New to Quest Five?
The stories are best enjoyed when read in order beginning with May 1, 2009.

Welcome To Quest Five
Allison Beaumont is having trouble finding a job after college until one day the wealthy and powerful Joseph Candle offers her a job at his rather unusual corporation, where mistakes can lead to bare bottomed spankings. Adopting the alias of Virginia West, she joins four highly skilled colleagues, racing around the globe in search of mysterious treasures, but wherever she goes, trouble is sure to follow.
Note: Some stories contain scenes of a sexual nature, corporal punishment, non-consensual corporal punishment, and strong language which some reader's may find offensive. If you feel this material might be inappropriate for you please move on to another blog by clicking the next blog link at the top of the page.

November 25, 2009

Casting Shadows: Dreams & Doubts

I was lucky or so I was told, having escaped without any serious injuries from the hours I was held captive and tortured. I was not certain I agreed with the medical assertion, my back, shoulders and arms felt as if every muscle had been systemically pulled, strained, ripped, torn, and rearranged and then there was my backside. Sitting , standing, laying, position did not matter, my buttocks ached and throbbed worse than anytime I could remember, but that was not all the fault of Olivia or the man in the shadows. Dr. Michaels had his share in that blame as did Jack, although it seemed unwise to point the fact out to either man.

The combination of physical strain and drugs on my system had left me exhausted. Kyra had been kind enough to help me back to our room where I promptly crashed on the creaky bed and fell into a deep sleep. Not surprisingly, my mind wrestled with the unresolved mysteries of my recent experiences, in the form of nightmares.

Confined to an ethereal existence in the form of a child, I watched family and friends scurrying about their lives as if I had never been a part of them. I tried to talk to them, but my words floated passed their ears, unheard. I reached out to touch them and my fingers slipped through their bodies as they walked on through mine. My every attempt to connect ended in failure and added to an ever increasing sense of frustration that should have resulted in tears, but even that luxury was denied me. Faster and faster the world moved on without me, leaving me in a blur of color, sound and motion overwhelming my senses until I was as numb to the world as it was to me.

With nothing left to cling to I floated away into the sky where I soared from the highest peaks of mountains down to the surface of the calmest blue seas. A large, white yacht caught my eye and I changed my course to investigate it as a curious feeling of familiarity washed over me. On the bow, I recognized the face of Alexander Kemp staring out over the railing at the sea ahead and consequently me. Next to him, Olivia leaned with her back against the chrome railing, obviously more interested in something happening on the deck.

She was wore nothing except for her combat boots, but she gave no indication that she minded. Her buttocks were covered with horizontal, red, glowing weals and yet she smiled as if there was no pain to accompany the marks. In her hand, she held a champagne flute, half full and half empty. I drifted to a stop above her, she lifted the glass and nodded at me before taking another sip which oddly did nothing to change its fullness or emptiness. Her attention quickly shifted away from me and back to the scene unfolding on the deck.

Joseph Candle stood in the middle of the deck holding a thick leather strap in his hand. His face was customarily stoic, but his eyes were glowing with glee. Next to him a wooden sawhorse, painted white, rose up from steel joints connecting it to the deck. A naked woman lay, stretched and exposed, bent in half over the sawhorse with her buttocks pointing at the sky. Impossible as it was, the woman was me and she smiled up at me from the down low gaze through her widely spread legs.

He raised the strap in the air and paused to glance up at me with a crooked smile spreading out his thin lips. I tired to scream at him, but no sounds came forth. The strap crashed down on the upturned buttocks and a red stripe rose to the surface as the leather slipped away to rest once more next to Mr. Candle's perfectly pressed, black pant leg. Floating above, I felt the rising sting and burn of the spank as if it had hit me directly. The me below, continued to smile as if the entire experience was joyful and painless.

Reaching back I tried to rub the sting away, but just as no one seemed able to connect with me, I was unable to connect with myself. Mr. Candle nodded up at me from his place below and his eyes flashed with evil mischief while he raised the leather strap once more. Looking at me the whole time, he whipped the leather down across the me bent and waiting before him. Over and over he lashed the strap down on my trembling buttocks and the me below continued to smile while the me above writhed in silent throws of pain. There were no tears, no screams and absolutely no escape.

I awoke with a thud on the floor beside the bed. My sleep filled eyes blinked the blurry room into focus until it became clear I had rolled my way out of bed, physically manifesting the writhing in my dream. I shook my head at myself, wondering just how many years it had been since I had managed to actually roll myself out of bed in my sleep. It took a moment of sitting there on the floor, but soon my recently spanked buttocks were letting me know just how little they appreciated my landing on them. If it had not hurt quite so much, it would have been funny. As it was though, tears stung at the corners of my eyes.

The room was empty and the sheets on Kyra's bed were shoved down to the foot. From the light shining in through the closed blinds, I guessed it was morning and the digital clock on the nightstand next to the bed confirmed it. I hoped no one would object to my sleeping in for the morning, but if they did, they would probably be sorry because it was already feeling like a day in which thoughts and spoken words were likely to blend into one. It certainly was not the best ways of dealing, but even my parents eventually learned to leave me alone on such days. Jack and the others will just have to learn as well.

A long soak in a hot tub of water was what I really needed, but I settled for a hot shower. The steady stream of steamy water felt like paradise washing over my naked skin. Taunt, tortured muscles in my back, shoulders, and arms began to relax and release their extraneous tension. Closing my eyes, I dipped my head beneath the stream and let the water envelop me completely. Like walking through a waterfall, I came out on the other side transformed and invigorated.

With soap and water I scrubbed away the last vestiges of nightmares and dreams alike. My thoughts turned away from chains and straps of leather. There were more important mysteries to peruse and problems needing solving. Plaguing my mind most significantly was the question of the identity of the man in the shadows. No doubt existed in my mind that a connection between him and Joseph Candle existed, but were they the same man? It was unfortunately, frighteningly possible and yet despite the evidence I had seen with my own eyes, a part of me was left with doubt.

It was all far too complicated for my liking, but the voice was what stuck in my head and the man in the shadows had a familiar voice to me, but it was not Joseph Candle's voice, not unless he altered it somehow. No, the voice harkened back to childhood memories and that was what frightened me the most. I could not place it but I knew it and consequently that meant I had to know him as well. The thought brought another one with it which was almost as troublesome; Since meeting Joseph Candle it has been clear he knows things about me and my family he should not know and the deeper I get involved in his quest, the more obvious it seems that a deeper connection exists between us that I am, for some strange reason, totally unaware.

Out of the shower I wrapped the flimsy white, hotel towel around myself and made my way back to the main room to find some lotion. Kyra always seemed to have some with her and I was beginning to realize it was probably a good idea to make sure I did as well. Between the bad soaps, various climates, and less than occasional spankings, lotion was turning out to be almost as necessary as lipstick. Kyra must have anticipated my need because the bottle was easy to find, sitting out on the nightstand between our beds. I could definitely have used her help in applying it but then I guess she probably had more important work to do and even if she did not, she has not exactly been the friendly sort around me. Then again, she had left the lotion out.

How I missed it at first, I do not know, but when I turned around to use my bed as an aide in lotion application, I discovered a blue dress had been laid out on it with a handwritten note on top. The note told me it was from Mr. Barker and that I was allowed to break uniform and wear it for the day. Why Jack had signed the note so formally as Mr. Barker was definitely a curiosity, but I quickly tossed it aside with the note, happy to have something less tight and constricting from the typical business attire for the day.

The dress fit loosely and seemed to flow smoothly with my every move as if it had been custom tailored for me. Sleeveless and opened back, the straps holding it in place could hardly be felt at all and it was almost like wearing nothing except modesty was preserved. I decided the first order of business was definitely to thank Jack personally for the thought and the dress. With all that had happened in the last few days I had begun to think he might be hating me, but I guess he knows the difference between being a boss and being a friend and apparently, when to be which. I could probably learn a thing or two from him on that front.

Jack's door was propped opened when I arrived. He was sitting inside at a small round table by the window. The shades were open, providing a view of the city outside, but Jack was not enjoying it. He was studying the contents inside a manila file which he closed and set aside when he noticed me in his doorway. A forced smile came to his lips which I returned, stepping inside the room and moving closer to him.

"I see you found the dress," Jack said.

"Yes," I said. "It was very thoughtful of you. Thank you."

"You're welcome. How are you feeling?" He asked.

There was genuine concern showing in his eyes. It was touching to think he actually cared, but there was an awkwardness between us, probably caused by the trouble I had caused in the past. We had more important things to discuss, work to do, we both knew it, and yet there was more between us which needed resolving.

"I'm fine," I said.

I was feeling a lot of things and most of them were not constructive or helpful in anyway and the more complicated answer would probably have confused us a both. Brevity seemed like the best choice, but when Jack looked away from me and back at the closed file in front of him, I realized it might have been a mistake. He had not asked his question as a polite courtesy and I had replied as if he had. I might as well have slapped him for his effort.

"Good," Jack said, bristling slightly in his chair. "Were you able to learn anything while they held you?"

His demeanor changed from that of compassionate friend to somber boss. Mentally, I kicked myself for pushing him away when I really could have used a few minutes with a friend. It was too late to go back though and there was no way of knowing what that other path might have brought. I tried to compose myself and focus on the job, but my thoughts lingered on Jack.

"They weren't interested in Arctic ice, melting or otherwise," I said.

"Is that supposed to mean something?" Jack asked, tilting his head at me in a way suggesting impatience.

"I met the man who is likely the one pulling the strings behind Olivia and Kemp's actions," I said.

"Can you identify him?" He asked.

I shook my head.

"No, he kept to the shadows so I never got a good look at his face," I said.

Jack sighed and shook his head, looking down at the table.

"I think Mr. Candle must know him," I said.

Jack looked back up at me with squinted eyes as if he was trying to determine if I was being serious or not.

"What makes you say that?" He asked.

"A hunch mostly, but the two men have a lot in common," I said.

"That doesn't mean they know each other," Jack said.

"Ordinarily you would be right," I said.

"Yes," Jack said, as if it were the most natural conclusion in the world.

"But these men are partaking in the exact same quest. I know why Mr. Candle is doing this and from that I can extrapolate possibilities as to why this other man is involved, but all of those possibilities almost certainly imply the two men are not only aware of each other, but are in fact acquainted and probably closely," I said.

"Sounds like a bunch of conjecture to me. I've told you before to be careful who you point fingers at," Jack said.

"They wear the same shoes, the same trousers, the same belt and belt buckle," I said. "They both have a predilection toward spanking those they consider beneath them and they are both searching for the exact same artifacts which are all connected to a much larger puzzle."

I stepped closer to the table and leaned down on it so my face was level with Jack's. He met my gaze with his own and instead of pulling back he leaned forward, closing the gap between us even more. I could smell his aftershave and practically taste his lips as each of us dared the other to do or say something more.

"I once mentioned Joseph Candle could be our leak," I said. "I'm telling you now, I have real reason to suspect he is in fact that person, whether he knows it or not. We cannot trust him."

"We work for him," Jack said.

"That's not what he told me when I took this job," I said. "Joseph Candle may give us our mission but this team works for you, Jack."

He leaned back in his chair and I straightened back up from leaning on the table. Jack started to nod looking up at me and then laid his hands back on the table. With a deep breath he pushed himself up from the table and came to stand next me. His shoulders were straight and a touch of tension could be seen in his stance but his face was mostly relaxed with the corners of his mouth upturned, suggesting, but not in fact being, a smile. He turned his head to look me straight on.

"An excellent distinction," He said. "However, in your current position I think it might be more appropriate if you addressed me as Mr. Barker."

The formality of his signature on the note suddenly became more clear.

"Of course," I said. "Sir."

"That will do also," Jack said, a hint of teasing flickering in his eyes while he smiled at me. "In fact, I think I like it."

"I thought you might," I said, glancing downward, unable to continue to meet his bold gaze.

"That's because you are a very perceptive and intelligent woman," Jack said.

I smiled at the floor and then at Jack as I grew bolder myself.

"I like the sound of that," I said.

"Good let's put it to some use and see if we can't figure out your mystery man's next move," Jack said.

"Easter Island," I said. "But he doesn't know what he's looking for."

"And you do?" Jack asked.

"I just might," I said.


  1. Ashley, an interesting change of perspective.
    Does Mr Candle have a twin and are they both in a race to find his daughter?
    Warm hugs,

  2. Ash,

    Good post nice to see Jack complimenting V,wondering the same thing which one will find his daughter first