A Settlement Mystery
by Kirsten Graham
I thought I would have a go at writing a Settlement story in the first person. It turned out to be quite hard, and has taken a long time, but here it is. I hope you enjoy it.
Fed up with feeling my tether chain jerk tight against the padlock that held it to my collar, I stopped scraping earth and knelt up, setting down my trowel.
“What?” asked Andrea, alongside me, also stopping work.
“I can’t reach any further,” I said. “Tether pulling tight.”
Andrea also knelt up, smiling, her own neck-chain draping itself across her body and coming to rest between her breasts, which, I noted, were smeared with mud from the digging.
“You’d reach further than that if there was something you really wanted!” she giggled.
I giggled too. What she said was certainly true. Spending your life securely chained to a girl-rail tended to cultivate extreme curiosity about things that lay just beyond the distance your restraint conveniently allowed you to reach, and you developed all sorts of strategies for exploring this curiosity: turning around and using your feet, for example. But I was not going to do this here. This was not curiosity, it was just work, levelling new fields and clearing them of stones, and there was a man watching too – obviously, since we had to have our hands free for the task.
The male in question, a nice-enough chap called Jake, noticed we’d stopped and came over: “What’s up, ladies?” he asked, breaking into a smile.
“We’re at the end of our tethers,” said Andrea, meaning this literally rather than metaphorically. “What? Why are you grinning?”
“You’re covered in filth,” the man answered. “Time for the showers for all of you.”
The whole gang of us – twelve women – got the message to stop, stood, stretched, and looked at ourselves. We were indeed a sight, particularly our knees and lower legs, our arms and anywhere – faces, around our collars, between our breasts – where we had wiped away sweat. But we did not mind; we were working hard for our community, and we had had a whole shift of several hours working with our hands free. Gradually we collected together our tools, put them on Jake’s trolley and picked up our handcuffs from the pile. We queued up for a drink of water from the tank, taking our time.
“Come on, girls,” said Jake. “Let’s get you clear, then we can start moving the girl-rail.”
Where we had been working was a system of temporary girl rails, bolted together and pinned down to the ground, not like the main system which was welded and permanently bolted to massive concrete blocks. Not that the temporary system was insecure – it was way too heavy for twelve of us to lift, for example – but theoretically, if we had had a wrench, we could have undone the bolts and broken free. But of course we did not have a wrench. One would only be brought up by the men who would move the rails along a bit, allowing us to reach the next section of work, but they would only do that when we were out of the area and the bolts were fastened across the rail, stopping us getting back there.
Girls started to re-fasten their handcuffs; different male supervisors had different views on this. Some liked to actually put the cuffs on our wrists themselves (which was technically what the rule book required them to do) but most were quite happy for us to fasten our own handcuffs, and then just check that we had done so before letting us wander off unsupervised. In fact, some men were extremely cursory with their checks: it had occurred to me more than once that it would be quite possible, with some supervisors, just to rest one or both of my cuffs about a wrist, without actually locking it, and thus sneak past his check with my hands still free. Not that it would do me much good: it would not mean I was any less chained to the girl-rails, and I could hardly use my hands freely around the campus - I would be noticed in an instant, and end up in a whole heap of trouble.
In any case, Jake was not like that: I could see the girls ahead of me in the line being asked to pull and twist at their wrist bonds, proving that their arms really were properly confined behind their backs. Taking a minute to make sure my hair was secure in its pony tail, and double checking that the cuffs in my hand really were mine – stamped with my number, 1003 – I snapped one ring about my left wrist, reached behind me and fumbled until the other one locked closed about my right.
Andrea, who was five years older than me, with short brown hair and an hour-glass figure, had a new relationship with a man, Peter, who had an apartment down on the main campus, and this occupied our chatter on the way back to our quarters. After all, men were in quite short supply now, and if you could not share their actual attention, the least you could hope for was a full and frank account of all the experiences of the girls who did manage to attract it. But what amused us most this time was the general state of Andrea: “You should go straight there!” I laughed. “He might like you dirty.”
I got a glare, followed by a discussion about how she was going to shower and make-up, and did we mind if she asked for her cuffs off to do this. Once confined in our quarters, we were usually allowed to have our hands free once a day for an hour or so for such personal needs: the gate man would unlock the cuffs and note the fact in his log book. But this was restricted – you could not have more than a few women in the building freed at the same time - so the system had evolved whereby only one of the four women who shared a sleeping cage was allowed to be unlocked at one time. Some girls argued about it, but we were quite relaxed in our cage – we had evolved a system of taking turns, but quite often now it was more trouble than it was worth to trail to the gate house and queue up for the guard’s attention anyway – it was just as easy to keep our cuffs on and help each other fix our teeth, hair, and make-up.
Unusually, arriving at the quarters, there was a queue to get in. Of course all the work shifts ended around this time, so there was always heavy traffic, but even so, it did not tend to involve much queuing.
“What’s going on?” I asked the woman in front of me.
“Full body search on the way in,” she said. “No idea why.”
There did not, I suppose, have to be a reason, other than that we lived in a society in which females were kept in conditions of strict security. Chains and cages were part of this, and regular searches were another part, making sure that none of us had any kind of contraband items that might possibly contribute to an escape attempt, or anything like that, and perhaps more significantly, making sure that we could never seriously imagine we might successfully keep and hide such items, even if they came our way.
Of course, we were always searched, sort of, on the way into our quarters, in the sense that the gate guard would give us a once over, and since we were always, apart from our chains, totally nude, this was quite sufficient to tell that we were not smuggling in anything significant – tools, for example – which we had no way of concealing. But everyone knew there were ways of hiding smaller stuff, and the full search was about eliminating these from consideration. And it was not in any way optional: I steeled myself for what was to come.
Of course, if you are going to have your intimate places probed by a man, it is best if it is a man you actually fancy, and it seemed that this time, I (along with most of the other girls) was in luck. Rory was moderately tall, blue-eyed, brown haired and athletically handsome, as well as being intelligent and quite funny. And he had, by our mutual agreement, probed some of my intimate places before, in a different context, and I was far from averse to the idea of him doing this again sometime soon.
Standing before him, I was suddenly reminded of my dishevelled state: “I need a shower, Sir,” I apologized.
“Of course you do,” he smiled. “This won’t take long.”
He started with my mouth – I had to open wide so he could first stare, and then feel around, running his finger all around my teeth; if I had secreted anything in there, there is no way he would not have found it. Then, having walked all around me and given a gentle frisk of my arms, right up to the armpits, and my legs, and having checked that all my bonds were properly locked in place, he took a thin piece of flexible plastic – probably part of an old bottle or something, and probed beneath my chains, first my collar, then my cuffs, and finally, with him squatting on the floor, the ankle rings of my fetters. Of course there was nothing there – but perhaps I could have secreted a stolen handcuff key, or a piece of wire I might imagine would work as a lock-pick in the narrow gap between the metal bond and my flesh. It had apparently happened before.
Of course I knew what to do next: it would have been obvious, even if I had not had a clear view of the three girls ahead of me in the queue. Not waiting to be commanded, I bent over the desk, spreading my legs as far apart as my fetter chain would allow. There was a tin of lube, I noted, but Rory only needed it for one of my holes: I’d found his close attention in the first part of the search quite stimulating, so my other orifice was well supplied with lubrication of her own. Of course it was only fingers on this occasion, but Rory did have the decency to slide two of them in, and to hold his hand there a little while I pushed against it, providing an interesting, if all-too-brief diversion (and there was no contraband to find).
I was quite flushed when at last I stood up, but I managed to look him in the eye. “Thank you, Sir,” I said. Perhaps he would invite me out again?
But clearly this was not the time. “Very good, Millie,” he said, wiping his hand and turning immediately to Andrea, who was next in line.
Andrea did not get to see Peter that night, and none of us had our handcuffs undone; once inside the quarters we were herded into the central atrium and made to sit on the grass while our cages were searched with the same thoroughness as we had been. We watched the teams of men pull out our beds and root through our toiletries and the few personal possessions we owned: it seemed odd, somehow – not the searching, for we were used to that, but just seeing men in our female domain. Apart from the gate man coming in at the evening and morning bells to lock up and unlock our sleeping cages, and occasional maintenance and parties, men did not normally come in to our quarters at all, we were left to run it as we pleased.
Finally, however, they finished the search, and with no sign that anything untoward had been found – certainly none of us was singled out for any kind of attention that suggested she might be in trouble. But the men did not tell us anything, except that we were confined to the quarters for the night, and that there would be no handcuff privileges until further notice. Then they departed, finally allowing us to get on with our showers and dinner.
Afterwards, the four of us, myself, Andrea, Irene, and Lori, sat on the grass outside our cage and reviewed the mealtime gossip.
“It’s probably just routine,” concluded Irene, who was about twenty-three – a couple of years older than me - grey eyed with curly, fairish hair and a somewhat thickset figure. “Keep us on our toes. Remind us that security is taken seriously.”
“Need a reminder, do you?” said Andrea, who was still grumpy about missing out on a night of passion. But she had a point – no Settlement girl was really likely to forget the fact that the thing the community took most seriously of all was the imprisonment of its female members.
“I think there’s more to it than that,” said Lori. “There’s been a breach of some kind. Maybe someone’s escaped!”
We looked at the girl: she was a brunette, like Andrea and me, the same age as Irene, and, it seemed, prone to occasional flights of fancy.
“No-one’s escaped, Lori," I said, after a minute. “Girls don’t escape, you know that. It must be something else.”
“Perhaps a handcuff key’s been lost,” suggested Andrea, “or some tools have gone astray.”
“But would they bother so much about that sort of thing?” asked Irene. “I mean, it’s not really a security threat, is it? There are too many checks and balances for it to matter much.”
But Andrea’s explanation seemed most likely to me. “I think they would,” I said. “It’s just not about a girl getting free of her chains, it’s about her knowing who’s in control.”
“You’ve got to wonder though,” said Lori. “I mean, if someone did escape, there’s no way they’d tell us about it, is there? What do you suppose is going on everywhere else?”
“No way to find out now,” said Irene. “We’ll have to wait until morning.”
This, of course, was quite true. Our quarters were enclosed by solid, five-metre high walls, pierced only by the man-guarded gateway. We could not get out, and neither could we see out, or in any way communicate with the outside world. The Settlement could have been vaporized and we might not know.
“You could ask the gate man,” said Andrea. “Has anyone tried?”
“Leila did, before dinner, but got nowhere. He wasn’t saying anything.”
“Was it still Rory?”
“Yes, he’s on all night.”
“Well Millie might try. He fancies you Millie.”
“Oh mother earth, not now,” I moaned. “I’m tired.” “Huh,” grunted Irene. “It’s all right for you. You get sex all the time.”
In the end, of course, I gave in, partly out of sympathy for Irene. My cagie was by no means plain, but she’d been chained to the girl-rails nearly five years now, her novelty had worn off, and she did not have my thick, long hair, my big eyes or my legs, so I was definitely at an advantage as far as men were concerned, and I had managed to exploit this pretty effectively, whilst Irene, and many others, had gone without far longer than they wanted. So it would have felt churlish not to try my wiles on Rory.
He, of course, heard the rattle of my fetters and neck-chain as I approached – it is a design feature of our chains that they do not allow us to move silently. He stood up and came to the locked grille that separated the atrium from the gate area, looking out.
“Hello, Millie,” he said, speaking through the gaps between the vertical steel bars. “What do you want? No handcuff unlocking tonight, if that’s what you’re after.”
“Of course, Sir,” I answered, smiling my widest, thrusting my chest forward, “but I thought you might like some company?”
Poor man, I thought, feeling confident. He really didn’t stand a chance: a flash of my eyes, a flick of my hair, a jiggle of a breast and a clink of my cuffs; there was no way he was not going to unlock the gate and invite me into his little office. Men were so easy, sometimes.
I watched as he relocked the gate behind me; the office was really just the hallway between the inner gate and outer doors of the women’s quarters, but whereas the inner gate was bars, the outer door was solid wood, and now stood closed.
“Have a seat,” the man said, waving vaguely at a chair that stood by the side of the desk over which I had recently leaned during my body search. “Would you like some tea?”
“OK,” I said, “if you don’t mind holding the cup for me.” Hot drinks did not really work when lapped from a handcuff bowl or sucked through a straw, so were generally reserved for times when I had my hands free. “I can make it though, if you would like.”
One had to be careful, of course, but boiling water and adding it to the leaves is one of the many domestic tasks that can be done perfectly satisfactorily in handcuffs, if you have had practice. But it naturally involves a certain amount of straining, rattling and jiggling, which men seem to find stimulating, so I was pleased when Rory accompanied me into the little curtained alcove where the tea things lived. There was a bed in there too, so that the night guard could get some sleep, and entertain female visitors such as me, if he wanted.
Tea made, we returned to the office and he held and tilted my mug for me to drink.
“A hard day?” I asked, between sips.
“An interesting one, certainly. Not often we have to do those kind of searches.”
“No. You were very kind, Sir. Thanks. Most men would be more rough.”
He seemed charmingly embarrassed, and did not say anything. I seized my chance: “Some of the girls are worried, Sir,” I went on. “They are saying someone must have escaped.”
Too late, I realized what I’d said. Escape was an officially disrespectful and therefore banned subject of conversation – girls were not supposed to want to escape, or even to think about it. But I had just mentioned the concept to a man. Unsure what to do, I jerked a bit at my handcuffs, causing them to clink, and I pushed my knees, which were already quite respectfully spread, a bit further apart.
Fortunately, Rory took my remark in a positive light: “I see. So you’ve come to report nascent disrespect, have you Millie?”
“Well,” I flustered. “Well, yes, I suppose I have. At least, I don’t think anyone really means it at the moment, but all that searching going on has caused speculation. Uncertainty.”
“Nothing stops us searching,” contended Rory. “You all know that. It’s just standard security.”
“Well, yes, Sir, of course.” This was getting complicated, I thought, finding myself once again twisting my hands in their manacles. “It is and it isn’t. Perhaps it should be more regular, but actually it’s been over a year since we’ve had that kind of clamp-down, so you can’t blame girls for imagining something’s wrong.”
“So you think a girl has escaped?” He was being evasive now, I could tell.
“I don’t, Sir, No. Of course not. No-one can have escaped, but I do think something is wrong. Is there something wrong?”
“Not from where I’m sitting,” he said, staring me squarely in the cunt.
I had never noticed this before, but on the back of the desk, close to the bottom of the panel, was a little clip; now I knew it was there, and I knew what it was for, too, for it held a link of my tether chain, such that I was constrained to lean face-down across the desk, much as I had that afternoon for the latter part of my search. As restraints went, it was not particularly secure, in that there was no lock, so any other girl could just have unclipped my chain, allowing me to stand up, but right now there were no other girls. There was no one: Rory had gone off to check all the sleeping cages were shut up for the night, leaving me here in his office, waiting patiently for his return. At least I had a minute to think: the man’s ministrations immediately before his departure, and the ones I was sure awaited me when he returned, rather excluded rational thought.
In the meantime, though I would have this experience to share with poor Irene and the others, I was very far from accomplishing my mission. Rory had kissed me, fondled me, chained me to this table and fondled me lots more and reprised his probing of earlier on, but he had told me nothing about what might have prompted all the searching. Of course I was certain that it was not an escape: we girls might fantasize about somehow getting free of our chains and leaving the community, but we all knew it was impossible. Besides, where would we go? The first thing an escape plan needed was somewhere to escape to, and there was nowhere. Environmental cataclysm had wiped out most of the world forty years ago, so as far as human civilization went, we were it. So not an escape, but definitely something.
I heard the gate behind me as Rory let himself back in from the atrium; seconds later I felt his hands on my hips again.
I had another go in the morning, seizing my chance after inflicting one of my finest blow-jobs on Rory, and following it with another cup of tea.
“So what happens today, Sir?” I then asked. “No work for me, I suppose, if I can’t have my cuffs undone.”
“Oh, you’ll be freed for work, don’t worry. It was nothing to warrant that kind of imposition.”
“What was it, then, Sir? Can I not know?”
“Just stuff missing from the stores. Things people brought in long ago, that we kept. Nothing affecting security.”
I smiled benevolently down at the supine Rory, and clinked my cuffs behind me. Mission accomplished.
The thing was, neither I nor any of my cagies had ever been in the stores to which Rory referred. They were used, as he said, to keep personal items from people who had joined the community, things they didn’t need, or in the case of women, presumably, things we were not allowed to have. But none of us four – or indeed any of my generation – had actually joined the community in that sense. We had been raised here. We had no experience of any other life, no property in the stores and therefore no possible reason to visit them. And they were kept locked up anyway - they did have girl-rails, but they were always bolted off, barring unauthorized female access. So, the problem continued to exercise us as we scraped away at another section of field, newly accessible from a temporary rail, until once again our tether chains were stretched to their limit and the supervisor called a halt for the day.
“Let’s go and see your mum, Millie,” said Irene, after we had made it into the quarters and had our showers without any suggestion of the hold-ups of the previous day. “She’s been here ages, hasn’t she? She might shed some light on the subject.”
This, I had to admit, was a very sensible suggestion. My mother had indeed been in the community a very long time – she had already been shackled to the girl-rails a few years when I was conceived. But she had once lived outside, in what was left of the old world, and though we had never talked about it, she might well have had stuff in the stores, and might even have been there.
Andrea was off to see Peter, and Lori was not minded to accompany us, having, she said, something else to do, so it was just Irene and I who showed our locked cuffs to the gate-man (not Rory this time) and set off down the long girl-rail that led through the woods to the main campus, where The Settlement’s original buildings were clustered round a little grassy square.
The woods were quiet, except for the cicadas and birds, anyway, but as usual in the late afternoon, the main campus was busy with people relaxing and chatting after their day’s work. These people were mostly women – thanks to oestrogenic pollutants that had come with the cataclysm, we outnumbered the men by four to one now – and even though the girl-rails here were laid in double or quadruple lines, with many branches and loops, it still took time and thought to negotiate the melee without running the rail end of your tether against that of another girl trying to go the opposite way down the same section of conduit and being forced to back-track.
We asked around, this generally being the quickest way to find someone – especially a well-known senior resident like Mum - and were eventually directed to 175’s, one of the women only social areas, where Number 175, aka Annabelle, would serve drinks and nibbles at a collection of outdoor tables on a pretty terrace.
“Oh, hello darling!” Mum said, surprised and pleased to see me.
We did the cheek-to-cheek kiss, standing close; hugging was not possible since we were both handcuffed.
Mum was not alone. My sister Esme was with her. Esme was seventeen now, and in a few weeks would be joining us on the girl-rails for good; right now she still lived in the Family Compound, where we had both been raised, but she was at that stage where although not quite technically an adult, she was mature enough to regularly come through to the main community, and to wear normal chains, and nothing else, when she did. The only differences were that her collar had a big red label, indicating that she was not available to men, and that when she went home, if she wanted, someone would unlock her chains and take them off.
“Hi Esme,” I greeted. “OK?”
“Hi, Sis,” she answered, clinking her cuffs. “I’m good.”
We sat down, drinks were ordered, and we chatted, about mine and Irene’s work, Esme’s education, about Dad (Mum was sharing his apartment regularly now, having moved out of the Family Compound) and generally about life, before coming round to the stores.
“So that’s what all the consternation was about,” she said, after I explained what we knew. “How did you find that out?”
I smiled mischievously: “The gate-man, Rory,” I said. “he succumbed to my charms.” I did not bother to explain how I’d spent three hours chained across a desk while he’d repeatedly fucked my cunt, my mouth and my arse, or about the morning blow job it had taken to elicit the information.
“Well done,” smiled Mum.
She was, I thought, a good looking woman, my mother. Her hair was thick and dark like mine, and styled in a bob; we also shared the same dark eyes. I was taller and slimmer, but she had a good figure – fine breasts, hips and thighs. How old must she be? Forty-five? I hoped Dad still paid her enough attention, and was not too distracted by the younger girls on offer.
“So have you been in the stores?” Irene asked. “What is in there?”
“I have,” said Mum. “When I first came, they made me put my stuff in there. It’s like a series of cages with shelves, and they just keep things. Toothbrushes, books, that kind of stuff was fine, but everything I wasn’t going to need, that just went back in my bag and on a shelf. I’ve not seen it since.”
“But what kind of stuff? Not keys to chains anyway?”
“Ha, no, of course not. Clothes. I had clothes. They’re mainly what got stored.”
175’s had a pool, not exactly a swimming pool, since you couldn’t swim handcuffed and you were never allowed your hands free in women-only social areas, but a pool about half a metre deep and gridded with girl-rails even under the water, so it was possible to have a very cooling splash about. Esme wanted a dip, and Irene went with her, giving me a chance to talk to Mum alone.
“Are you really OK, darling?” she asked, wrestling with her cuffs and moving on her seat till she could touch my hand when I brought it to my hip. “It’s been over three years now.”
She meant, of course, since I had officially become and adult and had finally lost the option of ever having my tether unlocked.
“It’s fine, Mum,” I protested. “I’m fine. Stop worrying.”
She let go of my fingers, but pulled and twisted some more at her wrist bonds. “It’s just, seeing you in chains, and now Esme, too. And knowing I’ve condemned you to this life. I had a choice.”
“You didn’t, though, really, Mum, did you? You’d have died if you hadn’t joined The Settlement. And then we would never have been born.”
“I suppose. But whatever, you didn’t, and Esme doesn’t. You’re both going to live your lives on the girl-rails.”
“Of course we are, and we’re going to be happy. You’ve been happy here, for a quarter of a century.” Not that I’d ever thought that much about it, having no experience of anything else to compare, but Mum had always seemed to me to be a perfect example of someone who adapted to the constraints of her lifestyle without losing that feisty independent streak that had made her so attractive to my Dad, and to other men, for that matter.
“Oh trees and sky, Millie!” she said. “Is that what you think? If only you knew, the hours I’ve spent, wishing, plotting and struggling over the years, wanting to get away, wanting to get you away, before it was too late. But I couldn’t – I can’t – get out of my chains. And you won’t either.”
“Well,” I said, not sure how to react to this, “that is rather the point of chains, isn’t it? That we can’t get out of them. There wouldn’t be much point in having them if we could just take them off.”
Esme came with us on the way back – she seemed to have hit it off with Irene, and the two of them blethered away about all sorts of stuff, before we turned once more to the mystery of the previous day’s events.
“What did she mean, clothes?” asked Irene. “How could she have had clothes?”
Girls of my generation, raised entirely in The Settlement, had, of course, no experience of wearing clothes. We had all been brought up with the clear understanding that women stayed naked, that we should be proud to display our bodies, and that for us to cover ourselves would be disrespectful, of our own female beauty and of the men who looked after us and had a right to admire us. But of course I’d heard about women wearing clothes from Mum, and I was well aware of her view that Settlement women were kept nude simply because men liked it that way.
It was Esme who answered Irene: “From the old days,” she said. “Before the end of the world. Women were allowed to wear clothes, just like men.”
“How odd,” replied Irene. “It would be really hard to manage, in handcuffs, wouldn’t it?”
It would, of course, but after exchanging a sisterly look, neither Esme nor I explained any further. Irene’s life would not be enhanced by the knowledge that way back then she might not have had to wear handcuffs nearly so often, or possibly even at all.
“OK,” answered the gate man, an older guy called Steve, when Irene asked if Esme could stay the night. “Red collar noted,” he said to my sister, acknowledging that she was off his radar from that perspective – though I could see him having a right good look at her naked body, all the same. But that was his right.
“Your chains stay locked, though,” he continued. “This isn’t the Family Compound.”
Which was of course just what Esme wanted: to be one of the grown-ups. I remembered feeling the same, when I was sixteen or seventeen.
“How are you getting on, Esme?” I asked her, a bit later on, when we found ourselves alone in the atrium garden: we sprawled on the grass, neck-chains draped across our chests, our bodies propped on our cuffed hands.
“Fine, of course,” she said. “Why? What has Mum been saying?”
“Oh, nothing, really. She’s just concerned, you know, about us. About us being chained, specifically. She gave me this talk about how she felt guilty, that she’d condemned us to this life.”
“So… you’ve had that too?”
“I have. Repeatedly. I never know what to say. I mean, it’s not as if there is any alternative, is there?”
“No,” I said.
I looked down at my bright metal tether chain, where it rested on my stomach, and across at Esme’s. They were very beautiful, I thought. And very feminine. And I liked the feel of the cold metal on my flesh. But the tether was also very permanent. Maybe it was possible to imagine a different world, like the one Mum had once inhabited, but in the context in which we found ourselves, there was no alternative, no choice, for us or for any women.
“Do you think Mum’s really unhappy, Millie? You don’t seem unhappy. None of the girls here do. Being on the girl-rails, I mean, or your other chains. It’s all right, isn’t it?” She was worried, I could see. But why wouldn’t she be? It was a big thing, to know that you would soon be chained up for the rest of your life – I’d been there myself, only three years ago.
“Of course it’s all right, Esme,” I reassured. “Mum’s just being a mum. It’s her job to worry about us, but she’s not unhappy. She’s had a good life here, and so will we. Sure, we’ll always be chained, but we share everything, so we can all help each other, and the men look after us and keep us safe. The whole community is designed for us, so we can just enjoy being female.”
I was due a day off from the digging, so in the morning I let Irene and the others get off to their shift before escorting Esme back to the Family Compound. It was another lovely morning; sunny, hot, as always – hot enough to make you really glad you were nude – but with a gentle breeze to stop you baking and dry the sweat that ran from under your collar. The birds were in full song, and the spring flowers at the side of the path through the woods were just coming to their finest, everything seemed very fertile: a fine morning to enjoy being female. We strolled along, our fetters and tethers jangling merrily, always asserting their presence, but not seriously impeding our progress.
About a third of the way down the path there was a side turning, where a girl-rail branched off through thicker woods, towards the boundary of The Settlement. It did not lead anywhere as such – like many of the more far-flung girl-rails, it had been placed there solely to allow women an additional option for a recreational walk. But this one did loop round, eventually re-joining the path after climbing up and down for a kilometre or so between the edge of the trees and the boundary fence. Esme (who was leading on the girl-rail) stopped at the junction: “Is that Smooth-Stick Alley?” she asked.
“Ah,” I said. “I see Irene has been completing your education.”
Esme grinned. She was, of course, referring to the use of a smooth stick as a way to masturbate whilst handcuffed. We are not, of course, supposed to masturbate at all, we are supposed to rely only on men for any kind of sex, and our cuffs are specifically designed to be sufficiently restrictive to stop us getting our fingers anywhere near our cunts. But, if you can’t get a man, you sometimes have to do something, and a smooth stick works well if you know what to do. You kneel up, hold it in your cuffed hands and feed if forward between your legs, and away you go – the right stick can be very satisfying indeed.
But of course, this process is illegal, and suitable sticks count as contraband. They are definitely not allowed in women’s quarters, and ones that fall from trees or are dragged out of the woods by animals are quickly tidied away by men, who seem to delight in leaving them in tantalizing piles just beyond the maximum reach of a tether chain. So it is often impossible to find one, even on woodland paths.
But it is always worth a look, and this path, which the girls called Smooth Stick Alley, was generally regarded as the best place to start, since it ran for several hundred metres with large trees close on either side, and since it was relatively little used and you were relatively unlikely to be caught in the act if you used such a stick here. We set off up the path, and were immediately under the gloom of the tree canopy. The girl-rail ran straight for a while, before curving round the edge of a depression in the forest floor, and then finally emerging into the sunshine. We could see the boundary fence about twenty metres away, at the foot of a bank, and beyond that the steeply rising slope of a mountain, but we had found no sticks today – the path had been quite clear.
Esme commented on this, fidgeting with her handcuffs. “Padlocks and shackles!” she cursed. “I was looking forward to giving it a try.”
I grinned a sisterly grin: “There is a stash,” I said.
“Come and see.”
We rattled back into the woods, to a point on the curved part of the girl-rail.
“There,” I said, pointing as best as I could with my cuffs pulled tight to my hip. “That log.”
It was a long-fallen tree, its near side banked up with what seemed like months, if not years of leaf-fall.
“Under those leaves, is a stash. If we find a stick, we generally put it there, for future reference.”
“But it’s way too far,” said Esme. “We can’t reach that far.”
“Yes we can,” I said. “Watch and learn.”
The log was, in fact, about three and a half metres from the girl-rail –further than we could ever stretch our hands, given our tethers were only two metres long; even without handcuffs we could not have done it. But as Andrea had pointed out the other day, when you really wanted something, there were ways and means, and the stash being so far away from the rails meant it was much less likely to catch the attention of men looking for security issues. I sat down on the ground and shuffled feet-first towards the log, aware of Esme observing me. Gradually, of course, my tether pulled tight against my collar, and as it did I leaned back, resting on my shackled arms, until I was almost flat. My feet came against the log, or at least the leaf pile in front of it, and I used my toes to clear away some of the debris, revealing a collection of at least ten sticks of the sort we were looking for. Then it was just a slightly fiddly operation to use my dangling fetter chain to drag one out, until it was at last near enough to the girl-rail for Esme to squat with her back to it and pick it up.
“Wow, Sis,” she said. “That was amazing. They don’t teach that in school. Can I try?”
“Of course,” I said. “Get one for me.”
Afterwards, we put the sticks back using the same method, made sure to roughen up the leaves as best we could so they looked almost natural, and went and sat in the sunshine a minute.
Esme smiled: “It feels quite wicked,” she said. “Like we’ve defeated the security. What would have happened, if we’d been caught?”
“Loss of handcuff privileges, I suppose. Maybe a gag.” These were the most usual punishments for breaches of discipline in females. The former was neither here nor there, usually, but the latter was a terrible torment. We all like to talk. We are girls.
“Do you suppose,” Esme went on, “that men know we do that kind of thing?”
“Of course they do,” I said. “They catch girls at it now and again, and find the sticks. I think to be honest they just tolerate it, within reason. They could give us all yokes, or waist belts, but that would be too inconvenient.” These alternative forms of wrist restraint were available, and used by some girls, usually at their men’s command, but were widely thought to make daily life much more difficult than ordinary handcuffs.
“So, what if you can’t get a stick? Could you ask another girl?”
“Please don’t do that, Esme. Promise me. You’d be in so much trouble.”
It did happen, of course – why would it not? Hundreds of young women chained up together, naked and horny. It was an obvious temptation. But it was regarded as much more serious disrespect than the stick trick: interfering with another girl’s flesh, not just your own.
“Look, if you’re really desperate, you can do this.”
Kneeling up, a deft flick caused my tether to drop to where I could just reach it and pull it back between my spread thighs. I could then pull it through my fingers until it came to rest tight against my muff. Then I could jerk it to and fro. Having watched me, my sister tried to do the same, eventually managing it. She grimaced as the cold steel touched her pussy.
“It’s too cold and hard to really bring yourself off,” I said, “but at least it’s something. And you can move it across your nipples, too, with practice.”
“And we’ll definitely always have the tethers, won’t we?” said Esme.
“Yes,” was my answer. “We will.”
After I’d delivered Esme to her classes in the Education Block, I could at last turn my attention back to the mysterious stores issue. Everything might seem back to normal, but something had happened, and well, I suppose I am just a curious girl. I decided to spend some time doing a little investigation of my own.
The stores themselves were the obvious first port of call; I made my way quickly around the relevant girl-rails to the little building just across the alleyway from the central administration. But of course I could not get in: there was only one entrance, and the girl-rail leading to it was firmly bolted off well short of the actual door. I glanced around for the lever that moved the bolt, but as usual for these things, it was both obviously padlocked and set well away from the nearest rail. Neither I nor any other woman would ever be able to operate it.
I heard the jangle of steel restraints and the woman’s voice almost at the same time: “What are you doing?”
I turned around to see Jenny, a petite, shapely, auburn-haired female a few years older than me. She had just come out of the administration building – not surprising, since she was one of Leader Mitch's current assistants – an important role, though not one that in any way exempted her from the requirement to be nude, chained hand and foot and tethered to the girl-rails.
“Oh, nothing, really,” I smiled demurely, and perhaps unconvincingly.
“Well move on then.” The girl seemed quite fierce. “No business to be hanging around here.”
I decided to try the direct approach – after all, I could hardly be held responsible if Rory had told me things he shouldn’t: “I heard the stores was broken into the other day,” I said.
“Did you indeed,” was the answer. Her chains rattled as she stepped closer. “Who told you that?”
“Oh, one of the men,” I replied, suddenly feeling guilty and not wanting to get Rory in trouble. “I can’t remember who.”
“Well whoever it was had no business discussing it with you,” said Jenny. “Look, just go will you, or I’ll have to report you.”
I went, making my way aimlessly around the main square, trying to think. The campus was much quieter than the previous evening, and at this time of the day was entirely female. The men, of course, were kept busy during the day, with lots of security jobs to do, such as the supervision of the digging, and all the other work where girls needed their arms freed. But in all the communal spaces, our handcuffs always stayed locked, so apart from the occasional patrol, male supervision was unnecessary. Our chains were more than sufficient to keep us secure, more than sufficient to ensure we could never really break the rules – we could never, for instance, burgle the stores. I stopped, mid-pathway. It was quite obvious really. No woman had broken into the stores, because to do so she would have had to defeat the bolt mechanism I’d just seen, not to mention get out of her handcuffs somehow, if not away from the girl-rails altogether, and all of these things were simply impossible. It was one thing to temporarily circumvent your restraints with a smooth stick, but quite another to somehow slip them off altogether, or break them. In over thirty years of The Settlement’s existence, no woman had ever done this, and I was quite sure none ever would.
So, since no woman could have taken anything from the stores, anything that had gone had to have been stolen by a man. In which case, why the search of the women’s quarters? Baffled, I adjourned to 175's for a drink and a think. The former, at least, was straightforward – a delicious blend of chilled fruit juices, served in a heavy wooden tumbler with a lid and a straw, highly convenient for a handcuffed female.
As I sipped, I became aware of laughter and chatter from a nearby table. I glanced up: three women of my mother’s generation – a brunette, Catriona, a blonde, Katherine and a fairish, plump woman, Jennifer. I did not know exactly how long they had each been in the community, but at very least it had been two decades: I remembered them when I was very small. And that, I thought, was further proof of my theory that no woman could have accessed the stores. Not that these women were disloyal to the community or anything like that, but I knew that, like my mother, they all had a feisty, independent streak, and they were clever. If there had been some way of escaping from their bonds and getting away from the girl-rails, these women would at some stage have found it, but they hadn’t. Their steel collars, and all the other restraints they wore, had stayed firmly locked about their flesh, keeping them steadfastly imprisoned for more than twenty years.
At any rate, I thought, their lifelong confinement was not detracting from their happiness: their conversation was punctuated by cascades of female laughter. I listened with interest.
“It was so lovely and silky,” Catriona was saying. “Do you remember?”
“Yes,” said Jennifer, almost breathless. “And his hand against it.”
“Oooh,” sighed Katherine.
With a start, I realized that this was one of those disrespectful conversations that we girls sometimes have: they were discussing women’s clothing. I could not hear everything – at times they whispered under their breath and at others they sniggered pointedly – but I was sure I heard the words “panties,” “bra” and “stockings.” I had no clear idea precisely what these were, but I did know from my mother that they were garments that women might have worn in the old days, when we were allowed to wear clothes – and that meant, of course, that talking about them was strictly forbidden.
Of course, my first thought was that this conversation was related to the thefts from the stores, but then again, how could it be? I had already established that no woman could have done that. These women must all just be remembering times past. But it was clearly a very merry and somewhat mischievous remembrance, judging by the tone of the conversation.
Still giggling, the women got up to go, and I determined to follow them, but found my exit blocked by Number 305, a short brunette who shared Jenny’s role as one of the Leader’s assistants. “Ah, Millie,” she said. “Message from admin. You’re to report immediately to the smith for an inspection.”
‘Inspection,’ in this context, meant a detailed examination of my chains. Of course my chains, like all the girls’, were routinely checked at least twice a day, but nevertheless more thorough examinations, during which they might drug us unconscious and actually unlock our collars and fetters, were carried out, and could be at random times. On this occasion, however, I suspected that the call I had received might be something to do with having been found looking too closely at the stores. But whatever the reason, there was no avoiding it, so I headed off along the girl-rails that led to the Smithy.
As I went, I found myself reflecting on my life in The Settlement – my life in chains. A call to visit the smithy was a reminder that, had I been born male, or for that matter, as a dog, I would have been free to go around wherever I liked and would have full use of my limbs. But instead I’d been born female, and so I had to live like this, always shackled, always constrained by the girl-rails, dependent on the decision of a man even to use my arms freely. I thought about how I’d reassured Esme the previous day: of course, being chained was about being protected, being free to live as a female, free from responsibility, but it was still bondage. Suddenly frustrated, I stopped, kicked at my fetters and jerked at my handcuffs – which of course made not the slightest difference to my confinement. But that was the point: nothing did. My bonds had been expertly designed and fitted, based on many years’ experience of confining girls like me, and their security was administered by men, who, however much they cared for me, also enjoyed keeping me helplessly confined. So there was no possibility of me or any female ever getting free: my mother had been chained for decades and would die in chains. So would hundreds of Settlement women, and so would I.
The Smithy was, like almost all Settlement architecture, a single-storey, block-built construction, fairly nondescript on the outside. It had a sign – Smithy – and below this, a notice board with a couple of information notices pinned thereon. These were designed for female visitors: the first one proclaimed “Your chains, your responsibility”, and then went on to remind us that our chains were intended for our benefit and that if any of us had the slightest doubt about the security of our own or any girl’s bonds, we were to report it immediately and come here to be checked. The second, rather more directly, said simply “No entry to women without handcuffs” – as if there would be any way of getting this far with our hands unchained, anyhow – and, underneath this, in slightly smaller writing: “women will remain silent unless spoken to.” The smiths did not appreciate girly chatter.
I went in. The first thing I saw was a naked female backside, pointing towards me. I recognized it of course: women’s arses are just as individual as their faces, when you are used to seeing them. This one belonged to my cagie, Irene, who had obviously also been summoned for an inspection. Now she was waiting for attention, as was the established procedure, in the frame provided for this purpose.
Negotiating the appropriate girl-rail, I knelt down in the space next to her, hooking my fetter chain over the hooks and placing my knees either side of the padded block. I then lent forward, letting my neck chain drop into the ratchet mechanism, which held onto it, preventing me from rising again. I was thus fastened much as I had been over Rory’s table the other night, but with my knees helpfully spread apart by the block between them, ensuring that my holes were respectfully exposed to any men that might pass by.
But there were no men, only Irene, who looked at me and smiled. I smiled back, but conscious of the rules, and the penalties likely to ensure from breaking them, we did not speak, we just waited. Kneeling there, locked in position with my head down and my thighs wide apart, and of course my hands, as usual, fastened behind me, it was impossible to do anything other than continue thinking as I had on my way over here: thoughts of my bondage, and in particular my helpless subjugation to the control of men. Looking around the Smithy as best as I could only reinforced the concept: the place did other work of course, but the main reason for its existence was the community’s need for skilled metalwork to keep us girls firmly imprisoned, and the walls were decorated with a vast array of collars and shackles designed to be locked around the naked female anatomy. Amongst the items hanging up in front of me were two different sorts of yoke, metal bars with wrist cuffs at their ends and a collar in the centre, and a waist belt, a steel belt that fastened with a padlock and had wrist cuffs attached to it to secure the hands. I had never yet worn either of these sorts of restraints, but several girls had.
I tugged a bit at my cuffs, pondering: I might get to try a different form of wrist restraint at some point in my life, but what I was sure I would not get to try would be no wrist restraint. I was a Settlement girl. I pulled and twisted again, at the same time looking at another pair of handcuffs on a hook on the wall. They were so simple: just two rings of metal and a chain link joining them. It ought to be possible to defeat them, to slip them off, or break them! But it wasn’t. My manacles fitted my wrists with perfect closeness and held them with total mastery. They only way they were coming off was if they were unlocked, and the only way they were being unlocked was if a man did it.
The footstep behind us was obviously a man: I could tell from the weight of the tread and the fact that it was not accompanied by the jangle of leg-irons. However, whoever it was said nothing, and the frame into which Irene and I had fastened ourselves did not permit us to turn round and see. There was a sound that might have been the rustling of papers, perhaps at the reception desk adjacent to the door, and then nothing at all until I felt the man’s hand between my legs, covering my muff. I gasped: I heard Irene gasp next to me, too, indicating that the man’s other hand was giving her the same treatment.
There is, of course, nothing we as Settlement girls can do about this sort of attention. There are rules that say men are supposed to ask before touching, particularly in intimate places, but the rules also say – rather more seriously – that women are supposed to respect men, and that, in practice, makes it difficult to say ‘no’ if the men do ask, or to complain if they forget. And then, of course, we are always so bloody horny: we may be available to men, but that does not mean men always take advantage of that fact, and we are not allowed to see to ourselves or each other. So touches like this one, which grew firmer and more exploratory, as I grew wetter in response, are always at least as welcome as they were unwelcome. It was another of those Settlement girl things.
I pushed myself against the hand as best as I could in the restriction of the frame, and set my mind to enjoying the sensation, but after a few minutes the hand became less exploratory, and then withdrew altogether, whilst at my side, Irene began to gasp and jiggle more excitedly. I concluded that she had won the competition between us for more detailed male attention. Turning my head to the side I watched her as she grew towards climax and began to orgasm: she went on for a long time. I was glad for her. I had had lots of attention lately, and she had had none. Mind you, it was not surprising. Her backside, with its lovely round shape and pleasing little flecks of cellulite was one of her best features, and the Smithy waiting frame showed it off to huge advantage to any man entering the door.
Afterwards, the man withdrew, still saying nothing, and we were left alone again. Irene looked at me, smiling dreamily. Then, at last, a voice broke the silence: it was Martin, the Smith. He was still behind us, we could not see him.
“Well ladies, thank you for coming.” He was always polite, as were most of the men. But I guess it is easy to be polite when the girl you are addressing is nude, helplessly shackled and entirely in your power. “Just a check of your bonds, and fit your gags,” he went on.
“Gags?! Why?” We both cried out, forgetting the silence rule. Martin seemed to forgive us that.
“Did they not say? Sorry. Some breach of discipline surely. My instructions are simply to fit non-standard gags until further notice.”
We looked at each other. Irene’s dreamy pleasure of a few seconds ago was replaced by appalled puzzlement. A gag in itself was bad enough; a non-standard gag meant one with a unique key, that most men would not be able to remove. We would be silenced indefinitely.
What was more, I knew why. My curiosity about the stores had obviously been reported. Curse that Jenny. And Irene was implicated by association, as my cagie. I wondered if Andrea and Lori would get the same treatment: probably they would.
Settlement gags are another example of the perfect engineering that goes into keeping us females helpless. They consist of a steel tube, a couple of centimetres in diameter, padded with leather, that fits behind the teeth, forcing the mouth open and at the same time pressing the tongue down flat. When you first experience one it can create a gag reflex, but of course you get used to it – you have to, because of course you can’t get the gag off. Light but strong chains, encased in plastic tubing, stretch around the back of your head and fasten with a padlock. It does not need to be all that tight, just tight enough to stop the tube coming out of the mouth. And once you are used to it, it’s not that uncomfortable to wear. You can eat and drink, but not solid food, and not alone, unless your hands are free. If handcuffed, you need to be fed, though of course this can be by another handcuffed girl. You can go about your daily work. The punishment is in not being able to communicate: all you can say is “Nnngh”.
We were soon fitted: we each had gags, all the girls did, made to measure like the rest of our bonds, and kept in the Smithy until needed. All Martin had to do was fetch them from the store and change the standard padlock for a new one. Then he locked them on us, and let us go.
Outside, I looked at Irene, sadly. Her lips made a surprised sort of ‘O’ around the gag, the chains digging lightly into her cheeks. “Nnnghgh,” I said, which would have translated as “Bugger.”
I was correct in my surmise: when we returned to our quarters, we found Andrea and Lori sitting in our cage, gagged and cross. No other girls had had the treatment, and many asked us what we had done, getting incoherent “Nnghs” in response, of course. And whilst I was certain I knew the reason, I could not say, which was maybe just as well from the point of view of relations with my innocent cage mates. We spent a little time examining each other’s gags, the fit, the chains and the locks, but there was nothing we could do. Like all Settlement bonds, they were not intended to be removed by the girls they confined. Even when our hands were freed – which I was pleased to see still occurred as usual – it made no difference. The gags remained locked, and there was no suggestion of when they might be removed.
The upside, if there was an upside, was that other girls, and men, sympathized with us. The former were helpful and soon worked out our needs regardless of our inability to communicate, and the latter paid us various attentions that Lori and Irene at least had gone without for a long while (in Irene’s case until our visit to the Smithy, that was).
Rory resumed his dalliances with renewed enthusiasm, and now he didn’t just fuck me face down over the table, as he always had before: he did me face up too, seemingly enjoying admiring my helplessly bound mouth as he pumped. And in truth it felt sexy, too, to be gagged. If felt sexy to be nude and chained, of course, at least when there were men around, but being gagged as well made me feel less like a sexual human female and more and more like a walking vagina.
But, being a walking vagina was only entertaining up to a point, and in between sex, life was very irritating and frustrating. Work at the digging carried on, but we could not join in the chatter, and in the evenings our cage offered no entertainment at all when it was not possible to gossip. So whilst after a few days my jaw no longer ached and I was used to eating yoghurt and porridge through my tube, I began to grow increasingly morose and sometimes tearful, as did the other girls.
But compared to them, I was lucky: I had a mother to turn to. I resolved to go to her. She would not be able to get me out of the gag, but at least she would be a shoulder to cry on, and she would understand. A little cheered by this thought, I made my way down through the woods to the main campus, relieved that, the indignity of the gag notwithstanding, I remained free to go where I wanted in the community, subject only to the absolute limits defined by my steel tether and the girl-rails.
Mum was in my father’s apartment, on row three of the South area. The men’s apartments were all basically the same – a large, comfortably furnished living area with bed, sitting area and kitchen and a bathroom at one end, and at the other end three Spartan cages for any females the man wanted to keep. Mum had adopted one of the cages, and had her few personal effects scattered around it. At night it would be locked shut, obviously, but during the day it was left open. But at all times, when Dad was not around, Mum stayed handcuffed, just as I did.
“Oh, love,” she uttered, when I crossed the apartment threshold. She came up and pushed against me, and took me to the sitting area, where we both knelt on the floor (Dad did not really approve of females using his chairs). I cried: what else could I do? I could not say anything apart from “Nnngh.” And Mum could not really do anything either, and one-sided conversation seemed inappropriate. So she just sat with me.
Later, Dad arrived. It was a bit awkward: of course he was my dad, but he was a man, and so ultimately one of the team who’d locked me in my infernal gag, and I did not really want his company, so refusing his offer of having my hands freed for a family dinner and overnight accommodation imprisoned in the cage next to Mum’s, I set off into the late afternoon heat to make my way back to my own quarters.
In the main campus, I did not feel particularly odd, being silenced: one saw at least a couple of securely gagged women every day, either under discipline, or pledged girls whose men kept them like that routinely. Other women I encountered smiled with sympathetic understanding. I worked my way gradually through the crowds of naked, shackled girls, waiting here and there, as ever, for others to pass before I could drag my tether into the girl-rail I needed to get where I was going. Sometimes these queues lasted several minutes, and of course the other girls just stood their chatting. But I could not, so I just looked around, waiting.
It was like this that I happened to notice the three older women I had sat adjacent to in 175's the other day, the ones who had been having the happy but seemingly illicit chat about female clothing. Now they were chatting closely again, but this time on the move, along another girl-rail that led roughly back the way I had come, towards the men’s apartments. Again, they aroused my suspicion. Perhaps I should discreetly follow them?
Easier said than done, however: Katherine, Jennifer and Catriona were only thirty metres away, across open ground, but that thirty metres of open ground was devoid of any girl-rails and was thus no more accessible to me or any Settlement women than if it had been on the moon. There was simply no choice but to wait patiently in the queue until I got to the busy junction, and then either turn right towards the woods and home, or left to where the others had gone. Overcome with desire to pursue the women and find out what they were up to, I felt the perspiration pricking beneath my steel collar and the weight of my tether chain and its padlock. I tugged at my cuffs with frustration. Then, to crown it all, a man strode past us, free to go wherever he wanted, his movements unencumbered by tether, fetters or anything. Bloody men, I thought, feeling the implacable grip of steel on my body all over again.
Finally, I was there, and I took the deserted left hand route. The women I sought were more than five minutes ahead of me now, and out of sight between buildings, but there was a chance I would catch up. I moved as fast as I could, occasionally pulling my fetter chain tight and nearly tripping. “Nnngh! Nhg!” I cursed the restraint, to which, of course, it remained entirely unmoved.
I found myself between two rows of apartments, much like the one where my father stayed. They all had little verandas on the outside, and just occasionally a man would be seated there, soaking up the sun, or a female would be dusting or something, her chains rattling merrily. Some of the apartments, though, were empty and closed up: a sign of the now declining male population. Trees and sky, if I could talk I could have asked after my quarry, but I could not. I pressed on, looking up the side alleys, or at least those with girl-rails anyhow: there were several without, but the three women I sought would not be there.
I tried to look normal, conscious of various sets of male eyes noting my passage. Of course I was used to being watched by men, it was part of being a girl, and I did not mind in the least arousing male lust. I just wanted to avoid arousing male suspicion. I kept my face pointing downwards as much as I could, hoping no one would see my lips helplessly parted around the gag, and I raised my cuffed hands up to the small of my back so that they could enjoy my bum and hopefully be distracted a bit from my face. Perhaps it worked, because I was not accosted, but neither was there any sign of my quarry. I zig-zagged to and fro between the rows of apartments, suddenly anxious about the time. I needed to allow myself long enough to get back to my sleeping cage before the Evening Bell.
At the bottom of the last row, I halted, frustrated. There was no sign of them. No sign of anyone much. I gazed up at the end walls of the apartments. Here and there were windows, but high up, and lined with bars, as were most windows in The Settlement, since the buildings they lit all, at one time or another, had to serve as prisons for the women of the community. Even so, these windows were all in the men’s end of the apartments – the end with the women’s cages had no windows at all, being carefully designed to prevent any girls locked in there from seeing out or communicating with the outside world in any way.
Anyhow, I could not see in: looking inside an apartment would only be possible from its veranda, and I could not start randomly climbing up front steps and peering in windows, however much I wanted to find out what – if anything – was going on.
There was nothing for it but to head back. I turned into the alley that led across the bottom of the rows, my neck chain following, the little ball scraping, as ever, inside the girl-rail. I looked down, reflecting on The Settlement’s principle means of female confinement. The girl-rails were actually made of square section steel conduit, about five centimetres across, with a one centimetre slot in the top. Our neck chains passed through this slot and were welded to the steel balls, which would slide easily inside the conduit, but were too big to come out of the slot, thus keeping us firmly attached to the rail.
There was no denying that the girl-rails were a truly ingenious solution to the problem of how to ensure we could stay permanently chained and yet still live productive lives. We were free to go anywhere the rails were laid, yet our collars and tethers never needed to be unlocked. There was no way we could ever get away: breaking free of the girl-rails would involve either unlocking or cutting our collars, cutting the chain or smashing or uprooting rail itself, all things quite obviously beyond us, even if we weren’t also handcuffed whenever we were not either locked in our quarters, or closely supervised by men. And keys, or any tools that might help us, or for that matter other things we were not allowed to have, such as clothes, were just be kept out of the way of the girl-rails, forever out of female reach.
Someone (probably a man) had described The Settlement girl-rail system as the pinnacle of civilization. I don’t know about that, but it was certainly well established – the earliest rails were well over thirty years old now – and it was regarded as highly successful. The men found it a convenient way of keeping us, and given we had to be chained, it was convenient for us too, easy to move around and unless you seriously struggled against the restraint, not in any way uncomfortable, and indeed comforting, really, to know that whatever else happened, you would always be securely fastened to the rails.
I turned into the last street, to be suddenly confronted with the face of one of the women I sought: Number 46, Catriona. The sight caused me to stop suddenly, but fortunately Catriona did not notice. She was not standing in the street, but leaning over the balustrade that encircled the veranda of the first apartment in the block, thoroughly engrossed in being fucked from behind, the man servicing her being a tall, dark man of about her age, by the name of Dave. What’s more, the couple were not alone. Immediately next to Catriona, and in the same position as her, and receiving similar attention, was another dark girl, Claire, one of Dave’s pledged women, she being attended to by a shorter, balding man called Bill, whose apartment this was.
It was not the sex that surprised me: the site of sex in public, or indeed in a communal situation such as I was now witnessing, was not an unusual thing in The Settlement, and I’d seen it and participated in it often enough. Of course I knew from my mother something of the old days, but those were long gone, and even my mother would admit that the way in which sex was viewed in The Settlement, as a life-enhancing and fun activity, to be freely indulged without shame or unnecessary attachment, was probably a good thing. But standing and watching was not usual (though a girl who had gone without for days or weeks might not be able to help herself) so I pulled myself together and moved on towards home.
At least I knew where to start looking for clues to my mystery.
“Nnnggh, nnnghggh, ngh!” I tried to explain.
“Ngh?” was Andrea’s puzzled, incoherent response.
I jerked at my wrist bonds in frustration. But it was no good: we remained gagged, and like all our other bonds, our gags were perfectly adapted to their purpose. We could grunt enough for routine activities such as washing each other, but proper communication was simply impossible. I considered trying to write messages: we had no pen and paper in our cage, but there was in the office at the gate of our quarters, and I paid a couple of visits there wondering if I could purloin some. But of course I could not: how would I carry it, without being instantly noticed? Being kept naked was more than about being respectful to men, it was also another layer in the security to which we were all helplessly subject.
So, however desperate I was to discuss my investigations with my cagies, it would have to wait until our gags were removed, and there had been no indication whatsoever of when that might be. It was doubly frustrating, because I also had a plan to further my detective work, but it needed me to be able to interview someone – Number 53, Joanna – who lived in the apartment with Bill and might know something about what had gone on, but who was also someone whom I regarded as a friend. But interviewing was even more out of the question than gossiping with Irene and Andrea, until such time as a man elected to free my mouth.
In the meantime, there was just work, which now dragged on for endless hours of digging, since there was no chance of conversation to help pass the time. Digging, till our neck chains stretched tight, and then back into our handcuffs and home for another night of silent brooding.
They even found a separate area for the four of us to work, so we did not even have the option of listening to the other girls as we scraped away: the only voices we heard were those of our male supervisors, when they changed shift. Even this was different. In the normal work line, the men exchanged banter with us, on terms that were roughly equal, given that we were naked and in chains and the men were free and clothed. But we four could not talk, so the banter was now entirely male oriented, and sometimes it felt that our inability to speak was assumed also to mean we could not hear what they said. Certainly they never seemed to bother even greeting us.
“All OK,” said Steven, a forty-ish, fairish man, one day, arriving to take over. “No escape attempts?”
“Ha!” sniggered his predecessor, Rich, a much younger man, a contemporary of Irene’s, “of course not. They aren’t going to escape, are they?”
Irene and I exchanged mute glances, and kept digging.
“Not so long as you keep thinking they might,” answered Steven. “Clever things, women. If there is a way to get free, they’ll find it. You need to always be vigilant.”
We glanced at each other again, our eyes smiling. At least they were indicating respect for our intelligence, even if they were also attributing us superhuman powers, that we might somehow break free from our restraints. For a moment there was silence, though I could feel male eyes studying my exposed flesh. They were behind us, so they had a pretty good view of us as we worked on our hands and knees.
“Even if they could, they wouldn’t,” said Rich, after a minute or two. He carried on: “I know you remember a time when girls were free, but the world has changed. Modern women need chains, and they know it as well as we do.”
At this remark, I just kept working, not even daring to glance at my cagies. However, Rich’s view was definitely the orthodox position in The Settlement, and the only one ever expressed in public. But perhaps, I reflected, scraping at another clod of earth, it was true. Whilst living in bondage was occasionally frustrating, I certainly did not go through my days resenting the security to which I was subject. Well, not apart from my gag, anyway. That I wanted off as soon as I could, but my handcuffs and fetters I was quite used to, and it would have felt very strange indeed not to be tethered, I was sure. But, fortunately, that was not a prospect I was ever likely to have to face.
Freedom, when it came, was just as unexpected and unexplained as being gagged in the first place: one day, after about three weeks, Martin, the chain smith, just appeared at our workplace at the end of a shift and unlocked the mouth bonds, taking them away with him. We looked at each other, startled and grateful, and then headed direct to 175's for a celebratory drink.
It was there, of course, that the long delayed discussion on why we were gagged in the first place happened – and I had to own up to snooping around the stores.
“What was that to do with us though?” quizzed Andrea.
“Nothing, of course, except that you’re my cagies, so I guess they assume we do things together.”
“Huh,” said the brunette.
“But anyway,” said Lori, “what did you find out? You wouldn’t have got close anyway, would you?”
“Of course not,” I said. “The rails were well bolted off. But something was up – why else would I have been pounced on so quickly by the leader’s assistants.” And I went on to tell the story of the overheard conversation with the three older women, and my searching amongst the men’s apartments. “That’s what I’m going to do next,” I said. “Talk to Joanna.”
“No you aren’t,” said Lori. “You’re not going to do anything that risks getting us gagged again. Just leave it. Nothing’s going on.”
“That’s right!” chorused the other two.
So life continued in its normal routine – work, meals, sleep, and plenty of time to relax and socialize in between. I even had a couple of actual dates with Rory – not the sort where he just fucked me over his office table, but the sort where he took me to dinner, unlocked my handcuffs for me to eat, made conversation with me on equal terms and even invited me back to his apartment afterwards. The first time I didn’t go – you had to be wary of going into a man’s apartment, really, as once you were there you were absolutely subject to his will – but the second time I did, and I was rewarded with a whole night spent in the man’s bed, and a very enjoyable morning lounging around with my hands free.
But I was still curious about the mystery – I am a curious girl, I guess – and whilst in deference to my cagies’ comments, I did not seek out Joanna, I was very pleased when I encountered her in the course of one of the casual domestic duties that all girls are expected to do a day of every now and then as a contribution to the community economics.
Our duty was in The Pit, which is the below-ground facility where the men’s garments and other fabrics are washed and repaired. It is below ground for added security, given that it is a place where women come into close contact with clothes: the only access is via a lift, fitted with its own length of girl-rail, and we are checked in and out at the top, ensuring that no contraband can be removed, with the lift being kept at the top of its shaft most of the time, so there is no way to leave until the door man sends it down.
The laundry pit has three permanent staff, and since their job is mainly organization and supervision, they keep their handcuffs locked on as normal, but the actual labouring needs more freedom than that, so the rest of us wear work-manacles, linking our wrists together in front of our bodies. This gives us scope to do the work, but is enough security to ensure we can never try on any of the men’s clothes that pass through.
Joanna and I ended up seated next to each other in the sewing room, patching up men’s jeans and shorts (new ones were not really available, so make do and mend was the order of the day in The Settlement). At first we worked in companionable silence, our wrist chains rattling as we stitched, but then we got chatting and after a while I dared to mention the scene I’d witnessed those weeks ago, when Catriona and Claire had been at Bill’s apartment.
Joanna stopped her work, and turned towards me, as if somehow sizing me up. “It’s a little social gathering we have now and again,” she said, at last. “Invited guests only. But you know you’ve been on their list of possibles for a while, and I can see why, Millie. Why not come back with me after this and discuss it?”
After this somewhat puzzling statement, Joanna said no more until our shift was over, at which point, standing up, she said: “Coming then?”
We waited in line to exit The Pit (the lift takes only one girl at once, and then, at the top, each of us has her work manacles removed and her handcuffs restored and checked before being allowed out through a girl-rail bolt). At last, however, we were in the open, and we made our way along the appropriate girl-rails towards Bill’s apartment.
Joanna seemed quite distant, striding along in front, her fetters rattling. Eventually, on a stretch of rail where we were alone, she looked over her shoulder and said: “Don’t you think it’s funny, sometimes, fixing clothes when you never get to wear any?”
“No, not really,” I said, and I didn’t. The men needed clothes for the kind of work they did. For girls like me, being nude was no more of an issue than being kept chained. It was just the way it was. Now. But perhaps it was different for Joanna: “You’re old enough to remember women’s clothes, aren’t you, Joanna?” I asked. “Are you missing those days?”
“Not really,” she laughed. “It’s all so long ago. Just occasionally.”
We arrived at Bill’s place, and climbing onto the veranda, Joanna’s mood seemed to change. She smiled down at me, and I studied her a minute, her exposed flesh, the securely locked steel rings that imprisoned it. She did not look at all like she was missing the old days. She looked like a Settlement girl should look, proud but feminine, confined but exposed, helpless but happy.
“Come in,” she said. “The bolt’s not on.” All men’s apartments had a non-return bolt on the girl-rail at the door, which could be set to allow women in but not out. I followed her, relieved that what she said was true and the bolt did not spring. Bill was not there; neither was anyone else. As we went in, I noticed that the next-door apartment was one of those that were now uninhabited, its door closed and windows shuttered. Was it like that before? I had not noticed, but then I had been taken up with the activities on Bill’s veranda.
“I’ll get us some juice,” said Joanna. “We can sit on the veranda, or in my cage if you prefer.” It would not of course be right to use Bill’s sofa when he was not here. I watched the older woman get the juice, working of course with her hands behind her back. She managed easily, long used to living in handcuffs, but it still took time, and I used the opportunity to look around the apartment, my eyes lighting on a piece of art fastened to the wall above the seating area.
It was a neatly crafted, polished steel frame, retaining a sheet of glass, behind which, on a black background, was carefully mounted a triangular piece of cloth, white, about thirty centimetres across, the triangle pointing down. Curious as to what it was, I moved closer, before realizing that whatever it was was too far from the girl-rail for me to get a very good look. My tether pulled on my neck: I could not have touched the picture, even if I had had my wrists freed.
“Do you like them?” asked Joanna, not breaking off what she was doing.
“What is it?” I asked, puzzled, wheels clicking in my brain.
“Can you see there are two layers of cloth?” questioned the older woman? “Stitched so there is a hole at the top and two holes at the bottom?”
“Oh Mother Earth!” I exclaimed, as it dawned on me. “They’re panties, aren’t they? Women’s panties!” I suddenly felt excitement pricking at my loins, and sweat under my collar and cuffs. I jerked my shackled hands this way and that behind me. Dark imaginings within me pictured that white fabric against my flesh. Covering me.
“Don’t worry,” laughed Joanna, “They’re well out of our reach.”
“How did you get them? I asked, completely flustered. “They’re contraband, surely?”
“Of course. But I didn’t get them. Bill did. I’ve never touched them. Like I said, they are well out of reach.”
“They’re not, I mean, they weren’t yours?”
“No. They came from another girl who was wearing them just before she entered the community. I know who, but I won’t say. But I remember wearing ones like that. I dream about it sometimes.” She had come over to me, and stood looking at the panties, smiling.
I tried to examine my own feelings. Why was I so flushed? It was not as if I would ever get to wear such things. It was not as if I actually wanted to. I had never spent time wanting to wear clothes. But then again, I had never so much as imagined the possibility of doing so. I tried to imagine a world where women were like men, and wore clothes – not just panties, but shorts, jeans even, and T-shirts. Like men.
I was conscious of Joanna looking at me, smiling. Nervously I pulled at my cuffs, sensing the feeling of absolute restraint they gave me.
“Do you think,” asked Joanna, “that you would like to wear such things?”
I tried to regain my composure. I thought of Mum, but what came through was my years of education in The Settlement: “Of course not!” I cried. “I’m a girl. I can’t wear clothes. It would… it would be…”
“Yes, of course. Disrespectful.”
“Because… because women, the female body..?” I was floundering. Hearing Mum’s voice in my head again.
“Because men want us naked, because they find it sexy? Just like keeping us in chains is sexy?”
“Well… yes.” Of course. I knew this was true. We all did, really. We were completely subject to men, and the men liked it that way. But we liked it too, didn’t we? It was… feminine. It made us free to be women. Women were meant to be nude. Everyone knew it, just like we were meant to live chained.
Joanna seemed to read my mind. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m not trying to corrupt you. The founders of The Settlement understood a thing or two about women, and what makes us happy, far more in the old world that I just remember. The only point I’m making is this: women’s clothes don’t always have to be about hiding our bodies from men. They can be about presenting them to men. Panties like that can be very sexy. Some men used to like them. So long as they could always take them off you when they wanted.”
“You mean, like a game? A tease?”
“Yes, sort of.”
“And Bill?” Wheels turned in my mind.
“Yes, Bill liked that. And he’d like to do it again, if he could. That’s why he made that picture. Anyway, come on, let’s get our juice.”
We knelt on the veranda, enjoying the evening sun, bending forward to suck our juice through our straws. I was calmer, but still affected by what I had seen.
Changing the subject, Joanna said: “So, anyhow, this social gathering. Dave and Bill were minded to invite some younger women along.”
I thought of the scene I’d witnessed the other day – Catriona and Claire being fucked by the two men in question. No doubt they wanted some younger girl flesh to play with. “So I assume it’s going to involve sex?” I asked.
“Well, yes, of course,” Joanna replied. “This is The Settlement. Doesn’t everything involve sex? But it’s sociable and fun. Anyway, come and see. You’ll get an invitation soon.”
That night, I lay awake in my cage, tossing and turning. My three companions were dead to the world, snoring away, the moonlight glinting on their shackles and casting shadows of the cage bars across their naked flesh. But I was still thinking about my meeting with Joanna, the panties in the frame, and the fact that I had got no further, really with my mystery, either: the conversation had simply not gone in that direction.
At last, with a rattle of my chains, I sat up on the bed. I sat quite naturally, my thighs spread apart, the way I and all Settlement girls were trained to position ourselves, so that our cunts were respectfully displayed for men to admire, if they wished, as was their natural desire and their right. We always sat like this, even if no men were around – why, after all, would we not? It felt quite proper. Besides, we were always needing to attract male attention in that department, since we were not ever allowed to touch our cunts ourselves.
Never mind cover them. The idea of those panties in Bill’s frame, of panties in general kept coming back into my head – the idea of wearing them, and of being caught wearing them, which brought me out in a cold sweat. I did not want to be disloyal to my community. Yet the thought…
Would, I pondered, Settlement life ever change? Would there ever come a time when Settlement girls were allowed to wear such things, as women had in former times? Or even to live without chains? But no, surely not. That world was gone, destroyed, and against all the odds, The Settlement had rebuilt human society, making it strong and successful. But it had done so on the basis of a new way of living in which female nudity and bondage played a central part, and over the years vast resources of materials, time and ingenuity had gone into developing the community on this basis. There was no way that was going to change now.
I lay back down and made myself comfortable, lying on my side, so as not to lean on my handcuffs.
Days passed, there was no sign of any invitation of the kind Joanna had mentioned and mostly I stopped thinking of it, or indeed of my mystery or anything other than normal routine. Only occasionally did I find myself musing on the possibility or impossibility of Settlement life changing, and then not for very long: the steel rings locked around my ankles, wrists and neck, and the constant pull of my tether chain were more than enough to remind me of the sheer unlikeliness of any variation in my life. There was, however, an increasing distraction in the form of someone whose life was going to change: my sister, Esme. Her eighteenth birthday was now only days away, and that, of course, was an important rite of passage for any Settlement female, the formal transition to adulthood, and all that went with it.
It is usual for these events to be properly celebrated in the community, and as it happened, there were three other girls and a boy who were all reaching the same milestone within a week, so a joint party was being planned. Esme, coming through to the main community every day in her red-labelled collar, was fully involved in the organization, as, of course were Mum and I. There was going to be a female only gathering at 175’s at lunchtime, before a mixed event in the women’s dining hall later in the evening – one of those rare occasions when, with suitable precautions, girls are allowed out after the Evening Bell.
We spent hours poring over plans and arranging catering, and then when Esme was not around, we planned the various tributes we would offer between us.
It was an exciting time for Esme, but it was a scary one too. Of course, like all of us raised in the Family Compound, my sister had long been aware that she was not just a resident, but a prisoner of the community, but she was also intelligent enough to understand that knowing she was a prisoner, and being permanently attached to the girl-rails were two different things.
“I suppose I should just wait,” she said to me, one time, as we sat together on a bench in the woodlands. “But I can’t help wondering what it will feel like, knowing I can’t go back to the compound, and have my cuffs off when I want.”
I looked at her: she was slimmer than me, a little, and fairer. She looked good. She looked normal, sitting there, knees spread, nude except for her chains. But that was the only way I ever saw women, so it was normal.
“Have you thought of making a run for it, while you can?” I asked, suddenly. “While you can still have your tether undone?” Had I ever thought of that, when I was seventeen? I don’t think I had. I just accepted things as they were.
“Mum asked me much the same,” my sister answered. “And we discussed it, the other girls and I. But how could we? The Family Compound has massive walls, and there are always men on guard. And if we got over them, we’d be in the community proper, and instantly noticed."
“You can’t somehow get out with your tether unlocked?” I knew the answer.
“Of course not. Nor my hands. You know the checking routine. We’re all prisoners, Millie, always have been. There’s no escape.” She clinked her handcuffs meaningfully. “Anyway, like you said before, we’re going to be happy here. No need to escape, even if we could.”
“Come on,” I said. “Let’s head back down.”
“I can go alone,” Esme replied. “You go on up to the quarters.”
“It’s OK,” I smiled. “I’m going to Rory’s. It’s on the way.”
Weeks had passed since thought of refusing any of Rory’s invitations to go back to his apartment: he had never, in practice, prevented me leaving again the next day, or made me do anything I didn’t want, and increasingly, as well as chatting to him and serving him sexually, I enjoyed keeping house for him; in fact it was a real turn-on. Off we rattled down the girl-rail, through the main campus and along the row that led towards the Family Compound, past the rows of apartments where Rory lived.
“Will he be there?” Esme asked, when we got to the girl-rail junction I would have to take to get to his place. “Could I come and see the apartment?”
“It’s early for him,” was my answer, “but the bolt might be on. You’d better not come in without checking.”
Although he had never prevented me leaving for work in the morning, Rory, along with most men who had regular girlfriends, did quite often leave his apartment girl-rails adjusted to let me in but not out again in the evening. Since I wanted to be there, it made no difference to me, but it was a risk for casual visitors who might get locked inside.
We rattled and jangled up the steps to the veranda, and I called out: “Rory, Sir!” There was no answer. As I expected, he was not yet back from his duty.
“Where does he work?” asked Esme. “What does he do?”
I looked at her. She could be slow, sometimes. “What do all the men do, apart from Mitch and a few of the seniors? He guards women. He supervises work gangs who need their cuffs off and so on.”
“Oh,” said Esme.
But what I said was true. Such was the population balance in The Settlement now that almost all the practical work was done by nude, chained women, with the men having little time to do anything other than act as the jailers needed to keep us with the security the community demanded. Fortunately, it was a job that the men seemed to find congenial, but even so, shortage of male supervision was becoming something of a problem, with experiments using electronic systems, developed from salvaged, old-world technology under-way to see to what extent female bondage could be automated.
“So,” Esme said, moving on: “Where is the bolt. I can’t see it.”
“Ah, well,” I said. “That’s the thing. It’s a new design. Invisible from above the rail.”
The old type were quite obvious, metal jaws that closed right across the rail, but these were sprung clamps of some sort, which came close enough to prevent the ball at the end of a girl’s tether passing through against the spring, but not close enough to see. If you’d had a piece of bent wire or some such, it might have been possible to poke it into the girl-rail and test the setting, but bits of bent wire were contraband, and not to be found within the reach of unsupervised women.
“So what do you do? Peep at the lever?” She meant the bolt operating lever, which was positioned in the corner of the apartment, well away from any girl-rail, but which could be seen by peeping carefully round the door with ones tether still on the outside of the bolt.
“It makes no difference. The lever returns to the same position whichever way the bolt is set. There’s only one way to tell, and that’s to try it.”
“But…” The truth, or rather another part of Settlement girl truth, began to dawn on Esme. “But…” she stammered again, and tugged this way and that at her handcuffs.
“I mean… so you’re just going to go in, and if it clicks you’ll be locked in until he lets you out?”
“Yes, sure. It’s quite fun, wondering if it will click.” It was, too; another turn-on for me.
“But you can’t undo it.”
“No. Of course not. I can’t undo any of my chains, can I?”
Esme looked at me, her face betraying a range of emotions. “How…” she started, before trailing off.
“Look, Esme,” I reassured, “perhaps it is one of those things you’ll only understand next month, but it’s like, we have no control. We might be in there, or out here on the veranda, or in the Family Compound, but we can’t get free, so either we stress about that or we just trust. And believe me, it’s easier just to trust. Rory might want me locked in tonight, or he might not, but either way nothing bad will happen.”
With that, I strode through the man’s door – to no effect. The bolt was, actually, open for once. I giggled, and so did Esme, following me in, looking around.
“He has a frame!” she said, lighting on the piece of furniture in the corner closest to the girl-cages. It was much like the one in which I had waited with Irene at the Smithy, a convenient way of keeping a woman bent over with her holes exposed. Many men had them in their apartments – Dad had one, but it had never seemed polite to look too closely at it. If he was in the habit of locking Mum in it, she had never said. Rory’s, like the one in the Smithy, had space for two girls side by side.
“Has he used it on you?” asked Esme, deeply curious. “What’s it like?”
“Actually, he hasn’t, yet.” I smirked. “Though I’ve been locked in other ones for several hours and been fucked in them a couple of times. But you know you’ll find out soon enough.”
Once she was permanently chained, my sister would lose the red label from her collar, signalling the start of many sexual adventures. Frames like this would only be part of it – and newly-of-age girls were never short of offers. To which she was evidently looking forward, just as I remembered.
“Well,” I said, after watching Esme stare around the apartment a little longer, “what now? I’m going to start cooking.”
“What, with your handcuffs on?”
Like I said, Esme could be slow sometimes. “Well no,” I responded, in my finest sarcastic voice, “I thought I’d just take them off for a bit.”
“Oh, sorry,” she said, looking crestfallen. “I forgot.”
Exasperated, I pulled the bonds in question to the side, so my sister could see them. They retained, of course, their unslippable, unbreakable grip of my wrists: I could reach no further than my hip. “This is big-girl world, Esme. These babies stay locked on. I don’t get a choice about that. Weren’t you listening in school?”
The Settlement’s education programme for teenage girls not unnaturally included substantial time devoted to the kind of life the girls could expect to lead as adults in the community and the various skills they would need, not least the carrying out of basic tasks, domestic or otherwise, with your hands locked behind you. In my last two years of schooling, the girls had all spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings handcuffed, practising all sorts of activities and coping strategies, learning from adult female teachers who had patiently demonstrated their own abilities whilst constantly reminding us that we would not have an option of doing things any other way. Esme looked so sad that I relented. I dragged my tether over and squeezed up to her, reaching and touching her cuffed hands. “It’s OK love. I used to forget, too.”
“How will I ever get used to it?” she asked.
“You will, because you’ll have no choice,” I answered, focusing on being realistic.
By the time Rory got home, Esme was long gone and, wrist-bonds notwithstanding, I’d finished preparing an evening meal. But I did get my cuffs removed to eat it, and then to clean up afterwards. Soon, I was clearing away dinner plates and wiping the surfaces, conscious all the time of Rory’s eyes on my flesh – and my flesh responded all on her own: I was sure in a minute I’d be juicing down my legs.
“That’s enough, Millie,” said the man, at last, putting me out of my misery. “Put your handcuffs back on and come to bed.”
Re-manacled, I made my way around the girl-rail to the man’s bed and climbed up, working my way astride his recumbent form. I rubbed myself against him for a bit, and then gradually impaled myself on his cock.
Afterwards, we cuddled together, Rory still on his back, me nuzzling in to his shoulder. He dozed, I played a bit with my handcuffs and thought, my mind running over my recent conversations with Joanna, with her panty art work, and my sister, wondering about her approaching adulthood. What would it be like, I found myself wondering, to have sex with my hands free for once? Surely it could not be much of a security risk? I would still be tethered, and it was not as if illicit masturbation was going to be an issue in the middle of making love to a man.
“What?” said Rory, opening his eyes, and disturbing my thoughts.
“You’re pulling and twisting at your handcuffs. It’s disturbing. They won’t come off, you know.”
I knelt up, my other chains contributing to the rattle: “They’ll come off if you unlock them, Sir,” I said. “I was just wondering if you ever would, you know, for lovemaking.”
“Why would I do that?” said Rory. “You don’t need hands for that.” He rested his hand on my thigh, close to the top.
“Mmm…I could do things for you, with my hands.”
“You do things anyway,” he smiled. He was hard again, his hands on my hips, pulling me towards him.
“Please, Sir!” I gasped, tugging again at my manacles. I glanced at Rory’s key, on its braid, lying on his bedside table. But it would do me no good: even if I could get to it, it was impossible to use such key on handcuffs you were actually wearing – that was part of the design of Settlement women’s chains.
But it would be the work of an instant for him to unlock me, if only he chose: “Please! Sir!” I asked again. I could not resist him, not here in his apartment, but I moved as slowly as I dared towards his body.
But clearly Rory was not for using the key: “I’m not unchaining you, Millie,” he said. “I like you handcuffed. You might as well ask me to let you wear clothes.”
He rolled me over, and pumped me mercilessly for what seemed like hours, during which time I was at least partially distracted by the implications of this last remark. Then, when at last he came, he rolled pretty much straight off me.
“Right, thanks,” he said, somewhat curtly. “Into your cage now.”
I stared – appalled and disappointed. Surely there would be more cuddling? It was quite early, not sleep time, certainly. But no, Rory seemed determined, and of course I still had no right to resist. He escorted me over and slammed the door behind me. The locks engaged, imprisoning me. “Are you going to bed, Sir?” I dared to ask through the bars.
“Not yet, no. I am going to make some tea.” Then as an afterthought: “Would you like something?”
Tea was not a sensible idea: I was still handcuffed, and being in the cage, it was not reasonable to expect Rory to feed it to me. “Water, please, Sir,” I asked, demurely, and I watched while he got it, putting it into one of the sort of cups kept for women, with a lid and a straw. By the time be brought it back, I was already kneeling on the floor of the cage, so I could bend and suck from the straw.
“Sir,” I started, determined to clear the air, or something, “I am sorry if I offended you. I meant no disrespect.”
“Really? It sounded to me like you were questioning my decision about your security.”
“No Sir,” I lied. “Of course not.” I let my eyes drop submissively, and spread my legs a little further apart.
“You get your hands freed a lot here, Millie,” he went on. “Perhaps too much. Remember you are supposed to be cuffed.”
“I know, Sir. Being freed is a privilege, not a right.”
He left me then, locked in the cage, watching through the bars as he pottered about doing various chores. Finally, he went outside, I had no idea where – but of course he was a man. He was free to come and go as he pleased, and to keep me imprisoned as he pleased, too. I reflected on what he had said, and my situation. But it was true, I had had my hands freed a lot in his company – for hours at a time, most days I had been with him. I should be content. After all, that was all there was, for the rest of my life.
Rory did not come back, so eventually I decided to go to bed; I dragged my neck chain round the girl-rail in the cage, lay down on the thin mattress and settled to sleep, reflecting that just as I had never made love without having my hands fastened behind my back, I had never, at least as an adult, slept without handcuffs either.
Although I was aware of some fitful dreams, I did not awake until the opening of Rory’s apartment door in the morning let in a shaft of bright sunlight. The rays did not fall directly into my cage, of course – the architecture of all girl-cages in men’s apartments was specifically arranged to prevent this – but it was still bright enough to wake me. My bonds rattled as I sat up and stretched.
“She’s awake, Rory, Sir!” The girl’s voice came as a shock. Yet there she was, outside the cage: a brunette, of a firm but shapely figure, Number 912, Sarah. She was some years older than me, older than Rory, too. He must have brought her in in the night. What was more, her hands were free, her arms dangling by her side, the broad tan line around her wrists plain to see. “Hello, Millie,” she smiled. “Sleep well?”
I immediately felt flushed with anger and jealousy. I was having a relationship with Rory, wasn’t I? Yet here was this other girl – this very attractive other girl – and she was wandering around his apartment with her hands unchained while I was locked in this cage. Bastard. But what could I do? Of course there was nothing physical I could do, for my confinement remained absolute, but even if I could have magically broken free of cage and bonds, there was nothing I could legally do either. Settlement men could bring as many girls as they wanted into their apartments, and do what they liked with them once they were there. I tried to calm down. After all, Sarah was really no freer than I was – she was still fettered and tethered, and the bolt at Rory’s apartment door would obviously be set to prevent her leaving the building; the man would not have undone her handcuffs without taking this precaution. No, she was just another girl, taking advantage of an opportunity for a fucking and some cuff-free time while she could.
“Give her some breakfast!” came Rory’s voice from the bathroom over the other side of the apartment.
Sarah did just that, but of course she could no more open my cage than I could, so she did it by passing pastries through the bars. She knelt just outside while I lapped up the pieces of food, and then, reaching a hand between the bars, held a cup for me to drink water.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, somewhat suspiciously. But the other girl did not seem inclined to gloat at her conquest of my man. In fact she was quite apologetic:
“Sorry,” she said. “I did not mean to intrude. I was, well, you know. I was in the Triangle.”
The Triangle was one of the mixed social areas, and one where it was universally accepted that a girl, if asked by a man, was not at liberty to say no to anything he asked. Girls went there when they were really desperate for attention.
“It’s OK,” I mellowed. “You’ve not done anything wrong.”
She smiled: “You clearly have though. You’ve made him cross. What did you do?”
“Ha! I just asked if I could have my hands free for sex,” I said. “But he’s not into that idea.” I looked at the brunette, her hands, free of her bonds, resting on her spread thighs. “Did you…”
“Mother Earth, no, of course not. Never. He unlocked me when I woke up.”
Rory emerged from his bathroom and Sarah stood up: “Sir,” she said, “I should really go to work, if you will allow me.”
The man looked grim: “I want to fuck you one more time, first, girl,” he said.
He left me locked in the cage, unable to stop myself watching. My only consolation was that he made sure that Sarah’s wrists were once again firmly chained behind her back before he used her body.
I was upset and angry, so I was not bothered that Rory did not speak to me before he went out. But afterwards, of course, I was alone in the cage. I reflected for a moment on this particular aspect of the female security arrangements in my community, which perhaps I had always taken for granted. My chains had come to me only in my teens, but at least at night I had been locked behind the bars of a cage pretty much as long as I could remember. Perhaps it was necessary for younger girls, who had no other restraint, but why for adult women, given we were in any case helplessly fastened to the girl-rails? The bolt mechanism at Rory’s door was quite enough to keep me inside, if that is what he wanted.
Another thing: when caged, we were always handcuffed as well. Could we not, when behind bars, be given more freedom to use our arms, without even the slightest impact on our overall security? But no, that was not the way it worked in The Settlement either.
I looked around. These cages in men’s apartments were all the same – and really not that different to any of the hundreds of others around the community. Three walls of blank stone, and one of close-set steel bars. One door, in the bars, held shut with a massive lock that did not even have a keyhole on the inside – indeed, the back of the lock was protected with a large steel plate that meant that, when handcuffed, there was no way you could reach the outside keyhole even by reaching through the bars. Rory could have given me the key and it would not have helped me at all. There is no way out of a Settlement girl-cage, unless a man elects to open it for you – and when he does that is entirely for him. Some pledged women – those who had agreed to devote their lives to one man alone – were, I understood, kept more or less permanently caged, being let out only for sex, and there is a widely repeated story of a man, now dead, who went mad and tried to wall a woman up in a cage.
Madness aside, I reflected, men definitely enjoyed keeping us girls the way they did in The Settlement. Enjoy having total power over us. After all, managing all our security was quite inconvenient for them at times. But did having all that power make the men feel masculine? I could imagine that it did, certainly.
Well, whatever, there was no way out of this cage, and no way to communicate with the outside world. There were no windows, and no direct view out of any of those in the rest of the apartment, and no way to attract attention from anyone outside. There is also precious little entertainment inside: some girls keep books and stuff, but in this cage there was just the bed mat, the sink and the toilet.
I could be in here for hours, days or weeks, with nothing to do but wait.
It was several hours before my solitary confinement was disturbed, and then not by the apartment’s owner returning but by the rattle of a woman’s chains. Fetters and tether scraped on the veranda outside the apartment, and then there was a fumbling as a securely handcuffed girl wrestled briefly with the doorknob. The apartment door swung open, revealing that the particular chains I had heard were locked onto Sarah, Rory’s conquest from the previous night. She followed the girl-rails around the room, coming up to the bars.
“Hi,” I said, looking at her.
“Hi. Are you OK?” Sarah asked.
“I’ve been worse. Hungry, though. Can you get me some lunch?”
“In a minute. I’ve a message.”
“No actually. Though of course he gave me permission to bring it. It’s from Bill.”
Oh. So this was it.
“An invitation. To his apartment, at four o’clock.”
The invitation. The social gathering for which I was on the list. “Right.” I could not help looking at the bars behind which I was confined. No words were necessary. I was locked in a cage.
“Sorry,” said Sarah. “I’ve no idea if he intends to let you out.”
Of course she didn’t. Men did not have to tell women such things.
Sarah went over to the kitchen area, and began to hunt for food which she could prepare and I could eat without needing our wrists to be freed from their restraints. I knelt on the floor and watched as she twisted her hands from hip to hip. Magnificent hips, too. I pondered: Sarah was a very sexy woman. I tried to imagine what a man would feel, watching a manacled girl work in this way – knowing I could release her hands if I wanted. Would I want? Would it be sexy to keep her locked up? Mother earth, of course it would. It was sexy now, to me: I could feel my pussy beginning to get all wet.
Then there was Bill’s invitation. What was that all about? Of course, I remembered, Joanna had said it involved sex, because everything involved sex. Well, I liked sex, but would I get to go? Not unless Rory decided to free me.
I articulated the thought exactly like that: ‘free me,’ but then it occurred to me that it was not what I meant. I meant ‘let me out of the cage.’ Of course he would not free me, because I would still be tethered and chained. I would always be tethered and chained, and I would never be free, because I was female, and in the modern world, females, or at least the human ones, did not get to be free.
Lunch, when it came to me, manoeuvred carefully between the cage bars, was tasty and welcome, but then Sarah had to go, leaving me once again alone with my thoughts, and it seemed that whichever way I tried to turn those thoughts, they came back to one thing: I was bloody horny.
I was bloody horny, and I knew why: everything in The Settlement involved sex. Everything was about sex, because this was a world that celebrated the essential difference between male and female, reinforcing our natural desires, making men powerful and free, and making women like me helpless and controlled. Of course, there was a rational part of my brain that rebelled against this, said I was equal to men, and caused me to tug this way and that, completely futilely, at my wrist bonds, but the rest of me, my flesh, and the deep, woman part of my psyche, did not care, they just revelled in femininity, in powerless confinement at a man’s pleasure.
For a little while I knelt there, thighs spread apart, still conscious of the itch deep inside my cunt and the tingling in my nipples, but sufficiently in control to know that however much I might wish to respond to these feelings, there was actually nothing much I could do, because I was chained in such a way as to specifically prevent me touching myself where I wanted. But it is one thing to know this rationally, and quite another to accept it physically, so within half an hour, after a massively pointless search of the cage for anything that might help me, I was heaving at my tether chain between my legs and rubbing my nipples on the bed mat, the walls, the cage bars, anything that might give stimulation, however inadequate, and in between times, of course, heaving my cuffs from hip to hip in the fantastical notion that they might somehow just slip off or break open, or just magically let me reach around the front. I even spent some time trying to slide my cuffs down past my backside. If only I could do this I could step through them and get my arms in front of me.
It was impossible of course: my rump was too big, or the link joining the wrist cuffs too short; my hands stayed out of the way, behind my back, just as the chain smiths had intended, and the other things I did with my tether and so on only served to make my arousal worse, and not in any way to relieve it.
I was quite flushed when Rory eventually came in, my hair, which had been left loose, and which I could not reach to brush out of the way, straggling all over the place. I thought the man was going to ignore me, but in fact he was just depositing some papers on the table. Then he came over to my cage. I was kneeling up, carefully positioned so that my cunt was directly between two adjacent bars, giving him the best possible view of my womanhood, offering myself.
“Hello, Millie,” said the man, looking. “I understand you have an invitation to Bill’s.”
So he did know. “Yes, Sir.” Nothing to add, I just smiled and tried to look respectful.
“You want to go?”
“If you permit it, Sir.” There was nothing that required him to let me out of his apartment, given I’d willingly gone in.
“Let’s see how well you do first,” he said, dropping his shorts and pushing his cock through the bars adjacent to my face. Well, of course, I can do blow jobs. We are all taught the skill in relationship class anyway, but I seem to have a natural gift. I spread my lips around Rory’s equipment, and began to work my magic. Not that it helped my own needs: I was no less horny than before, and now I was required to devote myself entirely to stimulating a man, knowing that however deep I sucked, I really wanted him (or by this stage, any man) in another hole. But of course my inner woman found the very helplessness of that situation inspiring – serving, giving pleasure, with no expectation of receiving any.
I did my usual, working him towards a climax, then easing off, keeping him going on and on, but after a while he reached through the bars, and, grabbing a handful of hair, yanked my head onto him and pumped for a bit, before finally pulling out and coming all over my face and tits.
Then, with no words at all, he unlocked the cage and almost dragged me out into the street, slamming the apartment door behind me.
I stood in the row, between the apartments, wondering for a minute what had happened.
Then a few things started to dawn on me. One, I was free, in the Settlement sense of being free from Rory’s or any other immediate male authority, free from cages or girl-rail bolts. I was free to go anywhere I wanted provided it was on the girl-rail system, and free to do anything I wanted provided I could do it in fetters and handcuffs. So I could go to Bill’s. But two, I was utterly dishevelled. I had been pretty sweaty and juicy from my afternoon of horny thoughts and futile struggles, and then Rory’s attention had made my already matted hair even worse, and obvious cum stains on my breasts, and probably on my face too, judging by the feel of it. I really needed a shower, ideally with my handcuffs off, before I went socializing, and ideally I would have spent time doing make-up and polishing my manacles, for an occasion like this. But three, it was late, nearly dark. I would be really struggling to make it back to my own quarters before the Evening Bell went, and if I was not locked up by then, I would be in trouble. Even if I did make it back, I would certainly not get out and back down here to Bill’s again tonight.
And four, I was still ridiculously horny. My cunt ached for attention. Which she definitely would not get if I were locked in the Women’s Quarters for the night. Nothing for it to but to go straight to Bill’s, and apologize for my appearance, and somehow get myself laid. I twisted until my tether was over my shoulder, took it in my hands and set off down the girl-rail.
“Millie!” exclaimed Bill, seeing me in his doorway, “You’re late. The party’s started.” He looked me up and down, clearly noting the state I was in: “But you look like you’ve been having fun.”
“Well, come on in, then, if you want. But the bolt is on. If you come in you’ll be staying.”
I thought back to that lunchtime, when, watching Sarah, I had pondered whether if I were a man I would want to keep women in chains. Now the thought in my mind was how utterly matter-of-fact men were about the security arrangements to which we were always subject. But then again, why would they not be? It was just what they did, keeping women in high security bondage. Completely routine.
I clicked my tether through the bolt, once again imprisoning myself in a man’s domain. As I did so, it dawned on me that in fact, Bill was the only one there. Not even Joanna was in evidence. A glance to the side showed me that all three girl-cages were standing open. Some party. Strange. But not top priority: “May I have a shower, please, Sir?”
“Of course,” he said, charmingly. “Here, I’ll undo the bolt so you can use mine.” Since we are generally expected to use the facilities in our cages, men’s showers are generally kept locked against females, except when it is time to clean them. “And let me undo your handcuffs,” Bill concluded.
He did, the bonds, as ever, yielding simply and easily to his key. The other way of being free in The Settlement: behind a girl-rail bolt, and under direct male supervision, but with my hands unchained.
Actually, however, Bill left me alone in the shower, which unlike the women’s ones, in cages or quarters, was in a separate bathroom, with solid walls and a door: a level of privacy entirely unwarranted for a female. I dare not actually shut the door (not that I was aware of a rule on this precise subject, but it still seemed a step too far for the kind of female respect generally required in the community), so I could hear Bill pottering in the main apartment outside, but I was alone, sort of, and with my hands free. It crossed my mind to indulge myself, relieve some of my feelings of the afternoon, but I resisted, instead enjoying the copious hot water. Well, I may have taken more care than sometimes washing my breasts and between my legs, but that was all.
Afterwards, I towelled off and helped myself to some mascara and lipstick from the shelf, presumably Joanna’s, but sharing these things was the usual practice in the Women’s Quarters, so I figured she would not mind. There was also some proper metal polish, presumably also Joanna’s, and a pile of rags, so I took the opportunity to buff up my shackles a bit, starting with the unlocked handcuffs which, of course, I had kept with me as was always required in case of the need to put them back on at short notice. I did my fetters, and then, using the mirror, I started on my collar and the brass padlock that fastened it to my tether chain.
It was odd, really, I considered, imagining that somewhere, safely stored beyond the range of the girl-rails, there was a key that would unlock this lock and release me from my tether – a key that some man somewhere could get and use, if he chose. Of course he would have to unscrew the cover first – nowadays all neck-chain padlocks had a thin metal plate screwed over the keyhole, the screws being of a variety that required a rather special Allen wrench to undo them. No Settlement girl had ever managed to pick her tether chain lock, but there had in the past been attempts to do so, and now they were impossible.
I worked the rag all around, under my hair. There was the hinge, and, at the opposite side, the thin slit in the metal where it would open if the lock was ever undone. The keyhole, I knew, was much like the one on my handcuff rings, but it too, had a cover plate screwed across it: the bond was not intended ever to come off.
Finally putting down the rag and polish tin, I admired myself in the mirror. There was no way to get my hair fully dry, so it remained a bit straggly for now, but overall I was pleased with the picture. My face was quite round, my eyes big and brown and enhanced by the mascara, my lips nicely red. My collar framed my face nicely, and the tether chain dangling between my breasts emphasized their size and shape. I looked - because I was – pleasingly helpless. No way I would want to unchain me, if I were a man.
Suddenly I was once again filled with the same thoughts I’d had earlier. I squeezed my breasts, and then reached down, parting my lips, feeling the itch between my legs. The temptation was immense. But no, I couldn’t do that. I would surely be caught. The solution was, however, simple: I grabbed my handcuffs, put my arms behind my back and closed the steel bands over my wrists. The locks clicked, fastening them shut, confining me. There was now no further possibility that I might yield to temptation and end up being caught in what Bill would certainly regard as an act of wanton disrespect. I relaxed, and smiled at myself in the mirror. I was pleased I’d put my cuffs back on. It was so easy, sometimes, living in bondage. Once the chains were locked, there was nothing whatever about which to worry.
Going back out into the main apartment, there was still no sign of any party, but I was confronted not by one man but by two: Bill, as before, and none other but Mitch, the founder and leader of The Settlement. I was surprised, to say the least. Why would he be here?
“Hello, Millie,” he said. “Welcome.”
“Hell… hello, Sir.” I was even more pleased I’d put my cuffs back on: the gossip was that Mitch never saw any women unless they were properly cuffed. His assistants, Jenny and Emma, had non-standard wrist bonds, so no one could undo them, and they wore them 24/7.
“Hello, Millie,” he said. “Come and kneel over here while we talk to you.”
I followed Mitch over to the seating area, Bill bringing up the rear. Neither man was particularly tall, but they were broad and muscular, much bigger than me, and of course they were free and clothed. Between them, exposed, helplessly shackled, I felt so small and feminine. The men sat on the sofa, leaving me to kneel in front of them. I did so, and spread my knees until my thighs made a right-angle, wondering what was going on, pulling quietly at my cuffs, drawing comfort from my restraint.
Mitch held something up: “Do you know what this is Millie? Of course you do.”
Oh mother earth, my gag. Not again. The man held it out, the steel tube and little plastic coated chains. Then the thought occurred to me that Mitch, being the leader, must know about my abortive little investigation into the stores, and the weeks of being gagged that had followed it. Perhaps this was what this was about?
“I know you don’t like it,” the leader was saying, “no women do. That’s why it’s such a good punishment for, say, disrespectful curiosity about things that don’t concern you.”
Of course he knew. I coloured up. Had he noticed? Of course he’d noticed. I was nude. You can’t hide blushes when you are nude. You can’t hide anything when you are nude. I tried to spread my knees a bit more, wanting to show my submission.
“But,” Mitch was smiling, looking down at me, “that’s in the past, and you and your friends have no doubt learned a lesson about minding your own business. But we are going to ask you to wear the gag again, for the moment. Not for long – only an hour or so probably – but we are going to explain something to you that you might find, well, surprising, so it’s best to keep you quiet. Come on.”
He held the tube forward, facing me, and I had no choice but to kneel up and take it into my mouth, feeling it take possession of my tongue, clamping my jaw apart. Mitch fumbled with the chains and there was a click as the lock fastened.
“Nnngh nghg, Ngh,” I said – meaning ‘thank you, Sir –‘ the respectful response to being locked up by a man.
“Good girl,” said the leader. “Now, we’ve invited you here to our little, er, soirée, for two reasons: we thought you might enjoy it, and we thought we would enjoy you, if you get my meaning.
Of course I did. And I wanted to be enjoyed. I could still feel the itch.
“But at the moment, what goes on here, is, well, confidential. A secret. Do you understand?”
I nodded: “Nggh nhgh. Ngh nnngh!” Yes, Sir. Of course.
“And if it were ever to be found out that you had shared our secret, well, you might find yourself wearing that gag a lot longer, do you understand?”
“Nnhg nnngh.” I nodded again. Though it had to be said secrets were hard to keep in the community: news travelled fast among the women. But the threat of a gag, particularly a long term gag, was not to be underestimated.
“Good,” continued the leader. “Now, we have some other stuff to show you. Pass the bag will you, Bill.”
Bill did: a large, battered holdall. Mitch reached into it and pulled out… what?
“Our first little secret, Millie.”
Mother Earth. There are times in life when I am so glad of my bondage. I looked on, helpless, but safe in the clasp of my chains.
What Mitch held up was a pair of panties, much like those in the frame on the wall behind us – the ones I had admired with Joanna, the other day. I could see the leg holes, how they would be worn on the body.
“We know you know what these are,” said Bill. “Joanna has had her little chat, hasn’t she? And we know we’d like to see what you looked like wearing them.”
I shrank back, heaving at my cuffs: “Nnnnnnghh!” I wasn’t sure what I even wanted to say, but instinctively, I sort of spat, as if trying to get the gag out of my mouth, which was clearly never going to work.
“Good, good. We know what you want to say, because we know you’re a good girl: you want to say it’s illegal for a girl to cover herself with things like this. That it’s inappropriate, in the modern world. And of course you are right.”
I looked on, relaxed again. I had no idea what to say to any of this, but I didn’t have to, because I was gagged. So easy, living in bondage.
“Of course you’re right,” Mitch repeated the other man’s words. “Girls need to be respectful, and that means being uncovered. But it’s different if men want to play, and that’s what’s happening here. We’re inviting you to play another game.”
“Nnngh.” Another game, I thought. Exactly. Another game like all the other Settlement games, where men decided the rules and women just got to obey them.
“Of course,” Mitch went on with the pep-talk, “we would not invite any girl. Take your cage mates for example, Irene, Lori and Andrea. Or my assistants even, Emma and Jenny. They would not easily cope. They have no experience to draw on –“
“I know, neither have you, directly, but you have a mother, and we know the sorts of things she has told you about the old world. So it’s not so strange to you.”
I had to admit this was right. However much the modern Settlement tried to erase the history of the world from the female consciousness, it wasn’t going to stop my mum telling me and Esme about it. But it was different for girls like Irene – and there were many - who had grown up as orphans in the Settlement system, with nothing but the orthodoxy of the rules to guide them.
“But it must stay secret,” continued Bill.
“Nnnnggh,” I said again, but nodding vigorously. It was not just the threat of the gag. I could see perfectly that what the men said was true. It would do no good at all for this sort of thing to be gossiped around the girl-rails.
“Well, Millie,” said Mitch, “We’re going to leave you to think for a little now. If you’d care to go and kneel in that cage. We’ll give you an hour, maybe, and then someone will come and see if you want to play. If not, you can stay there the night and go about your business in the morning. If so, well, we’ll all have fun together. Come!”
I stood up, with the usual rattle of metal bonds, and made my way towards the cage. “Stop!” cried Bill, just as I was entering it. There was fiddling behind my head, the click of a lock, and the man slid out my gag.
In a few more seconds I was locked in the cage, free to talk, but with no-one to talk to: men had gone from the apartment, leaving me imprisoned alone.
So, here I was again, locked in a cage. I had spent quite a lot of the last twenty-four hours caged, I considered. But then again, since I spent every night behind bars, maybe it was not that different to most days. Neither was it an issue at present: like being in chains, being caged is really easy. You just have to sit there and wait until a man decides to let you out. No point in doing anything else, because nothing you do will ever make any difference. The only issue is how you pass the time.
And whereas this afternoon, at Rory’s, my only entertainment had been the consideration of completely unattainable sexual satisfaction, now I had far more to ponder. What, exactly, was I being asked to do? Did I want it? And did I, in fact, really have any choice? Did I not, out of respect, just have to do what men asked?
I paced up and down the cage, naturally experiencing the wholly familiar feel of my chains as I did so: my cuffs, holding my wrists at my buttocks, my tether, sliding along in its conduit on the cage floor, and in the process, rubbing cold against my nude flesh, my leg-irons, for ever restricting the length of my stride and rattling their cheerful accompaniment to my steps. The thing was, about Settlement women’s chains, I reflected, was that whilst on the face of it, they left us open to the predations of men, they also protected us. After all, men could no more remove us from the girl-rails than we could remove ourselves. They had control only over our hands. The rest of our bonds stayed put, a given on which we could always rely.
I looked down, considering my feet, and the twelve links of chain that joined them together. Then the thought struck me: how could I possibly put on those panties? My fetters would completely prevent me doing so. That’s what fetters were for, really: to stop us putting on any men’s shorts or anything we might find, and so disrespectfully covering ourselves and landing in trouble for it. After all, it is not as if they are needed to stop us escaping; our tethers do that job very effectively. So, were Mitch and Bill thinking of unlocking my leg-irons? That was a complex thought, given that I had always been given to understand that it was something that would never happen, that I would be required to wear them for the rest of my life. Did I even want my fetters undone?
I was distracted from these thoughts by a click and a rumble coming from the back of the cage, next to the toilet. I looked up, to see a strip of light stretching up the wall. What the? But as it grew, I could see that it was a door, a secret, disguised door, which must lead into the equivalent girl-cage in the next-door apartment. Of course – the boarded-up and apparently deserted apartment I had noticed on my previous investigations. I watched with continued amazement until the door stood open, with, framed in it, the figure of a woman about my own height.
She was not one of the ones I’d seen chatting that day; she was not Joanna, or Claire, the other girl I’d seen being attended to on Bill’s veranda that day I’d been investigating. This was Jenny, not the young leader’s assistant, but the other one, Number 6, the community’s senior administrator. She was, as I said, about my height, with long red hair and green eyes, curvy, particularly in the bosom department, and still an attractive woman despite her age, which must have been at least her early fifties. She’d been chained in The Settlement a very long time – longer than my mum, certainly – and she was still chained; her tether fell from her collar between her breasts and so to the girl-rail, just as always. However, as my eyes followed it down, below her waist, where I would have expected, as normal, to see the ginger fuzz of her pussy, I saw instead a layer of white fabric, enhanced with lace panels, covering her up. Panties.
Jenny’s hands were free, but that was not all: so, it appeared, were her feet. And what’s more, she was wearing footwear; shoes like I’d never seen, but that my mum had told me about one time. Shoes that were shaped to the woman’s dainty feet, and pretty, shiny, with straps, and with an enormous heel that made her seem five centimetres taller. Wow.
“Hi Millie,” she said. “Come through and join the party!” She moved something at the side of the door, and a panel in the floor of the cage slid across, uncovering a girl-rail leading through the door. Utterly bemused, I followed it.
First, the architecture: the windows were boarded up, so the only light in the room was artificial – but on the inside of the boards, the usual steel bars were still there. There was also a kind of steel-barred porch around the inside of the door, making a layer of extra security. There would be room, just, for a man to come in through the door and stand and talk to women in the apartment without opening these bars. However, instead of the usual arrangement of girl-cages, there was just one big room, the standard cage bars and walls having been stripped out. And the whole room was prettily decorated with colour-toned soft furnishings, sofas spread around, and a low table, and standard lamps. Nicer than I’d ever seen in any of the men’s apartments I’d visited, and vastly nicer than any of the fittings to be found in the Spartan accommodation the community deemed appropriate for women.
Jenny stood to once side, regarding me as I gaped.
“Good, isn’t it?” She said. “I was amazed when I first saw it, too. Comfortable, and quite secret.”
Second, the people: in addition to Jenny, there were three other women in the room. These were Joanna, Katherine and Catriona. And all the women had their hands and feet free of bonds, and wore some form of… clothing. Joanna came up to me; she too had shoes and panties, plain white panties, like the ones mounted in Bill’s frame. The others had something similar, but black, and more, their legs were covered in material too; sheer, translucent material. What would Mum call them? Stockings. Catriona had some arrangement to hold them up, a matching black belt with dangling straps. Katherine’s stayed up on their own. None of the four women had their breasts covered. Mitch was not there. Bill was not there. No men at all, just…
“Where are the men?” was the first question that formulated itself into words.
“They’ll come, if they want,” answered Joanna. “For now it’s just us. Come and sit down, and let’s talk about our little game. Our little experiment.”
She led me to the nearest sofa, which faced a second one across the table. “Jenny,” said Joanna, “Why don’t you undo Millie’s handcuffs, make it more comfortable for her to sit.”
“What, how?” But I felt my cuffs being unlocked. Despite the absence of men.
“You have a handcuff key?”
“We do,” answered the redhead. “And a fetter key too.” As I sat down on the sofa, Jenny put my cuffs on the table, adding them to a pile of four other sets of handcuffs and leg-irons. “It gives us enough freedom to play dress-up,” she smiled. “What do you think?”
She raised her arms above her head (which had the effect of raising her breasts too, emphasizing their size and roundness) and gave me a twirl. For the first time I got a view of her back and more specifically the back of her panties, which entirely covered her bottom in thin fabric. She turned back, saving herself from becoming entangled in her tether chain. The front of her panties, although they covered her up in one sense, did nothing much to hide her womanhood. The colour of her pussy hair was plain to see through one of the lacy bits, and down between her legs the fabric pulled tight against her shape. She seemed more naked than ever, in one way. I could see how a man would find the sight enjoyable.
“Here,” said Catriona, placing a glass of juice in front of me, on the table, by the pile of chains. I gazed in wonder at her garments, too. The stockings made her legs look smooth and sexy; the panties, I saw, went over the top of the straps that held up the hosiery. A man could remove them and fuck the woman without having to undo the belt. I could see he might enjoy that.
“So,” I vacillated, sitting there, idly rubbing my wrists where my cuffs usually sat. “So this is a game, for the men’s amusement?”
“And for ours,” laughed Joanna. “A bit of variety, for once!” She sat down on the sofa opposite me, and, remarkably, crossed her legs. “Are you shocked?” she asked, with a mischievous grin.
It was an interesting question. Was I? In many ways, The Settlement was a world of definite certainties, many of which had, as far as I was concerned, just been shaken to their roots. But on the other hand it was a world in which, if you were a girl, and you had even half a brain, it was impossible to sustain any belief that you had very much control over anything, so it paid to accept what came and go with the flow. And some certainties remained: Joanna might be sitting there all casual, legs disrespectfully crossed, but she was still collared and tethered to the girl-rails. So was I, and so were the other three women. And this room was clearly just as much a prison as any girl-cage, despite its upmarket furnishings.
“Well, I guess if the men are happy,” I said. “It can’t be disrespectful.”
“Well quite. Do you want to play then?” This from Katherine. “You can come and see what we can find for you to wear.”
I followed the blonde woman to the side of the room, where there was a large chest of drawers. It looked like an item of furniture salvaged from the old world – heavy, wooden, oak probably. But it had been adapted with two thick metal straps with hinged parts that could obviously be folded down over the front of the drawers and padlocked to stop them opening. I could see the two large padlocks – not the standard type – sitting open on top of the chest. Katherine opened a drawer and reached inside, pulling out a small, white piece of fabric. “Here,” she said. “Start with these.”
I took the item in my hand, feeling an immediate frisson of excitement. Of course I had touched fabric before: there was all sorts of utilitarian fabric in the community – dishtowels, cleaning rags and so on, not to mention the men’s clothes which I had helped launder and repair on many occasions, as was part of every woman’s duty. But this, somehow, was different: softer, lighter, and of course intended for an illicit purpose. Held it in both hands and pulled it out, holding it in front of me. Plain white panties. Just like Joanna was wearing. I looked at the area of thin fabric that would cover my pussy, trying to imagine it against my skin.
“Where…. where’s all this from?” it occurred to me to ask. “It’s contraband!”
“It’s from the Stores of course,” answered Jenny. I thought you’d worked that out, with your asking questions.”
Of course. The answer to the mystery.
“Come on,” said Katherine. “Let’s unlock your fetters and you can put the panties on.”
Following her direction, I sat back down on the sofa, spread my legs and waited, the panties scrunched up in my left hand. I don’t know what, really I expected.
“The key’s just there,” said Jenny, pointing, and there it was. There were two keys, on the same ring, one being a handcuff key and the other, then, the fetter key. I just looked. Settlement rules on keys were quite clear: women were not allowed to touch them. Unlocking any female security systems was the sole prerogative of men. But that had already been broken this evening, when Jenny undid my handcuffs.
“Go on,” said the redhead. “It’s OK here.”
Putting the panties down on the sofa next to me, I reached out, took the key, and fumbling not a little, inserted it into the keyhole of my left anklet, and turned it. There was a click, and the steel ring swung open, revealing the untanned whiteness of my leg. I looked around, seeing four female faces, watching. I repeated the procedure on the other anklet, finally lifting the irons away from my body.
I held the open bonds in front of me, my hands trembling. I felt a cold sweat on my brow. Another of my certainties had been stripped away. I looked at the fetters – they were basically the same as handcuffs, the rings a little larger, joined by a length of chain rather than a single link, but the same robust, simple technology, perfectly adapted to its function of confining female limbs. And of course, just like handcuffs, they were actually designed to come off – if you had the key. It was just that I’d never expected they would, except perhaps during occasional checks in the Smithy, during which I would in any case be drugged unconscious.
“I know,” said Joanna, gently. “It had been ten years for me. You’ll get the hang of it in a minute.”
“Go on,” encouraged Jenny, approaching behind me: “Put the knickers on. Let’s have a look.”
I put the fetters on the pile on the table and did as she suggested, placing my legs through the garment’s holes and then, standing, pulling it up my body. I felt it encase me, clasp me, cup my mound as only a man’s hand had ever done before. I felt the soft stretchiness of the cloth covering my buttocks. “Oh..M..M..M..mother Earth!” It was almost a whisper. I ran my hands across my backside – a common enough thing to do, when a girl wanted some sensual stimulation, because you could always reach there when handcuffed – and brushed the fabric, feeling its coolness and smoothness. Then, almost before I knew it, my hand was between my legs, on top of the panties, touching, massaging, while my other one reached to my breasts. All the feelings I had had that afternoon in Rory’s cage, and again in Bill’s shower, came surging back. “Oh trees and sky!” I moaned. What was I going to do?
“Let me help!” Jenny was still behind me. She came close, and I felt her hands on my hips and then one of them reaching down inside my newly acquired panties. The other pulled me, so I felt the softness of her breast tissue and the hardness of her nipples and tether chain all pressing against my back. Then my nipples, also rock hard, were squeezed between the woman’s fingers.
My own arms flailed – I hardly knew what to do with them, for the feelings Jenny was imposing on me I had only previously experienced when handcuffed. For a few seconds I craved the steel restraint to tug against, before it occurred to me simply to grab my tether and wrap it round my wrists, pulling gently on my collar. But then we moved backwards, and ended up intertwined on the sofa, and my arms seemed to find work to do, returning some caresses to Jenny’s soft body as she continued to work her magic on mine. I just had a minute between sensations to notice that on the other sofa, Joanna, Katherine and Catriona seemed also to be intertwined and exploring each other’s bodies, still, as were Jenny and I, wearing their panties and working around and through them.
I did not notice the men unlocking the bars at the apartment door; I am not sure any of us did. I did not notice them at all until I felt a male hand on by bottom, which happened to be sticking up at the time as I nuzzled at Jenny’s fabric covered mound. Even when I felt the hand, I did not break off my licking of the juice-soaked cotton, and Dave had to grab my arm and pull me off Jenny. And when he did, if the thought of all the rules I’d broken – being unchained, unfettered, clothed, illicit sex with women – entered my head, it was only very briefly, because Dave just laid me on the floor, pulled aside the soaking wet crotch of my panties and fucked me there and then.
There were three men – Dave, Bill and Mitch – and when all five of us females had had a dose of cock (or two, in my case, as Mitch took over when Dave left off – the atmosphere calmed down: but no one told us to remove our clothes or replace any bonds. Catriona made coffee, we sat on the sofas, and I was asked to stand up and model my panties for the men, and also given some shoes that Katherine found in the chest of drawers, which were roughly my size.
I had no memory of ever wearing any kind of footwear before. Even as a small child I went barefoot, so the embrace of leather around my sole felt very weird indeed. But that was nothing to trying to walk in them. The high heels tilted me up unnaturally, added to which of course, I was in no way used to moving around without the drag of leg irons joining my ankles. So how I avoided falling was a miracle, but I was able at last to stand and turn in between the sofas, hooking my thumbs into the waistband of the knickers – my knickers, and pulling them up so that the men could admire their fit, and perhaps also the translucency of the crotch panel, which was still soaking wet with girl juice from all the sex before.
“Well Millie,” said Mitch at last, as I stood in front of him. “I was right. You do suit panties. Did you enjoy wearing them?”
My eyes were drawn to the leaders’ cock, which though for the moment mostly flaccid, was still alluring. Then it occurred to me what another upset of my reality this was: the men had stayed nude, which was not particularly uncommon in The Settlement, particularly at parties, though of course it was an option rather than a requirement for them, but here was I and the other girls all wearing clothes! “I’ve enjoyed many things tonight Sir,” I replied at last. “But it’s all been very strange. How long has this been going on?”
“Oh, a while,” said Mitch. “There are a few more older girls involved but you are the first of your generation.”
“It would upset a lot of girls,” I responded, suddenly thinking of my cagies again.
“Of course it would,” answered Bill. “That’s why you’ll keep it secret.”
“Yes,” I said, knowing that I could never share this apart from with the women actually here, and any others I might meet at future events like this. If I came again: “Are you going to invite me again, Sir?”
“I expect so,” said Mitch. “Now you’ve been once. But don’t get too used to it. Once you leave here it’s back to normal rules.”
“Of course, Sir. In fact I might take these off and put my chains back now, if you would not mind?” Enough was enough, I thought for one day. I really wanted to be alone for a while and think.
Being alone was of course easier said than done for a Settlement girl. Female life in the community is highly communal. That night, once we were stripped, re-fettered and manacled, it was too late to go out, so we slept in Bill’s cages, next door, me sharing with Joanna, and then there was my work and back to the quarters I shared with Irene and the others. Not to mention another couple of discussions about Esme’s coming-of-age do which was now only a few days away. I tried several of times to find solitude, in Smooth-Stick Alley, or one of the other longer and more isolated lines of girl-rails, but my initial attempts all ended up with me running into another tethered woman with the same idea.
Finally, in the late afternoon of the third day after the party, I managed to find a spot where I was devoid of company. I sat on the grass, as far from the girl-rail as I could comfortably get, and where I had a good view of the rail along which any female would have to approach, stretched out my legs and let my mind wander over the last few days. In many ways, the secret panty party seemed more like a dream than a memory of something real: nothing tangible remained as evidence. I looked at my feet: had I really had my fetters removed? Had I really actually removed them myself, from my own legs? No sign of that now. The bonds were just as securely fastened in place as ever, just like those of all the other girls. My hands, too, were locked behind me, and had been so apart from at work and in my brief ration of personal time in our quarters. It seemed very weird that we had, for that time, had those keys. What, I thought, if we had a handcuff key in our cage, so that Irene, Andrea, Lori and I could free our own arms, as had been done that night? And do the things we had done that night at the party, before the men arrived? That would be chaos.
I turned my gaze to my muff, now of course respectfully nude and exposed, remembering the experience of covering her with the panties, and touching her, and of course touching Jenny in her female place. I pulled at my handcuffs, not hard, just enough to feel their grip of my wrists. It had been fun and fulfilling, that night, and just what I’d needed after the frustrations of Rory’s cage earlier in the day, but looking down at myself now, I found I was glad I was chained so that could not just reach and touch. That little dark triangle of hair between my legs, and the softness it contained, was a special place, and it was, I thought, right that she should be reserved for special attention, and not just left available to me to play with whenever the whim took me. I smiled. Even if that attention was sometimes illicit, like a smooth stick escapade, it was still special, something that needed preparation and work, not something that could be done in the middle of the night, just because I felt like it.
Leaning back, looking up at the trees, I relaxed. I caught sight of a little bird in the branches, and watched it as it flitted deeper into the woods, away from the path, far beyond where a female imprisoned on the girl-rails would ever get to go. What was in there would always remain, to me, a mystery, but I had solved my original investigation: I knew what had been taken from the stores, and why. After the party, Katherine had explained to me how Bill, after rummaging through some of the stuff there to augment the supplies of lingerie for their games, had inadvertently left one of the doors open, prompting a woman (who could never be told the truth) to initiate the security incident that had sparked my curiosity off those weeks ago. They had since taken more items, but had been more careful to cover their tracks.
I thought I was early, but 175’s was fantastically busy, with a queue stretching out past the Women only – handcuffs must be worn sign and into the shaded walkway that led there. As the party-girl’s sister, they wanted to let me through, but that was easier said than done, as there was only one girl-rail, so I had to wait a while before I could eventually get to a place where a side branch allowed my tether to pass those of the girls in front. Finally I was on the grid of rails that covered the café area, but it was still a job to thread through the closely packed nude bodies and so come at the ‘top table’ where my mother and sister waited with the other coming-of-age girls and their friends.
Esme looked blooming and beautiful, the sun glinting in her hair and on her brightly polished collar, now devoid of its red tag. She laughed animatedly at something her friends said, before turning to me: “Hi Millie. Here I am!”
“Hi Esme!” I answered, closing in and kissing her, rubbing shoulders together in what would have been a hug if either of us had not had our hands locked behind our backs. “Here you are. How was it?”
“It was fine, Millie. I’m glad the day has finally come. Only…”
As Esme hesitated. I thought back to that day, three years ago, when I had left the Family Compound for the last time. I too had had a party later in the day, but the actual leaving of the Compound had been very undramatic. I’d just put my chains on, as of course I’d done most days for the preceding couple of years, put my few allowed belongings - some books, makeup, hair and toothbrushes – into a small bag and presented myself at the gate. The man had checked the bag for contraband, checked my chains were properly locked on, as ever, and then with a word of good wishes, he had taken some wire cutters and removed the red tag from my collar, and that was that. I’d realized afterwards that this process was deliberately kept low key, and it made sense. After all, what was more routine for a Settlement girl than being chained? No need to make a big deal of it.
“Only,” Esme continued, “now I can’t go back any more. I’m in big girl world, as you called it the other day.”
“Big girl world? Oh of course.” It had been at Rory’s, when I was frustrated with my sister’s apparent slowness. “Yes. Well, you’re a big girl.”
“Am I? Help me though, Millie, won’t you?”
“Of course Esme. Everyone will. The Settlement is like that.”
I’d been avoiding Rory, not because of what had happened with Jenny and Mitch and the panties and so on, but because immediately before that he had obviously been cross with me for what he perceived as disrespect. But of course a Settlement girl cannot really hide for very long, and when spotted, she certainly cannot run away, so when, that afternoon after leaving 175’s and making my way across the main campus, I head the man call my name, there was really no choice but to turn and wait respectfully as he came up.
My tummy gave a little flutter as he did so: he was handsome, and manly – and although I’d been fucked till I was sore at the panty party, that was almost a week ago and the feeling had decidedly worn off. My special place was ready for some special attention again, and I knew Rory could do the job most satisfactorily.
“There you are,” he said, conversationally. He did not seem cross. “I was hoping for your company at the do tonight!”
More flutters. Why was I nervous? “I… I need to get ready,” I managed to stammer.
“You can come and do it at my place if you want,” he said, looking mischievous. “There is still your make-up and stuff there.”
We turned to go the other way, down to the men’s apartments, and there was my sister.
“Ha! Esme!” the man uttered, quite jovially. “Welcome to the community. I was taking Millie to mine to get ready for the next celebration. You can come too if you want.”
Looking back, we should both have known what was going on, but Esme was young and naïve, and I was horny and distracted by a tall dark man that I fancied. Even when the girl-rail bolt clicked twice, confining first Esme and then me inside Rory’s apartment, I didn’t really think hard enough. It was only when the man ended up standing behind my sister, his hands on her shoulders that the truth dawned – and then clearly it hit us both at the same time.
“One sister was good, but two is delightful,” the man said, still quite easily and charmingly – but his meaning was clear, and the look of helpless horror on Esme’s face clearer still. He continued: “Esme, as a new girl, you won’t have experienced a frame, will you? Come over here. You too, Millie.”
“Millie! Help!” Esme whispered, when the man left us there as he went to the bathroom. I could hear my sister’s handcuffs clinking as she struggled violently against them, and I saw her pull against her collar, wanting to stand up. But of course she couldn’t, and neither could I; our tethers and fetter chains were securely fastened on the frame’s clips, confining us in a bent-over position, our knees kept apart by the padded wooden block designed for the purpose. We were utterly helpless.
“Sorry, Esme,” I whispered back. “There’s nothing either of us can do. We’re in his apartment. We came here of our own free will. He can do what he wants with us.”
“Oh air and rain! Is there no way to reach and undo that clip?”
“Of course there isn’t, Esme. And even if we could, we’re imprisoned in the apartment.”
“But I’m not ready for this!” my sister wailed. “I planned it differently.”
“You’re not still a virgin are you Esme?” I asked, urgently. Although under-age girls were off limits to the men of the community, there were teenage boys in the Family Compound, and no one stopped that kind of exploration. That’s where I had lost my virginity.
“Well not really,” said Esme. “But as an adult, with an adult man, I’d thought…”
“Best not to think, Sis, and be careful going into a man’s apartment…”
But then Rory was out of the shower, and there was nothing more I could add. I knelt there, watching Esme’s face as Rory gave her her first proper fucking as an adult Settlement girl.
Despite her reservations, of course, my sister soon began to enter into the spirit of the experience; in a few minutes, she was thrashing wildly against her chains and screaming, and occasionally turning and catching my eye, looking transfixed with wonder. But after her sixth or seventh orgasm, I was surprised and gratified to learn that it was my go, as Rory pulled out of Esme and probed into me – finding me soaking wet, of course, given the view I’d had of my sister enjoying his attentions. The man gave me a very thorough seeing-to, before going back to Esme to finish himself off. Then, leaving us locked to the frame, he went and lay on his bed, and was soon snoring.
“Oh mother earth!” said Esme after a while. "That was amazing." She tugged this way and that, uselessly, at her handcuffs. “Is he always that good?”
“Pretty much,” I smiled. “He has the equipment and knows how to use it.”
“I wish I could stand up though,” said my sister. “This frame wasn’t really made for resting.”
I made no response to that: what Esme said was true, the frame wasn’t made for resting, it was moderately uncomfortable, but it was made for confining women in the position we now shared, and at that it was totally efficient.
“It must be getting time for the next reception,” said Esme. “Is he going to stop me going to my own party? Should I ask?”
“No,” I said. “Don’t. We don’t want you accused of disrespect on your first day.”
“How could just asking be disrespect?” said Esme.
“Because we’re women. Because we are supposed to trust men.”
“What’s this about disrespect?” came his voice, and then his footsteps, moving behind us again. I felt a hand on my bottom, heading down between my legs. And then: “no, seems pretty respectful to me.”
He played with me a bit, and, judging from the gasps and rattles of chain, with Esme to, but he did not follow through this time. “Maybe later,” he said, as much to himself as anyone, and then: “But here, you need to get ready. On you go.”
Then he unchained us from the frame, removed our handcuffs and, pulling up a chair just outside the bars of the centre cage, watched us take it in turns to shower and do our faces for the evening.
It being a special event lasting beyond the Evening Bell, the reception involved very tight security. Of course, from the female perspective, security is always tight, but now we were subject to even more precautions than normal. All but key girl-rail routes leading to the dining hall were bolted off, and at various junctions and corners, men were stationed to keep a note of which women went where, to ensure they were never out of male sight. Of course there were no handcuff privileges – that went without saying, long after dark – but just to make sure, men were asked to leave their handcuff keys at home. There was also an additional check point, on the bottom of the campus main square, where everyone had to have her chains examined. We had Rory for an escort, but that did not excuse us from the process – and in any case we had to queue to get past, as only one girl-rail remained un-bolted. However, there was a jovial atmosphere, with the women chattering and exchanging banter with the men who did the checking – and of course no problems were found with the security of anyone’s restraints.
At last, we were in the Women’s Dining Hall – a large, open area, gridded with girl rails and equipped with many tables and benches. It was already fairly full and loud with happy chatter, and Esme and I were rapidly separated in the social whirl. After a while, I found I was alongside Joanna, whom I had not seen since the panty party. I looked at her, and she looked back, smiling mischievously: in addition to our friendship, we had a shared secret to bind us together.
“Hi,” she said, brightly. “Well, did you enjoy our soirée the other night?”
For a brief minute, my heart raced, conscious that if our secret got out, all hell might break lose. But of course there was nothing to show for it tonight – we were just two more naked, shackled girls, just like all the hundreds of others in The Settlement.
“I had fun,” I said, truthfully. “It was an interesting experience, certainly.”
“So you’ll come again?”
I thought about my answer to that: “I wouldn’t disrespectfully refuse,” I said, trying to keep my face neutral. But the conversation got no further: Irene and Lori appeared, laughing, distracting me, and then Joanna was gone.
My cagies chatted on, giving me a brief moment to think. What I had said to Joanna was true: I would not disrespectfully refuse an invitation from Mitch or Bill or Dave to go to another panty party, but neither was it something I would seek – and I would not be in the least bothered if it never came. It had been fun solving my mystery, but I knew I did not need such excitements in my life.
Just at that moment the crowd seemed to part in a way that gave me a clear view of Esme, soaking up attention. She seemed, I thought, to have bloomed, even since this afternoon, and plainly lots of men thought so too. I watched her laugh, sharing a joke with the current crowd of admirers. What, I wondered, would she think of the panty party experience? But I genuinely hoped she would not ever have to decide. She would have enough to contend with, embarking on her life as an adult, helping the community to grow and develop, whilst dealing with the day-to-day issues of living as a helpless prisoner of the girl-rails. She did not need any further distraction, particularly not when it was something that could surely never again have any real place in female life.
A little later on, I found myself face-to-face with Emma, Number 305, the one of Mitch’s assistants who had told me off, and presumably reported me, that day outside the Stores.
“He wants to see you,” she said, not bothering to indicate who. “Come with me.” She spoke with considerable, and not completely pleasant authority – she had something of a reputation for this, and it had won her no friends - but then, she occupied an important position, close to the community’s management, so perhaps a certain aloofness was justified.
Her manner worked on men too: despite the time of night, and darkness outside, and the fact that Emma was just as female, nude and shackled as I was, she simply nodded to the various males on guard, and they swiftly gave us passage up the relevant girl-rails to the Administration Block, fifty metres up the hill. All the time, my mind was racing as to what this could be about. But surely nothing bad? I’d kept well out of trouble since the panty party. Perhaps it was going to be another invitation. Then, suddenly I enjoyed a little feeling of smugness, walking behind Emma. However superior her manner, she had never worn panties, probably she did not know what they were, even. I had. I was one up on her.
At our destination, Emma saw me inside, but did not wait. “He’ll escort you back himself,” she said, before departing with a determined rattle of metal bonds.
I passed through the outer office, towards the door I knew to be Mitch’s room. It stood closed, as usual, and I twisted sideways and knocked with my cuffed hands.
“Come in, Millie,” came the voice.
I managed the door, and went in. The leader was seated at his desk, writing. Scanning the girl-rails to pick the best route, I made my way over and stood in front of his desk. “Sir?” I asked.
“Thanks for coming. Did Emma bring you?”
“She did, Sir. She went back.”
“Hmm. She’s coming to the end of her stint as my assistant. So is Jenny, for that matter.”
“I understand, Sir.” There was a regular turnover in these assistant posts, two years being a typical length of appointment.
“So I’ll be needing new girls.”
“Yes, Sir.” It was obvious where this was heading, and I was trying to gather my thoughts.
“Lots of girls seem to want the job. I guess they think it gets them to the centre of power.”
“Perhaps, Sir.” Though possibly it was also that it was reputed to lead to regular sex, both with the leader and with any other men interested in finding out the sort of information to which the leader’s assistants might be party.
“But really it’s a lot of errand running, and very few handcuff privileges.”
I reflected, for a minute, on what it might be like to have my hands permanently chained. The longest I had ever gone without them being unlocked was a month – when I was disciplined for a rule infringement. But it was only the first week that had really been hard. After that I was used to it, and the community was designed to be lived in by handcuffed women, after all.
“And giving me advice. That’s why I employ young women in these jobs you know. It’s not just their bodies. It’s their insight into the community.”
“I understand, Sir.” Did I?
“You’re a good looking girl, Millie,” Mitch said, “and I enjoyed fucking you that night, panties and all.” Another pause.
“Thank you, Sir. I had fun too.”
“But, Millie, what would you advise me to do about those parties? That’s what I want to know. Should we have more of them, invite more girls? What’s a young woman’s opinion?”
I was in no doubt of my answer: “You should stop them, Sir. We have our way of life here, and it works. It does not need pollution by ideas from the old days, even if they are fun. But it’s like you said at the time, many girls would not be able to cope with the ideas. It’s hard enough living as we do, on the girl-rails. Don’t take risks. End the parties and destroy all the stuff.”
“I like you, Millie,” the leader smiled. “The assistant job is yours if you want it.”
Copyright© 2014 by Kirsten Graham. All rights reserved.