I arrive first for the 10 a.m. meeting that Roberto Mendez has called of the inner circle to discuss a "development" in the war against Diego Carranza's rival drug cartel, a war that, of late, Roberto has been losing badly. I straighten the slip under my business suit. Dressing like this makes me feel smart. And powerful. Gray skirt and jacket. Black heels. White shirt. Very conservative. Except for the frilly white bra with the front clasp and the matching white panties. My way of reminding myself that I'm a woman in a man's world.
The way Roberto's son, Carlos, spit out his notice to me of this meeting did nothing to dispel what I have known for a long time: Carlos hates me. Not because I'm the only woman in the inner circle, which I am. No. Because I'm younger than both he and his brother Miguel? No. Because I'm the woman for whom his father abandoned his mother. Which is why I'm in the inner circle.
The brothers also suspect that I arranged the death of their mother 18 months ago. Everyone else blames Carranza. The brothers are correct that Carranza had nothing to do with it. But I didn't arrange it, either. Roberto did. Guess he just got tired of her after he had me.
I doubt that either brother, and certainly not Roberto himself, knows how tired I've gotten of Roberto. Sure, at first I loved being close to such a powerful man who could provide me with anything I desired. Well, almost anything. Who was it who first said that "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac"? It may be. But it does not always have a long-lasting effect. Not when your powerful partner is 30 years older than you are and wouldn't know how to turn you on if you had a light switch between your thighs.
Roberto's shortcomings (and that is the right word) in the art of lovemaking, in fact, are the main reason he is now losing his war against the much younger and more dynamic Carranza. Because unknown to anyone else in the Mendez organization, Carranza has had inside help for about a year. From me. Why not? Carranza has as much power as Roberto. Maybe even more now, with my help. And Carranza can satisfy me. He shares the orgasms he provides, while, Roberto, well, Roberto seems never to have met an orgasm that he didn't take for himself. So I guess you could say that Carranza and I have each been giving the other inside help.
But it's not just the boredom of Roberto's lovemaking that has gotten to me. It's also his arrogance. He actually fancies himself a good lover. A few months ago, for example, he bought me a matching pair of fire-red panties and bra. He told me that my wearing them would arouse us both to even greater passion. Just what I need. Roberto getting excited even faster than he usually does. Then he told me that he had wanted to embroider my name on the panties -- Alessandra. Geez. I'd have to be size 18 for that to fit. So he had to settle for just putting on the first four letters. Then, when I wore them, he joked that, before I met him, I must have preferred women to men -- I was, after all, "A les" -- but his passion awakened my true desire for men. Even worse, he repeated his little joke to his sons. I haven't worn those panties in a while. And that's just one example. So who can blame me for turning to Diego.
Unfortunately, my encounters with my beloved Diego are very limited for obvious reasons. It is difficult, dangerous, to leave Roberto for more than a few hours at a time. I wish Diego were as frustrated by this as I am, but I doubt that he is. In fact, I can't be sure if his interest in me is because he really loves me or because the information I provide him about the Mendez operations is so valuable. Maybe he's just using me the way I'm using Roberto. But it doesn't matter. My mind -- or maybe my body -- won't let it matter. I'll take whatever he will give me. Maybe someday I'll get more.
Still, I go crazy when I think that, for his sake, I have to spend most nights with the paunchy Roberto, while Diego spends his nights with that dark-haired bitch. I saw her just that one time. Just for a second. They were saying goodbye by the front door of the main house when I entered quietly through the back. I don't think she even saw me. She was too busy pressing her big tits into his chest, her arms draped around his neck. Worse, he was enjoying it.
Mutt and Jeff enter the meeting room. No, those aren't their real names. Their names should be Mutt and Mutt, or Jeff and Jeff, whichever one it is that does nothing more than suck up to the boss. Carlos and Miguel aren't afraid to disagree with Roberto, sometimes violently. I guess they figure that he will never harm his own sons. Mutt and Jeff aren't so sure this applies to their relationship with Roberto.
Mutt, I know, has a wife and daughter I've seen around a few times ... what's the daughter's name? Katrina, that's it. Pretty. Just a few years younger than me. I guess he knows that he's in a dangerous occupation and doesn't want to take more chances with his "health" than he already has to. Jeff's personal life I don't know about. And, of course, if the sons knew that it was Roberto who had had their mother killed, they might not feel so secure, either.
Roberto and his sons arrive. Roberto sits next to me. There is no kiss, no hug. Thankfully. He's all business at these meetings, and the final decisions are all his. "There's been a development with Carranza," Roberto begins. Of late, all meetings start this way. And the development is usually bad news for the Mendezes. "Miguel, you explain." Miguel focuses his attention on Mutt and Jeff, since Roberto already knows, Miguel has has probably also told Carlos, and he never focuses his attention on me, except to disagree about something.
"About a week ago we began 24-hour surveillance on Carranza's compound." I startle for a second, but all eyes are on Miguel. I had been unaware of this. A week ago? Had I been there this week? No, I was last there two weeks ago. I breath a silent sigh. Anyway, if I'd have been there this week, I wouldn't now be here in the meeting room. I'd be "downstairs." But I may have to figure out another way to see Diego.
"We wanted to learn his activities, who comes and goes from the compound, any patterns ..." I've told Diego that the Mendezes are smart not to operate our of a residential compound like he does just for this reason, but he won't listen. The Mendezes operate out of an 18-story high-rise right in the middle of Medina. The building's a front for their "export/import" business -- isn't that the supposed business of all drug dealers? They use it, of course, to wash the drug money. The "business" takes up the lowest 15 floors of the building and the lowest four levels of underground parking. The real business, the drug business, uses just the top three floors, with the living quarters for about 14 of us on the top floor. We also have the only access to the lowest parking level. And to the one level below that, the "downstairs." Moving in and out of an underground parking structure is much safer than out of a residential compound.
"We didn't learn much. Carranza does not keep any sort of regular schedule." Great. This is what drug money buys these days? That drug lords don't keep regular hours? How long would they last if they did?
"We learned, though, that he has a very active sex life, with many different partners." What? What did I just hear? "Here are some photos of the women that came to the compound this week." Miguel hands several photos to Mutt, who glances at each and then passes them on to Jeff.
"Each is chauffeured by a Carranza limo to the compound early in the evening, and then chauffeured out the next morning. Each was there only one night during the week. Except for one who was there three nights. You will see her in several of the photos.
The photos begin to reach me. The first is a thin blond. Standing at the front door. Kissing Diego. How careless of him to be so open that way. Arrogance. They're all arrogant. The second woman is dark haired. Also thin. Also kissing Diego at the door.
The third, though, also dark-haired, is much more shapely. Small waist. Large breasts. Draped around Diego, I can't tell if it's the same woman I saw him with that time. But there are three photos of her. It must be.
Naturally, we focused on the one who was there three times." Naturally. You're a man. Take a look at her body. Of course you focused on her. "When she left yesterday morning, we followed her. She was dropped off at an apartment building about a dozen blocks from here.
"We kept surveillance on her. After she went out in the afternoon, we questioned others in the complex. Told them we were doing a routine background check on a job that she had applied for. 'Damn, I can't make out the name, ma'am, but it's the woman in Unit 4.' 'Oh, you mean Nola Nieves.' That easy." So that's her name. I take another look at one of the photos. [see Nola pic] That damn big-titted bitch. With my Diego every other night, and I only get him once or twice a month.
"We learned that this Nola is a party girl. Sleeps most of each day and parties most of each night. Anyway, she got back about four in the morning. Took us maybe 15 seconds to get her into the back of the van. She was drunk enough that I don't think she even knew what was happening. She's downstairs now." They have Nola downstairs. Now this suddenly has some interesting possibilities.
Mutt is not pleased. Though he and Jeff are afraid to argue with Roberto, they have no qualms voicing displeasure at Carlos and Miguel. "You're absolutely crazy, Miguel. This is just a party girl who Carranza fucks three or four times a week. She won't know anything of any use to us. She probably sees the car, his bed and then the car again."
Jeff adds: "Worse. If she's there three or four times a week, he's going to miss her real soon. Maybe even tonight. And he'll learn that we've been snooping around her apartment asking questions. He's going to come after us, especially if anything happens to her. And what do we get in return by having her? Nada."
They're right. Normally I would support them. But this is Nola, my chief rival for Diego's love. "You both miss the point. Miguel did right." Miguel is surprised at my support. "Carranza has been destroying us lately. He stole that shipment a month ago. He murdered four of our men two weeks ago." I don't mention that he knew where to steal and murder because he had inside information ... from me.
"And what have we done to repay him? We've turned the other cheek and acted like we're saints. The more we show we're afraid of him, the less respect he'll show us and the more he'll walk all over us. So it's time to show him we don't fear him. This woman ... " I look at Mutt, then at Jeff. "You both assume she knows nothing because you think she's just a whore." I like using that word to describe Nola. "But she's sleeping with the person who's ruining our operation. How do you know what she has or hasn't learned in an intimate moment?" The irony of my words is not lost on me. The brothers must be thinking that I'm just Nola's counterpart in the Mendez organization. But, if they do, then they know that Nola may have valuable information about Carranza, because they sure as hell know that I have plenty of valuable information about them.
"What are you saying, Alessandra?" Roberto had not spoken since he opened the meeting. I respond forcefully.
"WHEN THE LOVER OF A RIVAL IS CAPTURED, SHE MUST BE INTERROGATED until she's told everything that she thinks might be of value to us. And after that, she must be interrogated further until she's told us everything that is of value to us, even if she has no idea how it could be." Roberto seems attentive. So I go for it all. "AND then, when we are finally satisfied that she has nothing more for us, we should terminate the interrogation ... with EXTREME PREJUDICE. Leave her body chained to the gates of Carranza's compound. As a message that we do not fear him. That it is he who should fear us." I have made my case for eliminating my main rival.
Mutt objects again: "Look, Miss Belmonte. We all agree we must fight Carranza. But we must choose our battles carefully. Murdering this innocent woman, who is not involved in Carranza's operations, will bring the Medina police down hard on us. They are always looking for an excuse to try to destroy us. As long as we limit ourselves to killing Carranza's men, the police don't care. But if we kill an innocent ... we have enough to handle with Carranza without turning the police against more than they already are."
"Who is going to know we killed an innocent," Carlos offers. "This is a party girl who hangs out until all hours of the night and comes home drunk. Obviously then, she's hanging out with a tough crowd. Hell, she spends half her nights with Carranza. If she were suddenly to disappear, the police are not going to suspect us. They may even suspect Carranza. Or, most likely, they'll just be glad that another whore is off the streets and move on. I'm with Miguel." Such a surprise. If Roberto agrees, he'll probably put Carlos in charge of the questioning. The questioning of an attractive woman with big tits. No wonder he's going my way. But I shouldn't belittle his motives when mine are more selfish than his.
"All right," Roberto has heard enough. "I want to know what this woman may know." That's it. I've won. Miss Nieves will not likely be leaving the downstairs alive. Diego may soon need a companion to fill three more of his nights each week. Just when it seems time that I should leave the Mendez operation for good. How convenient.
Mutt rises. "All right. That's done. We have a business to run. Let me know what you learn." Mutt exits, with Jeff not far behind. "Roberto, I'll be with Katrina at lunch at Hermano's if you need to reach me."
"I'm arranging tomorrow's drop," Miguel stands. "Fill me in when I get back." I am left with Roberto and Carlos.
Roberto turns to us. "Alessandra, you were very effective last time I put you in charge. I think you should be in charge again."
True. I was effective last time. We had captured one of the three Carranza men who had torched one of our storage houses. We wanted from him the names of the other two. Roberto put me in charge of both the interrogation and the persuasion. I think it was actually a test of my toughness, because usually he has one person handle the questioning and another the persuasion. I had worn a tight white halter dress to the session that provided just a glimpse of what I had to offer that he was not going to get. I thought that would add even further to my control over the captive. Not that I didn't have enough control over him without it. OK, I admit it. I just wanted to feel sexy while I tortured this helpless creature. [see Alessandra pic].
I ordered the man stripped naked and spreadeagled on the rack in the middle of the "downstairs" interrogation chamber, with his wrists secured to the immovable bar at the end opposite the rack's roller and his ankles tied not to the roller, but to cuffs at the sides of the rack just in front of the roller. Then I looped a long wire twice around his penis and scrotum and tightened it, after which I attached the ends of the wire to the roller. So this rack didn't stretch any part of his body except the part that most men value, and use -- with others or alone -- far more often than their brains.
After a few turns the man's screams had started. I then took out a long thin knife, a stiletto I think it's called, sharpened on the end and along one side, and held it over his stretched member. "I want the two other names. One chance." He stared at the weapon and hesitated. A mistake on his part. I jammed the end into the head of his penis until it came out the other end and stuck in the wood beneath him.
ver his now heightened screams I told him that he had one more chance or I'd give the rack two clicks, which meant that his arms and legs wouldn't move, nor would the embedded knife, but something would have to move. I left it to him to imagine what that would be and what would happen when it did.
This time, he didn't hesitate. He gave me the two names. I told him that we would have to leave him there while we made sure that he had told us the truth. But my curiosity got the better of me, so I gave the rack those two clicks anyway. The wire pulled more of his penis into the knife, and, if I'd kept clicking, I think it would have split it completely in two lengthwise. But I didn't. I stopped at two. I mean, I'm not heartless. You know, I should have been able to figure out in my mind what was going to happen, without really needing to see it. Just his bad luck, I guess, that I lack those visualization skills.
Anyway, we left him there for three hours while we checked out his information, which turned out to be true. Guess he really didn't want any more of what I was offering him. But by the time we returned to tell him the good news, well, we found that he wasn't still among the living. I'm not sure exactly what happened. Heart attack? Loss of blood? Lack of will to live with a split penis? I guess I'll just have to live with never knowing for sure.
But I was thoughtful enough to have his penis mailed to one of the two men who he named. I mean, they worked together, so I figured they were probably friends and he might like to have it, since his friend wasn't using it anymore. And I didn't have any more use for it, either. Of course, I sent a note with it explaining that his would be next. I never did tell Carranza I had been involved in that. I guess lovers need to have their secrets.
But the Mendezes didn't follow through on my threat. They just killed the two men in an ambush and left them there, penises intact. No sense of style, those Mendezes. But this was during the old days. More than a year ago. When the Mendezes were stronger. Because I was still on Roberto's side. I guess I am "the balance of power."
"I'm flattered in your faith in me in this, Roberto, but I don't think so this time." The real reason I don't want to be in charge, obviously, is that I can't take the chance that Nola may have seen me before and could identify me if she should see me again. But that, of course, isn't the reason I give to Roberto.
"If she knows anything, it's going to be very valuable. So we need this done by a professional. By the Monster. I got the information that you wanted out of a man. But a woman is tougher. Women are made to withstand childbirth. Use the Monster."
I don't know the Monster's real name. I've never seen his face. In fact, I'm not sure if anyone has. Or knows his real name. We all just call him The Monster. The Monster always dresses in his hood and long black pants, and, with his bare chest, looks like he came right out of a central casting call for a dungeon interrogator. No, that's not the right word. The Monster never asks the questions. He just handles the persuasion. So let's call him what he really is: the dungeon torturer.
"Perhaps so," Roberto reconsiders. "This is a valuable opportunity. Carlos, call the Monster. And handle the questioning yourself." I relax. Nola will not have a chance to see my face. But I will still have a chance to watch her interrogation, even if I'm not controlling it.
Carlos and I take the elevator that goes down to the lowest parking level, then descend the stone steps that take us deeper below. People come down here only for one purpose. Well, two I guess. Either to learn something valuable ... or to be forced to divulge it against their will. There are only two rooms on this level. An observation room. And an interrogation chamber.
We enter the observation room. There are four desks against the common wall between the observation room and the interrogation chamber. The wall itself is a full-length one-way mirror. On the desk on the left is a microphone. From this invisible perch Carlos will ask the questions.
I sit in the chair behind one of the center desks for the best view. I have sat here many times. I am familiar with the setup of the interrogation chamber. Wooden horse on the near right. X-frame on the far right. Rack in the very center. Several tables scattered around filled with cuffs and clamps and ropes and knives and wires and sex toys and other items useful for loosening tongues .. literally or figuratively. Two hold small electric generators. Whips hang from several of the walls, chains from various parts of the ceiling. Steel rings are embedded in dozens places in the ceiling and in the floor and in the walls.
The chamber looks empty, but I know better. When a subject is first brought in, sometimes she -- I'll use feminine pronouns because the subject today is female -- needs a little "softening." So, against the middle of the back wall is a narrow box, about six feet across and three feet deep, that runs from floor to ceiling. A sliding door in front that folds into the back and sides when opened is now closed, concealing the box's contents. This is a "hot box." It has several hot air blowers that quickly raise the temperature in such a small space to well over a hundred degrees.
And inside that box at this very moment ... is my enemy. My rival for Diego's affections. No doubt completely soaked in perspiration and extremely fatigued from her five hours or so in the box. She should be ready to talk when she's brought out for questioning and additional forms of persuasion. Particularly when they are administered by the Monster. I should feel sorry for her. But I don't. I want my man for myself.
I don't know whether Nola is clothed or naked inside the box. Sometimes the Monster leaves the victim clothed to make it even hotter inside. Other times he strips her to make her feel more vulnerable as she awaits her fate.
The Monster enters, dressed in his usual attire. I can't picture him in anything else. I wonder if he at least has several hoods and several pairs of black pants. You know, for the times that he is called to work when his main hood and pants are at the cleaners. If they ever are. To a victim he must certainly look terrifying. Six foot four or so. Maybe 300 pounds. The Monster looks in our direction, knowing where we are without having to see us. Carlos clicks on the microphone. "Begin when ready." The Monster nods and moves directly to the hot box. He unlatches the sliding door, and pulls it open.
Nola is spreadeagled upright, her wrists chained to the ceiling of the box, her ankles to its floor. She is naked below the waist, revealing that she is completely shaved. I wonder if Diego prefers it that way. Maybe I need to do that. Above the waist she wears only a white t-shirt that clings so tightly to her body from her sweat that it seems more a part of her body than an item of clothing. It is obvious that she is wearing nothing underneath it, as the shape of her breasts is as apparent as if the shirt were not there. The only other material that covers any part of her is a black cloth across her eyes, tied in the back. From her quick shallow breaths, it is apparent that she has been struggling for air inside the box, her magnificent chest heaving second after second.
The Monster waits to one side of the frightened woman as Carlos' voice fills the chamber in a harsh, jarring tone. "What is your name?"
Nola begins to shiver from the extreme change in temperature from the hot box to the colder chamber. "Nola Nieves." Her voice shakes even in response to this simple question.
"And do you know why you have been brought here?"
"S-so the police can ask me questions." This woman is terrified. That's what she gets for screwing my boyfriend. "But ... but I've done nothing wrong. I.. I ...."
"Yes, to ask you questions," Carlos interrupts. He puts his hand briefly over the microphone. "This is not going to take long, wouldn't you agree?" I do not respond.
"Miss Nieves, who is your most frequent lover?"
Nola's confusion at the question shows clearly even through her partially obscured face. "I ... I don't understand."
"Don't try to understand. Just answer the question."
The Monster moves away from Nola toward one of the tables, removes a set of wires, and slings them over his shoulder before returning to Nola's side.
"I ... I don't have a real boyfriend. So I don't know ..." She doesn't have a "real" boyfriend, but she's screwing my Diego three times a week. The bitch.
Nola ends her response mid-sentence as she feels the Monster grab her breasts and slowly rip open the soaked t-shirt, which seems to disintegrate in his hands. I wonder if her breasts are real. Real of not, they are quite magnificent. Nola screams as the Monster begins to attach the alligator clamps at the end of the wires to her nipples.
"Miss Nieves, let me ask the question more directly. Who have you fucked the most this last month?"
The indelicacy of the question is not as upsetting to Nola as the growing pain in her nipples. The Monster moves back to the table to attach the other ends of the wires to a small generator. The blindfolded woman surely does not yet have any idea what is in store for her. The Monster returns to Nola, and moves his right hand between her legs. She gasps loudly at this invasion, adding a scream of "no" as the Monster inserts a three inch plug between her shaved lips, securing it in place with a taped X to her thighs. She may now be beginning to understand.
"And what does Mr. Carranza do for a living to afford that big house of his." The Monster has moved back to the table and picked up the small generator.
"He's in the import/export business."
The Monster flicks a switch. Nola's body instantly leaps off the back wall until restrained by her chained limbs. Her scream is loud and continuous, horrifying. For five seconds the Monster's hand remains motionless before he again flicks the switch, and Nola's body sinks back and down as far as its allowed.
But it is allowed rest only for a few seconds before the Monster flicks the switch again, and Nola's body instantly returns to its strained position. Again for five seconds. Again her horrifying scream. Then again off. Nola's body slumps and her head falls to her chest. Her breathing is even more rapid and desperate.
And then the Monster flicks the switch yet a third time. By now Nola's throat is hoarse and her screams raspy. You are suffering this, my dear Nola, all because you want my beloved Diego. I wonder if you still think he is worth it. This time it is a full 10 seconds before the Monster flicks the switch off and walks back to the table to put down the generator.
The Monster returns to Nola's heaving body, which is still convulsing involuntarily, and grabs her hair to lift her face off her chest so that she is facing the mirror. He feels her pulse in her neck, then drops her head back down. He nods "yes" in our direction. She can be questioned more.
"Miss Nieves." She groans at the sound of Carlos' voice. "Why would the police be so interested in your Diego if he were a legitimate businessman?"
"I don't know."
"That's right. We wouldn't. So again, let me ask you, how does your Diego afford such a beautiful and expensive home."
Nola screams almost as horribly as before, terrified that she can only give the same answer again, that she knows nothing more, and remembering what had happened to her the last time that she gave that answer.
"I ... don't ... know." Somehow the words cut through her screams. "Please. I ... don't .... know."
Carlos and I both know that she is telling the truth. Carlos moves on. "But you have been to his home many times, have you not?"
"Yes. I have."
"When you've been there, how many of Carranza's men did you see?"
"Two guards at the gate when I came and when I left. A bodyguard in the car with me both ways. That's all." Nola's body is shaking only a little less than before.
"No security people inside the house itself?"
Carlos instructs the Monster: "She may need to be reminded." Nola screams at the words. The Monster walks back to the small unit that has caused her so much pain.
"Who else did you see in the house, then?"
"A maid. A cook. Two maids, I think. That's all."
The reminder comes suddenly. Nola's body twists and squirms, trying to free itself from the pain. She tries to close her legs. She tries to shake the plug out of her, thrusting her pelvis forward. All to no avail, of course. Ten seconds. Then off.
"We know there were others in the house."
Nola screams her answer between her gasps for breath: "Not that I saw. Not that I saw. I never went into most of the house."
"So the only people that you know were ever in the house with Diego were a few servants?"
"Yes. No. Well, they were the only ones that I saw. But I know that there were other people in the house." "I know he had other women in the house. It wasn't just me."
"How do you know?"
"I would find some things now and then. Women's things. Things that weren't mine." Nola's words are racing, just to tell what she can. Fearing that a pause may lead to more pain.
"I found things. Once I found an earring by the bed table. Monogrammed panties in the bedsheets. A cigarette with lipstick in the ashtray."
I'm getting tired. Carlos has obviously concluded that she knows nothing of importance, since he has quickly moved his questions from more important ones about Diego's business and security to questions about Diego's love life. And, as I suspected, Nola did not see me in the house that time. Still, Carlos appears to be excited. Probably at the thought of what is soon going to happen to this poor woman. Poor woman? No. A woman who crossed the wrong rival.
The Monster removes the clamps from Nola's nipples, the tape and plug from between her legs, and unhooks the chains holding her wrists and ankles. Her body collapses, but he catches her and easily slings her body over his shoulder. He walks to the wooden horse. He lifts the still blindfolded Nola onto it, one leg on each side. She winces and grunts loudly as the sharp upper edge cuts deeply into her. The Monster chains her ankles together under the horse to hold her tightly in place, and then ties her wrists behind her back. Finally he drops a chain from the ceiling, and runs it under her shoulders, to keep her body upright. The Monster moves to the side of the horse to await his instructions. Carlos obliges: "Continue."
The Monster removes her blindfold. Nola blinks several times, then closes her eyes tightly before slowly opening them as they begin to adjust to the light that she has not seen for many hours. The Monster moves back to the table to take an item from it. I cannot see what it is.
Nola's finally adjust and she scans the horror of the room. She cannot see the Monster standing directly right behind her. She sees no one in the room. And then she hears Carlos' disembodied voice.
"Miss Nieves, you know that it is only because of your association with Mr. Carranza that you are here."
"It is only because of him that you are suffering this pain."
"Yes. I know. But ... he treats me nice. Not like the others. He treats me like a lady. He tries to make me happy. He tries to please me."
"Miss Nieves. I have no more need for you."
Nola's face seems to misinterpret Carlos' meaning, and her face actually seems to brighten a bit. "So does that mean that..."
She doesn't have a chance to finish her question. In one quick motion, the Monster slips a plastic bag over her head, and secures it tightly around her neck. For a few seconds, Nola is not certain what has happened, but then realizes that she cannot breathe, and she begins gasping for air, heaving her chest in and out as deeply and as fast as she had before, as she tries to suck in whatever little air may be left in the bag. That supply, however, is gone in just a few seconds.
As she struggles without air, Nola shakes her head back and forth, trying to free it from the bag. She rocks and thrashes and lifts and drops her entire body as far as her chained ankles permit. She feels no pain from the horse only because of her intense focus on her far greater concern.
Her frantic movements soon lessen. She has no struggle left. She tries hopelessly to suck the bag itself into her mouth, perhaps thinking that she can bite through it to allow in some air. But she has no strength left.
And then suddenly, just when her movements seemed to stop, she jerks her entire body upward and then back, and then upward and back again. But not a third time. Nola's agony is over. My rival is no more. I look over to Carlos. As I knew he would, he has his right hand between his legs. Then I notice that I have my right hand between mine. I say nothing.
The Monster again faces the mirror to receive Carlos' instructions: "She is to be delivered to Carranza tonight. You will get her ready before then." The Monster nods. He moves back to Nola's body. He removes the bag. He takes out a small knife from his pocket. With one hand he grabs its left nipple and pulls it out. He severs it with one quick slice of the knife and puts it in Nola's still open mouth. He then grabs her right nipple and severs it. This one he puts in his own mouth. He then leaves her in place and moves to the back of the chamber to ready his equipment ready for the next victim, whenever and whoever that might be. The Monster doesn't ask questions, no, he just performs his duties. And does so very effectively.
Without a word, I leave the observation room and enter the interrogation chamber. The Monster is wiping down the hot box. The nearby area is still very hot. This is the first time I've realized how hot it must be inside. We hadn't used it on the man I had tortured.
I walk over to Nola's body. I fondle the now nippleless breasts that Diego will never fondle again. Now he will just have to settle for mine. As men say, size isn't everything. But are they ever talking about breasts when they say it? But I think that he probably prefers breasts that still have their nipples.
I move to one of the tables against the side wall and pick out a long stiletto knife. I'm not sure if it's the same one I used that time before. I return to Nola's lifeless body. Her eyes remain open, staring.
I hold the thin blade against the middle of the side of her right breast and jab it straight through until it comes out the other side. I pull the blade out and examine it. Blood and flesh. Nothing else. I jab it next up from below. Again, blood and flesh. Her breasts were real. I wipe the blade off with my white shirt and return it to where I found it. The Monster likes to keep his workroom neat, and the Monster is one person I don't ever want to anger.
I walk out and head for the elevator. I push 18 for the penthouse, and head back to my room. It's been a tiring few hours. I need a bath and some rest. I have to figure out how to warn Diego about the surveillance. And put in for some of those free nights he now has each week.
I take off my suit jacket and skirt as I walk through my living room, and toss them onto the floor of the closet of the bedroom. My bloodied white shirt quickly joins them, and I go into the bathroom to start running a bath. I close my eyes for a few minutes' rest on the bed. I startle when I realize that I've dozed and jump up to check the bath, which is more full than I intended, but not overflowing. I shut off the water.
I am surprised when I return to the bedroom to see Roberto standing at the door. "You know, you still should at least knock. What if I had another lover in here?" I force myself to smile at him so that he will know that I was just being playful. Well, just pretending to be playful.
He is staring at me, planted in the doorway between the bedroom and the living room. I realize that the sight of me, dressed only in my white bra and panties, still wearing my heels, is probably turning him on. Just what I need. I immediately step out of my heels. Then I see that Carlos and Miguel are both standing right behind him.
"C'mon, guys. Just a little privacy maybe?" I complain. It's bad enough that I have to let Roberto see me undressed, but his sons aren't part of the deal.
"We need to talk. Now." Roberto's voice is firm. OK, we'll talk, I guess. Better than having to make love with you. I sit down on the bed. Roberto moves to the side of my dresser, while Carlos and Miguel remain in the doorway.
"I'll get right to the point." Roberto usually does. That's a problem with his lovemaking -- he gets to the point much too quickly -- but at all other times I appreciate it. "Carlos and Miguel have some concerns. I need to know that their concerns are unfounded."
"What are they?"
"A month ago you went to Joey's to have your hair done."
"Yeah. I go every two weeks or so. They're concerned that I'm spending too much money on my hair?" He ignores my sarcasm.
"You go on Thursdays?"
"Usually. Yes. The last few times have been on Thursdays, I think. I don't really remember. What difference does it make which day I go?"
"The last two times your appointments have been on Thursdays. At 12:30."
"I'll take your word for it. What's your point?"
"I called Joey. He said you haven't come until 3 the last two times."
"I don't keep track. I know I've been late sometimes. If I go shopping first. Joey doesn't mind. At least he's never told me that he minds."
"A month ago, we lost that major shipment. Do you know what day that was?"
"No. Are you going to tell me that it was Thursday and I was stealing our own shipment when I was supposed to be having my hair done? I did have my hair done that day, if you remember. You even said you liked it."
Roberto again ignores me. "It was Friday, the next day. Two weeks ago, we lost four men. Do you know what day that was?" I stare at him dumbfounded. "It was Saturday," he continues, "two days after your last hair appointment. And again, you told me 12:30. Joey told me 3 o'clock." I say nothing. But I know where this is leading. I think I'm OK, but I'd better be careful.
"Here's what Carlos and Miguel say. On those two Thursdays, you weren't late to Joey because you went shopping first. You were late because you went to Carranza first. And told him our plans over the next few days. And Carranza used your information to plan those ambushes. Twice."
I know that the brothers' suspicions are exactly right, but I don't think that they really know it. "Look," I focus on Roberto and force myself to stay calm. On the outside, at least. "Carlos and Miguel have hated me since their mother died." I ignore that they are both standing right there. "They think I arranged that, too." Roberto knows that I know that he did it, so he knows that the brothers' suspicions are sometimes only that ... unfounded suspicions.
I continue: "Anything that goes wrong here they blame on me. If I was late for a few hair appointments, then I was late. Being late to a hair appointment doesn't mean I'm in bed with Carranza." Poor choice of words, I realize. "You can't tell me that you believe them based on that?"
"I'm not sure. I need you to convince me."
"I shouldn't have to. But how do you want me to convince you?"
"When you were downstairs today, the woman said that she had found several things that weren't hers in Diego's bedroom. One of those was ... a pair of monogrammed panties." I remember that now. Hadn't given it a second thought, since all of her information was so useless.
"Carlos thinks that she was referring to the red panties that I gave you." So that's what had excited him near the end.
"That's ridiculous. First, mine weren't monogrammed. Monogrammed means a person's initials. And second she didn't say they were red. If they'd been red, she would have said so. She found a pair of panties. Probably white or black or she would have given the color. That's it. Half the population wears panties."
"Then it should be easy for you to show me he's wrong ... Show them to me."
"They're in the drawer. Look for yourself." Roberto turns, opens the top drawer, and rummages through it. After a few seconds, he turns and holds the red bra in his left hand. "This is here. But not the other." He hands the bra to Miguel. What? They're not? How can that be? I could swear I saw them there just a few days ago. Didn't I? Or did I get rid of them because I hated wearing them so much?
"Roberto. I can't remember. You know that when you first got them for me, I wore them for you a lot. They may have gotten stained and torn. I may have thrown them away. I don't remember. I thought I still had them. But even if I don't, it doesn't mean that they were in Diego's bed."
He stares at me coldly. I have not convinced him. He snaps his fingers. Two of his goons appear in the doorway. They separate enough to allow Carlos to pass between them and out of the bedroom. Miguel tosses the bra at me and then follows. Finally, Roberto speaks. "I trusted you. You betrayed me." He passes between the two goons, who then move shoulder to shoulder to fill the doorway completely. I try to follow Roberto but the goons block my way. I lean out and shout "Roberto, wait" as he reaches the outer door. He stops and turns toward us. His next three words chill me to my core. "Take her downstairs."
The goons move to grab my elbows, but I instinctively pull away. I immediately realize that this is a mistake, as one of them punches me hard in the midsection. I double over and clutch at my stomach with both hands. The goons grab my elbows tightly and drag me out of the bedroom, through the living room and out into the hall, my legs trailing behind. They do not bother to close my door.
As we reach the waiting elevator, I am pushed inside and against its back. Down to the lowest level without a word. They pull me out. The pain in my stomach subsides a bit, and I can walk on my own, the goons gripping my upper arms firmly. The stone floor is cold and damp on my bare feet. I feel a chill in my body.
We descend the flight of steps leading "downstairs." The only sound is the echo of their shoes on the floor. We pass the observation room. We reach the interrogation chamber. One of the goons swings the door open. I see the Monster standing in the middle of the room.
He motions the goons to follow him to the hot box. I glance over and see that Nola's body is right where I had left it. It could not have been more than 45 minutes, perhaps an hour at most, that she had met her fate.
The goons turn me around and push me into the box, then hold me while the Monster chains my wrists to the top of the box, and my ankles to the chains held by hooks in the floor. The same spreadeagled position that Nola was in when I first saw her here. I pull to see how much give there might be in the chains, what chance their might be to loosen them. There is none.
I hear the disembodied voice. I recognize it as Miguel's. The Monster turns to listen. "We will begin in two hours." The Monster nods, then turns back to me ... and slides the door closed.
I immediately realize that the box is not only totally dark, but also soundproof. It is very warm but not unbearably hot. Then, after only a few seconds, I hear a whirring sound coming from three sides ... and feel the steady blast of heat on my sides and back. The temperature quickly begins to rise.
Within a few minutes it is stifling, and the heat continues to pour in. My body is drenched. Two hours? This has only been a few minutes. How can I last two hours? How did Nola last five?
I mustn't panic. I breath in deeply just to feel my bra against my skin, to reassure myself that I still have it on. Then I twist my torso to feel my panties, also. Not a good situation, for sure, but it would be worse if I were still in my gray suit ... or was completely naked. I can understand better now why the Monster sometimes thinks about things like that.
But I'm the one who has to think now. Think. I can't do anything about my physical predicament. But I can try to keep my mind clear. I have to. I have to think. I have to know what to say, how to act, when that door finally opens.
All right. What do I have to figure out first? My entire body is already absolutely soaked and it is getting harder to breath. Think. Focus. The evidence against me. How strong is it really? Does Roberto really think that I'm guilty? Forget that I am.
Yes. I met Diego those last two times before the hair appointment. Fucking Joey couldn't keep his mouth shut. I never thought anyone would ask. But what evidence do they really have? Think. It is so hot in here. So hot.
The evidence. It's not really strong, is it? I was late for my hair appointments. OK. I said I was shopping. They can't know that I wasn't. The first ambush was a day after my appointment, the second two days. Of course they were. I told Diego about our plans, just as the brothers said. But how can they know it's not a coincidence? I mean, so many things happened the day or two before the ambushes. They're making accusations but they don't really know. Roberto has to believe that they just want me out of the way because they think I killed their mother. He has to.
The motors turn off. Thank God. It is so hot. Thank God.
Isn't that it? That's their evidence. It's nothing. Roberto is just testing me. He's trying to teach me a lesson. Keep me in line. Make sure that I know the power he has over me. Probably so I'll show more passion when he fucks me. So I'll let him fuck me more. But he won't kill me. He loves me. He wants my body next to his. I'm going to get out of this. I am.
No. No. Wait. There's also those damn panties.
Let me think. Shit. That damn Nola. I wanted her and I got her and now she's got me right back. Even after she's dead. That one lousy comment. And she had no idea what it would do to me. The bitch. At least she's a dead bitch.
It was Thursday a month ago. I remember that I was going to Diego's in the afternoon. I wanted to seduce Roberto before I left so that he would lose track of time and then fall asleep. That way, for sure, he wouldn't know when I'd left or how long I'd been gone. I guess I must've been wearing the red panties to get him hotter. I just don't remember for sure, but I must have been.
And he was going for it. What happened? That's right. Carlos called him in my room. Some emergency. He had to leave for a few minutes. Told me to wait. Told him I couldn't. That I had a hair appointment and might do some shopping. Not to expect me until dinner. God, it's so hot in here.
I stuffed a dress and underwear in my bag so that I could change before I came back. Shower and fresh clothes to make sure he didn't get a sniff that I might not have just been shopping. Or shopping for something not found in the stores. How long has it been in here? I have no idea. Twenty minutes? I have no idea.
When I got to Diego's, he was napping. The prick. I have an hour, two at the most and he's asleep. So I stripped down to my bra and panties, climbed into bed with him and straddled him. Finally roused him ... or aroused him ... when I put his hands on my breasts. I helped him take off my bra and toss it onto the floor near my other clothes and bag. And when I lay down on him, he pulled my panties down to my knees ... and then he took them all the way off with his toes. So they wound up against the foot board under the covers. Where Nola found them that night or the next. God dammit! That's how it must have happened. And it must have been the red ones. Diego never even saw them so he didn't say anything about them. Which is probably why I don't remember wearing them that day.
My body tenses. How stupid I was to leave them there. So stupid that I'm now chained spreadeagled in my underwear in this hot box with my chances of leaving this room alive not much better than Nola's.
All right. The panties. Nola said monogrammed. She never said red. I said I may have worn them out. How can Roberto believe that Nola was talking about mine, even if I know she was? He can't. If he wants to believe me, he will. He just has to want to believe me. I'll be ready. As long as he comes to the observation room, I'll have a chance to talk with him. If he comes, there's hope. If he doesn't ... no, he will be there. He is not going to get rid of me without hearing for himself what I say. Not after almost two years. All right. That's my plan. Their evidence is weak. I'm telling the truth. His sons just hate me. Now rest. Try to rest. Strength. Gather your strength.
My head falls to my chest. I try to breath normally, evenly. I can't. Too hot. Still, try to relax. I feel that I'm going to drop off, get a little rest ... when the sliding door suddenly opens.
I raise my head slowly. As I expected, I am staring at the Monster. And again I hear the disembodied voice of Miguel.
"Miss Belmonte, my father says that I have made a mistake." Yes. Yes. I knew it!! Roberto would not let me down. Roberto loves me. He was only testing me. My excitement is confirmed as the Monster unchains my wrists and ankles. In the light I can see the perspiration dripping off my body. My undergarments are soaked through. But Miguel's words are music, pure music.
"He says that I have should not have treated you like a common subject. Like we treated Miss Nieves earlier today." Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. Roberto. I am going to fuck your brains out tonight. I knew you'd believe my lies. Yes. I will suck you dry if I have to. I was so terrified.
The Monster pulls me out of the box. He turns me around to secure my wrists behind my back with metal handcuffs. So, Roberto's not going to let me off completely until he has a chance to come down here and put the fear of God into me himself. Guess I still need my spanking. That's all right.
The Monster then turns me and pushes me back into the box. "Hey. Hang on. Didn't you hear Miguel? I'm not supposed to be back in here. I'm not to be treated like Nola was. Didn't you hear?" The Monster ignores me. He never speaks. I should know better than to think that anything I say would matter to him.
He reaches to the box's ceiling and pulls down a retractable chain. At its end is an alligator clamp. I stare at him. With his other hand he deftly unclasps my bra in the front, releasing my breasts as the cups fall away, held by the straps around my shoulders. With his thumb and forefinger he massages the nipple of my right breast. He closes the clamp and lets go of it. The chain holding it immediately retracts upward, pulling my nipple up until I find myself standing on my toes to relieve the pain, my back arched. I gasp but do not scream. What is happening? Aren't you listening? I don't bother to ask out loud again.
I look up to the box's ceiling. I watch as the Monster grabs another chain there and pulls it down. "Miguel," I scream. "He didn't hear what you said or he didn't understand. Tell him again. Miguel. Tell him." The Monster places the second clamp on my left nipple and releases that chain. I am now standing on my toes, wrists cuffed behind my back, nipples clamped and forced high into the air, back arched to try to reduce the pain and the pull.
Miguel responds. "Yes. As I said, do not treat her like a common subject. Do not treat her like Miss Nieves." There. There. Didn't you hear him that time? Didn't you hear? He told you again. He told you.
The Monster bends to the floor and reaches one arm around each side of me. He pulls up from the floor two retractable wires with loops on the ends. He secures the loops to small hooks attached to the bottom of the clamps already securing my nipples and let's go. The wires immediately retract as far as they can back into the floor, pulling my clamped nipples downward. At the same time, the chains from the ceiling pull them upward. My nipples are the battlefield in a tug of war, I realize. I am afraid to move a muscle in any direction, not knowing what will happen. I am hoping that the Monster is not as curious about this as I was about my male victim. I do not know what to do but I do know that suddenly I am in great pain. I scream.
"That's right," Miguel's voice is calm. "Do not treat her like Miss Nieves. Miss Nieves was an innocent victim. She was just unfortunate to have associated with someone about whom we needed information. And she provided us with valuable information. Miss Belmonte here, on the other hand, is a traitor. We gave her hospitality. We gave her power. And she betrayed us to our worst enemy. She is responsible for the deaths of our men and the loss of our property. No. Do not treat her like a common subject."
The words are ringing in my ears as the Monster slides the door closed and I am again enveloped in darkness and heat. But only for an instant. The door opens again. With both hands the Monster pulls my panties down to my ankles. Then he pulls the shoulder straps of my bra down my back until my bra is entangled in the cuffs holding my wrists. He steps aside to allow Miguel and anyone else behind the mirror a good look at my now completely naked tortured body. To make sure, I guess, that they agree that he has not treated me "like a common subject." He gives them a full ten seconds before he again slams the door closed.
I am afraid to move in any direction. And then I hear the whir of the motors and the blasts of heat again to my sides and back.
So my situation is much worse than I had tried to convince myself during how ever long I'd been in here before. Miguel says that his instructions are from Roberto. If they are, then all is lost. I just hope there's a chance to confront Roberto face to face. I can convince him. I know I can. The lovesick twerp.
I slowly lower my body ever so slightly, just to see what will happen. I instantly feel the added pain and pressure on my nipples from the clamps attached to the ceiling. I move back. Then I raise myself half an inch. Now I feel the increased pain and pressure from the wires below. God, the Monster knows what he's doing, doesn't he? I will have to stay very still. Even in this position, though, the clamps are digging deeply into the base of my nipples, and the chains from and wires are both pulling hard, trying to retract to their original positions. Unfortunately, in opposite directions.
Two hours they said. It must be one by now. One more hour then. It's so hot. Those motors are still whirring. I'm in good shape physically. I can make it through an hour. If I don't panic and move too abruptly. Then I'll have a chance to speak with Roberto. I know what I'm going to say. Maybe I should rehearse it a few times, just to make sure I sound as convincing as I can.
But wait. What if it's not just an hour? What if they leave me here for five hours, like they did Nola. Well, she survived. If she can, I can. But she didn't have her nipples trussed up like this. She wasn't forced to stand on her toes.
Oh, my God. I'm standing on my toes. And I have to stay on my toes. I can already feel my calves starting to ache. If I tire and come down off my toes, if I can't hold my heels off the ground like this for ... however long I'm in here ... My body shudders uncontrollably, which only increases further the pressure on my nipples.
If I can't ... for however long ... I'm going to rip my own nipples off when my body sags. I panic. My body starts to convulse. I scream. I feel the sweat drenching my body, allowing the clamps to dig even deeper. I start to sob, but heaving my chest, like every other movement, just brings more pain. I regain control. The motors continue to whir, blowing heat on my back and sides. I feel the dampness of my bra behind my back. My whole body is soaked. It is so hot.
I shift the weight on my feet, trying to find a position that might ease the pain just a bit. But my left foot slips on the floor damp from my sweat. The slip lowers my body for a second and the chains pulls hard on me. I scream, louder than before. I regain my step. Everything is so wet.
Wait. Everything is so wet. My foot slid when I tried to move it. I feel my wrists in the metal cuffs into which my bra is entangled. I try to turn my wrists inside the cuffs. I can. Just a little. The cuffs are wet. The blower behind me is aimed directly at them. And my wet bra is adding to the moisture on them.
Maybe I can slide one of my wrists out of the cuffs. If I can twist my left wrist around so that I ... ah, be careful. When I twist my arm to move my wrist I'm pulling myself away from the chains. I have to keep my elbows close to my body. Just bend my left elbow a little until ... I can grab my left thumb and forefinger around my right wrist, just up from the cuff, so that when I twist and pull my right wrist I can try to hold the right cuff in place with my two fingers.
OK. Slowly. So hot. This effort. Making things so much hotter. Twist and pull my right wrist down. It moved. The cuffed moved up. I can feel it. The cuff is over the wrist. It's against my hand. But my hand is much wider than my wrist. Stop. Rest. Think. But my wrists are turned so awkwardly.
All right. I don't have time to rest for too long. Wait. Move back closer to the back blower so it will get hotter and my wrists will sweat more. No, idiot. I can't move back or I'll sever my nipples and that would kind of defeat the whole purpose of all this work. How long has it been? What does it matter? I have to do this.
Just move my arms back, not my body. That will pull but not as much. Ahh. Careful. And for God's sake don't slip again. OK. Now I remember seeing something on TV or somewhere. An escape artist. He could make his hand smaller than when the cuffs were put on and got them loose that way. How did he do it? He pulled his thumb in all the way to his pinkie and his pinkie in toward his thumb. All right. Do that. No. More. All the way. Come on. Until it hurts. Grab the bottom of my pinkie with my thumb.
OK now. I'm going to have to pull and twist my right wrist in one motion. Shit. This is really going to hurt when I yank my wrist back. But I've got to do it. Let me feel the cuffs. Is my hand still too big? Geez, I think it is. But it is wet. Turn and pull. Turn and pull.
Ready. Do it. Ahhh. My right nipple. My right nipple. Wait. Whoa. That was close. It's almost up to the center of my hand. I can feel it. I can do this. One more try, maybe two. I can do this.
Now. Again. Pull and twist and get ready for pain when I pull my arm back. Shit. One. Two. Get ready. Three... Ahhhh. There. I did it. I can't believe it. I did it. It's off. The cuff is off my right wrist. Holy shit. I did it.
I drop my hands slowly to my sides, the cuff and bra dangling from my left wrist, my right wrist free. Very slowly I raise my right hand to my left breast to try to remove the clamp. I can't do it with one hand. I hold my left elbow straight down so as not to pull harder on the clamp, and I raise my left arm by bending my elbow. I hold the clamp with my left hand while I loosen it with my right.
Yes. I did it. Ohhh. Oh, that feels so good. And both the upper chain and the lower wire are attached to the clamp. So removing the clamp removed everything connected to it. I touch the clamp which is suspended a few inches in front of breast, balanced in midair by the pulls of the chain and the wire. I rub my left nipple with my left hand, no longer needing to keep my upper arm immobile. The sensation of pain is overwhelmed by the sense of relief. I reach over and release my right nipple from the other clamp. I rub my nipple until it regains its circulation and proper shape.
I take a huge sigh. I realize that my calves ache tremendously. I was not going to be able to stand on my toes much longer. I freed myself just in time. A few more minutes and ... my body shudders at the thought.
But I'm still here. Still in this stifling heat. Still naked. And still suspected of being the traitor that I am. But at least I have what, an hour maybe, maybe a half hour, hell, maybe four hours, to rest. Not comfortably in this heat. But rest anyway. Instead of struggling on my toes. Not a great situation. Not even a fair one. But better than a few minutes again. Everything's relative.
I push the release button on the outside of the cuff on my left wrist, and toss it and my bra wrapped around it to the corner of the box. Hell, these panties aren't going to help any, so I pull them off also, and toss them next to the cuffs. I am now completely naked. When the door finally opens, in however many hours, I want to show my strength, my courage, my ingenuity in having escaped the cuffs and chains and wires. I want to walk out proudly and impress Roberto with how I escaped. When he sees me, freed of the chains and standing there naked, he will want me. Probably right then.
I sink down to the floor, in a squatting position to rest.
It can't be more than a minute or two, though, when the door suddenly slides open and I see the Monster staring down at me. I start to stand up on my own, but he grabs my arm and yanks me to my feet and out of the box. I stumble and fall on the floor just outside the box. Hardly the entrance I had planned to make. But at least I'm out of that hell hole.
I hear the voice. Still Miguel's. "Very clever, Miss Belmonte. We all enjoyed that. Yes, very clever indeed." I stand and look up at the ceiling of the box.
"Oh, you won't be able to see it, Miss Belmonte. The camera is very small. Like the ones the banks use. But, really, we enjoyed the show. Yes. But now we must continue, mustn't we?"
Camera? Geez. All these times and I never knew they had a camera in here? I would have liked to have seen Nola in here before the door opened. Why didn't they ever share that information with me?
And he said "we" must continue. So Roberto must be there. "I demand to speak with Roberto. You say he ordered this. If that is true, then I must speak with him. It is only fair." If only I hadn't fallen, how much more impressive it would have been.
"I'm afraid, Miss Belmonte, that you are in no position to make demands. But I assure you. Roberto isn't here. And he has nothing to say to you at this time."
"I don't believe you. Roberto wouldn't do this to me. He is much too kind and understanding and he knows that I am innocent. That you and your brother are trying to frame me."
"What you believe does not really matter."
I feel the Monster grab me from behind and lift me off my feet. I think to try to kick behind me, perhaps hit him in a vulnerable spot. But what will that get me? Likely just a more enraged Monster, not something I really want.
He moves me to the left of the chamber, where I see what looks like an art easel with two holes on the sides just above its center. It is attached to a bench seat. The easel is angled 45 degrees from vertical away from the seat. I had noticed this before in the chamber, but never thought of it as an instrument of torture, never seen it used.
The Monster pushes my back against the easel and forces my arms through the two holes. He presses his body into mine, reaches behind the easel, and secures my wrists to a chain attached to the middle of the bench. Then he forces me to bend my knees and forces my lower legs onto the sides of the bench, and secures my ankles together to a chain hanging from the top of the easel. God, there are chains everywhere in this room, aren't there? I cannot keep my legs closed in this position. My entire front side is exposed, accessible and helpless. Completely at the mercy of anything the Monster may choose to do to me. I am also directly facing the mirror, not more than eight feet from it. I feel like I am the artwork on display. Suddenly the Monster's hands move around my head. He blindfolds me with .. well, I can't see now with what, can I? I listen. I feel the muscles in my stomach twitch. I feel my heart race. I think my time for questioning has come. I am prepared, remember? I am prepared. Get ready. I have an act to perform.
I hear nothing. I imagine that the men behind the mirror are just enjoying the fear that they see in my naked helpless body. Or maybe just enjoying the view.
Finally Miguel speaks. "Miss Belmonte, we are aware that you have been seeing your friend Carranza for at least four months." Four months? Hell, it's been more than a year. "And at least twice each month." I wish. Twice in a good month. "So you have given him your sexual pleasures at least eight times. We demand an equal number for our men." What? You've had more than your equal number. I've pleasured Roberto a lot more than eight times. Not that the fewer times with Carranza didn't last a lot longer than all those times with Roberto. "Roberto, I know you can hear me. Roberto please. I am yours and only yours. Don't let them do this to me."
"Roberto is not here, Miss Belmonte. He may come later. Or he may not. But I do have some good news for you. The five of us on the Committee have declined the opportunity given us. We do not wish to sully ourselves with such contact with a traitor. And, yes. That includes Roberto. He too has declined. So you will need service only three for the moment." For the moment? What the hell does that mean? All right. Three. Three I can handle. Better than hanging in the hot box by my nipples. And at least I'm already wet. Does this kind of wet count, though?
I immediately feel someone leaning over my body and press his body against mine. I hadn't sensed his presence. He is clothed. And not yet excited. He presses down hard on me and grabs the top of the easel and pretends to thrust into me. From this touch, and scent, I know that it must be the Monster, which is why I didn't sense another person in the room. Then he gets up off of me, still not the slightest bit aroused. Guess I'm not his type.
What was that all about? Maybe he was just testing the height of the easel. I guess he's satisfied. I feel him pinch my nose. I open my mouth to breath, and he sticks a small rubber ball under my teeth. I feel the attached strap at the sides of my face. He secures the strap behind my neck. What? Did you think that my screams of ecstasy were going to be too loud? All right. No more talking. No more pleading for Roberto. Just shut up and take it, woman. All right. No choice. I get it. Well, soon I'm going to get it. Get yourself ready. I can sense there is now someone else in the room.
The next touch that I feel is clearly that of the body of a naked man, one who thinks that, because my body is still bathed in sweat, I must already be wet and ready for him. Buddy, that's sweat. It's not from excitement. Uhhh. It doesn't seem to matter to him at all whether ... uhh ... OK, no foreplay. I didn't really expect .... uhh ... geez, no fooling around for this one. I feel his hands squeeze my breasts as he begins to thrust regularly into me. Too hard. C'mon, buddy. It hurts. Not so rough. I'm not ready. At least ... uhhhh.... he's not going to .... ughhh ... take too long .... ughhhh. There. I can feel it. He's almost ready. The first is almost .... ugghh. Geez.... Uhhhh. Go ahead. You're done. You think holding it in anymore is doing either of us any good. And let go of my breasts already. Geez, they're attached to something, you know. Attached to me.
I feel him get off me, reluctant to let go of my breasts. I guess I should be flattered that I at least excited him when I couldn't excite the Monster. How much time will they give me before the next? Shit. None. I can't believe it. What? Are they already in line waiting? Oh. This one at least wants to hug me first. Yeah, as if kissing my neck is going to turn me on. Buddy, you're raping me. You think that flowers will make me forget that. You're ... ohhh. oohh. Well, he's a little more delicate than the first. Or maybe I'm just readier now. Ohhh. Maybe this one's had ... ohhhh ... ohhh... just a little more experience ... ohhh .. damn .... than the first. Shit. He's a lot better ... than ... oooohhhh ... yes ... do it ... geez .... Roberto, why couldn't .... oh .... yes, go ahead. again. Yes. Yes. That's right. Use your mouth on my my breasts. Suck them in. Yes ... oh my God ... geez I miss Diego ...
I hear Miguel's voice. "Soldier, your orders were not to make love to her. Your orders were to fuck her. Now just obey your orders."
Damn. I feel the man quickly begin to thrust into me, faster and faster, but now it is just like the first. Still, just one to go "for the moment."
I can identify the next body that I feel press against me. It's the Monster, naked this time. And this time excited. Obviously all business. When he's not supposed to have me, he's calm. When it's his turn, then on cue he's ready. Amazing to be able to turn on and off like that. And ... holy shit ... amazing ... that ... ohhhh ... I always thought that being a physically large man did not mean ... but ... maybe it does ... ohhh ... this is going to be .... shit man ... take your time ... use what you've got ... oooooooh... uuuuhhhhh ... god damn you Miguel. This guy could be ... but he's got to obey your fucking orders. Oh. Shit. That could have been. So. Now I see another way that you've chosen to torture me. If I'd known that the Monster and that soldier had the talents that they obviously have, if given the chance to use them, I wouldn't have had to seek refuge in Carranza's bed and I wouldn't be here now. God. Let me survive this and I'm going to stay with Roberto's cartel. Who needs fucking Diego if I can have them? Oh. God. Yes. Do it Monster. Do it.... Yes..... Geez ....
I feel the Monster get up from me. Damn if I didn't survive that a lot better than I thought. Could have even been good if Miguel had given the last two a chance to do what they could do.
I am breathing hard. I feel the Monster again press his body into mine. Another round, fellow? Go right ahead. No. He moves his arms around the easel and releases my wrists, then my ankles, and pulls me off the easel. I can't stand on my own. My knees need time to recover from being bent back so severely on the bench. And, well, I am sore between my legs.
The Monster wraps an arm around my waist and carries me about 10 feet. I'm not sure of the direction. He drops my body, stomach down, on a horizontal pole about three feet off the ground. He grabs my wrists and chains them, about as far apart as the four foot length of the bar, to cuffs attached to chains in the floor . My wrists are left about a foot off the ground, I sense. And then he cuffs my ankles similarly on the other side of the bar. All the pressure is on my stomach. But I know that this position can only be for one thing.
"Miss Belmonte, we have decided that you deserve ... well, require ... a bonus and two of our men will give you your reward." I pull at my chains. I try to beg Miguel not to do this, but I make only mumbled protests through my gag. I have never let a man do this to me. Roberto asked one time, and one time tried without asking, and I stopped him. No. This is not for me. I don't care what other women allow, this is not for me, I told him. But now ... well, they certainly are true to their word. They are not treating me like Nola. She escaped any sexual violation. I guess Carlos was feeling guilty about murdering an innocent. It seems they have no similar hesitation about what they do to me.
I feel the first man behind me. I am sure that it is the Monster again. How can he already have recovered? He really is quite extraordinary. He removes my blindfold and then my gag. Apparently Miguel and whoever else is there ... probably Roberto .. want to hear me scream, knowing -- Roberto has such a big mouth -- that this is something I refused him.
The Monster wraps his left arm around my waist and I can feel him guide the tip of his penis into my anus. He moves his hands to the tops of my shoulders ... and pulls his body closer to mine, pushing himself into me. I scream. He is too large for this. Any man is too large for this. Even Roberto would be. This is not natural. Things are supposed to come out of here, not go into here. I feel him push and grunt. The pain is unbearable. I wish I'd just stayed in the box. I can feel him move in deeper. It feels like he is going to split me in too. I continue to scream. If my screams please Miguel and his men, so be it. I can't help it. Some women find pleasure in this? Well, good for them, I guess. I find only pain, tremendous pain. How much farther is going to go? The entire lower half of my body is a mass of pain.
Can men really enjoy this physically? I mean, I can understand if they enjoy it because it brings a woman pain. Or because it gives them a sense of power. I guess they enjoy the tightness of it. But how can I? This side wasn't made like the other side.
He must be in as far as he can by now. How could he go any deeper? Come on, man. You can't have much left after going two rounds in 10 minutes. Maybe if I squeeze my buttocks as hard as I can it will speed him up. AAAhhh. I can't do that. It just hurts me more. But there. There. He's finished, I think. Yes. Moving out. Aah. Oh my God. Always try something new, everyone says. Well, I was right never to have wanted to try this. No. Not for me.
He gets off. I again notice the pressure in my stomach, having been pressed so hard into the bar I could barely breathe. But that wasn't what I was focusing on. I was .. shit, the second one already. Two, Miguel said. He said two, didn't he? I try to turn to see who this might be, but he is directly behind me. But I don't have to see him. I know as soon as he inserts himself and touches my breasts. It is Roberto.
After feeling nearly torn open by the Monster, I know that I can withstand Roberto's physical violation. And, if his history is anything, this will be over quickly, probably more quickly even than our usual encounters. But I know that I must give it my best acting.
"Yes, Roberto, yes," I scream as soon as he becomes to enter. His hands move to my breasts. "Roberto, yes, I know it is you. I can tell. There's no one like you Roberto. I never wanted it like this, but yes, I was wrong, yes. More. Give me more, Roberto. Roberto, there is only you. No one else. Only you. Yes." I feel him push. I pray that an arrogant bastard like Roberto will believe anything so I continue to pour it on. "Don't stop, Roberto. Deeper. Give it to me more. Yes, Roberto."
But he is already finished by now, and I feel him withdraw. "Roberto, that was wonderful. I want you. I want to give you my body every day. Any way you want me. Roberto." He says nothing. But I feel him working to release my ankles, and I see the Monster move in front of me to remove my wrists. Together they stand me upright. I immediately turn to throw my arms around Roberto. "Thank you, Roberto. Thank you. You had me so scared. Miguel said ..."
Roberto pushes me away and takes one of my elbows. The Monster takes the other. The pull me harshly the few feet to the rack in the center of the room, and lift me up onto it. As quickly as they had released my ankles and wrists from the horizontal bar, they now spread-eagle me to the rack, with my body stretched perpendicular to the mirror. My ankles are attached to the roller and I am facing toward the mirror.
I feel my body stretched, but not to the point of pain. My chained ankles reach to about six inches or so from the wooden bar across the rack that separates the board on which I lie from the roller. The chains to my ankles, I can see when I lift my head, wrap around the roller. I will be stretched in that direction, toward the mirror. My wrists are not chained, but secured to the rack by a metal loop pushed down to keep them in place.
"Roberto, why? There is no need." He does not respond. Instead, he stands at the middle of the left side of the rack, and pulls up from its inside a cylinder about six inches in length. Folded up against the length of the cylinder is a ... it looks like a curved blade. Like a saber. Roberto pulls the blade away from the cylinder until it is perpendicular to it and moves the blade over the left side of my body, then retracts the cylinder until the flat end of the blade is just touching my body, its curved end just below my breast.
"Roberto, my God. What are you doing?" No response. Roberto moves around to the right side of the rack and pulls a cylinder up from the middle of that side. Another blade that he positions in the same fashion on my right side. "Roberto, please. There is no need. Roberto." I can feel the cold metal touching my skin. No more than an inch separates the tips of the blades in the center. These can have only one purpose. I scream.
"Roberto, answer me. There's no need." I feel cold metal between my legs. I look away from Roberto and see that the Monster has inserted something between my legs and pushed it up into me. After the last hour or so, my body is ready to receive almost anything, but only very painfully. He then hands something to Roberto and moves behind me. The Monster puts into my left hand a small cylindrical wooden block, just long enough to fill my hand. Then he releases my wrist from the loop holding it in place. I pull down on the block, and feel that it is held on its sides by a chain but there is some give in it. The Monster then does the same with my right hand.
Roberto has moved to the foot of the rack, behind the rollers, his back to the mirror. "Alessandra," I hadn't heard his voice since he was in my room. "Let me explain two things to you. First, what is going to happen next. You have been granted another lover, since I never seemed able to satisfy you." He holds up a smooth metal dildo. So this is what the Monster inserted. "It looks like this. As long as this button is in the off position. But if the button moves to its on position, then ..." Roberto flicks the button. More thin metal spikes than I can count leap out of it, each an inch or so long.
"Roberto, that's insane. Roberto, why? You know that I'm innocent."
"We are going to start the roller in a minute. The roller will try to pull you toward it the last few inches. But, as you can see, as long as you hold onto the handles you have been given, you will safe." I glance up and see chains running along the wall to the back of the roller. The other ends of these chains must be the ones attached to the handles I am holding.
"Like this. We'll start slow for a demonstration." The Monster flicks a switch by the side of the roller. I hear a motor. I instantly feel a pull on the handles, forcing my hands up and my elbows straight and stretching me fully. The handles continue to tug, and I strain to hold them in place.
"If you let go of the handles, then, well, there will be nothing to keep the roller from dragging your body toward it until your feet hit the wooden board. And, when they do, the pressure will trigger the switch that turns the button on to activate your new lover."
"Insane, Roberto, you are insane. Why? Please why? There's no need." I scream wildly now, shaking my head from side to side, trying to wake up from what must be a nightmare.
"Oh, and, of course, by the time that your feet hit the board, your body will have been pulled about six inches, and the rest of the apparatus will also have done its work."
I widen my eyes in horror. I can already feel the pressure in the handles. I make a desperate attempt. "How long? Roberto, how long do I have to hold on to prove my love? To prove my innocence? How long, Roberto. I will. I can. For you. I love you. I still love you."
"Alessandra, that brings me to the second thing I want to explain. My sons think you murdered their mother. Of course, you and I know differently." With his back to the mirror, speaking quietly, just above the sound of the motor, I know that those in the observation room cannot hear him.
"My sons think that you were late for your hair appointments because you went to betray us to Carranza. I don't think so." He believes me. Yes, he believes me. He believes my lies. "I think you probably just went shopping." That's right, Roberto. I just went shopping.
"Then Roberto, you know that I'm innocent. You know."
"My sons think that it is proof that you betrayed us to Carranza that your red panties were found in his bed. And they must have been yours because yours weren't in your drawer. Again, I think they're wrong. I don't think they were your panties that Miss Nieves found in Carranza's bed." I convinced him. I did. He believes me.
"Yes, Roberto. Then you know that I'm innocent. You do really know."
"Oh, yes. About the panties. I do really know." Roberto moves his hand to his pocket and takes out to show me ... the red panties with the "Ales" letters on them. I startle.
"Where Roberto? Where did you find them?"
He is holding them directly in front of his body. Nobody in the observation room can see them. He wads them up in his hand and puts them back in his pocket, then walks to the right side of the rack, close to my face.
"I found them ... in your drawer, right next to the red bra."
"But then why did you say ...?" My hands are starting to tire. I can feel the handle begin to slip from the middle of my hands to the joints of my fingers.
"My dear Alessandra. By putting them in my pocket, I proved to my sons that they were right about you. Now they will never know that it was I who had their mother killed. And, even better, I will no longer have you around. You see, I'd grown very tired of you over the last several months. And when I grow tired of a woman, well, you know what happens to her."
"Roberto, no. We're good together. Roberto, ..."
"Of course, I couldn't very well bring my sons' mother down here, now, could I? But you, well, they certainly have no qualms about seeing you here. Oh, and by the way, you've been replaced on the Committee. By a unanimous vote. Well, five to nothing. You missed the vote, but I can make it five to one if you wish to cast your vote now. You've been replaced by ... Katrina. She pleases me a lot more than you do. Or ever did. Alessandra, you really should know. You were a lousy lay." Me? You wouldn't know a good lay if you lived in a hen house, you pig.
So this is all because of Katrina. Mutt's daughter. Roberto's new love. I wonder if Mutt put her up to it, for his own protection. So it's easy to see why Roberto and Mutt want her in the circle instead of me. And Jeff wouldn't have the nerve to object. Carlos and Miguel might not be crazy about the idea, but they'd both prefer her over the woman they think killed their mother. So the bitch Katrina has doomed me to this horrible fate.
Roberto is now standing at the side of the rack near my face. "How long do you have to hold the handles, you asked me before, to prove your love for me? Forever, my love. Forever." Roberto leans over and kisses me on the mouth. The kiss of death. I know. All is lost.
Roberto moves toward the exit. He turns back to watch me struggle with the handles. Then he directs the Monster: "There is no need to move the motor to the next speed. She won't last long even at this one. Let her struggle. And then send her body with the other one to Carranza." He walks out.
My grip on the handles has slipped from my hand to the first joint of fingers to the second. Only the tips of my fingers now stop my body from ... I shudder. I raise my head to see my stretched taut body, my view interrupted by the sight of the hideous curved blades. I can feel the smooth metal inside me. Smooth for the moment.
I look up at my hands. My fingers are red, tiring, struggling. And they are getting damp. This is hopeless. Why do I continue to struggle? Just let go. Give it up. No. I can't. No. I will never ...
"Miss Belmonte," it is again Miguel's voice. "Someone earlier today told me, if I remember correctly, that when the lover of a rival is captured, she must be interrogated and then interrogated more and then terminated with extreme prejudice. Isn't that right? Isn't that what should be done to such a person?"
There is no hope. I can hold on no longer. My fingers release the handles. My body is pulled toward the roller. About an inch a second. I stare up at my outstretched hands, unable to look down to see what is happening. After the first second I feel the undersides of my breasts reach the two blades, which begin to cut into them. I scream at the extreme pain. In the next two seconds I feel the blades cut deeper into my breasts and I feel my blood splatter onto my face and arms and all around. I force myself to look down a second later and I see the ends of the blades already protruding through the tops of my breasts, there tips just a few inches from my neck.
I close my eyes and wait for the blades to hit my neck and end my pain. But, before they can, I feel my feet hit the wooden bar in front of the rack and stop my movement.
As soon as my feet hit the bar, I hear the pops of the smooth metal inside me shooting out its contents. The spikes dig deeply into my insides. I again shut my eyes tight, unable to look at my now wholly disfigured body. The pain is so great. My mind is whirling. I open my eyes again. My vision is now blurred by the blood in them. I feel my entire body convulsing. My mouth is open, but I cannot tell if I am still screaming. I do not have the strength to move any part of my body. Not voluntarily anyway.
I see Carlos and Miguel standing at the right side of the rack. You won, boys. Having a good look? You don't even really know that I was guilty. You didn't do this because you believed I was or because you had any real evidence against me. You did this because you think I killed your mother. You were wrong about that, too. Somehow, though, all your wrongs made a right. I was guilty. At least they're too horrified by the sight of me to touch my body. I want to scream at them. Maybe I am. I can't tell.
I see the Monster at the foot of the rack unchaining my ankles. My body is now free of all chains. Guess it's time for me to get up and live. See you later, boys. My body continues to shake. The Monster walks to the left side of the rack and takes out his small knife from his pocket. He leans over me. Hey, wait. I struggled really hard to save those. That's not .. after all my work ... With a flick, he separates my right nipple from my already severed right breast. He puts my nipple into my open mouth. He closes my mouth. There is no added pain. In fact, I can feel the pain subsiding throughout my body. Maybe the Monster shot me full of morphine or something, because my mind seems more peaceful and my body is not shaking so much. At least I can't feel it anymore.
The Monster then flicks the knife across my left nipple and puts it on his tongue. I remember that he did this to Nola. One for her. One for him. Kind of his signature, I guess. Gee, I guess you do this to all your women. And I thought I was so special.
Carlos is still standing at the side of the rack, speaking to the Monster on the other side. I'm not sure why he is speaking so softly. I can barely hear him. "... with the other one to Carranza." The Monster nods. "... nice gift that will show h...." Speak up, man. I can't hear you. And why are you making yourself so blurred? Is this a new trick you just learned. You really are amazing.
I wish I could fuck the Monster again. Maybe I should tell him. But I don't imagine that he finds me quite as attractive as I was bef ...