Saturday Morning
The sun, as a part of nature, does not have feelings or intentions. It cannot care about human events. It does not concern itself with human fear or pain. It just is, warming the world, creating life here on Earth without any sense of human caring or concern. This morning, the sun’s rays, formed into thick dark and light alternating stripes by the steel bars on the outside of the east facing window, crawled steadily across the varnished pine board wooden floor.
Suzan woke with a whimper. She tried to clear the fogginess out of her mind/ The bright sunlight in her eyes was not helping. She turned her head away, and closed her eyes. “Where was she? How did she get here?”, she asked herself inside the fogginess of her mind She did not know. Her last clear memory was o: Phyllis smiling at her, sitting across the Le ReCollete restaurant table on Friday night. She vaguely remembered becoming drowsy. Then it was all a blank.
Suzan wanted to get the sunlight out of her eyes. She started to roll onto her side. Half way into her roll, she felt a tug on an ankle, the one closest to the sun. Something was keeping her from rolling over completely. Her leg could only come so far. She pulled the duvet up over her head, using it to block the sun’s intrusion into her eyes.
She fought to push the fogginess out of her her mind. Normally, she just woke up. One moment she would be dreaming, and the next awake, mind clear, ready to start her day. Here now, on this morning, she could not do that. She was struggling to come away.
“Move. Move, It will clear your mind.” Her mind’s inner voice was slow, barely capable of forming even these simple words. But each word was a little clearer than the last, each one contributing to a growing ability tothnik more clearly.
She settled on her back, searching to become more aware of where she was. Moving her head slightly, she realized that her hair was caught under the feather pillow supporting her head. She was lying on a tightly stretched sheet. A duvet covered her. There was something around her left ankle.
“Hospital?” she wondered. She could not feel bandages anywhere. She did not have pain anywhere. She just felt dull, with a slowly throbbing head. She opened her eyes and saw a white stucco ceiling that seemed so far above her. She pushed the pillow up against the head board behind her. ”Sit up and clear your head” she told herself. She hunched up on her elbows and started to pull up her feet, right leg first. It came easily. “Now move your left leg.” Her left foot moved a foot or so and then it jerked to a stop. Whatever was on her left ankle was keeping her from bringing it up any further up.
Using her right foot, she kicked the left bottom of the white duvet off her left foot. A thin bright chain was looped around her ankle. A short length of clear flexible plastic tubing cushioned the part of the chain where the chain was against her skin. The chain disappeared down over the foot of the bed. A small shiny padlock at the back of her ankle held the links in place. She tried to push the chain off her ankle with her right foot. It would not come off.
She lay back down on her back, and slowly pulled her body up as far as she could. Sitting up half way against the pillow wedged against the head board, she flipped the duvet back over her lower body. The reality of being chained to a strange bed hit her hard. She started to pant. “Where was she? Who had brought her here? What was going on?” Fear driven adrenalin flooded through her.
“Fear is your body’s first response to danger. Fear unmanaged by your mind is always your enemy. Managed fear gives you the energy you need to cope. Don’t let fear control you. Don’t deny it. Accept it’s ability to energize you. See fear as a gift that can help you cope. Choose your response, don’t just react.”
Ryuu’s voice, gruff and deliberate in its demanding pace and intonation, was in her mind. She saw him behind her closed eyes, standing in the center of the dojo, dressed in a dark blue judo gi, demanding that she cope. In her mind she saw herself she saw herself acknowledging him as she has done so many times before, bowing slightly towards him. As his voice drove back her panic, she slowed the pace and increased the depth of her breathing. She pushed each breath down deep into her core, visualizing the oxygen flowing into the parts of her body: core, then down her legs, then back up through her core to her arms, and finally up, up into her mind. Breath by breath, she burned the last of her grogginess out of her mind. She was ready to cope.
She pulled the duvet down and opened her eyes again, once more seeing the white ceiling high above her. Turning her head first right and then left, she saw that she was lying in the center of a king size bed that seemed small in the large room. Large and squarish, the room was at least 30 feet wide and long. It’s walls were white. A large window, full of the morning sun, was centered on the eastern wall. It consisted of 3 separate panes, each as least 6 feet wide. Solid metal bars on the outside of each pane broke up the morning sunlight, creating the bars of light and dark on the varnished wood of the floor and the white of the room’s walls.
She saw two wooden doors, one at the bottom end of the western wall, and one at middle of the wall facing the foot of the bed. The one on the western wall had a door knob, the one in the bottom wall did not.
Unlike the other walls, the wall facing the foot of the bed was not all white. Glossy dark, gray glass, about 4 feet in height, ran across about 4 feet from the floor. Its top edge was down in about 4feet below the ceiling. It’s far end 3 feet was from about 3 feet from the eastern wall of the room.
Suzan turned her attention to the bed. The duvet covering her, the sheet she was lying on, and the pillow case under her head, were all white. The cotton was soft, often washed and ironed, luxurious on her skin. The touch of the cloth on her skin told her that she was nude.
Suzan sat up halfway, pushing herself up on her elbows, using the duvet to cover her shoulders. Carefully, she turned her head, looking at the head of the bed frame behind her. Towering about the surface of the bed, some one had welded together stainless steel pipes at least 3 inches in diameter. She could see four cross bars between the sides, one at the top at least 6 feet above the mattress, one at mattress height, and two equally spaced in between. Turning her head to the bottom of the bed, she could see a similar single cross bar about six inches above mattress height.
Inching herself carefully over toward the sun side of the bed, Suzan saw that this side of the bed frame was made from the same pipe as the rest. The side frame consisted of a two solid bars of the same pipe, one about 12 inches above the floor, and the second another 12 inches above it, just below the mattress’s surface. Vertical braces of the same pipe were welded about every two feet between these horizontals side pipes. All of the welds had been carefully finished. There were no rough edges or surfaces anywhere.
Suzan flipped the duvet off herself and pulled herself down to the bottom of the mattress. Her sun side ankle was circled by a band of plastic tubing. Inside of the tubing she saw a slim chain of stainless steel. A small shiny padlock, close to the end of the plastic tubing, clasped one end of the chain to a link of the chain. Reaching down, she once again tried to pull the tubing encased chain off her ankle. It was snug enough that she was not able to do so. The chain led down from her ankle to the bottom corner of the bed frame, where a similar padlock fastened a loop of the chain around the bottom corner of the bed frame. She had about 24 inches of slack, not enough to turn onto her side unless she snugged herself completely over to the outside sun side of the mattress. Fear once again over took her, pushing back her calm.
“Fear is your body’s first response to danger. Fear unmanaged by your mind is always your enemy. Managed fear gives you the energy you need to cope. Don’t let fear control you. Don’t deny it. Accept it’s ability to energize you. See fear as a gift that can help you cope. Choose your response, don’t just react.”
As the words once more flowed through her mind, her breathing slowed. She closed her eyes, and spent a few minutes just breathing. Then she pulled herself back up to the top of the bed, and pulled the duvet over her lower body.
Now, here, chained to this bed, calm once more, Suzan’s mind was finally clear. She took stock. Somehow, Phyllis was involved. But whether Phyllis or someone else had brought her here, whoever had done had also thought to cushion the chain around her ankle with plastic tubing. What did that mean? Did it mean that whatever they had in mind for her, they did not want to mark her body in some way? Why did this room seem so much more like a stage than a bedroom? Whatever these people had in mind, they needed to play it out over time. Good. When they did, opportunities to use her training will come up.
Suzan laid down on her back close to the bed’s sun side edge. She pulled a pillow under her head, making sure that her long hair was not trapped under it. Pulling the duvet up over her shoulders, she settled in to wait. Once again, she consciously slowed her breathing even more. She saw herself back in the dojo with Ryuu in her mind’s inner eye. She was moving through the one-on-one combat and weapons kata she had done with him so many times in that room. What would come would come. She was ready to meet it.

Watching and Waiting

“Is she awake yet?”
Rob sighed gratefully as Phyllis handed him a cup of coffee. She knew just how strong he liked it. The first sip helped him relax and move past the sense of uneasiness that had developed as he watched Suzan wake up in the play room.
“Yes. It sure did not take her long to settle down though. No real panic, unlike all of our previous guests.”
Phyllis laughed sardonically.
“I told you that she will be our most challenging guest. But with increased challenge comes heightened enjoyment. It is not like we are not ready for it. This is not the first time we have brought a guest to join us here on the Fourth of July weekend. Although, I admit it is the first time we have brought in someone who has this one’s level of martial arts training. But look at her, just look at the exotic beauty of her, that long black hair and the lines of her body. I am looking forward to doing what it will take to take the pleasure I want from her. Between you and Zee and Zack and me, we will keep the danger in her contained.”
“Got to give it to you, Phyllis, all of the playmates you have found us have been beauties. I have great memories. What is this one, anyway? She looks Asian, but she is sure a lot taller than all of the Asian women I have met.”
“Susan is Japanese Canadian. Her father was a Canadian shipping officer who got a Japanese woman pregnant over there. My guess is that she gets her size from him and her looks from her. She is 5’ 10” and all that martial arts training she has done means that she is in great shape.”
By now, Rob had finished his coffee. “OK then, let’s get things started. Are Zack and Zee ready to go?”
“Rob, don’t take her for granted. Just because you play Renaissance Re-enactment weapons games, don’t think that you can ever take this woman on one-on-one. I have seen her work out once or twice with well trained experience marital artist cops with a lot of street rough and tumble experience. Somehow, she turned their size and strength against them. We are going to keep her chained, and even then, we will need Zoe and her gun in the room to keep this woman contained.”

Shepherd's Revenge

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