Morning Caller

 “It’s 7.30 in the morning, and here is the news.  The Government announced today a new set of regulations to limit the way fast foods are advertised on children’s television.  The Minister for Health claimed this would be a major part of the campaign to tackle childhood obesity.

 

"Police are still searching for the bank robber who escaped from Maidstone Magistrates Court last night.  George Simpson was appearing on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and robbery when he climbed out of a window in a lavatory in the building.  Police have asked the public not to approach the man if they see him, but to alert the authorities

 

"In sports news……”

 

Alison turned off the radio in the kitchen.  She had just seen her husband off to work, and started to clear away his breakfast dishes.  Running some water in the sink, she looked out of the window onto the rear garden of their house.  The grass needed cutting again, and she decided to start on the weeding of the flower beds once she was washed and dressed.

 

She glanced at the clock.  Normally her daughter Wendy was up by this time, but it was a study day from the sixth form college for her, and Alison reckoned she must be having a lie-in.  She decided to enjoy the last few moments of quiet, and removed the bag of scraps from the swing bin.

 

Tying the sash tighter around her blue silk dressing gown, she opened the back door and carried the sack to the rubbish bin outside.  As she replaced the lid on the bin, she failed to hear the footsteps approaching her from behind, and the first sign she had of her predicament was when a hand was clasped over her mouth, and a rough voice said “Don’t make any sudden moves!”

 

Alison was pulled back into the kitchen, and turned round as the man who had grabbed her closed the door behind him.  Grabbing a cloth from the work surface, he stuffed it into Alison’s mouth, and forced her to sit on a chair by the kitchen table while he grabbed a knife from the draining board.

 

Alison sat in the chair in shock, as the man sat opposite her and waved the knife in her face.  “Don’t think I won’t use this – I’m desperate enough to do what it takes to make a getaway.  Put your hands on top of your head, and don’t move.”

 

Alison did as the man asked.  He was dressed in a dark suit and open necked shirt, but had the unmistakable look of a man who had slept rough the night before.  The man took the bottle of milk that had been sitting on the table, and drained the contents in one go.

 

“Ah – that’s better.  Now, if I take that cloth out of your mouth, do you promise not to scream?”  He waved the knife in Alison’s face while saying this, and she just mutely nodded.

 

“All right – I trust you now.”  With that, he reached over and pulled the cloth from Alison’s mouth.  She spluttered – the cloth had been used to wash dishes, and was not the nicest tasting thing in the world.

 

“Are you that escaped prisoner on the news?”  She asked once she had regained her composure.

 

“Yes, that’s me, and I’ve no intention of going back.  Don’t worry – all I need is something to eat, a shower and a change of clothes, and I’ll be on my way.  I slept in your garden shed last night, and saw your husband leaving a few minutes ago.  I’d have sneaked quietly off if you hadn’t come out the back, so that’s your luck for you.”

 

George took another deep drink of milk from a second bottle.  “Are you on your own here?”

 

“No – my daughter’s upstairs, but please don’t harm her.  I’ll do whatever you ask, but please leave her alone.”

 

“We’ll see what happens.  In the meantime, I need to have something to eat.  What have you got?”

 

Alison stood up.  “Let me get you something.  I can sort some cereal out, or cook you some breakfast, or….”

 

George waved the knife at her again.  “Don’t bother – just tell me where things are and I can get them myself.  You sit down and keep your pretty little hands where I can see them.”

 

Alison sat down again, and put her hands back on her head.  “There’s cold coffee in the pot, and cereal in the cupboards, if that’s what you want.  Are you sure I can’t help you?”

 

“No – you just sit there and I’ll sort things out.”  George got up from the table, and rummaging through the cupboards he found a cereal bowl and a box of corn flakes.  He also found something else that he placed in his trouser pocket.

 

Sitting down at the table, he filled the bowl and started eating them rapidly.  Alison spoke up.  “So – why were you in court?  Did you do the crimes you were accused of?”

 

“Oh yes – and I am almost as dangerous as they say I am.  So you’d better be careful what you do and say around here.”  George finished the bowl of cereal, and poured himself a cup of coffee.  “Don’t worry – I don’t want to harm you.  Once I’m done, I’ll be on my way and you’ll have a story to tell your friends.”  He gulped the coffee down.

 

“Now, put your hands behind your back.”  George drew the rolled up clothes line that he had found from his pocket.  Alison gave a little start, and shook her head.

 

“Lady, I am not going to leave you capable of calling someone while I get cleaned up.  Now, put your hands behind your back.”

 

“May I at least sort my dressing gown out first?” Alison replied.

 

“Of course, I’m not a complete ogre!”

 

Alison stood up, pulled her dressing gown around her and tightened the sash around her waist.  Sitting down again, she smoothed the gown out, and put her hands behind the back of the chair.

 

George put the knife back on the table, went behind Alison and wrapped the free end of the cord around her left wrist.  Pulling it behind her back, he proceeded to lash her right wrist to the left one, wrapping both wrists alternately and then cinching the rope tightly.

 

“Put your legs together”, George said, and Alison did as he asked.  He then pulled her left ankle under the chair, wrapped the washing line around it, and lashed her ankles together in the same way that he had lashed her wrists, effectively securing the ankles and wrists together.  Satisfied with his work, George took the knife and cut the rope after the knot.

 

He then heard a noise coming from upstairs, and holding the knife to Alison’s throat he hissed “Not a sound – not one bloody word.”

 

 

“It’s eight thirty, and here’s the national news…………”

 

Wendy stirred from her sleep, and forced herself to get out of bed.  This as a rest day for her, but she still felt that she had to get some work done, so some breakfast and a shower seemed to be in order.

 

She looked at herself in the mirror.  The long white t-shirt she had worn to bed still looked reasonably presentable, even if it had a cartoon with the characters from that silly “Love Is….” strip on the front.  Stretching, she made her way to the bathroom to do what had to be done.

 

Flushing the lavatory, she made her way downstairs.  “Mum – is there any coffee left in the pot?  I could do with some right now.”

 

“Come and have a look, Wendy – I can’t come right at the moment.”

 

Wendy went into the kitchen, a little puzzled.  “What do you mean, you can’t….”

 

The sight that greeted her chilled her to the bone.  Her mother was sat in a kitchen chair, her hands behind her back, and a man was standing there holding a knife to her throat.

 

“Wendy – sit down in that chair and don’t make a sound.  You won’t be hurt if you do as you are told.”

 

Wendy sat down.  “Mum – are you all right?  Has he hurt you?”

 

“No, Wendy – just do what he says and let him get on his way.  I don’t think he really wants to hurt us.”

 

“Your mother’s right – why don’t you have a drink from what’s on the table while I finish things here?”

 

Wendy picked a glass up from the table, and poured herself a glass of Orange Juice.  As she drank it, she watched George as he continued to rummage through the kitchen drawers, until he found a set of clean napkins.  Picking one up, he rolled it into a tight band.

 

“Open your mouth,” he told Alison.

 

“Please, don’t gag me.  I won’t cry out, I promise, I…….”  George ignored her pleas, and tied the napkin tightly into her mouth as a gag.  Wendy looked on shocked.

 

“Your turn now, Wendy.  Put the glass down, and put your hands behind the back of the chair.”

 

Wendy did as he asked, and George took the remaining length of washing line, tying Wendy as he had tied Alison.  When that was done, he took another napkin and gagged Wendy in the same way.

 

“Now, ladies, I’m going to have that shower and see if I can find some clothes that fit me.  Don’t go anywhere now.”

 

George took the knife with him, and cut the telephone cord.  He then headed up the stairs, and both women listened as they heard the sound of the shower running.   Wendy looked at her mother, and tried to talk to her.

 

“Mm – wht hapnd?”

 

“M srry, Alson – I ws jmped otsde, nd cld do nthing.”

 

“cn yu mve?”

 

“Wht?”

 

“Cn yu mve?  Cn yu mve yurslf?”

 

Alison tried to wriggle around, but the binding between her wrists and her ankles was too tight.

 

“N – I cnt mve.  Cn yu?”

 

“N – to tght.  Cn yu shffl yr chr?”

 

Wendy demonstrated what she was trying to say by using her toes to inch the chair she was tied in across the floor.  Alison tried to do the same, and the two ladies slowly inched their way to meet by the table.  What neither realised was the water had stopped running in the shower…….

 

Slowly, slowly the two women came together, until they were side by side.

 

“Well, well – it looks like you two cannot stay apart.”  Alison looked up, and Wendy looked round, to see George standing the doorway, with some of Alison’s husband’s casual clothes on and the knife in his hand.

 

“My compliments to you, my dear- your husband has good taste in clothes.  Here – let me move you back a bit.”  George came over and pulled Alison over to the far side of the table.

 

“Cn I hv sm wtr?”  Alison asked.

 

“I’m sorry – do you want some water?”

 

“Ys – cn I hv sm wtr?”

 

“One moment.”  George went to the sink, and drew a glass of water.  Wendy noticed that he had something in his pockets, but wasn’t sure what.  George put the glass on the table, and removed the gag from Alison’s mouth.

 

“Here – don’t gulp too much, or you’ll be sick.”  Alison took a deep drink from the glass, and said “Thank you.”

 

“Open your mouth again, please” George said, as he drew a scarf from his trouser pocket.  The scarf was balled up, and placed in Alison’s mouth.  “Don’t try to spit that out – you won’t like it if I force it in.  Do you want a drink as well?” he said turning to Wendy.

 

Wendy nodded, and George removed her gag before giving her a drink from the glass.  “All right – open your mouth now” George said, and Wendy was next to have a scarf placed in her mouth.

 

George went back to the cupboard, and removed a roll of duct tape from under the sink.  “Sorry, ladies, but I have to be sure you won’t raise the alarm until I get a chance to get well away”.  He tore a long strip of tape off, and placed it smoothly over Alison’s lips and mouth, before doing the same to Wendy.  Finally, he took the napkins and used them to blindfold both women.

 

“I’ll be going now – thanks for the hospitality ladies, and the money” He opened Alison’s purse, and removed the notes she had there.

 

George slipped out of the back door, closing it behind him.

 

The two women sat opposite each other over the table, unsure of what they could do next.  Wendy tried moving her arms and legs, but the cord was keeping her effectively immobile.  Alison started trying to scream out, but the new gag was even more effective than the last one, and only a low mumble emerged.

 

The two women struggled to try and free themselves for half an hour or so, and then realised that nothing they could do was going to work.  Wendy started to shuffle her chair towards the drawers, in the hope of finding a knife, while Alison sat quietly wondering what was going to happen next.

 

Suddenly, a loud tap on the window alerted both women to the presence of someone else.  Screaming and writhing in the chairs, Alison was relieved when her blindfold was removed, and she saw the window cleaner standing in front of her.  He gently eased the tape from her mouth, allowing her to spit the scarf out of her mouth.

 

“What happened?  I came round to clean your rear windows, and saw the two of you through the open door.”

 

“Never mind that – can you get my daughter free, and then phone the police?”

 

The cleaner went over, and removed Wendy’s gag and blindfold.  Taking a pair of scissors from a jar on the work surface, he cut Wendy’s bonds, and then went to call the police while Wendy freed her mother.

 

As for George – well, he’s still at large somewhere out there.  The police keep the search for him going, but so far no luck.

 

So far……………..

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