Nightmare In Alice Springs
by Barry William Metcalf


     “Why didn’t you contact me about this?” Martin Mitchell demanded, throwing the newspaper angrily on Sergeant Jones’s desk. “Why did I have to find out this way?”
     Jones flushed, his ruddy face even redder than usual. He looked away from Martin’s angry questioning stare towards the other end of the counter where a constable was typing up notes on the office word-processor. She had decided, for political and promotional reasons, that she had not heard this angry outburst and even if she had, that it had nothing whatever to do with her. The sergeant turned back to face his accuser.
     “I tried,” was all he said.
     “Tried?” Martin’s voice oozed incredulity.
     “You weren’t at the motel.”
     “Why didn’t you try the mobile? You had the number!”
     “I did. I couldn’t reach you.”
     Martin thought momentarily about the mobile’s flat battery and the fact that it had been in the boot of the Volvo. And although there had been no message left for them at the motel, at least the part about the mobile phone might be true.
     “Then why didn’t you keep on trying at the motel until we came in, or at the very least leave a message?”
     “Sir,” and Bryan Jones looked away again from Martin’s hard stare. “I have a private life outside of the police force. I had another engagement last night.”
     “Another engagement?” Martin’s voice was now sarcastic as well as incredulous. “Are you a policeman or what?”
     Sergeant Jones flushed again, an even deeper red this time.
     Martin vaguely wondered if the man’s face could possible get any redder without his bursting a blood vessel or two.
     Jones clenched both his fists without lifting them from the counter top where they rested, but when he spoke next his voice was controlled. Only just, but controlled all the same.
     “Yes. I am a policeman, and a very good one at that. At least, I have always considered myself to be so until now; but I am not married to the job and nothing you can say will change that. That’s why I’m a policeman here in The Alice and not in one of your big cities down south where I would be expected to be on the job twenty-four hours a day.
     “When I couldn’t contact you last night I assumed…”
     “You assumed what?”
     “I assumed that you were off…who knew where…investigating the case in your own way; or perhaps just sight-seeing. For all I knew you could have been at Ayres Rock, checking out the scenery!”
     Martin held the man’s stare. Did the sergeant know where he had been? More than likely? How did he know? Were he and his partner being followed? It did not matter. What mattered was that he should have been contacted as soon as he had arrived back at the Mount Nancy Motel. However, he decided, nothing could be done to change that now.
     Sergeant Jones took Martin’s silence as a sign of acceptance of his explanations. He turned his large, calloused hands over on the counter top (the same hands that had only last evening thrilled and teased the naked body of Janice Porter) and smiled expansively.
     “So you see,” he concluded; “I did everything I could to notify you: it just wasn’t possible, that’s all. One of those things.”
     Martin smiled thinly back at him.
     “How about you showing me the bodies instead?” he suggested. “Maybe all the evidence hasn’t been destroyed as yet?”
     “Perhaps you’d like to look at this first,” advised Jones, ignoring the last barb and reaching beneath the counter that separated them. He straightened, a large brown envelope in one huge paw. He opened the flap at one end and tipped the container up so that a black-and-white photograph slid out and lay, face upwards on the bench. “What do you make of this?”
     Martin leaned forward and studied the glossy print. It was another image of the car accident, but this time the vehicle was not the center of attention. This time the photographer had been intent on capturing a small area of the ground beside one of the bodies. The picture showed the arm of one of the victims, the girl by the look of it. It appeared as if she had tried to write something in the dirt with her finger as she lay dieing. Martin picked up the photograph, took his glasses out of his shirt pocket, and examined the image more closely.
     Scrawled in the dirt were one whole word and one part of a word. Despite the poor lighting and the graininess of the shot, he could clearly see that the words were: “WANDA JE…”
     A trickle of excitement ran up the middle of the special investigator’s spine and found lodgment in the center of his brain. There it gave birth to a number of memories and sensations that set the whole of the nerves in his body tingling, and sped the train of memory in a mad-cap, runaway journey that he knew could only end in derailment. Martin took a deep breath, kept his eyes glued to the photograph until he had himself under control once more and then lifted his gaze to meet that of the sergeant.
     “So what do you think this means?” he asked, his voice level now that it had lost its cutting edge, now that he had shut the door to the past.
     Jones was eyeing him warily. There was something going on behind those pale blue eyes, but did it have anything to do with the case, or was it simply something else that the man was hiding?
     “I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean,” the policeman finally ventured. “Unless the writer was trying to ask us to contact someone for her.” He kept his gaze leveled at Martin, but his face was now as pale as a corpse. “Anyway, how many ’Wandas’ are there in the country? Why, I know of one right here in Alice Springs.” His eyes shifted from Martin’s face to the photograph and back again.
     He’s lying! thought Martin. He knows something, but he’s either afraid to tell me or…or what?
     It was time to change tack again, time to let the sergeant think that he was as confused by this case as was everyone else. Maybe he could catch the policeman off-guard by changing the subject for a time.
     “Do you know who took this photo?” he asked, picking up the discarded envelope and returning the black-and-white print to it. He did not offer it back to Jones.
     “Why, I did, of course,” lied the other, with conviction. “Whenever there’s an accident or a murder I am the one that usually prepares the photographic evidence for the files.” He smiled. “I even moonlight for the local paper whenever I get the chance. That was my picture on the front page today. I even had one of my photographs published in the Melbourne ’Herald-Sun’ a few years back.”
     Now that he thinks I’m not after his hide, we’re allies again! thought Martin. Very strange indeed!
     “Did you take the photographs of the first victim, of Eric Stephenson?” he asked.
     “Yes. They’re on file in the back room.”
     “May I see them? The originals, I mean.”
     “Of course. Shall I get them for you now?”
     “No. I need to study them at my leisure. Have the constable collect them and bring them to the motel. You do remember which motel, don’t you? It’s room number twenty-one.”
     If Jones noted the barbed reference, he did not acknowledge it.
     “Certainly. Only too glad to help.” He turned towards the woman working on the word-processor. “Did you hear that, Constable?” he asked.
     “Yes, Sergeant,” she responded, still pretending to be totally immersed in her word-processing.
     He can’t do enough for me now that he thinks I’m off his case, thought Martin while the sergeant was turned towards the woman.
     Jones looked back towards Martin.
     “Anything else?” he asked obligingly.
     “Yes.” Martin saw the wary expression return momentarily to Jones’s eyes. “Were there other photos that went with this one and the one in the paper? Other photos of the accident?”
     Bryan Jones breathed a sigh of relief and smiled once more.
     “Yes. Yes, of course,” he said. “I took a whole roll. Would you like the constable to bring those ones with the others to your motel, too?”
     “That would be most helpful, thank you. Now, shall we go and have a look at those bodies? I suspect the eminent Mr. Porter might be just about in the middle of his autopsy, don’t you.” And with that Martin turned on his heel and headed out the front door, leaving the exceedingly obliging policeman to follow in his wake as fast as he could.
     As predicted, Peter Porter had the autopsies well under way when Martin and Sergeant Jones entered the cool room at the rear of the funeral parlor. In fact, he was just finishing stitching up the second of the two cadavers, that of the young woman, when the two emerged from the corridor. He looked briefly up as the door opened and they entered.
     “Come in,” he instructed, not allowing the arrival of the newcomers to interfere with his work. “I’ll be with you both in just a few moments.”
     Martin surveyed the room. Little had changed since he had been there yesterday, except that Stephenson’s body was no longer on the hospital trolley by the far wall. Where was it? he asked himself. Safely ensconced within one of the drawers, most likely! The young man’s body was lying in the spot where the first victim had been yesterday, while that of the young woman was on the examining table.
     Martin led his eyes wander to the walls, finally coming to rest on the numerous certificates famed and hanging there. He advanced to where he could read the fine print and, taking his glasses from his pocket, pretended to examine the newest certificate closely. He spoke without turning towards the pathologist.
     “Melbourne University?” he said conversationally.
     “Yes,” replied Porter glancing briefly in Martin’s direction.
     “You could have been there while I was still there then?”
     “Perhaps. I didn’t socialize very much. I didn’t get to know many people.”
     “Me neither.”
     Martin casually advanced to where the mortician was working, his eyes noting everything, missing nothing. They took in the corpse before him, noted the absolutely flattened torso from the neck to the groin, the untouched head and legs; and, unbidden the final image he had had of Ayres Rock flashed into his mind. He saw it once again as he had then and he knew what the silhouette of the monolith had reminded him of: it was not the actual body laid out on the dissecting table his subconscious had been trying to remember at all--it was something that he had noticed across from the body, something he had seen without it registering on his consciousness.
     Bryan Jones had ambled to one side of the room, pretending interest in the room’s fittings and equipment, but in reality he had been watching Martin as a cat might watch its prey.
     “Now, gentlemen,” Peter Porter interrupted the silence that had settled upon the chamber; “I am sorry to have kept you waiting.”
     “Not at all,” reassured Martin. “One’s work must always come first.”
     Sergeant Jones had left his post by the far wall and had come to join them in the center of the room.
     “Peter Porter,” Jones said by way of introduction; “this is Martin Mitchell. He is here to investigate the murder of Eric Stephenson.”
     Martin extended his hand towards the mortician.
     “Glad to make your acquaintance,” he said.
     Peter Porter removed the latex glove he had been wearing on his right hand and extended it towards the investigator. Despite his rather effeminate fingers, he had a firm grip and, for a moment as their hands made contact, so too did their eyes. Martin found himself staring into two deep wells of the palest gray color he had ever seen. Then the contact was broken.
     “Can I ask you a personal question?” Martin asked, knowing he could ask it no matter what the answer, no matter what Porter thought.
     “Of course,” and the undertaker smiled his warmest smile. Martin noted, however, that it did not carry all the way to his eyes.
     “Why is one with your background--I see by the degrees and other certificates on the wall that you are a fully qualified surgeon---working here as a funeral director, sometimes doubling as the medical examiner, when you could be running a very lucrative medical practice in Melbourne, for instance?”
     Peter Porter smiled, and this time the smile traveled all the way to his gray eyes.
     “It’s a long story; but the gist of it is that, yes I could be doing what you said, I could be running a lucrative medical practice in Melbourne or any other capital city, for that matter. The simple matter of the fact is that I DID have such a practice once. Then one day I operated on a nine-year-old boy: I had known he and his family for many years and it was a simple enough operation--a run-of-the-mill appendectomy; but the boy died while I was still inside him--his heart failed they said. I was exonerated, of course, but I never forgave myself for the loss of that life. I lost my nerve. The few times that I attempted to operate following that incident my hands shook to such an extent that I could not control them. My skill was useless to me and to everyone else.
     “I sold my practice and moved here where the ghosts of my mortality could not haunt me, or so I thought. I decided that my skills would be of more use to the dead than the living; and that seems to be the case, for when I cut into a cadaver my hands no longer shake.
     “So you find me here, doing what I am doing; but have no fear, Sir. This may not be as lucrative a practice as that of a Collins Street Specialist, but it more than provides for my simple needs and will see me through until the end of my days.” He smiled again as he concluded his story, but there was more than a hint of sorrow in those steel gray eyes. Was it for some not quite forgotten image from this man’s past, or was it for all the things that he had lost? Martin wondered. “Now, what would you like to know about the two latest victims?” Porter asked, removing the second glove and disposing of both in the bin that stood at his feet.
     “I would like to know,” Martin replied, noting that the sergeant had once again drifted off to one side of the room; “what killed the two people in the car accident yesterday afternoon?”
     “That’s easy,” answered Porter; “they were both killed by something heavy being dropped on them and their torsos being flattened.”
     “Then they weren’t killed in the crash?”
     “No. It appears that both were thrown free of the vehicle when it struck the rocky outcrop; both were, I believe, unconscious but alive immediately following the car accident.”
     “I see,” answered Martin thoughtfully, eying the two men intently. Why are you lying to me? he asked himself. What have the two of you got to gain by this deception? Aloud he continued: “Do you mind if I examine these two bodies to see if I can discover anything unusual?”
     “Of course not,” asserted the funeral director. “Where would you like to start?”
     “I’ll start with her, if I may,” responded Martin, indicating the body of the young woman.
     “Be my guest.” Porter stepped back from the cadaver that had once been an alive, young and quite beautiful woman, but which was now little more than a pile of skin and bones. He moved over to where Sergeant Jones was standing and the two of them conversed in low tones all the while watching Martin from the corners of their eyes.
     Martin made a show of carefully examining the two bodies and, after another thirty minutes in the room, he took his leave. As he was departing, he turned to the two men, his hand holding open the door.
     “By the way, Mr. Porter,” he said.
     “Yes.” The two men stood up straighter, eyes vigilant, suspicious, probing.
     “I didn’t see your wife today when I came in. I hope she’s not ill or something.”
     “Oh!” murmured the undertaker, while the policeman visibly relaxed. “She was not feeling quite herself today. Nothing to worry about, though. Probably just something she ate last night. I’m sure she’ll be back on deck tomorrow.”
     “That’s nice,” Martin said, pretending that this information made him feel relieved. “Well, gentlemen, I’ve got some unfinished business to do out of town. I guess I’ll catch up with you two tomorrow. Thanks for all your help.”
     As he turned, letting the door close on the other two men, he wondered, for the first time on a conscious level, at the purpose of the steel bracket located on the wall above where they now stood. He walked out of the funeral parlor and into the bright sunshine to be greeted by another blast of intense unseasonable heat.



     After Claire Jennings had dropped her partner off at the police station, she had driven immediately to the funeral parlor, parked and gone in. The front door was not locked and, as before, the reception area was in semi-darkness except for the lamp burning on the counter. Unlike the last time she had been here, however, there was no sign of anyone behind the front desk, no sign of Janice Porter at all.
     She called out, but there was no answer to her summons.
     Glancing about her, her eyes came to rest on the door marked PRIVATE, the door that led to the back room that doubled as a morgue. She walked around the end of the counter and crossed to this door. It opened inwards on silent hinges and she stepped into the short passageway from which several doors debouched.
     In the gloomy interior, Claire had only time to notice that all the doors beyond this one were closed and then the main door swung shut with a soft sigh. Unlike the previous time she had traversed this corridor with Martin and Sergeant Jones, there was no overhead light operating. Her hand felt for a switch on the doorframe to either side, but failed to find anything that even resembled a light switch. As her eyes became more accustomed to the gloom, however, she realized that some light was filtering from a skylight, covered to keep out the heat of the outback sun. Eventually her eyes adjusted and she realized that there was sufficient light for her to continue, and this she did.
     She tried each of the four side doors leading off the passageway, but none budged when she attempted to open them. All four were locked. Finally she reached the door at the end of the corridor, the door to the morgue. Tentatively she reached out and touched it, tried to turn the handle, but this, too, was locked. Puzzled she turned around and was about to leave when a sound from behind the heavy portal caught her attention. She stood still, listening, trying to identify the low sound.
     For several minutes she hovered, poised halfway between staying, halfway between flight. Eventually she realized that the sound she could hear was that of a surgical saw muffled by the door, a power saw cutting it sway through stubborn muscle and bone.
     Peter Porter was obviously inside the examination room even now conducting his post-mortem. Why then was the door to the chamber locked? And where was his wife, Janice?
     Claire tapped on the outside of the heavy portal, but when there was no response realized that her rapping knuckles would not have been heard above the sound of the buzzing saw.
     She realized that she had no other option but to leave and seek somewhere else for the woman she wished to interview.
     With this in mind, Claire exited the funeral parlor the way she had entered it and, moments later, stood once more in the bright sunshine of another very hot day in Alice Springs. Already she could tell that it was hotter than it had been the day before.
     It was not that far to Parke Crescent and the house where the Porters lived. She and Martin had driven there only last evening, but there had been no sign of life then. It was strange that Janice Porter was not at work; but then it might be her day off, or perhaps she had not been feeling well enough for work today. With these thoughts in mind, Claire eased the Volvo into the curb directly outside the two-story house.
     She could tell immediately that there was no one at home.
     There was no scientific explanation for what Claire felt when she stopped outside the Parke Crescent dwelling, but it was a feeling that she had had before, and one that she had in the past learned to trust. Still, she turned off the car’s ignition, undid her seat belt and opened the door. The heat outside hit her at once--it was almost as if it had a life-force of its own that was pressing against her, forcing her down--and she was grateful for the fact that the car’s air-conditioning appeared to be coping at present. She closed the door and walked towards the low brick fence and gate that led, via a concrete path, to the front door of the house.
     She studied the building as she went, but there was no life in those blank, staring windows, no animation in the sun-faded curtains that hung limply behind the glass. She shivered. Her inner sense told her that there was death associated with this house: it also warned her to be careful.
     No one answered her ringing of the doorbell although she could hear the sound tolling throughout the house. It rang hollowly, forlornly, as if there was not a stick of furniture inside.
     No one came to question her when she strolled around to the rear of the dwelling. She tried to peek into a back window on the ground floor, but the dismal curtains blocked off her view. She thought a neighbor might hail her over a side fence, but though she walked completely around the house, no one seemed interested enough to do so.
     She saw nothing out of the ordinary. She noted nothing out of place. Still the feeling of death associated with the abode filled her very being.
     Claire lit a cigarette, the more to give herself a reason to spend a few more minutes on the footpath, but also to calm her inner self. Finally she returned to her vehicle, ground out the cigarette stub and climbed back inside. Even in that short a period of time, the interior of the Volvo had heated up dramatically, and Claire wasted no time in starting the engine and the air-conditioning. She sat in the car outside the house waiting for the interior to cool down to a more comfortable level. Only when this had been achieved did she drive off. The coolness of the vehicle was welcoming after the blistering swelter of the sun, but already she could tell that the air-conditioning was losing its battle with the heat.
     She drove slowly back to the motel, deliberately not detouring past the police station or the funeral parlor. It was important for her partner to have as much time as he could to see if their change of tactics would work. As for herself, she had spent half the morning traipsing around Alice Springs and had not made one advancement with the case.
     Disappointed but not disheartened, Claire decided to return to their room, make a couple of phone calls (there was still the Weather Bureau to check and another call she wished to make, a hunch she needed to check out), and spend the remainder of the time once more reviewing those details of the case she so far possessed. She turned on the radio, hoping to catch the latest weather report, and was in time to hear Elvis Presley’s rendition of ’Your Cheatin’ Heart’.


     Less than twenty minutes after Martin Mitchell had left the examination room, Sergeant Bryan Jones took his leave as well.
     He and Peter Porter had been in deep conversation for some time following the investigator’s departure and then he had assisted the funeral director in moving the two new bodies to the remaining empty cold-storage drawers. This done, Jones had left to return to his own office and the usual business of the Alice Springs Police Station.
     Once alone again in the confines of the autopsy room, Peter Porter locked the main door as he had done earlier in the day, as he had been wont to do more and more often lately, and strode to one of the other storage drawers. Tugging this open, he lifted up the sheet to disclose the pallid features of his wife, Janice. She appeared to be quite dead. With a great deal of difficulty, he maneuvered her onto the trolley and from there to the examination table. He moved over to the sink and opened one of the cupboard doors set under the bench. From there he extracted several rolls of elasticized bandage and returned to the center of the room.
     “Well, my dear,” he addressed his wife as he methodically commenced to bind her wrists and ankles to the legs of the table; “how are we feeling this bright and cheery morning?” And he laughed as his own question.
     The fact that she did not answer him in any way did not seem to dismay him at all. Instead he moved to one of the cabinets containing medical equipment and supplies and extracted a phial and a syringe. “I don’t suppose you can hear me, let alone answer me,” he continued, filling the hypodermic from the small bottle. “Perhaps this will make you feel a little more communicative.”
     As he spoke he approached his wife’s body and plunged the needle into her upper right arm, emptying the contents into that part of her body.
     At first it appeared as if nothing had happened; then, ever so slowly, the color began to return to her face and her eyes began to blink. Presently she opened them completely only to stare directly into the powerful lights mounted above her. She winced and squeezed her eyes shut tightly as the harsh glare of the light seared her optic nerves; she attempted to cry out, but her vocal chords did not seem to want to work.
     “Don’t try to speak just yet,” he advised her, his hand caressing her cheek as she slowly allowed her eyes to adjust to the light. “The sedative I gave you last night will wear off shortly now that I have administered a massive dose of Narcan.”
     Her eyes opened wider and again she attempted to articulate something, her throat muscles squirming around like eels in a barrel; but still no sound issued forth.
     “Oh, don’t worry,” he reassured her. “It’s nothing more than a drug to counteract the sedative in your system.
     “But it’s no use screaming even when your voice returns,” he addressed her gently. “Very little sound escapes these walls, and there is no one here to hear you anyway.
     “Besides,” he added, producing a roll of gray ducting tape from somewhere out of her sight; “you know I object strongly to too much noise. Attempt to scream, attempt to make too much commotion and I shall be forced to place this over your mouth. And who knows? I might just be so careless as to cover your nostrils as well, and then how would you breathe, eh?” He laughed again at his own little joke.
     Janice ceased in her endeavors to speak, but her eyes remained wide, staring, frightened.
     “That’s better,” he said, smiling and patting her cheek. “Now, would you like to know how you came to be in this mess?”
     She did not attempt to answer verbally, but here eyes clearly indicated that she was anxious to discover what was going on.
     “Excellent!” he beamed. “I guess the best place to start is with what happened yesterday. Anything that came before then is pretty much old history, but I’ll fill you in where it’s relevant.
     “Late yesterday afternoon there was an accident a few kilometers out of town on the Stuart Highway: a couple of Victorians on a honeymoon tour of the area ran off the road and ploughed into the only rocky outcrop near the road for…well, let’s not worry about that for now, shall we? Both were thrown from the car and killed instantly--their bodies are here right now as a matter of fact--and it was I who came upon the accident as I returned from the airport yesterday evening.
     “What has all this to do with you, I see you ask? Everything and nothing!
     “Of course I stopped and checked to see whether I could be of any assistance; but I was too late. Then I did that which ultimately led to you being here in the examination room in the situation you now find yourself in.”
     He could see by the puzzled expression in her eyes that she still had not made the connection.
     “Have patience, my dear,” he advised her; “and all shall be revealed to you.
     “You see, the first person that I rang was our local police sergeant. Nothing wicked or insidious about that. Just about what any ordinary citizen would have done under the circumstances. Anyway, when I rang the police station, the constable on duty informed me that the estimable Sergeant Jones had not been in all that afternoon, that he was out investigating some case or other. Thinking nothing unusual about this, I thanked her and then rang for the ambulance and a tow truck.”
     He looked into her brown eyes, noted the beginnings of understanding being registered there, and continued.
     “Now this is where it gets interesting; this is where it begins to directly affect you.
     “Thinking that you might be concerned by my delayed return home, I rang the funeral parlor--here in fact--on the off-chance that you might still be at work. When you weren’t I was not concerned, guessing that you had simply closed up early for the day and gone home. I tried there next, but could not raise you. Still, I suspected nothing, reasoning that you had dropped in to see a friend or something--you really could not have been sure at what time I would arrive home.”
     He moved out of her line of vision for a moment and she could hear him fiddling with something on the far side of the room; but he continued with his discourse while he was thus engaged. She tensed her arms and legs against the bonds binding her to the table, but could not make them budge. She swallowed several times to relieve the dryness of her throat and returned her attention to his words.
     “While I awaited the arrival of the ambulance and the tow-trucks, I grabbed my camera from the car and shot a whole roll of film of the accident and the victims, using the headlights of my car and others once the daylight began to fail. One of my photographs was featured on the front page of the local newspaper today--but I guess you haven’t had a chance to see that yet,” and he laughed again. “It was only after the ambos and the others had arrived that I began to become more concerned about the whereabouts of Bryan. Alice Springs is not such a big place that he should not have already heard about the accident, especially if he was in his police vehicle with its two-way radio. So where was he? I asked myself.
     “On an impulse I decided to leave the others to the business of clearing up the wreckage and other mess (they didn’t need me for anything further by then, anyway) and drive into town to attempt to discover what had happened to our hard-working sergeant of police. Little did I suspect what I would ultimately discover.
     “I first went to the police station where I dropped off my roll of film for the sergeant--that was another thing that I found strange: he was always the one who took the photographs of accidents and its victims: prided himself on his work in that field, he did--and was again informed that he was out on a case. When I asked further, I was informed about the two special agents who had arrived and who were staying at the Mount Nancy. Perhaps the sergeant was with them.
     “After leaving the police station and the funeral parlor, I drove out to his house, but his neighbor said that she had not seen him since he had left for work that morning; but that there was nothing unusual about that. I then began to drive around town, attempting to spot his four-wheel drive at one of the various hangouts he is wont to frequent. I was having no luck until I remembered the two investigators and wondered if they had detained the sergeant. Besides I wanted to find out for myself what they were up to--you know how important it is for us to know exactly what strangers are doing in our town!
     “Anyway, I drove out to their motel, figuring that they would most likely be there; but, of course, they weren’t. You DO remember the Mount Nancy Motel, dear; it’s on the way out of town, along the…but, of course you do. You probably know it quite intimately, in fact. The two investigators weren’t there, as it turned out, but I did notice something else.”
     He turned from whatever he was doing at the side of the room and came to stand beside her once more.
     “Do you know what I saw in that car park, my dear? What it was that caused you to be in this predicament?”
     “Yes,” she whispered, her voice husky, almost seductive.
     “Ah, I see you have regained control of your vocal chords. Remember, my dear, my threat about the ducting tape. It was not an idle one. Where was I? Ah, yes.
     “What I saw was your car, your little red Mazda 323 with the number plate that reads SEXY69. And right beside it was, of course, the Landcruiser with the word POLICE emblazoned along its sides. No wonder I couldn’t get hold of him. No wonder I couldn’t contact you. You must have thought that I was pretty bloody stupid!” He spat these last words out, little drops of spittle spattering her face, making her wince.
     She shook her head and was about to speak when he silenced her once again, this time by placing his soft, slender hand firmly over her mouth.
     “No,” he grunted. “Don’t answer that or you might find yourself in even bigger trouble…” and he giggled like a high school girl. “Though I doubt it,” he added softy, as an aside that she barely caught. “…than you are now.” Again he giggled. “I don’t care what you thought. I don’t care how long this THING with Bryan Jones has been going on. I don’t care to hear your petty excuses as to why you have cheated on me the way you have done. I don’t care how many others there have been. I don’t want to know because ultimately it makes absolutely no difference to either you or me.” He was fairly shouting now, but in a high-pitched voice that matched the tone of his giggles, a voice she had never heard him use before.
     He paused, seemingly to gather his composure.
     “Last night,” he continued in a much calmer, more natural voice; “while you slept I drugged you and brought you here so that we could have this little discussion, so that I could tell you what my plans for you are.”
     He paused again, collecting his thoughts, and for a moment she hoped that he might be going to set her free. But when he continued, she could see that this was a false hope. Both his words and his actions terrified her even more than she was already.
     “’Snuff’ films,” he continued while taking off his lab coat; “are very very big in Asia. You didn’t know that, did you? I guess I have you to thank for me discovering that little tidbit of information.” Next he removed his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. “So I have decided to make a lot of money by making a ’snuff’ film of my own with you as the star attraction. You DID tell me once that you always wanted to be a big movie star, didn’t you? Well, this is your big chance for a starring role; your only chance!” He discarded his shirt and bent down. She could guess that he was untying his shoelaces and removing his shoes and socks. “And, of course, I stand to make quite a considerable sum of money from the sale of this movie overseas. Maybe, if it all turns out, I might even make a few more; but, alas, you won’t be able to star in them. Never mind, I’m sure I can always find other, willing, budding young starlets.” Now he was undoing his belt and the top of his trousers.
     She watched fascinated as he undid his zip and pushed his trousers down over his hips. The thought crossed her mind that he might just be angry, that he was only trying to scare her, to repay her for cheating on him as she had done. His very next words drove that thought totally from her mind.
     “I have set up a video camera on the far side of the room and it has one-hundred and twenty minutes of tape in it,” he announced, tugging off his satin boxer shorts. (They were black with the slogan ’UMPIRES RULE OK’ emblazoned on them in white letters.) “That should be long enough for what I desire.”
     She could not see the camera as it was out of her line of vision, but she knew he had one. He had purchased it duty-free while in Asia.
     “But before I take my ultimate revenge on you for cheating on ME, I am going to have some fun.” He walked around to the end of the table until he stood naked between her spread-eagled legs. He commenced to climb up onto the tabletop. In a matter of moments he was on his knees between her legs and she could see that he was sporting a huge erection.
     Oh my God! she thought. The bastard’s going to rape me!
     She felt the touch of his hand on her belly, then the mound between her legs, his fingers trailing through her pubic hair. Then she felt his finger probe her slit and attempt to force its way in.
Oh my God! she thought again. He’s going to rape me and he’s making a video of it for all the world to see!
     “Just as I expected,” he grunted. “I’m primed and ready for a little bit of action. You’re frigid and dry. Typical!” He stood up on the table so that he towered over her, his erection pointing at the ceiling.
     She could not remember seeing him this excited about her for a long time.
     “Well, I know how to remedy that--another little something I picked up in Kuala Lumpur,” he boasted; and, taking his penis in his hand, he clumsily directed a stream of urine downward between her legs and all over the lips of her vagina.
     “Ugh!” she grunted in disgust, writhing against the constriction of her bonds as she attempted unsuccessfully to move her body out from under the line of the yellow stream. She desperately wanted to scream, to order him to leave her alone, to set her free, but his threat was still fresh and vivid in her mind.
     Having relieved himself on her, he knelt down again and his fingers once more probed her pussy, only this time they easily found their way inside her.
     “Much better!” he grunted and, positioning his erection at a point where it just touched her lips, he rammed it home inside her.

To be continued...