The Kidnap Club
23rd – 22:30
Vera took a sip of water, cleared her throat, then said in a clear resonate tone to the twenty five women gathered about her, "Let me make this absolutely clear. Twenty four of you are going to be kidnapped!"
"Not locked in a room with a TV, an Iphone and a minibar. I mean taken to a secure location, restrained and silenced, and kept there with no contact with your family, friends or the outside world for an undetermined amount of time. If that sounds scary, or if you have a pressing appointment with a beautician on Tuesday, then there's the door."
But none of the twenty five women wearing cocktail dresses headed in that direction. Some of them fidgeted, some took a reassuring sip of champagne, some giggled in their best friend's ear, some stood motionless with icy expressions. But no-one walked. None of her victims wanted to lose their stake.
Most were in their early to mid twenties: Heiresses with bank accounts bursting from daddy's wealth, thirsty for a sense of adventure. There was even a gang of them this time, five giggling girls in revealing party dresses and high heels. Nine of the women were over thirty, two in their forties. These were the bored housewives, seeking a thrill that their regularly cheating husbands could no longer provide. And then there were the regulars, three of them this round, eyeing up the competition and playing to win: As one would in all likelihood.
The only surprise was the nineteen year old girl with jet black hair standing slightly apart from the rest, wearing a knee length black dress covered by a dark cardigan, with dark stockings and ankle strap high heel pumps. A teenager playing the game was unusual enough, given the eighteen year old minimum age requirement. But unlike the other contestants her history was strangely blank. Only a date of birth, home address, exam results and a Facebook page. She was an unknown element, and secretly Vera couldn't wait to see what she would bring to the game!
Forty five year old Vera grasped the podium tightly. She didn't need it. She just liked the sense of empowerment she got analysing her latest victims over it. She was dressed in the latest Armani suit flown direct from Paris, had dyed her greying hair a perfect beach blonde, and a recent round of botox would stave off wrinkles for a few more months.
Clearing her throat she began to explain the rules. "The basic premise of the Kidnap Club is very, very simple. Don't get kidnapped. Because from the moment this game begins we will be hunting you down. Come in boys!"
Into the room walked eight tall, muscled men, dressed in black with balaclava's hiding their features. As they formed a line behind Vera as she continued, "These are my boys. And I can assure you that there is nowhere in this city that you can hide from them. Once you have left this building the next time you will see them will be when they are clamping their hands over your mouths!"
"You all know what the prize is for evading capture! We have received a thousand pound stake from each of you, and we have combined them together to form a prize fund of twenty five thousand pounds. The last woman standing will win the entire lot, and the rest of you will leave with nothing but rope marks."
"But to tempt you away from running and hiding for the next few days, across the city I have positioned five additional briefcases, each containing five thousand pounds, so collecting them all will double your prize money. The catch? You enter the area where the case is located you'll set off a silent alarm which will alert everyone, us included, to your position. So you'd best grab the case quickly before someone tries to grab it off you! And remember, you can only keep its contents if you win the entire game."
"Which brings me to the mobile phone handed to you when you arrived. You must carry it with you at all times and do not deactivate it, otherwise you will be disqualified. For they contain a tracking device programmed to inform everyone, contestants and gamekeepers, of where you are at precise eight hour intervals within a fifty metre radius. So you'll have to stay on the move if you don't want to be caught. The signals will be activated every day at 8am, 4pm and 12am, so bear that in mind before you grab some shut eye."
"The only other rules are that you do not stray beyond the M25, and the game will end once there is only one woman remaining. Please stay and enjoy a glass more of champagne. But I suggest you don't linger, because at twelve o clock precisely these strapping men behind me will become your pursuers, and won't hesitate to nab you on sight. Best of luck to all of you, and I look forward to seeing you all in the factory, though I suppose you won't be happy to see me!"
The speech over, the women started chatting among themselves like they were attending a charity gala. Some were sizing up the competition, others more interested in the nibbles. But again Vera looked to the young raven haired woman at the side, and saw her eyes were directly focused on her. Perhaps it was curiosity, or a flicker of sympathy flashed through Vera's normally icy heart. But with her high heels clicking on the floor she waltzed over to the girl, shot her an expensive smile and asked, "Are you sure you can handle what's coming next my dear?"
The girl's eyes narrowed dangerously, revealing her hidden layer of determination and strength. "I was born ready," she announced confidently. "Are you sure you can handle me?"
February 24th – 04:53
Juliet Kensington had thought her plan foolproof. Soon as she'd left the party she made her way via the underground to a hotel on the far side of the city. She even changed lines a couple of times to throw anyone who might be on her tail. She arrived at the hotel just before one, and made her way to the room she'd booked over a week ago.
The twenty five year old heiress to the Kensington fortune had thought her best bet was to get a good night's sleep, setting her alarm for seven, then leaving in good time to be far away from her hiding place when the tracking device activated. She couldn't have been more confident as she slipped out of her ruby red ballgown and into a purple camisole top and matching pyjama shorts. She even took the time to remove her makeup and run a brush through her long strawberry blonde hair. She was convinced there was no way a kidnapper could grab her from inside a packed hotel in the centre of London, particularly on the first night.
She'd only slept for just over three hours when she was woken by a gloved hand clamping over her mouth.
"Nnnnmmmm, hhhhmmmm dddddd yyyynnnn ffffnnnddd mmmmgggg?" she cried out, desperately trying to pull the intruders hand away, her legs thrashing inside the duvet covers. But with professional swiftness the man reached one hand into his pocket, then pulled his other hand away from her lips. Yet as she parted her lips to scream in went something with the taste and texture of sponge, completely filling her mouth. Through the dim light she saw the man peel a pre-ripped strand of silver tape from the sleeve of his black jacket, and quickly pressed it across her lips one handed.
He applied two more strands in a similar fashion. Then he rolled her over, grabbing her free arm and with incredible strength he pinned both hands together palm to palm. Juliet moaned and wriggled as he used his knees to fix them in place, while the room was filled with an unpleasant ripping sound as he pulled more tape from the roll. Then she felt it being wrapped around her wrists, again and again until he no longer needed to pin her hands together. Then he got up, pulled away her duvet and made to grab her kicking legs. She held out for about twenty seconds, but he soon had his arm wrapped around her feet, and she moaned as her ankles disappeared under a layer of silver. For one final touch he moved up her legs and coiled more tape above her knees, securely fastening her legs as one.
"Yyyyyynnnn wwwwwnnnnttt sssscccccpppp!" Juliet snarled at him, her head crashing repeatedly against the pillows while her bound body bounced about on the mattress.
The kidnapper took a moment to catch his breath, before saying in a triumphant voice, "Word of advice, if you are going to spend the night in a hotel with someone hunting you, then don't pay using a credit card that can be traced!"
"NNNNMMMMM!" Juliet cried out as he picked her up, then slung her body over his shoulder. Watching through strands of her strawberry blonde locks as he opened her room door, she couldn't quite believe he would get away with simply carrying a bound and gagged prisoner through the corridors and out onto the street.
But he only walked a short way down the hall until he reached a fire escape. When he pushed it open the alarm failed to activate, and he transported her down the staircase to an already open door that led out into the night, where a large white van was waiting to whisk her away. Later she would learn that they had hacked the security cameras, concealing her abduction from the staff, and altered the records to say she left to catch an early bus at 5:30.
She whimpered softly through her gag. She'd been so looking forward to pitting her wits against these hired goons, of experiencing the thrill of the chase. And now she was probably the first out of the twenty five to be captured.
But she gave a muffled squeal of surprise when another balaclava wearing man opened the van door, revealing six more women bound and gagged with tape. They'd all been at the party, four were still wearing their dresses and heels. They moaned sympathetically as Juliet was dumped in between a forty something woman with short brunette hair who'd changed into a dark top and jeans, and a young Chinese woman wearing a turquoise cheongsam dress.
"Seven caught on the first night, must be getting on for a record eh Dennis!" one of the goons cackled.
As he checked her tape bonds Juliet's captor replied, "That's nothing Clive, my personal best opening night is ten!"
Then with the seven women mewling at him he closed the door and walked to the driver's seat. Juliet stared at her pink varnished toenails as she jiggled her feet up and down. Fallen at the first hurdle, and now she had no choice but to wait her captivity out. For her the contest was over before it had even begun!
February 24th - 13:23
Elektra kept her eyes fixed on the recently built block of empty apartments across her through the crowds of people. She was extremely tempted to just walk inside and grab the money filled case there and then. But she knew sooner or later another contestant would get greedy. She would recognise them instantly with her photographic memory. She just needed to wait.
The red headed twenty nine year old Russian was a regular. She had participated in eight previous rounds, winning three of them. In doing so she had made a tidy profit of just over seventy thousand pounds. It was proving a very lucrative line of business, and not to dissimilar to her old job as a catburgler. Here she still got to swindle the rich from their wealth, occasionally tying them up in the process, and all her actions protected by a legal contract. What about it wasn't to love?
Currently each of her three victories had come in the unisex category, due to all those chauvinistic rich men who completely underestimated her until she had them bound up at her mercy. But the all female category was a different kettle of fish, dominated by the undisputed championess, Blanche. Three times now it had come down to her and that psycho bitch, and three times that psycho bitch had won, leaving her trussed up in a humiliating fashion. Well not this time. She would see Blanche defeated if it was the last...
She got so lost in thought that she almost missed the raven haired girl crossing the street in front of the cafe, then enter the empty apartment block. Elektra couldn't help but smile. So the mysterious nineteen year old was a courageous one, but not too smart. She paid her bill, checked to see her bottle of chloroform was still in her handbag, then left the cafe.
Elektra slowly opened the front door and sidled in. She heard the footsteps of the girl above her as she searched for the case. Elektra knew that the alarm had probably already been raised, but she knew from past experience it would take just under an hour for Vera's goons to arrive. Plenty of time to end this girl's participation in the contest. She soaked a rag in chloroform, and slowly moved up a nearby flight of stairs, taking great care to not make much noise with her plimsoll clad feet. She poked her head around the side once she reached the top, and saw the girl rummaging through a bag of rubbish.
It was all too easy for Elektra. Licking her lips in anticipation she advanced on the girl wearing a black turtleneck, dark jeans and flat heeled suede boots. Her prey showed no signs of knowing Elektra was there, and even stood up straight as her stalker silently approached. Then with a burst of well practiced speed Elektra wrapped her right arm around the girl's arms and waist, and clamped the chloroform soaked rag in her left hand over her mouth and nose.
"Got you little girl!" Elektra crowed as the young woman gave a muffled cry of surprise into the rag. "Just relax and breathe it in!"
But then the girl did the last thing Elektra had expected. She shifted her weight against the Russians body, planted her feet firmly on the ground and twisted her hips. This threw Elektra off balance, and emitting a startled cry she was thrown over her intended victims shoulder.
Elektra gasped as she landed on the uncarpeted floor, winded as the breath shot out of her body. She was so stunned that there was little she could do to prevent the girl from wrestling the rag from her hand, placing her neck in a headlock and them clamping the same rag over her mouth and nose instead.
"NNNNMMM, DDDDDNNNNTTT YYYYYYYY DDDDRRRR!" Elektra snarled, desperately tugging on the girls grip with her jean clad legs scrabbling across the dusty floor. But this nineteen year olds headlock technique was implemented to perfection. Despite struggling with everything she had the sweet sickly smell invading her nostrils began to take its toll. Her vision became blurred, her limbs grew unresponsive. The raven haired girl's cool, unemotional expression was the last thing Elektra saw before the world was engulfed by darkness.
February 24th - 16:12
"Yeah their signals haven't moved at all since eight this morning," Dennis told Clive down the phone as he and two other goons pulled up outside an expensive house in a leafy suburb of Chelsea. "We're checking it out, I can't believe they'd be that stupid." With that he ended the call and exited the van. He and his fellow goons walked up the gravel driveway to the house as swiftly and silently as possible. But there was no sign of the house being occupied. When he pushed the front door and found it already open his curiosity went into overdrive.
He gave the signal and they put on their balaclavas, before they went inside. The hallways was immaculately tidy and there was no-one around to greet them. Yet he distinctly heard the sound of movement from somewhere in the house. They moved silently through the hallway and into the deserted kitchen. Then they swung open the door leading to the dining room and got the surprise of their lives.
Positioned around a polished oak dining table were four young women. They had been members of the giggling gang from the opening party, still wearing their collection of revealing party dresses. But they had been treated to some new accessories, namely the excessive amount of rope used to bind each of them to a heavy dining chair.
Their hands were pulled around the chair back, crossed over and bound, with more ropes pulled above and below their breasts keeping them fixed into their seats. Their legs had been bound above the knees and with rope coiled over their laps and back under the seat. Their ankles were also stringently tied together with an additional loop under the soles of their high heels, and additional cord fixed their feet to the chairs crosspiece. From the crumpled state of their dresses Dennis could tell they'd been struggling for quite some time. In fact, one of the women had ended up tipping her chair over, and gazed up at the intruders with her long beach blonde hair sprawling over the floor like a rug.
"Nnnnnnn tttttt sssss ppppllllssss!" a girl with tanned skin and wavy auburn hair cried out through the tea towel pulled between her lips and tied off behind her head, as her fellow captives squirmed about in their seats expectantly. They knew what was coming.
But where had the fifth member of their little gang got to? When he saw the half drunk glasses of now flat champagne dotted about the room, it took Dennis only a few moments to figure out what had transpired. His suspicions were confirmed when he sniffed a glass, and detected a distinctive tang from the knock out pills mixed in with it. Smiling at the mewling and jiggling ladies he remarked, "Guessing one of your gang members valued a large cash payout over friendship! Bring the van up the driveway and prep these ladies for transport. I've just got to tell Clive about this!"
As his two goons proceeded to untie the girls from their chairs Dennis reached for his phone and dialled Clive's number. "Hey Clive, you'll never guess what I've just come across."
"Funny enough I was about to say the same thing to you mate," Clive replied.
It turned out Clive was at the apartment block that until recently had contained one of the money cases. It was now gone, but something else was in its place, a bound and gagged Elektra. She'd been stringently hogtied and gagged with red electrical tape. Dennis could hear the Russian's frustrated screams echoing down the phone as Clive explained the scene for him in perfect detail.
"Reckon Blanche has been having some more fun with her?" Dennis asked as one of the other goons carried the bucking auburn haired girl out into his van.
"I don't think it was Blanche. There was this post-it note stuck to Elektra's forehead when I found her. Really weird. All it said was 'Told Vera I could handle this!'"
February 25th 15:42
Blanche stared through the dirt smeared window out into the city beyond, Pavarotti warbling 'Nessun Dorma' through her headphones. She mimed along with the great tenor's voice as he hit the top B, though to her disapproval the moment was spoiled by the frantic whimpering originating from behind her. Her patience eventually gave out, and whirling about she huffed, "Hell's teeth you're a moany one!"
Her prisoner could only groan into the white ballgag wedging her mouth open, fruitlessly tugging on the ropes suspending her from the ceiling by her ankles. Her shoulder length brunette hair almost brushed the dusty floor only a few inches below her head. Her arms were bound box shape behind her back, and ropes enveloped her body at the shoulders, chest, waist and knees. Her desperate tugs for freedom only left her rotating in a circle, until Blanche knelt down and grabbed the ropes enveloping her shoulders, so both women could gaze into each other's eyes.
"You're much more than a pretty face, I'll give you that!" Blanche told her stunned looking captive in her strong Mancunian accent. "I mean, drugging your friends and binding them to give yourself more chance of winning the top prize, what a devious little rich minx you are!"
"Mmmmmmgggg," the girl replied softly, knowing full well her deviousness paled in comparison to the woman in front of her with short hair dyed a bright white. The woman who had been following her from the moment she and her friends had left the opening party two nights ago.
Blanche had grown up in crippling poverty with an addict mother and an absent father. It was inevitable she ended up falling in with the wrong crowd. But it soon became apparent that the teenage Blanche was an exceptional infiltrator and thief, and she soon outgrew her petty crimes in the pursuit of much wider goals. That was, until ten years later when she discovered the Kidnap Club, which not only provided her with wealth but satiated her desire for revenge. Revenge against all the prissy rich madams who strutted about in all their finery, not giving a damn about those who had grown up with nothing, like her. So each round she revealed her feelings to a select number of these bimbos; roping them up in a number of imaginative ways and gagging them with a white ball gag, her personal trademark.
Blanche stood up and put on her bright white trench coat. "Our tracking devices are about to go off, so I'm sure someone will pick you up in an hour or so. Besides, I hear there's an even more devious girl than you out there making a name for herself. I can't wait to teach her a lesson!" Blanche emitted a cruel laugh, then set the suspended damsel spinning around in a clockwise direction, and made for the exit while her latest victim gave a series of muffled exclamations behind her.
February 26th 07:45
"Morning Denise, how are our victims doing?" Vera asked her PA as she walked into her office, a takeaway cup of red bush tea in her hand.
Denise replied brightly, "Dwayne is reporting no problems from the current prisoners, and Dennis and Clive are on their way in with two more caught overnight."
Vera added up while hanging her expensive coat. "So that's eighteen clients caught and seven remaining. Looks like this game will be over sooner than usual!"
"Shall I start making the relevant preparations for the next round?" Denise asked.
"Can't see why that would hurt. Though remember Blanche won't be rushed. Not to mention Haruka will be hiding somewhere biding her time."
"Oh but apparently Haruka is one of the pair currently being brought in by Dennis!"
This caught Vera completely by surprise. Haruka was another regular, a Japanese lady with a past in espionage. Her preferred tactic was to hide in the shadows right to the very end when there were only two or three other contestants remaining. It was very unlike her to be caught at this stage.
"How did he find her?"
"The same way as Elektra. Hogtied in place of a money case, with a post it note on her body that said, "Two down, one to go!"
Vera raised her perfectly formed eyebrow. "Our mysterious and evasive teen?" Denise merely shrugged, before returning to her menial typing task.
Vera's stiletto heels clicked on the floor of her office, moving to the large windows that overlooked the industrial factory that she owned. The machinery hadn't been used for manufacture in years, though they occasionally turned them on so nearby residents did not suspect the buildings true purpose. As a makeshift prison for all the people who'd signed up to the Kidnap Club and had got caught playing the game.
She could see thirteen of the prisoners through the window, arranged on the factory floor in a variety of positions. Some were chained to mesh fencing, others lay hogtied on mattresses, some bound relatively snugly into chairs with soft nylon cord. Some were biting into laundered white cloth, others chomping into large ball gags. But none were really complaining that much. When signing up the contestants stated their preferred method of being bound, so the experience was tailor made to suit their desires and limits. Plus they got a pair of forty five minute toilet and food breaks a day, which was where two of the prisoners had currently disappeared. This kept things from becoming too unpleasant. After all, she wanted her clients to pay for another round at some stage.
And she desperately needed the money. It cost each of the ladies three thousand five hundred pounds to enter, which included their thousand pound stake. It was a lot of money, but people were willing to pay up for such a service. And she was at the cheap end of the market. A similar scheme run by an ex-husband in Monte Carlo routinely charged people seven thousand Euros to participate.
Which was why she was considering raising her prices. The scheme was making money, but not enough to pay off the huge debts she owed to some unsavoury investors who'd provided her with the equipment needed for the operation to work. She'd had a particularly unpleasant phone call from one last night, demanding the money he was owed for the month. She had enough to pay half of it, but she could do with a swift end to this round (one all male category game had lasted twenty three days). Then she could bank the money from a fresh contestant batch and hope it would be enough until a high rollers event in three weeks.
She was so lost in thought that she uncharacteristically jumped when her phone started vibrating inside of her Armani jacket. She apprehensively checked and was relieved to see it was her intelligence officer Carson. "You found out something about that girl yet?" she asked bluntly down the phone.
"I most certainly did. But brace yourself Vera. I don't think you're going to like it!"
February 27th 22:13
"Well with you down sweetheart, that just leaves two contestants left!"
Dennis couldn't suppress his smile as he stuck one last strip of tape over his latest victim's lips, while she glared at him in frustration flexing against the tape binding her hands to her knees and her ankles together. She was Spanish judging by the energetic tirade she'd subjected him to as he bound her up. He gave a playful ruffle of her dark hair as he got to his feet, leaving strands of it falling over her face and blue eyes.
He leapt into the front seat of his van and dialled Clive's number. Not long until his session off, and a good few days of daytime TV and playing with the kids when they got back from school. He couldn't wait to tell his gorgeous wife of the events of this round. Maybe he could drop the kids round her parents and they could recreate some of the scenes in private.
"Hey Clive, tell 'em I'm bringing in number twenty three. Only two more to go and then..."
"Never mind that mate get to the last money case. You won't believe what I'm seeing on the security monitors!"
February 27th 22:02
Blanche could barely contain her delight. This girl had been a slippery one, covering her tracks well and almost impossible to predict. But now, as she tightened the ropes binding her boot clad ankles, she knew the game was hers!
"Ggggrrrrrmmmmmppphhh!" the raven haired girl snarled around the white ball gag in her mouth, lifting her head up off the floor to glare defiantly at the white haired woman. She twisted her bound wrists over her head from where they'd been tied to a metal post, and wriggled her back and hips on the stone floor as she tried to wrench her legs free from where they'd been tied to a ring in the floor. This had stretched her out on her back, and she could only wriggle from side to side as Blanche knelt down to inspect her.
"I weren't expecting you to be the one to beat," Blanche cooed as she admired the sight of the furious bound girl. "But grabbing the other four cases without Vera's goons detecting you, taking out Elektra and Haruka in the process; well you really impressed me. You could make a career out of all this, if I weren't already better than you!"
"Yyyynnnn hhhvvvvvttt wwwwwnnn yyttttt!" the girl insisted, still putting up a fight despite the odds not being in her favour.
"Shame I won't be getting the whole fifty grand this time, but thirty will do just nicely. You just squirm about until you're found sweetheart. I'll go and hide in a bar until I get the call from Vera!" With that Blanche picked up the money filled case, gave one last taunting wave at the trussed up nineteen year old at her feet, then headed for the warehouse exit.
She was flushed with her own success. A tenth career victory, and she was closing in on the overall record of sixteen. She found herself wondering what she could spend her thirty grand on. She was so absorbed in her own thoughts she didn't realise she'd stepped into the rope snare until it was too late.
There was the sound of rapidly moving nylon rubbing against metal as her right foot applied pressure on the trap. Then the rope noose tightened around her ankle and was yanked from under her. Blanche cried out in shock as her foot was pulled towards the ceiling, leaving her dangling upside down. In the confusion she dropped the briefcase. She tried lifting her body to untangle her foot, but she couldn't quite reach. Her body swinging from side to side she tried to grab the handle of the case, but it was just beyond her fingertips.
She spent a couple of minutes dangling upside down and silently fuming at herself for being so careless. She knew the goons would have detected her presence and would be on their way by now. She had to get out of here before they arrived.
But it was not their galumphing footsteps that she heard approaching her position. As she slowly rotated around and saw who it was her mouth opened in absolute shock. It was the raven haired girl, now completely untied from her bonds and advancing on her with a triumphant gleam in her eyes.
"Enjoying my little animal trap?" the girl asked with a smirk.
"How did you escape? I had you completely trapped!" Blanche howled, tugging on her suspended ankle with all her strength but to no avail.
"I'm afraid you were the one who was completely trapped!" the girl retorted. "I've escaped from better rope work than yours. Oh and by the way, you dropped this!"
When Blanche saw the white ball gag in the girls hands, still drenched in her saliva, she instinctively clamped her mouth shut, particularly when the girl held it up to her lips.
February 28th – 01:28
"I believe a congratulations is in order," Vera announced with an enthusiastic clap of her hands as the raven haired girl, silver briefcase in hand, entered the room where only five days ago they'd first met. "I can't remember the last time a debut contestant won!"
The girl said nothing as she approached the table, on which rested one final briefcase containing the twenty five thousand pound prize fund. She cast her eyes to the left where arranged into three rows of eight the other contestants knelt on the floor, still bound and gagged. Most watched on in anticipation, knowing that as soon as the winner had left the building with the money, they'd be set free. The girl seemed to smirk when she saw Elektra, Haruka and Blanche in the front row, the only three making any noise as they growled at her through their gags.
When the girl reached the table Vera continued, "Well here's your prize money, and it looks like you'll be walking away with the maximum amount available. Care to say a few words on how you did it before you leave?"
The girl shrugged. "Just got lucky I guess."
Vera smiled smugly as she leant in closer. "Oh I'm sure luck played its part, though I'm sure a lot of it came down to all that intensive training you've undergone, Agent Penny Powell!"
The room fell silent. Everyone, the bound prisoners and the balaclava wearing goons flanking the sides, stared in astonishment as they wondered what Vera was talking about. But the prisoners learnt no more, as with a signal from Vera her goons drew a curtain which obscured them from view.
Penny Powell confirmed it all with a confident smile. "You've done your homework then!"
If Vera was angry she hid it well, instead saying quietly, "So how come MI5 are sending their agents to investigate my activities? Are they going to dismantle my den of sin and debauchery to score some brownie points with the prudish media?"
"Far from it. In fact, we need some information from you!" Penny's smile seemed to intensify as she laid her case on the table next to the prize fund, then opened it for everyone to see the large stack of twenty pound notes held within. "There's twenty one thousand five hundred pounds in there, the money from the hidden briefcases minus what I borrowed from the taxpayer to enter this damned contest. Adding in the prize fund will leave you with just shy of fifty grand if you tell me what I want."
"Why would I be interested in money?"
"We've been listening in on your phone calls. We know you need this money to pay off an anonymous benefactor for this month. But if you provide me with his name, I guarantee that next month you won't have to pay him a single quid, because he will have mysteriously disappeared."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because your investor is an arms dealer who not only supplies the equipment for your little club, but also weapons to terrorist cells in the Middle East. He poses a serious threat to national security. Now I could just send in the boys in blue and have everyone in this room arrested on terrorism charges, or you come clean and are then free to continue your kinky services. All I want is a name, it's that simple!"
Vera leant over the table and stared defiantly into Penny's face. "You think I'm scared of you girlie?"
"You should be!" Penny growled, leaning in closer herself. "You've seen what I can do, and know who I work for. So what's it going to be?"
Vera fell silent for a long time, not moving a single muscle as she continued to stare daggers at the young agent. Then with a cruel smile creeping across her lips she sneered, "You might be excellent in one on one situations, but let's see what happens when it's one against eight!" That was the cue for her goons to charge forward and surround Penny in a circle. She elbowed the first attacker in the stomach, then applied a roundhouse kick to the second, but ultimately she was outnumbered. Dennis twisted her arms behind her back while Clive brought over a bag of ropes.
Laughing over Penny's gasps of discomfort as her hands were bound box shape behind her back Vera said, "For an MI5 agent you aren't half naive. Did you honestly think I'd just reveal my secrets to you over a glass of champagne?"
"Don't be stupid Vera!" Penny yelled, "This is a huge mistake, for you more than anyonnnnnn mmmmgggg!" Her attempts to reason with her were curtailed as a red ball gag was jammed into her mouth and buckled underneath her raven hair.
As ropes were coiled all the way around Penny's arms and torso Vera walked around the table to inspect her. With her face only inches from the struggling agent she whispered, "I have a reputation that I must maintain sweetheart, I hope you understand."
"Tttttllll mmmmggg hhhssss nnnmmm!" Penny growled through her gag.
But she was still thoroughly surprised when Vera leant right in, and whispered so that only she could hear, "Lyle Francis, and you'd better take that bastard down!
Penny understood immediately all this was all an act on Vera's part, to give herself deniability if people wondered who'd ratted this Lyle Francis out. Knowing this, Penny stopped struggling to get free in earnest, but still put up some fight to keep up the act as her feet and legs were bound, before a black rag was pulled over her eyes to blindfold her. "What do we do with her?" Dennis asked Vera.
"Oh take her somewhere where it will take her spy friends a good few hours to find her. That'll send the message for them to keep their noses out of our affairs."
Vera could barely contain her smile as she watched the bucking Penny Powell get carried through the door and out into the night. What a profitable round this had been, in so many ways. Hopefully Penny would keep her side of the bargain, which would allow her to continue with the work she loved.
She clicked her fingers and the curtains were pulled back. Beaming happily at the rows of captives she announced, "And that, ladies, concludes this round of the Kidnap Club. You will all now be set free. Thank you very much for playing and we hope to see you again soon!"