Chapter 18: A Clearer View of Things
When Cathy again saw daylight after the conclusion of the ordeal she and Bethany had shared in the cellar, it was obviously late afternoon. Although the passing of the hours and days was not easy to gauge in her almost continuous state of sensory deprived imprisonment, a quick calculation told her that she had been held here for five days and five nights by this time, which meant that it must be Wednesday. So if Dolores’ assertion that this effort to brainwash both herself and her fellow captive was to commence next week, there were still at least four days in the interim period to be negotiated and survived prior to this form of mental indoctrination being forced upon them. What was going to happen in the meantime? None of the probable scenarios bore too much thinking about.
It had taken the three mute and subservient minions only seconds to release Cathy from the strapping that had held her immobile against the wheel for all those countless hours, and once this task was complete, she had been left standing unhindered by bond or discouraging hand for several minutes, during which time she was allowed to exercise her cramped and sore muscles and get the blood flowing once more after so long in stretched out restraint. The possibility that she might try to escape, however, had of course already been thought of, with steps taken to ensure that this was never an option; the tight leather hood that lacked visual outlets having been placed around her head and locked at the neck prior to release from her straps.
After this brief respite, however, no mercy was shown in the rebinding process, as Cathy found her arms pulled with not inconsiderable force behind her back by one of Dolores’ workforce, before the now familiar feel of cold steel against her wrists informed her that she was once again in the grip of solid, unbreakable handcuffs. Only after a collar had been placed around her neck and securely buckled, did Cathy experience the sensation of the claustrophobic headwear loosening and being pulled away from her head. With her hair tangled and matted, and no hands to sweep it out of the way, it took a few seconds for her to clear the lank tresses from her eyes. When she did, however, the first thing that caught her eye was Bethany - or more precisely, the all-covering cast in which Bethany remained encased – being loaded onto the same trolley on which she had been brought to the cellar all those hours ago. As at the time of her entrance, several straps were being used to ensure she didn’t fall from the mobile bed during transit, before the blanket that had been used to obscure her during her arrival, was again utilised to cover her up just prior to departure. No sooner had this been completed, than two of the servants began manoeuvring the metal gurney towards the door which opened onto the gently sloping floor leading upwards into the main body of the mansion house.
Cathy was expecting at this point for the chain at her neck to become taut, as she was coaxed to follow the departing, rattling trolley. This didn’t materialise for several minutes, however, by which time the sound made by Bethany’s mode of transport had faded to nothing. Dolores had said nothing during this period, seemingly content to bide her time until the rumble of wheels over stone finally ceased. Only once she was sure that Bethany was well out of the way, did she beckon to her one remaining servant – the black cat-suited Crystal – to take hold of the leash and begin the process of leading her handcuffed prisoner out of the subterranean dungeon.
Although unencumbered by ankle cuffs or any other form of leg restraints, Cathy found the going difficult due to the stiffness in her legs, coupled with the weakness that had turned her knees to jelly due to the severe trauma brought about by her recent series of tortures. Cathy’s enforced trek didn’t stop at ground level, however, as once the main entrance hall had been reached, she found herself being persuaded to climb the main, ornate spiral staircase. The journey thus far had been made in silence. Only once the marble summit had been attained did Dolores – who was leading the way, with Cathy and her handler following in her wake - begin to elaborate on her plans for the next few days.
“I’m not going to make the mistake of parading either you or Bethany in front of my Bondage Class audience, either today or tomorrow, especially after what happened on the last occasion. As I mentioned, your training will start in earnest on Monday morning, so until then I’m going to allow you the best possible preparation for the experience ahead.”
She stopped by a wooden door that looked virtually identical to all the others that they had passed by in their travels. After searching for a specific key from the bunch on her belt, she pushed hard on this centuries old obstruction, although the force she had to use suggested that the wood had warped, which seemed to indicate that this room wasn’t used on a regular basis.
“So what I propose is for you to spend the next few days resting, relaxing, meditating and getting mentally prepared for the life you’ll be leading once the training gets under way.”
With the door finally open, she stood aside to allow Crystal to lead the reluctant guest into her new accommodation.
“I know you’ll be resistant to the changes to your lifestyle at first, but you’ll soon become acclimatised to the new regime that I have planned for you, especially with a little help from the technology and – what shall I call them? - chemical substances, which will aid you in your transformation.”
The room’s interior was cloaked in darkness, with the only light being provided by the open door.
“So like I said, ponder deeply on your circumstances, realise that there really are no other alternatives open to you, and I’m sure by the time Monday comes you’ll have found an inner calm and be fortified for the challenges ahead.”
As Dolores was speaking, Cathy found herself being urged to sit on the uncarpeted floorboards. At once she found the ever willing slave girl wrapping rope tightly around her ankles, before cinching and securing the bond. Dolores was still in full flow, her enthusiasm for her subject obvious.
“Of course, as you won’t be able to see, hear, move or speak, there’s very little you’ll be able to do except use the time available to come to terms with everything that’s happened to you , and philosophise on what you are about to become. I’m sure that peace of mind is just around the corner.”
With Cathy’s ankles taken care of, the binding routine moved up her legs to her knees, which swiftly received similar treatment to that employed on her lower legs.
“In the old days, monks and religious hermits used to wall themselves up in windowless cells no larger than this room, in order to meditate. With no outside influences to distract them, and nothing else to do but think, they would – if they were lucky – obtain religious enlightenment.”
The bond just below her knees now cut deeply into the drum-tight spandex, as her rigger repeated the process just above the joint.
“Now I’m not suggesting that you’ll find God, or suddenly become enlightened as to the workings of the universe or the meaning of life, or anything of that nature. But the same principle applies. I’m sure that, on a different level, something of the sort will occur, and you’ll come to see that a life of bondage and servitude is actually the most amazing thing that can happen to a girl like you. Just open your mind and feel it, live it, breathe it, embrace it. That’s really all that’s required.”
Crystal had finished tying Cathy’s legs and was rolling the stunned and fear-ridden woman over onto her stomach, pulling her bound ankles up behind her, and commencing the process of placing her into a strict hog-tie. The rope that connected Cathy’s handcuffed wrists to her ankles was short and caused her body to arch backwards to its limits. But she was given little time to dwell on the discomfort caused by this addition to her woes, as more rope steadily found its way around her legs, arms and body, until any meaningful movement was curtailed, and she found herself left to writhe in her helplessness on the uneven, dirt-strewn floor. The final piece of rope to be applied was woven into the latticework of other cords on her abdomen, before being threaded through her legs, wound around the steel manacles at her wrists, then doubled back through the slim gap between her thighs and knotted off at her waist.
“If you ever start to have doubts about what I’ve just told you, then I’m sure that a few quick jerks on this rope will soon make you realise that I’m right, and that bondage can be a great deal of fun if you allow it to be.”
As if to demonstrate, Dolores moved forwards and stood over Cathy’s inert form. Grabbing the rope, she gave a short, sharp pull on it, so that it dug deeply into her captive’s crotch. Cathy gasped through her gag as the coarse fibres bit deeply into her through the thin spandex of her cat-suit. Memories of the times that she’d been brought to orgasm in the past flashed through her mind, and for a split second she considered that - just maybe - Dolores might be right. As quickly as it had begun, however, the Mistress released her grip on the pleasure-inducing cord and she felt the pressure between her legs slacken somewhat.
“I’m not going to get you all hot and bothered right now Cathy. I’ll leave you to decide when and how often you want to bring this little joy bringing mechanism into play. I’m sure you’ll put it to good use over the coming hours. But before you do that, there are one or two more little adjustments we need to make to your bondage, to ensure you don’t get distracted by outside sights and sounds.”
As she spoke, Crystal bent down beside Cathy’s head and gently swept the tangled hair away from the left side of her face. Suddenly, the hearing in her left ear became severely muffled, as something pliable yet solid was pushed into her aural cavity. Dolores was speaking again, but now the volume of her speech was much fainter, and reached Cathy through her right ear only.
“That wax will harden over time and create an efficient barrier to incoming sound. I’m sure you’ll find...”
The rest of Dolores’ utterance was dulled to the point of almost non-existence, as her servant packed a similar sound inhibiting piece of solidifying gel into her right ear. Cathy could still make out some barely audible disturbances vibrating on her eardrums, but the sound was so dim that it seemed to be merely a faraway whisper that could hardly be recognised as speech at all.
In dismay, Cathy craned her neck upwards to look at Dolores, as a pathetic whimpering sound managed to force its way through the cloth and tape gag that had been permanent features in and around her mouth now for more hours than she cared to remember. But the immaculately polished boots of her tormentor, as they strutted in high-heeled authority across the floor, were the last things she was to witness for a long time, as her black-suited rigger swiftly and dexterously placed a leather hood over Cathy’s head, pulled the laces tight so that it moulded to the contours of her skull, and secured the neck area with a small padlock. Needless to say, this was one of the more sensory restrictive hoods, with no facility for either eyes or mouth; the only outlets being two tiny slits at the nostrils.
An extremely weak thudding noise briefly impinged on Cathy’s now all but obscured hearing, followed by what she deduced was the distant echo of a key turning in the lock. From that moment on, her world was one of complete darkness and silence.
For a few minutes Cathy half-heartedly struggled against the strict ropes that made movement of any description both painful and nigh on impossible. The location of the knot that secured her wrist manacles to her ankles was, she was soon to discover, a complete mystery, as her stretching fingers found no evidence of its whereabouts within their limited range of influence. And it soon transpired that none of the many other knots, hitches or cinches were about to yield to her strenuous efforts to in some way alleviate the extreme constraint in which her bonds conspired to hold her.
Was Dolores right? Could she really be brought around to truly believe that being bound and gagged for the rest of her life was something that she could tolerate, or even learn to love? Part of her found the whole concept offensive and vile. But even as she tried to dismiss the hideous notion that her destiny was to remain bound for all eternity, an inadvertent tug on the rope that ran with such taut proficiency between her thighs, told her that there might just be something in what Dolores was trying to tell her after all.
Bethany’s wheeled ascent from the dungeon was followed by an interlude of probably half an hour or more, during which time the blanket remained draped over her hardened cast, with no interaction from the servants after the trolley had come to a halt. Simply happy to have survived the near death experience in the well, Bethany found the silence and solitude restful after so long in mental turmoil, and her eyelids gradually became heavier and heavier, until finally they closed.
Suddenly, however, there was a soft swishing sound close to her face, and the area around her eyes experienced a cooler waft of air as the blanket was pulled away. Now wide awake again, her gaze met that of Dolores’, who was standing close at hand to her left, smiling.
“Well Bethany, it’s been quite an eventful day for you, hasn’t it? And to think that, if you hadn’t kicked out at me and tried to help your little friend escape, then all of that unpleasantness could have been avoided.”
The Mistress walked slowly towards Bethany’s feet, then strolled casually around until she was on her captive’s right hand side.
“Still, I suppose that it’s understandable in a way, seeing as how I’d informed you that I was going to keep the pair of you tied up for months on end.”
She sighed deeply and sauntered around Bethany’s head, until she was back at her original starting point.
“But that’s all irrelevant now. My plan was always to have some fun with you for a few days - such as the little escapade in the woods with Penny and Fang - before embarking on the long process of moulding you into clones of my three wonderfully submissive slave girls.”
She paused for a moment, and rapped softly with her knuckles on the plaster cast, in the vicinity of Bethany’s left breast.
“I’ve just made sure that Cathy is all safe and sound for the time being, but with you already enjoying such restrictive circumstances, there’s really not much else for me to do here.”
At the realisation that she wasn’t about to be released from the cast, Bethany groaned loudly and tried to plead for compassion to be shown. It should have been obvious to her by now, however, that words like compassion, sympathy and leniency were absent from Dolores’ vocabulary.
Over the next few minutes, the Mistress strutted continually around Bethany’s prone form, whilst expounding a very similar message to that given to Cathy only minutes before; namely that her two prisoners were going to be given ample time to recuperate from their recent ordeal, by being kept in solitary confinement for the next couple of days, with only the occasional break for food, drink and a change of clothing.
“Maybe, if you’re a good girl and don’t whine and whinge too much, I might just have you cut out of all that horrible plaster in the morning. I can’t promise anything though, as I’m a terrible one for changing my mind on things like that.”
As she spoke these words, Bethany’s eyes caught sight of a spool of duct tape in the Mistress’ hand, which must have been lying on the side of the trolley. Finding the stuck down end and picking at it with her nail, Dolores quickly pulled away a length of around eight or nine inches, tore this off with her teeth, then leant forward and, without warning, slapped the wide grey strip down over Bethany’s eyes.
“Goodnight Bethany. As I know you’re into being tied up, I’m sure that this whole process will be a lot easier for you than it is for Cathy. I hope you enjoy your quality bondage time.”
Dolores proved to be as good as her word, which resulted in the next sixty hours or so, for both Bethany and Cathy, being spent in almost entirely sensory deprived isolation. Thursday morning finally saw Bethany being cut out of her hardened shell; the process being an extremely nerve-wracking venture, as the sharp metal blades that sliced through the stubborn plaster came, on more than one occasion, within a fraction of an inch of piercing the spandex cat-suit worn beneath, and with it her tender flesh.
Thereafter, every twelve hours or so – although it’s very difficult to gauge the precise timescale of things when you’re being kept in darkness – each of the kidnapped young woman would have their bonds removed, then find themselves hurriedly disrobed, washed, fed and watered, before the binding process would once more commence, only in a different mode to the unfortunate woman’s previous session; “Just to keep things interesting for you”, as Dolores would explain to her securely bound detainees.
As was always the case where Dolores was concerned, the claustrophobic hoods were never removed whilst the wearer’s hands were free. It seemed too, that Dolores had learnt from her previous experience of dealing with her unhappy guests; never allowing Cathy and Bethany in the same location at the same time, and ensuring that at least two of her servants were in attendance during these brief but welcome intervals in what was becoming a marathon ordeal for both prisoners.
Ball-ties, hog-ties and frog-ties; encasement in spandex sleep-sacks and vacuum beds; locked in tiny cupboards and coffin like boxes; ropes, straps, chains, tape, handcuffs and single-sleeve mittens; all these and more were employed to encumber and entrap the two women, whose battle-weary resistance was beginning to fail them, and whose grip on the passing of time and memory of the outside world were beginning to seem like alien concepts.
For Bethany, the past few days had left her with an emotional dilemma. No, of course she didn’t want to spend month after month – possibly years – as a prisoner in this dark and dingy medieval fortress. And the tortures she’d been put through, both physical and mental, made her desire to be away from this place forever an almost constant theme in her troubled mind. Almost constant? Well there was one small nagging thought that cropped up every so often that would – briefly but powerfully – weaken her conviction. For Bethany could never quite dispel from her mind the reason that she’d come here in the first place; which was, of course, the deeply rooted longing to be tied up as tightly as was humanly possible and kept that way.
Although her time in the well had been life threatening and therefore extremely terrifying, as soon as the threat of drowning had been removed, and she was no longer in mortal danger, the notion of being held in tight restraints began to exhibit some kind of appeal once more. And once she’d been cut out of the plaster sheath that had made even struggling impossible, and was again bound in the more conventional handcuffs, ropes and tape, the ability to wriggle and writhe in her bonds began, on the odd occasion, to weave its magic spell on her. When this feeling came over her, she found the desire for freedom suddenly diminish, and the more she tried to fight her bonds, the greater this sensation became, until it almost overwhelmed her in its intensity. At times like this, she caught a glimpse of what life in terminal bondage would be like – and it wasn’t as horrendous a concept as she would have at first thought. At such times the lure of the world outside would lose its appeal, and the idea that she would ever walk free again became anathema to her.
It proved, however, impossible to sustain this mood, and once her struggling stint had run its course, she found herself once more trying to hatch a plan that would get both herself and Cathy out of this hellish nightmare that they had become embroiled in.
“So Bethany and Cathy, you’ve been such good girls over the past few days, it seems that at last you’ve learnt your lesson. I hardly heard a peep from either of you, and my servants report that you’ve been no trouble at all during your feeding sessions and toilet breaks. Now if only you’d have been as obedient as that from the start, then we wouldn’t have got off on the wrong foot, and all that disagreeable business in the cellar the other day could have been avoided. I’ve also been informed that damp patches have been noticed in a certain area of the cat-suits you’ve been wearing, which seems to suggest that you’ve been amusing – or maybe that should be abusing – yourselves during the long hours of solitude. This augurs well for the future, as you’ve obviously discovered that the application of a well placed rope can be a mind blowing experience.”
It was the first time that Bethany and Cathy had been allowed any contact with each other since their departure from the cellar on Wednesday evening. Having been kept in solitary isolation with only minimal interference from Dolores or her helpers, both girls had lost all track of time, although the sun that shone with what seemed unnatural brilliance through the parlour window, informed them that it was now morning, and Dolores was soon to update them on what day of the week it was.
“Tonight I have a little get together planned with a crowd of my friends, which – as you’ve proved model prisoners – I’m going let you participate in... well, sort of.”
Dolores prowled the room as she spoke, making eye contact with each member of her captive audience in turn and pausing for dramatic effect every few seconds.
“I think I probably told you, that on certain Saturdays I hold what are called ‘BATH nights’, which are basically an excuse for a good old-fashioned party, with lots of food and drink, plenty of music and dancing...oh, and with a great deal of bondage thrown in, of course.”
After their latest session of bondage had come to a close - Cathy having spent the night in a tightly strapped latex sheath, whilst Bethany had been frog-tied - both inmates had assumed that their day would follow the now familiar routine of enforced shower, change of clothes, a morsel to eat and a couple of mouthfuls of water, before it was back into the routine of strict, sightless bondage once again. The only uncertainty seemed to be what form exactly their latest restraints would take.
However on this occasion, once Cathy had been dressed in a freshly laundered black spandex cat-suit, and had her hands manacled behind her back, she found that, instead of being left for the next twelve hours or so in solitary confinement, the wax plugs had been forcibly – and quite painfully – removed from her ears, allowing her to hear clearly once more for the first time in days. A collar had been fixed around her neck, and she found herself being led by the attached chain out of her night-time place of captivity and pulled onwards down a long dark corridor. Nothing too unusual in that of course, as she’d found herself moved from one tiny prison cell to another on more than one occasion over the past few days. But something was different this time. Now, instead of traipsing down one endless dimly lit passageway after another, she found that she was being moved towards a more brightly lit area of the house, which ultimately led to the main spiral staircase, and then onwards down into the main foyer area of the mansion with its unshaded windows that allowed the sunshine to pour in and sting her darkness-accustomed eyes.
Being led into the parlour by her handler – on this occasion the silver-suited Sapphire – Cathy was overjoyed to see Bethany sitting bound to an upright chair by the gently smouldering fire. Not only was she relieved to see that her fellow abductee had now been shorn of her plaster prison, but she was also delighted to see a friendly face, notwithstanding the fact that Bethany’s visage was semi-obscured – as was her own – by the obligatory grey duct tape which prevented verbal communication.
And soon the gags that each of the long-term captives wore were not the only similarity in their bondage, for the instant that they entered the room, Sapphire, with Cathy in tow, made a beeline towards a second wooden chair that stood unoccupied on the other side of the hearth. Within no more than a minute or two, Cathy found her legs bound not only to each other, but also to the sturdy item of furniture that she had been forcibly encouraged to sit on. It was only then, with both captives under strict and unbreakable restraint, that Dolores saw fit to grace the room with her undoubtedly authoritative presence.
After delivering her pre-prepared address, Dolores turned to her servants.
“Okay ladies, I think as our two guests have been so delightfully well-behaved over the past few days, that we can dispense with all that solitary nastiness just for one day. I think a few hours in the sunshine will refortify their spirits and get them in the party mood, don’t you?”
As was customary, the trio of women made no attempt to answer their leader’s enquiry, either by word or gesture, but merely stood by waiting for further instruction.
“Take them up to the roof for a few hours. That will give them some insight into the wonderful countryside that we’re surrounded by here.”
She turned to where Bethany sat.
“I’m sure, as a Londoner, you’ll not be too familiar with the local scenery Bethany. This will give you the opportunity to see what a beautiful county Suffolk is....”
And then she added, almost as an afterthought,
“...and how lucky you are that you’re now going to be living here long term.”
Without further delay, the servants moved forwards and began releasing the bonds that held both Cathy and Bethany to their mooring points. With Sapphire once more grabbing the leash that hung from her neck, Cathy soon found herself being hustled out of the room. A quick glance over her shoulder reassured her that Bethany and her minder, Electra, were not far behind. Once more they climbed the circular marble stairs, before continuing upwards until the third floor of the house was reached, which Cathy had always assumed was the highest level of this ancient structure.
However, at this point two unexpected things happened. Firstly, as they reached the top of the stairs and Sapphire steered her away to the right, it became apparent that she and Bethany were once again to be parted, as another backward glance was enough to inform her that her fellow captive was being led in the opposite direction. Cathy was given little time to ponder on the implications of this, however, as after only a few more seconds, she found that the passageway ahead terminated in a dead end. There was, however, a wooden door directly in front of them, looking even more ancient and unused than the myriad of other doors in this multi-roomed labyrinthine house. A large, rust-covered padlock held this door shut, but this was quickly unlocked by Sapphire, who then, with some difficulty, pulled the reluctant panel open. The way ahead was shrouded in darkness, but Cathy could just make out another tightly spiralling staircase rising into the gloom. Unlike the one that formed the centrepiece of the grand entrance hall of Shackleton Grange, however, these steps appeared seldom trodden nowadays, although they were clearly of great antiquity, as could be gathered by the fact that they had been worn smooth by countless feet ascending and descending over the course of the centuries.
A sharp tug on her neck was enough to make Cathy place her foot on the precarious step that veered away sharply to the right. The darkness gradually increased as the duo made their way up the unlit stairwell, but after around ten steps, they encountered yet another door that stood in the way of their upward progress. Like the last, this too was held fast with bolt and padlock, and as on the previous occasion, it was evident that Sapphire was well prepared to overcome this obstacle, as even in the inadequate light she swiftly located the required key from her bunch and inserted it in the lock.
The opening of this latest obstruction immediately brought dazzling sunlight streaming into the tiny cramped spiral passageway. Unprepared for this sudden surge of brilliance, Cathy squinted upwards. The shock of this unexpected change in lighting conditions also made her inadvertently flinch, and she almost lost her footing on the narrow time-worn steps. A quick jerking sensation in the region of her neck, however, let her know that descent, whether accidental or pre-planned, was not an option.
Being led up the last few steps into the outside world, after so long indoors, was a great feeling, and the fresh spring air, taken in big doses through her nostrils, did indeed make her feel better than she had in days. Looking around, the woods and grounds of Shackleton Grange seemed a pleasant enough scene. But what sent a chill surging up Cathy’s spine was the sight of the boundary walls, which rose uninterrupted in every direction to completely surround the property, forming an impenetrable barrier between herself and the free world beyond, and letting her know – if she needed reminding – that this was a prison camp, not an idyllic rural retreat that she had willingly agreed to spend the weekend at. But where was this vantage point that she had been brought to?
Inspecting her surroundings a bit closer to home, Cathy now found that the stone floored platform on which she now stood was circular in shape, with a diameter of no more than ten feet. Around the edge, a low parapet, maybe two feet in height, guarded the visitor to this, one of the highest points of the mansion, against plunging to their death in the courtyard below, should they lose their footing on the crumbling masonry. But this was never going to be an issue for Cathy, as she wasn’t going to be allowed anywhere near the precipice. For, in the centre of this crow’s nest style viewing point, a tall flagpole – devoid of fluttering standard - rose from the flagstones, and it was towards this wooden post that Cathy was now being manoeuvred.
Being placed with her back to this sturdy column that must have measured around twelve feet in height, Cathy found the chain at her neck being wound around this mooring point and fastened with a padlock. Only once her anchorage had been thus secured, was the left bracelet of the handcuffs at her back briefly unlocked. But this momentary release from her manacles was extremely short in duration, and within seconds her arms had been twisted around the post and relocked, so that she had no way of moving away from the pole, with its once pristine white paint now peeling and mildew encrusted.
But of course, simply being handcuffed and chained to the pole was far too simple a method for the denizens of such a bondage loving establishment as Shackleton Grange to tolerate. To rectify this situation, Sapphire began binding Cathy’s spandex sheathed legs and body to the rigid pillar with the usual ruthless efficiency with which all of Dolores’ minions seemed to be blessed. The upshot of all this activity was that, within no more than five minutes, Cathy found herself bound from ankles to shoulders, so that shifting her position more than a fraction of an inch in any direction was now beyond her means. With her work here complete, the slim, raven-haired slave girl walked towards the door that led down into the house, never once looking back at the results of her endeavours. Within seconds she was gone; the thud of the closing door, the slamming of the bolt and the reapplication of the padlock letting the inflexibly bound woman know that she was destined to remain here for the foreseeable future.
All was quiet over the rooftops of Shackleton Grange, save for the sounds of nature and a light breeze that whistled around the crumbling turrets and towers of this strangest of stately homes. Looking away to her left, Cathy could view another, equally isolated turret at the far corner of the building. From this stone sentinel, a second flagpole pointed skywards, to which, Cathy noticed, another female figure had been tethered in similar, if not identical fashion to herself; the blonde hair that caught the breeze identifying this as Bethany. Although too far away to make out the features on her face, Cathy was sure that Bethany was gazing back in her direction. And she was sure that her fellow prisoner was asking the same question that she was asking herself; namely, how do we attract attention to our plight and bring this whole sorry saga to a close?
For what must have been several hours, Bethany gazed hopefully over the panorama set out before her. Beyond the perimeter wall, the rolling green fields, distant farmhouses and church spires seemed devoid of human activity. Once in a while, the sound of a car engine would disturb the rural tranquillity of a lazy Saturday morning, although vehicles using this stretch of single track road were few and far between. As the sun passed its zenith, however, the flow of traffic did begin to increase, and it soon became clear that the cars which were now traversing this underused byway had one common destination, and that was Shackleton Grange. From her vantage point, Bethany watched as a vehicle would stop for up to half a minute by the main gates, which would then clank noisily as they slowly opened, before the car – on almost every occasion a flashy, expensive make and model– began making its way up the driveway. As it reached the disused fountain, however, it would disappear beyond the parapet that obscured her view of the approaches to the main entrance of the house.
However, aural stimuli still travelled upwards to her lofty eyrie after visual contact was lost, and the sounds she heard confirmed what Dolores had told her earlier regarding the arrival of the partygoers, as the good humoured chatter of female voices followed the sound of tyres coming to a halt on gravel, engines dying and the opening of car doors.
As the afternoon wore on, the arrival of more cars carrying eager bondage enthusiasts became commonplace, so much so that Bethany began to take little notice of the constantly opening gates - just visible beyond the avenue of trees - and the commotion as the guests reached their destination and entered the house. However, after the arrival of a green sports car, something caught Bethany’s eye that made her heart race with anticipation.
What it was exactly that first drew her attention to the figure in the grounds, Bethany wasn’t sure. But there was definitely something odd about the way this person was reacting. Definitely female, the figure didn’t simply walk along the driveway towards the house, as any legitimate visitor would have been expected to, but instead darted furtively from tree to tree, as if wary of being spotted. If there was any doubt on Bethany’s mind that this woman was not supposed to be here, it was confirmed as the gates reopened to admit yet another carload of guests. As the vehicle rattled its way along the pot-holed driveway, the woman darted behind a tree and pressed her body as close to the trunk as she could get, only tentatively peeping out from her hiding place several seconds after the car had passed by.
So what was this trespasser doing here? Bethany hardly dared to entertain the notion that finally rescue was at hand. Could it be that somehow this woman had discovered the sinister nature of what was going on, and that she was here on a mission to rescue the two women being held against their wills? For a minute or two, Bethany’s hopes soared. But then the reality of the situation kicked in. Why, if she had any inkling that women were being kidnapped and held in perpetual bondage, had she come here alone? Surely it made more sense to call the police and let them deal with the matter. As she watched the woman break cover and stroll briskly across the courtyard, Bethany’s heart sank again. She had no idea why this female was acting so strangely, but that was how things would have to remain for the time being. As she neared the house, the woman disappeared, as did any grounds for optimism Bethany may have entertained that help had finally arrived.
As the sun gradually began to dip towards the horizon, and the shadows cast by the flagpoles and their female attachments started to lengthen, footsteps at last sounded on the narrow twisting steps that led to the isolated watchtowers. With Sapphire’s reappearance, Cathy found herself slowly and methodically being released from the stringent ropes that had held her in check for what must have been six hours or more. As she glanced across the moss covered rooftop, she noticed that Bethany too was also being released from her fetters by the pink-suited Electra. It was almost as if the two slave girls had synchronised their timing and actions, so that each would complete their tasks in the same order and finish at exactly the same second.
With her rope bonds now discarded, Sapphire expertly released Cathy’s hands from behind the post, before quickly reinserting her wrist into the so recently relinquished bracelet, so that she was no longer pole bound. The time between the bracelet falling away from her arm and the ratchets once more clicking shut to encompass her wrist again, could have been no more than three seconds. With her neck chain unlocked, Cathy was finally cast adrift from her moorings, allowing her silver latex-clad attendant to guide her towards the entrance back into the house. The tight whorl of the stairwell, coupled with the narrow and dilapidated state of the stone steps, made descent a trial, as without the use of her hands, Cathy feared slipping and falling at any moment. The bottom of this treacherous staircase was reached without incident however. Being led by the neck along the dark corridor, Cathy soon spied a similar pairing approaching from the opposite direction, as Bethany and her minder reached the next downward stairwell at exactly the same moment as their counterparts. The journey down the floors proved uneventful; Cathy and her minder heading the procession, with Bethany and her attendant just behind. As they neared the top of the ornate stairs that led down to the ground floor, a clamour of female voices rose in volume, and soon the makers of this noise came into view, milling around in the grand entrance hall.
Their walk across the marble floor towards a set of double doors raised hardly an eyebrow, as the excited and ever increasing throng were clearly used to seeing bound women being led by the neck on such occasions as this. Indeed, many of the assembled crowd were in some form of restraint or other themselves. The four woman caravan didn’t stop to mingle with the guests, however, and instead, once their destination was reached, Sapphire pulled one half of the double doors open and led Cathy over the threshold. Bethany, too, was urged to enter, and with both unwilling guests inside, the door was quickly closed behind them. After the general hubbub of the foyer, the ballroom was calm and peaceful, with only one other person in evidence. And that person was Dolores.
Cathy and Bethany gazed around the spacious room in awe. On one side, a well stocked bar had been set up, with optics displaying every spirit and liqueur imaginable, and fridges containing bottled beer, ciders and mixers also in evidence. Along the wall on the opposite side of the room, several long, white clothed tables had been laid out, on which sat cutlery, crockery and napkins; evidently the setting for a lavish buffet. At the far end of the room, turntables and a multitude of lights and speakers had been rigged up. But what caught the eye of the shackled and gagged damsels ,was the sight of two metal cages that sat in the middle of the dance floor, attached to which were strong chains leading upwards to pulleys located just below the high ceiling. Dolores was standing by these steel barred containers, as if waiting for her captives to arrive. With encouragement from Sapphire and Electra, the captive duo were marched forwards to within only a few feet of the cages.
“Well ladies, I hope you appreciated the sunshine and fresh air. I must say you’ve both got a bit of colour back in your cheeks, so I hope you’re feeling revitalised and in the party spirit. Unfortunately, as you’re my long term prisoners, I can’t allow you to fraternise openly with the other guests tonight. But I can promise you that you’ll be one of the major attractions this evening. You’re both bright girls, so I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that you’ll each be spending the evening in one of these contraptions. But now I’ve got a decision to make.”
She turned and gestured towards one of the cages.
“As you can see, this cage is furnished with a vertical metal pole, whilst the other...”
She pointed to the second mobile cell, located twenty feet or so from the first.
“...is devoid of any such feature.”
She turned back to face her two captives.
“So my dilemma is this: which of you should be bound to the immovable post, and which of you should be hog-tied in the other cage. Do either of you have any preference?”
Bethany and Cathy glanced at each other, but when neither volunteered any response, Dolores continued.
“So, as neither of you seem capable of choosing, I guess that the fairest way to decide would be to toss a coin.”
The Mistress held out her hand to reveal a shiny silver coin; a sure sign that she had already made up her mind that this was her chosen selection method. This was no ordinary Royal Mint issue currency, however. Instead the ‘head’ side featured the image of a woman from the neck upwards, with a large ball-gag protruding from her stuffed mouth, and attached straps that wended their way around to the back of her head. A blindfold covered her eyes. On the reverse or ‘tail’ side, the engraving was that of a ‘pony girl’ in a bondage mitten, harness and bridle, complete with long flowing tail and mane attachments. For several seconds Dolores allowed each of the two bound women to study this strange disc. It was clear that it was something she was immensely proud of.
“I had a small number of these coins struck to mark the fifth anniversary of the formation of the BATH society. I have a few left, if either of you would like one as a souvenir. They’re obviously not legal tender... not that either of you will be in a position to spend money from now on, anyway.”
Balancing the coin on the nail of her thumb, she prepared to send it aloft.
“Okay, Cathy, you call it. If you’re correct, you get the pole, if not the hog-tie. Heads or tails?”
Cathy made a noise through her gag that was meant to convey the message to Dolores that she wanted no part of this game.
“I’ll take that as ‘heads’ then, shall I?”
She spun the coin high into the air and allowed it to land with a sharp clinking sound on the wooden flooring. Bending down, she picked the coin up.
“Heads it is. That means you’re going to be pole bound for the duration of the party. Bethany, I’m afraid you’re going to have to spend several hours in a strict hog-tie.”
Without a second’s hesitation, Sapphire and Electra moved forward and forcibly ensconced their designated prisoner in their own private steel barred pen. Soon Cathy found herself bound as she had been for most of the day; upright against the four inch diameter metal post that had been welded into both the floor and ceiling of her tiny stockade. Once the ropes had been secured, a leather hood was placed over her head which covered her lower face, although mercifully left a gap for her eyes and nose, so that at least she wasn’t going to be left in darkness for once. Looking across at Bethany, she noticed her fellow captive had been laid face down on the metal floor of her cage and was now being placed into the most restrictive hog-tie imaginable. She too had been hooded in identical fashion.
With the binding complete, the two silent riggers stepped out of the cages and sealed the barred doors with padlocks. Seconds later, the clanking of metal on metal coincided with the sensation of motion, as Cathy felt her coop begin to rise skywards. Within thirty seconds, the cage was suspended at a height of around five feet from the ground, at which point the grinding sound ceased, as did the ascent. Looking the few feet across to the other cage, it was apparent to Cathy that Bethany’s enclosure had elevated in unison with her own, and now swung gently from side to side at the same level from the floor.
Dolores sidled in between the cages and gave each a shake in turn. A slight rattling sound filled the air, accompanied by a greater rocking motion than had been the case a moment earlier. The Mistress looked at her watch.
“So girls, I’m afraid that it will be a few hours before this place really livens up. But at least in the meantime you’ll have a chance to relax and get into the party mood.”
She was just about to speak again, when the until now absent servant, Crystal, burst into the room in her black skin-tight outfit. Her eyes were wide, and it was clear that something was going on which required Dolores’ immediate attention. With her hand, she beckoned to Dolores to follow her with some urgency, while a faint noise issued from her mouth, although the masking latex of her hood made her utterance incomprehensible... or at least it seemed that way to Cathy.
“What’s that Crystal? There’s a prowler in the grounds you say? Well we’d better go and greet our unexpected visitor then, hadn’t we?”
She turned to the other two members of her team, who since operating the mechanisms that elevated the cages to their lofty positions, had been standing to one side in anticipation of their next assignment.
“Come on girls, let’s see who this might be that’s decided to make it their business to snoop around. With a bit of luck, we may have another guest joining us tonight. I’m sure Cathy and Bethany will be thrilled to have somebody else to keep them company.”
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story continues in The Secrets of Shackleton Grange 19: The Padded Cell