Crime School 2
The spring term was coming to a close at St Blazius, and the thoughts of the sixth form were turning towards the joint horrors of the exams and applying for university places. As they file din behind the rest of the girls fro the morning assembly, those thoughts were out to one side by the sight of the four girls sat on the stage at the front of the room.
Miss Hardcastle stood up and made her way behind the dais, clearing her throat as she started to speak.
“Good morning girls.”
“Good morning, Miss Hardcastle” responded the vast majority of the girls, with the exception of Jane and Camilla. The two sixth formers were more interested in trading stories about the boys they’d met the previous weekend. As the headmistress continued to speak, however, their interest was aroused.
“I would like you to welcome to St Blazius our four visitors from L’Ecole du Villeneuve, who have joined us for a week to experience life in an English girl’s school.”
The two looked at the four girls, identically dressed in light blue sundresses, white socks and black shoes, with dark blue scarves tied around their shoulders. One, a tall girl with long blonde hair, was looking around the room in a way that suggested she was assessing the other students there.
“Please, help them to feel at home this week, and answer any questions that they may have. Now, if you will turn to number 387 in your hymn books, we will sing our first hymn……”
Later that day, both Jane and Camilla were sitting in the common room when Miss Hardcastle appeared at the door, the blonde haired girl beside her.
“Ah girls – you remember Yvette from the assembly this morning?”
“Yes, Miss Hardcastle,” Jane replied. Both girls were dressed in their own clothes, as was the tradition there, so next to the uniformed French girl they looked a bit different. Jane was wearing a long sleeved green blouse and gypsy skirt, while Camilla was in a black jumper and skirt with red shoes and a wide red leather belt around her waist.
“Yvette is the same age as you girls, and I was wondering if you would show her round the school. Let her see anything she wants, all right?”
The two girls stood up and went to shake Yvette’s hand, but she stood there looking at the two.
“I am afraid her English is not as good as you might expect, so be gentle with her.”
“Thank you for showing me around,” she said in a heavy French accent, and lowered her eyes again.
“Well, I must get back to my class now. I will see you later, Yvette.”
As Miss Hardcastle walked out, Jane went over and took Yvette by the arm. “Do you really have to wear school uniform at seventeen?” She asked, and Yvette nodded.
“Yes – it is…. Required of us.”
“Well, let’s see if we can’t show you how a school doesn’t need a uniform,” Camilla said taking her other arm, “and maybe you can start to change their minds.”
“Where are the other three girls?” Jane enquired as they walked down the corridor.
“They are in a class at the moment – as they are a year younger, it was felt they would be …. Better with their peers, I think you say?”
“You mean keep to their age,” Camilla said. “Ah, here’s the trophy room, let’s have a look in here.”
The three girls entered a small room lined with cabinets in which were a wide variety of trophies, plates and other prizes won by St Blazius over the years. Yvette looked round, eyes wide at the gleaming metal and glass.
“Your school must be very good to have won so many prizes,” she said.
“I suppose we are – I never really thought of it,” Jane said as she looked at one trophy with a pair of tennis racquets engraved on it. “It’s just history to me.”
“Anyway, let’s move on,” Camilla said, and the three girls left the room, Yvette taking one last look back as they walked on.
The evening meal was over, and the students were gathered in their common room. Yvette was sat talking with her two new friends when the three other French students came in. Jane noticed that two of them looked a little distracted, as if something was on their minds, but the third girl seemed to be talking to them in rapid French so that they weren’t left out.
Yvette stood up. “I am afraid that I must go to my bed now – our rules are quite strict on this. I will see you tomorrow?”
“Of course,” Camilla said as she joined the other three and they walked out, Yvette and the other girl taking one of the remaining two by the arm as they went to their rooms.
“DO you think they’re all right?” Jane asked as the door closed behind them,
“They’re probably just homesick,” Yvette replied. “They’ll be right as rain once they’ve phoned home. Remember how you felt that time we went to Brussels?”
“You’re probably right. Come on – let’s get that History essay out of the way and then go to bed.”
Two hours later, both the girls were walking to their bedroom when they heard sounds coming from one of the rooms. I t sounded like crying that was being muffled somehow, and whispered conversations, but neither paid much attention to it at that point. Instead, they went into their own shared bedroom and prepared for bed.
“What did you think of Yvette?” Jane asked as she sat at a dressing table, combing her long dark hair. She was wearing a pair of blue silk pyjamas, with a bear motif on the pocket of the jacket. Camilla was lying on her side on a bed, reading a book, and dressed in a short cream silk nightie.
“Quiet, but she seemed all right. Compared to the other three, however, she was as talkative as a parrot.
“Do you think there really is something wrong with those two girls? I thought they were going to start crying for a minute.”
Jane put down her brush for a moment. “We passed their room earlier – do you think I should go and make sure they’re all right?”
“No – let’s get to sleep and see what they say in the morning.”
Camilla watched her roommate walk over to the bed, and turned the light off when she was safely in place.
It was a couple of hours later when Camilla was woken by a sound, and she heard the clock in the tower strike 12 midnight.
“Jane, did you say something?” She asked as she turned the light on, only to be greeted by the sound of Jane with a piece of cloth in her mouth, and Yvette and the other older girl standing over her.
Both were dressed in black catsuits, and Camilla blinked wondering what was happening. Camilla bent over, and in a perfect English accent whispered in her ear “We need your help, and if you don’t give us it your friend will be most upset. Do you understand?”
“What’s going on?” Camilla whispered as Jane tried to talk, only for muffled sounds to escape from her mouth.
“We’re going to rob the school,” the other girl said in a Scottish accent, “and you’re going to tell us where the safe is. Once we’ve been into the trophy room, that is.”
“You’re not French, then?”
“No – the other two real students are the guests of our partners. We waylaid them on our way here, and took their places.”
“Where are the other two girls?”
“Safe – for now. Where is the safe?”
“I don’t know – Miss Hardcastle is the only one who might, and she’s in her room by now.”
“Third floor, top of the stairs.”
Yvette stood up and looked at her partner, who produced several lengths of rope from behind her back.
“Camilla, you get to tie Jane here up so that you can’t raise the alarm. I suggest you stay quiet, or else the whole school may be awoken, and we don’t want that, do we?”
Jane shook her head, and Camilla pulled back her duvet in order to stand up.
“Are you all right, Jane,” Camilla asked as she went over to her roommate’s bed, and Jane nodded mutely.
“Roll over, Jane,” the Scottish girl said, and as she did so Camilla was handed a length of rope.
“Tie her arms up,” she was commanded, and Camilla took Jane’s wrists and crossed them behind her back before tying the rope around and between them, pulling it tightly with each pass.
“Were you a Girl Scout?” The Scottish girl asked, and Camilla nodded as she took another length of rope and tied Jane’s ankles together. Having done this, Jane was ordered to roll over and sit up, which she managed with some difficulty, eventually leaning against the wall with her back.
“Tie her legs together now,” Camilla was ordered, and as she passed the rope around Jane’s legs above the knees the intruder took a rope and secured Jane’s wrists to the headboard. She then pushed the cloth fully into Jane’s mouth, and taking a thin scarf from a drawer she passed it around her head twice to keep the cloth in place.
“Right,” Yvette said as she tied a knot in a rolled up Hermes scarf, “Put this in your own mouth and tie it off behind your head, Camilla.”
“Waste of a good scarf,” she said as she pulled the knot tightly into her mouth.
“Perhaps, but it keeps you quiet,” Camilla said as she sat the now mute girl on her bed and started to tie her wrists together in front of her. Her partner did the same to her feet and her legs, before Yvette tied Camilla’s wrists down to her leg and pushed her over onto her side.
“Just stay there, girls, and we’ll be done quicker than you can call for help.”
With a laugh, the two intruders closed the room door behind them, secure in the knowledge that these two would not get in their way.
Camilla listened to the sound of footsteps receding down the hallway, and then looked at Jane. The other girl nodded, and twisted round so that Camilla could see where the rope was attached to the bed, and also where the knot of the scarf around Jane’s head was.
Pushing herself back up onto her bottom, Camilla leaned forward until she was able to bring her knees up close to her mouth. With her fingers, she started to feel her way around the scarf, finding a spot where she could stretch to slightly, until after some effort she managed to pull the knot out of her mouth.
“That’s better – hang in there, Jane” she whispered as she bent her head forward and started to pick at the knot holding her wrists to her legs with her teeth. Slowly, the rope slackened until she was able to pull her hands free and stretch her legs out.
Swinging her legs round, she managed to stand on her feet and hop over to Jane’s bed. As her roommate leaned forward, she again used her teeth to loosen the scarf around Jane’s mouth, until she was able to push the cloth out of her mouth and breathe freely.
“You know, I thought Hardcastle was a lunatic starting that Monday night class, but now….”
“Yeah, I know. Those exercises have paid off. Do you think you can loosen my wrists?”
Jane nodded as Camilla lifted her wrists to where she could pick at the knot with her teeth. Slowly she unravelled the ropes with her teeth until Camilla managed to free one wrist, and pull the ropes off the other.
“Your turn,” she said as she sat on the bed and released Jane from the headboard, and then the wrist bindings. The clock in the tower struck one as both girls shook their ankles and legs free.
“We need to warn Miss Hardcastle about those two,” Jane whispered.
“First things first – we need to find out what they did with the other two French students.”
The two girls put on dressing gowns and slippers, and made their way back down the corridor to the room they had heard sounds from earlier. Muffled moans could be heard through the door, but when they tried the handle the door was locked.
“Dammit, how are we going to get in?” Camilla said, but Jane looked at the lock and then pulled a hairclip from her hair.
“That only works in the movies,” Camilla said, but was silenced when Jane managed to unlock the door.
“How else do you think I got in after dark?” She said as they quietly swung the door open.
Sitting on the floor of the room were the two remaining French students, still in their uniforms. Their scarves had been used to blindfold them, and there was silver tape over their mouths. The two were sat back to back, with their arms around each other and their wrists tied together in front of the other’s waist. More rope was wrapped around the two of them above and below their chests, and cinched with small lengths between the two bodies. Their ankles were crossed and bound, and their legs were bound above and below their knees.
At the sound of the door opening, they turned and stopped moaning. Jane closed the door behind her, and Camilla untied the scarf around the eyes of the darker haired of the two girls. She blinked and looked at Camilla, then started to try to say something.
“Hush – let me get this off you first,” she said as she peeled away the tape and pulled a length of white cloth out of her mouth.
“Mon dieu, remercient la qualité que vous êtes venue. Où sont les imposters ? Pouvez-vous nous obtenir libres de cette corde ?”
“Calm down and speak English if you can,” Camilla said. “We know the other two are fakes – they tied us up as well. Is your friend all right?”
“She will be when I explain you are friends. We wanted to say something earlier, but they threatened to kill us and our classmates if we spoke out. Where are they now?”
“Probably talking to our headmistress,” Jane said as she looked over the ropes. “Can you tell your friend to stop struggling?”
The girl looked over her shoulder. “Celine, calment vers le bas, ces femmes ne sont pas nos ravisseuses. elles vont nous aider et libre nous. Inclinez la tête juste si vous comprenez, et restez alors toujours.” The other girl nodded, and stayed still as Jane started to untie the rope holding them together.
“Will you be all right if I call the police?” Camilla asked, and Jane nodded as the two girls were separated. Camilla left the room, and silently made her way up to where Miss Hardcastle slept.
Her door was open, and as she peeked in she could see the headmistress sat in an armchair, with a blue dressing gown around her. Her arms had been pulled around the back rest of the chair and ropes were visible around her chest. The Scottish girl was tying her ankles together against a leg of the chair, while she could hear Yvette talking.
“It was very kind of you not to give us any trouble, Miss Hardcastle.”
“As if I was in a position to argue with you – you made that quite clear. I presume you are both a little older than seventeen?”
“Just a little, yes. Don’t worry – the other two frogs will be released once we’ve made our getaway.”
Miss Hardcastle looked up and saw Camilla peeking round the door, the sodden scarf still around her neck. She mouthed “Go”, nodding slightly as the girl put her finger to her lips.
“Time for you to be quiet, headmistress,” she heard Yvette say as a scarf was stuffed into her mouth, Slipping back, Camilla made her way down to the front lobby and picked up the telephone.
“Hello – I need the police please.
“Hello – there is a break in in progress at St Blazius School. Intruders are on the premises, and there has been hostages taken. Get here as quickly as you can.”
Word of the events of that night got round quickly, and both Jane and Camilla were complimented by the police for their swift actions. The other two real French students were rescued early the next day, and the parents of all four sent thank you letters as well. The most precious one they received, however, was one that simply said.
Well Done. You didn’t panic and used what we taught you.
Tara and Lucinda.