"Ah, Ms. Mendez!" The kindly horse woman greeted as she adjusted her lab coat, looking to the door. Not so much standing as being held in the doorway was an odd sight to be sure. Faye the ferret huffed through her nose, rolling her eyes in her own muffled greeting as she shifted atop the vertically aligned automated handtruck that had carried her from her cell to here. The poor ferret was in quite a predicament to be sure. Stuck in an almost laughably tight straitjacket that accentuated her body's curves, some skimpy little orange latex panties resting beneath the crotchstrap running between her legs, and a leather muzzle that cupped her stuffed cheeks quite firmly. The horse woman pressed a button, and the handtruck gave her a light shove forward as the straps holding her to it disengaged, the ferret stumbling into the room. The room? The asylum's therapy office.
"Please, take a seat." The horse gestured. Faye, groaning, walked over to the chaise longue in the office, letting out a grunt as she was forced to fall into it.
"Oops, almost forgot." The horse laughed, reaching over and unbuckling the leather panel gag, pulling it off from Faye's face before she helped remove the massive sponges filling her mouth. The first one came out, soaked in drool and slowly returning to its actual size. The second one soon followed, Faye sighing in relief.
"Is that better?" The horse asked.
"Yes... thank you..." Faye nodded as she adjusted herself on the furniture.
"So, how are things?" The horse asked. "I hope you've adjusted better to the environment here than your last visit."
"This straitjacket is still really itchy..." Faye complained. "It feels too tight."
"That's by design, I'm afraid. Makes it harder to get out of." The horse informed. "And we can't risk the safety of our patients."
"So, Ms. Mendez." The horse spoke up, looking to her notes. "It says here that since your last appointment, you... kicked one of the orderlies?"
"Look, it was an accident." Faye sighed. "I was just trying to talk with him while they were changing out the gag sponges and-"
"Now Ms. Mendez. It's not a gag." The horse spoke. "It's a safety facial enclosure."
"Well, even so, I'm not going to bite anyone!" Faye spoke up. "I was just trying to tell him to keep the sponges out! But it's like no one listens to me...!"
"They're orderlies. Listening to you isn't their job. It's mine." The horse spoke sympathetically. "I know it can be frustrating, but they are still there to help you, okay?"
"Sure they are..." Faye scoffed.
"Ms. Mendez, I really don't want to see your patient designation reclassified..." The horse said in concern. "I want to see you get better and leave. I want to see you get over these delusions of conspiracies and cat burglars."
"But they're not delusions...!" Faye spoke up. "I promise you, I'm NOT crazy! I was here investigating this place for the paper! Someone must have figured out what I was doing here because the next thing I kn-"
"Ms. Mendez, I must ask that you lower your volume." The horse interrupted. "There are other patients undergoing therapy on this floor, and they must not be disturbed."
"But I'm... you know what, okay. I'm sorry for being loud." Faye sighed. She needed to get through to this horse. She could be the only friend she had in here. "I... know I probably sound crazy. But I'm going to lay it all out for you, because I really don't think you're a part of this."
The horse raised an eyebrow, leaning forward in interest. "Alright Ms. Mendez, I'll humor you. But if you get too aggressive, I will have to re-apply the safety enclosure."
"All I'm asking is for a chance to explain. So thank you." Faye sighed in relief, taking a deep breath before continuing. "My name is Faye Mendez. I work for the Azure Tribune as an investigative journalist, and have for a number of years."
She did her best to sit up a bit better on her reclined seat, wincing a little as the crotchstrap really rode up between her legs.
"We received an anonymous tip that a good portion of patients at this place aren't crazy at all, and there's some racket for hushing people up that need to be in here. Like, organized crime paying for witnesses to end up here, that sort of thing. I came here pretending to be a visitor for a few days, then snuck in disguised as a nurse."
"That's a crime, you know." The horse frowned.
"Yes, I know, but so is what I was told was happening here. I wanted to find the truth. I interviewed a patient who expressed a lot of lucidity despite what her file said about her. I recorded a lot of my investigation, and it's all hidden away somewhere I'm not going to say. But if you just let me call my boyfriend, I can have him bring it up and prove this is all true. Please...!" Faye begged in desperation.
"Ms. Mendez..." The horse sighed. "I... I'm really sorry. But none of that can possibly be true. I've worked here for over ten years, and this is the first I'm hearing about any of this."
"But it's the truth!" Faye exclaimed. "I can show you my findings! Just please, let me call my boyfriend! Even if you think I'm crazy, just talk to him! He knows what I've been working on a-mmmpH!!!"
The horse let out a regretful sigh as she forced one of the sponges partway into Faye's mouth. Faye's eyes widened, the ferret shaking her head and trying to get away from the horse. But straitjacketed as she was, there was nothing she could do. She pushed back against the sponge with her tongue, but the horse easily overpowered her, pushing and squishing and cramming the sponge until it filled her mouth, leaving her with a small hole of a mouth she couldn't close around the sponge. The next one followed suit much easier, Faye hardly able to resist as it was crammed into the space of her other cheek. And once they were both packed in, the muzzle was resecured, holding them in.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Mendez." The horse said sympathetically. "But you need to calm down before we continue this session. I'll have you returned to your cell, and once you do finally calm down, we can try again. But for now, I have other patients to tend to."
"Nmmfff! Bumfft m'mmfff nmfft crmfzzy!" Faye protested, her struggled tugging the tight crotch strap up between her legs even more. The horse proceeded to effortlessly lift Faye up off the furniture she'd been laying on, carrying her over her shoulder back towards the waiting automated handtruck. Placing Faye against it, the straps re-secured themselves over Faye's body.
"Nmmfff nmmmffffff!!! Ymmfff hamfve tmmf bmleimfve mmff!!"
"Faye, please. Don't make this harder on yourself." The horse spoke, gently hugging the strapped down ferret as she input the destination for her on the keypad by the door. "You need to be helped. And I promise, I'll do whatever I can. Okay? I will call your boyfriend though. See about scheduling a visitation."
"Goodbye, Ms. Mendez." The horse said. And with that, she input the command, the handtruck springing to life as it began to roll Faye back to her cell, the ferret's muffled shouts going with it. Closing the door, the horse sighed. She really did care about Faye. And she needed to learn these accusations were unfounded. Sitting down, she began to search through her file to try and find the number for this boyfriend of hers. He seemed really important to Faye, and he just might be the person to reach about shattering these delusions…
The elevator dinged as it reached the floor Rutger wanted to go to, the raccoon male stepping out into the office space of the Azure tribune paper. A place he'd visited often enough, given that his girlfriend worked there. But his girlfriend was the reason he was here in the first place...
"Heyyy, Rutger!" One of the employees, a peppy bluebird girl, waved enthusiastically. "Sorry to tell you, Faye's not in today. She's still out on a field report."
"Hey Taylor." Rutger waved back, his voice revealing his concern. "And yeah, I know she's out. But uh... well, that's sort of why I'm here."
Taylor tilted her head in curiosity, clacking her beak.
"You're here about Faye?"
"Yeah. I got this... weird voicemail and... you know, could just be a scam, but I just wanted to come talk to Julia to make sure."
"Well, you know where to find her." The bluebird said, nodding towards the panther's office. "Tell her I was super helpful and totally deserve a raise!"
"Hah... will do." Rutger said, forcing a smile, but he was in no mood for jokes right now. Walking between the hard at work reporters and editors, Rutger gave a knock on the door.
"S'open!" The curt voice of Julia the panther snapped from inside. Rutger took that as his cue and pushed into the office.
"Oh, it's you." Julia greeted as stoically as ever. "Wondered who was coming up. Was half expecting one of those Midas Fang guys coming back to extort more. And I was ready for em this time..." Julia smirked, cracking her knuckles.
"Hello to you too, Julia." Rutger said with a half wave as he stepped into the office, closing the door behind him. "I was wondering where-"
"How are our papers doing?"
"I'm... sorry?" Rutger asked.
"Our papers. How are they doing?" Julia repeated. "You're the mailman aren't you? People liking em?"
"I really can't say for sure. I don't really... get feedback? And, you know… I don’t have that job anymore.”
"Wha? Since when?”
“Since… a while.”
“Shame. Bet folks are loving em." Julia smirked. "Alright, alright, enough joking around. What did you need?"
"I..." Rutger started, trying to recall why he was here. "Oh, yeah! So uh, where's Faye been lately?"
"On a field reporting gig." Julia waved off. "I'm sure she told you."
"Yeah, she did. But... can I ask... where?"
"Nope. Sorry kiddo, but what my fine ladies and gentleman do for the paper, especially the field reports, is on a strict need to know. You can check it out in the next issue once she gets back." Julia informed, sitting back in her office chair.
“Well, much as I usually like doing that, I got this… really weird voicemail today,” Rutger spoke in concern. “It was from some hospital or something asking if I could come down and visit her, as she’s been having trouble… adapting?”
Julia looked up at Rutger, her normally uninterested eyes now ever so slightly widened in concern.
“This place… was it called Calm Meadows Institute?” The panther woman asked, now leaning forward with her hands clasped together on the desk.
“Yeah, that’s it!” Rutger affirmed. “So this is… just part of Faye’s job?”
“No, because I helped her get set up to go in as a nurse,” Julia spoke. “A voicemail like that means she’s a patient. Which means… damn, they got her…”
Rutger stared at Julia, silently, waiting for her to continue.
“… who got her!?” He finally asked, twirling his finger in the air. “Details, please, details!”
“Gah, if they called you then the cat’s out of the bag as is. Just don’t go selling our angle to Auburn Daily. Those bastards have had it too good for too long.”
“I promise you, selling your stories to your rivals is the last thing on my mind right now,” Rutger promised. “Just… tell me where Faye’s been and what this means!”
“Well, to put it short, your lady’s in the nut house,” Julia said with a shrug. “We got a tip from someone that it was being used by local crime to stash witnesses. They go in, get a few months or even a year of treatment, and then they come out actually raving mad thinking that yeah, what they saw had to be a delusion. The place gets government funding to cover the patients, so the extra bodies actually gets the folks running it more money than they actually need. Goes right into the head honchos pockets.”
“… if you know all this, why aren’t we going to the police!?” Rutger asked. “Faye’s in there!”
“Because we don’t know all this. This is all from some anonymous tip,” Julia explained. “We’ve got squat as far as actual evidence goes. Why I sent Mendez in there in the first place. To figure out if we were being punked or it was legit.”
“... and!?” Rutger asked. Julia could be so standoffish at times, and right now it was infuriating. He supposed it came with being head of a paper.
“And… we haven’t gotten anything from her,” Julia shrugged. “Was kinda waiting on her to get me everything at once. Safer that way than makin’ runs back and forth, in case someone saw her.”
“Okay, but someone found her out anyway,” Rutger pointed out. “So what are we going to do about it?”
“That’s the million dollar question,” Julia pondered, placing a hand under her chin as her tail swished back and forth. It was only once she realized Rutger was still standing there that she stopped, looking up at him.
“Well don’t look at me,” She snapped. “I only just got the news my girl’s locked up! I need planning time!”
“And what should I do then!?” Rutger asked. Julia in return just gestured to him like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“You got yourself an invitation telling you to come on by that freak show! You planning to ignore it?” Julia asked, throwing her hands in Rutger’s direction. “Maybe you could go in and grab whatever evidence she found!”
Rutger looked at Julia incredulously.
“... or, you know, get her out. But evidence first! That way we can get her and everyone else out,” Julia pointed out, sitting back at her desk. “Just make sure it comes straight to me if you do get it.”
“Okay, I’ll… do what I can,” Rutger huffed in exasperation, turning tail. “I’ll… see you later?”
“I’d better,” Julia nodded. “I don’t want to hear you ended up in there too.”
“... I never even considered that, so thanks for that…” An even more exasperated Rutger sighed as he opened the office door, walking back out of the office, waving off inquiries from Taylor as he crossed the workspace to the elevator, pressing the button for ground floor. He was going to go to this asylum, meet up with Faye, and get her out.
… he hoped.
Faye slammed her shoulder against the padded cell door, letting out another muffled mmph.
“Gmmphfff… CMM MNN!!” She screamed in frustration, the shout supremely muffled by the sheer volume of stuffing in her mouth. She needed to talk to… someone. Anyone! There had to be SOME person in this building that knew what she was talking about was true! And she wanted to talk with them!
No sooner had the thought crossed her mind though, did the privacy slide of her cell door slide open, revealing a new face looking in at her. One she had only seen once before…
The director of the asylum. She was a very well endowed, and quite tall, mink woman, her white coat of fur a luxurious looking softness. She kept her eyes covered up behind some red tinted sunglasses, which made it hard to really tell how intently she was staring at you. Faye had crossed paths with her when she’d first gone undercover as a nurse. She wondered if she even recognized her like this…
“Ms. Mendez,” The mink woman spoke, a slight smile curving her snout, answering her question. “I see you’ve been adjusting well. Sorry I’ve not come to visit, I was out of town on business…”
Faye glared at the mink, wishing she could utter anything intelligible at them. This person was suspect number one as far as she was concerned.
“Now I’m sure you have a lot to say, but we frown on that here, as I’m sure you’ve found out,” The mink continued, chuckling in amusement to herself. Your assigned therapist has been concerned about you. So, without my permission, she has gone ahead and called up someone to come visit you. A… Mr. Rutger, I believe?”
Faye perked up. Yeah, that horse woman had said she’d see about calling someone, hadn’t she. Faye had just been… too lost in the throes of rage to really register that at the time.
“I’m unsure when he will find the time to come visit you,” The mink continued, suddenly fixing all her attention on Faye, leaning her head into glass of the privacy slide to fill the port with her face, her red tinted glasses catching what little light Faye had in her cell already to cast a menacing red glare.
“If he happens to learn anything he shouldn’t through some miracle of coincidence, then the both of you might find yourself on the edge of a pier with some very nice, and quite heavy, new shoes.”
Faye blinked, gulping nervously behind her muzzle as she processed the information she’d been given. And here she thought things couldn’t get any worse for her here. Evidently they could. A lot, lot worse.
“Now you may think that as some admission of guilt on my part. But let’s face it. Between the two of us, who will the world listen to? A successful business woman like me, whose taken the wellbeing of the ill into my arms. Or you… the woman in a straitjacket.”
Faye’s face burned, her nervous expression taking on a slightly scornful glare. But she was right. The evidence Faye had gathered was hidden away, and unless she could tell someone where it was, then all she had was her own word. Which wasn’t worth much when these sponges kept her from vocalizing it…
“So, here’s what will happen. You will thank your boyfriend for coming by. You will say that you are getting the treatment you need. You’ll say… mm… oh I don’t know, that you think the two of you should take a break. Should keep him from poking his nose in here again. And then you’ll come back to your cell and be very grateful that I haven’t already sent a snoop like you to sleep with the fishes.”
Faye was frozen. The mink had obviously figured out who she was and why she was here in the first place. Rutger was coming, but she had no idea how she’d let him know where she’d stashed all her gathered evidence. In fact… there wouldn’t be a way. Not if she was under guard during the visit. She’d have to say all this or it put them both in danger.
“I’ll give you some time to think this over,” The mink grinned. “I just hope you make the smart move here.”
And with that, the privacy cover was slid shut once again, leaving Faye without a view of the outside, and instead left in her cell to mull over the information she was just given…
Doctor Hailey, as the mink was only known by her employees, was in a bad mood. She’d given the order to have her in-the-know employees apprehend the snooping journalist they’d sniffed out because she’d assumed they could handle it without her here.
They had screwed everything up.
They hadn’t put her in the isolation wing. One of her naive surface workers had gotten assigned as her therapist thinking Faye was just a simple patient. And that worker had called another person up to get involved.
So now, Doctor Hailey had to play cleanup.
She entered her office with a determined stride, picking up her phone.
“Send Jennifer Vale up to my office, please,” She commanded before giving the phone a proper slam down, sighing as she rubbed her head with her hands.
“Okay, okay… just one thing at a time…” Doctor Hailey sighed to herself. She’d deal with everyone involved the best way she could.
Starting with Faye’s therapist.
The horse, Jennifer Vale, entered the office without a fuss, a few files clutched under her arm as she walked nervously in. It was clear she wasn’t used to getting the attention of the higher ups.
“Hello, Doctor Hailey,” Jennifer smiled brightly, giving a half bow as she did.
“Ms. Vale,” The doctor returned coldly. “Thank you for such a quick response.”
“I’m between appointments right now,” Jennifer explained. “Speaking of, we may need to monitor socialization periods. A lot of the patients seem to be dealing with similar delusions, and I think they’re getting them in their heads during-”
“Ah, see, that’s what I’d like to talk about,” Doctor Hailey spoke, subtly pressing a silent alarm on her desk as she turned to face the horse. “See, I don’t really blame you for all this. After all, you do make for a very convincing therapist. I couldn’t have paid someone to act as good as you do.”
Jennifer cocked her head, looking at her boss strangely.
“Um… act, ma’am?”
“Yes. See, you’re one we don’t really keep in the know. And you’re professionalism to your career mixed with your baffling naivete was incredibly desirable to our operation here.”
Jennifer said nothing, just looking at Doctor Hailey with a mix of both confusion… and nervousness.
“I don’t need to get into the nitty gritty of it with you, because no doubt you’ve met a few patients already who’ve filled you in on what we do here. Which is something we try to avoid early on, because the first few months, the patients are still convinced they aren’t crazy, that we’re keeping them here illegally, blah blah blah…”
“A… few still seem to think that,” Jennifer gulped, shifting her weight onto her back foot.
“Well, yes. And you do a marvelous job making them think they’re the crazy ones. Because you genuinely believe that! And they buy it. Again, you do an excellent job. And again, I don’t really blame you. But here’s the thing. You weren’t supposed to get Ms. Mendez.”
“I… what does she have to do with-”
“Filing error on behalf of one of my subordinates filling in while I was away at our secondary facility near the docks.”
“We… don’t have a secondary facility though. Especially not one near the docks. That-”
“Oh the docks facility isn’t mental health related,” Jennifer interrupted. “It’s for shipping. We have to pay the bills somehow. And sometimes we get the chance to help someone off the street very discreetly. You don’t really get to the lower floors where we keep our off the books patients. But you’ll soon get the hands on experience for what they go through.”
Jennifer heard the door open behind her, and before she had any chance to react, two sets of burly, muscular arms gripped her, holding her in place.
“W-wait. What is this? What are you talking about!?” Jennifer brayed in panic, wobbling shakily on her feet.
“Long story short, Ms. Mendez was right about what goes on here, and you caused some trouble calling up the boyfriend. So I’m afraid I’m going to have to let you go. Overseas, preferably. I think we can find a few buyers within the week.”
“B-b-buyers…!?” Jennifer stuttered, her face paling. “You… this place is…”
“A business. We provide hushing services for pesky lawyers, journalists, witnesses in general really. And shipping services for some of the prettier bodies walking around the city. Should be easy enough to arrange an accident for you. And by this time next week you’ll be staffing the mansion of some oil tycoon. If you’re lucky.”
“Wait, you ca-MMPH!”
The muzzle Jennifer had so often applied to her own patients when they began to panic was now being applied to her, the thick stuffing forced into her mouth, and the muzzle itself buckled over her face soon after.
“Once you get her stripped, jacketed, and in a cell, get the truck ready. I’ll deliver her to the docks myself. That way I know things won’t get screwed up.”
“You got it, boss,” One of the burly orderlies nodded.
“I’ll have to send someone to clean out her apartment. Oh, and her office. And move her car somewhere. Maybe next to a bridge. A cliche MO, but not one without its merits…”
“W-wmmpht! Plmphs, m dmdnm’t mmn tmm cmll h-”
“And get her out of here.”
Doctor Hailey sighed as the mmphing, struggling Jennifer was pulled out of her office. One problem down, one more to handle.
The all too familiar car waiting outside of Faye’s workplace was not lost on Rutger, the raccoon sighing. She’d always had her fair share of bad timings, but this one had to take the cake…
Storming up to it, the window rolled down to let the occupant meet his gaze.
“Afternoon, sweetie” The smirk of Alicia grinned his way. “I have to say, I’m kind of disappointed, you making it this easy. I thought we had a game we both enjoyed playing.”
“Yes, well, today I’m really not in the mood for that,” Rutger huffed. “What are you even doing here?”
“Well if you must know, I’ve been dropping by to try and catch your pretty little Faye going to lunch,” Alicia grinned, as if her stalking habits were the most normal thing in the world. “But I assume she’s out somewhere, because I haven’t managed to catch her yet.”
“She is out. At Calm Meadows Institute.”
Alicia’s expression turned from teasing to serious at the drop of a hat, her tail fur standing up on end.
“Ugh… those guys…”
“... you know about them?” Rutger asked incredulously.
“Oh please, anyone that runs in the circles I do knows about them,” Alicia waved off. “Or knows the rumors anyways. Theirs is a nasty business, and I prefer to keep my claws clean.”
“Yeah, well, Faye’s knee deep in that nasty business, and I got scheduled to go and see her.” Rutger stated plainly.
“Oh dear. Poor little Faye locked up in that place?” Alicia hissed, tutting. “I do hope you’ve made arrangements to get her out. One of my fences was in there for only a month. Wasn’t quite the same after that…”
“... how is that supposed to reassure me!?” Rutger exclaimed at her.
“It’s not. Which is why I’m going along with you,” She smiled confidently, her car door unlocking. “Come on, get in.”
“You really expect me to willingly get in the car with you?” Rutger asked, raising an eyebrow at her.
“Oh, honey. If I wanted you in this car, I wouldn’t ask,” She purred, winking suggestively.
Rutger, face burning, admitted the truth in her statement, and climbed into the passenger side of the vehicle, buckling in.
“... cozier than the trunk at least,” Rutger mused aloud.
“Is it really though?” Alicia teased, putting the vehicle into drive as she peeled away from the curb. She hadn’t let Rutger in on it, but Alicia had been looking for a way into that place for ages. And to think, her invitation had dropped right into her lap. This might just end up a very profitable day for her…
Faye had given up on her struggles by this point. She was laying on the padded floor, huffing for breath past the muzzle enclosing her snout. She wondered how long it took someone to actually go crazy from this kind of treatment? She swore she’d seen one of the padded panels move at some point to reveal a black space behind it, glowing eyes watching her for a few moments before the panel was replaced…
It was all just the same all around her. White, soft padding. She’d lost her balance and fallen over onto it more times than she could count now. And this stupid straitjacket strap between her legs was giving her a very uncomfortable wedgie at this point!
But… she held onto the hope that Rutger would be able to help her. Faye just had to make sure not to get him stuck in here too.
She was going over her story in her head. The evidence she’d gathered was all in the locker room of the facility. Not in her own though. No, they’d probably already emptied her locker out. This one had gone into a locker that had been assigned to an employee, but never used. A nice folder of incriminating evidence, a few photos stored on an SD card, and a list of names of people Faye had confirmed to be part of the operation.
She’d need to update that list when this was all over though, that was for sure…
But how was she going to get Rutger in there to get that stuff…
Well… maybe she’d leave that part of the plan to him. It wasn’t like she could do anything like this.
Faye was so engrossed in her thoughts on how to handle the visit, that the sudden rusty sliding of the privacy cover on her cell door caused her to jump, eyes drifting up to meet those of one of the orderlies looking in at her.
“Stand at the back of the cell,” His stern voice ordered. Faye, not wanting to chance losing her visit, did as she was asked, having to spend some time trying to push herself back onto her feet without use of her hands.
Once she had complied with the order, the cell door was unlocked and pushed open. Three orderlies had shown up to handle her, all of them looking very large and intimidating. No doubt a show of force from her former “boss”.
One of them stood blocking the door while the other two moved on Faye, fussing with the buckles of her straitjacket until…
It came undone.
Faye looked at them in confusion.
“Arms up,” One of them barked. Faye did as she was asked, both orderlies working the jacket off of her. If not for the sponges filling her mouth, she’d have breathed a sigh of relief at finally having that hot and stuffy thing off. She didn’t even mind that all she had on now were the orange latex panties…
But, the freedom wasn’t to last, as the orderly at the door produced a new garment for her to wear.
“Mm cmmn mmn…” Faye groaned as she looked at it. It was a lot like the straitjacket she’d been wearing, but instead of just looking like a long sleeved shirt, this one was more like a long sleeved shirt fused with a sleeping bag. It was one solid piece, featuring a padded leg sleeve to keep her legs strapped together. Of course the straitjacket style upper part looked even stuffier than the one she’d been wearing. Clearly, this was meant for only the most violent of patients.
The orderlies didn’t give her much time to mull over what being put into this would mean, as the two who’d removed her straitjacket now lifted her up into the air, feeding her legs into the open padded leg sleeve, tightening buckles and straps as they went. All the padding in the garment made it hard for her body to breathe through it, and she could already feel a sweat coming on. Would it kill them to get some AC in these cells?
Her arms were fed through the sleeves next, crossed in front of her in the standard straitjacket positioning she’d grown so accustomed to at this point. But before she was completely sealed in… they shoved something into the lower half. Faye didn’t get the chance to see what it was, but she could feel it. Some sort of round bulb pressing between her legs rather firmly. She shifted side to side, but whatever it was, it wasn’t moving.
“Hold still,” One of the orderlies snapped at her, his grip tightening. Faye complied, stealing a nervous glance down at herself. She looked like some sort of twisted medical mummy. The only fur of hers showing now was her face. And even then, most of that was covered by the-
The muzzle fell away. Faye didn’t even wait to start pushing at the sponges with her tongue, mmphing impatiently. The orderlies removed them though, dropping them into a plastic pail held by the third one.
“Keep your voice down and watch your words or this goes back on,” The orderly spoke, holding the muzzle up. Faye didn’t need to be told twice. But no doubt this was also a warning for her to be careful what she told Rutger.
They didn’t wait for her to reply though. They lifted her up, carried her out of the cell, and soon she was strapped down onto one of those automated handtrucks she’d been moved around on since her commitment.
“See you in half an hour,” Another orderly said, unable to keep the amusement out of his voice. He clearly enjoyed his job.
“Laugh it up, big guy. You’ll be the one in a cell when this is over with,” Faye thought inwardly as the hand truck lurched into motion, the electric motor humming as she was carried off to visitation.
“... I hope.”
Rutger was taken aback by just how… pristine the facility was. Just outside the city limits, surrounded by a beautiful and well kept lawn, and with freshly washed windows shining in the sun… this was the last place Rutger ever would have expected a criminal enterprise to set up shop.
That of course made it a very likely place to do just that.
“Let’s go in then,” Alicia purred as she pulled the car into the parking lot. “See what we can do for your lady.”
“Well, I would like to get her out of there,” Rutger responded as he climbed out of the vehicle, Alicia doing the same. “Have any plans there?”
“I have a few,” Alicia winked. “You know, I forgot how fun it is to play the good girl. Rescuing the damsel in distress, earning the respect of her lover…”
“But I take it this won’t be a very long lasting change,” Rutger rolled his eyes as the duo set off to the front of the building across the parking lot.
“Oh honey, no, not a prayer of it,” Was all Alicia had to say in response, following Rutger in…
The lobby was as pristine looking as the outside. And, once they checked in and were guided to visitation, Rutger couldn’t help but marvel at how nice this place was! Better kept than even most hospitals. The place really was designed to draw you in. Make you forget what it was for.
Well when they reached visitation, the illusion was shattered completely.
The padded stools and houseplants sitting on wall tables with portraits of landscapes hanging about were all but forgotten as Rutger beheld Faye for the first time in several days.
She looked a mess. Hair unkempt, fur matted. What little of it he could see. From the neck down she was buckled into some sort of padded straitjacket sack, seated on the other side of safety glass. She perked up though as Rutger entered, the hints of a smile visible under the muzzle hugging her face.
“Faye!” Rutger couldn’t help but cry out, rushing to sit in the stool across from her on the other side of the safety glass. Seeing her like this without someone like Alicia involved distressed him, but more than anything he was just happy to see her. Faye, while relieved to see Rutger, couldn’t help but look past him to the familiar cat burglar standing there with him, who just blew a kiss her way. At least the muzzle covered her blush.
“Oh my god, I’m so happy you’re okay. Are you hurt? Are you getting fed? Are y- oh for, hey, you!”
Rutger called out to the orderly standing at the doorway on Faye’s side of the glass, the big ox just looking at him with a blank expression.
“Can you get this gag off her? I want to talk to her.”
“It’s not a gag, it’s a safety facial enclosure,” The ox replied dryly, not moving.
“Okay, well, then please, can you get the safety facial enclosure off of her?”
The two stared each other down for several seconds before the ox finally let out a grunt, rolling his eyes as he moved up behind Faye. The muzzle was unlocked, and the massive sponge was pulled free of Faye’s mouth, her eyes watering and a sigh of relief escaping her mouth as she relaxed her shoulders, giving a halfhearted smile to Rutger as the ox moved back to his previous position.
“Hey…” Faye greeted, shrugging her shoulders.
“Faye, what have you gotten yourself into this time…” Rutger sighed, though his relieved smile showed he was just happy to see she was alright.
“I should ask you the same thing,” Faye spoke, once again looking past Rutger to Alicia, the cat now giving a small wave. “Is this… the world’s most relaxed kidnapping, or…?”
“Hmm? Oh, her. No, she’s actually here to… visit. Yeah, visit,” Rutger spoke, stressing the word as he directed his eyes towards the ox behind her, who seemed to not be looking at them, but was very clearly listening.
“... ooooohhhh…” Faye nodded in understanding. “Sooo… what sort of plans did you have for this… visit?”
“Well… I was going to stay here with you, and… Alicia! Yeah, Alicia… she was going to pick up any belongings of yours they had to take home and keep safe.” Rutger spoke, looking back to the cat. The mischievous smirk and subtle nod she gave in return was more than enough for Rutger to know she understood the plan here.
“So, is there… anything important you want us to take with us when we leave?”
Faye looked confused for a moment, and then her eyes widened in realization as well.
“Oh. Yes. Well, they probably cleaned out my locker already,” Faye spoke, wracking her brain. How was she supposed to let them know what locker she’d stashed the evidence in…
“We did,” The ox nodded, jumping in. “Visitation Is almost over with, so wrap it up.”
Faye gulped. Now or never.
“Yeah, they cleared out my locker already. Locker 258,” Faye spoke nonchalantly. “Just me, plus… twelve other people in there. Yeah, plus twelve.”
Faye waited, studying Rutger’s face.
“Oh you lovable doofus, PLEASE tell me you got that…!” Faye screamed inwardly, looking into his eyes with barely contained anxiety. Rutger, at least, looked like he understood, but very much looking like he was losing his nerve at the prospect of having to retrieve the information with so much riding on this…
Thankfully, it was Alicia that came to the rescue, putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
“Oh, that does sound like quite a crowd,” She smirked, patting Rutger. “Don’t you worry. We’ll make sure not to miss anything of yours.”
Faye breathed out a sigh of relief, relaxing.
“Thanks, Alicia…” She smiled. What kind of world was she in where THAT’S who she was thanking…
“Oh, it’s no problem. I’m sure you can find a way to pay me back,” She winked.
Faye jumped a little as a strong hand gripped her jacketed shoulder, her head turning to see the ox had moved in behind her.
“Wrap it up,” He said plainly.
Faye sighed, knowing what it is he was getting at.
“Oh, and uh… Rutger,” Faye started, really hoping this would be an obvious enough ploy for Rutger to pick up on.
“Yes?” Rutger asked, already looking at Faye in confusion.
“I… don’t think we should see each other anymore,” Faye said with a melodramatic sigh. “This whole experience… it’s taught me that I really need some help. And this place is going to give it to me, so… this is goodbye for now, I’m afraid…”
Rutger blinked. Faye cast her eyes over her shoulder several times, trying to indicate the brutish ox was a big factor in what was being said. Thankfully, this time, Rutger got it.
“... oh. Oh, right, yeah, I was going to say the same actually,” Rutger nodded. “It’s hard to have a relationship with someone so… stuck?”
Faye rolled her eyes, but was still relieved. She’d done what she could. The rest was on these two.
“Someone so tightly bound, trapped in a cell, mouth packed with gagging. Unable to do little more than mm-”
“Okay, I get it,” Faye glared. Rutger had to fight every instinct not to grin back at her.
“Alright, visitation’s over,” The ox cut in, holding the large sponge up to her mouth once more. “Open wide please.”
Faye, reluctantly, did as she was told, opening her mouth as wide as she could for the sponge before the ox roughly shoved it in, earning a choked yelp from the ferret as the muzzle was buckled back over her snout, once again rendering her unable to communicate. She was picked up like she was nothing but a sack of produce, and promptly pushed against the automated handtruck, buckles reapplied before the device whirred to life, rolling out of the visitation room with Faye on it…
“Ooh, I have got to get me one of those…” Alicia muttered to herself. And Rutger, seeing the sparkle in the cat’s eyes, knew she meant it…
“Follow me, we’ll go get you your friend’s stuff,” The ox grunted, moving to unlock the door that separated the patient side from the visitor side of the glass. Rutger stood up from his seat, and together, he and Alicia followed him back into the patient area, and soon, through the door Faye had been rolled out of.
Rutger could see the automated handtruck with her on it rolling away down the hall. God, he wanted to run to her…
“Right in here,” The ox said, walking them through another door not far from visitation. Inside were a plethora of filing cabinets, the ox walking over to one of them and unlocking it with his keys.
“Here’s her clothes, purse, and a few other things,” The ox spoke, pulling out a large plastic bag full of everything Faye had on her when she’d been committed.
“Thank you very much, you big strong gentleman,” Alicia purred, accepting the bag as she tucked it into her own purse. “It’s so reassuring to know our friend is in such… good… handsss…”
The ox’s stoic demeanor was broken as Alicia spoke, moving up close to him. Even Rutger found himself blushing, seeing her at work. He was more than used to being on the end of her advances, and having a front row seat to it was an interesting experience.
He almost missed what the hand now pulling out of her purse was holding.
“Well… I do what I can…” The ox chuckled, rubbing the back of his head as he looked down at her. “Been doing this job a while. I’m pretty good at it.”
“Yeah, I bet you are…” Alicia practically whispered, pulling him down by his shirt collar, puckering her lips. The ox was taken aback by this for only a few seconds before he did the same, closing his eyes in anticipation of the kiss.
That’s where he slipped up.
Alicia struck like a coiled cobra, hand shoving the rag she’d pulled from her purse right into the face of the ox. He let out a surprised mmph, eyes flashing open to the sight of white cloth in his face. He tried to pull away, but Alicia’s other hand held his head into it, the feline proving just how much muscle she had hidden beneath her clothing as she kept him there before finally, his large body slumped forward, landing on the floor with a thump.
“You know,” Rutger started, looking at the results of her work with wide eyes. “Watching you work doesn’t make experiencing it any easier.”
“If anything, I’d hope it would give you more appreciation for what I do,” Alicia winked, making sure the ox was down. “Okay, we don’t have much time. Let’s see- ah, here we are!”
Alicia pulled a keycard from the ox’s waist, tossing it to Rutger.
“With luck that should help you get Faye out of here. Better go get her before she ends up back at her cell.”
“O…kay?? But what are you going to do!?”
“Go get the evidence, of course. Sounds like she hid it in one of the lockers. Number… two seventy, if I recall correctly. Let’s hope I do.”
“Okay, but getting Faye out of here isn’t exactly going to be easy for me, especially if you’re not around,” Rutger reasoned, nervously looking back at the door behind him, knowing Faye was getting further away.
“Oh come now darling, I’ve seen you carry that pretty little lady before,” Alicia teased. “But transport out of here will be a narrow window, so…”
Alicia tossed another item Rutger’s way, the raccoon reacting in time enough to catch it. The item in question? The keys to Alicia’s car.
“You’re… letting me drive?”
“You’ll have to,” Alicia nodded. “I’ll be… finding my own way out. Now not a scratch on it, okay?”
“I’ll try my best.” Rutger assured, pocketing the keys.
“Well, no more lollygagging. Go get your lady,” Alicia winked. “I’ll get the evidence. Meet you back at that press office she works at.”
Rutger didn’t need any more urging. Turning tail, he sprinted out of the storage room, disappearing down the hall he’d seen Faye’s handtruck go.
Alicia watched him go, unable to help but chuckle. She had no doubt he’d be able to get Faye. Alicia though… well, she hadn’t been completely honest. Yes, she’d be getting the evidence, and would deliver it as promised. But she had something else she wanted as well…
Faye squirmed in the straps holding her to the handtruck, her grunts muffled almost entirely. The evidence at least would be in the hands of friends, but… what about her? What if Doctor Hailey figured out what she’d done, and decided to take care of her? She knew that the evidence would save more than she could, but that didn’t make her feel any better about things…
“Just please don’t forget to come back for me, guys…” She wished inwardly.
The ferret perked up, hearing the familiar voice echo down the hall. She tried turning to look, but strapped to the handtruck like she was, that wasn’t going to happen.
“Rmmghrr??” Faye exclaimed, relief flooding through her. But that relief turned to fright as she suddenly felt the handtruck tip over sides, falling onto its side with a loud clack.
“Sorry, sorry! I didn’t know how to stop it!” Rutger apologized, already kneeling down in front of her as he began fussing with the straps holding her to it. They, at least, were easy enough to undo. But the straps of her straitsack…
“Goddamnit, this thing has locking buckles…” Rutger swore as he looked at her straitsack. “I guess Alicia was right. I’ll have to carry you out.”
“Bmt whmmrr’s Mmlcia??” Faye asked, looking around with wide eyes.
“She’s getting the evidence!” Rutger assured, placing a kiss on Faye’s forehead. “And I’m getting you. And together, we’ll get everyone out of this place!”
Faye hoped Alicia was going to play to the side of the law this time. Without the evidence, Faye didn’t have much a leg to stand on…
Speaking of which, she let out a startled yelp as Rutger heaved her up off the ground, cradling her in his arms.
“Hoo boy, this straitsack adds some weight to you…” Rutger huffed, arms shaking as he did his best to grip Faye.
“Bmmt…” Faye spoke, looking to the many locked cell doors. Yes, the evidence would get the people in them out. But what if Doctor Hailey tried to move the operation! “Lmt’s mm lmmst lmt mm fmmw pmmphle oumpht! Thmm’ll mmke mmm gmmd dmmstrmctmn.”
It took Rutger a few seconds to work out what Faye was saying, but once he figured it out, his eyes lit up.
“Yeah, you’re right! Hold on, I’ve got an idea!”
Setting Faye down into a standing position, the ferret wobbling on her bound up feet, Rutger ran over to the nearest cell door, swiping the card Alicia had given him. Sure enough, it beeped, and the lock clicked. He yanked the door open, looking inside.
Inside the cell, a lone eagle girl stirred, eyes blinking as she looked up at the stranger standing in the door of her cell.
“Hmm…?” She breathed out, sitting up as best she could bound in a more standard straitjacket, her beak held shut by a muzzle similar to Faye’s.
“Uh, hey! So, you don’t know me,” Rutger introduced himself, rushing into the cell over to her. “But I’m sort of leading a prison break.”
The eagle’s eyes lit up, looking at Rutger expectantly.
“You… aren’t actually crazy, are you?”
She shook her head, mmphing an indignant no.
“Right, right, sorry. Just uh… really delicate plan, need to leave it with someone who can pull it off. Let me just…”
Rutger was relieved to find her muzzle and straitjacket had more standard buckles. Easy enough to undo, which he did without hesitation.
“Mm-ghah. God, fuck that,” The eagle breathed as she forced the sponge out of her mouth. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” Rutger smiled. “Now look. I need to get someone out of here. But this card opens up the cells.”
Rutger held it up for the eagle to see, the bird nodding in understanding. “Think you can get everyone else free on your own?”
“... yeah. Yeah, I can do that,” The eagle nodded. “I… god, what month is it? I was just on patrol out here when I saw- god, is this actually happening or am I hallucinating…?”
“It’s happening,” Rutger smiled. “Thanks to the amazing Faye over there. She was the one who got this place exposed. And now we’re getting her to the press to make sure something gets done about it.”
“Then give me that card,” The eagle huffed, snatching it from Rutger. “And I’ll get as many people out as I can.”
“Thank you, uh… officer?”
“Yup, officer,” She nodded. “I’ll see if I can find a phone once I get enough out. Get some backup out here.”
Rutger nodded, standing up and backing out of the cell as the eagle rushed out behind him, already moving to the next cell down, fumbling with the keycard through the long sleeves of her jacket as she got the next cell door open, helping the next person out of their jacket. And in turn, another cell open, another person freed.
“That should buy us some time,” Rutger said as he moved back to Faye, the ferret looking fondly at Rutger. “The fire exit then?”
Faye nodded, letting Rutger pick her up again. And together, the two rushed for the nearest fire escape.
By the time orderlies responded to the sudden fire alarm, and then the subsequent breakout alert, one entire floor had already been freed…
Doctor Hailey was in a panic. She’d just finished loading up her former employee, Jennifer Vale, into her “delivery truck” and had called for a driver to get her out of here. Getting no response, she’d gone back into the building to the sound of utter chaos. A fire alarm AND a breakout alarm going off simultaneously, her thugs running this way and that, either fleeing the scene or rushing to try and see if the situation could be controlled.
She didn’t know WHAT was going on, but she knew, somehow, that snooping journalist had something to do with it.
But Doctor Hailey hadn’t the time to worry about revenge. The mink had kicked off her heels, running as fast as she could to her office. She shoved as many files as she could into her briefcase, grabbed any personal items she could fit, and booked it back to the garage. It looked like it was the end of this operation. Maybe it was for the best. She had a strip club idea that she’d been wanting to try for a while now that might turn out to be much more profitable in terms of trafficking.
As she got back to the garage, the ambulance-style truck was still shaking, the straitjacketed and muzzle Jennifer looking out the back window with pleading eyes as Doctor Hailey passed her by.
“I’d sit down if I were you,” Doctor Hailey snapped at her. “I doubt the padding of the cell back there will help much with how I’ll be driving here in a moment.”
Doctor Hailey didn’t even wait for a response as she climbed into the driver seat of the ambulance, reaching for-
“. . . hello,” Was all Doctor Hailey could get out, as she became aware of the fact she was not alone in the vehicle.
“Hello,” Alicia grinned, her tail flicking behind her mischievously as she looked the mink up and down.
“Whatever it is you want, I can pay you to look the other way,” The mink breathed out. “In the market for a well behaved horse? This truck, and her, can both be yours if you just let me drive where I need to go.”
“Oh, I don’t think I’ll be taking any bribes from you,” Alicia cooed menacingly, adjusting her sitting position. “I take it you don’t remember me?”
“Should I?” The mink asked.
“Well, I suppose not, with how many people you must move. But I was almost one of them. Just bad luck on my part, really, that your goons grabbed me off the street. I was fortunate enough to spend only a day in your care before managing to get away. I hope the nurse who took my place in the cell was well cared for.”
“... ohhh. Yes, I think I remember you now,” Doctor Hailey nodded, gulping. “Like you said. Just bad luck. Nothing personal, of course. But you can still stand to profit from that incident.”
“Oh…” Alicia grinned, pulling the gagging sponge out from behind her back, a muzzle held in her other hand. “I plan to.”
A few minutes later, the ambulance pulled out of the asylum’s lot, the mmphing of two muffled voices in the back drowned out by the motor as Alicia drove home. She had the evidence, yes. But… she wagered she could get that upstart mink to sing a bit louder about her misdeeds.
Several days later…
“Oh hey,” Rutger spoke, the tired Faye jolting up from her seat at the table as she looked towards her lover. “They printed your story.”
“About time…” Faye sighed.
“... very flattering photo of you.”
“... did Julia use the one of me in the straitjacket they took for my file?”
“That… gah, I’m too tired to care,” Faye sighed.
“But you’ve been back for days now! How are you tired?”
“Late nights working on my story,” Faye spoke. “You have any idea how much evidence I had to sift through? Some of that stuff Alicia dropped off wasn’t even part of my investigation!”
“Well it sounds like they already got Doctor Hailey. Someone dropped her off at the police station,” Rutger said, flipping the newspaper page. “Heh, that eagle we saved was the one who got to cuff her.”
“Sounds like everyone’s getting what they needed then…” Faye sighed out. “Except me and needing decent sleep. I hate to say it, but I got kind of used to the jacket. That straitsack was especially cozy.”
“Weeeell…” Rutger grinned brightly. “It is in the closet. Want to spend your Sunday relaxing in it? I can put on a movie for us.”
Faye thought the suggestion over.
“... you know what, that doesn’t sound half bad. Just, no muzzle.”
“Of course. How else am I going to feed you some popcorn?” Rutger grinned, giving Faye a kiss on the forehead. The ferret just smiled. It was good to be back home.