Chapter 3 - What Happens Under the Blindfold
“I’ll have to pass. I have no more money, ” Cielle heard someone say after a series of delighted hoots, hollers, and gloats.
Three hours after she and Alex ate breakfast, the outside had become a lively place. She could hear successive footsteps on the ground, some bicycles moving, and woods scraping against woods. It was as if the whole community, though small, had finally woken up.
Although curious, she opted not to peek on the vent, trying her best to be attentive to Alex and his smiles while playing with the figurine on the bed. However, after quite some time of listening, curiosity got the best of her, especially when she noticed more and more male noises in the air.
Leaving Alex to play alone, she climbed up the stool and peeked. Immediately, she saw a group of men including four of those who abducted them sitting on wooden benches a few meters away from her underground room. A table was set-up in the middle where cards lay scattered in an organized way.
They were playing card games, she thought, such a typical thing, so after shrugging her shoulders, she went back to sit on the bed.
“How about you Nic? Do you want to play?” Cielle heard a familiar voice say — Don — which stiffened her shoulders. By the mere mention of Nic’s name, it made her feel conscious. The hell?
Before realizing it, she scrambled to her feet and climbed back in the stool to peek the second time.
True enough, Nic was there with them, leaning against the trunk of a coconut tree she saw was vacant earlier. Was he there to play cards with them? she asked in her thoughts and the answer to it came quickly when Nic silently shook his head.
“No, no. He won’t, ” said the others in unison.
Don, who was sitting on a tattered, springy sofa, shook his head in disappointment. “You guys are no fun! Next time, bring more money!”
He gathered all the cards in his hands and shuffled them like a pro.
“Well, the mother of the kid has not yet given any feedback that’s why our wallets aren’t full, ” said one Cielle thought was Theo.
This was good information in the status of the boy’s kidnap-for-ransom case so she continued to listen.
“Hmm, well, I have an idea, ” Don announced, scraping the side of his cheek with the edge of the cards. “Who wants to join? Whoever wins get to keep Ms. Beautiful. No one can touch her other than the winner.”
Cielle paled. What does he mean by that?
The men, without a second thought, agreed.
“Okay! I will join!”
“Go! I like that!”
“Yes, yes! This is going to be fun bro!”
The last one came out as a surprise for her. It was Nic who said it.
“What Nic? You are going to join?” asked Don, surprised himself, but with a wicked grin on his face.
The one addressed nodded once and then sat on a vacant seat.
Somehow, this made Cielle’s heart skip a wild beat.
“Good! Good!” Don exclaimed, “This is going to be an interesting game!”
He shuffled the cards again, cut it in half, thrice, four times, and then distributed the cards to the players all the while the prized woman shook her head in clear-cut refusal of her abject destiny.
After half an hour later...
“Ah shit, I’m done, ” proclaimed a fat man, dropping his poor set of cards on the table.
“Me too, ” followed Arthur.
“Bulsh*t, I am not lucky today, ” added Don, who was supposed to be the defending champion of card games in their area. “Ah, it seems it is down to Nic and Theo for the win, ” he continued, eyeing them with seriousness.
“What a tight game they have here, ” Arthur commented, watching the concentrated faces of each possible winner.
Then, Nic placed his card on the table.
“Royal flush, ” he stated, calm, composed and cool.
Theo shook his head and snarled. “Mother f*cker, I thought I’ll be the one to win.” With force, he dropped his cards in frustration and stood up. “What a waste.”
Don patted his shoulder. “Next time, next time Theo. Anyway, you already have a live-in partner to take care of your nights.”
The man just scrunched up his nose in reply.
Cielle, the whole time, went speechless. She can’t seem to figure out if she was relieved or not knowing that Nic was the one who won.
Better him than others, a wild thought crossed her mind, but still it didn’t keep her from asking what Don had meant earlier and what the wicked look on his face mean.
The next conversations however cleared those questions.
“Oh, Nic! You’re such a lucky bastard!” Don inched closer to the sitting Nic and tapped his shoulder. “When are you going to take Ms. Beautiful?”
Nic looked at the expectant faces of his comrades and then directly on her way and said, “Tonight, when the child is asleep.”
The cold look in his eyes penetrated Cielle’s safety walls that she shivered in fear. They were talking about touching her... touching her without consent and he was going to be the one to do it just because he won the twisted card game.
“No...” Cielle covered a hand in her mouth to muffle her sobs. He couldn’t! Wouldn’t!
The hairs in her skin stood up and her knees started to buckle. The last thing she saw before she dropped shivering on her stool was the jubilant faces of the criminals and Nic’s apathetic face.
Lunch came with another batch of meals given to them by an old silent lady. This time it consisted of plain rice and fried fish. Amidst this, Alex ate his share heartily, but Cielle didn’t. It was not like she was picking her food, she was just too distraught about the possibilities that lay in the coming night that it made her lose her appetite.
Afternoon came by without any problems. Alex was too preoccupied with playing the toy figurine that he didn’t notice the troubled face of his big sister.
By nightfall, the old lady came again, bringing another tray of food. Along with it, she handed a towel and a new set of dry clothes for her and Alex, and urged she take a bath.
This got Cielle all riled up.
The hell he.
‘Is he planning to taste his prize fresh and all dolled up?’ she asked herself angrily.
Although she would have wanted to scrub out the filth on her skin and change into clean clothes, in the end, she didn’t. She just took care of the boy instead, doing what most mothers do before putting their child to sleep.
It was the dead of the night yet Cielle was unable to sleep properly. With her black blazer taken out, she lay next to Alex, enclosing him against the concrete wall while she positioned herself facing him with her buttock almost at the edge of the bed. It was the same arrangement as they were the night before, but this time, it brought her fearing in double for her safety.
Thoughts of this afternoon replayed in her mind again and again and again, dreading if Nic would claim his prize — her virginity. The men weren’t aware of her condition, but even so, no matter in what angle she looked at it, or whether she was a virgin or not, the path still led to one ghastly thing.
She had set-up countless scenarios in which she would fight him if worse comes to worst. She had contemplated kneeing his groin, or kicking his balls, or even go as far as biting his tongue or anywhere in his body just so he would understand her refusal of the arrangement.
By Jove, she wasn’t a whore, or even some low lady who can be made into a pawn in men’s vile and wicked mind. She wasn’t going to just let him do whatever lecherous acts he wanted to do on her. She wasn’t going to just plead and whimper all the way through.
She was going to fight back.
Alex was already fast asleep some three hours ago. For a moment, Cielle thought that with the lack of footfalls going to their prison of a room, she’d be safe from him, but just as what Nic had said earlier, he indeed came and with a stealthiness of a cockroach even.
She hadn’t heard the door creak open. She hadn’t heard any shuffling noises in the hallway or in what little space their room had. She hadn’t even heard the sound of his boot or any other signs of his entry.
Nothing at all except the common sounds of Alex’s cute snoring, the crickets chirping and the leaves outside rustling with the soft breeze.
When Nic’s hand came into view to cover her mouth, she drew back and pushed herself from the bed.
She will not scream and risk waking the boy up, she told herself, so she inhaled sharply just as a strong arm wrapped around from behind her. Her mouth was covered immediately by Nic’s large hand but just as she planned, she bit into his fingers — the middle and pointy digits to be exact — and was able to get a good response.
Nic extracted his hand out, cursing quietly and shaking his fingers but only for a moment for he pressed his hand again as if not concerned with the throbbing pain.
“You’ll regret it if you do that again woman, ” he threatened ever so subtly in a curt voice.
Cielle shook her head in response and hummed a muffled no.
“Get your feet on the ground, ” he instructed and she did so, only for Alex’s welfare.
When she finally stood straight at head level with his shoulder, she felt herself get dragged out of the room. Realizing this, she started to wiggle and stamp her foot on the ground, pouring all of her strength in it, but in the end, failed. She complained, but it was all but muffled.
As easy as it was, her captor successfully dragged her into another room just beside the boy’s. In there, he threw her in a bed — a similar one she and Alex shared — and scrutinized her very being.
Cielle, with her dagger-like eyes, glowered at him. Standing up, she brought herself to the farthest furniture-deficit corner of the room and brought her arms in front of her in self-defense.
“I know what you are going to do!” she shouted, heaving a breath as if the cold night air would somehow give her courage.
“Oh, really?” Nic’s brows cocked up whilst smirking in a pleased way. He made a predatory step towards her — each giving her heart instant jumps. “What do you think is it woman?”
“I heard all of you this afternoon, ” she managed to spit out, disregarding the shakiness in her voice. “Ra*ping me is your price from winning a card game, but no! I will not let that happen!”
“I believe that’s not an option, ” he stated and abruptly stopped a few feet away from her. This time, his smirk disappeared and was replaced by a neutral line of his mouth. “It’s either me or with them.”
More color drained from her face.
She hadn’t thought of it like that. Of course, if she’d be able to escape this night — that’s if successful — others might come after him and make their desires a reality with her.
But still... still... it was not like she would just give him a go-signal to touch her just because of this basis!
Her breath hitched when she saw him pull out a strip of cloth from his jean’s pocket. It was black. It was ominous. It meant only one thing and that was to blindfold her.
Quickly, she shook her head. “No... you can’t do this!”
Nic gave out no reaction as he continued his way to her.
She attempted to sprint away from him, but he only captured her elbow in a vice-like grip. “Don’t struggle or you will only hurt yourself more, ” he stated when he lifted the strip near her face.
Tears spilled from her eyes this time and no matter how much she willed herself to be strong, she pleaded, “Please, don’t do this.”
“I have no other choice, ” was his quick reply.
“No, please...” she sobbed when the cloth successfully covered her sight.
“Turn around, ” Nic bluntly stated, staring at the blindfold wet with tears.
Cielle clasped her hands together and stubbornly stood on the spot.
“I said, TURN. AROUND.” He gritted his teeth whilst drawing out a gun from his back and pressing it on her midsection.
After feeling the muzzle, Cielle’s determination of fighting back came crumbling down. She most certainly hadn’t counted him holding a gun at all.
Hesitantly, she did as she was told: turn around. Right away, her flushed forehead and palms hit the cold concrete wall. Why the hell he ordered her to do this instead of going for the bed was beyond her, but she hoped it wasn’t some sick wall fetish.
She felt his hard chest press against her back. When his hands roamed leisurely on her waist, she gasped and shuddered. All was hopeless for her now.
“You won’t see a thing but I need you to whimper for me loudly, ” she heard Nic say near her ear.
“No... I can’t...” she said shakily, refusing his instruction.
“You will, ” he rebutted. He played with her soft curls first, traced her spine with his fingers in small circles, and breathed the perpetual lavender smell of her shampoo all the while Cielle recoiled in disgust.
Then, without warning, his body warmth left her along with the hard press of his chest as he extricated himself out of her. She felt relieved a little, but still, with the blindfold, there was no telling what he was about to do then.
“Loudly, Cielle, ” he encouraged and unbeknownst to her, sat down at the edge of the mattress. “Moan, sob or whimper however you want, just see to it that it is as loud as you can.”
Weird order, her subconscious remarked.
“Please, you can’t do this to me!” she shouted, unaware that he distanced himself from her.
“Call me Nicholas. Nicholas. You can shout my name if you want to.”
“No!” she cried once again, anticipating whatever he was about to do to her.
For minutes, she did just that, cry and softly whimper, never taking into consideration his special request of loudness. She waited and waited for his uninvited touch, but it never came. Surprisingly.
At first, she thought that it was just his sick game of making her relax, but when she heard a gradually increasing sound of a man grunting in...pleasure, she realized that her situation had turned into an odd one.
Nicholas, or so what he called himself, seemed to be pleasuring himself. As to why, she couldn’t make out a good answer but somehow, this relieved her greatly. Maybe... Just maybe, the guy wasn’t that much of a bad guy after all.
As she continued standing on the spot, she listened and listened real good, making her heart frantically beating against her rib cage. After a few seconds, his attempt of grunts even became louder, powerful, and raw; his voice strained without a care that someone would hear. Cielle’s sobs stopped as it gave way to a grander symphony of masculine climax in the air.
Never in her entire life had she been in this kind of situation before. Heck, she hadn’t even heard a man’s hoarse groans of pleasure before. The current event definitely left her stunned speechless and furiously flushed.
In her heightened hearing, she heard him sigh deeply, followed by a sound of a solid body dropping in the mattress and zippers sliding.
Cielle waited for him to speak, but got nothing after a few minutes of silence.
“Nic? Nicholas?” she nervously called, turning her face to the side to better hear his reply.
“Shut up, I’m tired, ” he lashed out. She gulped. “Take that blindfold out, drop it on the floor, and leave this room. NOW.”
Happiness was the first thing that registered in her mind, but she didn’t smile though. Yes, she did the first two orders as stated and rather quickly at that without any show of hesitation.
When she turned around, she saw him lying on the mattress with his feet still pressed on the floor. His forearm covered his eyes while his other hand, moist with something creamy, rested near his hips. The zipper of his pants was half open and he was slightly...panting.
Her face even became redder. She didn’t know if she should be embarrassed for him or not.
Saying thank you was not in her vocabulary after the threat of her virtue, so she just left him without a word.
Once she stepped inside her room, she saw the boy sleeping still. It was good. At least no one — not even a child — could see how shaken she was.
After closing the door and crossing the space, she pulled out the towel that lay at the foot of the bed and entered the bathroom. Since the threat of danger had passed, she might as well shower up and rid of the dirt and dust that had clung in her body and the disorder that had clung in her heart and mind — the ones of which a certain man had caused.