Being the daughter of a diplomat, I naturally got to travel and live a lot from young. Most of the time, it was English-speaking or Western countries but just after I turned fourteen, my father was posted as First Secretary to the Embassy in Beijing, China.
"China?" I overheard my mother's rising tone as we ate our dinner. "That's non-English speaking, restrictive, author..."
hope you won't mind not mentioning that in front of others when we are there.
As much as you think about the country, keep it to yourself lest you cause a
"What about Laura's education? We've always been sending her to English speaking schools; are there such over there?"
"Don't worry Darling, there are."
Two months later,
I was still trying to get used to this new change. Like my father mentioned, I was enrolled with an English International school but since it was China, we also got to learn Mandarin, something which was definitely useful since that was practically the main language everywhere I travelled. I had trouble mixing with new classmates but people living near my neighbourhood were a different matter. As a senior diplomat, my father was given a home in a rather well-to-do part of the city and my neighbours were businessmen and women who could speak English and other languages besides their mother tongue. One such family had a daughter--only one daughter, given the policy of the Chinese government --named Miaohua. She was my age, quite a bit shorter than me, but that was no matter as she was really amicable.
It was September when Miaohua met up with me on our sidewalk. "Hey, Laura, it's going to be the Mooncake Festival in two day's time. A big celebration here in China. Do you wanna come over to my house to join in the celebrations?" She said "wanna" like an American.
"Oh, uh cool. What will happen?"
"Oh Mooncake eating. Then we can go to the main square and see the lanterns as they are released."
"Ok, I have to check with my mum but should be ok."
As it turned
out, mom allowed me to go but on condition that I come back before midnight.
That evening I made my way to Miaohua's house, dressed in causal jeans but matched
with a nice blouse and cardigan as well as an opaque scarf since it was a
little chilly. My friend welcomed me and said her parents would be slightly
late returning home. She showed me the platters of Mooncakes arranged across
the dining table and told me that unlike those found across China, these were
home-made and her family's secret recipe.
"Oh excuse me Laura, I go to head to the toilet. Get yourself a drink and sit down," Miaohua said and scampered off. She was much better dressed than me, in a nice light blue Chinese Cheongsam, her bare arms going down from the short cap sleeves. I sat in on of the grand chairs, admiring the architecture of the house.
Minutes passed and my friend was still not back. Strange, where did she head off to? I walked up the stairs I saw her heading to and saw a light at the side of the corridor. "Miaohua?" I called, but only heard scuffling sounds. Pushing the door to one side, I stepped in and got a shock. My friend was there alright, but layers of rope were wrapped around her breasts and upper chest, the coarse white contrasting with the blue silk as they held her arms to the side. Her wrists were clearly behind her back and her cheeks were bulging, tape securing something inside her mouth. Her traditional dress was pulled up to expose white knickers and a rope was passed between her legs, rubbing at her crotch. A quartet of men were the other occupants in the room, two holding her and two more, holding strange looking rifles. I would later learn that they were the standard issue of the PRC Land Force, the QBZ-95.
One immediately rattled off a string of strong accented Mandarin. Still shocked, I moved half a step back but his companion pulled me inside the room and closed the door. Again, he rattled off the sentence which I clearly could not comprehend. Finally, he reached over and pulled the tape off my friend, yanking out what looked like bunched up silk knickers--yucks!
Slapping Miaohua on her cheek, he spoke to her and my friend, half crying (and I guessed from the embarrassment of exposed underwear and another pair coming out from her mouth) said, "I'm sorry Laura. They are holding us, how you say, hostage. Please do what he says."
Realising I had no other choice, I nodded, and after the leader rattled off something, my friend said, turning red, "He wants you to remove your jeans."
"What?!!!" I cried
Reluctantly, I did so, exposing my bikini blue underwear. "He wants you to put your hands behind your back," Miaohua again translated.
Shivering, I did so and the other man wound skin-biting rope around them. Within minutes, my wrists were strictly bound and my breasts were pushed out further as they tied ropes around them. I was a B cup (as compared to my Chinese friend's small boobs) and that made me blush and shiver further.
chuckled as they stood back then rope was passed between my legs and pulled
against my crotch. Within seconds, a tingling sensation from "down
there" was felt. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was definitely not
helping my situation as I stood there.
"Laura, he wants you to open your mouth. I'm sorry, he is going to put another pair of my underwear inside."
"Super yucks," I muttered but regrettably opened. The taste was like that of soap--I guess I'm comforted that they are clean undies, I thought, as tape was sealed across my lips. Her translations no longer needed, my friend was re-gagged.
was far from the end. I was picked up and carried out of the room,
Miaohua’s eyes widening as she screamed into her gag, her struggles in the arms
of her captors to no avail. Naturally, I tried to kick and scream through my
gag, but it was to no avail. I was forced to walk down another flight of steps,
my captor placed me down into what was the family cellar--I guess. Pushing me
face down, my scarf was removed and used as a blindfold--how apt. The last act
of his was to tie my ankles and connect them to my wrists bonds.
With the footsteps retreating, I was left alone, too scared at first to move in case they came back. Eventually, I started to struggle furiously, but failed to loosen any bonds. In fact, all it did was make the rope between my legs rub against me harder and harder, so that after a while I could feel my body responding in a way I had never felt before. I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to stop - the warmth and tingling were exciting, but I was scared out of my wits.
What possibly seemed like hours passed, before I heard new footsteps and - new voices? Somebody shouted out in Mandarin, and then I blinked as my eyes were uncovered. I saw Miaohua standing there, wearing a blanket over her as two uniformed officers started to untie me, my sigh as I stretched my legs out one of relief.
"They were after my parent's business and had them as hostages too. My father was forced to provide the men company secrets while they held a knife to my mother’s throat," Miaohua explained, as I sat, wearing a borrowed skirt of hers with my hands around a cup of strong, hot Gunpowder Tea. Apparently, the thugs also took my jeans--for whatever unknown reason. Maybe they were afraid I was going to escape, and wanted me not to get out of the house - or maybe they just thought they could sell them on some black market.
What's more, they also took away the Mooncakes on the table, so there could not be any celebration in the end. At least, not in the way that was intended - freedom from those ropes was celebration enough.