A Girl in Every Town

Orlando, FL

“Another beautiful day in Orlando, with the temperature expected to hit a sizzling 90 Fahrenheit, so make sure you use that sunscreen.  We’ll be right back after these important messages…..”

 

KC wasn’t exactly paying attention to the radio, nor was she in a position to appreciate the sunshine.  Oh, she had intended to do so – she had on a black bikini which barely covered the essentials – and she and her partner had expected to spend the morning lazing by the pool in their condo.

 

Instead of which, KC was looking at her boyfriend, lying unconscious on the floor, while she knelt on the mat in their main room.  Behind her, wrapping a long length of white rope around her wrists was a woman who had knocked on their door fifteen minutes earlier.

 

She was about five foot ten, with long black hair, and wearing a dark brown cashmere jumper along with brown trousers with suede ankle boots.  Dark sunglasses covered her eyes, while on her hands were brown leather gloves.  KC’s boyfriend had answered the door, and while she had gone back into the kitchen she had asked if he could direct her to the local supermarket.

 

There had followed a thump on the floor, and KC had run back in to find her boyfriend unconscious on the floor, and the woman taking a cloth away from his mouth.  She had then opened her handbag, produced a small pistol and ordered KC to kneel on the floor, with her hands on her head, and do as she was told.

 

“Is he going to be all right?” she asked as the female intruder tied off the rope.

 

“Oh, he’ll sleep for a few hours, but he’ll be fine,” the woman said.  Her accent was deep and Southern, a bit like Kathleen Turner.  “Now, you be a good girl and tell me where your safe is.”

 

“We don’t have a safe, honestly.”

 

“I know you have a safe – all you people do.  Now,” she said as she stroked KC’s cheek with the barrel of the gun, “where is it?”

 

“Over there – in the bottom cabinet,” KC whispered.  She didn’t want to say anything, but wanted for this to end.

 

“Open up,” the woman said, and KC watched as a white cloth was held in front of her face.  “I don’t want any more interruptions.”

 

The cloth was pushed into KC’s open mouth, and from behind she heard the sound of tape being ripped off a roll.  Three wide strips of duct tape were smoothed over her mouth, and she stayed on her knees watching while the woman opened the safe.

 

“There – that wasn’t so bad, was it?”  She said as she closed the safe door and placed a number of items in her bag.  “As I said, he’ll wake up in a few hours, but I need to make sure you can’t run off anywhere….”

 

 

 

“So what happened next?”

 

“The boyfriend came round about four hours later, and found KC lying on the floor, her ankles crossed and bound and then attached to her wrists.  She’d been struggling a bit, and was hot, but otherwise unharmed.”

 

“And the woman?”

 

“Walked into the main street and just vanished.”

 

“This couple – anything special about them?”

 

“Nothing – she worked at the supermarket, him at the local gym.  They only had a little bit of money and jewellery.”

 

“I see – but you said this was only the first attack?”

 

“We only realised that later – after the incident further north in the state….”

 

 

Miami, FL

 

Brett and Diane were finishing their breakfast when the doorbell rang.  Diane looked up from her plate.

 

“Now who could that be on a Sunday morning?”

 

“I’ll find out,” Brett said as he stood up.  It was a Sunday, so he was still dressed in short pyjamas as he made his way to the front door.  Diane went back to reading the papers and sipping her coffee.

 

When Brett had not returned after five minutes, she began to wonder what might be keeping him.  “If it’s those Jehovah’s Witnesses again,” she muttered under her breath as she walked through to the main room, but she soon discovered that was not the case.

 

A woman, one Diane didn’t know, was standing in the room.  Brett was flat on his back on a lounger, and she was pointing a small pistol at Diane.

 

“Please, don’t make a sound or any sudden movements.  I assure you I’m a good shot.”

 

“What have you down with my husband?” Diane said as she pulled her robe around her.

 

“Him – oh, he’s just sleeping a very deep sleep.  He needs to be out of the way for what’s going to happen next.”

 

“And what’s that?”

 

“Take your robe off, and put your hands in front of you.”

 

Diane was wearing a short red and black kimono, but seeing this intruder meant business she pulled it off and stood there in her panties and stockings.  The intruder, on the other hand, was dressed all in black – A high collared silk blouse, leather trousers and shoes, and soft kid leather gloves.  She had a pair of dark sunglasses on, and shoulder length straight black hair which contrasted with Diane’s own brown hair.

 

The woman placed a small valise on the coffee table, and opened it to take out a length of rope.  Placing the pistol where they both could see it, she took Diane’s hands and started to wrap the rope around her bare wrists.

 

The rope went around and between several times, and Diane watched as she tightly knotted the binding, but left two long lengths hanging down.  Reaching back into the back, she drew out a white cloth and a roll of red tape.

 

“You don’t have to gag me, I won’t say anything, I promise, just please…..”

 

Her pleas went unnoticed, as the intruder pushed the cloth into her mouth, tore a strip off the roll of tape and smoothed it over her lips.  Three more strips followed, so that Diane was completely silenced.

 

“Now, I want you to point to where your safe is,” the woman said, and Diane indicated a cabinet on the far wall.  She was then led into the kitchen, wondering what was going to happen to her…..

 

“Sit on the table, dear,” the woman told Diane in her deep accent, and once the girl was in place she went back, and brought in several coils of rope.

 

“Now, let’s make you comfortable….”

 

The sun was setting when Brett finally started to awaken from his drug-induced slumber.

 

“What happened…. Diane, where are you?”

 

He could hear muffled cries from the kitchen, and holding his head he stumbled into the open area.  Diane was flat on her back on the table, her arms pulled over her head and the ends of rope that had been left dangling from her wrists secured to the table leg, pulling her wrists right down.  Her ankles had also been tied together and the rope secured to the other table leg.  Several ropes were criss-crossed around her upper body and the table, and she was frantically trying to tell Brett what had happened.

 

“So there were two break-ins, in different parts of the state, but with very similar MOs.  What about the couple in Miami – anything unusual about them.”

 

“Nothing apparent at the time – they were an ordinary, hard working couple who just seemed to be the victims of a random robbery.  The fact that the man was overpowered and the woman left conscious was really the only thing that seemed to be similar about the two case, and they were weeks apart.”

 

“So when did you become interested in these cases?”

 

“Not for some time – it seemed to be a local issue until a few weeks later, when the same thing happened in a different state.”

 

“The perpetrator had moved on?”

 

“Yup – north.”

 

Savannah, GA

 

The fan spinning in the ceiling was providing a cool breeze through the large room – one that Georgia was finding particular helpful, as the shades had all been pulled down.

 

Heath wasn’t been much help in reducing the heat either, sprawled out as he was on the rug to the left of her.  The woman in black was searching through the contents of their safe, taking items out and either putting them no the floor or else into the valise by her side, depending on what they were.

 

She very much wanted to stop her, to say something, but she’d made sure that wasn’t going to happen some time ago.  The intruder was kneeling there on the floor, the legs of her black jumpsuit raised slightly to reveal flat boots, and her straight black hair falling to the nape of her neck.  Georgia fumed silently – this was not what was meant to have happened.

 

“Come home from work – I’ll be the burglar, tie you up and put tape over your mouth, then take the items and hide them.  We’ll claim the insurance and make some easy money.”

 

So she’d come home, in her work outfit of the pale blue jacket and skirt and white top, he’d tied her wrists and hands, and had just put the tape over her mouth when the doorbell rang.

 

Next thing Georgia knew, this woman in her shades was dragging Heath back in and leaving him on the floor.  She’d looked at Georgia, made her stand up and hop over to the chair, and used more rope to firmly tie her to the back and seat.  Georgia had also had her elbows tied together, her arms to her chest and her legs above her knees, and there was no way she could move at the moment.

 

The woman stood up, smoothed her long dark hair down and turned to the bound and gagged victim.  “I’ll be going now,” she said in a deep feminine voice, “your husband will wake up in a few hours.  I just need to make sure you won’t scream for a while.”

 

Taking the roll of tape Heath had used, she tore of strip after strip and smoothed it over Georgia’s lips, before picking up her bag and walking out of the front door.

 

The bound woman looked at her husband on the floor.  Finally, standing on her toes she hopped over with the chair attached to her, to a desk and managed to dislodge the telephone.  Using her chin, she managed to dial 911 and started trying to talk to the operator.

 

“So, were you looking for stories like this at that point?”

 

“No – as I say, we thought at first it was just a local thing, and when we saw this story we thought it was just a coincidence.  Then we started to notice other stories of a similar nature – and it was the one in Texas that made me realise something bigger was going on.”

 

“I see – can I refill your glass for you?”

 

“Thank you, yes.”

 

“So, Texas?”

 

Houston, TX

 

“Now, don’t you worry, sugah, your daddy’s gonna be just fine.  Come on – let me see a smile on your face.”

 

Daisy looked at the woman, and gave her a very sarcastic smile.  After all, this was the woman who had just walked in, held a cloth over her father’s face until he slipped into unconciousness, smiling and holding a gun at her all the time.  And she wanted her to be happy?

 

The knock on the door had actually being answered by her, and she had wondered who this woman was.  Dressed in a check blouse over a brown sweater, blue jeans and boots, she had asked if she could use their telephone as her car had broken down.  Daisy had taken her into the kitchen, where her father had been eating breakfast, and he’d said sure, so Daisy went back to the sink.

 

Next thing was a muffled groan from her father, and he was now head down on the table.  The woman ordered Daisy to join her, and now her wrists were pulled behind her back and tied together with coarse rope.  She was now wrapping a long length of rope around her arms and chest above her breasts, and pulling it tightly at the back.

 

“Why are you doing this?” she asked as the dark haired woman repeated the process below her breasts.

 

“I just want to take the contents of your safe, sugah.  Now, you just stand still while I finish this little job off, and you can show me where it is.”

 

Daisy felt her arms being drawn tighter behind her back, and the ropes started to cut into her bare skin.  She had been going to her job at the local bar, and her outfit was a sleeveless red checked top with a halter neck and bare midriff, and cut off dark blue denim shorts.  Looking behind her, she watched as the woman tied more rope around her back and across those around her chest, making it tighter than before.

 

“Now,” she said as she looked at Daisy through her dark glasses, “Where is your safe?”

 

“Through here,” Daisy said, and she allowed the woman to push her into her father’s study.

 

“Thank you.  Now, purse your lips.”

 

Daisy watched her produce a roll of wide silver tape, and tear a strip off.  Three times she did this, and three times the strip was smoothed over her mouth.  She watched the woman open the safe, sort through the contents and put some in her bag, then close it again.

 

“Have a nice day,” she’d said as she left, having first sat Daisy down and tied her ankles and legs together with more of the rope.  Daisy sat there struggling, and then started to slowly make her way back through to where her father was snoring…

 

“I see what you mean – there is a definite pattern, isn’t there?”

 

“It did look that way, but the fact the trail seemed to be across the Southern states made it confusing.  I was asking myself why these people, and why here?

 

“So I talked to the two couples in Florida, asking them what they’d done the couple of days before the attacks.  Turned out there was nothing unusual – they’d been shopping visited friends, all the usual things.  Nothing that would link them.”

 

“So when you did talk to the couple in Savannah?”

 

“Not until after we got another possible victim – this time in San Francisco.”

 

San Francisco, CA

 

“God, it feels good, that.”

 

Tina and Carl were managers in a health club, living above the shop and using the facilities to keep themselves in trim as well.  On this Sunday morning, the usual morning crowd had gone, and they had the gym to themselves.

 

Carl got off the treadmill and grabbed a bottle of water from the three on the side.

 

“Are you going to give me a bottle,” Tina asked as she continued on the exercise bike.

 

“Carl – I said are you…..”

 

She looked over to see that Carl had slumped on the floor, his back against the wall and the bottle of water spilling out from his open hand.

 

“Carl – are you all right?” Tina cried as she stopped the bike, got off and went over to see what had happened.

 

“He’ll be all right, dear – it’s just an anaesthetic.  A few hours and he’ll be right as rain.

 

Tina turned round to see a woman stepping out from the female changing area.  She was wearing a black body stocking, dark blue leotard and shoes, and a Wendy band was in her straight black hair.  Two things were unusual about her – the fact she was wearing dark glasses, and the gun she held in her hand and was now pointing at Tina.

 

“Is this a robbery?”  Tina asked as she stood up, putting her hands in the air.

 

“In a way – but I’m not robbing this gymnasium.  Just you and your partner.  He won’t bother us – but I need to make sure you won’t bother me.”

 

The woman looked at Tina.  She was dressed in a blue leotard with a pink t-shirt, white shoes and dark pink knee length socks, and her brown hair was pulled back with a pink scrunchie holding it in a pigtail.

 

“Here,” she said tossing Tina a roll of duct tape, “sit down and wrap this around your ankles.  Do it tightly, or I’ll pull it off and do it twice as tight.”

 

Sensing this woman meant business, Tina sat down, reached forward and taped her ankles together.

 

“Very good – now lean forward, put your hands behind your back, and don’t move.”

 

In short time, Tina felt her wrists being crossed behind her back and taped together.  The tape was then wrapped around her midriff, holding her arms tight against her back, and then around her upper body.  She had bent her knees up at the start, so she was pushed over onto her side and more tape used to secure her bent legs together around her thighs and calves, and towards her knees.  Finally, lengths of tape were placed firmly over her closed mouth,

 

“You just stay there,” the woman said as she patted Tina on the head “And I’ll go and see what you have upstairs.”

 

“So her safe was ransacked?”

 

“That’s right – emptied and only money, jewellery and credit cards taken.  A couple of hours later, some of the regular gym users managed to break in through the back door and found the two of them.”

 

“So, five break ins across the southern states, and you started to think they were linked.”

 

“Yes – the same description of a fairly tall woman with long dark hair and shades, the man incapacitated and the woman tied up, only the safe opened – it all seemed to fit.

 

“By then I’d also spoken to the women in Savannah and Houston, and a few days later I spoke to the one in San Francisco.  All told me the same thing – they weren’t famous or well known, just ordinary working woman.

 

“One thing did link them, though – they had all been to their local supermarket the day or two before hand.”

 

“Nothing unusual in that?”

 

“True – except they were all the same chain.  There was something else about the California incident as well.”

 

“What?”

 

“The two owners were prepared to swear no women had been into the gym that morning – so how did she get in?”

 

“It seems to me that this was something for the police down south to take care of.”

 

“So we all thought – until we heard about an incident in New Jersey…”

 

Newark, NJ

 

“Sally?  Sally, where are you?”

 

The man shook his head as he woke up on the recliner.  How long had he been out?  The last thing he remembered was answering the door of their apartment, and some woman asking if he was willing to take part in a survey.

 

Well, he’d agreed to do so, especially when she showed him her identification.  She was a well dressed woman – dark trouser suit, blouse and scarf – so he held the door open and invited her into the living room.  Sally was sat there, and also agreed to answer her questions.  He dimly remembered asking if she wished to take her glasses off, but she’d made some comment about sensitive eyes.

 

“Sally?”  He felt groggy, as if he’d been asleep for hours.  The woman had sat down, and asked some innocent question, but when he’d turned round to talk to his girlfriend….

 

The cloth!  Some sort of damp cloth had been firmly placed over his mouth, and as he watched Sally he now remembered the look of shock and fear on her face.  Where was she?

 

He heard some muffled calls from the bedroom, so he started to make his way there.  For some reason he stumbled as he tried to walk, but eventually he found the door and opened it.

 

Sally was sat on the bed, dressed as eh remembered in a grey top with red trim and jogging pants, staring at him.  There were several layers of tape over her mouth, which explained the muffled sounds, and her ankles had rope tied around and between them.  Her wrists were pulled behind her back, so he assumed the same thing had been done to them.

 

“Calm…. Calm down. Sally, I’m here now,” he said in a slurred voice, and sitting behind his girlfriend he started to untie the ropes that held her wrists together.  Her long black hair was falling over her shoulders as he gently unwrapped the bindings and Sally pulled the tape off her mouth.

 

“Oh God, I thought you’d never wake up,” she sobbed as she put her arms around his neck.  “It was horrible – she marched me in here, tied me up, gagged me and then emptied our safe.  Hold me, please, tell me you’re all right….”

 

“Ah yes – the same way of working.  That would have grabbed your attention.”

 

“Indeed it did.  So I did two things.  I contacted the supermarket chain, and asked in they knew of anyone who had visited all of the branches local to the women who had been attacked.

 

“I also got on the first plane to Newark, but by the time I’d got here I only had a few hours in which to talk to this latest victim.”

 

“A few hours?  That must have been frustrating.”

 

“It was – but not because she was unwilling to talk.  It was frustrating because, three days later, she struck again in Massachusetts.”

 

Boston, MA

 

Clara and Derek were just sitting down to dinner after a long, tiring day in their respective offices.  It had been a cold day in the city, and they were glad to be in the warm with the fire burning.

 

Clara had not had time to change into a more casual outfit, so she was still in her aqua blue jacket and skirt with black heels.  Derek had at least taken his jacket off when the doorbell rang in the middle of their main course.

 

“Now who could that be?”  Clara said as she laid her napkin down and made her way to the door.  Opening it, she saw there a woman dressed in a black leather jacket, a long roll necked jersey dress and black boots.

 

“Can I help you?”  She asked, and the woman nodded.  “Yes you can, dear – you can stay quiet and step back inside.”  Her accent was deep and southern.

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” Clara had said, but then she felt the barrel of a small pistol in her side.

 

“I said you can be quiet and go back in,” the woman said again, and Clara noticed for the first time the small bag she was carrying.

 

“Clara, who is it,” Derek asked as he walked through, only to be greeted by the sight of Clara with her hands on her head and the woman closing the door.  It was dark outside, but she was still wearing dark glasses, and her long straight black hair was under a small beret.

 

“Sorry to interrupt your meal, but I want you both to go into your front room, with your hands on top of your head, and sit down, or your wife is going to be very, very sorry.”

 

“Please, Derek, do as she say,” Clara sobbed, so he placed his hands on his head and the three of them went into the front room.

 

“Nice house you have here,” the woman said as both Derek and Clara sat down.  She walked round and stood behind Derek.

 

“What are you going to do,” he asked, and in response a damp cloth was slapped over his mouth.  Clara was forced to watch as Derek fell over onto his side, unconscious.

 

“What have you done to him?” she screamed.

 

“He’ll be fine, dear – now I need to take care of you.  Stand up, turn round, and don’t move unless I tell you.”

 

As she said this, the intruder opened her bag and pulled out several lengths of white rope.  Working quickly, she laid her gun down and lashed Clara’s wrists together with one length of rope, making sure she cinched them between her wrists as well.  A longer length was then wrapped around her chests and arms, above and below her breasts, and tied off at the small of her back.

 

“Now, dearie, lie down on that coffee table,” the dark haired woman said, and Clara with some difficulty did as she was asked.  Five minutes later, her ankles had been tied together, as had her legs just above her knees.

 

“Why are you doing this,” Clara asked as she tied the last knot off.

 

“Just to make sure you keep out of the way.  Now, where’s your safe?”

 

“In the study, behind the large chair.”

 

“Thank you very much – now open wide.”

 

It was several hours later before Derek came round and saw Clara lying there, trying to reach her ankles and loosen the ropes around them, and with a thick white cloth tied into her mouth as a gag.

 

“Whoever this person was seemed to be moving north – and speeding up their agenda.”

 

“May I offer you another drink?”

 

“Thanks – I am rather thirsty.”

 

“What happened when you heard back from the store?”

 

“They gave me a list of people who had visited their stores on business before the attacks in the five cities.  When my partner started to collate them, three names came up each time, but there was a problem.”

 

“A problem?”

 

“Yes – they were all male.  We thought this was a dead end, until we discovered that in both Newark and Boston, they had shopped in the same chain of supermarket beforehand.”

 

“So this woman was picking people based on where they shopped?”

 

“It appeared so – then they struck again.”

 

Indianapolis, IN

 

“Hard day at the race track, sugah?”

 

Tessie was in no mood to talk.  She and her partner had only just returned from manning a stand at the NASCAR meeting, when someone had knocked on the door.  Sammie had gone to answer, and when Tessie heard the thump she assumed it was the door being shut.

 

Instead, she saw it was Sammie dropping to the floor unconscious, and a woman closing the door behind her.  She was dressed in a black sweater, jeans and knee length boots, and had a black scarf over her straight dark hair.  She also was wearing a pair of sunglasses, and was pointing a pistol at Tessie.

 

“Nothing to say then?”

 

Tessie was lying face down on the bed she and Sammie shared, dressed as they both were in yellow crop tops and short with black and white check trim.  Her wrists were bound together with several feet of white rope, and her arms held to her side with lengths of rope above and below her breasts, then a further length went over her shoulders and around her neck to hold them more firmly in place.

 

“Why are you doing this?”  Tessie pleaded.  “We haven’t got anything worth stealing – honestly.  We’re just working girls.”

 

“I’ll be the judge of whether or not you have anything worth stealing,” the woman said as she passed the rope between Tessie’s ankles and pulled tightly.  Rolling the bound woman over, she pulled her legs up and began to tie rope around them below and above her knees.

 

“Does it have to be so tight then?”

 

“I want to make sure you won’t get loose, sugah,” the intruder said in her deep southern accent, “After all, your partner there will be out for some hours still, and I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

 

Rolling Tessie back onto her stomach, she pulled her ankles up and attached the end of a length of rope to them.  Feeding the other end under and around the ropes at her back, she pulled Tessie’s legs into a hog tie, wrapping the rope around so that it stayed firmly attached to her body.

 

“I’m going to look in your safe now, sugah, so you need to stay quiet.”

 

Tessie turned to say something, only to have red tape slapped over her mouth several times.  She looked at the intruder  through the fringe of her brown hair as she opened the safe in their bedroom, placed several of the contents in her bag, and then left her to her struggles.

 

“I see what you mean – a definite pattern.  So what was the breakthrough?”

 

“When we checked back, two of the three names on our list had also been at the Northern branches of the stores in the day or two before the attack.   We still had the basic problem, however – these were men, and the attacker was a woman according to the descriptions.”

 

“So you went to Indianapolis and talked to the two women?”

 

“Yes – and that was when something started to occur to me.  The woman struck again before I could make anything of it, though.”

 

“In the same place?”

 

“No – one thing I knew for certain was this attacker only struck once in each city.  No – this was in Chicago.”

 

Chicago, IL

 

“I swear, we don’t have anything worth stealing.  Who won’t you believe me?”

 

Sophie was sat on a chair in the main room of her apartment, her husband unconscious on the couch opposite.  The woman in the dark glasses was searching through their safe, looking for things and placing some of them into her bag.

 

She had rang their doorbell, then apologised as she said she had the wrong address, and asked if she could use their telephone as she didn’t have a mobile.  Like fools, they had agreed, and now one of them was out for the count and Sophie was sat there with her hands tied behind her back with washing line that she had cut a length of.

 

“You’d be surprised at what I find of value,” the woman said as she stood up.  Her full brown skirt fell back over her booted legs, and she walked over to Sophie with a length of white cloth in her hand.

 

“What are you going to mmmopoppjh”  Sophie wasn’t able to finish her words as the woman pulled the length of cloth tightly into her mouth and fastened it at the base of her neck.

 

Taking the washing line again, she cut a length off with the scissors she had used previously and knelt down in front of the complaining Sophie.  Crossing her ankles, she lashed them together over the cuffs of her jeans and pulled tightly to secure them.  She then stood up, walked behind Sophie and used the remaining line to lash her arms to her side, passing it round her white round necked top several times.

 

“Well, I’ll be going now.  Your husband will wake up in a few hours – try not to struggle.”

 

The woman picked her bag up and walked out.  Sophie kicked out several times, and eventually slipped onto the floor, her red hair lying across their grey carpet, as she screamed in frustration.

 

“Did you talk to her?”

 

“Two days ago – the same MO and everything.

 

“By then. My partner told me that only one name on the list had gone to all nine cities – but it was a man, and it was a woman doing these crimes.

 

“Or was it?”

 

“Explain, please.”

 

“We’d all been assuming the victims had given accurate descriptions, and they were based on what they knew.  What, however, if it was a man dressing up as a woman and committing the crimes.”

 

“I asked my partner to check where that name was next going.  He called beck in an hour.”

 

“Where was he going?”

 

“Here – Detroit.”

 

Detroit, MI

 

“Mrk?  MRK!!”

 

“He can’t hear you – the sleep is too deep for that.”

 

Mark and Veronica had only just come back from the store when there was a ring on the doorbell.  Mark had answered it, to find a woman of medium height, wearing a white jersey and trousers, and holding a bag in one hand and a small pistol in the other.

 

She’d ordered the two of them into the house, and told them to sit on high backed chairs in the dining room.  Putting her bag on the table, she’d then walked behind Mark and placed some sort of cloth over his mouth, rendering him unconscious, his head resting on the table.

 

Veronica, on the other hand, was not so fortunate.  The intruder had produced several long lengths of rope from her bag, and then ordered Veronica to take her light blue top off, leaving her in her white bra, long patterned skirt and a light blue scarf in her hair.

 

Now Veronica was sat in a chair, facing the cupboards.  Her wrists and elbows were tied tightly behind her back, and her chest was held to the back of the chair with length upon length of rope.  A length had also been passed around her waist and the back of the chair, and everything was secured to the cross bar at the back.

 

Her ankles were also tightly tied together, side by side, and then pulled back to be secured further to the chair.  Finally, her skirt had been wrapped tightly around her legs and secured in place with rope, and her scarf was now tied into her mouth as a gag.

 

She looked over her shoulder as the woman opened a particular cupboard in the kitchen which veronica had pointed out, and started to open the safe that was hidden in there.  She checked through the contents, placing several in her bag, then waved good bye as she closed the bag and walked out into the street outside.

 

Veronica started to try and free herself from the ropes, screaming out for someone to help her as she did so.

 

“So, you came to Detroit and found the travelling man.”

 

“Yes – then, foolishly, I decided to try to talk to him before I told the police what I had found out.”

 

“That old reporter instinct, I suppose.  So you found out where I was staying, came to the hotel….”

 

“… and saw a woman that answered the description walking into the lobby.  I followed her up to a room, waited five minutes, and knocked on the door.”

 

“So, here we are.”

 

“Yes, here we are.”

 

“Well, it’s been fascinating hearing your tale, and I think it will make a terrific story, but you’ll forgive me if I don’t stick around to find out.  I posted my resignation today, and I have a plane to catch.

 

“Can I offer you a last drink?  No?  Oh well, as I say, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, sugah.”

 

The young man took a last drink from his glass, placed the white jumper and slacks in the open case and closed it.  Taking both his suitcases and a small bag in hand, he left the young reporter sat on the bed.

 

She was dressed in a grey jumper and leather skirt, with grey suede boots, but she was also bound hand and foot, with rope around her chest and legs, and a thick grey silk scarf tied into her mouth.  She watched the salesman close the door, struggling to get free, and wondering what exactly her partner was going to say when he found out she’d let the story of the year walk out on her.  If only he hadn’t overpowered her at the start – he’d seen her in the lobby and knew she was either police or press.

 

As she struggled, she comforted herself with the fact she still had a story – and wondered where this young man or woman would strike next…..

 

 

London, UK

 

“Hello – can I help you?”

 

The young woman in the doorway was dressed in a brown jersey dress and knee length leather boots, and had a London A to Z in her hand.

 

“Oh hello,” she said as she looked at him through dark glasses, “I wonder if you could help.  I’m looking for Gloucester Road.”

 

“Who is it, Darling?”

 

The man turned his head to say “Just someone looking for directions,” but the wet cloth over his mouth prevented that.  The woman who came through from the kitchen watched as the dark haired woman pushed her husband into the house, a gun in her hand, and closed the door behind her.

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