brooke is going crazy from frustration and boredom," (Who, me?) "and you're letting it happen because you're afraid. I won't allow it. I love you both too much."
Carol produced a Kleenex from somewhere and wiped Erin's eyes. "Sometimes the best way to teach a child to swim is to toss her in the deep end. If you won't take control, I will." Carol stood and rummaged through the still plentiful pile of leather goodies. She looked back at Erin and winked. "You think about all this while I get you and Brooke ready."
(Ready for what?)
Erin lay on her side and watched the show as Aunt Carol unwrapped my ropes and began dressing me in a somewhat less complex if every bit as secure leather harness of my own. My little number had twin straps with a buckle at one end and a series of metal rings and straps at the other. Carol parted the two straps and dropped them over my head leaving the buckle dangling between my shoulder blades and the rest of the harness dangling down my front. She then selected the central strap, pulled it between my legs and threaded the end through the back buckle. The lower portion of the strap didn’t simply run through my sex like a crotch rope, but was comprised of a pair of narrow, suede-soft, and pliant straps held apart by small metal brackets. Nestled between my legs, (and after careful and highly intimate adjustments) the straps held some of by favorite body parts—open. (How shall I put this? I could feel a breeze in places I normally didn't.) Aunt Carol tugged the end of the strap taut and secured the buckle. The remaining straps of the harness circled my arms above and below my breasts, and at waist and hips. Like I said, pretty simple next to Erin's "night-of-a-thousand-buckles" showgirl costume.
My arms were tightly pinned, but my steel cuffed wrists were not held down by any part of the harness. Carol remedied this oversight with the most bizarre thong bikini bottom I have ever seen. It secured around my hips with thin straps that snapped closed at the small of my back, covered (just barely) my pubis, climbed over the harness strap already cleaving my behind, and rather that attaching to the rear hip straps, was tightly secured around the hinge of my handcuffs —very tightly secured. I call it bizarre, not because of its method of wear or the fact that it was made of leather, but because its interior surface was lined with about a hundred tiny, soft, (and delightful) rubber nubbles. The narrow harness straps divided, stretched, and exposed parts of the sensitive inner linings of my sex—exposed them to the attentions of the nubbles, and when I flexed my arms or twisted my hips, I was treated to a tantalizing and arousing caress. It was sort of like being licked between the legs by a hungry kitten (I imagine.) Unless Erin had something really interesting under her g-string, I was getting the better end of the deal. (That's right. Erin's floor show, Aunt Carol's coup de main, and now "Nubbles the friendly g-string" had made me horny again.)
My ankles and knees were strapped together and I was laid on the floor (so to speak) next to Erin. Aunt Carol was gathering up the remaining miscellaneous straps, gags, cuffs, collars, blindfolds, hoods, and (what the heck is that thing?) and putting them back in the duffel bags when the phone on the end table rang.
Erin and I started and reflexively screamed through our gags. We then looked at each other sheepishly. (We weren't so sure we wanted to be rescued by whoever was on the line anyway.) Carol chuckled and strolled to the phone.
Mr. Hudson was Erin's boss. Erin mewed through her gag, blushed bright red, and bent into the fetal position as if trying to hide herself. I rolled my eyes in disgust. Did she think the guy was psychic?
Carol smiled and continued talking. "No, she's out doing some last minute shopping with her roommate Brooke. I'm her Aunt Carol." She put her hand over the speaker and whispered to us, "I won't tell him you're tied up at the moment...too cliché ." She removed her hand. "Yes.... No.... That's right.... They're both going to be my guests at my studio.... OK, I'll tell her. ...What was that? The network servers are an additional two weeks backordered? Oh my!.... Yes, I'll tell her.... Via e-mail.... Of course!.... A pleasure talking with you too Mr. Hudson.... OK, Carl it is then.... Goodbye!" She hung up the phone. "What a flirt," she remarked. Erin nodded her head in mute agreement.
Aunt Carol continued repacking her gear. "Erin, Mr. Hudson... I mean Carl, says you can take at least an extra week's vacation if you want, maybe two, and you should send him an e-mail note if that's what you want." She finished repacking the duffels, but instead of putting them back in the crate, she tossed them in the corner of the room. She then bent over Erin and began doing something to her gag. Abruptly the noise level in the room rose a few decibels, and Carol tossed what appeared to be a small metal cap into the crate. (Apparently the gag had some sort of pluggable tube built into it.) Next she lifted Erin off the floor and deposited her in the crate. Erin gave a few muffled protests and gracefully flutter-kicked her chained feet, but was no match for "Carol the Amazon." I had a floor level view up Aunt Carol's skirt as she stood on tip-toe and leaned into the crate. I heard more gagged mumblings from within, as well as various metallic snaps and clicks. Then Carol straightened up, looked at me over her shoulder and grinned. It was my turn.
First Carol untied my gag, removed the washcloth stuffing my mouth, and retied the sash between my lips giving me a tight cleave-gag. (I wasn't as well-silenced as I had been before, but like Erin, I could now breath through my mouth if I had to.) Carol picked me up and as I was lowered into the crate I saw Erin kneeling on her haunches, her head nearly touching her knees. Numerous elastic shock cords were clipped to several padeyes bolted to the inside of the crate, and to parts of her harness, collar, and hood. I was deposited on my knees in a similar but opposing position, and Aunt Carol began attaching similar cords to my harness. She then gathered several short loose cords lying between us on the crate floor, and joined us harness to harness. The inside of the crate (especially the floor) was heavily padded, so the forced immobility wasn’t that uncomfortable. Whenever Erin moved I could feel various cords stretch and recoil, tugging at my body. We actually had about an inch of limited, increasingly restricted motion, but couldn't touch the sides of the crate with any parts of our anatomies.
Carol reached into the crate, tightened and reknotted the doubled cotton sash tied between my teeth. (Erin's hood and harness gag obviously needed no checking.) "Almost ready," she remarked.
She returned to the bottom of the crate (not an easy task now, through our network of "bungee-bonds") and produced a square net of nylon straps the approximate dimensions of the crate lid. This was stretched and snapped to the upper padeyes, and a taut net ceiling now kept us from raising our heads.
"Erin has always loved the farm, Brooke," Carol chatted. "I don't know what she's told you about my place, but I think you'll love it too." The lid began to close. "We'll probably miss most of the rush hour traffic, so the trip back shouldn't take more than a few hours. Try to get some rest." The lid closed.
Darkness. The distant muffled sound of the lid's latches snapping shut. Erin's gagged moan—loud (in the enclosed space,) close (reassuring.) The strap sliding against my sex, (the thong rubbing in counterpoint.) My fingers flutter and touch a bungee cord which vibrates like a bass string. The air—hot and close and laden with musk.Motion! We're moving! We stop. (The elevator?) We move again. We vibrate; stop; move; slide; stop. (Waiting.) A lower vibration. (The van's engine?) Vibration. Vibration. ... Vibration. ... Vibration. ... (Dreams.)
| —Chapter 3