Notice: This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, organizations, or persons, is entirely coincidental.
Janet looked out of the windshield as the Cessna 172 approached the airstrip carved out of the jungle that covered most of the tropical island. She could see the buildings that housed the world-famous Simian Institute and felt a combination of exhilaration and fear. Exhilaration that she, a lowly junior pre-veterinary student, had been selected as a student intern, and fear that she wouldn't be up to the task.
The plane landed smoothly on the gravel airstrip and taxied to a stop in front of a 'terminal' that was only a corrugated steel roof covering a wooden bench. Janet climbed out of the plane and the hot, humid air made her glad that she was wearing shorts and a sleeveless blouse. She heard a chorus of quiet whistles and saw three soldiers standing in the shadow cast by the terminal roof. All of the men were dressed in jungle camouflage and had M16 rifles slung over their shoulders, and they weren't concealing their admiration of her voluptuous figure. Janet was used to this kind of attention, and it made her feel more at ease. Men were all the same, no matter where they lived.
The pilot had retrieved Janet's suitcase from the back seat of the Cessna and carried it up a path that led to a large concrete building, roofed with the ubiquitous corrugated steel. Janet followed him and her fear returned. She was going to be interviewed by the Institute's director, and she could still be rejected.
The interior of the building was air conditioned and mercifully cool. Janet approached a young woman seated at a desk. "Hi, I'm Janet Cermak. I'm here to see the director."
"Hello, we've been expecting you. My name is Lourdes. Dr. Hanson will see you now, just enter through that door."
Janet knocked and entered. Dr. Hanson stood up and greeted her. "You must be Ms. Cermak. Welcome to the Simian Institute. Please sit down."
Janet sat in a chair near the desk and studied Dr. Hanson. She had never seen him before and was surprised by his youthful appearance. She knew that he must be over sixty, but he was lean and fit and had a full head of dark hair. "Please call me Janet. It is a real honor to meet you and to be selected to intern at the Institute."
"You aren't quite selected yet. Before you sign the contract there are a few things that we have to discuss. Do you know what we do here?"
"Yes, sir. You study all kinds of monkeys and apes. I've read some of your papers and I was especially impressed with the way you were able to discover that some apes have a large vocabulary and can communicate abstract concepts."
"Discover isn't exactly correct. Actually, for many years the Institute has selectively bred apes to increase their intelligence, and we created the smart apes that could talk. We hope to supply them to do some tasks that only humans can do now, such as acting as assistants to disabled persons. Do you have a problem with this? It's not pure research, and some students don't want to be tainted by anything that might have a commercial application. Also, do you have any religious objection to this work? Some people say that we're trying to play God."
"No sir, none of this is problem for me."
"Good. I must warn you of something else before you decide to work here. Did you see the soldiers outside?" Janet nodded. "They're here because six months ago two young women on our staff disappeared. The government thinks they were kidnapped by pirates, and they've assigned an army platoon to guard us. I'm not so sure that's what happened, because there haven't been any of the usual ransom demands, but we have to go along with what the army wants. That means that you will have to agree to some restrictions on your movements, such as never leaving the compound alone and staying in your room after lights out. Is this acceptable?"
"Yes, sir. I'll accept the risk. It's worth facing some danger to be allowed to work here."
"Then welcome to the staff. Lourdes will take care of the paperwork and show you around. I'll see you at dinner and introduce you to everybody else then."
Janet left the office and said to Lourdes, "I've been hired! Dr. Hanson said you would show me around."
"Congratulations. Before I give you the tour let's get the paperwork out of the way. Here's the employment contract and this is the security agreement."
Janet took the papers and quickly skimmed through them. The employment contract looked like the usual boilerplate, including an agreement not to reveal or publish anything she learned without Dr. Hanson's approval, and she signed it without hesitation. She asked, "What's the purpose of this security agreement?"
"You must sign it to show that you were informed of and agree to follow the security regulations that were imposed after Barbara and Gloria disappeared. This part is out of our hands, because the army sets the regulations and enforces them. Technically, if you violate the regulations you could be arrested, but the army officer in charge here is very easygoing and he just scolds any offenders."
Janet didn't see anything outrageous in the security agreement and she signed it, too. Lourdes put the papers in a file cabinet. "Now let's take the tour. This building contains the offices and the laboratories." As they toured the building Janet thought it looked so much like any university facility that it could be interchanged without anybody noticing. There were some people working in the labs and offices, but Lourdes didn't bother them. She explained that Dr. Hanson would introduce everyone later.
The next building they visited contained the staff quarters. They entered a large room containing two long tables surrounded by chairs. Lourdes said, "This is the staff dining room. The meal schedule is posted on that wall, and Dr. Hanson expects that everyone will be here for dinner."
They left the dining room and entered a hallway that reminded Janet of the dorm at college. Lourdes led Janet to a room and opened the door. "This is your room. Everyone has a single room like this. The bathroom facilities are at the end of the hall."
The dorm motif was stronger here. The room contained a narrow iron bedstead, a chest of drawers, and a desk with a straight chair. Janet's suitcase was next to the desk. She noticed something under the bed. "What's that, Lourdes?"
"A chamber pot. Use it if you have to go during the night. The generator is shut down at midnight and it gets very dark in here. Also, everyone but the security patrols have to stay inside their rooms then."
Lourdes led the way outside and along a path that led towards the jungle. The undergrowth had been cleared and gravel paths built, but most of the trees remained and their canopy created deep shade interrupted by patches of bright sunshine. They took the path that led to a group of wire-mesh cages. They were cubical, about a meter on a side, and stacked two high. Most of them contained monkeys of various types. Lourdes explained, "This is where we keep the monkeys we use in our research. Dr. Hanson believes that it is healthier for them if they can stay outside."
They moved along the path and stopped where four apes were being kept. Each was chained by the neck to a steel cable. The cables were three meters above the ground and fastened between two large trees about twenty five meters apart. Each ape had its own cable, and the chain could move freely along it. Lourdes said, "These are the male apes. They need a place to run, so they're not kept in cages. The pregnant females are kept inside."
"These apes don't look like any I've seen before. What kind are they?"
"They're actually a hybrid that the Institute developed from chimpanzees, monkeys, and human genetic material. They're smaller than chimps, but a whole lot smarter. Dr. Hanson will explain all the technical details of how the were created."
Janet noticed movement in the jungle at the edge of the cleared space. "Look!" she exclaimed. "That's an ape over there!"
Lourdes calmly replied, "Yes, there are quite a few wild apes and monkeys. This island has more than 20,000 hectares of untouched jungle. The Institute bought it over eighty years ago and has kept it pristine, except for these buildings and the airstrip. Years ago some of the hybrid apes managed to escape and we're certain they've produced a stable colony."
"Don't you know for sure?"
"No, the policy of the Institute is to leave the jungle strictly alone. Even hiking in it is prohibited." Lourdes looked at her watch. "Let's go back. It's almost time for dinner, and being late is a no-no."
Before dinner Dr. Hanson waited until everyone was seated and then said, "I want to introduce our new intern, Janet Cermak. Will each of you please state your name and job? Let's start with you, Lourdes." One by one the scientists, assistants, and administrative staff stood and introduced himself or herself. All were dressed as casually as Janet, in shorts and open shirts. The one exception was the man seated next to Janet, who was dressed in an immaculate khaki uniform. He introduced himself as Captain Marcos, garrison commander.
After the introductions were over Janet turned to the captain. "Hi, I'm glad to meet you. Please call me Janet."
"I'm glad to meet you, too. Please call me Captain."
"How long have you been on the island, Captain?"
"Almost six months. My men and I arrived just after the second woman disappeared. The Institute brings a lot of prestige to our country, and the government wants to be sure that nothing harms it."
"Does anyone know what happened to the women?"
"Not really. The official line is that they were kidnapped by pirates, but I would expect that some news of them would have reached us by now. Even if the pirates killed them someone would have talked. We have some good sources in criminal circles, but they've heard nothing."
"Maybe they went into the jungle and a leopard ate them, or they fell in quicksand. Is this possible? Was the jungle searched?"
"We didn't comb the jungle, but skilled trackers looked all along the edge of the jungle where it meets the clearing around the Institute. They didn't find any human footprints. Anyway, there aren't any large predators on the island, so it's not possible that something from the jungle got them. Personally, I think Gloria and Barbara were abducted by a flying saucer."
"Actually, no. But until we do know what happened I'm not going to take any chances. Make sure that you follow the security regulations. I don't want to have to scold you, and I certainly don't want you to disappear." He completed the thought to himself, 'It would be very bad for my career'.
After dinner Dr.Hanson gave Janet some technical literature, and she took it to her room to read. She became so absorbed in the material that she lost track of the time and was startled when the lights suddenly went out at midnight. She groped in near-total darkness until she was able to retrieve her toothbrush from her suitcase, and then fumbled her way out the door and down the hall to the toilet facilities. She hesitated outside for a while because she couldn't remember which was the women's side, but then decided it didn't matter. She picked one at random and used the toilet, washed, and brushed her teeth.
Janet was about half way back to her room when she was blinded by a flashlight beam. She stopped and used her arm to shield her eyes. A voice she recognized as Captain Marcos' said, "Janet! Why are you out of your room? You're violating a security regulation."
"I'm sorry, Captain. I was reading until the lights went out and I forgot about the regulation."
"Well, you're lucky this time because I'm the one who found you. A soldier might have thought you were an intruder and shot you." He gripped Janet's arm. "I'll escort you back to your room."
When they entered Janet's room the Captain put the flashlight on the desk and took handcuffs out of his pocket. He locked one cuff on Janet's right wrist and the other cuff to the steel tube that formed the headboard of the bed. "This will prevent any more nighttime excursions. I'll release you in the morning. Good night."
Janet was so shocked that she didn't say anything until Captain Marcos had left the room and then it was too late to protest. He had taken the flashlight with him and she was in the dark again. She got onto the bed and tried to get comfortable. If this was the Captain's idea of a scolding she certainly didn't want it to happen again. She didn't get much sleep that night, and by morning she had resolved to scrupulously obey all of the regulations in the future.
When Captain Marcos returned the next morning he apologized, "I'm sorry that I had to be so harsh with you, but we take these regulations very seriously. My men have been ordered to arrest anyone violating them. I hope you will be more observant in the future." He unlocked the handcuffs.
Janet rubbed her wrist. "This was a very unpleasant experience, Captain. I'll do all I can to keep it from happening again."
"Good. Perhaps you will allow me to escort you to breakfast."
* * *
For the next few weeks Janet worked diligently at her assigned task, which was transcribing and annotating the often cryptic notes of the scientists. She enjoyed the work. It gave her an insight into the research and it was genuinely useful and not just a make-work project to keep the intern busy.
One day Janet had finished all of the available work by midmorning. She was looking for something to do when she realized that she had been on a tropical island for weeks and had never been to the beach. She slipped out of the office and went to her room and changed into her bikini. She felt a little guilty about skipping work in the middle of the day, so she ran to the beach and around a point of land covered with trees. Now she was concealed from the Institute buildings, in a paradise of white sand, green vegetation, and turquoise blue water. No sign of human occupation was visible, and she could imagine that she was alone in the world. She waded into the water and swam out beyond the surf.
Janet swam back to shore and was on the beach before she noticed two soldiers standing just beyond the wet sand. She was disappointed that someone had intruded into her private paradise. She nodded to the soldiers and started back towards the Institute. One of them said something to her, but he was speaking the local dialect and Janet couldn't understand him. She kept walking until he grabbed her arm and jerked her to a halt.
Janet had so much experience with being groped that she reacted without thinking. She shouted, "Let go of me!" and slapped the soldier's face. He responded by throwing her to the ground and sitting on her back. Her face was in the sand and Janet had to struggle to breathe. One of the soldiers pulled Janet's arms across her back and held them while the other tied her forearms together with thin rope so that her forearms were parallel, with each hand near the opposite elbow. Then she was hauled to her feet and more rope was tightly wrapped around her arms and body, with one band above her breasts and the other below them. When the bands were cinched together her arms were welded to her body.
When Janet managed to spit the sand out of her mouth she started shouting demands for her release. A soldier ripped off her bikini top and stuffed it in her mouth. To hold it in place he wrapped more rope around her head and thorough her mouth. By now Janet's anger had disappeared and been replaced with a fear that intensified when the soldiers took turns fondling her naked breasts. She struggled and protested through her gag, and then blushed when she realized that the fondling was causing her nipples to harden.
One of the soldiers took a coin out of his pocket and flipped it. The other called out while it was in the air and then shook his head when he lost the toss. The winning soldier tied a long piece of rope around Janet's waist, knotting it in back. He pulled it between her legs and up under the loop around her waist, and carefully adjusted it so it was buried in her slit. Janet squirmed as his fingers probed her, and then gasped as he yanked on the end of the rope.
The soldier used the crotch rope as a leash and led Janet along the beach, past the Institute, and on to the army barracks. He tethered her to a porch railing and went inside the building. In no time a crowd of soldiers gathered around Janet, laughing and making what she guessed were lewd comments in their native language. She blushed and writhed with humiliation for what seemed to be an eternity. Finally Captain Marcos and the soldier emerged from the building.
Captain Marcos shook his head. "Janet, you've really stepped in it this time. Not only have you ignored the security regulations but you also assaulted a soldier. This is very serious, and if you weren't so young and innocent I'd arrest you and let the military court handle it. But Dr. Hanson wouldn't like me to do that, and you certainly wouldn't like it." He gestured to the soldier and moved towards the Institute. The soldier untied the leash from the railing, gave it a yank, and followed the captain. Janet stumbled along after them.
Janet was surprised when she was led to the area where the monkeys were kept instead of to the office building. Captain Marcos stopped by an empty cage and the soldier forced her inside and latched the door. Captain Marcos said, "I'm going to have a word with Dr. Hanson. I'll see to you later."
Janet looked up when she felt liquid hitting her back. Her cage was on the lower tier, and the monkey in the cage above her was pissing on her through the wire mesh floor! He was doing it on purpose too, because when she moved he redirected his stream to keep it wetting her. This final humiliation was too much, and Janet broke down and sobbed.
She was crying when Captain Marcos returned over an hour later, but now it was caused by the pain in her arms and shoulders. The soldier took her out of the cage and used the crotch rope to drag her next to a small tree. Captain Marcos had a chain, and he padlocked one end around her neck and the other around the tree. He cut off all the ropes and took out the gag, and then waited until the pain of the returning circulation had eased enough to let Janet pay attention to what he was saying.
"Janet, it appears that you don't know what's required by the security regulations, so you're going to stay chained to this tree until you have memorized them." He handed her a sheaf of papers. "I'll test you once a day, and you will have to be letter-perfect before I'll release you. Lourdes will check on you occasionally, but Dr. Hanson has instructed everyone else to ignore you." He turned and walked away.
Janet begged, "Please don't leave me here, Captain. I'm sorry! I didn't mean to do anything wrong. Please, let me loose." She repeated her pleas until he was out of sight.
A few minutes later Lourdes appeared. Janet was relieved; this had to be the end of this farce. The captain had really scared her, but they couldn't possibly intend to keep her chained up like an animal. "Lourdes! Am I glad to see you! Unchain me so I can shower. I'm covered with monkey piss."
"I'm sorry Janet, but I can't do that. You have to stay here until Captain Marcos releases you."
"You're not serious! He can't do this to me."
"Yes he can, and you should be grateful that he is willing to do so."
"What do you mean? Why should I be grateful for this abuse?"
"Janet, this area is under martial law. The Captain could have arrested you if he had wanted to. You would have been tried by a military court that never acquits anybody arrested by an army officer. You could expect to be sentenced to three or four years of hard labor in some jungle prison camp. You're a pretty girl. Most of your labor would be done on your back"
Janet was shocked. This was the first time in her life that she faced serious consequences for some misdeed. "Oh, Lourdes, I didn't realize I was in such bad trouble. What should I do?"
"Above all, don't annoy the captain. Then memorize the regulations; that's the only thing that will get that chain off your neck. Here, I've brought you some insect repellent and a bottle of water." Lourdes put down the bottles and picked up a hose. "Stand over there away from the tree and I'll spray you. That monkey piss smells terrible."
The water from the hose was warm, and Janet was glad to be clean again. She asked, "Can you get me some clothes?"
"No. In fact, I have to take what you've got on. Captain's orders, so don't argue with me."
Janet reluctantly removed her bikini bottom and gave it to Lourdes. "I missed lunch. Can I have some food?"
"The keeper will feed you when she feeds the rest of the animals. I'm sorry, but you get the same thing they do."
"Monkey chow." Lourdes didn't like this. Janet may have deserved some punishment, but this was rubbing her nose in it. Janet looked stunned, and Lourdes couldn't do anything to help her. Captain Marcos had made it clear that if she interfered with the punishment she would suffer the same fate. She patted Janet's arm and returned to the office.
Janet knelt and wept. Things were happening too fast. A few hours ago she had been part of a team of scientists and was doing useful technical work, and now she was a naked prisoner. She cried for a long time, but eventually she was able to stop and notice her surroundings. Her tree was near the large tree that supported one end of the ape's cables, and the four apes were looking at her with what seemed to be sympathy. Janet waved to them, and when they all waved back she felt her mood lighten. At least somebody cared about her.
Janet may have acted foolishly, but she was no fool, so she diligently studied the copy of the regulations that Captain Marcos had given her. It was written in turgid government-speak, but at least it was in English. She read it over and over, and practiced reciting it. This quickly became boring, and she had to take frequent breaks to keep herself alert.
During these breaks she watched the apes. They looked a lot like chimpanzees except for their smaller size and the brown hair that covered their bodies. Three of the apes looked so much alike that Janet couldn't tell them apart, but one was noticeably larger than the others and had a patch of reddish hair on his head. He seemed to be the dominate male, and Janet named him Big Red. Most of the time the apes were running or wrestling, but occasionally they put their heads together like a football team in a huddle and they seemed to be talking to each other. Janet realized that if what Dr. Hanson had written was accurate they really were talking to each other.
About an hour before sunset the keeper fed the animals. She had a wheelbarrow containing several sacks of monkey chow, and she placed a measured amount of the food into the feeder attached to each monkey cage. When she got to the apes she put the chow into four wooden bowls, and she also gave them some fruit. All Janet got was a wooden bowl half-full of monkey chow. The keeper ignored her so obviously that she didn't even try to talk to her. The monkey chow tasted bad, but Janet was so hungry that she ate it anyway.
The apes had also finished their chow, and now they were eating their fruit. Janet watched them eat and wished that she had some fruit. Big Red picked up a banana and lobbed it over to her. She caught it in the air, and quickly peeled and ate it. Another ape lobbed a banana and she caught and ate it too. When the next banana was tossed she fumbled the catch and it hit the ground. The apes jeered, and she didn't get any more bananas. Janet was glad she got the fruit, but humiliation gave it a bitter taste. When she was a girl she often visited the zoo and fed the animals, and now the animals were amusing themselves by feeding her.
It was getting dark and Janet started to prepare for her first night in the open. There were about two meters of chain between her neck and the tree, and except for a short length of the gravel path all of the area she could reach was bare dirt, packed hard. She went as far away from the path as she could, squatted down, and relieved herself. She had noticed that there wasn't any apeshit on the ground, and she hoped the keeper would clean up after her, too. She put the tree between herself and the impromptu latrine and lay on the ground. She rolled and twisted but couldn't get comfortable until she remembered something she had learned as a Girl Scout. She used the wooden bowl to scoop out two shallow holes to accommodate her hip and her shoulder, and she was finally able to sleep.
The next day Captain Marcos appeared just after lunchtime. Janet remembered what Lourdes had told her, so when he reached her tree she was kneeling and her head was bowed. She was embarrassed to be naked, but she decided she would look foolish if she tried to cover herself with her hands, so she forced them to stay at her sides.
Captain Marcos reveled in this display of submission and nudity, but he was careful to conceal his arousal. "It's time for the test, Janet. Give me the regulations and take this pad of paper and the pen." The exchange was made and he instructed, "You have an hour or so to complete the test. I want you to write the regulations out exactly as they were printed, and spelling counts. You start with a hundred points, and I will take off one or more points for each mistake. Do you understand?"
"Then start writing." Janet sat with her back against the tree and the pad on her lap and started to write. Captain Marcos watched for a few minutes and then wandered away. Janet found it awkward to write without a desk or a table to work on, and she had barely finished when Lourdes appeared.
Lourdes said, "Are you done? Captain Marcos sent me to get the test."
"Yes, here it is. While you're here, could you turn the hose on me? I'm covered with dirt."
Lourdes obliged, and soon Janet was almost clean. After Lourdes left her she sat with her back to the tree with her eyes closed until she heard footsteps on the path. It was Captain Marcos, so she quickly went to her knees.
"Well, Janet, I'm sorry to tell you that you failed. Your score was only 36, and passing is 90."
Janet was disappointed, but not really surprised. "Please sir, can I have my test paper? I'll do better if I can see where I made my mistakes."
"All right, that seems fair. I'll see you tomorrow."
Over the next week Janet had test scores of 49, 55, 61, 73, 69, 78, and 83. She was starting to believe that she would never get the chain off her neck. She wondered if she could seduce Captain Marcos into letting her loose. He was attractive, and she hadn't had sex with a man since she broke up with her boyfriend over a year ago. But it seemed to be too much like prostitution, so she decided not to do it.
The next day her score was 89. To come so close was heartbreaking, and Janet spent most of the afternoon crying. The loneliness and the physical discomforts were wearing her down. Her failure was especially disheartening because she knew the regulations, and her mistakes were now just random spelling errors.
At feeding time she ate her monkey chow and was going to lie down and cry herself to sleep when a hoot from an ape attracted her attention. Big Red had a banana and was waving to her. She stood up and put her hands out to catch it, but he shook his head. He knelt, and made an up and down motion with his hand. Janet was puzzled, and then guessed that he wanted her to kneel too. She did so, and he clapped and tossed her the banana. She ate it and looked for more. Now Big Red was sitting, so she did the same and was rewarded with another banana.
Next Big Red knelt with his back to her and his forehead on the ground. His bare rump was his most prominent feature. Janet hesitated, but then she assumed the same position. Big Red tossed her another banana. The next position was the same, but this time with knees spread apart. Janet did this too, even though she knew it made her pussy protrude behind her. She got another banana, but this one wasn't lobbed, it was thrown hard, and it made a direct hit on her pussy. The apes hooted and pounded Red on the back. Janet decided she'd had enough humiliation for this day. She took the banana and moved so her tree shielded her from the apes.
The next afternoon at test time Lourdes appeared instead of Captain Marcos. She unlocked the padlock and took the chain off Janet's neck. "Captain Marcos decided that your score was good enough, and your punishment is over. Dr. Hanson said to rest in your room until dinner time."
Janet hugged Lourdes. "Oh, thank you! I'm so grateful for all you've done for me." She would have been even more grateful if she knew that Lourdes had let Captain Marcos spend the night in her bed in return for Janet's release, but Lourdes didn't mention it.
Before she left the area Janet said goodbye to her friends the apes. She waved, and they all waved back. She sensed that something was out of place, but she didn't realize what it was until she had reached her room. Then she knew: last night, Big Red had been fastened to the cable nearest the path, and this morning he was fastened to the cable farthest from the path. Janet pondered this, and then she decided that either the keeper had moved him without her noticing, even though she had been awake since dawn, or she was mistaken and he had always been on the farthest cable.
That evening at dinner Dr. Hanson made some announcements. "I'm sure everyone has noticed that Janet is back with us. She made a serious mistake, but her punishment is over now and it won't be mentioned again. On another topic, we've had another theft. Last night somebody stole the wheelbarrow and a load of chow from the monkey area. I can't understand it, because these are not items that would normally be pilfered. Everyone please be alert for anything unusual."
* * *
Janet spent another week transcribing notes and then she was rotated to another job, working with the monkeys and apes. One afternoon, a few days after she started working in the monkey area, she heard crying coming from the jungle not far from her punishment tree. She followed the sound until she saw that it was being made by a young ape standing alone close to the edge of the clearing. It was holding its left arm, and Janet could see blood. She looked around for the keeper or anybody else, but she was alone. She walked slowly towards the ape, and it let her approach to within a few meters before it moved into the jungle. Janet saw that it was limping badly, so she followed.
She pushed through the undergrowth that edged the clearing. After she had gone a few meters she was surprised to find a trail. The injured ape was standing on it just ahead of her. She tried to get close enough to grab it, but it managed to stay out of her reach. Janet noticed that the ape's limp was getting worse, so she was confident that she could catch it eventually. Finally, after they had gone over two hundred meters along the trail, the ape stopped and sat down. Janet crept to within a meter, but before she could pounce the ape was up and running down the trail.
Janet sprinted after it, but on her third step a hidden rope tripped her and she fell face down. Before she could move apes jumped out of the undergrowth. Some held on to her arms and legs, and two who had ropes each slipped a noose over Janet's head and tightened it around her neck. The ropes were carried to opposite sides of the trail, wrapped around small trees, and pulled tight. Janet couldn't breathe, and she started to black out. Other ropes were tied to her wrists, and she couldn't keep her hands and elbows from being tied together behind her back. Once she was helpless the nooses were loosened.
The apes were making noises that could only be described as cheering. Finally one of the apes shouted until the others had quieted down. He issued some orders. Janet's ankles were hobbled and she was helped to her feet. An ape in front of her held one of the ropes on her neck and an ape behind her held the other. She tried to say something, but as soon as she started to talk the nooses were pulled tight. The boss ape gave her a shove in the back and she shuffled down the trail.
Janet walked for a long time, and the trail had so many branches and turns that she had no idea where she was. Finally they arrived at an area where the undergrowth had been cleared away. Janet was led next to a hut with walls made of leaves and branches and a thatched roof made from palm fronds.
The boss ape forced her to kneel and then he went into the hut and brought out a rusty chain and two padlocks. He padlocked one end of the chain around her neck and the other end was padlocked to a staple that had been driven into a log. Two apes acted as guards, and they kept Janet on her knees while dozens of apes of all ages and sexes trooped past her. It was like a zoo, and she was the star attraction.
Several hours passed. Only the ropes on her neck had been removed, and Janet's arms and shoulders were hurting her badly. Her hands were numb, and she was starting to worry about gangrene. Her neck still hurt from the near-strangulation. She tried to stand to relieve the pressure on her knees, but one of the guards had a staff made of bamboo, and he rained blows on her bottom and thighs until she was kneeling again. A young ape approached with a stick in his hand, but a guard drove him off before could hit Janet; beating her was evidently a pleasure that was not available to everyone.
Janet was so distracted by her pain that she didn't notice the woman until she heard a voice say, "Oh, God. Not another one!" The speaker was a naked human female, with long blond hair, tanned skin, and a lean, muscular body. A chain was padlocked around her neck, with the other end locked to the wheelbarrow she was pushing. Another chain hobbled her ankles, and rope wrapped around her torso pinned her elbows to her sides. The boss ape made some sounds and the woman pushed the wheelbarrow to a hut and dumped its load of tubers. Then the boss ape unlocked the chain from the wheelbarrow and locked it to the staple that held Janet's chain. He untied the woman's elbows.
There was another command from the boss ape and the woman started to untie Janet's arms. Janet asked, "Are you Barbara or Gloria? And have you been a captive here since you disappeared?"
"Yes, and I'm Barbara. Welcome to the planet of the apes." Her words were jocular, but her voice revealed the tension caused by fear. When Janet was untied she said, "I have to take your clothes. If you resist you'll be beaten and they'll be ripped off."
Janet had expected this when she saw that the other woman was naked, so she cooperated as best she could, although the pain in her arms was excruciating. "My name is Janet. Where's Gloria? Were you captured together?"
"They caught Gloria two weeks after they got me. She's dead now." Barbara paused, a look of pain on her face. "I don't like to think about it, but I don't want it to happen to you."
"What do you mean? How did she die?"
"You have to understand. The apes are merciless. Gloria was too proud to submit to animals. No matter what they wanted her to do, no matter what they did to her, she refused to obey. One time they had her hitched to a plow, but she wouldn't move. They beat her until her back and legs were bloody, but she still wouldn't submit. I begged her to give in, but she just looked at me with contempt. Finally the apes decided she wasn't worth feeding and they killed her. But they used her death to condition me." Barbara pointed to a sapling near the center of the clearing. It had been cut off about a meter above the ground and the end had been sharpened. Dark stains covered the point. "They impaled her. Her weight on the point drove it into her pussy and ripped up her insides. She took hours to die. She was quiet at first, but before long she was screaming. The apes made me watch. I just can't watch it happen again. Please, do what they want, no matter how revolting it is."
Janet was horrified. Was it going to happen to her? Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of apes cheering, and she was astounded to see Big Red stride into the clearing. He was immediately surrounded by the cheering apes as he made his way across the clearing towards Janet. The boss ape was very deferential as he replied to a query by Big Red. Big Red motioned to Janet as he had done the last time he gave her bananas. Janet guessed what he wanted and knelt. He clapped and then rubbed the back of her head. He scuffed the dirt until he found some large white grubs and ate all but one. This one he put on the palm of his hand and held it in front of Janet's mouth. She hesitated, and then picked it up with her lips and ate it. Big Red patted her head.
The next day Janet started her new life as a draft animal. She and Barbara did most of the heavy work around the settlement, work that would be done by horses on a human's farm. They were always chained, and usually tied. At first Janet was beaten often, but as she learned the ape's commands she was able to understand what they wanted of her and the beatings stopped. She never refused an order; she felt herself to be so degraded that further humiliation was not possible.
As the weeks went by Janet learned to function without the pain of thinking. Physically, she was in good condition. She got a lot of exercise. Her staple food was monkey chow, which was scientifically designed to provide all of the nutrients that a primate needed, and it was supplemented by fruit and tubers grown by the apes. Big Red treated her as a pet, and he frequently rewarded her with tasty grubs. She had expected to be tormented by insects, but at regular intervals Big Red had her chew some bitter leaves that caused her body to exude an odor that repelled the insects.
Except for their driver the apes mostly ignored Janet and Barbara, but Barbara noticed that there was one ape who spent a lot of time observing them, both when they were working and when they were in their shelter. This ape was female and she appeared to be Big Red's mate, because all of the other apes deferred to her. She took advantage of her position and was so domineering that Barbara named her 'Princess'. Princess seemed to pay close attention when Barbara and Janet were talking together. These conversations were mostly one-sided, with Barbara doing most of the talking, because Janet was too depressed to do more than occasionally nod or answer in monosyllables.
After a hard morning pulling a plow that the apes had built from wood and scrap metal, a sweaty Barbara was returned to the palm-thatched shelter that she and Janet shared. She and Janet were usually teamed together for this kind of heavy work, but Janet had eaten a bad grub the previous night and had been so sick this morning that their driver had let her rest. Janet was kneeling on the pile of leaves that served as a bed, the neck chain that tethered her to a tree dangling between her breasts. She was pale and stared at nothing. Barbara was alarmed and waited impatiently while the driver locked a chain around her neck. When he finally released her from the rope harness she idly rubbed her chafed wrists and went to Janet and hugged her. "Janet! What's wrong?"
"I can't take any more of this. I want to die."
"Janet! You can't give up. We'll escape somehow. You've got to believe that."
Janet shook the chain locked around her neck. "How can we escape? We're never free of these chains. We don't know the way to the Institute and our ankles are hobbled. Escape is impossible. I knew that grub was bad when I ate it. I hoped it would kill me."
"Please don't say that, Janet. I couldn't bear it if you died." Barbara started to cry.
Both women were startled when Princess appeared and hugged them. She patted Janet on her head and wiped away Barbara's tears with her finger. She left them for a few minutes and then returned and gave each of them a banana. This was so amazing that they laughed. When she heard this Princess clapped and smiled. She patted their heads and made soothing sounds until they smiled.
Once the heat of midday had passed Janet and Barbara were put back in harness. The harness was a belt of woven rope that tied around the hips, with more rope over the shoulders and through the crotch. Their wrists were tied to the belt just in back of their hips. The driver led them into the forest and hitched them to a fallen log with rope traces that were tied to the back of the belt.
Barbara didn't like the looks of this. The log was big, and the ground was soft. When the driver gave them the signal she and Janet pulled as hard as they could, but the log didn't move. The driver shouted at them, and then started beating them with a bamboo rod. Barbara was closest to the driver, so she received most of the blows. She screamed as the driver's rod cut into her back, and she heard Janet scream as the driver lashed her too.
Barbara heard an ape shouting and the beating stopped. Princess berated the driver until he released them from the log and took them back to the shelter. She went away for a while, but returned soon after Janet and Barbara had been chained to the tree and unharnessed. Both of them were lying face down on the leaves and moaning. Princess applied a poultice of mashed leaves to their welts and gave the women other leaves to chew. The pain faded and they slept.
Barbara woke up when Princess shook her shoulder. She didn't know how long she had been asleep, but now it was dark except for moonlight that filtered through the leaves. Janet was already awake and sitting up. Barbara didn't know what was happening, and a hand over her mouth stopped her questions before they started. Something felt strange and then she realized what it was: she was free of all the chains she had worn for so long. Princess led the women out of the shelter and onto a trail. The three of them walked for a long time, but finally they pushed through a few meters of undergrowth and were back in the clearing at the Institute.
Princess tugged at Barbara's hair and when she bent over whispered in her ear. The accent was bad, but Barbara could make out the words: "We people. You people." Then Princess ran back into the jungle.
The sky was just starting to brighten in the east as Janet and Barbara walked down the path towards the Institute buildings. They passed the punishment tree and Janet saw that three apes were chained to the cables. She signaled Barbara to wait and got a key out of the feed shed and unchained the apes, who immediately ran into the jungle. "Now let's go tell Dr. Hanson what he has created. If he had plans to sell apes he's going to have to revise them."
"Yes. And if he doubts that the apes are the same as humans we can show him the welts on our backs."
Copyright© 2001, 2002 by Zack. All rights reserved. 022211
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