|The Boys' Knotty Summer |
The Boyscouts' Prisoner
Inside the boyscout’s tent, lit by a small kerosene lantern set to its lowest output, several sleeping bags formed a half circle on the floor. Coils and coils of different kinds of rope hung on one side wall, along with a fair amount of scarves, duct tape and logs piled in one corner. It made me shudder to think they were going to be used on me! I was starting to regret my naïve voluntarism…
The boys must have noticed the frightened look on my face, for they started laughing, patting my shoulder and offering words of encouragement as they changed their clothes. Except the ones I already knew (Mike and Collin), the scouts introduced themselves: James (12), Justin (13), Gus (13), Doug (14), Scott (14) and Klaus (15).
I must confess I felt somewhat nervous among them; naturally, all kids do when they find themselves in a new group. But add to it a rule by which they “own” you for the night, no way of calling it off, then those 8 unfamiliar faces staring at you can come as – at least– quite worrying.
Once all were changed, Mike glanced at me. I was still standing, waiting to be told what to do.
“Oh, I forgot to mention, Nicholas,” he said before he paused, “we scouts have a rule: no shorts inside our tents.” He pointed at the blue ones I was wearing. I looked around and quickly realized that, indeed, some wore t-shirts but none had a lower garment other than their briefs or boxers.
“B-b-ut why?” I complained, my voice cracking.
“Troop tradition.” Mike shrugged. “Like the blue and white scarves we wear around our necks. Who knows what they are for? It was that way before we joined and I’m sure it’s not gonna change when we leave. Here, Scott’ll take them off for ya.”
Klaus –he was like the second in command– noticed my uneasiness. “Come on, let him alone Mike. He’s not one of us after all,” he said and I addressed the kid a thankful smile.
“Sure, you can keep them on, Nick,” Mike said and I heaved a sigh of relief.
“But there’s no way you’re sleeping in here. You’ll have to join the two guys outside,” he concluded and jerked a thumb at the entrance.
I peered out and glanced at the fireplace, where the hapless twins lay staked out exactly as I had previously seen them: shirtless, gagged, the muscles of their belly and thighs clenched from straining against their bonds.
There was no doubt I did NOT want to end up like that.
“You choose, Nick. Cozy tent or roasting by the bonfire.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Startled and scared, I was paralyzed.
“Oh really? Get the stakes!” A shivering ran up my spine. I reacted – my legs faltered and I collapsed on my knees.
“No! Wait, Mike – pleaseemmmphh!” I begged, but Mike had already stuffed a rag in my mouth and secured it with a cloth tied behind my head. Scott grabbed both of my legs and picked me up, while two other boys lifted me by my shoulders. Thus I was carried, shrieking and whimpering under the gag all the way.
This cannot be happening. Why, WHY didn’t I listen to Adam’s warnings?
They deposited me on my back, facing the auburn-haired twins who bore shocking expressions. Mike, on the other hand, was no doubt amused by the ordeal, dangling in between his fingers four rope pieces, whose ends he intermittently lowered on my face, tickling my nose. I recognized them from the binding material inside the tent; and call me TuG freak if you want, but even during that distressing moment I acknowledged the cleverness on the rope choice: black shoelace-wide cotton strands of at least 1,5 meters long each. I was further dismayed by their apparent softness – which I would soon confirm – because that meant he had purposely selected a cord suitable for restraining someone for an extended period; and it made even more sense when I noticed that the metal stakes Scott was carrying had small holes through them.
Those that were not busy holding me down, drove the four stakes deep into the ground - two above my head and two near my feet. Both Scott’s and Justin’s hands grasped my legs firmly, stretching me out. Mike tied a variation of the slipknot on two of the ropes and handed them to the boys doing the rough work, which they used to encircle my ankles with and to bring them tightly closer to the stakes protruding 10 cm. from the earth. All the resistance and kicking got me nowhere, except from irritating my captors and thus having my shoes and socks removed. Great. Once my legs lost most mobility, they pushed me forwards to a sitting position. My hands were untied. I was stripped off of my shirt and then forced down again on my back, the dirt now in contact with my bare skin; Collin and Gus got hold of one hand each and pulled them up as far as they would go – my shoulder bones even cracked! –, pressed a knee against my forearms to keep my upper body in place, and finally lashed my wrists to their respective stakes. I should point out, for the readers’ better appreciation of the scouts’ benevolence, that my arms were attached rather than linked at wrist level, palms inwards. That is, no slack whatsoever between my wrists and the stakes.
Then, obligatory ritual without which no tie-up is complete, the captors stepped back to admire their work, i.e., a poor helpless prisoner, and ecstatically describe how distressful his situation is. And who can resist making those tricky, tantalizing questions a gagged person tries, without success, to answer?
“So, Nick,” Mike started, “now you know what keeping your pants can cost you. This is your last chance: do you wanna sleep inside our tent or outside?”
I had diametrically changed my mind. Forget the humiliation – I was going to be left tied down on the wild; who knows what might appear from the forests and there would be absolutely nothing I could do to defend myself. Damn the shorts; they could even have them for all I cared!
“Sorry, if you keep mumbling we can’t understand what you’re saying!” Mike said and the boys laughed.
I simply rolled my eyes and grunted. What else could I do?
“So you staying here? Good! You’ll make these guys fine company,” Mike said with a smile. “Oh, and don’t worry, the fire’ll keep the pumas away… while it's lit up.”
With that, they left. I screamed again, louder, to no avail. Of course I was scared, who wouldn’t be?
It was the first time I got bound like this, although I needed only to pull the ropes once – if I could pull at all – to judge this method as effective as the ones I had experimented so far. The knots were unreachable – at the back of my wrists, on the other side of the stakes they were tied to.
I sighed. Silence set in until I heard leaves rustling in a nearby bush. And a snarl. The fire then produced a large shadow on the ground that slowly got closer.
Perfect, now Bigfoot has come to kidnap me.
Quite surprised, I saw my cousin Tyler smiling down.
“Enjoying your night, Nick?” He squatted and untied the cloth behind my head.
I spat out the rag, “Tyler, thank God! Quick, untie me!”
“No way!” he snapped trying to keep his voice down. “If they come back and catch me here… It’s too risky. Look, we made a deal earlier this afternoon: it depends on you being their prisoner no matter what so we get a fair game tomorrow morning.”
“ ‘No matter what’?! You don’t know what you’re talking about! These scouts are nuts, they are planning on leaving me here as wild animals dinner!”
“Good luck, cuz.”
As if nothing had happened, and ignoring my muffled groans, he crept away. At this stage, betrayed and abandoned by my own cousin, hope for a postponed compassion came crumbling down. I would have to stay there all night. I tried to make myself comfortable, which in my position, utterly outstretched as an X, was a challenge in itself. Couldn’t they at least give me a pillow? Despite moving an inch required strenuous effort, I lifted my head to peer at the twins: their tanned skins shone with sweat for they were much closer to the bonfire than – fortunately – I was. They were identical except from the neck down: the one to the right was strong, well-built; the other, contrasting his brother, had a scrawny boyish figure. We tried to communicate but eventually gave up because, alas, we discovered that evolution had had no consideration whatsoever for TuGs when it came to providing human species a hearing apparatus not acute enough to make out “mmmphhhf” or “mmmbblllmm” or “gggnnnnnnnnnff”. How greater otherwise the impact on the survival of the fittest captives!
Almost half an hour had gone by before I began drooling. My wrists felt sore –I had spent more time bound those two days than I did free!– and lost in my thoughts, or fears, I didn’t even realize when the boyscouts returned. They stood four on each side, grinning.
Oh boy, here comes the tickle torture.
James, Collin, Justin and Doug crouched, but to my surprise, no one traced my soles or brushed their fingertips against my bare skin. On the contrary, the loops around my ankles were loosened, and once un-rooted from the ground, they helped me on my feet. I barely had any time to rub my wrists, since they were grasped by my captors; my right arm was pulled to the left, on my chest, and my left arm under the right one, emulating the strait-jacket’s mechanism. Still gagged, I was marched into the tent. I had no clue as to this sudden change of plans but to be honest, wasn’t very optimistic either.
“Someone please take his gag off,” Mike ordered once we were inside. As soon as it was removed, and my arms let go of, I went for a desperate plea for mercy.
“Mike, I w – ”
“Ah, ah. Just listen.” I resigned to nervously stare at the boy, not knowing if they’d return me to the staking area or come up with something even worse.
“Nick, we think you’re a nice guy,” Klaus started.
“That’s right. Consider yourself the luckiest boy alive: we like you,” the leader scout friendly punched me on the arm, “and after we talked about it, we decided to give you a second chance!”
“Does that mean you’ll let me stay in here?” My voice was tarnished with skepticism.
“Yeah. Those shorts’ll have to go, though. Rules are rules,” summed up Mike.
“Oh Sure! Sure! No prob - I’ll take them off, whatever you say!” I hurriedly answered as though someone would have gagged me again if I didn’t (hey, it had become so common not letting people finish their sentences!). I slipped them down in a split second.
“Good,” Mike said, “but there’s another rule.”
Oh no, what now, isn’t this embarrassing enough?
“Newcomers get to go naked.”
“Naked?!?” I cried, my eyes wide open.
Relax, take a deep breath, nothing bad’s gonna happen.
I placed my thumb between my waist and the brief’s elastic.
All of a sudden, Mike burst out laughing. “Dude, hahaha, this is too much, I can’t hold it anymore!” The boyscouts went from dead serious faces to smiles, then giggles and then laughter broke loose. One by one, the scouts dropped on the floor convulsing. A boy even rolled around clutching his stomach as he gasped for breath. I stood there, not knowing how to react.
“He was really going to do it!” Scott shrieked.
“Gosh, Nick, you’re sooo funny, hahaha!”
I eyed them dumbfounded.
“It’s a prank, meathead!” Mike said. “You got punk’d!”
“What… who… huh?” I stammered.
Panting, “Give us a minute, Nick, hahaha – no, be it two,” Klaus said as he recovered.
“So the underwear thing was a joke?”
“That was nothing! You’ve got nooo idea, Nick. Sit down – and put those shorts on! What do you think we are, perverts?
“Listen. Don’t take it personally. Adrian and I have this arrangement: whenever a new guy joins the group, they tell him terrible stuff about how our patrol handles its prisoners. And if it’s us who have a new scout joining, then we talk him into believing Adrian’s team has the cruelest and most cold-blooded kids on the planet! So, hahahaha, when we set up a game during school breaks, always the new guy gets picked to spend the night with the ‘enemy’, like you did. Of course this time they didn’t have to, because you, haha, freaking volunteered! Tell me if this kid hasn’t got balls or what.” I blushed; it wasn’t exactly courage what had pushed me to let myself be taken captive…
“Hey Nick, haha, did you really think we were gonna leave you outside like that?” Doug asked.
“Uhhh… yeah, I guess. You scared the shit out of me!” They roared with laughter.
“But the pumas!” I insisted. They laughed even louder.
“Pumas?! On this side of the country? Get real!” Klaus interceded.
I felt quite dumb by then. To this day, I’m not sure why I’d bought it, nor the extent of the role of my subconscious in playing tricks on my mind. Did I just want to believe I was totally powerless about my situation? It sure was confusing.
“Hang on a second! Why me?! Why didn’t you take Tyler, he’s also a new one!” I protested, indignant.
“That’s the best part, you know,“ Mike said trying to suppress his chuckles, “two days ago, Adrian called me and said they’re bringing a new guy, but for some reason they asked us to pretend we didn’t know your cousin! Wasn’t sure why, but I went ahead with it anyway. For the laughs.”
I could not believe my ears.
What. The. Fuck !?
I just stared uncomprehendingly at them, blinking twice.
“Don’t you get it? It was a set up! Tyler was already part of Adrian’s team. Last summer he played against us.”
I stared open-mouthed at the smiling faces of the boyscouts around me.
My mind was racing. It all makes sense now! No wonder Tyler didn’t untie me minutes ago. So that’s why he called me to his house in the first place; he wanted me to get initiated into the group! And no doubt he’s improved so much with rope-work, the scumbag had been involved with TuGs… for at least a whole year! How could I not realize… back at his place, Tyler had left the door unlocked, on purpose, so Adrian could show up on the right spot and find me tied up! Next, they lured me into their team and it all started. I just can’t believe Tyler’s been pretending this whole time!
The scouts inquired me on the scheme and I told them the story from the beginning.
“Wow, that’s what I call a real prank!” Mike acknowledged when I connected all the dots. “Adrian continues to amaze me.”
“Tyler, that brainless blood-traitor piece of shit.”
“You’ve got to admit he’s not so brainless… after all, they did come up with a helluva plan.”
“Meh. I’ve seen better.”
“Now we told you what’s going on, lie down and put your arms behind your back,” Klaus interrupted, setting his deep blue eyes ominously upon me.
“What! It’s not over?! There is more??”
“We haven’t done nothing yet!”
A realization slowly set in, that the initiation Tyler had me go through was not the real one, but rather what I’d thence experiment in the hands of these boys.
“Oh man, is there any chance you guys can let it go, just this time?”
“Nope,” Klaus said, folding his arms.
“But don’t you like me? You said it yourselves!”
“That’s right, but we still have to honor our reputation of ‘evil’ scouts,” Mike explained.
“Please, please?” I clutched my hands together, begging. Their answer was to wrap a length of rope around them.
I had come to accept my fate when a crazy idea came across my mind.
“How about if I join your side! I swear I always wanted to be a scout.” (Not really, but anything goes to get you off the hook!)
They chuckled. “We do like you, Nick, but you talk too much. Sorry!” One boy held a two-sock bundle and I opened my mouth, receiving the wad with little alacrity.
“Time for a short lesson,” Mike announced, “Welcome to ‘Tying up a prisoner 101’; Nick’s gonna be our assistant for this evening.” No need to say they all chuckled to my grunting and frowning upon this humorous introduction.
Instead of using a cloth or rope to secure gag in place, Mike rummaged inside a bag and fetched a roll of transparent duct tape, from which tore a single strip and plastered it over my mouth. I grunted some more and few moments later, the tape started peeling off.
“As you can see,” he said to the others in a solemn lecturer’s tone, “this is not enough to effectively gag someone.
“However, if you use the tape this way instead,” he paused to wrap the sticky tape at least four times around my head before going on, “the subject’s ability to articulate are greatly diminished.”
I tried screaming but mere muffled ‘mphhhhs’ came through it.
“Very efficient: this gag not only drowns any attempt to cry for help but also impedes prisoners from communicating with each other. The only precaution is to always try to avoid wrapping the tape over the hair, as – many of you may already know – it can be extremely painful when it comes to removing it.” He turned me around and pointed at the back of my head where the tape passed right below my hair.
He then returned to his normal talk. “Remember the lashing I showed you on Gus this morning?” The younger boys (i.e., James, Justin and Gus) nodded.
“Here, Justin, let’s see if you learned it right.” He gave the boy a coil of rope; I presented my hands but Mike told me to cross them behind my back.
“We don’t want the enemy knowing our secret knots!”
So I did as ordered and the boy took his time tying my wrists, starting over twice. A moment later, Justin repeated the same technique with my ankles.
“Good,” said Mike, “now, let me show you what you did wrong…”
I cannot call to mind, the number of ways I was tied in after that, but sure enough more than 10: hogtied, spread-eagled, hands bound to feet in front, “mummified”, hand to thighs, you name it. And all of them thoroughly detailed and analyzed by Mike, teaching the more inexperienced ones the ropes. I even remember being bound like a ball, similar to a stricter hogtie, but with the forearms lashed to thighs, pushing my chest against the knees, not even being able to struggle! Every kind of material was used as well, from ropes, bandages, to cricket stumps and tape. The ordeal was not in vain, though; there’s always a positive side in everything, even in the distressful circumstances I was – therefrom I got to enrich my tying-up techniques repertory, by trying them out firsthand!
After what it seemed to be an hour and a half, it came the torture part: tickling demonstration.
“The thing with tickle-torture is that no matter how you do it, it is different for every person: some are extremely ticklish to the point they have tears rolling down in seconds, most people are regular ticklish, and some –very rare– are not ticklish at all.”
“Let’s see what type Nicholas is.” Mike told Collin, Gus, and Scott to tickle go for my ribs.
On that occasion, I was sitting against the wall and had my wrists tied right behind my head to a cricket stump that had been lashed horizontally over my shoulders. They made sure the ropes were tight but didn’t cut circulation. Because of the manner I was trussed up, I could not bring my hands down, thus lifting the elbows high and revealing my sensitive sides. Loops of rope tightened my legs above and under the knees, the cinching perfectly done so my thighs stuck to each other and could not even be brought an inch apart when struggling. In the same fashion, my feet were restrained at the ankles, but yet an additional object was used to further hinder my lower body’s mobility: a lengthy thick piece of wood had been placed vertically under my legs and attached to my thighs, knees and ankles. The result: I couldn’t bend my legs!
I shook my head vigorously at the mention of ‘tickle’ (I was also blindfolded). Those of you who have read some previous chapters must know I was/am the ideal sacrificial victim for tickling, since it drove me, let’s say, berserk.
“Cool down, Nick,” one of the boys suggested. “It’s not gonna hurt,” the jerk completed. Easy to say that when you’re on the giving end.
Then, without warning, it began. Three pair of hands launched into a relentless tickling spree, brushing their fingertips up and down my helpless bound body. All I could do was to thrash, writhe and fight against my bonds, nevertheless completely unable to avoid their fingers.
“Whoa! Nick is hype-ticklish, look how he squirms!” Scott said while he traced my soles. I could barely flex my toes; even so I struggled by wiggling them and rising my legs (what a pathetic spectacle it must have been). Within minutes, I was sweating as if I had run a marathon.
“Mphhhhhhfff! I pleaded for mercy through the tape-gag.
“That’s enough guys,” Mike said.
When they paused, I was breathing heavily through my nostrils, worn out and praying they would not continue. But what came next made me realize this was just the tip of the iceberg and that my relief would be brief.
Mike pointed out, delighted, that I got 11 in a 1-10 scale of ticklishness, conclusion I had no doubt of. However, he argued, for the torture to be most effective when doing real interrogations, they must now develop the art of finding “the spot”. My heart quailed.
I could not tell where they would start from or what they’d use, which was utterly exciting and terrifying at the same time. Those curious fingertips traced, in a frantic motion, every single part of my body, probing for ticklish spots and omitting none: armpits, neck, legs, ribs, arms, belly, feet were all tickled with ruthless intensity despite my squirming and mphhhing under my gag. I assure you, my body had never been explored so thoroughly before that night.
They showed no signs of desisting, and when they finally found it – I deduce it had been delayed on purpose so they could tickle me more – all the attacks concentrated there, where I was most unbelievably ticklish, on my sides.
STOP! I can’t take it anymore, I’m about to mess my shorts!
Nothing. I thought I’d faint anytime! Precisely when the devastating sensation overpowered me and I was on the verge of loosing control, the fingers disappeared.
My blindfold was pulled down and I first saw my captors beaming down at me. James then proceeded to remove my gag, careful not to pull the hair. Then I was offered a bottle of water, from which I drank as if there was no tomorrow.
“Thanks…,” I said between gulps, “Please… that’s enough, stop already!”
“Ha ha! Don’t worry Nick,” Klaus reassured me, “no more tickling for you. Class is over guys!”
“Awwwww,” the Inquisitionist apprentices lamented in unison for not being able to tickle me all the way to madness.
“Relax, if you capture him tomorrow, you’ll get your chance,” Mike said.
Scott added, “getting information from Nick’s gonna be a piece of cake.”
Afterwards, I asked to pee, so they untied my wrists and retied them in front. Collin took me outside, where I was shocked to learn the twins were still staked out by the campfire! When I came back, I asked Mike about them.
“They’ll be fine. They’re just having their boyscout initiation! You can ask them what it was like in the morning.”
Collin lent me a spare sleeping bag – I had left mine with Adrian – and we all chatted about unimportant things until sleepiness knocked me off (I also knew I had to save up energy for the coming battle the next day).
After that night, my concept of the word ‘boyscout’ changed forever – and solely for the TuGs, I thought about becoming one myself!
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