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The Secrets of Shackleton Grange
by Steve Spandex
stevespandex@planetsuffolk.com | Forum Feedback
© Copyright 2016 - Steve Spandex - Used by permission
Storycodes: F+/ff; drugged; awake; discovery; cocoon; plaster; encased; gag; cellar; wheel; bond; straps; rotate; rope; well; susp; punish; tickle; torment; consequences; cons/nc; X
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The Secrets of Shackleton Grange 14: The Wheel and the Well Steve Spandex F+/ff; drugged; awake; discovery; cocoon; plaster; encased; gag; cellar; wheel; bond; straps; rotate; rope; well; susp; punish; tickle; torment; consequences; cons/nc; X
story continued from part thirteen

Chapter 14: The Wheel and the Well

Bethany’s journey out of enforced sedation was a harrowing process. Initially resting in a dreamless, artificially induced state of deep sleep, her anaesthetised brain gradually entered a period where vivid images flashed across her mind’s eye. And the scenes that passed before her during this REM phase of her slumbers, forced her to relive a semi-factual account of the incidents that had befallen her since arriving at Shackleton Grange– with a few weird variations and impossible episodes thrown in for good measure.

At the beginning, these dreams were pleasant enough, with Bethany willingly giving herself over to the other women at the bondage class, and allowing herself to be used as a guinea pig for their tying whims and experiments. But as the dream sequence progressed, the trance like images began to take on a more sinister tone, with the sneering, witch-like face of Mistress Dolores - her teeth elongated into sharp fangs and her eyes glowing blood-red in the twilight world to which this whole scenario now seemed to have relocated - looming large over the now helpless dreamer, who, try as she might, couldn’t escape her considerable array of bonds and restraints.

Suddenly the scenery changed, and she was running fast through dark, spooky woodlands, with barking, snarling dogs seeming to circle her - unseen yet close at hand - and tree branches reaching out to grab her and hinder her bid to get away. As quickly as it had begun, the scene shifted again, and the sensation of suddenly being hung upside down by her feet took over. And from this upturned vantage point, the ghoulish figure of Dolores in her leather skin-tight outfit seemed to dance around her, a glass of bubbling, fizzing liquid in one hand - which she was enticing Bethany to drink - whilst in the other she carried a hypodermic syringe with a similarly volatile substance hissing and spluttering within.

****

Bethany opened her eyes with a start; breathing heavily, heart pounding. Darkness alone met her gaze, but after her recent spate of hallucinations, she took comfort from this featureless black vista. The nightmares had seemed all too authentic whilst they’d lasted, but now, as little by little she returned to a state of everyday consciousness and her senses once more began to separate reality from illusion, she recalled that her circumstances in the real world were just as horrific and unbelievable as those encountered in her artificially induced comatose slumbers ... if not more so.

As her head cleared further, the world around her began to impinge upon her still semi-confused brain. Where was she? What had happened after she’d slipped into the twilight realms of drug stimulated oblivion? She tried to move from the horizontally laid out position she found herself in, but this proved impossible, and her first reaction was that she was still restrained in the straitjacket.

But further investigation of her apparently static condition told her that this was not the case. For one thing, her arms were no longer pulled tightly across her chest. So maybe the jacket had been removed whilst she’d been dead to the world. Perhaps her state of immobility now was caused by the application of ropes and handcuffs, to which she had become accustomed in recent times. But, upon closer scrutiny, even this supposition didn’t seem to fit with the facts of her present condition. For now she discovered that her hands weren’t pressed together, wrist to wrist behind her back, as she would have expected, but were simply resting at her sides, pressing against her body, with her fingers touching her upper thighs. There was no pressure evident in the wrist area, which suggested that they had no cords or other restrictions encircling them.

So why couldn’t she move her arms away from her body? Clearly there must be something wrapped around her, preventing movement of this nature. Had she been mummified in duct tape or cling-film, or maybe bandages? This seemed a possibility, and to test this hypothesis, Bethany attempted to sit up and review her situation with regard to what was, and what wasn’t, achievable . But even this task proved beyond her. Had she been strapped down after having been enveloped in this as yet unknown medium? She attempted to roll over onto her side to see if this type of motion was feasible, but still no joy. She seemed to have been totally immobilised, from head to toe, as even her neck, face and head bore the sensation of being tightly enclosed in whatever form of constricting material that had been used to keep her in check.

So if rope, tape, chain and polythene wrap couldn’t account for her inability to move a muscle, then in what manner, exactly, had she been incapacitated?

The texture of spandex against her skin still seemed to be in evidence, but over this, the sensation of a weightier layer of some description appeared to have been added. And as she tried to move various parts of her anatomy, it became apparent that this cover-all substance amounted to a rigid casing that allowed her virtually zero movement in any direction. She could just about wiggle her toes, although even they were denied the full range of normal movement, and came up against a solid wall of some sort as she flexed them to their limits. Her fingers were encountering even less freedom than her toes, and despite her best efforts, Bethany failed to ease her stretching digits away from her thighs by even a fraction of an inch. And this state of inertia wasn’t confined merely to her extremities, but also appeared to apply to every muscle in her limbs and body. What had happened to her? Was she paralysed? Bethany took comfort from the fact that she still had feeling throughout her body, so this diagnosis could be discounted. But what else could account for her inability to move? Had she been immersed in a vat of quick drying cement, or some similar substance?

If so, then mercifully her eyes had been spared this otherwise all covering process, as the pressure on the rest of her face seemed to ease slightly in a small, roughly circular region around each socket. And her mouth also seemed to have been left uncovered, as the realisation suddenly hit her that, for the first time in days, she wasn’t forced to breathe through her nose, and that her airways felt free from obstruction of any kind.

***

Suddenly, the click of a switch broke the silence, which corresponded with the darkness exploding into dazzling light. For up to a minute, Bethany squinted into the unexpected brilliance, unable to turn her gaze away from the source, which appeared to come from directly above where she lay, and from a distance of only a few feet. As her vision gradually acclimatised to the brightness, she realised that there were two figures standing over her, whose shapes gradually sharpened into those of Dolores and her silver-suited sidekick. The former was speaking now, although her voice had a dull, faraway quality to it, as if there was some muffling barrier between the speaker’s mouth and the ears of the listener.

“Ah Bethany, so nice of you to join us back in the real world. I do hope that your period of rest wasn’t disturbed too much by bad dreams. I’m told that those sedatives can bring about some quite unsavoury hallucinations in certain people... especially those in a nervous state of mind.”

Bethany tried to ask what had happened to her, and although no longer encumbered by the pair of rolled up tights, there seemed to be something wedged between her teeth that prevented her from closing her jaw. Consequently her words came out strangely stifled.

“I’m sorry darling, I really can’t understand a word you’re saying. I know that tube in your mouth will take a bit of getting used to, but it’s the only way we can feed you whilst you’re all plastered up like that. And believe me, you will be staying in that cast for a long, long time to come!”

Plastered? ...Cast? All of a sudden it became obvious to Bethany that she had been swathed from head to foot in a surgical-style plaster wrap, which had then hardened around her to prevent movement of any sort.

“Sorry I had to drug you, but it was the only way that I could keep you stationary whilst Sapphire here demonstrated her expertise in administering the bandages and plaster of Paris. She’s had a great deal of experience in medical training, you see. As a matter of fact, she was thinking of becoming a doctor until I took her under my wing and she came around to the realisation that her true vocation lay in a life of bondage.”

She tapped firmly on the solid surface of the cast in the region of Bethany’s midriff, which elicited a dull thudding sound from the hardened plaster that held Bethany in such immovable straits.

“ It’s been more than twelve hours now, so the cast should have set to a reasonable degree, although it will be a day or two before it completely dries out. As I’m sure you’ve become aware though, it’s already impossible to break out of, so you may as well conserve your energy.”

This remark, of course, had the opposite effect on the encased young woman, who had until now been numbed into inactivity by the breaking news that Dolores was imparting. Pushing with all her might, Bethany fought to fracture the tightly wrapped insulation that surrounded all but the bare minimum of her face. Maybe, if the cast had not quite set, she could still find a way to crack open the thick coating that she’d been enshrouded in whilst she slept. But this proved a futile gesture, and simply made Dolores laugh loudly, as she watched her helpless victim fail to make any headway in her bid to find release.

“It’s no good Bethany. You’re trapped and you’ll remain that way until I decide otherwise. But first, how about we all go and see how Cathy’s getting on? After all, you conspired against me yesterday, so it’s only fair that your punishments should take the form of some sort of shared experience. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see her again, won’t you?”

She turned to her servant.

“Great job you’ve done here Sapphire. Now go and find Electra and Crystal and get them to transport this helpless creature down to see her partner-in-crime.”

Turning back to Bethany, Dolores placed her hand over the tube that protruded from her petrified captive’s mouth and leant in close to her face, grinning malevolently.

“Stuffy in here, isn’t it. Makes you appreciate fresh air all the more.”

It only took a second or two before Bethany found that she was having difficulty breathing, and desperately tried to move her head, but without the slightest success. For what must have been twenty seconds, she fought with mounting desperation to take air into her lungs, as Dolores continued to block the only supply available to her.

“Just a little reminder - if you didn’t already know it - that I can make life very unpleasant for you whenever I feel like it Bethany. And after that nasty kick you gave me today, I might just take up that option. So you’d better hope that I remain in a good mood... or you could be in for a rather torrid time.”

Bethany found her throat tightening as the lack of oxygen began to make her dizzy. However, just as she thought that she was about to pass out, never again to wake, Dolores removed her hand, allowing her to gulp in mouthfuls of beautiful cool air once more. With just a hint of an amused smile playing at the corners of her lips, Dolores turned and walked away to Bethany’s left, and within seconds she had disappeared from her captive’s restricted line of vision. The dull, echoing sound of her voice, however, still found its way through the layered plaster around Bethany’s head.

“I’m off to see whether your fellow convict has woken yet. The girls will get you all ready for transportation to the cellar, and bring you down to join us in a few minutes.”

****

Bethany stared directly into the spotlight that shone down into her face. For several minutes she was left alone, with Dolores’ departure to check on Cathy, and the servant girl apparently rounding up her two colleagues. Exactly what form of retribution had the Mistress got planned for them? A million and one possible futures flashed through her mind, none of which offered any hope of salvation from this nightmare in which she was inescapably embroiled. The inflexible cast proved firm and unyielding to her ever more frantic attempts to in some way break free, and she knew it was only a matter of time before she would be subjected to further misery and despair.

When the trio finally returned, they wasted no time in lifting the stiffened form of Bethany off the bench on which she had been resting, and placing her on some other surface which gave out a metallic ringing sound as her solid cast came into contact with it. As soon as she was positioned to their satisfaction, the helpless woman could only watch as broad leather straps were placed across her chest, waist, thighs and calves, then wrapped around both her inert form and the metallic surface beneath her, before being pulled tight and secured. From her horizontal position, and being unable to turn her head, Bethany’s visual range was severely restricted, so it wasn’t until the last moment that she saw the blanket being unfurled and spread over her entire helpless form. And a split second later everything went black.

Suddenly, without warning, the sensation of motion came upon her, and the rattling of metal casters across the floor brought home the realisation that this was a trolley that she had been strapped to. For several minutes her journey continued; mainly at speed, but occasionally slowing down to change direction as the tight passageways of Shackleton Grange were negotiated. Sometimes the ground beneath the rattling wheels was smooth, and at others the ride proved more bumpy and jarring. More than once, the trolley came to a brief halt, at which point a heavy door would be heard to creak open, before the journey recommenced. Towards the end of this enforced trip, the leading end of the trolley seemed to slant downwards and the sense of speed heightened, at which point Bethany deduced that the ground beneath her must be sloping downwards. And all the while, the monotonous rattle and drone of the wheels accompanied this terrifying flight into the unknown.

Finally, after the threshold of one last door had been successfully navigated, the stretcher on wheels came to a halt. From close at hand, the voice of Dolores could be heard, although it was evident to Bethany straight away that this one way conversation was not being directed towards her. She tried to work out the meaning of what she was hearing, but the sound dampening properties of her sealed plaster helmet, coupled with the fact that she’d joined the party midway through this monologue, ensured that the precise context remained a mystery to her at that time. She did however pick up on certain words and phrases from this otherwise incomprehensible oration; something about a well and the turning of a wheel. But how this was to affect her, at that moment she could only speculate.

Without warning, there was a swishing sound, as the blanket was pulled away from Bethany’s plaster cladding, which coincided with the return of her vision. Blinking, she gazed upwards into a strange flickering candlelit world. Surprisingly, there was no one within her line of sight, but although she was incapable of moving her head to take in her surroundings, she could make out shadowy figures dancing across the dimly lit ceiling high above her; elongated and ghostlike in appearance, yet clearly the distorted reflections of several female figures close at hand. For several seconds all was silent, but then one of the dusky silhouettes took a step closer, and in an instant the face of Dolores entered Bethany’s limited visual range.

“Ah Bethany, glad you could join us. I was just explaining to Cathy how your lives are going to be interlinked for the next few hours.”

She turned away for a second or two to address her helpers.

“Can you tilt the trolley up a bit girls? It will make it much easier for Bethany to fully grasp what’s in store for her if she can see what we have planned.”

One of the servants – from her position Bethany couldn’t tell which – leant down beside her, and seconds later, accompanied by a soft whirring sound, the horizontal surface on which she lay began to tip forwards, with her head rising and her feet descending towards the ground. Being strapped to this solid mobile table meant that she couldn’t topple forwards, however, and when she stopped moving, she found herself in an almost vertical position. Dolores stood before her, legs apart, arms akimbo, her lithe latex-attired figure reflecting back the light from the hundreds of tiny orange wavering flames that surrounded her on all sides.

But what caught Bethany’s attention was not the image of the Mistress in all her skin-tight finery, but the scene beyond. For there, in semi-twilight yet clearly visible, was the form of Cathy, spread-eagled and pinned to a gigantic and ancient looking timber wheel that stood only feet away from an equally archaic low wall, which guarded the entrance to a gaping hole in the floor. Above Cathy’s place of anchorage, a rope could be seen rising upwards into the gloom, stretching a few feet across the smoke blackened roof of the stone chamber, and then once more descending directly into the chasm partially hidden by the stone parapet. Behind the wheel, just visible in the darkness, Bethany glimpsed several interlinking wooden cogs; ancient and spider-webbed, yet clearly still in working order.

Cathy’s wide eyes flashed with fear in the shimmering light as they made contact with Bethany’s, and it seemed obvious to the latter that her fellow prisoner already had some inkling of what was about to become of them. And within seconds, the sapling thoughts that had begun to take shape in Bethany’s mind were confirmed by Dolores.

“As I was just explaining to Cathy, this well was used by previous owners to draw their daily water for the entire house. It’s redundant in that respect these days, but I still use it occasionally when I have to teach naughty girls like you a lesson.”

She strolled slowly around the well, never taking her eyes off Bethany’s hermetically sealed form.

“Okay girls, time to get Bethany all strapped up and ready for the fun to commence.”

Her circumnavigation complete, she sauntered slowly over to her plaster encased captive.

“Although I imagine that ‘fun’ is probably not a word you’ll be using to describe the adventure you’re about to embark on.”

As she was speaking, Dolores’ servants commenced loosening the heavy straps that held Bethany upright. With these removed, whilst holding on to her torso so that she didn’t topple forward, they began to inch her slowly towards the abyss. By now, the third member of the unholy trinity had made her entrance, but instead of helping her colleagues move their cargo into position, she disappeared behind the wheel on which Cathy was bound and began making some unseen adjustment to the primitive yet still functioning mechanism. A second or two later, the sound of creaking timbers filled the air, and Bethany noticed Cathy’s body begin to unhurriedly rotate in an anti-clockwise direction. This movement continued until one full revolution had been accomplished, before, with a sharp thud, the wheel came to a juddering halt.

So fearfully intrigued had Bethany been with this spin of Cathy’s circular mooring station, that she failed to notice that this 360 degree cycle had resulted in the rope being hoisted upwards to a height sufficient enough to allow its attachment to become visible above the low ramparts. Not a bucket for drawing water, as might have been expected, but instead her eyes fell upon a melee of leather straps that draped downwards and swung loosely from side to side in the still air of the underground chamber. The ends of many of these straps ended in a stout metal buckle, whilst those not thus endowed could be seen to possess a row of puncture marks at regular intervals along their length.

At once, Bethany recognised that this contraption was a harness, and it was fairly obvious that it was she who would soon be the one unfortunate enough to suffer within the confines of this strictly lashed device. Although her logical self told her that she was stuck fast within the stiffened sheath, the part of her brain concerned with ensuring self preservation told her that she had to fight to avoid the hideous fate that she was about to be subjected to. All she was capable of, however, was a thwarted rocking motion which would, if left unsupported, have seen her tumble like a skittle to the floor. Whether this would have in any way loosened the cast which kept her in such inflexible rigidity or not was a moot point, of course, as her two attendants grasped her shoulders and prevented this hypothetical downward trajectory, and within seconds they had successfully positioned her directly in front of the low wall, which had been designed to act as a deterrent to anyone accidentally tumbling headlong down the well shaft. But of course, this was precisely what Dolores did now have in mind for the ill-fated Bethany.

Carefully manoeuvring their plaster package onto the floor, the harness was swung down in Bethany’s direction, and all three servants began to encircle her within the unforgiving straps. Trying to put a halt to this ever worsening situation was, as Bethany had already fathomed out, a futile activity. As the straps were wrapped tightly around her shoulders and brought down diagonally across her breasts, Bethany protested the only way she could – verbally. But with the tube in her mouth, the noise she made, whilst reasonably loud, was also unrecognisable as coherent speech, and was ignored by the three diligently working women, who seemed never to tire of the chance to show their expertise with all things bondage related. Soon, therefore, Bethany’s sealed and static body was encumbered with tightly buckled leather belts from the waist upwards...

...Or maybe that should be the waist downwards. For no sooner had the last buckle been fastened into position, than Bethany found herself being lifted up bodily and brought to within inches of the low wall. Suddenly, without warning, she found her head plummeting forwards, and the dark vertical shaft of the well seemed to swiftly rise up to meet her. Before she really knew what had happened, and even as the scream of terror-filled surprise was still echoing around the subterranean chamber, Bethany’s world turned on its head, and for the third time in twenty four hours she found herself hanging upside down. Trying to gaze downwards was difficult with the stiff cast embracing her neck, and the fact that she was swinging from side to side didn’t help in her efforts to focus on the area directly beneath her. But far below, at the end of the otherwise black tunnel that walled her in on all sides, a faint rippling effect could just be made out, reflecting back the extremely dim light of the myriad candles on the slow moving waters.

Casting her eyes upwards as best she could, Bethany could now see that her waist was roughly in line with the lip of the parapet. Above this, silhouetted against the wall of guttering candles, the outlines of Dolores and her three helpers ringed the narrow entrance to the vertical shaft over which their prisoner now perilously hung. A low sorrowful groan of dismay forced its way out of the tube protruding from the helpless female’s mouth, as she realised that her tenure here was unlikely to be of brief duration.

“A word of advice Bethany, keep as still as you can. Any movement will cause the rope to gradually unwind and plunge you deeper into the well. As you can see, it’s not that far to the waterline, so I suggest you try to stay as motionless as you possibly can.”

As if to demonstrate the volatile nature of her situation, Dolores leant forward and jiggled the rope slightly. This caused only a minor tremor, but immediately Bethany felt herself descend an inch or two into the claustrophobic tunnel.

“Of course, my dear Bethany, keeping yourself as still as a statue is only going to be one aspect of the problem that you’re facing. As you’ve probably worked out, Cathy’s every movement is also inextricably linked to your fate. As the wheel turns, so the rope unwinds. And as the rope unwinds, so you sink further and further down until you’re submerged in the freezing cold water. So you’d better hope and pray that Cathy is really good at keeping as still as possible for very long periods of time.”

As she spoke these words, Dolores turned from the well and walked away in the direction of the giant wheel, now out of Bethany’s line of sight. Her voice, however, still reverberated around the stone cavern.

“So what do you think Cathy? Will you be able to stay completely motionless for hours on end? Or will you unwittingly send your plastered and paralysed friend here to a watery grave?”

****

Cathy had watched with a sickening feeling of dread cramping her stomach muscles, as the rigidly sealed form of Bethany was strapped securely into the harness and tipped head first into the waiting void. And the fact that Dolores had made it clear that it was she who would be largely responsible for Bethany’s downward disappearance into the bowels of the earth, did nothing to alleviate the horror that was welling up inside her and threatening to tip her over the edge into a fit of hysteria. But she knew now – if she hadn’t already guessed as much – that any movement she made, however seemingly insignificant, would contribute to her fellow captive’s descent into hell. So, finding an inner strength she had previously not known she possessed, Cathy managed to stem the tide of panic and resist the urge to struggle to break free from her bonds.

And now Dolores was strolling back towards her, a smile of satisfaction on her face, as if putting young women into potentially life threatening situations was something she did every day and derived immense pleasure from. Her questions were, of course, rhetorical, and Cathy’s only response was a whimper of despair that barely made it through the stuffing in her mouth and the tape that sealed her lips.

Bending down behind the wheel again, Dolores made some unseen amendment to the workings of the water drawing mechanism, which was accompanied by a sharp jolt of the ancient timber disk, before she reappeared in front of her stretched and strapped prisoner.

“Right Cathy, that little adjustment ensures that the wheel will only turn in one direction. So any thoughts you might have been harbouring of counteracting Bethany’s downward trajectory can be forgotten about. The only way is down from now on.”

As if to demonstrate, Dolores grabbed the rim of the wheel and tried to spin it in an anti-clockwise direction. The wheel beneath her emitted a straining, creaking noise for a second, but refused to budge back in the direction that it was being urged. Dolores leant in close to Cathy’s face and smiled smugly.

“But even so Cathy, I’m sure that you’re thinking that this is going to be easy, aren’t you? Just sit tight, don’t move and Bethany will be safe, right?”

She sighed dismissively.

“If only things were that simple darling. You see, over the course of the next few hours, my girls have a few surprises up their sleeves which will test your powers of self control to the limits. And believe me, they can be very persuasive when they want to be. Shall we give you a demonstration now?”

Without waiting for a response of any kind, Dolores turned to her gang of three.

“Okay ladies, let’s see how ticklish Cathy is.”

As one, the latex-attired females stepped towards Cathy. Each seemed to know exactly what was expected of them, and each appeared to have already decided which portion of Cathy’s defenceless anatomy they were going to target. So whilst the black-clad figure began to tickle her feet, the silver-suited female went for her armpits, and the pink-sheathed woman began her assault in the vicinity of Cathy’s vulnerable midriff.

If Cathy had any doubts about her susceptibility to being tormented in this manner, they were soon dispelled in no uncertain terms. Trying to control her movements as six hands weaved their despicable mayhem over her completely helpless form proved an impossibility, as her body bucked and squirmed in an ultimately vain attempt to alleviate the provocative sensation of the prodding, probing, ever creeping fingers, which caused such unwanted convulsions to surge through her. But even as the irritating feeling overwhelmed her and the spasms caused her to take ever more forceful yet entirely involuntary evasive action, Cathy realised that the wheel to which she was bound had begun to move – slowly but surely - in a clockwise direction. Every so often, one of the latex clad figures intent on stirring her up into a frenzy would make eye contact, but Cathy could detect no emotion or feeling in the depths of those impenetrably unseeing pools. To them, it seemed, this was just a job to be done, and her welfare – or that of poor Bethany as she gradually sunk towards a watery end – didn’t impinge on their consciences one iota.

But in a strange kind of way, Cathy took heart from their unflinching devotion to the task in hand. For if they could divorce themselves from reality, then maybe, Cathy resolved, she could too. Thinking fast, she reasoned that the key to mastering the situation was down to mind over matter. Trying with all her might to ignore the infuriating, goose-pump initiating activities going on around her, Cathy closed her eyes and tried to still her mind with thoughts of tranquillity and serenity. To a certain extent, this had the desired effect, as the worst of the shuddering seizures that had racked her whole being gradually subsided.

And then - as abruptly as it had started – the taunting fingers ceased their maddening quest. For a second or two, Cathy’s whole body remained tense, until she was certain that the torment was over and that this was not simply a momentary lull in proceedings. Finally, when it became apparent that hostilities had indeed ceased, she opened her eyes. What she found was that she was more or less horizontal, with her head in the nine o’clock position; the wheel having made around three quarters of a circuit during this short but tortuous bout of tickling.

Cathy’s breath came in short bursts, as her mind and body slowly recovered from the havoc that had overtaken her for this brief period - which had lasted probably no more than a minute or two. For another minute at least, she failed to take note of the situation in front of her; simply being thankful that the torment of her spandex covered body and feet had come to a conclusion. So it wasn’t until Dolores once more began to speak, that she focused on the consequences of her inability to endure this ordeal without moving. Gazing past the figure of the Mistress, Cathy’s eyes fixed upon the low parapet. But where only moments before Bethany’s legs and lower abdomen had been visible, now only her feet and ankles could be viewed.

“You see what happens when you start fidgeting and trying to move Cathy. I hope that this has made you think twice about trying to escape from those straps.”

Dolores stood directly in front of Cathy and took hold of the wheel’s rim. With a quick push, she brought Cathy back up into her original, upright position, and when Cathy once more glanced at the well, Bethany had entirely disappeared; only the taut, slightly swaying rope betraying the fact that there was anything - or anyone - attached to it.

“Now I’m sure you won’t have too much trouble staying still if you’re left alone here - even if it is for several hours at a time - given the dire consequences if you don’t.”

Dolores was right in front of Cathy’s face now, and the devious smirk told the wheel-bound captive that there was a ‘but’ coming. And of course she was correct.

“But of course, that would be far too easy for you, wouldn’t it? After all, this whole exercise is supposed to be teaching you a lesson. As I’ve already informed you, my servants will be coming back to visit you every three hours or so, in order to make life - how shall I put it? – a bit more interesting for you. After all, we wouldn’t want you to get bored, would we?”

The Mistress stepped away at this moment and began to make for the door.

“What form these monotony-breaking interludes take will all be revealed in good time. Until then, goodbye Cathy. By the time I’ve finished with the pair of you, you’ll have seen the error of your ways and realise that there is really only one way to survive here... and that’s to accept your sentences with good grace and not upset me in any way. ”

As she reached the door, she turned in the direction of the well and called out.

“Goodbye Bethany, I hope for your sake that rotten old piece of rope doesn’t break, and that Cathy’s self control is good.”

And with this message still ringing around the high stone ceiling, she disappeared through the door, her three obedient skivvies following directly behind her.

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21.10.17

story continued in part 15

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