An: Okay! The first chapter of 'Torment: Sold,' the prequel to the esteemed, two-shot, 'Torment' is finally here!

Okay- sorry about all the delays... my laptop breaking not only delayed me writing it, but I'd lost everything I'd already wrote... (please remind me to NEVER EVER drink near a laptop again... –'cause I'm buying a new one this week- with the very last of my money- and I can't afford for ANYTHING to happen to this one...)

Special thanks to Clemlimo, who both beta'd this chapter, but also added in the French bits!!! You're wonderful my friend!

Also, the next chap of torment: Punished will be posted tonight- It's ready to go, so once I've posted this, I'll just check through that one...

'The Club' –the 5th chap is now in progress...

Words in bold are in FRENCH. The translations are written in the (brackets and are in italics).

Read on:

"Alex." I knew that voice. Yassen? I mumbled something into the gag, and a hand stroked gently down my cheek, obstructed by the blindfold and gag, but comforting all the same. "Chut... Je vais te sortir de là." (Shh... I'll get you out of here.)

I trembled, tired after hours spent on display. This was my worst nightmare – I mean, I was being sold! Like cattle! And then, there was the humiliation of being naked and tied immobile – face down on a table, then on my back, and worst of all: in the middle of the room, wrists cuffed together and attached to some kind of pulley above me, so high I was forced onto tiptoes, legs chained apart, and unable to protest or even see who was there, who was touching me, whose hand was stroking my ass...

It was so humiliating, and it was no doubt the worst ordeal I'd ever been through. Giant jellyfish, sharks, deadly injections... I'd go through them all over again if it meant this would just end now.

I was startled out of my thoughts when Yassen spoke again. "Je le prends." (I'll take him.)

"Et vous allez..." (And you'll –)

"Mais bien sûr, l'ami. Alex Rider ne sera plus jamais un problème." (Of course, my friend. Alex Rider will never be a problem again )

"Et pour l'argent..." ( And the money...)

"Je vais prendre mes dispositions." (Will be arranged.)

A pause, and then there was suddenly slack in the chains holding my arms up, and I would have toppled over, if a strong arm around my waist hadn't supported me. My legs were released next, and after a few minutes I managed to hold myself upright – blushing the entire time, both from my nakedness, and also from embarrassment from needing to be held up.

I was led from the room, the assassin keeping a firm grip on my upper arm as we walked. Still blindfolded, gagged, and with hands cuffed, I was relying completely on him to keep me safe.

After a few twists and turns Yassen sat down in some kind of chair, and pulled me down to kneel next to him, at his feet. If I didn't trust him so much I'd have refused, but he was my best bet of getting out of here.

For the next half hour or so I dozed, feeling safe leaning against Yassen's thigh, exhausted after the stress and fear of the last week. I can vaguely remember hearing snippets of the conversation – later I worked out it was about how he was paying for me.

I was jolted back into the present when the assassin stood up. And I scrambled to my feet as well. He said his goodbyes to the men, then led me out of the place

We got to the open door – I felt the cool breeze, and could hear the usual background of bird song, rustling trees and crickets – and I baulked. Yassen, however, just tightened his hold on my arm, and pulled me outside.

My bare feet on gravel hurt, but luckily I only had to walk a few steps – we stopped, and I heard the unmistakable sounds of a car being unlocked, and the door opening.

I was manoeuvred inside, and sat down on the seat. I was efficiently buckled in, and then the door shut. I listened carefully to his footsteps in the gravel, and so wasn't surprised when what must be the driver's door opened, and Yassen climbed in.

The engine gave a roar when he started the ignition, and gravel crunched under wheels as he drove.

I woke up when the car stopped. Momentarily panicking, I struggled against the seatbelt and the cuffs, before I felt Yassen reach over and hold me down, murmuring reassurances in my ear until I calmed down.

I was still blindfolded, but was covered by a blanket, and the gag had been removed. "Yassen?" I whispered groggily.

"Shhh... We'll talk once we get you inside." I nodded, and the assassin proceeded to exit the car, circle round to me, and help me out. He wrapped the blanket around me more securely, locked the car, then swung me up and over his shoulder, carrying me out of what seemed to be a garage, and into the main house.

The door was locked behind us, and we went round a few turns before I was set on a sofa. "Wait right there, Alex."

He returned in less than a minute, and sat me up so he could sit on the sofa as well. Once settled, he pulled me back down so my head and shoulders were in his lap.

"Alex, close your eyes." Confused, but too tired to argue, I did so. Yassen's hands quickly took the blindfold off, and slowly I opened my eyes, squinting for a few minutes in the light.

Yassen's face was right above me. He began to spoke as I examined what I could see of where we were. A leather sofa, a coffee table, a TV – we were in a lounge then. A few doorways, but the doors were closed so I didn't know what was on the other side. It was all very minimalist, like a show room. It didn't look lived in at all.

"Alex. You were captured by a white slavery gang, who specialise in the sex trade. They take tourists, orphans and the homeless, and sell them. You are very lucky I was there when I was, otherwise..."

He didn't need to continue the sentence.

"So, you're going to let me go now? I can go back..."

Yassen's face closed off even more, and his voice became tight. "No. Part of the sale was the assurance that Alex Rider, the spy, was no longer around. If I let you go, they'd know, and they'd kill me and re-sell or kill you."

I didn't know what to say; I had to stay here?

"Also you will be expected to accompany me whenever I visit McMullet, the leader of the gang."

I yawned, and Yassen chuckled, amused. My yawn turned into a yelp, though, when he stood up, swinging me into his arms at the same time.

He carried me out of the lounge and through the kitchen, then into the hall and up the stairs. On the landing, he entered the first room on the right, and set me down on the bed.

He unwrapped the blanket, leaving me bare, but he hardly glanced at me, instead just pulling the bedcovers up. My hands were still cuffed together, and he reached for them, but rather then release me, he just checked the fit of the leather cuffs. Satisfied, he pulled out a pair of handcuffs from his back pocket and attached one metal cuff to a link in the chain between my hands, and the other cuff to a wooden slat in the headboard.

By this point I was falling asleep, and the last thing I remember is him undressing and slipping into the bed on the other side.