Market Forces
Part 6
by Freddie Clegg

© Freddie Clegg 2007. No posting or reproduction without permission.

Chapter 38: All Bar None

It didn’t take Tricia and me long to get our lives back on track. She didn’t seem to be bothered by Clegg’s attitude. “It’s the game” she said. “At the end of the day it’s dog eat dog. You have to accept that. Loyalty is only as good as the use you are. They came to get me because it suited them.” I was surprised by her casual acceptance of the risks not only of something going wrong but of being left to swing if it didn’t suit the organisation.

In the end she decided to leave Brian’s “orientation” to Rick’s team, Harry was keen to get her back on operations and she wanted to forget about being snatched herself. She also wanted to show she could take the lead role on a pickup, she was fed up with playing second fiddle to some of the others on Harry’s team but she knew she’d have to up her game after the business with Brian.

I’d finished up for the day in the Whitechapel office. Tricia and I had arranged to meet up in the bar where Harry and I had had our drink before the Kushtian trip. I was there first. The bar was almost empty.

I was sat there listening to my i-Pod. Rick had let me have a down-load of Rachel’s distraction mantra. It made eerie listening.

As Rick had said, she was counting off each of the rapes in her own head; distracting herself from the conditioning tapes by concentrating on the pain and humiliations she had suffered since her abduction.

“27,” I heard her voice say. “It’s the tall blonde guard with the very short hair. He wants me to suck him off. He tells me he’ll beat me if I don’t ‘do it nice’. I believe him. He’s big, muscular, tall. No fat anywhere on him. No sign of any humanity either. He tells me to unzip his fly. I’m too slow. He slaps my face. He’s wearing a ring; gold, a jaguar head with rubies for eyes. The ring catches the side of my mouth. There’s a sharp pain. It’s bleeding. He grabs my hair. I’m scared that he’ll break my neck. I’m on my knees. I fumble with the zip of his fly. I can see the stitching on the denim, the yellow metal of the zip tag. I’m still too slow, another slap. My ears are ringing. I pull his cock from his trousers. He tells me that’s good. It’s swollen, purple, he’s obviously already excited. It smells musty, somehow, as if it’s come from some damp, dark cave. He says to use my mouth; like I’ve done for the others. They’ve all told him that I can do it all right but he might have to force me. I say he doesn’t have to hurt me. He says maybe he’d like to anyway and laughs. I’m more scared than before. I do as he says. My mouth is full of his cock. He pushes back against me, I’m choking. It seems like his whole weight is behind his cock, threatening to push it through my throat. He doesn’t take long. I feel him come, his cock pulsing with a rhythmic judder. I taste his salty, slimy cum. He keeps my head pressed against his groin. Not bad, he says. That’s what he thinks. For me, it’s vile. I’m choking with the taste and the smell and the feel of his slime in my mouth. He pushes me away, I fall back against the wall, my bound arms hit the wall first and then the weight of my body crashes against them. I can feel the skin on my elbows scraping away as I slide down the wall. The guard walks towards me and crouches down. I think he’s going to help me up but he doesn’t. He reaches down and pulls at my skirt, he uses it to wipe off his cock. Not bad at all, he says. Perhaps, I’ll be back, he says. I hope he isn’t. But I know there will just be more. I curl up on the floor, trying to get inside myself. It’s only there I can get away from all of them.”

I could hear the voice of the preparation tape in the background. “Listen to me,” it said, in an insistent, flat monotone, “Listen to me. You know what you must do to be happy. You know that you only have to obey. Listen to me. Listen to me….”

“28,” she went on, insistently. “It’s one of the trainers. He’s short and thin with long dark hair. He wears a mask, a white face; expressionless, no feeling. He’s holding the cane they use to beat me. He spreads my thighs with the tip of the cane, looks at the cuts and the bruises. He seems pleased but I can’t tell from the featureless mask that covers his face. My cunt is naked, exposed, but he’s not looking at that; he’s enjoying the bruising that they’ve done to my thighs. It’s horrible how he’s staring at me, more interested in my pain than my sex. He changes how I’m tied, straps my wrists up to the top of my arms, my ankles up to the tops of my thighs. I can’t protect myself at all but then I never could. He watches as I wriggle on the floor. At least I think he watches, I can only see his eyes flickering back and forth behind the mask. His skin seems soft when he touches me but what he does to me is hard. My limbs are bent and aching already. He is still watching me wriggle. I don’t want to do this for his amusement, but it’s so uncomfortable. He tells me I must learn to accept restraint. I spit at him. He’s not pleased. He gets a wire frame and wedges it in my mouth. I try to shake my head. He moves a catch at the side, the frame spreads my mouth wider. I can’t stop it. He laughs behind the blank white mask as I groan. I shake my head in protest. He shakes his head, more slowly. He’s got some sort of short wide belt. It’s a collar as deep as my neck is long. He fastens it in place. It holds my head rigid. He tells me I must learn acceptance. I don’t believe him. I won’t believe him. He takes off his trousers, hangs them neatly over the back of the chair. He’s going to rape me but he wants to make sure his trousers don’t get creased. He takes me on the floor. He pushes his hand against my crotch. I try to pull away and he laughs. He tears at my knickers, they are sodden with my own fluid and the cum of those that have been before. I feel him push his soft fingers into my cunt. He pulls at the hair that is there. One more rape. No different to the others apart from in the trivial, miniscule details of who and what and how. His cock seems no different to the others. His hands no different. His breath carries the sweet and pungent smell of garlic. I can smell tobacco on his clothes. His white, rigid mask presses against my face. I smell its plastic artificiality. Expressionless I can see nothing of his feeling from the mask while within me I sense every rise and fall in his lust in the stiffening and ebbing of his cock. He pulls away. He moves behind me. What’s he doing now? I can’t see what he’s up to. I feel him pull at my hair, feel his cock against my head. He’s wound my hair around his cock, he pulls back and presses forward. I feel his cock against my scalp, the tug on my hair as he pulls back. With a short spasm he comes, pinching at my tits with his soft fingers as he does so. He leaves me on the floor; his cum dripping from my hair. My clothes more torn than ever. He says nothing; just looks at me through his expressionless mask and leaves.”

“29,” she continued. “The last one’s only just gone. It’s the receptionist. She can’t be any older than me. Why is she doing this? Why is she doing this to me? She’s got mousey hair with blonde highlights. What’s she wearing. I can’t remember. Oh yes, just a t-shirt and a skirt. She’s saying why should the boys have all the fun. She’s had a boring morning, what can I do to amuse her? I can’t say anything, the gag has my mouth spread wide. My tongue is dry as much from fear as anything. A cough and groan. She laughs and says that’s a start. She’s got something in her hands. What is it? A dildo and a harness. And tit clamps. I don’t need to guess what she’ll do with them. She pushes me down on my back. The last one strapped my wrists to the tops of my arms. She slaps at my tits. To perk them up she says. I cry through the gag. They still hurt from the last one and now she’s doing this. She fits the clamps to me, they cut in with a sharp pain. I gasp. She smiles. I know it will be worse when they come off. She’s taking off her skirt. Plain white panties. So normal. So ordinary. She squats across me, tracing a finger nail around my lips, spread wide by the gag. My clothes are in tatters. She says how bruised my body looks. I keep thinking of something else. Taking myself somewhere else. Not there. Not in that room any more. Far away. She pulls on the chain linking the nipple clamps. The sharp pain brings me back. She smiles again at my groans. She gets up and straps on the dildo. There, she says, this will be better than all those boys you’ve had to put up with. I try to beg her not to. Even with the gag she knows what I’m saying. She laughs and tells me that she’ll do just as she likes, that I’m here to be used, that I’m fuck meat. I don’t believe her. I go on not believing her. She sees me shake my head. It makes her angry. She grabs me by the hair and hits my head back against the floor. You’ll be fucked until you give in, she tells me, pushing the dildo into my cunt. It’s hard and rigid, and cold. She tells me I am going to cum. I shake my head again, she can’t make me. She carries on thrusting the dildo into me. Again and again. I lose count of the number of times. I’m no longer there. My body is there, but I am elsewhere. My body is being fucked but I am not. She bangs my head against the floor again. I am back in the room with the pain and the shame. She can tell and pushes harder. I give a whimpering cry. She gives a guttural snarl and a grunt. I can tell she has finished. She climbs off and gets to her feet. She un-straps the dildo and puts on her skirt. She turns to go and then turns again. She kicks me. The toe of her shoe hits against my side. Pink leather, pointed toe, four inch heel, strap around her ankle. I look down as the heel slides across my naked belly leaving a red scrape behind it. I try to curl up into a ball as she leaves me. The clamps are still on my tits. I focus on the pain.”

I knew what happened after that. It was, as they say in the cinema, where I came in. I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to listen to more but then Tricia arrived. I took the earphones off, relieved to have an excuse to stop listening.

I went over to the bar to get Tricia and me a couple of drinks. I felt I needed one, she was being sociable. The girl that Harry had been hitting on when we were last there was still behind the bar. I took that to be an encouraging sign. I hadn’t thought that he’d have her snatched but you can never be sure with Harry.

“Hey,” she said. “Nice to see you again. Haven’t seen your friend for a while, either.”

“I’ve been out of the country,” I said, honestly. “Haven’t seen too much of him myself.”

“Well, if you do, tell him I asked after him.”

I picked up the drinks and took them back to our table. Tricia had noticed my conversation. “Another of your conquests?” she smiled, almost suspiciously, picking up her drink.

“No,” I said. “Harry’s”

Tricia smiled. “I didn’t think he did anything apart from work.”

“Yeah, it looks like that doesn’t it? I encouraged him, I suppose. I thought he was seeing that girl but it sounds as if things cooled off. I dunno. It all started before I went to Kushtia and I’ve had other things on my mind since I got back.”

“I know. Thanks for helping get things sorted out.”

“Well, I didn’t do too much. It was all down to Freddie and Harry really. And if it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t have been snatched in the first place.”

“It could have been worse, I suppose,” Tricia said, looking around the bar to see that we couldn’t be overheard. “They didn’t treat me too badly apart from when they brought you over to impress you. The snatch was the worst bit. I was pretty scared, I’ll admit. I had no idea who they were and they weren’t too gentle tying me up. Actually thinking about it, it was kind of interesting – I’m going to suggest to Harry that he includes being on the receiving end as part of the training programme. They were arguing about whether to take me with them or whether to wait for you. I got worried that I was very much expendable. It was all a bit of a shambles really. Then, when they got me to that dungeon, Brian tried to perv his way around me a couple of times in that dominatrix outfit but the girls - the ones that picked you up - saw him off – I don’t think they were too keen on him either. What happened about them anyway?”

“They weren’t around when Brian was collected but, since you ask, I think Harry’s running a check on them as possible recruits. Oh, here he is.”

Tricia waved to Harry as he stood at the door of the bar looking around. He waved back, pointed to a bottle on the bar, asking if we wanted another. We nodded. He got chatting to the girl behind the bar. It didn’t look like we were going to get our drinks for a while.

Tricia pointed to the iPod. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Yeah,” I said, “not real pleasant listening. It makes me wonder if I should be doing this. I mean it started off like a bit of a game. Just a different product. But somehow, this, well.”

“I know,” Tricia said. “It’s hard I guess. I try not to think too much about the girls. To Harry they’re just so many kilos of live-weight, so many dollars traded, but I can’t get that abstracted. The problem is the whole thing is such a kick. There’s nothing like the buzz of a snatch. I guess I’m addicted.” She pointed to Harry at the bar. “Is he planning to lift her?”

I shook my head. “Don’t think so,” I said. “They seemed to be having something approaching a normal relationship when I last looked.”

Tricia looked puzzled and took a pull of her beer.

I changed the subject back to Rachel. I waved the i-Pod. “Have you heard if Rick has made any progress with this young lady?”

“Uh huh. Seems like they’ve found some psychotropic drugs that have been able to suppress her ability to distract herself. Look like the conditioning is working properly this time. They aren’t sure if she’ll be able to write but I’m sure Harry can find you another one if you need it.”

I shrugged my shoulders. I wasn’t sure if it mattered now. We seemed to be getting on OK without her skills. Eventually, Harry came over.

“She was asking after you,” I said nodding to the bar.

“Yeah, it’s been a bit difficult but we’re going for a meal later. Life might be a bit quieter now.”

“I thought that was what Sarah was supposed to be helping out with – getting the admin off your back.”

“Well she does, sure, but she’s a bit of a distraction too. And she’s been getting a bit over her position lately. Still, I wouldn’t want to lose her.”

“It’s not like she can resign,” Tricia chipped in.

“No, but Freddie’s bound to suggest selling her again and … “

I interrupted him. “Stop being so bloody miserable Harry. Just let Sarah get on with the admin. If she’s getting out of line give her to the guards to play with for a while. That’ll solve things. And you take some time out for fun. You’ll be busy enough soon with the work we’re going to get as a result of the Kushtian trade license.”

“I’d forgotten about that with all the problems sorting Brian out but yes, you’re right. Do we know what it will involve yet?”

“No, not really. It’s only a sort of framework contract as it is. It gives us exclusivity to supply from the UK and establishes the opportunity to quote for any Kushtian import requirements. So it’s not like they’re going to suddenly order a batch of product. We’ll probably have to put some effort into developing the business I guess. I need to talk to Freddie about that.”

“So no more orders like Hannani’s or the Kalinin’s at the moment?”

“Not yet, although Freddie mentioned he’s got a meeting with some UK based Kushtian, the Emir of somewhere or other. I wouldn’t be surprised if something comes out of that. He’s going to tell him about what we’ve done for the Kalinin, the Counsellors and Hannani.”

Chapter 39: Training Plan

With Brian and his family packed off to orientation, things started to get back to normal in the office. Business was certainly getting back on track. There seemed to be plenty going on.

After the worries over Tricia it was a relief to get back to some real work. I had the project for Steve Glennis to deal. I was happy with the way the account management activities were working out generally but I needed to do some more thinking about that. Sebastian had finished the first version of the web site and circulating the video to our clients seemed to have worked in driving folk to look at the new services. We were already seeing some benefits from that. Tricia told me that the research teams were rushed off their feet doing quotes for the Search & Snatch service and she had four pick-ups scheduled the following week. I should have been pleased at the increased activity, I know, but it meant Tricia and I weren’t getting much time together and after recent events I was seeing that as a bad thing.

Harry had the idea that I ought to get some more field experience. “I get worried,” he said, “when anyone that hasn’t had the experience starts tinkering around in field ops. I mean the thing in Kushtia sounded like it went OK and you’ve sat in on a number of pick ups now but it’s not the same as doing the job yourself. I think you ought to do some more familiarisation.”

“How do you mean?” I asked. The ops side was interesting and anything that Harry had planned was likely to be more fun than working up market plans.

“Well, do you remember the practice run we set up when you met Tricia first of all?”

I did. The burglary had been one hell of an adrenaline rush. I nodded.

“OK,” said Harry. “We’ve got another site that you can practice on.”

Harry’s team set up a briefing session. The idea was that I’d raid a small office on the edge of town. There would be one girl there according to surveillance. I just had to secure her and rob the place. They’d scoped it out. They reckoned I’d be safe to do it solo. I wasn’t so confident, but Harry insisted I’d be all right.

I pulled on a pair of latex gloves and a ski mask. Once I got inside, it was pretty obvious that there was no one else around apart from the girl behind the desk, just as the briefing had said. She looked up as I walked towards her. She put her hands up to her face as she saw me, obviously startled. Dark hair, early twenties I guessed; efficient looking in a neat, white, short sleeved, blouse. I didn’t want to scare her too badly, even if it was only so she didn’t make too much noise. I slid my jacket back and pulled the pistol from the waistband of my trousers. “Please don’t cry out,” I said, quietly. “And keep your hands where I can see them. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Oh, wow,” she said, apparently unfazed, “are you robbing the place?”

I was surprised by her reaction. “Err, well, yes, I mean, look aren’t you supposed to be frightened by this?” I waved the gun at her.

She grinned back. “Don’t be silly. I know about guns. I can see you’ve still got the safety on.”

“Shit!” I said, nonplussed. I looked down briefly at the gun but jerked my head up again, half expecting her to try to jump me across the desk. I looked back at her. She was grinning.

“Don’t worry. I’m not bothered. You can take what you want from here. I’m pissed off with the place anyway. It’s just so dull. The boss is a fart. You’ve brightened the place up.”

“I don’t suppose you know where the safe is?”

“Of course! It’s through there in the old man’s office.” She pointed to a door behind her. “Here, I’ll show you.” She got to her feet. “Ooh, I guess I ought to do this properly,” she said raising her hands above her head in a gesture of surrender as she walked across to the door to another office. I watched her rear. With her tight black skirt and her high heels tapping on the wooden office floor, I was enjoying the view. “Come on, follow me,” she said looking back towards me over her shoulder. “It’s this way.”

“Look, don’t think I’m not grateful and everything but this isn’t really how you’re supposed to be is it?”

“Oh, come on! You’re not some mindless thug. Actually you’re kind of cute and I quite like forceful men.” She led the way into the other office. “The safe’s down there,” she said, pointing behind the desk. She stood with her back to the wall, hands still raised. “The key’s in the drawer of the desk.” She smiled at my evident confusion, but her next remark did nothing to make it any easier. “But you’ll probably want to tie me up first, won’t you?”

I almost dropped my gun.

“I mean, so you can go through the safe. I don’t think there’s much in there but, you’ll want to have a good look and you can’t really rely on me standing here like this can you? Anyway, I’ll get tired with my hands up like this.”

“Oh, all right,” I said. She smiled. “I don’t suppose you’ve got any rope have you?”

She shook her head. “Don’t be silly,” she said. “You can’t expect me to do all the work.”

I looked around. The office windows had a venetian blind, a long cord hung to one side. I decided it would be good enough. I yanked it free of the blind. She looked approving. “That’ll do,” she said. “How do you want me?” she asked flirtatiously, raising an eyebrow.

I was convinced that I would be safer with her tied up, though not for the usual reasons. “Turn around, get your hands behind your back,” I ordered, waving the gun at her.

She giggled but she did as she was told. “That’s better. This is more fun.” she said as I closed in behind her, pushing the barrel of the gun against the nape of her neck. “And that’s quite sexy.”

I ignored her, focussing on using my other hand to loop the cord around her wrists. With a couple of turns of the cord in place I felt able to put my gun down so I could tighten the cords and knot them off. I let her go and she turned around. “Pretty good,” she said as she flexed her arms experimentally but without seeming to loosen the cords.

“Are you an expert, then?” I asked.

“My boyfriend’s tried a few times,” she laughed, “but he’s not as good at it as you.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Now take a seat while I have a look in the safe.” I took her by the arm and led her to the big, leather, padded, chair that stood behind the desk. I found the key and went to open the lock. Nothing happened.

“You’ll need the combination,” she said, quietly. “I could tell you. If you made me.”

I was beginning to get the measure of my captive. I picked up the pistol and walked towards her. “I imagine threats aren’t going to be enough,” I said, pressing the gun up under her tits. She shook her head smiling. “But perhaps,” I ran the barrel of the gun across one of her nipples; it was already stiffening, “if I were to pinch, here,” I reached forward and gripped the nipple through her blouse. She gave a gasp but didn’t try to pull away. I pinched again. She responded with an appreciative grunt and pushed her hips forward. I slid my hand up under her skirt. A pleasant surprise; she was wearing hold ups, not tights. She didn’t try to pull away. My fingers were twisting at the hairs spilling around the edge of her already damp panties.

“Oh,” she gasped. “That’s – uhh – not fair, Mr Burglar. Oooh.” More pinching of her nipples and her labia seemed to have the desired effect. “No,oooo,” she sounded unconvincing, “uhhuh, 7 left.”

“Good,” I said, pinching and stroking some more. “Go on.”

“Ahh, uhh,” her hips were pushing her crotch against my hand, “Gnngh, ooooh, 24 right. Don’t stop.” Her pants were now soaked. I switched from pinching to stroking the inside of her thigh. “NNgh, oh, you bastard, you absolute fucking bastard, you complete marvellous bastard.” She bucked again. “17 left. That’s it. Ahhh.”

I pulled my hand away, left her and headed back to the safe.

“You can’t stop. Come back.” She seemed to shrink back into the chair, squeezing her thighs together, panting slightly. I dialled in the numbers and span the wheel. I pulled the safe door open. She was right, there wasn’t much in there, just a few hundred pounds and a lot of dull looking papers. Still, that wasn’t really the point, whereas the slim, dark haired, girl in the chair rather was.

“Not much there for my trouble,” I said.

She was looking up at me from her chair. “How about here?” she said.

“It’s been fun,” I said, “but I have to go.” She looked disappointed. “I’ll make you as uncomfortable as I can before I go,” I grinned.

She seemed to perk up. “Are you going to tie me to the chair?”

I shook my head. “Nuh uh. You’re going to struggle and if I leave you on there you’ll pull it over. You’d hurt yourself. Got to remember the Health and Safety regulations. Get down on the floor.” She shuffled herself off of the chair and got down on her knees. I looked around for some more cord. There was a laptop computer on the desk, the cable from its power adaptor looked like it would do for her ankles. She smiled as she caught me looking up her skirt as I bound her ankles. “Nice legs,” I said.

“Thank you, sir,” she responded, wriggling a little, testing the tightness of my knots but giving me a better look at her legs at the same time. “But you know I’ll get out of this quite easily, as it is.” I could see as she wriggled that she’d be able to get at the cords on ankles with her hands.

“I’m sure I can fix that,” I said. “It would never do for you to get free too soon.” I found some more cable and ran a loop around her waist, fixing her wrists to that. Another length around her legs just above and below her knees made it harder for her to move around.

“Hmm,” she said, trying again, “more convincing.”

“I try to oblige,” I said but I hadn’t finished. A final length around her arms just above the elbows and around her chest just below her tits, locked her arms against her body.

She gasped as I jerked the cable tight. “Ooh, that’s tight,” she said but I didn’t think she was complaining.

I knelt beside her on the floor. “Better than the boyfriend?”

She nodded. “Mmm. Do you really have to go?” She wriggled her shoulders, the cords had pulled her blouse tight across her tits. It made for a pleasant view.

I nodded reluctantly. “Sorry,” I said.

“Oh well, you’d better gag me then.”

I grinned. “Aren’t you going to offer to keep quiet?”

“What and miss out on the fun of wriggling and groaning after you’ve gone? Don’t be a spoil sport.”

I thought that the gag was going to be a problem until I noticed that her boss had left a suit hanging on the back of his office door. I searched the pockets and came up with a handkerchief and a necktie. “These will do. I’m sure your boss won’t mind.” She coughed as I pushed the handkerchief between her lips and grunted a bit as I pulled the tie tightly across her mouth, cramming the cloth in. “How’s that?” I said, reaching down and pinching one of her tits. She gave a muffled squeal. She shook her head but her eyes were bright with excitement. There was a roll of packing tape on the desk. I used some of that as well. She wasn’t completely happy with that as it got caught in her hair but it meant the gag would take longer for her to dislodge.

I took another look at my captive. “Now since you’ve already warned me that you’re expecting to get loose.” She shook her head but I ignored her and jerked her ankles up towards her wrists. I knotted the cables together so that her wrists and ankles were touching. I got some more cable and pulled her elbows together with it. She groaned into the gag as I rolled her onto her side. “And let’s make sure your boss gets a treat when he finds you.”

She started to shake her head but I didn’t let that stop me and with the gag she wasn’t making much sense. I guess she didn’t fancy her boss and wasn’t looking forward to him finding her. I unzipped her skirt and pulled it down until it was around her knees. I did the same for her pants. Then I went to work on her blouse, pulling at it until the buttons tore loose and she was left exposed. For the first time she was looking as though she wasn’t completely enjoying it. She had a chain around her neck. It carried a name in gold letters. “Kelly,” it said. Well it was nice to know. I waved her good bye, pocketed the money and left her.

I got back to the car where Harry was waiting. “What took you so long?” he asked. “I was getting worried. Did she put up a fight?”

“No, not really, quite the reverse. It was quite good fun but it wasn’t much use as practice,” I said tossing the meagre take into his lap. “Here, I’ve got enough to buy us a couple of drinks. I’ll tell you about it.”

Chapter 40: Market Research

Harry had a good laugh about my encounter with Kelly. I’d been a bit suspicious that it was a put up job but he assured me it wasn’t. She was just one of the possibles that they’d had on a target list a while back. When they decided she didn’t fit the customer profile they left her office on the list for possible training exercises. He seemed convincing enough about it. I didn’t mind either way, it had been fun.

I bumped into Freddie outside of his office. “Well,” he said, “at least the numbers seem to be picking up.”

I had to agree with him. “Yes,” I said, “the Search and Snatch service has been getting a lot of response and some of that is already feeding through into billings, the on-line auctions have been good for moving some of the stock too.”

“You’re right,” said Freddie, “I can’t remember when we’ve had so little prepped stock sitting around. That’s helped keep the costs down in stock holding too. Mind you some of the staff up there are getting a bit restless; not enough girls for them to play with.”

“We need to find a way to fix that,” I said, “the last thing we want to do is to hack the guards off, they do a great job.”

“Well give it some thought, can you. They’ve got a bit of diversion with Brian’s family but they’ll be sold soon enough and I don’t want to stack up any problems for the future.” He stopped and thought for a moment. “Oh, and another thing… how do you think our market share is now?”

I stopped dead in my tracks. With all the other activities, I’d forgotten one of the basics. I hadn’t really thought about what share of the market we were getting and how we were shaping up against the competition. With Freddie, though, I knew there wasn’t any value in trying to bluff my way out of things. “Freddie, I haven’t the faintest idea. I’d not really thought much about it with all the other stuff we’ve been doing on analysing the client needs and setting up the new products and the account management. You’re absolutely right though. We might be growing but if competitors are growing faster we could be going backwards.”

Freddie grinned. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I thought that might be the case. You’ve been focussing on urgent stuff plus the whole Brian thing was a bit of a distraction. I even have friends that are saying if you carry on like you are the UK will run out of women.” I laughed. Freddie went on. “We need to try to get some sort of a picture though, don’t you agree?”

I nodded.

”I don’t think you’ll find it easy. It’s not like anyone publishes the auction prices and volumes! Anyway see what you can do. I was just going down to see how Rick is getting on with Brian’s family. Do you want a look?”

The real answer was “no, not really,” but I thought that probably wasn’t wise. Freddie still harboured a grudge over the whole Brian business and he’d been getting Rick to make things pretty tough on the women. Plus, of course, he’d been making sure that Brian got to know what was happening to them on his account. Freddie strode off towards the preparation and orientation areas. I tagged along behind him. Rick was there to greet Freddie when he got to the cells.

“You’re looking to see how Alice and her family are getting on?” Rick said.

“Mmm,” said Freddie. “I’d just like to satisfy myself that the regime we are holding them under is sufficiently, let’s say, rigorous.”

“Rigorous,” said Rick, “is the watch word. Come and see.” He opened the door to one of the cells. I followed Rick and Freddie inside.

The four women barely reacted to our arrival in the cell. Clegg had insisted that they should be all kept together so that they should each witness the humiliation and subjugation of the others. That included Brian who was standing chained to the far wall, naked, with his wrists shackled over his head. He was looking in a pretty sorry state. Rick explained that some of the girls had volunteered to, as they said, soften him up. Tricia had quite a few friends in Prep and they had all welcomed the opportunity to take their revenge on her kidnapper. There was a shelf on the wall beside Brian, Ranged along it was an impressive array of butt plugs, nipple clamps, gags, paddles, whips and other items of dubious but almost certainly unpleasant purpose. From the blood that encrusted the wheals on his legs, it looked like quite a lot of the shelf’s devices had already been employed on him. He tried to turn his head towards Clegg. I could see that he’d been fitted with a dental gag. He managed a sound from his throat at once angry and despairing. It wasn’t helped by the collar he’d been fitted with. The stores had only had them in women’s sizes; the biggest they could find still looked like it was choking him. Clegg ignored him and turned his attention to the women.

“I see they’ve been shaved,” said Clegg, looking down at the four bald women. “That’s good. Keep them like this, don’t let the stubble grow back,” he said bending down beside Beth and running his hand across her shaved pubis. “This one’s smooth enough, good.” He put his hand beneath her chin to lift her head so he could look at her face. Her eyes were red with tears. “Oh, yes. Take their eyebrows off as well and their eyelashes. I want all their hair off and kept off.” He turned his attentions towards Ella, pushing her down so she was laying face down on the floor of the cell. He kicked her legs apart and then crouched peering closely at her backside. The bruising around her arse showed she was being used from behind as much as in front. “How often is the 18 year old one being fucked?”

Rick picked up the clipboard used to record punishments and rapes of the cell’s occupants from the hook beside the door. “This one?” he said, pointing at Beth. “Three times so far today, seven yesterday. The 19 year old was eight times yesterday, twice so far today. The girls are more popular than their mother or their aunt. They were done three times each yesterday. ”

“Hmm,” said Clegg. He got up and gripped Alice by the throat, pulling her to her feet and thrusting her back against the wall. She was choking from the pressure of his hand on her windpipe. “Can’t have you feeling left out, can we? I know you just love watching your daughters being raped but we’ll have to see you get your fair share. Rick, make sure she and her sister are getting fucked just as frequently as the girls. It’s not like your lot to need encouragement. Get the guards to roll dice for which one they get to do if they can’t be relied on to share it out evenly. Otherwise pretty good, pretty good. Keep them going on this regime until they’re ready for training.” He turned to me. “Have we had any offers or interest yet?”

“Well, Challis might be interested in him,” I nodded towards Brian. “She’s asked for some photos and an estimate on initial training costs. It looks like we’ve got some Kushtian interest in the two girls but nothing on the mother or her sister yet. I think the sales team are a bit disoriented by all this. They thought a lot of Brian. I’m not sure they are putting all their efforts in.”

“Well, see what you can do,” said Clegg. “And tell the sales lot, they’ve got a new incentive plan. If they can’t find customers for these they’ll be joining them on the web site.” He stalked out.

I went back to my office to work on the market research challenge. I tried to map out a strategy for the problem. I reckoned there were two main things we needed to know. How and what our competitors were doing and what the total volume of sales, in the UK and globally, were. I had a word with Seb, he reckoned he could give me a fix on the volumes and values going through the internet auction sites with just a bit of hacking. I said fine, as long as he didn’t leave our sticky paw prints over anyone else’s web site.

Freddie asked Ellie to give me a contact that might be able to let me have a picture of the total number of abductions in the UK. I was puzzled as to how we might get that until she gave me the phone number to call. Chief Superintendent Phyllis Jacobs of the National Crime Squad sounded like she ought to be an authority and so she was. She pointed out that much of what I needed to know was publicly available. The moves in Government to have police forces publish their performance statistics meant that lists were available of the number of missing person complaints and the clear up rates. She pointed out that if I were to ask for a break down of numbers by sex and age, she would be obliged to provide them under Freedom of Information legislation and I might well get a good fix on what I needed. She was right; it was quite interesting to see what a disproportionate number of women between the ages of 18 and 35 had gone missing over the previous year, and how low the clear-up rate for these disappearances was in comparison with that for other groups.

I didn’t ask Freddie why she was so willing to help.

I cut the police numbers down by a figure that looked like the disappearance rate for other groups, that took care of the “genuine” missing persons, I thought, and left the probable number of slave abductions. Of course I still didn’t know how many of those on the police list were as a result of operations like ours; some of them had to be amateur collectors, picking up by individuals for their own use. They weren’t really competitors individually but, of course, if they were snatching their own they weren’t buying from us. It occurred to me that it might be useful for our overall market share if the police were being more successful against the amateurs, I’d have to think about that.

Seb came up with some useful data. He’d come up with three web sites run by UK organisations.

That linked up with Freddie’s assessment that there were five main competitors to us, Seb reckoned that there were two others under development but not yet operational. We had a look around. One surprise was to see two faces that I recognised. Staring out at me from the screen were Rebecca, my some-time girlfriend whose kidnapping had started my involvement with Clegg’s business, and Amanda, her flatmate. Just out of curiosity I clicked on the “more details” button under Rebecca’s photograph. “Offered for sale by private treaty,” it said. “Following the decision of her owners to replace many of their current slave stock, this well trained piece is available for immediate shipment to a delivery point of your choosing. An experienced flight attendant, she has been serving until recently on her current owner’s aircraft and would be an ideal purchase for any owner seeking to improve service on board their own flights or with minimal cross training on board an owner’s yacht.”

I wondered for a while where she would end up.

Seb interrupted my thoughts, “Do you want to look at the numbers?” he said.

He’d got figures for each of them. Together they made up about 20% of the total number of girls lifted by my reckoning. Given that there wasn’t much different about any of their web sites I guessed that the share of overall sales would be pretty much the same as their share of web based sales. It wasn’t accurate but at least it gave us a working hypothesis.

As well as the numbers I felt I needed the background data. At least I had Rachel’s report following her interviews with Sukie. I pulled the wad of pages from the file. It looked like she had done a thorough enough job. Producing that had stopped anyone asking about what else she had planned, I guessed. She’d organised it much as I had expected with separate pages on each of the “keepers” that Sukie had been loaned out to, 15 keepers detailed on one or two pages each and an overall summary page. I started to read, wondering if it was actually going to help. It was interesting but anecdotal. I wasn’t sure how I was going to draw any conclusions from it.

There were some possibilities, though. The interesting thing was the way in which so many ideas recurred. The sex of course, and the violence and the beatings and the institutionalised humiliation; as if it wasn’t sufficient for the slave to be restrained at the bid of her keeper. It was almost as though the keepers defined themselves in terms of their domain over the slaves that they kept. The slaves weren’t simply utilitarian items, they brought status to their owners in the same way that an expensive car or yacht might. Thinking about it, it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise.

What was puzzling was that none of the descriptions that Rachel had provided seemed to reflect the woman that I had encountered on the island; her warmth, intelligence and instinct for companionship. Whether that was a result of her perspective, or Rachel’s interpretation or the influence of Sukie’s owner, I couldn’t say but I did end up feeling that there I wasn’t getting the whole picture

Tricia was out of town on a job and I was at a loose end anyway, so I thought I’d spend an evening with Sukie.

I found her in a cell in the Prep Centre. It didn’t look like anyone had taken much care of her. She was naked and wearing some heavy shackles around her ankles. Her black, straight, hair was hanging lankly, she didn’t look is if she had washed for days, she smelled that way too. A steel yoke kept her wrists at shoulder level and the steel band around her throat was closed with a padlock that also fastened her to a chain to the cell wall. She was gagged as well. She turned towards me without any show of resentment and knelt up presenting herself to me. “Hello, Sukie,” I said.

She nodded in response. I unfastened her gag, prising the ball from her mouth. “Thank you,” she said.

“Why are you being kept like this?” I asked. The yoke and shackles seemed much more severe than was usual and girls were rarely kept gagged after they arrived unless there was some disciplinary reason.

“The guards tell me it’s because I have not been “prepared”; not been “orientated”. Because you wanted my stories they have just kept me secure, not done anything more. They worry that I will try to escape, I suppose.”

“Aren’t they right to?”

“Perhaps,” she said enigmatically. “But perhaps I have known this way for too long to want to be really free now.”

“I want to talk to you,” I said.

“I thought that’s what you were doing,” she answered.

“Not here. Somewhere more comfortable.” She looked resigned. “It’s not like that,” I said. I called a guard and had him remove the yoke. She still had her standard collar, I thought that would be enough. She seemed to take that as a token of sincerity. “Come on, Sukie,” I said. “Through here.”

We went though to one of the semi-secure suites that clients could use to evaluate stock. The doors can be locked remotely and they have CCTV monitoring, but apart from that they are pretty much like hotel rooms. Sukie looked covetously at the bathroom. “Go on,” I said. “use it if you want.”

“A shower?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said. “Take your time.” She gave a smile of gratitude and disappeared into the bathroom.

She emerged about twenty minutes later, her dark hair wrapped in a white towel turban. I tossed her a white towelling bathrobe, she grabbed it and pulled it on, instinctively wrapping the robe about her. Suddenly she stopped and looked directly at me. “Oh,” she said, “I’m so sorry, I forgot for a moment, please forgive me.” She loosened the belt of the robe and let it fall open, exposing her tits and her cleanly shaved sex. “Of course, I shouldn’t cover myself without permission.”

“It’s all right, Sukie,” I said. “Fasten the robe. Come and sit here.”

She did so, gratefully.

“Your discussions with Rachel,” I said.

“She is very troubled,” Sukie replied. “She finds it hard to accept her place. I have not seen her for a while but I like it when we talk. She wrote down many things. About how I was treated. About the men and the women.”

“But not how you felt?”

Sukie looked towards me and smiled. “No,” she said. “Not how I felt. She did not ask. I did not tell her. I think she still found it difficult to feel. From her taking. From her treatment. She is frightened to feel and she cannot ask how others feel. I don’t think she is as much of a slave as you might believe.”

I looked silently at Sukie, impressed by her perceptiveness. “Tell me how you felt.”


“When you were taken. When you were raped. When you were given to others. When you found yourself here.”

“I don’t know,” she said, pulling off her towel turban and running her hands through her hair. “When I was taken? Shock, I suppose. Shock that it could happen. Hope that I would be rescued. Fear that I might be killed. And then the fear that I would live. That was the shock, I think. How much you can take and still live. How much pain. How much horror. How much fear. And you go on living. Then the denial; that it can’t be happening; that there’s been a terrible mistake; that these people don’t really know who you are.”

“But nothing changes?”

“No, nothing,” she relaxed a little and let her robe fall loose. “Then you get angry. Angry with them; angry with whoever they are doing it for; angry with the people where I’d been that they’d done nothing to stop this. I smashed the chair in my cell. Smashed it against the bed. It didn’t help.”

“Did you find anything that did?”

She shook her head slowly. “You try to negotiate. I’ll suck you off if you let me have more food. I’ll give you a hand job if you find me some clothes. I’ll let you fuck me if you’ll just let me remember what it was like to be me.”

I looked on sympathetically.

“It makes you sad. I sat for days without moving. They came and did whatever they wanted. I did nothing to stop them. There was no point in resisting, it didn’t matter.” She shrugged her shoulders. “And then you know it won’t work. That you can’t change it. That the bargains don’t work. That you’ll never be free. And with every change you repeat the cycle. You’re raped – it didn’t happen, he was a bastard, I could stop it happening again if only I did this or that, it was all my fault, it was just my fate. You’re given to another; the same thing all over again. When I found myself here; the same.”

I wasn’t sure how this was helping. I offered her a drink. She seemed surprised. I gave her some wine. She smiled and drank it gratefully. She looked at me suspiciously.

“Are you going to rape me now?” she said.

“No,” I said. “We’ve finished for now. I’ll try to get things made more comfortable for you.”

She looked grateful. “Will I need to talk to Rachel some more? She seemed very troubled.”

“I don’t know. Not for a while,” I said. I was thinking it was pretty unlikely that Rachel would be doing any more writing given what I heard about the chemical cosh that Rick was using to suppress her ability to distract herself. He’d kicked off some thinking about alternative approaches to orientation but they wouldn’t be on stream in time. The guard came to take Sukie back to her cell. I told him to put her on a light regime. He grunted. I knew I’d have to check that things were all right later.

Another guard appeared with Rachel moments later. She must have passed Sukie in the corridor. I wondered what Sukie would have made of the sight.

The guard gave me her leash and handed me the key to her gag. I asked about her wrist and ankle cuffs. He wasn’t carrying the keys to those he said, standing orders said that her keys had to be held by three separate guards. I wondered if they weren’t over reacting but I guessed nobody wanted to find themselves on their back with her panties in their mouth like Seb had; much less the conversation with Freddie that would follow. They’d stopped raping her. The last thing they wanted was to give her any more sources of distraction.

I led her to the couch and told her to sit. She did so without apparent reaction. She was naked but wore a metal head cage that kept her mouth closed. They’d shaved her head, the black stubble of her hair growing back showed as a dark shadow between the bands of the head cage. I unlocked the chin piece to allow her to speak. She turned to look at me.

“Hello Rachel,” I said.

She seemed only to half recognise me. Her eyes looked as though she was having trouble focussing. I put that down to the drugs. She didn’t say anything.

“Are they letting you write?” I asked.

She looked at me again. It was obvious she was having trouble finding the words. “Write?” she said. “Oh, words, on paper.” She paused. “Write?” Another pause. “No, not yet. Cannot write yet. Must learn to please first. Must learn to obey first. Then can be more free. If I obey I can be more free. Have to obey to be free.”

I didn’t bother trying to debate the intellectual inconsistency. There was a knock at the door. It was Rick. I waved him in. Rachel got to her feet automatically, bowing her head as she did so. He told her to sit.

“What do you think?” he said.

“I think she’s unlikely to be any further use for my projects,” I said regretfully, “at least any time soon. She sounds like she’s pretty well conditioned. Only problem is she’s probably too far out of it to be any use to me.”

“Yeah, the EEG’s seem to show she’s not faking.”

“It sounds like her brain’s been fried.”

Rick gave a grimace. “Well it’s not the phrase we’d use. ‘Higher function disruption’ is what we’d say.” Rachel was sitting motionless and silent. “It’s not permanent. Well not all of it is permanent. Well, we think that most of it isn’t permanent.”

I shook my head. “It’s not going to work at all. I can’t make use of what’s here, least ways not for writing.” Rick gave a smirk. “Couldn’t we have found a less destructive approach?”

Rick looked discouraged. “We did what we could, Larry,” he said. “Maybe we need some new techniques. I’ll think about if for the future. We are where we are with this one though.”

I looked at where Rachel was sitting passively, not reacting to anything we said. “She’s got quite a nice body,” I said. “I’m sure we can find a buyer once she’s safe. I can’t see any reason to keep her around, can you?”

Rick shook his head. “Fair enough,” he said. “I thought that was what you’d think. I’ll get some of the sales team to trawl through their contacts and see if there’s a taker for a dark haired girl with small tits and slim hips.”

“That’s about all I could think of too.” It was a shame but I guess it didn’t really matter. I locked her mouth strap back in place and watched as Rick and the guard took her away. She didn’t resist. I went back to my office and fired up the lap top. I had a market study to write up.


To: F. Clegg

From: L. Ross, Marketing

Date: 27/05/06

Subject: Market Share, Market Development & Account Management


You asked for a summary of our market share position and I also wanted to update you on my thoughts following a review of the material collected from acquisition number 06/349 (“Sukie”) by our writer. I think it has a number of implications for the development of our account management programme and the way in which we develop future markets.

The market share data collected (see attached) indicates that we have achieved a market share of 25% which confirms us as one of the top three concerns in the market. Since the data indicates that all three organisations have a market share of around 25% and this method can’t give a result better than +/- 5% I can’t identify one specifically as market leader. It could even be us! Obviously we need to continue to track this and determine whether our increased volumes are coming at the expense of our competitors (greater market share) or as a result of expansion in the market (either as a result of our own efforts or of external factors). My current view is that the increase results from market growth stimulated by the social and economic factors we discussed before. Future analysis of competitor initiatives should provide further evidence of this.

I have summarised my conclusions and recommendations below. A more detailed analysis follows. If you want to see the original report prepared by #06/285 (“Rachel”), I can let you have a copy.


The overall conclusions drawn from my analysis of the #06/349 data are:

(1) There is a significant growth in the numbers of women keeping slaves of all kinds and especially women slaves (F-on-F). Some of this can be attributed to the growth in disposable income amongst US females and to socio-cultural changes in that market. We can expect an increasing number of F-on-F opportunities to present themselves generally and specifically in the UK and should gear our promotion and client recruitment programmes accordingly. According to the experiences of #06/349 F-on-F arrangements include principally domestic service and sex-slave ownership scenarios. Alternative uses for property (as discussed below) are less common in F-on-F arrangements. As a result it can be expected that current preparation and orientation activities within Clegg Enterprises will be sufficient for this new sector. F-on-F owners do collect their own property but also rely on purchase at auction or commissioned collection as a route to acquisition. F-on-F acquisition commissions are likely to be based more on personality than on physical attributes. This will require different approaches to recruitment planning and a different approach to the management of F-on-F accounts.

(2) The US is seeing an increasing use of slaves for other purposes than the traditional sex slave/domestic servant roles. This includes usage of slaves for such purposes as:

Ponies : Given Glennis’s enthusiasm for this it is not surprising to find that #06/349 records this. It represents a small but distinct market.
Décor: This is the second most popular use for slaves. #06/349 records instances of slave usage as lamp holders, furniture (especially tables and footstools), and as fixed display pieces.
Toys & Pets: #06/349 recounts eight instances of product acquired for a maze where they were kept under observation for the amusement of the owners and a further six instances of pet keeping where the product is used as a house-pet.

(3) US and other nationality owners are increasingly inter-acting and as a result territorial differences between markets can be expected to reduce.

I propose the following in response to this:-

(A) We should focus an account management activity to develop the F-on-F sector.

(B) Our preparation / orientation activities need to review the opportunities presented by the emerging new roles for slaves. This could include development of new orientation programmes for toys and pets and the development of approaches that will make it easier to deeply condition product for décor purposes.

(C) Account management activities should be organised to focus on networks of owners rather than along geographical lines.



I finished the memo and sent it off. I wasn’t completely happy with it but it was a start.

Sometimes market research is as important for what it doesn’t tell you as what it does. I felt we needed to think outside the box, or rather outside the packing case containing a tightly bound and tape gagged girl, when it came to product and market.

My encounter with Kelly had made me think that we needed to look at things through different eyes. I felt I needed to see her again.

Chapter 41: Kelly Girl

I suppose I was cheating on Tricia but she was still off on some collection way up country and wasn’t going to be back all week. I was bored and besides I was very interested in trying to think about the market from a different perspective. Least ways, that’s what I told myself.

I was sitting in the coffee bar across the road from the office that I’d burglarised the week before. I don’t really know what I was planning to do. Just see what happened, if anything, I guess. I watched as Kelly walked along the street on the other side of the road. She didn’t look any the worse for our encounter but then apart from the embarrassment of being found with her clothes dishevelled, I didn’t think she’d had to put up with all that much.

She stopped on the steps of the building and looked at her watch. Deciding that she had some time to spare, she skipped across the road towards me. She came into the coffee bar and went up to the counter. “Slim latte,” she said, chirpily to the guy behind the counter. “Thanks.”

I drew in my breath and decided to trust my judgement. “Hi, Kelly,” I called. “Want to join me?”

She looked puzzled but came across to my table anyway. “Have we met?” she said.

“Sure,” I said. “I came by your office last week.”

She stared at me hard, right in the eyes. She put her coffee down and put her hands to her mouth. “Oh. My. God,” she said.

“It’s going to be a bit difficult talking if you put a full stop after every word.”

“It’s Mr Burglar, isn’t it?” she hissed quietly.

It was my turn to look puzzled. “I’m sorry?” I dissembled.

“OK,” she said, composing herself. “Silly of me. Nice to see you again. I really enjoyed our last date, though I was upset when you ran out on me when you did. I didn’t expect to see you again so soon. Or at all really.” She smiled, stirring her coffee without really paying attention to it.

“I thought we might go somewhere.”

She put her head on one side, thinking. “I’m supposed to be at work.” She paused. “But I’m not really feeling up to it. I had a disturbing experience there last week. I’m having a flashback, right now.”

“You look fine.”

“Yeah, I know but I was thinking I’d call in sick. Tell the boss I was planning to spend the day in bed.” She looked at me over her coffee, dark eyes staring out through a fringe of dark hair.

“I could make sure you got home safely. If you liked.”

She looked me up and down. “Yeah,” she said, taking a deep breath and following it with a big slug of coffee. “That would be good. You won’t mind if we take my car though?”

“Fine by me,” I said. “I came by bus. I hoped I might get picked up.”

She gave me a long hard look, picked up her coffee and said, “Let’s go.”

I followed her out of the coffee shop and down the road towards a multi-story car park. We got into her VW Golf, she dropped some coins in the exit gate and we were on our way.

As we drove she clipped her Bluetooth earpiece on and punched a number on her mobile. “Mr Lewis? It’s Kelly. I was on my way in but I don’t feel like I can work today. I’m going back home. ….. Well thanks for being so understanding. ….. Sorry to let you down.” She turned the mobile off and tossed the earpiece into the cubby hole between the seats.

“Why did you come back?”

“I enjoyed our last meeting,” I said. “And I was puzzled.”


“By your reaction. That’s not the effect I usually have on girls.”

“Like I said, I like forceful men.”

“Don’t you think this is a little dangerous?”

“Yes,” she grinned.

We stopped outside a small semi detached house in a tree lined street. “Do you know,” she said turning to me. “What would really scare me?”

“Mice?” I suggested.

She shook her head. “If I was to be attacked in my own home. Much worse than being burgled in the office.” She smiled as she opened the door. “Come on in,” she said.

We got through the door, she shut it behind us and instantly we fell on each other. I pushed her back against the closed door, my mouth on hers, my hands running over her body and hers over mine. I kissed her, she kissed back. We paused for breath. “Not like that,” she said, thickly, “like this.” She turned her back on me, grabbed my hand and pulled it up to her mouth. I got the idea and pulled her hard back against me, crushing her mouth with my hand.

“Shuttup bitch, if you don’t want to get hurt,” I snarled. She pushed back, trying to pull her head away from my hand. She was struggling like she meant it but not so I couldn’t keep hold of her. I grabbed her arms and swung her against the wall. She was winded and slid to the floor. I ripped the strap off of her handbag, rolled her over on her face and used it to tie her wrists.

“What, what do you want?” she gasped.

“Money,” I said. “And maybe some fun.”

“There’s no money here.”

“Then it’ll have to be the fun.” I pulled her to her feet, dragging her up by an arm. She yelped as the belt took her weight and cut into her wrists. “What’s through there?” I nodded to a door off the hall.

“Living room,” she coughed; getting her breath back. I nodded to another door. “Kitchen,” she said.

“That’ll do,” I said pulling her down the hall and through the door. I pushed her down on the floor beside the cooker. There was a knife block on the worktop beside it. I picked out one with a 6 inch blade and held it to her throat. “You’re going to be good.” It was an instruction, not a question.

She gave a quiet, “yes,” staring at the blade. She looked convinced. I found a tea towel on a rail by the sink and used it to gag her, ripped the power cord from her food blender and tied her ankles. “Stay there,” I told her and left to explore the house.

I started in the living room. Nothing too interesting there. A collection of R ’n B CD’s scattered on the coffee table meant at least we’d have some music to get down to later on. I looked back in on Kelly in the kitchen as I went back down the hall. She gave me a “Hnngh” from behind her gag and wriggled her shoulders, experimentally trying to loosen the bag strap around her wrists. It looked like I’d made it a bit easy for her so I went across and looped her ankle cord back to her wrists. I tipped her onto her face. She grunted and gave another wriggle.

I thought I’d check upstairs. After all, she’d said she wanted to spend the day in bed. Her bedroom was quite girly. No surprise there, I suppose; soft toys on the window sill, patterned eiderdown on the bed. I pulled out the top drawer of her dressing table and tipped it out on the floor. Underwear; pants, bras, thongs, tights, stockings. I chose one of her dark tan stockings and pulled it over my head. That would do for a mask, I thought. Time for some more play.

I got back to the kitchen. She’d put in some effort and managed to wriggle herself most of the way across the floor towards the door. “Good try, darling,” I said as I got to the door.

She looked up, saw the mask and gave an appreciative grunt.

“Like I said. It’ll have to be the fun.” I ran the tip of the knife blade down her thigh. She squealed in what sounded like genuine fright. The blade snagged on her tights; a run disappeared up beneath the hem of her skirt. I took the knife, cut through the cable around her ankles and pulled her to her feet. “Upstairs, cunt,” I said, grabbing her arm and pushing her forward. She staggered up the stairs, half falling as she reached the top. I pulled her into the bedroom and pushed her down on her back on the bed. I lay down beside her, the knife close to her throat.

I eased the gag out of her mouth, the knotted dish cloth hung around her neck. She worked her jaw a bit, panting slightly. “You are good at this, aren’t you?” she said.

I used the knife to slice the buttons from her blouse. She tried to shrink back into the bed but the way her nipples had stiffened underneath her bra betrayed her true feelings. “And you like this a lot too, don’t you?” I responded.

She whimpered as I ran the knife blade down her cheek. “Mmm,” she muttered quietly.

I thought it was all getting a bit too cosy. I reached out and grabbed a pair of panties from the pile of underwear on the bedroom floor and crammed them into her mouth. She bucked and struggled as I knotted the tea towel gag back in place. I guess she felt she still had some more to say. I found a couple of pairs of tights in the pile. I pulled her by the legs towards the end of the bed. She squealed behind the gag as she fell backwards. Pushing the pants into her mouth had improved its muffling effects. I grabbed each of her ankles in turn and tied them to the legs of the bed so that her legs were well spread out. She was trying to thrash about without much success. I pushed her square in the chest so she fell back on the bed again. I climbed up alongside her and put one arm across her throat. “I’d keep still if I were you. I think you’re over dressed.”

I slipped the knife under each of her bra straps, slicing through each in turn. Another cut between her breasts let me pull her bra from her. I pulled her tights down a cut through her panties on either side. If her nipples had shown that she was starting to get excited, her soaked panties confirmed that her excitement was rising. She moaned as she felt my hand on her snatch.

I sat up. She gave me a quizzical look and a puzzled and disappointed grunt. She tried to wriggle her hips indicating that she wasn’t happy that I had stopped. “Uh-uh,” I said wagging my head. “The burglar’s got work to do. I haven’t even started looking for jewellery or cash yet.”

Kelly whimpered in response, plainly unhappy at being left, but I felt I ought to play the part. I turned out the contents of her dressing table, tipped out her handbag, went through a couple of jewel boxes that stood on the window sill behind her bed, pulled some clothes out of her wardrobe, upended some drawers on the floor. I made a bit of a mess but I guess she wouldn’t mind clearing up afterwards. There wasn’t much there. If I‘d been a real burglar, I’d have been disappointed with everything but the girl. It was then that I stubbed my toe.

It was a suitcase under the bed. I went to pull it out. Kelly got distinctly agitated, bouncing around on the bed without having any effect on her bonds. “What’s this?” I said, earning a look of disapproval from Kelly on the bed. She shook her head and squealed.

I sat down on the bed and put the case down beside me. I opened it. I guess I wasn’t surprised by what it contained. Kelly was still looking furious but now she was blushing as well, curious given that she’d let me tie her to the bed and cut her clothes from her I thought.

It was her BDSM toy box. There were a couple of bondage magazines, a couple of fetish scene magazines, and a collection of straps, gags, dildos, vibrators and other stuff.

I reached across and loosened off her gag. She pushed the panties from her mouth with her tongue. “You are a bastard,” she said. “You weren’t supposed to find that.”

“Shame,” I said. “You can’t rely on anyone. Do you want to tell me about this stuff?”

She shook her head. “I was happier with what we were doing before.”

“You’re in no position to negotiate.” I ran one of the vibrators along the inside of her thigh. I thumbed the switch as it reached her crotch. She gave a squeal and tried to snap her knees together. It jerked her ankles painfully against the stockings that tied her. She yelped.

“Bastard,” she panted, arching her back to push herself against the vibrator. I picked up one of the fetish mags and started to thumb through it, ignoring her reaction to the vibrator pressed against her crotch. “What’s to tell? You know what I’m in to.” I switched the vibrator off. She grunted and tried to push her hips forward. “I go to the occasional club event. It’s the only way I can get the buzz. My boy friend wasn’t keen. I think it scared him off. There’s a few of us at the munch that have had the same problem.” I flicked the vibrator back on. “Ahhh!”

“Munch?” I said.

“It’s a sort of casual meet-up at the local pub for folk interested in this stuff,” she said. “I’ve got a few girlfriends I see there. They’re pretty much like me. Wish they could get to do more of this; can’t find the blokes that will give them what they want. There’s plenty of opportunities for female tops. Subs like me find it harder.”

“Let me make it easier.” I jammed the vibrator into her cunt and turned it on. It cut the conversation short as she moaned in reaction to it. I left it in her while I rummaged through the box. I pulled out a ball gag. It was bigger than the ones we used in the Prep Centre. She took it without trouble. The vibrator was bringing her close to a climax. She was drooling around the edge of the gag as she shook her head from side to side and twisted her hips back and forth.

It made for a fun day’s play. At the end of it I was wondering if perhaps we really needed to go on abducting girls to get the slaves we wanted. I left Kelly to worry about clearing up.

Chapter 42: Building Works

Business was certainly getting back to normal. When I next saw Freddie he had quite a chirpy air about him. I was still worrying about Rachel, I couldn’t help admiring the way in which she had held on, even if it now looked as though she been irreparably damaged by it. The one encouraging thing was that Rick reckoned she was showing signs that her catatonic state was easing. He hadn’t found any potential buyers yet. I suggested that he held off for a bit until we had a better picture of her prognosis. It didn’t sound like smart business to me to be selling stock on unless you were certain what you were delivering.

Clegg had asked me to join a meeting. I got there before he did. Sarah was there looking as efficient as ever, sitting beside Clegg’s desk, demurely dressed in a white blouse and a long black skirt that reached almost to the floor. I’d have asked her what the meeting was about but her mouth was filled with one of the Prep Centre’s standard issue ball gags.

There in the middle of Clegg’s desk was an architectural model. It looked like quite an old house – a late Elizabethan manor house butted onto the keep of an earlier castle was my guess. The house was surrounded by a moat and outside of that by a circular bank. I was peering closely at it when Freddie came in with Harry and a visitor, a young man wearing a loud check sports jacket.

“Ahha,” said the visitor, in an ear splitting Brooklyn accent. “You’re admiring my new home. Whaddya think?”

“This is Ross,” said Clegg introducing me. “Larry Ross.”

“Sure, sure,” the visitor said. “I’ve heard about you. Big help around here.”

I tried to smile modestly but it was difficult to hide the pleasure of being recognised for the work I was doing.

“This,” said Clegg, pointing at the newcomer, “is the Emir of Kolin” Clegg saw my look of surprise. He certainly didn’t sound like any of the Kushtians that I had met so far. “He has recently inherited the title. He’s been living in the States for the last twenty years.”

“Like forever,” the Emir cut in with a grin.

Clegg smiled tolerantly and continued “And he’s coming to the UK to establish trading links between Kushtia and various UK companies. The Kalinin is apparently very keen to have commercial links here. We have another little project on for the Emir with one of our other divisions,” Clegg gestured at the model, “and now he would like us to help out with the sort of task that you and Harry are such experts at. Harry; thank you for bringing Sarah along, she can take notes, there will be quite a lot to do.”

“Ah, she works too, does she?” The Emir smiled. “Thought she was just the office eye candy.” Sarah looked as though she was embarrassed by his remarks – she still hadn’t really got used to being viewed as a sex object – but she liked being noticed too.

The ‘other division’ turned out to be the company that Clegg used for construction projects. Most of that was legitimate work but they also had a side-line constructing dungeons and other secure accommodation for slave keepers. They had lots of experience with concrete set metal bars, heavy doors, underground construction, that sort of thing. Clegg’s team had been extending and converting the Emir’s new home in the Worcestershire countryside. He’d bought it cheaply after a plan to convert the building into a hotel had collapsed. The developers had got as far as installing the pool, the gym and the spa and creating 20 bedrooms in what was the old castle keep. They’d built the golf course. Then the money had run out.

“Work is going fine,” the Emir said. “All on schedule and to what I understand to be Mr Clegg’s usual standards of quality. What’s needed now is the final preparations for the soft furnishings.”

The Emir could see I looked puzzled. “Ah, please excuse my euphemism,” he said, “by soft furnishings I mean my wives and concubines. Let me explain.” He went to pick up his briefcase from the desk. As he did so he got the view that I had been enjoying for some time. Although from The Emir’s side, Sarah’s skirt looked had extremely modest, draping across her lap and falling to the middle of her calves, from my side you could see that it was slit to the hip, showing her legs off beautifully. “Oh, very nice,” said the Emir. “Hey Larry, you’ve been holding out on me, enjoying that.” He nodded to Freddie. “Do you mind,” he said waving a thumb at Sarah. She looked worried.

“Not at all,” said Freddie, “help yourself.”

“Great,” said the Emir pulling papers from the case. As he started to consult the documents his free hand dived inside Sarah’s blouse, squeezing and pinching at her tits. She gave a muffled squeak of pain. The Emir ignored her reactions. “Now youse guys, here’s the game. I’ve got five wives and three girls that are, let’s say, going to be ‘living in’ for my amusement. They are prime Kushtian womanhood. Man of my status only gets to wed the best.” Sarah gave another squeak in response to the Emir’s attentions. “And I like to take care of my wives. Freddie here has done a good job on the hotel facilities. I’m going to need some staff to keep the ladies comfortable.”

Harry looked interested. Clegg looked smug. He could tell this was going to involve a multiple collection of some sort or a way of shifting some stock. “But you won’t be looking for additional wives or bed mates?” I said, looking as always to the higher margin opportunities.

“Well, I am going to need some local girls for entertaining my customers. And I don’t mean playing checkers if you get my drift. So no wives but we’ll need some girls that can bounce to order.”

“OK,” I said, “so what are you looking for in the staff line?”

“I’ve got a list here,“ he said, “your girl here can type it up later.” He rolled up the paper and pushed it down the front of her blouse until it was wedged in Sarah’s cleavage. She gave a disconcerted whimper. “But mainly what we need is a beautician/hairdresser, a nurse, a dietician, someone to keep the girls fit and four maidservants to keep the place clean. On top of that I think I need three, maybe four for entertaining. I’d just like to see a selection of what you’ve got in stock for that, I’m not too fussy. Just as long as they’re equipped and willing.”

“Well, what do you think, gentlemen?” Freddie said to Harry and myself.

Harry spoke first, “I’m sure we can come up with some possibilities. The research teams have been doing well lately and were building a bigger and bigger database of potential acquisitions. I’d suggest that we try to pull together a list of maybes and then get you to look over them Emir, to see which of them will fit the bill.”

“Sure,” said the Emir, still toying with Sarah’s breasts. “That sounds great. If the pick-ups are as good as the staff,” a pinch to the nipple brought another squeak from the gagged Sarah, “I’ll be happy. Why don’t you bring your ideas up to the castle next week? Your guys will be finished by then won’t they?” Freddie nodded. “OK come up to the castle, you can show me what you propose and I’ll show you where they’ll be working.”

“That sounds fine,” I said.

“Great,” said the Emir. “Oh, and bring this little cutie with you.” He pinched Sarah again. “She’s fun to have around.”

Chapter 43: Into Worcestershire

A week later, Harry and I met up in Harry’s office in the Prep Centre. It was only about an hour’s drive to the Emir’s new home but we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time.

Harry summoned Sarah. “Have you got the folders?” he asked.

Sarah, neat and efficient as ever, placed a pile of file folders on the desk. “Yes, sir,” she said. I think you’ll find that it’s just as you wanted. There’s a folder for each of the potential acquisitions and a summary sheet for each category. I’ve tried to make it all as clear as possible and….”

“That’s all right Sarah, I’m sure it’s fine.” Sarah allowed herself a smile of satisfaction.

“Well, I like to do a good job, as you know.”

“Sure Sarah,” said Harry. “Still we’d better get you ready if you’re coming with us.” He reached into his drawer and pulled out a pair of handcuffs.

“Oh,” she said, “but surely you don’t need that. I mean, I’m part of the team now, I’ve done all this work with Rick and…”

“I’m sorry Sarah, you know the rules.” Harry said, bluntly. “I can’t take you out of here unsecured. Even with your collar on,” she fingered the tags that held her identity details. “In fact, I think you’re forgetting your place, young lady. You’ll be gagged as well.”

Sarah looked pained but did nothing further to object. “Now put these on.” He passed her a pair of handcuffs.

She picked them up and fastened one of them around her wrists. “Is that tight enough?” she asked, falling into a more compliant mood.

“That’s fine,” said Harry. “Now this gag, please.” Harry handed her one of the gags that Rick had been experimenting with since the client presentation we had given at Freddie’s club.

“Shouldn’t there be a strap with this?” Sarah asked, turning the object over in her hands. It looked like the mouth piece of a snorkel but with a small ball-shaped rubbery swelling where the air hole would normally be.

“No, that’s all right. Just push the ball into your mouth and grip the rubber piece between your teeth”

Sarah looked confused. “Oh, but it’s far too small. It’ll never work. Let me get one of the standard gags from my desk.”

“Sarah,” said Harry. “Please just do as you are told.” Sarah looked sheepish and put the mouthpiece between her lips, taking the small ball into her mouth. Within a moment the gel began to swell with the warmth of her mouth. The startled look on Sarah’s face was a delight. She squealed as the golf ball more than doubled in size, stuffing her mouth until her cheeks bulged with the pressure of the expanding gel. A rigid tube through the centre of the gel maintained an airway but her mouth was completely filled and there was no question of her pushing the gag out, even without a strap to hold it in place. Her hands flew up to her bulging cheeks but there was nothing she could do about the mouth filling gel. “Humwumhumph,” was the only sound she could make.

I had to confess to being impressed. Harry was too. “It’s the first time I’ve tried one,” he said. Sarah looked distressed at the idea of being a guinea pig for the technology. “But after that, I think I’ll be using them on field operations.” He reached into one of the drawers of his desk and pulled out one of the nylon sacks of the type we’d used on the Questor pick up. “This will stop our friend here from getting too messy on the journey,” Harry said adding to Sarah’s confused concern as he fitted the bag around her and zipped it up to her neck collar before tightening the straps so that her arms were locked against her sides and her legs were locked together. “Let’s go.”

He picked up the bagged and gagged Sarah and tossed her across his shoulder. I followed him out to the car park, grinning at Sarah’s plumped out cheeks as she wriggled around on Harry’s shoulder.

We put Sarah into the boot of the car and strapped her in so she wouldn’t bounce around. “Just remember, girl, you’re not staff, you’re stock,” said Harry, bluntly, as he shut the lid.

I rode up front with Harry. An hour later we turned off of the road past a broken down sign that had been put up for the hotel. The drive wound through trees and then the castle itself appeared. Far more imposing than the model had suggested, the grey bulk of the old circular castle keep rose behind the red brick of the Tudor house, slowly filling our view as we approached it.

The Emir was there to greet us. “Nice to see you guys. Welcome to Worcestershire.” Harry opened the boot. “And you brought the girl too, great. She’ll love some of the facilities.” Sarah looked unconvinced as she was lifted out of the back of the car. The Emir made no attempt to conceal his pleasure at the sight of her legs as Harry unzipped her from her sack and helped her to clamber out. “We might as well start the tour right away,” he said waving us in through the door.

The manor house itself was unremarkable. Comfortable and well furnished but hardly anything unusual. The castle keep however was very different. We walked across a covered way from the manor house into the keep at first floor level, emerging into a circular room in the middle of the keep. Ranged around us were a series of heavy wooden doors.

“These were the hotel rooms,” said the Emir, “but your man Clegg’s made them better suited for less willing occupants. Look at this one.” He pulled open a door. It was solid oak with a heavy lock. We looked inside. It wasn’t too small. There were four bunk beds, solidly built and equipped with shackle rings at each corner. The room still had its bathroom but there was no door. The room had one window but criss-crossed bars covered it. As we looked around it was obvious that anyone staying in the room would have little opportunity to escape. “Freddie’s team do a real neat job.” He gestured to the ceiling. “Audio and video surveillance of course, linked to voice and movement activated recorders in the main building. And the whole building has RFID sensors fitted so we can put tags on the girls – we’ll use anklets – that will let us track any of them wherever they are in the complex. Same sort of technology that you use in the Prep Centre, Freddie tells me. That way we can let them get on with their duties but still have them under control. You can let your girl out of handcuffs if you like; her collar will be tracked here too.”

Harry looked impressed as he freed Sarah from her cuffs. He took a small cartridge from his pocket and screwed the nozzle into the front of Sarah’s gag. It gave a hiss as the CO2 rushed through the tube that wound, capillary like, through the gel. As the gas discharged the gel inside Sarah’s mouth was cooled and it shrank back to its original size. Harry prised the mouthpiece from Sarah’s lips, much to her relief, and popped the device in his pocket. Sarah coughed, spluttered, worked her aching jaw, and looked sheepish but said nothing.

“Well when we get them it looks like you’ll be able to hang on to them,” said Harry. “We’ve got some files to go through with you, possible pick ups. Like we agreed.”

“Yeah sure,” said the Emir, “but I’ve got something else to show you first. Come through here.” He showed us the way through a low stone arch. “Look at these walls – seven feet thick – solid stone, terrific building – these guys knew how to make things to last.” It led to a spiral staircase cut into the thickness of the wall of the castle keep. He pointed upwards. “There’s another three floors up there,” he said. “Plenty of room for expansion. But I want to show you down here. This is the real goods.” We followed him down, Sarah tagging dutifully along behind us.

The foot of the stairs brought us out into a dark, stone-lined cellar. The Emir turned a control by the door and the lights came on slowly revealing that one half of the circle had been divided up into a series of cages. Some of them were small with a single low door; their occupants would be unable to stand up when inside them, two in the middle would allow some movement, two on the right were very narrow; once inside the occupant would be unable to sit down or lie down. “This used to be the dungeon,” the Emir said. “They’d converted it to a wine cellar. Well, I like wine as much as the next man but there are limits, I thought I’d put it back to its original use. Plus, I get to keep some of my toys in here.” he pushed a switch that turned on a battery of spot lights. Whoever had the misfortune to be occupying the cages would have an unrestricted view of a range of unpleasant devices that could be used on them.

Sarah was obviously disconcerted by the sight of a series of medieval implements of restraint and torture but said nothing.

“Ain’t this the goods?” the Emir said. “They’re all accurate replicas. Had some guys from your Tower of London check them out. Said they were just like the ones in their museum. Pillory, stocks, whipping post, gibbet cage, rack. Make me feel like the Sheriff of Nottingham, all I need is a Maid Marian, now.” He smirked at Sarah. “Say, why don’t you let the boys see how good you could make some of this stuff look.”

“Oh,” said Sarah. “I’m not sure. They all look horrid. I don’t think….”

“Now, Sarah,” Harry interrupted. “I think you’ll look good in the pillory. You ought to oblige the Emir.”

Sarah still looked uncomfortable but agreed and walked across to it. She was about to lift the bar that would lock her head and wrists in place when the Emir stopped her.

“Say, what’s your name, why don’t you take that jacket off, give us all a better view.” Sarah looked across at Harry but if she was expecting him to intervene she was disappointed. He just nodded. The blouse she was wearing was pale pink, tight and high necked with long, loose sleeves. “Hmm,” said the Emir, "that’s not going to really show it off well, you’d better lose the blouse.”

Sarah complied, putting it with her jacket on a chair. “Perhaps you’d like me to take of my skirt as well, Sir,” she said. Harry looked approving.

“Excellent, excellent, you’ve got the idea,” said the Emir, grinning as Sarah unzipped her skirt. “Now put your head in the centre there and you wrists up here. Then all I have to do is to lower this beam. See how it just fits around your neck,” Sarah gave a cough as the beam came down, “and your wrists. Nice and snug fitting, see. Then all we do is clip a padlock in this fastening here and you’re all secure.”

Harry picked up a device from the table opposite the pillory. “Isn’t this a scold’s bridle?” he said. “Let’s try this on as well.” Sarah looked distressed. But the Emir was obviously pleased that his toys were attracting approval. Harry picked up the bridle, amused by the fact that it carried a pair of metal asses ears, as well as the metal bands designed to enclose the head.

“Be my guest,” he said, watching as Harry unfastened the cage of metal bands and fitted it around Sarah’s head, postioning the inverted Y over her nose and pushing the metal piece into her mouth to press down on her tongue. He fixed it shut at the back of her head with the small padlock that hung from the neck band. He pulled Sarah’s hair through to let it fall loosely around her face.

“Gech icch goff,” complained Sarah, “icchs eggy ng icchs hurging ghi goucth.” She shook her head without effect. Nobody took any notice.

“It’s all authentic stuff,” the Emir said. “I studied this at college in the States, never thought I’d get to actually put it to use. She’ll find that a bit heavy after a while, it’s made of steel same as the original.” He walked around behind her. “This girl of yours might have been built for this,” he said, licking his lips at the sight of Sarah in her bra, panties, stockings, and suspender belt, locked in the pillory with her head trapped in the scold’s brindle.

Harry smiled. The Emir ran his hands across Sarah’s thighs and buttocks. “Yes,” he said, “very nice. She’s a cute girl like I said. How much do you want for her? Can we add her to the shipment for here?”

Sarah gave a squeak of alarm from inside the bridle. “Well,” said Harry. “We hadn’t thought about selling her. I guess it’s a possibility.” Another squeak from Sarah. “But we couldn’t do it straight away. We could lend her to you, I guess.”

“Yes,” I said. “Your Minister of Trade was kind enough to lend me his secretary for an evening in Kushtia, this seems only fair in return.”

The Emir looked a little concerned. “Well, I don’t want to take advantage and Kushtian hospitality is never given in the expectation of any return. I mean like I know youse brought her over here and everything. So, well, look how about if I rent her for a while. You can see how you get on without her, I can see if she fits in.” Sarah squealed again, the scold’s bridle stopping her from making any articulate protest.

I remembered a paper I had back in my brief case. “I’ve got a rental agreement with me,” I said. Elly had been drawing one up and I’d printed out a copy. “Our legal department has been working on a standard one for us. It covers all the usual stuff; waiver in the event of damage caused by the item being rented, acceptance of liability for any permanent damage caused to the item, that sort of thing.”

“Sure thing, said the Emir. “That sounds fine. Youse got to protect your assets. Especially if the assets have arses like this.” He smirked, giving Sarah’s backside a pat. “If we go back to the house I’ll sign it. Plus you can show me what you’re proposing.”

Harry gave Sarah a wave. She looked distressed as we left her in the dungeon to head back to the house.

Back in the Emir’s lounge, I got out the rental agreement that Ellie had drafted up for me. I filled in a few details to cover the rental of Sarah. He didn’t even read it but scrawled a signature across the bottom. I rummaged in my case and found the summary that Sarah had typed up from our earlier meeting. “Well, Emir,” I began.

“Hey, come on,” the Emir said, let’s not keep this so formal. Call me Brad.”

“OK, Brad,” I responded. “Now, I think what you were looking for was a beautician, a nurse/dietician, hairdresser, a fitness coach, and four house maids, plus three or four for entertaining. I hear you’ve already picked out some stock for the entertainments, so we’re only talking about the staff at the moment. Right?”

“Spot on Larry, spot on,” Brad smiled. “Four very nice pieces from your stock room, I must say. We don’t have to take so much trouble over the fuck-bunnies but they look as though they’ll give my guests a good time. Your man Rick seems to have a good training programme going there.”

“Well yes, he does, I guess. Anyway we‘ve got some proposals for the rest of the staff. Our research people managed to track down these two as possibles for your beautician/hairdresser. They are two sisters, set up their business last year specialising in an in-your-home service. They go out with a sort of travelling beauty parlour. They also run a web site where they give beauty tips on-line and show some examples of their work. Here look,” I took out my lap top and turned it on. I’d canned a version of their site to show the Emir. I took him through it.

“They seem to do quite a good job, looking at this stuff,” Brad said. “Sisters, you say?” I nodded. “Well they’d be unhappy if we split them up. I reckon you should get the pair of them. I’ll be able to use them. Got to keep the girls looking cute, haven’t we?”

“Fine,” I said always happy to add to the quota. Harry grunted approvingly. I knew he’d figure it was easier to snatch both of them than one. “Now, I’ve got some video of the next one. We thought this would do for your fitness coach.” I fired up the video we’d had taken. A group of girls were playing beach volley ball. They all looked fit, but of the four girl team one was of a rather muscular build while of the others the girl playing at the back was long legged and blonde, her partner equally leggy but with short cropped dark hair. “That’s our suggestion,” I said pointing to the blonde girl as she leapt forward to knock the ball back over the net to her opponents. It came straight back. Her partner intercepted it and pushed it high and away towards the back corner of their opponent’s court. They just reached it. A diving, two handed blow pushed the ball back up again towards the net. The other girl batted it up intending for her partner to slam it to the floor across the net but instead the ball headed over the net. As it did so, the blonde dived forward, tipping the ball back over the net to fall between two of her opponents. She and her partner threw their hands up in excitement. It was obviously the winning point. They embraced one another, but it was fairly obvious that the kiss between the two girls was more than you’d normally get for a winning point. Giggling the two of them fell to the sand, locked together while their opponents looked on amused, hands on hips.

“She’s 28 years old, a qualified physiotherapist and a diploma in sports medicine. She’s trained volleyball, tennis and ladies soccer players. Plus as you can see, she’s pretty well set up herself. Prefers the company of girls to men, as you can see, but I’m assuming that won’t worry you.”

The Emir gave a smirk. “What about her girl friend? She’s cute too.”

“She’s 26, not qualified as far as we can tell. She runs, middle distance stuff mainly, pretty good club performer but she’s never going to make it to the Olympics. She’s been shacked up with our target for about six months, but she’ll get over her soon enough.”

“Seems a shame to split them up,” said Brad. “Being so fond of each other and all. I think I can run to the two of them.”

I tried not to grin, but things were going pretty much as I’d hoped. “OK,” I said. “Now for your nurse, we found this a bit further down the beach.” I pushed a series of grainy photographs towards Brad. Obviously taken with a telephoto lens and then blown up they showed two girls, both blondes, sun bathing in bikinis. “The one in red is our suggestion. She 25, Dutch, qualified as a nurse last year in Holland. The girl in blue is her friend, she’s Dutch too, over here in the UK to improve her English. Works as a secretary in the local hospital.” I flipped another picture in front of him, The girl in blue had stood up and was towelling dry her hair. The girl in red was sitting up, leaning with her hands on the sand behind her, looking up at her friend.

“Are these two candidates for the little Dutch boy?” Brad asked. I looked blank.

“You know, the one that saved the country by sticking his finger in the dyke. They look like an item too.”

“Yeah,” I said, “you could be right. We think they’re that way. But don’t let that worry you. We can set things up so it looks like she’s responsible for the fact that her friend’s gone missing. The papers love that sort of stuff.” I was thinking back to the coverage that Rachel’s disappearance had generated when the press had found out that her chauffeuse had gone missing too.

“No, no, I can’t have that,” Brad smiled. “Gotta have the two of them as well.”

”I think that will put us rather over budget, Emir,” I said. “I wouldn’t want there to be any difficulties with the Trade Minister as a result.”

“Don’t you worry about that. I can square him. This isn’t all on his budget anyway. I’ll be picking up quite a bit of the cost. But then like I say you got to be in to win. Eh, Larry boy???”

“Just as long as you’re happy,” I said.

“Sure, sure,” he answered.

“Well, it’s fine by me,” said Harry. “Leaves fewer loose ends around. Makes the pick ups easier.”

“OK then,” said Brad, “that’s about it I guess.” His mobile phone bleeped and he looked down at it. “Uh oh,” he said, “message from the boss.”

“How about the house maids?”

He was looking down at his phone. “Uh, oh, yeah. Look I’m sure you can pick those out. I’ll trust your call. Give me one of your order forms, will you?” I pushed the document across to him. He scribbled in “14 items, as agreed,” and signed it. “Look, I’m sorry I’ve got to go. Urgent meeting. I’ll be off for a few days. Don’t worry about your girl, Sarah. I’ll brief the guards to see she’s looked after. We’ll sort things out when I get back. Just get on with the pick-ups can you? I need to grab some stuff.”

The Emir’s signature was good enough for me. Harry and I gathered up our things. We were just about ready to leave when Brad came dashing back into the lounge carrying a small overnight bag. “Can youse guys give me a lift to the airport?” he asked. “My driver’s in town and I don’t want to miss the next flight.”

“Sure,” said Harry. I agreed with him. After an order for 14 pieces and a rental for Sarah, I felt it was the least we could do.

It was as we were on the way back I could tell that Harry was working himself up to say something. He was never the most talkative but he developed a tense look that told me he was worried. It turned out that it wasn’t about the Emir or Sarah. He wasn’t happy about what was happening with Rachel. He thought I was giving Rick a good enough steer.

“Look, Larry,” he said. “I don’t want to talk out of line and you can tell me it’s none of my business but you’ve always been pretty straight with me about things. You need too do something about Rachel. You commissioned Rachel’s collection, but now she’s a problem and you seem to be leaving it all up to Rick. It’s too much of a mess.”

“Hang on,” I said. “He’s the expert.”

“He’s the expert at doing what he does. It ain’t no good if what he does isn’t what’s needed. You’re going to have to pick up the ball. The ‘see if she can survive being fucked ten times a day’ approach hasn’t worked and the ‘let’s take her mind off it with drugs’ approach looks close to disaster too. You’re the only one who can tell Rick that he should be doing something else. And the fact that you think you can get by without her now isn’t an excuse.”

End of part 6