In the clutches of the aliens
Agent K strained against the duct tape around her wrists and ankles. Any minute now the aliens would return and question her about the code she had been passing when they intercepted her. If only she had thought to sling her rotating yarn cutter around her neck this morning! She could have used it about now to cut through her bonds. True, the duct tape would have left the cutter gummy and useless, but that was a small price to pay for freedom.
She paused in her labor and tilted her head to one side, listening. She couldn’t see anything through the blindfold, but the aliens made nasty squelching sounds when they moved. She would hear them easily when they came back.
Agent K would have gritted her teeth in determination, had they not shoved a less-than-clean gag in her mouth. As it was, she tried not to think about where the cloth had been before her mouth. If she got out of this she would rinse her mouth clean with one of the most caustic substances known to man – Coca Cola.
But first she had to escape before they could torture her into giving up the codes used by the Agency. She rocked her chair back and forth cautiously, testing the limits of the wood. If she could break the chair …
“It’s no use, Agent K,” said a sinister voice. “You are our prisoner, and you will not escape us!”
Rats. They had somehow managed to sneak up on her. Their approach must have been masked by the creaking of the chair.
“We will have that code, now, Agent K,” continued the voice, ominously. “We know you work for the Agency. We know you are its most trusted agent and have the information we are looking for. Tell us now, and we may not harm you.”
“Gwowmph, gnwou astierms,” growled Agent K.
“Oh, oops, sorry, forgot the gag for a moment there,” the alien said. Agent K shivered as a slimy tentacle slid the gag out of her mouth.
“I’m not going to tell you anything!” spat Agent K.
“We’ll see about that,” the alien said. He (it?) touched her again, this time to remove the blindfold. “You see, we are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to get what we need.”
Agent K stared in horror. Two aliens were in the room with her, one of which was leering at her in triumph. The other held a delicate Shetland lace shawl in its tentacles. It was one of those shawls that were so fine that it could be drawn through a wedding ring. This one appeared to be of museum quality. The Agency had several on display at headquarters, for inspiration of the agents. They were some of the finest examples of Agency work. Countless agents had passed them and been inspired to do great deeds of knitting.
The alien held the shawl by one tentacle. Agent K was grimly pleased that the tentacle looked like it had broken out in hives. Whatever these aliens had planned for her, it wasn’t going to be all fun and games for them, either!
The alien in charge (Agent K decided to call him “Eustace” in her head) gestured at the subordinate alien (“Percy”).
“My confederate here is prepared to unravel this piece of lace if you do not reveal the code to us.” Eustace shuddered at the word “lace.” Apparently even speaking about knitting gave the aliens hives. Agent K took what comfort she could in that.
“You wouldn’t,” Agent K said defiantly. “You know that the Agency would pursue you to the ends of the galaxy if you dared destroy such a piece as that!”
“Your precious Agency will be destroyed!” roared Eustace. “You WILL reveal the codes to us! We will be victorious!”
Agent K watched sourly as Eustace and Percy wiggled and jiggled with glee. Really, it was like watching a jello mold when someone bumped a table. Disgusting!
“If you’re quite finished,” Agent K ground out. “You know that I will not give up the codes. Those codes are a sacred duty. I will not betray my Agency in such a vile way, and to such vile creatures as yourselves!” Agent K drew herself up as tall as she was able, given the duct tape.
Eustace turned and focused his eyestalk on her. “We will get codes.” The eyestalk swiveled around to the other alien. “Snip the bind-off edge. Don’t rip quite yet. Hold it in place, but just snip it through.”
“NO!” shouted Agent K. She struggled violently against her bonds as Percy picked up a pair of scissors and awkwardly maneuvered them into place. He appeared to be having problems with the scissors. Eustace glared at him.
“Sorry, boss,” apologized Percy. “I’m left-tentacled, and these dumb things are made for the right-tentacled. Why do the right-tentacled get all the breaks?”
“JUST CUT IT!” snapped Eustace.
“Right, boss,” said Percy. He moved the scissors into place, ignoring Agent K’s agonized cries.
“You’ll pay for that,” Agent K snarled. “If it’s the last thing I do, you’ll pay for that.”
“It’s not irreparably ruined,” Eustace said with a honeyed tone. “If you just tell us the codes, we’ll let you repair it. We have a couple of crochet hooks and darning needles. No one need know that it was ever damaged.”
Agent K stared at him, trying to think fast. If she didn’t do anything soon, they would ruin that beautiful lace. She swallowed hard.
“Can … can I have a few minutes to think about it?” she whispered. “I … I can’t bear to watch such a beautiful piece of work destroyed, but how can I betray my Agency? Please, give me a few minutes to reflect.”
“Very well,” Eustace said, certain he had won. “We’ll give you twenty minutes. When we return, either you would tell us the codes, or we will rip the lace. It’s up to you.”
Percy laid the lace and scissors back down on the table, and he and Eustace squelched out of the cell, closing and looking the door behind them.
Agent K had to work fast. She scooted the chair over to the table, and managed to pick the scissors up in her mouth. Eustace and Percy were luckily not that bright and had left them on the table, to Agent K’s relief. This would be much harder if they hadn’t left her a sharp cutting edge.
She managed to maneuver the scissors into perfect cutting position and cut through the tape. Thank goodness she had practiced just this maneuver thousands of times before. The Agency didn’t believe in half-trained field agents! Agent K ripped the duct tape off of her wrists and ankles, wincing as a good bit of hair and skin came with it. She gingerly picked up the lace and inspected the damaged area. Fortunately it had not come undone beyond the snipped spot. Agent K slid the emergency darning needle and a short length of yarn out of the hollowed-out heel of her boot and made emergency repairs. It would hold for now, so she stuffed it down her shirt. She looked like she had gained quite a bit in the bosom area, but hopefully it wasn’t too obvious.
Next she looked around her prison. There was a window, fortunately large enough for her to squeeze through, if she didn’t mind a bit of scraping. There was a power line attached to the building just outside of her window. She could just make it.
She kicked off her shoe and slid her handknitted knee-high sock off her leg. It had been reinforced with stainless steel for just such a need. She looked at it sadly. It had taken her a long time to knit it, and it would likely be ruined by what she was about to do. But it was in a good cause.
Agent K put her shoe back on her now bare foot, leaned out the window, and slung her sock over the power line. Taking a deep breath, she pushed out from the window and slid down the power line, using the sock as zipline.
She tumbled to the ground just as she heard a roar of rage from the room she had just escaped from. She looked up to see Eustace standing in the window, waving his tentacles in fury.
“See you around, Eustace!” she called, waved at him, and ran off into the night.
“Eustace?” the alien paused, surprised. “Why’’d she call me Eustace? My name is Percy!”