by Ghost Writer
4 days ago
She heard the sound of the door opening and immediately stopped her walking. Facing the direction of the sound, she knelt and bowed her head to the floor. The action was difficult as her hands were locked to her belt, but she had long since learned how to bow her head to the ground without her hands.
More than one person entered her cell and she was surprised. Her master never invited anyone over. When two pairs of hands grabbed her she knew something was wrong, but with her hands shackled, her mouth gagged, and her eyes covered by a mask, there was nothing she could have done.
Even as she was kidnapped, Astrid couldn’t even scream.
3 days ago
"Just my luck!" Isak Larsson silently cursed the moment he saw the 3F logo on the wall of the crime scene. Silently fuming at the run of bad luck he’d suffered, he walked over to his partner. “Please tell me this is just a simple robbery.”
Birk Zerguina looked at his partner and gave a sad chuckle. “You wish. Are you blind or did you miss the big fat red 3F logo on the wall there?”
“Even in Nordker a man can pray, can’t he?” Isak said, looking at the logo. “Free Females Forever…it’s really them?”
“Looks that way.” Birk didn’t bother to hide his disgust. “If it’s them, then Martin Kauranen’s property is gone.”
“That’s the owner? Where is he?”
“Outside near the police van,” said his partner. “Came back from his work at the dock, saw his property was gone, and called us immediately.”
“How is he?”
“He’s emotional, in a panic…and looks like he will burst into tears at any moment.”
Isak didn’t like the bemusement on the part of his partner but objecting was beyond his job scope; he wasn't Birk’s mentor. “Considering the situation, that is understandable.” He looked back at the 3F logo on the wall. “But what would an international group aiming to free women from male suppression want with the property of a simple dock-worker?”
“Why don’t you go and find out?” Birk asked. “I’ll clean up here. But be careful with him. He’s not exactly the brightest bulb in the room.”
After talking to Martin Kauranen, Isak wondered, not for the first time, if there should be some sort of intelligence test for masters. It was a thought shared by his superior.
“Let me get this straight, this man took a photo of his property and this is her?” Captain Edgar Taw was an old veteran who did not take kindly to fools, so Isak wasn’t that surprised that he was angry at Kauranen.
“Yes. She was an orphan whose parents were killed in an accident. She was placed in state care till she reached 18 when she was put up for the lottery. Martin Kauranen was the lucky winner.”
“And let me guess, this idiot then took a photo of his beautiful property and showed it around to his friends? Even when she looked like this?”
“Especially when she looked like this,” Isak said wearily. “He was a poor dockworker who was never going to be rich enough to pay the sale price for a proper bride. That’s why he went through the lottery…and then hit a looker.”
“Moron!” The captain spit out the word like a curse. “So this might not be the 3F group then, it could just be criminals who thought they would steal away a beautiful woman and get away with it.”
“That’s my thought,” Isak agreed. “The 3F group usually 'liberates' female property of politicians, wealthy businessmen, or religious figures in Nordker. After freeing these women, they then brainwash them into speaking out against the social system in our country. No reason for them to target a simple dockworker.”
The captain never finished the sentence as Zerguina burst into the captain’s office. “Reports of a firefight down by the docks, Pier 34, …and a naked woman running around. It’s our girl.”
Martin Kauranen was a big, shaggy giant of a man. He looked like the prototypical warrior in the ancient times of pirates, and Isak always thought he was the kind of man who was open with his feelings. He was correct; the man was currently crushing his property in a bear hug.
After too long a time, Martin finally put his girl down and was now whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Amazingly, the girl was smiling instead of being out of breath…or dead!
“Mr. Kauranen,” Isak interrupted. “May we have a moment please?”
“Oh, detective,” Martin let go of his property and gave Isak a huge hug which Isak had no choice but to return as Nordker custom dictated. “Thank you so much! So happy I got my girl back!” Martin finally released the hug. “Hope you got the guys who did this.”
“Yes, we did. That was what I wanted to speak to you about.”
Martin looked at Isak in expectation and Isak found that he had to nod his head to the woman beside them. After a moment, Martin finally got the idea. He bent down and opened the bag he carried with him. Reports of the girl being naked were in error, as Astrid was wearing her one-piece bodysuit. Of course, in Nordker, that was almost naked.
Showing the trust between the two, Martin handed a belt to Astrid and she immediately locked the belt around her waist. A handcuff was hanging by each side of her body and Astrid locked one of her hands to the handcuff. She then calmly placed her free hand by her other side, waiting for her master.
Martin concentrated on his property’s legs, locking her feet together with a short chain. With the chain limiting her movement, Martin stood up and locked Astrid’s free hand to the handcuff. Isak saw that Astrid was smiling the whole time.
Her smile grew wider as Martin placed a ball-gag over her mouth and whispered something to her ear. This time Isak was close enough to hear what was said. “You will never leave me again.” With that said, Martin placed a black hood over her head. Padded on the inside, the hood limited Astrid’s hearing and Isak saw that the mask had no eyeholes either.
With her properly locked, secured, and blinded, Martin took out the sack burqa and collar from his bag. He covered his property totally with the burqa and then collared her. A leash connected to the collar would help Martin lead his property around.
Now, with his property properly dressed for public viewing, Martin turned to Isak and saw the detective’s smile.
“So you delivered the good news?” Birk asked.
“Yeah, he was a happy man.” Isak said. “Promised to use the reward money to get better security for his property. Anything here?”
Here was the crime scene at Pier 34 where the shootout happened. All ten men involved were dead, including six wanted men with reward money on their heads.
“What we got so far is that a group was here and another group came up. Shooting immediatly began between the two groups and ten men ended up dead.”
“Any leads?” Isak asked. “Anything that would make us less like the headless chicken we are so far on this case?”
“In the confusion of the shootout, Martin Kauranen’s property took her chance and escaped out the back.” Birk pointed in the direction Astrid ran. “She was found screaming by some passing men, one of which remembers her from the picture Kauranen was carrying around and showing off. He remembered Martin’s property was stolen and immediately called us.”
“Talk about dumb luck!” Isak couldn’t help but shake his head in amazement. “And then?”
“A squad arrived and only three men were left alive.” Birk now started to read from his notebook. “One died of critical wounds from the shootout while the reminding two shot themselves in the head rather than surrender to the police.”
“Fanatics,” Isak said. “So it was the 3F group that stole Martin Kauranen’s property.”
“Maybe not.” Birk still did not believe the group would want anything to do with a dockworker’s property. “We know some of the dead men were criminals, most likely slavers. Maybe they stole Kauranen’s property, used the 3F group as a red herring, and the 3F group found out. Naturally, the 3F group were unhappy with the criminal group and came by to kill them. Martin Kauranen’s property's presence could be just a lucky break for us.”
“If that’s the case, why wasn’t Martin Kauranen’s property chained and locked up?” Isak asked. “Why was she allowed to go about with her hands and feet free?”
“She was in an unknown location with lots of men with guns around her. The criminals probably didn’t think she was going anywhere,” Birk answered. “They sure weren’t expecting any company.”
Isak had to nod his head at that. The theory made some sense. However…“Too many unanswered questions. And the people who could give us answers are all dead.”
“You got anything from Martin Kauranen’s property?” Birk was still at the age where hope springs eternal.
“Nothing,” Isak replied. “The group didn’t talk much in her presence and when the shooting started, she was too busy trying to get out.”
“We did get one thing though,” Birk said. “On the disks we recovered, a name keeps popping up. Someone by the name of “Mrs. Henderson,” looked like a major player in one of the groups.”
“A woman…” Isak wondered. “Anything else on the disk on her?”
“So we don’t even know if our mysterious Mrs. Henderson is a player for the slavers or for the 3F group?”
“A criminal?” Birk was incredulous. “A woman is a criminal?”
“It’s possible.” Isak said. “By the name she should be a foreigner.”
Birk still could not get over the shock. Like most men from Nordker, he had a hard time imagining women as anything else other than property to be protected and cared for.
“Anyway,” Isak moved on to more likable news, “as it was his property’s escape that led to this crime scene, Martin got the reward money for the six wanted men here. He is now a well-off man.”
“Lucky dumb bastard,” Birk was sour on the reward money. “And he didn’t even do anything! It was his property that led us here.”
“Jealousy doesn’t become you, Birk.” Isak had to smile at that. In a way, he agreed with his partner. “Guess that’s why they say fortune favors the foolish.”