Shiva's Messenger

Valhalla’s Trickster and his Valkyrie

Chapter 9

Valhalla’s Trickster and his Valkyrie

The waters of Puget Sound closed over Tariq and his captive. Both had managed to take one final deep breath before they hit. Vlad struggled hard, but body mechanics made his a no contest situation. His naturally weaker shoulder muscles were working against an opponent’s stronger pectorals—with an added imbalance of leverage.

From her vantage along the waterline, Lyra had witnessed the episode. So quickly, her brief high of catching the man’s wink had plunged into the shock of yet another murder. She put her face into the water and opened her eyes: the salt was an irritant but she endured it to watch the grappling.

For scant seconds, the two wrestlers hovered just under the surface, as air trapped in their clothing escaped. Then, the heavy trailing weigh of the forged iron links took hold and they were towed rapidly into the depths.

The crush of increasing pressure raged in his sinuses. Will it shatter my eardrums? Tariq buried his face into the side of the other man’s neck. If I can squash my nose shut against him and blow, perhaps I can equalize the pressure. He tried once and the right side of his face gained relief but the action had cost him precious air. A second blow after turning his head to pinch the other nostril finished the job. SCUBA lessons on that Caribbean vacation paid a dividend, but what’ve I really gained? He wouldn’t have pressure pain while drowning but he had spent much of his lungful.

Tariq pulled his nose from Vlad’s neck and opened his eyes for the first time since submerging. The face he looked into was scrunched in pain. His cheeks aren’t bulged. Pressure had compressed his air but the Russian still had a full breath held. That’s far more than I have.

The Iranian renewed the strength of his grip as the captive increased his struggles. He felt my face removed and took it as a sign of his release.

The Canadian felt a movement between his legs as the man kicked his knee up towards an unprotected groin. He’s changed tactics. The upper thigh hit with the speed of a push, instead of a punch: they were too close together for the point of a knee to strike gonads. The mafia man then tried a forehead butt but that couldn’t hurt either. Vlad’s lower body jerked back as the head thrust forward. With the lack of solid footing, he couldn’t brace against the force of torque. The power of the strike started with half of the intended inertia and finished with less after the liquid took a share.

Goon University must not have a physics department. Maybe they only learned from Hollywood but movies don’t consider the involved sciences either. In a submerged fight, a wrestler has supremacy over the boxer and Tariq’s current hold was simple but highly effective in pinning the goon’s arms to his sides. If Vlad had twice the strength, even a weaker man than Tariq could still immobilize him this way.

The programmer turned his mind to a worse predicament. Would his ankle slip free of the chain? It feels like a slack fit. His feet worked off his shoes while his arms still gripped firm above. He tried to pull his foot out but his heel’s bulge prevented his release. No joy!

What I need most right now is another breath of air. The Canadian had spent much of his last one and his lungs now burned with a fire that water couldn’t quench. Now, there is but one source.

An unexpected maneuver had worked once already and the wily Iranian tried another. He planted his lips over the Russian’s mouth and sucked hard. Is a kiss of death from another male breathtaking? Tariq abandoned his grip of Vlad’s elbows to squeeze on his diaphragm. The breath taker wanted every tiny bit he could get. Then he released and pulled back.

Vlad’s eyes went wide in surprise. With lungs empty, the thug couldn’t resist the body’s natural reaction of gasping: he drew a deep draught of salt water. Even if the doomed goon now reached the top, he would still die. Water, and the body’s anatomical defense mechanism of producing mucus to protect the damaged lung tissue, would surely drown him.

The programmer watched the freed Russian’s arms and legs slowly flailing as a starfish torn from a reef in a current. Give me the gun before swimming off. There was a reason for his choosing the goon over the geek. With one hand, Tariq pulled the pistol from Vlad’s holster: he shoved the man’s chest with the other. This is plan ‘B”. Call it plan ‘Z’ because it’s my last possibility.

Will a bullet still fire underwater? Theoretically, there was no reason why it wouldn’t: a sealed bullet casing held gunpowder fuel mixed with a chemical oxidizer. He fumbled the muzzle down to the lock. The gun may fire but then other variables will factor in. Water in the barrel could tear the gun apart in his hands: a shock wave magnified in liquid could rupture his organs. Or I could simply drown—so squeeze the bloody trigger!

shivasmessenger

As in a glass-bottomed boat with the windowpane removed, Lyra had been a spectator of the clash of the ghostly figures in the shadowy deep. She seen the kiss of death but didn’t understand what had happened. The one fuzzy apparition had thrashed away only to have his motions subside a moment later. A tiny flash of light preceded the report of a gunshot that echoed through the fluid. Then, the one living man swam for the surface.

Should she cheer or fear his heroic efforts? I’m not sure which one has survived. The drama unfolding on the stage beneath the waves was nearly too gripping to pull her eyes from. Unlike a whale that breathed from a blowhole, the human needed to periodically lift her face. Then, he was close enough for recognition. Swim for your life!

The violent shock wave and the pain of shrapnel ripping into his shin was now ancient history for him: only gaining the surface mattered. Tariq floundered upwards but swimming in soggy clothes hampered his progress.

Hum a long note to fool the breathing urge. He didn’t have much left to sustain the tactic and soon his lungs felt as if full of napalm. His mouth opened on his lung’s demand for refilling, and he took a brief hiccup of water. The action elicited a cough that spent his last air, but it paralyzed his further respiration—he didn’t take the fatal gulp.

Tariq kicked again with failing energy and gazed at the wavy surface. The sunlight filtering down is as if an unreachable heaven but my eyes dim. It was so tantalizingly close but he had been underwater for too long. The diminishing oxygen in his bloodstream was dropping below the threshold of life support. His movement slowed to a splayed-limb mortal float.

Goodbye world. Those were apt dying words for a programmer since the first code a fledgling developer learns is one that says ‘hello world’.

As the darkness of death enfolded loving arms around him, his final thoughts were of a wife and daughter that he was now joining in whatever beyond awaited. As his life ebbed swiftly away, his soul embraced the return to its eternal home. Drifting free of his mortal shell, Tariq’s spirit saw his remains with arms and legs like a naked ‘X’ suspended in ether.

Lyra’s mental encouragement failed: enticingly near, his face slackened and he ceased kicking. I have to take action! After taking a deep breath, the semi-nude female dived. She ignored the pressure in her ears to push further. Don’t sink into oblivion. She supposed that could be interpreted two ways. Please don’t do either of them.

His spirit’s peripheral vision saw the surface. In fact, I now have eyes in the back, top and bottom for a full sphere of vision. Sunrays danced like an aurora borealis and amid a dazzling glare, a Valkyrie came to collect the fallen warrior for the journey to Gladsheim’s hall of the slain. What? I am a disillusioned Muslim, not a pagan Scandinavian! Tariq then lost that sight as a renewed awareness took his attention.

She caught hold of a wrist and appropriately, it was as dragging a dead weight. The wisp of a slender girl pulled with one hand and swam to the surface like a three-limbed climber on a rope ladder. Finally, she found the atmosphere and gasped a new draught of it. Then, she drew the man’s limp mass to the top.

Tariq saw every detail of his life in one multi-facetted glimpse. This is my life flashing before my eyes but it seems as the Judgment Day of my wife’s faith. From the briefest emotion ever felt to the most fervent prayer uttered, nothing was missed in all-encompassing mind he was sharing. He perceived his mortal sojourn differently than he knew in living—because it was without falsehood.

Without movement, his essence journeyed to where universal truths flowed like long lost and sorely missed friends. Other lives are near me. Tariq sensed them without seeing but was certain he knew each intimately. Loki stands slightly aside and he is mocking me. Why shouldn’t there be comedy? It’s one of the creator’s bequests.

Lyra pinched his nose and blew a long breath into his lungs. Her soft lips licked away the death’s embrace he experienced below. With mouth fully wide, she took one cavernous breath and locked her lips tightly onto his: she exhaled it as forcefully as her diaphragm permitted. The Iranian coughed salty moisture into her throat.

Loki? He was a god from the Norse pantheon! What kind of mixed creed eternity had he landed in? The grinning apparition’s hilarity touched Tariq’s eternal being and suddenly, he understood. My vow to 911 victims was unnecessary: I don’t owe the dead but I can assist the living. Not a snippet or a thread, the entire bundled rope of his mortality pointed as a fused unit to a single goal. One uncontainable task remained unfulfilled.

“Come back to me.” Lyra whispered and then breathed for him several times. With a hand cupped under his head, her fingertips were on his neck, she felt a pulse in his jugular vein: it was tenuous.

He took a ragged breath on his own but fearing the noise, she muffled it with her hand. His life was fragile and brutes on the ship would ruthlessly finish him. Keeping his face above the water, Lyra took the Kisbee ring off the stern rail. She put the lifesaver over his head and tugged his arms up through it, to nestle in his armpits. His eyes flickered open and the man was racked by a small fluidic hack.

“Be quiet.” Lyra hushed his lips with a gentle finger.

Blinded by sunlight, Tariq only half saw the angelic girl. In glistening armor, she rode to me on Odin’s eight-legged winged steed. A shield-maiden of the gods has preserved me for the battle at Ragnarök. He heard shush through a throbbing headache that clenched his eyes beyond his strength to open them. Don’t go. Cool water replaced the warmth of her contact with him but he was too weak to speak the request.

“I’ll distract them.” Lyra kissed his forehead and pushed the floatation device away. “Go and live.”

Tariq willed his legs to kick. He pried his eyes open and saw her face fully for the first time. “Have I seen you in my dreams?” His voice was a frog’s croak and the words were not discernible. Was she the illusive girl in my dreams? She seemed so but she was always gone on awakening. He slowly began his journey back to the dry land of the living. The trouble is I’m not sure if I’m all that happy to be back. Death wasn’t bleak at all: it was vibrant. “It’s no wonder that babies cry when they are born.”

shivasmessenger

“Where is there a bartender when I so desperately need one?” Feeling somewhat responsible for the subordinate thug’s demise, Bob filled in for absent steward: he poured out tumblers of vodka for the remaining two Russians. He also filled a tall glass with some spiked punch the steward had left for him. Hey, that one is mine. The mobsters grabbed that as well.

“~To Vlad.” Sergey clinked glasses with pimpled Leonid and guzzled back another three-ounce belt of liquor. The grief stricken, were soon to be the angst sodden, as they drank straight vodka shots and chased those with fruit juice—that was strongly laced with lemon gin.

“Nostrovia.” Wall attempted the Russian toast phrase and sipped dregs of the cocktail that he managed to snag from his guests. He set the glass down but covetously held it with both hands, and looked aft to the water. He was becoming squeamish about the company of drunken murderers and a near proximity to dead bodies.

“Drowning is a more enjoyable death,” the mob boss slurred his words, “than drinking bleach is.”

“Have you tried both to be certain?” The head of Wall Soft Systems was reminded of a long ago time when a summer-camp bully victimized him. ‘The food here tastes like shit.’ Young Bob had complained, but to the cook’s son. ‘Can you know for sure—before experiencing that flavor?’ The camp meals were nicer than the dog crap he forced onto my tongue.

‘Like a true nature’s child.’ A song blared from the salon’s stereo.

Sergey swiveled abruptly and drunkenly lost equilibrium: he tottered into the bar cart, upending several bottles and the silver ice cube urn.

Wet from her swim, Lyra had only a beach towel wrapped around her delectable frame: she had peeled off her soaked bra and panties while she took a quick rinsing shower, on her way back through the washroom.

‘We were born,’ the girl spun from her task of cranking up the tunes: she felt the Steppenwolf’s baseline and began to dance, ‘born to be wild.’

“Wu-who!” Bob hooted like an owl with horn-rimmed eyes on a hare.

‘We can climb so high.’ Getting into her entertainment of necessity, Lyra writhed her body to the rock and roll. As compass needles tracking magnets, every male eyeball turned and fastened onto her, and it was none too soon either. Over Wall’s boney shoulder, the girl could see the nearly drowned man moving very slowly in the water.

Her attention diverting performance is so skillful, Tariq propelled his life-ring away from the boat: treading the water backwards was easiest, so he could also see the onboard action from an increasing distance, that I’m half lured to stop paddling and watch.

‘I never want to die.’ But his temptation’s remaining fraction wished that he could just lift his arms and slip back under the waves.

“How could I have known death was so—,” he paused to find the right word, “—alive?” I can no longer mourn my family: Alexandra and Brenda and went to a good place and they were allowed to remain there.

“Snap out of her trance.” Tariq shook his mortal thoughts free, to find that he had stopped moving. My soul can’t go home yet: I have a mission and I now owe a life debt to that hypnotic young woman.

Whilst moving to the lively beat, Lyra’s fingers fiddled with the towel: she opened it slightly and peered under. Do you men want to see this too? The girl teased that she would soon remove her cover. All male attention is focused unwaveringly on me—just as it was at the Bangkok hotel’s pool.

“Hold them for just two more minutes.” Looking over his shoulder, the man in the life ring could see he was nearing the safety of the point. As he squinted back over the distance to the yacht, the girl removed her wrap.

[Our lovely Freya has an hourglass shape to stop a chronograph.]

“Life is strange,” the Iranian safely rounded the spit and laughed at the voice that had just appeared in his mind, “and then you die.” Here was an Arabic-Canadian who was no longer a Muslim but who was not a Christian either. Returned from dead, his spirituality was unlike any organized faith. “Even more bizarrely, I have a long-forgotten into lore Norse quasi-deity seemingly engrained into my essence.”

Tariq crunched on the rocky shore like an orca-bitten seal. The coin of his last strength was spent in crawling up the gravel beach. It was cool in the late September afternoon but that was still marginally warmer than the water. He slept as if on a soft mattress and under a feather quilt.

shivasmessenger

“~You risked yourself and forestalled your own escape,” the junky girl whispered as the two sat on the sofa, “~to save a stranger.”

“~You saw him?”

“~My eyes weren’t stuck to your body with testosterone glue.” Oksana smiled. “~I also watched you earlier, as you crept along the hull.”

“~I know you won’t say anything about his being alive.” Lyra waited a pause and then continued. “~I would try anything to get you free too.”

“~I think you would.” Oksana’s communicative face waltzed through the emotion of surprise at the heartfelt offer, to a dip in gratitude. The final spin was of trust in a friend. “~Even if you can’t help me, you can use this to get yourself free.” The blonde’s voice dropped to a conspiratorial tone and she tugged the other girl to a hidden alcove.

“~What?” Lyra watched as Oksana took something from her purse.

“~The idiot operating the camera on the sundeck didn’t know how to use it properly but I know quite a lot about electronics.” She tucked a tiny item into Lyra’s hand. “~Anaconda threw the camera at me and while I had it, I noticed: instead of saving to the cassette, the video was recording into memory. I put the selector to tape, then returned it to the cameraman.”

“~I’m not exactly certain what that means.” Lyra glanced down at the styrene plastic thing in her hand.

“~The mini DV tape that Anaconda took was blank.” The mobster’s junky girlfriend grinned: this item was revenge for her beatings. “~The hot tub scene is recorded on that data storage stick.”

“~I’ll try to buy your freedom with it.” Lyra slid it into her bra like a poker chip. “~I bet Sergey would pay dearly to keep it off the Internet.”

“~It’s more likely he would kill whoever threatened to do so.” Oksana put a comforting hand on her friend’s arm. “~I’m beyond any assistance—but you aren’t. Save yourself with it.”

“King Bob shouldn’t be a serving boy.” The CEO grumbled as he poured yet another round of potato alcohol. None of his fantasies for the day had turned out quite as he planned. First, the software designer took the fun of the murder by being so staunch about it. “So what if one of the scum Russians was killed?” Then, the girl had suddenly sparkled with the same bedazzlement seen in the porn video. Bob had found his eyes jealous that other orbs were watching her with him.

“It was like her sensuality switch was suddenly flipped on—and then off.” Just as instantaneously as she had started, she had zoom-zoomed into the bathroom. Now, she was dressed again. Bob ogled her and monitored his sexuality control unit. “Mine is a rheostat that she’s cranked up to full: I have to get my bulbs popped before I can lower it.”

“Vlad died for you.” Sergey’s voice was maudlin as he threw a meaty arm around billionaire Bob’s shoulder. “That was a fine way to go.”

“I have to go too.” The American tycoon ducked from the unwelcome embrace: he had taken all he wanted from the Russian—and more besides.

“I wanted,” Sergey paused his sentence for a belch, “to talk with you.”

“Don’t touch me with your murderous hands like we’re friends.” Wall muttered to himself as he scooted off to the bridge. “To me, the dead goon is a stiff that may foul my seventy-five million dollar yacht’s propeller.”

“You’re leaving,” the Obshina had followed but not quickly enough to hear Bob’s undertone quips, “but I—.”

“Put the crew back onboard tomorrow morning and move to a different anchorage.” Wall cut the mobster off his further discussion by phoning the yacht’s captain. He didn’t want his boat positioned where bloated cadavers were lurking to pop up—but there was no need to incur overtime expenses either. “I want the helicopters back now.”

“Where are we going?”

“My pilot will take you where you want.” Bob standoffishly avoided a parting bear hug from the bipedal boar. The weather refused to cooperate with Wall’s pleasure either: a squall had come in with the Bell Jet Ranger. The CEO, slave girl and two American bodyguards crossed the flight deck through gravity defying cold rain that fell sideways in the wind.

shivasmessenger

“My nap couldn’t have been for very long.” Tariq’s down comforter of imagined warmth had melted as candy floss licked by the rain and he woke quivering like Jell-O on the pebbled shore.

He stood and surveyed his environs. The tide was receding, as he was several meters from the lapping waves and didn’t recall having crawled so far from the water’s edge. After a few wobbling steps, the castaway bent to remove his soaked socks. His shoes were walking footless on the bay’s floor. Risking his bare feet on the barnacles was better than slipping and slopping on soggy cloth.

The sound of a rotor called his attention and after climbing the rocky headland on ginger feet, Tariq peered over at a helicopter.

[The Viking has claimed his spoils.]

“Bob the lucky has her for now,” the Iranian and his tag-along Norse deity saw Wall towing the prize female to the aircraft, “but Tariq the wily doesn’t intend let him bank what he looted.”

The two American bodyguards boarded with their charges. Then, the helicopter’s engine spooled and it tilted away like a hummingbird on PCP.

“The shrunken mafia entourage is still aboard.” Having crossed the point of land, the covert observer skirted the edge of the water. My soul was soothed from a brief stay in the afterlife—but finding some ground that doesn’t torture my soles is challenging. The sound of a second transport caused him to dive into a copse of thick fern.

“I’m amazed by the negligible harm from my drowning episode. My only aftereffect is shortness of breath.” He crouched to view the ship while taking stock of his state of health. The hiccup of water he ingested had paralyzed his lungs and also preserved his life. It prevented his breathing semi-caustic water that would’ve induced secondary drowning. It was too early to tell if a lung infection would arise from the non-sterile seawater.

“The software pirate stole off with his two buccaneers: taking the girl with a treasure chest–and hot booty to boot,” he tallied the seen persons as the second helicopter started loading, “and the black Russian privateer is hoisting sail with his last first-mate and the bowsprit-thin blonde.”

“Did Bob leave his expensive toy unattended,” the programmer’s eyes swept the boat from fantail to bow-ring, “for us to play with?”

[Is finding out worth another dip in the fiord?]

The returned-from-death man and his come-from-death auxiliary spirit shared a doublewide grin.

“Yikes!” Tariq’s fourth step into the water found his heel on a sharp spike. He fumbled his hand into the bottom and soon found the source of his puncture wound. “Why is there a cable in the water?” He looked at the beach and spied several places where the thick wire rope traveled over the rocky shore. There was another cable running parallel and both terminated at a partially obscured spool. I’ll investigate this peculiarity later.

The water quickly grew deep and Tariq crossed the distance with a breaststroke that produced barely a ripple. He pulled himself out onto the rear platform and a cursory inspection confirmed the boat was deserted.

“My stealth was a wasted effort”, the barefoot man soon found a large passenger cabin that was far more lavish than the rest, “but these were well worth the search.” Despite all of his other faults, at least Wall had ideal sized feet, and impeccable taste in footwear. “Actually, Bob’s wife likely bought them or the closet would’ve held only hushpuppies.”

The unauthorized guest climbed to the yacht’s bridge whilst enjoying the feel of being comfortably shod again. A large first aid kit contained an oxygen bottle and the programmer sat in the captain’s chair to inhale some pure gas. He passed the time perusing charts that showed the location in relation to the mainland and his shallow breathing began to grow deeper.

[Free access to this longboat presents us with a range of amusements.]

Tariq chuckled along with the inner suggestion from his new alter ego. With a brain accelerated by better oxidization, the two-in-one put devious minds into overdrive. A powerboat on a davit offered a dry way to search the shore—where he made another intriguing discovery.

“This explains why the emplacement is here,” the programmer found a shed out of sight behind the cable winch, “and it tells me I have a long night of hard work ahead.” Between the shack and the shipboard tools, he should have all he needed to devise a spine-tingling park ride.

shivasmessenger

With his innards aflutter, as if stepping off a thrilling roller-coaster, the Wall Soft Systems CEO escorted the female amusement he had purchased to ride, into her gilded cage apartment.

“Yee gads,” he gushed when they were alone in the sumptuous main room that was accessed through a door installed in his office, “you are so incredibly beautiful!” Bob kicked off his shoes and moved to stand on the thick Polar Bear rug in front of the rock fireplace. This was the spot where his imagination had him despoiling his sex thrall for the first time.

His hopeful vision swirled into his mind’s yearning. A wench struggles and beats frail fists against his manly chest. His forceful kiss and fierce embrace evokes her sighing surrender. Entwined bodies fold down to a semi-nude tangle on the pristine fur rug. A bodice-ripping romance novel could be penned based on the passions mounting to a crescendo, but then the tale becomes a pornographic pocketbook.

“This structure cost as much to build,” Bob swept his hand around the room, “as some of my competitors are worth.” It didn’t matter though. Nothing was too good for the man that owned a large portion of the world. “We’re going to have oodles of fun here.”

“~You’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny.” Lyra replied in Russian. “~You’re too cowardly to even commit your own murders.”

“Don’t you speak English?” Bob’s eyes abruptly stopped the pan of luxury furnishings to lock onto her uncomprehending expression. He was not prepared for this contingency. As the usual occurrence with most of his imperfect software, it was a major unforeseen glitch that came back to chew a big chunk from his hind flanks.

“Eeengleash,” she pretended accessing a limited vocabulary, “nyet.”

“I’ll teach what I need you to know.” His voice grew excessively loud. His words slowed and he gesticulated them with exaggerated motions.

“~Could shouting possibly make a person understand a foreign tongue any better?” Lyra feigned an attempt to fathom a possible interpretation.

“Give-me-your-jacket.” Bob asked and then pantomimed taking off a coat. He had to perform the action three times and point at her before the puzzled shrug resolved to the desired action of coat shedding. He hung the garment on a peg. “Now how do I ask for the rest of your clothing?”

“~On your orders, a beast named Anaconda threw a young man off a balcony.” Stifling a yawn, Lyra shrugged again and offered a statement in Russian with a sweet smile. “~I was dragged past his broken body to be raped by disgusting swine. If you think I’m going to do anything for you willingly, then you are stupider than everyone in the world thinks you are.”

“Yes, I’m sure we will get along well too but right now,” the CEO’s hands began to tremble with anticipation, “I want to see you naked again.”

“~I’ve had a really long day.” Lyra pressed her palms together and gestured hands as a pillow under her ear. “Go away and let me sleep.” She tilted her head over and briefly closed her eyes.

“We’ll screw first.”

“Screw?” The perplexed girl tried the word tentatively in English and then grinned. “Screw, da!” I can use this to my benefit. “Screw—yes!”

“The screw room is over this way.” Bob swept his hand to indicate the direction she should lead. The bimbo thought screw meant sleep: he would enjoy showing her the real translation. “I wanted our first time to be in a special place like right here but the king sized bed is good too.”

“~You can diddle yourself wherever you want.” Lyra examined the bedroom doorframe as she meandered towards it. Excellent! There is a socket for a deadbolt! “~But you won’t get satisfaction from me tonight.”

“This is my every fantasy about to become reality.” The dork reached his shaking fingers out to rest them on the small of her back.

“Screw.” The slave accelerated her steps as she neared the doorway and outdistanced his touch. With a quick dash inside, the female closed the bedroom door in his anguished face. She grasped the interior latch and slammed the deadbolt home.

“Screw me!” Bob checked his momentum before the wood could smash his nose. He couldn’t snatch his extended arm back fast enough and the tip of his middle finger was painfully pinched. The clack of the lock resounded like a pile driver on his libido.

Bob sucked his nipped finger. His visualization of this day’s end had a different extremity being licked and not with his own lips.

“Why did I have the contractors put a lock on the bedroom door when the whole apartment is secure?” His memory flashed to a mind’s vignette that prompted the installation. He was dressed in a Hugh Hefner style robe and he was spinning the deadbolt. Turning, he faced the scantily clad siren beckoning from the bed. “For the scene to resemble the anonymity of an escort in a hotel room, it needed the audible mood-setting deadbolt clack.”

“I don’t even remember if I have the key somewhere.” The cost of the later addition of the lock was the only item remaining in his memory. The ultra-rich cheapskate pouted at the excessive price that was now working against his ardor. “I didn’t expect to be trapped on the wrong side of it.”

Bob heard a slight shuffle behind the door and he wondered if she had changed her mind. The billionaire stared intently at the wood and tried to will it to open. Unbeknownst, the girl had only wedged a chair under the knob to ensure her sleep wouldn’t be molested, even if he possessed the key. The frustrated man stood fruitlessly waiting for a few more minutes. He couldn’t even go to his bed at home because his wife thought he was sleeping in the ship’s cabin tonight.

“At least this deadbolt,” Bob left the suite and entered his attached private office, “is installed on the right side.” He vengefully secured the exterior door that penned his captive into her finite demesnes.

“Tomorrow I’ll resolve the problems.” Wall curled up uncomfortably on his office couch and shivered slightly: he didn’t have a blanket. A slave was supposed to keep him warm. Instead, she had destroyed the pleasure of his first night of mastership.

“Push her from mind.” Thoughts of the luscious Russian female would wreck his chances of getting any rest. He rolled over and his face jammed against the leather upholstery. How many fleshy butt cheeks had been here before his gaunt facial one? Had many of those had quietly passed anal gas? With an aroma of phantom farts in his nose, the billionaire slid into the first of several fitful slumbers.

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“This is just another necessary price for keeping our way of life.” As the manager of the Islamic Jihad Journal, Bijan Kiani reported the effects of the action and editorialized on the politics too. His present duty though, stepped into journalism’s dark-side—he was helping to create the news. A finger poised hesitantly over the send key. The message he was about to forward, ordered a team of men to stand ready for an unscrupulous task.

“It’s just as they were prepared before the 9/11 assault,” Kiani had the job of relaying those instructions too, “but in that case they weren’t used.”

“If this comes to pass,” he stabbed the send button with a vengeance, “it will certainly be front-page newsworthy.”

 

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