This story takes place in a fictive country isolated from the present world.
The sun was setting in Lake City when Susan Atkins walked out of her store. There were no customers there and she liked to watch sunsets. Lake City was located on a valley among high mountains and the scenery was beautiful when sun rays reflected on the lake and the waves were creating bizarre mirror images of the surrounding hills.
All of sudden she heard a noise and turned to the road. A strange group of riders was approaching the city. A strong and muscular man was riding on the head and two more horses were following him. He was leading all horses by a long rope connected to the saddles. A woman was driving a wagon behind the horses.
Two young women were sitting on the horses and they were tied up tightly. Their arms were tied behind their backs in a strict boxtie and their legs were tied under the horses’ bellies. Both women were gagged by wooden ballgags strapped behind their heads…
The man stopped at the Sheriff’s office, dismounted the horse and entered. Five minutes later he came back along with the Sheriff and headed towards the hotel.
Susan felt a cold chill running down her spine. She knew exactly who the man and woman was.
She lived in West York, an independent state located between mountains and separated from civilization by a desert and by impassable mountains. After the Civil war West York became a closed community and its development stagnated. The local government was very conservative and broke almost all contacts with the outer world.
Life in West York matched the 19-th century and the Wild West time. There was no electricity, no cars, no radio and TV and no phones in West York. The only legal connection to the civilization was an old fashioned railway through the desert. The border station was guarded heavily and the rails were not connected. All goods had to be reloaded. No passengers could cross the border. The only allowed import goods were weapons and ammunition for the army and sheriffs as well as basic tools and machines. The export goods were food and cotton mostly.
However there were illegal connections to the civilization and people in West York got goods from the modern industrial world. Even if the offer was limited by missing electricity, there still was a lot of goods to provide. The most popular ones were colored magazines with images of modern items and clothes, clothing, lighters and even battery powered electric torches. Smuggler gangs delivered those goods through the mountains; they knew secret paths. In rare cases people were smuggled out of the state but it was very expensive.
West York was a strictly patriarchal community. Women’s rights were quite limited; a wife had to obey her husband and she couldn’t leave him. Women had to wear floor length skirts and they weren’t allowed pants at all. Despite the strict rules the black market flourished. Women had to wear long skirts and dresses but nobody could peek under the dresses and skirts. There was a wide offer of panties, tights and bras in the stores.
Susan was a definite rebel since her childhood and she always wanted to be independent. Three years ago she ran away from her husband and started her own and independent life. She was able to build a clothing shop in Lake City and she was successful. She also sold the smuggled female undergarments.
Now she was worried about the man and woman who had just arrived. They were Wive hunters. Married men in West York hired the hunters to bring their runaway wives back and the hunters were merciless. There were rumors about their methods and those rumors caused Susan’s worries. The women were broken when they were delivered back to their husbands. Susan knew two of them that had been delivered back to Lake City. They were quiet and there was something wrong with their legs apparently.