2: Phoebe's First Case
Phoebe grinned from ear to ear as she climbed the creaking stairs and a door blocked her path. She read her name.
"Phoebe M. Wynters Private Investigator" was written in gold letters on the small glass panel of the door. She pulled out the key her landlord had given her and put it in the lock. Phoebe pushed open the door and entered for the first time her small three-room apartment in what her landlord had assured her was the best neighborhood in all of Leon City, Falenplaza.
She drew in the air in her apartment with relish and immediately had to cough as she inhaled a cloud of dust that had fallen from the ceiling onto her black Fedora hat and scarlet hair.
"I guess I'll have to clean up a bit, but at least the furniture is…" Phoebe said, falling silent when she saw only a wallpaper table and two folding chairs standing in the study.
"Aww, come on!"
Phoebe pulled out her phone and saw that she had received a message from her moving company.
Dear Ms. Wynters, Unfortunately something went wrong with your moving truck. We apologize for any inconvenience. We hope you have a great day.
"Wow… just wow," Phoebe muttered, settling down in one of the chairs, "at least I still have some of my stuff in my …" she looked out the dusty window at the street and saw a hooded man approaching her car. Phoebe furrowed her eyebrows when she saw a crowbar in his hand.
She tapped on the window to let him know he was being watched. He looked up, gave her the middle finger, and swung the crowbar against the passenger door window. Immediately, Phoebe jumped up and ran downstairs, cursing.
"Best part of town my ass!" screamed Phoebe, rushing down the stairs. Her footsteps echoed throughout the hallway until she flung open the front door and stepped out onto the street. Instead of the man, however, she found a blonde woman standing next to her car, while the thief turned the next corner of the house with his tail between his legs and disappeared.
"Is this your car?" the woman asked Phoebe in a gloomy voice, tucking a small spray can into her jeans.
"Yes, it is, thank you very much. Are the thieves always this bold around here?"
"I think it's bolder that you leave your car fully loaded, in Falenplaza. You're not from around here, are you?" the woman asked, letting her eyes wander over Phoebe's white blouse and black pin-striped pants.
Phoebe shook her head and adjusted her glasses, which nearly fell off during her sprint.
"I wouldn't have thought so, either. Detective costumes aren't welcome in this part of town," the woman said, adding in a whisper, "even though I could really use a real one right now."
Instantly Phoebe's attention was caught.
"Well it just so happens that this isn't a costume, I'm a detective!"
The blonde woman looked at Phoebe doubtfully.
"Oh really? You're barely a year older than me!"
"Yes, really, and I have been for a few years! And I'll tell you what, if you help me carry my stuff upstairs, I'll give you a discount on your case!"
The woman exhaled deeply and glanced at her phone. Phoebe could see she was trying to hold back tears as she read a message.
"Please don't make me regret this," the woman whispered more to herself than to Phoebe and held out her hand which Phoebe shook with a smile, "My name is Chloe Denvers, let's get your stuff upstairs before that guy comes back with backup."
After the two women had rescued the few belongings from Phoebe's car, they sat down at the wallpaper table.
"How can I help you Mrs. Den …?" asked Phoebe, but was interrupted by Chloe.
"Just Chloe please, my last name gives me zits."
"So Chloe, how can I help you?" said Phoebe, smiling.
"I got a message from my sister Kim three days ago," Chloe began and showed Phoebe her phone with said message.
Kim: Hey… mmh, can you call me back as soon as possible? I can't take it anymore, I thought I could, for mum's sake, but I just can't take him anymore
As the background of the chat, Chloe had a picture of herself and her little sister.
"She hasn't been in touch since, and in Falenplaza, that never means anything good."
"Have you gone to the police yet?" asked Phoebe as she entered Kim's cell number into her phone to have it located.
"Of course, but they won't do anything. The LCPD doesn't want to start a war with the scum of the city just because an 18-year-old had a fight with her parents and won't come home. That's why I set out on my own, but so far to no avail."
"Is it that bad here?" asked Phoebe, raising an eyebrow. Chloe nodded.
"The residents outside the neighborhood don't usually get to notice, but it's like a war here. The people who can't fight back claw at what little they have left while the strong take what they want. I moved away as fast as I could, leaving everything behind… Unfortunately, Kim too. If I had answered my damn phone, none of this would have happened!" said Chloe with trembling lips.
"Don't blame yourself Chloe, we'll find Kim!" said Phoebe, leaning over the table to squeeze Chloe's hand.
"We?" asked Chloe hopefully.
Phoebe lifted her phone, which showed the location of Kim's phone.
"I have no idea where that is, and I could really use your knowledge of the town and its people."
"Are you sure this is the right place?" asked Phoebe, letting her eyes wander over the run-down factory. A combination lock was attached to the gate, blocking their entry.
"Kim's phone is here. Although I doubt she's actually here."
"Why?" asked Phoebe, amazed when Chloe opened the lock with a few twists.
"Because she hates my old friends," Chloe said, as if remembering something unpleasant, and held the gate open for Phoebe.
They entered a dark hallway that led deeper into the factory. The only source of light was the flashlights from their phones, but the darkness seemed to swallow them.
"By old friends, you mean…?"
"My ex and his gang."
"You have no idea," a voice suddenly said from behind them. Chloe stopped, rooted to the spot, while Phoebe whirled around and stared down the barrel of a gun. It flashed briefly in the light as Phoebe took a blow from it and went down unconscious.
Phoebe's skull roared as she regained consciousness. She blinked hard, trying to adjust to the twilight in the room. She noticed that she was lying on a dirty concrete floor. Phoebe tried to stand up, but her arms did not obey her. Her legs also seemed to be in no mood to do what was asked of them. She closed her eyes to clear her befuddled thoughts.
"Cohe?" asked Phoebe weakly, but got no response. Something had been stuffed in her mouth and was suppressing her voice. Phoebe opened her eyes again and saw a cloth pulled between her teeth, serving as a cleave gag to hold another ball of cloth in her mouth. Glancing over her shoulder, her fears were also confirmed that her hands were tied behind her back and more ropes cut deep into her body above and below her breasts, further restraining her arms. Her legs were tied together at the ankles and thighs.
"Fuhh!" cursed Phoebe, feeling her wrist restraints for a reachable knot, but her captors seemed to have learned their trade.
Feverishly, she looked around the room. From the looks of it, Phoebe was in an old factory office. Filing cabinets lined the walls, and smashed tube screens stood on the few tables at the far end of the room that had not been destroyed yet. A smile tugged behind Phoebe's gag as she saw some of the shards from the screens lying on the floor.
She began to crawl across the floor and she contorted her face as her body dragged across the hard uneven ground. Within no time her breathing was labored into the gag, but she forced herself to keep going. She needed to free herself as quickly as possible and rescue Chloe so they could search for Kim together. Annoyed, she groaned as her clothes caught on something, ripping her blouse and bra off her body. Phoebe rolled her eyes and bit into her gag as her sensitive breasts got scratched on the last bit.
Her anger was short-lived, however, as she finally arrived at the tables and picked up a large long shard. Triumphantly, Phoebe crawled to a wall and pressed against it, using it to help her sit up.
"Just a moment and I'll be there Chloe!" thought Phoebe and began to work her restraints with the shard. As the ropes slowly gave way, without warning the door to the office crashed open and the light of a flashlight fell on Phoebe and she froze like a deer in headlights.
"Just where do ya think, yer goin´?" a male voice asked, and Phoebe could see through the blinding light that he had more ropes in his hand. He approached her with heavy steps and seemed to be studying her naked torso closely as she glared at him.
"Nice rack, didn't think ya would strip for us," he remarked, pointing the cone of light at the shard, "Let go before someone gets hurt!"
Grudgingly, Phoebe let go of the shard before he lifted her up by the ropes that framed her breasts. He pushed her upper body down onto one of the dusty tables and she was forced to present her ass to him.
"That one ain't bad either!" he muttered, laughing and slapping her bottom.
Exasperated, Phoebe cursed into the gag and swatted at him with her bound hands. They bounced uselessly off his thigh and his laughter died away.
"You know, I'm not really in the mood for that shit." he said and took his ropes to renew the ramped bonds on her wrists. Then he gave her a crotch rope, which he tied tightly to her hands.
"Who made this mess?" he muttered to himself, loosening the bonds around Phoebe's chest and arms only to secure her elbows with a new rope so they pressed together.
Phoebe gasped into the gag as the pull on her crotch increased and her arms began to protest. She was forced to stand up rudely and the captor framed her breasts again. He pulled a rope between them so that they were slightly lifted and pressed. Finally, he untied the rope around her ankles and tied it around her neck so that he had a leash to pull Phoebe behind him.
"Come! The boss wants ya!" he commanded her, tugging on her neck. Phoebe braced herself against the leash, but to no avail as she was forced to limp along behind him, her legs still tied together above her knees.
He led Phoebe through the dark corridors of the factory complex. Again and again she was reminded by a tug from him not to stop, until he opened a double door to reveal a hall.
A group of people stood in a semicircle in front of an open area with Chloe crouched in the middle. Her hands were tied behind her back and a rope had also been placed around her neck. Phoebe screamed through the gag at her captor, who just rolled his eyes and muttered, "I was going to untie ya, but I didn't feel like getting booted in my privates by ya. So settle down before I fetch some more ropes."
He led Phoebe to the center next to Chloe and pushed her down roughly.
Immediately she felt all the bystanders' eyes on her breasts and even Chloe blushed and quickly turned away to stubbornly stare at a person in the crowd.
The Cleave Gag around Phoebe's mouth was released and she spat out the soaked cloth in disgust.
"Can I maybe have a shirt or something?" she asked irritably, glancing around at the crowd.
"Silence!" Commanded the man Chloe was staring at.
"You can kiss my …" said Phoebe, but was interrupted when Chloe poked her in the ribs, silencing her.
A boy whispered something to the man and he just shook his head before saying, "Chloe's not wanted here anymore and you're even less snoopy, so what are you doing here? Speak up!"
Phoebe looked to Chloe, who gave her a look and nodded.
"We followed the signal from Chloe's sister's phone to here. We suspect that something bad has happened to her and we just came here to look for some clues to her whereabouts!" explained Phoebe curtly.
"Kim?" He asked in surprise, looking at Chloe for the first time.
"Yes, Kim! So Bruce, I'd really appreciate it if you'd keep our agreement and finally hand over her phone that one of your guys stole from her and let us go!" hissed Chloe, sliding her gaze over the men and women watching her.
"Which one of you idiots stole from Chloe's sister?" he asked, annoyed, but no one answered.
Bruce rolled his eyes and pulled out Chloe's phone.
"Still the same password?" he asked Chloe, who just nodded. A moment later, he called Kim's number.
Then a soft rhythmic buzzing was heard right next to Bruce. All eyes moved from Phoebe and Chloe to the boy who had just whispered in Bruce's ear.
"Why am I not surprised? Come on give it back, you idiot," Bruce said, raising a hand in his direction.
"Oh, come on Bruce, she was pushing it!" the boy said, blushing as he felt everyone's eyes on him.
"I keep telling you, steal from whoever you want, but not from Chloe's sister! So hand it over!" hissed Bruce, and grumbling, the boy pulled the phone out of his pocket.
"Untie them and throw them out!" he said, handing the removed phones to one of his subordinates. He was about to press into the mob to have a serious word with the thief when Phoebe shouted over the crowd, "As a gesture of goodwill, I'd like to know where the boy last saw Kim! Surely that's the least you can do after you've all admired my breasts, right? We wouldn't want the LCPD to start making house calls."
Immediately, all eyes were back on Phoebe.
"Are you insane!" hissed Chloe at her, but Phoebe just smiled unfazed and held Bruce's gaze.
He just shook his head and pushed the thief in Phoebe's direction.
"Tell them and thank the snoopy for the view." he said and disappeared behind his people.
"So you and Bruce?" asked Phoebe as she slipped Chloe's tight shirt on.
"Let's just leave it at that, all right?" hissed Chloe, tugging her sports bra into place.
"I'm just saying, you two must have had a strong bond."
"YES, until I dumped him because he wouldn't grow up and threatened to rat him out if he didn't leave my sister alone. Speaking of my sister, can we please go to that street now?" asked Chloe bitingly, rubbing her cold arms.
Phoebe liked nothing better and drove to the street described where the thief said he'd lost Kim.
"Not exactly an inviting neighborhood, is it?" muttered Phoebe as she watched each of the Gray buildings, looking for anything conspicuous.
"That place is new to me, but maybe she went in there. Mum said they had a fight about Kim's graduation dress." said Chloe, pointing to a clothing store with "Judy's Dresses for All Occasions" emblazoned above it in gold letters. Phoebe followed her gaze and saw cameras mounted on the front of the building.
"Maybe the cameras were recording something." said Phoebe, following her finger in the approximate direction the camera was viewing. They got out of the car.
"They're recording a little too much road for my taste," Phoebe remarked.
"I'm sorry, what?" asked Chloe, who hadn't heard Phoebe over the slamming of the car door.
"Nothing, just be careful and let me do the talking." said Phoebe, smiling encouragingly at Chloe. They opened the door to Judy's store and immediately a sweet smell rose to their noses. Chloe stopped rooted to the spot and frowned while looking at the clothes the mannequins were wearing.
"Is something wrong?" asked Phoebe, who went deeper into the store and stopped at the cash register.
"Don't know exactly, I smell something… but I don't know …" murmured Chloe, sniffing the air.
"How can I serve the ladies?" a black-haired woman suddenly asked, and Chloe and Phoebe whirled around, startled. The woman laughed in amusement and said, "Sorry about that, I didn't mean to startle you."
"Hey, um, are you the owner of this store?" asked Phoebe.
"That's right. I'm Judy." she said, and Phoebe shook her hand.
"Phoebe Wynters. Pleased to make her acquaintance."
"And you darling?" asked Judy, turning to Chloe.
"Chloe." replied Chloe curtly, again drawing in the smell of the store through her nose.
"Excuse me, this smell here. It seems familiar, but it can't be …," Chloe muttered, turning away, "Is that latex?" she added quietly, without the other two being able to hear.
"Is she all right?" whispered Judy worriedly.
"Unfortunately, no. She's going through a lot right now, you know."
"Oh no, you poor girl." said Judy, walking around the register to take Chloe's hands in her own.
Completely perplexed, Chloe looked past Judy to Phoebe, who made a circular motion with her fingers, indicating to Chloe that she should play along.
"Come, sit down and rest. You look worn out." said Judy, pulling the two women to a couple of leather chairs.
"Yeah, we've been through a lot today alone," Phoebe said.
"Oh you need to tell Aunt Judy everything. I'll make you a cuppa first and then we'll see if we can't make some sense of your world again. Maybe I should get you a shirt too Chloe, you must be half frozen."
"Oh, that would be lovely. Thank you so much!"
Phoebe blinked in confusion at Judy's choice of words, "Make sense of your world again?"
"Could I maybe use your restroom first?" asked Phoebe.
"Of course darling. Just through that door there and the third one on the right." said Judy, placing cups on the table for them. Phoebe didn't need to be told twice and disappeared behind the door that said "Staff Only."
Phoebe was amazed when a long wooden hallway stretched out in front of her, with doors to the left and right.
"This isn't just a clothing store, is it?" muttered Phoebe, walking briskly past the restroom to investigate the other rooms. She found a storage room, a photo studio, and a locked door with an electronic combination lock. When Phoebe opened the next door, she began to grin broadly as she saw several screens showing camera footage outside and inside the store. She saw Chloe talking to Judy and the full width of the street in both directions.
"Pretty high resolution for surveillance cameras… Suspicious!" muttered Phoebe, opening a folder with the footage from three days ago. The thief had given them an approximate time when he had fled from Kim, and sure enough, she saw him turn into the street on a bicycle and pedal along it before turning toward the factory. Shortly after, a blonde woman appeared on the screen, which was undoubtedly Chloe's sister Kim. Phoebe recognized her from the picture on Chloe's phone.
"Where are you going?" muttered Phoebe, watching as Kim kicked over a trash can in front of the store and slumped on the store's steps. Shortly after, she was pulled into by Judy. Phoebe switched camera shots and watched as Judy and Kim drank tea, as Chloe was doing.
Kim seemed pleased about something and Judy led her deeper into her store. She didn't show up on the footage after that.
Phoebe swallowed and switched back to the current shots. Chloe was sitting in her chair, her head had sunk onto her chest and she appeared to be sound asleep.
Phoebe's blood froze to ice when she felt a prick in her neck.
Cursing, Phoebe whirled around. In front of her stood Judy with an empty syringe in her hand. She grinned widely as Phoebe's eyelids grew heavy and she began to sway. She staggered forward and collapsed in Judy's arms.
"I didn't think that Kim's sister was such a beauty. And even less that same sister would hire an equally gorgeous little detective who doesn't know when something is too big for her. Oh Mrs. Wynters, you Chloe and Kim will be such fine pieces for my exhibition and will fetch an excellent price!" Judy whispered to Phoebe as she lost consciousness again.
Phoebe woke up. Her eyes blinked briefly, but she couldn't process what she was seeing. She squeezed them tightly shut and shook her head slightly. She could hear something metallic clanging above her. Phoebe felt that she was standing upright and her arms were raised above her head.
"You can move already, Phoebe?" she heard Judy's voice, "the dosage should have lasted longer. Well, take your time waking up anyway. We're in no haste. The celebration doesn't start until night."
Phoebe opened her eyes again and took in blurry figures before her. Without her glasses, her vision wasn't perfect, yet after a while she could make out the naked bodies of Kim and the unconscious Chloe. They were suspended by their wrists. Chains kept them levitated so that only the balls of their feet were in contact with the ground. Kim's watery eyes darted from her sister to Phoebe, she was frightened but unharmed. Her mouth was sealed with several strips of microfoam tape and Phoebe heard her whimper softly.
Phoebe wanted to say something to calm her down, but her open mouth and tongue felt numb and disobeyed her.
"Oh you poor thing." said Judy, coming into Phoebe's field of vision. She put a hand to Phoebe's cheek and stroked it gently. The detective stared weakly into her eyes, wishing she could spit in her face.
"Really interesting that the anesthesia is already wearing off on you, darling. But don't worry! No more shots I promise, I've got something great lined up and you won't have a chance to move anytime soon anyway."
"HMMM!" screamed Kim into the gag and Judy turned to her.
"Now, now Kimberly, do not wake up your sister, wouldn't you rather show Mrs. Wynters what's in store for all of you?"
Kim snapped her eyes open and shook her head in panic.
"You don't? Then I'll show it on your sister." Judy said, raising her arms to indicate that it was out of her control.
"This is going to be fun. When she wakes up, the look on her face will be absolutely priceless." Judy said over Kim's increasingly loud whimpers.
She began by sliding a mirror into their midst, pointing it at Chloe, then a rolling table on which lay a shiny cream-colored suit, a bottle, and plastic bowls of various sizes. A fiery red silk dress lay next to it.
"First, let's start with this." explained Judy, putting on gloves and picking up the bottle. She splashed the contents on Chloe's body and diligently rubbed it until she shined in the dim light of the room. "This liquid makes the next step much, much easier. It also numbs your muscles. Not much, but enough for my purposes." said Judy, pulling the suit from the table. Phoebe saw that it was a full body catsuit. She couldn't tell what material it was made of, but the sweet smell she and Chloe had already smelled in the store wafted toward her.
She tucked Chloe's legs into the suit and pulled it up her body. Her hands were put into gloves and her head into a mask. It had holes for her eyes, nose and mouth. Finally, Judy zipped up the back. As she did so, the suit tightened around Chloe's body and now fit perfectly like a second skin.
"This is a latex suit," Judy said, "it will protect your skin from damage. I don't want you to get bruises in the next step."
She took two large plastic shells from the table and now Phoebe saw a woman's torso and matching back in them.
"Well can you guess what I'm going to do to you now?" asked Judy, pressing the bowls together on Chloe's body. There was a soft click.
"Ahhh Perfect!" said Judy, taking a few steps back.
A cold shiver ran down Phoebe's neck when she saw Chloe's upper body, now trapped under a hard plastic shell. It resembled that of a mannequin and her eyes snapped open as she remembered the sweet smell and the dozens of other mannequins up in the store, which didn't escape Judy's notice.
"Haha, yes, a few ladies are on display upstairs. But don't worry, they're all fine. After all, I wouldn't get any money for them otherwise." she said, placing one plastic bowl after another on Chloe's body.
"Huh, always quite a bit of work!" said Judy, taking a few steps back to admire Chloe's almost completely covered body. Only her face was still exposed and she had a faint smile on her lips. Phoebe prayed for Chloe to continue sleeping for a long time before she woke up in this nightmare. Judy, with the help of a stepladder, opened the handcuffs on Chloe and carefully lowered her to the floor. The plastic trays held her unconscious body upright.
"Soo now just the dress." muttered Judy to herself and took the dress from the table. She pulled it over Chloe's head and with difficulty stuffed her arms into the silky sleeves of the red ball gown.
"That should do for now!" said Judy, turning to Kim, "You next Kim?"
Phoebe saw tears running down Kim's cheeks and their eyes crossed.
"I… I …" croaked Phoebe and Judy turned to her in surprise.
"Interesting… you're the first to manage to say something while dressing," Judy muttered, walking over to Phoebe. She leaned very close in front of her face.
"What did you say darling?" asked Judy, looking at her intently.
Phoebe forced a smile, pursed her lips, and spat right in Judy's face.
Kim's whimpering instantly stopped. After a few seconds, Judy raised her hand and wiped Phoebe's saliva from her face.
"I think I already have the perfect buyer for you." she said coldly and picked up a new table, on which, in addition to the bowls and the catsuit, was a black dress. It reminded Phoebe of a modern version of the dresses women had worn in the fifties.
Judy picked up the bottle again and massaged Phoebe's body with the liquid. Phoebe felt a chill go out from the cream that spread through her entire body in no time. She briefly had the feeling that she could move her fingers again, but this was immediately stopped when the cream was absorbed. Judy took the suit from the table and began to put it over Phoebe's skin.
It was also cool but heated up quickly on her body. Phoebe also felt that the suit was a bit too small for her and it took her breath away briefly when Judy zipped it up. Phoebe could see through the holes in the latex mask, but the suit felt wrong and strange. Without a word, Judy took the trays from the table and began to lock Phoebe in them.
With each silent click, more of Phoebe's body disappeared under the hard plastic until only her face was visible.
Judy picked up an oval plastic piece and weighed it in her hand briefly before screwing an oblong object to it.
"Let's see if you can still spit with this sucker." she whispered to Phoebe, slowly pushing the dildogag into her mouth. Tears welled up in her eyes, but she forced herself to not shed one. Not as long as Kim could see her face. Before the mask fully sealed her body, she winked encouragingly at Kim. It clicked softly, and Phoebe was nearly cut off from the rest of the world. She heard nothing, could not draw attention to herself, and with the cream on her body and the drugs, she had no chance to move. Phoebe was surprised that she could see through the plastic mask, but she strongly doubted that Judy, who stood grinning in front of her, could see her. Judy unchained Phoebe and set her down on the floor before throwing the dress over her head and turning her attention to Kim.
Phoebe, in turn, closed her eyes and focused on her anger, which was growing with every second she couldn't move.
"As soon as I get out of here, you're going to regret this Judy!" thought Phoebe, biting down on her gag.
"So which dress do you think we'll give you Kim?" asked Judy after she had put Kim in the shells, but she got no answer. Kim stared stubbornly straight ahead and seemed to see right through Judy.
"Hooo? Are we being a little rebellious today?" asked Judy, stroking Kim's cheek before pulling off the microfoam tape with a yank.
"Fuck!" cried Kim, inhaling sharply.
"Aha, that's where you left your voice. When I talk to you, answer me!" ordered Judy, but Kim just gave her one nasty glare before stubbornly looking straight ahead again.
"As you wish. Then I'm sure you won't mind getting the same treatment as Mrs. Wynters." Said Judy, unscrewing a small ball from the mask and replacing it with the dildogag. Kim gulped, but insisted on not looking at Judy.
"'Make AAAAH." said Judy, pressing the gag against Kim's mouth, but she had it firmly closed.
"Kimberly Denvers! If you don't instantly …" said Judy but interrupted herself when she heard moaning behind her.
"Oh look who's awake." said Judy licking her lips and walking around the mirror to Chloe who was having trouble seeing just like Phoebe. Judy suppressed a laugh while Chloe stared at the mirror from empty eyes until she opened them wider and wider. Judy smiled roguishly and imagined Chloe's screams as her anesthesia was still working. She moved closer to Chloe and blinked in confusion when she saw that while Chloe's eyes darted fearfully back and forth between her, the mirror, Phoebe and her sister, there was also a hint of pink on her cheeks.
"Wait… you actually like this!?" asked Judy incredulously, and Kim asked in astonishment, "Please what?"
Chloe's cheeks were now turning a deep red and she lowered her eyes in shame.
"Wow." said Judy tersely, unceremoniously pinning Kim's mask over Chloe's face.
"Now we both have something to chew on." she muttered, twisting another dildo onto a new mask. Kim was so surprised by her sister's reaction that she was caught off guard by Judy's new attack and with a soft click, her face also disappeared behind a plastic shell.
The last thing Judy did was get Kim on the floor and throw over her the dark blue dress that Kim had adored when they had gone to the photo studio. Shaking her head, she left the room, forgetting to turn off the lights.
"Babe? Why do we have to go there again?" I heard my girlfriend's voice from the bathroom.
"Because your sister is busy and you promised to cover for her? That Judy could be a promising business partner for her," I replied.
An annoyed groan sounded from the bathroom.
"But why didn't you talk me out of offering her that?"
"So that I'd look like the bad girl? Nah, thanks. C&T needs partners and this party is the perfect opportunity to find some."
I pulled back the sleeve of my black gown and glanced at my watch.
"We need to get going too honey," I muttered and walked into the bathroom. My girlfriend stood in front of the mirror and applied a dark red lipstick. Her usually wild black hair was neatly combed back and a white bow sat on top of her head, perfectly matching her tight prom dress, which was also white.
"Do you like what you see?" she asked, pulling me to her to give me a kiss.
"You bet I do." I whispered as our lips parted and we giggled as we reminisced about our memories of the past.
"Can you help me with these?" my girlfriend asked, handing me a box of colored contact lenses, which I gently opened. I took them out and put them in for her.
"How I hate those … things!" she cursed, blinking several times as I packed the box away and handed her a ball mask.
"Thanks babe, you still have to hide those though." she said, pointing to my ears peeking out of my long blonde hair.
I just took a black hair-band out of the bathroom drawer and tamed my hair back so that my ears were no longer visible.
"How I hate you for that." she mumbled as I just giggled.
"I'll go get the car." I said, pressing a kiss to her cheek while she tugged her bow once more.
"I still can't believe they named an entire neighborhood after that asshole." Murmured my friend as we got out of the car and walked a short distance towards Judy's store. The party was already underway, so I opened the door for my girlfriend and followed her inside.
As the warm sweet air hit me, I shook my head in confusion.
"Babe, do you smell that too?" I asked, frowning.
"Mhmm, I also thought my sister wanted a standard business relationship. Can you give her a call?"
But before I could reach for my phone, the black-haired beauty named Judy tripped over to us.
"Hello my masked ladies, how may I serve you? This is a private event, but I'm sure we can find a suitable place for you." she said with a smile.
"We are here on behalf of C&T. Unfortunately, my sister is indisposed and cannot appear today, which is why we came for her. She sends her apologies." my girlfriend replied, extending her silk-gloved hand to Judy. I felt for a brief moment that Judy's mouth twisted into a pout, but the next moment there was a smile on her lips again.
"Ohh how unfortunate, I would have really enjoyed meeting her, but of course you are most welcome. Why don't you have a glass of sparkling wine and enjoy the music. I'll be right back, and then we can talk about a joint partnership. The dresses from C&T are simply stunning and I'm sure they will look wonderful in my store." Judy tripped off to talk to other guests, leaving me alone with my girlfriend.
"Seems like it's really all about the dresses," she muttered, surveying the mannequins on display, which were wearing dresses of various designs.
"Yeah but still where is that latex smell coming from," I asked, sniffing the air, "it's everywhere here!"
"Relax, honey. I know latex is your thing, but we're not here to represent C&T's second income or satisfy your lust." she said, pulling me over to a table where appetizers were waiting. Her bow twitched briefly and she stopped rooted to the spot, turning to a mannequin wearing a black dress.
"What's wrong?" I asked anxiously, following her gaze.
"Don't know yet …" she mumbled, walking closer to the mannequin. She took the fabric in her hand and pretended to examine it while leaning her head closer to the doll. Very slowly, she pulled her head back and stroked the dress.
"What's wrong?" I asked again and my girlfriend suddenly started laughing as if I had told a joke.
"Hah, you're funny, babe!" she said, pulling me the last bit to the appetizers, where she thrust a plate into my hand and started piling breadsticks on it.
"What's wrong?" I asked for the third time, this time in a hushed voice.
"There's someone inside that mannequin. I heard someone moaning." she said just as quietly and grabbed a glass of sparkling wine. She brought it to her lips and sniffed.
"There's some stuff in there that doesn't belong in it too." she muttered, pretending to take a sip and grabbing one of the breadsticks.
"Is there anyone in the other mannequins?"
"Don't know… the others might be asleep or more heavily sedated. The person sounded very weak and exhausted, but still angry." I wanted to ask her how she could hear that from barely audible moans, but there were more important things on the agenda now.
"She's not going to drug everyone in this store and lock them up in mannequins, is she?" I asked, looking around at the guests. A majority of the guests were women and many of them were drinking from the same glasses that my friend was holding. Some of the guests, however, drank nothing and stared at the others with greedy eyes.
"Judy is insane," I said curtly.
"I'm sorry, what?" asked Judy from behind me, and I rolled my eyes in annoyance while turning around.
"I said Judy must be insane to have such an adorable party in her store. I mean, what if someone accidentally spills sparkling wine on the beautiful dresses." I said smiling and pointing to a dark blue prom dress that was placed in the middle of the store.
"Haha, don't worry about it young lady," she said winking and I bit my tongue at the words "young lady", "Each of my dresses is specially treated so that no dirt will stick to them. One of the reasons why the mysterious C&T founder is interested in my work I suppose."
"Of course, of course." said I, nodding as I grabbed a glass and pretended to drink from it. Judy's grin widened.
"Excuse me again, please." She said and walked over to a couple of guests who were staring at me and my girlfriend.
"What the hell is your plan?" I hissed to my girlfriend.
"I don't know, but we need to get the guests out of here!"
"Easier said than done!"
"Didn't you say you learned some new tricks?" she asked me.
"Here?" I asked, staring at her in aghast as she shrugged her shoulders.
I had an idea how to get all the guests out of here without attracting attention, but the captives in the mannequins? Maybe the angry person who my girlfriend heard could help out.
"All right, this is going to be quite a mess," I said, pulling my girlfriend over to the mannequin in the black dress.
Phoebe stared straight ahead from empty eyes and watched the hustle and bustle of the party. She could see with a glance who of the guests would soon share her fate and who would probably soon be in possession of a slave. She only hoped that Kim would not be hurt and that she might somehow, someday be able to free herself. Phoebe's gaze was blocked as again the pretty masked ladies in white and black stood before her. Both had a glass of champagne in their hands and Phoebe screamed into her gag as loud as she could to warn them, but she doubted they could hear her.
"Did the woman in white's bow just twitch?" wondered Phoebe, screaming again.
The woman in white nodded curtly, while the blonde in black put her hand on the dress. She raised a finger to her mouth and winked at Phoebe.
Suddenly, Phoebe felt a warmth emanate from her belly, spreading throughout her body and driving away the numb feeling.
Phoebe stared at the woman in black, who now tapped her wristwatch and shook her head.
The two women disappeared from Phoebe's sight again and she felt herself regaining strength. Testily, she tried to move her finger, and it followed her command.
Phoebe grinned around the dildo-gag. She didn't know what the two women had done, but she knew that Judy was about to get her fill.
She continued to watch the party until she noticed one after another of the champagne-drinking guests running past her, green-faced and with their hands in front of their mouths, and Judy panicking.
Eventually, only Judy was left in the store until she went upstairs to her apartment, shaking her head, and turned off the lights.
Phoebe braced her arm against the shell and slowly raised her hand in front of her face. She scraped against the mask until it came off and Phoebe spit it onto the floor along with the dildogag. From then on it was easy to remove the plugging principle of the shells and within a few minutes Phoebe was standing in the store in a cream colored latex catsuit. "Away with this shit!" she said and fumbled for the zipper, but when she didn't find it right away, she gasped in frustration and pulled at the latex with her fingernails until it tore open and peeled off her skin. Naked as she was, she breathed a sigh of relief, happy that her skin could breathe again.
Phoebe threw on the dress her mannequin had worn and went to the phone at the register.
While she wanted to take Judy on personally, she didn't want to imagine what would happen if she was blindsided by her again.
"911, what's your emergency?"
"Get to Judy's clothing store in Falenplaza as soon as possible. I have found the missing women and their abductor, it's the owner of the store!"
"Who is this?"
"Phoebe M. Wynters, Leon City's new private investigator!" said Phoebe proudly.
"What does the M stand for?"
Phoebe's smile froze.
"Mildred." She mumbled, blushing.
"So again," said the LCPD officer standing in front of Phoebe, Chloe and Kim, who sat wrapped in several blankets in the ambulance.
"I understood everything up to the bit where you three were turned into mannequins, but how did you come out of the anesthesia and the others didn't?"
"Maybe Judy made a mistake with me? I'm afraid I don't know either." Phoebe lied, shaking her head.
"Do you know why there's so much vomit on the street?" he asked, pointing to the mess in front of Judy's store. Phoebe shook her head again and the cop drew in an annoyed breath.
"All right, if you think of anything else, give us a call… If you're feeling okay, I'll let a colleague know to take you home. You made it through it ladies… good job. Mrs. Wynters." he said, nodding at them.
Phoebe smiled at Chloe and Kim.
"Thanks Phoebe." murmured Chloe, giving Kim a hug. Kim rested her head on her sister's shoulder and closed her eyes.
"How can I ever repay you? You've done so much for me… us!" Chloe said.
"Tell you what… This case is going to be in the paper tomorrow and then I'm sure I'll get a call or two. I did get my phone back but unfortunately not my bed yet. If you would provide me with a sofa until my stuff arrives we'll call it even."
"Crash at my place as long as you want." Chloe laughed and stood up as one of the police officers came over to take them home.
Phoebe stood up as well and was nearly knocked over when Kim hugged her.
"Thank you," she whispered, "Thanks to you, I haven't lost my hope!"
Phoebe smiled at her and Phoebe returned the hug.
"I'm glad it helped you," Phoebe whispered, stroking Kim's back, "if you want to talk, just let me know and we'll meet wherever you want, all right?"
Kim nodded happily and climbed into the car next to Chloe.
Phoebe wanted to follow them, but she felt someone watching her. She turned around and searched the surrounding alleys and houses, but saw no one.
"I'm too paranoid." she muttered and got into the police car.
A few weeks later
"And print!" said Kim, pressing the button on her computer.
Page after page shot out of her printer until it fell silent and a small stack of double-printed pages lay in its catch tray. Kim carefully folded each one in half and stapled them together. She laid her work on the desk. Her heart raced with excitement as she read the title of her noir comic.
Detective Phoebe Wynters #1
Phoebe's First Case
Kim opened to the first page and smiled when she saw the black and white printed page showing her arguing with her stepfather. She kept turning the pages until she saw Chloe and Phoebe standing in front of Judy's store.
"Chloe, can you come here? I want to show you something."
"What are you saying Kim? I'm in the kitchen, please come over if you want something."
Kim rolled her eyes, got up and went to the kitchen to get her sister.
"What is it Kim?" asked Chloe as she was escorted down the hall by her sister.
"I wanted to show you what I've been working on for the past few weeks, and I was wondering if Phoebe would like it."
"What have you been doing?" asked Chloe.
"You'll see, here!" said Chloe, pointing to her desk.
Chloe's mouth dropped open.
"Wow Kim, I didn't know you were so great at drawing! Is this going to be a comic book?" asked Chloe, picking up the mouse to click through the pages.
"Huh what do you mean… going to?" stuttered Kim, shaking her head in confusion as the freshly printed comic that had been sitting on her desk a moment ago was gone.
"Print that out Kim! Phoebe is going to love this! Are you planning to make a comic book series about her?" Chloe bombarded her with questions, but Kim rubbed her temples and double-checked that she had given her printer the job.
Kim looked up at her window, but it was closed. She looked at her sister, who was beaming at her, and considered saying something about the disappearance, but decided against it. What was missing was her own sister putting her in the nuthouse after all the shit she had been through. There must have been a logical explanation. She printed out the pages again and stapled them back together.
"You have to show this to Phoebe. She'll be so excited! Come on, let's call her right now!" said Chloe, pulling her sister into the kitchen.
When Kim came back to her room ten minutes later to get dressed for the meeting with Phoebe, her second printed comic was still on the desk. But there was still no trace of the first one …