“There you are,” Rachel said as she came in, putting her glasses on after she had wiped them, “where have you been hiding this last week?”
“In bed, recovering from the flu,” I said as I stood up, “but I’m a lot better now. Seems all of us have had it over the last two or three weeks, but at least Aunt Cassie avoided it.”
I was wearing a grey jumper and joggers, with a pair of trainers, while Rachel had on a blue tracksuit and trainers. This sleepover had been organized a few weeks ago, but with the bug that had been going round the school it had been postponed until now. But it was Friday night, and I was well enough now to take part.
“Where’s your bag,” I said as we sat down.
“Your mum is taking it to your room – she says she’s going to go and get some KFC for tea tonight,” Rachel said as she swung her legs to and fro, “so what are we going to do until then?”
“Want to watch some cartoons?”
“Yeah,” she said as Mum came in. “I need to pick up a few things, and I’ll get the tea on the way home,” she said with a smile, “can I trust you two to behave?”
“Can you tie us both up Mom?”
“A little – not the full job, just your wrists and legs, all right?”
“I guess so – if you tie us in our sleeping bags tonight?”
“All right,” Mum said as she left for a few minutes, and came back with some lengths of rope. She tied my wrists together in front of me, and then tied my ankles together side by side, as well as my legs below my knees, before she tied my wrists to my legs. I watched as she did the same to Rachel, and then handed me the remote for the television.
“I should not be too long,” she said with a smile as she grabbed her handbag, and then went out of the house. We looked out of the window as our Bug drove off, and then I selected a cartoon to watch.
“So have you seen Cassie or any of the others?”
“Cassie and Jenny came to see me while I was ill – they were looking better as well. I heard she was going out with Bobby tonight – it’s his school disco.”
“Well, that’s good – but I’d rather be here,” Rachel said with a smile as we watched Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.
“So which version of Scooby Doo do you like the most,” Rachel said, “this one or the new one?”
“Oh definitely this one,” I said with a smile, “I mean...”
As I wriggled round, I accidentally changed the channel to CBBC, and Newsround came on.
“Hey – why is there a picture of Debbie Dee on the screen,” Rachel said as the opening credits ran.
“I don’t know,” I said as I picked the remote up in my hand and turned up the volume.
“First today, police have confirmed that Debbie Dee, the star of Debbie Knows It All, has disappeared, and is feared kidnapped. The twelve year old Debbie was last seen at a store signing of a book based on the hit television series, when she went to a rest room, and was not seen again. Police have asked anyone who may have seen anything to...”
“Oh dear,” Rachel said as she looked at me, “who would try to kidnap her?”
“Well,” I said as I wriggled round, “she is popular – I love Debbie Knows It All!”
“Yeah – and she was good on that quiz show as well. I hope she’s all right...”
“Hey – maybe she’s met one of the ones who took us.”
“What – Jay Edwards?”
“No – he’s not a kidnapper,” I said with a smile as I turned it back to the cartoons.
“Did you hear the news about Debbie Dee, Mum,” I asked as she zipped up my sleeping bag. My wrists were crossed and tied in front of me, and there were ropes around my arms and tummy, my chest, my ankles and my legs.”
“I did,” Mum said as she checked and zipped up Rachel, and then smoothed a length of tape over her mouth. “Now, sleep well, and I’ll see you both in the morning.”
“Fnkssmm,” I said after she had taped my lips over, and she turned the lights off, the two of us settling down to sleep...
“Well, that was an interesting service,” Rachel said as we came back in from the early service at the church, Mum closing the door behind us. I was wearing a light blue summer dress, with a skirt that came down over my knees, while Rachel had on a pale green one. Both of us were wearing white socks and black flat shoes, while Mum had on a blue skirt and jacket with white shoes.
“Right – I’m going to sort out a snack,” Mum said, “what are you girls planning to do for the rest of the day?”
“I’m not sure yet,” I said honestly, “we’ll decide after we eat.”
“Okay then – come and sit at the table,” Mum said, and we had a drink and a slice of cake. When we had finished, I said “We’ll do the dishes mum – you go and have a sit down.”
“Well, if you insist,” Mum said with a smile as she went into the front room, I started to wash the dishes, and Rachel picked up a tea towel.
“So what are we going to do this afternoon,” she said as she picked up a glass.
“Well,” I said, “where are Louise and Fiona today?”
“I think they’ve been over at the Cottrell farm, helping out with something for the church fete they are going to,” Rachel said.
“And they’re over there all day?”
“Yeah – why, do you want to go over?”
I nodded and then grinned. “Hey – want to walk over bound and gagged?”
Rachel looked at me, and told me her answer with a grin. “You’re on,” she said quietly.
“Great – let me go and ask Mum first, and then we can call Charlie over to take care of us.” I knew Rachel would agree to do that – Charlie been her Darling and all that...
We finished doing the dishes, and then as Rachel went up to my room I went into the front room.
“Mum – will it be all right if Rachel and I head over to the Cottrell farm this afternoon?”
“Of course you can,” Mum said, “but be back by six. Tomorrow is a school day.”
“All right Mum,” I said as I left and went upstairs, heading to the toilet before I joined Rachel in my room. “Cassie gave me something that are going to be of great use here.”
I went to the wardrobe and took out two knitted ponchos, laying them on the bed as Rachel grinned.
“Listen – change of plan,” I said with a smile, “you tie me up first, and then call Charlie over to bind you. He can then escort us to the path.”
“Now that sounds like a plan,” Rachel said as she put her hands under the bed, and drew out my supplies box. Opening the lid, she took out two sponge balls and handed them to me, smiling as I made two fists and then tearing the end loose from the roll of duct tape before she started to cover them.
I watched as she then pulled a pair of white socks up over them, and taped them to my arms. She then guided my wrists behind my back, and I have to confess a little thrill of excitement ran through me as I felt Rachel start to tie my wrists together.
I can’t explain it – it’s that knowledge I would not see my hands again for a few hours, and I loved that thought. I still remember when Cassie and Jenny first tied me up, and how excited that made me feel.
I was older now, and I had to admit that feeling was still there – but sometimes, depending on how I was tied, there were new feelings that I had experienced as well. I remained calm on the outside, but inside my gut was doing a little dance, especially as Rachel passed the rope around my waist so that my wrists were secured to my back. She then cinched the band by passing the ropes between my back and wrists, and then tied them off. She then took some rope around my stomach and secured my arms in a double figure of eight, then below my chest, and finally over my shoulders.
“I’m not going to tighten them,” she said quietly, “we’re going to be walking after all.” I nodded and twisted round, but it was tight, and I loved the way it made me feel.
“What are you doing,” I said as Rachel knelt down.
“Your ankles – why?”
“We’re walking – remember?”
“Oh yeah – meeting the girls at the farm,” Rachel said with a grin as she took her mobile phone and dialled a number.
“Charlie? It’s Rachel – are you busy just now?
“You’re not? Well, can you come round to Patty’s house for a little while? We want to walk over to the Cottrell farm – but we want to do it...
“Yeah, that’s right – so can you come and help me get ready? Patty’s done.
“Great – see you in a few minutes!”
“So he’s on his way,” I said with a grin as Rachel ended the call.
“Oh yes – so gag?”
“Well – it’s a warm, dry day,” I said with a smile, “I don’t think we can wear a coat with the ponchos anyway – so let’s sort out what we want for the gags, and then take them in a bag with us. Charlie can take care of us before we go in the woods.”
“Okay then – let’s pack a bag...”
I sat down on the bed and watched as Rachel put the things we would need into a drawstring bag, before I said “I was listening to the news this morning on the radio, and they said Debbie Dee was still missing.”
“The family still have had no word?”
“They didn’t say, but her mother sounded upset before we left. I mean, to snatch her from a public place?”
“I know – she must be close to the book store, but to have heard nothing.”
“How much do you think they have asked for as a ransom?”
“A lot I imagine,” I said as Rachel sat down, “given nothing has been said. So how do you think they’ll have her tied up?”
“Properly the way you are, and I’m going to be,” Rachel giggled, “to make sure she can’t escape.”
“I don’t know,” I said as I shook my head, “Remember when those men snatched us from the park, and we ended up at that house across town?”
“Oh yeah – you had to teach them what to do, and then Jay Edwards turned up!”
“Exactly – the times we have been kidnapped, we ended up teaching them what to do. We even taught Jay Edwards a thing or two the first time we met him – well, Cassie did I suppose, but I helped.”
“I’ll never forget that weekend – it was the first time I was really tied up as well,” Rachel said with a sigh.
“Anyway, I bet you Debbie would not know what to do to escape – chances are she’s as well tied up as she was on the show.”
“So they think the fact she’s scared out of her wits would be enough,” Rachel said, “that actually makes...”
The ringing of the doorbell made her jump up, me laughing and shaking my head as she rand own the stairs, and came back up with our good, good friend Charlie Williamson. He was wearing a black and white rugby shirt and jeans, shaking his head as he came in and said “So, why exactly did I have to rush round here?”
“We need your help,” I said, “the two of us want to go to the Cottrell’s farm – but we want to walk there with our arms tied and gagged.”
“Ooookay,” Charlie said, “so let’s run through things. Arms tied?”
“That’s right,” Rachel said, “you cover us both up with the ponchos after you tie me in the same way I tied Patty.”
“Well, that would work,” Charlie said as he stroked his chin, “gagged in public?”
“Well,” I said, “we carry what we need in the bag, and then when we get to the start of the path, you gag us there.”
“And then we all walk to the farm?”
“No – we walk to the farm, you go home,” I said as I looked at him.
“That I’m not sure about,” Charlie said as he looked at us.
“Oh come on, Charles Edward Williamson,” Rachel said as she looked at him, “are you saying we can’t do it?”
“Oh I know you can both do it, Rachel Annabelle Rigg,” Charlie said, “I just don’t know if I should.”
“I won’t tell if you won’t.”
He looked at Rachel, then smiled as he said “all right then – let’s get you ready,” Rachel grinning as he said this. Honestly, the way he speaks to us sometimes, you feel as if you would let him do anything...
“All right, here we are,” Charlie said a few minutes later as we got to the path through the woods. Both Rachel and I had the ponchos he had placed over us, covering our arms, while we had been talking about our plans for the next few weeks. “Let’s duck in here and I’ll get you ready.”
We walked into the trees, and then off to one side as Charlie opened the bag, and took out first two folded cloths. “Right – any last words.”
“Thank you for doing this Charlie,” Rachel said as she looked at him. I rolled my eyes and said “yeah, thanks” before we both opened our mouths, and he gently pushed the cloths into our mouths, and made sure sat behind our teeth. He then took two strips of towelling, tied knots in the middle, and used them as cleave gags to keep the cloths in place.
I have to admit, it gave me thrill as Charlie then found the white tape, and wound it tightly round our mouths, making us more and more silent. I looked at Rachel, and saw that she had her eyes closed, humming to herself as he wound the white tape round.
The silver duct tape was next, the white edges on either side, and then he folded scarves in the same colour as our dresses and tied them around our heads as well.
“Okay – that should do the job,” he said as he kissed Rachel on the cheek, her muffled giggle the only response as she wriggled round. “Now, are you two sure you are going to be all right?”
We both nodded as we turned and re-joined the path, walking down as Charlie watched, for a moment, shaking his head. I mean, it wasn’t as if we hadn’t walked down this path countless times ourselves – both free and bound and gagged. It’s just we wanted to do this this way, by ourselves, for the first time. I bet even Cassie had not done it on her own!
The path was cool as we walked along, trying to talk to each other, but at the point where the path turns to the right I stopped and looked round for a moment. Rachel looked at me, and mumbled “whtrufnkn?”
I was looking to my left, at a little gap in the trees. There was a small grass covered path there, but we had never tried to find out where that path led. After all, why would we when we were on our way to the farm?
As Cassie says, however, if I was a cat I would have used up at least seven of my lives, so I looked at Rachel and said “Wnntsplr?”
“Hnnn – cmmnn,” she mumbled as she turned and started to walk down the path – and then turned round to see me looking down the narrow path.
“Cmmnn,” I mumbled as I indicated the path, and then started to walk down it, Rachel shaking her head as she came after me. The path was just wide enough for us to walk single file, and there were high bushes on either side, some of the branches brushing against our faces as we walked along. The gags, however, meant all we felt was the brushing and nothing else.
As we walked along, we came across a few fences that seemed to block the way, but as we got closer we could see gaps that had been put in the fence to allow people to pass through, so we moved sideways through them. The path, however, just seemed to keep going on and on, so we kept going. I know I was excited to see where it led, even if we were discovered now...
After about half an hour, the path opened out onto what looked like a farm road, and as we both turned to the left we could see an old farmhouse a few yards further up.
“Wnddrrhlfsthr,” I heard Rachel say, and I had to admit I was curious as well – but we had a more immediate problem. The hedge on the other side of the road had no gap, and there was always the possibility we could be seen.
“Cnttgnefrfr,” I mumbled, “bsttrrnbk.”
Rachel nodded and we turned to go back down the path – but then she looked at me, as we both heard a vehicle coming down that road. We both went back into the trees, and sat behind a bush to watch. We could see the whole road up to the house through the bush itself, Rachel and me controlling our breathing as a black transit van drove down to the house.
As we looked, the van stopped, and two men came out. They were big men, and looked strong, both of them wearing black leather jackets, but there was something funny about their heads – it was only as they turned round after closing the doors that both Rachel and I saw they were wearing ski masks!
One of them went to the door of the house, while the other one walked round and opened the doors of the van. I watched as a third man came out with the first one, and between them they took something out of the van.
No – someone, someone wearing a blue long sleeved dress, dark tights and black ankle boots, someone with rope holding her ankles together, and her hands behind her back, someone with tape covering her mouth, but looking at her I knew I could get it off in a matter of minutes.
Someone with long red hair...
“Ptteee,” Rachel said beside me, “ssntnthtdbbide?”
I nodded, because I had recognised her as well – it was Debbie Dee!
We watched as the men carried her into the house, and then came back out, one of them getting into the back of the van as the other two went in the front. We watched as they turned the van round, and then made their way back down the road.
“Hmggddd – wndndtllsmn,” Rachel said as she looked at me, but I had been doing the sums in my head. Two men in the van had driven up, and a third in the house – and three had driven away. Which meant they had left Debbie in the house, probably tightly bound and gagged so she could not raise the alarm...
“Nddnntgn,” Rachel said, rolling her eyes as I looked out and saw the van going down the road. I motioned to her to follow me, and then started to make my way up the road towards the farmhouse.
“Ndddlstphrr,” Rachel mumbled, but she followed me as we walked slowly up to the house. It was an old two storey home, and as we both walked round the outside we could see the windows were dirty, and old heavy curtains were drawn on the inside, covering the glass panes.
“Frdnlee,” Rachel mumbled, as I kept walking round, and we eventually came to the back door. I looked at Rachel, she looked at me, and mumbled “hcmmnnuwldnnttt...” But I did, as I lifted my foot and very gently pushed on the door.
The last thing I expected was for the door to open, creaking slightly as it moved inwards. We looked at each other, and there was that understanding that only comes from good friends who trust each other. Rachel nodded, turned to walk down the path – and I swear, I could hear her sigh of exasperation as I made my way into the house.
She followed me in, however, as we went through a kitchen and into a hallway. There were a few doors that went off, and we looked in a dining room, what looked like a living room with couches, seats and a television, and then a room that had a ping pong table set up inside.
I looked at Rachel, who was shaking her head and giggling, before we went out of the room and looked at the front door. There was a staircase to one side, so we both started to walk up, the stairs creaking slightly as we did so.
When we reached the top of the stairs, we could see a bathroom on the left hand said, and the hallway with doors going off. We could hear noises behind one, so I backed up and pushed the door in...
As I backed in, Rachel looked over my shoulder, and said “hmmmswtlrddshrr.”
I turned round as Rachel followed me in, and we both looked at Debbie Dee, who was staring wide eyed at us. She was sat in a wooden chair, and I could see the rope around her waist, holding her to the chair back. She was swinging her bound ankles to and fro, with the tape covering her mouth, but the shock on her face as she saw us was plain to see.
We both slowly walked round her, and I could see the way her wrists were tied would be ridiculously simple to undo. As I tried to, however, I remembered there was a problem with that – my tied and covered wrists for one thing, and as Rachel shook her head I realised it was a silly thing to do.
“Wffgttgndrslrm,” Rachel said as she stared at me, and she was right on this one. “Lllbbkk,” I said as we left the room, and walked quickly down the stairs, along the hallway, through the kitchen, out of the back door – and straight into one of the men as he looked at us.
“What the... Where on earth did you two appear from,” he said as he looked at us through the eyeholes in his mask, before he turned us round and made us walk back through the kitchen, and into a downstairs room. There was an old couch there, with a cover over it, so he looked at us and said “both of you sit down there.”
We looked at each other, knowing we didn’t have a lot of choice in this, so we walked over and sat down, watching as he picked up two lengths of cord from a table and knelt in front of us. “Where on earth did you two appear from,” he said as he tied our ankles together, and then stood up.
“Where did who appear fro... Who are they?”
We looked at the two other masked men, who were carrying paper bags, and we could see a couple of bottles sticking out of the top of one of them.
“I have no idea – I was going to open the back door when they ran out. What do you think?”
“This is Holderness – they must have been kidnapped by someone else, or escaped after been tied up by some gang of robbers,” the third man said as he put the bag down on a low table, and looked at us.
“I heard this town had a reputation Three,” the man who had caught us said, “but this? Who would do this to a couple of young girls?”
“Whoever it was Two,” the other man said, “I think they must have managed to get their legs free, and then come looking for help. Their bad luck they picked this house.”
“I think I know who did this, One,” the man they called Three said.
“Oh – who?”
“Jay Edwards – this is his style of binding. Poor kids must have run out and left their other family to get help.” Three looked at us, and then looked up, before he said “You’ve been upstairs haven’t you?”
Rachel and I looked at each other, and both nodded as Two said “Dammit – all right, go and bring her down. We’ll let all three of them have something to eat.”
One nodded and went out of the room, going up the stairs as the other two looked at us. A few minutes later, he came back, Debbie in front of him before she sat on the couch next to us. She looked at us, and then put her head down as he said “you two are going to have to stay with us now until we get the ransom for this young lady here. Sorry, but your family will have to wait a while longer.”
We looked at each other, then at Debbie who only had her wrists tied behind her back, before we both nodded. I had an idea – I just had to hope they did not catch on...
“We’ll untie them first,” Two said as he and Three walked behind us, and we felt them remove our ponchos. “Oh yeah,” Three said as Debbie stared at the ropes around our arms and body, “this is Jay Edwards all right. It’s unmistakeable.”
“Why on earth does he do this to kids,” One said as we both felt the ropes slacken around our arms, “it’s exaggerated, too much. After all, she can’t escape with her hands tied behind her back, and that’s all that’s needed.”
Debbie watched as our arms and wrists were untied, and Two said “dear god – bad enough they’re tied like that, but look at their hands.” Her eyes widened even more as we brought our hands round, and the two men started to unwrap the tape from them.
“I can understand him and his gang doing this to adults – they will try to escape,” One said as he watched, “but little girls? No way...”
We didn’t say a word as our hands emerged, and we flexed our fingers while Two and Three removed the scarves round our heads. “Oh dear lord,” Two said, “look at this. Where are the scissors?”
One picked up a pair of scissors and handed tem other, both of us sitting still as the bands of tape were cut away, and then the towelling strip. Finally, the cloths were removed from our mouths as the three men looked at us.
“Seriously, what does he expect the kids to do – scream and call for help when they are held hostage? Tape’s enough to keep anyone quiet,” One said as he squatted down in front of us. “So, what are your names?”
“I’m Patty,” I said quietly, “and this is Rachel. Please, we won’t tell anyone...”
“Back up a second – did Jay Edwards do this to you?”
We looked at each other, before I said “yes – he kidnapped us to make our daddy do something.” Well, it was a little white lie – I don’t have a daddy, but he did kidnap us to make Cassie and Jenny’s daddy do something. But I had figured one thing out about these three kidnappers. In the ranking, I thought they were rank amateurs.
“Okay – well Patty and Rachel, I’m afraid you’re going to have to stay with us for a little while now,” One said as he untied our ankles, “so do I have your word you won’t scream or try to escape for the moment?”
“We promise,” Rachel said quietly as he looked at us.
“Good – well, the three of you can have some lunch now,” he said as Two untied Debbie’s wrists, and then peeled the tape away from her mouth. “No talking – just eat and drink.”
The three of us looked at each other, and then we said “thank you” as we took the sandwiches and bottles of water they handed to us. The three men went and stood in the corner, talking to each other as I listened...
“So far so good – this is going far better than I expected.”
“I know – it makes a change from hacking banks or doing dial up scams. Who would have thought there was so much money for so little work.”
“Apart from driving from place to place every day, that is – and making sure she doesn’t get too uncomfortable, but yeah, easy money. Do you think they will pay?”
“Of course they will – she’s a star after all. If you hadn’t stumbled over her schedule for her book signings when you hacked that computer, and realised how easy it would be to spirit her away, this would never have been our payday.”
“Yeah – waiting until she went to the toilet, then bundling her into the car...”
All three of us looked at each other, but didn’t say a word, instead eating and making sure we had enough to drink.
“Okay,” One said as I finished the bottle of water, “one at a time go to the toilet. Then we need to tie all three of you up, and keep you out of the way. You first, miss starlet.”
Rachel and I watched as Three took Debbie out of the room, and then she came back in, Rachel going next, and finally me. This would normally be the point where I tell them they are tying her up wrong, and how we were was the right way to do it.
I had a plan, though – and part of that plan was going to be playing on the fact they were such amateurs. I just had to hope I’d got what I thought was going to happen right from the way they were talking...
“Okay,” Two said as I came back in, “all three of you stand facing the couch, and put your hands behind your backs.”
We turned without a word, looking at each other as our hands were taken behind our backs, and we felt them tying our wrists together. They then passed a length of rope around our waists, securing our wrists to our backs, before we were turned round and made to sit down.
“This is going to be more comfortable for both of you,” One said to Rachel and me as Two knelt down and tied our ankles together with more rope. He at least cinched the binding for all three of us, before Two tore a strip of duct tape from the roll and stuck it firmly over Debbie’s mouth. Rachel and I just watched as a single strip of tape was also pressed over our mouths, before the three men picked us up and carried us back to the bedroom, leaving us on the bed as they went out and closed the door.
“Msreee,” Debbie said as she looked at us, and we both nodded. For this to work, I knew we needed to keep still and do nothing – as much as I wanted to get free now, I and Rachel both knew we had to make them think we could not escape.
After a few minutes, all three of us heard One say “let’s go” and the footsteps downstairs. I looked at Rachel and nodded, both her and Debbie watching as I managed to get off the bed and jumped over to look out of the window.
They probably figured nobody was going to try and climb to look in, so I could see the three men, their masks removed, as they got into the black van and drove off down the road again.
“Hdthhgnn,” Rachel said as she looked at me, and I waited a few minutes before looking at her and nodding. Debbie turned onto her side and said “whrrudnn” as Rachel got off the bed and jumped over, the two of us standing back to back for a few minutes.
“Gffmemnnn” I said as I started to twist my mouth round, Debbie’s eyes opening wider and wider as I managed to get the tape away from my mouth and then said “Sorry – I’ll explain in a little while.”
“Hey,” Rachel said as she looked at Debbie, “just give us a minute... There.”
We both brought our hands round and untied the rope from our waists, as I said “good thing they really were amateurs.”
“Yeah – we got lucky – real lucky,” Rachel said as we sat down and untied our ankles, “but I need to ask a question.”
“What in the name of creation were you thinking of Patty Pickering! Bad enough we did that today, but to go into a strange house like that? We were lucky – we might not have been.”
“Yeah – sorry about that,” I said with a little smile as we stood up and walked back to the bed. “Now then, keep very quiet, all right?”
Debbie nodded as we helped her to sit up, and I peeled the tape away from her mouth while Rachel untied her wrists. “Thanks – who are you?”
“I’m Rachel, this is Patty,” my good friend said as she untied Debbie’s ankles, “and I guess you could say, for better or worse, we’re the rescue party.
“Big fan,” I said as Debbie rubbed her wrists, “but what do you say about us getting out of here before they get back?”
“Yeah – that is a plan,” Debbie said as we opened the room to the door, and made our way down the staircase. The house was empty, but as I tried the front door I said “Damn – it’s locked.”
“What about the back door?”
We made our way into the kitchen, Debbie watching as Rachel and I looked at it.
“They remembered to close and bolt it this time,” she said, “let’s open them all up and see if they locked it.”
“If they didn’t?”
“We break a window,” I said, trying to sound brave as we pulled the bolts back, and then turned the door handle. As it opened inwards, Rachel and I grinned as we both walked out, Debbie coming in with us.
“Where are we,” she whispered as I closed the door again.
“Holderness – but...”
“There you are!”
All three of turned round to see Charlie standing there, and I could see the fear in his eyes as he looked at us. He was surprised for a moment at the sight of Debbie, before he said “we need to get away from here.
Well, the three of us were not going to argue this time, so I ran to the gap in the hedge, Rachel and Debbie running behind me and Charlie bringing up the rear. All the time, I was hoping and praying the van did not appear, but we managed to get onto the path and then run along it, until we were well away from the road and came through the path into the woods.
“I... I need to stop... catch my breath...” I said as I stood, bending forward with my hands on my knees. As the others did the same, I then sat down on a tree trunk, before I said “Well, that was different...”
“I... I...” Debbie sat herself down and took several deep breaths, before she said “thank you – really, thank you. I was so scared all that time... Where are we anyway?”
“You don’t know?”
“No – they moved me somewhere different every day.”
“Holderness,” Charlie said, “and by the way – hi.”
“Sorry,” I said, “Charlie Williamson, Debbie Dee.”
“I can see that,” Charlie said, “so you were kidnapped?”
“Yeah – I’ve been tied up and gagged most of the last few days, since they snatched me.”
“How were you tied up,” I asked.
“Just as you saw me when you walked in the room – tied to a chair when we got to where we were going, allowed to eat and go to the toilet, then tied and gagged on the bed overnight.”
couldn’t get free,” Rachel said as she sat down as well.
“No,” Debbie said as she shook her head, “how did you manage to free each other?”
“Practice – we’ve been tied up a few times,” I said quietly.
Debbie looked at Rachel and Charlie, who nodded as she said “but how did both of you end up tied like that? Were you really kidnapped by this Jay Edwards?”
“Well, a few times, like we said,” I replied, “but not this time. We like to play tie-up games – and for this one, Charlie helped us to be walking to a local farm.”
“At least,” Rachel said, “that was the plan until you changed your mind. Still, some good came from it.”
“You... You wanted to be tied like that? How did you learn? How does it feel?”
“All warm and secure,” Rachel said, “and as Patty said, we’ve had plenty of practice.”
“Honestly, it’s easier for you to experience it than explain it,” I said, “but you’ve been tied up and gagged on television?”
“That was acting – this was real, and you two were really, really tied up and gagged,” Debbie said quietly, “I wonder how it would feel to me...”
“Maybe one day,” Charlie said, “but right now, want to tell ME why you did this?”
“When you tell us why you followed us,” I said as I looked at Charlie, “I told you we wanted to do this by ourselves?”
“You should be glad I didn’t,” Charlie said quietly. “I watched for a few minutes, and then decided I had to make sure you got there safely, so I followed you in. I saw both of you take that path,” he said as he pointed between the bushes, “but by the time I caught up, you were walking round that old farmhouse and then went in.
“I was about to come out when this black van drove past, and I saw these guys get out with balaclavas over their heads – so I knew that once again Patty Pickering had landed her and Rachel in a heap of trouble. All I could do was keep watch for a while, until the men came out and the van drove off again. Only then could I come up and try to get in, but all the doors were locked – I was about to call someone when the back door opened, and you three ran out.”
“Well, I’m glad you did,” I said as I looked at him, “and yeah, I’m sorry.”
“I’m glad you came as well,” Rachel said as she gave Charlie a little peck on the cheek. “So, where do we go from here? The farm?”
“No – we’ll go back to my place,” I said as I stood up, “your folks are still away Rachel and we can call the police from there.”
We all looked at each other before Debbie said “how far?”
“Twenty minutes,” Charlie said as we started walking.
“Mum must be out,” I said as I tried to open the front door, and then took out of my pocket my own front door key. “I’m glad they didn’t search us.”
“You and me both,” Rachel said as I unlocked the front door, and we went in. There was a note on the table by the door.
“Patty – gone round to see your aunt for a few minutes. I’ll be back by six. Mum.”
“Got any drinks in the fridge,” Charlie said. I nodded as he went through, and Rachel and I took Debbie into the front room. We all sat down on the couch – and then we both looked at Debbie as she started crying, her head in her hands.
“Hey,” I said as I put my arm round her, “it’s all right to be scared. You’ve been missing for a few days after all.”
“I know – I’m relieved more than anything, but it was so scary.”
“We can understand,” Rachel said, “one time, we were kidnapped with Patty’s aunt and cousins and some friends by Jay Edwards, and we were much more tightly gagged and bound than you were for three days soild.”
“What – three days like you were when I saw you?”
We both nodded as Charlie brought through four small bottles of Coke, handing one to each of us.
“Three days? Can you tell me how you felt, and why he did that?”
“We’ve got plenty of supplies,” I said, “we can let you experience it as well.”
“No – thank you,” Debbie said, “but would you be willing to b tied again that way so that I can see what’s involved?”
“Oh boy – like you have to ask her,” Rachel said as Charlie stood up. “I’ll get the box,” he said as he went upstairs, coming down with the box of ropes and other things.
“So – first thing is to make sure we really cannot use our hands,” I said as Charlie handed me two sponges. “Holding these means as cannot use our fingers, especially when they are covered in tape.”
Debbie watched as Charlie covered my fists in silver tape. “However,” Rachel said, “it may still be possible to flex your fingers, so we cover them with socks, and then tape the socks to our arms. That really stops us using our fingers, and it also helps protect our wrists.”
“If there are two or more of us,” I said as Charlie pulled the white socks up my arms, and then taped the top to them, “it also means we cannot free each other. If those men had covered our hands, it would have been much more difficult for us to get free.”
“That actually makes a lot of sense,” Debbie said as she watched, fascinated while Charlie took a length of rope and doubled it over. I turned round and let her watch as Charlie crossed my wrists behind my back, and started to tie them together. “Why do you take the rope between her wrists as well?”
“It’s called cinching,” Charlie said as I felt the rope tighten round my wrists, “it keeps the binding tight, and also makes it more difficult for her to move her wrists. But although she cannot move her wrists apart, Patty can still move her arms – so we tie some rope round her waist and wrists as well, and then inch it between her arms and her back.”
As he tied the rope off, I showed Debbie that my wrists were effectively secured to my back as well, and smiled as she nodded. “So,” she said, “the ropes around her arms and chest?”
“Just further ensure I cannot move my arms,” I said as Charlie doubled over a long length, and then tied the rope around my body, the two bands hugging me before he tied it off.”
“See,” I said, “I can’t move my arms now.”
“Wow – and you spent three days and nights like that?”
“Oh yeah,” I said with a smile, “either dressed up in old clothes or in nightclothes.”
“Now comes the bit we like,” Charlie said, “keeping Patty quiet.” I shot a look at him, as Rachel said “Debbie, you were too scared to realise it, but really a strip of tape over the mouth can very easily be got off – you saw both of us doing it. If you really want to keep someone quiet, you need to make sure they cannot use their lips and tongue to speak, and also make it difficult for any sound to come out.”
“So that was why you had all those parts?”
“Yeah,” I said as I watched Charlie fold a clean sock up. “The first bit is to put something in the mouth to keep your tongue pressed down, and muffle any sounds.” I opened my mouth and let Charlie put the sock in, closing my lips before I said “seewhtwmn?”
“Oh wow – I see now,” Debbie said as Charlie then tied a knot in a strip of towelling. “Thing is, you can push that out with your tongue,” Rachel said, “so you need to tie something into the mouth to make that more difficult.” Both the girls watched as Charlie used the strip as a cleave gag, the knot sitting between my teeth.
“Okay,” Debbie said as she looked at me, “but can she push that out as well.”
“Yes she can,” Rachel said as Charlie picked up the roll of white tape, “and even if you put strips of tape over her mouth, she could use the sock and the cleave gag to push that off as well. That’s why we wrap the white tape round the head – it covers the gag so far, means it stays in place.”
“Nddekppssmqtrr” I mumbled as Charlie wound the white tape tightly round my head. “This is special tape,” he said, “and it doesn’t stick to the hair, so it doesn’t get damaged.”
“That is amazing,” Debbie said as she saw the shape of my lips and the knot under the white tape. “So what about the silver tape?”
“Oh that just makes it even tighter – this alone can’t be got off without help,” Charlie said as he tore the end free of the silver tape, “but it does keep you even quieter, and the white tape protects the hair.”
I nodded before the silver tape went round, and then Charlie folded a black scarf and tied that over everything.
“The overgag just covers everything, and keeps it looking good,” Rachel said as I twisted round, and made some unintelligible grunts. “So what do you think Debbie?”
“I’m amazed,” Debbie said as she looked at me, “I wonder f they would do this on the show?” Out of the corner of my eye, however, I could see Rachel whispering to Charlie, who nodded as he folded a second scarf, while Rachel took my glasses off.
“Now, we need to make sure Patty’s chest ropes are cinched as well,” she said, but before I could try and say anything I was blindfolded. I then felt the chest ropes tightening on my left side, and I squirmed round – because I could guess what was coming.
And sure enough, I felt the pressure as the rope was taken up and around the back of my neck, and then the chest bands tightening on the right hand side as I tried to keep as still as possible. And I had good reason to do so – because I was suddenly feeling very, VERY light headed, as the ropes rubbed on me.
I then felt some more rope been tied round my wrists, and then the feel on my back as the rope was fed up, up, up - and then tied to the rope at the back of my neck. I could hear Rachel say “This is all to further cinch and tighten the ropes, and it means they really cannot escape, or even move.”
“So what happens when she tries to move,” I heard Debbie say, and I wanted to tell her “because if you do try, trust me, you will be upset and frustrated and elated in the same moment.”
Instead, I was helped to sit down, as Rachel whispered “and this is to punish you, Patricia Pickering, for being so reckless earlier.”
Well, she had a point, as I felt Charlie cross and bind my ankles tightly together, and then secure my legs together below my knees, both bands cinched as the rope went between my legs. At the same time, Rachel deposited the poncho over my body, as Debbie said “Oh my – it all looks so like a film or a television show now.”
“True,” Charlie said, “but one more thing is needed to make sure she really cannot move. Help me Rachel?”
I had to stop myself from crying out as I was helped to lie down, rolled over, and then my ankles were pulled back and tied to my chest ropes. I really could not move – well, I could move, but I dared not, as the blindfold was taken off, and Rachel said “so, what do you think Debbie?”
“Wow... Do you... Do you think you could do that to me now?”
I was in no position to answer that question, which is why it was probably just as well that we all heard the door open, and I heard Mum call out “Patty? Are you back yet?”
“We’re in the front room Mrs Pickering,” Rachel called out, and I saw Mum walk round and look at me.
“You all right Patty,” she said and I nodded – as little as I could, because... Well, I think you can guess.
“Oh,” she said as she looked at Debbie, “hi there. I’m Patty’s mother – you are?”
“Debbie – I met the girls when they were out today, and they invited me to come home with them.”
I saw Mum smile as she said “well, it’s very nice to meet you Debbie. I’m going to start preparing tea girls – perhaps you can finish your game off?”
All of us watched as Mum left the room, and then Charlie, Rachel and Debbie looked at me. “Hang on,” Charlie whispered, “three... Two... One...”
“Debbie? Debbie Dee?”
“Well... Yes,” Debbie said with a smile as I saw Mum walk quickly in, kneel down and look at her. “Oh my god,” she whispered, “Are you all right? Are you hurt? Where have you been? And do you know...”
“Do we know what, Mrs Pickering?” Rachel said as Mum turned the television on again.
“The family of kidnapped child star Debbie Dee again appealed today for information that could lead to her release, and doubled the reward for any information leading to her return.”
“Doubled? Doubled to what?”
“Oh that’s not important right now,” Mum said, “look, are you hungry?”
“Actually,” Debbie said, “I am...”
“All right then, Charlie, can you stay with Debbie while I cook some food. Rachel, would you untie my darling daughter please – I want to hear exactly what happened.”
She wasn’t the only one – I’d started wriggling round when I heard the news announcement, and then had to stop because of the way those blasted beautiful ropes were making me feel.
“We’ll go upstairs to do this,” Rachel said as she released me from the hogtie, and then helped me to stand up, still wearing the poncho as Debbie sat with Charlie. “I’ll call my dad and let him know where I am,” he said as he took out the mobile phone, while Rachel walked me up to my bedroom.
“Well, Patty Pickering,” she said as she slipped the poncho off me, and removed the extra wonderfully irritating ropes, “that’s another fine mess we’ve got ourselves into.”
“Tllmbeettt,” I said as the layers of my gag were removed, and then I took a deep breath, “Can you hurry up and untie me please? I really need to get to the toilet.”
“What sort of reward do you think they were offering?”
“I’m not sure – but that’s not the important thing is it?”
“No – no, I guess it’s not...”
“It’s very nice of you to let me have this to eat, Mrs Pickering,” Debbie said as we sat round the dinner table, having just finished some fish fingers, chips and peas.
“Well, I’m glad you liked it,” Mum said as the doorbell rang. “That’s someone I called to come and talk to you Debbie,” she said as she stood up and went to answer the call.
“Who will she have called,” Debbie said as she looked at me.
“Hopefully, a family friend,” I said with a smile, and it was a friendly face who appeared at the door.
“Well,” Barry Hampton said, “I see what you mean Jessica. Hello girls – and you must be Debbie. I am very pleased to see you as well.”
“I’m sorry,” Debbie said, “you are?”
“Oh that’s my fault – I’m Detective Superintendent Barry Hampton, from Holderness CID, but more importantly I’m a friend of all the others here. Jessica called me to say you were here – I’ve got a couple of other people here with me, and I was wondering if I could just have a quick word with you, Rachel and Patty in the front room?”
“Sure,” I said as I stood up, “can we take our drinks through Mum?”
“Go on,” she said as the three of us looked at Charlie, and then walked in to where two more people were waiting – a man and a woman, like Mister Hampton casually dressed. “Have a seat girls,” he said as he sat in an armchair, and we sat on the couch.
“Okay then,” he said as he leaned forward, and looked at Debbie, “we’ve contacted your parents Debbie, and when we’re done here I’m going to take you to where they are staying, but I didn’t want the press descending on you here. So, do you want to tell me what happened?”
We sat there as Debbie told him about how she was snatched, and driven from place to place, and how she had always had her wrists and ankles tied, as well as tape over her mouth. She showed him her wrists, and he also took a look at her mouth, and the tape residue around it.
“Okay,” he then said as he looked at us, “so Debbie has been missing for a few days – how did you find her?”
“Well,” I said, “Rachel and I were going through the shortcut in the woods near your house to the Cottrell farm.”
Mister Hampton nodded to the other man, who nodded back as he looked at the map.
“Well, about halfway through I noticed this path that went off to the left, and ran through the woods for a little while. I persuaded Rachel that we should explore the path, and it came out on an old country road with a wall at the other side.”
“Have you got it,” Mister Hampton said, the man nodding as I continued. “Well, we were going to turn back when we saw this black van drive down the road, and stop at a farmhouse about a half mile further down. We hid in the bushes and watched as three men came out.”
“Can you describe the men?”
“No,” Rachel said, “they had balaclavas covering their heads. Anyway, we saw them carry something into the farmhouse, and then come out and drive off a little while later.”
“My curiosity got the better of me,” I said, “and I persuaded Rachel we should go and see if what we could see. I walked down to the house with her, but all the windows were covered over. I then tried the back door – and it was unlocked, so I went in with Rachel. We looked around downstairs, and then went up and we heard this noise in a bedroom. When we opened it – Debbie was in there, tied up to a chair.”
Mister Hampton looked at Debbie, who said “that’s right sir – I was shocked to see the two girls walk in on me – but before they could get me free, one of my kidnappers surprised them, and tied them up on the bed. They tape gagged both of them, and then left again. We heard them drive off – and then a few minutes later, they managed to free each other and then me.”
Mister Hampton raised an eyebrow as he looked at me, before he said “all right - so all three of you managed to get free, and then?”
“We went downstairs, but the front door was locked. We managed to open the back door, however, and ran out – only to find Charlie. He had followed us, and was trying to get in as well.”
“And then you came straight back here?”
“And then we came straight back here,” I said. “Mum was out, so we played for a while until she came back – and then she must have called you.”
Mister Hampton looked over at the other man, who came over and showed him his tablet. “The Smart farm – it’s been empty ever since the old man died and the family moved. Get a team out there, see what they can find.”
“Yes sir,” the younger man said as he left the room, and Mister Hampton looked at all of us. “Right, Elaine, would you go and ask Charlie in the other room what he did this afternoon, and ask Mrs Pickering to stay while you do that please?”
The woman nodded as she left the room, and Mister Hampton took out his mobile phone, dialling a number as he smiled at us.
“Connie? Brian Hampton – what are you doing at the moment? Good – can you possibly come round to Jessica’s place? I’ll explain when you get here.”
“Who is he calling?”
“My Aunt Connie,” I whispered to Debbie, “she’s a journalist.”
“Oh – all right,” Debbie said as he looked at us. “Bear with me a few minutes girls – we just need to get Charlie’s version of what happened, and then Patty’s aunt will decide how we are going to do something.”
Five minutes later, the doorbell rang, and Mister Hampton left, coming back with Aunt Connie. She was wearing a long striped smock, her bump visible under it, black leggings and trainers.
“Okay, what’s... Ah.” She looked at us, and then at Mister Hampton, before she said “do I need to hear the story?”
“I’ll brief you later – but right now, my big concern is what happens when we go public with the fact that Debbie is safely returned. Can you liaise with her press people, act as the filter when they start demanding to talk to the girls and Charlie?”
“No problem,” Aunt Connie said with a smile, “and I can understand the concerns. We need to cover Jennifer, Mark and Yvonne, and Clive and Kerry as well, won’t we?”
“Yeah – I agree,” Mister Hampton said. “I know it’s asking a lot at the moment...”
“Not really, I’ll pull Cassie and Jo in as well on this one. So what are you going to do now?”
She stopped as the female police officer came in, and showed Mister Hampton her notebook, and he nodded. “Well, we start work now – Debbie, I want you to come with me and my friends, while Mrs Brown talks to the girls, Charlie and Mrs Pickering. I’m sure you will be seeing each other again very soon.”
“Thanks for finding me,” Debbie said as she hugged both of us, and then went out with Mister Hampton, waving to Charlie and Mum as they went out. Aunt Connie closed the door, and then stood with her arms folded as she looked at Mum.
“Well, this is going to be a fun time,” she eventually said, “I reckon we’ve got until the late news tonight before the first calls come.”
“Why would the press want to talk to us? Surely they will want to talk to Debbie?”
“They’ll want to talk to all of you – but we’re going to fix this so that they all talk to you at the same time,” Aunt Connie said. “I don’t think you three realise what is about to happen?”
“Well, we rescued a missing girl whose name and picture has been all over the news,” Charlie said, “what else?”
“There is the small matter of the reward that has been offered by her family, the television studio, and the film studios for her safe return,” Mum said as she came over and hugged me.
“What? A trip to the studios?”
“A little more than that – there was a reward in money terms as well,” Aunt Connie said. “A very large reward.”
“How large,” Rachel asked, and we watched as Aunt Connie held up six fingers.
“Six thousand pounds? That’s some serious money.”
“No, not six thousand pounds,” Mum said, “six million pounds.”
The three of us looked at each other as Aunt Connie found her mobile phone. “Yvonne? Connie Brown – can you and the others come round to Jennifer Pickering’s house please? Something we need to discuss – I’m inviting Clive and Kerry as well...”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming here today.”
Rachel and I were sitting in the front row of the hall, both of us wearing new dresses as Charlie shifted nervously beside me. I had occasionally seen him in his school uniform, but to see him wearing a smart suit, white shirt and tie was new even for me. Rachel was just smiling as she looked at him and he even smiled back.
Lord Holderness was on the stage, Mister Hampton next to him in his full uniform as Suzie’s granddad continued “We’re here today to recognise three very brave young people, who found where Debbie Dee, the child star, was being held hostage and took her to safety. Two of these young people have received a commendation before, when they were caught up in a double robbery, but it was the initiative shown by all three that led to the successful return of Miss Dee to her family,
And that is why we are here today.”
I looked round to see Cassie and Suzie sitting with their families, and smiled even more when I saw Tommy Jacobs sitting with Bobby and Suzie. He was visiting for the weekend with his family, and it had been a very nice surprise to see them come in as well.
“And so, I would like to invite Detective Superintendant Barry Hampton to present these medals and certificates to Patricia Pickering, Rachel Rigg and Charles Williamson. Please come up, all three of you.”
We got up to the sound of everyone clapping, and walked up the steps to the stage, where Mister Hampton put the medals round our necks and handed us the framed certificates. We then turned and posed for photographs before Lord Holderness said “I wonder if I could ask the parents of these three young heroes to come to the stage as well?”
I smiled as Mum came up, wearing a new blue dress, and then Rachel and Charlie’s parents joined them, Rachel’s little brother Chris sitting with Aunt Jennifer and Jenny.
“As you will be aware, a reward was offered for the safe return of Debbie, and I would like to ask my wife to present Mister and Mrs Williamson, Mister and Mrs Rigg and Mrs Pickering with their cheques.”
There had been a plan to give us big cardboard cheques, like they do when someone wins the lottery, but all our parents had objected to that. There was no getting out of the presentation, however, as Rachel’s parents looked very embarrassed when Lady Holderness handed them each an envelope, and shook their hands.
At least Mum looked happy, as did Charlie’s parents, while more photographs were taken of all of us, and then of us as separate families. “You can breathe again now,” Lady Holderness said as the last photograph was taken, and we all went to get a drink.
“Okay, you’re ahead now,” Cassie said as she came over, wearing a grey dress and jacket, “but try and stay out of trouble for a while, all right?”
“Honestly, we just saw the van...”
“I don’t think that’s the whole story, knowing you three,” Cassie whispered, “but congratulations anyway.”
“Thanks,” I whispered back as our parents came over. We were all going to lunch together, and then Mum was taking me to the cinema...
I was still on a little bit of a high the next morning when we went to church. I was wearing a blue short sleeved dress with a pleated knee length skirt, and my black shoes, while Mum was wearing a black jumper with a pair of black trousers and a blazer.
A lot of people came up to congratulate us, as well as Rachel and her parents, but when the service started it became another Sunday – and as always, Rachel and I were going to spend the afternoon together, once again at my house.
We had out lunch, and then went up to my room while Mum washed the dishes. As I closed the door, Rachel sat on the bed and said “some weekend eh?”
“Yeah – so how does it feel to be rich?”
“You tell me,” Rachel said with a giggle.
“I don’t think I feel any different,” I said as I sat in my chair. “I tried to follow what our parents were talking about with Mister Williamson yesterday, but he lost me.”
“Well,” Rachel said as she swung her legs to and fro, “I do know Dad is going to talk to his boss, about possibly taking over the restaurant.”
“What – owning it as well as cooking at it?”
“Yeah – Dad says it is popular, and it should be a return on investment or something.”
“Mum’s been talking about doing some work to the house,” I said, “but I got the feeling Charlie’s dad was advising caution.”
“Well, he is meant to be good with money,” Rachel said, “and I know my mum and dad are meeting him tomorrow again.” Looking out of the window, she said “and so the summer holidays begin again.”
“Yeah – Mum’s been making noises about that as well,” I said, “possibly going to Disneyland. Anyway, it is a beautiful afternoon...”
“Yeah – oh no, I know that look Patty. Don’t tell me...”
“Well, we never did get to the farm,” I said as I looked at Rachel, “and I’d still like to try it.”
“Patty – last time we did this...”
“I know, I know,” I said with a smile, “but I promise - no diversions, no distractions, we just go there.” As I looked at Rachel, I could see she was thinking about it, and then said “all right – but we’re still going to need Charlie’s help.”
I nodded – and I meant it when I said we would go straight there. That had been fun to do once.
I smiled as Rachel shook her head and took out her mobile phone.
“Charlie? It’s Rachel. I’m at Patty’s place – take one guess what she is suggesting.
“Yeah, got it in one. Can you come round?
“Oh is he? Well, I’m sire Ms Pickering would not object if he came with you as well.
“Great – see you in a few minutes,” she said as I got the ropes and materials out, as well as the two ponchos.
“So who’s coming with Charlie,” I asked as I doubled over a length of rope.
“Tommy – he’d gone round to do something with Charlie, but he’s going to come here instead.”
“I thought that would get your interest,” Rachel said as she sat down, “still want to start with me preparing you?”
“You know what,” I said as I put the rope down, “I think I can wait until they arrive. After all, I’d hate to think you were the only one who had a boyfriend to secure you, Rachel.”
At least Rachel was blushing as much as me, before she said “did you see Debbie Dee on the One Show during the week?”
“Yeah – she seemed a lot happier,” I said as I looked at my best friend, “and her parents looked really nice as well. She said she was going to be filming a new series of Debbie Knows It All, and she was going to make a movie as well.”
“It must be a glamorous life, to do that...”
“I don’t know – I prefer my life really,” I said with a smile. “I thought she was going to come yesterday.”
“I asked Suzie’s grandfather about that – she had to go somewhere else, and sent her apologies. Pity really, I like her.”
“Well, she may come into Dad’s restaurant one day,” Rachel said as we heard the front doorbell. As I went to the top of the stairs, I saw Mum say “Charlie and Tommy – did the girls ask you over?”
“We did Mum – we’re going to go to the Cottrell farm.”
I saw her turn and look at me, so I quickly added “Honestly – we are going there.”
“Well all right – but no exploring this time, all right?”
“We’ll make sure they get there and back, Mrs Pickering,” Tommy said as the two boys came upstairs. Both of them were wearing polo shirts and jeans, as well as sneakers, Charlie beaming as he saw Rachel in my room.
“Okay,” he said as he took his fleece off, “what exactly are you planning to do?”
“Walk together to the Cottrell farm while tied and gagged,” I said with a smile.
“Last time you said you wanted to do this, you ended up in a heap of trouble – both of you,” Charlie said as he looked at us. “I don’t know if it is a good idea.”
“I promise you Charlie,” I said quietly, “we are just going to the farm. No diversions, no exploring new paths, no running into gangs of kidnappers and robbers.”
Charlie and Tommy looked at each other as I said that last thing, both raising an eyebrow as we all burst out laughing.
“Never say never where you lot are concerned,” Tommy said as I picked up two sponges and made fists. He looked at me and smiled as he picked up the roll of duct tape, and started to make my hands into silver fists.
“So you want this full job,” he whispered, and I nodded as he smoothed the tape off, and started to pull a pair of socks up my arms.
“Seriously Rachel,” Charlie said as he looked at her, “I was so worried last time I ended up following you – and I’m glad I did now. You could have ended up in very serious trouble.”
“But we didn’t – and I’ll always be glad you did follow us,” Rachel said as Tommy walked behind me, crossed my wrists and started to bind them tightly together, making sure they were properly secured and then taking some rope around my waist to keep them in place. “But I do trust Patty, and I’m sure she’s learned her lesson.”
“Oh yes, yes, lesson learned, honest guvnor,” I said as Tommy started to tie my lower arms to my stomach.
“Oh come on Charlie – please?”
I had to stop myself from laughing as Rachel did what she called her Bambi look –the doe eyed look that I knew Charlie could not resist. “All right, all right,” he finally said as he looked at Rachel, “we’ll do it, but we’re coming with you.”
Both Charlie and Rachel turned to see I already had my arms snugly tied, with ropes above and below my chest, but no tightening of them. As Tommy put the poncho over my head, covering the ropes, Rachel just chuckled as Charlie shook his head.
“Well, if one of you is ready, we need to get the other prepared,” Charlie said as he picked up two sponges, and handed them to Rachel. “You just need to be patient a little longer,” Tommy said as he hugged me, and then kissed my cheek – and I felt all warm and glowy as he did that.
I watched as Charlie quickly secured Rachel in the same way as me, and then slipped the second poncho over her. As we walked over to each other, Charlie started to put some materials for the gag into the same drawstring bag as before.
As I turned round, I saw Tommy whispering something to Charlie, who grinned as he nodded his head. I was already excited at what we were going to do, and now as Charlie drew the strings to close the bag I was eager to get going – once I had done one thing.
“What did you whisper to Charlie,” I asked as he put his fleece on.
“Nothing,” they said in unison, Rachel and I looking at each other before we walked down the stairs.
“Make sure they go straight to the farm,” Mum called through from the kitchen, “and don’t be late back.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll keep them on the right path,” Charlie called back as Tommy opened the front door, and we started to walk down the street. It felt really good to have Tommy with me – especially as he put his arm round my waist as we walked along. This was going to be a very good afternoon.
Eventually, we found ourselves at the start of the path of the woods, and as we went in Charlie said “well, time for you girls to be quiet. But I have a suggestion. Why don’t we blindfold you first?”
I looked at Rachel as we both nodded, and then our sight went black as a scarf was tied over my eyes. Tommy said “open wide” and I felt what felt like a flannel or small towel as it was pushed into my mouth. I stood still as he very gently used his fingers to push it in, and make sure it all sat behind my teeth as it filled my cheeks out – and I knew that was happening, by the way my face was stretching.
I then felt the knot of cotton between my teeth, as what I presumed was the towel strip was tied round my head – and secured tightly as well, by the way it was pressing in.
I then heard the squelchy sound, and the tape as it was wrapped tightly round my head, covering the gag so far. I smiled a little as Tommy took it round and round, and then felt him press it down at the back of my head. The next sound I heard was the sharper sound of duct tape coming off the roll, as another tight band was wrapped round my head.
Finally, I felt at the edge of whatever Tommy had done the silk on my face, and I knew the gag was complete. I was so looking forward to him taking the blindfold off now, especially as I could hear Rachel mumbling something as well. Any moment now, the blindfold would...
So you can imagine my surprise as I felt Tommy lifting the Poncho over my head and off. “Whtsgnnn,” I said – and then I knew what was going on, as I felt rope been threaded between my right arm and my body.
“I knew you would want this,” I heard Tommy say then, as the ropes under my right arm tightened. “After all, you wanted to walk to the farm tied and gagged full job, didn’t you?”
“Ysbbbtttt,” I protested as I felt the rope going round the back of my neck. With luck, he would ask when he was done if I wanted the ropes to stay, and I would be able – however slowly – to shake my head and take them off.
As I felt him thread the rope under my left arm, I braced myself for how it would feel when those ropes tightened – and sure enough, it did force my chest up a little, as the ropes rubbed on me from all sides and made me feel...
“Hnnnnn,” I sighed – and then I felt the rope tied round my wrists, and then fed up my back under all the other bands, before my wrists were pulled up and the rope at the back of my neck down a little. That just made me feel even weaker at the knees, before I felt the poncho as it was put over me again.
“Now,” Tommy said, “do you want me to take the extra ropes off?”
This was it, the chance to nod, to get that strange pressure off me, and then...
So I shook my head from side to side.
“Hcmmnnn,” I mumbled as Tommy said “so you really still want to walk to the farm like this, girls?”
I wanted to shake my head, I swear I wanted to – so when I nodded, I rolled my eyes and then squirmed as the ropes rubbed more.
Come on Patty, I thought to myself, come on, just shake your head – and then I felt my wrists move up and down as I nodded. “HCMMNNNN” I said, and then I heard someone running off before the blindfold was taken off.
I blinked for a few minutes – and then turned to see Charlie running towards the road. Turning round, I saw Rachel – and no sign of Tommy. He had disappeared as well.
“Thffbndeeds?” Rachel said and then she closed her eyes for a moment – and I could understand why, given the little shocks that were going through me. I wanted to run after him, tell him to remove them – but then people would see us, and...
It ALWAYS ends up like this – we want the ropes taken off, given how they made us feel, but once they were on our brain and our mouth seemed to agree to disagree, so we would think no and say or indicate yes!
“Ptteemgnnkkufrthss,” Rachel said as she looked at me, and then the path. “Gsswwdbtrmf.”
I nodded – and then regretted that – as we set off towards the farm. At first I just wanted to get there, and walked quickly. But then the ropes stated rubbing as my chest moved up and down, and my wrists moved as well, and I had to stop, to catch my breath, to try and control the way I was feeling... What made it worse was I had to jump to avoid the bumps in the path, and...
So I had to take my time and let what I was feeling ebb away, as I looked up and saw Rachel catch up. “Dntrrnnnn,” she mumbled, and I nodded in agreement as we walked slowly along the path, trying not to make the ropes move too much on our chests. I slowly lifted my wrists up, which made things easier, but after about ten minutes or so I let them drop again.
We had to stop every few minutes as well, to try and catch our breath. I could see how red Rachel was getting, and I felt the same. But I wanted to get to the farm, bet Frank or someone to take these ropes off, and feel like I can run and jump freely...
Eventually, we came across the field, and through the gate, as we both saw Tommy talking to Frank and Freddie – and we also saw Louise and Fiona there. Both girls were in their Sunday dresses – and both were bound and gagged exactly the way we were.
EXACTLY the way we were. They weren’t wearing ponchos, so we could see al the ropes, and from the way they blushed as we walked over, they felt the same way we did.
“There you are,” Tommy said with a smile, “what kept you?”
“Ukkndmmwll,” I said, but I was smiling under all the layers of gag. As I watched, Frank typed something on his mobile phone and showed it to Louise. As she read the message, she looked at Frank and nodded – and then blushed like mad as Frank smiled at her.
“Well, looks like you two were not the only ones who wanted this.”
“CHRLEEE!” Rachel turned suddenly and then nearly fell over as we both saw Charlie come over and join us.
“I had to follow to make sure you two were all right,” Charlie said with a smile.
“And I came ahead, found the girls were here, and got Frank and Freddie to make sure they were just like you,” Tommy said. I really had just wanted to be there with Rachel, but now we were all there, I found I was nodding and saying “fnkuu.”
“Well then,” Freddie said, “come with us.” The four of us followed him, Charlie and Tommy walking with us, until we came to the back of the lawn behind the farmhouse. Why I did not notice the picnic basket Frank was carrying probably had more to do with the distractions I was feeling and experiencing...
The four of us watched, looking at each one of us as we desperately tried not to move, while the picnic was laid out and then we were helped to slowly sit down, before the four boys tied our ankles together. Tommy then looked at me as he took the poncho off, and said “do you want the chest ropes taken off?”
Finally a chance to get some relief, as I looked at him, prepared to nod my head – and then shook it from side to side. So did the other three, as we all looked at each other with one question in our eyes.
“Well, we need to at least remove the gags,” Frank said quietly, as the layers of my gag were slowly peeled away, and I saw the folded flannel that had been in my mouth. I worked my mouth for a few minutes, turned to face Tommy to ask him if he had any idea what he had done – and then took a bite from the sandwich he was holding in front of my mouth.
Where on earth had he learned these distraction techniques? Anyway, I chewed on the ham sandwich, and then took a sip from the carton of juice, the straw between my lips.
“Thanks,” I finally said as I looked at the others.
“So,” Fiona said, “how does it feel to be heroines again – or a hero as far as Charlie is concerned.”
“It’s nice,” I said, “but we made a new friend.”
“Oh yeah – Debbie Dee,” Louise said as Frank let her have a drink, “what is she like?”
“She’s nice,” Rachel said as she turned her head, and then giggled – which made all three of us turn our heads, before we all giggled as well. We told them the story again, as we continued to eat and drink.
And al the time, I felt the ropes, and wanted it to end, or not to end...
“Right,” Charlie said as we finished the picnic, “I suspect you girls would like to be untied now, right?”
We looked at each other, wondering if one of us was going to say no, but I had another feeling start, so I was so relieved when Tommy started to untie the extra ropes round my chest. I didn’t want them to really come off, but once they were off, I was so relieved!
I also wanted to give Tommy a piece of my mind, but as I was released, I found I couldn’t be mad at him. Eventually, once I was free, I kissed him on the cheek, and then ran inside with the other girls. Rachel, Fiona and Louise had all kissed the other guys as well – and I think they liked that as well.
But right now, other matters had to be taken care of...