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Outward Bound
by Steve Spandex
stevespandex@planetsuffolk.com | Forum Feedback
© Copyright 2016 - Steve Spandex - Used by permission
Storycodes: Solo-F; outdoors; lost; M/f; gun; abduct; bond; rope; gag; hogtie; island; cellar; collar; cuffs; captive; encased; discovery; sex; reluct/nc; X
jpn
Outward Bound Steve Spandex Solo-F; outdoors; lost; M/f; gun; abduct; bond; rope; gag; hogtie; island; cellar; collar; cuffs; captive; encased; discovery; sex; reluct/nc; X

Outward Bound is an international, outdoor-education organization which organises challenging expeditions aimed at promoting wilderness survival skills. This story, however, brings a whole new meaning to the term.

****

Jessica scoured the landscape in every direction, in what turned out to be an utterly futile effort to find a familiar landmark on the featureless Scottish moor. She had to face the fact that she was lost. She cursed to herself beneath her breath. What the hell was she doing out here all alone in the wilderness, miles from civilisation? The Outward Bound holiday hadn't been her idea, nor indeed something that she'd been particularly keen on getting involved in. But her friend Penny had, over the course of several weeks, managed to convince Jessica to go along with her. Her boyfriend Mike, who as well as being her lover also happened to be Penny's brother, had also cajoled her into taking up the challenge. In fact he'd been extremely keen for her to go; strangely over enthusiastic really, when she thought about it. As he couldn't take any time off work at the moment, he'd told her, she should take a break without him and get away for a few days.

And now, on the first day of the week long vacation, the twenty year old slim, attractive blonde had lost her bearings in the wilds of the western Scottish Highlands. Her party's objective today had been to hike almost twenty miles through the bogs and heather -individually, as opposed to in a group - in an effort to assess their map and compass reading skills, before meeting up again at a pre­ arranged destination to then be ferried by road back to the hostel for the night. They had, therefore, each left their base camp at fifteen minute intervals.

Unfortunately, Jessica's capabilities with an Ordnance Survey map were basically non-existent, and without understanding in which direction she was supposed to be heading, the compass was as good as useless to her. She'd expected to be able to follow the others, but once out on the moors hadn't caught even a glimpse of anyone else. They were obviously more used to trekking over this terrain than she was, she assumed, and thus already so far ahead that she had no chance of catching them up. Even Penny, who had gone out just ahead of her, was nowhere to be seen. She glanced at her watch. It was five minutes before noon on a lovely sunny June day. She'd taken off her waterproof jacket more than an hour ago, but still found the heat overbearing, so now pulled the thick woollen jumper over her head, leaving only a T-shirt covering her upper body.

That felt much better, she thought, as she crammed the pullover into her rucksack alongside the coat. Her legs though, were a different matter. The early morning had been extremely cool; so cold, in fact, that Jessica had decided to wear tights beneath her black spandex leggings. Now, however, with the temperature rising into the high twenties Celsius, the wisdom of this action was showing itself to be dubious. Her lower body and legs were now swelteringly hot, but although she was alone in an otherwise deserted landscape, Jessica still felt uneasy about stripping off and removing her tights. She therefore decided to grin and bear the discomfort.

She continued onwards through the knee high heather towards a low ridge only a few hundred yards distant, hoping to be able to find her bearings more easily from the higher ground. Not that she was particularly worried at this stage about her loss of direction. This may be the north of Scotland, she told herself, but civilisation couldn't be that far away, could it? And anyway, she wasn't the only person out on the moors today, as there were at least twelve others in her group, some of whom were quite possibly in a very similar predicament to her.

Upon reaching the ridge and consulting the map, Jessica found that she was still none the wiser as to which way she should be heading. She scanned the distant mountain peaks, some of which still had snow in the higher corries, trying to work out which ones corresponded to the summits shown on her map. She failed this exercise dismally. In the foreground, the moor offered no clues to her conundrum, spreading out in a barren expanse of heather and stunted trees for mile after mile, the only thing of note being a large rocky outcrop, maybe four or five hundred yards from where she stood.

What it was that actually caught Jessica's attention, and made her look twice in this direction, she wasn't certain. Possibly the strange shape of the rock itself, or maybe it was the glint of something reflecting the sun's rays. But whatever the reason, she found herself scrutinising this vicinity with far greater thoroughness than she did any other area.

Then she saw it. It seemed totally bizarre and out of place, but there was no mistaking its identity. There, in the middle of nowhere, stood a car, or more precisely, a 4 x 4. Jessica set off through the heather in the direction of this unexpected sight, half expecting that it was a mirage that would disappear as she moved closer. If there was a vehicle out here, she reasoned, then surely there must be someone close by who could point her in the right direction. And even if it proved to be empty or abandoned, at least there must be a track close at hand in order for it to have been driven out here in the first place. That being the case, all she'd have to do was follow that track and, sooner or later, she'd come to a road.

As she drew nearer, Jessica was able to identify the vehicle as a Range Rover, dark green in colour. She also noticed that, as far as she could make out, there was no one inside; a hunch that proved to be accurate once she arrived beside it. Nor, it seemed, was anyone nearby.

For some reason, Jessica peered in through the driver's window; hoping, perhaps, that this might throw up some clue as to the person or persons responsible for leaving it here. A gamekeeper maybe? Or possibly hikers? There was no way of telling.

Jessica started to make her way down the rutted track, which led away in both directions. She'd made up her mind to take the route that the vehicle seemed to have arrived from, rather than the direction in which it faced, reasoning that the latter was more likely to lead further into the hills, whereas following the former would be more likely to lead back to civilisation. However, she had gone no more than ten yards, when the sight of a figure standing motionless to her right made her jump. The man appeared to be in his fifties; grey hair, bushy moustache, wearing a tweed jacket and trousers, and with a deerstalker hat on his head. Across his folded arms rested a double-barrelled shotgun. He seemed to be scowling at Jessica.

“Hello, I seem to have got lost. Could you tell me the way to...”

She stopped in mid sentence, as she noticed the man move for the first time... and point his gun directly at her.

"I'm sorry, am I trespassing or something? I wasn't breaking into your car, if that's what you're thinking."

The stranger began walking slowly towards her, training the gun on her at all times. Jessica stood as still as a statue. When the distance between them was no more than five or six feet, he stopped and finally broke his silence.

“Turn around and walk to the rear of the car... and don't try anything stupid.”

The harsh Scottish accent was menacing in its tone, and doing anything that might endanger her life was the last thing on Jessica’s mind, so she slowly turned and began to move as directed. But she must have hesitated for a fraction of a second too long before obeying his orders, for his next words were barked as a hostile, impatient command.

"Come on, I haven't got all day!”

"Please don't hurt me, I haven't done anything. What do you want?"

"Just shut up and walk.”

By the time they reached the vehicle, Jessica was visibly shaking with fright. She turned to face her adversary, to find that he had momentarily leant the gun against the bumper and was now searching for something in his jacket pocket, although his eyes never left her for even a split second. Jessica was sorely tempted to run at this moment, but to where? There was very little cover available to her, save for the rocky outcrop, and that was several yards away. He'd have ample time to pick up the gun, aim and shoot her before she reached safety if he had a mind to. So reluctantly she managed to curb her instinct to flee.

After several seconds, he finally produced a ring with several keys attached to it and quickly released the rear door. Once open, he quickly removed two of the four items lying therein; a spare wheel and a heavy wooden box. A cloth holdall bag, brown in colour, and an old grey blanket, remained where they lay. This must all be some dreadful mistake, Jessica decided, as he beckoned her to get inside. He must be under the impression that she'd committed some crime or other, and was going to turn her in to the police. She opened her mouth to try to explain, but before more than two syllables had formed, she'd been silenced.

"Shut up and get inside."

The gun barrels were again pointing at her chest from almost point blank range, so, trembling violently now, and with her knees feeling weak, she did as she was ordered. The back of the Range Rover had been partitioned from the front with a metal grille, usually used to keep dogs from jumping through to the seats at the front. As Jessica unwillingly scrambled inside, the thought came to mind that she was entering a cage.

"Lay face down on the floor."

Again she complied, watching as his left hand dipped into the cloth bag. As soon as she saw it emerge again, clutching a long piece of rope, Jessica immediately guessed its purpose.

"No! Please don't tie me up!”

He'd propped the gun against the car again and had climbed into the confined space with her now. Grasping her arms, he forced them up behind her back. Although she squealed half heartedly as she first felt the rope tighten, she was too scared to even think about trying to fight him off; meekly allowing him to wrap the strong cord around her wrists several times so tightly that it cut into her flesh. With the rope wound around her lower arms to his satisfaction, he cinched it and tied a secure knot at the back of her wrists. A second piece of rope was now retrieved, which he swiftly used to bind her upper arms together.

The force used to bring her elbows into close contact with each other caused excruciating pain in Jessica's arms, as she felt her shoulders almost being wrenched from their sockets. Although her groans must have alerted him to the agony he was causing her, he didn’t let up; finally securing a knot at her elbows and pulling the few remaining inches of cord back down to her hands, where another knot was pulled tight and secured to her wrist bond.

Without a break, he produced two more pieces of rope from the holdall, and swiftly bound her ankles together with the first; her knees receiving a similar treatment with the other. With this completed, he removed himself from the boot and stood over her, as if admiring his handiwork. Jessica rolled onto her side and stared up at him, tears filling her eyes.

"Please let me go. What do you want with me?"

"You know something?" He declared with a hint of an evil smirk on his face, "You talk too much. I can soon remedy that, though."

Again he reached into his bag, this time producing a rubber ball, attached to which were two leather straps.

Jessica didn't have time to wonder what this strange contraption was, nor to protest as its purpose became apparent. Within a second or two of its appearance, the ball had been thrust into her mouth, and the two strips of leather buckled securely together at the rear of her head. Jessica's first thoughts were that the ball, combined with her rising panic, would cause her to choke. In vain she tried to sit up and spit the foul tasting object out. Keep calm, she kept telling herself, he'll come to his senses in a minute and let me go. But deep down, she knew that this was unlikely. She was in big trouble here, with seemingly no way of extricating herself from an ever worsening situation. He was leaning over her again now, and she felt his cold, rough hand grab her arm and push her onto her back.

Again she looked up at her abductor, her eyes doing the pleading that her mouth was no longer capable of. But she wasn’t given more than a few seconds for her grave expression to convince him of her displeasure, as the dirty grey blanket was thrown over her, covering her from head to toe.

For a second or two nothing else happened. But then, just as Jessica was beginning to think that he'd abandoned her, and that it was now time to commence struggling, she felt something heavy being placed on her legs; the conclusion she drew being that this must be the spare wheel. Another few seconds elapsed, and then another weighty object was set down on her chest and stomach, almost crushing her. This, she deduced as the tears flowed down her cheeks, must be the wooden box. Before the sound of the door slamming shut reached her ears, she felt two lighter items being thrown in, one only inches from her face, the other by her feet. These, she guessed, must be her rucksack and his holdall bag; only which was which she had no way of telling.

* * * *

After a brief pause, the rumble of the engine vibrated through the floor of the confined space in which Jessica lay entrapped, and seconds later the Range Rover began its bumpy, bone-jarring journey. Jessica struggled to release the rope around her wrists, but the heavy weights would not allow her to turn onto her side, and her arms remained wedged beneath her body. Besides that, the pain that ran through her wrists, arms and shoulders every time she moved them, suggested that, however desperate she was to be free, twisting and pulling on her restraints would only result in further discomfort and possible injury. Although the vehicle was moving only very slowly over the hazardous terrain, every dip, every rock or other obstacle that the wheels encountered, either saw Jessica being thrown violently against the floor, or else the heavy obstructions that pinned her down shift from one position to another, causing yet more agony.

At last, to her great relief, the rutted track gave way to a much smoother surface, and she realised that they must now be on a proper road. She had been too distressed up until now - wondering when the next crack on her skull or crushing of her legs and body would occur - to have taken in the length of time they'd been on the move. But now, as the ride became relatively more sedate, she found herself trying to guess the duration of the journey, together with the speed being travelled. That way, she hoped that when she finally escaped or was set free, she'd have a rough idea of how far she was from her point of abduction.

At first, the drone of the engine, together with the occasional sharp bend, suggested to Jessica that they were on a winding mountain road. The fact that every so often the driver was forced to stop, at which point another car could be heard passing by, suggested that they were now on a single track road with passing places. Eventually, however, their speed increased, which was a sure sign that they were now on a two-way main road. The sound of increased traffic also bore out this conclusion.

Unless she was estimating the time wrongly - which was quite likely considering her troubled state of mind - they must have been on the road for the best part of an hour before the vehicle once again slowed down. During this time, Jessica's mind had been buzzing with unanswerable questions. Had her abduction been a spur of the moment decision on his part? Or was he, as the bag containing ropes and gag suggested, on the lookout for a victim? And if the latter was the case, then was she picked at random, having just been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or had he been stalking her and her alone? And what were his motives for her capture? Ransom? Rape? The former seemed unlikely, whilst the latter made her shiver and her flesh creep.

It was by now very hot beneath the blanket, and the coarse material was causing the skin on Jessica's face and arms to itch. With a massive surge of energy, she thrust her body forwards several times, until the top of her head, down as far as her eyes, poked out from beneath the cover. She looked up, but could see only the clear blue sky dotted with occasional small, fluffy white clouds, as they flashed past the car's rear window. The box precluded her seeing much else, except to confirm that the bag near her head was his. The zip at the top hadn't been closed, and Jessica's curiosity was stirred, despite her terror. She raised her head an inch or two, until her eyes were level with the opening. And then she wished she hadn't been so inquisitive. For not only were there more coils of rope inside, but as well as that she could clearly see a collar, similar to a dog's, with a length of chain attached. If seen in isolation, she might have assumed that this was indeed intended only for a canine neck, but nestling beside it, another metallic object was just visible in the bag's dark interior.

Jessica didn't want to believe her own eyes, but there was no way of denying it. There, only inches away, were two shiny metal bracelets, attached to each other by a sturdy, two link chain, the purpose of which was in no doubt. Handcuffs! The sight of these horrific looking manacles was enough to make her forget about the agony that any sort of movement induced, and fight her bonds with renewed vigour. At least while she was tied with rope there was always a chance, however slender, of breaking loose. If he decided to shackle her wrists with these metal monstrosities, her chances of escape would be reduced to nil.

"Keep still in there, or I'll give you something to really struggle about."

In the heightened state of panic that had gripped her since this latest discovery, it hadn't registered in her head until now that the vehicle's speed had decreased over the last few minutes to the previous, slower pace, which suggested that the road conditions had reverted to their former, single track status. In fact, it didn't even sink in when the car slowly came to a halt. Despite his abrupt warning, and against her better, more logical judgement, Jessica found that she was unable to control the overwhelming urge to regain her freedom at any cost. She kicked out at the weight on her legs, and felt a small sense of triumph as the wheel tumbled off her.

Within seconds, however, she heard the rear door being raised, and a surge of cooler air hit her. Now the box was quickly lifted from her and the blanket whisked away, allowing the refreshing breeze to wash over her profusely perspiring form. Her tormentor loomed large above her, a look of fury bordering on dementia etched on his craggy face.

“I told you to keep still woman!"

She almost expected him to grab her by the throat and throttle her, or at least slap her in the face, but luckily his bark appeared to be worse than his bite... at least for the time being. Jessica's heart was racing, her breathing heavy and irregular. Her T-shirt, now wringing with sweat, clung to her trembling breasts and highlighted her quivering nipples. Her legs and lower body, enmeshed in tights and then encased in tightly fitting spandex leggings, were even hotter. Her feet too, laced up tightly in walking boots and lined with thick socks, were similarly uncomfortable, and it was these that her kidnapper grabbed next, pulling them out of the vehicle and sitting her upright, her bound legs dangling towards the ground.

Jessica gazed out at the unfamiliar landscape. Where exactly had he brought her to? The Range Rover was parked beside a rocky shoreline, with the gentle waves breaking only twenty yards or so from where she sat helplessly bound. The smell of seaweed and the distant cry of gulls filled the air, as Jessica glanced each way along the twisting, narrow road. In either direction, the tarmac stretched along the coastline, giving a clear, uninterrupted view for several hundred yards. The road was completely devoid of other traffic and, judging by the grass growing through the tarmac, was seldom used even in the height of the tourist season. At their backs, the mountains rose in almost vertical cliffs of rock and grass. There was no way any would-be rescuers would suddenly be appearing from that direction.

Dismally, Jessica gazed out to sea, praying that there would be a boat close to shore that she could try to alert the occupants of to her plight. But the only vessel in view was a small rowing boat, washed up and seemingly abandoned on the rocks in front of them. Further out to sea, there were several small, grass covered islands, each no more than a few hundred yards long, none of which looked to be inhabited. The nearest of these was probably only a quarter of a mile away.

Without warning, Jessica was suddenly hauled unceremoniously up onto the man's shoulder; her head over his back, her feet held in the grip of powerful arms against his chest. Slowly, he began to walk towards the shoreline.

What was he doing? Did he intend to drown her? The journey only lasted a few seconds, however, and therefore Jessica really had no time for the horror of her supposed watery death to allow a panic attack to build up. As if relieving himself of a heavy sack, he threw her into the tiny boat.

Jessica lay on the wooden floor, stunned by the force with which she'd been allowed to fall. Now the boat was moving, a rasping sound emanating from beneath as he pulled it towards the water's edge. Half a minute later they were afloat; he sitting in front of her, readying a pair of oars, and she lying in a heap, totally powerless to stop him taking her wherever he chose. Methodically, he began to row, gradually building up his strokes until the craft began to rise and sink in the deeper, choppier water. The threat of drowning still seemed her most likely fate, and the thought again caused tears to roll down her cheeks. But then she noticed the bag. Why, if he planned to throw her overboard and let her sink, had he brought the holdall with the hideous shackles in it? She was already bound much too tightly to effect an escape and swim away should he be contemplating sending her into the depths, so perhaps this was a sign that she had been spared this ghastly end.

“Where are you taking me?”

The words seemed to disappear into the gag before they passed her lips. Whether he understood the question but chose to ignore her, or whether the breeze had carried her stifled question out to sea, she didn't know. He simply kept on rowing, not looking at his strange cargo, but instead gazing at the horizon.

From her position, Jessica was unable to see where they were headed, but within only a few minutes, the sound of waves breaking on a beach became apparent, and soon his rowing stopped and the boat tipped dangerously from side to side, as he jumped out and began wading through the knee deep water, eventually bringing the craft to rest on a small, sandy beach. Kneeling down beside her now, he hoisted her up onto the boat's seat, and suddenly Jessica's spirits rose. He was working at the ropes on her ankles, loosening the knot and allowing her feet to part. Could it really be true? Had he brought her all this way just to let her go? She glanced around, then realised why he now felt confident enough to release her lower limbs. They were on the nearest island from the mainland, the green Range Rover still visible across the rippling sea. Still, be grateful for small mercies, she told herself; any release from her bonds was a blessing, even if her overall situation remained perilous. Her ankles were now free of rope and he had begun to release the knot on her knees. Soon, she thought, she'd be able, when the occasion presented itself, to run away.

Automatically, as soon as she was able, Jessica stood and turned her back to him; holding her arms out as far as the ropes allowed and waiting for the feel of his hands as they untied the knots. But this was merely a case of wishful thinking on her part, as instead of the ropes loosening on her lower arms, she felt him clutch her right shoulder and shove her firmly, in an unspoken but unambiguous command to get out of the boat. She clambered over the edge and onto the soft wet sand, still with high hopes of her freedom being returned to her in the near future.

But now his grip on her upper arm increased, as he pushed her ahead of him away from the shore and onto the uneven machair landscape beyond. Glancing back at her captor, she saw the brown bag slung over his shoulder and her heart sank once more. He hadn't untied her legs out of compassion, but had done so out of necessity, to save him from carrying her. Although she wasn't a bit religious, Jessica began to pray now: please God, get me out of this mess. She almost said the words out loud, although she doubted that if she had, they would have been intelligible even to a deity.

Within three minutes they'd reached the island's summit, no more than twenty feet above sea level, and had begun to descend towards the other shore. From up here, Jessica was able to gather that this particular lump of sea battered rock that he'd brought her to was roughly oval shaped and, apart from the odd stunted, windswept shrub and the occasional grey shaft of granite that had managed to stay aloof from the thin soil and grass, the whole place seemed featureless and bleak. But there was something else up ahead nestling in a slight decline.

At first glimpse Jessica assumed that it was simply a rocky outcrop, but as they drew nearer it became apparent that this, aside from being the same colour as the rocks, was anything but a natural part of the landscape. In fact, it appeared to be the only man made feature on the whole island. As they approached ever closer, Jessica saw that she was being led towards the ruined remains of a crofter’s taigh-dubh cottage. Long abandoned, the now roofless structure was in a state of total dereliction, with the windows and doorway now empty cavities, and with sections of the once very tightly fitting dry-stone walls now lying strewn around the immediate vicinity.

Piloting his stricken captive towards the ancient doorway, it didn’t take Jessica long to realise that this ramshackle hovel was their final destination. Protesting, both verbally and by digging her heels in and trying to stop their inevitable passage, did nothing to halt her unwilling entrance into the remains of the building, as he simply tightened his grip on her shoulder and forcibly propelled her into the former dwelling. Jessica gazed at the debris-strewn, flagstone floored interior. What were his intentions now that they were here? Did he plan to keep her here indefinitely? With the cottage no longer fit for habitation, open to the elements and with no door, Jessica took a crumb of comfort from the fact that there was no way he could lock her in here... or was there?

Steering her through an archway from the main room into a smaller chamber, Jessica felt his grip on her arm loosen, and for several seconds she was free from his clutches. Her first instinct now was to run. But how far would she get? With her hands useless to her, running over the rough terrain was going to be hazardous in the extreme. And with him still in such close proximity, he would be likely to recapture her within seconds. And what would he do to her then? Would her precarious situation be made even more intolerable if she angered him? She decided that now was not the best time to attempt anything that might cause him to further restrain her.

But what was he doing? Getting down on his hands and knees, Jessica could only watch as he grabbed hold of one of the flagstone slabs that littered the floor and began to push this away to one side. The stone was obviously extremely heavy, and it took all of his strength to shift it. But after a few seconds, his efforts were rewarded as the slab slid away to reveal a wooden trapdoor beneath, around four feet long by three wide. With the obstruction gone, he easily lifted the creaking panel up to reveal a confined space beneath.

Jessica’s first thought was that this was the entrance to a cellar, in which he was almost certainly going to entomb her. But peering into the darkened space revealed the dimensions to be far too small for this to be labelled a cellar. At around three feet in depth, and no wider or longer than the trap door itself, this claustrophobic space was simply a stone clad hole in the ground for storing... what? Although clearly not designed for the purpose, it was obvious that his intention was to use this as a dungeon for his helpless female captive.

At this point Jessica knew that it was now or never. To hell with any concerns about what he might do if he recaptured her; once she was interred in this shallow pit, she feared she would never again be let out. With his attention focused briefly on getting the door open, she made a dash for the exit into the outer room, before making a beeline for the outside world. Not caring where she was headed, or what she'd do when she got there, once in the open she found herself rushing headlong down towards the rocky shore. Her arms being held awkwardly behind her made running difficult, not to mention hazardous.

On such sloping, uneven terrain, the prospects of falling were obviously high, and if this occurred, she knew full well that she had no chance of stopping her descent, and would be greatly hampered in subsequently getting back onto her feet. But at this precise moment, Jessica didn't care. Falling headlong over a cliff would be preferable just now to being held captive in some dark and damp hellhole. In fact, absolutely anything seemed more appealing at this particular moment.

She must have caught him off guard, for she managed to get further than she had imagined she would, although within seconds of emerging into the grassy landscape, she was aware of his presence behind her; his footsteps and heavy breathing getting louder by the second. Resisting the urge to look around, she staggered down the rough incline, hoping desperately that someone – anyone – would see her and come to her rescue. But of course, the remoteness of the location meant that this was a forlorn hope.

Luckily, when she did lose her footing, she managed to break her fall on a grassy knoll. Unluckily, she hadn't managed to evade her pursuer prior to her downfall. The end result, of course, was that her fleeting dalliance with semi-freedom was over all too soon. With even more force than before, and with a vice-like grip on her arm, he marched the sobbing Jessica back to the ruined cottage. Once back inside, she was led to the gaping chasm left by the open trapdoor. Twisting her arm painfully, Jessica found herself being invited to step down into the hollow; the consequences of non compliance being spelt out to her with a growled threat of unspecified punishment. Pushing her to the ground, her captor lay her face down within the enclosed space, before jumping down to join her; his holdall bag containing the ropes and other restraints in his hand.

Jessica flinched as she felt the rope once more tighten around her legs, but the will to fight back had gone. It was hopeless. Whatever she did, and however hard she tried to fend him off, she was doomed to failure. But with her knees and ankles bound as before, Jessica was about to find out that this was nothing compared to what he had in mind for her now.

At the sight of the handcuffs being removed from the bag, Jessica's terror reached new heights and her temporary lapse into a state of apathy dissipated. She lurched upwards and crashed into his shoulder, desperately trying to knock him out of the way and extricate her trussed up form from the fissure in the ground in which she was about to be entombed.

“HELP ME! HELP MEEEE!!"

She screamed the same muffled words over and over again into the wilderness beyond. He, in turn, calmly pushed her back to her former position.

“You’re not going anywhere. Now lay still and be quiet. There’s no one around to hear you."

The harsh tone of his voice spoke of someone rapidly losing their temper. Not knowing quite whether to risk another futile escape attempt, or do as she was told, Jessica's mind was soon made up for her. Her escape attempt and continued struggles were obviously pushing him closer to the brink of a violent outburst, as he held her down on the cold stone floor and dug his right knee into her back. The cold metal that grasped her wrists and snapped shut with a soft clinking sound, had an air of finality about it; the cuffs supplementing the original wrist bonds and reducing still further what little room for manoeuvre she had left in her arms.

But still he hadn't finished. Another piece of rope was bound around the existing wrist restraints and pulled tight. Then Jessica felt her knees being bent forcefully up behind her, with her feet being pulled upwards over her back. Her hands and feet were now held in close proximity to each other, as the most recent arm bond was pulled taut and attached to the cord around her ankles. When she felt his grip ease and attempted to straighten her legs, she found this impossible; her arms and legs now bound together in the most awkward and uncomfortable hog-tie imaginable.

Finally, just to add insult to injury, he attached the leather collar around her neck, and threaded the attached chain through an until now unnoticed metal ring that protruded from the stone wall on one side of the enclosed space. A large padlock ensured that chain and ring would not part company.

And then, in an instant, he was gone. The trapdoor slammed down upon her, and within seconds a harsh grating noise, as the heavy flagstone was once more positioned over the top, signalled the final step in her incarceration. The sound of retreating footsteps faded and ceased within seconds.

And then there was silence.

* * * *

The closing of the trapdoor left Jessica in a world of almost pitch blackness. Almost... but not quite, because at the end of her now sealed tomb, close to her head, was a small hole in the wooden ceiling - around one inch in diameter - that let in a modicum of light. Whether leaving this end of the trapdoor uncovered by the stone was intentional or not, Jessica didn’t know, but it was a lifeline that served to keep her from suffocating. It was also her only point of contact with the outside world. With some difficulty, she flopped over onto her side and felt the chain at her neck pull taut. With a ceiling barely three feet high, and the walls of her tomb seemingly closing in on all sides, Jessica felt as if the earth had swallowed her up. Lying motionless in the dark, in one of the few positions available to her, it seemed her world had come to an end.

How long, she wondered, before the alarm was raised that she was missing? And then, how long before the searchers increased their range to encompass the remote island on which she now languished? The answer to the latter, she deduced from the length of the journey in the Range Rover, was probably never.

Her one hope, it seemed to her now, was that another member of her group had seen what had taken place, noted the car's number down, and informed the police. If they found the evil bastard who'd done this to her, she reasoned, then maybe he'd break down under interrogation and pinpoint her place of incarceration. It was a long-shot, but it was the only real piece of optimism she could come up with. Had he left her here to rot? And if not, what did he have in mind when he returned? Was he getting some perverted kick out of imprisoning her? Did it give him a sense of power to know that she was helpless and he could do with her as he pleased? She had no answers to the multitude of questions that ran through her terrified brain.

The day wore on, slowly giving way to a sunset of vivid reds and oranges. But for Jessica, this spectacular phenomenon remained beyond her vision, and the gravity of the situation would have made her appreciation of its inherent beauty impossible at this very stressful time anyway. Hour after hour, she lay in the gloomy interior of her makeshift grave, unable to move and with her screams drowned out by the sound of seagulls and the strengthening breeze that whistled eerily – mockingly? – through the walls of the stone sarcophagus. If only she hadn't come on this stupid Outward Bound course. Why had she allowed Penny and Mike to convince her that this was what she needed? She should never have listened to either of them.

****

There was, however, something that Jessica now deeply regretted not listening to her boyfriend about. Something that, if she'd gone along with and participated in, might have made her more knowledgeable about ways of getting free from the situation she now found herself in. She and Mike had experimented with many different sex games, but one thing that Jessica had drawn the line at was bondage. On numerous occasions he'd suggested that he'd like to tie her up, bind her to the bed and make love to her, but she'd always refused.

She considered herself fairly broad minded in most respects, and was usually willing to try most things, but for some reason she'd baulked at this suggestion. It was degrading and humiliating, she'd informed him, and also fraught with dangers. He'd tried to talk her round, assuring her that no harm would come to her, and that he'd free her whenever she requested. He even tried to persuade her that she'd probably end up enjoying the sensation of ropes and cords around her, and the ensuing feelings of helplessness. But she was having none of it. She'd made up her mind that this type of thing was not for her, and that was final.

Now though, she wished she'd gone along with his strange little games. Perhaps then, she thought gloomily, she'd have worked out how to escape; become quite an expert at it maybe, and be in a far better position to understand how to twist and contort herself so as to slip her bonds free, or have become adept at the intricacies of untying knots and picking locks. In short, she might have become a first rate escapologist.

But this was all academic now. How she wished she could turn back the clock six months or so to when Mike had first brought the subject up. It was weird actually, when she thought about it in depth, but the damsel-in-distress scenarios that he conjured up and had wanted her to participate in, bore many similar characteristics to her current ordeal. The only difference being that, in his fantasies, he always came to her rescue in the end.

****

The night was extremely long, or so it seemed to Jessica, although she knew that in this part of the world, during the summer months, the hours of darkness were minimal. By the time that the dim light of dawn began to creep through the tiny aperture into her tomb, Jessica had convinced herself that he was not coming back, and that she was going to die here. Although only having a T-shirt as cover from the waist upwards, Jessica was glad now that she'd put those tights on, as her legs and lower body remained relatively well insulated against the cold; a circumstance which, she assumed , had kept her body temperature at the level necessary to ward off death through hyperthermia.

The daylight, however, failed to raise Jessica's spirits. Although she struggled at irregular intervals over the course of several hours, and howled as loudly as she could every so often, these were only really token gestures and she knew it. By the time that the heat of the sun had penetrated her cell to a point where she felt comfortably warm again, and its rays infiltrated sufficiently for her to sense that it must be around mid morning, Jessica had given up all hope. She had been bound and gagged for what must now be twenty hours or so, and her bonds showed no signs of relinquishing their vice-like grip on her limbs. And the clink of the handcuffs every time she moved, only seemed to mock her feeble efforts to free herself.

After the stillness of the dawn, a slight breeze had risen once again outside, and that, together with the ever present mournful cries of the seabirds, were the only sounds to reach her from the outside world.

Or were they?

Was that the wind making that strange whistling noise, or was it manmade? She strained her ears, desperate to hear the sound again, but for several minutes it was unforthcoming. Just as she'd decided that she was hearing things – a clear case of wishful thinking, in which a noise from the natural world had been transformed by a longed for desire to hear the sound of an approaching human - the whistling came again. Jessica pulled herself up to the best of her ability, her heart beating with renewed hope for the first time since she'd been abandoned. There was no way that the wind could whistle like that. She'd only caught a few notes, but there was no doubt about the fact that someone out there was whistling a tune. There it was again, only this time it was louder, indicating that whoever was out there was getting nearer.

Jessica screamed and screamed, her whole frame shaking with the effort. Then, after a few seconds, she fell silent again, awaiting the sound of footsteps outside. With utter joy, she heard just that; the dull thud of feet on stone. Suddenly the footsteps stopped, no more than a few feet from where she lay. Jessica screamed again, to make absolutely sure that whoever was out there could have no doubts as to her whereabouts. Within seconds her prayers seemed to have been answered, as the sound of the slab above her head being dragged away reached her ears, followed by the wooden trapdoor slowly creaking open on its hinges. Jessica squinted upwards from her position on the floor, as the silhouette of a man loomed over her. Then her heart sank. It was him - the bastard who'd kidnapped her. Had he come back to finish her off?

As he crouched over her, Jessica slithered backwards into the darkest corner of her cell. Unless he was about to set her free, she didn't want him to touch her. But she was powerless to take evasive action, as his hand was thrust between her thighs and he began to stroke her gently. Jessica screamed and pleaded with him to stop. She knew what he was after, and she knew that once he'd got it, she would be either murdered or left to rot. She bucked and jerked her trussed up frame in every conceivable direction, but to no avail. Within seconds he was right beside her, his right hand wandering beneath her shirt.

"Don't worry Jess, you're safe. Relax and enjoy yourself."

Hearing her name gave Jessica such a shock that she momentarily forgot her hysteria; her mind working overtime. How did he know her name? He must have been from going through the things in her rucksack, although she couldn't remember carrying anything that would reveal her identity. And anyway, he'd used the abbreviated version of her name, shortened to Jess, and the only person who ever did that was Mike. Intrigued, although still greatly frightened, she turned towards him and scrutinised his facial features.

"Who are you?"

Even through the gag, she was sure he'd understand that.

"You mean you don't recognise me? The only man in your life... or so you always tell me.”

The accent had changed since yesterday, but for several seconds Jessica just couldn't get to grips with what was happening here. How could Mike's voice suddenly manifest itself to her? She stared up at her captor, who had now stopped molesting her and was rubbing his face. In fact, as Jessica watched in a state of total disbelief, he began to pull his face apart.

"Really had you fooled didn't I, what with the make-up and the accent?"

It was just too much for Jessica's brain to take in, as she watched the face of her abductor dissolve and her lover materialise before her.

"You see Jess, I knew that you wouldn't agree to me tying you up willingly, although I was certain that once I had you at my mercy, you'd enjoy it. Now, let me untie your legs and I'll show you how much fun this can be."

Jessica wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. She was so relieved to see Mike again - so glad that her ordeal had been nothing but an elaborate hoax - that she didn't know how she felt at that moment. She hated him and loved him all at the same time. With the hog-tie rope removed, her ankles and knees unbound, and the chain detached from the wall, Mike tenderly laid her down and undressed her. Still gagged, and with her arms still roped and handcuffed behind her, she spent the next hour or more as his prisoner of love. Finally, he removed her gag and gave her a drink of water, followed by some food he'd brought in his rucksack. As he fed her, he explained how he'd set up the whole operation and answered Jessica's questions, which gushed out in an endless stream.

He’d seen pictures of these sort of old ruined cottages, that seemed to be scattered all across the western seaboard of Scotland, and had decided that, should he be able to locate one in a remote enough area, he'd turn it into a prison-cell- cum- holiday-home, especially for her initiation into the world of bondage. Once such a place had been located, with the aid of an Ordnance Survey map and the help of a Scottish friend, he'd been ready for action. His sister Penny was in on it, and had made sure that Jessica was heading in his direction; which, he now informed her, was completely the opposite direction from the rest of her party.

It was Penny also, who had helped with the disguise, which Jessica had to admit, had fooled her completely. The combination of a latex skin mask, make up and wig had been prepared immaculately, with every attention to detail, and she had to admit that it was very realistic; he really had looked and sounded like a middle-aged Scottish gamekeeper. The gun, he told her, was only a replica and therefore harmless. The Range Rover had been hired, as had the boat. With everything worked out in precise detail, he had been ready to bring his fantasy kidnapping scenario to fruition.

They lay together for some time, discussing every aspect of his plan, and the effect it had had on Jessica. All this time he idly played with the ball gag, throwing it in the air and catching it, and wrapping the cord round his fingers. After a while Jessica decided that she'd now had enough of the game. Okay, she had to now admit that she had enjoyed the experience once she knew she was safe, although the preceding hours would remain etched in her brain for the rest of her life as a horrific nightmare.

“Yeah, sorry about that. But I thought that you needed to spend a substantial amount of time in bondage, if you were really going to appreciate how it feels. And besides that, I figured that the longer you were all tied up and alone, the more pleased you’d be to see me. Am I forgiven?”

Jessica replied that he was. Everything was fine with her now. Or at least it would be once he released the handcuffs and untied her arms.

"So, are you going to let me go now and take me back to civilisation?"

He looked into her face, a slightly bemused grin forming at the corners of his mouth.

"Well, it’s like this..."

He turned towards her and, before she had time to protest, the ball was crammed back into her surprised mouth and he was securing the straps at the back of her head.

"...the fact is that we've both got the whole week off work, and I know how much you dislike the idea of mountaineering and canoeing, so, basically, I've decided to keep you here for a few more days. Don't worry, I'm not going to tie your ankles to your wrists again, and I'll leave you a blanket, but I'm afraid that your sentence here has only really just begun. By the time you leave here, you'll be so used to being bound and gagged, that it will seem like the most natural thing in the world and you'll be begging me to tie you up every night."

He began to pull her tights and leggings back into place, before preparing to tie her legs again. Jessica was too stunned to react or resist. She simply stared at him, trying to fully take in the significance of this latest twist in the tale.

"Don't worry though..." He reassured her, kissing her on the cheek before getting up to leave, having first bound her ankles and knees as tightly as before, and once more secured the neck chain to the wall.

“...I’ll come to visit you every day...... weather permitting of course.”

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17.05.16

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