Party Night Plan
Saturday night was fast approaching. Thanks to frantic woodworking practically around the clock I had just finished the last of the Stox Box modifications in time for the debut at the local bondage party. The plan was to make a surprise debut for maximum impact.
As usual my invaluable friend would help me get ready. Once in the box it would be a quick truck ride to the party room. There I’d be covered in a tablecloth with the usual socializing eats and drinks laid out on top of me. Once the preliminaries were finished and cleared away one of the dominants at the party would unveil the box, with me inside. I planned to spend the entire evening in place, as it were, until freed later in the evening. As usual the release time was set by my friend, and deliberately kept from me until the last moment. I’d pick up the box the next day.
It was a good plan and foolproof as far as I could see. There wouldn’t be any of those virtual trips to a mausoleum this time. Bill, the particular dominant clued into the plan, promised he’d look after me during the party.
Based on my last session there were some new features for the box. The problem with loose feet was solved by adding a track on the inside end of the crate. A block of wood slid into the track, with screws to hold it in place. For now I simply nailed bedroom slippers on the other side. Once my ankles were secured in the stocks I didn’t have the room to pull my feet out of the shoes. It wasn’t the most elegant solution but when time permitted I could come up with something a little more restrictive.
The time consuming change was the addition of adjustable side panels to either side of my head. These replaced the foam pads and had some side benefits. An audio speaker was embedded in each side, replacing the speaker in the lid. This allowed me to move a chunk of electronics from the top to the interior, as well as improving the audio quality. Now that I was effectively on headphones it reduced battery power requirements, plus it tended to reduce outside noise reaching my ears. I liked it quiet when I wanted to feel isolated.
The last major changes were the new access panels cut into the lid. These fit flush to the top but could be opened with a recessed latch. One opened into the leg compartment and the other to the torso area. I didn’t have any plans on how they would be used for the moment. No doubt some dominant would come up with a nasty, devious purpose for them.
Since this session would only be for a few hours I decided to forego the catheter. Instead I put on my prized metal chastity belt, in deference to those at the party who were uncomfortable with full frontal nudity. I planned to pose for some pictures before being sealed in, so the group at the party could see how the box worked. I’d put together a short PowerPoint presentation for the surprise unveiling to show off my creation to the partygoers.
When the time came I climbed into the box, version two, ready for a night of fun. Before stretching out I added the final item for the session, a large and much too effective gag to keep me quiet. I wanted to run silent tonight, no microphone plus a gag to keep me from trying to shout through the wooden walls. My always helpful friend went to work inserting the panels which formed the stocks, until I was well and truly stuck in place. A few twists of the handy hex wrench to tighten the interior screws gave it that permanent feel of unyielding restraint I loved so much. I tugged at the stocks, just to verify everything was in place. I was satisfied with the results; for the next several hours I would be held snugly in place, whether I liked it or not.
The lid slowly descended on the hoist until I was enveloped in darkness. Some more screws to finish me off and I was ready to go. The small LCD screen above me lit up, showing the crate sitting in the workshop, ready for shipment.
The camera turned off, plunging me into pitch black darkness. I felt the box moving. That had to be my friend, sliding the crate into the back of the truck. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. For the rest of the evening I was entirely in the hands of those on the outside. They would look out for me from now on.
It was a short trip to get to the party. I did learn the padding on the new sideboards for my head needed some improvement, especially when the truck went over a speed bump. Otherwise it was uneventful. It had been stop and start traffic all the way, no long stretches on a freeway, so that nagging doubt my friend would trick me with a real trip to his family mausoleum proved to be unfounded.
I felt the crate being slid out of the truck bed onto the cart. I was wheeled around for a few minutes, which had to be the route from the truck to the party room. The screen came to life, showing a blur of walls going by.
“I hope this is working,” I recognized Bill’s voice. “If you can hear me, we’re getting ready to set you up as the table. I’ll move the camera back to a corner so you can watch the festivities.”
Suddenly the camera flipped up to show the ceiling. It spun around, making me dizzy. I had to close my eyes for a moment to recover. “There, high enough to see everything. I don’t think anyone will notice it. There should be plenty of battery time but I’ll leave it off for now, just in case.” I saw Bill standing in front of the camera, one arm reaching up toward it. “As soon as everyone arrives I’ll switch it back on.” I saw him shake his head. “You’d never get me in that thing. Well, enjoy a little timeout until we’re ready.” The screen went dark.
I was pleasantly surprised when I could still hear background noise. One of the modifications was to separate the video and audio channels. Bill must have turned off the video and missed the audio switch. I could make out voices but they were too far away to understand the conversation. From what I could tell the munchies were being laid out right above me. Seems I would soon be one of those privileged few to experience life as a buffet table.
It was an eerie feeling, knowing all that activity was going on around and over me, yet I was alone and isolated from it all. Other than Bill no one knew I was close enough to touch, if it hadn’t been for the thick wooden planks holding me prisoner. All alone in a crowded room; it seemed ironic that I was enjoying every minute of my enforced confinement.
From the volume of the crowd noises there must be quite a few people in attendance tonight. Once in a while I picked out a fragmentary word but never enough to follow what was happening. I didn’t mind since it would be too much like spying on private conversations if someone was nearby.
Then the screen blinked into life once more and I saw myself. A tablecloth was draped over the box, completely covering it. Fortunately it didn’t reach the hidden air vents on the side or I’d be in trouble. I saw trays of food and some bottles stacked to one side. Seems I was also the bar.
“If I could have everyone’s attention?” There was no mistaking Bill’s booming baritone voice cutting through the noise. “I have a surprise concerning our guest of honor tonight. No, not absent; in fact quite the opposite. Our speaker, well, sort of, has been with us from the start, though I doubt anyone noticed. By way of an introduction I’d like to start with a short video. Once you see it you’ll understand why it had to be recorded in advance.”
The large screen TV was barely visible at the edge of my camera. I could hear it starting. The talking died down to where I could hear my own voice, introducing the “stocks in a box” concept. My presentation wasn’t very long, about seven minutes in all.
When it ended Bill spoke up again. “Now, if everyone would be good enough to help clear the table?” It didn’t take long for the food to disappear. Bill picked up one end of the tablecloth. “And now, let me introduce our guest of honor for tonight.” With a flourish he whisked away the tablecloth.
There I was. Bill had picked a good camera angle. I could see myself, or more accurately the packaged version of me. People crowded around, running their hands over the top and sides.
“There’s really someone inside this?” I heard the question, but not who asked it.
“That’s right,” Bill answered. “Our speaker, as it were, chose to remain silent this evening. There’s no two-way communications set up, plus the gag you saw in that last picture means we can be heard, and seen, but not the other way round.” Bill pointed up at the camera. “Think of it as participation but not interaction. Or maybe solitary confinement of the worst sort, especially if you’re averse to enclosed spaces.” That remark earned some nervous laughter.
I had no problems with claustrophobia; otherwise I’d be catatonic by now. If anything it was the opposite. The feelings of being confined, walled in and restrained all at the same time had a calming effect on my thoughts. Maybe it was a form of solitary, but I didn’t see it as a punishment. Well, unless I believed I was being entombed in a mausoleum, but that was in the past.
From my camera view I could see everyone starting to wander away into the play room. Eventually only Bill and I were left. “You know, this box is really an impressive feat of engineering. I’d love to have some, uhh, friends try it out.” I knew what he meant. Bill was popular with the submissives, especially the ladies. Luring a few into his clutches inside this box would have a certain appeal. “Let’s get together and see if we make some arrangements.” I owed him a favor so it was only fair to help him out too.
The lack of a microphone and the presence of the gag precluded any response on my part. It hadn’t been the primary reason for shutting me up but it did help dodge the pressure to make deals on who could borrow the box. In time I’d lend it out but for now I wanted the fruits of my endeavors all to myself. Sure, it was selfish but I didn’t care.
I caught a glimpse of a group of women coming into the room. The camera angle was wrong so I couldn’t make out who they were. Two of them surrounded Bill and began dragging him away by his arms. “C’mon, everyone’s asking for you. We want to see that new trick you do with the rope.”
Bill pointed at me, in the box. “Sorry gals, but someone has to keep watch over our star for the evening.”
“Go ahead, Bill, I’ll sit tonight out. You go have some fun.” I couldn’t see who was volunteering but the soft, warm feminine voice sounded familiar. For some reason it wasn’t reassuring.
Bill hesitated for a moment before yielding to the group pressing him. “I guess it’ll be okay. Thanks, Sally, I appreciate it.” He stood, reached up to the camera and moved it down to the box top.
Sally? Not Psycho Sally! Fear drove me to fight against the stocks while yelling into the gag for Bill to come back. Of all the people who ever showed up for the parties the very last one I wanted to encounter was Sally. The only possible thing that could make it worse is for Bill to leave me alone with her.
The old adage about looks being deceiving could use Sally as the prime example. On first impression she was the quintessential “girl next door”. Blond hair and blue eyes, petite but attractive, with a penchant for the “folksy” dress style, a bit on the shy side in casual conversation, she could disarm anyone with her unassuming smile. She loved to talk to people, to draw them out, but rarely did she reveal anything about herself.
It wasn’t until she was alone with a willing, and restrained, submissive that her true personality emerged. It always started out innocent enough, but that soft voice whispering in the ear soon revealed what had to be one of the most twisted minds on the planet. She never actually physically harmed anyone; in fact she rarely even touched the poor unfortunate under her control. No, it was that insidious voice, on and on, never letting up, boring into the victim’s brain, and worst of all no way to stop it. See, she absolutely insisted on a gag, and a good one, to keep her prey quiet. No interruptions allowed, and of course no way to escape. She could go on for hours that way, never stopping to rest or give the victim on the other end a moment’s respite.
That’s how she earned the nickname “Psycho”. I’d gone through it once, thinking the tales about her were exaggerated to boost her reputation as one of the more “stimulating” dominants. Stimulating was one way to put it; I preferred mind warping. I never went back for a second course.
Sally made no secret about her peculiar kink. There was no question she fit into the dominant personality category, though I would have added a “serial killer psychopath” tag to go with it. Or maybe a “Gestapo interrogator” description was more fitting. What I do know is by the time she finished with me I was ready to confess to everything from being single handedly responsible for every ransomware theft in the world to personally rigging the last election for my bosses in the Kremlin. But, some people in our group enjoyed that kind of experience, so Sally was never without someone willing to challenge her abilities. Takes all kinds, I suppose. I was sure of one thing though; she’d never get her claws in my head again.
Once the room was empty she leaned down for a camera close up. “It’s been such a long time since we had a friendly chat,” she smiled sweetly as she spoke. “I was so disappointed we never got back together. How fortunate I was here to take over from Bill. Now we have all night to get reacquainted.” She had a way where she stressed certain words, in those private moments when no one else was listening. It was hard to miss, and knowing Sally those words were a promise she intended to come after me with everything she had.
I had to do some fast thinking. Once Sally had power over someone she liked to lull them into a false sense of security. Chances are she’d start with small talk to get me to relax, before she started probing my weaknesses. One positive: she didn’t know about my last experience in the box, and how I’d been tricked into thinking I’d been buried alive. I had deliberately left out that part when I put together the video on the box. Knowledge like that in Sally’s hands was like throwing bloody red meat to a lion. Anyone who experienced the real Sally never revealed anything to her that she could turn to her advantage.
“This is such an elegant piece of work,” Sally began, “very classy”. On camera I could see her running her hand along the grain of the wood. “Just looking at it you’d never know someone was inside. The way you came up with those stocks was ingenious. And to think all it takes to undo all those screws is one little tool.” She held up the hex wrench so I could clearly see it resting in her hand.
That picture sent my anxiety index shooting skyward. Bill had left her the key too, which meant she could get to me physically as well as through the camera and audio. Those thick wooden walls of the box offered me no protection now.
“I saw the crate being delivered this afternoon. It was so unusual I had to satisfy my curiosity.” Great, she’d arrived early for the party, no doubt to help with the set up. It fit with the image she fronted to draw in the unsuspecting. Any little tidbit of information she picked up in passing might prove useful later on. “Anyway, after you were in place your talkative friend and I had a long conversation. There was so much to talk about, especially that debut session in the box. Your friend is so clever. I would have loved to be there.”
I heard more of those stressed words and knew immediately what it meant. In her disarming way she had pumped my obliging friend for every scrap of detail about my last session in the box. The part about being walled up in a mausoleum crypt and how I was convinced I was going to die there would be throwing gas on the fire where Sally was concerned. Somehow, some way she was going to use it tonight, at the worst possible time, at least where I was concerned.
She tilted the camera so it was parallel with the top. I could see the smooth finish extending all the way down to the end where my feet were located. She went to that end and sat down, leaning forward until her eyes were just showing above the edge. In effect we were facing each other, eye to eye. I kept telling myself she couldn’t actually see me. It didn’t matter though. She was so good she could anticipate my reactions without actual contact.
I recognized what she was doing: eye level contact, a non-threatening pose designed to make me feel at ease. Even though I knew what she was doing still I did relax a bit, though I was wary of what might come next.
“Now that I think about it, I can see the attraction this box has for you.” She smiled at me, the kind of smile a chicken sees when the fox sneaks into the hen house. “I remember the way you like to be chained down so tight all you could do is blink. Steel is so cold and impersonal, don’t you think so? Wood has that soft, natural look that hides the tough, unyielding heart within a good, high grade hardwood. Trees bend in the wind but always snap back, asserting their strength when it’s needed.”
I hadn’t looked at it in those terms when I started on the project, but she had a point. Maybe I was maturing in my bondage needs, transitioning from the brute force of cold metal to the subtle insistence of the stocks. Whatever else Sally might be she often came up with a unique perspective no one else had seen. She was skilled at steering one’s thinking in a new direction.
Oh no! I put a stop to that train of thought at once. Only a few minutes had passed and she was already getting to me. No matter what she says, I told myself, don’t let it sink in. Problem was the way she made you focus on certain words made it difficult to ignore her.
She rose up, folding her hands on the edge of the crate before resting her chin on them. She moved the camera in closer so that her face nearly filled my tiny screen. “From the pictures you must be all but paralyzed in there. I’m amazed you can put so much trust in virtual strangers by locking yourself in that box. There are so many crazies out there I’d never attempt it.” There was that word stress again. She was right about that last remark, because I was in the hands of one at the moment.
“Look at the way your friend treated you. There you were, by all appearances being shoved into that crypt to be left to die. What was it like, watching the tomb being sealed, knowing you only had a few minutes of air left? Did you try to stretch it out, or just accept the finality and breathe normally to speed up the end?”
She was dredging up all those memories I wanted to forget. I still woke up with nightmares from that moment when I truly believed my life was over. I remembered how my lungs struggled for more oxygen, panting in desperation for that last bit of fresh air. Of course it was only hyperventilating brought on by a panic attack, but at the time I was convinced I was suffocating.
Sally’s face showed her concern. “It was a cruel act, no matter what anyone else says. There you were, as helpless as anyone could be, all alone, at your most vulnerable. Then what happens? Your friend betrays your trust by murdering you. Not something quick, but a slow, lingering, agonizing death in the dark, with no one to help. For that matter, there was no one to even learn where your remains were buried. Did you scream, try to bang your fists on the walls, struggle to claw your way to freedom?”
I did cry out, but my friend either didn’t hear me or didn’t care. Sally was right; my trust had been mishandled. Reliving that moment I came to appreciate it was the loneliness of the betrayal, lying there in the dark, that got to me.
I wasn’t sure but there might have been a tear in Sally’s eye. “I would have listened. I’m here now, so go ahead, yell as loud as you can, let all the frustration and disappointment come out. You can trust me. I’ll never leave you alone like that.”
I couldn’t move my hands to bang on the lid but I did scream into the gag with all my might. Weeks of pent up rage came pouring out. I wanted to live a long life, not spend an eternity walled up in a crypt. I wasn’t sure if she could hear me but I did see a face that spoke of compassion staring back at me. Sally understood when no one else did. She was concerned for me. At that moment Sally was the one person in this world I was certain would never treat me that way.
“That’s right, let it all out,” she urged me on. “I want to hear you. I want to hear those last seconds of defiance!”
I stopped. That last part didn’t sound quite right. What did she mean?
On screen I could see her lean back, with both hands still on the box. “Your friend didn’t understand. If I had been the one that first time it would have been all too real: the mausoleum, the open crypt, everything. No tricks, you know you can trust me not to deceive you like that. You would have gone into that black hole in the full knowledge it was your last resting place. And after I sealed it I wouldn’t have turned off that microphone. No, I would have listened carefully to every gasp for air, counting them down to the last one, because I care.”
Wait, what was she saying!? I stared at the screen in horror. There she was, with that disarming smile. Yes she cared, but not what happened to me. She cared about nobody but Sally.
She’d done it again. For one moment I’d let down my guard, believing she was as normal as anyone else. I had no one to blame but myself for letting it happen. I was well aware of her reputation. I even had prior history that should have taught me never to trust her. Instead I handed her exactly what she’d been waiting for, believing in her sincerity.
I could feel the tears on my face. She had insinuated herself into my head then used it to twist it around, forcing me to relive those terrifying last seconds before I passed out in the belief my life had ended. What more could she do to me now?
Then she abruptly changed the subject.
Her Dog Spot
“Did I mention I brought my dog Spot along tonight?” Sally picked up a large sack from the floor and set it on the crate, where I could see it. Sally was famous for her dog Spot. The phrase came from a slice of local history. Old time Los Angeles residents remember the days when used car dealers flooded late night television. They all had some gimmick to help sell “fine transportation vehicles”, better known as “lemons”. One of those dealer attention getters was “my dog Spot”, who invariably turned out to be a tiger, a bear, an elephant, a hippo or some other exotic animal. Sally used the same stunt, except her “dog” was always something small and terrifying, sort of like her personality.
I was still in a somewhat distracted state thanks to Sally’s emotional rollercoaster ride. I didn’t pay too much attention to the small cage she placed close to the camera. From my vantage point all I could see was a sheet metal door with a latch on the top. “I adopted Spot a few months back. She’s been a marvelous companion, though she is shy with strangers. I’m sure you’ll hit it off with her right away.”
I had no idea what she’d brought with her tonight except I was sure it wasn’t cute or cuddly, and it wasn’t going to be a dog. She moved the camera in for a close up before sliding open the cage door.
I froze, gripped by primal fear. Staring back at me were two dark eyes above a mouth, with fangs on either side. The creature was covered in fur. It was certainly no dog I’d ever seen before, unless some new breed had eight legs with a body suspended between them.
“Spot comes to us from the Sonoran Desert. She likes to come out at night to go on the prowl for some tasty snack. If she’s lucky it’s a mouse, but she settles for insects.” Sally leaned down, behind the cage, so I could see her face.
“Tarantulas have a bad reputation but they’re just misunderstood.” Yeah, like Sally was misjudged by her victims. “They are very timid. All they want is something to eat and a nice dark, dry place to lay their eggs. You’d be amazed at how soft their fur is, except of course for that patch on their bellies. That’s where they keep those nasty needle sharp hairs they throw at attackers. They only bite as a last resort, except for their prey.”
A huge, venomous spider was the ideal complement to Sally’s personality. I, like most sane people, was terrified of arachnids in general and poisonous ones in particular. The last thing I wanted to see on my screen was a hideous creature baring its fangs, ready to plunge them into me and suck out my insides while they slowly dissolved. Somewhere in my head I knew I was much too large to actually be tarantula food but the rationale was driven down by instinctive dread of all creatures with eight legs. All I wanted was for that thing to go away, far away.
“Looks like Spot doesn’t want to come out. I’ll set her back here,” Sally told me while she slid the cage to the far end of the crate, “so we can talk some more.” She held up an index card in one hand. “Your friend was ever so thoughtful in writing down the time you should be released. There’s even a note to remind everyone not to let you see it. Keeps you guessing right up to the last second, doesn’t it?”
The card was supposed to be taped to the outside of the box, on the far end where the camera wouldn’t pick it up. In hindsight I suppose that wasn’t really necessary. Even if I knew the time printed on the card I didn’t have a clock with me, and there were none in range of the camera. I had no idea how much longer I was going to be trapped inside, though after being a captive audience for Sally I was more than ready to climb out immediately and start running.
“Let’s make this a bit more exciting,” Sally told me, tapping the card on the lid of the box. “How about,” she started to tear the card into tiny shreds, “we just keep going until the time seems right? This way we’ll have all night without worrying about deadlines.” That was the last thing I wanted, and I tried to say so, shouting in vain into the gag. It was a useless gesture and I was positive it wouldn’t stop her even if she could hear me.
“Now,” she started again, holding up the hex key for the box, “your ever so helpful friend told me you added a couple of access panels. I’m intrigued as to what they expose.” She giggled in a girlish way. I didn’t find anything funny about it.
“Let’s get Spot out of the way first.” She pushed the cage down to the far end of the crate. It bothered me that she hadn’t closed the cage door. Even though I was safe inside a stout wooden barrier I had no desire to watch Spot in action.
“Let’s see, if I remember there’s a center section right about here.” I could see her running a hand alongside the edge of the lid. “Here we go.” She started on the retaining screw. The panel was concealed with an internal hinge. One screw held down the cover for the release. I saw the latch cover flip up. “I think it slides this way.” There was a click when the latch bolt retracted.
The camera had a clear shot of the panel rising up. This was the torso section of the box: arms, waist and groin. I couldn’t see anything directly since the wooden stock around my neck went all the way up to the top.
“Wow! You certainly were thorough in the restraint department. There’s no way anyone could get out of that. I like what you did with your hands, wedging them flat between the side of the box and an adjustable board. And a chastity belt! Not to worry, you know that’s not Sally’s thing.” Which was true enough but only a small consolation; Sally didn’t go in for sexual teasing or any other kind of intimate stimulation.
For the moment I wasn’t too worried about being uncovered. She went for the mental jugular, preferring to leave her victims in tears. But not tears from physical pain. Oh no, Sally was the type of sadist who feasted on mental anguish. Why anyone would willingly submit to her particular brand of torture was beyond my comprehension.
From what I could see Sally was examining the stocks that held me securely in place. “There’s no give in these dividers at all.” She turned to look at the camera. “You must really get off on being in there to put so much effort into building this thing. Are stocks and pillories your secret kink? Well, not so secret now, eh? I have to admit I never came across someone with such an affinity for wooden furniture. Stocks are bad enough but I’ve read a pillory can be dangerous if you’re stuck in it for too long.”
That was true. Stocks imprisoned hands and feet, uncomfortable but not all that risky. A pillory typically clamped down on the hands and neck, in a standing position. If the prisoner’s legs gave out after a prolonged confinement there was a real risk of choking or strangulation. The box solved that problem by lying down instead of standing. I still had that experience of a thick wooden plank around my neck along with the stocks holding my wrists and ankles, but without the associated risks. Unless someone turned the crate upside down I was in no danger.
Sally was leaning over the side, still engrossed in her inspection of either me or my tiny prison. Suddenly she straightened up and took a step back. “Oh, oh, looks like Spot wants to come out. I better do something about that.”
I’m not sure what happened next. I saw her place that large bag on the lid. One end of it clipped the camera and sent it in a dizzying spin onto the floor. When it stopped I was looking at the floor, sideways. I heard Sally cursing but couldn’t quite make out what she was saying.
Then something soft and furry landed on my stomach. It only got worse when I felt it move around on multiple legs.
The camera flipped up to the ceiling before settling back into its previous position above my head. Sally’s head appeared on screen, a worried look on her face. “Listen carefully. Try to hold as still as possible. It’s important you don’t move around. I’m really sorry about this but Spot jumped into your box. Right now she’s scared and agitated. I need to calm her down before I can coax her back out.”
What about calming me down? I took her warning to heart, desperately trying to breathe evenly and not thrash about in a futile attempt to escape. I closed my eyes, trying to think of anything but that creature on top of me.
“Okay, you’re not going to like this but it’s the best way to get Spot out of there. She likes dark, enclosed spaces. I’m going to close the access panel for a few minutes to cut off the light. Once she relaxes I can pick her up safely. What I need from you is to keep it together and not panic.”
I opened my eyes in time to see her lower the access panel. I heard the latch bolt click into place when it was fully shut. Sally faced me again. “We have to be very quiet now. I’m going to turn off the camera so no outside noise gets through. Remember, don’t move, no talking. You won’t be alone, not like last time at the mausoleum. Sally will be with you.”
The screen went dark. Sure, I wasn’t alone, but it wasn’t Sally keeping me company. No, instead I had a large, nervous tarantula for companionship. It, no, that wasn’t right; she was still in the same place. That was bad enough, but if she started to crawl around I wasn’t sure I could hold on to my sanity.
Up until tonight I would have sworn the worst moment in my life was fighting for that last breath in what I believed to be my tomb in the mausoleum. What could be worse? I had the answer: trapped in the box with a large, poisonous and probably hungry spider that’s having a bad day.
I dug my fingernails into the pieces of wood that kept me from trying to claw my out. I had been extra diligent in that respect; I could barely move my fingers. It was a reflex action borne of desperation, something I couldn’t control. Hopefully it wasn’t enough for Spot to notice.
It only got worse when I felt Spot raise and lower one of those hairy legs. I was so scared I dare not even breathe. The idea of that thing crawling around, all over me, was even more terrifying than where she was now.
And where was Sally? Heaven help me but I was actually anxious to hear her voice again. That was a clear sign of just how far gone I was. It took all my willpower not to start shaking. If that happened I was certain the next thing I’d feel would be those fangs plunging into my skin.
Maybe it was me but it seemed like Sally was ignoring my predicament. I thought she’d be back in seconds if not a minute or two. But nothing was happening. All I could do was lie there in the box, waiting for the painful moment when I would be bitten. I couldn’t take the waiting alone, in the dark. Sally had told me she would be there for me, so where was she?
I felt a leg move again. Please, please, I prayed, don’t start crawling. Knowing it was there was more than I could stand; feeling it exploring around me would definitely send me over the mental edge.
Then the screen came back on. There was Sally with her reassuring smile. She’d kept her promise; I wasn’t alone after all.
“How’re you doing in there? Remember, whatever else, don’t move! Spot doesn’t like that. Try to relax. Don’t think about those legs and their feathery touch. You know, you can barely feel it when they're walking. That’s so they can sneak up on their prey. One moment, nothing. The next, BAM! She pounces on the poor little mouse, sinking those massive fangs deep into the body, pumping in the venom. The mouse shudders, paralyzed, then it’s all over.”
She wasn’t helping at all. I tried to push it out of my mind but the way she focused on those fangs made it stick. I couldn’t shake off the image of me as that poor little mouse.
“Let’s see if Spot is ready to come out.” I watched while Sally opened the access panel. “There she is. Ready to go home? Momma has a tasty meal waiting for you.” Pick it up, I wanted to yell. Instead I was still frozen with fear, sure I’d be bitten at the last minute.
Then it was gone! I saw something furry in her hand for a split second, before it went into the cage. Sally quickly shut the cage door. “That’s it. See, didn’t I tell you there was nothing to worry about? Anyway, while you were waiting I found Bill. He and a couple of the guys are going to get you out of there. I’m heading home, gotta feed Spot. This is her most active time of the day, or rather night. This has been a most pleasant night. I look forward to seeing you again.”
“We’ll have you out of there in a jiffy. I had to round up some help with that lid. It’s heavy, you know.” That was Bill, looking at the camera while he began unscrewing the top. “I don’t know how you do it, lying in there, unable to move, cut off from the world for hours on end. Me, I’m claustrophobic anyway. They’d have to cart me away in a straitjacket if I attempted something like this.”
Finally it was over. In a couple of minutes I’d be out of this box from Hell. Why did I do it? Twice now I’d been subjected to the kind of nightmare one only reads about. If buried alive wasn’t bad enough, now I could add being trapped and helpless with a tarantula crawling over me.
“Okay, Pete, you grab that side. Joe, you got the end? Here we go.” Suddenly there was light. I was staring up at a ceiling instead of the display. Then Bill was leaning over me. “Let’s get this off your forehead.” I didn’t even notice the pressure of the strap holding my head down until it was gone.
“And I bet you really want that gag off. Lift your head.” His skilled hands made quick work of the straps holding the gag in place. Out it came, a welcome relief. I worked my jaw a few times to help with the soreness. “Here, take a sip of water.” Bill held out a bottle with a straw in it. I eagerly sucked down some welcome moisture into my dry throat.
“Lie back and we’ll get you out of these stocks. You really don’t need quite so many, but I guess the excess is part of the thrill?” I felt the panel holding down my ankles being lifted up. The rest of the stocks followed in quick succession. When the last one around my neck slid out I was free to sit up.
I sat up for a moment to collect my wits. Tonight had proven to be an ordeal far beyond anything I had expected. I was preparing my speech chewing out Sally when I saw her. Bringing something like that spider to the party was well beyond the boundaries of safety. I placed my arms on the crate sides, readying myself to stand up.
That’s as far as I got. My legs turned to rubber, and then the shakes hit me. The image of Spot, staring at me with those fangs and black, dispassionate eyes would haunt me for months to come.
From somewhere Bill wrapped a blanket around my shoulders. “Hey, everything’s okay. You take as long as you need.” He gestured toward one of the other men. “Pete? You grab the other side.”
When I nodded they lifted me out of the crate and sat me down on a chair. The shakes were slowing down. Delayed reaction, I thought, should have expected it. I felt cold so I pulled the blanket close around me.
“It was a great party tonight. Everyone was talking about you and your box.” That was Bill, trying to calm me down with small talk. “By the way, did Sally show you her toy spider? It looks just like the real thing. It even has a tiny remote control motor to move a couple of legs. If you didn’t know better you’d swear it was the real deal.”
I clutched the blanket in my hands. Sally, she’d outdone herself this time. She’d hit me with a double whammy: first making me relive being buried; and just when I’d recovered, not expecting anything more, she plants a fake spider on me. No question her reputation was well deserved.
As for me I was looking forward to another stay in the box. A stay with no unwelcome guests, and no traveling.