The Suitcase

As I parked my car in my garage I wondered just what I ever would have done without that suitcase. I had bought it just over three years ago, and I remember thinking at the time that maybe it was too big for my needs. Now I found myself sometimes wishing that it was larger.

I turned off the ignition and stepped out of my expensive, jet black Mercedes. I moved around to the boot and opened it to reveal my large, dark blue, square travel case resting inside. I picked it up by the handle and pulled it out, wheezing as a result of how heavy it was. That didn't matter, as I pulled out the long plastic handle from the top so I could pull it behind me on its wheels. Tugging it along I pushed a button on the wall, closing the garage door behind me, and then walked through the back door into my house.

Well you could call it a house if you wanted, but my gigantic ego would much rather call it a mansion. It was an old country manor completely isolated from the outside world. You had to travel over a mile down a single lane track to get there, and the property itself was surrounded from sight by tall cedar trees. It had over thirty rooms, a twenty acre garden, a tennis court, a swimming pool and a rather well supplied wine cellar.  I had owned this property for over ten years, having made my millions in the stock market before my thirtieth birthday.

I walked into my oak panelled kitchen to find Percy waiting up for me, completing a crossword. In a bygone era I suppose you would have called Percy my butler. In modern terminology I suppose it would be better to call him a housekeeper. "Good evening Sir Dennis. Your dinner is in the warming drawer. I hope pork chops is to your satisfaction?" he said as I entered.    
"That will be just fine Percy," I replied.

Seeing me dragging my case behind me Percy remarked, "Shall I take your belongings upstairs Sir?"

"No I'll just dump this in the living room for now," I replied as I entered the room, trundling it behind me. I rested it against the sofa before I returned to the kitchen to have my dinner.

The pork chops were delicious. After picking the bones dry of every last piece of meat, I returned to my living room and turned on the television. Quickly deciding there was nothing on, I turned it off again, lit up a cigar and puffed on it happily, the cancerous gases warming my body like hot chocolate.

"Can I interest Sir in dessert?" Percy asked, entering with a tray on which was balanced a steaming sticky toffee pudding.

"No Percy I couldn't eat another bite," I replied. After a brief pause I added, "Why don't you take the evening off. It would do you good to get out the house."

His expression not changing, Percy replied, "Is this to be one of those evening where it is best I do not know what you are up to?"

"I'm afraid so yes."

"Very good Sir. I will take my wife to the cinema. She is quite the fan of romantic comedies."

"Have a good evening Percy."

I sat motionless in the armchair sucking on my cigar as I listened to Percy gathering his possessions. I heard the front door open and close, followed by his car coughing into life, then finally the sound of his tyres crackling against the rocky road retreating into the distance as he left the property.

Only then did my attention return to the suitcase resting against my brown leather sofa. I tugged it into the centre of the room and rested it on its back. I then pulled back the zip, before I flipped open the lid with a flourish.

"Comfortable journey my dear?" I asked the cases contents.

The bound and gagged girl it contained didn't make a sound. She simply glared up at me.

I inhaled deeply on my cigar, and then blew smoke into the captive girls face. This instantly got a reaction from her, making her cough into the red ballgag I had forced between her teeth and buckled behind her head. I stubbed out my cigar in the nearest ashtray, before saying to my guest, "I suppose I should unpack now I'm home." With that I grabbed her, my left hand underneath her bound knees and my right hand around her shoulders, and hoisted her out of the case.

I placed her in a sitting position on my living room floor. Not that she could be in any other position, given how I had trussed her up into what we people in the know call 'a balltie.' In addition to the white ropes I had used to fix her hands behind her back, and to tie her legs together at the ankles and knees, I had fixed a very long strand of cord running around her body underneath her shoulders, which were then wrapped beneath her knees. This had the effect of tucking her legs into her body so her chin was almost resting on her knees. To complete the picture, a line of rope connected her wrist bonds to her ankles, pulling her feet back up against her upper legs.

She was nicely packaged up all right, and in just the right position to make fitting her into my suitcase as easy a task as possible.  

Now free of her fabric prison the girl began to struggle a bit more, tugging at the ropes used to fix her hands behind her and testing the proficiency of the knots tucking her legs into her body. Her brown eyes darted about the room as she took in her new surroundings, not knowing where the hell I had taken her.

She was quite the stunner. She had given her age as twenty three when working for me at the stock exchange, but my guess was that she was at least a couple of years younger. Not that you would have been able to know any better with her dressed to the nines in a one piece black office dress with short sleeves and a large belt wrapped around her waist. Her killer legs were clad in opaque black tights with black ankle strap high heel pumps on her feet. Her skin was pale, her lips coloured red from her lipstick, and her shiny, raven hair was held off her face by a dark headband.

Taking my mobile out of my jacket pocket I activated my camera. "Smile," I teased as I took a picture of her, before I sent it to an associate via a message attachment. My prisoner had given me a false identity, and I needed him to find out who she really was.

"Make yourself at home my dear," I told her. "I'm just going to find you a seat." I then exited the room, leaving the struggling girl making muffled cries behind my back.

As you've probably guessed I'm not a particularly nice person. I made about half of my massive fortune legally. The rest of it from more...well shall we say more dubious methods. I made quite a vast amount of money participating in the sort of dealings that almost caused the entire world economy to crash a few years back, though I wisely pulled out when things began to get a little sheepish. It wasn't as if I didn't have other options to fall back on. When I went about converting my basement into a gym/bar/bowling alley last year, I invested heavily in the arms market, selling guns to terrorist organisations in Asia.

What can I say? I love money. Unfortunately this love of money means many people, my latest prisoner included, had a habit of investigating my dealings. So before she and I parted ways, I wanted to find out who was after me this time.

I grabbed one of the antique wooden chairs from my dining room table, and carried it back through the house. It was made out of dark wood, had a low back with decorated slits in it and was surprisingly heavy. Just what I needed to keep my guest in one place. There was only one more thing I needed, and that was to collect several more strands of rope from a drawer in my kitchen.

"What's going on here then?" I asked once I had re-entered the living room and seen what she had been up to. She had toppled onto her side and shuffled over to the small table placed next to my armchair. She had been kicking it to the best of her ability, trying to knock off my house phone. Her efforts had dislodged it from its charging point, and it was teetering very close to the table edge.

Lllltttt gggggg fffff mmmm!" she growled as I grabbed her wriggling body and dragged it over the carpet to the centre of the room. Her plan of escape foiled, she glared at me angrily as her shoulders alternated up and down, while she worked on freeing herself from her wrist bonds. But when she saw me take out a penknife from my jacket pocket she froze, staring at the blade with a look on her face resembling a mixture of suspicion and worry.

I secretly love it when I reach that moment with my captives. The moment when they realise I am in complete control. It usually happens when I first draw some sort of weapon on them. Not that I would ever use it. I may be greedy, ambitious, power crazed and a little bit of a pervert, but I'm not a psychopath. I only took out my knife to cut the ropes keeping the girl in her balltie.

She moaned gratefully as I severed the ropes connecting her legs to her body and her hands to her feet. She outstretched her long, tight clad legs and twisted her slender upper body as she battled the cramps and aches of being trapped in a ball for so long. I didn't give her much chance for relief, as I swiftly picked her up by the shoulders and plonked her into the seat, placing her arms over the chair back. Finding a fresh reserve of defiance, the girl writhed about and tried to stand, but I put a stop to that once I began wrapping rope about her waist, around the chair back and encasing her arms above her already bound wrists.

You may have also already gathered this is something I have had experience in doing before. I've had all sorts of people come after me; Private investigators, nosy secretaries, student activists, and even one fellow who tried to blackmail me. All of them have taken a one way trip to a warmer climate and never returned. Once I found out her identity my latest prisoner would be sharing their fate.

At least, I had no reason to suspect otherwise at that precise moment.

I covered her lap with another strand of cord, pulling it under the chair and back around, fixing her lap into the seat. Once knotted off, I took one last piece of rope for my final flourish. I attached it to the ropes binding her wrists, pulled them down to the chairs crosspiece and coiled it around the crosspiece five times. When I came to pulling the remaining end around her feet she tried to kick me, shifting her feet around in a little dance to prevent me grabbing them. I enjoyed this game briefly, because it didn't take me long to grab her legs and bind them with the rope, which had the effect of tucking her feet underneath the chair.

My labours finished, I stood up and watched as she jerked around in her chairtie, her dark hair flicking about as she searched for a loose end or weak spot, her feet trying to buck free from the ropes attaching them from the crosspiece. But I was satisfied she wasn't going anywhere without my say so, and consequently I began to relax.

"I think it's time for a drink," I gloated, making my way to the tabletop where Percy had kindly left me a decanter filled with expensive whiskey, a glass and a small ice container. I poured myself a strong one, plopped a generous number of ice cubes into the glass, before I resumed examining my captive. She glared at me as I paced behind her, and recoiled when I placed my hand on her shoulder.

Holding my glass around her head for her to smell I said, "Normally I would offer a young lady guest a drink, but I think you'd have difficulty given your current situation."

"Ssscccrrrrwwww yyyyymmmm!" My captive grunted indignantly through her ballgag. When her defiant exclamation made me laugh she added, "Wwwwwtttsss sssss ffffnnnnnyyy?"

"Oh the absurdity of your situation my dear," I told her, picking out an ice cube from my drink. "Then again, I've always been an admirer of situational comedy, particularly practical jokes." With that, I pulled back the collar of her dress and dropped the ice cube down her back.

"MMMMMMM!" The girl cried out as the freezing object pressed against her back and melted into her dress. She wriggled and twisted in an attempt to dislodge it, but it only made the ice cube slide down her back further. Arching her back as best she could to stay comfortable, she moaned in discomfort while I sniggered like a schoolboy. "Now if you don't learn to accept my hospitality then the next one will go down your front," I told her, already feeling slightly tempted by the thought.

I almost waltzed back to my armchair and I slunk down into it happily. I took a hearty sip of my drink with my eyes still fixed on captive. Once the reassuring tingling sensation left by my whiskey had subsided, I said, "You intrigue me. Most of the people I have placed in your position have long broken down by this point, blubbing away and pleading with me for their life. Not you though. You're remarkably fiery for a lady your age."

"Tttthhhnnnnkkssss vvvvrrrrr mmmmmcccchhhh!" she replied with her sarcasm very much evident despite her gag.  

"And quite a resourceful young woman as well, by all accounts," I continued, as I pulled out a file I'd been browsing prior to this evening from beside the armchair. From it I pulled a copy of her CV, which she'd used to get herself a work experience placement at my offices. Casting my eyes over it lazily I said, "You really went to some effort to create the identity of Mary Yates for yourself. Had me fooled for a while."

The girl, who for over two weeks had given her name to me as Mary, stopped struggling as she realised her cover was blown. I took another sip of my drink, partly for dramatic effect, but mostly as a way of wasting time so my colleague could get back to me regarding her true identity.

"Let's see, you say that you're resourceful and tech savvy. Can't argue with that, given how you managed to bypass several encrypted passwords when spying on my accounts. I would disagree with you being observant. I mean you certainly failed to observe the hidden security cameras when you broke into my archives. You've acted far too suspiciously for a straight A student from Buckinghamshire, that much is clear. I can only thank you for your tendency to stay late. It made chloroforming, tying you up and transporting you here without anyone noticing all the easier.  All I need to know is who you are and who you are working for?"

"Lllllll ttttllll yyyyyyy nnnnnnnttttttttnnnnnn!" my prisoner growled, breathing heavily as the exertions of her struggles began to exhaust her.

But she didn't need to tell me anything, as at that moment my phone beeped as it received a message.

"And the answer to that question is..." I said as I opened the message, "...Penny  Powell, a nineteen year old employee of Lyle and Simpson Private Investigators."

"Wwwwwwttttt rrrrr yyyyyy dddddnnnn?" Penny Powell cried at me.

Feeling immensely pleased with myself, I continued, "Born St Mary's Hospital London, currently resides in a rather posh village in the Watford area. Mother and Father deceased, no other siblings or extended family..."

"SSSSSSSSTTTTT TTTTTT HHHHHLLLLLL PPPPPP!" Penny snarled furiously, her nostrils flaring as she writhed against her bonds like a girl possessed. Her raven hair swished about her as she rocked the chair from side to side, stamping her high heeled shoes against my wooden living room floor. I could instantly tell I had struck a nerve.

But her bonds not slackening in the slightest, and feeling overwhelmingly satisfied at how successful I had been in securing my captive, I carried on reading. "You reside with your legal guardian Elizabeth Merton, an old family friend. You attended Royal Oak School for girls, achieving twelve A*'s at GCSE and four A's at A level. Oh, and you've set your Facebook status as single."

"IIIILLLLLLL GGGGTTTTT YYYYYYYYNNNNN FFFFRRRR TTTHHHHSSS!" Penny shouted over the sound of the wooden chair creaking and the squeaks of her leather shoes rubbing against each other.

"So you see I'm a very well connected gentleman," I said as I rose to my feet and walked over to her. "You don't become as wealthy and powerful as me without making a few friends. Would you like to see what my friends and I plan to do with you?"

Not waiting for her to reply, I held out my phone in front of her so she could read the last line of my friends message. 'We could make a right bundle from her Dennis. When do you want to hand her over to the slavers?'

Penny instantly stopped struggling. It were as if her body had frozen in time, with only her brown eyes flicking around as she read and reread the message. Then, with her loudest and most defiant snarl of the evening, she began struggling harder than ever before. Every part of her body that had even the slightest bit of freedom was straining and pushing against her bondage. I was suddenly very glad that she was tightly secured because, given the look of utmost loathing she was sending in my direction, I don't think I would have lasted very long if she were free.

Kneeling down beside her, I smiled as I ran my hand over the tops of her legs, enjoying the feel of her soft skin through her nylons. "I was always quite taken with you. Debated whether to take you out for a drink a couple of times. If only you weren't so damned nosy."

"GGGGGTTTT FFFFFF MMMMMM!" Penny bellowed, trying to kick me off with her eyes so full of fire they looked like sparks might fly from them.

"Still so defiant in the face of such peril," I laughed, leaning over her and grabbing her chin. I tilted her head up so we were eyeball to eyeball, our faces only inches away from each other. "Just accept your fate now Penny Powell. There is no escape, and no-one is coming to save you!"

I wish I hadn't said that now in retrospect. It sounds very foolish when you consider the next thing I heard were twenty armed police officers breaking down my front door.

It was during my trial that I learnt who Penny Powell truly was. While I had correctly uncovered many of the facts of her personal life, I had failed to discover that her job at Lyle and Simpson was in itself a cover story. She used it to hide her real occupation as an agent for MI5.

Why would the British Government be looking to employ agents as young as nineteen? Well it was certainly the last thing I expected. Employing young adults with the maturity and braver of an older agent is bound to catch many criminals off guard.

She gave evidence against me during the trial, from behind a screen so the jury and press did not get a look at her face. It seemed the only bad decision I made that evening was to kidnap her in the first place. She had activated a tracking device hidden within the lining of her belt, and when she failed to report in her superiors tracked her signal to my house. Despite the calm and professional way she conducted herself through the questions, I could detect how much she loathed me in the tone of her voice. It was a simmering and controlled hatred from a young woman who had been strengthened, not broken, by her ordeal.

I was sentenced to fifty years imprisonment for multiple charges, including kidnap, trafficking, corruption and money laundering. And my arrest caused the house of cards my world was built on to collapse, with multiple arrests worldwide and the dismantling of various weapon and slave markets across the globe. All in a days work for the good men and women of MI5.

But I'll have the last laugh. There is a reason I told you this story.

You see the ever loyal Percy passed on to me a coded message in a letter, saying that an old associate of mine is organising a jailbreak this evening. If you and your cellmates can cause a little...shall we say chaos, then who knows, you may end up escaping with me.

Because I will have escaped this prison by midnight, and once I'm free, my first stop will be the residence of agent Penny Powell.







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