Shady Trees was one of those private groupings of houses you find in the suburban areas of American towns. Five nice large houses, arranged around a circular road lined with trees, and the only entrance protected by a large set of wrought iron gates set in a wall enclosing the grounds. A typical gated community as they have come to be known, with regular deliveries and amenity checks.
So when the van drew up to the gate, with “Speedy Cleaners” emblazoned on the side, the driver simply held the identity card to the reader and the gates swung back. Driving through, he watched as the gates closed behind him and locked shut. He then turned his head round to the group in the back.
“Remember, in, out and be quick about everything – and keep an eye on her. One of us stays with her at each house – different every time.”
The three men nodded, while under a tarpaulin something moved and made a soft mewling sound.
Edna opened the door as the van pulled up outside the first house.
“You’re late” she said as the driver stepped out of the front, “and where’s Danny?”
“He had to call in sick – something disagreed with him last night – so we’ve been sent instead.” As he said this, two other men got out of the back of the van, and started to bring cleaning equipment up to the house. All three were wearing grey overalls, with white t-shirts underneath, white latex gloves and baseball caps with “Speedy Cleaners” on the front.
“Well, you’d better be speedy – I have a lunch to get to,” Edna said as the three men walked in, before closing the door behind her. She was dressed for an important meeting as well, in a green sleeveless slip dress that came down to about three inches above her knees, dark stockings and black patent heels.
“How long do you think you will be,” she started to say, but the reply she heard was “Oh, I think we will clean you out pretty quickly. Please, raise your hands so that I can see them.”
Looking up, Edna was horrified to see a gun pointed at her by the driver, while the other two were opening a basket and taking out a series of small cloth bags.
“This is a robbery,” the man said as he walked over and pointed the gun at Edna’s head. “Is there anyone else in the house?”
“Nnnn – no, just me,” Edna stammered as she stared at the metal barrel.
“Excellent – Carlos, pass me a length of rope will you. Please, put your hands behind your back and stand perfectly still.”
One of the two helpers threw a skein of white rope at the driver, which he quickly unravelled and doubled over. Edna slowly let her hands fall behind her back, and winced as her captor took the rope and passed it around her bare wrists, pulling tightly so that they were held together.
“Tell me, where you keep your jewellery,” he asked Edna as he continued to pass the rope around and between her wrists.
“In my bedroom upstairs,” she answered before crying out as the rope was knotted off.
“Carlos, go and find what you can,” he said as one of the men went up the staircase, handing him another length of rope as he went. Doubling this, he passed it around Edna’s arms above the elbows and pulled them together, causing her to yelp again as they were brought within touching distance.
“We’re going to have do something about you calling out – Jonny?”
The other man walked over with a roll of white medical tape in his hand. Tearing a strip off, he stood in front of Edna as the driver tied off the arm binding.
“Put your lips together and breathe normally,” he said to Edna. “Please, don’t gag me,” she pleaded, but the gun was placed next to her head again as the man repeated “Lips together and shut up.” Edna did as she was asked, and felt the tape pulling at her skin as strip after strip was smoothed over her mouth.
At a nod from the driver, the one he called Jonny left to search the downstairs rooms while he helped Edna to sit on the floor. Pulling the skirt of her dress up to reveal the stocking tops, he quickly bound her legs together above her knees, before crossing and tying her ankles together.
As Carlos came back down the stairs, carrying several bags that looked full, the driver made Edna lie on her side, her light hair falling around her face and the highly polished wooden floor. “Disconnect the phone,” he said as he pulled her ankles back and passed a further length of rope around them, pulling them back and attaching the rope to her wrists.
“Hlp…” she moaned as the gang placed the bags with their stolen goods in the basket. “Goodbye, madam,” the driver called as they wheeled their basket and equipment out of the house, locking the door behind them.
“Oh – well, at least you came today.”
The door to the second house was opened by an attractive tall brunette, her hair streaked with blonde and slightly curly, who let the driver, Carlos and another man in. She was wearing a dark blue blouse, short light tan skirt that barely covered the top of her stockings, and high heeled open toed shoes.
“We try to be of service, madam.”
“Please, call me Tracy.”
“Well, Tracy, I wonder if we can ask a favour of you?”
“Of course,” Tracy said as she smiled and cocked her head to one side.
“Tell us where you keep your valuables,” the driver replied as he took the pistol out of his pocket and levelled it at the young woman. She looked at him with a surprised and shocked expression, before slowly raising her hands.
“Upstairs, and in the study, but please don’t hurt me.”
“I won’t hurt you if you do as you’re told. Carlos, Joe – get to work. Tracy, come with me please.”
The girl watched as he collected several lengths of rope from the basket they had brought in, and then walked in front of him into the dining room.
“Please,” the man said as he pulled a metal chair away from the table, “sit down, look forward and place your hands behind the back of the chair.”
“All…. All right,” Tracy replied as she let her arms drop behind the chair. The man knelt down behind her, looped a length of rope around her wrists and began to tie them together.
“Do you have to be so hard,” she asked as the rope was knotted off, but the man said nothing as he started unravel a long skein. Doubling it over, he passed it around Tracy’s arms below her breasts, and pulled the loop tightly to hold her arms in place. After passing it round again above her breasts, he fed the loose ends through the two layers behind her back and secured the loose ends to the seat of the chair.
“There,” he said as he stood up, and passed a further length around Tracy’s waist and the chair back, before passing it around her lap and the seat to secure her to the metal. She watched as her skirt rode slightly up, revealing more of her stocking tops, while the man tied the two layers of rope around her lap together on top of her legs.
“Why are you doing this?” she pleaded as he knelt in front of her and placed her ankles on his lap, wrapping rope around them to secure them together.
“It’s a living,” he said as he passed the rope between her legs, further securing her ankles together, and let them drop to the floor. Tracy could see the men he called Carlos and Joe placing little canvas bags into the basket as the driver checked the ropes.
Walking round behind Tracy, the driver said to his captive “Open wide.”
“Whmmph…” was all Tracy could say as the rolled up cloth was pulled tightly into her mouth, causing the sides of her lips to be pulled back, before it was knotted under her hair.
“Do you know, Brenda, these are excellent cookies?”
“Help yourself, why don’t you?”
“Thanks – I will”
The lady in residence in the third house was talking to Joe as he munched on the plate of freshly baked cookies on the table. She had been working in the kitchen when the doorbell rang, so when they said they were the cleaners she let them in without thinking.
Her mistake, she thought to herself as the driver wrapped a long length of brown rope around her wrists. Brenda was what you might call a large woman, dressed in a pink and white candy striped halter dress and a white apron with pink edging, tied behind her back with a large white bow. She was also wearing high heeled pink shoes to match her dress, but as the rope was knotted off that was the least of her worries,
“How did you get in the gat e anyway?” she said as she felt her elbows been drawn together with rope behind her back.
“Our little secret,” the drive said as he pulled the rope tighter, and the sound of things falling to the floor came through from the rest of the house.
“Do you have to break everything?” she screamed, and the drive replied “no. Jonny, a little more care please.”
“Sorry,” was shouted back as a long lasso of rope was passed under Brenda’s chest and pulled tightly, holding her arms to her side. Three times the rope was passed above and below her breasts, each time pulled tighter until they were almost ready to burst from her dress, before the rope was passed between the coils behind her back and knotted off.
“I’ll give you this,” she said as she looked over her shoulder, “you seem to know what you are doing.”
“We’ve had some practice recently,” the driver said as he passed yet another length around Brenda’s waist, pulling her lower arms against her back as he did so, and then looping the rope between her arms and back to hold them more firmly in place.
“Joe, help me to sit this lovely lady down,” the driver said. Between the two of them, they sat Brenda on the floor by the table where her lunch was sitting. She watched as Joe tied her ankles together, while the other man did the same to her legs above her knees.
“Phone’s taken care of,” the man she had heard called Jonny said as he looked in on the kitchen, “oh; can I have one of those?”
“Help yourself,” Brenda said in a resigned voice as the last knot was tied. She knew she would not be going anywhere for a while – not the way she had been bound.
“Sorry about this, but you need to open your mouth,” the driver said as he held a napkin in form of Brenda’s face.
“At least it’s a clean one,” she thought as she opened her mouth and allowed the cotton square to be pushed into her mouth, followed by a length of white cloth pulled across her lower jaw.
“Don’t worry, you’re not the only one in this predicament,” Joe said as the cloth was knotted under her long blonde hair. Brenda looked up with surprised eyes.
“Vryn?” she mumbled, and Joe simply nodded as the three men left her on the kitchen floor.
“Are you sure this is how she is found in the book?”
Samantha nodded as her agent stood over her. As an author, she was committed to knowing what her characters were going through, and as the heroine in her latest novel was going to be kidnapped she had asked Cindy, her agent, to help her to act out the part.
Cindy had arrived just before the Speedy Cleaners van, and had been helping her client to “get into character” as it were. She had brought several yards of white rope with her, and followed Samantha’s instructions to the letter.
Samantha herself was wearing a red cap sleeved dress with matching high heeled sandals. Cindy had started by crossing her wrists behind her back, and securing them with rope, before pulling her elbows together with more rope. Helping her client to sit down on the floor, she had then proceeded to tie her legs together around her thighs, above her knees, her calves and her ankles, with the final length around her ankles also passed around her feet and shoes.
“Does it hurt,” she’d asked at that point, but Samantha just said “keep going – the chest ropes next.”
The next long length of rope had gone around Samantha’s arms and chest, then around her shoulders to hold them firmly in place.
“All right, that’s good,” Samantha had said as she tested the ropes. “Now, put the microfoam tape over my mouth, put me on my side and tie on the last rope.
Cindy nodded, and had used the roll of medical tape to cover Samantha’s mouth before tying a length of rope around those holding her arms to her chest, and passing it between her legs. Rolling Samantha onto her side, she passed it around the ropes tied around her claves and ankles, before using the loose ends to secure the heels of her shoes together,
“How’s that,” Cindy asked as she leant over her client, and Samantha grunted her approval. IT was at this point that the doorbell rang.
“clnrs,” Samantha mumbled, and Cindy nodded. She stood up and ran her arms down the sleeves of her white top. “I’ll let them in,” she said, “Keep them out of this room?”
“uh huh,” Samantha said as she nodded and laid her head on the linoleum, her dark hair falling as she lay. From outside the closed door, she could hear the door opening, and some sounds of conversation, but that was followed by the sounds of drawers opening and things being thrown around.
“Snd?” Samantha called out, but the microfoam was keeping her lips firmly together. She struggled to get free, realising something was not right outside, but the ropes were too tight and complex in their application. She had just about given up when the door opened.
“Whts hppng,” she mumbled as she looked up, but instead of Cindy in her white top and pedal pushers it was a tall, dark haired man of about six foot in height, dressed in grey overalls and wearing a baseball cap.
“Hey Carlos,” he said calling over his shoulder, “come and see what I’ve found.”
He was joined in the doorway by a slightly smaller man with a dark complexion.
“We need to keep these two together,” he said before both men left, returning a few minutes later with Cindy between them. She had the same microfoam tape over her mouth as Samantha, and was trussed like a sausage with layer after layer of rope around her body.
The two men sat her down against the wall, and left closing the door behind them. The women stared at each other for a few minutes, before starting to try and scream for help. Samantha in particular was worried – both because she had obviously been robbed, and also because her experiment was going a way she was not exactly happy about.
Amanda tried to pull her wrists apart, but the rope was too tightly wound around them. The mistress of the fifth house, she had actually been in front and watched the van go from house to house, wondering when it would come to her.
As it finally drew up her driveway, she watched the side door open and two men take their equipment out, but she also caught a glimpse of something moving under a tarpaulin in the back.
“What have you got in the back of the van,” she asked the driver as eh walked up.
“Nothing that you need to wonder about – why don’t you show me where the cleaning is to be done,” he’d said as he walked beside her, and Amanda felt the unmistakable cold of a gun barrel pressed against her waist.
Now she was sat in a chair in the dining room, her wrists bound together behind her back and her ankles tied to the front legs of the chair. She was wearing a pale blue blouse and dark skirt, but the way she was bound wasn’t too uncomfortable for her.
The man who had held the gun to her was about to take a scarf and gag her with it when the other man – Jonny he’d called her – came in and said “Look what I’ve found.” With a sense of horror, Amanda watched as he held up a red ball that had a leather strap passed through the middle of it.
“Kinky – are you into this sort of thing?” the driver asked Amanda, and she simply nodded.
“Well, that makes things a little easier. We’ll use your own gag on you.” As he said this, the driver took the ball gag off Jonny and wiped the red rubber with his gloved hands. “Open wide now.”
“Well, at least I’m used to this,” Amanda thought as the ball was pushed between her teeth and the straps fastened at the base of her neck. She watched as the three men searched the house, or rather listened as they went upstairs, until the three of them came back into the room.
“I think you deserve a special surprise – don’t go anywhere,” the driver said as he cupped Amanda’s jaw in his hand and lifted her face up. She looked at him in return, puzzled as to what he meant, before the men smiled and left Amanda alone in the room.
Amanda sat in silence for a few minutes, wondering what was going to happen, when the door opened and two men came in. She had to assume they were the same men – they had both changed into dark overalls and tops, and had balaclava masks over their heads.
They were carrying between them a young woman, dressed in a white short sleeved blouse and lilac linen skirt, with long frizzy blonde hair. She had her wrist bound together behind her back with rope, and her leather shod feet were bound at the ankles. She struggled as the two men lay her on the table next to Amanda, placing her on her chest.
“As you’re into this sort of thing, we’re leaving you a present,” one of the men said, and she recognised him as Jonny. The new arrival was desperately trying to call for help, but a red bandana had been pulled between her teeth and tied off under her hairline. From the way her cheeks were bulging, Amanda guessed she had something else in her mouth besides the knot in the centre of the scarf.
“Hlp m” she kept calling as the other man took a length of brown rope and tied it around the bindings that held the new arrival’s ankles together. Pulling back, he made her legs rise as he passed the rope under and around her wrists, then took it and wrapped it around her arms and upper body, leaving her in a tight hog tie. Pulling the rope enough to raise her chest up, the masked man made sure she was immobilised before letting her chest drop back onto the table.
“There,” the man said as he leaned over the frightened girl. “You stay here, and we’ll tell Danny when he can tell people what has happened. Thank him for the card for us, will you?”
The two women screamed as the masked men left them alone in the dining room, quickly leaving the house and climbing into the back of the van. The driver turned round as they removed their masks.
“See – I told you it would be easy. That’s the problem with these communities – they assume a wall and an alarm gate is enough to keep us out. Their loss.”
The van drove out of the driveway, round the road and out of the gate, leaving their clients to contemplate the events of the day.