When the pirates struck at Tanjong Belait,
Christine Wheeler was reclining half asleep on the veranda of the
Administrator’s bungalow, high up on the hill behind the town. It was a still and oppressive afternoon. The heavy sagging brown cloud of the previous
few days had thinned at last, allowing the tropical sun to penetrate. It had
left behind a thick deposit of volcanic dust, which a heavy thunderstorm
overnight had washed into drifts and sandbanks on the lawn and half-filled the
deep monsoon ditches.
The town lay out of sight below. All that Christine could see from her prone
position was the watery expanse of the bay, calm now, but still flecked with
floating debris, and, beyond it, the dark triangular bulk of Pulo Belait, the
sheltering island which a few months earlier had saved them from a more
complete disaster. Its bulk was noticeably
shrunken. She could hardly contemplate
it now without a shudder, her eyes going uneasily to the empty sea horizon
beyond; a placid sea, with only the lightest of breezes coming from it to cool
her naked skin. Incredibly placid it
seemed now, remembering how it had risen like a monster! If she closed her eyes she could still relive
that terrifying sight. The sea had risen
far above where it should have been, spilling round and right over the cliff
flanks of the island, crashing and tumbling with a hideous roar into the
enclosed waters of the bay until it filled like a seething cauldron. The earth had shook with the impact and all
was finally blotted out by a boiling, salty tasting, fog of spray.
Shuddering, Mrs Wheeler stood up, seeking
reassurance in a wider view, holding her loose bikini top against her breasts,
tilting back her broad brimmed straw hat to inspect a solitary vessel that had
appeared out of the pearly haze along the coast. Heading as if to approach the town, it
trailed a broad wake across the placid expanse of the bay. She had hoped that it might be the patched-up
Administration launch, with her husband and the Administrator aboard, returning
from their exploratory trip in that direction to examine the wreck of the
abandoned oil installations. But then
she saw with disappointment that it had no mast or sails rigged and was
propelled by several pairs of oars, creeping along like a many-legged water
beetle. She supposed it to be only
another desperate plea for help, carried in a salvaged boat by a crew of
She walked forward out onto the lawn until
she could see below her what remained of the little coastal town, a huddle of
roofs of soft brown attap or rust red, corrugated iron, spilling down the
hillside amid a tropical luxuriance of vegetation, then ending abruptly in a
clean-swept slope with only stumps and foundations of trees and buildings, all
stained brown with mud down to the new waterline. The sea itself had fallen back but not all
the way, or perhaps it was the land that had sunk. A pale greenish oblong in the water,
projecting offshore, indicated the submerged shape of the town jetty, a line of
twisted girders the only sign above water of where the cargo godowns had been.
Looking over the intervening hedge, Christine
could see the sampan crawling in towards the root of the former jetty, where a
makeshift addition of timber and rubble had recently been added to facilitate
the handling of newly constructed fishing canoes, upon which it seemed likely
the future feeding of the town would depend when so much rice land was under
She thought of going down to the shore to
find out if the incoming boat had brought any fresh news. Since the Catastrophe, in communications as
in much else, without working electronics Tanjong Belait was back to the Dark
Ages. But going into town meant she
would have to go and get dressed, since the local religious fanatics had
adopted the disaster as divine confirmation of their prejudices. Though she and her hostess were safe enough
up here in the enclosed privacy of the garden, qualifying as a kind of harem
area approachable only by way of the house, she wouldn’t have dared to appear
amid the jittery survivors and unstable refugees without being fully covered
She decided that it was just too hot and she
would stay where she was. She could see
the sampan was crawling into the landing place, rowed laboriously by a dozen
square bladed oars. Its long awning
concealed the rowers from view, with rattan blinds lowered as if they had
recently come through a rain storm. A
trickle of people were already picking their way down to the water side. She would hear any news fast enough. One of the khaki-clad figures she recognised
as a government official. He would listen to the newcomers’ tale and give them
whatever reassurance he could.
Oars shipped, the oncoming vessel bumped
alongside the new jetty and suddenly the situation was shockingly transformed.
The obscuring blinds ran up all at
once and men swarmed out onto the stones, more men than the number of oars would
have warranted, brandishing gleaming weapons, parangs or something of the
sort. Faint sounds of their yelling
reached to Christine’s ears. The khaki
clad official had suddenly fallen on his back on the jetty, clutching at
something protruding from his chest. The
rest of the reception party, men, women and children, were fleeing, running and
screaming back up the hill, some of them falling, the rest pursued by the
In safety, high above the mayhem, Christine
stood wide-eyed and frozen in disbelief, clutching her loosened top to her
breast. Of course she knew there had
been piracy on these coasts before the Catastrophe, when radios, aircraft and
satellites were still working. Civil war
between Christian and Moslem in the islands to the north had allowed disorder
to spill over the sea frontier. But they
too must have suffered as badly from the Catastrophe. Had that really been a crossbow that had
felled the poor official? That seemed to
indicate those people had no usable firearms either. Yet some of them must have adapted with
terrifying speed, to begin to prey upon their fellow survivors!
At that, recollecting her own vulnerability
as pursuers and pursued disappeared among the houses below, Christine turned to
see from somewhere close behind the house, a tall column of black smoke rapidly
climbing like a signal against the sky.
She started towards the house at first, intending to shout an alarm to
her hostess, only to be forestalled by the sound of breaking glass and
splintering wood and Felicity’s voice screaming from inside. Christine had gone only a few more faltering
steps before a cluster of dark squat figures suddenly appeared on the veranda
with naked blades flourishing among them.
Men, whose fierce eyes fell immediately on her, caught out hesitating in
the middle of the lawn, an almost naked female, blatantly vulnerable, evoking
at once a triumphant masculine roar.
Open mouthed, Christine swung about and ran, still clutching the bikini
top to her, in the opposite direction across the wide lawn.
Evidently the sight of lissom nudity fleeing
from them, with only an inadequate scrap of blue and white cotton spanning her
bobbing rump, evoked the inevitable response of a hot pursuit. The sound of their lewd yells of appreciation
lent wings to their quarry’s heels and raised panic in her brain. She hurdled a bed of dusty, red and yellow
lilies with her loose bikini top waved wildly in one hand like a lure. She left a trail of naked footprints over a
drift of volcanic sand, only to find herself faced with the impenetrable
barrier of the boundary hedge. In
desperation she tried to repeat her record spring, this time as a high jump,
but security had become imprisonment and she came down crashing bodily into the
thickest part of the hedge.
Threshing desperately, Christine sank deeper
but made no forward progress. Strong
hands from behind snared her kicking ankles and she screamed wildly as they
tried to drag her out. A heavy body
crashed into the hedge alongside her and rough fingers pried at the soft flesh
about her hips until they had hooked under the tight strings of her
briefs. Still trying to cling to thin
twigs, she felt herself being drawn inexorably backwards out of the hedge,
backside in the air, hatless, hair resisting, entangled. Then, just as she emerged into the open in a
shower of leaves and twiggy fragments, the over-tried strings of her bikini
The one man still holding her fell over
backward in surprise and she nearly escaped, wriggling between their legs and
scuttling off across the grass on all fours like a lizard. But a man’s hand quickly snagged her again,
first by one ankle then the other. She
was dragged back into their midst, leaving desperately clawed finger marks in
the grass, before they captured her wrists too.
Face down and spread-eagled, then hoist
between four of her captors, one to each limb, she was carried like that back
towards the house, blonde hair dragging along at the trail, her down-curved
belly almost brushing the grass. Above and
around her, men laughed and exchanged incomprehensible comments, while
Christine’s brain jittered with dreadful notions of what they intended to do to
Reaching the veranda
she was dumped face down upon her belly across the chilly glass top of the circular
coffee table just as she was, arms and legs outspread, encircled by her
captors. It seemed that her fears were
to be fulfilled.
Then a more
authoritative voice seemed to intervene.
Christine felt her limbs released.
With her head over the edge of the table she was looking down the legs
of the man the voice belonged to, camouflage trousers and a pair of military
style boots. What she had feared seemed
to have been prevented or perhaps only postponed. She might have been more grateful had she not
suspected she was being reserved instead for the pirate leader’s first
use. Before she could get her strained
and shaky limbs pulled into a position of more dignity, the man had stooped and
accelerated the process, seizing her by a fistful of hair and yanking her to
her knees on the tabletop.
Holding her there
forcibly and thrusting his hand between her resistant thighs, he made an
intimate examination of her sex, slapping her hands away and greeting her
squeal of protest with what, by his underlings’ guffaws, must have been an
obscene joke. The manner, though, seemed
more like that of a slave dealer checking a dubious purchase to make sure he
was getting what he had been expecting, whether matron or virgin.
required, Christine passed muster for she was hauled abruptly off the slippery
table top and forced to accompany the man inside, his fist still buried in her
hair keeping her almost bent double, scurrying along with her head at the level
of his hip.
In the dining room, two more men held Felicity bent across the
table, one of them quickly removing his hand from behind her as his chief
entered. Felicity gave an immediate cry
as she saw her friend also captive, but before she could go further, was
silenced with a hard slap. Handing over
Christine to one of these followers who, at his instructions, thrust her
alongside Felicity, their captor faced the two women, side by side across the
table before him.
The pirate was dark
complexioned, broad faced with greying hair, brush cut as if he had once been
in the military. He held a small
photograph. At a further word both women
had their heads jerked up, held by the hair so that he could compare faces. His eyes, black and cruel, studied the two
women then, making a decision, he thrust the photo in front of Christine’s
“You?” he demanded,
grinning wolfishly. Uncertain and
confused, Christine was obliged to confirm that it was of her. A snapshot cut from some larger picture,
taken at a party somewhere, Hong Kong probably, by her dress, she was grinning
idiotically at the camera. No wonder he
had found identification uncertain.
Satisfied with that, he began to give orders.
Half an hour later,
towing their two women captives each by a rope about her neck and her hands
bound behind her back, the pirate band was on its way downhill towards the
shore, leaving the vacated bungalow as a pillar of fire and smoke behind
them. The choicest items of its loot
were carried in bundles on the men’s shoulders, as much as they could
carry. The pirates were mostly stocky
men with black hair worn long about cruel simian faces, wearing semi-military
clothing of green cotton or camouflage pattern, most of them with rubber
sandals. As if they also had found modern
arms failing them, ruined by the insidious fall-out of micro-organisms from the
peace weapons, they were armed with long cutting weapons. Slung on their backs
were crossbows of a very modern-looking style,
The landing Christine
had seen at the town jetty had only been a diversion. Another landing force had been dropped
somewhere along the coast and taken the town in the rear, killing or dispersing
into ineffectiveness the occupants of the small police post, dropping off the
small gang who had seized the Administrator’s bungalow and its two occupants.
Without fear of
interference, the rest of the pirates were looting the small town. Down the hillside, where the shop houses
lined the one main street, the landing party and the sea-borne invaders had
linked up, pressing terrified townspeople into service as porters to carry
their own property down to the jetty where two more pirate boats were coming in
to pick up the landward raiders. That
the victims were right to be terrified was borne out by several dead bodies
lying in the street and the sound of smashing woodwork and the screaming of
women and children.
Into this scene of
chaos, Christine and Felicity’s captors descended, fiercely striking at anyone
who got in their way, dragging the two unwilling women with them. Felicity was now as naked as her companion,
for her sarong had quickly slipped from its tuck under her arms. For a while she had managed to keep it from
slipping over her hips, but with her hands bound she was unable to keep her
grip and when it fell to her ankles, tripping her, she had been made to kick it
clear and to stumble on naked. Protest
had been dealt with in advance, for both women had been summarily gagged with a
strip of cloth between their jaws as a reminder that their captors’ native
culture took little account of women’s rights.
Along the way, the two captives were joined by others rounded up by the
pirates and they made their way to the shore amid a procession of terrified
people, mainly women and girls, herded along bowed under heavy sacks of rice
from the communal store.
In this public
fashion Christine and Felicity were led naked along the jetty at the ends of
their halters and the last that Tanjong Belait saw of its Administrator’s
English wife and her friend was of them being loaded like the other loot aboard
one of the pirate sampans.
Already half full with piled bags of rice, its oars manned by a random
selection of prisoners, the boat moved out as soon as the two Englishwomen were
aboard. They were thrust down under the light wooden awning into a narrow space
above the rice bags. Christine,
following Felicity within, fell headlong, blinded by the sudden gloom, the
blinds having been let down after them.
Rough hands dragged and shoved her body and limbs. She found herself stowed face down, embracing
with arms and legs a thick wooden beam that ran beneath her and secured like
that with her wrists and ankles bound together below the beam. A pale oval shape that glimmered in front of
her became identified as her eyes adjusted to the gloom as the figure of Felicity,
secured in the same way and to the same beam so that all that was visible of
her, from Christine’s viewpoint, was her bare backside.
For a long time the
pair lay uncomfortable and disregarded in the hot darkness, unable even to give
one another the comfort of speech, hearing the sound of oars inexpertly plied
and to the yelling of the pirates urging the rowers to better efforts. The timber was hard under soft bodies, bilge
water washed to and fro beneath them and some discarded bottles rolled with a
slow clunk to and fro. From time to time
faces would appear under the rattan blinds to inspect the two captives and make
incomprehensible jests, or worse, a man would crawl in past and over them,
gritty feet and hard knees blundering over their cringing bodies to grope among
clinking bottles for fresh supplies.
In the end their fear was justified for one
of the rummagers lingered, crouched between the two women prisoners. He passed up the bottles he was carrying to a
comrade above but lingered himself after a deal of argument, maddeningly
incomprehensible to his other two hearers, forced to wait helplessly for its
resolution without a clue to his intentions.
The man was perched
on the beam that supported the pair of them.
Christine could see, smell and almost feel his state of arousal. His sarong, his sole garment, was tucked up
upon his thighs and as he turned from Felicity to her, his penis bobbed and
swung in full view. She closed her eyes
at the sight, fatalistically sure of what was to come, but he chose to go the
other way, focusing upon Felicity instead whose white bottom, parted by a
darker divide, loomed in the dimness like twin moons. Her thighs, spread widely to accommodate the
thickness of the timber, offered him a clear view of the tempting crevice,
despite her blindly prescient attempt to burrow into the solid wood.
Now behind the
assailant, Christine had a close-up view of his brown buttocks, so close that
if had she dared she might have attacked them with her teeth in defence of her
friend. He, too, was now straddling the
same beam and jockeying for position, giving Christine a glimpse of dangling
testicles through the dark V of muscular male thighs. He hovered for a moment, the splay of his
thighs framing the paler female rump beyond, before he centred on the dark
cleft that was his target, and sank into it.
Christine’s view then filled completely with a display of clenching and
thrusting brown flesh, male buttock muscles flexing and pumping, inches before
At such close quarters the reaction of both
parties was audible and intimate. Felicity’s gag-impeded squeals and her
assailant’s triumphant grunts filled the hot darkness. Christine could hardly ignore their progress,
her head jerked back and forth in forced response as the rhythmic withdrawal of
the male buttocks, threatened to ram her in the face at every minute.
It seemed some of his comrades were taking an
interest in his progress too, for from time to time heads upside down appeared
through the blinds and the narrow space resounded with drunken guffaws.
drawing attention in her turn; another man came sliding down behind her to
provide her with a distraction of her own.
She had the impression that an argument was going on over her helpless
form. A brown hand reached past her to
lift a hank of her fair hair. Behind
her, horny hands were cupping her trembling bottom cheeks then restlessly
splaying them apart as the voices yammered and grunted, back and forth.
Straddling the wide
wooden beam she was hopelessly placed for resistance. There was no way she could prevent the stiff
male fingers from exploring between her thighs, worming under her plumpy
fleshed and lightly furred mound, lifting it upon a work-hardened palm away
from the protection of the timber. She
squeaked and wriggled, then nervously tried to suppress her reaction, clamping
her teeth into her gag as fingers slid upwards, testing each exposed fold and
crevice right up to the pucker of her anus.
When his thick forefinger, slipping back down, suddenly penetrated the
lips of her vagina and drove deep within it, she almost bit the wet rag in
two. Her squeal of outrage and her
convulsive jerk only drew a grunt of appreciation from the brute. She could hear him exchanging banter with his
fellows across her violently reacting body, boasting perhaps of his expertise
or else, horrible to think of it, of her receptivity.
Yet she was helpless to avoid some
response. A second finger joined the
first, two big thick fingers thoroughly reaming the softly clinging walls of
her vagina, producing deep spirals of feeling.
Christine gurgled protests to unheeding ears. Far from ceasing, another pair of fingers
reinforced the effects, fore finger and thumb teasing her clitoris, tweaking
and tantalizing until she bucked and wriggled in a futile attempt to rid
herself of the incubus.
She became conscious from the laughter that
she was being made to perform for the other men’s amusement. The fumes of stale alcohol made her head
swim, but she held on with increasing desperation, trying not to give her
tormentor the satisfaction of a response.
By now three fingers were at work within her, slipping and slithering as
if they or she had been greased. In her
efforts to escape them she humped along the beam, body wet with sweat
slithering along the timber inch by inch until she was suddenly rammed full in
the face by solid male flesh, the clenched backward thrusting buttocks of the
man in front, now stroking fast into Felicity.
Recoiling painfully in panic, Christine’s own
rump thrust automatically upwards as if offered to the manipulating fingers
behind her, squirming upon the broad male palm as if for his greater
convenience. Yelling, thunderous voices
tormented her eardrums and tears blinded her.
She almost sank into helpless submission.
The man in front gave a tremendous heave and
Felicity a correspondingly shrill response.
Blearily Christine saw the taut brown buttocks ahead of her suddenly
relax and rise. Briefly revealed was a
dangling, slackened penis with a thread of white dangling from its tip, before
the man’s tucked-up sarong tumbled down like a curtain descending upon the
As he climbed swiftly out and disappeared,
Christine subsided flat onto her belly.
Her own assailant had released her in his turn. Unnoticed until then, the motion of the
vessel and the sounds from outside had undergone a change. Christine sagged, limp and exhausted, arms
and legs dangling, breasts squashed on either side of the timber, thankful to
find her erstwhile abuser seemed inclined to follow his departing comrade. Then the brute hesitated, muttering to
himself. He stooped, grunting, groping
about beneath her, where the forgotten bottle was rolling and clunking at
intervals. Fishing it up he shook it,
cursed regretfully and, upending it, dribbled the last few dregs it still
retained down the cleft of Christine’s bottom.
Running down overheated flesh, the unexpected
baptism was an icy shock. Before
Christine could grasp was happening he rammed the neck of the bottle where his
fingers had just been. Her reaction was
evidently satisfying, for the bottle wielder heaved himself up, laughing, and
ducked out under the awning.
For a while Christine lay groaning in
humiliation just as he had left her. The
boat was quieter now and almost stationary, lifting and swooping over the swell
with only occasional application of the oars.
The water-chilled bottle, rammed up to its rounded shoulders in her
vagina, moved in sympathy with the swell, its long neck working from side to
side within her, and its heavy body banging on the wooden beam in regular
clunks. With each swoop it shifted a
little, working its way down the channel.
It hung at last with its bulging lip just within, on the verge of
ejection for a seeming age, until Christine made an infuriated effort that
rolled it so violently that it came free and toppled with a splash back into
the bilges from which it had come.
Preoccupied with this process, she had hardly
noticed that the rowing had finally stopped.
The sampan was now rolling idly while a good deal of confused shouting
went on above. A new ordeal faced them,
for she and Felicity were cut free from their beam and hauled out, handled like
sides of meat, hoist up onto the upper deck with their backs to the deckhouse
and held by their wrists with arms above their heads. The pirates were clumsy drunk. The pair holding Christine nearly dropped her
into the sea before she found a footing on the narrow strip of planking along
Christine’s own gag had come loose around her
neck and she attempted some word of encouragement to her friend but Felicity,
still securely gagged, couldn’t make any adequate response, her eyes blinking
wildly. Christine gasped in sudden
horror at the sight of the vivid red smears on her friend’s white skin, but
then looking down she realised she was in the same state. There were bloody finger marks left where the
pirates had handled them. One foot
rested in a sticky patch on the planking that, at the moment she looked, washed
away red in a stray slop of the sea.
In terror Christine looked about her for the
shore. They were far out from the land.
Dim blue shapes she saw on the horizon she recognised as the mountains inland
from Tanjong Belait and a lower darker triangle sunk nearly out of sight might
have been Pulo Belait. They were alone
on the ocean with a gang of butchers!
Then, into the corner of her eye, the
appearance of a white triangle heralded the sliding into view of a big
three-mast schooner, painted white like a rich man’s yacht, its crew on deck in
white tops and blue pants, a total contrast to the pirates’ colourful motley
Yet this seemed to be taken by both parties
as if it were an expected rendezvous.
The schooner’s sails came in with a rush and it closed the wallowing
sampan to within a few score metres, its white bow wave dying away until it lay
gracefully at rest with sails gathered in.
It seemed as if Christine and Felicity were being held up for
inspection, for to her chagrin, Christine could see binoculars being trained
upon them by the other crew. Any hopes
that the more sophisticated nature of the larger vessel might mean rescue were
negated by the apparently friendly greetings that passed between two crews, though
Christine noticed that the yacht carried upon its fore deck a bigger version of
the pirates’ crossbows, mounted on a pedestal and the two men manning it were
keeping it trained upon the sampan.
Whatever the relationship, a rope had been
passed to the pirates and some of them were advancing purposefully upon her and
Felicity. Christine guessed with mixed
feelings that a pre-arranged meeting was in progress and they were to be passed
on, perhaps only to a new captor, but at least the yacht, if that was what it
was, promised a less primitive kind of imprisonment.
The process of our shipping, however,
was more effective than civilised!
Christine made no resistance when a loop of rope was flung around her
ankles, assuming it to be intended as a measure of restraint. Before she could revise that idea, a man
picked her up and slung her bodily over the side. She hit the sea with a yell and a smack. Even before she went under, she felt the rope
whip her ankles up and she was drawn feet first through the water.
After her first
startled yell she had the sense to keep her mouth shut, swallowing only a
modicum of salt water. She was being
drawn so fast that her body acted like a surfboard and she broke surface at
times for long enough to snatch a panicky breath. Even so it seemed nightmarishly long before
her speedy career ended and then she promptly sank, her feet went upwards and
her head downwards. For a moment terror
seized her, but it was only a moment and then she broke surface again, this
time upside down. A lifting wave slapped
her in the face with a bucketful of the sea so that in place of the intended
yell, she rose into the air spouting salt water, to find herself dangling from
an out-swung boom at the end of a taut rope.
For a long moment she twisted slowly in mid-air like a trophy fish being
displayed by its proud captors, bare breasts with white undersides exposed
upside down, long hair draining sea water, dipping its ends into the swell each
time it rose beneath her.
She heard male laughter and reached
instinctively to cover herself, but only succeeded in setting her body twisting
wildly to display herself more thoroughly from a variety of angles. Only after their amusement had been satisfied
was she swung aboard at last. She
hovered for an instant over the dark square of a hatch in the wooden deck, out
of which a black face, white teeth grinning, looked up at her with shining
eyes. Down she went with a rush, to be
halted just before her head hit the planking.
She had her hands out to prevent it and used them to steady herself in that
instant, before the rope was suddenly released again and she was deposited head
over heels in a breathless heap on the deck.
A large black hand sorted her into some sort
of order. “You are the Wheeler woman!” a deep rich contralto voice pronounced
confidently. “In you go!” She was
propelled by a slap on the behind in the desired direction. Her new captivity had begun.