A tale, from a remote Scottish Island, with the aim of securing more treasure for the mysterious collector known as ‘the Baron’ and his professional team….
Elsie McPhee was a post bus driver, who lived in a remote croft house a mile or two from Tobermory, on the beautiful Scottish island of Mull. She was in her forties, single, a little thick set, but always bustling about the place and she was in love with her job. She enjoyed being the centre of attention to many and particularly enjoyed meeting the tourists and driving them around in her people carrier van. She always wore her trouser suit uniform and postal service hat with pride and with a sense of authority. It was common for her to pick up passengers, whose modest fares supplemented the cost of running a rural post service.
On that autumn day last year, she picked up a couple of gentlemen outside the beautiful castle at Torosay. They were smartly dressed, but casual and both had little cases on wheels with telescopic handles. One of the men spoke to her as they took her seats; she noticed they were English and were heading all the way to Iona. This was not an altogether uncommon occurrence, but that day was going to turn out anything but ordinary for Elsie.
There was some chatter along the way between Elsie and one of the men, although she didn’t really notice that one of the men was silent the whole time. The occasional passenger boarded and got off soon after and eventually, they were on the short ferry ride to the historic and beautiful island of Iona.
Elsie asked why the men didn’t alight at the abbey like “all the others” and she accepted the response that they would get off there on the way back, but a trip to the head of the very small island would appeal first.
At the Abbey, Grace Jackson, a young woman who was nearing the end of her university studies got on. She was a pretty young woman, very much influenced by the hippy culture, evident in her brown home made sweater, multi-coloured skirt, red hair, striped tights and spray painted Doc Marten boots. The men glanced at each other, as the two women chatted and Grace let out that she was going to the school to see her mother.
“This is my last stop of the day,” said Elsie loudly upon arrival at the school. By this time, it was quite late in the afternoon and all the children had gone home.
As the vehicle stopped, Elsie and Grace got out, Elsie with a parcel and Grace skipping out to meet her mother. As her mother appeared at the school door, she just stared past her daughter and Elsie. All three women now looked at the reason why. The men were standing a few feet away from them, with the one who had done all of the talking holding a gun.
“What’s going on?” “Who are you?” “What…..”
“LADIES! BE QUIET!” said the man loudly and a frightened silence befell the women.
“Inside the school. NOW!”
The tiny schoolhouse had one classroom and soon, all five were inside the room.
“Now. We want your rare bagpipes. If you co-operate and hand them over, you will not get harmed.”
“But they’re precious. I can’t hand……”
The schoolmistress stopped mid-sentence, as the man smacked the gun hard down on the desk. The shock of the sound of a gun making any noise at all silenced the women.
Having made their intentions clear, Maureen Jackson the schoolmistress led the quiet man into the tiny staffroom and carefully removed the unique and historic Ionian pipes from the presentation case. They featured African Blackwood, Ivory and sterling silver, as well as a unique tweed bag cover. The man placed them into his case, which was already well endowed inside with packing material.
He motioned to Maureen to move back into the classroom.
Maureen walked very elegantly, in her school outfit and she was a very attractive fifty two years old. She wore a crisp white blouse, blue neckerchief, a tweed skirt suit, which fell just below her knees, revealing black tights and dark brown leather knee-length boots. These bots made quite a sound en route back to the classroom, especially in the tension filled silent atmosphere.
“OK. All of you get into the vehicle. We’re going on a journey.”
As they did so, Maureen and Elsie both protested verbally, but did as they were told without fuss, with Grace silently following behind. Both women suggested that there was no way they could escape from the Island of Iona, even less chance of escaping from Mull, but the talking man just laughed and commanded silence.
A short drive, at the hands of the silent fellow found the gathering at a very remote hilltop cottage. They were all greeted there by another woman, who greeted them all with, “Aha. At last. I wondered when you’d arrive, but I have to say, I was not expecting any more than two guests.”
“Ah yes, young Grace was not expected, but we shall make her feel at home.”
Inside, they all move into a small lounge, with a wonderful view over the sea.
The woman then commanded Elsie to remove her suit and hat. She was given a basic grey marl jogging suit to put on. With some trepidation and no little self-consciousness, she did so, in full view of the others.
To her surprise also, the woman donned Elsie’s postal outfit.
It was clear that the woman was going to pass herself off as Elsie, at some stage in the proceedings.
“Now then. Who wants a cup of tea then?” said the now freshly attired woman.
One voice answered, but he of course ordered tea for all.
With that, the woman went off to the kitchen to prepare the brew.
“Now ladies,” said the man with the gun, “we shall leave you soo….”
He broke off, as Maureen Jackson had made a lunge for his weapon. Before she was able to get within reach however, the other man flung her to the ground and she briefly sobbed in resigned fashion.
“That was very, very silly Maureen. We mean business. Do not attempt such a foolish move again.”
“Now. Follow this man into the conservatory please.”
The women found themselves entering and were struck by three chairs that were positioned in a semi-circular fashion. They were made to sit down, with Grace on the left, Maureen in the centre and Elsie on the right. They could watch each other, or look to the side and obtain a normally beautiful view of Mull and in particular, Ben More, the main peak on the island.
“Now. My colleague has a real passion in his life and you are about to find out what it is. He just adores tying up gorgeous ladies. How about that, ladies? Do you think you will enjoy that?”
“Please, please don’t harm us, you have what you want” replied Maureen.
“But we need just a little time to make our escape, so please ladies, let my colleague enjoy his passion.”
The man produced a box of random scarves and fabrics, and laid them down on a coffee table, near the women.
“Tea!” said the ‘new postmistress’ and she proceeded to lay a tray down beside this box.
The seated women all declined the offer and the man sifted through this pile of fabric.
Moving over to Grace, the first victim, he pulled her hands behind her back, meeting no resistance in the process. He crossed them and bound them with a long strip of an obviously prepared sheet. Grace looked over her shoulder and noticed quite a lot of trailing fabric, left after the initial binding.
Moving to the front, he used a gentleman’s tied to bind around her ankles, tightening this almost to breaking point as he fought to gain purchase against the leather of her boots.
He placed a further tie in between her ankles and cinched this off, pulling her boots together and thoroughly immobilising the frightened young woman.
“I hope you are enjoying this ladies, as you will shortly experience the same treatment. Please admire the care and thoroughness my colleague is showing.”
The two women just glared at him in futile defiance as they waited their turn.
A rough neck scarf was then applied above Grace’s knees, to bind her thighs together, though both she and her mother noticed that her skirt had been smoothed down prior to the thigh binding, hinting mercifully, that their dignity would remain intact.
A further strip of ripped sheet was used around her midriff to secure her to the chair and was then continued up and around her elbows, pulling them slightly closer together. This was not a terribly tight elbow tie, but it had the effect of pulling her shoulders back a little and added very much to the feeling of complete helplessness.
The man then reached under the chair from behind, trailing cloth in hand, which he threaded through her ankles and pulled sharply back on and secured to her chair. This lifted her ankles off the ground and pulled them back in a loose, seated hogtie. Grace was very securely fastened now and whimpering with fear and a little discomfort.
‘Please relax my dear. You are going nowhere, whether you like it or not, so the best thing to do is relax and get used to it. Enjoy the wonderful view.”
“Now then Elsie.”
Elsie groaned, prior to readying herself to be tied up.
I’m glad we are not to be gagged, was a thought she allowed herself.
Elsie had her wrists tied in identical fashion, with identical fabric. She too saw a trailing amount of fabric and expected to have her ankles hitched off the ground too. The binding went almost exactly as it had for Grace, tight but not hellishly so and with a certain amount of care, exemplified by a wadded up scarf that had been placed between Elsie’s exposed ankles, to protect them from the tight lashing together and cinching. The man struggled a little to slip a long fabric strip under her thighs, but managed in a see-sawing motion and soon, she was lashed not only to the chair, but had her elbows pinned a little closer together and had suffered having her ankles pulled back off the ground.
“Now then Maureen, are you sure you will not have some tea prior to your tying?”
The man who had been brandishing the gun ever since the schoolhouse just laughed loudly at the lack of an answer and Maureen was then approached by the quiet man.
“Now then ladies, watch again as my colleague ties up a beautiful woman. If you need to do this yourself one day, please observe and take note of how to do it properly.”
Maureen was tied up in exactly the same way as the others, though as she was wearing expensive knee-length boots, she was not requiring ankle protection.
When her elbows were being hitched together, her very crisp white blouse strained, as her breasts were unnaturally thrust forward. The man doing the tying motioned to the woman who had been sitting in a sofa in the background sipping tea and reading a magazine. Upon coming across to the bound schoolmistress, she undid a couple of buttons. This revealed a stiff white bra, but rather than being the cue for anything further, she commented, “that will be a little more comfortable for you, that’s all. I am going to put the heating on for you ladies, as you will be here a little while.”
With that, she left outside, to locate a boiler switch in the shed.
Maureen’s binding was now complete and she too had her ankles gently pulled back off the ground.
“OK ladies. You will remain here overnight, which is why my female colleague is going to turn the heating on. We will call to arrange a rescue for you tomorrow morning, when we are long gone from here. We are going to commandeer the vehicle and my female colleague will seamlessly blend in as the driver. It’s getting dark now, so by the time we get to the ferry, nobody will be unaware of your predicament Elsie and nobody will yet miss you two. You are best advised just to relax and………”
The man broke off in mid-sentence, as a commotion was evident outside. Both the men then rushed outside to witness their colleague overpowering a young woman. Quickly, she had been subdued and under threat of a firearm, was marched into the house.
She had a very heavy rucksack with her and clearly had landed a punch on the woman, even though she was encumbered. There was blood on the woman’s nose and she left her in the charge of her two male colleagues as she went to clear up the injury.
The young lady, minus her rucksack, was terrified to see that she had stumbled into some kind of robbery and was struck dumb.
The few words she did speak were in French and it became clear that she was in the wrong place at the wring time and there was no threat from her presence. All the same, she needed to be restrained.
“I want to tie her up!” said the woman.
With the young woman under the threat of a gun still, the woman tipped the contents of her rucksack onto the floor. Obtaining as many socks, pants, leg wear and scarves as she could, she made the woman lie face down on her own camping mat. Pulling her wrists back, she tied them with a pair of extra long socks, which she had tied together. A further linked pair of socks was then used to bind the young woman’s elbows. With her ankles and then thighs tied by various garments, the woman pulled her ankles up and placed her into a hogtie, which the quiet man intervened into in order that it was not so strict.
“Please tie her up securely, but she must not be harmed,” said the armed abductor.
“Let’s get ready to go now.’
With that, the man who had tied up the original three victims, walked over to the hogtied French lady and before she had time to object, he placed a pair of her own cotton pants into her mouth. He prodded and prodded until he was satisfied that her mouth had been well and truly filled. He then folded over a headscarf into a band of about three inches in diameter and pulled it tightly into her mouth and pulling it from side to side, managed to force it behind her teeth. This he tied off tightly, cleaving her very securely. She moaned furiously throughout the gagging, but to no avail.
The sounds of the gagging shocked the already terrified women seated, with the excellent view. Though they were not facing the woman, they were clearly aware of what had been happening to, if not the identity of their new arrival.
“Now ladies, prepare to be silenced.”
“NO. NO. Please…PLEASE!….” shouted Grace, but her mother asked her to comply, saying, “Grace, these people are serious, best to let it happen and wait for our release”
“Very wise. Grace, open up for my friend.”
The silent man filled her mouth with a pair of red silken pants and prodded once more until he was satisfied before cleaving her tightly with a scarf.
Elsie McPhee suffered the same fate, with her little extra build, causing the man to take a little extra care routing the cleaving scarf.
“Maureen, your turn now.”
Maureen barely resisted the insertion of a pair of the young woman’s white cotton pants. Similarly cleaved to her fellow seated captives, she tried her best to relax, though her mind was anything but relaxed, bound a gagged with three other women and about to be abandoned in gathering darkness.
At the completion of her binding, the man had patted her gently on the knee, as he had with the other two women he had tied, as one might pat a passing Dalmatian in the park, fondly, but dispassionately.
“Ladies. The heating is on and a light will be left on in the hall, relax, sit back and enjoy the view both outside the window and within. Don’t feel ashamed to admire just how expertly and attractively you have been bound and gagged by my colleague here.”
With darkness almost upon them, the team set off in the vehicle and as predicted, go straight on to the ferry without question or comment and set off across Mull.
Close to Elsie’s home, the woman drops off her two passengers and they head off down a path to a remote coastal cove. She continued to Elsie’s, dropped off the vehicle in her driveway and set off across country, to make the dark journey to the cove.
After about ten minutes, she arrived at the shoreline, where her colleagues had readied the rowing boat for a trip across to the Scottish mainland, a journey of around three miles, under the perfect cover of darkness.
As they quietly made their way across the sound, the woman was heard to say to her colleagues, “I’m sure ‘The Baron’ will appreciate his new prize. Quite a collection of rare and valuable artefacts he has. He will be pleased with us and pay handsomely.”
Meanwhile, back at the croft, the French student had managed to wriggle somehow over to the seated guests, Grace had wriggled so much, her chair had fallen, but despite all the efforts, nobody had managed to loosen any of their bonds or gags. After much gag talk, the women had given up hope of affecting their own rescue and awaited a conclusion.
The next day, a phone call was made from a stolen mobile phone, to the warden of a local bunkhouse and the women were freed. They were shocked, but relatively unharmed and had to admit that although they were securely tied and gagged, they had not been maltreated and there was at least a grudging realisation that things could have been worse.
“They were good.” Maureen was heard to utter that day.