Patriotic Pulcritude on Parade!  SAM's WAR-II
  Web of the Spider Lady  by Van ©2013






Living death.

Hour upon hour of total darkness, punishing thirst, gnawing hunger, the relentless pressure of the bandages mummifying her paralysed form.

Living death.

There was no other way to describe Lady Jane's ordeal... her continuing... endless... ordeal.  On occasion she was aware of motion, of her mummified, coffin-trapped, and crate-encased body being lifted or lowered, of the sense of starting or stopping.  But mostly, silence, stillness, and a tingling awareness of her helpless body.  That and the nightmares, her mind racing as horrific images flashed before her blinking, staring eyes in the Stygian darkness.

And then, she was lifted and carried, again, then lowered, again, but this time she heard the metallic shriek of nails being drawn... the click and clatter of the coffin's hinged clamps being released... then the lid itself was lifted!

Lady Jane moaned through her gag and clenched her eyes tightly closed at the sudden onslaught of piercingly bright light.  And she realized she was, indeed, moaning, that she could speak again, or rather she would be able to speak if she wasn't gagged.  She also found she could move, to the pathetically minuscule degree allowed by the tight bandages swaddling her naked form.  The important thing was that the drug the Spider Lady had given her was wearing off, or had already worn off.

Lady Jane opened her eyes—"Mrrr!"—but as if on cue, something, a narrowly folded dark cloth, was pressed against her upper face, across her eyes, and was being knotted behind her bandage-wrapped head.  "M'mmpfh!"  She was deposited on a hard surface, hands were holding down her weakly writhing form, then she became aware of a tugging sensation that had something to do with her bandages.  They were being removed!  She stopped squirming and mewling through her gag and lay perfectly still, allowing her rescuers to do their work.  She drew deep, even breaths, savouring the sensation as the tight cloth strips released their slightly elastic hold.  She began sensing the cool air on her bare skin as more and more of her body was exposed.

Thank god, she thought.  Thank god.

In a surprisingly short time Lady Jane was bandage-free from the neck down and hands began carefully unwrapping her head.  They left the blindfold in place, gently pulling strips of bandage from under the cloth as they worked.

They're protecting my eyes from the light, Lady Jane surmised.  They want me to grow accustomed to the light slowly.  Am I in hospital?  But she realized she was on a hard surface, probably some sort of wooden table.  She'd known that all along, but only now began pondering the implications.  If she was in hospital, surely she'd be on a bed or a comfortably padded examining table.  So where was she?  "M'mmfh?"  Hands were lifting her limbs and strapping some sort of wide, padded cuffs around her wrists and ankles!  She tried to pull away and kick, to impede their progress, but to no avail.  She was too weak from her ordeal.

Meanwhile, the bandages formerly wrapping her head and entwined in her hair had been removed and the wad of cloth stuffed in her mouth removed.  She tried to speak, to beg for water, but her mouth was too dry.  All that emerged was an inarticulate, whining croak.  Thankfully, her effort had been enough.  Her head was lifted and a cup held to her lips.  It was water—cool, clean, and above all, gloriously wet water.  Her head was eased back down and she sighed in relief—but then was bodily lifted and carried a short distance.  The blindfold remained in place.

"What are you doing?" Her Ladyship demanded when she could finally speak.  Her handlers had lifted her arms and hands, she heard a pair of metallic clicks, and she was now standing upright with her arms raised.  Her legs were pulled apart, there was another pair of clicks, and she realized she was in a standing spread-eagle!  "What's the meaning of this?  Let me go!"  A series of rapid thuds and metallic clicks sounded, and Lady Jane's wrists rose into the air, taking her arms and the rest of her with them, of course.  "Stop!" she ordered.  "Let me go at once!"  The sound stopped and she was now up on her toes in full stretch.

Lady Jane could hear her handlers moving about.  She could also hear whispered conversations, quiet laughter, the rustling of cloth, and the scrape of footwear on the stone floor.

"Who are you?" Lady Jane demanded as she pulled on her padded bonds and tried to kick.  "Let me go!"

The quiet noise continued and Lady Jane's questions went unanswered.  Seconds passed, then she heard the squeal of hinges, a quiet thud, and then silence.

More seconds passed.

Finally, Lady Jane could take it no more.  "Hello?  Is anybody there?"  She heard the tap of boots on the stone floor... and they were approaching.  "Who is it?  Who are you?"   The footsteps passed completely around her stretched body, tracing a slow, stately circle, then stopped behind her back.  She felt fingers releasing the knot of her blindfold, then the cloth slithered away.  Lady Jane blinked and tried to focus as the footsteps resumed, now passing to her front.

Finally, Lady Jane could see her surroundings.  She was in a dungeon, a stone-walled, medieval dungeon.  Further, it was her dungeon!  She was in Castle Killjoy, her estate in County Donegal, Ireland!  Further, the owner of the boots was her cousin!

"Carrie!" Lady Jane gasped.  "Thank god!"
Carey d'Arcy (played by Jean Butler) Lady Jane is
        welcomed home.
Carrie d'Arcy was dressed in riding boots of brown leather, tan jodhpurs, and a long-sleeved blouse of white cotton.  A shawl of Irish wool was over her shoulder and she removed and tossed it on the torture rack behind her, together with the narrowly folded black cloth that Lady Jane surmised had been her blindfold.  Lady Jane also surmised the rack was probably the "table" where her bandages had been removed.

Lady Jane's blood ran cold.  Her cousin was unsmiling, and was making no move to free her from her bonds.

"You ordered me to prepare the dungeons for the arrival of a prisoner," Carrie said.  "I have, and that will be the last of your orders that will ever be obeyed in Cill Seoigh Keep, dear cousin.  I was mistress of this castle for many years before you usurped that position, and now I am again."

Lady Jane tugged on her wrist bonds.  She realized they were the padded cuffs used to restrain prisoners who were about to be punished.  Their black fleece linings prevented damage to the wrists and ankles as the victim hung in their grip, and suffered.  "Carrie, please!"

"I've received a long letter from Madam Fah lo Shuee," Carrie said.  "She expresses her displeasure with the d'Arcy family and suggests a means of redress."  A smile finally curled Carrie's coral lips and dimpled her freckled cheeks.  "I find her demands completely reasonable... even pleasant."

"What are you talking about?" Lady Jane said.  "Please, let me go!"

"There is an interesting item in yesterday's Times," Carrie continued, ignoring Lady Jane's entreaties.  "It would appear the St. Johns Wood mansion of Lady Jane d'Arcy has been completely destroyed by a mysterious explosion and fire.  There were no Luftwaffe aircraft over the city that night, so it was almost certainly not an aerial bomb.  Unnamed sources at Scotland Yard suggest a black market petrol cache might have somehow been set alight."  Carrie shrugged, still smiling.  "In any case, based on interviews with the staff, it is very much feared that Lady Jane, herself, died in the fire.  Investigations continue."

Lady Jane stared at her cousin in horror.  "Carrie, please," she whispered.

"My solicitor says in seven years we can have you declared legally dead," Carrie continued, "and I will finally become Lady Carrie d'Arcy.  And this will finally be my castle.  And your properties in Canada will be mine, as well.  As for the ruins of the mansion in St. John's Wood, the land is quite valuable, and it will become mine, too.  Sir Dystic will retain the estate in Sussex, of course, assuming our dear cousin returns from the war."

"Carrie, let me go," Lady Jane begged, "I beseech you."

"And incur the wrath of the Si-Fann?" Carrie purred.  "I think not."  She lifted the black blindfold cloth from the rack, pulled her long, ginger-red curls back, and used it to enforce a tight ponytail.  "You will never leave Cill Seoigh Keep again, Jane.  I'm having the North Tower renovated as your new quarters.  Workmen will begin installing bars on the windows next week, and I'm having the door replaced with something considerably more substantial.  Also, the smith has begun work on a new set of chains.  Collar, manacles, fetters, only the best for my dear cousin.  Oh... and a belt, a chastity belt, to keep your fingers out of mischief."

Lady Jane continued staring in horror.  "Carrie," she whispered, "don't."

"Do you even know the name of Cill Seoigh's smith, dear cousin?" Carrie inquired.  "His family has served ours for centuries.  Do you even know his name?  Do you know the names of any of the staff, other than those maids unfortunate enough to serve you personally?"

Lady Jane tugged on her bonds, again.  Carrie was unbuttoning her blouse.  "I... They're staff," Jane answered.  "Of course I don't know their names.  Why should I?"

"Why indeed," Carrie chuckled.  "All of them are very sorry to hear of Her Ladyship's tragic passing."  She pulled the tails of her now unbuttoned blouse from the waistband of her jodhpurs, unbuttoned the cuffs of the sleeves, then shrugged out of the blouse and tossed it on the rack, next to her shawl.  "They've already begun calling me 'Lady Carrie.'"  Isn't that delightful?  I find it quite delightful."

"You'll never get away with this!" Lady Jane warned.  "I have friends who—"

"Your so-called 'friends' all think you're dead," Carrie interrupted, "remember?"  She reached behind her back, unclasped her bra, then pulled it off and tossed it on the rack.  Smiling at her helpless cousin, she began doing a series of stretching exercises, twisting her torso at the waist and flexing her arms.

"I'll pay you," Lady Jane said.  "You can have Castle Killjoy."

"I already have Cill Seoigh!" Carrie shouted, her freckled face suddenly in an angry scowl, "and I already have your money!"  Her features relaxed into a gloating smile.  "I have control of your money, anyway.  And in seven years, it will all be mine.  Now..."

Lady Jane watched as her cousin walked to a vertical wooden rack set against the far wall.  Hanging from pegs were an array of whips, riding crops, canes, and multi-tailed floggers.  "Carrie, no!"

Lady Carrie selected a flogger with twenty long, narrow tails of butter-soft leather, turned, and strolled towards her helpless cousin.  "Allow me to welcome you home, Jane," she purred.  "You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this."

Jane tugged on her bonds and tried to think of something to say, something that would get her out of this mess, something that would make her cousin see reason.  Nothing came to mind.  "Carrie, please."

She heard the rattle of the tails as the flogger was drawn back.  And then—"Ahhhhh!"—her back exploded in pain.

NOTE: For readers with browsers that don't support "alternate text" for image files, Lady Carrie d'Arcy is played by Jean Butler
Web of the Spider LadyEpilogue

Chapter 5
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