Friday 25th November, 8am
“You’re listening to the Morning Request show on W-KLZ, and this is for all of you out there who are working today. If you’re braving the stores, folks, be kind to them – this is not their favourite day. Here’s Lou Reed with Perfect Day...”
As Tanya drove into the parking lot outside the downtown branch of Jewels’R’Us, she silently cursed the DJ for picking such an inappropriate song, and Janey for dropping her in it on this day of all days. She had hoped to have a long weekend as well, but as her manager had so quaintly put it “Tough – it’s your turn.”
As she turned off the engine, she saw the three assistants waiting outside the front door. She had never met them, but Janey had provided a brief description. They all were wearing the regulation uniform – a short sleeved blouse made from light blue cotton, a short dark blue skirt, and black patent leather shoes.
One had slightly curled brown hair, and stood about five foot eight – that would be Kim. The second was slightly taller, with blonde hair cut around her head, who Tanya figured was Chrissie. That left the one she was told was “a bit of a rebel” – Yvonne, with hair dyed purple and cut into a bob.
“Good morning, ladies,” she said as she walked towards them. “Thanks for coming in today.”
“Our pleasure,” Kim said as she adjusted the large shoulder bag she had slung over her body.
“How was your holiday?”
“Not too eventful,” Chrissie said with a smile as the four of them walked into the store, Tanya disabling the alarm as they headed for the staff room. “Let’s get ready then,” Tanya called after them, “The store opens in two hours.”
Thursday 24th November, 8 pm
“Where the hell are they?”
Kim looked out of the front window of the house she shared with her colleagues Chrissie and Yvonne. They had gone to a boat party with some friends, while Kim had been at her own parents for a thanksgiving meal. She had returned half an hour earlier, so that she could get an early night and be fresh for her job in the morning.
It was a warm November day, and Kim was wearing a grey jersey top, off-white cotton shorts and black sandals. She looked out of the window again, looking for a set of headlights, but with little success.
Their house was set back slightly from the road, and the back looked out onto a recreation field. Today was a quiet day, with most people watching the late game on the television, so nobody noticed the party of four that moved silently across the ground towards Kim’s house, or heard them scale the wire fence that separated their back yard from the ground.
Kim did not even hear the patio doors in the rear of the ground floor as they were slid open and the party crept noiselessly in, the sound muffled by the radio playing nearby. One of the group looked at Kim, sitting in the window alcove and looking out, and signalled to two of the party. They moved forward, so quietly that the first Kim knew of their presence was when she was pulled off the alcove seat and forced onto the floor.
“What the hell,” she called out as one of the pair sat across her back, facing her feet as she pulled them up off the floor. The other grabbed her arms and forced them behind her back, holding her wrists together. Kim turned her head to the side and saw a glimpse of her attacker pulling a length of white rope from her pocket, before she felt a cold ring press on her forehead. A male voice said quietly “Don’t struggle, and this won’t hurt,” as she felt her wrists been pulled together as the rope was wound around them.
She could also feel her ankles been secured, presumably by more rope, but Kim could not see much of the second person save the black boiler suit they were wearing. She tried kicking her legs out, but it was no use as the rope went between her legs, tightening the coils around her ankles even as she felt the same thing happening to her wrists.
“What’s your name,” she heard the male voice say as the binder got off her back, still holding her legs as a further length of rope was used to secure her ankles to her wrists. “Kim,” she replied, “please, tell me why you’re doing this, we don’t have any money...”
“All in good time, Kim,” she heard the man say as she felt her brown hair been pulled back. As she opened her mouth, a large wad of cloth was stuffed in, silencing her even as a large white scarf was pulled tightly over her mouth and lips, the cloth pressing hard on her face as it was secured at the back of her head.
Kim looked round and saw four people standing there, dressed in black boiler suits, but now she could see the black balaclavas that covered their heads, as well as the pistol one of them was carrying. “Just stay calm, Kim,” she heard the armed intruder say, and she realised he was the man who had been speaking earlier.
“Whtsgnsn,” she mumbled as the man and one of his companions took a seat, the other two leaving them alone. “You may as well get comfortable,” he said as Kim looked at him, “It’s going to be a long night.” She watched a third intruder carrying in a number of duffel bags as she allowed her head to hit the floor, wondering what would happen when the others finally returned.
Friday, 12 pm.
As Tanya looked out from the office, she could see the three women working, answering queries and selling goods as a steady stream of customers came in and out of the store. It was looking as if it was going to be a good day – but then, Black Friday always was a busy one.
She walked back into the office and sat back down, working on her monthly report as the day carried on.
Thursday, 10 pm
Chrissie drove her car into the driveway of the house, killing the lights as she turned the engine off.
“Do you think she’s going to be mad at us,” she said to Yvonne as she started to climb out from behind the wheel of the car.
“Nah – you know Kim, she’ll be all right,” Yvonne replied as she left the car and pulled down the sleeves of her green mohair sweater. Chrissie smile din reply as they closed the doors and walked towards the front door of the house.
It had been a good party, but they had left a little early. Even with the chill in the night air, it was still warm enough for both girls to be wearing denim shorts – Yvonne’s were faded, while Chrissie’s were still blue. Chrissie was also wearing a white blouse over a t-shirt for a basketball club, and was wearing a pair of white strap-on sandals. For Yvonne, a pair of blue deck shoes were on her feet.
As they walked into the house, Yvonne called out “Kim, are you still awake?” There was a muffled call from the front room, which neither girl could clearly make out.
“Kim?” As Chrissie walked into the front room, she was shocked to see Kim on the floor, kicking her legs out and screaming at her through the thick gag that covered her mouth. “Christ, Kim, what happened,” she said as she ran forward, Kim screaming “RN!!! GTOT!!!!”
“Chrissie?” When she heard Yvonne, the blonde haired girl turned round to see her standing there, a masked man holding a gun to her head as he said “Stand perfectly still, and do nothing. Your friends will be just fine so long as you do what we tell you.”
“What’s going on?” Chrissie said as she slowly raised her hands. “Both of you, sit down on that seat and put your hand son your head,” the man said as he pushed Yvonne forward. “Number two, would you come and release our friend here?”
The two girls watched a second person walk in, dressed as the man was in a black boiler suit with a balaclava over their head, and kneel down next to Kim. They heard her sigh as the rope holding her ankles to her wrists was untied, allowing her to stretch out as the other ropes were removed.
“msrgrls,” they heard her mumble as the scarf was removed from her face, and then the wad of now soaking cloth pulled from out of her mouth. “They jumped me a couple of hours ago – I don’t know what they want, but it seems we all have to be here.”
“That’s right, ladies,” the man said as Kim was helped to her feet and walked over to join her housemates, rubbing her wrists as she did so. “We’re going to have a nice pleasant night together – we need your help with something in the morning, and we need to know you will help.”
“Help, help with what,” Yvonne said as she stared at the masked and armed man. “You’ll see,” he said with a smile, “but for now, sit still and don’t move unless we tell you. Number three, number four, see what you can find to eat and drink in the kitchen.”
The three girls looked at each other as the number of masked intruders doubled, the two new arrivals bringing a selection of bags of snacks and bottled drinks and placing them on the coffee table in front of them.
“What is this all about,” Chrissie said as the man opened a bag of pretzels.
“You’ll see,” he said as he put one in his mouth. “Fr now, eat.”
Wednesday 23rd November, 5 pm
“I’m really sorry I can’t be here on Friday, girls, but I need to take this trip. I’m sure Tanya will look after you, so don’t give her too hard a time.”
As Janey left the store, leaving her staff behind to lock up, the three of them looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. “How can I help you, Madame,” Kim said as she turned to a woman who was standing there, about the same height as Yvonne with long red hair.
“I wonder if you could show me this necklace,” she said as she pointed to a display tray, looking round as Kim unlocked the cabinet and brought it out. “oh yes, that’s perfect,” she said as she examined the gold, “I’ll take it.”
As she left the store a few minutes later, she removed a cell phone from her bag and dialled a number.
“It’s me – we’re good to go, and I have some additional news that may help. I just need you to collect something for me...
Friday, 5 pm
“Another hour to go, girls,” Tanya said as she watched the number of shoppers thin out. “When we lock up, I’d like you three to hang back for a minute if that is all right.”
“No problem,” Chrissie said as she looked up from talking to a customer. As Tanya walked back into the office, she exchanged glances with Kim and Yvonne, who nodded in return.
Friday, 5 am
Yvonne slowly opened her eyes and looked round. She could see Kim and Chrissie sitting next to her, their eyes closed and their heads slumped forward as they slept, and in the armchair opposite was the masked man, his eyes closed and the gun in his lap. There seemed to be no other sound save the gentle snoring of her friends.
Slowly, carefully, she stood up and stretched, watching the man the whole time. She had no idea where the other three intruders were, but Yvonne felt she had a chance. If she could just quietly sneak out of the house, and get to a phone, then there was a chance she could call the police and bring this nightmare to an end.
She cautiously crept forward towards the front door, taking great care not to wake anyone. Inch by inch, step by step, she moved closer to the door, closer, her hand almost reaching the handle...
The jerk backwards as the latex gloved hand was clamped over her mouth almost took Yvonne off her feet, as he head hit the chest of the person she had heard called number two. Her eyes widened as she felt the other person’s chest, and even more when the man walked forward and looked at her face.
“I wondered if it would be you who made an attempt to raise the alarm, Yvonne,” he said as she looked back into his cold blue eyes. “As it is, we were going to wake you anyway, but I think we need to keep you away from the others.”
He handed the person holding her a plastic bag. “Take her upstairs and make her – comfortable,” the man said as Yvonne was frogmarched towards the staircase, number two keeping a tight grip on her as they walked together up the staircase.
As they walked into her room, Yvonne was pushed onto her bed, the turquoise blue woollen blanket wrinkling slightly as she landed face first and turned herself round. “You needn’t think you’re going to get away with this,” she said as she watched her captor take a length of rope out of the bag and walk towards her.
She pushed herself back, trying to get out of the way, but the masked intruder proved too strong for her as they grabbed her arm, twisting her back onto her stomach as they looped an end of the rope around her left wrist and pulled tightly. “That bloody hurts,” Yvonne shouted out as she looked over her shoulder and watched the rope been wound around and between her wrists, pulling them together as the coils dug into her skin.
The intruder ignored her as she pulled her ankles back, holding them together in her hand as she took a second length of rope from her pocket and swiftly wrapped it around her crossed legs. The person as too strong for Yvonne as she felt her legs been bound, the rope cutting into her ankles as well.
“Why the fuck are you doing this,” she called out as more rope was used to secure her ankles and wrists in a hogtie, before the masked binder stood up and walked back over to the bag, taking out what looked like a sponge ball and a scarf before she walked back.
“Don’t think I’m going to allow you to put that in my mouth,” Yvonne said as her captor walked back over, squashing the ball in her gloved hand as she did so. There was a glint in her brown eyes as she reached down and pinched Yvonne’s nose, waiting patiently until the girl had to open her mouth and allowed her to push the sponge behind her teeth. The material expanded, filling her mouth as the scarf was pulled tightly over Yvonne’s mouth and jaw, the ends secured behind her head as it was allowed to drop back onto the bed.
“whttfcksthslbt,” she mumbled as she struggled, trying to get free from the ropes. She stopped suddenly as she heard the captor starting to unbutton the boiler suit they were wearing, allowing the garment to fall to the floor as they reached up and pulled the balaclava from their head. Yvonne watched, wide-eyed as she saw the bra straps and panties, and as the woman reached up and ran her fingers through her purple hair, turning and smiling at Yvonne before walking to the cupboard and opening it.
“Wakey, wakey, rise and shine.”
Chrissie slowly opened her eyes and looked at the masked man standing in front of her.
“I want you to go with number three here and do whatever you have to do,” he said with a smile, “and then come back here.”
“Where’s Yvonne,” Chrissie said as she looked at the empty seat next to her.
“Upstairs, been taken care of,” he said as he helped her stand up. “Hurry now – we don’t have much time.”
As she allowed herself to be led to the bathroom, Chrissie looked over her shoulder at Kim as the masked man leaned over her. “Please, tell me what;s happening,” she pleaded to the person with her, but they said nothing as they opened the bathroom door and waited for Chrissie to relieve herself.
As she left the room, she saw her captor waiting with a length of rope tau tin their hands. “Do you have to tie me up,” she said, btu again they remained silent as they let go with one hand and indicated she should turn round.
Reluctantly, Chrissie turned her back and held her hands together behind her back. The masked captor doubled the rope over and passed it round her wrists, keeping it over the cuffs of her blouse as she passed it round several more times, each time bringing them closer together before they cinched the coisl by passing the rope between her arms. Tuckign the ends into the binding after the knot had been tied, the intruder then turned Chrissie round and marched her back nito the front room, where Kim was now standing with the one he had called number four next to her.
“Are you all right, Chrissie,” she said as she watched number three take a long, long length of rope and pas sit around her housemate’s arms just below her breasts.
“No, I’m not all right, I’m sacred and I want this to end,” Chrissie said as she watched Kim been escorted out, the ropes pulling her arms more and more tightly into her side with each pass. “It will end soon enough,” the man said as number three pushed her back onto the couch and knelt in front of her, removing her shoes before she started to bind her ankles together.
“Please, just go and leave us alone,” Chrissie said in a tearful voice as she felt her ankles been pulled tightly together. “All in good time,” the man said as Chrissie watched him squash a sponge ball in his hand, “but we need to make sure you three are quiet and secure first.”
“You’ll see soon enough,” he said as he walked forward while number three passed more rope around her legs above her knees. As Chrissie looked down and saw the way the front of her blouse had been pushed open by the ropes around her upper body, she felt the masked man raising her chin so that he could look into her eyes.
“Open wide,” he said as he held the squashed ball in front of Chrissie, a smile on his lips as he did so.
“Now what,” Kim said as she left the bathroom, the sound of the toilet flushing in the background. She saw the one called number four standing there, a length of rope in her hand, and said “I wondered how long. Just tell me why.”
There was no reply as she turned and held her hands behind her back, standing still as she felt the rope against her skin again as her wrists were securely bound. As she was marched back into the front room, she found Chrissie sitting on the couch, staring forward with a resigned look as a thick white cloth covered her mouth and ropes encircled her legs and body.
“Shit, Chrissie, are you all right,” Kim said as she was made to sit down on the floor. Her friend looked up and just nodded before staring forward again, obviously trying to find a way of coping with what was happening.
“What happened to your two other friends,” Kim asked the man as she felt her arms been pulled into her side with rope that was passed around her waist and lower chest.
“Them? You’ll see,” he said as number four walked round and pulled Kim’s legs together, wrapping more rope around them as she watched her.
“I still don’t understand,” she said with a grimace as the rope bit into her bare skin once more. “We don’t have much money, why are you robbing us?”
“Robbing you? Whoever said we were robbing you,” the man said as her binder started to wrap more rope around Kim’s; legs, just above her knees as she sat there.
“You’re not robbing us – then why...” Kim’s voice trailed off as she saw Chrissie’s eyes widen, “hmgd” coming from under her gag as she looked at the doorway.
There were two women standing there, one with purple dyed hair and the other with shoulder length blonde hair. They were of similar build to Chrissie and Yvonne, and indeed both were wearing their work uniforms, each with the staff name badge on their lapel.
“OH Christ,” Kim said as she looked at the two women, then back to the masked man, “you’re not robbing us, you’re...”
“...robbing your workplace,” he finished as he took a sponge ball and squashed it in his hand. “Your turn I think, number four,” he said as he knelt next to Kim, who watched as the final intruder removed her balaclava and boiler suit, shaking her head to allow her brown hair to fall more into place before she walked towards the staircase.
“It’s fortunate your boss is not in today,” the man said with a smile as he held the ball in front of Kim’s lips,” it makes things so much easier today all round. Now, open wide – I need you to be as quiet as your friends for today.”
“no, please, don’tmmdsmadmmdsf” Kim said as the sponge was pushed into her mouth, before the scarf that had been used to gag her the previous evening was tied again over her mouth and jaw, if so more even more tightly as the masked man threw the ends of the scarf over her shoulders.
She looked to the doorway to see the other woman walk back in, wearing her skirt and blouse and carrying a large bag over her left shoulder. “Do you have everything you need,” he said as the other two picked up similar bags and nodded. “Well then,” he said as he threw Chrissie’s car keys to the blonde, who caught them in one hand, “Have a nice day at work.”
As Chrissie watched the three imposters leave, Kim looked up at the masked man as he stood in front of her.
“Now then,” he said with a smile, “How do you think we can pass the day?”
“Plslvsln,” Kim mumbled as she kept watching him walk towards the kitchen, Chrissie softly crying on the couch as he did so.
Friday, 7 pm
“What a day,” Tanya said as she finally locked the door and turned to see the three girls standing in front of the counter, a large bag over Kim’s shoulder.
“Yeah, I think we took a record amount,” Kim said as she put her hand into the bag. “Is all the money bagged up, Tanya?”
“All bagged up and locked in the safe – why?”
“Well,” Kim said as she produced a pistol and levelled it at Tanya’s chest, “You can just go and unlock the safe while we take the money. Yvonne?”
“What the... Oh shit, you’re robbing your own store,” Tanya said as she slowly raised her hands.
“Robbing, yes. Our store, no – Yvonne, tie her hands and let’s get this over with.”
“Hands behind your back, boss,” Tanya heard the woman she thought was Yvonne say, and as she slowly lowered her arms behind her she felt them been roughly pulled together, and a rasping sound as a thin plastic zip tie was tightened around her wrists. She felt herself been pushed forward as Kim opened the door, waving with her pistol as she did so.
“Combination,” she ordered Tanya as the manager was pushed onto the floor, watching as Chrissie secured her ankles and legs with more zip ties. As she recited a sequence of numbers, Kim pulled on a pair of latex gloves and tapped the code in, smiling as the safe door finally swung open.
“Where are the real workers,” she said as she watched the two women empty the money from the safe into their shoulder bags.
“They’re safe at home,” Kim said as the safe door was slammed shut. “No harm has come to them, but if you try to raise the alarm for an hour after we leave, I cannot guarantee that.”
“What do you mmmgggg” Tanya said as a length of micro pore tape was stuck over her mouth by Yvonne. “You’ll find out soon enough,” was all Kim said as the three women walked out of the office, leaving Tanya struggling on the floor as the lights were turned off.
Friday, 10 pm
The flashing blue lights in the window were what woke Chrissie up. She looked round, with no idea of how long she had been out, to see their captor had gone. Kim was lying on her side, her eyes closed and a large damp patch where her mouth was on the scarf muffling her voice.
“KM!!!” Chrissie shouted out, and as Kim opened her eyes they heard a voice calling out “Police – is there anybody here?”
“NHR – HLPS, WRTDP” Kim shouted out, and she started crying again when she saw two armed officers looking into the room. “We’ve got two in here,” one of them called over his shoulder as the other leaned over and pulled the scarf down from over Chrissie’s mouth, easing the now sodden sponge from her mouth as he did so.
“Yvonne,” she whispered in a hoarse voice as the other officer went to free Kim, “Where is she?”
“There’s another one upstairs,” a third voice called out in answer as Chrissie allowed her head to drop onto the officer’s shoulder, the tears flowing freely at the end of their Black Friday...