The Personal Invitation
“Is that you Bobby,” Mum said as I came back into the front hallway of Wissenden Hall, having come to the end of another fun week at school.
“Yeah,” I said as I hung my coat up, “I’m going to go up and get changed, then get on with my homework for this week.”
“Okay – dinner will be at seven.”
“Thanks,” I said as I went up to my room, and put my bag on the bed, before I took off the school jacket and tie. Putting them on a hanger, I took off the rest of my uniform, before putting on a pair of old jeans, a sweatshirt and trainers, before picking my bag back up again and heading down to the library.
It didn’t surprise me a bit to see Suzie sitting there already, her red hair held back by a headband as she looked over. “Hey big bro,” she said, “and what delights do you have to work on this weekend?”
“French and Maths. You?”
“History and English – which I really want to get out of the way,” she said with a smile.
January had just about passed, and life was back to normal – even with the latest baby in the house. Luci was growing fast, but now Sandy was also in a chair, watching as Mrs Boyle went about her work. She had been the last of the three new arrivals over the holiday period – but as I said, all was getting back to normal.
Or what usually passes for normal when your dad is the heir to the title of Lord Holderness. Since Granddad retired following his heart attack, Dad has taken on more of the day to day business of running Red Line Shipping, but he always makes sure he gets home in time for dinner.
I looked over again at Suzie, and realized – not for the first time – how much she was beginning to look like Mum. Mind you, she tends to say the same thing about me and Dad. I guess that’s especially been true since I had to start using a razor – which, given the fact I’m nearly sixteen, isn’t too surprising.
In fact, as I sat down to struggle with the joys of French tenses, I couldn’t stop thinking about the last year – Easter was only a few weeks away, and I couldn’t help thinking about last Easter, and the event we had at the manor house.
That’s when I really got to know the Cottrell boys – I’d met Mark before, given he was stepping out with one of my cousin Alicia’s best friends, but not his two brothers, Eric and Frank. Eric was all right, but Frank was – well, the shyest person I have ever met. But he did have some friends – young Louise Hobson for one, and a young man called Charlie Williamson for another.
And with friends like that, as the saying goes, who needs enemies?
All of that got eclipsed over the early summer by the Markson Manor affair. Alicia and Angela, the (allegedly) sensible part of the family, had spent some time working as extras on a film called The Awakening, which was shot mainly at the home of an old friend of Granddad. Not surprising, when you realise the director was the son of the old friend, and the daughter the wardrobe advisor.
Anyway, they were invited to come down to Markson Manor to see the film before it was released, and they took Cassie and Jenny Craig as well as Suzie, and the Twin Terrors – Patty Pickering and Rachel Rigg. So off they went to the south west of England for the weekend.
Now, there seems to be an unwritten rule about this place – where three or more of this group are gathered, they will end up spending most of the time bound and gagged for some reason. And on this occasion, that reason was a group of people headed up by a man called Jay Edwards, and a woman called Mrs MacPhee – contenders for the award of Most Likely to Hold These Girls hostage.
Seriously – they keep running into them all over the place. What made this a very different time was, when they were surprised, they were all wearing Victorian costumes from the film. So they spent the whole weekend bound and gagged as Victorian girls!
Only with this group would that happen... Anyway, when they came back, Angela and Alicia went to visit our American cousins, Brian and Sarah, as well as Alicia’s pen-friend Heidi and her friends. Even out there, however, Alicia ended up kidnapped and been rescued.
You see – oh what’s the best way of putting this? Have you ever seen Taken? Where Liam Neeson says “I have a particular set of skills...” Well, Sarah and Brian Holderness-Carter have a particular set of skills each, and they soon rescued Alicia, along with Natalie, and two other people.
They also met someone else – a girl called Tammy, but that’s another story...
As I put my pen down, Dad put his head round the door.
“Dinner’s ready if you two have finished.”
“Great – I’m starving,” I said as I followed Suzie into the dining room, where Luci was already in her high chair. As I sat down, Mrs Boyle and Mum brought the meal through.
“Before I forget,” Mum said as she sat down, “Brian Hampton called while you were working, so I took a message.”
“Brian? Not Colin?”
“Nope – it was Brian this time. He said he wanted to talk to you about something, so I suggested he call round tomorrow.”
Colin Hampton is my best friend, and the boyfriend of Jenny Craig – and yes, I’m her little sister Cassie’s boyfriend. There may be a couple of years difference between us, but she really is the girl of my dreams.
Which is probably more information than you need to know, but anyway...
Later on in the summer, Viscount Markson and his family came to visit Granddad and Grandma, and they brought a present with them – a full Victorian outfit for each of the girls. And I mean all the girls – although Charlie’s sister Lisa hadn’t gone on the trip, or Heidi, Cindy or Natalie, who had come back with Angela and Alicia, they got an outfit as well. So did Louise and Fiona, another friend of Patty and Rachel. All of them were – invited to spend the weekend at the Manor house, wearing their outfits.
The Yanks then went with Jenny, Alicia and Angela as they visited their grandmother on Uncle Simon’s side – and as I discovered later, ended up by being taken hostage again, and rescued from an armed gang.
All that, and then there was the Christmas holidays, when Cassie and Suzie turned fourteen...
When I got up on the Saturday morning, I made my way down to the dining room.
“Hey sleepy head,” Dad said as he looked at me, “can you give me a hand this afternoon? Mister Boyle and I need to clear the pond, and many hands make light work.”
“Yeah sure – Brian Hampton’s coming round this morning, but I’m free after lunch.”
“Brian? Not Colin?”
“Apparently,” I said as I poured myself some orange juice, and then put some cereal and milk in a bowl. “No idea what he wants, but if Colin’s suggesting he talks to me, it’s probably something to do with...”
“Morning,” Suzie said as she came in, still wearing her pyjamas. Which brought that conversation to an end for the time being...
“Hey Bobby,” Brian said as he came into the front room of the hall, “is Suzie around?”
“Gone shopping with Mum,” I said as I stood up. We both had on jumpers and jeans.
“Good – look, can we go somewhere private to talk?”
“Well, the treehouse is empty at the moment – let’s grab a couple of drinks from the kitchen and head up there.”
“Sounds like an idea,” Brian said as I led him through the kitchen, grabbing two cans of Coke from the fridge as we did so, and then going out into the garden. Mister Boyle waved as he was weeding the flower beds, and we went up into the tree house, entering the larger of the two rooms as Brian sat on a beanbag.
“So,” I said as I opened my can, “what are you planning for Suzie now?”
“Well,” Brian said, “she’s involved, but that’s not what I want to talk to you about – not at first anyway.”
“Oh?” I took a drink from the can, and then said “so what did you want to talk about?”
“Actually,” he said with a grin, “it’s mainly about Hazel and Claire.”
“Hazel and Claire? Okay, now you’ve got me interested. What about them?”
Brian took a drink from his can, and said “did you know they were going out with a couple of boys?”
“Suzie said something about it – Pete and Doug, right?”
“Yeah – well, they’re in the same class as me and Eric Cottrell, and we’ve been talking to them for a while about...”
“About doing a kidnap game with the girls,” Brian said. “Lisa, Suzie, and the twins – Cassie too if you’re up for this.”
“No – because they want to do it next weekend, and she’s away with her mum.”
“Okay – so why come to me?”
“Well, they’re both a bit nervous about this – so they asked if we’d done something like this before. I told them about the time we kidnapped all the girls the year before last to get them to the big party...”
“Oh – OH. Now I see why you wanted to talk to me. You want to know if we can get the van again and repeat the process.”
“Got it in one. It’s not that the boys don’t want to take part, but they’ve never really broached the subject with the twins. Hopefully, doing it this way will make it enjoyable for everyone.”
“Well, I’m interested,” I said, “if I can get the van and someone to drive it, and clear it with dad. But Pete and Doug – do they know what to do?”
“Not really, but they are in Frank’s troop, and we’ve been teaching them how to tie knots. What they need is the knowledge of how to tie someone so they cannot escape or call for help.”
Brian grinned, and said “if they can do that, well and good.”
“Okay then,” I said as I finished the can, “we’re having lunch at the Manor House tomorrow, so I’ll ask then and give you a call tomorrow night...”
“Granddad,” I said as Mrs Bridges took away the last of the plates, “I wonder if I could have a word with you please?”
“Oh,” he said as he wiped his chin, “anything your father needs to know about?”
“I’ll talk to him after I talk to you.”
Suzie had already gone with Mum, Aunt Anne, Alicia and Angela to discuss something with Grandma, so as we stood up and left the table, he said “come with me then.”
We walked into his study, Granddad holding the door open as I came in and sat in the chair, and then closing it before he slowly sat down himself.
“Okay Robert,” he said with a smile, “what are you planning this time?”
“Who says I am planning anything?”
He merely raised an eyebrow, before I said “all right – Brian Hampton came to see me yesterday, and asked if I could help him, Eric Cottrell and two other boys with a little kidnap game.”
“And this will involve me because?”
“Well – they want to do something similar to the party the year before last. Take the girls from home, bring them here, and then reveal what has happened.”
“I see – and the girls in question are?”
“Primarily Hazel and Claire, but also Lisa, Cassie and Suzie. The boyfriends of the first two want to play our games, but need to see how.”
“So,” Granddad said, “essentially, you want to borrow the van again, and also use the cellar?”
“If that is possible. I will, of course, do chores if you are in agreement...”
“Oh I think we can find something for you to do,” Granddad said with a smile, “but Mister Bridges will not be able to help you. Wait here a moment, will you?”
I nodded as Granddad got up and walked out of the room, returning a few minutes later with Eddie and Angela.
“So,” Angela said as she looked at me, “you want to induct Hazel and Claire’s boyfriends into the group?”
“Well, they want to be part of it – it’s Brian’s idea to do it this way.”
“Okay then,” Angela said, “two conditions. First, Eddie is the driver.”
“Okay – and the second.”
“I want to be here when they arrive – something tells me you lot may do something they want to talk about, so I want to be there to answer questions...”
When the alarm went off on the Saturday morning, I groaned as I rolled over and looked at it.
“Six? Why did I arrange for this to start so early?”
But I had agreed to it, so I quietly got out of bed, washed, and put on a black jumper and jeans. Once I had my socks and shoes on, I walked slowly down the stairs and opened the front door.
Eddie waved from the front of the plain van as I saw Eric and Brian standing by the door. Like me, they were both dressed in black, but they also had a black balaclava pulled over their heads, allowing me only to see their eyes and lips.
“Where are the other two?”
“In the back, waiting for us to come out. Don’t worry – they’re prepared as well,” Eric said as they came in, and I closed the door.
“Right then – we’re going to wait in my room. Suzie thinks she’s going out with Mum today, so she’s going to get up in a while, wash and dress. We’ll nab her when she’s dressed and passes my room. So, for now, let’s head up and wait in there...”
Through the crack in my door, I watched as Suzie made her way back to her bedroom in her dressing gown.
“Everything ready,” I whispered.
“Ready,” Brian whispered back as I pulled my own balaclava over my head, and waited.
After what seemed an eternity, Suzie came out of her room. She was wearing a red and blue checked blouse over a white jumper, the cuffs of her sleeves rolled back slightly, blue jeans and mid-length brown Ugg boots, her red hair pulled back for once in a ponytail.
So I waited as she walked past my room, and then stepped out, grabbing her without warning round her waist.
As she opened her mouth, I pushed a folded cloth into it with my free hand, and then covered it as I pulled her back into my room, kicking and screaming. As Brian closed the door, I whispered “for the love of Pete, stop screaming Suzie – it’s me, Bobby.”
“BBBBEEE?” I watched as she looked at Brian and Eric, and then said “Hggrrrtwhatsgnnggg?”
“Kidnapping – just do as we tell you, all right?”
She nodded as I removed my hand, and Brian stuck a length of tape over her lips. At the same time, I pulled her wrists behind her back and used a plastic zip tie to secure them together, while Eric took a folded scarf and tied it tightly over her eyes.
“Now keep quiet, all right,” I whispered, Suzie nodding as I looked outside. Nobody was there, so I motioned to Eric and Brian, both of them holding one of Suzie’s arms as we walked along the corridor, down the stairs and across the hallway. Opening the front door, I watched as the side door of the van was opened, and Suzie was quickly walked over to it. I closed the door to the Hall, and followed them into the van, closing the van door behind me as they helped Suzie to lie on the floor.
Two other boys were sitting there, dressed in black and watching through the eyeholes in their masks as I took a pair of scissors ad cut away the zip tie. Suzie just lay still as Brian took her right hand, and Eric her left, placing a sponge into her palm and waiting as she made a fist, then covering them in silver duct tape. They then crossed her wrists behind her back as I took a length of rope from a canvas bag, doubled it over, and made sure they were tightly secured together.
“Ulllnfrrgtwweewfths,” Suzie mumbled playfully as I cinched the binding and tied the ends off, and then we made her sit at the back of the van. Brian took a length of rope, doubled it over and started to bind her legs together below her knees, while Eric crossed her ankles and secured them. At the same time, I wrapped some rope around her waist and made sure her wrists were locked against her back.
And all the time, Pete and Doug watched silently.
As Brian peeled the tape away from Suzie’s mouth, I pulled a knotted strip of towel between her lips and around her head. She squirmed as she heard Eric peel the end away from a roll of white tape, and then wrap that tightly round her head, before Brian added a band of duct tape over that.
As he tore the end off and smoothed it down, I folded a white scarf and tied it over the whole thing. Pete looked at his watch, and said “Five minutes? You managed that in five minutes? How?”
“Hngggnn – hsttht?”
“Find out later,” I said as Brian took two more length of rope, and tied Suzie’s arms to the sides of her body, the bands sitting above and below her chest. Suzie squirmed again, before she said “nddhhddths?”
“I did,” Brian whispered into her ear as he tied the ends off, and put his hands on her shoulders. “I’m going to tighten them now, and you know I’m not going to hurt you. Right?”
Suzie nodded as he looked at me and Eric, and then took a long length of rope. He fed it under her right shoulder, and took it round both bands of rope before he pulled it tight. Suzie nodded to indicate her should continue, and then he pulled it up and over her right shoulder, under her ponytail and around the back of her neck, before taking it over her left shoulder and tying it again between her arms and her body.
The others watched as well, wondering how Suzie was feeling as she squirmed round, the bands now pressing firmly down on her chest. I had a fair idea of how Cassie felt the time I did it to her...
Brian then tied the end of another length of rope around her wrists, as Suzie said “Whtrrdnn?” She then felt the rope as he fed it up her back, under all the other bands, and then tied it to the rope at the back of her neck, pulling her wrists up as he did so.
“Hmmmmm,” she said quietly as she stopped moving, and I banged on the dividing wall by the driver. As we moved off, we all sat and watched as Suzie tried desperately not to move. It was almost as if she was afraid of what would happen if she did move – and judging by the way she mumbled when the van was jolted, that did appear to be the case.
It took about forty minutes to drive to the Manor house, none of us talking as we drove along. Eventually, however, Eddie came to a halt and walked round, opening the side of the door as Eric, Pete, Doug and I got out.
Suzie was taken completely by surprise as Brian picked her up and almost threw her over his shoulder, making her squirm even more as the ropes tightened where she was bent over.
He jumped out of the van – making her squirm again and then settle down. We then walked up the stairs, Mister Bridges opening it as we walked in and made our way silently to the library.
Angela was standing there, with five chairs arranged in a circle. As we came in, she again raised an eyebrow as Brian placed Suzie on one of the chairs, looking at the ropes at her back, but she took a length of rope and tied her waist to the chair back, before kneeling in front of her and tying a second length of rope to her ankles, then pulling them under the chair and securing them to the spar under the seat.
She then waved us off without a word, Suzie not even turning her head as we made our way back to the van.
“And that,” I said to Doug and Pete as we got into the back of the van, “is how you do it.”
“They’ll kill us if we do that to them.”
“We need to do them all the same,” Eric said, “so don’t worry – they will thank you for it.”
“Okay,” Brian said, “with the next two, we’ll get you to give us a hand with most of the ropes, but when it comes to the last set, leave them to us. Watch carefully, because you’ll do that to Hazel and Claire as well.”
“The question is,” I said, “who first? Cassie or Lisa?”
Taking from my pocket a fifty pence piece, I said “heads it’s Cassie, tails it’s Lisa. Agreed?”
The others nodded as I sent the coin spinning into the air, caught it in my hand and slapped it down on the back of my other hand. We all looked at it, and then I said to Eddie “okay then – let’s go.”
As I got out of the car, I looked up at the blue sky and smiled. Dad had taken Charlie off to visit our grandmother for the weekend, which meant Mum and I had the place to ourselves until Sunday evening.
And when Mum and I get the place to ourselves, it means one thing – DVD and Snack Night! So we had gone into the town centre, and bought a couple of new DVDs we both wanted to watch, as well as the soft drinks and Nachos kits. We were even wearing similar clothes – old jumpers, jeans and knee length leather boots.
“Right,” Mum said as she opened the boot, “give me a hand with the bags, and then I need to do some prep work upstairs. Will you be all right in the front room by yourself?”
“Of course I will be Mum – with Charlie away, what can happen to me?”
Looking back, I should have seen the funny look on her face, but hey – hindsight is always 20/20, as she is prone to say to me. But I helped her in with the bags, put the bottles in the fridge and the rest of the food away, and then went into the front room while Mum went upstairs.
Grabbing the remote, I started to flick through the channels, eventually finding something not too mind numbing and sitting back to watch it. It certainly got my attention – otherwise there’s a chance I may have heard the footsteps in the corridor, and the door to the front room slowly opening.
So yeah – I was taken completely by surprise when a hand came over from behind the couch and clamped itself over my mouth, pulling me back as I saw two young men walk quickly in front of me. They were wearing clack clothes, and balaclavas, as I screamed “WHHTHHLLLLLL!”
“Hey – little less noise please Lisa.”
I looked at one of them as he spoke, and then growled “rrekkcutrrillmmgnnnlllluuu...”
“Not today,” he said as the hand was taken away, and he quickly pushed a folded cloth into my mouth, before the other man quickly slapped a length of tape over my lips. “Stand up.”
Now, I had naturally figured out there was a kidnap game going on, as I stood up and whoever was behind me pulled my arms behind my back, the thin plastic zip tie quickly forcing my wrists together. Eric then folded a cloth and tied it tightly over my eyes, before he said “let’s get her out of here.”
“Dssmmkn,” I mumbled as I was walked along a corridor – but given she didn’t say anything, I figured out she did know, as I felt the cool outside air, praying nobody was looking.
Eric then helped me to step into something with a metal floor – which meant to me we were in some sort of van. I wondered who else was coming in on this, as I was made to sit down, and I felt the two people walking me holding my wrists as the zip tie was cut away.
Something was pressed into my palms, and I heard the familiar ripping sounds as I made a fist with my hands. So I sat still, while whoever they were used the tape to cover my hands, and then my wrists were pulled behind my back. One of the three men started to tie my wrists behind my back, while I heard Eric say “take a length of rope each and double it over, ten secure her legs together.”
I felt someone cross my ankles, and then the rope around my ankles and below my knees – but it felt different. Whoever was doing it was going slowly, so that while my wrists were secured, and then the rope around my stomach to keep them in place, was done quickly and tightly, I could feel whoever was at my legs taking their time, pulling more gently, less confidently.
“That’s right, keep the tension in the rope,” I heard Eric say, and sure enough my legs were soon tightly secured, as I heard the squeak of my boots rubbing against each other.
So I took a moment to consider my position – three masked people had taken me out, but there was more than three in the van. My wrists were tied together and to my back, and my legs were tied, but not my arms to my side.
I then felt the tape been peeled away from my mouth, but before I got the chance to say anything a knotted piece of what I could tell was towelling was pushed into my mouth, and then I felt the band pressing on my cheeks as it was tied round my head. Then there was the peeling sound of the soft tape, and I felt that as it was wrapped tightly round my head, and then the extra tightness as I heard duct tape being used.
Okay – now I was gagged, as I felt the ends of the scarf being knotted together at the base of my neck, keeping my hair in place.
“Yssbtwhttsgggnnn,” I mumbled as I turned my head to the sound of Eric’s voice.
“All in good time – I’m going to secure your arms to your sides, so sit still, all right?”
I nodded as I felt the rope going around my arms under my chest, and then grunted slightly as they were pulled into my sides, the rope going above and below my chest. So far, so good, as I wriggled round a little and felt the bands rubbing on me.
“Time to tighten them...”
I nodded as I felt the rope going between my left arm and my body, and the ropes tighten on that side, which was nice – and then I felt the rope around the back of my neck, and then felt it being tied on my left side.
“Hhhgdddd,” I whispered – it wasn’t the first time Eric had done this, but as I felt the ropes really tighten on me I didn’t know quite what to think. Then I felt the rope around my wrists, felt it being fed up my back, and then the rope pull on my neck and wrists...
“Don’t move – we’ll be back in a minute,” Eric said as I heard the van door open and close. I then felt his arm on my shoulder, and I didn’t panic.
Because I knew how it would feel when I tried to move...
We left Eric and Doug in the van, Pete walking with me and Brian as we made our way into the garage of Cassie’s home. We’d parked the van on the road outside, Eddie watching as we went in and I opened the door that led to the kitchen.
As we came in, the balaclavas over our heads, Mrs Craig looked over from the kitchen sink. I put my finger to my lips, and she indicated the door to the hallway. We nodded as I opened the door, and heard Cassie working in the dining room.
I looked in the room and saw Cassie sitting with her back to the door, looking at what I could see was a French textbook. She was wearing a blue short sleeved blouse and a pair of denim shorts. Smiling, I opened the door wide and walked in, quietly, quietly...
Her muffled scream made me smile as she reached up and tried to pull my hand away, and then she saw Brian and Pete looking at her.
“Surprise, Cass,” I whispered into her ear as she struggled, and then she let her hands drop as she looked up at me.
“All will be revealed,” I said as I took my hand away, and then pushed the cloth I was holding in my other hand into her mouth. As she closed her lips over it, Pete stuck the tape over her mouth, while I took her hands behind her back and secured them with a plastic zip tie. While I did this, Brian folded a scarf and used it as a blindfold, before I helped her to stand up and walked her back through the kitchen.
Brian looked quickly out from the garage door as Eddie opened the side door to the van, and between me and Pete we half walked, half carried Cassie to the van, lifting her in as Eddie closed the side door. We all felt the van move off, Lisa staying perfectly still as I cut the strip away from Cassie’s wrists, then watched as Doug and Pete made her hold the sponges, and then taped them over.
At the same time, Eric and Brian began to tie her legs together, while I kept my hand on her shoulder. I knew what was coming as she turned her head and said “jsthhwwmnnrrnhrrr.”
She grunted as we went over a bump, and I took her hands behind her back, crossing her tape covered wrists and securing them tightly together before I tied the rope around her waist.
“Yes Lisa is here as well,” I said as Eric peeled the tape away, allowing Doug to use the knotted cleave gag, Brian the white tape, and Pete the silver tape. I then picked up the black scarf in the bag, folded it into a wide band, and tied it round her head as Cassie grunted.
“Now,” I said in her ear, “time for the extra ropes. Ready?”
“Surprise,” I said as I doubled over the long length, the other four sitting and watching, Eric with his arm round Lisa as she sat very, very still.
Cassie seemed to almost be smiling under the layers of gag as the ropes forced her arms into her sides, and I took great care not to touch her anywhere inappropriate while the rope went above and below her chest. I tied those ropes off, and then tied one end of another length around the bands, between her left arm and her body.
She grunted a little as I pulled the bands together, and wriggled – then she stiffened as she felt me take the rope up and around the back of her neck, and used it to tighten the bands around the right side of her body.
She slowly turned her head – or tried to, as she quickly moved it back, while I tied the rope around her wrists, fed it carefully under the bands of rope at her back, and then tied it to the rope at the back of her neck.
“Now, enjoy the trip,” I whispered into her ear as we moved along...
Angela looked up as the door opened, and I carried Cassie in over my shoulder, Eric following me with Lisa staying very quiet on his. We walked past Suzie, who was still keeping very still, and sat them as gently as possible down on a chair each, stepping back and watching as Angela tied their waists to the chair back, and then their ankles to the spar under their chairs.
As we walked out, Mrs Bridges was waiting with some cold drinks for all of us.
“Three down,” I said as I looked at the others, “and two to go. Now, I happen to know that Claire is out with her mother this morning, doing some shopping, while Hazel is at home.”
“So what is the game plan?”
Looking at me watch, I smiled as I said “Well, we have about thirty minutes to get to the van to the outskirts of town. With the help of her mother, you Pete are about to give your girlfriend the fright and time of her life...”
There are things I like, and things I dislike – and what I really dislike is that I had to go shopping for things with Mum on my own!
The thing about being a twin is you do things together – but today, for some reason, Mum insisted I come with her while Hazel stayed at home. So here we were, me wearing a blue sleeveless jerkin over a checked blouse, leggings and short boots, while Mum had on a grey coat over her jeans and jumper.
The funny thing was, as we walked round the store, she was picking up things and looking at them, and putting a few things in the basket, but not really paying much attention to what she was doing. Of course, looking back now, I know why, but then...
Anyway – eventually we walked back to where the car was, and I saw in the bay along one from ours a grey van. Something about it seemed familiar, but I wasn’t sure what it was, as Mum said “why don’t you get in while I load the car up,” and unlocked the car with her key fob.
So, there we were – Mum opening the boot of the car while I went to the passenger door, and started to open it.
Only – only then was when someone grabbed me and put a gloved hand over my mouth. I was taken completely by surprise as I was quickly walked backwards, and then pulled into the van as the door slammed shut.
I could see four other men in the van, all wearing dark clothing and balaclavas over their heads, as I started to struggle and scream for help – at the same time, slamming my foot down on the person holding me.
“Hey – not fair Claire!”
The voice was clear, if slightly pained, and was the second big surprise as I said “Pettee?”
“No, it’s the tooth fairy,” Pete said behind me. “Just relax Claire – your mum knows what’s going on, and we’re going to pick up Hazel once we have you sorted out. So lie face down, and let us get on with securing you.”
Now I need to say something – the two of us may not be in the same league as the likes of Cassie and Suzie and the others in terms of getting tied and gagged, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like it. It’s just they have had their boyfriends – and when it comes to Pete and...
“Hllddnn – Dgg? Bbbee? Nd stht RicndBrn?”
“Guilty as charged,” Pete said as two of them came forward, pushed a sponge ball into the palm of my hands, and then as I closed them by instinct I heard them rip the ends of a roll of duct tape free, before they made silver fists of my hands.
Pete then took his hand away, pushed a cloth into my mouth, and then crossed my wrists behind my back. I got the next shock as he started to tie them together with rope. Now, he and Doug are in the same Scout troop as Eric and Brian, so that he could tie a knot wasn’t a surprise. What was was the fact he had been taught how to tie my wrists like Angela had taught us – and he was doing a fairly good job of it as well.
He then helped me to sit up as the van moved off, and tied the rope round my waist to keep my wrists against my back. At the same time, two of the others took two lengths of rope from a bag, and used them to bind my ankles together, as well as my legs below my knees. The third boy took a folded scarf, and tied it over my eyes, making sure I wouldn’t see what else was happening.
I could tell what was happening, though, as the ropes were tightened between my legs, and then I felt a knotted strip of towel as it was pulled between my lips, and tied round my head. I then heard the squelching sound of the special white tape, as it was wrapped round my head, and then the duct tape over that.
As I felt the second folded scarf over my mouth, I started to relax a little bit, Pete holding my shoulders behind me. This was a kidnap game then – and done well, it had to be said - but the fact Pete was taking part was really an extra bonus.
“The boys are going to let me tie the last ropes,” he said as I nodded, and I felt the band of rope as it was pulled round my stomach, holding my arms to my sides before I felt it on top of my chest as well.
It wasn’t the first time this had happened to me – that night we had the sleepover at Louise’s house came immediately to mind, as the two bands pressed on my body. I remembered how nice and how irritating they felt then – and even though Pete was taking his time and being gentle, those feelings were coming back.
I felt him tie them off, and wriggled round, secretly liking how they felt as he put his hands on my shoulders.
“I’m going to tighten them now – I’m not going to hurt you, all right?”
I nodded – and then after that, I didn’t move much at all...
There is a lot to be said for a Saturday morning with nothing to do – and, to my surprise, even more when your twin sister is not within calling distance.
Don’t get me wrong – I love Claire like crazy, but sometimes we need to have some time apart, and when Mum said she needed to take Claire with her, I jumped at the chance.
So there I was, halfway through the Lego movie, a half-empty bowl of popcorn on the floor and a glass of coke nearly empty beside me, as I sat with my knees under my chin and watched. I was wearing a white t-shirt over a long sleeved grey top and leggings, and a pair of white sock slippers on my feet as well as pulled up over my ankles.
Well I wasn’t planning to go anywhere, was I?
Anyway, the phone started ringing, so I stopped the film, and went into the hallway.
“Oh hi Mum – how’s the shopping trip going?
“Yeah, I can imagine Claire is really enjoying it. So when are you going to get back?
“Okay then – and yeah, pizza sounds good for lunch when you get back. I’ll see you then.”
Putting the phone back down, I went and picked up my glass, fully intending to get a refill – which was the moment my entire plan for the day went flying out of the window.
The door opened to the room, and in the time it took me to turn round I saw three masked men, in dark clothing, run into the room. Before I got the chance to say anything, one of them pushed a folded cloth into my mouth, while another pulled my wrists behind my back and I felt a pair of plastic handcuffs being fastened round them.
“Whtththllsgnnnn,” I mumbled as the third one pressed a length of white tape over my eyes. I only had enough time to close them before he did that, and then I was made to walk by the other two.
Oh I struggled – wouldn’t you? I struggled like crazy as I heard a door open and close, and then I was lifted into what I guessed was a van, given the feeling of cold metal under my feet and the sound of a door slamming.
I could hear another soft groan, and then a voice that simply said “surprise Hazel” from behind me.
“Well, me and others – we’re going to play a little game, and you just got invited. Now, let us get you nice and tied up.”
As he said this, I was made it lie face down, and my wrists were freed – only for two others to grab my hands and push a sponge ball into each of them. That, and the sound of tape ripping from a roll, told me what was going to happen.
“Now that would be telling,” Doug said as my hands had the tape wrapped round them, and then my wrists were crossed behind my back. I’ve been tied up enough times by now by the likes of Lord Robert and his friends to know what was coming next.
But whoever was doing it was taking his time, as if it was the first time and he was afraid of...
“Yes I am,” Doug said as I felt the rope go around and between them, and pulled tighter. I nodded and relaxed a bit as he did this, and then I was helped to sit up.
I felt my ankles being crossed, and then the rope tied round them, as well as someone else tying my legs together below my knees, and around my waist by a third person. I could feel Doug’s hands on my shoulders as well, which meant at least three others.
No – four others, and a fifth driving, because while the ropes were being tightened in three places, someone else pulled a knotted towel strip between my lips, keeping the cloth in as it was tied round my head and across my cheeks.
As soon as that was tied off, I heard the distinct sound the tape Cassie uses which does not hurt hair makes when it is peeled loose, and sure enough I felt it as it was wrapped tightly round my head. I could hear that moan again, and wondered who else was in here with me.
As soon as that band was pressed down, I heard the sound of the duct tape, and that was wrapped round my head as well, over the first band. A scarf or something as then tied over that – so the full gag.
“It’s time to tie your arms to your sides,” Doug said behind me, “but I want you to know I’m going to be the one to do that, all right?”
I nodded as I felt the rope under my chest, feeling again that strange feeling as it was wrapped around me above and below, forcing my arms to my sides as the band started to rub on me.
Now, that took me back to the night of Cassie’s sleepover and how I felt spending the night with the ropes like that – it was different, and it certainly felt different this time as well. Nicely so, especially as it was Doug doing it, but it still felt strange and irritating and nice and lovely and annoying and...
“Okay – I need to cinch these now. Ready?”
I nodded, knowing what was coming as I felt the rope pass between my right arm and my body, and the bands tightening on that side. So far, so...
I remember thinking “oh my God what are you doing” as Doug took the rope, pulling it up and then passing it round the back of my neck, before I felt him tying it between my left arm and my body. As that tightened, my chest was forced up even more, and it seemed even nicer and even more annoying – especially when I tried to wriggle round as I felt Doug tie another length of rope between my wrists.
I tried to stay calm as he fed the rope up my back, and then I felt the rope at my neck as it was pulled down slightly, my wrists pulled up, the bands on my chest...
Oh lord, the bands on my chest...
I was moved back and felt the side of the van on my back, as I tried to move. But every time I moved, the ropes rubbed on me, made me feel annoyed and crazy and everything else. I started to giggle in my gag, and then gasped, and tried to move, and giggled, and gasped...
I suddenly realised who else was there with me. And who else was doing this. And what I was going to say to them.
If I wasn’t so flaming distracted...
Eventually, I heard the van stop, and I was lifted up. It felt as if I was being carried over someone’s shoulder as I heard footsteps on gravel, and then wood, before I was sat in a chair.
Someone then tied my waist to the back of the chair, and pulled my ankles under the chair itself before they were secured to something, all the time with me wondering if I dared move or not. I could hear faint moans and grunts as well – and not just Claire. There were others here as well.
The tape was then carefully taken off my eyes, and as I blinked I realized I was in the Library at Holderness Manor. Looking to my left, I saw Claire looking at me, in the clothes she had been wearing when she went with Mum as the scarf was taken off her eyes. I saw the way she was tied, and the bands of rope...
Looking round, I saw Suzie in a checked blouse, jumper, jeans and boots; Liza in an old jumper, jeans and long leather boots; and Cassie in a short sleeved blouse and denim shorts. We were sat in a circle, tied to the chairs, and looking at each other with the same look in our eyes.
“There now – comfy?”
I turned my head – and instantly regretted it as the ropes rubbed – and saw six black clad and masked young men standing looking at us. Alongside them was one faintly amused Angela Bowden, her arms folded as she looked at us.
“Okay,” Angela eventually said, “we’re going to take the gags off, and let you talk to each other. Feel free to try to get free – but we’ll come back when lunch is ready.”
I wanted to nod, but was too afraid to do so in case those ropes made me giggle again, so I watched as all sat very still while our gags were taken off, looking at each other as the masked men left with Angela, and wondering who was going to speak first.
“Well,” Suzie eventually said, “here we all are. It looks as if you’ve all had an – interesting morning.”
“That... is one way of putting it,” Cassie said as she sat perfectly still. I tried to lean forward to see if I could get more comfortable – only to gasp as I felt the ropes rubbing on me, in a way which was both irritating and – very nice?
Lisa glanced over at me, before she said “Seriously, Hazel, you’re better off not moving at all – just trust me, move and you will feel it.”
“But we can’t just sit here,” Claire said, “We can use our teeth, pick at the knots. All we need to do is move ourselves round in the chairs...”
She started to try to move her chair, but as soon as she started wriggling she gasped, her eyes almost bulging before she sat still again.
“Lisa’s right,” Suzie said, “move and it is going to irritate the heck out of you, for all sorts of reasons.”
“And how... how on earth do you know this,” I said as I looked at them.
“Well,” Cassie said as she swallowed, “it’s not exactly the first time this has been done to me.”
“Or me,” Lisa said, Suzie very slightly nodding her head in agreement.
“Well... I need to go back to the weekend after we started school...”
“That was a good film,” Bobby said as we sat in the back of Dad’s car, making our way back to the house. We’d gone to see an early showing, and Bobby was coming back to have something to eat before his dad picked him up from our place later.
“It has its moments,” I said with a smile. It wasn’t exactly my favourite type of film, but I was looking forward to having some fun with him later.
It was a cold afternoon – so I had on a pair of brown knee length boots over my jeans and a brown jumper under my coat. I also had my arm round Bobby’s and my head against his shoulder. Life, as they say, was good.
So we got home, and had something to eat, before Jenny disappeared off to go somewhere with Colin.
“We’re going up to my room Mum,” I said after Bobby and I had helped with the washing up.
“Okay – but behave yourselves up there.”
“When have you ever known me to misbehave Mum?”
“Do you seriously want an answer to that, Cassandra Paulette Craig?”
I decided not to answer that, as I took Bobby’s hand and we walked up.
“So,” he said as he closed the door, “I need to stop you misbehaving, do I?”
“Now how would you do that,” he said with a smile as he looked at me. He really didn’t need to answer that, as he pulled my supplies box out from under the bed, and then took out a length of rope.
“Is it all right if I don’t have my hands covered,” I said with a smile, “I promise I won’t try and escape.”
“Oh I know you won’t,” Bobby said, and for a moment I thought I saw him smile, but then I turned round and crossed my wrists behind my back, feeling the rope as he wound it round my arms and secured them together. He then tied the rope round my waist, before cinching that between my wrists and my back.
“Let me do your legs next,” he said as he knelt down, before unzipping and removing my boots and revealing my white socks. I watched as he tied my ankles snugly together, side by side, and then secured my legs together below my knees, cinching each band as he did so.
“Now then,” he said as he stood up and wriggled round, “do you wish me to carry on?”
I knew what he meant by that, but I trusted him, so I nodded and watched as he took the longer length of rope out, doubled it over and passed it round my body below my chest. I closed my eyes as I felt my arms being drawn into my sides, loving the way the rope felt on my body as Bobby wrapped it round around above and below my chest and then tied it off.
“In a minute,” he said as he folded a cloth, “open wide.”
“Okay – if you say so,” I said as he pushed the cloth in, followed by the knotted cleave gag, and then the white tape around my head. He then folded a blue scarf and tied that over it as well, before he said “want to be blindfolded?”
I nodded as he tied a second scarf over my eyes, and then said “Okay – time to cinch those chest ropes.”
“Geddd,” I said as I felt him pass the rope between my left arm and body, and felt the bands tightening on me. By now I found that – shall we say, less annoying – and liked the way it felt as I felt the ropes tighten a little more.
“Hmmssnss,” I said – and then I felt the rope as it was pulled up, and rubbed on the back of my neck.
“Bbbee, whruhmmmgggg....” I stopped as I felt him then tighten the rope on the other side of my body, and how the ropes were pressing even more on me. As he tied the rope off, I tried moving round – and gasped as I felt how much more the ropes were rubbing on me.
It had taken me so much by surprise, I didn’t realise what else Bobby was doing as he tied more rope around my wrists, and I felt him feed it up my back. He then pulled on the rope at the back of my neck, which made me squirm even more, and the rope tied on that – which pulled my wrists up, and seemed to make the chest ropes even tighter.
“Bbbeehldrnsswhthffuu... Whtfffuu... hgddehtffuuu...”
It’s next to impossible to describe how it was making me feel, the ropes rubbing on my chest from all sides now...
And it did not help matters when Bobby started to tickle the soles of my feet...
“He tickled you?” I sat still, trying to think of how that must have felt as Cassie very gently nodded her head – and then gasped as well.
“It was – very, very different,” Cassie said quietly, “but it was nice and irritating to the nth degree.”
“What did you say to Bobby once you could speak,” Claire said as she looked over.
“Nothing – at first. I honestly did not know what to say. How was it for you Suzie?”
“I was in the treehouse – Brian had come round to help me with some homework...”
“They seriously have you reading Nancy Drew stories for English Lit?”
“No, they seriously don’t – if they were being serious, it would be Animal Farm,” I said with an exasperated sigh as I looked at Brian. “This is for Drama – we’ve been asked to pick a favourite book and do a five minute solo piece on how the character reacts to a situation.”
“Okay,” Brian said with a grin, “so how can I help?”
“Well, I was wondering if Nancy could talk about a time she really could not move – but it has to be as if it came from the book, so no hogties or anything like that.”
I had been out in the woods before Brian came in, so I had come up to the tree house and kicked off my wellington boots. I was sitting on a bean bag, my ankles crossed as Brian was beginning to tie them together. My white socks were pulled up over the legs of my riding pants, while I also had on a brown jumper and a green sleeveless jerkin.
I wasn’t even bothered about the fact he was tying my ankles, and then my legs – I trusted Brian completely, so once he had my legs secured he said “so what would Nancy think of this?”
“Oh no – not again?”
He smiled as he walked behind me and took my jerkin off, before he tied my wrists together behind my back. He then tied the rope round my waist, before securing my arms to my sides with the rope above and below my chest. It didn’t feel so bad with my thick jumper on, but it was still secure.
“So, like in the books,” Brian said as he put his hands on my shoulders, “I have a way that I think will make sure you cannot move, but without hogtying you. Want to try it?”
“Well – if you think it will work,” I said, wondering what he was going to tie me down to.
“Best keep you quiet first,” he said as I saw the folded cloth in front of my mouth. Well, I had half expected that, so I let him push it in, and then felt the cotton on my tongue as he cleave gagged me. He then wrapped the white tape round my head, before he tied a folded red scarf around my head.
I wondered what he was going to do next, as I wriggled round, then as I glanced to my side I saw him feed the rope under my arm, and the bands coming together at that side as he pulled them between my arm and body.
“So far so good,” I thought to myself as I closed my eyes and tried to enjoy the way it felt. So no – I didn’t see until it was too late, and I felt the rope being pulled up, and then felt it at the back of my neck.
“Whtrudnnng,” I said as I opened my eye and looked to the side – which was when I saw the rope pulled up my shoulder, and then felt the ropes tighten on the other side. I turned my head to look, and felt the rope rub at the back of my neck, Brian grinning as he tightened the other side between my arm and body.
This... this was completely different. I mean, yes, he would cinch the bands there anyway, and it would rub on me – but this was tighter. Much tighter – and I could feel the bands now.
Really feel them as I wriggled round – and then I felt the extra rope round my wrists, as he pulled it up my back, and then tied it to the rope at my neck – and my god, I really did feel it as he tied the off.
“So – think you can move now?”
I stared at Brian as he sat in the bean bag opposite me, and I tried to move towards him – but every time I moved, I felt so strange, and I had to stop.
I had to stop...
I could understand what Suzie meant, as we all looked at Lisa.
“It was in the barn at the Cottrell farm – and his mother almost caught us. I’m not gonna say more than that,” was all she said as we looked at each other.
“Okay,” I said quietly, “so we know the boys have done this to you before, but this is the first time for us. Does it... Do you get used to it?”
“Don’t ask me,” Cassie said, “I haven’t yet.”
“So,” Lisa said, “the question is, when they finally come and let us go – do we tell them not to do it again today?”
We all slowly nodded, before Cassie said “Well – the additional ropes yes. I kinda want the double chest ropes.”
As she looked at us, we all agreed to that as well, before Cassie said “so, who’s going to speak for all of us?”
Claire smiled, as she said “I vote for Hazel.”
“Now hang on a...”
“You’re it, Hazel.”
I swallowed, and said “all right – but how long do you think they’re going to be...”
Suzie looked at the clock on the fireplace, and said “it’s only 11.30. Maybe another hour...”
We all looked at each other, none of wanting to move, and at the same time I could see how much all of us wanted these ropes to be removed. The minutes seemed to tick by so slowly, so very very slowly...
I wondered for a second who had sneezed, and then realised with a shock it was me as I threw my head forward, the ropes pulling my wrists away from my back as I suddenly felt the ropes pressing on my chest. It felt so good, and so bad at the same time, I started to wriggle round, trying to get the ropes off even as they made me feel so different, rubbing on me, making me feel all tingly and wonderful and annoyed and wonderful and upset and...
I stopped and looked at Claire, who said “Calm down – you were wriggling so much...”
“I... I know,” I said quietly as I sat still, “it just took me totally by surprise.”
“Want to hear a story,” Cassie said, and as we listened she told us about something David and June had done while they were visiting her grandmother. It was a good story, and as she told I was aware we were all starting to snigger.
And then to laugh.
Which meant we all were moving with the ropes now, trying not to let them affect us as we moved, and all of us were laughing and gasping in equal measure. Eventually, however, we managed to calm ourselves down – but not before we all heard each other moaning a little.
“What the heck is this doing to us,” Claire whispered as she tried to sit still.
It took a while to get calm – and just as we managed it, the door to the room opened and the boys came in – all bar what I guessed was Eddie – and stood looking at us, their masks still on.
“Well, lunch is nearly ready,” Bobby said, “are you al right?”
“We’re fine,” Suzie said with a smile, as all four girls looked at me. I could feel myself blushing, as Bobby turned and looked at me.
“Okay,” Doug said as he looked at me, “so – do you want the chest ropes removed?”
I took a deep breath, knowing the decision we had all made, and ready to ask Doug to take those annoying, wonderful ropes off my chest. All I had to do was say “yes please – take them off.”
“No – I was wondering just how much longer it would be until lunch.”
I looked at the other four girls, the shock clear in their eyes – and believe me, I was shocked about what I just said!
“Really?” I could see Doug’s eyes opening wide, before he turned and looked at Bobby.
“What about the rest of you – do you want the new ropes taken off?”
I looked at the other four girls – we’d all agreed to say yes, take them off, stop this, surely they wouldn’t make the same mistake I made?
I watched as she slowly raised her head, looked at Bobby, opened her mouth and said “no – let’s keep them on for now.”
One by one they said the same thing, and as soon as they said it they looked at me!
“Well then,” Bobby said as each of them knelt in front of us, and started to release our legs, “the ropes can stay on while you have lunch, and we will all feed you.”
Once my legs were freed, I stretched them out and moved them about, before Doug helped me to stand – and I gasped at just doing that!
I heard the over four doing the same as they stood up, and then we walked slowly out of the room, and along the corridor. As we did so, we took very very small steps – because with each step we took, the ropes rubbed, and...
Let me just put it this way – the biggest relief for all of us was when we sat on the chair, and looked carefully at each other.
“Oh my,” Angela said as she came in with Eddie, “do you girls want those ropes to stay on?”
She looked at me, and I surprised myself again by saying “yes,” the others doing the same.
Angela took a long, hard look at each of us, before she said “all right – you boys make sure they get enough to eat and drink. Tie them to the chairs first.”
I waited as Doug tied some rope round my waist, and then he asked “what would you like,” while I saw the food and salads laid out on the table. I told him what I wanted to eat, and he put it on a plate, before very carefully putting some on a fork and letting me eat it.
It was a lovely lunch as well – cold meats, salads, and squash to drink, but it seemed to take an eternity as Doug took really, really good care of me. And all the time, I dared not move, just in case those feelings started again...
Eventually, he said “have you had enough?”
“Yes, thank you,” I said as the boys started to eat, all five of us watching each other, wondering why we had said nothing...
“Okay,” Angela said, “I think you boys should let the girls go to the toilet now. Hazel, would you like to be first?”
I said “yes, thank you” as Doug untied my waist, and then helped me to stand up before we walked out of the dining room, down the hallway and up the stairs – and do not get me started on how that felt!
Eventually, however, I felt the pressure ease as Doug untied all the ropes, and then uncovered my hands. Taking the balaclava off, he said “so – how mad at me are you?”
“Not at all,” I said as I gave him a kiss on the cheek, and then ran into the bathroom, closing and locking the door behind me. Looking in the big mirror, I breathed a huge and genuine sigh of relief, but also giggled as I thought about what had happened.
Other concerns raised their head, however, so I took care of them, washing my hands and looking at myself before I walked out. Doug was still there, but he took my hand and said “which room is the playroom?”
“that door there,” I said as he led me in, and then handed me the two sponges again. “This time, I get to tie you up myself – if you want?”
“I’d like that,” I said as I held the sponges, making my hands into fists as he covered them with silver tape. “So how come you never offered to before?”
“I have done it – just not as much,” he said with a smile as he walked behind me, took my hands behind my back, and started to tie them together with rope. “But now, you are going to be tied up for the rest of the day. Apparently, you like that as well...”
“Well, I do – and now I like it even more,” I said as I felt my wrists being drawn together, and then the rope as it went between my arms.
“Actually,” I said as he tied another length of rope around my waist, and then around my arms and stomach, “I like it a lot. You need to do this more often?”
“I’ll try to remember that,” he said as he made sure my arms were fixed to my sides, and then kissed me on the cheek. “Now, I have a very important question to ask you.”
“Oh? And what is that?”
“Would you like the chest ropes back on again?”
So there it was – the opportunity to say, once and for all, “NO! No, I do not want to feel that way again, so please never do it again.” A simple, direct and absolute refusal, that was what was needed here, as I looked at Doug, smiled and said...
“Yes – I’d love that.”
As soon as I said that, I wondered what I was thinking, and opened my mouth to change my mind – but Doug used that opportunity to push a folded cloth into my mouth, and then tied a fresh knotted strip of towel between my teeth.
“You are a real sport, Hazel,” Doug said as he wrapped the white tape round my head, then the duct tape, and finally tied a folded black scarf around my head.
“Whthffidnn,” I mumbled as he wrapped the rope around my arms and chest, the now familiar bands pressing above and below as he tied the ends off – but it was that was coming next that I wasn’t sure how to cope with.
“Here we go,” Doug said as he doubled over a long length of rope, passed it under my right arm between my arm and body, and pulled the bands together, making them press even more on that side. He then pulled it up in front of me, around the back of my neck and under my hair, and finally tied it round the left hand side of my body.
I stood perfectly still, trying to get used to the way the ropes were rubbing on me already, with not much success. But then I felt the extra rope around my wrists, and as it was pulled up my back I braced myself, before the neck rope was pulled down and I felt the knot there.
“After you,” Doug said as he opened the door, taking my arm and walking with me. As we passed the toilet door, I saw Bobby standing there, who smiled as I was helped to walk down the stairs and back into the dining room.
As I went in, the others had gone, so I had to wait as Doug helped me to sit down. As they came back one by one, however, I could see the sheepish look in their eyes as they all reappeared with all the chest ropes firmly in place...
Suzie was the last to come in, whispering “hmggdmsree” as she was helped to sit down.
“Now then,” Bobby said as he looked at all of us, “this is too nice a day to spend indoors. I think we should take them all down to the lake.
We all looked at each other – well sort of looked, given how it felt every time we did so – and I guess we were all thinking the same thing. What the heck did they mean by going in style?”
Bobby went and fetched some more ropes, before we were helped to stand up and form a line. Suzie was at the front, followed by Cassie, Lisa, Claire and me at the back. As we watched, he tied the end of one length of rope to the rope running down Suzie’s back, and then tied the other end to the front of the rope belt around Cassie’s waist. He then moved down the line, linking us up in turn, until he tied the rope just under my belly button and around the rope there.
As he gave it a little tug, of course it moved the rope, which moved my wrists – and I groaned before I gave him a look that should have killed. That was what I meant to do – so when he said “you’re welcome” and smiled, I figured it hadn’t come out quite as intended.
“Now then – let’s go for a walk,” Bobby said as one by one the boys took our arms, and we started to walk in a line out of the hall, down the corridor, out of the house and onto the lawn.
I’ve already said what just trying to move when these ropes were rubbing was like, and how bad it was just moving from the library to the dining room, as well as down the stairs – but that was all on a fairly even floor. So imagine how much worse it is when you’re walking down a slope, on uneven grass!
As it was, we were taking small steps, all of us acutely aware of what exactly the ropes were doing to each of us – and yes, I knew we all were. I certainly was, unsure of whether or not to laugh or scream at our tormentors.
And then what we wanted to say to the boys...
Which, as we reached the bottom of the hill, was of course the cue for Suzie to slip on the wet grass and fall forwards. Seriously, it was like watching that film of people who spend hours – days – setting up dominoes just to see them all fall down and make some sort of picture in a few minutes.
So as we all watched Suzie slip and fall forwards, it was inevitable that Cassie would follow, falling forward with a muffled shriek, which pulled Lisa down, then Claire – and finally me, as the ropes nearly made me faint when I fell forward.
We all lay there, laughing and unable to move for a few minutes, before the boys took pity on us and helped us all to slowly get to our feet. “Shall we go on,” Bobby said, all five of us catching our breath before we nodded and we made our way between the trees.
Now the sloping grass was bad enough, but the path was rougher, and as we stumbled we felt the ropes even more. By the time we got to the end of the path, and came out onto the grass that sloped down to the edge of the lake, we were all squirming and wondering how much longer this was going to go on for.
Fortunately, the answer was not for long. Bobby had been carrying a rug all the way down, and after he had laid it down on the ground we were each helped to solely sit down. We watched as the boys took ropes from a bag, and bound our ankles and legs, before Bobby said “So – do you want the ropes off now?”
We slowly looked at each other, wondering who was going to say something which I felt should go along the lines of “what do you think, you great big idiot? GET THEM OFF!! NOW!!!”
So again naturally, none of us said anything, as the boys knelt behind us and hugged us. As Doug hugged me, his hands accidentally stroked over my chest – and I couldn’t stop shivering for a few seconds.
“What’s the building over on the island,” Pete said as we all looked out over the water.
“That – that,” Bobby said, “is the Holderness family mausoleum.”
“A maus... You mean a tomb?”
“Oh yes,” Bobby said quietly, “every Lord Holderness and his family are interred there – with one or two exceptions.”
“Now that is a sobering thought,” Doug said as he gave me a little hug, and I shivered again in his arms. “Have you ever being over there?”
“We go over at least once a year, on Remembrance Sunday,” Bobby said, “but touch wood it’ll be a few years before we need to go out to put someone to rest there. There are a couple of other memorials over there as well, but generally we don’t go over just to play there.”
“I can understand that,” Frank said as he looked over, “it seems such a peaceful place.”
I nodded – for a microsecond before the ropes reminded me what they were capable of doing.
“Why don’t we just let the girls lie here for a few minutes,” Bobby said, and before we could agree and disagree we were all on our backs, the warm sun shining on us, the birds singing, as we all stayed as still as we could. I felt my eyes start to close, as I slipped into a deep sleep...
“You Fiends! You’ll never get away with this!”
I looked at Claire, who like me was dressed in a flowing blue dress, only marred by the band of thick brown rope which held us fast to the three around our waist. Our arms had been pulled back and around the tree trunk, and another hank of brown rope was tied on the far side, holding our wrists together. Two more bands of rope had been applied – one holding our ankles fast, just under the skirts of our dresses, the other around our legs and the tree trunk again.
“Our father, the King, will have you tried and thrown into a dungeon,” Claire shouted out – just before one of the two masked ruffians stuffed a cloth into her mouth, muffling her calls before he pushed a second cloth into my mouth.
“Now then,” the second man cackled, “you’re going to stay there until your father releases our leader. OF course, he may choose not to do so – in which case...”
We both called out as he drew his finger across his throat, and then took his partner to the side, while we talked in low voices. I tried to turn my head to look at Claire, and she looked at me, both of us wondering what was going to happen to us.
“There they are!”
We both turned and looked as the two knights came out of the woods, their armour glistening in the sunlight, and advanced on the two ruffians. Both Claire and I watched as they made short work of the scoundrels, knocking both of them out before they came over to us.
One swoop with their swords, and our wrists were free! A second swoop, and the ropes that held if firmly against the trunks were falling to the ground, as we looked at them.
“Forgive us for arriving so late, my lady,” Sir Douglas said as he fell to one knee, bowing his head. “It took us too long to find their trail.”
“Tsslrrhturrhrrnw,” I said as Sir Peter knelt before Claire, and then they both swept us up in their arms.
“May I,” Sir Douglas said as I out my arms around his neck, me nodding in reply as he tenderly kissed my lips, and then looked at me.
“I am sure it must feel better with those ropes off now.”
“Hysssss,” I heard myself say, and then I wondered what he was talking about.
As I opened my eyes, I saw Doug sitting there, my head on his lap – and then I realised he had removed the extra chest rope, so that only the ropes around my stomach and waist kept my arms against my back.
“I said, I took the extra ropes off, I hope you don’t mind, but they seemed to really be distracting you.”
“Nsttssllrttfnks,” I said as he helped me to sit up, and I saw the other four girls were also free of the annoyingly wonderful extra bonds. Cassie even gave Bobby a quick peck on the cheek to say thank you – something we all did with our respective boyfriends.
“So, now that you have rested,” Bobby said as our legs were untied, “I think a little exercise is called for. Up you all get.”
As we got up, he started to coil and put away the extra ropes, while Frank and Brian looked at the other two boys – and we all slowly started to back away. Because we could see what was coming.
We didn’t need to be told twice by Cassie, as we sprinted to the four corners of the open grass, the four boys trying to catch up with and catch us. Now the extra ropes weren’t there, we could be free to have some fun!
And we did have fun – finally able to run round, and show the boys just how much better at this sort of thing we were than them. In fact, we showed them all as Bobby folded and picked up the rug, as we looked at each other and started to run back along the path to the manor house.
As we appeared from the woods and made our way up to the house, we saw Angela sitting with her grandmother, a slightly bemused expression on her face as we all made it to the chairs and sat down.
“Perhaps,” she said, “you could ask Mrs Bridges to bring some cold drinks out Angela, and then you could fetch some scissors? I will start to untie Cassandra and Suzanne while you do so.”
“Fnkssgrndmm,” Suzie said as she untied her arms, and then those of Cassie, both of them taking a moment to rub their arms before they removed the scarf that was tied round their heads, and then the tape.
“Here we go,” Angela said as she put a pair of safety scissors on the table, watching as Suzie finally was able to speak, “the drinks will be out shortly.”
“That would be wonderful,” she said before she started to untie Lisa, and Cassie started to untie Claire.
All four looked at me as if I was to blame for everything they had felt that day!
Well, I wasn’t going to let that lie, but this was probably not the place or time to do that with Lady Holderness and Angela there, so I bided my time and waited until I was untied by Claire – just as Mrs Bridges brought out the drinks, at the same time as the boys came up the hill.
“You boys go in and have a drink inside,” Angela said quietly, “Grandma and I need to talk to the girls.”
We all looked at each other as Bobby said “come on boys,” and then took a glass of the iced squash, Angela and her Ladyship watching as we all took a long drink.
“Hot, Grandma,” Suzie said as she held her glass.
“Now I wonder why that may be the case,” Lady Holderness said with a smile, “perhaps you can explain to us?”
I gulped as Suzie said “Well, we were running around by the lake, and it was warmer down there than here. It was fun...”
Lady Holderness looked at all of us as Angela shook his head. “Well, that would be a reasonable explanation,” she said, “and I do know the boys would have ensured you were kept – amused. I presume they have taken all the materials inside?”
Suzie nodded as she took another drink.
“Well, Mrs Bridges will be preparing some food for you, and then Mister Bridges will make sure you are all returned safely home,” her ladyship said, “Angela, I will see you inside in a few minutes.”
“Of course, Grandma,” Angela said as Lady Holderness stood up, and walked into the main house. She then looked at us, before she said “All right – it really did make you feel different, didn’t it?”
“Oh yes,” Cassie whispered, “but we couldn’t explain that to Lady Holderness without raising some questions in her mind.”
“Such as why the boys did it, or how they learned to do it?”
We all nodded in response to that, as Angela said “okay then – go and wash up. I think I am going to say there will be no more games today, to give you all a rest from the – experience.”
“Thank you,” Suzie said as we went back into the main house, each of us looking at the others as we made our way to the bathrooms. As I went in, I closed the door and looked at myself in the mirror.
“What on earth happened today,” I whispered to myself as I looked at my body, and then smiled at the memory of how those ropes teased at me. It had been frightening, exhilarating, unusual, different, funny, amazing, and scary as hell...
I stood there for a moment, trying to process all of this, before I started to run some water and washed my face. Looking at myself in the mirror as I dried myself off, I knew I didn’t look any different, but somehow...
Somehow I felt different...
“Well there you are,” Mum said as Claire and I came into our home, “did you have a good day at the Manor House?”
“We did,” Claire said as we took our boots off, “although it started in a very different way.”
“Yes, I’m sorry about that,” Dad said as he looked out, “but we knew what was going to happen, and we gave them permission to – invite you to come along. Did Doug and Pete behave themselves?”
“They were perfect gentlemen,” I said as I looked at my twin sister, “would it be all right if we went and got changed for bed before we had some supper?”
“Of course it’s all right – on you go,” Mum said as the two of us went up the staircase, looking at each other as we went into our bedrooms. I sat down and took a deep breath, before I started to take off my jumper and the rest of my clothes.
“That’s better – thanks Mum,” I said as I stretched my legs out, wriggling my toes as I took another drink from the mug of hot chocolate. We had both changed into pyjamas, and were sitting watching the television after having eaten a sandwich.
“You look as if you are both ready for your beds anyway,” Mum said as she and Dad looked at us.
“I’m fine,” Claire said – right before she let out the longest, deepest yawn it was possible for her to do so. “On the other hand...”
“Bed, both of you,” Dad said, “we’ll let you lie in tomorrow morning.”
“Thanks Dad,” I said as I stood up. As I went to the door, Claire followed me, and we both walked up the staircase for one last time that day.
“In here,” Claire said as we went into her room, me watching as she got into bed before I sat on the side.
“Some day,” she said with a smile. “I haven’t felt anything like that since – well, ever.”
I nodded in agreement, before she said “why didn’t you tell them at lunchtime not to put them back on?”
“I don’t know,” I said with a shrug, “but even when I didn’t, I expected one of you to step in and stop them. None of you – NONE of you did.”
“Yeah,” Claire said as she drew her knees up. “I can’t speak for the other three, but when I was asked, it was if my brain and my body were totally disagreeing. And my body won out – was it like that with you?”
I nodded as I said “yeah, something like that. I can’t explain it Claire, I really can’t...”
“I do wonder if this is something you cannot explain away,” Claire said as she looked at me.
“If that’s the case,” I said as I stood up, “then we can’t really tell anyone.”
“Except each other.”
“As you say,” I said with a smile, “except each other. I’ll see you in the morning Claire.”
“Yeah – sleep well,” my twin said as she lay down, pulling the covers over herself as I turned the light off, and went to my own room.
“Hey – did you have a quiet Sunday?”
I looked up as Lisa sat next to me. “Oh yeah,” I said as she opened her lunch box, “I slept until lunchtime. You?”
“I never sleep that late,” she said with a smile, “but I had a quiet day as well. I take it Claire was the same?”
I nodded as my sister came over with Cassie. “Anyway,” I said as I looked at them, “I need to know about what happened on Saturday – or rather, what didn’t happen.”
“The fact that we could not say no?”
I looked as the other three nodded, Cassie taking a deep breath before she said “I don’t think I can – can we agree we all feel the same?”
We all nodded, as Lisa said “right – so what are we going to do this weekend?”