Charlie Says…









“… So that’s why Patricia Pickering is my best friend in the whole world.  She likes what I like, she laughs at what I laugh at, and we share everything together.”


I put my pen down and closed my book, looking at the front where “Rachel Rigg.  Homework Book” was written in big black letters.  Looking at the clock, I saw it was coming up to eleven, so I slipped off my chair and went downstairs.


“Homework all done,” Mum said as she looked at me when I walked into the kitchen.  She had short brown hair, the same colour as mine, and wears glasses like I do, and normally she dresses very smartly.  Today was Saturday, however, which is the day she likes to wear old joggers and t-shirts.


“All done, Mum,” I said as I went to the fridge and took out a carton of juice.  “Is it all right if I go round to Patty’s later today?”


“Call ahead and make sure she’s in, and if so then yes,” she said with a smile.  I nodded as I went into the front room, and picked up the telephone.


“Hey Patty – what’s happening?”


“Not a lot – just doing my homework,” she said, “want to get together later?”


“That’s why I’m calling - can I come round after one?”


“Sure – we’ll have eaten by then.  Bye.”


Putting the phone down, I turned on the telly and watched some cartoons.  We moved to Holderness a year back last April – Daddy works for one of the big newsagents as a manager, and he took over the branch here.  A few weeks later Patty moved down from Scotland, and we became firm friends.


I like Patty – she’s clever, cute, and – well, she really does like all the things I like, but I didn’t realise how much at first, until that first time Mum and I were tied up.


It was by a man the papers call the Game Player – when I first saw him, he came into the front room with Mum, and she said we were going to play a game of robbers.  He tied our wrists, arms, ankles and legs, and then used two scarves to keep us quiet.  At the time, I really thought it was a game – it was only when the policeman came in and freed us Mum told me the truth.


She did it so I would not panic, but – well, can you keep a secret?


Can you?


I was actually quite excited by it – and when school started again in the autumn, I told Patty.  She seemed interested – but it was only the next Saturday, when I went to her house and met the rest of her family and friends, that I discovered just how interested they were.


Turned out they played tie-up games all the time – and very realistic ones at that, as that very morning someone pretended to rob them.  He tried to tie us up and gag us, but Patty and her cousin Cassie, as well as her friend Suzie, just kept bouncing and jumping around and making it all a game – which I loved!


I really loved not being able to talk, and move except for jumping about.  It meant I could be the same as all the others, and not the little kid.  So I went home that day very happy, and with an invite to spend the next weekend with Patty’s cousins at their house.


What none of us – and I mean none of us – expected is what really happened.  We all dressed up on the Friday morning in some old clothes that Cassie and Jenny had been given, and were about to sit down to have breakfast when a bunch of armed and masked men came in, and said we were their hostages!


There was my and Patty, Cassie and her friend Suzie, and Jenny and her friend Alicia all staying, and – well, when Cassie’s dad said it was all a game he had set up, and we were to play along, I could have leaped up from my seat and hugged him!  I got the feeling the others could have as well – well, apart from Alicia, who didn’t look very well.


That’s how the craziest weekend I have ever spent began.  For three days we all dressed up in old clothes, and were so tightly bound and gagged we could hardly move or speak – we even spent the night sleeping while tied up.  The only time we were completely free was when we went to the toilet or washed and changed – we were even tided to the chairs while we ate.


I thought I was going to be really scared at the start, but the masked men made it fun as well.  One of them – Jay, I think his name was – even made sure he played with us, sat and watched television with us, and kept us company most of the time.  One of his men had taken Cassie and Jenny’s dad off somewhere, but – well, it was an amazing experience.


Especially when on the Saturday afternoon, we were all blindfolded and taken to a different place – a big old country house where we stayed until the Sunday afternoon.  We had great fun hopping around the floors, playing hide and seek, all sorts of things – even sleeping tied to the beds!


Eventually, however, Jay and the men left, and a few minutes later Cassie’s friend Bobby appeared, along with her aunt and some others.  We were all freed, and when I went home I told Mum and Dad we had spent a wonderful weekend playing dress up, at the request of Suzie’s dad.


What I didn’t know then was she and Alicia were the granddaughters of Lord Holderness – and I didn’t find out it was a real kidnapping until much, much later, when Mum and Dad spent the day with me at Holderness Manor.


I don’t think they were very happy at first, but in time they came round to allowing me and Patty to stay friends, and even sleep over at each other’s houses.  When I was at Patty’s, we’d play the games, but when she came to mine we didn’t – not at first anyway.


What changed?  We met a boy called Charlie…





“Ready to go,” Mum called out as I pulled my trainers on, and then put my pink padded jerkin on over the blue sweat shirt.


“Ready,” I called out as I rand own the stairs and out of the front door, jumping into the car as Mum locked up and then got behind the wheel.


“I’m going to go into town after I drop you off,” she said as we headed down the road, “so I’ll pick you up at about five, all right?”


“Sounds good Mum,” I said as I looked out of the window.  I wondered what Patty and I could get up to today, as we made our way through the streets and then stopped behind the pink Volkswagen.


“Thanks Mum,” I said as I jumped out and closed the door, “see you later.”  She waved at me as she drove off, and I ran up the path to Patty’s front door, knocking on it as I waited.


“Hey Rach,” she said as she let me in, “What do you want to do today?”  Patty had on a blue top and leggings, with white socks, and like me her glasses were perched on the end of her nose, with her dark hair pulled back in a pigtail.


“Got any ideas,” I said as I waved to her mother in the kitchen.


“Yeah – come on up,” she said as we went up to her bedroom.   When we went in, I saw she had her portable DVD player set up – and some rolls of white tape on her bed.


“What are we going to watch?”


“I got the new Scooby-Doo movies at the shop today,” Patty said with a smile, “Want to tape each other up on the bed before we get started?”


“Sounds good,” I said as I kicked my trainers off and sat next to her on the bed.  The player was already switched on, with the title screen of the first film up, as we both bent our knees and took a roll of tape each, using them to tape our ankles tightly together.


I then wound the tape round my legs below my knees, smiling as I watched Patty do the same.


“We’ll need to have our hands in front of us to use the remote,” I said as she tore the tape off and smoothed it down behind her legs, looking at the two bands of white.


“Oh I agree,” Patty said as she shuffled back, and then picked up two white hankies, handing one to me.  “Still, at least we can be quiet.”


“Got it in one,” Patty said as we both squashed up a handkerchief and put it into our mouths, and then wrapped the tape around each other’s heads.  I like this tape – it’s strong, it keeps us quiet, but it doesn’t stick to our hair, so we can use as much as we want.


I then taped Patty’s wrists together, and she managed to secure mine, before we sat back on the bed and she started the film – Scooby Doo: Field of Screams.


It was all about football, which was great for me.  You see, I play for an under elevens team on a Sunday afternoon, after chapel, and I love the game.  I support Chelsea, like Suzie’s brother Bobby.


I like Bobby – for an older boy, he’s kind, and he did play the hero that weekend.  A few weeks later, I met him again when he came with Suzie to Cassie’s place so that she could come to a sleepover with Cassie, Patty and me at a new neighbour of theirs,


That was when I met Lisa Williamson – their dad did some work for Suzie’s dad, but I knew their mother.  Mrs Williamson s the head of Infants at the school Patty and I go to, and she seemed nice enough, if a little scary.


Her brother Charlie had met the others, but he was away with Suzie’s brother, so we went over to Lisa’s house and watched a film, sat down to tea – and then history repeated itself as masked men came in and said they wanted Lisa’s dad to do something for them.


After he left, it got even more surreal when their leader turned up – the man called Jay who had held us hostage that weekend!  He was actually very nice, apologising for the fact we had met him again, and – well, we spent the rest of that day and night tied up and gagged just as tightly as before.  Next morning, her dad came home with a big bruise, and we were released – but it meant we knew Lisa and her mum liked these games as much as we did.


That was a while ago however, as half way through the film Patty’s mum brought up some milk and cookies.  “Honestly,” she said as she put the snacks on Patty’s work table, “you two.  They’re there when you want them.”


Fnksmm,” Patty said as her mum went out, and we just kept watching the film.  When it finally finished, she shuffled over to the side of the bed, and picked up a pair of scissors, cutting my wrist free, and then letting me take them so that I could cut her free as well.


“I need this,” she said as she took the hankie out of my mouth, and we both grabbed a glass of milk, drinking half of it in one go.  As I put the tape in a rubbish bag, she switched off the player and then we ate the cookies, before going downstairs.


“Ah good,” her mum said as she held the phone, “it’s Fiona’s mother.  She’s taking Fiona and Louise to the pictures tomorrow, and wondered if you two wanted to go as well.”


“What time?”


“Hang on – Becca, what time?”


Patty’s mum listened before saying “three o’clock – she’ll call your mum if you want to go.”


“I’d love to,” I said as Patty looked at me.


“What are you thinking,” I said quietly.


She smiled and was about to say something, but then thought better of it.  She just nodded and said “Wait and see, Rach, wait and see…”




I’ve gone to Chapel ever since I can remember on a Sunday morning.  In fact, the few times I’ve missed it has been because I was ill, or visiting, or spending the weekend with Patty.  Even then, we went to her church – or when we were held hostage for the weekend, Jay Edwards even fixed it so we watched a service on the Sunday morning,


As I sat with Mum and Dad, in my Sunday best, I couldn’t help wondering what others would think of how I liked to relax.  I know Mum and Dad had a hard time understanding it when they found out – but then, they got told by someone very important.


A couple of weeks after that weekend, Mum opened the door to see Mister and Mrs Holderness standing on the doorstep.  I was in the kitchen at the time, so I saw them walking into the front room with Mum, and wondered whether or not I should join them.


As it was, Dad came out and asked me to come in.  They said I’d been asked to go to a sleepover in a few weeks time at their new house, and that they would join me after the Sunday service for lunch.


Then, on the Sunday, when Mum and Dad arrived we were all dressed up in their old clothes, and I said we had all been playing a game.  That was when Cassie and Suzie’s mums took them aside and explained about the games – just as I realised I had red marks on my arms where the ropes had been.


A few minutes later, I went into the kitchen, thinking I was in real trouble.  Mum and Dad said that they had been told about the games, and how it had helped me to cope with all that had happened.


I wasn’t in any trouble, but they said to keep it amongst my friends, and not tell anyone else.  Then at lunch they talked to Cassie and Suzie, and – well, everything was all right after that.


So much so that when I was – well, kidnapped would be the literal truth – just before the New Year, Mum knew exactly what was happening and approved it.  I’d gone round to see Patty, when Bobby called to see her mother.  They all went into the kitchen, I sat in the front room – and then two masked men in boiler suits ran in, tied me arms, gagged me and stuck a pair of black glasses over my eyes, and then carried me out!  I had no idea what was going on, except I wasn’t alone – there was one other person there, and after a drive a third joined us.


Eventually, I found myself in a cellar, and realised it was Cassie and Alicia who had been with me, and Suzie was there as well!  Over the next two days, all their friends and family joined us, but we had no idea who had taken us.


Well, not quite true – we knew it was Bobby and his friends Colin and Martin, but not who else.  At the end of the second day, however, we all got changed into formal dresses – and discovered we had been in the basement of Wissenden Hall.  It was a huge party for Cassie and Suzie!


Since then, there have been a few more games, and Mum has even joined in once or twice, especially a few weeks ago when we went to a baby shower for a relative of Suzie’s called Sarah.


“Let us say the grace together.”


Mum nudged me as we said the words, looking round the chapel.  “Day dreaming again, Rachel,” she said as she looked at me.  I just nodded – I was already looking forward to that afternoon.


After lunch, I changed out of my dress into a pair of jeans and a sweat shirt, before putting on some trainers and going in the car with Mum to the cinema.  When I got there, Patty was waiting, in her pink top and joggers.


“Hey Kerry,” Mrs Pickering said as we walked over, “no sign of the other two yet.”


“We’ve got time, Jess – Becca rarely turns up until the last minute anyway.”


“So what are you planning, Patricia Pickering,” I whispered as we looked around the car park.


“Like I said, wait and see,” Patty said as she looked at me through her glasses, but before I could say anything Mum said “here they are now.”


Fiona Kerr and Louise Hobson are in the same class at school as Patty and me, and we’d become good friends over the second half of the year.  Fiona is a couple of inches taller than both of us, and has shoulder length blonde hair that was been held back today by a white band.  She was wearing a pair of purple leggings and a purple and white patterned top, and a pair of brown boots that came half way up her lower legs.


Louise had a shock of red hair and freckles, and was wearing a blue denim dress over a white jumper, and black Ugg boots.  She lives with her dad, so I guess Mrs Kerr acts as a bit of a surrogate mum to her – the two of them usually do everything together.


“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” Fiona’s mum said as she looked at us, “I had to get some things done before I came out.  You two ready?”


We both nodded as she continued “if it’s all right with you two, they can come round to my place for tea afterwards, and you can pick them up there?”


“Fine by me,” Mum said, “Jess?”


“Yup – call us when they’re ready.  Now, you two behave yourselves, all right?”


“What sort of trouble do you think we could get into, Mum,” Patty said as she looked at her mother, eyes wide and innocent.  Which naturally told me she did have a plan.


“All sorts,” Mrs Pickering said with a smile.  “See you later, Becca.”


We waved our mums off, and then went into the cinema – the joys of How To Train Your Dragon 2 awaited us!





Fiona lives with her mum in a farmhouse outside Holderness – Mrs Kerr writes children’s books, and has her studio there where she does some of the drawings as well.  Mister Kerr apparently spends a lot of time in the US, so he wasn’t around when we arrived that afternoon.


“I’ll go and start cooking some stuff for your tea,” Mrs Kerr said as she closed the door, “What are you girls going to do?”


“We’ll go up to the attic, mum,” Fiona said, “so come and tell us when it’s ready.”


“Sure,” she called out as we walked up the main staircase, and then a second one.  Her dad had converted her attic into a sort of leisure room – there was a big television up there, games consoles, and a computer.


“So what do you want to play,” Louise said as she dropped into a large bean bag and picked up a controller.


“We’ll do that later,” Fiona said as she switched on her laptop, “there’s something I want to show you guys.”


“Oh lordie, what new MLP site did you find,” Patty said as we sat either side of her.


“Nothing like that,” Fiona said with a grin, “I was looking for some screenshots of Disney Princesses for my laptop when I stumbled across some sort of chat room.”


“Doesn’t you mum block those things – I know my mum does.”


“Nah – her view is so long as it’s not illegal, it’s fine,” Fiona said as a screen appeared.  “I found a conversation about a couple of girls who had a surprise when they were dressed up as Disney Princesses – here, have a read.”


Both Patty and I had a look – and as we did, and we read about what happened to those girls, we both looked at each other.


“Crazy isn’t it – this guy robbed them, but pretended it was all a game?  I mean, who would believe that?”


“We did.”


Both Fiona and Louise looked at us, as I said “Yeah – the same guy robbed our houses over the last year.  He made out mums pretend it was a game.”


“You are JOKING!!  This guy is real?”


“Yeah – I saw an article about him in Dad’s paper.  They call him the Games Player now.”


“I don’t believe it,” Louise said, “How can you make it a game?  I’d be terrified if someone tied me up.”


“Oh I don’t know – it might be exciting.  How did he do it?”


I saw that look in Patty’s eye, the one that said she wanted to go the whole hog, so I said “If we show you what he did to me and my mum, would that help?”


Fiona looked at Louise, who shrugged and said “all right – but I want my hands in front of me.”


“Got any ropes up here,” Patty said as she stood up.


“There’s a box of old play stuff in the corner,” Fiona said, and as Patty looked in she pulled out some lengths of rope.


“Put your hands together in front of you,” she said as she handed me one, and I knelt beside Louise, tying her wrists together while Patty took care of Fiona.   After I tied the rope between her arms, I said to Louise “there – how’s that?”


She looked at her wrists, and said “Not too bad, I suppose – what about our legs?”


Both of them had left their boots downstairs, so Patty and I were able to tie their ankles together, as well as their legs below their knees, before we tied rope from their wrists to their legs.


“Wow,” Fiona said as she pulled her hands up, raising her legs at the same time, “Did he do all this to you?”


We both nodded as I lied “yeah – then we watched television while he said he was looking round the house.”


“But after that, he made us stay quiet,” Patty said as she sat down.


What, like tie a scarf over your mouth?”


“Something like that – but you need to see if you could get free from that.”


We sat down and watched as they tried to twist their hands and legs free.  We hadn’t done it that tightly, but if there is one thing Patty and I have both learned over the last year (especially from Angela Bowden) it’s how to tie a knot so that it stays tied.


But when Fiona’s mum called up and said “tea’s ready” we untied them, and started to go downstairs.  “That’s exciting,” Fiona whispered to Patty as we walked down.


“A bit scary though,” Louise whispered to me.  I nodded – it was a little scary the first time it happened to me as well, but I got used to liking the idea.


I had hoped we’d get to play some more after that, but Mum turned up when we had finished, and she drove me and Patty home.





When I went into the school playground the next day, I saw the three of them huddled into a corner, talking to each other.


“What’s going on,” I said as I joined them.


“Not a lot – just talking about the school play.”


“Oh yeah – that’s next week isn’t it?”


“Yeah – we were wondering if we could get together this weekend and…”


“Good morning girls.”


“Good Morning Mrs Williamson,” we said as we turned to look at her.  She looked a bit tired, as if she had had a long weekend, but she smiled and said “May I have a word with you, Patricia and Rachel?”


“See you both in a minute,” the other two said as the head of Infants took us to one side.  “I was wondering if you two could come round and keep Lisa and Charlie company on Saturday,” she said with a smile.


I was already excited at the idea.  I like Charlie – he’s the same age as us, but there’s something about his smile that makes me go all tingly inside.


“Sure,” Patty said, “but there is one thing.  We need to meet up with Fiona and Louise Saturday to go over the school play.”


“Well, I can invite them to join you in the afternoon, but I want you to join us for the whole day,” she said quietly, and then I saw the marks on her wrists.


“Is everything all right, Mrs Williamson,” I said quietly.  She looked as if she was going to start crying, but then she smiled and said “Just a long weekend, girls.  So shall we say ten on Saturday?”


It was a bit of a funny week in some ways – Patty told me that Cassie and Jenny had been a bit quiet when she saw them on Tuesday, but Cassie certainly seemed more her normal self when I talked to her later in the week.


I guess it passed quickly, because before I realised it Saturday morning had arrived, and I was sitting with Mum and Dad at the breakfast table.  Because I was going visiting, and because I was seeing Charlie, I had decided to wear a pair of black jeans and a long sleeved top under a green t-shirt.


And no, it wasn’t just because I think he’s cute – although he is.  Charlie is also a wizard with ropes, and if I was going to end up tied up for at least part of the day, I wanted to have as few marks as possible.


Dad was wearing an old boiler suit – he was planning to do some work in the garden – while Mum had on a blouse and knee length skirt.


“Right,” she said as she finished her hot drink, “We’ll go and pick Patty up, and then I’ll drop you both off at the Williamson house.  Go and brush your teeth, and get your coat.”


“Yes, Mum,” I said as I headed upstairs and gave my teeth a really good brushing, before I came back down and put on my black duffle coat.  We waved goodbye to Dad before Mum drove me round to Patty’s house.


I stayed in the car while she knocked on Patty’s door, and stood talking to her mother for a few minutes while Patty came and sat in the back with me.  She was wearing a pair of denim dungarees over a grey jumper, and a pair of white trainers.


“You thinking the same thing I am,” I said as I looked at her.


“For this morning at least,” Patty giggled as Mum came back to the car and got in.  It’s only five minutes from Patty’s house to where her cousins stay, but we stopped on the other side of the road, Mum walking up the front door with us as she rang the doorbell.


It was Mister Williamson who opened the door, and he smiled as he said “Hey – come away in.”  He looked tired, but as we came in Mum refused the offer of some coffee, and said “I’ll pick you both up later.”


“See you mum,” I said as she waved, and Mister Williamson closed the door.  “The kids are in the front room – why don’t you join them,” he said as he opened the door, and we went in.


Lisa was sitting on the floor, wearing some grey joggers and a sweat shirt, while Charlie had on a white and blue striped polo shirt and shorts.  “Hey you two,” he said, “come away in – we’re just watching a Batman cartoon.”


“Which one?” Patty said as she sat next to Lisa, while I sat next to Charlie.


“Mask of the Phantasm – it’s old, but we like it,” he said as he nudged Lisa with his foot.  She looked round and said “hi,” before turning round again.


“So what have you been up to,” Patty said as she looked at them.


“OH not much,” Charlie said quietly, “School, homework, kidnapped and held hostage by a gang who nearly killed us – you know, everyday stuff.”


“That’s good,” Patty said, as I gawped at Charlie.  She then turned to look at him, and said “What did you just say?  Kidnapped and nearly killed.”


“Yup,” Lisa said quietly, “want to hear what happened?”


“You were nearly killed,” I said as I looked at Charlie, “and you’re smiling?”


“Mainly because we’re not dead,” Charlie said, “let me start at the beginning.


“Last Saturday, I was in my room upstairs, working on a poster for the school sports day.  I heard Lisa coming up with Cassie…”


“Cassie and Jenny were staying overnight, and I wanted to show Cassie a new dress Mum had bought me,” Lisa said as she turned round.  “Anyway, a few minutes after we’d come into our room, I put on a DVD, and we were both watching it when two men burst in.  They made us lie face down, used a plastic strip to force our wrists together behind our back, and then stuck brown sticking plaster over our mouths before they marched us out.”


“They got me next,” Charlie said quietly as he picked at his fingernails, “and then we were marched down the stairs and through the kitchen.  Mum and Jenny had their wrists secured as well, before we were forced into a van.  They followed, and then we were driven off.”


“OH my,” Patty said quietly, “were they wearing masks?”


“Nope,” Lisa said, “anyway, we ended up in some sort of big building, very very tightly bound, but we were able to talk.  That’s when Jenny told us she had a special friend who would be able to come to our help.”


“She’s a very brave girl,” Charlie said, “she kept us calm when we thought it was – well, not end well.  All three of us – Lisa, me and mum.”


“So who was this friend,” I said as I looked at Charlie.  I could see him and Lisa looking at each other, but it was Patty who said “It was Sarah, wasn’t it – the woman who got married a few weeks ago.”


“I don’t know about that,” Charlie said, “but in the end, it was her husband Brian who appeared.  We had all been hogtied, and there was a timer slowly counting down in front of all of us.”


“We were literally hogtied, our ankles bent right back and tied to tight ropes around our chest,” Lisa said, “and then he came in.  He just seemed to look at the timer and the box attached to it, and then somehow managed to open it and then stop the timer.  I was shaking and really really scared – all of us were, even Jenny, but he smiled, took the box away, and then came back and untied all five of us, and led us outside.”


“Wow,” I said quietly, “where was your dad?”


“He was there too – as was Sarah,” Charlie said, “Turned out they’d come together to rescue us – and they did too.  That wasn’t the really weird thing, though.”


“What, facing a bomb and unable to move and speak isn’t really weird?”


“Oh that was,” Lisa said, “but it was what happened next.  They had a friend called Kayla, who was a doctor.  She checked us over, and then brought us all home, staying with us while Mum and Dad talked in the kitchen.  We didn’t get a lot of sleep that night – every time I closed my eyes, I kept seeing the men staring at us.”


“I’m not surprised,” Patty said in a whisper.  “Have you managed to sleep much since then?”


“Yeah – thanks to Sarah.  She came to see us the next morning, and we sat in here, in a circle.  Sarah held my left hand, and Lisa’s right, and somehow – it felt as if all the fear and scariness just disappeared.  We talked about how we all felt, what scared us the most, everything – and all the time Sarah just sat and listened, and nodded.”


“He’s not joking,” Lisa said with a smile, “I was scared of everything, but after talking with Sarah, the next thing I remember was waking up that night, here on the couch, and Mum smiling at us.”


“Sarah has a very special gift.”


We all turned to see Mrs Williamson looking at us from the doorway, smiling as she stood with her arms folded.  “Before she talked to you two, she talked to me, and she’s right – it does feel as if all the fear and hate and tension just melts away.  Anyway, we’ve been keeping busy all week, but I wanted the two of you to come this morning so that Charlie and Lisa could talk to you.”


“What about Cassie and Jenny,” Patty said.


“Sarah talked to them as well, as did their parents, but they’re fine,” Mrs Williamson said.  “Would you like a drink?”


“Yes please,” I said, so she went for a moment, returning with a plate of cookies and four glasses of squash.  We sat and watched as the film finished, and then Charlie whispered into my eat “Want to play a game?”


“What sort of game,” I whispered back.


“Kidnap,” he said with a smile as he looked at Lisa and Patty, who were watching the television.  I looked at him for a minute, as his smile grew, and then I slowly nodded as we edged forward on the seats.


Lisa seemed to stiffen, and then as Charlie clamped his hand over her mouth she sighed and said “Hrwggnng.”


“What did you saaymmgmgggg,” Patty said as I clamped my hand over her mouth, a big grin over my face as I did so.


“Got you, you little snoops,” Charlie said in a deep voice as I smiled at him. 


“Thought you could get away with all the lovely information,” I whispered into Patty’s ear, loving the way she rolled her eyes and mumbled “Whtnffrmshn?”


“We’ll soon find out,” Charlie said as he stood up, Lisa standing with him.  I made Patty stand as well, and we walked out of the front room.  Mister Williamson saw us and started shaking his head as we took our two captives upstairs, and into Charlie’s room.


“Lie face down on the bed, hands on your heads,” Charlie said as he walked Lisa over to the bed, and I made Patty join her.  He then handed me a water pistol and said “Cover them” while he went into his wardrobe and took out a box with rope and other things inside.


Taking a length of rope, he made Lisa cross her wrists behind her back and tied them tightly together, and then crossed and tied her ankles together as well.  He then took the gun from me and said “Tie the other little snoop up.”


“Don’t fight me,” I said as I crossed Patty’s wrists behind her back.  I’d watched Charlie carefully, and doubled over the rope before using it to tie them together, copying him and taking the rope around and between her arms.


“Have you been practising,” Patty said as she looked over her shoulder, and I tied the ropes off. 


“No comment,” was my reply as I crossed and tied her ankles together in the same way.  She tried to wriggle them round as Charlie sorted some more ropes out, and then said “Make these two sit back to back on the bed.”


“You heard him,” I said, “sit yourselves up and then back to back.”


I smiled as the two of them managed to roll over, sit up and wriggle round, and then watched as Charlie tied their bodies to each other, the rope going round their waists and stomachs as he pulled them together, and tied it off at their sides.  Handing me a length of cord we then tied their legs together below their knees.


“You’ll never get away with this, you fiend,” Lisa called out, but she was smiling a she said it, and I could tell she was enjoying the game.


So was Patty, who was twisting round and enjoying every second of it.  I took her glasses off, and put them on the bedside table, before I slowly removed her trainers and socks.


“No – you fiend, you can’t mean to…”


“Yes I can,” I said as I started to tickle the soles of her feet, making her laugh out loud and squirm round.


“Hey, what are you doing to my friend,” Lisa said as she looked over her shoulder, not watching Charlie as he folded a handkerchief up and then tied a knot in one of the old scarves that he had folded into a band.


“Hey, snoop.”


“What is immmmfrrrmmmmmmm” Lisa said as her mouth was stuffed and then the knotted scarf pulled between her lips.  Patty could only watch as I stopped tickling her, and then Charlie gagged her in the same way, the two of them trying to talk to each other as we watched them.


“So do you think they’re going to give us any trouble boss,” I said as I looked at Charlie.


“Nah – I think we can leave them to think things over a while,” Charlie said with an evil grin.  “Come on – let’s get our stuff and get out of here.”



“Are they going to be all right like that,” I say as we leave the room.


“Yeah they’ll be fine, so long as Patty doesn’t try to stand up,” Charlie said with a smile.  “So how do you like being one of the captors?”


It’s fun,” I said with a big smile.  “Pity we can only really play like this this morning.”


“Oh yeah – your two friends who are coming after lunch.  We’ll have to see what we can do with them, but right now there’s something I need to do.”


“Oh – what’s that?”


“Take my assistant hostage,” Charlie said as he put his hand over my mouth, and pulled me into Lisa’s room…


Whruddnngufnd,” I mumbled into his hand, but I was secretly ecstatic.  As he closed the door behind us, he whispered into my ear “I hope you’re ready for a full treatment.”  I almost fainted at the idea, but instead just nodded as he let go of my mouth.


“Hands behind your back,” he said, and as I did what he asked he wrapped the rope around my wrists and tied them snugly together, hands palm to palm.  He then took a roll of silver tape, and taped my hands together, before he tied my wrists to my back with rope around my waist – rope he fed through the belt loops in my jeans.


He then tied my arms to my side around my stomach, using the double figure of eight to keep them firmly in place, and then said “Get comfy, my dear – you’re going to stay here while I deal with the two snoop friends of yours.”


“You fiend,” I said with a smile as I sat down and watched him crossing my ankles together, and then my legs below my knees, “you’ll never get away with this!”


“Oh yes I will,” he said as he lifted my legs up and laid me on my side, before he took my glasses off and put them on the side of the bed.  “Now, any last words before I make sure you don’t say anything else?”


“Yeah - I hate you.”


“Oh,” he said as he looked at me, a folded hankie in his hand, “do you really?”


I could actually feel myself blushing at that point as I said “nah – not really.”


“Good – open wide for me then.”


“Okay,” I said with a smile, and then opened my mouth as wide as I could, letting him put the cloth in before I closed my lips again, and he stuck a couple of strips of the silver tape over my mouth.  He didn’t wrap it round my head, which was just as well as my hair was not covered.


But then he did something that showed just how nasty he could be – he started tickling the soles of my feet, making me wriggle round and try to get them away from him.


“Oh no you don’t,” he said as he grabbed my legs, leaving me to wriggle round as he continued to tickle the soles of my feet.  He had his back to the door, and I was laughing so much I had tears in my eyes.  As a result, neither of us really saw the door opening, or Lisa and Patty coming in until it was far too late.


For Charlie that is – Lisa slapped her hand over his mouth, using the fact he let my feet go in surprise to pull him off the bed and onto his stomach.  She sat across him as Patty pulled his hands behind his back, crossed his wrists and started to tie them together with the rope we had used on them.


“How did you manage to escape,” Charlie said as he struggled under his older sister, and Patty started to bind his ankles tightly together.


“You should have covered our hands,” Lisa laughed, “once we had freed each other’s wrists, the rest was simple.”


“Curses – foiled once again,” Charlie sneered, but he looked at me when Lisa finally allowed him to sit up, and winked as between them they tied his arms to his sides with ropes around his tummy and shoulders.


“Shut him up,” Patty said, smiling as Lisa used a hankie and one of the knotted scarves, the knot darker than the rest of the material, to gag Charlie.


“What are we going to do with her then,” Patty said as they both stood up and looked at me.


“Oh, I think the answer to that is obvious,” Lisa said with a smile, as I tried to scoot out of their way on the bed.  It was no use however, they took turns holding me and tickling my knees – and Patty took particular delight in tickling the back of my legs.  Something I would have to thank her for later.


The saving came when Mister Williamson called up “Lunch is ready girls – so whatever you’re doing, stop and get yourselves ready.”


“Lucky,” Patty said as she took the tape off my mouth and I spat the hankie out, “I was about to take care of your ribs.”


“You are so dead Patty Pickering,” I said, but I laughed as I said it and she released me, Lisa taking care of her brother.


“Sticks and stones, Rachel Rigg, sticks and stones,” Patty said as she stuck her tongue out at me, and we all headed downstairs.


“So have you all had fun this morning,” Mrs Williamson said as we sat round the dining table, and she put out some cold meats and salads.


“Yeah,” Charlie said, “three little hostages for me to torment.”


“We got our own back though,” Lisa said as I took some ham and leaves.


“Well, so long as it was fun for all of you, that’s the important thing,” Mister Williamson said when the telephone rang.  He went to answer it, then came back in and said “that was Brian – he and Sarah are coming round tomorrow to discuss something with us.”


“Are they going to want to talk to us again,” Lisa said as she looked at them.


“Not unless you want to talk to her – this is business,” their father said, before we went back to eating the meal and talking about nothing in particular and everything at once.


When we were finished, Lisa and Charlie helped their mother to clean up while we went and waited in the front room for the others to arrive.  It wasn’t long after that when the doorbell rang, and Mister Williamson opened the door to Fiona and Louise.


Fiona was wearing an old blue t-shirt and denim shorts over black leggings, while Louise had on a short sleeved white dress and a pair of blue leggings with a floral print on them.


“Come in, come in,” Mister Williamson said as the girls joined us, “I’ll fetch you a drink.  What would you like?”


“Squash please,” Fiona said, Louise nodding in agreement as they sat down.


“Did you bring the script,” Louise asked, Patty nodding as she went to her bag in the hallway and took out some stapled together sheets.  There were two copies, one of which she handed to me.


“So you know which parts you are playing now,” Mrs Williamson said as she came in from the kitchen.


“Yeah – we’re the four snoops who find the pirates trying to bring their treasure inland, and we have to decide between ourselves who’s going to go and tell the police.”


“That’s right, Louise,” Mrs Williamson said, “well, we’ll leave you to get on with it – Lisa and Charlie need to tidy their rooms, and they can join you later, don’t you?”


“Yes, Mum,” they both said as they went upstairs, Charlie winking at me as he did so.


“Right – let’s take it from the first page,” Patty said as she turned to the first page of the scene we needed to look at.


“Gosh, Penny, you’re right,” she said as she looked at me, “they are pirates!”


“I know, Kim,” I said as I read the next line, “and it looks as if they have the boxes from the boat that ran aground!  What are we going to do!


“One of us needs to go for help,” Louise said, “but Nancy has hurt her leg.”


Owww,” Fiona mumbled as she held her leg, “Yeah, I’ve twisted my ankle, Mary, no way I can go somewhere else now!”


“Well, one of us needs to go back – so who’s it going to be?”


We all turned the page at the same time, and as I looked at the first line I said “I’ll go – my dad is the local constable, after all.”


“All right, Kim, but be careful,” Louise said, and then she looked down the script.  “Kim exits stage left as Penny and Mary look over to the right.”


“Hey – what’s going on down there,” Patty said, and then they both walked over to the right, leaving Fiona stretching her leg out before she said “Who’s there?  Hpplmmmmmmm.”


“Nancy is dragged off by someone with their hand over her mouth,” I said as I read the stage direction.  “Guess you just got taken captive.”


“Yeah, guess so – I wonder what happens to me at that point?”


“Well if they were real pirates they’d stop you from getting away – tie your wrists and ankles, probably.”


I looked at Patty, wondering what she was planning, and then Fiona said “I guess they would – let’s act that out as well.  Have you got something we could use?”


“Give me a minute, will you,” Patty said as she put her script down and walked out of the room. 


“Fiona, are you sure about this?”


I looked at Louise, who blushed and said “After the other day, we looked at the chat room again – I guess we were both curious as to what it felt like.  But nothing tight – and as part of the play.”


“I’m back,” Patty said, and I could see she had some lengths of washing line and a selection of patterned cotton scarves with her.  “Now, Fiona, if we’re going to do this as a pirate would, you need to put your hands behind your back.”


Fiona nodded as she shuffled forward, and moved her hands behind her back, looking at me and Louise as Patty tied her wrists together behind her.  After a few minutes, she said “how does that feel?”


“Tight,” Fiona said as she wriggled a little, “but it doesn’t feel too bad.   Did you take the rope between my wrists as well?”


“Yeah – it makes it a little bit tighter.  I’ll show you on your ankles – can you stretch your legs out in front of you and cross them?”


Louise and I watched as well as Patty knelt in front of Fiona and tied her ankles together, making sure she left enough of the washing line to take between her legs.  “Wow – that does tighten it,” she said as she moved her legs to and fro.  “The pirate really made sure I can’t move.”


Patty and I looked at each other, before she said “yeah they made it difficult.  They’d also make it difficult for you to talk – want to see how?”


Fiona seemed to swallow a little before she said “all right – what would they do, tie a scarf over my mouth?”


“Let’s do that,” Patty said as she folded a black scarf into a wide band, and then tied it over Fiona’s mouth, knotting the ends together under her hair.


Wlltsstpsmtlkngalittt” she mumbled as she sat back, and continued to look at her ankles while the three of us picked up the script again.


“What happened to Nancy?” Louise said as she giggled at Fiona trying to speak.


“I don’t know, Mary,” Patty said as she looked round, “she was right here, and she couldn’t walk.”


Ecntnwlknw” Fiona said, which made us all laugh before Louise said “We need to look for her – you go this way, and I’ll go that way.”


“As Penny and Mary walk away, Penny walks to the left and Mary to the right – only for Mary to be caught and a hand placed over her mouth as well.”


“Gotcha,” Patty said with a giggle as she hand gagged Louise, our friend saying “Hlllpp” as she reached up and tried to pull her hand away.


Urchtttnw,” Fiona giggled as Patty took Louise’s hands behind her back and started to tie them together as well.


“I see what you mean,” Louise then said as she was sat next to Fiona, watching as Patty tied her ankles tightly together.


“I could always try and hop away of course,” she then said as she looked at her legs.


“True – but you’d have to get your ankles uncrossed first,” Patty said as she rolled a red scarf into a thin band.  “Now, in your case, I want you to open your mouth?”




“To illustrate something,” she said as Louise opened her mouth, and Patty slipped the band between her teeth, out friend biting down on it as she tied it around her head.


“Now, let’s see which keeps you quieter,” she said as she knelt between both of them, and started to tickle the backs of their knees.


Hmmgddnnnnnn” Louise said as she started to twist round, and Fiona screamed out “NNNSTPTIITTTTTT.”


“Hmmm – what do you think, Rachel?”




I’d read ahead in the script, you see, so I took great pleasure in hand gagging Patty and saying “What are you doing snooping round?”


Hcmmnnnurkdng,” Patty mumbled under my hand as I smiled at the other two.

“You should have read the script – it says ‘Penny is then captured by the pirates as well.’ So, consider yourself captured.”

Hgrrtt same way as them,” Patty said as I crossed her wrists behind her back and tied them together.

“Well, that’s what the script says,” I giggled as I made her sit with the other two, and crossed her ankles before tying them together. “All three snoops have to struggle to get free while Kim tries to get help.”

Uskdkdfrthtnn,” Louise said with a grin over the cloth between her lips.

“Yeah, yeah, all right,” Patty said as she looked at me, “but you won’t get away wfffthssss.”

“Oh be quiet,” I said as I pulled a rolled up white scarf into her mouth, passing it twice round her head as I silenced her a little. Picking up the script, I said “Right – the three girls are left to try and get free. Good luck with that one,” I said then as I sat back and watched them through my glasses.

They all started twisting round and trying to get free, mumbling and trying to talk to each other, but I was especially interested in how Patty may decide to take this. She was a girl who when she played liked to be immobile, but for the play it had to be simple – partly for time, but mainly – well, mainly because there was no way she could do what we normally do on a stage!

Eventually, she motioned with her head for Fiona to come closer to her, and as she did so Patty started to use her lips to pull the scarf down from her mouth. It took a little while, as I read the next couple of pages of the script, before Fiona finally said “Thanks” as the scarf fell down over her neck.

Patty then turned and showed Fiona her wrists, only to watch as she turned and started to pick with her teeth at the knot at the back of Louise’s head. Patty looked over at me and shrugged her shoulders, instead starting to work her mouth to try and ease the scarf out from between her own lips.

It was a close run thing, but Louise just edged it over Patty, pushing the loosened scarf out with her tongue a second before Patty eased the second pass out.

“What are we going to do, Penny,” Fiona said, obviously carrying on the play.

“We need to find something to get these ropes off,” Patty said, “follow me.” She slipped off the couch, and waited for the other two to join her before she began to pull herself along the floor on her bottom, the others following her.

I watched as they edged their way to the far side of the room, before Patty said “Nancy, sit back to back with me, I’ll see if I can untie your wrists with my fingers.”

Done deal in my mind, but Fiona did as she was asked, and watched over her shoulder as Patty quickly untied her wrists. Shaking the rope off, she gave them a rub before untying her ankles, and then releasing Patty. As she in turn untied Louise, I stood up and said “Dad’s on his way – oh my, were you captured?”

“We were, but we managed to get away, Kim,” Patty said. “Come on – let’s get out of here!”

“And the girls leave to meet up with Kim’s father,” I said as I threw the script down. “So, think we can manage that on the day?”

“Oh I think we can,” Louise said with a smile. “Where on earth did you learn to do that, Patty?”

You’d be surprised,” Patty said as she winked at me, but at that point the door opened, and Lisa looked in.

“You guys want a drink?”

“Yeah – sounds great,” Fiona said as we all followed her into the kitchen, sitting at the table with Lisa and Charlie.

“So how come you don’t go to our school Charlie,” Louise said as she sipped her squash.

“You’d have to ask Mum and Dad that – Lisa didn’t go to that school either.”

“Well, for one thing, we did not live here until last year,” Mrs Williamson said. “Then when we moved, I didn’t want to disrupt their schooling, so they stayed where they are.”

Makes sense,” Fiona said, “so where do you go to?”

St Cuthbert’s for me, Bishop Ramsey for Lisa,” Charlie said with a smile.

“I did not know you were Catholics,” I said as I looked at Charlie.

“I guess it never came up,” Charlie said with that smile that made me feel all funny inside.

“So what do you want to do for the rest of the afternoon,” Lisa said as she looked at us.

“Well, I think it’s really unfair that we ended up tied, and Rachel there got away Scott free,” Fiona said as she looked at me.

“Hey – I didn’t allocate the parts,” I said in mock indignation.

“Let me guess – stage tying,” Charlie said. “Simple and you have to act as if you could not get out of it.”

“You mean that was easy to get out of?”

“If you know how to,” Lisa said as she sat back. “Have you two been tied up before?”

“Not really, no,” Louise said, “you?”

“A few times,” Lisa said with a smile. “Mind you, so have these two.”

“I know they had visits from this guy called the Game Player.”

“Yeah – so did I,” Lisa said, her mum and dad looking at each other.

“Is there anybody this guy has not visited?”

“Who knows,” Charlie said with a smile. “Want to see what he did to some of them?”

“Charlie,” his mother said, “you know that may not be a good idea.”

“Not Fiona and Louise,” Charlie said, “but we could show her how a burglar really ties someone up. Maybe Rachel and Patty could be the guinea pigs?”

“Wow – you’d do that for us,” Louise said as she and Fiona looked at each other.

“All right,” I said as I shook my head, “you up for it Patty?”

“Go on then – Lisa does me, Charlie does you, and these two watch.”

“I’ll need to fetch the box,” Charlie said as he left the room, and I excused myself – if Charlie was going to do this, I needed to go to the toilet first.

When I came back, Lisa handed me a pair of sports socks. “What are they for,” Fiona said as she and Louise watched.

“You watched as I untied your wrists?” Fiona nodded to Patty, who said “Wear these, and we can’t use our fingers – well, not very easily anyway.” So we pulled them over our hands, and then stood with our backs to the other two while Charlie and Lisa doubled over a length of rope each.

“We’ll cross and tie their wrists together, with the rope over the socks – nice and tightly,” Charlie said, and that’s exactly what they did, nice and snugly.

“Now, a real burglar is going to make it difficult for them to move their arms, never mind their hands,” Charlie said as they tied another length of rope around our waists, forcing our wrists against our back as they passed the rope between our arms and body. I was beginning to feel really relaxed as Fiona had a look at the ropes.

“So they can’t move their arms and try and wriggle their bottom through, right?”

“Right,” Lisa said, “but we also need to tie their arms to their bodies like this.” She then wrapped the rope around Patty’s arms and stomach, as Charlie did the same to me, passing the rope between my arms and sides as well.

So there we both were, standing with our wrists and arms tightly secured as Fiona and Louise examined us. “Wow – that does look secure,” Louise said, “try moving.”

“We could be more secure,” Patty said as she looked at me.

“Not today I’m afraid,” Charlie said quietly, “I know the rules your mum and the others laid down, and I’m not about to break them.”

Awww spoilsport,” Patty said as she went into a pretend sulk, but she was right, because her mum had told my mum – those extra ropes she wanted were only to be applied by our mothers or the older girls, and none of them were there.

“Right then,” Charlie said, “One of you gets to lie on the couch, the other on the floor – who wants which?”

“Toss you for it,” Patty said as she looked at me, and I nodded in agreement. We both then sat down on the couch, while Charlie and Lisa tied our ankles tightly together, then our legs below our knees, the rope going between our legs on both bands.

“Got a coin from your mother,” Louise said as she came back in and tossed it in the air. “Heads,” Patty called out, and as Louise caught the coin on the back of her hand she had a look.

“Your choice Rach,” she said as she looked at me. “You can have the couch Patty,” I said as I slid off and sat on the floor, Lisa putting a couple of cushions on the floor for me to rest my head on when it was time.

“So, think they can move easily,” Charlie said as he looked at the other two.

“I suppose they could still try and jump or move on their bottoms,” Fiona said as she looked at us.

“True – and a real robber will take care of that, but first they would keep them quiet. Now, how did they use the scarves earlier?”

I had a folded one tied over my mouth, and Louise had one tied between her teeth.”

Charlie and Lisa looked at them and shook their heads. “Detective gags – great for stage and screen, useless for a burglar. We’d better take their glasses off them.” As he said this, Charlie took my glasses from my head, folded them and placed them next to Patty’s on the coffee table.

“Now, to really keep somebody quiet, what do you have to do, Rach?”

“Put something in their mouths and stop them from using their lips, teacher,” I said in a sing song voice.

“Isn’t that dangerous,” Louise said as she watched Charlie fold a small scarf.

“So long as you take care to make sure they can’t actually swallow it, it should be fine – but if either of them were asthmatic, we would not do this. Fortunately, they’re not – so open wide, both of you.”

As Charlie pushed the cloth in my mouth, I smiled and said “smmstwrk” to Fiona and Louise. Patty nodded as a cloth was pushed into her mouth, and then we both had a thin scarf tied between our lips.

Yfndndltmggg” Patty said as she wriggled round.

“See – more difficult to talk, and the thin scarf keeps the cloth in,” Lisa said as she sat back.

“Yeah, I see that,” Fiona said, “but she can still move her lips. Rach said you had to stop her doing that.”

“Quite right,” Charlie said as he picked up a roll of white tape, and showed it to the two girls. “Have you seen this before?”

“Mum’s a nurse – she’s used something like this sometimes when I needed a bandage.”

“That’s right,” Charlie said as he tore a small strip from the roll. “Stick it to your arm, tell me how it feels.”

As Fiona stuck it down, and then pulled it off, she said “Sticky, but it didn’t hurt.”

“Right,” Charlie said as he tore a long piece off, “now watch.” He pressed it down over my lips, Louise saying “Wow – I can see her mouth under it.”

“Anything to say, Rach,” Charlie said, and I tried to move my mouth, only “mmmdnfg” escaping.

“Wow – it keeps her lips together all right. Won’t any tape do that?”

“Yeah – but this one doesn’t hurt, and doesn’t leave a nasty residue.” They watched as Lisa tape gagged Patty, and then helped her to lie down while I lay with my head on the pillows.

“Look at them – they can’t move and they can’t speak.”

“Well, they still could move – sis?”

The two girls gasped as our ankles were pulled back and tied to our chest ropes, after which Charlie said “Now, if you were to find them like this, what would be the first thing you wanted to do to them.”


Charlie smiled at both of them as he said “Oh yes – honestly.”

Hmgddd,” I mumbled as Louise said “get revenge.”

And then the tickling started on me and Patty, with no chance of escape…

It lasted for about twenty minutes, Patty and me giggling and getting hotter as we wriggled round, before Charlie and Lisa looked at each other, and then at Fiona and Louise.

“Want to try this yourselves?”


I looked at them as they stared back at us, before Louise said “go on then – so long as you don’t hurt us.”


Charlie looked at what they were wearing, before he said “Can you get two more pairs of sports socks, Lisa?”


She nodded and ran off, returning and handing one to each of them before they pulled them up over their hands.  We lay still for a while, catching our breath as we watched Charlie and Lisa working on our friends, Charlie behind Fiona and Lisa behind Louise.


“Oh my,” Fiona said as her wrists were drawn together, “that really does feel different – and more comfortable.”


“Sure you can’t move your wrists,” Charlie said as he tied the rope around her waist.  Fiona tried to move them round, but soon nodded as she admitted defeat.


“Same here,” Louise said as she looked behind her back, “how did you fix them to my back so well?”


“If you pass the rope between your arms and your back, it acts like an extra lock,” Louise said as she picked up more rope.  “Now, let’s make sure you really can’t move your arms.”


“Yipes,” Louise said as Lisa passed the rope around her stomach, and then wrapped it around her arms as well so that they were held in place, “that really is tight.  Do you usually go this far?”


I wanted to say “Actually, you should see how far we really can go,” but thought better of it.  If they enjoyed this, then perhaps another time we could go the whole way with them, but I hoped and prayed Charlie was not going to do that.


He then winked at me as he tied Fiona’s arms to her sides, and I felt reassured.  It’s funny the way he can do that with just a smile and a wink, without even talking…


“Now, how does that feel,” he said as the two girls looked at each other.


“Snug – very snug,” Fiona said.  “So what happens now?”


“Take a seat in the two chairs,” Lisa said, “Charlie, can you untie the legs from the chest for Rachel and Patty?”


“Oh?  Why?”


“In case they wish to move around,” Lisa said, and this time she winked at me.  As Charlie released my legs, I rolled over and managed to get myself into a seated position in front of the couch, watching as my two friends had their ankles tied tightly together, and then their legs below their knees.



Louise swung her legs to and fro from the seat, and said “Yeah – I could like this, especially when it’s a game.  Is it different when it’s real?”


“It can be,” Lisa said quietly, “but when it happened to us, normally we managed to make a game of it.  The one time it didn’t…”


“We had good friends who made it one,” Charlie said as he hugged Lisa.  “Now then, any requests before we make sure you cannot say too much?”


“Yeah – why won’t you tie our legs to our chests,” Fiona said as she watched me and Patty stretching our legs out.


“You’ve never been tied this securely, have you,” Lisa said as she looked at both of them.


“Well…  No…”


“Well, you need to take it in stages.  Let’s see how you cope with this, and if Patty and Rachel can get you moving first, and then we can see what happens next.”


“Moving?  With our arms and legs tied like this?”  Louise wriggled her arms and legs as she said this.


“You’ll see – now, open your mouths please.”


As they did so, Charlie and Lisa put a folded cloth into their mouths, Charlie saying “Just get used to how that feels before we do anything else.”


I watched their faces as they tried to talk, and then started to giggle at the way they sounded.  They both them allowed Lisa to tie a rolled up chiffon scarf between their lips, before Charlie stuck a long strip of the white tape over their mouths.


Hmmgdddtwrks” Fiona mumbled, Louise nodding as she looked at her and then us.


“Right – we’ll leave you four to it.  The door is open if you decide to join us,” Charlie said as he and Lisa walked out.


We looked at each other for a few minutes, Fiona and Louise wriggling round, before I felt Patty move above me, and saw her bound legs passing over my head as she sat herself up.


Whttrdng,” Louise said, and then her eyes opened wide as I pushed myself up off the floor with my legs and joined Patty on the couch.


Hfngffngrls,” Patty said as she looked at the other two.  They looked at each other and nodded, before I said “gfgdd – rgglfrd.”


They watched as Patty and I wriggled forward and managed to perch on the edge of the seat, nodding and encouraging them to do the same.  We watched as they shifted forward, and then I said “nfrr..   Nnn  tw  FRR!”


Patty and I slid forward and stood on the floor, waiting as Fiona and Louise slowly slid forward and wobbled for a few seconds, and then stood straight up.


Hmgdddd,” Fiona said as she twisted from side to side.  whthhpnsnw?”


Patty nodded at me, and then she took several small jumps around the room.


Hfaggg” I said as I looked at my friends.  Louise swallowed, and then took a little jump forward, stopping to catch her balance before I saw her lips break into a smile, and she started to jump after Patty.


Cmnnn,” I said to Fiona as I took a few small jumps, and she followed me, the four of us jumping round the room and laughing before we collapsed back into the seats.


Wwwwsgrtt,” Louise said.  Whtllthrprtnsffnk?”


Nfngthlkthemtpl,” Patty said as she sat up again.  Wnttgpstrs?”




Shr,” I said as I stood up, and started to hop towards the door, the other three following.  I managed to push the door open a bit more, and then we jumped out and over to the staircase.




I stopped and saw Mr Williamson watching us.


“Enjoying yourselves girls,” he said as he looked at Louise and Fiona, who both nodded.


“Good – and you allowed Charlie and Louise to do this?”


They nodded again, before he said “Well, house rules are an adult must watch while you do this.  Go ahead Rachel.”


I sat on the bottom step, the others watching as I started to push myself up, and then climbing step by step, Fiona and Louise watching as I slowly rounded the corner and got to the top of the steps.


At which point I was grabbed and pulled back into Louise’s room, not at all surprised to see her tied and gagged in the same way as us, and wriggling on the floor by her bed.  Charlie sat me next to her and went back as Mr Williamson said “You next Fiona, sit on a stair, and use your feet to push yourself up to the next one.  Rachel will be waiting on the landing.


Nsshwwnt,” Lisa mumbled as we watched Charlie leave the room.  We could hear Fiona push herself up, and then her squeak as Charlie grabbed her and pulled her back into the room.


Fnssmtnguhr,” Lisa said as Fiona was sat next to us.




We both nodded as Louise was brought in to join us, and finally Patty.


“Well now,” Charlie said as he walked over and closed the door, “five little captives – whatever shall I do?”




Charlie looked at me and slowly shook his head from side to side.


“Oh no,” he said as he walked towards me, “I think I’m going to…”


There was a knock on the door, and we looked up to see Charlie’s mother come in.


“Sorry, boyo,” she said quietly, “but Louise’s dad just called.  He’s on his way over to pick them up, so you need to untie them and let them tidy themselves up.”


Awww – well, maybe some other time,” Charlie said as he untied our friends, and then peeled the tape away from their lips before removing the gags.


“Oh my,” Fiona said as she saw how wet the cloth was, and removed the socks from her hands, “I feel as if my mouth is as dry as a desert.”


“Well, if you both come downstairs I can get you a drink of water,” Charlie said.


“See you at school on Monday,” Louise said as she waved at the three of us, while Charlie took them to the kitchen.


Rttthssnf,” Patty said as she started to rub her mouth on the duvet, the two of us joining in to see who could get it first.  Now, I knew Lisa practised, so it was no surprise to me when she managed to dislodge the tape first, and then push the scarf and cloth out of her mouth.


“No surprise to you to find me like this, was it,” she said as I actually managed to beat Patty for once.


“Not at all,” I said, “but you both managed to put them at ease – well done.”


“Hey, Charlie’s the expert at that,” Lisa said with a smile.  “Now, let’s see if I can untie the rope around your wrists and pull those socks off…”





She at least managed to get my socks off before Mrs Williamson came up and untied all three of us.  We then went down to have tea, before Mum came to take us back to Patty’s house.


“Got time for a coffee,” Mrs Pickering said as we went inside.


“Why not,” she said as she went to the kitchen, while Patty and I went into the front room.


“Well, I think we may have some more people our age to play along with now,” Patty said as she sat on the chair.


“I guess so – do you think we should introduce them to the others?”


“Oh by the way girls,” Mrs Pickering said, “Suzie’s mum called and asked if you wanted to come up to the hall tomorrow.  She said she had some new films to show you.”


“Are the others coming?”


“Nope – Cassie and Jenny are busy, and Angela and Bobby have something else on.”


“Mum – do you think we can call Fiona and Louise, see if they want to come as well?”


“Call Suzie and ask her – but I don’t think there will be a problem.”


Patty and I looked at each other – we both had the same thought.  What would they say when they saw who we were friends with?


That was still uppermost in my mind when Mum pulled up outside Louise’s front door the following afternoon.  Patty was sitting in the back, wearing a pair of grey jeans and a black sweatshirt and well as trainers, while I had on a pair of blue flowery leggings and a long t-shirt under a jerkin.


It was a nice day, and I had a feeling we may end up in the playhouse or out in the back garden, but I wasn’t going to say anything to them as Louise and Fiona ran out.  Louise had on a pink Hello Kitty jumper and jeans, while Fiona was wearing a green track suit with a blue t-shirt underneath.


“Hey,” she said as she got in, “so where are we going?”


“To visit a friend – her granddad fell ill recently, and we haven’t seen her for a while, so we’ve been invited round to help cheer her up.”


“Oh dear,” Louise said as we set off, “What happened to him?”


“I’m not sure,” Patty said, “but she’s great.  You two will like her.”


“How far away is it?”


“Not too far,” Mum said as she set off into the countryside.  The other two sat quietly, looking out of the window until we went through the town, and then pulled in between the two iron gates.


“Wow,” Fiona said as we stopped outside the main doors, “your friend lives here?  Does her mum work for the people who live here?”


“Not really,” I said as we all got out, the door opening as we walked up to it and we saw Mrs Boyle, the housekeeper standing there.


“Hi there,” she said as we came in, “you must be Louise and Fiona.  Suzie is out in the back garden, so why don’t you go and join her?”


“Where’s Susan?”


“In the front room – if you go through, I’ll bring you some coffee,” Mrs Boyle said as we went out through the kitchen.


“Is that the lady who lives here,” Fiona said as we went outside.


“Kind of,” Patty said with a grin, “she’s Mrs Boyle, the housekeeper.”


“So is Suzie her daughter?”


“Nope,” I said as we went out and saw Suzie standing by the edge of the wood, her red hair covered by a blue bandana.  She had on a denim waistcoat and jeans, with a brown jumper underneath, and she was looking into the trees with a pair of binoculars.


“Hey Suzie,” I called out, “what are you looking at?”


“There’s a family of squirrels in that tree,” she said without looking round, “I want to see if I can find their nest.”


“Squirrels?  How big is her garden anyway,” Fiona said as she looked round.


“Big,” Suzie said as she looked over at us.  “Sorry – I didn’t mean to appear rude.  Fiona and Louise, right.”


“That’s right,” I said quietly, “Suzie, this is Fiona Kerr and Louise Hobson.  Fiona, Louise, meet Suzie Holderness.”


“Holderness?”  Louise looked at our friend, and said “You’re not related to the people at Holderness Manor, are you?”


“You mean Grandma and Grandpa?”


I had to stop myself from laughing as Fiona and Louise stared at Suzie, but Patty just could not help herself.  “Sorry, I should have said something earlier,” she finally said between fits of laughter, “Suzie’s father is Lord Holderness’ son.”


Suzie looked at me and Patty, and shook her head.  “Fancy a walk to the pond,” she eventually said, “or would you rather go up to the playhouse?”


“The playhouse,” Fiona said as she looked round, and then saw the wooden building nestled in the trees.


“Playhouse it is then – come on,” she said as she led the way, climbing the stairs as we walked behind Fiona and Louise.


They looked round the larger of the two rooms, before Fiona said “You two…  You two know the Holderness family, and you never said anything?”


“Well, it’s not the sort of thing you shout round the schoolyard,” Patty said “Hey everyone, I just visited the future Lord Holderness and the future Lord Holderness and had dinner with them!”


“Modest, isn’t she,” Suzie said as I just laughed and shook my head.  “Seriously though, her cousin Cassie is a friend of mine, and Cassie’s grandmother is an old friend of my grandmother.”


“And you live here – you and your family?”


“Well, we have since last autumn – we used to live in town before then, but something happened, and well…”


“Really?  What happened?”


“You don’t have to answer that Suzie,” I said as I looked at her, but she shook her head and said “It’s all right, Rach – I don’t mind telling them.  A group of us were brought here last year as part of a weekend-long tie-up game.  We spent Saturday and Sunday in here, held hostage, bound and gagged most of the time, until our parents found us on the Sunday.


“Well, somehow we ended up liking the place, so Dad bought it, and – well, here we are now.”


Louise and Fiona just looked at each other, and then at us.  “You mean you couldn’t move or speak?”


“Not very easily and not very clearly – and during the night we were tied to the beds as well.”


“So what about you two – have you been pulled into the games yet?”


“Games – oh you mean have we been…”


“We were round with Charlie and Lisa yesterday,” I said as I sat on a bean bag.


“Well I guess the answer is yes – how tightly?”


“Reasonably – not full job, put it that way.”


“Hang on – what you did yesterday was not the most you have been tied up?”


Suzie, Patty and I just looked at each other and shook our heads in response to Fiona’s comment.


“How much more,” Louise asked.


“We could show you – if you wanted,” Suzie said, “but if we do, and you get scared at any time, say stop and we will stop.”


Fiona and Louise looked at each other, and said “All right, what do we need to do?”


“We’ll sort your hands out first,” Suzie said as she went to a box, “full job means little or no chance of your using your fingers.  Hold these.”  She gave each of them two sponge balls, before she produced a roll of silver tape and two pairs of sports socks.


“What is this meant to do,” Louise said.


“Make a fist with them,” Suzie said, and as Louise did so she quickly wrapped her hands in the silver tape, making two silver gloves.  She then pulled the first pair of sports gloves up and over her hands, before taping the top of the socks to her arm over her top.


“Oh my,” Louise said as she looked at her white hands and arms, “I can’t even move my fingers.  You have got to feel this, Fiona.”


Our friend nodded as Suzie made sure her hands were covered, and then said “now, cross your wrists behind your back, and hold still.”


Both girls did that, as Patty and Suzie tied their sock covered wrists tightly together, taking the rope between their arms as well, and then tied some around their waist to keep them locked against their bodies.


“I guess the sock still helps protect the wrists,” Fiona said as they then had some rope tied around their arms and body around their tummy, and two shorter lengths used to cinch that band.


“Did you do the shoulders yesterday,” Suzie said as she looked at us.


“Nope – Mister Williamson was fairly strict on that.”


“What do you reckon then – let them feel it?”


Fiona and Louise looked at each other, and then nodded as Louise said “Do it.”


I watched the other two as they tied the arms of Fiona and Louise to their bodies further up, taking them around their chests before using two shorter lengths again to tighten them under their arms.  They stood and looked at each other, wriggling their bodies before Fiona said “Wow – it’s even tighter than yesterday.”


“Yeah – but it feels nice as well,” Louise whispered as we helped them to sit on two beanbags.  I then helped Patty to tie their ankles, and their legs below and above their knees, while Suzie went to fetch some more things.


“Wriggly worms,” Louise said as she twisted her legs round.


“Exactly what Cassie called it the first time this was done to us by robbers,” Suzie said, “in fact, she helped the man make it a game by saying just that.”


“The first time?  How many times have you been tied up and gagged by robbers?”


Suzie sat back and thought for a moment, doing some sums on her fingers.  “By robbers?  Real, genuine robbers?”  Four or five times.  Anyway, you are now tied full job – ready for the equivalent gag?”


“We had that yesterday – the cloth and tape.”


Patty and I looked at each other, and then at Suzie.


“Uh huh – well then, you don’t mind of we start by putting these in your mouth?”


She held out two folded hankies, and Louise and Fiona obliged by allowing us to put them in.  Suzie then held up three lengths of torn towel, with a knot tied in the middle, and said “these are next – open up a little again.”


Tssntsbd,” Fiona said as I eased the knot between her teeth, and tied the band around her head, Patty taking care of Louise – and then they heard the squelch rip as Suzie tore the end of a roll of white tape free.


“Now hold still,” she said as she wrapped the tape several times around the head of each of them, before Patty and I tied a folded scarf over the band of tape.  Louise and Fiona turned and looked at each other.






“One last thing,” Suzie said as she folded what looked like one of the mother’s large scarves into a triangle, and laid it over Fiona’s head, taking the ends under her chin and knotting them together as that it helped to keep her jaw closed.  Doing the same to Louise, she stood back and said “There – full job gag.  The tape won’t hurt your skin or hair, otherwise we’d have covered it first.”


I laughed as they wriggled round and tried to move, before Patty said “It’s not full job yet – they got up and moved around Charlie’s house yesterday.”


“Oh did they – right, then we need to stop that,” she said as we helped them to lie on the floor, facing each other, before I pulled Fiona’s ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes, Suzie doing the same for Fiona.


whhppnsnnnw,” Fiona said as she looked at me.


“What happens now?  Patty, remember what these two did to us yesterday?”


“Oh yeah – we never got a chance to thank them, did we?”


“No, no we didn’t.  Care to help us thank them, Suzie?”


“But of course,” our friend said, as we started the serious business of tickling the heck out of both of them.  Fiona in particular should never have told me how ticklish she is behind her knees.


I’m not quite sure how long we actually tickled them for, but I know they were wriggling and doing everything they could to get out of the way.  At any rate, our fun stopped when the door opened and Bobby, Suzie’s brother, came in.


“I might have guessed something like this would be happening,” he said with a smile – not a bright or radiant a smile as Charlie’s but I could see what Cassie liked him,


“Hey Bobby – what’s up?”


“I came to tell you Grandma’s here, and wants to see you – want me to tell her you’ll be down in a few minutes?”


“Please,” Suzie said as Bobby smiled, saying “Nice to see you” to Fiona and Louise before he left.




“Lady Holderness to the rest of us,” I said as I started to untie Louise, Patty doing the honours for Fiona.


Once they had a chance to shake their limbs loose and rub their wrists, Fiona and Louise followed the three of us out of the tree house and down into the kitchen.   “I still can’t believe we did that,” Louise whispered as we passed Mrs Boyle.


“It’s all right,” Suzie said, “she knows the games we play.  Are they in the main room, Mrs Boyle?”


“They are,” the housekeeper said as she smiled at us, so we crossed the hallway and walked in.


“Ah there you are,” Mrs Holderness said as we came in, “and you must be Fiona and Louise.  I’m Suzie’s mother, and this is Suzie’s grandmother.”


Lady Holderness was sitting next to Suzie’s mother, wearing what seemed to be her everyday clothes – a grey cardigan and knee length skirt with a white blouse underneath, and small heeled shoes.  Mrs Holderness was wearing a pair of jeans and a red jumper, which matched her hair.


“It’s a pleasure to meet you your Ladyship,” Fiona said as she gave a little curtsey, Louise following suit.


“The pleasure is mine,” Lady Holderness said with a smile, “but please, you don’t have to do that.  Around here, and at home, I’m just Suzanne’s grandmother.”


“Drinks,” Mrs Boyle said as she carried a tray in, and we each took a glass as well as a fresh baked cookie.


“I understand you will all be in a play this week at your school,” she said as we sat down.


“That’s right,” I said, “We’re doing a Nancy Drew type mystery.”


“I remember last summer when we did that with Heidi and the others?”




“Young Patricia,” Lady Holderness said as she looked at Louise,” is talking about the American friend of my other granddaughter, Alicia.  She and her family visited last year, and they met up with Patricia and her family in the Lake District.  I understand they spent the entire day dressed up in some old clothes, pretending to be young sleuths.”


Patty had told me about that day – in fact, I’d seen it on a DVD, but I kept quiet about that.


“Hey everyone.”


“Hi Dad,” Suzie said as Mister Holderness came in, and hugged her.  “How’s Father,” he said as he hugged Lady Holderness, and Bobby came in.


“Doing well, he hopes to be home this week.  Mister and Mrs Bridges have everything ready for him.  In fact, he has made a particular request – which is why I asked for you to come and see me.


“I want the manor house to be as normal as possible – even if Desmond cannot do all he used to do.  So I was wondering if Suzie would like to have her friends over for an overnight stay in two weeks time?


“I’d love that Grandma,” Suzie said as a big smile grew on her face.  “How many can I have?”


“As many as you want – in fact, if you wish, Fiona and Louise can come to, provided their parents agree.”


I could see the look of astonishment on their faces as they nodded, not quite sure what to say.


“Excellent – Patricia dear, if you can ask them to leave a note of their home phone numbers, I will call and talk to their parents myself.”


Ffffff Thank you your ladyship,” Louise stammered as Suzie looked at her.


“Mum, is it all right if we go down to the pond for a little while?”


“OF course – dinner will be ready in an hour,” Mrs Holderness said, as we took Louise and Fiona by the hand and led them back out into the garden.


“Am I dreaming,” Fiona said as we headed into the woods, “or did we just get invited to spend the night at Holderness Manor?”


“If you’re dreaming it, I’m dreaming it too,” Louise said. 


“You’re not dreaming – if it helps, say to your parents you’ve been invited to a sleepover with a friend at their granny’s place – just don’t tell them where it is until they say yes,” I said as we made our way down the path, and sat round the pond.


“How big are these woods,” Louise said as she looked round.


“Not as big as the ones I’ll show you in two weeks time,” Suzie said as she looked at us.  “We could do a dress up Saturday, and have some fun round the house – or we could go down to the lake.”


“Dress up?  In old clothes?”


“Very nice old clothes,” I said, “with gloves and everything.”


“And play a few games?”


“Hopefully – it can be real fun to hop round the house in long skirts!  It depends if Angela or Alicia will be there – but we’ll find out nearer the time.”


“Invite Cassie and Jenny, and Alicia will at least be there for one day.”


“Probably the Sunday – I think she has a football thing on Saturday, but Bobby would know better.  I’ll ask anyway – hey, we could ask Mrs Bridges to do a formal Sunday lunch.”


“Posh frocks time?”


“Yeah – if your parents agree to you coming, bring a party dress with you,” Suzie said to Fiona and Louise.  “I’ll make sure Pippa, Hazel and Clare will be up for it.”


“Sounds like a plan coming together,” I said as I nudged Patty.  “Hey – ask Lisa as well.”


“I was going to – Dad is spending quite a bit of time with her dad at the moment, so I’m going to invite them to the Sunday lunch too.”


I liked the sound of this weekend more and more – because it meant Charlie would be there at least part of the time.


“You really like him, don’t you?” I heard Patty say next to me.


“Like who?”


“Charlie Williamson – see, you blush whenever I say his name.  You’re worse that Lord and Lady Holderness at that.”


“What, Lady Holderness blushes whenever you say Charlie’s name?”


“NO,” Patty said with a laugh, “I mean Bobby Holderness and Cassie Craig.  They’re in love, you know – not like, LOVE…”


“Patricia Pickering,” Suzie said as she stood up, “that’s my brother you’re making fun of, you know.”




“Keep it up,” she said as we headed back to the house.





“Well, did you all have a fun afternoon,” Mum said as she drove us back.


“Oh yeah – it was a great place,” Fiona said from the back seat, “we even met Lady Holderness herself.”


“Oh Lucinda was there?  How’s Desmond?”


“She said he might be coming home this week,” I answered, “and she said Suzie could have some friends over in two weeks for the weekend.  She’s invited us – can I go Mum?”


“Two weeks time?  I’ll need to check with your father, but if it is the Manor House I don’t think it will be a problem.  Did she say to take anything in particular with you?”


“Party dress.”


“Well, let me talk to your dad, all right?  What about you girls – have you been invited as well?”


All three of them nodded as Mum looked in the little mirror on the windscreen.  “Well, let me have a quick word with your parents when I drop you off – forewarned is fore prepared, especially where Lord and Lady Holderness are concerned.






Fiona, Louise and Patty were sitting in a row on a bench, all three wearing summer dresses as they looked at Clive Twiggins, dressed to look like a smuggler as he kept guard over them.  Each of the three girls had their wrists held loosely together behind their backs with cords, and their ankles tied loosely side by side, while folded scarves were tied over their mouths.


Ullnffrgtwwwfhsss,” Patty mumbled as she wriggled round, a low murmur of laughter coming from the audience as they watched this.  I was in the wings, Mrs Williamson behind me, waiting for my cue.


Eventually, Patty managed to wriggle the scarf down off her mouth and started to shout “HELP!!! SOMEBODY HELP US!!!”


“Be quite,” Clive said as he stepped forward – and fell flat on his face, clutching the back of his neck.


“And – go,” Mrs Williamson whispered, as I ran out and said “Penny!!  Oh my, I’m glad Daddy and I got back in time!”


“Thank goodness you got back when you did Kim – they were going to take us on their boat!  Where’s your father?”


“They’re arresting the smugglers now – come on, let’s get you all free!”


It didn’t take long before all four of us walked slowly off stage, Mrs Williamson smiling as we hugged each other.


“Well done – now get ready for the curtain call,” she said as the last scene of the play started.


Once it was over, and we’d all taken a bow, we went into the dining room and met our parents.  Charlie came over and said “Well done, Rach – you were very good up there.”


“Thank you,” I said as I blushed, “but you and your mum were a big help for all of us.”


“Well, if you ever want to practice again…”  He smiled and gave me a little peck on the cheek, before he walked off.


“He’s gone you know,” Patty said as she nudged me in the ribs.  I nodded – but there is just something about him…








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