Rebecca Simard had just escaped from prison. She had been locked away for a seven-year sentence for grand theft and other charges. She was having none of it though and staged an elaborate escape after only a few months into her sentence. Rebecca was a slim woman with jet-black hair that was done up in a bob. She stood at 5’6” and had a tattoo of a heart on her wrist; she was a beautiful woman and stood out in a crowd. It was the very reason she decided to lay low with a friend after she escaped – she would easily stand out and be sent right back to prison, likely for much longer this time.
This friend though, Arty, was also a thief and had grown up with Rebecca. The two had started committing crimes together at 14 and had been in and out of prison several times. Arty was looking to clean up his life a bit – but clearly not enough to not be aiding a fugitive – and told Rebecca he was done with thievery, but he knew of a promising mark if she was interested. Rebecca listened intently as Arty told her about an old Victorian style house in one of the city’s affluent neighbourhoods, he had been casing it for weeks because… old habits… and figured out that it was a thirty-something woman living there on her own. Her grandfather was a business magnate and left her his billions when he passed away, she now lived in his old house by herself. Rebecca was excited, it probably meant there was all sorts of expensive jewelry and other priceless trinkets in the house. She asked Arty to give her as much information as he could and began to plan out her heist.
A few nights later, Rebecca decided the time was right to do her heist. She looked at the map of the house that Arty had drawn for her and knew roughly where each room was, but more importantly where the safe was as well as the homeowner’s jewelry collection. She was dressed in all black, ‘as one should be for such activities’, she thought to herself. She pulled the ski mask down over her face and snuck onto the property. Making her way up and over the red brick wall on the property’s perimeter as quickly as possible so she wouldn’t be seen. She made her way to the back of the house and used her lockpicking set to open the back door. So far this all seemed too easy, she shrugged off the feeling though and stepped inside. She stepped through the main floor as quietly as she could and carefully made her way up to the second floor. She crept her way down the hall towards the room she knew the homeowner stored her jewelry in. She turned the knob and opened the door as quietly and slowly as she could.
She stepped inside and closed the door behind her. She turned on the small flashlight she brought with her and carefully moved it around the room until she spotted…a diamond necklace! ‘This thing must be worth a fortune!’ she thought to herself, stuffing it into the burlap sack she brought with her. After grabbing several more expensive looking rings and necklaces she exited the room and began to sneak down the hall towards the study – where the safe was. Rebecca entered the study and made her way over to the safe, pressing her ear against it as she began to turn the dial, trying to listen for the clicks. Just as she heard the first click, the lights in the study came on and she was smacked hard across the back of her head. She collapsed to the floor and blacked out, the last thing she saw before losing consciousness was a blonde woman in a white silk nightgown standing over her.
Rebecca awoke some time later, her head pounding from the hit she received. She looked around and noticed she was no longer in the study, as she went to stand up she heard the sound of jingling. Looking down at herself, she saw that she was now locked into a harness, all the straps on the harness had been modified with locking buckles and there was now a small padlock locking each one of them. Rebecca tried pulling on the straps and tugging the harness in every direction, but the harness was snug, and wouldn’t budge. She suddenly heard a woman’s voice from behind her, “Don’t bother. You won’t be getting that off without the keys.”
It was the blonde woman from before! She was still in her nightgown and was sitting in a plush armchair on the other side of the basement. She was very beautiful, slim with shoulder length hair and soft features with piercing blue eyes that gave her an air of authority and intelligence. She got up from the chair, brushing aside some of her blonde curls and started walking towards Rebecca.
“Do you mind explaining what you’re doing in my house?” She asked her pointedly. Rebecca looked down at the harness and then back at her, asking, “Do you mind explaining why the hell you have me locked in this?” The blonde woman averted her gaze towards the ceiling of the basement. Rebecca followed her gaze and saw a garage door opener above her with a rope attached to it and the back of the harness via a carabiner.
Rebecca’s eyes went wide as she began pulling on the harness again and asked, “What the hell is this?” The blonde woman just smiled wryly and said, “I’ll be asking the questions around here. I’m going to ask you again: What are you doing in my house?”
Rebecca stared her down, and replied, “Would you believe me if I said I was lost?”
The woman just sighed and produced a small black remote from her robe. Pressing the button on it, the garage opener sprung to life and hoisted Rebecca up onto her toes, she was dangling a couple of inches off the basement floor. She grunted as she felt the harness dig into her while supporting her weight as she stood on her tiptoes, her toes barely touching the cement floor of the basement. The woman looked at her with a satisfied expression and said, “Maybe spending the night dangling will make you more cooperative.”
She turned to head for the stairs, Rebecca yelled, “Ok, wait! Fine. I was here to steal from you. My friend was casing your house for weeks and told me about your safe.”
The woman turned back to face Rebecca, settling in against the wall beside the stairs, she crossed her arms and asked, “Arty, right?” Rebecca was surprised to hear her say his name. How did she know who he was? The woman stared at her for a moment and raised the remote saying, “Right?”, her finger hovered over the button as she continued, “I could hoist you up a few more inches if you like.”
Rebecca hesitated for a moment, her toes were already aching, and she didn’t want to make things worse. She blurted out, “Yes! Arty!”
The woman nodded, “I know. He’s not very good at casing you know. I figured out what he was doing after a couple of days and hired a PI to follow him around.” She let her statement sink in as Rebecca hung there and then asked, “And you’re Rebecca Simard, correct? My PI found lots of information on you as well when he was looking into Arty’s background.”
Rebecca just nodded meekly, “Yes, that’s me.”
The woman walked over to the table beside the armchair she had been sitting at. She had been concealing a small tape recorder out of Rebecca’s line of sight. She went over and pressed the ‘Stop’ button on the recorder. Walking back over to Rebecca with the tape in hand, “I know what he was planning, I’ve known for weeks. I just wanted to record your confession to the crime. I’m sure the police will be very interested in this tape-”
Rebecca cut her off, a look of desperation on her face, “No wait! Please don’t! They’ll send me back to jail and throw away the key if I get arrested again. Please! We can work something out, I’m sure.”
The blonde woman tapped the tape against her cheek and playfully asked, “Do you really want to be making deals with a woman who has a locking harness and a garage door opener in her basement?”
Rebecca replied, “I’m sure it’s better than going back to prison forever. Please!”
The woman just gave a slight smile and said, “We’ll see. We can discuss it more in the morning.”
She turned to head up the stairs, “For now…” She clicked the remote, raising Rebecca about a foot off the floor, Rebecca grunting as she was raised further, “…You get to hang out. Goodnight, Rebecca.”
She bounded up the rest of the basement stairs, turning off the lights and locking the basement door behind her, leaving Rebecca in darkness other than the small amount of light coming in from the basement windows.
As Rebecca swayed helplessly, she began to wonder what the blonde woman meant by ‘We’ll see.’ Maybe she was just trying to scare her, anything was better than a cold jail cell, right?
She also thought that maybe it was best she doesn’t stick around to learn what that meant, she got to work trying to free herself from her predicament. She tried reaching up behind her to get at the rope, but the carabiner was just out of reach and no matter how much she tried she couldn’t get to it. Next, she tried getting the straps or locks to budge hoping that she could get something loose and slip her way out of the harness. But in the dark it was hard for her to see the small locks and where exactly the buckles were. After a few minutes of feeling around and struggling with the harness, she sighed defeatedly, the blonde woman was right, she would need the keys to get it off.
She swung back and forth due to her struggles and contemplated for a while about how she could get herself out of this. Nothing really came to mind other than what she had just tried, Rebecca let out another defeated sigh and tried to get some sleep while she dangled.
A few hours later, she was awoken from a not so restful sleep by the sound of the basement door unlocking and opening. The blonde woman made her way down the stairs and looked at a very sleepy looking Rebecca, “Good morning,” she said, “Comfortable?”
Rebecca just glared at her and said, “No, I got maybe an hour of sleep.”
The blonde woman just smiled and replied, “Hmm.”
She lowered Rebecca but only gave her enough slack in the rope where she’d have to stand in one spot while she was on the floor. She set a smoothie down on the table beside Rebecca and took a sip from the second one she was holding.
She began to speak again, “I called my PI this morning and got a little more information about you. He told me that you’re an escaped convict and the police have been looking for you for almost a week. So, explain to me why I shouldn’t turn this tape over to the police today?”
Rebecca shook her head, “No, please! I can’t go back to jail! We can work something out.” Rebecca picked up her smoothie and took a sip, her mouth was dry from the air in the basement.
The blonde looked at her inquisitively, thinking to herself for a moment she said, “I’ll make you a deal. I won’t go to the police, but in exchange, you let me take justice into my own hands by being my prisoner instead.”
Rebecca was dumbfounded, “What? You can’t be serious. What kind of a deal is that?”
The blonde took another sip of her smoothie and said, “Well, you’re not exactly in a strong position, are you?” She continued, “That’s the deal. Spend your time here until I deem you reformed or get sent back to prison for probably the rest of your life. What will it be, Rebecca? Cold jail cells, possible shankings and terrible food, or here, in my basement.”
Rebecca had to admit, anything did sound better than going back to prison, she hesitated and then said, “Ok, fine. You’ve got a deal.”
The blonde smiled, “Very good. We should likely get properly acquainted since you won’t be going anywhere for a while. I’m Charlotte, and I’ll be your jailor.” She said with a wink.
Rebecca continued to drink her smoothie, a little concerned about what she had just agreed to. But kept assuring herself it was better than going back to jail.
Charlotte continued to watch Rebecca from her armchair sipping on her smoothie and reading a book.
After a while, Rebecca began to feel light-headed and started to wobble. Charlotte walked over to her and released the rope, helping Rebecca down to the basement floor, where she fell asleep.
Rebecca woke up several hours later, looking around the basement she didn’t see Charlotte. As she went to get up, she noticed that her ankles were now locked in padded steel shackles. In a panic, she began to pull and tug on the shackles and the heavy chain bolting them to the basement floor, but as with the harness nothing would budge. She stood up and noticed there was now a computer terminal facing away from her next to the stairs. As she walked towards it to investigate, she heard a click and then jumped when she saw steel plates slide over the windows and the door out of the basement. Before she could react, the garage opener hummed to life and hoisted Rebecca into a suspended position, the heavy chain below her pulling taut as she hung there. Once secured, she watched as the steel plates retracted from the windows and door.
Rebecca began thrashing around in a panic, like an insect caught in a spiderweb, “What the fuck?!” she asked, to no one in particular. She continued to thrash around; the jangling of chains filled the air as she did so. The harness rope had also been replaced with a heavy chain which was now holding her up to the garage opener.
In her helpless mid-air position, she couldn’t do anything to free herself, Rebecca resorted to yelling for help, “Someone help me! Please, help!”
She continued to thrash around hoping something would give, but everything held firm and she was stuck mid-air for now.
A short while later, Charlotte came down to the basement, and with a smile said, “I see you’ve figured out your accommodations.”
Rebecca was in full panic mode, she felt like a trapped animal in her current position, she screamed, “What the fuck?! Get me down, now!”
Charlotte just looked at her prisoner and calmly said, “The system will release you soon.” She circled Rebecca and began to explain, “I’ve taken a few steps to ensure the basement will be an impenetrable prison while you stay here. That click you heard? It was a motion sensor. They’re all over the basement and if you’re somewhere you’re not supposed to be, the system will react by sliding steel plates over the windows and door, sealing any possible escape routes. It will also hoist you up into this position you now find yourself stuck in. Once you’re in place, the plates will retract since you won’t be going anywhere while you hang here.”
Rebecca began to sob as Charlotte continued, “Even if you get the keys for your harness and shackles from me, the motion sensors would pick you up as soon as you went for the stairs, and they would lock down the basement with the plates. The steel plates over the windows would require several hundred pounds of force to pry open and the one over the door would require almost a tonne of force, so don’t bother trying.”
Charlotte leaned in close to her prisoner, “In short: you’re stuck.”
“Any possible avenue of escape has been thought of and accounted for, and my system here will monitor it all. I’ve nicknamed ‘her’ DominaSys, a portmanteau of Dominatrix and System. Think of her as a digital Dominatrix just waiting to secure you if you step out of line. Any questions?”
Rebecca continued to sob, “What the fuck?! I didn’t agree to this! Let me go, now!”
Charlotte shrugged, “You made your decision, Rebecca. And you’ll be here until I deem you to be reformed, that was the deal.”
Charlotte made her way back over to the stairs, “Until such time, get comfortable, because you won’t be going anywhere otherwise.”
Rebecca began to scream for help again, Charlotte just smiled and said, “Don’t bother with that either. The windows are acoustic glass with a couple sheets of polycarbonate overtop. So, they’re soundproof and shatterproof. The rest of the basement has been soundproofed as well, so you can scream all you want, and no one will hear you.”
Charlotte smiled again and said, “Enjoy your stay, it’s going to be a long one.” She bounded up the stairs again, locking the basement door behind her.
Rebecca began to sob uncontrollably, terrified of what she had gotten herself into. Maybe prison would have been the better option. She thought she may have missed her window to get out of here because it seemed like Charlotte had made sure the basement was escape-proof.
Rebecca was released back to the floor a short time later, but almost as soon as she was, her instincts kicked in and she ran for the stairs. Her ankle chain pulling taut, and the familiar click signified her fate was sealed. The steel plates slid into position, and she was once again secured into her suspended state. She watched as the steel plates retracted once she was secured, as if the system was taunting her with freedom she wasn’t able to reach.
Rebecca continued to sob during her suspension, immediately regretting her decision, under the ever-vigilant watch of DominaSys.