by Van ©2007---

Chapter 4_

---red ---red

To see the actresses I would cast in AMAZING AMANDA: The Motion Picture,
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Petra La Roque had been true to her word, as far as Amanda could tell.  Her cell didn't have a clock, of course, but after what felt like an hour, a pair of the catsuited and helmeted "glamazons" appeared on the monitor, released Gloria from her strappado torment, and eased her to the floor.  They then removed the clamps from her nipples, causing the still tightly bound and gagged Latina to flinch and emit a gagged-scream, which the audio system delivered to Amanda's cell with heart-wrenching fidelity.

As the still bound and tape-gagged Gloria was being lifted onto a gurney and strapped down, the screen morphed to the La Roque Donjon logo and the mirror wall of Amanda's cell lowered from the ceiling, concealing the "interview room".  At the same time, a chime sounded, the hand outlines on the wall shifted to the same dim, blue-green glow as the rest of the cell lighting; the red warning beads set between the floor tiles changed color to match; and the bed emerged from the wall behind Amanda's back.

Amanda pushed away from the wall, and groaned as her heels touched the floor.  Her feet and calves felt like they were on fire, not to mention her back and shoulders.  Grimacing with pain, she slowly padded to the bed, then flopped onto the soft, smooth surface and
snuggled her body against the soft mattress.  Almost immediately, the pain began to fade to a burning ache, a tribute to Amanda's excellent physical condition.  I'm not going to cry, she decided.  I need to be strong.  She was in big trouble, Gloria as well.  That was abundantly obvious.  She was comfortable, despite the lack of top sheet or blanket, neither hot nor cold; however, she was very hungry.  Hopefully, there would be something good for breakfast.  Amanda sighed.  Hopefully, there would be breakfast.

How the hell am I going to get us out of this... out of here?   She closed her eyes, but sleep didn't come.  She couldn't stop thinking about what might be happening to Gloria, at this very second.  Was she free of her bonds and locked in a cell of her own?  Amanda hoped so.  It was the least Petra could do, to let Gloria get some sleep.

Amanda opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling.  The stainless steel grill over the ventilation vent looked heavy and substantial; but the spacing between the slats looked to be too close for her fingers, even if she could somehow get up to it.  The ceiling was too high for a running jump from the floor, and it was too far from the bed for her to use the platform as a launching pad.  She yawned, and let her eyes close.  I have to get us out... but how?

Amanda became aware of a very irritating, chiming noise, like hollow metal tubes tuned to an exotic scale being struck in a complex rhythm.  In other circumstances, she might have considered the cacophony to be music, but a wake-up alarm is a wake-up alarm.  The chimes continued, with increasing volume and rapidity.  "Okay, okay!" she muttered.  "I'm up!"  The chiming stopped.  Amanda opened her eyes and sat upright.  The light was increasing in brilliance, slowly shifting from "night light" to daytime white.  Simultaneously, the bed platform began retracting into the wall.  Amanda rolled off the mattress and watched the bed disappear behind its flush-mounted cover.

She heard a quiet hum and turned to find the door covering the powder room alcove lowering into the floor.  At the same time, a path appeared, in the form of glowing green beads, leading from Amanda's feet to the alcove.  The tiny lights began to flash in sequence, as if urging her forward.  Amanda stomped into the powder room (stomping as best she could, with bare feet) and took her morning tinkle.  She then drank from the fountain.  Seconds later, what she now recognized as the "up-against-the-wall" chime sounded, and the hand outlines appeared on the wall of the main cell.  The green squares on the floor were back as well, but this time they were large enough to accommodate her entire feet.  Standing on her toes would not be required.  "How very kind," Amanda muttered under her breath.

She padded to the wall and "assumed the position".  The powder room door closed, and as soon as her hands were in the outlines and her feet in the squares, the floor beads outside the green squares began glowing red.  Seconds passed... and turned into a minute.

How long are they going to make me wait? Amanda wondered.  They aren't going to make me stay here the whole day... are they?  She eased her right foot to the edge of its green square, close to the red beads... then closer still.  Her foot brushed the metal spacers between the closest red beads—and she received a mild electric shock, not really what she could call painful, but it wasn't pleasant.  She moved her foot back to the center of the square.  And I suppose these hand prints aren't just for show.  She carefully lifted her left palm from the wall.  The outline flashed from green to red, the interior of the square under her left foot also flashed to red, and she received another shock.  This time the sensation was more intense, much less of an irritating buzz and much more like actual pain.  "Yow!"  She slapped her palm back down, the lights returned to their previous colors, and the current stopped flowing.  She decided further experimentation would not be prudent.

More time passed... and Amanda's stomach growled.  "Hey!" she shouted to the empty air.  "How 'bout some breakfast?"

As if answering her demand, the mirror wall began sliding into the ceiling; and this time the transparent wall beyond was opening as well.

Three figures were waiting in the interview room: two of the booted, catsuited, armored, and helmeted "glamazons"—one in dark tan and the other in a dusky shade of blue—and Mercy Dench.

"Good morning, Ms. Pressfield," Mercy purred.  She was wearing another red power suit, this time with a white silk top and a different pair of black knee-boots; and she had added black leather gloves to the ensemble.  "I see you've learned to assume the handling position on command."  She motioned to the glamazons, and they started forward.  "How very sensible."

Amanda noticed steel restraints, all linked by chain, dangling from one of the glamazon's gloved hands.

"If you're considering offering resistance," Mercy said, "be advised that my minions are all highly trained in unarmed combat, although they are, in fact, armed.  Their shock batons have two settings: 'ow-that-really-hurts', and 'next Tuesday'.  Also, their costumes are immune to the effects of the electrified floor, as is mine."  She pointed the toe of one booted foot and held up her gloves, to emphasize her last point.

"This is all so cleverly thought out," Amanda muttered, "isn't it?"

Mercy nodded.  "The result of many years of trial and error; generations, in fact.  The La Roque family have been, shall we say, 'old school aristocrats' for a very long time.  And they've never allowed cultural or political fashion to interfere with their ability to control all aspects of their servants' lives."

One of the minions had knelt and was locking heavy shackles around Amanda's ankles.  The other was standing a long pace back and to the side, baton at the ready, covering her fellow handler.  Mercy produced her iPhone, tapped the screen, and the green hand prints flashed to white, matching the wall.  Amanda's hands were pulled behind her back, and joined manacles snapped around her wrists.  Next, a heavy collar was locked around her throat.  When the glamazon was finished, Amanda was still facing the wall, but now her hands were crossed at the small of her back.  Her shackled feet were apart, and still within the confines of the glowing green squares.  A chain connected the back of her collar, the wrist cuffs, and the center ring of the chain hobbling her ankles.

Mercy tapped her iPhone, again, and the red and green beads on the floor winked out.  Her glamazon minions grabbed Amanda by the arms and turned her to face their boss.  "Just to satisfy your professional curiosity," Mercy said, "your restraints are all sized to the detailed measurements my staff took during your medical examination.  You won't be wiggling out of them.  Also, the locking mechanisms are a custom design, quite impossible to pick.  A high tension spring must be disengaged before the pins are free to slide and the cylinders can be turned.  They open with a small, rather complicated actuator tool, rather than a traditional key."

"Amazing," Amanda said, perfectly deadpan.

"What do you think of the cross-cuffs?" Mercy inquired.

Amanda flexed her hands and tried to twist her wrists, testing the restraint in question.
  It was a rigid, one-piece device that held her wrists in a permanently crossed position.  Matching Mercy's boast, the cuff interiors were sized to fit, following the curves and contours of her wrists as closely as a pair of leather bracers.  Short of breaking several bones, she would not be extracting her hands from their tight embrace, with or without lubrication.  The walls were thick, heavy, and smooth, like the collar hugging her throat and the shackles locked around her ankles.   "Equally amazing," Amanda stated.

"Titanium alloy," Mercy explained, with a smug smile.  "Just imagine how heavy they'd be if they were case-hardened steel."

"Amazingly heavy, no doubt," Amanda muttered.

Mercy's smile faded.  "I don't think I like your attitude," she said, quietly.  "Congratulations, Ms. Pressfield.  You've succeeded in putting me in a bitchy mood."  She focused on the mirrored faceplate of one of her minion's helmets and nodded.  A ball-gag dropped over Amanda's head and unerringly found its way into her mouth.  One glamazon held Amanda's hair (none too gently) while the other tightened the strap until the prisoner's cheeks bulged against the black leather.  A padlock clicked, and the gag was on to stay.  "That's better," Mercy said, her smile returning.  "Now, please reverse her cuffs."

One of the minions produced what appeared to be a small pair of pliers with an overly complicated business end.  Amanda felt a series of vibrations and heard a couple of ratcheting clicks, then her cuffs came free from the collar chain.  Obviously, the pair of pliers was the "actuator tool" of which Mercy was so proud.  Another use of the tool freed her left wrist, then her arms were forced into a double hammerlock.  The cuff closed back around her wrist, there was another click, and she found her wrists crossed and chained roughly at the level of her shoulder blades.  It was almost a reverse-prayer, one of her least favorite bondage positions (unless she was doing it to Gloria, rather than having it done to her).  She gave her bonds a tug.  The new position left her just as helpless as before, but was less comfortable.  Thank god for yoga class, Amanda mused.

"Brace her," Mercy ordered, and the glamazons each placed a boot over Amanda's hobble chain, effectively pinning her shackled feet to the floor.  One grabbed a handful of Amanda's hair and pulled back, forcing her chin up.  The other grabbed the taut connecting chain, below her cuffed wrists.

"Baton," Mercy ordered, and held out her right hand.

Amanda's eyes popped wide as she watched the right glamazon hand Mercy a black, plastic nightstick, handle first.  Mercy held the baton for Amanda's inspection.  A helix of tiny, silver and copper studs encircled the shaft, from just above the handle to the bullet-shaped tip.

"I don't expect you to fawn and grovel..." Mercy said, slowly turning the ebony stick in her gloved hand.  She then gave it an expert, spinning flip, and touched the tip to Amanda's sex.  Amanda flinched, then went perfectly still, holding her breath.  Mercy lowered her elbow and slowly eased the tip of the baton past Amanda's labia, giving it a gentle twist, to ease its passage.  She stopped when a good inch of the baton was inside Amanda's sex.  "...but I do expect you to show the proper respect.  Have we reached an understanding?"

Her eye's still wide, Amanda nodded her head, as much as the minion still gripping her hair would allow.

"Good," Mercy cooed.  She withdrew the baton and handed it back to the glamazon.  She then reached into her jacket pocket and produced a long length of light steel chain.  She clipped one end to the ring dangling from the front of Amanda's collar, and the leather loop at the other end went around her wrist.  "Chin down, eyes on the floor, and up on your toes.  This is how you walk when outside your cell, unless otherwise ordered.  Understand?"

Amanda stared into Mercy's cold, blue eyes.  Her breasts heaving, she struggled to control her fear and reassert what remained of her pride.  Suddenly, the right minion tapped the tip of her baton to Amanda's right nipple.


Amanda convulsed in her bonds and her captors' grips and screamed through her gag.  Her knees buckled, but the glamazons kept her from falling.  The baton's touch had been like a wasp sting, but the effect had faded quickly.

"I asked you a question," Mercy stated.  "Do you understand?"

Amanda nodded again.

"Good."  Mercy spin on her heel and stepped away, towards the interview room.

The glamazons released their holds just as the leash chain snapped taut.  Amanda went up on her toes and followed in Mercy's wake.

- THE AMAZING AMANDA!  —Chapter 4 -
The exit from the interview room led to a series of concrete corridors.  Mercy, Amanda, and the two minions passed several steel doors, then came to a pair of elevators, one for passengers, and the other large enough for cargo.  As they rode the passenger elevator up, Amanda noted that the controls were a telephone-style keypad, rather than the traditional column of buttons.  Mercy's body blocked her view, but she seemed to have entered several numbers to make the car rise.  Either Petra La Roque's "Tower" was hundreds of stories tall, or operating the elevator required the use of some sort of numeric code.

This place has more security than a frakkin' missile silo, Amanda mused.

The elevator doors opened and Amanda was led out into yet another maze of corridors, but this time the walls were either covered with fabric or were mirrored glass.  The general ambiance was modern and very upscale, and Amanda could see what appeared to be actual daylight streaming from some of the side corridors.  The carpet underfoot (or under-toe, in Amanda's case) was thick and plush.

They came to a set of double-doors, and the parade stopped.  Mercy pulled her iPhone from her jacket pocket and tapped the screen.  There was a wait of several seconds... and the doors opened.

The space beyond was large, with a high ceiling.  Three of the walls were mirrored glass, and the other was a window, providing a view of the upper stories of several modern buildings, some of which Amanda recognized.  This confirmed that she was still downtown, and hadn't been transported out of the city while unconscious.  Apparently "The Tower" was one of the business district's steel and glass skyscrapers, and Petra La Roque occupied several stories; assuming she didn't own the entire structure, of course.

Petra, herself, was waiting within; or, to be more precise, was lounging within.  She was dressed in a pale gray and silver exercise outfit: running shoes, tights, and sleeveless leotard; and was seated at a table, sipping coffee.  There were three place settings of bone china, in a modern design, as well as fine crystal, linen napkins, and elegant silverware, also of a modern design.

Petra indicated the waiting chairs with a languid gesture.  Mercy pulled out a chair and sat.  Getting Amanda situated took a little more effort.  Mercy's minions disconnected the connecting chains of her bondage and plunked her in the third chair, then reattached the chains, leaving Amanda seated with her wrists and arms behind the chair's low back, still in the relaxed reverse-prayer.  The connecting chain ran under the chair and once again linked her collar, manacles, and shackles.  The ball-gag remained in her mouth.

"I'll be mother," Petra announced, with a wry smile, and poured coffee from an insulated carafe into Mercy's cup.  She made eye contact with Amanda.  "Nothing for you?  Well, maybe later, when the food arrives."

Amanda tried to keep her expression neutral, but couldn't help but glare at her "hostess".

Petra's irritatingly smug gaze shifted to something over Amanda's shoulder.  "And speaking of food," she purred.

Amanda turned her head, as much as the heavy collar would allow.  A serving cart and two nearly naked women were entering the room.  The cart was laden with a number of covered dishes, strongly suggesting the arrival of Amanda's long-awaited breakfast.  The women were petite—something like five-foot-two, if that—but both here definitely women, rather than girls.  They had trim, athletic figures with defined muscles, flat stomachs, and full, firm breasts.

One might have been Asian.  Amanda couldn't be sure, because the porcelain-skinned beauty was wearing a mask.  It covered her entire face and was ivory-white, with the stylized features of a female character of the traditional Noh theater.  Her black, straight, fine hair was piled atop her head in an elaborate coif that suggested it would be very long, indeed, if allowed to flow free.   Her only clothing was a simple loincloth of white silk, pulled tight enough to outline the details of her sex in graphic detail.  There was a steel collar around her throat, manacles around her wrists, and shackles on her ankles.  The restraints were joined by light steel chain, including a central, connecting chain that ran from collar, to manacles, to shackles.  The collar and cuffs were smooth, thin-walled, and had no apparent locks, rivets, bolts, or any other features that suggested how they might be applied or removed.  The prisoner's hands were in front and on the cart's handle, and the chain allowed about a foot-and-a-half of "freedom".  She was barefoot and up on her toes, taking tiny, mincing steps.  The connecting chain kept her hobble-chain off the floor.

The second prisoner was identically restrained, but her hair was a riot of copper-red curls, restrained in a loose French braid.  Her skin was fair, and lightly sprinkled with countless freckles, lending her complexion a peachy tone emphasized by the uniformly pale skin of her companion.  Her mask was polished gold, and its classically sculpted features were realistic, with a somewhat fierce, defiant expression.  Her loincloth/thong was of a loosely woven yarn that might have been wool.  It was olive in color, decorated with gold wire embroidered in a Celtic knot pattern.

"Excellent!" Petra remarked.  "I've already had my morning run and I'm quite hungry."

Amanda's stomach growled.  She was well beyond "hungry".

"I see you've noticed my personal maids, Hime and Keira," Petra said.  "Hime is visiting the Tower from my estate in Northern Honshu and Keira is from my castle near Cork.  Mercy's staff trained them together, and in the process... they fell in love.  Isn't that precious?  Aren't they precious?"

The Celtic and Nipponese pair were lifting the covered plates from the cart and deploying them to the table, placing one in front of each of the diners.  Amanda let her eyes wander over their short, perfect bodies.  To her professional eye, their bonds seemed quite inescapable, but she couldn't be sure exactly how their masks were attached.  Thin leather straps were involved, but their placement and number was hidden by Keira's red curls and Hime's black tresses.

"Oh, I assure you their faces are as beautiful as their bodies," Petra said, apparently mistaking Amanda's inspection of the masks for curiosity about the maids' appearances.  "The masks are costume, and to keep them from chattering.  Mercy, explain."

"We take plaster life masks," Mercy said, "with the subject properly gagged, of course, to capture the bulging cheeks and compressed lips, then use the masks to mold latex foam linings for the decorative masks.  That way, after applying a special moisturizing ointment, they adhere to the entire face without leaving marks, when they're removed.  'Petra's Pair', as we call them, are thoroughly silenced, using rubber wedges made from dental casts, and masses of compressed foam; and the straps securing the masks are steel cables sheathed with leather.  I assure you, without the key or the use of hand tools, those masks are on to stay."  Mercy locked eyes with Amanda and her smile turned even more evil.  "Perhaps you'd like a demonstration of the process?"

"An excellent idea," Petra laughed.  "Add it to Ms. Pressfield's agenda."  She gazed at Amanda with amused concentration.  "Hmm... perhaps a clown mask?  No, an animal.  The face of a spaniel or terrier, perhaps?  We'll give the steel mask a latex outer skin colored and textured to match her complexion, and insert thousands of tiny hairs, to exactly mimic a canine visage.  We can put small reservoirs in the snout, to keep her 'nose' wet."

"I suggest you make her a raccoon," Mercy purred, regarding Amanda over her cup.

"A raccoon?" Petra frowned.

"In keeping with her cunning mind and busy hands," Mercy explained.  "A dark mask in the fur across the eyes?  Add a bushy, striped tail on the end of an anal plug, and she'll be quite a pet."

Petra was unconvinced.  "Hmm... perhaps.  Maybe a cat... or a monkey.  I already have a fox."

Amanda's attention was on her plate.  Scrambled eggs, fluffy and light; thick-sliced, smoked bacon; diced red potatoes, lightly sautéed in olive oil and butter, with a sprinkling of fresh thyme; fried apples with brown sugar and cinnamon... it all looked and smelled delicious.  Her nostrils flared and the drool oozing past her ball-gag doubled in volume.

Petra and Mercy had begun to eat, and were pointedly ignoring Amanda's bound and gagged inability to join the meal.  She willed herself to sit perfectly still.  She was very hungry, but not enough to abandon her pride.

"I suppose I should see that my new employee keeps up her strength," Petra said, after several seconds.

The two glamazon goons started forward, then paused, when Mercy raised a hand.

Mercy locked eyes with Amanda.  "Not one word, Ms. Pressfield.  You don't have the required seniority to engage in executive table talk.  Food will go in, but if so much as a single syllable comes out...  your next meal will be dinner, and it will be in the form of a semi-liquid paste force-fed through a stomach tube.  Nod if you understand."

Amanda stared back... then nodded.  Sometimes empty gestures of defiance, however satisfying, could be prohibitively expensive.  Now was such a time.

The glamazons unlocked and removed Amanda's ball-gag, then stepped back to resume their guard positions.

"Just look at those eyes," Petra said.  "Such strength of will.  I'll answer one question, Ms. Pressfield, Mercy's warning not withstanding.  Ask it, and then keep silent."

Amanda licked her lips, glanced at Mercy, then locked eyes with Petra.  "What are you doing to Gloria?  When are you going to let her go?"

"That's two questions," Mercy observed.  "Take her plate."

Petra raised her hand before the maids could move.  "I'm in an indulgent mood," she purred.  "I'll interpret Ms. Pressfield's remarks as a single, generalized question."  Her eyes still locked with Amanda's, she sipped her coffee before continuing.  "Ms. Santoval is sleeping in, last I checked.  Like you, she is about to begin a day of employee orientation and training.  As to her ultimate fate..."  She sipped her coffee, again.  "...her fate is very much tied to yours, Ms. Pressfield.  If she's a diligent employee—and if you're a diligent employee—at some point, I may allow you to buy her contract.   Hime, Ms. Pressfield's eggs are growing cold.  Keira, coffee."

Petra held out her cup and the red-haired maid filled it.  Meanwhile, Hime had loaded a fork with eggs and delivered it to Amanda's mouth.  Amanda willed herself to chew and swallow in a polite manner.  The eggs were delicious, but she knew some of that was the sauce of hunger.  The eggs were followed by fork-loads of potatoes, then bacon, then apples, then more eggs.  Keira filled Amanda's cup, and periodically held it to her lips.  Amanda focused on the glassy eyes of the each of the maid's masks, smiled, and nodded her thanks.  They gave no response.

Petra and Mercy were engaged in a discussion of a new line of fragrances under development in La Roque's laboratory near Saint-Étienne, and ignored Amanda and the maids.  Keira stepped close, shielding her actions from the guards, and gave Amanda's right hand a gentle squeeze.

Amanda smiled, grateful for what she interpreted as the first act of sympathy she'd experienced since her capture.  Apparently, despite Petra La Roque and Mercy Dench's best efforts, "The Tower" was not a monolith of soul-numbing despair devoid of all hope.

The maids continued feeding her, and she continued to eat, but Amanda's mind remained focused on her paramount concern: escape, escape for Gloria and herself
—and now, possibly, for others as well?
- THE AMAZING AMANDA!  —Chapter 4 -
Breakfast ended with Amanda's hunger assuaged, but her stomach still slightly less than full.  The maids produced a basin of water and a toothbrush loaded with a pale green paste.  Amanda focused on the brush, debating the wisdom of voicing some sort of comment.

"The hard way..." Mercy said, between sips of coffee, " for my minions to use a dental spreader.  Your choice."

"One of the few choices I'm prepared to allow for you this morning, Ms. Pressfield," Petra purred.

Amanda's cheeks burned with anger, but she held her tongue.  She opened her mouth and cooperated as the red-haired maid gave her teeth a thorough but gentle brushing.  At least the toothpaste is pleasant, Amanda admitted to herself.  She spit, rinsed her mouth with water from a cup held by the Japanese maid, then spit again.  The redhead patted her frowning lips with a hand towel
—then the glamazons pounced!

One grabbed a handful of hair and pulled Amanda's head back.  The other forced something in her mouth and buckled a strap at the nape of her neck.  It was a combination ball and bit gag, and unlike anything Amanda had experienced before.  The ball was mouth-filling in proportions, but was offset from the bit, forcing itself further inside in her mouth than a typical ball-gag.  Both the ball and bit were covered with rubber or latex foam, but the foam was in layers of different densities.  The outer layer packed her oral cavity and pressed against the corners of her mouth without causing a great deal of discomfort.  The inner layer was somewhat harder, and it seemed to mold itself to the shape of her mouth as the strap tightened and she clenched her teeth.

The central chain of Amanda's bonds was disconnected from her shackles, she was hauled to her feet, and the glamazons hustled her from the breakfast room.  She was dragged down a corridor and into a large, luxurious, corner office.  The decor was modern, favoring shades of beige and ivory.  A glass-top table/desk set against one wall dominated the space.  To its left was a large glass conference table surrounded by chairs; and to the right was a conversation pit, a horseshoe arrangement of sofas and ottomans, in ivory leather, surrounding a low, glass coffee table.

The glamazons dragged Amanda towards the pit.  As they approached, she beheld dozens of neatly coiled hanks of thin, white cord arranged in a neat row on the cushions of one of the sofas.  Once in the pit, she was forced to lie on her stomach on the coffee table.  The goons shortened the connecting chain of her bonds, putting her in a loose hogtie.  While this was being done, Amanda focused on the coils of cord.  They were of various lengths, but all appeared to be "550 cord"
One-hundred percent nylon, 550 was comprised of seven core strands surrounded by a braided sheath, and was about 1/8-inch in diameter.  It was used for parachute shrouds, and by the military as a general utility cord.  It was one of Amanda's least favorite bondage materials, at least when she was on the receiving end.  It was unbreakable, and knots tied with the stuff were devilishly difficult to tease apart.  Worst of all, if it wasn't used properly, it could abrade, bruise, and even cut the skin.

Petra breezed in a few seconds later and smiled down at Amanda's hog-chained form.  "Our first playtime," she sighed, then selected a coil of cord.  "Well, might as well get started."  She made a sweeping gesture and the glamazons unlocked and removed all of Amanda's bonds, with the exception of her gag, then stepped back.

Amanda rolled onto her side, bracing herself on one elbow and glaring up at Petra's gloating, smiling face.  Her free hand examined her gag, and she found a small metal ring set at either end of the bit.  She reached behind her neck, and encountered a flush-mounted flange of some sort protecting the strap's buckle.  There may have been a small keyhole, but she couldn't be sure.

"Oh, that's staying in, I'm afraid," Petra purred.  "Now, back on your stomach, please, and hands behind your back, palm-to-palm."

Amanda continued to stare.  One of the glamazons handed her share of Amanda's former restraints to the other, then pulled her shock baton from her boot.  Amanda took the hint, and rolled onto her stomach, as ordered.

"Such a sensible girl," Petra chuckled, and leaned close.

Amanda sighed through her gag as a loop of cord tightened around her wrists.

"Palm-to-palm," Petra scolded, "like I told you; and stretch your fingers, full-length.  That way you can tense your wrist muscles all you want, and my cords will still be tight."

Amanda sighed again.  Obviously, Petra knew all the tricks.  Several seconds later, Amanda could tell that the smug blonde knew how to tie someone's wrists, as well.  The first loop was followed by a dozen more, all carefully compacted and cinched between her wrists.  The final knot was something more than a simple square knot.  Of course, Amanda was hardly in a position to watch the process of it being tied, but she could tell that whatever it was, it was complicated, and in an unreachable position.  She was going to have a very difficult time escaping from Petra's handiwork.

Her ankles were next.  Petra used the same basic technique: a dozen close, neat loops, cinches between her ankles, and a complex, unreachable knot.

"I think I can handle things from here, ladies," Petra said.  "Thank you."  Mercy's minions bowed and made their exit, taking the chains, cuffs, and collar with them.  Petra selected another coil of cord, a very large coil.  "This is going to take some time, Ms. Pressfield.  But then, a truly challenging tie can never be accomplished in haste, don't you agree?"

- THE AMAZING AMANDA!  —Chapter 4 -
In point of fact, it was nearly an hour before Petra exhausted her supply of cord.  Amanda found herself in an incredibly strict, incredibly tight hogtie.  Her heels were resting on her hands, and her hands were on her rump.  Multiple bands of cord bound her legs together, above and below the knees.  More neat bands bound her elbows together, pinned her arms to her sides, and lashed her thighs to her ankles.  Additional cord linked everything together with horizontal, vertical, and diagonal strands; and flat, rosette knots or elegant hitches were tied wherever cord crossed cord.

Next, Petra had used a brush and comb to pull Amanda's hair into a single long, tight braid, incorporating three lengths of cord in the pattern as she plaited her raven tresses.  She then passed the end of the braid through a steel ring, and used the free end of one of the cords to bind the doubled braid against itself with a series of neat, closely-spaced loops.  The other two cords were passed through the rings at either end of the bit of Amanda's gag, looped under her chin, back through the bit-rings, then back to the ring at the end of the braid.  The pièce de résistance was a final, additional cord linking Amanda's thumbs, big toes, and the ring.  Now, the uniform tension on her gag and hair immobilized her head as effectively as the rest of her bonds immobilized her limbs and torso.

Amanda could squirm a little and rock her body forwards and back, but just barely.  With considerable effort she thought she might be able to roll onto her side, but what was the point?  Any effort on her part caused the cords to tighten and dimple her skin, or tug on her scalp, toes, and thumbs.  With professional detachment, she had tried to follow the process of her body being rendered so totally, completely helpless, and had already reached the conclusion that there were no flaws in Petra's technique.  Her captor's carefully compacted and arranged bands of cord, secured with their clever hitches and complex knots, might as well have been bands of steel, secured with spot-welds.  Yes, Petra La Roque had planned and executed her predicament with the precision and planning of a Bondage Master.  If there was an organization that certified such things, she would have their highest rating.  Amanda raised her eyes, and found Petra gazing down at her.

The blonde's expression was... disturbing.  Her face was shining, her features flushed, and her gloating smile betrayed elements of lust and obsession.  "The greatest escape artist in the world..." she mused, "rendered totally and completely helpless."  She reached out and stroked Amanda's gagged and cord-bridled face.  "Your eyes are so beautiful, Amanda... and your breasts."  She rolled Amanda onto her left side, sat on the table, and cupped the captive's right breast.  "Full, firm, perfect in shape and form... generous, without being overly large..."  Her fingers toyed with the nipple, which, to Amanda's chagrin, popped hard and sensitive in response.  "Sometime soon," Petra continued, "I'll have to bind these pretty globes with twine, or leather thongs, or wire.  With your fair complexion, I'm sure they'll turn a delightfully deep shade of red."  She leaned close and gave the nipple a delicate kiss.

Petra rolled Amanda back onto her stomach, and stood.  Her hands traveled from knot to knot, checking their tightness. 
"Breast binding will be a short-term game, of course.  I always like to start with a clean canvas... no unsightly bruises or rope burns marring the subject's skin."  She stepped back into Amanda's field of vision, and once again, captive and captor locked eyes.  "That's why games like this will only happen about once a week... twice at most.  I have other employees who require my attention, and you'll need time to rest and recuperate.  Don't worry, my staff includes physical trainers, experts in massage and exercise.  They'll keep you in tiptop shape, ready for our next game, and the game after that, and the game after that..."  The gloating aspect of her smile intensified.  "...assuming you don't escape at some point, of course."

Petra turned and stepped from Amanda's view.  "I'm going to take a shower and get back to work.  When I return, I'll be able to watch the progress of your escape from my desk.  And don't be embarrassed as my senior staff come and go, throughout the day.  They're all used to the sight of my 'living sculptures'.  Most of them have been one of my living sculptures, on more than one occasion."

Several seconds passed without further comment, and Amanda surmised Petra had made her departure.  So, she thought, this is going to be a day long 'game'?  She very much hoped that was an exaggeration.  Petra's cords were applied in a manner that spared her pressure points, and while they were uniformly tight, the key word was uniform.  Her circulation should remain intact.

Of course, whenever Petra saw fit to untie, or more likely, cut her bonds, Amanda knew she'd be covered with rope marks.  However, with any luck, she'd have few, if any, rope burns.  Petra's cords were that well-placed and tied.

Near total immobility would be the worst part of the ordeal.  She marshaled her strength and concentrated on a plan of attack, on a way she could locate and untie the key knots of her wrist bonds... although she knew she would never escape Petra's cords by her efforts alone
.  At least the effort would keep her mind on her own situation, and away from other things... like what might be happening to Gloria.

—Chapter 4

Chapter 3
Chapter 5