“So, where did you find her?”
George glanced down at his clipboard, then at the woman whose head was slumped down, before he said “a nightclub in Soho. She had been coming every night for a few weeks, arriving alone, leaving alone, so we did our spot checks and she came up a suitable candidate for selection.”
The woman had shoulder length hair, dyed copper red but with grey streaks showing, and wore a black leather bolero jacket over a tiger print tight bustier dress, and over the knee black leather boots that were skin tight. She was fastened to a St Andrew’s Cross with leather cuffs, and a large black ball gag was in her mouth, a line of drool running down her cheek as she slowly opened her eyes.
She took a moment to look round, seeing the other women in various exhibits and poses, and then started to struggle and call out for help – only to stop when nobody paid any notice.
“Welcome,” George said as he looked up at her, “relax, there is nothing you can do except accept our situation, and wait.”
“Whuurhmmmee,” she mumbled as she looked at him.
“Waiting,” George said with a smile as he walked off. “Excellent – so what do you think?”
“A fine collection for our special event,” the other man said as he looked round, “catering for all markets has always been our forte?”
“Indeed,” George said as they stopped in front of a tableau depicting a typical front room. “Now this one will interest you. She answered an advert we placed in a local paper…”
Geraldine walked into the outer office, looking nervously around as she ran her hand through her fine light brown hair. She was wearing a long sleeveless cream cardigan over a grey long sleeved top, a floral print skirt, and knee length taupe leather boots with a square heel.
“Excuse me,” she said to the receptionist, “I’m here about the Lonely Hearts interview?”
The young girl looked up and said “oh yes – name please?”
“Geraldine – Geraldine King.”
Geraldine looked nervously round as the girl looked at her screen, and said “ah yes.” Picking up a file from her desk, she smiled as she said “would you come this way please?”
As she knocked on the inner door, she looked in and said “Geraldine King is here.”
“Show her in,” a male voice said, and as Geraldine walked in she saw a smartly dressed man, who stood up and walked round from the desk as he held his hand out. “Geraldine – welcome to Fresh Starts. Some coffee for our guest please.”
“Thank you,” Geraldine said as she sat down. “I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever done something like this.”
“Well, here at Fresh Starts, we believe age is not a barrier,” the man said as he looked at the file. “I see you are recently widowed, no children?”
“No – but I’m too young to want to be alone,” Geraldine said as the girl came back in, and placed a cup of coffee in front of her.
“Well,” the man said as Geraldine picked up the coffee and took a sip, “your profile certainly means we can find a suitable match for you – someone you can spend the rest of your life with.”
Geraldine nodded as she put the cup down, and blinked.
And blinked again.
“I’m sorry, I suddenly feel… Feel…”
She looked at the man as he put the file down and smiled, before everything blurred and her eyes slowly closed…
Her head throbbed, she could not move, and her mouth felt dry. As Geraldine slowly opened her eyes, she saw she was in – well, what looked like a sitcom set, for a front room, but as she tried to move she found she could not.
Her arms were secured to her sides with rope, and her wrists behind her back. As she tried to move her legs, she heard the squeak of leather, and looking down she saw her ankles and legs were secured with rope as well.
There was a pressure on her mouth and cheeks, as she realised something was inside her mouth, and whatever was causing that pressure was keeping that in…
George looked at the trussed and tape gagged woman, and said “she will find companionship – in a way…”
Moving on, the pair stopped in front of a blonde-haired woman, staring at them over a leather panel gag that covered the lower half of her face. She was sat in what resembled an old-fashioned dentist’s chair, her forearms strapped down with heavy leather straps, her ankles secured together to the foot rest.
“So what happened here, George?”
Madame was not in the best of moods today – the other party were pressing ahead with their bid to purchase her business, and she was having none of it. The blonde was in her early sixties, and dressed for work – a strapless black leather mini-dress with a wide black belt, and thigh high black leather laced boots with a killer four inch heel.
“The clients,” she said as she looked up at her assistant.
“All being serviced to their and your satisfaction Madame,” the young redhead said, “I came to remind you that it is time for your daily reflection.”
Madame nodded as she stood up. “Is everything prepared?”
“It is Madame - I will make sure you are not disturbed.”
Madame nodded as they walked into her private chamber, waiting until the door was closed before she sat in her chair. She had bought it at auction, both for the aesthetic of the look, and for the practical aspects. Sitting down, she smiled as she laid her forearms on the armrests, as her assistant fastened the leather straps around her wrists and her elbows.
“Allow me one hour, and then release me,” Madame said as she watched the redhead secure her ankles together, and then strap them down to the footrest. “Your method of silence today, Madame?”
“The panel gag,” she replied as her assistant selected a large leather panel, with straps on either side, and walked over. Madame opened her mouth wide as the rubber bung was eased in, and then the straps fastened tightly round her head.
“There – are you prepared Madame?”
“Yhhhseemmm,” she said as she shuffled – and then stared at her assistant as she felt the chair move slightly.
“Ah – a little unfortunate, but it is as good a time as any,” the assistant said as she opened the door, and two men dressed in black came in. Madame could only watch helplessly as they lifted her and the chair, and carried her out of the room…
“Interesting,” the man said as he and George walked on, stopping in front of a set designed to look like a bed. The two women raised their heads and stared at the two men, as George looked at the clipboard.
“Oh yes – this is the couple I told you about. The ones who contacted us…”
“Everything is ready,” Moira said as she checked the dining table again. She was dressed to impress, in a black lace body corset and a blue feathered coat over her top half, black stockings and knee length white leather boots. She was dressed to contrast with her partner tonight, and that was the way she wanted it.
Reaching sixty-five was something she never thought she would do – not in the way it had happened – but it had happened, and now it was time for a change.
She smiled as she heard the front door closing, and looked at Elaine. She was wearing a white mohair cropped sweater, a black leather miniskirt and midcalf boots, and dark tights. “Hello,” the white haired woman said, “that looks like a wonderful meal.”
“I hope it is as well,” Moira said as she took Elaine’s hands, and kissed her gently on the lips. “How was your day?”
“I took care of everything – no loose ends left hanging. Shall we?”
As Elaine sat down, Moira served the food, taking a seat next to her as they sat, ate, talked, enjoyed the evening. It was a blissful time, a peaceful time.
Eventually, however, both women could sense the time was approaching, as Elaine gathered the dishes and placed them in the washer. As she stood up, she felt the arm that was passed round her, the leather gloved hand that was pressed over her mouth, and heard the male voice as it said “it is time. Do not say a word, and open your mouth.”
“Eunndurstennd,” she mumbled as the gloved hand was taken away, and she felt the sponge expand in her mouth as it was pushed in. there was a sound like wet paper peeling from a wall, and she closed her lisp before feeling the tug of the tape as it was smoothed down over them.
As she turned, she saw Moira, the white tape over her mouth and her arms and body encircled with bands of white rope, even as her own arms were forced into her sides. They looked at each other, and smiled under the tape as they both nodded.
This was exactly what they wanted…
“Isn’t a little unusual for a couple to put themselves forward?”
“Well, yes,” George said with a smile as Moira and Elaine wriggled on the bed, both hogtied, both happy, “but not unheard of. This couple, however, that is an entirely different matter.”
“Why? What happened here?”
“A Slip of the Tongue – and an unfortunate moment to drop in for coffee and chat...”
“Billy – will you be having lunch here?”
“Yes Mum -I’m due to start work at two,” Hazel heard her son call back down the stairs as she stood at the kitchen sink. The fifty year old had shoulder length blonde hair, and was wearing a purple wool dress, dark stockings with a darker stripe, and over the knee black felt boots.
“All right then – I’ll make a sandwich,” she called back as she walked to the side, and cut some bread, then retrieved some butter and ham from the fridge. As she prepared the sandwich, Billy came in, wearing his work outfit of a black jumper and trousers.
As he sat down, he said “I’ll be late home Mum – we’ve got an event on tonight.”
“Well, I’m warned – Betty’s coming round, and we’re going shopping,” Hazel said with a smile.
“Did I hear my name mentioned,” a grey-haired woman said as she came in, her eyes twinkling behind her glasses. Betty was the next door neighbour, and was wearing a grey embroidered top, the straps of her black bra just visible, a knee length tight dark grey skirt, hose and short black boots with a buckle at the sides.
“Ready for an afternoon and night on the town, Hazel,” she said as she sat down.
“Once we’ve had coffee, yes,” Hazel said as Bobby started to eat his sandwich. “As my boy is going to be working late, nothing here for me today.”
“Promises, promises,” Bobby said with a smile as he stood up, “I’ll just get my coat.” As he walked off, he left his phone on the table, as Hazel and Betty started to talk. It was a few minutes later that the phone buzzed, and Hazel picked it up, looking at the message on the screen.
“Excuse me a minute, Betty,” she said as she stood up, and walked to Bobby’s room. As she came in, Bobby was putting his coat on, as he said “Hey Mum – what’s up?”
“Bobby – this message just came through. Something about a pick up on the way to work – but who is this girl,” Hazel said as she handed her son his phone. Bobby looked at it, and then at his mother – with a look in his eyes she had never seen before.
“I’m truly sorry mum,” Bobby said as he walked to a chest of drawers, doing something in there before he walked back over with his hand behind his back, “truly sorry.”
“Sorry about what,” Hazel said as Bobby walked behind her – and then gasped a she clamped a damp cloth over her mouth and nose. As she inhaled, there was a sweet, cloying scent that immediately made her feel giddy and faint. She reached up to try and pull his hand away, but she grew weaker and weaker, her eyelids fluttering until they closed and Bobby picked her up in his arms.
Laying her on his bed, he went back to the set of drawers, and took a wide roll of white tape, crossing her ankles and taping them together, before he secured her legs at her knees and thighs. Rolling her over, he crossed and taped her wrists together behind her back, before rolling her back and pressing a strip over her lips.
Pouring some more liquid on the cloth, Bobby slowly walked back down the stairs and into the kitchen, Betty looking up and saying “Where’s your mother?”
“She’ll be with you in a minute,” Bobby said quietly as he walked behind Betty, and clamped the soaked cloth over her nose and mouth, holding her until she succumbed to the fumes as well. Using the tape to secure her arms and legs, he gagged her before he dialled a number on the phone.
“This is employee number 40821. I need to report a Slip of the Tongue.”
“He followed standard protocol, as did we,” George said as Betty and Hazel struggled in the kitchen chairs the were tied to, knotted silk scarves acting as cleave gags as Bobby worked on a different set. “So they go into the auction tonight.”
“Well, I think our Senior Night is well stocked,” the man said as he shook George’s hand, and then looked at one woman. She was sitting in a chair, wearing a red and black patterned coat with a black fur-like scarf round her neck, red gloves and knee length brown leather boots.
“Oh – that’s Gladys. This is her last night with Objects of Beauty, so she asked to act out as one of the exhibits,” George said as Gladys wriggled in the seat, the bands of rope holding her firmly in place as the tape covered her stuffed mouth.
“A farewell party then?”
“Indeed – shall we repair to my office?