Kristen Finds a Job

by Zack

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© Copyright 2009 - Zack - Used by permission

Storycodes: M/f; F/f; bond; bdsm; kidnap; slave; boxed; gag; cons/nc; X

"I'm really worthless, Jim."

"You're not worthless, Kristen. You're just depressed. You'll feel better when you find a job. Or you could go to college. Study mechanical engineering, maybe. You're certainly smart enough. Whatever you do, you need to get out of the apartment."

Jim and I were sitting on the couch in his apartment on Tuesday evening. Or was it Monday? Or Wednesday? When all of the days are the same it's hard to keep track. I was wearing my usual Pointless Existence outfit of shorts and sleeveless blouse, both faded and worn. Jim was wearing his off-duty outfit of jeans and a teeshirt, both faded and worn. I looked drab, he looked sharp.

"I'm twenty seven, Jim. I'd be over thirty by the time I got a degree, and then I'd just be starting a new career. Besides, I like what I do now, I just want to make a living at it. Anyway, how could I pay for college?

"I'd help you with that."

"Then I'd really be a parasite. It's bad enough now. I don't pay any rent, I don't buy any groceries, I just sponge off you."

"The additional costs of having you live here are very small, and certainly worth it to me. I can easily afford you, especially since I got a raise when I was promoted to detective."

"I know just the job! I can be your sex slave!" I rolled off the couch, knelt at Jim's feet, and put my forehead on the floor. "How may I serve you, Master?"

"Get up, Kristen! I want a friend, not a slave."

"You mean you don't like tying me up?"

"OK, I want a kinky friend. Now get up, or else."

"No, this is all I deserve." I knew I was pushing it, but when I'm depressed I feel as though I deserve to be punished.

"OK, you asked for it."

Jim got up from the couch and I got a bit worried. I may think I deserve be punished, but that doesn't mean I want to be punished. He crouched beside me, pulled my hands behind my back, and handcuffed me. I don't like police handcuffs, and he knows it. I protested, "Hey, I don't..."

"Silence, slave girl! I will not tolerate insolence or disobedience. I'm going to whip you until you understand that."

He took off his heavy leather belt and hit the couch. There was a loud crack! and I flinched.

"A few dozen lashes with this will improve your behavior."

I was scared now. Was Jim really mad at me? I closed my eyes and mentally prepared myself for the beating I had provoked. I knew Jim wouldn't really hurt me, but being spanked with the belt would hurt, and I'm not into pain.

"Yowch!" Jim's hand swatted my bottom, hard. I sat back on my heels and glared at him.

Jim laughed, "You aren't very subservient for a slave girl. You should have thanked me for that swat, not given me a death look. Now get back on the couch."

I immediately did as he asked. He took off the handcuffs and hugged me. I hugged him back, enjoying the feel of my arms around his solid body. I really love him.

He ran his hand down my side and over my hip. "You've lost weight, Kristen."

"Yeah, I lose my appetite when I'm depressed. You think I'm too skinny, don't you?"

"Not at all. You have a great shape. Your hip to waist ratio is perfect." He fondled the parts under discussion.

"My tits are too small, though."

"They're perfect too. See, they just fill my hand. I don't really like big floppy breasts."

"You say my body is acceptable, but I offer to be your sex slave and you reject me. What's wrong with me?"

"Kristen, I don't want a slave, and you already give me all the sex I can handle. Now stop wallowing in worthlessness! You know better." He kissed me again. "I want you to be happy, and I know you are happiest when you're doing something productive. I also know something else besides not having a job is bothering you. What's the problem?"

It took a while and several false starts, but finally I managed to say, "I'm really, really scared that I'll be dragged back to the prison farm. There are some people there who don't like me."

"You have no reason to fear that! I told you, I talked to Aunt Jesse and got your contract canceled. She was in no position to quibble. If word of what those Psych loonies did to you got around they'd be lucky to keep their jobs. It's one thing to use student volunteers as lab rats, it's something else entirely to force an outsider to be one."

"It's not Jesse I'm worried about, or even Joan. It's their student staff, especially Gimpy. He's really pissed."

"I can understand that," Jim laughed. "You did break his foot. But don't worry. I paid him a visit, in uniform, and let him know the Sheriff's Department would take a close personal interest if he so much as looked at you. I also told him to let the others know the warning applied to them too. You have nothing to fear, believe me."

I kissed him. "I do believe you. And I'll start looking for a job first thing tomorrow."

* * *

I'm a diesel mechanic, so the first person I called the next morning was Mack, the service manager at the truck stop where I used to work. "Hi, Mack. This is Kristen."

"Kristen! Good to hear from you. Is everything all right? Are you still mixed up with that university craziness?"

"I'm OK, and I managed to escape from their clutches. But I need a job. Are you hiring?"

"If I was, you'd be the first one I'd call, Kristen. But business is still slow, and I can't take you back. I'm real sorry."

"That's what I figured, Mack. You know of anybody else who needs a mechanic?"

"Maybe I do. Just a minute." I heard Mack shuffling some papers. "Yeah, here it is. A man was in here yesterday, looking for a mechanic. The company name is CP Equipment. Here's their number. Got a pencil?"

I found a pencil and a scrap of paper and wrote down the number. "Thanks, Mack. I'll give them a call."

"Good luck, and if they want a reference have them call me."

"I'll do that, bye."

I tried to stay calm, but the prospect of a job as a mechanic was very exciting. My hand shook as I dialed the number.

After two rings a woman answered. "CP Equipment, Carla speaking."

I gave her my name and explained why I had called. She asked me some questions about my experience. I only embellished a little, and gave her Mack's name as a reference. She said she'd call me back and I gave her my phone number. She didn't sound too excited, and my enthusiasm dimmed. I didn't expect to hear from her again.

Forty seven minutes later my phone rang. "Kristen? This is Carla. I talked to Mack and he was very positive about you. Can you come here for an interview?"

"Sure! When and where?"

"In 45 minutes, at our office." She gave me the address, which was in an older, industrial part of Flagstaff.

She called back! I may have a job! I wanted to be able to start work immediately if I had to, so I dressed in my working clothes; jeans, a plaid flannel shirt, and my steel-toed boots. I got out my old blue coveralls and my safety glasses. My hair was still very short, hardly more than a blonde stubble, so I wore a tan baseball cap with the truck stop logo on it. I figured it would only take about fifteen minutes to get there from Jim's apartment, but I couldn't wait. I left the apartment and got in my car.

Jean tried to sell my car while I was incarcerated but I still had the wreck, as there's not much of a market for a '95 Neon with faded green paint and a little bit of rust. Replacing it was high on my 'to buy' list. I held my breath and murmured an incantation as I turned the key. The gods smiled and the car started. I drove off, singing like a lark.

I found the address with no trouble and parked across the street. I forced myself to wait in the car until just before the interview time. Don't want to look desperate! The building stood alone on the left side of an old U-shaped industrial park that seemed to be mostly vacant. It was made of concrete block and painted in several shades of gray. There were three large roller doors along the side of the building facing the center driveway, but no windows. On the right front, facing the street, was an office with a glass door. A new silver Lexus and a year-old tan Honda Civic were parked in slots in front of the office.

The only identification was a hand-lettered sign taped inside the door: C/P Equipment. I pushed open the door and entered the office at exactly the time specified. The room was small, maybe ten by twelve, and the office furniture consisted of a battered gray steel desk facing the door and three mismatched wooden chairs. There was a door in the back wall, to the right of the desk, and another door to it's left, in the side wall.

A woman was seated behind the desk. She said, "Kristen? I'm Carla." She stood up and walked around the desk. "Please sit down."

I took the chair nearest the desk and looked Carla over. She was in her late thirties or early forties and had a 'lush' figure, with big breasts and a narrow waist. Her hair was black and pulled back in a tight ponytail. She was dressed all in black, with a long-sleeved shirt, tight leather skirt, and knee-high boots with three-inch heels. All she needed to complete the outfit was a riding crop and handcuffs tucked into her belt.

Carla moved in front of me and asked, "What do you know about our company, Kristen?"

"Nothing, really. Just that Mack said you were looking for a diesel mechanic." I had to lean back to see her face.

"We buy and sell used construction equipment. Mostly backhoes and front loaders, but also bulldozers, graders, and whatever else we can pick up. Your main job would be working on the engines, but this is a small company and we need someone who is versatile, so you could expect to do many different jobs. I talked to Mack and he praised you highly."

We were interrupted when the door to the left of the desk opened and a man entered the office from what appeared to be a private office. Carla said, "Paul, this is Kristen. She is our prospective mechanic. Kristen, this is Paul, our salesman. I'm the office manager, and we also have three crews driving our trucks. They're on the road most of the time."

Paul was on the shady side of forty, of medium height, and pudgy. His short black hair was thin on top. He was dressed as a salesman, with pressed slacks and a sport coat over an open-necked shirt, but he had imbedded grease around his fingernails so I was pretty sure he also worked in the shop.

He said, "Pleased to meet you, Kristen. Carla, I've got an appointment in Holbrook and then another in Gallup. I may not be back tonight."

"You had better be back tonight, Paul."

Paul seemed to crumple. He nodded vigorously and backed out of the door. Once outside, he got into the Lexus and took off. Obviously, Carla managed more than the office.

Carla sat down behind her desk, much to my relief. She said, "I think you will fit in here, Kristen. I'll accept Mack's recommendation." She wrote a number on a piece of paper and gave it to me. "This is the hourly pay I can offer. If you accept, you can start tomorrow morning."

It wasn't as much as I'd made at the truck stop, but it was close enough. I tried not to sound too eager. "Sure, that's fine. I can start tomorrow."

"Good. Your working hours will be from 8 to 4:30, with lunch from 12 to 12:30. Do not be tardy. I will not tolerate tardiness." She took some papers out of the desk. "I need to see some ID, like your driver's license, and your Social Security card."

I dug my wallet out of my jeans and gave her my license and card. She looked at my license and asked, "Is this your current address?"

"Well, yes and no. That's Mack's address, where I was living when I got the license. Now I live with Jim, my boyfriend. But Mack gives me any mail that comes to his place, so I use that address."

"Very well." Carla wrote down the information and returned my license and SS card. She gave me a W4 and some other papers. "Fill these out and bring them with you tomorrow. Eight o'clock, sharp!"

"I'll be here. And thank you!"

I suppose I drove home, but I felt like I was flying. I had a job! I wasn't a parasite!

I could hardly wait until Jim got home. When he came in I jumped up and down, squealing like a teenager. "I got a job! I got a job!"

"Great! What will you be doing and where will you be working?" He smiled and kissed me.

"I'll be working as a mechanic, would you believe it! It's a small company called CP Equipment. They deal in used construction equipment."

Jim stopped smiling. "Is something wrong?" I asked.

"No, nothing. It's just that there have been a lot of construction equipment thefts lately, and we took a close look at CP. We didn't have anything that would let us get a warrant to seach their place, but we found some of the equipment they sold and checked the serial numbers. None matched the stolen stuff's numbers, so as far as we know CP is legit."

"That's a relief. I don't want my job to vanish before it even starts."

"Yeah, that'd be a bummer. Hey, we need to celebrate!"

Jim and I celebrated by going out to dinner, at a place that had tablecloths. We'd just got back when I got a phone call from Jean, Jim's sister. She had been my lawyer in the Moot Court trial and had done everything she could to help me once I'd been ensnared in the incarceration study.

"Hi, Kristen. How's everything?"

"Wonderful! I got a job! As a mechanic!"

"That's good news! I'm glad you're getting your life back in order. But the reason I called is to ask if you're still looking for a computer."

"Yes, my old one broke and Jim won't let me touch his because he uses it for work stuff. Why do you ask?"

"One of my classmates is selling his old desktop, and it looks like a real deal. His name is Jim Quinn. Give him a call. Here's his number."

I called this other Jim and we arranged to meet at 12:10 at a Burger King near my job. I told him to look for a woman wearing blue coveralls and a tan baseball cap.

* * *

I was waiting by the door when Carla arrived at work. She parked her Civic next to my Neon at 7:45. She was dressed in the same black clothes she wore yesterday. "Good morning, Kristen."

"Good morning, Carla. I'm ready to start. Here's the paperwork." I pointed to my car. "Is it OK if I park here?"

"No problem. We rarely have visitors. Come into the shop and I'll show you what I want done." She unlocked the front door and lead the way through the door to the right of the desk and into the shop. There were two backhoes parked there. One was partially disassembled. Carla pointed to it. "We always tear down used equipment and thoroughly inspect it. Carefully note what was taken apart , and then reassemble it. When you've done that, disassemble the other one the same way. Any questions?"

"No, not right now."

The first thing I did was look around the building. The shop part was about thirty feet by sixty feet. At the end opposite the office there was a storeroom and a lavatory. The storeroom had a good selection of parts, and the lavatory had an industrial-strength washbasin, a commode, and (of course) a urinal. The shop part had all of the tools and equipment I would have expected to find. The only unusual object was a large metal trunk. I tried to look inside, but it was locked.

I did as Carla said, and made notes on what parts of the backhoe were disassembled. When I finished I did have a question: Why? This made no sense. Parts of the engine that should be inspected weren't touched, while other parts that never wore out were exposed. I mentally shrugged. If Carla wanted it done this way I'd do it this way.

I had a happy morning, except for one downer. Jim called me and said he had to go to Phoenix on business and wouldn't be back until tomorrow afternoon.

I worked steadily, and soon it was lunchtime. I used the lavatory and cleaned off as much of the grease as I could, then headed for the Burger King and my meeting with Jim Quinn. On the way out I noticed that Paul's Lexus was parked next to Carla's Civic, but neither Paul nor Carla were in the office.

The Burger King was busy but not really crowded. A man at a table near the front window was waving at me and I went over to him. He was tall and thin, with medium-long brown hair, and he looked like the stereotype of a graduate student. "You're Jim?"

"Right. You must be Kristen." He had a puzzled look, and then he exclaimed, "Bonnie Parker! That's who you are."

I winced. That was the name I used in the Moot Court, and hearing it brought back a lot of pain. I looked around furtively, half-way expecting Gimpy to stun me and drag me back to the Farm. "How do you know about that?" I asked.

"I watched your trial. I took the same class as Jean, and my case was up next. I'll never forget the way you reacted when you were sentenced. You're a great actress! You acted like you really were being sent to prison for a long time."

"Yeah, actress. Tell me about this computer you want to sell."

"It's really been upgraded, so if you're a gamer it's ready to go." He put a briefcase on the table and removed a sheet of paper. "Here are the specs."

I looked them over. The price was listed, and it was certainly reasonable. If everything worked. "Where is it?"

"In my car, in the parking lot."

"No offense, but I'd like to see if it works before I buy it."

"I can understand that. Why don't you come over to my place? I'll set it up and demonstrate it."

"I could do that. I get off work at 4:30. It'll take me a while to clean up and get something to eat, but I could come over after that. Where do you live?"

"I've got an apartment near the university." He wrote his address on the spec sheet. "If you don't have any other plans, why don't you eat at my place? I'm an adequate cook, and it's as easy for me to cook for two as for one."

"I guess I could do that." OK, he was coming on to me, but it was low-key. "My boyfriend is out of town, and I don't like to eat alone."

"Hello, Kristen."

I looked up in surprise. Paul was standing next to the table. "Hello, Paul. I didn't know you were coming here."

"I do sometimes." He held out his hand to Jim. "Hello, I'm Paul. Kristen and I work for the same company."

Jim shook his hand. "Glad to meet you. My name is Jim."

I looked at my watch. "I've got to be back at work by 12:30. If I want food I'm going to have to buy it now. See you tonight, Jim". I nodded to Paul and got in the food line. I ordered a burger, to go.

The rest of the day went by fast as I put the backhoe back together. Just before quitting time I bolted the last part in place and started the engine. It didn't run right, and I made a mental note to work on it in the morning.

I cleaned up and was out the door by a quarter to five. I left my coveralls in the shop. They had kept my jeans and shirt clean so I didn't have to change. Carla was in the office, but I didn't see Paul, and his car wasn't parked out front. "'Night, Carla. See you tomorrow." She muttered a reply, and I was out of there.

As I drove to Jim Q's apartment I noticed a silver Lexus following me. I couldn't get a clear view of the driver, but it looked a lot like Paul. Why would he be following me? Maybe he wasn't, and we just happened to be going the same way. Or maybe it was someone else in a silver Lexus.

Jim Q's address was easy to remember: 111 First Street. It was a typical student apartment building, two stories with two apartments down and two up. I parked in front and Jim came out of the front downstairs apartment to greet me. He put his arm across my shoulders as he held the door open, but loosely enough that it qualified as a friendly gesture.

The computer was set up on a card table. Jim Q said, "As a bonus I'll throw in some old game software." He pointed to a stack of CDs.

I sorted through the stack and spotted an old favorite. "Settlers III! I used to play that all the time."

"So did I. Maybe we can play after we eat. Oh, there's beer and soda in the refrigerator. Help yourself." He lit a stove burner under a pot of water and mixed chopped tomatoes and green onions into a bowl of lettuce. I got a Corona and watched him. We discussed old computer games while waiting for the water to boil.

Jim Q dumped a handful of spaghetti into the boiling water and opened a jar of sauce. Ten minutes later dinner was ready and ten minutes after that we had finished. He asked, "So, would you like to play Settlers?"

"Sure, but it's been so long since the last time I played I wouldn't be a match for you." I opened another beer.

"Let's play a scenario I made. We'll be a team, against eight AI opponents. It's a real challenge." He connected the old computer into his local net and started the game.

I chose to play as Romans and Jim Q was randomly selected to be Asians. It was a challenge, all right. I got wiped out before I could get an army built. We tried it again, and this time I played much better. It still was a slog, and by the time the last opponent was defeated it was almost nine o'clock. I had done OK, but Jim Q had several thousand more victory points than I did.

"Thanks for the game, Jim. I had forgotten how much fun it is."

"I enjoyed it too. Maybe we can play again some time."

I wrote a check for the computer and we carried it out to my car. I got in, turned the key, and nothing happened. There wasn't even a click. "Damn, my battery's dead."

"I got some jumper cables. I'll bring my car around."

He connected the cables, but all we got were sparks. "No good, Jim. I think the battery is shorted." I looked at my watch. "It's after nine. Are there any auto parts stores still open?"

"I don't know. Let's go inside and make some phone calls."

It wasn't long before we knew that everything was closed for the night. "Oh shit," I moaned. "How am I going to get to work? If I'm late I'll probably be fired."

"You could spend the night here and I'll give you a ride in the morning. And my summer classes haven't started yet, so I'll have time to install a new battery during the day."

"That's a kind offer, but I'm in a committed relationship with Jean's brother. I'm not going to share your bed."

He flushed. "Yeah, I know about that. After we met this afternoon I asked Jean about you. I don't expect you to sleep with me, desirable as that would be. That sofa folds out into a bed, you could use that."

"Then that is a kind offer. You are being very altruistic, especially since we just met and I'm not available."

"Well, there is one other thing. Jean indicated you like to play tie-up games."

"Jean told you that?" I couldn't believe she would blab about it.

"Not in so many words. She just let something slip. Most people wouldn't have picked up on it, unless..."

"Unless they're also into bondage, like you are?"

"Yeah. I've wanted to tie up girls since I was five years old. I don't meet many girls who like to be tied up."

I wasn't showing any enthusiasm, so he upped the stakes. "How about a bet? I bet I can tie you in a minute, and you can't escape in an hour."

"That's impossible, unless you use handcuffs." What was I doing, even thinking about this?

"Nope, no handcuffs, no chains, no zip ties. Just rope. If you escape I'll not only install your battery, I'll buy it, too."

"And if I can't escape?"

"Then I get to play with your body." I glared at him and he quickly added, "No sex, of course. Just more ropes."

I thought about this. Buying the computer nearly cleaned out my checking account, and I wasn't sure I could even afford a battery before I got a paycheck. Securely tie me up in a minute? No way he could do that. Jim Q was throwing his money away, but it was his choice. Was it safe? Safe enough. Jim Q seemed to be OK, and he had a lot to lose if he tried any funny stuff. I had nothing to lose, and something to gain. Several somethings. A free battery and some fun with rope.

"OK, I'll take your bet. What are the rules? If I don't agree with them the bet's off."

"The rules are fair. First, you have to cooperate while I'm tying you. No struggling until the minute is up. Second, I get to prepare the rope beforehand; cutting it into pieces, tying knots, that sort of thing. And you have to escape by struggling, not by cutting the rope."

"OK, that's reasonable. Here are my conditions. No gags, nothing goes in my mouth. Next, no nudity. I'll take off my shirt, but the bra and jeans stay in place. And most important, no damage. Nothing that blocks breathing or circulation. Agreed?"

"Agreed. No matter who wins, I'm sure we'll both have a lot of fun."

"Your fun won't last long. I'm good at escaping."

Jim Q got a small electronic timer from the kitchen and gave it to me. "Here, check this out and set it for a minute."

I set the timer to a minute and tested it against an Atomic Clock on the wall next to his computer. The timer was accurate. Just on the off chance I wasn't as good a judge of character as I thought, I called Jean on my cellphone and left a message on her voicemail, telling her where I was and asking her to call me in a couple of hours.

While I was doing this Jim Q went into the bedroom and came back with a lot of quarter-inch braided nylon rope. He sorted out a couple of pieces, doubled them, and tied a slip knot in each doubled end.

"The rope is ready," he announced. "Give me the timer."

I handed it to him and took off my watch and my shirt. "Now what?"

"Turn around and put your hands behind your back."

"How about if I face that clock instead?"

"You think I would cheat? I'm shocked, shocked, by your lack of trust."

"One can't be too careful in a high-stakes game like this." I turned toward the clock and crossed my wrists behind my back.

Jim Q moved behind me. "Not like that," he ordered. "Put your hands palm-to-palm."

I moved my hands. He said, "!" and slipped a loop around my wrists and tightened it. I could feel him forming a cinch and tried to move my hands apart to gain a little slack, but the loop wouldn't give. (This wasn't really cheating. I wasn't actually struggling. Not actually.) He knotted the cinch and pulled another loop around my arms above my elbows, tightened it, and ran each of the free ends of the rope over a shoulder and tied them together in front of my neck. A few seconds later the timer dinged.

"OK, Kristen. Now it's your turn. I've set the timer for an hour."

I moved my wrists, trying to find some slack. There wasn't any. The ropes weren't too tight, just snug. I couldn't locate any knots with my fingers. I moved my hands to where I could see the ropes and found the knots on top of the loops, out of reach. Jim knew how to tie up girls. If just my hands had been tied I could have worked them over my butt to the front, where I could use my teeth, but the loop around my elbows prevented that. My elbows weren't close to touching, and I moved them together to see if the rope would slip down. I didn't really expect that to happen, and it didn't.

OK, if skill didn't work maybe strength would. I twisted my arms, pulling as hard as I could against the ropes. After about ten minutes of increasingly frenzied activity I was out of breath and my wrists were chafed, but I couldn't detect any loosening of any rope. I couldn't even move my hands to the crossed-wrist position. I had to admit defeat.

"I give up, Jim. I obviously underestimated your skill. I'm not going to get myself loose."

"Are you sure you want to quit? You still have almost 45 minutes left."

"Nope, I surrender. You won, fair and square."

Jim Q rubbed his hands together and laughed maniacally. "So, me proud beauty, I have you now. Prepare to meet your doom!"

He imitated the 'Snidley Whiplash' voice almost perfectly. I laughed and imitated Nell, poorly, "Oh please, Mr. Whiplash! Have mercy on a poor maiden!"

"No mercy for you!" He untied the knot in front of my neck and ran the ropes through my armpits and over my shoulders. He tightened the loop around my elbows and retied the ends of the rope together behind my neck. "This will keep the pressure off your throat," he explained.

"That sounds benevolent, except I guess there will be pressure. What to you want me to do now?"

"Sit on the sofa."

I sat down and he took off my boots and socks. "Hey!" I complained, "I didn't say you could take those off."

"You implied it when you said the jeans and bra had to stay in place. You didn't mention footwear." He tied my legs together just above my knees and crossed my ankles and tied them, again using doubled rope. "Besides, what are you going to do about it now?"

"You have a point. What's next? I think I can guess."

"I think you can."

He help me sit on the floor and then rolled me onto my stomach. He doubled a rope, looped it around my ankles, and put the ends under the rope tied at the back of my neck. He bent my knees and pushed my feet towards my head while he pulled on the rope, tying off the rope when my feet were past my hands. This was one severe hogtie.

"OK Kristen, get out of that."

"Are you kidding? I can barely twitch."

"I was in a chatgroup once where we discussed how long a girl could tolerate a hogtie. The consensus was, if she were young and flexible she could last maybe twelve hours. Do you agree?"

"No I don't! And I'm old and stiff! I can't tolerate this hogtie for twelve minutes. Please let me out."

"You can last longer than that. What time did you say you had to be at work tomorrow morning?" He stood up. "I'll be back, maybe."

He walked away! He wouldn't leave me like this for hours, would he? I panicked and struggled, with absolutely no result.

After about two minutes Jim Q returned and untied me completely. I stretched my arms and rubbed my wrists. "You scared me. I had no hope of freeing myself."

"Just a little joke to make the game more amusing." He helped me stand up. "Now for something completely different. Turn around and put your hands behind your back, with your forearms parallel to the ground." He was holding another of those doubled pieces of rope with the unusual slipknot tied in the end.

I put my arms behind me and he slipped the loop over my right hand, then moved my right hand towards my left elbow and slipped the loop around my left hand. He tightened the loop and my wrists were tied together. I tried to separate them, but the loop wouldn't open. "What kind of knot is that?" I asked.

"It's the Holy Grail of all bondage boys, the knot that only slips one way. I'll show it to you later." He put a larger loop over my head and tightened it around my arms and body, just above my elbows, and a second loop around my upper arms, above my breasts. "The keys to good Shibari are the cinches around the lower body loop that snug the ropes around your biceps. This prevents the rope from slipping below your elbows." He tied the cinches. "How does that feel?"

"This is amazing," I exclaimed. "I can't move my arms at all. I've seen Shibari demonstrations where the girl has to stand perfectly still for half an hour before all the ropes are in place, but you've tied me securely in just a few minutes. Fantastic technique!"

"The fruit of many wasted hours. Now for the final touches."

He tightened a loop in a long piece of doubled rope around my waist with the knot in front, ran it through my crotch, and tied it in the back. I couldn't see what he was doing, but I could feel him connecting all the loops together with the crotch rope, which now ran vertically up the center of my back.

Jim led me over to a closed closet door with a small loop of rope hanging out from the top. "I don't have a hook mounted in the ceiling, so this will have to do." He led the vertical rope through the door loop and pulled it tight. "For best effect, you have to stand on your toes."

I went up on tip-toe and he pulled the rope tighter and tied it. The crotch rope dug in, and my excitement, already high, increased a notch.

"Now for the last detail." He tied a rope around my right leg just above the knee and put the end through the loop on the door. He then lifted my leg until my thigh was horizontal and tied it off. "How do you like it?"

"This is fantastic. I can almost smell cherry blossoms. You are an artiste."

"Thank you. I will leave you to enjoy while I make your bed."

I struggled against the ropes, pivoting back and forth on my left toe. By the time Jim Q returned to untie me I was panting, and I hurried to bed for a bit of discrete handwork.

* * *

Jim Q dropped me off at work the next morning just as Carla arrived. "Good morning, Kristen. I didn't say you needed a car for this job, but it is convenient if you can get parts or do other errands."

"My battery died. Jim's going to replace it today, so I'll have my car tomorrow."

"Very well."

Carla opened the office and we started another workday. Once suited up in my coveralls I started the engine on the backhoe I'd worked on yesterday. There was something seriously wrong. I did some diagnostics and confirmed the problem, then went looking for Carla. I peeked into the office, but she wasn't in there. There was a door from the shop to the inner office, but it was locked. I knocked, and Carla opened it a crack.

"What do you want?

"The engine on the backhoe I assembled yesterday needs a lot of work. What do you want me to do first, fix it or disassemble the other backhoe?"

"How long will you need to fix it?

"At least the rest of the day. I checked the storeroom and we have all the parts I'll need."

"Fix the engine, then. We have a buyer for that backhoe, and one of our trucks will be here to pick it up." She closed the door and I heard the lock click.

I got right to work. This is what I really like to do, solving problems and bringing broken machinery back to life. More was broken than I had figured on, but I worked happily all day and by four that afternoon the engine was ready to be tested. I opened the nearest roller door and started the engine. After it warmed up I made some final adjustments and all was well. I shut down the engine and closed the door. The end of a perfect day.

Jim Q was waiting for me outside. I got in his car and we drove off. "Thanks for all your help, Jim. I would have been in real trouble without you, especially since my boyfriend is out of town. Any problems with the battery?"

"No, but the new battery just about doubled the value of your car."

I laughed, "Yeah, I know it's a wreck. Uh, about the battery. Can I pay you for it later? I should get my paycheck tomorrow."

"Yeah, that's fine. Unless you'd like to make another bondage bet. Double or nothing?"

"No, it was fun, but like I said, I'm in a committed relationship. I like bondage best with sex, with my boyfriend."

"I was afraid you'd say that."

"I'm sorry to disappoint you. Hey, I have an idea! Have you met Jean's sisters, Jane and Joan?"

"No, I haven't."

"I'll introduce you. They are real bondage enthusiasts, especially Joan. She's mainly a top with women, but a sub with men. Jane likes bondage for it's own sake. You three should match up perfectly. Just some advice: Be careful around Joan, and be ready to protect anyone she's topping. Sometimes she lets her enthusiasm override her judgement."

Jim Q laughed. "They sound like the characters John Willie put in Bizarre."

"They're characters, that's for sure."

We arrived at Jim Q's apartment and I got out of the car. "Thanks again. I'll call Jane and Joan and they can set up a meeting."

"Thank you, Kristen. Meeting you was quite an experience."

My car started with no problems and I drove home. Jim wasn't there yet. I prepared dinner, and it was ready just as he arrived.

I met him as he came through the door and we spent some time hugging and kissing. He said, "It seems like you missed me. Anything unusual happen while I was gone?"

"Well, kind of. Dinner's ready. I'll tell you about it while we're eating." During the meal I told Jim all about what happened at Jim Q's apartment. Towards the end I started to worry about how he was taking all this. He has a real poker face and I couldn't tell what he was thinking. "You're not upset, are you? Jim didn't touch me, except with the ropes."

"Did you enjoy all this?" he asked.

"Well, yeah, you know how I like to be tied up. I tie myself up if that's all I can get. But it's not nearly as good if there's no sex."

Jim stood and grabbed my wrist. "Into the bedroom. I might take longer than a minute to tie you, but you certainly won't be able to escape. And there will be sex."

* * *

When I got to work the next morning I was still hyped from fixing the engine yesterday. Now it was back to dull (and pointless) disassembly work. Of course, it was Friday, and Jim had the whole weekend off. Funny how weekends meant something now that I had to work the rest of the week.

I finished the disassembly about an hour after I came back from lunch. As I looked over the parts spread on the floor I suddenly realized something. Every part I removed had exposed a serial number. One of the numbers was on the frame, hidden by a bracket. I took off the same bracket on the assembled backhoe and compared the appearance of the numbers. They seemed different, and when I took a really close look at the 'assembled' number I noticed faint marks, like those left by a grinder. I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't have the 'unassembled' number to compare it against.

I knew that auto manufacturers put 'secret' serial numbers on their vehicles, and apparently construction equipment manufacturers did the same. If Carla and Paul were fooling with the serial numbers the only possible conclusion was that the equipment was stolen. I had to tell Jim. I took out my cellphone, but then I paused. What if Carla or Paul overheard the call? Better get out of here first. Jim would need evidence, so I copied down the 'unassembled' numbers.

I was two steps away from the office door when it opened and Carla stepped through it. She held a short-barreled revolver in her right hand, and it was pointed at my chest. "Going out, Kristen? It's not quitting time."

I stopped short and pretended to ignore the gun. "Oh, er, yeah, I'm not feeling well." I stuffed the paper with the serial numbers in my pocket.

"You'll be a lot sicker if you try to move." She shouted, "Paul! Get in here, now!"

I bluffed, "What's with the gun, Carla? You enforcing a stricter attendance policy?"

She smiled, but not a nice smile. "You didn't notice the security camera in this room? I watched you compare those parts. That made me suspicious, and when you copied those numbers I was sure you had figured out what was going on."

Paul appeared in the door behind Carla. "What do you want?"

"Kristen has stumbled onto our little secret. We've got to deal with her."

Paul blanched. "You're not going to kill her, are you? I don't want anything to do with murder."

"I'm not going to kill her if I don't have to. She's a good mechanic, and she'll be a valuable asset for our organization, especially since now we don't have to pay her or worry about her going to the police. Go get the toy bag."

Paul went back into the office. Carla said, "Do as you are told and I won't shoot you. Understand?"

I nodded. I wasn't afraid, just terrified.

"Good. First, I want your clothes off. You can do it yourself or Paul can do it for you. I don't usually allow him to touch other women, so it would be a real treat for him. But he can be rough, and of course his hands would roam. Your choice is...?"

"I'll, I'll, do it myself."

"Excellent choice. Do it quickly!"

I didn't hesitate. I shucked off my coveralls, then bent and took off my boots and socks, followed by my jeans and shirt. I glanced at Carla to see if she meant everything.

"Everything, Kristen! And take the watch off, too."

My bra and panties joined the pile of clothes on the floor.

"Very good, Kristen. If you continue to obey you will continue to live."

Paul returned, wheeling a large but ordinary-looking suitcase. He opened the suitcase, revealing an assortment of bondage equipment. Not too big a surprise, considering their relationship.

"Secure her ankles, Paul."

Paul took mediaeval-looking shackles out of the case. The black steel anklets were about three inches wide by half an inch thick and they were connected by a foot of heavy chain. He knelt behind me and closed them around my legs. There were loud clicks as the internal locks fastened. The metal cuffs were a loose fit, but they wouldn't slide over my ankles.

"Now her wrists."

Paul turned me so my back was to Carla and buckled leather cuffs on my wrists. He used padlocks to secure them and to connect my wrists by about six inches of chain.

"Hoist her, but keep her toes on the floor." Carla put the gun in her pocket and entered the office.

Paul grabbed the chain between my wrists and pulled me towards the chain hoist in the middle of the shop. I resisted, mostly out of pride, but he had no trouble dragging me across the floor. He put my wrist chain in the hook and activated the hoist. My arms were pulled over my head. As ordered, Paul stopped when I was on tip-toe.

Carla walked over to the hoist. She carried a riding crop. "There are two ways to enforce discipline, Kristen. One way is to wait for an offense to occur and then punish the slave, and the other way is to punish in advance and rely on the memory of the pain to keep the slave from offending. I prefer this second way."

I babbled, "No, please! Don't hurt me. I'll do what you want."

"I know you will, Kristen."

She took a large black rubber ball gag from the suitcase and tossed it to Paul. He put it to my lips and I opened my mouth. No point in resisting now. He buckled it tightly behind my head, the straps digging into the corners of my mouth.

Carla swung the crop and hit me on my left hip. It was like a hot iron. I screamed into my gag. She hit me again, this time across my bottom. I thrashed and twisted, trying to get rid of the pain, the chain between my ankles clattering on the floor. She hit me again and again, not pausing between the strokes. The pain covered my thighs, my bottom, my hips. I lost track of the number of blows. I just wanted them to stop. I tried to beg, to promise anything, but all that came out of my mouth were unintelligible sounds and muffled screams.

Finally she stopped. I dangled from my wrists, my body covered in sweat. Carla lowered the hoist until my feet were flat on the floor and I managed to stand and take the pressure off my wrists. She unbuckled the ball gag and popped it out of my mouth.

"Did you enjoy that, Kristen?"

I shook my head.

Carla snapped my left nipple with the end of the crop. "The correct answer is 'No, Mistress'. Do you want the beating to continue?"

I gasped out, "No, Mistress."

"Excellent! You notice that you were only whipped on the lower half of your body? If you require another beating it will be on the upper half." She poked my breasts with the end of the crop. "It will be much more painful."

Paul said, "Carla, people will be looking for her. I don't think we can keep her, it's too dangerous."

"I'll do the thinking, Paul. People may be looking for her, but they won't be looking here. Kristen is going to write some letters to her boyfriend."

Carla lowered the hoist and unhooked my wrist chain, then dragged me over to the metal trunk and forced me to kneel. She gave me a pencil and some notebook paper.

"This is what you will write, Kristen..."

It took several attempts, but I finally wrote a letter that satisfied her:

Dear Jim,
I'm halfway to Kingman fixing a company truck. Once it's running I've got to go on to L.A. to evaluate some equipment we might buy at a big auction on Monday. (Our man there got sick). I'll be back next Tuesday. 
Love, Kristen
P. S. My cellphone broke, so don't worry if I don't answer it.

Carla gave the letter to Paul. "See, Paul? This accounts for her absence, why she didn't say goodbye in person, and why she's not answering her phone. Take it to her apartment. If her boyfriend is there give it to him, if not leave it in the mailbox. Then do those other tasks I gave you. Be quick about it."

I looked down to conceal my smirk. Carla thought Jim Q was my boyfriend! She was going to get a nasty surprise.

"Now for the next letter. Write this, Kristen..."

Dear Jim,
I met the manager of an equipment dealer at the sale. They're opening an office in Flag, and he offered me a job! It pays twice what I'm making now. The only bad part is I have two weeks of training here in L.A. first. I'll miss you.
Love, Kristen

"This will be mailed from Los Angeles. It will delay any search for you, and when one does start it will be centered there." She gave me an envelope. "Write your boyfriend's address on the envelope. Don't make any mistakes. I'll check it with Paul."

I wrote down Jim Q's address. That reminded me of something. "Did Paul follow me to Jim's apartment? Mistress."

"Yes. We wanted to be sure your boyfriend wouldn't be a threat if we had to do something about you. But he's just a student."

I carefully hid a smile. Carla expected mild-mannered student Jim Q, but she was going to meet Superdeputy.

Carla got a collar from the suitcase. It was also black steel, an inch wide and a half-inch thick, and it had a ten foot chain attached. "Crawl over here, Kristen, and kneel in front of me."

I did as she said. I was in no condition to resist.

"Kiss my boot."

I did that too.

"Keep your head down. Tell me you are my slave and you will obey me without hesitation."

"I am your slave, Mistress. I will obey you without hesitation."

She closed the collar around my neck and it locked with a loud click. "Now you belong to me. You are now slave K."

I heard a diesel truck pull into the driveway next to the shop. Carla said, "There's the truck at last."

Carla extracted the keys and cellphone from my jeans and stuffed my clothes into a garbage bag. She yanked me to my feet with the neck chain. "Into the storeroom. I don't want Bob and Juan to see you." She hustled me into the storeroom, made me sit on the floor, and padlocked my neck chain to a shelf support. "Keep quiet. If they find you I'll let them fuck you. You won't like that."

Carla left the storeroom, closing the door behind her. I heard one of the roller doors open, then Carla and the two men exchanged what I guessed were greetings. Carla came into the shop, her boots noisy on the concrete floor. She said, "That's the backhoe for L. A., Bob. Juan, load that Neon parked out front onto the truck too. Cover it with a tarp. When you get to L. A. strip it and take it to a junkyard. Here are the keys."

I sat quietly in the storeroom while the men loaded the vehicles on the truck, thinking about what happened. I suppose Carla intended to intimidate me with that stupid collaring ritual, but after my experiences with Joan, and on the Farm, I wasn't as easy to intimidate as an innocent might be. Actually what she did had just the opposite effect. I wasn't as afraid of her now, maybe because I expected to be rescued soon. I could picture what was going to happen when Jim Q got that note: Jim Q has a WTF moment. He calls Jean. Jean calls Jim. Jim and some of his buddies come here looking for me, probably with a search warrant. The Damsel is freed, and the Villains are arrested.

The welts on my butt were really painful. I tried to shift around so I wasn't sitting on them, but the chain from my neck to the shelf was too short. While I was being whipped I pictured blood streaming down my legs, but the welts were just red and swollen. The crop produced bruises, not cuts, at least when wielded by an expert like Carla.

I tried to distract myself by examining my bonds, to see if I there was any chance I could get myself loose. The wrist cuffs were made of two pieces of thick leather sewn together, and I could feel a metal strip inside. They fit tightly, and the buckles were sturdy and held shut by high-security padlocks. I have some experience picking locks, but these were impervious to my skills. I didn't see much chance of getting the cuffs off without access to tools and a lot of un-observed time to use them.

But I didn't really need my hands free to escape. I bent my legs to get a closer look at the leg irons. These weren't nearly as well-fitting as the wrist cuffs, but I couldn't make them slip over my ankles. They were obviously expensive, with machined hinges and internal locks. The keyhole was like a handcuff keyhole, so I might be able to pick these locks. Of course, none of this would matter if I was chained to something. The lock holding my neck chain to the shelf was another high security padlock. I felt around the collar, but I couldn't find a keyhole. If it was one of those collars that permanently locks when it closes I was screwed unless I could cut the chain. I gloomily concluded that escape was unlikely.

After a while I heard the roller door close and the truck drive off. More time passed, then the roller door opened again and a couple of cars were driven into the building. The door closed. Carla didn't appear until some time later. She unlocked my neck chain from the shelf and ordered, "Into the shop, K."

I shuffled past her, the chain on my ankles clattering on the concrete floor. I thought about attacking her, but Carla never turned her back on me and I would have no chance in a face-to-face fight. Once we were out in the shop she padlocked my neck chain to the backhoe's bucket frame.

Both Carla's Civic and Paul's Lexus were parked in the building. Paul was unloading unassembled cardboard shipping boxes from the trunk of the Lexus, and I could see more boxes were stuffed inside. Paul had exchanged his slacks and sport coat for coveralls.

"Hurry up, Paul," Carla ordered. "The backhoe has to be ready to go on the truck tomorrow."

"Yes, Carla. Can Kristen help me change the numbers?"

"Of course. K will do whatever she's told to do. Won't you, K?"

That was my cue. "Yes, Mistress."

I was naked, but for some reason it didn't really bother me. I thought about why this might be so. Carla was a woman, and I'd often been naked in showers and locker rooms with other women. Paul? He seemed like a neuter, an android controlled by Carla, an asexual object.

Paul finished stacking the boxes. He walked over to the metal trunk and unlocked it with a key he took from his pocket. He removed a grinder and a rotary sander and plugged them into an electrical outlet. Paul stepped up to the place on the frame that had a serial number. "Come here and watch close," he ordered.

I moved to where I could see what he was doing. The grinder had a bracket that let him control the depth of the grinding wheel, and he moved it over the engraved serial number until the digits were obliterated. Next he used the sander to smooth out the marks left by the grinder. All this took some time, but he was good at it, and the metal was smooth when he finished.

"Now you try it, uh, K."

I held up my hands. "The chain is too short. Can you take it off?"

"I suppose. I'll ask Carla. I got to get the new numbers from her anyway."

He walked over to the door to the inner office and knocked. Carla opened it and they spoke. Paul returned with a key and took off the chain. He didn't remove the leather cuffs, relocking the padlocks on them. We moved to another serial number and now it was my turn with the grinder.

Paul warned, "Do a good job. Carla will whip you if you don't. The key is to avoid scratches, and don't go too deep."

While I was (very carefully!) grinding, Paul took a laser engraver from the trunk and clamped it to the place on the frame where he had just removed the old serial number. After meticulous adjustment he keyed in the new number and the engraver burned it into the metal.

It took me a long time to grind away the numbers, so I couldn't keep ahead of Paul. We eventually evolved a routine where he did most of the skilled work and I did the rough work, such as reassembling the modified parts and touching up the paint. While changing the number on the frame was easy, some of the numbers were less accessible and changing them took a lot more time.

I snuck a glance at Paul's watch. After seven! Where was Jim? I should have been rescued by now. But then I realized that Jim Q may not have even found the note yet. I could be here a lot longer, maybe overnight.

"Paul, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, and I have to pee."

"Yeah, I'm hungry too. We got some food in the office."

He wandered away and returned a little later with a bottle of water, a cold hamburger, and an empty coffee can. I drank the water, ate the burger, and peed into the can. A slave girl's life is very basic. The work continued. Finally the last number was changed and the backhoe was reassembled. I was tired and hurting. I wanted to go home. Where was Jim, anyway?

Carla appeared. "Paul says you did a good job, K. Wonderful! That means I won't have to whip you again today." She padlocked my wrist cuffs to the neck chain, about three inches from my collar. She unlocked the chain from the backhoe and let me pee into the can before she made me lie on the floor between the bucket and the front wheel. She relocked the chain to the bucket hoist frame, allowing me minimal slack.

Carla tossed me a worn blanket. "See, K, if you cooperate you'll be rewarded. The harder you work the more privileges you'll receive. We've a busy day tomorrow. Get some sleep."

Easy to say, hard to do. I wrapped up in the blanket as best I could, but it didn't do much to pad my welts. The hard concrete floor kept me awake all night.

Finally morning arrived and Carla appeared. She unlocked my chain from the backhoe and I could sit up. She said, "I'll let you use the toilet. But don't delay, or it'll be the coffee can from now on."

I scampered, or rather, I limped, into the lavatory. My wrist cuffs were still locked close to my neck, but I managed to use the toilet and even wash my face.

Carla was waiting impatiently. "You took long, enough. I'll won't tolerate lazy slaves. Get over here!"

She was standing by the pile of cardboard boxes stacked next to the Lexus. She padlocked my neck chain to a rear wheel. "Your first job is to assemble these boxes, K." She unlocked my wrists from the neck chain and gave me a tape dispenser.

I got to it. When she returned I had a big pile of boxes and a gnawing hunger. Carla gave me a granola bar and a bottle of water. After I peed into the coffee can she moved me into the storeroom and locked my chain to a shelf. Paul joined me and we started packing the storeroom stuff into the boxes.

"What's going on, Paul?"

"We're moving. Now that we've got some money we're going to West Texas and expand our operations."

"When does this move take place?"

"The other two trucks will be here this afternoon. Once they're loaded we'll be on our way."

I was shocked. If Jim didn't rescue me soon I wouldn't be here. I could be Carla's slave for a long time. I asked, "What did my boyfriend say when you gave him the note?"

"He wasn't there. I left the note in his mailbox."

It was possible that Jim Q hadn't found the note yet. It was also possible that he took it as a joke and threw it away. I was frightened, very frightened.

Paul and I filled boxes with parts. I sealed the boxes and Paul stacked them near the doors. Paul had the key to the padlock that fastened my neck chain to the shelves, and at first he would move it as necessary, but before long he just left it loose. I obviously wasn't going to run off. The leg irons were starting to chew up my ankles. I wrapped shop rags around each ankle to pad them a little.

This made Paul nervous. "Carla didn't say you could do that, K."

"She doesn't want her slave damaged. It's not as though I'm dodging a punishment." I wrapped the neck chain around my waist to keep from tripping over it.

Further objections were cut short when Carla made an inspection. She berated us for sloth, but didn't say anything about my ankles or the neck chain.

When we emptied the storeroom we moved on to the shop, packing up the tools and equipment. When everything except the cars and the backhoe was in a box we moved into the office.

There was a lot of computer equipment in the office and packing this took time, partly because Carla supervised personally. She got a call on her cellphone. "The trucks will be here in a few minutes, Paul. When they arrive help them load up. Put the backhoe and my car on one truck and the boxes on the other."

A few minutes later I heard the trucks pull into the driveway and the roller doors open. Paul went outside and Carla and I kept packing. "You keep out of sight, K. I don't want the truck crews to see you."

There was another steel desk in this office, and she had chained me to it. Finally it was the only thing left. "Stand up, K." She pulled my hands behind my back and padlocked the cuffs to the neck chain.

"Open your mouth." The ball gag went in and was buckled tight. She wrapped packing tape around my arms and body.

"Sit." More tape locked my knees and ankles together. She bent me over and taped my knees to my chest, the tape wrapped around and around my thighs and back. The end of the chain was unlocked from the desk and used to pull my ankles up to my butt. I was tightly tied in a ball. I hadn't really expected to make the trip in the front seat of the Lexus, but this was a bad sign.

Carla went out and returned with Paul. He had a large carton on a hand truck. I squirmed frantically and tried to scream through the gag, but they lifted me and put me in the box.

"Silence, K! Behave yourself and you'll get a rest stop once it gets dark. Keep on like this and you'll stay in this box until we get to Texas. Close the top, Paul. Oh, you'd better cut some air holes, too"

Paul taped the top shut and I was closed in darkness. A knife punched four holes in the box at face level. I was about to begin hours of torture. It was just too much, and I started to cry.

The carton was tipped up on the hand truck and I was rolled into the shop and then outside. I was doomed.

I heard cars pull into the driveway and doors opening. Carla said, "What's this all about, Officer?"

Another voice answered, "We're looking for a young woman and we believe she is here. I have a warrant to search the premises."

Jim! It was my Jim! I frantically rocked the carton and mmmfffed through the gag. The top was ripped open and Jim looked into the box. I fainted.

I came to with a paramedic bending over me and Jim unlocking the cuffs on my ankles. Another cop had boltcutters, and she cut the chain off my collar. Soon afterwards I was loaded into an ambulance. Blue lights were flashing everywhere. I saw Flagstaff police officers putting a handcuffed Carla into the back of a car. Then the ambulance doors closed and we roared away.

At the hospital my treatment included removing the tape residue without exacerbating the welts, which had mostly turned purple, with hints of yellow and green. Then I was put to bed, with an IV drip into my hand. A nurse gave me a sedative, and that combined with no sleep last night put me out.

It was the next morning before I woke up. Jim was sitting in a chair next to the bed. When he saw I was awake he leaped up and over to me. We kissed and hugged for a long time.

I realized the collar was still around my neck. I joked, "Did you change your mind about making me your sex slave, Jim? Is that why I'm still wearing this collar?"

"No, we just couldn't get it off easily and decided to get you to the hospital without delay. We can cut it off later. How do you feel, Kristen? The doctor said nothing was broken, but a lot was badly bruised."

"I'm sore, but happy now that you're here. I was so scared! Carla was going to keep me in that box for hours, and when we got to Texas I was going to be her real slave, not her pretend sex slave. And it was so close! Ten more minutes and we would have been gone."

"It still frightens me. When you didn't come home from work Friday I called everyone we knew. I looked around CP Enterprises, but your car wasn't there and nobody answered the phone or the door. I couldn't issue an official APB, but I asked my friends to look for you. Jim Quinn didn't find your letter until he looked in his mailbox yesterday. Once I saw it I knew you were likely to be at CP, so I immediately rushed over and watched it while we got a warrant and Flagstaff PD backup. I knew you were in trouble, but I had no idea you were in so much immediate danger."

"What's going to happen to Carla?"

"A lot. Paul spilled his guts, so not only has she been charged with kidnapping, assault, and all the other things she did to you, but we've also got her for the equipment thefts. According to Paul, she's good with computers. She got temp jobs with most of the major equipment manufacturers and hacked into their databases to get all the information she needed to find the serial numbers and create apparently valid paperwork. She also kept good records, so we may be able to recover most of the stolen equipment. The sheriff himself praised me for clearing up the thefts. I didn't tell him you were my only concern."

We kissed again. "Carla's plan would have worked if Jim Quinn really was my boyfriend. She outsmarted herself. You wouldn't have had any reason to look for me at CP if she hadn't made me write that letter. I was very lucky, and this time evil didn't win. And now, once again, I need a job."

The End

Copyright© 2009 by Zack. All rights reserved. I welcome your comments. Email me at [email protected]