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The Kingdom: Chapter 10 - Peach


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I woke up to the sound of loud fast-paced beeping. I blinked and groggily looked around. I was in Katie’s room at the health clinic, seated in the padded armchair next to her bed. I glanced up toward the health monitor to my right that was emitting the loud beeping. Flashing in red at the top of the screen was the word “ALERT” and a horizontal red line scrolled across the middle of the screen next to a symbol of a crossed-out heart.


I jolted upright in my chair and turned toward the bed where Katie was laying. But she wasn’t there... “Katie?” I called out, sounding more frantic that I’d intended to. I jumped up and looked on the floor next to the bed, making sure she hadn’t fallen out.


Just then, the beeping seized. I glanced back toward the monitor to see that the horizontal red line had turned back into a spiky green one that resembled a working heartbeat. Then, to my left, the bathroom door swung open and Katie stepped forward in her hospital gown, pulling a mobile medical trolley behind her. An IV was attached to her arm and oxygen tubes hung from her nostrils.


“I’m here. I’m okay,” she said smiling. I smiled back, sighing in relief to see that she wasn’t dying. Even dressed in a hospital gown, with no make-up, and with tubes sticking out of her nose, Katie still looked adorable.


“I heard the beeping and… got nervous,” I explained, suddenly feeling a bit foolish.


“Sorry, my heart-rate thing fell off when I was in the bathroom,” Katie explained, holding up her finger that sported a plastic sleeve. “Back in business, now,” she added with a smile.


“How’re you feeling?” I asked.


“I’m good,” Katie answered, trying to look casual as she crossed the room toward me. I cocked my eyebrow at her skeptically. “Honestly,” she chuckled. “I’m just ready to get out of here.”


“I bet you are,” I replied. “So, has anyone given you an update? Told you when you’ll be able to check out?”


“Um, I’m not sure,” she answered. “The doctor’s supposed to stop by again soon.”


“And did anyone tell you what’s happening? I mean… after you check out?” I pressed awkwardly, unsure if she’d been made aware of that fact that she’d be moving in with me.



“You mean, about you having temporary custody?” Katie asked, her face suddenly looking flushed. I nodded, trying to pretend as if the idea of having custody over a grown woman didn’t weird me out. “Yes,” she replied, smiling. “They explained it all to me while you were sleeping. I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”


“Please,” I said, shaking my head dismissively. “I’m the one in your debt.” Katie blushed, looking down at her legs. “Had it not been for you, I’d be spending the next several weeks in the kennel.” I reached forward and grabbed her hand. “I won’t let you go back to Murphy,” I assured her. “I promise.”


“Thanks,” Katie said quietly, seemingly holding back tears of relief.


I couldn’t imagine what she’d gone through over the past 48 hours. Between the kennel, the auction block, Murphy’s apartment, and now the emergency health clinic, she’d certainly been through hell.


“And don’t worry,” I joked. “I’m not a fan of peaches, so you don’t have to worry about ending up back here.”


Katie laughed, looking down sheepishly at her feet.


Just then, there was a knock at the door, causing both of us to turn our heads. A middle-aged man in a white doctor’s jacket stepped into the room.


“Hello again,” he said pleasantly.


“Hi,” Katie replied, making her way back to her bed.


“Hi, there,” he said, looking at me. “I’m Doctor Scott, the primary physician here.”


“Um, I’m Jodie,” I said awkwardly. “A… friend.”


“Nice to meet you,” he replied. “How’re you feeling, Katie? You look better!”


“I’m good,” Katie replied, as she got situated back onto her bed. “Really good, actually.”


Katie appeared to have turned the enthusiasm dial up to an 11. I guessed this was in an effort to convince the doctor that she was ready to be released. The poor girl clearly wanted to get out of here.


“Well, I’m glad to hear it,” the doctor replied as he put rubber gloves on. “After the morning you’ve had, I would’ve settled for just regular good.” He stepped over to her and pressed his hands against the sides of her throat. “Looks like the swelling’s gone down. That’s good. Any tingling or itchiness?”


“No,” Katie replied.


“How’s your appetite?” he asked


“Um,” Katie answered, “I didn’t each lunch, but I’m still not very hungry yet.”


It wasn’t until she mentioned the word lunch that I realized how famished I was. I glanced up at the clock on the wall, which read 4:07. Shit, I thought. No wonder I was so hungry! I hadn’t eaten today…


“I’m sure your appetite will return once we wean you off the saline drip,” he said as he pressed a stethoscope against her upper chest. “Take a deep breath for me.” Katie did as he asked. “Hold… aaand exhale… Good. Any tightness in the chest?”


“Nope,” Katie responded.


“Open up for me?” the doctor asked, as he pulled a small flashlight out his pocket. Katie said ‘aaah’ as the doctor shined the light into her mouth. “Everything looks good,” he mused. “I think we can lose the oxygen and start to wean you off of your IV.”


Katie didn’t have to be told twice. She immediately reached up and pulled the rubber tubes out of her nostrils, causing her face to contort in discomfort. The doctor took the tubes from her and hung them from a hook on the medical trolley next to her. Then, he adjusted a mechanism at the bottom of her IV drip.


“Alright, Katie,” the doctor said, removing his rubber gloves. “Your appetite should return shortly and then we’ll reevaluate how you feel after dinner.”


Katie’s face suddenly fell. “After dinner?” she asked, clearly disappointment. “So, I have to stay here longer?”


“I’m afraid so,” the doctor replied apologetically. “For severe allergic reactions like yours, I typically recommend a minimum of twelve hours medical supervision.”


Katie sighed in disappointment, slouching her shoulders forward.


“So, when exactly will that be?” I asked, filling in for Katie.


“Let’s see,” the doctor mumbled, grabbing the clipboard at the foot of the hospital bed. “Twelve hours from the time you checked in would be… around 7 o’clock tonight.”


Katie looked down at her legs, clearly disappointed by the news.


“Well, Katie, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to press the call-button and a nurse will come running,” the doctor said. Katie gave him a polite smile. “And Jodie, it was nice to meet you.”


“Likewise,” I responded. I turned my attention back to Katie as the doctor exited the room and closed the door behind him. “Hey-” I said, leaning toward Katie, causing her to meet my gaze. “Chin up, peach,” I said playfully. “It’s okay if I call you peach, isn’t it?”


Katie’s mouth curled into a smile. “I’m in your custody now, so you can call me whatever you’d like,” she replied.


“Peach it is, then,” I chuckled. “I’ll hang out with you til it’s time to go. Three hours’ll fly by.”


“Oh no-” Katie responded, straightening up again. “You’ve already given so much of your day. I’m just being a baby. I’ll be fine.”


“It’s really no problem,” I countered.


“I know,” Katie replied. “And I really appreciate you offering. Like… more than you know. But I feel terrible keeping you any longer than I already have. Plus, you have to be starving. I insist you go get something to eat.”


I was extremely hungry, having napped straight through lunch.


“Alright, I get the hint. You’d like some alone time,” I replied sarcastically.


Katie’s eyebrows rose apologetically. “You know that’s not true,” she answered.


“Just teasing,” I reassured her playfully.


Katie smiled back, her face once again looking flushed.


“You do raise a good point, though,” I continued, standing to my feet. “I’m frickin’ starving.” I crossed back over to the armchair I had napped in earlier and grabbed my phone. “Do you want me to bring back anything back for you while I’m out?” I asked. “Any other food allergies I should be aware of?


Katie shook her head smiling. “I’m good, thanks,” she answered.


“Suit yourself,” I replied bluntly. “Get some rest and I’ll be back later.”


“Yes ma’am,” Katie replied.


I flashed a peace sign to her before exiting the room. Halfway down the hall I was still smiling. I was surprised by how upbeat I felt. I had just woken up from a marathon nap, but I’d be naïve to accredit my mood to anything but Katie. The idea of having her around was… nice.


Exiting the health clinic, I made a b-line to Sally’s BBQ. Speed walking down Centre Street, I was salivating just thinking about my order. To my good fortune, I arrived to a nearly empty restaurant where my order was promptly taken and prepared. I don’t recall much from the next several minutes on account of the food that had monopolized my focus. I was in barbecue heaven.


About halfway through my sandwich, I felt my phone buzz. Wiping the barbecue sauce off my hand, I pulled my phone out of my pocked. At the top of my screen was a drop-down notification from the Kingdom app. As I read what it said, I nearly fell out of my chair in ***. It read-


Message from 01:



Instantly overcome with dread, I gasped and dropped my phone, causing it to land loudly on the wooden table. *** rushed to my face and I could suddenly feel heart beat between my ears. The message used my real name! Not Jodie O’Connell! Alison Rook! Whoever had written me knew my true identity!


In an impromptu attempt to look unsuspicious to any onlookers, I quickly pretended to swat an imaginary bug off my phone and then the table. I held my breath, silently hoping that my performance was convincing enough for whomever may have been “watching”…


My hand trembled as I picked up my phone and cautiously tapped the notification containing the message. The Kingdom app suddenly opened and the message expanded to fill the entire screen. Only… it was no longer the same message... The message had become garbled and now read:


DÔöð% ˽îh–0¹

h4Ð΢ #ö‹æå¨Tþq; gOÒ`Vµ¢“ A•³®²ué VmÞ½¸‹½¹âÙµ Å¢ñìða¦ ÔZ “ªaˆ ÅA¤ ÈàÌ=uËí®êf


I stared at the screen in confusion for several seconds. What the hell? With my heart pounding out of my chest, I worked up the courage to send a reply, despite the specific instruction not to.


Who is this???


No sooner did I press the “send” button, the app instantly crashed, returning me to my home screen. I blinked in silence. Shit, what did I do? After a few seconds, I felt my phone buzz as another notification dropped down from the top of my screen. It read-


             Message from 01:


Swipe down to read more


I swiped down to reveal the rest of the message.




I hesitated before tentatively swiping up on the notification. I hated the idea of complying with the demands of this stranger. But despite my distrust, I had few alternatives. Whoever was messaging me new my name…


Message from 01:


Swipe down to read more


I swiped down.




My whole body was trembling. Whoever was writing me had a clear view of me! I hated my privacy being so violated. Willing myself to appear casual, I did as the message instructed- I cleared the message and preceded to calmly take another bite of my sandwich.


Despite how hunger I had been, my appetite was completely gone. Leaving the rest of my sandwich uneaten, I used a napkin to clean my hands and mouth. Be casual, be casual, I thought to myself as I stood and exited the restaurant into the blinding sun.


Now hyper-paranoid, I felt as if all eyes were on me. Taking deep breaths, I crossed the street and entered the Apothecary. The Apothecary was basically the Kingdom’s version of Walgreens. It didn’t take me long to locate the items on my list. I couldn’t fathom why I was being instructed to purchase ultrasonic pest repellent and insulated cooler bag, but I dutifully obliged. In my continued attempts to appear natural, I collected several additional items like conditioner, hair ties, and other hygiene products.


Once I exited the building, I pulled out my phone to see a new drop-down notification waiting for me. It read:


Message from 01:


Swipe down to read more



I read the message twice before swiping up to clear the notification. I had no idea where all of this was going, but I dutifully made my way to the market. At the Renn Faire, Sycamore Market was a sort of outlet store operated by over a dozen different vendors. Here, guests were able to and trade everything from Renaissance period clothing, relics, incents, and weaponry. I shuddered to imagine what it was being used for in the off-season…


I didn’t have to imagine very long. After a short walk, I arrived to the large barn-like building. As I stepped inside, the first difference I noticed was the obnoxiously loud scream-o music blaring over the speaker system. Quite the contrast from the pleasant pan-flute background tracks that were commonly heard during the Faire season. And instead of handcrafted renaissance-style garments and accessories, the aisles, racks, and tables were now filled with slutty latex outfits and sex toys.


In front of me stood a fat male employee wearing a toupee. Turning away from the latex-clad manikin he was adjusting, he gave a disingenuous smile and greeted me.


“Welcome to Sycamore Market,” he said in a monotone voice. “Can I help you find anything today?”


“Nope,” I replied bluntly, making my way past him.


As I made my way through the aisles, I continued to fight off the peculiar feeling that I was being watched... I casually glanced around but found nothing particularly suspicious. The market was surprisingly empty. Emptier than it usually was during the regular season, anyway. In fact, from what I could tell, the market’s customers appeared to be outnumbered by the manikins that displayed the merchandise.


Attempting to appear casual, I perused the market for a few minutes, and eventually grabbed a random slutty outfit from off a rack. Eventually, I made my way to the back corner of the market where dozens of manikin heads showcased various latex and leather hoods. I began searching through the items on the rack for a red box marked with a green sticker. After about a minute of digging, I managed to find it buried deep on the bottom shelf. The text on the box read Unisex Inflatable Latex Hood.


All items now in hand, I made my way to the fitting room to my left. As I extended my hand toward the handle, the door suddenly swung open and a middle-aged man exited, pulling behind a curvy naked Latino woman by the leash. In his free hand, he carried what looked like belt harness outfits.


Avoiding eye contact, I entered the fitting room and locked the door behind me. The obnoxiously loud scream-o music blared down from a speaker handing directly above. Dropping everything to the floor, I began rooting through my bag for the ultrasonic pest repellent. Ripping it from its plastic packaging, I quickly plugged it into the wall outlet as instructed. Next, I pulled out my phone to retrieve my next instructions. Surely enough, another notification was ready and waiting for me.


             Message from 01:


Swipe down to read more



I stared at the phone, reading and rereading the instructions in disbelief. “Bullshit,” I muttered to myself, shaking my head. This complete stranger seriously expected me to strip down naked and lock my head in a fucking blow-up hood?


I continued stubbornly staring at my phone’s screen, silently willing my correspondent to send me an alternative. After a long pause, I finally cleared the notification and began furiously undressing. I hated how accustomed I’d become to acting against my better judgment. This place had a way of getting me to comply with directives I’d have never previously considered going along…


Moments later, I was completely naked and cursing under my breath as I shoved all of my clothes into my insulated bag. Once I zipped the top closed, I sat down on the chair and pulled the black latex hood from its box. For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom what the reason was for any of this. But the bastard knew my name. So, for now, I had to play his game…


Exhaling one last sigh of frustration, I lifted the hood up to my head and began pulling it over my head, submerging myself in total darkness. To my surprise, the inside of the latex hood was lined with soft silk-like fabric, allowing it to slide easily across my skin.


Once it made its way past my chin, I began squeezing the attached hand pump, inflating the balloon around my head. With each pump, I felt increased pressure on my face and neck. After about a minute, squeezing the pump had gotten significantly harder. I raised my other hand to my head, feeling what was now a large round latex balloon.


Just then, I nearly leapt out of my skin in shock as a male voice spoke into my ears, “Rook, do you copy?” Knocking my chair to the floor, I frantically backed against the mirrored wall behind me.


“Holy shit, who’s there?!” I shrieked. Despite the pressure of the hood against my face, I was still somehow able to speak intelligibly.


“Easy,” the voice said calmly. “Your hood is equipped with a secure two-way radio. We’re alone.”


“Who the hell is this?!” I demanded ***fully.


“First thing’s first,” the voice replied. “If we’re going to talk, I need for you to remain calm and quiet.”


Calm and quiet? “Are you fucking kidding me right now?” I blurted out in outrage.


The voice interjected, “Your hood will muffle your voice, but only if you speak at a volume of 65 decibels or lower. Speak louder than that and you risk being overheard. You’ve managed to capture the attention of some very dangerous people. It is imperative that those people do not overhear this conversation...”


“Tell me who I’m talking to, or this conversation is over,” I replied in a soft but stern voice.


“I’m a special ***s operator in a highly classified covert operation,” the voice answered


“That doesn’t answer my question-” I countered.


“I’m U.S. military, ma’am,” the voice interrupted.


“Right,” I replied shortly in disbelief. “Got a name, soldier?”


“My codename is Alpha.”


“Yeah- I’m not calling you that,” I replied bluntly.


“Look,” the voice said, sounding irritated. “There are dangerous ***s at play. You’d be wise to hear me out.”


“And why should I trust you?” I challenged. “For all I know, this could be some kind of set-up.”


“If anyone in Kingdom management had discovered your identity as I have, you’d already have been taken into custody,” he replied bluntly. “And they certainly wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to this meeting secret.”


“Lengths?” I challenged.


“The ultrasonic pest repellent you plugged in emits a high-pitch frequency that should impair any nearby listening devices,” the voice explained, his words rolling quickly off his tongue. “The insulated bag you placed all of your belongings in will block electrical signals from any devices that may have been planted on your person. And the hood you’re wearing will shield your voice from all non-electric forms of surveillance. Like I said, so long as your volume remains below 65 decibels, this conversation should be completely private.”


I paused, considering his words. While my natural instinct was to remain skeptical, I couldn’t help but feel impressed. He really did appear to have all of his bases covered. It was hard to imagine bullshitting such an elaborate cover story. But as legitimate as his explanation seemed, I’d lost a great deal of good will towards strangers over the last several days. After all I’d been through, I had no choice but to be distrustful. From this point forward, it was best to just assume that everyone was an enemy...


Growing impatient, I decided to break the silence. “So, you’ve got me in private,” I said. “Spill it. What did you want with me?”


“Aside from warning you of the surveillance detail that’s been planted on you,” he explained, “I need to discuss the suitcase that was delivered to your suite. I assume you still have it?”


“Aaand there it is,” I interjected. “You know, you almost had me with the whole Kyle Reese act until you brought up the suitcase.”


“Excuse me?” the voice asked.


“The last person who mentioned a suitcase literally tried to kill me for it,” I added. The voice didn’t reply. “You may know her, actually! Brandy Michaels? Ever heard of her? Or perhaps you know her by her codename. Delta… something foxtrot. Ring any bells?”


The voice on the other end remained silent.


“Bueller?” I pressed antagonistically.


“Look, whatever may have happened before,” the voice explained, “-it’s critical that the suitcase be safely recovered.”


“Oh yeah?” I challenged. “And why might that be?”


“I’m unable to disclose any further details,” the voice answered cryptically.


“Horse shit,” I spat.


“For your own safety, the details of our operation have to remain classified,” the voice replied in a ***ful voice.


“Our?” I dug. There was silence on the other end. “So how many are there in your little squad?”


“I’m not at liberty to say,” the voice replied.


“I assume Brandy was one of them, so there’s at least two of you,” I deduced. The voice remained silent. “Come on,” I prodded. “Don’t pretend like you don’t know her. You both have codenames from the NATO phonetic alphabet for fuck’s sake. The bitch tried to kill me. The least you can do is have the balls to explain why.”


The voice hesitated before replying, “Foxtrot had no intention of killing you.”


“Oh really?” I shot back. “She could’ve fooled me as I suffocated beneath her elbow.”


“I won’t defend her behavior,” he replied, his tone sounding almost remorseful. “What she did to you was wrong-”


“Gee- thanks, captain obvious,” I replied snarkily. “I’m not asking for validation. I want to know why!”


“All I can tell you,” the voice explained in a restrained voice. “-is that the operation’s success is contingent upon the recovery of the suitcase-”


“Well, so long as she did it for the operation then she was justi-” I retorted, sarcastically.


“I’m not trying to justify her actions,” the voice interrupted. “I’ve already stated that she was wrong. I’m just trying to explain her motivation.”


“Well, as convincing as this good cop routine is, if you’re not gonna explain what the hell is going on, I’m gonna sign off,” I stated definitively.


I heard a long sigh on his end. I could tell he was growing frustrated. “There are a lot lives at stake,” he said.


I didn’t say anything. For the first time in this conversation, my interest had been peaked…


“Over 200 lives to be exact,” he added. His voice now sounded tired and more defeated. “All of whom are women in who, unbeknownst to them, are being recruited into a human smuggling ring.” My heart suddenly dropped to the bottom of my chest. “Three months here will seem like a cakewalk compared to the lifetime of sexual slavery that awaits them...”


I no longer felt the urge to issue a py comeback. This new disturbing development was definitely unexpected…


“Everything depends of the safe recovery of that suitcase,” he added. “The tools we need to save these women and bring these monsters to justice are inside. For every second it’s out of my possession, the less chance of success this operation has of succeeding…”


This story had just taken a turn for the terrifying. If this guy was telling the truth, then I was essentially dooming hundreds of women by refusing to help him… Too overwhelmed to speak, I remained silent.


The compassionate side of me wanted to hand over the suitcase and be done. But if this was actually an elaborate scheme to entrap me, I could end up being held responsible for the suitcase and its unknown contents... In all likelihood, I’d be thrown back in the kennel so fast my head would spin. And this time, there’d be no Katie to save me…


“I… don’t have it.” I replied, instantly feeling ashamed of myself. While, it wasn’t technically untrue, I still felt like a piece of shit. As far as I knew, the suitcase was still in Laura’s cubicle at the Trading Post with all of my other belongings. There was a long pause where nobody said anything. I held my breath as I silently waited for a reply.


“Under the circumstances, I understand your distrust,” he finally answered, passively calling out my bluff. “I can’t blame you for being skeptical after what you’ve been through. If you can find it in yourself to keep this conversation between the two of us, I’ll simply need to find another way to gain your trust.”


I felt a large lump form in the back of my throat. Of all the tough choices I’d made over the last week, this one was heavy. I silently prayed I was making the right decision…


“In the meantime, please listen carefully to my next instructions,” the voice said urgently. “The information I’m about to give you is of utmost importance. Are you ready?”


“Yes,” I said softly.


“Okay,” he replied. “First things first- purchase the hood that you’re wearing. If anyone were to discover the COM device inside, it could expose the operation and put you at risk. the hood and take it with you. In short order, I’ll send you instructions for how to destroy it. Keep your phone charged and in your possession at all times. As I said before, do not attempt to respond to my messages, as outgoing signals are not secure. Simply swipe up to clear each notification once it’s been read and dedicated to memory.”


I hung on each of his words, sensing the gravity in his voice.


“Trust no one,” he added. “Assume that everyone is an unfriendly and that there are eyes and ears everywhere. Be mindful of anyone wearing a red probation collar. Red collars are different from black ones, in that they’re equipped with an audio transmitter. Everything spoken within earshot will be used against you.”


The more Alpha spoke, the more I found myself believing him. If he was bluffing, then he’d crafted himself a remarkably convincing script…


“And most importantly,” he concluded, “-keep the suitcase hidden wherever it currently is. That suitcase is the key to everything. Without it, the operation has zero chance of success…”


I remained silent, neither confirming nor denying that I was moved by any of this.


“I’ll be in touch. Keep your phone on,” he said. And then, I heard a click.


I stood still for several seconds, listening to the sound of my heartbeat pounding loudly in my ears. Once I’d given myself some time to process everything that I’d heard, I reached up and found the squeeze pump of my inflatable hood. I twisted the metal dial at its base, allowing for the air to release. After a few seconds, the pressure had been released from my face and ears, allowing me to pull the hood off my head.


The cool air felt wonderful against my hot and sticky face. The scream-o music blaring from the speaker above could once again be heard and I blinked several times as my eyes adjusted to the bright florescent light. But as soon as my eyes came into focus, I let out a shriek and leapt backward, colliding with the mirrored wall behind me. Standing in front of me in the doorway of the dressing room was the fat employee with the toupee.


“What the Fuck?!” I yelled, covering my naked body as best I could with my hands.


“You’ve been in here for like… ten minutes,” he replied. “Others are waiting to use the fitting room.”


“So, you just let yourself in?!” I responded loudly. “Ever hear of knocking?”


“I have been knocking,” he replied.


“Well close the door so I can get my clothes back on!” I responded. He raised his hands defensively and closed the door.


What the hell was wrong with this place?! I thought, exhaling in disbelief. I unzipped the bag that I’d stowed all of my clothes in and quickly got dressed. Half a minute later, I stormed out of the fitting room, my belongings and hood in tow.


Wanting to leave this place as quickly as possible, I scanned the market for a register to pay at. During the regular faire season, each vendor checked customers out from their own station. Now, however, there seemed to be a unified checkout at the front of the market. As I made my way closer, I groaned at the sight of the line of customers waiting to pay.


I bounced impatiently on the balls of my feet as I joined the line. Only one register appeared to be open and the ier appeared to be in no hurry as she chitchatted with her customers.


Letting out a long sigh, I pulled out my phone again to see if the man called Alpha had written. Nothing. Between our unnerving conversation and my naked confrontation with the fat employee, I was understandably a little on edge...


But just as soon as I’d regained my composure, I jumped in surprise by sudden movement to my left. The black latex-clad manikin next to me had suddenly started twitching and violently shaking. From it’s hooded head emitted a high-pitched muffled squeal…


Having been caught off-guard, I backed frantically away from the figure. It took me a few seconds connect the dots for what I was looking at. The manikin wasn’t a manikin… It was a real person!


The busty cat-suited figure in front of me was seated on a stool with her legs together on one side. One of her hands rested manikin-like on her hip and the other on the armrest of the stool. My jaw dropped as I saw her chest rapidly rising up and down. A platinum blonde ponytail swayed back and forth from the hole in her hood as the wearer’s head shook back and forth in apparent protest.


Horrified, I could do nothing but stare. Her gloved fists were clenched into balls and I could see her leg muscles bulging through her cat suit. Tilting my head to the side, I was able to make out a steel-pipe frame behind her. The pipes mimicked her body and limb position and appeared to be secured to each of her joints by hidden straps. The stool itself was bolted to the floor, keeping her upright and balanced.


After a few seconds of gaping in horror, I realized that the pathetic squealing noises were not only hers. The entire store had been filled with the chilling chorus of muffled squeals and groans. Spinning slowly around, I saw what looked to be nearly a dozen hooded and latex-clad women in various manikin positions, twitching and squirming in their otherwise frozen states. As their audible expressions of discomfort continued, laughter and taunts could be heard from the male customers in the store.


After roughly 30 seconds, all of the manikins collectively relaxed and stopped making noise.


“What the hell-” I whispered, stepping hesitantly back toward the manikin. As I approached, I noticed an electric e-reader-style plaque located in front of her. Leaning in, I read the fine print.


Thank you for visiting Sycamore Market! My name is Vicki and I’m employed through the Kingdom’s residency program. The outfit I’m wearing is:


Mytex G-Suit: Full-Enclosure PVC Body Suit

Size Medium

Available in Black, Red, and White


Please feel free to touch and tease me. I promise I won’t/can’t bite ;)


Beneath the e-reader plaque was a laminated piece of paper that read:


DISCLAIMER: Each manikin is equipped with a vibrating dildo, anal spreading pear plug, and TENS patches over each nipple. With each purchase made, all vibrating dildos will be remotely activated, anal plugs will temporarily expand by 30%, and the TENS patches will receive electric stimulation. The duration of these stimulants will depend upon the dollar amount spent.


$1 – $49………………..…..15 seconds

$50 – $100…………...……45 seconds

$100+………………………3 minutes


Thank you for shopping at Sycamore Market! Enjoy!


My jaw hung incredulously for several seconds after I finished reading. I looked back up at the manikin who had since unclenched her fists and appeared to be more at peace than she was a few seconds earlier. Shit, this place just kept getting more and more fucked up!


“I can take the next customer over here,” said a low voice, ping me out of my thoughts. The fat employee with the toupee who had barged in on me naked was gesturing to the man in front of me in line.


“Uh, actually- you can go ahead of me,” the man said to me, as he dug through his shopping basket for something. Great, I thought. I get to see the fat guy again.


I approached the counter with a furrowed brow, determined to make my displeasure toward the employee known. Without saying anything, I slid the boxed hood across the counter. The employee avoided eye contact and scanned the barcode.


“That’ll be… seventy-nine, fifty,” he said in his stupid monotone voice.


Impatiently, I swiped my key card through the card reader. As soon as the sale went through, I heard a chorus of muffled high-pitched shrieks and squeals throughout the market. Predictably, this was followed by the sound of more laughter and applause from the male customers. I rolled my eyes in disgust at my involuntary contribution to this sick fuckery. The fat toupee guy hesitated before handing me my receipt.


“Okay- I have to ask,” he said after some apparent contemplation. “Were you seriously just standing naked in the fitting room talking to yourself in a sensory deprivation hood?”


I glared back at him. “So what if I was?” I spat.


He stared at me silently for several seconds, before following up with- “…Why?”


“Why are you wearing a fucking beaver carcass on your head?” I countered childishly, nodding to his toupee. “Mind your damn business.” I snatched the box and receipt from his hand and stormed out of the building.


I really was starting to loathe this place... I never could have imagined hating the faire that Uncle Henry and I had poured our hearts and souls into. Seeing it repurposed into a pervy sex retreat was bad enough. But learning that it might also be a hub for sex trafficking was downright nauseating. And if Alpha was telling the truth, I now had to worry about spies watching my every move…


I needed a place to sit and think. But I couldn’t just “sit and think”. If unfriendly eyes were actually watching me, I needed to sit and think in such a way that appeared to be natural. Otherwise, I’d risk drawing suspicion, which would only rein*** their interest in spying on me… Damn, my life had gotten complicated.


So, I decided to do what any other stressed out millennial would do. I made my way toward the nearest coffee house. Hopefully, the Olde Java Joint was still a thing.


As I rounded the corner of Centre Street and Crown, I sighed in relief to see that the coffee house still in business. I entered through the swinging doors and joined the back of the long line. Feeling my phone buzz, I pulled it out to see a new notification waiting for me at the top of my screen.


             Message from 01:



I swiped up and shoved my phone back in my pocket, staring emotionless at the back of the customer in front of me. After an obnoxiously long wait in line, I finally got my salted caramel latté and plopped myself down at an unoccupied chair and table in the outside patio area. I sat silently, sipping slowly at my tall mug of caffeine.


Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t stop replaying my conversation with Alpha in my head. The implications of his words weighed on me like a ton of bricks. The last time I’d felt this uncertain and conflicted was when I was contemplating signing Notts’ Faire over to Becca. But this felt so much worse. If Alpha was actually genuine, it meant that hundreds of women’s lives literally depended on me… Not their livelihoods. Their lives.


I wanted to run away as fast as I could. March up to the exit, turn in my keycard, forget my million-dollar prize, and just leave. But no sooner did I consider this, I remembered Katie. Leaving now would mean that Katie would remain behind as Murphy’s slave. The thought of her being ***d by his machines day in and day out was not something I could live with. There was no way I could leave her to that kind of fate for three months.


But it wasn’t purely my sense of obligation that kept me from fleeing this place. Staying behind for Katie did have its upsides. Despite Alpha’s warnings not to trust anyone, the idea of Katie moving in was still exciting... The thought her company actually lifted my spirits. This both surprised and scared me. The rational side of my brain told me to heed Alpha’s advice and remain isolated. The irrational side, however, longed for someone to unload to and confide in. With Katie sacrificing her job and freedom on my behalf, I couldn’t imagine anyone more trustworthy than her.


But beneath all the logic and illogic, there was just something about the thought of the curly-haired brunette that put me at ease... And ease was precisely what I needed right about now.


Suddenly, the sound of chimes echoed from the clock tower in the distance, ping me out of my daydream. I’d been so lost in thought that I hadn’t realized how late it had gotten. What time was it?


I pulled out my phone to see that it was 7:00pm. Holy shit. It was 7 o’clock already? Leaving my empty mug on the table I hopped up and briskly exited the café patio. Given how eager Katie had been earlier, I could only imagine how ready she was check out.


Speed-walking down the street toward the health clinic, I weaved through the hoards of pedestrians like a pro. As typical at this hour, Centre Street was packed and bustling.


It was a relief to finally step into the health clinic and escape the crowds and noise.


“Jodie,” I heard my name called off to my right.


I turned to see a smiling Katie stand up from a seat in the waiting area. She was accompanied by a tall security guard holding a clipboard. She looked adorable as always, wearing the same outfit that she had worn when we first met in the underground train station. A maroon polo shirt, khaki pants, and glasses. But it was her newest accessory that caused me to momentarily lose my breath. Instead of the ***r collar and employee nametag that she’d worn before, she now sported a red collar. Keyword: red…


I gulped as I ***d a smile. If Alpha’s warnings were accurate, it meant that red collars were equipped with a listening device. Katie had essentially become a walking wiretap…


“Hey there,” I said, trying to put it out of mind. “Sorry I’m a bit late.”


“No worries,” Katie answered pleasantly.


The security guard stepped forward and said, “Before she can be remanded into your custody, I need for you to sign these release forms.”


“Oookay,” I said, grabbing the clipboard from him. I scanned through the documents, trying my best to speed-read without compromising on comprehension. After about a minute, I finished. “Looks good to me,” I concluded, grabbing the pen attached to the top of the clipboard. I signed the bottom of the last sheet and handed the clipboard back to the guard.


“We all good?” I asked.


“Yes ma’am,” the guard responded, pulling a card from his pocket. “Here’s a spare keycard for Miss Hugh.” I reached out and grabbed it. “Once it’s been activated through the app, it will operate the same as yours.”


“Cool,” I replied.


“Have a nice evening,” he added before turning to leave.


I looked back over to Katie who flashed a giddy grin. “How you feelin’ sicky?” I asked


“I’m good!” Katie replied.


“Let’s blow this joint,” I said with a wink. She replied with an enthusiastic nod. Someone was clearly excited to leave the health clinic.


As the two of us exited the building, we were met with obnoxiously loud band music from a group of street performers passing by.


“You hungry?!” I shouted over the noise as we walked. “We can grab a pizza or something.”


“I’m actually good!” Katie shouted back, leaning in toward me. “I had a pretty big meal not too long ago!”


“Well, I’m hungry!” I responded, smiling. “And I’m in the mood for pizza!”


Katie nodded approvingly. Eager to escape the loud music and congested sidewalk, I grabbed Katie’s hand and pulled her quickly through the crowd.


Roughly 15 minutes later, supreme pizza and 6-pack of beer in hand, we headed back to the Castle suite. Once inside, we both let out a collective sigh. It felt like Mardi gras out there!


“Welcome to the castle suite,” I said, tossing my bag to the floor. “Welcome back, I should say,” I added. “Mi casa es su casa.”


“Gracias,” Katie replied playfully, placing the pizza and beer on the granite countertop.


“Can I get you anything?” I asked. “And by anything, I mean… a cup of coffee from the Keurig machine? It’s the only thing this place is stocked with.”


Katie laughed. “I’ll think pass for now. But thanks!”


“So…” I began, hesitant about how to address the elephant in the room. “About this whole custody thing…” Katie turned and looked at me, her eyebrows raised in curiosity. “I know what the paperwork said. And I know it’s probably hard to ignore the big-ass collar around your neck, but I just want you to know that I’m not… expecting anything... you know?” Katie’s mouth opened as if to say something, but couldn’t find the words.


I felt a pang of guilt as I spotted what looked to be a brief glimpse of disappointment on Katie’s face. I suddenly recalled what Katie had said several days prior when she discovered me bound and hooded on the bed. Believing me to be Brandy, she had expressed how lucky Brandy was to belong to me and how she wished she could swap places. I could feel my own face getting hot as I continued speaking.


“That’s to say-” I continued, “I don’t want you to feel like you need to… do anything for me. You know? Like- you don’t have to… entertain me or… serve me or anything.”


“Oh,” Katie said, nodding in agreement, but still looking unsure of how to react. “O-okay.”


Damn, I wasn’t explaining myself well… My efforts to alleviate pressure were clearly not coming across the way I had hoped. My goal was to put her mind at ease. Alleviate any pressure she might have felt to repay me, or to earn her keep. I honestly hadn’t considered that she might have been eager to do those very things…


“I just… I don’t want you to feel small,” I added, now speaking from the heart. I took a beat to compose my thoughts. “There’s nothing in the world worse than feeling like a second-class citizen. Like… a lesser person. I just don’t want that for you.” I could now feel my heart pounding in my ears. Dammit, I really wanted this conversation to be over! I definitely was not what you would call a sharer… “Despite what this place would tell you, you’re not an object. You’re smart, funny, and beautiful.” I gave a reassuring smile. “And whatever you decide to do from point forward, I’m just glad you’re here.”


A smile spread across Katie’s face and she suddenly looked as if she were about to cry. “I’m glad I’m here, too,” she replied softly.


“Good,” I said smiling, turning away to hide my embarrassed face. “Um, why don’t you unwind and take a shower?” I randomly suggested, eager to change the subject. “You’ve had a stressful last couple of days. A long hot shower might be just the right medicine.”


“Um, a shower sounds amazing, actually,” Katie replied, chuckling.


“Go for it,” I said, with an awkward smile. “Oh-” I interjected, suddenly remembering my purchases from earlier. Stepping back into the foyer, I grabbed the insulated bag off the floor and handed it to her. “I bought some conditioner and other stuff you can help yourself to.”


“Oh great. Thanks,” Katie said, taking the bag from me before heading to the master bathroom. Before closing the door behind her, she turned back to me and added, “Thank you, Jodie. For everything.”


“Don’t mention it, Peach,” I replied playfully.


Once the door closed, I let out a long sigh and cracked my neck to each side. Hopefully, the awkward portion of this show was behind us. All things considered, I supposed it could have been worse. Nothing about these circumstances was ordinary in the slightest. Society doesn’t exactly prepare you for how to make an indentured sex-servant feel welcome in a castle…


But as awkward as it may have been, I was right to say what I said. While I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have hopes to get to know her a bit more intimately, the girl had been put through hell over the last couple of days. First and foremost, she needed to understand that she was safe now.


Grabbing the box of pizza and 6-pack of beer, I carried my dinner over to the coffee table in front of the sofa. The next several minutes were not my finest. Having only eaten half of my sandwich earlier, I devoured over half of the pie and two beers like it was nothing. This place gave stress eating a whole new meaning. It was a good thing that Katie was in the shower, because I’m pretty sure she’d have lost all respect she may have had for me if she’d witnessed me stuffing my face.


Once I started slowing down, I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. On the screen showed an information page with upcoming Kingdom events and attractions. Disinterested in anything this place wanted to me, I flipped through the 12 available channels. They were the same basic channels that guests received at Notts’ Faire, minus the local station. I flipped past the corporate news networks to HGTV, which happened to be my guilty pleasure go-to.


I zoned out for a few minutes until I heard the shower stop. Leaning forward, I cleaned up the coffee table a bit so I wouldn’t look like such a slob. After a few minutes, Katie emerged from the steamy room in a bathrobe. Her curly hair was pulled back into a bun, revealing her neckline.


“Don’t judge me,” I said, straightening up on the sofa as crumbs rolled off of my shirt. “But I only left you three slices.” Katie laughed as she walked into the room. “I’m not entirely sure how it happened,” I added jokingly.


“No judgment at all,” Katie replied, laughing. “This place can create quite an appetite.”


“Right?!” I answered.


Katie joined me on the sofa, tucking her feet beneath her. “Ooh, I love Flip or Flop,” Katie said. “I’m still bummed out that Tarek and Christina split though.”


“Me too!” I exclaimed in agreement, turning to face her. “It totally came out of the blue!”


“Agreed!” Katie replied.


“But part of me thinks it might all be for show, though,” I ranted. “If you’ll notice, neither one of them seems too heart-broken about it. I feel like this is all heading for a spin-off series that’ll make them even more ***.”


“Maybe,” Katie replied suspiciously. “But I also read that Christina was sleeping with their contractor.”


“No!” I breathed, leaning forward. “Which contractor?”


“I’m not sure. But I heard there were texts,” she answered wit a devious grin.


“Okay,” I said, pulling out my phone. “I’ve gotta look this up.”


The two of us continued to gossiping and dishing about everything from celebrities to D&D. Before we knew it, two episodes Flip and Flop had ended and House Hunters International was nearly over. Somehow, despite the unorthodox situation we found ourselves in, things were good. Not even the red probation collar around Katie’s neck could stop us from gabbing.


I was in middle of my elaborate fan-theory about the Dr. Strange sequel, when Katie suddenly leaned forward and kissed me on the lips. My eyes shot open widely in shock and the both of us sat frozen on the couch without uttering a sound.


“I’m… sorry,” Katie said, inching back slowly as her face instantly turning a bright shade of red. She looked terrified as she brushed a curly strand of hair out of her face. “Let’s just… ugh- what were you saying about the seal of the Vishanti?” She asked, clearly trying to reverse the clock.


Overwhelmed from cuteness overload, I quickly leaned in and kissed her back. This one was more passionate and incorporated tongue. I felt a shiver run down my spine as her hands caressed my jawline and neck.


“You don’t ever need to apologize for that,” I said as I broke away.


“Yes ma’am,” Katie replied with a giddy smile.


Straightening up, Katie untied the sash around her waist and allowed her robe to slide off of her shoulders. To my surprise, she was not naked. Instead, she was attired in what looked like a black two-piece catwoman outfit with stitching similar to the style of Michelle Pfeiffer’s costume from Batman Returns.


“Wow!” I said, my eyes growing twice their normal size. “Hellooo Selina… Somebody’s been reading my secret diary.” Katie chuckled as she tossed the robe onto the floor. “Where in the world did this little number come from?” I asked.


Katie cocked her head in confusion. “It was… in the bag that you gave me,” she answered hesitantly.


Suddenly, my memory was jogged. It was from Sycamore Market! I’d forgotten to put the outfits back after I’d left the fitting room!


“Oh shit,” I said.


“What?” Katie replied, her face suddenly looking concerned.


“I never paid for that!” I whispered. I cracked a guilty smile.


Katie’s eyes grew wide. “What? You mean you stole it?” Katie retorted, holding back laughter.


“I didn’t mean to!” I countered defensively. “Look, let me explain-”


“I’m seriously learning so much about you right now! Haha!” Katie teased.


“No- I was flustered!” I explained through Katie’s cackling.


“It’s impressive, really!” Katie chided. “You really took this catwoman, cat-burglar thing to a whole new level!”


“Listen- there was this ass-hole who barged into the fitting room on me naked and… Why are you laughing?!”


“I just can’t believe that you’re a thief! Hahaha!” Katie exclaimed.


“Ya know what? Screw you, side-kick!” I said, grabbing a side pillow from the sofa and throwing it playfully at her.


“Yes please,” she added in a sultry voice. I felt her hands against my waist, sliding upward. Catching her drift, I quickly pulled off my tank top, exposing my breasts.


“Ugh. I’m sorry I kind of smell-” I whispered, suddenly feeling self-conscious.


“I don’t care,” Katie interrupted softly, gently pushing me to lie back on the sofa. Damn, this girl was a spitfire! She hopped forward, straddling my waist and began kissing me harder. I let out a soft moan as I felt her slender fingers fondling my breasts. God, I was horny!


Pulling away from her, I whispered, “Let’s move this into the bedroom.”


“Yes, ma’am,” Katie replied, flashing me a devious grin. I can’t say that I was used to being called ma’am, but I definitely didn’t hate it. If she ever started calling me mistress, then I think I might be weirded out.


Once we made our way to the bedroom, I stripped out of the rest of my clothes and jumped eagerly onto the bed.


“On or off?” Katie asked pointing to her catwoman outfit.


“Off, of course,” I answered jokingly, as if it were a stupid question.


As she removed her clothing, I unwrapped every inch of her with my eyes. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen Katie naked, but it felt like a brand new experience. My heartbeat increased with each passing second. Her body was perfect. Not too intimidating, but undeniably sexy. She was petite, but not anorexic. Her breasts were small yet plump. But best of all, was the expression on her face. An adorable blend of giddy, nervous, and hungry.


“Have any requests?” she asked.


“Surprise me,” I replied with a grin.


She grinned back and crept up the bed toward me. Gently, she spread my legs with her hands and lowered herself down upon me. I gasped as I felt wet kisses begin to greet my sensitive clit. I gripped the bedspread as I felt her tongue pressing harder against me. Her touch was electric. Shivers coursed through my entire body and my toes curled involuntarily.


In less than a minute, I was a seriously hot mess. This girl was definitely experienced in the art of oral sex. Either that, or I was just incredibly easy to please. Katie even seemed to have a knack for pacing. She worked methodically. Not too fast, definitely not too slow. Yet spontaneous enough to keep my body guessing.


After a few minutes of denial, I finally felt Katie press harder against my pussy. I gripped the covers tighter and arched my back as my body was finally sent into the most intense orgasm I’d ever experienced in my life. I screamed in ecstasy as my muscles spasmed and electrical impulses fired throughout every corner of my brain.


Katie continued working me until my climax came to a full stop. Straightening up, Katie wiped her mouth and looked up at me with a satisfied expression.


“You taste delicious,” she said, crawling up the bed to straddle me.


“Holy shit… that was amazing,” I answered between labored breaths. “You’re… very good at that.”


“Thank you,” Katie replied. My eyes closed as she began kissing my neck. “So, what now?” she whispered. “Did you steal any toys we can play with?”


Holding back laughter, I responded instead by gripping Katie’s shoulders and rolling her over so that I was now on top. “You’re lucky I didn’t,” I replied, grinning down at her.


I grabbed both of Katie’s wrists, pulled them over her head, and held them firmly together with my dominant hand. With my other hand, I reached down and began probing her already moist pussy. She bit down on her lower lip as I plunged deeper with my two fingers.


“Oh god,” Katie whispered as her eyes rolled back into her head.


“It’s okay, you can just call me Jodie,” I said teasingly. A distracted smile flashed across Katie’s face as I started to probe faster. “Keep your hands where they are,” I ordered her as I released her wrists.


“Yes, ma’am,” Katie whispered between breaths. She was already panting nearly as hard as I had been before I came. With my now free hand, I started to caress her breast as I slid my body down hers. This new position allowed me to plunge my fingers even deeper inside her. A high-pitched moan escaped her lips and I saw her hands grip the bedspread just as mine had. I could tell she was nearing climax. I eased my advances and slowed my pace, attempting to duplicate her technique from earlier. Katie’s hips rocked up and down in an apparent attempt to encourage me to speed up, but I maintained pace. I snickered silently as I saw her fists clench tighter around the covers in frustration.


I continued alternating between slow and fast, deep and shallow and even added a third finger to the mix. This prompted a long gasp followed by another “oh god”. I leaned my head down and began sucking her already hard nipple. With my other hand I continued fondling and pinching her other breast. Eventually, I decided to end her *** and go hard for a good 15 seconds. Throwing her head back she howled in ecstasy as an orgasm washed over her. As intense as my climax was, hers appeared even more so. I’d have to take that with a grain of salt though. Katie seemed like just the kind of girl who would air on the dramatic for the sake of her partner’s self esteem.


“Oh gawd!” Katie sighed in exhaustion. “That was incredible!”


I chuckled as I rolled over onto my back.


“I’m still shaking,” she said, followed by breathy laughter.


“Good,” I said, grinning. “So, I’m thinking we should probably make a list.”


Katie shot me a confused look.


“Of toys you want me to steal for us tomorrow,” I clarified with a smirk.


Katie smiled back, biting her lower lip again. For the next several minutes, we discussed our favorite sex toys, our least favorite sex toys, sex toys we’d always wanted to try, and sex toys we weren’t altogether sure had even been invented. Eventually, Katie said something ridiculously cute and adorable and I decided to pounce on top of her and instigate round two.


We lost track of time as our sexapades continued late into the evening. I honestly couldn’t remember ever feeling more satisfied from sex. Though the cock was noticeably absent, Katie made up for it in ways that I’d never even considered. By the time she was done with me, there was little to no doubt in my mind- this girl had some serious experience.


Eventually, we tired ourselves out and unwound by spooning underneath the covers


“I think this is gonna work out,” I said.


“Definitely,” Katie whispered back happily.


“Go ahead and get some sleep,” I said. “You’ve had a long day.”


“If you say so,” Katie replied, giving me a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, Jodie.” I turned toward her and responded with a long kiss of my own. Smiling, Katie silently rolled over and curled into a tiny ball.


Within minutes, I heard Katie’s breathing grow louder, indicating that she’d fallen asleep. I, on the other hand, was wide-awake. Physically exhausted but mentally wired. This was almost certainly on account of the marathon nap I’d taken earlier.


As I leaned over to grab the TV remote from the nightstand, my eye caught the Kingdom handbook sitting beside it. I paused, staring at the thick rulebook that spelled out the dos and don’ts for Kingdom slave-owners… Given the fact that Katie was now in my custody and I actually had an interest in being here, I couldn’t help but feel like I should be a bit more educated about things.


I picked up the book and began rereading from the beginning. It was just as brutal of a read as I recalled it being. But every time I found my attention wavering, I found motivation by looking down at the curly-haired brunette drooling on the pillow beside me. Before long, I was over a third of the way through.


I was at the chapter about weight-loss and exercise restrictions when my phone buzzed beside me. Laying the handbook down, I picked up the phone to see a notification at the top of my screen.


             Message from 01:



I sighed and rolled my eyes. This dude seriously needed to dial it down. I’d just had my first good evening since... damn… I couldn’t even recall how long. The last thing I needed was spy drama.


Having no interest in getting out of bed to be alone, I unlocked my phone with Katie still beside me. Immediately upon clearing the notification, a new notification popped up at the top of the screen.


Message from 01:


Swipe down to read more





I instantly felt queasy… Katie’s name was honestly the last thing I expected to read in Alpha’s message. How did he even know that I knew Katie? Did he know she was here? Why is he interested in her? I leaned my head forward slightly to see if Katie had visibility of the phone. Fortunately, her face was buried in the bedspread.


My finger hovered hesitantly above the link provided until I finally worked up the courage to tap it. Suddenly, the Kingdom app opened, followed by the browser app. After a few seconds, a PDF image loaded, titled “Huff.Katie.11.5A”.


I felt my heart pounding faster as I began to scroll through her stats. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary… that is, until I reached the very bottom of her profile. Despite not grasping it’s significance, the last line hit me like a ton of bricks. I stared at it for several seconds, unsure of what to make of what I was seeing…


Suddenly, my phone buzzed again, ping me out of my thoughts. Another notification had suddenly appeared at the top of the screen.


             Message from 01:

              AS I SAID- TRUST NO ONE.


With a fresh feeling of dread, my eyes returned to the bottom of Katie’s profile. The last line read-


             Allergies: None



Totally brilliant, yet another amazing and compelling chapter, I’m totally in awe at the depth of your imagination and creativity. Keep the chapters coming please, i’m totally hooked on your story.

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