Looking For a New England - Part 2
Cindy, Jannifer and Alice were now sitting on the bed, watching as my British friends pushed themselves onto their feet, and started hopping for the door. All four of them were very securely bound, with rope around their waist, tummy and shoulders as well as their legs, but it was no hindrance to them as they made their way to the corridor.
“Are you going to let them beat you,” I said with a smile as they headed out of the door. Alice shook her head and forced herself onto her feet, and started to take short, hesitant hops across the room. Jannifer followed her, as I helped Cindy to stand up and held her arm as she hopped over.
By the time the three of them had reached the corridor, Cassie was sitting on the top step, and starting to make her way down the large staircase, Suzie right behind her. “You should have been there the night we were all trying to escape,” I whispered to Cindy as Alicia and Jenny went next, and Alice started to very gingerly sit herself down. Cindy nodded, as one by one they made their way down the stairs, where Mum was standing by the open doorway.
“Come in and sit down,” she said as one by one they hopped, shuffled and made their way in, and sat themselves on the floor by the chairs. Dorothy, Lucinda and Miranda were already sat down, while Maris stood by the doorway.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Aunt Veronica said as she left the room, while Mum picked up some rope. “All or none,” she said with a smile, as I turned and put my hands behind my back. It only took her a few minutes to secure me, the only real difference been that my arms were tied to my sides by ropes above and below my chest, as opposed to the cradle the others were wearing.
As I was sat down, the door opened and Aunt Veronica helped Natalie to hop in. She was still wearing the hood, as she guided my cousin to sit down net to us, and slowly took the hood off. Nats blinked for a few minutes, and then looked at the row of us sitting there, all except me gagged.
“Hveryn,” she said, “nnsstcugn.” As Aunt Veronica removed her earphones, the others started to ungag everyone else, so that within ten minutes each of us was sitting chatting.
“How are you feeling,” I said to Natalie as she shook her head. “Surprisingly good,” she eventually said as she wriggled her toes, “I can see why you felt so much better after that weekend. What have you been up to?”
“OH, this and that, mainly that,” I said as Mum switched on the DVD player and the television screen came to life. “We have a special treat for all of you,” Miranda said as Mum sat back down, “I hope you like it.”
We sat back and watched as the screen showed the cellar of the house where we spent the last day of summer, a number of mattresses scattered over the floor but with three girls sleeping on one of them.
“Is that you, Heidi,” Natalie said as she leaned forward?”
“That’s me, Alicia and Jenny,” I said with a smile. “We actually spent the night there, before - ah, here they come.”
A figure, dressed in black and with a balaclava over their head, was carrying Suzie down the stairs, dressed in her nightgown with her wrists and ankles taped. As she was laid on a mattress, the group watched Lucinda and another woman been brought down.
“That’s Mrs Bridges,” Alicia said, “She is grandma’s housekeeper - just the first of the surprises for that day.”
We watched as one by one, two by two, the captives were brought in, before finally Natalie was carried down and laid on the mattress. “I knew it was Amy and Veronica carrying me down,” she said as she took a sip from a glass of coke that was held by Maria,” but I genuinely had no idea who was there.
“So who was everyone,” Cindy asked as the voice of Lord Holderness could be heard.
“In no particular order, the six of us, our grandmothers, Mrs Bridges, The two aunts of Jenny and Cassie, and of course Nats.”
“Just how quickly did you realise it was her? The first we knew of the visit was a week beforehand.”
I smiled and said “About ten minutes after you came down. I was trying to figure out who it was, and then guessed - mainly from the rope anklet.”
“Yeah - bit of a giveaway,” Nats said as we watched the party freeing each other, and then me hugging my cousin. “How did they film this anyway,” I asked Lucinda.
“The building is retreat for Desmond’s company - and has closed circuit television installed. Later on, of course, Alexander and Simon took turns, Ah - the breakfast.”
We watched as the scene changed to the large hall, and we all ran in - well I ran in and almost jumped into Mum’s arms, and the others followed. We watched for a while before Jenny’s dad started to talk, and then the scene cut to the upstairs corridor as we all jumped out in our sports clothes.
“There were five rooms,” Alicia said, “and we had been challenged to find out who was in each one and do something for them.”
“So who was in the first room,” Alice said as she watched us hop in.
“This is my big sister, Angela,” Alicia said as we watched us looking at her. “I had no idea she was there that day.”
“Which reminds me - how is your mother, Alicia?”
“She’s well, thanks Amy - the baby is apparently healthy as well. Dad is taking her for a scan this week.”
“Mrs Bridges was in the second room,” Jenny said as we watched us hopping round with the duster, “and then it was April our babysitter.”
We kept watching as we entered the other rooms, Alice and Jannifer laughing at the attempts by Nats and me to speak the oath, before we were seeing hopping into the last room, and then leaving even faster.
“What the heck happened there?” Alice said as we all laughed.
“My mum,” Suzie said, “pretending to be the Holderness Shadow.”
“What’s that,” Jannifer asked as we all went down the staircase on the film. “We’ll tell you on Wednesday - it seems appropriate,” Lucinda replied as the film moved to outside, and we were shown hopping out in our casual clothes.
“Outdoor races? Looks fun,” Alice said as we kept watching, and then she laughed as the parade of the mothers started to hobble out.
“So we had Amy and Veronica, then I presume your mother Jenny?”
“That’s right, then my Aunt Cassie.”
“You have an Aunt Cassie? Don’t you get confused?”
“No, not really - then came the real shocks.”
“Oh,” Cindy said as she watched the last two women shuffling out, “Why?”
“Because I had no idea Mummy played those games,” Suzie said. “Neither did I,” Alicia continued, “but there they were - our mothers.”
We watched the mother and daughter race, laughing at the fact that we almost lost, before the picnic lunch started and we all sat round talking.
“So what followed - lessons?” I looked at Alice and nodded, as the scene shifted to the indoor room...
We watched, spellbound as one by one we were brought in wearing our school clothes, strictly hogtied and put through the spelling test. “My god,” Dorothy said under her breath as she saw the way we were bound and gagged, “Who thought of that?”
“Mr Small,” Cassie said cheerfully, “he did that to us.”
“With a little encouragement from you,” Alicia mumbled under her breath, and I had to laugh - Cassie was especially responsible for the way we were gagged that day, and this had been a brilliant recreation of it.
The film then showed us wriggling across the floor - an event which made Alice and Jannifer laugh out loud as they watched. The laughter then turned to sighs as we watched the scene of us in smarter clothes, sitting bound with one of older relatives in the late summer son.
“Now this was fun,” Mum said as she watched, “The girls tied us up, and then they were tied up next to us. It was a relaxing break in everything that was going on.”
“I’ll bet,” Dorothy said as she looked at mum and I tied side by side, as well as Nats and Aunt Veronica tied facing each other. I saw a small smile on her lips as she did this, and wondered what she was thinking.
The scene shifted again, and we were in the grand hall, as one by one we were carried down the stairs, and the group photo in the album was taken. Then the older women came in, to cries of “Wow,” from Dorothy, Cindy, Alice and Jannifer. They watched as we all had our own family photos taken, and then the speeches after the dinner.
“You got presents,” Alice and Cindy said in unison, as they watched us opening the boxes. “Yup,” Aunt Veronica said as she looked at Natalie, “and they are upstairs.” The film continued as we were all re-bound, regagged and lined up to begin to sing.
“Wow,” Cindy said as she looked at me, “What is that song?”
“Days,” Dorothy said as she listened, “A beautiful song, and very appropriate.” We watched the film of the firework display, and then a message appeared.
“And now - Jenny’s Birthday.”
“Wha....” Jenny said, her mouth opened as the scene changed to the lawn outside Holderness Manor. It was obviously early autumn, as the film showed a party making their way up the lawn from the woods.
“Oh god,” I said as I saw two boys carrying a log between them, and swinging under it, hanging by her bound hands and feet, was...
“Jenny,” Natalie said as she watched the film, “who are the two lads?”
“Meet my brother, Bobby,” Suzie said with a smile, “and his friend Colin. We taught Bobby how to play our games a few weeks ago, and Colin learnt that day.”
We saw the other girls following behind Jenny. “That’s Mary and Cathy, two friends from school,” Alicia said as we saw the two new girls walking up, their hands bound and gags over their mouths.
“Wow - you got some more of your friends involved,” I said as I watched them walk into the house, “You’ll soon have a gang as big as mine.”
“We’re not a gang,” Alice said as she looked at me, “we’re friends, remember? Mind you - you missed a heck of a week...”
“So I’ve heard,” I said as we watched a set of chairs been placed in the centre of the floor, and six women been sat bound and gagged on each of the chairs.
“You played musical chairs,” mum said as each of the girls was formally announced by Mr Bridges, and escorted into the room. The game then began, as Mum, Veronica and Dorothy burst out laughing.
“Maybe we can us that on Wednesday,” Veronica said as she looked at me.
“Yeah - I’m going to throw a Halloween party for all of you. We can do something like that.”
That raised a cheer round the room as we watched the rather unusual game of charades, and then the scene shifted to what I recognised as the library, where Jenny was sitting in the chair. “Oh,” I said as my mouth opened, “I think I know what’s coming next. I was sitting over there when...”
On the film, the telephone rang, and Mr Bridges answered it, before putting it on the speakerphone. In unison, the me sitting here and the me on the film said “Hey there - I hear it’s somebody’s birthday today!”
“WHAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT,” Cindy, Alice and Jannifer said in unison as they looked at me. “Yeah - I’m still waiting for the bill for this one,” mum said with a smile as I talked, and then we saw the reactions of Jenny, Alicia, Suzie and Cassie as they realised that - well, here they were.
We then watched as Jenny was systematically, totally and effectively bound and gagged, and she was given more presents. Eventually the film ended, and Cindy looked at us.
“You have got to teach us some of those tricks,” she said as she broke out into a great big smile. “Maybe later in the week,” Miranda said as she stood up, “but for now it is a school day for you tomorrow, and these four still need to get some sleep.”
“Yeah,” Mum, said as she stood up, “We need to get going as well. Natalie, I’ll drop you off at your mothers. Come on - we’ll get you untied. Heidi - your friends, Lucinda and Miranda are coming to our house tomorrow for dinner.”
We stretched out as one by one we were untied, and Nats ran off to grab her bag.
“When did she get here anyway,” Jannifer said as she stood up.
“I’ll tell you another time,” I said as I hugged Alicia, “and I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
Monday, 5 pm
“Welcome,” Mum said as Alicia and the others came in the front door, “It’s not as grand as Veronica’s place, but we like it.
“I like it too,” Lucinda said as she came in, “and thank you for allowing us to come over tonight.”
“We had a great time today,” Cassie said as she bounced in. She had on a red t-shirt with “Maine discovery Museum” printed in white on it over her top, while Suzie had on a blue t-shirt printed in the same way.
“Let me guess,” Mum said as she closed the door, “You went into Bangor today?”
“Once we woke up,” Miranda said as we all walked into the front room. “We had a late brunch, and then we took the hire car Veronica had arranged to the museum. I think you all had fun, right girls?”
“Yeah,” Cassie said as she sat down, “but I don’t understand why you call crisps chips, or sweets candy.”
“Two people divided by a common language,” Alicia’s grandmother said as she accepted a cold drink. “Still, the exhibits were interesting.”
“Heidi,” Jenny said as she sat down,” What is a SK tour?”
“SK... On that,” I said. “Stephen King comes from round here - you can do a tour of some of the sites mentioned in his books. Interested?”
“Difficult, given the youngsters,” Mum said as she sat down. “Still, we can see what we can do on Wednesday - Heidi finishes school at Lunchtime, and we have some time before the festivities begin.”
“I liked the TradeWinds exhibit,” Alicia said as she sipped her drink, “and the Books one.”
“Well, we’ll see,” Miranda said with a smile. “How was school today, Heidi?”
“Boring - but we can have a chat about other things. Like Bobby and Colin - they look cute.”
“Hands off my brother,” Suzie said as she looked at me. “He’s spoken for - I think I know who the future Lady Holderness is going to be.” She nudged Cassie as she said this, making her look at Suzie, but I could see a red spot on her cheek.
“What about Colin?”
“He’s - interesting,” Alicia said, “but I’m not sure he’s my type. What about you, Jenny?”
Jenny said nothing, as mum stood up. “Dinner will be ready soon,” she said, “Why don’t you tell Heidi about what happened between her leaving and your party?”
“Oh yeah,” Alicia said, “our fun night...”
I could see Jenny was a little uncomfortable at the mention of the boys, and of events after I had left, so I sat next to her.
“Are you all right, Jenny,” I said as I touched her arm.
“Yeah - we had some good times, and some bad ones.” I saw her put her hand to her throat as she said this, before Cassie called out “We had a great day teaching Bobby how to tie us up.”
“Yeah,” Suzie said as she looked up, “and now he keeps trying new ways to tie me up now. Actually, last week he did something to me he’d never done before - he said he saw it on a television show.”
“Oh goodie,” Cassie said as she jumped up, “A new way to be nice and quiet. What did he do?”
“I’ll show you,” Suzie said as she jumped up. “Heidi, do you have some lengths of rope?”
“Come up to the bedroom,” I said as I opened the door. “We’ll be upstairs mum - are you coming?”
“Nope,” Alicia said as she looked at Jenny, “we need to talk to our grandmothers about Wednesday.”
I nodded as I took Cassie and Suzie up to my bedroom. As they closed the door, I brought out my rope stash and showed them my collection.
“So, what did he do,” Cassie said as she looked at me.
“I’ll show you both - sit on the bed, with your knees bent.”
We both sat ourselves down, as Suzie selected two lengths of rope. “The first thing he did,” she said as she stood in front of us, “was tie my knees together, so hands on your heads please.”
We did as she asked, watching as she tied Cassie’s bare legs together below her shorts, and my legs over my jeans. As she cinched the coils, I whispered to Cassie “So just how cute is her brother?”
“He’s nice for an annoying boy,” she said as she watched Suzie pick up several lengths of rope. “Right - you now need to grab your ankles with your hands.”
“Like this,” I said as I reached down and grabbed hold of my ankles. Suzie nodded as she tied my wrists to my ankles on each side, cinching the rope between my arms and legs.
“Oh - cosy,” Cassie said as Suzie secured her arms in the same way. “I guess I’d have real trouble wriggling like this.”
“That’s why he did it - he complained that I was stopping him doing his homework, and needed to stay out of the way. He then tied my legs up to my stomach.”
“Like this,” she said as she wrapped a length of rope under Cassie’s upper legs, and then pulled it round her body, tying them firmly in place.
“It’s called a ball tie,” I say as I watch Suzie tying the rope ends together. As she bound me in the same way, I looked at Cassie, who winked back at me.
“You’re wondering if you can move like this,” I said as I saw the gleam in her eye.
“I’m sure I could - if I was on the floor,” Cassie said with just a hint of regret. “So how did he stop you teasing him?”
“With these - I hope you don’t mind Heidi,” Suzie said as she held up a pair of my socks. “No, go right ahead,” I said as I opened my mouth, and allowed her to push the sock in. Cassie did the same, before she used a second sock as a cleave gag to keep us quieter.
“Goodie,” Suzie said as she looked at us, “I don’t think you can get away from me now...”
It was at that moment that the door opened and Mum came in. “Sorry, Suzie,” she said as she looked at us, “but dinner is ready. Maybe you can do that later...”
Well, she got the chance later - once we had finished dinner, she tied me, Cassie, Alicia and Jenny in that way, then Lucinda did the same to her. As we shuffled across the floor, laughing at each other, she sat with Mum and Miranda and said “So what is the plan for Wednesday?”
“Well,” Mum said as ‘I listened in, “Around here the trick and treating tends to be over with by seven. What I think we can do is take the young girls around the area, show them how we have fun, and then we’ll go to Veronica’s for the party.”
“Well, we need to get some costumes for the girls - any thoughts?”
“Well,” mum said as she sat back, “your best bet is probably the Maine Mall - they usually have a couple of good costume shops. I think Heidi has already decided who she is coming as - right, Heidi?”
“Yeah mum,” I said as I looked up and narrowly missed hitting Jenny, “I’m going as Lara Croft, and Cindy is wearing her cat outfit. Jannifer and Alice were talking about their costumes as well at school today, but there is one thing.”
“Jannifer’s mum wants her to bring her sisters with her - I don’t know how they’ll react to some of the games Aunt Veronica might play.”
“Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it - so if you go to the Mall tomorrow, and then get a taxi to Dorothy’s place. She’s invited you there for dinner tomorrow.”
Tuesday, 4.30 pm
“Well, another day over - and we get to go home at lunchtime tomorrow,” Cindy said as we walked up the sidewalk towards her house. “So do you think they will have picked out their outfits yet?”
“No idea,” I said as I smiled. “All I know is they were going there at lunchtime, and they should be at your house in an hour or so.”
We turned to walk up the path, as I noticed a grey van parked in her driveway behind Dorothy’s car.
“Having some work done in the house,” I asked Cindy as she unlocked her door.
“Nope - not that I know of,” she said as she opened the door, and we both walked in. The last thing either of us expected was to be grabbed and hand gagged as we came in, the latex smell filling my nostrils.
“The kid’s home,” the man holding me shouted, “and she’s brought a friend.”
The man holding Cindy was dressed - well as Frankenstein’s monster, with the full face mask, roll necked sweater and jacket. Cindy’s eye s shot up as she looked at me, while I returned the look.
We were frogmarched into the front room, where Dorothy was sitting, her hands tied together in front of us and then down to the rope that held her legs together over her grey trousers. A strip of clear tape covered her mouth, as she said “Srrgrls” to us.
“Sit them down there,” Dracula - yeah, Dracula said as we were pushed to the couch, and sat either side of Dorothy. “Here we go again,” Cindy said as she watched the Wolfman tie her wrists, while the Monster tied mine.
“We hear you’ve got a real life lady coming to dinner,” Dracula said as our legs were tied together, “and we want to see just how rich she is.”
The two masked men smoothed clear tape over our lips, as we looked at each other. Whoever these guys were, they seemed to be amateurs compared to some of the people we had met before. So we sat there, watching the clock until w car drew up outside.
“Get them,” Dracula said as the two others made their way to the door. We heard Lucinda saying “It’s so kind of...” then the door opened and all six of them were marched in, hands on their heads.
“Take the kids upstairs and tie them up,” Dracula said as Cindy and I were released and made to follow the others upstairs. As we left, I winked to Dorothy - these chumps had picked the wrong kids to mess with.
We marched in Indian line up the stairs, Cassie at the front and me at the back as the Wolfman opened the door to Dorothy’s bedroom and made us go in. “Lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your back,” he snarled, so like good meek little girls we did as we were told.
One by one he moved behind us, crossing our wrists behind our back and tying them tightly together with lengths of cord. It had been a colder day, so both Cassie and Suzie were wearing white cardigans over their blue and white checked knee length dresses, while Alicia and Jenny were wearing blue jeans and University of Cambridge light blue sweatshirts. Cindy and I were dressed as we usually did for school in October - thick sweaters over a pair of leggings and socks up to our knees.
Once he had tied our wrists behind our backs, he bound our ankles, side by side, and then rolled us over and moved us so that we were sitting in a circle. We watched each other in silence as more rope was tied around our legs, pulling them together. At least this guy had some idea of what he was doing, as he cinched all the coils between our limbs, but then he proceeded to gag the other four with the same tape that covered the lips of me and Cindy. No stuffing, no tying our arms to our side, no even trying to secure us together.
“This is going to be too easy,” I thought to myself as he checked our bonds, and then left, closing the door on us. We sat there looking at each other, Cindy especially wondering what they were going to do. For a while, nothing happened, and then the last thing I ever expected to did.
Jenny started shaking and crying tears flowing down her cheeks as Alicia moved over and put her head on her shoulder, rubbing her cheek to try and dislodge the tape. Eventually she let out a gasp as the tape came away from her mouth, and she started saying “It’s all right, Jenny, it’s all right - just let it all out....”
I looked at Cassie, who was starting to work her jaw in an effort to remove her gag, and then at Cindy. She looked back at me; her eyebrows rose as I flexed my jaw and managed to dislodge the tape over my mouth.
“Alicia,” I eventually said “What the heck...”
“The night we were taken hostage by the Pearl,” Alicia said as she looked at me, “One of them held a knife to Jenny’s throat. I know she’s tried to deal with it, and her aunts have helped, but I think this is... Oh, how can I put it in words Cindy would understand? This is like the night I had my breakdown.”
Cindy looked at me when she heard this and nodded, moving so that she could put her mouth within reach of my fingers. As I peeled the tape away, she licked her lips and said “Jenny, I know how you feel. Earlier this year, Heidi and I were held hostage for a weekend by a madman with a grudge against Heidi’s mum and aunt. He threatened us as well, made us do all sorts of things and pose for all sorts of pictures.
“He made us fear for our lives, and it - well, it traumatised us. A lot. We had to have counselling and some very special help to even begin to deal with it, so I’m not surprised if this has brought back those memories.”
“You were there for me,” Alicia said quietly, “when I let it all go out. This time we’re here for you. Just let it all out, Jenny, let it all out.” She moved and managed somehow to pull the tape away from Jenny’s face, as great heaving sobs escaped from her and she started to cry, freely, honestly.
As this was happening, I looked over to Suzie and Cassie, who had managed to dislodge their gags, but were just sitting there. “What’s up with you two as well - I thought you would have been up and jumping around by now.”
Cassie looked as if she was close to tears, as she said “It... It was my fault Jenny got hurt that night. If I’d stayed in place, then we might have not been threatened, and she would be all right now.”
“You can’t be certain, Cassie,” Cindy said as she looked over her shoulder. “Yes, sometimes it is better to wait and see what happens, but you have to learn when is the right time to move and when is not.
“Look, let’s review what has happened. Whoever these shysters are held mum hostage, then me and Heidi, and now all of us. We are upstairs, your grandmothers and my mother are downstairs. We know there are three of them, what we don’t know is where they all are - and we need to find that out. We also need to get some help - so can we work together on this?”
I looked at Cindy, and then asked “What do you have in mind?”
“Andrea lives round the corner. If one of us can get free and climb out of the window, then we can shimmy down the drainpipe, sneak round there and get help. But for it to work we’re going to need some diversions.”
Jenny looked up, her tears ending as she said “What do you have in mind?”
“Heidi,” Cindy said as she turned to me, “I need you to lead the rest of them here. First things first - can you untie my wrists?”
I looked at Cindy’s arms as she turned her back to me. “No problem,” I said a=after I had examined them, “but what do you want the rest of us to do while you’re going to the Blackwood house?”
“You told me what happened when the five of you ran that gang ragged,” Cindy said as I started to work on her ropes with my teeth, “so I need you to cut loose again - here’s the plan...”
“And I am telling you, young man, I am not willing to accede to your frankly quite ludicrous demands.”
From the top of the stairs, I could see Dracula standing over Lucinda, attempting to threaten her while she stared back at him. I could not see Miranda or Dorothy, but I assumed they were just out of sight, and bound the same way Alicia’s grandmother was.
I could see theta her wrist were now crossed and tied together in front of her, held down to her legs with a short length of rope, which I presumed was also tied around her thighs. She had her legs out in front of her, and I could see the rope around the cuffs of her trouser legs as well.
“Right,” I whispered up the stairs, “Cindy is going to need about twenty minutes to get to Andrea’s house, and we need to keep them occupied for about twenty more than that. You girls ready?”
I saw the other four nodding as they sat on the stairs, still bound as they had been earlier.
“Right - Cassie and Suzie, do that thing you do so well...”
The two younger girls nodded as they bumped their way down the stairs, and hopped towards the main room. I had to stifle a laugh, putting my hand over my own mouth as Dracula exclaimed “What the... How did you two get down here!”
“We hopped down,” Cassie said brightly as she jumped onto the couch next to Lucinda. “We wanted to be with our grandmas - isn’t that right granny?” She snuggled into the side of Lucinda, who glanced in the direction of the stairs before saying “Of course you did, Suzanne - quite right that you should come and join me. Where is your sister and the others?”
“Still upstairs,” I heard Suzie say, presumably from next to Miranda, “They were too scared to move, but we’re made of much braver stuff, aren’t we Suzie?”
“We sure are Cassie,” Cassie said, before saying “Besides, your friend here didn’t tie us up tightly enough, or gag us properly. Very poor showing, if you ask me.”
The sound of Dorothy laughing was very very welcome as well, as I looked back up the stairs and nodded to Jenny and Alicia. “But boss,” I heard the Wolfman say, “I swear I left them tied up and crying.”
“Do they look as if they are crying? Hand me that rope - we’d better tie them to their grannies.” I saw Dracula move towards Lucinda, only to stop as Cassie wriggled onto her lap and said the words I love to hear from her.
“Goodie - I like being tied on Granny’s lap.”
“Go,” I whispered up the stairs as Dracula untied Lucinda’s wrists, lifted them and guided her arms round Cassie, then tied them back down, before wrapping some rope around their waists. I could hear Suzie laughing as well, and presumed one of the others was working on them. I sneaked back up the stairs and hid in the bathroom as a crashing sound came from another room.
“What the hell - find out what that was,” I heard Dracula say, before there was a heavy set of footsteps coming up the stairs. I peeked out of the bathroom door to see the Monster walk past, in the direction of Cindy’s bedroom.
“OI,” I heard him call out as he looked into the room, and went inside. I sprinted the short distance to Cindy’s room and slipped noiselessly inside, watching as he walked past, one hand on Jenny’s arm and the other on Alicia’s.
“I found these two in another room,” I heard them say as he frog marched them downstairs, “they must have worked their way loose.”
“Goddamit - what about the other two?”
“Too scared to move,” I heard Alicia say in her most aristocratic and regal voice, “It must be something in the American manner. You thugs do not scare me or my friend.”
“Really - you two tie them up on the floor, and then get upstairs and make sure the other two are still tied up as well!” I could hear the muffled complaints as I slipped back into Dorothy’s bedroom, and made sure I was ready for the final act.
It was fifteen minutes later when the door to the room opened and Wolfman and the Monster came in. I looked up at them, the clear tape over my lips, and said “Whstwrng?”
“Where’s your friend,” Wolfman said as he looked round the room. I shrugged my shoulders, trying to look innocent as could be, as I watched the Monster look towards the open window.
“She could not have got out of there,” he said, but as he started to walk towards the window he stopped for a moment, stepping back as a blonde haired woman climbed in, a pistol in her hand and pointing directly at the two masked men.
“I want you two rejects from a bed horror film,” she said as she came fully into the room, “on your knees with your hands behind your head. The police are outside and waiting, and I strongly advise you to do as I say. I’m not a kid you can scare with your rubber masks.” She took out a badge and flashed it in front of them, before saying “You all right Heidi?”
“Sure am Anne,” I said as I pulled away the tape with my jaw. “Were you at the Blackwood’s house?”
Anne Duncombe nodded as she helped me to stand up, the ropes I had tied loosely around my wrists falling away. “The police will come in ... now,” she said as I heard the front door been thrown open and a voice calling out “POLICE - DROP THE WEAPON OR WE SHOOT.”
“After you,” Anne said as she waved to the two masked men. They looked at each other, then stood up and walked out of the door, their hands behind their heads as we made our way down the stairs.
“Thanks for your help, Agent Duncombe,” the uniformed officer said as we came down. Walking into the living room, I saw Cassie sitting on Lucinda’s lap, and Suzie on Miranda’s smiling happily. Dorothy was still on the couch, while Alicia and Jenny were hogtied on the floor.
“Want some help untying them,” Anne asked as the crooks were led out.
“Perhaps,” I said as the door was closed. Anne had apparently come to an arrangement to make sure the police would come back later for statements. “First, I need to introduce some of you. Anne, this is...”
“Lady Holderness - an honour,” Anne said as she bowed her head towards Lucinda. “Your reputation does you credit.”
I could see Alicia and Suzie staring at Anne as she untied the older ladies. “Grandma, what does she mean by that,” Alicia said as she finally stood up.
“I’ll tell you later,” Lucinda said as she stood up and rubbed her wrists. “Right now - who’s hungry?”
Wednesday, 4 pm
“Well now, are we all present and correct?”
Mum was waiting in the front room as Cindy and I came in. We had told her about the events of the previous night, but the funny thing was she was worried about all of us, Dorothy as much as her guests. At any rate, we weren’t hurt, and I could tell Jenny was feeling a lot happier today.
I was wearing an olive green t-shirt and combat trousers, with a belt that I had attached some fake pockets to and walking boots. Cindy was in her black leotard and body stocking, the cat tail fixed to the belt around her waists and a pair of soft black felt boots over her feet.
“What about the others - are they ready yet?”
As if to answer that question, the door opened and Jenny came in, followed by Cassie. Jenny was wearing a black long sleeved crop top, with leather gloves on her hands, olive green trousers and trainers with a blonde wig on her head.
Cindy, on the other hand, was wearing a pumpkin around her body, with orange tights and green felt booties. Her arms were trapped under the costume, but she was grinning broadly, the green cap sitting on her head a sit was held in place by a piece of elastic.
“And how,” mum eventually said when she stopped laughing, “Are you going to carry anything?”
“I’ll do it,” Jenny said, “and besides, her hands are tied behind her back under there.”
I had to laugh at that, as Alicia and Suzie came in. Alicia was wearing a long black dress, with sleeves that came half way down her elbows, and a pointed hat on her head, while Suzie had on a pixie outfit, complete with a pixie collar and ears.
“Very cute,” I said as their grandmothers came in, pulling on some windcheaters. “Are the others here yet,” Miranda said as a car pulled up outside. I looked out of the window and said “OH yes - they’re here all right. Come and look.”
I came over and looked out of the window, and had to stop myself laughing as I saw Jannifer, her two sisters, and Alice climbing out of the car. I knew Jannifer likes to sleep in nightgowns modeled on Disney Princess outfits, but to see her in the full Belle regalia, complete with the tiara, was a sight to behold.
With her were Margo and Britney, both dressed in red leotards and tights. Their hair was hanging loose, while their faces were covered with red make-up. They both carried pitchforks and had big smiles on their black lined mouths.
Finally came Alice, who - well, was dressed as Alice. She had on a blonde wig with a blue band, and was wearing a short sleeved blue dress, with a skirt that came down to her knees and a white apron on the front, white socks and black Mary Jane shoes.
“Well, at least they’re consistent,” Cindy said as she looked out of the window, while Mum went to open the front door. “Come in, all of you,” I could hear her say, and then we were joined by all four of them, the two girls going over and talking to Cindy and Suzie in the corner.
“I bumped into Chloe earlier,” Alice said as we stood and watched the younger ones, “She and Andrea are going over to your Aunt Veronica’s to help with the party later.” I nodded and looked at Alicia and Jenny. “Aunt Veronica holds a great party,” I said, but before I could say anything I heard Margo call out “You’ve got your hands tied behind your back - that’s way cool.”
“Oh god,” Jannifer said as she looked at her sisters. “You haven’t told them, have you,” Alice whispered under her breath as they looked at Cassie.
“No, I have not,” Jannifer mumbled. “I think they were watching a bunch of old cartoons on Boomerang when I got back from school - a Halloween special. No idea what was on them, but…”
“All right,” Mum said before we could continue the conversation. “Here’s what s going to happen. Girls, you can go out for the next hour and a half or so, around the local houses and call for trick or treat. Miranda and I will come to keep an eye on all of you.
“Heidi, we will need to be back here by 6 so that we can all go to Aunt Veronica’s for the party. I’m trusting you to keep our guests away from the houses that do not want to take part, and also make sure they don’t eat anything as they go round.”
There was a sigh of “Awwww,” from Britney and Margo at that. “It’s for your own good, girls,” Mum continued, “It will give us a chance to check what you have been given before you start.” She checked her watch. “Right, Miranda, if you are ready.”
Jenny’s grandmother nodded as she pulled on a fleece and zipped it up. “Right then,” she said, off we go.”
“Margo, Britney,” Jannifer said before they could take a step, “What do you have to say?”
“Thank you for allowing us to come tonight, Mrs. Strong,” they chorused as they looked at Mum, their eyes wide. I swear, I used to get away with that trick, but now I’m getting too old - or too experienced for it. As it was, Mum smiled and said “You’re welcome,” before we all set off.
New England in the fall is a brilliant place anyway, but as we started to go round the houses I was struck again by just how much it improves at Halloween. Most of the houses were decorated in the spirit of the holiday, with candles shining out from carved out pumpkins, fake skeletons and ghouls on lawns and walls, and various displays around the porches of the houses.
A few, of course, were not decorated. “Why is that one so bare?” Cassie asked as we went by one particular home, the porch unlit.
“That’s Ms Furgood’s house,” I said quietly. “She’s a strict Episcopalian, and believes this all to be the work of the devil. So she stays in all today, and all the kids in the area know not to go near.”
“Strange woman,” Jannifer said as she looked at the blind covered windows, “but we have to respect her wishes.” We turned up a path to a house, where the lights were shining brightly, and knocked on the door.
“Well hello girls,” the woman said as she opened the door. She was dressed as Wonder Woman, with red shorts and knee length boots. “You all look wonderful tonight.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Krakowski,” I said as we looked at her, “These are my friends from the UK - they’re coming round with us tonight.” Our neighbor smiled as she held out a large cauldron, and put handfuls of sweets into the bags we were all carrying. She was surprised when Suzie, Alicia, Cassie and Jenny all said “Thank You” and smiled as their bags were filled.
“It’s nice to see such manners,” Mrs. Krakowski said as we turned and headed for the next house. I knew which to go to and which to avoid, as we passed a few groups of like minded kids, just out to have some fun. We even stopped to talk to some of the householders as Suzie and Cassie asked about some of the displays and costumes.
A few blocks further down, Suzie stopped outside another house and said “Can we try there?”
The front lawn of this house was decorated, but not with the usual pumpkins and ghouls. Instead, there was a sign that simply said “Welcome” and two small fires burning either side of the path.
“That’s the Gregory house, isn’t it?” Cindy said as she stopped behind us. I nodded and said “I’m sure they would make us very welcome normally, but not tonight. This is a sacred night for them, and we’d best leave them alone?”
“Huh,” Britney said as we walked past, “Why?”
“They’re Wiccans,” Cindy said, and behind us I heard Miranda say “Ah - I understand now.”
After a while, I looked at my watch. “It’s nearly six, mum,” I said as we watched several other gangs of kids dressed up and walking round the area. “I think we need to head back.”
“Well, we’ve come round in a circle, but you’re right. Come on girls - I’ll drive you round to Veronica’s for the party.”
“PARTY TIME!” Britney and Margo shrieked out loud. As they did so, we noticed a group of four girls been led past by three boys. They were older than us - I recognized one of them from High School - and what was unusual about them is they were all dressed as slave girls, with a length of rope linking them together and their hands tied in front of them.
“That looks like fun,” Alicia whispered into my ear, but I was looking at Margo and Britney, who had eyes as wide as saucers as they walked past. “Wow,” they whispered, “what must it be like to be in that situation?”
“Maybe we can show them later,” Cassie whispered under her breath to me, which made me smile as well. Jannifer must have heard, because she then said “Well, if the party is like the last one I went to at Veronica’s, you never know….