|by Cynthia Trusscot|
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|© Copyright 2013 - Cynthia Trusscot - Used by permission|
|Dark Lady Cynthia Trusscot Solo-M; M/f; discovery; bond; rope; gag; bfold; transport; noose; ghost; cons; X|
“Now listen, boy,” said the Sheriff. “Transportin' a tied-up woman in your vehicle could be construed as kidnapping,”
“But I didn't tie her up! She was already tied up!'
“You didn't go to any trouble to untie her, though, didja?”
“She asked—ordered me not to untie her!”
“That's what they all say. Now explain to me what you were doin'.”
The young man sighed, his shoulders slumping. “You won't believe it when I tell you.”
“Let's say I'll know when you're lying. Now tell me what happened tonight.”
The younger man stared out the windshield of the squad car, into the past. “I was driving back to school. I'd stayed over to go to a Halloween party some friends were having back at home. That's why I thought at first it was some kind of Halloween thing, with her in costume...”
“What kind of costume?” asked the Sheriff.
“Sexy. A dark red velvet jacket over a black leather bustier, a skirt cut high in front but down to her heels in back, shiny leather boots with super-high heels. She was just sitting there by the side of the road. Come to think of it, I don't know why I saw her. She was off to the side, not moving, and it was pretty dark. But I did see her. I thought she might be hitchhiking, so I slowed down to see if she stuck her thumb out. But she didn't. So I slowed more, then I saw the rope around her legs, and I realized that she was tied up. So I stopped, got out, and went over to where she sat on a stump. Her hands were tied behind her back, her legs were tied, and there was a thin black ribbon through her mouth. She didn't look scared, or relieved – she just kind of smirked at me. I took the gag out, and asked if she needed help.”
“Wouldn't you think that a bound and gagged woman would need help?”
“Most likely, but it was near Halloween, and she was in costume. I thought it might be some kind of hazing thing, or a prank”.
“Anyway, I take the gag out, and she says, 'Why yes, I would appreciate a ride in that fancy carriage of yours, if you wouldn't mind, Sir,' in this liquid Southern voice. So I go to untie her, and she says—I swear! 'No! Don't untie me, it'll spoil things!' – so I don't undo any of the ropes. I do notice that she's tied with natural fiber rope, not a modern synthetic.”
The sheriff suddenly sat up, and began making notes. “How did you know that, boy?”
“I've been a sailor since I was a kid, and I'm on the college sailing team. Whatever she was tied with, it wasn't nylon or anything like that – I'd guess manila, except it was bleached white”.
“So I go to pick her up, but she's a good-sized woman, and I can't get her up in my arms. I have to throw her over my shoulder.”
“You must've enjoyed that,” said the Sheriff dryly.
The young man grinned. “Wouldn't you? Ass sticking up next to your head, nice legs right in front. She didn't seem to mind, either – she laughed a little as I carried her to my car. Then I got her into the front seat, fastened her belt, and asked where we should go. 'Go down this road, Honey,' she says. 'I'll tell you where to turn.' So off we go, me with this beautiful, bound woman in the seat next to me. I ask her name, she says 'Lucretia' I say that's a nice name, and she laughs again “Nice name—maybe,' she says. I tell her my name, and where I'm going – hoping to get her to talk more, and tell me what's going on and how she ended up bound and gagged on a lonely road, but no conversation is forthcoming. As we're driving along, she starts, well, squirming—straining -like at the ropes. So I ask if she's all right, should I untie her. 'No, I'm fine,' she says. She keeps moving, kinda sexy, like she enjoys the feel of the bindings. So I figure she does”.
“We come into town here, and she tells me to turn a couple of times. Then, 'Stop, right here!' I pull over there, by the edge of the park.” Both men turned to look at the man's car, parked a few hundred feet back. 'Help me out, darlin', she says, so I go around and open the door. She swings her legs out, and I realize that now she wants to be untied. So I free up her ankles and legs and help her up. When I go to untie her hands, she says no. 'Just take her over there,' she says, gesturing with her chin. I grab her arm to steady her, and kind of hang on. She straightens her shoulders, and we walk slowly over to that white house with the porch. I figure that's where the sorority, or party, or whatever is being held, though it looks dark.”
“Nobody lives there,” says the Sheriff.
“Are you sure?” the man asked. The Sheriff nods, solemnly.
“Huh. So we walk up to the porch steps, and she stops for a minute, looking up at—something, I don't know what. Then she slowly climbs the steps. She turns around and stands in the middle of the porch, facing out over the park, and something about the way she's standing, with her feet together tells me she wants her legs tied again. So I kneel and tie her ankles together, then her knees above the boot tops. 'Use this,' she says, and I see she's holding a piece of white silk. I don't know where it came from—she suddenly had it. Somehow I know it's a blindfold, Just before I tie it over her eyes, she glances at me. I see arrogance, and a bit of fear. Then I blindfold her. 'Thank you, Sir. You can go now,' she says, and I step away from her and go down the steps. 'Will you be all right?' I ask, and she nods twice. And here's the thing: I could swear that when I was on the ground looking up at her, standing there tied and blindfolded, that there was a noose around her neck. There hadn't been one there before, and I certainly hadn't put one around her throat. So I walk away, figuring to go back to my car and keep an eye on her from there. I get a few yards away, I hear this macabre laugh, then hear a heavy wood thump. I turn around, and she's—gone. No sign she was there. I guess someone in the house came out, picked her up, and took her inside, and the thump was the door closing.”
“It wasn't a door.”
“It was a gallows trap.”
“You figured I wouldn't believe you. Well I wouldn't—except I've heard pretty much the same story 16 times in the 23 years I've been Sheriff hereabouts. Now set your preconceived notions aside and I'll tell you the story as I understand it”.
“Backalong, right after the War of Northern Aggression--”
“You mean the Civil War?”
“Some Yankees call it that. Anyway, there were two sisters living on one of the big plantations we used to have around here. One was delicate and blonde, named Angelina, and the other was dark, arrogant, spiteful – her name was Lucretia”.
“Oh. Oh boy.”
“Yup. Lucretia was crazy jealous of her sister. Even though both were beautiful, the men flocked around Angelina like flies to honey. I gather that it finally got to be too much for Lucretia. She set up a mean deadfall in the Dismal Swamp (see the story, “Gentleman's Dilemma”, elsewhere on Gromet's site). Some say the gentleman did the right thing, dying hisself to save Angelina, but she went mad. Some say he couldn't make hisself let go of the rope, and they both died, her hanged, him drowned. In any case, the Law we had back then figgured out who dunnit pretty quick. They went out to the Plantation to arrest Lucretia – caught her just as she was making to ride away. She put up so much of a tussle they had to tie her up tight, then gag her when she started cussing them out. She stayed tied up while they fetched a buckboard to bring her back to town on”.
“The trial was pretty quick, and the verdict was assured. She was marched out over to the gallows, which used to stand just about where the porch of that there house is now. They tied her, noosed her, blindfolded her—and--” The look of abject horror on the kid's face caused the Sheriff to break off.
“The last thing she did before they sprung the trap was laugh, a laugh that sent shivers up the spines of everyone watching.”
“So that woman I found by the side of the road, brought back to town, put on a porch, and walked away from – she's a ghost? Of a murderess who killed her sister almost 150 years ago?”
“Yup, I think so.”
“Well, I carried her to my car, and I untied and retied her. She was a real hunk of warm woman.”
“I can't explain that part – I can't explain any of it. But almost every year around this time, some young feller comes staggering out of the park babbling about a beautiful, woman he found tied up beside the road, who mounts that gallows-porch and vanishes.”
“You said 'sixteen out of 23 years'. What happened the other times?”
“Well, there are men who would try to take advantage of a bound lady. A few times I've found burned circles in fields along that road—circles with bodies in the middle, charred to nothin'. And one year a unit of the motel burned up, killed the guest. Put it down to smoking in bed, 'cept he didn't smoke.”
“So this happens most every year?”
“Yup. Why do you think I was sittin' in the park, there?”
“Ever try to find her on that road yourself?”
“Am I free to go?”
“Yes, sir, you are. But remember – I'm probably the only one who believes you. Good night, and drive carefully.”
Three days later, the young man had the nightmare: He was standing in front of a gallows, with a group of people. Hanging from the rope was Lucretia, tightly bound in her fancy riding costume. Her body turned slowly, round and round, not stopping. She was not dead, nor was she dying – her hands moved within the rope binding her wrists behind her back, and her legs lifted and strained downwards, booted feet kicking sensously against the rope securing her ankles. A small smile was on her lips beneath the white silk blindfold.
He tore his eyes away from the sight of the hanging woman to look at the crowd. Mostly men, a few women. He saw a lovely blonde in a hoop-skirted dress, who must have been Angelina, with a man next to her. Others wore clothing from the late 19th century, through the 20's and 30's. The women – there were four or five besides Angelina – had an air about them that made him think 'Lesbian' – especially one severe woman in a tweed skirted suit and heavy pumps, from the 40's he thought. All of them were listening to Lucretia laugh as she dangled from the noose, slowly turning, turning....
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