Down Under – Part 1






“Hey – sleepy head, it’s time to wake up.”


I shook my head and looked over to see Cassie smiling at me.


“I was sleeping?”


“Oh yes – but we’re about ninety minute out now.”


Looking at my watch, I said “how long was I out for?”


“You fell asleep as soon as they served breakfast – so it’s about four in the afternoon where we are going.  Mum said to wake you up so that we have time to get cleaned up.”


I nodded as I stood up and stretched, Mum smiling at me as I made my way to the toilet.  We were nearly there – Australia…  We’d left home at five o’clock in the morning – yesterday now – and taken off from Heathrow at nine in the morning to fly to Singapore.  The flight was about thirteen hours, but with time zones and all that we’d landed at six in the morning in Singapore, then had a short break before we switched planes and took off again.  So to me, it was after ten – and I needed my sleep.


After I had taken a moment, and splashed some water in my face, I got a bottle of water from the cabin area and went back to my seat.  Mum was taking David to the toilet, as Dad gave June some fruit.


“Granny and Granddad will meet us at the airport,” Dad said as I sat down, “and we’ll eat when we get to their place.”


I nodded as I took a drink of water.  I was actually still wearing what we left London in – a loose fitting tunic top over a pair of leggings, while Cassie had on a t-shirt and a pair of jeans.  Our shoes and coats were in the overhead locker, waiting for us to put back on as soon as we landed.


“Ladies and Gentlemen,” a voice said over the speakers, “this is your captain speaking.  We will be landing in an hour or so, and the cabin crew will be coming round soon for one last opportunity to purchase duty free goods…”


“Soon be time to land,” Mum said as she stood up, and took June’s hand.  “Come on little one – your turn now.”





We’d been planning this trip for months – we’d never visited Granny and Grandpa Carter in their home, and with me starting at sixth form after the long holidays Dad said it was a case of now or never. 


So here we were, as the stewardesses walked round and made sure everything was back in place, and I switched off my phone.  The plane was starting to descend, as I fastened the seatbelt, and we heard June talking quietly to Mum…



Eventually, we felt the bump and then I was pushed back into my seat as the plane touched down, and very quickly was in a slow crawl as it moved along the runway.


“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Sydney Australia, where it is a cool 58 degrees.  Please remain seated until the plane has come to a complete stop, and on behalf of Singapore Airlines, thank you for choosing to fly with us…”


“Stay in your seats once we come to a stop,” Dad leaned over and said, “I’ll get your bags from the locker, but we need to make sure the twins are ready before we get off.”


I looked at Cassie as we both nodded, and sat back as outside the window we approached the terminal building, the plane stopping as Dad stood up and got our shoulder bags from the overhead locker.  Once he and Mum had David and June ready, we stood up and walked off the plane.  I felt a bit stiff, but as we walked into the terminal building that soon wore off, Cassie and me holding our young brother and sister’s hands as we joined the queue at Passport Control.


Okay, I’ll be honest – I expected to see men wearing our funny hats and those khaki shirts at the passport area, but instead it was a woman like the one in London, who smiled as she looked at our passports, stamped them and then waved us through.


“Okay – we’re going to need this,” Dad said as we waited at the baggage claim, and he picked up the double stroller, Mum putting it up and sitting the twins in it as Cassie came over with a luggage trolley. 


“Do you know what I’m looking forward to the most,” she said to me as we watched the rest of the luggage start to appear.


“No – what?”


“Fresh air.”


I had to nod in agreement on that, as Dad started to put our cases onto the trolley, and then looked at us.


“Right – ready to see a whole new country?”


“Have you ever been here Dad?”


“Nope,” he said as he started to push the trolley, “so this is as exciting for you as it is for me.”  We looked at each other and nodded as we walked through the Customs area, and the large glass doors opened as we walked through.




“Hello Mum,” Mum said as she walked over with the twins, and hugged the elderly couple standing outside.  “We’re finally here?”


“And you look fantastic,” Granny Carter said as we walked over.


“George, June – you both look fantastic,” Dad said as he hugged them both.


“So do you – are you too old now to give your grandmother a hug, Jenny?”


“Of course I’m not,” I said as I hugged them both, and then they hugged Cassie.


“Right – let’s get these out to the car,” Granddad said, “and we’ll get you to our place.  I think a lunch, and then a walk is the best thing you can all do this afternoon.”


“Sounds good,” Mum said as we made our way out of the terminal building, and to the car park.


Now, I’ve watched my fair share of bad Australian soaps in my time, but seriously – I was shocked at just how blue the sky was as we walked outside.


“I thought it would be warmer,” Cassie said.


“Winter here doofus,” I said as I nudged her in the ribs, and we walked to where a large SUV was parked.  As Granddad and Dad loaded the cases into the back, I helped Mum to put the twins into the seats at the back, and then we all sat in as our grandparents sat at the front.


“And away we go,” Grandma said with a smile as we moved off.


“Jess and Patty send their regards,” Mum said as we left the airport.


“How are the renovations going?”


“Not too bad – they’re off to Orlando in a week’s time with the Riggs.”


Patty, aka The Human Tornado, and her friend Rachel had been the centre of a lot of media attention recently, when purely by accident (according to them anyway) they stumbled over where a kidnapping gang were holding Debbie Dee, the child star, hostage.  They both got a medal, as did Charlie Williamson, but they also shared a very large reward.


“Well, I can understand them not wanting to come over here,” Granddad said, “they were in the news over here as well.  Must be something in the water over there, that means you girls keep getting into trouble.”


“No comment,” I said with a laugh as we went along the road.  “I just want to enjoy the holiday over here.”


Famous last words…





“Are we there yet?”


It doesn’t seem that long ago when it was Cassie saying that, and me – but this was David speaking as we went along a very straight, very long road.


“We’re there now,” Grandma said as we turned up a dirt track, and I saw a large bungalow appearing at the end of the drive.  And when I say large, I mean large – it seemed to go on forever, as Granddad pulled up outside a large veranda.


“Okay then – everybody out, and stretch your legs,” he said as he turned the car engine off, and I opened the door, feeling the cool air on my face as we stepped out.  The land all round was fairly flat, with some hills rising in the distance, and as I looked round there were a number of similar houses in the distance.


“Nice,” Mum said as she held David, “I thought it would be hotter.”


“Well, it is winter here,” Grandma said with a smile as Cassie rolled her eyes.  “Come on – let’s get the bags in, and then I’ll get supper sorted out.”


“Let me give you a hand with them,” Granddad said as he and Dad started to bring our cases in, while Jenny and I took June’s hands as we walked into the house.  The door opened onto a large open area, with a few seats and a large rug on the wooden floor.


“Put the television on if you want,” Grandma called through from the kitchen, “I’m sure there will be something on.”


“Like what,” I said as I turned on the television, and then smiled as both David and June said “Mickey!”


“The Disney Channel, perhaps,” Grandma said as they sat on the couch.  “Do you girls want to come and have a drink?”


“Sounds good to me,” Cassie said as we went into the kitchen – and then out into the back yard, where Grandma and Mum were sitting under a very familiar looking umbrella at the table.


“You have a swimming pool,” Cassie gasped as we looked at the yard.


“Oh yes – did we forget to tell you,” Grandma said with a smile as she poured some lemonade into two glasses, and looked at us.


“What’s wrong Grandma,” I said as she looked at us.


“Look at you – you’re turning into young women now.”


I looked at Cassie, in her t-shirt and jeans, and then at me – and she had a point.  Without realising it, we had become young women – and Cassie was realising this as well.


“Tell me about it,” Mum said with a sigh as she sat down, “but I am so proud of them.”








“Hey there – how was the flight?”


“Long, boring,” I said as I looked at Colin on the laptop screen, “but we’re here now.  How’s the weather in Holderness?”


“We’re having a heatwave,” he said with a smile, “but I guess you are as well?”


“Nope – it’s like a spring day here, but it’s the middle of their winter,” I said with a smile.  “Are you seeing Bobby and the others today?”


“That’s the plan – once I’ve had my breakfast of course,” Colin said with a grin.  “What about you?”


“I’m going to head to bed in a little while – the twins are being settled now by Cass.  After that – I have absolutely no idea.”


“Well, I’ll talk to you later in the week – Dad’s calling me down,” he said as I heard the voice off camera.  “Stay safe – love you.”


“Love you too,” I said as I ended the call, and then sat back, suddenly realising how tired I was.


“Call done?”


“Call done,” I said as I looked at Mum.


“Look – I know you’re not going to get much of a chance during this trip, but Cassie wondered if you wanted to be like her tonight – nothing major, but still…”


“Yeah – yeah I’d like that,” I said with a smile.


“Well, get changed, come and have a drink – and then we’ll get you ready.”


I nodded as I stood up, and changed from my clothes into a vest top and a pair of shorts, before I joined the rest of the family in the front room.


“I thought we’d take a trip to the beach tomorrow – let the youngsters run riot while you older girls get to relax,” Granddad said as I accepted a mug of cocoa.  “Sound good?”


“Sounds good to me,” Cassie said, “how far away is it?”


“There’s a little beach a lot of the local families go to about thirty minutes away,” Grandma said, “you might see some of the other neighbours there as well.”


“Great,” I said as I yawned, and then took a drink.  “I’m more tired than I thought.”


“Well, drink up,” Dad said, “and then into bed.”



A short while later, I was lying in my bed, watching as Mum wound the white tape round my ankles, and then around my legs above and below my knees.  My wrists were already taped together in front of me, and a band of tape was around my arms and stomach as I lay there.


“All right then – Cassie is almost out anyway,” Mum said as she tore a long strip of tape from the roll, “so when you wake up in the morning, just wait and Dad or me will come and get you free.”


I nodded as she pressed the tape firmly over my lips, and then left the room, turning the light off as she went out…  I wriggled round, as my eyes slowly closed…







“You’re finally awake?”


I opened my eyes to see Dad standing there, and mumbled “whttmst?”


“Nearly eleven – but don’t worry, Cassie is only just awake as well.  So I’ll cut you free, you can shower and put on something suitable, and then we’ll head to the beach and eat there.”


I nodded as he cut the tape away – and a short while later, we were in Grandpa’s van as we drove along the road, and then into a small car park.  Mum and Grandma unloaded a couple of bags as Dad helped Grandpa carry a small barbecue onto the golden sand, while I held the hands of the twins and Cassie brought along some blankets.


“Wow,” I said as I looked at the sea at the shore, “want to go and have a look?”


The twins nodded as we walked down – we were all barefoot, so they stood on the shore and giggled as the water washed over their toes.


“Hello there.”


The American accent took me by surprise, as David and June turned with me to see the young boy standing there.




“Hello Jenny,” the toddler said, “are you on vacation as well?”


“I am,” I said with a smile, “so who else is here with you?”


“Sarah, Mummy and Daddy – want to see them?”


“Hello Bart,” June said as she held my hand, David kicking at the waves as they lapped at his feet.


“Hello June…”


“Bart, who are you…  Jenny Craig?  What brings you to this part of the world?”


I smiled as I looked at the tall Australian.  “Hey Brian – my grandparents live nearby, and we’re here for a long holiday before my results come out.  I guess you’re here on holiday as well?”


“Yeah – it was getting a little too warm in Maine for us, so I suggested a couple of weeks in my home town.  So your family live nearby as well?”


“Yeah – Mum’s parents.  They’re over there,” I said as I pointed to where Dad and Granddad where working on a barbecue.


“Okay then – we may pop over and say hi later, but for the moment, I’ll let you keep an eye on the youngsters.”


“On the…” I looked at June and David as the waves washed over their legs, making them laugh as I said “fair point – we’ll see you later.”




“Now this is what I call a holiday,” Cassie said as she lay back on the blanket, “hot dogs, hot sun, and not a care in the world.”


“I agree,” Mum said as she looked over from her chair, “I can see why you love it here Mum.  It’s like a little piece of heaven.”


“Oh it can be fun at times – Christmas it gets incredibly hot,” Grandma said with a smile, “but that is what air conditioning is for.”


“I agree – trust me, if we were at home it would be going full blast.”


The American accent took us by surprise, as Mum sat up and removed her sunglasses.


“Sarah!  Jenny said you were here – it’s good to see you again,” Mum said as she stood up and hugged the brunette, “how have you been?”


“Oh busy with this and that,” Sarah said with a smile.  “Hi you two – Brian said he had seen you earlier Jenny.”


“Do you want to play in the sand,” David said to Bart and Sarah, the twins nodding as they went off with him and June.


“Hey Sarah,” Dad said as he looked over, “where’s Brian?”


“Collecting our things together.  You must be Jennifer’s parents – I’m Sarah Holderness-Carter, they’re Bart and Sarah, and the tall hunk walking over with the bags is my husband Brian.”


“Holderness-Carter – do you know Lord and Lady Holderness,” Grandma said as she looked over.


“He’s my cousin,” Sarah said with a smile, “we got married at Holderness Manor.  Brian, meet Jennifer’s parents.”


“Hey there – Brian Holderness-Carter.  Good to meet you.”


“June – and that’s my husband George trying not to incinerate the food with David,” Grandma said.  “You sound as if you are from around here?”


“I grew up nearby,” Brian said with a smile, “but I met Sarah in the US.”


“And you got married in England?  How did that happen?”


“Long story – so you and the family are over for a few weeks Jennifer?”


“Yeah – you?”


“A few weeks away from the heat – in the slightly less heat,” Sarah said with a smile.  “Listen – why don’t you and David join us for a meal one night?  We know a great place that’s a short drive away.”


“Won’t you need to find babysitters,” Cassie said, and then as she looked at me she said “oh – let me guess.  We look after Bart and Sarah?”


“Well, we can watch over David and June,” Grandma said, “if you want.”


“We’ll make it a date then,” Brian said.  “Come on you two, we need to get home.”


“Bye Bye David,” Sarah said as she and Bart came over, the twins waving as they walked off with Brian and Sarah.


“We need to head off in a little while ourselves,” Grandma said, “I want to see if you three are up for a challenge tonight, if the boys don’t mind watching the twins.”


“What sort of challenge,” Cassie said as she looked over.


“You’ll see…”






“All right Grandma,” I said as I helped to clear the supper dishes away, “what’s this challenge?”


“Well, I know you girls have been very good in terms of not playing your games,” Grandma said, “but…   Well, your grandfather has also tied me up a few times now.  I was wondering if the three of you were up for watching a film with me while we can’t comment.”


“Are you sure you want to do that Mum,” Mum asked, “and if so, remember just what these two can get up to.”


“Well, if you’re up for it,” Grandma said, “as tightly as you want.”


Cassie and I exchanged a look as Mum said “if that’s what you want – but we’ll need Dad and David to do it to us.  You girls should go to the toilet and get changed – then your dad can show Granddad what to do.”


“Okay Mum,” Cassie said as we went off.  “Grandma wants to go full job,” she said as we went to the room we were sharing.


“Not full full job,” I said as I looked at her, “but we can go as if it was Jay Edwards.  No further – agreed.”


“Agreed,” Cassie said as we went to get washed.




“So, your grandmother wants to be like you two and your mother – what does that mean,” Granddad said as Cassie and I came in, wearing long sleeved tops and leggings.


“I’ll show you George – if I do things to Jenny, you do the same for Cassie, got it?”


“Okay,” he said as Dad handed me two sponge balls, and Granddad did the same to Cassie.  We made two fists as Dad covered mine with tape, then handed it to Granddad before he pulled a pair of white socks up my arms.  He then took the tape back and secured the topes to my arms, waiting until Cassie was the same as me.


“Right then,” he said as he handed Granddad a length of rope, and took one himself, “hands behind your backs girls – you know what to do?”


We both nodded as we crossed our wrists, and relaxed as we felt the rope pulling our wrists together.  Granddad copied Dad as he wrapped the rope around and between our arms, and then round our waists to lock them against our backs.


“Okay – I see how they won’t move their wrists,” Granddad said, “what next?”


“Making sure they really cannot move their arms,” Dad said as he handed him a much longer length of rope, Cassie and I looking at each other as we felt our arms pulled into our sides.  Dad wrapped it round above and below my chest, Granddad doing the same to Cassie as he said “are you sure they’re going to be comfortable with this?”


“Don’t worry Granddad,” Cassie said with a grin as he pulled the ropes tighter, “we can live with it.”  I had to admit, it felt nice to me as well, as Dad tied my ropes off, and then used two smaller lengths to tighten the bands between my arms and my body.


“All right girls,” Dad said as he looked at us, “sit down on the long couch, and we’ll get those legs secured as well.”  We both sat down, watching as he and Granddad tied our ankles together, and then our legs below the knees, taking the rope between our legs each time.


“Okay – I guess you two are staying there now,” Granddad said as he stood up.


“Don’t say that Dad – these two could still move around given half a chance.”


I laughed as Mum came in, wearing a pair of light blue pyjamas, followed by Grandma wearing a knee length white nightie and white leggings.  She looked at us on the couch, and said “are you sure those ropes are not too tight?”


“No, they’re fine Gran,” I said, looking at Cassie and knowing just how much tighter they could have been.  We watched then as Dad and Granddad handed them the sponges, and said “your turn now…”


We watched as both Mum and Grandma were bound as tightly as us, and they Mum sat next to me, and Grandma next to Cassie, as their legs were secured.  “Well, I see why you might like this,” Grandma said as her legs were tied below her knees.  “So how are we going to be kept quiet?”


“Like this,” Dad said as he and Granddad folded four clean handkerchiefs.  “Well, to start with anyway.  Open wide, all of you.”


“What are we watching anyywweegrnnnee,” I said as the cloth was pushed into my mouth, and then Dad used a knotted strip of an old tea towel as a cleave gag.


Hmnntshrr,” was her reply as Granddad gagged her and then Mum, and Dad took care of Cassie, before the each took a roll of the white tape and started to wrap it tightly round our heads, covering our mouths as well as the cleave gag tied round our heads.


Hmmfflssdfrnt,” Grandma said, the three of us nodding as Dad picked up the roll of silver duct tape, and we each had a band pressing down on the white band as well.  Dad then folded four white scarves and tied them tightly over the tape, before Granddad folded four of Grandma’s scarves into triangles and tied them over our heads, the ends knotted under our chins.


“Now then,” he said with a smile as he turned on the television, and put a disc into the player, “I think you should all enjoy this.”


We looked at each other, before the titles rolled on the film – Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  It was certainly a different film, as we listened to the music, and then Mum and Grandma started to sing along.


Whnufgtwres, lthnsndtherre
Smsthlp, ekn, dwntwn




Mum looked at Grandma and then sang “Ucnfrgttlurtrbls, frgtllurcrss


Nfnnrrplsfrshr, dwntwn, frrfngswtnngfru…”


The two of them looked at us, as Granddad put the subtitles on, and we both joined in.

Thrrrmuffeshws, dwntwn
Whrrthnfrcls, dwntwn



Ucnfrgttlurtrbls, frgtllurcrss


Whrllthelhtsrbrht, dwntwn
Wettnfrutnht, dwntwn
Urgnnnbllrht, dwntwn

Dwntwn, Dwntwn!”


We looked at each other and then hummed along before we sang


Wcnfrgttllrtrbls, frgtllrcrs

Dntwhhetementmr, dwntwn
Freefnswetnfru, dwntwn…”



We all cheered then, as I rested my head on Mum’s shoulder and we all watched the film, my eyes slowly closing…





“Good morning everyone,” I said as I walked into the kitchen.  “Slept well?”


“Well I did,” Mum said as she gave David and June a glass of milk.  “What about you Mum?”


“Never better,” Granny said with a wink.  Dad had come into our room as we woke up, still bound and gagged from the previous night, and untied me so that I could start to get ready before he released the still slightly asleep Cassie.  I had showered, and changed into a white sundress before coming in for breakfast.


“Where’s Cassie,” Mum asked as I sat down.


“Still having a shower.  So have you decided when you are going to go out with Brian and Sarah?”


“Your dad’s talking to them now,” Mum said as I saw Dad in the main room.  “We’re going to go into the city today, have a look round the shops.”


“Sounds like fun,” I said as I sat down and poured some juice into a glass.  “So I’ll go and babysit while you and Mum go with them?”


“That’s right.  Now eat up – Cassie will be along soon.”




As we pulled into the large car park, I looked round.  It looked a lot like the malls Heidi and the other girls went to, but with a more… homely feel.  I got out, and pulled down the pleated skirt I was wearing, a white vest top and brown sandals completing my outfit.  Cassie was wearing a short-sleeved blouse as shorts, like Mum and Granny, while Dad and Granddad had on polo shirts and slacks.


We out Dave and June into the strollers, and then headed into what was really a large street, with shops on both sides.  They were really the same – except the clothes were more like autumn cloths than summer ones.  I know it felt like our summer – but it was winter there.


Confusing, isn’t it.


Anyway, we walked round, and then had lunch in a roadside café.  As we were eating, we saw some policemen walking quickly over.


“I wonder what’s happened,” Mum said, but Granddad shook his head, and said “not our problem…”





Cassie and I looked at the single storey home as we walked up the path with Mum and Dad.  Granny had dropped us off, but as we walked up Sarah opened the door and said “come in.”


Mum was wearing a short sleeved white dress, and Dad a jacket, shirt and trousers – while we saw Sarah had on a light pink sundress, and Brian was dressed the same as Dad.


“There you are – the twins have had their dinner and bath,” Brian said with a smile as we saw Bart and Sarah in their play pen, “and we won’t be too late.  Contact numbers are by the phone.”


“Go – have fun,” I said as they left the house, and Cassie looked at Sarah.  “Would you like a bedtime story,” she said, both of them nodding as we picked them up and sat with them, while Cassie read.


Eventually, they fell asleep, and we carried them to their rooms, putting them both in their beds and fixing the safety sides up.  “I’ll go and sort out some drinks,” I said as Cassie went to the bathroom, and I went to the kitchen, opening the fridge and taking out two bottles of coke.


Then stopping as I heard a man behind me say “don’t move girlie…”


“Oh great,” I thought to myself, “we go half way round the world, and what happens?”


“Slowly, close the icebox door, and turn round.”


As I turned, I saw a man standing there, with grey stubble on his face, wearing a black leather jacket and jeans.  He also had a very real looking gun in his hand, as he looked at the two bottles of coke and said “You got company?”


“My little sister – she’s upstairs.  Who are you, and what are you doing in this house?”


“Well – I did something I should not have done earlier today, and I need a place to lie low for a while.”  He looked round the kitchen, and said “got any duct tape in the house?”


“I don’t know – we’re babysitting for a friend, and this isn’t my house.”


“You’re a Pom, aren’t you?”


“Guilty as charged,” I said as Cassie walked in.  “Got that…”  She looked at me, at the man, and at the gun, before she raised her hands and said “what’s going on Sis” in her best scared voice.


“Anyone else in the house, girlie?”


Cassie looked at me and raised an eyebrow as she said “only the babies – and they are asleep, so we’re going to talk quietly.”


“You’re not going to talk at all,” he said as he walked over and grabbed Cassie, putting his large hand over her mouth, “look for tape.”


“all right, all right, don’t hurt my sister,” I said as I looked in the cupboards, and found a large roll of silver tape.  Standing up, I held it in the air, as he said “good – tape your sister’s wrists together behind her back.”


I nodded as he let Cassie go, and she turned round, holding her hands together as I tore the end of the tape loose, and secured her wrists behind her back, praying she was thinking the same thing I was.


“In there,” the man said as he waved to the front room, Cassie nodding as we walked in, and she sat down in the long couch.   I knelt down and taped her ankles together, before he said “lie down.”


Cassie and I exchanged another look, as she lay down, and I pressed a single strip of tape over her lips.  The man then took the tape and secured my wrists together behind my back, before he made me sit in the chair and taped my ankles together, then over my mouth.


“Stay put,” he said as he looked at us, and then he went to the rear of the house, Cassie and I looking at each other as she said “Whhttemmrreeen.”


I nodded, but we waited before we heard water running, and moved.  As Cassie managed to get the tape off her wrists, I got up and jumped to the phone, looking at the contact numbers and then picking up the handset, before I jumped over to where Cassie was waiting, and dialled a number.


“Brian,” she said quietly.  “Sorry to interrupt the meal, but any chance you can come back for ten minutes or so?  A nice man has us hostage, and is in the shower now.


“No, the twins are asleep, but if you can?


“Thanks – we won’t do anything,” she said as she nodded, and I ended the call, taking the phone and putting it back before I returned, and pressed the tape back over Cassie’s lips, and then sat down.


The shower was still running, as we looked at each other, and tried not to laugh at the situation.


“We have got to stop meeting like this girls.”


I looked suddenly to the side to see Brian there, his finger to his lips as we all heard the footsteps.  Nodding, he slipped quietly out, waiting until we heard the intruder say “Wha th…” and then the thump before we started to free ourselves.


“Mind if I borrow this?”


“Not at all,” I said as the tape fell from my mouth, Brian smiling as he took the duct tape, and I got myself free.  Cassie was doing the same, as Brian came back in and said “I’ll call a friend in the local police, who’ll come and get this guy.  I have a pannacotta waiting for me.”


“Tell our parents we’re fine,” Cassie said as we collected the tape, Brian smiling as he left.  We cleared the tape away, and started to have our drinks before there was a knock on the door.


I opened it to see a man in a blue shirt, dark trousers and peaked cap there, a car with flashing lights behind him.


“Let me guess – you’re Jenny?  Brian said you had a pick up for me?”


“In the back room,” I said as he and another policeman came in, carrying the unconscious and tape bound intruder out of the house as they returned.


“Who is he anyway,” Cassie asked.


“He robbed a bank in town earlier today – you girls did well to capture him.”


“It’s a knack – Brian will see you later?”


“Yup – have a quiet night girls,” he said with a smile as he walked off.






“I don’t believe it – even in Australia, someone does that to you?”


“I’m afraid so,” I said as I looked at Alicia on the laptop.  It was the next morning, and Mum had gone with Granny and Cassie into town, while Dad and Grandpa watched the twins.


I was in a halter neck top and shorts – and something else, as I squirmed round.


“Don’t tell me you’re…”


“A bet with Colin – so how’s your holiday going,” I said with a smile as I looked at my best friend, in her polo shirt and skirt.


“Not bad – Angela and I went down earlier for breakfast with Eddie and Martin, and found our host – indisposed.”


“And the day went on from then?”


“Yup – we’re having fireworks soon, so I’ll let you get back to your day and fun.”


“See you Alicia,” I said as I ended the call, and then stood up, stifling a slight moan as I walked slowly to the kitchen, and started to make some sandwiches.


“So how are the Bowdens,” Dad said as he came in.


“Having a great time,” I said with a smile, “but I wish Colin was here?”


“Well, he did get that summer job,” Dad said with a smile as there was a knock on the door, and we heard the sound of “Cooeee.”


“That you Helen?”  Grandpa came in and greeted the grey haired woman who walked in, wearing a short sleeved blue blouse and tan trousers.  “John, this is my neighbour Helen – Helen, my son in law John, and this is my oldest granddaughter Jenny.  I thought you were on holiday?”


“I was – but Dana was taken ill, so I have to look after her daughters for a few days.  I knew you had relatives, so I thought you could meet them.  Come in girls.”


I looked over as two girls came in.  One looked to be a little younger than Cassie, and had her red hair pulled back in a ponytail, the front of her blue sundress open.  The other girl looked to be about ten, and was wearing a powder blue top and shorts.


“Kylie, Danni, this is Jenny.  I’m hoping you can become friends?”


I looked at the two girls, who in turn were looking at me as if I was something they had never seen before – and then the younger girl said in a broad Australian accent “Strewth Kyles – she’s old.”


“Old?”  I raised an eyebrow and looked at both of them as Cassie came through, and said “oh – and who is this?”


“Cassie, meet Kylie and Danni.  Girls – my younger sister, Cassie Craig.”


Cassie looked at them, and then said “hey – you live round here?”


“We’re visiting our gran,” Kylie said as she looked at us.  “you?”


“Snap – we just came a bit further.  Want to sit down and have a drink?”


The two girls nodded as Granddad poured some cold milk into four glasses, and we carried them into the front room.


“So you girls visiting our grandparents,” Danni said as she looked at me.  “Where do you live?”


“Near London,” Cassie said with a smile, “you?”


“Perth – so it’s a cross-country trip for us as well.  Who else is here with you?”


“The twins,” I said as I looked to where David and June were sitting, playing with some bricks.


“Cute,” Kylie said.  “Want to go for a walk - leave the oldsters to talk?”


“Why not,” I said as I called out “We’re going to go for a walk with Kylie and Danni!”


“All right – don’t be too long,” Mum said as we went out and along the path.


“Have you guys been into the bush out there yet,” Kylie said as she pointed to a small copse of trees nearby.


“Nope – want to explore?”


“We know a great place in there,” Danni said as we walked in, hearing the sounds of the birds above before we came into a small clearing.


“Nice,” Cassie said as I felt the sun on my cheeks.


“Hey – we know a neat trick,” Kylie said as she looked at her sister, “want to see it?”


We looked at each other, and then said “sure – what do we need to do?”


“Close your eyes,” Danni said as she looked at her sister.


Cassie and I looked at each other – probably having the same thought – as we closed our eyes and I said “go on then – what’s the trick?”


I’ve been in this situation enough times with the Tornado Twins and their friends to make me suspicious of what was happening next – so it wasn’t a surprise when I feltsomething restricting my movement.


It was the fact that my arms were pulled into my sides, and I heard Cassie call out “what the…”  As I opened my eyes, I saw that one of the girls had dropped a lasso over me, and it was pulled tight round my stomach, as Kylie and Danni whooped and wound the rope round us.


“We got them,” Danni said with a smile as Cassie and I allowed them to continue.  They wound it round us several times, and then Kylie said “we’ve caught the dangerous criminals – let’s leave them here and call the police.”


“Got it,” they said as we were helped to sit on the ground, and they played the rope out, tying our ankles together as Cassie said “you’ll never keep us here.”


“Well, no one of your bad guy friends are going to come and help you,” Kylie said as she tied the rope round my ankles, and they walked off, giggling as they talked to each other.


“Well now,” Cassie said as she looked at me, “this is bringing back a few memories.”


I nodded and said “Hmmhmm – so here’s the thing, sis – should we stay or should we go now?”


“There’s a song in that you know,” Cassie said as she wriggled a bit, and the coils of rope fell down her onto the ground.  Reaching down and untying her ankles, she watched as I followed suit, standing up and brushing myself down.


“Well,” I said as I looked round, “they want us to play the game.  I wonder how much they want to play?”


“Are you thinking what I’m thinking,” Cassie said with a grin, a grin that got wider as I nodded.





“Cassie, Jenny – hope you’re ready to be taken back,” Kylie said as she and Danni came into the clearing – only to look round at the empty area.


“They got free?  How did they ge…”


Kylie heard Danni begin to ask the question – and then there was silence, as she turned round and saw Cassie holding her younger sister, her hand covering her mouth.


“Oh goody – our captors did come back for us.”


Kylie looked at me as I held the two coils of rope, and stammered “how did you…”


“Oh we know a few things, especially when it comes to young sleuths,” I said with a smile.  “Now, I think you two need to be shown how to do this properly.  You’re not going to give us any trouble, are you?”


Kylie looked at Danni as she shook her head from side to side, and said “do your worse – we’ll get free just as you did.”


“Want a bet?” Cassie said as she grinned at me.  “If you can get free before we get back to Granny’s house, you can name the forfeit.”


“And if we don’t?”


“We’ll name the forfeit,” I said with a smile, “do we have an agreement?”


The two younger girls looked at each other and nodded, as I made a loop in one end of both ropes, and passed one to Cassie, before I slipped the rope up Kylie’s arm, and pulled it tight just above her elbow, before I and Cassie fixed their arms to their sides in a classic double figure of eight tie.


Something neither girl had obviously experienced, as Danni wriggled round while Cassie tied the rope round her other arm.  “Golly – this is different,2 she said as she looked at Kylie.


The older girl was biting her lower lip, as I folded her arms behind her back, and tied her forearms together, before I wrapped the last of the rope round her waist and tied it off.


Cassie did the same to Danni, as I said “right -time to head home I think, don’t you agree Velma?”


“I do agree Daphne,” she said with a grin as we walked with the two girls, making sure they didn’t stumble as we made our way back to the house, seeing how red their cheeks were as they wondered if anyone would see them.




“There you are,” Granny said as I opened the door to the kitchen, “we were about to…”  She then stared as Kylie and Danni walked in, their arms well secured.


“Are the girls there,” Helen said as she came through, stared at her granddaughters – and then burst out laughing as she sat down.  “Did they pull the captured villain trick on you?” she eventually said.


“Oh, so we weren’t the first,” Cassie said with a smile as they stood there.


“Oh no you’re not – and I should have warned you,” Helen said as she kept laughing, “but…  but it seems you more than met your match girls!”


“We did Gran,” Kylie said as she wriggled round, “and we promised we would pay a forfeit if they managed to get us back.”


“Okay – and that forfeit is?”


“May we come and visit them tomorrow,” Cassie said with a smile, “and we’ll make sure they do not disturb you for the morning at least?”


“Sounds good – if you girls are in agreement?”


Kylie and Danni nodded as we untied them, and handed their ropes back to them.  “We’ll see you then,” we said as they went off with their grandmother, Mum and Granny looking at them.


“They really have no idea what they just agreed to, have they,” Mum said.


“Nope – no idea at all…”







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