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Brain(6)

By´╝ÜCandace Blevins



I was pretty sure this was a rental cabin in the middle of nowhere, which meant screaming would do me no good. I could see forever out the front windows, we were high up on a mountain with a kick-ass view, and all I could see from any other window was forest.

Wulff’s rope was at least twenty or thirty feet long, and he doubled it up and put the bent loop behind my ankles. My fight or flight instincts kicked in without my consent this time, and I tried to fight, but Fox grabbed me and held me from behind as he said, “Wulff doesn’t want me to hurt you, but knows I might have to if you struggle too much. Do us both a favor and don’t fight.”

“You can’t expect me to just sit passively and let you fucking tie me up!” I said, still fighting despite his unexpected strength. I mean, sure, he had muscles, but so did I, and he didn’t look this fucking strong. He was treating me as if I were a toddler refusing to eat her mashed potatoes, for crying out loud!

Within a few minutes my legs had enough rope around them I couldn’t pull them apart, and I stopped fighting. I needed to pick my battles, which meant preserving my energy unless I had a hope of succeeding.

Wulff spent thirty minutes doing fancy ropework on my lower legs, until I may as well have been a freaking mermaid, with one limb instead of two. I was bound from my big toes all the way to just under my knees — no way would I walk anywhere.

I zoned out for part of it, and when I came back and realized my PTSD had taken over, I stayed frozen as I talked myself down, because I couldn’t afford to zone out around these guys. I needed to stay alert, so if there was a chance to escape, I could take it. Wulff seemed reticent to actually hurt me. If they were going to rape and torture me, they would’ve started already. Even Fox, who badly wanted to start the torture portion of the program, had only mentioned hooking me up to a battery.

When Brain finished, he said, “This is snug enough to stay put, but not so tight it should interfere with circulation. If your feet get cold, let me know and I’ll double-check, though.”

I rolled my eyes. “So fucking thoughtful. Just a regular damned Romeo.”

He propped my legs on the sofa, put a throw blanket over them so we couldn’t see the ropework, and sat opposite me in an upholstered chair that matched the sofa.

“You’re good, and you’re careful, but so am I,” he said. “Because I’m quite familiar with the IP addresses they use most, it appears you do regular work for the Disciple Playas.”

“If you know the answers, there should be no questions.”

“Did they hire you to hack us?”

I sighed and told him, “You have to know I can’t tell you that, Wulff.”

“Do they think you’re a guy?”

“Everyone on the planet thinks my hacker persona is a guy except you and a few Russians, and, I’m assuming, your friend.”

“He doesn’t know your hacker name. Duke and I are the only ones who know right now.”

“You wanting me to worship at your feet and thank you for that?”

He grinned, apparently thinking my attempts at throwing him off balance were funny. “The woman I told you about? Your possible way out? Her name is close enough to Crystal, you can likely get away with using it as a nickname.”

“You’re offering me a way out, how do you know I want out of this life?”

“I don’t, but if you want it, I can make it happen. You don’t know me, so you’ll have to trust that when I give my word, I mean it, but you have my word I’ll do everything I can to keep you safe during the transition period, until you get back on your feet under your knew identity.”

He sighed when I didn’t respond, and told me, “You never scoped Fox. I didn’t use him much, but he was dressed in various civilian clothes when he tailed you, and always in a different car. We worked a deal with the rental company to return and get a new car as often as we wanted. When you ditched your bike, I hoped you’d ride the trolley somewhere, and had him close by the nearest trolley stop in case you did. I watched another, after I lost you, but he got on right behind you and then followed you off.”

“How did you know what name I was registered?”

I got his cocky-assed grin again, and, “Can’t give away all my secrets.”

I pulled from what I knew of the RTMC. They were known to rough people up, but they protected women, even the prostitutes they pimped out. I didn’t know if they were above murder, but I hoped they were. They knew I could never go to the cops and report them for kidnapping, though, so my seeing their faces didn’t necessarily mean I was doomed to death.

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