A Winter’s Tale
It was only a Winter’s Tale,
Just another winter’s tale...
Beryl Hope was humming along to the David Essex classic as she looked out over the snow covered yard. She loved this time of year – the crisp white snow, the way the air felt on her face.
Beryl was would kindly be called a large woman, and given the cold weather she was wearing a long sleeved black top under a black top covered in blue and red stripes, a brown girdle style belt around her waist. A brown scarf of the same colour was tied in a band over her hair. She had a pair of thick black leggings on, her lower legs in a pair of brown leather boots.
Opening the door to the yard, she carried out the trash bag and placed it in the large bin, the lid slamming down as she turned and walked back into her kitchen, kicking the snow off the soles of her boots as she did so, and shutting the door behind her.
“Not a word,” she heard a young woman say, “just stay calm.”
Turning round, she saw a teenage girl standing there, holding one of her kitchen knives as she pointed it at her. Beryl looked at her, and then said “all right, calm down, you don’t want to do anything stupid...”
“No, we don’t” the young girl said as she pulled a chair from the table. “Got any duct tape in the house?”
“In the store cupboard, why?”
“Sit down, with your hands on your head,” the girl said, “and keep real quiet.” She walked to the store cupboard and looked in, taking out a roll of duct tape and smiling as he said “all right – let your arms fall to the side of the chair.”
“What are you after?”
“Just some money, and some food,” the girl said as he taped her wrists to the chair back, and then wrapped the tape around her body and the chair back, stretching the top over her body as she made sure Beryl was held firmly in place.
Kneeling in front of her captive, she taped Beryl’s ankles tightly to each other, then her legs below and above her knees, the leather squeaking as she tried to move them. Standing back up, she walked behind Beryl, removing her brown scarf and tying it tightly over her eyes before she said “now, your purse?”
“In the front room,” Beryl said as she heard the girl walk away, the soles of her Doc Marten boots clumping on the wooden floor, the noise growing fainter and then louder as she came back. There was then the sound of the icebox door opening and closing, and then the girl eating, at intervals by the sounds Beryl could hear drinking as well.
“What are you going to do,” she said as she heard the trash can opening and closing.
“Keep you quiet until someone comes to your rescue,” the female voice said as Beryl heard the sound of tape ripping. “Put your lips together.”
“Please, you don’t have to...”
“I said,” the female voice continued as she heard the sound of metal hitting against the table, “put your lips together.”
Swallowing, Beryl felt the tape pressing down on her lips, strip after strip, so that as she tried to talk all she said was “hbbeee.”
She could hear the door opening and closing, and then nothing save the sounds from the yards next door, the kids laughing as they played in the snow. She tried calling out, her calls muffled and muted, and shook her head in frustration, trying to dislodge the tape. All she succeeded in doing was loosening the scarf so that it fell down her head, hanging loosely around her neck as she looked at her taped body.
Stamping her feet up and down in frustration, her boots squeaking, she looked to the window, hoping somebody, anybody would come in the yard and look in...
“Well, we’ll do what we can, Mrs Hope,” the officer said as he closed his notebook, “but it’s a vague description.”
“I know,” Beryl said as she held a hot drink in her hands, “but I was too scared to take much notice.”
“It’s all right – leave it with us,” the officer said as he stood up, and walked out, heading for his squad car. Sitting in, he shook his head and picked up his radio.
“Yeah, Sheriff? Looks like the escaped girl called here. We need to keep an eye open for any other incidents...”
Claire groaned as she got out of her car, holding her back as she looked out over the white ground. Her appointment had gone well, and she was looking forward to a mug of hot cocoa and a relax in her special seat.
So when she closed the door behind herself, and slipped off her padded jacket, she looked at herself in the long mirror, her hands over the large bump in her midriff. She was wearing a black top with thin white horizontal stripes, blue jeans and mid-length ruby coloured leather flat boots.
“See you soon baby,” she said with a smile as she walked into her front room – and saw a teenage girl, wearing a black leather jacket and black pants, looking through the contents of her large bureau.
“Who the hell are you,” she said loudly, then gasped as she saw the carving knife in the girl’s hand.
“Damn, I hoped I’d be gone before you got back,” she said as she looked at Claire. “Sit down – somewhere comfortable.”
“What do you want?”
“the keys to your car, for one thing,” the girl said as she looked at the young woman. “How long?”
“Four more weeks.”
“then let’s keep your stress levels down – sit, and put your hands in front of you, palm to palm.”
Claire slowly sat down, watching as the young girl picked up a roll of wool from a knitting basket by the fireplace. She chose her favourite seat, watching as the girl made a loop at the end of the wool, slipped it over her hands and pulled her wrists tightly together. As she wound the wool round and between Claire’s wrists, she felt them held firmly together.
“All right, let your hands drop onto junior.”
Claire slowly lowered her hands, watching as the girl played the wool out, and then wound it around her legs, pulling then tightly together and then spiralling it down her legs before she tied Claire’s ankles tightly together.
“Now, your car keys?”
“In my purse – the table outside.”
Nodding, the girl walked out and then came back in again, holding one of Claire’s scarves.
“I need to keep you quiet,” she said, “so please, open as wide as you can.”
“do you have to? I’m going nowhere.”
The girl simply nodded, Claire opening her mouth, the taste of wool on her tongue as it was tied round her head.
“Sorry, but I need to get away,” she said as she walked out Claire listening as she drove off in her car. She tried twisting her arms but it was useless so she sat back hoping Doug would not be home late.
“We found the car at the county line Sheriff.”
“All right – let McClure in the next county know. We can’t go into his territory without cause, and she left the car our side.”
“Got it Sheriff.”
“and he’s welcome to her,” the chief said, “she’s more trouble than I’m prepared to deal with...”
“Do you miss the joys of a snow day,” Sue said as she drove back to her student house with her friend Zoe. The blonde was wearing a black jacket over a blue v-necked sweater, jeans and tan cowboy boots, while Sue had on a blue jacket over a white jumper, black leggings and burgundy boots. Both girls had long woollen scarves wrapped loosely around their necks.
“Not really,” Zoe said, “but I’m from Texas – snow was a rarity for me.”
Pulling into the front of their house, Sue laughed as she turned off the engine and got out of the car, Zoe collecting the grocery bags as she went and unlocked the front door. Zoe headed to the kitchen while Sue went into the front room.
“Wanna come in here a minute?”
Zoe walked through from the kitchen to find Sue staring at a young woman, with what looked very like a handgun in her hand as she stood there.
“Good – I need to keep you two from stopping me leaving,” the girl said, “so just do what I say, all right?”
“All right – just be careful,” Zoe said as she looked at her.
“Good – take those lovely scarves you are wearing, open your mouths nice and wide, and gag yourselves with them.”
Zoe and sue looked at each other, and then the gun, before they unwrapped their scarves and tied them between their lips, the cotton pressing down on their tongues as they tied them behind their heads, trapping their long hair against their necks.
“Good – jackets off, boots off, and lie face down on the floor.”
As they did this, the girl produced some lengths of rope, and then knelt behind the two students, pulling their arms behind their backs and crossing their wrists as she secured them with the cords.
“Whtrrudnghhrr,” Zoe asked as she looked over her shoulder.
“My car broke down a couple of miles away, and you got lucky – I broke in, and now I can take your car instead.” She pulled the rope tightly between Zoe’s wrists, making her yelp, before she tied the rope off and then secured Sue’s arms. Moving down, she crossed and started to tie their ankles, before standing back up.
“Now don’t move – I need to finish looking round,” she said, the two women rolling back to back and trying to free each other as they heard her searching the house.
“Whtfkksgnnnhrr,” Sue said as she looked at her friend.
“Nbldlddee,” Zoe said as they both looked to the door.
“I need to make you both a little more secure,” she said as she holed up some belts and long scarves, which she used to secure them back to back, their hands pressed against each other.
“And thank you for the keys,” she said as she waved the car keys in front of Sue, and then left them struggling on the floor.
“Yeah, I heard about her from the next county over. Seems she’s getting more adventurous, and stricter in making sure they can’t stop her.”
The station head rubbed his short cropped hair and said “All right – get an APB out on her. Let’s try and get her before she strikes again.”
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but my dear, it’s so delightful...”
Anna was driving down the road, singing along as she tapped her fingers on the steering wheel, when she saw the car pulled over to the side, the bonnet up and steam escaping from underneath.
Pulling into the side in front of her, she got out, wearing a white jumper with two red cherries on the front over a blue denim blouse, jeans and brown cowboy boots, the snow crunching under the soles as she walked over.
“Hey – problem?”
“I think the radiator’s blown,” the young girl said as she looked over. “You know anything about cars?”
“One or two things,” Anna said as she moved her glasses up over her forehead, her brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. She looked over the engine, and then said “Yeah – blown radiator cap. Do you want a lift to the next town? There’s a garage there.”
“Thanks,” the girl said as she collected a rucksack, and climbed into the passenger seat of Anna’s car.
“So, where are you heading?”
“Cross state – got someone I want to see over there.”
“Nice car, by the way – had it long?”
“Not really,” the girl said as she looked out of the window. As a police car went past, she put her hand up to obscure her face. Anna noticed, but said nothing as they drove along.
They eventually got to a gas station, Anna pulling in as she said “I need to use the rest room. You be all right in here?”
The girl nodded as Anna got out and walked to the side of the building, the girl watching her as she disappeared out of view.
Anna stopped for a moment, taking several deep breaths. She had seen the news, and heard the radio bulletins, and she was fairly convinced her passenger was the girl wanted by the local police. Closing and then opening her eyes, she reached into her red handbag and took out her cell phone.
“Come on, come on,” she mumbled as she started to dial a number.
“I really wish you hadn’t started to do that.”
Anna turned to see her passenger standing next to her, a handgun pointing at her side.
“In there,” she said as she motioned to the washroom, Anna nodding as she slowly opened the door and walked in, the girl following. She quickly checked to see if anyone else was in there, and then locked the external door.
“Sit in a stall,” she said, “and put your hands out in front of you.”
“Please – I just want to get home...”
“You will – just a little later than you thought,” she said as she produced a roll of white tape from her pocket, and taped her wrists together, then raised them above her head and secured them to the feed pipe to the cistern.
“Now,” she said as she leaned down and taped Anna’s legs together, above and below her knees, and then her ankles, “I’m taking your car, and you get to rest here until someone else comes in.”
“Why the hell are you on the run anyway?”
“Long story, no time to tell. Put your lips together.”
“Whyshldldmmmm.” Anna’s eyes widened as her lips were covered in several strips of white tape, She watched as the girl walked out, and then started to try and get free...
“Police are still looking for the eighteen year old who escaped from a youth correctional centre four days ago, and has been held responsible for a number of aggravated burglaries across both Dade and Warren counties.”
Hayley looked at the television, shaking her head before she stood up. The heels of her long tan leather boots clicked on the floor as she walked up the stairs, and then looked in the spare bedroom, thinking for a moment before she headed back downstairs.
The boots were pulled up over a pair of faded jeans, while under the brown tank top she wore a blue checked blouse. Her blonde hair was pulled back and held in place by a black clasp, as she stood and looked out over the snow covered driveway.
“I used to love looking at that as well.”
Hayley turned round and smiled. “Pamela – I knew you’d be heading back this way.”
“Well, I knew I’d get a warm welcome,” the teenager said as she put her rucksack on the couch. “How are you?”
“Glad to see you made it this far – Pam, it wasn’t my choice to do what was done...”
“I know – that’s why I’m here instead of at Mom and Pop’s place. I don’t think I’d be held responsible for my actions if I saw him.”
“Yeah – you got a bum deal, taking the rap for him.”
“So – can you help me?”
Ashley walked over to a bureau and took out an envelope. “Plane tickets, and some cash to tide you over until you can start your job.”
“I called a friend in New York – she’ll see you right. The details are in the envelope.”
“I guess I get a new name as well,” Pam said as she looked at the envelope. “What about you?”
“I did this privately – but they are going to get here eventually, so it needs to look as if you came here and robbed me as well.”
“Just like old times?”
Ashley nodded as she said “Do you mind if I lie on the couch?”
“No – rope?”
“Store cupboard under the stairs.” Ashley watched as her sister went out, and returned with a bag. “We’d best get started,” she said as Ashley turned round, and crossed her wrists behind her back.
Fifteen minutes later, Ashley was wriggling on the couch, the ropes sitting snugly above and below her chest, her wrists secured behind her back, as Pamela tied her legs together below her knees, the ropes squeaking around her ankles.
“I need to get changed – got some spare clothes?”
“Upstairs – now keep me quiet,” Ashley said, opening her mouth as her sister pushed some cloth into her mouth, and then covered her lips with white tape. She watched as Pamela turned the television on, and then disappeared upstairs.
When she returned, she was wearing a camel great coat over a black jumper and leggings, a grey scarf round her neck and black ankles boots on her feet.
“Thanks,” she said quietly, “I’ll write when I’m settled.”
Ashley nodded as her sister left, settling down as she composed her story for the police...