The Interesting Night
by Graham

Author's note: This is a Settlement story. My latest novel is “The Settlement 3: The Expedition”, which is available from

After her last client left, Carine, Number 197, spent a few moments kneeling quietly in her consulting cubicle, thinking. It had been a difficult interview – they mostly were, because people did not come to see a counsellor for a simple chat, obviously. But this woman, Number 241 in The Settlement’s roll, a blonde girl just into her thirties, was having a particularly difficult experience. She was an outsider, only in the community a couple of years, having a hard time adjusting to the peculiarities of the life, and for the moment, at least, desperate to leave.

For the women residents, however, leaving The Settlement was not an option: the community had taken upon itself the responsibility to protect females against the destroyed world outside its boundaries, and its rules, therefore, did not permit them ever to leave. Further, to ensure that they were never tempted to disregard the rules, and to make it easier for the male residents to care for them and keep them safe, the community required its women to live under conditions of the strictest security. At night, they slept in locked cages, with their hands cuffed behind their backs and their ankles locked in forty-centimetre fetters. In the day, when there was appropriate male supervision, their handcuffs might sometimes removed, so that they could work for example, but their fetters remained permanently fastened. And at all times, they lived helplessly tethered to the community’s ingenious system of girl-rails.

The girl-rails were steel conduits, laid in the ground, anchored down at frequent intervals to massive blocks of concrete. They were of square section, with a narrow slot in the top. Little balls fitted inside the conduit, welded to lengths of chain that came up through the slot and were securely padlocked to the stout steel collars that were in turn locked about the women’s necks. The balls slid freely in the conduit, but were too big ever come out of the slot. Thus, the girls could move as they pleased along the rails, but they could never get away from them. They had enough freedom to live their lives, but they could not go where the community leaders felt it inappropriate for them to be, and of course they had no possibility of ever leaving The Settlement.

Kneeling there, Carine looked down at her own tether chain, where it disappeared into the girl-rail. She clinked her handcuffs behind her, and reached down to rub her leg just above where her anklet was locked. Being a counsellor did not exempt her from any of the security requirements, and she was just as securely shackled as her client had been: as counselling involved only talking, she did not even have her hands free for work. Six years it had been, now, since she had turned eighteen, had come through from the Family Compound where she had been raised from girlhood, and been locked to the rails. Six years in which she had endured some really difficult times, been abused, rescued and come through it all triumphant. Six years during which her fetters, collar and tether chain had never once been unlocked, there being no reason whatever for this to happen.

She sighed. Yet she did have sympathy for Number 241 – Steph, as she was really called. Carine knew better than most what it was to suffer; she had had some really bad times over the last years, and in those dark times she herself had wanted nothing more than to get away from this community; she had dreamed continually of escape. But of course she could not escape, no woman could. The security was too tight, the chains too well designed, the girl-rails far too strong. So she was still here, and over time, with the help of friends, Carine had come though it all a much stronger woman. But that experience was why she had become a counsellor, wanting to help others get through their own dark times, and it was why she had, even at a relatively young age, gained the respect of her peers as one from whom they could seek advice.

Standing up, Carine spent a few moments tidying the cushions on which she and her clients had knelt, and then left her cubicle, heading out to the campus. The upside of having work that did not require your hands to be freed was that there was no need for additional security: no waiting for a man to check she had re-cuffed herself properly and to open barred screens or bolts across the girl-rails. The Counselling Block was completely open, so the girl just followed the girl-rail out through the door.

It was still hot – it was always hot now, really, ever since the environmental cataclysm that had ruined the old world – but some afternoons were hotter than others, and no sooner was she out from under the shaded veranda of her workplace but Carine could feel the bright rays toasting her flesh. She was, of course, nude, apart from her chains: in return for the protection offered to them by the community, and in particular the efforts made and risks taken on their behalf by the men, Settlement women were expected to always be respectful. That obviously meant being naked: it stood to reason that no woman could properly respect a man if she were clothed in his presence.

Carine paused for a minute, raising her face to the sun and shutting her wide grey eyes against its glare. Then, tossing her long red hair until it fell out of the way behind her shoulders, she set off up the girl-rail, moving with the swift but carefully measured strides of a woman long used to living with her ankles chained together.

Although it was early, there was already a stream of naked, shackled women making their way around the girl-rail network to the Women’s Quarters and the dining hall, which were located together at the bottom of the Settlement’s main campus. However, Carine did not go that way; instead she headed over towards the long lines of single storey, wide-porched buildings where most of the male residents were accommodated. There were several rows of these, separated by streets of hard-packed earth, each having a double line of girl-rails with side branches to every apartment. The particular address she sought was on the third row; she followed other women, heading home to their men, before finally turning down the appropriate girl-rail and proceeding to the apartment, which was about halfway along the terrace.

With a deft flick, a move perfected over long years of practice, the redhead pulled her tether chain into the appropriate side branch and mounted the porch, stopping short of the door. Her heart gave a little flutter. Here she was again. She called out: “Alan, Sir!” she called. “Are you there? Can I come in?”

The man, who was of fit but quite slight build, medium height, and beginning to go grey, appeared at the door. He smiled, and looked hungrily at the naked, shackled girl who stood smiling before him. “In you come,” he said.

Even though she wanted it – wanted him – Carine hesitated, just for a second. A Settlement girl did not have much power at the best of times, but stepping into a man’s apartment was the total abdication of whatever power she did have. Once inside, she had to do as he said. She would have, by the very act of crossing his threshold, be assumed to have consented to remain with him as long as he wished, wear whatever bondage he decided, do whatever he asked, have as much sex of whatever variety with him as he wished – or to have sex with any other people he asked her to, for that matter. So long as he did not violently abuse her, she would have no rights to object to or complain about anything. That was the way it was in The Settlement, though it was a system that had, in the past, occasionally been abused, and Carine and others she knew had suffered from it.

Taking a deep breath and resuming her smile, Carine walked into the apartment. As she passed, she heard the non-return bolt on the girl-rail click into place. Alan had obviously set it beforehand. Now, even if she wanted to, she could not get back out of the apartment. Her neck chain would be stopped at the bolt, until the man chose to unlock it. Carine had no access to the key, but even if she did, it would do her no good: the locking mechanism was out of the reach of women fastened to the rails.

The man looked at her for a minute, her hair, her face, her beautiful naked body, the bright steelwork that held her helplessly in its grip. He wondered, marvelled at his luck to live in a community where women were kept as they were here, at his luck that this woman had agreed to spend time with him. That had still been her choice: The Settlement might keep its women confined, but that did not make them sex-slaves. Men still had to ask.

“Here,” he said, holding out his arms, encouraging the girl to come to him. She did, finding herself enfolded in his strong embrace and kissed. It felt good. She could not help jiggling her wrists up and down in their cuffs, wishing she could embrace him back.

He, however, had no immediate plans to unchain his visitor’s wrists: he had other things on his mind. She felt herself pushed back towards the bed, and while one of his arms continued to encircle her shoulders, holding her close, his other found soft hair and softer flesh between her thighs. She gasped, and tugged again at her chains, uselessly but quite instinctively, as she felt herself opening to his. Oh grass and flowers, she thought, why is it always like this; it had always been like this, even with the other one, who had abused her. Her body could just not help responding when a man just did as he wanted. Gasping again, she relaxed as he laid her back, continued his fingertip exploration down below and began to stimulate her nipples with his lips.

Alan made himself comfortable, kneeling on the floor between Carine’s legs, she laying back on the bed, with her knees spread and her lower legs dangling over the edge. Then, his hands stroked gently up and down from her thighs to her shoulders, paying plenty of attention to her breasts each time they passed, and in the meantime his tongue explored playfully around the girl’s pussy. There was not a lot she could do, but she didn’t have to – she just shut her eyes and gave herself over to sensations. By the time he eventually pulled his face away from her and eased his cock inside, she was already close to screaming. But he paid no attention to this: he just did his thing, and let her get on with her reactions, until finally he came, his hardness throbbing deep within her as he unloaded.

When he withdrew, the redhead lay there, sweating, her middle consumed with ecstatic tingling. He sat on the end of the bed, looking down at her, admiring her flesh, naked except for the steel bands that imprisoned it. His eyes were drawn to her tether chain, which stretched away to the side, towards its girl rail. He picked it up, quite far from where it was padlocked to Carine’s collar, and felt it, its weigh, its coldness. He wondered, briefly, what it must be like to wear such a chain, to live on the girl-rails. It was not something he would want, but then, he was not a woman. Mother Earth, it was beautiful though: beautiful to look at, with its sensous coils and cold bright links, and a beautiful concept, to know that this young woman was so securely and yet so conveniently restrained.

Realising it had gone quiet, Carine opened her eyes and saw Alan staring at her. “What?” she asked, smiling, still feeling tingly and sated.

“Oh, nothing,” he said, stooping to pick up his shorts. “I was just wondering, what it must be like, being always locked to the girl-rails.”

The girl wriggled, moving her hands to the side, so that she was no longer lying on her cuffs. “I don’t know, Sir,” she said. She looked up at him with wide grey eyes, her expression impassive. “What must it be like not being always locked to the girl-rails?”

“Sorry,” said Alan. “I didn’t mean to be insensitive.”

Carine sat up. “It’s OK, Sir,” she lied, “you weren’t. I mean, we girls think about our chains a lot so why shouldn’t you? But I genuinely can’t answer your question. Being locked to the girl-rails is just part of life. How else can I think of it?” She swung her legs off the bed, the tether chain in question falling neatly between her breasts and across her thigh. She looked at it, down at herself and sniggered. “The only way I’ll ever not be locked to the girl-rails is if I grow a penis!”

“And that,” laughed Alan, would be truly tragic. Here, let me undo your cuffs.”

“That would be nice.” She turned to the side, so that he could more easily access her wrist bonds. He fetched his key, sat next to her and inserted it into the locks. In a couple of seconds, Carine’s hands were free. She rubbed her wrists, looking at him as she did so. “Thank you, Sir,” she said.

“A pleasure,” he replied. It was, too: he liked unlocking a girl’s wrists. He liked that he could do it, as and when he wanted, and then he could make them lock themselves up again, too. “Come and sit at the table, 197,” he said. “Let’s eat.”

* * *

“Leave that, now,” said Alan. He was enjoying watching Carine clear away the dishes, but it was getting late. He gripped her shoulders, standing away from her a bit, admiring the smoothness and nakedness of her back. She turned, looking over her shoulder. Her hands, still free, dangled awkwardly at her sides. He spun her round, his lusts surging once more. In a moment, she was in his arms, and, being free to do so, she embraced him in return, her fingers feeling the muscles beneath his shirt. She pressed her hips against him, her breath coming fast. “Sir…” she gasped, as they parted for air.

* * *

A little while later, Alan snored loudly. Carine lay next to him, watching him sleep. Her hands were still free: her right arm supported her head, her left hand rested close to the handcuffs that Alan should have ensured were locked in place before he fell asleep. She had removed them from the bedside table herself, intending just to put them on, as she knew she should, but she had not done so.

Casually, the girl ran her finger around the top edge of the bonds, looking at them. The cuffs (like her collar and anklets) were stainless steel, about five centimetres wide and five millimetres thick. Each cuff had a D-ring, the two being joined by a single link of steel about three centimetres long. They were, Carine thought, so simple in their way. Yet how much thought had gone into them. They were carefully designed for long-term wear: made to measure, so they fitted perfectly, rounded at the edges to prevent chafing, and padded with leather to ensure complete comfort. And they were also totally secure: as they lay there, open, the hinge and the five tongues of the locking mechanism plainly visible, their strength immediately apparent. And of course when locked closed, these things would be completely enclosed by the metal, ensuring they were completely protected from tampering. Even the keyholes had little sprung sleeves to shield them – not that a girl locked in the cuffs could reach the keyholes anyway.

But just now she was not locked into them. That was twice, now, in Carine’s life that she had been allowed to make love to a man without her hands having been chained – once with Dave and once with Alan. It had been nice – nice to be able to grab some big, hard cock. But all the same, it felt strange now to be so unsupervised, but with her upper limbs unconfined. It had not been like that with Dave: he had made sure she had reconfined herself the minute he had pulled out of her.

Leaving the cuffs alone, Carine rolled onto her back and held her hands in front of her face, looking at them. They were nice hands, she thought – slim, feminine, with a pronounced tan-line, a strip about five centimetres wide around the wrists where the bonds usually sat. She looked over at Alan, sleeping like a baby, oblivious to her, still snoring. When had she last been effectively alone, with her hands unchained? Never, since she was a child. All the things she could do! Feeling a frisson of excitement, she gently laid her hands on her breasts, feeling the softness of her own flesh, and the pleasant rubbing against her nipples. Then she reached down to her pussy, gently exploring with a finger, almost not daring to breathe in case Alan woke up. Of course she had touched those places, in the shower for example, but that was not the same. You were never alone in the women’s quarters. There was always somebody nearby, policing what you did on behalf of the community. Only men had ever been able to touch her as she was doing now.

Withdrawing her hand from between her legs – there had been a time not so long ago when she would have ached for a touch there, but just now, after Alan’s attentions, it was not so necessary – the girl grabbed her neck chain, taking advantage of the very rare opportunity to explore it with her fingers. She felt it up and down, exploring the padlock that held it and the steel collar that encircled her neck. She felt around it, its width, the rounded edge of the metal, the leather padding inside it. The keyhole. The collar, at least, was still firmly locked, just as always. Cuffs or no, cuffs, Carine was still a helpless prisoner of the girl-rail system – which was, of course, bolted at the door of Alan’s apartment, closing off the outside world to her entirely. She looked down at her ankles, which were also still securely fettered.

Unsupervised or not, there was no real security risk.

She glanced over at Alan again, checking he was still asleep. He was. She thought back before to his question, about what it must be like being always locked to the girl-rails, and her inability to answer. What was it like? Given the way the community operated, it was not something she dwelt on particularly; the rail system worked well, and for normal life it was not inconvenient at all, really.

Once again fingering her handcuffs, Carine thought back to her conversation with Number 241, that afternoon. The counselling service was one of the few places that Settlement women could talk freely about their bondage and the frustrations that came with it: elsewhere, even in the Women’s Quarters, though these things were discussed, there was always the possibility that a girl might be reported for disrespect if she was too frank in criticising the security arrangements or expressing any desire to be free of them: after all, ran the community line, they were provided for the women’s benefit, and so should be accepted with appropriate gratitude. But in the privacy of the counselling cubicle, Steph had gone on at length about her longing for freedom, and had talked and talked of her struggles against her chains, or with the locks of her cages. Carine had listened, as was her role, and had tried to be comforting, but there was not a lot she could say. There was no way Steph would ever get free; the security systems had been evolving for years, and were perfectly efficient. The idea of any female being able to leave The Settlement – to escape - was laughable. Besides, where would they go? With all its foibles, The Settlement was still a loving community, a home. The world outside it was starvation and death.

Laughable. But then, suddenly, Carine thought back to a time, a while ago, after her ordeal at the hands of her former pledged man, when she, too, had wanted absolutely to escape, to leave The Settlement, even if that had meant death. She had sworn to Dave that she would escape, that she would defeat The Settlement’s security, and had not listened when she had been told of the stupidity and impossibility of the idea. She had even planned an escape: she had secreted away a piece of wire she had found, against the time that she might pick the lock of her tether chain. But the brief time she had with her hands free, when she was in the Infirmary, had come to an end before she had had chance to use the pick, and in the years since then, she had always had her hands cuffed behind her, except when she was closely supervised.

Until now.

Carine sat up on the bed, feeling flushed. Gosh, what if Alan had something that would work as a lock-pick? She could use it now, while he was asleep. He even had a mirror in which she could see what she was doing. If he had a suitable implement, she could free herself from the girl-rails and get away. Just as she had wanted to. She could leave The Settlement, explore the outside world. Her fetters would not matter; she was used to them, and outside the boundary she would eventually find a way of getting them off, anyway.

The redhead felt a sweat of anticipation pricking beneath her collar.

A little later, Carine stood in front of Alan’s full-length mirror. She looked at herself; she was some distance away from the glass, since the mirror was by the wardrobe, and wardrobes contained clothes, so they were positioned well away from any girl-rails. But Carine could see well enough, for the light still burned, the man having failed to turn it off before sleeping, just as he had failed to re-chain his woman’s wrists.

It was weird, thought Carine, watching herself. Watching herself do something that she knew was really, really stupid, but over which she seemed to have no control. It was a miracle that Alan was not already awake, the noise she had made moving around and rummaging in his kitchen drawers, before finding the implement she now held on his desk – a pair of dividers he was using for some plans he was making. She watched the girl in the mirror – a petite but curvy redhead, pretty, nude, fettered and tethered, as she raised the implement to her neck and carefully inserted it into the keyhole of the padlock that held her to the girl-rails.

It is, of course, much harder to pick a lock than you might imagine. This was well known to the men, and some of the women, who had, over the years, evolved the design of The Settlement women’s chains to their present level of security and efficiency. These people had, of course, foreseen that girls might occasionally find themselves in Carine’s present position, and they had built and tested the security equipment to be more than equal to the situation. They would have been quite relaxed, watching the girl, for they would have know beyond all doubt that a few hours with her hands free and improvised tools was not, today or any day, going to allow a woman to get herself free of the girl-rails.

Alan was also quite relaxed, watching the redhead, as, with increasing frustration, she manipulated the dividers this way and that, trying to move the lock. Relaxed, and stimulated, for it was another enticing reminder of what was what and who was who in The Settlement: men were free; women were kept nude, and restrained with perfect security. So, for the moment, he let her carry on with her struggles, enjoying the sight of her neat little body as she twisted this way and that, her long red hair flailing, her arse cheeks quivering enticingly.

Then, at last, he stood up and quietly approached her. He was right behind her before she noticed him, reflected in the mirror: she stood perfectly still, a look of horror on her face.

In an instant, his right hand had grabbed hers, and twisted the dividers from her grip, flinging them away to the corner of the room, well away from the nearest girl-rail. His left hand reached around her front, grabbing the still-firmly-locked neck chain, just above the girl’s exposed breasts. He felt her body tremble slightly.

“A bastard, isn’t it, this chain?” he whispered, nuzzling her ear. “It just won’t come off, will it?”

She made no cogent response, just the very tiniest whimper.

“Well?” he spoke very quietly, but firmly.

“, Sir,” she answered at last, and then relaxed a bit, leaning back into him. “No, it won’t come off.”

“That’s right. It won’t come off. Now, do you remember why it is there?”

She turned hear head and looked at him. There were tears in her eyes. Her hands were still free, one of them holding his, level with her shoulder. Her other one found its to, and rested on his other, where it held the neck chain. “My…my chains keep me safe, Sir.”

He stared into her eyes, briefly enjoying her obvious fear. She had been caught in the act of tampering with her chains, and no one could argue that that was not a very serious act of disrespect. She could lose handcuff privileges for months, end up gagged, confined to quarters, made to publicly apologise in a community meeting, and all sorts of other humiliations. She could lose her job as a counsellor, certainly, and end up clearing latrines or some other hideous employment. All on his say so. And of course, she was no freer than she had been before. Her struggles had made not the slightest impact on her bondage. Like he said, the tether chain just would not come off.

He could feel the tension in her body: she trembled. It was too much of a temptation for him. Dropping her hands, which fell to her sides, his began to move on her flesh, here cupping a buttock, there kneading a breast, sometimes caressing a thigh, so that the back of his thumb brushed her hair. His breath was hot on her neck. She leaned back against him, whimpering softly. His erection nudged at her backside, though she dare not grab. Her one coherent thought was that she desperately wanted to be handcuffed again: she could not work out what to do with her arms when they were free. But perhaps, after this, they would never be free again.

He played, enjoying the immense rush of manly power, feeling his cock might burst at any second. As he touched, he watched her in the mirror, drinking in her helpless beauty, her terrified face. His fingers explored more between her legs, and his mind marvelled at how open and wet she was: her trembling just seemed to make her softer, more yielding to his touch. He knew he should stop, calm her down, talk to her, but the temptation was just too much. He dropped her to the ground right where she was, and fucked her on and on and on, ignoring her gasps and squeals, pressing her still unchained wrists to the floor as he pumped.

At last, completely spent, he subsided, leaving Carine whimpering on the ground. But this time, he did not fall asleep: he stood, fetched the woman’s handcuffs from the bed where she had left them, and rolling her roughly onto her side, he snapped them back into place, she offering not the slightest resistance to this process. Then, uttering no words at all, he half carried, half-dragged her along the girl-rail to one of the apartment’s three girl-cages, and locked her securely inside.

Carine lay still on the floor of the cage for a long time, hardly daring to breathe. Then, when it was dark and Alan plainly asleep on his bed, she shuffled over to the floor level mattress that was standard equipment in these cages, and made herself as comfortable as she could, lying, as almost all Settlement girls did, on her side, so as not to put weight against her chained wrists. Her mind, and her pussy, ached, in different ways and for different reasons. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Eventually, she sobbed herself to sleep.

It was the middle of the night when Alan awoke: as soon as the tiredness brought on by his passion had evaporated, his brain became active, dwelling first in an unpleasant dream, and then in reality, on what had happened. Had he gone too far? Had he been disrespectful to Number 197? He really should not have taken her that last time, when she was plainly utterly terrified at having been caught. Yet, she had been so wet, so welcoming down below. And she had been disrespectful too, tampering like that.

The thought of further sleep gone, Alan got up and put the light on low, just enough to find his way around the apartment. He pulled on some boxer shorts, and went over to the cage in which Carine was imprisoned. He unlocked it, and went inside, crouching by her. She was asleep, but he could see her dishevelled appearance and her tear stained face. His heart melted. Even like this, she was beautiful. But she was not just another beautiful girl. He really, really cared for her. He laid a hand, very gently, on her shoulder. “Sorry, my love,” he whispered.

She stirred. Her handcuffs and fetters rattled. She gazed at him, her eyes wide in the gloom. He parted her hair, smoothing it away from her face.

“Sorry, 197,” he repeated again. She rolled onto her back, her body propped on her shackled arms. Her collar and neck chain glinted as the light caught them. The events of the previous evening flashed across her mind, but now, somehow, looking at Alan, she felt calm. This was The Settlement, and she was a woman. She would be looked after. Alan was a man. He would do the right thing by her, the just thing.

“I was tampering, Sir. I’m sorry,” she said. “What will you do to me?” She moved her legs slightly as she spoke, parting her thighs respectfully.

“Come to bed,” said the man. “Let’s cuddle.”

So, some hours later, Carine awoke, in Alan’s bed once again, her back to him, his arm around her shoulders. She could not help reaching for his cock: where else could her hands go, given they were still fastened behind her back?

Afterwards, he needed to pee. When he came back, she was sitting up in bed. She looked up at him, questioningly. “Sir,” she asked. “About last night…tampering…”

He held up a hand. “Don’t!” he said, and then sat down next to her, looking her in the eyes – no hardship, since her eyes were so beautiful.

“You weren’t just tampering,” he said, matter-of-factly. “You were trying to pick the lock on your tether chain. You were trying to escape from the girl-rails.”

She looked down, sheepishly: “Yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir.”

“Look,” he said. “I expect you’ve had the lecture about female safety before.”

She nodded. Of course she had. A thousand times. All the girls had.

“I don’t know whether the rails keep you safe or not,” he went on. “I am not sure I care. The fact is that the rules require you to be locked to them, and you are going to stay locked to them. You and all the women here. You can’t pick the locks. You can’t break your neck chain. You can’t uproot the rails. You can’t get your collar off. There’s nothing you can do. The same goes for your other bonds. You can’t ever defeat them. And I think you know that, really, don’t you?”

“Yes, Sir,” she mumbled. Of course she knew. Settlement women did not escape from the girl-rails. None ever had, and none ever would.

“And I expect you know you look so beautiful like that, too, don’t you?”

She coloured up, but said nothing.

“No man seeing you, or any woman who lives here in The Settlement would ever dream of letting you live any other way, you know. It would be sacrilege. Women are made to live naked and chained, and now we have a world where you can.”

Again she remained silent. That was one for the counselling cubicle, surely.

“I was wrong to fuck you like that, on the floor, last night,” he said.

She shook her head vigorously: “No, Sir!” It was not as if she had said no; she would have had no right to say no anyway, as it was his apartment. That rule was very clear.

“And,” he went on, “I expect I was wrong to fall asleep like that and leave your hands free; perhaps it proves the point that women need to be handcuffed to stay out of trouble.”

“Of course, Sir.” Of course. Just as The Settlement’s rules suggested. She could see that now.

“But,” he continued, “the fact remains that if you are going to come here and spend time with me – and very much hope you are – I need to be able to trust you. And that means trust you with your hands free, even if I do fall asleep, or maybe if I pop out for something. Will I be able to do that?” Carine found herself staring at the man in astonishment. He had just caught her determinedly, stupidly, tampering, and now he was talking about trusting her, leaving her with her hands unchained over again. She did not know what to say.

“Here,” he said, smiling, “let’s try it.” He unlocked the girl’s hands and stood up. “I’m going to the bakery,” he said. “Get a shower and make some coffee. I’ll leave these-” he meant the girl’s handcuffs – “here, and if you want to you can put them back on, but there’s no need.”

So he went, leaving her standing there. She was still nude, still fettered, still tethered and imprisoned behind the girl-rail bolt, in his apartment – still, in short, a completely helpless prisoner of The Settlement’s arrangements for female security. But she was once again completely unsupervised, but with her hands free. She held them in front of her a minute, looking at them, turning them over, puzzled.

After a minute, she dragged her neck-chain over to the counter and began grinding the coffee beans.

The End

Copyright© 2012 by Kirsten Graham. All rights reserved.