The Escapologist - Part 2
For the first time in her life, Eloise wished that she really was a true expert at escapology, and not someone who used tricks and sleight of hand in order to deceive her adoring public. And such was the necessity to get out of a situation that had just taken a very sinister turn, that for quite some time she really did attempt everything within her extremely limited powers to convince herself that she could, indeed, get out of the myriad layers of bondage and the entombing caskets in which she’d been incarcerated. But who was she trying to fool? Even a bona-fide escapologist with many years of experience would find it impossible to break free from a predicament which, of her own volition, had been made inescapable. The ropes, shackles, tights, tape, body-sheaths and straps all held her in a vice-like grip from which there was no way out, and the muffling properties of her multi-layered gag, plus the padded nature of her inner coffin, meant that any sound that she might be tempted to make would almost certainly be drowned out before it reached the outside world.
The road trip that Eloise had inadvertently been forced into taking lasted no more than a half an hour or so, before the lorry came to a halt with a screech of brakes. This wasn’t the cessation of her journey, however; far from it, in fact. For although there followed a period of respite for what the trapped woman estimated to be around an hour, she soon found her world being subjected to another sustained period of upheaval. In the calm which preceded this new phase in her transportation storm, however, Eloise did her best to make her presence known to anyone that happened to be in the general vicinity. But the trouble was that although her container was not in motion, a general hubbub of noise could be discerned from seemingly every direction - the drone of vehicles and machinery, plus a whole plethora of unidentifiable sounds which permeated through the copious layers of her confinement - ensuring that her cries remained unanswered.
It didn’t, of course, take a genius to work out where she’d been moved to. For the time span involved, plus the nature of the business engaged in by the company on whose premises she’d been abandoned, meant that Eloise was fairly certain she was now in Felixstowe Docks; the largest container port in Britain. And that could only mean that she was destined for a sea voyage to...well, almost anywhere in the world.
But the destination of this particular metal box with its unusual livestock was not really the issue that concerned Eloise at the moment. For if she didn’t find a way out of here, and was stashed in the hold of a ship, then her fate was sealed, as there was no way she could survive for days on end without food and water. And this seemed to be the most likely outcome if she couldn’t summon assistance.
This period of inactivity on the part of her blissfully unaware and oblivious abductors finally came to an end with the sound of shouted voices close to the container in which she was concealed, followed by the clanking of heavy chains - just as before in the haulage firm’s yard in Ipswich - resounding through her metal tomb for several minutes. And then the sensation of upward movement again, told the hapless detainee that she was being taken from the truck on which she’d been brought here and relocated onto some vast container vessel where her metal prison would be just one of countless others packed closely together and stacked on top of each other. Once more, Eloise screamed and tried to kick at the padded walls of her coffin, more in desperation than from any real hope of attracting attention. And as she’d gloomily predicted, this bout of attention seeking proved as ineffectual as its predecessors.
The swinging motion lasted maybe sixty seconds or so, as the crane manoeuvred its freight into position. This was followed by an almighty crashing sound which coincided with Eloise’s tomb being deposited onto a hard surface once more. For what seemed like forever, other containers loudly found their places all around, including one that seemed to land on top of the one she was in. Above the noise of industrial machinery, Eloise heard more chains rattling as the cargo was secured in readiness for the voyage that would take both the legitimate consignment of goods and commodities, plus the unwilling stowaway, far away across the sea.
So what was going to become of her? The prospects of an early release seemed non-existent to the now frantic young woman, and her mood darkened still further as the minutes ticked slowly by without any improvement in her circumstances. Eloise could only come up with one cause for optimism; one bright pinpoint of light at the end of an otherwise extremely dark tunnel. But even this was quite a long shot. Even so, it was all she had, and Eloise clung to this slim hope in order to retain some semblance of sanity. And this possible bit of good fortune, her chance in a million of getting out of this whole sorry mess, relied entirely on her accomplice coming to her rescue.
Maria had given no hint, when she’d sealed Eloise in her prison, that she would be back to look in on her friend before Sunday evening - more than thirty hours from now, assuming Eloise’s estimate of the passage of time was accurate. But maybe - just possibly - Maria would exhibit a duty of care beyond that which had been agreed upon, and at least keep an eye on the makeshift sarcophagus in which she’d entombed her friend. Even from the perimeter fence, Eloise thought with rising hope, it should be obvious, if Maria came back to check up on her, that the container in question was no longer in the yard. Surely then Maria would raise the alarm and have the shipment traced. Ok, so it would be embarrassing trying to explain what this whole bondage thing was all about to the authorities, and would probably end in prosecution for breaking into the haulage yard and tampering with a consignment of goods. But at least it would perhaps prevent Eloise rotting away in some dark and dingy hold of a ship that was bound for foreign climes. If only Maria would go back to the yard before the allotted time of release. Eloise hoped and prayed that her friend had her best interests at heart, and would indeed show this kind of commitment and concern for her welfare.
For what must have been another hour or more, Eloise lay in her isolation, a million scenarios playing in her mind, but none of them good. Apart from distant sounds of machinery, nothing disturbed the stuffy atmosphere of her claustrophobic tomb. Finally, from somewhere deep within the bowels of the ship, a low rumbling noise started up which made the very fabric of Eloise’s place of confinement vibrate. And this sound continued unabated; a signal, the unnerved young woman realised, that the vessel was about to leave port. And with this knowledge came the realisation that Maria hadn’t realised the gravity of the situation, and had therefore not raised the alarm. Eloise turned to one more frantic episode of attention seeking, with both her legs and her mouth doing their utmost to make her whereabouts known to the crew of her floating prison. But as she already knew deep down in her heart, no help was likely to materialise.
The monotonous low rumble of engines continued interminably hour after hour, vibrating through the haulage container and the walls of Eloise’s twin coffers; a constant reminder that, with every second, she was getting ever more distant from home and one step further from rescue. Time dragged on, but what could she do? Well, strange as it may seem, Eloise found a way to pass the endless minutes that seemed to last a lifetime.
To a complete bondage addict, of course, there was only one method of doing this; of alleviating the boredom and taking her mind off the terrifying consequences of being stuck here for days on end. And that was to recreate, both with her thoughts and actions, the reason she had got into this mess in the first place. At first sceptical that the necessary ambience could be created, Eloise nevertheless began play-struggling against her multifaceted bonds and trappings, at the same time conjuring up one of the many ‘damsel-in-distress’ scenarios that she often used to generate and heighten the mood of helplessness. And to her great delight - not to mention surprise - after only a few seconds of squirming and wriggling in her unforgiving restraints, she began to experience that first tingling sensation in her loins that suggested she was onto something. Twisting and writhing to the limits that her padded stronghold would allow, jerking her abdomen as best she could and rubbing the most sensitive areas of her anatomy against the surrounding layers of fabric, Eloise worked herself up into a frenzy, moaning loudly into her layered gag as she reached the point of no return on her journey to sexual ecstasy. Even above the ever present pulsating of the ship’s engines, the sound of her wooden inner sanctum creaking could just be heard, as she reached her exquisitely stunningly climax. Finally, with her energies spent, she relaxed; laying motionless as she sought to refill her lungs. A strange sense of contentment washed over her. She may well be doomed to perish in this ship’s hold or in some far-flung foreign land, but at least she was going to go out on a high.
At last, a change in the sound of the engines signalled that the ship was slowing down, and presumably entering port. Eloise guessed that soon the containers would be lifted off and stacked on the dockside, awaiting transportation to their final destination. She breathed a huge sigh of relief. The fact that this voyage was merely a crossing of the North Sea, and not trans-continental, meant that the odds on being discovered had just shifted in her favour. She knew that the chances would probably be few and far between, but realised that there had to be times when other human beings would be in close proximity. And she was well aware that, when these opportunities arose, she must be ready to utilise every ounce of energy remaining in her to make her whereabouts known. As predicted, an hour or so after docking, relative silence reigned, with seemingly no one within hearing range. But then, the by now familiar sound of metal lifting equipment being swung into position, preceded the sensation of rising skywards once more.
Being hoisted through the air, only to have her metal jail come crashing back onto the ground once more, was by now becoming a familiar sensation for the helpless twenty one year old female. But after a further period of what she estimated to be around half an hour, the sound of metal on metal, clanking chains and humming of machinery finally grew fainter, and soon was no more than a distant but ever-present whisper.
How long would the container be left sitting on dockside? Hours perhaps? Days maybe? Or even weeks? Eloise strained her hears, listening intently for a sign - any slight sound or vibration - that might indicate human presence within earshot. For a long while, nothing of this nature presented itself, and the attractive blonde with the unusual hobby began to think that she would never be given the opportunity to raise the alarm.
But just as despair was once again threatening to overcome her, the muffled sound of human voices permeated the multiple layers of her tomb. Faint at first, after a few seconds the voices began to increase slightly in volume, although the actual words couldn’t be made out. But there was definitely a conversation going on out there, which implied that at least two people were within range. And if Eloise could hear them, then surely they would be able to hear her, despite the many hindrances placed upon her.
Screaming for all she was worth, whilst simultaneously hammering her feet with as much force as she could muster against the roof of her prison, Eloise kept up her frenzied attempt to make her whereabouts known for about twenty seconds, before pausing to see if she’d been successful. For a second or two there was silence, and the trapped woman’s heart sank, thinking that her chance of salvation had been missed. She was about to recommence her attention seeking efforts, however, when a voice was heard. But unlike before, this was not a distant mumble, but something much closer to hand. And better still, it seemed to be responding directly to her outburst.
Eloise screamed until her throat was raw, to ensure that whoever was out there was left in no doubt as to both her location and her distress. When she once more stopped to listen, she again heard the voice, only a few feet away it seemed, shouting to someone in a language she didn’t recognise but guessed was probably Dutch. The meaning may have eluded her, but the urgency of tone was enough to convince the helpless female that this was a consequence of her actions. And this was confirmed a minute or so later, when the harsh clanging sound of the doors to the container being opened reached her delighted ears. Kicking and shrieking again, to allow her rescuers to pinpoint her exact position, Eloise was overjoyed when suddenly the casket she was in began to move, and seconds later the sound of the metal clasp which held the outer box shut could be heard being released, followed by a squeaking sound which told her that her saviour or saviours had quickly worked out that the bolts had to be removed to release the lid.
Anxious now to get out, Eloise found the next few minutes both frustrating and slightly unsettling; frustrating because it took quite a time to unscrew the bolts from not one, but two coffins; and unnerving due to what she was going to say once she’d been freed. Should she come clean and face the embarrassment of having her liberators know that she was there, not because she’d been kidnapped and was being held against her will, but as part of a kinky stunt that had gone wrong? Eloise decided that lying would be too complicated and messy. She therefore concluded that it was best to tell the truth, however humiliating that might be.
The lifting of the wooden lid of her inner box brought with it a sharpness and clarity to the voices, although still in a lingo she was unfamiliar with. So Eloise made a few ‘mmphing’ noises, using what she hoped was the universal language of gagged damsels-in-distress, to indicate that she required assistance. And it seemed to work, as seconds later the sensation of a pair of hands in the vicinity of her face accompanied the sound of the zip to the sleep-sack being pulled open. She had been expecting this disrobing of her outer fabric layer to continue all the way down her body and legs, but found that her rescuers were more intent on concentrating their effort on her head, presumably to find out who she was and - more importantly - to make sure she was alright. So the removal of the leather hood, with all its attendant straps, made perfect sense. The release of the buckles took a minute or more, before the hood rose up towards the crown of her head. With this clinging layer removed, an inrush of much cooler air hit Eloise’s face, making her realise for the first time just how hot and stuffy her place of confinement had become. And her head was soon to experience even greater freedom, as fingers worked quickly to rip the double layer of tights from her face.
As her hair fell in tangled masses from the now split hosiery, the scarf blindfold was also removed, allowing the trapped woman’s sight to return. Squinting into the unfamiliar brightness, Eloise’s eyes gradually focused upon the shape of a man’s head and torso directly in front of her. Behind him, two other male figures lurked, both shining torches into her face, so that they remained no more than dark silhouettes against an only slightly lighter background. For a second, she felt a hand touch the tape which held her gag in place, and she braced herself for the inevitable agony that always accompanied the separation of adhesive strip from tender flesh. This searing pain failed to materialise, however, as instead the hand suddenly withdrew, and the figure stood up to his full height and took a step backwards.
“I’ve seen you somewhere before, haven’t I?”
The question, in perfect English but with a Dutch accent, arrived completely out of the blue and shocked Eloise, who gazed intently at the man, trying to ascertain whether he was also familiar to her. Before she’d had a chance to scrutinise his features in any detail, he seemed to place where he’d encountered her before.
“I know! You’re that escapologist girl I saw in a club when I was over in England! You were very good. What do you call yourself? Houdini’s Sister or something?”
Eloise tried to inform her interrogator that it was Houdini’s Daughter, but her words were simply lost in the efficient sound muffler filling her mouth. Still, at least it gave him a reminder of what he was in the process of doing just prior to having his revelation. Maybe, she thought, he’d get on with the ungagging process now. Unfortunately, he had more questions which seemingly couldn’t wait.
“So you haven’t actually been kidnapped? This is all part of some game, is it? Or is it a training exercise?”
With the benefit of hindsight, Eloise later realised that honesty wasn’t actually her best policy at this particular moment, and that she should have played the helpless maiden role in order to get herself released. But that would have meant getting the police, port authorities and customs officials involved, with all the red tape and rigmarole that would entail. And once it was discovered that she was lying, what would the consequences be? Would she be prosecuted for wasting police time?It would be easier just to come clean...or so she thought.
Answering as best she could by nodding or shaking her head, Eloise dealt with a stream of enquiries about how she got to be in her current predicament. But as the minutes passed, she found herself becoming uneasy. Why not just remove her gag? Surely that would make two-way communication a lot simpler. Nervously, she shifted her position within the coffin and made a sound which she hoped would convey some form of plea to be helped out of her bonds. No such assistance was forthcoming, however. Instead, after extracting the information that she had been willingly bound and entombed, had been locked in the container for twenty four hours or so, and had crossed the North Sea in her present state, her interrogator turned to his cohorts.
Being in Dutch, the precise nature of the conversation which followed was lost on Eloise, although it failed to in any way stem the rising tide of apprehension that had taken hold of her. But after presumably relaying to his colleagues the details learnt from his chat with their trussed and encased discovery, her anxiety only ratcheted up a notch when all three of them laughed loudly and began engaging in lively, humorous banter... presumably at her expense. So they thought her plight amusing, did they? It was obvious that this didn’t bode well...
...And so it proved.
After two or three minutes of this frivolity, the mood became more serious, and an intense discussion followed, which included, at one point, one of the men making a brief phone call to someone. Eloise had no idea what was going on, but as no further efforts were being made to release her, (in fact it was almost as if they’d forgotten she was there!) she once again decided to draw attention to the fact that she was still helpless and would – if it wasn’t too inconvenient – like to be untied please. And this momentarily seemed to do the trick, for almost immediately the English speaking member of the trio turned to face her. His words, however, were not what the stricken female wanted to hear.
“My friends and I have discussed the situation and have come up with a problem. We could simply hand you over to the authorities and let them deal with the matter, but that will mean making statements to the cops and explaining to our employers how we found you. But it’s getting near the end of our shift, and we really don’t want our Saturday night ruined by having to go to the police station and being interrogated on every detail of this strange affair. So instead, we’ve come up with another plan.”
He stopped for a second and smiled. A shiver ran through Eloise’s body, for this wasn’t a smile imbued with any friendliness, sympathy or compassion, but instead spoke of mischief and devious intentions.
“I was telling my friends how much I’d enjoyed watching you escape from straitjackets, handcuffs and other restraints, and they both expressed the view that they’d have liked to have been there to see you perform. Then Johan here came up with a great idea. He has a friend who owns an all-night club in Amsterdam that puts on all sorts of weird acts for their clients. He’s spoken to his buddy on the phone, and he’s agreed to allow you to show your skills off in his club later tonight. And the good news is that if the punters like you, he’s agreed to pay a nice appearance fee...which you’ll get a percentage of, of course. That way, you’ll be able to pay your own fare back to England. Amsterdam is less than two hours drive from here, so you can be on stage soon after midnight if we leave now.”
Eloise couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing. This had to be a wind-up, right? But as he finished speaking, a car engine could be heard pulling up close at hand, and Eloise suddenly realised that one of the men was no longer in sight, and that they were deadly serious about this whole business. Shaking her head, she tried to convey the message that she’d rather that they just let her go and she’d find her own way home, thank you very much. It soon became apparent, however, that this planned venture was not optional. But there was one more twist to the plot...and one that the helpless woman found less than palatable.
“Oh by the way, to save time untying you and then tying you up again when we get there, we thought we might as well leave you as you are. I hope you don’t mind.”
Before her befuddled brain had time to process all this rather disturbing information, something flashed across Eloise’s line of vision, only for everything to suddenly go dark again. He may not have reapplied the scarf blindfold. And the tights were ripped and no longer useful as a facial covering. But the replacing of the leather hood over her head was merely the commencement of a process that, it appeared, aimed to encase and incarcerate her in similar circumstances to those she’d endured during her sea crossing. In a state of both disbelief and despair, the protesting woman felt the lacing and strapping tighten around her head, followed swiftly by the zipping up of the sleep-sack. Then there was a crashing sound, as the lid of the inner storage box was positioned directly above her, and the squeak of the bolts as this unbreakable barrier was battened down. This was followed by a clang of metal, as the outer casket underwent a similar resealing process. Eloise screamed long and loud into her gag, but to no avail, and a sickening sense of déjà vu overwhelmed her. What kind of inhuman monsters were these people? How could they reinter her like this, without thought for her wellbeing or wishes? And what - more importantly - was to become of her now? Would they really put her on public display against her will and expect her to perform? If so, then they really hadn’t thought this whole thing through very well at all.
Because they didn’t seem to have considered one vital fact, namely that if she couldn’t escape from her bonds now, then how would she be expected to perform this feat in front of an audience? But alerting them to this inconsistency in their planning was going to be difficult, if not downright impossible, given her gags and other sound-muffling layers through which she would need to convey this important message.
The transfer of her double-layered incarceration chamber to the car was a short but extremely fraught process, during which Eloise found herself thumped and bumped against the walls and roof of her tomb on more than one occasion. The slamming of car doors was followed by the roar of an engine and the sensation of movement, accompanied by more good humoured chatter from her three rescuers-turned-abductors; all incomprehensible, yet chilling and frightening to a woman whose fate now lay in the hands of men whose ultimate motives remained unclear. From out of the frying pan into the fire, Eloise wasn’t sure which was worse; being trapped and locked away when nobody knew you were there, or having these people know she was incapable of escape, yet refusing to release her. Maybe they would be as good as their word and let her go after this intended public performance/humiliation. But there again, maybe they wouldn’t. Only time would tell.
After several minutes of start-stop driving, during which time Eloise was bounced around like she was inside a tumble dryer, it appeared that they’d reached the main highway, as the ride became smoother, with less braking, gear changes or shifts in direction. It also became more monotonous, and the constant drone of the engine meant that, despite the uncertainty of the situation, Eloise found herself fighting to stay awake.
A change in tone brought Eloise out of her slumbers. The car had stopped by now, although the engine was still idling, and some intense discussion appeared to be taking place only a few feet from where she lay. Suddenly all went silent, followed a few seconds later by the opening of car doors. The next thing she knew, Eloise’s mobile mausoleum was on the move again, being carried, it seemed, by several men who, from their grunts and groans, were straining under the weight of their load. Were these the same men who had brought her here? Should she make her displeasure about her continued incarceration known to them? She decided that, given the dire nature of her situation, she really had nothing to lose.
And it at first appeared that this thumping of her feet and vocalising of her concerns was paying dividends, as within seconds, the casket was laid to rest on some solid surface, and the unsealing process began. Getting to a point where Eloise could once again experience the light of day took several minutes. And it wasn’t natural light that greeted her when the hood was eventually removed and her eyes began to familiarise themselves with this change in brilliance, but a neon strip shining directly above her. Several faces looked down on her, curiosity etched on their faces, as if looking at some interesting museum exhibit, or maybe a caged animal at the zoo. She gazed up at her unwanted admirers, trying to look as pathetic and unhappy as she could in order to elicit their sympathy. In the background, the faint hubbub of voices and laughter, along with the clinking of glasses, informed the stricken woman that this must be the audience she would be expected to entertain.
“So, in a few minutes you’ll be going on stage. We need you to show the customers just how good you are at getting free. You’ll be given ten minutes. That should be enough, I think. Any longer and the crowd will start to get restless.”
Eloise recognised the voice as that of the English speaker she’d met at the docks, although until now she’d only seen him in semi-darkness. And he - presumably along with the others gathered around her - still seemed to think that she could escape from this unaided. She simply had to put them right on this point.
Shrieking into her gag, Eloise tried as best she could to lift her severely restrained body out of the boxes she’d been trapped in for over twenty four hours. This only caused the assembled onlookers to laugh.
“Don’t try to escape yet. Wait until you’re on stage!”
Another man said something in Dutch, and the English speaker translated.
“The owner of the club says he likes what he sees. Hopefully you’ll go down a storm out there. If so, he’ll pay us well, if not, we’ll get nothing. So I’m relying on you to put on a good show.”
Eloise shook her head and tried to explain for seemingly the hundredth time that she wouldn’t be able to get free, no matter how long she was given. But once again her words fell on deaf ears.
“Ok, we’re going to take you onto the stage now. The compère will introduce you and the spotlight will reveal you in all your bound glory. Then it will be time to show what you can do. I know it’s probably easy for you to get out, but try to make it look difficult - a lot of struggling and whimpering, that should impress the punters.”
And with that, the leather cranial pouch was once more brought towards the reluctant woman’s face.
Eloise continued to remonstrate as best she could, but soon she was once again hooded and sheathed. She was expecting to be entombed once more, but it seemed that this wasn’t deemed necessary, as the open caskets suddenly rose upwards and she was on the move again. On this occasion the journey was only a short one, however, with the sound of people talking and laughing becoming louder by the second. Suddenly there was a drum-roll, the crowd quietened down somewhat, and an announcement that Eloise didn’t understand was followed by light applause from a small number of the waiting audience. As that moment, she experienced the sensation of the box coming to rest at an angle, as if propped up against a wall or other vertical surface, just as the master of ceremonies finished his introduction by loudly bellowing,
Despite her predicament, Eloise was incensed at this error, and tried to scream that it was Houdini’s Daughter, not Sister. But of course, her gag made speech an impossibility, even if the language barrier could have been breached. This affront to her professional integrity was soon forgotten, however, as she was distracted by someone tampering with the upper reaches of the sleep-sack, and seconds later, she heard the zipper being pulled open right in front of her face. This was quickly followed by the pressure around her head and neck relenting somewhat, and within seconds the hood was being pulled away. A cheer went up from the audience, as Eloise was once more able to take in her surroundings. What she encountered was several intense spotlights shining directly on her. It must have taken a full minute or more for her eyes to adjust to the brightness, but when she did, the scene beyond sent shivers rushing down her spine. She now realise that her coffin was standing almost upright on a raised stage, beyond which, in the less well lit body of this rather seedy establishment, a host of spectators - mainly men- were standing, ogling her. The smell of cigarette smoke, stale beer and even staler sweat assaulted her nostrils. But what worried her were the intensions of the male clientele, whose lecherous eyes and devious smirks betrayed what they’d like to do if they could get their hands on her. Fortunately, it seemed, there were two burly men standing just in front and on either of her, presumably the club’s bouncers. And they, it soon became obvious as one drunken youth tried to climb on stage, were here to ensure she wasn’t in any way molested.
As this would-be groper was pushed back into the assembled throng, Eloise realised that a low rumble of booing had broken out, and as the seconds ticked by, it struck her that this chorus of disapproval was aimed at her. For a moment or two she was perplexed as to why this should be, but all was soon made clear to her, as a loud rap on the side of the box was followed by the face of the compère, microphone in hand and until now unsighted, staring directly into her face and ordering her, in broken English, to struggle.
So unnerved had she been by the scene before her, that Eloise now realised that she’d frozen, like a rabbit in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. And this inactivity had angered her audience, who wanted to be entertained by a woman who - allegedly - was able to escape from the tightest and strictest bondage known to man- or indeed woman-kind.
Even though she knew it was futile, Eloise did her best to make her escape bid appear realistic, by squirming and straining in her multi-layered cocoon. Just do as you’re asked, and they’ll let you go, that was her unspoken mantra as she writhed and wriggled within the confines of her crate. For a few minutes this seemed to appease the crowd, as the jeers temporarily subsided. But when, after what seemed like hours but was in fact probably no more than five minutes, she was seen to have failed dismally in her allotted task, the hoots and jeers began to echo around the room; starting as a sinister whisper then gradually building into a crescendo of barracking catcalls.
But if being heckled wasn’t bad enough, what followed almost made the frightened woman wish that she was still sealed and isolated in that haulage container. The first spray of cold liquid hitting her face coincided with the ugly sound of breaking glass only a foot or two away from where she stood. Then another glass hit the floor in front of her, followed by a third, and within less than thirty seconds it seemed that glasses and their accompanying liquids were raining all around her. This nightmare scenario mercifully lasted only a minute or so, however, before Eloise watched as one of the security men had the foresight to slam the wooden lid of her inner casket into place, shielding her from the incoming debris. Thankfully, apart from a beer face wash, she had remained unscathed.
The shower of glass and booze continued unabated whilst Eloise was carried off stage, and could still be heard for several minutes afterwards, until the anger finally seemed to dissipate and calm was once more restored. Eloise breathed a sigh of relief. Ok, so the public weren’t impressed with her inability to escape, but that was hardly her fault. She’d done all she’d been asked to do, so now surely her captors would keep their side of the bargain by releasing her and handing over her share of the money, so that she could pay her way back to England.
But where were they? For a good ten minutes after the rumblings of discontent had died down, she heard nothing; deathly silence reigning all around, so much so that she was beginning to think she’d been forgotten. But just as she was contemplating giving a gentle reminder as to her continued imprisonment, the lid of the box was slowly pulled away. Eloise stared upwards at the man who had earlier spoken to her in English. From the scowl on his face it was obvious that he was not pleased about something. Eloise did her best to convey the message that she’d really like to be released now. And although her gag made the words muffled and indecipherable, he seemed to understand.
The trouble was that being able to comprehend her plea and being willing to accede to her request were two very different matters.
“Let you go? After letting us down like that? I don’t think so.”
Eloise tried to explain that this was what had been agreed earlier, but this line of reasoning cut no ice with him.
“We brought you all the way to Amsterdam at our own expense, and you embarrass us in front of an audience of two hundred people, who had been led to believe you’re a great escapologist. As you heard by their reaction, they were not at all happy.”
He beat the side of the box with his fist, causing the casing to vibrate and Eloise to shudder in fear.
“But worse than that, instead of the club owner paying us, he’s expecting us to pay him, as he had to give out free drinks to most of his customers to calm them down!”
He leaned in and glared at her.
“So the answers no, you’re not going to be released until we get our money back.”
Eloise shrieked hysterically. How, she wanted to know, were they going to achieve that? Suddenly, however, a devious smile lit up his face, and the frightened woman instantly guessed two things; one, that he had a solution to the problem, and two, that she wasn’t going to like it. And on both counts she was soon proved correct.
“But we’ve decided to give you a chance to redeem yourself...and make sure we get paid for our troubles. There are plenty of other clubs in Amsterdam that will be willing to see your unusual act, I’m sure. So we’ll try one of these tomorrow night. By then you should be so desperate to get out that you’ll have perfected your escape technique, the punters will get their money’s worth and all go home happy, and most importantly, we’ll get paid and you’ll be free to leave.”
As he spoke, the familiar leather hood came into view and, despite her protests, Eloise soon found herself in darkness once again. The sound of the spandex sleep-sack being zipped shut soon followed. Eloise screamed as she heard the wooden lid of her inner prison fall into place, with its metal counterpart rapidly following. As he instigated this incarceration procedure, her tormentor-in-chief continued with his monologue, however, with his voice getting fainter as the layers increased.
“And if you don’t get out tomorrow, there’s always the next night, and the night after that, and so on. After all there are hundreds of clubs in Amsterdam...”
As if in farewell, he rapped three times on the outer lid of Eloise’s place of confinement.
“... and indeed throughout Europe!!”