Erica sat, staring disconsolately down at the empty plate in front of her. She had wiped it clean, not even a crumb remained. A voice sounded behind her and she looked up. The waiter was speaking to her and although she understood not a word, she guessed he was asking if she wanted anything else. She shook her head and he took the plate away, along with the small pile of change she had placed next to it. The girl sighed. So this was it. The last of her money was spent now. She had no idea what she would to do next.
The cafe was in the middle of a busy square, with people passing this way and that and, having nothing better to do, Erica stared about her, trying to catch someone's eye. She hoped desperately to find a friendly face in the crowd of strange, dark-skinned people, but her efforts were in vain. All she encountered were blank, hostile glances.
It had been two days since her rucksack had been stolen. Two days of wandering about lost in this strange South American town, unable to understand the language and unable to make herself understood. It wouldn't have been so bad if it had happened in one of the cities, where the people were more cosmopolitan. Here in the interior, she couldn't even communicate in the little Spanish that she knew, since the locals had their own strange tongue which she found quite impenetrable.
She had intended to spend no more than an hour in this place. Just long enough to disembark from one bus, snatch a quick meal and then catch another. But in a moment of inattention at the bus station her bag had disappeared and with it her tickets, passport and money. In fact everything had gone, leaving her with just the few coins she had had in her pockets.
Of course they had taken her down to the local police station, but it had done her no good. The sergeant had been scowling and unhelpful and she had been forced to stand for more than an hour whilst he barked incomprehensible questions at her and filled in form after form. By the time she had been turned out onto the street again her bus was long gone, probably carrying the thief and her rucksack with it.
So she had spent the last two days wandering the streets of the small town, eking out the last of her cash, sleeping rough where she could. And now it was all gone and she was alone and destitute in this foreign, unfriendly place.
Erica Rose was nineteen. She was small, not more than five foot two inches tall, but her body was perfectly proportioned. Her waist was slim, her breasts round and firm, like two ripe oranges that pressed against the thin fabric of her T-shirt, the shape of her nipples clearly outlined, betraying the fact that she had no need of a bra to support them. Her hips were well rounded, without a trace of plumpness, her pert behind beautifully filling her tight shorts. Her legs were long, with shapely ankles and dainty feet. The auburn tresses of her hair hung to her shoulders, the colour in marked contrast to the jet black locks of the local girls. They framed a classically pretty face with large green eyes, a well-shaped nose and a small, pretty mouth.
Erica was alone in every sense of the word. Her parents had died some years before and she had spent her later childhood in the care of an aunt. Their relationship had not been close, however, and both had been thankful when Erica had come of age and was able to leave home. An unsatisfactory job had followed, along with an equally unsuccessful love affair.
It was after the young man had left her life that Erica had decided to travel. Once she had made up her mind, she had gathered all her savings, packed her rucksack and caught a plane to this strange southern continent. The travel had proved a true revelation to the naive young woman. She had spent two happy months travelling, fascinated by the sights and people of this alien country.
All that had changed, though. What had seemed quaint and unusual now seemed unfriendly and the people she had found so fascinating appeared hostile and sour now that she had no money. What would become of her, she knew not, but as she sat at the table in the market square, staring listlessly ahead, there seemed little hope of redemption.
Suddenly she heard a shout and she looked up. A man was calling excitedly to the other occupants of the square. He was pointing at something she could not see. As he did so others began to point also, indicating the small, dusty street that served as the town's main thoroughfare.
Erica strained to see what the commotion was. There seemed to be some people coming towards the square, and behind them there was much chattering and commotion. As she watched, the crowd parted and a strange procession came into view.
In front were two dark skinned men. They both had thick, drooping moustaches and carried rifles. They reminded Erica of the Mexican bandits in old cowboy films, their bandoleiros strung across their chests. Behind them walked an enormous black man, wearing a brightly coloured cloak with shining gold chains adorning his neck and wrists. He was followed by a girl whose gait was odd, as if she were stumbling all the time. In the rear were two more rifle-toting thugs, indistinguishable from the first pair. Together they processed forward until they were almost alongside Erica, where they came to a sudden halt.
The crowd was still chattering animatedly, but Erica said nothing. Her attention was entirely captivated by the girl who stood in front of her.
The girl was of about Erica's age, tall and blonde, with fair skin, clearly not a local. But it was not this that held Erica's attention; it was the strange attire she wore. Around her neck was a thick leather collar, decorated with shiny studs and bearing the single word, 'Aysha'. A metal chain was attached to the collar, the other end of which was held by the black man. He was pulling her along like a dog being led by its master. She wore similar bands on her wrists and above her elbows and these had metal catches which had been snapped together, so that her hands were trapped behind her back. This had the effect of pushing her chest forward and accentuating the girl's magnificent full breasts, which were encased in a short ragged top tied just beneath them.
Her ankles too had leather bands around them which were attached together by a short chain, accounting for the girl's ungainly gait. Apart from the top, she wore only a very short skirt; her feet were bare and grimy with the dust of the street.
Erica was fascinated by the girl's appearance. Who could she be? And why was she bound in such a way? Why, clad as she was, with her hands trapped behind her she was easy prey to any of the men who now closed in about her. The thought of this had an unexpected effect on Erica. There was something inexplicably erotic about the girl's plight and she felt a strange warmth inside as she contemplated what it must be like to be thus, scantily dressed and helpless, surrounded by men in this dusty square.
"Looks like Senor Ascani is up to his old tricks again."
The sound of the voice in her ear made Erica jump and she swung round to see who had spoken. Beside her, perched on the seat, was a woman. She was about twenty-five. Her body was slim and svelte, her eyes brown and penetrating. Her skin was considerably lighter than those around her, as was her hair and her looks were an odd mixture of European and local.
"I- I beg your pardon?" said Erica.
"Senor Ascani. Look, here he comes, riding that white stallion of his. I knew he wouldn't be far away."
Erica looked across in the direction the woman was pointing. Coming down the street was one of the most magnificent horses she had ever seen. Its coat gleamed in the sun and it held its head proudly aloft, as if disdainful of the peasants around it. On its back sat a man, his expression perfectly matching that of his steed. He was about forty years old, his dark curly hair flecked with silver at the temples. He sported a thin moustache and his eyes glittered as he surveyed the crowd. He reminded Erica of some kind of Spanish Grandee and she felt her heart thump in her chest as he dismounted.
"Who is he?" she whispered, forgetting for a moment that she had not the slightest idea who she was addressing.
"I told you, Senor Ascani. He's the local landowner. Looks like one of his little slaves has been playing him up."
"Blondie here. What's her name? Aysha. She looks arrogant enough to have stood up to him. It'll be another story when she's had a few strokes across that delectable behind, though."
"Strokes? You mean they're going to beat her?"
"There's no other reason why she'd have been brought down here like this."
"What does it matter? The stupid bitch must have upset Ascani. That's enough."
"But what will happen?"
"What do you mean?"
"How hard will they beat her?"
The woman smiled. "You seem very interested," she said.
Erica blushed. It was as if the woman was able to read her mind. The truth was that she was interested, desperately interested. There was something about the whole scenario that she found very exciting, though she wasn't sure why.
I'll tell you what," the woman said. "I know one of the guards. His name's Pedro. I'll find out from him."
The young woman turned to the guard who had led the procession. She spoke to him in the guttural tongue of the natives. He replied, laughing and flashing his teeth. The girl laughed back, shouting a comment to him. Then she turned back to Erica.
"Not too bad apparently," she said. "Six strokes with the cane, followed by a night in the guardroom with Pedro there and his mates."
"That's right. And if I know Pedro and the others, she won't get much sleep."
"Sure. They'll fuck her silly. And by the looks of her she'll enjoy it."
"But you said that was not too bad."
"That's right. If Ascani was really mad, she'd get twelve, then spend the night in one of the local tavernas."
At the sound of this Erica's stomach churned. But, though she wanted to believe it was fear and shock that caused the reaction, she knew deep inside that there was something else stirring inside her. Something quite unexpected. Something that made her face turn a still deeper red.
Erica was getting turned on.
She dropped her eyes, suddenly embarrassed at her reaction, but the woman had already noticed and was staring at her curiously.
"This is really giving you a buzz, isn't it?" she said.
"I don't know what you mean."
"Look, you don't have to hide it from me. Some chicks get turned on by this kind of thing."
Erica rose to her feet. "I have to go," she said.
"You mean you're not going to stay and watch?"
"No... Yes. I mean..."
The woman took her hand, dragging her back down onto the seat.
"Stay and watch, Erica," she said. "You know you want to."