To go to the beginning, use this link: Link to chapter 1
When Katherine woke up she immediately knew that something was wrong. Her arms were pinned to her sides and she was wrapped up tightly in something that felt like plastic. She tried to wriggle around, but her movements were stopped by whatever was surrounding her. The material felt relatively soft, but it was apparently encased in a hard box of some kind, because it would only give an inch or so before meeting solid resistance. She struggled for a time but it became obvious that her struggles were futile, so she lay still and pondered her fate. Was Carlos moving them again? Where would they end up this time? Or was she on her own now? She remembered the look on the Asian man’s face, and how he specifically asked for her and Daphne to show themselves to him. Would Carlos give her to that man? If he did, would it be just her, or would Daphne be with her? Her mind went round in circles for a long time. After some hours, Katherine felt movement. A bump, followed by a deceleration. The container she was in shifted slightly. She must be in an airplane!
Katherine waited, expecting to be unloaded and released from her prison, but apparently she was at an intermediate stop because she felt movement again as the plane took off. Many hours passed, though Katherine had no way of knowing exactly how many. She dozed from time to time, and finally she awoke to feel another landing. This time it was not long before she felt her container lifted and carried a short distance, then set down onto another surface. She heard muffled voices speaking another language, and then she felt noise and movement again. Apparently she was now on a truck. The next two or three hours were definitely more bumpy than the time on the airplane, but the packing material around Katherine protected her from the jolts and jerks as the truck she was on negotiated the roads. Finally Katherine felt herself being carried again, and then there was the creaking sound of her crate being opened. Light speared down from above and there were voices speaking a foreign language. Katherine’s view was distorted by several layers of plastic bubbles, but she could see a face leaning over the crate she was in. Apparently the plastic material surrounding her was bubble wrap. She had been shipped like a toy from Amazon.com.
Two men with Asian features lifted Katherine out of the box and carried her through a doorway into a large bathroom. A female voice spoke to them in a commanding fashion, and Katherine was deposited face down in a large bathtub. Someone cut away the bubble wrap behind her head, and Katherine felt them change the discs in her breathing collar, then plug in a charging cord. Katherine squirmed around a little, hoping they would release her from the wrappings that bound her. With her face down, she could not see who was speaking, but a woman’s voice began talking in very good English.
“Welcome to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I am Captain Nari, and General Pak has assigned me to welcome you and get you settled into your new home. Please hold still for a time and my helper will get you cleaned up.”
So she did get sent to General Pak. And she was in North Korea! That didn’t sound good at all. How would she ever get out of this? She could turn her head a little in the bubble wrap, but all she could see was the side of the tub and the shadow of a person leaning over her. The person started cutting away the bubble wrap from her waist down. As she did so, the person spoke in Korean to Captain Nari, who responded. Once the wrapping was removed, the woman started spraying Katherine’s bottom with a shower hose. She fumbled around with Katherine’s flap until she figured out how to open it, and then sprayed underneath and scrubbed with a soapy washcloth. When that was done, the woman rolled Katherine over and cut away the rest of the bubble wrap from Katherine’s tail, still leaving her arms bound. Katherine could now see the woman working on her. Her black hair was tied back in a ponytail, and she was wearing a plain gray dress with a collar. She had rubber gloves on her hands. A few feet away stood another Korean woman wearing a military uniform. Despite the uniform’s drab green color, it had obviously been tailored in a feminine style. It had a knee-length skirt and the woman wore pantyhose and high-heeled pumps on her feet. Her face seemed familiar—Katherine thought she must have been the woman who was with General Pak back at Carlos’s house.
The serving woman cleaned off Katherine’s front and under her front flap as well. Given the extremely long time she had spent packed in a crate, there had been no way for Katherine to prevent soiling herself. It felt good to be clean, even if she was being treated like a baby.
“You have been recruited to General Pak’s pleasure squad.” Said the military woman. “I am the commander of the squad, so you will obey me without question. Once Yuki finishes cleaning you up you can put some clothes on and have some dinner. I believe it is a long time since you ate.”
Katherine’s stomach growled at the thought of food. Yuki the serving woman took a box cutter and sliced away the bubble wrap restraining Katherine’s arms. Then she proceeded to wash Katherine’s torso and hair. Katherine tried to take the soap and wash herself, but the woman just slapped her hand lightly and continued. After washing Katherine’s hair, she combed it out. Not used to being pampered, Katherine just sat there in the tub and looked around at the room she was in. In addition to the large bathtub, the room included a king-sized bed made up very neatly with pink sheets. The floor was tile with a large drain in the center. There was also an old-fashioned looking sink set very low on the wall, and an alcove with a toilet in it. One wall of the room was all glass, and Katherine could see a good-sized swimming pool on the other side of the wall.
“Get out of the tub.” Captain Nari commanded.
Katherine obeyed, lifting herself up until she could sit on the edge of the tub, and then rotating her tail over the wall of the tub. She slid down to the floor and knelt in front of the tub. Yuki dried her off with a towel, and then went over to the bed. She retrieved a bra from the bed and brought it back to Katherine to put on. At least this part she was allowed her to do herself. Next Yuki brought her a top. It was a beautiful cheongsam style blue silk top with embroidered flowers. It was almost long enough to be a tunic as it came halfway down her hips. Once Katherine was dressed, Yuki bowed to the Captain and left.
“Your dinner will be here shortly.” Said Captain Nari. “While we wait I will explain a few rules. General Pak is with our dear leader right now, and I want you to be ready when he comes back. These rooms have been set aside for your use, and you will stay in them at all times unless General Pak wishes you to travel with him. In the DPRK we are civilized, unlike you barbaric Americans, so you will be treated well as long as you behave. But we have heard about your kind so we have taken precautions to make sure you cannot escape and cause problems. Thanks to your former owner, we have a simple radio control device installed in the center of the rooms. Your collar has been programmed to cut off your air if you go out of range of the radio signal, which has been set to just barely cover your rooms. Nod your head if you understand.”
Katherine nodded her head. Captain Nari had not mentioned them, but she could also see the round black domes of several security cameras on the ceiling of her rooms. Despite the expensive clothes and the luxurious rooms, she was as much a prisoner here as she was when Carlos and Gretchen held her to a wall with steel clamps. Soon a young man in gray clothes brought in a tray of food. The tray had folding legs and was set low to the ground, just at the right height for her to eat while sitting on the floor. She was famished, so she immediately started to eat. It was some kind of fish with a brown peanut sauce, a pile of rice, and a cabbage dish that was very spicy and hot. There was also a large glass of water, which Katherine was very grateful to have after tasting the cabbage. The young man and Nari stood nearby while she ate, conversing quietly in Korean. When she had cleaned up the last kernel of rice, the young man took her tray and left the room. Katherine’s mouth still felt like it was on fire, so she crawled over to the sink and cupped her hands under the cold water to drink until her tongue cooled off. Nari didn’t object. When she was done, the captain spoke again.
“I will be leaving now for the evening. You are free to explore your quarters or get some sleep, as it pleases you.”
After the captain left, Katherine spent some time exploring. There was a low dresser beside the bed, with an assortment of swimsuit tops in one drawer and several more bras in another drawer. The last drawer held a few silk nightgowns. There was no closet, and no other clothes in the room, so the only daywear she had was the top she had on. Of course, any clothes at all was much better than what she had before. There was a TV mounted on the wall, situated for viewing from the bed, with a remote control on top of the dresser. Katherine crawled out into the room with the pool. Compared to the pools in the aquarium or even the one at Carlos’s estate, it was not large, but compared to any other private pool she had seen it was sizeable. It appeared to be about 10 feet deep and perhaps 15 feet wide and 30 or 40 feet long. The long side opposite her bedroom was clear, and she could see a gallery beyond with some seats. Everything looked and smelled new, as if this space had very recently been constructed just for her. There was one exit, down a short hallway off of the other side of the pool room. Katherine crawled around the pool, regretting for the moment the beautiful top she was wearing. It would be much easier to simply swim across to the other side. But not wanting to get her clothes and hair wet, she crawled around to investigate the exit hallway. She got about three feet down the hallway when the air turned off. So Captain Nari had not been bluffing- her air did get cut off if she left a certain perimeter. She quickly crawled back into the pool room and was relieved when the air started again.
Katherine went back to the bedroom and climbed up onto the bed. She turned on the TV but there only seemed to be five channels. Two of the channels were airing a news broadcast, one seemed to be some kind of educational channel, one had a movie, and one showed sports. All of the channels were in Korean, so Katherine had a hard time understanding what was going on. After a few minutes she turned the TV back off. There was a little clock in the bottom corner of the TV, which said it was about 9 PM. Given the lack of other things to do, Katherine decided to go to bed. She took off her top, but there was no place to put dirty clothes in her room. Not wanting to just dump such a nice piece of clothing on the floor, she folded it up and put it on top of the dresser. She did the same with her bra, then she picked a pale yellow nightgown out of the drawer and put it on. She looked around the room for a light switch, but couldn’t find one. The wall near the door was bare, and the room only had overhead lights, so there was no bedside lamp to turn off. Katherine did find a raised square of metal on the bed post, but touching it produced no effect, so it must have been a decorative element rather than a switch. Out of other options, Katherine just closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep. After a few minutes the lights turned off by themselves.
She was awakened in the morning when Captain Nari entered and the light turned on. Yuki was standing beside her, holding some folded clothing in her hands.
“Good morning, mermaid.” Nari said. “It is time to wake up and get dressed.”
Katherine sat up and pulled off her nightgown. She put it on top of the dresser with her other clothes, then got a bra out of the drawer and put it on. Yuki came over next to the bed and handed her the clothing in her hands, which turned out to be another top like the one Katherine had worn the day before, though this one was red. While Katherine was putting it on, Yuki picked up the dirty clothes from the dresser and slipped back out the door. Soon another young woman came in, carrying a tray with breakfast. Katherine slipped out of the bed and sat on the floor to eat from the tray. She was surprised to see that the meal seemed more like a dinner than a breakfast, with rice, some kind of soup, more of the spicy cabbage stuff, and some cooked vegetables. Katherine ate it all, grateful for anything other than emergency ration bars. Captain Nari watched her eat with a bored expression on her face, and the serving woman made Katherine’s bed. When Katherine was done eating and the serving woman had left, Nari spoke.
“Now I will explain your daily tasks. General Pak likes to be entertained in the evening, so you will need to spend time each day practicing a water dance routine. When the lights in the pool room flash, it means you have five minutes to take your clothes off and start your dance. We have provided swimsuits for you to wear while practicing, but the general will expect you to take them off for your performances. Dinner will be served at 5 in the evening, and you are free to do what you wish between now and then, as long as it includes at least two hours of practice. After dinner we will be back to show you how you will prepare to spend an evening with the general.”
The Captain left and Katherine was on her own again. She spent a few minutes washing up, then thought about what she would do for the day. She had no paper to write a plan on, so she planned a series of moves in her head. Then she changed into one of the swimsuit tops and spent several hours practicing her routine—there wasn’t anything else to do, and it felt freeing to be in the water where she could move without difficulty. When she tired of swimming, Katherine changed into her dry clothes and watched some TV. There was some nature programming on the educational channel that was interesting enough. One of the shows was even in English, with Korean subtitles. When dinner time rolled around Yuki silently brought a tray of food and took it out again when Katherine was done. The spicy cabbage seemed to be a component of all the meals, along with rice. This meal also included some noodles covered with a sauce that had vegetables and meat in it. After Yuki had left, Captain Nari came in, followed by two other young women. Instead of her uniform, the captain was wearing a long silk dress with embroidery, and her hair and makeup had been done in an attractive style.
Captain Nari instructed Katherine to get in the bathtub, and one of the two other women helped her wash herself again. Apparently privacy was not a high priority here. The woman also helped her dry her hair with a blow dryer. Then they provided Katherine with a very sexy lacy bra, followed by a longer silk dress that came down to her knees. The dress had a mandarin style collar and long sleeves, making it look modest from the back. In the front however, it had cutouts above and below her breasts that showed a lot of cleavage. A few months previously, Katherine would have been embarrassed to wear such a dress, but it was actually an improvement on her recent forced nudity, and the soft silk fabric felt fabulous on her skin. Once she was dressed, the two women worked on applying makeup and styling Katherine’s hair. They finished up with a manicure and pink nail polish. When they were done, Katherine crawled over and looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. She looked stunning. If only Allen could be here to see her.
“Now we will practice a tea ceremony so that you can present yourself properly to the general.” Said Captain Nari.”
Katherine nodded her head and listened intently as the captain explained the nuances of the tea ceremony. She kept saying that the Korean ceremony was much less formal than what was done in other places.
“If this is simple, I’d hate to see the complicated one.” Thought Katherine.
After a couple of hours of practice, Katherine was only slightly better at holding the tea kettle just right and pouring it from high above the cup to make attractive bubbles. Nari was either satisfied with her performance or tired of correcting her mistakes, because she declared the practice over for the night. She made Katherine take the fancy dress and bra off and took them with her when she left. Katherine washed off the makeup and took another swim, then went to bed.