by Lobo De la Sombra

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© Copyright 2015 - Lobo De la Sombra - Used by permission

Storycodes: MF; M+/f; police; investigation; kidnap; drug; bond; gag; encase; ship; enslave; did; rescue; arrest; rom; cons/nc; X

Regina Monroe and Raymond Moore were partners with a history. From their first days at the Academy, they had been thrust together by a system that loved to alphabetize everything. In classroom, during field training, even on the exercise yard, the placement of their names on the lists had them paired together more often than not. By the time they graduated, their partnership had been established beyond any doubt, with even some of the instructors referring to them as Raygina. After graduation, assigned to the same station, the partnership, and the nickname, had stuck.

As had something else. Even in the academy, it was rumored that the two were paired in more than an official capacity. As officers on regular assignment, the off-duty activities of Raygina were among the precincts worst kept secrets. At any other time, such fraternization between the two of them would have been frowned upon, if not forbidden, by those in command. Now, with resources of every kind, including manpower, becoming increasingly unequal to what was needed, a blind eye was turned.

Recently, the two had been investigating a series of disappearances. Over the past few months, women, and a few men, had been vanishing without a trace. Nor was this an isolated instance. In cities all over the country, similar missing person cases were being reported. As two of the first officers assigned to the case, Ray and Gina had soon found themselves thrust into the role of emissary, travelling from one city to another in an effort to gather information and coordinate efforts to solve the disappearances.

So far, it had been frustrating work. Even with information on all of the known victims drawn together from around the country, there was no pattern that anyone could find. The missing people had, for the most part, very little to connect them to each other, being, not only from different cities, but also different professions, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs. The only thing every one of the missing people had in common was that they were young, attractive, and had few if any family ties. In the end, it had been decided that there could be no possible connection between the various cases, and the cooperative effort was dropped.

Unwilling to let it go, the two partners continued to investigate on their own. Finally, after months of sifting through piles of evidence, they had discovered the one thing that every case had in common, one factor that existed in every single city and town where people had vanished. That factor was the Triangle of Health fitness center.

"You're kidding, right?" Captain Ericson, their commanding officer, shook his head. "That's all you can come up with?"

"It fits, Captain," Gina replied. "In every location we've investigated, the only constant was that there's a Triangle of Health located there."

"Which means absolutely nothing," Ericson replied. "Hell, you're talking about the most popular and successful chain of fitness centers in the country. Every two-bit town has one. Hell, we have three, or have you two geniuses failed to notice that?" He nodded toward the window. Across the street, set back from the pavement, sat one of the fitness centers, its huge, triangular emblem standing boldly in the grass in front of the entrance.

"We still think it's worth checking out," Ray insisted.

"Do you have something connecting them to all of the disappearances? Were all of the missing people members, or somehow associated with one of the centers?"

"Well," Ray said slowly, "not that we can see, no."

"In other words," Ericson said, shaking his head, "you have nothing. Which means you do nothing. You are not going to investigate one of the biggest companies in existence. The last thing we need is to get their lawyers on our case. What we have here are a stack of random, unrelated missing persons cases. I would suggest you focus on your current assignment, unless you'd both rather wind up as file clerks. Now get out of here and do your jobs."

"We can't just let this slide," Gina insisted later, as the two patrolled their area.

"I know," Ray replied, "but what do you suggest?"

"What I suggest, "Gina said, stopping for a traffic light, "is that we work on this on our own time. I'll get a membership at one of the places here. You keep digging into the paperwork. There's got to be something that will prove our theory, one way or another."

"Welcome to Triangle of Health, where your body is the most precious thing in our world. My name is Becky. How can I help you today?"

Gina glanced around her. Here in the lobby, the center's triangle motif was plainly evident. She spent a moment examining one image before turning toward the reception desk.

"You know," she said casually, "I've never understood the meaning behind your logo."

Becky smiled. "The triangle," she said brightly, "represents the three corners of health: physical, mental and spiritual. The markings are symbols for health and happiness from all of the ancient cultures of the world. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Hittite, even Aztec and Inca. They're all there to symbolize our dedication to your good health."


Becky beamed. "I always thought so. Now, what can I help you with?"

"I'm interested in a membership," Gina replied. "What kind of plans do you offer?"

After a few moments of discussion, Gina said, "I think that last one sounds right for me. How do I sign up?"

"I just need some basic information to get things started," the Becky replied. "Name, address, last four of your social. We'll need to do a credit check before you can be approved, of course. Oh, and we'll need a phone number so we can contact you once a decision has been reached."

Nodding, Gina provided the requested information, watching as the receptionist typed everything into her computer.

"I think that's everything," Becky said. "Now all we can do is wait for a decision. It usually doesn't take long, so I'd say you should receive a call from us in..." Becky paused, staring at her screen. "Oh," she finally said, "I'm sorry, I didn't realize."

"Is something wrong?"

"Nothing at all," Becky replied, turning a huge smile toward Gina. "It's not something we advertise, but anyone who serves the public is automatically approved for membership. And a discount, but we definitely don't advertise that. It's our way of showing our appreciation to the police, firemen, and everyone else who works on the behalf of the public. And it means that your membership is assured. Let me just print out the contract for you to sign, and then we'll arrange a tour of the facilities. Welcome to Triangle of Health, Detective Monroe. I know you'll love it here, and I promise, it will change your life."

"How did it go?"

Gina dropped into a chair with a sigh. "That place," she said, "is huge. They could hold the Olympics in that place, they've got so much equipment."

"And you saw everything?"

Gina shook her head. "Just the public areas, and a little bit of the office space. The maintenance area is off limits to members for safety reasons, which makes sense. Thing is, it's huge, too. Did you know that place actually makes all of their signs, logos, even some of their furniture? And they repair anything that gets damaged, from every location."

"Well," Ray observed, "that explains one thing. I've been looking through their manifests, and I noticed they get regular trucks in with what's marked as 'damaged material'. If they do all their own repair work here, that would make sense. But why ship that stuff so far when it could be just as easily repaired at home?"

"I'll see if I can find out," Gina said. "I think I'll pay them a visit tomorrow evening, not long before closing time. I'll find a way to stay behind when everyone else leaves, and then I'll have a long, quiet look around."

Well, Gina thought with a wry smile, that was anticlimactic.

As the center prepared to close for the night, Gina had quietly moved to the restroom. Slipping into one of the stalls and closing the door, she had stepped up onto the toilet, crouching to keep her head from protruding above the dividers. It was cliche, she knew, a trick from a bad movie, but it wouldn't do to have someone check the stalls and see her feet.

As it turned out, none of it had been necessary. As far as she could tell, nobody had even entered the room after closing time. Still, she had waited an extra hour before slipping down from her hiding place and leaving the restroom.

Now, glancing around the dimly lit main gym, she pondered her next move. Unwilling to risk discovery, she'd decided not to bring a weapon, so this was most definitely a look and leave situation.

Slinging her gym bag over her shoulder, Gina began her search. She'd considered changing into her street clothes first, but that would only take more time. As she moved, the dim lights reflected softly from the shiny material of her workout clothes.

Quickly but silently, she checked out each area of the facility. The exercise rooms, the training rooms, even the pool, spa and sauna, each received her attention. And each, even under the closest scrutiny, held nothing to indicate they were anything other than advertised. Finished with these, she paused and considered her remaining options. She could check the offices, or the rear area. Deciding there wouldn't be much in the office area that she could get to without picking locks on filing cabinets, she turned toward the back of the building, quickly making her way toward the maintenance area.

This area, she found when she entered, was brightly lit, in stark contrast to the darkness of the rest of the building. It was a large area the walls lined with cabinets and workbenches. The floor was covered with various works in process, neatly arranged to allow easy passage. As she moved through the room, Gina saw furniture in various stages of production, signs either freshly painted or awaiting their turn under the paint sprayer. In the center, three of the large emblems lay on sawhorses. Examining them, she could see no sign of damage, deciding that these had already been repaired and were simply awaiting shipment out.

Disappointed at not finding anything, Gina turned toward the door. As she did, she felt a slight sting to the side of her neck. Almost immediately, she felt her strength ebbing, her body collapsing to the floor. Stunned, she struggled to rise, but her body refused to move.

"You know," she heard from behind her, "I'm almost sorry to see you, Detective Monroe. When you joined, I was hoping you'd be just another of your kind, looking to stay fit. Of course, we did keep an eye on you, just in case, and it turns out it was a good thing we did."

Still unable to move, Gina could only lay staring toward the back of the building as a shape appeared in front of her. This man, she decided as she examined his face, was not someone she'd seen before. He was, however, someone she would remember when she got out of here. She watched as the man bent over her.

"You see," he told her casually as he began removing her clothes, "that special membership of yours wasn't what you were told." He smiled. "Oh, it does have its uses, just not the ones we tell people. Its main purpose is to help us keep track of anyone we need to watch. You know, police, certain city officials, people who could cause trouble for us. It also," he added, "serves as a great red herring. After all, who in their right mind would actually encourage the law to join them?"

Rising, the man glanced down at Gina's now naked body. "Yes," he said, nodding, "you'll make a nice addition to our inventory. Now we just need to get you logged in."

The man reached over Gina, his hand vanishing from her view. When it reappeared, it held a clipboard.

"I took the liberty," the man told her, "of looking into your customer profile while you were still hiding. Oh, and by the way, that whole toilet thing? You've watched too many bad movies, I think. Of course, you had no way of knowing, but we knew exactly where you were. That restroom wasn't checked because we already knew you were there. Now, let's get the paperwork done.

"Let's see," he continued, beginning to write, "name, unimportant. Item number, 17538. General description: female, age 30-35, height 1.7 meters, weight approximately 51.5 kilograms. Average build, proportional rate plus 2." The man glanced toward Gina with a grin. "Just so you know, that means you're very curvy for your build, a very popular feature, I might add. No birthmarks or other distinquishing marks, no tattoos or body piercings." Another grin. "Of course, those last two could change at some point."

The man wrote something else, then reached out again, his hand empty when it reappeared. "Now that we're done with that," he said, it's time to get you ready."

As the man walked away, someone else loomed over Gina, giving her a glimpse of his face as he lifted her still limp body from the floor. Head lolling to one side, she could only watch as she was carried toward where another man was working on one of the emblems, removing bolts and removing the top panel.

"Since you won't be in a position to tell anyone," she heard, "I see no harm in telling you what we're doing. Might as well let you have at least the satisfaction of having found out, even though you'll never be able to report it in.

"Our product," the man continued, "our real product, comes from all over the country. When one of our people finds a likely prospect, they contact the nearest facility, which then sends us a request for a replacement emblem. Once the replacement arrives, the product is secured within the current emblem and shipped here, marked as needing some kind of repair. The product is then processed, then shipped to a facility with the means of removing it from the country. You, I think, will be going north. I would tell you to enjoy your visit, but you won't be in a position to see anything before you're shipped overseas."

As the man spoke, Gina was placed within the emblem, her feet at the wide end. Desperately, she struggled to escape, but her body remained limp as she felt her legs drawn apart, straps around her ankles securing her feet to the corners. Her arms were drawn over her head, more straps securing them in place with her fingers wedged into the top corner. More straps followed, pinning her to the cold metal at knees, thighs, stomach, shoulders, and across her forehead. A final strap passed over her mouth, the attached gag slipping between her lips to muffle sounds she couldn't yet make. With her clothes and gym bag placed between her feet, there was now nothing remaining to show she'd ever been here.

"Rest well," she heard as the panel was put back into place, plunging her into darkness. "Your truck leaves first thing in the morning."

In the silence that followed, Gina could feel strength slowly returning. Desperately, she struggled against the straps holding her, but they were too tight, allowing only the barest of movement. Worse, the gag filling her mouth turned her loudest scream into a muffled grunt. Someone standing right beside this emblem, she realized, would never know there was a naked woman trapped inside. Finally, defeated, she relaxed, hoping without hope for some miracle to free her.

"She what?"

Ray resisted the urge to flinch from the force of Ericson's shout. "She went in undercover," he replied. "She was hoping to find something we could use."

"Damn it, Ray, she had no authorization for this."

"I know, Captain, but that's not important. What is important is the fact that she never came out. We need to get in there and find out what happened to her."

"If we get sued over this," Ericson warned, "you'll both be out of a job." He jabbed at the intercom. "Linda, call across the street, tell them to expect a visit. Yes, the fitness center. Tell them it's just routine, but get us access." Releasing the button, he glared at Ray. "Let's go. And you better hope for both your sakes she didn't do anything stupid."

Gina woke, surprised to realize she'd actually managed to fall asleep strapped into her dark prison. Once again, she tugged at her bonds, but they remained as tight and unyielding as before. Relaxing, she focused on listening, trying to learn anything that might help her.

At first, there was little to hear. An occasional voice, words she couldn't quite make out. Then, after some time had passed, she heard more voices. She still couldn't make out the words, but at least two of those voices sounded familiar. Once again she struggled, screaming, and once more her bonds defeated her, the gag rendering her most energetic scream into something even she had trouble hearing.

It's no use, she thought, relaxing in defeat. Help is just a few feet away, and they don't even know I'm here. Then, feeling a familiar sensation within her, Gina smiled around the gag. Maybe, she thought, there is a way to let them know.

"I apologize for the inconvenience, Mr. Barstow," Ericson said to the facility manager. "One of our officers has turned up missing, and we're trying to find her. We understand she recently joined this facility, so we had to look. Of course, it's obvious she's not here, and I hope you can understand that we're simply looking into every possibility."

"Of course, Captain," Barstow replied, smiling. "If it were one of my employees, I would also look into every possibility. However, as you say, the officer isn't here. So, if you don't mind, I do have work to do."

As the two spoke, workers lifted one of the emblems from its sawhorses. Watching as they moved toward a waiting truck, Ray saw some kind of liquid on the floor. Bending and touching the liquid, he raised his fingers to his nose, sniffing. Eyes wide, he stared at the emblem.

"Hold it right there!" he yelled, drawing his weapon and pointing it at the workers. "Very slowly, now, lower that to the floor."

"Detective Moore, what do you think you're doing?"

"Look at the emblem, Captain."

"What of it? It's just their emblem, identical to the one right outside the front door."

"With one exception," Ray replied, pointing at the liquid. "The one out front doesn't piss."

"Doesn't...?" Stunned, Ericson stared. Then, seeing Barstow begin to edge away, he drew his own weapon. "Not another step!"

"You have no right," Barstow said, glaring. "Rest assured, my lawyers will hear about this."

"Tell them," Ericson said, "that we had to deal with a medical emergency. Obviously, this emblem is suffering from severe kidney problems. I'm afraid surgery is the best option." Nodding toward Ray, he said, "See how this thing goes together."

"That was the Captain," Ray said, flipping his phone closed.


"He says Triangle facilities are being raided all over the country. They've already found three other women trussed up inside an emblem."


"It looks like the chain of fitness centers was all a front for a massive white slavery ring. The manager and senior staff here are already in custody, and they're expecting to see arrests nationwide. And," he added, "he's saying we could both be in for commendations for breaking the case. Isn't that great?"


Ray turned toward the bed, where Gina lay bound with legs spread, hands together over her head. Leaning down, he gently peeled away the tape covering her mouth. "You know," he said, kissing her, "I'm surprised you wanted to do this. This is the way you were bound inside that emblem, after all."

"It is," Gina replied, nodding. "And that is one experience I'd rather not repeat. It was strange, though. I was terrified, knew there was no way anyone would find me. But then, as I was drifting off to sleep, I imagined you binding me this way, and I liked the thought."

"And now?"

Gina smiled. "Now," she replied, "I like it even more. As long as it's with you, that is."

"At least this time, you didn't make a mess," Ray said teasingly.

"I didn't need to get your attention this time," Gina replied. "Besides," she added, shrugging as much as her bonds would allow, "you know what they say. When you gotta go..."

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