Bring Out the GIMP (Girls in Merciless Peril)


By Eda Chang

Chapter 1

Tomi Yomura was bored. Almost midnight. For three hours now Makoto Sama and a handful of his "business" associates had been out in the card room playing poker. Tomi had waited in her bedroom for him for the first two hours before deciding that she needed an outlet for her pent-up energy that was not being satisfied in the way that she had hoped. So she had spent the last hour in the gym. Yes, Makoto's compound in Meguro had everything. In fact, the main home just by itself was probably one of the largest in the suburban Tokyo area.

But then, why shouldn't it be? Makoto was one of Japan's leading "businessmen." Well-respected by most -- since most believed that he actually made his money legally. Tomi, as one of his assistant accountants, knew better. After all, someone had to organize and operate the country's vast underbelly of prostitution, pornography and drugs. And the word "assist" in her job description was very appropriate, since only a few of those on Makoto's large accounting staff -- five in fact, of which she was the head -- "assisted" in "legalizing" Makoto's income, without the knowledge of the comptroller, treasurer or anyone other than his few "cohorts." The ones no doubt ruining her evening by playing cards with him. Fake invoices. Non-existing companies. Tomi, in fact, joked to Makoto that she really was nothing more than his maid, because, after all, wasn't it the maid who did all the "laundering"?

Makoto paid Tomi modestly well. Not, of course, by the standards of wealth that surrounded her in his compound. Less so by the amounts that her "creative" endeavors had earned for him. Yes, he provided her with a free apartment in the compound. But that was so she would be available to provide him more than her accounting services. And she received nothing extra for these additional "services." Although, unknown even to Makoto, and certainly to her staff of four, she was the part-owner of one of those companies that did considerable business with Makoto. Or, rather, that his books showed did considerable business with him.

Tomi really didn't mind these additional services that were expected of her. In fact, she quite enjoyed them. Makoto was a virile man. Early 40s. Not unattractive. Probably the most powerful man in the country. And quite proficient in satisfying her. Men her own age of 25 supposedly had more sexual energy than older men, but she didn't find that so. They were too taken by her physical beauty to restrain themselves long enough to consider her desires. No, Tomi would take Makoto over any of them as a lover. Maybe it was his power that provided the added spark for her. But she was definitely pleased that she usually seemed to be his first preference as well. Well, at least when he wasn't playing cards. Poker. The latest craze. Tomi thought that poker had become a worldwide governmental conspiracy to bring down the birth rate.

Although Makoto had never taught her to play -- cards were for men, he always said -- she had watched enough to learn the game. They called it Tokyo Seven, although she knew that in America it was called Texas something or other. It was a pretty simple game. Why Makoto played it so much she couldn't figure out. Sure, he usually won, but the amounts he won were nothing compared with the vast wealth that he had amassed. Maybe he liked to play just because he was good at the game and it was yet another way for him to show his power over others, especially those whom he supervised in the control of the vast tentacles of his empire.

Now, finishing her workout, and still dressed in her sports bra, thong, shorts and running shoes, Tomi decided to make the five-minute walk across the compound to the building with the card room. [See Tomi Pic] She had only been there once before, very briefly, again to try to pry Makoto away without success -- to see whether there was any chance that the sight of her sweating body might lead to a better result. Maybe she could lure Makoto away just for an hour. He could do a lot for her in an hour.

She hesitated slightly outside the room's main door, took a deep breath to restore her courage, then turned its doorknob slowly and walked in as casually as she could, intentionally breathing even harder than she needed so that her chest heaved just a little extra. She might need that added advantage.

Chapter 2

Seven men were seated around the table in the center of the room. She only recognized Makoto, and Akio, one of his top aides. Four other men sat in chairs at the corners of the room. Makoto's bodyguards. She knew them, but not by name. As usual, there seemed to be more chips in front of Makoto than any of the others.

Tomi walked behind Makoto, leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. She was pleased that he turned toward her so that she could move her lips to his mouth. "It's getting late," she said, trying to convey more the impression that she soon needed to go to bed than that he should stop playing. She would never have the nerve to tell him that. Not directly.

"This is Tomi," Makoto announced. "She is a good, but sometimes impatient ... friend." He laughed, which provided the signal for the others to join his laughter.

"Let her play with us," one man suggested. "I have not had pretty cards tonight. I deserve at least to look at something pretty." Tomi glanced at Makoto to see his reaction. She was surprised that Makoto continued to smile. He was obviously in a playful, rather than jealous, mood tonight. Now if she could just get him upstairs, she might benefit from that mood.

"I think the stakes are too high for her," another offered. "But we could each give her a few chips."

"Now why should we give her chips," Makoto disagreed, "when she has more than enough assets of her own?" He looked up and down her body.

Tomi gave him a gentle slap on the cheek, then turned to the others. "He never lets me play. He knows that I'm good with numbers, so he thinks I'd be good at cards. And that I'll take away too many of these from him," she picked up one of his chips -- a 100,000 yen chip -- and dropped it into her bra, then leaned over and kissed Makoto to give him a chance to retrieve it. He returned the kiss, but, to her disappointment, made no effort to retrieve the chip.

Tomi straightened, removed the chip herself, and tossed it in the center of the table away from Makoto's pile of chips, resigned to return alone to her room. But Makoto spoke. "Tell you what, Tomi. You want to play? Have a chance to take my money? How about if we play for 5 million yen?"

Tomi had not expected this and laughed. "I guess if these nice gentlemen will lend me, say, 5 million , I could do that." Equivalent of about $50,000.

"No, no," Makoto replied. "As I said, you have your own assets. I'm sure they would like it much better if we agreed, say, that each item of your clothing was worth 1 million ." The men instantly reacted with approval.

"Thanks," Tomi said. "But with seven of you conspiring to get me out of my clothes, I don't think I'd have much of a chance."

"No. No. Just the two of us. One on one. I play for 5 million and you play for the clothing you're wearing. 1 million maximum bet. Three raises."

"That's not how I'd prefer you one on one," Tomi stared at him. "I'm sure that these men know that you can see me naked anytime you want. What's the point of this game for you?"

"Will you take off your clothes for them now and show them what a beautiful woman you are?"

So, another desire for power. The power to make her do something that she wouldn't otherwise do. To please his cohorts who no doubt were also involved in Japan's underworld activities. In fact, if she were told their names, she'd probably know more about them then they would dare guess, from seeing those same names in Makoto's books. She wondered if they knew what a high percentage of the profits that they earned for him Makoto skimmed. Of course, given the brutality with which Makoto ran and controlled his entire operation, it wouldn't really matter if they did know, since none seemed to have the nerve to challenge his power.

Tomi knew that Makoto figured that 5 million was a lot of money to her, so that he expected her to play. So she would have to play, she guessed. Maybe, win or lose, when the game was over, she would get what she really wanted from him.

Chapter 3

Tomi sat down at the end of the table away from Makoto, thereby signaling her answer. The others at the table, except Akio, immediately rose and moved away. Nine men -- the five other players and Makoto's four bodyguards -- now stood around the table. Akio sat in a chair between Tomi and Makoto to act as dealer.

Tomi watched Akio mix the cards and then allow her to cut them. He dealt one to Tomi, one to Makoto, then a second to each. Tomi prepared herself not to react when she looked at her cards. She had never played before, so she wondered whether she would have a poker face. An ace of diamonds. And an ace of spades. The best two cards that a player could have to start Tokyo Seven. She looked up, stared at Makoto, stone-faced, waited a few seconds, and then announced, "1 million." Tomi reached down, unlaced her right running shoe, took it off and placed it in the middle of the table. She wished that she had worn socks, but hadn't realized when she dressed that a pair of even her oldest socks would have been worth 2 million before the day's end.

Makoto looked at her, then at his own two cards, then, without reaction, back at Tomi. "I call." He moved ten of his blue 100,000 chips into the center of the table.

Akio now pushed a card face down onto the table, as was the rule, and turned three cards up in the center of the table. Both players could use these and all remaining cards that he turned up -- and there would be two more, turned up one at a time -- to improve their hands. The winner would be the player with the best five-card poker hand made from his ... or her ... two face-down cards and the five turned up in the center.

Four of spades, seven of spades and ace of hearts. Tomi knew that she still had the best possible hand. In fact, with three aces already, she knew that she probably already had a hand better than Makoto would have even after the last two cards were turned up. "1 million," she said again, removing her left shoe and placing it on the table next to her right. Makoto again looked at her, and, without a word, moved 10 more of his blue chips into the center.

Akio pushed another card face down onto the table, then turned one up. Ten of diamonds. Tomi knew that she still had the best hand possible, and that the only two cards that Makoto could be playing -- there were many hands that he already would have folded -- that could beat her three aces even after the last card was turned would be a pair of tens, a pair of fours or a pair of sevens. So there were only three cards in the remainder of the deck that could even possibly beat her -- the fourth ten, four or seven. And that was only if Makoto had one of those pairs. Most other hands he would play -- a pair of kings or queens, for example, or an ace and another card -- now had no chance to beat her no matter what card was turned last. Yes, she was good with numbers.

But Tomi was now out of shoes. She took a deep breath, stood up, and tugged down her running shorts, revealing her thong underneath. The shorts joined the shoes on the table. "I'm starting to get my monies' worth," Makoto joked, turning to the men around the room. "I call," he said for a third time, and moved ten more blue chips into the center.

Now for the last card. Akio pushed a card face down, and then turned up the fifth and final card in the center of the table. Six of clubs. Tomi smiled on the inside. The only way that Makoto could beat her three aces was if he held exactly a three and a five, which would give him a straight using the 4, 6 and 7 on the table. But if he held those two very weak cards, he would not have matched her 3 million in bets, but would have folded his hand and tried to win her clothes on the next one.

Now wearing only her bra and thong, though, Tomi knew that the other men in the room were rooting for her to bet. She decided that Makoto would expect that, for the chance to win an extra 1 million, she would bet again, so she decided that she must not disappoint them. She stood up, removed her bra, heard the men gasp in appreciation at her average-sized, but firm and well-shaped, breasts, and tossed her bra into the pile of her clothes in the table's center. She made no effort to hide her breasts from the gaze of the men in the room.

Tomi realized that Makoto was likely to fold his cards, which meant that she would not win the extra 1 million for exposing her breasts. No, she would have won 3 million, but she would have to keep playing, because the agreement was that they would play until she won 5 million from him ... or he won all of her clothes. Still, if he folded, she could dress fully, and then would not again have to reveal her breasts unless she lost more than 6 million -- the 3 million in chips she would have won from Makoto on this first hand plus her two shoes and shorts.

Tomi sat down to await Makoto's decision. He seemed to be pondering his options for a longer time than she had expected.

Chapter 4

To Tomi's surprise, Makoto suddenly pushed 20 of his blue 100,000 chips into the pot. "I see your 1 million ... and I raise you 1 million."

Tomi heard the men in the room roar in approval. So that was his plan. For her to win the 5 million , she would have to strip completely naked. She stared at Makoto. "You prick. Why didn't you just say in the beginning that you'd give me 5 million to strip for your friends?"

"How would you have responded?"

"I would have said, no, who do you think I am?"

"Exactly. And now, well, I know it's an old joke, but now we know who you are and we're just haggling about price, aren't we?"

Tomi stared at him, then stood back up, reached her hands to the side of her hips, slid her thong down, and stepped out of it. Before sitting back down, she tossed her thong at Makoto, who grabbed it just as it hit him in the face and flipped into into the pile of chips and clothes.

Tomi tossed her two aces face up. "I think the expression is 'Read 'em and weep,' isn't' it?" She smiled. The other men in the room groaned. Makoto stared back at her. "Very nice hand, yes, very nice. We play just one hand and you get the best two cards that could be dealt. And then a third to join it."

Makoto started to shake his head slowly, and Tomi allowed herself a small smile. "In fact," Makoto continued, "it looks like I would need a three and a five to beat it. Now what are the chances ...?" Makoto slowly turned over his first card. The five of diamonds.

Forgetting her nakedness, Tomi instinctively stood back up for a better of Makoto's second card, which he still held face down. The other men in the room hooted their appreciation of her body, now exposed completely to them. Her firm breasts. A thin line of pubic hair that been covered by the thong.

Rather than turn his second card over, Makoto tossed it, face down, toward Tomi. She quickly flipped it over. Three of hearts.

"How could you have ...? You would not ..." Tomi sputtered her words more than spoke them as her gaze switched from the cards to Makoto, then back to the cards and back to him again.

"Lucky, I guess, no?" Makoto reached his hands to the center of the table, and drew the pile of chips and Tomi's clothes toward him.

Tomi seethed. "No. Not luck. You would never have played those cards unless you knew ..." Her voice grew agitated as she realized that she had never had a chance in Makoto's rigged game. That she had merely been his plaything for the amusement of his cohorts.

"My dear," Makoto's voice remained cool. "I think that perhaps I'm just a more experienced player than you are. I've told you for a long time that women are not good at cards, haven't I? Now, Akio, help our lady friend up on the table so that all may get a better view of the assets for which I risked 5 million ."

Chapter 5

Tomi pushed aside Akio's offered hand, her look of disgust toward Makoto evident to -- and clearly enjoyed by -- the others in the room. Knowing that she could not defy him, Tomi stepped onto her chair and then onto the table, trying to look as confident and defiant as possible on the outside, but completely humiliated on the inside at her own stupidity in thinking that she was playing in a fair game. She turned slowly in a circle so that the men on all sides could get a full view.

"Satisfied, you power-hungry prick?" she asked Makoto after she had given the men what she thought was a long-enough time to think their evil fantasies about what they'd like to do with her.

"Yes, quite," Makoto responded, as Tomi stepped back down, unassisted, onto her chair and then to the floor. "And now I assume that we will continue the game? After all, you do have other assets that we can play for."

Tomi sat in her chair, refusing to cover her body with her hands, so as not to show weakness. All eyes stared at her. "I'm not sure why you want to share with your friends what you get for free. Not a chance. You've had your fun."

"Very well," Makoto removed the items of Tomi's clothing from his chips, and handed the clothing to Akio. "Since she does not wish to play more, she will not have a chance to win these back. You may dispose of them."

"What?" Tomi protested. "Those are my ... give them back. You got what you wanted."

"What do you mean? They are mine. Would you have given back my 5 million if you had won?"

"So your final insult is that I have to walk back to my apartment naked?" Tomi's voice could not hide her rage.

"No, my dear," Makoto replied, his voice still cool. Tomi watched as his four bodyguards rose from the corners of the room, two moving behind her chair, two to its sides. She could feel a sense of anticipation ... and tension ... from the others in the room. "Whether you walk back to your apartment naked," Makoto continued, "will depend upon your truthful answer to one simple question."

"Ask." Tomi's mood remained foul But, to her surprise, she felt the two men at her sides grab her upper arms and lift her from her chair, thereby providing Makoto's cronies with yet another view of her body, which they still seemed to appreciate. Then she felt the guards wrap their legs around her ankles so that she could move no part of her body except her head.

"And that one question is: Where is the 200 million of my money -- and theirs," Makoto nodded in the direction of the other men around the room, "that you have stolen?"

Chapter 6

"Answer that one question so as to prove that you have not taken it," Makoto's voice was firm, "and you may walk back to your apartment naked. Otherwise ... well ... better that you not think about the alternatives."

Tomi tried to hide the panic that invaded her entire body. Her knees buckled, and she would have fallen had the guards not been holding her so firmly. She had been certain that Makoto didn't know about the stolen money, but thought that, even if he had, he wouldn't really care, given that her accounting creativity had not only made him billions of yen, but had allowed him to gain the wholly false reputation of which he was so proud -- that he was a legitimate businessman. Not to mention the pleasure that she gave him in bed. Now she knew that she was wrong on all counts.

"What are you talking about, love? Still trying to get me to play more cards with you for my honor?" Tomi struggled to make her voice sound relaxed and innocent.

But Makoto snapped immediately in response, "Not the right answer. I guess we'll do this downstairs. You've never been downstairs, have you?" Been downstairs? Tomi didn't even know there was a downstairs.

"Look. If you want to continue the game that much, I'll ..."

Makoto rose and cut Tomi off in mid-sentence. "No, we're through playing games with you." The two guards holding Tomi's arms pulled her quickly out a back door of the card room and down a flight of stone steps, Akio in front of them and the rest of the entourage close behind.

At the bottom of the steps was a room, curtained across the entire length of its side walls and back wall. The visible portion was about 20 feet square. It was empty except for a long table in front of the curtain at the back, with six chairs behind it. And a four-foot metal bar hanging horizontally about five feet off the ground and 10 feet in front of the table. The bar was held by two chains secured to its ends that ran up through hooks in the ceiling, their other ends then linked to hooks in the floor. It didn't take much imagination for anyone there to understand which of them was going to learn what could happen to the unfortunate person attached to the bar.

As Makoto and his five cohorts sat in the chairs behind the desk, Akio and the four guards remained behind Tomi. Two lifted her upward in front of the bar, then pulled her arms behind it and chained her wrists together. Tomi could feel the pressure under her shoulders as the guards released their grip on her. This pain quickly magnified as the guards bent her knees backward and chained her ankles to her wrists, which forced her to spread her knees far apart to keep her legs from spasming. Her body -- naked, helpless and completely exposed to eleven men in the room -- began to glisten in sweat and her nipples harden. Her fear, she knew, was now evident to the others.

Makoto spoke from his seat behind the center of the table. "Questioning of the traitor may now begin." Not even "accused" traitor, Tomi thought. She had already been convicted. Not that she wasn't guilty as charged. "Shigeo."

Tomi recognized the name instantly. Shigeo Konosuke. One of Makoto's pornographers. The short heavy man on her far right, at least 60 years of age, whose most noticeable feature was his multiple chins, rose slowly and walked toward Tomi's dangling form until he was just a foot away. Without a word, he spit in her face. She was surprised by the sudden action, but as soon as her mouth opened instinctively to protest, she felt one of the guards from behind her thrust a leather O-ring gag under her front and bottom teeth, forcing her mouth open wide before locking the gag into place behind her neck.

Shigeo placed his hands on Tomi's breasts and squeezed, gently at first and then harder until Tomi was forced to emit a painful groan. "Good," he said. "Just so you understand that we are playing by Makoto's rules ... and there is only one rule at the moment. None of us may kill you until all of us have had a turn questioning you. After that, then there are no rules." Tomi felt her body shudder.

"Now you may be wondering," Shigeo continued, "how you can answer my questions with that gag in your mouth. And the answer is ... I'm not going to ask you any questions yet."

Chapter 7

Shigeo put his hands across Tomi's shoulders and stared into her face. He moved his left hand to Tomi's open mouth and inserted his middle two fingers. "It takes away some pleasure when you can't use your teeth, but it's so much safer with an unpredictable partner, wouldn't you say?" Shigeo nodded, and the guards unhooked the chains from the floor and let them slide through their fingers until Tomi's body had been lowered to the point where her knees were just a few inches above the ground, her body swaying, her face at the level of Shigeo's waist.

Shigeo moved his hands to the back of Tomi's head and pushed her face into his pants, which already bulged in excitement. He then grabbed her hair harshly and pulled her head back, forcing her to look up at him. "Use your tongue as best you can. Understand?" Tomi stared back, unable to hide her disgust for this pig of a pornographer.

Shigeo released Tomi's hair, unzipped his pants, and pulled out his penis. Tomi was surprised that this little prick actually had a rather large one. Still, she doubted that he would last very long, no matter what he did to her. He probably hadn't ever had a woman like her in decades. At least not one who gave her consent.

Shigeo inserted himself slowly into Tomi's mouth. She continued to stare back at him. He soon realized that she had no intention of doing anything to add to his pleasure, not that there was much that she could have done. But his anger at this only aroused him more. Tomi could feel Shigeo harden quickly as he began to thrust himself into her throat. She started to gag and try to expel him, but he continued, soon nearing his climax.

Then, apparently having watched, or maybe even acted in, too many of his own films, he pulled himself out to ejaculate over her face. So the prick got his pleasure from humiliation, she thought. Too bad for him that she didn't humiliate except when she did something stupid on her own. Like playing in a rigged poker game. But not when she was just a helpless victim. Besides, humiliation wasn't physically painful, and that was what she now feared. Severe physical pain. Not a wet face.

Shigeo took a few seconds to catch his breath, then walked back to his chair behind the table, his maleness still hanging out of his pants. "Let Yuu have this bitch."

Chapter 8

Yuu Ekiken. Tomi again recognized the name from Makoto's books. Another of Makoto's pornographers. But Yuu's publications were quite different from Shigeo's pure sex magazines. Yuu's publications were brutal. Sado-masochistic. There were even rumors that some of his films involved actual snuff of his models.

Yuu -- who had been seated next to Shigeo -- walked directly to the suspended Tomi, who felt a guard from behind her remove the ring gag, but quickly replace it with a cloth gag thrust deep into her throat. So she still would not be allowed to talk, but would suffer whatever Yuu now had in store for her.

Yuu nodded and Tomi felt the bar under her shoulders rise until she was once again dangling high off the ground, nearly eye level to Yuu. Were all pornographers short and fat and ugly, she wondered. Is that what led to their hatred of women?

"You are both fortunate and unfortunate, my little thief," he seemed to spray his words at her, "that I am expert at the use of this very special information device." One of the guards handed him a single tail whip. "Fortunate because, if not used properly, this can cause death." Tomi cringed at his cliched laugh of hideous evil. "Unfortunate, of course, because it causes great pain. It will tighten all your muscles. Except your tongue. That, I think, it will loosen quite quickly."

Standing to her left about six feet in front of her, Yuu brought the whip crashing horizontally across Tomi's stomach. The pain reached her brain an instant later and she screamed through the thick gag. A single blow that felt like her body had been cut in two.

"Save your breath, love," Yuu said coldly. "We haven't even started. You have no idea what is in store for you." He raised the whip again and brought it down across her lower abdomen, just above her pubic bone. The third blow slashed across Tomi's thighs. Tomi's muffled shrieks of pain continued. The force of the blows, combined with her futile efforts to twist her body away, sent the horizontal bar -- and Tomi's attached body -- swaying and spinning. Which made it easier for Yuu's whip to target every inch of it.

Blow after blow. Across her shoulders. Her breasts. Her hips. Many hitting the same spot as previous blows, digging more deeply into her once smooth skin. And, after each blow, a thin line of red formed where the whip hit her body, followed by a thickening line of blood where the whip cut through the skin.

Tomi lost count of the number of blows. At least 15. Maybe 20. With no more than a few seconds respite in between. Meaning that Yuu had done this destruction to her body, and forced these shrieks of agony from Tomi's gagged lips, all within the space of two minutes.

The pain now filled her brain as well as her body, and Tomi knew that she must soon pass out. She looked down to see if any part of her skin had escaped the violation of Yuu's whip. When Yuu finally paused his attack, Tomi's head rolled and then slumped against her chest, the drool from her gagged mouth dripping down her body ultimately to join the blood on the floor directly below her still swinging body. And then, as she passed out, her blood and drool were joined by her urine as she lost control of her bladder. Her body continued to twitch even in unconsciousness.

Yuu handed the whip back to one of the guards and turned to the others behind the table. "This should be just the start for this traitor! Pain and more pain, and then she will tell us everything." He resumed his seat.

Chapter 9

Makoto nodded toward the man seated at the end of the table away from Shigeo and Yuu, who rose silently to take his turn before the slumped figure. He lifted her chin to stare into her face, then released it. It fell back to her chest. He reached into his pants pocket, pulled out a small vial, opened it and placed it under Tomi's nose. The vile odor of the smelling salts revived her with a start. It took only a second before she remembered the helplessness of her situation. And only a moment more before the pain from Yuu's punishment again consumed her body, which now shuddered uncontrollably. She tried to talk through the gag, but her words were incoherent, although clearly they meant to convey a plea for mercy.

"Sometimes, my dear," the man began, then paused for effect, "we must help you stay conscious, help you feel all that we want you to feel." He tossed the first vial away - it had served its purpose -- and removed a second from his pocket. "This one," he opened it, and rubbed some of its powder onto his fingers, "will bring you incredible pleasure. And allow you to feel incredible pain."

"In moderation, Haru. I don't want to send her into her own world. She's no use there," Makoto warned. "I want her to stay here in ours."

Haru smiled at Makoto. "Do you think that I don't know what I'm doing?" Haru Yukichi. Makoto's leading drug trafficker. Another man whom Tomi knew from her work on Makoto's books. She was to be drugged by the expert himself.

Haru pushed his fingers between the gag and the inside of Tomi's lip, and rubbed the powder into her gums. He then replenished the supply on his fingers, and this time moved them down between Tomi's spread legs, pushed them inside of her, and rubbed the powder against her tender flesh until, when he pulled out his fingers, no powder was left on them.

Haru stepped back, and all the men in the room watched Tomi's reaction. It took only a few seconds before her eyes began to blink hard and then widen and glaze, her breathing quicken. "I imagine you're feeling better now," Haru was quite correct, "but really what you are feeling is simply more. More sensations. More sensitivity. Which means that, when we continue with you, your body will also be much more acute to what we have to offer it. And the sharpness of your mind will keep you conscious, which will also add to our enjoyment. So it's what is called these days a win/win situation. You get your brief moments of ecstasy between your longer moments of pain. And we get our pleasures from your pain ... and from the information that you will soon give to us. I guess that's why crystal meth is so popular these days. It's so ... multi-faceted."

"So now," Haru once again approached Tomi's dangling figure, "if I simply provide a small caress," he gently moved his index finger around Tomi's left breast, and then massaged its nipple. Tomi felt her body explode in excitement. This time her scream through the gag, unlike the previous ones, was clearly a scream of unexpected pleasure, "you will soon beg me to ... how do these younger ones say it? ... fuck your lights out." Haru laughed as he allowed himself to pretend briefly that Tomi really wanted him. He moved both of his hands to Tomi's breasts and caressed them. his palms rubbing her nipples. Tomi appeared close to orgasm. "Go ahead," Haru cooed in her ear. "It's all right. Beg me for it. Beg me to ..." he paused for a second, thinking, "yes, to fuck your lights out." He moved his hands behind Tomi, between her body and the chains holding her wrists and ankles, and pulled her toward him until his body was pressed close to hers. He removed her gag.

"Please, yes, please," Tomi screamed the second that she was able, "fuck my lights out! Fuck my lights out!" She looked down at the bulge in Haru's pants, then into his eyes, hers pleading with him to assist her to release the pleasure building up so strongly inside her.

"And what did the sadist say to the masochist?" Haru was clearly enjoying the situation. "Why, he said ... no. I'll let the others decide how best to use your heightened sensitivity." Haru stepped back. "But not too much pleasure. Kisho. Fuwa. I think that she is ready for you." He returned to his seat.

Chapter 10

Kisho Ryutaro and Fuwa Omezo. Makoto's "enforcers." As the final two of Makoto's cohorts -- the ones seated to each side of Makoto -- rose together, Tomi was not certain which was which until one bowed to the other and spoke. "Fuwa, you may have the honor."

"In ten minutes," Fuwa addressed Tomi matter-of-factly, "we will begin asking our questions. You will not enjoy these ten minutes, but you will be ready to answer by then, I'm quite sure. Your desire to have your lights fucked out may have faded a bit, but your senses will remain sharp."

He grabbed Tomi's hair, stared for a second into her eyes, and then punched her hard in the stomach. Tomi's recently replenished lungs struggled to replace the air forced out of them. As soon as she had recovered a bit, though, Fuwa hit her in the stomach again with a blow equal to the first, still holding her head in place. When he finally let her head drop to her chest, she made no effort to raise it. But this time unconsciousness would not help her.

One of the guards handed Fuwa a pair of alligator clips attached by a spring chain. He opened one and move it around Tomi's left nipple, then slowly closed it. He heard Tomi groan, but not loudly enough for his desire. He turned the end of the clip to tighten it further and, at the same time, slide a small pin from the top half to the bottom half, through the center of Tomi's nipple. Her head jolted upright, and her groan became a short but loud scream. She looked down to see the drops of blood form around the clip.

"And now the other one," Fuwa grinned. This time Tomi was prepared, bit hard into her lip, and did not scream as Fuwa closed and secured it. "The pins hold them in place," he explained, "when you begin to thrash."

He held the spring chain in the middle of the clips and pulled gently on it. Tomi could feel her nipples stretch. Fuwa continued to pull and raised the center of the chain until Tomi again bite hard into her lip, this time drawing blood. Fuwa pulled the chain over Tomi's head and then behind her neck. The chain was now stretched taut, her nipples extended as Fuwa released his hold on the chain. Tomi arched her back as far as she could to try to ease the pain, but could not do so enough to hold back her screams.

"I will tell you what you want to know. Ask the questions. Please." Fuwa was surprised that Tomi had not lasted longer. He once again grabbed her hair and pulled her face back. This time, however, the motion further stretched the chain holding the clips, and she screamed even louder.

"Yes, dear, you will," Fuwa assured her, "but first, Kisho must have his turn with you."

Chapter 11

"It would not be fair now," Kisho approached to stand next to Fuwa, "for me to be the only one not to have an opportunity with you, would it? Besides, although you say you will tell us everything, I don't think that we can be sure. Yet."

Tomi looked into Kisho's eyes. Cold. All business. She tried to shift her weight to reduce the pressure on her nipples, but each movement forced cramping somewhere in her body.

"In case you didn't notice, in the middle of the chain connecting the metal clips is a wire with a plug that has now been inserted in a small generator behind you. I was going to complete the circuit by inserting a nice size dildo," Kisho rubbed his hand between Tomi's legs, and she cringed, but could not move away, "but I thought that you might enjoy that too much, and we're past that stage, aren't we?"

"So, instead," Kisho continued, holding up another set of alligator clips, "I thought I'd use these." He opened the first and moved it carefully around one of the inner lips of Tomi's vagina, then released it. Tomi felt the prongs pierce her sensitive skin and she gasped loudly, keeping her mouth open as she tried to steady herself for the second clip, which Kisho immediately placed and released around the other lip. He then tugged on the chain holding them together, and pulled it under and behind Tomi's body, then upward until it pulled the clips taut.

"Now that will complete the circuit more properly, I think," Kisho had walked around Tomi and he could feel him behind her. "Well, almost." Suddenly Tomi felt him push something a inch or two into her anus.

Kisho returned to face Tomi. "That will make sure that, when we want, the electricity won't just move around the front of your body, but can go deeper inside you before it jumps back to your breasts. We will try ... but we can only try, nothing is certain ... not to stop your heart in the process."

With her arms wrapped over the bar, her wrists chained behind her, her ankles chained and lifted to attach to her wrists, her legs wide apart, clips to her nipples raised and pulled around her neck, and now joined by the clips to her labia, and the small plug in her anus, Tomi knew that, within just a few seconds, she would face more pain than she had ever known. Pain not just from the electricity, though she expected that itself to be far worse than she could imagine. But when her body jolted from the pain of the electricity, as she knew it must, her motion was going to tighten the already stretched chain holding the clips attached to her nipples and labia, and pull them to the tearing point. And her thighs and buttocks were already spasming before the real torture had even begun.

"Please, no. Please," Tomi screamed. "I told you that I'd tell you everything. You don't have to do this." She could do little more than widen her eyes to try to show that she meant what she said.

Kisho looked at Tomi for a second and then spit in her face. "You are a thief and a traitor. That we know. But such a weak one. Your friends should despise you as much as those you have betrayed for being so weak. Your own friends would not be so eager to betray you to save themselves a bit of pain, would they?" Tomi started to sob. No, they probably would not, she thought.

Kisho nodded. Tomi's entire body tensed in anticipation, but nothing happened. Three seconds. Four. Then, just as Tomi began to hope that it was all a bluff, a game, she heard a click behind her and immediately felt the electric current surge into the front of her body, pulsating across her chest and then down to her vagina, across it and back upward. And, as it did, it felt like a knife cutting through her on the inside. Just as the whip had felt like a knife cutting her on the outside.

Tomi's back arched farther than she could have otherwise moved it voluntarily, and she threw back her head without thought, stretching her nipples hideously. But she could not feel the added pain that movement caused. No, that pain was dwarfed by the pain inside her. What felt like the cutting away of her vital organs.

Tomi's shrieks were continuous. Like the howling of a wolf, but one with emphysema. Five seconds. Ten. Fifteen. And then another click, although Tomi certainly could not hear it. Her body crashed down to its previous position, her chest and stomach heaving, gasping for air, her legs twitching, her mouth wide open, her eyes agape.

For ten seconds, twenty, thirty she fought to get as much air into her lungs as she could. Her entire body glistened in sweat. And just as she was able to reduce slightly the desperation that each gasp would certainly be her last, that she could not get enough air, she heard another click.

Chapter 12

This pain was even worse than the first. Now it seemed that the knife was not just cutting out her insides, but was raping her to get there, first vaginally and then anally, as the pain invaded deep inside her ... from her chest to her vagina to her anus and back to her chest, in a continuous loop.

Tomi had no idea how long this second surge of electricity lasted, having lost all concept of time. It seemed forever to her. She did not even realize how loud she was screaming or what damage her feeble attempts to escape the pain might have done to other parts of her body. She just knew that she wanted the pain to end, that she needed it to end.

And then it did. Tomi's body again crashed down as far as the horizontal bar allowed, and she gasped furiously for air. Kisho gave her a full minute to recover as best she could. By then her screaming had stopped, although her gasps continued. As did the convulsions of her body. He stepped back to give the others a better view of their helpless victim.

"Ready for a third round?" The voice belonged to Makoto.

Tomi looked up at him, her mouth still open, panting dog-like for air, desperately trying to speak, to tell him no, please no, but she was unable to form any words. She was able to shake her head violently so that her answer could not be misinterpreted.

"I didn't think so. I assume that you are ready to answer our questions?"

The movement of Tomi's head quickly switched from a violent shake to a vigorous nod. She swallowed hard and managed to shriek "yes, yes" between breaths.

"All right," Makoto stared at her. "The first false answer and I give you back to Kisho, do you understand?" Tomi continued to nod her head, oblivious to the pain that it caused to her stretched nipples.

Tomi tensed as she sensed movement behind her, but was relieved when she felt the guards remove the clips between her legs and the intrusion into her anus. They unchained her ankles from her wrists, and she slowly straightened her knees until her toes could reach the floor, though only barely. She waited for the guards to remove the clips to her nipples, but they did not.

"Make sure that she looks directly at me so that I can judge whether she is telling the truth," Makoto directed. Tomi felt a second pole, this one vertical, pushed behind her back and the horizontal pole around which her arms were chained, straightened and secured to the floor. It rose to a point level with the top of her head, and Tomi could feel the guard loop a cord over her head and around her neck, tightening it just enough to touch her skin and force her to stare straight ahead, directly at Makoto. The cord was not tight enough to restrict her breathing, which was already desperate without this added potential impediment. If she failed to tell the truth, the guard would turn the handle attached behind her to the cord, and slowly garrote her. But she doubted that Makoto would let her die that way. At least not before he got from her what he wanted.

"We don't want you in so much pain that you can't think straight. That wouldn't be good for either of us." Makoto explained, as if Tomi needed any explanation or reminder of her current situation.

Chapter 13

Chained naked in front of six of the most brutal men in Japan, and five others who certainly would love to place themselves between her spread thighs, and knowing that she probably faced torture worse than she had already endured whether she talked or not, Tomi waited for the first question.

"I assume that you used one or more dummy payees to funnel my money into corporations owned by you and your cohorts to make it look like legitimate expenses, is that correct?" Makoto began.

"Questions?" Tomi thought. "He doesn't need to ask questions. He already knows how I did it. I formed so many fake companies for his purposes, to wash his dirty money, that I just formed one more for my own purposes." With the threat of unbearable pain, and possibly disfigurement, staring her in the face, literally, in the eyes of the six sadists behind the table, and with Makoto already suspecting quite accurately what she had done -- although she didn't know how he knew -- there seemed no point denying it.

After all, if he had to, Makoto would demand his head accountant perform a thorough audit of the books. Thinking that Makoto was legitimate, the accountant would certainly uncover at least some of the dummy companies. But only one of those companies, he would learn, listed corporate officers who were not among Makoto's inner circle.

Using his banking connections, Makoto would uncover a money trail that led from that corporation to a Swiss account. And he would then track down her two friends who had helped her execute the scheme and were listed in the public records as the corporation's officers, since obviously Tomi could not list herself as one. That was why she needed accomplices. In return for fronting as the corporation's officers, and helping secrete the money, each had shared handsomely with her in the siphoned money. In a period of two years. More than 100 million a year. Maybe it had been too much. Maybe that was what led to Makoto's suspicions that someone was stealing from him. He already had an excellent idea of just how much was missing.

Tomi shuddered. Makoto would very much enjoy torturing her accomplices for their information, in part because each had fuller breasts than Tomi, and in part because he just enjoyed torturing young attractive women, and both of her friends certainly qualified in that regard. He might be particularly angered that three women under 30 years old had been stealing from him for such a long period, that they could outsmart him this way. That would harm his macho image of himself. And he probably would torture them even worse than he had tortured her, since they were the ones who had access to the Swiss account numbers that Makoto needed to gain his monies' return.

"I thought you had decided to tell me," Makoto seemed puzzled by the delay in Tomi's response. "I guess you wish a larger jolt of electricity."

Chapter 14

Tomi startled, realizing that she had been lost in her fears for her friends. But they would have to fend for themselves. They knew the risk that Makoto might find out. And she could stand no more torture. "Yes, yes, you are correct," she said hurriedly.

"How many corporations?"

"Just one. Kyoko Equipment Corporation." Kyoko was set up as one of the companies that leased large excavation equipment to Makoto for his construction projects, so that the payment of large sums to it would not seem unusual. The corporation's only asset was the post office box where the checks were sent. Tomi regretted not spending some of the stolen money to set up a better front for the corporation. But it was too late now. She had been sloppy because she truly thought that Makoto wouldn't bother to find out, and wouldn't care if he did. That he would rather continue to fuck her than get back money that would make no difference at all in his life. In fact, she had imagined him telling her one night in bed that he knew what she had done, letting her be terrified for a moment, and then laughing about it until she laughed, telling her how clever she was, and screwing her even more passionately the rest of the night out of an added respect for her cleverness. A dream. Turned into a nightmare.

Makoto stared at her. She was telling the truth, but what if he didn't believe her? What if he thought that her operation had to be more sophisticated and complicated than it really was? "Using more than one corporation would just have meant more chance to be caught," Tomi quickly added.

Makoto looked into her eyes, then slowly up and down her naked body just to remind her how important it was for her to tell him the truth. Tomi could feel her body shuddering from its prior torment. And from fear. Tremendous fear.

"You would have to register even a fake corporation with the authorities, because all of our payments accounts payable have tax numbers on them."

Again, was he asking her or telling her? "Yes, of course. Registered. You can check." She responded quickly this time.

"Then you must have had at least two officers of the corporation listed with the authorities. And you would dare not use your own name."

Why had she tried to outwit a man who mind was so evil ... and so brilliant ... that he was able to control Tokyo's underworld and knew in an instant what she had done to steal his money? What had she been thinking? And now would she betray her two friends to a fate similar to her own? Or maybe even worse?

It didn't take Tomi long to decide. She had already given the corporate name they had used, so Makoto could in minutes look up the records that would show the names of its two corporate officers. She had already betrayed them. Suffering additional pain would serve no purpose. It would not save them.

"Cho Yurik," she said slowly, "and Hyata Hatsuyo." [See Cho Pic and Hyata Pic]

Chapter 15

"And who besides these two assisted you?"

"No one else," Tomi offered resignedly. She started to shake her head, but the wire would not allow it. "There was no reason to share the money with more than the two whose names I needed for the corporate records."

"Tell me what these two women look like. We will want to question them. But we want to be sure that we do not accidentally involve someone who is innocent."

"Both are nice looking. Nice shapes. Dark hair."

"Thin like you?"

"Bigger chests if that's what you're asking."

"Identifying marks?"

Tomi thought for a second. "Cho has a small butterfly tattoo just above her left hip. And Hyata has a red streak in her black hair."

"I see." Makoto was nodding toward Tomi. "Very helpful. Yes, very helpful."

Makoto rose from the table, which signaled the other five also to rise. Three moved to the wall on Tomi's left, the other three, including Makoto, to the wall on her right.

One of the men on her left -- Tomi could not see which -- pulled a draw string near the wall and the curtain behind the table that covered from the middle of the wall all the way to the left wall opened. As Tomi saw behind it, she screamed.

There, her head tilted toward her right shoulder, tongue visible at the right side of her mouth, with a look of hideous pain etched on her contorted face, eyes open wide, was a naked woman, her limbs chained to the four ends of an X-frame. A woman with larger than average-sized breasts. And dark hair. Dark hair with a red streak through it. Hyata. Makoto had captured Hyata before he had captured Tomi.

Captured and brutally tortured Hyata. A single long spear penetrated the middle of both of her breasts from side to side, its ends held horizontally by chains whose other ends had been run through rings in the ceiling and then secured to rings in the floor behind her, so that the spear, and Hyata's breasts -- or what was left of them -- could be raised link by link at the will of her interrogators. The spear had in fact been been pulled upward -- probably a single link at a time to lengthen her agony -- so that now only the backs of Hyata's toes touched the floor.

With her breasts pulled and stretched upward, Tomi could see burn marks on their undersides. More than she could count. A combination of small circular burns, probably from a cigarette, and longer, meaner ones, probably from a hot iron. Across her stomach as well. And thighs. Tomi could not help but imagine how, when Hyata tried to twist away from the approaching heat and when she reacted in intense pain as the weapons found their marks, the spear had dug deeper into to her soft tissue and glands, reaming a larger and larger cavity through them. Like the clips now holding Tomi's nipples. But worse.

Nor was there any doubt that Hyata's torturers had eventually pried from her screaming lips all that they needed from her. Because, after they had done so, they had executed her, as a second spear, perpendicular to the first spear that held her breasts, had been thrust through the middle of Hyata's body, entering just below and between her ribs and exiting her back, its point embedded where the two slats of the X-frame joined, holding her body in place even as her knees sagged.

Chapter 16

"You already knew," Tomi screamed at Makoto. "You already knew everything!!"

"A little confirmation is always necessary, wouldn't you agree? Or maybe even more than a little." Makoto smiled, paused, then waved his hand.

The curtain behind the right side of the room now opened. Tomi closed her eyes, but she knew what ... or, more accurately, who ... was behind the curtain. As soon as Tomi opened her eyes, she recognized Cho, even before seeing the confirming butterfly tattoo above her hip.

Maybe Makoto subconsciously resented being weaned too early. Or maybe he had been rejected or humiliated early in life by a woman with large breasts. For whatever reason ... not that the reason mattered in the slightest to his victims ... he enjoyed torturing a woman's breasts. And Cho's large breasts had suffered even more than Hyata's.

A large metal claw had been closed around each, its blades digging into the soft flesh. And then the blades had been attached to chains and pulled upward --this now seemed to Tomi a theme of Makoto's torture methods -- until Cho was literally hanging by her breasts, her wrists handcuffed behind her back, her ankles free to try futilely to reduce the pain, their kicks only adding to it, however.

Tomi could not see the shapes of the blades, or their number, but she could see that they were continuing to dig more deeply into Cho, as the weight of her body hung from them. For the moment, the blades prevented Cho's body from falling to the ground. But once the blades met in the center, they would severe her breasts entirely from her body, which would then fall, breast-less, to the ground.

Not that any of this mattered anymore to Cho. Tomi could see that, after the blades were secured, Cho's heart had continued to force her blood out the hideous cuts that deformed her breasts, down her body and onto the floor under her. From the large pool of blood beneath her -- much large than that beneath Hyata -- Tomi knew that it must have taken Cho a very long time to die.

"That one was not as cooperative as the first," Makoto nodded in Cho's direction, again reading Tomi's mind. "She had the last four numbers of the account."

Yes. The two had told Tomi how clever they had been to direct the bank to give Hyata the first four numbers and Cho the second four of the account number, and then agreed with the bank that their deposits could be made using a different number, but that their withdrawals required the entire 8-digit number. This way, neither could withdraw without the consent of the other, so neither could cheat the other. And no one capturing one of them could gain enough information to withdraw any funds. Yes, so foolishly clever. They knew that their names were in the public records. That was the only reason Tomi needed them. So all that their scheme did was ensure that both of them would share this fate. And, with Makoto, it wasn't a matter of fate, but only a matter of time.

"When she finally did tell us, and we confirmed the information -- we had learned the name of the bank and the first four numbers from the other one, and had our man in Zurich waiting for the final information -- there seemed no reason to reward this second one with a quick death, as we had the first. So we just watched her struggle and scream. I think by the end she regretted trying to resist us. What do you think?" As Makoto turned back to look at Cho's hanging body, Tomi knew that he was trying to figure out how long it would take before the claws completed their work and her body fell.

Chapter 17

"By now, I imagine, that you realize that we did not spend the evening playing poker. No, we were involved in these more ... financially rewarding activities, which we needed to conduct these past several hours, while the banks in Switzerland were open. Since that was the logical destination for my money."

So Tomi's timing had simply been convenient for them. They had finished with Hyata and Cho, confirmed the accuracy of their information, and moved back to the card room to discuss Tomi's own fate. And, while they were doing so, Tomi had opened the door and walked in. They didn't even have to send guards to her room. On top of that, they had a chance to enjoy a little fun with her first, getting her to strip for them before they brought her here for their real purpose. Yes, she had presented herself to them. Naked on a silver platter.

"We needed to make sure that these two were your only accomplices. You should be relieved to know that we believe they were, since the money in the account is close to the amount that you stole. I guess none of you even got a chance to enjoy it, which was very considerate."

Tomi's eyes darted left to stare briefly again at Hyata's body, then to the right to Cho's. Each had suffered a truly horrible, painful, disfiguring death. Deaths for which Tomi herself was largely responsible. That and their own greed. So they were not be entirely absolved from responsibility for their own fate. But, still, it was Tomi who had approached them, tempted them, and they had paid too severely for their weakness.

"Don't feel guilty about them." Could Makoto always read her mind? "We only uncovered your scheme by accident. The one with the red streak in her hair, she had a big mouth. She just had to tell one of her lovers how rich she and a friend of hers were soon going to be. Of course, the lover she told just happened to be Haru's son. Who on his own ... clever boy ... told her that his cousin was visiting and maybe the red-haired one could fix his cousin up with her friend, and the four of them could go out to dinner. Then he told us. And Fuwa got to play the cousin since he's the youngest of us."

Makoto was so cold-blooded, Tomi thought. He didn't even remember ... or maybe had not even bothered to learn ... the names of the two women he had just tortured to death. They were not women to him. They were just cargo containers holding something that he wanted. In this case, information.

"The four had a lovely early dinner by the way," Makoto continued. "And then they came here for dessert. I'm afraid the women didn't enjoy the dessert so well. Do you know why my friends here didn't all fuck you? Because they are too warn out from fucking your friends. Except Shigeo. He's rather amazing, isn't he? Now, if you had breasts like the other two, I'll bet the others might have made the effort." Tomi attention suddenly returned to her pierced and stretched nipples.

"You know, dear Tomi," Makoto continued, and Tomi wished that he couldn't remember her name, either, "we need nothing further from you." Tomi shuddered. She knew. Of course, she knew. But hearing the words was like hearing that a sick grandfather had died at the age of 93. You knew that it was imminent. But, when it finally happened, it was still shocking. "Well, actually, we need one more thing from you," Makoto seemed reflective. "We need you to ensure that the rest of our staff is loyal to us, and not to you."

Tomi watched the two curtains close, separating her for a final time from her two conspirators. Makoto and his five cohorts returned to their chairs behind the table. She heard the door behind her open, and four people were marched to the front of the table, a guard on each side. Each was fully clothed and unrestrained, but blindfolded. Tomi recognized them immediately. Two men -- Daiki and Goro. And two women -- Leiko and Junko. The four accountants who worked for Tomi to launder Makoto's money.

"In a few seconds," Makoto's voice was commanding -- it usually was -- as he spoke to them, "you are going to remove your blindfolds. What you will see will be unpleasant for you. Your first reaction may be to scream. Do not. Do you each understand?"

All four quietly murmured "yes, sir."

"You know that I demand loyalty. Demand," Makoto shouted the word, "your loyalty. And for that you are very well paid."

Again, each responded "yes, sir," even though he had asked no question.

"And do you each know what the consequences are for violating that loyalty?" No response. "Do you?" Makoto again shouted.

"No, sir," in unison from all four.

"I will show you. Remove your blindfolds."

Chapter 18

The four slowly removed their blindfolds, each taking a few extra seconds to prepare for whatever this promised unpleasantness might be.

Tomi could see their eyes widen as they saw her circumstance -- naked, chained, nipples squeezed and stretched with a cord around her neck. She saw the two men look up and down her body. The only sympathy to her plight came from Leiko, who closed her eyes involuntarily for a second, but then opened them, hoping that Makoto had not noticed. A display of sympathy, she realized, might signal to Makoto that she was part of whatever it was that had led Makoto to place their accounting supervisor in the horrible position in which they now found her.

"Your boss, Ms. Yomura, has confessed to stealing more than 200 million yen from me and my friends," Makoto's voice was cold. The four new arrivals all stiffened noticeably. "You may relax," Makoto continued. "You are not suspected of assisting her. Two of her accomplices, though, have already been located and ... disciplined. Now, as you can see, it is Ms. Yomura's turn. What should be her punishment?"

Makoto looked at Daiki, who knew that he had only one answer that Makoto would accept. "If someone stole 200 million from me, I would ensure that she never again stole from me." Daiki looked at Tomi's body again, but could not look into her eyes.

Makoto nodded. "Yes, you understand. Now go take the handle behind her neck, and give it one full turn. Then you may leave."

Daiki hesitated for a second, then walked slowly up to Tomi, refusing to look at her at all. He stepped behind her, and the guard showed him the handle attached to the cord around her neck. He grasped it and gave it a full turn. Tomi's body tensed as the cord tightened, for the first time beginning to cut off her air supply. Her body tensed, her mouth opened, trying to force more air into her lungs. Daiki was out the door at the side of the room before she had taken her second breath.

Makoto looked at Goro. Without a word, he stepped behind Tomi, gave the handle a turn, and walked quickly to the door without waiting to see the results of his act.

Tomi could now feel her windpipe narrow, and her attempts to fill her lungs were no longer more than partially successful. She was starting to panic, which was not helping her situation. Short shallow gasps for air. She could feel her legs twitch.

Makoto looked at Leiko, who stood motionless, then took two deep breaths and walked behind Tomi. With her face turned away from the men at the table, she whispered "I'm so sorry" so only Tomi could hear, then gave the handle another full turn. Leiko's knees grew weak, and two of the guards escorted her out of the room.

The cord had now tightened around Tomi's neck to the point where, whether her windpipe had been partially crushed or not, she could not get enough air into her lungs to survive for very long. Her desperate eyes moved toward Makoto, who stared back at her, then toward Junko, the only one of the four still in the room.

Chapter 19

Junko protested. "I am sorry. sir, but I will not torture her further. Torture should be for information, not for punishment. I will show my loyalty by ending this for her, if you wish."

Makoto looked at the struggling Tomi, whose face was beginning to turn red, and then thought for a second about Junko's offer. Yes, it would show loyalty. And give him something to hold over her should she ever get out of line. And he would soon have a few free nights each week. Makoto instructed the nearest guard to give Junko the guard's gun. "With two bullets. In case she has second thoughts after using the first, she should have a chance to use the second on herself. But guards, keep all your guns pointed at this young woman. If she does anything except aim the weapon at Ms. Yomura or herself, shoot her instantly. In case she is trying to play a game with me."

Junko took the guard's weapon and walked a few steps in front of Tomi's gasping form. With the cord so tight, Tomi could not even shake her head to beg Junko not to kill her. Or, maybe, to beg her to kill her. At this point Tomi did not know which she wanted.

Junko raised the weapon and aimed at Tomi. "On the count of three, boss," she said. Makoto obliged and began the count "One." Was her hand shaking? "Two." She cocked the gun. Yes, it was. "Three."

In a flash, not one, but five shots rang out in unison. Makoto looked to his left, then to his right, and saw that, while he, Akio and his guards, per his orders, had focused all of their attention on Tomi and Junko, his five cohorts behind the table had quietly drawn their own weapons. At Junko's count of three, each had shot a different one of Makoto's five henchmen, including Akio, in what was obviously a well-organized coup. Even before Makoto could fully comprehend what had happened, Junko, freed from the fear of being shot herself, turned toward him, her hands now quite steady, and aimed her gun between his eyes. "Death to the tyrant," she screamed in a loud, clear voice, and fired without hesitation. Makoto fell backward, dead before his body hit the ground.

Junko quickly turned back to Tomi, whose face was deep red, her eyes starting to glaze and bulge, from the lack of oxygen. "And you. If you were an honorable woman, I'd just put a bullet in your brain. But it isn't your brain that helped you steal from my friends here."

Junko walked up close to Tomi, who could only follow her with her eyes, still struggling futilely for air. Junko moved her foot between Tomi's legs and forced them 18 inches apart. "No, it wasn't your brain that gave you the opportunity to steal from us. He wasn't fucking your brain."

Junko moved the barrel of the gun between Tomi's legs and then jammed it upward. "No, you whore, the punishment should fit the crime."

She fired the second bullet. It traveled up into Tomi's body, lodging somewhere in her chest. Her body jolted forward, releasing its nipples to the tight metal clamps, and then tried to slump, but the cord around her throat twisted her strangely as her eyes closed. Junko did not focus on destroying a woman's breasts, as Makoto did. The result, unfortunately for Tomi, was that Junko instead violated her body in the most disfiguring manner possible.

Junko held the gun inside Tomi for several seconds, then pulled it out, bloody, and felt Tomi's neck for a pulse. There was none. She moved her face inches from Tomi's and stared at it.

With her own focus now on Tomi, Junko did not even hear the words behind her. "Who authorized you to violate our codes?" Another shot sounded. Junko's body suddenly tensed as the bullet penetrated the right side of her back, and she began slowly to sink to the ground, clutching at Tomi's body as she fell.

With his gun still in his hand, Kisho walked up to Junko, who was now lying on her stomach in front of Tomi. He kicked Junko's side to roll her over onto her back. As he did so, Junko's limbs splayed, spreadeagled. Her eyes were open, but she could not move.

"Did you think that you were now in charge? That you did not have to follow our rules and orders?" Kisho reached down and grabbed the top of Junko's blouse and tore it open, then pulled down her bra to reveal her smallish breasts. Junko's lips moved. She seemed to be trying to explain. Or to beg.

"That may be how Makoto treated those who betrayed him, but we are more professional. As you yourself said when you took the gun, we kill when necessary, but we do not disfigure just to satisfy a sick desire for revenge." He pointed his gun at the prone Junko and fired a single shot that struck her between her breasts. Junko's body jolted upward once, and then back down, as blood began to ooze from the fatal wound. Her limbs remained splayed and her eyes open. But her lips stopped moving.

"Now let us all retire upstairs to discuss a fairer division of our efforts," Kisho directed, as he walked out the door, followed closely by Makoto's former cohorts. They left the room. But six men -- Makoto, Akio and the four guards -- and four women -- Tomi, Hyata, Cho and Junko -- did not.

Things would be different now.


Leiko suddenly found herself the consortium's head "launderer," with her activities known only to her, Goro and Daiki. The Kyoko account was closed, and things in the compound were calmer than they had ever been when Makoto was in charge. And Leiko made certain not to repeat Tomi's mistake of sleeping with her boss.

After several months, however, Leiko realized just how much money her accounting methods made the consortium, and the pressure to create just one additional account for herself proved too great. She knew exactly what Tomi had done, and how she had been discovered. Leiko would not make the same mistakes. She would set up a better front than a mere post office box. By forging the officers' names, she would not have to share the proceeds with anyone. Nor would there be any risk of any accomplice betraying her, either willingly or unwillingly. And she would be more reasonable in the amounts that went into that account. A hundred million yen a year was too much. Perhaps only a quarter of that amount. Or maybe a half. Since all of 50 million yen a year for herself was more than Tomi's one-third share of a million yen. Wasn't the small risk of being caught worth the risk? Yes, it was, Leiko decided. Especially given the precautions that she had taken.

But by the end of the first year, Leiko would certainly wish that she had answered that question differently.


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