Silent Night 2017 – Week 1
“Oh come on you two – it’ll be fun and different as our Christmas card…”
I looked at Amy and Suzie as they rolled their eyes – at ten and eight, I thought they would enjoy the challenge, but I guess it was because it was boring old Mom saying it… Amy had on a red long sleeved top, grey pants and pink ankle socks, while Suzie was resplendent in a red onesie with white dots, and grey socks.
“But everyone’s doing these Mom,” Amy said.
“So, let’s make it a special one,” I said with a smile. “Go on – sit back to back.” I was in a peach top and grey leggings, as my dark-haired girls sighed and sat down, and I picked up the fairy lights.
“Bend your knees and put our hands on them,” I said, and as the girls did so I wound the green flex around their upper bodies, holding them together and their arms to their sides, then tying it off loosely before I picked up the roll of red tape.
“All right then – lips together, I press this on, and then I take the photos.”
They both nodded as I tore a strip of the tape from the roll, and pressed it down on Amy’s lips, and then on Suzie’s – after which, I put the grey point hat with the white fur trim on their heads, and then took the photos.
“You know,” I said as I sat down, and picked up my glass of red wine, “you both do look really cute sitting like that.”
“Verfffeefnneemmm,” Amy said – and then she stared at the room door as it was opened. Which was unexpected – we were alone in the house.
Except we weren’t, as a man in a black leather jacket and jeans walked in, looking at us before he pointed a gun in my direction, and said “well, this is unexpected. So here’s the deal – tell me where your valuables are, I make sure you can’t stop me taking them, and then I take them – and the fact your daughters are like that makes this so much easier.”
“Oh my god…”
“Remain calm girls – Mom won’t be able to say anything in a few minutes either,” the man said as he picked up the roll of red tape. “So – lie face down on the couch, lady, and put your hands behind your back.”
I had a choice? The girls could only watch as I lay down, and the man put the gun where he could reach it, before he crossed my wrists behind my back and taped them firmly together. He then crossed and taped my ankles together, as well as my legs below my knees, before he said “don’t move – time to make sure your girls stay there.”
I rolled onto my side and watched as he knelt next to Amy, and taped her wrists together, then wound the tape round her legs to keep them secured there, before he taped her ankles together side by side as she watched. He did the same thing to Suzie, before he really tied them together with the large fairy lights cord, forcing them to sit back to back.
“Now – your valuables?”
I told him where he could find them, before he covered my lips with the red tape as well, and left me with the girls while he left the room. We could only look at each other as we heard him moving round upstairs – then looking in before he left, closing the door behind himself.
We just had to wait for my husband to come home…
Well, it served my parents right, I suppose, and I have to be careful not to laugh at the moment – because I’m afraid I might do something silly, and because Laurence might get hurt as well. My younger sibling might be a brat, but he’s my brat, and I have to look after him.
We thought they were carol singers you see – and while Laurence and I were watching a film, Mother went to answer. I was wearing a red round necked top and a knee length grey skirt, a red hairband with a bow holding back my auburn curly hair, and Laurence wore a red top and dark jeans.
We found out they were not carol signers when mother came in with the two young men, one of them holding a knife in one hand and her arm in the other, and the other man told us both to stand up and turn round. Mother told us to do so, so we did – and as I looked over my shoulder, he took my wrists behind my back and used a length of red ribbon to tie them together.
We had been taking a break from dressing the tree when they had come in, so as Laurence had his wrists tied as well I said I guessed we would not get it finished tonight. He laughed at that, as the man knelt down behind us and bound our ankles with more red ribbon.
When he stood up, he told us both to turn round, so we did with little hops as we did so. We both giggled – well, the situation was slightly ridiculous, wasn’t it? Mind you, Mother did not look too happy, as she was told she was going to hand over all her jewels.
As for the man with us – he popped a red Santa hat on Laurence’s hat, making his eyes roll, but we said nothing. There was a set of large tree lights on the floor – we had sorted them to put on the tree – but instead he made Laurence stand in front of me, and used the lights to bind us both together, and then plugged them in so the lights blinked on us.
Mother was taken up the stairs as our intruder looked round, and picked up a roll of red tape. Tearing a strip off, he pressed it firmly over my mouth, and then a second strip over Laurence’s mouth as we rolled our eyes again.
Which was when Father came home, saw us – and stared at the intruder as he produced another knife and told him to go to the bedroom with him. We watched as they walked off, unable to move and wondering what was going to happen next.
That had been half an hour ago, and now Mother and Father are sitting back to back on the floor, Mother wearing a red nightie and Father a pair of red pyjamas. The intruders had tied their wrists and ankles with red ribbons, and gagged them with red tape – then put antlers on headbands on their heads, before they left them to struggle.
And me and Laurence to try not to laugh as they struggled…
She looks to the door, wondering just how much longer it is going to be. At first, she had thought it would be a fun thing to do, but it’s been two hours now, and still nobody is coming.
It had been her brother’s idea – she had not wanted to go to the Christmas concert, and her boyfriend had been meant to come around. So, he said he knew how to surprise him, and get her a nice time as well, if she was willing to take on a little dare.
Now how could she resist that? So, thirty minutes before the rest of the family had to leave, she went with him to her room. She was casually dressed – a white sweatshirt, blue jeans and white ankle socks. He had suggested that, saying something else would make her light up the room. She should have seen the warning signs then…
She selected a playlist, and started her music, before sitting cross-legged on a cushion. Taking a length of red chiffon ribbon, he bound her crossed ankles tightly together, and then took a length of gold ribbon, which he used to secure her wrists together in front of her. That hadn’t been so bad, but then he had taken more of the gold ribbon, and tied it round her stomach and arms so that she could only lift her forearms up and down!
She should have told him to stop then, but as he wound the red ribbon around her upper arms and chest, forcing them into her sides as well, she figures she needed to see the dare through. Especially when he tied the ribbon in a pretty bow in front of her.
Then there was the label, which he wrote something on, then tied some gold ribbon attached to it round her neck so that she could not see what he had written!!
But that was not the worst bit. He said she would have to be quiet, or it would spoil the surprise – so he had put a folded handkerchief in her mouth, then tied the last of the red ribbon around her head, making a bow that sat between her lips as she stared at him.
With that, he had promised he would call her boyfriend, and leave the door open, before he closed the room door. She had heard him leave with his parents, and smiled as she waited.
Where was he? If that brat of a brother had forgotten…
The playlist ended as she screamed in frustration – and then the door opened, and he came in. He was like a god as he stood there, smiling before he knelt, eased the ribbon and cloth from her mouth, and then kissed her.
She wanted to know why he was late, and he turned red before he mumbled the reason. She asked again, and he untied the label and showed her it.
“Sorry Sis – I told him not to come until the music finished. Then he would not have to face it.”
Oh, his turn was coming…
The two girls and boy were sat on the couch, looking at their mother and father as the two men talked to them. They were identically dressed – black leather jackets, pants, shoes, gloves and balaclava masks – as the smaller of the two looked at them and said “I’m sorry we interrupted your bedtime, kids – who are you and how old are you?”
“I’m Anna,” the oldest girl said. She had long blonde hair, and was wearing a long sleeved green top and candy striped bottoms, “I’m thirteen. Tabby here is eleven.”
The younger girl nodded as he looked at the man. She had a holly wreath pin in her hair, and was wearing a red long sleeved top and the candy-striped pants.
“And as for you young man?”
“Blake, and I’m eight?” He had short blonde hair, and wore a red top with a snowflake and his name on the front, and the striped pants. “Why are you talking to Mummy and Daddy?”
“Well,” the man said, “my friend and I want your parents to donate to something we support, and in a moment, he will take them to another room to talk about that. But as for you three… Have you done a Christmas Card photo yet?”
“No,” Anna said quietly, “why?”
“Well – if we can fetch a camera and come straight back, I think we can do a nice picture for that. Will you two stay here with my friend and your parents until we come back?”
Tabby and Blake nodded as he took Anna’s hand in his own gloved one, and they left the room, returning a few minutes later with a digital camera.
“Have fun kids,” their mother said as she and their father left with the other masked man.
“Now, this is a photo where we get the three of you wrapped up in some tree lights, and also make sure none of you can say very much – it can be very funny, and it’s a great game to play. Are you ready?”
“I’m ready,” Tabby said as she stood up.
“Good – why don’t you and your sister stand back to back, and Blake can watch while I do a few things, see it’s not going to hurt before I do them to him?”
“Okay,” Anna said as she and Tabby stood back to bac, Tabby’s head resting between their shoulder blades, while the masked man took a roll of red tape from his pocket, and taped Anna’s right wrist to Tabby’s left one, then walked round and taped their free wrists together in the same way. He then knelt down, pushes Tabby’s ankles together, and wound the tape round them, before he did the same to her sister.
“I guess we’re stuck together now,” Tabby giggled as she tried to move her hand, Abby nodding in agreement as the man said “Now then Blake – stand in front of your sisters, and I’ll tape your ankles together as well.”
“Okay then” Brent said as he went in front, the masked man taping his ankles together before he picked up the long length of lights which were going to go on the tree.
The three children nodded as he wound the flex around all three of them, holding them together firmly before he tied it off and left the plug near the wall.
“Now – before I turn on the lights and take a picture, I need to make sure you girls stay quiet, in theme with the picture. Open your mouth Anna.”
Anna had figured out what was going on, but she nodded and opened her mouth, as the masked man put a folded cloth inside and she closed her lips over it. From the bag he had, he took a long red ribbon with gold trim, and wrapped it round her head, twice, taking it between her lips on the first pass, and on the second tying a decorative bow with the knot in her mouth.
“Are you all right Anna,” Tabby said, then she giggled as her sister replied “ysseeemmm…”
“Your turn,” the masked man said as he folded a second cloth, and held it in front of Tabby’s mouth. She accepted it, and then he tied along red ribbon round her head, holding the cloth in as the knot of the bow sat between her teeth.
“So,” he then said as he picked up the camera, “you both turn and look at me, and Blake you look at me with your hands raised in shock. Ready?”
“Reeddee,” Anna said as he plugged the lights in, and Blake opened his mouth in surprise, putting his hands to his face as the man took a number of pictures.
“I think this is the best – don’t you,” he said as he showed the three children one photo, all three of them nodding as he put the camera down. “Now Blake – do you want your wrists taped like your sisters?”
“Yes please,” the young boy said as he crossed his wrists in front of him, and the man taped them together with the red tape, Blake smiling as he raised his arms up and down.
“Are you doing this to Mummy and Daddy as well?”
“Let me put it this way – my friend will make sure they are playing their own game. Now, can you open your mouth for me?”
Blake nodded, opening his mouth as he felt the cloth on his tongue, then closing it again as the man tore some strips of the red tape off and pressed them over his mouth.
“Eccntulknwweffer,” he said as the girls giggled behind him, and the other masked man came in.
“Well, we’re going now,” he said, “your mummy and daddy want you to stay like this, until they can come in and see you.”
Anna nodded, saying “wlldeetheet” as the two men waved and left, leaving the three children to wonder how long it would take one of their parents to come in.
The answer been twenty minutes, before their father jumped in, bound tightly with ropes and with white tape over his mouth, followed by their mother…
“Well noo, are ye twa girls full up?”
Ida and Paula nodded as they looked at the woman with the Scottish accent, and put their plates on the low table in front of the couch. Ida had shoulder length brown hair, with a red bow tied in it, while Paula had long blonde hair with a black bow. Both girls were wearing long sleeved black tops, jeans and black Mary Jane style shoes.
They both looked over at their mothers – Ida’s had long brown hair, and was wearing an electric blue blouse over black leggings and over the knee black boots. Paula’s had on a leopard print top and a soft black leather skirt, with black ankle boots. They nodded and smiled back at their daughters, happy they were happy.
“Well noo – we’re gonna play a wee game, jest the twa of ye, until yer daddy comes home. It won’t hurt, but it will be fun. Ready?”
“We’re ready,” Paula said as Ida nodded.
“Guid – an ye’ll be like yer mammies as weel. Noo then,” she said as she looked at the Christmas Tree, “go and sit back tae back oer there.”
She watched as the two girls went and sat in front of the tree, smiling as she took some things from a bad and went to sit next to them. “Reet – furst, can ye put yer arms up in the air fer me?”
Both girls nodded as they lifted the arms, the Scottish woman taking a length of rope and tying them together at their waists, before she said “thank ye, now put yer arms down, an hold each offer’s hands.”
“What are you going to do,” Ida said as she took another length of cord.
“Well, later ye’ll be exactly like yer mammies, but fer noo I want you to hae yer wrists togefer,” she said in her broad accent, as she tied Ida’s left wrist to Paula’s right one, and then the same on the other side, cinching the binding between their arms and keeping the knot out of reach of both their hands.
She then took more lengths of rope, and tied Ida’s ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees, smiling as the little girl looked at her mother. She smiled back as well as she tried to get more comfortable, while Ida watched the woman take the rope between her legs as well.
Once she had done the same to Paula, she stood up, and fetched from the bag a set of fairy lights with a white flex. The girls giggled as she used them to secure them together around their arms and upper body, and then she plugged them into a nearby wall socket.
“Ye’ll light up the room in a wee minet,” she said as she looked at them, and brushed their hair away from their eyes. “But we need tae dae one mair thing tae make ye like yer mammies. Are ye ready?”
The two girls nodded as Ida opened her mouth, and the woman put a small folded cloth inside, Ida closing her lips over it as she did the same to Paula.
The woman then picked a roll of tape, with a leopard skin pattern on it, and tore a strip off before she gently pressed it over Ida’s mouth. A second strip went over Paula’s as they both turned their heads to look at their mothers.
“Rugrrlsslhlrhht,” Paula’s mother said as she struggled on the couch, the tight bands of rope holding her wrists behind her back, her arms to her sides and her legs together. Paula nodded, as Ida said to her mother “Whlllrrhttmm.”
She nodded, unable to speak as well as the masked man looked at his partners.
“They’ll be fine with Mrs McPhee now – search the house, and then wait for Ida’s father to return.”
“Got it Jay,” the men said as they left the room, Mrs McPhee smiling as she looked through he balaclava at the girls.
“Noo – which feelm will ye wanna watch…”
We made our own card,
There was Suzie and Jenny, Bobby and me
This year, we’re doing the same
and give it to someone special
We were sitting
in front of the tree,
Wearing red pyjamas, with white spots free
Bobby, who had checked ones
And Suzie’s red candy striped bottoms
We crossed our legs and our wrists
Mummy took the
and tied each of us up tight
I looked down, and
wriggled my wrists round
With my ankles moving
The others just like me
(Silent Night!) We all looked up and smiled right
and Mummy pressed on our mouths, tape blue and bright
Now, we looked at the camera light
And Mummy pressed the button
While we all grinned.
This Christmas, our card will be great
Because we all had fun, making it today
And tonight, Mummy said right
We’re all to her very special
“You want me to play a game? With all of you?”
“That’s right,” Molly’s mother said as the family sat in the front room, “we’ll all play, but as our visitor said, you get to play the most important part of all – by getting us all ready before she gets your ready.”
Molly smiled as he looked at her mother, wearing a black sleeveless top and blue jeans. Her father sat next to her, with a black baseball cap on his head, a long sleeved red shirt, and dark trousers, who smiled as he nodded in agreement, both of them looking at the visitor.
“So,” he said as he looked round, “why don’t we all do this by the Christmas tree?”
Hazel and Jenny nodded in agreement, as their parents walked over to where the large gold tree was standing, their mother putting a stool down before the both knelt in front of Molly, and held their hands up in front of themselves, crossing their wrists at the same time.
“Go on,” her mother said, “it’s all right.”
The eight year old nodded as she tore the end of the big roll of red tape free, and wrapped it tightly round her mother’s wrists, before doing the same to her father, the visitor nodding as she watched.
“Can I really do this Daddy?”
“Yes you can,” he said with a smile, as the little girl tore a strip of tape from the roll, and pressed it down on her father’s mouth, adding two more before she did the same to her mother. She had a Santa hat on, covering her long blonde hair, as well as a red and black tartan top with short puffed sleeves and black jeans.
Once she had covered her mother’s mouth, she watched as her parents got up and sat back to back on the stool, before she used the tape to secure their ankles together. They both smiled and nodded as she stood back, while their visitor took a set of fairy lights from her bag, and wrapped it round the waists and shoulders of her parents, holding them together before she looked at the other two girls. Hazel was fourteen, and wearing a red top with elbow length sleeves, and blue jeans, while ten year old Jenny wore a red t-shirt and black jeans.
“Okay now – you two sit back to back next to Mummy and Daddy on the floor,” Molly said, Jenny glancing at the visitor as she smiled, and then sitting down with her back to her back sister, her mother at her side. She looked down and nodded as Jenny crossed her wrists, and Molly taped them together, before she knelt down and taped her sister’s legs together over her jeans.
“You’re enjoying this aren’t you,” Jenny said carefully, seeing the grin on her younger sister’s face as the red tape was pressed onto her mouth. Molly then walked round and taped her oldest sister’s wrists and ankles, then covered her mouth with several strips of the tape as Hazel looked at her through her glasses.
“Well done Molly,” the visitor finally said as he took a second set of fairy lights, and used them to secure the two older girls together at their waists and shoulders, before plugging both sets in, Molly giggling as the light blinked on her family. “Your turn now – lie on the couch for me, will you?”
The young girl giggled as she lay on her back, the woman crossing her wrists in front of her and taping them together, and then her ankles, before she covered Molly’s mouth with strips of the red tape. She looked over at the rest of her family as they looked at the visitor.
“I’m just going to have a look round – enjoy the game,” she said as she looked at them through the stocking mask, the others nodding, not wanting Molly to know the truth of what was happening…
“Driving home for Christmas…” I’m not exactly the greatest Chris Rea fan, but it’s one of those songs that seem to dominate the airwaves at this time of year, alongside Kirsty McCall or Wham or that Phil Spector album. At least it’s not Feed the World – much as I admire the work that song was able to raise the money to do, it’s not exactly a festive song.
But I was heading home, a week before the big day, and off work until the New Year, and I just wanted to unwind and spend time with Cindy and the girls. We’ve been married for fifteen years now – Cindy and I were at college together, and she still looks the same, slim, long blonde hair, and a smile that bewitches and draws you in.
Our girls have inherited that look as well. Erica is twelve, and Audrey eleven – they real difference, apart from the edge, is their hair, Erica’s is slightly curly and Audrey’s straight.
The traffic is not too bad, but I cannot wait to get off the motorway and onto the streets of our home area. The sky is dark and clear, and despite the bright lights along the road I can see the stars twinkling.
I spoke to them on the laptop when I stopped for a break. Cindy was casually dressed – a blue V-necked sweater over a white blouse, and jeans, while the girls both had on long sleeved white tops and jeans. They had been decorating the tree and the front room, and as I signed off they said their dinner had just arrived from the local take away.
That had been just over an hour ago, and I imagine they are watching television, waiting for me to get home – so I’m glad when I see my exit, and move off, the bright lights of the motorway replaced by the more muted lights of the streets on our estate. As I make my way along, even those get lower – the local council have decided it would be a great idea to save money by turning off sets of lights, so that as I turn onto the avenue we live on it is in darkness, save for the lights on the houses and in the windows.
We live at the end, and as I turn into our driveway I see the lights on behind the drawn curtains, and smile as I turn the engine off, kill the headlights, get out and retrieve my bag from the boot of the car. The other packages can wait until later – I want to be with my girls now.
As I go in, I can hear the television playing, and I call out to tell them I’m home. They don’t reply, and I wonder if they’ve fallen asleep under the influence of Chinese food. Going into the kitchen, I pour a glass of water and take a sip. I don’t see any takeaway bags or boxes, but it would not be the first time we’ve eaten from the boxes and packages in the front room together. Saves on the washing up.
So I put the glass down, hung my coat up, went into the front room – and stared at the sight.
Cindy was sitting on the couch, Erica on her right, and Audrey on her left – they had linked their arms, and their wrists were in front of them.
Tied together with white rope – and I could see the lengths of white rope that had been used to bind their ankles and their legs below their knees. They would have said something, but each of them had a strip of flesh coloured sticking plaster pressed over their mouths, stretching across their jaws. Their eyes, however, spoke volumes.
That wasn’t the most absurd thing, however. That would be the red chiffon which had been wrapped around all three of them, holding them together at their arms and chest, and tied with a neat bow in front of Cindy. She looked at me, and said “whhllrrhttt…”
“What happened,” I said as I looked at her, and took hold of the edge of the plaster, trying to be as gentle as possible as I peeled it away.
“There were three men,” she said as she looked at me, “they took us by surprise, made us sit here, tied us up, gagged us – I think they went upstairs…”
“It’s all right,” I said as I kissed her, then kissed the girls on their heads before I removed their gags, “it’s all right. You’re all safe – that’s the best present of all. Let me get you all untied, and then I’ll call the police…”