The McCulloch Legacy - Part 3
The criminal trio of P, C and H had read the newspaper report of their first armed raid on the late Mr McCulloch's house and found the details very useful. Now they knew who was who. The article had named the victims and listed their roles. Ann Liddell was the executor, and therefore she was the one they need to watch and follow. Unlike her, they had a good idea what they were looking for. By now they were certain that it, whatever it was, wasn't in the house, and keeping watch on Ann Liddell was the way to find it.
Ann Liddell had read the account of the second armed robbery, if you could call it that. Nothing had been taken, but she guessed that the trio who had grabbed the policewomen, were the same ones who had tied her up two days previously. She felt sympathetic toward the WPCs, it sounded as if they had fared worse than her. They had apparently been tied up far more thoroughly than was necessary, and left that way for over two hours. The article didn't mention any spanking, so she wondered if she was alone in having been given that treatment. Why would that be, she wondered. But then, she hadn't told anyone about that aspect of the hold-up, and she didn't intend to. She would be far too embarrassed, and what if it got in the newspapers. It had been bad enough, friends reading about her being held up and left bound and gagged. One or two of her acquaintances had been rather too keen, in her opinion, to know the exact details of how she had been tied. But now that a few days had passed, the police hadn't been in touch with her, she was beginning to think the coast was clear. It was time to resume her investigation.
At four o'clock the following afternoon she sat in the living room with a cup of tea, thinking about what she had achieved. Her afternoon in the house, on her own this time, had been fruitful. She had arrived, dressed for rummaging around, in a chunky black turtleneck jumper and blue jeans, prepared for getting covered in dust. Now she surveyed the spoils. In the kitchen cupboards she had found the word "Eastminster" written behind some jars on a shelf, and an apparently meaningless ten-digit number scrawled on the wall of the larder where the solicitor, Rachel Robinson, had been imprisoned. This knowledge was Ann's alone, she realised. Rachel had been bound and blindfolded when she was shut inside the larder and still was when she was brought out, so she wouldn't have seen it. She had temporarily felt that she was in a blind alley after that. Eastminster was a place name and the name of a bank with branches all over the country. The number didn't suggest anything, it wasn't a phone number. She made herself a cup of tea, having remembered to bring teabags and a carton of milk with her, and sat in a soft, if rather old, armchair to think about the possibilities. One thing that she found gave her some food for thought. In a bedroom draw, under some sheets, she found a set of handcuffs. Must be something to do with those policewomen, she thought. She opened them and studied them. There was a key in the hole, and she couldn't resist opening them. They felt very heavy and unforgiving, but she couldn't help wondering how it would feel to be wearing them. Part of her wanted to put them on, close them up and then open them. But what if they wouldn't open, how embarrassing that would be. She quickly banished that notion but took them downstairs and put them in one of the kitchen drawers, with the cutlery . Maybe she would tell the police about them later. During her search she had looked in all the draws in the sideboard and found plenty of letters to Mr McCulloch, including bank statements showing pitifully small balances. Then she remembered that one draw had been empty except for a 45 rpm record. She couldn’t remember the title, but it was by Shakin' Stevens. She got up from her chair and crossed the room. Removing the record from the draw, she turned it over. Green Door! It suddenly struck her that there was not a record player in the house. Everything suddenly fell into place. The two cupboard doors in the kitchen were painted green. She needed to find more green doors. Eventually she found one in a bathroom on the top floor. She opened the bathroom cabinet and sure enough, there was something pencilled on the painted wooden board at the back. SD, Victoria Street, it read.
It didn't take much imagination to figure it out. She knew there was an Eastminster Bank in Victoria Street, SD could refer to a safe deposit at that bank. She decided to pay them a visit in the morning. It was too late in the day now. As she was about to open the front door, the metal letter box, fixed behind the door, caught her eye. She hadn't looked in there, she wondered if anyone had. Indeed there was a letter inside, addressed to Mr A. McCulloch. She grabbed it and rushed back to the living room, which was much better lit. What she read was the missing piece of the jigsaw. It was a letter from the bank reminding Mr. McCulloch that the annual fee for his safe deposit box could not be deducted from his now empty current account. It all matched what she had found written behind the green doors. As the executrix, she could legitimately go to the bank and take the contents of the box. It was all she needed. Her elation was short lived though, when she thought she heard footsteps on the pebbles outside. She remembered her previous visit and panicked. Who was out there? She certainly wasn't going to open the door to find out. Without going near the window she left the room and went to the front bedroom. Furtively peering out she saw a man walking out of the gateway, in no great hurry. He was wearing a brown bomber jacket and dark jeans, and didn't look like one of the gang who had captured her. As she watched she saw, through gaps in the hedge, that he was walking off up the road, but by now she was unnerved. Memories of being caught and tied up in this house, and the time she had spent lying bound and gagged on the kitchen table, came flooding back to her. She hurried downstairs, grabbed her jacket from the coat rack in the hall and left in a hurry. She drove the other way so as not to be seen by that man. She realised he could be completely innocent, but what if he wasn’t. The gang could still be watching her. She tried not to think about that.
It wasn't until Ann reached home that she realised she had left all the letters and documents behind in her panic. She decided to pay the bank a visit the next morning and she would call at the house and collect them on her way there.
The next morning, soon after 10 o'clock, Ann was back in the house and was preparing for the day's business. She had collected up all of the papers that she had left behind the previous afternoon and put them in the black leather brief case that she had brought along. It was one of her husband's old ones, but it looked professional enough. As for herself, she was dressed much more formally than yesterday. She had taken note of the way the solicitor, Rachel Robinson, dressed. Under a knee-length black trenchcoat, she was wearing a pinafore dress in a grey and green tartan pattern over a pale green blouse with a button-down collar, with a neatly knotted dark green necktie. A hint of the yuppie with a touch of the demure. She hadn't been sure which shoes to wear, and had settled on a pair of black calf-length boots with two-inch heels. Ann had chosen the boots with heels because she secretly thought of herself as dumpy, and needed all the confidence she could summon up for the morning's visit to the bank. They had sounded helpful enough on the phone, twenty minutes ago, but that didn't mean they were going to give her the box just like that.
Snap out of it, she thought to herself. I am the executrix and I've got the documents here in my case. What can go wrong? Seeing raindrops on the window, she buttoned her raincoat, opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch.
"Good morning Mrs Liddell" said a familiar but unwelcome voice. Three figures stepped from the sides of the doorway, two from the left and one from the right. "Back inside" said the woman. The taller of the two men took hold of her upper arm and guided her back inside the house. Behind her, one of them closed the door.
"Don't worry, just do what we say and you'll be safe. We want what's mine and it's best if you co-operate. My friends here are armed". Ann recognised the three intruders who had captured her a few days previously. The shorter one was the one who had groped and spanked her when he was left alone with her. She was frightened, but they hadn't seriously hurt anybody last time, apart from that. She studied them quickly. The two men looked superficially alike. Both were about six feet tall, one slightly taller than the other. Both had fair hair, but the shorter man was losing his much faster. Both had beards and Ann noticed they were of about the same length. Had they both grown beards at the same time? She hadn't noticed this last time. Was it a ploy to confuse witnesses? Probably, as both were wearing blue denim jackets over black tee shirts and blue jeans. The woman, who had been the one giving the orders, was wearing a grey pinstriped business suit, with a white high-necked blouse with a big bow, and low-heeled black shoes.
She addressed Ann in a quite friendly tone, which contradicted the facts of what she was saying. "Look, I think you've got something that is by rights mine. There's no need for anybody to get hurt, so perhaps you will give me the case and tell me about what's inside. You see we've been watching you, there are just some fine details I want to know about".
Sensing no obvious threat Ann replied scathingly "What if I choose not to?"
P continued smiling as she replied "Well, we will have to lock you in a cupboard. And there's nobody here to find you. Wouldn’t like that, would you?"
Ann realised with a sinking feeling that she should have expected this. She thought for a moment, then an idea struck her. "Fair enough, I don't object to sharing. Why don't we all go to the bank. I've made an appointment to see Mr Henshaw about a safe deposit box, to withdraw the contents. I've got the letters in my case. We can all go, then when we see what's in it we can talk about who gets what". Ann’s reasoning was that if she could get them away from the house, she stood a chance of escape. The prospect of being given a share of whatever was in the safe deposit would entice them to accompany her to the bank. She planned to jump out of her car at traffic lights perhaps, or once in the bank, tell the staff to call the police.
She was quite pleased with her plan for a moment, until P spoke up. " Well thanks, Ann. That's generous of you, but I've got a better idea. We, me and one of the guys, will go to the bank, I'll be you, and I'll get the box. You can wait here with one of these chaps to look after you".
"You can't do that. You won't get away with impersonating me" Ann began angrily, but her voice fell silent as she realised that P could actually do whatever she wanted while her two henchmen were here .
P grinned at her, an unpleasant grin. "I can, I will. Or should I say we will, because we're a team, us three". Ann glanced at the two men, who seemed to be giving each other a funny look. "We've all got our skills. H for instance" she gestured toward the man who was holding Ann by the arm. "He's good at tying people up. You met him the other day. Now he's going to tie you up again. Tape you up actually, it's much quicker. He prefers to use rope but we haven't got all day ,and he's such a perfectionist. You can start taping her now", she nodded to the man. He released his grip on Ann's arm and produced a roll of silver tape from his pocket
Ann couldn't just let this happen, she had to speak up. "This is silly, and it's illegal. You can't just stand there and tell him to tie me up. You won't get away with it, the police are already after you".
The woman laughed "If you don't want to get hurt, I would suggest you do as we say. There's three of us and one of you. And we're all bigger than you are, aren't we? So start by taping little Annie's hands behind her back, then tape up her whining mouth".
Ann stood there silently fuming as the man took her hands and drew them behind her back. He pushed her shirt cuffs up and began to wrap the tape tightly round her wrists, against her bare skin. That wasn't going to be pleasant when it came off, she realised. He stepped in front of her, smiling, and pressed a strip of silver tape across her lips. And then another, diagonally, and then another, slanting the other way. Smoothing it down, he said "There. One whining woman, silenced"
He stood back from her, and all three stood looking at her. She realised with some embarrassment that they were indeed all taller than her. "She'll be all right on the sofa" said the woman. "Go through into the living room and sit down, Annie" Ann looked at her disdainfully. "Go on, or do we pick you up and carry you". Ann turned and walked slowly into the room, followed by the others, noticing her reflection in the full-length mirror in the hallway as she passed. Seeing herself with her hands tied behind her back and her mouth taped reminded her of a scene from a television thriller, there was something exciting about it. She continued into the living room and sat down as gracefully as was possible with hands tied behind her back.
"Mr. C and myself are going to the bank, and Mr. H will keep you company" the woman explained, speaking directly to Ann. "Just to make sure you don't come to any harm. Between ourselves I think us ladies need a man around to look after us, don't we ". So saying, she collected the brief case and left the room, followed by the shorter of the men. The man who spanked me, thought Ann, at least I haven't been left with him. She glanced at the other man, wondering if she was any safer with him. Was she going to have to endure some painful indignity at his hands?
He grinned at her as if he knew what she was thinking. "Might as well watch some TV" he said. "Not much chance of stimulating conversation, is there?" he walked across the room and turned the set on. A political discussion was being shown, but he suddenly turned to Ann and said "better finish with you, you could easily run away while I'm keeping up with current affairs" He disappeared to the kitchen for a moment and returned carrying the roll of tape. Oh hell, what else he is going to do to me, she wondered. He squatted in front of her. "Feet, please" he said, but without waiting he pulled her feet out in front of her, tipping her backward momentarily. He placed them together, crossed at the ankles so she wouldn't be able to stand up, and wrapped the tape round them five times, tightly. Then he sat down next to her and turned her sideways, looking at her taped hands. He pulled more tape from the roll. "Clench your fists for me, I just want to make sure you don't use your fingers". What the hell, she thought, doing as she was told, she was in no position to resist. Soon her hands were wrapped in a glove of sticky silver tape. "Better save some for later" he muttered. "You'll see. You're safe with me by the way. You're very nice but you're twenty years too old for me". She didn't know how to take this, but it did mean she wasn't going to be groped against her will. Once he had finished, to her relief, he sat down in one of the armchairs and watched the television, glancing at her occasionally but saying nothing. As she sat there, she wondered how she was going to get out of the situation. Presumably they weren't just going to release her when they got back. Past history suggested that they would leave her here, still bound and gagged. How long would it be before she was missed? Her husband Ronald wouldn't notice, he only noticed if his business or his golfing was likely to be affected. But that's why I'm divorcing him once the business of this house is finalised, she reminded herself.
Ann had sat watching a succession of boring programmes, with her silent guard, for an hour and a half. She wasn't in pain but she was getting stiff from sitting in one position for so long, and she was getting thirsty. She didn't normally go this long without caffeine. She was getting too hot, sitting here in her buttoned up and belted raincoat. And she was starting to feel like she needed to pee. She had experimented with the tape around her clenched fists and thought she had succeeded in loosening it slightly. She dared not put too much effort into this for rear of attracting the attention of her guard. She guessed he would take pleasure in tying her up even more securely if he thought there was a need to. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a car arriving outside. H jumped to his feet and went to the front door, shutting the living room door. Behind him. Ann could hear raised voices, male and female, a heated argument was taking place. It sounded as if a scuffle was taking place. The noise gradually subsided. Eventually the door flew open. Ann's eyes almost popped out as she saw the two men dragging P into the room. "You two are going to die" she shouted. "Don't think I won't track you down".
There had been a change of circumstances here, Ann realised. Where previously P had been calling the shots, now she was the prisoner of H and C. The rest of H's roll of tape had been used to bind her hands and arms behind her back. For good measure her buttoned jacket had been pulled down over her upper arms. She was trying to struggle but she was too tightly taped for it to have an effect. C was still holding the flick knife he had used to subdue her while H did the taping.
"Should have left some for her mouth" said C, exasperatedly. "Maybe a good spanking will shut her up"
P, going red in the face, turned to him "Don't even think about it. I'm going to have you killed, but if you touch me it will be so much slower and messier. Both of you!"
"Come on, get her into the cupboard” said H, looking somewhat apprehensive, as if he feared that this threat might one day materialize. Ann watched in amazement as the trio went out of her field of vision. She heard a door being opened, one of the kitchen cupboards, then some sort of a scuffle, then P shouting "Owww! You're going to be so sorry for that" the last few syllables being drowned by the sound of the door slamming.
The pair came back into the living room. H looked down at Ann " Just so you know, there was a safe deposit, with diamonds in it. At least, she says that’s what they are. So we decided on a fairer share-out. After all it's us two that take the risks, do the assaults and robberies. You miss out too, but your help has been appreciated. Been nice meeting you". With those words they left the room. No briefcase, Ann noticed. It must be in P's car. Two minutes later she heard that car being driven away.
Some ten minutes had passed in which Ann had listened to P kicking and banging against the cupboard door. She was no quitter, Ann thought. She was making quite a noise for somebody whose arms were taped behind her back. Eventually it paid off.
Now she stood in front of Ann, red faced, breathless, a lock of hair falling over one eye. She was still securely bound, Ann observed, she must have kicked the door open."We need each other, you and I. Lets bury the hatchet. I can get you the diamonds, we can share them, but I can't get loose from this tape on my own, and nor can you. So are you up for it? What do you say?" She looked at Ann as if expecting her to speak. "You don't know it but you owe me one" she continued. "If I'd left you with the other guy this morning, you'd have spent some time over his knee, getting your bum spanked. I'm guessing you wouldn't like that much".
Ann couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was as if this woman had forgotten that, this very morning. Only two or more hours ago, it was her who had ordered her henchmen to tie Ann up, and had then stolen her briefcase. And it was her who had held Ann and her solicitor and estate agent up at knifepoint.
As if reading Ann's mind, she continued "these are your two choices. We get ourselves untied and when we track those two down, we share the diamonds. The other choice is that I walk out of here, taped up like this, and tell whoever finds me that my car's been hijacked. And I won't tell them you're in here. You can't go anywhere with your feet tied, you'll stay here till you rot. So nod if you like my first idea".
Everything she said was true, Ann realised unhappily. She could be left here for ages. She didn't trust this woman, who was the architect of all the bad things that had happened to her. But she really only had one option. She looked P in the eye and nodded, without much enthusiasm. P acknowledged her agreement and moved closer to her, turning her back. "Let's start by getting the tape off your mouth. Put your face close to my fingers".
About half an hour later, both women were free. Ann had endured P pulling the tape from her lips without flinching, then sat patiently while P walked into the kitchen. They had guessed that the draws in there contained some sharp instruments, and P soon returned with a wooden handled carving knife clutched in one hand. Ann couldn't use her taped-up fingers so P had sawn through the tapes binding her wrists. Freedom had come at a price however, the blade had sliced into Ann's wrist at one point.
Ann decided to take the initiative. "Tell you what we do now" she said as she draped the last few feet of crumpled tape over the back of the sofa. "I'm going to the bathroom, and I'm going to see to this cut while I'm up there. You make us a cup of tea, and we can drink it while you tell me how we're going to get the diamonds back" Ann had taken her raincoat off and laid it on the dining table. Her wrist was still bleeding slightly and the cuff of her pale green shirt was covered in dried blood.
To her surprise P agreed with a smile "it's going to be here when you come down. You go and tidy up"
In the bathroom she checked the cabinets and found a small first-aid kit. She stuck a plaster over the cut, washed her hands and patted her hair back into place. The unsightly bloodstain on her cuff caught her eye, so she rolled both sleeves up past her elbows. That looked better than dried blood. It wasn't that important now, she wasn't going the bank now. It suddenly occurred to her that P might have come across the handcuffs in the kitchen draw. She had forgotten all about them since yesterday. Don't let that happen, please, she thought. But they were on the same side now, P was even now making her a drink.
Back in the living room P was sitting in an armchair opposite the sofa, and two small cups of tea sat on a coffee table. Ann sat down on the sofa. The lengths of tape were still over the back of it. I'd have moved all that, she thought. She took the cup nearest her, had a sip, and then drank it down. She really needed that. P smiled and rose to her feet. "I need more sugar in mine".
When she returned Ann had just put her cup down in the saucer, and was completely taken by surprise when the woman grabbed her wrist, her bandaged and painful wrist. She had found the handcuffs and now she held them in front of Ann. "Put these on, one hand first then put both behind your back".
Ann took the handcuffs then shouted "no chance" Snatching them away from P she flung them away and they clattered against the wall. She intended to punch her assailant in the face but P reacted like lightning. Twisting Ann’s wrist cruelly she forced her face down onto the sofa, her face pressed into a cushion. Ann was powerless to resist as the woman yanked both her hands behind her back and began to bind them tightly with one of the discarded lengths of tape. It wasn't very sticky now, but P was tying knots in it. At the same time she managed to get herself in a sitting position on the backs of Ann’s legs, using her weight to prevent her from moving away. No sooner were Ann's hands bound than her attacker passed a length of tape round her upper left arm, then to her right arm, above the elbows, and pulled it painfully tight. "Get off me! Help, someone" Ann shouted, knowing it was a waste of breath. P squirmed round and grabbed her right foot, pulling it upward and looping a length of tape round it. In no time at all, she had done the same with Ann's other foot, and both feet were soon bound together. Then P was up in a flash and scrambled over to the other side of the room, where she retrieved the handcuffs. Ann kicked out and thrashed to no avail. She was amazed at the woman's strength and speed, which didn't match her bulk. Ann had expected to get the better of her, but it was her who had been overpowered and trussed up, and was now wondering what was going to happen next.
To Ann's horror P picked up the steak knife which had so recently been used to cut her loose, and walked back to where she lay."Don't be fooled, I can take care of myself and I can take care of you. I'm not going to hurt you but I want those diamonds back, and you're not going to slow me down. I'm just going to make sure you don't ".
Ann wanted to remind her of what she had said, about how they could help each other, but with a sense of disappointment she realised that it had just been a ploy. P had duped her, she only needed her help to get free, and her reward was to be treated as someone to be kept out of the way.
She was lying on her side across the sofa, but P turned her face down and to her surprise began to slice through the tape at her wrists. "Don't do anything stupid, you know I'll win" she said firmly. Ann didn't understand at first why she was being cut loose, but she guessed correctly that she wasn't going to be freed. Those handcuffs were now being closed tightly over her wrists. Those solid-looking handcuffs that she had found and brought downstairs yesterday. She should have left well alone. "The key will be down the drain outside" sneered P. "Now, this place looks a mess, tape everywhere. I won't gag you, there's no need once I'm gone, and nobody will hear you. But I won't make it too easy for you".
"I bet you won't "Ann muttered as P wrapped tape round her booted ankles, pulled them up over her bottom and taped them to her cuffed hands. P passed more tape round between her upper arms and her body, knotting it in the middle of her back and finishing by tying the ends round the middle of the handcuffs.
"That ought to be enough. I can't see little fat Annie getting herself untied in any great hurry". Ann was on the verge of pointing out that P was in no position to call other people fat, but kept quiet, knowing how vulnerable she was. P could easily change her mind about not gagging her.
Ann winced as her hands were being fastened behind her back even more securely than on the previous two occasions, but she wasn't going to plead or beg to be tied looser or anything of that sort. She knew the woman would just find it amusing. Once the binding was finished, P turned her over on her side so that she faced the back of the sofa.
"Got to go now. The knife is on the floor. I took your car keys from your coat while you were upstairs, seeing as those two tossers drove off in mine. I'll leave it in a car park somewhere. Pity we didn't meet under different circumstances, if you know what I mean"
Ann didn't know "Sorry, I don't know how things could be different" then immediately wished she had said nothing as she felt P's fingers on her thigh, lifting her skirt, moving round to the front, pushing between her thighs, probing hard. She tried to pull away, unsuccessfully. "I'm not gay! And if I was, it would still be indecent assault. I don't want this" she protested. The fingers probed deeper. She couldn’t get away from them. She didn't want to be groped by this woman, but there was a delicious feeling of naughtiness about it. It was the knowledge that she was going to be brought to orgasm whether she liked it or not, and that as a bound captive, she had no choice but to enjoy it. But then it all changed. The fingers suddenly pulled away from her.
P had a malicious streak and she was exercising it now. "No, I don't think you should get to come, when I've got to rush off. We'll save it for some time when we can both enjoy it. Don't forget, I know where you live. But right now I'm more interested in tracking down those two and getting my diamonds back".
Ann went to speak and felt suddenly breathless. "Whose diamonds?" she muttered.
"Mine" P said triumphantly. Ann could only listen helplessly as she slammed the door behind her, and a few moments later, drove away in Ann's car.
Ann carefully manoeuvred herself so that she was able to see the knife. It was an effort to do this without falling from the sofa, but she managed it. The knife lay on the floor three feet away from her. There was no way that she was going to get loose from the handcuffs, but she knew the knife could cut through the tape. If she kept a firm grip she would be able to saw through the tape round her ankles. That was the key, once that was done she would be able to stand up. She wriggled carefully off the sofa onto her knees.
Three quarters of an hour later, Ann sat on the sofa, exhausted. Her hands were still cuffed behind her and there was still tape binding her upper arms to her body, but her feet were free. The sawing at the tape had taken an age, and she had grazed her black boots with the blade in two places, but now she could walk out of here. She wondered what she would do outside. What if there was nobody out there? She imagined herself walking up the road in the hope of meeting someone who would come to her rescue. It was so embarrassing, the idea of being out in a public place with her hands cuffed behind her back. But she couldn't just stay here forever. She got to her feet and walked out of the room to the front door. There she saw the first problem. The catch on the Yale lock was over four feet above floor level. There was no way she was going to be able to unlock it with her hands cuffed behind her back. What on earth could she do? She went over to the staircase and sat down on the second step, feeling momentarily like bursting into tears. Every time she came to this damned house she got attacked, threatened, frightened and tied up. Well, not every day, yesterday had been all right. Two times out of three. But today she had been robbed of a small fortune and had been groped by another woman. And now she was stuck here, locked in with her hands fastened behind her back. The back door, she suddenly remembered. Nobody had been out there today. She got to her feet and hurried into the kitchen. At last, something was going right. The key was in the lock. She looked up and down. There were bolts but they were open. Taking care not to drop the key, she soon had the door open.
"I don't know how long it takes the police these days" Ann said impatiently "You would think a lady being tied up and robbed in her house would be pretty important. I'm really glad that you were here. Just going out, too. A few minutes more and I'd have missed you. What did you say your name was?"
"Er, Roy. Roy Woodman" said Ray. "Well, I suppose they'll get here soon". He didn't know what he was going to do in this situation. He studied the woman who sat opposite him at the kitchen table, as she sucked some more lemonade through the straw. A pleasantly plump brunette, about 50, greying slightly, about 5'1". Smartly dressed in a tartan pinafore dress, pale green shirt and matching tie, with nice black boots, and strangest of all, her hands were fastened behind her back with some heavy-duty police handcuffs. He had chivalrously removed the tape from her arms and listened to her account of the robbery at the house next door. He had found the valuables he was looking for here, had been in the process of leaving. He had been about to close the door behind him when she suddenly appeared on the driveway. What could he do but pretend to be the home-owner. She hadn't yet noticed the dark blue holdall on the floor in the doorway . He had gone into the other room found a phone, pretended to speak to the police, then prepared her a drink, the way a neighbour would. With hands cuffed behind her, the only way she could drink was through a straw, but luckily there were some in the cupboard.
He watched her, his brain racing. All that had been going on next door, while he was carrying out a successful but uneventful burglary. He was very partial to bound ladies, especially those he thought of as pleasantly plump. And having bound and silenced them, he was very fond of spanking them. But this was the first time that one of them had come to him already bound, pre-packaged as it were. In his holdall he had as always a roll of tape and some lengths of cord. He hadn't needed them today because the target house was empty. By his own rules, she should be gagged and blindfolded and have her feet bound before he left her. He was already imagining himself doing this, then administering a spanking to her plump bottom.
"Where are those police?" she suddenly asked, blue eyes wide. "How long since you phoned them?" He wondered what she would say if he told her the truth. But then he realised his options weren’t so numerous. He needed to get away from here with the loot and she had got a very good look at him.
He was bigger than her and he could soon have her gagged and bound to his satisfaction, but she would describe him to the police when she was eventually rescued. He realised there might be more to gain by doing a deal with her. "Hey, listen. I want you to listen and not interrupt" he announced. "You understand? Don't say anything. Do you agree?"
"OK" she said, puzzled.
"The police aren't coming, because I haven't phoned them. I don't live here, I'm a burglar. Now you can help me and I can help you, or I could just tie you up and gag you, and then leave. And remember, I know where you live".
Ann listened open-mouthed, looking as if she might start shouting at first, but then she spoke quietly "so if I don't help, I will be tied and gagged and left here for who knows how long, till the people come home. What if I do help?"
"If you agree to help, I phone the cops in half an hour and tell them you are here"
"Can't you make it sooner? Anyway, how on earth can I help you?"
He explained "There's nothing to connect me with this, or with what happened to you. When the police come, tell them the truth except for how you describe me. Say it was two guys, describe someone off the box, Cannon and Ball for example. Oh, and say you think one of them was named Benny. You came here to get help, and they grabbed you".
Ann thought for a moment. "Sounds believable I suppose. And you call the police quite soon after you've gone"
"That's right" said Ray "What do you say?"
"OK" said Ann "but there's just one thing. Why would I still be here, when I could have run outside? Wouldn't they tie my feet or something, or tie me to a chair? They wouldn't just leave me like this. You see what I mean, don't you. I'm in somebody's house, that’s been robbed, I don't want to look as if I'm complicit in some way"
"Cut to the chase" said Ray. "Are you saying you think I should tie you up more thoroughly?" Incredibly he was worrying about the time. He had no idea when the householder might come back, and didn't want to be here when that happened.
Ann looked embarrassed. "Sounds silly when you say it like that, but yes. There must be some belts or string or something . Have a look".
Belts, thought Ray. Easy to find and easy to fasten. He rushed upstairs to the bedrooms and soon returned with two men's belts. "These will do, and it won't take long. Where do you want to go?"
"This chair's a bit hard. I'll sit here" said Ann, sitting herself down on the sofa. Ray knelt and passed one of the belts round her booted ankles, pulling it as tight as possible. "You seem quite competent at tying girls up" she said coyly looking up at him
"I need to be in this job, Can't have them running away and raising the alarm. Now we just need to make sure you stay put"
Ann pulled away "Don't gag me, there's no need. I've had enough of that"
"I wasn't going to" said Ray "but I need you up on here" He lifted Ann's feet and to her surprise tipped her onto her side on the sofa. Soon she was face down and he was looping the second belt between the handcuffs and her already belted ankles. He pulled it tight so that her feet were pulled up over her bottom. "Now that's convincing. You won't be going anywhere now, will you?"
"No, definitely not" she said emphatically. "Now, not more than half an hour"
"No, and remember, Cannon and Ball, Benny. Don't forget, I know where you live". With that he gave her a hearty smack on her bottom and left the room. At the door he turned and grinned at her. In spite of herself, she smiled back.