Tight Security

By Daphne

A lashing rain attacked from above with furious natural force, so loud that it covered the growl of the green jaguar as it parallel parked on the busy street with practiced grace. The luminous headlamps extinguished followed by the slow purring halt of the engine. The ferocious monotony of the water pelting on the roof was maddening. With a count of three, the driver pulled open the door and made her dash from the car, holding a too small purse over her head in vain protection of her lush beautiful hair. Had it not been raining so loud, a passerby could have heard the squelch of her car locking and security activated, following the splashing clicks of her heels on the city sidewalk. The night sky watched with a lone white eye.

The man sat in the diner sipping his coffee and staring at his watch, an agitation telling in his fidgety demeanor. He was in his mid thirties with a full grown beard and glasses thick enough to reveal the poorness in his eyesight. Too many years spent peering through microscopes one might guess. His left hand silently guarded a manila envelope closely, while his eyes scanned the room assuming that every patron in the diner was interested in the contents rather than their own coffee.

The chime of the bell hanging behind the door drew the man’s attention to a distressed individual bursting inside. It was a young woman with long blonde hair and a slender body that cost each man in the diner one deep breath upon seeing her. She had been holding her purse over her head when she entered, now shaking the collected water from its leather folds. The purse did its best, but the rain had ultimately won out, and the poor girl’s hair was damp and sticking to the porcelain lines of her cheeks. Grimacing, she tried to make the best of it, knowing that several patrons were staring at her. She wore a dark tapered business suit, with a short skirt and pale charcoal pantyhose. Water beaded up on her suit jacket and dripped in tiny falls off her cuffs. The damp skirt stuck closely to her hips and thighs making her blush as she pulled at the hem, trying to straighten it out. After only a moment out of the rain, she felt the new discomfort of her soaked pantyhose. While they provided their own kind of daily peril for young woman, standing in the humid and overly warm diner, she felt like they were painted on her legs, and she was desperate to scrub them off.

Rather than continue to stand there looking like a wet raccoon, the young woman summoned what dignity she could, blinked the rain drops from her long eyelashes, and scanned the diner with her deep green eyes. Finding who she appeared to be looking for, the young woman approached the counter and found a stool with a noticeably dry trench coat folded over it next to a man drinking coffee. Without looking at her, he pulled the coat over his lap. Taking this as a silent invitation, the young woman sat down. Immediately, as if unable to wait another second, she crossed one leg over, reached down, and with a squelching sound, slipped her stocking clad foot out of her waterlogged heel. Switching legs, she repeated the process. This caught the attention of the man who had made the stool available for her. He watched as the young woman stretched the foot of her nylons out at the toe and tried to wring the water out that was trapped so uncomfortably in the silky fabric. The way she fought so hard against her detested undergarment, gave her a girlish feel, and seeing her out of her shoes in stocking feet with the toes stretched out and wrinkly gave her a very unprofessional and even pathetic look. Unable to watch the poor young woman suffer any more at the mercy of her pantyhose, the man touched her shoulder. With a start as if consumed in her own perils, she glanced up, green eyes wide. The man silently pointed toward a rest room sign in the corner. “Seems like you might be fighting a losing battle there miss, perhaps you want to change?” he said, breaking the silence.

Surprised and apparently embarrassed that she had been being watched, the young woman flushed girlishly, looking over to the restroom he pointed at. “Oh, thank you, but I can’t.” Seeing his confused look, she felt the need to clarify. “It’s a work thing, dress code. Skirt, pantyhose, and heels at all times. No exceptions. My boss would terminate me on the spot.” Seeing him glance at her stocking feet, she added, “Even this,” she said noticing how sad her stretched out pantyhose looked. Carefully pulling at her foot, she pulled the nylon taught over her toes, and continued to smooth out the sag up her slender calves, up past her knees, smoothing out the remaining looseness over her thighs. “It would be all over for me, if he caught me without my heels like this. He’s very old fashioned in a business sense, and believes that there are professional rules to be adhered to by women in the business. The word casual is not in his vocabulary.”

Feeling she had already said too much, and feeling the man’s eyes on her long exposed stocking clad legs, the young woman silently cursed her inward naivety, cheeks burning. Reaching into her suit jacket, she pulled out a lanyard hanging around her neck. Behind the clear plastic cover was an identification picture and credential information.

“I’m Dawn Meadows… and you must be… Dr Hoffmeister?” asked the young woman, introducing herself and extending a slender hand.

“Yes, indeed Miss Meadows,” he replied taking her well manicured fingers in his hand. The distraction of her feminine perils had worn off, and he was shaken back into his nervous and jittery mood. Attentive to this sudden shift, and realizing the signs of a shaky informant, Dawn quickly shifted the conversation’s attention to the manila envelope that Dr Hoffmeister was guarding so closely under his hand. Looking down, he cursed silently under his breath as he noticed that he had put his coffee down on it, leaving a distinct ring of moisture in the top corner. The young reporter’s legs proved to be quite the distraction.

“You said that you had a location on the lab being used by Phoenix Pharmaceuticals,” stated Dawn, eyeing the sloppy ring of coffee in the upper corner of the manila envelope.

“You certainly waste little time, Miss Meadows,” swallowed the Dr, addressing her directness.

“You’ll understand my desire to be home, rid myself of these sopping wet pantyhose, and enjoy a nice hot bath with a glass of red wine,” she replied to the Dr with a wry smile.

“Yes of course,” answered the Dr, noticing Dawn curling her stocking clad toes beneath her stool. Done dripping at this point, a small pool of water had formed beneath her. “But I’m afraid that bubble bath might just have to wait… and I’d recommend keeping that wine on ice,” he added with his own sly smile. With that mysterious little statement, the Dr slid open the top flap of the manila envelope and slid out a short stack of paper, the topmost appearing to be some kind of topographical map. Seeing the confused and subtly disappointed look on Dawn’s face most likely due to the apparent postponement to her bodily comfort, The Dr continued.

“You are correct, I have acquired the location of the Phoenix lab, and more importantly, I’ve secured a helicopter ride that will take you there. As you can see here on this map, the lab is located on a remote and almost undetected island off the coast of Cuba. I’ve confirmed that this is the place where you will be able to get the information you need. What it is, I’m afraid I do not know. I was fired before I could get enough security clearance. I believe they questioned my dedication to the project, but not before I saw them beef up the employment roster with rogues among the scientific community. By that I mean men with less inhibition to natural laws and morality of experimentation. Suffice to say, the truth lies in that lab, and I’ve secured a helicopter pilot willing to take you there in 20 minutes sharp.”

Dawn gawked at the tight timeframe, “But”

Hoffmeister cut her off at the pout, “There’s no time to waste, let me finish. Here, jot this down on something inconspicuous, you’ll need it to get into the lab, but in case you’re stopped before you get there, you don’t want it noticed.” The Dr turned an email with the Phoenix Pharmaceutical header toward Dawn, while she fidgeted around in her purse for something to write on. With short notice, she settled on fresh pair of sheer pantyhose, packaged in a small cardboard flap. Looking at where he pointed on the email, there was enough room to copy down the indicated digits: 7491

“That’s the pin to deactivate the lab security,” he said watching Dawn scribble the number down on the back of pantyhose package. “Now, according to the information I’ve acquired here, the lab will not be locked, but there is a keypad inside the door. You must enter the code immediately after entering the building. Make no mistake, Miss Meadows: failure to do so will result in your death.”

The sound of that last part made Dawn tremble involuntarily and bite her bottom lip.

“There’s a cab waiting outside to take you to the heliport. Go now, he’s instructed not to wait in case we’re being monitored,”

“Wait, what about my car?” cried Dawn.

“I’ll take it back to your estate and have a friend give me a lift from there. Please Miss Meadows, get going. The pilot will not wait, and you’re the only one who can reveal the truth on Phoenix’s shadowy activities.”

Nodding in understanding, Dawn reached down with her toes, and slid her somewhat still damp feet back into the confines of her pointed heels. Placing the pantyhose package with the discreetly noted security code back into her purse, she thanked the Dr for his information and accommodations, asked for his luck wishes, turned with a flip of her blonde hair, and quickly exited the diner to the waiting cab outside.

The cab ride was silent as the driver knew exactly where he was going from previous instructions. When they reached their destination, he merely pointed up at the building they were parked at the base of. Taking her clear instruction, Dawn made her way to the roof of the building where indeed there was the silhouette of a helicopter humming away and eerily aglow in the red reflective lights of the helipad. Carefully approaching the billowy helicopter, Dawn quickly held tightly to the hem of her skirt to keep her modesty in front of the stranger pilot.

Awkwardly climbing into the helicopter in her heels, Dawn sat with her knees together, feet apart, turned inward, feeling out of place. After watching her click herself safely into a seatbelt, the pilot wordlessly took to the skies with his timid new passenger. Having grown up with a very privileged childhood, private jets were accustomed, but this was the first time that Dawn had ridden in the crudeness of a helicopter. She mentally noted her preference of the private jet. Despite her misgivings about the transportation, the trip proved to be long, and however difficult she found it to relax, eventually her body gave way to sleep, and the rest of the trip passed unconsciously.

It was the touchdown of the helicopter that jolted Dawn from her deep slumber. Confused and lost feeling, she peered out the side door to gain her bearings, but instead of being greeted by a canvas of blue green-ocean, she saw they had landed in a grassy clearing surrounded by deep thick vegetation. Becoming more aware of herself, Dawn touched at her hair to make herself more presentable after the embarrassment of an unintentionally long nap. She had slept the entire way to Cuba! Looking up at the pilot’s seat, she was surprised to see it was empty, but her confusion gave way to startled as the side door of the helicopter slid open with a grinding metal sound, followed by the loud whir of the blades. The serious looking pilot stood stone faced in his shades, though extended a hand to help Dawn down to the ground. Taking his generosity with a weak smile, Dawn squinted her eyes against the harsh sun beating down upon the grove. Single lane highways of sweat ran the length of her curves beneath her suit, the traffic jamming in the tightness of her godforsaken pantyhose. Cuba was decidedly hotter and more humid than New York! Finding her footing in her heels in the tall grass proved challenging, but finally Dawn stabled herself and relinquished the balance of the pilot’s hand. Pointing to a small opening, the pilot’s mouth moved but for the life of her, Dawn could not make out the words over the whir of the helicopter blades. Seeing the confusion in the furrow of her brow, the pilot leaned in and relayed the message loudly in her ear.

“Through that clearing you’ll find your guide! He’s a local! He’s going to lead you to the lab! When you get there, he will expect payment for his services! This is an uncharted island! These people are closed off to the western world! Just give him something from your purse! But don’t forget or he will leave you at the lab and you’ll never find your way back here! Trust me, without him, you’ll die in the jungle dressed like that! I’ll meet you back here in 24 hours to return to New York! Don’t forget to tip your guide, girlie!” Leaning back, he looked Dawn in the face to see if she registered the gravity of his words. Seeing her purse her lips, and nod, he took that as a “yes” even if she did look a bit nervous overall. Clapping her roughly on her slender shoulder he gave her a “thumbs up” sign and circled around to the cockpit, jumping inside. Dawn apprehensively stood back and tried to hold both her skirt and her hair at the same time as the helicopter made its blustery ascent. Her split efforts only partially saved her hair from whipping completely about while her skirt billowed up enough to reveal the dark slimming tops of her pantyhose. As the helicopter grew smaller and smaller in the sky, the whirring sounds grew more and more distant, when Dawn was left with only the sounds of the unknown wildlife that inhabited the mysterious new jungle surroundings. With a new attempt at fixing her hair, and a quick modesty smoothing of her skirt, Dawn turned to face the opening in the grove. According to the pilot, she would find a guide within. What would he be like? And what kind of gift would he demand in return for his services? With only 24 hours to find out, Dawn realized she had better find out soon. With awkward high heel steps, the young reporter made her way across the grassy field toward the canopy of the jungle.

The first steps into the jungle offered Dawn respite from the sun, but she noted the increase in humidity if that was even possible. Large droplets of moisture collected on the voluminous vegetation paralleling the moisture collecting on Dawn’s own body, soaking uncomfortably into her entirely inappropriate outfit. The suit jacket was sweltering, but the choke of her pantyhose made her nearly cry. They would certainly dehydrate her if she wandered too far in this climate. Dawn made a mental note not to find out just how far she could survive in the cruel garment, and to her delight she found who appeared to be her guide sitting on a moss covered log up ahead. While she had imagined it would be someone older, it appeared that the boy was no more than 12 years old. His jet-black hair and dark skin revealed that he must come from a lost Native American tribe that had existed unknown to the world on this remote Cuban island. He held a handmade machete like knife and was passing the time carving pieces of bark from the log in which he sat, apparently waiting for his “tourist.” Dawn approached the boy timidly noting that he had not yet looked up at her. Not wanting to startle him while he held such a dangerous looking knife, Dawn tried to get his attention with a weak little greeting.

“Hello?” she squeaked, licking her already drying red lips. The boy looked up and took in Dawn’s person, but not in a judging or leering way that any man in New York would have. Actually it looked more as if he was assessing his company in an effort to decide which speed and path would most well fit her in following him. Once this thought was seemingly calculated, he jumped up from the log and brushed past Dawn, pulling at the sleeve of her suit jacket in an urge to follow him and stay close.

His familiarity with the landscape and her high heels set them at two very opposite ends of the comfort line. The boy moved swiftly chopping at any loose foliage that blocked their trail, all the while dragging Dawn along by the hand. While she gave it her best, there was no hiding the awkwardness in her struggles to keep up. The uneven ground rejected her sidewalk native high heels, punishing her slender ankles with sharp pains. The extra required effort in her legs generously paid out in sweat that her accursed pantyhose drank up like a fool. Dawn wanted to cry from her discomfort and while she tried not to show her weakness, she panted like a dog baking in the heat.

Just when Dawn thought she couldn’t take another moment of the exhausting pace, the duo broke from the thick foliage to stand before a large concrete structure. They were there! Before she was able to celebrate their arrival, Dawn doubled over, hands resting on her knees as she dry heaved from exhaustion. While it was difficult to accept the suffering she had just endured, perhaps her guide was wise in the chosen pace. Truth be told, Dawn would not have lasted much longer in the sweltering humidity in her inappropriate outfit and the boy knew he had limited time to get her to the destination. She looked up, wiping sticky blonde strands of hair from her eyes and managed a weak smile to let the boy know that she understood why he pushed her so hard, and was grateful for his guidance.

Her guide was curiously standing with his hand extended palm flat. He waited. Dawn’s face posted confusion while her dehydrated mind worked to understand this most recent communication. In her exhaustion in came to her, slowly, but it came to her. “Oh!” she finally said, knowingly with a new smile. She remembered what the helicopter pilot had told her about her guide. The native boy was waiting for his payment. The quickness in which everything had unfolded since she had arrived on the island had left her no time to think about this approaching moment. Holding up a slender and well manicured index finger, Dawn hoped to communicate “Just a moment.”

Standing up straight again, she slung her purse around front and opened the top, searching through the contents. Seeing the boy standing there silently with his hand out made her feel hurried and awkward. “Okay, just one second,” she giggled clumsily. Now what can I give him for his services? Thought Dawn as she rummaged the contents of her very small purse. I mean, he’s a native island boy, what could I possibly have that he’d be interested in? The boy was still waiting expectantly. I wish they had of told me about this before hand, so I might have planned for something appropriate. Dawn argued with herself for several moments before accepting that she would find no toy trucks, action figures, or plastic guns in her tiny purse. The fact was, she only had four things in her purse: a cell phone, a pen/paper for reporting, a make-up compact, and an emergency pair of stockings. Dawn sighed. I need my camera phone, and reporter notepad for whatever I find in there, she thought casting a quick glance at the grimly silent cement building. The boy seemed to be getting impatient. Dawn rushed her thoughts feeling clumsily ushered to do so. 

My make-up or pantyhose? What is he possibly going to want with either of those? Sigh… well, the last thing I need in this jungle is another pair of pantyhose. Setting her indecisiveness, Dawn pulled the package of fresh pantyhose out from her purse and timidly offered them to the boy with a weak smile, “Here you go.” Placing the cardboard package on his palm, she quickly pulled her hand back and involuntarily flinched. She was afraid her offer of such an obviously feminine garment would offend the boy’s warrior like persona, and incite his wrath, leading to an untimely end for the cowering young reporter. But Dawn’s worst fears proved unfounded. She did not meet her death. Her guide fumbled with the cardboard package, tearing it open not as it was intended, but progress all the same. A pair of skinny, wrinkled nylon legs unrolled from the packet and billowed softly in the nearly nonexistent breeze. The package read “barely black” but the shriveled nylon snakes appeared as jet black as not yet stretched over a pair of human legs.

Dawn watched the native’s face for any sign of emotion she might read, and thought she saw what resembled confusion. Still fearing for her safety at such a decidedly non masculine offer, Dawn got the bright idea to try and explain her gift. Striking an exaggerated feminine pose, Dawn modeled herself for the boy, bending down to her toes, drawing a line up her long slender legs to indicate the similar stockings she wore on her own legs. Smiling, she hoped her explanation communicated what it was he held. Her guide returned the smile and may have given Dawn a false sense of understanding because he next took the waistband of the garment and stretched it over the crown of his head. With a gasp, Dawn watched wide eyed as the boy hooted and hollered all the while running and jumping back toward the foliage of the deep jungle. He flapped his arms, the empty cardboard package in his right hand, and an absurd looking pair wrinkled pantyhose legs whipping about his head as he jumped.

“Enjoy them!” Dawn called after the boy, while she tried to stifle a laugh, unable to believe what she just saw. “I know I wouldn’t,” she giggled. Still a smile on her giddy face, Dawn turned to face the laboratory and an assuming waiting door on its face.

“Wait!” The thought came to Dawn too sudden. She was whipping around to look after her disappearing guide. “Wait! Wait! Wait!” She screamed running at the edge of the jungle, stopping her nose an inch from the moisture laden leaves. “I need the package to those stockings!” she pouted, but the sounds of hollering native boy crashing through the jungle was already beginning to fade. “I wrote the security code for the lab… on the package,” she mumbled in defeat.

Dawn stood at the edge of the jungle for many silent moments, even as droplets of brutal humidity pelted her gentle brow from the canopy above. She hung her head in her hands berating herself internally. How could I be so stupid? I needed that code. Dr Hoffmeister made that very clear at the beginning! After a few sniffles and a good dose of self pity, Dawn turned to face the lab. Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now, she thought. Besides, didn’t he say that the door would be unlocked anyway? Maybe I don’t even need the security code anymore. Maybe the lab is abandoned. Taking a new look at the building, and its grim, sad silence, it certainly appeared abandoned from the outside. The vines of the jungle ran lengths up and down the concrete walls, nearly hiding the building, making it their own. Dawn wiped the rimmed tears from her eyes before they could blend too horrifyingly with her mascara, took a deep breath, and took confident strides toward the lab entrance door. Her slender, marble white hand clashed with the dark rust of the doorknob. Another deep breath for hope, she turned the handle and gasped when it did not resist a full circle. She was in.

The first thing she noticed upon entering the lab was the decrease in temperature. There was evidently a working coolant system working. This heavenly greeting was enough to put a smile back on the intrepid reporter’s face only to have it wiped away by the numeric keypad blinking silently at her from the wall behind the door. Biting her lip, Dawn was once again reminded of her foolish error. At first she traced over the keys with her well manicured nails fantasizing that she might just guess the disarm code. Frowning, she realized just how stupid that idea seemed. Her next thought was, what exactly am I disarming? Thoughts of various demises ran through her mind. Sinking too her knees from poisoned gas filling the lab? Armed guards arriving to take her to a cell where she would never be heard from again? Crushed by a dropped ceiling? Dawn shook her blonde head. Her fearful imagination was getting the better of her, and bordered on the absurd. Whatever awaited her, sitting around contemplating it wasn’t going to do her any good. Deciding that time would be her controllable asset, Dawn chose to seek out the most prominent looking source of information in the lab, get what she could there, and get out as quickly as possible. Definitely the best plan, given my current predicament, she thought.

Leaving the keypad to blink away to an unknown grace period, Dawn tiptoed her way into the lab. Not long before she got away from the entrance threshold did a very strange observation come over the curious reporter. If she had not just come from the damnation of a hellishly humid jungle, she would swear that she was in any posh New York office building! The walls were a soothing neutral white, the lighting relaxed and efficient. The floor was even carpeted a comfortable and mundane earth-tone. Even the lack of windows helped maintain the mirage. It was like an elaborate illusion, a civilized and stale sliver in the flesh of an uncivilized land. Dawn never felt so alien in such uninteresting surroundings.

After getting over the initial otherworldly feelings that her surroundings created, Dawn continued to creep quickly through the halls. She had to find her story and quick. So far, she had merely passed the closed doors of what appeared to be the offices of low ranking scientists. While careful scrutiny of their files would certainly yield pertinent information, the hungry reporter was pressed for time and that meant the need for higher ranking files. One door she passed was open, but a brief inspection revealed an animal kennel of sorts. Large troths for food and water were tipped over, mixed with bedding, the whole room was a mess and did not smell all too well either. Backing out of the room, Dawn noticed a keypad on the wall next to the open door. “Well, whatever poor critters they were experimenting on for their beloved pharmaceuticals aren’t here anymore,” Dawn lamented.

Moving on, Dawn tiptoed toward a turn in the hall. Creeping around the corner, she could not hold in a gasp of delight. She found what she was looking for. A short distance around the corner at the end of the hall was a lone door with an engraved heading on the door: Director Calvin Middleton. “Aha, this should give me the scoop I need,” chirped Dawn, very pleased with her detective skills. Advancing stealthily on the plush carpet toward the door, she gave the handle a test push. It yielded without lock, and Dawn paused, holding it down, to inwardly celebrate her magnificent fortune. Regaining her professional composure, she gave the door a little push, opening it a crack at first, then a good two feet.

Leaning her head inside the office, she could see that it was pitch dark. Still only half leaned inside, one hand on the door handle, the other blindly traced lines on the wall in search of a light switch. Before she could locate a source of light, Dawn felt a sudden chill, a growing sense of dread that she was not alone. “H-h-he-hello?” she stammered into the darkness of the office. “Is-is somebody there?” she managed the polite question, as if her well bred manners helped extinguish her fear of the unknown other. But no answer came from the dark office, and Dawn’s dread invited more dread when she realized that the feeling wasn’t coming from within the office… rather it was behind her.

It wasn’t so obvious that someone was there until she specifically listened for it. Carpets had their own devious ways of doing business. The plush muted much and revealed little more than a fabric scrape and shuffle, the pressure of weight on the fiber. The unknown filled all that she wasn’t hearing. What would it sound like on wood, on tile, on granite? What she wouldn’t have given to know that! To know anything more than nothing, to feel anything besides the growing fear and the weight on the carpet behind her. Dawn’s face was covered in shadow, facing the darkness in the office, her long blonde hair curtained her peripheral vision, but she was too terrified to touch it, to tuck it behind her ears. The pressure on the carpet was increasing, the shuffling sounds creeping closer to her back as the now seemingly harsh hall light washed over the back of her dark suit and trembling stocking clad legs.

“I’m-I’m sorry. I-I think I’m lost. I didn’t mean to. I…I…” Dawn stammered over a whimpering excuse as she gingerly pulled the door shut on the Director’s office. The sound of her own voice distracted her paralyzing fear enough to turn around and face the person behind her. Dawn took a deep breath as she turned around, and found she needed it immediately. She screamed the loudest she had ever screamed in her life. There was nobody behind her. No person at any rate. It was nothing her mind could register, nothing her body could be eased by a girlish scream.

It was well over 6’ tall, covered in a matted fur, horrifyingly walked on two feet like a man, with powerful arms. But the true terror was its too large head with giant bug-like eyes and wicked cavernous maw that oozed saliva from terrible depths. Dawn had wasted her reactionary second on a pathetic scream when the powerful beast’s arms grabbed Dawn’s comparably “stick-like” forearms and pulled her blubbering blonde head into its gaping maw. Dawn’s cheek smacked down painfully on the fatty pallet of its tongue. With her eyes horror-stricken wide, she glanced up into the cavernous maw that law beyond her blonde head. Her pouting mouth opened wide as she uncontrollably began to hyperventilate. Feeling her hands come to rest on the jaw, Dawn tried to push away from the creature, but its vice-like grip threatened to break her forearms as she were a bird.

The creature struggled to force Dawn’s pretty blonde head further into its mouth, an act the terrified reporter very much resisted. Growling in frustration, the creature suddenly dropped down to its belly, causing Dawn, already in a precarious position, to lose her balance and tumble forward onto her own stomach. This maneuver forced all of Dawn’s golden locks into the creature’s mouth. The jaw clamped down, leaving her wide eyes in darkness and proving that levels of fear were indeed limitless.

Dawn begged and whimpered within the mouth of the creature. “Oh my God, what’s happening!? What IS this thing!? Please don’t eat me!!!” Her begging and negotiations echoed strangely in the hot and sticky maw of the creature. The limited air was toxic and left Dawn feeling heady and only increased her state of panic. With her arms still free, she reached, pinched and slashed with her nails, desperate for an eye or some other vulnerable spot on the creature’s face.

Blindly going on the offensive, Dawn failed to protect her own body, and the creature’s arms snuck below her own, and grabbed firmly onto her slender waist above the hips. As Dawn realized her foolish mistake, it was already too late. With a powerful shove, the creature forced Dawn further into its mouth. Her flailing arms folded like a puppet’s and pressed firmly to her sides as she slid tightly in up to her waist. The loss in mobility of her arms came at a very high price to any of Dawn’s remaining courage. In her despair, she wildly kicked her stocking clad legs in a frenzy that sent her heels flying. Her actions did little to assist her cause, and merely made the poor girl look pathetic as she bucked and curled the toes on her nylon encased feet.

“How could I be so stupid!?” thought Dawn from deep within the creature’s throat. “Giving away those pantyhose with the code written on them… and now I’m dinner!” The air was almost nonexistent now, and all of it was toxic. Dawn’s breath came in the tiniest of pants. Her long blonde hair was plastered to her face, mascara a mass of streaks, and her red lipstick was smeared around her mouth from where she helplessly licked at the dryness from panicked dehydration. “Now you’ve done it, Dawn. You’ve gone and gotten yourself eaten over a pair of pantyhose!” The fading thought made Dawn feel even more pathetic than she already did, and she bucked her pantyhose clad legs a few more times resentfully, only to have her ankles grabbed by the creature. His long tongue curled out around the barely black nylon stretched over her shapely calves. The rough tongue opened up tiny runs all over the delicate gossamer encasing as it moved over her pantyhose clad feet licking them eagerly, tasting the salt of her body within.

Humiliated by her foolish choice and the vulnerability of her pantyhose, and weakened by the vampire-like fear that she had met an untimely end, Dawn’s strength gave out, and her stocking feet dropped to the floor. The creature savored the length of her silky calves and feet with many more eager licks before dragging the rest of the defeated reporter into its maw. Her painted toes stretched defiantly against the nylon seam weakly before being devoured.

When the science team returned to work on Monday morning, they found the alarm had been tripped, the door to the holding pen had triggered and in the middle of the hallway was a female human skeleton, bones picked clean, and a pair of sheer black pantyhose tangled within the pile. When Director Calvin Middleton arrived later that morning, the scientist entered his office and informed him of the find. After coming down to Lab Room C, Calvin observed the pile of bones and feminine garment with dark amusement.

After many uncomfortably silent moments, Calvin spoke, “Toss the bones to the dogs.”

“And the… stockings, sir?” asked the scientist, dangling the wrinkly twin snake garment from his gloved finger.

Calvin pondered a moment. “Put them in a manila envelope. Send it to Will Hoffmeister as an example what happens when he sends nosey reporters down here to meddle in our research.”

-The End

Photographs by Reddman

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