Bungee jumping off the bridge on the edge of the South American jungle had been a real thrill for him. The sound of the rushing river below growing ever louder and more threatening as the cord around his ankles stretched until his body was within a foot of it, drowning out even the pounding of his heart. Wow!! This was something everyone should do at least once in his life. Especially here, which was not a crowded commercial spot. No, only those on this one operator's tour knew about it. And the isolation made it that much more exciting.
Now it was Faith's turn. She had been resistant to the idea, but so had he at first. He could see her body shaking in anticipation. That didn't surprise him, though. Hell, he considered himself fearless and his entire body had been shaking right before his jump. And it wasn't even a real jump. He had been instructed to lean forward, and he thought he had done so on his own, but he couldn't say that the operator hadn't also given him a slight push.
How long had it taken him to fall before the cord tightened fully around his ankles and propelled him back up? Shit, if he had studied in that high school physics class he was forced to take he could have figured it out based on the height of the bridge. But he hadn't studied. What use would physics ever be to him? So now he could only guess that it was about 5 seconds. But what thrilling seconds they had been!! He had never felt anything like it!! The total freedom from earth's gravity for what may have been only a few seconds and was just a temporary illusion but was so invigorating.
He double-checked the cords around her ankles to make sure they were tight and secure. Then he kissed her on the cheek, stepped back and saw her body lean forward, just as he had done, although this time he was pretty sure that the operator had helped her with a slight push. Her body fell downward toward the river. He tried to hear if she was screaming but could not tell. He wondered how sound waves were affected by a falling body. He knew he had heard himself scream, but maybe someone watching from above could not. He would have to remember to ask the operator.
One second. Two seconds. He counted silently to himself. The time it took her cord fully to tighten should be the same as it had been for him, he thought. Although maybe not. He weighed a lot more than she did. He was 220 pounds and she was no more than 115. And he was taller. Did height make a difference? That physics class would have taught him.
Three seconds, four seconds. He looked over the railing. Five seconds. And then, just as her head was a few feet above the river, the cord fully stretched and sprung her back upward. He hadn't really liked this part much – being bounced up and back down before the cord finally came to rest far above the raging water, no longer stretched to its maximum.
Finally he saw that she was no longer bouncing, but dangling above the river. As he had. He gave a circling motion to the operator to indicate that the cord was no longer tightening and stretching, just twisting and untwisting, spinning her body slowly. He saw the operator begin to turn the crank around which the cord was wrapped. He leaned again over the rail to watch.
He watched her naked body far below, secured by the cords tight around her ankles, her wrists cuffed behind her back, her eyes blindfolded, as the operator – his operator -- turned the crank not to wrap the cord around the drum to which it was attached and raise her body, but to release more of the cord and lower her body fully into the water. Deep into the river. And he realized that her weight had really not been less than his. Not with the two fifty-pound weights that he had added to the cords securing her ankles. As for his failure to hear her scream, well, he knew that had nothing to do with the physics of sound waves. No, that had to do with the gag secured deep in her throat. No reason to take any risk that anyone might hear her, not that there was much chance of that in this remote area. In fact, he had thought about leaving her ungagged so that he could hear her protests and screams before she was given that little push. But the operator had insisted. The operator liked how much he was paid for his services but he was only willing to take so much risk.
Once her body was well underwater, he walked over to the crank and cut the cord free, watching it fall into the river. He wondered if it took the same amount of time to reach the river as a falling body. He saw the cord, its other end still attached to her ankles, pulled downstream before it disappeared below the water's surface. He wasn't sure how long it would take her to sink to the river bottom, or how far downstream that might be. More physics. But, in this case, it was truly an academic question, he knew. With the piranha that frequented the river, it didn't really matter. No one would ever find her body … or whatever was left of it.
He wasn't sure that she had betrayed him. In fact, she probably hadn't. But in his line of work, if he were going to continue to head his cartel, he couldn't be too careful. If his rivals, or even his underlings, thought for a second that he could not deal brutally with anyone who might challenge or betray him, he would quickly be finished – both as the cartel's leader and as a breathing human being.
Besides, it hadn't been that difficult for him to do what was needed once he became unsure about her. After all, they had only been married for three years.