Northern Lights
by Morlock

Part 1


I'm not sure who I am writing this for, but up here, the nights are long and the entertainment is strictly whatever a person can come up with. Like most Sourdoughs, reading is popular to fill up the hours so I am not completely uneducated, although I have to say that my attention span in school was not the best in the class. Of course, the preferred entertainment to fill up leisure hours is to lay on top of the opposite sex, doing - well, whatever comes natural. Or, sometimes, in my case, unnatural. Of course, even for a young person - ok, I'm not quite yet in my 30's - that can't be the only entertainment. Eventually, the stream runs dry for the day.

I grew up here. Alaska, I mean. Unlike that Robinson Crusoe guy that I read about in high school, I do not crave companionship. Male companionship, that is. Being alone for months at a time is natural for me. However, if I were marooned on that island, I would like to have a couple of wahinies to keep me company. Female companionship is a necessity for me. Fortunately, that problem is well solved for now.

The day's run of color was about average for the month. It had gradually gotten better over the last couple of years, tempting me with that vision of the holy grail of all prospectors - the hope of breaking into the mother lode. Of course, if I did, I'm not sure what I would do with it. Right now, I wasn't rich, but just the normal run gave me all the income I needed and more. Other than several loads of summer supplies, I had nothing on which to spend the money that the gold brought.

Several years ago, sometime in 1973

It was the weekend and I was engaged my favorite sport. That is, I was inserted as deeply as my dong would go into my current girlfriend. Actually, girlfriend was a misnomer. I had no problem getting dates as long as I was flush from a payday and, as usual, the only reason that my tool was filling up her hole was because of the wad of cash in my jeans pocket. In other words, she didn't put out until I did. I had a menial, but lucrative, job as a guide for an oil company. The Alaska oil boom had just started and advance companies for energy firms were filling up the hotels all over town. Heck, there was even a rumor of a massive pipeline planned to go way up into the sub-Arctic wilderness. I had to see that to believe it. I had a feeling that some Texas oil companies were going to be in for a surprise when they moved up here. I've seen a high quality drop forged wrench fall off a bench and break like a china dish hitting the kitchen floor. The cold up here in winter does strange and bad stuff to both men and equipment.

Speaking of equipment, Susi had some really good stuff. Just her set of knockers could produce a hard on a snowman. Her other end was pretty good, also, and fit really well around my rod. She wasn't a steady girlfriend, but any time I was holding, she was willing. And she was honest about it - after a good meal and night on the town, she never welched on holding up her end - no pun intended. And if she wasn't available, there were certain houses in town that would fill in.

Much later that night, I headed back to my little apartment, my craving for pussy now satisfied and replaced with a desire for some food - it had been hours since our steak dinner and I had worked it off with a couple of sessions of sweaty exercise. Fortunately, I had some fixin's in my little kitchen - that was good, since everything was closed for the night except the bars and the joy houses. I had no desire to enter any of those on a Saturday night. By this time, the drunken roustabouts and toolies would just be getting down to business - that is, busting each other's heads for any slight reason. I was no sunflower - six foot two, two hundred pounds and I could survive in the wilderness as well as any and better than most. And, in my young life so far, I had been in my share of knock down drag outs. It was just that I considered head bashing to be a stupid occupation if it could be avoided.

As soon as I opened my door, I wished that I had joined them.

Sitting in front of my little TV was a man. An old man - heck, as far as I knew, he was about ninety years older than God.

"Hello, Uncle."

"Shut the damned door." Yep, it was him, alright. "Where the hell you been? I've been sitting here since noon."

I hadn't seen him for a couple of years, at least. My mother's much older brother. He had a cabin and a little claim way up north. Way, way up north. Hell, even Santa Claus lived south of him.

He was even more qualified to be a hermit than I was. What the hell was he doing here? "What's up, Unk?"

"Call me Unk again, and you'll never find out. Sit down. We need to talk."

I didn't have to take any guff in my own quarters, but I decided that I would, just this once. I once saw him straight-arm a roustabout punk by the neck - feet off the ground completely - until the unfortunate began to turn blue. That was the day that I began to realize that the young don't necessarily rule. I pulled up a chair. "Sorry, Uncle. Just joking. Wot's on your mind?"

"I'm dying, Junior." I opened my eyes wide. Before I could form a question, he continued. "Spare me any platitudes. I've been around a long time, and the run has been good. But the Doc gives me a just a few months more. How about some coffee?"

Still trying to process his news, I jumped up and immediately began to crank out some brew. Up here, hot coffee is just short of warm clothing as a necessity. While I scooped out the mix, he continued, "I want to show you something. Stuff you need to know when I'm gone. Tomorrow we drive up to my claim."

Uh-oh. That was a problem. It wasn't like his place was just up the block. It was about two hundred miles north and the passage wasn't exactly like driving down an Interstate. "Uncle. I have a job. I can't just..."

"Tell them you'll be gone a week or so. If you're any good to them, they'll wait."

I poured the water in, then sat back down. "That isn't the problem. If I don't work, I don't get paid. And I have a truck payment and rent is next week."

He wasn't impressed. Reaching into his travel bag, he pulled out a wad of paper and threw it on the table. I looked with wide eyes. It was a bundle of 20's that would choke a polar bear. "This'll tide you over."

The next morning - 04:00

His duce and a half was idling in front of my door - a genuine U.S. Army ten wheeler. The bed was stacked with everything from boxes to barrels. Where he lived, you either brought it with you or did without. The closest store was barely within flying distance - not that one could land anywhere close to his cabin in the mountains.

"Let's go, Junior." I opened the passenger side door and climbed up as he jammed it in gear and off we rolled. For the first fifty miles or so there was a semblance of a road and we could make pretty good time, but eventually we left both the working and abandoned claims behind and the road became a trail. He pulled to a stop. "Your turn, Junior. You need to drive it so you can find it again." Why the hell would I be needing to find his claim again?

Further on, the road became just two ruts made over the decades by his trucks. The many watercourses we came to, he had long since surveyed to find the rocky bottoms and they could be forded at a slow speed and all wheel drive. During the spring melt, there wasn't a chance in hell of crossing, so any forays into town had to be planned around the spring season. Of course, in winter even this truck would have had a better chance in crossing the Bering Straights than this road with twenty foot snow drifts. I could have figured out most of the above, but he explained it anyway.

Somewhere along the trip, about halfway, he waved me to a stop, opened the door and stepped down. He pulled a flat shovel from a holder on the side of the truck bed. I assumed that this stop was a break for nature's call. It was, but...

We were stopped before a long rocky ridgeback. Not quite a cliff, but not something that I would want to climb. He pointed to a very large and prominent bolder sticking up on the top of the ridge. "That's called "Arrluk."

"By who?" I asked. I doubted that any other living person had passed this way since the original gold rush.

"Shut up and listen," he barked. "It means 'whale' in Eskimo. Notice the 'flipper' on this side." Ok, I saw that - a lump sticking out that might remind a person of that fish fin. "Now walk that way until it is pointing at you." I moved then stopped, looking up at the rock. "Look down." He jabbed the shovel at the ground. Instead of digging in, it made a metallic 'clunk.' Metal?. "Clean that off."

Shortly, I had uncovered a flat piece of metal, about four by four feet and with a handle at each end. He nodded at me. I lifted, the metal cover came off and exposed a container buried in the ground. Inside were six plastic red cans and a couple of large plastic containers. It was obvious that the cans probably had gasoline - interesting, since our truck used diesel. I looked at my uncle for an explanation.

First came orders. "Two are empty. Take them out and replace them with full ones from the truck." I did that, then put the cover back over the buried box and he threw a few shovels of gravel over it.

Shortly, we were on the road again. In a mile or so, he pointed to a cliff face. "Look at the base of the rock, there." There was a small indention at the bottom. "That's a shallow cave that can shelter you if needed. This is about the halfway point in the trip. Remember where it is. The supply container back there has a gasoline stove, some blankets, a snow melter for drinking water, and some hard rations. You're not a sunflower, so I don't have to tell you what happens if someone gets caught in a blizzard this far north. Or to make sure that a bear isn't checked in for the winter."

"Why so much gasoline?" I asked.

"Up at my place, I have a snowmobile - not the usual sport version. This one is for far-north prospectors. You'll see it. It has a bubble canopy and an extra large fuel tank, but still, it can only make it about two thirds of the trip on a tank. So, this is the center fueling point. If you use it during the winter, you restock it on your next summer run with the truck." He pointed at a leaning tree. I swerved. "It's for emergencies only. If you need to get south during the winter, it's the only way."

Hours later

For a man who was "dying", he was in better shape than I was after the trip. Finally, hours and hours later, we drove up to the base of a mountain, then up a well-maintained gravel trail to a shelf, probably a thousand feet above the valley floor. In the semi dark - this time of year, night never really fell - I could see for a hundred miles across the low rolling hills - sparsely tree covered and still plenty of snow blanketing much of the scene.

Behind me, against the mountain, was his house, nestled right up against the vertical cliff face. Anyone who didn't know - including me at the moment - would think it to be just a well built but plain cabin for some reclusive sourdough. "Let's get some rest. We'll unload tomorrow."

Inside, the actual cabin was just a big one-room structure, finished with a cookstove and a bed. And some shelves with canned food and junk. And a whole wall filled with large sacks. I could see labels of rice, flour, beans and so forth. Jeez, did he actually spend the winter months cooped up in this place? Even as much a hermit as I was, I would have gone bonkers inside of a month and put a bullet in my head. But, he was uninterested in my impressions and immediately walked to the rear wall and pulled on a set of shelves. Out it pivoted and exposed a door. A door? I had only had time for a casual inspection of the cabin, but I knew that behind that wall was a mountain.

Wrong. It was a dark tunnel. He motioned me to enter, shut the door behind us and started walking. Far in the distance, I could see the indirect glow of light. The temperature of the air got warmer as we walked. About sixty or seventy feet or so along the tunnel appeared to widen out, somewhat. Suddenly...

Paradise in the wilderness.

Holy shit! It was a huge cavern, with a twenty foot ceiling and a flat floor. Not natural - I could see the leftover remnants of powder holes that were used to blast out the rock. The lights were florescent, and hung from the overhead, although only a pair of fixtures were actually turned on at the moment. The floor was covered in spots with huge rugs, a full kitchen was against one wall and a kingsized bed was surrounded by the usual bedroom stuff, minus the walls. One long wall was almost fully faced with bookshelves, and loaded with books. Interesting - I had not been around my uncle much in my life, but I never got the impression that he was a well read individual. Boy, was I wrong.

"You can close your mouth now, Junior. You''ll have plenty of time to explore." He pointed to another apparent tunnel leading from the cavern - one of several. "That's the bathroom. Take a shower while I order us some grub. Plenty of water - use all you want."

In a daze, I entered the 'bathroom' and found out that it really was. Not exactly like one that you would see in one of those women's magazines, but functional, all the same. Just a cube blasted out of the rock, and with no door, it was large, had a commode and a sink with a mirror and a shower head in a corner. No shower stall, just a pair of handles and a water jet. The floor slanted slightly away from the door, so any water or splashes just pooled in the corner and went down the drain. How the fuck did he put a drain in a rock floor?

Suddenly, it occurred to what he had just said. 'Order' us some grub? I knew very little about the topology of this area, but I would have wagered big money that there wasn't some plastic fronted fast food joint around here.

No matter. As he said, the water was as hot as I wanted and plenty of it. The question of where the hell hot water and electricity came from in the Arctic Circle would have to wait. It was wonderful. I kept turning up the hot until the steam began to fill the cube. My skin was turning pink as I began to rinse off. This was far better than my apartment. Depending on the time of day, you might get water anywhere from somewhat hot, to lukewarm, to ball freezingly cool. In a year, I...

I froze - my musings about water and temperature chopped off clean. Now I just stared. And stared.

"Georgie was right. You Are a big kid. And the rest of your body isn't bad, either."

I just stood there like the village idiot, gaping at the apparition that had appeared behind me while I was blathering to myself about hot water.

"And it works, too!"

What? I suddenly realized that my johnson was rising like a polar bear coming out of the water after a seal. I scrambled to turn off the water flow, then attempted to hide myself behind my hands - a classic female gesture when surprised while undressed. It didn't really work - I am fairly well gifted in the male parts. Anyway, I couldn't blame it as I stared at a female, standing there staring at me. But what a female. For one thing, she was a naked as I was - even more so. She wasn't a pageant beauty, being kind of plump, but pretty for all that, and her pair of hangers would fill up big hands. But, that wasn't the target of my vision. I couldn't help staring at something I had never seen before. She was nude all the way down. I mean, she had no hair at all other than her head. Up to now, in my life, I had never seen a fully shaved woman, and this one's little girl crack was in plain sight for any to see. It was ungodly erotic. It's a wonder that I didn't just shoot off all over her, just standing there lusting.

Suddenly, I managed to come to my senses, somewhat, grabbed a towel off a shelf and wrapped it around me. "Who the he... who are you?" My uncle never mentioned a wife, although this woman was far, far younger than he. Not much older, it appeared, than me.

She was smiling and chuckling all at once. "Awww. He's shy." She finally raised her eyes from my crotch. "Really? He didn't tell you about his squeeze?" I shook my head. "Well, that's me. I cook and clean and keep him company. If I'm bad, he might string me up by my wrists and whip the shit out of me."

Ok. It was winter, not summer, and I had gotten lost on a fishing trip. I was obviously now laying out in the open, freezing to death. These were my final hallucinations as I kicked off. As I prepared to depart this world, my angel turned around and I watched her rear crack disappear into the main cavern.

I finally unfroze, toweled off, and pulled my clothes on. In my state of mind, my polo shirt went on inside out - a fact that I didn't discover until bedtime. Uncle was waiting for his turn, so I just sat down at the table and watched his 'squeeze' go about her business. While monitoring whatever was cooking, she also was arranging something on the floor, bent over away from me, her jugs dangling and wobbling under her. My nuts were aching. I wondered if I could relieve myself in the bathroom after we bedded down for the night.

Shortly, he came out wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. "Ok, Junior. Let's eat." In a daze, I walked over and sat down in front of some delicious soup. Suddenly realizing that I was famished, I gulped it down. Uncle had much less, and finished about the same time. The girl didn't eat with us.

He stood up. "I'm a little tired from the trip. We'll talk in the morning." He pointed to the area where I had been watching the naked girl. "That mat is your bed. See you in the morning." With that, he walked over to the wall, flipped a switch and the cavern became pitch dark. Well, for a few seconds, anyway. A slight glow from the bathroom, obviously from a night light, let a person get their bearings in the dark. My mat was just around the corner from the bathroom. His bed was way across the floor, opposite the kitchen and fairly close to the wall with the book shelves.

My night vision beginning to develop, I walked over to the bathroom, noticed with a wry smile that my shirt was on inside out, then shucked off all but my briefs. Outside the opening, the mat had a pillow, a sheet and a thin blanket - the last probably not needed since the mat was laying on a surprisingly warm floor.

With a last, Jeezus H. Kerist, I lay back and settled in. I was beat - my tired was tired, but I wondered if I could slow down my thoughts long enough to fall asleep. Even now, I was having problems believing everything that had happened since that old man had showed up at my digs. In a million years, I would never have...

A sudden movement beside me stopped my musing. Before, I could even start another thought, the woman had squatted, then stretched herself beside me on the mat. Shit! "Hey! Hey!" I said in an emphatic whisper, sitting up and moving over a foot or so. "I have no interest in getting shot by my uncle. Or worse. You need to..."

She put a hand up to my mouth. Pushing her fingers against my lips, she said, quietly, "Hush up, silly. This was his idea."

I looked around toward my Uncle's bed - uselessly, since he was far across the room in the pitch dark. Then back at her, dimly outlined in the glow from the bathroom. "Really?"

I sensed that she nodded as she replied, "Yes, of course. He's a wonderful man, but his pencil hasn't had lead in it for at least five years. You know what that means?"

I had no idea how to answer that question, so I just laid back down, still not believing - again! - what was happening. I was about to say something, when her hand went into my shorts and gently grabbed my stiff - now hard enough to put granite to shame.

"It means that I haven't had one of these in me in that long." Oh, god! About one more squeeze and my shorts were going to be a mess. "When is the last time you had a woman - or your hand," she asked.

What? "Uuhhh... Saturday."

She gave it a hard squeeze. Shitoshitoshit! "That doesn't mean anything to me, silly. How many days ago?"

"Uh... " I did a quick calculation. "Five... no, six days."

"Ok. That's a problem." Huh? She pulled my shorts down to my knees, then off completely, and moved down toward the foot of the bed... mat. I didn't know what she was... Suddenly, I felt her take the head of my dick into her mouth and my eyes probably rolled back in my head. Then she gently grabbed my ball sack and began to pull and massage. That did it! I blew - big time.

I lay there, muscles jerking and spasming, in the last stages of bliss, then eventually realized that she was still sucking and now pumping with a fist. Apparently, she had swallowed the entire load. Shortly, she stopped and lay back down beside me. Well, actually, kind of half on and half off me. One boob was on the mat and the other was laying in the middle of my chest.

"Good," she said quietly. "After you recharge for a little while, we can do it for real."

The next morning

"Ah, Junior. I see you've met my live-in cunt." Snap! I opened my eyes to Uncle standing beside my mat, looking down. Beside me was a woman, still sound asleep, one arm over my chest. Holy Shit! Last night wasn't a dream. Both of us were on top of the linen, and naked as jaybirds - not that I had ever seen such a fowl. I quickly moved her arm, located my shorts and pulled them on. He didn't even bother to watch, but turned around and headed for the kitchen. I eventually joined him.

"Ok, Uncle. I've been good little boy, haven't I? Done everything you wanted since you showed up in my joint." I sat down in a chair to put my socks on, although they weren't really needed. The rock floor - even where the rugs didn't cover - was warm. "Now it's your turn. Spill!"

He sat down too. He had been making coffee.

"Fair enough, Junior. He pushed a sheaf of paper toward me. I was surprised to see that it was his will. And stunned to see that he had left everything he owned to me. What the hell?

"First off, Junior," he began, "You and I are alike. I discount the fact of your constant chasing of skirts and cunt. Hell, I did the same thing at your age. Just don't let it take you over. Remember, pussy is easily found, highly replaceable, and nothing to get serious over once you unload into it."

Hmmm. How the hell did he know how many girls I was laying?

He continued. "We both like being in solitary - your Mom and Dad definitely do not. If I left this place to them it would be on the selling block in ten minutes. In fact, the only reason they both don't head down to the lower forty-eight is financial - they can't make as much money down there. Otherwise, they would have been gone years ago. Pay attention!"

He poured both of us a cup of coffee. His method of brewing was different than mine. If the spoon sank, he considered it to be too weak.

"Taken care of, and worked properly, this claim can give you both privacy and financial security. You might get married some day. I think you're a fool if you do, but young gonads always have their way. Just make sure that if you get married that the bitch doesn't get hold of this place. Do you know what a prenupt is?" I nodded. "Make sure you have a good shyster make an ironclad one. It's tough to do when your cohones are doing the thinking, but you have to do it right."

"By the way," he continued. "Millie has had that female operation to make her infertile, but any girl that you bring up here probably won't. Unless you're hankering for a bunch of screaming kids right off the bat, or to have a pregnant female coming to term in the dead of winter and you playing doctor, I suggest that you drop in on Doc and get your nuts cut."

We talked a while as he ran over more legal stuff. I tried to ask what was wrong with him but he told me in no uncertain terms that it was none of my business. "My preference would be to stay here until the last, then just go out the front door and walk in a straight line till the end came." He shook his head. "The problem with that plan is that I would have disappeared and it would be years before you inherited the place. That, and the fact that Millie would starve to death." So that was her name. With my dick in control half the night, I hadn't even asked. He stood up. "Come with me."

Through another tunnel leading out of the living area and shortly we were in a warehouse area. Nowhere near as big as the space we had just left, but not just a hole in the wall for all that. Wall-attached and free-standing shelves filled the entire area. And the shelves were filled with... with... well, you name it. Pipe, plates, paper, pencils, pottery and paperclips - it was a mini store. That made sense for a homestead where the local store was two hundred miles away, and infinitely far in winter. Again, the switch only turned on one hanging light, although there were many other switches on the wall and lights on the overhead. Where WAS the power coming from?

He motioned me to a shelf next far down at the end. He moved a piece of equipment and exposed the back of the shelf. Wow! On it was a stack of cash and a metal can about the size of a soft drink container. He pointed to it. "Pick it up." I reached for it and lifted. Or tried to. It stayed in place like it was nailed down. Then with both hands, I picked it up. Son of a bitch! It must have weighed twenty pounds or so. Instinctively I knew what had to be in it. I looked at him and he nodded. Setting it back down, I unscrewed the wide lid. Gold dust! Or rather, gold granules, like river-run placer gold. Knowing the current price of gold, I did a fast calculation.

"Unk! There must be twenty or thirty thousand dollars worth, here." (Remember - this was the middle 1970's, when the dollar was actually worth something). I asked, "Why haven't you sold it?" Stupid question that I would have known the answer to if I hadn't been in a state of semi shock.

He snorted. "Why trade it for some fifty cent dollars?" He waved at the stash. "This is money in the bank, safe from inflation, taxation, confiscation." He pointed to the cash. "I sell it as I need it, and the price is always higher every time."

He continued, while motioning me back toward the living area, and switching out the light. "You aren't a stupid kid, or you wouldn't be here, so you will figure this out eventually, but I will say it anyway. To the rest of the world, I - and now you - will have a producing gold claim. That can't really be hidden. But as far as anybody is concerned - including any live-in cunts - it is just a subsistence mine. Enough to let one person get along, but nothing worth anyone bothering with - either legally or illegally. Later, I'll go though the process I use to turn gold into cash without anyone noticing."

He drew it finger over his throat. "Just remember, if anyone gets the slightest hint of that stash in there, you couldn't buy or shoot enough bullets to keep you alive overnight, despite the fact that we're two hundred miles from nowhere."

At the back of the cavern was another tunnel - and when I say tunnel, I am not describing a narrow, hunch over to move, crawl space. No, his tunnels were unbraced, in hard rock and about eight by eight feet. Of course, he had been working on them for a long life time and his father before him. And even before him. There was a fairly heavy metal door separating his living area from this shaft. Later, I would learn that it was to keep all the dust and dirt from the blasting from entering his living area.

He picked up a pair of flashlights and handed one to me. As we walked down the dark and curving passageway, he talked. "This follows the original vein that my grandfather discovered way back when." Grandfather! This place is three generations old? "It always got a little richer as it got longer. Who knows, maybe you'll hit the lode at the end some day."

This floor wasn't flat or straight. It went up and down in gentle slopes and curves, following the previous color trail. At least six hundred feet along, we came to the face of the shaft. Here were work lights - not on at the moment - his single jack drilling rig and miscellaneous tools. There were many two inch holes drilled in the rock. For explosives, I assumed correctly. He held his light up to the face of the rock. "Look here. Look close." I peered at the area that his light was illuminating and saw nothing but rock. There was nothing to be...

Wait a moment. As my eyes finally noticed what I was supposed to be seeing, the reason for all this jumped out at me. In the rock were a few, very thin threads of a golden material. It WAS gold. Suddenly, I felt the thrill that all prospectors feel at the sight of color. Color that many spent their entire lives to find - and many who gave their lives in the finding.

Months later

I had just taken leave of my parents - up from Anchorage for the funeral. I had been surprised to see my mother shed real tears for her brother. All my life she had always referred to him as "that old bastard." The more I thought about what he said, the more I realized he was right - neither were real Sourdoughs. Even though they had been born here, they were not much different than the transplants.

During the summer, Doc checked me into a clinic for that operation that Uncle had suggested. I wasn't really looking forward to someone taking a knife to my ball sac, but the idea of a woman giving birth in a place that was two hundred miles and could be eight months away from a doctor, gave me the willies. He said that there was a moderate chance it could be reversed, but don't call it a sure thing. I had a set of gigantic and massively sore nuts for a couple of weeks.

At any rate, summer was fast progressing and I needed to get the legal stuff done so I could get out of here. I needed to spend the winter learning the gold mining business and how his secret home worked. Before we left, he handed me a written journal that he indicated had notes about everything and every process in the place. My main concern was getting back with supplies for the winter. Millie had been up there alone for almost three months. Of course, she had spent almost ten years in the place and pretty well knew how it ran. However, if a generator or the battery crapped out, I doubted that she could fix it.

During the week I had spent up there, I looked over the place pretty well, getting somewhat familiar with it and how it worked. One thing I noticed, was his bed and some curious attachments - and some odd attachments on the walls and floor. As to the bed, for one thing, it had ringbolts at the corners. When I asked, he laughed and said. "That's for Millie. If you keep her, you are going to find out all about B&D."

"What?" I asked.

He looked at me. "She's a dyed-in-the wool masochist. She came that way - I didn't make her into one." He paused, then continued. "I wasn't into it either, but as it turns out, it's quite a hard-on stimulating hobby."

I shook my head. I had never heard of the terms. Either of them.

He looked at me in disbelief. "God almighty, Junior. Did you go to school in a nunnery?" I just looked at him trying to get some kind of handle on what I thought was a conversation about sex. "She likes to be punished. Whipped. Tied up."

Finally, I began to see the light. "So the rings on the bed...?"

He laughed again. "She loves to be tied down for sex. Heck, sometimes I used to hogtie her after lunch. By evening, she would be hotter than a dynamite fuse."

That brought up another question. "Speaking of live-in girlfriends. How does that jibe with your idea of total secrecy about the gold?"

He poured himself another cup of coffee, then sat down. "Lissen and learn, junior. Millie is just the last one. I've had several. The first thing I did was tell them I had a gold mine. I had to. If a woman is spending a winter with you, there's no possible chance of her not noticing that you work in a mine shaft. So I tell her. In fact, I ask if she wants to help." I waited, still not understanding. "So... She is excited to actually find gold. Visions of mink coats and diamond rings play in her head. She mucks loads of rock into the cart, takes it into the crusher room and I stamp it to powder. In the placer trough it goes and she starts washing for color. And she finds some - always. But, only as much as I let her, since I am very careful which rock she loads. Sometimes I even just give her plain rock and salt it. Follow me so far?"

I nodded, still not quite seeing through the haze, but getting there.

"At the end of the day, her ass is dragging the ground and I tally up her pouch. She's made all of fourteen dollars and thirty nine cents. After a couple of days of that, she happily stays in the cavern and leaves the mining to me. When our relationship terminates, any tales she tells of my gold mine will be about a guy with a dirty, hard job that produces a trivial amount of gold and the guy is nuts to even fool with it. Needless to say, you don't let her see your stash of cash or cans of dust - not even Millie sees that."

Days later

Finally! The legal stuff got done and the place was now mine. My truck was loaded with supplies - drums of diesel, crates of food, bags of staples. Plus, what few personal possessions I owned, including my record player and a fairly large stack of platters. I needed to get gone. The weather report wasn't looking good and I didn't know the trail anywhere near good enough yet to find my way in a snowstorm. I spent the last night at Madam Larue's, mostly between the legs of a young black haired beauty. By morning I was well drained so I got in the six-by and started toward my new life.

I had no troubles at all - not even a downed tree to be chainsawed off the trail. But, by the time I arrived the snow flurries were already coming down thick. Millie heard the door opening and ran to me, crying and hugging and laughing through her tears. I didn't know if it was for the death of my Uncle, or my coming back, or maybe just seeing another person after three months. I was still getting used to the fact that I now had a woman of my own. Not a wife, but a female that I could do anything to that I wanted, anytime and however I wanted.

What I wanted right then was to take a hot shower and collapse for about ten hours, but one look at the approaching storm miles away to the west, I knew that my day wasn't over yet.

I backed up to the front door, and began to unload. It took hours to get the diesel drums out of the back, since I only had a hand powered drum hauler. The supplies I just threw into the entrance tunnel to be put away tomorrow. Finally, I backed the truck into its shed and removed the battery. Tomorrow, I would empty the electrolyte into a holding container and wash out the core. In the spring, I would reverse the process and have a still-good cell. Batteries don't do well in our winters, and the chance of one surviving in an unheated shed were just about zero.

By this time, I was staggering and stumbling with exhaustion. Millie stripped me down, gave me unnecessary help in the shower, then joined me in the bed. No sex tonight - I zonked out the second my head hit the pillow.

Time passes

That winter was both educational and fun - and not just from sex. The complex was a marvel of study in how to live well completely outside of civilization. Most of the infrastructure - all of these words weren't in my high school vocabulary, but were learned from his voluminous library over the years. I had always thought that he was some uneducated Sourdough. It was a shock to find that he had attended engineering school after the military. Anyway, the infrastructure was fairly new so I assumed that it came from him, not his father or grandfather.

Millie was a piece of work. I never did completely understand exactly how she came to be in my Uncle's 'possession.' But, apparently she was one of those women that was born with a innate desire to be dominated. The story went that she would go from boyfriend to boyfriend, always trying to find one that would satisfy her longing for submission. Years later, after asking her how it happened, she just mentioned that he had rescued her from a bad guy. Once, on a trip to the big city, I sorted through newspaper archives from the time and place that she mentioned and found a back page article about a woman who was almost beaten to death by a man unknown. A day later, another article told about a man who had been found almost pounded into the pavement, bones in every limb broken, along with his jaw. The assumption that it was an ordinary brawl after a drinking bout.

Anyhow, however it happened, she latched onto my Uncle like rosin from a broken pine tree. And, now, since I was my Uncle's recommended replacement, she renewed her lease. I wasn't unhappy. She was a wonderful distraction in bed after a long day of hauling rock. She could cook, kept the place clean, and - all in all - fulfilled the function of a wife, although without all the bullshit.

My Uncle was correct in telling me, both that she loved to be restrained, and that the erotism of that kind of play would grow on me. That winter, I hog-tied her, tied her up in a big X against the wall, ropes from her wrists and ankles tied to bolts in the rock wall, fastened her on the bed spread eagled, or with her legs pulled above her head, or bent over with her arms pulled up behind her... You name it. B&D, I came to realize, meant Bondage and Discipline. I quickly became a major disciple of the sport.

I just thought it was fun, but it was an integral part of her makeup. (More big dictionary words that I didn't know at the time, but am using now, years later.) Before Uncle passed on, he told me about her quirks. "Junior. Every now and then, maybe once a month - hell, it could be connected to her monthly period, for all I know about it. Anyway, she will turn into a cast iron bitch. Nothing is right, she will pout, curse at you, refuse to cook or put out. The first few times it happened, I thought she was getting tired of me and wanted to leave. I almost put her out. If it hadn't been late fall, I might have."

"It isn't an act. She really becomes bitchy. But what she is wanting is for you to punish her. And fairly severely." At my look of disbelief, he nodded and continued. "I guarantee it. When it happens, tie her down or string her up and lash her till she has red zebra stripes." Now I was looking at him like he was a two headed snow elf. He nodded again. "Believe me. It's true. Only, when you are done, you had better be ready to put out, because she is going to be serviced or you are going to be raped."

All the above turned out to be true. But there was a lot to do and learn besides new sexual practices.

The amount of gold I produced probably wouldn't have come to a third of the value of the items I loaded the truck with. But, that was all right. I was learning the trade and enjoying it. My first session of rock breaking was a study in slow careful movement and exhilarating puckering. I definitely wasn't a powder monkey - not yet, anyway. But using his notes, made especially for me, I got it wired up and pushed the button.

Unlike the movies, the climax was somewhat disappointing. A proper charge spends its energy breaking whatever it is supposed to break, not producing a Hollywood sized bang. By the next day the little fan had exhausted the fumes and dust and I could see a considerable pile of broken rock on the floor.

I had all winter to examine my new home. The infinite supply of hot water came out of a pipe at the end of a much smaller shaft - really just a crawl hole. Someone long in the past had drilled sideways into some water bearing strata, then had cemented the pipe in the hole. According to Unk - he wasn't here now, and couldn't complain about the use of the word - this mountain was geologically active and over a magma hotspot. I had to look up those terms, but translated them to mean that this was a volcanic area, but they hadn't produced any surface activity. Yet.

Anyway, the water came out at considerable pressure and was plumbed to the bathroom, kitchen, and gold panning areas. The waste water went out another pipe and cascaded down the side of the mountain - something that I doubt would pass inspection in more civilized areas, but the state code inspector had never managed to get up this far.

The entire complex was warm. Too warm and again this had to do with the underlying... lava? magma? ...whatever. Call it hot rock. To cool the place down, two three-foot shafts went straight up out of the cavern almost two hundred feet before it broke into the open. Cold air from outside would cascade down the shaft then through a series of ducts, just as if it were a building with air conditioning. Except that this AC didn't cost anything to run, or to power, except for the few minutes needed for a large fan to get the circulation going. The heated air would rise though the other duct.

Ah... Power. That was one of the first things I asked about on my first trip. In a nutshell, the place was battery powered. But, what a battery. In a small cavern at the edge of the mountain, a huge plastic tank sat on a concrete pad. It was two feet wide, two feet deep and almost twelve feet long. He called it a 'replaceable electrode' battery. The plastic top was hinged and when opened, would show a series of lead plates hanging sideways and vertical for the entire length of the box and covered with acid. Properly treated, he said, it would run for about five years before it degraded to a fifty percent capacity. When it needed to be renewed, the electrolyte would be drained, the plates removed and replaced and new acid poured in. Along one wall were stacks of spare plates and carboys of acid. Enough for decades.

On the other side of the cavern, three small and efficient diesels were mounted. One active and two spares. Did I mention that in the winter, you couldn't just run down to the auto parts store because the lights were off and you badly needed a fuel filter? When the battery discharged, the diesel genset would charge it back up. Of course, the exhaust was directly vented outside, although the intake just used air from the complex. This constant inflow of fresh air kept diesel and lube oil fumes from backing up into the living space.

In just living mode, that is, no mining going on, the battery would last for weeks or months, since all it had to run was lights and a few miscellaneous items like a music system or a fan or microwave. The lights were all florescent - low wattage compared to incandescent - and all could be individually controlled. That way, only the lights over your current location were running at any given time.

If mining was going on, the power requirements were much higher due to the equipment needed. An air compressor for the drill, water pump and sump pump for the water spray. Then, later a small hydraulic pump to work the crusher. And so forth. During those times, the diesel bypassed the battery, and powered the equipment directly. Even so, the fuel requirements were only a few barrels a month, even if intensive, all day, every day mining was going on. And he/I had three dozen barrels in stock and he advised to always bring a couple of extra barrels on each trip. More money in the bank, he called it. Over and over, he would reiterate, money always goes down in value - items always go up, be they drums of fuel, battery plates, sugar or matches.

Time passes

Sure enough, just like Uncle had said, a time came when Millie began to whine and pester - then became downright obnoxious. I guess she was testing me for a first time to see if I had the stones that my uncle had had. She would find out. I let her stew just to get an idea of what this was all about. Then, finally...

"You want to eat? Fix it yourself!"

I just sat there with my coffee. I idea of what I could do was still a powerful rod stiffener. Going over my Uncle's options in my mind gave me enough time to finish my drink. Then, as she paraded by again, obviously on purpose, I stood up, quickly stepped over to her and grabbed the bulk of her hair in a hand. That got an exclamation out of her, but nothing like the protests as I began to tow her over to the long blank rock wall. Squealing as we went, her hands were trying to remove mine from her hair, or failing that, trying to relieve some of the pain by pulling back on my hand. It didn't work. I had eight inches in height and at least eighty pounds on her. And most importantly, a Y chromosome that she didn't have.

On the wall, drilled into the rock, were several strategically placed eye bolts - four to be exact - put there by my Uncle in one of his playful moods, I assumed. From each of the bolts hung or lay a short chain with manacles attached. And - surprise! - the spread and lengths just happened to fit the person that was bent over beside me with my hand in her hair. I let go, took an arm and raised it up to one of the binders. I snapped it around her wrist, then moved over and did the other one. Then, stooping down, I pulled a leg sideways. Shortly, both ankles were decorated with manacles and she was secured - facing the wall, arms widely spread and over her head and legs spread to full width.

Now she had changed her tune. "Johnny, Honey. I'm sorry. Sometimes I just get bitchy. I'll be good... OOOOHH!" That last was for my finger entering her spread behind. A girl in this position had nothing that wasn't accessible. Just to check on that theory, my other hand moved around in front and a finger went up her front hole. By now, I just wanted to sidle up behind her and run it up her rear chute, but I restrained myself. First a lesson.

Leaving her apologizing and pleading, I stauntered over to her hope chest. I had no idea at the time of why she called it that. It was just a large wooden cedar chest that kept all the B&D items that my Uncle had either bought or made. Many years later, I finally learned that it was a play on words of an actual chest that unmarried women - mostly years past - would put items in that they collected for their future marriage - hopefully.

In it was a collection of whips - among many other things. I selected a long flexible lash. This one had a flat leather strap, at least six feet long, tapering into a leather wrapped handle. Unk had told me that it made more noise than damage - in fact, the blade of the whip was so wide that it couldn't damage skin, no matter how vigorously it was swung. I pulled it out, then lashed out at the bed mattress a few times. It definitely made a satisfying 'thwack.' I was anxious to see how well it 'thwacked' on female skin.

Across the cavern, I could see my waiting victim looking over her shoulder trying to determine just what she was facing, but as I began to walk toward her, I kept the item coiled behind my back. Halfway there, I decided not to rush. It wouldn't hurt for her to think about what might be coming. And speaking of coming, I needed to get my mind on something else or I was going to before I even got over to her.

I poured myself some coffee, then sat down at the dining table and just looked across the vast floor to my wonderful squeeze. Finally, I got to my feet and slowly headed over to my vertically spread-eagled girl.

"Johnnie! Turn me loose and I'll work on you like you've never had. I'm sorry for my bitchyne... "EEEEEEEE!!!" That scream followed the whack of the strap. There was no way in hell that I would deliberately damage this female, and even though the lash was real, it was play on both our parts. Still, I couldn't believe the erotic feeling of power from that single stroke. My nuts were aching for release. Another pop on her butt brought another scream. And another. Now she was shrieking at the top of her lungs. This might be play, but it was torture for real.

Finally, after ten strokes, I stepped around to the side to look at her. Pulling her head back and around to look at me, I asked, "You plan to be a good girl now?" Sobbing, she nodded vigorously - or at least as much as my hand in her hair would allow. I nodded back. "Ok. Here's the deal. Get your ass over to the bed and get ready to do me. If you're really good, then you get to sleep in the bed tonight. If you aren't, then I chain you back up, give you ten more strokes, and leave you stretched out here for the night."

She was good. Really, really good.

Time passes

By winter's end, I was still having fun, but I was looking forward to a trip into town and I needed to stock up on food items.

So, earlier than was wise, I did maintenance on the truck, installed the battery, and headed south. I wouldn't do it again. The streams were full of snow melt and, as big as it was, at a couple of crossings I could feel it being shifted sideways. Fortunately, I could gun it and the ten wheel drive managed to get me across. Nonetheless, I definitely wouldn't do it again.

Rolling into town, I could see that it had changed considerably. I hadn't been incommunicado in my hidden fortress, since I had a radio and I knew that what was now called the Alaska Pipeline had been approved and was in the initial stages of construction. At least, in the initial stages of planning. At any rate, the town was full of new faces from down south. New compounds of living quarters were up or being built. And of course, the bars and whorehouses had flourished. There were even a half dozen new banks.

I wasted little time in looking over the changes. First things first. I parked the truck at the fuel station, then walked the few blocks to Madam Larue's. I was hoping that little Marie with the big headlights was still... What the hell? The old house was gone and in its place was a construction site. A hotel. As I retraced my steps back to the station, I wondered where they had moved.

Putting the condition of my johnson on hold, I filled up the empty drums with diesel, and as my mentor had advised, added an extra. After that, I shopped for various hardware items that I had wanted, but couldn't find in Uncle's massive stash. Finally, crates of food items - canned, mostly. Nothing perishable yet. I would pick that up just before I left. Joe let me park my truck in his fuel yard while I was in town. But, as I locked up the deuce and a half, I asked, "Joe. What happen to Larue's place?"

He shook his head with a wry smile. "She retired. Got good money for her property, but my opinion is that the competition didn't want her around."


"Hell, yes. There are at least a dozen new cunt houses around, and more coming." I waited for him to flag a truck just starting to load. "I won't say that they're owned by the mob, but... just let me say that none of them seem to be stocked with a friendly madam and honest girls. I'd keep my hand on my wallet if you go in one. Money is the thing. In case you haven't noticed, the town has filled up with hard legs from every pipeline and oil field on the continent."

He wasn't kidding. As I started my initial shopping, I passed more men on the street than I would have seen in a week a year ago.

I had brought the gold I had mined during the winter. Not that I thought I needed any more money, but I needed to keep my lines of communication open with my 'banker.' So, renting a car, I drove down to the big city - Fairbanks - then following my uncle's written instructions, pulled up to an office in the industrial side of town. It would have definitely been considered to be on the wrong side of the tracks - if there had been a railroad around anywhere. A pretty rough area. I was armed, of course, with both a hidden sidearm and a hunting knife, and knew how they were used, if necessary. Nonetheless, I had always had a policy, in that, if I thought I was going to need a weapon where I was going, I didn't go there.

This wasn't an office that you just walked in and spoke to a secretary. I knocked on the door and waited. Eventually, it opened and a head stuck out. Not a face that I would want young children to see.

'Yeah? Watcha want?"

"I need to see Mr. Malarka. Business."

"Who are you?"

I told him, and then a single word. "Gold." He motioned me to follow him and we proceeded down a long hall, lined with obviously abandoned offices. At the end, another door and he knocked. I heard a muffled word and the stiff opened the door. Inside was a well dressed middle aged man sitting at a desk. He motioned me to a chair in front of the desk. Looking up at his gorilla, the man replied with my name.

That changed the whole atmosphere. He waved for my escort to leave, waited for the door to shut, then stood up and offered his hand. "Son of a bitch! You're Ben Johnson's nephew."

Surprised, I took his hand, and nodded. "Ahh... Yep."

"Son of a bitch," he repeated, then just sat back and looked at me for a while. "He was a goddamned good man. Saved my ass in the Minto Creek fires. He was way older than me, but he could still walk my ass into the ground. Which he did, but he got us out of there before we became roasted pork, like all the other panners that screwed around not wanting to leave their claims." He lowered his voice. "I was really sorry to hear of his death." I nodded acceptance and he continued. "So, you're taking over the mine. Watcha got?"

I set the container on the desk. He hefted it and said, with a puzzled expression. "Not much in here. The color isn't running out, is it?"

I shook my head. "No, he said the vein was getting better. But it's a one man operation and I spent the winter learning. There'll be more, next run."

He nodded, set the the can on a scale, then poured the dust into something in a drawer, then weighed the empty can again. A few taps on a calculator and he pulled out a pile of cash and began to count out a bundle. I knew that the deal was that he discounted twenty percent from the current spot price of gold.

Finally, he pushed it over to me and said, "Twenty three hundred and forty."

My eyes opened wide and I looked at him in surprise. "Say what?"

It was his turn to be surprised, then he remembered. "You probably don't get the financial papers delivered to your door. Gold is way up this year. One twenty an ounce."

Holy shit. It had doubled in the last year.

I took the stash, we talked about Uncle for a few more minutes, then I took my leave of the 'bank'.


Since I had several weeks before I needed to think about heading back home, I roamed the big city, engaged a hotel room, bought some stuff for me and some presents for Millie. I even took in a couple of movies.

In a couple of weeks, I headed back north to my hometown. I bummed around with some old school acquaintances - even I could enjoy male bonding on occasion. To questions about my inheritance, I just gave out that Uncle had had a little placer claim - fun to work in the summer, but nothing that was going to make me into a millionaire playboy.

The problem was, I couldn't brag about this fabulous retreat that I now owned - all that would do would be to get unwanted guests ("...say, we were up here hunting and that storm is coming and...") or freeloaders ("Hey man, I need a place to crash till I get that job. You don't mind.") True, two hundred miles of backwoods trail was a good insulation, but my Uncle warned me never to underestimate the ability of food and money to draw scroungers.

Most nights, I would go to The Peacock. What a friggin' name for a house in a climate that a even penguin would probably freeze to death.

A week later

By now, the truck was full of supplies again ("Remember, Junior. Supplies are like money in the bank. What you buy now won't cost you more next time") and parked in Joe's fuel depot. Now the locals were beginning to realize that there was a newly made man in town. That was unfortunate.

My favorite in the Peacock was a young and somewhat plump sunflower with jet-black hair. Weekends were their busy times, but during the weekdays I could engage her all night for not much more than a one hour stand, otherwise. Obviously, we didn't screw for twelve hours, but relaxed and talked or slept. Or sort of talked. Tonight she was distracted for some reason. She was from Florida, of all places, and wasn't all that impressed with what we called summer.

I thought of a question. "When did you get here?"

She reached across me for her class of squeeze. On weekends she drank colored water like all the other girls, but on casual nights like now she could have what she wanted, since the house wasn't expecting her to service anyone else. Her beautiful, young and full jugs dragged across my chest over and then back. After a gulp, she said, "In April. There was still snow on the ground. Heck, there's still snow piled up now, and it's July!"

Holy shit! Been here two months and in the sunny season and she thought it was cold! "Well, what you're seeing now is just the leftovers where the piles were bulldozed. You see these little doodads?" I reached out and pulled on her nipples.

"Hey... Those aren't doodads. That's me!"

"Well, in a couple of months these will be rock hard cold little marbles sticking out the front of your gown. Then you will see cold."

Pulling on these little love buttons reminded me that I hadn't had any tail for over an hour. She gulped down another swig. "Slow down or I'll be laying on a warm lump." She never drank much, but tonight she was really starting to tie one on. If I hadn't also been doing a pretty good job of bending my elbow, I might have noticed that both her attitude and the atmosphere of the place was... well, different.

Before unloaded my balls again, I needed to empty my bladder. I got up, leaving her laying on her back, buck naked and spread. "Hold that position. Back in a minute." I opened the door, stepped out into the hallway toward the bathroom and almost ran into the Madam. She wasn't anything like Ms. Larue. That veteran girl herder always greeted clients by name, was all smiles, and her girls had better satisfy her visitors in total. This one was more like the warden in a women's prison. She was attractive enough, but in the way of a tiger, not a good lay.

Since she took up most of the space of the narrow corridor, I came to a stop and she asked, "Problems?"

I shook my head, realizing that I had a leetle too much to drink already. That should have told me something since all the drinks in this place were diluted almost to the point of being water. Unlike Ms Larue's place, where the drinks had been honest. "Nope. Just flushing the bilges before the next trip."

She pointed behind me. "Use that one at the end of the hall. This one is having problems."

I didn't care, as long as I could whip it out and get some relief from the pressure. I turned around and just barely got the impression of a person standing there, when I was hit with an excruciating pain in my chest. Before I could react, the world went away.

An unknown time later

White. Snowflakes going around in circles in my brain. Dark.

Later - I guess

A room. White. A man. White - that is, he was wearing white. Slowly things came into focus. I could almost recognize the man. He was... was...

"Welcome back to the living, John." Snap. Suddenly my brain shifted into gear and I recognized Doc Hooper. I tried to reply but nothing came out but an 'Urk.'

He came closer. "Wait. You're still intubated." His hands got too close to focus on, then I had a sudden urge to gag, then a mess of plastic pulled away from my face. "Try it now."

I managed to grunt out the words, "What? Where?"

He was checking something on me as he replied. "You're in my clinic, of course. You've been here for a week. Ever since you were found face down in a snow pile. No, don't talk. Just listen." He moved around to the other side and shined a light into each of my eyes. "Until a couple of days ago, my money was on Ole Nick dragging you down to the fires, but damned if you didn't kick him in the face and get loose." More pumping and prodding. "Right now you just rest and get some strength back. You're going to be here long enough to ask all the questions you want." With that, he stuck me with something and I drifted off.

More later

A few days later, I was sitting up and actually finishing my first real meal. It was pretty good, considering that the Doc's clinic consisted of just two rooms. I assume that someone went out and got it. The pain in the left part of my chest was down to a minimum roar, and I was almost feeling normal, aside from being weak as a kitten.

I looked up as Doc walked in the door. I swung a fish stick at him for a greeting. "Pull up a chair, Doc. Time for some chat."

He did, and replied, "You first. What was the last thing you remember?" I told him about the joy house, leaving the room to piss, then running into the madam, turning around and lights out.

He nodded. "That goddamned place and about three others like it. You're the fourth or fifth stiff that has turned up dead and we think it was after a visit to those places. Only in your case, you jumped ship off the Styx riverboat." He shook his head. "Hell, they're making money hand over fist with their conveyer belt girls and watered liquor, but that apparently isn't enough. How much money did you have on you?"

"How much did you find in my clothes," I countered. He shook his head. I admitted, "A lot. Three grand at least."

"You went to a whorehouse with that much cash in your pocket? Maybe I should have opened your skull for an inspection. What the hell were you thinking?"

I agreed with him, but answered, "I didn't flash it, Doc. I just didn't think about it at the time." I set the tray aside. "Now, tell me your side of the story."

He leaned back. "Short enough. I woke up with someone pounding on my door. It was Stuffer." Somebitch! Joe Stufferberg was the town... well, bum. He was plenty intelligent, but something in his makeup just wanted to be a free spirit. He ate and paid for his little room by collecting scrap, doing errands and so forth. "He dragged me outside and down to behind the old rendering plant - you know, where they pile the snow from Marple street and the square. There you were, face down in a pile, bleeding like a harpooned whale." He paused a moment, then went on. "Actually, that snow pile was the second best thing that happened to you that assault. Apparently they just threw you into the pile, face down, and the snow actually formed itself around your chest from the impact. It closed up the wound somewhat, and between that and the pseudo ice pack, prevented your system from pumping out blood like it would have if they had just dumped you on the ground. You would have desanguinated... bled to death in short order."

I thought about that for a moment. One thing for sure. Stuffer wasn't going to have trouble finding money to eat on for a long time. How much is your life worth to the town bum, and would any of the upright citizens have reacted as swiftly?

The Doc went on. "When I examined the other bodies, they all had like trauma. I mean, knife wounds, but in various fatal places. Bob and I assumed that they were the result of brawls after too much time in the bars." Bob was the local constable. "All of them were imports. You're the first sourdough to come up stuck. And from your story, they might not have been fights. We might be looking at murder. In fact, in your case, we are. Obviously, they wanted it to look like the result of a blade fight, otherwise they would have just cut throats to make sure."

Hmmmm. Now my mind was in gear and racing. "Does anybody else know I'm here?"

"No. Just Bob, Stuffer and myself."

Good, I thought. "Let's keep it that way"

The Doc got the wrong message. "Now wait a minute, John. I know you can probably take on most of these daffodils from down south with just a spoon, but going after whatever mob that runs these cesspools is a bad idea. Leave it to the Constable."

Ha. Bob was a nice guy, but handling domestic disputes and traffic fines was just about pushing him to his limits. "Sorry, Doc. You misunderstand. I just want to be able to get up and move fast if someone decides that I'm evidence that shouldn't be left laying around." I thought of something else. "You said that the snow pile was the second best thing that happened. What was the first?"

He looked at me for a moment. "Have you ever had a physical? Any kind of checkup?" I shook my head. For one thing, other than minor damages requiring a bandaid or a bandage, I had never been sick or badly hurt in my life. "Ok. First. The person who stuck you was either an expert or was lucky. And I'm guessing expert. He delivered a wide blade knife thrust to your chest, moving upward because that is the way to miss the ribs. It was dead centered on your heart. An instant kill."

Hmmmm. I wasn't following. I should have been dead if it happened the way he described, and I knew him to be a good doctor so I had no reason to doubt him. "Ok, since you aren't Saint Peter and I don't have wings or a pitchfork..."

"John. You have a condition called situs inversus. Ever heard of that?" I shook my head. "It means that you are the one in about twenty two thousand individuals who have their organs reversed. Your heart is on the right side of your body. The knife wound was bad enough, but it only punctured a lung."

A week later

"This is a bad idea, John. You need at least two more weeks of rest. You're still recovering from a wound that would have killed most men."

"I can't help it, Doc. That weather front will be here in three days and this is the last chance to get home this year. And believe me, that is where I want to be more than anything. Besides, I don't have a nickel on me. What would I do?" I couldn't tell him that I had a woman who might not last the winter if I didn't get back.

The Doc didn't let go. "You can stay here. Dammit, I'm not worried about the money. But if you die on the way back, your Uncle is not going to like my explanation of why. And it won't be that many years before I see him again."

An hour later, with him still shouting instructions on changing dressings and not exerting myself, I waved to him from the window of my truck and headed north.

He was right. It was a stupid idea. If there had been a tree over the road that required my sawing it to move on - or a flat tire - I would have died on the trail. As it was, I passed out twice - fortunately in low gear on level ground - and by the time I got to the cabin, I was in full double vision and shaking like I had palsy. Millie ran up to me as she heard me enter. Then her cries of welcome changed to horrified exclamations when she saw the bloody shirt from the now soaked bandage.

Time passes

Just as the Doc wanted, I stayed in bed for two weeks with Millie hovering over me like a cloud. I didn't even have to get up to piss - she would stick a bowl between my legs and hold my dick till I was through. And she made no erotic moves while doing it. In fact, during my recovery, she wore the only piece of clothing she had - a kitchen apron - that would cover up her twat and tits so I wouldn't want to try anything too soon.

I just had to leave the truck and supplies in its shed, still loaded for now. There was no way I was going to manhandle so much as can of beans out of it, let alone six hundred pound fuel drums.

But, in three weeks I was up and around - not gold mining, for sure - and in another month I was still somewhat weak, twenty pounds lighter, but essentially well. I knew my strength would be back up to par in a month or so. Most of my time that month was spent in planning.

By the middle of winter, I was fine. My weight and strength were back to normal and I spent the time doing some mining. Now I knew what I was doing and it went much faster. I didn't need it - most of Uncle's stash of cash and all of his dust was still in the warehouse cavern. But, I like to work with my hands and the mining process fit me to a T. And of course, Millie became the main course again whenever we felt the need.

One storm after another came through. Not that it bothered me, deep in my warm mountain womb. In fact, if it wasn't for the radio, I would have no idea of what was happening, weather wise, beyond the viewing distance of my cabin windows. But, as I knew it would, eventually there came a pause in the weather.

Outside with snow coming down

I had trimmed my hair short, and totally shaved my beard - which I was starting to get tired of. It collected dust from the mining and was hot. But, the upshot was that I looked like a totally different person. The snowmobile was checked out with a test run, gassed up with two spare cans on the rear and emergency rations stowed. As the sun rose for its very short day, I cranked it up, pulled the canopy closed and headed south.

By the time I got to the emergency stash box, I had only used up one spare can, so I swapped it with a full one, topped off the tank and kept going. It was a much faster trip than in the truck and by evening I was approaching the town. On the outskirts, I pulled into an abandoned and falling down building and parked. First things first. I topped off the tank again, then took the empty can and the partial and headed down the street. At the gas station, I filled them up and took them back. Now I was ready to haul ass if and when necessary.

I checked into one of the new hotels under a phony name and got some sleep. There was little chance of my meeting anyone I knew and if I did, I doubt that they would recognize me in my new look. Especially bundled up in a parka and snow pants.


When I woke up, I began to reconnoiter the new additions to my hometown, starting with the house that got me bladed. I wanted the son of a bitch who stabbed me without warning, but I had no idea who it was. My only memory was a tall enough shape that it had to be a man, but with no details. I needed a snitch.

Unlike a normal whorehouse, these were open 24 hours, since the workers beginning the preliminary work for the pipeline construction also worked around the clock and got off work at random times. For these young men, the houses would be a major draw anytime, but up here, in winter, with almost nothing else to do but stare at the walls of their quarters, they were the town's prime attraction. Actually, they weren't really bordellos - that was illegal - but were advertised as places for the working man to "relax and play cards, listen to music, have a drink or two over a good meal" - and so on. Wholesome entertainment for all the young boys from down south.

I went in and had a drink or two, staying at a corner table and acting like I wasn't looking around. There was no chance of my getting drunk - the overpriced drinks were mostly water with a dollop of crappy rotgut. Almost immediately, I saw that the original madam was still here. That was good. I had something to discuss with her. There were three or four goons doing bouncer work, but try as I might, I couldn't associate any of them with that night. I didn't see who I wanted and I didn't want to ask yet. That would come if I couldn't find her.


Knock, knock. I heard a shuffling and shortly, the door of the little shack opened and a face peered out. "Yeah. Whatchawant?"

"Hell, Stuffer. Let me in. It's freezing out here."

His eyes widened as he finally recognized me - or, probably my voice. "John. Damn if it isn't you." He opened the door and pulled on my arm to enter. "Without the face fur, you look like a teenager again. Glad to see you're still stumping around, son."

If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't be and this was the first time that I had been able to thank him for my life. He pishawed and poo-poohed his actions, but I wasn't having it. I thanked him profusely for that night.

"Stuffer, I didn't wait around to thank you back then, because I didn't have anything left after they emptied my pants. And I wanted to get the hell out of Dodge before they tried to finish the job. Whoever 'they' are." I handed him a thick envelope. "This isn't payment for my life, because there isn't enough money in the world for that. It's a salary for your help, if you will." I didn't know if I should say what I was thinking. Stuffer was at least fifty years of age or more and I was barely in my twenties. He had probably forgotten more of the world than I had ever read about. I risked it. "Don't do what I did and carry it on you. Hide it and..."

He smiled and held up his hand. "It wasn't necessary, but thanks, John. Now I can stay around here." To my puzzled look, he continued. "The crowd of sunflower boots has pushed prices though the roof. I was thinking of moving down to the coast and get out of the inflation." He pushed some magazines off a chair and offered it to me. "Since you came all this way in the dead of winter, I assume it wasn't just because you needed another piece of ass." Stuffer might be what some considered to be a derelict has-been, but he was no fool and much more intelligent than most people suspected. I often wondered what happened in his life to make him give up an engineering career. Not my business and I didn't ask.

"Nope. I plan to find the bastard with the knife. Its all I've been thinking about all winter. By the way, nobody knows I'm here so help me keep it that way. My ride is parked out of town." He nodded and I went on. "I might stop in and tell Doc, but you know how he is - I doubt that he would encourage my trying to... What's the matter?"

Stuffer's face suddenly fell into a stricken look. He gulped, then grimaced. "That's right. You couldn't have known." My hair began to stand up on my neck. "Someone broke into his clinic and killed him a couple of days after you left." My jaw dropped and he went on. "Supposedly it was for drugs, but I have a feeling that the word probably got around about you surviving the attack and that he was beginning to think that all the other stiffs might not have died in a brawl."

Stunned, I just sat there thinking about old Doc. I hadn't even paid him yet for saving my life. He was a good man who would fix up anybody and not even ask for payment if they were short at the moment. Dead! And because of me. Then the sorrow began to turn into a raging desire for revenge - far beyond what I had wanted for my pain. Stuffer saw the emotions change and reached out to take my arm.

"Son! John! I can see what you're thinking. Hell, I can feel it radiating out of you. But don't do anything rash." I nodded. That wasn't a problem. I was seething inside, but not irrational. I had no intention of blowing out of here and storming the cunt house, shouting for the coward to show himself. All that would do would get me six foot under, like the others.

Grimly, I shook my head. "Don't worry. Whatever I do, it will only be after some ice cold planning. Will you help?"

A couple of days later.

We were sitting at his little card table that passed for furniture in his shack and eating some really good takeout. He was filling me in on what he had found out. "She's still around, but works for the Midnight Sun now." I nodded. I had seen that new house during my nightly walkabouts. "White 4x4, beat up. It has a tiger tail tied to the top of the radio antenna. She lives in a little condo with three other hookers. About two miles from the Sun. Here's the address."

"What's her schedule," I asked.

"Usually, eight to about three - at night - but I've only got a couple of days of data. Hell, it could be random, or always changing, depending on the roustabout crowd."

"I'll look over the ground tonight. Remember, if I disappear, it means that I'm either stiff or it worked. And, this time, there will be more than one blade in the game, so don't worry too much about who gets stuck."

Time passes

I woke up and put on a full set of white snow gear. It was really coming down - sideways - and the vicious wind made the chill factor brutal. I had a pocket full of chemical warmers - I had no idea how long I would be waiting. I knew that my target had gone to 'work' at sixteen hundred hours, so she would get off some time after oh three hundred. I sheltered on the downwind side of the building, looking into the distance down the street. I would make a decision whether to go through with it, or back off for another day or another plan. Actually, this wasn't really a plan. Just a spur of the moment decision because of the massive snowstorm that was in progress.

Sure enough, about oh three thirty, I saw a car turn into the parking lot. I moved up behind another pair of parked and snow covered cars to wait. It was her 4x4 but it was way too dark to see how many people she might have with her. The perfect setup would be for it to be just my quarry, but I knew that she almost always had one or two other girls also getting off work.

I spotted the slot that she was aiming for. Most people would try to park as close to the front door as possible, and these sunflower girls were no exception. I was crouched on the far side of the automobile that she would be parking next to. In the snowfall, and me in my white snowsuit, I was almost invisible. Did I mention that, by coincidence, the street light closest to their front door must have burned out? Eventually, the power company would come along and fix it, and discover a small hole in the lamp shield. Approximately .22 calibre sized.

The car stopped, the lights went out and both doors opened. I moved around the back of the car I was hiding behind and slipped up behind my quarry just as she slammed the door. Like her companion who was already on her way, she was preparing a sprint to the door of the building and the warmth inside. She didn't even begin to run.

I spun her around, and with a measured swing of an arm, put my fist into her breadbasket. She doubled over with just a squeak that was totally inaudible in the howling wind. She was now only concerned about trying to make her lungs move air in and out. I slung her over my shoulder and disappeared into the night, wind and snow, with her companion concerned with navigating the steps on the front of the building and none the wiser. I knew that my captive would probably take about thirty seconds to get her air back and start screaming, but before then, I had her on the ground behind a shed, on her stomach, and was wrapping duct tape around her pulled back wrists. While I waited for her to start breathing normally, I went ahead and taped her ankles together. Finally, she began gasping, and preparing to give out a blood curdling scream. She just started a shriek, when I slapped the end of the tape over her mouth, grabbed her hair with my left hand to pull her head up, then wrapped the tape round and round her head. Sloppy, but it would work.

Then it was back over my shoulder and up the road to my ride. I had purchased a rescue sack - nothing more than a large, well... sack, made of what was then known as space blanket material. Something that came out of NASA, I guess. Very tough and a good insulator. The sack was carried in some emergency kits so that a helpless person - like a child or young person, or someone injured or unconscious - could be transported from the site of the rescue without them freezing to death.

Into the sack went my captive, and onto the back of the snowmobile went the sack. Shortly I was roaring north.

Going up the road like hell

Her struggles were slowing down - from exhaustion, I presumed. Over the sound of the engine and gear train, there was no way to hear any sounds she was making. Not that I was concerned. Once I made the turnoff from the dwindling road, I stopped, opened the sack and shined my flashlight in the opening. She was quiet now, and averting her head and eyes from the blinding light. I reached down and gripped the edge of the duct tape over her mouth with the fingers of both hands, and ripped. As it came loose, she let out a low scream. Then immediately began babbling about please Mister don't hurt me please let me go...

I pulled the strings on the bag to close it and straightened up. A few minutes of stretching my legs, and we were off again.

A few hours later

I pulled up to the snowmobile shed, got out and opened the door, then drove in. It had been a much slower trip back than it had been going. For one thing, I was carrying much more weight, and secondly, the snow was coming down thick. I had no desire to whang into a tree in the dark and limited visibility. It would be a long, long walk carrying a girl in a bag if I had trashed my ride. I picked up the bag, slung it over my shoulder like Santa Clause making deliveries, and headed for the cabin.

Millie, of course, was waiting, and overjoyed to see that I was still walking, unstuck and unholed. She had been in on the plan - not the tactical stuff about how it might go down, but that the mission was to get a person connected to that night who could fill in some information.

I dumped the moaning woman out of the sack on to the previously prepared mat next to the bathroom. After hours of being doubled up in a sack, bound hand and foot, all that came out of her was a low moan. A chain long enough to allow her to move between her mat and the room was already laying out with one end attached to a ringbolt in the rock wall. With one of the manacles that Uncle had bought for his squeeze, I attached her ankle to the end of the chain. Then I cut the tape off of her wrists and feet. As her limbs flopped out to a normal position, shaking and quivering from the release, she just moaned.

I stood up and looked my captive over. Millie was standing there, also watching with interest. "So this is the bitch that tried to get you killed?" She looked back at the female and wrinkled her nose. "What about her clothes? She stinks of pee." That was obvious - no female in the world could travel that long without emptying her bladder.

I handed my hunting knife to Millie. "Be my guest. Just don't cut her."

With a cry of joy, she took the offered tool, knelt down beside the quivering woman and, cutting the belt, pulled the fur pants down and off her legs. Of course, one ankle had a manacle attached, so that pants leg just slid down the chain. I reached over, unlocked the binder for a second, pulled the end of the chain through, then locked it back. Shortly, Millie had her fur coat off and on the growing pile. The mini-dress was easy. She just pulled it off over the woman's head. No panties, but the bra was soon loose after a couple of cuts.

"See that," I said, pointed to the woman's fur patch between her legs. "I want her smooth and her crack showing, just like yours." Enough of this. I was about dead from the action of the last day or so.

I reached down and took her jaw in my hand and pointed her face at mine. "I'm beat," I said. "Sleep time." I pointed to the opening behind her. "That's a bathroom if you need it." She did. Being a female, there was no way that she spent all that time in the sack without pissing on herself. "You can shower if you want. But you will keep very quiet so I can sleep. Or... I can tie you back up and gag you again. Understand?"

Even with my holding her jaw, she managed to shake her head vigorously. Obviously, the choice between being hogtied and keeping quiet was no choice at all. I stripped down, took a quick and steaming shower, and crashed.

I pointed to Millie. "While we're on the subject of cracks, get yours over to the bed and open for business."

Shortly, emptied and satisfied, I lay back and crashed.

The next morning.

I woke up refreshed and lay there staring at the rock overhead, then suddenly remembered the activities the night before. I quickly sat up and looked over at my new captive. She was still asleep. Not surprising, considering all the adrenaline pumping experiences she had had the night before. I got up, pulled on my shorts - the only clothing I usually wore in the warm caverns, unless I was working. I decided to let her sleep it out. She would need the rest - she had a whole lot of questions to answer.

I had thought all this over ever since I staggered back here from Doc's, at the end of summer. Now, I had essentially kidnapped a person. Even if she were an accessory to robbery and murder, the government likes to think it is the only entity with the ability to punish criminals properly. So, even if I were to file a complaint, how could I prove it? No way in hell. My word against theirs. But this was still essentially the frontier - at least as close to one as there is on the planet, now.

So, this woman would be my guest for a long time. She had no idea where she was. Actually, she probably had no idea who I was, so someday, maybe, I could dump her in a coastal city and let her complain to whomever she wanted. Her tale of being held captive in a huge underground complex would be hard to swallow. And who did it? John? You mean that John who lives clear up in the Arctic Circle in the little cabin and pans for a few grains of gold during the short time that the water isn't frozen? Give us a break!

Millie was already awake, just laying there snuggled next to me. I tweaked a nipple enough to make her give a happy yip, then ordered, "Three breakfasts." She hopped up, tits bobbing as usual and paddled over to the kitchen.

I noticed that my captive was awake, but still sitting warily on her mat. I ignored her until a meal for three was prepared, then took a tray over to her and set it down on the floor. Back in the kitchen area, I began to eat, sitting across from Millie, and thought about what was about to happen. Up to now, she was a target, a quarry, a point to begin my quest for reveng... justice. But, a stirring in my groin gave me a different feeling. It was beginning to dawn on me that I had a female under my power. A helpless and chained female.

I tried to sort out the feelings. I had always liked pussy. From the time, years ago, that Mary Jo took me into the abandoned sawmill to show me her hidden cave, I had pursued tail. She had broken in a lot of young men, and from that day on, my quest centered around females. Before my uncle introduced me to his squeeze, I had no inkling the fetishes of bondage and torture and sub-culture of sex. And if I had heard about it, I would probably have dismissed it as silly. What good is a tied up cunt? It should feel the same no matter what the status of the female. Little did I know. By now, I was still an amateur at the sport, but it had become a major part of my sexual drive now. Did the desire to dominate reside in all men, or did it just find fertile ground in me? And was the desire to be submissive a part of the female physic? Hell, I didn't know. Back then, I couldn't even spell the word psychology.

I walked over to her and stood looking down. She look back at me in fear, although I was positive that she hadn't yet connected me with that stiff that she had baited months ago. After all, since then she had seen and serviced hundreds of men. I was sure she would remember that night, but probably not the face of the poor bastard who was ambushed.

"Stand up," I ordered. She shook her head, obviously experiencing major fear at her situation. Ok, so we'll do it the hard way. I walked over to a shelf, picked up a pair of wrist manacles that I had found in Millie's "hope chest." Uncle must have emptied a store, somewhere, of every piece of bondage item they had.

She saw them, then started to scramble to her feet, but fell back with a cry of fear when I pushed on her head. Straddling her chest, I sat down and pinned her to the mat. Then, one at a time I locked a wrist into a cuff. Now she was screaming - for help, for mercy, for stuff that I couldn't understand.

From the rock ceiling twenty feet above a rope dangled from a pulley - another little item that I had put in during the winter, in hope that I would be able to use it. I stood up, took the end and pulled it down far enough to be able to tie it to the center chain of her manacles. Then, over at the wall, I untied the loose end, and pulled. She struggled but was dragged to her feet by the action of the rope through the overhead pulley. I pulled enough to lift her wrists above her head, with her elbows bent a little. Then I tied it off.

By now, satisfaction with my plan was in conflict with the erotic feeling of seeing a helpless woman in front of me. But, information first - playtime second. She had showered last night, so she was clean. I just walked around her, looking. She was the same woman that I had had several times last summer. Not skinny, by any means. Somewhat like Millie, slightly overweight but that just made her a good mattress. Her tits were large, like Millie's, but the girl being much younger, were considerably higher on her chest.

Suddenly, she noticed that I was carrying my knife. It was just for show, but it got a reaction.

"Nooooooooo!" she shrieked. "PLEASE MISTER! DON'T HURT ME. PLEASSEEEE!" And so on. She had pulled back as far as her bonds would allow, but it obviously did no good as I walked closer. I held the knife up to the bottom of her neck, then - with the blade backwards, of course - drew a line down between her tits to her cunt. Now the wailing turned into just unintelligible pleading.

I just stood there enjoying the scenery, my johnson fully reacting to the sights and sounds. Eventually she wound down and just stood there looking at me under her raised arms, her tits jiggling as her body shook. The reaction was for her fear of what was happening, not the embarrassment of being naked before a man. That emotion had to be long gone in a woman who bared it all several times a night in a bordello.

Finally, after letting her stew for a while, I asked, "Do you remember me?"

She violently shook her head. "NO, Mister! No. What did I do?"

I walked up to her, held my face six inches from her's. "Look closely. Are you sure."

"NO. NO. I DON'T. Pleasseee." Now she was almost weeping from fear. She was shaking like she had just come in from the cold.

I smiled grimly. "Think back to last summer. Remember one night, a guy with long hair and a beard. We screwed and drank half the night away, but you knew that he was being set up to be killed and robbed." I pointed to a definite scar just below my left nipple. "This is where the knife went in, but your man didn't quite finish the job."

That jogged her memory. Her face turned into a horrid mask of fear from the memory, and the sight of the corpse-to-be that had just reminded her of what she had participated in. She let out a squealing wail, and her bladder let go. As the yellow pee streamed down her legs, they gave way and she just dangled by her arms, alternately babbling and moaning. I left her and went into the bathroom.


Refreshed, I looked out of the bathroom niche to the girl - now bare assed and buck naked. Obviously, she still had her arms over her head, but she had gotten her strength back and was standing up on her own. I was still being whipsawed by conflicting emotions. I wanted information above all, but by now I also wanted her. Even on nights when my nuts were aching from a failure to connect with a woman, I never considered rape. I still didn't know if I could do it. Of course, many was the time that I 'forcibly' took Millie with her bound, gagged or otherwise helpless, but that wasn't rape. That was play.

I shook my head, then walked back out to stand in front of the girl, not really knowing if I wanted her to cooperate or refuse.

She just stood there, wide eyed, looking at me under her raised arms. I assumed that she had decided that supplication wasn't going to work since she had stopped the incessant pleas.

Here we go. "I'm going to ask some questions and you're going to answer. If I decide you're lying to me - well, let's just hope you don't." I waited for a few seconds and continued. "Who's idea was it at the Peacock to rob and kill guys coming in for tail?" She shook her head, but gave no answer. "Who was the knife man?" Still no reaction besides some minor shaking. I had found out the name of the madam from Stuffer. "What did Arie have to do with the plan? Was it her idea or was she just a player." Now I just waited and stared at her. She looked back, then away, then back again, but still no speech. Obviously, her fear of them was greater than of me. It was time to adjust that attitude.

Millie, of course, was watching, both in excitement and also in fear. Her life in the complex had been, well, normal and steady, from day to day. Except for me showing up at the door with disturbed and bloody bandages, her diet of excitement had been very low. Right now she was holding a couple of items that she was well acquainted with, waiting for me to ask for one. She had been in the exact place and position of the new girl, and also waiting for punishment. But, in the case of Millie, she knew that her pain would never be pushed past the point of damage.

As I tried to walk behind the partially suspended girl, she continually turned to face me. Hmmmm. This wasn't going to work. As a cruel whip master, I was definitely an amateur. I pointed to Millie, then down at the girl's legs. She ran over to her chest of gear, pulled out a pair of ankle bracelets - each with a short chain - and came back to the scene of the action. Kneeling down, she clicked a bracelet around an ankle, then pulled it out and hooked the end of the chain into an eyebolt strategically set into the rock floor. Then around to the other side, and shortly, my victim was not only standing with her arms over her head, but her legs were widely spread and she was unable to turn around again.

Now when I walked behind her, she could turn her head and look, but only twist her body somewhat. When she saw me pick up a long flat whip from the floor, she knew what was coming. "PLEEEESEE MISTER. Don't hit me!"

I looked at her, flipping the blade of the whip over my shoulder. "Are you going to talk?"

She violently shook her head. "I can't. They'll kill me. Please!" Now she was sobbing.

I stepped up and grabbed her by her disheveled hair - not hard, just firmly. "And you think I won't?" She just stared back with wide open eyes. I wouldn't, of course. The knife man I would, in a second, but, without having any facts at all, I knew that this little girl was just the bait in the scheme. "So you won't tell me anything?" She shook her head. "Let's test that theory."

I had no experience in whipping anyone for real and I definitely didn't want to draw blood. But, while she was trying to figure out what I meant, I stepped back, aimed and let her have a stroke across her back, considerably harder than I usually did to Millie. The flat leather of the lash made a loud 'twack' as it hit. Her reaction was extraordinary. She threw her head back and screamed at the top of her lungs. Not words, just noise. She tried to pull her hands down, then her feet up - anything to relieve the pain radiating from her back. I just stood there for a second, watching a helpless female writhing under the - my lash. The feeling was like nothing I had ever experienced - not erotic, per se, even with her jugs dancing and bobbling up and down and side to side, but just... Hell, I don't know. Whipping Millie was erotic enough, but this was for real and the feeling was overpowering.

After a short inspection of the bright red welt across her skin, I satisfied myself that she was not damaged in any way, no matter what her nerve endings were saying. So, I let her have another one. More shrieks. God this was... exciting? ...I couldn't think of a word. Count to thirty, then another. Then...

Suddenly, I dropped to my knees as a haze of erotic bliss enveloped me. I reached for my dick as it erupted and began to empty my nuts onto the floor. Then, I dropped back on my butt, unbelieving. I hadn't had a wet dream since I was a pre Mary Jo adolescent. I had never suspected the eroticism of actual chastisement of a woman and its effect on someone who had never given it a thought before. Millie just stood there, wide eyed, as disbelieving as I was.

In a few minutes, I got to my feet, went into the bathroom and cleaned myself up. Looking at myself in the mirror, I was still having trouble believing what just happened.

Meanwhile, back in the cavern, I doubted that my captive had seen my detour into erotic bliss - she was still wiggling and moaning from the lashes. Pulling her head up by her hair again, I asked, "Ready to talk, or do you want more."

Very quietly, she said, "Nooo. Yesss. Please don't hit me."

"From the top, then. Who planned it and who was in on it."

Still later

By now the reaction had set in - I was weak as a kitten. Not only the erotic effect of my punishment of the girl, but what she had babbled out under the threat of getting the leather on her back again. She had described a horrible situation in that goddamned cunt house. Doc had mentioned three or four stiffs that were found with alleged knife fight wounds. This little hooker - "What's your name?" "M...Mary." - had recited a knowledge of at least three times that many in addition to a couple of her fellow girls who just disappeared one day between dawn and daylight - probably for refusing to participate. The madam, Arie, was a major player in the scheme, as were most of other girls, but the heavy was a dude called Holmes. She thought that it was he who owned the joint.

I sat on the bed thinking the situation over. What to do about it? And what was I going to do with my captive. Just turning her loose wasn't an option. Besides the problem of the law, the worst threat would be what the principals of that mini mob would do if they learned that one of their cunts had squealed. I doubted that a set of sunflower toughs, for all their macho, would dare attempt to find my claim two hundred miles north, but if I ever showed up in town again - which I had to do every summer - well, that might be interesting.

More thought.

Later yet

"I'm feeling pretty good right now." I was standing before her, still roped to the ceiling but with her legs now loose except for the manacle hooked to her keeper chain. "I'll give you one of three choices." She just looked at me, frightened and wary. "First, since you tried to help kill me, my first idea was to cut your throat and dump you outside for the wolves. They'll get rid of the evidence in short order and as far as the world is concerned, this little cunt just disappeared forever."

She shook her head, body now shaking with fear again.

I continued. "Or, I can take you back to town, turn you loose and you can tell your mob just where you have been and what you told me. Of course, I will be on the radio and the cops will be waiting with the full story. You can take your pick on who to tell your tale to - the cops or your employers." Of course, I didn't have a two-way radio, and even if I did, that would be a pretty heavy story to try to get someone to believe over a long distance conversation.

That option didn't seem to cheer her up, either. She was as pasty white as the snow outside.

I tried again. "The third choice is to stay here with me. You will be my... my... well, slave, shall we say. Cook, clean, fuck - whatever I want done and when I want it done." Of course, the only real option that I was going to allow was the last one, but since the first two would result in her messy death, I pretty well knew which one she would choose. "Well...?"

I was right. "I'll work for you, Mister. Please. I will... just don't kill me."

"What's your full name?"

"M...Mary Hofford."

I pointed to Millie, just standing there being entertained. "You see that woman?"

She nodded and said, "Yes, Sir."

"She's your boss. Same as me. She says cook, you cook. Clean, you clean. She wants your tongue up her twat, then it better start licking." I waited to see if that sunk in, then, "I don't really need another woman up here to eat up my supplies. Your stay here depends entirely on your behaving. Otherwise, out you go. And it's a two hundred mile walk to the next warm place."

I reached up - she flinched, not knowing what I was doing - and unhooked her manacles and in seconds she was free. I turned my back and walked into the bathroom. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her drop to her mat and collapse with the reaction of the last couple of hours. I came back out with a wet washrag and a towel and dropped them beside her. Pointing to the puddle of pee on the floor, I said. "Clean that up, then take a shower."

Back over at the bed, Millie and I talked over our new tenant. "You're going back, aren't you?" I nodded. "Why? Nobody can bother you here. We're safe, our lives are good. You even have a new cunt to play with."

"If I thought someone else would handle the problem, I would do just that." I pointed to the shower niche, from which sounds issued of the afore mentioned cunt running water. "She was just bait. But someone down there is a cold blooded murderer and as far as I know, I'm the only one who even has an idea that something is wrong." Plus, I need to see the guy that gave me this." I tapped the scar on my chest.

Time passes

This storm was a real howler. It had been blowing for three weeks - unusual, even for up here. I spent the time mining. The color run was really good and I was beginning to store up a real stash of my own.

Millie was breaking in her new servant. Mary helped cook, plus clean and do laundry. And anything else that was needed.

A day or so later, I came in from the mining tunnel and had just opened the door and heard a low "Ahhhhoowww." What the heck? I saw Millie on her knees on the bed, and Mary laying on it with her feet up. Getting closer, I saw that Mary's ankles were cuffed to the end posts, which made her not only fairly well spread, but with her legs raised, her entire bottom could be seen - from hole to hole. Her wrists were also fastened to the upper posts.

I stopped and watched Millie grab a hank of pussy hair between thumb and forefinger, then quickly yank. Again, there was a protest of "Ahhoooww."

"Having fun?" I asked.

Millie looked around with a grin. "Just following my master's orders. You wanted this new cunt as smooth as a new born baby. And pulling it out lasts far longer than shaving."

I could feel my rod rising, but I needed a shower badly. I shucked off my working clothes and headed for the bathroom.

More time passes

The storm blew itself out and I marked time. It was still the dead of winter and I knew that it would only be a short time before another would come through. I saddled up and headed for town again. Now, of course, my new cunt was free of her chain, but as much a prisoner as if she had been behind bars. I assumed that she would eventually get up the courage to go down the exit tunnel and into the cabin, but one look over the frozen landscape, visible for miles, along with the biting cold and she would scuttle back into the warmth.

I had told her in no uncertain terms that she was to obey Millie in everything she ordered. And if I came back and found that she hadn't, then the lashing she had gotten that first time would seem like a gentle massage to what she would get.

Because of my tentative plans, I stopped at certain points in the trail and wrapped a tree or rock with yellow florescent marking tape. As it turned out, if I hadn't, then this tale would never have been written.

Once into town, I rented a car and headed for the big city and my 'banker.' He was surprised to see me this time of year, but I filled him in on some of the happenings over the last few months and asked his opinion on a few things. Shortly, I was headed back to my hometown with a few items in my pocket and some in a bag.

Time passes

Stuffer had given me some more bad news. Jake Wilson - not a close buddy - but a friend that I had grown up with, hunting and fishing - had been found face down in a snowdrift, but this time shot. Stuffer shook his head. "This isn't just an amateur mob trying to protect their business. Criminal enterprises only kill as a last resort." He poured us some more coffee. "Someone in that nest of vipers is a psycho. Just kills for any minor reason."

I nodded, still assimilating the information about Jake. One thing for sure, someone was going to pay in full, eventually. "What about Bob?" I asked.

"The constable?" I nodded. "Crap, he stays in his office. About the only reason he will leave is for a fight somewhere. I can't prove it, but I suspect that he got the word to keep out of stuff that isn't his business." He shook his head. "Worthless for something like this."

I nodded again. "I need more info. Mary was in on it - sort of unwillingly, but still acted as one of the bait girls, but she has no idea of who the bigwigs are. I need to talk to that goddamn madam Arie."

"You figure out how?

"Working on it."

Days pass

Finally, another major storm was roaring in. This time I had a plan - a real plan, not just a loose idea about meeting someone I wanted to ask questions of. I had gone to the Peacock a few times, but always made sure that they knew that I was just holding enough to get a girl for an hour. In fact, I would pull rumpled bills out of my pocket and count them out, just barely meeting the price each time. I had no desire to get tagged as someone with money in their pocket. And, I never drank in the place unless I saw the bartender ladle it out of a bottle at the bar. I assumed that drinks on the counter couldn't be drugged without putting way too many of the wrong stiffs to sleep. But, what goes around, comes around, I hoped.

To keep from being tagged by the state police as a bordello, all the cunt houses had their girls sleep off the premises. So they were scattered in apartments all over town. I had long since followed my next quarry to see what she drove, which way she went, and where she lived. And I practiced my scheme over and over.

The snow was coming down sideways and the wind chill was brutal, even for me, dressed in high end snow gear and with strategically placed chemical warmers in my pockets. Still, even out of the wind, I was shaking with cold. My binoculars kept freezing up and continually had to be wiped with alcohol. I was about to blow off the night, assuming that she was going to bed down on the premises because of the storm, then, I saw the headlights of her jeep come on. I stood up, ran frantically in place for a few seconds to get the circulation going, then moved out to the intersection, picked up a previously placed chunk of lumber, and threw it across the road.

I could see her car fishtailing somewhat. Even with her studded tires, traction was iffie on a night like this. Fortunately, she was driving with some caution as she approached the intersection. In the nights that I had observed her, she usually just blew past the stop sign at the corner. At this time of night, the roads were empty, and besides, I doubted that she had any fear of the constabulary giving her a ticket. She saw the lumber across her half of the road, slowed down to take in the situation, the slowly moved into the intersection.

The lumber worked. She had slowed enough for me to sight in on her rear tire and pull the trigger. The .22 short in a long barrel gun, and on a night when the wind was howling, was totally inaudible. Now, I just hoped it worked fast enough.

As she drove, I loped along behind her, as before, my white snowsuit making me invisible to any but someone who was actually looking for a nut job out in this weather. She got several hundred feet up the road before I saw her taillights turn sideways and stop. I kept jogging until I got within visual range of the car, then I slowed down and just normally walked along, head down against the wind. In the vague glow of streetlights, I saw the woman get out of the car, walk around it and look at the tire. Over the wind, there was no way that I could hear the steady stream of cursing that I knew she was doing.

As I got closer, she stood back up, then turned around to reenter the car, I assumed, then saw me. Suddenly, she had a small pistol pointing in my direction. I stopped as she shouted, "Who the hell are you?"

I held my hands up and said, "Easy, Ma'am. I'm George..." a name made up on the spot. "I'm on my way to work."

She looked at me for a few seconds and the pistol disappeared. "Sorry. You just surprised me. Didn't expect anyone on foot in this shit."

"I don't own a car." I pretended to look at her problem. "A flat, huh." I looked around. "Do you have a spare?"

"I think so."

I looked up and down the road, the visibility was probably fifty feet. "Ma'am. We need to get your car off the road before we try to fix it. One of those pickup cowboys is liable to lead foot through here with a loaded pipe truck and take us all out." That was a worry, for sure, but mainly I didn't want anyone coming along and offering us a ride. "If you want, steer it over to that flat area and I'll try to push."

She got in, put it in gear and with the rear tire flapping, managed to get it off the road. I noticed another person in the car. That might be interesting, but a matter for later. I opened the back, located the jack and managed to get it under the axle by pushing the snow away with my foot. Shortly, the wheel was off the snow and I picked up the lug wrench. It was one of those stupid bent single socket models, rather than a real X-wrench. "I'll need some help with breaking the lug nuts loose, Ma'am - I have a bum arm."

I needed her to stay out in the cold with me - and her passenger, if I could arrange it. "Maybe your partner could help." She moved to the passenger side door, and barked a command to the girl inside. A fur wrapped form immediately got out of the car. I put the wrench on a nut, then said, "Help me turn this. With three sets of hands on the short handled wrench, we tugged and tugged - well, not exactly. I was pushing in the wrong direction for a few seconds. I didn't want the tire off too quickly - I needed both girls really soaked with the cold. But, eventually, we managed to get it popped loose. Four more of those later, and the tire was on the ground. By now, all of us were shivering badly - in my case, with real snow gear and pockets full of active chemical warmers, it was mostly show. Another car zoomed by, but didn't notice us.

"Let's get inside and warm up a minute." That was gratefully received advice. THey got back in the front seats and I sat in the back.

"Son of a fucking bitch!" the woman exclaimed. "Why people live up here in this goddamned hellish place is beyond me." She had pulled off her gloves and was blowing in her hands. So was her so far silent partner. Inside, it was still chilly. The jeep, while idling in the howling wind, wasn't producing much hot water for the heater.

Suddenly, I exclaimed. "Damn. I'm not thinking in this cold." I fumbled around in my knapsack. "I have some fresh hot coffee in here. Want some?" It was a perfect in. Actually, if I hadn't offered to share, they might have just shot me to get to my thermos. She scrabbled around in her center console and brought out a plastic cup. She held it out and I filled it, then poured the thermos lid full and handed to her partner.

"God, thank you sir" The first words the other woman had spoken since I wandered up. As they savored the hot liquid, I also pretend to drink straight from the thermos.

Shortly, I handed the container to the younger girl and said, "Let me see if I can get the tire on. Don't get out unless I call for help." That was fine with them. I opened the back, taking my time by fumbling around so as to let as much heat escape the cabin as possible to make the hot coffee even more desirable, and took out the spare. Now, with two good hands and out of their sight, I took my time mounting the tire, then spinning the nuts back on. Once they were tight, I walked up to the driver's door and opened it. Both women were collapsed against each other. My man in the big city said that the pills that he gave me, when dissolved in the coffee being brewed, would be enough to put a walrus to sleep. He was right.

An hour later

I had deposited both girls in the sack on the snowmobile, and had taken her car back and parked it in front of her apartment. Stuffer picked me up in his clunker and took me back to my machine. We shook hands, and I cranked up and took off up the road. As usual, even with the storm, the ride along the ersatz road was easy, although fairly slow because of the very limited visibility. The problems began when I turned of onto my rural trail. This part of the territory was fairly flat, with gentle sloping hills and forests. No real landmarks to go by, even if I could have seen them in the snow and dark. By now, I was thanking my lucky stars that I had marked certain points on the trail with the marking tape. The florescent yellow material would really shine in my headlights, even through the blowing snow. I inched from mark to mark.

Hours and hours later, I finally pulled up to my midpoint stash, then managed to shovel enough snow off the lid to be able to pull out three gas cans. By now I was beat and knew that there was no way I could keep this up without some rest. I didn't even bother to hide the stash and left the empty cans on the ground. I would handle that item in the spring when I came by with the truck, assuming that I was still alive then. Up the road at the little cave, I stopped out of visual site of the cliff, pulled the sack containing the girls across the snow and inside, then went back for the rations.

By now the girls were awake, but what their demeanor was, I had no idea. They could have been shouting for hours, but I would have heard nothing through the thick sack and over the storm. They still had their fur clothes on just as when I met them - frisked for weapons, of course - but if it hadn't been for the rescue sack, they would already have been frozen stiff. I opened the sack, and ordered. "Get out."

Madam Arie might have been a sunflower, but a wallflower, she wasn't. There was nothing in her makeup that tended to take shit off of anybody. However, as she crawled out of the sack, her arms and legs barely working, the sight of her environment was enough to dull the edges of the imperious woman. She was followed by her partner, also making a heavy time of moving.

Holding my flashlight on them, I kept my voice loud and commanding. "Don't talk, just listen. You will be spending a few hours here. I suggest that you pee, eat..." - I pointed to the hard rations - "...and then get back in the sack and huddle up." No reply. "If you're lucky, I'll be back for you. If you leave this cave, you will die by freezing to death. It's that simple. What is left of you by the wolves might be found some day." I handed the older woman the flashlight. Without it, they would be in pitch darkness. I doubted that they would know to keep it inside of their clothes when not in use, to keep it from freezing. But, it would last long enough to allow them to eat and settle back in.

With that, I walked back into the storm to the snowmobile. I settled into the seat, pulled a thick blanket from the stash over me, crossed my arms over my chest and closed my eyes. Under the canopy, the cold was still there, but I was totally out of the wind, and my snowsuit and the blanket would easily keep me warm. And I wasn't sleeping next to a pair of women who would love to cut my throat.

End of part 1

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