No Choice

Chapter 1: Introductions

 

Jenny opened her eyes slowly, the feeling of grogginess enticing her to close them again and yet an urgency at the back of her mind motivating her to awaken.    When the room came into focus so then did her thoughts.  This place was unfamiliar.  She didn’t want to be here. As she pushed herself into a sitting position her hands sunk into the soft down comforter covering the bed.   Dizziness came then and she closed her eyes until the room stopped spinning.  Slowly…

Opening her eyes once more she looked around her.  One small lamp on a bedside table and several candles dimly lighted the room, and she could see it was quite large.  Furniture consisted of the four-poster wooden bed on which she sat, a chest of drawers with a mirror attached, a table with a few chairs…She suddenly sucked in her breath sharply.  Sitting in one of those chairs was a man, silently watching every move she made!  He was partially hidden in shadow but she could make out a small smile on his face as he watched her discovery of him.  They stared in silence at one another for a few seconds (though for her it seemed like an eternity) until he began to speak.

“My dear, it is good to see you awake.  You’re probably thirsty, would you like a glass of water?”

Jenny simply sat frozen in place, starring at the man.  His hair was long and dark, the soft waves flowing past his broad shoulders and framing his youthful face.  He looked to be no more than thirty years old, if that. His attire was simple, being that of a black tee shirt and blue jeans.  Black work boots finished off the outfit.  She could tell by the way his shirt clung to him that he was in excellent shape.  He seemed maybe six feet tall, which placed him at a foot taller than her, though since he was sitting she couldn’t be sure.   His vibrant blue eyes were kind, yet… determined. 

His smile widened as he rose from his casual position in the chair and walked toward the bed.  Startled, Jenny scurried backwards away from him, her back coming in contact with the wall at the head of the bed.  With nowhere else to go she almost wished she could melt into the wall itself as he kept coming closer to her.  He stopped beside the bed and looked down into her fearful blue eyes before continuing to a door, assumedly leading into a bathroom.   She heard the water run briefly and then he emerged, walked toward her again, and held out a glass.  For the first time Jenny realized how thirsty she was and the glass of water looked wonderful, but she was too scared to reach for it. 

Sensing this, the man said softly, “Take it, and don’t be frightened.  I know you’re thirsty and I promise nothing will happen to you.  Here.”  Holding the glass in his right hand he gently reached for her left, bringing it up and placing the glass of water into it.  Thirst overpowered her fear as she grasped the glass in both hands and greedily drank the cool water.  Momentarily she forgot about the man until he spoke again. 

“Slow down, take smaller sips.  I don’t want you to become ill by drinking it too fast.  Your thirst is a result of the drug you were given.  It can make you a little queasy, so take it slow.”  He remained standing by the bed watching her closely, his smile having faded into a look of curiosity and concern for her. How beautiful…    He was beginning to feel much more excited now that she was awake.

Jenny nearly dropped the glass as reality came flying back with his words.  The drug I was given?  Oh, godwhat am I doing here…

She couldn’t really remember much of what had happened.  She had been at a club (her friends had insisted she come since she rarely ever left the house).  She had a few drinks and gotten strangely dizzy…then she went outside to get some air and …and there was a man waiting?  She remembered a van faintly…. Being forced into the van…

The man caught the glass before it could spill and placed it gently on the bedside table.  He could see her shivering with fear and it kind of excited him more.  He knew though, that right now he must remain very calm.  As she looked up at him with those lovely, child-like wide eyes, he couldn’t help himself and reached over to caress her cheek.  A small whimper escaped her as she moved to avoid his touch and he thought he might explode with desire. Lowering his hand, he backed away from her a bit and sat on the edge of the bed.  She glanced to the opposite side of the bed and he knew what she was thinking.

“Go ahead little one, try and make it to the door before I catch you.  You won’t make it two steps, especially still suffering from the effects of the drug.  But if you think you can do it, go ahead and try.”  He smiled widely.

Jenny pondered his words and realized he was right.  She wasn’t even sure if she could stand on her own, let alone make a run for it.   Instead she looked down at her hands in her lap, trying hard not to appear as afraid as she felt.  She had many questions, but decided her strategy for now would be to remain silent and give away as little of her emotions as possible.   It was all she could do to keep from bursting into tears.  When nothing was said for a few seconds she cautiously peeked out from under her eyelashes.  He tilted his head to the side and looked down at her. 

“So you have decided to stay put for now I see.  Very good.”  The man spoke to her so casually, as if this was not in the least unusual for him to be holding her prisoner in this room.  “I am assuming you want to know why you’re here, Jenny.”

Jenny looked full into his face now, wide eyed in shock.  How in the world does he know my name?  She parted her lips as if to speak and then remembered her strategy of silence.  She closed her mouth but continued looking at the man.  He smiled and spoke again.

“Well now I can see from your expression your first question is how did I know your name, correct?  I have been watching you a very long time.  While you were in college I knew your entire schedule, and now that you’ve graduated, I have seen where you work and live. I have looked at your mail, and I know your routines better than you do I think, and I have even watched you on the Internet.  You like to talk to people, but always hidden away behind the computer, always alone.  You isolate yourself from everything and everyone, don’t you?”  He looked at her as if waiting for an answer.  When she gave none he continued.   “Well at this point it doesn’t matter.  Now you’ll remain with me.  Now you belong to me.”  He grinned.

He read my mail?  Followed me to work and even watched me in college…but I graduated last year!  It chilled her most of all to think he’d watched her online.  Had he hacked into her computer?  Had she casually chatted with him online thinking he was just another guy in a chat room?  Jenny couldn’t understand why he would do such a thing.  Perhaps he thought she was someone else, someone important that he intended to ransom or something.  But she was nothing, a nobody.  It had to be a case of mistaken identity.  Figuring it would be worth it to break her silent vow in order to clear up this mistake she decided to speak. 

“I…I don’t know who you think I am, but you’re wrong.  I’m not worth anything. My family has no money to pay you for ransom so please just let me go.  Please?  I promise I won’t tell anyone…” She attempted to keep her voice steady but none the less it wobbled with emotion as she spoke.  Now she had trouble reading the expression on his face.  Was he angry?  No, not angry.  He gaped at her with such incredulity that it made her look away embarrassed, but embarrassed by what she didn’t know. 

“Not worth anything, Jenny?  Is that truly how you see yourself?”  He turned from her and paced across the room, still speaking as he did.  “Don’t you see the beauty in you?  Hair, golden like the sun, each strand with its own shimmer.  Eyes as deep as the ocean, and just as blue.  Skin so pale and smooth you just want to…” his words faded as he turned to face her, his arm half raised as if caressing something before he dropped it to his side again and continued.  “…And those are just surface things, worthless when compared to your inner beauty.  Your intelligence and your humor.  Your compassion, your empathy, your sweet caring nature.  Your…innocence.  And you dare to claim you have no worth to me?”

            Jenny felt her face turn red as she stared at him with her mouth open, unable to speak.  He’s insane!  I’ve got to get out of here…Whether or not the drug had warn off enough, she knew she had to try to escape.  In one swift move she swung her legs over the side of the bed and hopped down, racing toward the door that she assumed led out of the room.  The man of course was already halfway to intercepting her before she began, and easily stepped into her path.  She ended up colliding with him, and he grabbed her wrists to keep her from pushing away. 

As she struggled against him he spun her around so her back was to his stomach, and grasped both of her wrists in front of her with one of his large hands.  He wrapped his other arm around her waist and held her firmly against him while she squirmed.  This little excursion cost a great deal of energy after being unconscious for so long, and Jenny found herself leaning into him for support.  She let out a scream and one final kick before surrendering fully to her fatigue and letting her head fall back onto his chest. Her own chest rose and fell heavily as she tried to catch her breath. 

The man held her there until he was sure she was done fighting him for the moment and then half walked/half carried her back over to the bed.   He sat her on the edge of the bed, taking his place facing her but not letting go of her wrists.  Her hands were balled into little fists as if she wanted to strike him but he could easily hold them together in his one hand. 

“Have you gotten that out of your system for now?” he asked her casually as she sat glaring at him, trying to free her wrists from his grasp. “I can see you’re going to be a challenge, but I already knew that.  Now…what to do with you…” He was looking down at her but seemed to be off in thought.   Finally he refocused in on her face.  “Since you seem so eager to leave this room, how about I give you a tour of the estate?  However, since I can’t trust you, I’ll have to restrain you.” 

With that he reached into his back pocket and produced a pair of handcuffs.  Upon seeing these Jenny struggled with all her might to free herself from his grasp but he held tight.  “Now, now Jenny.  You have a choice.  Behave yourself and you will be cuffed with your hands in front of you.  Don’t, and I will pull your wrists behind. It’s up to you, but one way or another you will be wearing these…”

Jenny discontinued her struggle.  She knew very well he had the strength to do whatever he wanted to her and she didn’t want to give him a reason to.  And the thought of having her hands restrained helplessly behind her was terrifying.  At least with them in front she could shield herself if need be. 

The man nodded slightly as if in approval and proceeded to fasten the cuffs around her wrists.  She jumped as she heard the locking click of first one, then the other.  He made sure they were tight enough so she couldn’t slip her hand out, yet loose enough so they weren’t uncomfortable.  Satisfied, he appraised her.  God did she look appealing right now.  He grasped the chain that linked the two cuffs together with his right hand gently took hold of her upper arm with his left to help her to her feet. 

“Are you ready to go?” he asked, and without really waiting for an answer he let go of her arm and led her along behind him by the chain.  Trying not to stumble she had no choice but to follow him as he led her from the room.  Any resistance and the cuffs would cut uncomfortably into her wrists so she kept up with him as he walked.  

He led her through the doorway and turned left into a hall.  They passed several doors all of which she assumed led into other rooms of the house.  When they reached the end, the hallway opened up into a loft-type area, and Jenny gasped.  This place was huge!  She could see over the balcony railing down into a large entryway, and she guessed they were now looking at the front of the house.  They appeared to be standing on the third floor.  The staircase was grand and wide, curving as it led down to the other floors.  The man glanced back at Jenny as she let her eyes roam over the vastness of the mansion. When she had taken in everything visible to her from this point she looked at the man, her mouth opened slightly in amazement.  He smiled at her and began to speak.

“Yes, it does seem rather intimidating on first glance doesn’t it? Your room is at the end of the hallway on the third floor.  The third and second floors have four bedrooms each, all of adequate size, all with their own bathrooms.  Each floor also has this common area that overlooks the entryway, or if you look out the back windows you can overlook the grounds.” He led her then to the stairs and they began going down.  “The second floor looks very much like the third, so I will show you the first floor now.”  Jenny stumbled slightly on the stairs, still feeling a little light-headed. The man stopped instantly to steady her and when he was confident she’d regained her balance he moved on. 

Continuing past the second floor, they stepped off the staircase onto the first.  The floor in the entryway was all beautiful hardwood.  The ceilings were high and arching over their heads, and all the walls were painted dark colors, mostly of maroons and browns.  Jenny could hardly take it all in as she looked around.  It was such a beautiful place and yet here she was in very unappealing circumstances.  She began to make a mental inventory of all possible escape routes and hiding places.  They stopped at the base of the staircase and the man spoke again. 

“Off to your right is a door that leads into what used to be the ballroom.  We of course don’t often throw grand balls here anymore, so now it’s pretty much just a large empty room with a lot of mirrors.  To your left is the dinning room.  Also quite a bit larger than we actually need now, however with the number of guests that used to frequent this place that size was needed.”  He turned to her again, still holding on to her handcuffs.  She looked at him and pulled slightly backwards to test the grip he had, but it was quite firm. 

“What do you think of the estate so far Jenny?  It’s your home now, so I hope you like it.” Jenny looked away from him, thinking she’d rather live in a cardboard box right now than stay here with him.  She could not deny to herself how lovely it was, or that she’d always wished to live in a grand palace with ballrooms and lavish furnishings. 

Careful what you wish for…

Jenny noticed that several times on the tour he had said ‘we’ when referring to those living in the house.  She wondered if this was just habit, or if perhaps there were other inhabitants…maybe someone who could help her!

“This house and all its land has been in my family for many years,” continued the man.  “We also have quite a large trust that is plenty for upkeep and also for just about anything we may want or desire. I have taken the liberty of making special, shall we say, alterations to the house in preparation of your arrival.”  He looked very pleased with himself and Jenny wondered exactly what he meant by ‘alterations’.  She then noticed a lock on the front door that was placed much too high for her to reach.  Well that may eliminate a quick escape, but not a sneaky one if she could find a chair to stand on.  The lock was too simple though, and Jenny was sure there were other alterations she’d soon find out about.

“So, she’s awake…” came a voice from somewhere behind them.  The voice was smooth, steady, and definitely male.  Jenny turned but all she could see were stairs.  The voice must be coming from a room around the backside of the staircase.  The man restraining Jenny positioned her in front of him and held firmly to her shoulders.  He walked her to the left and Jenny could now see behind the staircase.   It was a hallway evidently leading to the living room, but Jenny was not looking beyond to the living room.  She was focused on the figure leaning against the wall in the hallway.  He was built much like her current captor; tall, a lean muscular build, long, dark brown hair (only his was in a ponytail and appeared slightly shorter than the other’s).  He was dressed completely in black, his tee-shirt tucked into his black jeans.  His eyebrows were thick and dark, giving him a sinister look.

The figure pushed off the wall and began walking toward the two.  The man holding Jenny’s shoulders seemed to be urging her toward the other figure, but Jenny resisted.  This new one was frightening.  His eyes were dark brown, gazing at her with what looked like…hunger

“James, I’d like you to meet Jenny,” said her captor.  The dark eyed man looked her up and down, and a faint smile came to his face.  Not a friendly smile, but a smile suggesting a cat looking at the mouse he has just cornered.  Jenny fought to back up but her captor stood strong, and Jenny pushed back against him feeling very trapped.  James came within inches of Jenny never taking his eyes off of her. Though the handcuffs prevented much movement, the only defense available to her was raising her arms as a pathetic barrier between them.  She looked up at him with wide and terrified eyes, but she couldn’t hold his gaze and had to look away.

James licked his lips and slowly lifted his arm.  He took her chin in his hand and lifted her face, forcing her to meet his gaze again.  His touch was not harsh, but it was quite firm.  Jenny began to shiver as the man moved his hand from her chin to her cheek.  With the back of his hand he ran his touch up her cheek and past her eye before letting his arm fall back to his side.  “You were right to bring her here, Eric.  I think I will really enjoy her… company.”  Jenny was still trembling uncontrollably and she realized she was pressed quite close against her captor, who she now knew as Eric.   Her gaze again fell to the floor as James stared at her for a few moments more before looking over her head at Eric. 

“Not that I’m complaining because they do look spectacular on her, but why did you put her in handcuffs?  Has she misbehaved already?”

“No sooner was she awake than making a run for it.”  Eric’s voice was not angry, but amused.  “I expected nothing less.”  Jenny felt James’ stare burning into her again but she couldn’t force herself to look at him.

“Well then, we shall have to keep her properly restrained until she can be trusted.  Have you shown her the basement yet?  That might motivate her to behave.” There was silence for a few moments and Jenny looked up to see both of the men looking at her.  She swallowed nervously and squirmed to free herself from Eric’s grip.  James backed up slightly and appraised her while Eric wrapped his arm around the front of her and held her close. 

“Actually, I think she’s had enough excitement for now.   I am going to take her to freshen up.  How does that sound Jenny?”  She gave Eric no answer. 

James looked at Eric and said, “She doesn’t say much, does she?  Too bad, I would have loved to see her in a gag...”  He grinned evilly looking at Jenny again.  She shuddered.

“I think she’s giving me the silent treatment as a passive aggressive tactic, believing if she doesn’t cooperate I won’t want her anymore.”  Jenny swallowed thickly.  Even though she had stopped struggling, Eric still held her close. He then put his face down by her ear and spoke softly. “But it won’t work Jenny.  I will always want you, and I won’t ever let you go.  I know you well, very well, and there’s nothing you can do or say that will make me stop wanting you.  I would not have gone to all the trouble to bring you here otherwise.” 

Jenny was in shock.  She did not understand any of this, and she suddenly felt very defeated.  He’s not going to let me go…ever?  I have to save myself, there has to be some way out of this...His breath on her ear gave her chills and she closed her eyes as a shiver traveled down her body.  Suddenly her mind started flashing with horrible thoughts.  What is he going to do with me?  Does he plan on hurting me?  Killing me??  She hadn’t seen a weapon yet but for all she knew he could be carrying a knife or a gun.  And what was in the basement that would ‘motivate her to behave?’ 

Thinking back to where she awoke--on the bed with Eric watching her--she shuddered anew.  He could be planning to…She shook her head to rid her mind of these thoughts.  They were only making matters worse, not helping her conceive a way to escape.  Jenny felt a warm streak travel down her face as her mind finally gave way to her emotions and the tears began to fall.  Eric was still holding her tight, and as he noticed her crying he took a finger and wiped a tear from her cheek.   She felt his breath on her ear as he whispered to her again.

“Don’t cry little one, I’m sorry.  We have been moving much too fast haven’t we?  Come on, I’ll take you back upstairs so you can have a little privacy.”  With that he straightened up and once again took a hold of the chain connecting the two cuffs together.  James simply stood silently watching the two, an unreadable expression on his face.  Eric addressed him then.  “Please excuse us for now.  I will be back down to talk with you shortly.”  James didn’t acknowledge Eric, but instead continued watching Jenny.  As Eric led Jenny around to the staircase, James retreated without a word back into the hallway from where he had appeared.

 

Chapter 2: The Escape Plan

 

Eric returned Jenny to the room where she had awakened.  He sat her in one of the large armchairs and let go of her cuffs while he reached into his pocket.  Jenny used this opportunity to wipe the remaining tears from her face with the back of her hand.  Producing a set of keys from his pocket, Eric shuffled through them until he found the small one he then used to unlock the cuffs on Jenny’s wrists.  While they didn’t hurt her, Jenny was definitely relieved to have them off.  She placed her hands in her lap as Eric returned the cuffs and keys to their respective jean pockets and looked down at her.  

“All of this excitement has undoubtedly been a bit overwhelming for you, so I am going to give you a little time by yourself to try and take it all in.  Beyond that door is the bathroom,” he said as he gestured over his shoulder at the room he had produced the glass of water from earlier.  “It’s quite large.  There is an over-sized bathtub, a shower, a toilet room, a changing area, and a closet.  There is also everything you will need; soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, everything.  Take your time.  Take a bath or a shower, whatever you prefer.  Afterwards you will find clothes in the closet that will fit you.  Place the clothes you are wearing now in the basket and they will be washed for you.”  When Jenny made no move toward the bathroom, Eric held out his hand to help her up and said, “Just so you feel secure I have put a lock on the door that is only accessible from the inside.  This is so you know no one is going to intrude on you, and you can feel safe.  However, this is a privilege and if you abuse it by hiding locked in the bathroom when it is not appropriate, you will lose the lock.  Is this understood?” 

Jenny sat for a few seconds more before finally nodding and placing her hand in his to let him help her to her feet.  She was too exhausted physically and mentally to fight anymore right now.

“Good girl,” said Eric as he led her to the doorway.  “Take as much time as you need, try and relax.  I will be back for you when you’re done.”  With that he moved away and Jenny quickly closed the door behind him.  She found the lock, slid the bolt into place, and leaned against the back of the door as the tears instantly began to flow again.  Sliding slowly down the door she sat on the floor and sobbed until she had no tears left. 

When nothing remained except dry heaves she clumsily got to her feet and looked around the room.  It was as Eric said.  The tub stood in one corner, looking large and inviting.  In another corner was the shower, and along the wall to her right was the small room containing the toilet.  Before anything else she quickly stepped into the toilet room and used the facilities, because upon seeing it she realized just how badly her bladder was trying to get her attention.  After emerging (and feeling quite relieved) she continued looking around.  Between the tub and shower was a large counter with a sink and a mirror.  The closet was to her left, and as she peeked inside she found many different varieties of clothes, all in her sizes.  She was too tired to worry about how he knew her sizes.  There were no windows in the bathroom.  Must be another ‘alteration’… 

She walked over to the bathtub and turned the knob for hot water.  The facet sprang to life and steamy water began flowing into the large tub.   She turned the cold water nozzle slightly and tested the water until it was an acceptable temperature.  When she was satisfied, she pulled the stopper and the water began to rise. 

While the tub was filling she walked over to the sink and looked in the mirror.  She was shocked by what was staring back at her. Her face was tearstained from crying, the mascara she had been wearing now pooled underneath her bloodshot eyes.  Her hair was a mess and needed to be washed badly.  Her clothes were wrinkled and dirty.  Sighing deeply she ducked down below the counter and opened the cabinet beneath the sink.  Inside she found body washes, soaps, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, and even to her embarrassment, feminine napkins.  He has definitely covered all the bases…She was disturbed to find everything in familiar brands such as she would have at home. 

He must have been in my house…looked through my things…

Grabbing a bottle of shampoo, conditioner, a bar of soap and a sponge, Jenny walked back over to the now full bathtub and placed them on the side of the tub.  After twisting off the hot and cold nozzles she slowly got undressed.  She tossed the dirty clothes in the basket as instructed, hesitating with her bra and panties.  Finally deciding she had no other choice she tossed them in, too.    After glancing at the door once more to make sure the lock was securely in place she stepped into the steamy water and sunk down in.  It felt so good that she just leaned back and rested with her eyes closed, trying her best to clear her mind and calm down. 

After a few minutes she did begin to feel better and figured now was as good a time as any to get clean.  Scooting forward and leaning her head all the way back she wet her long hair.  She then poured a generous amount of shampoo—the kind with extra body—into her hand and thoroughly worked the lather through. Submerging her hair under the water again she rinsed the shampoo out and repeated the process with the conditioner.  After her hair was clean and conditioned she used the soap and sponge to clean her face and body.  It felt good to get the grime off of her body from…how many days?  She wasn’t sure what day it was or how long she’d been unconscious.  She didn’t even know what state she was in!  She certainly didn’t remember any mansions around where she lived, and for that matter houses couldn’t have basements where she lived because it was low-lying and they would fill with water.  The hunger pains in her stomach told her she hadn’t eaten for quite some time, but exactly how long she didn’t know.

Jenny’s relaxed state was now broken as she started thinking about her situation again.   Rinsing off quickly, she rose out of the warm water and hurriedly grabbed a towel that was on the rack by the tub.  She dried herself while she watched the water spiral down the drain.   Wrapping the towel around her body she walked to the counter and looked in the mirror again.  The mascara was gone from her cheeks and eyes, and her skin was bright and rosy from the hot bath.  Her wet hair hung down around her shoulders and she began searching for a comb.  She found it in a drawer just below the counter.  The teeth floated easily through her conditioned hair and soon she looked something like herself again. 

Leaving the comb on the counter she ventured into the closet to find something to wear.  She first selected a pair of pink panties and matching bra.  Checking the label in the bra she discovered it was a 34 D.  God, he even knows my bra size.  After letting the towel drop to the floor she slipped into the panties and bra, and began searching through the clothes.  She picked out something simple, a pair of blue jeans and a purple, long sleeved shirt with a v-neck.  Both fit as well as could be expected, though because she was petite the sleeves were too long and so were the pant legs.  This was a common problem for Jenny when she shopped for clothes. 

Jenny’s first escape plan started forming in her mind.  Could she convince them to take the clothes to a tailor to get them altered?  Maybe this would alert the tailor because large men were bringing clothes to be altered to fit the size of the woman that was missing.  Jenny’s thought process paused then.  Had anyone even reported her missing yet?  Surely her friends and family knew she had disappeared from the club.  They would have called the police unless…What if something had happened to them?  What if they had been threatened somehow not to talk or call the police?  Was anyone even looking for her?  Her parents had died years ago in a car accident, but she was close to her brother, Mike, who lived just blocks away from her.  God, Mike must be so worried about me, I have to get home!

 Deciding her first plan was flimsy at best, she shelved it as a backup.  What she needed to do was get them to trust her, get them to think she was going to stay with them willingly so they’d lower their guard and she could find a way out.  This wasn’t going to be easy.  Jenny hated being deceitful.  But these were kidnappers; it was okay to deceive kidnappers wasn’t it?  She shuddered to think what would happen if this plan failed.  If she betrayed them what would they do to her?  So far they hadn’t hurt her but who knew what they had planned?  Plus, Jenny put major value in promises and so she never made them unless she was sure she could keep them.   Well, she would avoid making any promises if she could help it.  Maybe if she just cooperated they would trust her. This was also an unpleasant thought.  She did not want to cooperate with these people!  What if they expected unreasonable things?   

Shaking her head Jenny again cleared her mind.  She often seemed to go off on her ‘what if’ tangents when deep in thought.  While it was good to go over many contingencies, she didn’t think this was getting her anywhere at the moment.  Her best bet would be to play it by ear until she got to know the situation, as well as her captors, a little better.  Nodding with that decision she finished tying her shoes and rolling up her pant legs.    

Stepping out of the closet Jenny looked at the bolted door leading back into the room.  Eric was probably behind the door waiting for her.  She didn’t want to go back out there.  She considered just staying put until she remembered his warning from earlier.  If she stayed hidden in the bathroom he’d remove the lock.  She certainly didn’t want that to happen.  Sliding the bolt over, she opened the door a crack and peered into the room.  It seemed empty.  Inching the door further she stuck her head out to get a full view of the room.  Neither Eric nor James was there.  Cautiously Jenny stepped out of the bathroom.  She was terrified that somehow one of the men would appear out of nowhere, but nothing happened. 

She walked over to the window and moved the curtain to see outside.  It was a long drop to the ground from this height.  She was considering the old trick of tying sheets together to make a rope until she saw that the window was nailed shut.  Alteration number three?  Looking into the sky she saw some nasty black clouds moving in.  She then noticed the faint sound of thunder rumbling in the distance.  The storm looked bad, and it was coming this way.  She glanced over to the door leading into the hallway.  It was closed, and she assumed it must be locked, too.  Nevertheless she walked over to the door and placed her hand on the knob.  With a deep breath she tried it and to her surprise it turned easily in her hand.  Pulling the door inward slightly and peering out, she saw that the hallway, too, was empty. 

Jenny was conflicted at this point.  She didn’t know whether to make a run for it or to stay put, because Eric would surely be back at any moment.  She only debated for a few seconds before deciding this may be her only chance to get out of here.  Stepping into the hallway she crept along the wall until coming into the open loft area.  A quick visual survey told her there was no one here or in the entry way, so Jenny started down the stairs.  She stopped midway between the third and second landings.  Voices….She heard voices coming this way!  Running as quietly as she could onto the second floor, she dove behind a chair in the loft just as the men mounted the stairs.  They were still in the midst of their conversation as they made their way up toward her. 

Jenny held her breath.  She could hear them talking about the approaching storm as they climbed ever closer to her hiding spot. 

“We may need candles if the power is knocked out again,” Eric was saying just as a clap of thunder shook the windows slightly.  “I’m going to head up to check on Jenny.  Could you make sure the flashlight on this floor has fresh batteries?”  The men were now standing on the landing of the second floor, just feet from where Jenny was hiding.  She curled up into a little ball and shut her eyes trying to turn invisible.  She assumed James shook his head due to his lack of a verbal response, because he stayed on the second floor as Eric headed up to the third.  Jenny was terrified.  Eric would discover her missing any moment and James was sure to find her. 

Just as she suspected Eric came racing out onto the landing of the third floor only moments after he’d walked back to Jenny’s room.  “James!  She’s escaped; I must have forgotten to lock the door.  I’m going to do a search of the rooms, could you do a quick sweep of the grounds to make sure she didn’t get outside?”

“That didn’t take her long did it?” came James’ reply.  “Yeah, I’ll head out and see if I spot her making a run for it.  She’s probably still in the house though, I wouldn’t worry.” 

“We need to find her quickly. I want her back before this storm hits full force.”

Jenny opened her eyes and listened for the sound of James heading down the stairs.  As he walked she heard him say quietly to himself, “Let the hunt begin.”

She heard James reach the bottom floor, and then she heard a key in a lock and the front door opening.  Jenny’s heart jumped.  He unlocked the front door!  If she could slip down the stairs without Eric finding her, she could follow James out the front door!  She was excited now.  This was going to work!  She peeked out from behind the chair to find no sign of Eric.  She assumed he must be searching the rooms on the third floor. 

It was now or never.  Jenny dashed out from behind the chair and ran as fast as she could down the stairs.  As she reached the entryway and was about to open the door she heard someone call her name and instinctively froze.

“Jenny!  Don’t.” 

With her hand on the doorknob she spun and focused her view upward. Eric was standing on the third floor landing looking right at her.  Their eyes locked and for an instant in time everything seemed to stop.  Another loud clap of thunder made Jenny jump and started time again.  Turning back around, she flung the door open.  She could hear Eric start down the stairs after her as she ran out into the storm.

 

 

 

Chapter 3: The Chase, The Hunt

 

It wasn’t raining yet, but the wind was whipping around wildly trying to slow Jenny’s progress.  She knew James was out here somewhere but she couldn’t be concerned with that right now because Eric was probably right behind her.  She ran blindly to the right, holding her arm in front of her to shield the oncoming wind.  She paused to get her bearings as the first large drops of rain began falling all around her. 

Jenny needed to hide, and quickly. Spotting a wooded area along her current path, she sprinted as fast as she could towards it.  The trees would offer her a hiding place as well as shield her from the wind and rain.  After reaching the woods she turned to look behind her.  Eric stood where she had been moments ago, his arm also raised to block the wind and pouring rain as he surveyed the property for her. After looking left, he turned to the right and looked directly at the thicket where Jenny was currently hiding. 

Jenny’s heart raced as Eric began running toward her again.    In an instant Jenny was off, sprinting through the trees, trying to dodge branches and roots that sprung up to trip her.  Lightning was flashing dangerously close now, but Jenny could scarcely hear the thunder due to the blood pumping in her ears.  Her soaked clothes clung to her and the wind reached its icy fingers through her shirt chilling her to the bone.   Just then a low vine caught hold of her pant leg and nearly caused her to fall.  She kicked to free herself but the thorns on the vine held tight.  Stooping down Jenny grabbed at the plant and pulled with all her might, and finally heard the material rip as the thorns let go. 

She knew she’d lost precious time now. In one swift motion she stood back up and turned in her original direction, only to find a tall, dark figure blocking her path.  Jenny’s mouth fell open in fear as she realized she was standing face to face with James.  He was also soaking wet, his black clothes clinging to his body as raindrops dripped down his limbs.  His hair had come free from the pony tail and now fell loosely around his shoulders.  Some of the wet strands dangled into his eyes but he made no move to push them away as he began to speak.

“I’m impressed that you made it this far,” he said, his voice loud enough to carry over the noise of the storm, yet still low and foreboding.  “However,” he continued, “I was secretly hoping for a better hunt.  Nevertheless, it’s over now.  Come here.” Jenny flung herself backwards as he moved to grab her and with her adrenaline pumping even more now than before, she turned and ran.  James was caught off guard by this, so it took a few seconds before she heard branches crunching behind her as he made his pursuit. 

It didn’t take long for him to catch up and Jenny screamed as he grabbed her from behind.  Her arms were pinned to her side as he wrapped his own all the way around her, holding her tight and pulling her back toward him.    Jenny was not ready to give up yet.  She struggled with all her might causing James to stumble forward.  This got Jenny close enough to a tree to kick up her legs and push as hard as she could off the tree, sending both of them flying backwards.  She heard James grunt as his back came in contact with another tree from the rear. The force of it caused him to lose his grip on her, and she fell forward onto the ground. 

Without looking back Jenny scurried to her feet and was off once again.  She had lost all sense of what direction she was going now as she weaved around all the bushes and trees.  She was exhausted and freezing and running low on energy.  The storm was raging worse than ever and it had become so dark Jenny had to slow down just to avoid running headlong into a tree trunk.  She placed her hand on her forehead as she looked left, right, and straight ahead trying to figure out what to do.  She glanced behind her and saw no sign of James, but faintly over the sound of the wind and rain she heard him calling her name, long, pronounced, and mocking.

“Jeeeeeeennnnnnnnnyyyyyy.  Where aaarreeee youuuuu…”  Her legs were screaming at her not to go any further but she knew she had to keep going, she had to get awayBut away to where?  She could barely see ten feet in front of her through the rain and darkness.  Leaning back on a tree she pushed the wet strands of hair from her face and tried to catch her breath. 

As the lightning flashed she thought she saw something moving off to her right.  She froze and squinted her eyes but couldn’t make out anything except tree branches blowing in the wind.  Just as she decided to get moving again a voice whispered in her left ear.

“Now I am really impressed,” it hissed quietly.  Jenny turned her head quickly to the left, though she didn’t need to see him to know it was James that found her again.  “I didn’t think you had it in you little girl.  But this time it really is over. It’s time to go home.”  He was giving her a completely evil smile as she backed away.  It only took her seconds to figure out why because she then came in contact with another figure looming on her right.  She peered up to see Eric, looking as equally waterlogged as she and James.  His chest was heaving deeply from his chase through the woods.  Instantly they both had a hold of her arms on either side and were leading her toward the mansion.  Jenny tried to plant her feet and give them a good fight but between the two of them she posed no threat, and they easily forced her along.  Apparently she had been running back toward the house in her confusion, because in no time they arrived at the huge estate. It loomed in the darkness, the lightning flashing around it eerily.  Jenny gazed up at it fearfully, knowing not what her fate would be when locked inside this prison once again.  Feeling defeated and hopeless she gave no fight as they led her through the doorway, and she only closed her eyes and dropped her head as she heard the resounding click of the lock as Eric secured the door behind her. 

 

Chapter 4: Weathering the Storm

 

“Take her down to the basement,” Eric instructed James.  “I’m going to see to the window shutters and then I’ll join you.  This storm isn’t going anywhere for awhile, and may get worse before it gets better.”

“Do you need any help?” asked James.

“Just keep an eye on Jenny, this shouldn’t take me long.”

Still holding Jenny by the arm, James led her through the dinning room into the kitchen.  Jenny noted the kitchen was big enough to make the finest chef happy and comfortable.  James opened a door at the far end of the kitchen and flipped a light switch immediately inside the doorway.  Jenny saw stairs leading down.  Remembering their conversation from earlier about the basement motivating her to behave Jenny hesitated slightly as James pulled her across the threshold onto the stairs.  He flashed a warning look and she took the hint, offering no more resistance. 

As they descended the wooden staircase Jenny looked around and suppressed a gasp.  The walls were unfinished stone, giving the basement a cave-like appearance.  The room was large and dimly lit, but there was light enough for Jenny to see that attached to the walls were many metal rings, most of which held chains and shackles of varying assortments.  Some looked like they were meant for wrists, some for ankles, and some even looked like they would fit around a neck.  Along one wall was what looked like a prison cell, and there was a large wooden table in the center of the room fitted with leather restraints at both ends.  Jenny’s eyes were wide and frightened. Oh, my God, this is a dungeon!

James led her all the way down the stairs and into a dead-end corner, positioning her up against the wall.  “Stay,” he said letting go of her.  Jenny didn’t move.  Standing as still as she could, she attempted to control her trembling.  She didn’t know whether it was from being in cold, wet clothes, or from the fear of what James was planning for her.   He knelt down and started rummaging through a trunk located under the stairs.  After pulling out several items he closed the trunk, tossing what looked like a set of clothes on the lid, and stood up looking at Jenny. 

“Take off the wet clothes you’re wearing and put this on,” he said handing her a large black tee-shirt. Jenny accepted the shirt but made no move to take off her clothes.  “You don’t possess anything I haven’t seen before my dear, but your modesty is adorable.”   She blushed a deep red as he smirked and slowly, deliberately, turned his back to her.  Jenny quickly stripped off her wet shirt and flung the black tee over her head.  It was very large on her, the sleeves reaching down to her elbows and the bottom reaching down to her knees.  Apparently it belonged to James.   She then slipped the shoes off of her feet and took off the sopping wet socks.  Lifting the shirt she undid the button and zipper of her jeans and struggled to pull them off, the dampness making them cling to her.  Finally winning the battle she tossed the jeans off to the side and quickly pulled the shirt back down.  She decided to leave her bra and panties on since they were only slightly damp and she would feel much more vulnerable without undergarments.

“Finished?” James asked with his back still toward her. 

“Yes,” came Jenny’s quiet reply.  She hated having to speak to him, but at this point she figured her silence strategy wasn’t working anyway.

James turned back around to face her. “Well, well, she speaks.”   He smiled as he appraised her in his shirt.  “Not quite a perfect fit, but it’s dry and it will do for now.”  With this he took hold of her wrist and led her across the room.  Jenny realized there was more here than she had noticed before.  There were couches, a television on a small table, and James was leading her toward a pit in the floor.  It was about a foot deep and six feet in length and width.  It was filled with pillows and blankets to the point that the bottom wasn’t visible through them.  It reminded Jenny of something she might see in a harem.  Just above the pit were more long chains attached to the wall.  

James stopped at the edge of the pit and ushered her forward. “Sit,” he said simply.  Jenny stepped into the pit and sat down, pulling a pillow into her arms for comfort.  The pillowed surface was comfortable and warm, and Jenny was just relieved to be dry again.  She inched her way toward the wall, putting as much distance between her and James as she could. 

“Good girl,” he said looking down at her.  “Now, you will stay right there.  I’m sure you noticed the chains on the wall.  If you try anything I will not hesitate to use them.”  Jenny nodded.  She sat quietly and watched James as he proceeded to remove his own wet clothes.   First, he peeled off his black tee-shirt.  As Jenny had imagined, his body was in great shape.  He possessed smooth, lean muscles that rippled slightly as he pulled the shirt over his head.  Tossing it on the floor he began unbuckling his belt and undoing his pants. 

Apparently he has no modesty…

James eased his pants down and kicked them into a pile with his discarded shirt.  He now stood in only his boxers, also black, and glanced down at Jenny.  Her face flushed and she turned away quickly.  He chuckled as he scooped up his wet clothes and walked back toward the stairs.  Jenny guessed he was going back to put on the clothes he left on the trunk lid. 

As he moved out of sight Jenny breathed a small sigh of relief.  She was expecting something much worse than to be sitting on a bed of soft pillows.  Then she realized this might be only temporary.  Eric would be coming back soon and he might be somewhat angrier than James, who just seemed amused by her whole escape attempt (even though she had bashed him into a tree).  Would Eric be angry enough to do something to her?  Was that the purpose of this whole dungeon?  To torture her?  What kind of people had a dungeon in their basement??  Jenny crawled to the edge of the pit she was sitting in and propped herself up on her knees to try and get a better look around. 

“Jenny, what did I tell you about moving?” came the soft voice of James from somewhere in the shadows near the stairs.  Apparently he had never lost sight of her even though she couldn’t see him.  Jenny sat back down instantly and tried to make herself as small and insignificant as possible.  She ran her fingers through her wet hair nervously. 

Just then the door at the top of the stairs opened and Eric mounted the stairs holding a tray.  Jenny couldn’t see what was on it, but then her stomach lurched as she smelled food.  She didn’t know how long it had been since she had eaten but she could tell it had been awhile by the way her body was reacting to the aroma of tomato sauce. 

Eric stepped off the stairs and walked back into the corner, presumably to speak with James.  Jenny sat up as straight as possible trying to see what they were doing, but she couldn’t make out anything in the darkness.  After a few moments Eric emerged, still carrying the tray, and walked toward Jenny.  He had changed his clothes and was now wearing a pair of khaki cargo pants and a button down white shirt that was open at the chest.  She shrunk back down again under his unrelenting stare as he approached her.  He walked over to the side of the pit and sat down, placing the tray over Jenny’s lap before she could scurry away from him.

“It’s chicken parmesan,” he said as he picked up the plastic fork and put it in her hand.  “I know this is one of your favorite dishes.  I cut up the chicken for you and mixed it in with the pasta, because I think handing you a knife right now wouldn’t be in my best interest.”  Jenny just held the fork he’d given her and stared at him.  “Don’t worry, it’s safe.  I promise there are no drugs in it, or the soda.  I know you’re starving.  Eat.”  Jenny looked down at the food and her mouth watered.  She figured it was a good idea to keep her strength up, so she reluctantly scooped up some pasta on her fork and took a bite.  It was delicious.  Jenny always thought food tasted better when she was really hungry, and seeing as how she’d never been hungrier this food was the best she’d ever eaten. 

With her first few bites Eric was satisfied and he left her side, presumably to speak with James again.  Jenny didn’t know what they were talking about, nor did she care right now, because her whole world revolved around this meal.  After shoving in a few mouthfuls she reached for the soda and took a sip.  Root beer, also her favorite. In just a few minutes Jenny had cleaned her plate and finished off the soda.  She felt quite fulfilled by the generous portion and definitely felt the strength coming back into her limbs.  After wiping her mouth on the napkin provided, she set the tray aside.  Sitting up straight again, she looked for the two men.  Eric’s form materialized from the shadows.

Jenny was conscious of the sound of thunder still crashing all around the house, but at the moment she was more fearful of the lightning in Eric’s piercing gaze.   He strode toward her with a purpose, and behind him she could see James (now clad in another black tee shirt and blue jeans) walk over to the couch and sit down.  She cowered before Eric as he reached the edge of the pit and looked down at her.  His long hair that was still damp was loose around his face and fell down over his shoulders.  With difficulty, she looked back up into his eyes. 

“Will you behave if I leave you unrestrained?” he asked.  Jenny swallowed and nodded her head.   Eric reached down and took a hold of her arm and easily pulled her to a standing position.   He led her out of the pit and over to a plush arm chair across from the couch where James was sitting.  She noticed James had pulled a knife from his pocket and was chipping away lazily at a small piece of wood while smiling at her.  She swallowed again and looked away, terrified.  Eric sat down in the chair and pulled a little on Jenny’s arm indicating she was to sit on the floor in front of him.  Jenny obeyed.  After her failed escape attempt she dared not try anything that might arouse anger from either man. 

From the table next to his chair Eric picked up a brush and began running it through her hair.  Jenny closed her eyes.  He gently worked the knots out first, and then just ran the bristles through her smooth hair again and again.  Jenny felt herself relaxing despite her best efforts to stay alert.  She absolutely loved having her hair brushed.  She let herself drift for awhile, let the fear and trauma of the day flow out of her body with each brush stroke.

“That’s right, just relax,” came Eric’s smooth voice flowing into her void.  He had put the brush down and was now running his fingers through her hair. In the back of her mind Jenny was thinking she shouldn’t be letting him do this, she should be resisting.  But resisting was so hard, and it’s not like he was hurting her…

As if he could read her mind Eric spoke again.  “You see Jenny, you can be happy here.  Just accept the way things are.  Enjoy this life I can give you.  You’ll have a beautiful home, a man who cherishes you, no bills or work to worry about, and you’ll want for nothing.  Let the harsh realities of the world disappear and enjoy this paradise.”  With her eyes still closed Jenny thought about what he’d said.  On some level his words agreed with her.  Not having to worry about money or work or all the trials of single life would be a relief.  Having someone take care of her for a change, that would be lovely. But not like this. This was very wrong.  She was a prisoner, unable to make her own decisions, to live her life the way she chose.  He had complete power over her and it scared her.  And there were other worries, uncertainties… one of which was sitting on the sofa across from her…      

Jenny opened her eyes just in time to see James staring at her with the knife still in his hands.  She sucked in her breath sharply as the whole room suddenly went pitch black with a loud clap of thunder. Jenny panicked.  She tried desperately to scurry to her feet with the last image of James holding the knife burned in her brain.  Terror swept her whole body and she couldn’t even scream.  Fortunately Eric was a bit calmer and held fast to Jenny’s shoulders, keeping her planted in front of him.  Once he had a good grip he held her with one hand while reaching over to the table with the other, quickly clicking on a small flashlight.  Jenny calmed a bit when the small beam of light illuminated the couch where James had been sitting, but began panicking again when she saw he wasn’t there.  Oh God, there’s a man with a knife somewhere in this pitch black torture chamber!

“Shh, Jenny you’re okay, calm down. Jenny!” But Jenny would have none of it.  She wanted out of here and she wanted out now.  Her basic flight instincts had taken over and it was taking all of Eric’s strength to hold her down. He cursed under his breath as he put the flashlight down and began feeling around in the dark.  Finding what he was looking for he left the flashlight on the table and focused his attention on Jenny.  When she saw he held a rope in his free hand she kicked out harder but Eric was quickly in front of her, pinning her wrists together.

“No don’t please!” Jenny shrieked as Eric wrapped the rope around her wrists and secured it in place.  He then produced a pocket knife and severed the remaining length of the rope, tying it around Jenny’s ankles.  With her wrists and ankles bound, there was nothing Jenny could do, for struggling now just made the ropes burn. She was also conscious of the tee-shirt she was wearing inching up toward her waist, though she didn’t have long to focus on that because Eric scooped her up in his arms and carried her back over to the pit, laying her gently on the pillows. 

Since the flashlight was still on the table it was very dark where Jenny now was and she used this opportunity to wiggle into a position so she could try and untie the bonds on her ankles.  Unfortunately the knots were in the back and were very tight, and Jenny couldn’t get them to budge.  She instead pulled the tee-shirt down to cover as much of herself as possible and curled up on her side, pulling her knees up to her stomach and resting her bound wrists in front of her, close to her body.  She had the sudden urge to just close her eyes and go to sleep, that being her only way to escape this reality.

After placing Jenny on the pillows, Eric had returned to the table and retrieved his flashlight.  Jenny could see him shining it around the room.  She then saw another point of light, and after her eyes adjusted to the dark a little better she realized it was James using a lighter to illuminate some candles all around the basement.  The room was slowly regaining its dim glow via the candles and oil lamps the men were lighting.  Jenny realized James must know the layout of the room really well for he had been up in an instant, making preparations to light candles before Eric had even turned on the flashlight.  It made her uneasy to think how well he could navigate the dungeon in the dark.

When the room was sufficiently lit (Jenny was kind of surprised there were no torches on the walls) the men began making their way back toward her.  She just stared straight ahead at nothing.  She didn’t want to look at them, didn’t want to deal with this.  The sound of thunder was echoing through the basement, one rumble after another.  She wondered how long the power would be out.  The men were standing at the edge of the pit looking down at her.  Jenny continued to stare at nothing.  She now knew each one carried a knife, and who knows what else, and she was bound helplessly.  She was petrified and shaking visibly. 

“Jenny, are you alright?  Jenny?”  She didn’t know which of them was speaking to her.  Everything was a blur.  She just kept thinking about how James had been looking at her while holding the knife.  Her eyes began to water and she knew she’d start crying at any moment.  Covering her face with her hands she continued to ignore the two, hoping the ostrich technique would be effective.  The next voice startled her because it was very close to her ear. 

“Jenny, I would never let anything happen to you.”  This voice belonged to Eric.  “No one is going to hurt you.  You’re safe here.”  Safe. Yeah, right.   “I would even be willing to let you roam freely around the house if you’d just behave yourself.  Stop resisting, stop trying to escape and I won’t have to engage in such…drastic measures,” he said as he ran his finger along the rope that bound her wrists.   Jenny shuddered at his touch and pulled her wrists away.  Eric sighed and stood back up.  He could tell she was in no state to listen to his reassurances, so he walked back over to the couch and sat down.  After watching her closely for another few minutes James also turned and headed back toward the sitting area.  Taking his knife back out of his pocket he picked up the wood he’d been chipping and began carving again. 

 

*    *    *

 

Eric stared into space, lost in thought.  He was going to have to reevaluate his strategy.  Jenny’s arrival had been planned for so long it was almost like she had already been living here for some time now, and so Eric needed to remind himself that she had just arrived and this was going to be a huge adjustment for her. He had forced too much on her too quickly.  He glanced over at her lying on the bed of pillows.  She laid curled into a little ball with her eyes closed.  Most likely she had fallen asleep after the exhausting ordeal from the afternoon, or even fainted from the fright she had a few moments ago.  He was surprised she had even had the energy to accomplish what she did.  The girl was strong willed that’s for sure.  But he knew given the time she would come to accept her new life and hopefully even learn to like it here.

Glancing over at James carving his piece of wood, Eric chuckled to himself.  James was having a great time frightening the poor girl.  Eric didn’t mind.  Jenny needed to be somewhat afraid so Eric could control her more easily.  She was very different than what James was used to, though.  He often brought home women to play in his little dungeon, the difference being these women were quite willing to submit to anything the handsome, mysterious James requested of them.  And he requested some…out of the ordinary...things. 

James had no trouble finding women to willingly play into his every fantasy, and neither did Eric, truth be told.  Both brothers, fraternal twins, actually, were blessed with traits women seemed to melt for.  The tall, dark, and handsome persona fit each man like a glove, as well as mysterious, sensual, and intelligent.  Admittedly, Eric had used this basement hideaway on several occasions in the past.  But ever since laying eyes upon Jenny on her college campus (he had met several coeds on his beach vacation and they had invited him to the campus) no other women had satisfied him.  She had been sitting alone, watching people, just as he watched her.  He made it a point to find out as much as possible about sweet, innocent, Jenny, and the more he had learned about her, the more the other women had begun to annoy and disgust him.  He knew early on he needed to have her no matter what the cost. 

Eric had to admit there was something incredibly sensual and erotic about a bound, helpless woman, and it was taking a lot of self control on his part to see Jenny that way and not act upon it.  But with Jenny his desire was not merely sexual; in fact, if they never had a sexual relationship he would be fine with that, because he enjoyed just being near her.  Plus he was quite fascinated with her innocence and he had decided there was no way he was going to take that forcibly from her.  Something drew Eric to this girl and he had no idea what that was.  He could tell James felt it too.  At first James had been against the idea of bringing Jenny to the house, but now, even though he sadistically frightened and intimidated the girl every chance he got, Eric could tell he approved of having her here. 

As the storm moved away and the thunder subsided, the only noise in the basement was the scraping sound of James’ knife, and the slow, steady breathing of Jenny, asleep on the pillows.  Eric watched her sleep and thought about how to proceed.  He felt so at peace right now just having her here with them that he almost didn’t want this night to end.  But if all went well and he could just be patient, soon things would be even better.  Just then Eric glanced up as the electric lights in the room came back to life.  The storm was over, power was restored.  James folded his knife and returned it to his pocket, leaving his carving, which was starting to look like a little horse, on the table.  He then got to his feet and began extinguishing the candle and lantern flames.  Eric rose and approached the bound, sleeping girl, and made preparations for the next part of his plan.  

 

 

Chapter 5: A New Beginning

 

Jenny woke up to find herself lying on the same bed she had awoken on the day before. Oh no, no, it wasn’t a dream… She sat up quickly and looked around the room but this time she was alone; there was no man sitting in the chair watching her.  Her wrists and ankles were no longer bound, but she still wore James’ black tee-shirtHow did I get here?   The last thing she remembered was being tied up and terrified in that dungeon they called a basement.  Wondering how she had managed to fall asleep, she concluded it was her body’s defense mechanism against a horrible situation she couldn’t escape any other way.  Eric or James must have carried her back up to this room.

“Four flights of stairs carrying my dead weight, now that’s impressive,” she said aloud to herself, and then quickly cringed at her use of the term ‘dead weight.’  But surely after going through all this trouble they didn’t plan on killing her though, right?  Eric did seem to assign her some value; enough, she hoped, to keep her alive and healthy. 

Pushing the covers back Jenny swung her legs over the side of the bed and hopped down.  “Ouch.”  Every muscle in her body seemed to be aching in protest.  She had engaged in a lot of straining activity yesterday and it was quite a relief that muscle aches were the worst of her punishment.  What she really desired now was a nice, hot, bath.  Before heading to the bathroom, however, she made her way to the door of the bedroom and tried the knob.  Locked.  Well, he was rather unlikely to make the same mistake twice, wasn’t he?  But there was no harm in trying.  Oh well, off to the tub.

After a nice long soak in the large tub, Jenny emerged in new, clean, clothes feeling more rejuvenated (and very happy to be out of James’ tee-shirt).  As she undid the bolt and walked back into the bedroom an aroma of eggs and toast was the first thing to greet her.  She looked around the room for either of the men, but no one was present.  The bed had been made up neatly and on the bed sat a tray, and on the tray sat a nice plate of eggs, toast, jam, and orange juice.  Next to the plate was a long stemmed red rose.  Under other circumstances it would have been quite romantic, but the whole scene just made Jenny feel uneasy.  One of them had been here while she was in the bath.  Jenny glanced around the room again just to make sure she was really alone.  She was.

Figuring there was nothing else to do at present she carried the tray over to the small table and chair and began to eat.  The toast had gotten a little cold, but other than that the meal was satisfactory.  Jenny pushed back her chair and made her way to the bedroom door again.  Still locked.  She then walked to the window and looked outside.  The sky was cloudy but it didn’t look like anymore large storms were on the way.  She sure wished she could open the window and breathe some of the fresh air.  Sighing, she turned away and walked back over to the bed.  There she sat, and waited.  And sat….and waited.  And no one came. 

Growing rather restless, Jenny began searching the room for something to try and pick the lock on the door.  She came up empty handed, so she just paced the room.  There was no television, no radio, no computer, no nothing!  It had been several hours now and Jenny thought if she paced much more she might wear a hole in the floor and escape that way.  Okay, I’m going insane.  Finally she just flopped down on the bed and stared at the ceiling.  

After about a half hour of counting the bumps on the popcorn ceiling she heard the sound of a key in a lock.  Someone was coming in.  Jenny sat up on the bed and looked toward the door.  Sure enough it opened and Eric entered, carrying another tray of food.  He smiled at her.

“Good afternoon Jenny,” he said as he walked to the table and replaced the breakfast tray with the new one.  Jenny didn’t respond.  She glanced at the open door leading to the hallway but stayed on the bed.  Even if she made it to the door she wouldn’t make it outside and she knew it.  If Eric noticed her looking at the door he made no indication of it.  “I hope you enjoyed your breakfast.  I have brought your lunch and will be back in a few hours with your dinner.  Is there anything else you need?”  Jenny looked at him standing there with the breakfast tray and still didn’t respond.  Eric smiled again.  “Alright then, enjoy your lunch.”  And with that he left the room.  Jenny heard the click and knew she was once again locked in.

Walking over to the new tray she began to eat her fried chicken.  As she ate, she thought about their encounter.  He hadn’t scolded her for her escape attempt at all, didn’t even mention it.  It was like yesterday had not even happened.  It struck Jenny as odd and she had an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.  Hoping she was just paranoid, she finished her meal and returned to the bed.  

As promised Eric returned as the sun was beginning to set, bringing with him a tray upon which sat a hamburger and french fries.  This encounter was the same as the last.  He greeted her, removed the old tray leaving the new, asked if she needed anything, and then left, locking her in again.  Bewildered, Jenny ate her food, paced the room once more until it grew dark outside, and finally decided to go to bed.  The next day was pretty much the same.  And the next, and the next.  Eric would bring her food, sometimes while she was in the bathroom, sometimes while she sat and watched him in silence. 

Jenny lost all track of how many days it had been.  Five?  Six?  She had no idea.  She had to keep inventing things to do to keep her sanity.  Counting the bumps on the ceiling grew tiresome fast, so then she began doing exercises every day to keep her strength up.  She ran in place, did jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups, and anything else she could think of.  Another activity was sitting very still with her eyes closed, listening very intently, trying to identify every sound she could hear.  She heard the sound of the air conditioner,  birds singing (several different types), an occasional large insect buzzing outside or running into the window, the faucet in the bathroom dripping (she had paused then to go and shut it off), and the cracks and pops of the house settling throughout the day.  Occasionally she’d hear what she thought must be the men moving around the house, going out doors and such, but she couldn’t be sure.  What she never heard was the sound of cars passing by or any city noises at all, so this told her they must be pretty far from civilization and therefore probably pretty far from anyone who might come to rescue her. 

Finally when all else failed Jenny would just sit in a chair she had dragged over to the window and stare outside.  She began doing this more and more, and eventually she didn’t feel like doing anything else.  Eat, sleep, and look out the window.  Such was her daily life.  She had even tried smashing the glass on the window, but she had discovered it wasn’t really glass at all, but some hard plastic that just wouldn’t break!  Eat, sleep, and look out the window.  Then one day she didn’t feel like eating anymore.  When Eric entered to take away her breakfast tray that day, he found she hadn’t touched the food.  She had stopped looking out the window to look at him as she always did when he entered, and now he looked concerned.

“Jenny, you didn’t eat your breakfast,” he said as he put down the lunch tray and walked toward her. 

“Wasn’t hungry,” Jenny murmured as she turned to look back out the window.  This was the first time Jenny had spoken to him since the first day she was here.  That was…an eternity ago. Eric did note the significance of this action. 

“Is there anything else you need?” He asked as he always did.  He was mentally crossing his fingers that this would be the day.

“I…” Jenny began, and then stopped.  What did she need?  “I need to get out of this room.”

Victory.  “Would you like to go outside for a walk?” Eric asked her as he placed a hand on her shoulder.  He hadn’t touched her since that first night either.  She cringed a little at his touch but turned to look up at him, her eyes wide and hopeful.

“Yes, I would,” she answered, not even thinking of escape right now, but more of being out in the fresh air and sunshine, and away from this room!

“The come with me little one, let’s go for a walk.”

Jenny wondered for a minute if he was going to put her in handcuffs but he made no move to do so. She rose from her chair and followed him to the door obediently.  He led the way down the stairs and around through the living room.  Jenny hadn’t seen the living room yet so she looked around at its contents.  It held a big screen television with all the gadgets and goodies most men with big screen TV’s have (like surround sound speakers, a VCR, DVD player, etc.), two large sectional couches, a couple of cushy arm chairs, and some end tables.  There was also a shelf containing what looked like an extensive video and DVD collection. 

But the best part about the room to Jenny right now were the large glass sliding doors leading out to the grounds, and that’s where they were headed.  Eric reached up to the top of the door to release the lock and slid the door open.   A breeze blew in immediately and Jenny breathed in the fresh, cool air as if she’d been underwater for a long time.  She followed Eric out into the sunshine and looked up into the clear blue sky.  She closed her eyes and took a couple more deep breaths.  It felt so good to be out!  Eric watched her as she stood with her head tilted upward letting the sun fall on her face, a small smile curving her lips.  It was a beautiful thing to see. 

Finally coming back into herself Jenny opened her eyes and focused on Eric.  He was watching her intently.  The small smile she had faded and she began looking at her surroundings.  The grounds were extensive, seemingly acres and acres of land; some were rolling hillsides with just grass, some with thickets of trees.  The house was up on the top of a hill, so Jenny could see quite some distance down.  She saw one thing that disappointed her somewhat.  There was a large wall enclosing the land. 

“It’s cement, thirteen feet high,” Eric said as Jenny’s gaze traveled along the wall.  “It connects to the house and surrounds several acres of the property.  You wouldn’t be able to climb over.”  

Jenny’s heart sunk a little.  She had assumed that he wouldn’t be taking her outside unrestrained if there was a chance of her escaping, but nevertheless she had still retained a little hope.  She wondered why they had been so worried about her being outside that first day if there was a big wall containing her, but then realized she had gone out the front that day and the wall started at the side of the house and surrounded the back.  So if she got out the front, there was still a chance. 

“Come on, let’s walk a bit and then we’ll come back and you will eat your lunch.”  Jenny noted it wasn’t really an option, more of an order.  She followed Eric as he began walking toward a thicket of trees, keeping up with him, but remaining a little bit behind.  Walking next to him just made it seem like they were friends taking a nice leisurely stroll.  He didn’t seem to mind that she wouldn’t walk next to him.  He just continued to lead the way around the grounds, showing her some beautiful wooded areas.  Squirrels and chipmunks dashed along their path every so often, and Jenny was shocked to see one of the small creatures come up to Eric and take an acorn from his fingers.

Eventually they returned to the house and Eric led her back through the sliding doors into the living room.  Being out had been so nice, and the fresh air had cleared the cobwebs from her mind.  Eric allowed her to eat lunch in the living room, and even left her alone on the sofa while he went up to get her tray of food.  Jenny had decided during her long, boring stay in that room that she was going to earn their trust by cooperating as much as possible.  The more freedom she earned, the more chance she had of escaping.  If she disobeyed again she knew she’d just end up locked back in that bedroom, and the thought of being trapped in there again made her cringe.

*  *  *

Eric had been very pleased to see Jenny was behaving so beautifully.  Apparently the time in her room had worked as he had hoped.  It had given her time to think about her situation, accept it, and decide her best course of action would be to cooperate.  While the house was locked and relatively secure just as her bedroom was, to Jenny it would feel like a great freedom to be able to roam the entire house.  Eric would be more than happy to let her do so as long as she obeyed him.  Soon he hoped she would become so accustomed to living here that the idea of escape would be completely erased from her mind.  The sooner she accepted the fact that she belonged to him, the better her life would be.

 

Chapter 6:  Leather

 

Jenny was indeed becoming accustomed to living in the house with the men.  While she was still locked in her room at night, during the day she was allowed to roam the house and grounds freely, as long as she did what Eric asked of her.  Sometimes he would tell her which clothes he would like her to wear that day, or he would have her stay within his presence as he worked around the house.  In the evening he liked to brush or stroke her hair while he watched videos in the living room. 

Jenny obeyed him in order to keep her freedom, because when she had time to herself she would explore the house and grounds still looking for a way she might someday be able to escape.  She had walked the parameter of the wall, hoping she could find a foothold or a tree close enough to climb, but had found nothing helpful.  In the house she inspected all the windows facing the front of the house that would offer an exit outside the wall, but she discovered all of them had been nailed shut.  Breaking them probably wasn’t an option either, for she assumed they were all made of the same stuff her bedroom window was made of, the stuff that just wouldn’t break.  Jenny was discovering every stupid alteration Eric had made to the house to keep her locked inside.  She simply had to keep hoping he’d forgotten something, left some way for her to get out. 

Jenny saw James every so often on her little explorations of the house.  Sometimes she’d turn from inspecting a window to find him standing in a doorway watching her, or she’d catch a glimpse of him staring at her from the woods as she walked along the outer wall.  He seemed to know what she was up to, and Jenny wondered if he had been reporting all of this to Eric.  Eric was, after all, still locking her in her room at night.

The one place Jenny avoided like the plague as she explored the house was the basement.  She hadn’t been back down there since that first night, and she had no plans to return there any time soon.  Sometimes when she passed the door she would hear noises, and she didn’t want to know what was going on down there.  She assumed that’s where James was most of the time, and that’s why she rarely saw him.  Then one night she learned just why James spent so much time in the basement. 

As was their normal nightly ritual, Eric was sitting on the couch watching a movie (He never watched regular television with Jenny, it was like he was trying to cut her off from the outside world completely).  Jenny was perched on the edge of the couch between Eric’s knees as he stroked her hair gently.  It seemed to have a calming effect on him, as if he was petting a housecat or something.  Jenny often felt a bit like a housecat.

They hadn’t heard the front door open over the sound of the action movie, and so the first sound Jenny heard was James’ laughter as he strode into the living room.  She looked over at him, as did Eric, and Jenny saw something she hadn’t expected.  James had a young, brunette woman with him.  She was blindfolded with her wrists bound behind her, and James was leading her along by a leash that was attached to the collar around her neck.  She was dressed in shorts that were so short they were hardly decent to be seen in public, and a shirt that barely covered her perky, medium sized breasts.  Her lips were painted a dark red, and she walked with her head down. 

Jenny shrieked. Well, she started to anyway.  Eric had a hold of her in an instant and clamped his hand over her mouth, so all that was audible was a muffled moaning sound.  The woman’s head perked up at this.  She looked around with her unseeing, blindfolded eyes, and stepped closer to James. 

“Master, I thought I just heard another girl.  Do you have a surprise for me?  Are we to have a special guest tonight for playtime?”

“No, pet, it’s just us tonight.  Though I would just love someday to have that special guest come play with us,” replied James smiling wickedly at Jenny as she struggled under Eric’s grip, her eyes wide and astonished.  Eric held on to her, still muffling her attempted screams until James led the woman out of the room.  When about thirty seconds had passed, Eric spoke.

“Don’t scream Jenny,” he instructed her as the hand he had over her mouth loosened, hesitated, and drew away.   Jenny didn’t scream.  She struggled to pull away from Eric but he wouldn’t let her go.  Instead he stood and switched their places, putting her on the couch and holding her there as he knelt in front of her so he could look at her face.  He also reached over and used the remote to mute the television.  Jenny was trying not to hyperventilate as her mind processed what she had seen. 

“She’s not a prisoner, little one,” Eric said as he returned his attention to her.  Jenny just shook her head in disbelief.

“But she…he had her…”  Jenny couldn’t quite form the words for what she was trying to say.  She agreed that the woman hadn’t sounded like a prisoner, but James had her bound and blindfolded! 

“They have a relationship Jenny,” Eric began, trying to explain the best he knew how.  “He is her…err…Master, and she willingly submits to him.  They agree on exactly how far their activities will go.  It’s harmless, and they both enjoy the arrangement.  Do you understand?”

Jenny was dumbfounded.  That woman enjoyed being tied up and being led around on a leash?  She remembered some of the things she’d seen in the basement and could only imagine what activities they engaged in while down there.  But the woman allowed it, wanted it, so it was all right?  Suddenly Jenny was angry.  There were women willing to do these things; women willing to submit to and stay with these kinds of men.  Why then had Eric kidnapped her?  Why was he holding her against her will, making her live here when she didn’t want to if he could find someone that did want to??  None of this made sense.  Eric was looking at her face as she went over all of this in her mind.                        

“Do you want to go down and watch exactly what they do?” He asked her, and her face contorted in horror. 

“No!” she screeched and tried to push him out of the way so she could get out of there, anywhere.  She just needed to be alone, but Eric wouldn’t let her.

“Stop fighting me Jenny.  Stop!”  But she wouldn’t stop, couldn’t.  She had a very bad feeling that she’d gone too far and it was all or nothing at this point.  She managed to get him out of the way enough so she could stand up and flee a few feet, but Eric regained his balance and pulled her back in an instant.   He got serious now and pushed her down on her back on the couch, pinning her wrists above her head with one hand.  His hair had been pulled back into a pony tail but a few strands fell free and tickled her face as he leaned over her.  She struggled with all her might to free herself and started to scream, but he put his free hand over her mouth and leaned in closer. 

“Don’t scream Jenny,” he repeated to her.  She closed her eyes and held back the tears as his hand moved away from her mouth and down onto her breast. She swallowed and opened her eyes with a gasp as his hand traveled from her breast down her stomach, and then reached under her shirt to caress her hot, bare skin.  She wanted to scream but she was afraid of what he’d do to her. 

“Never forget Jenny, just as that woman and whatever others he brings home belong to him, you belong to me.  You are mine, and I am capable of doing exactly what I please.”  He squeezed her breast through her bra as he said that part and Jenny gasped again.  “If you ever manage to get away from me, I will come for you.  There’s nowhere you can go where I won’t find you.  You will always belong to me.  Always.”  Jenny stared into his eyes completely terrified. 

“Why me?” she finally managed to choke out.  He pulled his hand out from under her shirt and touched her face. 

“Because my sweet little one, you are special.  You are a light in the dark world, a diamond amidst a bunch of coal. I wanted you more than I ever wanted anything.  Yes, I could have other women that are more than willing to submit to me, but I don’t want those women.  I want you.”

Jenny was crying now.  “But why didn’t you just…ask me out?”  This sounded like a ridiculous question given their current situation, but Jenny was genuinely curious about the response.

“You might have said no.”  Well, that was a simple enough answer.  But she might have said yes, too.  After all, Eric was intelligent, attractive, rich, and had a genuine interest in her.  Surely she wouldn’t have said no to a date.  But obviously there was a part of his personality that was completely unacceptable, and she probably would have discovered that part eventually.  Ultimately, he was right.  She would have said no.

“Please let me go,” Jenny whispered as she looked at him pleadingly.  She wanted more than anything to be away from him right now, even if it meant being locked up in her room again.  He seemed to know this, however, and he was not about to let her have what she wanted after she disobeyed him. 

He looked thoughtful for a moment, and then abruptly got off of her.  He pulled her to her feet and held firmly to her wrist, dragging her along behind him as he made his way out of the living room.  As they entered the kitchen Jenny realized exactly where they were going and yelled. 

“No please!  Please I’ll behave, don’t take me down there!”  But he just glanced back at her and continued toward the door that led to the basement.  He opened it a crack and yelled down to James. 

“Is she blindfolded?”  Jenny heard the sound of a woman moaning quietly.

“She is now,” came James’ reply a minute later.  Eric continued through the doorway, still pulling Jenny behind him.  

James was standing in the middle of the room clad in black leather pants and no shirt, holding a riding crop in his hand.  The woman he had brought with him was completely nude except for the blindfold, her hands tied together with a leather strap that suspended her from the ceiling.  Though it was dark Jenny could make out some red welts on her body, apparently from the crop James was holding.  Jenny felt like she might be sick.

James was looking at them with his eyebrows raised.  “And what brings you two down here?” he asked.

“I need to borrow a few things,” Eric replied.  He ushered Jenny over toward James.  “Could you hold on to her for a second please?”

“My pleasure,” James said smoothly as he wrapped his arm around Jenny’s upper body, pinning her arms.  As he held her he took the crop and ran it gently across her cheek, then down her arm.  Jenny turned her face away and whimpered.  James then tapped her thigh with it lightly and when she let out a yelp, he laughed.  

“Master, has the new girl come to play now?” asked the woman suspended from the ceiling.  Without pause James sent the crop flying onto the woman’s hip with a loud ‘thwap.’

“Did I tell you to speak, Natalie?”

“No Sir, I’m sorry Master.”

“I forgive you, pet, and I’ll be back with you in just a moment.  Be patient, and silent.”  James had placed the head of the crop under her chin as he’d been talking to her. 

“Yes, Master,” came her reply and she dropped her head once the crop was removed.  James was once again running the crop along Jenny’s cheek.

“Do you want to stay and play, little one?” he whispered in Jenny’s ear, and she shuddered.  “Perhaps you’ve been getting too brave my dear, sweet, girl, and you need to stay and see how we play.”

Oh God oh God oh God….   

Eric walked back toward them then, carrying some leather restraints and chain. 

“James, could you hold her arms for me?” 

James put the crop between his knees to leave both his hands free so he could hold Jenny’s arms out for Eric.  Jenny struggled but it was no good, James had a grip of steel.  Eric buckled one leather restraint around Jenny’s wrist, and inserted a small lock so it could not be unbuckled without a key.  He then repeated the process on the other wrist. Each restraint had a metal ring to allow the attachment of a chain.  Eric took the third small lock and secured the metal rings together, along with the end of the chain.  Now Jenny’s wrists were bound together in front of her with a length of chain as a leash for Eric to lead her with.  The cuffs were thankfully wool-lined and considerably more comfortable than the metal cuffs he had used that first day. 

James reluctantly let go of Jenny when he saw Eric had a good hold of the other end of the chain.  Eric tugged on the chain and Jenny stumbled forward toward him, pulled by her wrists.  Natalie had lifted her head and was listening intently, and Jenny could tell the woman was dying to see what was happening just a few feet from her.  But as instructed, she remained silent.  Jenny thought of asking Natalie for help.  However, she could see Natalie was obviously in no position to help her, and if she found out Jenny was a prisoner it might put the woman’s life in danger.  Who knew what these men would do to keep her quiet.    

“You shouldn’t have tried to run away from me little one,” Eric said to Jenny.  With the one lock Eric had left, he secured the other end of the chain to his own belt.  Now Jenny was chained to Eric.  He had made it so she couldn’t run away from him anymore.  

As they were leaving the basement James waved to Jenny with the riding crop.  “Hope to see you here again soon,” he called in a sing-song voice, and Jenny turned away from him.  He was still laughing as the basement door closed behind her. 

 

Chapter 7: Earning back Freedom

        

Jenny spent the next few days chained to Eric.  The only time he let her loose was when she needed to use the bathroom or bathe (or he did).  He was even forcing her to sleep in his room at night.  She was allowed to get ready for bed in her own room, and then he would bring her down to his (his room was on the second floor) and chain her to the post at the head of his bed.  Fortunately he had a king sized bed, so even though they were in the same bed she had plenty of room to herself.  Even so she stayed as far on her side as possible without falling off. 

The evenings were somewhat the same as they had been.  He would bring her down to the living room and sit on the couch.  Sometimes he would have her sit next to him, pulling her so close that she had to lay her head on his chest as he stroked her hair, and sometimes he’d have her sit on the floor in front of him, and she’d be forced to rest her head on his leg.  Jenny wasn’t sure which was worse: being locked in her room for days on end, or being shackled to Eric, having to be with him at every moment.  Every time James saw them he’d just smile at Jenny and blow her a kiss. 

Jenny had resisted Eric the first few days, yanking on the chain when he’d try and drag her along behind him, or trying to break the small locks holding her cuffs together.  This had proven ineffective though, so after awhile Jenny accepted her situation and just followed Eric around.  She was beginning to hate she sound the chain made every time she moved.  It was difficult to eat while her wrists were bound together, but she managed and without complaint. 

Then abruptly one evening while Jenny was sitting on the floor next to his chair as they watched a DVD, Eric pulled out his keys and unlocked her cuffs.  Jenny sat up to watch as he was unbuckling them, then she stared at him wondering what he was planning. He simply removed the shackles and tossed them to the side.  Jenny sat thinking as Eric went nonchalantly back to watching his movie.  What did this mean?  He hadn’t said anything to her, hadn’t given her any instructions.  Was she still supposed to sit here? 

A plan began forming in her mind immediately.  She was shocked because it had come to her so quickly. Yes, this was it.  This was how she would escape, and it would be tonight.  She sat still for a few moments and then slowly laid her head back down against Eric’s leg.  Since she was facing the television she couldn’t see his reaction, but seconds later his hand came down and began stroking her hair.  He was pleased.  She smiled inwardly.  This was really it.  If things went as she hoped they would tonight, she’d be gone by morning.   She would get out of this place yet!     

 

*  *  *

 

Eric had wanted to see what Jenny would do once he released her from her restraints.  He imagined that without instruction she would run away from him as quickly as possible, or at the most ask if she was allowed to leave his presence.  He was taken quite by surprise when she had remained with him and laid her head back down on his leg.  He was not forcing her to stay with him and yet, here she was.  A huge smile had spread across his face then and to let Jenny know how much she had pleased him he gently stroked her hair, and activity he knew she liked. 

When the movie had ended, Eric rose and turned off the DVD player and the television.  Jenny sat patiently by his chair, waiting to see what he wanted her to do.  Eric was so surprised by her behavior that he could only stand and look into her sweet face for a few moments, before finally holding out his hand to help her to her feet.  She accepted his help and stood next to him, again waiting for him to instruct her.

“Come on little one, time for bed.”  He led the way up the stairs and she followed behind as if they were still chained together.   He took her to her room and she went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and get into her pajamas as always, and then she came back out to stand next to him.

“You may sleep in your own room tonight,” he said to her since she looked confused as to where to go.  She looked at her bed and then back up at him.

“I’d rather go with you.”

Eric had never been so surprised in his life.  She wanted to go back to his room with him; sleep in his bed rather than her own.  The pleasure he felt just then was overwhelming, but he tried not to show it in his face. 

“Alright pet, you may come with me.”  This was going really well.  He would have chained her to his belt a long time ago if he knew this was the outcome.  She had apparently become so used to him that she didn’t want to be away from him now.  He again led the way as they walked back down to Eric’s room.  Jenny walked immediately over to her side of the bed and climbed in under the sheets as she had done every night for the past week.  In the past Eric would have then taken the chain off of himself and chained her to the bed, but now there was no need.  She snuggled her head down into the pillow and closed her eyes.  Eric watched her for a moment before going into the bathroom and preparing for bed. 

When he came back out Jenny’s breathing was already slow and even.  She was asleep.  Eric climbed into bed next to her and watched her for a few minutes more before turning off the light.  He was drunk on happiness and drifted off to sleep quickly. 

In the morning he floated slowly out of his pleasant dreams but then came fully awake and sat up in a flash. He knew instantly he had made a huge mistake.  Glancing over to Jenny’s side of the bed he confirmed his suspicions.  She was long gone. 

 

*  *  *

 

Jenny was Eric’s perfect little angel for the rest of the evening.  If her plan was to work she had to keep him on his toes, and yet keep him to the routine they’d shared for the past week or so.  She did everything in her power to please him and put him at ease.  She behaved as if the chains were still present, because that’s what he needed to believe.  The crowning glory was when she told him she wanted to come back to his room for the night.  Just as she suspected, he was overjoyed to hear her say that (though of course he tried to hide how happy he felt). 

Jenny carefully followed the same path she had all the nights before, following him closely.  When he walked her over to her side of the bed she climbed in quickly to distract him from thinking about the fact that there was no chain to lock her in tonight.  It worked.  He just stared at her as she tried to look as cute as possible snuggling into the pillow and closing her eyes.  After he made preparations for bed he returned and climbed in, as he had so many nights before.  Jenny concentrated on keeping her breathing slow and even so he’d believe she’d fallen asleep.  She wanted to scream because it took him so long to turn off the light and go to sleep himself, but she was patient, and it paid off. 

As she listened in the dark to his breathing change, she knew he had drifted off to sleep.  She waited at least another fifteen minutes to let her eyes adjust to the dark and to make sure he wouldn’t wake up before she slid out of bed as quietly as possible.  She tiptoed to the bathroom and reached into the pocket of the jeans he’d been wearing that day.  Nothing.  Cursing to herself she felt along the counter until her hand came in contact with the object she was looking for: his key ring. It made a sound as she picked it up off the counter and she froze.  Listening in the dark she could still hear his slow easy breathing, and so she tiptoed back through the bedroom. The door stood wide open, as she knew it would. 

If Jenny had stayed in her own room, Eric would have locked her in, as usual.  He never had a reason to lock his own room because she had always been chained to the bed.  Her goal had been to distract him to the point where it wouldn’t even occur to him that this little error had happened, and it worked!  It also put her in the position to steal his keys, and item that she needed to get past the front door.

Holding the keys tightly in her hand so they wouldn’t jingle, Jenny ran down the hallway and out to the loft.  She considered going upstairs to get some shoes, but she decided it would take too long.  She had to get out as quickly as possible.  Fortunately her pajamas for the week were flannel, so that would keep her relatively warm outside even with her bare feet. 

Jenny padded down the stairs as light-footed as a cat and came to the entry way.  Now she needed to find something to stand on.  She ran to the left and entered the dining room.  Grabbing a hold of one of the large chairs she took a breath and lifted it off the ground, stumbling back out to the entryway.  She stood the chair in front of the door and climbed up on it, this giving her the height she needed to reach the lock.   She shuffled through the keys on the ring until she found one that fit, and turned it.  The sound of the lock opening seemed to make a deafening echo around the whole house and Jenny froze, waiting for one of the men to come running out and catch her.  But nothing happened.

Jumping down off the chair Jenny pulled it back away from the door and pulled the door open.  She slipped out and quietly closed the door behind her.  Jenny realized she had no idea where James was.  He could be in his dungeon, or in one of the other rooms in the house, or he could be out.  She decided to be very careful if she saw a car, since for all she knew it might be him coming home. 

Once outside Jenny didn’t know which way to go.  She didn’t take the path she had taken her first time out here, because it wouldn’t do her any good to get lost in the woods. Instead she stayed close to the house and circled around until she came to what might have been a driveway.  There were tire marks in the dirt.  Jenny followed the tire marks until she came to a shed.  She pulled the shed open and what she found inside was very exciting.  An ATV was sitting in all it’s glory, just waiting to help her get away.  This would be so much better than traveling on foot!

Jenny paused.  This would make way too much noise.  If she started this vehicle up it would surely wake Eric and he’d know exactly where to find her.  She just couldn’t risk that happening.  Instead she closed the door to the shed and backtracked the tire marks, following them the opposite direction.  Sure enough, they led out to a dirt road.  Both directions looked about the same.  Dirt, trees, tire marks.  The only light she saw was from the moon overhead.  Finally deciding to turn left, she set off at a brisk pace, running along the side of the dirt road.  She stuck close to the trees that lined the side just incase.  So far, so good, but she still had a ways to go. 

 

Jenny felt like she’d been walking forever.  Her bare feet were bruised and in a lot of pain, and her lungs hurt from breathing heavily.  She needed a rest but she dared not stop.  It had been several hours now and Jenny still saw no sign of anyone or anything.  She was thirsty and tired and wanted to just lie down and sleep for awhile.  She did slow down to catch her breath and as she did, she heard a noise.  It sounded like water…running water. 

Jenny headed toward the sound and soon found a brook.  She ran toward it and drank the cool, clean water.  She knew she’d probably regret that later (she had read somewhere it wasn’t good to drink out of streams for some reason) but all she cared about at the moment was quenching her thirst.  The cool water felt very good and Jenny decided to wade into the stream to soak her painful feet.  The flow of the water was not rapid, but not too slow either, and it was flowing the direction she was heading.  It was cold, but not unbearable, and so Jenny decided to let it help her along for awhile.  She laid back and lifted her feet off the bottom, and soon was floating along with the current.

She didn’t now how long she drifted along, but suddenly she was surprised by a face full of water.  She splashed around for several seconds in a panic until she remembered where she was.  Oh geez, I must have fallen asleep!   She pulled her feet down under her and walked to the shore.  The stream had become a bit bigger than she remembered, and the water was flowing faster, ultimately waking her up by splashing her face.  Jenny was relieved she hadn’t drowned.  She really hadn’t thought it possible to fall asleep while floating on your back down a stream. 

Deciding it was no longer safe for her to travel in the stream she drank her fill and walked away from it, looking for the road again.  She looked, and looked.  She walked quite a distance but the road had vanished.  And now she had walked so far that she could no longer hear the stream.  Great, perfect.   She was lost in the woods, in the dark, soaking wet and cold.  Her feet were bleeding and raw, and for the first time she thought she might have been better off staying at the mansion. 

No, you have to keep going Jenny!  You can do this!    

The moon had disappeared behind the clouds, and the dark was so intense Jenny kept running into low branches.  They scraped her face and arms, and ripped her flannel pajamas.  She stumbled in the dark for another several hours at least, before fatigue and pain overcame her and she collapsed on a bed of leaves, unconscious.

 

 

Chapter 8: The End

 

Jenny tried to open her eyes but the light was too bright, it hurt her eyes.  She could hear noises of people talking, and smell familiar smells.  She moaned as she tried again to open her eyes, and all of a sudden someone was at her side.  Jenny was suddenly afraid.  Where was she?  Had Eric found her? 

“Jenny?  Jenny?”  The voice was familiar, and not one of her captors. 

“Mike,” Jenny said weakly and forced her eyes open.  Her brother was looking down at her, and his face was one of great concern and relief. 

“Oh Jenny thank goodness you’re okay!”  Mike was leaning down to hug her and Jenny was trying to push him off because he was hugging her so tight she couldn’t breathe.  “Oh, sorry!” Mike apologized.  “I’m just so happy to see you.  We have been so worried.”

“You and me both big brother,” Jenny said, and smiled.  She was in a hospital room that smelled like disinfectant.  Jenny noticed the room was filled with flowers and get well balloons.  “What happened?  How did I get here?” Jenny asked, looking to her brother. 

“Some hikers found you lying unconscious in the woods,” said Mike.  “They called the police thinking you were dead but you were very much alive, though slightly banged up, and so they brought you here.”

“Where is here?” asked Jenny. 

“Er…a hospital in Pennsylvania,” said Mike. 

“Pennsylvania??  How did I get to Pennsylvania?” Jenny asked, shocked.  Her home was in Florida. 

“Well, we were hoping you could tell us,” said Mike, and at that moment a nurse and two police officers entered the room.  Mike was ushered out by the nurse as the two police officers took Jenny’s statement.  She went over every detail she could remember from the night of the abduction, to waking up just now.  She couldn’t tell them where the house was, because that night in the dark she had gotten so turned around and traveled down a stream and stumbled through the woods in the dark that she couldn’t possibly retrace her steps.  Apparently there were no houses anywhere near where she had been found.  Reliving the story and her realization that she couldn’t lead the police to her captors made her very emotional and by the time she was finished, she was in tears. 

“Don’t worry Miss,” said the young, balding police officer.  “We’ll do our best to find these men.  You’re safe now.”

Jenny didn’t think she’d ever feel safe again, but she thanked the police officers and they left.  The hospital kept her for another night before they discharged her.  As Jenny was gathering up her flowers and gifts (which were from the friends she had been with the night of the abduction) she stopped short and dropped everything she was holding.  Mike turned and looked at her, rushing to her side as he saw her face turn white. 

“Jenny, what is it?  What’s wrong?”

Jenny just pointed to a small figurine sitting on the table, having been placed amongst the flowers and gifts.  Mike picked it up and looked at it, not understanding. 

“It’s a unicorn.  You like unicorns.”  But it wasn’t just a unicorn.  The wood was the exact size and color as the piece of wood James was whittling in the dungeon.  The figurine had been sitting on a small piece of paper.  Jenny picked up the paper slowly.  Turning it over she read the words and then dropped it as she fell to the floor in a dead faint.  The paper floated to the floor and landed with the written side up:

           

See you soon.