THE TWO SCAPEGOATS.
She definitely should have called by now. Half an hour ago in fact. Ray was beginning to wonder if there had been a problem. Could it just be her asserting her independence, not wanting to seem too eager, but look what happened last week.
There had been a robbery and she had spent an afternoon bound and gagged. Since then she had mentioned it a few times, how it was his research, for his robbery, but she was the one who got captured and tied up. Was she showing signs of resentment? Maybe it was time to check the situation himself. He looked once again at the time. He really didn't want to be seen hanging around near the shop, but what choice did he have? He was irritated by Wendy's failure to phone, but he was beginning to think something had happened to her. Since he had got to know her, he had been surprised at how conscientious she was. And of course, there was the reason for his interest in the shop. The cash float, for buying gold and silver. The reason for Wendy's spying mission. He would need cash from somewhere before long, and that shop was at the top of his list of targets, at the moment.
A small van was about half way along the thirty mile route between the aforementioned shop and a coastal town. The destination was a group of warehouses on an estuary. The van was being driven by a worried man. Roger had been happy enough to augment his income by getting involved in minor crime. Minor, to him, meant nobody was a direct victim. He preferred not to dwell on the long term consequences of drug smuggling. It was suddenly very different; he was involved up to his neck in something where there definitely was a victim. And the victim was trussed up in the back of the van.
Wendy was certainly hoping somebody would start looking for her. She had been in some scrapes, but this was the worst one yet. She was in the unfortunate role of scapegoat for Ray's misguided criminal enterprise. She had been told that she would be freed, but it was just a ploy to keep her quiet, she realised that now it was too late. She thought back, half an hour. Things had been bad then. She was wearing only her white blouse, panties, tights and shoes. It hadn't been her choice, Karen and Roger had taken her skirt, tie and hat, and the woman was wearing them now. She had tried to discuss it, but her reward had been to have a pair of Karen's socks stuffed into her mouth and a tight hood pulled over her head. And she was helpless, they had bound her hands behind her back with clingfilm and then wrapped her from chest to hips in the remaining few feet of the stuff. Things couldn't get worse.
And then of course they did. She had been led out of the back of the shop and bundled into the back of a van. It was Roger who led her by the shoulder, with the occasional pat on the bottom, but she sensed that Karen was there too. She knew from the sounds And echoes that it was a van, but there was a soft covering on the floor. Something to be grateful for, but not very much. It smelt rather stale, and she suspected that it was perspiration. As she was lowered face down onto it, she recognized it as a sleeping bag.
The hood over her head didn't do much to hide the smell, once she had realised what it was. The sleeping bag had been used a lot since the last time it was washed, so it wasn't going to be a very pleasant place to spend the next few hours, she thought.
Then with a shudder, she wondered what lay in store for her after the journey in the sleeping bag.
Karen's voice interrupted her thoughts. "So get the bag zipped up, and when you've driven off, I'll take a walk and get myself seen. It better not go wrong, Roger. I'm seriously not happy about this, I'm not carrying the can for you if this goes pear-shaped. I don't want to know any more than I know now. If your pals are the sort of gangsters who execute grasses, make witnesses disappear and so on, don't tell me. I just helped to stop her leaving and blowing the whistle on us, on your drug deal actually. I would keep her for a while, dump the drugs and pay her a couple of hundred to say nothing. If I find myself up in court, thatís what I'll be saying.† Think, conspiracy to murder,† doesn't sound good, does it".
"It wonít come to that. Give me credit for having some brain cells" protested Roger.
"Just get on with it" came the reply after a long pause. Wendy tried to imagine what their expressions were, during this silence. But then, the sleeping bag was being zipped up. It was the type which unzipped all the way down one side, she observed. Laying there bound and helpless, face down, she fully expected Roger to grope her, fondle her boobs, or spank her, but no such thing happened. Maybe he wasn't in the mood, or more likely, the ever-watchful Karen was looking on. Something to be thankful for at least.
The bag was zipped to her shoulders,† then seconds later the van doors were closed and locked. She could hear another conversation taking place, voices being raised, but she couldn't make out any words. It seemed a long time until she heard the engine start, and the van moved out of the yard onto the road. Wendy had once read a book in which a kidnapped woman in a car boot had mentally plotted every left and right turn, and figured out exactly where she was being taken. It didn't take her more than about ten minutes to realise that she had no idea where she was. What worked for characters in fictional thrillers was so often impossible in the real world. She remembered the first time she had made this observation. It was the first time she had ever been tied up in a robbery, by Ray as it happened. Caught up in a Building Society holdup, she and a cashier had been left with hands tied behind their backs and feet tied together. On the small screen and the big screen, heroes and heroines usually got out of situations like this with no trouble. It wasn't so easy for Wendy and her fellow captive, who were still wriggling about on the floor, tiring themselves out in futile struggles, when the police arrived some two hours later. She couldn't just do nothing though. She was aware that inside the sleeping bag, her feet weren't tied. Maybe it was an oversight, or maybe the pair assumed that being zipped inside the bag would be enough. If it really was an oversight on Roger or Karen's part, she wasn't going to do anything to put them on their guard. She just might get the chance to run away, or hide somewhere. It might just save her life. She turned over onto her side and drew her knees up, which was the least uncomfortable position she could get into. She couldn't do much with her eyes covered, so it was best to bide her time, think of a plan to escape.
She really didn't like what she had heard. She imagined Roger was no stranger to the kind of ear-bashing that she had overheard, but was Karen exaggerating. There were drugs involved, so they certainly had something to hide. And the talk of gangsters. The words she had heard made her flesh creep. Execute, disappear. I might be going to disappear, or be executed, she thought in a sudden attack of panic. Itís almost as if I've been got ready for it, bound and hooded like this. Horrible scenes from films flooded into her mind. She imagined a noose being put around her neck, a sudden drop into oblivion. Or being strapped face down on a guillotine, looking down into a bucket. Alternatively, her sleeping bag could be weighted down and taken out to sea, thrown overboard. Nobody would ever know what had happened to her.
She shuddered as she realised that the last scenario was quite feasible if the gangsters were as bad as they sounded. She couldn't convince herself that she was being taken away like this, kidnapped, if nothing bad was in store. If they were really going to let her go, they could have done so. She started to plan ahead. She was certain that when they reached their destination, Roger would come round to the back of the van to have a look at her. Maybe to do to her the things he dared not do while his wife was about. She would have to risk that. She would moan and groan under her hood, hopefully making him think she was ill. With luck he would take the hood away, hoping to feel her up, but instead she would kick him where it hurt then run like hell. Maybe somebody would see her. Thank heaven she was still wearing her shoes.
Ray had approached the shop with care, trying to look as casual as he could, behaving like a person who wasn't at all interested in it, when something very interesting caught his eye. The front door opened, and a traffic warden stepped out. It wasn't Wendy. Now how could that be?
She was walking toward him, but on the other side of the road. As they got closer to each other, he studied her, hoping it didn't look as if he was staring. She was similar to Wendy in build, he noticed with approval, glancing at the contents of her white blouse as she passed by. She was quite attractive, shortish dark brown hair and brown eyes, the sort of woman who attracted his attention. But the shoes didn't look right. Certainly they† were black lace-up leather, but they were the sort a woman wore for comfort. They didn't look "regulation". As she passed him, he slowed, then stopped to look in a shop window. He watched as she walked away along the pavement, and noticed that she passed a row of parked vehicles without even a passing look. Wendy wouldn't have done that. No real traffic warden would.
So, no news from Wendy and a fake traffic warden coming out of the shop. It could only mean trouble. Who was in the shop now? Where was Wendy? He wasn't far from the shop, but he felt he should know where the impostor was going. He didn't have to be a genius to realise that his plan had misfired somewhere. If the woman was impersonating Wendy, then for whatever reason, Wendy must be unable to be here herself. Remembering what had happened a few days ago, when Wendy had been caught† in a holdup there, and tied up with the woman who ran the shop, he wondered if another crime had taken place there. He couldn't immediately think of an explanation. The best thing to do, he decided, was to take a close look at the shop. But cautiously, so he crossed the road again and approached it slowly.
When he was opposite the shop, he could see that though the lights were on, there was nobody visible. The door sign was turned to "closed ", at this time of day that made no sense. Still not quite sure what to do, he crossed the road a few yards down from the shop. It was at this point that somebody caught his eye. Back along the road, the woman who he had watched just a few moments ago had reappeared. But strangely, she wasn't a traffic warden any more. She had just come out of the public toilet, carrying the same bag, but now she had no hat, and wore a matching grey skirt and waistcoat. As she drew nearer he could see that though her shirt was still buttoned at the neck, the crossover bow tie was gone. Was it, and the dark blue skirt and the hat with the yellow band, inside the bag now? She must be impersonating Wendy,† but why? Common sense said wait until she was back in the shop.
Ray strolled a few yards further and studied the window display in the delicatessen with interest,† until the lady he was watching had unlocked the shop door and gone inside. Give her a few minutes, he thought.††
The woman was picking up some silk scarves from the floor as Ray walked into the shop. She quickly placed them, not very tidily, on a revolving stand with other similar items, then greeted him with an unconvincing smile. "Good afternoon " she said. "How can I help you?" It was as if she had forgotten what to say and was quoting from some training manual. He looked her up and down quickly. An attractive woman by his standards, (the phrase "pleasantly plump" crossed his mind again). She wore a grey corduroy suit consisting of a knee-length skirt and a belted hip-length waistcoat, over a buttoned up white blouse, and the black shoes that weren't part of a uniform. His mind raced ahead, he could proceed with his long-planned robbery, if she was alone. There was just the matter of finding out what had happened to Wendy. He cast his eyes around, taking in the numerous scarves and curtain tie-backs. Yes, it would be necessary to tie her up, and there was plenty of suitable equipment here to do it with. But the affair had to be handled skilfully to achieve the desired result.
"Yes, I've come to enquire about sovereigns" he touched the replica gun in his pocket, knowing he would pull it out very soon. "The ones that a lady friend of mine brought in, not too long ago. A traffic warden." She hadn't been giving him her full attention, but on hearing this she turned to face him. Her mouth dropped open and her face turned pale.
"What, in here?" she said, not very convincing in her delivery. "What makes you think that?" She looks as if she's about to burst into tears, he thought. He carefully moved so that he was between her and the door, then as an afterthought, stepped back, turned the do sign to "closed" and slid the bolt across.
"Yes in here today, you walked up the road dressed as a traffic warden, changed and now you're back. You've been under surveillance". At this last comment her jaw dropped even further. He was winning the argument now. "I've got a gun in my pocket and I'm authorised to use it. You better sit down on the floor. Right there" He pointed to a carpeted part of the floor, at the side of the counter, out of sight of the door.
"Bloody Roger, him and his stupid ideas, his gangster friends. Thinks he's a big wheel" she muttered as she lowered herself into a sitting position on the floor.
"Where's my friend? What were you doing dressed as a traffic warden. It might go better for you in court if you co-operate. Come on, where is she?" Ray adopted a threatening tone. It worked.
"Roger's took her to the warehouse, for his friends to deal with her, keep her out of the way for a while. I didn't want this to happen, but she shouldn't have poked her nose in. I don't want her to get hurt" she blurted frantically.
"How's he taken her?" Ray demanded. He could just imagine her poking her nose where it didn't belong. She was supposed to check for security cameras, not find guilty secrets.
Karen was looking near to tears. She drew her knees up to her chest and clasped her arms round them. "She's in the back of his van. She's tied up, in a sleeping bag. Gagged and she's got a bag over her head. I'm sorry about all this! I'll tell you where he's going".
"You can call the police and tell them" said Ray, trying to formulate a plan in his head, and trying not to picture Wendy, wearing a white blouse and little else, tied up with a bag over her head.
"I didn't want any of this to happen. She came in, but while I was getting some money she snooped round and found Rogers drugs. He caught her at it. He was really angry. He grabbed her and made me help him. We tied her up and gagged her, and he phoned the men who the drugs belong to. They told him to bring her over to their place". She looked up at him. "If we phoned the police they might get there before he does. I don't like to think about what they might do to her"
"It's a bit late to have a conscience " said Ray scornfully" but better late than never. Where is he going?"
"Walberhithe, itís a warehouse on a wharf. I think it's number18a. I don't know what that means, I've never been there" She made as if to get to her feet.
"No, you stay right there" He reached over and took a dark green curtain tie from the stand and threw it to her. "You can tie your feet with that. Make a good job of it, I'll be checking. And what's this with you dressing as her?"
"I didn't want to do that. Roger thought if people saw a traffic warden walking away, and we said she had left the shop, we wouldn't get blamed when....." she hesitated. "He made me put her tie and skirt on, and her hat".
"Sounds like I should phone the law and tell them where to go. Thatís about fifty miles, he wonít be there yet" He noticed that she was already tying the knot in the cord that she had passed once round her ankles. That won't do, he thought, but never mind. He took another of the cords, a gold one this time. "Just one little job to do before I phone" he said as he squatted down behind her. "Give me your hands. Put them behind your back".
"Would it make any difference if I promise not to try to get away?" she asked, but clasped her hands together behind her back as she spoke. He had expected more resistance, but he suddenly felt a twinge of sympathy. Basically she was a nice law abiding woman, the sort who was at home in a shop like this. The type that he had robbed so many times before, and taken pleasure in tying them up, and sometimes spanking them, if they had the sort of physique that suggested it. He had never spanked a thin woman, the idea just didn't tempt him. However,† the more he looked at Karen, the† more he felt temptation getting the better of him. She had that well-nourished look that to his way of thinking, invited some serious binding, with a soundly spanked bottom thrown in for good measure. It wasn't her fault that a stupid husband had involved her in serious crime, but surely she deserved some mild punishment.
"None at all" said Ray as he wound the cord round her wrists tightly. Three loops then cinched in between the wrists. On a whim, he pulled her buttoned up waistcoat down over her shoulders, down past her bust, holding her arms tight against her sides. She gave him a scornful glare.† There was more cord and an inexhaustible supply of scarves, but the phone call should come first. He had to do his best to ensure Wendy's safety, and tipping off the police was the best way to do that. He was over an hour away, but they could be on the scene in a few minutes. "Don't try anything if you don't want things to turn nasty" he said, glaring at her as sternly as he could. "If you try anything I don't like the look of while I'm on the phone, I'll tell them you are involved, and where to find you".
"What can I do, tied up like this?" she muttered impatiently. Without replying, he lifted the phone and dialled 999.
Having got through to the police, Ray gave them the address of the Walberhithe warehouse, telling them that drugs and weapons were going to be unloaded there, as well as pointing out that there was a kidnapped woman on the premises. He wanted to ensure that armed police turned up in force. He had years of experience of making this type of call without giving away his own identity. He made sure not to mention Roger and his van, that might serve as a blackmail tool.
"See. I didn't mention you two. You owe me a favour " he said, grinning at Karen. "In five minutes the whole place will be swarming with police. I assume your husband is not the kind to harm a lady, personally? "
Karen looked doubtful for a moment, then answered "No, not Roger. That's not his style. A man of many faults, but he isn't violent. Doesn't have the nerve "
"You hesitated for a moment " said Ray. "Why?"
Karen rolled her eyes. "I wouldn't guarantee that he'll keep his hands off her. He likes big girls, and he likes them tied up". She blushed slightly as she said this.
"I see" said Ray. A man after his own heart, it seemed. He felt a pang of jealousy. Wendy was his. Not officially, but he didn't like the idea of other men taking liberties with her. "I see" he said. "Well, if the cops do their job, he won't have much chance".
The phone call having been made, the turn of the conversation reminded him of why he was here. "Speaking of which" he began, stepping back to the display stand and taking a handful of scarves and some curtain ties.
"Speaking of what?" Karen sat more upright. "What do you think you're going to do with them?"
Ray couldn't believe her."You forget who's in charge here. Its me, and among other things, I can decide whether you go to jail or not. Itís your lucky day though".
She gave him a sulky glare. Those dark brown eyes certainly had some magic, he thought. "Why's that, then?" she asked in a truculent tone.
"We were talking about big girls, and how good they look tied up" He savoured her expression as he continued. "You look delectable at the moment, but once you've been tied up to my exacting standard, you'll be a sight for sore eyes. Let's get the job done, I don't have all day". Positioning himself behind her, he passed the first of the cords between her upper right arm and her body, pulled it across her back and round her left arm, then looping the ends together, made a figure eight and passed it round her arms again before pulling it tight and knotting it. Ray knew very well that the effect of this would be to pull her arms back and thrust her breasts forward, but it was a surprise to Karen. She looked down with some dismay as her blouse was pulled tight across her breasts. Ray wasn't finished with this phase of the binding, though. With another curtain cord, he repeated the process, but this time at the front, the cord passing above and below her bust.
"Come on now, do you have to do this? You're just giving yourself a cheap thrill, aren't you?" Karen as he adjusted the cord above her right breast.
"It was too low compared to the one on the left. I do like things to be well balanced. And you aren't in a position to complain".† He remembered something. "If Wendy's skirt and tie are in that bag, what exactly is she wearing? Not a lot, I imagine".
Karen looked downcast. "She's still wearing her blouse. And her tights and shoes. Look, she won't get cold, she's in a sleeping bag".
"Isnít getting cold the least of her problems" said Ray "if I was in your shoes I would hope the story ends happily, because if it doesn't, you're one of the people who's going to be on trial. In fact, your best bet for looking innocent is if the police find you tied up here. You'll be able to pretend you're a victim of crime, instead of a criminal. Specially "he continued" if your sovereigns and your cash float have been taken". He looked over the supply of scarves and curtain cords still waiting to be used. There were more than he could reasonably expect to use up on one prisoner. Over on the far wall, something caught his eye, as it leaned against the wall among some other vintage items. It was a wicker carpet beater, the sort that vaguely resembled a shamrock in shape. He hadn't seen one for many a year, but seeing it reminded him of something. In the comics he read as a child, characters such as Beryl the Peril and Minnie the Minx were sometimes punished with a carpet beater like this, and Karen had definitely misbehaved. "Anyway, I can't stand around chatting all day" he said. He was behind her, so she couldn't see him tying a knot in a red and white flower-patterned silk scarf. She became suddenly aware of it when she turned to ask what he meant, and felt him pushing the knot into her mouth. As she tried to pull away he pressed his other hand against the back of her neck.
"No point" he said. "Remember you'll look guilty if you aren't tied up" She grunted something that sounded very offensive as he pulled the ends together and knotted them at the back of her head. He thought for a moment about the carpet beater and Karen's well-padded bottom, and the imminent contact between the two, just for a moment, but then he remembered the priority task, the reason for his interest in the shop.
"I'm just going upstairs for a few minutes. You can guess why". He knew he should have asked her where the cash was before gagging her, but it shouldn't take him long to find. He recalled what Wendy had said about Karen going up there for the money. He looked at his captive. She could do with being bound a bit more securely, it wouldn't be hard for her to struggle over to the doorway, but that would take time. He needed to find that money first. In a flash of inspiration, he took the carpet beater and leaned it against the counter next to her. She looked from it to him and back again. "If I come down and find you've moved, even an inch, I'm going to give you a good spanking with that. Quite appropriate,† donít you think. You get tied up with your own cords, gagged with your own scarves and spanked with your own carpet beater. So be a good girl while I'm up there". He savoured the look of fury on her face as he turned to go up the staircase.
In the van, Wendy hadn't tried very hard to escape from her clingfilm bonds, because she knew she wasn't much of an escapologist. She concentrated more on planning her escape when the opportunity came. If she could feign illness enough to get Roger to remove the bag from her head, she would have the advantage of surprise, even with her arms fastened behind her. She kept moving her legs inside the sleeping bag, it was important that she didn't get stiff from inactivity. She had to get it right first time, there wouldn't be a second chance. The more she thought about her plan, the more hopeful she was of success. If she could put Roger out of action temporarily ,she could get out of the back of the van and run for it, screaming loudly. She would be sure to attract somebody's attention. And whoever that was, chances are they wouldn't be a homicidal criminal, they would be a decent citizen who would help if they was a bound, partially clothed woman running away from someone in the street. It was the only way. She just had to be ready at the right moment. It was only after she had formulated this plan that she had another brainwave. She remembered that the clingfilm was only wrapped around her, quite tightly,† but wasn't knotted. Somewhat late, it occurred to her that, as it had been wrapped around her middle in a clockwise direction, she might loosen it by turning her body anti-clockwise. After all, it wasn't new.
Wendy didn't normally† suffer from claustrophobia,† but she found the process of turning her whole body round inside the sleeping bag, while laying horizontally, with her hands tied behind her back and a hood over her head, to be unexpectedly panic-inducing. What made it worse was the fact that she was in a moving vehicle, which was speeding up, slowing down and turning sharply. Being in a washing machine must feel like this, she realised. By the time she had turned over twice, she felt quite disoriented. She was perspiring and she felt as if the hood and the socks were suffocating her. But when she turned herself over once more, she was delighted to find that the wrapping had indeed got much looser. This time, when she turned, it didn't turn with her. It had snagged on the lining of the sleeping bag, as she had hoped,† and now she was nearly untangled from it. She hoped that the separate length that had been used on her wrists might have worked loose, but no, they were still securely bound behind her back. That was a pity, she thought. She had planned what to do when Roger opened the back door, as she hoped he would, and she hoped she could do it with tied hands. But how much easier it would be if she was free. And, she thought, how she would love to get her hands round his throat. She would teach him not to scare her and ill-treat her like this. She shuddered as she remembered that her life was in danger, if what she had overheard was right. She quickly banished those thoughts of execution from her mind, and concentrated on her imminent escape.
Eventually the van slowed to a stop, and she heard him turn the engine off, then open and close the door. She expected him to open the rear doors of the van, but nothing of the kind happened. Almost immediately he reopened the door, started the engine and pulled away again. Then, it seemed that the vehicle was going sharply uphill, and turning before going uphill again. Was it a multi-storey car park, she wondered. She hoped so, but she couldnít understand why he would do this.
Roger had two reasons for taking a diversion from his planned route. One of these was that he urgently needed to find a gents toilet,† and he knew that there was one at the bottom of the multi-storey car park, just inside the entrance. But once this need was satisfied,† he continued to the third floor, where there weren't many parked vehicles. He had time on his hands, more time than he had expected. His associates at the wharf had told him to be there by nine, bringing with him the person who had to be taken care of. He tried not to dwell on what it might mean. He could almost convince himself that they were merely going to keep her as a prisoner for a few days, just to give them time to hide any incriminating evidence. But right now, he didn't want to think about that, not when the lady in question was in the back of his van. He had met Wendy for the first time a week ago, in the strangest circumstances. He had returned to the shop and found her and Karen, bound, gagged and blindfolded after a robbery, and since then he had found it hard not to think about her. Now he had her in the van, an unwilling passenger,† bound and hooded. The added advantage was that nobody knew where they were. He had high hopes of having a bit of fun with her, with or without her co-operation. Maybe she would be grateful if she thought she was about to be set free, that was one of the thoughts that occurred to him. The truth was, Roger was a man of few scruples, and he was quite prepared to take advantage of Wendy's predicament, while trying not to think about what her subsequent fate might be. It didn't occur to him that she might not be so pliable. As he opened the rear doors of the van, he had great expectations of what the next few minutes might bring. He heard the woman begin to cough and moan inside the hood, but perhaps she just needed some fresh air. Well, she was going to get that all right.
When the back doors opened,† Wendy tried to make herself sound as distressed and unwell as possible. If the man thought she was being sick, and in danger of choking,† it might encourage him to take the hood off and remove the socks from her mouth. For good measure, she held her breath for as long as she could, hoping it would make her go red in the face. It worked, Roger didn't want a corpse on his hands, although it wasn't for any altruistic reasons. A sick captive wasn't going to be in the mood to show gratitude to the man who decided to release her. Kneeling at the side of her sleeping bag, her pulled the bag from her head and threw it to one side. She had her eyes shut, what on earth was wrong, he wondered. He prised her mouth open and pulled out the soggy white socks. "Is that better? " he asked. She continued to make retching sounds, alternating with coughs and grunts. "What's wrong with you? I can't help if you don't say anything". It occurred to him, seeing how red she looked, that she might benefit from cooling down, and to this end he rolled her to one side and dragged the sleeping bag out from under her
She recoiled from his hand, but at that moment Wendy heard the sound of a car engine. Not surprising in a car park, but this one was being revved louder that you would expect in such a place. Was it the police, come to rescue her, she wondered, her heart beating faster. Had Karen had second thoughts about the whole thing? Or more realistically, was it just some boy racer arriving. Her hopes crumbled as she realised that nobody would know where they were, the police hadn't been alerted.
But Roger heard the approaching engine too. Startled, he backed out of the van and stood up, moving to the side of the van and looking furtively around. Company was something he didn't want at the moment. Some hundred yards away, three men in their twenties were climbing out of a metallic red Ford Escort. They were laughing as they headed for the door to the stairs and lift, they didn't look in his direction at all. Panic over, he said to himself as he turned back to the matter in hand.
When she was sure that her captor had left the van, Wendy moved fast. She yanked her hands furiously against the knotted clingfilm that held them behind her back, but she knew there wasn't time to work on it. If she could put some distance between her and this man, she stood a chance of escaping. She hadn't had an opportunity to see outside, so she didn't know where the van was parked. She had heard the other vehicle though, and that meant they weren't out in the middle of nowhere. She hoped it wasn't the place where she was going to be disposed of, or handed over to the people who were going to execute her, but surely there wouldn't be other vehicles around. But there wasn't much time. She turned herself round, on her side, and propped herself up on one elbow. A lock of hair fell across her face, and as she shook her head she realised with irritation that her carefully arranged hairstyle had all fallen apart when the bag was taken from her head. Suddenly she was aware of the cold metal floor against her bottom, reminding her that her skirt had been taken from her. No time to worry about that though, better to be running away in just her blouse and panties than to be weighted down and dumped overboard ,or worse, after being used as a plaything. She was sure he had gone round to the nearside of the van, so she drew back her left foot, ready to give him a nasty surprise when he reappeared. He was still peering across the car park when he stepped around the open door, quite unprepared for the impact of Wendy's shoe against his genitals. As he doubled up in pain and anger, she levered herself into a sitting position and catapulted herself forward to a standing position. He raised himself and tried to grab her, but she was too fast for him and broke into a run. She had been planning this for most of the journey.† She ignored the torrent of obscenities and concentrated on getting as far from the van as possible, but realising that she was in a car park, saw the illuminated exit sign over a doorway and headed in that direction. Twice she stumbled and nearly fell, she hadn't imagined how difficult it would be, running with hands tied behind her. As she got closer to the double doors, she saw that both of them had handles at shoulder height, to be pulled by people who could use their hands. She looked over her shoulder toward the van. Roger was heading toward her, but then as another car came into view, he slowed down. As the car slowed down and parked close to his van, he stopped altogether. Phew, she thought, a close one. Had she been saved? She wondered whether or not to run across to the newly arrived car. It suddenly occurred to her that it could be some accomplice of Roger. Just as she hesitated, the exit door close to her opened. As she turned to look, a large blue toolbox came through the door and clanked onto the floor, to be followed by its owner. A tall fair man in his early fifties, in blue jeans and a dark green polo shirt. She stared at him open-mouthed, and he stared back, eyes wide in disbelief. It wasn't often he came across an attractive woman, dusty and dishevelled, hair all over the place, but still very fetching in blouse, tights and shoes. And nothing more, he realised, no skirt or trousers. It wasn't until she moved closer, looked back over her shoulder then turned to him and cried " help me, please. Don't let him get me" that he observed that her hands were somehow fastened out of sight behind her. He threw an arm round her, pulling her close to him.
"Don't worry, I won't let him touch you. What's going on, why are you tied up?"
"I've been kidnapped" sobbed Wendy, overcome with relief now that her ordeal was at an end. She didn't cry easily, but she wasn't usually in fear of her life. "He tied me up, him and his wife, he was going to have me killed. I got out of his van, that red one over there" She turned again, and as she turned her back he got a good look at her hands, bound with a length of clingfilm twisted into a rudimentary rope.
"Tied up with clingfilm! That's weird " he exclaimed, but then as they watched the red van suddenly speed across the car park to the exit ramp " looks like you don't have to worry about him anymore. Hey, do you know his number?"
"No, but I know where the police can find him. Look, can you hurry up and get me untied, and I'll tell you what happened to me". She looked up at him flirtatiously "It's going to be a long story " She suddenly remembered that she couldn't tell this man the whole story. Anything to do with the planned robbery must be left out of the story. She wondered if he would believe that a traffic warden could just be snatched from the street by a stranger. And uppermost in her mind, where was she going to find a skirt?
Must be about £3000 here, Ray thought as he set off down the stairs to the shop. His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of a telephone. After being initially startled,† he ignored it, as was his habit. Nothing to be gained by answering a phone in a place he was robbing. But this one was different. He hadn't come across an answering machine before, though he had heard of them. The phone rang nine times, then there was a soft ďding" and a man's voice spoke " Itís me, Karen. Spot of bother, I'm afraid. She's got away. Don't know how. She must have got loose. I stopped the van, she bashed me and ran away. So I'm coming back. We're going to have to clear out. I've got a plan, though. Be there in an hour. Why aren't you answering?" Well, fancy that, Ray said to himself. Nobody should underestimate Wendy, he'd have to remember that himself. What had happened there? He would hear all about it soon. He turned to Karen, and noticed with some surprise and amusement that she wasn't sitting in quite the same position, in spite of his warning. She had squirmed round, and was in a half-kneeling position facing the doorway, trying to look over the counter. He guessed that she had moved into this position when the phone rang, probably when the voice message was being left.
She looked at him apprehensively, she knew what he was going to say. He grinned" it looks as if you can't be trusted to behave while I'm out of the room. Well, I've got an hour by the sound of things, and you've been a bad girl. Not as bad as that man on the phone, but you're in here and he isn't. It looks like you're the scapegoat". Her expression changed to one of desperation as she figured out the implication of his last remark.
She shook her head wildly and tried to wriggle away backwards as he picked up the carpet beater and squatted next to her. "I'm not sure it's the right thing to do" he said. She looked puzzled again. " Paddling your bottom with this thing". He watched as her expression changed again. Relieved now, as if she realised they were sharing a joke. He could detect a smile behind her gag. It wouldn't be there much longer though. "First there's something else I need to see to. Wouldn't be much of a villain if I didn't leave the lovely heroine properly trussed up, would I?"
Taking hold of her bound feet, he pulled them out in front of her, steadying her with a hand on her shoulder. As she looked on, he pushed her skirt back from her knees and passed a dark blue curtain tie around her legs, managing to go round three times before knotting it. He grinned at her. "Almost done" he said. He reached over to the pile of coloured cords and selected a pale blue one. "Excuse the familiarity " he moved to a kneeling position behind her and taking hold of her upper legs from below, drawing her thighs† up to her chest. He threaded the new cord between the cords that already passed tight around her body, between her breasts, then through the rope around her upper legs. "This is called a ball tie" he explained. "I don't do it very often. I have to tie up quite a few people in my job. You're one of the select few. I would be able to roll you about like a ball now, but I've got a better idea. I haven't forgotten that you moved, even though I said not to, and you know what that means, don't you?".† He looked her in the eye, hoping for an entertaining response. He got one, the brown eyes looked worried, and then she shook her head, as if she didn't understand. As if, he thought. " Well my girl,† it means you get your delicious backside spanked, with your own carpet beater". Now she understood. The expression behind the gag went from worried to desperate to imploring. To no avail though, to Ray the spanking was the icing on the cake. Karen struggled ineffectively in her ropes. "Let's get you in place" he said, taking her by the shoulders and lowering her on to her left side. Leaving her for a moment, he found a large crimson cushion and placed it on the floor by her head. With a little bit of exertion, and in spite of her struggles and squeals, he soon had her on her knees on the floor, bent over with her head resting on the cushion, facing to the right. He knew from past experience that a larger lady placed in this position with hands tied behind her back wouldn't be able to raise herself . So there she would stay, with her bottom presented upwards, for as long as it suited him. He lifted her grey cord skirt right up and pushed the hem under her bound hands, stopping to feast his eyes for a moment before slipping his fingers into the waistband of her tights and black patterned panties and pulling them down over her thighs. She squealed and grunted, and tried to pull away, as he knew she would, but, good cop and bad cop, he told her " Don't worry, I'm not going to rape you, much as I might enjoy it. There's going to be more of this, though". He gave her a hard smack across her bottom, which drew a pained, high-pitched "nnnnnnggggg" from her. "Think what you deserve " he rebuked her. " My friend, she comes round here as a potential customer and you two " he gave her another smack at this point" you tie her up, gag her put a bag over her head, take her skirt and tie away, and take her away in a van" another slap at this point provoked another muffled protest. "I've hardly startedĒ he said. Okay, so she's escaped, but what would have happened if she hadn't. Taking her to a wharf, you could be an accessory to murder, if she hadn't escaped " She made more protests at this point, he assumed she was trying to say that none of it was her idea. He knew this of course but it wasn't going to save her from a spanking. "You're getting off light compared to my friend, aren't you. I haven't started with this yet" he flourished the carpet beater in front of her face. She looked suddenly tearful and helpless. He gave her a smack across the bottom with one side of the implement, hard enough to sting but not hard enough to injure her. She didn't flinch, surprisingly. Perhaps she had resigned herself to her punishment, he thought. He ran his hand over the surface of the wicker, noting that it was quite rough. "Hope you don't get splinters in your bum from this" he joked. "Six more and that will do" he said "very lenient for such a bad woman. Much better than being tied up, undressed and carted off in a van. Do you agree?" An idea came to him. "You know what, I think I'll take your gag out. We can have a chat before I go. You won't yell for help because if you do, and someone comes,† they'll find you like this. Tied up with your knickers pulled down, your bottom freshly spanked. They won't catch me because Iíll nip out of the back door. Unless it's another lady, if it is I might tie her up as well. So, not going to yell, are you?" he looked down at her. She shook her head. "Fine" he said, squatting beside her and unfastening the knotted scarf. She took a few deep breaths and ran her tongue across her lips.
"Thanks for that" she said." You know, I really didn't mean for anything bad to happen
to her. I'm as pleased as you are that she's got away. It's my idiot husband, getting out of his depth. Now it sounds like we'll have to do a moonlight flit. Or perhaps he can just go on his own. You and your friend won't need to tell the police anything about me, will you?"
"Maybe not, I don't know" Ray hadn't expected this. "I tell you what. I've got what I wanted out of this, which is your cash float. I'll take the drugs and destroy them. I'm not exactly law abiding, but that's not my scene. Then there's nothing to tell, as far as I'm concerned".
"I suppose I'm grateful. It's hard to think straight at the moment, with all that's happened". She treated† him to an appealing smile. "There's no need for me to be tied up any more, is there? "
"Oh, but there is" said Ray. "The reason is, I just love seeing tied-up ladies. I like spanking them, too. And you've got a bit more coming. Grin and bear it, better than a prison sentence for kidnapping or something, isn't it?"
"Suppose so" muttered Karen sullenly,
"not so friendly now that you can't have it all your own way, are you? Here you are then, six of the best, I'll leave a five second gap between each"
"Arsehole" she said through gritted teeth, then "owww!" as the beater landed on her upturned buttocks.†
"no insults, I'll increase the number for everyone. Four, five" he said, bringing it down sharply again. Karen kept quiet,† her bottom was starting to feel sore, each blow stinging more than the last. After number six, he† said "I've lost count. That was five, wasn't it" He put the beater down and gave her a smack with his hand. "it's better with the hand, from my point of view. What do you think?"
"Oh, get lost" she said, then "Sorry, I didn't mean that. No more, please "
"It's all right, I'm going to get lost. I haven't got all day. Now, where exactly are the suspicious packages?"
"Under a loose floorboard, under the table in the back. Take it, I don't want anything to do with it".
"I'm on the case " said Ray, going into the back room. While looking in the draws for a kitchen fork to lift the board, he came across a fabric cash bag, which he guessed was the sort that had been used as a hood for an unwilling Wendy. Most appropriate, he thought.
"Just one more thing, then I'll be off" he said, kneeling next to Karen.
"You aren't really going to leave me like this, are you?" his prisoner demanded impatiently. "It's going to be embarrassing. Can't you at least cover me up?"
"You're forgetting who's in charge here. I could just call the cops and tell them what you've done, and leave the drugs here for them to find. You are only going to have to put up with a hood, same as my friend ". Ray smoothed out the bag, opened out the end of it and slipped it over Karen's head, pulling it down to her chin. She didn't struggle, as he expected,† but she couldn't keep quiet.
"At least your lady friend didn't get her bottom spanked" she said sulkily.
"No, lifeís so unfair. Like I said, you are the scapegoat. Thanks for reminding me. The pale skin of Karen's bottom was now an angry shade of red, but that didn't deter Ray from delivering six more smacks, with his hand this time, in quick succession.
"Owww, please don't " she pleaded as he delivered the last slap.
"You're right, I've made my hand quite sore. Well, it's been nice seeing you, sort of. I don't know if my friend would agree. She'll be glad you didn't get of scot free. I'll lose the white powder for you".
Karen listened as he left through the back door. She could still hear that much, the bag over her head didn't block much sound. She had already realised that she couldn't lift herself. She considered shouting, but what the man said had been true, she didn't want her neighbours finding her like this. Better to stay here, uncomfortably trussed as she was, until Roger got back.†††
As the minutes slowly passed by, she wondered how it was that, having tied her up in this position, taken her panties down and smacked her bottom, the man had then left. He hadn't touched her in a sexual way. She had really thought that he might have his way with her. In spite of herself she was feeling a little bit turned on by thinking about it. What if it had been Bruce Willis or Harrison Ford? Now that was something to dwell on, until a rescuer arrived.