Carrie Lyn's eyes opened slightly and then immediately closed. No dreams or confusion this time as she awakened from her second forced loss of consciousness in the past few hours. She immediately knew where she was and the horrible peril she was facing. She tried tiny motions with her limbs. The fact that they remained exactly where they were was scarcely a surprise, but it still took her a minute to control the terror which shot through her body as her captivity was confirmed.
While her eyes remained closed, her other senses were working. She was lying on her side and could feel the chill of the floor all along her body. Her clothing was completely gone.
Her mouth was still crammed full of cloth, held inside by more cloth tied tightly around her lower face. In fact, although she might be imagining it, it seemed to her that more wadding than ever had been forced into her mouth, and that the cloth around her head which held in the packing was tied tighter than ever. Her jaws ached and the threat of choking had to be constantly managed.
Her ankles had been tied together again, and they too seemed to be wrapped more tightly than before. Her hands were still handcuffed behind her back. No, she realized, that wasn't true. She could no longer move her hands slightly away from one another. The insides of her wrists were pressing together, and the handcuffs had been replaced by loops of tight, thin cord. The new bonds felt every bit as strong and unyielding to her tender wrists as the steel cuffs had.
Then her legs were repositioned slightly and more rope was being tightly tied around them just below her knees. It was hard to keep from flinching as the bonds were tightened and then cinches were added between her legs, pulling the circles tighter still.
She heard voices now.
"How come you never give them a crotchrope, Danny? Crotchropes are sexy." That was the voice of the masked man who had kidnapped her and brought her here, and from whom she had nearly escaped.
"Because the dirty whores would enjoy it, you fool. And I don't like to do anything to whores that they'd enjoy." That was the voice of detective Ryan, the man whom Carrie Lyn had thought was about to rescue her. Instead he had knocked her out, revealing himself to be the partner of Carrie Lyn's original captor.
Suddenly the side of one of her breasts was viciously pinched, and she couldn't control her response to the unexpected pain. Her body tried to move away and her eyes opened as she gasped behind her gag.
"Think I didn't know you were awake, tramp?" Ryan sneered at her. "I've been miles ahead of you all the way through this, Doctor," he said with satisfaction, emphasizing her title sarcastically.
"Nothing to say, Miss High and Mighty? Oh sorry - Ms. High and Mighty. I suppose it's a little difficult to run your mouth right now, isn't it? In case it seems like things are tasting a little spicy, I should let you know that your panties are in there now, along with the original cloth. Some people wouldn't be able to handle that much, but I just knew you had a big enough mouth for it.
"By the way honey..." he turned away and picked something off the floor "... a gold dress and gold colored lingerie?" Her brassiere was hanging off of his fingers. "Really think you're the gold standard among head shrinking shrews, don't you? Our little golden girl!"
"She thinks she leaves ice cream and lemon kool aid in the toilet," the man in the ski mask laughed.
Carrie Lyn felt herself blushing and tried to fight it angrily. She had no reason to feel embarrassed in front of these two sociopaths.
"Thought you'd easily outsmart the stupid cavemen, didn't you slut? Take a good look at yourself, you stupid cow! Naked, bound, gagged, completely helpless. Captured and confined with ease, even though I have to rely on second-rate help."
"Aw Danny, come on," the man in the ski mask protested.
"When are you broads going to wake up and realize that anything you have or do is because men allow it?" Ryan yelled at her. There was spittle forming at a corner of his mouth as he raved.
"Never had the slightest clue, did you Doctor? Sat right across the table from me but never had any idea who and what I really was! And you think you're so damned brilliant!"
His voice suddenly went to a falsetto for one sentence. "'Do you think the Sadist might be a policeman?' There you were, the blind squirrel standing right next to an acorn, and you still struck out. You're pathetic."
He walked a few steps away and returned with two coils of rope. "If you're not already very, very sorry that you stuck your nose into this, sweetheart, you soon will be," he hissed at her.
"Give me a hand here," he ordered his partner. The man took off his ski mask, revealing a surprisingly young and ordinary face which was smiling, and hurried to comply.
"Elbows," Ryan said. Obviously they had performed the drill before, because the man asked no questions. He pulled the woman up into a sitting position. He set a shoulder against the top of one of Carrie Lyn's arms and reached over to her elbow on the other arm with both hands. Then he pulled toward himself with those hands while at the same time pushing with his shoulder against the other arm.
Despite making a promise to herself that she would not show reaction to what they did to her, Carrie Lyn winced and couldn't help but whimper into the gag. She thought that her shoulders would surely be dislocated as her elbows came nearly together. And she realized that if that were to happen, it wouldn't bother these men in the slightest. They'd probably laugh about it, in fact.
"Close enough," Ryan said. While the younger man kept her arms where they were, Ryan started to wind rope around them.
"You're not as flexible as your trampy little goddaughter, Doctor Thomas, he told her. "Got her elbows together behind her back nice and easy. So this is a disappointment, but we'll make do." He yanked on the rope viciously, and added cinches which drew her elbows a little closer. The still lengthy piece of rope then was taken under one of her armpits, across the back of her neck, and under the other armpit back down to the elbows. After a couple of more cinches at elbow level, he took the rope up and under the cord across the back of her neck, and then pulled it down as hard as he could. All the loops and cinches seemed to tighten still more, and then he finally tied the rope off.
He smiled as he grabbed Carrie Lyn by the hair and wrenched her face around to look at him. "Just thought you'd Nancy Drew your way into the Sadist's hideout and then go all Wonder Woman on him with your little arsenal, huh? Well, no need to play possum any longer, high and mighty Doctor Thomas! You've got us! Please don't hurt us too badly!" He laughed long and hard, as did his partner.
Carrie Lyn blinked her eyes rapidly, determined at least not to let these monsters see tears falling. She tried to flex and twist her limbs, hoping for some bit of looseness in the bonds which she might be able to exploit. But ankles, knees, wrists, elbows - the ropes on all of them were painfully secure.
Ryan noticed her body shifting and flexing. "Think you're just going to slip out of those, stupid?" He reached down and patted her on the head as if she were a child. "Sure, you're Houdini too, hmm? Only better of course, because you're feminine, right? Well, I admit I don't have you tied too tightly yet, but I'm going to fix that, never fear."
He picked up the other bundle of rope that he'd brought over to her. "Let's start out by giving you a little extra security on your arms, shall we?"
He began tying ropes around her arms and body both just above and just below her naked breasts. Cinches forced between her arms and back were made and drawn tight, accomplishing the seemingly impossible feat of making the ropes even tighter. Tying a knot by her bound elbows, he then brought the rope over one of her shoulders and down between her naked breasts. He took it under the ropes bracketing her breasts and then over them, pulled it tight, and repeated the process. It was hard for his subject not to wince as the pressure on her breasts increased. She didn't know whether to be relieved or even more frightened by the fact that Ryan showed no sexual interest as his hands contacted her breasts.
No sooner had the thought gone through her head than Ryan's partner asked eagerly, "Hey, okay if I give her a little massaging action?"
"She does look a little tense, doesn't she?" Ryan responded. "Sure Steve, go right ahead. But remember, stop if she says to stop. No means no, after all." He grinned evilly.
Steve chortled and walked in front of Carrie Lyn, where he began to knead, press, and pinch her breasts. She could do nothing but give him a glare trying to make him understand that she looked at him as if he were animal waste. But his eyes weren't on her face, so any small effect she might have had vanished. Ryan meanwhile pulled as tight as he could on the rope and then brought it over Carrie Lyn's other shoulder to tie it off, again by her elbows.
Ryan went and picked up another length of rope and as he returned with it curtly told the other man to stop abusing Carrie Lyn's breasts.
"You got a real nice pair babe," Steve told her with a leer. "I'm gonna have a lot of fun with you."
Following Ryan's orders, he forced Carrie Lyn to fold forward, after which Ryan began using the rope to bind her upper body against her thighs. Her chin pressed against the notch between her knees as ropes went behind her neck and around the back of her legs to keep her that way. More cords went over her upper back and thighs. Ryan wasn't just making the bonds tight, he was wrenching on them as if he wanted them to cut through her flesh. Then came the cinches, forced between her body and legs and yanked on to make things tighter still. Again Ryan showed no excitement when his hands touched her breasts but treated them only as an obstacle.
Incredibly, Ryan went to get more rope. Carrie Lyn had an unpleasant flashback to standing in the garden as a child, watching a spider wrapping up some hapless bug.
The latest cord was used to pull her ankles back tight just below her rump, with loops binding them to her upper thighs.. There was little free space to force the rope through now, so once again his hands brushed against her breasts (and over her crotch) as he forced the bindings through, and once again he gave no indication that the intimacy aroused him at all. Finally after a cinch between her ankles the rope went up between her wrist bonds and then back between her ankles before being knotted.
Ryan used one foot to casually push her over onto her side. "How are you enjoying the feeling of absolute helplessness, Doctor?" he asked her. "Any submissive response fireworks going off in the back of your mind? It wouldn't surprise me. You ice queen goddesses usually are the ones who really like this sort of thing."
He went away for a moment only to return with a roll of twine, which he used to tie her big toes together. Then her thumbs were fastened together, followed by the fingers on each hand being bound to their counterpart.
"Well, I think maybe that will hold you, Wonder Woman. What do you think?" He sat on the floor beside her, wiping perspiration from his face. "Getting anything loose yet? Doesn't look like it.
"Now what happens is that you go on a little road trip. About two and a half hours, since there's not much traffic at this hour. To an old place miles from anywhere, with a nice big barn the car can drive right into. Steve will open the trunk after he closes the barn door so you can get plenty of air. And so the flies and mosquitoes can have their fun with you."
He laughed at a memory. "Remember that slut who was having her period?" he asked his partner. "Oh, did the bugs love her!"
The other man joined in the laughter, and Carrie Lyn shivered slightly at this latest example of their viciousness and complete lack of sympathy. She had known of course the sort of man who would carry out the Sadist's atrocities, but to have them right there in front of her, laughing at pain they had caused and reinforcing their heartlessness, left her struggling to accept that such evil truly existed.
"Then after I finish work tomorrow, I drive up as well. When I get up there, we cut you mostly loose. Now I'm sure that you do plenty of Pilates or Spinning or whatever high rent whores are doing these days, but after about eighteen hours in this position, trust me - you aren't going to feel too frisky. You'll also stink worse than you usually do. We'll solve both problems by spraying you off with a garden hose. It won't make you feel like dancing, but it'll wake you up a bit for what's to come.
"We'll strap you onto our suspended x-frame. The first four hours are for Steve here. The device can be rotated and raised or lowered to bring whichever of your orifices he wants into just the right position. You'd better try to loosen up and enjoy his attentions to you."
He leaned close to her face on the floor. "Because after that, you're mine. And I can guarantee you won't enjoy a second of that."
"She'll like what I do to her," Steve laughed. "They all love getting the big one."
Ryan had moved back again, but his glinting eyes never left hers. "It'll be fun to see how long it takes for your first scream. Actually, we can compare your reactions to those of your skanky little niece. When you first scream. When you first beg me to stop. When you first beg me to just kill you.
"You've read about our other 'guests,' so you have some idea of what to expect. But I have a couple of new ideas I've been wanting to try, and I think that you're an ideal subject. Just what the doctor ordered, I guess I might say." He laughed easily.
He stood up suddenly. "Open up the trunk and help me load this," he ordered his partner.
Carrie Lyn had been unaware that while she had been unconscious this last time a car had been backed into the building. It was now only a few feet behind her. She tried to struggle as the men picked her up, but in her stringent bondage she found that she could do virtually nothing at all. The men set her down inside the large car's spacious trunk, and she noticed it was lined with plastic.
Ryan leaned toward her again and answered the question she was unable to ask. "To be sure you don't leave any pesky DNA behind. And now you won't have to feel guilty about taking any bathroom breaks. You can just lie there in your own filth like the sow that you are."
He straightened up. "Just fyi, there are a couple of full gasoline containers on the floor of the back seat, wedged in place with big piles of gas-soaked rags. If a cop tries to stop Steve, he'll drop his lighter into the back seat, and that tight ass you're so proud of shaking in men's faces will get burned to a crisp. So don't waste any energy on long-shot rescue hopes."
Carrie Lyn's mind raced desperately. Once the car started moving, she would somehow twist around and find some way to tamper with the rear lights, which might attract someone's attention, preferably a state trooper. Ryan might be bluffing about the fire. Even if he wasn't, the prospect of being trapped in a burning car, however horrifying, was preferable than being at an isolated site hopelessly bound with no one near but two sociopaths.
Again Ryan seemed to have read her mind. He moved off to the side and came back with a long chain of the sort used to lock up bicycles. He reached in behind her body and she heard a padlock click as one end of the chain was locked to something. He forced the chain in through the area between her torso and thighs, passed it around her arms and back and again brought it through her upper body and legs. He took the end of the chain back behind her again and also locked that end to something.
"Don't want you sliding around and getting scuffed up, do we?" he said mockingly. "No. I want all of the marks that go onto your body to be carefully administered."
His hands went up and took hold of the trunk's top. "Well - have a nice ride. See you tomorrow... bitch."
He slammed the trunk shut. And there in the darkness, Carrie Lyn finally began to cry. Not for herself yet, but for Sharilyn, the beautiful young girl whose horrible murder she'd sworn to avenge. And whom she had failed.
She could here the two men talking and occasionally laughing. The driver's door opened and closed. There was a rumbling sound, which she guessed must be an overhead door opening. The car's motor started and it began to slowly roll forward.
She screamed into the thick packing and layers of cloth covering her mouth but even to her it sounded like little more than a loud hum. She knew that no one outside would hear it over the noise of the motor. She strained with every ounce of her strength against the seeming miles of rope which held her prisoner but couldn't feel a millimeter of give anywhere.
Then she stopped. She thought that she heard yelling. There were a number of rapid popping noises, and then something impacted the side of the car. Seconds later the car collided with something else and stopped moving. Her gaze went back and forth in the darkness, and she wondered whether she should try to scream again.
Then her heart threatened to stop. She couldn't see it, but she could smell smoke.
She screamed as loudly as she could, her throat feeling as if it were cracking. She started to cough and almost choked, forcing her to stop trying to make noise and to concentrate on gaining control of herself.
Suddenly the trunk opened and detectives Stevens and Price were looking down at her from above their guns. Around them Carrie Lyn saw smoke swirling.
The faces of the two detectives quickly showed great relief. Price reached in and tried to lift her out, but the chain pulled her back. The man leaned in and reached behind her as the smoke thickened.
"They've got her locked to something," Price rasped to Stevens. She extended the key ring which held the trunk key, and Price tried several keys desperately.
"No good," he shook his head, wiping at his eyes which were watering from the smoke.
"Must have been with Ryan's keys," Stevens groaned. "He threw them into the back seat along with the lighter."
She stepped to the side. "It's burning too badly to have a chance of getting them," she said. "I've got an extinguisher in my trunk." Carrie Lyn heard the sound of her running fade away. And felt heat on her arms and back.
Price grabbed the chain in both hands and pulled. Veins stood out on his face and throat. A melting slice of plastic came loose from the top of the trunk, curling onto Carrie Lyn's thigh. She winced and whimpered into her gag. The smoke was causing her to cough, and she didn't know if she would be able to breathe much longer.
"Please God," Price gasped through gritted teeth. There was a metallic moan, and a few seconds later one end of the chain came loose. Price was catapulted backward as the resistance vanished but was back almost instantly, pulling the chain loose from around Carrie Lyn's body and then scooping her out of the trunk.
Cradling her bound body in his arms, he ran around the blazing car for the doorway. Although her eyes were watering too badly to see anything clearly, Carrie Lyn was aware of him shifting her slightly as they moved, trying to always keep his body between her and the fiery auto.
They were just about to move through the open garage doorway when the entire world seemed to turn white, orange, and red. A hot, huge invisible hand pushed on them from behind, throwing them to the ground. Carrie Lyn heard an enormous "Whoosh" as superheated air and a fireball swirled over them. And then for the third and final time that night she lost consciousness.
She came to in a hospital bed. Stevens was nearby, studying something on her smartphone. Carrie Lyn brought her arms out from under the sheets and smiled at the ability to freely move her limbs for the first time in what seemed to be days. She noticed the circles of gauze around her wrists and could see angry red marks on her elbows. By feel she could tell that there was a dressing on her hip where the melting plastic had landed.
Stevens had noticed her movements. "Welcome back," she smiled.
"How..." Carrie Lyn began.
"About 36 hours," Stevens answered. "And no, I haven't been here all that time. Just stopped by after my shift."
Carrie Lyn smiled as well. "Out for a day and a half, and all I can think of right now is how good it would be to sleep for awhile. But what I was going to ask was how did you find me? How did you know?"
"'Know' would be overstating it," Stevens said as she put her phone away in her purse. "I had suspicions. Some of it was maybe just woman's intuition." She gave a brief smile. "Ryan would have laughed at that."
She took a moment to collect her thoughts before speaking again. "It started when we were examining one of the bodies a few weeks ago. I turned away from it, and saw a small... sort of satisfied smile on his face. I tried to convince myself that it was a grimace, but knew it wasn't. It was a smile of contentment.
" And he was becoming more sexist in a lot of his comments - I guess he considered me to be just 'one of the boys,' or maybe he was hoping I'd ask for a new partner. There was also the fact that always had time off within 24 hours of each woman's disappearance or called in sick afterward.
"In the interview we had with you, he called your niece the fifth victim. Although the coroner said she died within a few hours of one of the other victims, because her body was found before the other woman's she was officially victim number four. A small thing, and easily dismissed as a simple mistake, but...
"Since your niece didn't fit within most of the parameters of the other victims, we think she had the terrible misfortune of somehow stumbling onto the men just as they were finishing with a target or disposing of her body. Sharilyn wasn't tortured as horribly as the other women, for whatever cold comfort that gives you. They simply didn't have time.
"When my suspicions deepened, I went back through some of Ryan's earlier cases. He became involved in one where a strong suspect in a series of rapes was let go. Ryan said he had checked his alibis - thought by the rest of us to sound very flimsy - and that they were solid. What actually happened, we know now, was that Ryan made him an offer to become his accomplice.
"So, after you disappeared, I followed Ryan after he left work because, he said, he wasn't feeling well. I called Price to come and help me after I saw Ryan come in here, which was very fortunate. I don't think either you or I would be alive if I hadn't."
"Oh! How is detective Price? Is he okay?" Carrie Lyn asked anxiously, ashamed she hadn't done so earlier.
"He has some burns on his back," Stevens answered. "His coat was on fire after he fell, but I was there in seconds with the extinguisher. There was also a cut to his back from some flying metal. He has a broken hand and some damage to a shoulder - either from when he tore the chain out or when he fell with you, or both. But he's a tough guy. They're having trouble keeping him in bed for observation."
Carrie Lyn shook her head. "I'm so sorry he was hurt. I owe him so much. Everything, in fact - both of you, for that matter."
Stevens smiled. "He's a good man. He was an MP over in Iraq - that's where he got his facial scar. I'm hoping he'll be my next partner. He went pretty crazy after you were abducted. Blamed himself, and wanted to kick down every door in town until he found you."
She gestured across the room to where flowers were on display in a vase by the window. "He sent those - asked me to get them for you."
Carrie Lyn showed a small smile and shook her head slightly again. Tears glittered in her eyes as her brow furrowed.
"I know he likes you a great deal," Stevens said as she rose from the chair. "But I'll tell you that if you're interested at all, you'll have to make the first move - maybe the first few. Because he'd never dare think that you'd want to be with a man who looks like him.
"Not pressuring," Stevens said with a laugh, holding a palm out. "Just thought you should know."
She went to the doorway, where she turned and added "We'll need to get a statement from you, but that can wait for a day or two. You rest now, and I'll see you later. I'll let them know at the nurses station that you woke up."
"Thank you, again." They exchanged waves, and as Stevens' footsteps faded, Carrie Lyn looked over at the flowers and smiled. She used the control on the nurse call remote lying on her bed to dim the lights and settled herself.
She was almost asleep when there was a commotion out in the hallway, moving toward her room. Three scolding nurses backed slowly into view and then Price appeared, stopping at the doorway and peering uncertainly into the relative darkness of the room.
Carrie Lyn turned up the lights, smiled, and raised a hand to wave. She put her other hand over her heart and called "Thank you so much! I want to talk with you soon!"
She thought she detected a slight blush on his rugged face. Price started to raise his right hand, but it was in a cast and a sling, so he lifted his left, nodded his head slightly, and allowed two of the nurses to herd him back down the hallway. They barely came up to his chest, and Carrie Lyn was reminded of a huge ocean liner being pushed by tugboats.
The third nurse came into the room to check on her. Carrie Lyn looked again at the flowers while she started answering questions and having her vital signs checked. It might not be tonight, but she thought that soon she might be able to get her first night's sleep with no nightmares in almost a month. And then later...?
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