The Assembler

Chapter 6 - Trussed Christmas Goose

Jean G Hontz

@copyright 2009 all rights reserved

Emmie woke up to pitch darkness. The smell of musty bedding against her nose nearly made her wretch. Her arms and shoulders ached. Then it took her a moment to realize exactly what up or down meant, and when she did she was not very happy about it. The world began to spin. Darkness again.

The next time she woke, there was a hint of light coming from somewhere behind her. Given what had happened last time, she was a bit less enthusiastic about attempting to get up. She turned her head and that was bad enough. The world was spinning again, and her stomach shifted worse than it ever had aboard a ship.

She closed her eyes and remained exactly as she was, hoping the lack of movement would help. It did, but it seemed to take forever. She forced herself to breathe regularly.

Whoever had done this to her was DEAD! D.E.A.D. Dead! She would rip him apart with her bare hands, even if it was Ned.

Or ... Or Richard?

The events of the past evening - well, of the recent past since at that point she had no idea how long she'd been here, wherever the devil here was - came back to her with a clarity she wished she’d had right after they'd occurred.

She remembered the feeling she'd had that someone had been near her in the BM. That someone, she now concluded, then followed her and attacked her on Great Russell Street with a gang of thugs. Why hadn’t she taken that seriously? Idiot!

Then... What then? Richard showing up to rescue her? Or had he been one of her attackers?

Thinking about it, she reluctantly had to concede that he was not one of her attackers on Great Russell Street. His breath, when she'd kissed him, had not smelt of beer and especially not of garlic.

Kissed him, she thought, her mind working frantically. They’d been standing just outside the entry to her block of flats. Richard had leaned in to kiss her, and then... then it all went black. What had happened then?

Richard... Had whoever done this to her captured him too? Was he all right? Did this have to do with Ned? Now seriously, who else did she know who could get her into this much trouble without even being near her?

She had a gag in her mouth, she realized, and her hands were bound behind her, losely enough that she could move them a bit. Maybe she could work the ropes loose. She was fully clothed except her boots had been removed, no doubt so tieing her feet up was a bit less combersome. Her head was pounding with every beat of her heart. She'd never had such a horrid headache before.

Being Emmie, she wasn't about to let all that stop her. She began cautiously squirming again. The world rocked sickeningly but not as badly this time as it had last time.

“Be patient, Lady Emeline. The effects are wearing off. No sense distressing yourself unduly. And it will only make your head hurt worse. Lie still for a few more moments.”

She whipped her head around toward the sound of the voice, only now realizing she was not alone. She should have guessed. Obviously ignorning her captor’s advice she raised her head a bit in order to see. Only to see, well, not see more precisely, the speaker. She could make him out only in outline. He was seated and his voice had sounded annoyingly amused. She wanted to strike him.

A part of her noted the voice had a bit of a Northern accent to it, but still seemed educated. Just not Oxbridgian. It was deep and self-assured. Well it would be, wouldn't it, since she couldn't make her boot toe connect with his groin.

She had a reply all queued up on her lips for him, but alas for the bloody gag. Dammit. Just when she was witty enough to come up with a good retort she couldn't use it. Just her luck.

“I expect you’re wondering why you’re here, where here is, and how long you’ve been here. Well, you won't be getting any answers, I’m afraid.

“If you behave yourself, I’ll see that your bindings are removed as well as the gag, and have food and water sent to you. There’s a WC off to your left should you need it.

“Don’t be tiresome and make some valiant but futile attempt at escape. I assure you it won't work and all it will do is end you up once again trussed like the proverbial Christmas goose.

“Do we understand one another?” he asked after a moment.

Emmie, whose rebellious streak was screaming back at him even if the gag stopped her voice from delivering the invectives, hesitated.

She’d never escape tied up like this. And she needed to use the WC. And her throat was dry. And, well, since she had no idea where she was, it seemed to her, at this moment, the only option she had was to say she understood. He hadn't asked for her parole, after all, nor attempted to make her promise not to escape, not that escape seemed possible at the moment. Even so.

She begrudgingly nodded.

“Thank you. I do admire practical and intelligent women. There are so few of you around, my dear. Now if you’ll just rein in that imagination and resentment, it would be helpful for all concerned if, once you are a bit more comfortable, you answer a few questions I intend to put to you. Do you think you can manage that?”

She nodded. Then someone she had not known was there, stepped forward to cut the bindings on her hands and cut the gag away. By the time she'd sat up to undo the ropes around her ankles, when she looked up both her abductors were gone. How exactly had they slipped out so quietly, she wondered, as she massaged feeling back into her ankles and feet.

Ned. She was going to murder him for getting her into this. For she was absolutely one thousand percent certain, it was all Ned’s fault.


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