“What’s my next move?”

“Hang on.”

“Hang on? I’m running out of time here!”

“I’m having trouble pulling up your coordinates on the GPS.”

“Do I need to remind you that I’m currently being hunted by Edwin Miller’s goons, and I’m pretty sure that he hasn’t forgotten about the time I stole the data from his South American secret mansion that resulted in him going to jail for 12 months before his lawyers found a way to snake him out on a technicality? Oh, and you’re probably having trouble locating me because I’m in a freaking VOLCANO!”

“Sit tight Dawn, I should be able to find you any moment here,” assured Danny in calm tones as he worked his magic on the other end of the line. The sound of the keys was like rapid fire.

“He says calm down,” mumbled Dawn as she wiped her hand across her brow, slick with sweat. She was dressed in a smart designer black skirt suit, with a pair of sheer barely black pantyhose, and heels and found the outfit very unfit for the labyrinthine claustrophobic tunnels that wound around the perimeter inside the volcano she currently found herself within. Her day had started bad, and ended up here.

That morning she had received a call to follow up on a lead. The contact was jumpy and asked to meet her at a café downtown. Not wanting to lose the tip, Dawn acquiesced to the jumpy contact’s request. She hurried down to the parking garage of the Rose Tribune only to find her green jaguar waiting for her with a flat tire. Precious time was ticking away, and her mystery contact was only getting jumpier. She scampered out of the garage out onto the busy sidewalk in front of the Rose and hailed a cab. Whether she was showing generous leg or just got lucky, a cab pulled up right away for her.

She gave the address, and the cabby nodded and pulled away from the curb right away. After requesting that he please get there as fast as possible, Dawn sat back and attempted to a well-behaved passenger. Soon, however, she began to notice that she was not being taken to the destination as requested. When she offered up her inquiry, she found the driver glancing at her in the rearview mirror. An uncomfortable Dawn opened her mouth to raise her concern more clearly when a glass divider rose, separating her from the front seat of the vehicle. Strange turned to sinister when a green noxious gas began to billow into the rear of the cab. Dawn coughed and put her well-manicured hand up to her mouth as the awful scent of the cloud made her nose itch and throat burn. Her fear told her not to breath the wicked stuff, but her body eventually betrayed her, and she gulped in unhealthy doses. Her daintily shadowed eyelids began to blink slower and slower, the heavier they got. Soon, they stopped blinking all together, and her slender form slumped over onto its side in the backseat of the cab.

The cab never made it to the café, but that hardly mattered, because the jumpy informant never showed up either. The coincidence of the flat tire on Dawn’s car was no more coincidence than her finding an easy cab. It had little to do with her long legs and sheer black pantyhose, or the high heels that hailed many a cab in New York City. It had very much to do with the private jet on the runway at the airport as the cab pulled up. The driver got out and opened up the back door, gently catching an unconscious Dawn Meadows, as her slender body fell out of the cab, long blonde hair cascading over the driver’s steady arms. He curved his other arm under the silky knees of her nylon clad legs, hoisting her up and minding this very little as he carried the dainty form of his captive up the steps leading into the waiting plane.

The effects of the green gas kept her docile and well behaved as the plane picked up speed and lifted off with its newest passenger. The fluffy white clouds, the city fading in the background, oceans below, even passing through a threatening lightning storm went little noticed by the drugged reporter. Only when the plane was landing at its destination far from New York City did the haze begin to pull back from Dawn’s woozy mind.

She got up in confusion on unsure legs, trying to understand what she was doing on a plane, where she was, and how she got there. Nothing was making any sense at the moment. She noticed that the door to the plane was open and her natural instinct was to go to the door and exit the plane, answers certainly existed outside. When she got to the exit, she stood at the top of the steps leading out. She was not prepared for the riot of landscape that assaulted her still recovering vision. The city was gone, and replaced with jungles and mountains, and at the base of the plane steps was a man in waiting.

“Greetings, Miss Meadows. May I say what a pleasure it is to see your lovely face once again?” At the sight of Edwin Miller, Dawn immediately fainted, luckily for her, into the arms of the pilot who had been silently standing behind her.

When she awoke, she found herself in a crude stone chamber, with a mean headache. She remembered seeing Edwin Miller and fainting, but she wasn’t sure if she fell out of the plane, or if it was just the delightful after effects of the noxious green gas that knocked her out in that accommodating New York cab. Looking around, there was no sign of Edwin, or anyone else for that matter. Only a small postcard awaited the young reporter. It was addressed to Dawn, signed by Edwin Miller:

Greetings, Miss Meadows. I’m sorry that you were not as happy to see me, as I was you. I hope your rest served you well. I had a whole year to reflect on our romantic time together that we spent in my private mansion. I never got to formally thank you for that wonderful time. I hope this makes up for it. Please enjoy your stay. –Sincerely, Edwin Miller

Dawn furrowed her eyebrows, dropping the postcard. What the hell is he talking about? As confused as she was to what Edwin’s game was, her gut already told her that it was bad news. The undercover romance that she fooled him with the prior year, the stealing of his business date, proving his illegal dealings, the 12 months in jail, all of this certainly left a taint in the blood between them. Dawn swallowed the growing lump in her throat wondering what exactly his payback was.

She stood up and noticed that she was in her stocking feet; her shoes were neatly standing on the floor next the crude bed she had awoken in. Immediately she checked and smoothed her clothing, fearing the worst; that if her shoes had been removed to lay her here, what else had been removed, touched? The ugly thought gave Dawn a shiver, but she pushed the fears away. Her clothes appeared intact. She mustn’t imagine the worst. Pointing her toes, she slipped her feet into her heels, and stood up, stretching the ache from her slender body. There was a wooden door to the crude stone room she had awoken in. Answers as always, would exist out there. As she put her hand on the door, she noticed on a tiny table, her cell phone, and blue tooth earpiece.

The first place she called was the Tribune, and after several failed calls, she finally got connected with Danny Breslin. When she finally convinced him that she was not in fact calling him to admit that she finally wanted to go on a date with him, and that this was the worst possible moment to give her a compliment on her legs, she finally barked at him to shut up and listen. He still did not take the conversation seriously until Dawn had opened up the door and let out a terrifying scream that caused Danny to pull his receiver away from his ear. At this point she had his full and serious attention.

Over the next few minutes, with Danny’s help deciphering the ludicrousness of the situation, they duo agreed that the intrepid Dawn Meadows was indeed inside a live volcano. It was almost too outlandish to believe. Danny questioned Dawn what kind of story could she possibly be trailing in a volcano? And was she interested in having her pantyhose singed? Because that was what she had to look forward to if she didn’t get the heck out there pronto!

Dawn assured Danny that she most certainly was not interested in having her pantyhose singed, or any other part of her for that matter, and with a choked sob, begged him to help her find her way out. When Dawn heard the sound of voices, and realized that Edwin’s goons were coming to check on her, she urged Danny to please hurry. He hammered away at the keys, working GPS magic as well as pulling up research documentation on the volcano after locating where Dawn was.

“There should be a tunnel straight ahead of you, then a small passage leading off the left, and another to the right. You want to take the left passage,” instructed Danny.

“Left, got it,” repeated Dawn as she hurried as fast as she could in the uneven stone floor and her heels that seemed all the more ridiculous here. The heat inside the volcano was becoming unbearable, and it was becoming very evident this was no place for a nosy reporter, or anyone for that matter. As Dawn marched diligently following Danny’s directions coming to through the blue tooth in her ear, she felt the heat slowly dominating her, defeating her. She unbuttoned the black jacket of her suit and slid it back over her bare white shoulders, slick with sweat revealing the satiny cobalt bra beneath. Her curvy breasts heaved as she struggled for breath that was seemingly in short supply.

“Danny, are you sure this is the right way?” complained Dawn, unable to control herself. The sweltering temperature was getting the best of her, and her usual optimistic attitude was literally melting away. She clod away in her heels which felt heavier with each step, currently weighing in at cinder blocks. The beads of sweat rolled over the struggling reporter’s white breasts, sliding between her cleavage, down under the center of her bra, formed a quick flowing river over her bare toned tummy, and pooled beneath the waist of her black skirt and the waistband of her suffocating pantyhose.

“I’m certain, Dawn. Just hang in here a little bit longer. It’s not much further, we’ll have you splashing in a cool river outside that nasty volcano,” assure Danny in sunny tones.

“I’m glad you’re so optimistic,” replied Dawn in dry tones. She had little moisture left for anything but dry. As she squeezed around a pile of fallen rocks in the tunnel, she came out an opening that gave her pause, and very little else.

“What is it Dawn?” asked Danny into her earpiece, sensing something was wrong.

“Um, Danny, I think you might have gotten your directions wrong,” replied Dawn, slack jawed at the view before her.

“That’s impossible. It’s GPS, Dawn. I’ve got you pegged. You should be about 20 yards from an exit.”

“Well, I’m not. If fact, I’m at the foot of river of lava, and there’s no way across except a thorny vine!”

“River of lava? Thorny vine? Something must have changed there recently. Volcanic activity, or Edwin Miller must have altered something,”

“What do I do?” cried Dawn, cutting off Danny’s rambling explanations.

“Well, according to what you’re telling me now, the only way out is… across that vine… over the lava,” added Danny in an undertone.

“What!?” cried Dawn. “You want me to climb across a river of lava held up by a vine!?”

“It’s either that, or wait and be caught by Miller’s goons… who might just throw you in the lava,”

“Thanks, Danny. Thanks for that wonderful cuddly image of my alternative. Really helping, you are.”

“Just saying…” his words trailed off.

Dawn stared at the impossible task before her, the rolling red magma at her feet, the unparalleled temperatures, swirling reds, browns, and blacks, the lone thorny vine that signaled her only escape possibility. Dawn robotically reached behind her waist, and unzipped her short black skirt, letting it pool at her feet like a puddle of oil. Gingerly she stepped out of her heels, and placed her stocking feet on the punishing rock floor. She stood there in a daze before the bubbling lava, her skinny white body, in her sweat soaked barely black pantyhose, looking the fool in a situation beyond foolishness. The blank look on her face belied the fear hammering in her heart beneath her sweat soaked breasts. “Only me,” muttered Dawn before timidly reaching her soft palms for the painful looking thorny vine.

With a deep breath and a grunt, she hoisted herself up to the vine, and wrapped her stocking clad legs around, locking at the ankles to give her the support that her slender arms required to hold her modest weight. She inched her way across, golden hair hanging down beneath her, billowing in the hot breeze, feeling her backside cook. The under qualified muscles in her arms balked at the task she was asking, begging of them, while her palms became dangerously slick with sweat, mingled with blood from the thorns. Dawn pursed her ruby lips, and gritted her teeth and she inched her trembling hands along, followed by her slender ankles. She kept her green eyes concentrated on the vine.

The progress was slow going and painful but it was there, and Dawn felt a hint of prideful joy at her courageous self when her efforts hit a snag. Quite literally, they hit a snag. Balking in disbelief, Dawn craned her neck and peered back at her feet and noticed that the reinforced toe seam of her pantyhose had snagged on one of the vine thorns! “You have got to be KIDDING me!” she gasped.

“What’s happening, Dawn?” called Danny in her ear. In all her concentration, she had forgotten that she was still connected.

“Danny, I’m stuck!” she whimpered, struggling to hold onto the vine as she peered back at the recalcitrant toe, testing its elasticity with various degrees of tugging.

“Stuck? What do you mean? How?”

“My foot, I mean my pantyhose! The toe seam of my pantyhose! Oh, Danny, I snagged the toe of my nylons on the vine and now I’m stuck, and I can’t pull it free, and I have no way to reach back and free it with my hand!” Dawn’s voice cracked with despair as her already overtaxed arms began to tremble in desperation.

“Pantyhose? Dawn, why didn’t you peel those off before you started your climb? They’re made of nylon. Of course they are going to snag on the vine! What were you thinking?”

“I didn’t think… Danny, you’re not helping!”

Dawn grunted and groaned as she tugged with her leg muscles, leaving her weight supported by the flagging strength of her arm muscles. She spent and spent energy she did not have to spend, and the nylon toe just stretched and gave, but never giving up its girl. These pantyhose would not give out on her.

“Danny… I can’t… hold on… any… longer!” Dawn groaned, gasped, and cried the words in hysteria as her desperate little muscles gave out, long after they should have in their defense. Her slick hands betrayed her, and let the vine slip from her useless begging fingers. As she swung down, she closed her eyes and braced herself for the dooming grim splash into the rolling magma, but when it didn’t come, she risked a peek with her eyes, and to her horror, realized that she was hanging upside down from the toe of her pantyhose still snagged on the vine. Her blonde hair swayed mere inches above the lava and she grabbed at it greedily with her many fingers, gathering it all up, not wishing for it to burn up.

“Danny! Please, I need help! I’m dangling upside down over the lava in my pantyhose!” Dawn cried hoping that Danny could still hear her as she dangled inches above certain peril.

“Dawn, I really wish you had of tackled this with bare legs, you would have fared a lot better,”

“Danny would you stop harassing me about my nylons. They just saved my life! If I wasn’t wearing them, I’d be sizzling in a lava bath right now, but they caught me before I had to suffer that fate!”

“Well, from the sounds of it, you’re hanging inches above the lava, dangling by the toe of those stockings, the stretch of the nylon isn’t going to help your situation, but at that distance, in a few seconds you’re probably going to-“

Dawn did not hear what was going to happen. At her proximity to the lava, the surface was disturbed and created a belching bubble of lava, which unleashed a pocket of trapped air so hot that Dawn Meadows disintegrated instantly as it met with her cool white skin. Instantly she was reduced to a powdery grey version of her former self, fingers holding desperately onto her hair, eyes and mouth opened in pathetic fear. Gravity and the heat on the surface of the lava caused her ashen self to break apart little by little starting with her arms and head, all the way up her torso, and while her pantyhose stuck fast to the vine, billowing in the heat, the ashes of her legs poured out from the waist, settling on the magma’s surface with a brief brightening and a gentle hiss.

Edwin Miller arrived with his goons shortly after and saw her heels inside the pool of her black skirt at the edge of the lava river, and out across the vine, her sheer pantyhose pillowed in the hot volcanic breeze. “Oh, Miss Meadows, didn’t you know that bare legs were in this season?” The goons laughed at their boss’s joke.


-The End

Illustrations by Mistytang

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