The body lay at the bottom of the ravine. An unnaturally twisted leg indicated broken bones. Sightless eyes stared at the distant sky. The man’s weathered face revealed that he had spent much time outdoors, maybe working on a ranch as his cowboy-style clothing suggested. Blood had oozed from his fractured skull, matted the greying hair, and formed a pool on the rocky bed of the dried creek. The side of his head was smashed in. Frank whistled soundlessly while he looked around. If the man had cracked his temple on a boulder, the latter should have been in evidence nearby.
Frank’s practiced eye recognized the tell-tale tracks where the man had dragged himself over the ground. Given the state of his leg that must have hurt. A lot. For some reason, the man had felt some urgency to get here. Or to get away? Sighting along the tracks, Frank spotted something stuck between the trees growing on the gorge’s steep slope.
It turned out to be the wreckage of a strange vehicle. Basically, just a seat mounted between two wheels, like a sulky used in horse races. But the frame seemed too narrow for a horse; its dimensions were more suitable for a small pony. Or for the two-legged, human variety popular in certain fetish subcultures. No wonder they had been coy about the exact nature of the missing ‘horse team’ he was supposed to track down. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the mount. When the sulky had tumbled down the slope and hit the trees, its carbon fiber shafts had broken off, releasing the pony. Digging through the debris yielded no further clues, except for a nasty-looking flogger that made him frown.
Frank pulled out his mobile phone. As expected, it showed no signal. If he wanted to call this in, he would have to use the radio in his patrol car. That meant climbing up the slope again to the forest service road above and losing even more time. Nah, he better go after the missing pony himself.
Which direction? Upstream, into the wilderness? Or downstream, which would sooner or later lead back to civilization? He started to jog along the ravine, downstream. After about half a kilometer, he spotted a strange footprint on a patch of sand. Like a horseshoe, but smaller. He had guessed right.
Half an hour later, Frank had to lean against a tree, wheezing. Damned! He tried to stay fit, but his quarry was probably in prime physical condition. Not to mention the considerable head start it had. He pushed himself off the tree and was about to start running again when he noticed the broken twig. Leaning over, he saw that the leaves on the ground were disturbed as well. It looked as if something had been dragged over the forest floor.
Apparently, the frightened pony had decided to leave the conspicuous stream bed behind, trading speed for stealth. Clever beast. He congratulated himself on his good fortune. If he had kept jogging along, he would have missed the signs. But now that he knew what to look for, following the tracks would be easy.
Frank caught the first sight of his quarry about half an hour later. Quick-witted, he ducked behind a tree. Sweat suffused his shirt, and he was seriously winded but when he spied the lithe figure in the distance, his fatigue evaporated. Some primal instinct informed him that he was confronted with a woman. She had not noticed him yet, and he did not want to spook her, so he kept quiet while he observed her.
Immediately, he realized that she seemed to be stuck. She would lean forward as if she strained against an invisible force holding her back, then turn around again and kick at something on the ground, presently hidden from his view. Using the dense trees to cover his approach, Frank crept closer. It helped that she created quite the ruckus with her frantic attempts to escape her predicament.
From about eight meters away, he got his first good look at the woman. His breath caught. The thing that struck him first was her lack of arms. No, he had to amend that impression. When she turned her back towards him, he saw that they lay folded against her spine, the forearms pressed together and pointing upwards towards her head. It resembled an especially devout prayer position, only assumed behind instead of in front of her body. Frank marveled how her arms could achieve and sustain this double-jointed, reverse prayer configuration. No doubt, being slender as a sword had something to do with the former, while the latter certainly was not by her own choice. Her attire looked like it had sprung from a bondage enthusiast’s fevered dream.
Frank allowed his eyes to roam her body. She was not naked, strictly speaking, but the black leather straps forming a harness around the woman’s body exposed exactly those areas that conventional clothing covered. Indeed, the harness framed her breasts and crotch as if to call attention to her assets, as did the glinting bits of metal embedded into them.
Her round breasts were not large but very firm, as befitted someone with her slender yet athletic build. She had long, sleekly muscled legs, made to look even longer by her strange, knee-high boots. Like high-heels, they kept her on the balls of her feet, except they had no heels. Instead, their soles widened into round platforms that resembled hooves, especially since they were shod with steel horse shoes, although narrower than those for real horses.
A wide belt around her waist, almost like a small corset, constituted the central element of the harness. From its front, a pair of straps descended towards her crotch. Digging into the crease between thigh and groin on each side, they joined at her perineum. The united strap anchored the tail protruding from her bottom and reaching down to her knees, then followed the crack of her ass before it merged with the back of the waist belt again. Broken-off pieces of the sulky’s shafts dangled from the belt and dragged over the ground. This, combined with her hoof boots, had made it so easy for him to follow her tracks.
Particularly daunting was the high collar that enclosed her neck. Its high sides and the stiff tongue extending under her chin immobilized her head in a slight backward tilt. Her plight was aggravated by a pair of blinkers attached to the web of straps that ensnared her head. They cut off her peripheral vision and forced the woman to bend or turn her whole upper body if she wanted to look at something not directly in front of her. No wonder she had not spotted him yet. Navigating the difficult terrain handicapped like this must have been hell.
So that was what a real-life, high-end ponygirl looked like. The reality surpassed his wildest imagination. Frank licked his parched lips. He was no stranger to kink role play, having used his police handcuffs on a number of girlfriends for their mutual enjoyment. Unfortunately, they all had balked when he wanted to go further. But the display before his eyes took it to the next level. They certainly spared no expenses at the billionaire’s remote ranch to indulge their perverted fantasies. Only this time, their kinky games had taken a fatal turn.
Besides the blinkers, the head harness also mounted a bit that was wedged between her teeth and pulled at the corners of her mouth. Attached to the bit shanks were the reins that Frank identified as the cause of her current troubles. Apparently, the long leather loop had become entangled in the shrubbery. Bereft of her arms, the ponygirl had no other recourse than trying to pry her reins loose by pulling at them from alternating directions.
But pulling at her reins resulted in an obviously painful action on the bit shanks. Hence, she spun in a circle to wind the reins about her body before she strained against them. The resultant friction lessened the pull on her bridle. Smart pony!
Fascinated, Frank observed how she leaned her whole body forward, adding her weight to the efforts of her legs. She struggled with all her strength, her horseshoes scraping over the forest floor while her muscles quivered with exertion. Her pained grunts suggested that her sensitive mouth did not escape all punishment from fighting her reins. Like a fish caught on a hook! Despite himself, Frank found a part of himself rooting for her, even though it meant he would have to race after her if she managed to extricate herself from her predicament.
Alas, once again, the scrub triumphed over human ambition. With a cry, the ponygirl ceased her struggles and turned to deliver a heartfelt kick to the callous undergrowth. Frank decided to step in before the cycle repeated itself. He left the cover of the trees and approached her, not bothering to hide the sound of his footsteps.
She froze, then spun around. Her eyes widened in shock. He spread his arms and held up his palms.
“I mean no harm!”
She kept staring at him like a deer caught in the headlights for another second until his uniform registered. A stifled sob broke from her and the tension drained from her body. She stumbled towards him as he raced to catch her. She collapsed into his arms. They wound up in an awkward, one-sided embrace since her tack prevented her from doing anything more than leaning stiffly against him. Sobs wracked her body, and he muttered soothing sounds into her ear until her heaves subsided.
“Better now? Let me help you.”
He laid his hands on her shoulders and gently pushed her away. In her hoof boots she was so tall he had to look up to study her face. Immediately, his eyes were drawn to the thick nose ring resting on her upper lip. Swinging freely as it did, it was probably mounted in an eyelet pierced high-up through the cartilage of her septum. The elongated ring appeared serviceable rather than decorative, confirming she was kept not as a pet, but as livestock.
The tears had left tracks on her sweaty and dust-covered face. A bruise marred her left cheekbone. The bit pulled at the corners of her mouth and stretched her lips back. Both sides of her head had been shaved bare, leaving only a stripe of short, blonde hair along the top of her skull, like a mane. Incidentally, the tail sticking out of her butt was the same color, suggesting where the balance of her hair had ended up. The straps of the head harness bisected her face in a strange, quilt-like pattern while the collar enforced a faux haughty posture. Yet, despite her willful disfigurement, his connoisseur's view discerned the exceptionally beautiful girl hiding beneath the grime.
Frank had been staring spellbound into her luminous green eyes when her plea broke through his rapture. Guiltily, he lowered his gaze. Onto breasts thrust towards him as if begging to be fondled. With erect nipples pierced by heavy gauge steel, ready to be sucked …
Stop it! Her tantalizing pose was just an involuntary consequence of her bondage. He had to get a grip on his surging hormones and act professionally.
“Let’s see,” he murmured, lowering his arms to pluck at the straps of her harness. From up close, her gear looked even more formidable. He could not help but admire the workmanship that had gone into it. Black leather and gleaming steel formed an intricate prison for her body and head. Judging from how the straps indented her flesh, the harness had been fastened cruelly tight. Or, maybe the reason for its tightness was not cruelty, but caution to prevent chafing when she ran?
Despite their modest size, her breasts practically oozed out from the straps surrounding them. Pierced through each areola, right behind the nipples, incongruously large D-ring type shackles vied for attention. Like their counterpart in her nose, their industrial appearance dispelled any notion they could be simple jewelry. Their import was clear. What did it feel like to be so easily controllable? With a leash attached to her rings, even a child could take charge of her.
He released the snap hooks that fastened the broken-off shafts of the sulky to her belt and let them fall to the ground. That was all he could do for her. Each and every of the heavy-duty buckles on her harness was secured by a lock. Without the keys or a bolt cutter, there was no way to open them. Her owner obviously did not fancy the idea of someone else freeing her from her tack. Peering over her shoulder, he saw her mittened hands grazing the nape of her neck. Below the thumbless mittens, massive steel cuffs enclosed her delicate wrists. A few chain links connected the cuffs to a ring at the back of her posture collar. Not a chance. He beckoned her towards the brush that had snagged her reins.
“Step close, please! I’ll try to get you free.”
Frank suppressed a smile when she stomped her right foot in acknowledgment, clearly an automatic response ingrained by her pony training. A pang of guilty conscience made him lower his gaze. How long had she been forced to endure this dehumanizing treatment? Dutifully, she positioned herself close to the shrubbery, creating slack in her tether that made his task easier to accomplish.
He knelt down next to her feet. From this perspective, her legs appeared endless. Along her left flank, he noticed a long, bloody gash. She had been lucky, as this was apparently the only serious injury she had suffered in the fall into the ravine. Frank could not help but steal a look at her pussy, curious about the metal he had espied there earlier.
What the fuck? Five sturdy locks blocked access to her sex. Their shackles passed through paired grommets that pierced her outer labia on either side, ensuring she was not (ab)used beyond her designated role as a beast of burden. More steel peeked out from between her tightly compressed lips, but its exact nature could not be discerned.
The barbaric display made a bold statement. No doubt, her owner was the jealous type. Just as surely as Frank felt envious right now. Anyway, if you wanted to reward the pony, you could always slip your finger between her nether lips. The fresh whip marks that criss-crossed her bottom and thighs suggested that her late driver had taken a different approach to motivate her. Karma’s a bitch.
Frank swallowed. So this was the moment. No more hesitation, he had to decide on a course of action now. One question bothered him, though. Why me? Half of the police department was on their payroll, surely they could have sent one of them. It was a test. Had to be. Up to now, he had stayed clear by looking the other way. Unlike poor Bradley with his foolish do-gooder pretensions. Help the girl or rather help himself? If he did what was obviously expected of him, they would own him forever.
His gaze lingered on her right hoof boot. Ominous splotches darkened the leather just above the massive steel bow of the horseshoe sole. To kneel at her feet like this put him in a vulnerable position. He was well aware of what havoc a kick of these boots to his head could wreak. He had seen the results firsthand.
That decided it. After all, he was dealing with a murderess. Fortunately, the ponygirl could not observe his actions since her posture collar prevented her from looking down at her feet. From time to time, he tugged at her reins to convince her that he was working to free her when, in reality, he pursued a very different goal.
He took a number of broad cable ties from the pouch on his belt. Doing fieldwork, he preferred them over the clunkier handcuffs. Careful not to tip her off, he fastened cable ties loosely around her ankles, then completed the makeshift hobble by threading a third one between them. Done! Now, she could neither kick him nor outrun him in case she somehow managed to get away from him. He took a deep breath and tightened the loops around her ankles.
The ponygirl finally realized that something was amiss. Her questioning whinny turned into an alarmed cry when her attempt to step back ran afoul of her improvised shackles. She stumbled, but Frank caught her in his arms before she hit the ground. Although he set her down gently, she whimpered when her welted butt touched the forest floor.
Leaning forward, she could see now what he had done to her ankles. Her eyes widened dramatically. A flood of emotions played across her face before it finally settled into an expression of hurt and betrayal. Frank turned his back on her. Bending down, he began to tackle her tangled reins in earnest. Behind him, the pony began to cry softly.
Somehow, she had managed to tangle her reins in a Gordian knot in the thorny undergrowth. He pulled out a pocket knife but was loath to cut through the leather. Undamaged, the reins would come in handy later. Instead, he attacked the recalcitrant shrubbery with a vengeance. He felt her eyes burning holes in the back of his head. Doggedly, he sawed through the tough stems. After a while, her stifled sobs subsided. He did not turn to face her when he finally spoke.
“Mr. Epwell made some generous donations to the community when he bought the Jeffries’ ranch. He’s cozy with the sheriff and the mayor. And every other official. When I got this job, I was told not to stick my nose in his private business.”
His attempt to explain himself elicited no reaction. Spoken aloud, it sounded lame even to himself. He glanced at her over his shoulder. If looks could kill, the county would lack a deputy sheriff. Better! Hate he could deal with.
“They say the governor is a regular visitor on the ranch...”
Her flinch told him all he needed to know. He had made the prudent choice. Who knew who else was in the billionaire’s pocket? This was far above his pay grade. He did not want to end up in a freak accident like Bradley. Besides, he had family in town. He had to worry about them, too.
He resumed his attack on the shrubbery. A minute later, he had freed her reins. Gripping them close to her bridle, he stood up and gave them a tug.
With a grace that belied her demanding footwear and strict bondage, the pony first rolled onto her knees, then got to her feet. In the same fluid movement, she stepped close to knee him in the groin. The hobble stopped her just millimeters from her target. Her frustrated howl sent spittle flying past her bit. He smirked, and then she lost it.
Frank watched in amazement as she twisted and turned like a blade of grass in a storm. She fought her bondage with all she had. The locks in her pussy jangled when they bumped into each other. Their din was multiplied by those on her harness rattling against the buckles they secured. Her muscles trembled with exertion, yet despite her titanic efforts, her bonds did not budge a millimeter. Instead of reining her in, he gave some slack, allowing her temper tantrum to run its course. He would have an easier time later if he let her get the rage out of her system now. Besides, her frantic gyrations made for a fascinating spectacle, one he found deeply exciting. Finally, her shoulders slumped, and she ceased her struggles. Panting hard, she sent him a glare that should have scorched him on the spot. His answering smile was appreciative. She was a feisty one, for sure.
“My turn.” He vigorously pulled down on the reins, forcing her to bend at the hips, until her head was at the level of his chest.
If her scream was any indication, yanking on her reins like this did something disagreeable to her mouth. Assuming her bit worked along similar lines as the curb bits for real horses he was familiar with, its shanks acted as levers for a spade-like mouthpiece that – depending on which way you pulled – pressed either into her soft palate or onto her tongue. A cruel regime to inflict on a ponygirl, but an effective one.
He brought his face close to hers, staring into her eyes. She stared right back at him, her defiance tempered by just a hint of fear.
To emphasize his point, he hooked his little finger into her nose ring and pulled, while his other hand yanked down on her reins again. Frank slowly increased the force of his pull until she neighed in pain and stomped her foot. He continued her torment for a few more seconds to make the lesson stick. She needed to learn he was not one to be trifled with. He let go of her nose ring and patted her on the cheek.
“Good girl! I knew you’d come around.”
He wiped the tears from her eyes, then stepped back. She avoided his gaze in defeat, but he was not fooled. With her, he must not let his guard down. Looping the end of the reins around his wrist, he turned to lead her back the way they had come.
“Let’s go! Time to get you home.”
They made slow progress. Handicapped by her hobble, he often had to help her negotiate the steep stretches of the trail. Frank did not mind. Every time he grabbed her by the front ring of her collar or touched the bare skin of her shoulders, an electric discharge seemed to jolt through him. If her orifices had not been protected by leather and steel, he would have pounced on her then and there. Frustratingly, with every step she took, the jangling of her pussy locks reminded him of what he was denied.
He found himself unable to take his eyes off her for long. Frequently, he would turn back to watch the play of muscles in her sleek legs or admire the swell of her forcibly thrust-out breasts. His gaze was inevitably drawn to the tail that swung hypnotically back and forth behind her. The contrast between her soft, tanned skin and the harsh leather and steel of her harness fascinated him to no end. Rays of sunlight shone through the canopy and glinted off her nose ring. Her chin was wet from the drool that oozed from her bitted mouth. Frank licked his parched lips. How long had she been kept as a ponygirl? Did she ever get a reprieve from this drudgery?
He wondered what it must be like to spend most of your life bound and gagged. To be intimately controlled by rings through your flesh. To have your freedom stripped away and be treated like a dumb beast. What a cruel thing to do to a person! But as cruel as it was, he enjoyed having a beautiful girl at his beck and call. One who, under normal circumstances, would undoubtedly have looked right through him. Now, he had her scurry to his side with a flick of his wrist. The power was intoxicating. Unfortunately, he would soon have to return the ponygirl to her rightful owner.
Although ‘rightful’ was perhaps not the most appropriate term. But in Frank’s experience, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the real world depended on which direction the business end of a gun pointed – or, in this instance, which side of a leash you found yourself on. He nodded to himself. Life’s not fair, and then you die.
Meanwhile, they had reached the dry creek bed again and were following it upstream. His charge grew more restive with each step. She swerved to the side, then suddenly turned around in an attempt to jerk the reins from his grip. Or she would sneak up on him, trying to knock him over. Resisting her curb bit had to hurt, but she did not seem to care. He had to be constantly on guard against her antics. It was a good thing the rattling of her pussy locks invariably gave her plans away.
Slowly but surely, they drew close to the scene of the accident. Frank realized that he had never asked himself why the sulky had gone off the trail and plunged into the ravine in the first place. Had the pony been so desperate that she engineered such a suicidal stunt to end her torment?
In the distance, he spotted the lifeless figure crumbled on the ground. A gasp from behind told him that the ponygirl had noticed it as well. Frank turned to face her. Her feverish eyes darted around, and she turned pale under her tan. Had her pony boots had heels, she would have dug them in. But as it was, she simply dropped to her knees and refused to get up again, no matter how hard he tugged on the reins. Maybe she would be more cooperative if he clipped the reins to her nose ring? But something in her expression made him pause. He crouched at her side and studied her face.
“What’s the matter? Feeling sorry for what you’ve done?” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder, indicating the body.
She hissed, and her eyes narrowed in scorn. Remorse, then, had nothing to do with her distress. That left fear. Frank looked at the situation from her point of view. She had tried to escape and probably believed to have almost succeeded. Defeated by shrubbery. That sucked. Of course, it was naive of her to think she could slip out from Epwell’s clutches so easily. She had gotten a taste of imagined freedom, and now she was being returned into the hands of her tormentors. Worse, she had killed one of them. No doubt, they would punish her severely.
What form of punishment did she face? She probably had a pretty shrewd inkling of how they dealt with bad-tempered, problem ponies like her. One look at her rigid features convinced him that it would be bad. If her bondage had allowed it, she would probably have curled up in a fetal position. Very bad, then. Perhaps they might even put her down for killing her driver? He shivered when a chill went through him.
Frank took her chin in his hand and forced her to face him. His eyes bored into hers.
“Listen! It’s not your fault. It was an accident. Your driver made a mistake and lost control. The cart went off the trail. You were lucky, he wasn’t. He was thrown out of the cart and smashed his head on a boulder.”
She gave him a quizzical look. Slowly, understanding and a timid hint of hope dawned on her face. He gently squeezed her chin.
“Under the circumstances, I doubt there will be an official investigation. That means no coroner’s report to contradict my version.”
She stared at him with brimming eyes, then thrust her upper body forward and nestled her head against his shoulder. Her action took him by surprise. He tensed, but apprehension turned into delight when she started to nuzzle his neck. She had to nibble around her bit, which made for an awkward kiss, but he appreciated the sentiment.
Her sudden movement had trapped his hand between them. Acting on instinct, he cupped her right breast in his palm and caressed the nipple with his thumb. He traced the circumference of the shackle that pierced her firm breast, fascinated by the contrast between cool metal and hot skin. The ponygirl let out a throaty moan and pressed her body against his, encouraging him to step up his efforts. Obligingly, he fondled the hardening nipple between his thumb and forefinger. His other hand snaked between her thighs. He pressed the side of his hand against her pussy, pushing up against the locks that closed her off.
A needy purr escaped her throat. She squeezed her legs together to capture his wrist. Thrusting her pelvis forward, she began to grind against his hand. The locks’ metal casings dragged uncomfortably over his skin. How did that feel like for her? He turned his hand and insinuated his middle finger between her hot and slick labia. It was a tight squeeze, only rendered possible since she was already wet. Since she became a pony, she had probably learned to snatch pleasure wherever and whenever it was offered.
His questing finger encountered even more hard metal. He deemed it unlikely that her clit, of all things, had escaped the piercer’s attention. Judging from what he had seen so far, her bud probably played host to another shackle-type ring. She bucked when he nudged it, validating his suspicions.
Clearly, the ponygirl liked what he was doing. She splayed her legs and opened herself up for him. He rubbed his finger along her slit while his other hand kneaded her breast. She rocked her hips back and forth in counterpoint to his own movements. Her rhythm became increasingly frantic, her guttural moans more urgent. When it came to petting, she obviously preferred a heavy-handed approach to a more subtle one. Perhaps the constant stimulation from the piercing had left her clit less sensitive?
She made a pleading sound and pushed down against his hand. Taking the hint, he curled his finger and entered her. For a moment, she went completely rigid, then a shudder coursed through her body. Pushed over the edge by his last move, her pent-up sexual energy burst into a powerful orgasm. Her body reared up against his. She burrowed her face into his shoulder, her bridle digging into his skin. A long-drawn-out whimper escaped her throat before all tension drained from her body, and she slumped against him like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
Frank gently extricated his finger from her folds. His hand glistened with her secretions, and the musk of her arousal hit his nose. As best he could, he wiped his hand clean on her thigh. It took a full minute before the ponygirl stirred again. He patiently waited while she recovered. Given the ferocity of her sexual discharge, it probably had been months since she had been allowed any release. Moreover, he suspected that her need had gone beyond sexual gratification. She had been looking for a tangible kind of comfort to ease her anxiety and frustration.
Finally, she straightened and looked him in the eye.
“It’s OK. Now, be a good pony. No more antics.”
He stood up and tugged lightly on her reins. Once again, he had to admire the fluid grace with which the ponygirl rose to her feet. She was calmer now, but far from resigned to her fate. He was convinced that, sooner or later, her rebellious spirit would resurface. It would take a kind but firm hand to reform her for good. When they continued on their way, Frank began to whistle an off-key tune.
Maybe life as one of Epwell’s henchmen was not so bad after all. He was a country boy at heart. Having grown up on a farm, he had always enjoyed working with animals. Everyone agreed he was particularly good with horses, which had earned him a reputation as a ‘horse whisperer’. Now, he felt it was time for a career change, to return to his roots. He felt he had found his true calling at last. As luck would have it, he knew of a ranch where a vacancy for a pony trainer had just opened up. In for a penny…