Caught on the Line

I awoke and immediately sensed that I was in deep trouble. Blindfolded, bound, and gagged, I lay on the cold floor and listened, trying to make sense of my surroundings. I heard no one. There was only the sound of the wind whistling nearby. The world spun around me, making me disorientated. I lay there, quite still for a few moments, but the sensation did not lessen.

Eventually, I pulled myself together and focused on escape. Wriggling around on the cold floor, I searched for something sharp with which to cut my bonds. Every movement brought new waves of nausea, but my frantic search proved fruitless. I was like a blind worm desperately seeking its freedom.

Finally, I gave up and focused on the bonds themselves. I would open them up by brute force if necessary. Biting my lip against the pain, I tugged and twisted in a futile effort to free my hands. As I struggled against my bonds, I try to remember what had happened. How had I got here? The last thing I could recall was being in a bar, chatting up a very attractive young woman. She had approached me while I was eating lunch, and we had hit it off straight away. Had she spiked my drink and kidnapped me? Was my wife reading a ransom note right now?

Losing a lot of skin in the process, I managed to stretch the ropes that bound my wrists enough to gain my freedom. The blindfold came next. I needed to know where I was, so that I could plan my escape.

Moments later I regretted my actions. It was even worse than I had first thought.

Until now I had ignored the swaying motion, thinking perhaps I was still suffering the effects of the drugs that I had consumed. At worse, the swaying meant that I was being held captive on a boat. Now, however, the true depths of despair consumed me. My worst nightmares were coming to life.

I was naked, but that really was a minor insignificance.

The real issue was my prison cell. I was dangling a few hundred feet up in the air. My prison was a glass box which rocked to and fro on the slightest of breezes. Far below I could see the sharp rocks of a disused quarry.

My cage shuddered suddenly and creaked in an alarming fashion. Hyperventilating with panic, I turned away from the dizzying view beneath me and looked upwards. I felt a momentary relief from the swaying ground far below. Above me, I saw the orange arm of a crane. The machine was preventing me from plummeting to my death. I found comfort in that knowledge, but that comfort was short lived.

My glass cage wobbled again, quite alarmingly this time, and then it dropped fractionally.

Static buzzed in my ear, followed by a familiar chirpy voice, “Morning, my Darling. Did you sleep well?”

“Celia?” I exclaimed, only now noticing the earpiece that had been taped to my left ear. I was so grateful to hear her voice. “Help me! I’ve been kidnapped.”

My sudden relief slipped away when I heard her laugh in response. The sound chilled me to the bone. “Celia!” I pleaded. “I’m serious!”

“I know, Darling. Sadly, the police are bound to tell me not to pay the ransom. That’d only encourage your kidnappers to do it again.”

“What? Quit mucking about, will ya!”

“Still … the life insurance will come in handy, and anyway, it’ll save an unpleasant divorce hearing. I really don’t need to have my dirty laundry washed in public. I’m sure you’ll understand.”

“Stop messing about!” I demanded. “This is serious. You’ve got to help me.” I looked around the glass prison, searching for my phone. Eventually I found it. It was taped to the outside of the box. I only had access to the Bluetooth device in my ear. “Celia, listen to me. I need you to call the police. Get them to put a trace on my phone, and they can come and rescue me.”

“Sorry, but that’s not going to work,” my wife replied. There seemed to be little remorse in her tone. “I do hope you like the view from the penthouse suite I arranged for you. There’s only one thing though … it’s nearly check out time.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked, trying to control the mounting panic.

I heard her sigh dramatically. “Look up, you idiot!”

“I am looking up!” I replied.

“Look closer,” she prompted.

It was then that I noticed the fraying rope … and the knife! My glass cage was being held aloft by a piece of sturdy hemp, but each sway of the box caused it to brush against a razor sharp machete. Even as I watched, the cage moved in the breeze and with a shudder, another piece of the rope peeled away. The rope had already been cut halfway through. It was only a matter of time before I dropped into the quarry, far below.

My panic only increased the swaying of my glass prison, therefore, quickening my demise.

The sound of my wife’s malicious laughter haunted the last few minutes of my life. Looking around I couldn’t see her, but she had to be watching me from somewhere. She always did have a nasty streak in her. Was she hiding among the rocks down below, looking up at me through binoculars, or was she hiding in the crane’s cab high above me?

“Help me, Celia,” I pleaded. “I’m your husband, for God’s sake. I love you!”

“You should have thought of that before you started sleeping with my sister.”

Moments later, the final strands of the rope gave way …

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