|Emma Beunavilla P.I.
I decided to leave the private firm I was with and have a go of it on my own, seeing that within the company there was way too much competition and sabotage. Being independent was more dangerous, but in the long run it was easier on my sanity. I figured I had a big enough name on my own merits where friends of clients and family of clients would come to me for my expertise. I opened an office in a loft near Chinatown, and within a day I had gotten my first case. they wealthy sister of a client I helped last year called for my assistance.
Mrs. Klein, the lone beneficiary and widow of the Klein Empire, walked into my office. A woman in her 50’s, she looked severely distraught. I offered her a seat and some coffee. As she sipped her coffee she went on to tell me her problem. She had met Max, a man half her age who made her very happy. He didn’t have to work, living off her millions, she truly loved him. But something wasn’t right; she though he was having an affair. He would leave the mansion at odd times, mostly during the night, and sometimes she wouldn’t see him for days. He also acted strangely when confronted about where he was going; it was all so cloak and dagger. Max was in perfect shape, and she thought many women would want him. Mrs. Klein felt as if she and her money were just being used. I told her if something didn’t pan out in five days it really wasn’t worth pursuing, and I agreed to take the case for the next week.
I began following him the next day; watching as he ran errands, going here and there, just plain futzing around, going to the health spa and shopping. Finally, on the third day, I followed him to a marina out on Long Island. He went to Mrs. Klein’s boat, a large 35 footer. Max spent some time on the craft, but still no girl. Then, the next night, I followed him back while sitting in my car. It took no longer than an hour before a girl came on board. There was no embrace or show of affection; they just shook hands and went inside. I managed to see through the window that they just talked before she left. I immediately called Mrs. Klein and told her that I’d found out a bit more and the case was worth sticking to for another week.
I rented a cabin cruiser and took a slip several spots down from her boat so I could watch more closely. Almost twice a day Max would show up with the girl, but there was no affection or any kind of sexual connotations between them. Three days after I rented the slip they both got on board and headed out of the marina. It was late afternoon, and I watched with my binoculars as they headed out of sight. I started up my boat and followed, keeping far back. I watched them head out to a freighter. Keeping my distance, I made positively sure that they boarded it. After spending two hours on it, they got back on their boat with some cases and left. I myself headed aside so I wouldn’t be seen.
I stayed out a bit longer. Then, as I headed back to the marina, I noticed Mrs. Klein’s boat moored to a buoy along with others about two hundred yards out. As I passed it the boat looked abandoned. I slowly took my boat back to the marina. As I docked I noticed both Max and the woman getting out of a small speed boat and going to their cars. So I thought I needed to look into this suspicious behavior a bit more. Under cover of night would be perfect. I called Mrs. Klein and asked her to call me when Max got home so I knew the coast would be clear.
While I waited I took out my wet suit and scuba gear. I kicked off my Sketchers, slipped off my capris, and then my panties. Not having brought extras, I could not get these wet. Then I slipped off my tube top before slipping into my black wet suit, completely naked under it. I then slipped on my dive booties and my gloves. Then I got the call; I was Mrs. Klein whispering that he was home.
I knew then the coast was clear for me to get a closer look. I slipped on my fins and then my weight belt before holstering a flashlight. I slung on my twin tanks and brought around my double hosed regulator, sniffing the clean rubber smell of my suit and the hoses before putting on my mask and checking my regulator. Then I back-flipped off the stern of my boat into the dark waters, sinking down and heading out of the marina, kicking my legs slowly and keeping a steady pace.
Moving toward Mrs. Klein’s boat swift and silent underwater, I breathed through my regulator. I felt the bubbles pass under my smooth skinned rubber clad body. Surfacing occasionally I made sure I was heading in the right direction. But racing through my mind was how silly this was, me being all alone out here in a situation like this. But I didn’t want to think about that now. Little did I know my cell phone was ringing on my boat.
I made out a shadow as I approached. It was a hull, black and white, just like Mrs. Klein’s boat. Then I saw the buoy it was tied off to, the yellow reflective buoy bouncing up at the surface. I surfaced quietly, slipping my regulator out of my mouth and then grabbing the rope with my gloved hands to climb hand over hand to the rail to drop the ladder. Once the ladder was dropped I slipped back into the water, took my fins off and tossed them over on the boat before I climbed the ladder to creep up onto the deck. In a crouched position I slid my mask off and then my twin tanks, sliding all my gear to the rail.
Dripping wet I stepped softly, still in my black rubber scuba booties. I sneaked toward the upper lounge area, wondering if they had moored the boat way out here so the cases would not be so easy to find. They were obviously hiding them well and did not want anyone disturbing their plans. I rummaged through some closets and cabinets for the cases, but they were larger and had to be stored somewhere big. I presumed they were locked somewhere.
I crept down to the lower lounge and the cabins in the below deck area. Looking around the lower lounge with my flashlight I noticed two closets at each side of the bar. Walking over to one I found it was open, but all it contained was some liquor and party supplies. I crept over to the other one, but this was locked. So I looked behind the bar, found a can opener and tricked the lock with it.
Opening the door I moved my light around, seeing several storage cabinets that were all locked. I moved to the back of the closet where on the floor I found the biggest of them. I knelt down and again tricked its lock with the can opener. I opened the big cabinet and “BINGO”: there were the three black cases!
I slid one out and opened it, kneeling down as I did so. I shined my light inside, and all I could see was money – and a lot of it! It smelled odd. I took a bill and brushed it on a sheet of paper… COUNTERFEIT! But as I put it all together, I heard the door creek behind me followed by a “click”. Then the light came on. “OK hun; put that down and hands up NOW!” The man’s voice was calm yet angry.
Shocked and startled I did as he asked, knowing the click was from none other than a gun. I quickly looked for the can opener as a weapon. But in my haste I had slid the case over it. I placed the bill down and raised my hands, still kneeling as I felt the gun at my head.
“You wouldn’t shoot me right here, would you?” I asked calmly. “NO! GET UP! NOW!” he ordered.
I stood and was ordered to turn. I saw them both: Max, Mrs. Klein’s new husband, and the woman, Hispanic looking. “Now dear,” max said calmly. “It looks like you are a bit too curious. We knew we had a visitor from the scuba gear we found up top. I have no idea where you came from or what you’re doing here. But we’re late and we’ll take care of your busy bodyness later.”
The Hispanic woman nervously asked, “What are you going to do with this woman?” “Simple Vera,” he replied nonchalantly. “We’ll simply get her out of our hair for a while.”
He wound up fast and swung the butt of the gun at my head before I had time to react. I felt a hard sting and then blackness. I was out cold, sprawled on the floor over the money, my whole body still covered in black rubber.
“See, easy. Now let’s get her out of sight. Put the money back and I’ll carry her down to the bilge compartment. After you put the case away get that rope from the upper deck and her gear too. We don’t need that being seen. I’ll tie her in the bilge compartment. That should put her in her place.” He snickered evilly.
Vera chuckled sadistically as Max picked me up over his shoulder like a rag doll and brought me down to the mechanical compartment in the hull. He then placed my body down and opened the bilge hatch. Then he slid my body down inside with my back on the pump itself. Vera returned with the rope. Max took out a knife and cut the thin rope into ten foot lengths. Two rails ran three feet apart across the compartment, parallel with each other. First he tied my gloved wrists behind me. Then he tied my left ankle, knee and thigh to one rail before my right ankle, knee and thigh to the other, slightly spreading my legs. Vera handed Max my gear and then looked at me oddly, yet with a wide smile.
“More! Tie her torso to the pump too!” she giggled playfully. Max took more rope and tied my waist around my weight belt and then my chest to the pump. My head slumped to the side. Vera oddly asked, “Does this pit fill up with water… like over her head?” Max replied, “I never really looked at it. I think the pump goes on before that. Yes, the water line is here. It’ll get close because she is kind of short. If not, well… you know… curiosity killed that cat.” Vera looked me over as I sat so vulnerable, helpless, and still unconscious and said, “MMMMMM……… and what a pretty cat she is too.”
Max closed the hatch and sealed it. Then he said, “Come on! We have an appointment with our buyers. And would you please stop it with your lesbian undertones? Business and pleasure do not mix out here! You can have your fun when we interrogate her, that is if she still breathing down here. Now let’s start this boat and get under way.”
As the engines to the large craft fired up, I returned to a semi-conscious state. My eyes were not open as of yet although the abrupt noise of the engines stirred me. I tried moving my hands and then my legs as my eyes opened wide. In the dim light of the compartment, I looked over my legs then started pulling at my gloved wrists. I suddenly remembered what had happened and found how busy they had been while I had been incapacitated. Looking around and seeing the steel floor and the shape of the sides, I knew I was tucked away in the bilge compartment. Then I looked up. Seeing the hatch over my head in a locked position told me that even if I did manage to get out of these bindings I would still be locked in this compartment.
The boat’s engines raced. As we took off I was forced forward, making the ropes unbearably tight on my legs and torso. As the boat gathered speed I felt the shock of each wave bounce through my body since I was tied tautly to the hull. To make matters worse, water began pouring in from the sides and the ceiling from drain tubes.
As the compartment slowly filled with water I began to panic. I pulled harder and harder on the ropes. The water rose to my chest. Then behind me I felt the pump kick on and the water line receded. But my relief was short lived as the water line rose again. I felt a small ball lodged behind me. The water kept rising this time, going over my chest to my neck! I realized that the ball wedged behind me was a float that probably triggered the pump. I wiggled and twisted, trying desperately to get the float out of there. As the water rose relentlessly I took a deep breath just before it passed my nose.
Wiggling and squirming I felt the float move. Completely submerged, I managed to free the ball. As it floated up, the pump kicked on again, letting the water line recede. I felt relieved as it came down below my head to my chest again. But this happened several times until the boat slowed and finally came to a halt. I heard footsteps and mumbled chatter on deck. Then I heard the anchor drop.
The water still lapped against the hull, slightly filling the bilge compartment I was in. But it had stopped flowing in now that we had come to a halt. I listened to the mumbling voices as I heard the hull of the boat we were on tapping against another boat out there. Then I heard several people mumbling along with many footsteps. I had no idea what they were saying.
I tried pulling again on the ropes that bound me. But they dug in as I was twisting my legs and tugging at my gloved wrists. It was no use; they were too tight. Then I heard a thump along with the sound of something being dragged across the upper deck. I heard this a few times. Then it was silent for a while. I listened as I heard a few more mumbled words. Then I heard another boat start up – I was right. Its engines grew louder and then fainter as it pulled away. Then it was back to more mumbles and then footsteps that grew louder until they were right above me.
The hatch above me was unlocked and opened. I looked up as Max and Vera looked down at me. “AHHH……so you managed to stay alive, Ms……….? Drowning is a peaceful way to go and in scuba gear it would have been the perfect accident. But now we can extract some information from you, just to see how much you know about our little operation and to see who knows you’re out here snooping around.” He was very sadistic about it as he added, “Vera, get those leg irons and hand cuffs those nice gentlemen left for us. They’ll insure our little guest’s captivity.” Max said it with a smile on his face. “My pleasure hun,” Vera answered.
I wiggled and yanked on my bindings as Max climbed down into the bilge pit with me. “Dear, don’t strain yourself; you are not going anywhere. I thought for sure you’d be a drowned rat by now. I guess you figured out the float ball. Well, there’s plenty more in store for you now.”
“You know holding me against my will is kidnapping and a federal offense,” I said calmly, “not to mention attempted murder.”
Max smiled as Vera handed him the leg irons. He wrapped them around the ankles of my diving booties and locked them tight. They were thick heavy steel. He then untied my legs and my torso, pulling me roughly forward and cuffing my gloved wrists tightly. I noticed how really heavy these irons were, the thickness of the relentless steel on my limbs. He untied the ropes from my gloved wrists.
He pulled me up as I was a bit wobbly, and moved me to the ladder. There was enough slack in the chain between the irons that I could only take tiny steps. He helped push me up as Vera grabbed my shoulders, roughly hauling me up the ladder. As Max pushed my butt up the ladder, he noticed I had nothing under my suit by feeling no ridges of a bathing suit. “Very, very daring; aren’t we, hun?” he asked. Vera asked what he said. “Nothing….” he replied with a smile. I felt a tad embarrassed knowing he knew this.
I was taken to the lounge on the upper deck and pushed down onto a cushioned couch that I sank into. “I’m sure you have no I.D. on you dear, so we’ll start there,” Max said. “Perhaps we’ll start with your name.” But I sat in silence. “Who knows you’re here? And why are you here?” Vera practically shouted out. I just sat in silence.
“Alright. I thought you’d be like this. But we’ll get it out of you, hun. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. I’m sure you’ve heard that the late husband of Mrs. Klein, my wife, had an extensive aquatic animal collection. That dumb old rich hag keeps it in wonderful condition to this day. It’s all in a building on her estate. We’ll simply dock the boat there. The old biddy will be out for the whole day to do her social work with her different charities, so we’ll have plenty of time to acquaint you with the different species of rare aquatic life in the late Mr. Klein’s collection. And that tight fitting scuba suit and your gear will be so fitting to watch you in as you struggle… perhaps with a half dozen octopi… or a sea snake maybe?. I might even choose to acquaint you with the giant clam.”
As Max calmly told me what I had to look forward to I wiggled and twisted on the couch, looking down at the heavy irons on my booted ankles while pulling my gloved wrists up. The thick cuffs held tight. I was a sitting duck and had no choice in being exposed to his exotic and hopeless torture. I felt so vulnerable, and I had no weapon. And not a soul knew I was out here all alone. “You won’t get away with this, Max.” I said calmly. “I hope you understand this: no matter what you do, I won’t talk. I simply won’t.”
“You surely are amazing, dear” Max replied, “…so calm and witty… staring doom right in the face and taking it so well. I guess we will see about how well you take it when you’re there.”
“Yes, and we do take care of loose ends quite well,” Vera gleefully added. “Seeing you held in a watery grave and having old lady Klein holding the bag will be even better. Too bad we’re going to enjoy it too – to off a snoop in such an entertaining way will be so exciting.”
They left me in the lounge and then went to start the boat up to get under way. Then Vera came back down to watch over me as I sat there vulnerable and helpless. She made a drink and sipped it slowly as she sat behind the bar staring at me.
Vera watched as I sat helplessly on the couch in my shackles. She walked over from behind the bar and stood right in front of me. In her red see-through blouse, red mini skirt and black pumps, she looked down at me as I tried to avoid making eye contact with her. As she looked down at me she said in her thick Latina accent, “You know, you’re really something… a pretty girl like you sneaking on someone else’s boat in the middle of the night in all that scuba gear. Don’t you have anything better to do? You know in my country we would have shot you on sight and just thrown you overboard. You just make me so mad. Do you make it a habit of ruining people’s lives?”
I looked up at Vera and said wittingly “No, it’s not a habit, just good clean fun. And we’re not in your country; we are in mine. People have these things called rights here, and there are laws to be upheld too….” That’s when Vera cut in angrily with “You certainly do have an attitude problem, little girl. To act like this and to have your life in our hands is very stupid. I admire your courage and feistiness, but your stupidity has a left a lot to be desired.”
I looked up and sighed at her in an annoying way. With that she kneeled on the couch behind me and grabbed my hair into a pony tail and pulled it back. Gripping it hard in her hand, she yanked me back into the couch. I whimpered some as she was hurting me. Vera gritted her teeth and burning with anger said, “YOU SILLY, NOSEY LITTLE HUSSY I’M READY TO TEACH YOU A LESSON OR TWO RIGHT NOW…wait…”
Vera looked at me strangely. With my hair held back, she looked me over. Then she pulled my hair to the side and looked at my profile.
She looked at me oddly again. “I don’t believe this, you………you’re that girl who…….oh DAMN! You are really the girl…the…Masquerade. I KNEW IT….Max……Max…….” As she got off the couch and yelled, she let my hair go and I flopped back. I heard her run up to the bridge. Then I heard the boat’s engines slow down. The boat then made a hard turn, rolling me slightly on the couch to my side. I now knew that Vera knew I had been watching them at the marina. She remembered me and the name of my boat. Now I was getting nervous.
Vera walked down very calmly, and in a nonchalant manner said, “I knew you looked familiar. It was you who was watching us at the marina. Dear, I set my eyes on you the moment you docked that boat of yours. You do draw attention to yourself, being that pretty with no friends or boyfriend, or for that matter a girlfriend.” She snickered as she added, “Max and I are sure you have some information, and we want to find out a little more about you. So we’ll make a stop at the marina and search your boat.” Then Max’s voice came over the intercom. “Vera, take our guest into the master stateroom. Bind her carefully and get her ready for our trip back to the marina.” Vera answered with a smile, “GLADLY Max…..”
Vera grabbed me roughly and helped me up. Then she grabbed a duffel bag and led me back behind the bar through a door to the master stateroom. It was a huge bedroom with a king sized four poster bed and windows that went all around the whole room. She then sat me on the bed where I thought she was doing something behind me. Then I heard the duffel bag open.
She moved from the top of the bed to the bottom as I sat on the side. Then she moved to my side, and I saw what she was doing. She was tying rope to all four bedposts. As she got behind me, she pulled me back to the middle of the bed. Naturally I was not able to resist as I was still in my shackles.
Once I was directly in the middle of the bed, she coiled the ropes from the lower bedposts around my rubber booted ankles, starting with the left and then the right. My wetsuit offered me some comfort, but not much. She tightened the ropes and then unhooked my leg irons, tossing them to the floor. She then pulled the ropes on the lower bedposts so tight that my legs spread widely. Then she coiled the ropes from the upper bedposts around my wrists. My rubber gloves offered me some comfort, but not much. She coiled the ropes tightly and removed the irons from my gloved wrists. She then pulled my gloved wrists over my head, stretching them as she tightened the ropes on the bedposts.
I now felt more vulnerable than I had been the whole night, especially since the ropes dug into my booted ankles and gloved wrists. I was totally helpless now. Then Vera took a red bandana and rolled it up. As she prepared to stuff it in my mouth, I whispered calmly, “You’ll pay for this, I promise…….You won’t get away with this.” She smiled wide, cutting me off as she shoved the bandana into my mouth. Then she wrapped a six inch wide rubber strap around my head, snapping it in the back. I thought it was a very effective gag as I couldn’t yell or scream, just umuummmmmmmm softly.
Vera stood at the foot of the bed as I wiggled and squirmed, cocking and rocking my booted ankles and twisting my gloved wrists. As I did my rubber suit squeaked. She folded her arms and truly admired her work, smiling as I held my head up, umuuming softly. Then something caught her eyes as she got close, looking me up and down. Vera walked around the bed, closing the drapes of the room. Then she said in a soft, seductive voice with her thick Latina accent, “Now I know what Max meant earlier about you in your suit being so daring, dear. I can see it so clearly now. You don’t have a thing on under that rubber wetsuit; am I right? I bet it feels real good and that you like it that way’ am I right, hun?”
She stood at the foot of the bed with her arms folded again and with her finger at her lips. As the motor slowed down, I felt the boat drift. I knew then we were at the marina. I felt the boat bump a few more times. Then I heard footsteps on deck and ropes tightening as Max tied down the boat. As Vera looked out the window, parting the curtains slightly, I UMUMMMPPGHHHHed as loud as I could. Vera turned, looked at me devilishly and snickered in her thick Latina accent. “Just shut up, missy. No one can hear you and no one knows you’re here.”
Max walked in stunned as he looked at me tied spread-eagle to the bed so tight. “WOW Vera! I didn’t know you could tie someone down that well, and so imaginatively too! This is really good and tight! Nice gag too; I can’t even hear her in here! Our guest won’t be going anywhere soon.” Vera leaned to Max and whispered something. As they giggled, she pointed and then said aloud, “Yes, in my country I have tied many women up for undisclosed reasons.” Then she chuckled.
“Alright,” Max said to Vera, giving her directions. “You need to go on our guest’s boat and find anything remotely connecting her to us. You won’t be noticed since you’re a woman. And if she has been seen on her boat you won’t raise any suspicion. Take anything or break into anything locked or hidden.” I ummed again softly into my gag as I cocked my soft soled booties and twisted my gloved hands. They looked at me and smiled. Then Vera replied snidely, “Going to stop me, hun?” before she turned and left.
Max watched as he peered through the drawn curtain. Vera made it to the boat and was not stopped by the few passers-by she encountered. She then went down into the cabin and vanished.
I ummed more into my gag as I twisted my head, feeling the ropes dig into my booted ankles and gloved wrists. As I tried to get some relief, Max walked over to me and looked me up and down. “Uncomfortable my dear? We really didn’t take that into consideration at all. In fact, let me get the ropes a tad tighter.” As he went around to each bedpost and made each rope incredibly tight, all I could do was umm softly in pain, feeling my limbs stretch to their limits.
Time passed before I heard Vera’s footsteps on deck. As Max peeked through the curtains, he saw her with a bag, a briefcase and some folders. She stepped into the cabin and dumped it all on a table. “OK, this is everything she had but her clothing. I looked through everything. Oh, and some locks had to be broken in her desk and a closet. Sorry dear.” Vera smiled at me and laughed.
They looked through it all, sighing in amazement at some things and reading every line and page of my reports. Max walked up to me with my pocketbook in his hands. “So… a slave to fashion, are we? Nice bag. Keeping up with the younger crowd, are we, with the old knapsack bag? Been watching us for a long time, have you? You little sneak! I despise sneaks! Now, what is in your bag? Any ID?”
He dumped it on the bed between my legs. Makeup, my address book, a small firearm, cuffs and my wallet poured out. Max picked up the wallet. “So… Emma Buena…………villa? Nice picture. Now we have a name for you, but unfortunately not a stitch of who you are working for……a shame.” Vera picked up the small Lady Derringer pistol and caressed it, running it along my cheek bone. “We should just shoot her; it would be my pleasure.”
I UMMMMMPPPPGHHHHed into my gag, cocked my booted ankles and wiggled my gloved wrists. “No,” Max said, “We need to find out who she is working for, and quickly. They are aware of our scheme and I don’t want to ruin a good thing, Vera. I think a little tour of Mr. Klein’s aquarium for Emma will help her answer our questions. After all, she’s dressed for a close up tour. Old Lady Klein is out so we can go back to the house. Take Ms. Buenavilla’s boat and follow me.” Max chuckled. I wiggled slightly and UMMMMMUMMPPPPGGHHHed into my rubber gag. My mouth was so dry and I had no chance of escape.
Max and Vera left me on the bed. They made sure all the shades were drawn, and they turned off the light. Then they locked the door. I heard Max untying the boat as I lifted my head. Barely able to make out my bindings, I could still feel them cutting into me like a knife. I heard my boat start up, and I thought to myself, “That woman is on my very own boat! Damn, I wish I could get out of this now!” But as I struggled and pulled, all the ropes hurt even more. I decided it would be better if I tried to relax. Then I heard the boat I was on start up.
As Max took off, my body moved to the side. God, it hurt! Then the ride got bouncy as the boat shook. Since Max had tightened my bindings, every bump hurt my gloved wrists and booted ankles. I just tried to sit still. Fortunately the ride wasn’t too long as I was really hurting. The boat’s revs became less and less. Then I heard a bump as the boat stopped. Sure enough, my boat was behind and slowing and stopping too.
After a few minutes, the door opened as Max and Vera stepped in and opened all the shades. The sun bathed the cabin as my eyes squinted from the light. Silent and motionless, I just laid there. “Stay here with Ms. Buenavilla, Vera,” Max calmly told her. “I’ll make sure things are the way we want.”
Vera nodded as she strolled to the bed and sat next to me. She stroked my hair, quietly observing, “If only things were different, Emma. I’d like you all for my very own.” Then she tugged the front zipper of my suit down some. I UMMPPPPPMMMGGGMMMMUMMMMed into my gag, shaking and twisting and trying to stop her. I rolled my eyes as it hurt so much.
Vera picked up my address book and paged through it. “Not too many acquaintances, hun? A pretty girl like you and only six names in the whole book? You need to get out more, my dear.” Then Vera pulled my hair back, tugging it sadistically. Shaking my head as she pulled my hair, I uummmmmmmmummmmmmed into my gag, pleading with her to stop. As she got up she placed her hand on my face and shoved my head down.
I heard footsteps as Max came back. Then he gloated, “The coast is clear; not a creature is stirring. All the servants, grounds keepers and Old Lady Klein are gone for the day. She is so predictable. We have the whole day to get what we need from our little nosey friend Emma.” Vera chuckled as I ummed, and my head sunk into the pillow.
Max walked over to me. “OK,” he said, “I have the golf cart out on the pier. We need to untie her. First we’ll free the arms; then I’ll cuff her. But Vera sadistically interrupted with a giggle… “AWWWWWWW; do we have to?” Max looked at her with a smile. “Little missy here will have to walk. And don’t think of running, hun,” he told me sternly. “It’s hard to swim with your hands cuffed behind you. You like her, Vera; I knew it!”
Vera untied my left arm as Max untied my right. I felt some relief, but I was still sore. Max cuffed my gloved hands behind me with my own cuffs as Vera helped me sit up. Then Max untied my booted ankles as Vera slid me off the bed and helped me stand. I wobbled some, feeling so sore around my booted ankles and feet as they helped me out and off the boat. They sat me in the front seat of the golf cart. Then they re-cuffed my gloved hands to a bar in the front. Still gagged, all I could do was umuummmmmmmmmmmm softly.
Max asked Vera calmly and politely to get every rope, chain, shackle and cuff off the boat. She gladly agreed. As I sat there and stared at Max, he looked at me and said, “All this will end fast, hun, if you tell us who you’re working for.” I umummmmed into my gag and shook my head no. “We’ll see,” Max snickered. Vera came back with a black duffle bag and dropped it on the back. “Everything is in there……everything.” She squeezed next to me, wiggling on the seat and looking at my cleavage with my zipper down. Then we took off.
The golf cart quietly sped along on a short ride until we arrived at a one story cement building. We all got out as Vera did the honors of un-cuffing me. Then she re-cuffed my gloved hands behind my back. She pushed me along to the steel doors of the building as Max opened them. I stepped into what appeared to be a dimly lit, cavernous vault. Max closed and locked the doors behind us.
I looked around just seeing shadows till my eyes adjusted. It smelled like the New York Aquarium on a damp humid day, a very strong and pungent sea smell. I heard bubbling too. Vera and Max whispered to each other, their voices echoing quietly. Under my soft soled booties I felt a metal grating. As I looked down, my eyes adjusted to the light until I saw the chamber was deep. It had to be 30 feet down.
Max led the way as he turned on a few lights, making it a bit easier to see. Vera poked me to keep moving, following Max down five flights of steps until we reaching the concrete floor. In front of me I saw several tanks. All were very high, some at least ten feet or more; some even higher. I also saw movement inside. Then Max and Vera led me to a seat and unsnapped the rubber strip, mercifully unwrapping it from around my head and then pulling the scarf out of my mouth.
Ahhhhh, what relief! I stretched my jaw as I had severe cotton mouth and could hardly utter a word. Max went to a water cooler and got some water, making me drink. My mouth soon moistened back up. “Now to the business at hand, Ms. Buenavilla,” Max said calmly. “Just a simple question: who are you working for? Just the name is all; nothing else.”
“I can’t tell you,” I explained calmly. “It’s against my ethical code of professionalism. Besides, you have enough to worry about with kidnapping, attempted murder… and I’m sure I could drum up a few others for you. Besides, I’m only good to you till you find out what you want to know. So why would I tell you anything?”
“Oh ethics? You have them, Ms. Buenavilla? Well I’m sure you do, and willing to die for them too, I’d wager. But getting back to your attempted murder theory… if you think back, they are all explainable accidents, my dear. I could care less if you tell me or not. It would just make things easier on you. So, will you tell me what I want to know?” Max was obviously trying to reason with me.
I answered calmly, “I won’t tell you a thing. I’m sorry, but I really can’t.” Max smiled and sighed “I thought so. Ok, have it your way.”
He walked over to a tank right in front of us and turned a light on. “See these, Ms. Buenavilla. Common octopi. Like you they are curious in nature. They would never mean to hurt you, but they might………. especially if you are a bit too curious. There are four rather big ones in here. Only three footers, but with 32 tentacles grabbing at you and 240 suckers on each tentacle, escape is impossible.”
“You wouldn’t. They don’t have an aggressive behavior. They wouldn’t hurt any human being, diving or not. They feed on algae and other organisms, microscopic in size.” I tried to remain calm about it. Max nodded as Vera grabbed my arm and pulled me off the chair, pushing me to a lift. She shoved me on as I wiggled around. The lift rose to the top of the tank, fifteen feet in the air. As I anxiously struggled with Vera, she loudly chuckled, “BE A GOOD GIRL, EMMA!”
Reaching the top I saw a mesh metal cage over the top of the tank with steel mesh flooring. Vera grabbed me and opened the gates. Holding me in a headlock, she un-cuffed my gloved hands. Then she pushed me into the cage with her knee. I stumbled inside as she closed and locked the gates behind me. I look down and then at her, seeing her pick up a small pumping tank with a hose and nozzle. She trained the nozzle on me and squirted a liquid on me. I was drenched with it, smelling of cheap perfume.
Vera smiled as she said in her thick Latina accent, “There hun, you’re baited now. This is that algae and organism mix. And the poor babies haven’t eaten in days. I’m sure you’ll be a sweet treat for them.” She giggled as I nervously grabbed the fence. “Who are you working for, Ms Buenavilla?” Max demanded. “Tell me NOW?”
“You’re bluffing; they won’t attack,” I responded. “I’m not telling you a thing!” I looked down again as Vera lowered herself to look me in the eye. “No Emma, not attack… but coiling up on you, hun, and sucking the mixture off you. They’ll pull you down… and with no air they’ll drown you, not even realizing they are doing it.”
“Change your mind now, my snoopy scuba girl?” Max taunted. “NO! NO I WON’T” I told them forcefully. And with that the mesh floor below me swung open like a dunking tank. I cried out “OH…….NO……!” as I dropped out and splashed into the tank, forcing me to tread water.
While treading water in the tank, I noticed I was three feet from the top. I waved my hands in front of me on the surface to keep stable, my legs kicking at a two foot stride. I um…um….. umed and ah…….ah……ahed, my groans echoing on the top part of the tank as I struggled to stay afloat. Confident the octopi were more afraid of me than I was of them, I turned around and spotted a ladder hanging off the parted collapsible floor. So I make my way over to it.
Just as I begin to swim to it I felt something brush up against my right leg. Then something coiled and slithered around my booted foot and calf of my left leg. It gripped me tight. I cried out, “NO….NO…….it’s impossible. This can’t be happen-” But my words were cut short as I was pulled under in an instant. I twisted and wiggled, my right leg tangled in a coil as another tentacle wrapped around my calf and thigh. Almost immediately I was pulled to the bottom, my legs pumping hard as my arms flailed and waved while I tried to break free.
Suddenly another tentacle curled around my stomach and chest. Then another wrapped around my gloved wrists to my elbow. I hit the tentacle with my right hand, gripping it and trying to pull it off. Then yet another tentacle coiled around me from my shoulder down to my waist, pinning my arm to my side. I was held down on the bottom of the tank, struggling as I felt the suckers doing their work, the tentacles tightening. I let out a gasp of air, bubbling as I thought, “One more like that and I’m a goner!”
I squirmed and wiggled helplessly in the octopus’s grip, trying to conserve my breath as I struggled to break free. Then a third octopus rested its weight on my stomach. I could feel myself being forced to exhale, the convulsions bucking and jolting my body. Then I felt a tingle followed by a much bigger shock that hit my body, and the octopi scattered like a lightning bolt. They gathered in a ball in the corner of the tank as I slowly surfaced, popping up coughing and choking as I made for the ladder, the floor thankfully rising back up into place.
I climbed up to the platform, weak and stunned. I sort of tumbled out onto the platform, thinking that the shock must have made them all retreat. Then Vera rose up and smiled sadistically at me as I choked and coughed.
“Did you have a nice swim, my dear?” she asked in that thick Latina accent. “Have fun with the pets? You do handle them so well. Max and I hope you have changed your mind by now.” I looked at her, and in short breaths gasped out, “No…..n……..o………nothing ……could change my mind; nothing….you two are freaks! I can’t believe this is happening; you two are probably enjoying it!”
Vera smiled as she doused me with the mixture again. I rolled and slid around, once more smelling of that cheap perfume smell. “Too bad you see it this way, my scuba doll,” she told me sadistically. “My mixture makes you so enticing to the little pets. They will love you more this time. Have fun with another swim, my sweet….although I wouldn’t expect that shock to come soon to release you, my love…..”
“No….No…not again……..” The platform collapsed again, and I splashed once more into the water.
This time the octopus coiled a tentacle rather quickly around my chest. All I could get out was a cry of “NO!” as I was pulled under. Then another tentacle coiled over my shoulder pinning both my arms to my sides. Another tentacle coiled around my thigh, knee and calf while still another wrapped around my other leg at my thigh. They were more violent this time, almost treating me like a bag of catnip as two more tentacles wrapped around my chest and stomach while another went around my neck.
As I jolted and twisted crazily, they yanked me to the bottom, and I let out a large stream of bubbles. Not having much air at all in my lungs, I knew with their next forceful move I’d be forced to take in water. I was dragged around slow as the suckers did their work. I felt every little movement, and I was getting weaker and weaker.
The tentacles tightened a bit more and I was ready to lose my breath in a big burst. Then I felt that warning tingle again, followed by that shock that sent the octopi retreating to their corner. I surfaced coughing again, feeling very weak as I barely make it up the ladder. Then I fell weakly onto the platform, lying there breathing heavily and coughing, too weak to even talk.
Vera opened the cage and walked in over me, kneeling right down beside me. “You don’t look so good, my sweet,” she observed with a chuckle. “Those little darlings can be taxing, am I right? Still you won’t give in?” I defiantly shook my head even as she dumped the whole mixture onto my legs and torso.
“Max, still nothing!” she yelled down to him. I was so weak that I couldn’t have spoken even if I would have wanted to. Naturally Max was furious and yelled up, “One more time! Then we will seal her fate with the other beast!”
Vera kissed my cheek before stepping out. As I turned my head to see the gate close, I moaned as I felt the floor collapse from under me. I hit the water like dead weight. Almost immediately I felt an octopus coil its tentacles around my legs, wrapping them tight from my ankle to my thighs and pulling me down. The other wrapped six tentacles around my torso, the thousands of suckers doing their work. I barely squirmed once more trapped on the bottom. I could just make out Vera and Max watching me through the glass. Then just as I thought all hope was lost and that I was about to inhale water, I felt the shock once again. They released me and bolted to their corner as I floated to the top, barely making it up the ladder.
I felt weak as a crippled bird as I lay out on the floor. Then I heard Vera rise up and open the cage, wickedly chuckling, “Poor baby. I guess you couldn’t talk right now if you wanted too.” I gasped heavily as she dragged me to the lift and propped me up, too weak and tired to get up on my own.
“Max and I have one final pet for you to meet,” Vera told me with a sinister smile. “This will be your last swim, the demise you deserve for deciding to CLAM UP! So, my sweet, be prepared for your one last dive, my darling little dive bunny.” I just lay there on the lift all weak and helpless, unable to do anything as I wondered what would be the end of me they had planned.
I lay on the lift sitting up, too weak to move. Vera lowered the lift as she slowly drove it to the back of the aquarium building. I tried to make myself move but I couldn’t as Vera looked back occasionally at me. She finally stopped alongside another tank. This one was not as deep, but it was much wider. Max reached up and gave her some sort of needle. As she flicked it with her finger I watched anxiously, trying to make my muscles function but still too weak to move.
Vera studied the needle before explaining to me in her thick Latina accent, “Parylium my dear. This will insure that you don’t move on us until we get you exactly where we want you. Now just relax like a good little girl and everything will be just fine.”
I wiggled slightly as I felt the needle pinch into my wetsuit covered thigh. After a few seconds I felt a tingling, then a numbness in my limbs. Then my legs and arms couldn’t move at all! ‘Oh god!’ I thought, ‘a paralyzing agent!’
Max handed Vera a harness and a bottle. Vera strapped the harness crisscross over my chest tightly as Max went on to explain. “You see, Ms. Buenavilla? Since you weren’t cooperative at all, we do need to tie up this one little loose end… and that would be YOU! In the tank beside you is a giant clam, one that Mr. Klein has treated with steroids. Usually they are only three or four feet wide. But this particular specimen is more like six or seven. I’d say it’s a perfect coffin for a nosey scuba bunny who’s decided to CLAM UP on us! Now in the end this will all work out perfectly. A lot of people think Mrs. Klein is innocent and classy. When I find you later I’ll have to let it slip about her unusual, eccentric role-plays she loves to engage in. So she’ll be blamed for your little mishap here, just a fun little game gone sour.”
Vera tightened the straps and then slid the bottle into the middle of my chest, connecting the hose to it with a smile. My eyes were wide in disbelief as Vera spoke softly into my ear. “This bottle has ten minutes of air, hun. That will give the clam enough time to close on you. The parylium should wear off in about five minutes or so. Once the bottle runs out you’ll either drown or be scared to death. I wonder which will get you first: terror or lack of air?” Then she wrapped my hair around her hand, sadistically pulling hard. All I could do was moan weakly… ummmm…… uuuuugmmmmm.
Vera raised the lift and then strapped the small mask onto my face. She hooked me to a hoist and raised me up over the tank. Then she giggled as she lowered me into the water. The whole time I remained motionless. All I could hear was the sound of air flowing with a constant hiss as I sank down. I was being laid to rest on a soft cushion! Feeling the rough surface, I knew it was the clam’s tongue. Then I felt the hook of the hoist release, watching in horror as it rose up fast. I was on my back inside the clam that was about to close, helpless to do anything to save myself.
I saw Max wave to Vera to set me down in a certain way. Then the clam closed with my calves outside its shell. Its lips were sealed, and all I could do was wait for the drug to wear off. All I could do to try and save myself was take short breathes to make the air last longer. But with my calves sticking outside the clam’s shell, I had the faint hope I might be found. So I wiggled my calves and cocked my booted ankles outside, trying to push the clam open while at the same time attracting attention to my predicament. But it was clamped down too tightly as its tongue rippled beneath me, trying to roll me under it. I struggled to stay on the top of the tongue, squirming and wrestling with the clam. It seemed hopeless, but I continued to fight with what little energy I had left.
I tried to push up with my gloved hands against the roof of the clam. But all I felt was my body sinking into its tongue. I tried to pull my calves loose from the clam’s lips, but it hurt with every movement. And as I struggled I felt the clam’s tongue trying to manipulate me underneath it.
As the tongue rippled and wiggled on my back, fear, terror and hopelessness began to set in. My breaths grew shallow and short; I was using too much of my small air supply. My calves and booted ankles wiggled and cocked in a synchronous rhythm. It all looked bleak as I lay all alone trapped inside the giant clam.
Meanwhile Mrs. Klein had just pulled up in front of the house, regrettably forgetting her foundation check book for her charity meetings for the day. She shuffled into the house, tossing the keys to her Jaguar on the table and then scooting into the den for the book. She picked it up and slowly walked back to the door.
As she picked up her keys she noticed the security board, looking like a picture in a frame near the front door. A tiny LED light was flashing on the aquarium house. She must’ve thought to herself, ‘Oh dear, I hope it isn’t those teen vandals again. Last time they broke in they made a mess of the place.’ Naturally she had to check it out since her staff was gone for the day.
She went into the back shed where she pulled out her golf cart and drove slowly over to the aquarium house. She pulled up and noticed the door was ajar, indicating the signal on the board was a true one. Then she slowly stepped in.
Mrs. Klein first noticed the maintenance lift was not parked where it usually was. Then she noticed puddles of water on the floor. She cautiously walked to the back, seeing the lift near the last tank. She must have thought it was a strange place for the lift to be parked, not to mention all the water around it too.
The clam had managed to slide me under it tongue as the heavy pillow like muscle lay resting on my body. The oxygen skipped a few times then finally cut out. All I saw were stars… and then I blacked out, all hope gone as my rubber covered calves and feet went limp.
Mrs. Klein looked around carefully as she scanned the back of the aquarium. Then she noticed a pair of legs dangling out of the clam. She sprang into action, quickly pulling off one of the electro batons from the wall and then tossing it into the tank before turning on the voltage for a few quick seconds. She got on the lift as it was rising up. Then she looked down to see the clam had opened up but that a body – MY body – was under the tongue, lifeless and unmoving.
She quickly dove in and swam to the bottom. She pushed the tongue away as she let out an underwater shriek or horror upon seeing it was me all lifeless and limp. She carried me to the surface, pushing my limp body out of the tank and onto the lift. She saw I wasn’t breathing and quickly administered CPR.
It took a while but Mrs. Klein didn’t give up. I finally awoke from my death nap, coughing and choking up water, weak and dazed while barely remembering what had happened. Mrs. Klein called both an ambulance and the police. On the way to the hospital I told them where the Coast Guard could pick the two up.
Max and Vera were ultimately picked up and arraigned for counterfeiting and a bunch of other charges involving my perils and dilemmas. The following months involved court dates where I testified.
During the following weeks, Mrs. Klein visited me in the hospital every day. She was so grateful for my efforts, but a bit sorry she had to divorce Max over his untrustworthy ways. She couldn’t understand how I could do this work; so risky, life threatening, and dangerous. She tried talking me out of it; she even offered me a job. But I couldn’t accept it as I adore this work. So in response, she set me up in a chic office in a loft in the village, promising me I’d be getting referrals from her as well as cases from her wealthy friends. We went out to dinner every Friday, and every Friday she brought me a gift to show her continuing appreciation as the cases continued flowing in. But I decided to stay independent as I could never trust a partner.
© 2008; 2015 (written by Emma Oct 16 ’08; edited by riwa Jun 30 ‘15)