The Reason Behind it All...
The image was very good, if it was in colors it would be next to perfect, but it was footage from the surveillance cameras of the place what was being displayed for him and the others, so the girls (and the masked dude) were being shown in black and white.
It made him remember of the least known part of the investigation of the infamous Jim Kradder Case. After James Kradder was found shot dead in an apparent suicide he, friend of the poor guy’s father for the good part of their lives, swore to find the killer.
And he managed to prove that while Jimmy had indeed killed himself, it had only happened because his business associates had managed to substitute his pills (he was bipolar) for sugar or flour and then put him in a strenuous pace of work.
Murder by suicide, the unusual element that had made the case so famous. It had been hard to prove it, but as soon as the chemical analysis on Jimmy’s hair showed that he indeed had not taken any of his medicine for the good part of the past semester prior to his death, it was easy to find who could have switched his pills and why...
During the investigation, he and Rott found Jimmy’s secret lot of bondage/porn movies. He had like nearly two hundreds DVDs under the floor of his bedroom. They never told anyone about it, but after a while (before the DVDs ‘disappeared’ when she sold them all and gave the money to Jim’s widow) he decided to take a look at the flicks...
Not very imaginative, plus the girls didn’t bother to act and focused solely on showing their assets, whether they were already bound and gagged or not, more than he thought it could be possible. And how the plots, when they existed, were similar!
In any case, if he wasn’t sure that the images were from real footage of the home of the county’s most famous resident’s manor... He could have been fooled into believing that he was watching one of those ‘bikini snoops babes in trouble’ that Jim favored!
There was the kidnapped girl, Anja Tasic, barely twenty–one years old and of Serbian (or was it Croatian?) ancestry, talking with Celeste Tremmington (more like arguing and yelling) while Heather L. Taggert walked into the manor just to become the masked dude’s first victim... He had managed to (somehow) disable over half of the cameras of the place (and cut the landlines), the techs were still trying to figure how he had done that without cutting any wire, so only a few had managed to record the events.
How he had entered the premises was unknown, what had he done in the first half of the whole time he was there was also a mystery. The cameras of the whole East Wing of the manor had been shut down prior to the quick image, at precisely 10:18:36 AM, of him re–entering the manor through a window.
Why had he gone outside? There was evidence of him being inside the place by 09:47 (at the time Celeste and Heather crashed into the premises), since it was at that time that the safe, which was already empty, had been opened. Or the whole thing was the result of the presence of a second and unknown (and unseen by the cameras) burglar who had actually been at the manor first, stole whatever that he wanted in the safe and then left the premises also unseen, and thus forced the burglar/kidnapper whose image he was watching to change his plans (whatever they were)? As the three girls stayed all along by the pool in the back of the place they hadn’t noticed him at all, since they were so distracted with their argument until Heather got thirsty by noon...
So she entered the large two stories place, shook her head as the discussion between Anja (who was house–sitting the place for the owner as he went to climb another obscure mountain in the Himalaya) and Celeste escalated, and went to the kitchen... and was grabbed by the masked guy as soon as she was away from the sight of both girls by the pool. To be fair and square she could have had a chance to escape him.
Obviously BOTH of them were nervous, or terrified, with the whole situation... after all Anja was supposed to be alone inside the manor. And he was only taller than her!
Celeste and Heather had just decided to ‘visit the place’ (AKA stay there for a month or two) AFTER they had learned that Creighton Shamrock was in Nepal...
The weird part? What happened in the next minutes was exactly what the two had planned that they would Anja, or whoever was the house–sitter this time, believe that it had happened! Heather was supposed to go inside the manor and was supposed to disappear. Celeste for her turn was going to make Anja ‘help’ her look for Heather, and the two would pounce on her and make her their captive!
The idea was that, until that they managed to get in touch with Creighton (which would take days at best!), they would stay at the manor!
Regardless of what Anja had to say about it!
The way they had confessed their obviously criminal plot was as nonchalantly as (very) infuriating! But the mayor had already told him and his men to go ‘soft’ on the duo...
Anja was a refugee, had no relatives and was an employee of the ‘eccentric’ Creighton.
Heather’s father was a major donor in the mayor’s campaigns and Celeste’s owned half of the town! And the way he had told him that as if it was the most natural thing!
In any case... he was considering if he should (or not) allow Jenkins to keep (and most likely post in Youtube, Vimeo and other sites like those two) the copy he had made of the last part of the footage. It would be embarrassing beyond life for Celeste! To have assisted a kidnapper because she was too busy... Hmmm…
(…) It could have some nasty effects on Anja’s life as well...
No, he was going to have a talk with Jenkins...
In the screen the smaller–than–his–victim burglar was forcing Heather to arch her body backwards. Since Heather was 6’1”, and was now barefoot in the video, that meant that the guy was... 5’5” at most, more like 5’4”, even with his boots on. He was bulky, stocky even, and had now a firm grip over the overly frightened girl.
She tried to fight for her freedom but she had only her height to favor her cause, and actually almost slipped at one point, soon it was obvious that the guy was making a few treats and forcing her to comply with his orders. He shoved a clean napkin into her mouth and started to wrap the tape around her body.
First the wrists, then the elbows, then around her arms and torso (above and below Heather’s very ample and natural bosom and again at the now crossed wrists), he then knelt on the floor, and became out of sight for a minute, as he worked on her legs.
Next came the moment that was the most embarrassing for the tall and sultry raven haired girl, he stood up (after having taped her ankles together) and grabbed her hair, forcing her backwards and onto her left side and they walked a few feet towards the camera. Up until this moment the camera was picking Heather’s body (behind the table under which the guy had disappeared until a few moments before) in a mostly sideways fashion. Now her body was bent backwards, her head was unseeable and her massive breasts were almost dominating the screen... the nipples were clearly visible!
‘Jenkins, Harlam and Gus. If this image appears anywhere else in the whole wide world, whoever is the responsible won’t gonna matter for me. Simply put the mayor WON’T gonna need to tell to NOT investigate whatever nasty thing that will happen to all three of you... I WON’T DO IT BY MYSELF. Is that clear?’
All three men nodded (and gulped), while the other policemen (and woman) had more than just knowing smiles and looks in their faces, and Jenkins had the pen drive (with a copy of the last fifteen minutes of the footage) discretely handed to him.
In the screen the guy (behind Heather) made his final treats and frogwalked her to outside the room. There was a glimpse of the two passing through a corridor and then he shoved her inside a closet next to the back door of the manor.
Five to six minutes passed. Somehow Heather managed to open the door of the closet, fell into the corridor and started to worm her way to the back of the manor. Her attacker was nowhere to be seen, but suddenly he appeared and was walking in her direction (and causing lots of frightened expressions in her face) when he suddenly stopped.
In another screen both Anja and Celeste where entering the manor, and were shouting Heather’s name, but then it became clearly that Celeste was up to something.
The duo had confessed earlier that, according to their plan, Heather was supposed to be hiding in one of the restrooms of that wing when they entered the place ‘looking’ for her. So Anja and Celeste split up (and Anja disappeared from the screens) and Celeste went straight to that restroom, Anja went to look into the kitchen and nearby rooms, and found nothing but the small bag (that she had hid there herself about an hour before) from which she produced a pair of handcuffs, zipcuffs and a roll of elastoplast. Smiling rather pathetically, Celeste started to shout Anja’s name loud and louder.
The petite girl ran from the entrance hall to where Celeste was, and didn’t saw her caller until it was too late. In fact, the current image showed her clearly passing past where the masked guy had hid, he made a move as if to grab her but then recoiled both arms…
Why? She was the only one of the trio that was smaller than him, subdue her wouldn’t have been nothing of a challenge, and with her out the way he would have to deal with Celeste alone. Instead, he let Anja go join the ultra–spoiled girl… did he knew what was going to happen in that room? If so then he could be in league with…
Nope… ridiculous even.
If the roles have been reversed, Anja in the place of Celeste and vice–versa, and Celeste or Heather had been the ones kidnapped, then this image alone was the proof he needed to question Anja. But he could not even think about putting Celeste Tremmington, her dad and their lawyer in an interrogation room because he suspected that she was in league with Anja’s kidnapper! He would surely lose his badge!
So Anja rushed past the masked guy and also passed the entrance of the restroom, where Celeste was now hiding. Not seeing anyone she entered the room next to the restroom, which was Creighton’s private study. The images that now appeared in four different windows in the monitor were complementary.
In the one at top left the masked guy did one last glance at Heather’s wriggling form and instead of going forward down the corridor, in her direction, he went after Anja.
In the one at top right Heather, in a movement that left her breast bare, sighed in relief and rolled on the floor until she reached a wall. She then sat against the wall, flexed her legs and slowly managed to stand up by extending them with her soles as firmly as possible planted on the floor (even with the ankles crossed). Due to her rather uneasy condition her progress was slow, but she started to move with tiny hops (and her back always against the wall) in the direction of Creighton’s study through another way.
In the two windows at the bottom, Celeste jumped on Anja and quickly had the other girl’s wrists ‘adorned’ with the handcuffs, and started to apply zipcuff after zipcuff over her body. But then Anja’s protests evolved to screams and Celeste wasn’t going to have none of that. She ripped Anja’s bikini top and stuffed it in the perplexed blonde girl’s mouth, and started to wrap the Elastoplast around her head to keep it there. Afterwards she simply shoved her captive’s body forward, they were sitting on the floor right in front of the study’s entrance by then, so she could use the zipcuffs on her legs.
Anja’s head ended up outside the study, and she could have a clear view of both the masked burglar and the bound and gagged Heather coming straight at her (and Celeste) through two different corridors. She, of course, tried to warn Celeste.
Who in turn, as expected from Celeste Tremmington, was lost in her own handiwork (and pleasure) and actually told (yelled) Anja to ‘stop squirming!’ for it was pointless anyway. As a finishing touch she folded Anja’s leg, knelt beside her captive and connected her zipped ankles to the cuffs with another zipcuff. Anja’s reactions by now were of resignation, so she was very passive. But then Heather was the first to arrive at the study’s entrance. Maybe the burglar–turned–kidnapper was too cautious and didn’t want to risk being seen by Celeste, maybe something else, the fact was that the topless buxom raven haired beat her attacker in their race.
But Celeste was too busy patting herself in the back to take a look over her shoulder!
She was looking down, exalting at the sight of the captive blonde in front of her and by then the burglar had reached the entrance and grabbed an incredulous Heather, pulling her to him as she tried to shriek the louder under her gag (he quickly moved his left hand to over her taped lips). And what was Celeste’s reaction to the sudden sound coming from behind her? According to Patrick (whose mother was born mute, and thus her son became an accomplished lip reader and expert in sign language) it was:
‘Bitch… You’re not ventriloquist, are you?’
Heather and Anja rolled their eyes and tried to say ‘no’ at the same time. And Celeste, with the second muffled sound coming from behind her turning her expression of doubt to fear, finally went out of her little world and turned her head to see what was going on a few feet behind her. And screamed as a ‘Scream Queen’ as the guy shoved Heather aside (she collided with a wall and took a while to become steady again) and entered the study. Celeste stood up and started to walk backwards…
As the guy was using tape to restrain his latest victim Anja, lying on the floor of the opposite side of the study, was looking in all directions and was genuinely surprised when she saw the camera. It clearly made her remember something, since she looked at the camera, then at the sight of Celeste being restrained even more harshly than she had been (she had tried to use her long fake nails in the guy’s masked face), and then at something at her left. Then at Celeste and her masked attacker and back at her left, Celeste, left, Celeste, left, she repeated the movements with her head a couple more times and then clearly inhaled deeply and summoned all the courage she had in her body.
And rolled on the floor, something a bit hard given her situation, until she reached the wall where a painting of Creighton’s family stood. And there, two or three inches above the floor, was the secret panel that she slid sideways, and pushed the button inside it.
In the capitol of the state an alarm was activated, and somebody watched the situation happening in Creighton’s study at the moment, and called the local police.
Back at the study, the guy wasn’t sparing any tape as he wrapped it around Celeste’s head, and over the mouth that had tried (even cleave gagged with a hankie) to bite him, and messed real bad with her hair. But he finally was done with Celeste.
According to Celeste, he was saying (as he stood up cradling the ball–taped girl in his arms) that they got lucky that he was on a ‘tight schedule’, and couldn’t think of doing nothing with them three but locking them somewhere in the manor as he did his stuff.
But, as he turned to the entrance of the study he saw Anja there, and as he was asking her if she was trying to escape in a joking tone he suddenly got mute and yelled.
Of course, the cameras didn’t pick that. The one in the study was capturing his back and the one outside the study didn’t even showed him. Heather only noticed the sudden change in his voice, while Celeste was way too close to him for her likes.
He practically dumped Celeste over the desk of the study and rushed to the wall, where the sliding panel wasn’t entirely closed. He turned to Anja as if to strike her, but then he looked past her, and he could swear that whoever was behind that silly Halloween mask went pale as he saw the cameras still on. As he slowly stood up, according to Celeste and Heather, he kept saying ‘I didn’t turn them all off’ over and over again.
He then rushed out of the study, past Heather who tried to crouch as best as she could as he passed by her, and went to an area whose cameras were off.
And then all cameras were off as all windows went black.
According to Celeste and Heather he returned after about two minutes, as Heather and Anja had managed to make their shoulders touch and Heather was starting to work on Anja’s bonds, and simply grabbed Anja and threw her over his left shoulder and left the study. By then one of the town’s nine patrol cars had already parked in front of the manor. Five minutes later six more had joined it…
And yet, somehow, the guy and Anja had vanished completely.
Some of the police cars had arrived coming from the hills in the back of the manor, others had come from its sides, and there was the one parked in front of it. How could the guy disappear with the burden of a captive girl to boost?
One of the hypotheses was that he had hid a dirt bike somewhere, had managed to escape the manor (Anja was then probably unconscious, at best) with his captive and went to the place where the bike was hidden. And he happened to have a bike that was very silent and didn’t create any dust cloud! Right!
They had searched the whole place from top to bottom! In pairs! No closet and no room and nothing had been left unobserved! They weren’t at the manor and no one had seen them leaving! A real vanishing act had just happened under his nose!
But nothing had made him feel that bitter taste in his mouth more than Wilhelm Taggert and Jesse Tremmigton’s reactions to their daughters’ ordeals!
THAT NIGHT, AT THE SHAMROCK ESTATE
Taylor O’Connor stretched a bit in her chair. Damn, she was getting sleepy!
‘We’re not paid to sleep on the job babe...’
‘Ha–ha... I’m going to make some coffee... do you want it?’
‘Babe, only you can drink that stuff you make...’
Taylor looked with disdain at her friend and co–worker Jillian (Jill) Harris. So what if she was the only one who could stand real (extra strong) coffee? She was about to leave the entrance hall when she remembered a thing.
‘And our sleeping babies?’
‘Yeah, I know, we were jerks, big time witchy stupid jerky jerks with them, but our job is to ensure that they have a good night of sleep in this creepy place... so...’
Jill sighed and typed the code.
‘Sleeping like two little girls, two big and smoking hot little girls, but still little girls...’
Taylor was one of the few people that knew which way Jill swung, and she also knew that no matter how good looking each one of the ‘forced guests’ was, and even if by any chance one of the girl’s breasts popped out of their those tiny bras they were wearing, Jill was going to be (as usual) as professional as the sheriff expected her to be, and not record or gaze at the sight in front of her. She’d probably switch the camera!
Unlike that idiot she called brother–in–law!
She arrived in the kitchen rethinking all her opinions about Celeste Tremmington. She had acted as she, and the whole town, expected that she would when she was forced to stay at the Shamrock estate by her father. As if it was nothing else...
According to Stella and Kurt, who had stayed with them until they were relieved for the night by she and Jill, the pair merely suntanned by the pool and kept talking about their ‘horrible experience’ with their friends with their phones. Since their credit cards were still useless pieces of plastic, it was up to Jill to pay for the pizza they ate for dinner (in no way would the sheriff ever allow any repayment for any meal they ordered at the place Celeste wanted Jill to order). After the dinner they watched a little TV and went to their rooms upstairs, but less than twenty minutes later she caught Heather sneaking inside Celeste’s room. She and Jill discussed it for a little, and all the perversion she had in her mind made her type the code that granted them access to the camera in Celeste room. She honestly was expecting to see some hot lesbian sex being performed by the two much younger (and beautiful) girls as the window opened in the screen.
Instead Celeste was crying and sobbing, to the point her whole body was shaking, as Heather held her in her arms while crying too.
But then again, what else could she expect, even from Celeste Tremmington, from a girl whose father (and only living relative)’s reaction after she’s attacked (and left in such a precarious situation) by a burglar is ‘Glad to see you’re fine. But you’re still forbidden to go back home this weekend and your credit cards are still blocked’?
The coal rock he had in the place of a heart had been petrified by itself a long long time ago! Not that Heather’s father was far behind.
Both girls had gone too far in their latest shopping spree & endless parties time, hence the punishment upon their credit, and both businessmen had a few ‘foreign investors’ as their guests this weekend (and everybody remembered what had happened last time Celeste was around when there was one of those in her father’s house!)...
In fact, how many ‘foreign investors’ did those two need?
So Heather’s dad, whom at least talked with his daughter (for less than five minutes) did bother to talk to the mayor (how could that spineless maggot have managed to con the whole town that he had cojones to stand up against his two ‘bosses’ was still a mystery!), and thus they were allowed to be at the estate for the weekend.
Wilhelm promised that he and he alone, would deal with Shamrock when the ruined millionaire finally returned from the Himalaya... Probably he would trade Shamrock’s ‘hospitality’ for a few more months (three at best!) to pay that mortgage...
He was already acting as if he owned the estate!
Sigh, in any case, the way each policewoman had looked at the other as they closed the window spoke volumes about their own shame! They spent the time looking at those immovable scenes that switched places in the six windows of the screens of their monitors and now... delicious! What was that sound?
Oh, it was the printer. What the hell could Jill need to be printed now... a little past midnight? And the orders were quite clear, they could use the other devices (which just like the computers had been ‘borrowed’ from Shamrock’s study/office as well) only if there was a situation that made it necessary! She finished a bit too quick the cup of coffee and returned at top pace (without actually running) to the entrance hall.
The two computers were there, and so were the four monitors and the printer, but where was her friend, she was moving her hand to her holster when she heard the water being flushed in the restroom down the right corridor...
Only one sheet of paper had been printed by that noisy machine, so she (now relaxed) decided to take a peek at what was so important for Jill to print at that ungodly hour...
‘DON’T TRY TO GRAB YOUR GUN. WE GOT YOU COVERED.’
She turned around as fast as she could, but somebody grabbed her right hand while somebody else cocked a gun at her! They were in two, both were men and one was the guy that had kidnapped Anja, of that she was sure! Same body, same height, the same guy! His companion, who was pointing the gun at her, was a smaller man. She really couldn’t say much about him, he was wearing shades over the goblin mask (it was quite ridiculous but protected his eyes’ color from her perusal), was way more covered than the kidnapper (because he was wearing clothes four or five numbers bigger than they should be, that were taped at its extremities) so she couldn’t say much about his body.
And now the kidnapper, who had her in a vicious lock, was pointing at a sheet of paper taped under the desk over which the computers stood.
‘WE ARE NOT KILLERS NOR RAPISTS. JUST THIEVES. PLEASE DON’T MAKE US MORE THAN WE ARE BY BEING STUBBORN. WE ALREADY HAVE YOUR FELLOW COP GAL TRUSSED UP, AND THAT’S ALL THAT WE WANT TO DO WITH YOU, TIE YOU UP AND GAG YOU.’
She thought for a moment, damn that armlock was going to break her arm! And then she felt the other guy grabbing her gun from her own holster, and surrendered.
The kidnapper then cuffed her with her own cuffs and proceeded to tape her up, the other guy put his gun on the floor and set to tape her legs together, next they made her seat on the floor and the kidnapper just nodded at his companion.
Moments later Jill, still wearing her uniform, was escorted to the entrance hall as she hoped the best she could. They had used a LOT of tape over her body!
The other guy was surprisingly caring, and even held her a couple of times when she almost slipped. Jill had an ‘I am so sorry’ kind of look aimed at Taylor. The older cop was more interested in what did those two were actually planning to do with them and the sleeping girls upstairs, although she tried say ‘It’s ok’ a couple of times.
First they made the cops sit back to back, and then zipcuffs and tape held them together and with their feet taped/zipcuffed to the desk with the computers and a very heavy looking mahogany thing. And then the kidnapper knelt on the floor and removed the tape holding the sheet of paper stuck under the desk, and turned it to his captives.
‘BY THE WAY LADIES, OUR GUNS ARE UNLOADED...’
Heather awoke with that weird sound coming from downstairs. She saw that Celeste was still deep asleep, and holding her right hand, and decided to not wake her up.
But she had to see what was going on downstairs! What were those two ladies (who by now must have their ‘quotas of patience’ for the rest of year emptied... Celeste was too much even for her sometimes) thinking that they were doing?
She turned her smartphone on. It was nearly 2 AM!
So she turned it off, slid out of the large bed, Celeste moaned a little but didn’t awoke (thanks to the blindfold she was now wearing?), and with careful steps went to the door, opened it and was pulled out of the room by two very strong arms that made her hit a very muscular chest! He was back??? Yes he was!!!
And wasn’t alone this time...
The lights of the corridor went on, and she saw herself being forced to stare at a sheet of paper that the other guy was holding with both hands.
‘WE HAVE ALREADY OVERPOWERED THE TWO COPS. WE MEAN YOU NO HARM. WE JUST WANT TO TIE YOU UP AND GAG YOU.’
His grip was even stronger than before! And the other one had a folded hankie in one of his hands. Now it was inside her mouth, and they were wrapping something... a scarf? A green one. Around and around her head, four times, a knot, another knot and a third one for charm (all had made her grunt as they were cinched), and then it was time to rope her up. They were acting coordinated, the guy from before was taking care of her legs and the newbie was focused on her arms and bust... to her relief he did not fondle or grope her one bit, but he did tie those ropes over her breasts really tight!
And now she was being helped to lie on the floor, and they were opening the door and entering Celeste’s room. She heard a fight, a brief (and quickly muffled) call for help, and then silence as the duo worked on her lifelong friend.
Now they were back, and over the newbie’s right shoulder Celeste’s impotent fury was being rewarded with powerful slaps. Five, six, seven… it took twelve for Celeste to get the message and stand still, sobbing for other reasons now, as she was taken downstairs.
For her turn, Heather was dangling over the bigger dude’s left shoulder, and was now in front of the… woman? Yes, it was a woman carrying Celeste, no doubts about it!
She had taken a lot of precautions, there was even a small bulge in between her pants, but now Heather was sure. Their attackers were a couple, and not a pair.
Downstairs both girls were roped (since it was obvious that Celeste’s body now bore all the tape they had brought with them) back–to–back next to the pair of cops. The older women kept making muffled pleas and promises, and tried to somehow comfort the girls, as the ‘man’ sat on one of the chairs behind the desk, with ‘his’ partner standing behind ‘him’. They spent the time typing something, until it became clear that they were using the screen of the monitor to have a typed conversation.
The phone call they were waiting for came after about forty minutes of wait, and the taller man left to answer it while the ‘other one’ started to print more and more sheets of paper. At some point ‘his’ colleague returned, seemingly agitated and motioning to the phone in his hands. The four captives were left alone for less than three minutes.
When they returned the men proceeded to free both cops from their forced position, without touching their other bonds. The smaller ‘man’ went to Taylor’s chair behind the desk and started to type something. The only real man in the room motioned to Jill to stay put and carried Taylor, again like a sack of potatoes, and deposited her in Jill’s chair and they freed her hands and arms. But they still had her gun (and Jill’s) so she merely raised her arms high as her torso was taped to the back of the chair.
Next the ‘man’ and Taylor had a very long ‘conversation’ (typed on Microsoft Word) that ended when Taylor’s hand were cuffed in front, and next more tape was added to her arms and torso, rope was used to lock the cuffs over her knees and to finish her restrains they put plugs inside her ears, tape a big earphone in place and added one of Celeste blindfolds. Minutes later Jill was sharing the same fate (except that her hands were still cuffed behind her back, and the cuffs were now also roped to the central leg of the swivel chair she was taped to), down to the blindfold (that also belonged to Celeste).
They heard the girls’ complaints as they were being carried away, but only Jill feared the worst. Taylor, for the first and only time in her life, was ready to commit a lot of crimes. And be an accomplice in the girls’ kidnapping was just the first of them!
THE FOLLOWING MORNING, AT THE HOSPITAL
‘...and they tried to bribe you and your partner?’
‘Yes. He kept typing offers and offers of bigger ‘cuts’ in the ransom they were about to demand for the girls, made some treats against our families but in the ended he typed ‘You gals are such idiots!’ and put us in the state the guys found me...’
‘That was pretty brave of you, not accepting the bribe and not bowing down to the treats of those two masked guys. You didn’t think about pretending to take the bribe?’
‘For a moment, but I am the lousiest liar this town has ever seen! They would have seen my farce almost immediately and I, because feared of what they would do after that, I decided to not pretend anything and just be myself...’
Special Agent Gunnard looked at his fellow agents and the sheriff. They nodded and she thanked the policewoman, and they left her in the company of her family in that room at the local hospital. Outside Kyle and Chambers had news about the kidnapping.
Things had really gotten too fast!
She and Kyle, posing as a couple, had been sent to this town to ‘keep an eye’ on Diego Pires and his local business partners. What the infamous Portuguese con man could be up to in such a backwater place? Nothing good, obviously. And very secretive also.
They were almost resigned to be lucky to take some pictures, at least one, of Diego at the airport when his flight to the capitol was due when the news crashed town. The only daughters of the two most despised (and powerful) men of the town had been kidnapped that night while they were under the protection of the police! And to make things weird both fathers were really interested in avoiding any involvement of the police or the FBI in the matter, going to the length of ordering the mayor to fire the sheriff! Which the guy did, only to be remembered that he couldn’t do it on his own (he needed a special meeting at the Town Hall to do that) and see his ‘new’ sheriff be arrested by the whole local police force as he tried to set fire on the ransom note!
Forty minutes after that they were ordered to show up at the sheriff’s office, who was waiting for them. One hour later reinforcements came from the capitol, but neither Diego nor his two business partners were found, and now there was an APB for all of them. The ‘new’ (very temporarily) sheriff, a local good–for–nothing that was revealing himself as even worse than his worst detractor could think that he was, had made a deal and was talking about the ‘jobs’ he had done for the parents of the missing girls.
The best (and weirdest) part?
When they had showed up at the estate of that horrible Tremmington man (the stories she had heard about him couldn’t be true!, but were...), they found burnt remains of all sorts of documents. They rushed to the manor of Taggert and found the same thing, and many missing clothes confirmed that they had both escaped at the same time that (most likely) the very documents they had tried to destroy started to be exhibited on TV!
Two people, wearing ridiculous but very efficient full–body white gorilla disguises (so all the images of the pair putting the six envelopes on those mailboxes at around 4 AM of the previous day were totally worthless to identify them), had sent evidences of what exactly Diego was going to do with those two in that town to them (the originals), four news stations and the media whore lawyer of the banker’s ex–wife!
The whole case had been given to them on a silver plate, but whoever had done that had made sure that the scandal would be on every news report for weeks!
For the two police officers that had been subdued by the... robbers?... turned kidnappers their story was solid. The way the first policewoman had been ambushed and subdued was way too true to have been rehearsed in any way, and the second one’s tale about treats and bribery attempts had been captured on video as well.
So their job was now to help clean the town while they dealt with the girls’ kidnapping.
Suddenly there were cheers at the entrance of the hospital, but it was just the news that the mayor had been arrested while trying to flee town...
Where were those three girls?
AT THE SAME TIME, SOMEWHERE ELSE
After she finally was assured that her kidnappers meant no harm to any of their three captives, ‘even her’ (?), Celeste started to get bored, really bored. As her fears subsided until they reached a level that she could still say that they were there, but they weren’t dictating any action or thought from her part anymore, her boredom grew and grew...
All that she knew was that she, somehow, was still within the estate limits. They had carried them on foot to where they were now, it hadn’t taken more than twenty minutes to reach ‘here’ (wherever ‘here’ was) and most of the time they went down.
Her first thoughts were that it was a secret chamber, located under the manor. But in this case, wasn’t Heather’s father (who owned the bank that had the mortgage over the whole estate) supposed to known about the place, or was it a secret even to him?
The kidnapper that remained with them, the same guy that had tied her up (and Heather) when he had kidnapped Anja, had answered that for them three.
First he had removed the blindfold of all captives, for some reason the earplugs and earphone remained, with Anja being the last one to be able to see again. She was still wearing her bikini, while they were both in sexy and sexier pieces of their underwear collection, and seemed to have been crying a lot. And was as horribly tied and gagged as she and Heather were, that whole big knot holding their ankles and wrists together and all that rope to make sure they could do but wriggle a little, without hurting them (too much at least). He first showed a sheet of paper to all three to see with horrible scribbles in it: ‘ARE YOU THIRSTY BY ANY CHANCE?’
Anja and Heather had been allowed to drink water first, and as she took her turn she took a good look at where she was being held. If she wasn’t sure that teleportation was but a thing that happened in comics and TV shows she would swear that she had been transported to a dungeon of some European castle! The walls were made of stone! So were the ceiling and the floor! At least the parts she could see.
The very opposite side on which the three mattresses had been obstructed from her (and the others’) view with the help of two of the many hoops that adorned the walls and a thick tapestry (one of the three she could see in the room, the other two were hanging in the wall at her left). The place had electricity (there were three lamps hanging from the ceiling) and fake medieval–like torches here and there (also lit) and was huge, like thirty yards per twenty (until it reached the more enclosed spot where the tapestry hung) per (at least) 5 yards of height. If she could, she’d guess that there was another room behind the tapestry and that something was ‘on’ inside it.
Each mattress upon which a bound and gagged girl ‘rested’ was clean, and there were hooks, recently added (the marks around each were recent, and there was some crumbs of the same stone the floor was made of around each), designed and used to keep them almost perfectly still over them. After her gag was back the guy left the blindfolds off for about twenty minutes, on purpose, as he went behind the tapestry.
When he returned he had Heather’s tablet with him. In the screen there were pictures of two different women, naked and incredibly restrained, whose faces had been purposely turned into white balls. And since none of them had any visible tattoo, their identities were to remain unknown. Each time he used his finger to change the pictures on the screen a new of three tie–ups, each one different than the previous ones, appeared for their eyes. They looked like some sort of torture to Celeste.
‘I have two little secrets that no one in my family knows about. The most important one is that I am gay. The second one is that I like to do that to girls. In their cases, the five dames whose restrained bodies I have just showed to you enjoyed a lot being subjected to my expertise. YOU WON’T. You will not feel pain, or any life threatening situation. But any of you who try to make any fuss will join the ultra–tight club.’
And next the screen showed two questions that he had typed.
‘Will you try to make any fuss?’
All three girls shook their heads.
‘Anyone of you gals is in pain? Cramps?’
To that one Anja nodded vigorously, so he showed something on the screen for her and she resigned and with a very powerful begging look, nodded.
Minutes later she was relieved of almost all her restraints; the ear plugs and earphone were still on and her wrists were tied up in front and were linked to a hook in front of her mattress. The guy was working his magic over her legs, since the third thing that his family didn’t knew about him was that he was a good masseur. After he gave a few minutes of rest he reduced her once again to a helpless damsel with a different, yet as hopeless as the one before, type of ‘ultra–tight club’ tie–up.
The screen of Heather’s tablet was once again back in front of her.
‘If you feel any pain I can try to ease it from you, I am considered a good masseur by the gals I tied up in the pictures. Do you want any massage?’
At that moment she had shook her head, a few hours later she had snapped her fingers in the sequence he had instructed them and...
He was right; he was indeed a good masseur! A ******** one, but a good one (he really didn’t have to tie her up in a pose he ‘told’ her was called ‘frogtie’!).
There was another sequence of snapping if she wanted to use the toilet. When it had been her time to use it, she had been completely untied and merely cuffed at the wrists (behind her back) and ankles. Then she had been carried, in his usual ‘sack of potatoes’ fashion, to somewhere past the tapestry and, when she had been released from the cuffs and (as instructed) had counted to twenty before she removed the blindfold, finding out that she was in an ample (and clean) bathroom. There was even a bathtub carved on the floor! She wondered for a moment if he could allow them to bath…
After she was done she had walked to the door, counted three steps from it and snapped her fingers as she closed her eyes. First the handcuffs and then the blindfold, and then rope, lots of it!, with her cuffs being linked to both her waist and knees and even ankles!
Funny, it didn’t seemed that who was tying her up was the same guy that had brought her there, the palms and fingers seemed to be smaller, although it was definitely him who took her back to her mattress. And then she was back to the mattress, and somehow had managed to fall asleep. She had very troubled dreams…
Now, her stomach had been demanding food for quite a while.
And then she felt it, coffee! About two minutes later her blindfold was lifted. Somebody was holding her head firmly so she couldn’t move it and couldn’t see but up front.
‘Can you eat in the dark? Close your eyes and nod or shake your head to answer.’
The pressure against her temples was gone and she nodded.
The coffee was awful! What kind of butter was the one they had used one the bread? And the fruit… she hated apple! But she was so starved that she ate and drank it all.
Next something was merely shoved inside her mouth, without being held there with anything, and she was taken to the bathroom after the cuffs were snapped back on her wrists. This time because they were allowing her to brush her teeth (with a glass left halfway to the sink containing a toothbrush and a paste)…
She was in the middle of it when she noticed the camera… When she was done she did as before, but as soon as she felt that she wasn’t alone in the bathroom anymore she asked them what the camera was for. They answered by tying her up in almost perfect coordination, she did felt that they bumped on each other once or twice, and lifting the blindfold after the tying was done. She couldn’t hear herself, but the pair typed an answer to each and every question she made to them.
The camera was to see what the girl inside was up to if she took too long, or if she was having some sort of trouble. They were a gay couple, and as much as it was fun (for them both) to have three girls that they were obliged to keep tied up and gagged in any way they saw fit (that explained their usual overdoing in an infuriating way that earned her a really tight gag this time), they were not going to keep an eye on them all of the time… They kept taking turns in spanking her, not for real, all the way back…
It was shortly after lunch (pasta, with too much bad cheese) was served to them that came the moment that both Celeste and Heather feared that would happen. When both kidnappers were informed that their parents would not pay any cent of the ransom.
But their reaction couldn’t be weirder to both girls (one at the time), they were relieved that the farce of the ‘kidnapping’ would come to an end sooner than they were expecting that it would. They were, after all, just robbers… Not killers, not rapist and definitely not kidnappers! Both Celeste and Heather ended up looking like spools of rope and tape after they heard that one… and their mouths were filled to the fullest!
To their kidnappers, it was a perfectly well fit punishment for their ‘bad behavior’…
SOMETIME BEFORE NIGHTFALL
19 years old Emmett Mollock was one of the town’s loners, the youngest one. Every Saturday he went out fishing in ‘his’ spot on the river, today he had caught half a dozen small ones. ‘Not bad’, was all that he could think of as he drove through that dirt road.
As he was making a curve at 25 mph he saw something in the corner of his eye.
In the next moment he was fighting with his father’s ‘85 Chevy, and somehow managed to keep it on the road and not going downhill. Next he hit the brakes.
It wasn’t a hallucination!
Three girls, two blondes and one with the blackest hair he had ever seen were tied up against a tree about fifty yards from the road… wait a moment!
They were those kidnapped dames!
One month later the usually meek kid made a man run with his tail between his legs.
The guy had age, experience, muscle and height on his side, and thus he thought he could ask the ‘stupid boy’ why he had missed ‘such a great opportunity’!
Emmett ‘asked’ him to explain what he meant with that as he clenched his fists, the guy answered and the fight was on! Emmett lost a couple of teeth and wasn’t able to see clearly for a while, but he had gained much more than he had lost.
After it, his reputation was still of a loner, but a very respectable one!
But at the moment all that crossed his mind was ‘Gotta free them!’, he knew how bad was the reception of his phone at that point of the county so call the police was totally out of the question! So he grabbed his knife and went uphill.
From left to right there was an increasing of both height and bra size he thought (those kinds of thoughts did cross his mind, but didn’t slowed him down one bit). The refugee next to the über–bitch and the not–so–bitchy for last, but Heather was the closest one to him so he set to free her first. How much rope they had used on her body? As much as they had used to tie her body to the tree’s trunk as it seemed…
Oh yeah, he had to announce himself or the girls would think that he was going to…
‘Ladies… (Puff)… I am… I am here to help you (Huff!)… Damn, I came up too fast! (PUFF!). Just give one moment to get my brain… my breath back ok… (hufffaaaa!)?’
He took all their blindfolds as he spoke, only Anja seemed to recognize him. After about a minute he stood up and had them free (at least from the tree’s trunk) in five minutes.
He laid them on the ground at the right of the tree and, starting with Heather, cut as much rope and tape he could until the blade of his knife became worthless, so he set out to free them with his fingers, and was very successful with them (although he took more than the triple of time he would have if he hadn’t bought that junk). Heather, next the not–so–snotty Celeste and finally Anja… still wearing her bikini, and what Heather and Celeste wore had been once see–through…
He dismissed those thoughts and told them that he was going to bring them water and something to cover themselves, down by his father’s car he tried once more to get any call to 911, but it was just waste of time! At least he had those old coats to cover the girls (smelly and all that they were a much better protection for them!).
When the girls could stand he brought them to the car one by one as his stayed less than one step at their right in each occasion, and in Celeste’s turn he actually carried her (bridal style) most of the time. Three minutes later they were off.
And the girl’s only male kidnapper, who had stood by under a bush three hundred yards to the tree’s left, with his rifle aimed at the kid’s head all the time (just in case his intentions towards the helpless trio weren’t noble), sighed with relief and went to fetch his dirt bike. He only stopped when he was five states away from that town!
At the outskirts of the town Emmett finally managed to talk to the police, and was told to drive to an alley five blocks away from the hospital. There the girls were put in two ambulances while he was ‘asked’ by the sheriff to show him where he had found them.
SUNDAY MORNING, AT THE TOWN’S HOSPITAL
The commotion attracted the attention of the police officer who was standing outside the room, he was half expecting to see Anja’s hands around Celeste’s throat (as the first girl showed her ‘appraisal’ of the latter’s apologies) when he entered the room.
Instead he saw Celeste and Heather unable to control themselves as they laughed very hard, and Anja (on a wheelchair), nurse Gerry (who had brought her to the room a few minutes before) and the sheriff standing in front of the duo’s beds with very incredulous expressions on their faces. He looked at nurse Gerry who told him what had happened.
‘They seem to be enjoying their performance of early Friday...’
On the room’s TV, a news channel was showing footage of the two ‘white gorillas’ who had sent all those proofs of the girls’ parents plans for their next (and biggest ever) scam and of the previous ones, and the girls were the ‘white gorillas’?
‘Oh boy... you are sooooo ridiculous!’ – said Celeste to Heather as soon as she could.
‘Me? Who’s the one ‘walking like an Egyptian’ every time before she put her share of the envelopes on those mailboxes? It wasn’t me babe!’ – replied Heather.
And both looked at each other and started to laugh once again...
After about five more minutes, and with some FBI agents in the room as well, Heather (who was finally managing to say coherent phrases without snorting) told them all the whole story, which included the reason as to why they had planned the attack on Anja.
‘About a year and a half ago, shortly after that incident in Las Vegas that those losers tried to pin on me and Celeste, I was alone with da... my father in our home. We had a discussion and I decided to lock myself in my room. After about five minutes I realized how ridiculous had been my reaction, so I went downstairs to have a more serious talk with him and he was on the phone... I did not meant to eavesdrop, but...’
‘He was talking with my father, about us.’
‘And our usefulness to them. WE ARE NOT going to repeat what they said to each other that night. I told everything to Celeste but we...’ – and she looked at her friend who was nodding back at her with tears forming in her eyes – ‘...are not going to tell anyone else about it. Maybe our shrinks, if we manage to afford them. But no one else.’
‘Okay, take your time...’
‘Simply put we decided to get out of under their wings as fast as we could, but both of them, while relatively unknown outside this county, were two powerful men with many and many contacts. So we started to dig here and there... and there. A paper shredded to pieces after a two hours long conversation in German (or something like that) was put back together... We soon became very good with picking those shreds and placing them side by side in the correct order... a Trojan horse in dad’s computer, who had a not so good protection as Celeste’s father had in his computers. Little by little we gathered it all. It was very easy in the end to find out what they were up to this time...’
‘And where does Anj... Ms. Tasic fits in it all?’ – asked the sheriff.
‘No matter what we could not be at our homes when that Portuguese dude appeared, so we (on purpose I confess) caused all that fuss at the capitol last week in order to be expelled from them. What we didn’t count with was that we would find ourselves without money when it happened. But we couldn’t be home when Saturday morning came, so we decided to play... one last time... the ultra–snotty–bitches...’
‘To be there the moment the news channels started to show those documents, or when somebody called them or the Portuguese dude to tell them about it... we have had a few very ugly nightmares the past months with that situation as a start...’
‘We know about Pires and what he did in Porto to that Spanish fella.’
Whatever that meant it made two of the federal agents nod knowingly to the girls. Later the sheriff would ask them about it and would regrettably learn how ugly that story was!
‘It was in one of the e–mails I recovered from... his computer. Anyway... we were there and we had no money and nowhere to go to. I don’t know what they were honestly expecting us to do, so we decided to pull one last ultra–snotty–bitches act. And what does two ultra–snotty–bitches do when they find themselves in the ‘dire situation’ we found ourselves? They go to the only place, among the many available in a few miles radius, which they find ‘suitable’ for their justifiable needs. One who, eventually, is going to be just another property that their fathers have foreclosed, regardless if it has already happened or not, and thus they can treat it as their own...’
And then Celeste, haughty and mighty Celeste Tremmington, apologized to her victim for getting in too deep in her ‘characterization’...
‘...And as soon as you would have been totally rendered helpless, and we swear that we did not meant any form of cramps or creepy mark to be left on your body, well... at least until Saturday morning you’d be our prisoner... we were that desperate!... but also the roles would have been reversed. I mean... true, you wouldn’t be able to have a say in any matter, but we would be the ones taking good care of you, until Saturday noon when we would freed you and even call the police ourselves.’
‘But couldn’t you simply just tell me why you really needed to stay away from...’
‘We couldn’t. Not without risking finding out that... father had found another Reggie.’
Reginald Coulter was a young police officer above any suspicions, until the day he stole the proof that could have sent Celeste’s father behind bars from the evidences room.
He sold himself for 80K (or even a hundred, depending on who you asked) and fled the county in the day of the trial. The FBI knew that he was somewhere in Brazil.
Of course, Anja slapped (hard) both girls for having compared her to him... and next she thanked and kissed them both on the cheek for helping her boss getting rid of all his worries. It was then that one of the agents got a call; they had finally managed to get in touch with Shamrock, who had told them one of his family’s secrets...
THREE HOURS LATER, AT THE SHAMROCK ESTATE
‘So this is a legit ‘Ezerberg & Don’ masterpiece?’
‘It’s ‘Echesberg & Son’, they were father and son, but yeah, it’s theirs...’
‘What’s its story? Did Shamrock tell you?’
‘All of it... Minus a lot of embarrassing details that is… after you...’
The shelf of books was one of the farthest from the only door of the library of the manor, and was now wide open as another door. ‘How cliché!’, thought agent Kyle, ‘the secret passage through the library’ led to a stairway that went down at least twenty yards and ended up in a couple of hundreds yard long tunnel, that had electric light and wires, and lead to a room that was stinking bleach and other hard cleaning materials.
Next to it was the room that the girls had described, the three mattresses and the hooks still were where they had told them, and the forensics were doing their best to get any clue from there. Going forward in the tunnel they found the restroom and another very dusty room (that hadn’t been used for like twenty years at least), next a turn to the right and four hundred yards away the back entrance of the manor was clearly visible.
‘And it was built by Shamrock’s great–grandfather?’
‘Or just his grandfather, can’t tell you right now which was, but as 90% of the stuff that firm built, it was to be used by those who disagreed with the 18th Amendment or wanted to profit with it, probably the second. But after the Prohibition was over it became very abandoned. The girls told us that their kidnappers bragged about being relatives of the guys Shamrock’s father hired, in the mid 60’s, to give the place electricity and bathroom and a few other things. Shamrock did admit that there’s no paper trail anywhere about that as there isn’t anything about the tunnel and chambers themselves.’
‘And he did it for?’
‘Shamrock swears that his parents wanted just a private dungeon, for exactly what you are thinking about, and there’s nothing related to drug trafficking or whatever.’
That was still going to be revised by their experts, Shamrock had given full access to his books and financial life to them, but so far there was no reason to believe otherwise.
So now they had pretty much everything about the whole case...
Except what those two robbers/kidnappers wanted with/in the Shamrock Estate!
Nothing had been stolen; nothing was missing (definitely no suspicious recently vacated space anywhere in the estate above their heads) or had been added.
Even with the federal agents’ interest (and help), it took Creighton Shamrock about a week to return to his home, so he could properly help their investigation.
And then it took him less than one hour to crack the whole case...
All the paintings in his estate, save for those that had zero commercial value (just a strong sentimental one in each case), had been replaced by well made copies!
And those two thieves had a whole week of advantage now! Later the FBI would remade all the most likely routes the guy (or guys, there was some disagreement among the about how many had tied them to that tree) had taken after leaving the girls where Emmett had found them. A clear case of misdirection!
EIGHT MONTHS LATER
‘You can turn around now Mr. Shamrock.’
65 years old Creighton Shamrock stopped facing one of the copies and saw Heather buttoning her blouse, still sans her micro–skirt. Flanking her were Anja and Taylor, who weren’t sure as to what they should be feeling for the whistling girl now.
Just like him. Should it be fear? Despise? Repugnance?
She, and Celeste, had been so helpful for the past months!
As expected, their bank accounts had been blocked and they were penniless the moment they got out of the hospital. Heather’s mom did invite them to live with her, they received lots of invitations by TV channels but the girls asked to be under Anja’s orders for a couple of weeks, as a way to pay for their insult towards her, but after their ‘time’ was due they ‘forgot’ to make their luggage... until he stopped asking them about it.
In exchange of food and shelter he had achieved two (surprisingly good) full time maids for the past months, but now... he wasn’t sure of what to feel for Heather.
‘Gals, Sir, please relax. I am not interested in blackmailing you or whatever...’
‘Then what are you up to?’ – He asked.
‘I merely want to point out all the mistakes you guys made, mistakes that can at least damage your credibility if not send you to prison!’
Shamrock looked at the pile of papers she had brought with her a few minutes before; as she revealed that she had called Taylor to the manor, while pretending to doing so under his orders. Maybe it wasn’t enough to send him (and them) behind bars...
But he couldn’t afford the risk now.
‘Is Celeste in any way in league with you?’
‘Absolutely not! Check her bedroom if you don’t believe me.’
Shamrock sat on his chair and typed the codes and commands, and soon he (and Anja who stood by him now) was watching Celeste impotent struggles over her own bed.
She was, apparently, wearing her pink pajamas (the one with the roses) and had been lightly hogtied, there was more than enough room for her legs to come and go in the only way they could now, and there was mass of rope around her wrists and ankles. Also he could see a rope wrapped around her waist and tied to one of the bed’s feet. She wasn’t going anywhere, but seemed to not be scared or anything like that.
She had been gagged and blindfolded with black scarves and was obviously pretending that she was fighting her bonds… and pausing for a moment…
‘I asked her a little favor, no questions asked. Of course she wanted to ask me a lot of questions as soon as I started to tie her up, but then I gagged her and kissed her forehead and told her that I had a point to make with you, and you alone Shamrock, and that for that she would need to be like that for a couple of hours or maybe more. In exchange, I get to clean all the bathrooms for a week. She liked the deal...’
‘And you put her in that position because?’
‘If you don’t believe in me, if you are in some way a paranoid or the likes, then there’s no one I can turn to help me now. My mom is at the capitol, fighting my father’s former business partners in court today and tomorrow, and my best friend is totally helpless by my own hand and... Who else can I turn to now? No one. Emmett is a nice guy, and we sure are having a great time together, but right now he’s somewhere up the hills in that country’s backside following Uncle Sam’s orders. I am at your mercy.’
‘Okay... cut the drama. And what is your point?’
‘In about a month, mom is going to have quite the surprise when she does her weekly check at her bank account on her birthday. My father’s and Celeste’s bank accounts (the ones they are using to make a living in those countries they fled to) have been already identified by a friend of mine. She... said that it’s going to be tricky, really tricky, but that she will manage to empty them (and get 5% as her cut). Unless mom is definitely not who I think that she is, a lot of good people scammed but good by those two will start to get at least some of their money back thanks to a bunch of federal crimes that I have just confessed to you. That is my point, I know your dirty little secret and now you know mine, and all I want is that you guys get rid of the last bits of proofs that can make your lives miserable if somebody else, other than me, get his/eyes upon those papers.’
‘You want me to destroy it all?’
‘You haven’t smoke a cigarette for over twenty years, but your Zippo still works, right?’
Not that if he tried to do it, and she had any objections about it, Heather would have any chance to avoid the papers being consumed by the flames. But now she just stood, still with Taylor close behind her, as the fireplace destroyed them one by one.
‘If I can ask, how did you find out it all?’
Heather was allowed to sat on the chair before she started to answer
‘As soon as I realized that our captors were a couple and not a pair, and a heterosexual couple, as we were being taken downstairs to meet you...’ – and she pointed her right index at Taylor ‘...and Jill, I decided to keep a closer look at you...’ – she was pointing at Anja now – ‘...than at Geoffrey. Do you happen to know about that tick of yours, Anja?’
‘I have a tick?’
‘Yes, please pay attention Mr. Shamrock. Taylor, pretend that you are Geoffrey and you are pretending that somebody wants to talk to Anja through the phone like they did that night. Okay? Ladies, please take your positions...’ – Shamrock nodded at them and Anja stood in the middle of the study, Taylor came holding a cellphone in her hand and...
Anja first tried to grab it with her left hand, twisted it anti–clockwise and lifted her other hand. And then Anja stood in the middle of the room with her mouth open for a minute.
‘I... still do it? I haven’t... I didn’t... know...’
‘Few people do know about their ticks when they are not linked to a specific situation. You were born left–handed, but raised as a right–handed girl, right?’
Anja nodded, and then her insecurity towards the taller girl just grew a mountain!
‘You think that Jill saw it?’
‘No, she had her back to the scene almost completely, and at the moment was looking at the other direction. At Celeste, she tried to reassure her even gagged as she was...’
Shamrock stood thinking for a moment.
‘So you knew that the ‘second man’ was actually the ‘kidnapped girl’, why didn’t you told anyone about it when you had the chance?’
‘And tell them what? That I had seen the masked guy who kidnapped me had the same nervous tick that Anja? It wasn’t a particularly well lit room for starters; and I had a bad angle... And besides she had been the one that had pushed that button and alerted the authorities, why would she do that if she was in league with her attacker? Because there were other witnesses to the ‘crime’ that was supposed to happen that day here now. And you were standing too long close to one of the many ‘panic buttons’ you knew about without doing anything to push it! It would be hard to file a claim to the insurance company, which was all that the crimes were about right? Mr. Shamrock?’
‘What the hell... I spent the past ten years selling those paintings to friends that I know will never ever show them to anyone else, but your... those men were choking me in plain sight and there was nothing no one could do about it! But you knew even that?’
‘Everybody always tend to think that those lessons I took at the Smithsonian were waste of money and time, I loved those classes. Do you remember when I spent a whole week using a tight black T–shirt with ‘All this and brains to match ↑’ written on it? I had just received the result of my IQ tests. 139. I may look like a bimbo...’
‘And how do you found out about Geoffrey?’
‘He gave me the tip when he told us the truth about how he had gained such an expertise in tying up chicks. He did that for a living for a while and to amateur models only. But I drew a few good versions of the pictures he showed us, eidetic memory is one of many gifts I have that I tend to hide from others, and asked around...’
‘Celeste knows very well that she’s not going to feel pain anywhere, except cramps maybe, after I free her. Once, twice, I confess, I did have to tie her up for her own good. And she was a nice, very secure and neat package that I kept like that for hours as the chance of her ruining her life passed by us! You are not the only one in this room who’s good at that, Anja, although, I admit… I do enjoy both sides of the rope. Yes?’
‘Please don’t tell me that you enjoyed being…’
Heather reaction was too quick for Shamrock to follow, but now she was pressing the very frightened Anja against the wall behind them.
‘Of-course-not!!! Do you think that me or Celeste were pretending when we got mad when you and him announced to us that the whole kidnapping stuff, in which WE were the ones who were suffering it the fullest!, was just a ‘plot’ of yours so you could drive the police (and the FBI) around as you did your ‘job’? Do you think that I faked that outrage? Or Celeste? Do you?!!!’
‘N-no… but you…’
‘Last week, by the oak. First you and then Celeste…’
‘It was the very first time that we did it to each other ever since it was for real! She knows that I love being tied up! She does like it too, but get her to admit it is like trying to get a Met fan say ‘Go Yankees’ with all his/her heart! If not harder! By the oak, last week, we both knew that it wasn’t for real, that my gloats and ‘Mwuah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha’ laughter and all that I did it wasn’t me! From the get go, from the very first moment, did I have any reason to believe that you or him were not pretending to be kidnappers?’
‘And neither did Celeste! She’s been having some dreadful nightmares about the whole thing! All the time, all the time I was down in that… dungeon! All of it! I was thinking ‘You have to get of here and find proofs to nail these two ******** down for good!’, I wasn’t enjoying it one bit! If I had knew, I admit it!, if I had knew that all along I was safe and so was my best and only friend… then… and only then, I would have enjoyed it. But I didn’t, so until Emmett lifted the blindfold I was in fear and terror!’
An odd silence fell over the room, but after a while Heather was back to her chair and Shamrock was measuring his words before he spoke.
‘Ok… if anything, we’re truly sorry because you two ended up passing through all of that. We are. I am. But… ‘Mwuah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha’?’
‘Once I put on a black costume, top hat and all of that, and even added a moustache to my face so I could twirl it as I… Celeste never laughed that hard with a gag on.’
That helped to lighten up the ambient. She chuckled and after a while turned her head to Anja. She kept a straight as she asked her.
‘Did you have to be that cruel with Celeste?’
‘Got even with Celeste for that horrible amateur work she did on you by tying her as tight as possible? True, all true. And did she have any trouble, with her blood circulation or anything else, because of that? None at all. That’s why I let it pass, when I had the chance to tell the FBI about it. I knew why you guys had done what you did, and I knew that I should keep my mouth and that; physically at least, both I and Celeste were fine after all was over. As for Geoffrey, I know guys and gals who taught me a lot of things, and sometimes had me as model and..., and I showed them the drawings I had made and with their help I met through Skype one of the ladies that Geoffrey tied up and took pictures of. She gave me his real name and from them on...’
‘Do you happen to know where he is now? I’ve lost complete contact with him.’
‘Alaska, working at an oil company or the likes way too close to the North Pole for my tastes. He is fine for all I know, just a bit mad that he’ll have to wait a few more years before he can go back to his hometown... I talked to him about one hour ago.’
‘And what about me? How did you know that I had already recognized Anja, though not because of her tick but because... you know how I recognized her?’
‘No. But I knew that you were lying for some reason. You were once a bad liar, and a poor actress. Maybe you didn’t wanted that your father knew about the lessons you took or maybe something else, but I simply couldn’t see why would you lie about the reasons that made you not pretend to accept the bribery... unless there wasn’t any bribery attempt at all! Then what was all that discussion you two had through that monitor’ screen? And when I saw you and Anja having all those ‘secret’ meetings...’
‘It could have been anything...’
‘Both of you are into men, and men only, you didn’t even pretended to be there for other thing than some serious business that you couldn’t talk about in public. And you always choose the same spot of the pathway behind the lake for the meetings... so...’
‘You bugged us?’
‘But I didn’t record anything...’
Not that it mattered one bit for the women that now were behind and in front of her.
‘Ladies, before you deal with this little invasion of your privacy from her part, I have one last question to Ms. King. You had no reason at all to come forward and told us the truth and how much you knew about it and all that. Why you did it?’
‘Me and Celeste… we have this lifelong relationship and still, as much as I trust her and she trusts me, there are tons of things that I keep out of her sight. She knows that, and I know that she knows that, but she couldn’t care less about it, bless her soul. But I don’t think it could work with other people. And besides you guys did made a lot of serious mistakes! Somebody had to talk about them to you! You, Taylor, you MUST go to the sheriff and tell him that you ‘made a mistake’ or there’s a good chance that, in the trial in a few months, your credibility is damaged beyond repair! You, Mr. Shamrock, if your intentions weren’t good at all I would have told the world about your insurance fraud scheme years ago! I might have not known about your plans at the time, and I doubt that you planned that whole scam for long anyway, but I knew that your intentions were good (and what the hell, it was my father who would have to sign the check!). And you, Anja, well somebody had to talk to you about your tick and that you never ever should try to pass for a man again! I didn’t come here to do anything but warn you all!’
‘We got it, but I think that they still have something to talk to you about you bugging the place where they usually had their conversations, secret or not.’
Both women nodded and Heather gulped.
‘Is Celeste ready to learn the truth about her kidnapping?’
‘Find her a good shrink first, then give her a couple more of years at least… Then…’
Shamrock thanked Heather for her help and asked to be alone as he had some papers to read and sign. The women left with Heather trying to rationalize with Taylor.
Hours later, with Taylor as his guest for dinner (and oddly also as improvised maid), he asked why Anja, Celeste and Heather weren’t at the table with him. Taylor told him that Heather and Anja had joined Celeste because of what they had done to each other and that if Celeste ever asked about it he was supposed to say that both Anja and Heather had deserved the fullest of ‘it’. Shamrock asked if the girls were going to get an edible (yet cold) dinner and got his answer with a nod and a stern look.
Celeste did question him about ‘it’ (she didn’t explained to him what exactly ‘it’ was) a few days later, and all the times ‘it’ happened afterward; but she never asked why she had to take part in ‘it’, every single time ‘it’ happened!
It was fairly obvious to the old man that some sort of kinky relationship was happening under his nose, like it had when his parents were alive, but it wasn’t his life, it was theirs and the girls seemed to be happy with that weird internal dynamics.
Never once did he record one second alone of the ‘it’ times.
Once the money started to return to their legitimate owners, which took about a year to happen, it was a matter of time before Celeste and Heather’s accounts were available to them. This lead to a serious conversation with Shamrock. From them on Shamrock paid them good salaries, but he could afford it now.
Celeste left the estate four years later, having taken her revenge upon Anja in one of the few ‘it’ times she hadn’t spent tied and gagged one year earlier (at the same time her father was deported from the Asian country in which he had enjoyed ‘state hospitality’ for the first time in his life), and moved to some place near the Great Lakes.
Heather was, by then, Shamrock’s private secretary and was the only responsible for the management of his finances (which left him free to pursue his old dreams of climbing all the top 20 biggest mountains of the world even at his age). And the ‘it’ times kept happening, at least once a month, especially when Celeste dropped by…