The Cleaners




Kathleen Reed opened the window of her new home, closed her eyes and inhaled the crisp fall air. Summer was over and fall had arrived, which was fine by her. With the change of seasons, gone were the long, hot sticky days that were now replaced by shorter days and cooler, breezier weather.  While the 40-ish Kathleen could still pull off wearing tight, sexy clothes, she much preferred the outfit of a long, breezy fringed skirt, white long-sleeve peasant-style blouse and red leather boots she was wearing. The crisp day prompted Kathleen to take her winter coat and scarves out of the dusty storage room to get them ready for the upcoming winter.  She and her daughter Rachel recently moved into this old Victorian-style home, and while they enjoyed the house’s antiqueness, the property needed some post-sale sprucing-up. While Kathleen waited for the realtor to call about the cleaning arrangements, she had to tend to a typical morning ritual:


“Rachael!  Get moving!  You’re going to be late for school!”


“I’m coming mom.  Be down in a second.” 


“Of course, it’ll take longer than that.  It always does.” Kathleen muttered. Sure enough, much more than a second later, Rachael ran down the steps in her usual last-minute school-morning preparation frenzy. 


“Sorry I’m late mom.  I couldn’t find my books.”


“Or your makeup?” Kathleen thought to herself.  Not that Rachael needed much makeup. Just like her mother, Rachael was a 5’9 blonde with a pretty face, ice blue eyes, small but firm chest, slim waist, and long legs. Rachael was wearing her usual school uniform: crisp white shirt, pleated grey skirt with matching cardigan, plaid necktie with school emblem on it, white knee highs and shiny flat black shoes. Rachael sat at the kitchen table and poured milk into her full cereal bowl as her mother sat across from her.


“You’d never eat breakfast if I didn’t prepare it for you.  You’re always late.”


“I know mom.” Rachael sheepishly responded.  Having sufficiently scolded her daughter, Kathleen decided to change the conversation.


“So, do you like the house?”


“Yup. It’s pretty cool place to live.” Rachael said as she ate.


“It has a long heritage.  Decades ago, it was owned by a wealthy antiques dealer who passed down the house to his family members. It stayed in the family until recently.”


“What happened?  Why did the house get sold?”


“Not sure why.  The realtor said there was some sort of family dispute that had to be settled by selling the house. All I know is that I got a good deal on this place. Once the house is cleaned up a bit, it’ll look perfect.” Kathleen glanced at the wall clock. “It’s time to go Rachael.”


“Okay.” Rachael said as she gulped down the last of her cereal, grabbed her books and headed out the door. “Thanks mom.  Love you.”


“Love you too Rachael” Kathleen responded as she kissed her daughter on the cheek and watched Rachael hop on her bicycle and pedal off to school. Kathleen had just gone back inside when her phone rang.  The call was from her realtor’s office. 


“Hi Theresa. How’s my favourite realtor this morning?” During the sale, Kathleen and Theresa became very friendly chatting about each other’s eighteen year-old daughters. Trading ‘war stories’ about their kids helped cement their friendship.


“Fine Kathleen.  How are you?”


“Good.  Just got Rachael off to school. Are the cleaning people coming soon?”


“Yes.  Just wanted to make sure you were home before sending them over. They’ll be there late morning.”


“Okay. I’ll be here waiting for them. Thanks Theresa.”


“You’re welcome Kathleen. Bye.”  Theresa hung up the phone and buzzed in the cleaning crew’s manager, a large and muscular man named Jack.


“Here’s the address,” Theresa said as she handed Jack a piece of paper with the location of Kathleen’s house.  “Make sure you do a good job.”


“Don’t worry Theresa.  My men and I will be professionals.”


“I expect nothing less.” Theresa said as he stood in front of her, curiously eyeing her up.


“Is there anything wrong Jack?”


“Yes. There is a matter I have to take care of before I leave...”




Kathleen was lounging on the couch, reading a magazine while waiting for the cleaning crew to arrive.  One of the magazine’s articles was about the prior owners of the house. Apparently, there was a very large dispute among family members over exactly how many antiques were in the family collection. Accusations of deception and theft were bandied back-and-forth until there was an agreed upon settlement of the exact value and number of pieces were in the collection. Rumours persist that there are some pieces unaccounted for, but there is no proof to substantiate the story. Kathleen remembered the thorough house inspection before it was determined that no valuables had been left behind. She suspects that the house was sold to cover legal bills. What was evident was that the renovations left quite a bit of dirt and grime that needed to be cleaned up. Kathleen wanted to buy the house at the below-market price before someone else beat her to the punch, but the mess gave her pause, so Theresa, the realtor who was very anxious to close the deal and get the commission, promised that she’d get the house clean at her own expense if Kathleen bought the property immediately. Kathleen agreed to Theresa’s terms and a week later, Kathleen and Rachel settled in their new residence. Kathleen’s reminiscing of the recent events was broken by the sound of the doorbell.


“Hello. Are you Miss Reed?” a man asked as Kathleen opened the door, noticing a white-panel van with a few men in it parked nearby.


“Yes.  I’m Miss Reed.”


“Good, then I have the right address.”


“Are you the cleaning service?”


“Yes I am. My name is Jack. Theresa thought you would like to see my credentials, identification and her recommendation before I begin. May I come inside and show them to you?”


“Sure.” Theresa responded, a bit more relaxed since Jack came with a testimonial.  Kathleen let Jack stand in the foyer as he handed her stack of papers. On top was Jack’s identification followed by his company’s name and a list of satisfied customers.  At the bottom was a manila business envelope from Theresa’s office.  Kathleen felt the shiny edge of a picture and slowly slid it out and put it on top of the envelope.  Kathleen stared at the picture in shock.  It was an image of Theresa dressed in a brown business suit wearing sheer hose and heels sitting in a chair with duct tape over her mouth and rope binding her wrists to the chair arms and her ankles tied together to the base of the chair. Theresa’s eyes were wide with fear as there was a gun pressed to her temple. Kathleen recognized the man holding the gun as…JACK!    


By the time Kathleen connected the dots, it was too late.  Jack clamped his hand over Kathleen’s mouth and put the same gun he used on Theresa against Kathleen’s temple. Kathleen tried to pull Jack’s hand away from her mouth and scream for help, but Jack’s grip was too strong. Jack dragged the scared and struggling woman across the room and tossed her face first onto to the couch. The pillows muffled Kathleen’s screams as Jack straddled her, yanked Kathleen’s wrists behind her back and quickly bound them together over her white-fringed sleeves with rope he had hidden in his pocket. Jack pulled Kathleen’s head back away from the pillows so he could duct tape her mouth. Once he was confident Kathleen was silenced, he took out more rope and proceeded to hogtie his captive.  Rope bound her booted legs together and bent them back toward her hands, where Jack finished immobilizing the pretty blonde. Jack moved the pillows away from Kathleen’s face so she could breathe. As he did so, she mumbled and strained against the ropes. Jack watched as Kathleen quickly wore herself out from her futile struggles.


“Don’t make this too hard on yourself Miss Reed.  I’ll try to get this over with quickly with as little inconvenience to you.  I advise you to remain calm and don’t panic.”


Jack went to the door and motioned to his ‘co-workers’ in the van. Three men entered the house and headed to the basement. Jack stayed upstairs and kept an eye on Kathleen. They exchanged eye contact as Jack admired how attractive Kathleen looked gagged and hogtied. Kathleen was thankful she was wearing a long skirt so more of her was not visible. Jack’s persistent gazing over her body further unnerved her, but she was unable to prevent it. This went on for a few uninterrupted minutes until the men came upstairs, frowning. 


“What’s wrong?” Jack asked one of the men.


“We’ve got a problem.  The area we need to get to has been cemented over.”


“Can you get to it?”


“It’ll take some drilling and a few hours, but I can get there.  It’ll just take longer than I thought to finish the job.”


Kathleen thought to herself, “Get what job done? What are they talking about?”


“Bring in the equipment from the van and get started immediately. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can get the job done.”  As the men followed Jack’s orders, he knelt next to Kathleen.


“I apologize for this unfortunate delay Miss Reed.  I was hoping to let you go relatively soon, but I’m afraid I’ll have to keep you bound and gagged for awhile longer. I can’t allow you to alert anyone to our presence here or see what we are doing.” Kathleen whined as Jack blindfolded her with one of her own scarves.  Now completely helpless, Kathleen could only listen as the men trudged through her house and began tearing up the basement for some unknown reason, with her helpless to do anything about it.



Rachael was headed to her last class of the day when she saw a note on the door that the class was cancelled due to the teacher’s illness.  Rachael was delighted that school was now over.


“I’ll be home early, for once, and surprise mom.” Rachael thought to herself as she left school and began the ride home.




“Would you like me to untie you Miss Reed?”


It seemed like days to Kathleen since she had been hogtied, gagged and blindfolded, but once Jack took off the blindfold, she looked at the clock and realized it had been only hours since this bizarre incident began. Kathleen nodded her head in response to Jack’s question, and he released her from the hogtie and untied her legs as well.  He sat Kathleen upright and asked her if she wanted something to drink.  Kathleen nodded ‘yes’, so Jack gently grabbed Kathleen’s arm and guided her into a chair in the kitchen.  He poured a glass of cold water, grabbed a straw and sat on a stool in front of Kathleen.


“Miss Reed, I’m going to take the tape off your mouth.  I’ll keep it off if you don’t scream, but I’ll gag you again if you attempt to yell for help. Understand?”  Kathleen nodded as Jack pulled the tape from Kathleen’s lips.  She gasped as she sucked on the straw, filling her parched mouth with cool liquid.  After she quenched her thirst, she was aware of the loud banging sounds coming from the basement.  Bound and outnumbered, Kathleen knew she was still in no position to attempt and escape, so she tried to strike up a conversation with her captor.


“What are your men doing in my basement?”


“We’re looking for something.  Exactly what, I can’t tell you.” Kathleen weighed pursing the issue further, but decided to move to another question.


“Is Theresa ok?  What did you do to her?”


“I can assure you she is fine.  One of my men is keeping her company.”  Kathleen gave him a disbelieving look.


“If you don’t think I’m being truthful, I can have her talk to you.”  Jack dialled Kathleen’s cell phone and spoke to his man with Theresa.


“Hello…How’s Theresa?...OK…Take her gag off…Kathleen wants to talk to her.”  Jack put the phone on speaker.






“Oh my God, you’re ok!”


“I’m ok.  Are you all right?”


“As well as can be expected.  I saw what Jack did to you.  He’s doing the same to me.”


“MY GOD!  NO!  THAT ANIMAL!...When the authorities get a hold of him, he’ll…”


“That’s enough talking! Gag that bitch!” Jack exclaimed as he closed the cell phone. A moment later, Jack showed Kathleen a cell phone pic of a freshly tape-gagged Theresa.  Kathleen was visibly shaken at her friend’s plight, as well as her own, when one of his men came up from the basement with a frustrated look on his face.


“What’s wrong? What’s taking so long?”


“The renovations made the basement look uniform.  I’m having trouble determining which wall to drill through and I don’t want to take all day guessing where to start.”  The man turned toward Kathleen.  “Maybe Miss Reed can help. She was here during the renovations.”


“How do you know that?” Kathleen responded. “And how do you know so much about this house?”


“That’s irrelevant Miss Reed.” Jack said. “The longer it takes for us to find what we’re looking for, the longer we are going to be here, so I suggest you cooperate.” Jack grabbed Kathleen by the arm, his strong grip discouraging Kathleen from struggling as he led her downstairs


“Now Miss Reed, one of these walls had a substantial crack in it when you bought the house.  Which wall was it?”


“I don’t remember.”


“Then I’ll give you some inspiration to jog your memory.  I’ll call my cohort who is with Theresa and…”


“ALL RIGHT!  No need to do that.  The south side wall is the one you want.”


“Very good Miss Reed.  I know you’d be cooperative. Now let’s go upstairs and let my men work. A pretty woman like you can be a distraction.”  Everyone except Kathleen snickered as Jack led her back to the kitchen.


“They’ll probably need about an hour Miss Reed.  Until then, we’ll...”  Jack’s sentence was interrupted by an incoming text message on Kathleen’s phone, which he was still holding.  After reading the message, Jack was silent as he pinched Kathleen’s nose shut and grabbed a clean dishcloth from the kitchen. When Kathleen opened her mouth to breathe, Jack shoved the rag in her mouth.  He used another of Kathleen’s scarves to securely gag her, keeping the cloth firmly in place. The reason he did this became instantly clear to Kathleen once Jack showed her the text message:


From Rachael: “Hi mom.  Will be home in 30 min from school.  Love you.”




A short time later, Jack watched a girl in a school uniform ride up to the house.


“Is that your daughter?” Kathleen nodded slightly, her eyes welling up with tears.


“Oh Rachael…why, today of ALL days, do you have to be early?”


Jack headed toward the door as Rachael, tired from her ride home and unaware of the van parked outside, entered the house. Rachael put her books down and headed toward the living room when Jack surprised her from behind. Jack’s right hand covered Rachael’s mouth, while he held her in a bearhug with his left arm. Rachael kicked and struggled until she saw her mother standing in the living room bound and gagged, being held in place by one of Jack’s henchmen, while another held a knife to her throat. Jack dragged Rachael to Kathleen and stood mother and daughter face-to-face. He kept Rachael hand-gagged as one of the henchmen began tying Rachael’s legs together as the other did the same to Kathleen. After her booted ankles were cinched together, Kathleen whined as her skirt was lifted up so her knees could be similarly tied.  The henchman caught a glance at Kathleen’s white cotton bikini panties as he circled rope around and in between Kathleen’s knees. He let her skirt drop to its normal length after securing the last knot. Rachael looked down and watched as her ankles were cinched slightly above her black shoes, then her knees in the same manner just over the tops of her white knee-high socks.


“When you’re finished with the kid’s legs, tie her hands.”  Rachael exchanged scared glances with her mother as Jack released his bear hug enough so Rachael’s arms could be pulled behind her back. Jack held Rachael’s wrists as they were quickly and tightly cinched together.  The sleeves of her cardigan protected her skin from the chafing rope, but it provided no slack from the taut knot.     


“Take her tie off so I can gag her with it.”  Rachael shook her head as her school tie was unknotted and removed.  “You don’t like the idea of being gagged with your necktie?”  Rachael shook her head ‘no’. Jack grabbed a knife, flicked Rachael’s skirt up and slid the blade under the band of her silky soft red panties.  The cold steel against Rachael’s legs made her shiver.  “Would you prefer I cut off your panties and shove them in your mouth?”  Rachael shook her head ‘no’.  “Then it’ll be the school tie” Jack said as he took his hand off Rachael’s mouth.


“Please don’t gag me.” Rachael pleaded as Jack tied a knot in the centre of Rachael’s tie.  “I’ll be quiet.  I won’t make a sound.  I promise.” 


“Sorry kid, but I can’t take the chance.” Jack responded gruffly.  “Now open your mouth.”  Rachael nervously parted her lips as Jack placed the knot between Rachael’s teeth, pulled the fabric tight around Rachael’s face and tied the ends behind her head. Rachael, straining not to choke on the wad in her mouth, grimaced as Jack finished the job.  Kathleen was forced to see her daughter bound and gagged as she was.


After looking at his helpless captives, Jack turned to his assistant and said, “Go downstairs and help the others while I finish here.” 


Kathleen though to herself, “Finish what!!?? It’s not like we’re going anywhere?!”


Jack grabbed a long coil of rope and lassoed it around Kathleen’s and Rachael’s waists, pinning their arms to their bodies. Jack left the ends of the rope dangle to the side as he approached Kathleen with another piece of rope that he tied over and around her chest and knotted it loosely at the middle of her back.  He began to do the same to Rachael, but as he ran the rope around Rachael’s torso, he ran the ends through Kathleen’s chest rope, connecting the loop at each woman’s cleavage. Kathleen and Rachael whined loudly as Jack tightened the ropes behind their backs and finished cinching their waist rope. Mother and daughter were now chest-to-chest with no slack between them. 


“You two are making too much noise!” Jack said as he picked up a roll of duct tape.  He held Kathleen’s head still as he wrapped the sticky grey tape around Kathleen’s mouth.  When he finished mummifying the bottom half of Kathleen’s face, he did the same to Rachael.  As Rachael struggled with her predicament, she began to cry. Kathleen could do nothing to comfort her daughter. Their whimpers were barely audible as they pitifully stared at Jack and then at each other.


“Does it bother you seeing your daughter cry?” Kathleen nodded. “I have a solution.” Jack told Rachael to relax as he wrapped an ace bandage around her eyes, plunging the panicked young girl into darkness.  Kathleen stared angrily at Jack as he said, “Problem solved.”


As Jack’s men left the basement and left the house, he handed Kathleen her phone. “I’ve programmed your cell to call 9-1-1 with a touch of any button.  Take a look at the clock.”  Kathleen turned her head to note the current time. “You are to wait 10 minutes before pushing a button.  That’ll give us time to get away.  If you dial before then and we are caught, my other men will insure Theresa will pay a steep price, and then they will pay you and Rachael a visit. Understand?”  Kathleen nodded.  “Good. And now, I bid you and your daughter adieu. One final thing. I wouldn’t move around too much. If either of you fall, the other will join her. You’ll both be free soon.”  Kathleen watched as Jack shut the door and speed away in the van.  Seeing her daughter completely helpless and unable to comfort her made the seconds seemed like minutes and minutes seemed like hours to Kathleen.  The instant Jack’s 10 minute deadline passed, Kathleen pushed a button and hoped Jack told her the truth about the phone.  Kathleen heard three rings until a voice on the other end said: 


“9-1-1 emergency.  How may I be of assistance?”


Kathleen mumbled as loud as she could.  “MMMNNNM!  NNNPPHH!”


“Hello?  Is anyone there?”


Rachael joined in the moaning as they tried to get the operators attention. 




“I can barely hear you.  I’m tracing your signal and sending a patrolman to your location.”  A relived Kathleen dropped the phone and began sobbing as a car with flashing red and blue lights soon pulled in front of her house.




“I guess I should release you now that I’m here.”


“YYYMMMPPHH!  OW!”  Theresa yelped as Jack ripped the tape off her mouth.  “It’s about time!”


“Relax Theresa. It had to look authentic.  Besides, you look very pretty tied and gagged.”


“Very funny Jack. Now untie me.”


“As you wish, boss lady.”


Unknown to Kathleen, Theresa is a distant family member of the previous homeowner. She provided the cleaning service as a front in order to ‘appropriate’ a priceless multi-piece sculpture collection she knew was secretly hidden in the house in a location no one else was aware of.  Theresa is the plot’s ringleader, but she didn’t know about Jack’s bondage picture idea.  Jack did it by surprise to make her ‘kidnapping’ appear authentic. 


“At least you got the merchandise” Theresa said as the last of the ropes were removed from her limbs.  As she looked over the haul, an angry look passed over her face.




“What the hell is wrong Theresa?”


“You and your crew didn’t take all the pieces! There are two missing!”


“Calm down.  There’s no reason to get upset.  Once things blow over with the police over what happened at the house, we’ll just have to go back and get the rest of them.”  Jack smiled as he thought over the details of his next plan, secretly hoping Kathleen and Rachael would be home when he visited again.






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