“You know, this really is a beautiful fur coat, but I do think it looks better on me than on you. Don’t you agree?”
The tall, slim woman, looked over herself in the mirror as she tried on the coat. The dark brown ermine fur complemented the simple black of the leather trousers and roll neck sweater she was wearing, and she did look stunning in it. The most stunning thing she was wearing, however, was the black stocking that was pulled over her hair and face, obscuring her features and making it difficult to identify her.
That, after all, was the point of wearing such a thing. She was an unexpected visitor to this house, as could be testified to by the woman who was lying on the bed in the bedroom. She would have been able to testify to it had there not been a length of clear plastic tape over her mouth, holding a washcloth in place and very effectively gagging her.
The masked woman took off the coat, and folded it carefully into the large holdall at her feet. She then proceeded to search through the drawers of the dressing table in the room, while the captive tried to break free of the ropes that held her wrists together against the headboard. These were tied over her crossed wrists, and over the cuffs of her white silk blouse which was beginning to open as a result of her struggles. Her booted ankles were tied together with rope, as were her legs between her knees and the hem of her black leather skirt.
Finding a number of jewellery boxes, the intruder emptied the contents into the holdall, and then took cash and cards from the handbag of the woman, who looked on with a furious scowl on her face.
“Yes, I’m sure you’re upset, but this will teach you not to open the door to anyone who knocks answering for help. Now, if you’ll excuse me, let me make sure those ropes are still secure.”
The woman checked over the bindings, but as she stood up both women were surprised to hear a mobile phone beginning to ring. The more surprised was the masked woman, as it was her phone.
“Please, excuse me for a minute. Don’t try to shout out, you’ll only hurt yourself.”
The bound woman continued to struggle as the masked robber took a phone from the side of the holdall, and answered the call.
“I thought I told you never to disturb me at work?”
“Dominique?” The voice was rich like dark velvet chocolate, and the robber recognised it instantly.
“Madame – forgive me, had I realised it was you.”
“Do not worry, Dominique – I know this is one of your nights when you work, but his could not wait. Please, when you have finished will you come and visit me at the apartment – there is a matter I wish to discuss with you.”
“Of course, Madame – please allow me an hour and I will be with you?”
“Thank you, Dominique – the concierge will be expecting you?”
The intruder closed the phone, and looked at the gagged woman. “This is your lucky night – I have to leave now. Please, take more care in future.”
She grabbed the holdall and walked out of the door, leaving the woman trying to cry out after her. Leaving the flat, she pulled off the stocking and allowed her dark hair to fall down as she walked to her car. Placing the holdall in the boot, she got into the driver’s seat and set off.
One hour later, Dominique walked into the lobby of the modest building that housed the headquarters of the most notorious criminal organisation in the city. She had changed into a Stella McCartney suit with silk slip and heels from her work outfit.
Approaching the reception desk, she smiled at the man sitting there.
“Good Evening, George – Madame asked if I would call and see her.”
“So I have been told, Dominique – you are to go directly to the penthouse. She is expecting you.”
A lift door opened at the touch of a button no the desk, and Dominique stepped in. The lift doors closed, and went smoothly to the top floor of the building.
As the doors opened, Dominique stepped into a simply, yet tastefully furnished penthouse flat. As she entered, a tall dark haired woman stood up and approached her with an extended hand.
“Ah, Dominique – thank you for joining me here. Will you have a drink?”
“Ginger ale only, if you please Madame – I have to drive off after we have our meeting, and I have not had time yet to empty my boot.”
“Ah yes – a successful evening?” she said handing Dominique a glass.
“Reasonably, yes – but I cut my business short to come here. Is there something I have done that has – displeased you?”
“Please, sit down,” Madame indicated to Dominique, and they both sat in the large leather seats. “No, you have done nothing wrong – in fact, I am very pleased with your work. I want you to do me a favour – a little extracurricular activity, if you will.”
Madame took a drink, and Dom watched her as she took a file.
“Tell me, are you familiar with the Burglars’ Association?”
“Yes, I am – I was a member before you recruited me, and you prefer your staff not to be members.”
“That is correct – but they have a problem at the moment, and as some of their members have been helpful to me in the past it concerns me that something has not yet been done about it.”
Dom nodded. “You are referring to the alleged mole? Last time I heard from a member, they thought they were onto a few leads.”
“Indeed – but now the one who had got closest, member 369, has disappeared, and the trail appears to have gone cold again despite the best effort of others.”
“Unfortunate, but why are you involved? You don’t normally mix with that group.”
Madame sat back. “Member 369 happens to be Penelope’s brother. It is therefore now a matter of personal honour to me both to find him and to unearth this mole. At the same time, I do not want to expose any other members of my staff to this issue – Penelope is her usual professional self, but I can tell she is worried.”
“So where do I come in?”
“I am aware, Dominique, that you have other contacts separate both from myself and the BA that may be of use here. Do whatever you have to, and involve those of the contacts you believe will be of most use, but find Penelope’s brother and find out who the mole is. Keep me posted, and anything you find out I will make sure is passed on to those who need to know.”
Dominique finished her drink. “What do I do for resources and funding?”
Madame stood up, went to a desk and retrieved an envelope. Passing it to Dominique, she said “This contains all the necessary information on the leads made so far, as well as details of an account you may use for funding.
Dominique, be discreet and cautious, but find the man and the mole.”
Dominique took the envelope, stood up and placed her glass on the table.
“I have carte blanche?”
“You do – keep my name out of this, but do what you need to do.”
Dominique nodded, turned and went into the lift.
At her apartment, Dominique studied the contents of the file, and the pictures that were there of the people that had been identified as leads. Finally, she picked up her telephone and dialled.
“Good evening, is Estralita there?
Oh, she’s a little tied up at the moment? I quite understand. Could you take a message and pass it on to her for me?
Please tell her that Dominique called, and I have a job for her.
Yes, that’s right, Dominique.
Excellent – I look forward to seeing you both at eleven tomorrow morning. E knows where to go.”
Dominique was sitting on a leather chair in her house, dressed in jeans and a sweater and talking on the telephone.
“Did you receive the fax I sent to you?
Excellent – the full details are on their way to you by courier. How long will it take you to pull a team together and make preparations?
That’s good – I need that time to complete preparations at my end. K is already taking care of the initial logistics, and I’m hoping the team from my side will come together today.
Of course, Joe – let me know when you’re ready to start delivery, and we’ll be expecting you.
I look forward to seeing you soon – ‘bye for now.”
Replacing her telephone, Dom took a drink of her coffee and looked again at the documents on the table in front of her. Also in front of her was a letter that had been delivered by hand that morning.
Thank you for agreeing to take on this task on my behalf. I have no problem with you using the facility you mentioned in your call to me last night, and the gentlemen you mentioned has been given full access.
I need to travel today to the United States to take care of a small problem that has arisen there, and Penelope will be accompanying me. I believe this will do her good, as it will take her mind off the matter in hand. When I return, I hope you will have something to tell us.
Good luck, and as I said please keep my name out of all your arrangements.
A knock at the door awoke Dom from her deep thoughts. She glanced at her clock – eleven precisely. If nothing else, her visitor was punctual. She tidied the papers, placed them in a folder and went to answer the door.
Opening the front door, however, Dom was surprised to see a delivery van and two men in overalls standing there with a large upright crate behind them.
“Excuse me, miss, but we have a delivery for you.”
“I’m not expecting one – may I see the delivery notice please?”
The man who had spoken handed Dom a clipboard, and as she read the notice a look of understanding spread across her face.
“Ah yes – please come in. I was not expecting this particular delivery until tomorrow. If you could bring it into the front room for me?”
With some difficulty, the two men manoeuvred the crate into the front room.
“What’s in this?” the first man asked.
“An old wooden chair I bought from an antique dealer. It has to be carefully packed, and the holes are to allow the wood to breathe, so it looks different from normal.
Please, take this for the trouble I have put both of you to.” As she said this, Dom passed the man a fifty pound note.
“Thank you very much – very kind of you. This envelope comes with the delivery”.
Handing Dom a thick manila envelope, the two men were escorted out by Dom. Returning to the room, she opened the envelope and extracted a key and a note. Reading the note, Dom started to smile. She placed the note on top of the file, used the key to unlock the padlock that was holding the crate closed, and examined the contents.
The chair was indeed a very fine one, but of real interest to Dom was the blonde haired woman who was sat in the chair, clothed in a pink satin slip, her wrists and ankles strapped in place and a leather band around her mouth.
“You know, E, there are easier ways to visit me,” Dom said as she unbuckled the strap around the woman’s mouth and removed the gag.
“Yes, but Mistress thought this would be more fun for me. Can I trouble you for a drink?”
“Will iced tea be all right? I would offer to free you, but the letter asks me not to.”
“In a glass with a straw would be fantastic. Mistress should be along in a few minutes, so if I can use your shower and change?”
“Naturally – let me get that drink for you.”
Dom left the room, and returned with a glass of iced tea and a straw. Holding the glass, she allowed Estralita to drink from the glass. The doorbell rang as the drink was emptied.
“That will be your companion now – please excuse me for a few minutes.”
Dom answered the door to a tall, dark haired woman with a case by her side,
“You must be Dominique – we spoke on the telephone. Has the delivery arrived?”
“Yes, thank you – perhaps you would both like to freshen up while I prepare some lunch, and then we can talk?”
“So how can we help you with this investigation?”
The three women were sat around the dining table, after both Estralita and Mistress had had a chance to change from their journey. Both were dressed in summer dresses and heels. The remains of lunch were pushed to one side.
“Basically, we need to persuade some very resistant people to give us the information I need. Normal interrogation hasn’t worked, nor has some specialist treatment, so I think we need to go up a level. I need the expertise of both of you for this – the question is, will you help?”
“Of course we will,” Mistress replied, “if the deal is good enough.”
“You may keep any profit you make on the situation – but I would ask for a contribution to my sponsor. Ten percent would be a good donation – and it will go directly to a charity that supports the families of those who are unable to work.”
“That seems fair – so when do we start?”
“When you are ready, I will take you to the place where we will operate. If I may be so bold, the police here are not quite as accommodating as in your area, so I suggest we travel in my car without special arrangements.”
Estralita and Mistress both nodded.
“Fine – then if you will give me a moment to collect my car, we’ll head straight out there.”
“Who else have you involved in this scheme?” Estralita asked.
“I’ve called in a few favours. You will meet my supplies and administration person today. Some other colleagues of mine are handling the main supply chain. For now, it is best if that is all you know. Excuse me while I fetch my car.”
The journey took about an hour, as they left the city and drove to a farm some way into the country. The final stretch was up a country lane, but the Land Rover Dom was driving made short work of the ruts and pits.
The three women drove into the courtyard of a farmhouse, with some outbuildings scattered around. The yard itself was swept clean and evenly covered in tarmac, so the three women were able to walk in some comfort.
“A bit out of the way, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Dom replied, “but it is perfect for our purposes. Ah, here comes my point man now.”
A man in his late forties was approaching. He was of average height, stocky build and with short greying hair, and dressed in casual clothing. He smiled as he approached the ladies.
“Dominique, my dear, always a pleasure,” he said as he took Dominique’s hand and kissed it. “Are these the two ladies you asked me to make preparations for?”
“They are indeed. Ladies, this is K, who will act as our administrator and supplies expert. Ask him for what you need, and it will be obtained for you.”
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance. Perhaps you would like to see what has already been done to the place – your suggestions for further preparations would be invaluable.”
As the four walked towards the farmhouse door, K said “By the way, Dominique, your other guest has arrived. I suggested she use the guest house until the time was right.”
“Thank you K,” Dom replied. “E, Mistress, please go with K and carry out your inspection. I will join you shortly – there is someone I must talk to first.”
Dom watched as the three headed into the house, then turned and headed for one of the outer buildings. Knocking on the door, she entered and hugged the young woman who stood up.
“Janey, thank you for coming – let me explain what I want you to do.”
The blonde haired woman looked woozily at the two stocking masked men standing in front of her.
“Time to sleep now, little lady, you have a big few days ahead” she heard as she slipped into unconsciousness.
One of the men took a mobile phone and dialled a number.
“Dominique? It’s Joe. Mike and I are completing the pick up now – tell Dave to start at his end. I’ll call when we get close to you”
Two hours earlier
“Let me get this straight – some idiot maintenance man has managed to put chlorine into the water tank for all four flats, and now we have to drink bottled water?”
The woman was venting he ranger down the telephone to the building manager who had called a moment before.
“I’m afraid so, Ms Laine. The company concerned are sending men round in the next hour with bottles of water for all the apartments.”
“I really didn’t believe this was possible today!” she said as she slammed the phone down.
“Well, at least we know now why the water was cut off suddenly,” Suzette said as she put her magazine down. She looked at Cleo, who was pacing the floor in an agitated manner.
“I know, but with the past attempts to get to me I worry whenever anything begins to go wrong.” Cleo had been captured and held hostage twice in the last month, not because of anything she had done but because she was the lover of a person who had infiltrated the Burglar’s Association. The people who had captured her felt she could be used to uncover this person, but each time she had been rescued and the perpetrators dealt with.
Suzette was the police officer assigned to look after Cleo after she had been moved into this apartment. As an undercover officer, she was wearing casual clothes – in her case today, a white tight fitting t-shirt and shorts, and sneakers, as her cover was as a fitness coach for the athlete that Cleo was meant to be. Cleo herself was wearing a pink tracksuit and t-shirt.
The doorbell rang, and Suzette made her way to the door while Cleo sat back down. A few moments later, she was accompanied into the room by two men in overalls and peak caps, carrying two cases of bottled water with them.
“Just leave them no the table there please,” Suzette said, and she passed the men some money as they made their way out.
After the door had closed, one of the men looked back to the flat.
“The blonde on the couch – she’s the primary target, right?”
“Right – but we execute the plan as we agreed.”
“And relax.” The two women let their arms hang down as the workout was completed.
“Here,” Suzette said as she took a bottle of water and passed it to Cleo, “we both need a drink now.”
The two women opened the water bottle and took long deep drinks as the sun set in the background through the flat window.
In the lobby of the building, the female security guard slumped forward onto the reception desk, an empty water bottle in her hand. The two delivery men entered from the rear entrance, and one of them opened the eyelid of the guard to be greeted by a sightless stare.
“Right, Joe, the drug in the water seems to have worked. We can get started.”
He reached over to a control panel, and locked the front doors to the building.
“Remember, Mike,” the other man said as he pulled a stocking over his head, “we take each of the six flats in turn. If the only occupant is female, she comes with us and we call for the flat to be emptied of her stuff. Otherwise we simply rob the place.”
“Apart from our primary target?”
“Apart from her – they’re both coming with us. We’re not the only ones collecting for the sale tonight – two other teams are doing a similar run as well.”
Mike pulled a stocking mask over his face as well.
“What about her?”
“She comes with us, of course. She’s another undercover copper. Secure her and we’ll take her out to the van now.”
Mike removed a rucksack from his back, and produced two cable ties and a roll of tape. He used the ties to secure the wrists and ankles of the sleeping guard, and then the tape to gag and blindfold her. Both men carried her out of the rear entrance, where they loaded her into the back of a waiting van.
One by one the two men visited the flats in the complex. In three cases, families had fallen asleep after drinking the water, so they merely stole what they could. In two others, single females were the occupants, so they secured them as they had the guard and took them to the van.
Finally they entered the flat that Cleo and Suzette were in. Coming into the main room, they found Suzette slumped unconscious on a recliner, and Cleo on the floor in front of a chair. Her eyes were still open but she herself was groggy, and looked up at Joe and Mike staring at her.
“Time to sleep now, little lady, you have a big few days ahead”
As Cleo fell into a deep sleep, Joe called Dominique while Mike began to secure Suzette for the journey. Taking care of Cleo as well, the two men carried the unconscious women one at a time down to the van. Mike then made a call on his mobile phone.
“Steve? Three flats to take care of in our area – numbers 1, 4 and 6. Can you arrange clearance – the rear entrance will be open, and I reckon you have about eight hours before anyone wakes up.
Great – we’ll see you at the Farm later.”
“All set?” Joe asked as Mike turned his phone off. He looked in the back of the van, where the five women were wrapped in blankets and blissfully unaware of what was happening to them.
“Yeah – let’s go before anyone starts looking into this,” he said as they both climbed into the front of the van and drove off.
Dawn was starting to break as the van drove up a country lane towards the farm buildings. As they approached the main house, two men came out to greet them.
Joe turned the engine off, and both men came out from the van to greet the other two.
“K – good to see you again. And you, Dave – how did you get on?”
“Half a dozen in our trail – and Luiz brought three more in as well. How many for you?”
“Five – including our primary target. Does Dom know we’re here yet?”
“She and the others are sleeping – I’ll tell them later,” K replied. “Come on – we’ll help you to bring your gifts in and make them comfortable.”
Cleo slowly began to come back to consciousness. She had vague memories of having a drink of the bottled water after her workout with Suzette, but fairly soon after that everything seemed to become blurred together – especially the feeling that she had seen two masked men in the room before she fell asleep. As her brain returned to some state of awareness, she wondered why it was still so dark outside, and why she was finding it so difficult to move her arms and legs.
As awareness returned, she realised with a start it wasn’t that it was still dark, but that something was covering her eyes. Trying to call out to Suzette, she also realised that something was over her mouth. With a start, it hit her that she was bound, gagged and blindfolded, and….. she wasn’t alone. She could hear a number of other girls starting to moan as well.
Cleo struggled to see if she could get free, but whatever was holding her hands together was very thin and very tight. The sound of a door opening and footsteps distracted her from that.
A female voice spoke up – “Remove their blindfolds.”
Somebody ripped the tape from Cleo’s eyes, and blinking she began to look round. Next to her was Suzette, and she could see cable ties around her wrists and ankles and tape over her mouth. She also recognised the undercover policewoman who had been acting as the security guard. Surely they weren’t trying to get her to give up her lover again?
Looking round the large room she was in, however, Cleo realised this was an altogether different proposition. She was just one of over a dozen women, in various types and stages of clothing, but all bound and gagged in the same way and all laid out on individual futon beds in a wide semicircle. In front of them stood three women.
The tallest was dark haired and clad in a black leather jacket and trousers, and knee length leather boots. The next tallest was blonde haired, with a brown jumper and skirt and suede boots, while the third dark haired women was dressed as a secretary and carrying a clipboard.
“Ladies,” the woman clad in leather said, “Welcome to your temporary home. Over the next few days we will be training you in preparation for the new lives you will lead. You old lives are over – this is a new beginning. Cooperate and it will be a more pleasant time. Fight, and you will be punished.
You will call me Madame D. This,” she said indicating the blonde haired woman, “is Mistress E, and this is Mistress M. You will soon be taken to your rooms, where your training will begin. Remember – we control your lives for now, so do as we say or else you will regret it.”
“Gentlemen, please take the ladies to their quarters – two at a time – and make sure they are securely bedded down for the night. They may begin their training in the morning.”
Cleo looked on with frightened eyes as four men in dark sweaters, pants and shoes stepped forward, wearing balaclava helmets that covered their faces. In pairs, they picked up two of the bound women, who squirmed as they were carried away. One was wearing a blue crop top and white mini skirt, while the other had a dark green roll neck sweater and brown pants. Cleo could see the soles of what appeared to be brown Ugg boots under the trouser legs as they were carried past.
Ten minutes later, the men returned and took two more women out of the room. This went on for an hour, until the only people left were Cleo, Suzette, the guard from the flat complex, and a small brown haired woman who had obviously been captured in her bed. She was wearing blue silk pyjamas, and looked over at Cleo with fear in her eyes as well.
The masked men returned, and two took ahold of Cleo while the others picked up the brown haired woman. Cleo shot a look at Suzette, who was frantically trying to free her hands from behind her back, and to the other policewoman who was just lying there, staring at the ceiling.
The men carried the two women along a corridor, and past a number of closed and locked doors until they came to one with an open door. As the men carried them in, Cleo saw that there were two beds in the room, each of which had ropes attached to the four legs. There was also a curtained off area, with pipes leading down to it, and a table and chairs.
“Put that one down on the bed – we’ll sort this one out first,” one of the men said, and Cleo watched as the other girl was laid gently on one of the beds. Cleo was sat in one of the chairs, and the leader of the men produced a pair of scissors.
“We’re going to cut the bonds around your ankles and wrists, and remove your gag. Say and do nothing unless spoken to, or Madame D will hear about it. Nod if you understand.”
Cleo nodded, and the man quickly cut the zip ties before peeling the tape off her mouth. “There’s a toilet and a wash basin in there – freshen yourself up and we’ll get you bedded for the night.”
Back in the main room, Suzette and the other policewoman were looking at each other, wondering what was going to happen next. The leather clad woman who had called herself Madame D came over and looked at them.
“So, these are the last two women we captured, correct Mistress M”
“That is correct, Madame D” the one who looked like a secretary said glancing at her clipboard. “It occurred to me when I saw them that they would be perfect for the special order we were asked to fill this month.”
The three women looked at the two women laid out on the futons.
“Yes… yes, I do believe that you are right, Mistress M. We should be able to forward these two on immediately without further training on our part. Madame E – would you do the honours please?”
The third woman stepped forward, and produced a small metal case from her pocket. Opening the case, she produced two hypodermic needles with a clear liquid in them, and two antiseptic wipes. Coming over to Suzette, she took a wipe and cleaned a small area on her arm before using the syringe to inject the clear liquid into her arm. She bucked and writhed around to stop her doing it, but to no avail as a warm heavy sensation fell over her and she slipped into a deep sleep. The undercover guard soon followed suit.
“So, what are we going to do with these two, Dom? The last thing we need is the police looking for two of their own.”
“We’re going to send them back, E – with a little something to help us see if we can find our missing BA member. Mistress, do you have the devices I gave you earlier?”
Cleo made her way back round from behind the curtained area in the room, as the other woman looked on.
“Strip,” the man said, and as she removed the sports wear she had on the other woman was freed from her bonds. She made her way to the curtained area, passing Cleo who was now standing in a white sports bra and panties.
“Lie down on the bed there.”
Cleo was pushed towards one of the beds, and as she lay down two of the masked men took her wrists and tied the ends of rope at the head of the bed around them, so that her arms were above her head and tied to the bed legs. Her ankles were soon bound in the same way.
“Take care of the other girl,” the leader said as she came back round from the curtained area, and when she had stripped down to a blue bra and panties the others tied her to the second bed. The leader produced a long black silk scarf, rolled into a band and with a double knot tied in the middle.
“Open wide,” he said to Cleo. At first she refused, but he grabbed her nose and as she opened her mouth to breathe the knot was pushed into her mouth. As he tied the scarf behind her head, Cleo looked over to see the other girl being gagged with a white silk scarf.
“Right, it’s bedtime ladies. Sleep tight and we’ll wake you when the lessons begin.”
The four men walked out, and Cleo listened as the lock was turned in the door. She looked over at the other girl, who was looking around the room and testing the ropes to see if there was any give in them. From her past experiences, Cleo knew she had no chance of getting free and settled down to try and pass the time.
“Right, Joe, take them back to the drop-off point.”
Joe climbed into the driver seat, and set off in the transit van towards the main road.
“All the guests have been settled down, Dom. May I suggest you come and have some food while we decide who we’re going to start with?”
“All right ladies, rise and shine!”
Cleo opened her eyes. The window that would normally have allowed light into the room was covered over, so she had no way of knowing what the time was, but she didn’t think she had been asleep that long.
Two masked men were back in the room, armed but also carrying two silk slips.
“We’re going to untie you, but do not try to remove your gags. Take off your underwear and put these on, then stand still.”
Cleo watched as she was released from the ropes that held her in place, and then rubbed her wrists to try and get some circulation back. She stood slowly up, and took off her dirty bra and panties before slipping the black slip over her head. She watched as the other girl did the same.
“Outside and wait in the corridor,” the man said, and as the two women went out they saw most of the other women from the previous time standing in the corridor. All were wearing black slips and gagged, and two armed guards were watching them all.
“Make a single line and follow me – no sudden moves or Madame D will punish you.”
The frightened girls made a line of people, and they were led back into the room they had woken in previously. In place of the futons was a large round table, with places laid for a meal. Cleo looked around at the group, and realised with a shudder that neither Suzette nor the other undercover policewoman was there. What had happened to them?
“Sit down, and place your hands on the table where we can see them,” the male leader said, and each woman took a seat. The men went round, quickly strapping their ankles to the seat legs with leather straps and tying their upper bodies to the backs of the chairs with ropes. Cleo noted that there was no cutlery on the table, except for three places at the far side.
A door opened, and the women called Madame D, Mistress E and Mistress M entered. They took the three places at the head of the table.
“You may go and bring the food now,” Madame D said and the masked men left.
“From now on, ladies, you do what you are told when you are told, and you speak only when you are spoken to. Some food will be brought in, and then your gags will be removed. When you have eaten, we will begin your preparation for the sale that is occurring soon. You will use your fingers, as we cannot allow you the chance to steal a knife or a fork that can be used to free yourselves. You must first demonstrate obedience before you are allowed these things.”
A trolley was rolled into the room, and plates of food were placed in front of each woman.
“Remove their gags, and watch them,” Madame said, and Cleo breathed easily as her gaga was removed.
“You may eat, but you may not speak. Watch them.”
The ladies began to eat the fruit and bread that was on the table. Cleo looked to her side, where the other woman from her room was eating a piece of apple.
“Are you scared?” she whispered out of the corner of her mouth.
The brown haired woman glanced sideways, and then nodded her head slightly.
“Don’t be,” Cleo whispered, “I’ve been in tougher places. We’ll get through this.
My name’s Cleo. What do I call you?”
The woman looked around cautiously, before whispering “I’m Janey.”
Both Cleo and Janey reeled back as the riding crop was brought sharply down on the table between them. Looking over their shoulder, they saw Mistress M standing behind them.
“I believe we said you were not to talk?” She shouted before indicating to two of the masked men. “Bind and gag these two – they can watch while the others eat.”
As their hands were pulled behind the back of the chair and tied together, Madame D stood up. “When we say only to do as we say, that is in all things, no matter how trivial. These two will be used as an example to show what happens when you disobey. Now, finish in silence – in five minutes your training begins.”
Cleo and Janey watched as the other women ate in silence, their heads bowed. When five minutes had passed, the plates were removed from each of them and the ropes around their midriffs released.
“We will remove the straps from your ankles now,” Mistress E said, “Push your chairs back and stand with your hands behind your back. You two” she said pointing to Cleo and Janey “will stay there until we are ready for you.”
As the girls stood, the masked men returned with bundles of rope and silk scarves. IN turn, each girl had her wrists crossed and bound together behind their back, and ropes lashed around their arms and chests. The scarves were then used to gag and silence them.
“Follow Mistress M to the training area” Mistress E said, and the women were led out in single file. Cleo and Janey sat silent and wondering what would happen to them.
Madame D passed them without saying a word, and the two were left to contemplate their fate.
Suzette stirred and slowly opened her eyes. The blinding white hurt at first, but as her eyes adjusted she saw that she was lying in a hospital bed. Turning her head, she saw the other policewoman who had been with her sleeping in the next bed. Raising her arm, she could see the marks of ropes but at least she was free.
“Ah, I see you’re awake Officer.”
Suzette turned her head to see a nurse standing over her, checking some instruments.
“You were brought in the early hours of this morning – both of you were found in the lobby of the building that was attacked.”
“Yes – a gang broke in and stripped every flat clean. Some women disappeared as well – you apparently were both on the missing list. Your chief has been already to see if you have come round – I’ll call and let them know you’re awake.”
Suzette lay on her back and closed her eyes. She had thought at first it was all some bad dream, but she really had been kidnapped – which meant she had lost her charge, and had to explain that to her chief.
In a darkened room, Dom and K were listening in as a tape recorded all that was said to Suzette.
“Where on earth did you get that device?” K asked.
“My little secret – it’s used in the more shadowy parts of our police force. Sits under the skin, virtually undetectable and a long range. If they say where our secondary target is, we’ll track and find him.”
Dom turned and started to leave the room.
“How are the guests settling in?”
“They’ll be fine – we just have to deal with the primary target. She’s going to have a rough day.”
Smiling, she left the room and closed the door behind her. K turned round and returned to monitoring the transmitter.
Cleo and Janey were still sat in their chairs when Madame D entered with two of the male guards. “Untie them, but leave their gags in and their wrists bound,” she ordered the two men.
The guards released the two women from their chairs, and stood them up.
“Follow me” Madame D ordered, and the two men frog marched Cleo and Janey into an open area.
The other women captives were laid on the floor, tied in strict hogties and with blindfolds on.
“Strip them,” Madame D said, and the guards used knives to cut away their slips, leaving them in their natural state.
“Untie their wrists, then place them back to back and retie them.”
The guards did as they were told, and Cleo and Janey were placed back to back before their wrists were tied in front of the other person’s waist. Further rope was then wrapped around their arms and chests, as well as their waists, to secure them together. Their legs were bound together in a similar manner, and the two were manoeuvred into the centre of the floor.
“Remove the blindfolds”, Madame D called out, and the guards walked round taking the blindfolds from each of the other women.
“As you see, we mean it when we say that disobedience will be punished,” she said as the other captives looked up to see Cleo and Janey. “Accept your situation quickly, and things will be better. Resist and you will be treated like them”
The hours passed, with no indication of what time was – the room was lit by artificial light, and no windows allowed the outside in. Eventually, the hogtied women were released from their restraint, and their ankles freed. Each was helped to their feet, and led out of the large space. Cleo and Janey were left alone for a while, before the masked guards came back to release them from the ropes. Their wrists were tied together in front of them, and they were led back to their room.
There, they were pushed down onto their beds, and their wrists pulled above their heads and secured to the metal headboard. The ankles were tied in a spread-eagled fashion to the foot of the bed, before their gags were finally removed. Mistress E came into the room with a bottle of water, and the two girls were given a drink.
“Rest now” she said “and don’t repeat your mistake tomorrow.” She left the room, and the two women were left alone.
“Are you all right”, Cleo whispered in a hoarse voice.
“Yes,” Janey croaked back, “but we have to be careful. These people mean business.”
Cleo nodded. “We need to behave ourselves, but I will get out of this somehow. Are you with me?”
Janey nodded as the lights went out.
In the control room, Dom, Estralita and the others watched the room on a monitor.
“It’s going well – soon she will trust Janey completely.”
“Then we get ready for the next phase. In the meantime, there’s more training to do. Four hours and we wake them again.”
The pattern continued for days on end – the captives were restrained in various ways, allowed short rests and then rebound, all designed to break their spirit. Cleo and Janey endured all this, growing closer in friendship and adversity.
From the darkened room where the surveillance equipment was kept, K watched silently, but also watched a panel to one side for a red light to start flashing. Finally, his patience was rewarded, and he started a recoding machine.
“Dom,” he said into a microphone, “I think you may want to come in. I’m picking up a signal from our old guests…”
“Are you seriously telling me, Suzette, that you were captured by a slavery ring?”
Suzette was sat in the office of her captain. She and the other officer had awoken some hours after they had been sedated, to find themselves bound together in an old abandoned warehouse. It had taken a few hours for them to free themselves and contact headquarters and for the last three days both women had been recovering in hospital. It was only now that she had been able to report in to her station house.
“I’m telling you, Captain, there were a dozen other women there alongside Cleo and me. Why the two of us were singled out I don’t know – the women there seemed to say something about a special order – but instead we were returned. What happened anyway?”
The captain took a sheaf of folders and passed them to Suzette.
“Your apartment block was raided – alongside you two and Officer Kolinsky, three other women were taken and their flats stripped. The other people were just robbed. It looks like there was a whole spate of disappearances that night, so your slavery ring story does make a little bit of sense.”
“And this had nothing to do with our big case?”
“It’s too random. If it had just been your block, I would have thought so, but these were all over the city. Besides, we checked with our contact and they reassured us the BA had nothing to do with this. It looks like some other outfit is behind this.”
Suzette leaned back. “How are you coping?” the captain asked with real concern in his voice.
“Physically, fine. Mentally I wish I could remember more about those three women, but the whole thing is a blur. How did the contact take the news about Cleo?”
“Not very well, if the truth be told. I wonder if our guest might be able to throw any light on the people involved.”
“Do I have your permission to visit him and question him?”
The captain lifted his telephone receiver and dialled a number. There followed a conversation, after which he said “They will be expecting you at 3 pm. Find out what you can, then report back here.”
Suzette stood up, smoothed down her skirt and walked out of the captain’s office.
Dom was sat next to K in the surveillance room, listening to the tape.
“So those devices are actually doing their job?”
“Oh yes. Undetectable, incredibly small and light, and hidden under the skin in an area they will not normally be found. Of course, after a month or so they will be – shall we say, discharged, but until then they make the perfect bug.”
“Are you tracking them now?”
K turned to one of his laptops, where a flashing red light could be seen travelling along a rolling road map on the screen.
“The transmitter is working as well as can be expected – hello we appear to be stopping.”
The light had halted next to a building that could clearly be seen on the map.
“Give me a moment…. Ah here we are – the Ponsonby clinic. A health farm for the discerning client – let’s listen to what happens next.”
Suzette walked across the courtyard, the heels of her boots clicking on the concrete, until she reached the main entrance and walked in.
“Can I help you?” the young receptionist asked, and Suzette flashed her identity card at her.
“I’m here to see the patient in 369” she said.
“Ah yes, you are expected,” the receptionist replied as she pushed a button on the desk. Two burly attendants appeared. “These gentlemen will accompany you for your own security.”
Suzette went with the attendants through the door, and down a corridor lined with cameras to a door with a grill in the door. Opening it, she looked in at the young man sat at the desk.
“Open it up,” she said, and as the door was unlocked the man turned round.
“Why, Officer Suzette,” he said, “and to what do I owe the pleasure of your company. Have you come to take me for a walk?”
“Not today – I need to talk to you about something else” Suzette replied.
“Do you have a fix on the room in the building” Dom asked.
“Give me a minute……. There, I can print off the floor plan for you now. It looks like it’s well protected, but nothing a specialist team can’t handle.”
Dominique nodded, and dialled a number on her mobile phone.
“Mordaca? Good morning, this is Dominique calling. I have a little job for you and your team if you are interested – a retrieval from a secure clinic.
You are? Excellent. I’ll fax you through the location and details. Thank you so much, my old friend.”
“I wasn’t aware you knew him,” K said.
“Long story, but this is right up his alleyway. Now, how are the ladies doing….”
In the main room, the twelve ladies were each sat on the floor, dressed in lace basques and stockings. Each had their hands bound behind their back with rope, and their arms lashed to their sides. Their legs were crossed in front of them, and their ankles lashed with more rope. A length then connected their ankles to the ropes at the front of their chests.
Four of the women were not gagged, but simply sat silently. These had been the first to break, and Estralita and her companion knew that they would soon be ready to move on. Six others had silk scarves tied into their mouths, four of which had further packing making their cheeks bulge out. Cleo and Janey both had large red ball gags strapped into their mouths – a further punishment for talking out of line at the last meal.
Dominique walked into the main area. “I have just received a call from one of our clients – he has a sale arranged for tonight, but four of his lots have had to be withdrawn. He was wondering if we could make an emergency supply?”
“What do you say, ladies,” Estralita said to the four ungagged women. “Do you believe you are ready to move on to your new owners?”
“Yes, mistress” they all quietly said with their heads bowed.
“Do you promise to do all that they ask without question or hesitation?”
“Are you happy to have a new start in life?”
Dominique smiled and nodded. “Release these four,” she said, “Allow them to cleanse themselves, and make them ready for transport. I will be with you shortly to inspect them. Madame M – perhaps you could escort them to the changing area?”
The four masked men came forward, and released the four from their bonds. They stood up, and in single file followed Estralita’s companion out of the door.
“Take these others back to their rooms for rest – we will continue this later.”
The guards untied the chest and leg bonds from each girl in turn, and escorted them out. As Cleo and Janey were led out, Dominique held her hand up.
“You two are proving most resistant to training,” she said, “I think we may have to take special measures is things don’t improve.”
Estralita watched them as they were escorted out, and then turned to Dominique.
“I think our first four will sell well at auction – you and Madame have done a fantastic job.”
“You know what I mean.”
Dominique nodded. “With luck, Penelope will be reunited with her brother in a day or two. In the meantime, we need to get ready for the final phase.”
The home residence of Doctor Harold Ponsonby was in a well appointed area of the city, some ten miles from the clinic he ran. This particular morning, he was sat at the breakfast table with his wife and two daughters. Breakfast had just been served by the maid, and as they sat eating the doorbell was heard.
“Will you answer that please, Yara?” Doctor Ponsonby asked, and the maid made her way to the front door.
“Daddy, will you be at the softball match tonight?” his younger daughter asked as she munched on a waffle.
“I hope so, dear. Pass me the butter please, Denise.”
The older daughter picked up the butter plate, but dropped it and shrieked as she saw three masked and armed men coming in the door.
“Nobody moves,” one of them said in a South American accent,” hands on the table where we can see them.”
“What have you done with Yara?” Mrs Ponsonby asked,
AT that moment, Yara was struggling on the bed in her room. She was lying down in her black dress and white apron, but her wrists had been bound to the headboard with rope in a spread eagled fashion, and her ankles were been tied together with more rope. A fifth gang member, who was not masked, leaned over and smoothed a length of white tape over the maid’s mouth, then leaned over and whispered into her ear.
“Seja calmo, mãe, e não se esforce. Eu não o quero ser dano, e nem sua saliência ou sua família. Permaneça aqui, e isto acabar-se-á logo. Incline-se se você compreende.”
Yara looked at the man and nodded, to which he whispered into her ear, “Eu prometo-o, meus homens não o molestarão nem não prejudicarão, ou eu cortarei pessoal suas esferas fora. Agora, descanse fácil.”
He then turned, and the two men made their way to the dining room where the Ponsonby family were sat.
“Ah, Doctor Ponsonby,” the unmasked man said as he entered, “please, forgive this interruption, but we have some business to discuss with you today and we need your help.”
“Who are you and why are you doing this?” Dr Ponsonby asked as he stood up.
“Please, Doctor, if you know what is good for you and your family, sit down and do not make me angry.”
He sat down, and the leader continued.
“Please, finish your breakfast. I have no desire to see you starve.”
HE picked up a slice of toast and continued, “We need to visit your clinic today, Doctor, and…. Liberate a patient who is there under false pretences. No, do not insult me by pretending you do not know who we mean. You know who we are taking about.
To achieve this, we simply want you to go to work today, and continue as normal. I will see you later with a letter, and you do what the letter says. Simple, no?”
“And what if I refuse?”
The leader walked over to stand behind the younger daughter. “What is your name little girl?”
“Well, Doctor Ponsonby, if you refuse first Samantha here will be very sorry, and then my men may decide to have fun with your wife or your other daughter, I really cannot say which will be first, but I am sure you understand what I mean.”
Mrs Ponsonby pulled her silk dressing gown around her neck, while Denise sat white faced. The doctor stared at his family, and then sat down again.
“Who are you and what gives you the right to threaten me this way?” he asked.
“I am known as Mordaca, and I and my men have spent many years in this line of work. Besides, Doctor, we have the guns and you do not. Tell me, Samantha, how old are you?”
The girl looked at the man in the dark uniform, and said, “I’m fifteen.”
“Ah fifteen – a wonderful age. I remember when my own daughter was that age. Samantha, I want you to a brave girl now, and do exactly what I tell you. Do you understand?”
Samantha nodded. “Excellent,” Mordaca laughed out, “stand up for me please.”
She stood up in her Disney character nightgown, while Mordaca tossed a roll over to Doctor Ponsonby. He caught it and saw it was a roll of surgical tape.
“Doctor, I want you to secure Samantha’s wrists together behind her back. And Doctor – do it properly and securely, or one of my friends will redo it, and he may not be so gentle.”
The doctor stood up, walked over to stand behind his younger daughter, and with a look of regret started to wrap the tape around the bare skin of her wrists. “It’s all right, daddy,” she said as he tore off the tape and smoothed it down, “I know you have no choice.”
“Now, Denise I believe your father called you, stand up and allow your father to do the same to you.”
Denise stood up from her chair as Samantha sat back down. She was wearing a pair of short pyjamas, pink with a white stripe down the side of the shorts and white spaghetti straps for the top. Her father walked round and started to tie her wrists together as well.
“And finally, Doctor, your beautiful wife if you please?”
“What have you done to Yara?”
“Your maid?” Mordaca replied as Mrs Ponsonby’s wrists were securely bound together, “she is safe in her room, and provided nobody tries to do anything foolish she and all of you will be fine.”
Doctor Ponsonby tore off the tape and smoothed it over her wife’s wrists. After she sat down, one of the masked men checked the wrist bindings on all three women, and nodded to Mordaca.
“Thank you, Doctor. Now, will you please come with me? Men, make sure all three ladies are comfortable before we return.”
He led the doctor out of the kitchen, and closed the door behind them. Ponsonby could hear chairs been moved and the female members of his family being led somewhere.
“Now, Doctor,” Mordaca said as he produced a pill from a box, “I need you to swallow this.”
“What is it?” Doctor Ponsonby asked as he examined it.
“Not poison, I assure you – simply a little tracking device so that we know if you contact the authorities. Not that you would, but we need to be sure. After all, your family’s well being is what is at stake here.”
Mordaca handed him a glass of water, and the doctor swallowed the pill. Mordaca then picked up a listening device, and switched it on.
“Now, Doctor, it is time you got ready to go to work.”
“What about my family?”
“Do as you are told and they will be safe. Why don’t you put your coat on and we will say goodbye to them before we go?”
After a few minutes had passed, Mordaca and Doctor Ponsonby left the front room. All was quiet, as they climbed the stairway to see the armed men standing guard outside the three main bedrooms.
Opening the first door, they went into Samantha’s bedroom. The walls were covered in posters of pop stars and movie idols, but the main focus of attention was on Samantha herself.
She was lying on her side on the bed, her ankles taped together side by side and also her legs just below her knees. Her nightdress had been smoothed down to hide her panties, but more tape has been sued around her waist to secure her wrists into the small of her back. She looked up at her father over the strips of tape that covered her mouth.
“Be brave, Samantha, and daddy will be home soon,” the doctor said as he leaned over and kissed her on the forehead, and Samantha nodded and tried to say something. The tape made it illegible.
In the next room, Denise was sitting in a chair by her study table. She had been tightly taped to the chair with duct tap – her arms and chest were wrapped together and to the chair, and her ankles bound together and against one of the legs. More tape was around her legs below her knees, and around her legs taping her to the seat itself. Her mouth was covered with tape, and Doctor Ponsonby could tell that something had been placed in her mouth beforehand.
“Please just try to relax,” he said as he kissed his older daughter and left the room.
Mrs Ponsonby was lying face down on her bed. Rope was wrapped around her upper body above and below her breasts, as well as around her crossed ankles and her legs above and below her knees. Her ankles had also been pulled up behind her legs, and secured to the rope around her chest at the back. Her mouth was filled with something that was held in by a knotted scarf tied into her mouth; as she looked up at her husband with tear filled eyes.
“So, Doctor, you go to work and I will see you later. Remember, we are monitoring you, so if you try anything my men try something here.”
Doctor Ponsonby turned and slowly made his way towards his car. Mordaca blew a kiss at the bound wife, and made his way to the living room where a monitoring set had been arranged.
“Now, men, help yourself to what you can find, but if anyone touches or harms the women, especially the children, they will have me to answer to!”
The morning passed slowly for the head of the Ponsonby clinic, until he was buzzed by his receptionist.
“Doctor Ponsonby, I have a squad from the local police out here. Would you come and join us please?”
Slowly, he stood up and made his way from his office to the reception area.
“Doctor, these men have been sent to collect the guest in room 369. I know you wanted to be contacted if there were any unexpected visitors.”
“Thank you, Barbara. How can I help you gentlemen?”
“We have orders to take patient 369 to more secure accommodation. Here – see for yourself, Doctor” the leader of the squad said as he smiled and handed Doctor Ponsonby a sheaf of paper.
“You’d better come this way, Sergeant,” the doctor said as he read the paper.
“Doctor, should I call security?”
“That will not be necessary, Barbara, thank you – I have the police with me after all.”
He led the way through a locked door, and then whispered “My family…”
“Are perfectly safe if you do your part, Doctor,” Mordaca replied as he led the other part of his team to room 369.
“We have already accessed your security system, so no tapes will be kept of our visit, and everything will be over very soon now.”
At the door of room 369, one of the nurses was about to enter.
“That’s all right, nurse, I’ll take the medication in,” Doctor Ponsonby said, but the nurse replied “I’m sorry doctor, but I must be the one to give him the injection.”
“Please, Doctor, allow your staff member to do her job, so long as we can then take him,” Mordaca replied, and the party made their way into the room.
Fifteen minutes later, the police squad led a strait jacketed and blindfolded patient out of the clinic and into a waiting van, which swiftly drove off.
Fifteen minutes later, a routine patrol heard a thumping sound in room 369, and on opening the door found the nurse bound and gagged, struggling on the floor. The prone and unconscious body of Doctor Ponsonby was lying beside her, with blood seeping from a blow to the head.
When police arrived at his house a half-hour later, they found the four women still bound and gagged in their rooms. The house had been ransacked, but they at least were unharmed.
At a modest building in town, George the receptionist looked up as two men entered the building. One was South American, and although small looked powerful and commanding, while the other looked haggard and drawn,
“Good evening sir,” the fitter one asked, “Am I right in thinking your name is George?”
“It is, sir – how may I help you?”
“We have a mutual friend – one Dominique. She asked me to bring this man here and simply say 369.”
George picked up the phone and dialled a number. “Madame? George at reception. A gentleman has just arrived and given code 369.”
He replaced the receiver and said “If you will take a seat, someone will be here to see you shortly.”
A few minutes passed, before the elevator doors opened and a female voice shouted “George!”
As Penelope ran to her brother, her companion approached Mordaca, her hand put stretched.
“Tell Dominique she has my eternal gratitude, and ask her to update me on other matters as soon as possible,” she said with a voice and a smile that could melt chocolate.
“Of course. Tell me, would I be right in thinking I am addressing Madame X?”
The lady inclined her head.
“I, Mordaca, salute you as a true genius, my dear lady,” the man said, and with a deep bow he departed the building.
“Come, Penelope,” Madame said, “Bring your brother and we will allow him to rest.”
Cleo and Janey lay on their sides on the cots in their room, bound hand and foot but not gagged sat this time. Both were dressed in black silk slips. In the corridor, they could hear the muffled sounds of two more women being taken off to their new owners.
“How many does that leave?” Cleo asked quietly.
“Four, I think. Cleo, are you ready to get out of here?”
“Do you have a plan?”
“Yes – do you remember Madame E saying she and that Madame M were going to give us a ‘special lesson’ today?”
“That’s when we’ll make our move. Just follow my lead…..”
The cell door opened and two of the male guards entered the room. The two girls lay still as their feet were untied and they stood up.
“Come on,” one said, “Your lesson is about to begin.”
The two women were marched down the long corridor, but instead of going into the main courtyard or the dining room they carried on to the end of the corridor, and shown into a small room near the doorway they knew led to the outer courtyard.
Madames E and M were sat there, both dressed in black leather jackets and skirts with knee length boots. On the table lay a variety of lengths of rope and gags.
“Ladies, you have proven the most difficult of subjects to crack,” Madame E said as she stood up and watched the guards leave. “We feel that you need to be taken somewhere for more – intensive training. Is there anything you wish to say to this?”
“No, Madame,” Janey said with her head bowed, and Cleo followed suit.
Madame E made her way behind Janey, and undid the ropes around her wrists. “You may have a moment before you prepare your friend for transport.”
Janey stood there, rubbing her wrist for a moment, then grabbed Madame E and spun her round, placing her hand over her throat.
“Not a word from either of you bitches,” she snarled as Madame M stood up. “Untie my friend’s wrists, Madame, or I choke your partner to death.”
Madame M stood for a moment, taking in the scene, then went behind Cleo and freed her.
Madame E watched, the hand of her captor constricting her throat, as her partner stripped and stood there in black lace panties and bra.
“Cleo, get some of that rope and give this bitch a taste of what we’ve had to suffer for the last few weeks.”
“If I scream, six guards will come running,” M said as Cleo pulled her wrists behind her back and lashed them together.
“This room’s being soundproofed, as you well know.” Janey said as Cleo tightly bound M’s arms to her side. “If it wasn’t, the guards would have been here by now. So, you lie down on the floor and stay still. Cleo – tie her ankles and legs together nice and tightly.”
As Cleo knelt down and began to secure M’s legs, Cleo forced E to strip, then took her over to the table and made her bend over the table. Grabbing more of the rope, she lashed E’s arms and wrists together behind her back in a box fashion, with each elbow supported in a hand and ropes around both wrists and the forearms. More rope then went around her chest, above and below her breasts, so that her body looked as if it was cocooned in rope.
“Lie down next to your friend,” Janey said, and E walked over and knelt beside the prone form of M, who was now in a hogtie. Cleo and Janey quickly bound E’s ankles and legs, then placed her in a hogtie as well.
“Now, do you two bitches have anything to say?”
“You two won’t get out of here,” E snarled. “There are guards all over the place. What makes you think you can leave us?”
“We’ll take our chances,” Cleo said as she picked up a red ball gag from the table, and forced it into Madame E’s mouth, buckling it tightly at the base of her neck. A white ball gag found its way into Madame M’s mouth in the same way. Cleo and Janey checked the bonds, and then put on the clothes left on the floor by their former captors.
“What about the leader – Madame D?” Cleo asked.
“Forget about her for now – let’s just get out of here!”
Cleo cautiously opened the door, and seeing no-one around she left the room with Janey close behind. Madame M and E were struggling on the floor as they closed the door behind them.
“How the hell do we get out of here?”
Janey opened the door at the end of the corridor, and saw the open courtyard. At the far end was a black jeep.
“Do you think you could start that up?” Janey asked and Cleo looked over her shoulder.
“No problem – if we can get over there.”
It was dark outside, so keeping to the walls of the courtyard both women made their way round until they were standing behind the car.
Testing the door, Cleo discovered it had been left unlocked.
“Don’t knock it – can you get the car started?”
Cleo clambered into the front seat, and removed the panel under the steering column. A few minutes later, she gave a grunt as the car started up and she sat behind the wheel, with Janey climbing into the passenger seat.
“Keep the lights off until we get out of this place,” she whispered, and Cleo nodded as she slipped the car into gear.
Joe, the guard on duty at the front gate, heard the car coming before he saw the lights coming on. There was barely time for him to react before the jeep crashed through the barrier and made its way down the dark, winding farm road.
“Now what?” Janey asked.
“Now we work out where we are and I make a phone call,” Cleo replied. “I can’t thank you enough, Janey – I’ll make sure you’re all right after this.”
Joe watched the car disappear into the distance, and then picked up the telephone.
“Dominique? You’ll have to apologise to Madame X for the destruction of the gate. Can you check on our friends?”
The click clack of heels echoed down the corridor as Dominique approached the room, and looked in. Estralita and her partner were lying on their sides on the floor, looking at each other and wriggling around.”
“Can I assume that everything went smoothly then?”
Estralita looked up at the new arrival and nodded.
“Good – I’ll arrange for the remaining girls to be shipped off to Objects of Desire – they rang to see if we had any lots for tonight – and then we’ll begin the clean up. Shall I release you now or once we’re ready to leave?”
Both the women on the floor shook their heads from side to side with great fervour.
“Very well then – I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
Dominique closed the door behind her, and the two listened as the click clack of heels echoed back down the corridor.
Suzette sat at her desk in the police station, head in hands. How the hell had they known where they were keeping the BA captive? When she had heard about the events at Doctor Ponsonby’s house, she realised that something had gone wrong, but what.
She was also wondering what the hell the ringing noise in her ear was, until she realised it was the phone ringing.
“Suzette? I thought they had sold you on!”
“Cleo? My god, girl, where the hell are you?”
“I’m not sure – somewhere in the country. Look, I and a friend have managed to get away – is it safe to come in?”
Suzette motioned to the Captain, who was passing at that time, to come over. “Can you make your way back to the safe house we were first in?”
“I think so, why?”
“Do so – we’ll be waiting there.”
“He’ll be there too – I guarantee it. Just him and me all right?”
Suzette listened to the click on the receiver.
“What was that all about?”
“Cleo – she’s escaped somehow. Look, this something the man and I have to do – you understand don’t you?”
The Captain nodded. “I’ll let him know to meet you there. Call for back up if you need it – and find out what the hell happened while she was in captivity!”
Cleo and Janey looked at the non-descript terraced house.
“Is this where you have to meet your contacts?”
“Uh-huh. Ah – that’s the signal. Come on.”
The curtain had been pulled back and forth twice. Both women got out of the jeep and made their way to the door, which opened to let them in.
“Come in here, Cleo,” Suzette called through from a doorway, and the two women walked into the room.
Suzette was standing by a table, wearing a white jumper and grey slacks, with her weapon clearly visible in the holster around her chest.
“Cleo – where the hell have you been?”
“Same place you were in – but you disappeared the night we were captured. What happened?”
“We were released – I guess they had both of us fingered for cops and didn’t want the additional aggravation. Who’s this?”
“Oh – Janey, this is Suzette, my handler. Suzette, this Janey – she helped me escape from that farm.”
The two women shook hands, and all three sat down on wooden chairs that were around the table.
“Is he coming?”
“He’ll be here shortly.”
“Who is this ‘he’ you keep mentioning?” Janey asked.
“My boyfriend. I’m sorry I can’t tell you much about him, but he was probably the reason I was captured.”
“Enough, Cleo,” Suzette firmly replied. “While you were held captive, the BA member we had was sprung from his captivity.”
“How? I thought only you knew where he was?”
“That, as they say, is the question. He never told you, did he?”
“No – and if he did, I didn’t say. Janey can vouch for that.”
Janey nodded. “Believe me, the only time we were able to talk for the last week or two is when we were locked in our cells. Otherwise we were gagged or forced to stay silent.”
“What happened to all the other girls?”
“They disappeared over time – they kept talking about sales and auctions.”
There was the sound of the front door opening and closing. Footsteps came down the hall, and a tall, muscular man stood in the doorway,
Cleo shot out of her chair, and flung herself into his arms, covering him with kisses as she started sobbing.
“Jack – my god, I though I’d never see you again!”
“It’s good to see you too, Cleo. I take it you’re the woman who helped her to escape.”
“After a fashion, yes. I’m Janey.”
Janey walked over to shake his hand, then she mopped her head.
“Do you mind if I open the curtain a bit – it’s rather stuffy in here.”
Suzette nodded, and Janey made her way over to the window where she parted the two curtains slightly, looking out of the window as she did so.
“How can I – How can the department thank you for freeing Cleo, Janey?”
“Well, there is one thing you can do for me, if it is at all possible?”
“Name it,” Suzette said.
“You can all lie face down on the floor, hands behind your head, and not move.”
The other three looked in astonishment at their new found friend, before six armed men burst into the room and brandished their weapons at Suzette, Cleo and the startled Jack.
“Hello, member 821, or should I call you Officer?” one of the men snarled, and the three were forced to lie down on the floor, with their hands behind their heads.
“Why?” Cleo asked Janey as her hands were handcuffed together behind her back.
“You’re a nice person, Cleo, but you have a lousy choice in boyfriends. This one has caused friends of my friends a lot of bother – I’m just glad to have played a part in ferreting him out.
Don’t worry – these are not the people who run the farm. I’m sure they’ll treat you far better.”
She turned and walked out of the room. Suzette shouted after her “Who do you work for, then?”
“Me?” Janey called over her shoulder. “I’m an independent. Bye, y’all.”
Janey left the house and passed the non-descript grey van that had been parked outside after they arrived, then walked down to the corner where a car was waiting.
“I take it the work is done?” Dominique asked as Janey climbed into the car.
Janey nodded. “Now what?”
“Everyone else has gone back to work – E says she will be in touch with you soon, and compliments you on your rope work. I have a dinner appointment with a very special person, and then I have to catch up on a few things.”
“Yes – I was interrupted when this all started – and I really should get back to finish the job."