Amy waved across the road to her mother as she saw her waiting outside the theatre, her turquoise headscarf covering her head and neck and tucked into the top of the short sleeved yellow poncho she was wearing. Soo was in her early sixties, and barely five foot four, but with her large sunglasses on, the poncho covering her long sleeved black top and leggings, she felt as if she was the Queen of Queens.
Amy had long escaped that area for the glories of Manhattan, having married a broker, and that was reflected in her clothing. While Soo wore a pair of brown Ugg boots over her black leggings, she had a pair of knee length black leather boots with a three inch heel, her black hose visible between the top of her boots and the black patterned leather skirt she was wearing. The matching jacket covered her blouse, a large fur wrap round her neck and the black scarf covering her head. Finally, she wore a pair of black leather gloves.
“There you are,” Soo said as her daughter joined her, “I was afraid we would miss the start of the play.”
“No – I was a little late leaving, but the car still got me here on time,” Amy said with a smile, “let’s go and enjoy the show.”
“When do we move?”
“When they leave – we need everyone to be ready for 2000 hours…”
“Now that was an amazing show,” Soo said as the two women left the theatre, and walked down the sidewalk, “I thought I would hurt myself with laughing.”
“My husband would never approve… But you were right Mom, it was…”
Amy looked at the van that was blocking the road in front of them, and then the two masked men who jumped out as the side door opened. “Inside – both of you, now,” they said as they forced Soo and Amy inside, the van door slamming shut as they moved off.
“Hands behind your backs ladies,” one of the masked men said.
“Why?” Amy didn’t get a chance to ask again, as the second man took her wrists behind her and used a pair of police zip cuffs to secure them together, and then pressed a length of black tape over her mouth.
“What’s goinggnnnnnn,” Soo asked as her wrists were also secured, and her mouth covered, before hoods were placed over their heads and they were made to sit down.
As the hoods were pulled away, Amy blinked as she realised she and her mother had been brought to…
“Indeed,” the masked man said as his partner brought over two chairs from the dining table, and said them in the centre of the floor. “Sit down, both of you. I promise you, do as we say and you will not be hurt.”
The two women looked at each other, and then walked over, sitting next to each other as the fur wrap was removed from Amy’s neck. They watched as two long lengths of rope were produced from a large holdall, the two men taking one each and doubling the rope over before they started to wrap it around the arms and upper bodies of their two captives.
As they did so, Soo and Amy looked at each other, unsure of what was happening as their backs were forced against the back of the chairs, their wrists pressed between their own backs and the chair back, the bands framing and securing them at the same time.
“Whhhrruuuu,” Amy mumbled through the tape that covered her lips, and pulled at the skin round her mouth.
“Everything will be explained in good time,” one of the masked men said before they both knelt in front of the two women, taking more ropes as they crossed and secured the ankles of both women together, then pulled them to the side and secured them to one of the front legs. More ropes encircled and secured their legs together below their knees.
Soo was struggling, before a female voice said “remove the gags – allow them to have a drink.”
The men nodded as they peeled the tape from their mouths, and a woman, well dressed, stood in front of them. “My apologies for the inconvenience,” she said as one of the men left, returning with two glasses of water, straws in each of them as he passed one to his partner.
“Who are you,” Amy said as she looked at the stranger, “and why have you done this to me and my mother?”
“Who I am is unimportant,” the woman said. She stood about five foot ten tall, with short black hair, and wore a black jumper and leggings with trainers, and a leather jacket. “Please, drink.”
Both women took a sip through one of the straws, as the woman said “as to the second question, with regret, it is not just you and your mother that will be restrained. We need you all to be ready for eight.”
“All? Oh no…” Soo said as she looked at the woman.
“I regret so – but be assured, you will not be harmed. Have another drink…”
“Mom? I’m back!”
The twenty one year old woman closed the apartment door, removing her black leather jacket and woollen gloves and hanging them in the closet. She wore a fawn coloured jumper, blue ripped jeans and over the knee black leather boots, a woollen scarf wrapped round her neck and a fawn scarf over her head and shoulders.
“Mom? Did you…”
“Do not say a word,” she heard a male voice say behind her, “very slowly, take your scarf from around your neck and hold it in both hands.”
“What’s going on,” she said as she loosened and removed her scarf, and then she heard her mother say from the main room “Ria, do as they say. They haven’t hurt us.”
“Hush, Ria – open your mouth, and pull the scarf between your lips.”
The young woman nodded and did as she was told, feeling the wool on her tongue as the band filled her mouth, and she felt someone take the ends from her hands, pulling them tightly round her neck as the ends were secured with a double knot at the base of her neck. Her hands were then taken behind her back, and she felt the rope as it was passed around and between her wrists, pulled tight with each pass as they were secured together.
“Bring her in here, to be with her family.”
The female voice took Ria by surprise, as she was walked into the front room, and saw both the dark haired woman and another masked man. She also saw her mother and grandmother as they looked over from the chairs they were tied to.
“My apologies, young lady,” the woman said as the man who had bound Ria’s wrists wrapped more rope around her upper body, forcing her arms to her sides as it formed two bands above and below her chest. “We need to ensure all of you are secured and ready by eight this evening, and we need to do so in a way that will both protect your modesty and ensure you are not responsible for what happens.”
“But what is going to happen,” Amy asked as Ria was helped to li face down on the couch, the man taking more rope and binding her ankles as the rope sank into the soft black fabric. She watched as he took the rope between her legs, making sure he avoided touching them, and tightened the binding before he tied the ends off, then repeated the process below her knees. Finally, he pulled her ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes, before she rolled onto her side and looked over.
“All in good time, my dear young lady,” the woman said, “relax, remain calm… Your sister should be home soon…”
Kamila walked into the apartment and put her rucksack on the floor, smiling as she looked at herself in the mirror. The seventeen year old had a purple scarf covering her head, neck and shoulders, the edges on top of the white top with purple sleeves, blue jeans and black knee length straight leather boots.
“What’s for dinner,” she said as she walked into the front room, “I’m…”
She looked at her mother, grandmother and sister, as her lips made a small O.
“Hello, Kamila,” the woman dressed in black said, “I regret dinner for your family has been delayed for a while. Remain calm – they have come to no harm, and neither will you if you allow us to make sure you are safely secured.”
“It’s all right Kamila,” Amy said, “yes we’ve been tied up, and we’ll be kept quiet, but they have to harmed us or caused any other problems. Just do as they say.”
“All right Mom,” Kamila said quietly, “what are you going to do?”
“Regretfully, secure you,” the woman said as someone took Kamila’s arms behind her back, and she felt the rope as they were secured tightly together.
“You still have not told us what the purpose of your visit is,” Soo said as she tried to move her arms.
“Quite right – but for the moment, I regret to say you must remain in the dark, so to speak,” the woman said as Kamila had her arms secured to her body in the same way as her older sister, the man taking great care not to touch her anywhere inappropriate. She felt as if she was being hugged, as the man helped her to sit on the floor and bent her legs so that the soles of her boots were flat on the floor.
As the others watched, her ankles were secured tightly together, as well as her legs below her knees, and then a band of rope passed round her so that her upper legs were held against her stomach.
“Please, open your mouth,” the woman in black then said as another roman folded a cloth, “it is necessary for you to be quiet.”
“Everything will be clear,” he said as the cloth was pushed gently into Kamila’s mouth, and she closed her lips over it, while the man took a roll of black bandage and wrapped it tightly round her head, covering her lips and chin before it was secured as well.
“Excellent – and all in time as well,” the woman said as a folded cloth was pushed into Soo’s mouth, and then a long wide strip of white tape pressed firmly down over her face, the shape of her lips visible underneath as it was formed to the contours of her face.
“So, what now – you keep me quiet, rob us, and leave us for my husband to find,” Amy said as she watched the man fold another cloth.
“Rob you? Did we ever say we were here to rob you?”
Amy looked at the woman as she smiled, and then opened her mouth, allowing herself to be gagged in the same way as her mother as the woman looked at her watch.
“It is nearly time – get ready.”
The smartly dressed man walked into the apartment, closing the door and putting his briefcase on the floor, as he looked around.
“Amy? You’re been very quiet,” he said as he walked into the room – only to stop and stare as he saw his family in the room, all bound, all gagged, and all looking at him.
He turned his head to see the woman, dressed in black, and the two masked men with guns in their gloved hands.
“My apologies for the way we have waited for you,” she said, “but we have business to discuss, you and the group I represent.”
“Oh yes – you have been instrumental in ensuring the distribution and handling of funds for certain parties – funds obtained as a result of the exploitation of women and children.”
Looking at his family, the man said “I have no idea what you…”
“Yes, yes you do,” she said as Amy and Soo looked at him, “and your one hope for atonement is to come now, and answer our questions, help us recover the funds and put a stop to it.”
“Again, what are you…”
“Do I need to show your wife the account information, or what you did on your recent trip to Dubai? The film is quite – illuminating.”
Soo and Amy looked at him as he started to sweat, and said “who are you?”
“We are here as representatives of the Sisters of Maisha – prepare him.”
Kamila’s eyes opened wide – she had heard of that group, as the two men walked forward, one of them securing her father’s wrists with a zip tie, the other tape gagging him before pulling a hood over his head.
“To answer for what he has done.”
The woman looked at Soo, and said “he will be released. After that is between him and you. We want, if you will forgive the phrase, the organ grinder, not the monkey.”
Amy looked at his mother and then mumbled “llsshmmmm.”
“We have already arranged for controlling interest in his businesses to pass into your hands,” she said as she looked at Amy, “as a woman, treat his employees with respect.”
Amy nodded as the men escorted her husband out, the woman walking over to Ria, then bowing to all four of them before she left. They then looked at each other, as Ria began to saw at the ropes around her wrists with the blade she had been given…
“Where is he?”
“In the basement,” Susan said as she and Pamela removed the masks, letting their hair fall before removing the voice modulators from under the collars of the jumpers.
“Good – thank you all for taking care of this, especially you Mermaid.”
“My pleasure, Little Mother,” Eleanor Ball said as she removed the wig. “Now you can trace the funds for those bastards in the Middle East.”
“How’s the leg, by the way?”
“Improving – for the Heart and the Strength.”
“For the Heart and the Strength,” Charlotte Gordon said as the call ended, and Eleanor stretched her arms up.
“Right – coffee, and then to work…”