To start at the beginning, use this link: Link to chapter 1
“Get cleaned up and put on your tights and a pink leotard with a diaper underneath.” Mistress Calahan said after unlocking her shackles. “Our new master wants to speak with us.”
Monica undressed and used some wipes to clean herself off as well as she could, then got dressed again. Mistress Calahan and the guard watched the process, and then Mistress Calahan spoke again.
“We are going to have some new rules now, so you need to wear a collar and leash.”
The guard handed her a collar and she locked it around her neck. Then she followed the guard and Mistress Calahan out into the center of the harem. A large steel post had been installed in the between the kitchen and the laundry, and four of the other women were standing nearby, attached to the post by their leashes and collars. The guard locked the other end of Monica’s leash to a ring on the post, and then left with Mistress Calahan. One by one, they returned with the other women until all 14 of them were present, including Nurse Sophia and Mistress Calahan, who was locked in place last. The guard left them there, but he returned in a few minutes with another man. The man was wearing an expensive-looking suit and tie, and his thinning blonde hair was combed over to cover his head. He waved the guard to one side and then stood in front of the women and began to speak.
“Hello ladies. I am Magnum Simons, CEO of Crown Holdings. I have worked with Mr. Ruiz for many years handling the business side of his enterprise. He hired me because I value efficiency and I am known for squeezing every drop of profit from the businesses I run. Two days ago, Mr. Ruiz was captured by U.S. soldiers and taken off to the United States for trial. That means he will not be able to manage the day to day operations of his estate here in Guatemala, and I will be taking over. I am confident that our lawyers will eventually secure Mr. Ruiz’s release, but in the meantime I will be in charge, and I will be making some changes.”
“First of all, we need to update the security around here. One group of mermaids has already escaped, and I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again. So you will all be wearing a different kind of collar. We’ll show those to you in a moment. Secondly, although he instructed you not to talk, Carlos did nothing to make sure you couldn’t. I don’t believe in taking chances. Christina, apply the tape.”
One of the guards handed Mistress Calahan a stack of the microfoam tape, and she carefully applied one square over the mouth of each woman. When they all had their mouths sealed shut, Mr. Simons took the last square and sealed it over Mistress Calahan’s mouth. Monica wondered about his timing, since they should be having breakfast soon.
“Next, I have made some changes to the work routines. Rather than have you running all over the house, I will be having guards bring the dirty laundry for you to wash and returning the clean clothes. They will also be picking up their own food and returning the dishes. The only women allowed out of the harem will be those assigned to clean, and I will be reducing the cleaning schedule significantly. Every night you will be shackled to your beds. There will be no more escapes.”
“And lastly, much time and money is wasted having you cook for yourselves, so you will be given ration bars to eat in the evenings. Up to this point, Christina has been nominally in charge of handing out assignments and maintaining discipline. Although she has done a good job, I don’t think it is wise to let one of you handle those responsibilities. She will be joining the work rotation with the rest of you, and I will select one of you for certain tasks each day, but you will all have equal responsibilities and privileges.”
“Now, I need someone to demonstrate our new collars. How about Christina?”
Mistress Calahan walked over next to Mr. Simons, who motioned to one of the guards. The guard unlocked the leash and removed Mistress Calahan’s collar. Then Mr. Simons motioned to the other guard, who had a briefcase with him. He brought it over to Mr. Simons and opened it to reveal a row of black collars nestled in the padded interior. Mr. Simons took one of them out and fastened it around Mistress Calahan’s neck. The collar looked less bulky than the steel collars on the leashes. It appeared to be made of some kind of flexible plastic, though Monica caught a glimpse of some metal studs on the inner surface before it was placed around Christina’s neck. There was a small rectangular box on the back of the collar, and there was no lock that Monica could see. Mr. Simons just slid one end of the collar into the box and then pressed down to lock it in place.
“Since you will be wearing these collars all the time, we didn’t have to make them removable.” Mr. Simons explained. “Now that I have latched this one closed, it cannot be re-opened.”
“Your new collars function much like the invisible fences that you have seen used on dogs, but these are considerably more powerful – somewhat like a tazer. There is a transmitter in the center of the house, with a range just large enough to cover the grounds of the estate. I also have a remote control.” Mr. Simons held up what looked like a small TV remote. “If you get close to the edge of the transmitter range, you will receive a warning shock, like this.”
Mr. Simons activated a button on the remote, and Mistress Calahan jerked from the shock applied to her neck.
“If you feel the warning, I would advise you to retreat as quickly as possible. If you continue, however, and try to leave the transmission area, you will receive a much stronger shock, like this.”
Mistress Calahan started to shake her head and back away, but Mr. Simons proceeded to press another button on his remote. Christina’s whole body jerked and twitched, and she collapsed to the floor with a muffled scream. Mr. Simons let go of the button and Christina stopped jerking, but she continued to lay on the floor, limp and unconscious.
“I only pressed the button for a second or two.” Mr. Simons said dispassionately. “If you step outside the boundaries, the collar will continue to shock until you are moved back in range. I’m not sure how long a person could survive that process. Now, I have much to do, so I will leave you to your duties.”
Mr. Simons left the harem, and the guards came to each woman in turn and removed her leash and replaced it with one of the new shock collars. When they were all collared, one of the guards selected Monica and Ximena and told them to head to the supply room and each load up a cleaning cart.
“Your job is to clean the downstairs.” He told Ximena. “If a door into a side room is open, clean that room. Otherwise just clean the hallways. Monica, your job is the upstairs.”
As they left the storage room, they could see that Christina was getting up off the floor, helped by a couple of the other women. She looked a little wobbly, but not permanently harmed. Monica patted her on the arm as she walked past with her cart. The familiar routine of cleaning helped Monica forget about the gnawing hunger and thirst she was feeling. She had a bit more work to do than before when the job was split between 2 or 3 women, but not many of the side doors were open so it wasn’t too bad. When Monica finished cleaning, she took her cleaning cart and returned to the harem. The other women had finished their jobs by then as well, and they were all sitting on the floor in the center of the harem, hugging or holding hands for comfort.
Before too long, Mr. Simons walked through the door.
“I’m glad you are all here.” He said. “As I mentioned this morning, you will be taking turns with some of the tasks. This evening I think I will choose. . . you.” He pointed at Monica, then crooked his finger to indicate she should approach him. She stepped forward and he handed her a small spray bottle.
“Your first job is to spray this on everyone’s gags.” He told her. “Then you can serve dinner.”
Monica sprayed the solvent on all of the foam tape gags, saving her own for last. She was very happy to be able to peel the sticky stuff off of her mouth. On the counter in the kitchen there was a pile of paper packages and two gallon jugs of orange juice.
“Give all the women one of the ration bars and a glass of orange juice.” Mr. Simons instructed her.
Monica opened one of the packages, which contained three bars that looked kind of like dense cookies. She handed out the bars to the nearest three women, then continued opening packages and handing out bars until everyone had one. Maria opened one of the cabinets and pulled out enough cups for all of the women, and Monica poured orange juice into each cup. She didn’t completely fill the cups at first, but made sure there was enough for everyone and then went back to top up the glasses so they all had about the same amount.
“After you have had your orange juice, you may drink as much water as you wish. I suggest you drink a couple of glasses.” Mr. Simons said.
For the next several minutes it was quiet as the women ate their ration bars and drank their fill of juice and water. The ration bars were dense and chewy, but the taste wasn’t too bad, and they were all extremely hungry after nearly two days without food. The packaging said that each bar provided 1200 calories of all the appropriate nutrients for survival. Monica wondered what it would be like to try and survive on so little for an extended period of time. After her orange juice was done, Monica drank water freely, refilling her cup several times until her stomach was bulging. She wanted to make sure she would be hydrated enough to last 24 hours. When they were all done, Mr. Simons instructed Monica to replace the foam tape over all of the women’s mouths, including her own.
“Your other task is to assign the jobs for tomorrow, and then to make sure everyone is secured in their beds for the night. We need two girls to clean, two for laundry, and two to cook. The rest can help in the harem as needed, except for Christina and Lucia, who will report to the nurse’s office with Sophia in the morning.”
Mr. Simons left, and Monica went to the job board to make the assignments. With only six jobs to do, there were five leftover slots. So Monica tried to rotate the jobs as well as she could so that those who went without an assignment today would be the ones working tomorrow. She put Maria and Natalia on cleaning duty, Veronica and Juana on laundry, and Alexia and Andrea on cooking for the guards. The rest of the women watched her make up the chart, then all separated and went to their bedrooms. Monica followed Christina (It still felt strange not to think of her as Mistress Calahan) to her bedroom. Once they were in the bedroom, Christina took off her clothes and put on a diaper and one of her black leotards, then got into her bed and locked the shackles around her own ankles. Monica locked the other two shackles around her wrists, and then tugged the top sheet up to her chin. Then Monica went from room to room and did the same for each of the other women. They all seemed strangely compliant with the new rules, willingly going to their rooms and shackling themselves. But Monica could see no other choice. Whenever she thought of some way out of her situation, she saw the image of Christina unconscious on the floor, her body still twitching from the shock. Before locking her own shackles, Monica sat on her bed and pulled on her collar, trying to insert a fingernail between the box on the back and the collar. No matter how she tugged or pulled, the collar remained firmly and snugly locked around her neck. After a few fruitless minutes she gave up, locked the shackles around her ankles and one wrist, and used her free hand to pull up the covers for the night.