And then her world was filled with flashing lights. She squinted, turning her head away as the light from cruiser’s flashers bounced off her rear view mirror and directly into her eyes. Cursing to herself, she quickly turned on her blinker and pulled to the side of the road, rolling to a stop. She had come to a full stop before turning at the light, hadn’t she? She couldn’t think of anything that she had done wrong.
Allison took a deep breath and then rolled down her window as the officer approached her door. She was going to be fine, she told herself. She hadn’t had that much to drink, and it wasn’t like her voice was slurred or anything. Despite these thoughts, her heart raced in her chest. One of the others girls on the team had gotten a “D.U.I.” and it hadn’t been pretty. She had been suspended for three games, and things had never been the same for her.
“License and registration, please,” the officer spoke as he arrived at her door.
“Oh, sure,” Allison replied, smiling as she dug them out of her purse and handed them to him.
“Out of state,” the officer said as he looked at her license. “You’re a college student.”
“Yeah, I kept my home address while I’m in school,” Allison answered. “That’s okay, right?”
“Of course, it’s okay,” the officer replied, looking at her quizzically.
“Oh, okay. I just didn’t know. I’ve never been pulled over before.”
“Well, I’ll go easy on you, then, since it’s your first time,” the officer chuckled. “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“No, actually, I don’t,” she answered, shaking her head.
“You made an awful wide turn onto this road back there,” he said, looking down at her. His eyes narrowed as he continued, “Have you been drinking?”
“No, no,” Allison answered, wide-eyed, and then quickly shook her head.
“No?” the officer asked, cocking his head slightly to the side as he looked down at her, his gaze intent on her. “Then what’s that I’m smelling?”
“Sm-smell?” she asked softly, looking up at the officer as she wrinkled her nose. “Oh, yeah. I was at the bar with some friends, celebrating. Someone must have spilled something on me.”
“Yeah, of course,” he spoke slowly, his voice deepening. “Because the drinking age is twenty one, of course. And, being twenty, I am sure you wouldn’t be drinking.”
Allison opened her mouth to speak, but froze, her lips quivering, and then just slowly shook her head. Her heart pounded in her chest.
“Why don’t you step out of the car for me?” he asked, his voice low and firm as he reached down to open the door.
Nodding slowly, Allison turned in her seat and then stepped out of the car. She moved away from the door at his direction so that he could close it, and then turned to look up at him. He was taller than her, but that wasn’t much of a surprise. Standing barely over five feet tall, most people were taller than her.
He gestured for her to walk to the back of the car, toward the open space between the front of the patrol car and the back of her own. The air was cool, chilling her as she came to stand by the trunk, looking up at him once more.
“You look nervous,” he said as he looked down at her, “but there’s nothing to be nervous about. I’m just going to do a couple field sobriety tests to make sure you’re okay to drive. Then you’ll be on your way home. It’s right around the corner, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Allison answered, trying to calm the butterflies that raged in her stomach.
“First, I’m going to need you to count backwards from 87 to 63,” he instructed.
“87, 86, 85, 84,” Allison counted slowly, careful to enunciate each letter. Was her voice slurring? She didn’t think so, but she couldn’t be certain.
“You must play for the local college,” he spoke as she continued her backwards count. “I hear you guys are doing great this year.”
“65, 64, 63, 62,” Allison continued, nodding at his comment, hopeful that it meant that he was a fan, and that he would take it easy on her. “Sixty-”
“Do you remember where I told you to stop?” he interrupted her counting, and she stopped abruptly.
“Oh, yeah, I’m sorry,” Allison blushed, shaking her head. “You said 63. Sorry, I just got into a rhythm.”
“It’s no problem. Happens all the time,” he smiled slyly as he spoke. “Now, I’m going to have you do the walk-and-turn test. I’m going to give you the instructions and show you how to do it. Don’t start until I tell you to, though, okay?”
“Okay,” Allison answered, trying to fight back the chill.
“First, stand with your right foot in front of your left, heel touching toes,” he instructed. As he spoke he placed the heel of his boot directly in front of the toes of his right foot. Allison did the same. The position made her feel slightly off balance. “When I tell you to start, you will take nine steps forward like this.” The officer took a few steps forward as he spoke, heel to toe. “When you get to nine, you turn with three small steps and then take nine steps back to where you started. Count your steps out loud as you go. Keep your hands down by your sides. Understand?”
“Yes,” Allison responded with a nod, then took a deep breath before beginning. “One, two, three,” she counted as she took careful steps. The first step, in particular, had her feeling off balance before she settled into the odd way of walking.
“I didn’t tell you to start.”
Allison stopped abruptly, then turned to look back at him.
“I’m sorry, I just assumed,” she stammered quickly, “that when you asked me if I understood.” Her voice trailed off.
“Of course you did,” he shook his head as he spoke. “Back to starting position, please.”
Allison took a few steps backward, and placed her right foot in front of the left. She clenched her hands by her sides as she felt a shiver run down her spine. She cursed herself for falling into what felt like another little trap of the test. She would pay careful attention from now on.
“And, begin,” he spoke, smiling again.
Counting aloud, Allison walked slowly forward, carefully placing each foot in front of the other. When she reached nine, she turned slowly. The turn cost her a little balance, and her right hand came up for a moment as she caught herself and then began the walk back.
“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” Allison said as she finished the task and then looked up at the officer again. “Between the cold air and those lights from your car, it’s a little tricky.” She rubbed her arms as she spoke, trying to warm herself.
“Well, we’ll get you back in and warmed up in no time,” he smiled as he spoke. “You’re doing great. Just one more field sobriety test and you’ll be on your way.”
“Okay,” Allison returned his smile as she nodded, beginning to let some hope creep in.
“This last one is the one-leg-stand,” he told her. “You just have to lift one leg, either your left or your right, and hold it up until I tell you to put it down. Just like the last one, keep your hands by your sides. Like this.” The officer lifted his right leg, bending the knee slightly and holding it in the air. “Understand?”
“Yes,” Allison responded, though she didn’t begin, waiting for his instruction.
Allison lifted her left leg. Her right protested slightly, still tired and sore from the game earlier. She could feel her thigh quiver slightly, though she kept her balance easily.
“Do you have any family here?” the officer asked as she held the position.
“No, I’m from out of town. I just go to school here.”
“Any big plans for the rest of the weekend?”
“I’m leaving tomorrow morning to drive back home. My cousin’s getting married,” she offered with a smile.
“That sounds nice. Is she as pretty as you?”
The question startled Allison, seeming so out of place compared to the rest of their conversation. The toe of her lifted foot touched down on the ground for a moment before she lifted it again. She looked up at him, opening her mouth to speak.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that,” he cut in before she could speak. “It just slipped out. You just remind me of someone. I’m trying to put my finger on who it is.”
“I, I don’t know,” Allison answered slowly.
“Scarlett what’s-her-name,” the officer added quickly, “though I think she’s taller than you. You have her face and her eyes, though.”
Allison furrowed her brow at the suggestion. She had been told that before, though most people had a hard time looking past her athletic body to see the similarities. Years of playing sports had given Allison toned legs and arms that made most people think of athletes first, and to overlook her more feminine properties. She looked down at her uplifted foot as she continued the stance. She could feel a slight flush on her cheeks.
“Of course, you never know with those movie actors and actresses,” the officer chuckled. “She might actually be shorter than you. I hear Tom Cruise isn’t even five feet tall. Okay, you can put your foot down now.”
Allison returned her foot to the ground, then took a deep breath. She looked up at the officer hopefully again as he stepped in close to her. He towered over her, making her feel as though she were shrinking as she stood there in the cool air.
“You did fine on the field sobriety tests,” he told her, and she smiled. “Just one more thing to check. Reaching to his belt, he unclipped a black box and then plugged a clear straw into the end of it. “You seem safe to drive, I think, so I just need to have you blow into this breathalyzer and you’ll be on your way.”
Allison eyed the box nervously as he held it up to her mouth, then nodded as she closed her lips around the tube.
“Blow, blow, blow,” he ordered and she complied, blowing into it. When she thought she would run out of air, the box finally beeped and he pulled it from between her lips.
“Do you know what the legal limit is?” he asked her, turning the display on the box so that she could see it. She watched the numbers slowly rise until they stopped at .043.
“It’s .08, right?” she asked, looking up at him again.
“Yes, it’s .08, for adults,” he answered, reaching out to place a hand on her shoulder. “But you’re not twenty-one yet, are you? That means if there’s any alcohol in your system, you’re over the limit.”
Allison felt her heart drop in her chest at his words, and then allowed him to turn her to face the car with the hold on her shoulder.
“Do you remember when I asked you if you’d had anything to drink?” the officer asked, and Allison felt her stomach knotting up nervously.
“Y-yes,” she answered softly, looking down at the lid of her trunk.
“And you told me you hadn’t,” he continued.
“Y-yes, but I, I-”
“You lied to me.” He cut her off brusquely.
“Please, I’m so sorry,” she whimpered softly, turning back to face the car again as she felt tears beginning to well up in her eyes. “W-we won the championship tonight. We were just going out to celebrate. It’s, it’s so close to home. I didn’t mean to do anything wrong.”
“I tried to do you a favor,” he answered with a sigh. “If you’d told me the truth, I might have been able to help you, but now that I’ve done the breathalyzer, my hands are tied.”
“I’m sorry, I was just so scared.”
“Place your hands on the trunk and spread your legs,” he demanded. Allison was quick to comply, moving her feet out to shoulder width and then placing her trembling hands on the cold metal of the car’s trunk lid. “Good. Now, stay right there. I’ll be right back.”
Allison stood stock still as he walked away from her back to the patrol car. She resisted the urge to watch him as he left her, keeping her eyes focused straight ahead. It felt like she was standing there in the cold, clutching the trunk of her car, for an eternity. Why had he left her here like this? Was he just doing it to teach her a lesson? Her heart leapt in her chest at the thought. Maybe he wasn’t really going to arrest her. Maybe he was going to just scare her a little and then let her go.
She heard the patrol car’s door open and then the sound of the officer’s footsteps on the side of the road as he approached her. As he approached, she could not resist the urge to turn her head to look at him. What she saw made her heart stop in her chest, and then a half-strangled sob escaped her. In his hands, he held a bundle of chains. She could see multiple gleaming silver cuffs scattered amongst them.
“You know it’s illegal for you to drink,” the officer spoke in matter-of-fact fashion as he came to stand behind her. She felt his arms go around her waist, and then the press of chain against her stomach and around her back.
“Y-yes, uh-” she gasped as he gave the chain a tug, driving it into her waist. Looking down, she saw that the chain pressed tightly into her stomach through the material of the jersey. Hanging from the chain at the level of her bellybutton, she saw a pair of open handcuffs with a hinged bar between them. Another chain dangled down from the front of this chain belt, ending in a pair of wider cuffs that lay on the ground below.
“But you thought it was okay for you, since you’re a soccer star and all,” the officer chuckled as he spoke, squatting down behind her.
“No, n-no,” Allison whispered softly in reply. She could hear the quiver in her voice as she watched him pick the first of the cuffs up off the ground and then close it on her right ankle. She heard it ratchet closed and then felt the press of the metal through her white athletic sock. “It’s not like that at all. I didn’t drink that much. I wasn’t going to hurt anyone.”
“That’s what they all say, you know,” he spoke as he took hold of her left ankle and moved that foot closer to the other before closing the second cuff in place.
Allison broke down into open sobbing as she watched the second cuff take hold of her ankle. She felt the hot tears streaming down her cheeks as she cried. The officer rose slowly, and she felt the palms of his hands move over the outsides of her bare thighs. His body was close against hers from behind, his hands reaching up along her arms now and gliding along them until he took hold of her wrists. He seemed so massive as he hovered so closely over her now.
“But the law applies to everyone,” he whispered harshly in her ear as he drew her right hand down to her waist. “No one is above the law,” he continued as he closed the first waiting cuff in place on her wrist. An icy shiver ran down her spine from the combination of the cold cuff imprisoning her wrist and his hot breath in her ear. “Well, almost no one,” he added, sounding almost like an afterthought as he drew her left hand down and then cuffed it in place next to the right.
“Do you have a roommate? Anyone you could call to come drive your car home?”
“I have a roommate, but she’s still out at the bar,” Allison answered, sniffing back her tears as she gave the cuffs on her wrists a slight tug. The cold metal of the cuffs combined with the chain on her waist kept her hands pinned against her belly. “I don’t think she,” Allison’s voice choked off for a moment before she continued, “she would be any better.”
“How about bail?” he asked. “Anyone nearby who will pay the money to bail you out?”
“I don’t think so,” Allison replied despondently, her tears continuing to flow down her cheeks.
He took hold of her arm, turning her roughly to face back toward his patrol car. She turned her head away from the bright, flashing lights. Her hands rattled the chains at her waist as she instinctively tried to bring them up to shield her eyes. With a firm grip on her upper arm, he began to lead her back toward the waiting car. Her shoulders shook as she cried softly while they walked, forced to take small, mincing steps by the chains on her ankles. Her world was crashing down around her. Would she be able to keep her spot on the team? If no one could bail her out, how long would she have to stay in jail? What was she going to tell her family?
“You’re different,” he spoke as they walked. She turned to look up at him questioningly. What did that even mean? “Most girls like you ask me a question right about now. You’re quiet.”
“Wh-what do they ask you?” Allison asked, trying to sniff back her tears.
They reached the back door of the patrol car. He reached out to open it and then placed a hand on the back of her neck.
“Oh, there are lots of different questions,” he smiled as he began to press her down toward the waiting back seat of the car. Allison practically fell onto the hard plastic seat. He squatted down next to her, placing one hand onto the bare flesh of her left thigh. “Most recently, the biggest question on the girl’s mind was whether all the chains were really necessary. And she was wearing less than you.”
Allison felt her breathing quicken. Something felt wrong, very wrong, about what was happening. The tone of his voice had changed, and there was something about the way that his hand gripped her thigh. Her heart raced in her chest as she looked up at him. Her hands clenched and unclenched on her lap with her nervous energy. He looked into her eyes, as if waiting for her to say something, but she could find no words.
“And do you want to know what I would say if you asked me that question?” he asked her, raising an eyebrow. She nodded slowly in response, swallowing hard, feeling almost hypnotized by his gaze.
“I’d tell you that you look like a very athletic girl,” he answered his own question, and Allison felt his hand move across the top of her leg and then slip down onto her inner thigh, “and I think I need all these chains to make sure you don’t get away.”
Allison quickly brought her thighs together with a rattle of chain, pinning his hand between them. A tight, fluttering sensation ran through her belly as she looked at him, wide-eyed. Chuckling, he left his hand pressed between her legs and then reached up with his free hand to lightly graze the back of it across her cheek. When he drew his hand away, she could see that it glistened with the wetness of her tears.
Smiling a wolfish grin, the officer moved his wet hand to the back of her head. Allison felt him tug on the elastic band that kept her light brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. A moment later, her hair came free, falling around her shoulders in a wavy tumble. She felt his grip tighten on her quivering thigh as he continued to look into her eyes.
“And I just couldn’t bear the thought of you getting away,” he continued, his voice low and ominous.
“I’m not trying to get away,” Allison whispered softly, her voice cracking.
“You’re not, yet,” the officer answered. He slipped his hand free of her thighs and then lifted her feet by the chain between her ankles, turning her to sit inside the car fully. “But it’s funny how quickly that can change.”
Allison’s mind reeled. She lowered her eyes, breaking the officer’s intent gaze as she looked down at her lap. The sight of her tightly bound hands there only served to reinforce the feeling of dread that was threatening to overcome her. Chuckling again, he rose and then closed the door.
Left in the back seat of the car, Allison was grateful for the warmth of the cruiser’s heater. At least she was now separated from the chill of the night air. She looked down at the chains that held her and his words echoed in her mind. Why were there so many? She’d seen cop shows before, but this seemed more like how you would transport a dangerous prisoner and less like what she’d seen used for roadside arrests. Did the television shows just get it wrong? Or was there something else going on here?
She watched him walk to her car, opening the door and going inside. The car started again, and she saw him drive it forward until it was completely off the road. And then she cried out in surprise as she watched the car’s right tires slip into the ditch on the side of the road, the car falling slightly to come to rest at an awkward angle. What was he doing?
Allison’s heart was racing as he emerged from the car again, coming back toward the patrol car carrying her purse and her light jacket. Opening the driver’s door, he slipped inside and set her few possessions on the seat next to him.
“Sorry about the car. I misjudged where the ditch was,” he spoke before she could demand to know what he was doing. “It doesn’t look like there’s any damage to your car, but I’ll call a tow truck. The city will pay the bill if there is.”
“I was off the road,” Allison replied, “you didn’t have to move it at all.”
“Hindsight, you know?” he turned back to her and winked through the screen that separated them. “Just be quiet a minute while I call the truck.”
Allison sat back in the seat as the patrol car turned out onto the road again. The plastic seat was slick. With her hands bound as they were, she couldn’t grab anything to stop herself from sliding toward the center before the car turned again, thrusting her back into the door.
“I’ve got an abandoned car on the side of Maplecrest,” the officer spoke into the microphone on the dashboard of his car. “There are signs that the car was driven into the ditch. No sign of the driver.” He read off her license plate number into the microphone.
No sign of the driver? What the heck was that about? Allison’s mind raced as she heard the dispatcher announce that a tow truck would be sent to the scene to collect the abandoned vehicle. The dispatcher added an address: Allison’s address.
“I’ll check the address,” the officer replied to the dispatcher. “It looks like we might have a drunk driving accident and a fleeing driver. Home’s not far. Maybe she went there.”
With that, the officer placed the microphone back into its cradle on the dashboard. He turned the cruiser back onto the main road while Allison sat silent in the back seat of the car.
“You must be wondering what that was all about,” he spoke to Allison again, his eyes finding hers in the rear view mirror.
“Yes,” Allison answered. The reply sounded stupid, even to her own ears, but she could not think of what to say. Nothing seemed to make sense to her.
“Maybe I’m doing you a favor,” he said to her with another wink.
“If the police don’t find you before the alcohol is out of your system, the only thing they can charge you with is leaving the scene of an accident,” he continued.
“But, you did find me,” Allison responded weakly, “and you tested the alcohol in my system.”
The officer broke off the eye contact in the rear view mirror as they continued to drive. Allison realized that they were not driving toward the center of town, where the police station was located. She looked down again, eyes locking on the restraints that held her. She twisted her wrists slightly in the cuffs, but they gave her almost no room to move. The motion caused the belt of chain around her waist to tighten, pulling against her stomach.
“Maybe I am giving you a break,” the officer finally spoke. “Maybe I haven’t called this stop in at all, and I’m just going to take you somewhere for the night to get the booze out of your system, and then just let you go on your way in the morning.”
“Please, just tell me,” Allison pleaded, feeling new tears in her eyes once more. “I don’t understand. I don’t know what’s going on.”
“Would that be nice of me?” he asked, finding her eyes again in the rear view mirror.
“Y-yes,” Allison answered sheepishly.
“And do I seem like a nice guy?” he asked, his eyes leaving hers at the end of the question to move back to the road.
Allison’s mind was spinning. None of this made sense to her. The officer had seemed nice to her, at points. He had seemed to be on her side and trying to help her. But the memory of his touch to her leg and his stray comments seemed to signal something different to her. There was obviously something going on, something outside the rules. She trembled with the thought of what it might be, despite the warmth of the interior of the car.
Before she could find words to answer, the patrol car slowed and then turned off the main road onto a smaller one. The car bounced as it began to drive across unpaved terrain, making Allison yelp as she was jostled on the back seat, her chains rattling in protest to her sudden movements.
“Or maybe I didn’t call this in for some other reason,” the officer finally continued as the car settled into the worn tracks of the road. “Perhaps I have a different reason for not calling in your stop that doesn’t have anything to do with cutting you a break. Which do you think it is?”
“I don’t know,” Allison responded, lowering her eyes. She couldn’t bear to meet his wolfish gaze in the mirror any longer. “Please, just tell me what’s going on.”
The car slowed to a stop, and Allison looked up to see the headlights illuminating an old building in the woods. It looked like a mill of some kind, sturdy but seemingly no longer in use. The officer opened his door, leaving the car without answering her. She watched him come around to her door, opening it for her and then reaching down to take her by the arm.
“We need to talk, Allison,” he spoke as he pulled her up and out of the car. She swung her feet out, rising to stand next to him again. The chain was taut between her ankles as he held her. “There are some things I haven’t been completely honest about.”
“Please, oh God, don’t hurt me,” Allison whimpered, her shoulders shaking with her sobs. “I’m scared. I just want to go home.”
“But you can’t go home, dear,” he shook his head as he began to lead her toward the door to the mill. “You broke the law tonight, and you have to deal with the consequences.”
“Then, then,” Allison’s voice broke off as she struggled to speak through her crying, “then take me to the police station.”
“But I can’t do that now, can I?” he shook his head as he led her slowly to the door. Allison’s steps were slow and awkward, continually brought up short by the chain between her ankles. “I’ve already done enough that I’d lose my badge over this if I just changed course now.”
“Please,” Allison whimpered, “I won’t tell anyone.”
As they reached the door to the mill, the officer produced a key and unlocked the padlock that secured it. He swung the door open and Allison shuffled backwards as it revealed the dark room beyond.
“No, you won’t,” he responded.
Allison gasped as he reached between her legs from behind and took hold of the chain that stretched from her waist down to the cuffs on her ankles. She winced as he abruptly pulled up on the chain, forcing her up onto her toes. Holding tight to the chain to keep her there, she felt his fist pressed against her ass.
“Now, just be quiet for a little bit,” he leaned in to hiss softly in her ear as she teetered on the toes of her sneakers, “I’ve got a surprise for you.”