Capo di Foia Ch. 02byMsArcher©
"Capo" marks my first-ever attempt at story-writing -- certainly my first foray into publicly read erotica. What an extraordinary and deeply humbling experience! Thank you for your comments and encouragement; your feedback is tremendously appreciated.
If any of you fall into the "long-time reader/never submitted" category, I encourage you to take up the pen (or open the Word doc); it's quite a bit of fun.
Finally, for anyone chomping at the bit to see some hard-core action... be patient. I promise it will come.
All the best -- Ms. Archer
Samantha awoke with a start; she found herself in utter darkness, but the ache in her jaw and the plush, unfamiliar bedding confirmed the sickening realization. It wasn't a dream. She was a hostage.
She remembered sobbing over the comforter after they locked her in the room. She must have crashed. What time was it?? She leaned across the bed and fumbled around the lamp on the nightstand until she felt the click, bathing the room in an ethereal golden light.
The room seemed more spacious now -- it was at least three times the size of her own. The walls, a dark pewter, were adorned with massive gold-gilded frames; inside them lay sketches of neoclassical figures in various states of repose.
The wall opposite her was a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, boasting a staggering number of leather-bound volumes. Across her four-post bed sat a large crème-colored couch. The end-table next to it bore a silver bowl of fresh fruit; a tangible still-life. An enormous charcoal, shag-woven rug lay sprawled on the polished walnut flooring.
As lockups go, it would appear I got the luck of the draw, Samantha couldn't help musing to herself.
No windows. And no television. Samantha's eyes darted around the room in search of any tools she might employ to her advantage. There were fragrant candles in glass votives, but no matches to be found. Throwing off the considerable weight of her sateen comforter, Samantha steadied herself as she stepped out of bed. She took notice of the security camera discreetly positioned in the top corner of her room and scowled.
Beyond the partial wall supporting her bed, Samantha found a corridor leading to the bathroom; a palatial space framed with ruggedly hewn limestone. The shower was, unsurprisingly, absurdly large -- three glass panes enclosed two oversized shower heads mounted in the white stone wall; in one corner a carved stone slab protruded from the limestone, a low-lying bench.
She warily scanned the room; there were no cameras here, that she could find. Walking toward the vanity, she found herself admiring the potted planter of purple orchids in full-bloom - phalaenopsis, Samantha noted.
One glance at the mirror, and she recoiled at the reflection before her. A dark nebula of purple and pink covered much of the left side of her face. In morbid fascination she stepped in closer. She'd gotten bruises before -- they were a regular occurrence in training -- but never like this. Gingerly, her fingertips traced the darkest part and she winced. It smarted something fierce.
Her eyes were tear-stained with traces of bleeding mascara, her hair matted. They'd left her in her own clothes, although her gear belt and shoes were now gone. She felt dingy, fatigued. With a wary glance at the shower, she ambled back to the bedroom.
On the wall she noticed an antique clock; it read 6:25. A.M. or P.M.? She realized she didn't care. She hoped to sleep forever; tucked away from any tactile reminder of her new hell.
* * *
It was A.M. The assumption was confirmed with a knock at her door within what seemed like minutes after dozing off. Samantha kept her eyes closed as she heard the door open. She heard clinking as something was placed on the floor, then the door-latch closed and locked. It only took a moment before the aroma of what had to be the most tantalizing breakfast wafted through to fill the room.
Pulling the comforter over her head, Samantha turned and committed herself to sleep. She felt too sick to eat.
* * *
For the next two days, Samantha lay in bed. She was left utterly alone, unharmed and in a realm of churning mental replay and self-reprimand. She was gratified to learn that this sudden onset of depression enabled her to sleep more than she ever had in her life. The only interruptions to her lethargic escape included the occasional need to relieve herself - which stopped altogether after the first day -- and the prompt, thrice-daily delivery of her food, which assaulted her senses with a barrage of mouthwatering temptations. Each time she would hold a pillow to her growling stomach and constrain herself to the misery of her uncertain fate.
By the time breakfast arrived the third day, Sam could bear it no longer. She promptly carried the plate to the bathroom and disposed of its offerings in the toilet. She grimaced at the powdered French toast circling its way to oblivion, before striding toward the sink to allow herself a rare intake of faucet water.
* * *
That night, Samantha awoke to the transcendent smell of broiled halibut and garlic. She'd never liked fish, but rolled over and allowed herself to breathe in the undeniably glorious aroma.
"Are there any particular dietary restrictions you care to tell me about, or have you just resolved to behave as stupidly as you can?" a voice spoke from the darkness.
Samantha bolted upright in her bed to see Franco slouched against the far corner of her room. His arms were crossed and his expression veiled, a single eyebrow cocked as he watched her.
"What the fuck are you doing in my room?" she challenged.
"Your room? " he asked pointedly. "Ms. Brier, one would think it abundantly obvious you're in no position to make any sort of stipulation -- least of all from me," he said dryly.
Samantha glowered at him.
"Why aren't you eating," he demanded.
"I choose not to," she replied, looking away. "If this is the life you've relegated me to, I choose not to live," she said simply.
Franco started to advance. "Samantha," he spoke softly. "You do realize I could make this so.. much.. worse for you," he said, punctuating each word with a step toward her. Samantha's sideway glance across the opulent room confirmed the veracity his statement. Reluctantly, she nodded once.
"Tell you what?"
"That you understand how much worse it could be."
Samantha blinked. "Say the words."
"I understand... how much worse it could be for me."
The utterance brought a dark smile to Franco's lips.
He was standing at the foot of her bed. Without thinking, Samantha pulled the comforter closer to her chest, eyeing him.
"If I were you," he continued, "I would be much keener to convey my gratitude." He looked across her body as though he approximated her worth at nothing.
She watched him closely. She'd been trained to read people, negotiate her terms. Surely the equation wasn't this unbalanced.
"You must be terrified," she replied knowingly. "The news reports, the tri-state manhunt... You know they're looking for you."
This made him smile again, the left side of his mouth twisting upward. "Samantha. Think," he urged. "What did you have on your person when we found you?"
Samantha did a quick scan of her memory. "My creds," she answered. He could have faked her death - a mugging, a horrible accident perhaps. Any of which would prompt an investigation.
"No. Think harder," he admonished, a look of disapproval clouding his face.
Samantha stilled. Her blackberry.
"You're not ready to return to duty," he continued, reading her thoughts. "You asked for more time off -- a leave of absence. It's remarkable how understanding the feds can be when you make your first-ever kill ," he said condescendingly.
There would be no search. The realization hit her with the force of a thousand blows. He could send, say anything on her behalf; the way she'd carried on in the office after the shooting - they would believe it too. Her eyes welled with tears. She was so fucked.
"Why are you here," she asked, dejected.
Franco's chin lifted ever so slightly. "I wanted to let you know I took care of the man who did.. that," a curt nod gesturing to her cheek.
Samantha touched her face. It barely hurt anymore. She sat in silence.
"What do you mean 'took care of him'?" she finally asked, regarding him suspiciously.
"Do you really want to know?" Franco stood still at the edge of her bed.
"Yes," Samantha answered, and immediately regretted the decision.
"I beat him to death," he replied, devoid of emotion.
Samantha was stunned. How could he -- why?? She realized she'd never even seen her aggressor; she was blindfolded. Somehow that realization made the man's execution even harder to stomach.
"I don't beat women," Franco continued impassively. "Neither do my men. If someone on my team can't take a 140-lb. female with some semblance of civility, there's something wrong."
He's insane, Samantha told herself, her distress swelling in waves. Here she was, locked away in his custody-- and he beats the shit out of his own accomplice, citing some sense of... Honor?? Chivalry??
"Please leave," she told him, her voice smaller than she willed it.
Without a reply, Franco turned on his heel and walked to the door.
"Don't bother bringing me any food," she called out defiantly. "I won't touch a single thing you give me."
Franco paused at the door. He turned to her with a nearly sympathetic expression.
"I'm not in the least bit worried about it," he replied.
She struggled to conjure up a retort.
"You see, Samantha - we both know that, when temptation comes, you've never been all that good about holding out."
With that, he departed and closed the door.
* * *
The next morning, Samantha ate breakfast. She'd practically licked the plate of Eggs Florentine clean, before scarfing down a banana and two handfuls of red grapes from the silver bowl.
Feeling sick and three-fold overstuffed, she decided to undress and lie in the shower. As soon as the steaming gush of water cascaded over her body, she wondered why she hadn't treated herself to this earlier. She directed one of the streams over the stone slab and reclined upon it. It chilled her skin at first, but soon warmed. Samantha closed her eyes, savoring the pattering splashes of heat on her chest and legs.
* * *
Ten days passed, uneventfully. Franco did not return. Samantha spent the time developing a mild routine of sorts, pathetic as it was. After breakfast, she would relax in the shower for 40 minutes or so (because, after all -- what the hell else did she have to do?), then get dressed. She discovered the large closet in her bathroom housed a full wardrobe of upscale labels; most of the items seemed to fit her, more or less. She cringed at the racy La Perla lingerie, opting for the simpler sheer or white-lace bra and panty sets.
After dressing, she would make her bed, place the food tray near her door, and select a book from the library to consume over the next several hours. When it was time for lunch to arrive, she'd watch as one of the men (frequently a different face) unlocked the door and removed the old tray before setting down the next meal.
The food was always divine. Samantha found it difficult to abstain from eating every item on her plate -- which was typically accompanied with butter and bread, fresh-squeezed juice, and some varied sweet morsel. She soon felt an almost imperceptible snugness in her pants; this spurred the implementation of a strict fitness regimen before dinner: three sets of 50 push-ups, a long series of P90x-inspired crunches, 100 lunges, and any other exercise she could conceive to try in a large room bereft of equipment. They helped, although Samantha realized she sorely missed her evening runs. Never thought I'd see the day, she said to herself.
After her exercise, Samantha did a long and thorough stretch before sitting on the floor in quiet meditation. She'd never meditated before -- hell if she knew what she was doing. But it gave her time to focus her turbulent, vengeful thoughts. Mostly, she dreamt up outlandish methods and schemes for escape.
She missed her friends; at times she'd will her mind to a happier place in their company. She wondered if they'd try to reach her. Surely April or Bryan or Kevin would call... Samantha had no family. Her father left a long time ago. Her mother died when she was 14. It was only now that she began to realize how terribly lonely her life had become.
Before dinner arrived, she would settle down on the sofa to read again (always a different book from her morning read). This spot gave her a prime vantage point to see whichever of Franco's men who happened to deliver her meal open the door and switch out trays. They always watched her, cold and vigilant, as they did. Her early attempts to attract their attention, perhaps unbuttoning the top half of her blouse, repeating her post-workout stretch, or biting her lip and gazing darkly, were met with such indifference she soon gave up entirely, feeling foolish.
The silence was the most grating part of it all. For the better part of the day, it didn't occur to her -- absorbed in The Odyssey, Sun Tzu's Art of War, or Atlas Shrugged. She'd always been a reader, until her overtime-laden career left no room for it. But while reading, she might become aware of the soft scrape of the turning page, or spoken conversations far beyond her locked door, and she wanted to scream -- anything to fill the silence.
The surveillance camera, too, became a regrettable fixture of her environment. She took great care to only dress/undress in the bathroom, and tried her best to ignore its presence. Early on, she had to stifle the urge to give its all-seeing lens the finger -- make faces at it or mouth the words fuck... off.
It was a Thursday, she'd counted, when Samantha resolved to make her escape. That morning, she brought a candle with her into the bathroom. With the shower running, she made repeated attempts to smash the glass votive against the stone wall. The damn thing wouldn't crack. Not even a chip.
Looking anxiously at the door, she backed up and pitched it as hard as she could; the glass shattered with a muted smash, and Samantha nearly jumped for joy as it fell to the floor in pieces.
Running over, she surveyed the remnants. Three smaller shards had broken off from the larger main piece. The candle lay mostly untouched, save for a sprinkle of wax flakes on the floor. Carefully, she retrieved the broken votive and threw it again -- this time she found a more satisfactory piece. She nestled the fragment between her knuckles and traced the edge. She'd have to dig hard to do any real damage.
Throughout the day, Samantha forced herself to carry on with business as usual. The camera, ever watchful, was more unsettling today. Was she so sure they weren't watching her in the bathroom?
When dinner came, she made a point not to eat too much; she would need to bolt at top-speed if she had any chance of making it out. She really didn't have much of a plan, Samantha acknowledged bitterly. All she needed was to be within lunging distance of a gun. She bit her lip, lost in thought. What if it didn't work? She shuddered at Franco's threat of so much worse. He'd killed his own man; why not her?
She couldn't allow herself to think about it. Tonight was the night -- she would run for her freedom, or die trying.
* * *
He'd only been on post an hour when Anthony - Tony they called him -- heard her groan inside the room. "Oh my god," she whimpered, before retching violently. He stiffened, suspicious at first. What to do? He considered calling out for backup, but it was late and most of the compound had turned in. He hated the thought of waking Gabriele needlessly. Leaning his ear against the door, he reached in his pocket and pulled out the phone. He could hear her breathing hard, then heaving again. She was sniffling, mewing before another bout of retching.
Soon he could only hear convulsive dry heaves. Jesus Christ... Tony searched through his contacts and found Gabriele's doctor. He sent an urgent text before placing his ear back against the door. Suddenly, he heard her collapse; her body hit the wooden floor with an unmistakable thump. As quickly as he could manage, he unlatched the door and looked in. The room was dark. He took a careful step in, his arms stretched out low, feeling for her.
Tony barely saw the flash of shadow when he felt something jagged lodge in his temple, barely missing his right eye. Then it pulled, tearing through flesh with savage ferocity. He cried in agony, a horrible, guttural cry.
Instinctively, he slapped his hand to his face to stop the blade, his other hand grasping blindly into darkness to grab her.
He felt, rather than saw, her dart past him.
Pumping with adrenaline, Samantha took an immediate left out of her room -- she was in a large corridor of carved wooden walls, doors flanking either side as far down as she could see. She bolted, sprinting faster than she had in her entire life. The sound of her shoes striking the carpeted floor reverberated through the hallway with a heavy thud, thud, thud, thud, thud.
She heard a door to her left swing open wide, arms extended in her periphery - then she crashed to the ground, a heavy weight upon her. Screaming, she writhed to get out from under it, until the pressure let up, and she felt herself grabbed by the shoulders and spun around. Before she even looked, she knew it was him.
Franco was on top of her, astride her, seething. Demons never breathed such fury.
Throughout the hallway, she heard doors opening and men spilling out into the corridor. But she didn't dare turn from their master's raging countenance. This was it. She was going to die.
Franco looked up, his face suddenly frozen, his eyes turning darker still. He bolted upright; in a second Samantha found herself on her feet, gripped tightly in his arms.
"What the fuck did you do, Samantha??" he growled, turning her to face what he saw. A young, muscular man walked limply toward them, blood streaming through the hand that held the wound, dripping blots of red across the carpet. Two men rushed to his aid.
"Let me see it, Anthony," Franco spoke from behind her. Hopelessly, she tried to wriggle free of his grasp, but his body was an immovable stone. He held her in place as a sacrificial witness to the wound she'd inflicted.
Tony dropped his hand, and Samantha's eyes widened in shock at the sight of the gash; she could see the lower flap of skin dangling as blood poured from the gape. "Oh my god," she whispered, horrified.
"I'm so sorry, boss" Tony begged. His face, mournful and streaming blood, was the most harrowing sight Samantha had ever seen. "She got me before I even had a chance to grab her."
"It's alright, Anthony," Franco said, an underlying softness in his words Samantha had never heard before. "I promise we'll take good care of you."
One of the men re-appeared with a towel and pressed it against Tony's face to help stem the blood flow. "Doctor Caselli's here," someone announced.
"Take her to her room," Franco ordered, his voice low and gravelly. "I want her tied up."
Three men surrounded her and dragged Samantha roughly down the hallway to her room, paying no mind to her kicking and screaming.
She was slammed against one of the bed posts; calloused hands held her arms behind her back as her legs were tied. Someone wrapped cord around her wrists, holding them firmly in place. Samantha was shaking, tears streaming her face. The last of the men finished tying a single cord around her neck, bracing her upright and tightly-bound to the bed post.