In jeopardy we steer.
Then welcome Fate's discourtesy
Whereby it shall appear
How in all time of our distress,
And our deliverance too,
The game is more than the player of the game,
And the ship is more than the crew!
Friday, July 6, 2012 – Harry’s Place, Thames Path, London
It was nearly three in the morning. The floor was of marble quality. The polished tiled surface inversely reflected Tom’s body as he lay like a discarded puppet in the corner of the cell. Masking tape covered his mouth. His arms were bound behind his back, tied at the wrist by a plastic strap. His legs were shackled together by two steel rings around his ankles, which were joined together by a metre long rubber bungee.
Ventilation was provided by a large fan, flush against the wall in the uppermost part of the cell. Harry had made sure the fan was large enough to do the job. To force air in or alternatively, force it out – all of it. He had made sure, for the comfort of his prisoners – his humour was rarely funny – that heating could be provided at a comfortable temperature from under floor pipes that ran the length and breadth of the cell.
Harry was pleased. He was proud. He was excited. This man was his very first inmate. Tumbling the now unconscious inebriated body out of the car had been easy for him. Harry was big and had carried the man over his shoulder into his converted home, a warehouse. Harry had undressed the man and had applied the restraints. In comparison to Harry, the man had nothing physically to admire. But it was the man’s mental attributes that intrigued Harry. The more so since his wallet had revealed that one, Tom Abimelech, 29 years of age, was on the verge of becoming a Catholic priest.
Harry needed to spend some time to think through how he was going to dismantle this man’s character, this man’s mind. In the meantime, the monitors all showed that Tom was alive and that his body rhythm had settled into a heavy sleep.
With one last look on the screen, he could see that Tom’s body remained still; the silent humming of the fan provided the only movement to accompany the scene below. Everything was as it should be. Perfect, thought Harry. With that memory for company he left for Tom’s hotel, confident that his systems would monitor his victim’s welfare and record any sounds, whilst the restraints would prevent any harm coming to him, yet.
much like the ones used to hold bulls, were embedded near the edges of the ceiling.
Fear breathed its cold spell into the room.
He was naked – this is obscene, the thought was like a klaxon in his head.
To restore some circulation, Tom moved his legs gently up and down. The movements were slow, as if he was on a treadmill for the elderly. The floor had an ambient temperature, making the room comfortably warm, although the word comfortable did not remotely enter his mind.
His bladder felt uncontrollably full. No one came. He hung on, until drugged inspired sloth overcame him and he slept.
‘If I can just climb out of bed and get to the toilet, I can grab a few more hours sleep before Rutenga's cockerel crows and awakes the village heralding the start of another day. Ah, there it is. What bliss.’
Urine gushed over his legs and onto the floor. At first, in a sweeping torrent then followed by the slow, fragmented ebbing of a river drying up from its source.
Tom awoke and found himself lying in the warm waters of his humiliation, and sobbed.
The distant hum of the mosquito whirled consistently in his head. If only Tom had remembered to draw the net around the whole of the bed, then he wouldn't be the subject of the insect's next blood feast. He awoke with a start as he fought to swat the insect away. It was then that he realised that he couldn't speak and that his legs and arms were constrained. He could hardly move.
Tom’s eyes opened a fraction and allowed a flicker of light to enter under the veil of his eyelashes. His eyes focused on the wall fan – the mosquito he wondered. His brain was thumping; hell’s head was twisting inside his skull. He was trussed up, and was stuck – a fly in a spider's web.
Tom whispered his prayers fervently.
‘Holy Michael, Archangel, defend me in the day of battle, be my safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil and by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits that wander the earth for the ruin of souls.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.’
Tom’s eyes now opened wide and flicked from side to side. To his right face down, he could see clean white tiles stretching away from him in all ways across the room. Against one side stood ominously a polished stainless steel adjustable height mortuary table, above which, flush against a wall, hung surgical instruments. Next to this was a counter, sunk within it was a white ceramic sink, the base bulged out underneath as if displaying a pregnant stomach. Rearing their ugly heads above the sink, loomed large stainless steel long armed taps, idling, and waiting to be used. A flexible wall mounted hosepipe with a spray attachment was curled up asleep. The walls appeared opaque and lifeless.
Apart from the fan, there were no other sounds.
Tom twisted his body and rolled onto his back – this is not happening; this is a mistake, his thoughts pleaded a welcome reality to replace this clinical cage.
His body weighed heavily on his arms and he could think of nothing except the pain of the straps cutting into his skin. He groaned through the cramping agony and with Herculean effort, writhed and struggled upwards, using the wall as a prop, until at last, he sat back, almost upright against it.
He looked up and a number of thick steel rings,
Against one side stood ominously a polished stainless steel adjustable height mortuary table, above which, flush against a wall, hung surgical instruments.
Copyright 2017 Philip A Oldfield - Author of cross genre psychological thrillers and romantic comedies, all with strong female protagonists
Exeter, Devon, England. All rights reserved.