Authors: Claire Thompson
Leah felt each bump and pothole as the car moved along the busy streets, jerking to a stop at what Leah could only presume were traffic lights. She continued to call for help, but her voice seemed muted and tiny, trapped inside the trunk, obscured by the din of the traffic around her and the sound of the radio being played at top volume inside the car.
Something the Thai man had said had been niggling at her consciousness and now replayed itself in her mind.
Jao certainly steered us right on this one.
The concierge had set her up! His bullshit story and the brochure had been an elaborate ruse to get her into the back of that store. The woman was obviously in on it as well. The whole thing was some diabolical and well-orchestrated plot to kidnap innocent women!
After about twenty minutes, Leah felt the engine pick up speed and the road smoothed beneath them. Desperately she continued to work at the ropes, trying to reach the knots. They drove for a long time, it seemed to Leah, and she worked the whole time trying to free her hands. She had just managed to twist her right hand in a way that she could touch one of the knots with her fingers when the car lurched to a stop, causing her head to smack against a side of the trunk.
She heard the latch being released and then the trunk lid was lifted, letting sunlight and fresh air into the cramped space. “Please, let me go—” she began to cry, but she was cut off by the Thai man, who pushed her chin upward, forcing her to close her mouth, while the Russian bent down toward her and pressed a sticky piece of duct tape over her lips.
Silenced, Leah was lifted and again tossed over the Russian’s big shoulder. She could smell the ocean on the air, which was cooler and breezier than it had been in the town, and in the near distance she could hear the sound of waves lapping against the shore.
They moved up a walkway flanked by well-tended green lawns. It struck Leah as odd that no one would notice or remark upon a naked, gagged and bound woman being carried over a man’s shoulder in broad daylight.
Leah was taken up several broad stone steps. She heard what sounded like a door knocker falling heavily against wood—two quick taps, a pause and then another tap. This pattern was repeated a few times, and then the door opened.
Leah heard the murmur of male voices as she was brought into the building. Then someone said in English, “Welcome to my home, gentlemen. What have you procured for me today?” The man spoke with a British accent, though with the kind of precise pronunciation that made her think English wasn’t the speaker’s native language.
The Thai man answered, “As you can see, Mr. Khalil. Top quality American, pure blond, perfect body, lovely face. We know you’ve been looking for the perfect blond for a long time, Mr. Khalil. I think you’ll find this one is exactly what you’ve been looking for.”
“If I choose to take her, you’ll get your due, don’t worry. Where did you get her? Will she be missed?”
The Russian began walking again, carrying Leah along like a sack of potatoes. The Thai answered, “She was staying at the Pattaya Gold. Our operatives there scoped her out as a likely candidate. We did the usual background checks. She’s traveling with a tour group, but the members come and go. We’ve already arranged for her to be checked out of the hotel, with all the usual precautions. It’ll be a few days before anyone even notices she’s gone.”
Leah felt herself being lowered onto what turned out to be a couch. She was placed on her stomach, her hands still bound behind her. From where she lay, she saw the third man called Mr. Khalil. He appeared to be Middle Eastern, with olive skin, heavily-lashed dark eyes beneath thick brows, a long, hooked nose in a narrow face and wavy black hair. He was tall, his muscles lean and sculpted, putting Leah in mind of a professional ballet dancer. He was wearing a white silky dress shirt with several buttons opened, tucked into white pants of the same silky material. His feet were bare. He was strikingly handsome, and in other circumstances Leah would have been attracted. Now she was merely terrified.
“You did well, gentlemen. She is indeed a beauty. Such deep blue eyes, the color of the finest sapphires. And her hair, pure as spun gold.” His eyes moving hungrily over her, Khalil said, “Untie her hands and flip her over. I want to see the rest of her body.”
The Russian bent over Leah, tugging at the knots at her wrists. When her hands were free, he shoved roughly at her shoulder, forcing her onto her back. Leah instinctively tried to cover her naked body with her arms, but was stopped by the Thai man’s barking command. “Hands at your sides! Do not attempt to cover yourself. You are being inspected.”
With the three men towering over her, Leah had no choice but to obey. She let her arms flop weakly to her sides. Crouching beside her, Khalil drew his finger down Leah’s cheek, moving it along her throat and down to her left breast. He cupped the breast in his large hand and nodded, his eyes hooding as his tongue moved over his lips. “Lovely,” he murmured.
Leah wanted to spit in his handsome face and might have done so if her mouth hadn't been taped shut.
Letting her go, Khalil turned again to the abductors. “It is a shame you had to cover her mouth with that ugly tape. It is the mouth that indicates the sensuality, the potential for passion. I must see her mouth to judge properly if she is worthy of me.” He shook his head, making a tsk’ing sound of regret. “Such a shame, but I understand the need to silence these willful American girls.”
He leaned close, so close Leah felt his breath on her cheek. He smelled of cloves and peppermint, and when he smiled, he showed straight even teeth, perfectly white, but just beneath his smile was a wolf’s leer. Leah closed her eyes and pressed herself into the sofa, desperately wishing she could vanish.
The man stroked her hair, his touch tender, as if they were lovers. “Do not be frightened, little one. You are only fulfilling your destiny. Woman is put on this earth to serve man. If I choose to so honor you, I will teach you to forget your harsh, abrasive American ways. You will no longer have to scrabble and scrape, forcing your way through the world as if you were a man. I will teach you the grace of a princess and the pure, elegant simplicity of a slave girl whose sole reason for being is to serve her master. Once I inspect your body for imperfections, and give you the chance to submit with humility and obedience to my dictates, you will be assessed to determine if you are worthy to become my slave.”
Fuck you, you misogynistic asshole. I’ll see you in hell first.
“If we take off the duct tape, do you promise to stay quiet, little one?” Khalil’s tone was kind, his red lips curling into a smile, but Leah could sense the ruthlessness beneath the words.
Nevertheless, she nodded, desperate to have the sticky tape removed. Khalil touched her cheek with thumb and forefinger as he tugged at a corner of the tape. Leah closed her eyes, trying to steel herself to the anticipated pain as the tape was removed, but he was surprisingly gentle, pulling it slowly and carefully away from her mouth.
Once the duct tape was off, Leah took in a grateful breath of air through parted lips. “Please, you have to—” she began, but the man pressed two fingertips against her mouth, shaking his head.
“Not a word. My slaves do not speak unless spoken to. You must learn that immediately.” His tone was hard, but it softened as he added, “Remember, little one. You
to be quiet.” He gazed into her eyes and she found herself staring back into his, mesmerized by their dark, liquid beauty, even as her brain tried to process his words.
The words ricocheted through Leah’s brain. This was no dabbler in any sort of consensual BDSM scene. He was speaking literally, she realized with horror. This man
other human beings.
Leah had heard of sex slave rings that kidnapped women, or tricked them into coming into the big city, having been told they were going to be given gainful employment, only to find out they had been conscripted into a prostitution ring.
But that sort of thing happened to gullible, innocent village girls in third world countries. It happened to young women with no say in their own lives or destinies, perhaps sold off by a family desperate for survival. It didn’t happen to independent, experienced American women! It couldn’t be happening now. Somehow, Leah had to stop this. She had to make them understand.
As soon as Khalil took his fingers from her mouth, she blurted, “There’s been a terrible mistake!” She tried to bring authority to a voice she realized was shaking. “You can’t do this. I demand to be returned to my hotel at once. My embassy will be making inquiries.” She struggled against the rope still binding her wrists behind her back, painfully aware of how pathetic her appeal must seem.
Both the Russian and the Thai were grinning at her, but the Arab was not. His thick eyebrows furrowed over his dark, beautiful eyes. “You promised not to speak. You broke that promise.” He pursed his lips and shook his head. “Broken promises,” he said slowly in his careful English, “are met with harsh punishment.”
He stepped back and clapped his hands. Two men of Asian descent appeared. Both were wearing silk pajama-like clothing like Khalil’s, except theirs was all black. Though neither was especially tall, they were both well-muscled, with burly chests and thick necks and arms.
Glaring at Leah, Khalil said, “A beating and a night spent under the stairs will teach you to hold your tongue.” To the guards he said, “Take her away!”
The guards’ faces were like masks, devoid of any human emotion, as they moved to obey their master’s orders. One man grabbed Leah’s legs while the other slipped his hands beneath her shoulders. They swung her easily from the sofa and set off at a rapid pace, taking her from the opulent living room and down a long, narrow hallway. It happened so quickly she barely had time to react.
They hauled her through an open door into a room hung with ornate Oriental carpets on the walls, and also on the floor. There was a tall, thick post that went from floor to ceiling in the center of the room, with several lengths of chain hanging from its sides. The men set Leah down on her feet in front of the post.
Her trembling legs gave way and she sank to her knees. One man knelt behind her and, using a knife, cut away the ropes at her wrists and ankles. She was hauled again at once to her feet, her arms forcibly wrapped around the thick post and secured by the chains, which the men wound around her wrists to hold her in place.
“Please, please, I beg you, don’t do this! Don’t hurt me! Please, I can get you money. I can—”
Leah was stunned into silence by a sharp blow to her cheek though neither man said a word. Tears leapt to her eyes. One of the men pulled a dirty looking strip of white cotton from his pocket and forced it into Leah’s mouth. The other wrapped a second strip around her head, holding the sour rag in place.
She couldn’t see what they were doing behind her, but after a moment she felt the stinging blows of hard, knotted leather moving over her back. It wasn’t like the sensual floggings she adored at the hands of her dominant lovers. There was no buildup, no pleasure mingling with erotic pain.
This was a beating, pure and simple, as they struck her over and over, methodically whipping her from shoulder to calf as she tried fruitlessly to avoid the blows. She felt herself nearly blacking out at one point, but the pain was too intense to let her slip away completely. She was revived by the fiery cut of the hard leather slapping relentlessly at her skin. She screamed again and again, but only a muffled mewling sound issued through the gag.
Finally the beating stopped, and the men released her arms from the whipping post. Again she collapsed to the carpet, this time falling over onto her side. As if she were an inanimate object, the men again picked her up between them and left the room, taking her again down the hall to a stairwell, beneath which was a small door secured by a padlock.
They set Leah, still gagged and nearly insensible with pain and terror, roughly on the ground. One of the men took a key from a long chain around his neck and used it to open the lock. The gag was pulled from her mouth, but before she could try once again to plead her case, the men thrust her roughly into the dark cupboard-like space beneath the stairs. Before she could react, the door was shut, plunging her into darkness.
Leah sat still for several hours, or maybe it was only minutes, too stunned and terrified to move. The back side of her body felt as if it had been flayed, the skin stripped from the muscle. She reached back, carefully touching the abraded flesh. It was tender to the touch, but at least the guards had obeyed the directive not to cut the skin.
She supposed she should be grateful at least that Khalil hadn't wanted them to beat her to a bloody pulp. Thank god for small favors. Very small favors, she thought bitterly, as she tried to make herself more comfortable on the hard floor in the dank, dark space to which she’d been confined. The air was damp and smelled of rotting wood and dust.
Blindly groping, Leah felt in the dark for the boundaries of the cupboard. The space was just wide enough for her to lie down. The ceiling was too low for standing, and even sitting, she had to bend her neck forward a little to keep from hitting her head. The walls were of rough, unfinished planks of wood. The floor was also of wood, and covered in a film of dirt or soot.
Something skittered lightly over her foot and Leah screamed, jerking her head back and banging it against the ceiling in the process. When her heart had finally slowed its hammering enough for her to breathe without gasping, she forced herself to calm down.
It was only a bug, and probably way more terrified of you than you were of it.
She took several long, deep breaths and counted slowly to ten over and over again.
When she was calm enough to think, her mind was suddenly teeming with questions. What was going to happen to her? How long were they going to leave her in this prison cell? Would she be left to die here?
Leah started to tremble again, but forced herself to be rational.
They aren’t going to leave you to die. You’re a commodity, to be sold. They can’t sell a corpse.