A Walk In The Park
Bernie Castleman was on the run. He didn't have a real plan beyond avoiding capture by the police. He knew they were looking everywhere, and as he was wanted for shooting his wife and her lover, he knew they wouldn't give up easily. They had survived but he knew the tabloids had him down as a dangerous lunatic. But he knew the area well and so far he had managed to stay hidden, while not leaving town. The little dark green ridge tent concealed among the trees by the river meadows wasn't conspicuous. It was about a hundred yards to the right of the entrance gateway that led to the car park, which was to the left. It was only motorists who came into the meadows that way, and they weren't looking to the right. He had driven the small blue Citroen van across the grass and parked it just behind the tent, immediately after stealing it from a supermarket car park the previous evening. But this morning he had woken up at the crack of dawn, hungry, and was down to his last two cigarettes. It was time to replenish his provisions.
He had decided to target a particular convenience store which wasn't too close to his hiding place. It was a mile away, but he was a fit man, and he knew he could cover that distance easily.
The All-Day-Long Shop opened at six every morning, to sell papers and refreshments to the first wave of people going to work, and every morning it was Maureen Duggan who arrived to open it. She manned it single-handed until 7.00 when the newspaper boys and girls arrived.
Bernie hesitated outside, looking one way then another, then stepped smartly inside the shop. He pulled the door to, and flipped the "open" sign around so that from the outside it read "closed". He pulled the ski-mask down over his face. He couldn't see anybody at first. Then a door behind the counter opened slowly and a woman came through, carrying a huge bundle of newspapers. She was a short woman; he estimated 5'2" at the most. A rather chubby blue-eyed brunette of about 40, he thought. Wearing a blue denim pinafore dress with a knee length skirt over a black T-shirt, with low-heeled white sandals. Too much eye make-up for his taste, he noted. Seeing her jaw drop he waved the sawn-off shotgun and barked "Keep it shut. Down on the floor, face down!"
She quickly lowered the armful onto the counter, then lowered herself face down on the floor. Resting on her forearms, she looked up and said "the money's all in the till. Take it; I won't try to stop you"
"Thanks" he said. He was looking round. All sorts of useful cold food and soft drinks, plus beer and fags. But first he had to take care of her. She was sure to know about his exploits and who he was, and she'd call the police at the first chance. He would make sure that the first chance was delayed as much as possible. "Got any rope?" he demanded.
"No, we don't sell it" she looked up, momentarily puzzled. "What for?"
"Stop looking up. I need something to tie you up. Better think of something, or I might have to put you in a coma."
"Tights and stockings, they are over on the stand by the window" she blurted out in panic. "You don't need to tie me up. I'll say it was like this when I got here. Please don't hurt me".
"That'll do just fine" With an armful of hosiery he squatted beside her, out of sight of the window. "Tell them what you like, but you're going to be tied up whether you like it or not. Face down, properly, and put your hands behind your back"
Maureen obeyed fearfully. She realised that this was the runaway gunman who was in the news, and defying him could get her seriously hurt. He had shot people. Compared to that, being tied up was nothing to worry about. The delivery boys would be there in about an hour, and she would be untied. That's if I'm not free by then anyway, she thought.
She lay there compliantly, trying not to show any sign of discomfort, but couldn't help wincing as first her wrists, then her ankles were bound. Was there any need to tie them so tight? Next he turned her face towards him, forcing something into her mouth. She soon realised it was one of a pair of stockings, as the other one was bound tightly across her lower face to hold it in place. He tapped her on the nose. "You know who I am, don't you? Everyone does. You better not tell the police it was me, or I'll be back to get you!"
She tried to say "I won't, I promise!" but she was so frightened, all that came out was muffled sobs. He stared directly at her. Her blue eyes were filling up with tears. He didn't like to see women cry. He flattened out the second stocking between his fingers and tied it over her eyes, knotting it at the back of her head. He was about to leave, but it occurred to him that there might be a panic button somewhere in here, and she would know where it was. So one more precaution wouldn't be excessive. He ripped another pair of stockings from its packaging, and rolled Maureen over onto her stomach. "Nearly done" he said, giving her plump bottom a hearty slap. Maureen groaned through her gag as her feet were pulled up behind her and fastened to her bound wrists, with just a short length in between. "Stupid bitch" he muttered. He stood up and looked round. The coast seemed clear. He stuffed the bag with bread rolls, ham, cheese, chocolate bars, crisps, bananas, cigarettes, some more cans of lager. As an afterthought he crammed the rest of the hosiery into the bag. It was quite possible he might have to keep somebody else quiet before he could get out of town.
In a little over ten minutes he was back in his tent, munching on a ham roll, while in the shop, Maureen had composed herself enough to start trying to free herself. All in vain, she soon realised she was just going to shred the skin on her wrists. Why did he have to tie me so tightly, she thought despairingly. She was just going to have to wait until the paper boys turned up and released her.
Later in the morning, just before eight o'clock Ray was taking a walk. To a casual observer it might appear that a casually dressed middle-aged man was taking a brisk walk round the town for the benefit of his health, but as he approached a particular shop, his pace slowed. He opened a newspaper that he was carrying and seemed to be reading as he walked. It had come to Ray's notice that a betting shop in a side street was visited by a female cleaner at this time every morning. She left after an hour, and half an hour later the shop staff arrived. He had observed her arrival on four different days. He liked to be quite sure of the sequence of events before carrying out a robbery. That lady was going to be meeting him again.
It was the habit of obsessively careful planning that had kept him out of jail. His penchant for tying up any lady who happened to be there could safely be indulged if she was alone, and Ray only struck when the said lady was alone. There had been one exception to this rule, and it had been when a curvaceous traffic warden had interrupted one of his robberies. He had forced the lady cashier to bind and gag the meter maid, but she had made quite an impression on Ray .He enjoyed capturing ladies like her, pleasantly plump ladies as he liked to call them, in the course of his robberies. When there was enough time he liked to spank them, once they had been safely tied and gagged. When there wasn't enough time, he liked to tell them he was going to spank them, just to see their expressions. But Wendy Clarke, the buxom red-haired traffic warden, was a conundrum. He had tied her up on two occasions, both of them times when she had blundered into the scene of other crimes. And Ray hadn't had the opportunity to give her well-upholstered bottom the spanking that he thought it deserved. He recognised that it was becoming a bit of an obsession, and that an obsession could cloud his judgement. He even toyed with the idea if kidnapping her, just to satisfy his fantasy. It could be done, he knew. He could park a stolen van on a double yellow line, on her patch. She would come along, he would grab her. He would take her away, bound, gagged and blindfolded, in the van, spank her soundly and then dump her somewhere, still bound, gagged and blindfolded. She would never know who had done it or why. But he wasn't really going to, because robbery was his area of expertise. And enacting that fantasy would make him a worse criminal, one who abducted a woman for sex. In his mind, acquiring money was a much nobler motive for crime.
However, if fate were to deliver Wendy to him, already bound and gagged, that would be different.
The riverside park where Bernie had erected his little tent were at the side of a road which was on Wendy Clarke's usual "beat" as she liked to call it. Wendy would have liked to be a WPC. Things hadn't been right when she was younger, and now it was too late. But as a traffic warden, she observed the same standards of meticulous work practice, and immaculate adherence to the uniform, that she imagined went with police work. She always followed procedure to the letter, and was always correctly attired. Not for her the scuffed shoes, unbuttoned collar and loosened tie that some of her colleagues considered good enough. Any motorist committing an offence was dealt with fairly but firmly. Some of her colleagues just couldn't be bothered, sometimes, but she always could. The only thing Wendy ever got in trouble for was smoking on duty. It was forbidden, and a resentful motorist would often make a point of reporting any warden they saw smoking. The bosses knew it was malicious, why, even some non-smokers had been reported. Wendy had found a number of quiet spots to enjoy a smoke, and fatefully, one of them was here. She would go through the gate into the park, turn right, walk along a footpath for two hundred yards or so. A high stone wall hid it from the road, and the further you went, the more the trees hid it from the lawn and paths by the river . At this time of year the bushes were thick and leafy and the little green ridge tent was easily overlooked, so Wendy didn't see it until she was really close. She stopped in her tracks. It hadn't been there yesterday morning. The weather was lovely, but this was a funny place to camp. And then she noticed that, not far behind it, where the trees thinned out and met the river meadow, there was a little blue van.
Well, there was nobody here it seemed, so Wendy took out a cigarette, lit up and stood there, serenely contemplating the river in the middle distance, through the trees. It was a lovely morning for a walk in the park. It was hard to imagine much going wrong around here. It wouldn't be long before she would revise her opinion about that.
Things were beginning to wind Bernie up, even more than usual. He had risked arrest to top up on supplies, got more than enough food, fags and beer. And then what had happened. His lighter had run out of gas. He should have taken some of them from the shop. He'd taken just about everything, even a load of stockings. That was a good idea, he thought. The reason he was on the run was because he had shot somebody. It wouldn't happen again, the next busybody who got in the way would get tied up, not injured. Then eventually he would get away from here, he wouldn't be news any more. But right now, he couldn't light that fag he so desperately needed. One thing was certain, he wasn't going to rob just for a light. So he strolled reluctantly away from the river, to a convenience store which he knew was staffed usually by teenagers. He had chosen the right place, the youth hardly looked up as he paid for his five cheap lighters.
He was almost back at the tent when he saw something that stopped him in his tracks. A uniformed woman. He stood perfectly still, behind a tree, and studied her before deciding what to do about her. This could be a problem, he realised.
He realised she was a traffic warden, not a WPC as he first thought. She looked about thirty, a plump but pretty redhead. Her hair was pinned up at the back, worn in a fringe at the front. She wore a crisp white blouse with the sleeves rolled up above her elbows, with a navy blue crossover bow tie and a navy blue serge skirt which was just a bit less than knee-length. She wore flesh-coloured tights and shiny black lace-up shoes and there on her head was a peaked cap with a yellow band. He liked the way her bust and bottom filled out her uniform. Nice, but too much make-up he thought. She was looking at the van, writing in a small black notebook. He remembered the stockings, they would come in useful after all. The first busybody was here! Silently he reached for a discarded soft drink bottle from the woodland floor and crept up behind her. He pressed it against the side of her neck, clapped his other hand over her mouth.
"Quiet, or I'll blow your head off. I'm that nutter on the news, you know I'll do it. Gonna keep it shut?"
Wendy squeaked a terrified affirmative.
"What you doing?" he demanded. He released his grip on her mouth slightly
"Having a smoke, honestly, that’s all" she blurted out "Don't hurt me please, I'm not interested in you"
"What are you writing down? The van number?"
"Y-yes. Well, it shouldn't be here, should it. I haven't told anyone." Wendy realised she was panicking, talking nonsense.
"Well, OK, I got to go, but not yet. And you, can't let you go now, can I?" He looked around. There was nobody. In an unusually charitable moment, he said. "You like a smoke, have one now. It'll be the last for a while"
Wendy looked him up and down as he relaxed his grip. She certainly needed a cigarette, even if she had just finished the last one. She opened her bag, took one out, lit up.
He grabbed her free hand and bent it up behind her back. "Just so you don't get any ideas" he growled.
As she neared the end of the cigarette she plucked up courage to ask the question that was on her mind. "Why can't I smoke for a while? Where am I going?"
"You're going in the tent, while I get some stuff sorted out. I know you'll try to get away, but you won't be going anywhere because you'll be tied up. You needn't bother telling me you won't try anything. So just go into the tent, and sit down, facing inwards. I'll be right behind you".
Wendy really didn't want to go into that little tent with him. Why did this keep happening to her, she wondered. "I don't know how to get in. I haven't been in a tent like this" she pleaded, playing for time. Perhaps the more she spun this out, the more chance there was of somebody appearing. Once she was tied up inside that tent, who knows what could happen.
"Just unzip it from the bottom up and stop pissing about" he barked. "Before I change my mind and shoot you instead".
She lowered herself to her knees, found the zip and opened the flap. For the first time, she looked round at him. Yes, it was that muscle-bound man, with black curly hair, who had been all over the TV news and the tabloid front pages. He didn't look quite so scary in the flesh. She supposed that the papers always used the most menacing picture they could find. The other thing she noticed was the bottle in his hand. Not the gun that he pretended to have. She had really been fooled. He saw her looking at it. "Yes, just a bottle. But you don't fancy your chances, do you? I do have a gun. Like I said, get inside".
She certainly didn't fancy her chances, so she hastily scrambled inside, taking her bag with her. She sat facing the back of the tent, as he followed her in. She glanced round, seeing the sleeping bag and the beer cans, cigarette packets and food. The oddity was the small pile of packets of tights and stockings. Was he a transvestite or something? A thought crossed her mind, there wasn’t any rope or string here, but he was going to tie her up, he said. This man was well prepared to deal with unexpected visitors. There were loads of the things.
"You can start by opening some of them, start with the stockings. Do four packets. Quick, and sit cross-legged" The orders followed fast. Wendy was keen to obey because everything the media said about him meant he might be dangerous, even if he seemed quite controlled now. He had shot people after all. On his instruction, she had tied her legs in the crossed position, each ankle to the opposite leg above the knee, and tied her legs together at the calf. Then she unwrapped some of the tights and passed them behind her to him.
"Give me your hands" She clasped her hands behind her back assuming that was where he wanted them. He took her hands and repositioned them with her wrists crossed. She thought to suggest that he could tie her hands in front, it might be more comfortable, but decided to say nothing. It suddenly seemed more exciting, to have her hands tied behind her back, more like she was being tied properly. She thought of that phrase that had come into her mind on a previous occasion. Trussed up like a turkey. Like a heroine in a TV thriller. So she sat silently, looking down at the floor. She felt the stocking being deftly wrapped round her wrists, horizontally, knotted, then vertically, knotted some more. She was remembering the three occasions in the recent past when she had been tied up by criminals. She had noticed on those occasions that the men present had seemed unable to take their eyes off her once she was tied up. Wendy was something of a teaser and had relished the attention. It was amazing how they all seemed to drool over her. She found it something of a turn-on, but she kept that to herself. She didn't want any of them getting too carried away, not while she was completely helpless. It was not as if they were men friends of her choosing. But even so, butterflies in her stomach were coming out of hibernation. She felt as if that magic button had been pressed between her thighs again. Calm down, she told herself. You're a kidnap victim for real, in a dangerous situation.
“Not too tight, is it? I'm not trying to hurt you” he asked .
“No, I suppose not “she replied. He pulled the nylon tighter while knotting it yet again.
“How about that then” he said proudly. She didn’t answer. He didn't want answers, she realised. He was too engrossed in tying her up.
“Just sit still now,” he said as he took one of the pairs of tights, passed it around Wendy’s upper arms behind her, drawing them back and pushing her breasts prominently forward before knotting it in the middle of her back. Then he took another pair, passed it round her arms and tied it across her chest below her breasts. Then another, this time above her breasts. He took yet another stocking and tying it round her already bound wrists, pulled them up into the middle of her back and tied them to the knot that held the tights round her arms. Wendy tried tentatively to move her hands and arms. It was all she could do to move her fingers, and her futile struggles stretched the fabric of her white blouse across her breasts. She didn't want to pop her buttons. She watched incredulously as she saw him reach for another pair of tights. What else could he be going to do? Of course, he was going to gag her. But that wasn't it, not just yet. He passed one end of the tights through the binding round her calves, then pulled both ends up behind her neck. "Lean forward" he muttered. As she obeyed, craning forward slightly, he knotted the ends at the back of her neck, her shirt collar cushioning her neck from the pressure. Now she was forced to lean forward and look downwards. It wasn't going to be comfortable.
He broke off from his task, and opened her bag. Foraging inside, he took out a ten-pound note, then her bank card and a credit card. "Great. I'm going to need cash. What's the pin numbers for these? You better tell me the truth, 'cause if you don't, when I get back you know what I'll do".
Wendy wasn't about to lie to him. "It's 2929 on both of them. There isn't much in there though". She was aggrieved. On top of everything he was going to rob her.
"Don't you believe it. It's Saturday. I can draw the max on all the cash machines. It doesn’t register till Monday. Done it before. You're going to be so overdrawn. So, 2929, don't want to change your mind? Truth now?"
"It's true. I'd be stupid to lie, wouldn't I? You'd come back and take it out on me"
"Too right I would. Anyway, I need to keep you quiet before I go". He had another stocking, she could see him knotting it in the middle. She knew the score by now, so when he said "Open up" she obeyed without any question or hesitation. "Good girl, no argument" he said approvingly.
"What's the point?" she said in a resigned voice.
"None at all" So saying, he pushed the knotted fabric into her mouth, more gently than she had expected, then pulled the ends behind her head and knotted them. As he crawled out of the tent he turned and said "We'll have a good time when I get back, I'll have more time then". Wendy froze. Up till now he hadn't done anything to make her fear any kind of sexual interference. But now, well! She dreaded to think what his idea of a good time was. She guessed she wouldn't get much chance to say no, whatever it was.
As soon as he had zipped up the tent again, she began to struggle. She soon found that any forward movement made her skirt ride up over her thighs, much more of that and her panties would be on show. She tried moving her arms around, fighting against the web of nylon holding her arms behind her back, but to no avail. Then to her horror, two blouse buttons came open, the ones between her breasts. Looking down, she could just see the lacy edge of the white bra, and so would the man when he came back. There wasn't anything she could do, except to sit quite still and do nothing to make things worse.
Not far away, on the other side of the river, Ray was wondering what to do about an unexpected development. After watching the comings and goings at the betting shop he had strolled down to the riverside park to buy an ice cream. It was a bit early in the day, but the sun was already getting hot. As he leaned over the parapet of the bridge, eating the ice cream, he caught sight of a familiar figure on the other side of the river. His favourite traffic warden, the one who he had plans for, was strolling away from the gateway, smoking. Looking further along, he saw the green tent in the bushes, and close by, the blue van. That was strange, for them to be there. Quite a secluded spot. As he watched, Wendy stopped suddenly and studied the scene. Ray always carried a small pocket sized pair of binoculars when he was researching his next job, and he pulled these out to get a closer view. It occurred to him that an observer would think his behaviour was creepy, but there was nobody watching him. Suddenly another figure appeared. This one looked horribly like the wanted man whose picture was all over the media. Bernie somebody. He was hiding out somewhere. Ray focused on him. Yes, that was him. Ray watched as the man crept up on Wendy, captured her and forced her into the tent. He didn't know what to do about this, or even, whether he should do anything. He waited to see what else happened. The tent was a good few minutes walk away and a dangerous criminal was inside it, with a hostage and probably a gun. But on the other hand, the hostage was a woman for whom he had developed something of a fixation. He was not a little resentful of the fascination she was starting to have for him, and while he was no angel, he didn't like to think of her coming to any real harm. He realised that he felt a little bit protective toward her. He had seen how impatient and rude she could be but that just made him think of her as a woman with spirit.
He watched for a few minutes, trying to decide a course of action. A responsible citizen would have phoned the police, but Ray was not one of those. Suddenly the big man emerged from the tent, closed it up and strode briskly away, out through the gate and headed for the town centre. He looked very purposeful, the way he walked. So what had he done with Wendy. There hadn't been a struggle, in a tent that size Ray would have been able to see signs of it. He hadn't heard shots or screams. With a rising feeling of excitement he realised that she was probably bound and gagged inside the tent. Now that idea interested him. He should perhaps try to rescue her while the man was away, though he wasn't sure how. Best to wait and see if the man came back before blundering in.
After half an hour, Wendy heard her captor unzipping the tent. It seemed a lot longer to her, and she had no way of knowing the time. He crawled in. She smelt vodka, surely he wasn't on the booze this early. But he was, he had been delighted with the outcome of his visits to the cash machines, and felt justified in celebrating. Only a quarter bottle, got to keep a clear head, he had told himself. "I got £850! That'll get me where I need to go. And the funny thing is, the bank will think you did it. I'm putting your cards back in here" He opened her bag and shoved the two cars inside. Suddenly his tone changed. He belched loudly. Suddenly he left the tent, much faster than he came in. Wendy heard an unmistakeable sound. He was vomiting repeatedly outside. Well at least it was outside.
After a small bottle of vodka, the act of getting down on all fours to enter the tent had been too much for Bernie's digestive system. After throwing up in a bush as far from the tent as he could get, he felt better, but also felt an urge to rest and recuperate. Half an hour's sleep was what he needed, and then he would be back on form. He took several deep breaths. The woman could go in the van, he thought, that way he would have room to lie down and her presence wouldn't distract him. He took the keys from his pocket and unlocked the back doors of the van, then entered the tent, carefully this time.
Wendy looked round at him. He smelt of vomit and looked as white as a ghost."I need a rest, so you're going in the van" he muttered. He leaned across her with a Stanley knife and began to cut the stockings binding her legs. "Stretch your legs. You’re going for a little walk, I don't want you collapsing on me". She guessed he wasn't going to untie her arms and hands, but nevertheless she was relieved. He obviously didn't feel like having a good time any more. He moved behind her and, taking her by the shoulders, pulled her out of the tent backwards and helped her to her feet.
Ray had found a better position from which to observe the tent. He was now directly opposite, on the other side of the river, standing among trees. If the people on the other side had chosen to watch him, they could do so, but he thought that was unlikely. He had watched as Bernie returned, bottle in hand, from his fund-raising mission, seen him go into the tent, and seen his hasty exit. He had watched as the man went back in, then came out again with his curvaceous captive. The buxom redhead in the white blouse, bow tie and dark blue skirt was obviously unhurt, although her hands and arms were bound behind her back with an assortment of hosiery, and she was gagged with more of the same. But the man hadn't harmed her and her clothes weren't ripped off or anything like that. Perhaps the man wasn't quite the wild animal he was portrayed as. The man hustled her over to the back of the van, opened the doors, sat her on the sill at the back, and quickly bound her ankles together. Ray's view was partly obscured by foliage now, but he could see Bernie pushing Wendy into the interior of the van and doing something with another stocking. Then he stood back and closed the doors. After looking quickly around, he went back to the tent and disappeared inside. Ray noted with some pleasure that the keys were still in the back door of the van. He decided to make his way to the other side of the river as soon as possible. He wasn't planning to confront Bernie, but he hoped that wouldn't be necessary.
Wendy was lying on her side in the back of the van, where Bernie had hastily left her after pushing her inside. He had pulled her bound feet up behind her and tied them to her wrists, just to make quite sure she didn't go anywhere. As if, she thought ruefully. She wondered how long she had got, before he came back. But before too long she heard a familiar but unexpected sound. He was snoring. The tent must be about fifteen feet away, and the van doors were closed, but she could definitely hear it. Unmistakable. She marvelled at what kind of person could go to sleep in the middle of a situation like this. She didn't realise that in his mind, he had everything under control. Only one person knew where he was, and that person was her, securely bound and gagged in his van, unable to interfere with his plans. As she lay helpless, wondering what she could do to take advantage of the situation, she heard a sound at the back of the van. Somebody had taken the keys out of the door. Surely Bernie hadn't left the keys there. She was even more alarmed when the driver’s door opened. She turned her face that way and saw Ray looking at her. She didn't know his name, but she recognised him. If there was one person she had hoped not to meet again, it was him.
Her first thought was that she was going out of the frying pan into the fire. He saw the fear in her eyes and put a finger to his lips, giving her a reassuring smile. Her composure started to return. Sure it was the man who had abducted her twice, but he wasn't a gun-toting lunatic who was wanted for shooting people. He hadn't done her any real harm in the past and she certainly didn't want to share in Bernie's idea of a good time. It crossed her mind that the gunman and Ray could be working together. Perhaps Ray had employed Bernie to capture her and deliver her, bound and gagged, into his clutches, she thought, but then she realised that couldn't be true. After all it was her who had found Bernie and his tent. Not for the first time, she realised, her smoking habit had landed her in a perilous situation. And how was she going to get out of this situation, she wondered. Was Ray going to be her rescuer this time round?
Suddenly everything was happening very fast. Ray started the engine, put the vehicle in gear and raced away from the spot, across the meadow to the car park entrance, slowing down to drive out onto the road. He didn't think Bernie would run after the van, not in the open. In a few minutes he was parked in the car park across the river, from where he could just about see the tent.
While he watched, Bernie emerged from the tent and stood there bewildered, staring around. He lit a cigarette and just stood looking in all directions, then went back inside. To Ray's surprise, he seemed composed. He didn't behave like a bull in a china shop.
Bernie had been woken by the engine revving furiously, but he hadn't quite grasped what was happening at first. By the time he was outside he couldn't see the van anywhere. With a sinking heart he remembered leaving the keys in the back door of the van. The bitch must have got loose and found them, and driven away. He didn't blame her, but he thought he had tied her up pretty securely. How the hell did she manage to get loose so quickly? He scanned the area again. There was a similar van across the river in the car park, but he could see a middle-aged man inside, so that wasn't it. He checked his pockets. The money from the cash machines was still there. Well then, it didn't matter about the van now, the cash would get him where he wanted to go, in the short term. The best thing would be to clear out now. That cow would be back with the police soon. Yes, he had to go now, just take the sports bag, the gun, the fags, the food. Everything in the tent was evidence, but what the hell. They knew what he had done and who he was.
Without looking round Ray spoke, for the first time since driving the van away."D'you know I have possibly just saved your life. Or maybe from a fate worse than death. I said I'd see you again. Hang on, he's going". He watched as Bernie, carrying only a sports bag, walked briskly away from the tent, out of the gate. Now the wall hid him. When he reached the end of the wall, he had crossed the road, then he disappeared around a corner. Ray didn't think he would be coming back. I wouldn't, in his shoes, he thought. He turned towards Wendy. "Now, my good deed for the day" he said. Taking the keys, he opened the back of the van and climbed in. Wendy, hogtied, lay on her side facing him, her blue eyes wide with anger or impatience. It wasn't fear. He looked her over. He was going to untie her, but first he would savour the sight. Her breasts were pushed forward by the web of hosiery that fastened her arms behind her back. He noticed with amusement and approval that although her bow tie was still in place and her shirt collar still buttoned, the two buttons between her breasts had popped open, giving a pleasing view of her bra and cleavage. I should really get a Polaroid camera, he thought. Kneeling in front of her and following her eyes, he realised that she was staring at his erection. Was that a hint of a smile, he wondered.
He hadn't got anything with a blade. He looked round, the van looked as if it belonged to a handyman of some sort. Lots of dust sheets and a big blue metal toolbox. He flipped the latch. In one of the hinged trays he spotted a craft knife. That was what he needed, he knew he would never pick the knots undone with his fingers. He moved behind Wendy and went to work freeing her hands.
A few minutes later they were both sitting in the back of the van. "You know who that was, don't you. I was just passing when I saw him grab you. I couldn't just do nothing. I know what I've done, but that was all in the line of work. For now, let's call it water under the bridge". Ray had put his case while untying her, before removing her gag.
When she could eventually speak, she had had time to think. "Don’t' think I'm not grateful. If it wasn't for you I'd still be over there with him, waiting for him to sober up". She shuddered. "He said we were going to have a good time later. The kind of good time I wouldn't like, I suppose. But what happens now?" She spotted her bag on the floor of the van. She didn't realise that it was there, she thought Bernie still had it. She looked inside. The two bank cards were there, he had put them back. "I've got a big problem" she said in a despairing voice. "He made me tell him my card numbers, and he drew out hundreds, much more than I've got. I'll be so overdrawn. He laughed when he put the cards back, and said the bank would think it was me that did it. What a bastard! You'd think with what he's done, he could take the blame for this".
She was looking tearful, a side of her Ray hadn't seen before. He didn't like this new development. He also didn't like the fact that this woman was starting to get to him.
"There's got to be an easy way out of this. There always is. You just need to think of it" He hoped he was reassuring her.
"Look" she continued. "You must think it's weird that I'm bothered about the money, with what's happened to me today. But I'm not a shrinking violet, you must know that by now. I mean, I thought I was being held at gunpoint, but it was only a bottle. By the time I knew that it was too late, I was being tied up. And I am in enough trouble with my bank already, without all this". He noted that as she spoke she was becoming more composed. In fact she was beginning to get annoyed. "I've had a lot of expense lately, maybe my fault, but things were starting to get under control again. And now that meathead has probably dropped me in it". She looked him in the eye. "I've got the cards in my bag and I'm not ungrateful, but now you've rescued me, there's nothing to connect me to him. I could be making it up. They are going to think I drew the cash. Even if they do catch him, he's not going to confess to abducting me just because I say he did. I'm starting to think there is a way out, but I need some help".
"Something comes to mind, actually" said Ray hesitantly. "But you might not like my suggestion. So tell me your idea first. It could be better than mine. It's your money after all".
Wendy sat facing him, hugging her knees. She had buttoned up the front of her blouse. "As I see it, before you gallantly rescued me, if the police had come while I was over there, tied up, they would all believe he took the money, wouldn't they? Following on from that, if I'm found in this van, bound and gagged, they will believe it, won't they?" She gave him a questioning look then continued "Nobody says bound and gagged in real life, do they, but the newspapers always do, don't they? Sorry if it sounds weird, but I really need you to tie me up again. I'll have to be bound and gagged when somebody finds me. From what I've seen, you'll enjoy doing that, and you're good at it".
Ray grinned. "I don't often get praised for my work. But that's real synchronicity or something. That's what I was going to suggest .
'Cos it's what I'm good at".
Wendy smiled, the first time Ray had seen that. "I've got a bone to pick, on that subject. When you left me in that disabled loo, you said you had tied me in a way that I could soon get free. But I couldn't, no way. I got the gag off, and I had to get some woman motorist to untie me. I told her it was a prank by some nasty workmates. So am I just thick or what?"
"No, you aren't thick. I was lying, I tied you so you wouldn’t get loose. Pleased that it worked. A workmate's prank, eh. I wondered why it wasn't in the papers. I was looking forward to reading your explanation for being found tied up in a public toilet. By the way, I read about your trouble in the television shop. Plucky heroine tries to foil robbers. Did you really try to stop them?".
She was still smiling. "No, not really. I went round the side to the back yard for a smoke, I didn't know they were there. Not till it was too late and they caught me and trussed me up".
"You are making a habit of this sort of thing".
"Don't I know it. Didn’t think, when I woke up this morning that I'd be asking to be tied up. What can you do it with though, you've cut this lot to bits?"
"Well, you've got rope marks all over. There needs to be a piece of cord or something wherever there's a mark, or it won't look right.
Here's an idea. Taylors Hardware is five minutes away. I'll buy what we need. You happy with that idea?"
"Sounds like the best way". She looked at her arms and legs. "It takes a few days for these marks to go. You're right about making the ropes match the marks, I'm sure. How easy is that?"
"Trade secret" said Ray. "The way he tied your arms and hands is a textbook way to tie a well-endowed lady for a nice visual effect. It's what I would have done".
"Yes, I get it". She said. "That's what the men in the shop did. Nice to know I was dealing with professionals. So as I've got a nice pair of boobs, I can expect to get tied up in a way that displays them to good advantage, whereas if I was flat-chested, they wouldn’t take so much trouble. I see. Next time I get caught up in a robbery I'll be able to rate the criminals on their performance". She suddenly realised she was blushing, as she remembered who the next man to tie her up would be. "Anyway, back to business. Yes, get it from that shop".
"Ok. You stay out of sight in the back of the van, I'll be back a.s.a.p. But I'll get rid of this stuff". He picked up all the cut-up pieces of tights and stockings. "Don't go away" he joked. He climbed out of the back and closed the doors.
In fifteen minutes, Ray was on his way back. He had been thinking about how this unexpected situation seemed to be working out in his favour. Was there such a thing as karma, he wondered. He had done the decent thing, something he had never thought he would do, in untying a bound and gagged woman. And not just any woman, but a delicious lady that he had been lusting after. And what do you know, here he was buying some cords to tie her up again, because that was what she wanted. He could hardly believe it. He realised that she felt safe with him at least by comparison to Bernie. And she was right to, he wasn't a rapist. But while Wendy didn't know what else might be in store for her, Ray couldn't keep his mind off it. Yes, as soon as she was securely bound and gagged he would tell her that she was going to be spanked, and he would savour her reaction. Then, while those blue eyes were still wide with indignation, she would be bent over, her skirt pulled up and in spite of her muffled squeals of protest, her bottom would be smacked repeatedly until he decided it was time to stop. Until she had been punished enough.
Wendy sat in the back of the van waiting. It seemed ridiculous, but getting him to tie her up again so she could be found by the police or somebody, seemed like the only way. Her mind wandered back, without much prompting, to the other times when she had been tied up. Trussed up like a turkey, that phrase kept coming into her mind. She had read it in a thriller, years ago. It sounded very 'fifties, but she felt a tinge of excitement at the idea of it applying to her. What would the newspaper article say about her being Captured by Bernie then found in the van. "Trussed up traffic warden Wendy found in van" "Missing meter maid Wendy found trussed up like a turkey". She imagined those headlines. She was starting to feel aroused, thinking about it. That time in the electric shop, when those two men had left her bound and gagged, after spanking her, she had really wished she could touch herself and bring those feelings to a climax. Now at least she could enjoy the anticipation of what was going to happen. Ray would be back soon, so she had to be prepared to stop at a seconds notice. Still sitting with her back against the side of the van, she pulled her skirt up and began to stroke herself, through her tights and panties, thinking about how things would be in a few minutes. I won't be able to touch myself then, she thought, I'll be trussed up like a turkey!
She heard the footfall a few seconds before Ray opened the door. She hastily withdrew her fingers and smoothed her skirt, sitting upright again. "It's only me" he said. "I've got everything I need to make you look like you really were captured by Bernie Castleman. I overheard the people in the shop talking. Apparently he robbed a paper shop first thing this morning. The paper boys found the manageress tied up and gagged when they got in. He used the stockings and tights from the shop to tie her. Same as he did with you. The police won't have any problem believing your story".
"What exactly is my story? I mean, I can't tell the real truth". Wendy was trying to get the sequence of events sorted out, while she was still able to ask questions.
"Won't it be better if you make it up, rather than me? You'll tell a more convincing tale if you made it up. Try it out on me".
"OK" she began. ""I saw the van parked where it shouldn't be, and went over to take the number. Then I saw the tent. That’s when he appeared from nowhere, threatened me with a gun and tied me up in the tent. He took my card and drew my cash. When he came back he put me in the van and drove away to here, then he left me. And I don't know where I am in the van, do I, after he drove away.
How does that sound?"
"Sounds fine to me. You need to seem more frightened and upset of course"
"Well" she thought for a moment. "Maybe when I've been trussed up and gagged for a while I will seem upset. Do you know what, I never thought I'd be pleased to see you".
"Oh, I'm always pleased to see you".
"Yes, I've noticed" she said. She didn't try to conceal her smile. "The last two times when the policemen found me, they were pleased to see me too. One of them was as pleased as you are now".
Ray shuffled uncomfortably. "Nothing I can do about it" he said nonchalantly. "You needn't be frightened. Take it as a compliment. Anyway, this is what I bought". He opened a plastic carrier bag and took out a 15-yard length of white cord and a roll of gauze bandage. "Should be enough to fix you up convincingly, what do you think?"
"Looks about right" said Wendy in a small voice. "Am I going to be tied up like you were talking about, you know, for visual effect?"
"Well, it would be a pity not to. Don't you want those coppers to be pleased to see you?"
She laughed shyly. "Yes, I suppose I do. So let’s get on, the sooner it's done the sooner I get found and set free. How do you want me to sit?"
"Start by kneeling here with your back to me". He indicated the middle of the van, so she would be facing the back doors. He flattened the dust sheets, moved the tool chest from the side so that it was in front of her. Seeing her quizzical look, he said. "It'll be in the way there, later" She didn't understand, but nodded as if she did.
Once she was kneeling in the required position, Wendy placed her hands behind her back in the crossed position she knew they would be tied in. "Good girl; you know how it works by now".
Wendy was about to remark that she should by now, but instead decided to say nothing, kneeling compliantly, looking down at the floor. She took note of the way the cords were being wrapped round her wrists, first horizontally, knotted, then vertically, knotted some more. She was starting to feel aroused as she knew she would. Her captor must not know, but that didn't stop her enjoying it. Now I'm properly captured, she thought. That phrase came back into her mind. I'm being trussed up like a turkey.
He cut the cord, then taking the long remaining piece, draped it around her neck from behind and passed it under each arm at the front, round the back, then round Wendy’s arms and chest below her breasts, pulling her arms to her sides Pulling the ends of the cord through the loops behind her back, he wrapped it around several more times, both above and below her breasts, before knotting it somewhere between her shoulder blades and passing some round her bound wrists. A final pull, a final piece of knotting and somehow her bound wrists had been pulled up so that they were attached to the ropes round her arms.
Wendy tried tentatively to move her hands and arms. She could just about flutter her fingers. She glanced downwards. Yes, her breasts were being pushed forward. She felt herself blushing. He wasn't looking, he was doing something with the rest of the cord.
"Up a bit" he pushed her forward slightly "so I can do your feet" She held herself in that more upright position, while he bound her feet together at the ankles. She wondered why he hadn't made her sit down, but he seemed to know what he was doing. She suddenly realised that she would have to be gagged, so she had better give him his instructions while there was time.
"Look, when you go, get rid of my cards. Drop them down a drain or something, if I've still got them nobody will believe what I say happened".
Ray looked up "It'll be inconvenient, not having them, won't it?"
"Yes, but the damage is done. It won't be as bad as having to pay back £850 from my wages. I'll be issued with new cards soon enough I suppose. That's the whole reason we are doing this, isn't it". The growing feeling of arousal reminded her that this wasn't true. "Actually, I'm really grateful to you for finding me back there and getting me away from him, but you aren't getting anything out of it. Are you".
Ray was one step ahead, but he wasn't going to say anything yet. "Don't they say virtue is its own reward, didn't I read that somewhere?"
"Yes, right. Course it is. Look, seriously, if we meet up some time, say hello and I'll buy you a drink"
"I'll do that" said Ray, surprised. If you still feel that way then. You might change your mind and have me arrested".
"No I won't, honestly. You could have saved my life"
"Whatever you say then. But now you have to be gagged. Any final words?"
"No. Time to finish the job, as you say. Not too tight, though, I won't be yelling for help for a while, not unless nobody comes for hours"
"I'll make it look good though" said Ray. He cut off a strip of the bandage and knotted it in the middle before pushing the knot into her mouth and knotting the ends behind her head. Then to her puzzlement he placed some dustsheets on top of the tool chest that was lengthwise in front of her. He was facing her now, looking her in the eye with a mischievous grin. "You have put me to a lot of trouble, now I think of it. Been a very naughty girl. And I bet you know what happens to naughty girls, don't you? In case you don't, I'll explain. That time in the bank, first time I met you, I thought, that woman is just made to be tied up and spanked. Sorry, there's just something about you. And today's the day." He couldn't quite figure out what her expression meant, eyes wide above her gag. She didn't look scared. She didn't struggle as he lowered her forward onto the tool chest. She even seemed to adjust herself into the most comfortable position. Once she was in position, he took the remaining length of bandage and before she could move, wrapped it twice round her head covering her eyes before knotting it at the back of her head. "You need to seem a bit more distressed than you are. That'll help, won't it". It certainly increased Wendy's feeling of complete helplessness
This was all too much. Wendy was already aroused and now she felt as if she would explode if she were touched. But she wasn't going to be. He pulled her skirt up over her bottom. Was he going to pull her panties down? Nothing happened for a moment No, he didn't. He caressed her bottom, running his hand over her white cotton sports knickers. "Nice" he whispered. She felt a stinging smack, and then another. She was well aware that he was leaving enough of a time lapse for her to anticipate the next one. She was grateful that he hadn’t pulled her knickers down, it would have been so hard to control herself, but as she counted the smacks, up to six ,she was beginning to feel more aroused anyway. Then he stopped. She thought, if she had been able to speak, she might have persuaded him not to stop, if only she had the nerve. But that was all in her mind for now. He didn't say anything for a moment, then he asked in a mock stern voice " Still going to buy me a drink?"
She thought for a moment. She really didn't like the thought that today might be the last time that anything like this happened to her. Blindfolded and gagged, she nodded her head in agreement, the only response she could give.
"Good. I'll be in touch. I'll phone somebody in an hour to come and get you. I'll just make you a little less comfortable". He raised her from her face-down position on the tool chest, moved it to one side, then lowered her to the van floor, face down again. He didn't pull her skirt back down properly, though it slipped back over her bottom as he lifted her up. She had no idea what he was doing, then he was passing some cord round her already bound ankles. She remembered why when her feet were pulled up and back toward her bottom and fastened to the web of cord that bound her arms behind her back. The shop robbers had left her like that. "If you ever wonder what hogtied means, that’s it" he said. "See you soon then" She felt a final smack on her bottom then he was gone, slamming the van door as he went.
It was going to be a long hour, Wendy realised. She didn't want to get loose because the plan required somebody to discover her tied up and helpless, the prisoner of Bernie Castleman. Even so, she was well aware that Ray really enjoyed tying up ladies, whatever the reason. So there was probably zero prospect of getting loose anyway. No sense pretending she didn't enjoy it herself, because she didn't consider him a threat. She might have convinced the bank that Bernie had taken her cards but this would be more convincing. And it had been fun. She hadn't expected to be spanked. A naughty girl indeed. She started to think about what might happen next time they met. There was quite an age gap between them ,but she had obviously made quite an impression on him. Was it her, Wendy Clarke, that aroused him, or was it just the fact that he loved to tie up well-endowed women and spank them. In fact, was she starting to find him attractive or was it just that he had made her more aware of her own preferences. This line of thought occupied her mind until she heard the sound of approaching police sirens, followed by the sound of the van door opening. Then she heard voices that she knew. "Here she is. Look at her. Trussed up like a turkey. Where do we start".
Time to act frightened and upset, she told herself. She had almost forgotten about that. I'm a victim, I've been kidnapped and robbed and I'm terrified. And I don't know where I am. She bucked and thrashed frantically against the cords, squealing and grunting behind her gag.
"Don't worry. It's us, you’re safe now" said a reassuring voice, as many hands set about untying her.
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