Moira MacPeakís sex life with her husband, Graham, needed some spark.† After 15 years of marriage, the electricity of intimacy had dimmed and Moira was determined to fix it.
She loved Graham -- they were married just after grammar school in their small town in western Scotland -- but sex in recent years had become a strictly so-so, Saturday night routine, devoid of excitement, adventure, experimentation and, most important, lust.
But the day she saw her best friend and next-door neighbour, Isabel Metcalfe, answer the door in blouse, skirt and ankle chains, Moira, a trim, 33-year-old Scotswoman and mother of two teenagers, knew that bondage would someday play an important part in her sexuality and her marriage.
Two days after Isabel Metcalfe, 35, and mother of two boys, had ankle chains mysteriously welded on during a drive home, June 11, 1975, Moira, who also had two sons, now in the RN, visited her to find out why she had phoned in sick at the mill the day before.† After the initial shock of seeing her best friend in chains, she recovered sufficiently to listen as Isabel explained her strange encounter on a local county road that night.† Moira could scarcely believe her ears. Shocked at first, her surprise turned to sexual energy and curiosity when Isabel told her plainly that, while the chains were initially scary in their steel-grey appearance and implacability, they did add new intensity to her lovemaking with her boyfriend, Peter, who would soon be her husband.
Two days later, when Isabel was just as mysteriously kidnapped and taken, bound, chained and gagged, to East Africa then returned miraculously to Scotland relatively unscathed a few days later, Moira put any further discussion about bondage and chains on the "back burner" until Isabel had recovered sufficiently from her ordeal and things in the Metcalfe household were relatively back to normal.
After a couple of weeks, Moira and Graham were delighted to be asked by Isabel and Peter to be matron of honour and best man at their civic marriage ceremony at the town hall a month later.† Moira was mildly shocked when Isabel told her she was going to wear a knee-length bridal dress that would put her 18-in. steel ankle restraints in full public view for the first time -- and at the town hall.
A full-length front-page photo of Isabel and Peter appeared the next day in the townís daily, under the headline Local Woman Ties the Knot -- In Chains, and the picture and accompanying page 1 article indicated to Moira -- and the entire town -- that Isabel was not a woman to be trifled with.† "If I choose to wear these ankle chains in public and, quite possibly, for the rest of my life, so be it," Isabel was quoted as saying in the article.† "They were put on me mysteriously, itís still a mystery how they might come off -- I just donít know -- and so I am resolved to make the most of my life with these on me.† They really donít stop me from doing anything, except horseback riding or bicycling, but I have neither a horse nor a bicycle, so I am not particularly worried."† Townsfolk and news media audiences throughout Scotland and the UK had read, or watched and listened to electronic reports of Isabelís experiences as the victim of a daring, yet brutal transcontinental kidnapping plot and her subsequent escape -- in chains, no less --† from a group of mad scientists in the East African desert.
Moira was proud of her friendís feats of bravery and determination in the face of such incredible odds; indeed, Moira glowed with pride when Isabel informed her following the wedding that the University of Edinburgh had offered her employment as a lab assistant/consultant in the engineering facultyís metallurgy division and that she was being considered for nomination by the university to a British order of bravery to recognize her "native Scottish determination, resolve and resourcefulness" in helping engineer her own escape, in the face of incredible odds, and for assisting Scotland Yard and Interpol in bringing the key operatives of the Centre of Excellence for Genetic Engineering to justice.††
(It was later reported that Amina, the genetics engineer, received 25 years; Sheikh, the doctor,10 years, and Omar, the economist, five years in an East African maximum security institution.† Read Through Night to Light for more details).
At home, Moira was devastated by the news of her friendís kidnap; even more so when details of her African desert ordeal came to light later -- in Isabelís own words -- that were uttered in strict confidence to Moira only.
Isabel had arrived home in rural western Scotland during the third week of June, 1975, from East Africa via the airports at Tangier, Morocco; Heathrow, London; and Prestwick, Scotland, barefoot, chained and dressed only in dusty blouse and skirt. Her short, 18-in. strides, enforced by her chains, and her chafed neck, elbows, wrists and knees were the visible evidences of her recent, harsh bondage.† Clearly, she could not give her friend time for the needed consolations and confidences each woman needed so badly after the harrowing incidents.†
Isabel had a series of medical appointments, interviews at the University of Edinburgh, statements to the police, media interviews and, finally, arrangements for the civic marriage ceremony, the wedding itself, and a brief honeymoon before she would start work at the university.
In fact, it was not until August 12, 1975, before Moira finally got the opportunity to talk to Isabel, woman-to-woman, about her experiences in the desert, her long, enforced bondages and, especially, the effect Isabelís shackles were having on her love life.
"Isabel?† Itís me, Moira," she said into the telephone in her pin-neat kitchen on a Saturday morning.† "Can you spare me a couple of minutes from your busy schedule?† I know youíve been busy with the university, the news media, Peter and . . ."
"Moira, you come right over," Isabel replied.† "Itís been so long since we had a cuppa and a chat.† Please, Mo, come over now.† Iíve wanted to talk to you so long."
Moira got dressed in her casual weekend wear -- jeans, blouse and sweater --† and walked, to gather her thoughts, down the quarter-mile to Isabelís and Peterís house while her husband, Graham, was at work in town.†
Her thoughts collected from the short walk, Moira bounded up the front steps of Isabelís and Peterís bungalow, rang the bell and Isabel answered, smiling, wearing a light, knee-length summer skirt, sandals and her ever-present ankle chains.† Little did she realize at the time that, after a sexy vacation in northern Scotland, she would have to give up bounding up the stairs for a long, long time.
Moira could not help but notice Isabelís chains instantly and made a mental note about the ease in which her friend moved about with 18-inch steps and the silvery clink of metal on the polished hardwood floors.† Isabel gave her pal a warm hug and invited her into the kitchen.
The abrasions and ligature marks on her friendís neck, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles had all but disappeared, Moira noted, and she began.† "Isabel, you told me already about the night of June 11, but very little of the events that occurred afterward and that can wait," Moira said over tea and fresh-baked scones at Isabelís kitchen table.† "But can I be frank?† I have to tell you, honestly, Iíve been thinking of getting a pair of chains like yours to put a bit of spark in our Ďyou-know-whatí.† When I first saw you in your chains that afternoon in June, the day before I took your letter of resignation to the mill, it made me feel a little Ďgooseyí all over and I think I would like to try the experience.† Just once, anyway...† So can you tell me a little bit about what itís like to wear them?† You donít have to be really explicit; just give me a bit of inside info, you know, that I might be able to use with Graham."† Moira carefully avoided mention of the kidnapping and terrifying experiences in the East African desert, waiting for her friend to initiate discussion about those times.
Isabel was only too pleased to tell her friend about what itís like to walk about all day with chained ankles -- "like wearing a tight, straight skirt all the time" -- and going in public in chains is no longer the gut-wrenching embarrassment it used to be -- "let Ďem look, and admire; thatís all I can say.† If women are afraid, appalled or embarrassed at seeing me chained up, thatís their problem.† I know Iíve been getting some admiring glances from the younger men and some older women in town but thatís as far as it goes.
"Moira, that night, June 11," Isabel continued, "something strange happened to me and my sexuality.† Ever since then, the chains have made me extremely Ďsexed-upí, you know, whenever Iím with Peter.† And whatís more, Dr. Hall, my family physician, told me since Iíve come back from Africa Iíve developed muscle tone Ďdown thereí -- something he calls the pelvic-floor muscle group -- that would make a 20-year-old woman envious.† And Iíve had two boys, too, donít forget!
"I donít know what happened to me that night but someone or something, somewhere, improved the way I am able to have sex and, unquestionably the chains have been a part of it; and these too," Isabel said, pointing to her ripe breasts.
"Not only were my ankles shackled but my nipples were pierced, too; by some process even Dr. Hall couldnít identify, although he did say something about laser cautery or something like that.† Anyway, the rings in my nippies are there to stay, just as these are," Isabel said, shaking her ankles under the kitchen table with a light clatter of links on the vinyl flooring.
"And you know what?†† I havenít worn a bra since that night.† It feels great and I donít care if I ever put one on again.† And Iíll tell you, when my boobs are shaking too much when Iím doing physical activity, I just tie Ďem together with a locket chain through the rings in my nips.† And when the strenuous activity is over, I just unlock them and go back to the way I was."
Moira was all eyes and ears as Isabel related more -- but not all -- details about her kidnapping, her six hours in an extremely tight hogtie, the adventures in the desert and her miraculous escape.† It sounded to Moira like a story from 1001 Arabian Nights and she wanted to feel part of the adventure for herself.
"My God, Isabel, I would not want to be bound they way you were," Moira exclaimed. "How did you manage?† But your chains -- where could I get some like that, anyway?† Iíd like to start experimenting with Graham, you know, and..."
"I donít know where you could find a pair like these, Moira, but you and I could go down to MacEwanís hardware store today and buy you a chain and a pair of locks to get you started.† As for my hogtie on the plane, let me tell you it was painful but I had something inside me to keep me company.† It was more than my Scottish upbringing could handle and, well, thatís all Iíll say about that for the time being."
Moira nodded and agreed without hesitation to make the trip in town with her chained companion.† They finished their tea and scones, chattering excitedly about their upcoming shopping excursion.† Peter was also at work but Moira said she had the car and would walk home, return for Isabel in a few moments for the big trip to the hardware store -- and her entry into the new world of bondage.
Isabel was waiting for Moira to drive up 15 minutes later and, soon, the best friends were on their way into town, past the spot where, unknown to all, Isabel had been "intercepted, restrained, examined, treated and released" by members of the crew of a spacecraft from the planet Venusias, which had ventured off an interplanetary course over western Scotland two months previously. Craft DDE224-A was never heard from again, either over Scotland or at Blintz, its homeport at Venusias, 200 light-years from Earth.
"Thereís the spot, right there, where I saw a bright light that lifted me right out of the car, took me somewhere and put me back, I donít know how long after, with these on my ankles and the rings in my tits," Isabel said, gesturing to the roadside as they drove south into town.† Isabel slowed down, the two women looked out the windows and saw only the road, gravel shoulders and green fields beyond -- nothing else of note -- and they continued to MacEwanís hardware store in the townís commercial section. Isabelís enigma was as insoluble as ever.
"Golly, Isabel, I hope thereís not too many people in the store today; I donít want everybody to know Iím buying chains for myself, you know."
"Worry wart," Isabel replied with a smile and nod to her pal.† "Whoís going to know -- unless you tell them?† It could be a bicycle lock youíre buying.† And besides, look at me; Iím chained all the time and it hardly bothers me at all now.†
The chains seem to bother other people, particularly the young guys and some women, but not me.† They look at my ankles, then my breasts and back down again.† I doubt some of those jerks even know what I look like from the shoulders up," Isabel said with a shrug.
Isabel and Moira found the little hardware store, Moira parked her little white Ford Escort in the adjoining parking lot and the two got out to walk the short distance into the brightly-lit interior of the hardware store.† Moira noticed she had to slow down to accommodate her friendís chained, clinking progress
Isabelís "plight," as the news media called it, was well known to the townsfolk and she was treated with a mix of curiosity, deference and sympathy by most people who came in contact with her.† Inside the store, Isabel went up to the proprietor and said:† "Angus, where do you keep your chain?"†
Angus MacEwan, 36, a married father of two teenaged girls,† looked at Isabel and Moira, then back at Isabel with a slight smile,† and pointed to the left, saying "Aisle 2, near the end on the left; six reels, ladies.† Thereís galvanized, stainless steel, zinc-plated and regular, hardened steel; three different sizes and weights.† Whatíre you using it for, Isabel?"
"Bicycle lock," Isabel replied quickly and easily as Moira looked down, suddenly red-faced.† Angus didnít believe her.† "Bicycle locks are over here, on the right," he said.
Isabel insisted on visiting the chain display although Moira was ready to dig herself a hole and hide as Angus took the two women down the aisle to explain each type of chain, its potential uses, safe working loads (SWL), diameter, weight, link shape, corrosion resistance and other properties.
It was all too much for Moira and she nearly ran out of the store.† Isabel held her hand as they walked down the aisle, Angus leading, and Isabel whispered:
"Donít you chicken out, now, Moira.† Weíll get the chain, the locks and weíll be out of here fasterín you can say Jack Spratt."
Moira groaned in embarrassment and put her hand to her face but kept going down the aisle.† The three stopped in front of the chain reels and Moira looked away, red-faced.† Isabel piped up: "How much is that one, Angus?"
"Aye, thatís the NeveRust 1/8th-in. galvanized steel, SWL one ton," he replied.† "Fifty pence for three feet."
"Weíll take it!" Moira blurted, thinking only of the bargain price..† Angus reached for the cutters and snipped off a length for the attractive brunette with her shackled companion.† "Anything else, ladies?" the shopkeeper asked, handing the small bundle of links to Moira who accepted it shakily.† Angus smiled in tacit recognition of her discomfort.
"Two locks, please, Angus, " Isabel said quietly.† Angusí smile broadened slightly as he handed Isabel two brass-bodied, stainless-steel-shackle padlocks from a shelf near the reels of chain.
†"These are the best of the lot," Angus said.† "One pound each and theyíll last a lifetime.† Rustproof, too."
Moira was mortified as Isabel handed her the sturdy, little locks and the three went to the cash to pay for their purchases, which came to two pounds, 50p -- a fair price for ankle chains, Isabel thought -- a good buy which accorded well with to the womenís Scottish perspicacity.
Moira was literally panting with anxiety while Isabel was all smiles as the two walked out of the hardware store, around the corner into the parking lot and to the car, Isabelís ankle chains clinking loudly on the concrete sidewalk.† Pedestrians passed and slowed to watch Isabel make her slow, chained progress into the parking lot.† Isabel did not notice but Moira was upset.
"Now that wasnít all that bad, was it, Mo.?" Isabel asked her friend solicitously, as Moira, frowning, shifted into reverse to back out of the parking lot.† "Not too hard for you, no, Isabel Metcalfe.† I was embarrassed stiff; this is only my first time with chains, you know; here, youíve had loads of practice and Iím just starting out."
"Starting out, aye," Isabel agreed, patting her friend on the shoulder.† "Youíll be just fine, you wait and see.† Imagine what Grahamís going to say in bed tonight!† Hee-hee!"
Moira turned beet-red at the thought of her clinking her way into their bedroom tonight, her trim, tanned ankles chained for the first time.† She wondered what Graham would say.† She wondered how it was going to feel.† She also wondered what it might be like to be chained for life -- like her friend.
The two friends left the little brown paper bag of chain and locks on the seat as they continued a bit more shopping in town, during which time Moira picked out a beautiful, semi-sheer ankle-length nightgown she was certain was bound to please.
Isabel agreed it was nice and was about to broach the topic of a suitable loincloth, such as the one she was currently wearing, but decided this would not be the proper time.†
†After shopping, it was time for a bit of lunch and Isabel thought back to her first trip into a pub, months ago in Edinburgh, in chains with Peter... and that cretin two tables away.† She frowned at the recall but put it out of her mind easily as the two attractive, casually well-dressed women found a table at a downtown steakhouse.† Isabel slid in with her customary clink and Moira joined her at the table for two.
"I canít get over how natural you walk around and do things in chains, Is.," Moira said to her friend as she sipped at her water.† "Are you sure you werenít born to be in chains?"
Isabel chuckled and commented that while she was not meant to be shackled, she was determined they would not interrupt her life, or her new career, or her marriage.† "Iíll make do and make out," Isabel said softly.††
After a small lunch of ground steak, chips, cole slaw and tea, Isabel was anxious to get home to finish the Saturday housework.† She found it took a little longer now than before.†
Moira had done hers already but she was equally anxious to get to her house to try on her latest acquisitions -- a sexy, long nightgown and ankle chains -- and practise walking like her best friend to see what sort of effects it would have on her and her husbandís libidos.
She wasnít long finding out.