My thanks to mikelovessoccer12 and bondagefreak for the feedback. CHAPTER TWO – MOVING DAY
Jaden drove further up the dirt road only a short way before finding a curve between two longer straight stretches where he could see any traffic coming from either direction. He then slowed down and made a careful U-turn to take them back to the regular road. Once there, he turned right; in the direction they had been going before they had made the abrupt turn-off.
“Hey, aren’t we taking Hunter straight to your house?” Sam asked with a trace of puzzlement.
“No, we have a couple of other stops to make first,” Jaden told him with a grin as he looked at Sam through his rear-view mirror. “Which reminds me,” he added as turned to face Alex in the passenger seat beside him; “give our look-out a quick buzz to let him know that everything is a ‘go’, confirm everything is quiet at his end, and that we’re coming to pick him up.”
Alex nodded in affirmation, grabbed his cell phone, and hit a number he had posted on speed-dial. He waited only a few seconds before a baritone voice answered on the other end.
“Hi, Kane. Yeah, it’s Alex. Everything’s working as planned!” Alex said quickly but calmly. “How is everything at your end?”
“Perfect!” the baritone voice replied. “Folks are away for the weekend so I won’t be missed if you need me longer than you expect. I’ve been keeping an eye on Hunter’s house. No activity, as expected. And his mom called me a couple of hours ago to ask me to check on him every so often while she’s away and get him any groceries or such that he needs, so she’s definitely away for more than just the weekend too. It’s safe to go in.”
“Cool,” Alex replied. “We’ll be with you in five minutes.”
“I’ll be outside waiting for you then,” Kane replied; “’bye!” Then he clicked off.
“He says the coast is clear and he’s waiting for us,” Alex duly reported.
“Yeah, I can always count on Kane,” Jaden replied with a grin. “He’d have made a great slave himself, if it weren’t for the uncomfortable sociological implications.”
“At least Kane would likely have happily gone along with being your slave,” Alex replied dryly as he turned his head to look at their prisoner. “He’s always been the kind who wants to be someone’s… well, minion. He certainly served your older brother well enough. I don’t know why you didn’t just keep him; he offered to serve you like he did Jonas. You’ve got your work cut out for you with Hunter.”
“Like you said, Kane was my brother’s slave,” Jaden replied casually. “Taking him when my brother joined the Army and gave him to me just seemed like accepting hand-me-downs. And I didn’t like the sociological implications of accepting Kane as my own slave either. Besides, I want to train my own, just as Jonas trained Kane. And Hunter is my choice; and has been all this last school year!”
Although Hunter was in the seat right behind them, he was unable to hear any part of their conversation. In addition to the flaps that kept him blindfolded, there were thick plugs that went into each ear as well; rendering him as deaf as he was blind. Therefore he had no idea what was going on, where they were going, or why he was being put through all this.
Hunter could think of only one reason why Jaden would pull a stunt like this. Sierra was Hunter’s friend. She was also apparently Jaden’s girlfriend. Just as Hunter saw Jaden as a rival for Sierra’s attention, so Jaden must have thought of Hunter. But whereas Hunter felt too little concern (and much too out-classed) to do something about it, apparently Jaden felt that the matter was too important. And so now he was planning to take Hunter right out of the picture! And if Jaden was willing to go so far as to kidnap him, what else might he not do to make sure that Hunter didn’t get between him and Sierra ever again?!
Hunter shivered. If only he wasn’t gagged, he’d promise right now to never talk to Sierra again -and even avoid her and Jaden both – and never ever tell anyone about this entire incident if only Jaden wouldn’t hurt him and just set him free!!! But the gag made his pleas almost inaudible, and definitely incomprehensible. They merely sounded like vague grunts of discomfort and outrage, and so were completely ignored by everyone else in the van.
Sam looked gleefully down at their captive. He was a sophomore and Hunter a freshman, and as he lived some distance away from Hunter as well had rarely seen or interacted with the younger boy. On the other hand, although Jaden and Alex were juniors they’d had some classes together with Sam, and lived in the same neighborhood as well; so Sam had been friends with the other two boys for many years. Up until he’d agreed to help his two friends with their scheme concerning Hunter however, he’d been rather neutral in his feelings about the younger boy. When Hunter had kicked him in the groin, this neutrality had changed to active dislike and a strong desire for payback.
But now, as he looked down at their helpless captive, his feelings began to change again. Hunter must be scared out of his wits by this time, and yet he seemed to be taking this abrupt change in circumstances unexpectedly calmly. Rather than thrash uselessly around in his binds, he merely lay quietly on his belly on top of his padded seat – doing nothing more than mumbling into his gag. And, after all, Hunter *was* just defending himself the same way Sam would have under such circumstances; only a truly timid boy would have given in more easily. This thought caused Sam to slowly but steadily develop a sneaking admiration for the younger boy’s courage.
In addition, Sam realized that Hunter was actually a pretty good-looking kid. He’d always thought Hunter was just another humdrum kid in a lower class (socio-economic as well as being only a freshman). But now, looking at the subtle muscle tones of Hunter’s folded legs, Sam now saw that Hunter was better developed physically that he’d previously estimated. Hunter’s legs were as yet still smooth and almost entirely free of hair; the legs of a young athlete. They were certainly more pleasing to look at than his own, increasingly hairy legs; Sam thought a trifle sourly to himself. In fact, he wanted to touch them…
Looking suddenly up at Jaden and Alex, he noticed that neither were paying any attention to him. He’d promised not to hurt Hunter or let any harm come to him… an order he’d agreed to only grudgingly before, but felt more sincerely about now. But surely a little touch wouldn’t hurt him!
Sam slowly extended his arm toward his oblivious captive, stuck out a forefinger, reached slowly down, and began to gently stroke his finger along Hunter’s left shin just below his knees.
Hunter squealed as hard as he could into his gag at the unexpected contact and his body jerked almost as if he had been shot. He had no idea what was happening, and had been unable to see the contact coming. He thought he was about to be tortured.
Sam pulled his finger away and looked up guiltily at the others; but Jaden and Alex had apparently noticed nothing and were still talking quietly among themselves about what they were about to do. Sam suddenly realized that he’d been paying no attention to their conversation and might have missed something important. But before he could pluck up the courage to ask, the van suddenly slowed down as a tall, dark figure appeared at the end of a driveway ahead of them. Jaden stopped the van just as they came alongside of him.
“Everything’s all set, Kane,” Alex said to him from the passenger side window. “Climb on in.”
The side door to the right abruptly slid open; pulled by the person outside. Standing there was a tall, slender African American boy named Kane. Although 16, he was a few months younger than Alex so that, like Sam, he was only a sophomore. He was the tallest of all of them at 6’ 2” but weighed only about 160 pounds. He had short, black, curly hair and gray eyes that had an almost hypnotic quality about them. Unlike the others except Hunter, he wore shorts rather than slacks and a sleeveless shirt rather than long-sleeves. He wore sneakers much like Hunter’s, but wore short white ankle socks rather than long colored soccer socks. He had a slim, wiry build with subtle but pleasing muscle definition that was plainly visible on his limbs and the exposed part of his upper chest. He was also very athletic and was on the school’s basketball team. His facial features were pleasingly handsome as well; especially when he smiled – as he often did.
“Hi, guys,” he greeted them all casually as if nothing unusual was taking place as he climbed lithely into the van, turned, and slid the van door shut with a single smooth motion of his slender arm. Then he sat in the rear seat alongside Sam and smiled down at their hapless captive.
Hunter was only vaguely aware that the van had stopped and taken someone aboard; but he had no idea by then where they were or who had joined them. The fact that someone one was now aware of his predicament but was apparently doing nothing about it only added to his alarm.
“Hi, Hunter!” Kane said to the captive boy cheerfully as he reached out and patted Hunter several times on the thigh; not oblivious to Hunter’s bewilderment but also not too concerned about it either. “Nice to see you getting into the spirit of things.”
Hunter writhed in fright at first. Then, realizing that he was not being hurt at all, subsided when nothing further happened to him.
“He doesn’t know I’m in on this kidnap, does he?” Kane asked Sam cheerfully as Jaden resumed driving the van down the road.
“I didn’t even know you were until just now,” Sam replied a trifle ungraciously. “Why do we need you in on this?”
“He’s been my spotter,” Jaden explained from the driver’s seat. “He lives just down the road from Hunter and they sometimes visit each other. He knows more about Hunter than anyone – even Sierra – and he’s told me everything I needed to know about Hunter’s habits. It’s only because of this that I knew how to kidnap Hunter on his way home from his Soccer game. I’d originally planned to kidnap Hunter right at his house.”
At the same moment Jaden turned off the road to go up a long driveway flanked by forest on both sides, and coming to a house that was completely out of sight from the road – or practically anywhere else outside of the immediate area. There was a small, aged Volkswagen parked at the far end, but no lights on inside the house nor any other signs that anyone else was here.
“Where’s this?” Sam asked in puzzlement.
“Hunter’s house,” Kane replied with a grin.
Sam stared at the others with a slack-jawed expression. “Let me get this straight. We kidnap Hunter on the road so we wouldn’t have to do it at his house… and now we’re taking him to his house? What the hell for? Are we releasing him now, or what?”
“We didn’t want to do it here because he’d probably keep the doors locked while he’s inside, even when he’s awake,” Jaden patiently pointed out. “You know how shy he is. Kane’s the only one of us he’d likely let in; certainly not the rest of us if we just walked up to his door. Kane didn’t want to do this on his own. And we didn’t want to break into the house. For one thing, Hunter would have had time to call for the police even if we caught him asleep. Second, we plan to make it look like he’s run away from home on his own… using their own car.”
Sam looked at the Volkswagen. “That’s his parents’ car? They’re not home.”
“It’s his dad’s car,” Kane clarified. “His mom has her own, which of course she has with her. His dad’s car was left here. I going to drive away with it and hide it when we finish what we’re doing here. Everyone will think Hunter stole it and ran away from home.”
“But Hunter doesn’t know how to drive!” Sam pointed out. “He doesn’t even have a license! He’s too young for one.”
“He knows how to drive,” Kane contracted him. “I taught him myself, right here on his own driveway where he wouldn’t be violating any laws. His folks will know he can drive too, and assume that’s just what he did. It’s happened before. Look it up on the Net. Stories almost every day about kids way younger than Hunter stealing their folks’ cars and driving long distances with them. Most get caught or badly hurt… but Hunter is going to be so successful he’s going to virtually disappear, and no one will know where to look for him!”
Sam grinned as he began to catch on. “And we need you because Jaden is the only other one of us with a driver’s license, and he needs to drive the van.”
“Now you’re catching on,” Kane replied with his ever-present cheerful grin.
“Wouldn’t need you at all if I it hadn’t been raining so damned hard when I took my driver’s test,” Alex groused. “God damned windows were all fogged up, and the de-foggers in my car were on the blink, and the effing test monitor made me do a parallel park beside a green lawn behind a green car. I couldn’t see what I was effing doing, and the son of a bitch flunked me!”
“Water under the bridge,” Jaden said dismissively. “Let’s just get in there and do what we came to do.”
“What did we come here to do?” Sam asked with a puzzled grin as Jaden and Alex opened their own doors and stepped out of the van.
“We’re going inside Hunter’s house to get some of his stuff,” Kane replied as he casually picked up Hunter’s knapsack, opened it, and rummaged around inside. “First, he’ll likely need or want some of it in his new home, and they’ll help adapt to his change of circumstances faster and more easily. Second, it’ll aid in our attempt to make it look like Hunter ran away on his own.”
“Why would anyone think he would run away?” Sam asked.
“Hunter’s home life has never been very good,” Kane replied with uncharacteristic somberness.
“Long story, and even under the circumstances I don’t feel right talking about it behind Hunter’s back. But believe me, everyone will believe he simply ran away from home.”
“You’re reluctant to talk behind his back, but you’re willing to help us kidnap him?” Sam asked with a puzzled grin. “That doesn’t make much sense!”
“You don’t know what Hunter’s home life is like, or you’d see it makes sense,” Kane retorted as found what he was looking for inside Hunter’s backpack and yanked out a set of keys. “Believe me, if I didn’t think Hunter would be better off in the long run with what Jaden has planned for him, I probably wouldn’t be doing this. Don’t think of it as a kidnapping. Think of it as a rescue mission. That’s what I do!”
Kane said this last as he turned and pulled open the van door; hopping lithely out and walking away before Sam could continue with the conversation. He was just about to hop out of the van after the others when Jaden abruptly appeared outside of the van door and stopped him.
“The three of us are enough to get all of Hunter’s things,” Jaden told him. “I want you to stay here and keep a watchful eye on Hunter.”
“Why?” Sam asked with a careless shrug of his shoulders and a grin. “He’s not going anywhere, hog-tied like that!”
“Don’t you remember anything I’ve taught you about TUGs safety?” Jaden asked with a patient smile but a barely-suppressed sigh. “When we have a captive who’s tied up *that* severely, you never, NEVER leave him alone. Not because he might escape but for his own safety! What if he starts to choke, or vomit? Having someone right there to loosen his restraints could make the difference between a simple kidnap and Murder One! Sure, there’s not TOO much risk over the time we’ll be away, but there’s still a risk – and I won’t take any unnecessary risk with someone else’s life! Now please do as I say and keep an eye on Hunter, and make sure he stays safe.”
Despite the friendly tone and the use of the word ‘please’, Sam knew an order when he heard one. “Sure, Jade… if that’s what you want that’s cool with me.” Sam replied hastily in his usual obsequious tone of voice when addressing Jaden.
“Right,” Jaden replied with his usual warmer, far friendlier smile. Sam was relieved; it was hard to make Jaden angry – and even harder to anger him for more than a moment or two - but anyone who somehow succeeded in doing so always regretted it deeply!
“We won’t be long,” Jaden added in his usual relaxed manner. “Probably take only a half hour to load the van with Hunter’s stuff. I doubt he owns very much.”
Jaden walked off and joined the others at the front door of Hunter’s house, where Kane had found the proper house-key and had already opened it. The three were soon lost to Sam’s sight as they all went inside.
Alone with their captive again, Sam looked serenely down at the captive Hunter; feeling more sympathetic to the boy after what Kane had just told him. Hunter was still moving around slightly; as if trying to make himself less comfortable. His head was turning back and forth and he was making some small, muted, puzzled-sounding noises. Sam wondered what Hunter was thinking and feeling at that moment. It would be obvious to him that the van had stopped somewhere. He could probably even tell by the vibrations he could feel through the seat that most of the people who had been in the van with him had gotten out. The side door was still open and let in a breeze that Hunter could certainly feel on his bare legs. What did the captive boy think was going on around him? What did he think they were going to do to him? Blindfolded and ear-padded as he now was, did he even have any idea that he was parked in the private driveway of his own home at the moment?
In any case, Hunter seemed to have gotten over his initial panic. He merely lay there as quietly and as unmoving as he could; apparently realizing there was nothing that he *could* do and was awaiting further developments.
With a renewed spark of mischievousness and a half-suppressed admiration for Hunter’s graceful build, Sam reached out and stroked the bulge of Hunter’s left calf with his finger.
Hunter jerked again, but less energetically than before. He was still surprised of course, but noticeably less alarmed at the touch. Apparently he was beginning to realize that – even under these dire circumstances – a mere touch didn’t signal any immediate danger or threat of bodily harm. He didn’t understand what was going on of course; he was undoubtedly very puzzled by it in fact. But that was all right with Sam. He didn’t want to hurt Hunter; he just wanted to play with him for a while. Well, not in the bawdy sense of the term of course… Sam had no intention of touching Hunter *there*. He just wanted to have a little harmless fun at Hunter’s expense.
Sam gently stroked up and down Hunter’s smooth calf with his finger for a moment; giggling as the captive boy tried to jerk away as if being branded with a hot iron. Sam kept it up for a moment, withdrew his finger to give the captive boy a momentary respite, selected the back of Hunter’s knee as his next target, and reached down again to finger-stroke him there.
Hunter jerked again, but not as violently as before. Obviously someone was still in the van with him, and he soon realized that whoever was touching him was just trying to get a rise out of him. Oddly, this thought caused Hunter to relax considerably rather than tense up further. If his captors thought it was amusing to do something so mild (however odd) to him, then maybe they were more interested in scaring him and humiliating him than actually hurting him! Hunter found himself fervently praying that that’s all it was. This was humiliating, yes; but it was loads better than getting beaten up and/or getting dumped somewhere while still bound and helpless!
Of course, he thought to himself, that could still happen. But as long as they were more interested in just teasing him like this, there was still hope that they would soon let him go with a stern warning to stay away from Sierra from now on. Having been virtually deaf as well as blind since this hood was put on him of course, Hunter still had no idea that his friendship with Sierra was only incidental to his kidnapping and not at all a cause of it.
Hunter felt the finger again; this time stroking the back of his lower thigh. Uh oh! He was ticklish there! If whoever was doing this to him realized that, he’d really be in trouble! Hunter repressed an urge to struggle as the finger continued to stroke the backs of his thigh. Oh! Oh! Damn it, that tickled! Stop it! STOP!
Hunter could not help himself; his entire jerked as if he had just experienced a moderate electrical shock.
“Aha!” Sam said to himself as he pulled his finger away momentarily. “This looks promising!”
Wriggling the fingers of both hands in mid-air to limber them up, the fingers of his right hand now reached down to stroke Hunter’s ticklish spot while the fingers of his other hand slowly and methodically probed and explored Hunter’s helpless body in search of other ticklish spots.
Lying on his stomach kept many potentially interesting spots out of Sam’s reach unless he wanted to flip the boy over. That was not a safe thing to try right now however; Hunter might roll over too far and fall off his seat – and bound as he was he could hurt himself badly in the process. But Sam had plenty of options to explore before this was necessary, and he patiently and methodically tried them all out. Then, if need be and he had the time, he could remove Hunter’s socks and shoes and see how ticklish the undersides of his feet were.
This proved unnecessary. Hunter’s hips and the sides of his waist proved more than satisfactory for Sam’s initial endeavors, and he began tickling them with all the skill he possessed. Hunter wriggled back and forth as he vainly sought to avoid his tickling doom, but of course it was to no avail. Muffled but definite sounds of laughter could be heard through his gag as Sam persisted; mingled with other sounds which Sam assumed were pleas of mercy. If so, they went unheeded.
Sam persisted in tickling Hunter for several minutes; finally causing his captive to wriggle around so much that he almost fell over the front edge of his seat. Watchful for this, Sam reacted more than quickly enough to catch him and pull him safely to the back of his seat again; whereupon he simply tickled him some more.
Hunter was laughing so hard that he was afraid that he was going to soil himself. It was also rather painful to laugh with that God-awful gag in his mouth; his jaw was starting to get extremely sore. It was getting hard to breathe too; laughing while gagged was extremely breath intensive! Maybe his captors planned to torture him after all!
The unseen fingers abruptly stopped tickling him, and Hunter was finally able to relax a bit, catch his breath… and hold in his water.
Sam hadn’t desisted from tickling Hunter out of any consideration for his comfort or well-being however, but because at that moment Jaden and the others came out of the house loaded with cardboard boxes in their arms. When they came to the side of the van, he took each box from their arms and loaded them into the back of the van behind his own seat. At the same time, he suddenly noticed that Jaden, Alex, and Kane were all wearing light work gloves
“What’s all this junk?” Sam asked Jaden as he took his burden from him. “And why the gloves on such a warm day?”
“Some clothes, a few books, his laptop, an Ipod, some snacks he had, a few personal belongings of his, and some other odds and ends,” Jaden replied casually as Alex and then Kane passed along their own burdens. “The kind of stuff you’d expect a runaway boy with a small car to load them into to take away with him. Largely we’re taking it just for show; to make people think he’s a runaway somewhere… somewhere far, far away, hopefully. But he might adapt better too if we offer him some of his own junk back… at least as a reward for good behavior. And we wore gloves so that we leave no fingerprints on anything we touched but left behind.”
“Let’s get the rest of it and go,” Alex urged him. “I don’t like hanging around here like this where someone might see us.”
“Quit worrying. No one will see us. We just have two more boxes to get anyway,” Jaden replied. “You and Kane go get them. Sam and I are going to get Hunter’s bike off my roof and dump it.”
“Shouldn’t we bring it along with us?” Sam asked as he emerged from the van.
“Naw,” replied Jaden. “Think about it. Hunter supposedly has that car. Why take along a bike with flat tires? Where would he stow it anyway? Certainly there’s no room on *that* thing,” he added with a disdainful nod toward the rather beat-up-looking old Volkswagen in front of the van. “And besides, the bike being here will be conclusive proof that Hunter arrived home safely.”
“You thought of everything, haven’t you?” Sam replied with a grin.
“Yep,” Jaden agreed proudly. “We also ate some food and dirtied some dishes we left in the sink. We even typed a note saying he was running away on his laptop, used the printer to make a printout, and left it in plain sight right there in the printer; damn thing’s too heavy to lug along anyway and we left no fingerprints on it. So as far as anyone else will be able to tell, Hunter came home safely because we dropped him off. He had a meal, packed his shit, and then he left early that same night.”
“You really have a devious and diabolical mind, don’t you?” Sam asked him; but his tone was one of sheer admiration and amusement without even a hint of reproach.
Jaden smiled proudly but aid nothing further as the two of them unstrapped Hunter’s bicycle and set it aside on the lawn; letting it fall on its side rather than using the kickstand to keep it upright.
Alex and Kane emerged from the house with two more cardboard boxes full of stuff in their arms, and loaded it into the van. Then Kane went to the front door, closed it, and locked it. “I doubt even if Hunter were really running away that he’d leave his folks’ house unlocked,” he explained with a grin. “So I’ll take the Volkswagen and drive it to the spot you told me to, and you’ll pick me up from there after I’ve disposed of it?”
“That’s the plan,” Jaden agreed. “I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long, but we can’t go together. It’d look suspicious if anyone happens to see that car and my van together on the road. And besides, I want to get Hunter squared away as soon as possible. I don’t want to leave him in such a restrictive tie for too much longer if I can help it.”
“No worries,” Kane replied. “Take your time. It’ll take me a while to hide it where no one else will easily find it anyway. But you can’t hide a car there forever.”
“I don’t intend to,” Jaden replied. “I’ve already arranged with certain other reliable – that is, unscrupulous - parties to take the car from there later tonight and do what they like with it. No questions asked on either side. They’ll probably refurbish it and sell it somewhere. I’ll bet by Sunday afternoon, no one will recognize it as the same car that Hunter supposedly made off with, and it’ll be safely sold somewhere across the country!”
“You sure have a talent for deviousness!” Kane told him with sincere admiration; unwittingly echoing Sam’s earlier sentiment. “You think of everything! Well, all right. Off I go then.”
“No, you wait here a bit,” Jaden told him. “I want to leave first so that no one sees us leave together.”
“Okay, Jaden. See you at the rendezvous point later tonight.” Kane replied. And with that he gave the others a jaunty wave and a cheerful smile and walked over toward the car. Passing the van, he looked in quickly at the still-bound Hunter, and called out cheerfully, “Have a good time, Hunter!” (which the captive boy was entirely oblivious to) and continued on his way.
With Hunter’s salvaged belongings safely stowed away inside the van, Jaden, Alex, and Sam climbed back in and took their previous seats. Sam quickly checked Hunter over to make sure he was still all right. Hunter was still breathing easily and was still conscious, as a quick finger stroke to his legs quickly proved. “Everything’s fine back here,” Sam duly reported to Jaden.
“Good,” Jaden acknowledged with a grin. “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Jaden started up the van’s motor, and began driving back the way they had come. He wasn’t concerned about being seen emerging from the driveway by anyone who might be passing by; after all, he had an alibi. He was merely dropping Hunter off at home after his winning soccer game. In any case, the alibi wouldn’t be needed; the quiet country road Hunter’s house ran off of was totally deserted of traffic. In fact, they traveled more than a mile toward Jaden’s house before they came upon any other traffic at all.
The ride to the estate surrounding Jaden’s house was uneventful. It was a large, comfortable country manor that, like Hunter’s house, was surrounded by forest on almost all sides and was almost invisible from the road or from any of the other houses in the area. It was much larger than Hunter’s house however; being a three-story Victorian rather than the one-story ranch house Hunter lived in. It wasn’t quite a mansion, but it was well-furnished and well-kept.
At the moment, it was also deserted; as Jaden knew it would be. His parents were on a business trip In Hawaii for the weekend, and his kid brother Carsen was sleeping over with his friend Austin (Alex’s kid brother) over at their house for the night. There was therefore no one there to see them when the van arrived at the darkened house and its occupants stepped out into the equally darkened front yard (for night was falling by this time). Even so, Jaden looked and listened carefully as he shut off the van’s motor to make sure no one was in the area; say, what if Carsen hadn’t gone to Austin’s house after all or had returned for something? Although invisible through the trees, Austin’s house was only a brisk five minute walk away through a path that ran through the woods. But all was dark and silent here; there really was no one else home.
“Okay, let’s rig Hunter up for a little foot travel,” Jaden told the others as he turned on the interior van light. He and Alex piled in the back through the side door and joined Sam. Jaden nodded to Sam to proceed. Sam nodded as he inserted his key into the padlock holding the bicycle chain in a tight loop, which in turn held Hunter in his hog-tie.
Hunter jerked with surprise as he felt the pull against his arms and legs slacken and then disappear; allowing him to straighten his legs and let his arms down almost to his sides. Although his handcuffs prevented him from lowering them completely, at least he could now rest his arms on his back. He was still uncomfortable as his hands were still cuffed behind him, and his legs now dangled far over the edge of his seat; but it was a lot better than being hog-tied. Did this mean his captors were about to let him go free?
Hunter felt unseen hands on his shoulders gently pull him upward. Still unable to see, Hunter went with the pull as he rose from his prone position on the seat. It was very difficult to move unaided, but the unseen hands from at least two people guided him; first rolling him over so that he was lying on his back, and then helping him to sit upright on the right edge of the seat, facing to the right and presumably to the unseen sliding door of the van as well.
Hunter felt someone’s body brush past him, and then a set of hands working at his handcuffs. The cuff on his right wrist suddenly went slack and was removed. Oh, thank Goodness, they were setting him free after all! He thought to himself in relief as he placed his wrists in front of him and rubbed the freshly freed wrist with his opposite hand to help restore the circulation.
His relief was short-lived however. Before Hunter knew what was happening, the cuff was placed around his right wrist again and locked in place; leaving his hands cuffed in front of him now rather than behind. At about the same time, he felt what he was certain was a heavy set of chains being looped around his waist and connected to the handcuffs on his wrists. Before he even could think of resisting (not that there was any point in doing so), Hunter’s wrists were pulled down to his front; his bound wrists now framed around his belly button and the fingers of his hands brushing against the front of his shorts. There was a small tug. Alarmed, Hunter tried to pull his wrists free of his loins again, but was unable to budge them an single inch. His wrists were now completely immobilized against his own body!
Hunter’s alarm grew and he tried to fight, but a pair of hands grasped him firmly by the shoulders and held him still, while also gently but insistently pushed his upper body downward toward his thighs. Hunter felt another downward tug upon his wrists, and simultaneously felt an upward drag upon the hobbles on his ankles. He did not know it yet, but his handcuffs and hobbles had been re-connected; but this time in front and by a somewhat longer chain.
“There you go, Jade,” Sam told his friend proudly; mostly unheard by their ear-plugged captive.
“Just like you see them do in those prison movies. He’s ready to be moved.”
“All right, let’s get him set up in his new quarters,” Jaden replied with a grin.
Jaden pushed upward at the back of Hunter’s shoulders while Alex tugged lightly but insistently on Hunter’s wrists. Hunter got the message almost immediately; he was being made to stand up. He complied as well as he could, but his body was shivering violently. Where were they taking him? Why wouldn’t they remove the hood and blindfold so that he could at least see where he was going? Weren’t they going to make him beg to be let go like he was expecting? He was perfectly willing to beg for mercy by this point; anything was better than enduring this much suspense! He’d long since passed the point where pride meant all that much to him. They weren’t planning on doing something even worse to him, were they? No, they couldn’t be! That kind of thing only happens in movies, books, and bad TV shows!
Hunter was compelled to move forward. He complied hesitantly, fearfully, with tiny baby steps knowing that he had to step down twice to get out of the van. His unseen and unheard captors guided him by touch alone; bracing him and holding him so that he would not trip, stumble, or fall. That at least calmed Hunter a little; if they planned to really hurt him they wouldn’t be this careful about his not tripping or blindly falling on his face. But why was he still chained up? Were they letting him go free soon or not?
Jaden and Alex walked Hunter to the edge of the van door. There was a step protruding from the bottom of the door to make it easier for people to climb and out of the van, but Hunter was of course completely unable to see it; let alone use it hobbled as he was. The two larger boys took no chances; they simply grabbed Hunter bodily by the front of his shirt and the waist band at the back of his shorts and carried him safely down to the ground. It was a scary moment for Hunter, but he relaxed noticeably again when he felt his feet set down on flat, solid ground again.
A strong arm suddenly looped itself around his left arm, and another looped around his right; and together impelled him to go forward. Rather than be dragged like a drunkard or carried like a sack of grain, Hunter started moving forward again as fast as his blindness and his hobbles together allowed to. But what was happening? Where was he going now? They still had him chained, gagged, and blindfolded… and now they were taking him somewhere on foot! This definitely did NOT feel like he was being let go!
His dread growing by the moment, Hunter began to drag his feet, pull backward, shake his head and upper body, and yell as noisily as his effective gag would allow (which wasn’t much at all).
“Where are you taking me?” he tried to scream over and over. “Why won’t you let me go?” But his gag was too effective, and the only sounds he could make were too badly muffled to be comprehensible and so muted that he could barely be heard at all. All his words came out as meaningless “Umm-umm-umms”.
Jaden didn’t want to hurt his younger captive, but he had to be taught that resistance was not only futile but a punishable offense. Grabbing Hunter by the shoulders, he swung back his arm and gave Hunter a hard slap to the face.
The impact was of course blunted by the thick leather hood that covered Hunter’s entire head, but enough of the force of it got through to cause Hunter to be momentarily stunned. He felt a stinging sensation in the part of his face where he had been slapped, and he staggered momentarily.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough. When the arms pulled him forward again, he did not resist again. Helpless and weary, Hunter now resigned himself to his fate as he was taken unwillingly toward an unknown destination.
Dare to be different... and make a difference.
To boldly go where no one in their right mind has gone before...