Well, ain't this a bitch.
Look, I don't know what you know about rope, but you never, ever leave someone to awaken tied up. There's too much risk of injury, whether from unintentional movement, cutting off circulation, or just bad tying.
Of course, this wasn't the fun kind of rope, and I don't think Junior cared if I was injured or not.
As may be...
Chapter 5: House of the Rising Sun
Kendra’s awareness came back to her in a sudden rush, then ebbed almost as quickly.
“Owww...” she moaned. She tried to reach her hand to her aching head but found she couldn’t move.
She tugged harder. Definitely tied down.
Okay. Let’s try looking around.
Kendra opened her eyes – or one of them. Her left eye seemed to be stuck shut.
The light was dim, hardly above blackness but there. Turning her head to the limits of the restraints – restraints? - she could see bars surrounding her, but with just the one eye she couldn’t tell if they were a foot or ten feet away. They looked solid, though.
She wriggled her shoulders. A few inches” movement. Her torso didn’t move, though, and now she became aware of the feeling of coarse rope against her skin.
As various parts of her body checked in it seemed that there was an awful lot of skin reporting being uncovered.
Way not good, she thought, remembering where she was. Oh shit.
In a few moments she had built up as coherent a picture as she could manage. She was tied to a high-backed wooden chair. Her wrists were tied to each other; another rope was around her midriff and arms; a third wrapped two or three times over her thighs to the seat of the chair; each leg was tied to the chair leg in two places, at the knee and again at the ankle; and her head was secured to the chair back. Whoever had done this to her was reasonably skilled; except for a little around her chest, she couldn’t find any slack.
She felt her hair matted down and hanging just into her eyes. Now I wish I’d gotten these bangs cut!
And she was naked. Completely. Normally that wouldn’t bother her. Then again, nothing about this was normal.
A dull murmur of voices was present in the background though she couldn’t make out any individual voices.
Ideas. Think think think! Dammit!
Calm. Okay. You’re tied down, naked, in a cage, with voices. What does that mean?
What did Gary say about Williamson? No, not Williamson. Junior!
I am so frakked.
Out of the indistinct background blur of voices one stood out: oily yet commanding, it brought to mind the manager of a used-transport lot.
“I want to see her! Open up!”
In the middle distance a bright rectangle of light appeared. The silhouette of a man, short, slightly built but beginning to go to fat, showed briefly in the doorway before entering the room. Other shadowy figures followed. She could see, now, that the cage was only about five feet on a side and only little higher.
“You’re awake?” asked the voice.
“Did your daddy ever tell you about the last time he saw me?” was Kendra’s defiant reply. “He couldn’t get it up.”
“Sticks and stones, sticks and stones.” The nasally tone of Junior’s voice was clearer now as he came closer. “You might have got the best of my father, but where are you now?”
“Glad I’m inside the bars; animals like you aren’t safe to be around.”
She saw his cheek twitch. “Why didn’t we gag her?” said Junior to the men following him.
“She was bleeding pretty bad, Mr. Williamson,” answered one. “You told us to keep her alive. I worried that, gagged, her nasal passages would clog and she’d asphyxiate.”
Ah. That explained the eye – dried blood. She concentrated on her head. Oh, yes, there it was. A throbbing in her left temple suddenly increased, as if annoyed by the sudden attention.
“Worry? Did I tell you to worry?” The petulant fury in the small man’s voice was so ridiculous Kendra could barely contain a laugh.
“No, Mr. Williamson. Sorry, Mr. Williamson.”
“Hey, Junior, did you have the balls to hit me when I was knocked out? Or did you have one of your minions do it because you were too chickenshit?”
“GET HER OUT! I want that bitch in front of me!”
Two figures walked to the back of the cage. Kendra heard the lock being undone, the cage door opening.
“Sir?” said a woman’s voice.
“What’s the problem Mackey? Drag that bitch out!”
When she spoke again, her voice was subdued, knowing that Williamson would be displeased. “We need to release her from the chair.”
She wasn’t disappointed. “No! The bitch is tied down for a reason, or do you think I just did that for kicks?”
“I vote kicks,” opined Kendra. “But that’s just me.”
“Someone please shut her up!” he snapped.
“Sir, we can’t get her out with her on the chair,” continued Mackey.
“Not without cutting off an arm, at least,” added another voice.
“Then cut off the arm! She doesn’t get out of that chair until she’s either dead or sold!”
“Junior -” began one of the advisers around him.
“I don’t want to hear it !” A whining note crept into Junior’s speech.
“Tough.” The speaker came around to face him. He was taller than Junior by several centimeters and considerably older, with a well-coiffed head of silver hair and wrinkles spreading out from his eyes. “If your father had listened to me more often, maybe he’d still be here, and I wouldn’t have to put up with a useless little shit like you.”
“You can’t talk to me like that!” screeched Junior.
“As long as I hold half of our little business I can. So you will listen, or by Christ I’ll take my belt and give you the thrashing your father never found time to do! Maybe that will improve your manners.”
“Whatever.” The sullen response was forced past his lips.
“I have no more love for that woman than you, but I have a stake in this little drama you’ve scripted out as well. And while killing her would be satisfying, I won’t lose track of the bottom line. She’s a looker, despite the licks your goons got in on her. Not only that, but she’s Kendra Foster-Briggs – you know how much that name is worth in some circles? Millions of Bruins, brat! Tens of millions!”
Kendra converted the notoriously soft Confederacy bruin into the hard Sonoran credits they used at home and was impressed. Upwards of a hundred thousand credits.
Whoa, she thought as the argument continued between Kimball and Williamson. Flattering if they weren’t talking about selling you as a sex slave. She pondered again. Better than being dead, though. Okay. Sex slavery it is if I can’t get out of here first. She relaxed, waiting for the discussion to end.
“Fine! But I want more guards out here before she goes anywhere!” With that final pronouncement Junior stalked off in a snit.
“Mackey, you, Bereza and Martinez – get her out of there,” ordered Kimball.
“Yessir,” replied Mackey with no hesitation. The three guards entered the cage, brusquely untied an unresisting Kendra, and hauled her outside.
“Thank you for leaving my arm,” she said in a low voice, pitched to reach only Mackey’s ears.
“Not my place to see someone hacked apart on a whim,” was the reply. “Just don’t expect any slack.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” answered Kendra. She tested her limbs, flexing them and feeling for breaks or bruises. A few seconds was enough to make her feel that, except for the apparent cut over her eye, she’d escaped without any major damage. I’m going to have just one shot at this, she thought. Don’t fuck it up.
“You have a bathroom? I don’t want to pee over Junior’s rug. Wait,” she clarified. “I do want to pee on his rug.” She heard a suppressed snicker from behind – Martinez or Bereza, she didn’t know.
“Sir?” Mackey asked for clarification. “Bathroom?”
Kimball looked up from his padd, which he was swiping and tapping. “Do you really think I give a damn? I only got into it with Junior to keep him from thinking he could do anything he wanted.”
Mackey took this as permission and steered Kendra down a hallway to an unmarked door. The four of them stopped and one – Martinez or Bereza again, Kendra still didn’t know which was which – entered to make sure it was secure.
“There a reason it’s not labeled?” asked a curious Kendra.
“If you don’t know where it is, you don’t belong here,” answered a passing worker.
“Clemens, you’re a smartass!” called Mackey to her back.
“Clear,” came the report as the door opened.
“Thanks Martinez. Go ahead, Briggs.”
Names! I can use this!
“I know – look, I’ve been in your position before, and you’re not supposed to tell me anything, but what time is it?”
“Just after sixteen,” Mackey answered after a moment. It seemed that she, at least, was human. That made the choice coming a little more difficult. Not much.
“Thank you, Mackey. You too, Martinez, Bereza,” said Kendra, turning to face each in turn, “But my name’s Cassidy, now.” She held out her left hand, fingers down, elbow crooked. “See? Married.”
As expected, Mackey leaned in for a closer look, the other two following her lead. Suddenly, Kendra smashed her hand forward into Mackey’s eye, forcing her back. Mackey’s hands flew to her damaged orb, guard duties forgotten.
The other guards, shocked by the abrupt turn of events, were just a fraction too slow to react. Kendra grabbed Martinez’s neck with her right arm and swung the taller guard off his feet. Pivoting on her heels, she slammed him into Bereza, drew the sidearm from Bereza’s holster, and dropped the stunned guards to the unforgiving concrete. Kendra heard at least two bones snapping, maybe more, and thought, They’re down for the count. Before Mackey could recover, Kendra brought the butt of the gun down hard against her temple. Mackey collapsed, and the accompanying anguished groans from the other two were telling her to run away. Fast.
She grabbed Martinez’s jacket – it was long enough to fall below her hips – before standing and looking around. Nobody coming.
“Sorry “bout that,” she said to the trio, turning away. “I’ve gotta dash.” And she was off.