A Story of Revenge by Jonathon
I’m on my third breadstick and 90th minute of waiting when at the edge of my hearing I hear one of the waiters half whisper in an awed voice, ”Is that Nadia West?” They all stare at the door as she breezes in; giving warm little hellos to people she doesn’t remember the name of. No. Her real name is Beth Junker. Nadia West was the name of a girl we knew in summer camp who died of leukemia. The name Beth Junker doesn’t sell movie tickets though, so she paid off Nadia’s parents to keep quiet and took the name.
It’s been three years since I’ve seen her, though she doesn’t look a day older than when she graduated high school. From the top of her fire-red hair, to her perfect five foot nine inch body she seems to radiate beauty and grace. She has her hair drawn tightly back in a pony tail tonight and is wearing a tight black cocktail dress that leaves the unimaginative very well off in the visual department.
Even through the makeup she has caked on her face I can still see the bags under her eyes and a tired desperate look in her demeanor. She’s been losing sleep over something lately. I allow my eyes to drift down her voluptuous form to her feet and smile when notice the tight, calf-high shiny black PVC boots with a stiletto heel of at least 6 inches on her feet. - Perfect. - I think.
The waiter, whose face has suddenly turned a deep shade of red and whose hands have taken to shaking, seats her at my table. We throw little greetings and compliments back and forth for a little while. -Wow, you look great! I love that dress! Did you get your hair done? Etc… -I also mention how much I like her boots; she simply looks down at her half eaten breadstick and mutters something I can’t quite make out. For a while we simply talk, mostly about her. She tells me that her talk show has swept the awards again, and that she had even been voted most caring person in the world by People magazine for the third time. Inwardly I laugh as I remember how many lives she’s ruined.
After the soup has arrived she finally confesses her ulterior motive for calling me.
- I have a bit of a problem - she says with downcast eyes. I can tell this is killing her; asking for help from a nobody. I want to scream out “I know what your problem is! You’re a self centered egotistical fame whore!” But instead I simply give a sly smile and say:
- I’ve told you, gazpacho soup is supposed to be served cold.- This memory always makes her cringe. In high school we were invited to an award dinner and were seated at the same table as the legendary British actor Chris Barrie. I watched her cozy up to him all evening; she was actually trying to seduce him!
She might have succeeded if not for one little mistake. When the soup arrived she took one taste and set her spoon down. Calling the waiter over, she somewhat less than discreetly demanded her soup be taken back and warmed up. Everyone at the table began chuckling a little, including her since she thought they were laughing at the waiter. She had no idea gazpacho soup was meant to be served cold. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in her life (Second only to the time she got seriously drunk and tried to climb into the dolphin tank at the zoo, naked.) “What? No…” She shakes her head to clear the memory.
- No… Something else. This is serious.- She pauses to collect her thought again.
- Do you still work for that chemical company?
No, I used to OWN “that chemical company”, until an investigative report she did on improper waste disposal shut us down leaving us with an office full of bills, fines, and angry public opinion. It was the reason why my husband had a nervous breakdown and committed suicide.
- No, I’m afraid - I resist the impulse to jump across the table and bite her nose off, instead I simply sugar coat the truth a little - We went out of business about a year and a half ago.
A look of angst and desperation flits briefly across her face. -All that’s left is an old research lab that I toy around in now and then. That and a few patents. - This has the desired effect on her; she looks like a starving person who just caught a whiff of steak from the next room Immediately she grabs for this one shred of hope.
- You still have all your old chemicals around? I mean, like all your old equipment for analysing stuff… and… treating…. - She stammers, way out of her league. She’s never asked for help in her life, and the fact that she has to ask me of all people is like pouring Tabasco sauce in the wound. She really has no choice though and she knows it.
-Yeah, most of the old equipment is still sitting there. It doesn’t get much use, but it’s still there. Why? -I’m loving this. Finally she swallows her pride (it takes more than one gulp and several metaphorical glasses of water, but she get it down somehow) and asks me straight out without looking up. -I need your help.
I can see her eyes welling up as another small piece of her dignity evaporates. Even before I can fake a concerned response she draws a weary sigh and continues:
- I came home from Hawaii a week ago to find a package waiting for me. The return address said it was from the hotel I was staying at so I assumed it was something that I had bought and had sent home.
When I opened it, though, I found a pair of the most beautiful black PVC boots I had ever seen.You know how much I like Black PVC don’t you? Yes of course you do.
It was obviously a wrong shipment, but I couldn’t resist trying them on, I didn't think anything bad could happen, I mean they were just a pair of boots right? What could be the harm in simply trying them on just for a little bit? To my surprise they fit my feet beautifully, a little tight but otherwise a perfect fit. When I looked in the mirror I saw how gorgeous they made my legs look and I decided to wear them out to the club that night. - She’s fidgeting up a storm now, twisting up her napkin into a tight knot and shifting in her seat.
- You wore someone else’s boots? - I act as shocked as possible. She dismisses my surprise with a wave.
I was going to track down the owner and buy her another pair. I couldn't resist these; I figured it must be fate that such exquisite footwear would find their way to me. I really didn’t mean any harm! Anyway, when I got home my feet hurt like hell. Have you ever danced in six-inch stilettos? Needless to say my all-consuming thought was to get them off and relax in a nice hot bath.
But when tried to pull them off they wouldn’t budge, no matter how much I pulled and tugged the boots wouldn’t come off my feet. The damn things were stuck fast! After a while I got desperate and decided to cut them off my legs, I didn't want to damage such beautiful things, but my aching feet wanted out in the worst way. I got a pair of scissors but discovered the PVC wouldn’t come away from my skin.
I gave myself a nasty scratch trying, but I couldn’t even get the blade between the boots and my skin! - Eventually I went to a doctor. - She stopped for a moment as she collected herself again.
- As it turns out some sick bastard coated the insides of the boots with some kind of glue that no one seems to be able to dissolve! These boots are glued to my feet! I can’t get them off no matter what I do! - She continued, leaving aside all pretence of being cool and casual,
I’ve spent the last five nights trying to get them off, but it feels like I'm pulling on my skin! My feet are killing me! I’ve had to shower in them the past few nights, and if you can’t help me I don’t know what I’m going to do. I really don’t want this to become public. Please tell me you can help me!” A tear escapes her best efforts and slides down her cheek.
I’m not even sure what my response was. Just that fact that she was sitting there, begging me for help seemed to make the whole thing worth it for me. It was far from being over for her though. When I finally did tune back into the conversation, I found myself agreeing to take her to what was left of the old research lab and run some tests. A smile of hope spread across her face as I explained that this particular lab was specialized in adhesive research and may very well already have the proper solvent on the premises, and if not we might be able to whip one up. God, I was hamming it up, but I didn’t care; I was loving every moment of this.
It seemed I barley had time to savor my victory before she was dragging me out to the parking lot. I watched her shiny new BMW tailgate my decrepit old Honda for the entire 45-minute drive towards the coast. I can only imagine how difficult those heels made driving for her, of course she was probably used to it by now.
When we arrive I have her pull her car though one of the spacious loading docks into the building under the pretence of not wanting anything to happen to it. As the huge garage door slid closed behind her she glanced around in distaste at the greasy, dust-covered industrial equipment that was scattered about the room. She looked about to comment but must have thought better of it, instead she simply stood there biting her lip and looking very out of place and uncomfortable.
- This way” I call back to her as I head towards a green metal door on the other side of the room.- She follows me through, being careful not to touch anything. I can hear her stiletto heels clacking behind me as I lead her through the twisting, semi-darkened hallways and into the main lab. Once I manage to get the lights on she looks around the small lab with a somewhat impressed look on her face. I had spent the better part of last night cramming every technical-looking piece of equipment I could find into this room to make it look like something out of a movie. (I think my waffle iron is even around here somewhere)
- Have a seat - I pat a large medical examination table in the center of the room. She doesn’t even bother to ask what one of these would be doing in a chemical lab; instead she simply eyes the stirrups nervously and fidgets with her hair. I assure her that the table won’t bite her and proceed to wheel a stainless steel cart full of test tubes, flasks, and beakers along side it. With a little hesitation she hops up and reclines, crossing her arms over her stomach. I guide one of her booted feet up to the stirrup and begin my “examination" of her situation. I pick a simple magnifying lens off the cart and look closely at the glue. The PVC is bonded so tightly to her flesh that I can’t see any trace of the adhesive, it’s as if the boots were part of her legs. As a matter of fact, if not for the color difference the boots would be indistinguishable from her skin.
- Hmmm… - I make a big show of looking ponderous for a moment before having her put her feet back on the floor. We’ll try a few solvents shall we?
- The doctors have already tried dozens of them. Nothing seems to work.- She stated as she sat up.
- Well then, well move right on to the heavy duty stuff. Hold still.” I grab a test tube full of a clear liquid.
- What’s that? - She asks, nervous again.
- Isopropyl. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt your skin.
I put a few drops on the seam between the boot and her leg, to my delight it simply runs off unable to penetrate the seal. I add a few more drops for good measure and stand up again.
- There, we’ll let that soak in and then we’ll attempt to remove it." Not much conversation passes between us while the “solvent” does its work(or lack thereof). After a while I tell her to try to pull the boot off. She grabs it firmly in both hands and begins trying to get her foot out of it. I can see the muscles in her leg tighten through the material as she begins desperately tugging at the stuck boot.
- Unnnggghhh… Uhh.. Ahhggghhh! Damn it! - She grunts and groans as she struggles, falling backwards on the table with the exertion. Her face turns a deep shade of red as she twists and pulls at the boot, but it remains firmly attached to her leg. I’m enjoying every moment of watching her face twist and contort as she strains her already sore muscles.
At one point I help try to pull it off while she hangs on to the table. Despite our combined strength the boot stays solidly glued in place. Finally she collapses on the table, panting.
- It’s no use! These things are stuck to me forever! - She sobs.
I hand her a kleenex and assure her that there are several things we haven't tried yet. I then extract another tube full of clear liquid and once again begin dripping it on the seal.We repeat this process several times over a period of about three hours, I pour some harmless chemical (usually just water with a fancy name) on her leg, she then begins tugging at a boot she has absolutely no hope of removing ever.
Toward the end Beth is so exhausted she’s barley putting up a much of a struggle anymore. I decide I’ve had enough fun watching her writhe on the table and it’s time to up the stakes. Beth is lying across the table feeling very sorry for herself as I break the news to her that I’ve tried all but one of the chemicals at my disposal. She looks on the verge of a panic attack when I continue.
- This is sure to work, it’s just…
- What? It’s just WHAT!?” She screams impatiently.
- Well, it’s Dihydromonoxide, whereas it won’t cause any lasting damage to your skin, it is going to be extremely painful. - She fidgets with her now frizzy ponytail and seems to fret about this for a while. She’s had all the pain she can take for one evening.
- How bad?
- Actually, I was going to give you a mild sedative to deaden it. But it's up to you. This is the last roll of the dice.” Without thinking about it long she nods. - Let’s do it!
I lay her down on the table and take a syringe out of a drawer and fill from a bottle of a rather special drug in a bottle labeled “Experimental”. After squeezing all the air out of the needle I swab her arm with alcohol and inject her.She is now completely at my mercy, or at least she soon will be and mercy is the last thing she can expect. After a few minutes she begins to giggle a little.
- My arms and legs feel all tingly.
- Yup, it affects the central nervous system, soon every muscle will basically be completely relaxed and unable to move… Well, except the respiratory and circulatory system. Hate to have you suffocate.
- How long until I’m out?” She asks with a little worry edging into her voice. I think she’s beginning to suspect something isn’t right.
- You won’t be. It will leave you totally conscious and able to feel every little sensation with perfect clarity. You just won’t be able to move or talk.
I busy myself by extending the restraints from beneath the table and locking the thick belts across her now nearly limp body.
- Wha… What are you… Doing? - She begins to slur her words a little.
- Making double sure you don’t fall off or manage to escape somehow. I've been planning this far too long to leave anything up to chance at this point. You see this isn’t so much an attempt to help you as to torture you, and you literally walked right into it. I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist wearing those boots I sent you. The glue was activated by prolonged exposure to your body heat. If you had simply taken them off right away instead of wearing them out, you would have been perfectly safe.
Her eyes are wide open now as she suddenly realizes her predicament. She tries to get up but only manages a few pathetic little muscle twitches.
- Oh and one more little thing to think about, that glue holding your cute little feet in the boots. It has no solvent. It’s 100% permanent.
Her eyes well up again as I’m telling her this, she tries to call out for help but it sounds like she’s trying to talk around a mouth full of marshmallows. I lean over her so our faces are mere inches apart and look fiercely into her eyes.
- I’ll bet you don’t even know why I’m doing this do you? Well, I'm not going to tell you. I’ll just let you think about it, and I guarantee, you're about to have a LOT of time to yourself to think.” I lean down and kiss her on the forehead, then walk back across the room to a locked cabinet and open it.Inside are a small jar, a pair of rubber gloves, an apron, and a silver velvet-lined box. Putting the apron and gloves on I carry the box and jar back over to the tray and set them down.
At this point her voluptuous body is totally motionless save for the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest.
- You know, I’ve had to bust my ass and work hard all my life. You on the other hand have always effortlessly gotten by on your good looks and charm. - I run my finger across the edge of the silver box.
- I’ve always wondered what would happen if you had to get along without the advantage of that pretty little face of yours.
My finger stops just over the latch of the box.
- Let’s find out, shall we? - Beth simply stares back up at me blankly, unable to move a single muscle. The only hint that could be seen of her distress was the increase in her breathing and a few faint whimpers.
I smile down at her and flip the latch on the box, with a little creak it pops open. I reach in, extract the item, and hold it in front of her face for her to see. Her eyes become wide with what she sees. She is essentially looking into her own face, or rather a perfect copy rendered in polished metal. The smooth contours of the thin metal mask match her features exactly, with openings for the eyes, nostrils, and a tiny, almost invisible hole between the metal lips.
- I suppose you’re wondering how I made this. Do you remember the mask you had to wear in ‘Elephant Man 2’? Remember the mold they had to make of your face to create it? Suffice it to say it’s amazing what you can find in those online auction sites.
I certainly hope you haven’t had any cosmetic surgery since then, otherwise you're going to spend the rest of your life rather uncomfortable. - She still doesn't quite grasp the threat yet.So I put it a little more simply as I set the mask back down on the cart and open the small bottle.
- You see the boots were just the bait to get you here. They were just the start. Oh, by the way, I sure hope you enjoyed that Chicken Marengo tonight, because it’s the last solid food you’ll ever eat.
I begin painting the inside of the mask with the sharp smelling liquid. Suddenly she catches on and begins trying to scream. All that comes out is a soft moaning. After every inner surface is coated with the liquid I grab a different bottle and a small sponge and turn back to her. I begin wiping her face with the disinfectant to clean the makeup and oils from her face and smooth her hair well out of the way.
When I’m sure her face is clean, I set the sponge aside and pick up the mask by the very edges. Beth is whimpering and whining in protest, probably trying to beg me for mercy. "Not a chance". -I think as I line the appropriate holes up to her face and lower it very slowly.
When the mask finally does settle home I move it around a little to make sure it's perfectly aligned and press it into place. All that’s visible of her face is now her eyes, which stare up at me desperately. A muffled moan of a scream comes from behind the mask as I step back to admire my work.
There laying strapped to an examination table was a shapely, attractive young woman wearing a tight black dress, matching PVC boots, and a silver mask over her face that blended seamlessly to her face. It was quite an alluring picture. I lean over her again and look into her eyes.
- The drug will take about an hour to wear off. It will take the glue about that to set up.
- I don’t want to raise your hopes too much, but you may actually have a sporting chance. - With that I unfasten the restraints and leave her to her whimpering
While I’m waiting for the glue to dry I decide to search through her car. I find her purse with more money in it than I make in an average year, two cell phones, a makeup case, and a pair of black pumps. Rich and Narcissistic, that about summed up Beth Junker a.k.a. Nadia West.
When I check my watch again it’s about twenty to nine, about time to check on my guest. She’s still lying on the table when I get there, but beginning to show signs of life. Every now and then a limb twitches, indicating that she's regaining control over her muscles. Little by little her movements become more pronounced until she finally reaches an unsteady hand up and delicately touches the mask, as if it might burn her. Still moving a little groggily she begins searching for a handhold between the mask and her face.
When that fails she tries to get a grip on the mask itself, but her hand keeps slipping off the perfectly smooth surface. I can hear her making little frightened groaning sounds now as she begins probing her new imprisonment with both hands, franticly searching for something to get a grip on so she can pull it off her face. I can already tell it’s too late. Finally she sits up and begins frantically clawing at the mask in a futile effort to pry it free from her face. She still seems oblivious to my presence as she struggles and moans in frustration. I simply stand and watch her for a while.
- Mmhhh.. Unngghhhnnnn! Mmmm… Uhhhmmmm! Mmmmmnngggghhh!” She struggles with her new silver face for a while longer before she finally notices me standing there.
She gives a semi-mute scream as she vaults herself off the table and comes at me in some kind of martial arts stance, but immediately falls over face first when the stiletto heels throw her off balance. As she struggles back to her feet I take a .32 caliber pistol from a drawer nearby and chamber a round. Small though it is Beth instantly understands who has the upper hand in a fight and simply stands there trying, to speak with lips that would not part. I can’t understand any of it.
- In case you’re wondering, the glue holding that mask to your face is much like the glue in the boots; absolutely permanent. The world shall never again gaze upon the face of Nadia West lest it be cast in steel.
I’m grinning now as she falls to her knees weeping. She touches her new face as rivulets of tears slide down the polished steel.
- I’m leaving now, don’t bother looking because you won’t find me. There's a key to the door hidden in this room somewhere, so you can let yourself out after I’m long gone. Enjoy your new life.
- I back out of the room, closing the door behind me.
Instantly I hear her try the doorknob, which was locked from the outside. She then began pounding on the door and screaming muffled, closed-mouth screams. I took one last moment to revel in the vindication then proceeded down the hallway.
I was crossing though the dirty warehouse when I was unexpectedly stopped by something. It was my feet; it felt like they were stuck to the floor. I looked down and was startled to see that my high heels were stuck in the edge of some kind of large puddle of yellowish liquid. No matter how much I pulled and twisted my feet, I couldn’t get the shoes more than about an inch off the floor when the sticky strands of the liquid would snap it back down. It was obviously some kind of adhesive, but I had never seen anything like it.
A pale yellow in color, it was like liquid iron. It would allow my shoe to leave the floor about an inch with a lot of pulling, but soon my muscles would tire and the glue would reclaim its prize. My shoes were stuck firmly and inexplicably to the floor.I was about to abandon them and simply circumnavigate the glue puddle in my bare feet when a voice from the shadows in front of me caught my attention.
- Looks like you’ve stepped into a bit of a sticky situation.” It sounded like Beth’s voice! Sure enough, Beth, dressed in black stretch-pants and a tight black turtleneck, stepped out of the shadows in front of me.
My mind was agog, she wore a pair of six-inch pumps and not the boots I knew were glued to her feet. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how she had done it. Even if the boots had missed their mark I knew for a fact that the person I had glued the mask to was Beth. I just knew her.
But the person stepping out of the shadows was either her or an exact clone of her. My nose suddenly caught a pungent, foul odor and I was startled to seethe silhouette of someone else behind her. Whoever it was smelled as if he hadn't showered in about a decade. He simply stood, smoking a cigarette, hidden by the shadows. "Two years." -Said Beth, as she slowly walked the perimeter of the glue towards me.
- Wha…? - Was the best I could do, my mind was twisting itself in knots.
- Two whole years of my life I spent stuck in that mask with those boots on my feet.
She drew up even behind me and stopped.
- I’ve thought about this moment since you first put me in those awful things.
- Have you had your fun yet? Can we get out of here? - Impatiently interrupted the offensively reeking man in the shadows.
- Oh, I’ve just begun. You’re right though; this place brings back bad memories. Let’s go somewhere a little more… suitable. - Beth ran her finger down my back. Without thinking twice I leveled my pistol at her as best I could with my feet stuck to the floor and pulled the trigger. The hollow click echoed across the warehouse floor as the pin struck an empty chamber. - Aw, that wasn’t very nice. - She reaches her hand out and opens it to reveal eight .32 caliber shells. Dropping them to the floor she then nods to her impatient friend in the shadows. The next moment we had all vanished into thin air and a far more bizarre chapter of my life began.