blowing her pretty red whistle to signal the start of the game,
Paige had explained to the Forwards—Ivy, Betty, Sophie, and
Ripley, the bikini-clad, box-tied, and stringently tape-gagged
members of both teams, all of whom were straining at the
proverbial bit—that they were to sally forth into the wilderness
and return only when she blew the whistle two more times,
bringing with them all the bikini-parts they'd harvested from
the opposing team. At that point, Paige would tally the
count and award a point for each top and bottom not properly in
place, as well as penalty points for cuts, scrapes, bruises or
other signs of overly enthusiastic combat. This was a
bikini hunt, not an uncivilized brawl. (Bikini
hunts are civilized brawls.)
The Forwards gazed at one another, blinked and/or heaved
sighs... then nodded in consensus. No bound and gagged
Paige smiled (or rather continued smiling). "One blast
starts the game," she reiterated, "and two blasts means it's
over." She readied the whistle for use. "On
three. One... Two..." Tweeeeet!
Sophie and Ripley sprinted for the pair of posts framing the gap
in the mansion's landscaping that served as the principal trail
head into the interior. Ivy and Betty jogged after them,
frantically signaling each other with fluttering fingers.
Now would have been a really good time for the Team Alice
Forwards to spontaneously develop fluency in American Sign
Language, but Paige seriously doubted that was happening.
In any case, it was clear the pair had decided to stick together
and operate as a team.
That might work, Paige conceded, but if Sophie and
Ripley find Alice first, she won't stand a chance.
Anyway, her Starter task accomplished, Paige turned and entered
the mansion. She made her way to her bedroom and changed
from her sandals, jeans, Head Umpire black and white vertically
striped blouse, bra, and panties... and into her white bikini,
white anklets, and Columbia Escape Ascent™ Trail Shoes (in pink,
aqua, and black). Her pretty red whistle remained on its
pretty red lanyard around her neck, and a pair of folded
sunglasses was now down the front of her bikini-top, between her
Paige's intent was to take an iPad out under the shade of the
pergola, together with an insulated carafe of hot coffee and her
favorite mug, and follow the action out on the playing field, as
best she could. Several cleverly camouflaged cameras were
situated throughout the "wilderness," allowing more-or-less full
coverage of the clearings where she'd stashed Alice and
Chelsea. Unfortunately, there was no behind-the-scenes
team of highly trained technicians feverishly editing the feed
into a coherent broadcast, so it wouldn't be like watching a
football game. In any case, the action was already
continuously streaming to the mansion's bank of security
servers, so if Paige ever felt so motivated, she could edit it
herself and try and reconstruct the action in full detail.
Just then... "Bing-bong-biiing!"
Paige blinked in surprise. The chimes were the signal that
someone had punched the correct code into the roadside security
kiosk and was opening the gates guarding the bridge onto the
island! Needless to say, no guests or deliveries were
expected. She hurried to the nearest security station,
navigated the menu, and watched on the iPad-size screen as a
metallic gray luxury SUV (possibly a Cadillac of the CT series)
passed through the outer gate, crossed the bridge, passed
through the inner gate, then started climbing the driveway up to
the mansion. The gates rolled closed behind it.
Paige hurried to the mansion's front entryway and stood ready to
trigger the panic button that would summon the police and
double-lock all the doors. It would also unlock a nearby
gun safe, open its well-camouflaged door, and present a Glock 19
handgun, grip first. She watched through a sidelight
window as the SUV pulled up and stopped, the driver's door
opened, and a diminutive driver emerged. Paige's heart
skipped a beat and her smile returned. She quickly hit the
override button, returning the security system to its normal "at
home" mode, and flung open the front door.
"Bernie!" Paige laughed as she stomped forward, pulled the
newcomer into a tight bear hug, lifted her off her feet, and
spun her around. "You're here early!"
The newcomer in question was Bernadette Corbyn, Alice and
Chelsea's 60-something mother and the tyrannical (loving)
matriarch of the Corbyn clan. "Bernie" was 5' 1" in her
bare feet, although at the moment she was wearing a stylish and
no doubt hideously expensive pair of driving slippers. She
was also wearing the short, lightweight skirt of a
custom-tailored business suit, minus its matching jacket, and a
black cotton blouse. Her gleaming brown tresses were loose
about her shoulders, framing her beautiful, smiling face.
Paige continued her hug. Paige Livingston and Bernadette
"Bernie" Corbyn had history.
"You're crushing me!" Bernadette complained.
"Liar," Paige purred.
"Stop!" Bernadette commanded. "Let go! I have plans
for the rest of the day."
Paige planted a kiss on the top of Bernadette's head, then
released her hug and set about gathering the luggage from the
SUV. There wasn't much, only a leather laptop bag, a
carry-on duffel, and a garment bag, both from Gucci's Ophidia
collection. "You're more than a week ahead of
schedule," Paige noted. "What gives?"
"I managed to shuffle my calendar and delegated the make-work,"
Bernadette purred as she shouldered the laptop bag and draped
her jacket over the butter-soft leather. Then,
hand-in-hand with Paige, they headed for the mansion. "Did
I come at a bad time?"
"The Girls will be glad to see you," Page purred, "by which I
mean all the Girls, not just your darling
daughters. They're busy at the moment, but just wait 'til
they learn you're here."
Bernadette's smile turned... sinister? "About that," she
said, giving Paige's hand a squeeze. "How's your
Paige's smile turned coy. "Uh... reasonable. Why?"
"I'm tired of being subtle with Alice and Chelsea, so I've come
out here early to mix things up."
Still smiling, Paige heaved a sigh. "This is gonna ruin
the rest of the games, isn't it?"
Bernadette grinned. "Maybe." They continued
strolling through the mansion, heading for the Master
Paige sighed again and shook her head. "Spoilsport."
| Chapter 7
It was The
Bikini Battle of the Century!
A Scantily-clad Donnybrook of Epic Proportions!
A Fabulous Feminine Fracas Extraordinaire!
Apparently, Ivy and Betty had, indeed, decided to operate as a
pair. It was unclear who was the leader and who was the
wing-man (wing-woman), and thanks to their gags,
coordinating their actions and achieving true teamwork
remained an elusive goal, but they remained together.
The Team Alice Forwards arrived at Alice's Clearing to discover
their Team Captain's bikini under attack by Sweet Sophie!
Apparently, the blonde had already succeeded in untying and
removing Alice's lavender-purple bikini-bottom, but only at the
cost of the bow of her own jade-green bikini-bottom being untied
over her right hip, leaving the bottom in question tangled
around her left ankle and hiking-shoe. Alice might be
loosely tethered in place, but she had a few inches of height on
the diminutive Sophie. That may have explained her limited
success in defending herself.
Currently, Sophie was finding it difficult to jump up and seize
the bikini-bow at the nape of Alice's neck, and the Battling
Blonde was preoccupied with the task at hand to the point that
she almost failed to notice the Team Alice Forwards creeping up
behind her and coming to their Team Captain's aid. She
finally caught a flash of lavender-purple from the corner of one
eye, turned, her big blue eyes popped wider, and she fled... or
tried to flee. She nearly tripped on her
bikini-bottom, which was still tangled around her left
foot. It was tragically slapstick.
Anyway, Sophie stumbled, Ivy and Betty lunged forward, and a new
phase of the battle was joined.
When the literal dust settled, Sophie was lying on her side in
the dirt, naked (not counting her trail-sneakers and anklets),
box-tied, tape-gagged, and very unhappy. That
made the bikini-parts score Team Alice—Two; and Team
Chelsea—One; not counting whatever might be happening elsewhere
on the playing field. Sadly, Sweet Sophie's tan, glowing
skin was soiled and/or smudged with dirt. The rules
clearly stated that once rendered naked, a player was no longer
a player, so Sophie had no choice but to pout, sigh, and resign
herself to the ignominy of defeat. Oh, the drama!
Meanwhile, at Chelsea's clearing...
Ripley had stumbled across her Team Chelsea Captain and Chelsea
and Ripley were busy gazing at each other, trying to decide what
to do next. Strategic planning remained as elusive as
Suddenly, The Team Alice Forwards appeared at the edge of
Chelsea and Ripley stared at Ivy and Betty.
Ivy and Betty stared at Chelsea and Ripley.
It was a classic standoff! All that was missing was an Ennio
Morricone soundtrack. Oh, the drama!
Clearly, this was going to be the deciding battle of the
competition, and by all appearances, Team Alice had the distinct
advantage. Chelsea was tethered in place, which meant the
Team Alice Forwards might be able to isolate Ripley and engage
the Team Chelsea Forward with a two-to-one advantage.
Then, if triumphant, they'd descend on the Team Chelsea Goalie
(Chelsea) for the coup de grâce.
That said, Ripley Deerfield was no pushover. Ivy and Betty
weren't going to strip off her bikini without a
fight! Ripley glowered at her approaching opponents,
prepared herself for battle, and—
All present blinked in surprise and turned their gagged heads in
the direction of the mansion. It was the signal that the
game was over! But how could the game be over? It
had only been going for... an hour? Not counting the time
required for the preliminary self-gagging and Paige's impressive
binding... an hour! Maybe less! Certainly not more!
How could the game be over?
Anyway, the only thing to do was for the Forwards to head for
the mansion. The Goalies would have to wait for someone
(Paige?) to free them from their tethers, of course.
Had something gone wrong? Only time (meaning Paige) would
Ivy, Betty, and Ripley turned and trudged in the direction of
the mansion. Sweet Sweaty Sophie picked herself up from
the dirt, exchanged a shrug with Alice, then also trudged
towards the mansion. In their respective clearings, Alice
and Chelsea heaved disappointed sighs, squirmed in their
inescapable bonds, and remained behind.
| Chapter 7
More than an
additional hour later...
Alice was starting to get antsy. How long did it take to
count up bikini parts and untie the Forwards? And who
would the Head Umpire send to rescue her? Would Paige come
herself, or would she send Ivy and Betty, her teammates?
Or would it be Sophie and Ripley, sent not to release
her but to begin her Aftercare. And how was Aftercare
going to work for this event? Everybody on both teams had
been bound and gagged, so everybody was in need of at least some
degree of "pampering." Had Paige been kidding when she
said they might not have the required moisturizer on hand?
And Paige had already done all the binding. Was she going
to hog all the moisturizing as well? That was a lot of
skin for one person to lubricate and massage. Was Paige up
Alice heaved a well-gagged sigh... then took a glance at the
green canopy overhead. At least I'm in the shade.
Suddenly (Finally!) Paige entered the clearing... and
(not particularly surprisingly) she had Chelsea in tow.
Obviously, the Head Umpire had decided to "rescue" the Team
Chelsea Goalie first, which was an additional reason for Alice
Paige had changed into her white bikini and a very pretty pair
of aqua, pink, and black trail-shoes. No, really, the
sneakers were very pretty, and Alice would have said so
if she wasn't thoroughly gagged. Paige's glorious red hair
was combed back in a loose ponytail, a messenger-bag of bleached
canvas was slung over her right shoulder, and she was leading
Chelsea by a length of paracord looped around her neck and tied
as a leash.
The Corbyn sisters gazed at one another and heaved simultaneous
sighs. Overall, their bondage predicaments were identical,
right down to the paracord loops squeezing their boobs.
The difference was that Alice was still tethered under the shade
of her live oak by a doubled, vertical length of cord and Paige
had already released Chelsea from her tree. Also,
her kid sister was buck naked and Alice was still wearing her
bikini-top... but not for long.
Grinning like a nearly naked and highly photogenic fool who was
supremely pleased with herself and undeniably in charge, Paige
stepped forward, untied Alice's bikini-top, pulled it free of
her box-tied arms and torso, and stuffed it in her bag.
Both sisters were now equally naked. Next, Paige used a
pair of trauma scissors to sever Alice's vertical tether, then
used the resulting length of cord to give her a collar and leash
identical to her sister's. Their bonds were now totally
While Alice was being stripped and untethered from her tree
branch, but before being leashed, Chelsea had executed a
half-turn and Alice noted that her little sister's hands had
been reduced to useless flippers! They were mummified
under neat, smooth layers of white duct-tape! And then,
Paige proceeded to mummify/flipperize Alice's hands!
First, the Head Umpire "compelled" Alice to hold said hands
still. Next, she reached into her bag, produced one of the
short rolls of plastic stretch-wrap with a plastic
applicator-wand, and took a half-dozen turns around each
hand. This was followed by several taut, neat turns of
white T-REX duct-tape, completely covering the
stretch-wrap. Alice didn't bother trying to impede the
process, just as Chelsea didn't bother trying to sneak away and
"escape," even though at the moment her leash wasn't in Paige's
The sisters now matched completely, right down to their lack of
bikinis, box-ties, cord-constricted boobs, tape-gags,
mummy-flippers, tousled hair, and paracord collars and
leashes. Paige smiled, grabbed the ends of both leashes,
gave the leashes a tug (unnecessarily and callously, which
wasn't at all irritating), then the Goalies and Head
Umpire stepped off in the direction of the mansion.
In their wake, the clearing was exactly as it had been before
Paige arrived and tethered Alice in place at start of the
game. Scuff-marks in the dirt where the only sign that The
Great Bikini Battle of the Team Alice Oak had ever been waged.
Alice frowned as she trudged next to her sister. She was
surer than ever that something strange was going on, meaning
something stranger than the annual Bondage Olympics. All
of that elaborate preparation... and Paige called the game
before it had hardly begun? Alice had expected to remain
tethered in her clearing for most of the day... or at least
until well after lunch... a lunch she would have missed, of
course. One hour, or less, of actual competition... and
then it was over? Why?
If past was prologue, at some point in the multi-day
competition, a day would dawn when Paige would announce that it
was time for her to have some fun for a change (meaning
some real fun), that it was her turn to mess
with the Olympians. And Paige tying everybody up for
today's event didn't count. But... this early in the
competition? Day four? Event Number Three? She
usually had the common decency to cancel one of the final events
so she could indulge herself.
No, something was up. Alice turned and stared at Chelsea
and Chelsea stared back. Chelsea's gag was making it
difficult for Alice to read her sister's expression, but Alice
decided the runt was as confused as she was.
Well, whatever was going on, Alice would be prepared.
Alice was always prepared. Nothing fazed
Alice Corbyn. No sirree! She might be momentarily surprised,
but she'd instantly adapt. After all, she was the
The mansion's gables and roof came into view through the
trees... they approached the twin posts marking the trail
head... passed between, onto the lawn, and the mansion was now
in full view, including the outbuildings, pool, the vine-draped
pergola, the mansion's main deck... and—
Alice and Chelsea froze in their tracks, their eyes wide above
their gags. Paige must have been prepared for their
reactions, because her smile never wavered and she'd stopped as
well, allowing their leashes to go slack.
Under the shade of the pergola, sitting queen-like on the
comfortable cushions of a comfortable deck chair, was—
Bernadette was wearing a black bikini, a generous layer of
tanning lotion, and nothing else, not counting a tasteful,
understated necklace and a few rings (including a toe ring).
A broad, mischievous smile curled her lips, her gleaming brown
tresses were loose about her gorgeous face, and she was taking
delicate sips through the long, thin straw of a no doubt potent
and refreshing smoothie-type rum drink (with fruit garnish) in a
moisture beaded tumbler. Slurp!
Out on the lawn, arrayed in the sun at their mother dainty bare
feet, were the remaining members of Teams Alice and
Chelsea. They were all naked, bound, and gagged, of
course. Specifically, from the waist up, their gags and
box-ties from the Great Bikini Battle were intact, but their
hands had now mummified with white T-REX tape, like the two
Goalies. Also, their legs were bound together at their
mid-thighs, above and below their knees, their shins and calves,
and their ankles, feet, and big toes! Their shoes,
anklets, and socks were off their feet and in a disorderly pile
off to one side, next to a pile of lavender-purple and
jade-green bikini parts.
"My darling daughters!" Bernadette gushed. She
stood—paused to take a fortifying sip from her drink—Slurp!—then
carefully set it down on a nearby table and padded forward.
Meanwhile, Paige led the daughters in question across the lawn,
towards the other naked, bound, and gagged youngsters, then
stood patiently (smiling, of course) as Bernadette gave each of
her daughters a warm hug and a firm, wet kiss on their slightly
sweaty foreheads. First was Chelsea—"Mwah!" And then
Bernadette then returned to her chair, retrieved her drink, and
watched as Paige "helped" her beloved offspring settle down onto
the grass, removed their hiking-shoes and anklets, and tossed
them on the appropriate pile. She then pulled paracord
from her canvas bag and quickly and methodically bound the
sisters' legs from thighs to big toes, in an identical manner to
their teammates. Finally, she reached back into the bag,
pulled out the remaining bikini parts, added them to their
appropriate pile... then shrugged the bag's strap off her
shoulder and dropped it on the lawn.
Bernadette smiled at her old friend as Paige sat on the
flagstones with her legs folded to the side and next to her
chair. She offered Paige a sip from her drink... Paige
shook her head... planted a kiss on Paige's smiling lips... then
returned the straw to her mouth, smiled at their naked, bound,
and gagged audience out on the lawn, and sucked. Slurp—slurp—slurp!
Team Alice and Team Chelsea stared up at Bernadette. It
was obvious who was in charge. Still smiling, Paige rested
the side of her face on Bernadette's lap, and it was manifestly
obvious who was in charge. Bernadette Corbyn was Queen
of St. Ignatius Island, and Paige was her devoted minion.
Daughters and house-guests, the captives squirmed for comfort
out on the lawn and under the hot sun and glared at
Bernadette and Paige. This was a hideous betrayal on
the part of the Head Umpire. Today's game was ruined!
And as for Bernadette... of course the tiny Corbyn cutie
was Queen, but why did she have to rain on their parade?
Couldn't she just... observe... regally? Couldn't she at
least wait until the bikini parts were tallied and points
awarded, then join the fun by lording it over everybody
who wasn't named Paige?
The naked, bound, and gagged Olympians weren't only hot and
bothered about Her Majesty's unexpected appearance and
unwarranted intervention, but were hot and bothered in
general. The sun really was hot, and they
were all sweaty from the truncated battle. Also, Sweet
Sophie remained a dirty girl, thanks to her wallowing in defeat
in the dust of Alice's Clearing.
Bernadette leaned close and whispered in Paige's ear... then
planted a kiss on the ear in question, sat up straight, smiled
at the prisoners, and recaptured her drink's straw with her
smiling lips. Slurp!
The sweaty and overheated captives watched as Paige climbed to
her feet, strolled to the side of the mansion, and began pulling
a green plastic garden hose from a reel attached to the side of
the building. She then screwed a pistol-grip-style nozzle
onto the end of the hose... then turned on the faucet. The
hose flopped and rolled as it filled with pressurized water.
The captives fought their bonds and mewled through their
gags. "Mrrrpfh!" Paige's intentions were obvious, as
well as totally unacceptable! There was no way they were
going to just lie on the grass and let Paige—"MRRRF!"
Paige had triggered the nozzle and was showering the captives
with cold water! The water repeatedly sputtered as air was
purged from the hose... then became a steady downpour.
"MRRRF!" The deluge continued until the prisoners were
completely soaked, including their hair! It was outrageous!
They wiggled, squirmed, fought their bonds, kicked, and
continued making their feelings known. "MRRRF!"
Sweet Sophie received special attention, the poor thing.
But then, she was the dirtiest of the group, by
far. Smiling sweetly, Paige had dialed the nozzle's rotary
head to narrow stream and was playing it up and down Sophie's
flushed, wet, and increasingly not soiled body.
Wet and bedraggled, their hair in sopping tangles and draped
across their gagged faces, the helpless Olympians watched as
Paige returned to the hose reel, turned off the faucet,
triggered the nozzle to drain the hose, returned the hose to the
reel, then strolled back in their direction, smiling sweetly.
They continued watching (glaring) as Paige lifted Sophie onto
her right shoulder in a fireman's carry, then carried the wet
blonde away, around the side of the mansion. The remaining
captives shifted their attention to Her Diminutive Majesty,
shook the hair from their gagged faces as best they could, and
Queen Bernadette smiled regally and continued sipping her
About a minute later, Paige returned without Sophie. She
then lifted Ripley onto her shoulder and strolled away, again.
"Mrrrk!" Alice demanded. Obviously, she wanted to know
where Traitorous Paige was taking their friends.
"You'll find out," Bernadette purred. Slurp!
Alice did find out, but she was the last to
find out. Paige carried away Betty... Ivy... Chelsea...
and then it was her turn. Draped over Paige's shoulder,
she glared at her mother through the curtain of her still wet
hair. Bernadette appeared to have finished her drink and
was nibbling on the fruit garnish.
Alice was scandalized! Mother! How gauche!
It was bad form to eat a drink garnish. Everybody knew
that. Mother must have missed breakfast.
Then, they rounded the corner... Paige continued carrying her
disgruntled burden... and eventually Alice realized their
obvious destination and would have none of it!
"Mrrrf!" She wiggled and squirmed and did her absolute
best to convince Paige to ease her off her shoulder, untie her,
and see reason. "Mrmpfhr"—Whack!—"Mfh!"
All of which earned her a resounding slap on her left
"Stop that, young lady," Paige scolded.
Alice could hear the smile curling Paige's lips, even thought
she couldn't see it. It was somewhat infuriating.
The destination in question was an open bulkhead door that led
to the mansion's expansive and rather disorderly basement.
It was a large space, nearly the full footprint of the house,
and was subdivided into a veritable warren of small storerooms,
as well as the laundry room, various utility rooms, and a single
With a growing sense of dread, Alice revised her suspicions as
the journey continued until she knew exactly where she
was being taken, and it didn't improve her mood. The
Dungeon! She's taking me to The Dungeon!
One summer, when the runt was still in high school and Alice had
just finished her sophomore year at Lewis & Clark, the
sisters had a Brilliant Idea! They would clean out one of
the basement storerooms and turn it into a Medieval Dungeon!
Alice told the junior clerk at the local hardware store (one of
Chelsea's classmates) than they wanted to convert a ten-by-ten
foot storeroom to an authentic wine cellar, and they wanted to
do it themselves. With his "expert" advice and
recommendations, they faced the walls with tumbled landscaping
blocks that looked like stone, cementing them together with
builder's adhesive and anchoring them with specialized steel
bolts screwed into the studs. They also filled the tiny
void between the blocks and wall with expanding foam for added
strength (and soundproofing). Then, they covered the
ceiling with aged "barn wood" boards and covered the poured
concrete floor with a veneer of fake stone flags. Next,
they replaced the door with a rustic/medieval-looking wooden
door of thick planks, doubled the number of hinges, and replaced
all the hinge-screws with extra-long versions for added
strength. Finally, they added heavy, "hand-forged,"
vertical throw-bolts at the top and bottom, and a matching
extra-heavy-duty horizontal bolt with an large, antique, fully
functional padlock and, voila! They had themselves
They tried talking Paige into outfitting their new playroom with
"authentic dungeon chains," meaning a collar, manacles, belt,
and shackles, all interconnected and bolted to the wall, but she
told them they'd have to pay for it themselves, out of their
clothing budgets. Buying building materials from the
estate's maintenance fund was one thing, but she wasn't going to
get into an unnecessary argument with their mother's accountants
over kinky hardware purchases. The girls took that as a
maybe and put a full chain set on their wish list, but had never
gotten around to acting on it.
Anyway, both sisters tested the dungeon on an irregular basis
(with the runt going first, of course), and Alice very much
suspected she was about to test it again! She was right.
They came to the door in question, the out-of-place timber
portal with the heavy iron hardware. Paige drew the
horizontal bolt—"Thunk!"—and pulled it open.
The storeroom had only been 10'x10' to begin with, so cladding
the walls with fake stone had made The Dungeon even smaller,
something like 9'x9'. And now, the space was cluttered
with naked, bound, and gagged damsels—five naked, bound,
and gagged damsels, to be precise. There wasn't really
room for a sixth, but Paige made do. She eased Alice off
her shoulder and down onto the fake stone floor and the other
damsels squirmed and made room. Truth be told, the dungeon
wasn't all that cramped, but its occupants complained
"Mrrmpfh!" "Nrfm!" "Mrrrkmf!" Etc., etc.
"Oh, hush," Paige chuckled. "You girls wait here and enjoy
yourselves. I'll be back... eventually."
And with that, she crossed the threshold and closed the door
behind her. The horizontal bolt slammed home—"Thunk!"—followed
by the two vertical bolts—"Thunk! Thunk!"—and the
despicable deed was done!
Oh by the way, The Dungeon was dark, as in totally dark,
as in there wasn't any light! The poor damsels
could see nothing! (Like chains, dungeon lighting
was another thing the Corbyn sisters had never gotten around to
installing.) Much squirming and struggling ensued... even
though there was no one to watch the show. They couldn't
even watch each other.
So... the Evil Queen had arrived, totally disrupted the court
schedule, then ordered her Senechal to incarcerate both princesses
and all their ladies in waiting in her deepest,
darkest, dankest dungeon!
Oh, the drama!
| Chapter 7