(text by riwa)
The bounty hunters and their hound walked casually through the woods as though they were out for a morning stroll. They knew the convict they were after wasn’t going to get very far. After all, she was wearing shackles on her ankles and wrists.
Whatever possessed the woman to run in the first place? Did she really think she was going to get away? Those shackles on her feet had to be slowing her down.
Lisa panted heavily as she shuffled through the trees. Her chains clanked noisily, alerting everyone within earshot to her presence. Her situation was growing desperate.
She knew they had to be somewhere right behind her. But there was nowhere safe to hide. The area she was moving through was open and grassy with low hills and mounds. Obviously someone came in once a week and mowed the grass. It was too neatly cut, making it even easier to follow the trail she was leaving behind.
She stopped, bent over and gasped for breath, her heart pounding in her chest. She was probably going to be recaptured. But every second of freedom was precious to her…
She heard a dog bark somewhere behind her. It sounded close, like they were gaining on her. She gasped as she started off again, cringed inwardly as her shackles clanked loudly. She felt the metal bite into her ankles and wrists as she shuffled along.
She tiredly fell up against a tree and gasped for breath as the fear rose within her. What would they do when they caught up to her? Would they hurt her… maybe sexually assault her? She was going back to prison, that much was certain!
She looked ahead and felt hope swell within her. There were houses ahead, houses with backyards and fences. Maybe she could find a place to hide while working these damned shackles off her wrists and ankles.
Somewhere behind her she heard, “Hey, Lisa? Where do you think you’re going?” It was the voice of one of the bounty hunters, drifting out over the breeze across the wooded park. It sounded like they were closer. It spurred her onward, and she took off toward the nearest home as fast as her shackles would allow.
She went past one residence… entered the yard of another. She found a wooden fence line and followed it. Maybe there would be a place to hide on the other side.
Tired… she was so tired. She couldn’t keep up this pace much longer. Her legs felt rubbery, as though they were going to quit on her any minute now.
She reached the end of the fence and looked around the corner. The gate was open to the backyard pool. At least she wouldn’t be out in the open any more.
She rounded the corner and looked all around. But there was nowhere to hide. It was all open.
Maybe she could pause here long enough to catch her breath. With any luck the bounty hunters might pass her by. She had to stop and rest; she just couldn’t run anymore.
She shuffled into the pool area and walked along the fence line. She tried to move carefully so the shackles would not give her away. Then she moved close to the fence, peering through the slats to spot her pursuers.
She saw they were right there on the other side of the fence. They were almost on top of her. What if they rounded the corner and spotted her? Maybe they hadn’t seen her duck in here.
What was she going to do? If they came around the fence and had a look, they would surely find her. But if the dog had her scent, she was already found.
She watched the bounty hunters split up. The one with the dog was heading off in a different direction. Maybe the dog had lost her scent. It was almost too much to hope for.
She heard his voice over by the corner of the fence. Lisa stiffened as her heart leapt into her chest. The chase was over.
He called out her name, and she stood up in resignation. There would be no more running. He was standing at the entrance to the pool area.
She refused to look at him as she felt a mixture of sadness and relief. It was all over… her dash from the prison bus as it sat stalled along the side of the road… the wasted effort going through the fence, tearing her pants and having them get hung up which had forced her to leave them behind, marking the direction she’d taken. She’d moved on with only her white thong underwear and a shredded white t-shirt. And it had all been for nothing!
He moved in front of her and shook his head. “Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. What are we going to do with you?” A look of menace crossed his face as he took a step toward her.
She stepped back out of fright, not wanting him to get any closer. She didn’t know what he was going to do to her. Some of the prison guards could be so incredibly cruel.
“Time to go, Lisa!” he growled. She took another step back. But this time there was nothing solid behind her, causing her to tumble backward.
She shrieked as she pitched backward into the swimming pool with a loud splash. What a stupid thing to do. In her terror she had forgotten it was there.
The second bounty hunter came rushing through the gate with the dog. “What happened?”
“She fell in,” the first one pointed at the water. “Stupid bitch wasn’t paying attention and backed right into it.”
“”Figures. So what do we do now? Do we fish her out of there?”
The one who found her put a hand up. “Wait a minute. I don’t want to get wet. Do you feel like getting wet?”
“No… not really.”
Lisa landed on her knees on the slope of the pool, halfway down into the deep end. She raised her arms to steady herself as her torn shirt billowed. She tried to rise to her feet, causing her to slip down the incline.
She burbled as she instinctively fought against her chained wrists. She slipped again, causing her to frown with concern. She was already in well over her head here.
She grunted as she tried to climb the incline into shallow water. She lost air out of her nose as she fought the chains to her wrists, slipping a little more. She pulled hard, but she couldn’t get the chains off no matter how hard she tried.
She grunted bubbles as she looked upward. Now she wanted those bounty hunters to come after her. She needed some assistance or she might slide all the way down the incline. She sure as hell couldn’t swim anywhere all shackled the way she was.
She waited anxiously, holding her breath while waiting for one to jump in after her. But there was no response. Lisa felt a stab of fear.
She pulled on her chains again, trying to yank them apart. Bubbles streamed out of her nose as she tried not to inhale. This was starting to get serious.
Weren’t they coming for her? What was taking so long? She could feel the rising panic as she began to twist back and forth.
She struggled against the chains to free herself, feeling herself slip down the incline a little more. She had to ditch all this weight. If she could just get the chains off her arms, she could work herself up into the shallow end and stand upright.
Lisa looked up to the surface, wondering what the hell was taking so long for them to fish her out. She lost another burst of air as her cheeks began to bulge. The burn in her lungs was becoming painful.
Lisa lost air out of her nose as she slipped down the incline a little more. The shackles and chains were taking her toward the bottom! She was in too deep and couldn’t reach the surface!
Fighting back a surge of panic, Lisa tried to steady herself. She looked around, but she was the only one in the water. Where the hell were they? What was taking so long??
She looked down, twisting to have a look at her ankle shackles. But it did no good as she realized she couldn’t get them off. She needed the keys. Why the hell didn’t those bastards toss in the keys??
She raised her arms again, fighting against the chains. Couldn’t they see she wasn’t going to escape down here? She just wanted out of the water!
Her lungs heaved, causing her to lose a burst of air. She was out of breath, her chest on fire. What the hell were they doing up there?? She was on the verge of panic.
‘Aren’t they going to help me? What the hell are they doing up there?? Can’t they see these shackles are hindering my every movement?? Gawd, I’m gonna drown down here!’
That’s when it jolted her as she realized what was happening. They weren’t going to fish her out of here after all… at least not while she was still alive. That would be too much effort.
Lisa’s lungs heaved again as she looked all around. But there was nothing in the water to assist her… no rope, no pool skimmer, no life ring… nothing!
She swallowed down another convulsion, her panic almost at the surface. She lifted her arms again, struggling against the chains. If only she could work her way out of them somehow…
She fought and struggled, but it was useless. She shook the shackles on her wrists in frustration. Now her lungs were on fire.
She clamped her lips shut to avoid losing any more of her air. Lisa raised her arms and twisted back and forth in a fruitless effort to get them off. As she did so, she felt herself slip further down the incline into the deep end.
She was getting dizzy and she was out of breath. She tried to swallow another convulsion back down. But now they were so strong… so insistent as her body demanded more air.
Her shredded t-shirt billowed as she reached the bottom of the deep end on her knees. She looked up at the surface and saw two faces looking down on her. Still there was no response from above.
She held up her arms one last time, hoping the guys would see it as a sign she was giving up. Then she felt a convulsion in her chest as her panic began to swell. She lost a few bubbles out of her mouth as she strained with all her might.
Lisa’s lungs gave out, and she sucked in a breath. Instinctively she coughed it back out, wincing in pain. Then her body responded in sheer panic as she began thrashing about.
She was out of control, twisting and thrashing as she swallowed mouthful after mouthful of water. She gurgled as her lungs kept trying to inhale. She coughed, swallowed water, coughed and then sucked water down her windpipe.
She shifted and struggled involuntarily, convulsing in agony as she kept trying to cough water out of her lungs. She only succeeded in swallowing more water. Her nipples became quite hard from the cruelty the pool was enacting upon her body.
She spasmed hard, coughing up air and water. She jerked and convulsed, her mind screaming out from the agony she was enduring. This was far worse than any cruelty inflicted by those prison guards.
Lisa twisted and turned, her arms instinctively reaching toward the side of the pool. But there was nothing to grab onto. And still those bounty hunters did not make an appearance.
Her eyes opened in shock as she swallowed more water. Then she began hitching as convulsions originated in her stomach, rose up her windpipe and burst out of her mouth. Lisa could not believe how painful it was.
She lost her ability to remain on her knees as she slowly pitched forward. Her shackled arms pulled her down to the floor of the pool. A few stray bubbles escaped her flooded lungs.
A last convulsion sent air mixed with water out of her nose. Then she began to settle upon her shackled arms. The pain began to ease substantially.
A look of shock filled her features. Somewhere in the back of her mind came the realization the bounty hunters had deliberately left her in the pool to drown. Should she have been all that surprised?
Her life flashed before her eyes, culminating in the battle with the fence and the loss of her pants, the run through the open fields, taking refuge in a back yard… and then falling into the pool with no way of getting out under her own power.
She lay sprawled along the incline to the shallow end of the pool. Her eyes flickered as stray muscles fired. Her torn shirt slowly began to settle as what remained clung to her body.
There were stray spasms and muscle twitches. A minor tremor set free a small pocket of air held hostage. Bubbles slipped out of her mouth to scurry to the surface.
She had somehow fallen forward up the incline. She was so close to the shallow end. The stairs climbing out of the pool beckoned to her. But they were oh, so far away as a few strands of hair billowed and then began to settle.
Up at the surface they looked down in admiration. “Bitch had a fine ass,” the first one observed.
“I would have tapped it,” his companion remarked with a smile. “Damn shame.”
“What are we gonna do with her now?”
“What do you mean ‘what are we gonna do with her now’?”
“We’re not just going to leave her down there, are we?”
“I’m certainly not going in after her. That bitch caused enough trouble as it is.”
“You mean you’re going to make me go down there all by myself and fish her sorry, stupid ass out of there?”
“Don’t you remember? We lost her among the houses. The damned dog never picked up her trail. We never found her. At least that’s the way I’m reporting it.”
“So you’re sayin’…”
“I’m sayin some homeowner is going to find her down there in his pool and call the police. He’ll say she’s dead so they’ll call the morgue. She’s no longer any of our concern.
“We never saw her fall in, ok? We were never here. Let someone else fish her out.”
(written Dec 3 ’04; edited Jan 19 ‘18 by riwa)