She sat naked in the conference room, heavy manacles about her wrists and ankles, a heavier collar about her throat. All were connected by chains with huge links, and she couldn't even raise her hands off her lap.
She shrank into her seat, totally humiliated at being naked in front of the other people in the room. These were men and women she worked with...used to work with...leering at her or looking at her in disgust as they discussed her next case.
"I don't work here any more!" she kept yelling to the group, but they just ignored her.
A man stood up, her boss...no, her ex-boss. He kept yelling that she had to go, that her duty demanded being used as a sex slut in order to find out who stole the Christmas money out of the jar on his secretary's desk.
She kept screaming to be freed, but still ignored, she watched helplessly as the others in the room unanimously decided to put her on the case.
Her boss...no, no! Her EX-boss came over to her. He picked up the leash that was suddenly attached to her collar and pulled on it.
She fell forward, crawling on hands and knees, chains dragging as she was led through the crowd. People she knew, people she worked with...NO! SHE didn't work with them anymore! They laughed at her, touched her, grabbing at her hanging breasts or rubbing her bare pussy.
Now she was outside, crawling through the streets of New York, ignored by the crowds of people that moved around them on the sidewalk, yet still embarrassed about being out there with them.
Another man led her now, and she trotted after him bound in a web of leather that left her exposed for all to see. A bit in her mouth stopped her from pleading, but did nothing to stop her screams.
The man turned, his oriental eyes glinting with anger as he reached out to her. He laughed as she pulled away, running naked down the street, her obscenely huge breasts swaying with each stride.
She could see people looking at her...nowhere to run! She plowed through the crowd using her breasts as battering rams.
Ahead she saw him, her salvation, the one she loved, and he saw her too. He smiled, holding out his hands for her to come to him, but she cannot reach him.
The lights were brighter now and she was strapped down to a gurney. She looked wildly around and she could see him on the street, but at the same time she knew she was back THERE!
She struggled against the straight jacket that held her down, its crotch strap rubbing directly on that tender area between her legs. She tried to scream but the words wouldn't come out!
Another face, one she knew well, moved close to her. She could feel him climb on top of her, mounting her easily.
Crying fiercely, she tried to resist, but it was hopeless.
Then she saw her father, leaning against a wall of the hospital, watching her sadly.
"It's my time," he kept saying, "sometimes you have to give up."
She screamed for him, yelling out his name and begging him to help her! But he started to fade away, pushed back into the growing crowd of people drinking champagne and watching her debasement.
Her voiceless scream rang silently next to the voice of her boss...NO NO NO! EX-BOSS!
"It's just an assignment, you've done it before; I can't send anyone else!"
Her father disappeared and she was on her knees, crawling, her hands outstretched but still connected with chains.
She screamed one more time for her father...!
Rhianna jerked awake, a rush of adrenaline shocking her alert. She panted from the exertion of the dream and could still feel the grip of the manacles on her wrists. Or at least she thought she could.
Rhianna took a deep breath and focused on where she was. She was still on the boat, in the cabin where she had gone to lie down, and it was cold!
Shivering, she looked at her watch, the dream fading quickly from her memory. Rhianna shuddered, glad to be awake yet now not remembering why, except that she had had another one of THOSE dreams. It had been a long time, almost a year since the last one, and they were still as potent as ever.
"It must be the stress," she mumbled to herself, looking at her watch again.
She had slept for several hours, much longer than she had intended. Hell, she didn't mean to sleep at all! But having gotten little sleep the night before due to her amorous night with her husband and the bondage she had slept in, her body had stolen the rest it needed.
Rhianna stood up and stretched, noting through one of the cabin windows that the sky was lightening up in the east. Dawn was almost upon them.
Rhianna wondered why her father had let her sleep that long, and why they were still out on the water. If he had wanted her to sleep wouldn't he have least brought the boat back himself and tied it to the dock?
What did he do out there all night?
Rhianna briefly considered that he might have fallen asleep too, but discarded it. Her father rarely slept at sea.
That left another thought, one she had up to now unconsciously repressed; it surfaced and sent a chill down her spine.
"Daddy?" she called out, heading for the cabin door. She went out onto the stern of the small cruiser and found it empty. With a sinking feeling in her stomach, she searched the boat. There was no sign of her father anywhere, except for an envelope taped to the helm.
Half in shock, Rhianna scanned the still dark water, pulling a pair
of binoculars from a locker to help her see better. She franticly
searched the water for her father, for something, anything, but she was
alone. With slow deliberate movements, holding back her tears as
best she could, she checked the GPS next to the helm and called the Coast
Guard. Then with trembling fingers she picked up the envelope and
sank to the floor.
She had drifted miles further out to sea while she slept, an outgoing tide turning into an outgoing swell that slowly pushed her far from her starting point.
The Coast Guard, who knew her father well, was unenthusiastic about his chances. At this time of year the water was only barely above freezing, and in minutes could kill someone floating around in it. Geoff Summer Senior could have been gone for hours.
A female ensign sat with Rhianna in the wardroom of the cutter that first responded to Rhianna's call. Rhianna was wrapped in a blanket against shock, a hot cup of chocolate in her hands.
The ensign watched the older woman come to terms with the events of the last few hours. She watched as Rhianna beat herself up inside for not catching the signs that seemed so obvious now, signs that led to the irrefutable fact that her father planned on taking his own life.
What was that he said? He wasn't going to let anyone decide how he lived? Or died.
The cutter made it back to shore (another sailor was bringing back the family cabin cruiser after the Coast Guard was done with it), and Matthew came aboard to collect her.
The family had been called by the authorities at Rhianna's insistence, and most of them met the boat at the dock.
Matthew shielded his wife from the onlookers, holding her in his strong arms and giving her what comfort he could. He was eager to get her home, where the family doctor was already waiting for them. Rhianna wasn't the only member of the family the doctor was helping to deal with immediate grief.
Soon Matthew had her upstairs in their bed, a light tranquilizer helping
her calm down. As he folded up her clothes, he discovered the envelope
stuffed into one pocket. It was addressed to the family, but there
was a note written on the back of it. The note was addressed to Rhianna.
Rhianna (it said), when I wrote this letter I didn't think you were coming, so there isn't really much inside this envelope for you. But now that you're here, I feel I have to give you some sort of explanation for what you're going to find.
I can't go on like this. Each day I feel weaker and weaker, and I know it's only a matter of time before they hook me up to them gadgets and I fail to be a man anymore.
So I'm going to join your Mother on my own terms. The sea has given us life, so it's only fitting I give something back.
In a way, I'm glad you are asleep now. I had plans on locking you in there to prevent you from stopping me, as I know you would. Don't blame yourself for falling asleep; believe me, you couldn't have stopped me if you wanted to.
Take care of that husband of yours, he's a fine young man, and make
sure Geoff gets this letter.
It was unsigned, but Matthew had no doubt who wrote it. He sighed, and with a last check on his resting wife, he stole out of the room to find the new head of the family.
Once the door closed, Rhianna opened her eyes.
"You old bastard," she whispered, "I hope you and Mom are together again and happy once more. I love you, Dad!"
The tears began to flow.
End of Part 10