Cheryl sighed, and pulled herself out of the soothing bubble bath.  If she stayed in the bath much longer, the wrinkles in her skin would become permanent.  She dried herself off and changed into a pair of comfortable sweat pants.

This was the life, she thought.  She didn’t have to wait tables, didn’t have to waste time putting on makeup, and could sleep in as late as she wanted.  All she really needed to do was kill time while the rich boys tried to figure out where Nate has stashed her.

Where had he stashed her?  That was a good question – and one that Cheryl didn’t have an answer to.  Toward the end of the long plane ride, she had been blindfolded before being shuttled to a secret location.  While she had been getting comfortable in her new home, Nate made his escape … but she had no idea how.  She hadn’t been able to find a door, nor were there any windows.  She was essentially trapped within the building.

It made sense, she admitted grudgingly.  If she could just pop out and waltz around town, it would destroy the integrity of the game.  She would be forced to spend the duration of the game inside.’

The freezer was stocked with food.  Not just TV Dinners and frozen pizzas – although Nate had included some her favorite junk food items.  The bulk of the freezer contained meals that could be popped into the oven with no prep work.  Defrost for a day in the fridge, pop in the oven for 45 minutes, and she had a nice “home cooked” meal.

There was no internet in the house, since this would be an easy way for Cheryl to cheat by contacting one of the players.  Cheryl admitted that she could probably do without Twitter for a little while – especially with the amount of money she was being paid.  There was a TV, but no cable connection.  She was limited to watching DVDs.  This wasn’t as much of a hardship as it seemed, as there was a massive collection of movies.

Finally, Cheryl had brough about a hundred books with her.  She’d been trying to catch up on her reading for years.  This seemed like an optimal opportunity.  She lay down on the couch with the book she had been reading.  With any luck, she could stay in the same position until she was hungry for another meal.  Whether the next meal would be breakfast, lunch, or dinner was up for debate.  After a couple of days, she had tossed her watch into a drawer.  Time was of no consequence here.

The light in the corner of the room flickered before turning a bright red.  This was an indicator that the video cameras would turn on in a minute, unless she reset the timer.  Cheryl got up from the couch and set the timer to 180 minutes – the maximum allowable time.  If she failed to reset the time, the video cameras would be activated and Nate would be able to see her every move.  The exception, naturally, was the bedroom, where the time could be set to ten hours. 

Cheryl knew that this was a safety mechanism, alterting Nate to possible trouble she may be having.  Cheryl wasn’t sure how much good it would do to alert him three hours after a heart attack, but sometimes life had risks. 

TO BE CONTINUED

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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