Tiffany arched her head back and surveyed her situation. She lay face-down on the bed, bound with four tightly strapped zip ties. The white plastic bit into her skin at the ankles, above her knees, around her wrists, and around her upper body just below the swell of her breasts.
Tiffany's body felt sluggish and unpleasantly numb. She'd been bound that morning, and although there was no clock in this bedroom, she could see that the sun was finishing its day. That had to be ten hours at least. Still, it felt like twice that.
The day had begun ordinarily enough. She was the only one left closing the bar the night before, but she didn't have class the following morning, so ordinarily her day would have begun with a relaxing sleep-in session. Around eleven she ended up staring at the ceiling, trying to convince herself to go to the University Job Fair in the ballroom of the student union. It only took about ten minutes; once she was awake, she hated the feeling of lying there useless in bed.
So she showered, dressed, did her hair a little more than usual, and put on professional clothes: a black skirt, a tapered black blazer over a burgundy top, sheer pantyhose, black high heels.
The bar was on her way down High Street to campus. She saw the white cargo van parked at the curb, saw the scruffy-bearded man slamming the rear door and then going inside the bar. The door stood wide open. When Tiffany slowed down and peeked inside she didn't see Gene, the owner, anywhere. What she did see was a balding man with a ponytail going through the cabinets one by one in tight black gloves. Scruffy beard man wore an identical pair of gloves. He turned to her when she stepped inside. He was wearing a pair of black round-lensed sunglasses, John Lennon-style.
"The bartender chick," he said to his friend. It wasn't loud enough to be alarming--she still thought there might be a reasonable explanation for all this--but it signaled the friend, who seemed to have his shit together, criminally speaking. He was moving toward her before he even seemed to have taken her in.
And he was on her before she could move back much, twisting her arm around behind her in a military-style hold. She pressed against the wall, grunting helplessly and giving off pathetic little "Hey!" sounds. She tried stomping on his feet but she couldn't find them, and the heels were fucking up her balance anyway. When she finally landed on one, her heel skidded right off; he seemed to be wearing steel toes.
He was holding her with one hand. The other snapped at Lennon until Lennon tossed him something. Tiffany found out what it was a second later.
The first jolt of the stun gun entered her in the back of the neck. It was like being hit with a tire iron. The world went white for a second and her head was filled with the painful buzzing of electricity, a feeling that didn't go away completely when she was on the floor in a not-entirely-voluntary fetal position. Her neck muscles ached abysmally. Her moan was louder than any sound she'd made so far.
"It didn't knock her out," scruffy said.
"No it didn't knock her out. But she's out of commission for the moment. Now go get that toolbox out of the van. I've got some stuff in there I can tie her up with."
"Oh God, no," Tiffany said. "Please, please. Leave me alone, please."
"Just hold tight. I won't hit you with the tazer anymore if you don't fight me."
Every self-defense technique she'd ever heard told her not to let these psychos get her tied up and helpless. She saw his shin, clad in dusty jeans, and thought about ramming her spiked heel through the meaty part of his calf.
It wouldn't work. Her aim would be off and all she'd do was piss him off. He'd hit her with the stun gun again and then she'd be really helpless.
But she was about to be anyway. The other robber returned with the plastic toolbox and Mr. Stun Gun dug the large cable ties out. He pulled her arms behind her, forcing her face into the corner, and zipped her wrists up together, pinching the skin and instantly cutting off her circulation.
Next he sat her up and put one of the long ties around her upper body and zipped it tight below her breasts, cinching her bound arms down against the rest of her body.
"There we go," he said. "Nice and tight. Are you ready to go on a nice ride with us?"
By now the adrenaline was pumping through her and she was shaking from a combination of fear and nervous energy. Her breathing was becoming shallow. "Wait," she kept saying. "Wait, please. Don't take me anywhere. You don't have to tie me up like this."
"I think we're going to have to tape your mouth up, babe. Such a shame to ruin a lipstick job like that, but we gotta do what we gotta do."
"NO! Really. Really, please, wait. Listen."
"I'm done listening. You're going to come with us and there's no debate available. Here we go--" He pulled a noisy piece from a roll of shiny gray duct tape, ripped it off. "And here we go."
"Wait, listen, mmmphhh--grmmm--mmm!" The piece was strapped tightly over her mouth, sealing her lips together. The first man ruffled her hair and patted her on the head. Then he and the bearded guy pulled her to her feet. The partner peeked around outside, then nodded the all clear and helped the first guy drag her outside. She was kicking and trying to scream past the gag (not much use). The van's rear doors were already open. They threw her in, onto her butt, and she spilled backwards, twisting her bound hands somewhat painfully. Her legs kicked wildly and her skirt hiked up to show her pantyhose-clad butt. She wished she could retain some decency, but it was hard when you'd lost control of your hands, arms, and mouth.
The legs were next to go. On the trip, the first guy came back while Lennon drove. He started by catching and sitting on her nylon-clad legs, then pulled the shoes off, leaving her barefoot except for nylon. The cable tie went around her ankles, then was pulled tight. The last one she barely fought; what was the point anymore? They had her. He cinched her legs together above the knees and then left her on her side, breathing weakly but unable to speak or even move much beyond a wiggle. She sighed and tried to think of something positive. Without knowing where they were headed, she didn't know what they would try to do with her, or even what they were doing at the bar in the first place. Robbing it, she assumed? Where was the money?
Eventually they left the paved road (she could tell by the way the tires bumped painfully over every rocky patch and dip) and made their way uphill to wherever they were going. Other guy opened the rear doors and stretched while Lennon did whatever he was doing. Behind him, Tiffany could see woods at the far edge of a rough clearing that looked like it might have been clearcut by a construction crew not long ago.
"Comfy, hon?" he asked, and laughed. He began to tickle the soles of her feet. Tiffany kicked at him a couple of times but he kept it up, laughing even more. She finally went into a frenzy of kicking and bucking, trying her best to turn the pathetic "mmph" sound into a scream. She sat up as much as she could, glaring at him, sweating, panting through her nose. She wanted to cry. To be bound up like this, tickled, mocked--it was incredibly debasing. And nobody knew she was here.
Lennon joined his partner. "What are you doing?" he said idly. "Don't do that. You're gonna give her a heart attack." He climbed in and looked her up and down. "You're in a pickle, girl. For all anybody knows, you disappeared off the face of the planet. And you've had time to try. Do you think you're gonna get away?"
She returned his gaze as firmly as she could but didn't give any answer.
"We're so far out that nobody would be able to hear you scream," he told her. Then, to his partner: "Go on, show her."
"HEEEEEELP!" the partner shrieked in his highest-pitched girly voice.
"But I don't think I'm going to take the tape off your mouth. You can just wear that for a while. Keeps you from getting mouthy with us. Now let's get you inside the place."
The place was a small house, freshly built from the look of the plowed-dirt acreage. Tiffany was carried by Lennon's partner, who kept a squeezing hand on her ass the whole time, and taken through the front door into a relatively bare front room. He put her down on the carpet. She inchwormed her way back into a corner and sat against the wall, watching her abductors as they arranged and sorted their booty.
Lennon put a medium-sized black bag on the floor, unzipped it, and took bundles of cash out. He held a stack up to her. "Want some?" he asked, and tossed it at her. She turned her head away as it struck her in the chest and dropped uselessly to the floor beside her.
"Hey, be careful," the partner said. "I could use some of that."
"You know what we came for," he said, and kept sorting. Finally he found it: a gray lockbox, no bigger than a thick hardcover book. He took a tool out of his back pocket and began to work on the keyhole, prodding and twisting meticulously. The partner, meanwhile, sorted the cash. He took the bundle from beside Tiffany and ruffled her hair vigorously. She snorted and shook her head to get the long hair out of her face and glared at the partner as he walked away.
"Looks like about twelve hundred," he said.
Lennon snapped the lid open on the strongbox. "A ha," he said. "There we go. Twelve hundred is nothing compared to what we're going to get from this." He took out a keyring in the form of a mountain climber's spring-equipped hook, with what looked like four or five keys attached to it. He jingled it to his partner and then stuffed it into his pocket. "What else...liquor licenses, deed, titles to some cars." He looked at Tiffany. "And HER."
"What do you want to do with her?" his partner asked. "I've got a few ideas..."
"I'll bet you do." He stood up and they approached her. She pulled back against the wall as far as she could, trying to look as brave as possible for a strapped-up girl with a mouth sealed with duct tape.
"She's pretty fucking gorgeous, isn't she?"
"Oh definitely. Got nice legs, nice tits, nice ass. Nice long hair. Brunette. What more could you want?"
"I want to put her somewhere she won't cause us any trouble. That bedroom in the back. Why don't you go check it and make sure there's nothing she can use to cut herself free with, and then we'll lock her in there." He nudged her with his shoe. "Still nice and snug, of course."
They moved her down a short hallway, past three doors, to the one at the end. Inside they sat her on the edge of the bed, which was made with military precision. A guest room, it looked like.
"Okay," Lennon said. "Her purse is in the car. We'll take a look at it and get her address and her keys and go pay a visit to her apartment. Get her some supplies. Also make it look like she maybe packed up and left without telling anybody."
Tiffany listened with growing helplessness. She could only hope that somebody noticed them going into her apartment.
"And," Lennon went on, "I'm going to call Dirty Dave up and see what he can hook us up with. Spend a little bit of that club money on some supplies for Punky Brewster here. And what's her name back there. If we're gonna keep hostages we're going to have to keep em comfortable. Don't worry, babe, you'll be tied up most of the time. I know how you like it kinky."
"Fuck you," was what she tried for, but of course it sounded nothing like that. It sounded like a grunting noise that came mostly through her nose.
"And something to drug her with. We're gonna want to be able to put her to sleep if anything unexpected happens. Chloroform maybe. Or something in a needle."
They left still talking about her. She heard the door lock. The stuff about needles and chloroform scared the shit out of her; far too easy to screw up, she thought, and far too easy to end up killing her with. She had to figure out a way to get free.
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