This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living, dead or otherwise is purely coincidental. The ideas and thoughts that follow are pure fantasies. In real life, at the very least they would be unpleasant and probably illegal. Fantasies are like that; daydreams where we can contemplate and imagine the sensations without suffering or inflicting the pain, despair or humiliation.
"Looks like there'll be a party on the 'Dragon' tonight, Ian."
"An orgy more like, from what I've heard. I doubt we'll be invited."
Enrico and I paused in humping my dinghy over the seawall to watch the well dressed group of men and ladies make their way along the pontoons of the marina and clamber daintily into the fine varnished launch and head for the 'Golden Dragon', a luxury motor yacht moored near the main channel. Elsewhere they'd probably be classed as 'the jet set'; well-to-do young yuppies aged, at a guess, in their mid twenties to late thirties. About a dozen of them, probably more men than women but I didn't do a head count. We launched our dinghy, loaded it with the gear I'd require for a three-day stay and I started the outboard motor and headed for the 'Sarsaparilla', my 30 ft fishing boat. My companion, Enrico, lives in Fordbridge where the boat is based, and keeps his eye on it for me and regularly comes out in it for an hour or two's fishing. I live twenty-five miles away in the country and, on the narrow roads, it takes a hour to drive there. I planned to spend three days on the boat but Enrico would go home to his wife later that day.
A nice day to be on the water but with an almost calm sea and bright sunshine, not a good day for fishing and we only caught two flat fish. I took Enrico ashore about six o'clock and had a meal with him and his wife but only stayed an hour before returning to the boat. The 'Golden Dragon's' launch nestled alongside the pontoon at the marina and seeing Josh, an elderly ex seaman I knew, looking after her, I greeted him, "They invited you to the party then, Josh?"
"Not bloody likely. Nowadays, I couldn't give them young things what they's a wanting. They's a needin' young fellas like you, but I doubt you've got enough money in your pocket for them. They's dining and wining in the White Harte at the moment."
"I couldn't afford to keep one of them for one night and I daresay they'd turn their noses up at what I've got!" I joked.
They returned about nine o'clock in a merry mood. Sitting in the 'Sarsaparilla's' cockpit, I heard the raucous laughter as they passed and slowed to berth alongside the Dragon on the mooring fifty yards ahead. Some even returned my wave. Later I heard the disco music, which, to my mind, spoiled the serenity of the late evening with the sun going down on a calm sea and the water beginning to light up with the phosphorescence especially when a bass would leap above the surface and land with a splash. Pity one of them didn't take my bait earlier. I lay down for a while but, as often happens on my first night aboard, I couldn't sleep and a little before midnight and an hour to high water time, decided to fish the last of the flood by the light of a near full moon. Sometimes fishing at night is more profitable than during the day, but even if it isn't, it is a peaceful and relaxing way to spend an hour. Certainly I caught a very different fish that night. The noise from the yacht had quietened and I assumed they were all in each other's beds and fucking madly.
I'd reeled in my line ready to bait the hook again, when I glanced at the boat ahead and saw the figure of a naked woman, pale and white in the moonlight, climb over the stern rail and stand poised on the taffrail for a few moments before throwing herself in the water. A shower of 'sparks' from the phosphorescence went up and when she just drifted towards me I realised she wasn't in the water to have a midnight swim. In any event she couldn't have climbed the high sides of the 'Dragon' even if she swum back to it against the slackening tide. Without thinking, I jumped into the dinghy, cast off and, not wanting to fiddle with starting the outboard, slipped the oars into the rollocks and began rowing towards the figure, her splashing threw more sparks of into the air, clearly revealing her presence. Seconds later I drew alongside and grabbed her hair, then her arms. "Leave me be," she repeated several times but I wasn't about to leave a young girl in the water to die. Even in July the water temperature wouldn't be above 10 Celsius and before too long she'd become chilled and suffering with cramps. With great difficulty and eventually getting her to cooperate, I managed to roll her into the boat, where she sat crying on the floorboards while I rowed back to the 'Sarsaparilla'. "Don't take me back there, please," she begged, indicating the 'Dragon'. I had no intention of doing so. Whatever made her want to take her life, would probably make her do it again.
In the dim cabin light, the young, attractive but bedraggled girl shivered and cried as I grabbed a towel and started to dry her. "My husband held me while three other men raped me. They raped me, they raped me," she repeated time and time again as if to an unseen person. I tried to calm and reassure her but she remained agitated and frequently shied away. As clinically as I could and without paying any extra attention to her breasts and mound, I carefully dried her and in doing so, noticed the bruises forming on her body and the bite marks on her breasts. "You want me to phone the police?"
"No," she shook her head, "With their money they would find a way out of it and I would be humiliated further. Please don't let them know I'm here." In the rather dim light from the overheard lamp, I looked at her petite body, her moderate breasts with their cold hardened nipples, and dark hair, which matched that of her pubic mound, and wondered how she'd got into a situation where her husband assisted in her rape. She started shivering again and I insisted she get into my berth. "I'm getting in too but you won't be harmed in any way but I'll help to get you warm again." I deliberately didn't mention the rape word. Leaving my shirt and underpants on, I climbed in beside her and in the small bunk I had to press close to her body. For a while she moaned and wriggled, disconcerted at my hugging and being so close but eventually she calmed down and drifted into a disturbed sleep, exhausted from the trauma and her ordeal. For a long while I lay awake, wondering what I had let myself in for, and what to do with the woman whose name I didn't yet know. In many ways I could understand her not wishing to go to the police and have to recount the incident many times over to strangers, but what should I do? To her, when she recovered a little, I'd be no more than hired help but I knew she also needed time away from them and from the authorities to decide what to do.
Her movements and muttering kept me awake and at five a.m. I slipped out of bed, pissed over the side before dressing and putting the kettle on. The noise of the boiling kettle roused her and, sitting up it took a few moments for her to remember her situation and why she was naked. Hastily pulling the duvet to cover her breasts, she looked fearfully at me. "I'm making a mug of tea and then I'll see what I can find in the way of clothing. There won't be anything that will fit but it will cover you and keep the chill out." I found a sweater and a pair of shorts with a belt and remembered, "Here's my sister's fishing smock, that can go over the other things but it won't look elegant."
Presenting her with the mug of tea, I explained my plan. "I'm going to start the engine shortly and motor to Flatman's Hole for an hour or two's fishing, like I'd already planned. The weather's fine and the sea's calm and it will give you time to think about what you want to do, or do you want me to take you ashore now?" No answer. "Come into the wheelhouse when you're ready and we're well away from the 'Dragon' and I'll make breakfast when we're anchored at the Hole. You won't be harmed or hurt in any way." I again tried to reassure her.
She remained below until I anchored and went to the galley to start breakfast. I had to smile at her appearance, definitely not the height of fashion but it covered her body. I had nothing suitable for her feet but walking about on the boat in bare feet, wouldn't be a great problem. Seeing me smile, she gave a little grin too. "Morning, I'm Ian, Ian Astley."
"Barbara, Mrs. Barbara Wellthorpe. I'm sorry I've caused you so much trouble, what do you plan to do with me?" She shrunk away to the far corner of the small cabin and looked nervously at me.
"That largely depends on what you want. For now, I'm making breakfast and afterwards we can discuss the options."
"I suppose it was a stupid thing to do," Barbara started after I'd set two rods in their holders and sat watching the tips, "But at the time it seemed the only way out of the mess I'd been dragged into. Do you mind if I tell you? In confidence?"
"Whatever you say on this boat, stays on this boat. You only need to tell me what you'd like me to do but if telling the story will help get it off your chest, feel free to do so."
She nodded and went on, "You need to know some of the story to know what to do with me." After a lengthy silence, she continued, " My parents arranged my marriage to Richard Wellthorpe for financial reasons. I didn't dislike him, not at first anyway, but I found out only a month after the wedding, he wanted a swinging lifestyle and to exchange partners. I knew he had other women and he tried to link me with other men at parties and became annoyed when I didn't cooperate. Several times I found myself in situations where I had to forcibly refuse the attentions of a man when Richard wanted his wife or partner. This angered him and he arranged the boat trip without my knowing and I believed we were just travelling to Fordbridge to visit friends of his. I knew when I saw the group, another attempt at swinging was on the cards but I believed I could resist as I'd always done. Knowing I needed a clear head, I pretended to drink at the White Harte and pretended to be as merry as the others and again when we returned to the boat and the party started, I drank very little. Michael Coulter, the owner of the boat, wanted to have me and when I said, "No," he asked Richard if he allowed such behaviour. "I think it is time she conformed to our ways and my wishes," my husband stated and grabbed me and started to undo my dress. When I struggled he asked others to help and soon they'd stripped me naked and held me while Michael Coulter raped me with all the others standing and laughing. He sucked and bit my breasts and added to the marks left by their efforts to subdue me. Richard held me while three others raped me. I screamed and protested but no one helped although some of the women cried. When the rapes finished I sat in the corner and one of the girls tried to comfort me but one of the men took me to my cabin and tried to insist that I suck him until he could get it hard enough to rape me, but I showed him my teeth and threatened to bite it until it needed stitches. He took me seriously and went elsewhere."
"My God, Barbara, I didn't think that sort of thing happened in our society."
She ignored the remark and went on, "I sat in the cabin until it quietened down and people had sorted which beds were being slept in that night, and decided I couldn't face another moment with them and the only way to get out before I too spiralled to further depths of degradation, was to end my life; a miserable enough life before this weekend. I wrote a note for my parents saying what happened and left it under my pillow and went to the back of the boat and jumped in. You know the rest."
I put my arm around her and saw the fear in her eyes again until she realised I didn't intend harming her. "We'll see what we can do to sort this out. I'm just so glad that some other fisherman isn't dragging a decomposing body out of the water. You're much too young and attractive to be lying on a morgue table." Pretending to watch the rod tips for any sign of a bite, I thought about the situation.
"It's nearly eight o'clock now but I doubt if many on the 'Dragon' will be up and it may be a little while after that before your absence is discovered. Maybe we'll leave them to worry for a while and enjoy the fishing and the weather."
"What do you think they'll do when they find I'm missing?"
"Difficult to say. May depend on whether or not they find the letter. They've two choices, to acknowledge you are missing or to hide the fact. If they suspect you jumped overboard, hiding will only cause greater problems later when your body is found and the teeth marks match Michael's. There'd then be a murder investigation and Richard would be a prime suspect if he didn't report your absence, so I expect they are intelligent enough to work that out. I expect some of the girls would give your side of the story if detectives questioned them closely enough. Either way they are in trouble. Best for us to sit tight an wait to see or hear what happens and go back later as though this had been a normal fishing day for me."
11 a.m. my phone rings. "Hi Enrico, what gives that you disturb the fish?" I asked after recognising the caller ID.
"Had the police round. One of those silly bitches on the 'Dragon' jumped in the water and committed suicide last night. They wanted to know where to look first to find the body cuz they know I helped them find that lad that fell in a year ago."
"Tell them to look in Flatman's Hole and it won't be a body they find."
"You got her there? Better let them know as they planning a full-scale search. Is she okay?"