Time for Tea

 

“Be a good girl like your friend there, open wide and say Ahh.”

 

She had stood there, looking at the scene before her, as her long patterned scarf was taken of her shoulders and a large knot tied in the middle.  Now she stood, eyes wide open, as the gloved hands handed the scarf to her.

 

“Alison, I’m so sorry, I had no way of stopping them.”

 

“It’s all right, Sally, you’re not to blame” she said as she placed the knot in her mouth and pulled the ends behind her head.

 

I had started as a nice simple idea – have the wives round from the close for a cup of tea and a natter about things that concerned them.  Sally was the one who had set it up, and now she realised that it was going to be a very different afternoon from the one she had planned.

 

There also wasn’t going to be a lot of talking, she thought as she sat on the stool with her hands on top of her head.  She had met Alison a few minutes previously, as she returned from a trip into town, and invited her in early.  Instead of relaxing in the living room, however, they had interrupted the three boiler suited robbers who were busy searching Sally’s house.  Two of them were men, or at least she presumed so from the voices, but one was a woman, and they addressed each other as Father, Son and Daughter – surely they weren’t a real family.

 

Father was standing in front of Alison as she pulled the ends of the scarf tightly behind Alison’s head, causing the corners of her mouth to be pulled back and trapping her greying hair in place.  She tied the ends together at the base of her neck, and looked at the other two robbers who were standing behind Sally.

 

“All right, Son, why don’t you take care of this one while I look after the other woman?”

 

The younger man came up behind Alison, and pulled her wrists behind her back before wrapping a length of rope over the cuffs of her pink top.  Taking more rope, he bound her arms to her chest, causing Alison to grunt as he pulled the ropes tightly together.

 

“Father, I’m going to take this one upstairs.  Will you and Daughter be all right here?”

 

“I think so,” Father said as he looked at Sally.  She was still sat on the footstool, her grey checked jacket stretched slightly across her chest and the straight black skirt smoothed down.  Daughter took the handbag she had put down when they first entered, and removed the checked scarf from it and also from around her neck.

 

“Now, are you going to give us any trouble,” Father asked, and Sally whispered “no.”

 

“Daughter, take this,” he said as he pulled another scarf from his pocket, “and tie her wrists while I take care of her feet.”  Daughter pulled Sally’s hands behind her back and quickly wrapped the scarf vertically around them, while Father crossed her ankles and used one of the checked scarves to tie them together.  The heel of one of her sandals dug slightly into the carpet as he pulled them tightly together.  Satisfied she would be unable to stand; he then took the other checked scarf and tied it around her legs above her knees.

 

As he was doing this, Daughter stood up and picked up a brown Hermes scarf that was had been attached to Alison’s handbag.  Rolling it into a band, she tied a knot in the middle and then pulled back on Sally’s long red hair.  Letting out a yelp of pain, she was unable to stop the knot being pushed into her own mouth, and the scarf tied tightly behind her head.

 

“Sit still,” Father said to Sally.  “Watch her and make sure she doesn’t move,” he said to Daughter as he left the room.

 

Daughter sat down and watched Sally as she tried to move her wrists.  Even through the nylon stocking mask she was wearing, Sally was sure she could see a smile beginning to move across her face.

 

“We really surprised you when you two came in, didn’t we?” Daughter said, and Sally nodded.   Her struggles, although not vigorous, had caused her jacket to move in a way that made the fact she had nothing on underneath except for a bra obvious, and Sally was afraid of what might happen next.

 

“You look a little hot,” Daughter said as she stood up and walked over, “Let me help you to cool down a bit.”

 

Sally tried hard to twist out of the way, but she was unable to stop Daughter slowly unbuttoning her jacket and revealing the purple lace bra she was wearing underneath.  Daughter pulled the jacket over Sally’s shoulders and down her arms, revealing her shoulders to the open air.

 

“Vary nice, very nice indeed,” she muttered to herself as she walked around the helpless woman, “No wonder you’re so popular around here.”

 

Sally looked up in shock.  “Oh, we’ve been watching your house for some time, my pretty,” Daughter said,” you and your friends.  I think we’re going to have some real fun today, don’t you?”

 

Sally screamed as her watcher leaned over and pulled the left strap of her bra over her shoulders and revealed her breast.  “This should help you to cool down,” she muttered as the other strap was pulled down, and Sally looked at her with tears in her eyes, trying to ask her to stop.  Instead Daughter kept looking round and leaning closer…..

 

 

“Daughter, play time later – someone else is coming.”

 

Daughter turned round to see Son standing in the doorway, a warning look visible through the stocking.  “Later, sweetie,” she murmured to Sally as she walked over to join Son behind the door.

 

A young Asian voice called out “Alison?  Sally?  Are you here?” and Sally realised that Mei Ling had arrived.  She was the daughter of the owner of the Chinese restaurant at the end of the street, and Sally had known her for years.

 

The door to the room opened, and Mei Ling walked in.  She was wearing a White skirt with black tiger stripes, a blue silk blouse with a scarf tied cravat style, and black patent leather pumps with tan stockings.

 

“Sally, are you….. Oh dear God, Sally, what’s going on?”  She rushed in at the sight of the half-naked Sally sat on the footstool, shaking her head and trying to call out a warning, but only when the door was closed behind her did she realise the two of them were not alone in the room.

 

“Not a word or you both get hurt,” Son said as he and Daughter came in.

 

“What’s going on here?”

 

“A simple robbery, so do as you are told and you won’t get hurt.  Hands behind your back, now.”

 

“Nice hair,” Daughter said as she pulled Mei Ling’s wrists together and bound them with a length of white rope.  Mei Ling winced as her wrists were pulled tightly together, and her copper tinted hair was ruffled by Son.  “Yeah, nice hair.   Now stand still,” he said as he doubled a much longer length of rope and passed it around her arms and chest below her breasts.  He passed it twice around her lower chest, pulling each time so that her arms were held tightly to her side, and then twice around her upper chest before knotting it off behind her back.  A further length was tied around the chest ropes, passed under her armpit and around her neck before going under the other armpit and being tied as well behind her back.

 

“Sit down,” Daughter said.  “Where’s Alison” Mei Ling asked, and Sally motioned with her head to indicate she had been taken upstairs.  As Daughter removed the blue scarf from around her neck, she watched as Son doubled a further length of rope and started to wrap it around her ankles.

 

“Hey look” Son said, and Mei Ling realised with horror that as she had sat down her skirt had ridden up, revealing not only the top of her stockings but also the fact she had “gone Commando” that morning.  She tried to close her legs together, but to little avail.

 

“Oh behave yourself,” Daughter said as she pushed a knot she had tied in the scarf into Mei Ling’s mouth, and pulled it tightly around her neck. The young Chinese woman threw her head back as the knot was tied, and tried to see how much give she had.

 

“Oh look, she’s trying to escape,” Son said, “we can’t allow that, now can we?”

 

“No we can’t” Daughter said, and between the two of them they rolled Mei Ling onto her stomach on the sheepskin rug in front of the fireplace.  A few minutes later, her ankles had been pulled back so far they almost touched her bottom, and rope had been used to secure them to her wrists.  Sally watched as more rope was passed around those behind Mei Ling's back, and the pained expression in her friend’s eyes told all that she needed to know.

 

Father entered the room and surveyed the scene.  “Having fun?” he asked, and Son and Daughter nodded.  “You’d both better come with me – two more guests are about to join us.

 

Mei Ling started to struggle on the floor – she realised one of them was her own daughter, but who was the other one?

 

“Are you sure your mother said to meet us here?” Cathy asked Suzie as they opened the front door.

 

“Yes, I’m sure – she’s meeting her friends here for a drink, and she’ll give us the money for tonight now.”

 

Suzie was very like her mother in looks, although her brown hair was streaked with blonde, and she was also well dressed.  She was wearing a pink sleeveless vest top, a striped skirt and black stockings.  Her friend Cathy was a young African American woman, and a fellow student of hers at college.  She was also wearing black stockings with her purple skirt that was slit up the left hand side, and a black cardigan.

 

“Mum, are you in here” Suzie called, and both Mei Ling and Sally tried to call out to stop them coming into the room.  To no avail, however, as the two unsuspecting friends walked in.

 

“Mum, are….”  Both stopped in their tracks, and Cathy started to scream as they saw the two bound and gagged women, but the hand of Son over her mouth prevented that happening.

 

“Not a sound, girls, or you all get hurt.”  They saw the other two boiler suited and masked members of the Family of Crime before them, and looked at each other.

 

“Look after yourselves, ladies, and we’ll take care of these two young ones for you,” Father said as Daughter took Suzie by the arm and all five went into the rear room.

 

“Sit down,” Father said indicating two chairs that were in the room, “and don’t say a word.  Son, Daughter – make sure they can’t move.”

 

Suzie and Cathy looked mutely at each other as their wrists were pulled behind the back of the chair, and rope wrapped around and between their wrists to secure them together.  When they were satisfied, both Son and Daughter took the lengths of rope and tied them down to the back rung of the chair, so that both girls were unable to get up and move.

 

“I’m going to finish looking round – you two finish up here,” Father said, and the two captives watched as their ankles were bound together, side by side, and then secured to the front rung of the chairs they were sat on.

 

“What’s going on,” Cathy whispered to Suzie as Son and daughter started to unravel and straighten two long lengths of rope.

 

“I think we’ve walked into a robbery,” Suzie whispered back as Daughter moved behind her and wrapped the rope once around her chest below her breasts, and then once above, pinning her arms to her side in the process.  Cathy watched as the same thing was done to her by Son, and then the rope was passed under her left arm, over her shoulder and around her neck, then under her right arm before being tied off tightly behind her.  She let out an involuntary grunt, then looked over to see that not only had the same thing being done to Suzie, but the rope was also around and between her breasts, making Suzie’s chest stick out even more prominently than her own.

 

“You finish off while I find something to gag them with,” Son said, and Daughter took yet another length of rope and began to tie Cathy’s legs together above her knees.  She looked over at Suzie, and realised that Suzie’s skirt had ridden up to reveal her pink suspenders. “Are you all right – ouch” she said as Daughter tightened the rope around her legs, and Suzie mutely nodded.  Cinching Cathy’s leg bindings, Daughter stood up and started to do the same to Suzie.  As she was tying them off, Son appeared with Father, who was carrying two pink table napkins.

 

“These will have to do,” Son said as he rolled one into a thick band and pulled it into Cathy’s mouth.  She grunted as the gag was tied off, and then watched as the same was done to Suzie.

 

“Right, girls, we’re going to leave you now,” Father said as he pulled the telephone in the room out of the wall.  “Have fun.”

 

The two girls sat quietly for a while, but all they could hear was the sound of moaning from the other captive women in the house.  Cathy looked around the room, and then lit up as she saw something.  She tried to talk to Suzie.

 

“Szie – lk ovr thr?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Lk ovr thr?”

 

Suzie followed Cathy's eyes, and saw the mobile telephone sitting on the desk which had been overlooked by the gang.  Looking at Cathy, she motioned with her head.

 

“Cn u mv th chr?”

 

“Wht?”

 

“Cn u mv the chr n gt t m wrsts?”

 

Realising what she was saying, Cathy slowly began to move the chair she was sitting no round, and Suzie did the same.  IT took time, but eventually they were sitting back to back, and Cathy began to try and pick at the knots on Suzie’s arms.

 

In the main room, however, Sally had managed somehow to free one of her wrists from behind her back, and she was taking the sodden scarf out from her mouth.  Pulling her bra straps back up so that she was no longer semi-naked, she looked over at Mei Ling on the floor.

 

“Are you all right,” she asked as she picked at the scarf around her ankles, and Mei Ling nodded.  She also had been struggling to get free, but the only thing that had given was a couple of buttons on her blouse.  Having freed herself, Sally kicked off her shoes and walked unsteadily over to the bound Chinese woman.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry,” she kept saying as she looked at the knots, but Mei Ling kept mmphing at her until Sally realised what she was trying to say.  Reaching behind her hair, she undid the blue scarf and pulled the knot out from her mouth.

 

“Forget me, find the girls,” she croaked.

 

“Let me at least get you out of this position,” Sally said, and with some effort she managed to free Mei Ling from the hogtie.  Freeing her friend’s hands as well, Sally ran from the room towards the rear room, where Suzie was bringing her arms round following Cathy’s heroic efforts.

 

“What happened,” she asked as Sally pulled the napkin from her mouth.

 

“A robbery that we all walked into,” Sally said as she ungagged Cathy and untied her hands.  “Can you get yourself free – Alison is here somewhere.”

 

Both girls nodded as Sally went out and climbed the stairs.  There was a thumping sound from the bedroom, and as Sally looked round she saw Alison lying on the bed, surrounded by her jewellery boxes and kicking at the bed with her feet.

 

 

 

The papers reported it as a robbery that escalated out of control, but for the five women caught up in it, it remained a frightening experience for many years to come.  The only time they talked about it was when they were alone together, over a cup of tea which they never had that day.

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