The New Teacher









As I look in the mirror, making sure the knot on my tie is just perfectly placed, I realise that this school year is going to be very different from last year - or indeed, any year before. The reason for that is because I am a very different person - everything that has happened since June has seen to that.

Even my look is different - I’ve had my hair dyed blonde for years now, ever since I demanded of my mother that she allowed me to look like Hannah Montana. Now, however, it is the natural dark colour I used to have. After the first break-in, something inside me wanted to just be myself - and look where that led to.

As I shake the knot on the tie one last time, I look at myself in the mirror. “Alicia Bowden,” I said to myself, “I hope your friends are going to understand what you’re going to do today.”

My friends - my hangers-on, more like. Ever since I started at that school, the girls who have been with me have been there in the main for one reason - my name and status as the granddaughter of Lord Holderness. I used that connection to make myself popular, and to put those down who I thought were inferior - which goes to show how much I know, because one of them turned out to be one of the bravest girls I know.

The sad thing is I was an absolute beast to her for most of last year - Jennifer Alison Craig. Even at the end of the year, when her house was broken into by the same gang who had tied all of us up, and she was the centre of attention, I didn’t walk up and commiserate with her. It seemed wrong - I had broken down in tears at the first sight of the rope, despite Mum holding me and reassuring me it was going to be all right, and by all I heard she and her sister had just taken it?

And then, before school broke up, my pen friend Heidi arrived from the US. We had first started writing to each other five years ago, as part of one of those school “hand across the world” things, and Grandma had offered to pay for her to stay with me for her long summer holiday. She was different from what I’d expected - smaller, slimmer, and with very short blonde hair. My roots had started to show by then, but by the time my holiday started my hair had grown out and was black again.

Then Grandma offered to let both of us, as well as my cousin Suzie, stay with them at Holderness Manor for a few weeks. Well, Heidi jumped at the chance of a stay at a real country house, so we all decamped to there. Two days later, Grandma told me an old friend was bringing her granddaughters, and who should walk into the old play room? Jenny Craig and her little sister, Cassie.

Now don’t get me wrong - I may not have liked her, but I did not want to let that spoil the day, especially as Suzie and Cassie seemed to hit it off. But what happened - my goodness. First Cassie showed Suzie how they had been tied up by another gang who had held them hostage - Grandma had mentioned it at breakfast - then Heidi revealed that she knew how to tie someone up, and offered to tie Jenny up after she had secured her sister.

Well, I watched over my book, but eventually I had to leave - it was bringing back too many memories, and I was getting hungry. I went downstairs to see Grandma, and walked slap bang into two masked men tying her and her friend up.

I have to admit, looking back, that they were two of the most polite men I have ever met, even if their heads were covered by woollen masks. One of them, the smaller one, took me back to the playroom, saying he was going to make sure we stayed out of the way, but when he walked in he saw that Heidi had been tied up tightly by the Craigs, and they thought it was a game! There was me, with a man I knew had a gun in the pocket of his leather jacket, and they just smiled. Cassie even clapped her hands!

Well, it just descended into a maelstrom for me, as the man told Jenny - Jenny to tie me up as they had Heidi, while he took care of the younger kids. I had to endure the girl I had taunted all year binding my hands, arms, legs - everything, and then making me lie on my stomach as my feet were pulled back until I could touch them! Then her little sister made the man stuff our mouths, cover our lips with tape, then tie a scarf over all that so that we could not move our heads, never mind our bodies!! I was - well, not quite incandescent, but I could not understand what was happening. The memories of that first night came flooding back, and I started crying when he left us in the room. I think Jenny and Cassie saw I was upset, because they all started trying to sing, and I pretended to join in, but even though I was planning revenge.

Well, we were freed, and they went on their way, but not before our grandmothers said we should spend more time together during the summer. I kept cool and calm, and laid my plans. Each morning I got Heidi, who really was skilled, to teach me how to tie up Suzie in different ways. She didn’t seem to mind, even when Heidi thought I was a bit rough on her. I got better at it every day, and when Heidi asked why I told her I wanted to play a trick on Jenny at some point - which was half right.

Well, one night she came with her parents to dinner and Suzie said we should make it a formal one. Cassie and Jenny came in their nice bridesmaids’ dresses, and we ate and drank until Granny said we should go to the playroom. As I had guessed, Suzie and Cassie went and got themselves tied up, and I issued a challenge, having prompted Heidi earlier in the day - Jenny ties her up, I tie Jenny up, and we see who gets free first.

It worked better than I had planned, as Heidi and Jenny looked up at me from the floor, unable to move and speak. I caught Cassie and Suzie, made sure they could not interfere, and then just let rip.

I shudder as I look at myself now, remembering some of the things that I said that night. It was as if all my fears and anger over the previous three months just poured out, as I screamed, raged and ranted at all four of them. I had no idea how loud I was, or what I was saying - until Grandma told me to stop. I turned and looked at her, and after that the next thing I remember is me sobbing on my knees as she held me tightly.

It felt as if a wave of clean water had washed over me when I finished, and Grandma made me apologise to Jenny and confront my fears at the same time - by tying me as she was, gagging me, and letting us vent at each other. Whether it was because it was Grandma, or because I had no hate left, we found it incredibly good fun, and from that point on we began to become friends. By the time we had an amazing family day together last week - all of us - I had realised an important lesson my big sister Angela had been trying to teach me - to relax and have fun is more important than anything.

So here I am, pulling on the old school jacket, looking forward to seeing Jenny and been her friend rather than her enemy - and as for my other ‘friends’ they will have to deal with it or stop hanging around with me. Smiling, I went downstairs to where Mum, Dad and Angela were sitting round the breakfast table.

“Looking forward to a new year, squirt,” Angela said with a smile. She was starting at sixth form tomorrow, so she was still in her pyjamas as she ate her breakfast.

“Yeah, I am,” I said as Mum handed me a bowl and the milk, and I poured some corn flakes in. “And I’m going to take your lesson to heart - let’s see who my real friends are.

“Good for you,” Angela said with a smile. “Listen - Suzie is going to have to come round here after school today for a while, before her mum comes and picks her up. You don’t mind, do you?”

“No, I don’t mind,” I said with a smile, “Maybe we can play a game together?”

Angela looked at me and raised her eyebrow. That special day I mentioned last week? She had been involved, waiting in a room for the five - no, six, I forgot Heidi’s cousin Natalie was her then - of us to find her bound and gagged. She’d spent the rest of the day helping Mum and Dad with various things, before posing for photos with us while Mum, me and her were tied up and gagged. The photo album had come through yesterday from Uncle Alexander, and we had all sat up and looked through it together.

“That’s not just up to my, kiddo - Mum and Dad have a say in that as well.”

“I don’t see any harm in it,” Dad said as he stood up and grabbed his jacket, “so long as all of you agree to do it. I’ve got to run - and Alicia, your bus leaves in ten minutes.”

I nodded as I quickly began to eat - I hadn’t realised it had got that late.

As soon as I got into the new form room, I sat next to Jenny and said “Well, fancy meeting you here.”

My clique looked on in faint horror, with one exception - Mary Holmes, who came and sat on the same bench at the worktable with us. “About time you two became friends,” she said as she looked at us, “You any idea how hard it was been friends with both of you. What happened - shock therapy?”

“Something like that,” Jenny said as the door opened and an unfamiliar woman walked in. I could hear a clicking sound, and as she came to the front I saw it was the heels of her boots as she leaned against the table. She was stern looking, with her brown hair swept back to reveal her high forehead.

“Good morning class,” she said in an accent that sounded European, “I am Dr Wolfe, your new form tutor. I am sure we will all get along splendidly - so long as you keep to the rules. Now, sit quietly while I take the register...”


“She’s a rum one,” Jenny said as we walked out of the school at the end of the first day.

“Who is?”

Dr Wolfe - she seems to know her stuff in Chemistry, but she’s tough.”

“Well, so can I be if I need to. See you tomorrow?”

“Yeah,” Jenny said as we went in different directions at the school gates. I jumped on the bus and was home in fifteen minutes. As I walked in, I heard Angela say “Is that you, Ali? Come in the front room.”

I looked round the corner to see Suzie sitting there. “Hi Ali,” she said as she looked up at me from the couch, “We made a head start - why don’t you go and get changed and join us?”


I looked at Suzie as she sat on the chair, swinging her legs to and fro as she smiled back. She was still wearing her school uniform - the blue pullover on top of the white polo shirt, grey skirt, grey socks and black shoes. The only really unusual thing was the band of white rope that was wrapped around and between her ankles by Angela, who was kneeling in front of her.

“So what’s the game?”

Angela looked up and said “this crazy woman has broken in and forced me to tie my little cousin up, before she ties me up. Know anyone who is like that?” She smiled as she said this, her dark hair pulled back into a ponytail that hung down the back of her blue sweatshirt.

What can I say? It turns out that Angela, in her days in the Guides, was often tied up on trips and weekends away, and liked it. It put a whole new perspective on the night before the summer, but I wasn’t worrying about that now - I was heading upstairs, as fast as I could, to change into something more comfortable. I stripped out of my uniform, hanging the blazer and skirt up before I pulled on a pair of black stirrup pants and a black jumper.

Pausing only to gather up my dirty clothes and put them in the basket in the bathroom, I ran down the stairs again and stood in the doorway. “Well,” I said in as adult a way as possible, “I told you to tie her up. Keep going.”

Suzie already had her hands pulled behind her back, and I could see now a band of rope over her blue jumper, tied round her waist. “Please, don’t hurt us,” Angela said as she looked up at me.

“Well, tie her legs together then,” I said with a scowl, watching as Angela took a length of cord and pulled Suzie’s legs together below her knees. I saw the smile grow on her face as Angela passed the rope around and between her legs, taking great care not to hurt her as her legs were locked together.

“Make her lie down on her stomach,” I said, watching again as big sis helped Suzie to lie flat on her back on the recliner and then roll over. I could see her wrists were crossed and bound, the rope cinching the coils both between her arms and between her arms and body.

“Tie her ankles to her wrists, and then roll her onto her side.”

As Angela did this to Suzie, I picked up a few things that they had left on the coffee table, winking at my cousin as I did so. She smiled back in return as her ankles were connected to her waist rope by a length of cord, holding her legs back as she rolled onto her side.

“I need you to be quiet now,” I said as I handed Angela the small folded handkerchief. “Put that in her mouth, and then use this tie to keep it in there. Once you’ve done that, lie face down on the floor and put your hands behind your back.”

I watched Suzie’s eyes light up as the cloth was pushed into her open mouth, and then one of my dad’s old ties was pulled between her teeth, her lips closing over it as Angela tied the ends tightly together under her red hair. “You don’t have to do this,” she said as she lay down on the floor, and moved her hands behind her back.

“I can’t take the risk of you alerting the authorities,” I said as I picked up some rope, crossed Angela’s wrist behind her back and started to tie them together. I secretly enjoyed this - it’s not often you get to be boss over your big sister, and it helped that Angela really liked this.

I made sure I did everything that Heidi taught me - doubled over the rope before I passed it round her wrists, then pulled them gently together, several passes round, feed the ends through and split them, pass them between Angela’s arms to tighten the loops together, and then tie off out of reach of her fingers. I didn’t tie her thumbs or anything - I knew she was just playing a game for this.

Reaching down to her feet, I used a second length of rope to bind her ankles together, keeping the coils over the cuffs of her blue jeans. I heard her sigh as I did this, making sure the ropes went between her legs as well, and glanced at Suzie. She just raised an eyebrow as I said “Roll over and sit up.”

I stood up and watched Angela as she rolled onto her back and managed to sit herself up in one movement. Those Yoga classes were obviously doing her the world of good, as I knelt behind her and took a long length of rope, passing it around her body as I bound her arms tightly into her side around her stomach, winding the rope round her arms as I did so. I had watched Cassie and Jenny’s father do this, and tried to copy it as best I could.

“Comfy,” I said with a slight chuckle as I walked in front of her, pushing her legs up and binding them together below her knees.

“What do you think,” Angela replied in an angry voice, but she winked at me and Suzie to show she was just acting. “Well then, open up and shut up,” I said as I held a sponge ball in front of my big sister’s face. It was a different gag, but I knew she liked this one.

“Just don’t hurt her,” Angela said before allowing me to push the ball in, closing her lips over it as I picked up the white medical tape and tore the end free from the roll. Pressing the end against her cheek, I wrapped it round her head three times, making her mumble quietly as I sealed the stuffing into place. It went over her hair, but I knew that it would not be a problem for her.

Hiwwwntttt,” Suzie mumbled from her position on the recliner. “You need to be quiet too,” I said as I used the tape over her mouth as well, hearing her mumble “fnnskksas” as it was wound round.

“I’m going to have a look round,” I said as I stood up and looked at both of them. “Don’t go anywhere now.” I walked out of the room and towards the kitchen, leaving both of them to see if they could get free at all.

I had a suspicion that if either of them was going to be successful, it was Suzie, but as I poured myself a cold drink I realised that I was missing out on something. I actually wanted to be tied up with them, but there was nobody else around, and I did not like the idea of tying myself up. Maybe I could get Mum or Dad to tie me and Suzie up later?

I shook my head and dismissed that idea fairly quickly - one of the rules Mum in particular had laid down was only one game a day, and Suzie had had her allocation. As I sat there, wondering what I could do, I heard my phone beep to show a message had arrived.

Taking it out of my pocket, I saw Jenny’s name on the screen, and opened the new text message.

“Hey - Mum says can U ask Angela to babysit on Saturday? April busy. U and Suz can stay the night. J.”

I smiled as I read that - it would be good to see the two of them again. At any rate, my attention was diverted when the doorbell rang, and I went to answer it.

“Hi Alicia - is Suzie here?”

Standing there, his briefcase in his hand was Suzie’s older brother Bobby. I should have guessed he would have to come round as well, but I still felt slightly panicky - I had no idea if he knew what was going on. He was a year older than me, and goes to another secondary school nearer their home.

“Err - come in Bobby,” I said loudly as I held the door open for him to come in. “Suzie’s upstairs, doing some homework in my room. I’m sure she’ll come down as soon as she’s finished.” I guided him past the door to the front room to the kitchen, where he laid his briefcase on the table and loosened the red and white tie round his neck.

“Has she said anything about that new teacher of hers - Miss Craig? Didn’t you meet her when you had that big bash last week when I was at Granny’s?”

“No, she hasn’t said anything,” I said as I poured him a glass of squash as well. “And she isn’t that bad - all right, she used to be in the Forces, but that doesn’t make her a bad person.”

“I suppose not,” he said as the door opened and Suzie came in. She smiled at Bobby and said “Hey bro - what’s happening?” as she went to pour herself a glass of squash as well. She winked at me as she did so, which I took to be thanks for the warning.

“Hey Suzie - so how was the first day with the Colonel?”

“Actually she was Captain Craig, but she likes to be called Miss Craig now,” Suzie said as she sat down. “She made us write a story about the most exciting thing that happened to us during the summer.”

“Really - what did you write about, picnics by the lake or been held hostage at the Craig house?”

We both stared at him as he took a drink. “What? Mum told me while you were away about how you walked in on a masked gang terrorising the Craigs, and how you were held hostage for a few hours. I wonder how that felt - not been able to raise the alarm.”

Now Suzie and I both laughed - obviously Aunt Susan had not told her everything that had happened. She must have known - even if Grandma had not, I remembered from the conversation at the dinner table a week or two back that Mrs Craig had told her and Mum everything.

“Oh really - and what did Aunt Susan tell you about our day together?”

“Just that you all played a lot of games, and ha d a lot of fun.” He looked at the two of us. “Why?”

We looked at each other before I said “Nothing, nothing,” as I heard Bobby’s phone ring. As he fished it out of his bag, Angela came in and said “Hey Bobby - good day at school.”

“Not bad,” he said as he looked at his phone. As he opened the text message, I looked at Angela.

“I’ve had a message from Mrs Craig - would you be able to babysit for them on Saturday? And Suzie - we’re invited to stay the night if you want.”

“Sounds fun,” Suzie said with a smile as Bobby let out a groan. “Hey - what’s up?”

“Message from Mum - she says you can stay, but I need to go with you on Saturday night. Apparently Dad’s got some big dinner on. I can stay here for the night with you Angela, if that’s all right - I’ve got a game on Sunday.”

“Yeah, that’s fine on all counts,” Angela said as she poured herself a drink. “I’ll call Mrs Craig to confirm.”

“Great - stuck in a house full of girls all night,” Bobby said with a sigh as he put his phone away. “It never rains but it pours.”


“So how was your day,” Dad said as he knelt down behind me.

“Not bad - we had a new Chemistry teacher, who’s also my form tutor. A woman called Doctor Wolfe. I had to do some homework for her tonight, while Angela kept an eye on the youngsters.”

“I’m sorry I forgot to mention about Bobby coming round,” Mum said as she smiled in the chair next to me. “I hope he didn’t interrupt anything?”

“I kept him out of the front room,” I said as I looked over at her. “Angie and Suzie managed to get themselves free. Still, I guess I get to make up for it now - thanks for playing with me, Mum.”

Mum and I were sat side by side on two dining room chairs, our arms round the back where Dad had tied our wrists together and secured them to one of the central spars. He had also tied our arms to the side of the chair, and our waists against the chair back. Mum was wearing a long sleeved blue top, with a black waistcoat over it, a long floral print skirt and black leather boots with three inch square heels.

Her ankles were already tied together and secured to the front leg of her chair, and her skirt was gathered around her legs where Dad had tied them together above her knees. In my case, he had tied my ankles and knees to the two chair legs, while Angela had been watching a film on the television.

“Right,” Dad said as he stood up, “open your mouth nice and wide, Anne.” He pulled the knot he had tied in the middle of the red silk square into her mouth, pulling the bands around her head and knotting them together over her long hair, before offering a rolled up handkerchief to me. I opened my mouth and let him push it in before he tore off a long length of white tape and stuck it over my mouth.

Fnksggnddd,” I mumbled as he kissed us both on the head and sat down in his armchair.

“Hey,” Angela said as he looked at the two of us watching the television, “how come you didn’t tie or gag Mum as tightly? It’s almost as if you were been protective of her.”

“Well, I am,” Dad said as he picked up the paper. “After all, she is six weeks pregnant.”

Angela and I stared at him, then Mum, who smiled over her gag as she nodded in confirmation.





“She’s pregnant? Good grief, Alicia - you’re going to have a little brother or sister. Guess that means you’ll have to be an Angela to her as well!”

Jenny looked at me as we sat at the dinner table the next day, eating our lunches. I said “Don’t - it’s the thought he or she will be thirteen years younger that scares me. Angela nearly freaked out as well.”

“I can imagine,” Jenny said with a chuckle. “So I guess your new found game times are going to be curtailed?”

“Not really - just differently managed, I think,” I said with a smile. “Anyway, we almost got caught by Bobby yesterday. Mum forgot to tell me he was coming, and he nearly walked in on Suzie and Angela trying to free each other.”

I looked at Jenny, who had a strange expression on her face. “Why would Bobby not know what’s going on? Didn’t you say he was a Scout?”


And Scouts know Ropes?”


So you really think Suzie hasn’t been pestering him? If she’s anything like Cassie, and we both know she is, she will have been asking him about his badges at the very least.”

That made me stop and think for a moment. ”Yeah - you may have a point there. Anyway, how is the little dynamo?”

“Cassie? As bright as a button and as cute as always. Last night she got Dad to help her, me and Mum to play a game of Find The Knife.”

“Find The Knife? What does that involve?”

Jenny looked round and leaned forward. “Well, since that gang took us all hostage, Dad has been concerned that we should find ways to free ourselves, so we came up with this game. We changed into our night clothes, and then put socks over our hands.

“He then made us lie on the floor of the front room, and trussed us tightly. We each had our wrists crossed and tied together with rope, and then secured round our waists as usual. Cassie and me had our arms tied to our stomachs, while Mum had rope round her arms, tummy and shoulders. Our ankles were crossed and tied, our legs below our knees, and then we were hogtied.”

“Sounds fun already,” I whispered conspiratorially. “So what happened then?”

We had a piece of cloth in our mouths, a scarf between our lips, and tape around our heads, and then he blindfolded us with silk scarves. He put somewhere in the room a plastic picnic knife, and told us we had to try and find it. Hilarity, as they say, ensued.”

I looked at the smile on Jenny’s face and had to laugh. “I bet it did,” I said as I picked up a sandwich and took a bite.

Mary walked over and joined us, saying “So, how are the most popular pair of girls in the school?”

“Don’t,” Jenny said with a grimace, “I know they were your friends, Alicia, but some of them seem determined to claim me as their own now.”

“They’re not that bad once you get to know them - well, most of them,” Mary said with a grin. “So, what are you two talking about?”

“Oh, family secrets,” I said as I smiled at Mary. “How was Economics today?”

“Tough - we had another new female teacher. Mrs Jenkins.”

Strange that,” Jenny said, “There have been an awful lot of new teachers this term - that makes the sixth one. And they all seem to take at least one of our classes.”

I sat and thought about that. Apart from Dr Wolfe, there was Miss Hampton in English, Miss Curtis in Maths, Miss Eaves in PE and Mrs Dunston in Home Economics.

“Oh come on,” Jenny said with a laugh, “We always get a lot of new teachers - it’s probably just coincidence.” She looked at her watch, before saying “Lord is that time - I need to get to Art.”

“Oh yeah - what’s the hurry?”

Jenny stopped and looked at me. “Believe it or not, another new teacher - Mr Bennett. He’s a stickler for time keeping.”

“Aren’t they all,” Mary said as Jenny walked off, but I was thinking - this was getting a bit more than funny, and I wanted to talk to someone about it.



Thursday night was when Grandma was coming to visit, so after we had eaten I took her aside for a few minutes and told her about the new teachers.

“I’m sure it’s nothing to be worried about, Alicia,” she said as she next to me on my bed, “it sounds like it is just all coincidence.”

I nodded as Grandma put her arm round me. “Don’t let it worry you, Alicia - you have a lot of changes coming this year, and this is just a bunch of them coming at the same time. Just enjoy what is happening now, and let others worry about other things.”

“Thanks Grandma,” I said as I hugged her, while Mum came into my bedroom. “Mum,” she said as she sat down next to us, “Amy Strong is on the telephone, and would like to talk to you.”

“All right,” Grandma said as she stood up and walked to the door, “Have fun on Saturday, Alicia.”

“Thanks, Grandma, I will,” I said as she walked out. “As for you, Alicia,” Mum said, “Bed - you still have school in the morning.”

“All right, Mum,” I said as I retrieved my nightdress from under my pillow. I was getting tired, and I wanted to get a good sleep.

Something told me that I would not get much sleep on Saturday night.



I looked up from my work desk when I heard the car coming up the driveway. Standing up, I looked out of the window and saw Uncle Alexander and Aunt Susan get out of the car, dressed in casual clothes, and then Suzie and Bobby. I looked at myself in the mirror, dressed in a blue pinafore dress over a white long sleeved top.

“Alicia,” I heard Dad call up, and I put my English homework away before coming down the stairs. “Hi Ali,” Suzie called up as I came down, smiling as I went and hugged her parents.

“Thank you for doing this, Simon,” Uncle Alexander said when I let him go, “I have to attend this dinner tonight, and Bobby is still too young to leave on his own.”

“It’s no problem,” Dad said as he rubbed his hand on Bobby’s head, mussing up his light hair. “I’ll take him to the game tomorrow, and then drop him off at your place after that. The girls are staying over, anyway, so he won’t be too embarrassed.”

“I already am,” Bobby said in a sulk, “I have to spend all day with the girls, don’t I?”

“You might learn something,” Uncle Alexander said as he winked at us. “Right - I have to go. We’ll see you both tomorrow.”

We all stood in the door and waved as Uncle Alexander helped Aunt Susan into the car and drove off. “Right then,” Dad said as he closed the door, “Angela and your mother won’t be back for another hour, so you’ll have to amuse yourselves while I get on with the mowing.”

“Let’s go up to our room,” I said as I walked up, the others following me. As we walked in and I closed the door, Suzie sat on my bed, swinging her legs as she did so. Her blue pleated skirt was just covering her knees, and she was wearing a matching short sleeved blouse on top. Bobby had on a brown t-shirt and khaki shorts.

“So,” I said as I sat down in my chair, “what do you two want to do?”

“I want to play a game,” Suzie said with a big smile on her face. Bobby rolled his eyes and said “Don’t tell me you want to play that knot tying game again?”

“Oh yes,” I said as I looked at Suzie, “what is that?”

“She’s been bugging me all week to show her how I can tie two sticks together - I learned it at this week’s meeting, and she just keeps asking me to do it. I’m telling you, it gets boring.”

“Well, how would you like to make it more interesting,” Suzie said as she smiled at me. “Tie my hands together.”

“NO,” Bobby almost shouted, “the Scout Master said we must never do that.”

“Oh - and you do everything the Scout Master tells you,” Suzie said as she stuck her tongue out at him. I could see Bobby bristling at this, as he looked at both of us.

“Look,” I eventually said, “I won’t tell your mum or dad if you do this, and it will keep Suzie quiet. In fact here,” I said as I stood up and went to the dressing gown that was on the back of the door, “Use the belt from this. Just do it and she’ll stop pestering you.

Now, I knew, and Suzie knew, that Uncle Alexander and Aunt Susan would not say anything, but Bobby for some reason either did not know, or was not sure, so he was hesitating. I took the belt off and put it in his hands, saying “Just do it and get it over with, Bobby - what’s the worst thing that can happen?”

I watched as he took the belt and walked over to Suzie, who was holding her hands out in front of her. He wrapped it round her bare wrists, making several passes before he tied the ends together and let them hang together under her arms.

“There now - happy?” he said as he looked at her.

“Not really,” she said as she pulled her wrists free in less than 10 seconds. “I thought you said you were good at tying things together?” I had to stop myself laughing at the look on Bobby’s face, as Dad came into the room.

“Kids I - ah,” he said as he looked at us. “Mum and Angela are back, so if you come down we’ll have some lunch, and then I’ll run you over to the Craig house.”

Suzie smiled at me, then stuck her tongue out at Bobby as she walked out of the room. I heard her running down the stairs, calling out “Hi Aunt Anne,” as Bobby looked at us and then followed her.

“Want to tell me what that was all about,” Dad said as he looked at me.

“I think Bobby is going to find School is in session this afternoon,” I said with a smile. “Come on, let’s eat.”


As we sat round the table in the dining room, I could see Bobby was getting more and more agitated at the thought of having to spend time with us. “Why can’t I stay with you and Aunt Anne,” he finally said as he looked at Dad.

“I’m sorry, Bobby,” Aunt Anne said, “but we have a lot of things that we need to do this afternoon. I wouldn’t worry about it - I’m sure it won’t be as bad as you think it’s going to be.”

“But it’s a bunch of girls - what are they going to do, sit round and try on each other’s clothes or put make up on?”

“Only if you want to watch us,” Suzie said which earned her a swift kick under the table from me.

“Look, Bobby,” Angela said, “I promise you won’t be bored, all right? If you are, then you can take it out on me later.”

For some reason, that seemed to cheer him up, so that when at 3 o’clock Dad told us to get in the car he was happy to sit between me and Suzie, while Dad put her bag in the back of the car. When he put it down, there was a faint metallic sound, and Bobby turned round, saying “What have you got in there?”

You’ll see,” Suzie said with a smile as Dad got behind the wheel and we drove off. As we headed down the road, Bobby said “So what are these Craig girls really like?”

“Jenny’s sensible, and Cassie is a real handful,” I said as I looked out of the window.

“Oh come on, Cassie’s great fun - you’ll like her, Bobby.”

Bobby just grunted as Suzie continued “I bet you can practise your knot tying on... I mean with her. She likes things like that.”

“Suzie...” I mumbled under my breath, “We’re nearly there.”

Dad pulled up outside the Craig house and let the four of us out, as Mrs Craig opened the door.

“Hello, girls,” she said as we walked up, “and this must be Bobby. Why don’t you come in - the girls are upstairs.”

“Can I go up and see them,” Suzie asked, and as Mrs Craig nodded she ran up the stairs, saying “HI CASSIE!” as she did so. The rest of us went into the living room.

“Do you want a coffee, Simon,” Mrs Craig said.

“Yeah, thanks,” he said as the two adults left, leaving the three of us together. “What do you think they’re doing up there,” Bobby said as he heard the laughter from the upper floor.

“Oh, probably just bonding,” Angela said which made me laugh and Bobby look at her in a strange way. “What do you mean, bonding?”

Now Angela and I started laughing as Mister Craig stuck his head round the door. “Oh hi girls,” he said, “is your father still here?”

“He’s in the kitchen,” I said, “Can we go up and see the others?”

“Of course you can,” Mister Craig said, before saying to Bobby “Would you like to come in the kitchen with us?”

“No thanks,” Bobby said, “If I am going to spend the rest of the day with them, I may as well find out what tortures they have planned.”

Mister Craig raised an eyebrow as we stood up and headed up the stairs. As we waited outside Cassie’s room, I knocked and said “Cassie, it’s Alicia - can we come in?”

The door opened and Jenny popped her head round the corner. “Oh hi guys,” she said with a smile, “Is this Bobby?”

“Yeah, I’m Bobby,” he said with a resigned sigh, “and you must be Jenny. Where’s Suzie.”

“She’s in here with Cassie, but they can’t exactly come to the door at the moment.”

“What do you mean,” Bobby said, so Jenny opened the door and showed him. Suzie was lying on the floor, her wrists securely bound with socks over her hands, and her arms pinned to her sides, as she turned and side “thssscsss,” through the white tape that was wound round her mouth.

Cassie was lying on the bed, her blue pinafore dress secured round her by the bands of rope around her stomach, waist, legs and ankles. I could see her arms were also pinned behind her back, and her cheeks were bulging under the white tape. Her skirt, although it had been gathered, came to just above her knees so that Bobby could see her white knee length socks.

He stood there, his jaw dropping at the sight in front of him, as Cassie looked him up and down. “Hllbbbbb,” she mumbled as she looked at me and Angela, “wnttpplll?”

“I...” Bobby said as he turned and looked at us. “It’s nothing to be worried about Bobby,” Angela said as she closed the room door, “In fact, we all like to play these games.”

“You do,” Bobby finally said, “but when we tried it on Kerry at the Scout troop, the Scout Master told us to stop, and said that it was wrong.”

“It may have been, in that time and in that place,” Angela said as she sat on the bed and tickled Cassie’s feet, making her giggle, “but that does not mean it is a bad thing to do. My Guide troop used to do it all the time when we went away for weekends - in fact, it used to be the highlight of the Saturday night. Hidden tuck, lashings of ginger beer, and seeing who could get out of the ropes the quickest.”

Really?” Bobby said, “but you can’t really like this - can you?”

“Be honest with us, Bobby,” I said with a smile, “when Suzie got out of that belt in ten seconds earlier today, what did you think?”

“That I had not tied the knot well enough,” Bobby said as he looked at Suzie sitting herself up. “Does this mean she knows how to get out of knots as well?”

“Well, why don’t we find out,” Jenny said as she sat down. “Bobby, there’s one of my dad’s old ties in the bag there. Come and tie my wrists together in front of me, in the beat way you can.”

“It’s all right, Bobby,” I said as I gave him a nudge, “Their parents won’t mind - and neither will Mum and Dad.”

“Well if you say so,” Bobby stammered as he took a red and black tie and walked over to Jenny. She held her hand up and watched as he wound the silk round them, drawing them together as tightly as he could.

“There, that wasn’t so difficult, was it,” Jenny said with a smile, before twisting her hands round and within a minute getting them free. “Mind you, I think you could do a lot better.”

“Good grief - and I’m meant to be the best in my troop,” Bobby said as he leaned against the wall.

“There’s a lot more to this then knowing how to tie ropes,” I said as I put an arm round him, “Would you like us to teach you?”

“Would you,” Bobby said as he smiled at me, and Suzie nodded her head up and down.

“Well,” Jenny said as she looked at him, “Why don’t you let me finish with these two, and then you can watch Ali as she ties me up. Keep it simple, Ali - he’s just a beginner. Once Mum and Dad have gone, maybe we can play another game then.”

“What about the Dynamic Duo?”

Jenny took some rope and quickly bound Suzie’s ankles and legs together. “They’ll be all right,” she said with a smile, “We’ll go into my room.”

The four of us walked into Jenny’s room. She sat on the bed, her denim skirt rising above the knees of her black leggings, and said “I want you to watch what Alicia does to me, Bobby, and then you can do it to her with Angela’s help, all right?”

Bobby nodded as Jenny held her hands in front of her. “Let’s go for the sitting bind,” she said as I doubled a length of rope over and wrapped it round her wrists, binding them together and passing the rope between them to tighten the rope.

“Bobby,” Jenny said as she looked at him,” What you did was fine, but you need to make sure it fits snugly round the wrists, and we can’t get it free, so we usually make sure we pass the rope around and between the arms, all right?”

Bobby nodded as he watched me take a second length of rope and wrap it round Jenny’s legs, binding them tightly together before she took it between her legs.

“How much have you heard about the robberies we had, Bobby?”

“Not much,” he said as he sat there, watching me tie Jenny’s wrists down to her legs, and then push her ankles together and start to tie them as well.

“Well, Cassie and I played games for a while before them, and it helped us to cope. Over the summer, we’ve played these games fairly regularly, and we like them, but now we’re back at school weekends are the only time we can do it together.”

She smiled at me as I tied the ankle ropes off. “Let’s leave it at that for Bobby,” she said as I sat down next to her. “Bobby,” I said, “You need to start by taking a length of that rope and doubling it over.”

“This one,” he said quietly as he took an eight foot length and showed it to me.

“That will do - double it over then come here and wrap it round my wrists, put the ends through the middle and pull them together gently.”

He did as I asked him, almost hesitatingly drawing my wrists together as I felt the rope round them. “It’s all right, Bobby, I’ll tell you if it hurts,” I said quietly, “now pull the ends back against the loop, and take it round my wrist three time, keeping the layers by each other.”

As he did so, Jenny nodded approvingly at the way he kept it neat. “Now, tuck the end through one of the loops, separate them and take them between my wrists - that tightens the ropes and locks them together.”

As he did this, Jenny said “Angela, how are you finding Sixth Form?”

“Difficult - it’s a change, and there are a lot of new things to learn. Fun though.”

I looked at Bobby, and said “You’re doing good - now tie the ends together under my wrists, and tuck the ends back into the band of rope.”

As he did so, he whispered “Does it hurt?”

“No - in fact it’s quite snug. Ready for the next step?


“Take a longer length of rope, and tie it round my legs, above my knees, the way you did my wrists. Make sure to pull it firmly, and to take the rope between my legs, but leave a good length at the end.”

“Like this,” he said as he wrapped the doubled over rope around my legs and pulled them together. “Exactly like that,” I relied with a smile as he wrapped the rope round, and cinched it, then tied it off, leaving a length at each end.

“Now take that length and wrap it round my wrists, so that they are held to my legs.”

As he did this, Bobby said “So how long have you been playing these games - and how did you manage to keep it a secret from Uncle Simon and Aunt Anne?”

“Well, for one thing we never played at home - this happened over the summer,” I said as he tied my wrists down. “As it was, they knew anyway - Grandma told them, especially after the robbery at the Manor House, and my little outburst a few weeks later.

“Now use another length and tie my ankles together, side by side.”

“Why have you got me to tie your wrists to your legs,” Bobby asked as I felt my ankles been pulled together. He was a quick learner, I thought as the rope tightened around my legs and he wound the rope round and between.

“Well, normally we have our hands tied behind our backs, but this is the first time you have done this, so we’re going easy.”

“Yeah, but in all the films and TV shows they just bind the hands and legs and leave them. Isn’t that enough?”

“We’ll show you in a few minutes,” I say as Bobby tied off the knot. “Not too bad for a first real attempt, Bobby - you have the Holderness blood in you somewhere.”

“What - you mean Mum and Aunt Anne...”

“You’ll have to ask them - after all, you’re the oldest male, and the next Lord Holderness, Bobby boy,” I said as I stuck my tongue out. Angela chose this moment to move, picking up a roll of duct tape and tearing a strip off.

“And that’s enough out of you for the moment, little sis,” she said as she stuck it over my mouth. “And you Jenny, before you say anything,” she continued as she placed the tape over Jenny’s mouth, the two of us looking at each other.

“Well, that’s going to keep them quiet,” Bobby said as he smiled.

“Do you want to have a go?”

Bobby looked at Angela, and nervously said “Would... Would that be all right?”


“Bobby, Girls - are you up here?”

I could hear Dad coming up the stairs, looking into Cassie’s room and then opening the door to ours.

“Listen, I have to - oh. Oh.”

He looked at Jenny, Bobby and me as we sat in a row, bound and gagged. Bobby was twisting his hands a little, but looked happy.

“You know, I did wonder how long it would be before young Robert her discovered these games,” Dad said with a smile. Your doing, Angela?”

Not really - he saw Cassie and Suzie, and then asked how you did it. So we showed him.”

“Fair enough,” Dad said as he looked at us, “but I know your girls. You’re playing with him, aren’t you?”

I saw Bobby look at us, his eyebrows raised as Jenny and I pushed the tape off our mouths with our tongues.

Kinda sorta, Dad” I said with a smile as Suzie and Cassie came running into the room.

“Hey - oh, is this Bobby,” Cassie said as she stopped and looked at him. “He is a cutie, isn’t he - and you got him all wrapped up for me as well! Suzie, this is a great present.”

PRssnttt?” Bobby said as his eyebrows shot up, even more so when Jenny and I wriggled our hands free of the ropes around our wrists and waved our hands.

“Sorry, Bobby,” Suzie said with a wicked grin on her face, “but I promised Cassie she could tickle you. Be a good boy and take it.”

“NNNNNNN,” Bobby screamed as Cassie ran over and started to tickle his ribs, making him squirm round and fall backwards onto the bed, rolling onto his side as Suzie joined in.

“Right, well - John has agreed to drive you and Bobby back later when they get back, Angela. Try not to damage the heir too much.” Dad smiled as the three of us watched the younger girls attack Bobby, until he screamed “NNFFFF!! STP!!!!!”

All right, you two, leave him alone,” Angela said as Cassie and Suzie stopped their tickle attack, allowing Bobby to sit himself up, the tape hanging from the side of his mouth.

“Oh you are so going to pay for that,” he said in a stern tone, but I could see the smile in his eyes as well. “How did you get out of those ropes?”

Practice,” Suzie said as she went to the door. “Why don’t we all go downstairs and get a drink - we can tell Bobby about everything that happened when we had the sleepover.”

Everything?” I looked at Suzie, one eyebrow raised.

“Well, almost everything - come on.”

A few minutes later, we were all sitting in the front room with Mrs Craig, as we told Bobby all about the games we played at Holderness Manor.

“Huh - I never knew Heidi was like that. She seemed so normal the couple of weeks she was at our house.”

“Well,” Mrs Craig said as she stood up, “she is just as normal as all of us. So long as everyone agrees and nobody gets hurt, then these games can be fun. Right - I have to go and get ready. Angela, I’m going to leave some money for pizzas for all of you once we’ve gone, and then you’ll be in charge.”

“So what sort of game are we going to play,” Cassie said once her mother had gone, “Mum and Dad have given us permission to play, so long as we are in our bedclothes when they get back.”

“Why don’t we have a bind and hop session,” Jenny said, “and then we can show Bobby how difficult it is to actually stop somebody moving about - show him some of his assumptions are wrong.”

Bobby smiled. “How come a strip of tape always works in the movies?”

Because it is the movies, doofus,” Suzie said as she threw a cushion at her brother. “It’s ridiculously easy to get a strip of most tape off your mouth.”

Most tape?”

Some sticks better than others,” Jenny said with her quiet air of authority. “Anyway, now that you have had a taste of the ropes, what do you think?”

Bobby sat for a moment, before saying “I kinda like it, but I’d like to learn more. What’s this game you were talking about?”

“It’s like cops and robbers - in fact, Bobby, why don’t you help me?”

He looked at Angela and nodded. “All right, what do we do?”

“Later - I am legally required by babysitter law to ask if you two have any homework you need to finish off.”

Jenny and Cassie looked at each other, and sighed as they left the room. “Ali, can you help me out with that English assignment,” Jenny said as she stood in the doorway, while Suzie said “I’m going to go with Cassie.” As the others left the room, I could hear Bobby say “Tell me more about the game,” to Angela.

“I guess that will have to do,” I said to Jenny as we both put the copy of To Kill A Mockingbird down. “It’s a good book, but a bit scary at times.”

“I guess so,” Jenny said as her mum put her head round the door. “We’re going now,” she said with a smile, “so Angela is in charge. Do as she tells you, all right?” She winked at both of us as she said this, and then closed the door.

“What do you think she meant by that?” I asked Jenny as she got up.

“I think she meant a game of some sort,” she said, “Come on - I actually want to see what your sister has cooked up.”

As we left the room, we could hear some talking downstairs, so we were half expecting something as we descended the stairs. What we did not expect to see was Angela and Bobby standing behind Cassie and Suzie respectively. Both of them had one hand on their captive’s arm, the other over their mouths, and for some reason they both had woollen scarves tied over their lower faces.

“And here are the rest of the happy breed,” Angela said under her mask. “Unless you want these youngsters here to get hurt, you’re going to do what Bert and I tell you, all right?”

“All right,” Jenny said as we both raised our hands. “Very good - see over there?” WE looked at the couch, and saw the handcuffs that had been given to Jenny and Cassie lying there.

“Put them on, to fix your hands behind your backs, then sit down and shut up.”

As we slowly walked over, Bobby said “What are we going to do with these two?”

“Once big sisters her are sitting quietly, we’ll start to keep them out of the way. It’s your first time, so I’ll tell you what we’re going to do, all right?”

Bobby nodded as I fixed one cuff over my hand, and put my hands behind my back, looking at Jenny as she did the same. Once we sat down, Angela said “Right, you two - down on the floor and hands behind your back.”

“All right,” Cassie said in a quiet voice, “just please don’t hurt us.” The two girls lay down and out their hands behind their back.

“Right Bert, the name of the game is to keep these two as secure as possible, so we start with their hands. It’s not just enough to tie them together - you have to make sure they cannot wriggle their hands free, or free each other. So, hands together, palm to palm, and tie them nice and tightly as you were taught.”

Bobby moved to one side of Cassie, and Angela beside Suzie, and we watched as they started to tie their wrists together. “So what’s Aunt Cassie like as a teacher,” Cassie casually said as her wrists were pulled together.

“Oh, she’s all right - a bit strict, but what do you expect?” Suzie replied as if they were sitting and talking in a seat. I never fail to be amazed by these two, as Bobby and Angela tied off the ropes.

“Right Bert,” Angela said as she handed him a piece of string, “First lesson in stopping them getting free - tie their thumbs together.”

I looked at Bobby’s face as he tied Suzie’s thumbs, and realised we had a natural here. A natural what, I wasn’t sure yet...

“If you want to know the best way to stay on Aunt Cassie’s good side,” Cassie went on as she looked over her shoulder, “Just do that little bit extra for the homework. It always seems to work for me.”

“Fair enough,” Suzie said, nodding as I watched Angela pass Bobby a length of rope, and he slipped in under Suzie’s waist.

“Hey - that tickles,” she laughed as she felt his hand on her tummy, and Bobby just smiled in reply. I knew that smile - I’d seen it on Dad that day, and I had a feeling it meant trouble for her.

“Take the rope around her wrists,” Angela said, “And make sure they are secured against her back. Always tighten it between the wrist and the body as well, to keep them in place. Once that’s done, I’ll show you how to secure their ankles.”

“Oh goody,” Cassie said as her wrists were held against her back, “What are you going to do to us?”

“You’ll see,” Angela said before turning back to Bobby. “Now, Bert, why do we tie their ankles?”

To stop them getting away - they can’t move if their ankles are tied together.”

Wanna bet,” Suzie said over her shoulder which made Bobby stare at her.

“Well, it certainly makes it more difficult,” Angela said as she handed Bobby another length of rope. “There are different ways of doing it however, depending on the circumstances. I will show you - take your young lady, cross her ankles and tie them together the way you tied her wrists. Her friend here will have her ankles bound side to side by me.”

I watched as Bobby crossed Suzie’s ankles and bound them, while Angela lashed Cassie’s ankles together side by side. “You know what’s going to happen later,” I whispered at Jenny.

“I think that’s what Angela’s intending,” she replied with a smile as Angela cinched the coils and tied off the knot. “So you did learn something at Scouts,” Suzie said as she looked over her shoulder at her crossed ankles, the rope visible over her socks.

“Do we need to tie their big toes as well?”

Angela looked at Bobby. “It depends, Bert - these two I don’t think it’s necessary. We needed to bind their thumbs because their nimble little fingers could start to unpick the knots, while that is more difficult if they can’t use their thumbs. If they were contortionists, we may have to do the toes as well, but I think we’re safe with these two. Now, help me to roll them over and sit them up.”

As Cassie and Suzie were rolled onto their backs and sat up, Cassie said to Jenny “Hey - any chance we can watch that DVD together later?”

“Which one,” Angela said as she handed Bobby a length of rope.

“High School Musical.”

Oh god,” Bobby said with a moan, “Must we? I hate that film.”

“Not the way we watch it,” Suzie said as she nudged her brother in the ribs with her elbow. “Hey - stop that,” he said as his hands headed for her sides, but Angela said “I’ve got a batter idea - take this and copy me.”

She wrapped the rope around Cassie’s arms and tummy, pulling them into her side before she wound it twice more round, then around each if her arms, locking them into her side. Bobby did the same to Suzie, whispering “Revenge is coming,” into her ear as he did so.

“Dream on, Bobby,” Suzie said with a sweet smile as he tied the rope off behind her back, copying Angela’s moves. She then showed him how to bind their legs below their knees, cinching the coils so that they were kept together.

“Now then, “Angela said as she watched Suzie and Cassie moving their legs, “We need to keep them quiet. How do you think we should do that, Bert?”

“Put some tape over their mouths - it works all the time.”

“Really,” I said as I looked at him, “Even earlier?”

Bobby looked at me as he remembered the way we had pushed the tape off. “Well - we could wind the tape round, I suppose. That way they can’t push the tape off.”

Yeah, that would work,” Cassie said as she winked at Suzie. Angela held in her hands two rolls of tape, one grey duct tape and the other white medical tape. “Which do you think we should use?”

Bobby looked at the two, before asking “What is the difference?”

I watched as Angela tore a small strip off each roll and stuck it to the back of Bobby’s hands. “Tell me, Bert, how do they feel to you?”

“The grey tape - it’s pulling at my skin, while the white one feels much more comfortable much softer.”

“Now try pulling them off.”

Bobby took hold of the corner of the grey tape and pulled it off, wincing as he did so. By contrast, he visibly was more relaxed pulling the white tape off.

“Both do the job, but if you use the grey tape it will take hair off, so always make sure Hair does not get caught. In the case of our little lady here, when the hair is long, either put it in a ponytail or tie a scarf over it.” She took a black silk square, folded it into a triangle and tied it over Cassie's hair so that the point touched the back of her neck. “The white tape does not need this. So you take it, wrap it round her friend’s head, and I’ll use the grey tape on her.”

Bobby peeled the end of the white tape away from the roll, and began to stick it to Suzie’s cheek, wrapping it round her head five times as she winked at him. Angela did the same to Cassie, keeping the tape over the scarf, before they both stood up.

“Right, Bert, think they’re going nowhere?”

Wwwntmmvvv,” Suzie mumbled through her gag. “Hey - I can still understand her. Why - it always keeps them quiet in the movies.”

“To keep someone really quiet, Bert, needs more than covering their mouths,” Angela said as she fished two small keys out of her pocket. “You two - kneel down on the floor and put your heads on the cushions.”

“I guess it’s our turn now, “Jenny said to me as we slipped off the couch and knelt facing the back. As Angela unlocked the handcuffs, she said to Bobby “These two we need to take more care with - they’re older, and may try more. Get me a pair of white sports socks from upstairs.”

As Bobby ran out of the room, Cassie called out “Tkurtm,” while Angela whispered “He’s a fast learner, you know?”

“Yeah, but practice will make perfect,” I whispered back as he ran in with a pair of Jenny’s socks. “We need to cover their hands to make it more difficult for them,” Angela said as she unballed the socks and handed them back to him. “Put these on her,” she said pointing to Jenny, “and then cross her wrists before tying them together like me.

“Aw, don’t I get the nice socks,” I moaned in mock tears as I felt the rope going around my wrists.

“I’ve got something else planned for you,” Angela whispered in my ear as I felt my wrists been drawn together. Looking to my right, I could see Bobby pulling Jenny’s sock covered wrists tightly together. “Not bad for a newbie - he’s almost as good as you, Ali,” she said as she smiled back at me.

“Remember to fix their wrists against their backs,” Angela said as she handed Bobby a length of rope. I felt my wrists been pulled against the waistband of my dress, and smiled as Angela fixed them in place, flexing my fingers as she did so.

“Bert,” Angela suddenly said, “See the way she is moving her fingers round? Even with her wrists crossed, you need to be sure she cannot use either hand on its own. The socks stop her friend doing it, but we need something else for her.”

As I looked over my shoulder, she picked up the roll of white tape. “Make two fists for me, as if you want to hit me,” she whispered into my ear.

“What makes you think I don’t want to,” I whispered back, but I did as she asked, feeling the tape as she stuck it over my hands so that it looked like I had white boxing gloves on when she had finished.

“That looks fun,” Bobby said as he took more rope from Angela. “Their ankles now?”

That’s right Bert - we’ll cross both of them and bind them. Then wrap their arms to their sides as we did with the two younger ones.”

Alshhaanjnneeenatrrr, nsssnthtscnnbbbeeee,” Cassie said as I felt the ropes going round my arms and ankles. “How long do you give her,” I whispered at Jenny as Alicia bound her ankles together.

“I’ll give ten, fifteen tops,” she whispered back as her arms were drawn into her side.

“Right,” Angela finally said, “Help your one to lie on the couch, and this one can lie face down on the floor. One that’s done, tie her legs together below her knees.”

I allowed myself to be placed face down on the floor, while Bobby helped Jenny to push herself up onto the couch and lie on her side. Turning my head to the side, I could see the way Suzie and Cassie were watching, and the way in particular Cassie was looking at Bobby.

Hssartlcuteee,” she mumbled to Suzie.

Fulkkslleebsss,” Suzie mumbled as I felt my legs been bound below my knees, and then pulled back as my ankles were tied to my chest ropes.

“This will stop her moving too much,” Angela said as she put her hand on my shoulder, “your one will be safe lying there. Now we need to shut them up.”

“How - the tape did not work on keeping those two quiet?”

“Well, we need to put something in their mouths and make sure it stays there.” Angela handed Bobby a small handkerchief. “Ball that up and push it in her mouth, then wrap the white tape round her head. I’ll put something in her mouth and show you something else that can work.”

Jenny opened her mouth and allowed Bobby to push the cloth in, before he covered her mouth and head with the white tape. As for me, I let my sister push the cloth in, and then she rolled up an old woollen shawl and pulled that into my mouth instead, taking the ends round my neck and knotting them before she brought the ends back around and tied them against my throat.

“Right,” Angela said with a smile, “That ought to keep them nice and quiet, as well as out of the way. Let’s go and search the house.” She took Bobby by the arm and led him out of the room, winking at us as she did so.

Wlllwehndeggg,” Cassie said as she looked at Jenny and me.

Gvvmmcplmnns,” I mumbled as I started to shuffle across the floor towards Suzie. As I did so, Jenny started to flex her legs up and down, before moving onto her back and getting herself into a seated position.

Nwcsseee,” I mumbled as I held my head up. Cassie nodded as she pushed herself up onto the seat, then upright on her feet before she started hopping to the door. Jenny slid herself onto the floor and started to scoot over on her bottom towards Suzie and me, as we listened and watched Cassie hopping out into the corridor.

Fvvv, Fr,,, Frrr,, Tooo, Nnnn.”

“What the... How on earth did you do that,” We all heard Bobby shout out.

We looked up to see Cassie hopping back into the room, chased by Bobby as Angela brought up the rear, her eyes full of tears as she stood laughing in the doorway.

“I don’t get it.” Bobby said as I looked at him, “you should not have been able to move!”

Urllydntlsstn,” I mumbled as Suzie laughed under her gag as well. “Slllbrffrr,” she said as Bobby finally caught Cassie and began to tickle her.

“MMDMSDMFSMMMFDSMMDFMSDFMSDMG,” Cassie roared as Bobby tickled her ribs, making her fall onto the floor as he continued his assault on her, making all of us laugh.

“How come I can hear them as well?”

I told you Bert - sorry, Bobby, for a gag to be really effective you have to use several layers and things. Take little sis here - how are you doing?”


Picking up the roll of white tape, Angela knelt next to me and wrapped the tape around my gagged mouth and head. “And now how are you feeling,” she said as Bobby watched my face.

Stslllmmmmggggg,” I mumbled through the reinforced gag. “Wow - you really are silencing her,” Bobby said as Angela reached down and tickled my ribs, making me rock from side to side and call out in muted laughter..

As he watched, Suzie scooted towards him on her bottom, watching Bobby as he stared at ,me. I could see what she was intending, as she got herself onto her knees and put her back to Bobby, reaching as best she could with her fingers.

Wha - AHHHHHHAAAAAA” Bobby squealed himself as he felt the fingers at the back of her knees, making him let go of Cassie as she fell onto the recliner. Jumping out of the way, he turned and started to tickle Suzie in response, making her laugh through the tape gag.

As she stood up, Angela heard the front door bell ring. “That will be the pizzas,” she said as she headed for the door. “Bobby, can you start untying them all - I’ll come back in a few minutes and help you.”

I nodded as Bobby looked at me, and moved my head towards Jenny, who had been watching everything, her shoulders rocking as she quietly laughed to herself. He walked over and started to remove the ropes from around her, as we all patiently waited our turn.




“All right, I admit it - the television and films don’t show the truth.”

We were sitting round the kitchen table, after Bobby and Angela had released us and removed our gags, tucking into the pizzas that Angela had ordered.

“Well, Hollywood does have to make things a little simpler,” I said as I bit into a slice of Chicken Supreme, “After all, a film showing the process of really tying someone up would be boring. They need to speed it up somewhat.”

“All right, I can understand that, but how did you learn all those tricks, Angela? I know the girls have had some experience, but you?”

“I told you - Guide camps,” Angela said as she took a drink from her glass. “The only thing more dangerous that a group of pre-hormonal lads on a camping trip is a bunch of tweenie girls who are looking to make trouble. I lost count of the number of times I ended up wither staked out on the ground or securely hogtied while they painted me with their make-up.”

I looked at Suzie and Cassie, as they bit into their own pizza. “What,” they both said as the looked back at me, and I began laughing.

“When you put it like that, Angie,” I said between laughs, “I understand exactly what you mean. I guess I missed out on a few things when I refused to join.”

“Well, you always did need to loosen up a bit, and I’m glad you did,” Angela said to me before she smiled, and I smiled back. she was right - I was a lot more relaxed now, with everything that had happened.

It was then that Bobby asked the killer question.

“So how do you secure someone so that they cannot move or talk?”

We all looked at each other, before I looked at Bobby. “It can be done, if you want, but if we do this I think we will need to change first - make this a real slumber party. How does that sound Jenny?”

“Good idea,” Jenny said as she pushed her chair back. “Come on, you two - I’ll come up with you while you get ready.”

“Sounds fun,” Cassie said as she nudged Suzie in her ribs. “Do you think big brother is going to get you,?

“I don’t know - why, do you fancy been the lady of the manor,” Suzie said as the two headed up the stairs, Jenny following them. “Bobby,” I said as they left, “Do you want to get your own back on Suzie?”

He looked at me and slowly nodded his head. “Right then - I’ll make sure she comes out first, and this is what you need to do...”

When I looked into Cassie’s bedroom, I saw that Suzie had already hanged into a pair of white cotton pyjamas, with a pair of bed socks on her feet. Cassie was pulling her Hello Kitty nightdress over her head, covering her body as she pulled it down.

“We’re going to put the film on in a few minutes,” I said as I looked round the door, “I’m going to get changed, but you should go down when you’re ready.” As I left the room, I held the door open for Suzie as she ran out, and closed it to. Instead of going to Jenny’s room, however, I crept down the stairs, watching as Suzie ran into the front room.

“Hey, Angela, where are Ummmgggg,” she called out as Bobby went behind her, picked her up off her feet and carried her to the couch, making her lie face down as he produced a handkerchief from his pocket.

“You need to be quiet, little sister,” he said as he let go of her mouth for a moment, only to push the cloth in and re-gag her with his hand.

Llggttuffrrthssss,” she mumbled as she watched Bobby take a length of towelling, with a knot tied in the middle. “I’m told this is very effective,” he said as he released his hand again, only to pull the cloth into Suzie’s mouth and tie the end round her head, making a tight knot over her red hair.

MMgggggghtuuuu,” Suzie continued to mumble as he then picked up the roll of white tape, “Sorry, Suzie, can’t hear you,” he said as he stuck the end of the roll to her cheek, and wound it tightly round, covering her mouth and head so that her lips were visible under the first pass, then less so with each successive turn.

“And don’t think little Cassie is going to escape my clutches,” he whispered into Suzie’s ear as he pulled her hands behind her back. I watched as he showed how well he had learned the lesson, as he pulled a pair of white socks over her hands and then crossed her wrists.

Ahdmmdnnnsss,” Suzie said as she looked over her shoulder, while Bobby bound her wrists tightly together with rope. She got her answer when Jenny brought Cassie in, gagged in the same way and her sock covered hands tied together behind her back, and I followed them in.

ggttunnnnn,” Cassie mumbled as Jenny helped her to sit on the floor and crossed her ankles. She was wearing a pair of short cream silk pyjamas, the legs of the shorts coming to just above her knees, and she smiled as she tightly bound her sister’s ankles together.

Bobby climbed off his own sister and crossed her ankles as well, using more rope to secure them over the legs of her pyjamas, and then tied her legs together below her knees while Jenny did the same to Cassie.

“Good work there, Bobby,” Jenny said as she helped him to lift Suzie off the couch and sit her back to back with Cassie. “Smhrhrfftttnnn,” Suzie said as she turned her head to look at her friend.

llltttmmmm,” Cassie replied as Jenny picked up a long length of rope and made a lasso, before placing it over the bodies of the two girls and pulling their bodies together. “Take this and wrap it round them,” she said to Bobby as she picked up two smaller lengths and bound their arms together above the elbows.

I could see the big smile on Bobby’s face as he pulled their bodies tightly together, then passed the rope between their bodies to make sure it stayed secure. I could see he really had learned a lot, as he said “We don’t need the waist ropes now, do we?”

not really, no,” Angela said as she came into the room. “Ali, why don’t you go and get changed. I’ll keep an eye on things down here.”

I nodded as I turned and left the room, wondering just what my big sister had in mind for all of us. Going into Jenny’s room, I opened my bag and took out the blue satin nightie that I had brought, taking off my own clothes and putting the gown on before pulling on a pair of thick white socks.

I could hear muffled laughter from downstairs, and wondered what I was missing out on as I came down the staircase. I could see the two youngsters on the floor, but not Jenny - which made me think something had already happened to her.

That proved to be true - Jenny was sitting on a dining chair, looking at us over the tape gag that was wound over her head. It was obvious that she had more stuff in her mouth underneath, and that she was as well silenced as the two little dynamos on the floor, who were looking up at me bright eyed and happy.

“Well, I see you started without me,” I said as I looked at Jenny. Her arms were pinioned behind her back with rope, which was tied to the chair back at her sock covered and crossed wrists and her elbows. A band of rope was around her waist and the chair back, and a second around her lap and the seat. Her legs were bound below the knees and at her ankles, which were also pulled back so that her toes were clear of the floor.

“MMMSMAMMMMMSAMMMFMMMM”, I heard behind me, and as I looked up I could see Bobby tickling Suzie and Cassie, making them laugh as I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.

“Have a seat, Ali,” Angela said as she indicated an empty seat next to Jenny, “and I’ll make you nice and cosy as well.”

Well, how could I refuse such an offer? Fifteen minutes, and I was watching the screen with the others as the opening notes of High School Musical filled the room, Bobby watching us instead of the screen....


As the film progressed, both Cassie and Suzie had to keep turning their heads so that they could see what was happening. They were the lucky ones, though - they didn’t have to sit and watch the way Jenny and I did, fixed to the chairs and not really able to move at all.

Don’t get me wrong - it’s not that I dislike the film, it’s just that I can think of better ways to spend time bound and gagged then listen to the warbling of Zac Efron and friends. The one thing that made it bearable at the time was hearing Suzie and Cassie singing along in their own sweet, cute and totally unintelligible way.


nnnn stktstsssquueee

Angela stood up and walked out of the room, returning a few minutes later with a large bowl of crisps and two small bottles of soft drink. She sat next to Bobby and offered him a bottle, taking a handful of the crisps and slowly eating them. I could hear them behind me and Jenny, and I know she could as well, but we didn’t say a word, sitting instead and wondering how long we were going to be there for.

The answer to that seemed to be for the whole film, as we watched them all dance off on the screen. As the end credits rolled, Angela stretched and looked at her watch.

“Do you girls want a break,” she said as she looked at Cassie and Suzie. I could have told her that was a big mistake, as they just shook their heads and both went “nnnnnnnnndmfdmfmdmm” at her.

“Oh well, if those two are staying there you two had better as well,” Angela said as she stretched and yawned, “But I will make sure you get released in a little while. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She got off the couch and walked out of the room, as Bobby’s eyes followed her.

He then looked at us, as an unspoken question appeared on his eyes. I looked at Jenny, Jenny looked at me, and we both nodded. We watched as he got off the couch, changed the DVD and left the room. A few moments later we heard Angela saying “Oh hi Bobby, what are you....” and then silence.

Cassie and Suzie turned and looked at us, but we just smiled in return as we started to turn our chairs round to face the door. Not the easiest thing in the world to attempt, but we needed to see what was coming next.

A few minutes later, our patience was rewarded as Bobby escorted Angela back in, a band of white tape covering her stuffed mouth and trapping her blonde hair against her neck. He had wrapped some rope around her arms and body, pulling her top over her chest, and her hands were lashed together in front of her waist. He had also wrapped the white tape over her hands, so that she looked as if she was wearing white gloves.

Sitting her down on the couch, he simply said “Make yourself comfortable.” Angela nodded as she sat on the seat, and crossed her legs in front of her, looking at us as her eyes sparkled.

Bobby took some more rope and wound it round her crossed ankles, securing them tightly together so that she had her knees to her side. He then wrapped a long length around her waist, and took it down to her ankles, securing her body as she began to hum to herself.

Bobby then climbed off the couch and knelt behind us, stroking our sock covered feet with his fingers. We had to struggle to stop ourselves from laughing, as Cassie and Suzie just stared with eyes that seemed to be full of longing.

NNnfndndnsnfdnsfdntototpptpppp,” we both screamed eventually as Bobby looked at the clock. “I made a deal,” Bobby said with a hint of sadness, “and I need to release one of you.” He knelt behind me and started to untie my arms, releasing them from their position locked against the chair back and watching as I peeled the sweaty socks off my hands.

“You need to free the others,” Bobby said as he looked at me. “Angela is to stay like that until you are ready to release her.”

“And what are you going to be doing?”

“Fixing up supper - that’s the deal,” he said before he left the room, allowing me to start to untie myself from the chair as Jenny watched.



“Is it that late already?”

Cassie stretched and yawned as she came into the kitchen, having spent some time in the bathroom taking care of herself. The clock was showing ten o’clock as she sat down and began to eat the cookies that had been left for her.

“Yes, it is that late, and I did promise your mother and father I would have you all in bed before they got back.” Angela was rubbing her wrists as she said this, looking at Bobby as he smiled back.

“Can you do something for us when we go to bed,” Suzie said as she looked at me and Jenny. She had already asked us the question when we had untied her, but we had both said she needed to ask Angela - after all, she was in charge,

“Oh, and what would that be Suzie?”

“Will you tie us up on the beds? We don’t want to be gagged, but we would like it if we could not move.”

“Why don’t you want to be gagged?”

“So that we can ask Mummy and Daddy when they get back,” Cassie said with her cutest smile.

“All right - I could never refuse a request in that way anyway. Eat up, drink up, and then you can come up to your beds. Are you all going to be in the same room?”

“Yeah,” Jenny said, “we have cot beds set up in my room.”

“All right then - I’ll make all three of your comfortable.”

“Can I help,” Bobby said from his seat. We all looked at him and said “YES” in unison - we wanted Bobby to part of our gang from now on as well. That made him laugh as well - and I was happy, as much for Suzie as myself, I had the feeling what I did with her over the summer was nothing compared to what was coming for her.

A few minutes later, we all walked up the staircase into Jenny’s room, where three cot beds had been put up with sleeping bags on them. Bobby opened them up, and pulled back Jenny’s covers as we stood in front of Angela, our hands together as if we were praying.

Taking a roll of tape, Angela bound our wrists and hands together, one by one so that we looked as if we had our hands held in a single white glove. She then taped our hands to the front of our bodies, taking the tape over our waists, and then around our tummies as well.

“Why don’t you all lie down now,” Angela said to us. We all knew these were not particularly tight or difficult bonds, but we were also getting very tired, so we just wanted to feel safe and secure rather than anything.

Jenny had also told us how their parents viewed been gagged overnight, which is why we had agreed not to be asked to be gagged at this stage. So Cassie, Suzie and I lay down on a sleeping bag on one of the cot beds, while Jenny made herself comfortable on her own bed.

Bobby took the roll of tape from Angela and knelt down at the end of the bed I was lying on. He looked at me and smiled as he taped my ankles and feet together, and then lifted the skirt of my nightdress up and taped my legs together below my knees.

“Thanks, Bobby,” I said as he folded my skirt back down, and then made his way round, taping the ankles and legs of each of us. Angela came over and closed the sleeping bag over me, and then made her way round the room as well, finally pulling the duvet over Jenny.

As she did this, I could hear a car pulling into the driveway. “I think they’re back,” Angela said as she looked at us, “You four talk amongst yourselves. I’ll see you at home tomorrow, Ali.”

I nodded and watched as she and Bobby left the room. As they walked down the stairs, Suzie turned to Cassie and said “what do you think of my brother, Cassie?”

“He’s cute in a funny sort of way,” Cassie said, “but he’s only a boy after all. He’s learned very quickly, though. My legs are nice and tightly secured together.” She squirmed round as she said this, a big smile on her face.

“You like him don’t you?”

I raised my head and looked at Cassie, and I could see a small blush on her cheek. “Oh you do like him,” I said in a mocking tone, which made Jenny look over as well.

Lilll Cassie got a cwush on Lilll Bobby? Aw, that’s so cute!” She laughed then, which made us all crack up a bit. As we did so, their mother came in and looked at all of us.

“I can see you’ve all had a fun night,” she said as she looked at us, “but it’s time for sleep. Angela has told us what you asked, but I think you should remain ungagged tonight.”

We all sighed, but then Mrs Craig said “In return, after church tomorrow than Mister Craig and I will help you all to play a very special game after church tomorrow. How does that sound?”

“Yes please Mum,” Cassie and Jenny said, and Suzie and I nodded in agreement. We had heard about the last time they had played such a game, and we all wanted to take part.

“Very well then,” she said as she turned off the light, “Good night girls.” We all lay still, letting our eyes adjust to the light before we started to drift off to sleep.





“And so, as was the case with the Good Samaritan, we too must strive to look out for those who are in greater need than ourselves, and seek to be unto them as Christ was onto us...”

I had to try and stifle a yawn as we sat in the seats next to Jenny and Cassie’s parents listening to the suited man at the front try to speak to us. We had spent a very restful night, and then came to church with them, dressed in reasonably smart clothes. I had on a pale blue pinafore dress with a collarless blouse underneath, the skirt down to my knees and flat black shoes on my feet. Jenny was wearing a light green trouser suit, with a white t-shirt underneath, and black shoes as well.

Cassie was wearing a short sleeved white tunic, with knee length pants underneath, and white shoes, while Suzie was wearing a white gypsy style skirt that came over her knees, and a short sleeved top over her chest. She had on a pair of grey leather shoes with kitten heels, As for Mister and Mrs Craig, he was wearing an open necked shirt and slacks, while their mother had on a blue floral print dress.

It was an unusual service for Suzie and me, in that we stayed out at the beginning and then came in for the sermon and the last songs. At my church we do it the other way round, while for Suzie it all depends on who is doing the preaching that day - the main minister or their youth worker. At any rate, the Sunday school had been fun, but the sermon - oh boy could this guy do with some lessons on teaching.

Eventually he finished, and we were able to get out of the not too uncomfortable seats and move about. As we made our way to get a drink, Cassie grabbed Suzie’s arm and said “Look - there’s Aunt Cassie.”

I looked in the direction she was pointing, and it was indeed her Aunt Cassie, talking to a very familiar face. “Jenny,” I said quietly, “isn’t that Dr Wolfe talking to your aunt?”

As Jenny looked over, her aunt spotted us, and said something to Dr Wolfe before coming towards us. “Hey trouble,” she said as she hugged Cassie, “Are you behaving yourself at school now?”

“Sure am, Auntie,” Cassie said as she hugged her back. “Miss Craig,” I said quietly, “Where do you know Dr Wolfe from?”

“Hmmm - oh, is that Dr Wolfe,” she said as she looked over. “She told me her name was Jo - she’d just moved to the area and was looking for a church to attend. Why - do you know her, Alicia?”

“She’s our new form tutor,” Jenny said as she looked at me.

“Is she? Well, she seems like a nice enough woman. Now, who wants a drink?” We were steered in the direction of the coffee room by Miss Craig, as Jenny and I kept wondering much the same thing.

Eventually, after several glasses of juice, Mister Craig put his hand on my shoulder. “Alicia, would you find Jenny and come out to the car park please? We need to get going - I already have Cassie and Suzie secured in.”

I looked at him as he gave me a little wink, and walked towards the exit. Looking round, I saw Jenny talking to her aunt and walked quickly over. “Jenny,” I whispered in her ear, “your father says it is time to go.”

She nodded and said “Got to go Aunt Cassie” as we both walked quickly out of the church and into the car park. Mister Craig was waiting by the back of his SUV as he said “Get in girls.”

We climbed in and saw Cassie and Suzie smiling at us from their places, securely strapped in. We smiled in reply as we put our hand behind our back and waited for Mister Craig to cross our wrists and tie them together with the cord we had seem on the floor of the vehicle.

“When we get to the lair,” he said as he tightened the cord around my wrists, “I’m going to make sure all four of you stay where you can’t disturb us.” Having said that, I felt him tape my fingers together, and watched as he did the same to Jenny.

“Sit down,” he said as he pointed to the two seats in front of Cassie and Suzie. As we sat down, he crossed and tied our ankles together with more cord, before fastening the seat belt over our bodies. He then held two small sponge balls in his hands, as he said “open wide and say Ahhh.”

Ammgmgmggg,” we both said as Mister Craig pushed the balls in, and as we closed out mouths smoothed a length of the brown plaster that had been used at Grandma’s over our lips. As he got out and closed the door, Mrs Craig climbed in at the front and looked at us.

“Comfy,” she said with a smile, and we all nodded as Mister Craig set off for home, making sure the smoked windows at the back were closed for the journey.

We were - very comfy as we wriggled round and waited for him to pull into the garage of their home. Turning the engine off, he opened the side door and unbuckled all four of us, before carrying us one by one into the back room of the house and sitting us next to each other on the couch.

“We need to keep our little hostages secure,” he said to Mrs Craig as she came in. “You take care of their legs, and I’ll secure their upper bodies.”

Mrs Craig went to the end of the row, where Cassie was sitting, and knelt in front of her to tie her legs together, below and above her knees. While she did this, Mister Craig made Jenny stand up next to me and wrapped some rope around her waist, making sure as usual that her wrists were pinned against her back as tightly as possible before tying her arms to her side in a rope harness round her stomach.

They worked down the line, Mrs Craig taking care of our legs while Mister Craig took care of our upper bodies, before we were all made to lie face down on the floor. As Mister Craig pulled our legs back and hog tied us, Mrs Craig tied a large woollen shawl over each of our mouths, and then used a length of string to tie the knot to our chest ropes.

I still remember the first time this was done to me, but now that I had learned to accept and enjoy it I realised just how snug and secure it felt, lying there unable to move my head except very very slightly from side to side.

Not that it seemed to stop Cassie and Suzie - as soon as we were left alone they started wriggling over the floor, trying to see just how far they could get. As Jenny and me, we settled for rolling over onto our sides and wriggling round so that we could keep an eye on what the Holy Terrors were trying to get up to.

Dmmsmadnffdnfdnggnfdnfdnfndg,” Jenny mumbled through her gag as she tried to nod at me. I really had no idea what she was saying, but I could see what she was trying to talk about - Suzie and Cassie had somehow managed to wriggle all the way to the doorway, and were heading out into the corridor.

I wasn’t sure what to think at that point - how proud I was of what Suzie was doing, or how terrified I was as to what they could possibly get up to at some future point. As they somehow moved forward, we lay still waiting for the inevitable cry of surprise.

Instead, Mister Craig simply carried each of them back in in his arms, laying them next to each other before sticking a DVD into the player and switching on the television. “Dinner will be in an hour,” he said as he playfully tapped the youngsters on their bottom, “Until then, try to lie still and watch the television.”

As the Scooby Doo theme started, we looked at each other before settling to watch as best we could. After an hour had passed, Mrs Craig came in and started to untie us, saying “Go and wash up for dinner,” as she did so.

It was a delicious dinner - melon, roast pork with roast and mashed potatoes and vegetables, and strawberry trifle. We were stuffed to the gills by the time we finished, so Cassie and Suzie went out into the garden while Jenny and I sat in the room and watched them through the large windows.

“So, looking forward to school next week,” Jenny said as we watched the Frisbee pass between the two girls.

“I suppose so - did I hear a rumour that Mary was planning to have a party?”

“She may well do - might give you a chance to get to know some of the others as well. I’m not sure when it’s going to be though.”

The telephone rang and I heard Mr Craig say “I’ll get it,” as he walked down the corridor. “Probably Dad saying he’s coming to collect us,” I said as we heard him talking to someone.

After a few minutes, we saw Jenny’s dad as he put his head round the door. “Your Uncle Alexander is going to come and pick you up in an hour or so,” he said as he looked at both of us. “Can you make sure your bags are packed, Alicia?”

“Of course,” I said as I stood up. “Jenny, could I have a quick word with you,” her father said, so Jenny followed her as I headed up the stairs. It only took me a few minutes to sort out the bags, and when I came back down Jenny was sitting in the front room again, reading a magazine.

“Everything all right?” I said as I sat back down.

“Hmm - oh yeah, everything’s fine. Dad just wanted to make sure I had finished my homework.” When I looked at her, I just nodded, but I could not shake the feeling that she knew something I did not.

When Uncle Alexander finally came, I hugged him as Suzie raced in from the garden and jumped at him. “Hey, hey,” he said as he ruffled her hair, “I hear you all had a fun time last night.”

“We did - it was great,” Suzie said with a big smile. “How did Bobby get on at the game?”

Oh he won - in fact, he was going to tell your mother all about it when I left. He made sure she was nice and comfy before I came out.” He looked at me as he said that, and I had the grace to smile a little.

“Come on - we need to get you home,” he said as he picked up the bags. “John, Jennifer, thanks for having them.”

“Our pleasure,” Mr Craig said as he held the door open. As we climbed into the back of the car, Suzie said “What do you think Dad meant by that comment?”

“What do I think? I think you be very careful round Bobby from now on,” I said as Uncle Alexander closed the boot and walked to the driver’s door, “very careful indeed.”


“What on earth do you mean by that,” Suzie said as she poked me in the ribs. “Big brothers are put on this earth to be teased.”

Maybe so, but we taught that big brother a lot yesterday - and he won’t be afraid to use those new ideas.”

Funny you should say that,” Uncle Alexander said as he drove down the road, “I got the distinct feeling when he came back after the game that he had played some sort of game with you four last night. Did you have permission?”

“Mister and Mrs Craig said it would be all right,” Suzie answered, “and Angela was in charge anyway.” Uncle Alexander didn’t say anything, but just shook his head as he concentrated on the driving.

“Well, your mum and I have been talking, Suzie,” he eventually said, “and I think we need to set down the same sort of ground rules that the Craigs have about games - particularly now.”

“Why now?” I asked as he turned into the driveway of the house.

“You’ll see,” Uncle Alexander said as he turned off the car engine. “Alicia, your father’s going to come here to pick you up in a little while.”

“Is mum all right?”

“Your mother’s fine - they just have to go shopping for a few more things, and Angela is at a friend’s house.” He opened the door and allowed the two of us to go into the house first.

“Mum,” Suzie called out, “Where are you?”

“In the front room,” I heard Aunt Susan say, but when we walked in we both got a big surprise.

She was in there all right - sitting in one of the chairs from the dining room, with her wrists taped tightly down to the back support and a wide band of silver tape around her waist. She was wearing a shirt sleeved lime green dress, with a knee length skirt, and we could see her ankles and bare feet had been taped together as had her legs below her knees.

“Bobby?” I said as I looked at Aunt Susan, and she smiled and nodded in reply. “He’s been telling me all about his game today - it seems something really inspired him last night. Would you like to tell me what it was?”

Errr..... We taught him how to play our games?”

Aunt Susan nodded. “I thought so - I only agreed to let him use tape on me this time, but I think we may have some fun times ahead of us. Speaking of which...”

I turned to see Uncle Alexander and Bobby carry in two more chairs. “As it is obvious you have taught him so much,” Uncle Alexander said as he placed one chair to the side of Aunt Susan, and Bobby the one he was carrying on the other, “then I think you need to share in the experience. Why don’t you both take a seat?”

“Oh goody,” Suzie said as she hopped onto one seat and sat back. “Now I know how Jenny feels,” I said with a resigned shrug as I sat on the other side, putting my arms down to the side as Uncle Alexander tore the end of one roll of grey duct tape loose.

I felt the familiar pulling on my skin as Uncle Alexander put my wrists next to the back support and taped it in place, before looking over to watch Bobby do the same to Suzie. Her legs were hanging from the front of the seat, swinging to and fro as Bobby took great care to make sure she was firmly fixed in place - a task he was clearly enjoying, and there was a look on his face that told me that Suzie was about to learn the next valuable lesson.

As Uncle Alexander taped my other wrists in place, and then wrapped the tape around my waist, he said “Your mother, Alicia, is going to need a lot of help from you and Angela over the next few months, all right?”

“Don’t worry, uncle,” I said as he knelt in front of me, took my shoes off and taped my ankles and fete together, using a figure of eight with the tape, “we’re going to look after her.”

“Good girl,” he said as he taped my legs, and then stood up. Bobby had also finished with Suzie, as she swung her legs to and fro,

“So the big bad brother has got us,” she said as she looked at me and Aunt Susan, “What are they going to do to us now - tickle torture?”

I groaned - if ever there was a red rag to a bull, after last night I knew that was one to Bobby. “If you insist,” he said as he started to tickle Suzie’s feet, making her wriggle and cry out in laughter. Laughter only matched by me and Aunt Susan as Uncle Alexander tickled us both at the same time from his position in front of us.

“AAAHHHSHSSHSSDDD PLEASE STOP!!!” I called out as I tried desperately to move my feet out of the way, only to fail miserably. “I think these girls need to be kept quiet, Bobby,” Uncle Alexander said as he stood up. “Go and get three scarves from your mother’s room.”

As Bobby ran out of the room, Uncle Alexander went to the kitchen, returning with three clean handkerchiefs. “Open wide, girls,” he said as he pushed one into each of our mouths, and then stuck three strips of duct tape over the lips of each of us. I could see Suzie already trying to loosen the tape, before Uncle Alexander said “Be patient, Suzanne - I’m not done yet.”

Kkkddd,” she mumbled as Bobby brought back three headscarves, which Uncle Alexander folded into wide bands and then tied tightly over our taped mouths, making it even more difficult to speak or get the gags off.

“Are we going to tickle them, Dad?”

“No, my son - I have an even greater torture in mind,” Uncle Alexander said as he switched on the television. We looked at each other, wondering what was happening as we were turned to face the screen, our eyes widening in horror as Uncle Alexander and Bobby selected one particular channel and sat down to watch.



“The whole game?”

The whole game - QPR playing Chelsea, and we could not do a single thing about it.”

Jenny shook her head as we sat at the dinner table, eating our lunch on the following day. Uncle Alexander and Bobby had eventually released us, and made up for our pain by cooking tea before Dad had arrived to take me home.

“You know what you need to do - truss Bobby up and make him watch a Lindsay Lohan movie.”

I smiled and shook my head. “Nah - I’m not that cruel. Black Beauty, yes, but not that cruel. What did you get up to after we left?”

“Not a lot - Granny and Aunt Cassie came round later on. I meant to ask, by the way - any idea why Suzie was a bit standoffish with Aunt Cassie yesterday?”

“I asked her - she just felt a little uncomfortable talking to her teacher in that way at that time. Her school are a bit stricter in the way they have to address their teachers, and she felt she had to do the same out of school as well.”

“I can understand that,” Jenny said as she ate her sandwich. “Listen, I need to apologise if I was a bit standoffish yesterday as well. Dad had just told me something that he’s asked me to keep a secret from Suzie - and from you for the moment. I really wish I could tell you, but your grandmother needs to be the one to do that.”

“Intriguing - almost as intriguing as to what we’re going to be doing in class next period. Come on - we don’t to give Dr Wolfe an excuse for detention.”

We both got up and headed for the classroom, blissfully unaware of the storm brewing on the horizon.


As he was brought into the room, he saw a tall thin woman, with long hair the colour of fire, sitting looking at him. She was dressed in a black silk blouse and knee length leather skirt, the long boots enclosing her legs as she stood up.

“Sit,” she said as he was brought to a chair. “So is it true?”

“Most of it, yes - we failed and we must pay the price.”

“Yes, you will - but one thing perplexes us. They were children?”

“Yes - and that is my greatest shame. To be brought low by ones so young...”

She stood up and put her hand on his shoulder. “Be at peace - we will take steps to ensure they know just who they have crossed.”

And as for me?”

You will know in due course,” she said as she left the room. Taking out a cell phone, she dialled a number and said one word.








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