‘Twas a dark and stormy night….. Actually it was a warm and sunny pre-fall afternoon, but who wants to read that as the first line in a story ?
‘Twas a dark and stormy night and Doctor Charlotte Webb, villainess extraordinaire, cackled with particularly fiendish glee as her henchlings secured two struggling captives inside the closet of a huge abandoned mansion. The girls were young, pretty and defiant even as they stood there in their slips and pantyhose, hands bound with rope.
The mad doctor exhorted his goons to tie them tighter, to that end they tied the girls’ hands over the closet bar then tied their knees and ankles together. They bound the hostages together at the waist so they stood back to back unable to help each other.
“There you are me proud beauties,” the Doctor purred venomously,” that should hold you until your fathers pay the ransom I’ve demanded.”
“You’ll never get away with this !” cried Penny Pendergast, daughter of Vincent Pendergast a wealthy oil magnate. ” My father will have your heads !”
“My father will hunt you down like dogs !” added Carol Crystalheart, daughter of Cavanaugh Crystalheart, the diamond merchant. ” Detective Lisa Hammond will get you !!”
The evil doctor leered at her two bound captives, ” I wouldn’t waste time waiting for the good detective to save you. My assistants have already taken care of her.”
Back at Hammond Investigations, Lisa Hammond struggled bound, gagged and tied to her desk chair, staring straight into the merciless face of a time-bomb that was winding itself down to zero. She had gotten maybe 5 steps inside her office when the goons jumped her and played a duet on her skull with billyclubs.
Lisa planted her feet firmly and kicked out, pushing the rolling chair hard into the little table by her desk. A tiny vase on top of it wobbled, but didn’t fall. She did it again and again. the vase tottered off the edge and smashed into a thousand pieces on the floor.
“Dammit Hammond,” Debra Duche snapped,” My mother bought me that vase !” The pretty secretary stood framed in the office doorway, entirely too long, a fact that the trussed up detective tried to make known past the layers of cloth tied over her mouth.
Debra crossed the room, got a broom and dustpan and calmly swept up the fragments as her erstwhile boos grunted around her gag, nodding desperately in the direction of the bomb squatting on her desk.
” I swear sometimes I don’t know why I put up with you sometimes.” she said wearily, dumping the bits into the trash can,” After all, I have feelings too, y’know ?”
Lisa let out a long plaintive moan. Debra looked at her, followed the jerking head toward the desk, saw the package of wired TNT and promptly fainted.
Doctor Webb stood on the balcony and watched a plume of flame rip the sky. She set down her binoculars and smiled,” So much for Detective Hammond.”
Penny and Carol winced at the sudden light intruding into their prison. Doctor Webb smirked at her two squirming prisoners as they stood there tautly bound and gagged. The pretty girls mmphed quietly behind their gags, tugging at the ropes.
‘Ah poor little girls,’ she purred,” Detective Hammond has had a rather explosive accident. Now no one can save you.” The girls mmphed in feverish protest as their captor closed the door once more.
“Dammit Hammond, I liked that office. ” Debra Duche said beating the dust from he battered pillbox hat, ” Was it absolutely necessary that you blow it up ?”
“If that bomb hadn’t gone off, Doctor Webb would have sent more goons to finish us off. She shouldn’t notice that it exploded a little later than it was set for. She’s probably busy dealing with her new cash cows.”
“I thought they locked her up in the loony bin after she kidnapped those two society dames.”
“They did. She escaped and kidnapped them again. The Doc hates unfinished business.”
“So why did she come after you ?”
“Because I busted her the last time, remember ? she wants me dead so this scheme can go off without a hitch.”
“And now you are dead.”
“Or so they think. The Doc will believe I’m dead, so now I can go after her and save those girls. She won’t suspect a thing.”
“I better go with you. Those goons jumped you pretty quick, ya know.”
“But this time they won’t know I’m coming. I’ll pick them off one by one, then I’ll deal with the Doctor.”
“So you want me to just hold down the office ?”
“Ha-ha. just lay low and wait for my call.”
Debra rolled her eyes, ” Sure whatever boss.”
“Good girl. Well I’m off.”
Detective Hammond leapt into her car and sped off. She pulled her hat down another notch and set her teeth grimly. The thought of that mad doctor holding those two innocent girls hostage filled her with angry resolve. Win or lose, Doctor Webb’s reign of terror would end tonight.
Hammond pressed the accelerator down harder as she drove down a country highway toward the Doctor’s last known hideout. She might have been an evil genius, but she was also predictable. this whole crime centred around her completing the failed abduction, so it was more than likely that she’d return to the exact same locations.
Last time the good doctor had his minions kidnap the girls right out of their bedrooms as they were getting ready for bed. Some chloroformed rags clamped over startled mouths had made them more pliable to being bound hand and foot and lowered out the window to a waiting vehicle. Once secured in the car trunk, the girls were taken to an old mansion on the south edge of town.
The house had been a centre of local legend. Everything from UFO sightings to cannibalistic ritual sex murders had supposedly taken place there at one time or another. The people in the area avoided the house like the plague, so it was perfect for holding two frightened socialites captive.
Detective Hammond urged her roadster to greater speed….
Penny and Carol struggled helplessly, futilely. The ransoms had arrived by a special courier, now since executed by the Doctor’s thugs, who no longer had any use for them. They were untied, except for their hands and escorted from their closet prison down into the cellar in the bowels of the mansion.
It was low roofed and dank, with cobwebs and a musty sour odour that seemed to crawl up their noses. The girls were forced across the hard dirt floor and made to lay down on two low wooden benches. the goons brought our fresh ropes and began tying them down tightly. Doctor Webb crossed the room to a dark corner and wheeled a dark grey device over close to where they were being bound.
” Relax, dear ladies.” The Doctor soothed,” Soon your troubles will be over. I’ve attached a timer to this device. Once we have made our escape, it will activate, filling this room with a deadly gas. If it’s any consolation to you, it’s allegedly painless.”
The girls fought the ropes pinning them, moaning and struggling for all their worth. It was less than useless, they had been securely fastened in this death trap. The goon binding Carol made a final knot.
“Excellent, no go gather my ransom and prepare the car. I want to be gone in less than five minutes.”
“Sure thing boss.” the thug replied and headed upstairs. Detective Hammond smacked the back of the goon’s head the moment it came into view. the goon collapsed into her arms and she dragged her into the kitchen. Lisa grabbed a coil of rope off the floor and tied the henchwoman hand and foot. She then pulled off her scarf, folded it into a thick band and tied it over the girl’s mouth.
“One down, two to go.” the detective whispered, patting her unconscious captive on the back. Lisa hefted her pistol, readied another coil of rope and a gag and hide herself once more.
Doctor Webb paced and glanced at the cellar door. Her assistant should have been back before now. The other goon looked at her nervously.
“You want me to check it out , Boss ?”
The doctor’s eyes narrowed as she looked at her two struggling captives, lying bound on their benches.
“Yes, why don’t you go do that …”
Lisa started as she heard the slow steady tread lurching up the cellar stairs. The pressed herself against the wall, the gun raised high to smash the goon’s skull. they came slowly, cautiously. Did the Doctor suspect something ?
Hammond risked a peek around the corner and saw the derby hat and trench coat. She slipped back and waited. The figure came through the door and around the corner. Lisa’s gun came down…
The girl slumped to the floor, her hat tumbling across the wood floor, revealing long blonde hair over an ugly purple bruise where the gun hit . A white cloth had been tied over her mouth, her hands were bound, hidden by the folds of the trench coat. Penny Pendergast lay unconscious at her feet.
Lisa raised her hands as the gun cocked behind her head. The real goon relieved her of her pistol and ordered the stunned detective back downstairs. Doctor Webb smirked at her as she entered the cellar at gun point. Carol whimpered under her gag.
“Well, well, well Detective Lisa Hammond “unkilled” by the time bomb.”
“Doctor Webb,” Lisa said evenly,” I knew you were behind all this. So why kidnap the same girls ? There are plenty of kids out there with rich parents for you to pilfer.”
“I’m well aware of that, but I hate unfinished business. These little hussies got away from me and YOU got me committed to an insane asylum. You kept me from my rightful money last time Detective, so now I’m getting even.”
” You’re a f@#@ing lunatic Doctor Webb.”
Doctor Webb froze, glaring at her with venomous hatred,” Tie the Detective to Penny’s bench. Make the ropes excruciatingly tight.”
Lisa laid own on the bench as she was ordered and put her hands together in front of her. No sense putting Carol in danger. the goon worked quickly; winding ropes, knotting them, repeating the performance. In moments the detective found herself helplessly tied alongside the girl she was trying to save.
“Comfortable ?” the Doctor asked lightly,” Good, then you can share these tramps fate. I’m going to gas you all !!”
“You’re still a lunatic doctor, whether we’re alive or dead !”
“GAG HER !!” the doctor shrilled.
The goon took out a white pair of panties from her pocket, folded it and stuffed Lisa’s mouth. The Detective garbled something angry at her, fidgeting in her bonds.
“Now go bring Penny back down here and see what happened to the other one. I want to be on the road in seconds.” the doctor ordered. The goon nodded and trotted upstairs. She returned with Penny over one shoulder and dumped her unceremoniously on her belly on the floor. she tied the still unconscious girl’s hands behind her back, bound her ankles and secured the gag.
Doctor Webb set the timer for six minutes and pressed a button. The machine leaped to life.
“There. I’ll leave you three to your gaseous end. If the idea of slowly suffocating to death seems too cruel, just take deep cleansing breaths. Good-bye forever, Detective !!!”
Doctor Webb laughed throatily and ran upstairs, slamming the door behind her. Lisa and Carol wriggled inside the ropes holding them, finding little purchase. Lisa twisted her hands back and forth inside the fat coils of rope. The goon had followed the Doctor’s orders too well however. Minutes ticked by.
The machine kicked into higher gear, a trickle of white gas rolled out, pooled on the floor and spilled out in all directions. A thick tendril of deadly fumes slithered across the dirt toward Penny.
The semi-conscious girl wrinkled her nose at the heavy sickly sweet odour. She moaned quietly behind her gag, hands flexing behind her back. Penny’s eyes flickered to life. The girl saw the fiendish gas flowing toward her and tried to jerk herself upright. The effort slapped her back down hard onto the floor, forcing air from her lungs. Instintively, the girl took in a deep breath and started choking.
The machine opened up full, blasting a fat cone of white doom across the floor. Penny moaned pitifully, trying to wrench herself upright, away from the floating, sliding death coming to embrace her.
the door flew open, feet pounded down the stairs. Lisa and Carol craned their heads in that direction. Debra duche stood framed in the doorway, pillbox hat tilted jauntily to one side, a gun in her right hand.
“Bet you’re glad I didn’t lie low aren’t you, Boss ?”
Doctor Webb and her goons sat bound and gagged against the far wall of the kitchen, looking more than a little unhappy. The bags of ransom money lay piled at their feet. Doctor Webb kicked one of the bags across the floor. The heroes laughed.
“How did you know where to find me ?” Lisa asked her secretary who sat filing her nails.
“Oh I hid in the trunk of you car. Once you went inside the house, i just followed you in.”
“And you didn’t let me know ?”
“Oh like you’d bother to notice me!”
“So anyway, ” Penny threw in,” could you tell us about the rescue ?”
” Sure thing, doll. I was hiding in the kitchen pantry when the boss here drags one of the Doctor’s goons in and ties her up, nice and tight. She’s waiting for the next one, but it ain’t her it’s Miss Pendergast dressed up like her, but the boss doesn’t see it and hits her anyway.”
“That part I remember.’ Penny said, rubbing the lump on her forehead.
“Sorry about that, kid.” Lisa said.
“No problem, Hammond I’ll just deduct my medical bills from your reward money.”
“Oh, thank you.”
“So anyway, the boss gets captured, right ? So I figured I’d wait and see if that wacky doctor would check on her other goon. Lo and behold, she sends up the other one. After she took Miss Pendergast downstairs she came up once more to untie her friend and I just beaned her over the head. The doctor came up afterwards and I nailed her too.”
“So what took you so long ? We could have suffocated down there.”
“Well i had to tie them up nice and tight so they wouldn’t get away…”
“And..” Carol asked.
“And I had to make an appropriately dramatic entrance.”
“Oh…. you… imposssible….” Lisa sputtered.
The authorities were summoned and Doctor Webb and her cohorts were arrested and put in maximum security. Detective Hammond got a fat reward from the girls’ fathers (minus Penny’s medical bills, she wasn’t kidding) and Debra Duche got a fat raise and her name added to the new office glass.