The moment she opened her eyes she knew something was very wrong.† A single bulb above her provided the only illumination in the room.† Beyond the pool of light centered on her the room faded into an all concealing darkness.† Dazzled by the glare of the spotlight shining overhead she couldnít even make out the walls.
Her arms were held behind her back.† Something was wrapped around her hands and forearms, holding them tightly to her waist.† From the touch of her fingers it felt like roughly finished leather.† A quick jerk proved her wrists were secured by wide leather straps of the same material.
Hoping she could see what restrained her arms she tried to look over her shoulder.† The attempt proved to be futile.† A high, stiff collar extending from under her chin down to her collar bone prevented any movement of her head.† Out of the corner of her eye she could barely make out the dark contour below the line of her lower jaw.
At least she was able to lean forward to see what held her legs together.† Above her knees was a leather belt, pulled tight, with a gleaming metal buckle centered between her knees.† In the center was a small slit, a keyhole.† Further down, each ankle was wrapped in a wide leather cuff, again with the same type of locking buckle.† One end of a strap held the cuffs together.† When she tried to straighten out her legs she discovered the other end of that strap was fastened to her waist in back, forcing her to keep her legs bent.
Underneath her the surface appeared to be some kind of upholstered vinyl covering some sort of platform, maybe a board.† Her clothes, even her underwear were gone, as well as the necklace she always wore.† Inches from her nose were vertical metal bars, with horizontal cross braces about every six inches.† Looking up she could see the top of the cage above her head, with the same cross hatch of bars.
There was enough room for her to roll over on her other side, but when she tried to raise her head it struck the top.† Her small prison was too narrow to let her turn around and too low to sit up.† The view from the other side revealed no new clues as to where she was or what had happened.† She was bound hand and foot, nude.† Drawing back her legs she kicked the end of her cage as hard as she could.† The cage didnít budge.† Her feet throbbed where they had hit the bars.
How did she get here?† Was it some kind of nightmare?† Her last memory was eating dinner after work on a Friday night.† She had been home alone in her small apartment, sitting on the couch watching TV while eating takeout from the Chinese place around the corner.† And then... nothing, until she woke up.
"Hello? Is anyone there?" She called out, hoping her captor would be revealed.† Not a sound came from the darkness.† "Look, this has gone far enough.† Let me out of here, untie me, and I wonít go to the police.† This is kidnapping.† You could go to prison for this."† She waited for some kind of response.† Someone had to be there, she was sure of it.† Rolling over she tried again.† "Alright!† Címon, let me go!† Right now!† Whatever your game is, Iím not playing!"
Still nothing, not a sound reached her ears except for her own breathing.† Frustrated, she struggled to free her hands, clawing at the stiff leather cover over her hands, pulling with all her strength to try to slip a wrist free.† She rolled over on her stomach, then onto her back, and finally back on her side.† No matter what she tried she couldnít break loose.† Exhausted, breathing hard, she began to shake.† Tears welled up and ran down her cheeks.† Fear closed its cold hand on her heart.† She was trapped and she could do nothing.
Opening the cover of his pocket watch he checked the time.† The sedative should be wearing off.† Any moment she would wake up.† He closed the cover and dropped the watch back into his jacket pocket.† Sitting back he leisurely studied his prize as she lay stretched out in the cage.† The first moments, when she realized her predicament, would speak volumes about the person inside her head, the one no one ever saw.† The one he alone knew was there.
Dressed in black, in the shadows, she wouldnít be able to see him, but he had an unobstructed view of her.† In due time she would discover his identity, but it would be on his terms, in a setting of his choosing.† For now he was content to remain anonymous.
Her head shifted, and there was a slight movement of her bound feet.† He leaned forward in anticipation.† It wouldnít take her long to figure out she wasnít on her apartment couch any longer.
Her clothes and jewelry were hanging in a closet behind him.† Before he had placed her in the cage he made sure she was properly attired for her upcoming experience.† Around her neck was the high posture collar, with the locking strap that held it in place.† Behind her back the leather restraint muff completely covered her hands and part of her arms.† Locking leather cuffs threaded through the long piece of stiff leather fixed her wrists to the side so she couldnít slip it off.† The locking buckles were on the outside, away from her fingers.† A leather belt ran through the staples and around her waist, locking in front with another buckle.† To complete her bondage he had strapped her knees together and confined her slim ankles in more leather cuffs, with a final strap running back to the belt around her waist.† It made a nice, tidy package.† No hands, she couldnít stand, and she couldnít even turn her head to see behind her.† That last part would be important later on.
Her eyes were open.† She would be disoriented at first, but he knew she would recover quickly.† She was on her side, facing him.† He could see an elbow move up and down; she was trying to free her hands.† That wouldnít happen.† He would have been disappointed if she didnít try.
Near the door to the cage her feet moved back and forth.† She wouldnít be able to see what held her arms behind her back but even with the collar he was sure she could see the restraints on her legs and ankles.† Propping his arms on the sides of his chair he folded his hands together underneath his chin, studying his captive.† How long would she take to explore her restricted environment, how long before she conceded defeat and gave up fighting the bonds?
He winced when she banged her head against the cage bars.† It wasnít hard enough to raise a bruise though, so he wasnít too concerned.† Now she knew her boundaries.† She rolled over several times, the only movement he allowed her.† He wasnít surprised when she kicked the door.† More significant was that she didnít try it again.
The moment she called out he relaxed and sat back in his chair.† Crossing his arms he smiled as he listened to her generous offer.† Did she really think he would believe her?† She would have headed for the first phone to call the cops.† Attempting to negotiate her release was a sure sign of desperation.
He recognized the next stage, panic, had set in when she began to cry.† The full impact of her situation had hit her hard.† She was powerless, unable to control or even anticipate what would happen next.† Her life was now in his hands, and she felt it in a way she could not rationalize away.
He stood up, stretching his arms above his head.† She was lost, adrift on a sea of uncertainty and fear.† It was time for him to go to work.
The tears wouldnít stop.† "Please, please donít hurt me!† Iíll do whatever you want."† The pleading and her promise were sincere.† She didnít want her life to end like this.† All she had left to offer was her cooperation, even if it was coerced.
She rolled over again, looking for any sign someone had heard her.† Who would do this to her?† Were there more than one involved?† She didnít have any enemies, at least none she knew about.† She thought back to the guys who had asked her out.† Could it be one of them, a jilted would-be lover?
She didnít hear him come up behind her.† She didnít even know he was there until a manís hand appeared in front of her, seconds before the blindfold cut off her vision.† She tried to fight him but she couldnít stop him from slipping the straps around her head.† She felt them tighten, ensuring she couldnít somehow work it up and away from her eyes.
She tried to roll over, hoping to face her kidnapper even if she couldnít see him.† All it took was a hand on her shoulder to stop her attempt.† Without any leverage it was easy for him to prevent her from changing position.
"Okay, Iíll stay on my side.† Is that what you want?"† She waited but he didnít answer.† The blindfold covered most of her face.† She could feel straps on either side, another going over her head, and something under her chin.† There was no way she could remove it, especially in her present state.† She told herself it was a good sign; if she couldnít see him he didnít have to worry about her identifying him.† Maybe he would let her go, eventually.
His hand disappeared from her shoulder as soon as she gave up trying to turn.† What should she do next?† He hadnít answered her.† Should she try to talk to him?† Vaguely she recalled reading something in the newspaper about how hostages should try to build a connection to their captors, that it improved their chances.
Being tied up was the worst of it.† It made her feel so helpless and vulnerable.† Maybe she could talk him into freeing her hands, or even her legs.† She opened her mouth to say something but stopped.† So far he hadnít assaulted her.† If he kept her legs tied together he couldnít rape her.† Not that she could stop him if he was inclined to take her, but she might be better off if she didnít call his attention to the fact.
"Could I have a drink of water?"† She tried to keep calm as she asked, using a respectful tone of voice.† It was a transparent ploy; reinforcing how she was dependent on him in the hopes it might kindle some small spark of decency and compassion.
He knelt to the side of the cage, watching her back as he listened to her talk.† Asking for water, that was clever on her part.† It wouldnít happen, but he did approve of her quick thinking.† She was intelligent and able to adapt quickly, as he had hoped.† He would have bet sheíd try to talk him into removing the restraints but she must have guessed it would be pointless.
She was learning but it was still his game and his rules.† He stood up and went to a switch mounted on the wall.† Pushing in the lower button activated the winch mounted to a beam in the ceiling.† The cable and hook slowly dropped down from above the light.† He let go of the button to halt the hook above her cage.
"What is that?† What are you doing?"† She likely didnít recognize the sound of the electric motor in the winch but she would assume it was something mechanical.† She started to roll over but stopped and returned to where he had left her.† He nodded in approval.
Before returning to the center of the room he picked up the bag underneath the switch.† It rattled as he carried it, a noise she picked up.† "Please, talk to me."† She was begging now.† He could tell from the strain in her voice.† "What do you want?† Iíll do anything you ask." Her voice lowered, "...anything."† He intended to talk, but now was not the time.
He dumped the bag out on the floor next to the cage.† Inside were four cargo chains with screw shackles at each end.† He picked up the first one and attached it to a corner of the cage.† The other end went over the hook on the winch. †The other three cargo chains went on the same way.† He finished by going round and pulling on each one, to make sure it was on the winch securely.† Looking over his shoulder as he walked back to the switch he saw her roll over inside the cage.† He was mildly disappointed; she should have asked first.
She heard him working around the top of the cage, but she couldnít figure out what he was doing.† And what was that sound earlier?† Some kind of motor, she was sure of that.† If only she could see.† All she had to go by were the clues her ears could pick up.
He wouldnít speak despite her attempts to get him to respond.† That scared her.† Was it because she would recognize the voice?† Was he someone she knew, maybe even one of the men at work?
The motor started running again.† This time there was a difference.† She could hear a rattling metallic sound above her head.† With a jerk the cage suddenly lifted into the air and began to rise.† He was suspending her in the cage!† That explained what he had been doing.† The motor was a hoist of some kind, above her.
The motor cut off.† The cage slowly swayed back and forth.† When she rolled over again the swaying increased but soon damped out.† She heard a door open, and then slam shut.† He must have left.
Behind the blindfold she started crying again.† She had tried everything she could think of, and he had ignored it all.† She tried to clench her hands into fists but whatever he had used to bind and cover her hands fit too tightly.† Her fingers werenít strong enough to bend the leather enclosing them.† Her one small victory was being able to wiggle her toes.† Either he had missed them or figured, rightly, she wasnít going to pick the locks with her big toe.
She tried over and over to find a comfortable position but nothing worked.† Left side, right side, on her back, even rolling over on her stomach with her legs in the air, nothing worked.† She tried to turn around but she kept hitting the bars with her head or legs.† She wondered if he had deliberately picked a cage that was too small.
He took another bite out of his sandwich.† On the monitor she was doing her best to turn around again.† She would have to be a contortionist to succeed.† She might have managed without the restraints but bound as she was it was an impossible task.
He took out his watch and checked the hour.† He had plenty of time left.† Time was working against her though.† Sore muscles from her cramped quarters combined with the exhaustion brought on by continuous fear and anxiety would be wearing her down.† He closed his watch and turned his attention back to the sandwich.† There was no rush.
She had lost all track of time.† Every muscle in her body was on fire, protesting the demands her bonds imposed on her body.† A black cloud of depression fueled by her frustration at being unable to do anything pushed out any hope of rescue.† Her universe shrank to a tiny steel cage suspended in the air.† She didnít even know how high off the floor she was.† If by some miracle she got the cage door open she might drop twenty feet and break her neck.†
That wasnít going to happen.† For all her efforts she had made no headway in freeing herself.† He had planned too well.† She had to accept that he held her life in his hands now.† Whatever happened there was nothing she could do to alter her fate.
Her last source of information, her hearing, brought nothing better than the creak of the cable as the cage rocked back and forth.† How long had since he had left?† It seemed like hours but she had no way to tell.† She wished he would come back, regardless of what might happen.† Anything would be better than being forced to wait.
Preoccupied with her misery she had no warning when the hand grabbed her hair and roughly pulled her head back against the bars.† "You offer to do whatever I want?† You want to strike a bargain?† Maybe youíd like to negotiate a contract?"† His voice was low, whispering in her ear, but she could hear the disdain and sarcasm.
"No!† Please, I didnít mean it that way.† I just..."
"Quiet!† From now on you listen and keep your mouth shut.† Or Iíll shut it for you.† Listen and learn, as if your life depended on it."† He pulled on her hair.† She did her best to stifle a cry of pain.† "Because it does, you know?† Your life is mine, to do with as I please."
"Donít hurt me..."† The rest was cut off as he jammed a gag into and over her mouth.† He let go of her hair to secure the gagís straps behind her head.
"You are a stupid girl, arenít you?† Donít you understand what quiet means?† I talk, you listen.† Get it?"† He pinched her nostrils closed, cutting off her breathing.† Frightened, suffocating, she tried to pull away.
It was only seconds before he let go, letting in precious oxygen again.† "See how easy it is?† Do I have your undivided attention now?"
Her breathing returned to normal as she forced herself to calm down.† With the gag in place she couldnít breathe through her mouth.† She held herself as still as she could, willing her protesting body not to move.† Her heart was pounding from the adrenalin rush.† She had to be more careful; anything could provoke him.† She might not survive the next mistake.
He stood next to the cage, holding onto one of the bars to keep it steady.† Inside she didnít move.† He knew she wouldnít even blink unless he told her first.† Slowly he counted to thirty.† Not a twitch, she was ready.
"You want to know why you are here, who I am, what will happen to you?† Your questions will be answered, but not today.† I will tell you what you need to know, when I consider it necessary."
He stood back and gave the edge of the cage a hard shove.† It spun around clockwise several times, and then unwound the other way.† It went back and forth a few more times, eventually stopping.
"I did that," he whispered in her ear when the cage came to a stop.† She hadnít moved.† "Why?† Because I can.† Because you canít stop me.† Remember that.† Itís the basis for our relationship from now on.† You. Canít. Stop. Me."† He punctuated each word by pushing against the cage.
"This is how it is.† Right here, right now, I own you.† Look at yourself, you canít even move unless I allow it.† I own your body, I will own your mind and soul. And you, you will give them to me.† You will struggle, you will try to resist and fight me, but deep in your heart you know you have already lost.† Any time, any place, anywhere I want I can claim you, and you canít, you wonít prevent it from happening.† You are mine to do with as I please, from this moment on."† Gently he caressed her shoulder, running the tips of his fingers down her arm.
Behind the blindfold she closed her eyes tight.† She bit down on the gag, trying not to scream.† Not to scream in pleasure.† Her body was already betraying her, showing its open desire for him.† Even as she denied his words to herself the silent protests rang hollow.† How had he known?† She had never told anyone.
All those failed dates, looking for what she thought she wanted in a guy but never satisfied when she found it.† Who was this man, that he could threaten her life, kidnap and hold her prisoner, and so easily make her squirm with desire?† Had he somehow peered into her dreams, the disturbing ones that came to her day or night, the dreams that eerily echoed her present helpless state?
He started again.† Knowing the consequences if she didnít pay strict attention she hung on his every word.† "I donít care what you want.† I donít care what you need.† Thatís all gone now.† Your only concern is what I demand from you, and how well you please me.† You know the penalty for failure."† He suddenly grasped her breast with his hand and squeezed her erect nipple, hard.† Even with the gag he could hear her moaning.† "Perhaps you will also earn the reward for diligent obedience."
Backing up he looked her over as he walked around the cage.† She didnít move, which was no surprise now.† She was in full sexual arousal, which he expected as well.† She had been repressing her emotions, her real needs for far too long.† As much as he wanted to consummate her arousal this was not the time.† There was work left to be done.
Going around behind her he released the straps on the gag.† Before taking it out of her mouth he gave her specific instructions.† "As you can tell Iím going to take the gag out.† You do not have permission to speak.† Not one sound, understand?† You will remain on your side and not move."† He pulled the gag off her mouth.† She worked her jaw to relieve some of the soreness, which he tacitly allowed.† The posture collar pushing up against her chin in combination with the gag must have been very unpleasant.
Taking his time he went to the rear of the room to fetch the glass of water he had brought in for her.† Over all the session had gone very well.† Her responses had been very close to what he expected.† He picked up the glass with the straw in it and went back to stand in front of her.† Inside her head would be a storm of conflicting emotions as she battled to try to understand what had happened to her.† He had no doubts as to how it would work out by the time he finished.† Meanwhile heíd give her some time to sort it out on her own.
"Open your mouth, I brought you some water.† Thereís a straw.† Take as much as you need."† He held the straw up to her mouth through the bars of the cage.† Thirsty, she grabbed the straw as soon as it touched her lips.† He watched as the water level dropped rapidly in the glass.† When it emptied he pulled the straw out of her mouth.† "Thatís enough for now."† He put the empty glass down on the floor behind him.
He took his watch out to check the time.† It would take about a minute.† He closed the watch and put it back in his pocket.† There should be enough time.
He spun the cage around so that her face was close to his.† Only the barrier of the cage bars separated them.† "Did you know a cage can serve two purposes?† There is the obvious one, to keep you in one place till your owner comes for you."† He didnít miss the shudder than coursed through her body.† "But it can also protect what is inside, protecting the valuable property inside from anyone who happens to come by.† I wonder, does this cage confine you?"† He reached in and laid a hand on her hip.† She tried to rise up to press against him.† "Or does it protect you?"† He released the outside latch on the cage.† The door fell open."Do you want to be safe?† Do you want the cage to keep me out?"† He reached in and grabbed both her ankles with his hands.† When he began to drag her out she lost it, moaning uncontrollably and tossing from side to side.† Then she stopped and went limp.† The sedative in the water had kicked in.
When she woke up she was stretched out on the couch.† On the TV Gilligan and the Skipper were being chased by a gorilla.† She hit the off button on the remote.
Sunlight streamed in through the window.† The Styrofoam container of half-eaten broccoli chicken was on the coffee table, still open.† She sat up, trying to make some sense of what had happened.
She still had on her clothes from work.† Had the whole thing been a dream?† She felt like she had just been on a hundred mile marathon.† The first item of business would be a hot bath.† She stood up, gathered up the takeout and went to the kitchen to put it in the fridge.† It had been so real.† So real she was still sore, or was it from sleeping on the couch?
Peeking around the corner she saw the deadbolt was still closed and locked on the front door.† It must have been a dream.† More like an erotic nightmare if she had to put a name to it.† Idly she wondered what the significance was of not seeing her mysterious abductorís face.† She headed for the bathroom.
A hot bath cures all ills, even bad dreams.† She dumped in the last of the extra special bath oil and turned on the bath faucet, as hot as she could take.† She had plenty of time.
When she slid into the warm inviting water all her cares floated away.† Still, she couldnít believe how real it had seemed.† She remembered all of her dream too, which was unusual.† If only she had seen his face.
She picked up the big fluffy sponge and began scrubbing.† She was working on her left leg when the sponge fell out of her hand, unnoticed as it splashed into the bath water.† Along the outside of her leg, above the knee, was a long red streak.† A red streak that exactly matched the length and width of the leather belt that had been used to bind her legs together.