WPC Drummond was expecting a stress -free day at the hospital, for a change. But it wasn't long before she was

HANDCUFFED, HOODED AND HIDDEN

 

It was the day when WPC Harriet Drummond had been searching an empty house, and been captured by Mrs. McKinnon and her bodyguard. Sgt Eric Forsyth, coming through the door from the kitchen alone, was greeted by a rear view of WPC Drummond, her underwear-clad bottom exposed, her arms taped behind her back, her hands cuffed, strapped face down to a heavy coffee table. As he closed the door, she turned her head toward him. He saw then that her eyes and mouth were covered with more strips of tape.

 

She struggled ineffectually against the tapes. "mmmph! nngggrrkk! dd sssmmkk!" she grunted. But she was trussed up so well that she could hardly move, and she couldn't see him. She had been left as an unwilling present for him. He stopped to think. He suddenly had a huge erection. It was a fantasy come true. She was blindfolded and couldn't see him, didn't know who was in the room with her. He locked the door, then walked back to her. Crouching next to her, he pulled her skirt up higher, then took hold of the waistband of her tights and panties. He used both hands to pull her panties and tights down over her thighs, then ran his hands over her naked bottom. He gave her a smack, across both cheeks, then another, harder, then another. He felt her tense up, in anticipation of the next slap. Enough of that, he thought. He started to unzip his fly.

 

The image was suddenly dispelled by a loud ringing sound. The telephone! It was only a dream, and a disappointed Eric looked up, a guilty look on his face. He was slumped over a desk, resting his head on his forearms. Just a catnap, but this one had included his favourite recurring dream.

 

He reached for the phone. His heart sank as he listened to WPC Pauline Sharpe. Bad news, she had arrived at St. Margaretís Hospital to relieve WPC Drummond, guarding a patient. She had found an empty room, no patient and no WPC. History repeating itself, a small voice inside him said.

 

"St. Margaretís Hospital. There's trouble". Sergeant Eric Forsyth addressed the three male and two female police officers. "That woman from the crash, the one who can't remember anything. She's gone missing. And that's not all".

 

"Wasn't Harriet watching her?" asked WPC Sally Stevens.

 

PC Wayne Kerr grinned."What happened. Was she so engrossed in her book that the woman sneaked out?"

 

"The bad news is that WPC Drummond is not, well, letís say she is incommunicado at the moment. Her hat, her phone and a paperback were found, but she is not there. And a handcuff key, which is bad news".

 

"On past form, Harriet's trussed up in a cupboard somewhere, that seems to be her specialty." PC Kerr quipped.

 

"Not funny". Sergeant Forsyth looked serious. "Right now a colleague is missing along with a suspect. Letís get to it".††††

 

On arrival at the hospital, Sergeant Forsyth and his team had been met by a trio of uniformed security men, who had explained that there had been a fresh development. Now, with WPC Sally Stevens, he sat in a small meeting room. Seated opposite him was a buxom middle-aged woman with back brushed chestnut hair and large brown eyes. He didn't know the various ranks in the hospital hierarchy, but she wore a uniform, a royal blue dress with a crisp white collar and white cuffs on the half length sleeves. On her dress, just above her right breast, she wore a laminated badge which read "Jayne Griffith. Supervisor ".Her face was still tear-stained and red indentations were beginning to show on her wrists.

 

Better get started, Eric Forsyth thought."Tell us what happened, Jayne. Do you mind if I call you Jayne?"

 

She couldn't wait to tell him, she had been trying to explain to the security staff, but they had all told her to wait for the police, and to give them a full statement. "I had been up in admin, complaining about not getting the stuff I requisitioned . They gave me lots of excuses and tried to fob me off, itís all the fault of the suppliers, that sort of thing. They did at least have a box of bandages that should have been sent down to me, so I took them. My bad luck as it turns out, that's what I got tied up with! Anyway, I got in the lift and there were three people in scrubs. Crooks, must have been up to something, but I didn't know that. They had a laundry trolley though, and that caught my eye. I mean, only the cleaning staff should use them. I asked them what they were doing, but I wasn't expecting what happened then. One of them grabbed me round the arms and clapped his hand over my mouth and one of the others, a woman, waved a syringe in my face and threatened to inject me if I gave them any trouble. There were three of them you see, so I didn't have much choice but to let them do what they wanted. They took me out of the lift at the next floor, at least two of them did. The woman was very nifty with the bandages, she tied a knot in it and shoved it in my mouth, then knotted it behind my neck. Next thing, she ties my hands behind my back, real tight, and they frogmarch me down the corridor. They opened the utility store, where the cleaners keep their stuff, sat me down on the floor and tied my feet. They spoke for a minute in a language I didn't know, pointing at me, then the man pushed me over on my front and pulled my feet up toward my bottom and tied them to my hands. Then, of all the nerve, he gave my gave my bum a few slaps and said he'd like to spend more time with me." Forsyth noticed with some interest that she was blushing as she told the tale. He tried not to visualize the scene, an erection would be so inappropriate when interviewing a victim.

 

Jayne continued her story."I wriggled around and tried to make a noise, but there was sod-all I could do, tied up like that and gagged too. Why did they do it? I wonder what they were doing with the basket in the lift"

 

"We think you were not the only person to be attacked by these people" Eric Forsyth spoke. "Did you see a female police officer at all?"

 

"No" replied Jayne, "well, only that one who was sitting outside a ward earlier"

 

"Yes, that one" he was suddenly interested " have you seen her anywhere? Anywhere else, not sitting outside the ward, I mean"

 

"Why, no. Is she missing then? Do you think she's been grabbed by them, same as I was? Perhaps she's tied up in a cupboard somewhere. What do you think is going on here? Something big?"

 

Eric Forsyth tried to banish the image of a bound and gagged WPC Harriet Drummond from his mind. "How long were you in the cupboard?" he asked.

 

"Seemed like forever" said Jayne "but probable just over an hour, couldn't see my watch with my hands tied behind me. That new cleaner, Ellie, found me. I shouldn't say this, but she's not the sharpest knife in the draw. She opened the door, saw me, started screaming and ran away, came back a few minutes later with Bob".

 

"Who's Bob?"

 

"He's the site services supervisor. I really wish it hadn't been him. Oh, sure, he untied me, but he made a meal of it, leering at me, helping me to sit up, and pretending he couldn't get my hands undone. I think the whole thing was a big treat for him"

 

"We'll need to interview himĒ said Eric Forsyth.

 

********

 

The man in the green scrubs had walked up and down the hospital corridor three times, and twice he had gone inside the ward. The woman inside had either been asleep or was pretending to be, but either way was all right, for now. The main thing was that she wasn't under very close surveillance. One policewoman, that was all. Three times he had passed the attractive, full-figured, blue eyed brunette, in her uniform of white blouse with sleeves rolled-up , navy blue skirt and tie, with honey-coloured tights and black lace-up shoes. She had looked up and smiled at him the second time he passed, but he had not reciprocated, walking straight into the ward without a word, and leaving thirty seconds later. He noticed two things as he passed, both of these were just visible on her belt as she sat suddenly more upright as she noticed him. There was a phone of some sort, and a pair of handcuffs. She was definitely a policewoman, and it wouldn't be quite so easy to remove the amnesia patient, who was one of his partners in crime, from the hospital with her on guard. Certainly they could deal with her, but it would no longer be a simple matter of walking out of the place. By the time he had joined his two female accomplices, who were both dressed like him (courtesy of a local fancy dress hire shop ) he had decided on a plan of action.

 

********

 

This should have been a cushy assignment, WPC Harriet Drummond thought to herself . No unoccupied houses that were once the property of criminals, no gun-runners, no bank robbers to capture her. All she had to do was to sit outside the small ward that was occupied only by the mystery woman, and prevent her from leaving the hospital.

 

The woman who had been rescued from the wrecked car had been unconscious, and on her recovery, appeared to be suffering from amnesia . She was being kept in hospital for her own good, under police guard because she had questions to answer, once she remembered who she was.

 

Harriet had spent an uneventful hour sitting outside the ward, reading the paperback thriller while observing the coming and going of medical staff in various different uniforms. One of them, a man in green, some kind of medical protective clothing with a little mask covering the lower part of his face, passed by twice. She hadn't paid any attention to him, and now she knew that had been a mistake. If she had stopped him, asked questions, she wouldn't be in this mess now.

 

She hadn't realized it at the time, but the man in green was carrying out reconnaissance on behalf of a team, who she was soon going to meet.

 

When the man passed a second time, she looked up and smiled because she had already seen him once, and after all they were both here to do a job, as she assumed. She was mildly annoyed when he didn't return the gesture. Things like that undermined her confidence. Her male colleagues thought of her as attractive, but when she looked in the mirror she saw a round-faced, rosy cheeked woman. She had a fear of looking like a farmerís wife as she got older. The jaw-length bob and the eye make-up didn't hide that, she feared. So when the man returned after about twenty minutes, with two women who were presumably hospital staff, she made a point of not looking up. She did notice that one of the women was pushing one of those big laundry baskets on wheels, something that she had seen before in hospitals. Perhaps they were going to change the bed-sheets.She was somewhat surprised when five minutes later one of the women came to the doorway and spoke politely to her.

 

"Excuse me, sergeant " she began."There is something here that you should see. Something suspicious"

 

Harriet had been addressed as sergeant before, by people who wanted to ingratiate themselves with her. It didn't fool her, but it was better than "Oi, copper! ". "What is it?" she replied, trying to sound helpful but hoping she wouldn't have to get up from her chair.

 

"The patient. She's gone" she said after a moment of hesitation. Harriet folded the page over and closed her book. Please let this be a mistake, she thought. How could she be gone. The only way out was through the window. She got to her feet and followed the woman into the room.

 

To her dismay she saw that the bed was indeed empty."See" said the woman. As Harriet turned to look round the ward, she heard the ward door closing and became aware, too late, of sudden movement behind her. A hood of some sort was dropped over her head and pulled down over her shoulders ,while a pair of strong hands gripped her upper arms and pulled them back.

 

A male voice, it had to be the man in green who had ignored her, whispered "You just keep still, keep your mouth shut. I've got a needle here, it will put you to sleep and when you wake up you'll be an addict. Don't want that, do you?"

 

"No" muttered Harriet desperately. She didn't want that, but she guessed that the alternative was going to be some kind of restraint. She wasn't wrong. Hands were removing her phone and her handcuffs from her belt .On the first few times when she had been caught by criminals, she had found herself wearing her own handcuffs. Because of that she had taken to hiding them when she sensed a dangerous situation was developing. It hadn't helped, on those occasions the villains had tied her up with whatever else was available. The end result had always the same: she was found by her colleagues, disheveled, perspiring, embarrassed, embarrassed at being discovered bound, helpless and slightly aroused. Once any danger had passed she always found herself getting turned on by her predicament, and she hoped that her rescuers didn't notice this. She wondered who was going to find her this time. Stop thinking like this, she told herself as the unseen assailant forced her hands behind her back and closed the handcuffs over them. She was just wondering what would happen next when she was suddenly propelled forward and forced face downwards on to the bed. Now something was being wound tightly round her ankles, four times she counted, before it was knotted.

 

"Now what? we can't leave her here, someone else could find her as soon as we've gone" a female voice, sounding panicky.

 

"Don't worry, I know my way round this place, remember. We hide her. Put her in that basket, that why we brought it ".This time it was the man who spoke."She can go to the top floor, there's only storage up there nowadays. She'll get loose and raise the alarm, but it'll take her a while. And with her missing, hopefully the cops will waste time looking for her, not chasing us. ".

 

"Like we care anyway " said another female voice. "She's a cop, they never did me any favours".

 

"You should care. If she turns up dead, we all get a life sentence. You got to remember that sort of thing if you work with us. Anyway, the poor cow's just doing her job, she only got in our way. You can take the rest of the day off, wouldn't you like that? "

 

Harriet knew he was talking to her now, but she didn't know he expected an answer. "You might at least thank me" he continued. "Perhaps you've forgotten your manners".

 

Harriet guessed the way things were going and cried "Thank you very much" her voice muffled by the pillowcase over her head. It was too late, she realized as she felt him sit on the bed. He delivered a hard slap to her upturned bottom. She bucked against the handcuffs and wailed " please don't ".

 

"Please don't what? I can't hear you clearly " he gave her bottom another smack.

 

"Oww" cried Harriet. "Thank you for giving me the day off. Please don't spank me anymore". She was really gritting her teeth, wishing she could throttle him for making her feel like a naughty schoolgirl.

 

"Come on" said another female voice."We need to get out of here, you can have your fun on your own time. Get her in the basket, letís get her out of the way then go"

 

The man muttered something which Harriet couldn't make out. A moment later, she felt herself being lifted from the bed by two people, one holding her shoulders, the other grabbing her legs at the knees. She was lowered unceremoniously into the big laundry basket, dumped in a half sitting, half kneeling position. "Better gag her, hadn't we, do the job properly" said one of them. Harriet felt some fingers lifting the pillowcase , but not removing it altogether. Someone was unfastening her tie and pulling it away , without unbuttoning her shirt collar. "Open your mouth " a female voice ordered. She obeyed meekly, she didn't have any options. Resistance, even just a show of sulking, might lead to more bottom-smacking.

 

She knew what came next. A knot had been tied in the middle of her tie, this was pushed into her mouth, then it was pulled tight and the two ends were knotted at the back of her neck. Finally the pillowcase was pulled back down and the lid was replaced. Now she couldn't hear much, though her captors were. having an animated conversation.

 

She was aware of the basket being wheeled along, and she felt herself almost falling over as it was taken round corners. She struggled into a sitting position and drew her knees up to her chest. To her surprise the lid was lifted. One of the women, the one who had said ďSheís a cop", said threateningly "keep still, cop, it could get a lot worse". She took note and didn't move any more. It certainly could be worse. They hadn't blindfolded her properly, she, wasn't hogtied or anything like that. She hadn't been spanked really hard, she hadn't been groped. She knew from her previous encounters with criminals how much worse it could get. She just hoped they didn't have any more plans for her.

 

She knew she was somewhere in the hospital. The wheeled laundry basket, with her inside it, had been trundled out of the ward and along a corridor. She had heard voices as her captors passed various hospital employees. Harriet had been ordered to keep quiet, and mindful of the hypodermic needle, she had obeyed the order. so none of these people knew that the basket contained a captive policewoman, handcuffed and hooded.

 

There had been one interruption to Harriet's uncomfortable journey, and though she could only listen from inside the basket, she could guess what had happened. They had got into a lift, but after ascending one floor it had stopped and someone had got in. Then she heard a voice, a middle-aged woman with a welsh accent.

 

"What are you doing with a laundry basket" she demanded in an officious tone. " Don't you know the MMMPH " and the next thing that Harriet heard was struggles and muffled squeals and protests. The lift stopped, it sounded as if two of her captors had got out, presumably with the Welsh lady as their prisoner . Her basket prison continued upwards with only one of the gang accompanying it, but when it was eventually wheeled out, many floors higher, the unseen captor waited for the other two to follow. Harriet ,inside the basket, guessed that they must have arranged to meet on this floor. She heard a brief whispered conversation, which she couldn't understand, then they wheeled her around for a while, finally abandoning her. It occurred to her that the Welsh woman had probably been tied up and dumped somewhere. If she was found first, it might speed up Harriet's moment of release.

 

She wondered how easy it would be to get out of the basket. It should be possible, she thought . She was sitting upright, which must make it a bit easier. She considered her predicament. Her own Hiatt handcuffs had been used to fasten her hands behind her back, but as well as this, a length of bandage bound her feet together at the ankles. As well as gagging her with her tie, her attackers had put a pillowcase over her head, but it wasn't tied in place. She knew she wasn't going to get out of the handcuffs, they were the solid variety, no linking chain, a rigid figure-eight like contraption that didn't permit much hand movement, but that didn't mean she had to stay in this basket waiting to be found.

 

Groping with her right hand, she soon found the knot in the bandage that bound her ankles, and found to her surprise that it was not pulled very tight. It had felt tight while she was being tied, but they were in a hurry.

 

Not as thorough as some of the other criminals I've encountered, she thought. Some of them tied me up so thoroughly, you'd think I was Houdini. She fumbled with the knots and finding that she could reach it with the fingers of both hands, worked patiently until it was undone. Imprisoned in the basket, she couldn't pull the bandage away, but she had made real progress. She felt really pleased with herself. Perhaps this time she was going to get loose, maybe even help to capture the offenders. That, after all, was what a WPC should be doing, not the way it usually worked out for her. She had often been the one to discover the criminals, but being alone, had been captured and bound by them. The glory of apprehending them had gone to the others, who worked as a team. They got the commendation, not the girl who was found bound and gagged in a cupboard or a cellar or a car boot, even if she had been spanked, groped and even threatened with murder. If she could get loose it might be different this time. If she could get out of the basket, her feet and the pillowcase would be easier.

 

She allowed herself to fall against the side of the basket, her shoulder taking the impact. It rocked slightly as she hoped it would. A few more times and she had gathered enough momentum to make the basket tip over on its side, the lid flying off as it went. Harriet was tipped out, lying on her side, and did not move for a moment . There was no sound, so obviously nobody had heard the basket going over and come to investigate. There might not even be anyone on this floor. She could however see under the edge of the pillowcase, it had moved upwards during the fall. She began to wriggle forward, until she was completely out of the basket, then shuffled in a downwards direction, towards her feet, pressing her head against the side of the basket. Just as she hoped, the fabric of the pillowcase snagged on a rough strand of wicker and a few minutes of frantic downward wriggling gradually freed her from it. She was aware of her skirt riding up around her waist while she did this, but there was nobody there to see this. She had soon pulled the bandage away from her ankles and was able to sit up and look around. She shuffled on her bottom over to the wall and leaned her back against it, taking several deep breaths after her exertion. She was in a wide corridor with a blue and grey speckled floor, some sort of vinyl or plastic she supposed. The walls looked like plasterboard, an off-white colour, and she could see four dark blue doors on one side, and two rows of windows on the other side. No pictures on the walls meant that the public didn't come up here, she guessed. Who did come here, she wondered. Was anyone going to find her here? She noticed with dismay that her tights were torn in a few places, on both knees, a consequence of wriggling about inside the wicker basket. And a blouse button had come undone, the one between her breasts. She could see the lacy edge of her bra quite easily, and so would anybody else who got close enough. The worst possible one, and with hands cuffed behind her, she couldn't do anything about it. She wondered where the handcuff key was. Probably on the floor in the ward where she had been captured and handcuffed. She was going to stay handcuffed until the police turned up, no doubt about that.

 

Think positive, she told herself. Think about what I can do, not what I can't. She wondered how she could get rid of the gag, her necktie. This morning, when she was looking in the mirror knotting it neatly she hadn't dreamed that later on she would be gagged with it. She could see that two of the doors had long handles, while the other two had knobs. She might be able to work the handle under the fabric and pull the knot out of her mouth. That would be progress.

 

Harriet wasn't sure how easy it would be, getting to her feet with her hands fastened behind her back, and she was relieved to find that she was still fit enough to manage it without falling flat.

 

What next, she wondered. She had seen films where handcuffed prisoners had been able to bring their hands down behind them and step through, bringing their hands up in front of them, and she wondered if she would be able to do this. But they were skinny Hollywood actresses, not women in their thirties with plump bottoms, and she soon realized she wasn't going to free herself this way. All that happened was that she scraped her wrists on the inflexible metal.

 

Hoping she might have better luck at getting the gag out of her mouths, she strode along the corridor to what she hoped was the first of the suitable door handles. Of course it wasn't at face height, she had to bend uncomfortably and tilt her head to one side, then press her cheek against the handle. After a couple of failed attempts, she was able to get the handle between the fabric and her face, then to jerk her head back. It was a horrible feeling, like being a fish on a hook, but it was definitely working, slowly. Eventually the tie, though still knotted, was pulled into a loop that was wide enough for her to slip her head out of it completely. "Thank heaven for that" she exclaimed loudly, just for the pure pleasure of being able to speak without anything in her mouth. Now she wasn't gagged, she could shout for help, but she wondered if there was anyone on this floor to hear her. The door in front of her had a keyhole, and the handle was too high to reach with her cuffed hands, most probably a cleaner's closet. She remembered ruefully having spent some uncomfortable hours imprisoned in one of those when she had interrupted a bank robbery. At least this time she was only handcuffed, not blindfolded at thoroughly trussed up, and she was on the outside. She gave the door a kick, if anybody was inside they would hear her. But of course there was nobody. A quick check of the other doors confirmed that she was alone on the floor. She peered out of the windows on the other side of the corridor. She guessed she was on the top floor. She was looking down at a small car park, and beyond it a school sport field. The window didn't have a handle, she observed. No luck there, no chance of opening it a shouting to passers by.

 

She continued along to the lift doors. She had forgotten about the lift, being preoccupied with getting rid of her gag. She studied the control panel. There was one square button to press with an arrowhead pointing down, the only possible direction from a top floor. Logically enough it was at shoulder height. It wasn't designed for passengers whose hands were bound behind their backs. She tried to reach it with her fingers, then with her elbow. She couldn't reach it with her fingers and couldn't exert enough pressure with her elbow. As she stood frustrated, wondering if there was anything she could do, she caught sight of her reflection in the reinforced glass panel that served as a window when the lift was there. It was dark behind it, so the lift wasn't here anyway. But Harriet wasn't happy with what she saw. Her hair was a mess, sticking up where it shouldn't be, the inevitable result of having a pillowcase over her head. It wasn't a very good mirror but she guessed her lipstick has been smeared by the gag, and she could see that one of the points of her buttoned collar was bent upwards. The phrase "dragged through a hedge backwards" came to mind. And she was going to be found looking like this, probably by her work colleagues, yet again. She was dreading that moment. Of course she wanted to be rescued, but if only she could prepare herself first.

 

********

 

A few floors down, Sergeant Eric Forsyth was hoping that he would be the one to discover WPC Drummond, preferably in a bound and disheveled situation. He didn't tell anyone of course, but some of the most enjoyable moments of his career had been those when he had come across female crime victims who had been tied up. On some of these occasions, Harriet had been the bound woman in question, and he had been the one to find her. Those times had put some images in his mind which he found it hard to forget, and today it could be happening again. He tried not to dwell on it, but having interviewed Jayne Griffith, who had been captured by the same gang, he just knew that Harriet, his not-so-secret crush, was probably bound and gagged somewhere in the building. But where? He had two reasons for wanting to find her soon. One was professional pride, and the other was that he didn't want to miss the sight that he hoped awaited him.

 

********

 

On the top floor, Harriet was wondering what she could do next. She remembered reading a news report about a woman, bound by burglars, who had called for help on her phone by using her nose to press the buttons. Would she be able to press the lift button with her nose, hard enough to make it work. She studied it, basically the whole thing was a shiny metal panel, and the part she needed to press was the central part of the panel. Not a button at all, if it had been she could have pressed it. As it was she could just about reach her face down to it, but she didn't fancy giving herself a nosebleed. She abandoned that idea. Something else that seemed good on paper but didn't really work.

 

How long would she have to wait here, surely her colleagues were searching for her by now. She wasn't comfortable, she would need to pee soon and she just hoped she wouldn't have to wait much longer. And as always when she found herself in a damsel-in-distress situation, she was feeling just a little bit aroused. She allowed herself to daydream, wondering what would happen if Sergeant Forsyth were to find her, and be on his own at the time. What would he do? Would he look embarrassed and try to hide his erection, or would he perhaps open up one of the cupboards and lead her inside. For a de-briefing, she thought with a smile.

 

Her thoughts were interrupted by a rumbling sound, coming from the lift doors. Somebody was using the lift, was it coming to this floor? The noise grew louder, she could not only hear it, and she could feel it through the floor. She looked at the little window and saw movement, yes, the lift was about to arrive. Was it her colleagues come to rescue her, or was it some hospital worker. She really didn't feel like explaining to some caretaker how it was that she was wandering about with hands cuffed behind her back, on the top floor of the building. Nevertheless she stood in front of the doorway waiting for it to open, feeling more and more embarrassed as the sound of the approaching lift grew louder.

 

It was a complete surprise for her when the lift door opened and out came her recent abductors, and the woman injured in the accident . "She's still up here. Get her, quick" the first man ordered breathlessly, lunging towards her.

 

"Why, just get the hell out, fire escape's straight ahead". The woman tried to push past on" She'll slow us down"

 

"No, hold on. She'll slow them down. She'll be our decoy". He seized Harriet by the upper arm. ";Get that bandage" he pointed to where it lay, the length of fabric that had bound Harriet's feet. As the woman gathered it up, he pulled Harriet along by her arm. She pulled against him, trying to slow him down. Wherever they were going, she didn't want to go, not to a fire escape. "Ok, we'll do it the hard way" he said, and turned to face her. Before she realized what was happening, he bent low and swept her up and over his shoulder in a firemanís lift. His arm gripped her legs tightly at the knees.

 

"Hey, put me down, this is stupid" she protested, trying in vain to kick her feet. Her reward was a heavy slap on her bottom.

 

"Shut it and keep still, don't want to be dropped, do you? Your mates are all over the place downstairs so we're going out up here" Harriet, realizing she could be dropped and injured, quickly stopped struggling, but too late to save herself from being bound more securely again. "Tie her feet, one of you" he barked as they marched along the corridor. "I don't want her kicking once we're out on the staircase".

 

"Stop then, can't tie her while I'm walking" said one of the women. Harriet thought about kicking out, but decided against. It would mean punishment and harsher binding, she didn't doubt it. Having bound her feet at the ankles the woman took the end of the bandage up to her cuffed wrists, pulled it tight and knotted it. She groaned inwardly. Now she was hogtied as well. It was worse than before.Fifteen minutes ago she had got rid of her gag and her feet were free, she expected to be rescued at any moment, and now she was being abducted to heaven know where. One of them opened the fire door at the end of the corridor. She felt a welcome gust of fresh air, but her stomach turned as she realized they were at the top of the fire escape. How many floors up, it had to be seven at least. She wasn't afraid of heights normally, but this was different. Surely they weren't going to carry her all the way down?

 

"Looks good. No cops down there" said one of the women.

 

"Great. We leave her on the next landing, if they come down after us she'll slow them down"

 

Harriet closed her eyes and held her breath as she was carried down the metal staircase. At least it wasn't swaying about. She was carried down, round a bend and down again. Soon they were on the next level, a platform about one metre by two. The man lowered her onto it, depositing her on her side at first, looking too long chest(for her liking)at her chest where the button had come undone, then turning her over onto her face. She couldn't see now but he was doing something behind her, as he knelt on the step. She felt the fabric round her ankles pulling tighter, and guessed that he had tethered her bound feet to the railings.

 

"There" he said, sounding pleased with himself. "At least you won't be falling down after us"

 

Harriet was about to say a sarcastic thank you, but remembering his apparent fondness for smacking her bottom, held her tongue. It did her no good, as he got to his feet he gave her upturned backside a hearty smack. "Nice meeting you, constable" he said before following his colleagues down the fire escape. At first the staircase was vibrating, the sound of footsteps still audible, but they soon faded away.

 

She was alone now, and nobody knew where she was except the gang who had left her here. It wasn't pleasant lying face down on the cold metal platform, only her uniform blouse between her breasts and the rippled metal surface. She knew they were made that way so as not to be slippery when they were wet, but it was damned uncomfortable. She could see how dusty and grimy her white blouse was now, and her skirt would be just as bad. While her feet were anchored to the railing on one side, her face was close to the steps on the other side. She had a good view between the platform and the first step, looking out over the industrial estate next to the hospital. Actually, looking down at the roofs of the buildings. She felt safer knowing she was tied to the railings, but her arms and legs were getting stiff. She tried to think how long her hands had been fastened behind her back. Then she tried not to dwell on how long it might be before she was freed. Apprehensively she glanced upwards, noticing that the sun had been obscured by a dark cloud. She couldn't see how far it went. Please don't let it rain, she thought. She imagined herself lying here undiscovered, dripping wet, cold and still bound helplessly, in a few hours time. It could really happen, she realized. Surely they must be trying to find her, her colleagues. She didn't know what time it was, but it had to be more than two hours since she was snatched from the ward. Her shift should have ended an hour after that. If the gang had struck two hours later, she thought ruefully, WPC Pauline Sharpe would be up here, handcuffed and bound, and not me. But maybe not, she thought, Pauline's not as resourceful as I am. She would still be tied up inside the laundry basket. Only then she would have been found, and I'm out here on a fire escape. She craned her neck to look upwards, but couldn't see up to the top. The zigzag staircase was in the way. She could see enough to deduce that she was one and a half floors down, but she was tied facing the corner of the building, and couldn't see if there were any window near, from which she might be seen. If she had, she would have been reassured.

 

********

 

Graham Ballard opened the window of the accounts office, knowing he would be alone for at least half an hour. Plenty of time for a cigarette, maybe even for two, but he would have to lean out of the window. His boss didn't like him smoking in the office. This time, as he leaned out of the window, something was different. On the fire escape, slightly upwards and to the right, a pair of feet, in black shoes. Female, because the legs which he could see were wearing tights. Strangest of all, the legs were tied to the railing by some sort of bandage. He stopped to think, lighting his cigarette before doing anything. For a moment he wondered if he was looking at a dead body.

 

"You all right?" he called, hoping for a positive reply. The bound feet moved.

 

"Hello, who's there? Can you help me?" cried a female voice. "I can't move from here".

 

At least she wasn't dead, thought Graham. "What's the matter? What are you doing?"

 

"I'm tied up, I can't get up or anything. Can't you do something, please".

 

"OK, I'm coming out. I'm finding something to cut that stuff with" Graham put the cigarette out. He didn't want the office smelling of smoke, that would mean an ear-bashing from Ken.

 

Squatting on the step next to Harriet, Graham sawed at the bandage with the Stanley knife. Eventually the fibers gave way. He pulled the fabric away and placed it on the step. She wriggled her feet tentatively. "Now you can help me up. I'm really stiff, I've been lying here for ages".

 

"What's going on?" Graham asked, looking down at Harriet's hands, cuffed tightly behind her back. "How did you get to be up here, tied up like this?" As she turned her head towards him, he noticed for the first time that she was quite attractive, but her expression was angry.

 

"Look, I'm not lying up here by choice" She rolled over on her side, the better to see him. It was good to take the weight off her breasts, she realized. The man, a rather overweight balding man in his late forties, looked as if he was about to speak, but his gaze shifted to that open blouse button, and the bra and whatever he could see through the gap. "For godís sake, stop leering, get me indoors.Help me to stand up, and watch where you put your hands"

 

Graham went red and quickly averted his eyes."Sorry" he muttered, but then, more assertively "I'll have to touch you to help you up"

 

Harriet got to her feet unsteadily, helped by his hands on her shoulders and arms. He guided her down the steps to the next platform, then in through the fire door.

 

In the Accounts office, Harriet sat on one of the revolving chairs. She felt a bit guilty for snapping at him. "Hard to get comfortable when your hands are cuffed behind you" she said in a friendly tone. "I'm having a bad day. Sorry I spoke to you like that".

 

"Don't worry" he said. "Let's get you looked after. Got a key for the handcuffs? Anyway, what happened? Who did this to you?"

 

Might as well tell him, she thought. Then he'd really better phone someone, and quickly!

 

"I'm a policewoman. I was guarding a woman, a suspect, who's been injured in an accident. Her mates came in, dressed like doctors, and took her away. They grabbed me and tied me up, then they put me in one of those big baskets on wheels, then they left me on the top floor. I got untied, except for my handcuffs, but they came back. Police everywhere, they said. They went down the fire escape. One of them carried me over his shoulder. I don't mind telling you I was terrified, when I could see how high up we were. When they were tying me to the railing one of them said I would slow the police down, so I suppose they thought the police would be following them. They didn't though, or they'd have found me, wouldn't they?"

 

"Now that is a bad day" Graham said, amazed. "I'm surprised you aren't a gibbering wreck. Anything I can do to get your hands free?"

 

"You need a key. It was in the cuffs, but it's gone now. All our handcuffs have the same key so I'll be all right once my lot get here. Any chance you could call them now?"

 

"I'll ring security now" Graham reached for the phone. "Do you want some machine coffee while you wait?"

 

She was about to say" Surely It won't take that long" but realized how ungrateful it would sound. "OK. White with sugar. Thanks "she said pleasantly, hiding her impatience "But please phone first"

 

She listened attentively as he explained the situation. "handcuffed, that's right" he said. "Her name? I donít know. I'll ask her"

 

"Harriet Drummond" she said impatiently. "Does it matter what my name is?"

 

Graham repeated this word for word, with some growing impatience " Does it matter what her name is? The poor girl's been tied up and abducted, she needs looking after. She's still got her hands cuffed behind her back, for heavenís sake. It's urgent ". Then he was quiet, listening to the reply. He turned to Harriet "Someone's coming. A Sergeant Forsyth is coming up. Says he's on his way".

 

Hmmm, thought Harriet. I bet he is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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