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The Chaperone's Apprentice 4

by Charlotte Arabella Graham

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© Copyright 2016 - Charlotte Arabella Graham - Used by permission

Storycodes: Solo-M; F/fm; M+/m; cd; ts; latex; maid; heels; stockings; collar; hotel; doppelgänger; switch; kidnap; captive; bond; corset; susp; escape; cons/nc; X

(story continues from )

Part 4

Cecilia was on the train, Premier Business Class, pretending to be Xara for the benefit of any paparazzi that might have been looking – it was important that everyone should think that she had, indeed, checked out of the hȏtel that morning.

Looking out of the carriage window she thought how dull the scenery of that part of northern France was; so unlike further south. For a time the train ran alongside the A1 motorway; its driver seemingly taking a perverse pleasure in going at least twice as fast as the cars on the road and rapidly disappearing into the distance. Soon they were in the tunnel under the English Channel then out into the Kent countryside for the final run up to London.

The train arrived exactly on time at St Pancras station. Cecilia wound her way out of the tortuous exit forced on travellers by the immigration laws, and into the concourse. There she was surprised to be met by a man carrying a board with her alias written on it.

"Ms Stewart?" he asked.


"Your car is waiting".

‘That’s odd’, thought Cecilia. ‘I though the plan was for me to make my way to Xara’s place so I could be seen, then wait there ‘til she and Lavinia arrived. Must have been a last-minute change of plan. Nice to have been told!’

Cecilia followed the man through the crowd. Outside a limo was waiting, its driver separated from any passengers by a glass partition. He held open a rear door. She got in and fastened the seat-belt. For some reason she tried to undo it again. She couldn’t. The car moved off; the door locks clicking ominously to. Notwithstanding threading through back streets in order to miss the traffic, she was convinced it was not going in the right direction. Cecilia began to feel panic welling up. A little while later she was convinced they weren’t, as packed streets gave way detached houses and then fields.

She tried to stretch forward but found she couldn’t because of the tight seat-belt.

"Where are you going?" she shouted. "This can’t be the right way".

But the driver either could not hear or was obeying orders not to. He just carried on.

She tried her mobile ‘phone. There was no signal; the back of the car was, in effect, a Faraday cage, no signals could get in or out.

Cecilia was frightened.

The car drove on, eventually turning off the main road and up a long drive to a big house at the end. The driver stopped the car and got out leaving Cecilia, still a prisoner, in the back.

Two men, dressed in black, came out of the house. They looked like nightclub bouncers and probably were. One unlocked the car, pulled Cecilia out and unceremoniously fog-marched her into the house.

In the lounge a man was seated in a deep leather arm-chair in front of the fire, two black Labradors lying on the hearth rug at their master's feet.

He swung round slowly to look at her.

The ginger wig had come off in the struggles. One of her captors, who seemed to be second in command, tossed it on the floor in front of the seated man who picked it up and turned it over in his hands.

"Well, well, what have we here? Not, perhaps, the prize we were expecting but a very interesting one nevertheless. Might I ask, where is the real Xara Stewart?"

Defiantly Cecilia refused to answer.

"No matter. ‘Keine Antwort ist auch eine Antwort’, as the Germans would say".

Deep in thought, he again turned the wig over in his hands.

"I detect the hand of Lavinia Westbury. I think that we should give her a ring. You doubtless have the number on your ‘phone."

He handed Cecilia the shoulder-bag.

Cecilia hesitated.

"Ring her!"

Cecilia reluctantly fished it out and keyed in Ms Westbury’s private number.

"Hello", an anxious voice said at the other end, "who is there?"

"It’s me" replied Cecilia, forgetting for a moment that it should have been, ‘It is I’, to satisfy the pedant in her aunt.

"Thank goodness for that. Where are you?"

"I don’t know. There’s someone here wants to talk to you."

She handed over the ‘phone.

"Dr Westbury?"

There was an acknowledgement from the other end.

"I believe," he went on, "that I have some of your property here that you might like back. You, on the other hand, I think know the whereabouts of something I want, namely Ms Xara Stewart. May I suggest that we arrange an exchange? Think about it. Here is my mobile number, may I suggest that you ring before I become impatient."

Ms Westbury was far from pleased. The arrangement had all been going to plan, then this had happened. Why did Xara Stewart not tell her that she was under threat of kidnap and being ransomed? If she had known she could have made allowance for it. Now she had lost Cecilia and was saddled with Xara. For two pins she would have thrown away the keys and made her go and find a lock-smith.

He rang off and turned to his men.

"Take the girl, if it is a girl", he stared hard at Cecilia who blushed slightly, "and lock her in one of the small guest rooms. I’ll keep the ‘phone".

The room was one floor upstairs at the back of the house. It was really small, the door at one end with a sash window opposite; a narrow bed fixed to the floor with steel brackets occupying one side. There was no en-suite bathroom. Instead there was an old-fashioned wash basin at the side and, a glance confirmed, a chamber pot under the single bed. ‘Just like old times’, Cecilia thought. Clearly the house was very much, ‘Queen Anne front and Mary Ann Back’.


Some hours later she heard the sound of a key in the lock. In walked a man with a tray while another stayed behand to block the doorway.

"Something to eat", he said putting down the tray that held a plate of bread and cheese and a glass of water.

It was not very exciting but Cecilia suddenly discovered that she was hungry; lunch was a long time ago while the meal on the train was little more than a smack. She thought while she munched.

‘This place is a bit odd, sort of unoccupied, abandoned almost. I wonder if, whoever it is, doesn’t actually live here but is just hiding out? It’s not as if the food is left-overs, it’s more like just what they’ve got’.

Looking out of the window she could see that the garden was not a bit like Ms Westbury’s emasculated one back home. This was unkempt and overgrown; ‘surely, if the house were occupied, they would have had people to look after it’.

In the distant past, she decided, the room had probably been a nursery. Blocks of wood had been screwed to the window channels to prevent the lower sash being pushed up more than a few centimetres to prevent leaning out.

That must have been done a long time ago, Cecilia, mused. The four screws all had slotted heads, the slots being partly filled with flaking paint.

On the spur of the moment, Celica tried the bottom sash of the widow. It moved a little. The screws were holding the blocks fast but not very firmly – clearly they had been in for a long time as they were well rusted and the wood rotten through lack of paint. If only she could find something to use as a lever …

She looked around the Spartan room. There had to be something.

Previously she had regarded the shoulder-bag as being little more than a prop not wishing to delve too deeply into it. The contents of the bag were, after all, very much Xara's and personal to her. Cecilia had only added her own 'phone and credit card.

Now she searched it in earnest.

It contained the usual mixture of things, some put in deliberately others that, somehow, just, ‘got there’.

Cecilia pulled out a manicure set in a red leather case. She opened it. The diamond nail file might cut though the screws, eventually, but was nowhere near strong enough to turn them while all the other shiny metal tools were far too delicate.

With rapidly vanishing hope, she probed deeper in to the bag then, lying near the bottom she struck gold. A Swiss Army pen-knife. Its proportions were of quite modest compared with some with some similar knives, with which one might well be able to build a small nuclear submarine, Cecilia reckoned, but this had one important thing - a screw-driver!

The wooden blocks holding the sash had only two screws each. Cecilia got the first block off without much difficulty. She turned to the other one. That side was more out of the sun so the paint was better preserved. Cecilia scraped out the slot of the top one and tried to turn it. The rusty screw broke. She had better luck with the second one. The little knife would have been no match for a, ‘proper’, screw driver but, with an effort, it eventually came out. Cecilia prised off the block with another of the knife’s tools and tried to push up the sash. It didn’t budge.

She worked round the old paint hoping that it would release the window.

She tried again. This time the sash moved a little; then stuck again, leaving a tantalising small gap at the bottom.

Celica let out a distinctly un-ladylike expression. The knife wasn’t of use any more. It was too small. She glanced round the room. Nothing struck her as useful so Cecilia turned again to the shoulder bag. She felt something in a pocket. It was fairly large and seemed metallic.

‘Must have missed it first time’, she thought as she pulled it out. It was a card case. In no way an ideal tool but better than nothing.

Cecilia returned to the window, put one end of the case in the gap and, with the window-frame as fulcrum, pressed on the other end with all her weight. The window moved, stuck, then moved again. ‘Good old Archimedes’, she thought.

The experience had not been a good one for the card-case, it would never again grace a fancy bag but, now, she could get her hands under the sash and push it fully open.

Cecilia leaned out of the window and peered down. The ground sloped down at the back of the house. In the dark Cecilia could only just make out the ground some five or six metres below. She hadn’t really thought through what she would do once the window was open but simply dropping to the ground, especially in a tight skirt and high-heels did not seem to be on.

Cecilia wondered what to do.

‘In children’s stories’, she mused, ‘they are always making rope out of blankets. Let give it a try for real. There’s nothing to lose and I can’t think of anything better’.

Cecilia pulled the sheet off the bad and used the trusty penknife to make four pieces that she then knotted together. She tested the knots – all seemed OK – then laid the ‘rope’ up and down on the floor in order to get some idea of its length. With one end tied to the bed by way of an anchored there still ought to be enough to reach the ground or, at least, get near enough to it.

She threw the rope out of the window and with a struggle followed it. Years ago and in a previous gender she had been in a boys club. How to climb a rope had been one of the required skills. It came slowly back, though not before she had some panicky moments.

Cecilia landed in a heap on the ground. It was soft so that the fall was not too bad however, her heels sunk in deep with every stride she took. There was a path round the house and she headed for that. Turning the corner she came face-to-face with the owner; out exercising his dogs, the other men in tow.

He stopped and looked to Cecilia then, telling his men to hold her, went round the building underneath the window of her room. A few minutes later he returned, an amused smile on his face.

"Well, well, didn’t you like your room then? It was one of our best. Out of the window with sheets tried together. Just like a Victorian melodrama. How nineteenth century, Very well, then we will try something a little more modern. Take her down to the cellar and hang her up in the training corset. And no hanky-panky, not yet, anyway, I don’t wish to be accused of dealing in damaged goods".

Cecilia, still pulling and pushing but to no avail, was dragged back to the house and along a passage to a door opening onto a flight of stairs going down to a cellar. The house and passage had been quite grand; the cellar could not have been more different. As soon as the door was opened a dank smell seemed to billow up, while the stone steps glistened damply.

Cecilia was forced down the steps and through a second door into a room, lit by a single unshaded bulb. The room was bare save for an object hanging by a short length of chain from a beam in the ceiling.

"We got this ready for that Stewart woman, to soften her up", one of the captors said with scarcely hidden glee. "Not having her I thought we might not get the chance to try it out but now we can see how you like it".

At first Cecilia couldn’t make out what the hanging thing was. Then she realized that it was some kind of training or punishment corset or, perhaps, an isolation device with which to break a person’s resolve. Once inside the wearer or should that be, ‘victim’, she thought with a shudder as it dawned on her who the next occupant was almost certainly going to be, could be hauled up on the chain with no way getting out of it ‘til released.


Cecilia reluctantly removed her clothes down to a black bra and rubber panties.

"I said, ‘strip’, that means everything. You can keep your shoes on".

An enema tube was pushed into her protesting anus and kept there by a built-in bladder that was inflated much harder than anything she had experienced before. So hard, in fact, she gasped at the pain it caused. Her own bladder was drained by a Foley catheter, again inflated hard so that there was no chance of it coming loose. Next the corset was wrapped round her. Made of leather, with multiple steel bones running its full length, the garment stretched hardly at all. It reached from her ankles to the top of her head. Only her eyes and nose where left exposed. The corset covered her mouth. Though not a gag, the rigid head extension of the corset prevented any movement, jaw included, effectively muzzling anyone who had the misfortune to be laced in it. Even her arms were laced up and pinioned to the sides of the corset with rings. Finally, she was lifted up and the corset hooked onto the chain.

Hands on hips, her captor surveyed the handiwork.

He turned to his colleague

"I don’t think we will have any more problems", he said.

He turned the light off and they were gone.


Once her eyes had become dark-adapted the cellar was not quite as black as it had first appeared. Some light got in from a badly fitting trap-door in the ceiling by a side wall. Presumably at one time the cellar had been used for coal; Cecilia could well imagine maids making countless journeys up the slippery steps with heavy scuttles so as to keep fires burning in the house above. Further on the wall was shelved out originally, presumably, to keep provisions cool but now covered only with a thick blanket of spiders’ webs. Bath-like troughs on the other side had probably been used at one time when the house was much more self-sufficient for soaking bacon and hams. For a moment she had to fight back dark thought of what else they might have been used for; or might still be.

Almost invisible in the gloom, was a passage leading gently upwards. At its far end she could just discern a faint glimmer of light.

‘I wonder if the passage goes all the way up to the garden’, she thought. ‘They could have easily grown mushrooms down here or’ trying to get more comfortable in her bonds and failing miserably, ‘rhubarb’.

Hanging there in the dark, Cecilia’s senses sharpened. She could now clearly see the glow at the end of the tunnel. More disturbing, though the hood cut down some of the sound she could distinctly hear the noise of scurrying animals. Rats! She would have shuddered if the rigid corset had allowed it.

‘Perhaps it is better to be suspended off the floor’, she grimly thought.


After a three days suspended in the training corset, fed by enema, drained by catheter, the laces tightened ever more each morning and evening, Cecilia seemed to become quite docile and obedient. That evening, one of her captors came into the cellar. Cecilia feared more tightening of the corset. Remembering an article she had read about Houdini and his methods, she had eased things for the first few times by expanding her chest as much as possible but there were limits and they were rapidly approaching.

Instead of tightening the laces some more the man unhooked her and started to loosen the corset.

"As you’ve been so good, we’ve decided to give you a shower."

"I hope you enjoy it", he added with a sneer.

He finished undoing her. Cecilia stood shivering; the thick corset had been surprisingly warm while, after three day’s enforced inactivity, her legs felt like jelly. The chill of the cellar air was, however, nothing like the next shock as a jet of cold water from a hose hit her in the back. She staggered forward, only just keeping her footing. Soon she was shivering uncontrollably as the icy water was deliberately played on her most sensitive spots.

Then the torture stopped. Cecilia glanced over her shoulder. The man had a mobile ‘phone to his ear. He nodded in response to whoever was on the other end.

"Ok, I’ll come up".

He turned to Cecilia.

"I’ll deal with you later", he snarled switching out the light before slamming the door on a naked Cecilia and running up the steps.

‘It’s now or never’, thought Cecilia.

There was just enough light from the stairs coming through the ill-fitting door for Cecilia to make out the pile of things she had been forced to drop three days ago. She snatched up the coat and shoulder-bag; in the heat of the moment old habits from most of a life-time came to the surface and she crossed the coat over the wrong way – for a girl; then ran as fast as she could, down the passage in the direction that light had come.

As she has hoped it emerged into the overgrown garden. It was raining. Opposite the end on the passage was an old greenhouse. Several of the panes of glass were broken and the door hung off at a funny angle.

Cecilia went inside to be out of the rain, to get her breath and to generally sort herself out.

Inside the greenhouse were a pair of ancient wellies and an even more ancient bicycle forgotten, no doubt, by the last gardener when he left. Cecilia pulled on the boots. They were much too big and leaky as well but at least she wouldn't have problems with the heels getting stuck in the soft ground.

She had no idea what to do except to blindly run.

Cecilia straddled the bike, coat pushed well up her thighs. It would never have won the Tour de France but it was faster than walking. The bicycle was bound to make tyre tracks in the soft ground and pick up mud to show the direction that she turned leaving the house. No matter, this time she had escaped though it would be no time at all before they realized she was missing and came in pursuit.

She had no idea where she was but the glow in the sky indicated that there must be a town in that direction. And, in the last part of the journey to the house, the car had gone through the town before going out into the country again.

‘That must be the best way to go’.

The old bike was maddeningly slow and rickety. It had no gears; one of the tyres was almost flat while the steering seemed to have a mind of its own. ‘At least’ she thought, ‘in has a basket at the front where I can dump things’.

Cecilia peddled on down the narrow country road. Fortunately the land was level; if there had been the slightest hill she would have had to get off and walked.

Soon she was sure she could hear a car behind her but didn’t dare to look back; partly because she was sure she knew what it was, partly because on the bicycle she was so unstable she feared she would fall off if she tried to glance back.

The perusing car was almost behind her now. In a few seconds it would be up to her and she would be re-captured again. Cecilia daren’t think what her treatment then might be.

Just in front the road was crossed by railway. As Cecilia got to it the lights began to flash and the barriers come down.

A slow-moving farm tractor pulling a trailer piled high with bails of straw was first at the barrier. The pursuing car skidded to a halt behind it. Cecelia, on the bike, dashed round the tractor, zig-zagging over the crossing; oblivious to the descending arms. Once or twice the bicycle though it might like to be a train as she yanked the front wheel out of a rail-slot. Then she was on the other side, just as an express passenger train came hurtling behind her, while the pursuers were left fuming at the closed barrier.

Even when barrier opened the narrowness of the road and on-coming traffic on its other side meant that the car couldn’t get past the tractor. Instead, despite much ineffectual blaring of the horn, it was forced to go at the tractor’s snail pace; a speed made even slower by it trying not to shed the wagon’s load as it passed over the bumps.

The crossing was at the side of the station. Though the express had come through, the barriers remained down; clearly another train was expected. On the spur of the moment, Cecilia turned into the station yard, dumped the bike and ran into the building. There were people waiting on the platform; a stopping train must be due. Her first thought was to hide in the ‘Ladies’ until the last moment before diving on to a train but straight away she realised that a mere notice was not going to stop desperate men. The place to hid a tree, she had once read, was in a forest; she would be much safer in the crowd.

Cecilia, ignoring glances from the others waiting at her odd clothes and too-big old wellies, pushed to the edge of the platform. A train pulled up. Cecilia jumped on, quickly making her way down the carriage. The train started off again. Full of fear, Cecilia glance behind her then, turning, looked more carefully. She seemed to have given her pursuers the slip. Presumably, in their haste, once the crossing was clear they had overshot the station and didn’t realise the mistake until it was too late to turn back. Phew!

A ticket collector came down the carriage.

"Where to luv?"

"I don’t know. What train is it?"

"Well, that’s a bit funny, isn’t it, not knowing where you’re going?"

"I was being chased by some men in a car. I gave them the slip and just jumped on the first train that came so as to get away. It didn’t matter where it was going. Are you going to stop at a main-line station? I could get home from there, I think".

"Well, well, I never", was all he could say when she had finished outlining what had happened. But he charged her for a ticket just the same.

Cecilia leaned back in her seat and though about the last few days.

‘Was being a Chaperone always like that?

The ticket collector, having finished dealing with passengers who had just boarded the train, returned and sat down at the side of Cecilia.

"I’ve been thinking", he said. "I’m going off duty at the end of this trip. If I take you to the station superintendent on the main line, she can contact the authorities and you can use the ‘phone to ring your aunty and let her know where you are. I bet she’s worried stiff".

Ms Westbury might have been stiff from other things, whale bone for example, but not from worry Cecilia thought. Still, it was a good idea. She thanked the man for the offer.

"All in a day’s work", he said with a chuckle. "Damsels in distress and all that".

Only then did the enormity of recent events really sink in. Cecilia began to shake, uncontrollably.


Eventually, the Police drove Cecilia home.

When she got back, Ms Westbury was waiting in the hall. As Cecilia opened the door her aunt rushed towards it.

"Oh Sissy, you’re back. You escaped", she cried. "It was so cleaver of you and so brave", while hugging her like a long-lost soul.

Cecilia had never seen her aunt so emotional. Usually she was so calm and so matter-of-fact, now she was, yes, in tears.

Cecilia disentangled herself from her aunt and smiled back at her; this was a side of her she never though existed.

"I’ll tell you all about it later but, first I just have to have a long bath and get clean. I feel unbearably scruffy and have a centaury’s dirt to wash away".

Reluctant to let go, fearing that her niece might somehow disappear again, Ms Westbury finally released Cecilia.

An hour later she returned, clean, hair re-done and wearing her own clothes.

Aunt Lavinia was in the lounge, seated in an armchair by the fire. On its other side was Xara, still in the maid’s outfit, those being the only things she had with her.

Cecilia found herself a chair, drew it up and sat down.

Ms Westbury started the conversation.

"Xara, here, was the intended kidnap and ransom victim, of course. She is staying with us for a few days while the rest of the gang is rounded up".

"That’s nice", replied Cecilia, not at all sure whether she really wanted company or not, now that she had, finally, got home.

She looked at Xara and pointed.

"Do you think we could keep this maid, then? Perhaps it would come in quite useful to tidy up and do things for us while we are out. I’ve got some great ideas for uniforms".

"Well, there are still the spare rooms in the attic".

Cecilia supressed a giggle as she remembered the Spartan accommodation she had been given during the first months of her employment by Ms Westbury.

Xara was not sure she liked the joke. ‘It was a joke, wasn’t it?’

Ms Westbury was unhappy about the direction that the conversation was taking; after all, Xara was, after all, still a valued client.

"Tell us all about your adventure and your treatment and how you managed to escape and so on."

Cecilia switched into her aunt’s lecturing mode.

"As for the treatment, if one may use such a term; it was far from pleasant. However it did serve to sharpen the mind. It may well be that, to be hung on the morrow concentrates the mind wonderfully but, just being hung up is also quite effective too. Also the effect on the figure could hardly have been bettered", Cecilia glanced at the mirror on the wall by her side and smiled, "so while I was upstairs I ordered the special bondage corset for you; it should be here in a week or two. A few days in one are, perhaps, sufficient for a first time but long enough to see the effect."

‘Oh, no’, thought Ms Westbury, ‘sauce for the goose, I suppose’.

"But have you forgotten all you training?" She snapped back.

"It is well past three o’clock. You should be in a parlour maid’s dress. Go and change immediately into one of the latex ones, then send your trainee to fetch a bottle of Champagne from the cellar, there should be some vintage Krug. And two glasses, no, make it three", she added with a smile. "It has been quite an exhausting last few days, even for the trainee. Then, when we are settled again you can tell us all the details".

‘Well, I don’t know …’ thought Cecilia as she found herself involuntarily hurrying to her suite. ‘… of all the things we’ve been though together recently.’ Though in her heart-of-hearts, she knew that being the maid from time-to-time could still be fun. And Ms Westbury liked it too.


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