The 13th Hostage
By Peter Walsh
What can I say? The kidnapper was ambitious. Abducting and holding thirteen people must have taken some planning. Not to mention spending a small fortune on the materials required to keep them in a secure state of captivity.
I’m a sociable type and I like meeting new people. I was in a room with twelve seated and tied up strangers. Three men (of indeterminate middle age) and ten of us girls. There had been no formal introductions. This was not the result of a lapse of courtesy but due to the fact that every person in the room was wearing a gag. I was forced to pass on being my usual chatty self.
I cast a glance about the room with the yellowed paint peeling off the walls, revealing the plaster beneath. The floor was scarred wooden planking. There was a skylight in the centre of the ceiling and it was open, providing a vital source of ventilation and some daylight. A single strip light provided the other source of illumination. The space inside the room was sufficient to hold the thirteen (literally) chair bound prisoners.
The chairs had been arranged into two rows. The captives all faced the grey metal door by which our mysterious abductor entered and exited the room. The front row consisted of the three male prisoners, silver haired, smart suited and quite furious to be there. They enjoyed the company of three conservatively attired older women with perfect hair, enduring their imprisonment with a silent dignity. I had a back row seat on the end from six attractive and well-dressed girls. We were a little more emotional about our captivity but had so far avoided being tearful.
The kidnapper had not stinted on the efficiency with which we had been bound. We were all tied securely to identical straight-backed wooden chairs (a job lot?). Hands bound palm to palm with rope were connected to the cross support bar of the chair. More ropes encircled our upper bodies and held us to our respective chair's wooden frames. Ankles were universally bound to one of the chairs legs.
The gags that had been put on the captives were uniform in their method and application. Every mouth in the room had been stuffed with cloth and very firmly covered by a folded silk scarf or bandana, its firm knot at the back of the captive’s neck. The differing material of the gags provided a riot of color in the room. I had ‘enjoyed’ the dubious pleasure of gags before. My present gag was a black silk scarf and by the feel of it probably and expensive one.
I was the 13th Hostage and the last to be brought in to that improvised prison. Why? Honey, I have no idea! I had not annoyed anyone recently. Anybody that may have held a grudge was either serving five to eight (in one case fifteen to life) or had vanished south of the border. I had been kidnapped and my life was just too busy for such a distraction! I did wonder if Mom and Dad had had their sedate East Coast existence disrupted by a ransom note for their little girl Sooz? They would probably think it was a joke. If I was being held for ransom, what about the others?
‘C’mon Sooz...’ I silently racked my brains for reasons as to why I had been kidnapped and also bound and gagged. I was aware how the latter event was usually followed by the former state.
I looked down at my imprisoned legs and sighed inwardly in frustration. My long lower limbs were clad in my favored black CK seamless hose. My hose had so far survived the ordeal intact but someone had seen fit to relieve me of my (expensive) black suede high heels. I wriggled my nylon wrapped toes in frustration. I then looked at the feet of my fellow captives. All the ladies were minus their shoes; the men didn’t count in this observation exercise.
I still wore my black wool turtleneck and black fitted skirt but my ensemble was lacking the black tailored jacket along with the shoes. Private rule, a good professional always looks good (especially in black). A serious part of my outfit had been ripped off.
‘Hmmmmph!’ I exclaimed in verbally challenged frustration and my chair creaked accordingly as I pulled against the ropes that bound me to it. This seemed to unsettle the front row captives. There were grunts, ‘Mmmmphs’ and a flexing of bound wrists. There were also a couple of awkward over the shoulder glances at me. What can I say? I wasn’t too happy about my present situation.
Was I scared? No, at least not really. If I had been playing the role of the solo captive I might have been. What can I say? I had twelve other trussed up hostages keeping me company.
I looked at the girl next to me. She was slim with short dark hair and brown eyes, about my age (27 and one third years if that’s important to you), very pretty too. She wore a smart blouse of beige silk and a short black skirt. Like me she was wearing black pantyhose, the pristine white of the ropes binding her legs contrasting with the black mesh of the hose. She was trying desperately to loosen the cream coloured scarf tightly stretched over the lower part of face. Her cheeks bulged slightly with the cloth packing behind the folded material. She was moving her head from side to side and trying to work her jaw. Despite her efforts the gag remained firmly in place. The tightness of my own gag told me any labours to dislodge it would be wasted. The girl gave up and made a muffled sound of resignation.
The next but one girl was blonde. She had a health club tan and wore a purple blouse and white skirt. Her tanned legs were bare. She was perfectly still in her captivity. Her gaze was fixed on the back of the head of one of the male front row captives. I heard someone weeping softly. I stretched forward to try and see who it was. It was a girl with long dark hair wearing black on the opposite end of the row. It could almost have been a symmetrical case of me, save for the gag over her mouth, which was red.
Nobody made any attempt to free him or herself. I soon found out why. The effort majored in pain. The ropes were tight and the chairs frames were stout. Also our ankles were bound to the legs in such a way that our feet could not touch the floor and gain any purchase of movement. We had all been tied up to stay.
I looked up at the skylight and saw the natural light beyond the dirty glass start to fade. The day was obviously going into decline and night was beckoning. How long had I been a prisoner? I hoped with all my being that it had not been for too long. My kidnapping had been so swift and efficient that I could barely recall anything about it. It had happened at my place of work.
Although I hired myself out as a ‘Consulting Investigator’ on a private basis, I currently had a contract with Ashley, Pitt and Sobel (a major law firm) to carry out some investigative work on some cases, which required certain discretion. I was useful to the firm as I was a Law Graduate myself. Also I probably provided the requisite eye-candy, which was often a useful camouflage.
I had been working late (so what else is new?) and the plan had been to go home, order up some take-out and watch TV. The office had been empty when I decided that enough was enough for that particular day, I picked up my things and made for the elevator. The elevator arrived swiftly and I hopped on. There was somebody behind me, I sensed him or her but did not start to turn to look until it was too late. I was slammed face first into the padded elevator wall, my right arm was twisted behind my back and a damp white pad exploded in my face, covering both nose and mouth. I immediately sensed the sweet essence of chloroform flooding into my nasal passages and open mouth. I involuntarily sucked in a lungful of the drug. I think I may have screamed once into the damp, suffocating pad over my face before I passed out. I woke up bound and gagged, minus my shoes and with a chloroform hangover, not to mention twelve new captive companions.
Now, what about our host? The person who had stolen us from our routines. They would check on their selection of captives on a regular basis, dressed in black from head to toe, features hidden behind a military style balaclava helmet. Athletically built, tall if a woman, perhaps average height if a man. Our captor moved swiftly, sinuously and silently as our ropes and gags were checked. Satisfied we were secure, and mute, we would then be left alone.
There had been no communication between captor and captives. I suppose that keeping us in ignorance as to our planned fates gave the kidnapper another advantage.
Time passed and we waited in enforced silence. Do you know the worst thing about being a bound and gagged captive? There is the obvious discomfort of the ropes binding you and the gag stifling your mouth. Then there is the fearful uncertainty of your fate but the worst thing? It’s BORING! Yes, tedium extremis. Sitting there all tied up your entertainment options are severely limited. All you can do is wait until somebody decides to let you go or someone rescues you. I suppose we could look at each other and try and guess what each of us did for a living but even under our difficult circumstances nobody likes being stared at. If our abducting host had not insisted on enforcing an individual gagging order on each of their thirteen guests, we could have started a lively discussion forum. I’d been tied up and gagged twice before in my chosen career but for relatively short periods. What can I say? This time I could be in for the long hall of restraint at someone else’s pleasure.
The door opened and all our attentions were inevitably turned to our black clad host entering the room, carrying a blue plastic box. The box was put on the floor not far from the bound feet of the first row of captives. The kidnapper stooped to retrieve some items from it. At first I could not see what these items were, but they sparked a panic amongst the first row of hostages as the kidnapper advanced on one of the three captive men. The hostages struggled and made frantic muted protests. The kidnapper deftly applied a dust mask over the face of the man, slipping the elastic holding band behind his head. The man grunted and began to shake his head violently, trying to dislodge the mask, which had been placed over his nose and gagged mouth. His whole body then slumped against the ropes binding him to the chair and his head lolled forward. The two remaining men were quickly given the same treatment; in no time at all they were limp and unconscious. It did not take a genius to figure that the masks had been doped with something.
Then it was the turn of the ladies. The three older women in the front row had the dust masks swiftly put over their faces and secured in place; they quickly joined the men in the enforced naptime.
The kidnapper started at the far end of my row and started to work the way down, captive by captive. Not much resistance was shown until she reached the girl next to me. This girl fought. She fought as well as someone who was bound, gagged and scared to death could. The kidnapper roughly gripped the girl’s short dark hair in a gloved hand and jammed the mask over her face to induce the effect of the drug quickly. It was far from a fair fight and soon the girl went under. The kidnapper secured the doped mask on her face and then turned attention to me. My twelve companions in bondage now slept the sleep of the drugged and I would be shortly be joining them.
I could not help but slightly shrink away as the black figure loomed up before me.
The black clad figure now stood in front of me. I raised my head to look up. I was going to be drugged, and there was nothing I could do about it. The kidnapper lifted up the dust mask and showed it to me. There was a wad of gauze inside the mask.
‘The gauze has been soaked in chloroform’. The figure then informed me. I then experienced a double shock. The person who had kidnapped thirteen people had spoken-- and it was the voice of a woman!
I narrowed my eyes and scrutinised my captor. Athletic, slender and with that feline grace that seems unique to women.
‘Yes. I am a woman under all the black garb and padding. It’s all down to me that you are here’.
The voice was clear, cultured and without any discernable accent. I looked up at the eye slits on her balaclava helmet. I saw beautiful eyes that were a striking light blue.
‘And you do want to know why you’re here? Don’t you?’
‘Mmmph!’ I nodded. I lifted up my chin and tossed my head slightly in an indication that I wanted her to remove my gag.
‘You may have questions but they do not necessitate you having your gag removed’.
‘Hmmmph!’ I let my shoulder slump in a display of disappointment. I would have given a great deal for my mouth to be clear of the heavy packing held within it, not to mention the tight band of black nylon trapping the packing in place.
‘A gag is quite a tool. It prevents unwanted speech, is uncomfortable to wear and enhances feelings of helplessness. In your case Sooz, it’s in keeping with your outfit. You seem to favour black attire, so I have given you a gag to match’.
What can I say? She was right in a crazy sort of way. Hey? She was using my name?
‘Your sleepy companions? They are here as part of a bigger plan. However, you are here Ms Sooz Kink for two main reasons. One, I like the way you look and two; I need you to deliver a note to some important people on my behalf’.
This was interesting. It looked like I had a ticket out of this place. So I had been kidnapped just because I looked good and could deliver a note? She could have saved herself some trouble and just asked me, I’m in the phonebook!
‘Your fellow captives are all in the employ of a certain organisation that makes life difficult for my employers. I have been tasked with removing them to a place of safe keeping with the aim of gaining certain assurances from those empowered with making some serious decisions. Am I working alone? Yes! It makes for the tightest security. Also transporting twelve kidnapped persons is a real challenge and I have a positive addiction to challenges’.
Just what the hell was I caught in the middle of?
‘I saw you on the street. Long legged and confident in yourself with your lustrous long hair and enticing green eyes. You reminded me of someone loved and lost. I just had to make you my prisoner, I wanted to own you if only for a short time’.
She then took my face between her black-gloved hands and raised it up. Her masked face was then but a couple of inches from mine. I looked straight into those startlingly blue eyes and wondered if I had ever seen anything quite so beautiful or so dangerous. I gazed into those eyes, very much the captive audience. She then released me from her strong yet gentle grip.
‘You will help me or I will kill you’. Her voice was barely above a whisper now. ‘Will you help me in my task Sooz Kink?’
I nodded quickly. She would kill me without hesitation and probably all the other helpless souls present too.
‘Good! That is decided then, I shall get my instructions ready but first…’
The dust mask containing the chloroform scented gauze was then thrust over my face, covering my nose and gagged mouth. Before I lost consciousness I heard her voice seemingly fading into the distance.
‘I shall see you again Sooz Kink’.
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