Bring Out the GIMP (Girls in Merciless Peril)


By Eda Chang

Chapter 1

"But what about all the security right next door?"

"It's teeming with security, of course. Come on, Anya. It's the goddamn police headquarters." Mischa frowned. "But you're not going to the headquarters. You're going next door. The building's abandoned. There's no security there. We've driven by twice a week for a month. You've seen how to do it. The building's a square block. You can't see its south side from the headquarters. You'll be in and out in 20 minutes. And I'll do it myself if you won't."

Four of them sat in the basement of Mischa's apartment complex in Groszny. Mischa and Anya led this small cell of 15, having engaged in sabotaging Russian forces in the area now for three years. But only the four of them were there now. No reason ever to have members at a meeting who did not need to be there.

Anya had recruited Nadie shortly after she had joined. And Stasia -- the tall blonde completing the foursome -- only recently, after learning through an underground report that the KGB had captured, tortured and presumably killed Stasia's sister. Sadly, most of the members of the resistance had similar stories, since, by now, so many years into the rebellion, it was all too common a scenario for young Chechnyans.

"Mischa, you know you can't do it yourself. You're too large to move quickly through the ducts. Anya has to do it." Nadie looked at Anya. Anya knew that she was right. And was being kind. Anya herself doubted that Mischa could even fit into the ducts. No, it was Anya, the smallest and most agile of the group, who was the logical choice. Really the only choice.

The group had learned weeks ago that top Russian military officials were going to hold a meeting in the police headquarters to formulate their plan for breaking the resistance. In anticipation of an event of this kind, Mischa had, nearly six months ago, convinced a former police officer to join the cause. The officer supplied the group with the architectural drawings for the headquarters and adjoining building ... before he was discovered and never seen again. The meeting was now in two days. They had to act tomorrow night. It was their best chance of destroying a large part of the Russian organization against them.

"All right," Anya's response sent sighs of relief through the others, "but don't tell me there's no security. The goddamn building is connected to the police headquarters, remember? That's why we're doing this."

Chapter 2

Mischa couldn't help but smile as he returned Anya's glare, which quickly softened. She took a deep breath. "I enter on the south side. I go into the ducts on the second floor landing and crawl straight to the end, left to the third duct and then right to the end again. That will bring me to the wall of the meeting room. I push the explosives up against the grate, and set the timer for 11 a.m., which should be an hour into the meeting. You are sure we have enough?"

Mischa nodded. "Oh, I'm sure. 30 pounds. It's all that we have, but it's plenty. The walls of the building, especially on that side, are old and partially destroyed. The amount of explosives is not our worry."

No, thought Anya. Our worry is that we're practically marching into the Russians' headquarters. Rather, I'm marching in. "The plan is for Nadie to act as lookout inside the entrance on the first floor? And the explosives are sewn into my jacket?" Anya needed to get everything straight in her head. She really hadn't decided to go through with this until she heard herself say that she would. But Mischa was right. It was the best chance, even if the risk was great.

"Yes. And Stasia waits in the car." This was to be Stasia's first mission.

"I can drive and act as lookout both," Stasia offered. "You don't need to risk three of us. Anya and I can do it ourselves."

Mischa looked at Nadie. "She's right, you know."

"Then let me do it with Anya," Nadie countered. "I'm not a virgin in these things, like some others are." The group was cohesive, but there had been tension between Nadie and Stasia before. Nadie, it seemed, felt that Stasia's "enthusiasm" was jeopardizing Nadie's next-in-command position.

"Anya, it's your mission. Who do you want with you?" Mischa was not going to get in the middle of this.

Anya could feel the eyes of Stasia and Nadie boring through her. She thought it better for the mission that only two go, and, if so, she would prefer Nadie. But she thought it better for the group's future, and for the strained relationship between Nadie and Stasia, that all three go. Anya couldn't help but wonder if Nadie was jealous of the fact that her body could not rival Stasia's, but then Anya's thin frame couldn't rival Nadie's, and Anya had never felt any jealousy. Anya hoped that Nadie was beyond that. The cause couldn't stand such a petty rivalry. Maybe going through a dangerous mission together would help them end their rancor.

"Three go. 3:30 a.m. I want to go as late as we can, so that there is less chance for something to go wrong after I plant the explosives."

Chapter 3

Well, at least she had gotten enough sleep, which also meant that she was as relaxed as could be expected. She had done a dozen missions, but none quite this daring. Or important. Anya quickly dressed. All in black. Panties, pants, bra, shirt. Black soft shoes, well-worn, no squeaks. How cliched, she thought, dressing all in black. But it was a cliche because there was a reason for it. [see Anya pic]

She closed the door to her apartment softly behind her and silently moved down the stairs and out the back door. Stasia would have the car, and Nadie already with her, two blocks down the road. Anya hurried toward it, glancing at her watch, barely visible in the dark. 3:15 a.m. There was no one on the street.

The car was right where it was supposed to be. Anya got in the back, and, without a word, Stasia edged it forward slowly and quietly. Ten minutes or so to the target. Right as planned, Anya thought. She leaned forward and noticed that Stasia was wearing a yellow party dress, as they'd agreed. [see Stasia pic] If she were spotted while waiting for them -- three blocks away down a parallel street -- her story was that she had been returning home after a fight with her boyfriend, but realized that she was drunk and lost, so she had pulled over. Not the greatest story, but it would have to do. Shit, if Stasia were noticed, the whole mission was likely going to be in trouble, although, without telling Stasia, Nadie and Anya had a back up plan if the car wasn't there to pick them up.

"Move at 3:45. If we're not outside, keep going. We're on our own then." Anya knew that she didn't need to remind Stasia. Stasia, in fact, turned to her with a glare, but said nothing.

If Nadie was approached while she was waiting as lookout, her story would be far more difficult. Standing outside the doorway of an abandoned building at 3:30 in the morning. The best they could think of was to have her dress as a hooker. Tight black shorts, high boots, black halter top. [see Nadie pic] Fortunately, it was summer, so the poor girl wouldn't freeze. And she did look the role, Anya had to admit. In fact, she had to resist asking Nadie how much for an hour, but she knew Nadie was in no mood for that.

Besides, they were approaching the headquarters. On cue, Stasia and Nadie each rolled down her window. There was no sound inside the car for anyone outside to hear, but, if there were any sound outside, they wanted to hear it. Fortunately, they heard nothing.

Anya picked up the jacket on the floor. Thirty pounds was heavier than she remembered when she had tried it on before. A lot of weight for a woman who herself was only 100 pounds. But, fortunately, she was in shape. And she didn't have to carry it far.

Stasia stopped the car a block from the building and killed the lights. Anya and Nadie exited quietly. Anya thought for a second to tell Stasia again the time to pull the car up, then thought better of it. Without a word the two were off toward the building. A few minutes before 3:30 a.m. On schedule.

Chapter 4

Nadie entered the first floor hallway before Anya, then let her pass. She raised her fist to her comrade and watched as Anya headed down the hall to the staircase and then up to the second floor landing, where Nadie lost sight of her. It would be a nervous 15 minutes for sure. She hoped it would not be longer.

Anya easily opened the grate without needing to unscrew it. She took off the jacket and pushed it in ahead of her. This would slow her down some, but she wasn't going to risk catching it against the sides of the grate and having herself be the only victim of the plot. No, push and crawl. Push and crawl. To the end of the corridor. Then left. She could do this in her sleep, she knew.

The dust that she loosened while she pushed and crawled forced her to breath more deeply for air, which caused more dust to get into her lungs. This was a little harder than she had thought. But she had started a few minutes early, so she was sure that she still was on schedule. To the right now, and to the end. She could sense that she was getting close.

She could feel the jacket hit the grate at the end of the corridor and she knew that she had arrived. She inched herself and the jacket back a few feet, and, lying flat on her stomach, removed the explosives carefully from the jacket. Carefully, now that was a waste of time. If the explosives had made it this far being pushed dozens of yards down a maze of corridors, how careful did she need to be?

Anya climbed over the emptied jacket and placed the explosive against the grate to the meeting room, on both sides and in the center. With their black color, they were not visible inside the room.

She left the jacket, which had served its purpose, and pushed herself backward to the first turn, where she was able to turn herself around and crawl forward. To the right this time, and then down to the end. She was at the grate on the second floor landing before she realized it. Whatever one was doing, it always seemed shorter going back than coming, didn't it?

Anya pushed her legs out of the duct, stood up and replaced the grate, no more secure than when she first opened it. She dusted herself off, took a breath, and put her face inches from her watch to see the time in the darkness. 3:43. Absolutely perfect. In a few seconds she was at the front door, where Nadie, still looking like the hooker she was portraying, stood. Anya flashed her a thumbs up, then grabbed her arm. "Two minutes."

Chapter 5

Sure enough, exactly at 3:45, the car pulled up. Anya chided herself for having reminded Stasia that extra time before. No need for their back-up plan.

The car stopped in front of the entrance, and Anya and Nadie darted silently across the street. Well, Anya more silently than Nadie in her high boots, but it didn't matter. In a few seconds they would be off. Nadie moved to the front passenger side, Anya to the back driver's side, where each had sat on the drive in. Anya noticed that the car's windows were now up. Stasia had remembered to raise them when she drove up, since now it was going to be more important that they not be heard than that they hear anything.

When Anya reached for the door handle, she noticed that her door appeared locked. Stasia was supposed to unlock the doors when she pulled up. Well, a minor error. Anya wouldn't chide her for it.

"Stasia, the doors," she said softly. She glanced at the driver's side, and saw an arm reach to the door panel to unlock the doors. She heard it click and swung the door open.

As she did, though, she heard a voice behind her, a male voice. "Actually, we're not taking that car." As Anya turned, she felt a sharp pain in her neck. And her head began to spin. She felt hands on her elbows, but she had no strength to resist. She saw the car window roll down, and the woman sitting in the driver's seat ... was not Stasia. It was someone she did not recognize. She blinked hard to try to clear her head, and now felt whoever was holding her elbows begin to drag her back toward the building. She glanced to the side and saw two other men dragging a woman in the same fashion. Dragging Nadie. But what had happened to Stasia?

They were not dragged back to the building, Anya saw, but around it. To the side entrance of ... the police headquarters. Before reaching it, however, Anya's head slumped, the tranquilizer dart finally taking its full effect.

Chapter 6

When Anya came to, she had no idea how long she had been unconscious. What she did learn upon opening her eyes was that she had been brought to a small room -- she assumed it was somewhere in the police headquarters -- that was very modern. What appeared to be viewing monitors -- they were all turned off, so she could not be certain -- filled one entire wall of the room. The room was clean, but not sterile. The temperature was comfortable. But her situation, she could see, was not.

Anya's hands were tied behind her back to the opposite hand's elbows. She could feel a rope around her neck, and, when she looked up, she could see that it was formed into a noose whose other end was looped through a ring in the ceiling and then tied to a side wall. He ankles were forced shoulder width apart by chains that ran through rings in the side walls. She was facing the monitors and the rope around her neck prevented her from seeing anything behind her. Her blouse and bra had been removed, but she still wore her pants and shoes.

Thinking that she was alone in the room, Anya was startled to hear a male voice from behind her. "You can see that we are giving you special treatment, my dear explosives lady." Anya could not tell if it was the same voice she had heard outside the car. "Which you will realize as soon as you see how we are treating your two friends." Two friends, Anya thought. They have Stasia as well as Nadie. The owner of the voice now moved in front of her. Army uniform. A captain, Anya thought. He moved his hand under her chin and brought his face close to hers. "You almost caused me major embarrassment, you know." Anya stared back at him, saying nothing.

The Captain moved to a table by the corner of the wall and picked up a remote control. He walked back to Anya, and, standing to her side so as not to block her view, clicked a button. "Here is your driver," he offered, as all of the monitors lit up. All showed different views of the same, much less comfortable-looking room, just as the Captain had promised. A room that looked much more like a dungeon, with a stone floor and lighted torches along its stone walls. A room that was occupied by two people in the center and a half dozen or so more around the sides. Anya looked at the Captain, then back to the monitors that filled the wall, and screamed.

One of the persons in the center of the room was a completely naked Stasia, neither her yellow dress nor her underclothes anywhere in sight. Her ankles had been cuffed in chains about four feet apart and then her wrists had been cuffed to her ankles, forcing her to bend at the waist. Her body had then been lifted about three feet off the floor, leaving her in a perfect position for precisely what was happening to her now.

The other person in the middle of the room appeared to be a private, but since he was wearing only his army hat and open shirt, it was difficult to be sure. What was not difficult to see, however, was that the soldier had driven himself deeply into the spread Stasia, wrapping his arms around her back and buttocks, and thrusting himself in and out of her as he pushed and pulled her swinging body to and away from him. And, though screams of pain and screams of sexual ecstasy are sometimes hard to distinguish, Anya knew that, as wide as Stasia was, her screams were screams of pain.

Chapter 7

"She's down there, and you're up here for several reasons," the Captain explained. "First, she's had about an hour head start on you. We took her out of the car probably about the time you entered the building." So they knew ahead of time, Anya thought. But how?

"I won't keep you wondering, love. Motion sensors. We spotted the movement of your car as soon as you arrived." No way, Anya thought. You don't have the money even to patch up the building next to your own headquarters. You can't afford motion sensors. Or ... was this country so warped in its priorities?

The Captain continued. "Second, your driver has a very nice body, you must agree. And she's a natural blonde, did you know that?" Anya could continue to hear Stasia's screams. She glanced at the monitors. Another soldier had taken the place of the last one. Anya quickly turned her head to the side and down to look away.

"And third, she's not the one with the information we want, now, is she?" The Captain stared directly at Anya, looking for a sign that he was right. "She was just the driver, so she's probably new. You planted the explosives. You're the leader. You're the one with the information."

"So what we will do is start with her and your other friend. Let you watch. Let you realize that, unless you tell us what we want to know, your friends will both die, slowly and painfully. And then it will be your turn. So think about it. And, while you are, why don't we watch a little more?"

The Captain flicked a switch and spoke, obviously to someone in the room below ... well, Anya assumed it was below. "What number is this one?"

"Four," came the reply.

"Buzz me me after five. We'll see if she wants to talk then. If there's anything that she knows anyway, which I doubt." The Captain clicked off the conversation, then hit another button. The monitors flickered off for just a second, then back on. This time their focus was on a different room. "Let's leave your driver and move on to your lookout. What do you think of her situation?" The Captain walked up to Anya again, and this time began caressing her naked breast. "Less comfortable than your own?"

The monitors now showed a room not dissimilar to the first. In this one, however, there appeared to be only two people. Nadie, still wearing her halter top, black shorts and boots, had been chained in the middle of the room with her booted ankles around and over a long metal bar that ran horizontally about six feet above the floor. Her wrists were chained around and over the same bar, leaving her hanging face down from the bar.

It did not appear to Anya that, other than being chained in this backbreaking position, Nadie's punishment had otherwise begun. This, however, soon changed as she heard the Captain click on his microphone. "Our audience is ready for this one now." The other person in the room was a man naked from the waist up so that Anya could not tell if he was a soldier. He looked more like a classic executioner, she thought and shuddered.

"I'm betting this one knows nothing, either. What do you think?" Anya felt her muscles tense as she saw the executioner ... no she shouldn't refer to him that way ... approach the hanging Nadie with a wooden stick about three feet long and an inch in diameter.

Chapter 8

With a swift motion, the executioner swung the stick up, hard into Nadie's belly. Anya thought that she could hear at least one rib break. Nadie immediately exhaled in a loud gasp, then breathed in painfully to replace some of the air pushed out of her lungs by the blow. Before she could do so, however, he again struck her, this time on her right side, and then across her right thigh. Nadie screamed and then continued her struggle for air. But the executioner continued his assault, the hard wooden stick pounding into her thighs and buttocks and sides and stomach, a new blow every few seconds. Nadie's gasps turned to hysterical cries and shrieks for him to stop. It would have been better for her to concentrate on getting air, Anya thought, but she guessed that Nadie was no longer thinking straight, just reacting.

While the executioner walked to the near wall, giving Nadie a brief respite, the Captain spoke to Anya: "This is all up to you. You can end this for her. You know that." He pulled her head up by her hair and forced her to look into his eyes. "Are you ready yet? Or must we mutilate your friend's lovely body?"

"What do you want from me?" Anya asked, but she already knew the answer.

"Simple. The names and descriptions of the members of your cell. And the location of your meeting house. Two answers. That's all."

Even if Anya answered, she knew, her information probably would not save Nadie from her fate. Still, Anya tried to think what she might tell the Captain that seemed like useful information but would not lead to the capture of any of her cell's members.

The Captain was not pleased by Anya's hesitation. He walked behind her, out of her line of sight, and then quickly punched her in the kidney. As Anya opened her mouth to scream, the Captain inserted a piece of material deep into her throat -- Anya thought that it might have been her bra -- and secured it with tape across her mouth. "I guess we'll just have to wait a while more for your information," he hissed at her.

Anya realized that this meant that there was now nothing that she could do to stop the next phase of Nadie's torture.

Chapter 9

The executioner returned to Nadie, this time holding a long bamboo cane that he flexed, but only with difficulty. As before, he quickly flicked it hard into her stomach. Nadie's scream this time was louder than any brought on by the wooden cane.

Anya tried to shout through her gag, but could bring forth nothing but muffled and unintelligible protests. She pulled at her own bonds, which held firm.

"Oh, I forgot to point out to you that four nails have been pounded into the end of the cane, the sharp ends left jutting out about a half an inch each. Very painful, especially when he pulls it away. Sometimes the nails ... well, I'm sure you get the idea. But you're the one who didn't want to answer two simple questions."

Anya could see the executioner again approach Nadie, who was still screaming from the last blow. This blow hit her squarely across her breasts. Her bra provided little protection, tearing in several places. Anya could see the cane stick to the bra for a second, and then heard Nadie's screams rise to a horrifying level as the executioner pulled it away. Now Nadie's body was convulsing from head to toe.

The Captain pushed on his microphone. "Show our audience the result of your work."

The executioner put down the cane and walked to his victim. He pulled out a small knife, reached up and cut the shoulder and back straps of Nadie's bra. The bra started to fall off of her, but then stuck to her chest. The Captain explained: "The blood acts as an adhesive to keep the material from falling off the body. Watch when he pulls it off. More of her flesh will cling to the bra." The executioner grabbed the cups of Nadia's bra in his hands and pulled it off. Nadie again screamed, and Anya could now see the blood dripping to the floor under her. Nadie took in short shallow breaths of air, her eyes glazed and unfocused. Anya watched with open staring eyes, her stomach shaking from the horror of the scene.

"Do you wonder whether the same thing happens to other parts of the body?" The Captain pretended to ask his question innocently. "Why don't we see?"

The executioner now moved behind Nadie, standing just inside her chained ankles. Anya instantly began to try to scream through her gag, to break free of her bonds, to do anything to help her friend. But nothing was going to save Nadie from this even more horrible pain.

The executioner used the width of his body to separate Nadie's legs, then raised the bamboo cane, arched it as far as he could, and brought it down squarely between her thighs. Nadie's screams were now crazed and continuous, as he then pulled the can back away, tearing into her flesh. Anya could see the black shorts that she was wearing tear and slowly turn a maroon color. Then Nadie's body seemed to relax until she was hanging as far down as the chains allowed, her head slumped. Anya strained to see that she was still breathing. Mercifully, she was. Or maybe not so mercifully.

Chapter 10

The Captain flicked a switch on his control and the monitors went blank. He walked over to Anya and tore the tape from her mouth, then helped her spit out the gag. Anya could see that it indeed was her bra. She immediately began to scream at the Captain.

"You are a heathen. She didn't deserve that. She knows nothing, you know that. There is no reason for that. Prisoners of war have rights under the Geneva Convention."

The Captain couldn't stop himself from laughing, which infuriated Anya all the more. He walked to the side wall, released the rope holding her neck, then gave it a pull and attached it again. Anya immediately felt her body pulled upward by her neck and her legs stretched outward. She could feel herself begin to strangle and she started to kick, which only aggravated her situation.

"Don't worry, my dear. I will come to your rescue," the Captain's voice was flat and sarcastic. "It looks like you need something to be able to rest on to relieve the pressure on your throat. Oh, yes. I have just the thing."

The Captain moved behind Anya and, as she struggled, she could hear a rolling sound, then felt something jab into her buttocks. The Captain moved again in front of her and lifted her up, relieving the pressure around her throat, and then back the few inches that her bonds allowed. She didn't have to look to know what he was doing. When he released her, her body remained high enough to stop her choking, but now she screamed for a quite different reason. The sharp edge of the wooden horse on which her body now rested jabbed directly between her legs. And, when the Captain moved behind her once again, and then pushed the horse forward so that her body was forced from the front edge of the horse to its middle, Anya felt that she was being cut in two. Her screams now rivaled those emitted by her two friends just a few minutes earlier.

Chapter 11

"There. Are you comfortable now?" Anya could see that the Captain was now holding a short single tail whip. "I want you to be comfortable so that you can answer my questions. Do you remember them?"

The Captain's arrogance and condescension was annoying Anya now, though not nearly as much as the pain between her legs. "What kind of man gets off torturing women like this?"

The Captain smiled, raised his whip, and brought it firmly across Anya's stomach. Now she felt that she was being torn two ways, but she bit her lip hard and did not scream again. "Not women, my dear. Traitors. Heathens. Scum." His next blow crossed her breasts, and as Anya arched forward to try to ease the pain, she felt the rope around her neck tighten, and she realized how little movement was available to her.

"The location of your meeting place and the names of your members, that's all. I'm sure you know the answers to these simple questions." This time the Captain brought the whip straight down against her left thigh. Without hesitating, he raised it again, and this time it found its mark across her arms criss-crossing her back. With each blow, Anya's body was forced to shift its position on the horse, and she knew that, if she had been able to look down, which she could not because of the rope around her neck, she would see that the color of her black panties now matched the maroon color of Nadie's once black bra and shorts.

"It is only a matter of time, my dear, so why not cooperate? Just a matter of a little time for you. And less for your friends. Would you care to see them again? But I warn you, if I am forced to turn the monitor back on, it will not end kindly for them."

Anya stared straight ahead, giving no sign to the Captain of the fact that, recognizing the helplessness of her situation, she was seriously thinking of answering his questions. After all, the only one who lived anywhere near their meeting place was Mischa, and it was Mischa who had gotten them into this situation to start, with his crazy idea to take such an extraordinary risk. Of course, it had been she who had decided that three of them, not two, would conduct the mission. So it was she who was directly responsible for Stasia's plight.

But no. She could not talk yet. She needed to give Mischa more time to realize that the plan had failed and that he needed to get out of his apartment building. Surely he would know this by 7 a.m., when the two of them had been scheduled to pass each other outside the mall, just so that he could see that she had succeeded. But what time was it now? Anya had lost all track of time. It didn't feel like it had been long enough. But she had no idea for how long she had been unconscious.

She had to hope that the Captain would not be so quick to remove two of this three sources of information. That he could not be so sure that she was the only one with information. He was right about Stasia not knowing anything, but he was wrong about Nadie.

Chapter 12

"I'm afraid you're time is up. I guess you have made your decision for your friends." The Captain spoke in such a dry emotionless tone that Anya feared that he may actually be telling her the truth. But as likely he was just toying with her. She would soon find out, she imagined.

The Captain flicked the switch on his remote and the monitors again glowed, this time back on Stasia's room. Anya could see that Stasia had remained in the same position for the entire time, and her body was now bathed in sweat from the cramping of her muscles and strain on her back and legs and arms.

"Our audience has asked that you continue," the Captain uttered into his microphone. A man entered the picture and walked to the far wall. From his uniform, he appeared to be a corporal. A corporal to inflict corporal punishment. How appropriate, Anya thought.

When the corporal moved back toward Stasia, he was wheeling a brazier from which extended three irons. All three appeared to glow red. Two appeared shorter than the third. All had black handles. Anya immediately realized that the Captain had not been lying to her.

Anya screamed at him. "This is even more barbaric. You are insane. You are the devil!!"

The Captain remained calm. "Oh? I did nothing more than tell you the truth. Either you answered my questions or your friends would die a painful death. I cannot be the devil. The devil does not keep his word."

All the while the Captain's eyes stared at the largest monitor in the center of the wall, and Anya forced her eyes back to it. The corporal had turned Stasia so that she faced the back wall, her back and the backside of her head to the camera, the rest of her arched away from it. Her legs extended beyond the width of her back, and appeared spread wider than they had been earlier.

"Miss Driver," the Captain addressed Stasia, whose body made no motion in response. "I will spare you the great pain that you are about to suffer if you tell me the names of the others in your group."

Now Stasia appeared to raise her head slightly. "Go fuck yourself, whoever you are," she immediately yelled back at him. "I won't tell you anything. You and your motherfuckers killed my sister and I'll never cooperate with you. So just go screw yourself."

The Captain glanced at Anya, whose eyes remained fixed on the monitor, marveling at Stasia's courage. Poor Stasia. Poor brave Stasia.

"Actually, Miss Driver," the Captain's voice remained calm. "It is you who are about to be screwed one final time. By the hottest lover you've probably ever had." The Captain then directed his comments to the corporal. "She knows nothing. Proceed," and he clicked off the microphone.

Chapter 13

"Perhaps you'll reconsider when it's your second friend's turn. Well, given your attitude as to this first one, I guess she would hardly consider you a friend." The Captain turned back to the large monitor, careful not to block Anya's view.

The sight of Stasia's torment temporarily took Anya's mind off of her own. The corporal had pulled out one of the shorter irons that looked to be about 8 inches. Although it was hard to see on the monitor, it appeared to burn red, and he was careful to keep his grip on the handle. He walked slowly in front of Stasia so that much of him was blocked from Anya's view. But she certainly could see Stasia lift her head and begin to shake it violently back and forth, and heard her shout at him in a panicked voice, "You don't have to do this. You don't have to listen to him. Join us. Resist the tyranny!!"

She had barely got the last word out, when Anya could see the corporal's hand make a jabbing motion toward Stasia, and her shouts of defiance immediately turned to screams of absolute pain. Her body was pushed back by an act that Anya did not believe that one human could do to another. But then, these Russians were hardly human. Stasia's screams continued for as long as breath remained in her lungs, and then she began to struggle to fill them with more air, just so she could scream some more. At the same time Stasia was trying desperately to pull her wrists and ankles from their chains, all of her muscles tense and straining.

"Flesh is not as strong as steel, as you can see," the Captain's voice, incredibly, remained emotionless. Had he witnessed so much of this brutal activity that it no longer phased him even in the slightest? "She would choose now to cut off her chained hands and feet if it meant that she could escape the pain."

Anya could hear that, in just a matter of a minute or two, Stasia's voice had grown hoarse and raspy, her screams themselves now coarse and painful. But the corporal gave her no time to recover. While she still was screaming, he picked up the second of the shorter irons. She wondered if the corporal was displaying for her the talent that had given him his promotion.

Anya looked toward the Captain and screamed, hers now far more powerful than anything that Stasia could muster. The Captain turned briefly toward Anya, and made a "hush" gesture with his finger, then turned back to the monitor.

Chapter 14

Again the corporal moved behind Stasia. Again Anya could make out a quick movement of his arm. And again Stasia screamed, if what was emitted from her throat could any longer be considered a scream. Rather, a long painful gurgling grunt. And her entire body was convulsing, as she lost the strength even to make the hopeless attempt to free her flesh from its chains.

The corporal paid no attention to her gurgling or her convulsions or her pain. He simply went about doing the job that he had been instructed to do. He moved back to the brazier to pick up the third iron. This one was longer, about 14 to 16 inches. And, rather than move a third time in front of Stasia and out of Anya's view, this time he remained standing at her side. While Anya still could not see anything but Stasia's backside, she now could see the corporal clearly.

He raised the iron and held it across the front of Stasia's body, a few inches away from her. Anya see both sides of the iron, although its center was blocked by Stasia' body. When he jerked his arm toward her, Anya could see that the level was just under her breasts, across her entire body. There was no way any more to describe the sounds emerging from Stasia's mouth.

Anya could see the corporal raise his arm, apparently rolling the iron up and over Stasia's breasts, and then back down again, before he turned and put it back in the brazier. As he did, Stasia's body suddenly relaxed. And her ravings stopped. Although she continued to spasm, it seemed to Anya that all of her movements were now involuntary.

The corporal moved back to Stasia, and unchained her wrists from the chains holding her ankles. He then let her body drop, so that she was now hanging naked by her ankles, her fingers barely touching the ground, her body facing the monitor. Deep purple marks crossed her chest, covering nearly all of her breasts. The corporal stood next to her facing the monitor, as if displaying to the Captain a large fish that he had just hooked, apparently proud of his handiwork. Maybe he expected another promotion. The only movements below were the convulsions from Stasia's inverted body.

And, as Anya had feared, she could now see one of the two irons. Well, not the iron actually. Just its black handle, which was sticking out from between Stasia's legs. Anya closed her eyes at the sight, and at the obviousness of where the second iron now was.

Anya could not tell if Stasia was dead or alive. She hoped that she was not alive. Mercifully, the Captain flicked off the monitor.

The pain between Anya's own legs now suddenly increased as her focus began to shift from Stasia's plight, which now seemed ended, back to her own.

"Heartless. You are a cold, heartless woman, my dear," the Captain began, strangely using words not dissimilar to those that Anya would have chosen for him. "You let your friend die when all you had to do was answer two simple questions. Will you let your other friend die as well?"

Chapter 15

Anya tried to shift her weight slowly to ease some of the pressure between her legs, as the monitor once again flicked on. Anya could see that Nadie had been released from the bar from which she had last been hanging, and was lying, face down on the floor, apparently unconscious, wearing only her boots. The executioner grabbed her wrists and began dragging her across the room. Anya could see that they were headed toward an x-frame against the far wall. The camera panned to follow their movements.

"Will you be kinder to her?" The Captain leered at Anya. "Or do you treat all your friends the same way?"

On the monitor, the executioner had lifted Nadie and turned her back to the frame. As he began to secure her limbs to its ends, Anya could see that the wounds that her breasts had suffered earlier from the whip were indeed deep and ugly, and it also appeared that, even as Nadie came to, she could not stand on her own.

When Nadie was finally secured to the frame, the executioner blindfolded her with a black strip of cloth that he tied behind her head. Anya could see that Nadie was trembling, probably still from the beating she had suffered.

"Ask her once," came the Captain's command. The executioner. "I want the location of your meeting place and the names of your group's members."

Anya was surprised at Nadie's response. The beating had apparently broken her sooner than Anya would have expected. "And ... if I tell you ... will you ... let me go?"

The Captain responded. "What I can tell you is that, if you do not tell me, then the beating that you just received will be mild compared with what will be done to you next. Why don't you start with the names of your traitorous accomplices who tried to bomb the headquarters tonight. They are both dead, but we have their names, and I would like to see if you are really going to tell me the truth before I waste a lot of time on you."

Nadie's head had risen slightly upon being told that her friends were dead. "Dead? How?"

"They didn't talk. So we increased their incentive and, as sometimes happens, the incentive gets much too severe and ..." The Captain's voice trailed off. "... that is what will happen to you if you make the same choice."

"All right," Nadie said softly. "The driver's name is ... was ... Stasia. I don't know her last name. And the third woman ... was ... Anya. I don't know her last name either."

The Captain covered the microphone with his hand, and then looked at Anya. "So I now can call you Anya, my dear. A pretty name." He then turned his attention back to Nadie.

"Afraid that is not much information, now, is it?" Nadie cringed visibly at the Captain's response to her truthful responses. "So let my friend there with you tell you what's going to happen to you if you aren't more forthcoming."

"But I told you what you asked. What I know." Nadie's voice had suddenly regained some of its power. Fear has a tendency to do that.

"I am going to begin to cut off pieces of your body, starting with your nipples and then other areas." The executioner indicated by reaching his hand between her legs. Nadie screamed and shook her head. "And then move on to your breasts and your fingers and ...."

Nadie was now shrieking hysterically, pulling her wrists and ankles as hard as she could, but succeeding only in shaking the frame a few inches. "Shall we begin?" The executioner appeared eager to start.

The Captain looked at Anya, who had started to sob. "We don't care if she tells us or you do, but the time to tell us is now."

Anya stopped sobbing while Nadie remained screaming. "Will you show mercy on her if I do?"

"But of course. I'm not a savage, you know. I only do what's necessary to get the information. You don't really think that this is fun for me, do you ... Anya?"

Chapter 16

"All right." Anya had made up her mind. The only one about whom she knew enough information that the Russians might be able to locate was Mischa, and she was not going to watch Nadie die as horribly as she had watched Stasia die to save him.

Below, the executioner had approached the blindfolded Nadie with a long thin knife. Nadie sensed his presence. Her chest ... her mutilated chest ... heaved deeply as she waited to meet her threatened fate. When the executioner pinched her left nipple with his fingers, she screamed, but the Captain flicked on his microphone. "Our audience has decided to speak with me. So give us a few minutes." Nadie sagged noticeably in relief. The executioner turned and moved away, placing the knife back on the table against the wall. He didn't seem surprised, though he did seem disappointed.

"271 Esenin. The basement room. Northwest corner of the building. But ... when we don't return by the appointed time ..." There. Anya had told him. And told him truthfully.

"Oh, I understand. Your comrades will know you were captured and move. But it is a start. Describe the building. And the room."

Anya couldn't help but laugh. All of the apartment buildings looked exactly the same. Concrete in color except for a splash of color between the windows on the side facing the street. "Yellow" was all she needed say about the building. Mischa's apartment had a splash of yellow. "About 10 by 15 feet. With a window across the upper part of the north wall." Again, all the truth, since she was sure that the Captain would check out the information before showing either her or Nadie the slightest mercy ... if he did at all.

"And the names?" Anya glanced at the monitor and saw the executioner working at arranging something behind a small curtain about eight feet away from Nadie.

Now Anya worried, and knew that her own breathing matched Nadie's. "She .... was telling the truth. You know that. We only use first names ... so that none of us can betray the whole group ... either by treachery ... or capture. You must know that."

The Captain stared expressionlessly at her. Although he certainly did assume that this was the only way that any such group could operate, he wanted to give her a chance to betray herself if she was not telling him the truth. He also assumed that the first names that they used probably weren't their real names, either. But that didn't really concern him. "Just tell me what you know." That was all he could ever get out of her. What she knew.

Anya again glanced quickly at the monitor, which was focused on an empty chair. Soon the executioner sat in the chair, holding some sort of wireless control. He seemed patient. No, bored. Nadie was out of the picture. Anya looked back at the Captain, praying that he would keep his word. And perhaps he might. She had heard no screams coming from below ...

"I'm telling you the truth, you know. And you promised not to torture her anymore if I did."

"I gave you my word, didn't I? And I keep my word, even to traitors like the two of you. The names?"

"Mischa. He lives in the building. Surana. Maria. Boris. Anna. Two Borises actually. Stasia, as you know. And she," indicating toward the monitor, "is Nadie." Nothing but the truth. "There are about three more whose names I don't know."

The Captain had been counting silently. Nine in all, counting Anya. Within the range of how many a resistance cell might have. And she probably wouldn't know all the names. Next he moved to a description of each person she had named -- age, height, weight, hair color, build. A resigned Anya continued to answer his questions.

Every once in a while, when her response seemed a bit slow, the Captain nodded and mysteriously ... well, mysteriously to Anya, who could not turn to see behind her ... the horse on which she was riding reduced its angle, forcing her legs closer together and pushing the wooden edge deeper into her. At the same time the entire horse rose several inches. By the time she finished her descriptions, Anya's legs were dangling at the sides of the horse nearly four feet off the ground. All the while she glanced at the monitor to be sure that nothing was happening to Nadie. The entire time the executioner remained in his chair.

Finally satisfied that he had obtained from Anya all the information that she had -- having gone back and tested her repeatedly on the names and descriptions to make sure of consistency and truth -- the Captain snapped on the intercom. "You heard her. Radio the closest unit. Bring back anyone who lives in the apartment named Mischa. Or who looks like a Mischa. Or who fits any of the descriptions that she has given and is acting in any way suspicious. Or is not acting suspicious, which is suspicious in itself."

Anya cringed to think what she had just started, how many people would suffer because she did not want to see Nadie tortured and had taken this sadist's word that she would not be if Anya talked. How many innocent people would be tortured to save one from that same fate that these others would now suffer? Anya immediately regretted her decision. Nadie's fate, and her own, should not have influenced her. She cursed her weakness.

Chapter 17

After a long pause, the Captain turned on the microphone. "Our audience has provided some interesting and detailed information," the Captain began, "in return for which I agreed to show Nadie ... that is the name of your subject ... mercy." The monitor panned over to Nadie, whose head lifted at the sound of the words, and then the monitor moved back to the executioner.

"So I order you to show her mercy," the Captain flicked off the microphone. The executioner nodded, lifted the control that he was holding, and pushed the button on it. The picture on the monitor shook briefly as Anya heard a swishing sound, then a loud grunt - was that Nadie? -- and then silence. The executioner did not move from his chair.

"So you see, my dear Anya. I keep my word." Anya looked quizzically at him.

The Captain nodded toward the monitor, which began slowly to pan from the executioner to the x-frame holding Nadie. Anya shrieked as soon as the figure of Nadie came into view. "You lied. You said you'd keep your word. You lied!!"

Embedded into Nadie were four arrows, apparently released when the executioner pressed his button. One in each breast. One on each side of her navel. It was their sudden movement across the monitor that it made it appear to shake. The arrows had penetrated through her body with such force that all four of the tips had exited the other side of her body and embedded in the wood frame on which her body hung. Her head was slumped between the two arrows in her chest. More of Nadie's body was now covered in her blood than was not. There was no doubt that Nadie was dead.

"Is that how you reward my honor?" The Captain's apparent anger, after he had remained so passionless through the most heinous of tortures that he had allowed, frightened Anya. "With false allegations. This woman, your friend Nadie, was shown the mercy that I promised. Did she die a quick death? Yes. Did she die as brutally as your first friend? No. Because I kept my word."

"In fact," the Captain's irritation eased and he forced a smile, "as they used to say in the old American westerns, 'she died with her boots on.'" Now his smile turned into a laugh. "Although, I must admit, unlike most who died that way, she died with only her boots on."

As the Captain finished speaking, Anya saw the door to the room open, and the executioner enter. His look of boredom that she had seen on the monitor was now replaced with an evil smile. And he was holding his knife.

Chapter 18

"So now, Miss Anya, we are left with you. You have told us everything that you know. Correct?"

"Yes," Anya stammered in response. She didn't want to be tortured for more information, information that she did not have.

"And, in return for that information, I promised your friend Nadie mercy and gave her mercy, correct?"

Anya hesitated, but then meekly uttered "yes," again not feeling it wise to argue the point under her present circumstances.

"But, my dear Anya, at no time did your ever ask for mercy for yourself or did I ever promise you mercy. Correct?" The Captain and the executioner had both now moved close to Anya, one on each side of the raised horse cutting through her body, and waited for her acknowledgment that this was indeed the fact.

Anya knew that the Captain was correct. She had never asked for mercy for herself. She closed her eyes and lowered her head. "Correct," she answered.

"So it would only be fair to let my friend here do to you what I stopped him from doing to Nadie. Correct?"

Anya raised her head and looked at the Captain, to see if he really was saying what she thought he was saying, that he was going to let the executioner cut off pieces of her body, beginning with those most sensitive. The Captain returned her stare. That is exactly what he was saying.

"No. Please. I told you all I know. Mercy. I deserve mercy. Please!!" With her arms chained behind her back, her neck noosed and her legs spread around the horse, there were not even any bonds on which Anya could pull to try to escape her hopeless situation.

"But I already paid you back for your information. I already gave you what you asked for. Mercy for your friend. You can't now ask for more from me for that same information that you have already given."

Anya was now sobbing hysterically at the thought of what the Captain appeared to have planned for her. A fate far worse than that suffered by Nadie. Or even Stasia. And she knew that the Captain and the executioner were both quite capable of doing it to her.

"Please. What can I do for you? Anything that you want. Please." The rantings shook her body, which would have increased the pain from the horse, but Anya was so focused on her fear of the executioner's knife that she ignored it to continue her pleas.

"Why should I show mercy to one who just a minute ago told me that I was a liar and a barbarian, that I was inhuman or something equally horrible? Do you really think those things of me?" The Captain was too obviously enjoying her terror.

He continued. "You mean you do not think of me as I do. As a thoughtful and honest man doing only what is necessary for his country?" The Captain had moved his left hand across Anya's breasts and stomach as he spoke, knowing that she would not dare try to pull away from his caresses.

Anya pleaded. "Mercy. Yes. You are kind. You only do for your country. Honest. Your word." Anya was losing the ability to keep her thought processes coherent, just spouting words that she thought the Captain wanted to here. The executioner stared at the Captain, obviously tired of Anya's wailing, impatient for the orders that he expected to receive.

The Captain, however, knew that he would soon have many more subjects to question, based on the information that Anya had provided him. The executioner would have plenty of opportunities to use his knife.

"Lower the horse. Quickly." The executioner moved behind Anya, out of her sight, to obey the Captain's order. Anya couldn't believe that this horrible man ... who had so brutally tortured and killed Stasia and Nadie ... was actually going to remove her from the horse and show her mercy. She stopped sobbing.

In her dazed and pained mind, however, she had forgotten the mercy that the Captain had shown Nadie. As soon as she heard the flick of a switch behind her, and felt the horse lower under her, she realized that the Captain had only one definition of the word.

As the legs of the horse quickly spread until they rested flat against the floor, Anya's body too suddenly dropped. But Anya was restrained by the noose around her neck. Instead of dropping all the way to the floor, her body dropped only until the rope tightened and stopped her fall. With her feet still a foot above the floor, her wrists still chained behind her back, as they had been for the entire ordeal, Anya's body dropped until it hung naked except for her blood-stained panties, her neck quickly broken. She too had been shown the Captain's kind of mercy after all.

The executioner moved to the still swinging body, and, reaching to its hips, pulled the panties off, putting them into his pocket. A souvenir for his collection. "Captain, if I may, you are getting soft in your old age."

"I have to go downstairs. Call your men to clean this up. And the one downstairs."

The Captain exited the room and headed down a long hallway. He was joined as he walked by the corporal, who pointed to the room that he knew the Captain was looking for. All three entered.

Chapter 19

Inside the small room was a blonde woman wearing a white robe, seated on a table, her head in her hands. Near her stood a doctor. She did not look up when the men entered. "Have you examined her?" The Captain asked the doctor.

"Yes. She is fine. The two retractable irons went into their sheaths soon enough and deep enough to cause nothing but very minor burns to those areas."

"See. I told you that I could do it," the corporal was obviously pleased.

The woman suddenly looked up at the Captain. "Yes. He retracted those. But what about these?" She tore open her robe, under which she wore nothing, revealing a burned and bruised chest. "Do you think this is ever going to heal properly? This wasn't what was supposed to happen. Look what you did to me," she screamed at the corporal.

"Shut up, lieutenant," the Captain was not in the mood for this from his own soldier. "You had a job to do and you did it well. Without your help we would not have learned of the plot. Motion sensors? I wonder if they believed that? But you knew, after capture, that we had to make a convincing case to get the other two to talk." The Captain realized that he had been too harsh on the lieutenant. She had done fine work for him.

"You knew that you would be required to make sacrifices. And you did," he continued. "Do you think that they would have talked if we'd treated you politely? If your hanging body had no marks on it? Would you give your life for your cause, Miss ... what name were you using again?"

"Stasia," the lieutenant replied. She knew that there was only one way to answer the Captain's question. "Of course I would give my life for my country, as would any loyal soldier."

"And you have not yet been asked to give up your life, just to suffer some bruises. Will I hear any more complaints from you?"

"No, sir," the lieutenant offered.

"Now. There is of course more work that you will do for us. It appears that your group believed your story about us torturing and killing your sister. And now it will seem that you have come close to paying the extreme sacrifice for their cause. Being beaten to within an inch of your life by the military tyrants."

"So we are going to take you back to the apartment and deposit you in the first floor hallway. The people there will all by then have heard about our raid earlier in the day on the resistance. Someone there --likely a resistance member that was not discovered during the raid -- will certainly take in a fellow resistance fighter who has suffered as you have at the hands of the military. Which is another reason why it is necessary for you to have suffered serious and fresh injuries. Do you now understand?"

During the Captain's speech, the executioner had quietly entered the room.

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Now stand up and remove your robe.

The lieutenant, moving slowly, obeyed. The Captain took the robe and moved toward the door with the doctor.

"Lieutenant, you know that this is necessary, do you not? The resistance will only be convinced if your injuries are serious enough."

"Yes, sir." The lieutenant rubbed her hands across her chest gingerly, wincing from her injuries, wondering if she would ever feel whole again.

"Good. I wish you success in your mission." The Captain and doctor left the room.

As soon as the door closed, the corporal immediately moved behind the lieutenant and grabbed her elbows, as the executioner punched her hard in the stomach. She let out a loud grunt, and would have doubled over and fallen had the corporal not held her up to allow the executioner to hit her repeatedly in the stomach and kidneys. Finally, he let her drop to the floor, where the executioner kicked her sides and thighs. And then once hard between her legs.

When the men rolled the moaning and nearly unconscious lieutenant onto her back, her body from hips to shoulders was bruised and battered in various shades of purple, blue and red. The executioner reached down and lifted the lieutenant to her feet, while the corporal placed a blanket on the table. The executioner placed her body down on it, and then rolled the blanket around her. He slung the lieutenant-filled blanket over his shoulder, and the two men headed out of the room to deliver the poor, brave Stasia back to the resistance.

Stasia still had more work to do.


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