Four Seasons In One Day
Ottawa is a small city, a mixture of classical old and modern that reflects its place as the administrative capital of Canada as well as the second largest city of Ontario. As you walk round the centre of the city, passing the shops and cathedrals, it would be very easy to miss the small Jeweller’s shop tucked in near to the entrance of the St Laurent Shopping Centre. For the locals, however, this was the place to go for exquisite hand crafted jewellery, as created by June Albright.
On this particular Wednesday afternoon, she was completing a stock take when the door opened and she saw her daughter Winter reflected in the glass cabinets.
“College over for the week?” she said without turning round. “All done until Monday,” Winter replied as she pulled the blue bandana that covered her short mousey brown hair off her head. “They confirmed the place will be closed on Friday – no point after the celebrations tomorrow.”
“I suppose not,” June said as she turned round and looked at her daughter. She had just turned twenty, and like June was studying the craft of jewellery making at a local college. She was wearing a black Metallica t-shirt over a white long sleeved top, and old faded jeans with a wide leather belt. Brown cowboy boots covered her feet.
“How much longer are you going to be,” she said as she picked up one of the pieces that June had left on the counter.
“Not sure – can you head home and get things ready for Gran? I’ll get dinner ready when I get in.”
“No problem,” Winter said as she headed for the door. “Oh – some of us are planning to meet up at Major’s Hill park tomorrow for the barbeque. That’s not a problem, is it?”
“Not as long as you’re back for five – we’re going out for dinner tomorrow before the fireworks at the museum. All right?”
“Sure, sure,” Winter mumbled as she left the store, letting in a tall, thin woman in a grey coat as she did so. “I’ll be with you in a minute,” June said as she replaced a number of trays in the counter. “Take your time,” the customer said in a French accent, looking round the store as she stood waiting. Although June did not realise it, the young lady was also looking at her. In her early forties, she had kept reasonably trim, but in her brown jumper and long gypsy skirt she looked a little frumpy – especially with her curly brown hair held back by a chiffon scarf rolled into a band and tied over her forehead.
“Sorry,” June finally said as she stood up, straightened her jumper and faced the woman. “I didn’t need to keep you waiting so long.”
“Not a problem, I assure you,” she said with a smile. “May I look at this tray here?”
Turning into the street where her detached house sat, June glanced at the clock on her dashboard, cursing herself at the fact it was after seven while she pulled into her driveway. Leaving the car, she was about to get her keys out when the door was opened by a tall, blonde haired girl in a white dress.
“Sorry, Fallon,” June said as she walked in, “I got delayed. Is everything all right?”
“Yes, Miss Albright,” the girl said in a voice that carried a trace of her Swedish origins. She had worked for the last two years as the au pair, and enjoyed her job, even if the regulations meant she had to spend occasional periods back in Gothenburg. “Your mother has arrived, and she is in the front room with Miss Winter.”
“Wonderful,” June said with a sigh as she left her bag at the table and walked in to find Winter talking with a well dressed woman, sat in an armchair with a glass of gin and tonic in her hand. “Hi, Mum,” she said as she walked over and kissed the new arrival on both cheeks. “How was your flight?”
“Boring,” April Albright said before she took a sip of her drink. “All the better for seeing my granddaughter, however”. Although her hair was greying and short cut, she was still recognisable as June’s mother, even if her dress was somewhat more conservative. A green and purple tweed style jacket and skirt, with flat brown shoes and a patterned scarf tied as a cravat around her neck. June had emigrated in the early eighties with her then boyfriend – a man of less than forthright views on commitment, who had left as soon as he found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. That, however, was in the past and she had built up a successful business on her own, despite her mother’s continued views that she should come home and join her in the ancestral manor house.
“Come on, Fal,” Winter said as she took a tray from Fallon’s hands and laid it on an ornate glass table, “Let’s leave them to it while we fix dinner.” As the door closed, June poured herself a drink and sat down. “How’s Dad,” she asked as she took a sip.
“He sends his love,” April said as she placed her own glass on a coaster. “He wishes he could be here, but...”
“But he’s back in Parliament as one of the ruling coalition – I know.” As she took a sip, June looked at her mother and decided this was one visit where she would avoid arguments – if at all possible. “Looking forward to tomorrow?”
“Looking forward to my bed,” April said as she stretched and yawned. The doorbell rang, and June glanced through the open doorway as Fallon walked past. There was a muffled conversation, followed by the door closing and Fallon escorting the woman June had met earlier in the shop into the room, leaving and closing the door behind them.
“Forgive me for calling on you at home,” she said as she stood there, “but there was a question I meant to ask before I left. I found your name and address in the phone book, but if it is inconvenient...”
“Unusual, but please, what can I do for you?” June said as she stood up.
“Well, I was wondering if you would open the store for me tomorrow?”
April looked at the woman as she stood there. Mid-twenties, in a grey jacket and dress, clutching a grey handbag in front of her, with long black hair that came over her shoulders.
“I’m sorry – I do private viewings, but it is a holiday tomorrow. Perhaps on Friday?”
The visitor smiled as she opened her handbag. “I am afraid I must insist,” she said as she drew a handgun out and pointed it at both April and June. “Please, apart from the charming blonde who opened the door and your daughter, is there anyone else in the house?”
“No,” June said with a whisper.
“Excellent – please, go into the rear of the house and open the large doors that lead onto your exquisite lawn. I will stay with your mother – and do not attempt to call anyone, because if you do the first thing I will do is shoot her.”
April looked at her daughter, eyes wide, as she slowly turned and walked out of the door. She glanced at her daughter and Fallon as they sat in the kitchen, but made no move towards them as she entered the large room at the rear, the sun shining through the large double doors. Reaching out, she unlocked and opened them, only to step back and suppress a scream as two men in smart suits, white shirts and ties came in, closing the door behind them as they did so. One of them put a gloved finger to his lips as he took June by the arm and led her back to the front of the house, as the other took a gun from his pocket and made his way to the kitchen.
“Ah, bon,” the female intruder said as June was brought back into the room. Through the open doorway, she could hear a small scream. “For tonight, you will please refer to me as Miss Grey, while my colleagues here will not talk unless I speak to them. I must ask that you do not do anything to attract attention to yourselves, or to try to raise the alarm. You may speak, but quietly.”
“Who are you,” April asked as she looked at her and the new arrival.
“We are a small business, specialising in acquisitions – such as those in your charming store,” Miss Grey said as she sat down, crossing her legs as she did so. The door was opened and both Fallon and Winter were pushed into the room, followed by the second man who closed the door behind himself. Moving over to the windows, he drew the blinds down before opening them to allow some sunlight to filter through.
“Well now,” Miss Grey said as she smiled at the four women. “June I know, and I believe you are her daughter Winter. You two I do not know – although I am guessing you are a relative?”
“My name is Lady April Albright, and I demand that you and your two male friends leave immediately.”
“I must regretfully decline your invitation,” Miss Grey said with a smile on her lips and a cold look in her eyes. “And you – what may I call you?”
“Her name is Fallon,” April said, “She helps out around the house.” Fallon was shaking, as Winter held her and said “It’ll be all right, Fal?”
“Fal, Winter, April and June – how very seasonal. Fal, why don’t you go with my friend and prepare some drinks and snacks – this is going to be a very pleasant, if long night. The rest of you, stay seated – Winter, you may sit over there.”
“I said you must leave,” April said as she slowly stood up. The second man walked over and firmly took her by the shoulders as Miss Grey sighed and June hissed “Mother...”
“Oh dear, and I had hoped we could avoid this. Maurice – be a dear and fetch the bag from the car.”
The man nodded as he pushed April back into her chair and left the room, Miss Grey standing and covering the three women as they sat there. “I did ask you to co-operate, and now you need to be seen what will happen if you do not. Winter, please, take off your boots – they must be terribly uncomfortable.”
As Winter slipped off the cowboy boots, the man returned and placed a small case next to Miss Grey. As she opened it, June gasped at the neatly coiled ropes and other items that were arranged inside.
“Tell me, Winter, have you ever been a guide?” she said as she selected a length and started to uncoil it.
“Yes – yes I have, why?”
“Well then, I presume you are good with knots. Take this,” she said as she handed Winter a length of rope, about six foot long and doubled over,” and tie your grandmother’s wrists together in front of her. I will be watching, so make sure you do a good job.”
She looked over at her mother, who was sitting quietly sobbing, and then at April. “It’s all right, dear,” she said as she sat there, “Do as the lady says.” She held her hands out, palms and wrists together, and offered no resistance as Winter passed the rope round and fed the end through the loop in the middle.”
Make sure you leave enough rope to pass it between your grandmother’s wrists,” Miss Grey said as Winter took more loops round. Turning to glare at her, she pushed the ends through one loop and passed it between April’s wrists, tightening the coils around her as she pulled, then tied the ends together and tucked them into the ropes.
“Very neat,” Miss Grey said as she walked over and checked the bonds. “Now, repeat that around her ankles,” she continued as she went back to the bag and took out another length of rope. As Winter knelt down and started to tie her grandmother's ankles together, the door opened and Fal carried in a tray of snacks and cold drinks, the second man closing the door behind her.
“Thank you, Jacques,” Miss Grey said as Winter stood up. “I am afraid the oldest Albright was being a little difficult, so we needed to take some precautions. You will be more cooperative, will you not, June?”
“Yes,” she said with a sob as she looked up, “just please, don’t hurt us.”
“Dry your tears,” Miss Grey said as Maurice handed her a handkerchief, “We merely need to stay the night, and then once we conduct our business sin the morning we will be gone. Naturally, as it is a holiday tomorrow we will be quiet and discreet, but I mean it when I say do nothing to raise the alarm.”
“What are you planning to do,” June said as Fallon handed April a sandwich, which she managed to eat by raising her bound wrists to her mouth. Miss Grey smiled as all four women sat down.
“Oh, some conversation, some food, and perhaps a movie on the television. After that – well, we will see what the night will bring, no? Now please, eat – all four of you will need to keep your strength up...”
The clock was striking ten as the party sat watching Groundhog Day on the large television screen. June had her arms round Winter as they sat there, comforting each other while Fallon sat between Maurice and Jacques. Miss Grey as looking at some sheets of paper, while April sat mutely looking on. A length of rope had been tied around her wrists bindings and then passed between her legs, pulling her skirt slightly between them, before the loose ends were secured around her ankles. Her scarf had been pushed into her mouth, the ends sticking out.
“Well, I did tell you to be quiet,” Miss Grey said as she looked over at April, and then at her daughter and granddaughter. “We are watching her,” she said in answer to their mute query, “and I promise you, you will all be fine. Ah, the film is finished – Maurice, why don’t you go and arrange some coffee with the charming Fal.”
“I don’t drink coffee this late at night,” June said, “It keeps me awake.”
“Ah, but I want you awake,” Miss Grey said as she stood up and walked over to April. “Will you be quiet now,” she said, and the older woman nodded as she looked up. Gently removing the scarf from her mouth, she placed it in a clear plastic bag as April whispered “Thank you.”
“Jacques, please release her from her bonds,” Miss Grey said to the remaining man. “I think she would appreciate the chance to – freshen up and change her clothing for something more comfortable.”
“What’s going to happen next,” Winter asked as she watched the man take a penknife from his suit pocket and cut the ropes around April.
“We will all have our coffee, and then you will all have the opportunity to wash and change your clothing. After that will be a pleasant surprise.”
“Pleasant? What do you mean by that?” June was getting angrier, only to be surprised as her mother stood up and touched her on the arm.
“This could be a lot worse, dear,” she said quietly, “Let’s just see the night through and get this over with.”
“Excellent advice, April,” Miss Grey said as the door opened and Fallon brought in a tray of steaming mugs. “I should thank you, Fallon, for your hosting duties tonight.”
“I don’t have a choice, do I?” she replied as she glared back at the woman, who just smiled. “Nevertheless, thanks are in order. Now then, These two gentlemen will watch you while I escort April to the bathroom and her bedroom. Please, sit nice and quiet and don’t try anything foolish – they know what to do, right boys?”
The two men nodded as Miss Grey took Aril by the arm and led her upstairs. “Mum,” Winter said, “They are going to rob the store, aren’t they?”
“I think we can take that as a given,” June said as a baseball game started on the television. “What I don’t know is what she plans to do with us when the morning comes. Whatever it is, be brave for us.”
“I don’t like them,” Fallon said as she sipped her coffee. “The men seem nice enough, but they say nothing. She, on the other hand – she’s a cold one.”
“I already decided that,” June whispered as the sound of a shower running came from upstairs. “For now, they have the upper hand on us, so do nothing.”
“Two in the morning – how much longer are they going to be here?”
April was hugging herself in the dimly lit room, looking at her daughter as the sound of the shower continued from upstairs. She was wearing a cream coloured silk blouse over a roll neck sweater, cream coloured slacks and a pair of slippers, while June had been allowed to put on a patterned blouse, smart denim jeans and a pair of black ankle leather boots. Both had suffered the indignity of Miss Grey watching through the open door as they had showered and changed, but at the same time both had remembered the two large gentlemen downstairs and just got with feeling more comfortable.
Fallon was sat in the chair opposite, wondering what was going to happen when it was her turn. The two men had said nothing, but they had been courteous, and she wasn’t as scared as she had been when he burst into the kitchen while she and Winter had been talking. Her main concern was, as the one person who was no t a member of the Albright family, they might treat her differently.
“There now,” Miss Grey said as she walked back in with Winter beside her. “you must all feel better now.” Winter was wearing a pair of light blue pyjamas, with the legs tucked into a pair of thick socks that were pulled up towards her knees, and as she sat down her mother whispered “Are you all right like that?”
“I’ll be fine, mum,” she whispered back. “I just think I may be better off in this outfit – I get the feeling I’m going to be staying here.”
“Very perceptive of you, Winter,” Miss Grey said as she stood in front of the television, an infomercial playing behind her. “But not yet, I assure you. I think I need to tell you what will happen in a few hours. Maurice, Jacques – please, take Fallon and make her comfortable in her own room.”
“No, please – let her stay with us, I’m afraid she may...”
“She may what, my dear Winter?” Miss Grey said as Fallon was helped to her feet. “I assure you she is perfectly safe with my two boys – but as she has no part to play in our plans, we need to make her comfortable now.”
“I’ll be all right,” Fallon said as she walked towards the door. “Be safe and I will see you all later.”
“Such a nice girl,” Miss Grey said as the door closed behind the departing trio. “How can you be sure they won’t hurt her,” April said with a hint of concern in her voice.
“Mum, are you actually worried for her?”
“Despite what you may think, I am a human being, June. Of course I’m worried for her, especially as she’s alone with two big men who may 0have other things on their mind.”
“Be assured, April, she is perfectly safe – Maurice and Jacques have no interest in her, or indeed any woman, beyond what I ask them to care of. Now, this is how we are going to proceed...”
The clock on her bedside table turned to three in the morning as Fallon looked over. She had been allowed to remove her dress and put on a light blue nightgown, before lying on her bed and watching as the two men took a wrist each and tied it to the headboard, looping the rope through the intricate ironwork so that both were held firmly to the heavy metal. Maurice had then taken a longer length of rope and tied it around her legs above her knees, while Jacques had searched her drawers and removed a number of items of jewellery, as well as other valuables.
Now she was looking on as Maurice tied her ankles together, the soft rope not uncomfortable but firm as it was looped around and between them. As they were tightened together, she looked up at Jacques as he stood over her. “Thank you,” she said quietly as he took a roll of brown adhesive plaster and tore a wide strip off, bending over and smoothing it over her lips as a gag. The two men looked at her, holding gloved fingers to their lips as they turned the light off and closed the door behind them. She lay back and closed her eyes, attempting to move her wrists round before fatigue and sleep came over her.
“... so you see, that is what we are going to do, and you all have a part to play. Do you understand?”
The three Albright women looked at each other as Miss Grey smiled at their perplexion, before silently nodding.
“When do you mean to start,” June asked, and Miss Grey looked at her watch before saying “I think six would be a good time to start. In the meantime, Maurice – more coffee, if you please, as the lovely miss Fal appears to be indisposed at the moment.”
“Is she all right?” Winter asked as she looked up from her mother’s shoulder. “Just fine – probably asleep now. Check her every fifteen minutes, Jacques.” The large man nodded as the smell of fresh coffee started to come through from the kitchen.
The first signs of sunlight were filtering through the blinds as Jacques looked at his watch and nodded. “Well, now,” Miss Grey said as she stretched and stood up, picking up her bag as she did so, “Let us begin. Winter, please lead the way to your bedroom.”
The young woman looked at her mother and grandmother, who nodded as they all stood and left the room, Miss Grey and the two men following behind. The sextet climbed the staircase, looking as they reached the top at Fallon sleeping on her bed, before walking into Winter’s bedroom and stopping as Miss Grey put the bag on her bed.
“Well, now,” she said as she opened the bag and extracted several lengths of rope, uncoiling and neatly arranging them on the bed, “how do you wish to do this?”
“We’ll both do it,” June said as she and April stepped forward. “If this has to happen, I want my daughter to know that we had no choice, and we tried to make her as comfortable as possible.”
“Most admirable,” Miss Grey replied as she picked up two doubled over lengths of rope. “Winter, I would like you to lie face down on the bed please. Your mother will take care of your arms and your grandmother your legs. Start at the wrists and ankles please, ladies, and we will take it from there.”
Winter turned, hugged and kissed both April and June, before lying down in the bed and placing her hands behind her back, crossing her wrists as she did so. The three intruders watched as her wrists and ankles were securely bound by her family, nodding as the coils of rope were cinched by passing the ends between her arms and legs respectively so that they were firmly held together.
“Very nice work, ladies,” Miss Grey said as they helped Winter to sit up. “We will not allow you to harm her,” April said with a defiant tone as she and June were tossed two more lengths of rope. “Legs above her knees and around her waist now please,” she said with a smile, “and make sure your hold her wrists firmly against her back with the second one. We don’t want her hurting herself while we are busy elsewhere, do we?”
June whispered “Forgive me” as she passed her length of rope around her daughter’s waist, pushing her wrists into the small foe hr back as she did so, and passed the rope around twice more before tying the ends behind her back. At the same time, April was securing her legs together below her knees, the rope tightening around the material of her pyjama bottoms.
“Now above her knees and around her chest – last time, I promise you,” Miss Grey said as she passed two more lengths over. As June passed the rope around Winter’s chest, pulling her arms against her sides, Miss Grey took the ends and wrapped them around and between her arms and chest, making she was securely bound as her legs were taken care of.
“Help her to lie down,” Miss Grey said as the two older women stood back, and Maurice and Jacques stepped forward. Tenderly, they helped Winter to lie on her side, placing a pillow under her head as they did so, before tearing a strip off the roll of adhesive tape and smoothing it over her lips. She tried to move them apart, but the tape had moulded itself to the contours of her mouth, making more than a small separation of her lips impossible. She stared mutely at her mother as she leant over and tenderly kissed her on the forehead, brushing her hair away from her eyes as she did so.
“I’ll see you later,” she whispered as the gang of three took her and April by the arm, leading them out as they closed the door behind them. she glanced over at her clock, the digital display moving to 6:45 as she did so.
“Good morning, Ottowa, and happy Canada Day,” the presenter of the breakfast program was saying as the five people returned to the front room. “I guess it is my turn now,” April said as she stood in the centre of the room. “Would it be all right if I was able to watch the television? I suspect I may fall asleep, but you never know – Queen Elisabeth is visiting today, after all.”
“She is not my queen,” Miss Grey said as she placed her bag on the coffee table and removed a length of rope. “You’re Québécois, then?” She nodded in response to June’s question, before handing her the rope. “I am a criminal first and Quebecois second, but that is not important. Bind April’s wrists together behind her back, please.”
“some start to your visit, mum,” June said as she passed the rope around her mother’s wrists, taking care to keep it over the cuffs of her blouse to avoid damaging her skin. “I’ve been in worse situations, dear,” April replied as she felt her arms been drawn together. “Remember that time the gang raided our house? You hid in the upstairs airing room until they went away, and then called the police.”
“I’d forgotten about that – I was petrified then. Now, I just feel...”
“Helpless – believe me, I know,” April said as June tied the ropes off. “Let me sit down and you can start on my feet.”
As June knelt down and placed April’s ankles together, she noticed that the two men were gathering up some things they had used and placing them in the same clear plastic bag the ropes that had been used earlier on her mother were in. “We like to make sure that we leave things as we find them,” Miss Grey said in answer to her mute question as she pulled on the ropes. “Careful, dear,” April said as the rope rubbed against her legs, prompting June to look up. “How are you doing mum,” she asked as the rope passed between her legs.
“I will survive, dear,” April said as June started to pull her legs together above her knees, following Miss Grey’s instructions to pass the rope above and below her knees as she did so. April looked on as the white rope tightened around her legs, the material creasing underneath as it was pressed against her skin. That last time she and her husband had been beaten and threatened – this time they were been polite if firm. She was scared, she could not deny that, but somehow she felt safer this time.
“You do a lovely job, June,” Miss Grey said as June slowly got to her feet and looked at her mother. While she had been taking care of the legs, neither of the two women had realised that Maurice had been passing a further length of rope around April’s arms, pulling them into her side and passing the rope under her arms as he did so.
“I didn’t even feel that,” April said as she realised that she could not move her arms at all. “How did he manage that?”
“Practice,” Miss Grey said as Jacques helped the older woman to lie down, placing a cushion under her head as she laid it down on the armrest. Her short grey hair was falling over her face, but she looked calm as June was talking with Miss Grey.
“We must leave now,” Miss Grey said as she looked down. “If you are agreeable, and promise not to shout, Maurice will not gag you while he waits here and looks after all three of you. I think you will appreciate that, yes?”
“Thank you,” April said as June pulled on a leather jacket that she had been handed. “I’ll be fine, and so will the girls, dear. With any luck, we will still be able to get to the firework display tonight.”
“I’m sure that will happen,” Miss Grey said as she closed her case and picked it up. “You will come with us now, June. Maurice, take good care of the ladies.”
The tall man nodded as Jacques took June by the arm, leading her out as Miss Grey walked behind them. The door closed, and April listened as the sound of footsteps receded, and a car drove off into the distance.
“You’re not going to talk, are you?” April said as she looked over at Maurice, who slowly shook his head as he left the room. Feeling behind her back, and realising the knots were out of her reach, she settled herself down to wait and see what happened next. There was not just herself, but Winter and the au pair – Fal, someone had called her, to think of as well.
The streets were quiet; with only a few people walking round as Jacques slowly drove towards the store. “They will not be harmed,” June said to Miss Grey as they sat in the back of the car. “They are quite safe with Maurice,” Miss Grey said, “He knows what will happen if they are harmed. Is that not right, Jacques?” The man looked into the rear view mirror and nodded as he turned into a back alley.
“Just do as we ask, and everyone will be just fine,” Miss Grey said as the car stopped. “now, we are going to walk nice and casually to your store while you open it up, and we will get started, non?”
“All right,” June said softly as the door was opened. To everyone else they looked like two women and a man walking to an event as the crowds started to grow, the clock in the cathedral striking eight as they stopped outside the store. “Nice and casual – you don’t want to raise attention,” Miss Grey whispered as June dropped her keys. “Just stay calm – there, see?”
The shutter slowly moved upwards, and as the door was revealed June walked in to unlock the door, Jacques standing to watch until both women had gone in and the alarm disabled. Satisfied as the beeping ended, he slipped in and closed the door, locking it behind him.
Winter looked over as the door opened and Maurice walked in. He quickly checked her ropes, before gently stroking her hair and walking quietly out, closing the door behind him. She tried once more to move her mouth, but realised for the tenth time how firm the tape was holding.
Fal was still sleeping as he checked her bonds, before returning to the front room and sitting opposite April. The television was showing interviewers talking to the crowds gathering on the streets, but was surprised to see her daughter’s store in the background.
“Oh god,” she exclaimed as Maurice looked over. He stood up, and gently stroked her cheek as she said “They won’t be disturbed, will they?” He shook his head as he sat back down, watching the interview with more than usual interest.
“I think they’re starting to move now – good,” Miss Grey said as she looked at the television crew packing up. She turned and looked at June as she sat on the floor, Jacques passing rope around her ankles as she tried to move her arms under the ropes encircling her upper body.
“It must be galling, having to wait until they go. I believe you prefer a planned, organised robbery,” she said with a smirk as Jacques pulled her ankles together. Miss Grey smiled as she turned and walked over, stepping round the stacks of trays neatly arranged on the floor as she did so. “An organised plan always has room for unexpected adjustment,” she said with a smile as she knelt and held June’s chin in her hand. They had spent an hour and a half carefully emptying each tray into a series of sacks, all neatly packed into the case. Now, as Jacques started to tie her legs together, she knew the night would soon be over and the day starting.
“What about the others – are they all right?” June asked as Jacques stood up. “Shall we find out?” Miss Grey said as she took a cell phone out of her bag and dialled a number.
April looked up as the telephone rang, while Maurice stood up and turned the volume down on the television. He quickly walked out of the room, and April listened to a muffled conversation before the sound of Maurice climbing the stairs came through the open door. A few moments later he came back in and picked up a roll of tape that had been sitting on the coffee table, tearing a strip off and holding it in his hand as he walked over.
“Well, this had to come,” April said before closing her lips and lying still as Maurice smoothed the white tape over her mouth, the tape sticking to the shape of her face so that her lips were visible through the material. Maurice smiled as he placed the roll of tape in his pocket and slipped out, the front door closing as April started to try and free her hands.
“All fine,” Miss Grey said as she turned off the phone. “Well, June, it has been a pleasure to spend the night with you and your family, but we must leave now. If you do not mind?”
“As if I have a choice,” she replied before her own mouth was covered with tape. June looked on as Jacques picked up the case and followed Miss Grey out of the shop. As the rear door closed, she tried to find the knot to undo the ropes around her wrists, banging her wrapped legs up and down as she did so.
The news that night covered the fact that a store owner in Ottawa and her family were held hostage overnight before the store was raided, but that all the hostages were released and were recovering in hospital. Details were sketchy, as they always are on these occasions, but the reporter said that some friends of the daughter of the store owner went to the house at about 1 pm to find out why she had not met them, and found her, her grandmother and the au pair trussed up and gagged. The owner was found thirty minutes later amongst the debris left by the gang of two men and one woman. Given the occasion of the day, the story was tucked away after long reports on the Canada Day celebrations, and it did not receive as much attention as it possibly should have done.
This pleased the two men and woman who were watching in the bar of a hotel in Calgary. She was wearing a blue jumper and denim skirt, with black fabric boots, and her short blonde hair had a blue scarf tied as a band over it. The two men glanced at each other before raising their glasses in a toast.
“A good day’s work, boys,” the woman said as they drained the champagne. “Let’s enjoy the night – we start work tomorrow on the next target.”