All Mindy could feel was intense fear and pain, then she realized they had stopped. Jorge let out a groan from his seat.
“Jorge?” Mindy called. She could taste blood in her mouth and was crying in terror.
“Mindy!” Jorge replied.
“Daddy?” Mindy called again. “Daddy?”
Mr. Parker gave no answer. With trembling hands, Mindy unfastened her seatbelt and tried to get to her feet. Her head hurt, but seemed to just be bumped. The lifejacket had protected her neck and body to minimize injury. She turned around and screamed, and then just kept screaming until she fell to the floor in tears.
“Mindy?” Jorge couldn’t see behind him, and he scrambled to his feet. His wrists and his head hurt, but otherwise he seemed to be fine. He went over to her. Then he saw the back of the plane, or rather, the lack of the back of the plane. Directly behind Mindy and Jorge’s seats, the metal had been rent asunder and all they could see behind them was the dim rainforest.
“I don’t understand,” Jorge said. “This should not have happened.”
“Huh?” Mindy asked, between breaths.
“It’s very odd that the back of the plane has been almost… what is the word? Vaporized. But the front of the plane has been left intact,” Jorge said.
“What do you mean?” Mindy asked.
“Usually, the whole plane would be like this,” he pointed at the metal fragments, “or it would all be like this.” He pointed at the part of the plane that they had been in.
“You—you think they got to us?” she asked.
“Yes.” He pointed to the blast. It centered around where Maria had been put when she was tranquilized.
“I think Maria maybe was working for the Mafia,” Jorge said grimly. “Remember what she said before she was tranquilized? She said she needed to get her phone off the plane.”
“Do you think it was a bomb?” Mindy asked in horror.
“No. But I think it had something inside that could affect the plane’s engines,” he said.
“Come, get only what you need to survive, we need to get away from here,” he said. Mindy snapped her suitcase open. She knew she couldn’t carry it and they needed to be able to run. Jessa, Mindy’s best friend, had been a big fan of Lost, and Mindy had watched enough episodes with Jessa to understand that people ran around a lot after plane crashes. Mindy took out her Louis Vuitton backpack and filled it with underwear, fresh clothes, and her iPad, a handful of cosmetics, as well as the memory stick with her computer backup from home. It was cool but not freezing cold, so Mindy changed into a pair of barely worn trainers and put a jacket over her blue T-shirt. She kept her designer jeans on and tied her hair back.
Jorge was busy raiding the hostess cupboard for bottles of water and food.
“Do you have room in your bag?” he asked. She nodded. “Here, take these bottles.” He gave her two bottles of water, which she stuffed in, then zipped the bag up.
“What about, like, the pilots and Bea?” Mindy asked.
“They’re all in the cockpit,” he replied.
“Alive?” she asked.
“No,” he said sadly. “We must get moving and get out of sight of the plane.”
“What about daddy?” she asked, trying her best to stay calm.
They climbed out of the back of the plane. The ground was littered with tiny fragments of crumpled metal and other things.
“There’s nothing left… is there?” she said numbly.
Mindy was not making a sound. Jorge turned around, and her soft eyes met his dark ones. Tears were running down her face.
“I am sorry, but there is no chance that your father or Maria survived the crash,” he said. “We must try to make sure we don’t get caught in the crossfire.”
“Come, there will be time for tears later.” He took her hand and led her away from the site.
They started walking. It was dark, and there were strange noises coming from the forest that terrified Mindy. At one point something flew very close to her face; in the dark, she flinched. Mindy felt like she was dreaming, and she hoped fervently that she would awaken in her own bed. With each passing minute, Mindy felt more and more tired. She trudged onwards, her trainers dragging through dead leaves. After about forty minutes, Mindy flopped down on the ground.
“I can’t do this,” she said. “I’m too tired.”
“You can do this, and you must,” Jorge said. “Get up, Mindy.”
“I told you, I totally, completely, utterly can’t keep going. I like, have to rest,” she said.
“I cannot leave you,” Jorge said. “We have to keep moving.”
“I can’t!” she shouted through gritted teeth.
Jorge’s eyes darkened.
“If you shout loud enough, then whoever destroyed the plane, if they are looking for it to check that we all died, they will hear you. Then they will come and kill us both,” he said.
Mindy folded her arms.
“Fine. You leave me no choice.” Jorge hoisted Mindy effortlessly and was sitting on the ground with her over his knee in seconds. She tried to wriggle free.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
A swat on her behind suddenly grabbed her attention. It was hard and stung slightly, causing her to gasp in shock. Nobody had ever laid a hand on her before, not even her own father. Before she could say anything else, Jorge had started to give her a full spanking, with his muscular arm and large, work-hardened hand. The smacks felt hard, as his firm hand made contact with her soft bottom, and although she tried to escape, Jorge held her strongly and continued spanking her. She tossed her head in distress and had to catch her breath because she’d never felt anything like it before. To her intense shame and horror, she felt herself becoming wet, and her pussy spasmed briefly at the thought that he might fuck her after this punishment. These thoughts were blasted away as he continued to administer the firm spanking.
“Why are you doing this?” Mindy asked, her breathing labored. Jorge didn’t answer her. Mindy knew exactly why he was doing this, and she felt like she had been waiting her entire life for someone to do it. Jorge was strong, powerful; she knew he could protect her in this rainforest. She had let him down. She had not tried hard enough, and she felt like her soul was being scrubbed clean.
“Please stop. I’ll try harder,” she said, on the verge of tears.
“I don’t think the lesson has sunk in yet,” Jorge said, his thick cappuccino accent making Mindy’s insides melt, even in the height of her distress.
She started crying fairly soon after that, but he kept going. Her bottom felt like it was on fire.
“You will follow instructions from now on, Mindy,” he said. “I am your only hope of survival. Do you understand?”
“There will be no more shouting, no more refusals, no more arguing. You will just follow.”
She nodded again.
“I—I will follow instructions from now on,” she said, her face partly buried in her hands. She was still crying. Her bottom burned, and she desperately felt that she needed to rub it.
“Very good. Now we must get walking,” Jorge said, and she nodded again.
She had felt something stir inside her when he had spanked her, something warm. Now she was confused. Could she… she didn’t want to admit it to herself; it was too much to think about right now. But the thought popped up unbidden that she might be attracted to Jorge. She felt guilty for even thinking it, since she was still trying to digest the news about her father.
She was exhausted, her feet ached, and her whole body felt slow and unresponsive, but she was keen to avoid another spanking so she pushed herself on. No sooner had they started walking than she rubbed her bottom vigorously, making sure Jorge wasn’t looking.
Jorge kept looking back at Mindy, presumably to make sure she was still behind him. Every time she saw his head turn, she stopped rubbing because it felt so undignified. Mindy kept looking back the way they’d come, to make sure they weren’t being followed.
They walked for hours, before Jorge abruptly stopped.
“Where will we sleep tonight; the forest floor?” Mindy asked.
“No. There are all manner of creatures in the rainforest and you don’t want to be on the floor when it becomes dark. We will build shelter.” Jorge opened the bag he had brought with him and pulled out a string hammock. He shimmied up a tree and looped its string round a few times, then took the other side and did the same.
“I have used a special knot that gets tighter when we put weight in the hammock,” he said. “This will be our sleeping place for the night.”
“Together?” Mindy asked. Unsure whether this was a good thing or not, she barely said the word.
“Unless you brought your own hammock?” Jorge asked. Mindy giggled briefly and shook her head. Jorge helped her up into the hammock. With two people inside, it was cramped, but the mesh netting underneath kept them cool, even if it dug into Mindy’s spanked bottom uncomfortably.
* * *
When Mindy awoke, she was surprised to find that she’d wrapped her arms around Jorge in the night. She tried to extricate them carefully without waking him. She wasn’t quite sure where she was, or what had happened. There had been her birthday party… she had this sense that some time had passed since then.
“Mindy?” Jorge startled and then visibly relaxed as Mindy withdrew her arms. Then the night’s events came flooding back to her and she put her hands over her mouth.
“Oh God. Oh God, it wasn’t a dream,” Mindy said through her hands, and started crying again. Jorge seemed unsure how to react. He stroked her hair, making her quiver. She wished he would just envelop her into an embrace, as she tried to calm down. Before she realized what she was doing, she moaned softly, then widened her eyes in horror. Oh, no, she couldn’t be falling for the gardener. She felt the situation was desperate enough already.
“What are we going to do?” Mindy asked. Jorge held out an open tin of macadamia nuts, Mindy had no idea where he’d found them in the string hammock, but assumed they must have been in one of his many pockets. If he’d heard her moan before, he hid it well.
“Have some nuts to keep your strength up. Then we need to get to some kind of village,” Jorge said.
“So we can phone for someone to get us back to the U.S.?” Mindy asked.
“I don’t think they can help. Your old identity is destroyed. You are no longer Mindy Parker. They will not be able to access any of the files to the case,” Jorge said.
“How do you know?” Mindy asked.
“It is same reason I was in America in the first place,” Jorge said. “I was born Ramondo Estagufso, in Bolivia. I was already under the witness protection program when I came to work for your family.”
“Shit. What happened?” Mindy asked.
“I will tell you another time. But it is very dangerous for me to go back to Bolivia. I don’t know where we are right now, but if we are near Bolivia, the militia might recognize me.”
“Great. More people after us,” Mindy said. Jorge climbed out of the hammock, then offered her a hand down. Next, he untied the strings and folded it back away into his backpack.
“Where even are we, anyway?” she asked.
“I have no idea, but if we keep going in the same direction, we should reach something at some point,” he reasoned.
“That’s way ridiculous,” Mindy replied. “We could keep walking forever through this jungle and we would never find anything! Hello! The earth is round!”
“But not covered in land,” Jorge observed. Mindy didn’t see why this was helpful.
“I think we should wait for help. The chances are, someone saw that plane crash and will be able to offer us some aid. Maybe we should go back to the plane so they find us.”
“The Mafia will look for survivors,” Jorge said, “As I said yesterday.”
“As if! We don’t even know if they, like, had anything to do with it! It could have been a simple mechanical failure!” Mindy retorted, far more confident in the light of day than she had been the night before. “I’m going back to the plane.”
“Do I need to teach you another lesson?” Jorge asked. “Did you forget what you learned yesterday?”
Mindy stopped in her tracks.
“You’re not the boss of me,” she said. “You’re just a gardener.”
“If status is so important to you, I should tell you that before I was a gardener, I was a major in the Bolivian army,” Jorge said darkly.
Mindy got a feeling of butterflies in her stomach. Her face colored beet red and she looked at her feet.
“So I know a thing or two about survival in the rainforest, how to evade an enemy, and how to navigate in this kind of environment,” Jorge said. “Come here, please.”
Mindy’s feet obeyed, even though she wished they wouldn’t.
Jorge sat down on a fallen tree.
“Give me your hand,” he said. Resigned, Mindy did so.
“Like, I’m really sorry about, like, harshing on you,” Mindy babbled, as Jorge pulled her over his knee.
“You need to learn to respect other people,” he said. Mindy knew he was right.
He rubbed his palm over her cheeks. She sighed. He paused.
“You like this, don’t you?” he asked.
Mindy didn’t know what to say.
He brought his hand down in a hard spank. Her cheek contracted and her leg kicked up as she felt the sting of his hand.
“I asked you a question,” he said. “You like this, don’t you?”
“No!” she said, too quickly. She felt a warmth spreading between her legs, and furiously wished she could suppress it.
He brought his hand down in a flurry of blows, spanking her mercilessly until both her legs were kicking. On top of the previous night’s spanking, Mindy felt like her behind was on fire, as each new spank made her squirm.
“Tell the truth,” he ordered. “Do you like it when I do this?”
“Yes,” she replied in a quiet voice.
“I think it will be ‘yes, sir’ from now on. Don’t you agree?” He underscored his point with more very hard spanks.
“Yes, sir,” she replied in an even smaller voice.
“Now we can begin,” he said. She groaned.
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