Silent Night 2018 – part 1
I guess I only have myself to blame, but I still think this was a bit of an unusual way for him to tell me how upset he was…
Yes, it is true I’d spent the whole weekend wrapping the Christmas presents – and yes, it is true I was taking an unusual approach to the wrapping paper, but have you seen how much the wrapping paper is these days? So, been prudent, I had invested in lots of brown wrapping paper and used that. Hubby is a traditionalist, however, and while I was wrapping, he had been putting up the decorations, Santa hat perched on his head as he kept looking at me.
I was wearing a light brown short sleeved top over a long sleeved black one, jeans and cream fur-lined high slippers that covered my ankles, as well as a black scarf loosely round my neck, and I had just wrapped the last parcel up, putting it into the correct bag and breathing a sigh of relief.
I nodded in response to his question, and then felt something on my head – reaching up, I took the Santa hat off, and turned to look at him.
Which was when he pressed something over my mouth. It pulled on my skin, but it stuck firm, and didn’t seem to give as I tried to speak, and tried is the right word – because no actual words were coming out. Taking the hat from my hand, he put it on my head again, a grin on his mouth as he told me to sit in the middle of the parcels, and put my arms round my legs.
Well, I figured this was some sort of kinky game, so I did as he asked – and then I saw him pick up the long line of fairy lights we were going to hang outside. Only, he wound it round my arms and body, pinning them to my sides so that it was difficult for me to move them, and then he wound it round my wrists so that they were held together.
I looked at him, asking what he was doing, but he just smiled and wound the lights round my legs, then my ankles. It wasn’t that tight, but I just payed along – until he plugged the lights into a socket next to me, and took a photo with his phone, which he showed to me.
The white tape was stretched over my mouth and jaw, covering it and the shape of my lips visible under it, but as I moved my mouth it moved with my muscles. And the lights twinkling made me look like some sort of light fairy. It actually made me look good, and I looked at him, and he kissed me on my covered lips.
“So, feeling a bit more festive now,” he said to me, and I nodded – which was when he produced some red rope, and asked if I was up for a little challenge…
And that is why I’m still sitting here, only with rope round my arms, wrists, legs and ankles as the tape keeps me quiet, hubby sitting next to me and kissing me as we watch It’s A Wonderful Life…
The two men were dressed in black, from the shoes on their feet to the balaclavas which meant they could only see their eyes and mouths. One was a good foot taller than the others, as they sat either side of their mother. The two girls were identically dressed – red jumpers, black and white tartan skirts, black tights and black ballet slippers – one with brown hair, the other blonde.
Their mother was wearing a brown sweater, jeans and knee length brown leather boots, a checked Lebanese scarf tied round her neck, and her arms pinned behind her back as she looked at the two men. “Please,” she said quietly, her eyes showing her concern behind her glasses and her long brown hair at her shoulders, “they’re just eleven years old…”
The tall man spoke, calmly, quietly as he said “I know that Elaine – which one of you wold be Mary?”
The blonde girl raised her hand as the smaller man said “and you would be Carrie, correct?”
“Yes,” the darker haired girl said, “but who are you, and why have you tied Mummy’s hands behind her back.”
“Ah yes – forgive me. I am Mister Tall, and my friend here is Mister Small. We had hoped to complete our business here, but you are a tad early home. Good party?”
Mary suddenly realised she had her Santa hat still on, and nodded before she said “are you going to tie us up as well?”
“Well, we are,” Mister Small said, “but we can make this fun – perhaps a special photo for your friends at Christmas.” Picking two lengths of rope from a bag, he said “this will not hurt, I promise – put your hands together in prayer in front of you.”
“Do as he says girls,” Elaine said quietly, watching as the masked man bound Mary’s wrists together with the rope, the cords going around and between her arms, and then the same thing happening to Carrie. As this happened, Mister Tall walked behind her, and said “I need to secure you further” as he wrapped some rope around her arms and body, below her chest, and pulled tight.
“So, does it hurt,” Mister Small asked Carrie as she wriggled her fingers.
“No – so what happens next?”
“I need to do the same to your ankles,” he said with a smile as the girls watched him bind their ankles tightly together, the tights protecting their skin. As Mary glanced to her side, she saw Mister Tall was binding her mother’s upper body, but Elaine smiled and said “it’s all right – he’s not hurting me.”
“Now,” Mister Small said, “I need to do the same thing to your legs, below your knees, and then I’m going to sit you both on the floor, so that your mummy can lie on the couch.”
“Okay,” Mary said as he wrapped the rope around her legs below her knees, “you know, you’re not a scary robber.”
“We try not to be,” he said as he smiled at her, then pulled her legs together, the rope going around and between her legs before he tied it off, and then did the same to her sister.
“Mister Tall, if you will assist?”
“Of course,” the taller man said as Mister Small lifted Mary off the couch and sat her on the floor, Carrie placed behind her as he tied her wrists down to her legs, then moved round and did the same to Carrie. As he did this, Mister Tall knelt down and started to tie Elaine’s ankles and legs together as she watched.
“That sounds funny,” Carrie giggled as she heard the squeak of her mother’s boots rubbing together, then she watched as Mister Small took a set of large fairy lights, using them to secure her to Mary as they tried to wriggle round.
“Now,” he said with a smile as Elaine was helped to lie on her side, her head on the arm of the chair, “we need to keep you and your mummy quiet, and then – well, I will take your photo. Please, let me put these in your mouths.”
The girls turned and saw the folded cloths in his gloved hands, then nodded as they opened wide, while Mister Tall gently pushed a folded bandana into their mother’s mouth. He then covered Elaine’s mouth with duct tape, before passing the roll to Mister Small as he tape gagged the girls as well.
Going to the wall socket, her then plugged the lights in, Elaine smiling and nodding as the girls looked at him, their eyes wide as he took a photograph with their mother’s mobile phone, and then one of Elaine as she struggled on the couch.
“Well, we will arrange for someone to come and free you later,” Mister Tall said as they walked to the door, “The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu. May we never meet again, and have a wonderful Christmas.”
With apologies to Noddy Holder and Jim Lee…
We were sitting back to back upon the floor
Our wrists were tied with rope, our ankles more
As the masked men bent our knees up
And used rope to tie them too
We were wondering what Mum and Dad would say…
They wrapped the fairy lights around us
And they twinkled in the dark
We wanted to call for help
But they taped over our mouths…
We were waiting for the family to arrive
My sis and I, they took us by surprise
And now all we do is mumble
As they start to steal our things
Then one picks up our phone as we stare back
And they turned the fairy lights on
As they twinkled in the dark
He said it was Silent Night
As he took the photograph
What will our parents do when they see us
tied and gagged, sitting on the floor
And now they’ve put all they wanted in the sack
And we watch them as they walk out of the door
I try to get myself free
And my sister does as well
But the ropes are far too tight
And the lights hold as well
So we can only say Silent Night
And hope Mum and Dad aren’t long
As for the Christmas time
It's only just begun.
We’d rented a cabin in the woods for the Holidays, and travelled up there a few days beforehand so that we could decorate and get everything ready. It was just after noon when Dad went off with my little brother Bobby to pick up a few things – and our strange afternoon began.
Mom and I were dressed for cold weather – she was wearing a think woollen gilet over a long sleeved white top, black leggings with thick grey socks pulled up over the lower legs, and knee length brown felt boots, while I had on a thick black jumper with large white spots, leggings and a pair of Doc Marten boots that laced up the front.
Anyway – the general store was an hour’s drive there and back, so we waved them off, and walked back into the house with the idea of putting the Christmas lights up – and that was when the escaped prisoner appeared from the kitchen, a sharp knife in his hands as he looked at both of us. Well, we had a fright then – especially as we so far into the wilderness, there was no cell signal!
He looked at us, and said he just wanted to get some food and money, and then he’s leave us alone – but then he said he needed to make sure we could not raise the alarm, as he walked quickly over and grabbed my arm, then asked Mom if there was any rope in the cabin. Well, Dad had brought some, so she nodded, and he told her to find it and bring it into the room.
We had a fire going in the hearth, so when Mom came back with the coil of rope, he told us both to sit back to back on the rug in front of the fire, and to put our hands on our heads. As we did that, Mom told me just to do as he said, and everything would be all right, as we watched him cut the rope into eight shorter lengths.
Kneeling in front of me, he told me to put my hands together in prayer, and when I did so he took one of the lengths of rope and tied my wrists tightly together, the rope going around and between my arms as it rubbed on my skin. I said it hurt, but he just smiled and bent my legs, and started to bind my ankles together in the same way.
Mom asked him what he was going to do when he had us tied up, and as he started to bind my legs he said he wasn’t going to hurt us – he just needed to eat, and then be on his way. As he pulled the rope between my legs, below my knees, she then asked where he had escaped from.
He stopped, and said he had been convicted of a robbery – fairly, but he had heard his girlfriend was about to give birth, and he had to be there. It actually sounded kinda romantic to me – but he was tying my wrists now to the rope around my legs at me knees, so I wasn’t feeling that forgiving.
As he made his way to Mom, and I realised he was tying her as well, I tried to move, but the rope were tight – if not too uncomfortable – and he had done it in such a way there was no chance of me been able to get free on my own. I could hear him and Mom talking, and then as he stood up he did something very strange.
He took one of the long set of lights, and used it to bind the two of us together, back to back, wrapping it round our arms and chests, so that not only were our arms immobile now, but I couldn’t move without Mom knowing – and the same for her against me.
That was when he asked the killer question – did we have any tape in the cabin? Mom said there was some in a cupboard in the kitchen, and we both watched him leave, then come back with a roll of silver duct tape.
A roll he tore strips off, and pressed them firmly over both our mouths, stopping us from talking properly before he went back into the kitchen, and came back with some food and a bottle of water. We had to watch as he consumed that, then took Mom’s purse and removed some notes from it.
Then he did one more thing before he left – he plugged the lights in, as we both saw them blinking around us. I realised it was another way of making sure we stayed still, as he left us on the floor, the fire keeping us warm, but unable to move, unable to speak…
Bobby and Dad came back an hour later, and do you know what my little brother said when he saw us? He laughed, and came over as he said we looked pretty in the lights. Dad had a different view…
With apologies to John H H Hopkins
We the Dunbar
And our house is been burgled now
So we sit here, bound and gagged now
Looking at the lights…
O how they
twinkle, how they shine,
Tied around our bodies tight
Mouths are tape gagged, Arms and legs bound,
Making this a silent night…
father, they got me first
Made me tie up my wife and my girl,
Now I’m seated, back to their backs,
Wishing that I could help…
O how they
twinkle, how they shine,
Tied around our bodies tight
Mouths are tape gagged, Arms and legs bound,
Making this a silent night…
I only want to
hug my daughters,
But my arms are tied to my knees
As I twist round, leather boots squeak,
and I can only grunt in despair…
O how they
twinkle, how they shine,
Tied around our bodies tight
Mouths are tape gagged, Arms and legs bound,
Making this a silent night…
My mouth is
taped, Like Mum and Dad’s
But it was Becky who covered mine!
I see her, laughing, joking, smiling,
While the tie her up on the couch.
Tied around our bodies tight
Mouths are tape gagged, Arms and legs bound,
Making this a silent night…
covered Becky’s mouth
She watches the lights that twinkle bright
Someone come now, come and help please!
End for us this Silent Night…
“Oh come on – it’ll be a laugh.”
Seven of the most dangerous words in the English language was what I thought, as I looked at my brother Tom. My name is Harriet, and I have a brother between me and Tom called Richard. So yes – we are Tom Dick and Harry, if you want to be that simplistic.
Anyway, it was a couple of days before Christmas, and we were sitting in the front room, drinking mugs of hot cocoa and looking at the tree. For some stupid reason, we all had the same pyjamas on – a white top with green cuffs and necks and a picture of a gingerbread man, and red and white striped bottoms. Richard and I had on big comfy slippers, white with a red trim on the sole, and Tom green elf shoes. I know – go figure. I should also say, for no good reason, Richard and I had on Santa hats.
Tom is the troublemaker, without a doubt, and it was him who suggested we do a ‘Silent Night’ photo. Richard asked what that was – and when Tom told him, he just shook his head and said no – which is why Tom said what he just did.
“It’s not going to hurt – and it’s only for a few minutes...”
“Anything for a quiet life,” I said, as Richard slowly nodded in agreement. So Tom told us to sit back to back on the floor, while he left the room. I wondered just what he was going to use – and when he returned with two rolls of tape, one blue and one pink, I admit I groaned at the stereotyping.
“Right,” he said with a smile, “get comfy with your legs crossed.”
“I’ll get you for this,” I growled, but I did as he asked, and had to watch as he took the pink tape and wrapped it round my ankle, so that they were held together. He then taped my wrists together in front of me, and patted my head as he walked round to Richard. I could hear the tape been torn free from the roll for him, and guessed he was using the blue one – because it was Richard and not me. So I looked at my wrists and twisted them round – it was tight, but I figured if he tried anything, I could get out.
“What do you think – hey what do you thi…”
I had heard Tom tear some more tape off, and then Richard fell silent – so I said as he came back round “If you think you are…”
“IT’s Silent Night Sis – comes with the territory,” he said as he tore a length of tape from the pink roll. I rolled my eyes, and then let him press it over my mouth as well, wondering what else he was willing to do.
Well, that got answered quickly, as he left the room, and came back with a spare set of the tree lights. Moving my hands up so my fingertips were under my chin, he walked round to Richard and presumably did the same to him, before he wrapped the lights round both of us, making it almost impossible for me to lower my arms, or move without Richard moving as well.
He then plugged them in, the lights blinking in front of my arms as I looked at him. He smiled, and then said “you can come in now.”
Which is when both Richard and I looked to the door, and saw his girlfriend and my boyfriend there, laughing as they took pictures of us. He is so dead…
“Are you two sure you want to do this,” Agnes said as she looked at her daughters.
“We are,” Laura said as she and Miley nodded, “we want it to be a Christmas card to the girls at the school, and it’ll be fun.”
“Well – all right, but if you want me to stop at any time, say so,” Agnes said with a smile as the two girls ran off, then looked out of the window as a light shower of snow started to fall. This was going to be a Christmas which, at the start of the year, she would never have believed was possible – and yet, it was going to be…
Laura was back first, wearing a white Fitzstuart cardigan over a white top, and a knee length dress made from red fabric with a cream snowball design and wavy line near the hem. She was also wearing white tights, as was Miley as she came in. She was wearing a red coat, with a white houndstooth pattern and white fur trim, over her red party dress. There was a red ribbon tied in her hair, and both girls were wearing black shoes.
“I need my head examined,” Agnes said as she looked at both of them, “but all right – go and sit back to back on the trunk over there in front of the wreath.” She had put a white shawl on an old packing trunk, the two girls walking quickly over and sitting back to back.
“Tell me again why you are letting me do this?”
“Because we trust you Mum,” Miley said with a grin as the girls watched Agnes picking up the string of large coloured lights, wrapping them round the body of the two girls as if someone was tying them together but not too tightly.
“Now,” she said quietly as she put the plug on the floor, and picked something else up, “are you both sure about this?”
Laura nodded as Agnes cut a strip of the red cloth tape off, and gently pressed it over her mouth, her eyes smiling as she put some over Miley’s mouth as well.
“Say something,” Agnes said, laughing as the girls said “Sumfnnn” while she plugged the lights in, and picked up the camera. “So – apart from the school, who else gets this?”
Laura shook her head, and said “Shheeen”
“Hntthmmshhnn nd khhtt.”
“Okay, okay,” Agnes said with a laugh as they looked at the camera lens. “Smile!”
“SHLLHNTNTNHTTT” both girls called out as she took their picture…
Mandy and Kevin looked at the four children, standing with their hands clasped in front, as Kevin said “look, they’re just kids – lock them in a bedroom, but don’t make them go through what you are going to do to us.”
“Sorry, mate,” the masked man said as he looked at them, “we have to be professional, but no reason why it shouldn’t be fun for them.” He looked at the quartet – Mandy’s daughter Katy, ten years old, wearing a red jumper with a cartoon cat on the front, and jeans; her son Nick, eight years old, in a red checked shirt and jeans; Mandy’s friend Joel, the same age as her, in a grey and black striped top and jeans; and his nine year old brother Jimmy, in a black vest and shorts.
“What are you going to do to us,” Katy asked nervously.
“Take a picture.”
“You’ll see – take care of her parents,” he said to the other two masked men, who took Mandy and Kevin by their arms and walked them out. “Now – I want you all to turn round, and put your hands behind your back.”
“We need to do what he says,” Katy whispered as she looked down the line, the other boys nodding as they turned round, looking at each other as one by one the man took a plastic zip tie and secured the wrists of each of them behind their backs.
“Now then,” he said as he looked round, “all of you go and sit in front of the tree.”
All four nodded as they walked over and sat down – Jimmy first then Nick, followed by Mandy and finally Joel. They looked down at their feet, and were glad they all had thick socks on as he used four more zip ties to secure their ankles together.
“We can’t move,” Nick whispered as he tried to move his legs apart.
“Now we can’t,” Kimmy said as the masked man took a set of tree lights, and wrapped them round all four of them at their waists, plugging them in so they shone as he went to a bag, and took out a roll of black and white patterned tape.
“Don’t struggle or try to speak,” he said as he tore a strip off, and pressed it over Joel’s mouth, before he moved down the line. The four watched him, wondering what he was going to do before he picked up Mandy’s mobile phone and took a picture of them.
“Right, don’t move,” he said as he turned the radio up, all four watching as he went into the next room.
“Where are the children?”
“Safe,” he said as he looked at Mandy and Kevin. They were sat back to back on dining chairs, their arms around the chair backs, their wrists taped together and to the chair back. Mandy was wearing a light grey fleece and dark joggers, while Kevin’s hoodie was dark grey and teamed with faded grey jeans.
As one of the masked men knelt down and started to tape Mandy’s ankles together, he showed her the picture of the four children, Mandy shaking her head as she said “are they all right?”
“So long as they do as they’re told, d stay still, they’ll be fine,” he said as Kevin grunted while his ankles were taped. The man then stood up, tore strips of duct tape from the roll, and covered Kevin’s mouth.
“Please – tell them to be brave,” Mandy said as the second man walked round and tore tape from the roll.
“I’ll do better than that,” their leader said as the third man came in with a set of outside lights, Mandy nodding as she was tape gagged, and then the lights wrapped round them. As he did this, Mandy watched the intruder take her phone, and snap a picture of her and Kevin.
“There – I’ll show them this. You watch them – you, search the bedrooms…”
Mandy mumbled “fhhnnkkhuu” as she settled down – they were going to be silent for a while…
Hi – can I tell my story?
Hey Carol – and Merry Christmas. Have you had a visit from the Games Player?
Yeah – yesterday in fact. My little brother Rex and I had stayed overnight at Granny’s place, as we usually do on a Friday night, and she always lets us sleep in until later in the morning. So it was about ten o’clock when we both woke up. I was wearing a pair of pale blue pyjamas, with candy canes and wheels on it and pink cuffs, while Rex was wearing blue pyjamas with snowmen on them.
We both went down to the kitchen for a drink – and that was where we saw Granny with a man. She was wearing a peach dress with short sleeves and a short skirt, as well as black leather boots that came half up her lower legs.
And the man?
He had on a black jacket, jumper and pants – but he also had something over his head, that made him look blurry, and he smiled as he saw us come in. Granny said we were all going to play a special game together, and then the man said we should go into the front room – once we had had our breakfast.
So we sat at the kitchen table while Granny gave us cereal and milk, as she told us this was a game where we were going to be captives, and the man was going to pretend to rob her. But to make it a real game, she would make sure we could not mov, before he made sure Granny stayed in one place as well. We both nodded – it sounder like fun, after all.
When we had finished, we went into the front room, and Granny told us both to sit in front of the tree. She already had some presents wrapped in front of it, as she said she was going to use a spare set of tree lights to keep the two of us together.
We looked at the man as he smiled and nodded, as Granny took the long set of lights and told us to put our hands together in prayer in front of us. I did this, and watched as Granny wound the lights round them, taking it round my fingers as well, and then wound it round both of us before she must have done the same to Rex.
What makes you say that?
Well, I heard Rex say he could not move his hands, as I looked at mine in front of me. Granny and used the lights so they were in front of me, and I could only move them a little. The man also looked at us, and said Granny had done a good job – and now she was going to use some tape to keep our feet together.
I watched as Granny was handed a roll of silver tape, and she wound it round my ankles, over the cuffs of my pyjamas, so that I could not move them apart. She then taped my legs below my knees, before she walked behind me. Rex said it was fun as I heard the tape rip, and then the man said as we were captives, we needed to be quiet.
So he used the silver tape?
Well, Granny did – she ripped a strip off the roll, asked if I was having fun, and after I nodded she pressed the tape over my mouth. It stuck well, and I could only move my lips a little as I heard her do the same to Rex. As an added treat, the man then plugged the lights in, and told us Granny would be back in a few minutes as the lights twinkled around both of us.
Did you know it wasn’t a game?
Not at first, we tried talking and giggled when we realised we could not, then we watched the lights. A few minutes later, Granny came back in – she had her hands behind her back, and the tape over her mouth as well.
She sat in an armchair, and we watched, my eyes wide open as the man knelt down and taped her ankles together, and her legs, before he said he would leave us alone to try and escape.
That’s the Game Player all right – did you manage to get free?
Not at first – when he left the room, Granny started to twist round, her blonde hair flying as she did, but she could not get free. Rex and I were having too much fun sitting there.
So what happened?
Mum came in, saw us and screamed, before she took the tape off our lips and hugged us, then freed Granny. I don’t know what he took, but I have to admit – it was fun to play that game…
As she went into the front room, and saw her two daughters sitting there, Zara took a deep breath as she said “hey you two – I have a really good idea for a funny photo to send your grandparents – if you are up for it?”
Scarlett looked at her with her head to one side and said “what is it Mummy?” The ten year old was wearing a pink sweatshirt and grey joggers, with white socks over her feet and a white Alice band holding her light brown hair back. Kim, her eight year old sister, had her hair in two bunches, a lighter pink sweatshirt and Norwegian patterned leggings on her as well as the white socks.
“Have you seen those pictures where families are wrapped in lights and have some tape over their mouths – Silent Night?”
“I’ve seen them,” Kim said with a smile, “why, do you want to do one with us?”
“That’s right,” Zara said with a smile, “and when I’ve taken the photo, if it’s all right with you, you can stay like it and watch Wicked. How does that sound?”
“What will you be doing Mum?”
“Oh, I’ll be sorting some things out Scarlett – but if you both want to do it, come and sit back to back in front of the tree.” She watched as both girls went and sat on the floor, Scarlett sitting by a table with two stockings hanging from it, one with her name printed on it.
Zara put her phone down, and removed from a box a set of fairy lights on a white cord. Plugging the set into the wall, she started by winding the lights around Kim’s wrists, and then around the upper body of both girls, holding them together back to back as it went around their tummies and arms, before she secured Scarlett’s wrists together.
“Now, if I do this, I have to put this over your mouths,” their mother said as she held up a roll of red and white candy striped tape. “Remember – once I put it on, it has to stay on until I say it can come off.”
“Does it hurt, Mum,” Scarlett asked as she looked at the roll.
“Not at all,” Zara said as she ripped a length of the tape off, and pressed it over her own mouth. “Sheee? Nhffnnwrn.”
“You sound funny,” Kim giggled as Zara tore another strip of the tape off, and pressed it over the young girl’s mouth. “Nwwhddhswhl,” she mumbled as Scarlett smiled, then felt the taper as it covered her mouth as well.
Zara walked to the wall and switched the lights on, taking the mobile phone in her hand as she said “shmmlnhw.” The two girls turned their heads and smiled as Zara took some pictures, then showed them to both girls before she put her phone down, and turned the television on.
The girls nodded as Frozen started, and then stepped out of the room as they watched, turning and nodding as she said “Hmmrhddee.”
The woman facing her tilted her head to the side, and then indicated with a gloved hand Zara should turn around. As she did so, Zara looked at the grey clad figure in the mirror, her white featureless face clear as the long brown rope was draped over her shoulders, and then wound down her arms as they were pulled behind her back. She could hear her husband in the office behind the front room, and knew the other three intruders were emptying the safe there…
A few minutes later, the door opened slightly, and the China Doll looked at the girls as they were trying to move their hands, the lights twinkling as they started singing along.
She turned and looked in the office, Zara and her husband looking up from their hogtied position on the floor as Zara said “hrrthhllrhtt?” The Doll nodded as she walked out, the other three following…
“Mum, what’s going on?” Ellie looked at her mother as she was forced to walk down the stairs in the early morning gloom, putting her glasses on as she went into the front room. She had been asleep, wearing a blue nightdress with a pink animal print on it, when the men had woken her up and made her come into the corridor.
Chris and June were already out there, Chris in his short black Spiderman pyjamas, and June wearing a pink pyjama set. Her mum was also there, in a pink shirt sleeved top and grey pyjama bottoms – but there was no sign of her dad. She could hear him in the bedroom talking to someone, while three other men were with them, all wearing black leather jackets and black jeans, and with something over their heads.
“I need all three of you to be very brave,” her mother said as they were all made to go into the front room. The lights were still out, but as Ellie allowed her eyes to adjust to the gloom she could see the tree in the corner, the silver decorations on it.
“Make sure they stay in here,” one of the men said as he walked out, the other two looking at each other before one said to Ellie and June “you two – sit back to back in front of the tree, then bend your legs and hold your ankles with your hands.”
“Do as they say, June,” their mother said as she looked at them, Ellie nodding as she took her younger sister’s hand and waited until she sat down, then sat with her back to her.
“Your turn kid,” the man said as he looked at Chris, “sit next to your younger sister, facing me.”
“All right,” Chris whispered as he sat down, and then Ellie smiled as her mother sat in front of her, bending her legs and holding her ankles as she did so.
“No, they’re just kids,” their mother said as Ellie watched the second man pick up a large roll of silver tape, but Ellie could just about make out his smile as he said “lady, your husband needs you all to behave and do as you’re told – so be quiet, and purse your lips.”
Looking at her children, she said quietly “be brave, be calm, and we’ll talk about this later.” Ellie nodded, gripping her ankles as she watched the man tear a strip of tape from the roll, and then press it over her mother’s mouth, covering her lips and chin as tow more were pressed over it.
“You next kid – stay still and breath through your nose,” he said as he tore a fresh strip off, and then pressed it over Ellie’s mouth. She could feel it tugging on her skin, but as he added two more to cover her chin she realised it was going to stop her saying very much at all.
“Please – don’t I don’t want you to…”
She nudged Jane in the arm, and said “Wehllbhhlrht” as she heard more of the tape been ripped off, Jane and then Chris falling silent.
“What are we going to do to keep them together,” the man said as he stood up.
“I’ve got an idea,” the second man said as he walked out of the room, returning with a box of coloured lights. Opening and stretching the white flex out, he wound it round all four of them so that the lights lay on their upper bodies, and then plugging it in.
“Oh my god – please, don’t hurt them.”
Ellie and Jane turned their heads to see their father standing in the doorway, a fourth man behind him.
“Do as we say, they don’t get hurt,” the man said as he took their father off, while one of the other men knelt in front of Chris. Ellie could hear the tape as it was torn off the roll again, and wondered what was happening.
“I know you will Kid – but you need to stay still.” She could hear the tape again, and then the man knelt in front of her, putting her hands on her knees before he wound the tape tightly round her ankles, holding them together. After that, he moved her hands to be either side of the silver band, and then wound it round again so that her wrists were taped to her legs as well.
As she watched him do the same to her mother, Ellie nodded, and shifted so her feet were under her mother’s legs. The two men then sat and watched them as they tried to move, the slight crinkle of the tape and their muted mumbles the only other sound. Eventually, all they could do was sit quietly, wondering why they had taken their dad, as the lights twinkled in the gloom…
With apologies to Barry Andrews, Robert Wills and Mel Torme
We’ve been sitting in these chairs a while
Coloured streamers in our hair
Looking at the wire wrapped round my wrists
I know we’re both still stuck there.
In our black tops and our shiny skirts
And the red tights on our legs
We can see mom on the couch so low
With her mouth that’s taped in red.
We both have red tape over our lips
And we have a folded scarf there in our mouths
The fairy lights twinkle all around us now
Where the men tied us to the chairs...
And so I’m hoping that daddy comes home soon
And then we can be free
Because I want to give Mum and Kay a hug
And the game will be through!
Rhea had a lot of experience as a babysitter, so this particular night as not going to be any different in her mind from so many others. So much so, in fact, she had already made arrangements for when her charge was in bed – in the form of her boyfriend, Donny.
So she appeared at the front door, wearing a grey cardigan over a blue top, and faded jeans, got the instructions from Mrs Grey as her husband finished getting ready, and was left with their cute little daughter – who went to bed when she was told to, and fell fast asleep.
All the better for when there was a knock on the door, and she went to let Donny in – only it wasn’t just Donny. There was a woman behind him, smiling as she pushed him in, and she saw the gun in her hand. Rhea put her hands to my mouth, as he woman closed the door, and told them both to walk into the living room.
Turned out she was a sneak thief, and the Greys were their next target – and they, according to her, were just in the way, as she made them sit back to back in two dining room chairs, in front of the lit tree.
As they watched, she produced a roll of tape - white tape, with moustaches drawn on it in black – and taped their wrists and ankles together, before she used a set of tree lights to hold them together and against the chair backs.
Tree lights? I ask you – but they were tight – and then she pressed strips of the tape over their mouths, so that we had to sit in silence and watch as she stole their valuables…
And how do I know this? Because I’m the cute kid – who watched from upstairs, and laughed and laughed…
This was a funny request, from a friend I did an insurance assessment for – he said he wanted his wife and daughter to have a little fun, and would I help out? Well, I needed him to assure me I would not get into trouble, and when I got that assurance, I agreed to play a special Father Christmas…
So, it was a Saturday night just before Christmas when I knocked on the door of the terraced house in Knightsbridge. I was dressed, yes, as Father Christmas, complete with the red suit and white beard – so when little Angel opened the door, she smiled and said “wow – Daddy said Father Christmas was going to come and play a game, but I didn’t believe him.”
“Well I am, little one,” I said asI came in, “Merry Christmas! Now, can you guess why I’m here?”
“Because Daddy said he had asked you to play with me and Mummy?”
“That’s right,” I said as I put my gloved hand on her head. She had short blonde hair, and was wearing a white cardigan over a white top, a lace skirt with gold angels on it, white tights and gold lace-up booties. “So, where is Mummy?”
I smiled as I saw his wife, Lynn, standing in the doorway. She was wearing a short white dress, the short arms pulled down her shoulders, and a pair of white slippers. She smiled, her long brown hair shining, as she said “we’re going to play in the front room Angel – have you been to the toilet?”
“Yes Mummy,” the little girl said, “because this is really a bad Santa, isn’t it?”
“Well, not that bad,” I laughed, “but I am going to make sure you and Mummy cannot stop me, so why don’t we go in?”
We went into the front room, and I had a look round, the high tree in the window alcove. Lynn had put a red blanket on the floor, between the couch and a chair, and put cushions in front of the chair, as she said “what are you going to do, Santa?”
“I want you both to sit down,” I said with a smile, “back to back on the blanket.”
“This is fun Mummy,” Angel said as she sat facing the chair, Lynn sitting behind her and crossing her legs so that she was sitting in the Lotus position. She put her hands on her lap, Angle with her hands by her side, as I put my sack down, opened it – and took out a set of fairy lights.
It was his idea, but both of them smiled and nodded as I wound the lights around them to hold them together. On Lynn, it went under her chest, resting just below the sleeves of her chest – while on Angel, it went round her upper arms. She wriggled against Lynn and laughed as I took the plug across her lap, and plugged it into a wall socket.
“Now, bad Santa needs you both o be quiet,” I said as I reached into the sack, and took out a roll of red PVC tape.
“Remember – we can talk to each other” Lynn said over her shoulder to her daughter “but breathe through your nose.”
“Yes Mummy,” Angel said as she looked at me with a strip of tape in my hands, and then I pressed it gently over her mouth, adding a second strip before she smiled under the tape and said “htthtkless.”
“Does it hurt,” I asked, and as she shook her head I pressed two strips over Lynn’s mouth as well. They then both turned and looked at me as I took a photo of them, and left Lynn’s phone to the side.
“Now,” I said as I held the roll of tape up, “hold each other’s hands.” Lynn took hold of Angel’s hands in hers as I taped their wrists together, and then taped Lynn’s legs together around her calves. Walking round, I put Angle’s feet together and taped her legs above the top of her gold boots.
“Thsshssfhnn,” Angel said as I saw her give her mother’s hand a squeeze – and then I heard the front door open and close, so I slipped out, nodding to my friend as I left him to discover them…