She was disconcerted, to say the least, by waking up to realize she had no idea where she was.
It was even more distressing to open her eyes to find it dark -- not middle of the night dark, but ohmigod-can’t-see-the-end-of-my-nose-where-the-hell-am-I dark -- and that her hands and feet were bound, and if the goose bumps were a guide, as close to naked as she could get without actually being so.
Aimee shook her head, but the slightly muzzy feeling she’d woken up with still clung at the edges. Am I dreaming?
A pinch on her inner thigh that no doubt left her with a red mark assured her she wasn’t. It stung like hell. Not dreaming then.
The walls were close, much too close; her hands had been bound at the wrist, but not to her body, so she still had some maneuverability and didn’t have to reach far to feel the walls of her cage. There was about a foot either side of where she sat that, once you calculated in the width of her ass, made her cage roughly four foot wide. With her arms stretched right out above her head she could just touch the top, and her fingertips told her the walls were smooth, not unlike the feel of thick paper.
A cardboard box.
But how did she end up naked -- and from what she could gather by touch, wrapped in wide satin ribbon -- and in a damn box? Close to tears, she sniffed to hold them back and caught the slight smell of peppermint -- just like the scent she used in her shop, The Jolly Santa.
Damn it, the sick bastard’s put me in a box that came from my own store!
A tear escaped to trickle down her cheek, only to be soaked up by the ribbon her jailer had used as a gag. The gag wasn’t that tight, but it still made it difficult for her to close her mouth, and with her hands tied together, palm-to-palm in front of her, she couldn’t reach the knot in back.
She sniffed again, but the tears overflowed, there was no holding them back.
Who would do this to her? Why
had they done this? She didn’t have any obvious enemies. Well, none that she knew about, at least.
Visions of psycho killers danced in her head; the horrific images of the abducted girls from the movie Hostel
-- images only two weeks old -- were especially clear. The bindings around her ankles were tight, but she fought them anyway, her hearing straining as she waited for the whine of a chain saw or the click and hum of an electric cattle prod through. Only the tinny sounds of holiday music made it through the walls of the box.
Oh God. I’ve been abducted by some nut job with a weird Christmas fetish, or maybe a vendetta against Santa for not bringing him a bike when he was eight.
Maybe she should have listened to her mother when she’d told her opening an all year round Christmas decoration shop was a bad idea. But she’d been wrong!
The Jolly Santa had been running profitably from the day it opened -- apparently, like sex, Christmas sells.
Aimee froze mid sob as she caught the click-clack of keys bouncing on a door lock. The assembly rattled as it was turned, the locking mechanism horribly loud to her over-stressed hearing, despite the distance. She began to shake as she heard the eerie screech of the door opening. Her abductor was happily singing.
“We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merr -- what the fuck
?” Heavy footsteps came through the door and halted, the keys rattled again -- being removed from the lock no doubt. It was strange the way she could rationalize every single little sound.
The door slammed, the reverberations rattling through the floor and to her box, all the way through the soles of her feet and her butt. The steps marched closer, then there was a heavy thud as something substantial was dropped to the floor…some sort of bag, maybe?
It was true what they said, when faced with certain death your life did flash before your eyes. Aimee blinked back the memories and regretted only one thing: that she’d never told Joseph Christopher how she really felt about him.
More steps; around her cage now. She dared not move in case she drew attention to herself. Something scratched around the sides -- fingers? Aimee barely let herself breathe.
“How the hell did this get here?”
The box rocked as it was pushed from side. “Heavy, whatever it is.”
Aimee threw her shoulder into the side of the box the push had come from.
“And it moves. Great.” The man seemed annoyed. “If Darren snuck in here and left me a sheep, I’m going to keep the damn thing, fatten it up, and feed it to him at Easter.” There was scrabbling at the top of the box. “A card, how nice.” The ironic sarcasm was thick.
Something was not right with this situation, not right at all. But who was she to complain if the guy, whoever he was, wasn’t a psychotic mass murder. But it begged the questions: who and why?
“Joseph,” the man read, “you’ve tried so hard this year, but Aimee just couldn’t see it. So we decided it’s time you both got what you really want. You’ll find your gift inside the box. Make the most of it. C&P”
Understanding hit with a flash of disbelief. Her incredulous scream of “No, no, no, no, no
!” only came out as a muffled squeal as she tugged against the restraints on her limbs. The box rocked to and fro as she fought; her terrorized emotions screamed at the injustice of it not being a stranger, but the man she’d crushed on for a good five years now slowly lifting up the lid of the box her demented cousins, Candy and Petunia, had trapped her in. They must have drugged her at dinner, stripped her, tied her up, and left her on Joseph’s doorstep like the proverbial pig with an apple in its mouth.
Her cousins had gone much too far this time.